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Friday, January 29, 2016

Amazon Making Changes




Many of you who are trekking out onto the scary journey of Indie authorship may have heard the eBook giant, Amazon is making some quality control crack downs beginning in a few weeks.

At first the rumors flew that if a word was misspelled the beloved novel would get a glaring yellow warning to readers to stay clear. I had a mini panic attack because...well I write fantasy...a.k.a I made up A LOT of words.

Then after a quick breather and some research I realized this was not going to be the case. In fact, I determined this will be a GOOD THING. There are so many books on Amazon, I have truly found some gems as a reader, BUT not to sound harsh--there is also a lot of crap.

I've purchased books and found it littered with typos which is agitating and distracting. There have been several books that I loved the first chapter then as I continued reading it turned into a graphic, dark sexual creeper book when the description stated it was a soft romance, maybe my definition of soft is too soft, I'm not sure.

The good part about all this is I know you, my writing friends, will dot your 'I's' and cross your 'T's'. You will find a good editor before publishing (please). You will present a professional brilliant book that will be enjoyed by your readers. Because you will do all these things, your book will have no reason to worry about an ugly warning sticker. This will give you that much more of an advantage over another book in your genre that took the easy way and published before the novel was ready.

One more thing to ease your mind, Amazon will email the author if they find any issues. You will have notification of the issues and have time to either fix them or take your book down.

Amazon is constantly changing their policies, as indie authors all we can do is adjust our strategies and tactics and roll with it to ensure we have a long term, successful career. 

Keep going, keep writing!


Friday, January 8, 2016

How to Write Good Dialogue




Writing isn't easy. Duh, you might say. I have discovered during my novel writing experience that I am able to produce a quality idea, setting, and overall story, BUT I have a big problem with Fluff.

What do I mean by fluff? I mean all the little sentences and words that distract the reader or take the fun of imagination away. Sometimes while I'm writing I TELL a little too much, instead of SHOW the reader. 

There are several places fluff can appear: Scene transitions, Dialogue, and mental thoughts/actions by characters. I'd like to show you an example from all of these areas today. I hope it helps you feel a little more confident as you go through the revision process of your own writing.


An example of a good exposition writing (when writing is used to inform, explain or describe.) This can be dull in a book, and it isn't necessary to say every little thing a character does. As a reader I don't need to see this: Maria wanted to go walking. She bent down and pulled her shoes on. She tied her laces then placed her jacket over her shoulders. Maria sighed as she turned off the light and opened the door. She stepped into the hallway anxious for her walk, and to get away. She pushed the elevator button....blah, blah, blah. 

With the above example a reader can envision what the character is doing, but it gets kind of boring. Do you really need to describe everything? I don't need to know she turned off the light, or laced her shoes. I can assume she would lace her shoes after pulling them on. I also can assume she is pulling on tennis shoes since she's going walking, so naturally they would have laces. Wordy. Fluffy. No good.

Here is an excerpt from my soon to be released novel The Relics. After some editing, this is a good example of transitioning settings, while quickly allowing the reader into the character's head and thoughts to gather info on the new setting. 

"The ride to the campus was uneventful; none of the men spoke to one another. The few guards assigned to their small crew sat at the front of the van at strong attention, awaiting Brooks' orders. As Killian waited for the other crew members and group of guards to pile out the door upon arrival, he looked out the window at the bright campus across the street. The college was clean and busy, surrounded by beautiful wooded areas full of trails and picnic spots. Students and staff shuffled by the neatly hedged bushes next to the college marquee."

If I went on this way for another paragraph I would be borderline fluffy and boring. But this paragraph is all there is until a new dialogue and action piece begin. It lets the reader understand the new setting and what the character is seeing. It also shows the dynamic between the van of inmates and the guards present. Be quick, set up the new setting, move on.

Now, onto dialogue. Dialogue can stretch rules a bit because it is an actual person talking so it needs to sound like a real person might talk. But it can get really fluffy real fast if you spend too much time describing their inner thoughts, feelings etc. Not that those are bad to describe just don't go overboard (I do it ALL  the time)

Allow me to set the scene for this dialogue so you might gauge a picture from body language as well as words. Killian (Protagonist) has been working on his work release crew at the college campus mentioned above. Mercedes (Protagonist) was harassed by a former boyfriend and Killian ended up giving him a bloody nose in a confrontation. Mercedes had met Killian before he was sent to prison, so seeing him in his prison attire then fighting in front of her has caused some concern. Okay, now see if you can get a sense for how both characters are feeling when they speak.

Good Concise Dialogue:
 "Sorry about that. It’s Dez, right?" he asked holding the books out to her. She lowered her hands and accepted the books, but said nothing. Killian gave an awkward smile, his eyes glancing around as he slowly backed away from her."Alright, well...glad you're okay. I was just trying to help," he said clenching his jaw and turning stiffly back toward his hedge. 

Use body language, descriptive words, and punctuation to let the reader feel what's happening, and understand how each character is responding to situations.

Now finally, I want to show you an example of a fluffy sentence I had, and how easy it is to remove fluff. Though it isn't always easy to recognize without another pair of eyes look for words you've used like: obviously, inwardly, felt etc. If those are used too often you can probably take them out and write what is going on physically so the reader will feel it and understand on their own. Or maybe they'll feel something different than you did as the author. That's okay. Reading/Writing is subjective. If the reader has a different emotional response toward a character great, that's the fun of reading. 

This is the same setting with Killian and Mercedes before the fight. He's overhearing what the jerk ex-boyfriend is saying.

Fluffy Example: 
"Pretending to be focused on the hedges he found himself straining to hear the conversation between the two. Normally, he didn't take an interest in others, but the undeniable attraction forced his interest with her."

Can you spot the fluff? Now here is the revised paragraph. Quite a simple change, but allows the reader to come to their own conclusion about Killian and what he would or wouldn't do.

"Pretending to be focused on the hedges he found himself straining to hear the conversation between the two. Normally, he didn't take an interest in others, but the undeniable attraction forced his interest with her."
That's it. I just took out the last sentence. My hope is that through other dialogue and events before this situation comes up the reader can see that Killian is not one that likes to involve himself with others. This simply describes what he is doing. He wants to hear the conversation. That's it. That's what I want readers to know.

I hope these personal examples help you look at your writing different. I still need to work on these too, but each time I write I'm getting better. 

Keep trying, strive for 2,000 words a day. Happy Writing.



 

Monday, January 4, 2016

The Relics Book One Blurb!


I can't believe it's time to reveal the blurb for The Relics! I'm so excited I'm bouncing up and down in my chair. Where has the time gone? I have spent the last three years developing this first book and the series! I hope you find the blurb intriguing and exciting. The release date for The Relic series is planned for FRIDAY,  APRIL 29, 2016! Ahhh, I can't wait. I have so many awesome things planned, so mark your calendars, including a free series giveaway the Thursday night before to five lucky readers for the "early showing" of the series. On top of that I have days worth of fun, giveaways and prizes!

Be sure to plan for this spring fling book launch because it's going to be EPIC! Now without further adieu the blurb for book one: The Relics


Killian Thomas didn't know a secret society like the Trinity existed, let alone that they wanted him dead. He had no clue there were other realms whose protectors were the highly advanced Ponderi. He thought life on Terrene, commonly known as Earth, was all there was. He certainly didn't know Infinium, a parasitic formula designed to unlock dormant areas in the brain, had lodged itself within his mind.

After the Trinity sends deadly Malumian wolves to kill Killian, he is whisked away to the Ponderi's world by Blake, an undercover Ponderi guardian. Killian learns the family he thought abandoned him as a young boy has deep roots in this mysterious world, and may even be alive but in hiding. Killian's bloodline is strong, and his is one of four families charged with protecting powerful relics. Now the relics are lost, and the Ponderi are desperate to find them before the Trinity does. Without Killian and the strength of Infinium, the Trinity will find the lost relics first. They plan to use them to destroy his home realm, which they view as an abomination, along with countless innocent lives. It's up to Killian, and his new friends, to find the relics before the bloodthirsty society; but, sometimes the closest allies are also the most devious enemies. 

The Relic Series is an epic fantasy adventure full of twists, turns, alternate realms, powerful magic, intelligent swords and arrows, and cunning deception. The series will take fantasy fans on an epic journey they will never forget.

Mark your calendars guys! I hope you will join me with this publishing journey. If anyone is interested in reviewing the book before publication let me know and I will send you a copy. I have spots for 2 readers. I'm looking forward to this adventure.

Happy Writing