Disasters!

I’d planned to post about writing today, but Hurricane Harvey hitting South Texas last Friday has changed things. I live in Fort Worth, Texas, way north of the coast, so I and my family are not in harm’s way.  I’m grateful, but mindful of the extreme situation in which many Texans are existing.

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The small town of Rockport on the coast, one we’ve visited a couple of times, was flattened by the Hurricane itself. Victoria has been without water, electricity, gas and food for days. Lots of empty shelves in stores. Harvey came on land just north of Corpus Christi, which I believe got electricity restored on Sunday. One of the good stories.

But poor Houston and the larger Houston area. Houston is used to floods. It’s flat. A little rain and Houston floods. But what’s going on there and has been since last Friday, August 25 is apocalyptic. No one has ever seen anything like it. IMG_6031

Many rescues. Still more to come. Water up to and over the second floor of houses. When the advice is to stay in your house and only call if there’s an emergency, most of us would assume water getting in is an emergency. That’s not the case this time.

When you hear a water plant is submerged…well, that’s hard to imagine.IMG_6036

People were rescued from houses with water up to their chest. I’ve heard stories of people wading through waist high and higher for hours trying to get higher ground. Carrying their babies, children, and dogs. People were advised to not go in their attics because they couldn’t be rescued from there. But my stars if your second floor is beginning to flood…

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Unfortunately, the rain continues and two reservoirs had to have controlled release, which impacts already flooded areas and areas that hadn’t flooded yet. They could have as much as 50 inches, which is more than Houston gets in a year!

The loss and trauma from this storm is hard to fathom and will last for months and probably years.

IMG_6034 This reporter is standing on a bridge where water is normally 10 feet below!

However, wonderful things come about when disasters happen. People helping others regardless of color of skin, religion, sexual orientation. The best of America rises in these situations. The country comes together.

Governors of other states have sent rescue workers, boats, and even cots.

What can we do? Pray and send money to the American Red Cross. Here’s the link.

https://www.redcross.org/donate/hurricane-harvey

As writers what can we do? Write stories honoring the heroism of people in these tragedies. The second book in my Second Chances Series, ACT OF TRUST, honors those who lost loved ones on 9/11.  I imagine I’ll write one about Harvey, but not now, not until people have come through this terrible time.

I remember hearing a famous writer at an RWA conference (and no I can’t remember her name!), tell about her family’s experience of floods in South Texas and how the romance books in the Walmart where they went to buy tooth-paste and underwear brought her mother and her comfort. In the darkest times, we need to have faith in happily ever afters, and we can provide those.

Have you experienced a disaster? What helped you get through? Sisterhood of Suspense

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Sneak Off and Read: Lines about A WORRY OR CONCERN, #RSsos #RomSuspense

#OneLineSunday by #RSsos Lines about A WORRY or CONCERN for a great start to the week. Enjoy!


Juliet tasted his peppermint mouthwash on her bruised lips and would have to wash his scent out of her hair, but those concerns were secondary to her fears. “Did the people we love die because of you?”

Sharon Wray
Every Deep Desire 


He squatted next to my chair. Out the corner of my eye, I stole a sideways glance at his face and saw concern there. “Thanks for taking care of Lucky.”

Vicki Batman


“Can you see what she’s holding?” Cam asked from over Dani’s shoulder. His closeness bothered her. Everything about the man bothered her.

Jacquie Biggar


I’m concerned about your continuing as a firefighter. You work so close to the edge when you’re on the job.

Sam Bradley w/a McKenna Sinclair


It was only after Laura had snuggled into bed and turned out the light that the worry demons came out to play.

Claire Gem


Her mouth compressed into a thin line. “He can’t know, Gilda.It would be, uh, well–”

Joanne Guidoccio


Dusty’s jaw dropped, and she groped blindly for Chase’s hand while she stared at John, waiting for whatever insanity he’d spew next.

Kathryn Jane


 “Well, you have nothing to worry about. This is all on me.” She glanced back down at the memo in front of her, the word suspension jumped out like a flashing neon sign.

Stephanie Taylor
Shutter (work in progress)


“I’ve been injured once before, and so has David. I’m afraid this happening to both of us at the same time was a wake-up call and troubled them more than they’ve let on.”

Marsha West


Sisterhood of Suspense

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Enter the Sisterhood of Suspense’s Rafflecopter #Giveaway for your chance at some page-turning reads!

A Midnight Clear by Jeannie Hall

Little Birdie Who and Other Stories by Vicki Batman

Partners: Odyssey of the Phoenix by McKenna Sinclair

Second Act by Marsha R. West

Too Many Women in the Room by Joanne Guidoccio

Into the Sunrise by Kathryn Jane

Tempted by Mr. Wrong by Jacquie Biggar

Spirits of the Heart by Claire Gem

 

 

 

 

Creating an #AudioBook #WriterTips @jacqbiggar

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It’s hard to express the feeling I had this week when Audible released Missing: The Lady Said No to audiobook. Hearing your hero speak for the very first time is indescribable.

I’ve been waiting for ACX- (Audible Creation Exchange) the company that produces audiobooks for leading suppliers such as Audible, Amazon, and I-tunes to allow Canadians into their marketplace and this June 1, 2017 it happened!

 

 

 

Here’s a little background info on the increasing popularity of audiobooks from the Publishers Weekly site:

A new report issued by the Audio Publishers Association found that 2016 was another good year for audiobooks. The findings show double-digit growth for both audiobook sales and title output.

Total sales rose 18.2% over 2015, to an estimated $2.1 billion, while unit sales did even better. According to the report, unit sales rose 33.9%, to 89.5 million. Sales are based on reports from about 20 audiobook publishers. The APA then extrapolates from those figures, to derive an estimate for the entire market. The title output from reporting companies was 50,937 in 2016, a 43.1% increase over 2015.

I think that’s cause for a celebration, don’t you? 🙂

 

The process is easy. ACX walked me through the steps of loading my book, choosing passages with a variety of characters for the auditions, and setting up my contract with them. You can choose to be exclusive to Audible for seven years (keep in mind they do upload to the three biggest suppliers in the industry) or you can buy your rights and load the book wherever you like.

 

There are also a variety of ways to pay your narrator.

  • You and your Producer can agree to a Pay for Production Fee (a one-time flat fee) or a Royalty Share Deal (in which case your Producer won’t earn money up front, but will instead share in the proceeds from the sale of your audiobook 50-50).
  • Want a higher royalty rate on sales of your audiobook? You can opt for a significantly higher ACX royalty rate by granting Audible exclusive distribution rights to your ACX-produced audiobook. If you want to keep more distribution options open, you can distribute your audiobook through ACX on a nonexclusive basis and receive the standard ACX royalty rate.

 

Then you wait for the auditions to pour in (wishful thinking :)) or you can search through the ACX database of narrators and place your offer with the one you like.

I was extremely lucky to have Daniel F. Purcell find me and agree to perform my books. He’s simply amazing! His vast repertoire of voices brought the characters to life.

I’m so impressed!

As he read the chapters, he loaded them onto the ACX site so that I could listen and give input on any areas I thought needed changing. There were very few 🙂

Next, there was a wait of about a week while ACX checked the files over to make sure it all sounded good, then they published!

Oh yeah, they also give the author and the narrator 25 codes each for review and promotional purposes so if you’d like to hear Gus’ story comment below and I’ll pick someone to receive a #Free copy!

This has been a positive experience from the start. I highly recommend ACX and Audible to any authors who have been on the fence about producing an audiobook.

Do it!

Start your #Free Audible Trial today with Missing: The Lady Said No!

 

Missing The Lady Said No audio cover

 

Missing: The Lady Said No

The Race is on to find a Killer in the heart of Kentucky horse country

Detective Augustus Grant is faced with his most baffling case to date. Well-respected race horse breeder, John Jorgenson, is murdered in his den days before the Kentucky Derby and the list of suspects is growing.

Complicating matters, Gus’ ex-girlfriend is the last person to have seen the victim alive.

Rebecca Hayes owes the Jorgenson family her loyalty. They gave her a new life after a disastrous affair leaves her alone and pregnant.

With all the evidence pointing in Becky’s direction, will Gus do his duty?

Or follow his heart?

 

http://books2read.com/u/3Lrqre

http://amzn.to/2jXEbAP

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34033805-missing

And Now on Audio Book!- http://a.co/23uX6b8

 

Sisterhood of Suspense

 

Enter Here

In Praise of Handwriting

For decades, I eschewed cursive handwriting in favor of keyboarding and printing. That’s right—printing. After several students had complained about my illegible board work, I switched to printing on the blackboard and inputted almost everything else onto digital devices. I did sign report cards, checks, and other legal documents, taking extra care with my penmanship.

Since retiring, I’ve rediscovered the benefits of expressing my ideas the old-fashioned way. I have Julia Cameron to thank for that epiphany. A fan of Julia’s books, among them The Artist’s Way and The Prosperous Heart, I found myself incorporating Morning Pages into my daily regimen. At first skeptical, it didn’t take me long to realize the wisdom of her logic: “When we write by hand, we go slowly enough to record out thoughts with accuracy. On a computer, we whiz along, dashing our thoughts to the page.”

Other benefits of handwriting include…

Better Cognitive Skills

Writing longhand stimulates the Reticular Activating System (RAS) in our brains. The RAS acts as a filter, giving more importance to the information being processed. Also, writing in cursive script enables us to use both parts of our brain. Writing in small letters boosts left brain (analytical) activity that improves attention to detail. Large writing and sweeping doodles stimulate the creative right brain and also provide stress-busting benefits.

Fewer Distractions

Unless we are super-disciplined, it’s almost impossible not to succumb to the many distractions that exist on the World Wide Web: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, video games…Each year, the list gets longer. Sitting with pen and paper allows us to write with more laser precision. It may appear slower, but we are able to identify more relationships between ideas and come up with creative solutions.

Improved Writing

Many famous writers prefer to write by hand. Novelist Truman Capote refused to use a typewriter while writing his first draft. In an interview, he commented: “I write my first version in longhand (pencil). Then I do a complete revision, also in longhand.

Susan Sontag, American writer, film-maker, teacher, and political activist, also preferred the analog method. In a 1995 interview with the Paris Review, she said: “I write with a felt-tip pen, or sometimes a pencil, on yellow or white legal pads, that fetish of American writers. I like the slowness of writing by hand.

A 2009 study from the University of Washington supported these preferences for longhand writing: “Elementary school students who wrote essays with a pen not only wrote more than their keyboard-tapping peers, but they also wrote faster and in more complete sentences.”

Where to find Joanne Guidoccio…

Website | Amazon | Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn | Goodreads | Pinterest

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A Midnight Clear by Jeannie Hall

Little Birdie Who and Other Stories by Vicki Batman

Partners: Odyssey of the Phoenix by McKenna Sinclair

Second Act by Marsha R. West

Too Many Women in the Room by Joanne Guidoccio

Into the Sunrise by Kathryn Jane

Tempted by Mr. Wrong by Jacquie Biggar

Spirits of the Heart by Claire Gem

Sneak Off and Read: Lines about A VOW, PROMISE, OR COMMITMENT, #RSsos #RomSuspense

#OneLineSunday by #RSsos Lines about A VOW, PROMISE, OR COMMITMENT for a great start to the week. Enjoy!


“Promise if anything like this ever happens again, you call the police first and then David and me.”

Marsha West


Until Nate freed his men, it was celibacy all the way. He’d taken a vow and everything.

Sharon Wray
Every Deep Desire 


“I was being polite—just like you taught me—and said hello back. That’s all. I promise. I didn’t hit him. I didn’t yell at him. Nothing.”

Vicki Batman


She lifted an elegant eyebrow over sleepy eyes. “I promise to be on good behavior for the duration of my stay. But if you don’t move your foot out of my way, I’m going to slam this door so hard you’re going to be walking with a limp for the next month.

Jacquie Biggar


Tears invoked from AJ’s vows glistened in Quin’s eyes. She held his hands tightly as she looked into his exuberant face.

Sam Bradley w/a McKenna Sinclair


Like the knight in shining armor that Jason aspired to be, he’d kissed the back of Zoe’s hand and promised to take care of her, honor and cherish her, if she would consent.

Claire Gem


“Jean suffered through her father’s remarriage and was determined to spare her son. While she had no intention of remarrying, she knew that Michael wouldn’t stay alone for too long.”

Joanne Guidoccio


“I don’t care about anything but loving you,” she said. “And living without you is not an option.”

Kathryn Jane


 I’d made a promise to my sister before she passed away to get out and see the world. Live dangerously. I certainly wouldn’t be breaking it now.

Stephanie Taylor
Follow Me (work in progress)


Sisterhood of Suspense

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Enter the Sisterhood of Suspense’s Rafflecopter #Giveaway for your chance at some page-turning reads!

A Midnight Clear by Jeannie Hall

Little Birdie Who and Other Stories by Vicki Batman

Partners: Odyssey of the Phoenix by McKenna Sinclair

Second Act by Marsha R. West

Too Many Women in the Room by Joanne Guidoccio

Into the Sunrise by Kathryn Jane

Tempted by Mr. Wrong by Jacquie Biggar

Spirits of the Heart by Claire Gem

 

 

 

 

Filling in The Blanks

One of the maladies—and joys—of being a “pantser” novelist is that the story’s not over until it’s over. The raw, clay model of a novel can be reshaped, added to, and trimmed at any point in the process. Just like a sculpture.

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There is no outline. No rubric. Nothing written in stone. Anything, and everything, can change at any point along the way.

I am a devout, committed pantser: can’t write by an outline if my life depended on it. It would be like feeding hemlock to my muse. But the novel I’m working on now has been giving me fits. Why? Because I veered off my path of “purist pantser.”

First, because unlike many of my previous works, I actually have a working synopsis. Did I work long and hard on this? No. It’s a pantser synopsis. It sort of came to me, all in a jumbled lump of 4000 or so words, right after a coaching session with my favorite writing coach of all time, Joanna D’Angelo. Before that, all I had was a premise, and a general idea of characters and plot line. Very general. That’s how most of my novels are born.

But after a lengthy Facebook discussion with Joanna, the smoke started to clear and the mirrors came into view: the magic with which I could create this masterpiece. The manuscript sat for few weeks, while summertime activities and medical issues and life in general got in the way. My muse spent a few weeks in Tahiti (wish I could have gone with her). In fact, once I guilted myself into getting back “at it,” for the first few sessions, I had to cajole myself into even opening the document that held my raw beginnings—about 10,000 words or so—and force the words onto the page.

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They weren’t good. They weren’t even mediocre. They personified that legendary “shitty first draft,” a la Stephen King.

Then suddenly, the magic began to happen. All on its own.

The problem is, my magic muse gets in a hurry sometimes. She frantically whips my fingers around on the keyboard, moving the story along at breakneck speed. Often leaving gaps. Omissions. Holes in the plot line. Skipping over the waves like a water skier. Like a stone across a peaceful stream. Like a restless dragonfly flitting across that stream to light briefly on a reed or a rock along the way.

I am not one of those people who can blast through an entire 80,000-word manuscript, call it the “shitty first draft,” and then go back to “lick my calf over” (can you tell my husband is an old cowboy?). No. These gaps and omissions and plot holes haunt me, waking me up in the wee hours of the morning, declaring their existence at screaming decibels. They insist—demand—that I go back, right now, and fill them in.

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Which is why, at 3:30 a.m. this morning, I climbed out of bed, my brain throbbing from their rants. Somehow, by some magic of the muse’s wisdom, the plot holes had made themselves known to me at some point in the night. And once I knew they were there, well . . . you know the rest of the story.

But now, 2000 words later, I am breathing a sigh of relief. Because I know, now that the omissions, the gaps, the plot holes are filled in (at least some of them), the writing of this novel will progress much more smoothly. Much more rapidly.

Until Ms. Muse again takes possession of my fingertips and races forward at warp speed. Only to pause some tens of thousands of words down the line, at which point she will find something else for which she feels it necessary to disturb my slumber.

~~~

Claire_200x300

Claire Gem is an award winning author of contemporary romance & supernatural suspense. You can find out more about her work at her website & on her Amazon Author Page.

 

Sneak Off and Read: Lines about A STATEMENT OR ANNOUNCEMENT, #RSsos #RomSuspense

#OneLineSunday by #RSsos Lines about A STATEMENT OR ANNOUNCEMENT for a great start to the week. Enjoy!


I thought the terrible twos would be the hardest part of raising a child. Boy, was I wrong.

Stephanie Taylor
Sharp Blades (work in progress)


If you’d ever been half a father to me, maybe I wouldn’t have been so fucking lonely that nothing else mattered.”

Kathryn Jane


“At dinner, I’ll solemnly promise to come home more and up to Oklahoma City to visit you guys, too. I’ll redirect Mom. I promise.”

Marsha West


“Juliet,” Rafe’s voice was so broken she almost couldn’t hear the words, “No matter what the world says, and regardless of what you believe, you’ll always be my wife.”

Sharon Wray
Every Deep Desire 


“I am not sleeping with you,” she hissed, all but stamping her foot. Lapis-lazuli eyes snapped like fireflies and her fists clenched at her sides like she wanted to whop him one.

Jacquie Biggar


“AJ will go,” Mitch announced. “This is the type of thing he’s best at and we have no time to lose.”

Sam Bradley w/a McKenna Sinclair


“I scheduled you in for nine thirty. Luke Morrison will be questioning you.”

Joanne Guidoccio


Sisterhood of Suspense

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Enter the Sisterhood of Suspense’s Rafflecopter #Giveaway for your chance at some page-turning reads!

A Midnight Clear by Jeannie Hall

Little Birdie Who and Other Stories by Vicki Batman

Partners: Odyssey of the Phoenix by McKenna Sinclair

Second Act by Marsha R. West

Too Many Women in the Room by Joanne Guidoccio

Into the Sunrise by Kathryn Jane

Tempted by Mr. Wrong by Jacquie Biggar

Spirits of the Heart by Claire Gem

 

 

 

 

Painted Rocks, Joy, and Childhood Revisited

I grew up spending my summers at the beach, and one of our favorite pastimes was collecting rocks and shells, and painting them.

Well, imagine my surprise when I recently discovered adults all around the world have taken to painting rocks, and tucking them in fun spots for other folk to find. Rocks with messages, or not. Rocks with great artwork on them…or not.  The point is to spread a bit of love.

So last Tuesday, my besties and I on our “girls playday,” painted rocks, and on the weekend I took them to the beach where the Sea Festival was happening, and I left them here and there, in plain view.

I could only imagine the childlike joy of finding such a special gift—something another human being had created with love.

Guess what we’re doing this Tuesday? Yep, painting more rocks, and this time I might leave a couple at the hospital, or in odd spots around town. My goal in life is to make people smile, and I’m tickled to find this new way that will hopefully bring a moment of joy to a total stranger.

 

 


Kat loves crisp sunny days, the warm breath of a horse, cats with a sense of humor, the smell of the ocean, and her very own charming prince—in no particular order.   http://kathrynjane.com


 

Soul destroying questions and equally stunning answers have Dusty digging deeper than she ever thought possible, and when she discovers her Self, in an entirely foreign landscape, she begins anew, more determined than ever to achieve her lifelong dream.


Sisterhood of Suspense

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Sneak Off and Read: Lines about A QUESTION, #RSsos #RomSuspense

#OneLineSunday by #RSsos Lines about A QUESTION for a great start to the week. Enjoy!


“How many curses do you have?” Was I really having this conversation?

Joanne Guidoccio


“I’m coming in a little late, so forgive me if I ask a question you’ve already answered.” Lucas flipped to a new page in his notebook. “Has your husband had any dealings with AgriRolla?”

Stephanie Taylor
Shutter (work in progress)


Her voice faded to a whisper. “Why did you leave me?

Kathryn Jane


She put a hand in front of her mouth to block the questions, which fought to explode at her father like machine gun fire.

Marsha West


Pops spoke in French—the language of Rafe’s momma—and that meant no more questions unless you wanted to see the buckle end of his belt.

Sharon Wray
Every Deep Desire 


She tilted her head a tad to the right, a questioning expression passed across her face. “Perhaps, my darling, somehow you messed things up?” Moi?

Vicki Batman


“Where’s my dad?” How could he have let this… cowboy cart her off like one of his prize trophies?

Jacquie Biggar


Her question held a challenge. The answer was in his face, but he didn’t seem to want to admit it.

Sam Bradley w/a McKenna Sinclair


That set me back, a question hovering somewhere just under the surface of my consciousness ever since the first night I locked eyes with Tristan.

Claire Gem


Sisterhood of Suspense

ENTER HERE

Enter the Sisterhood of Suspense’s Rafflecopter #Giveaway for your chance at some page-turning reads!

A Midnight Clear by Jeannie Hall

Little Birdie Who and Other Stories by Vicki Batman

Partners: Odyssey of the Phoenix by McKenna Sinclair

Second Act by Marsha R. West

Too Many Women in the Room by Joanne Guidoccio

Into the Sunrise by Kathryn Jane

Tempted by Mr. Wrong by Jacquie Biggar

Spirits of the Heart by Claire Gem