Psst: A Secret #2 Adding Emotion to our stories

author 100 x 100When I was a tad younger, I went to a party with friends. At that time, a college buddy owned a moped shop. He was searching for a young lady to represent his store at an RV show’s beauty contest. I had modeled in college and knew I could do it, but should I?

After plying me with a couple of margaritas, he, my roommate, and another guy convinced me to do it.

In my later years, I’ve told this story, describing the (younger) contestants (especially the tiaragirl with blonde cornrows), the judges (one was a former professional football quarterback), and attempting to drop a few pounds. When I began writing, people would say, “You should write a story about that.”

Huh. Could I? Do writers take elements and experiences from their own lives and add them to their work?

The idea germinated. I had to try. It grew and grew and flourished into a romantic comedy short story, “Raving Beauty.”

I’m a pantser, and when my fingers are flying over the keys, images and words pop in my head and flow to the keyboard. If my heroine put on pajamas, bingo! pink polka-dotted ones filtered into my brain. I have polka-dotted pjs. If my hero or heroine has a pet, I might name them after mine or a name I’ve considered.

I could describe what a beauty contestant felt like (and I must admit, not my first rodeo). When the heroine fell off the stage, I knew how to perfectly describe her torn ligaments (dance team performance during halftime at a high school football game). And for backup, I asked my fellow writer friend for her experience with the surgery she’d had and with the knee trolley.

I call it a secret.

I just don’t rely on myself for information cause that seems rather narcissistic. I ask others. I do research. Romance stories convey emotion and by placing myself in predicaments or asking others for their personal knowledge, I’m better able to translate the information, but more importantly, the emotion to the page. We want the reader emotionally involved in our stories so they continue to turn the page.

So I bet you’re wanting to know if there are more secrets in my stories. Psst: want to know a secret?

just-you-and-me My romantic comedy short story, “Raving Beauty,” is in the Just You and Me boxed set and is available for preorder now. Check it out and all the other authors at: Amazon

 

By the way, a tiara is on the line. lol

 

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Sneak Off and Read: Lines about FEAR – SWEAT , #RSsos #RomSuspense

#OneLineSunday by #RSsos Lines about FEAR for a suspenseful start to the week. Enjoy!


He caught sight of her across the street, calming and comforting others, her blonde hair shining in the sunlight. He let out a breath, and a coil of fear loosened in his gut.

Marsha West


Sharon WrayJuliet pressed her face against his chest. His heart beat even faster than hers and she held on, hoping to ease his fear as well.

Sharon Wray
When Next We Meet (work in progress)


With a pop-pop-pop, my ankle bowed cockeye, and this time, my worst nightmare came true. I tumbled over the edge of the stage.

Vicki Batman
Raving Beauty” from Just You and Me set


Serial Killer. Two words guaranteed to strike fear into anyone’s heart.

Jacquie Biggar


Nausea punched him in the gut and bone-chilling fear grabbed him by the b*lls.

Sam Bradley w/a McKenna Sinclair


Miller’s feelings for Laura were taking hold of his heart with such intensity, he feared what was growing between them could be the final hammer blow. If she didn’t feel the same way.

Claire Gem


My heart started beating at an alarmingly fast rate. I was suddenly afraid and desperate for any means of escape.

Joanne Guidoccio


She woke in the middle of a scream she couldn’t end. Brennan had his hands around her upper arms, firmly jostling her back and forth.

Jeannie Hall


“I know it’s really hard for you to believe, but I’m not a predator. I’m truly here to help you, and I understand your fear.”

Kathryn Jane


Vivianna was the most beautiful woman he’d ever seen. Elegant. Intelligent. Fearless. A trio of traits that scared the hell out of him, but also turned him on.

S.A. Taylor
Shutter (work in progress)


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Workshops For Writers

Hey there, I’m Kathryn Jane, and I have a passion for sharing information with other writers and authors.

How many times have you said, wow, I wish I’d known that going in. Or muttered, isn’t there an easier way to do this? Or, how was I supposed to know this already? Why didn’t somebody tell me? Or, how the heck did I miss that that extra word?  😉 (you caught that, right?)

Sucks, doesn’t it? Been there, done that, bought many T-shirts…

That’s why I started sharing what I’d learned the hard way, by creating online workshops for my fellow writers. Yes, it’s time consuming, and there’s not a great deal of money to be made, but it feels good! (Apparently, I love teaching, who knew?)

I’m constantly updating my lessons with the latest information, and always happy to answer questions. The workshops are also archive friendly for those on deadline without time to actively participate.

Added to that, because the feedback from writers has been quite wonderful, I’ve recently added more workshops to my roster.

Pop over to the workshop page on my website for class details and availability.

1. SELF-EDITING “HOW’D I MISS THAT?”  Embarrassment Prevention
2. SELF-PUBLISHING —  “WHERE THE HECK DO I START?”  An Introduction
3. marketing — BACK COVER COPY “SHOOT ME Now!”
4. marketing — PRESS KITS – BE READY WHEN OPPORTUNITY KNOCKS
5. research — WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN A HORSE SHOWS UP?
6. research — PTSD FOR FICTION WRITERS 
7. EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS for you and for your writing

 

Are there other workshops you wish someone would offer?  On what topics? Let me know and maybe I can help! 🙂

Hope you all have a great day, week and month. When I come back to visit in April, I’ll be sharing my brand new Women’s Fiction novel with you, and maybe some pics of my spring garden if Mother Nature cooperates.

Cheers!

Kat.



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Sneak Off and Read: Lines with the theme – SWEAT , #RSsos #RomSuspense

#OneLineSunday by #RSsos Lines with the theme SWEAT for a great start to the week. Enjoy!


I shot straight up in bed, my shirt soaked with sweat and my heart pounding. I struggled to breathe around what seemed like a trunk on my chest, but it wasn’t working.

S.A. Taylor
Follow Me (work in progress)


She walked until her legs hurt, her breath labored, sweat bead­ed her forehead and ran down her back and between her breasts.

Marsha West


Sharon WrayNate rubbed the sweat off his brow with his arm. Figures Fate left him with the crippling memories , the ones telling him he was a bastard—and took those that could’ve saved his men.

Sharon Wray
When Next We Meet (work in progress)


I broke into a sweat. He leaned nearer. “If you’ll have me, beautiful.”

Vicki Batman


Sex was dirty, all that sweat and bodily fluids. Not this. This was clean—spiritual.

Jacquie Biggar


Sweat broke out on her face. She felt his hands weakening and gritted her teeth as his fingers began to slip off the edge one by one.

Sam Bradley w/a McKenna Sinclair


Steely muscles traced an enticing pattern down his arms, enhanced by a gleam of dewy sweat. Ooh, Mama.

Claire Gem


Her nostrils filled with the sharp smell of his sweat, and the cloying scent of aftershave.

Kathryn Jane
(April Release)


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Email Power!

Can you compose efficient and effective emails?

When I heard this question, my first impulse was to say, “Yes, of course.” But glancing through my in-box, I realized I wasn’t that efficient or effective. While I don’t ramble or use ambiguous language, I could improve the tone of my emails.

In her book, Playing Big, Tara Mohr devotes an entire chapter to “Communicating with Power.” She stresses the importance of identifying those “little things” that “walk the fine line of saying something without coming on too strong, but in fact they convey tentativeness, self-doubt, or worse, self-deprecation.”

executivethoughts

Definitely two extremes…I’m aiming for a middle ground.

My primary goal is to construct emails that will be read and understood and not take up too much time on the receiver’s end.

Here are some tips from Playing Big:

  1. Delete all “shrinkers”. We often use words such as “just”, “actually”, and “almost” to smooth over awkwardness but succeed only in diminishing the importance of the message.
  1. Don’t apologize.  When we start our emails with “Sorry to bother you” or “Sorry if this is a silly question,” we are putting ourselves on the defensive. In fact, we are apologizing for no good reason.
  1. Watch out for qualifiers. Using phrases such as “a little bit” or “If you have a few minutes” suggests that our requests are not worthy of immediate consideration. Beginning the conversation with “I’m not an expert, but…” undermines our credibility and gives too much of our power away.
  1. Avoid tentative questions. Inserting “Am I making sense?” or “Do you know what I mean?” at the end of an email conveys a lack of confidence. Instead, use statements such as “I look forward to hearing your thoughts” or “Let me know if you have any questions.”
  1. Weave in warmth. Personalize emails with relevant remarks about the receiver’s site, product, or work and end with a friendly comment.

Other Tips:

  1. Write like you talk. Using formal language or technical lingo creates more distance and makes us less approachable.
  1. Use easy-to-read fonts such as Arial and a standard size. Stay away from bright colors that may not work on all monitors and be hard to read.
  1. Keep paragraphs short and use bullet points and numbered lists. Highlight keywords (bold or italics) for emphasis, without overdoing it.
  1. If action is needed, make it clear. If no action or reply is expected, end with “No reply necessary.”
  1. Include appropriate and functional URLs in your signature.

Any other tips to share?

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Where to find Joanne Guidoccio…

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

 

Writing Retreats!

Why do we go on writing retreats? Well, I guess everyone has a different idea, but I go to crank out a bunch of words. Some people are able to be creative in fifteen or thirty minute stretches, then off to something else, then come back to the computer. Some people only get to write during their lunch hour or after the kids go to bed. Or they get up at 5 a.m. and write for an hour or two before leaving for work.

img_5050

Glen Rose, TX

I’m lucky, I don’t have those time constraints. But stuff happens, you know. The clothes need to be moved from the washer to the dryer. The dishes need to be put in the dishwasher. Then it needs to be emptied. Emails and Facebook cry out for my attention. Occasionally, DH needs my help with errands: groceries, Walgreens, the cleaners, the wine store. Occasionally, a daughter needs assistance with our grands. And then I go to the gym twice a week and Pilates once. That’s a lot of stuff to eat into my writing time.

And I’m easily distracted. Charley, the dog, barks like crazy at something outside. I have to go see what that something is.

.img_3935 He looks calm here, but he’s contemplating taking out after the birds.

I am most productive in the setting of a writers’ retreat. I’m away from my regular distractions, mentioned above. I don’t go on line to look at emails or read FB or Twitter.

Even when I go with others, the agreement is we won’t chat when someone is working. Our interactions are over breakfast and dinner. It’s good to have someone to bounce ideas off of and to commiserate with each other about how hard this work is. LOL Lunch is usually on our own.

In recent years, I’ve cranked out 12,000, 15,000, 17,500 and 5000 words at writing retreats. That’s over a Friday evening through Sunday noon.  Why is the last number so low? Because I combined the writing retreat with a church women’s retreat. Still a good time away. See post on my blog. https://authormarsharwest.wordpress.com/2017/02/23/a-time-away/

Some things I think are necessary to make a writing retreat successful are:

  1. A place away—doesn’t have to be far, but best if you have a fridge & coffee & microwave in your room. (I live on a beautiful lake, but all that stuff mentioned above interrupts my writing at home.)
  2. A commitment from others involved to focus on writing
  3. Have a plan—have you  begun the story so you’ve already done whatever pre-writing you do? (this is necessary for a plotser like me, but may not be for a true pantser.)
  4. Laptop—make sure you’ve saved the most current WIP either on the laptop or on a hard drive.
  5. Have any extra materials you might need—print outs of pictures of characters, and character sketches, story outline (again unless you’re a total pantser).img_4901
  6. Snacks, iced tea (this is just me. I have a special blend I prefer. :), wine), a heating pad you can warm up in the above microwave. (needed for use on shoulders after long hours of typing. 🙂 )
  7. Family members taken care of at home, so you don’t have to worry about them.

PB080112.JPG Deer Creek Resort East Texas. Not close, but beautiful. Writers brainstorming.

Drive somewhere relatively close, so you don’t waste time getting there. I live in Fort Worth, Texas and have made several trips to Irving and stayed at the Jefferson Inn B & B, about an hour drive. Other writers from my NTRWA chapter have come and the number varied from about 12 to 5. Some people share a room, I usually have my own. We get there on Friday afternoon between 4 & 5 pm. Get settled in, and write for a bit before going to supper. We come home from supper and write until whenever.

The next morning, we eat breakfast and go our separate ways for the day. Sometimes folks will meet for lunch. I don’t. I’ve bring something I eat in my room. I might take a walk around part of the block after lunch then right back in the chair with fingers on the keys.

We meet for supper someplace close, again to keep travel time down. There’s a Mexican food restaurant and café nearby. Good quick, inexpensive food. Then back to the keyboards.

Sunday is a repeat except we pack up and leave after 1 pm.

Look at my numbers above. I can really crank out the words in this setting. So, if I’m shooting for a book of 70 to 80 thousand words, I get just under ¼ of the book written.

Of course, we can’t (or I can’t) take off 4 times a year on a writing retreat, which if I pushed the word count to 18 K would give me a book of 72 K and more once I added in emotions and description and internal thoughts.

fullsizerender42 My view from the computer. So, my plan is to pick one weekend a month and skip all the social media and just write. Oh, I’ll still have Charley woofing at whatever, like he’s doing right now. 🙂 Because my hubby is so supportive, I can skip the dishes and clothes that weekend or trips to Costco. It’s a plan. I’ll let you know how the reality is. 🙂

Have you been on a writing retreat? Where did you go? Was it productive for you?

I focus on getting words done, but you can also use it to brainstorm ideas if folksare agreeable.  Love to hear from you.

Please contact me at marsha@marsharwest.com , sign up for my newsletter http://eepurl.com/bBcimz , and follow me on my social media sites.

http://www.marsharwest.com 

https://authormarsharwest.wordpress.com/ for my Blog

https://www.facebook.com/#!/marsha.r.west  @marsha.r.west

http://www.twitter.com/Marsharwest  @Marsharwest

https://www.pinterest.com/marsharwest/

https://sisterhoodofsuspense.com/blog

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Sneak Off and Read: Lines with the theme – NERVOUS , #RSsos #RomSuspense

#OneLineSunday by #RSsos Lines with the theme NERVOUS for a great start to the week. Enjoy!


ASeasonforKillingBlondes_w9101_750 (2)I could hear an intake of breath on the other end and I tensed, expecting Carlo to lash out at me.

Joanne Guidoccio


Marian 119 author pic“It’s the guy I’m dating. We have plans for tonight. I don’t know why he’s here now. I’ll go check it out,” she said nervously. Angelo gripped her upper arm tightly.

Marian Lanouette
All the Hidden Lies (available 2018)


I froze, too nervous to look up, too scared to move further.

S.A. Taylor
Follow Me (work in progress)


Before she got a word out about the flowers, the fire alarm interrupted with its screeching blare. “Oh, my God. What now?” Kelly’s heart jumped and adrenalin shot from there out through her extremities.

Marsha West


Sharon WrayThe man tilted his head and crossed his arms, his fingers tapping his bicep. Instead of showing his pearlies, he kept his lips sealed and secured.

Sharon Wray
When Next We Meet (work in progress)


Me? My stomach sank to my feet. Already?

Vicki Batman


His spirit chased hers through her dreams. She had a very real fear she would never be rid of him.

Jacquie Biggar


She peered into blue eyes that danced with excitement and nervously awaited her answer.

Sam Bradley w/a McKenna Sinclair


true-perilThe man swallowed hard and reached for the tall glass of something garnished with a lime, never taking a sip, merely using the glass as an outlet for nervous hands.

Veronica Forand


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The Magic Of New

 

Several years ago, I did a blog by this very same name. No, I’m not recycling blogs, because there is, definitely, magic in something new.

img_1015Back then I was awed by my Floridian, then-toddler grandson’s reaction when he saw snow for the first time. This time, I’m wallowing in my own wonder of something new—a brand new story idea, a brand-new manuscript.

Well, it’s not a manuscript yet. This book hasn’t even reached toddler stage, but is still embryonic in form. I’m at the part where I have a story concept, and I have my main characters. I’m interviewing them, which is about as fun as making brand new friends—even more fun, because I get to make these people just about any way I want them.

What I’ve decided to do is to introduce my fans—my mailing list—to these new characters first, as a reward for sticking with me book after book. So I can’t share much about these characters with you, except to say that they threw me a few curve-balls when I was interviewing them!

What I can share is the magical, wonderful setting for my book, which is about my favorite spot in the whole world. It’s the grounds of the Ringling Museum in Sarasota, Florida. I first visited this gorgeous property in March of 1983, shortly after we relocated from New York state to Florida. My daughter was three years old, my mother had come down to visit, and we attended a Renaissance Festival that used to be held on the grounds.

beer-2027412_640

Alas, the Festival is no longer held there. But the wonder of that day has never left. Stepping through the gates onto acres of pristinely manicured lawn abutting picturesque Sarasota Bay has never left my memory. It entrances me still, every time I visit—which is often. Even though I now live in New England, it is a family tradition to visit the Ringling at least annually. There is a fantastic restaurant in the new building they’ve constructed there called, aptly, The Muse. It’s my daughter and my lunching spot each and every time we go.rerun

If you’re ever in the area, I highly recommend you visit The Ringling Museum in Sarasota, FL, where you’ll find not only The Muse (pun most definitely intended), but a treasure-filled gift shop, an art museum, a circus museum, the historic Azolo Museum, and the Ca’ D’ Zhan, the original Ringling Brothers home. The Venetian style masterpiece is largely constructed of materials imported from Italy. And acres upon acres of the most beautiful scenery in all of this wondrous world.

And it’s where my next book, Pigments, is set. Stay tuned! Something “NEW” is yet to come!img_0422

 

~~~

Claire Gem writes sexy contemporary romance and supernatural suspense. You can find out more at her Website and Amazon Author Page.

 

 

Sneak Off and Read: Lines about SKIN, #RSsos #RomSuspense

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


617rxjidlNo, it was the scent of the man, rising off his warm skin and enveloping her senses. Wild, feral, a little musky.

Claire Gem


ASeasonforKillingBlondes_w9101_750 (2)The combination of porcelain skin framed by a cascade of ash blonde curls needed no further embellishment.

Joanne Guidoccio


daring-to-loveShe didn’t flinch when his warm hand slipped under the edge of her sweater and skimmed across her bare back. Her skin tingled deliciously while she fought the urge to lean into him.

Kathryn Jane


Marian 119 author picEmbarrassed, the white skin of her neck change colors until it matched her hair as she spoke, Jake noticed.

Marian Lanouette
All the Hidden Sins (available early 2018


I drew the blade down, gliding it through the skin along a horizontal line, the sensation much like slicing through hard butter. Crimson blood oozed out from the fresh cut and dribbled onto the floor.

S.A. Taylor
Sharp Blades (work in progress)


Even with her son trying to tell her, she’d refused to see the nervous habits, the blood shot eyes, the over-pale skin, which Addie had attributed to her daughters’ Goth make-up. She’d give anything if the attire were the worst of their worries.

Marsha West


Sharon WrayShe traced his chest muscles, feeling the indentations that hadn’t been there the last time she’d seen him like this. His heart pounded beneath her fingers, the light hair rough against her smooth skin.

Sharon Wray
When Next We Meet (work in progress)


TemporarilyInsane_w10205_750 coverHis legs were kinda knobby in knee socks. He was sorta on the thin side. So maybe, they were skinny?

Vicki Batman


Her skin was tender as the belly of a kitten. And just as fragile.

Jacquie Biggar


51gy4a7prl-_sy346_Irish ancestry gave him skin the color of a rich tan and large cerulean blue eyes that could burn their way through a female’s strongest defenses in seconds.

Sam Bradley w/a McKenna Sinclair


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Sneak Off and Read: Lines about MARRIAGE, #RSsos #RomSuspense

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


51gy4a7prl-_sy346_He consummated his marriage with passion and love. With his ecstasy came the release of frustration, anxiety and pain.

Sam Bradley w/a McKenna Sinclair


ASeasonforKillingBlondes_w9101_750 (2)The old Sofia had returned. All those years she had been married to Andrew, she had been on guard and with good reason.

Joanne Guidoccio


51f0w6i9bflLiquid welled in her eyes to drip off her cheeks; the tears landed, leaving flawless little circles on her nightgown. She hugged him, not saying anything. He waited a beat then couldn’t take it anymore, “Is that a yes?”

Jeannie Hall


daring-to-loveIn spite of all your weirdness and insecurity, or maybe because of it, I still love you. I want to be married to you.

Kathryn Jane


Marriage was only a formality at this point. Despite her insistent begging, Kip wanted to wait until he could propose to her properly.

Stubborn man.

S.A. Taylor
A Twisted Fate (work in progress)


Damn,what a way to ruin a moment. No wonder the man hadn’t married. Double damn, what made her think of that?

Marsha West


Sharon WrayHis hand pressed against her lower back. His breath in her ear whispered things husbands asked of wives.

Sharon Wray
When Next We Meet (work in progress)


TemporarilyInsane_w10205_750 coverIn marriage, two people joined together to become one.

Vicki Batman


Tears leaked from the corners of her eyes and he brushed them away. “You are my heart, my life, my world. I promise to be your best friend, your lover, your soulmate for as long as we both shall live.”

Jacquie Biggar


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