Thursday, March 26

Binge Worthy

You gotta love Netflix.

Last week, I started rewatching Lost on my Kindle Fire. I have to admit, I loved Lost from the get-go until the ending—even if I’m not sure I understood the ending completely. Maybe this time I will. I looked forward to each episode and loved the way they told their stories.

It’s funny to think that when Lost premiered, that sort of layered storytelling was a new device and now we see it everywhere.  J.J. Abrahams and Company brought the extended flashback to the forefront. And now, other shows use that technique on a regular basis.

One of my favorite shows of the past couple of years, The 100 on CW, used it quite frequently in the first season to explain character motivation—like how Octavia was hid from security because she was an illegal birth child and how her brother, Bellamy was sworn to protect her and inadvertently was responsible for her discovery. 
Or the new show Forever uses it to explain Henry’s past lives and how they relate to whichever case he is working on.

Romance writers also use this story-telling method. I’m writing a reunion romance right now and it wouldn’t have as much impact if the reader doesn’t know the back story of these two characters and their romance.

My other obsession this week is the Enchanted, Inc series by Shanna Swendson. I think Amazon recommended them to me based on previous purchases. Which is very nice of Amazon to think of me in the wee hours of the morning.

Anyway, I read the summary of the first book and thought, “Why not? I’ll try it.” I'm always up for a good "magic" book.

That was four books ago and six days ago. I cannot stop reading them. I think the author put a compulsion spell within the pages.

Because I keep thinking I’ll do something else after “this” book, like read Nan’s book which is at the top of my list. Or you know, write. But then I get to the end of the book and I “have” to get the next one. 

 Again, I think that Amazon place is so nice to stay open 24/7 for reading emergencies like this.

So, those are my binges this week. What are yours--and it doesn't have to be this week, any binge will do.

Wednesday, March 25

#WriterWednesday: Jill Kemerer!

Hiya, WordWrangler readers! We're excited to welcome Jill Kemerer to the blog today; Jill is a new author with Harlequin's Love Inspired line. She's going to tell us about the writing rules we should break. BREAK THE RULES?!?!? Our minds are boggled! Jill, take it away!

Years ago after my first book was rejected, I scoured blogs, learned how to write a synopsis and took every piece of advice to heart. I also studied over thirty books on the craft of writing. Imagine my surprise when I continued to get rejections. I’d been applying the “rules.” What was I doing wrong?

Most writing tips are useful, but not every fiction rule fits the romance genre. 

Here are my top 3 rules to break when writing romance:

Writing Rule #1: Minimize introspection to keep a tight pace. 

Romance readers need to connect with the characters. While pace is important—we don’t want our readers bored!—emotion is too. Your goal is to allow the reader to feel the pain, joy, exhilaration and attraction your characters are experiencing. This means readers need to understand why the characters are acting the way they are. Introspection, doled out within a scene, is necessary in romance novels.

Writing Rule #2: Make sure there is plenty of conflict.

This isn’t so much a rule to break as a rule to understand. Romance readers do NOT want the hero and heroine bickering and fighting every three pages. They also don’t want a soap opera with cliff hangers that make little sense.

What they do want? Reasons the hero and heroine won’t take a chance on love. Obstacles to their goals. A rising tension. The nagging question, How will these two, who obviously are perfect for each other, ever get their happily-ever-after?

If the conflicts you’ve introduced result in endless arguing or unreasonable actions by the hero or heroine, rework them.

Writing Rule #3: Write what you know.

I’m not a veterinarian technician. Have never trained for an IRONMAN competition. I don’t take care of a mother who has multiple sclerosis. But I’ve written characters who do all these things. Write whatever the story calls you to write. The key to successful fiction is making the reader believe what’s on the page is possible. It’s your job to research what you don’t know.

What writing rules do you break?

Thank you very much, Word Wranglers, for hosting me today!

It's our pleasure, Jill, thanks for being here! And, readers, keep going, Jill is going to share a little about her debut book, Small Town Bachelor: 

Small-Town Bachelor ~

A Place to Call Home
When Reed Hamilton arrives in Lake Endwell for a family wedding, he expects to do his part as best man then head back to the big city. But when a tornado postpones the wedding, the town is in shambles and Reed is injured. Thankfully maid of honor Claire Sheffield offers him one of her cottages to recuperate in.

Dedicated to her family and her dream job at the zoo, Claire is all about roots. She's this city slicker's opposite, yet as they help the town rebuild, Reed is captivated by her stunning looks and caring ways. He can't ask Claire to leave the life she loves for him, but he also can't imagine ever leaving her behind…

Interested in buying Small-Town Bachelor? Click here for links to purchase!

About Jill: 

Jill Kemerer writes inspirational romance novels with love, humor and faith. A full time writer and homemaker, she relies on coffee and chocolate to keep up with her kids’ busy schedules.

Besides spoiling her mini-dachshund, Jill adores magazines, M&MS, fluffy animals and long nature walks. She resides in Ohio with her husband and two children.  Jill loves connecting with readers, so please visit her Website and find her on Facebook and Twitter.

Tuesday, March 24

So We Begin Again...

I’m in that weird place in a writer’s life—the one where I’ve just released a new novel and I’m beginning another one.

The new release is out there, selling okay and getting some nice accolades. I’m doing promotion—sending it to reviewers, tweeting it, and no doubt annoying my Facebook friends with posts about The Summer of Second Chances. See what I just did there? I snuck in a link to the new book. Promotion. What can I say?
So now that the new-release flurry is cooling off, it’s time to get busy on the next Women of Willow Bay story… See there? I did it again. Apparently, I’m in the promo zone, eh? Anyway, I’ve started the new book. It’s brewing in my head, but this one requires notes, timelines, and some level of plotting. I’m working on it. And there are others, truly. Notes on my phone, ideas jotted in my knitting notebook, on the phone pads, and even on the backs of envelopes and take-out menus.

But here’s the thing. A part of me simply wants to sit and vegetate. Knit, read, binge-watch Netflix, or even take long walks and bike rides. Anything but sit in front of my computer screen and write. It’s not about lack of motivation or a case of writer’s block—I’m not blocked. Mostly, it’s just that I’m tired of thinking. I need to be mindless for a few days; have some time away from the demands of writing and editing.

So here’s the plan—yeah, if you’re me, there’s always a plan, even for goofing off. For the next seven days, I’m going to set aside writing and editing (oh, and worrying about editing). I’m going to read, watch movies, go the gym with Sister, spend time with Husband, and have lunch with some freelancer buddies. I think I’ll take in that new exhibit at the History Center downtown and maybe binge-watch some more of Damages. I’ll start my spring-cleaning and spend a day with Dee at chemo. 

Through all of this non-writing, I will be absorbing life, absorbing narrative, letting stories develop in my subconscious. Hopefully, I’ll come back refreshed, clearer, and more than ready to tell Sarah Everett’s story (she’s the next Woman of Will Bay—remember her from Sex and the Widow Miles?). Dang! I did it again, didn’t I? Well, since we’re here—Sex and the Widow Miles is only 99 cents right now… just sayin'...

How about it, writers? Do you ever need to just walk away from the keyboard for a bit and take a writing break? Talk to me.

Monday, March 23

Sure, you can go home again...sort of

Lynn at the zoo
      Hi, everybody! Thanks to Nan for covering for me last week. I was—still am—on vacation in Florida. It’s been a great time. My sister-in-law Lynn and I have done our usual running around, beefing up the numbers on our Fitbits, visiting the zoo, and adding to our wardrobes. We’re not real fashion-conscious, so that means new tank tops and flip-flops, but, hey, they’re new.

          I’ve also been mostly absent from the internet. I’ve done a couple of coffee shop hours and checked in on my iPhone to make sure I’m not missing anything important, but for the most part it’s been a week of electronic disconnect. I’m writing this on Friday—still disconnected—and by the time you read it, Duane and I will be driving up I-65 toward home.

          I’m looking forward to home—I always do. I’m anxious to see spring come in its slow and unsteady Hoosier way, to get back to the gym that’s doing its part to make me feel good, to see the cats.

          I’m also anxious to get back to writing. Although I’ve written most mornings I’ve been gone,
Me at zoo
it’s different when I’m away. Not just physically away, but cyber-away, too. It’s more difficult to check in with people I talk to most every day—hi, Wranglers!—and to look things up instantly. I changed a couple of words I wasn’t that sure of using because the dictionary is on-line and my paper-and-ink one is at home.

          I thought it would take me back to notebook days, when the ink and the ideas flowed comparatively easily onto the yellow paper with its blue lines. I would be able to finish my almost-done WIP without the usual self-imposed interruptions. I’d have it sent to the editor before we even reached the highway on our way home.

          But it’s not done yet, and probably won’t be before next week sometime, and I’ve learned that I’m a textbook case of electronic “you can’t go home again,” because I’m not all that creative when I’m disconnected. The lined yellow paper would be good only for notes these days, because my productivity seems to be inexorably coupled with my cyber-socialness. I may not ask “what do you think?” of my friends all that often, but if I’m not able to, I want to constantly.

          By tomorrow—if all goes according to plan (never a sure thing)—I’ll be back at my desk. I’ll miss the family we’ve visited, miss the daily “we need to go to...” start to conversations that will have Lynn and me back in her car and on the road to whatever retail siren has called out to us. But it will be good to be home—both on-line and off.

Friday, March 20

Jillian Jacobs--Cover Reveal!

Hey all! Today we're excited to share our Word Wrangler spotlight with author, Jillian Jacobs--author of the Elementals series of paranormal romances. She's doing a cover reveal for her newest Elementals book, due out soon!

Bound by a dark enchantment, only an elemental flame can light the way...

Forged in rage and sorrow, a dark witch’s spell travels down her ancestral line to Violet Levina. Enchanted with the power of the entire Electromagnetic spectrum—microwaves, gamma rays, radio waves, Violet is cursed with limitless energy and the obligation to destroy an insidious creature composed of dark matter.
For over five hundred years, Flint has served as Fire, aiding Earth’s environment and its people as one of four Elementals. Yet only once in his long existence has he been burned. A flaming redhead ignites the embers of his heart, but he finds her resistant to the heat building between them.
Knowing she must fulfill her destiny, Violet travels to her ancestral home in Ireland, accompanied by the fiery Elemental. Not fooled by his charms and brazen demeanor, Violet wishes only to shield him from the coming battle, but can’t deny the flames of desire flickering when she is at his side.
While standing together against unrelenting adversaries, false friends, family betrayals, and an underlying seed of darkness, they must burn bright or the ruthless power behind the ancient spell will turn everything to ash.
With Flint as her beacon in a field of darkness, Violet will discover that love holds the most powerful magic of all.
In the spring of 2013, Jillian Jacobs changed her career path and became a romance writer. After reading for years, she figured writing a romance would be quick and easy. Nope! With the guidance of the Indiana Romance Writers of America chapter, she’s learned there are many "rules" to writing a proper romance. Being re-schooled has been an interesting journey, and she hopes the best trails are yet to be traveled. 
Water’s Threshold, the first in Jillian’s Elementals series, was a finalist in Chicago-North’s 2014 Fire and Ice contest in the Women’s Fiction category. 
Jillian is a: Tea Guzzler, Polish Pottery Hoarder, and lover of all things Moose.
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