The Question of Bio’s and Blogs.

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Hello and Welcome.

Hi there, I hope you are well.  I try not to write at night as I seem to be a different animal than the morning. The vocabulary is different, and a wicked sense of humour appears. It is especially wicked after a late dinner and red wine, Shiraz preferably.  After imbibing,  I scoot off to the study, my head full of exciting news to share. My fingers fly across the keys, and the words flow. I finish with a satisfied smile. The next morning, I read the words, shocked and biting my lip; I couldn’t possibly put that on the blog. With a sigh, I delete it.

So what to write? Googling and scrolling across the Net, I came across an article by the renowned Richard Ridley on writing blurbs and bios. I was so impressed and copied it into a folder to read often. It is full of tips and advice that are like fresh daisies in a jaded lawn.  I really got caught up – inspired with his tips on bios and things. Gritting my teeth,  I decided to take the plunge. I ripped out my biography on Author Central. It was kind of boring really, four hundred words of my life history. If I was bored, then my readers must be bored to death.  I mean who wants to know about my grandmother ‘s teeth, or that I soaked my sons’ nappies in a bucket. Those were the days before you could throw them away. Pegs for noses came in handy.  It was a mess I can tell you.

Anyway to continue, I looked into a wide empty screen and asked my inner writer for the words to appear. What could she write that would inspire people? Richard wrote his bio in three lines – I was delighted to read it. Yes! Mine shouldn’t take any more than that.  So here it is:

Katy lives on the South Coast.  You will find her dragged along the beach by a frenzied dog, all of seven stones, whose main aim in life is to lick everyone.’

Actually, first of all, I wrote, ‘Katy lives on the South Coast with a husband mesmerized by grave stones, and a frenzied dog whose main aim in life is to drag her along the beach licking everyone.’

I thought that maybe I was being unkind talking about hubby like that. But actually it is true. For instance, when we went to Greece, I was on the beach deciding whether or not I would actually join the other sun worshippers and go topless.  Meanwhile, hubby was in the nearest cemetery looking at Greek grave stones. That was a glorious holiday. I remember  hubby came back from the graveyard with some of the Greek wine from one of the beach cafes. He was legless by the time he reached me. Wine is definitely stronger out there.

I am overjoyed with my new short bio’, since taking off the other three hundred words, I feel naked – free – light and ready to take my frenetic dog Lily, down the beach. Actually, it is true about her licking everything.  I did take her to training classes, but she’s been expelled twice. Not for being naughty, but because she loves people to death; one of her things is licking men and women’s bottoms; clothed of course. Honestly, it’s embarrassing for hubby. I can get away with it, as the men usually turn around and give me a beaming smile. But, hubby does get some alarming reactions from ladies – poor man. By the time he’s finished explaining it’s Lily, who’s doing the licking, and not him,  she’s nowhere in sight. Well, she’s in the bushes flirting with the black labrador.

We’ll that’s the bio, but I will have to come back to write the blog.   But, now it’s late and as I explained above, I can’t possibly write in the evening,  as my alter ego takes over – wicked woman.  So I shall do some night reading.   I wish you all a wonderful good night and sweet dreams.

 

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Love Audio? Here is a behind the scene look at what work the narrator does to bring your story alive.

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Voicing Kayla and Paradise Cove

I fell in love with Kayla the moment I started reading Paradise Cove. She is a wonderful blend of being unassuming, stubborn, and sharp. It was a joy to get those nuances of her character and really grow with her as she comes into her own. She can be so stubborn and sexy at the same time. I won’t give anything away, but she makes a wonderful centerpiece for the story and a perfect way for the amazing Patrice Wilton to start her heartfelt series about these three different sisters.

People are always curious about my steps to voicing a novel. First, I block off time to get cozy and read the whole book to myself. Then, I read it again in a “work” frame of mind… making notes, highlighting the heck out of individual lines, and using about 100 sticky notes to flag certain sections. Plus, I always have questions about pronunciations of local spots… just to make certain I say things the way a local would. For Paradise Cove, Patrice was my guide to saying things like Islamorada! Once this process is done, I have a really well-rounded feel for each of the characters. For Kayla, I was able to understand her motivations, fears, and loyalties—and infuse them into her voice right from the start.

Now it gets really fun! You know how it is when you read to yourself and you can actually hear certain voices are in your head? I’m fortunate enough to be able to let those voices out! Contrary to what some people might think, reading the different parts really isn’t difficult. Each voice, whether it’s male, female, old, young, from different parts of the world can be varied by pace, tone, and accents. You never want the accents or pitches to get too crazy because then the listener will be just hearing you– and not the words. Subtle is best, even with variations in character. It’s the author’s words that are important… not the voiceover artist’s range of talent.

I read aloud several chapters a day, then I go back and edit where it’s needed and upload the chapter files so Patrice can hear them. She’ll catch errors or want me to re-do certain sentences that don’t sound quite right. As needed, I’ll go back and redo the sections and edit them back into the chapters and re-upload them. This is a great system so that the final product that you hear is free of flubs!

There’s always a sense of accomplishment, but also of wistfulness, when an audiobook is completed. I felt so connected to Kayla and her whole family. Fortunately, Hooked on You was right around the corner!

It’s a lot of detailed work, but as Kayla would tell you… hard work is always worth it in the end.

 

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CREATING ROMANTIC CONFLICT @PRosemoor #mgtab

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CONFLICT IN EVERY SCENE/TENSION ON EVERY PAGE

Writing a romance? This goes to the heart of the story, the thing that keeps the reader reading…

•    Conflict/tension between the hero & heroine drives plot and keeps the reader turning pages

•    Romantic or emotional conflict is something inside the heroine and/or hero that creates a problem  exacerbated by their situation

•    Emotional conflict grows from feelings, doesn’t need to be logical, can’t be reasoned away. It comes from experience, how the character sees him or herself

•    What prevents your characters from making that leap into love is more than just external forces. Love is a matter of the heart, and not about the events, no matter how dramatic

•    The conflict must be both believable and substantial enough to carry the book

•    Emotional conflict should always be in the characters’ and the readers’ minds.

•    External conflict prevents your characters from accomplishing their goals

•    Internal conflict which comes from the characters themselves (Theme) should go along with the external conflict of the story that comes from the circumstances, or is created by other characters. (Plot)

•    Don’t substitute external conflicts for internal ones; enhance emotional conflicts by using externals to provide a context

•    The best romances are built around a complex emotional conflict played out against  an equally interesting story (external conflict) that forces the characters to deal with each other and their issues.

•    Whatever is happening externally in the plot should somehow reinforce what’s going on internally in your characters’ hearts and minds. Think of the plot as a journey where your characters face obstacles that help them confront their inner demons and conflicts.

•    So make sure the final resolution of the romantic conflict comes from inside your characters and not from the events.

Next time, I’ll cite some examples of how to make conflict work for you.

 

 

 

 

My current release, In Dreams, has a ton of conflict, both internal and external. Um, the heroine is running for her life…

 

 

 

 

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Chicken soup for the sick

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I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired. I ‘thought’ I was in good health for a woman of age, a spritely silver-haired vixen, but I was as sick as the old gray mare, ready for the glue factory.
Then again, three bouts of pneumonia in four months would probably sap even an Olympic athlete. It was time to supplement all those different antibiotics with old time medicine.
Some of the odd things I found in my online research were red onions, vinegar, and honey. Chicken soup is supposed to be great for a cold; it would probably help with the crud, too.
Not in my research, but known to me was an apple a day. It was too late to keep the doctor away, but was worthy as a component in the super soup I was concocting.

Short version: it works. I’ve polished off the pot of Super Soup, I’m breathing easier, and it’s great to have something hearty to eat at the zap of the microwave.

Components:

1 Tbsp coconut oil (or whatever oil you have)
2 cups chopped cabbage
1 red onion, chopped
1 apple, chopped
2 heaping Tbsp chicken ‘Better Than Bouillon’ or equivalent in bouillon or chicken stock
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
1 chopped up cooked chicken breast (or whatever leftover chicken you have)

Saute the solid stuff in the oil until limp. Add the vinegar, chicken ‘flavoring,’ and chicken. If you used chicken stock, you should be good to go. If not, add about 2 cups of water.

Super-meal this!
Add a package of pre-cooked rice or quinoa mix (I like the Seeds of Change brand) or leftover rice. If you don’t have those, add one more cup of water and one cup or Minute Rice. Hearty and satisfying.

You’ll note that I didn’t add any salt. The bouillon has enough salt for the mix. The apple and vinegar gives it a bit of sweet and sour taste—not overwhelming, but fun as a change from ‘all soups taste the same’ stuff I’m used to. Oh, and I never used the honey. Go ahead and eat a big spoonful for dessert.

Enjoy! And if you can, get a pneumonia vaccine. I have to wait 3 months now. I never realized that there were over 36 strains of that strength-sapping, lung-filling crud out there!

NOTE: In 2008, I started writing my first book. In it, the main character (a sweet little old lady from Alaska) had a drug-resistant form of pneumonia. I didn’t know I was writing about myself! If you want to know more about her, and how an overdose of Fountain of Youth water and a drop through a time portal turned her into a young fox in 1780, read Naked in the Winter Wind on Kindle, Nook, Kobo, iBooks, Google Play, Amazon UK.

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Royalty Wedding

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How many of you watched Prince William and Catherine Middleton’s wedding a few years ago? I bet you were all sitting in front of your TV screen, studying every detail of her wedding gown, the groom’s rigid but nervous stance, Prince Harry’s good-humor jokes at the expense of his brother, and let’s not forget the lovely bridesmaid Pippa whose dress and back garnered so many admiring posts in the gossip columns!

Will my Prince Paul and the woman he loves, Dr. Amy Tyrone ever reach their happy-ever-after in A BRIDE FOR PRINCE PAUL? Eventually they will, but after going through difficult conflicts and seemingly insurmountable complications, but count on Prince Paul to try to impose his view and Dr. Amy to ends up doing it her way.

My contemporary romance novel, A Bride For Prince Paul, has been approved for Kindle Scout. May I ask you for your nomination. Here is the URL:

https://kindlescout.amazon.com/p/37BZQ1K8SCMK7
No purchase necessary, and, if selected, you’ll receive the ebook FREE!

Sincere thanks in advance.

How often did we think our problem was too difficult to solve? How often did we end up finding a simple solution, when the various parties agree to bend a bit and compromise?!

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Rainy Days

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I love the rain–and since I am in South Florida during storm season, it’s a good thing. Thunder and lightning mean that my furbabies are at my feet while I type. When not totally freaking out, they are napping. Snoring. Which makes me want to curl up with a book and a blanket. Sometimes rainy days are super productive. The sound of the rain works like a soundtrack to block out the world.

Today, I just can’t concentrate–what plot line? What word count? Forget the edits–I want to watch a movie. In fact, my horoscope today said to examine what work is important, and why I am working…maybe a big bowl of popcorn is in my immediate future and the epic Gone With the Wind.

What would you do, given the choice? Force a few more half-hearted pages, or shut down the computer…

Tomorrow is another day!

Traci

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Live Your Dreams Through Goal-setting by @DonnaFaz #mgtab

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Live Your Dream Through Goal-SettingGoal-setting propels us forward in life. It’s the fuel that makes dreams come true.

That might sound hokey, but it’s true. Envisioning a desire and setting out a plan to get there will make all the difference in a life well-lived. Setting goals helps us to focus. It also helps us avoid procrastination and motivates us to take action.

There are professional goals and personal goals. Both are invaluable.

Because I’m a writer, my professional goals are pretty clear. In the broad sense, I want to continue to create stories and characters that entertain readers. In a more narrow sense, I want to publish the 2 stories I am currently working on within in the next month. Setting deadlines is a great way to keep motivation strong and make forward momentum measurable.

When it comes to my personal goals, my dreams are a little more fluid. I want to travel. Experiencing new things sounds very exciting to me. Another huge goal of mine is meeting interesting people.

Do you make goals for yourself? Also, is spending time planning ways to make your dreams come true important to you? Whether you’re a good goal-setter or not, imagining a new and exciting future is not only inspiring, it’s lots of fun!

Please share some of your goals in the comment section. It doesn’t matter how ordinary or how “wild and crazy” they might be. Also, what are your thoughts on goal-setting? Is it important to you? Why or why not?

An Accidental FamilyIn An Accidental Family, Robin and Jonas have a goal: to do anything it takes to care for their nephew. These two people are like water and oil, but one sweet little boy will force them to see each other differently.

#  #  #

 

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We found the nicest way to please our readers – Authors’ Billboard #mgtab

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Authors are always looking for ways to please our readers and… new avenues to sell our books, especially our back list. Most of those older, yet still wonderful stories had their time in the limelight and then faded, which is a horrible shame.

So… the ladies at Authors’ Billboard have come up with a fabulous way to combine those two purposes that we think will delight our fans. We’ve formed groups of anywhere from 6 to 9 writers and started box collections.

***We decided to keep them exclusive to Amazon where each of these fabulous sets are priced at only 99 cents. And… because they are in the Kindle Unlimited program, those buyers will get them free.

First we separated them in genres like Historical Romance: Rebels, Rogues and Romantics 

Or Contemporary Romance: Unforgettable Romances, Sweet and Sassy and Kiss Me, Thrill me


 Or Romantic Suspense: Risky Encounters and Love on the Edge

Even Paranormal Romance: Mystic Lovers

And then we each chose work that would fit those sets. Because some of us have a lot of product, we were able to add our creations in more than one collection. For instance, I have written over 40 books and was happy to join in with several of these bundles. We have other prolific writers with the billboard who make my inventory look puny. Rebecca York and Carole Mortimer’s accomplishments put mine to shame – they’ve both been honored with RWA awards for their incredible achievements. It’s mind-blowing how many amazing stories have been conceived in the minds of these talented women?

As a group… our aim is to get this wonderful work out to as many people as possible. Make it affordable so everyone can enjoy these seasoned novels. And hopefully find new readers who like our writing and will come back for more.

 

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