Finding Your Voice @amwriting #mgtab

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When I first began my writing career I took a LOT of online classes on craft, editing, revision, grammar, technique, and the one thing that kept coming up was the need to discover your voice. The unique something that distinguishes your work and keeps your readers coming back for more.

But how?

What do the experts mean by voice anyway?

Do you have a favorite author? One whose pages you could read without seeing the cover and you’d STILL be able to say without a doubt, yes, that is definitely their book?

I thought so 🙂

That’s voice!

It’s a distinctive style that sets the writer’s work apart from anyone else. Some use setting, such as bestselling and award-winning author Louise Penny. Her books are set in and around the scenic mountain town of Three Pines, Quebec. If a fan were to read a brief passage from any of her books they would know who wrote the novel.

Other writers have a certain way with characterization that’s a dead giveaway, such as Jill Shalvis. Her writing style is part sass, part angst, and a whole lot of heat!

One of the best styles of voice comes with deep POV (point of view).

Military romantic suspense author Suzanne Brockmann does this better than most. Deep point of view is when the character acts, thinks, or talks and there is no need to add a name tag because we know this character. He/she is as real as if we were watching them on our favorite television series. Suzanne does this by creating distinct mannerisms that we immediately associate with that person. She does this so well, she can write entire passages without a name/ and frequently does, and yet it’s easy to know who is talking at any given moment.

Voice is something a writer gains with time. It can’t be forced, but for readers it’s that magic thing that will make them your fans. If you have a backlist take another look, you might be pleasantly surprised 🙂

I’m currently working on a summer romance set on an island in the Pacific Northwest. A theme that runs through my stories is the value of family, and this one is no different.

Here’s the blurb for Sweetheart Cove:

Josie Sparks is looking for escape after a disastrous relationship. A summer job on a small Pacific Northwest island seems perfect. That is, until she meets her irascible new boss. She thinks she can help his sweet little girl–he’s another story.

Jacob Samuels needs someone reliable to care for his special needs daughter, but is sorry he trusted his sister with the task when help arrives in the shape of a too-young, too-tempting therapist with pain-filled eyes he can’t ignore.

Sand, surf, and soft island breezes bring two lonely hearts together in this heartwarming tale of second chance romance and a love that lasts forever.

SClargeFront

Exclusive excerpt

Josie wasn’t sure how she got through the next few days. She must have acted reasonably normal because no one questioned her absentmindedness, even when she set the puppy’s food in the refrigerator instead of the pantry where it belonged. Jacob’s kiss lived front and center in her thoughts, and his hard, masculine body encompassed her dreams. A moody, short-tempered grump who made her pulse skyrocket.

How could she feel this way about him when she’d been hours from marrying another man a month ago? She added fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies to the picnic basket she’d prepared and glanced down at the pup sitting quietly at her feet. “If you’re looking for handouts, you’ll just have to wait. No offence, but I don’t trust your stomach in the car.”

“Is it time yet?” Jane wheeled into the kitchen, her face expectant. The dog, thinking it was playtime, crouched, nose on his front paws, butt in the air and tail wagging a mile a minute. He let out a couple of excited yips, then raced around the room and jumped against Jane’s short-clad legs. “Ow, Mischief, that hurts,” she cried, then stopped in shock and stared at the red marks already fading from her skin. “It hurt,” she whispered.

Josie pushed the dog out of the way and crouched at the little girl’s side. “Honey, this is great. I’m so happy for you. We better tell your father, so he can get you into the specialist for a checkup.”

Jane shook her head and gripped Josie’s wrist. “No. Can we keep it a secret? Please, Josie? Just for a while. I want to get better and surprise Daddy by walking. Please?”

Her pleading eyes undid Josie. How was she supposed to say no to that? She nodded. “Okay, but if you have any pains at all, you tell me, understand?” She patted Mischief’s silky head. “Guess your dad knew what he was doing, getting you a dog. Maybe we should name him Miracle instead of Mischief.”

Jane giggled. “It’s not Mischief, Josie. It’s you. You’re the miracle.”

I’d like to think I’m gaining a voice, but you the reader are the only ones who can tell me whether I’m right. What do you think? 🙂

Jacquie Biggar

Lives in paradise along the west coast of Canada with her her husband, daughter, and grandson. Loves reading, writing, and flower gardening. Spoils her German shepherd, Annie and calico cat, Harley.
And can’t function without coffee.
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Danger & Romance, the Beachcomber Investigations Way

 Beachcomber Danger, the 8th book in the Beachcomber Investigations romantic detective series is now out!  I’m just as proud of this baby as I was of the first. So far reviewers agree.

If you like a little danger with your romance, this is the series for you. Set on Martha’s Vineyard, ex-special ops legend Dane Blaise wrestles (literally!) with his attraction to bombshell ex-Scotland Yard detective, Shana George. Along the way, their assignments involve kicking some badasses while they manage to keep each other from harm–or at least they manage to stay alive.

Each book can be read as a stand-alone, but I always love reading a series in order. (You could start with the box set of the first four books HERE.)

But today I’m celebrating the Newest Baby: Beachcomber Danger

Here’s the tab:

The trouble with being stupid-in-love is that it makes you stupid. And you have your whole world to lose…

Dane Blaise was once a special ops legend, so he’d been in danger before.
But not like this. This time it counted for all the marbles.

Shana was not going to let Dane take on this assignment without her, though she knew he wanted to. The stakes were off-the-charts high. This was about saving the President. And there was no way she would let him shield her from the dangerous consequences.

The only problem was, when someone was out to assassinate the President of the United States, things got complicated. They had a way of spiraling out of a man’s control until legendary status meant shit.

And in the end, there was nothing left but you fighting for the life of the one you loved most…

Excerpt from Beachcomber Danger:

Chapter 1

They were blessedly alone at this ungodly hour of the morning. Dane ran behind Shana along State Beach, mostly for the view of her backside. He could catch her and pass her if he’d wanted to. Sweat trickled down his temples and he bent his head to wipe the sweat off on his sleeve. When he did, he caught a glimpse of a moving car out of the corner of his eye.

He turned his head only slightly to see two men in a gray sedan creeping along the road about fifty yards behind, tracking them.

Picking up his pace, he caught up to Shana.  Ever the competitor, she speeded up to try and stay ahead of him. Before she got too far, he managed to snag her t-shirt, almost tearing it from her shoulder. She slowed and swung around, pulling the shirt back on while she scowled at him.

She was about to protest but he quieted her with a look and hauled her in close. He didn’t want it to be obvious to the men in the car that he’d made them. He had no idea who they were or what they were up to, but it was scalded into his DNA by now to be cagey. Never play it straight.

He put an arm around Shana’s sweaty body, enjoyed the effects of running with the heat and humidity of the day rising, and nuzzled her ear while he whispered.

“Two men in dark glasses and suits are following us in a non-descript sedan. What does that tell you?”

“Are you in trouble with the feds?” It was both good and bad that she stopped squirming in his arms.

“No.”

He thought for a moment, running his mind in reverse back to the last time he’d had a run-in with a federal law enforcement agency. The ATF. One of their agents had been bad and they hadn’t been thrilled that Dane had been the one to discover this fact. But the man had killed their client’s husband and Dane and Shana had nailed him with a recorded confession and a gun aimed squarely at him with intent to kill. No one was happy about that mess. As a reward for uncovering the ATF agent’s drug ring, Dane had been threatened with imprisonment for his so-called interference that they’d insisted labeling as obstruction of justice. But that fiasco ended a while back with a truce.

“Then what’s it about?” Her scowl changed over to something more loving, not worry, not yet.

“I’m hoping it has nothing to do with the President’s upcoming vacation on Martha’s Vineyard, but I’m not that optimistic.”

She stood stock still now and looked at him.

“Do you think they want us to—“

“No. I think they think we’re suspicious characters and they’re keeping an eye on us.”

She slapped his arm and took off at a sprint before he could stop her. Damn.

Now he’d have to catch up with her. And he’d have to acknowledge that she was probably right. The feds, likely secret service, wanted something from him—from them. He needed to remember he wasn’t in this alone. And never would be again.

Order Now at Amazon for $.99 or FREE on Kindle Unlimited.

Stephanie Queen

About USA Today Bestselling Author Stephanie Queen
A romantic at heart and a writer by nature, Stephanie Queen has the enthusiastic soul of a cheerleader. So of course she loves creating stories where the good guys always win. Although she’s lost count of all the jobs she had before she settled on being a Novelist, her favorite was selling cookies as a Keebler Elf. She is a graduate of UConn (go Huskies!) and Harvard U and lives in New Hampshire with her family, her cat, Kitty, and her (real or imagined?) chauffeur, Myren.

My 100th Published Novel

 

EYES OF THE TIGER, my 100th book, is not a story that came easily to me. I got the idea when I saw my first Bollywood movie, Om Shanti Om. The theme of karma and reincarnation generated ideas for a reincarnation romantic thriller. It took an amazing amount of research, multiple tries to get it right and an incredible developmental editor who helped me see at last what I needed to do to make it an unforgettable story. Throughout the process, the story obsessed me.

Gems and jewelry speak to Gemma Hewitt, inspire her designs, and send her across the globe to seek out historic pieces. After her mother is brutally murdered, Gemma inherits her famed jeweled collar, which she hopes will lead her to her mother’s killer. Instead, she’s thrown back to 1901 India where she sees a young woman (Mayura) about to be married with a pendant that matches the collar. When she’s hired to find the entire bridal suite, she hopes she can use the jewels to save her family’s fortune. Can she trust the handsome, enigmatic British reporter/photographer Raj Sinclair who promises to help her on her quest, or is he the one she should be running from?

The gems and jewels of Mayura’s bridal suite create both the danger in the story and the link to three past lilves during the British Raj. For the jewels, I chose to use the stones of the Navagraha, which represent the planets that have a cosmic influence on humans.

The collar’s main stone is a ruby, which represents the sun to bring light into a life. The ring, with an emerald as it’s central stone, governs communications, travel and knowledge. The hathpool’s pearl indicates psychic abilities. The yellow sapphires of the earrings bring good fortune. The coral of the tikka give one the strength and courage to meet strife and struggle. The blue sapphire of the baju bands (armbands) indicate change and misfortune. The kammarband with its hessonite makes the wearer potent enough to fight enemies.

The most important part of the bridal jewelry is the mangal sutra, which is not worn by the bride before the marriage. Rather, it is tied by her husband around her neck as a symbol of their union. Mayura’s mangal sutra is a string of black beads and a central diamond, which governs love. Each piece of the bridal jewelry was marked by a tiger’s head on the reverse side, it’s eyes cat’s eye gems. It’s designer was said to imbue his work with his magic.

I already had the idea and much of the research done when I traveled to India with another author and her husband in 2010. There I learned so much of what I couldn’t know from book/Internet research. I absorbed the sights and sounds and the people (who must be the most polite people in the world). We stayed in hotels that were once palaces, toured forts with incredible artwork especially in the separate quarters for women, and thrilled to a stay at a tiger preserve.

Over the next year, I began writing the story between contracts but I stalled out for quite a while. Still, my story of a love that wouldn’t die refused to let me be. I finally spent an entire year writing the book while working on other projects. I was thrilled that my obsession paid off when I went to contract with Tule Publishing Group.

 

Now it’s time to celebrate EYES OF THE TIGER in digital and print formats, and to knowing this very special book to me is my 100th published novel.

 

AMAZON

BN

IBOOKS

KOBO

Patricia Rosemoor

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Patricia Rosemoor has had 99 novels, 8 publishers and more than 7 million books in print. Patricia writes dangerous love, romantic suspense or paranormal romantic thrillers. Patricia has won a Golden Heart from Romance Writers of America and two Reviewers Choice and two Career Achievement Awards from Romantic Times BOOKreviews, and in her other life, she taught Popular Fiction and Suspense-Thriller Writing at Columbia College Chicago.

Website: http://PatriciaRosemoor.com
Facebook: https://facebook.com/PatriciaRosemoorAuthor
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How to Write a Budget #mgtab

How to Write a Budget (Washington DC style) by Nancy Radke

1. Look at how much you spent last year.
2. Add a percentage to that amount, say 10%.
3. Take the new figure and call it the baseline.
4. If anyone wants to go below the baseline, it is called a “cut,” even when it doesn’t reach back to the amount you spent last year.
5. You “add” the money you need next year to the baseline. Thus you can increase your amount 30%, but only claim you increased it 20%.
6. If you need more money, print it. (State governments can’t print money, so most don’t use baseline budgeting.)

Since the rest of us can’t handle our finances like this, we believe politicians when they yell about someone making a cut in their favorite program. It is why government budgets always seem to grow, never shrink, even when they “cut” something.

I used to write out a budget, but gave it up as a useless exercise. If I don’t have the money, I don’t spend it.

In my book, Spirit of a Champion, the heroine, Stormy, had cut up her credit cards so she wouldn’t use them, then runs out of money while trying to save her brother’s life in Las Vegas. Kyle, my generous hero, offers to help, but later doubts her story when he sees her staying in an expensive hotel, and driving a new car around. She says her first car blew up, and her cousin loaned her the second one. Where did she get the money? Can he believe her wild story, that someone is trying to kill her? And what can he do when the killers try again?

This book links characters from an earlier novel in this series, Scorpion’s Trail.

Nancy Radke

Nancy Radke grew up on a wheat and cattle ranch in SE Washinton State. She attended a one-room country school through the eighth grade. She learned to ride bareback at age 3 (Really! It was a common practice.) and when she got off or fell off, she would pull her horse’s nose to the ground, get on behind its ears, and the horse would lift its head so she could scoot down onto its back. She spent most of her childhood exploring the Blue Mountain trails that bordered the ranchlands. She and a friend once took a trail that turned out to be a two day trip. They always rode with matches and pocket knives, so made camp and returned the next day. These long rides worried her parents, but provided plenty of time to make up stories. Her first novel was set in the Blues, and is entitled APPALOOSA BLUES. TURNAGAIN LOVE was the first one published. It rated a four star review from Affaire de Coeur. Scribes World said “Turnagain Love has some fascinating twists and turns, unexpected complications, and charming scenes.” It is light and humorous.
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