Write What You Know by @Author_Carmen DeSousa

A professor once told me that all first-time authors write their autobiography, even if tagged fiction. While I don’t believe that’s completely true, after all, some first-time authors write about vampires and shape shifters, I do think there’s a modicum of truth to that statement. In other words, even if an author writes a work of fiction, there are usually many elements of the story that are factual, and I’d venture to guess that, at minimum, authors probably pattern characters after people whom they know. When my college professor suggested to, “Write what you know,” a quote often attributed to Mark Twain, but some say it is much older I wasn’t certain if I really wanted to do that. After all, who would believe me?

A few subjects I know about:

Child abuse
Sexual abuse
Drug abuse
Alcohol abuse
Abandonment
Rape
Suicide
Depression
Belief in God
The power to overcome adversity…
Love at first sight
Stalkers
Crime
Tragedies
Police
A new family
Happily ever after

Hey, I moved out on my own at the age of seventeen, and I’m married to a retired police detective, so I’ve seen a lot. The problem is … will anyone believe or want to read about “what you know?” Well, I guess that depends. If you put it into a story, add a little, as Hollywood refers to it: Based on a true story, but dramatic elements have been added for the sake of artistic expression, then, yeah, some people will believe and/or want to read because more than likely they can identify with a character and/or a situation. And while they can enjoy an escape into a fictional story, they may take something from it.

The funny thing is most of the stories throughout history are based on a couple of those “unbelievable” elements I listed above. Although they may not all be in the same story, “love at first sight,” “family tragedy,” and/or “an unbelievable or vicious crime” are often the basis of a work of literary fiction. Fairy tales did it. Suspense-thrillers do it. It’s a great start!

So if you don’t believe one or more of the elements of a story, does that make it “unbelievable” or a “bad” story? One of the most popular themes is “love at first sight,” which often gets a bad rap by reviewers. You may not believe in “love at first sight,” but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist, and many readers love it. In fact, even movies that aren’t tagged as “love at first site,” usually have a hero and heroine thrust into an incredibly unbelievable situation, and are all of a sudden willing to die for each other. Of course, there are many classics like that, too: Romeo and Juliet, all the fairy tales, even The Godfather … ooh, I bet you forgot about that one. Remember when Michael Corleone is walking through the picturesque countryside in Sicily and he spots the beautiful Apollonia… See, even graphic thrillers do it!

Well, as I mentioned in the above list, these are all the things I write about. Why? Because it’s what I know. So, let me share a tidbit of information with the unbelievers of the world who don’t think “love at first sight” exists…

I’ve experienced a lot of tragedy in my life, but I got lucky in love! After my first date with my husband, I called my grandmother and told her I’d just met the man I was going to marry. Thirteen days later, he asked me to marry him. Thirty days later, we got married, and we’ve been married for thirty-one years.

Yes, I believe in “love at first sight,” yes, I write tales filled with tragedy, mystery, suspense, hope and, above all, romance, because I’m living one. I’ll leave the rest of “what I know” situations that I write about in my books up to your imagination, and let you try to figure out what’s real or made up. 🙂

Until next time, happy reading and imagining!

Carmen

If you would like to read a little more about what I write, follow the links below to download one of my FREE bestsellers. I also have two $0.99 deals this week only! My stories are available in print, eBook, and audio formats at your favorite retailer.

Story Elements: Conflict

So when we plan a storybook romance, what are some of the elements, besides the First Meet, we try to put into it? We can’t make everything smooth sailing, or we’d have no story. A good story always contains conflict of some type. We have to make one or both of the main characters hard to get, or give them problems to overcome, or dangerous adversaries to defeat.

In The Quietest Woman in the South, I put in a murderous family that pursued them across several states, trying to kill them. They tried to escape, then fought back. This element is called External Conflict, and can be a source of suspense and unexpected plot turns.

Or the woman may not realize that this is the man for her. She thinks he is too handsome or rich or popular to see anything in her. Or she doubts his intentions until he has rescued her from danger, or has demonstrated that she can trust him. This element is called Internal Conflict, and can be the more emotional of the two types of conflict.

The best books usually have both types of conflict in them. Tennessee Touch held an emotional uncertainty for the heroine. She had had numerous stepfathers, including one who tried to attack her, so that she distrusted men in general.

In “The Prettiest Girl in the Land,” Ruth Trahern is plain compared to her sister, Mary. So Ruth doesn’t think any handsome man would be interested in her. This is how she feels:

He sat there atop his horse, with hat, boots, bandana, and chaps, looking so much the western cowboy that I hadn’t recognized him, even though he’d tipped that hat to me several times during the morning. He was handsome enough to bring a dead polecat back to life, and my heart did a little flip.

But this was Gage, who was a rolling stone, handsome as the devil and not responsible for anything except to break women’s hearts. I reminded myself of that, and my heart just flopped right back down in place.

Another element is the Other Woman, or the Interfering Parent, or Best Friend who really isn’t a friend. Then there is always the Boss who can be a source of conflict, either in the office or as an officer in the military. When doing a longer novel, it is handy to have one or more of these mixed into the story.

The #Blogging World is Alive and Well @jacqbiggar #Reading

Blogging is alive and well.

I’m surprised by how many writers feel they’re wasting time by building connections within the writing community. Where do they think book reviewers hang out?

As a reader, I’ve found many fantastic new reads thanks to the reviews I’ve read on blogging sites.

As an author, I follow blogs like Writers in the Storm and Story Empire to learn my craft. I’ve also learned the blogging community is open and friendly- always happy to welcome newcomers into their midst.

It’s a good way to build SEO (Search Engine Optimization) for your website, too! By commenting on other blogs, you’ll soon find your own stats will grow, along with your connections, so… win-win 🙂

A good way to do this is to make use of the WordPress Reader- you can find this on the top left of your website.

You can choose the posts you follow or do a search for those you’re interested in. I even follow the local news stations from there!

 

 

One of the best benefits to blogging are the friends you can make from all over the world. I’ve met people from South Africa, Sicily, England, France, the U.S and Canada. And the amazing thing is- we all love books!

One such friend recently read my new release, Skating on Thin Ice, and posted an amazing review. Here it is- in part from Staci Troilo’s awesome blog:

When a romantic suspense (one of my favorite genres) set in the hockey world (one of my favorite past times) was released by one of my favorite authors (Jacquie Biggar), I had to bump it in the queue. And like Letang’s slapshot through a goalie’s five-hole, I blazed through it. Here are my thoughts:


★★★★★ She Shoots and Scores!

Jacquie Biggar has done it again. I have yet another new book boyfriend—Mac Wanowski, captain of the Victoria WarHawks hockey team.

Mac is the perfect guy—a body that won’t quit, a quick wit to match, intelligent, chivalrous, and just damaged enough to tug your heartstrings without wanting to bash him over the head for his stupidity. (Well, not too often, anyway.)

Sam is his perfect match—strong, smart, quick-tempered, sassy, big-hearted. And she has a past with true heartache and a present with secrets that make her just a little mysterious.

If they gave a Stanley Cup to authors, Biggar would deserve one for this story.

⛸🏒⛸

Blurb:

Sam Walters has made a deal with the devil.

In order to win a much-needed contract as physical therapist to one of the NHL’s leading hockey teams, Sam must delay the recovery of their sniper, Mac Wanowski. The trouble is, the more she gets to know the taciturn hockey player, the more she aches to help him.

Mac ‘The Hammer’ Wanowski chased the Stanley Cup dream for too many years. Last time he was close it had cost him his wife. As injuries continue to plague the team, Mac works to catch a killer and keep the woman he’s come to love from the hands of a madman.

Hockey can be a dangerous sport, especially when millions of dollars are at stake.

Amazon Purchase Link

⛸🏒⛸

As you can see, the blogging community is a valuable resource. One you, as a writer, cannot afford to ignore!

 

You can also read Skating on Thin Ice in an upcoming anthology published by authors from The Authors’ Billboard- A Night She’ll Remember

Available March 31st!

Lives change as passions flare when nine USA Today Bestselling Authors share tales of intrigue, hints of suspense and new romance guaranteed to keep you reading.

Second chances, broken engagements, accidents, misled information and opposites attract are just some of what you’ll find within the passion-filled pages of A Night She’ll Remember.

 

Be sure to check out our Authors’ Billboard Monthly Contests for free ebooks, gift cards, and paperbacks.

When the completely unexpected happens while writing…

I’ve always considered myself a plotter. There are certain things I HAVE to know before I can start writing. Usually, my process starts with an idea. Sometimes it’s a plot driven idea, other times it’s a character driven idea. This sets me up with the inciting incident and story question. I then jump to the climatic scene. Without that, I have no idea where the story is going. It’s like getting in the car and driving to the store without having any idea of where the store is and refusing to look at a map.

My next release, THE LOST SOUL, is the third book in my Raven Sister’s series. Each novella has it’s own storyline, however, one is dependent on the other. There is an arch that spans all four books and each one ends in a cliffhanger. This is a different kind of writing for me, since most of my series are all stand alones. When I finished writing THE LOST SOLDIER, wrapping up one piece of the puzzle, I left myself in an interesting situation. I had written myself into a corner, or so I thought.

Not to give too much away, The Raven Sister’s series is a paranormal/fantasy about 4 sisters destine to unite with quadruplet brothers separated at birth to form THE COLLECTIVE ORDER, a group of psychics who were once hunted as witches and burned at the stake in the past. In the present, each sister finds their soul-mate, their psychic abilities increase, as do the brothers. I ended the 2nd book with the hero of the 3rd book basically in a coma and the heroine needed to find him in the space between this reality and the past.

Wow. It still gives me a headache, lol. I knew what the climatic scene was, but all of a sudden, I had no idea how to get these two out of the past and into the present. And healthy. It took three false starts and a lot of phone calls to a couple of writer friends to come up with a solution. The funny part, was that the inciting incident was always right there in front of me. I had planted the seed in the first 2 books. All I really needed to do was step back and take a look at it from a different angle, and that’s when the surprising stuff happened.

This story took a very unexpected turn, but OMG, I had a blast writing it! Check out this link to an excerpt. Please follow me on Book+Main Bites Romance. I will be posting excerpts there of all my books! Also, please follow me on Amazon as well as Bookbub, so you never miss a new release or a special deal! Feel free to join me in my Facebook Group, The Talty crew, where I often give away ARC’s and run other contests!