How Baking is like Writing #WritingTips #writingcommunity #amwriting @jacqbiggar @mimisgang1

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Do you like to bake?

I’ve had my share of ups and downs when it comes to the world of cooking. It’s long been a standing joke in my family that all they have to do is follow the smoke to our house and they’d know I was cooking.

And the thing is, I actually kinda, sorta, enjoy working in the kitchen.

There’s nothing better than the aroma of fresh baked bread, or peanut butter cookies, or chocolate cake, or…well, you get the idea.

I always connect those aromas to my childhood. We walked home from school and never thought twice about seeing my mom busy baking for the family. Often, there would be warm, gooey chocolate chip cookies on the counter waiting for our grubby little fingers, a roast in the oven tempting our taste buds, and a welcoming smile on her rosy cheeks.

She made it look so easy.

Then I grew up and realized just how much work went into those tasty treats we took for granted. My efforts were much more like Lucy’s:

You’re probably wondering where I’m going with this.

I equate baking to writing.

How, you say?

Some people are naturals. Anything they put on the page comes out sounding fresh and entertaining—perfect.

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But when you cut into the heart of it, the center may seem underdone, lacking in flavor—mediocre.

How do we overcome this to become true culinary chefs in our writing instead of merely cooks?

Maybe if Lucy had admitted to being overwhelmed, her boss might have offered her a few tips and a little guidance.

I’ve found the writing community to be kind and generous with information, so don’t be afraid to ask for help.

I think one of the things that helped me the most is my critique group. I belong to a local group of ladies who are invaluable. We meet once a month (pre-Covid) and share chapters by email the rest of the time. Their insights and editing have made my books shine!

You have to be a little bit brave. Just like when you put the ingredients of your baking together and nourish it to completion, you have to send them out to be consumed. Your book is waiting for hungry minds to give it a taste.

It’s not always easy taking criticism, and yet, it’s so rewarding when that pan comes out of the oven and your family’s eyes light up with joy.

If you never try, how will you know what you can accomplish?

Check out our new release coming June 1st!

IRRESISTIBLE – SHH…IT’S A SECRET BABY (Irresistible Romance Book 8)

International: https://books2read.com/IrresistibleShhItsASecretBaby

Recommend us on Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/books/irresistible-shh-it-s-a-secret-baby-irresistible-romance-book-8-by-jacquie-biggar-and-jen-talty

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Shh…it’s a SECRET BABY…

Some parents would do anything for the sake of the kids they love.

Here’s your SPECIAL DELIVERY of SEVEN BRAND-NEW, NEVER BEFORE PUBLISHED STEAMY STORIES from New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Authors.

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.

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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

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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.