Friday, December 30, 2011

Friday Fun Facts: A Good Note to the End of the Year

Happy (almost) New Year, everyone! I hope 2011 was a good one for you - it certainly had its ups and downs for me. I'm happy to share some good news on the eve of 2012, though:

I just contracted One Night in Boston, One Night in Napa, and Summer's Song with AudioLark, so they'll be released as audio books in the summer of 2012. Very excited! My other 2 novels, One Night in Memphis and Lost in Paradise, have already been with them for over a year, and I have to tell you, it's been a really positive experience all the way around. Though royalties were slow to start, they've increased steadily. More than that, though, the owner of the site, Jennifer, is a FANTASTIC person to work with. She's personable and professional and dedicated to running a smart business.

Authors, if you own the audio rights to your books (check your contracts on this one), I recommend checking out AudioLark for audio book production. I think you'll be pleased at the reception you get there.

AND...(drum roll...) I'm happy announce the winner of my "Keeping Warm in Winter" blog contest: GladysMP! Thanks to everyone who stopped by all month long to share your thoughts.

Happy 2012!!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Writers' Wednesday: Those Opening Pages...

The last few days, I've been thinking a lot about story openings. This is not really unusual, since I just finished judging entries for my local RWA chapter. We run a "Hook, Line and Sinker" contest which is a little different than most romance contests in that we ask for only the first 3 pages of your manuscript.

Yes, that's it. Just 3. So imagine all you have to do in those few pages to hook a judge/editor/agent/reader! Establish setting, character, conflict, and have a voice that's either enjoyable or engaging enough to make me want to read on. Oh, and better not have any mechanical problems either!

This was followed up by a Savvy Authors' newsletter I received that featured an article called "Packing in the WOW." What did they have to say? It was so good, I'm sharing the highlights with you:

Establish a viewpoint character, and indicate what sort of person he/she is
Establish a mood/tone
Reveal the setting
Reveal what type of book this is. What are the stakes?
Divulge an immediate conflict (Not necessarily THE conflict.)
Grab the reader with a hook

(If you want to read the whole thing, just click the link above. It's well worth it, I promise).

I have to say, I've written a lot of books, and gone over the openings for those books more times that I can count, but reminders like these are always valuable to have. If you don't catch a reader in the opening pages, no matter how good the rest of your story is, they may not give you the chance to share it.

So there it is, fellow writers. Hope these tips have given you food for thought - may your writing (and especially your opening pages) be powerful and engaging and hook every reader you want - and then some!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Monday Mentionables: After the Rush

Ah, the day after Christmas. The house is quiet, the tree is still up, the gifts are unwrapped, and the dishes are put away. Though some might see December 26th as a bit of a let-down, I'm enjoying the quiet of the morning after a VERY BUSY weekend. See, because we don't have kids, my husband and I are the ones that travel. We spend Christmas Eve with our niece and nephews, Christmas morning with good friends (and now their growing family) and then we do host my in-laws on Christmas night for dinner. And I love being surrounded by family, I really do. I love all the food and drink (though I'll pay for it when I step on the scale this week!), the festive decorations, and picking out the perfect gift for others. But I will also admit that I love the quiet hours when it's all wrapping up, too.

So now I have a relaxing week ahead of me. I need to score some contest entries for my local RWA chapter (I always enjoy seeing what other people are writing), but most of all, I need to work on my own projects. Some revising, some brainstorming, some promoting - all in the plans. And yes, some cleaning up around the house and putting away those decorations, though I'm not in any hurry.

This is the last week to enter my "Keeping Warm in Winter" contest, so remember that every blog comment earns you another entry. And just for fun, a question: if you have a tree up for the holidays, when do you take it down?