Friday, May 30, 2014

7 Reasons Writing a Book Makes You a Badass

I’ve always been a big nerd. To others it’s been clear for a long time, but I’ve only recently been able to admit it to myself. I mean, the signs were all there: I read a ton. I love playing Boggle. I get upset when others use “who” when they mean “whom.” I don’t own a pocket protector but it wouldn’t shock me if 10 years from now I had one … made out of leather … and embroidered with my initials.
But for one shining moment, one GLORIOUS MOMENT, when I finished writing my book, OH BOY, YOU’RE HAVING A GIRL: A Dad’s Survival Guide to Raising Daughters, I felt like a complete and utter badass. Here’s why.


1. Writing a book is hard.

If I had a nickel for every time I heard someone say, “I have an idea, I’m going to write a book about it” and then watch as they never did it, I’d have—well, I’m not sure exactly how many nickels I’d have because I’m terrible at math, but it’s safe to say I’d have a ton of them. Many people
don’t write a book because it’s extremely hard. Forcing yourself to sit down,
brainstorm, write, edit, rewrite, edit, cut, add, rewrite, workshop, rewrite
and rewrite some more until you’ve got somewhere between 50,000 and
100,000 words is grueling work. Most can’t do it. When you’re one of the
few who can, it really makes you feel good about yourself—an important
quality in a true badass.

2. Editing is painful.

All the effort and time put into writing a scene can all go for naught if it doesn’t mesh just right with your story. It doesn’t matter if it’s your favorite scene: If it’s not right for your book then it’s not right for your book—and has to be cut. Deleting your writing, especially words you’ve sacrificed so much to create, can be incredibly painful. But you do it in spite of the pain because, deep down, you’re tough as nails and you know your book will be better off for it.


3. Knowing when you are “finished” is impossible.

Is your Chapter 1 strong enough? Are you doing enough showing and not telling? Should your main character be walking or sauntering in this one particular scene? You’re on draft #17 and, after reading it again, you think an 18th draft may be necessary. (There’s one sentence in OH BOY that I rewrote every time I reread it!) Finished may be a definitive term when it comes to the end of a baseball game or a Broadway show, but it’s relative when it comes to writing. After all, in writing there’s no clear sign that your manuscript is perfect. At some point, every writer needs to take a leap of
faith and have confidence in his or her work. It’s not easy to do, which is
why it’s a form a badass-ery.


4. Cold-querying agents is scary.

Cold-querying agents is like knocking door-to-door in an unfamiliar neighborhood and trying to convince people that they should not only appreciate your haircut, but they should invest in your haircut. It takes a lot of guts to put yourself (and your manuscript, which you’ve been working on for who knows how long) out there for the world to judge. Not many people have the courage to do that, but badasses do. [Like this idea? Tweet it!]


5. Rejection is everywhere (and yet you still carry on).

Whether the rejection is from an agent, a publisher, a writing group critique partner, your inner critic, or a family member who doesn’t believe writing is a good use of your time, you still battle forward to accomplish your dream of completing a manuscript and having it published. Persistence and determination are necessary traits in a writer (as well as a badass).


6. Getting paid for your work is harder than ever.

We all daydream of seven-figure advances and splurging on something we’ve always wanted, like a fancy car. But the truth is a majority of advances are so small that they aren’t even enough to buy a used car whose heyday was nearly a decade ago. If you’re writing a book, you face difficult odds and little reward—and yet you press onward because writing is what you were born to do. Sounds like the same mantra of a superhero—and a superhero is just a badass in a costume.


7. Accomplishing a dream is rare—and awesome.

Many people try to write a book but only a few ever succeed. Whether it’s because they didn’t put it in time, make the difficult sacrifices, were too scared they weren’t good enough, gave up when the going got hard, etc., they didn’t do whatever they needed to do to make their goal a reality. If you’ve finished your manuscript (or are on your way to completing it), you’re part of a small, select group of people in this world who have. And anytime you’ve worked hard to accomplish a difficult-to-achieve dream, you are, without a doubt, a badass … and no one can ever take that away from you.

by Brian A. Klems

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

The 50 Best Sites for Indie Authors

1 KBoards – Writers’ Cafe ALL
2 The Newbie’s Guide to Publishing Self-Publishing
3 Amazon KDP & Author Central Resource
4 The Passive Voice Industry/News
5 Dean Wesley Smith Self-Publishing
6 TerribleMinds Writing Process
7 The Creative Penn Self-Publishing
8 No Rules Just Write Self-Publishing
9 Self Publishing Podcast Self-Publishing
10 David Gaughran Self-Publishing
11 The Book Designer Self-Publishing
12 BookBub Resource
13 Nook Press / PubIt Resource
14 Goodreads Social
15 Copyblogger Marketing
16 Jane Friedman Self-Publishing
17 Seth Godin Marketing
18 Scrivener Resource
20 Hugh Howey Self-Publishing
21 Lindsay Buroker Self-Publishing
22 Writer’s Digest Writing Process
23 The Self Publishing Team Self-Publishing
24 Kristine Kathryn Rusch Self-Publishing
25 KOBO Resource
26 Digital Book World Industry/News
27 Writing Process
28 Karen Woodward Writing Process
29 Publisher’s Weekly Industry/News
30 Mystery Writing is Murder Writing Process
31 Catherine, Caffeinated Self-Publishing
32 Write on the River Self-Publishing
33 EBookBooster Resource
34 Goins, Writer Blogging/Platform
35 Draft2Digital Resource
36 LibraryThings Social
37 ProBlogger Blogging/Platform
38 Wise, Ink. Self-Publishing
39 Rachelle Gardner Self-Publishing
40 IndieReader Industry/News
41 Scribophile Resource/Writing Process
42 The Kill Zone Blogging/Platform
43 Kristen Lamb Blogging/Platform
44 Write to Done Writing Process
45 Writing Process
46 Live Write Thrive Writing Process
47 HARO Resource
48 Author Marketing Club Resource
49 Smashwords Resource
50 The Writer’s Guide to E-Publishing Self-Publishing

List originally published on

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Two Writers Who Are Killing It on Twitter

That’s right, author-friends: people who make me smile or think on Twitter totally make a sale. And they don’t make a sale by sending me auto-DMS about their NEW! BOOK! OUT! NOW! — something anyone who blogs about books comes to deal with eventually. They make a sale by making me want to hang out with their words for extended periods of time. They make a sale by being, you know, interesting.

maureen johnson twitter
Ok, Author 1 in my list of Writers Who Kill It on Twitter is Maureen Johnson. Johnson uses her Twitter feed not to bleat at you to buy her books (there is very little self-promotion at all), but instead to create a community for her readers. She talks about her life, makes funny observations, mobilizes people for good causes, and generally makes you feel as though you are part of a larger community of like-minded people. She’s funny but never particularly pointedly snarky. Instead, she’s warm and personable. She responds to people who interact with her and she doesn’t exist exclusively on transmit. When you tweet about her books, she notices that you have.  Johnson’s Twitter is lively and active and reciprocal.

as king twitter
Likewise, A.S. King is another writer I found on Twitter, kind of fell in love with, and then happily discovered she’s also a great writer. At any given point, King’s Twitter feed is mostly replies and retweets.  She’s one of the most engaged writers I’ve seen on Twitter lately, and she makes an effort to contribute to larger discussions, mostly about YA and book culture but also just about, you know, life stuff. King’s Twitter feels authentically a part of who she is and not like a sales pitch. She’s charming and self-depricating and witty, and her responses to fans and critics alike read as a genuine desire to engage with other people’s ideas.

In both cases, I saw multiple retweets from these writers that piqued my interest.  From there, I started following them and realized that I kind of wanted to hang out with them both. I bought a book by each of them and discovered that their Twitter personae and their writerly voices were delightfully in sync. I bought more books. I became a fan. In both cases, I’ve had positive Twitter interactions with them and in both cases I find myself looking forward to their tweets.
This is how you do it!

I have bought a number of books by both of these authors and at no point was a purchase prompted by a BUY MY BOOK or a NO SERIOUSLY BUY MY BOOK or an OH MAN DID YOU KNOW YOU CAN BUY MY BOOK. In both cases, my motivation to purchase was due to genuine interest in the way the two women write and communicate. Which is exactly why one should purchase a book, isn’t it?

Here are my top five things I look for in an engaged tweeting writer:
  1. Reply sometimes. Twitter should be reciprocal — don’t be on transmit just shouting your ideas at the world.  
  2. Follow some people. I don’t believe in the default follow-back, but come on, there must be a handful of people on the whole internet you can find interesting. I’m going to side-eye you if you have thousands of followers and only follow Barack Obama (cuz everyone follows him).
  3. Tweet about things other than what you want me to buy from you. Our social media relationship doesn’t have to be transactional. If you focus only on what you are selling, I’m buying elsewhere.
  4. Be funny. Or be interesting. Or be charming. Let your personality shine through.
  5. Be you. I get that you don’t want to give your whole private self to the internet, and you totally don’t have to, but I should get something more from engaging with you than from a Twitter Bot that just name searches yourself.
What do you look for in an author’s kickass Twitter feed?

Originally posted by Dr B on Book Riot

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Being an Author vs. Running a Business as an Author


Is there a difference between being an author versus running a business as an author? In this interview with Joanna Penn, we discuss some of the important shifts that happen when you begin treating your writing (and/or your art) also as your business.
We also cover:

  • The trade-offs that can make full-time writing possible
  • The business models that writers are using these days
  • The commonalities of authors making over $100,000 per year
  • Understanding the profit and loss statement for your book

Joanna offers up our interview in three ways:

I’m grateful to Joanna for inviting me as a guest on her series, and hope you find some useful takeaways in our discussion.

Originally posted on

Wednesday, May 21, 2014


by M.O. Kenya

Let’s start with a little bit of history… Interracial relationships occur when two people of different races are in a relationship. This is a form of exogamy, when someone enters a relationship outside of their social group. Years ago, anti-miscegenation laws forced racial segregation and intimate relationships between two people of different races were illegal. In 1967 this law was abolished in the United States, after the second World War other nations repealed the anti-miscegenation laws. In recent times there have been an escalating number of interracial relationships, showing how far people have come. There are close to two million interracial marriages in the United States and the United Kingdom.

A great number of authors have fallen in love with the interracial genre. The African American genre has yet to see the large presence that the Caucasians have, in TV, movies and books. An example is the Bachelor and Bachelorette series has been accused of being an all white program. They have yet to have a Bachelor/ette that isn’t white.

The purpose of this blog is to promote the interracial romance genre and the authors, in the literary world. Some publishers do not have an IR genre in there line. Because of this they lock out a large number of authors and readers. I’m not saying that all publishers should have an IR line, but my question is why don’t they? In these modern times I don’t think there should be that boundary or line where colours are not meant to mix. As a black author, I write whatever stories that come to mind, different races and species. Yes, sure there is still segregation in this world. But imagine if there were more books, movies tv series with a more diverse cast. One thing that I will always love about Shonda Rhimes is the diversity she has in her shows. Yes, she does kill off our favourite character at the end of each season, but there is a balance in her shows that invites and appeals to all audiences.

RACIALICIOUS is the new term to describe the intersection of race and pop culture. This is according to the website RACIALICIOUS that focuses on Race, Culture and Identity in the Color-struck world. The pop culture especially when it comes to visual media, TV and movies has a large impact on the opinions that their audiences have. People’s opinions on race are at times a reflection on what we see on the media. In recent movies and TV shows and movies interracial relationships have become popular, Joyful Noise, Scandal and Grey’s Anatomy. Celebrities such as  Kim and Kanye, Rutina Wesley and James Fishel are examples of interracial romance taking over the world of entertainment.

So guys les be Racialicious and embrace diversity in the literary world.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Meet Patsy - A Breast Cancer Badass with a Story to Tell

Everyone has a story to tell. Some of us tell it using paper, pens and computers or we speak our story through oral traditions. Some tell a story with their body. Today, I want to introduce you to Patsy.

Patsy is a breast cancer badass. She's a woman not ashamed to showcase her body which reveals a fighting tale of hope and a gift for life in the now. Patsy is trying to reach $100,000 in 46 days for breast cancer research and trust me you will applaud her tattoo.
 Check out this amazing video and hear Patsy, in her own words and body, tell her story.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

12 Tips to Succeed as a Writer

By: Brad Cotton

I often get asked what it takes to be a writer. Clearly, this is not a simple question to answer. There are several things you must do if you want to be successful, and most of them take time, hard work, and patience. If you are willing to commit, here is a list of things that will certainly help you on your way.
1. Be true to yourself.
Write from your heart. Sure, vampires and wizards may be all the rage, but don’t write what you suspect the public wants to read. Find your own genuine voice. Never try to emulate an author you love. If you strike out on your own and establish something original (emphasis on original), you will eventually find an audience.
2. Immerse yourself in the craft.
No writer is an island. (Except maybe Hemingway, but you’re not Hemingway). Network with writers, readers, publishers, agents, old people, dogs… whoever can help you learn something new about what you do. You’ll be surprised what little tidbits you can glean here and there that will help you be a better writer and storyteller.
3. Read, and don’t stop.
This is perhaps the most important one of all. Never stop reading. Read books you otherwise wouldn’t. Read books you’ve already read. Read restaurant menus with a critical eye. Language is an art – master it to the best of your ability.
4. Write, and don’t stop.
Writer’s block doesn’t really exist. If you’ve reached a point in your manuscript where you’ve hit a roadblock, write something else. Write a song, a poem, a love letter to your high school crush. Get the words flowing and your mind will no doubt follow. Writer’s block is most often your brain telling you that you’re off in the wrong direction. The solution: change direction.
5. Learn new things.
Life is all about knowledge, and so is writing. Learn about science, art, piano making, lawn care, water purification, sneezing, whatever! Knowledge and curiosity are the greatest foundation for writing. You never know where and when inspiration will strike.
6. Throw convention out the window.
Use good grammar, structure a proper storyline, make it interesting, and off you go. Don’t feel like you need to follow a formula, and certainly don’t copy someone else’s.  Readers are always starving for something new. Make something new.
7. Forget about money.
If you’re writing to make a million dollars, or even to make a nice living, you’re not writing for the right reasons. Becoming a better writer should be your only motivation. That, and proving your parents wrong.
8. Share your writing.
I can’t tell you how many would-be writers are afraid to let others read what they’ve written. This is a big mistake. If your grandmother wants to read your manuscript, deliver it to her by hand (because she can’t figure out the email machine). Let your friends read it, your boss, other writers, avid readers — anyone willing to read your writing is a great place to start. The longer you keep your writing to yourself, the longer it will take you to become a better writer.
9. Don’t take reviews to heart, but listen to them.
All your friends love your book! Well big deal (and no they don’t). Likewise, reviewers are not always right either. Some people will like your book, and some will not. Get used to that idea and embrace it. Crave it. Writing is an art. If your writing provokes the exact same response from everyone that reads it, you might have done something wrong. Listen to what people say about your writing, and when you start to hear a theme emerging, you may be on to something.
10. Be prepared to doubt yourself.
Only bad writers think they’re awesome writers. Have confidence, but know that there is always much to learn. Don’t think so? Read P.G. Wodehouse and see if your language skills stack up. Be the best writer you can possibly be. Make other writers love you and hate you at the same time, because if you’re really, really good, they will. Make that a goal.
11. Be prepared to market yourself.
As a new writer, or even as one well established, you will need to do everything you can to help get the word out about your books. Blog, tweet, stand on the corner with a sandwich board and bell – whatever helps. (If you are John Grisham or J.K. Rowling, you can ignore this one). Be prepared to be your own best advocate and salesperson. There are many tools and tips you can find out there to help you out with marketing. Spend some real time seeking them out, and find which works best for you. And, don’t be afraid to ask for help or advice.
And lastly,
12. Whatever you do, don’t ever give up writing.
I don’t need to explain this one.

Brad most recent release, By All Men’s Judgments, is available now at all major online retailers, including Amazon.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Pitching Your Book to Producers - Anyone?

Help I’m pitching to Producers!

by Renee Field, Founder, StoryFinds

Okay I just had to write that because it sounds cool and it’s actually true. I’ve been very fortunate to have some heart-to-heart conversations with one of my local provincial agencies who has a new mandate to converge the literary, film and music industries. And because I can be outspoken and tell it like it is, I politely pointed out that these three industries DO NOT talk to each other. No idea why? It could be that we’re each heads-down in our own little world and fail to make the effort, but it’s also the sad truth that it’s hard for writers to even find local producers.

Nova Scotia might be a small Canadian province but talk about star power – think Trailer Park Boys, who are once again gearing up to start filming in the province. Think Haven, set on the beautiful South Shore and a show I will readily admit to LOVING and then think of the wonderful Ellen Page, who grew up in my city of Halifax.

So what do I suggest? Let me touch base with some authors I know who are ready to pitch, and you provide the producers. Well, it’s now ballooned into an author/producer workshop with the talented Jan Miller, who has a track record I’m in awe of and at the end of this month 10 local authors are pitching their books/series to 5 producers. Miller is an international consultant for CMPA, specializing in film and television co-production and co-venturing. She also continues to present one of the top Pitching & Concept Development Workshops in the world including Havana, Poland’s ScriptEast, Cartagena, Berlin’s Talent Campus & Cannes. 

Can I just insert here how nervous I am but also how excited I am to be able to make this event a reality. I also like to view this as a first step.

So after getting all the other authors pitches ready and of course reading them, I thought, “OMG my pitch sucks”, but I sent it out there and now I’ve got to really nail it so I can make it sound viable and interesting. And guess what – my series is interesting and no matter what, for me, this is a learning experience.

I thought I’d share my pitch and what’s usually asked from an author. It might not look like a lot but trust me it was work to put it together. For those that don't know what a Log Line is - it's basically your elevator pitch.

Renee Field
Title: Siren’s Lure
Genre: Family
Log line: H2O meets Degrassi High, except the only person saving this small town is Gemini — a Goth teenager struggling with algebra and her newfound siren powers —  and who’d rather lust after the Captain of the Hockey Team then save her kingdom.
Siren’s Lure: First Test is a paranormal young adult novel and the first book in my new young adult family series. The book centers around Gemini, who must learn to adjust to grade 10. Besides facing her new academic challenges like algebra, she must mask her newfound appearance and take on the persona of a Goth—ensuring no one gets close to her and discovers her secret—she’s not human. That reality she learned hard over the past summer when two things changed her life and not for the better. First, she went into the sea, something her father had forbidden her to do, and transformed into a creature of myth—a Siren. Then because of that the two people who loved her more than life itself, her mom and dad, were kidnapped.
Now Gemini must learn to cope with her new Siren abilities, find a clue to where her parents have been taken while racing against the high tide to avoid the Guardians of the Seven Seas Council who want to kill her. She can’t trust anyone, especially not her biological Siren She-bitch mother who claims she wants Gemini to reclaim her rightful place as Princess. To top that off, if she doesn’t past her algebra test she’s going to fail and be sent to the nerd class.
She might be all Goth-like, but Gemini knows the only way she’ll escape this small town with its high school drama queens, overzealous testosterone filled hockey players and the undersea demons chasing her is discovering the truth— freeing her parents and passing all these life or death tests. After all, in her new reality, failure doesn’t mean F, it means death.

Writer credentials:
Renee Field has written 15 romance novels. She also uses the pen name Renee Pace as a young adult writer who has written four young adult novels. Field founded in 2011 – a site geared to promote Indie authors and today has a mailing list of over 5,000 and a daily reach of 160,000 through social media. Field’s first paranormal romance novel, Rapture, won an EPPIE award for Best Electronic Paranormal/Fantasy Romance. Her first young adult novel, Off Leash, was a semi-finalist in the Amazon Novel Breakthrough Contest.

I'd love to hear what you think. Any pitching advice is greatly appreciated.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Author Sarah Daltry talks about sexuality in Young Adult vs. New Adult writing

Sarah Daltry talks Young Adult vs. New Adult

I guess what’s really important to me, especially as I finish Ambrosia (and, in turn, the Flowering series) is the concept of New Adult fiction. I spent ten years teaching high school and I’ve also worked as a rape crisis and mental health counselor. In my experience, adolescence and the period directly thereafter can be incredibly confusing. Add to that this idea that you’re 18 and an adult now, so you better have all the answers, and no wonder it’s such a challenge. When I first learned about the push toward New Adult, I was intrigued. Here was an opportunity, both as a writer and a reader, to explore the topics and issues that YA starts to touch, but is often held back from exploring in depth. Because the YA target audience is so diverse in age (usually 12-18), many writers, not to mention publishers, shy away from getting too intense with topics of sexuality, abuse, violence, etc., because although it may be needed for those 16-18 year-olds, it’s scary to imagine a 12-year-old thinking about those things.

I’m not interested in addressing the delusion that high school freshmen don’t have sex. They do. We all know they do. My high school freshmen students knew more about sex, drugs, and violence than I did as someone in her mid-30’s (who wasn’t completely ignorant of them, either). Let’s just assume that sex and suicide and real-life issues are still vague to most YA readers. Now, here is this new genre that addresses those concepts with 18-25 year-olds. Obviously, college students have sex. A lot of it, if you consider statistics. Tinder is not a popular app because people love firewood. When I set out to write about college and started the Flowering series, I went into it with a simple thought in mind. This was going to be YA for real New Adults. This would address the issues at the heart of growing up, but it was also going to have a lot of sex, because college kids do. These characters, in particular, have a lot of sex for two reasons.

First, Alana. She’s a peripheral character to Jack and Lily’s love story, but she’s still integral to the series. She was raped and abused – by two different men – as a child. Over time, she has come to see herself as a whore, because everyone says she is. It’s not uncommon for young women, especially those who have been through this kind of trauma, to face confusion about sexuality. In Blue Rose, I really wanted to dig into that. What happens to a girl who is repeatedly used and abused? To a girl who believes her only value is in her body and her sexuality? She’s still normal in many ways, and she can’t identify why she enjoys sex, when it’s been so damaging. I think that’s an important topic and I believe we need to have these conversations. We have a tendency to be very puritanical about sex in this country. Meanwhile, Amazon’s bestseller charts are populated with books about young women being kidnapped by sex traders – and falling in love with their captors. I would rather deal with helping and healing women who have been tortured and abused than perpetuate the oversimplification of Stockholm Syndrome.

As to Jack and Lily, he’s suicidal. He’s basically on the path to becoming a serious alcoholic. He has been through one hell of a trauma and he has not developed coping skills. He uses sex and his anger as his way of hiding from something he hasn’t really dealt with. I’ve known many Jacks in my life – and I relate to him a great deal. Mental health is misunderstood in our culture and we tend to prefer that people keep their problems to themselves. Instead of finding comfort as a teen, Jack found that his trauma made him hated by others – and he reacted accordingly. Now, along comes this perfect girl who shouldn’t want him, and she does. In Lily’s case, she’s just a typical girl. She’s always been sheltered and she likes sex. She’s not ashamed of it. She’s off at school and she finds it fun. Through her relationship with Jack, though, she learns about other perspectives beyond sex.

I think it’s important to bring realism into the market. We need to speak to this audience. We need to tell college kids that it’s okay not to have the answers, to like sex, to be different, to make mistakes. We need to embrace all that is true and diverse about the human experience, and that was what I set out to do. Yes, there is a lot of sex, but it’s about so much more.

About Sarah Daltry:

Sarah has written in a variety of genres. In addition to the New Adult contemporary series, Flowering, which is detailed below, she has also written Bitter Fruits, an urban fantasy romance, Backward Compatible, a YA/NA gamer geek comedy, and a variety of novellas and short stories in different genres, including literary fiction, historical romance, and erotica. She can be found at

The Flowering series consists of Forget Me Not (Lily’s Story), Lily of the Valley (Jack’s Story), Blue Rose (Alana’s Story), Star of Bethlehem, Orange Blossom, and the upcoming Ambrosia. There is also a short erotic story that was set before Forget Me Not, entitled “Her Brother’s Best Friend.” This story is included with Forget Me Not, Lily of the Valley, and Star of Bethlehem in the volume 1 box set. Also available is a box set “cleaner” version that includes Forget Me Not, Lily of the Valley, Blue Rose, and Star of Bethlehem with the more explicit scenes removed.

Social Media Links:


New Facebook Page

Old Facebook Page

Jack and Lily’s Facebook Page




Saturday, May 10, 2014

Wilde Riders by Savannah Young- Review by Julie

You can purchase Wilde Riders on Amazon 
Julie's review can also be found on Amazon, Goodreads, and on her blog
Wilde Riders by Savannah Young is a 2014 Short on Time Books publication. I was provided a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Riley lives in New York and is sick of the slick Wall Street type. She is given the assignment of looking into a fraud case in rural New Jersey. When she arrives in Old Town she is stunned by the contrast. Old Town is like another planet compared to New York.
Then Riley meets the Wilde Brothers. Jake is the one that has been running The Haymaker, a bar owned by his late father. This is object of the investigation, since The Haymaker has been in a little financial trouble. Jake calls his brother Cooper who just so happens to be employed on Wall Street for some advice and help. Cooper had fled Old Town the very second he could. He plans to be a millionaire before he is thirty, he dresses fine, drives a BMW and has absolutely no desire to ever go back to rural New Jersey. When Jake calls and Cooper hears the stress in his voice he reluctantly agrees to help him out.
The bar was where the Wilde Riders country music band made it's home and Cooper loves playing music, but he is out of his brothers band by choice, although Jake tries to lure him to The Haymaker's new stage for old times sake.
When Cooper meets Riley he is instantly attracted to her and feels a compulsion to take care of her, even if it means protecting her from ladies man, Jake , and from his other brother Tucker who is a war vet learning to live with a disability. Riley has to spend a weekend in Old Town after her car is damaged and Cooper makes the most of that situation. The mistake he makes is hiding his New York lifestyle from Riley after she confesses she is tired of the Wall Street crowd.
With this first installment of the Old Town Country Romance series, the author introduces us to a motley group of brothers, each with their own set of issues and personalities. Cooper and Riley are the main focus of this story, but Jake gets a lot of coverage as well. Jake and a local girl that had a massive crush on Cooper for the longest time are spending time together, but for Jake it's just a game. Tucker is bitter and scares Riley a little bit. Then, we have Hunter who is very quiet studious type. I am really looking forward to reading each installment in this series. Now that we have met everyone the real character development can take place . Being drawn to the war hero type I am especially looking forward to Tucker's story. Overall this is a nice start to the series. This one gets a B or 3.5 stars ( rounded to 4)

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

THE HERO'S JOURNEY by Cornell Deville

Author Cornell Deville discusses writing
hero characters

A great deal has been written over the years about the Hero's Journey. It can provide a blueprint for the writer in the construction of their novel. Following is a synopsis of the stages involved, along with a few examples for clarification. The stages of the Hero’s Journey include:

Orphan --- Wanderer --- Warrior --- Martyr

As a writer, it’s your daunting task to take your character, and your readers, through these stages by creating that wonderful plot around which everything revolves and evolves. Let’s take a brief look at these four stages and discuss some examples to provide a better idea of the progression.

ORPHAN: This can be a literal or a figurative situation for your hero. Sometimes it’s both. It puts the hero into a more vulnerable position, with no one to help them, so they have to think things out for themselves. Two examples are immediately obvious: Annie and Dorothy. These two characters are literal examples. One is living in an orphanage (like Lilly White in my most recent novel Skullhaven—pardon the shameless promotion) and the other resides with her Auntie Em. A more recent example can be found in the Harry Potter books.

Figurative orphans may be more common. Gordie LaChance in Stand by Me is one example. He lives with his parents, but they are so consumed with the death of his older brother that Gordie is basically isolated and forgotten. He finds companionship with his friends and solace in his writing. Other examples include Homer Hickam from the movie October Sky, Carrie from Stephen King's novel by the same name, and Neil Gaiman's Coraline. In Finding Nemo, both Nemo and his father could be classified as figurative orphans, each of them searching for the other. In Lost in the Bayou, Robin Sherwood is a figurative (and perhaps literal) orphan. In the opening chapter, we learn that her parents have disappeared—fate unknown.

Within this “orphan” environment, the main character is presented with a problem, an obstacle, something that's wrong and simply has to be fixed. That’s where your wonderful plot begins to unfold. Usually this occurs with a “situation-changing-event,” such as Gandalf’s visit to Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit. When that occurs, they become a…

WANDERER: Your hero, dissatisfied with their current situation (whatever it may be) embarks on a quest to resolve it and make it, or the world, better by their actions. Your hero may wander through many pages and several chapters, or they may only wander for a short time until they come up with a solution. When that happens, they become a…

WARRIOR: This is where things begin to change. Your hero comes up with a plan, figures out what needs to be done and how to do it. But it’s never easy, or at least it shouldn't appear too easy to your readers. There must be some struggling, internally and/or externally. Obstacles may come flying out of nowhere, slowing and stopping your hero's progress. They have to summon their courage, use their brains, or figure out what can be done to overcome whatever, or whomever, is blocking their success. Typically there is a “darkest moment” where things take a drastic turn for the worse and success and a happy ending seems all but impossible. Your hero may have to make a huge sacrifice, and sometimes put themselves into the most dangerous situation imaginable. This is when they reach the status of…

MARTYR: At this stage, your hero risks everything, faces the danger and lays their life on the line if necessary in order to solve the problem and/or achieve their objective. They may have to dig down deep inside to find the courage to do what's necessary. As the writer, you need to make certain we feel their pain, their fear, their desperation. This is typically the climax chapter where the hero stands up and delivers. It is the defining moment, and the event that changes everything. The dark clouds separate, and the sun shines brightly. As readers, we are relieved that our hero has managed to escape the villain, the jaws of death, their loneliness, or whatever situation you have placed them in. When you write that perfect ending, the problem solved and all is right with the world.
So there you have it. This is the basic progression. For a much more detailed explanation, check out Joseph Campbell’s narrative at the following LINK.

This post was previously published on Cornell’s blog