All New: Writing Tips

Well, I’ve been doing Q&A Sunday for a little over a year. I had tons of questions! But they’ve kind of fallen off. So, I decided to start on something new. If you have a question, I’ll still answer it here, but when I don’t have questions, which is more often than not, I wanted to offer something to aspiring writers.

The romance community is simply amazing. The number of people willing to share their knowledge and expertise always astounds me. In 2018, I’m going to start offering workshops for authors, and it only makes sense, for me, to start writing about writing!

I’ve answered a few reader questions about writing, but when I started out, I had more questions than people I could ask. Some of these posts will go deeper than others. Some will be more general. Some will make you think, and some will give you ‘homework.’ Overall though, I want to help you, the aspiring author, to make you you, the published author!

Ready?

The first thing I think every author needs is a healthy love of reading. I’m not talking you read a couple books a year, or you pick one up every once in a while. I’m talking you should be so anxious to start reading a new book that you twitch! Well, maybe not that bad, but you have to love it. It should be almost like an addiction.

I have a Pinterest board called I Dream of Books. There’s a reason for that. I really do! When I was battling cancer, I had a horrible time sleeping. I was always a poor sleeper, but it was even worse during that time. I would use that time to read. I was awake anyway, and reading a book helped to calm my mind and alleviate some of my worries. Or at least forget about them. When I would read at night, I’d frequently dream of the book I was reading!

I still read at night, although not usually as late as I used to. I still dream about books I’ve read, and books I’m writing.

I think you need that if you want to be a writer. You have to love books. You have to have a list of authors you love so long that you could spend your entire paycheck on them. Of course, you don’t, but you could.

Now, does what you read have to be what you write?

No!

But they should be related.

What I mean by that is if you absolutely love reading fantasy, you might not write Inspirational YA as well. If you love contemporary romance, writing historical paranormal might not work out so well. If you love both, then yeah, go for it. But if you don’t enjoy reading it, you’re probably not going to love writing it. Let’s face it, you can read a book in a day. It takes a month, or sometimes many months, to write a book. If the topic isn’t one you love, you’re going to hate your job. And that’s no fun.

If you’ve thought about writing a book, ask yourself if you love what you want to write about. If not, think about writing something else. I have friends who read paranormal for their guilty pleasure, but write (and read) romantic suspense or contemporary. I’ve started reading some historical, but all the research that goes into it is too much for me. You have to figure out what works for you. But make sure you love what you write!

If you were going to write a book, what genre would you choose? 

If you have a question, either about writing or about anything else, send me an email (mary (at) maryethompson (dot) com) with Q&A in the subject, or post it in the comments below, and I’ll answer your question right here on the blog!

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#FiveOnFriday with Alanna Lucas

Please welcome Alanna Lucas! She’s sharing five random thoughts with us today about her book, Only a Hero Will Do.

What is your hero most embarrassed about?

He doesn’t know how to dance. But never fear, his best friend comes to his rescue 😉

What is the inspiration for Only a Hero Will Do?

Captain America was the inspiration for this story (Captain Grant Alexander is his Regency-era doppelgänger). I spent a lot of time researching the history of the comic book series (and yes, the movies!). It is quite fascinating.

Heroine’s favorite line in Only a Hero Will Do:

She might look the part of a viscount’s daughter, but inside beat the heart of a spy.

Music is very important to me while I’m developing any story. The top five songs on my playlist while writing Only a Hero Will Do are (in no particular order):

Stories of Old by Depeche Mode

Taking a Stand by Henry Jackman

Holding out for a Hero by Bonnie Tyler

Castle by Halsey

The Phoenix by Fall Out Boy

One of my biggest quirks — that I don’t mind sharing 😉

I like to vacuum. In fact, I find it relaxing.

Only a Hero will Do: Alanna Lucas

Defender of the realm…and his wary heart…

Captain Grant Alexander is an enigma in London society. Dashing and handsome, he coldly eschews marriage. But the ton knows nothing of his role in the Legion: to bring Typhon, the traitor who seeks to destroy the British monarchy, to justice.

When Grant is thrown together with fellow Legion member Elizabeth Atwell, he’s instantly beguiled yet exasperated by this beautiful viscount’s daughter. She has little interest in combing the marriage mart for a well-bred, well-heeled husband, but is adept at code-breaking and handling a bow and arrow. She also refuses to do as she is told, insisting she accompany Grant on his mission.

As Typhon continues to evade capture and dark forces are at work, Grant realizes he must act, not only to protect the realm but Elizabeth too…not to mention his heart, which is in danger of thawing every time she comes close…

Buy on KDP: https://www.amazon.com/Only-Hero-Will-Heart-Book-ebook/dp/B071LS5KSB

About Alanna

Alanna Lucas writes sweet, spicy, seductive historical romances. When not daydreaming of her next hero and bygone eras, Alanna can be found reading, spending time with family, or plotting her next travel destination. For more information about Alanna and her novels please visit her website- http://www.alannalucas.com

Links:

Website https://alannalucas.com/

Twitter https://twitter.com/alannalucas27

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/AuthorAlannaLucas/

Pinterest https://www.pinterest.com/alannalucas/

Amazon Author Page https://www.amazon.com/Alanna-Lucas/e/B00HPC0MYU

Newsletter https://alannalucas.com/contact/

 

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Stocky & Sumptuous, heating up

Stocky & SumptuousVicki and Hunter definitely had their moments where things got hot, and their moments where things cooled off. It was much more fun when they were getting a little hot!

Excerpt from Stocky & Sumptuous

I was fairly certain I was going to spontaneously combust. Hunter ushered me into the SUV, but his hand was on my thigh as he drove. I wasn’t going to survive the night without having him. It just wasn’t possible.

“Will your sister still be up?” he asked.

I shrugged. “Maybe not, but she’s a really light sleeper.”

“That won’t do. I want to make you scream.”

“What about your place?”

He shook his head. “My buddy’s home. I sleep on the couch so there’s no privacy.”

“Your studio?”

He turned in that direction. “I doubt it, but we’ll check. Drew said something about a sixteen hour day.”

“Shit.”

We drove past and saw lights on and people still inside the studio. That wasn’t an option. We were running out of them. Quickly.

“We just need to wait.”

“I don’t want to, Hunter. This is so bad, but what about right here?”

“Here? On the street?”

I shook my head. “I meant in your SUV. It’s big. If we park somewhere that no one is…”

I let my words trail off, feeling like a teenager sneaking around behind her parents’ back.

“You deserve more than that, Vicki.”

“I just want you. I don’t want to wait.”

“Fuck,” he breathed, making a U-turn and going back in the other direction. He didn’t say anything for a few minutes as he navigated through town. He headed to the outskirts and pulled onto a dirt road near XD. At the end of the road, he turned off the lights and opened the moonroof. “No one will come down here, except you.”

Get It Now!

Ebook on Amazon | Kobo | iBooks | B&N | Smashwords

#FiveOnFriday with Elizabeth Harmon

Please welcome Elizabeth Harmon here today. She has some great books out there that you guys won’t want to miss!

Hi everyone, and thanks Mary for having me as a #FiveOnFriday guest!

I write contemporary romance with a dash of different, featuring unusual characters and settings. I write stories that I’d like to read, but that no one else is writing. My current series, Red Hot Russians, is a sports romance series set in the world of elite competitive figure skating.  My fascination with Antarctica led me to use it as the setting for Heating It Up: A Red Hot Russians Novella, came out in February.

I’m hard at work on book five in the series, “Shining Through,” which releases in September.

#1-Plotter or Pantser?

I’m more of a plotter and really enjoy the process of thinking through the plot, romance and character arc beats. It helps me feel more confident as I write the first draft. While it’s still a challenge to turn that clunky first-draft into the story I’ve envisioned, plotting helps me stay on track, when I don’t know what to write next. If a scene isn’t working, an outline lets me jump around in the story and write a scene I’m more excited about.

#2-Do you feel it’s important to write what you know?

When I first wanted to write I believed that it was important.  I feared my life wasn’t dramatic or interesting enough make me a good writer. It wasn’t until I started writing my first historical that I realized my journalism background and love of research meant I could write about anything I wanted. It’s less about writing what you know and more about writing what you want to know.

#3-What gets your creative juices flowing?

Music. I make playlists for all of my books and this helps me get into the rhythm of the story. I also find it easiest when I’m able to work on the project steadily, and not lose the flow of the story and characters. Coming back to a story after a few days away is a struggle.

#4-Tell me about the heroes in your book/s.

As the series title suggests, they’re all Russian and they’re hot!  But they’re also really good guys who’ve faced personal challenges and still treat others with kindness and respect —no Alphaholes here!  Anton, Misha and Daniil, are famous figure skaters who are charming, handsome, sexy celebrities.  Vlad is a former skater turned male stripper, who has survived a trauma that’s left him drifting, and feeling unworthy of love.  Alexei grew up poor and dreamed of adventure. Now that he’s carved out a life and career in Antarctica, he’s determined to keep the station he calls home from closing.

#5-Do you have a favorite trope?

Every book I’ve written seems to have a Fish Out Of Water element.  In the series debut, Pairing Off, I put a sunny Southern-belle pair skater in Moscow.  In Turning It On, a shy, bookish heroine becomes a contestant on a cut-throat reality dating show. In Getting It Back, the fish is the hero, who ends up adrift in small-town USA after an injury puts a premature end to his skating career.  In Heating It Up: A Red Hot Russians Novella, a sophisticated architect from San Francisco must forge a new life in remote and rustic Amity Bay, Antarctica.

Do you have a favorite romance trope?  Post your favorite romance trope and why you love it in the comments section for a chance to win a digital copy of any book in the Red Hot Russians series. 

Thanks for reading! Elizabeth

Red Hot Russian Alexei is king of the Ice…Antarctic style

Alexei Zaikov loves his life in remote Amity Bay, Antarctica, until a new luxury guesthouse threatens the community’s future. As head of Amity Bay, he’s driven to save it, but first must discover who is hiding out in the supposedly deserted lodge…and why.

Nora Bradford has lost everything; a promising career and the man she loved. Glacier Ridge Lodge, the architectural masterpiece she designed but was denied credit for, seems like the perfect place to grieve her loss, until a ruggedly handsome Russian arrives on her doorstep, determined to bring her in from the cold.

Desire sparks, leaving them hungry for more. But will the truth about Nora’s role in Amity Bay’s demise, doom their romance?

Warm hearts, cold nights, Southern Lights.  Welcome to Amity Bay, Antarctica.

Don’t miss the rest of the series…

      

About Elizabeth

Contemporary romance author Elizabeth Harmon loves to read and write romances with a dash of different. She is the author of the Red Hot Russians sports romance series. Her debut novel Pairing Off is a 2016 RITA® Award Finalist.

Connect with Elizabeth

Website: http://www.romancewriter-girl.com

Blog: https://elizabethharmonauthor.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/elizabethharmonauthor?ref=hl

Twitter: https://twitter.com/romanzwrter_grl

Goodreads Author Page: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23440537-elizabeth-harmon

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00RY9SY0S

Stocky & Sumptuous, available now

Stocky & SumptuousStocky & Sumptuous is out now! I know you’re as excited as I am! Vicki is a funny character, but she knows exactly what she wants. Hunter is definitely not on the list!

What is on the list is getting pregnant…

Excerpt from Stocky & Sumptuous

“So, what are your goals that I don’t fit into?”

I choked on my wine. Just sucked it right into my windpipe and hacked for a good minute before I could breathe again. Hunter rubbed my back and tried to get me to take deep breaths. When I finally felt like I wasn’t going to drown, he was close.

Very close.

He reached for his sandwich and his knee brushed mine. The rough hair on his legs sent tingles up my thigh that settled between my legs. He shifted when he sat up and brought our legs even more into contact. His heat radiated right into me.

“Are you not going to answer my question?” he asked, nudging me gently with his elbow.

“No, I… You really don’t ease into things, do you?”

He shrugged. “I figure if there’s an elephant in the room, it’s better to address it.”

I sighed. It made sense, but I was hesitant to say anything. I knew how men handled getting too serious too quickly.

“Well, I want a baby. I’ve always wanted kids, but the desire has intensified lately. That’s why I’m dating so much and why I said no to you.”

He glanced at me out of the side of his eye. “You don’t think I’d be good with kids?”

Get It Now!

Ebook on Amazon | Kobo | iBooks | B&N | Smashwords