Book of the Week: Kissing Mr. Wrong

My friend, Kerri Carpenter, releases Kissing Mr. Wrong today! It’s a contemporary romance from Entangled Lovestruck. Just check out that cover!

Kissing Mr. Wrong cover

When kissing the wrong guy feels so very right…

Three months ago, graphic designer Vanessa Hewitt slept with the ridiculously hot guy she met after nearly falling to her death while stargazing on a bridge. The adrenaline-fueled night of we’ll-never-see-each-other-again sex fulfilled every fantasy, but with her best friend’s wedding on the horizon, Vanessa can’t stop thinking about what would happen if her sexy stranger passed through town again.

Haunted by his time in Afghanistan, soldier John Campbell returns to his hometown just long enough to help plan an engagement party for his sister. When he realizes her best friend is the sweet one-night stand he’s been fantasizing about for months, he’ll do anything to have her again…though getting trapped together in a storeroom wasn’t quite what he had in mind.

Vanessa is in hell. Or is it heaven? Because with every touch, their forbidden connection grows, until kissing Mr. Wrong starts feeling more like kissing Mr. Right…

Get your copy here:  http://amzn.to/1FHKSyX
And check out her other books here: http://kerricarpenter.com/

Book of the Week: One Week in Hawaii

I had the pleasure of reading and reviewing an ARC of One Week in Hawaii for the lovely ladies of One Week in Love. I gave the awesome collection of 4 novellas 5 stars.

Check out my review on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1284130770

1 Week in Hawaii

Sun, sand, and seduction.
This summer, Alexis Anne, Audra North, Julia Kelly, and Alexandra Haughton sweep you away to paradise for One Week in Hawaii.
A wedding planner breaks all the rules to have just one night of pleasure, only to find that a stolen moment might hold the key to forever.
A movie star falls hard for her sexy co-star…who just happens to be her best friend.
A former black sheep risks falling from grace again when she seduces a handsome stranger with a dark history.
An artist has to choose between dating a guy who will please her parents and one who will please…and pleasure…her.
Sex on the beach is so much more than a drink in these four sizzling contemporary novellas by the authors who brought you One Week in Wyoming.

Grab your copy here: http://amzn.to/1R9Q4xB
Check out their site here: http://oneweekinlove.com/

Facing the Slog of Editing

I’ve fallen off the daily writing activity bandwagon this past week or two, which means that not much of anything is getting finished. I think it can be attributed to a few things. One, I finished my first draft of Wrapped in Verdigris last week. Two, there are big changes going on in the day job department. Three, I need to figure out what my editing process is and how to tease myself into loving it. And four, I stopped logging items in my little Moleskin planner. (Oh and five, my allergies haven’t given me a break until today. Maryland pollen is brutal.)

DailyPlanner

I learned about the power of daily writing first from The Artist’s Way, by Julia Cameron. Morning Pages are how I got back into writing after a 5 year break after college and the real world squashed my hope that someday I could be a published author. I bought numerous 6x9” spiral Mead notebooks and wrote 3+ pages longhand nearly every day, stream of consciousness stuff or reflective or actual snippets and bits of stories that I was working on.

Then I took a course with Margie Lawson who teaches about the power of setting goals that are actually reachable. You can put more things on your list too, but leave those for doing after you’ve completed that first list. It’s the carrot at the end of your stick.

I do best when I’m tracking to a deadline and have a daily or near-daily goal (5 days a week). Recently, my list has grown longer than I should allow it to be, which means it’s time to step back and reflect and record some data. Have I mentioned here yet how much I love spreadsheets? I love tracking daily word counts. But when it comes to editing, I have so very little data and it’s not nearly as easy to measure progress. I could record how much time I spend on editing each day, but that doesn’t speak to how close I am to being finished. I need a way to measure my progress and a deadline or I will just continue to ignore that this needs to be done.

So I’m going to apply some project management techniques to this. Break it down into smaller pieces, and make my best estimate of how long this will take. I will probably split this up into phases:

  • novel level edits (reviewing the goal/motivation/conflict for the protagonists),
  • scene level edits (making sure each scene does something essential), and
  • line edits (grammar, cutting out weak words, etc.).

Saying that I’m going to give myself a week each for these is giving me heart palpitations, but that is just a starting timeframe. I’ll work with that goal in mind for this week and then reassess on the weekend. I will also continue considering how to track progress within each of these three phases, but that may not be something I can do until I have been through this process once.

Becoming a Plotter

I’ve been writing for fun since I was twelve. I can’t even begin to count the number of stories I have started over the past twenty years. I rarely finished things because I “pantsed” these stories, starting with a small element of inspiration and going until it wouldn’t go anymore, which usually happened before I’d reach the end.

I had a problem with finishing stories. I would write myself into a corner or grow bored with the plot because I didn’t have enough conflict or goals.

I started reading writing reference books on plot and improving fiction and I took a few classes from my local RWA chapter and SavvyAuthors.com. No longer am I afraid that plotting will remove the magical inspiration of my muse. I find myself adapting and tweaking these plot lines a lot, but now I’m getting to The End a lot more often. All thanks to these books.

Don’t fear plotting. It can be your friend too!

Here are some of my favorite resources for learning how to plot or improve a story’s plot. I feel like they make the process approachable and not like some scary thing that only MFA’s can learn.

My Favorite Books on Plotting or Novel Writing:

The Writer’s Compass, by Nancy Ellen Dodd
This is great for understanding the overall story arc and for an approach that is perhaps more visual in its approach than some of these other books. I would say this book was my plotting foundation book.
Writing Love, by Alexandra Sokoloff
Sokoloff recommends reviewing movies with similar elements to the story you’re trying to tell, because you can get through movies in a short sitting and it’s easier to capture the essence of the plot. I could go all research paper on you and quote parts of this text, but it’s still a fabulous review of plotting.
This book is fabulous. Without clear goal, motivation and conflict, I find it’s impossible to plot out a story’s action or turning points.
This book is fabulous, although I wouldn’t recommend reading and applying it to a work-in-progress. Write your first draft, then return to this, or read it before starting your first draft. He has some great ways to tighten up your conflicts and really tug on your readers’ heartstrings. For example, making  your protagonist’s external and internal goals mutually exclusive. Boy does that make protagonists hurt!
I primarily use the workbook, but the book is an important read too: Writing the Breakout Novel.
This book is a fast read and marvelously simple in offering an approach to get you from idea to completed draft. This book really opened up my eyes on how the book writing workflow should go.

Other Resources:

Michael Hauge’s structure is very helpful. I think Alexandra Sokoloff might reference it in Writing Love.
Stephanie Draven’s Plotting with Scrivener class is fabulous, and pulls in a bunch of elements from different sources. (I learned about Sokoloff and Hauge from her.) If you have a chance to take this class, I highly recommend it. She’s publishing a book based on these lessons later this summer. Pre-order your copy here: http://amzn.to/1ezar9P! (http://www.stephaniedray.com/)
Writer Unboxed site (http://writerunboxed.com/) provides daily articles about writing and the industry. You can set it up to email you daily with their posts. Donald Maass is one of the contributors to this site.

 

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