Evening Wordplay

It’s been a while since I blogged. Busy, busy week. Book website is moving along wonderfully and book should get uploaded by the weekend. So much good stuff to be revealed very soon. Can’t wait to share with you!

We are on the homestretch to becoming published, my supportive friends. And I couldn’t be more excited and happy that you’re along with me on the journey.

Tomorrow is another fantastic guest blogger and I’m so very excited about this one, because I happen to be highlighting a book blogger who interacts with many readers and authors, some of my favorites. I look forward to sharing her thoughts tomorrow on the genre I’m about to embark on, so you won’t want to miss that.

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From time to time, I mess around with words. If you follow me on Twitter, you’ll know that it’s not unusual for me to tweet little droplets of prose, quirky phrases and bits of storyline – many not linked to any particular plot or future book – just to give my imagination a chance to…dance around a bit. Good for the creativity to take a swirl on the dance floor sometime. For no apparent reason other than to feel your hair swish about and the wind soar around your head.

Recently, I’ve played around with this from straight-up copy to poetry to limericks and even haiku for Pete’s sake! Thought you might get a kick out of these. Some are inspired by my book to come, The Muse Unlocked, still slated for late June 2013 release. Others may be inspired by specific events, memories or thoughts crowding my ever-churning mind. I hope you enjoy.

Happy reading!
ck

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POETRY

SERENDIPITY

A happy accident?
She pondered.
Could this be more than happenstance?
She believed in naught yet her heart danced.
Dragging desire from its dungeon, forcing a second look,
She found her faith, re-wrote her own ‘good book.’

A heart restored?
She wondered.
Would there be another series of incidents?
Or was this shred of hope mere coincidence?
Opening the past, thwarting residual tears,
She invited serendipity inside and released all fears.

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PROSE

Each time they touched, a rip current rushed to greet them. Lying beneath the surface, an intricate net of broken vows, ignored dreams and buried secrets threatened to suffocate and pull them under. Bobbing among the waves, they struggled to stay afloat until their burdens were too heavy and their weight settled to the sea floor, dragging along the shore and impeding their path, like seaweed caught in the toes of a forward step.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

LIMERICKS

There was an old chick with a pen
Gave her scribbles a plain-spoken spin
When she wrote the truth down
Greater things were abound
And she’d never be silent again.

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HAIKUS

The screenwriter tills.
The actor seeds and harvests
A storyline grows.

Hearts no longer open,
Another beams light and heat.
A woman must trust.

Lies and pasts stripped bare,
Intimacy redefined
Without fear or doubt.

One heart unfastens.
Tenderness reawakens.
Story rewritten.

Can Choice of POV Mean DOA?

So, I’ve hit a wall again with my reading. It happens.

Client work keeps me really busy and there’s the not-so-simple matter of finalizing the mountain of book details before publishing, preliminary marketing and mucho tasks still to do that make it nearly impossible to start a book let alone stay awake long enough to read it.

I was sooooooooo eager to read Jamie McGuire’s follow-up to Beautiful Disaster released recently. And though I started Walking Disaster around my birthday – now over a month ago – I didn’t finish it until just the other day. Because of a new practice — I say gimmick — that’s becoming more prevalent and much panned by the fans, though they may have only themselves to blame. The alternate POV.

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-image-couple-holding-hands-image15708971Now, don’t get me wrong: of course, when I read any book in the female protagonist’s point of view, I’m slightly curious as to what that same book would sound like from the lead male character’s perspective. But be careful what you wish for. Sometimes what we think we want, we actually do not want at all. And while there may be different layers and colors to the story because it is being delivered from a totally separate and unique voice, it doesn’t change the fact that (A) the story plot points will remain the same and (B) the dialogue that features both characters is, yep, you guessed it, going to be identical, too. So, essentially, you’re hearing the same story retold. While hopes of hearing some new conversations and witnessing new revelations about said male character may be appear in the book, overall, these can be fairly scarce as in the latest McGuire follow-up. And this isn’t a slight at this author at all. Quite the contrary, I frequently cite McGuire as being very influential in my interest in the genre in the first place and she is by no means the only author to use this device.

What I question is why fans that beg and beg authors to do this then turn on them when they do? I have seen so much flak over McGuire’s sequel, people who are positively LIVID with the final results.  I am certain that the book is the result of those same fans’ loud and bubbly appeals for more Travis ‘Mad Dog’ Maddox! Folks, you wanted to hear from your book boyfriend, so there you go! You got him!

Some writers like M. Leighton (Up to Me) and J. A. Redmerski (The Edge of Never) do a fantastic job volleying back and forth from chapter to chapter representing multiple POVs while continuing to move the plot along without repetitiveness or an opportunity for boredom to set in. It is done skillfully, creatively and compellingly for the reader.

I went back and forth on choosing how I would tell my story for my upcoming book The Muse Unlocked. Initially, it was first person, present tense. Then, omniscient third person present tense and back to first-person past tense. Like a see-saw. I really struggled to make up my mind. Finally, I decided on ominiscient third person past tense.  And I’m glad that I did. The reader primarily gets an inside look into the main female character’s thoughts but there are some scenes in the book, where I do let the reader privy to what’s behind the words and actions of the lead male and I believe it was a simple case of being a reader of this beloved genre myself.

As I wrote, I kept asking myself – if it were me reading this, what would I want to know? Whose mind would I want to crawl up inside and examine more closely?

I’ve heard some authors talk about writing for genres outside their own favorite reading preferences simply because they had that one great big idea or they developed a following early and kept on feeding it. I don’t think I could do that. If I fell out of love with a style or genre, I think my heart would pull my words and stories somewhere else. I believe I would feel compelled to travel in a different direction.

Right now, this is where my heart lies and is supposed to be, and I feel fortunate that I know this. My own POV is clear as a bell. Now if only choosing it for our characters were that easy…

Happy reading!
ck

CHRIS’S CORNER Welcomes Guest Blogger Carrie Bailey: Friends Don’t Let Friends Blog Alone

Yesterday, I let the proverbial cat out of the bag in a new blog. The concept of #FollowFridays just took on a whole new meaning at the KuhnStories site.

Today marks the introduction of CHRIS’S CORNER, a special Friday feature during which I pass the reins to a trusted voice and give that guest the floor here at my blog to shed some light on a topic of interest to me, as well as my readers and blog followers.

I’m excited about launching the inaugural edition of this new Friday morning guest blogger series by introducing you to the key inspiration for it. Her name is Carrie Bailey, and if you don’t already follow her, I suspect you will by the time you’re done reading her blog.

Carrie hails from the Pacific Northwest and has the coffee addiction to substantiate it. More than that, the self-described “dystopian author” had the creativity, ingenuity and chutzpah to approach me about guest-blogging at my site. When I responded with my signature dopey look of confusion tinged with a little shame, she offered to enlighten and virtually christen my blog in the role of guest blogger. Seeing an educational opportunity that could stretch far beyond this week, I decided to invite others after Carrie to talk about a variety of topics of interest among the worlds of books, writing, pop culture and the like, so you will hear from many of these incredible people for weeks and months to come.

So, today, CHRIS’S CORNER brings you Carrie Bailey, author of  the fortchcoming The Guards of Auck and the novella Bungle of Oz, among others. She also serves as a charming ringmaster of sorts for a talented consortium of independent writers at The Peevish Penman. This blog is worth checking out for writers of any genre and level of experience to savor practical writing and publishing tips and advice wrapped in a tasty, nutritious and frequently hilarious wrapper. For more info about Carrie and her work, you can also visit www.carriebaileybooks.com.

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Chris wrote the most touching post I’ve read in a long time. It was titled My Own Sesame Street (Sort of). At the end of the post, she thanked the people online who make her feel like part of something bigger than just one computer and one woman with a story to tell. The best part is that I was one of them. Me. That was awesome.

After I finished reading it, I contacted her and suggested a guest post. Chris responded by telling me she would have to figure out how that would be done. I was stunned. Floored. Gasping for breath. A friend of mine who hadn’t been guest posting? This would be fixed, and I was just the blogger to get the ball rolling. After explaining the email, cut, and paste routine, I thought about what it was like when I first begin inviting guests to post on Peevish Penman.

Most of the people who agreed to write a post for my site were looking to increase the traffic to their own online homes. Each guest post is an opportunity for blogging authors to link to their websites, blogs, Facebook accounts, Twitter accounts, and similar. The authors I invited wrote about press releases, writing scams, and lots of important issues about working as a freelance writer that I didn’t understand at the time, to be honest. I’ve gone back and read those posts when I was ready for the information and often found them invaluable.

Some of my early guest authors were people who sought out author websites for quick links and put no useful information in their posts. No opinions. No resources. No interesting anecdotes. They got a few quick links, stated what they were selling, and then I never heard from them again. My blog often felt cheaper after they had gone. Dirty almost, like it needed a metaphorical shower and a friend’s shoulder to cry on over an afternoon mimosa. This happens because links inside blog posts on other websites are used in the complex calculations that Google performs to determine which pages and posts come up in their search engine. Yeah, that applies to the other search engines, too, and that’s all they were after. They didn’t care about me or my blog AT ALL! Sob!

Great guest posting experiences have the same things in common with great dinner party guests, i.e. bringing wine, arriving on time, amusing anecdotes. There are just a few guidelines that make all the difference.

Bring quality content.

Imagine if you invited someone to your house for dinner and then they handed out their business card, bragged about their busy schedule, tried to sell all the other guests insurance or something, and then left early. Yeah, no. They won’t be invited back. A good guest post brings something of value to your blog. They offer experience, humor, support, and they avoid going for the hard sell.

Personally, I didn’t know what to say when I first started writing guest posts for other people’s blogs. I had been posting other people’s writing on my own site for two years before I gathered the courage to ask someone if I could write something for them. It wasn’t exactly good. I tried to be funny, but I didn’t understand their audience. The author who accepted my second attempt changed half of my wording until it didn’t even sound like me anymore. We still tweet each other though. We were both learning and they understood that as well as I did.

Build relationships.

The Internet brings out the strangest behavior in otherwise normal people. You wouldn’t show up to someone’s house, open the door, and shout, “I’m awesome! Buy my stuff! Bye!” and then turn around run down their driveway cackling madly about how great you are at business without engaging anyone in conversation. Yet, the internet leads some to think this is the best way to approach visiting other people’s blogs. Some authors don’t even return to your site to respond to comments.

Guest posters may not have anything to offer each other for a while after exchanging posts. But, done right, it’s the start of a good relationship. Sometimes I catch one of their tweets or they catch mine and we rekindle our association. Morgan Barnhart wrote many posts for my site in the early stages of my writing career when I was blogging without a clue. Now she owns Sociable Boost and I know I can go to her site for the best information about social media. She’s also a voice talent and is one of the first people to review my publications.

That’s right. Effective guest posting is about networking. When I get a chance to connect one on one with another author, we often sit down and trade efforts over a few weeks. We trade badges, which are another way to increase linking, we trade reviews of each other’s work, we trade tips on blogging and social media, and we give each other beneficial feedback. These relationships can run their course, but often that leads to us recommending each other for years. It’s more than just a link.

Occasionally, I run into someone who doesn’t want to network and is only interested in being a writing buddy and we exchange contact information. They may want to work together eventually, but they don’t feel ready to self-promote. These can be valuable friends, but I take caution and put limits on my interactions with people who don’t view writing as a business. Jealousy comes in all forms and it seems to hover around those obsessed with their worth as artists. Yes, I’ve gotten drunk calls from writers. Writers who wasted my time by posting guest posts of mine and pulled them down when I didn’t take their drunk call every evening and stop working on my novel to begin a joint venture with them. Wait, no, I mean alcoholics. Avoid alcoholic authors. Shy ones are fine.

 I want to thank Chris for giving me the chance to write about guest posting. I’m finally at the place where I feel comfortable with what I have to offer other people with my writing. If there is any advice I can give Chris or anyone else on getting started, I’d like to say treat people’s blogs like their homes. That’s what I’m really trying to say. We spend a lot of time developing them and making them our face to the world of online publishing. If you can remember that at all times, you’ll be in high demand and well admired everywhere you post.

Carrie Bailey is the author of a reptilian self-help book and an Oz novella about Bungle, the glass cat with pink marble brains. She obsesses over pineapple and coffee daily on Twitter as @PeevishPenman.

The Curious Case of…Ta Da!

Epiphanies are funny. I always picture them taking place after some mad scientist sweats over his completely incomprehensible contraption for hours and hours and then suddenly – eureka, puff of smoke, light bulb and all of that other cliche imagery – abracadabra! An idea arrives. Like a super-charged Pop-Tart ricocheting from out of nowhere.

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I had one last night. Or this morning actually. An epiphany, not a Pop-Tart. A decision I had been struggling with for so long with regard to my book or rather the book to follow it rattled my brain. 

Titles. I’m a fairly good headline writer when I write articles, but book titles are a completely different beast.

Anyway, I knew what my book title would be for this first novel – THE MUSE UNLOCKED –  but I also knew that I had way too many plot miles I wanted these characters to travel for one book. I have at least a second book if not a third tucked away in my imagination for Cate and Oliver. So I went back and forth, even had some strange dreams about the titles one day that I had worked far too much and for far too long on the book. I came up with a few titles for the second book and for a possible third installment, too. But while I’d like one of the titles, nearly every time, I hated the other.

So what I want to know is why did the clouds part and the clarity sweep over me at 5:10 a.m. this morning after my body and my mind logged not one minute of sleep? I wasn’t supposed to be able to pour a cup of coffee without spilling it let alone come up with something creative and damn perfect for what I want to convey.

That isn’t supposed to happen. Not on zero sleep. Right? That’s what I thought, too. Of course, the reason I was up all night was because I was finishing the main content of the book.

That’s right. The core content is done. I still have some smaller author-related pieces to compose and an important book two preview to feature at the end, but the story itself is just two more thorough reads away from finding its way into my book editor’s hands.

Damn.

And, of course, I’m not going to tell you what those book titles are. After all, I haven’t even released the first book yet, but let’s just say, my imagination is taking a day of rest in honor of the momentous occasion.

I’d take a monorail to cloud nine if I wasn’t so lightheaded from the all-night writing fest. For now, I will simply be thankful for the inexplicable appearance of epiphanies and their penchant to come along at the strangest, most unexpected moments. Yes, sir, may I please have another?! And I will never take them for granted and would welcome them any time they care to show up on my doorstep.

A Pop-Tart on my doorstop would sound pretty good right now, too.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

It’s been a little while since I shared a book teaser. Look for another one to come your way faster than you can say…presto!

Okay, maybe not that fast, but soon. Real soon.

Happy reading!
ck

Signed, Sealed, Delivered…Soon, Baby!

 ????????????????????????????????????????I’m excited about tonight.

For one thing, I’m finally getting to meet an author that I’ve communicated with virtually for over five years yet I’ve never met her. When I was the editor for a local women’s magazine, I interviewed her (by phone) for our online edition and wrote a profile about her. Tonight, I’m going to her book signing and I couldn’t be happier for her. I’ll finally get a chance to say hello in person, maybe give her a hug because I feel like I know her and buy a signed copy of her book.

The other reason I’m especially interested in going is for the book signing itself. I think I’ve only gone to two such events before – ever. And yet, in less than three months, I plan to publish my own book, THE MUSE UNLOCKED. As strange as the concept sounds as it reverberates off of the rubber walls of my kooky, confounded mind, I expect that I will be doing a book signing or two of my own.

Gulp.

I won’t lie to you. A sudden bolt of panic just shot through me at the concept of holding a book signing and…<crickets> The room is empty. Like hosting a party, and no one showing up. Besides, who would want me signing anything? I have really shitty penmanship. I guess I’d better practice my signature before then, huh?

Neurotic, I know.

I’ve heard theories that all performers, artists and writers have deep-seated psychoses and neuroses, so perhaps I should find this latest revelation of the breadth of my insecurities encouraging. Maybe I do have the right stuff to make the big time after all!

<More crickets.>

Or maybe not.

Aah, there’s my good friend, Self-Doubt. Back from a sabbatical, I see. May I introduce you to the rest of your table party for the evening, Dr. Doom,  Miss Melodrama and Sir Self-Fulfilling Prophecy?

So, yes, I will go to the book signing tonight. And no, I am not seeing a therapist. Yet.

There have been plenty of book signing opportunities I could have attended over the past six months if my only reason for going were for research purposes. I truly am going to this particular signing to support my friend. But I expect I probably will be recording some mental notes, too.

And somewhere deep, deep, deeeeeeep in the dark, cobweb-covered recesses of my brain, there’s a little gawky cheerleader doing cartwheels and leaps into the air getting ready for the summer adventures that await.

Morning Book Morsels for 02.02.13

I have been missing in action, haven’t I? I’m sorry…

From the blog, yes, I have been,  but from books – mine or others – hell, no, I’ve been as obsessed as ever. In fact, I thought this might be a good time to pass along some updates.

  • BOOK UPDATE FROM ME – So if you’ve been following along here or on my previous blog, you know that I’ve been working on my first novel, a contemporary romance.  I’m happy to say that I am now officially two-thirds of the way through the story (about 70,000 words)! I am also thrilled to report that I seem to have located my book editor and can’t wait to work with her. She and I met together for the first time this past week, and I truly believe we’ll make a great team. Most exciting of all, it was the first time that anyone else has laid eyes on Cate Mullen and Oliver Sand —their first four chapters, at least! — and I was thrilled to introduce her to them and their story just as I cannot wait to introduce them to you!http://www.dreamstime.com/-image23685146There are a lot of tasks (many thrilling and many daunting) still at hand but as long as the content itself flows steadily and I’m able to tackle these other very relevant elements and decisions as I go, I say I’m still on schedule for a summer release. The “exactly when” may still be a bit of a mystery (even if the book isn’t that genre), but ever the optimist when it comes to this, I’m going to stick with June 2013 for now and continue aiming for that! I will keep you posted. If you’d like to stay in the loop on its release, become a subscriber to this blog today to get the latest news of when it will be available and for those in the Tampa Bay area about any special launch events held locally or online.
  • E-BOOK RELEASES FROM OTHERS – Can you believe it? We’re finally just days away from two hotly anticipated releases?  On February 5, readers can check out e-books from rock erotica writer Olivia Cunning with her fourth Sinners on Tour installment Hot Ticket (can’t wait!) and Sylvia Day‘s A Lush Kiss of Surrender, a novella in the Renegades Trilogy (which I will admit I have not read yet). Having just read the three other Cunning novels merely weeks ago, I am on pins and needles awaiting the latest rock romance even though I understand paperbacks are already out there and available in some places. But I have become a Kindle convert and so I shall wait it out…gasp…another three days. Oh the horror…
  • TEASERS, TEASERS, AND MORE TEASERS – Many authors have been dazzling us these past couple of weeks with teasers. If you’ve missed the links, maybe I can catch you up right here. For teasers to the still untitled book 3 of the Gabriel trilogy from Sylvain Reynard, check out the author’s most recent blog here where he includes links to the specific book bloggers hosting his two previous teasers. And let me tell you, they are so very worth the effort to locate. Trust me. Mmm……S.C. Stephens, who has all of her fans (this one included!) panting as they wait eagerly for the return of sexy rocker Kellan Kyle and his band, has been kind enough to hold up her end of the bargain following a successful Facebook campaign and share the release of not only chapter 1 but most recently unveiled chapter 2 of the third and final installment of her series Reckless. Dig in, fans, if you dare. I, myself, am afraid it will be like a really fine chocolate or moscato and just leave me wanting more and have opted to hold off until the whole book is available, March 5. Sigh. Yes, perhaps I am a bit of a Joan of Arc. So shoot me. (Or perhaps hoist me up and set me on fire would have been more accurate here…) Oh, and if you’re truly a Kellan fan (who isn’t and if not, are they a zombie then?), you may also want to check out an extra-special Kellan-POV version of Chapter 6 of the original book in the trilogy Thoughtless, which Stephens also recently shared as a special thank you to readers……And one final teaser, if you happened to miss it. It’s short and sweet but we’ll take what we can get when me miss our favorite book characters, won’t we? Jamie McGuire released a third teaser prior to the early April release of Walking Disaster at her blog, so be sure to check it out if you’ve waited far too long for the return of one Mr. Travis Maddox.
  • Finally, while I perhaps have been a bit lazy as a blogger, my reading habits have stayed loyal and true, I assure you, and so has my commitment to review everything I read starting this year. You can check out all of my recent book reviews at GoodReads.com by clicking here. In particular, some recent reads like Jodi Ellen Malpas’ This Man and its follow-up Beneath This Man, as well as Shelly Crane‘s Significance series, Jay Crownover‘s Rule, M. Leighton‘s Up to Me and Tiffany Reisz‘s The Prince left very distinct impressions…and not always matching the consensus of other readers. And hey, if you too are an avid reader, particularly in the romance or erotica genres, reach out to become my friend on the site or subscribe to follow my reviews. I have a little over 20 already written (yes, it HAS been a busy reading year!) and I may be able to offer some insight before you make the purchase. And I promise that I’ll never spoil it for you as a reader but may point out some aspects to the style of the book that you either love or hate, so I could you save you some moula or frustration. Just stop by my page on GoodReads and let’s crack open a merlot, shall we?

Happy reading!

ck

Putting Characters in Their Place

My first novel’s progress? I’m officially at over 60,000 words now and one scene shy of completing 13 chapters (though it is a very lengthy and significant scene for the story). Let’s toast…clink!  Yes, I’m happy to say that I crossed another milestone, 60,000 words – definitely much more pleased now then when my car crossed 60,000…about 70,000 miles ago.

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I just finished writing two scenes that placed my two lead characters in an art museum, and it led me to ponder a topic or question rather that I wanted to pose to any of the authors who follow me. I know certainly on Twitter, a growing number of fellow fiction writers have recently begun following me, and I’d like very much to start a casual dialogue among us about process. There’s so much that I know I can learn from all of you, and who knows? Even though it’s my debut, perhaps not being set to follow any pre-established way of building a novel, I might share some fresh ideas that intrigue you, too.

I found myself becoming quite absorbed as I began writing my scenes in this location – and by the way, it is a REAL museum and not one that I’ve personally visited. But I was able to locate quite a few links online to rooms and pieces within the museum as well as others’ thoughts on their experience there.  I found creating the atmosphere for the characters to explore like the exterior grounds and the exhibit rooms themselves to be an aspect of telling the story that I had never really considered before.

Remember – I’m new to fiction – I’m an article and profile writer by profession, so I’m not all that concerned with building compelling sets with what I do, not to any great length, that is. This has been both exciting and challenging to adjust to. How descriptive do you go? When do you start to lose sight of your characters and focus too much on the details surrounding them?

So I wanted to ask other writers who may be reading this —

When you are placing characters in a specific and REAL location that’s relevant to the series of events happening in that scene, how do you approach creating that setting? Do you rely on a lot of online research? Insist on going to the actual site before writing the scene? Or simply build your vision of that locale in the scene completely from your imagination without any research or real-world input?

I’m just curious and would love to hear from other writers about their approach. Thanks in advance to those willing to share here in comments or at my Twitter page.

Oh, and that picture in the middle. That’s the museum where my characters spend a little quality time. If you recognize it, well, then good for you. You already know where at least a few scenes of my novel take place. If you don’t, you will. Soon. In about 6 months. 🙂

Happy reading,

ck