Weeding Through It

This past week I was struck with plot problems, which coincided with both a beta reader critique as well as a Revise and Resubmit from a publishing company. One major issue was pacing and the other was that I missed the mark on a key turning point for two main characters, which in turn reflected on other issues needing to be strengthened. Yes, this is for book one in the Gothic family saga that’s possessed my time, energy, and effort the past two years. And since this issue was pointed out in the first manuscript the effects will ripple through the seven other stories in the series.

After my initial freak out—which I let simmer over night—I read through the critique/suggestions again and decided to turn to the place I go when I need to plot: the yard. Yes, it’s January but on the Gulf Coast there’s always yardwork to be done. After the last freeze, the remainder of the lantana plants were ready to be pruned for the season and the flower bed was in need of weeding.

So I took my pensive thoughts, grabbed the wheelbarrow and pruners, pulled on my gloves, and set to work. By the first half-hour I knew the problem wasn’t as big as I feared. The situations, people, and history were there already, I just hadn’t dug into that corner of the character’s past thoroughly because I didn’t want to wallow in that part of his dark life. As I worked, I allowed my mind to wander and focused on two despicable people associated with the character in question that I knew could be involved. It was easy to narrow down the right one once I gave myself permission to dig deeper.

After about an hour, I knew which minor character would be the catalyst and began forming the outline of a new character from the shadows of the past I’d kept locked away. The new character was always there, just not named or explored.

With the situation, characters, and history mapped, I processed where in the manuscript the information could be placed. As organically as the history came to me, it was clear to see that there were natural places to insert the backstory into the manuscript without jarring or taking away what was already there. Looking at the coming manuscripts, the revelation only solidifies the anguish and choices he will make in the stories as the saga unfolds. The history was there all along, I only needed to prune away the unnecessary layers hiding the base of the character’s life.

When all else fails, go to the garden.

Where do you go to think?

Corroded in the Wild

Corroded, April 12, 2016.

Corroded, April 12, 2016.

Today’s the day! You can get your copy of Corroded, a young adult contemporary novel, on all e-reader platforms or in paperback. Last week’s Kindle pre-orders pushed it to the top spot for “Hot New Releases in Teen & Young Adult Christian Social Issue Fiction” category. WooHoo! Ordering links can by found on my BOOKS page. In case you’ve missed the news, here’s what it’s about:

 

Fifteen-year-old Mary Lou Weber is suffocating in her sister’s shadow. Though she struggles to break into the light and claim her own identity—and the attention of the cutest guy in school—something always seems to pull her right back down into the role of Barbara’s little sister.

Down the street lives seventeen-year-old Ben Thomas, a lonely introvert who is captive to a sensory condition that makes it nearly impossible for him to stand in sunlight, much less talk to people whom he thinks could never understand his difficulties.

A new year kindles the friendship between a guy who pushes away a world and the girl who’s striving to find her place in it. Can the relationship help Mary and Ben find balance in a world that frequently seems too much to handle?

 

Like my other stories, I incorporated my love of music into the writing process for Corroded. The following is the complete soundtrack, with songs from both Mary’s and Ben’s perspectives. You’ll see some of my favorite musicians, but also a few surprises. I’m just highlighting a few of them with links, but search the others out yourself—they’re well worth it.

 

Hello, Mary Lou” Ricky Nelson

“The Very Thought of You” Ricky Nelson

“You Are a Tourist” Death Cab for Cutie

“Burning Down Inside” Tyketto

“Dying to Be Alive” Hanson

“I’m the One” Mitch Malloy

“Somewhere I Belong” Linkin Park

“Start From the Dark” Europe

Keep One Heart” Nelson

“Brave and Beautiful Soul” Europe

Life” Rick Nelson

 

As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts on this post or any of my books. Comments, questions, and reviews are welcome. Happy reading!

Guest Post: Jaded Love Tour

Today I’m pleased to host fellow Anaiah Press authors, Kara Leigh Miller and Jody Holdford. Last year I enjoyed the first book in The Mending Hearts series, Dangerous Love, and now they are celebrating the release of book two: Jaded Love.
JadedLove_Holford-Miller_KINDLE-NOOK

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

by

Kara Leigh Miller & Jody Holford

 

“A Picture is worth a thousand words” is a phrase originally credited to Frederick R. Barnard in reference to the effectiveness of graphics in advertising. Later, he then attributed it to a Chinese proverb. Regardless of who first said it, this is really a very powerful sentiment, even for writers.

 

As authors, words are our currency. We spend our days, nights, weekends, (every spare moment) make our living by playing with words. We string them together to create new worlds and people, to create situations and invoke emotions that will (hopefully) resonate with readers. We agonize over each word choice, each sentence, each paragraph until we feel it’s the absolute best it can be. But what people might not realize is that readers are also very visual people. We have the ability to visualize our characters, our settings, our books! They often play out like movies in our minds.

 

Sometimes, seeing an image can spark an idea for a new scene or some new dialogue. So, to help keep us motivated, to stave off writer’s block, and to assist in our promotional efforts, we utilized a lot of visual aids — namely, stock photos of our characters and our settings. It helped us solidify them in our minds and they worked wonders in keeping us both on the same page as far as writing descriptions. Jody even created a Pinterest board for Jaded Love, which you can visit here: https://www.pinterest.com/jholford/jl/

 

Today, we’re sharing some of these pictures with all of you so that you can see how we’ve always envisioned Jackson, Kristy, and the world that is Jaded Love. Hopefully they’ll resonate with you as they did with us.

 

Meet Jackson Reed… We always imagined him as this tall, somewhat imposing, closed off tough guy detective. He’s generally sporting some days’ old stubble because he’s a workaholic, but deep down, he’s got a heart of gold. The snippet is Kristy’s first impression of him.

 

Jackson darker

This is Jackson and Kristy’s first kiss, which takes place during a singles dance hosted by Pastor Ethan and his church. When the evening started, neither of them expected a kiss, so it certainly took them by surprise, but as soon as it happened, they knew there was no going back.

 

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An important part of Jaded Love is the group therapy sessions that Jackson and Kristy attend in the basement of the church. Even though it’s an emotionally intense thing that they go through, we’d always envisioned it as a small, close-knit, supportive group.

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Even though we deal in words, pictures are often just as important, and to us, they really do speak a thousand words.

Jody Holford_ Author Pic

Jody Holford

 

Kara Leigh Miller

Kara Leigh Miller

Thanks for stopping by, ladies! I loved visuals, too. As a bonus, this tour is hosting a giveaway. ENTER TO WIN A $25 Amazon Gift Card: https://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/527093932/

Find Jaded Love on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Jaded-Love-Mending-Hearts-Book-ebook/dp/B018HS72VG/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1453766083&sr=1-2&keywords=jaded+love

And on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/28378045-jaded-love?from_search=true&search_version=service

To see more posts about Jaded Love check out the full tour: https://anaiahpress.wordpress.com/2016/01/25/follow-the-jaded-love-blog-tour/

Fortitude Keeps on Plugging Away

It’s been over a month since Fortitude released in its e-reader formats and two weeks since the paperback release. Reviews are slowly coming in. I know there are those who’s paper copy hasn’t been delivered yet, so I’m expecting more conversation once those are out in the world. When you’ve read Fortitude I’d love to hear your thoughts in any format–traditional review, comments on social media, private message, or whatever works best for you.  And in case you haven’t gotten around to buying a copy, ordering links from several companies can be found on my BOOKS page.

As far as I know, Candice Conner relieved the first delivery of the print edition.

As far as I know, Candice Conner received the first delivery of the print edition.

 

Right now I’m hard at work on my next project. During my writing time this morning I passed the 10,000 word mark. That’s always an exciting milestone. It’s fun to be working on something new after all the edits last year. (Still awaiting the final round of edits for Corroded–coming April 12–but other than that, it’ll be fresh pages for the next few months.)

What has this new year brought you? Hope it’s mostly good.

Reminder: You can sign-up for my monthly newsletter here.

Christmas Blessings

Christmas cheer goes a long way, especially when unpacking from a trip the day before Christmas. While off on a magical vacation this past week I received equally exciting news: Fortitude is an official nominee for the Whitney Awards!

Whitney Nominee 1

Finalists will be announced in February, so if there is any more Whitney Awards news to share, that’s the next time it will happen.

Keep in mind the paperback edition of Fortitude will be released in eleven days. I know some of you have been holding out for a print copy–thank you for your patience. Once you’ve read it (either digital or print), please leave a short review online where you purchased it or at a book review site. Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Goodreads are the most viewed locations but any place is great. Reviews go a long way, and even just one sentence is wonderful. Word of mouth goes a long way, too. Please recommend it to your book-loving friends and family.

Happy Christmas to all!

P.S. In case you missed it, here’s a link to the complete listing of all the stops on Fortitude‘s blog tour over the past two weeks. Lots of insight and tidbit about the book and why/how I wrote it.

Release Day: Take One

Today Fortitude is out in the virtual world. (It will be available in paperback on January 5, 2016–less than a month away!)

Fortitude banner
Whether you’re waiting for the print edition or reading on an electronic device Anaiah Press has a great blog tour featuring Fortitude that began today on their site. There’s a link to the listings of all the other dates/sites hosting information about the novel and my writing, too. Be sure to check it out.

After you read, be sure to leave a review on one of the book retailer sites or Goodreads. Reviews and recommending books are the best way to help authors. Thanks for following my journey–it’s still an uphill climb but I’ll carry on.

 

Fortitude is Almost Here

A week and a half to go until Fortitude is out in the world. It’s an exciting, frightening, emotional time but being surrounded by encouraging family and supportive friends make it all easier. So does having a gorgeous cover and awesome professional team.

Fortitude cover

If you’re interested in a Kindle copy, Amazon has the pre-order link up. I’ll be sure to share other sources as they become available.

For now, have a blessed Thanksgiving weekend!