Friday, July 18, 2014

Why I Write by Kevin V Symmons

People who know I came from a successful business career often ask me this question.  The easiest way to begin is to answer in the reverse. I do not write to gain fame and riches though I would love to have a New York Times number one best-seller and the royalties and adulation it would bring. I do not write so that I can hobnob with the cool kids or the inside sanctum of the literati. I do not write so I can talk on national TV with Matt Lauer or Oprah... Don't misunderstand me all those things would be great fun and I have no lack of ego so they would admittedly be gratifying. I have had the good fortune to be successful in my pre-writing life so putting words to paper does not feed the kids or pay the mortgage. I don't write to earn a living.

So then—you're asking by now why do you spend thousands of hours brooding over a novel crafting it till you're satisfied it's a piece worthy of sending to your readers?

The answer is patently simple... I love telling stories and (hopefully) the enjoyment they bring. I always have. I am a baby-boomer and grew up on folklore of WWII so I wrote my first short story about PT boats when I was twelve. I was enough of a nerd and a mediocre athlete so I toiled over the school paper while others wore the highly coveted school letter on their jackets.

I had the great good fortune to have emotive, enthusiastic English teachers in high school and at the undergraduate collegiate level who pushed and prodded me to the limit, bless them. Life, the military, and my growing family precluded any idea of seriously pursuing writing as anything other than a pastime or part of my job, but I always joked that someday I would write a great American novel knowing it had been done more than once. 

I had the good fortune to leave my business early and low and behold though it took many false starts, rejections, and the bolstering loyalty of supportive family, friends, and fellow authors, after several years my long dormant dream became a reality when I got what's referred to in publishing as "the call!"

And though I write slowly, I've averaged about a novel a year over the last five. Three have been published, two have been Amazon best-sellers and my debut novel was a finalist in a prestigious awards competition.

So why do I continue? Well... though I haven't had that date on the Today show yet I have achieved some recognition, made so many wonderful writing friends I've lost track, helped to run a respected writing organization, and even taught creative writing at the junior college level.

And though I am not Mary Higgins Clark or John Grisham I have had my share of rewarding "fan" encounters. I could go on, but I hope you get my point. I began this journey because I loved telling my stories and somewhere along the line it seemed that those who read my work liked them, too.

Part of it is ego. Everyone who crafts a story and asks another to read it feels he/she has something worthy of telling. But much of it is simply the enjoyment of discovering that some readers out there have enjoyed our work enough that it gave them pleasure and perhaps a respite from this fast-paced, chaotic, often frustrating world.

Matt and Oprah... eat your hearts out. NY Times book editors I have not thrown in the towel but for now, I'm happy doing what I do. Perhaps we'll have a date sometime in the future...

Enjoy this spectacular summer!

Kevin V. Symmons
Author of Solo


Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Inspiration for Hurricane Crimes by Chrys Fey

In 2004, Hurricane Frances, with her brothers Charley and Ivan, attacked Florida one right after the other. These storms, especially Frances inspired my story, HURRICANE CRIMES. In this post, I recall my experiences with a Category 4 hurricane.

***

As Hurricane Frances inched her way to the Florida coast, a vast net of gray clouds overtook the sky. Standing on my driveway, with my hair and skirt blowing in the wind and my head tipped back, I could see the circular motion of the clouds. The wind picked up and I watched a neighbor’s forgotten trashcan go rolling down the road.

For the rest of the day, I watched Dinotopia and played dominos while I waited for the hurricane to hit. The TV would go in and out, and I remember cheering when it fought back to life. That night, the winds became so intense that the transformer in my backyard started sparking. Glowing embers rained down into the darkness below. I eyed the transformer like a ticking time bomb. Not long later, it popped with a blast of yellowish-blue light and a sheet of darkness draped over my house.

While I was sleeping, rain dropped in heavy ribbons onto the roof. Wind slammed into the boards covering the windows next to my bed, prying me out of my sleep several times, and I was always relieved to see the walls were still standing around me.

When I woke in the morning, Hurricane Frances was gone. In the light of day, which was obscured by layers of clouds, I found my neighbor’s fence flat on the ground, the roof over my porch torn, and my garage door crumpled.
I spent a week with my family without power. The temperature was high, but Hurricane Frances left behind a nice breeze. To battle the heat, I dragged my mattress to the middle of the living room and slept with all the doors and windows open to create cross-ventilation.

Days after the storm passed, my sisters and I ventured into the city where we heard FEMA was handing out supplies. Driving down deserted roads was surreal. We didn’t pass a single car on our way into the city. All the lights were down and uniformed soldiers stood at busy intersections to navigate the few cars toward the relief stations. We received MRE’s (Meals Ready to Eat) for my whole family to last a few days.

After several days, the wait for our power to be restored became unbearable. Finally, Florida Power and Light workers came to our aid almost a week after the power went out. The sun had retreated down the sky by the time the lights winked on again.

And that was the end of Hurricane Frances’ reign. She caused 49 deaths, 12 billion dollars worth of damage, and wide-spread flooding throughout Florida and North Carolina. But she also inspired a writer.

Chrys Fey
http://www.facebook.com/chrysfey
http://www.writewithfey.blogspot.com

To Purchase

Monday, June 23, 2014

The Beauty of Scotland

When Neely Powell (Leigh Neely and Jan Powell) began writing True Nature, I (Leigh) was fortunate enough to visit her son's family in Scotland. Due to the birth of her granddaughter and the subsequent birth of her grandson, she spent a total of four months in and around the area of Giffnock, just a little ways from Edinburgh.

It really is a culture shock to live away from America. Grocery stores are different, the number of incredibly old buildings just boggles the mind, and the value of learning the history of where you are seemed enhanced.

I loved Giffnock. I became accustomed to walking everywhere, something I'd never done in America. There were times, however, when I did have to ask my sweet daughter-in-law to let me sit a while between going to the post office, the grocery store, and the local park. Unfortunately, I did not continue my walking once I returned home.

Giffnock looks much like a village of old, with its beautiful stone buildings and narrow streets. I didn't drive while over there. I was sure I'd forget which side of the road I should be on and cause an accident. My son and his wife have adapted well and since leaving Scotland, have lived in Dublin and are now in London. It makes for wonderful vacations and give us opportunities to get to know places in the UK, not just visit them.

At any rate, Giffnock plays a significant role in the story of True Nature. The family of shape shifters the story focuses on are from this area and have a long and colorful Scottish history that includes a battle between clans.

Here's an excerpt:

My thoughts went back to the little kitchen in the cottage where Hunter and I stayed. We were there for two months, in the countryside between Glasgow and Edinburgh. It was close enough to town to have fun and had enough land attached to give Hunter a place to roam free and work out the kinks of shapeshifting.

We were looked after that summer by two of the MacRae family’s devoted employees. Tall, spare Robert McPhee had once been the right hand man of Hunter’s grandfather and great-grandfather. Though his face was seamed with age, he didn’t miss a beat. He knew where Hunter and I were at all times, and had even shown up a time or two unexpectedly, both in the city and out in the countryside.

It was eerie, I remembered. It was as if he had a special ability where Hunter was concerned. Robert’s wife, Molly, was as short and round he was tall and thin. Though as ancient as he was, she kept the cottage sparkling and the scent of delicious savories and sweets coming from the kitchen. That trip was one of my best summer vacations.


The beautiful countryside of Scotland seemed the perfect setting for the home of shape shifters and dysfunctional psychics! Read True Nature for their story!

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Friday, June 20, 2014

What’s in a name?


Didn’t some sage on the 16th Century say, “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet”… perhaps, but would it be as enticing, as interesting?

How would we view romantic fiction’s most popular and notorious heroine were her name Maude instead of Scarlett O’Hara. And what if her long-suffering suitor was named Joe instead of Rhett Butler would he have garnered the same swashbuckling bravado in our imaginations. And this works not only for the bold, the driven, and the beautiful. Let’s try and imagine a dark-hearted, morose old man named Fred instead of Ebenezer Scrooge… not quite the same. And what about Alexandria Eyre? Somehow we find it hard to imagine Charlotte Bronte’s stubborn, small, plain heroine with such an illustrious name.

No, without a doubt, character names have a vital place in both historical and contemporary literature. How often do I here the ladies swoon when the name “Ranger” is mentioned in association with heroine Stephanie Plum. Somehow if Ms. Ivanovich had named him Bob the macho element would definitely be lacking.

Convinced yet. Great!

We authors resort to a wide variety of devices, formulas, and even tricks to try to give their characters names their reading audience will remember. I’ve never subscribed to one of the many services that offer names for sale. I have friends who do. Others search the news media. Some resort to the obituaries searching for names. My best writing friend seeks names that are not only distinctive but give an exotic flavor to her characters. I admit I’m more a grass roots type. I give my characters names that I (and my beta readers) find appropriate not through formula or science but by the touch and feel method.  

My debut novel featured a heroine named Courtney (Definition: of the court) who was the embodiment of a one-thousand year old Wiccan Goddess. Her heroine was named Robert… a strong masculine name. I intentionally abbreviated his proper name by having his intimates call him Robbie, an indication of his naïveté and relative immaturity, at least when compared with his beautiful but ancient heroine. The other strongest character was Simon, an all powerful male witch who embodied both the mystery and strength contained in his name.

My latest novel features Eric, a strong monosyllabic name (definition: one strong who rules) suited for my strong, Special Forces veteran hero and Ashley-Jean (definition: one who sees, which we discover she is), a brilliant, technology savant; a frightened young woman seeking refuge from the evil that pursues her. As a young, southern woman the name seemed to fit perfectly and my test readers agreed.
 
Which brings up another point: the name must not only lend a visual to the character’s image in the readers mind but must symbolize their place in the story.

In a few hundred words it’s difficult to give a thorough explanation of how and why we authors chose certain methods and different strategies to breathe life into our characters not only with their thoughts and deeds but by what we call them.

I welcome input from readers and fellow authors alike why and how you choose to name your characters. Until next time…

Kevin Symmons is a successful author, college faculty member, and president of one of the Northeast's most respected writing organizations. His paranormal novel, "Rite of Passage", was a 2013 RomCon Reader's Crown Award finalist and has been an Amazon Best Seller. "Out of the Storm", a contemporary romantic thriller set on Cape Cod, is has gathered numerous 5 star reviews and will keep you turning pages late into the night. His novel "Solo", is a sweeping women's fiction work that exposes the tragedy of domestic violence in America, will be released from his award-winning publisher, the Wild Rose Press, in 2014. Kevin has collaborated with award-winning Boston screenwriter and playwright Barry Brodsky in adapting one of his story ideas for the screen. He is a sought after public speaker who has appeared across New England. Visit Kevin and like his FB Author Page, @KevinSymmons on Twitter, at Goodreads, Amazon, and at his website, www.ksymmons.com



Tuesday, June 10, 2014

My Corner Office - Eve Dew Crook

I admire people who can write with music playing. I’d find it distracting, for I’d be humming the tune before I knew it. I’m a concentrator. (If there is such a word....) My little office was once a dinette off the kitchen. It’s small, but I have a glass door on one side and a window in front of my computer, so I don’t feel closed in. What the picture doesn’t show, behind me, is a large closet that houses my washer and dryer—and that clackety clack music is often my background.
My favorite time to write is all morning, but if I’m caught up in a scene that’s working, I’ll keep going through half the afternoon. After that my brain usually turns off. It’s the pattern I followed for Taking the Tumble, published last year by TWRP, and my new novel, with the working title of Peril Passion, Peru. (I do love alliteration, but I’ll happily settle for any better title someone dreams up!) 



Eve Dew Crook, author of Taking the Tumble published by TWRP, shows her office bulletin board with computer on left, 
printer on right. Photo is her son, sculpture photos are her husband's work. The button in the upper left corner reads, "I 
have abandoned my search for truth and am now looking for a good fantasy."

Monday, May 26, 2014

First Book Signing for Susan Sheehey's AUDREY'S PROMISE June 14th!

It’s official!

Susan Sheehey's first book signing will be at Barnes & Noble in Southlake, TX on Saturday, June 14th, from 2 – 5pm.

It’s real, it’s surreal, it’s incredible! It’s happy-dance time!

She'll have books ready to sign, swag to give away, and smiles for everyone. Come dance with her!

AUDREY'S PROMISE is her debut contemporary romance novel set in Texas. She'll also be there promoting her upcoming romantic suspense novel with the Wild Rose Press, PRINCE OF SOLANA.

If you're in the area and can make it, she'd LOVE to see you!

Susan Sheehey
http://susansheehey.com/2014/05/20/first-book-signing-june-14th/

http://www.SusanSheehey.com


Thursday, May 01, 2014

Happy Birthday to The Wild Rose Press

It's a beautiful day in the Garden.

Today we turn 8.  Wow, even typing that seems impressive.  During the years, we've seen so many small presses come and go. We've grown and adapted. And to still be standing is an accomplishment. The fact that we are flourishing and are considered one of the most established secure publishing houses in our arena is a proud fact.

There are authors who have been with us since the day we first opened to submissions. We've been lucky and it's a testament to the Garden that there are editors with us now who were with us when RJ and I had only the seeds of a new "kinder and gentler" publishing house. We had a team even when the company was simply a thought or a “what if” idea. Now here we are in 2014 celebrating 8 years!  

Best Publisher of the year Award for 6 of those years, numerous Eppies and other awards. We have a reputation for excellence in publishing, solid communication and customer service and we are still a kinder and gentler publishing experience.  Nowhere else will you get the type of hands-on attention and commitment than here in the Garden and that’s something we are incredibly proud of.

So much has changed in 8 years. And we know that the publishing world continues to change. But some things will never change. Our unwavering commitment to you, our readers and our authors. We wouldn't be celebrating 8 incredible years if you hadn’t believed in us. We should all be proud today of what we have accomplished.

I hope you will find some time today to celebrate with us in our chat room. http://chat.thewildrosepress.com/
You can find the chat link on our website http://thewildrosepress.com/ 

We will be celebrating all day from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Eastern.  Door prizes will be given out every hour. Meet a new editor or staff member every hour!

And follow us on Twitter! https://twitter.com/WildRosePress Watch for tweets on prizes, digital downloads and Wild Rose Press Gift Certificates.

It's our party, yours, mine, readers, authors, editors and those who are just discovering the wonderful place we call the Garden. The Wild Rose Press   

Thank you for blooming and growing every day with us.


Rhonda, RJ,  and the entire staff at The WildRosePress