Monday, November 23, 2015

Writing Historical Fiction

I am first a historian (TWRP convention rather than an historian) with a passion for the past. I came across a story that was the foundation for my first novel and a series here at TWRP. The problem was the details were both sketchy and contradictory. Two of my ancestors were murdered in a disagreement over the ownership of slaves. There is a little information in the official record, the court order book, and the first historical account was penned 60 years later from oral tradition. Needless to say, there was much possibility of error. Other accounts contradicted the first.

How to tell the story? I've always been a fan of historical novels. These take several forms such as alternative history (Lee prevails at Gettysburg), a fictional character in real events (the Flashman series by George MacDonald Fraser), and getting inside the heads of real people (The Killer Angels). In the case of fiction it is less important to have absolute historical accuracy than to have the story and the scene to be authentic. An author can jigger around events to make the story more manageable (Fraser does this). The important thing is to leave the reader with a good sense of the time and the events and even educate the reader about real personages.

In the case of my first book, Down The River

 I had a list of the known players, only the barest details of events. The rest was all mine. I decided to tell the story of the murders and the times from the point of view of Phyllis (real person) the only eyewitness to the crimes. I needed to learn about the location Eastern Kentucky and its history, the history and legal structure of slavery, and concurrent events (War of 1812) that might influence the characters' actions. Research began in every book at the library, even the Library of Congress, dealing with local history. I even got books on the natural history of the region. I visited Colonial Williamsburg o see how houses were built, how ox carts operated, and what people made and ate.

More to follow

David Wilma

Saturday, November 21, 2015

My Apocalypse Survival Kit by Trish Arcangelo

Since my new release, BREAKOUT, has a post-apocalyptic setting, it got me to thinking about how I would fare in the apocalypse. What I would have in my survival kit? I’m not really what one would call…er…tough. I doubt I would make it very far with my meager skill set. Therefore I will leave the more legitimate list of survival supplies (matches, knife, compass, etc) to someone with more business using them. Instead I’ve come up with something a bit lighter. My list has more to do with comfort. If I did make it, I would have a lot of hours in each day to fill. No TV, no internet, no phone. The horror! So here’s what I’d have in my backpack to keep myself comfortable, happy, and to stave off any post-apocalyptic boredom:

1) A few of my favorite romance novels, the ones I can re-read a hundred times and never get sick of. I have a list of some of my favorites on my website if you want to check them out.
2) A plastic wine goblet. Assuming I’m lucky like Monarch, the heroine in Breakout, and end up near a store with a fully stocked wine selection, I will want to make sure I have a way to drink it. I’d rather not have to use my hands. I’m not above it, but……
3) A corkscrew (see number 2)
4) Baby wipes. Since opportunities to bathe might be few and far between, I would want a way to clean up a bit. Smelling nice is high on my list.
5) Lotion. (see number 4, smelling nice can’t be overstated).
6) A notebook and pen. A writer still writes, even when the world ends!
7) A small lantern and extra batteries. I’m not a big fan of the dark.
8) A book of crossword puzzles.
9) A hoody. I get cold easily and sometimes there’s nothing better than a comfy hoody.
10) Chocolate bars.

What would you have in your backpack?

BREAKOUT released November 18th
Trish Arcangelo

Friday, November 20, 2015

Easy Ways to Birth and Shape Your Paranormal Romance Hero

Crafting a quality, captivating story takes a lot of time. The entire writing process, from beginning to end, is usually exhaustingly time consuming. Every writer I know well has a different issue with plotting a story - mine is character creation and shaping (or "fleshing her/him out").
It's taken me years to progress from dreading this part of writing to embracing it as a direct challenge and making it an opportunity to grow and blossom as an author.

So, let's talk birthing and shaping your paranormally hot hero. This may not be the time to pants it and just dive into writing, thinking he'll materialize easily from your imagination to the blank page. This is unsuccessful draft #3 - time to try something new...

1. Think of the hottest guy you remember seeing. See how that face just came to mind? You're remembering a real guy, not one with fuzzy features that you tried to make real. Keep that guy's face in your mind for a few of your writing projects. Hair color, height - these can all be changed, but keep the face. If you found your hot guy so memorably fine, chances are that most of your readers will, too.

2. Congratulations! You just birthed a strapping hero hottie. He needs a name - but not from an outdated baby book from 1972 and, unless you have a specific purpose in doing so, not from you inner circle of guy friends. (What about your sex scenes if your hero bears your male bff's name? Awkward.)

Try using one of the many character name generators or using the Social Security Name Index. Avoid predictability, with overly common hot guy names, but keep in mind that some male names are simply un-sexy.

3. Give him a liberal studies degree. Huh?! lol I'll explain: liberal arts degree programs are generally considered to shape students into well- rounded people, focusing on a little bit of every subject. Consider shaping your hero into a more educated guy, coupled with life experience. If he hunts demons or vampires, have him show off his knowledge of their pack history and his expertise with weapons. Have him cook a gourmet meal in the evening after tango class.

4. Where is the love? Lastly, explore his deepest feelings for your heroine. See her inner and outer beauty through his eyes and have him reflect on all the reasons he loves her.
I have a thrilling and important announcement about my new "Hell on Heels" trilogy coming soon... : )
Happy 5k Writing Days to you all!
Tamela Miles

Sunday, November 08, 2015

Christmas is Coming by Katherine McDermott

I recently boosted sales of the paperback version of my suspense romance Hiding by selling them
at an arts and crafts sale and providing Christmas wrapping. This was easy to do. Last year after
Christmas I bought rolls of papers at very low prices. I cut the paper with pinking shears about and
2 inches wider and taller than my book. Then I glued the backsides with rubber cement. Many different charitable organizations have sent me adhesive gift tags so I put them on my sacks as well. All purchasers have to do is slide the book inside, fold down the top and seal it with tape. They might want to add a bow.
Also, with Christmas in mind, I think we should all support each other and our wonderful publishers by giving books from TWRP to our friends and family for the holiday. So Merry Christmas and I plan to do my shopping at The Wild Rose Press website.

A space opera?...Me?

I have a confession to make. I'm not much of a sci-fi fan.

Unlike my hubby who grew up on E.E. "Doc" Smith, Dune, and Ring World, I never had much interest in the genre. But, my guy loved those books so during that mushy part of our early courtship, I tried to give them a shot. I'd get through a dozen pages and quietly put the books down...hoping never to pick them up again.

Flash forward to movies and TV: He loved Star Trek (each and every version) and we'd record them on the VCR (so we didn't miss any). When it came to Star Wars, I let him drag me to each movie. I was a good girlfriend and later a good wife.

Then something weird and unexpected happened. I started to like them! I got excited when Star Trek: Voyager premiered and the captain was a woman. I liked all the not-quite human Star Trek characters who were searching for their humanity (Spock, Data, 7 of 9 and The Doctor.) And, it was a lot of fun visiting a different world where the rules went in a million different directions.

One day after I'd discovered the wonderful world of sexy online romances, I read a sci-fi romance about a character that goes into heat. It was fascinating. Strong alpha male brought to his knees with a primal need to mate. Talk about putting characters in strange and uncomfortable situations. One minute they are totally focused on one thing and then all they can think about is sex--right now. I think we really learn about our characters when they're naked and vulnerable, and what's more vulnerable than really needing sex.

When I was looking for a story idea for my erotic sci-fi romance, I came up with my own twist on a character battling the challenges of heat. He's a hot alpha male who is gorgeous and honorable--and he's in the business of saving women not compromising them. He's not happy when his body demands sex, but he can't ignore what he needs.

If you want to know more, read my book CAPTIVE HEAT! It was released from The Wild Rose Press on October 9.

So, after all these years I've come to the conclusion that I really am a sci-fi fan. Please don't tell my husband. I think he still has those E.E. "Doc" Smith books somewhere in the house.

Sexy romances that heat up the page and warm your heart
Susanna Eastman

Friday, November 06, 2015

Interview of Dougal MacBride from Timeless Passion

Today I’m interviewing Dougal MacBride from Timeless Passion a time travel erotic romance avail November 13.
“Dougal thanks for letting me interview you today.”
“Thank ye for having me.”
“Would you tell us a little about yourself?”
“I be the blacksmith at the Barkerville Pioneer Village.”
“How did you become a blacksmith?”
“I served a seven year apprentice with a very good smithy. He taught me everything I know. He even taught me sums.”
“I see. What do you think of Tasha Banner as your boss?”
“She be a good-hearted woman. She’s concerned about the village making enough money to survive.”
“And I hear you had quite a hand in saving the village. Would you like to tell us how?”
“I be making nail rings for schools. I be making horseshoes too. And nails, hinges, handles, barrel hoops. Everything that be made of iron I be making. And Tasha be making sure they are in the emporium for all our visitors to buy.”
“Tell me about the boss lady.”
“Tasha be right pretty and smart too. She keeps everything right as rain.”
“And what do you think of her personally?”
“I donna know what ye mean?”
“Do you like her?”
“Aye, she be quite a lass. When she smiles her eyes be lighting up and making me glad I be her man.”
“Do you always get along?”
“She be a feisty one all right, but she be a delight in me arms.”
“Well Dougal, thanks for being here with us today.”
“Thank ye for asking me.”

Kayden Claremont

Monday, November 02, 2015

Grateful by Gail Kittleson

 As November rolls in, it’s natural to think thankful thoughts. Here in the Midwest, the harvest has gone well, winter’s chill is just around the corner, and our hearts turn toward home and hearth. Now, that’s a statement that fits 1946, the year we meet Dottie Kyle, the heroine of my debut novel, In This Together.
The book’s November release adds to my gratitude this year. Being such a late-blooming writer magnifies my sense of satisfaction at the culmination of this labor of love—although I realize Dottie’s journey into the minds and hearts of readers is only beginning.
For me, the best part of the journey has been getting to know Dottie, a down-home woman like many others of the “Greatest Generation.” Dottie bears her losses quietly, even that of her son Bill in World War II and her husband soon after.
Now, the war’s over and she makes do, as always. Her cooking and cleaning job at the local boarding house gives her a reason to wake up in the morning. She walks to work early, unaware that someone watches her pass by his house.
Dottie’s widower neighbor Al observes her progress morning and evening, sunshine and rain, and wonders how he can possibly woo this “peach of a gal” who seems to manage quite well without him. Of course, he can’t know how lonely her house looms when she enters at night, bone-tired, or how much she longs—and fears—to meet her grandbabies out in California.
And Dottie? She has no idea second chances lurk right around the corner. This story, categorized as SUPER SWEET, may offer readers no reason to blush, but contains plenty of personal challenges for Dottie, the kind of heroine you’d want for your best friend.
And thank you, TWRP, for making this release possible.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Into the Sunrise by Carolyn Haley

Into the Sunrise, like most novels, is a made-up story. However, three elements of it are not only drawn from real life but inspired me to write the book.

The first element is Linny’s sunset ride on the beach. When I was a young, my family vacationed on Cape Cod for two weeks every summer. At that time public riding stables were allowed to take horseback groups out on National Seashore land (no longer true). Most trail rides were rather boring hour-long shuffles through the dunes, but one stable offered a two-hour sunset ride on the outer beach near the very tip of the Cape. I rode that trail twice—and the first time was a wild galloping adventure that ranks among the high points of my life. The opportunity never came again, and there was no handsome horseman to fall in love with. So I gave both to Linny, thereby allowing myself, and readers, to live the experience vicariously.

 The second element is Linny’s ride with the hunt on Opening Day in the Hudson Valley region of New York. This, too, is something I did, some twenty years after the sunset beach ride, and it was almost as crazed as presented in the book. A big difference is that I rode with the non-jumpers, on a rented horse I couldn’t handle. Linny got her dream horse, Midnight, who was my dream-come-true horse back when I went to summer camp, again as a teenager.

I knew Midnight for only two weeks. But he, like the beach ride and Opening Day, indelibly impressed themselves on my mind and heart, so I immortalized them in a story.

At that time I was an artist, not yet a writer. The other day I found an unfinished sketch I did at age fourteen, of Linny and Con riding Shark and Klatawah on the Cape Cod shore.


I also unearthed this illustration from the novella (The Island) I wrote between ages ten and twelve that laid the foundation for Sunrise:



And a woodcut I did in junior high art class, of Shark:



There are more drawings deep in my archives, plus a few that are too big to scan. Whenever I dig them out and make electronic images, I will share them with you.