Books I’ve Read Recently

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I haven’t done this on my blog yet and thought, ‘hey why not?’ *smile*

I always talk about what I’m busy writing or what I’m going to focus on writing and post writing tips & motivations, and my own ramblings. But never about what I’m reading. And I do read. A lot *bug eyed*

I think it’s one of those writerly things. You read. Not just for enjoyment but also as a form of study.

So here’s a list of books/series I’ve read recently that stood out to me in no particular order:

  1. Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard.
  2. Joining by Johanna Lindsey
  3. Blood of Eve by Pam Godwin
  4.  Knight Security Series by Carole Mortimer
  5. Black Hills Wolves multi-author series by rebeccaroyce-5 & Heather Long

The Dreaded Synopsis

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For the last two years or so, I’ve come to embrace the synopsis. And though embrace is a strong word, since you won’t find me just jumping into one, I have realized the importance of one if I ever want to be considered by a big publishing house.

So instead of listing all my struggles with writing them, I decided to write how I became comfortable with writing synopses.

I’ve read a lot of articles on the topic and watched a few online teachings. I’m not good with textbooks because it makes me feel like I’m back at varsity and my “Am I going to get graded on this?” mentality isn’t so easy to shake off, even years later.

But the light-bulb didn’t come on until I realized that 1) there’s a specific publisher I like to write for and they require a synopsis. Without one I’m toast at the door. They won’t even consider me no matter how intriguing the pitch, hook or first three chapters. My submission won’t make it past the threshold. So to not put myself at a disadvantage, I knew I had to master the synopsis.

2) I came across a Harlequin editor who gave advice on synopsis writing. A side note: whenever an editor from a respected publisher give advice on writing, take note.

She hit all the points I’ve read so far. But what stood out for me from her advice was how simple she made synopsis writing seem. At the end of her advice she said, synopsis writing is you drawing a map. The map contains all the high points, the beginning and ending. You have a good idea of where the highs and lows are going to be. And writing the story are filled with all the meaty parts in-between, like the ditch the car falls into after a deer crossed the road. You write about all the angst and fear that came along with the experience. A minor setback, but the end destination still needs to be reached.

I started writing my synopsis like this. A road map. And that’s how I still view a synopsis, especially one that’s aimed at an editor.

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So besides these things, here are a few points I focus on when I sit down to write a short synopsis:

  1. First thing check the length the publisher wants. This can range from 1-2 pages to 5 pages. Reading the guidelines will save you a lot of time.
  2. Format: Double-spaced, 1 inch margins, Times New Roman font and Header over every page (check with the publisher if they require a specific style of Headers).
  3. Start bold. The same attention you spend on the opening line of your book put the same effort into the opening line of you synopsis. Grab the editor’s attention first before you summarize the book.
  4. Stay focused. In a short synopsis for 1-2 pages there aren’t space for extraneous details. Don’t include secondary plots or characters, unless they play a part in understanding the resolution. Don’t use multiple points of view (POVs) even if they are present in the novel.
  5. Determine your romance’s focus ahead of time. You should determine your target publisher’s preferences ahead of time and use it to guide your effort. A publisher like Harlequin wants romance, so get to that quickly and end on the romantic resolution.
  6. Write in present tense. This is something I didn’t know at the beginning. It is so simple and makes so much sense. Because the present tense creates a sense of urgency. This makes it effective.
  7. Show, don’t tell. Yes, even in a synopsis. Show the story through a good plot. Don’t describe it.
  8. Don’t resort to empty questions. “Will they fall in love?” This is an editorial pet peeve. You’re going to have to answer the question, so you’re wasting space. These types of sentences also yank the editor out of the story. They are views as “author intrusive”. You are not letting the story speak for itself, you are speaking for it.
  9. Many editors make it a rule not to read after the third typo. So be thorough!

 

Sweat the opening three paragraphs. Most editors conduct a “three paragraph” test.  If you don’t grab their attention by then, they simply won’t read on. A strong opening line and a quick tight overview of the hero/heroine and conflict.

These tips I learned from romantic suspense author Lisa Gardner. I look at them every time I sit down to write a short synopsis as a refresher. And even as I type this post, I learned something new.

Learning this skill isn’t a once off thing. You’ll have to practice it and practice some more. It’s not for the fainthearted and it’s not for the lazy writers. It’s not for the ones who are ‘stuck in their writing ways’, the ones who skip publishers because they want to avoid a synopsis. Because it’s a hurdle they can’t exercise enough to jump over.

Hard work do pay off. And I do believe getting the synopsis is one step closer to publication.

#happywriting

The Life and Death of Twilight

 

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I’m a fan. No seriously, I’m a fan of the Twilight series. Only I saw the first movie before I read the first book and wanted to throw the  book against a wall when I finally read it.

I remember arguing with a then friend of mine on just how ludicrous the idea of a 100 year old vampire falling for a seventeen year old was. There’s just no way. Of course there’s the ‘he can’t read her mind’, but then that just makes Edward one of the most emotionally unintelligent 100 year old vampires in literature. And I refused to believe R Patt’s Edward Cullen could possibly be so dense. So the argument raged on.

And then, Twilight Re-imagined happened. *crickets*

Edythe and Beau happened.

And every other character’s name except the parents was re-imagined. (Why do this? *wails*)

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Because I’m a fan of the series I went, I’m going to be required to have an opinion about this because I’ve been so open about my love of Bella, Edward and Jacob, why not give this re-imagining *cough* fan-fiction, a try.

I got as far as page 17 then skipped to the end but didn’t read all of it and don’t think I will return to the book anytime soon.

Nothing was reimagined here. The problems that were pointed out about Twilight are evident in Life and Death. But that’s not even the worse offense to me. It’s the fact that the author stopped being an author when she worked on this book. She stopped placing herself in her characters shoes. Because if she’d done that and she wanted to still keep Beau as awkward as Bella she could’ve done it by not giving him the same exact quirk as Bella, but actually thinking about what kind of quirk would make a teenage boy self-conscious.

Goodness, if she made Beau his own person, apart from Bella I would’ve been fine with that too. Because guess what? Men and women don’t actually think/act alike.

Maybe she should’ve read a few YA novels written by male authors to study how they write male protagonists. Or female authors for that matter since who can deny J.K Rowling brilliantly writing Harry Potter?

The Twilight series isn’t bad. However, this re-imagining is. It hurts to say it, but it does. I feel like Stephanie Meyer should write a couple of books under a pen name. Give herself a break from Twilight and its universe. Then after a few years, come back and give us Midnight Sun *smile*

 

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Africa Online Book Fair 2017

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It’s funny how some of the ‘worst’ days and experiences can turn out to be saving graces. And for me propelled a proposal I’ve been tinkering with since September 2016‒an online book fair for romance authors who are from Africa and authors who write romances set in Africa.

A traditional book fair is an exhibit of books typically by a group of publishers or book-dealers for promoting sales and stimulating interest, often authors are also featured with their own booths and engages with readers. It takes place at a certain venue over a specific period of time and requires those who are exhibiting their books to be physically present, as well as those attending the book fair.

An online book fair in contrast takes place on the internet, but with the same underlined principle as a traditional book fair, to exhibit books for promotion of sales and stimulating interest, typically designed to provide access for those who are unable or unavailable to attend traditional book fairs.

The main objectives with the Africa Online Book Fair will be building relationships, networking, creating a fun and relaxed environment where authors and readers can engage with each other. A place where authors can share information, have Q&A’s and create interest in their books through prizes, gifts, giveaways, competitions, promotional discounts, etc. So definitely something for readers too *smile*

The Africa Online Book Fair will take place in June 2017 and will feature Romance Authors from SA and the rest of the continent. The event will be hosted on Facebook by using their Groups tool and will span over 3 days with scheduled timeslots for each author.

We will give out more details as we start kicking off the promo.

I am so excited about this. I view it as a wonderful means to showcase romance novels & authors from the African continent. There’s amazing talent and stories from the authors we have lined up, so keep an eye out *wink*

#AfricaOnBookFair2017

Hosts of the Africa Online Book Fair 2017:

Kathy Bosman @KathleenLBosman

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Inge Saunders @saunders_inge

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Blog Tour: The Wolf’s Choice

Today is the start of the blog tour for The Wolf’s Choice! And the first stop is a review stop by Splashes Into Books. If you haven’t got a copy of the book yet, read what they had to say about it 🙂

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Here are all the tour dates:

http://splashesintobooks.wordpress.com and on FB page – bookshook 4/18/17
http://2bibliophiles.blogspot.com 4/20/17
Http://wickedlyinnocentpromotions.blogspot.com 4/21/17
http://www.facebook.com/lexcade & lexcade.blogspot.com 4/21/17
http://bookedandloaded.com/ 4/22/17
http://thereadingspotblog.blogspot.com/ 4/23/17
http://evermorebooks.weebly.com/blog 4/24/17
 https://fransbooklove.wordpress.com/ 4/29/17
http://writtenlovereviews.blogspot.com 5/1/17
http://www.carolkittie.com https://www.facebook.com/CarolKittieReviews/ 5/2/17
https://readourthoughtsbookblog.wordpress.com/ 5/3/17
http://angelsguiltypleasures.com 5/4/17
http://musingsfromanaddictedreader.wordpress.com/ 5/5/17
https://www.facebook.com/Thosecrazybookchicks 5/6/17
http://thecaffeinateddivareads.multifacetedmama.com/ 5/7/17
http://denagarson.net 5/8/17
http://louisesbookbuzz.blogspot.com/ 5/9/17
http://eskimoprincess.blogspot.com/ 5/10/17
https://www.facebook.com/LittleShopofReaders/ 5/11/17
http://mireillechester.blogspot.ca 5/11/17
http://dogsmomvisits.blogspot.com/ 5/12/17

 

Here’s Why I Like Paranormal Romances

I’m the generation that grew up on Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Charmed.  And I still own DVDs of both series, plus the Charmed books. The latter I bought a couple of years ago.

Since I can remember I’ve had a fascination with the supernatural. When I discovered Anne Rice in high school I was hooked to vampires in print. With Twilight and the Vampire Dairies paranormal romances experienced resurgence, especially amongst teens. And also in my reading world.

I’d been deep in a chicklit vortex by then. Loving romance sprinkled with humor and life and really relatable fantastic heroines. I hadn’t realized at the time that these ‘dark creatures’ of the paranormal world, would signal the end of my obsession with chicklit. But they had. And I’m not sorry *grin*

Paranormal romances like their TV shows and movies offers worlds where diversity is celebrated. Where being different is the norm.  There isn’t an expected blue print, in terms of the main characters racial or cultural background. Werewolves can come from any continent. They will still have a connection/something in common with shape-shifting wolves around the world. And that’s what, I realized, kept drawing me back to the paranormal genre.

It’s one of the things I like about paranormal romances.

Another thing I like about them is this, the badass characters male and female who in spite of living on the fringes of society, still thrive, still make their mark on the world. As a person of color, coming from SA with its history of Apartheid, I can relate to these shape-shifters. Even in romance, paranormal romances are not the ‘star’ genre. It’s not considered literary genius, even though it tests the reader’s ideas of ‘normal’ and acceptance.

I not only feel comfortable writing these types of stories, I celebrate them. I read them. I buy them.

So if you were wondering, why after two contemporary romance novels, I’ve written a paranormal romance about werewolves, these are some of my reasons. Though the biggest one has to be, I simply enjoy them. And I hope that when you pick up your copy of The Wolf’s Choice, you’ll be able to experience how much I loved writing this paranormal romance.

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Preorder Buy Link:

The Wolf’s Choice (Black Hills Wolves Book 64): Amazon:Kindle Store https://t.co/gipdx4OYiZ

#preorder #PNR #romance @DecadentPub

Sold!

 

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Sold! The Wolf’s Choice!

What every author loves to hear when it comes to their stories, “we are offering you a contract.”

I’m officially part of the Black Hills Wolves pack! Okay fine, not the Tao Pack, but certainly part of the Author Pack who makes this wonderful shape-shifter series howl with awesome characters.

Yep, I’m a werewolf nut. If Stephanie Meyer hadn’t written Edward Cullen so gorgeous, I would’ve been Team Jacob. Just saying.

So here’s a sneak peak at the not-yet-edited blurb. I hope you love it!

*And to all the readers who love my contemporary romances, I am working on another flirty romance but in the meantime, enjoy Rebecca and Blaine.

 

Blurb:

“I’ll pledge my loyalty to you through a blood oath, if you support my choice of mate.”

Drew sat back in his chair. “What does Rebecca have to say? The last time I spoke to her, she didn’t mention you.”

Blaine smiled. He hadn’t earned himself any favors. “She doesn’t know yet.”                         

 

Thirteen years ago Rebecca Ferguson died, at least to everyone in the Black Hills territory. With a human mother and unable to shift into a wolf, Magnum Toa, the deranged Alpha of the Toa Pack would’ve had both her and her father killed for deceiving him. Magnum didn’t allow humans to mate with members of his pack.

Now Magnum is the one who’s dead and Rebecca can return.

But coming back from the dead, building a new life after her divorce and opening a library in town isn’t the only obstacles Rebecca faces. Elijah, her father, doesn’t approve of her being in Los Lobos to the point where he forbids her to get involved with the pack, especially the males.

Their relationship has suffered because of her absence and she hopes to bridge the divide; confident that she doesn’t want a romantic entanglement with anyone human or wolf, anyway.

In walks sexy private detective Blaine Walker.

Thirteen years ago Blaine stumbled on his mate at the local Swimming Hole. The next day, she was dead. Once he learns Rebecca is alive and living in Los Lobos, he decides it’s time to give up his career in Brooklyn and return to Black Hills. But he knows it won’t be easy to claim her since Elijah’s unnaturally overprotective. The only way Elijah will back off is to challenge him.

A challenge that will end in one of their deaths.

The Toa Pack’s rebuilding itself and needs to guard against any threats outside or in. For Blaine to have any chance to claim Rebecca Elijah needs to be dealt with and to deal with Elijah, Drew, the Alpha of the Toa Pack, has to sanction the challenge according to pack law.

Rebecca can’t deny the old attraction she felt for Blaine is still there and even stronger now that they are grownup. She’s caught between the man fate has brought back to her and her father, whose affection she craved her whole life.

But there’s a secret governing Elijah’s erratic behavior that can cost Rebecca everything she’s worked hard to build and everything she thought she could never have with a man or wolf.

Will Rebecca and Blaine beat the odds stacked against them?

Or will the choices they make ultimately lead them down a path both of them don’t want?