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ImageToday we have a wonderful interview with International Bestselling Author Stacy S. Eaton, who has just released her 3rd book!

How would you describe Whether I Live or Die to someone who has not yet read it?

“Whether I’ll Live or Die” is an intense emotional drama dealing with the subject of Domestic Violence.  During the story you will walk with Amanda as she goes through several abusive relationships at a young adult age.  Her life will be anything but sweet and loving.

You will also meet Officer Nicole Nolan who deals with domestic violence through the legal aspects of her job.  Knowing how to deal with victims of abuse is touchy for her and she does all she can to help the victims she encounters.

A final showdown will intertwine the destinies.

Which came first, the title or the novel? 

They actually came at the same time. I believe the title defines a novel, and when you have a good solid plotline, the title should reflect that. The title for this one was born at the same time as the plotline, in that 30 minute drive.

What was the hardest part of writing your book? What is the easiest?

“Whether I’ll Live or Die” is a very intense novel dealing with domestic violence. There were times when I would write scenes and have to get up after a paragraph and walk away from the computer. The emotions were raw at times, and anger or pain would well up in me and I would need a break.

I also wanted to make sure that I showed the emotions and the pain as authentically as I could. It was important that I portray Amanda (the young victim) in the correct light and show the strength that Nicole (the Police Officer) has to have in order to deal with everything that happens.

The easiest part of the whole story was the plot line. It came to me in about thirty minutes while I was driving.  When I got home, I sat down and wrote the first two chapters and then the last. I knew exactly where I wanted this story to go, it was putting the words to the emotions that was the hard part.

Is this story based on an actual investigation you were involved with?

Well, that’s a yes and no. WILoD is the story of Amanda and Nicole.  Amanda is a young girl who craves love and finds herself drawn into abusive relationships one after another. Nicole is a strong control driver police officer who deals with the legal issues of domestic violence in her job. While no particular part of this book is 100% real, there are moments in this book that are taken right out of the past. Whose past? Too many to actually name Mike.

Domestic Violence is a very serious problem in our society. The actors have such a mental and physical control over the victims that they fear their lives and feel that they can never get out.

So, while you will see a whole lot of real life incidents, they are twisted and turned to get the message across for this book.

What gives you inspiration for your book(s)?

Life… Everything in life inspires me. People in my life inspire me. Seeing the emotions that people put out there and the adventures they experience inspires me. I use them all to make stories real. I use a lot of my knowledge from my job to bring a realistic view to my plot lines. Many people have told me they weren’t into vampires, but the realistic police work in my series has changed their minds! Lol… I love to hear that!

What do you think makes a good story?

I am all about twists.  I don’t want to know what is coming at the end of the book. I want to be surprised. Most romance novels all end the same… happily ever after… but if you look at life, seldom does it end that way. In my novels, I may end them happily ever after, but the twists that come in the story are surprising and most readers will not see them coming.

The My Blood Runs Blue series is a good example of that. In the first two books, I throw so many twists in them that people were amazed at the ending results. I know quite a few people who were not happy with the ending of My Blood Runs Blue, book 1 of the series. There were many people who told me that they wanted to other man to win, but I promised all those people that eventually he will get what he truly deserves. It will just be filled with some series twists before he gets there.

Whether I’ll Live or Die doesn’t have the kind of twists that I normally put to my stories, but this was a different journey. This one needed to explain the pain and frustration associated with abuse.

You have two other novels published besides Whether I’ll Live or Die, what are they about?

Currently I have a series called “My Blood Runs Blue” where I have two of the four books published. Now that Whether I’ll Live or Die is published I am working on the third book in the series.

This series is very different from my new book. It is a paranormal suspense series where I bring police and vampires together. There is a lot of police procedural stuff in them and made the vampires more human than many novels out there. While so many paranormal books target young adults, this series is for the mature ones, well young and heart mature ones!

What are you working on now besides the next book in the series?

I am also working on several other novels. I have a contemporary romance that I would like to finish. I have the fourth book in the series to complete too. One of my favorite projects to work on is a new guardian angel novel. I have let a few people read for first 15 chapters of this and they are really enjoying it.  It’s a fun novel to work on.

I have so many other projects that I would like to jump into, but with my full time police job and family it makes it very hard to find the time.

Thank you Wendy for allowing me to visit your blog and your readers! I always love to visit new places!

Connect with Stacy on her website, Twitter, her blog, Facebook, and Goodreads.

View the video trailer on Youtube!

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Whether I’ll Live or Die is available on Amazon and Barnes&Noble

“It sounded so simple in theory; ready… aim… fire… but what actually transpired was so much more.”

Officer Nicole Nolan holds the gun steady in her hands, knowing that life will be forever altered once she pulls the trigger. Her position as a small town police officer is to protect those who cannot protect themselves. It is her job, her career and her life.

Amanda stands where protection does not exist. With several failed relationships behind her, Amanda turns a blind eye to the possessiveness Josh displays in order to sooth her desperate need to be loved. As the mental abuse turns violent, Amanda must deal with the denial and embarrassment of being a victim once again. With her emotional and physical health siting on the edge, she must fight to regain control of her life.

A gripping story with one final destination, but will it be life or death?

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My Five Tenets of Novel Writing

By Dina Santorelli

Anyone can start writing a novel. But anyone can’t finish one. It takes a lot of work, determination, commitment and guts. Every Sunday, I offer writing tips on my blog, Making ‘Baby Grand,’ lessons I learned on the road to publication for my first novel, Baby Grand. But if I were to select five of the most crucial tenets of novel writing—the five “musts” of getting it done—they would be the following:

  1. You must make time to write. If you’re going to treat this book as a hobby or something you’ll get to “one of these days,” trust me, it’s never going to get written. You need to take your novel off the back burner of your life and make it a focal point, just as you would anything else that’s important to you. Does this mean that you may lose sleep in order to work on your novel? Spend less time with your family? Miss some outings with friends? Yes, yes, and yes. And you should, if working on your novel is important to you. So create a schedule that meets your needs. I wrote 1,000 words a day to finish Baby Grand and am now doing the same as I finish my second novel, In the Red. That works for me, allowing me to feel like I accomplished enough writing for the day while allowing me to spend time with my family. For you, it might be 500 words a day, or maybe just one hour a day. Whatever schedule you create, stick to it. No excuses.
  2. You must know that it’s going to be hard. Self-doubt will plague you every step of the way. Every. Step. I can’t do this. I’m a horrible writer. What was I thinking? It’s awful, but you have to fight through it and keep in mind that it happens to all of us. No matter how awful you think your writing is or your book is going to be in the end, just keep going anyway. You’ll be glad you did. As I like to say, “Bad writing is better than no writing.” Bad writing you can fix. No writing is just no writing.
  3. You must believe in your vision and not worry about your audience. I’ve come across people who tell me they’d love to write, but they don’t think anyone would find what they have to say interesting. I ask them if they find it interesting. And if the answer is yes (it always is), I tell them to write it. Because if they write it with passion, I’ll want to read it. If you write about what drives you, what makes you laugh, what’s meaningful to you, that’s what makes compelling reading. And you won’t have to worry about finding an audience. Your audience will find you.
  4. You must read, read, read. As often as you can. Particularly the genres that you like to write. Reading will expose you to all sorts of styles and opinions, will open your mind and your heart, will make you more knowledgeable, inform your sensibilities and help you find your place in the literary cosmos. In short, it will make you a better writer. Case closed.
  5. You must never give up. If you want to be a writer — I mean, really want to be a writer — you should never give up. When I advise aspiring writers that they should never quit and never take no for an answer, I always think of my husband — my level-headed, pragmatic husband — who has said, “Dina, be serious, you can believe and believe and believe, but, the truth is, not everyone is going to become a successful novelist.” My answer to that? Well, somebody will. And who’s to say it won’t be him? Or her? Or me?

Dina Santorelli is a freelance writer/editor who has written for many print and online publications, such as Newsday, First for Women and CNNMoney.com. She served as the “with” writer for Good Girls Don’t Get Fat (Harlequin, 2010) and most recently contributed to Bully (Weinstein Books, September 2012), a companion book to the acclaimed film. Dina is the current Executive Editor of Salute and Family magazines for which she has interviewed many celebrities, including James Gandolfini, Tim McGraw, Angela Bassett, Mario Lopez, Gary Sinise and Kevin Bacon. You can follow Dina on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads and on her blog. Baby Grand, her first novel, is available on Amazon.

In Albany, New York, the governor’s infant daughter disappears without a trace from her crib at the Executive Mansion. Hours later, newly divorced and down-and-out writer Jamie Carter is abducted from the streets of Manhattan. Jamie is whisked upstate, where she is forced by her captor, Don Bailino, an ex-war hero/successful businessman, to care for the kidnapped child in a plot to delay the execution of mobster Gino Cataldi – the sixth man to be put to death in six years by hardliner Governor Phillip Grand. What prevails is a modern-day thriller about family ties, loyalty, murder, betrayal, and love that’s told in deftly interweaving narratives that follow the police investigation of the missing Baby Grand, the bad guys who took her, and the woman who found the strength to protect her.

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Today I am pleased to welcome best-selling author Amy Manemann!

Sexy Sleuthing –Only the Sassy Need Apply

My heroine in the Deadly Series (Investigative Reporter Taci Andrews) doesn’t wield a gun, nor does she drive a flashy car. She doesn’t have a full time boyfriend, and other than a few personal friends, has no social life whatsoever. So, what makes her considered a Sexy Sleuth? Simple. She has a sassiness about her that draws you in and leaves you wanting for more. And, as hot fireman Tony Parsons can attest to, she is pretty damn sexy when she’s in sleuthing mode.

While Taci doesn’t wield a gun (let alone know how to use one) she has a biting sense of humor that’ll cut you to the quick. Her car may be a Honda Civic that seems to spend more time in the repair shop than on the road, but at least it occasionally manages to get her to work on time. As for the boyfriend avenue, Tony Parsons would easily fit that bill if he wasn’t all hell bent on keeping her out of trouble.

So what are the requirements for Sexy Sleuthing, you might ask? Let me introduce you to Sexy Sleuthing 101:

1. Never let the bad guys see you squirm, even when they’re holding you at gunpoint.

2. Learn diversionary techniques, they come in handy when you need to escape said bad guys.

3. You’ll need to drive a nondescript car that’ll be good for tailing, but something you won’t miss too much if it gets parked next to a building that suddenly explodes.

4. Definitely flirt with hot firemen, even when they’re determined to get in the way of you doing your job.

5. Definitely get up close and personal with said hot fireman. You know, for the sake of job research.

And the most important rule of Sleuthing 101:

6. Always (and I can’t stress this enough) have a bag of Double stuffed Oreos on hand for that occasional emergency. Said emergencies would include (but are not limited to) broken hearts, meddling mother’s, annoying suck up brothers, friends with hyperactive children or just overall sexual frustration with a relationship that isn’t really a relationship. You know, the usual stuff.

So there you have it, Sexy Sleuthing 101 as told by investigative reporter, Taci Andrews. Now that you know the requirements, are you ready to join the Sexy Sleuthing ranks?

International best-selling author, Amy Manemann, is the author of Deadly Reunion and Deadly Science, the first two books of the Deadly Series (Taci Andrews Mysteries). She resides in her hometown along the Mississippi river with her husband and their two children, where she enjoys spending time with her family, reading, writing, blogging and interviewing authors to feature on her website. Amy is also a site administrator for the World Literary Cafe.

Connect with Amy through her website www.amymanemann.webs.com or blog www.amymanemann.webs.com.

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Welcome Bonnie Trachtenberg, best selling author of Wedlocked and the new release Neurotically Yours!

Writing From Your Life

I was just a teen when wanderlust took me in its grasp. This fact is somewhat surprising given my sometimes nervous nature, but it was as if a stronger, more purposeful force had infused me with the courage to follow this unlikely inclination. When I graduated college, my itchy feet finally got moving. I left my comfortable New York nest and moved to Los Angeles. There, I immediately commenced the existence I had desired—a life filled with…well, life!

I started from scratch with a new house, new job, new friends, and completely new experiences. At the time, I didn’t know what impelled me to this drastic change, but as the years went by, the reason crystallized. Having grown up in a happy, sheltered home with relatively normal family and friends surrounding me, my life had been blissfully ordinary. It was not the stuff of books or movies. It lacked drama and excitement—and deep down, I knew that wouldn’t make for fascinating copy.

I yearned to meet all kinds of interesting people from all parts of the country and the world. I needed to chase my whimsical dreams no matter where they took me, explore my career options, have my heart broken, and grow as a person—away from the comforting arms of my parents. I was going to be a writer, and I needed all the inspiration, knowledge, and experience I could muster if I was going to be a really good one.

Having launched my second book just days ago, I confirm that my instincts were right. Both of my novels are romantic comedies chock full of those wild, enthralling life experiences I’ve collected. The first, Wedlocked, is based on my first brief, disastrous marriage and subsequent honeymoon in hell. My second, Neurotically Yours, details many of my bizarre encounters out on the dating scene for almost two decades. Today, my brain is a seemingly endless reservoir of colorful memories, real people, and true circumstances, all ready to be tapped for fictional use—just as I unconsciously intended.

My greatest compliments are from readers who tell me my characters seem so genuine, the emotions so relatable, and the dialogue immensely engaging. I firmly believe that much of the reason for this is that my stories are not merely conjured up from my imagination; I’ve lived and breathed them. And now my life truly is an open book.

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Bonnie Trachtenberg is the award-winning, bestselling author of Wedlocked: A Novel and Neurotically Yours: A Novel. She writes a monthly relationship and advice column for LoveaHappyEnding.com. Bonnie was senior writer and copy chief at Book-of-the-Month Club and has written seven children’s book adaptations. She has also written for three newspapers and penned countless magazine articles. She lives on Long Island with her husband, four cats and a dog.

Connect with Bonnie online:

Website

Relationship Column

Twitter

Facebook

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And grab Neurotically Yours now at Amazon and Barnes and Noble

 

Bio (if you need)

Bonnie Trachtenberg is the award-winning, bestselling author of Wedlocked: A Novel and Neurotically Yours: A Novel. She writes a monthly relationship and advice column for LoveaHappyEnding.com. Bonnie was senior writer and copy chief at Book-of-the-Month Club and has written seven children’s book adaptations. She has also written for three newspapers and penned countless magazine articles. She lives on Long Island with her husband, four cats and a dog.

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Today we have Emerald Barnes, author of Read Me Dead.  She is here to introduce her character Christian Miller.  He was one of her favorites!

I hope that this little introduction into his mindset will leave you wanting more!

~*~ ~*~ ~*~

My name is Christian Miller, and Alexia Wheaton is the love of my life.

Her parents died when she was only ten.  It’s haunted her ever since.  Now, the secret she’s been carrying has finally come out, and she’s terrified.  To be honest, so am I.  I can lose her at any moment.

When she first told us her secret, my immediate thought was only of protecting her, and when her twin brother writes her off because she kept this secret, she needs someone, and I plan on being that someone.  But Landon, our best friend, tries to swoop in and take her away from me.  And he succeeds.

But I never stop fighting for her, and I never stop loving her.  I will protect her.  No matter the cost.

Come April 25th, you can see how our story ends.

~*~ ~*~ ~*~

More about the book:

Alexia Wheaton’s problems go beyond picking a dress and a date for homecoming.

For seven years, Alex has lived with a painful memory – her parents’ horrific murder. As the sole witness, she has kept quiet to protect herself, but when the local newspaper reveals her secret, Alex is plagued with fear that her parents’ murderer will soon find her – and silence her forever.

Alex is catapulted into a race against time to save her own life and bring her parents’ murderer to justice.

ebarnes23.wordpress.com

(Like and you could win a free book!)

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Today’s guest post is by Andrea Buginsky, author of The Chosen and My Open Heart.

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Writing While Ill

When you’re not feeling well, there’s really nothing you want to do. You certainly don’t want to work. So what do you do when you have a writing assignment deadline fast approaching while you’re not feeling well? Simple: You take care of yourself, and work when you can. It may mean asking for an extension, or using some much-needed time management skills, but if you take things step-by-step, you can get the work done.

  1. For starters, make a list of all the work you have to get done and include the deadline. Then, start with the projects due the earliest. Can you request an extension on them? If so, then problem solved! If not, then you need to take them one-by-one and slowly work on them when you’re feeling up to it.
  2. If you have a laptop or tablet, you can take your work to bed with you. Work for a little while, and then take a break. Keep your work on your nightstand so you can pick it up and work on it at any time, such as between naps.
  3. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Whether it’s your editor, a fellow writer friend, or your spouse, ask for some assistance. You need to do the writing, of course, but a trusted friend or companion can edit for you, send and track emails, answer phone calls, and send out mail.
  4. Use the time wisely. While you’re sick, it’s a great time to catch up on your reading, even new or old writing books you’ve been wanting to take a look at. Use your downtime to hone your skills and review.

Most importantly, take care of yourself. This is the most important thing you can do. If you simply are too ill to do the work, explain that to your editor. They’re human, after all. They should understand that sometimes life just gets in the way. Then, lie back, relax, and take care of yourself.

You can work through your health issues and take care of yourself even with your busy writing career. The most important thing is that you take care of yourself so you get better and feel better soon. Then, you can focus on getting back to work.

Andrea Buginsky is the author of “The Chosen,” a YA fantasy, and the newly released “My Open Heart,” an autobiography of growing up with heart disease. Both books are available from Solstice Publishing and on Amazon.

You can find Andrea on Facebook, Twitter (@andreabuginsky), the World Literary Café, and Google+

 

 

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Today’s guest post is from International Best Selling Author Stacy S. Eaton. If you love police, vamps, and romance she’s got the books for you!

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Once Upon a Time – There was Time…

By Stacy S. Eaton

In my kitchen hangs a sign, “Once Upon a Time, There was Time” and underneath of that is a clock. The clock always says 2:06. It never changes because the battery died. I find this rather suitable for now, and have no desire to add a fresh one to make the hands start moving. In my world it is perpetually 2:06, but is that am or pm? Who knows? All I know is that every time I look at it, I feel like my deadline is 2:10 and I’m racing to make it.

In my office hangs another clock, once again the battery is dead, but this one makes even more sense to not tick. The numbers are all jumbled in a lump and the clock face reads “Whatever”. Which is also rather true, because does it really matter what time it is in the world of a writer? I don’t think so.

For Christmas I got a new clock, not sure why I like clocks so much, maybe it is because I am trying to find one that will actually stop time as the battery dies so I can get more done without losing another minute or hour or day. Anyway, this new clock, it’s a writer’s clock! Forever and ever it goes around touching on words like Write, Toss, Retrieve, Start Over, Adult Beverage, Write, Submit and Revise ending at Publish. Wouldn’t that be nice if that is where it actually ended?

Alas, that is not the end, and time still ticks by. Nowhere on that clock does it say marketing. If it did, I think the clock would begin to speed forward and we would see just how much time we actually spend on just that, Marketing.

In the world of a writer, we spend countless hours lost in the voices of our mind and the marks on the papers in front of us. I know that I can easily get lost in a scene and glance at my clock one thousand words later and see two hours has past. It seemed like I had just sat down and started writing, and the scene I just wrote only lasted fifteen minutes in paper time, yet two hours have gone by. Amazing…

When it comes to editing, I find that time speeds up even faster. As I sift through red mark after red mark from my copy editor, and fix and click and approve and remove, the seconds fly by and the hands spin around and around at a speed that amazes me.

Come the time to publish that book, it always seems that we do our best to try and push back time. To stop it or slow it down just a little bit, because we have set a date and we want to meet that deadline, but it’s just not perfect yet, so we push back time and have to adjust our clocks.

Once our book hits the market, it’s a mad dash to get it out there; to tell everyone about it, to shout it from the rafters of the Facebook pages and to tweet our fingers to the bone. We blog it, we post it, we share it, we pimp it and we glance back at the clock to see days have now flown by and we still feel like we aren’t doing enough. So we share it more, blog it more, tweet it into cyberspace and start to pimp ourselves to get the word out. The clock, well…. It just keeps moving forward.

Through all of this, the writing, the editing, the publishing and the marketing, it is obvious that my sign in my kitchen is true, “Once Upon a Time, There was Time”. Because when all of this is said and done, who has time to do anything else, like work on that next story?

 ~*~

The busy life of Stacy Eaton

Currently she works full time as a Police Officer for a small township is Southeastern Pennsylvania. While her current position is that of a patrol officer, she spend a lot of time doing investigations and crime scene processing. Forensics is something she loves and she takes her job seriously. It is not just about proving who is guilty, it is also about proving people are innocent.

She is also a wife to a Police Officer and with their constant schedules life can get very hectic at home. She has been blessed with two children, a son who is currently in the United States Navy and is very proud of him for what he is doing and for serving his Country. Her daughter is a priceless princess who loves to help market her books to teachers and other parents while she is at school and church. She is also working on a book too.

When she is not working the job that currently pays all the bills she works on her business. Yes, she has her own business too.

In her spare time… she writes.

Find Stacy online at: Her WebsiteBlog ~ Facebook ~ Twitter ~ Goodreads

My Blood Runs Blue and the sequel Blue Blood for Life are both available on Amazon Kindle!

 

 

 

 

 

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Today’s guest blog comes from international bestselling author Russell Blake.

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The Power of Polish

Writing a novel can be a tremendous rush. When things work at their best, the words seem to flow magically onto the page and the story writes itself.

Now you’ve finished your magnum opus and typed the last few words. You’ve given birth. Months or years of struggle have paid off. You’re a writer. The excitement is almost as palpable as the fatigue.

What’s next?

Stick the manuscript in a drawer and forget about it for a while. How long depends upon how good your memory is. I tend to let mine sit for a few weeks. Then I drag the beast out, and begin the process that turns a rough draft into something ready to send to the editor.

I polish. I rewrite. I skeptically eye each sentence, and ask myself whether I can eliminate superfluous words, backstory, dialog or characters. I buff each paragraph, mindful of echoes, gratuitous description, unnecessary exposition, overly self-congratulatory cleverness, or anything that doesn’t move the story forward or create a specific effect I’m after. I do so with patience and care, and don’t rush, because in my experience, the difference between something passable and something great is the rewrite and polish process.

I’m not talking editing. Editing comes after you’ve polished and cut, cajoling miracles out of 26 letters. Editing, be it story/content editing or copy/line editing, happens after you’ve done your level best to get the story into the finest shape it can be. Sometimes it takes two or three drafts to get it right. I tend to know pretty quickly on rewrite whether it’s going to be one round, or ten. Some stories just require more time. Some need more attention.

My counsel, such as it is, would be to allow yourself adequate time to polish your work to the point where you’re confident that your editor is going to be spinning his wheels in frustration trying to find something to change. If you can get to that point, you probably have a book that’s got a running chance. If you can’t, and if you skim over those niggling middle parts in a race to get it out the door, you’re doing yourself and your readers a huge disservice. Because they won’t skim. They’ll just give up. Or write a nasty review. Or worst yet, just not buy your next one.

I have somewhat of a reputation for cranking out novels pretty quickly, and its true, I’m more prolific than most. But while my process is to pull very long contiguous days while writing, I don’t rush the rewrite. Because that’s where books are made, or broken. My approach is to write like the devil’s chasing me, and then slow down to a crawl on rewrite. Others may do it differently. But that’s the system that works for me.

Parting words of advice are simple. If you can’t sit back and say, upon re-read, that you’ve done the very best job you can, you’re selling yourself and your readers short. You both deserve better, so slow down, have a little patience, and get out the thesaurus and Strunk and White. Don’t cut yourself any slack. Everyone you know probably will, but your readers ultimately won’t, and if you want to run with the big dogs, be prepared to have to put in the hours, with a lot of discipline and distance from your work. Otherwise, you’re just adding to the clutter. And you don’t want clutter or half-baked work to be your legacy. Every book should be your best, every time, and rewrite is a big part of ensuring that what you set forth as your product not only passes muster, but wows.

~*~

“Captain” Russell, 52, lives on the Pacific coast of Mexico, where he spends his time writing, fishing, collecting & drinking tequila, and playing with his dogs. He is currently hard at work on a magnum opus of indeterminate plot, topic or genre, tentatively titled The Voynich Cypher; a satire/parody about the battle of the sexes; and a panoramic, epic screenplay about…cartoon ninja beavers for whom this time it’s personal, tentatively titled Beaver Team Bravo.

Often referred to as “The Writer’s Writer’s Writer’s Writer,” Russell is also a self-declared guru on everything related to writing, self-publishing and self-promotion.

Russell is the international bestselling author of Fatal Exchange, a groundbreaking genre-blending thriller set against the counter-culture backdrop of New York’s gritty underground, The Geronimo Breach, an action/intrigue/thriller set in Panama, the bestselling Zero Sum trilogy of Wall Street thrillers – Kotov Syndrome, Focal Point and Checkmate (which hit #15 on Amazon’s top 100 free books), The Delphi Chronicle trilogy (The ManuscriptThe Tortoise & The Hareand Phoenix Rising), the epic assassination thriller King of Swords, and its prequel,Night of the Assassin, and The Voynich Cypher.

Russell is a proud member of RABMAD – Read A Book, Make A difference.

Find out more about Russell at his website: www.russellblake.com.

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Today’s guest post comes from Emerald Barnes, author of Piercing Through the Darkness.

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There are days when it feels like the world is against you, when you can’t find any inspiration for your writing.  It feels like every word you type is garbage and you even doubt edits will fix the garbage you’ve written.  But is it really garbage or is it you thinking it’s garbage?
Inspiration at times is the hardest thing to find.  You have these ideas running around your brain, but they aren’t coming out right.  You know how the story is supposed to go, but on paper, it’s turning out completely different.  You resist the urge to toss your laptop across the room and never write again.
When this happens, take a break!    Distance yourself from your writing.  Take a brisk walk outside and clear your head.  Put on a movie or some music and focus on it.  Take that break and gather your thoughts.

Focus on the good of the novel.  Once you’ve taken a break, focus on the good parts of the novel you’re working on it.  It doesn’t even have to be what you have written.  It can be something you plan on writing, but focus on the good.  Nothing good ever comes from dwelling on the bad.

Find the love for your work again.  We all fall in and out of love with our work.  If you’re frustrated, you’re probably falling out of love with your novel, but you had some good times with it.  Don’t lie.  Think about those.  Think about the characters you have written.  You created them.  You know their ins and outs; their loves and hates.  You know them.  Surely you haven’t fallen out of love with them.  Rekindle that love.

Move on with the work.  Try again.  Start over if you have to, but don’t abandon it yet.  Don’t give up so easily.
If you can’t move on with your work just yet, try starting another project.  Write a short story, poem, essay, anything.  Then try working with that frustrating piece again.  Maybe you’ve had some time to reevaluate the work after you’ve focused on something else.

Find your muse.  Find the very thing that motivates you to keep writing.  What is it?  Is it the thought of success?  Knowing you’ve finished your work?  It is the glory you feel when you’ve met your word count goal of the day?  The feel of writing a scene brilliantly? Whatever it is, just keep writing.  Focus on what keeps you going when all else fails.

Talk it out.  Seek out a trusted friend.  They can be a fellow writer or your best friend.  Virtual friends or real life friends.  You’ll be surprised how well you’ll feel when you’ve had a conversation about the characters, the plot and the overall story once you talk it out with someone.
Most importantly, don’t give up!  Whenever it feels like your writing is letting you down, face it head on and keep writing!  After all, you can’t call yourself a writer if you don’t write.

How do you find inspiration?

~*~

Emerald Barnes resides in a small town in Mississippi, where she writes novels and short stories as well as blogs about writing when she isn’t spending time with her nieces and nephew.  She has self-published an e-book, Piercing Through the Darkness, and has been published by Phyllis Scott Publishing in their book Blue Legs and Other Coming of Age Stories.  She works diligently to finish more works for publication.  Read Me Dead, a YA suspense/thriller/romance will be available soon.  You can follow her blog at http://ebarnes23.wordpress.com.  Follow her on Twitter @emeraldbarnes and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/fanpageforemeraldbarnes

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Today’s guest post comes from Lisa M. Lilly, author of The Awakening.

~*~

I’m going to knock on wood as I say this. I’ve never had writer’s block. Because a lot of writers struggle with feeling like they simply can’t get many pages written even when they carve out time to write, I’ve given a lot of thought to this topic. I’m hoping these thoughts will be helpful to other writers when facing the blank screen.

My first serious career ambition was to make a living as a singer/songwriter. I started getting up on stage, first at open mikes, then at coffeehouses and festivals, when I was 16, within just two years of learning to play guitar. One thing I found right off about performing — if I hadn’t practiced recently and repeatedly, I’d forget words and chords even to songs I’d known for years. Including songs I’d written myself. Lack of practice also significantly increased my pre-performance sweaty hands, nausea and dry mouth.

Because I’m not a fan of feeling nauseous, or of stumbling in front of an audience, I practiced an hour a day, usually from six to seven a.m. before school or work. (My parents were amazingly tolerant of this and probably should get a medal for not complaining, especially when I also decided to learn the banjo.) When I started to write seriously, I thought of writing the same way I’d thought of practice. I set a schedule of when I would write, and when the time came, I wrote whether I felt like it or not. If I didn’t have a story or novel on-going, I wrote journal entries, or I wrote about what I might like to write about. Some days when I felt inspired and thought I’d written something fabulous, I read it later and found it clunky, wordy, and boring. Other times I trudged through each line and was sure I’d have to toss out the pages, only to find it was some of the best writing I’d ever done. And vice versa.

The second reason I’ve been fortunate enough to keep writing regardless what else is happening in my life is the courses I took in college. Ironically, the fiction program at Columbia College disappointed me in many ways. I’d hoped to learn plot, theme, and characterization, and I found the fiction courses and teachers rarely touched on those. Instead, what seemed like forever was spent on exercises. Sometimes the teacher went in a circle and had us each say a word, any word. Without saying why, the teacher might then reject the word and make a student try another. I’m guessing now the rejected words were too closely related to the last person’s word or didn’t evoke much emotion or imagery, such as “the”. Another exercise was person-action-person. The first student chose a person, meaning a man, woman, boy or girl, an action verb, and another person. An example is “man holds girl.” The next student chose another combination, and so on. Yet another was to sit in complete silence and listen to the sounds from the room, the building, or the street below. Sometimes I suspected just making us sit still in silence for endless periods (the class lasted 4 hours) was what generated the ideas, as you’ve got to entertain yourself somehow.

After whichever exercise, a few people were asked to describe the scene they’d imagined. Then we were told to “write as much as you can as fast as you can.” We could write about anything triggered by the exercise, even a scene someone else described. We later turned the pages in to meet our 4-page-a- week requirement. Grades were based on total pages for the semester and also on improvement over time. We rarely got feedback from the teacher, but our work was occasionally read in class.

At the time, I thought this process related only to first drafting. But I realized later that it really helped with two other steps in writing. First, it helped generate ideas and, perhaps more important, pay attention to what we saw, heard, and felt so that we were open to story ideas wherever they arose. Second, the process, with its emphasis on writing fast and not getting much feedback, helped disengage the editing/reviewing part of our minds. That matters because it’s the editor that stops the writing process dead. It’s that voice, which might sound like your mother or your fifth-grade English teacher, that chimes in before you type or write a word. (Mine definitely sounds like my mother. When I started my second novel after having collected a hundred rejections on the first, my mother asked why I’d bother to write another book since no one bought the first one. Did I mention there are some people you shouldn’t discuss your writing with?) The editor says that your idea is boring, no one will like it. It says that the first sentence you’re considering is all wrong – which could mean dull, clunky, too many syllables, too few syllables, too wordy, too sparse, not the way real mystery authors/literary authors/horror writers/real writers actually write.

The editor is important, in fact crucial, when it comes to revising. The editor spots sentences that are unintentionally rambling; it catches typos and makes your work polished and professional. But letting the editor out during a first draft may ensure no first draft is ever finished, because nothing you consider writing will ever be good enough for the editor. If you do manage to get a first page or even a first chapter written, the editor will make you rewrite it a hundred times before you go forward. Three years later, you’ll have a fantastic first chapter. And nothing else.

To this day, I have moments where I sit down to write and feel my throat and stomach constrict and my breathing get shallow. But I have ideas bouncing around in my head, so I have somewhere to start. I also typically outline (which is a topic for another post), so I have a map of where I’m going. And when the editor starts talking, and it always does, I ignore it and write as much as I can, as fast as I can.

_______________

Lisa M. Lilly is the author of THE AWAKENING, a mystery/thriller about a young woman whose mysterious pregnancy may bring the world its first female messiah — or trigger the Apocalypse. She is also an attorney and the author of THE TOWER FORMERLY KNOWN AS SEARS AND TWO OTHER TALES OF URBAN HORROR.

THE AWAKENING is available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Check out THE TOWER as well, at both Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

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