Saturday, April 14, 2012

Weekly eBook Winners

 


Congratulations to the weekly ebook winners in Books We Love's annual Spring Fling Event!

This week's winner is Denise DiFalco.

Denise wins her choice of any two Books We Love ebooks or Spice ebooks. She also receives TEN extra entries into the Kindle Fire drawing May 31. Denise, please visit our website http://bookswelove.net/ and make your two choices, then email the titles to bookswelove@shaw.ca

Remember, only subscribers to our newsletter are eligible to enter our contests, so if you're not a subscriber go here and sign up now. Find the entry form for Spring Fling there too!


Congratulations Denise!



Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Research is Key


By Shirley Martin

A dedicated fiction writer recognizes the value of research.  With the possible exception of paranormal and fantasy, research is a necessary ingredient in the crafting of a novel. But even within the categories of paranormal and fantasy, the writer may find that research is helpful. For instance, in my fantasy romance, "Night Secrets" one of the main characters--Radegunda--is a healer. A book on herbs gave me helpful information and added to the authenticity of the character.

This is as good a place as any to mention the internet, where all kinds of information are available with a few clicks of the mouse. However, most of my writing occurred before the advent of the internet. Really, in conducting research, I prefer the richness and quantity of information in the printed book. Your local library will surely carry books on virtually any subject. Then, too, a writer can build up quite a voluminous library of her own to refer to time and again.

Nowhere is research more important than in writing a historical novel. No fudging on facts in this genre, no guessing. The writer must do more than an adequate gathering of facts; she must fully capture the essence of the time period. If a writer presents any inaccurate information, you can bet that one of her readers will catch the mistake. This is a sure way to lose your readers. My historical romance, "Destined to Love" takes place near present-day Pittsburgh during the French and Indian War. In preparing for this novel, I read everything I could find pertaining to the French and Indian War in that area. Since much of the action happens in an Indian village, I read about the Lenni Lenape (Delaware) Indian. I even studied the language. Books on pioneer life in Pennsylvania, life in the colonial period, clothing and so many other books proved quite helpful.

My time travel romance, "Dream Weaver" takes place a few years after "Destined to Love" and essentially in the same area. So many of the research books I used in writing "Destined to Love" also provided good reference material for my time travel romance.


Many mystery and suspense novelists need to know about poisons, body trauma, and police investigation of crimes. Great research books exist on poisons and body trauma, and a few visits to a police station will help. Ever read Mary Higgins Clark? You can bet she does extensive research for her excellent suspense novels. Suppose you want to write a suspense novel set in Miami. Are you just going to write about the heat and humidity and palm trees? Not enough! (And yes, I know BWL's writers are more skilled than that.) Find out where Little Havana is, and Little Haiti. Read about Santeria


Do you like to write fantasy novels? Here, more than elsewhere, you can let your imagination run free. At the same time, isn't it fun to read about demons, vampires, and witchcraft? In my own library, I have books on demons, monsters, vampires, witchcraft, astral travel, mythology, and Celtic fairy tales. I have used virtually all of these books and have based two of my novellas on Celtic fairy tales.

What genre do you like to write?  Get started on your research, and then write!

Shirley Martin

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

WRITING THE MEDIEVAL SERIES - by Vijaya Schartz

This book is available in kindle format HERE. Give it a thumbs up if you feel like it.

Historical series are a challenge to write... always. How much history, how much fiction, how much emotion compared to action and battle scenes? How many love scenes if it's a romance...

It all depends on the specific genre. If you are writing true history with a gritty feel, if you know your audience, and they are all about the historical details, by all means give them a chuckful of them. If the focus of the story is romance or legends, however, or if it's a young adult story, other factors should be at the forefront at all times. Also consider the age and level of education of the reader. Will you have to explain every medieval word you use? Will they need a lexicon at the end of the book? You don't want them to be checking the dictionary at every page.

If that's the case, you may be in trouble. Because if you use fewer historical words and make sure they are illustrated in context, you should not need to explain anything.

When I started this series a few years back, after a decade of research and travels to Europe, I didn't really know how to define it, since it is based in authentic legends. It really didn't fit any mold. It was history, fantasy, legends, romantic, full of action... but with adult subjects. Publishers were interested, they liked the writing, but they didn't know what to do with it. But with the rejections came interesting comments. Once a NY agent told me there was a dichotomy between the modern narrative and the formal dialogue. So I had to unify the entire work. I simplified the dialogue, and formalized the narrative, so that the difference wouldn't jar the reader.

Finally, after many rewrites, I found the right tone for dialogue and narrative, the right amount of old words, just to give it the right flavor (historical fans like them). And I am proud to announce that Books We Love Ltd just releasee this first novel in the Curse of the Lost Isle series... PRINCESS OF BRETAGNE (here again I am taking a chance with a French word in the title, but it's all about taking chances).

You can find the book in kindle format HERE. Give it a thumbs up like if you feel like it.

Good luck in your own writing endeavors.

Vijaya Schartz
Swords, Medieval knights, Romance with a Kick
http://www.vijayaschartz.com/

Beach Settings

Many readers have commented favorably on the settings in my books, often centered--although not always--on the Oregon Coast or the Puget Sound area in western Washington. Two examples are my YA romance, Sandcastles of Love and my adult romantic suspense novel, The Fisherman's Daughter. (Both books are available on Amazon.com) Marine background settings do indeed play a big factor in these books. But why beach settings? Why do they evoke strong memories that fuel my writing?
I grew up near Edmonds, north of Seattle, WA. Many decades earlier, Edmonds began its existence as a logging town. Now this “friendliest town in Washington” boasts luxurious condos with sweeping views of the Sound, unique gift shops and boutiques, antique stores, and scrumptious bakeries--just to name a few. In summertime and early fall, colorful hanging flower baskets adorn the main streets, giving the town a festive, European ambiance.

I remember as a small girl scouring the beach in Edmonds for shiny small rocks and shells, and the soft plopping sounds as I dropped each shell into my plastic bucket. Even broken shells would do! (Those were the days when it was all right to take the shells home.) I remember the relatives who visited every summer without fail from the Midwest. They loved riding the ferry, even if it were only to the opposite shore and back. Often in the late afternoon, the women packed up a casserole, a simple salad, and beverages to tote to the beach where we’d spread out our feast onto wind-worn picnic tables. My dad would join us once he returned from work. There we’d eat, laugh, talk and gaze out over the Sound. We'd sometimes make a game of counting the number of vehicles boarding the ferry. And what impressive ferries they were with their multiple decks and their green-and-white, sleek designs.

I remember my early teen years when my girlfriends and I’d walk to the beach during summertime. We’d spread out blankets, slather on cocoa butter, bake under the sun, and look for cute guys. With a briny breeze against our faces, the warmth radiating up from the sand, and the occasional wail of a train that rode the rails paralleling the beach, we were happy Beach Bums for the day. Later during high school, our crowd I often drove to the beach on warm summer evenings. We built beach fires that scented the air with the salty smell of driftwood. We strolled barefoot, feeling the gritty sand between our toes. Later we huddled around the fire to toast marshmallows and solve the world’s problems--or so we thought.  

And a weekend campout on Whidby Island with my biology class resulted in several of us kids getting caught by an incoming tide. What an adventure finding our way out! (That scene appears in my second published book, Double Crossing, released by a German publisher many years ago.)

After I'd married, and our two sons were small, we took them to Edmonds often to visit their grandparents. The beach was always an important part of those visits. How the boys loved to dig in the sand--if we'd forgotten to take a bucket and shovel, they'd improvise by using shells as "scoopers." And whenever they'd hear the Amtrak whistle growing louder, they'd drop their "scoopers" and go running to get a good view of the train roaring by and to wave to the engineer, who would usually wave back!

My husband and I still visit Edmonds regularly. Though our immediate family is gone, some extended family and friends remain, and it’s fulfilling to connect with them. Yet a good part of our time is spent overlooking the beach and the ferry dock. There we love watching the ferry traverse the Sound, hearing the waves lapping gently against the beach, and seeing the rugged Olympic Mountains off to the west.

Yes, some things do indeed change, but not all things. And my memories are forever fixed in time. These are just a few of the evocative sensory details I aspire to bring to my writing.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Weekly eBook Winners

 


Congratulations to the weekly ebook winners in Books We Love's annual Spring Fling Event!

This week's winner is Tia (lenikaye).

Tia wins her choice of any two Books We Love ebooks or Spice ebooks. She also receives TEN extra entries into the Kindle Fire drawing May 31. Tia, please visit our website http://bookswelove.net/ and make your two choices, then email the titles to bookswelove@shaw.ca

Remember, only subscribers to our newsletter are eligible to enter our contests, so if you're not a subscriber go here and sign up now. Find the entry form for Spring Fling there too!


Congratulations Tia!



Brides of Banff Springs by Victoria Chatham

AVAILABLE HERE   VICTORIA CHATHAM is a young-at-heart senior who has written short stories, newspaper and magazine articles on a...