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Musical Inspiration – @oddlynn3 #LynnCrain #PCers

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I know we’re said it many times here at HSG, writing is hard and sometimes finding inspiration is even harder. I know that there are some days where I am grasping at straws to get my daily word count down where as other days, I can’t wait to write.

When recently trying to figure the difference between those two types of day, I discovered one thing: music. The days where I wrote the most, I listened to music. Now, I don’t know why I find this astonishing as music soothes my soul and I know it soothes many other writers.

I’m one of those that have decided to start playlists specifically geared to my work. And those play lists run the gamut of modern to classical to rock and everything in between. There’s nothing like a country song to get me laughing and wanting to throw a little comedy at my stories. If I want something more serious, I start looking at some of today’s young artists because they all seem so emotional when it comes to certain things.

If I’m writing a fight scene, I will go find a good movie theme to get me going. One of my favorites happens to be the original music from Conan the Barbarian. Yeah, it’s that good but let me tell you that the soundtrack of the movie Guardians of the Galaxy will have me rocking out for days. So for me, music is just the inspirational tool that I need to get me going. And keep me going.

What about you? What type of things help your creative juices flow? Do you like music or is there something else that makes you want to put the words down?

I’ve love to hear from you…until next time!

About Lynn Crain

Award winning author Lynn Crain has done it all in her life. From nursing to geology, her life experiences have added to her detail rich stories. She loves writing full time as she weaves fantasy, futuristic and paranormal tales, tame to erotic, for various publishers. Her home is in the desert southwest though her latest adventure has taken her to Vienna, Austria with her husband of many years as he works his dream job.

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Writing to Word Count – Yes, You Can

The question I hear most often from new authors: “How long should my book be?”

My answer: “Long enough to tell the story.”

That may not seem like a great answer, but it’s my personal belief that it’s the most honest one. As writers we tell the stories of our hearts, the tales that live inside our minds, birthed by our soul and shaped by our life experience. We each have a story to tell, and each one is as unique as leaves on a tree. Nope, I can’t bring myself to use snowflakes. I just can’t.

Writing doesn’t come easy as most of us know. It forces us to grow in ways we never imagined. And one of the ways we grow as writers is to learn to shape our work into a particular format. Book bundles are big right now. A group of authors write short stories as a sampling of their work to invite readers to try them.

I love these. I’ve found many a new favorite author this way. In these collections the story usually has a recommended word count, say five or ten thousand words. As an author how do you make your work fit this word count?

The answer is simple. Editing. As writers one of the biggest and best things we can do for our work is also one of the most difficult. We must look at our work objectively. If you’ve written a story for inclusion into a bundle with an 8k word count and your story comes in at 12k, you need to cut some words.

“But my story will suffer!”

No, it won’t. Step back, think on it overnight or a week later if you’ve got the time. Look at the details. Character, setting, and dialogue. Does each item move the story along? Are they necessary or are they just taking up space? If they are space invaders, cut them.

The same goes for writing short. I struggle with this. If there’s an 8k word count, my story will be 6k more often than not. So I need to look at where I can add details and fill out areas that are sparse.

Read over your story to make sure the conflict is strong enough and the plot flows coherently from beginning to end. Then read it to make sure everything your characters are doing makes sense for the story line. Are their motivations believable? Review it for details, and lastly read through for those pesky adverbs, filler word, echoes and general grammar.

Part of being a professional is meeting a goal. Not making excuses for why you didn’t meet it.  As writers, we are not weak. We are strong. We tackle the hard stuff.

It takes work, but don’t shy away from the challenge, rise to it. With polish, your words will shine.

About Sutton Fox

Sutton Fox has been published by Lyrical Press, Gypsy Shadow Publishing and wrote a bi-monthly column for an auto racing magazine for several years. She traded life in the fast lane of Atlanta for life in the slow lane, in the hills of Bluegrass Country. Her existence is never dull as she works to blend city expectations with country reality. When she’s not writing, you can find her relaxing on the deck with a good book, or cooking for family and friends, which is another story...

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The 5 Best Sites for Bloggers

fbsfbWhen you’re a writer, blogging inevitably comes across your path at some point. It’s always something we “should be doing,” and there are a million opinions about what to blog about. Do you blog about writing? Cooking? Do book reviews?

I’ve been blogging since 2007, and I’m going to point you to some of the best resources I’ve found.

Fabulous Blogging www.fabulousblogging.com

This blog has it all. What you should be writing, how to present it, how to get it out there, and how to make a blog. Can’t recommend this site highly enough; I spend days lost in the archives.

Kristen Lamb’s Blogwarriorwriters.wordpress.com

This site not only offers spot-on writing tips but has easily become the writer’s go-to for blogging advice.

Hubspot’s Blog Topic Generatorhubspot.com/blog-topic-generator

Give this site 3 nouns and it will spit out 7 titles to help you decide what to write. Pretty catchy, SEO empowered titles, as well.

Pixabaypixabay.com

At this point, we all know pictures are crucial to blogging. With the increased use of pinterest to allow others to share your content, you want a solid, professional image. You will find them, free, on this site.

Canvacanva.com

I use this site all the time. Speaking of images, don’t just grab an image, take it over to Canva.com and add your title, name, even your twitter handle or url. Canva can help you quickly make graphics for your site without paying a dime. (I made this graphic with Canva in less than five minutes.)

About Lori Sizemore

Lover of nail polish, pens, her Kindle, and fresh coffee. She likes romance filled with messy, real characters and lots of snarky banter. Reading was (and still is!) her BFF; when she discovered writing she fell in love. It's all about the story. Always.

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Short and Sweet – Novellas

Julie Jarnagin here, and today I want to talk about novellas! When I first started reading and writing romance, it didn’t seem like there were many novellas available other than the occasional Christmas collection. It didn’t make much financial sense for publishers to print a shorter book. Now with ebooks opening up new opportunities, novellas have become a great way to release books of all lengths.

Here are a few reasons I love novellas:

* You can read them in one or only a few sittings. Our lives are busy these days. Sometimes we don’t have time to read a 100,000 word book, but we almost always have time to squeeze in a novella in the school car line or on the weekend.

* We get access to stories that may not otherwise get written. The hero and heroine in my novella, The Art of Falling, were secondary characters in another book. As I was writing my upcoming novel, Kiss the Cowboy, I realized Lucy, the cautious museum fundraiser, and Wyatt, the rugged bull rider, had a great story to tell. I proposed the idea of writing the novella to my publisher, and they were willing to add it to the line.

* Novellas provide a great way to get a taste of what the author writes without a big money and time commitment. There are so many great books waiting for me on my Kindle that sometimes I’m unsure about taking a chance on a new-to-me author. A novella gives us a chance to try some of the author’s writing and decide if we want to read more.

How about you? Do you like novellas? Why or why not?

Heather Tornsten needs a man…a celebrity, more specifically, for a fundraising gala for the Dallas art museum, where she works. And what better headliner than bull rider Wyatt Lawrence? Although why people idolize grown men who make their living falling off animals, she’ll never understand.

When his mom was diagnosed with cancer, Wyatt determined to focus on doing what she wants—like visiting some art museum. But when his mom teams up with Heather Tornsten to get him involved in a fundraiser, he knows he’s been set up. The more involved he gets with the pretty events coordinator, the more he realizes falling off a bull is far safer. Because falling for Heather–who has made it clear that she won’t risk her heart on any man who courts danger–might break a whole lot more than his bones.

Amazon

Barnes&Noble.com 

Kobo

iBooks

About Julie Jarnagin

Julie Jarnagin is a multi-published author of inspirational romance. She grew up in a small Oklahoma town where her family farmed and ranched. These days she lives in a not-so-big city with her amazing husband and two young sons who tolerate all her nerdy quirks. Julie earned a B.A. in Journalism / Professional Writing from the University of Oklahoma and is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. www.JulieJarnagin.com

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Adele Downs — New Release!!

LIP SERVICE by
Best-Selling Author
ADELE DOWNS

Lip Service_tent3Some ghosts won’t take “yes” for an answer.

Jack Harris has loved Legs Anderson since they were kids. Now that he has her in his bed, he has no intention of letting her go. Aunt Ada has other ideas, even from the grave.
GETTING BETWEEN JACK…
Orphaned at a young age, Legs Anderson owes her Aunt Ada everything. The stoic old lady raised her, and Ada’s warnings about men—and the Harris boys in particular—have stuck, even after her death. Of course, that could be because Ada stuck around, too.
…AND HIS LEGS
Patience is not one of Jack Harris’s virtues, and he’s waited too long to start a life with the woman he’s loved since childhood instead of them just knocking boots. Now Ada is interfering from beyond the grave, haunting the old Victorian house she bequeathed to her niece and reinforcing Legs’s fears of commitment. But Jack won’t give up. No matter what trouble may follow, the house will be renovated, Ada will learn to let go, Legs will put her money where her mouth is…and then Jack’ll put his lips everywhere else.

Excerpt:
The roar of a Harley-Davidson motorcycle on Rachel’s block and the rev of a throttle in her driveway announced Jack’s arrival. Legs tried to appear nonchalant when he walked through the poolside gate, but the sight of his sun-streaked hair and tanned, muscular good looks nearly knocked her out her seat. She eased her sunglasses down the bridge of her nose to get a better look.
When he stepped into the pool area dressed in black jeans, black biker boots, and a white muscle shirt that framed his pumped-up shoulders and biceps, she caught her breath. Everyone in the group said “hey” and Rachel offered him a cold drink, but his focus had remained on her. He slid his sunglasses on top of his head and nodded in her direction.
Legs remembered his gaze meeting hers before his attention strayed to her gold and black bikini then savored every inch of her skin. An appreciative smirk curled his lips and desire flashed in his beautiful blue eyes. He took a long pull of the soft drink someone handed him and then set the can down on the patio table. He looked her way and said, “Want to go for a ride?”
The invitation came out like a dare. All eyes shifted to her, watching to see what she’d do. They all knew she wasn’t allowed to date Jack Harris. Taking a ride on his motorcycle might not have been the same thing, but there would be hell to pay if her aunt found out.
She stretched her arms over her head and offered a lazy smile. “I guess so.” Though she’d been as nervous and excited as a rabbit, she never let on. She stood and pulled on her shorts and shirt, slid her sandals over her feet, and made her way across the patio to him.
Her aunt’s spies might see her on the road, but she pushed that worry aside. Mere weeks remained before she’d move away to college and the subject would be moot. She’d be gone most of the next four years, and by the time she got back, Jack would probably be married with a couple of kids. Half the women in town had their eyes on him and his brothers.
The idea of Jack marrying someone else made her furious, and more determined than ever to enjoy this rare day alone with him.
His gaze tracked every step of her approach, as if memorizing the lines and planes of her face, learning the shape of her breasts, and tattooing the curves of her waist into his brain. When she reached his side, he smiled at her so intently she almost faltered. Her heartbeat raced when he took her hand. She barely heard her friends say good-bye as they exited the patio door.
His Harley was built in classic style—all black steel and leather with silver chrome, glinting majestically in the sunlight like a god. She ran her fingers over the warm plush seats.
“Ever been on a bike before?” he asked, watching her with eyes so blue she almost missed his question while she stared back.
She pulled an elastic band from her shorts pocket and tied her hair into a ponytail. “Uh. No.” Her hair swung with the shake of her head. He probably knew the answer, but she appreciated the benefit of his question. He hadn’t made her feel like a total geek.
He gave her a tutorial with simple instructions, including the demand that she hold on to him tight and not let go. No problem there. She resisted a fit of giggles, determined to act her age and accept responsibility for her own safety, as tenuous as that might be on the rear end of a motorcycle wearing shorts and sandals.
Yikes. Hormones really did rule the heart.
He slid his sunglasses into place and got on the bike, steadying it with his feet while she scooted in behind him. After shifting her weight to find her center of balance, she wrapped her arms tight around his chest. The solid feel of his body thrilled her beyond anything she’d imagined. He smelled fantastic too, like musk cologne, leather, and sweat tossed with August air and sunshine.
“Ready?” he asked.
Leaning closer for support, she pressed her torso against his back and stifled a gasp at the sensations the friction created. If he never started the engine, and they simply sat together like this, it would have been enough.

About the Author:
Her Immortal Viking - Author PhotoAdele Downs writes best-selling contemporary romance inside the office of her rural Pennsylvania home. She is a former journalist, published in newspapers and magazines inside the USA, UK, and Caribbean.
Adele is an active member of Romance Writers of America and her local RWA chapter where she serves as a past-president. When Adele isn’t working on her current project, she can be found riding in her convertible or reading a book on the nearest beach.
Buy LIP SERVICE on Amazon!

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About Beth Rhodes

Beth jumps into life with both feet...or head first. Impulsive and spontaneous to a T, she joined Passionate Critters and never looked back. She loves writing and reading, which made this wonderful group of woman a perfect match for her.

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When The Elevator’s Broke

When I woke up this morning, I hadn’t a clue what I was going to write about. Spring is in full bloom here in Austria and though it’s beautiful, my allergies are also in full bloom. This is the first year it has happened and I was somewhat surprised by them. So, taking them in stride, and with my husband gone again on travel, I got Pup Harry ready to go for his morning walk.Tulips-in-Spring

I jaunt down the single flight of stairs determined to ignore the pounding in my head and press the button to the elevator. Nothing happens. I press it again. Still nothing. I press it one final time and realize that it is broke. Again. Suddenly, my beautiful 5th floor flat with elevator has become a 5th floor walk-up. This may be a devastating blow because the dog does need to be walked a minimum of two times a day. With allergies, this may be downright horrid as it might impede me breathing. Suddenly, the day isn’t so nice.

I head down the stairs and before I notice, Pup Harry’s whole flexi-leash is extended. He’s not budging as he wants to ride in the elevator. I walk back up the stairs and lock the leash in so I can pull him down. When we’re home alone, he gets all sorts of luxuries that he normally doesn’t get. Things like extra treats when he gets his leash on for walks, extra treats when I have to leave him to go shopping and more train rides than normal as I try to take him to parks that are quite a distance from our flat. He’s discovered that the elevator is his friend and doesn’t understand why it won’t go. I don’t either but that’s another story.

This elevator thing was impeding our style. Then I started to think about some of my characters that I’ve been writing recently. I make sure I give them a rough ride as things don’t always go the way they want them to go. Heck, they don’t always go the way I want them to go in my books. But when looking at my PC friend, Marin’s post, I realize I am just like what George R.R. Martin said. There is only so much architecture that I can do on a story before I just have to let it come to fruition like the flowers in a garden.

Pup-Harry-RestingCharacters have a way of letting you know if you’re doing it right. Or wrong. They scream, curse, whine and just downright won’t budge when things won’t go their way. Just like Pup Harry. If I can survive that, I can survive three days of the elevator being out.

And such is life. There are so many, many things that we don’t plan for most of the time that happen. Some we can control, some we can’t…like the elevator…I mean, I’m sure the machine went out of its way to make my life miserable today. After all, it does have a stake in what I’m doing and how I act.

Wrong. So wrong. I am the one who takes action. I am the one who has a stake in how I look at the world and how I act in it. I am the one that is the master of my own fate and only I can decide the course. We as writers sometimes get so caught up in our characters that we forget the little things. The things that make life new and interesting and oh so not boring.  Like taking a class or walking in a botanical garden.

Like elevator’s who break, making me a little heathier with each flight of stairs I climb. And those eleven flights can be hard or they can be easy. It’s all in the perspective.

About Lynn Crain

Award winning author Lynn Crain has done it all in her life. From nursing to geology, her life experiences have added to her detail rich stories. She loves writing full time as she weaves fantasy, futuristic and paranormal tales, tame to erotic, for various publishers. Her home is in the desert southwest though her latest adventure has taken her to Vienna, Austria with her husband of many years as he works his dream job.

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  • OUR LATEST BUZZ!

    Bethanne Strasser LETTERS FROM HOME from Entangled Publishing is available now! *** Out now from Ellora's Cave, HOW TO CAUSE A SCANDAL by Tina Vaughn *** Nina Croft's LOSING CONTROL is out! *** Debora Dennis's holiday novella, CUPCAKES & CUPID is available. *** Congratulations to Julie Jarnagin now represented by Nicole Resciniti of the Seymour Agency!