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 contemporary, fantasy, futuristic and paranormal tales, tame to erotic, for various publishers. Her home is in the desert southwest and she’s just returned from her latest adventure of living in Vienna, Austria while her husband worked his dream job. You can find her hanging out online at www.lynncrain.blogspot.com, https://www.facebook.com/LynnCrainAuthor, and on Twitter, @oddlynn3. She loves hearing from her readers at lynncrain@cox.net.

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 Bluegrass Country for life in the Windy City in a home she shares with The Man, a lonely cat, and her beloved dog, Lucy. When she’s not working the edj, you can find her writing or spending time with her extended family.

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. Sassy humor for the heart, captivating contemporary romance for the soul.

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.

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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 young son 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

  • OUR LATEST BUZZ!

    Lori Sizemore's Infamous released on December 14. *** Julie Jarnagin's Cowgirl in the Kitchen is available now. *** Bethanne Strasser LETTERS FROM HOME from Entangled Publishing is available now! *** Nina Croft's latest books, Her Fantasy Husband, a hot contemporary romance from Entangled's Brazen line, and The Order Boxed Set, a compilation of the three full length novels, plus a new novella, exclusive to the boxed set, both released in April 2016 *** Debora Dennis's holiday novella, CUPCAKES & CUPID is available.