Thursday, December 29, 2011

Ring in the New Year with a good book



This is an open promotional opportunity for all authors who are looking to promote their books, regardless of genre. Here's how it works. In the comments, leave a blurb/details for your book and a purchase link. It'd be great if you could return the favor by having a similar post on your blog. If you do, please leave us the link for that as well. This will be open from now through New Years day, all day.

All I ask is that the blurb be PG-13 as this is not an adult rated blog. Even though I write erotic romance, I'd like for most anyone to be able to read my blog.

Okay, I'll go first. My latest book is called Frank and The Werewolf Tamer. It's about a vampire who gets involved with a modern (and sexy) version of Frankenstein.

Here are the details:

Katherine has had a hard time finding work, mostly because she’s a vampire. Turns out, people aren’t clamoring to work with the undead. She goes to the massive theme park, Notte Oscura, as a last resort. However, she soon finds there is more waiting for her than just a job.






Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Looking to review any paranormal romance?




I'm giving away a limited number of pdf copies of Frank and The Werewolf Tamer to people (professional reviewers and readers) who are willing to post an honest review of the book on Amazon.


If you don't like romance, erotica, or the paranormal, please, skip this book.


It is my sincere hope that everyone will LOVE the book, but I realize this may not happen. When I say "honest" here's what I mean. If you absolutely hate the book, please don't trash it publicly. It's okay to not like something, this is a free country. Just don't call the book names, call me names, or give away details of the plot. Basically, be nice about it is what I'm saying.


However, it is still my hope that you will all LOVE the book. Ha. Ha. Ha. So, those interested in reviewing Frank and The Werewolf Tamer, please send me an email traceyhkitts@yahoo.com


In the subject line have something like Frank and The Werewolf Tamer/Review.


Thank you in advance for your time and consideration. I really appreciate it!



Monday, December 26, 2011

Frank and The Werewolf Tamer is out!

This is my very first self-published book as well as my first experience with Amazon's Kindle exclusive lending library. (Kindle Prime members can read the book for free.) It'll probably be some time yet before I know how this venture will work out. But, I must say once I got the formatting thing down, it wasn't that difficult. With a bit of practice ( like doing this 2 or 3 times) that should be easy.


Designing the cover art was also not a big deal. Actually, I loved it. For the first time I had complete control over what was on the cover of my book. I only hope that my tastes as an artist and a writer are as pleasing to readers as they were to me.


Before my actions can be misunderstood, I have no intentions of leaving the world of traditional publishing. This is an experiment, one that I hope goes very well. I want to be able to offer readers better prices and also be able to pay my bills. It's a simple as that.


Without further rambling (because I'm writing this at 4:30 a.m.) here are the details on my latest book. (Drum roll please)




Katherine has had a hard time finding work, mostly because she’s a vampire. Turns out, people aren’t clamoring to work with the undead. She goes to the massive theme park, Notte Oscura, as a last resort. After she watches his sexy “Frankenstein” act, Frank Eastwick hires her on the spot. They are in need of a new werewolf tamer and he has no doubt that she can do the job. Katherine soon learns that there’s more to this hunk than his gorgeous body and numerous scars. Things are working out for Katherine for the first time in years. That is until the vampire who bit her decides to pay them a visit.



Purchase Link: http://www.amazon.com/Frank-Werewolf-Tamer-ebook/dp/B006PU2JBW/ref=sr_1_3?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1324895015&sr=1-3

Friday, December 23, 2011

Happy Holidays

And to all my fellow work-a-holics, I understand. I never thought I'd be one of those people who worked all the time. Then one day (I always knew I wanted to write) I decided it was time I started writing. I began to follow through with my dream. Next thing you know I work all the time.

Honestly "work" is a dirty word to me. I use it because that's the word I have to use to let people know I'm trying to get something done. Ha. Ha. If I say I'm writing, that doesn't seem to convey the same respect or need for privacy.

The moment I finally gave in to what I always knew would be my career, everything changed. Here it is 2 days till Christmas and I'm still writing. I don't have an "off" switch. I've tried to explain to people that it's like I'm always on call for my muse. As bad as that might sound to some, I love it. I never leave work. Which would be a nightmare if I was still in any of the jobs I've had in the past. But not this. I love writing. I love telling stories and creating new worlds and characters.

I am what I do, so I can't stop being me. With that in mind, as I sit here "working," I wanted to take a moment to wish everyone a Happy Holiday. Whether you celebrate Christmas or Winter Solstice, any other holiday, I wish you happiness.

May you be able to avoid the relatives you don't like and spend some time with the ones you do.

Happy Holidays, from me to you.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Who is Solomon Grundy?

Seriously, does anyone know? Yes, this is off topic from my usual blog subjects. I love comics. Get over it. Ha. Ha. Ha. Batman is my favorite. Yesterday while playing the new Arkham City (which rocks by the way), I encountered Solomon Grundy.

I immediately recognized him from the comics (and a brief appearance on some cartoons), but I still have no idea who he actually is. All he tells you himself is he was "Born on a Monday, christened on a Tuesday, married on Wednesday."

Um...okaaaaay. I found the rest of that bizarre nursery rhyme and it told me nothing, but here it is. There's even a company in the UK named after this nursery rhyme. That's pretty freakin' macabre, even to me.

By James Orchard Halliwell published in 1842 with the lyrics:

Solomon Grundy,
Born on a Monday,
Christened on Tuesday,
Married on Wednesday,
Took ill on Thursday,
Grew worse on Friday,
Died on Saturday,
Buried on Sunday.
That was the end,
Of Solomon Grundy.

Well, that's pretty disturbing. My first impression when looking at Grundy is he looks like a zombie version of Frankenstein's monster. (He's got stitches along his biceps as if they are holding his arms together.) I did find a few references online that say he is in fact a "zombie supervillain." That's nice, but who the crap is he?

According to Penguin (Arkham City) he's immortal. Truthfully, I couldn't kill him. We just got to a point where he was subdued. Zombies, in any other work of fiction, can be killed. So, what the crap is he? Who made him? If you know, tell me. Please. It bugs me.

I also already know he was supposedly murdered in Slaughter Swamp (where ever the hell that is). I couldn't find if that meant something or not. The same article where I found this said that every time he is "killed" in his zombie form he is resurrected with different powers. That's cool and all, BUT WHY? You get what I'm saying?

Oh, and I also found out that Solomon Grundy is the name of a pickled fish dish served on Jamaican Cruises. Bleh! I've been to Jamaica before and nobody ever offered me Solomon Grundy on a cracker. Nasty!

Every site I went to says the same thing. (Not about the pickled fish thing.) He's a zombie supervillain who also fought the Green Lantern and some other people. Not to sound like an ass, but I don't care about that other stuff. I just want to know where he came from/who made him the way he is.

How can you have a badass zombie supervillain and not give him a decent backstory?

Okay, as I was about to hit "send" I decided to look into the Slaughter Swamp thing. Yay! I found some more information. It'd probably be easier to just post a link.

http://dc.wikia.com/wiki/Slaughter_Swamp

This is more like it. However, it still doesn't explain how he is at least 20 feet tall. That's my best guess in comparison to Batman who I estimate is about 6' 2".

Grundy was also a sideshow freak over the years. But, I've heard that he has more than one origin story. Anyone else know the rest?

Sunday, December 18, 2011

My first cover art design and why I'm doing this

Before I share the next step of my project, I'd like to clear something up. I am not self-publishing this book because I have no other option. Some people seem to have gotten the impression that no one wants my story and that's why it's being self-published.

That's not true at all. I've had 15 novels, 3 novellas, and 1 short story, all traditionally published. You know, by a publisher. I submitted my work, they offered me a contract, etc. Everything I've ever finished has been published.

Frank and The Werewolf Tamer has never been submitted to a publisher, anywhere at any time. This story was written specifically for this business venture. Make no mistake, that's exactly what this is.

In the on-going attempt to survive and pay my bills, I've decided to self-publish some of my work. I love what I do and I sincerely enjoy providing entertainment for readers. However, I also want to make more money and be able to offer readers a cheaper price at the same time. People deserve a bargain and I deserve to keep a roof over my head.

These reasons are what led me down this road, not rejection.

Now that that's cleared up, I'd like to share with everyone my very first cover art design. I used a combination of Photoshop, Paint, and Microsoft Picture Manager to create the desired effects. By the way, that's the edge of my back yard in the background.

For those interested in learning how to make their own cover art, there are dozens of "how to" videos on youtube. That's where I've picked up a lot. Until a few weeks ago, I'd never used Photoshop in my life.




Tuesday, December 13, 2011

My self-publishing adventure is nearing completion

Well, this part of it anyway. I've been doing tons of reasearch. My book Frank and The Werewolf Tamer is almost complete. I've decided on the perfect images for the cover art (which I'll be making myself). Actually, I seem to have a knack for it. Don't get me wrong, it isn't perect, but with some effort, I think I could be really good at this.

As it stands now, I'm about 15-20 thousand words away from the end of the book. I wrote 5,ooo just this morning. My fingers are tired, but my brain won't stop. Once I finish the book, I'll need to edit it once more (because I've already edited it up to this point 3 times). Then, my writing partner will go over it again for me. Next, I'll work on that smoking hot cover art. And last but not least, I'll learn how to format and upload my book to Amazon Kindle.

I am so excited! At first, when I read that they have a 35% royalty option or a 70% option, I thought it was a no brainer. Then, I looked into the matter further. In case anyone else is wondering, here's what I've learned about Amazon's Kindle program.

- You can only earn 70% royalties on titles priced $2.99 - $9.99
- Anything $2.98 and under automatically earns 35% royalties

That means that for a .99 cent book (which is what I was originally going to offer), I would only earn .35 cents a copy. As much as I want readers to have a bargain, I can't live on that. And I do this for a living.

- 70% royalty books are also charged a small download fee. (0.15 per KB) This mostly hurts those with lots of graphics. The fee is deducted from your royalties and not charged to the author seperately. Honestly, I haven't heard anyone complaining about this. From what I understand, the average fee is only 3-6 cents per book.

After much debate, I've decided that Frank and The Werewolf Tamer will be priced at $2.99. This will still offer readers a good price and allow me to pay my bills. I consider that win/win.

I'm really looking forward to seeing how this works out and thought I'd share my experiences/research thus far.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

This is about writing, but what if I put porn in the title?

Okay, you can stop laughing and/or rolling your eyes now. One blog post of mine had the word porn in it, over a year ago. I find it hilarious that this particular post (which wasn't even about porn, but merely used the word) gets so many hits. That's sad.

This post is, like I said, about writing. My writing to be specific. I can't tell you how tired I am of people (mainly relatives) asking me if I "still write about werewolves and stuff." Yes, I do. What part of paranormal romance author are they not understanding? I've worked for 4 years to try and build an audience. I want people to think of paranormal romance when they read my name. Why the hell would I throw 4 years of work down the drain? Wait, that wouldn't be thrown, it'd be flushed. Anyway, you get my point.

That would be stupid! First of all, my loyal readers expect paranormal when they get one of my books. That means, I'd need to come up with a new name to write a different genre. THAT would mean I'd have to do TWICE the marketing. I don't think so! According to my family, contemporary romance is what I should write. Good grief. Obviously, they've never looked at my bookshelf or even paid attention to me as a person.

No offense to those who write contemporary romance and to those who enjoy reading it. I'm just not one of those people. It doesn't appeal to me in the slightest. No matter how great the writing may be, I find it boring. It's just not my thing.

I want to scream every time a relative says, "Why don't you do a regular romance?" Regular meaning contemporary. Um....maybe because it doesn't interest me!

"Well, there's lots of people that don't like that kinda stuff." (Meaning what I write.)

"Then they shouldn't read my books!" Seriously, that's what's great about free will.

I can't seem to make them understand that I cannot write something that doesn't interest me. Before I was ever a writer, I was a reader. I have never liked "regular" anything.

When I was in elementary school, I liked ghost stories. In high school my interests progressed to romance novels (mostly medieval because that came closest to my gothic tastes), and horror. Soon after I discovered sci-fi and as a young adult I finally found some vampire romance books. It was like a light going off in my brain. THIS is what I'd been looking for all along. This thing called paranormal romance combined everything I loved about fiction. It was perfect!

I've known since I was 6 years old that I wanted to tell my own stories someday. Well, someday is now and I love what I do. The sad thing is, it's only a matter of time before someone reads this, takes it completely out of context and starts a whole shitstorm again. (I can't find my umbrella.)

Why can't I just be who I am? And why after 32 years do none of these people know me?

P.S. I have no intentions of ever writing anything "normal," so don't ask. Ever.

How to get your novel started, Conclusion

Conclusion

By this point, I hope you have started your novel and realized that you can write a book. Here are a few final tips.

You need a basic knowledge of grammar, but writing a novel is much different from writing a paper for class. You don’t have to worry about proper or “professional” grammar. Write as you speak. If you were writing an informal letter to a friend would you use a colon? Probably not.

“That” should not be a major part of your story. Can you use “which” instead or eliminate the word all together?

Don’t forget to write as you speak. If you can’t find the words, think of how you would explain/describe the same thing to a friend.

I hope this information has been helpful to you. I wish you happy writing and many sales!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Character Outline

Here's the outline I promised in yesterday's post:) I hope it helps you to better understand your characters. Please, don't feel like you have to answer every question. I never do. Actually, I've only used an outline on a few characters. The rest ... I just knew and didn't need to ask.


1. What is the character’s name?



2. How old are they?



3. Who were their parents?



4. Where were they born? Did anything unusual happen?



5. Where do they live?



6. Are they single?



7. Do they have a job? What is it?



8. What was their childhood like? Are there any brothers or sisters? What is the relationship with siblings?



9. What kinds of relationships does the character have? What kinds of friends? Enemies? Why?



10. Does the character have any bad habits? Sexual appetites?



11. Describe the physical appearance of the character. Skin color? Height? Weight? Physique? Tall or short? Fat or thin or muscular?



12. Hair color? Eye color?



13. Do they have an accent? What kind?



14. How do they walk? (strut? swagger? etc)



15. Does the character have any disabilities? Distinguishing marks? Tattoos? Disfigurements? Why? How did they get these scars?



16. What kind of jewelry or ornamentation does the character wear? Rings, earrings, necklace, medallion or piercing?



17. What class of person is this? Wealthy or poor? Honest or rogue? Soldier or leader? Merchant or laborer? Teacher or student? Highborn or lowborn? Educated or ignorant? Rational or superstitious? Religious or skeptical?



18. What kind of clothing does the character wear? Fancy or plain? Expensive or cheap? Elegant or simple? Describe the clothes.



19. What kind of weapons does this character carry? Why? What do these weapons accomplish? How much training has your character had in the use of these weapons?



20. What powers or abilities does this character have?



21. What’s their best quality?



22. What’s their worst quality?



23. What does your character believe? What does he or she know? What does he or she need to know?



24. What is this character’s weakness? Fatal flaw?



25. What are they afraid of?



26. What makes them angry?



27. What do they dislike?



28. What do they like most?



29. What do they want?



30. What do they need?



31. What do they most need to learn? What do they most need to say? To whom?



32. What’s their worst fear?



33. Do they have any regrets?



34. Do they have any special talents or abilities?



35. What do they dream about?



36. If they could do one thing with their life what would it be?



37. What is the problem? Why is it his or her problem? Why does this problem hurt?



38. What is the essential emotional problem that this character must face and resolve?



39. What one word best sums up their personality?

How to get your novel started Part 4

This is going to be a very long post.

Writing your book

By now you should have your book planned. You should have a working outline and at least some idea of a title. We’ll be discussing:

How to create memorable characters
Setting and description
Transitions

Transitions

Transitions are the key to making your writing flow. They’re what makes your book “readable.” Transitions are words and short phrases which are normally found at the first of a sentence. They are to ensure that the reading experience is smooth and effortless. (Don’t use them too often though, or your editor will kill you. Seriously, they have a dungeon for people who use these words too much.)

Here are some examples:

Furthermore

On the other hand

So

For example

Otherwise

Because

Afterwards

Then

And

But

Basically

Later

While

In the meantime

Nevertheless

Equally

Apart from

Indeed

In fact

In conclusion

While writing, try to use transitions often to help readers follow your train of thought. Notice I used the words “and” and “but”? Forget what you learned in school about never using these words at the start of a sentence. One shows that a further supporting statement is about to be made and another shows that an opposing statement is about to be made. And if anyone doesn’t like it, tell them to see me. Ha. Ha. This goes back to writing like you speak. (As long as every sentence doesn't begin with "and or "but.")

Writing with Flair

Of course, like I’ve already said, the best thing you can do to add flair is to write like you speak. A straight-forward conversational style will ensure that your work reads well. If you’re a good conversationalist, then you’ll probably be a good writer.

Writing this way is also the quickest way to get your book finished. I mean, how many times are you speaking to someone and pause for weeks in between? Never right? If you know what to say, you have less trouble finding how to say it.

Here are a few guidelines to keep in mind as you write:

Try to avoid clich├ęs. These are tired phrases like “he ran like the wind” or “she wiped the floor with him.” They are often seen as lazy writing, simply because they have been used so much. They’re a little bit like the tomatoes you left in the fridge for too long, they’ve lost their freshness. (And could possibly be growing mold.)

Vary the length of your sentences. This is to avoid monotony. You also need to suit the pace and tone of what you’re writing. If you’re writing an action sequence, for example, your sentences should be shorter and more precise. Just like the uppercut your character is about to throw.

In particular avoid long, long, long, long, sentences with lots of commas. Use full stops.

Besides length, vary your sentence construction. Normal sentence structure is subject-verb-object. To maintain pace and readability, it’s best to maintain this most of the time. But sometimes it’s alright to change things around a little.

Avoid repeating a word within a sentence or two. Unless you’re doing this deliberately for effect, it is unpleasant to read. You also don’t want to go overboard trying to avoid using the same word again. For instance, don’t call a cow a bovine quadruped to avoid using the word “cow” again.

Avoid using a long word when you could use a short one instead. Use the longer one if it’s the only one appropriate. This has nothing to do with the intellect of your readers, so don't be offended. Writing simply flows better if it isn't bogged down with lots of loooooong words. I hate to read something where the author obviously threw in a bunch of big words just to make themselves or their point seem more important.

Use adjectives and adverbs sparingly. Adjectives are describing words like hot or cold. Adverbs normally end in “ly” and tell how something is done. (Poorly or splendidly.) For example, instead of saying a vast amount of water, say an ocean. Or instead of she yelled at the top of her lungs, she screamed.

Avoid using old-fashioned words. Even for comic effect. Words like quoth and perchance should only be found in Shakespeare.

Keep punctuation simple. All you should need for the most part are full stops, a few commas, and question marks. When writing for a general audience, most people could give a rip if you know how to properly place a colon or a semi-colon. Some people even find them distracting.

Use figures of speech to bring your writing to life. The best known figures of speech are metaphors and similes. If you can do this with an original flare, it will help the reader to see the character or situation in a whole new light.

With a simile, the comparison should be explicit. No, I don't mean raunchy. A comparison is obviously made.

I like to give unusual similes. Like someone growing on you like a fungus.

Metaphors are used more artfully. They are often referred to as imagery. These figures of speech should evoke vivid images in the reader’s mind.

Here is an example from Red, book one in my Werewolf Hunter Series.

The beautiful summer day had begun to turn as ugly as my mood. Through the doors to the balcony, dark clouds could be seen gathering. Technically, it was still spring, but when the temperature reached nearly eighty degrees every day, I called it summer. That’s the only thing about Florida I wasn’t fond of; I did not deal well with the heat. But, you can’t have everything, and living in the middle of nowhere, with almost no neighbors, I was probably surrounded by some of God’s best art work. As I walked out onto the balcony, surrounded by deep red roses, I marveled at the fact that there were people who did not believe in the existence of a higher power. I watched the storm clouds rumble and swirl, looking like a bruise mingling with the blue of the sky. I had the urge to get a blank canvas and some paint. Yes, God existed, and he was an artist. In my opinion, anyone who doubted that need only watch one sunset. Every day the countryside around me was painted with the same masterful hand in a slightly different portrait.

The first few rain drops began to fall around me, making the roses look like bobbing little red heads as the rain bounced from their petals. I closed my eyes, tilted back my head and let the rain wash away the bad memories.

No, this book isn’t about religion. Lilith just happens to mention her belief in God during this segment. The question is, could you see the rain bouncing off those roses? Could you picture the storm spreading across the sky?

Another quick note: Don’t work too hard to come up with figures of speech. It isn’t worth it. Besides being a waste of time, if the comparison you make isn’t completely obvious, the result could be unintentionally comical.

Similes and metaphors should be used sparingly. But if you come up with a few good ones along the way, they can help to make your words more easily understood and make your book more fun to read.

Tips specifically for fiction writers

Characterization

Characterization goes hand in hand with conflict. These are probably THE most important parts of the story. After all, you can’t have conflict without characters. The reason people enjoy fiction is because at some level we are able to identify with one or more of the characters. You start to put yourself in their shoes and keep reading to see how they work things out.

And if you had characters without a conflict, you’d have a really boring book. Think back to one of those cheesy old scenes in a black and white movie where two characters run toward each other across a field of wildflowers. Boring right? Who are these idiots and why aren’t they having an allergy attack from all the pollen? If everything worked out right and bad things never happened to good people, it would make an extraordinarily dull read.

Everybody wants and occasionally has strokes of good luck. But we also have setbacks. That’s just part of life. And though readers do read to escape reality, you shouldn’t leave it completely behind. Everything doesn’t always go right and this should be true for your characters.

If everything is always perfect in the lives of your characters, readers won’t be able to identify with them and won’t be the slightest bit interested in what happens to them.

Most truly great fictional characters have been flawed in some way. All of them have problems (conflict) and work to overcome them. For fiction to be successful, it is essential to have characters who have flaws as well as strengths and who experience conflicts and failure as well as success.

Character and conflict interweave to form the plot.

Example: Werewolf Hunter Series – Red

Lilith Mercury is a werewolf Hunter who is not exactly human. Marco Barak is an alpha werewolf looking to change people’s perceptions of his kind, and snag a new alpha female in the process. After a passionate encounter in his club one night, Lilith can no longer deny her attraction to the wolfman. Her job is to kill him, but it breaks her heart to think of causing him harm. Once The Wizard Council agrees to hear Marco’s proposal for the enactment of the werewolf code, things might change, not only for werewolves, but for Lilith. Soon they will both discover that anything worth having is worth fighting for.

PLOT SPRINGS FROM CHARACTER

So, how are you supposed to create these memorable characters from which your plot develops? First, you need to get to know them and I suggest doing so before you start writing. You need to know what makes them tick, their strengths and weaknesses, background, hobbies, etc.

Picture someone in your mind, a character perhaps. Not a celebrity or someone you know, but someone you’ve made up. If you don’t have anyone in mind, then make someone up right now. I’ve found that it’s easier to write in response to a question, so I've got an exercise to help you develop your character.

The exercise will follow this section in the next post.

If you do this exercise, by the time you get to the end, you should feel like you’re getting to know this character. Some of the questions may not apply to your character and that’s fine. This is just to help you get an idea of who they are. You don’t have to know the answer to every question and some of them will even be answered as you write the story.

Now think of a problem this person would want to avoid more than anything. It could be based on their worst fear or their dislikes. Think how the person involved would attempt to resolve the situation. What would they do and what would be the consequences of their actions?

The better you know the characters, the easier the outline and the story will be to write. If you are familiar with your character’s personalities and backgrounds, any one of these can be used to create conflict.

Creating well-rounded life-like characters is important. You might want to complete the questionnaire for all of the characters in your book.

Keep in mind that for your book to be successful, the main character or characters must also be someone readers will find likeable, at least on some level.

Here are some more ideas for creating likeable and memorable characters.

1. Show their softer side – have them do something kind.

2. Make them the underdog – people always root for the underdog, so make the odds stacked against them.

3. Put them in big trouble – the more trouble your character is in, the more the audience will be drawn in.

4. Make them good at what they do – even if they are an assassin, let them take pride in it. (maybe even be the best in the business)

5. Give them a dark past – this could tie into their regrets. We’ve all done things that we regret, having this in a character also makes them easier to identify with.

6. Give them a sense of humor – this not only makes the story easier to read, but makes the characters more believable. They don’t have to be a comedian, they just need to not always take themselves so seriously.

7. Give them flaws – real people cannot identify with perfect people. Give them a drinking problem or a fear of heights … something to overcome.

8. Give them someone to love – it could be a lover or their child, or even their dog. But everyone, no matter how bad they may be, needs someone to love. Yes, this applies even if you’re not writing a love story.

9. Let them have something in common with the reader – this could be a nosy neighbor or a boss who’s a jerk. Just as long as it’s something that a lot of people can identify with.

10. Make them rebels – this goes along with being the underdog, just do it with attitude.

Of course, you don’t need to use all of these for every character, but you should use some to make the characters easy to identify with and realistic.

Show, don’t tell

I didn’t invent this phrase. It’s used in lots of writing classes. And it’s probably the best piece of advice I can give you.

Don’t just tell them what’s going on in a scene. Describe it. Show it to them. Try to think of your novel as a movie. Rather than just telling your audience what happens, show it to them in a few vividly portrayed scenes.

Show scenes through the eyes of a viewpoint character.

Don’t include asides which can only come from the author.

Have as much dialogue and action as possible.

Keep reportage and reminiscence (flash backs) to a minimum.

Write most of your story in the character’s presence.

Avoid having characters tell one another about events – if it’s important show it happening instead.

Why the words you choose are so important

People don’t just want to see your world. They want to hear it, feel it. They want to take in the sights, taste the food, hear the music. They want to be able to feel the changes in temperature and observe the animals.

If you can’t describe the place like you’ve been there, the reader will know the difference. They can only get as deep into the story as you do.

Setting and description

Try to include these in the dialogue. Blend them into the narrative. Avoid a three page description of a dirt road. (Seriously, I read that once.) Rather than stop a story in its tracks to provide a full description of the setting, give a few well chosen details and let the reader fill in the rest for themselves.

The character outline can be found in the next post:) I may have to do that one tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Do you ever feel like your head might explode?

Well, lately I've experienced it more than once. Besides the normal things going on home, family, a yard that desperately needs tending, I'm preparing for a new business venture. Frankly, it's a little bit scary. I'm planning to *gasp* self-publish a book.

I know, I know. When I got my first book published I was offended every time someone asked me, "How much did it cost to get published?" I'd say something to the effect, "Not a damn thing. I submitted my work to a publisher, not a vanity press."

It really pissed me off that they would even ask. (Don't hit me, I'm only being honest.) For many years, I felt that self-publishing was the kiss of death. Basically, I thought it meant you sucked as a writer and couldn't get anyone to publish your work.

Needless to say, things have changed in the publishing industry and so have my opinions. One thing that really began to open my eyes was, I realized that a lot of what's out there in mass market sucks. Ha. Ha. Ha. Seriously, I've read some major crap with big publishing houses.

Not only that, I've read some really good stuff that was self-published. I've done hours of research (and continue to do research) on publishing with Amazon Kindle. I've also discovered that people aren't turning up their noses nearly as much at self-published authors.

Self-publishing used to bring to mind bad cover art and poorly edited books. Now, many authors are hiring artists or doing the work themselves, having writing partners (or a hired editor) look over their work, and releasing the books themselves. Some with raging success.

Do I expect to be a "raging success?" Of course I do! If you're going to dream, dream big. Do I think it will magically happen? No, and I don't want to trade any cows for beans. I work. I work HARD. I spend hours and hours (like 80 a week sometimes) learning how to market my books.

Besides that, I'm good at what I do. I don't say that full of pride or thinking that I'm "the shit." I take editor's opinions to heart and I learn from them. Same goes for readers. I pay attention and continue to improve my craft. Does that mean I'm perfect? Certainly not. But, every book I write gets better and better. Of that I'm certain. I look at my books as a product. It is my goal to reach as many readers as possible with a quality product. As stated above, I've read plenty of crap to recognize it when I see it. And my stuff isn't crap.

With all those things in mind, I'm currently working on a book that I plan to offer on Amazon Kindle very soon. I'm about halfway finished with the story. After that, I plan to thoroughly edit the work myself (I've gotten pretty good at that) before having my lovely and talented editing partner go over it too.

Am I nervous? Sure. But I figure, what have I got to lose? Uploading a book to Amazon Kindle (after it's properly formatted, of course) doesn't cost a thing.

I don't believe that "raging success" will happen over night. I've often heard that persistence trumps talent. Well, I'm hard working and I believe I have talent. I have no doubt that eventually, "success" will follow.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

How to get your novel started Part 3

Ideas for your book.

By now you should have decided what you want to write about. Maybe you even have a title in mind. But if you don’t right now, don’t worry about it.

Let’s get right to it. If you’re going to write a novel, you need a plot. The plot is what keeps us turning the pages. However, you can’t just throw together any series of events and expect it to keep people interested.

A plot must meet two major requirements.

1. The events must be linked in some way. They don’t necessarily have to be predictable, but they should follow a logical order. And of course, they should be significant in some way to the lives of your characters.

2. Readers must care about how the events in the story are going to turn out. If your story doesn’t grab the reader’s attention and make them want to turn the page, they aren’t going to keep reading. A good plot creates characters readers can identify with and care about. It also puts those characters to the test.

There are four basic components to every plot.

Characters

Conflict

Crisis

Change

Well, obviously you need characters. Ideally you should have two or more characters readers can relate to and care about. Otherwise, they won’t keep turning the pages.

Conflict is probably the most important thing in the story. Because without conflict, there is no story. Conflict is the force that drives fiction.

Conflict normally gives rise to crisis. This is the dramatic high point in the story and the point everything else revolves around.

Finally, there has to be change. If your characters are not changed by the experience then why should we read about it and more importantly, why are you writing about it?

Whatever you chose as your conflict should be significant. If this is not the most dangerous or challenging aspect of the character’s life thus far, then why should anyone care?

Simply start with a character, give them a problem and show what happens when they try to solve it.

Brainstorming

Set aside about 15 minutes to work on this. (This is my favorite writing exercise.)

Choose your topic and write it in the middle of the page or you can start in columns if you like. Write down any ideas that are relevant to your subject. My brainstorm for my first book looked like a storm. Ha. Ha. Ha. But from that storm came my first book and many sequels.

This leads to your outline

Why do you need an outline?

1. It will help you to cover all the topics you meant to include. This will keep you from getting to the end and realizing you left out a key point.

2. An outline can also help you determine which order or the best order to cover topics. (Remember what I said in Part 1, this is only a guideline. You don't have to follow it strictly.)

3. By creating an outline, you will save a lot of time in the writing itself.

Outline your book first and write it second.

Decide the number of chapters your book should have. (These numbers are only a rough "average." This is to give you a basic idea of your goal.)

Average

Literary Novel 36-44

Fantasy 35-40

Horror 35-40

Kids 9-12 12-15

Young Adult 18-20

Sci-fi 30-32

Mystery 28-32

Romance 18-24


How many pages per chapter? My chapters are typically 10 pages long. This is mostly just so I can keep up with where I’m at and know when to start a new chapter.


Writing Exercise #2

Freewriting. Close your eyes and point to three random words. Next, write about them for five minutes. Begin writing anything inspired by these three words. Relax and don’t analyze. Just write what comes to mind. Don’t worry about grammar, spelling, or punctuation. Just keep writing until the time is up.

Rose

Apple

Reindeer

Shark

Spider

Princess

House

Book

Elf

Cheese

Horse

Skull

Witch

Lingerie

Candle

Fish

Dead Body

Forrest

Black hat

Severed Head

Star

Wrinkles

Flowers

Baby

Acid

Moon

Vampire

Done? Put down your pen and read what you’ve written. This is just to show you that you can write. I’m sure you’ll notice some grammar and punctuation errors, but how many people are impressed with their ideas? This is a good exercise to get your creative juices flowing.

I don’t believe in writer’s block. There is no such thing. But life does happen. This can help you focus on your writing again instead of whatever else you might have on your mind.

Now, take these random thoughts from our brainstorming activity and start putting together your outline.

Your outline doesn’t have to be long. It can be only one page or it can fill up a whole notepad. It all depends on what you want to cover.

In between now and the next section, continue to work on your outline. Within one week you should have your book pretty much planned.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Viewpoint - What it is and how to use it

Viewpoint - This is the point of view from which the story is told. Some people intuitively understand how to do this and others don’t. If you don't, there's no reason to panic. Anything can be learned. With the exception of flying like Superman. I don't recommend that. But writing from different perspectives? Totally do-able. Here are a few examples.

Omniscient viewpoint

While Jane dreamed of Luis, Shawn was back at the university looking for his secret stash of marijuana. - From Necromancer by Tracey H. Kitts

When writing in omniscient viewpoint, the author can go from character to character. Omniscient viewpoint was popular among 19th century writers and is often associated with literary fiction. You can go into the minds of any or all of the characters if you choose to. It’s not often used in modern fiction because the style is normally slow and doesn’t aid in reader identification with the characters. However, if done properly it can be very effective.

First person

I was looking forward to the end of another hot, miserable summer night as I drove home that evening. Hopefully, the local police would be able to cover up the night’s work without too much difficulty. God forbid they should be inconvenienced. I was only called out at eleven thirty at night to hunt down a rouge werewolf, but hey, why should anyone else lose sleep? - From Red, Lilith Mercury Werewolf Hunter, Book One

First person is a limited viewpoint. The story is described through the eyes of the main character. This has the advantage of encouraging readers to identify with the character concerned, and become emotionally involved in the story. It also helps create atmosphere and suspense.

In first person viewpoint, readers are shown the thoughts and feelings of the “I” character, and nobody else’s. There also can’t be any narration by the author.

First person is very good at getting the reader to identify with the character. It’s also good for humor and irony. One of the drawbacks, however, is that you can only show events which directly involve one character. This might limit some of your plot ideas.

Another drawback is that a single narrative voice could get old by the end of a long novel. But, good writers can do this and pull it off.

First person is becoming increasingly popular in modern fiction.

Third person limited

This is probably the most commonly used point of view. Harry Potter was told from this perspective. No one is referred to as “I” everyone is either “he” or “she.” The writer has greater flexibility with this style. You can skip from a scene in New York to one in Florida. However, every scene is still shown from the perspective of a viewpoint character.

Multiple viewpoints

This is a variation of limited viewpoint. In a multiple viewpoint story, each scene is still shown from a limited viewpoint – usually third person. Different chapters and sometimes scenes use different viewpoint characters.

If you use this approach, you will have to work hard to ensure that regular viewpoint changes don’t cause readers to lose interest. Also, look out for accidental "head popping." No, that's not a kung-fu move. It's when a writer switches too quickly from one character's thoughts to the next. When I say quickly, I mean from one sentence to the next, without warning. There are many examples of this online if you really want to look for it. However, as you read over your story, head popping can be easy to spot. When you suddenly don't know who's telling the story (whose viewpoint you are using) then you've most likely head popped.

Now is the time to decide which viewpoint you want to use in your novel and use it consistently in every scene.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

How to get your novel started Part 2

As promised in the last post, today we're going to go over several reasons why many people think they can't write a book. We'll also go over some questions I feel it's important to ask yourself. It's always good to have a clear idea where you want to go with both your book and your future. I'll also discuss a couple of writing myths and finally, we'll get to your first writing exercise.

In case you missed the first post, here's the link:

http://traceyhkitts.blogspot.com/2011/11/how-to-get-your-novel-started-part-1.html



Why do you want to write a book?

For a lot of people the answer is money. It’s true that some people can make a lot of money in this business. Like J.K. Rowling for example, author of the Harry Potter books. But did you know that when Rowling wrote her first book she was a single mom living on welfare? If that’s not inspiring I don’t know what is.

Do you want to eventually do this for a living or just on the side?

If you’re looking to make a living at writing, no matter how good your work is, you need to be able to write quickly. Say you earn only a few thousand dollars from the royalties off one book. If you could write four books a year, and market them well, you’re potentially talking about a good chunk of change.

But don’t overlook the fact that writing a book will (hopefully) bring with it the prestige of being called a published author. If you write a book about your profession, people will take you seriously. If you (for example) are an artist and write a book about painting, people will look to you as an expert in the field.

Don’t underestimate the satisfaction of writing your own book.

There’s certainly not a shortage of ideas out there. And a lot of people are intimated by that fact. No, the world doesn’t need another epic sci-fi novel or another story about vampires. It needs your epic sci-fi novel or your story about vampires.

Putting your unique spin on a story is what makes it yours and not just a copy of what’s already been done. Sure, if you’re going to write high fantasy there is a certain formula you’re expected to follow. You’ll probably need some elves, dwarves, and a hero on a quest. But aside from that, the story can be completely and uniquely your own.

If you’re thinking of writing a romance then you’ll need to plan on a happy ending. That doesn’t mean that everything is perfect by the end of the book, but you should end it on a positive or upward note. I also want to add that the main characters (hero and heroine) should have roughly the same life span by the end if you're writing a paranormal. The thought of one dying while the other is immortal is depressing and unappealing. If you're writing a series, at least end the books with hope for a HEA (Happily Ever After) in the future. That is of course, if we're talking about romance.

Right now I want everyone to write down the reason you haven’t written a novel before now.

I'm serious. Take a minute, and do this for yourself. Think it over and continue when you've finished.

The biggest mistake that people make is thinking that writers aren’t people just like everyone else. I know writers of all ages, races, and religions, in all parts of the world. And they’re just as human as you and me.

Hopefully, by the time you’ve finished this course you’ll understand that almost anyone who is willing to put forth the time and effort can write a book.

A lot of people think they don’t have anything to write about.

Sure you do. We’ve all experienced different things in life and those different things have influenced us well … differently. You could write about anything. It doesn’t have to be fiction. You could write about: Getting married, having a baby, volunteer work, how to get a date, how to survive being a broke college student, buying a house, buying a car, painting a picture, photography, grooming your dog. The list is endless.

Another excuse to not write is that everything has already been done.

That’s true. But it hasn’t been done by you.

How many of you said you don’t have time to write?

Most people do have busy lives, I’m one of them. You probably have a full-time job and a family to take care of. Maybe you could write early in the morning while everyone else is asleep or late at night? Some people even take a note pad to work and scribble down ideas on their lunch break. (I've done that in the past.)

If you want to write a book badly enough, you can make the time for it. They say that the average adult watches 7 hours of television a day. Couldn’t you spare just one for writing? Seven hours a day adds up to 49 hours a week! If you spent that much time on your writing there’s no telling what you could accomplish.

You also never know when you’ll get an idea. I keep note pads and pens everywhere.

Determine your best time to write and stick to it as much as possible. A schedule works well for many people. However, don't get upset when your plans get messed up. This happens almost every day with me, but I keep on writing.

The next excuse I hear a lot is “I’m no good at writing.”

You don’t have to make straight A’s in English to be an effective writer. Yes, you need to be literate and there’s nothing wrong with having several grammar and/or reference books handy. But the one thing you need to remember most is to write like you speak.

People enjoy books that they can really get into. And they can get into something that is on their own terms. Unless you’re trying to write something along the lines of literary classics, this will work for you.

(I’ll give examples of my work, first person vs. third and so on. I'll post this information tomorrow.)

I wouldn’t know where to start.

Many people are scared off of the project just by the size of the work ahead. A typical novel is 70,000 words or more. The key to writing a book is to break it down into manageable sections. This is where creating an outline will come into play.

Please, don't freak out when you hear the word "outline." I am not talking about one your English teacher would approve of. Ha. Ha. My outline often consists of post-it notes slapped into a manila folder. Seriously. When I say I'm not a planner, I mean I'm not obsessive about my plan. Sure, I do obsess, just not over the outline. My obsession is with the finished product.

Maybe you know what you’d like for each chapter to cover, maybe you don’t. It doesn’t matter. I never know what each chapter will be about. I have a list of points I want to cover within the book and I do so. I may add to those as I go, but the basic points are what forms my plot and that’s what I put on my outline.

Think of your outline as a guideline. If you think of something else you’d like to include, then change your outline to reflect it. (Slap another note in the folder.) The story will eventually start to tell itself. Don’t stifle that creativity. Just be sure it all makes sense.

People wouldn’t take me seriously.

The best thing you can do is don’t tell people what you’re doing. That way they can’t put you down or discourage your ideas. That might sound harsh, but it’s true. You’ve got to believe in yourself and very few other people will, at first. Maybe wait until after you’ve written the book to tell people.

When I started writing I told my husband and one close friend. The two people I knew would understand and encourage me. I told the more difficult people in my life after the fact. And the even more difficult people after I’d landed a contract.

I’m too young/too old to write a book.

Don't be silly. If you're an adult, you're not too young. If you're still breathing, you're not too old. Simple as that. Although, I'm sure there are many teens who could write a book, this is just a general answer to a question/complaint I've heard often. I'd like to add I think it's cool when someone who has lived a long life writes a book. Even if the book isn't about their life, they have so much experience to share. Actually, sharing it as fiction protects the guilty. Ha. Ha. Ha.

I’ve got a short attention span.

Well, good news, you’re not expected to write a book in one sitting. If you can stay focused for a few minutes or a few hours at a time, that’s all it takes.

I can’t get motivated.

If you keep thinking like that, you’ll never even start. Set small goals, like a page or two a day or even less if you need to. Once you see that you can accomplish smaller goals, you’ll not only feel better about your abilities, but it will take your mind off of the big goal: Writing a full-length novel.

Now that that's out of the way, I'd like to mention a few writing "myths." I call them myths because even though many people believe in these things, they are not a proven fact.

Myths debunked

There is no such thing as writer’s block.

But, life does happen. That's right, I went there. For more of my thoughts on the subject, check out my post Writer's Block? All you need is a good hammer.

http://traceyhkitts.blogspot.com/2011/11/writers-block-all-you-need-is-good.html

Getting published by an epublisher is easy.

Seriously? Who started this one? It is just as difficult to be published by an epublisher as it is a traditional NY publisher. Standards are not lower, despite popular belief. However, new epubs do spring up all the time and many do not turn out good quality books. What I'm referring to here are the tried and true, legit epublishers that work hard and are good at what they do. If they are legit, they have standards.

Yes, there's a lot of info in this post. Now, we're going to move on to something very important. You need to be clear (at least in your own mind) when it comes to what exactly your book is about.

What do you want to write about?

Determining genre is crucial. Remember what I said in Part 1 about why a sci-fi, paranormal, comedy, romance might not be a good thing? Why is genre so important?

For one, you need to know who your audience is. Who do you think will likely purchase this book? Are you offering a valuable service or advice (self-help) or are you providing entertainment (fiction)?

Also, the bookstore needs to know which shelf to put you on and an editor or representative who communicates with distributors needs to have an easy way of telling them what you write. (Example, if I say horror or Stephen King, everyone knows what I’m talking about.)

Another quick note on romance. This isn't just because I write romance, but because the rules for this genre are different in many ways. And believe it or not, it is harder to write. I mention this here because as you determine genre (and begin to plan your story) you should have some general idea of how it will end.

If you write romance, you cannot kill off the hero or heroine – You will be crucified. Think once more about what I mentioned before. Are you willing to write a HEA?

Writing Exercise #1


Think of a topic. Any topic. Now list ten questions you’d like to ask about the topic. Once you’ve picked your topic and written your questions, try to arrange them in a way that would logically form an article, if you were going to write one.

Time yourself. You’ve got 20 minutes.

Asking questions and arranging them in some sort of order can be very effective in outlining your ideas. The same technique can be used with fiction. Which leads to brainstorming.
More on brainstorming later.

In between now and next week I want you to think about what you want to write. What genre will your story be?

Next we’ll start generating ideas for your book and work on our outline.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

As the bacon sizzles

Wouldn't that make a fabulous name for a soap opera? HAHAHA Seriously, I'm writing this post as bacon sizzles in my kitchen. When many people think of writing full time they have visions of sitting at a computer in silence or in an office undisturbed. I understand, I used to have those visions myself.

As I sat (long ago in a far away hell) in my office I used to dream of the day that I could write full time. Don't get me wrong, I love my life and I love writing. BUT, it's nothing like I imagined.

I'm cooking while I do my final edit on Shaman's Touch before sending it to my editor. Yes, this is a self-edit, not one requested by my editor. That's something else a lot of people don't realize, in order for your work to look good and catch the attention of the right people, it needs to be as close to perfection as possible when you turn it in. Sure, editing is the editor's job, but cleaning up your mess isn't. Those are two different things. The fact that I've always polished my work is one thing I believe helped me to find a publisher so quickly.

But, back to the topic. I'm polishing this book up while I cook. I've got laundry in the machine, and the bed is waiting to be made. My son is out of school, so he's walking the dog today. Thank God. I love Roscoe, but he needs attention and exercise every day too:)

Let us not forget that so many people in my life think that because I'm at home, I'm not doing anything. Ugh. "Tracey is at home, get her to do it." Whatever it may be. Unless they also write, most people don't seem to get that books don't magically appear on the page. Or that just because you've got an hour to yourself doesn't mean you can turn out 10 pages. Although, I've certainly done this many times. If I'm tired, frustrated, or otherwise annoyed, I'll be doing good to calm down/relax and manage 3 pages in that time. It all depends on how the day has gone.

My point is, writing full time is a full time job. I have to fight for the moments alone, stealing away to my computer like it's a secret lover. Maybe it is. I do often fantasize about my fingers sliding over those keys. *sigh* But I digress.

Now that I'm here all the time, all the duties of the house fall on me. I don't mind except that no one seems to realize how much I do, but that's just a part of life. I'm not bitching exactly, so much as I want to give people a real look at a full time writer's life. This is me all day, every day. I never switch it off. I'm constantly working on something new, even when I just finished a book.

New ideas are always in my head. I make notes while I cook dinner and hurry from the laundry to write something down. You either are a writer or you're not. And if you are, you'll find a way to manage it.

Now, if you'll excuse me, my bacon is burning.

Friday, November 25, 2011

How to get your novel started - Part 1

You have to make a commitment to put time and effort into creating a written work. But that doesn’t mean you have to be a slave to your keyboard. The best writers are the ones who also have experienced life and you can’t do that behind a computer. At the very least, you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing you completed a novel, and at best, your life may be changed forever.
Please don’t let the prospect of writing a work of novel-length fiction scare you. If you dwell on it, you can talk yourself right out of your dream. I will guide you step by step through the process of forming your ideas. I’ll share some of my own tips and techniques which anyone can learn and apply.

So, who am I to tell you all this? My name is Tracey H. Kitts. I have been writing stories pretty much since I could write. My first novel was published in August, 2007 with New Concepts Publishing. Since then I have had 15 full-length novels, 3 novellas, and 1 short story published. My books were released first as ebooks. The majority of my stories have also been released in print form as well.

Now 2007 may sound very recent to you for me to be teaching a writing class. The truth is I’m not new to writing; it's something I've always done for my own entertainment. However when I decided to write my first novel I completed books one and two in my werewolf hunter series in 3 months. That includes the time it took me to self-edit the work. What’s more, it only took me five months to find a publisher. I may not be a household name yet, but I’m doing what I love.

The purpose of these posts (or class if you want to call it that) is to help you achieve similar or maybe even greater results. However, you can’t get there until you learn to organize your ideas. That’s what I’ll help you do. For a complete bio on me and information about my books, you can check me out at http://www.traceyhkitts.com/.

You can find my books through my website, http://www.ellorascave.com/, http://www.newconceptspublishing,com/, Amazon, or many other ebook retailers.

I’ll start by giving you a brief overview of what you can expect from this class.

 I’ll share with you some of the direct and indirect benefits of writing a book.

 I’ll debunk some common myths about writing and show you how you can write a book.

 You’ll learn how to create an outline for your ideas.

 You’ll learn how to brainstorm effectively to generate new ideas.

 By the end of this course, you should have all you need to start writing your novel!

Also, don't worry about the fact that I write romance. This course is for everybody. It's not about how to write romance; it's about how to get your novel started, no matter what your book is about.

We'll discuss genre later on and why a clear determination of genre is so important. You may think that a sci-fi, paranormal, comedy, romance is the greatest thing since sliced bread. But trust me, your editor will not.

This post is to give you all a general overview of what will be covered. Naturally, I'm bound to add more as we go:) It's what I do. Ha. Ha. Ha.

If you have questions, please feel free to leave them in the comments.

In the next installment we'll discuss (among other things) why so many people think they can't write a novel. I'll also give you your first writing exercise. Doesn't that sound exciting?

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Writer's Block? All you need is a good hammer.

First, I'd like to say that I don't believe in writer's block. Really. I believe that life happens. We've all got bills to pay. Most of us have children to take care of, pets, and God knows what else. Thinking about all of those things often leaves little time for creativity.

In this post, I'll share a few tips that have never failed to help me when I'm having trouble concentrating. These are just a few short "tricks" that work for me. In the next few weeks, I'll be offering a writing class here on my blog. I'll answer questions that are posted in the comments, so help me spread the word:)


This class will be all about How To Get Your Novel Started! So many people have asked me how to start that I actually put together a class from all my emails. I figured, why not share that information with everyone else? So, get ready. There will be more to come.


In the meantime, here are a few ideas to help spark your creativity.


This is my favorite. Take out a dictionary. Close your eyes and point to 3 words. Write them down. Now, give yourself 5 minutes to write a paragraph that includes all 3 words. I've started novels this way! (And actually sold them to publishers where they went on to sale very well.)


Something else really simple, listen to music. Beethoven and R&B are my favorites, but everyone has their own "sound" of inspiration.


The third thing that helps me most often is a Baby Name Dictionary. I'll read through (or point at random) and then read the meaning of the name. Often times I can come up with a character's whole personality just by knowing their name.


I hope these tips were helpful! Tune in for more in a few days. I'm hoping to start the writing class after Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Do headless chickens really run?



I don't know, but considering how busy I've been this month, I've wondered more than once. Ha. Ha. I've had a lot going on. Besides the holidays quickly approaching, I've been working on several new projects. Plus, I've been trying desperately to keep up with a new workout program. The workout program had to be put on pause due to a stomach flu. I'm all better now and ready to give it another shot after Thanksgiving.


As for the writing stuff (cause I hate to call something I love work), allow me to catch you up.

I'm thrilled to say that I finally finished Shaman's Touch. Very soon now, I'll be finished with my final read-through and sending it off to my editor. Ah, that's a great feeling.

Plus (and even more exciting) my editor at Ellora's Cave, Raelene Gorlinsky mentioned me in a post on USA Today's new HEA (Happily Ever After) blog! I was so shocked and pleased to see she recommended Raven's Destiny.



As for other news, I've had a new release this month, Touch of an Incubus, and I'm still trying to spread the word.


Like I said, I've often wondered if chickens really do run around with their heads cut off. It feels as if I cannot catch my breath these past few weeks. If I can only finish cleaning my house, I think I'll call it good enough.

Is it just me or do other writers have difficulty catching their breath some months? Actually, I think most people in general have difficulty this time of year. Ha. Ha. Ha.

Have a great Thanksgiving! I'll stop rambling now. I promise. Hey, the top of this blog does warn about the occasional ramblings.

Are you afraid of the Big Bad Turkey?



I know a lot of people are. The thought of having to do the turkey is enough to scare an unseasoned cook. (Get it? HAHAHA) But fear not! For I shall show thee how to cook that bird!

Okay, all joking aside, this is a really good recipe for turkey. Don't be intimidated by the length of the article, I'll break it down. Oh, and remember this recipe is for after the turkey has been thawed. Directions for how to do this properly should be on the turkey. And you should start on thawing at least one day ahead. Maybe more depending on the size of your bird.

Traditional Stuffed Turkey

12 to 14 pound turkey with the giblets reserved (You also don't have to use giblets, but can instead use some cooked turkey meat. I'll explain later. I also never use the liver. Gives me the wiggins. LOL)

1 lemon, halved

salt and pepper

butter, melted

Meat Stuffing:

4 to 6 Tablespoons butter

2 onions, finely chopped

6 ounce lean ground turkey

Reserved turkey heart and liver (or cooked turkey meat) finely chopped (The easiest thing to do is purchase a few slices of turkey from the deli and chop them finely. You could also make this without the meat.)

1 pound fresh chestnuts

2 cups strained turkey broth

1/2 cup raw unprocessed rice

1 cup fresh bread crumbs

2 cooking apples, peeled, cored and finely chopped (Cooking apples can be any kind of apples you think taste good. Red Delicious is a great variety for this.)


Take fresh chestnuts and slit the base of each shell crosswise, boil for 5 minutes, peel and break into small pieces.

To make broth: simmer the reserved turkey neck and gizzard (or chopped cooked turkey) in 3 cups water for 45 minutes, then strain turkey broth.

Wash the turkey in cold water, pat it dry inside and out, and leave it for 30 minutes while you cook your stuffing.

For the stuffing, heat the butter in a skillet and fry the onions until they begin to change color, then add the ground turkey and simmer gently for 15 minutes.

Add the turkey heart and liver, (or chopped cooked turkey) the chestnuts, and pine nuts and simmer for another 5 minutes.

Add the broth and bring this to a boil.

Add the rice and cook quickly for 10 minutes, then add the bread crumbs, and apples.

Stir well.


To stuff the turkey, slit the skin at the back of the neck and cut off the neck down to the turkey's shoulders if the neck has not already been removed.

Lightly fill the cavity, remembering that the stuffing always swells and too much swelling might cause the neck skin to burst.

Sew or pin with a skewer the neck flap to the back of the turkey.

Just as lightly, fill the body cavity, and sew or skewer this together.

Tie the legs to the tail and fix the wings snugly to the body.

Do not bring the cord across the breast lest it mark the skin.

Rub the turkey cut with lemon, salt, pepper and melted butter and place it in a large, shallow pan in a moderate oven (preheat to 350 degrees, then lower temperature to 325 degrees).

Roast it according to its weight when stuffed, allowing 25 to 30 minutes per pound.

Extra stuffing can be roasted in a pan for 45 minutes or so and served with the turkey. Or it can be made into rissoles by shaping it into small balls, dipping them into beaten egg and bread crumbs, and then frying them in butter, to be served as a garnish.

Cook the turkey until temperature reaches 170 degrees F in the breast and 180 degrees F in the thigh. Cooking times are for planning purposes only - always use a meat thermometer to determine doneness.

Now, that wasn't so terrible, was it? Don't forget to serve it with a pretty garnish. Parsley and cherry tomatoes are always good:)




If you need a break while your turkey is cooking, why not check out my latest release? Touch of an Incubus is short (so you can read it during a break) and it's only .69 cents.











Monday, November 14, 2011

My NaNoWriMo project is finished!

Already? Yep. And the month isn't even over yet! I'm so proud. Tonight I finished Shaman's Touch. I've been working on this book off and on (between other projects) for over a year. Now, I can honestly say I believe this is the best book I've written so far and I can't wait for my fans to read it.

I put lots of time, research and much of my knowledge of the fairy world into this book. Not to mention some hilarious moments. These characters wouldn't shut up, so there's lots of dialogue. But, according to all my reviewers and readers, dialogue is something I'm good at. *big grin*

I'm gonna do another thorough self-edit, maybe embellish a bit here and there, but the project is basically done. Once I add a bit more polish, it's off it my editor. I hope she loves it like I do :)

By the way, I've written 19,022 words in the past 5 days. I'm gonna rest my fingers now. Wait ... where the hell is that smoke coming from?

Saturday, November 12, 2011

New Release - Touch of an Incubus



I've got a brand, spanking new release with Ellora's Cave! The best part? It's only .69 cents!




Here are the details:

From the moment they met, Claire wanted Leon. The tall, dark incubus has more than his share of sex appeal. The thing is, Claire isn’t looking for the best night of her life; she’s looking for a relationship. Leon is more than willing to provide the best sex ever, but what about the rest?

Claire finally gives in to her desires. The only thing that’s held her back this long is that whole issue of “forever”—Leon is an immortal incubus. Even though she has doubts, Claire doesn’t want to miss her chance to experience a sex demon’s desire. Besides, he just might be thinking of forever too.

Purchase Link: http://www.jasminejade.com/p-9680-touch-of-an-incubus.aspx


And while I'm thinking about it, you know you want to become an official fan. HAHAHA

Follow me on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/traceyhkitts?ref=tn_tinyman#!/pages/Tracey-H-Kitts/73968579374?sk=wall

Hope everyone enjoys the story!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Sex Symbol - Official Trailer

I've done my own book trailers from the beginning, but haven't had the chance to make one in a while. First, royalty free music can be difficult to find. Especially, if you want it to fit the mood correctly. Not to mention, Microsoft Office changed the software I loved so much, the original Movie Maker.

Beyond that, I had my doubts as to whether or not book trailers actually led to more sales or were just pretty to look at.

Regardless, I couldn't resist making a trailer for Sex Symbol. And (drum roll please) here it is. TADA!!!



Thursday, November 3, 2011

NaNoWriMo? Not exactly

While I know many people who are trying to write an entire novel this month, I'm not one of them. Ha. Ha. Ha. I do, however, have a goal. Oh yes. I want to finish the book I'm working on!

I think that's a perfectly good goal for NaNoWriMo. This story will probably be around 75,000 words. I've got 28,066 to go:)

I started this book (which I'm calling Shaman's Touch) in July 2010! Sure, I've finished several projects since then. However, I think it's high time I finished THIS project.

My house is clean, the dog has been fed, the laundry is done, and I've got a fresh pot of coffee brewing. I can't think of a better time to get to work.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

My muse is fired up:)

The weather is cooler which means as usual my muse is getting hot. I have more ideas and end up writing more stories from fall-winter than any other time of year. I think that once the heat lifts my brain fog clears up.

I just finished a short story that's coming soon with Ellora's Cave. It's called Touch of an Incubus.

Plus, I couldn't put one of my novel-length projects on hold any longer. (I'd paused to let my mind rest when school started back.) I'm now working again on Shaman's Touch. It got a sexy shaman, a club full of hot werewolves, and an elf that's to die for. Oh, and did I mention a sexy demi-god that asks for carnal favors in return for answering questions?

Oh yeah. It's complicated. AND it's about halfway finished. Hopefully, my editor (and eventually my readers) will have as much fun reading it as I've had writing it.

Just wanted to give everyone a short update. Oh, almost forgot, my pumpkins are looking great!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Feature Author - Naomi Bellina



Here's a look at her latest releast, When Iris Eyes are Evil



A sexy vampire with evil on his mind has Rachel playing detective to find a way to subdue him before he can destroy her.


Sent to the space station in lieu of prison, Rachel longs to escape and return to Earth. An encounter with a charming bartender, Brody, makes her reconsider, until she realises that he is not what he seems. Racing against time, Rachel must find a way to permanently eliminate Brody before she falls prey to his evil plot and is killed in the process.


With the help of a sexy crew member, a friend back home and another of Brody’s victims, Rachel devises a dangerous plan to kill the fiend and save herself and other potential victims.




Sounds like a smokin' hot read! Congrats, Naomi on your latest release:) I wish you lots of sales!




For more info on Naomi: http://www.naomibellina.com/

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Get your werewolf on this Halloween

Promo Opp for authors and Freebies for readers

This is for anyone who purchases a copy of Sex Symbol (print or ebook) from Amazon between now and midnight Halloween night.

Sex Symbol Kindle Edition: http://www.amazon.com/Sex-Symbol-ebook/dp/B0048EJUK0/ref=sr_1_10?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1318546770&sr=1-10

Sex Symbol Print Edition: http://www.amazon.com/Sex-Symbol-Elloras-Tracey-Kitts/dp/1419964178/ref=sr_1_15?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1318546834&sr=1-15

Forward a copy of your receipt (which should NOT have your credit card info listed. I promise I am NOT harvesting your info.) to tracey h kitts @ yahoo.com (minus the spaces).

I'll send you a PDF of my short story Eaten by The Wolf and the first 5 chapters of my bestselling paranormal romance Bitten for FREE!

Authors -If you pass this along to your readers (on Facebook, Twitter, your blog, ANYWHERE) send me an email letting me know (tracey h kitts @ yahoo.com) and you'll get featured on my blog (which also goes out on my Facebook, Twitter, and Myspace pages). First come first serve for the promo opp.

So, help me spread the word and get your werewolf on with Sex Symbol this Halloween!

Still loving October:)

I'm back at work on a book called Shaman's Touch. Doesn't that just sound hot? Well, so far I believe it is. I'm about halfway finished with this work in progress (after a few weeks of a much needed brain break).

I've also started back with one of my great loves, kickboxing. I'm doing what I call a hybrid kickboxing/dancing fitness program called Turbo Fire. I'm in my 4th week and I have visible results. VISIBLE RESULTS. Ahem. Just in case you didn't hear me in the back row. lol I'm very excited.

October is always a busy month for me, but that's by choice. I love to decorate for fall and of course I LOVE Halloween. I've got ghosts hanging from the trees (and a few inside my house) and my pumpkin garden is looking GREAT. This is the first time I've grown pumpkins since I was about 8 years old. And back then my dad did all the work. Ha. Ha.

Now he scans the field and says, "Your pumpkins are looking good." I'm doing all the work and borrowing his field. :)

I've got a new short story coming soon with Ellora's Cave called Touch of an Incubus. It's sexy and short enough to read on a lunch break. It would seem by my titles that I'm very much wanting to touch things this month. HAHAHAHA

Oh, and before I forget, I wanted to thank everyone for the recent spike in sales on Fictionwise. Several of my books that have been out for a while made it back into the top 30 for NCP! Bitten made it into the top 20! Thank you so much to my readers:) And thanks to God for helping new people to find me!

Here's a listing of all my books at Fictionwise: http://www.fictionwise.com/ebooks/a30989/Tracey-H-Kitts/?

And I'm rambling. That concludes the update on me:)

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

New Release: Raven's Destiny



Lenore’s evenings don’t usually end with helping a stranger bury a werewolf’s body in her woods. But he did rescue her from the beast’s attack, and he does claim to be a sorcerer. Corbin is a raven-shifter, the last of his clan, and he needs her help. There’s an evil wizard intent on wiping his kind from the face of the earth.


The connection between Corbin and Lenore is strong and instant. But they can’t exactly defend themselves with love or hot sex. They have to come up with something fast, because the evil wizard has already sent his familiar to track them and if he has his way, no one will survive to fulfill the prophecy he fears.


Monday, September 12, 2011

Stay positive

I have trouble with this sometimes myself. So, it occurred to me that writers (and many others) might be going through the same thing. You can't please everyone no matter how hard you try. This goes for the stories you write and the dinner you made last night. People will always find something to complain about. If you serve the dish to enough people, eventually someone is going to complain about the flavor.

Forget it. That's right, wash those old dishes (so to speak) and start cooking something new. Yes, I'm talking in metaphors and I've had too much coffee, but you know what I mean. Everyone cannot be pleased, it's not possible.

Someone will always think the story was too long, or too short, had too little plot, or too much plot, blah, blah, blah. The list goes on. It also depends on which day they read the story. Maybe they had a bad day or were too tired to follow the story, etc.

Now, if everyone has the same complaints about your book, then you may have a genuine problem. However, if random people crop up with random complaints (and they’re bound to), just forget it. I would say do your best to focus on your next project and move on. But, there is no such thing as try. Yes, Yoda would be proud. There is only do and do not.

DO NOT let negative comments get you down. DO move on to your next project with enthusiasm and a positive attitude. Remember, you've got something valuable to contribute that no one else has, YOUR words.

No one in the world can tell a story the same way you can, and people are waiting to hear what you've got to say.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

I'm a guest today on Romance at Random

I'm so excited to be a guest today on the Random House blog, Romance at Random. Thrilled, I tell you!

Stop by and leave a comment for a chance to win a "Grab life by the fangs" t-shirt. The winner will be announced in 2 weeks on my website's News page.

www.traceyhkitts.com

Here's a link to the aritcle:)

http://www.romanceatrandom.com/are-romance-novels-to-blame-for-problems-like-weight-gain-and-unhappy-marriages-giveaway/#comment-21416

We're discussing a topic I just couldn't resist. How has romance positively impacted your life? Because I don't buy all that crapola about it making you gain weight and commit adultery.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Full Moon Web Hunt – chance to win a Kindle




Everyone who loves to read will enjoy this easy contest hosted by Night Owl Romance. There are over 100 prizes available, including a free ebook from yours truly, Tracey H. Kitts, Sex Symbol.


Contest details can be found at




The Full Moon Hunt begins Sept. 1, 2011 and runs through Halloween night at midnight.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Well, this is what I would have done

We've all heard it at some point. Whether you're a reader or writer you've heard someone say what they think should have happened in a story or series. I recently saw a post by another author talking about this and it has continued to bother me.

While I've only received one letter of this nature, it did bother me. I had someone proceed to tell me what the heroine should not do and she should be "better than that," etc. First of all, I don't think the reader fully understood the character's powers or the fact that she was not in a committed relationship. Dating someone who knows about your needs (as they are clearly told in the story) is much different than cheating. If everyone knows the score, it isn't cheating. And on a slightly different note, please do not write to tell me who she should never date again.

But all that aside, this is my series. I have planned what will happen to these characters and the choices they will make in order to become who they are supposed to be. I have done this for years. After reading the post I mentioned I re-read the letter I received and realized how much it rankled.

I have certainly read books over the years where I didn't like what happened. But I would never write to the author and tell them what "should" happen. If they wrote what I thought was supposed to happen then it wouldn't be their story anymore, it would be mine. Same goes for this person here. If the heroine was supposed to be with who they think, the series would have ended after three books. As it is I'm working on the sixth.

Here's a heads up to any who might not be expecting it: The Lilith Mercury series will not have Lilith end up with ONLY ONE MAN. It isn't her destiny. Personally, I think that's hot, and so do a lot of other people. I won't reveal more, but this is not a one man, one woman kind of story. However, I write plenty of stories with only one hero and only one heroine.

Someone saying they didn't care for a story is one thing, but telling me how it should be written is another. All I can say is, "I'm sorry you didn't like it." Seriously. What more could be expected? The story will be told as it was always meant to be: in MY words.

On the positive side, everyone else has so far understood and enjoyed the direction the story has taken. Thank you to everyone who has written to me about this series. Many have expressed opinions and I am grateful. Only one thought I should re-write the story. Please, don't take my opinion here personally. After all, I do have feelings and I certainly do have opinions, just like everybody else.

Friday, August 19, 2011

I'm working on it:)

Just thought I'd give an update of what's going on with me. I've been getting lots of emails about the next Lilith Mercury book. First of all, thank you for writing to me:) I'm so glad to know this series is being enjoyed by so many. I promise I haven't forgotten about Lilith and certainly not Marco or Dracula. *sigh*

I am planning to have the next book in to my editor by October. I'm working on several other projects at the moment. I'm about halfway finished with two novel-length books. One is about a woman named Luna who has her whole world turned upside down in one night. Her best friend gets eaten by an unidentified creature and a fairy shaman slips something in her coffee that "lifts the veil," suddenly making the magical world visible to her.

The other book is (at least in appearance) a modern, sexy Frankenstein. Of course, there's more to it than that and it has nothing to do with the actual Mary Shelley story. Or Dean Koontz, or anyone else who has done their spin:) Koontz is brilliant, by the way, but I'm rambling.

Oh, I almost forgot, I sold a new story! I'll be mailing the contract shortly for a new story with Ellora's Cave called Raven's Destiny. It's a little longer than a short story around 13,000 words. I suppose it's a short novella, if there is such a thing. LOL

Anyway, more to come on Raven's Destiny and other updates as I get them. I'm also working on converting my website to a new format which is driving me crazy. God bless my friend Stacey for his help or I would have to start completely from scratch.

I've been working in the yard today and I think I'm dehydrated. I'm seeing spots and I feel dizzy. HAHAHAHA I'm going to stop typing now.