What a journey it has been! I have published my first book in April this year, followed by a novella and a short story and will be publishing my second full-length novel in October. Through it all, I have learned a lot: from the reviews of my books (both from readers and editors) and through other writing periodicals and books—I only hope to improve my craft, voice and writing style.
Here’s a list of helpful texts:
- The Elements of Style – Strunk and White – when in doubt, this is my goto book, oh and google helps too.
- Revision and Self-Editing – James Scott Bell
- Story Engineering – Larry Brooks – His website has several interesting articles that will help you write a tightly-plotted story, including questions that will challenge your character’s motivations and plot. storyfix.com
4. How to use Dialect, Slang, Profanity – Writer’s Digest May/June 2013
*there is a secret to cursing well. Too much in your novel reduces the impact. Do not use profanity to disguise poor writing. Think twice if that F-word is really needed in that sentence. This is a great way to improve your writing. Strip away the curse from your sentence and read what is left. Chances are, you’ll want to re-write it anyway.
5. Antagonists & Antiheroes – Writer’s Digest July/August 2013 .
*even the villain deserves some loving. I realized with Fire and Ice, my villains were the typical bad guys through and through. Almost caricatures. So I decided to experiment with Silver Fire and delve into the psychology of the villain further. Yes, I skeeved myself out. One thing to remember, antagonists are people too. Excited to craft the big bad for Guardians #3.
6. Character Development – Writer’s Digest novel writing Yearbook Summer 2013. This collection of articles, sort of like a whole workbook for writing your novel, is a gem to help you craft your final draft. I also liked the grammatically speaking article which gives 50 tips to make your grammar stronger. The very first one: Avoid multiple exclamation points!!!! Actually, it also cautions against using even a single exclamation point unless for a true exclamation.
I’ve been on a military ops kick lately and I’ve gone through much of Cindy Gerard’s books and some of Lora Leigh. So I’m bringing you my favorites of the bunch.
With No Remorse – Cindy Gerard
Loved, loved this book.
I loved this book. The story, the writing and Luke Colter. I’ve been curious about Luke “Doc Holliday” Colter’s story since Risk No Secrets when he suffered an almost fatal gut shot. Ever since his near-death-experience, Luke believed he’s lost the edge and when some incident happens on a train he had felt like bailing instead of facing the bad guys head on feeling and thought that someone else should play the hero. But, you can never keep an good man down and Luke comes through and puts his life at risk to save a boy … which turns out to be Valentina – an international supermodel whose one name is synonymous with Beyonce and Madonna —instantly recognizable. Funny thing is Luke’s alway been a big fan so this is like a dream come true except bad guys are after her. I found the plot very interesting and it did not lose my interest at all. Sometimes with romantic suspense, the suspense part loses my interest and I start skimming those pages but with this I kept to every word. And it had to do with Cindy Gerard’s writing. The way she writes descriptions are so evocative you actually see, hear, smell exactly what your characters are sensing. I usually hate reading descriptions, but here I found myself absorbing every word.
I thoroughly enjoyed Luke’s self-deprecating humor. He is not bossy and is very respectful about Valentina’s wishes, but rather than getting turned off, I found it endearing. Okay, he does get bossy when it mattered but the thing is, Luke is a really great guy and I did not miss the uber Alpha male for a change. I think he makes up for it with his smart mouth and his badassery.
I also liked Valentina. She is this gorgeous model that is every man’s wet dream, but she isn’t superficial. Although, there were times I got annoyed with her indecisiveness regarding what she wanted with Luke, she came through in the end. She is a good blend of vulnerable as well as strong.
The sex scenes were short and sweet. I wanted more of an extended ending, I felt I needed to see how they both were after all the guns, explosives and such. But I’m not reducing the rating a single star, this is a great read!
Wild Card – Lora Leigh
Okay now. You all think I probably bought this book because of the cover. Well, I will not deny that it helped. But …
This was a great story and my first by author Lora Leigh. I really liked how possessive Noah Blake was and that Sabella stood up to him for the most part. The twist comes out early in the story and the reader is left waiting and waiting for the secret to come out. I was all set to give this story five stars except some of the scenes, especially the sex scenes were repetitive and way too long. Again, this my first book by this author so I don’t know if this is typical. And though I liked how alpha Noah was, his indecision about what he wanted with Sabella drove me nuts. I mean make up your mind already, it couldn’t be that hard.
Sex scenes are explicit.