Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Does Magic Happen?



I've heard some authors say, "My last book magically wrote itself." Not only have I heard that, but I've said it, so I understand the feelings behind the logic.


Does magic happen for some books or is there something else going on? Let's think about this a little more.

I just finished the rough draft of a new novel I've been working on since last summer. This novel took a long time to write, and there were days I felt challenged to complete a couple of pages. For my other novels, I wrote a chapter a day. What was the deal with this book?

The deal was . . . I'd changed. No longer do I sit down and write like I did years ago without thinking through many aspects of my novel and how I want to shape my story. I know what the beginning, middle, and ending of a book needs. But I also want to do more than that. I want to make the book the best novel I can write. I want to top my last story. I want to challenge myself. I want to deliver to my fans a great read that will surprise them and make them want to read all of my books. If I accomplish that it will be because of hard work. 


I've read some blogs where writers say, "If writing becomes work, I don't want to do it. It has to be fun." Okay, so here's a question. Can't you have fun and work at the same time? For most of us to succeed in this business it will take years of hard work, years of rejections, years of sitting down at the computer and pouring out our souls. Is that fun? Some days it is fun, but some days it hurts because we're dealing with emotions that are raw yet need to be tapped for a believable scene. Maybe "fun" isn't the word we need to describe writing. Maybe the word is "rewarding." Is writing rewarding? Yes. Maybe not so much at the beginning of a career, but if you hang on and learn with each book, writing can be very rewarding, especially when a fan tells you with tears in their eyes how much they loved your novel. 


So maybe saying "the story just came to me and magically wrote itself" can be misleading to those who are starting to write. Believe me, most published authors have worked very hard to find success. And they continue to work because they want their next story to be better than the last.


Does magic happen for some books? Maybe, but it's also a lot of hard work.

What do you think? Is writing fun? Hard work? Magical? Rewarding?  You tell me.

Monday, April 25, 2011

First Sightings Contest for River Whispers

I hope you had a wonderful Easter!!!


Last Monday I had a great response to my "Help Wanted" post asking for people to join my street team and become Whisperers. If you would like to know more about becoming a Whisperer, it's not too late. Please click here for more details.



Today I'm starting the River Whispers First Sighting Contest. Here's the scoop.


My new romantic suspense novel, River Whispers, could start appearing on book store shelves in the next couple of weeks. If you take a picture of River Whispers in a book store and send it to my email (kathiorampeterson(at)yahoo(dot)com, I'll post your picture on my blog, plus if you're one of the first eight people to send me a picture you will win a prize.


 While they last, you can choose a western key chain that's either a revolver in a holster or a saddle. OR you can have a pair of  Into the Wild pierced earrings that are little bears (so cute). I'm going with a Western theme since River Whispers is set in the West.


So . . . take a picture of River Whispers on a store shelf, send it to me, and you could win a prize and have your picture appear on my blog. :)

As soon as I received a picture, I"ll interrupted my regular blog posting with "breaking news."

Contests are so much fun. 

I can't wait to see your pictures.


Wednesday, April 20, 2011

What's a Denouement?


Denouement is a fancy word for what happens after your story's climax. It's the resolution scene after the action where everything falls into place and makes sense. It happens after the villain has been caught and everything has been explained. If you're writing a romance it's the "and they lived happily ever after" moment or it's the moment when your characters are looking forward to a new life.


The denouement should be short, a natural part of your story, and it should tie everything together.


Short...
No one likes a long denouement. Too long and the reader begins to feel as if a guest came to visit, but stayed two weeks longer then they said they would. Remember the rule for company--after three days they begin to smell like dead fish? Well, apply that to your denouement. Once the villain has been caught, and you've explained everything, leave. 


A natural part of the story...
If Jack and Jill have fallen in love, leave the reader with a scene that shows how they will live "happily ever after." If the climax was full of action, show your characters moving on with their lives having learned and grown through their experiences. 


Tie everything together...
This is very important. If you've written a mystery make sure all those red-herrings you planted have been resolved with believable explanations. If Bill turns out to be the fellow your heroine left for her hero, make sure the reader knows Bill has a future. If you left the reader thinking John was the villain and he wasn't, give a brief explanation why he acted threatening.

Denouements can be written as epilogues. I enjoy a good wrap up that leaves me feeling as though the characters I've read about are going to move on and have a future. 

Do you like happily-ever-after denouements? Or do you like short, get-on-with-their-lives denouements? Tell me what's your favorite ending.  

Monday, April 18, 2011

Help Wanted!!!



Last Monday I told you I'd explain more about Whisperers, the First Sightings Contest, blog tour, and launch parties involved with the release of my new book, River Whispers



Next week will kick off the First Sightings Contest! I'm so excited for that. More details are coming, so please check back Monday April 25th.


Also more information will be coming about the blog tour and the launch parties. I'm waiting for confirmations to shore up, but the blog tour and the launch parties are going to be different from what I've done in the past.

Now about Whisperers . . . 
I'm embarrassed to say this, but I need help.

As many of you know my new romantic suspense novel, River Whispers, will be released in just two weeks!!!


I am so hyped! But I have a problem. I'm afraid some people might be confused and think that this novel is another young adult, time travel. Don't get me wrong. I LOVE WRITING YA TIME TRAVEL. But I also love to write romantic suspense. 


I've been worried about how I could get the word out, so when I came across an article regarding "street teams" I was very intrigued. Street teams are fans who help their fave authors by handing out bookmarks, interviewing the author on their blogs, and/or posting positive reviews. Some street teamers may have ties to book stores (that carry the author's books) and will give them extra bookmarks, or they may have their book club read the novel, or they may take extra bookmarks to libraries (some libraries have an area for fliers). 


What's in it for the street teamers? They are part of the author's team and get extra perks: a little gift, special contests just for them, and closer access to the author.

Author's usually pick a name for their street teams. I've chosen "Whisperers."


This is what I'd like my Whisperers to do:
  • take my bookmarks to a store (that carries LDS books) and ask if you can pretty please (always be polite) leave the bookmarks for their customers.
  • have your book club read River Whispers
  • interview me on your blog
  • take extra bookmarks to a library and ask if you can leave them for their patrons.
Do you have to do ALL of those things? No. Just one (but you can do more than one if you want to). 


If you want to be a Whisperer and help me spread the word about my new romantic suspense, please contact me at kathiorampeterson(at)yahoo(dot)com.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Thoughts and Feelings Help You Write




Rivers are amazing. Have you ever stood beside one and listened? The river whispers. Really! Years ago, Hubby and I owned a house right on the west bank of the Snake River. I loved to walk down to the water's edge, sit on a large lava rock, and just listen. I heard many sounds: water rushing by, cattails and tall-bladed grasses swooshing in the breeze, and blue herons cawing. The experience was spell binding. I felt at one with nature, and that I was but a small piece of a bigger purpose. The river had been on the same course forever. I wondered what other people in history had sat on that lava rock and watched the water. What animals had come to the river, the life-blood of the Snake River Valley?


Why do I bring this up on Writing Tip Wednesday? Because those thoughts and feelings that I experienced helped me write my new book, River Whispers

Thoughts and feelings can be key to writing strong stories. They make you think "what if". Channel those thoughts and feelings into your characters and you'll see your writing come alive.

Have you channeled thoughts and feelings into your novel? If so, do you think they made your story stronger?




Monday, April 11, 2011

RIVER WHISPERS RELEASE DATE DRAWS NEAR


Time is running out!!!
I can't believe it.
May is only 3 weeks away.


May brings with it pretty flowers...



...sunny days...



...and the release of my new novel!!!




I'm busy cooking up something for YOU!!!



You are going to be blown away 
with what I have planned!!!

Check back on Monday 
April 18th for details about:


how to become a Whisperer...

The First Sightings Contest...

blog tour giveaways...

AND



 LAUNCH PARTIES!!!
   

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Touch, Taste, and Smell


You've heard it before, write using all five senses. I don't know about you, but I find it very easy to write what my characters see and hear. What I sometimes forget is touch, taste, and smell. Those senses add flavor to the book. They make a scene come alive and give it depth.


So let's concentrate on the senses that get left behind: touch, taste and smell. I'm going to share a secret that helps me write these senses into my story. Here it is . . . I make lists. And you thought it would be more difficult, but it really isn't. These lists become my own personal reference that come in very handy while I'm caught up in writing a book. Break your lists into three main categories: touch, taste, and smell.


Touch . . .
When writing scenes using touch try thinking of texture. Is the surface smooth, sharp, ragged, coarse, pitted, ruffled, powdery, foamy, hairy, crumbly, rubbery, oily, soapy, and etc. Write a touch list using textures and surfaces. 

Taste . . .
For this list, write across the top of the page different tastes: bitter, sweet, sour, tart, salty, and anything else that comes to mind. Now, below each word list all things that have that taste. For example, under bitter write gooseberries, chokecherries, and etc. For sour write lemons. Do the same for the other tasty words.  

Smell . . .
Yet another list. This one may take some doing because some smells can't be described with one word. For instance: smelly sock, or rotten egg, or moldy bread. Did you notice that with each description an image came to mind? Don't forget the pleasant smells: fresh cotton, buttered popcorn, baking cinnamon rolls, simmering pizza sauce, baby powder, and etc. You may want to group good smells together and bad smells together. That will make the description easier to find when you need it.

Now let's see if I can use all the senses in a paragraph:

I heard the squeak of orthopedic shoes on tile as the wild-haired nurse dressed in green scrubs walked into my hospital room. Her face puckered as though she'd sucked on a lemon for breakfast. As she neared my bedside, a whiff of fresh cotton followed her. She rubbed my arm. Her warm, smooth touch calmed me.


Okay, I know you can do better than that. Give it a try. I'd love to read what you can write using your lists for taste, touch, and smell.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Spring? And French Toast



Is it spring yet?
Sunday morning we awoke to SNOW. 
The picture above is one of the 
trees in front of my house. 
AND it snowed off and on much of the day.

But all is well. 
Instead of becoming depressed I made 
Baked French Toast with Raspberries. 
Yummo!



It's your lucky day because 
I'm going to share the recipe with you.  

Baked French Toast with Raspberries

5 eggs, beaten
1 ½ c milk
7 Tbsp. granulated sugar
1 (8oz) 1/3 less fat cream cheese
Butter for dish
1 loaf of French bread (sliced)
2 pints of raspberries
Confectioner’s sugar

1. Mix together the eggs, milk and 4 tbsp sugar. In another bowl combine cream cheese with 1 tbsp sugar. Butter a 2 ½ quart backing dish.
2. Quickly dip half of the French bread slices into the egg mixture and arrange them in a slightly overlapping layer on the bottom of the dish. Top with bits of half the cream cheese and half the raspberries. Repeat with remaining brioche, cream cheese and raspberries. Pour remaining egg mixture over the top and sprinkle entire dish with 2 tbsp sugar. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for 4 hr or up to 24 hr.
3. Heat oven to 350°F. Remove plastic wrap and bake strata until eggs are set and top is golden, about 55 min; cover with foil if top gets too brown. Dust with confectioners’ sugar and serve warm or at room temperature. Serves 6.

Wednesday I'll get back to business with another writing tip.

How was your weekend? Did you have snow on your porch? What did you have for breakfast Sunday?

Ya gotta love the weekend!

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