Tuesday, April 28, 2015

The Writing Process: Meeting your Editor #mfrwauthor #mfrworg

Okay so we’re going to speed up the time clock. You’ve done your homework and you have all your media sites set up. You’re ready for that first sale. For this month’s blog we’re going to deal with a publisher, small or large there are some basic things that every author should know.

The craziest things can affect the purchase of your book. It’s a very subjective world. If the acquiring editor read a book just like yours in a previous manuscript and they didn’t like it they could read yours with that book in mind. They could have a significant other who is a lot like your hero or heroine. If they had a fight recently that could affect the purchase of your book. The last book this editor bought was a lot like yours and it didn’t do well...you get the drift.

But today is your lucky day – you made it through all of that and they bought your book. Do the happy dance! Now comes the hard part. A total stranger is going to take your baby and edit it. They aren’t going to know how many times you edited it before you sent it in. Things you think are gems they might think need to be cut. That sentence that you agonized over for two days is reworded in an instant.\

Always remember this. They are not calling your baby ugly. They are trying to make your book the best it can be. As an author and an editor I know we’re too close to our own work. We’ve edited it to death and our eyes see things that aren’t there and don’t see the mistakes that are there. We all need fresh eyes to see our work.

Next month more on this editing process....


Barbara Donlon Bradley wears many hats. She’s a mother, wife, care-giver, author, and editor. She’s a senior editor for Melange Books, and writes for Phaze and Melange books/Satin Romances with over twenty titles under her belt.

Author Sites:

Monday, April 27, 2015

A Thunderclap Storm for Our ReTweet Day #MFRWauthor #MFRWorg

Marketing for Romance Writers monthly retweet day is 5/13.
This month we are sharing and supporting our thunderclap campaigns.
First, you need to create a Thunderclap campaign
  • Set the go live date for May 13, the date of our #MFRWauthor retweet day.
  • Also use #MFRWauthor in your Thunderclap message.

Second, add your url to the comment section of the blog. It normally takes three days for a thunderclap campaign to go live so don't delay.

Third, support the main campaign. Here is the campaign for MFRW
Fourth, support the other campaigns listed. Remember to check back often so you support everyone who is doing this.

Here's to creating an awesome storm on May 13,
Tina Gayle writes stories with strong women fiction elements. Visit her website and read the 1st chapter of any of her books. www.tinagayle.net

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Novel Theme. Author Theme. What’s The Difference, and Do You Have One? #MFRWauthor #MFRWorg #WriteTip @MoniqueDeVere

Mention theme and some writers will groan. There’re so many, aren’t there? There’s theme, then there’s theme, and then there’s... well, theme. We have the story theme, author theme, and tropes—which some writers/readers call book theme.

Today I’m going to be talking about author theme, but first let’s take a quick look at the other two.

Story theme

Story theme is the same as the novel’s theme and can  usually be described in a single sentence. Something like, “action speaks louder than words”. It’s what the story is about, the message beneath the surface and it has nothing to do with your plot points on an obvious level. For instance, you might have a character, or even set of characters, who constantly say one thing but do another. That would be the story theme “action speaks louder than words”. 

I normally look to Idioms to find a nice pithy statement for my story themes. But there’re other places we can also look. I’ll list a few in case you might like a bit more of an example.
Story themes can be boiled down to traditional sayings.

Idioms – a phrase with a different figurative and literal meaning.
Exp: “Rags to Riches.” Or “Keep a stiff upper lip.”

Adage – a memorable, traditional saying that has gained credibility through long use.
Exp: “Where there’s smoke, there’s fire.” Or “Things are not always what they seem.”

Proverb – a short saying which expresses common sense or a basic truth.
Exp: “A monkey in silk is a monkey no less.” Or “It’s no use locking the stable door after the horse has bolted.”

Maxim – a well known saying that expresses a truth or rule about life or conduct.
Exp: “Opposites attract.” Or “Nothing ventured, nothing gained.”

Epigram – a clever statement expressed in the form of a concise amusing or satire poem.
Exp: “I can resist anything except temptation.” Or “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”


Another book “theme” people speak of, is the story trope. These are tried and tested, reoccurring literary devices used to instantly tell the reader what sort of romance she’s picking up. Such tropes are: the second chance/reunion romance, secret baby, friends-to-lovers, older brother’s best friend, matchmaker, office romance, one-night-stand, sexy protectors and the list goes on. Used in category romance/commercial fiction, tropes drive the story.   

And now we come to...

Author Theme

Recently, I found myself thinking about the way I approach my stories, and it suddenly dawned on me that while I usually know my story theme, I don’t think I’ve ever stopped to work out my author theme. 

This started to bug me. 

What did I really write about? 

Okay, you might be thinking, “Huh? Author theme, what on earth is that?”

Or you might be thinking, “Who doesn’t know their author theme?” Well done for figuring yours out already, smarty-pants, thumbs-up to you. :)

Now, for the rest of us mere mortals who never really thought about our author theme. It's the core topic every writer writes about. The same fundamental subject that runs through all of her stories. Something like perhaps an author who always write about orphans in some way. Maybe one of her books is about a character whose parents died and she ended up in foster care. Another book might be about a character who felt abandoned because the parents were always working, and yet another book might be about having to grow up fast and look after a parent or siblings because the parent was sick or had a substance abuse problem. You get the idea, right? While none of these stories are the same, one similarity remains at the core—this character is an orphan.

So I started to think I didn’t have an author theme. What do you do when you get stuck? 

Phone a friend. 

In my case, I emailed my dear, dear friend who I met in a critique group around ten years ago and we've remained friends every since. She’s read most of my books and she has such a wonderful, sharp eye. When I asked her what she thought my author theme was she said, “You write about daddy issues.” 

Right there, in words that leaped from the email reply, was my answer. At first (for about thirty seconds) I thought, nah, I’m sure I write about something else. Something far more profound—haha, yeah right. But as I ran my books through my mind I realised she was spot on! Every one of my books contained characters that had some sort of daddy issue. The novel I'm writing right now features a heroine with daddy issues. 

What does that say about me? You guessed it, I have daddy issues. My parents got divorced when I was eight and suddenly my daddy—the light of my life—was no longer there. Oh, man, I feel like I’m baring my soul here. Is it any wonder that we as authors experience such a deep sense of hurt when someone tips a negative hat to our books? How many times have you heard a writer say, “I poured my soul into that book!” Because we actually do.  

Going forward, I believe my books will be stronger for me having this knowledge. I will certainly make sure my character’s have their chance to forgive and heal.

I challenge you to find your author theme if you don’t yet know it. I bet, armed with this knowledge, you’ll be able to strengthen your books and jump to the next level in your writing.  

So, what do you think about author theme? Do you already know yours? Are you going to leave here and spend some time pondering your author theme? I'd love to hear your take on this subject.

Until next time, write with clarity and style!

 Author/Screenwriter Monique DeVere currently resides in the UK with her amazing hero husband, four beautiful grown-up children, and three incredible granddaughters. 

Monique writes Romantic Comedy stories some call Smexy—Smart & Sexy—and others call fluff. Monique makes no apologies for writing fun, emotional feel-good romance! She also writes Christian Suspense with a more serious edge.  

Monique loves to hear from her readers. You can contact her by visiting her http://moniquedevere.blogspot.co.uk to learn more about her and check out her other books.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

5 Tips for #Writing Emotionally Charged Heroes #MFRWauthor @kayelleallen

Negative Traits Thesaurus 
I recently bought the book Negative Traits Thesaurus, by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi. It's subtitled, "A Writer's Guide to Character Flaws." The book is a strong resource for creating a three-dimensional hero or heroine, but can also help you write strong villains. Creating an emotionally charged hero or villain means giving him/her more than a laundry list of flaws or strengths. Developing those in a relatable way is important too.

However, after studying this book for a bit, I've noticed there are five basic things that determine whether a character is a hero or a villain. Ask these questions about your hero/ine to make them more relatable.

  • What are the emotional attributes of your hero?
  • What are the emotional wounds of your hero?
  • What are the emotional flaws of your hero?
  • What fears drive your hero?
  • What morals prevent the above items from making your hero a villain?

Tarthian Empire
Now ask these questions about your villain, and ask yourself what morals prevent him/her from becoming a hero.

If you write science fiction or fantasy, my new book Tarthian Empire Companion, an illustrated World-Building Bible and Guide to Writing a Science Fiction Series might be helpful. It includes info on organizing a story bible to track timelines; character development; a section for military ranks, ships, and naming protocols, plus other aspects of writing a scifi. Amazon ($3.99) http://bit.ly/companion-az

Monday, April 20, 2015

#MFRWAuthor -to-Author Tip: BIOS MADE EASY @Kris_Bock

Bios Made Easy
Writers need bios, for query letters, on websites, for conference brochures. Surely writers can write about ourselves. Yet while coordinating writing conferences, I discovered that even published authors often write poor bios, whether through modesty, carelessness or overwriting. Many bios are entertaining, but don’t do their job.

The job is selling yourself and your books. Keep that focus in mind and the rest will follow.
Content: List your publications. If you have many, mention the number but only go into detail on three or four—perhaps the most recent or popular. Specify the genre, as titles aren’t always clear by themselves. If you don’t have published books, mention your other credentials—“Cub Newshound’s articles appear in Slate,” for example.

Don’t get carried away listing awards. If each book has four or five minor awards, the reader bogs down in dull details. List the most prestigious, or combine them—“Ms. Inkslinger’s books have received 11 Readers’ Choice Awards from various states.”

Relevancy: If someone is considering buying your book or coming to hear you speak, they want to know your success as a writer or speaker, not the names of your pets. Put your professional information first. Don’t start with your hobbies or childhood, unless it directly relates to your book. (For example, you’re a nurse and you wrote a hospital drama.) Don’t thank your family for their support. Save that for your book dedications.

Style: You may need different bios for different uses—playful on a book flap; professional for a newspaper article; focused on teaching experience for a conference catalog; praising your writing success for a booksigning. Regardless, focus on information. Humor and lively writing are fine, but don’t get too wrapped up in sounding “literary.”

In a large conference brochure, the designer probably wants consistent style. A touch of formality may be appropriate—you’re trying to portray yourself as a professional. Pretend you’re someone else writing about you in the third person. “Bard Wordsmith is an award-winning author….” For a query letter, use  first person. A website could go either way.

Length: Keep it short and to the point. If your bio will stand alone, on an individual brochure or flyer, try 100-200 words. If your bio will appear along with others, 50-100 words is plenty (or whatever they request). Many people will skim anyway. Include your website for more information. An editor may cut to save space, so put the most important information up front.

I keep several versions and cut and paste as needed. A longer bio may have a sentence about each of my romantic adventure novels. A shorter one may have only a few words on each, or general info on the kind of books I write. If I’m promoting my critiquing/editing business, I would focus on my experience as a teacher and workshop leader, noting that people can get recommendations and rates on my web site. The details depend on what I’m trying to sell.

So what about you? To get started, make a list of the facts that you want to share. Then write a simple, straightforward paragraph that includes them. Next, decide if it’s appropriate to dress it up, but as in all good writing, communication comes first.

ABOUT Kris Bock
Kris Bock writes novels of suspense and romance involving outdoor adventures and Southwestern landscapes. In Counterfeits, stolen Rembrandt paintings bring danger to a small New Mexico town. Whispers in the Dark involves archaeology and intrigue among ancient ruins. What We Found features a young woman who stumbles on a murder victim, and The Mad Monk’s Treasure follows a treasure hunt in the New Mexico desert.
website  |  amazon  |  goodreads

Kris Bock's latest book is The Dead Man's Treasure
BLURB: Rebecca Westin is shocked when the grandfather she never knew leaves her a bona fide buried treasure – but only if she can decipher a complex series of clues leading to it. The hunt would be challenging enough without interference from her half-siblings, who are determined to find the treasure first and keep it for themselves. Good thing Rebecca has recruited some help, in the form of a green-eyed charmer determined to show her that a desert adventure can be sexy and fun. But there’s a treacherous wildcard, a man willing to do anything to get that treasure – and revenge. 

Action and romance combine in this lively Southwestern adventure, complete with riddles the reader is invited to solve to identify historical and cultural sites around New Mexico.

Friday, April 17, 2015

#MFRWorg BLOGSforWRITERS: Helping Writers become Authors @KMWeiland

Authors don't have endless hours to read every blog out there on the world wide web. Still, there are some blogs out there that are not to be missed. In our BLOGSforWRITERS feature, MFRWorg highlights blogs definitely worth your time.


This blog is managed by author K.M. Weiland. She lives in make-believe worlds, talks to imaginary friends, and survives primarily on chocolate truffles and espresso. She is the IPPY and NIEA Award-winning and internationally published author of the Amazon bestsellers Outlining Your Novel and Structuring Your Novel, as well as Jane Eyre: The Writer’s Digest Annotated Classic, the western A Man Called Outlaw, the medieval epic Behold the Dawn, and the portal fantasy Dreamlander.

When she’s not making things up, she’s busy mentoring other authors on her award-winning blog. It's a fabulous resource for technical writing advice. CLICK HERE to visit the BLOG.

Monday, April 6, 2015

#MFRWauthor Retweet Fest - Share Your Book with Us

Marketing for Romance Writers monthly retweet day is 4/8.

This month we are promoting our author's books.

To make this easier for everyone to do.

We are asking you to create a tweet and post the url in the comment section of this post.

Here are the steps to follow to achieve

#MFRWauthor Retweet Day – Author Books

Step 1: Go to your Twitter profile and post a tweet as you normally would. (No rules on structure.) Make sure to add #MFRWauthor to your tweet

Step 2: Look up your tweet, it will be in your stream. Click on “Expand,” or the ... in the corner. Then click on “Details.” Your tweet should now be zoomed on your screen. Copy the perma-link or the url for your post at the top of your computer screen.

Step 3: Paste that perma-link into the comment section on this blog.

Step 4: On 4/8 - Make sure you are logged onto Twitter.
Then come here and click on each link that is posted in comment thread for retweet day.

After click on each link you will be taken to tweeter where you retweet the post. Return to the blog and  hit the Like button on *RE-TWEET* thread to show you have done this.

This will help us see how well this promotional event is doing.

Thanks for joining the fun,


Tina Gayle writes stories with strong women fiction elements. Visit her webstie and read the 1st chapter of any of her books. www.tinagayle.net

Friday, April 3, 2015

What Social Media Accounts Do New #Authors Need? #MFRWauthor @kayelleallen

Every author needs social media. In 2012, Digital Book Word posted an article showing the potential of social media to sell books. For a great infographic on which site sells the most, click here (Shopify article and image by Mark MacDonald).

Having been published for many years, and after hosting hundreds of authors on my Romance Lives Forever blog, I can offer some good advice on what sorts of social media accounts a new author needs. I included checklists for other things that you'll find handy.

Accounts Checklist

What you need will be different from what other authors need. Adjust and fine tune your account checklist until it fits your current books. Keep in mind your needs may change with each book. Why? Because your core audience may change, depending on the genre you write, and changes in the industry.

These are basic accounts you will need as an author. The top are listed by name:
Facebook profile / author page
Google+ (vital -- authors with a Google account rank higher in searches)
Amazon Author Page
Sign up for other social media as needed. I recommend you claim your name on each, even if you don't use the accounts -- you might want to use them later.

Memberships and Business Accounts
Newsletter (MailChimp, iContact, Constant Contact, etc.)
Email list

Items to create for each book
Sample Chapters
Email signature

Website Pages or Info
Free Reads
Media Kit
Tarthian Empire
News / Press Releases

Optional items on a per-book basis
Audio clips
Book trailers

Whatever programs, software, and applications you use, keep track of the names and URLs. Record your passwords. As you grow in your profession as an author, you will be in and out of these for years to come. Trust me, it pays to be organized.

Kayelle Allen, MFRW Founder
Author of the Tarthian Empire Companion
A World-Building Bible and Guide to Writing a Science Fiction Series
Amazon http://bit.ly/companion-az  Smashwords http://bit.ly/companion-sm
Website http://kayelleallen.mobi Blog http://kayelleallen.com/blog
Twitter http://twitter.com/kayelleallen  Facebook http://facebook.com/kayelleallen.author
Google+ https://plus.google.com/+KayelleAllen/