WRITERS: Write a better novel in 5 steps

I like to read self-published authors. However, and unfortunately, I find that at least 85% of what I read doesn’t hold my attention for more than a paragraph, maybe two. Most people will read the very beginning of your book (some will try through a page or more, others may stop at the first sentence). If there’s nothing there to capture them, they stop. Just TELLING a story is not enough. And telling is what I am finding all too often in self-published books. The problem I have also found is that, because self-published books are so dominant on places like Amazon, and it’s so easy to toss a book up there no matter what its content, readers are beginning to look at faster plots and writing. They’re forgetting what good prose really looks like, or think it’s “too flowery.” I am not saying you need to write “purple prose,” but if you truly want something memorable that readers will get so drawn into, they will forget the world around them and be sad when the story ends, then keep these tips in mind.
  1. Start your novel with true HOOK. For example, someone walking down the street is only interesting if they are being followed and the writing SHOWS how your characters feels, what they think, sights, smells, etc. around them. Make us FEEL how they feel. Get us into their head.
  2. SHOW don’t tell. This is almost a cliche today, yet it holds true more today than ever. In my 30+ years writing, publishing and reading, I have never read more crap than what is out there today. The characters are just going along, doing things, thinking a few things, talking, but there’s NO sense of urgency, nothing to draw me into the story. I read the first few paragraphs to get a sense of the author’s writing style and if something catches my attention, I keep reading. 90% of the books (particularly self-published) that I read do not make me read any further.
  3. Have a VOICE. Each character should have their own distinct voice and personality. Don’t forget character quirks. We all have them.
  4. Write your first draft any way you want. Edit on your next drafts, making each edit like building a person from the skeleton up. And don’t stop building until you have a WHOLE person. Don’t leave your character without skin.
  5. Be UNIQUE. It’s ok if you want to write the new Twilight, but don’t copy Stephenie Meyer. That’s been done. Find a new angle, unique characters and a different story. Make it YOURS.
Make sure to give yourself TIME in between drafts. Let the book “cool” so you can go at it with fresh eyes. I have made the mistake of putting a book out too soon, so I get it, I really do. But, it’s vital to be patient.

Win some great free gifts!

I just wanted everyone to know that I am having a big giveaway on my web site (click here). I have some gift packages (non-book related) to give away, including sets with a watch, executive pen, radio, and more. I am also giving away signed copies of my paperback books. Ways to enter:

  • Head to my website (LINK)
  • Take the Survey
  • (Optional) Join my email list for updates on my books and other greats.

You don’t have to join my email list to enter the giveaway. Taking the survey puts you on the list to enter. I am not here to spam anyone, just to grab some reader attention. 🙂 Giving away gifts, to me, is fun. It’s also a way to get to know you a bit with the survey. Your answers will help me know what you like so I can get more out there for you.

Enjoy!


Moving horses and living with autism

Kobeejo

This should be old hat for me. In the over 13 years I have owned my horse, we have moved 12 times! That doesn’t mean we have moved almost once a year; just that each move has had various durations. One of my very first large, lifelong dreams was to own a horse. I was one of those “horse-crazy” girls for as long as I can remember. At age 39, that dream came true. My horse has aided me in dealing with my autism (Aspergers to be exact) and he has been my rock throughout some of the toughest and loneliest times of my life. But, it has not been easy.

Because I am plagued with autism, my social skills are less than adequate. Quite frankly, they stink! Asperger’s is, on the autism scale, known as the “genius gene” and far onto the highly functional end of autism. I’ve had my IQ tested. I definitely received the “genius” level, but what exactly does that mean? For me, it means I see so far out of the box (so to speak), that most cannot even fathom what it is I can “see.” I seem to just know things before they happen. I am not sure how, as I am scientific minded and not spiritual at all. But this brings me once again to my horse.

When I finally decided I could afford a horse in my life, I started to look. A few trainers at the stable where I took lessons helped me. They knew what I wanted.

“Preferably a Paint (one of my favorite breeds), registered and showable.”  However, I was adamant, that no matter what color or breed, I refused to accept a grey or white horse!! I like a nice shiny clean horse. Whites and greys are a nightmare to keep clean. Plus, at the time, I simply didn’t like the lack of “pizazz” associated with a dull color scheme.

But, sometimes, things don’t happen as we plan.

One of the trainers came to me one day. “I found the perfect horse for you,” she said. She went on to explain he was a double registered Paint/Pinto (Paint is the breed, Pinto refers to the horse’s markings). Then came the clincher she saved for last… “He is grey and white.”

“Nope!”

And I was dead-set against this horse. I refused to even go look at him! After a week of guilt trips, she wore me down. I agreed to go and see him JUST to say “no” and shut her up once and for all. And so, she and I and a trainer I’d been working with, went to see him. I stepped out of the truck, feeling all cocky, ready to turn this horse down immediately. We walked into the barn, down a short aisle entryway.

“There he is,” she said, and moved aside.

His stall was diagonal from the aisle we had just walked into. And through the vertical steel bars, he lifted his head and one light brown eye spotted me. I did not even see him; he was mostly hidden within the closed-up stall. Nowhere to peek his head out, nowhere to see any full views–just a small back window with bars and full bars along the front of the stall and door. But that eye caught both of mine and from there I can’t easily explain what happened. Something came over me. A feeling. A warmth. Peace. And I knew, beyond a shadow of a doubt!!

“That’s him! That’s my horse,” I said.

“Don’t you at least want to ride him?”

“I don’t need to,” I said, “but okay.”

He was a highly trained hunter/jumper and I was a lifelong western rider. To ride him, I had to get into a jumper saddle. Not a comfortable place for me. But he made me feel safe. I walked him around the indoor arena and offered him a bit of a trot. I was still a rather unskilled and unbalanced rider in an English saddle. But his gait was smooth and the moment I felt even a bit off-balance, he stopped.

And that was the beginning of horse owner history for me.

The nightmare came in the guise of boarding stables. As I have not the land, zoning, nor money for a barn of my own I have had to rely all these years (over 13 at this writing) on boarding stables and people’s back yard barns. As a person with very poor social skills, this has ended in one disaster after another. And, as I got to know and bond with my horse, we developed a communication beyond anything describable in mere words. I know his every thought, feeling and need without relying on body language or guesses. And, as he has aged, his needs change, as do mine. My need is to give him everything he desires as a horse…and that includes not being stuck in a small box 16 hours a day! At near 25 years old now, and plagued with Cushings, Insulin Resistance, laminitis and even founder, I have become very particular about his boarding situation.

And so, we move once again because I cannot afford the full care service at his current barn. The new place is far from our ideal, however. The stall is too small, there’s no shelter in the paddock and once more he will have to remain inside at night (in winter and bad weather). However…. with me being on disability and TRYING hard to make it as a writer, this place is affordable (rough board, meaning I do the care, which I prefer anyway). He can also stay out on nice nights (though with fall coming, these will be getting fewer). The rules are very lax, which is important as I have, through the years, developed methods and ways that work for my horse and I. Full service (full board as it is called here in CT) barns have their own way of doing things, which makes sense, but has never worked for us.

So… as soon as I find someone with a trailer to move him the 14 miles from one barn to the other, we will be once more, on the road again!

 


Cleopatra and the New “Sands of Time”

Most people have either seen one of several movies made about Cleopatra’s life or read about her. The interesting thing, for fiction writers and movie makers, about Cleopatra’s life, is that there is so little historically available on her. Most of her life is left to speculation. As a popular topic and popular Queen (the last Pharaoh in Egypt before Rome took over). There are certain events that have been written into history and are well known; however, other details can be played with. For example, the fact that she was a powerful woman who used her lure and sexuality to get more of what she wanted, using powerful men as pawns, is a well known fact. Also known is her children; one with Caesar and several with Mark Antony.

In the latest installment of “Sands of Time,” Cleopatra’s “aid” Kesi plays a large part in Cleopatra’s fame, her life, her decisions and even her death. I do believe this will be a book all historical paranormal and vampire fans will enjoy wholeheartedly. I will be offering contests based on this book, as well as giving away free copies. Just join my newsletter to be the first to learn of all new books, chapters, freebies and more. www.christinechurch.net

Extended Edition of Sands of Time.


Cleopatra!

Cleopatra’s “true” story is revealed

It’s happening! Kesi, star of the first two “Fate of the True Vampires” series has met and interacted with, Cleopatra. You have certainly heard her name! Cleopatra was the last Queen of Egypt. After her death, the city of Alexandria, where Cleopatra lived, was taken over by Rome.

In this Expanded Special Edition of Sands of Time: Book One Fate of the True Vampires series, Kesi meets Cleopatra and attempts to rule by the queen’s side. As the “original” Queen of the Nile, Kesi feels it is her place to sit by Cleopatra. But, things do not turn out as she had hoped. Cleopatra is obstinate and determined – in ways Kesi never dreamed a human could be. And a Greek ruling Egypt?? Kesi does all she can to dethrone Cleopatra, but not until the queen steals Cleopatra’s man does Kesi decide the fate of the last Queen of Egypt… she must die, but it must appear to be suicide.

If you love vampires, this book is not to be missed. An extraordinarily new take on an old genre. Revisit history as you have never seen it!


Cat Needs Brain Surgery

FK needs brain surgery, and your help.

If you read my last post, you know that my elderly mother’s beloved rescued cat, Fluffy Kitty (yes, that is his name), had a terrible infection behind his eye back in December. After seeing a veterinary ophthalmologist, he was put on heavy duty antibiotics, in which case the infection shrunk back. As the doctor could see no more inflammation against the eye, he was sent home with no further instructions. This expense tapped my mother, but this cat is her baby (and the sweetheart of everyone who meets him, for no lap goes cold with Fluffy Kitty around).

This week, however, Fluffy Kitty started to act strangely. He was confused and disoriented. My mother was in the hospital that day, and her other cat had a dental appointment, so I rushed Fluffy Kitty to the vet in the morning. They, in turn, informed us he needed to go to a neurologist.

Yesterday, after an MRI, my brother, myself and my mom drove the 35 minutes to the neurologist. Upon examining the results, the neurologist told us it looked as if the infection had spread to the frontal area of the brain, but with surgery, there was a good chance he could recover quite well, barring anything unusual. Well, unfortunately, something unusual cropped up. The veterinary neurologist is not positive what it is, but within the infection, he found something he needs to send for testing. He is concerned about lymphoma. By this time, and even with help, the expenses have become out of control, but I ask you… would YOU deny a wonderful old lady the cat she loves and sleeps with her and is just the sweetest cat in the world to everyone? She kept saying “My Fluffy Kitty can’t die, he just can’t die.”

I will not know until next week what the results are of the tests… it ‘could’ be a harsh infection that he removed and will need antibiotics and be ok, it could be toxoplasmosis, or corona virus, or another viral infection.

In the meantime, I have set up a GoFunMe page to help my mom afford all this. Even small amounts add up and matter if enough folks help. Please offer something, if you can. Share the page, get the word out. It will be appreciated more than you can imagine.

GO FUND ME

 


The Day his Purr Stopped

Life has become crazy beyond description, and not in a good way, unfortunately.

Well, ok, some things are not horrible, such as my novel Beyond Every Mirror, which is doing ok in sales and getting great reviews. A few missed editing errors cost me a few stars in a couple reviews, but all editing errors have been fixed, so that shouldn’t be an issue anymore. It’s difficult to have to do it all by yourself; publishing… Self-publishing is a difficult endeavor. My goal is to get back to traditional publishing (where I don’t have to pay for an editor, etc). Fortunately, as I do professional editing, I am able for the most part to edit my own books, but it’s easy to miss things. Hence, once I can afford it, an outside editor will be hired. Cover design as well I have so far done myself, and as a professional photographer (I am just a ‘Jill of all Trades’ lol) I know enough graphic design to do a fairly decent cover (apparently, since my cover for Beyond Every Mirror is up for a cover design award) and I am studying graphic design daily to learn more and more tricks for making really cool covers.

As for the craziness in my life, if you love cats, you will sympathize. Two of my mother’s cats have become ill. Not related. Fluffy Kitty, a gorgeous and large 19 lb Silver Maine Coon I rescued when he showed up one terrible winter and started sleeping on the love seat on my porch. He was un-neutered and gorgeous. Not expecting to keep him, as I already had a house full of foster and rescued felines, I named him, simply “Fluffy Kitty” due to his heavy coat. He turned out to be the absolute epitome of the indoor cat! Once he was neutered, tested and inoculated, he was inside and PURRRfectly happy. The most loving cat I have ever met (and that is a LOT of cats). He is obsessed with always being in laps and his purr never stops.

Day before yesterday, however, his purr stopped.

He acted lethargic, disoriented. He was at the vet hospital all yesterday and today we transferred him to a veterinary neurologist. A month or so ago, he developed a severe infection behind his right eye. I think this is somehow related, even though they were able to cure the infection at the time, I believe some was deep and left behind, thus working into his brain somehow. Vets have agreed with me, but he’s getting an MRI tomorrow to be sure and see if there’s something underlying.

His best friend, Humphries, also saw the vet yesterday due to not eating and vomiting bile. His issue, as I knew, was due to bad teeth. Easy fix. With my mother also in the hospital today, this was a most stressful day! The “saving grace” of the day, if you can call it such, was twofold: My novel, Beyond Every Mirror, received a good review through the most important review company in the world! And my mother received a clean bill of health. But, the worry over Fluffy Kitty (not to mention the expense) is beyond stressful.

Bookwise, I will have “Sands of Time: Extended Special Edition” will be out soon all over the place, in all ebook formats and paperback.

In the meantime, if you love romance fantasy pick up a copy of Beyond Every Mirror. You will be pleased that you did.

 

Watch my website for contests and giveaways!

 

 

 

 

 


If you want to stay up nights in chills and thrills….

Do you long for a good adrenaline rush? Want to feel your heart pound, feel alive, all the while worrying about what’s out there… Or worse, what’s inside with you? Then be prepared to stay up nights and to be entertained. No long dragged out stories explaining more than you need to know; just good ol’ fashion gothic short horror tales. If this is your thing, you might want to check out this brand new short story collection available on Amazon for pre-order. And only 99 CENTS!

Pre-Order today!

New collection of gothic and horror short stories


How Your Cat Will Sell Your Writing

Right now, you are calling me crazy! RIGHT? A CAT… a feline…selling your books, stories, and all else you may put on paper (or keyboard).

You can use your cat to advertise your books!

See the photo to the left? This is my cat, Lucy and she is what I call my “spokescat” for my novels. I have also written and had published, several books on the care of cats, so it’s natural for me to “use” my cats in this way.

Why cats? Well, everyone loves cute kitties on the internet. Cat pictures and videos are extremely popular and draw people’s attention. So, you too can draw attention not only to your cute cat (the cuter your cat the better. Kittens are ideal), but to your book(s) at the same time. Here’s a few tips:

  1. A good camera or cell phone. As a photographer as well as a writer, I can get some pretty nice pictures of my cat (I almost always use Lucy, though I have 9 cats. Lucy is the ham) with my professional camera, but you don’t have to be a professional photographer. You can use your Smartphone. The better the camera on your cell phone, the better the picture. The LG G5 has a nice camera with manual settings. If you know how to use manual settings, this is a great choice so you can adjust the brightness, coloration, etc.
  2. Find the best location.  I like to take photos either in front of a window where there’s a nice artistic reflection, a mirror for the same reason, or somewhere with a nice, uncluttered background. The most important thing to remember is background!! You want your subjects (cat and book) to stand out. Don’t place your scene somewhere that will distract from your subject.
  3.  Marketing. Keep in mind, the purpose for all of this is marketing! It’s great to have fun, but in the long haul you want to be sure whomever is looking at your photo will find your BOOK attractive (it’s great for the cat to be attractive, but it’s the BOOK you are selling).
  4.  Art. Yes, this is a way to advertise, but you want people to stop and pay attention to your photo! Try to make it as artistic as possible.

    If you have a camera or even a phone that allows “depth of field” you can create some cool ads.

Take look at this photo. This book has been on the top seller list on Amazon, and has also won an award. Though I used my professional camera to make it appear more artistic, I also threw in the logos of its winnings. In this photo the cat is focussed and the book (which was behind her) is blurred, yet you can still clearly see the title. “Depth of field,” in the absolute plainest sense, means that whatever is closest to you is clear and farthest away is blurred. It gives an almost 3D effect and gives your photo more professionalism.

 

I hope you find these tips helpful. I will have more coming up. I like to use my photography along with my writing to advertise my book.

Just remember, the cat you use matters as well. If you have only one cat, you haven’t much of a choice. But, if like me, you have a house full, use the cutest and/or the most responsive and easy to work with cat.

 

NOTE:  This is IMPORTANT. NEVER force your cat to do anything he/she doesn’t want to do. If your cat seems agitated, give up. Soometimes the use of treats can help. Make the sessions short. And ALWAYS be patient with your kitty!!

www.christinechurch.net

Author:

Sands of Time, Fate of the True Vampires, Book One
The Early Scrolls, Book Two

Beyond Every Mirror, Book One
Anachronistic Dimensions Trilogy


New Books, Giveaway and Tour

Happy New Year to EVERYONE!!!!  Now that 2017 is upon us, I wanted to write a post on all the fantastic plans I have for this year! This is not something to miss, particularly if you love to read romantic fantasy and win wonderful free prizes!!

Sands of Time, Special Edition: Still in the works, this Special Edition of Sands of Time, will have extra material, new scrolls never before seen, and be fleshed out and revised. Whether or not you read “Sands of Time,” you will want to get this book. VIP members who have gained good standing on my newsletter/email list will receive some of these new writings FREE!

Anthology:  Do you love horror stories? I will be putting out a collection of short horror stories that I wrote and were published many many years ago. If you like horror and want a fun quick read, this little book will please you greatly.

BOOK THREE, Fate of the True Vampires series will be out in the spring!! It’s called Blood Moon: Diary of a Highland Massacre. It will be deep and involved! If you love vampires, Scottish hottest and a darn good, yet unique tale, this one’s for you!!

 

In the meantime, check out my book blog tours… giveaways galore! You can find them at www.christinechurch/net/events-tours.