Location, Location, Location

I’ve just completed a four-book series and am in the process of writing the third book of a five book series, the first two books of which have already been published by Soul Mate Publishing. Both series are specific to a certain geographical locale. The four book series centers around a young woman’s travels in Europe, not unlike my own. The five book series, however, is contained within a specific fictional town, patterned after the small city in northwest Washington where my brother and his family live. This series, the Salmon Run Novels, seems to be a favorite among West Coast readers. Interestingly, my Millicent Winthrop series has had wide appeal among young women readers in Europe, specifically in Germany. Location-specific marketing corresponding to the each of the series’ locale was far from my intention when embarking on these novels. Yet now that they’ve been published and purchased, I notice an interesting trend. Readers like to read something they can relate to, whether that is because of the characters, the circumstances of the plot, or simply the locale.

Luckily, because of my travels I’m extremely familiar with Europe, as well as with northwest Washington. Long before I began writing, I had visited and stayed some length of time in different cities both in the United Kingdom and on the continent, as well as with my brother and his family in Washington. The last 25 years I’ve lived in southern Oregon, but now that my son lives in Berlin, my traveling has increased. With each visit I gained more insight into different cultures, the reading interests within those cultures, and how best to reach those readers.

Location matters on many different levels. First, as a writer I want to be both familiar and bewitched by where I set my stories. I’m not interested in merely Google-ing up information generic to a place. I want nosh on the details – the history, the topography, the cuisine, the current fashions, the political scene, and all the other specific human and environmental factors that go into understanding deeply how place matters.

It’s also interesting to me to know what readers find intriguing. I remember an episode of the British comedy, As Time Goes By, about when Lionel wrote a book about his military stay in a remote area of Africa as a young man. The book was not selling well, so his publisher suggested he go on a book signing tour. Lionel didn’t want to go on the tour, but he did so nonetheless. The humor rested on the fact that no matter where he went, only three people showed up – his girlfriend (played by Judi Dench), his publisher, and him. At first the three were rather embarrassed and were ultra-careful about what they said around for Lionel. But by the end of the tour, all three of the characters were laughing for Lionel finally got the message: as a writer it’s not enough to be entranced with a location, one’s readers must be as well. And how does one achieve that? It’s by gong deep into the details of the story’s setting. As the 17th century humorist Caspar Barlaeus said, “God hides in the smallest places.”

 

 

 

Posted in Gallivanting With Gwen! | 4 Comments

Changing Your Outlook in Paris!

Audrey Hepburn, Schauspielerin

Courtesy of Comet Photo AG (Zürich) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)%5D

“Paris isn’t for changing planes,” Audrey Hepburn says to Humphrey Bogart in Sabrina, “it’s for changing your outlook! For throwing open the windows and letting in…letting in la vie en rose.” Watching Hepburn’s films is one way to get a taste of the sweet life in Paris.  This quote is from https://untappedcities.com/2013/02/08/la-vie-en-rose-in-audrey-hepburns-paris/

So many authors, musicians, and artists have found joy, wonder, and inspiration in Paris. So many people have simply found a new viewpoint. A tip from a friend, if you want croissants in the morning, scope out your nearest bakery and be at their door at the crack of dawn or the croissants will be gone.

For me, Paris is the second home of my vampiress Noblesse. The book has two exciting settings: Manhattan and Paris. Going to Paris with Noblesse and her new husband is riveting, romantic, and fun. Is there danger and suspense? Always!

Vampire Princess of New York book card 3

To purchase at Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Vampire-Princess-York-Arnhem-Knights-ebook/dp/B01LWXYX1G

To purchase at Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/vampire-princess-of-new-york-susan-hanniford-crowley/1125966996

If you buy any of the books and send me a self-addressed stamped envelope, I will send you a special autographed card. Please, include the name you want me to write to.

All the best for an adventure in Paris!
-Susan
Susan Hanniford Crowley
http://www.susanhannifordcrowley.com
Where love burns eternal and whispers in the dark!

 

 

Posted in Author, Books, Paranormal Romance, Romance, Soul Mate Publishing, Susan's Snippets!, Writing | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Let’s Get Audible.

One of the great things about writing for Soul Mate is the rights we retain as authors, which include movie and audio-book rights.

Now I won’t deny that I would love to see my stories on the big screen, but practically speaking it’s much more feasible to pursue making an audio book rather than a movie, so I started looking into it.

There are a number of options, but after researching I settled on having Findaway Voices (https://findawayvoices.com/) do the first book in my Xi Force Series, Z-Bot.

ZBotAudio.jpg

So far it’s been a very good experience. They connected me with a wonderful narrator named Larry Gorman.

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Larry really brought my book to life. (You can hear samples of his amazing voice HERE, and a sample of my book on the Amazon page listed below.)

And just last week my new audio book started coming up on sites including Audible and iTunes. It will eventually be available from 31 different online sources.

And if you’re interested you can find the Amazon listing here: https://www.amazon.com/Z-Bot-Xi-Force-Book-1/dp/B07QGBF2W5/

I’m so happy with the results I’ve already contracted to have Phaze produced.

Yay!

***

Adventure in Fantastic Worlds

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S.C.Mitchell is a writer of paranormal, sci-fi, and fantasy romance, who crafts unique and wondrous worlds where characters explore, romp, and fall in love. Whether traveling through demon-filled dimensions, deep space, or ancient mythological heavens, heroes and heroines face fantastic challenges on their pathway to enduring love.

Posted in A Shout-Out From Steven! | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

Listen to Your Critics. They Might Be Right

by Nancy Massand

Wow, that’s really good!

You just submitted your latest draft to your critique group. Or your writing class. You bask in their praise. You are an author! Then you shop it around to every agent with a penchant for steampunk YA time travel fantasy romance, because you just know it’s gonna be a best seller. But no agent will touch it. Most don’t even reply. What happened?

What happened was that you stopped at “Wow, that’s really good.” Satisfied with the glib assessment, you didn’t press for more information. As an author, I’d rather hear “Your draft really needs work, starting with the title.” Your worst critics are your best friends.

Have you ever entered a writing contest? It’s a great way to get expert feedback on your manuscript before it ends up in an agent’s slush pile. In some competitions, judges give detailed critiques explaining their ratings. I once received three such critiques as a “prize” for being a finalist in the Romance Through the Ages historical fiction contest. I’ll always think of these judges as the three bears.

Baby Bear gave me a rave review. Love-love-love. Period. Since she had to include at least one negative to prove she was breathing, she said my formatting was a little off. It’s the kind of review every writer lives for. Easy fix. Search and Replace. Click. Done!

Mama Bear loved the plot and characters but found issues with the pacing. Her review was spot-on, I felt, because she loved the same elements I loved. Her criticism was substantial enough to take a few days of work, so I’d feel righteous about my creation but humbled that it wasn’t perfect.

Now for Papa Bear. I read her critique last, after I’d done my happy dance. Good thing, too, because if hers had been first I would have spent the evening with a pint of Ben and Jerry’s and a pound of Godiva. This reviewer did not hold back. My protagonist was unrelatable. Her boyfriend was more like a creepy predator than a love interest. The first chapter was boring and she couldn’t focus after that. Too much background info. Too little passion. And that was just the first paragraph of a two page critique. Single-spaced.

So which one did I listen to? Papa Bear. I recreated my protagonist. She morphed from fearful to feisty. Her boyfriend toned down the suave and upped the compassion. The first paragraph exploded. Literally. A rock through the front window. Did I follow EVERY recommendation to the letter? Well, no. But I weighed the advice carefully, and I learned a ton. When the thing was finished, all the fat was trimmed and the meat of the story was lightly grilled, sizzling on the outside, sweetly rare and meltingly soft on the palate. And bottom line, when I resubmitted in the final round, it won first prize. The final round judge, editor Debby Gilbert, asked for the full manuscript, and here I am.

Listen to your critics. They have nothing to lose. And you have everything to gain.

Nancy Massand’s debut novel, The Circle Unbroken, is up for release by Soul Mate Publishers in mid-September 2019. nancymassand.com

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Happy National Humor Month!

In 1976, comedian and author Larry Wilde founded National Humor Month. His intention: Share the therapeutic benefits of humor with the world.

Humor plays an essential role in our overall health. Everything from a giggle to a deep-rooted belly laugh can improve the quality of our lives. The benefits include lowering blood pressure, reducing stress hormone levels, triggering the release of endorphins, and improving cardiac health.

One study conducted by Dr. Lee Berk and Dr. Stanley Tan at the Loma Linda University in California suggests that laughter can even help tone our abs. When we laugh, the muscles in our stomachs expand and contract, similar to when we intentionally exercise our abs.

Here are five of my favorite jokes. Take a few minutes to giggle/belly laugh and work your abs at the same time. Feel free to share these jokes at the dinner table, water cooler, or your next Toastmaster meeting.

A young couple invited their aged parson for Sunday dinner.

While they were in the kitchen preparing the meal, the minister asked their son what they were having.

“Goat,” the little boy replied.

“Goat?” replied the startled man of the cloth, “Are you sure about that?”

“Yep,” said the youngster. “I heard Pa say to Ma, ‘Might as well have the old goat for dinner today as any other day.’”Two little boys were best friends at church, but they both had a reputation for getting into trouble. One Sunday, one of the boys was sick and stayed home. The other boy went to church and was twice as bad as normal.

After church, the pastor grabbed him and asked in an angry voice, “Where’s God?”

The little boy was frightened and didn’t know what to say.

The pastor continued, “I want you to go home and think about it. I don’t want you to come back until you can tell me where God is.”

The boy went home and called his sick friend on the telephone. “Guess what,” he said. “They’ve lost God, and they’re trying to blame that one on us, too.”A woman invited some people to dinner. At the table, she turned to her six-year-old daughter and asked her to say the blessing.

“I don’t know what to say,” the little girl replied.

“Just say what you hear Mommy say.”

The daughter bowed her head. “Lord, why on earth did I invite all these people to dinner?”Jared and Yvonne, both in their early 60s, were in a restaurant celebrating their ruby wedding anniversary. Suddenly, a tiny fairy appeared on their table. She said, “For being such an exemplary married couple for these past forty years, I will grant you each a wish.”

Yvonne answered, “I want to travel around the world with my husband.” The fairy waved her magic wand and–poof–two luxury cruise ship tickets appeared.

Jared thought for a moment. “Well, this is all very romantic,” he said sheepishly, “but an opportunity like this will never come again. I’m sorry love, but I want a wife 30 years younger than me.”

The fairy was deeply disappointed, but a wish is a wish. So, she waved her magic wand and–poof–Jared became 92 years old.Frustrated, a woman asked her doctor for advice. “My husband has a habit of talking in his sleep. Is there anything I can give him to cure this problem?

The doctor replied, “Give him an opportunity to speak when he is awake.”

Where to find Joanne Guidoccio…

Website | Amazon | Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn | Goodreads | Pinterest

 

 

Posted in What's Up With Joanne! | 2 Comments

An Upcoming Release from CiCi Cordelia!

Five more days until THE DAY!

CiCi is very excited to announce her upcoming release! Book Three of Brides of Little Creede, THE INNOCENT WIFE, currently in pre-order status on Amazon, goes live on Wednesday, April 10.

This series was a labor of love from its first inception. With each book, the story of silver boom town Little Creede, coming into its own a mere handful of years after Colorado Territory reached statehood, grew and took on such life, becoming its own character. The townsfolk therein also grew, building new businesses, becoming tightly-knit, protecting each other.

Loving each other.

In The Innocent Wife, Vivian Carter is all grown up. Nineteen years old, intelligent, beautiful, and eager to spread her wings, she teaches Little Creede’s children with dedication and a tender heart. That same heart she longs for the town’s lawman, Sheriff Joshua Lang, to accept.

Of course he wants her, dreams of a life with her. But Joshua’s difficult past and the things he’s had to do in the name of the law makes him reluctant to love and determined to protect Vivian by keeping her at arms’ length.

Their story is passionate, fraught with danger, rife with love. CiCi could tell you more, but she’d rather keep you guessing. At least until Wednesday.

You can find the entire series on Amazon.  Buy Links below:

 

 

THE SUBSTITUTE  WIFE, BOOK ONE:

THE DANCE HALL WIFE, BOOK TWO:

THE INNOCENT WIFE, BOOK THREE:

CiCi hopes you enjoy Brides of Little  Creede!

Posted in Char's Thoughts, Cheryl's Corner, CiCi Cordelia, Historical Romance | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

BABIES AT COCONUTS (Book 3) – Cover, Blurb Reveal & Pantsing Through A Series

I can’t believe the third book of my Coconuts series will release in mid-May. These women have taken me for quite a ride, and fingers crossed, Book 4 will release in December. I expected to get one, maybe two, books written in my Coconuts story line, but my loyal readers can’t seem to get enough of Suzy, Alex, and Hope. Happily, neither can I!

Writing a series is a challenge as a pantser. I have finally learned to create bulleted lists for major plot points for each book. I also know which woman will be the “star” of each novel, but that’s about as far as this pantsing writer will go. After all, don’t the characters always take over?

Additionally, to keep my series fresh, I introduce many new secondary characters with each book. That keeps the writing fun for me and surprises readers. My three main characters and newest flashy newcomer are widely different in personality type, profession, and even their socioeconomic station in life, yet three have known one another since high school, meet weekly at their favorite oasis, Coconuts, and always have each other’s back. As I often say to book clubs, I wanted to write about girlfriends because, like it or not, relationships fail but true friendships last forever.

Without further ado, here’s my awesome cover by talented artist Wren Taylor. My blurb (which I struggled with for months–don’t we all?) is below.

Babies at Coconuts Book 3 830x1250

For Fans of My Big Fat Greek Wedding (Italian-style!)

A clash of cultures.

A chaotic wedding.

A surprise baby.

Just another day at Coconuts.

Coordinating the most joyous day of her son’s life should be easy. After all, Suzy is a wedding planner. But a meddling future mother-in-law wasn’t on the checklist. A wacky rehearsal dinner, beach wedding, and a baby—not necessarily in that order—ensures bedlam, if not hilarity, among the two head-butting moms. The show must go on, with or without the wedding party.

Hope is adept at counseling students but has given up on dieting and having sleek hair. She has even gotten used to the fact that her adopted father no longer remembers her—until a surprise engagement and a newspaper article leave her in shambles.

Sexy banker Alex conveys totally in control while ignoring the simmering boil of her disastrous relationship. Her marketing rival is her kryptonite, but a disastrous bank event may spell her downfall.

Socialite Cheri Van Buren seems to have the perfect life. The New Yorker deftly juggles celebrity events but is growing concerned about her jet-setting parents’ strained marriage. After competing in a cake-decorating contest, another chef leaves her speechless.

More than a Happy Hour haven, Coconuts is the unknowing guardian of shared secrets, bombshell revelations, a few tears, and joy. Will the best friends ever find happiness? It doesn’t look good.

[This is Book 3 but may be read as a standalone.]

I can’t wait to hear what you think about my cover and blurb. I loved writing this book and hope you enjoy it!

Here are the first two books in the series:

2015 RONE WINNER – Best Women’s Fiction/Chick Lit: THURSDAYS AT COCONUTS

BFFs, sexy bad-boy cops, hippies, and neurotic brides.

What could go wrong?

2018 Raven Award Favorite Contemporary Runner-Up: CHAOS AT COCONUTS

Suzy, Alex, and Hope are baaack!

But who’s the flashy newcomer? Wait. There’s a tornado too?

Posted in Beth's Blogging Today!, Soul Mate Publishing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments