The beach is one of my favorite locations! As a former college swimmer, I like to swim 30 minutes in one direction then turn around and head back to my starting point. Sometimes a fear of sharks gets lodged in my mind, but overall it's more fun than swimming in a pool. In addition to a gift card, I'm giving away an ebook of my college swimming romance STREAMLINE, set at the beaches of Pensacola, Florida.
If you want authors to shudder with fear and revulsion, ask them to write a BLURB.
What's a blurb? It's a brief summary of a story. The best blurbs hook the reader without giving away too much. We writers are a verbose bunch and it's tough for us to pack our narrative into a pithy punch. This is where critique partners and editors come in handy! What characterizes your favorite blurbs? I've been drawn to starting with a sentence or two from the first person point of view. However, I wrote the blurbs for my first two books in the Blocked series in the third person, and wanted to stay consistent for book three. I found a compromise for SPIKED (Blocked #3) by adding song lyrics to the blurb to capture the first person perspective of the hero Mateo, who's a singer / songwriter.
SPIKED (Blocked #3)
University is the time
To find yourself
But I don’t need to find myself
Just want to find you
After watching his older siblings find their love matches at Highbanks University, Mateo Ramirez feels unlikely to follow in their footsteps. What girl would want him? Unlike his brother and sister, he battles diabetes and chooses music over sports. But at least he can write songs about his life—and the girl who caught his eye when their parents ran against each other for US President.
Hey, chica! Come conmigo
And baby, why don’t we go
Down under the bridge to the water
With you it can only get hotter
Jessica Monroe is a talented swimmer who dreams of representing Team USA at the Olympics. When she earns an athletic scholarship to Highbanks, she’s excited to attend the same school as the cute boy she met two years ago: Mateo. Too bad he’s not around when a teammate spikes her drink. Jessica may never trust men again.
Is a hard-to-earn thing
Try to keep listening
Down all of the unjust
My chest, my heart will bust
College years are the time to shake off the past and find your future. But will that future find Mateo and Jessica together? Dive in and immerse yourself in the eagerly anticipated conclusion to Jennifer Lane’s Blocked trilogy. ~ * ~
We writers find inspiration in the strangest places. For me, Pinterest is top on my list. I'm addicted to Pinterest, I must admit. I like to create a Pinterest board when writing to collect images and websites that relate to the story. For my work in progress SPIKED (Blocked #3), I've pinned these images: 1) Volleyball T-shirts (the heroine from Blocked has quite a collection)
2) Bad pickup lines (How Mateo gets Jessica to laugh)
What inspires YOUR writing? What's the worst pickup line you've heard?
Human Trafficking is a major issue not only in the US, but all over the world. The Glass City Author Event has come together to raise money for a local Non-Profit Organization. RISE: Recovering Individuals From Sexual Exploitation is a social service program located in Toledo, Ohio. RISE Provides comprehensive services to Victims of domestic sex trafficking and prostitution.
Most families have rules. The Pierce family not only has rules they also have prank rules. Every rule was created because of a prank that happened. Ever wonder what really happened? The third rule says ‘If there’s a chance of an ER visit, find something else.’ That seems simple enough but why was it created?
Swim Recruit by Jennifer Lane
Not long after Abby Donahue's family falls apart, she escapes on an airplane to Chicago for a recruiting trip. A talented high-school swimmer, Abby hopes to score both a college scholarship and some distance from her parents' recent divorce. But is this university for her? Her first encounter with freshman swimmer Reese McGowan makes her nervous. He's a tall backstroker with a mess of blond hair, glittering aquamarine eyes, and a suspension from the team for badmouthing the school to another recruit. As Abby unravels the mystery underlying Reese's disdain, she begins to unlock her own hidden emotions about her father. Together Abby and Reese battle bullies on the team and inner demons, learning that flipper feet and fighting for family can actually be a good thing.
Intoxicated by You by Michelle Iannarelli
Tall, dark and strong, that is how Liam drinks his coffee, how Emily likes her men….
All Dr. Emily Kelly was looking for was a latte...instead, she fell for Liam…literally.
Detective Liam St. Paul isn’t looking for love, he is a one night stand kind of guy…until he looked into Emily’s eyes.
When Emily's life is in danger...Liam vows to protect her.
Will Emily and Liam find a way to leave their pasts behind them and move forward together?
Or will their pasts tear them apart?
Leaving Eva by Jennifer Sivec
There is a secret pain lurking within us all, waiting to consume us if we allow it.
On the outside, Brynn Michael seems to be living the perfect life. She’s a successful businesswoman married to a handsome and devoted husband. But nobody, not even her husband and childhood sweetheart, Adam, knows the true depth of Brynn’s horror. Abandoned as a child on the side of the road by her young drug-addicted mother, then later abused by her adoptive father, Brynn has spent her life hiding both the physical and emotional scars.
As she tries desperately to heal from her broken childhood and find the courage to begin a family with Adam, an unexpected visitor from her past seeks her out and exposes her to an unexpected history of violence and murder.
Damaged by J. L. Perry
Jacinta’s story takes place seven years after the day Brooke and Logan Cavanagh saved her from the violent clutches of her father. Her mother has now remarried and Jacinta has a new step-brother, Connor, whom she is adores.
Never to Keep by Aimie Gray
Strangers meet in a hotel bar. For a few stolen hours they pretend all is right in their worlds.
Madison Miller is broken. Nearly everyone she’s loved throughout her life has left her. Now, she’s desperate to feel something other than the pain of her most recent loss, even if it’s only for one night.
Sawyer Ramsay is jaded. After witnessing his younger brother marry a woman no one can stand and years of watching his older brother’s disastrous experiences with women, the last thing he wants is a relationship.
Almost a year later, fate will have the strangers crossing paths once more. Can this strong, caring woman with a complicated life convince this disillusioned man to believe in love?
Will passion and desire turn into something strong enough to surmount all of life’s obstacles, or will the fear of heartache and overwhelming responsibility force Madison to accept Sawyer was never to keep?
Welcome to April's Insecure Writers' Support Group. Hop over the Alex Cavanaugh's blog to join us!
Recently a reader friend asked, "How do I write an honest, helpful, negative review?"
Let's discuss negative reviews. I don't want to censor reader opinions, but merely state how I can learn best from reviews. I definitely know how frustrating and disappointing the reading experience can be. It has also become so clear to me that no author can please every reader.
As an author, I appreciate negative reviews that 1) offer specific constructive criticism, 2) make me laugh, and/or 3) acknowledge how personal preferences affect reactions.
I suggest getting specific about what's not working for the reader. The tightness of the writing? Grammar? Pacing of the plot? Realism of characterization? Chemistry between the characters? Too many characters? Implausibility of plot?
Here are some reviews that have taught me to write better:
"There was head hopping in the third person omniscient perspective. Sometimes the same paragraph had perspectives from two different characters." (Thank you to two authors for sharing this wisdom about my debut novel With Good Behavior.)
"Grant is a wuss." (This made me LOL)
"Grant cries too much." (These reviews informed my characterization of beta men--I don't want to make them too weak.)
"It was too depressing and covered too many issues." (I've tried to lighten up later books with more humor.)
"It just didn't work for me because..." (I like when reviewers state how their personal preferences affect the reviews, acknowledging that others might enjoy it but it just didn't fit for them.)
Some negative reviews are not as helpful:
"This is YA, not NA." (I get frustrated with this critique of Blocked because the age of the characters is indeed New Adult. Though it's also my fault for choosing a sexy cover then not delivering the horizontal refreshment.)
Reviews that spoiler the reader or attack the author as a person are also not my cup of tea.
How about YOU? Which negative reviews are the most helpful?
Twenty-six-year-old Margot sets out on a journey of self-discovery – she dumps her New York boyfriend, quits her Chicago job, and crashes at her friend’s flat in London.
Rather than find herself, though, she only feels more lost. An unsettling energy affects her from the moment she enters the old Victorian residence, and she spirals into depression. Frightened and questioning her perceptions, she gradually suspects her dark emotions belong to Charlotte instead.
Who is Charlotte? The name on a local gravestone could relate to Margot’s dreams and the grey woman weeping at the window.
Finding a ghost isn't what she had in mind when she went ‘soul searching’, but somehow Margot's future may depend on Charlotte's past.
Woven between 21st century and Victorian London, What the Clocks Know is a haunting story of love and identity.
Rumer Haven is probably the most social recluse you could ever meet. When she’s not babbling her fool head off among friends and family, she’s pacified with a good story that she’s reading, writing, or revising—or binge-watching something on Netflix. A former teacher hailing from Chicago, she presently lives in London with her husband and probably a ghost or two. Rumer has always had a penchant for the past and paranormal, which inspires her writing to explore dimensions of time, love, and the soul. She debuted in 2014 with Seven for a Secret (in which a Jazz Age tragedy haunts a modern woman’s love life), and her award-winning short story “Four Somethings & a Sixpence” (about a bride who gets a little something she didn’t register for) was released in 2015. What the Clocks Know is her second novel.
Raven Bloomberg finds herself stuck in Florence, Italy during a holiday weekend. One meant for lovers, not lonely art gallery assistants sharing the last hotel room with a dark and mysterious stranger.
She decides to loosen up and enjoy what the city has to offer. The only problem is; she may be enjoying herself a little too much.
Pierce Ashton's eyes are set on Raven Bloomberg, the sexy yet reserved blonde that pushes him to limits he never expected.
Will their thirst be enough to continue the love affair once back in the states?
Will these two souls go back to living life as they did before, or embrace the passion ignited in the opulent streets of Florence.
Find out now in author A.M. Willard's contemporary romance novella, Hearts in Florence, which is best enjoyed with an Italian Merlot.
About A.M. Willard
A.M. Willard is a true believer of soul mates, and happy ever afters. She enjoys reading, sailing, and of course writing contemporary romance with some saucy scenes. Releasing her first novella of the One Night Series on April 12, 2014 has sent her on a new journey in life.
A.M.'s passion for writing started at a young age, but with the love and support from her husband of eighteen years pushed her to follow her dreams. Once she hit that first publish button, she hasn't looked back.
Publications available from A.M. Willard include the Chances Series, Love on the Screen, and everyone's favorite, the One Night Series. She's also had an article published in the Writer's Monthly Review Magazine and was just accepted into the Romance Writers of America organization in May of 2015.
A.M. Willard was born and raised in the Panhandle of Florida, but resides in Savannah GA with her husband, son, two cats, one rotten dog, two goats, and her six chickens. Yes, we said chickens...
“Come, I want to show you my favorite section here,” he says while dragging me behind him. Now it’s as if he’s a kid in the candy store. Laughter escapes from me while I’m being pulled. I glimpse back and forth between everything as it’s covered in greenery and wonder what it would’ve been like back in the day. As we slow, I notice the Ragnaie up ahead, and I pray that he’s going to say this is his favorite spot. I really want to walk underneath it.
“You coming?” he asks, tilting his head in that direction. I offer the biggest goofy smile ever and follow along. I take in the green trees that cascade over the gravel path making a canopy above our heads. The sunlight peers through open sections of the trees above, creating a spotlight effect down toward the road as we walk along. Pierce takes my hand into his and squeezes it a little more than he has before. I close my eyes and glide through as I imagine being here with my fiancé or lover in the future. We could come here for him to kneel down and propose to me, or to celebrate our first year of being wed.
I stop and breathe in the air around us. I want to memorize this moment for as long as I can. I want to remember exactly what it smells like, the sounds of the birds chirping, and the slight creaking of the branches. I picture that it’s the sound of the branches intertwining more into each other, forming a tighter bond than before. The hopeless romantic in me wonders if that’s the sound that two lovers’ hearts make. When two people who love each other unconditionally grow old together, do their branches mend together to make a canopy of their souls?
Holla, writers! Good to see you for the Insecure Writers Support Group started by Alex J Cavanaugh.
Join us HERE to share insecurities, worries, tips, and celebrations. Let's talk research. How do you research unfamiliar topics to increase the authenticity of your writing? My WIP Spiked (Blocked #3) has two main characters: * Mateo is a music performance major with diabetes * Jessica is an art major on the varsity swim team I have part lungs, part gills after swimming all my life, so I'm good with that aspect of the story. But I know very little about the intricacies of music, art, and diabetes.
Thank goodness for Professor Google. For this story, I've consulted the inter webs for ideas about college curriculums, acoustic guitars, and the Secret Service. Of course there's a lot of crap on the internet, but I try to verify information with two or three sites. Human capital is awesome for research, too. Lovely reader Nelly Guajardo guides me with the diabetes aspects and my kickbutt crit partner Nicki Elson helps me as well. How do you research? Happy writing!
Hi, I'm Jen, psychologist/author (psycho author) in Columbus, Ohio. I write sports romance and romantic suspense. My latest release is sports romance ACED (Blocked #2). The US presidential race fascinates me.