DYNAMIC DESCRIPTIONS: LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION!

When I’m not writing, or sporadically updating this blog, I also work as a freelance editor. In a recent chat with a potential client, I asked what she thought was missing from the current draft of her novel. Can you guess what she said? Need a hint, you say? No clue, you say? Alright, alright. I’ll get to the point.

In her words, the biggest problem with her story is that it isn’t compelling…there’s too much telling and not enough showing! My reaction was a huge smile and a pat on her back because she was already far ahead of most writers. She didn’t need to be “told” that she didn’t have to “tell”. Hmm, that was a bit confusing, but you get the point (I think).

In the first part of this series, we discussed how using your senses (or those of your character) can give way to vibrant descriptions. After you’ve drained every description you can from your senses, it’s time to move on to phase two:

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DYNAMIC DESCRIPTIONS: How a Preschool Activity Can Improve Your Descriptions

Remember Show and Tell? I do. The night before the big day, I’d rifle through all my stuff trying to decide which toy was worthy of such an honor. After vascillating between a Cabbage Patch doll and Kid Sister–ok, so I didn’t “vascillate”, I played eenie meenie minie mo–a made my choice and barely slept through the anticipation.

At school the next day, I held up my Kid Sister doll and told my friends all about her. Nevermind that they couldn’t hear a word I said, their brains too focused on sharing their own treasured toy. I talked louder, smiled and used more than the allotted two minutes to relay our many adventures.

If  you’re not still trying to wrap your head around a Cabbage Patch Kid or Kid Sister–cue the visuals:

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BEYONCE: PERFECT FICTIONAL CHARACTER?

I didn’t watch the Grammy’s over the weekend, but thanks to the power of social media I didn’t have to. Instead, I clicked my way through photos, articles and posts and found it was just as good as watching…or maybe not, according to some. While many opinions were given about Beyonce’s performance–it was brilliant, it was terrible, it was evil–the thought occurred that none of it really matters. I will never know if the judgments presented as facts are indeed facts. What I do know is that Beyonce has mastered the art of character.

As writers, we know and interact with “characters” on a daily basis. Our germ-a-phobe friend who cleans every surface with Clorox wipes. The friend who hates when people stab their knife in the butter tub instead of retrieving it smoothly (me). The friend who hates when people stab their knife in the peanut butter jar instead of removing it in a circular fashion which results in a cone shaped center (my husband). There are wonderful characters all around, but it’s hard to create them from thin air. We might come up with one cool thing about them, but it isn’t enough to drive the story.

Now, many will argue the virtues of what makes a good story. Plot. Situation. Conflict. All serve their purpose, but can’t be done successfully without a main character that tugs at our emotions.

Beyonce, for instance. Millions of people watched her performance then took to social media to express their opinions of such. For the number of those who saw it as groundbreaking, there seemed to be twice the number who saw it as a travesty. The question must then be asked, why did they continue to watch? They could have easily turned the channel or turned the TV off. Why did they continue to subject themselves to something they later professed to be tragic?

I can only conclude that it must be like accidents. No matter how much we try, we can’t keep our heads from turning when we pass one. Can’t keep our eyes from searching the scene for casualties. The public character Beyonce has created is much the same. Many love her, but there are also those who love to her hate her, despite the fact that they don’t know her personally. Just like a great fictional character, she inspires some of us to be great, while stirring the vitriol in others.

So what can we learn from her as writers? How can Beyonce—the performer—help us create lasting characters?

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New Interview with A Book Paradise

Hi everyone! Check out my latest and greatest interview with Tanya at A Book Paradise!

http://abookparadise.blogspot.co.uk/2013/08/author-spotlight-1-valeri-beatrix.html

Author Spotlight #1: Valeri Beatrix

 
Hey to all my lovely readers 🙂

Sorry I have not been posting the last few days but I make up for it with the post in my Author Spotlight series. I also have a book haul and a much anticipated review of….BEAUTIFUL REDEMPTION YAY!!!!!! 😀

So let’s get right to the Author Spotlight. 

                          
 
Author Spotlight is a meme that I created where I showcase authors and their books and do a little interview to get to know the author as well. I will post book and author links so you can check them out as well.
 
This week’s post is on Valeri Beatrix and showcasing her first novel The Irony Vengeance which I received to review so expect a review soon 🙂
 
First I’ll start with the synopsis of the book 😀

Book Title: The Irony of Vengeance
Author: Valeri Beatrix 
Standalone/Series: The Murder Mia Series #1
Number of pages:153 
ISBN: 9780989363310
Format: EBook
Publisher: LoveWords Publishing
Genre: Young Adult Romance/Suspense

Synopsis
————-
Flowers by day, murders by night.

To those who know her, Mia Ozu is a nice, yet often distant flower shop owner whose greatest flaw might be the fact that she’d rather prune her precious bonsai than participate in a conversation.

What they don’t know, is that Mia is harbouring a deadly secret.

Haunted by the vicious murder of her parents, Mia spent a lifetime hunting down anyone involved. But revenge is never as sweet as it seems and when one murder reveals a shocking betrayal and threatens to expose her true nature, she must decide if finding the truth is worth the risk. 

I hope you liked that book description…. now on to the interview!

Interview
—————
1) What inspired you to become an author?

Hmm, I think I’ve always been an ‘author’ in some form or another. I started out singing and writing songs in grammar/high school. That eventually morphed into me writing random stories about people I couldn’t stand, getting their comeuppance! Though I pursued a different path in college, writing was always in the background until one day I decided, hey, if Stephanie Meyer can do it, so can I, haha! By the way, I don’t care what anyone says, Twilight was a great book (story), flaws and all!

2) How did the idea for The Irony Vengeance come about?

I’m a HUGE Martial Arts fan. I mean, to the point that I took Tae Kwon Do lessons in an effort to be like my favourite martial arts artist, Bruce Lee… needless to say my skills – and I say that term loosely – aren’t anywhere near his so I did the next best thing, and wrote about a girl who can karate – chop with the best of them, haha!

3) Do you have a favourite author at the moment?

This is one of those questions where if you were to ask me five minutes from now, the answer would probably be different! I know, crazy, right? Here are a few authors I love: Joseph Heller, P.G. Wodehouse, Gail Carriger < < the all have almost nothing in common 🙂

4) Do you have a favourite book at the moment?

I don’t think I’ll ever have ONE book that’s my favourite, but I truly enjoyed and would recommend The Irony of Vengeance ( < < shameless plug!). The Book Thief, The Night Circus … I’ll stop there.

5) Explain your book, The Irony of Vengeance in three words.

OOOOh!!!!! < that doesn’t count as one of the words right? 🙂

Girl. Gets. Even. 

6) How do you come up with ideas when writing a story? Is there a process that you go through?

They usually pop into my head as either random thoughts, or scenes. If after a few days, I can’t get them out of my mind then I have to write about them. For some odd reason, I always know the ending first so most of my brainstorming is spent on figuring out how the character ended up at point ‘B’. The process requires either lots of ‘sauce’ (aka margaritas) or tea, and LOTS of great music!!! Currently, I’m in love with anything by Mikky Ekko. 

7) How did you come up with your characters from the Irony of Vengeance and do you think your readers will relate to them?

The book is set in NYC, a city that is the epitome of ‘culturally diverse’. I wanted the characters to reflect that so just about everyone is of a different nationality. The main character, Mia Ozu, stems from the wannabe Ninja side of me 🙂 I would never go as far as she goes to right some wrongs, but I wouldn’t mind wielding a Katana every now and then. While people may not agree with her methods, I think they’ll relate to her need for justice. We’ve all been hurt in some way and have wished there was something we could do. Mia represents that side of us that takes action

Mia is a bit of a loner but she has a bright and bubbly friend, Chloe, whom she couldn’t do without (though she’d never admit it).

There’s also the very charming Takeshi, and the rough and rugged Nicolas who both find themselves entranced by the lovely, and clueless, Mia. 

8) What are your current projects? Do you have another book that will be released soon?

Whew, that’s a loaded question! I have too many projects in my head. Half of which I’ve started to write. Half of those are about half finished while the other half are still in the first stages. If you understood that then you’re my new best friend 🙂 Included in the aforementioned bunch is the second book of the Irony of Vengeance (Murder Mia series). There’s also an urban chick – lit < < I hate that term… plus a New Adult type book that I’m having trouble “New Adult-ing”. 

9) What advice would you give to someone who wanted to become a good author?

Read. Read. Read, and at the same time, write. Obvious advise, but it’s definitely true. Reading the work of others helps you get a sense of how to plot/ pace your own books. At the same time, you don’t want to over analyse while your reading, lest you run the risk of sounding like the authors you love. This isn’t always a bad thing, but the point of it all is to create your own “voice”. 

10) What is your favourite genre of books?

YA (Young Adult)!!!! It’s strange, but it seems like more and more adults prefer YA books. There’s something in them that reminds us of the good old days before bills, babies and baking!


Well that’s the interview done and the last thing is the author bio and book links 😀 !

Author Biography:

Valeri Beatrix is a writer, singer, designer, and a bit indecisive as you can tell from her abbreviated list of attributes! In her head, she’s many other things including a ninja, a ballerina and linguist… that means she loves languages. Did you know she can now say OMG!, in 5 different ways??? Awesome, right!

Her love for writing emerged at a young age, where she began writing love songs… much to her mother’s surprise. She eventually ended up in the fashion industry, but the writing bug continued to nag her, and rather than swat it down, she gave it a pen and paper! The Irony of Vengeance (Murder Mia Series #1) is her first novella, and she is currently hammering away at the second book, as well as an urban chick lit.

When she’s not writing/reading, she’s chasing her darling son and attempting to convince her favourite (and only!) husband, to try the results of her latest adventure in the kitchen. 

Book and Author Links:

Paperback/Autographed copies can be purchased on her website: www.valeribeatrix.com 

 

Facebook Account:
 
That’s it for this post but stay tuned for the book haul and the Beautiful Redemption review!
 
Much Love,
Tanya x

 

Bugging out!

Whoa! 

First of all, I’ve been trying to write this post for the last few weeks (replace weeks with months!) Even now the mouse is hovering dangerously close to the “cancel post” option (sigh). Why has it been such a struggle to write, you ask?  Stop being nosey, I respond. No, no, just kidding (I think). There’s just been too much going on. From deaths, to births…birthdays, baptisms, and moving. Now it’s hotter than hot when it’s supposed to be not <<improper grammar, yes, sue me!

There is a point to this rant, and when I remember it, you’ll be the first to know!

In the meantime, I’m in need of some advice. I’ve recently learned that as an author, I’m supposed to do more things to connect with my readers, such as blogging. This idea is great in theory, but when you can’t think of anything to write about, well…

I had a great idea for a series of articles until my very astute husband pointed out that perhaps my topics should be related to “writing”, since I’m a writer and all. After the marching band in my parade died down, I realized he might have a point.

So I put it to you, dear readers! Now that things have calmed down, and I’m able to steal an hour or two, what should the focus of my blog be? I’m pretty sure it shouldn’t be a barrage of advertising for my novella-The Irony of Vengeance (not-so-shameless plug)-now available for purchase here. Nor should it be this ho-hum, post-every-two-months deal. Let me know what you think!

 

All Authors Blog Blitz!!!

Alright everyone! This is my first time participating in an event like this, but I know it won’t be the last. The Authors Blog Blitz is the brain-child of Y. Correa from the Self Published/Indie Authors Support Group over at Goodreads! All throughout the day, numerous independent authors will be posting about great new books on their blogs. My novella, The Irony of Vengeance, will be featured by author Michael Pearce here.

I’m happy to be featuring Young Adult/Fantasy author, Heather James and her latest novel, Fire!

Fire (Elements of Power, #1)

Synopsis:

Is control over the elements a gift, or a curse?

Enter a world where it’s normal to spark flames in your fingertips, or produce gale-force winds with a flick of your wrists.

Roxy thinks that she is in control of everything: with flames flaring at her fingertips and an equally fiery attitude, what more could she need? But then she meets Brae, a prince from a rival Realm, who turns her assumptions of superiority upside down.

Jasmine has none of Roxy’s confidence or intensity. But she does have a secret – and Brae – and she’s not going to give either up willingly.

Excerpt:

Fire rose high into the trees on either side of me, closing in much faster than I’d anticipated. The air was thick with heat and smoke. I had to keep moving, fast. My heart hammered against my chest, keeping time with my feet as they pounded across the uneven ground. Above me, both suns hung high in the air, shining down mercilessly and adding more heat to that of the blaze.
I heard, rather than saw, the ball of flames whizzing through the air behind me, branches crackling to dust as it went. Moving on instinct, I threw myself to the ground, feeling the gritted earth graze my already filthy face and arms.

Only one thought ran through my mind: they were getting closer.

I pushed myself to my feet and set off again, faster than before. As I ran, I pushed a loose strand of hair – as red as the inferno surrounding me – away from my face. It had fallen out of its tie hours ago, but I hadn’t stopped for long enough to fix it.

The flames kept coming, attacking me from both sides so that I had to duck and weave as I went. As I darted right, my feet stumbled on the uneven terrain. I couldn’t keep this up for much longer; I needed to stand and fight.

“Come on then. I’m ready for you,” I whispered to myself as I came to a stop. I wheeled around just in time to see a cloaked figure emerge from the trees to my left. The cloak gleamed with glittering red swirls that made it look as though it were aflame.

Where there should have been a face, I saw nothing but darkness.

Slowly, the figure raised his hands out towards me, toying with me; he thought I was beat. Flames sprung up at his fingertips and danced across his hands, gradually increasing in intensity.

But he was being complacent. He was nowhere close to winning this fight. While he put on his pyrotechnics show, my own fingertips burst into flames, burning faster and fiercer. Before he realised what was happening, I cast my hands out in front of me, sending a ball of fire straight at his chest. Thrown back by the force of the hit, he lay on the ground, motionless.

One down, two to go.

The flare receded from my fingers but the tingling sensation lingered; I was ready to attack as soon as I needed. Bending over the unconscious figure I pulled a shining silver ring from the index finger of his left hand. Shoving it into my pocket I set off again, but this time I headed left, in the direction the cloaked figure had emerged from.

I’d had enough of being hunted.

About the author:

Heather James is a young-adult author who writes about heroines with amazing powers, heroes who will break your heart and fantasy realms that you will want to move to.

She works in the attendance office of a South-East London secondary school and spends her school holidays writing, reading, playing flag-American football and using Pinterest and Goodreads.

You can find out more about her over at her blog: http://heatherfjames.blogspot.co.uk/p…

Links:

To start reading straight away, you can purchase Fire from:

Amazon http://www.amazon.co.uk/Fire-Elements…

Kobo http://www.kobobooks.com/ebook/Fire/b…

Barnes and Noble http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/fire-…

ENTER TO WIN!

Wow…Thumbelina is holding my eyes open right now. There has been soooo much going on but I had to get this up! From May 27- May 31, I’ll be giving some stuff away, including an autographed copy of the book!

Look to your left…well, you might have to scroll up a bit, haha, and click the “Rafflecopter Giveaway” link! Don’t forget to share!

Interview on Awesomegang.com

Hey Hey!

If you haven’t checked out my interview for Awesome Gang, here it is.

Visit the site to learn about more new and emerging authors! http://www.awesomegang.com

Valeri Beatrix

by VINNY O’HARE on

gwenChibiTell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
Hmm, where to begin? I’m a fun-loving wife and mother. Often in conversation, I’ll reply to questions /comments with either a song or random movie quote. I love learning new languages though saying that I actually “learn” them is probably a stretch! I’ve written a dozen or so books but so far, have only published one!

What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
ooooh! The name of my latest book is The Irony of Vengeance! It’s about a girl who, while avenging the murder of her parents, ends up committing a murder that changes the direction of her life. It was initially inspired by the fact that like so many others, I’m a 3rd degree black-belt! Unfortunately, that’s only in my dreams so…I decided to create a kick-butt character! By the way, here’s the blurb:

Flowers by day, murders by night.

To those who know her, Mia Ozu is a nice, yet often distant flower shop owner whose greatest flaw might be the fact that she’d rather prune her precious bonsai than participate in a conversation.

What they don’t know, is that Mia is harboring a deadly secret.

Haunted by the vicious murder of her parents, Mia spent a lifetime hunting down anyone involved. But revenge is never as sweet as it seems and when one murder reveals a shocking betrayal and threatens to expose her true nature, she must decide if finding the truth is worth the risk.

Do you have any unusual writing habits?
If by unusual you mean writing 2 sentences, chasing my child, feeding said child, writing 5 sentences, cooking lunch/dinner, pulling my hair out after writing 1 sentence, put baby to sleep, clean up, write 3 sentences…then yes, I have unusual writing habits, haha!

What authors, or books have influenced you?
I love great stories! They don’t all have to be A+ writing, though it helps, but I really love finding great characters that I can either root for or dream of strangling. The Book Thief was one of the best books of I’ve read. I also loved Catch 22 and the Parasol Protectorate series.

What are you working on now?
I’m working on book 2 of The Irony of Vengeance and trying to decide which of the 5 novels I’ve started should be finished!

What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
I’ve just started the promotional phase so I’ll let you know when I have answer.

Do you have any advice for new authors?
Yes! WRITE WRITE WRITE. That’s obvious though, right? I gets annoying to hear that all the time but it’s really some of the best advice I’ve received. Sometimes its really hard to make the words on the page as awesome as the pictures in your head. The best thing to do is to keep writing. It may not sound great at first, but get everything out so that you complete your first draft. Completing that will definitely boost your confidence and motivate to press on through the writing road-blocks.

What is the best advice you have ever heard?
umm, see the above, haha!

What are you reading now?
I’m ATTEMPTING to read Life After Life but my baby has other plans!

What’s next for you as a writer?
Next for me is to continue to write. Continue to push myself to finish what I start and to get all these stories out of my head. I chose to self-publish and so far, it’s been a very tough yet rewarding experience. Maybe for my next book, I’ll try the traditional publishing model to see which works best.

What is your favorite book of all time?
Wow, great question. I really don’t think I have an answer for this yet. There are so many books that I’ve read and forgotten…which must mean they weren’t that great? Not true, :)

Hmm, how about I tell you my favorite book of the moment, yes? I’m going to go with The Book Thief.

Author Websites and Profiles
Valeri Beatrix Website

Valeri Beatrix’s Social Media Links
Goodreads Profile
Facebook Profile

Hooray!

After much hair-pulling, sighing, eye rolling and more hair-pulling, The Irony of Vengeance is finally available for Amazon Kindle!!! Not sure what was causing the foolishness in my computer…and I’m still not sure because I had to use a different one in order to upload the book, but hey, it’s up and available for purchase!

The next mountain to conquer is figuring out how to format the paperback cover with InDesign. When I made the choice to D.I.-MY (do it myself…clever, I know!), I hadn’t considered that things might get a little complicated. Actually, I had, but there’s a BIG difference between thinking of complications and experiencing them.

I’m also in the process of scheduling a Blog Tour, another something that’s much harder than it seems. So far, I’ve got two sites booked, but I’m working hard to fill the other dates. If you have any sites/suggestions for me, feel free to drop a comment!

May 27:  www.blasiannarrative.com

May 28

May 29

May 30

June 1:  www.cocktailsandbooks.com

June 2

June 3

June 4

June 5

June 6

June 7