My work-in-progress, Bittersweet Alliance, follows Hawaiian heroine, Jolene Kualoha. The book takes place on the Big Island where she grew up. Locals rarely swear even if, like Jolene, she’s spent time stateside. Instead of saying a word such as shit, a Hawaiian would say, Pelapela (filthy, nasty) or Pilau (putrid). The word, Fuck, does not exist in Hawaiian. The closest is Ahi (oh no, ouch). As authors we know readers tire of translations, and I gave Jolene English language slang such as: Fudge nuggets, Cheese ‘n rice, Good Night, Son of a Monkey, Mothersmucker, Bullspit, Cornnuts, Fishpaste, I don’t give a Donald Duck, Frack, Shifty, fungicidal. Bittersweet Alliance will be full length romantic suspense, and maybe she’ll say quite of few of these along the way.
Tuesday, August 15, 2017
Sunday, August 13, 2017
If you've written a book of fiction and want your readers to keep reading, one slip of point of view hurts a story, but several slips are fatal. How to Write Point of View is now on audible, read by Chelsea Carpenter.
Point of view, the position of the narrator in relation to the story, is at the heart of romance fiction. Aspire to write effective POV, and inspiration for your romance novel will follow.
You will succeed with my "camera on the head" technique! Put an imaginary video camera on top of your POV character’s head and write from his or her perspective. You, the author, will unfold the story by filtering events through "the eyes" of a character. A reader wants to connect with the character with the most to lose in a scene. The character's reactions are revealed. A character can observe an event and react to it. As the character's feelings are disclosed to the reader, the author provides an emotional identification. As a writer, you do not want to switch viewpoints midstream within a scene. Some authors keep a consistent viewpoint within an entire chapter. In any case, within a scene or even a chapter, the viewpoint character exposes his or her soul so that the reader is immersed in the emotional drama of the moment. The character reacts internally. This can include reacting to another character's joy, grief, anger, giving the reader a jolt. Keep the POV consistent by listening to your characters. Turn off all the other voices and listen only to them. If they tell you they want to do something insane, put that on the page. If they tell you they want to say something outrageous, put that on the page. Are you writing a romance? If they tell you they would rather kiss chastely than make love athletically on the floor, give them that chaste kiss. If they tell you a chaste kiss isn’t nearly enough, then you’d better get them down on that floor, and you can keep the video camera in place. What do they see? We'll go from there.
Monday, August 7, 2017
Are you writing a series? That’s great because after readers finish a good book, they look forward to more from you. I’d like to share my tips.
Each book in a series must be a stand-alone. There can be an open-ended question, and I deliver the answer in the next book. Some authors who write a series have a mystery arching over the entire series that is answered in the final book.
If your series involves one character or a couple, write a happily for now ending rather than a happily ever after. My method is to change up the hero and heroine by writing a series with male cousins. This ensures some consistency across the series because the heroes are ex-military, honorable and courageous. As a writer of a series you need to keep track of the family tree, physical attributes, and locations. Consider using an Excel spreadsheet to maintain details. In my case I need to know ages of the characters and stomping grounds of their childhoods.
Consider what is logical. You’ve created a certain community and premise and must keep actions plausible. The technology your characters use reflects the world they live in. Their dialect must be consistent. Are they middle class or are they millionaires?
Have fun with your book series.
Sunday, July 30, 2017
Don't we all love a boxed set? I know I do! All in for Love is written by Six Award Winning Authors.
ALL IN FOR LOVE
An Inn Decent Proposal By Sharon Buchbinder
Perfect Odds By Lashanta Charles
A Ghost To Die For By Keta Diablo
Raising Kane By Kat Henry Doran
For Money Or Love By Margo Hoornstra
Take A Chance On Me By M.J. Schiller
ALL IN FOR LOVE
Six award-winning authors bring you six *sweet to sensual* romances filled with suspense, thrills and maybe even a ghost or two—for less than the price of a cup of coffee—99 cents!
Welcome to La Bonne Chance Resort & Casino!
With thousands of people passing through the casino’s doors on a daily basis, it’s no surprise that a variety of lives and loves are on the line there. It’s said that you’re more likely to lose your heart at La Bonne Chance than a hand of poker. Whether you are the Director of Casino Operations or the guy who created its software, a jilted bride or a black jack dealer, a past guest’s ghost or a sous chef--when it comes to love, the stakes are high.
Thank goodness what happens at La Bonne Chance, doesn’t always stay at La Bonne Chance….
Ready to roll the dice?
An Inn Decent Proposal, Sharon Buchbinder
Can an hotelier with a past and a chef with a future revive the grand dame in a neglected old inn?
Perfect Odds, Lashanta Charles
When a jilted bride meets the man of her dreams, will she embrace the new plan, or cling stubbornly to the old one?
A Ghost To Die For, Keta Diablo
She didn't believe in ghosts...until one showed up in her room.
Raising Kane, Kat Henry Doran
Funny how a night in jail will change a woman's outlook on life.
For Money Or Love, Margo Hoornstra
She's the one woman he can't afford to lose.
Take A Chance On Me, M.J. Schiller
Who do you count on when the chips are down?
* * *
Excerpt from An Inn Decent Proposal by Sharon Buchbinder
Post auction, a stunned Jim Rawlings and excited Genie King go to a coffee house. Overwhelmed with self-doubts, Jim begins to question his sanity.
“Why did you want this place?”
“The old girl called to me, begged me to save her.” He gave Genie a wistful smile. “Do I sound crazy?”
“You call the Inn ‘she,’ too?”
“Yes, she’s like a grand old dame who’s fallen on hard times. Remember the parties? The famous people who stayed and played there? Celebrities came to the Inn because they knew their privacy and secrets were safe with us. If those walls could talk! Every day was new and exciting. I would love to bring back her glory days.”
Genie leaped up, ran around the table and hugged him. “I have the same dream. We can do it.”
He hesitated for a moment, then returned the gesture, his hands unable to resist lingering on her luscious curves just a tad too long. Genie’s inviting cleavage made him wish they were somewhere private. He could scarcely breathe and had to shake his head to dispel naughty images of nuzzling her soft breasts. “We can do what?”
She sat down again, but clung to his hands. “I’ve done the research. The Inn should be in the National Park Service Historic Registry—but it isn’t. If we can get her added to the Registry, there are laws and standards about how we make the rehabilitation. We can bring it up to modern codes, but have to use certain treatments—”
“I hate to burst your bubble, but where will we get the money to do all this?” He wasn’t sure he could afford too many more big gambles like this last one.
Her face flushed and her sapphire blue eyes sparkled. “If we can get her added to the Registry, we’ll qualify for special low interest loans. And for a major tax credit. And we have a million dollars in equity.”
“Pretty, smart—and you say you can cook? If you can do all that, you are a genie.”
She released his hands, pulled her shoulders back, and inadvertently gave him a better glimpse of her bosom. Genie gave him a scalding look. “Are you challenging my cooking, Mr. Rawlings?”
Uh-oh. He never dreamed of Genie having a little temper. He couldn’t resist tweaking her. “I’m sure you’re a solid cook.”
She stood, almost knocking her chair over. “Solid? What the hell does that mean? Average? Good enough to make the turkey for Thanksgiving dinner for the family—but not good enough to cook for guests? Tell you what, Mr. Critic, you come to my house for dinner tomorrow night.” She scribbled her address on a business card and threw it on the table. “My food makes men go weak at the knees.”
Hypnotized by the sway of her voluptuous ass as she stalked out of the nearly empty café, Jim bet it wasn’t just this saucy woman’s cooking that made strong men weak.
Buy Link https://www.amazon.com/dp/B071V94BWM
Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/allinforloveanthology/
Sharon Buchbinder has been writing fiction since middle school and has the rejection slips to prove it. An RN, she provided health care delivery, became a researcher, association executive, and obtained a PhD in Public Health. When not teaching or writing, she can be found fishing, walking her dogs, or breaking bread and laughing with family and friends in Baltimore, MD and Punta Gorda, FL.
Facebook: Sharon Buchbinder Romance Author https://www.facebook.com/sharon.buchbinder.romanceauthor
Twitter ID @sbuchbinder https://twitter.com/sbuchbinder
Goodreads author page https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4417344.Sharon_Buchbinder
Saturday, July 29, 2017
Today I'm sharing tips on how to write love scenes. Making love is an action scene, and a sequel follows a scene. Does intimacy complicate and add tension to your story?
What conflict opposes your heroine and hero? Does someone interpret incorrectly, fear risking rejection, or suffer embarrassment because of attraction? Tension brings on urgency and increases reader interest.
As a writer your own heart has to race. An honest scene means you have to be comfortable where they are. Inside or outside of the bedroom, a character’s vulnerability quickens the heartbeat. Imagine yourself in the place of your lovers, and write scenes that ignite your own passion. What about the backseat of a car, in a tent, in a public bathroom, or bare in the moonlight? Creating excitement is fun writing.
The individuality of your characters must shine during a love scene. Is she shy and tongue tied? Or is it him to keeps his feelings inside? That trait can bring on unspoken emotions. One might be open, but the other might see some hurt behind the surface. Allow them to figure each other out. Your hero and heroine drive the love scene in an appropriate-to-them way. earth.
Are the lovers competitors for a position or prize? Let them talk or not talk about “the bone between two dogs.” Perhaps she kids him by saying she’ll win, and he says she’s way too confident. Deep down he might think she deserves to win. Conflict raises tension and adds excitement but also in the love scene. Conflict keeps them apart when they are attracted and value each other more. They block the way to each other’s success. Do they learn one of them might be without a job or go to prison?
Deep point of view is using contrast between spoken dialog and spoken words. What she says is not the truth. If she says, “Don’t touch me,” she’s thinking don’t stop. Add actions to reveal genuine feelings. He stares and doesn’t look away even when something else is going on around them. Will they or won’t they stay together?
Euphoria increases a lover's five senses. Everything is enhanced when falling in love. Colors are brighter. A song has more clarity. Smells and tastes make them unforgettable. He’s intoxicated by her scent, and his manly scent gives her an electric charge. Add sensory details such as his breath ruffling her hair. Is there sunlight, rain or a breeze? Does the lover hear the rhythm of a stream? A setting might underscore the moods. Does he stare through a rain-drenched window when she races out to her car?
Do high-low status issues surround them? Keep differences obvious with love scenes, action, and verbal innuendos. What makes them nervous or protective? Do they become more relaxed as they come to understand each other? They begin talking with more tenderness which leads to feelings of commitment.
A lovely setting draws the reader. Brevity wins. Remember, a love scene is not an article on decorating or a manual on body parts. If you write sweet romance, her hand can inch down his chest, and she gasps with anticipation. You might use words such as deeper and lower without mentioning specific body parts. For steamy or erotic, authors mention physical attributes such as her swollen nub and his erection. In all heat levels focus on sexy curves and his rougher masculinity. Maintain thoughts preserving your characters. Add close calls and risks. Readers enjoy surprises. A final love scene with affection and resolution ends your romantic story.
Monday, July 24, 2017
Sitting for long periods of time has been linked to a number of health concerns, including obesity, heart disease and even cancer. How long do you sit at the computer?
The Mayo Clinic advises us to read this: According to one study, people who spend more than four hours a day in front of a screen have a higher risk of early death in general and a higher risk of events related to heart disease, such as chest pain or heart attack.
But sitting in front of the TV isn't the only concern. Any extended sitting — such as behind a desk at work or behind the wheel — can be harmful. What's more, even fitting in some moderate or vigorous activity doesn't seem to significantly offset the risk of sitting most of the time.
The solution? Sit less and move more overall. You might start by simply standing rather than sitting whenever you have the chance.
- Stand while talking on the phone or eating lunch.
- If you work at a desk for long periods of time, try a standing desk — or improvise with a high table or counter.
Better yet, think about ways to walk while you work:
- Walk laps with your colleagues rather than gathering in a conference room for meetings.
- Position your work surface above a treadmill — with a computer screen and keyboard on a stand or a specialized treadmill-ready vertical desk — so that you can be in motion throughout the day.
The impact of movement — even leisurely movement — can be profound. For starters, you'll burn more calories. This can lead to weight loss and increased energy.
Plus, the muscle activity needed for standing and other movement seems to trigger important reactions related to the breakdown of fats and sugars within the body. When you sit, these responses stall — and your health risks increase. When you're standing or actively moving, you kick the processes back into action.
Wednesday, July 19, 2017
Knowing he showed up was perfect. As perfect as biting into an apple while looking across a field into the horizon. Tori hadn’t done that in ten years. (Never before published-- Unholy Alliance prequel.
“Hello. Do you remember me?” Attorney Grady Donahue Fletcher rehearsed what he’d soon say to his client, Victoria Morningstar. He had initiated her appeal, and now drove to consult with her. “I’m Finn’s cousin, a lawyer with the Prisoners Defense Committee. You will not be placed in solitary anytime soon.” No. Not sure what this means
When was a July morning this hot? Sweat blossomed on his throbbing forehead, wrapped like a python. He adjusted the dial for the AC and embraced the challenge. Embrace and conquer. Or at least sound like it.
Grady didn’t necessarily believe in heaven, but suppose such a place existed and he was eligible for entry when his time came? He expected it’d look like a courtroom where he won the next appeal.
Victoria Morningstar, a sentenced felon, awaited transfer to solitary confinement at a private prison, a worse place than where she was now, the Gladstone. The mobster’s daughter, Tori Rourke, took Morningstar as her surname. She’d run from the Irish mob but couldn’t hide. With no patience for those who leave its ranks, the mob had framed her.
His most recent client, Tyrone Marquis, black and poor, worked at a poultry plant where he’d plucked, hacked, and processed thousands of chickens. Marquis had written a bad check and had committed a petty theft. The court sentenced him to die in prisonHow can the court do that? The sentence is clearly excessive for the crime which makes it hard to believe. When Grady believed in the falsely accused, he fought hard from a deep pit. He won this man’s appeal.
Poor and black did not describe Tori, born into an Irish crime family but in essence was marginalized and excluded.
His cousin, Finbar Donahue, managed the trust accounts for the Rourke offspring. In spite of Finn’s hostile relationship with the mob, he’d followed Tori’s murder trial.
Finn had guilted Grady into appealing her case. “She’s a fringe relative. Okay. Not by blood, but come on.” Finn’s words landed like punches, sapped his resistance. His shoulders ached from the task.
The closer he got to the maximum-security complex, the more his heart pounded with blood pressure exploding like a grenade. Thump thump. He scrambled for his game face.
He turned off Highway 5 and onto the stark, industrial City Drive of Orange, California. Sunlight reflected off a homeless man’s shopping cart and the broken glass in the gutter. A jaywalker lunged across the street. Grady swung the steering wheel to miss him, tires squealing over the concrete. Ahead at the red stoplight, three kids, about the age of his son, crossed the street on their way to school. They jabbered in Spanish and giggled in an universal language. A sharp-edged thought boiled up.
Grady’s rancorous custody battle continued post-divorce. The determined dad had relocated to be closer to seven-year-old Parker. How long would his job-hopping ex-wife stay here? He stuffed a wishful dream to coach soccer into the caverns of his mind.
Ahead, a sign marked the penitentiary run by the most hard-hearted Godzillas of the human race. A shrill hiss grew to an ear-piercing whistle. At its command, prisoners rose at sunrise and appeared at their cell doors. Doors opened, and they stood on the threshold. “Right face.” All wheeled to the right. “March!” Without energy, the inmates zombied along for two hours of labor before breakfast. They made license plates, jeans, jackets, T-shirts, and hats. They worked in the laundry room, kitchen, or in the sewing room where they cut, basted, and stitched.
Color televisions, said to be available for viewing by those who earned the privilege, amounted to one set per eighty offenders. In the dayroom, they watched a nine-inch screen while seated on metal benches bolted to the floor. Correctional officers held remote controls and flipped through basic networks, sports, and educational channels. From there prisoners marched to dinner, out in the yard, and then back to cramped stone cells.
On the bright side, according to his cousin Finn, Tori took college classes. She’d spent her college years in prison.
Ahead, the Gladstone Penitentiary brooded on its hill. Beige stucco rectangles, complete with a tower, were perched on the banks of the dry Santa Ana River bed. Gladstone’s ten acres housed three and a half thousand inmates. He passed a complex for foster children. A knot formed in his stomach over its unfortunate location and similar architecture.
Grady’s experience with appeals was going on two years, and the details of each stood sharp in his mind. Nothing blurred into another. He checked his wristwatch. Nine o’clock, opening time.
He pulled up to the guard tower and spun down his window to a blast of blistering heat. “Good morning, sir.” He handed his ID to a guard, and squinted through the bleak dust.
The guard leaned out, sleeves rolled up to relieve the swelter.
“Hot enough for you?”
“Nice in here.” The guard tipped his head as a signal to proceed into the lot.
Oblivious to surveillance cameras, cooing pigeons scratched around the lawyers’ entrance. From there Grady strode down a tunneled corridor toward the legal visitation area. Each step echoed on the tiled floor all the way to an officer in a tan uniform.
The unfamiliar man inspected him, eyeballing him up and down.
Grady wore the only suit he owned, and it’d seen better days.
The officer stared hard at his driver’s license and looked up. “You’re not local.”
“I’m local now. The DMV notes an address change but doesn’t issue a new driver’s license.”
“Still adding that to my paperwork.” The officer’s voice trailed.
Grady’s cellphone pinged. Unease washed up the back of his throat, and he pulled it from his pocket. Maeve, his private investigator, had sent him a text.
“I’m onto something.” His mid-sixties, widowed assistant let him know when she stepped out, and the answering machine at his nonprofit picked up calls. The phone rang every couple of hours at his office in the waterfront neighborhood of Long Beach. There, he provided free legal services to condemned men and women and busted his butt getting grants and federal funding. He dropped his cell and wristwatch into a wire basket.
The officer cleared his throat and dialed the warden to confirm his scheduled visit. He stood to admit Grady, brusquely directing him to a small room. “Don’t get lost. We don’t come looking for you in the hard center.” The man referred to the ancient part of the jail. Visitors never entered the hidden passageways.
Grady entered the visitation room, an empty cage. Wire mesh ran from a small ledge to the twelve-foot ceiling. Family members and inmates sat on opposite sides of the mesh wall and spoke to one another through the wires. For his legal contact visit, he and Tori would be on the same side of the room to permit more privacy.
In the secured space, he eased onto a stool, bolted to the floor, and waited with an anxious lump growing in his chest. He had an hour and hoped to fill fifteen minutes. A clanging of chains came from the other side of the door.
Tori shuffled in, glanced at him, and screwed her face into a worried wince. She averted her gaze when he looked at her and didn’t move far from the room’s entrance.
Damage ebbs its way in. Years pass without pleasant times. A decade ago, he’d met her at Finn and Amy’s wedding. Imagery flooded in. Her playful shoulders, her blue sleeveless sheath, her gaze that could melt teeth, her playful shoulders.
Now, in her thirties, she groomed her dark brown hair as best as she could, slicked into a ponytail. She hovered at five-foot-four, medium build, and pretty in spite of the orange prison garb. Without it, she’d be someone he’d talk to, as he had at the Lake Arrowhead wedding.
The guard unchained her, removed her handcuffs and the shackles around her ankles, and then locked angry eyes with him. “You’ve got one hour.” The officer grinned before turning to leave. He seemed to sense that Grady and the prisoner were nervous and took pleasure in their discomfort. The metal door banged behind him and reverberated in the small space.
Tori didn’t come any closer. He didn’t know what else to do, so he ambled over and offered her his hand. “Hello, Tori.”
“Mr. Fletcher.” She slipped her hand into his and gave it a firm shake.
“Call me Grady.” He released her hand. “We met at my cousin Finn’s wedding.”
“Oh, yes. It was grand.” Ireland whiffed into her second-generation voice, like smoke from a distant campfire.
“You go by Victoria Morningstar.”
“I prefer that name now.” She tipped her chin up to face him. “At the wedding, I wore a wig.”
“You were in hiding—”
“—from the terrorist gang.”
“Takbir did not railroad you.”
“No, but they slit...” Her voice trailed off. She stiffened her back, clenched her fists at her sides. Anyone growing up in a gang family knew how to kill. Irish Waterfront Roaches terrorized Long Beach. She ran a hand over her delicate chin, her golden-brown eyes narrowing with worry.
He cleared his throat, feeling the weight of her predicament. “I’m very sorry.” Despite rehearsed remarks, he couldn’t stop himself from apologizing. “I’m pretty new at this kind of thing. I can’t tell you much. Don’t know much.” He gestured toward a stool. After she eased into it, he sat opposite.
Once again, she looked away, released a sigh, but looked back at him. “You’re here. Working my appeal.”
“I am. You’re not at risk of going to solitary confinement soon. I’m appealing your conviction and sentence. We can work on finding you an experienced criminal lawyer if you want. For the next few months, I’m happy to help. There are things I can do.”
She grabbed his hands. “I won’t go to the other prison for a while?”
“Correct. Not while I’m appealing.”
She squeezed his hands tighter and tighter. “Thank you, Grady. I mean, really, I appreciate it. This is great news.” Her shoulders relaxed, and she gazed at him with intense relief in her amber eyes. “Finn phones, but you’re my first visitor in over a year. I’m so glad to get this news.” She exhaled a long breath.
“I’m sorry about your brother.” The murders took place in Ireland after Finn and Amy’s California wedding.
Warm discomfort in his chest spread like a bad rash. He’d seen the photos from the Garda forensic team. The throats of her brother, two cousins, Finn’s biological mother, and her second husband were slit. Tori’s parents were in central Ireland during the coastal massacre. By sheer coincidence, they were not at the house.
She squeezed her eyes shut.
“Grief is fresh in your mind. After all this time.” He followed up with a comment.
She nodded. “No matter what they’ve done,” she said, “they’re family.”
“Where are your parents?”
“My guess? In Ireland.”
“That makes sense. People under the radar don’t cross borders.” Unease skittered along his spine over the danger she’d face if she were released. If the Irish mob found her again, they’d kill her.
She leaned forward. “Thank you for helping me.”
Astonished at her gratefulness, he began the difficult process of questioning her. “You testified to making a 911 call. Police at the scene said you lied.”
“That’s wrong, wrong, wrong. I dove under the table and made the call.” She pushed the words through her teeth. “Then I put my cell on airplane mode, stuffed it above a slat.”
“You were under it at the restaurant, Rhubarb and Ginger?”
She nodded. “In view of the goriest, most horrific beating imaginable.”
“I saw photos.”
Her eyes flew wide. “Vivienne darted to the ladies room. The hallway connects to the kitchen—”
“—and the back door leads to an alley,” he said. “Describe the table. Explain how you lodged your cell.”
“Legs of the wooden table were attached to the frame with a triangular piece.” Words gushed out of her. “I slipped it above.”
“Okay.” He pictured the location, the third table from the entrance, against the windows. This would be Maeve’s first stop tomorrow. He disentangled himself from the urgency and saw tellingher face, her expression of longing, a longing he took to heart except that Vivienne made a clean getaway. “You and Vivienne are roughly the same age.” For the short time he’d spent with them at the wedding, they seemed like opposites. “How would you describe her?”
“Vivienne has a flair for melodrama. Wasted on her usual audience.” She smiled for a brief second.
Flashes of light behind his eyes signaled a migraine coming on. A glimmer of hope did that to him. Could her cellphone still be there? He ditched that topic. “As you were saying, Vivienne entertained people. What about your families and friends?”
“Our families didn’t have friends.”
“I see.” He turned the conversation to the person they both knew, Finbar. “Much has changed. Finn went from a jaded executive to a doting husband and father.”