Tag Archives: writing craft

Has a fictional character ever inspired you in some way? by Jacqui Morrison

THE-VIGILANTE-COVERJacqui Morrison is a crime thriller author. Her suspense thrillers include Kaitlyn Wolfe: Crown Attorney and The Vigilante. You can purchase both books at Lachesis Publishing. But that’s not where it begins and ends with Jacqui. You see, Jacqui works with victims and witnesses of crimes. Her passion for working in the law started at at a young age, when she was inspired by a character in a popular TV show . . . 

Barbara Hale as Della Street from the Perry Mason TV show

Barbara Hale as Della Street from the Perry Mason TV show

Della Street (Barbara Hale) was my favourite character from the television show Perry Mason (which ran from 1957 to 1966). From a young age, I knew I wanted to do something with the law, little did I know that my love of law and justice would turn into a passion for writing courtroom dramas.

At the young age of ten, I’d voraciously watch episodes of Perry Mason, an American TV show about a fictional lawyer. I’d sit down in front of our black and white television and devour every minute of the legal show.

152417593I loved the character Della Street and I erroneously thought she was also a lawyer. Her classy style of speaking, combined with perfect outfits, made for a healthy obsession. I think I was her number one fan.

Perry Mason TV show

Perry Mason TV show

I was so obsessed with what I learned on Perry Mason that I would talk non-stop with my dad about the show. He humoured me as only a father can. I was so enthralled with the show that when I heard that a small provincial courthouse was within walking distance of my house, I wanted to sneak in and watch a real live trial!

kaitlyn-wolfe-crown-attorneyIn Ontario, Canada, where I lived in the 1970s, they brought courts to small towns because not a lot of people had cars. That’s why there was a courthouse that doubled as an arts and craft venue on other days. I never got up the nerve to enter the court, but I know I dreamt about it. My early fascination with courts and Perry Mason eventually led me to become an an author of crime and courtroom thrillers. It’s a fascination that will always inspire me, both in my work and in my writing.

You can get The Vigilante. on amazon, barnes and noble, koboYou can also purchase Kaitlyn Wolfe: Crown Attorney on amazon

Connect with author Jacqui Morrison online on her web site and on facebook and twitter.

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Filed under COURTROOM DRAMA, craft of writing, CRIME, CRIME THRILLER, DETECTIVE, Lachesis Publishing, MYSTERY, POLICE PROCEDURAL, PSYCHOLOGICAL SUSPENSE, PSYCHOLOGICAL THRILLER, SUSPENSE, SUSPENSE THRILLER

Four Books You Need To Read To Be A Good Writer by Patricia Grasso

Historical Romance author Patricia Grasso has a BA and MA in English and taught high school for thirty years. So when it comes to writing, she knows her stuff. School’s in session. Listen up students!

Remember your junior high school English class? The subject of the sentence is the most important word because it is what or whom you are talking about. The verb is secondary in importance because it says something about the subject. The same rule applies to storytelling. Characterization is the most important element. Plot is the engine that sends your characters on their journey through the story.

51qOCqd5CDL._SX330_BO1,204,203,200_9780805011715_l51ncseVgYzL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_Lesson #1: Characterization

You should start from the general and go to the specific. THE COMPLETE WRITER’S GUIDE TO HEROES AND HEROINES (Cowden, LaFever, Viders) gives an overview of sixteen archetypes. Once you have a general idea of the type of character you want, the next step is getting specific. Two excellent books are CREATING UNFORGETTABLE CHARACTERS (Linda Seger) and GOAL, MOTIVATION, CONFLICT (Debra Dixon). Seger’s book deals with defining your character, consistencies and paradoxes, creating back story, understanding character psychology, creating character relationships, writing dialogue. Dixon’s book deals with your character’s goal, motivation (the reasons why he/she must reach that goal), and conflict (both internal and external). Obstacles preventing your character reaching his/her goal creates conflict.

51gul6ggGHL._SX312_BO1,204,203,200_Lesson #2: Plot

Plot is the skeleton of the story. Dixon’s book can be used here because characters drive plot. The most helpful book I’ve found on structuring a book is THE SCREENWRITER’S WORKBOOK (Syd Field). Field discusses the story set up, plot points, pinches, climax, and resolution. He uses examples from famous movies.

Lesson #3: Free Advice

  1. Make yourself a master of the technical—grammar, spelling, punctuation. Editors love clean manuscripts, less work for them. Do NOT rely on grammar or spell check. The best computer is your brain. Do not rely on copyeditors. Chances are you know as much or more than they do. YOUR name is on the book, not theirs.
  2. Getting published requires talent, luck, and persistence. You know the old saying: Winners never quit and quitters never win.
  3. Never stop learning your craft.
  4. imagesYou will feel professional jealousy at one time or another. That’s a normal human emotion. Feel it. Let it go. Forget about it. Finish writing your damn book.
  5. Don’t pay too much attention to reviews. You’re never as good as your best review or as bad as your worst review.
  6. Expect setbacks and rejections. Develop a thick skin (easier said than done) because everyone is a critic.
  7. NEVER, NEVER, NEVER google your own name!!!

BEAUTY AND THE EARLPatricia Grasso is the author of eighteen historical romances including the Douglas Series which follows the love stories of the amazing Douglas sisters (Angelica, Samantha and Victoria) in Regency London and the Lords of Stratford Series, Regency historical romances with a fairy-tale twist about the aristocratic families in Stratford-on-Avon. 

OUR DEAL OF THE WEEK is Beauty and the Earl by Patricia Grasso. (Regency Romance)

GET IT FOR .99 CENTS RIGHT HERE AT LACHESIS PUBLISHING. THIS WEEK ONLY.

CLICK HERE TO BUY.

You can also buy it on amazon, kobo, and Barnes and Noble.

Enchanting the Duke by Patricia GrassoPatricia Grasso‘s latest release is Enchanting the Duke. You can purchase it at Lachesis Publishing or on amazon, BN nook, or kobo.

Connect with Patricia Grasso online on her web site and on facebook

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What Makes A Great Hero? by Joanna D’Angelo

A favourite hero of many a reader - Mr. Darcy!

A favourite hero of many a reader – Mr. Darcy!

Recently, YA paranormal author Kim Baccellia listed her Top 5 Hottest Heroes. It got me thinking. Yes, physical attractiveness is something that we love in a hero. We tend to associate positive qualities with good looks. However villains can also be handsome and attractive. That can make them even more dastardly! But there are certain qualities that every good hero should have. They don’t have to have all of these qualities, but it always helps. Otherwise he wouldn’t be much of a hero would he? Here are some of my favourite qualities:

1. Courage: A good hero in a romance and any other genre should have courage. Not necessarily the “won’t back down in a fight kind of courage” – but the courage of his convictions to stand for what he believes.

2. Strength: I love a hero who is strong. Again, he doesn’t have to be physically strong – but certainly strong in his character and how he sees the world.

3. Humour: Not a must but definitely a quality I go for in a hero. I love a hero with a sense of humour – be it sarcastic, wicked, sweet, or silly. If he can laugh at himself or if he finds humour in the world around him then that’s a fella for me.

4. Love: In a romance I definitely want the hero to fall in love with the heroine. More importantly, I want him to demonstrate that love. In other genres – I like to see a capacity to love – kindness, heart, soul, integrity.

5. Vulnerability: You could debate this one, but I love it when I see a hero’s vulnerable side, especially when he shares it with the heroine. Sensitivity is an attractive quality after all.

6. Transformation: I think every hero should grow throughout the story. There should be some element of change or growth  – even transformation. Sometimes the best books feature a hero who was a villain in a previous book. Love. That. Everyone loves a good redemption story.

So what are some “heroic” qualities that you look for in a good hero?

Joanna D’Angelo is Editor in Chief at Lachesis Publishing. She loves chai tea and writing in coffee shops.

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Filed under Great Heroes, Lachesis Publishing, romance books, ROMANCE FICTION

The Very First Book I Ever Wrote by Alison Bruce (romantic suspense author)

Alison Bruce has an honours degree in history and philosophy, which has nothing to do with any regular job she’s held since. A liberal arts education did prepare her to be a writer, however. She penned her first novel during lectures while pretending to take notes.

In the interest of veracity, I didn’t pen that novel in either history or philosophy. In fact, it was before attending university and the program wasn’t liberal arts. Ryerson is a university now, but when I attended it was still a Polytechnical Institute. I was taking Home Economics because I didn’t make it into the journalism program.

51WZTkQj29L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_The course was Nutrition. It was BOR-RING, not because I had no interest in food and food science, but because I already knew quite a bit of the material. Not all of it. In fact, I think the only reason I got a passing grade was because I had perfect attendance. My attendance was perfect because the class was a great opportunity to write.

I was in my science fiction phase. I had read everything by Robert Heinlein, Asimov’s Foundation series, Douglas Adam’s Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Frank Herbert’s Dune plus a selection of other classic SF books and even more humorous SF. I was also a Star Trek fan and had written some fanfic for the amusement of my friend and family.

The friend was my BF Nancy. The family was my sister Joanne. I did not have a wide audience at this stage of my career.

Inspiration came, as it still does sometimes, in dreams. All the day dreams and what if scenarios that bombarded my brain during the waking hours would scramble and sort themselves out into mini-movies in my dreams. Sometimes I was watching the scenes. Sometimes I was part of them. Sometimes I just knew stuff that had happened to fill in the gaps. Taken together, they made up plotlines with more holes than Swiss cheese. But they gave me a start.

I had plotted out this dream-inspired story start to finish, with notes for a potential sequel. I had about fifty pages written, in longhand, stored, with my plot and character information, in a clipboard folder. The day’s class notes were in there too, but I cleared them out every day to leave room for my novel. One day, between Nutrition and Chemistry (a class I didn’t dare write in) I left the whole kit-and-caboodle in the second floor washroom of the Quad.

I went back right after Chemistry but the clipboard was gone.

That was the end of that novel.

I don’t remember the details of the story. The loss was so traumatic. It had to do with a youth program that covered for the gathering of a team of special kids that would go into space. That much I remember because, a year later, I heard about the Canadian youth program Katimavik. It gathered young adults from ages 17 to 21 and sent them to different parts of Canada to engage in community projects. The spiel was almost exactly what I’d made up for the program in my novel.

Naturally I had to apply. Who knows, I might have been selected for a special program like my main character.

I wasn’t. However, I did start my second novel in Katimavik. It gave me something else to think about while doing a particularly disgusting job. I still haven’t finished that book–though it has been plotted out a dozen times or more–but that’s another story.

A Bodyguard to Remember by Alison BruceAlison Bruce is the author of  A Bodyguard to Remember, a romantic suspense with a light touch. This is Book 1 in the Men in Uniform Series for Lachesis Publishing.

You can get your copy of  A Bodyguard to Remember at Lachesis Publishing as well as amazon, Barnes and Noble, kobo, and iBooks.

You can connect with Alison on her website and on facebook and twitter.

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Filed under books and reading, Lachesis Publishing, romance books, ROMANCE FICTION, ROMANCE NOVEL, ROMANTIC SUSPENSE

The right place to write by Joanna D’Angelo

Courtesy thestar.com

Courtesy thestar.com

We all have our favourite places to work, mine is at my desk during the day. Sometimes I will have music playing but usually I like nature sounds. I have a great app on my iphone that has various relaxing sounds and I will often listen to bird sounds while working. In the spring and summer I can open a window but in the winter I have my app. If I’m working at night I will usually work in bed just to be cozy and warm.

But sometimes, I love heading to one of my local coffee shops and just parking myself in a corner with a big cup of tea. Sometimes I’ll be quietly typing and discretely “listening in” on conversations, other times I’ll just gaze out the window or people watch. Hey, we’re writers – always looking for a story right? It turns out I’m not the only one who thinks coffee shops are great for writing. A study in 2012 found that writing in a coffee shop really does help with your creativity. Evidently it has to do something with the noise factor. If there is moderate ambient noise of about 70 decibels, it is conducive to creativity. Ha! Imagine that. Here’s the article from the Toronto Star about writing in coffee shops.

I guess where we choose to write depends on our moods and if we want to be around people. As writers we tend to work alone a lot and while sometimes that’s a wonderful thing, other times it can get – well – lonely. So being in a public place is a nice change. But no matter where we end up – the point is to be in an environment that helps our imagination flow and helps us get the work done.

Where do you like to write?

Joanna D’Angelo is Editor in Chief at Lachesis Publishing. She loves chai tea and writing in coffee shops.

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What Inspires Your Writing? by Richard Blackburn (YA paranormal time travel author)

Today’s author guest blog is byDAWN OF THE SENTINEL COVER Lachesis Publishing author Richard Blackburn. Richard has written a three-book YA time travel/adventure series for Lachesis Publishing, called Guardians of the Gate, featuring a university student who travels back to Medieval England only to discover she has some amazing powers she never knew she had. Book 1 is Dawn of the Sentinel. Book 2, Return of the Sentinel, will be out soon.

What induced me to be a writer? I mentioned in my last submission to this blog, that my father was a great story teller. I remember one time I was sitting by the fire with my older brother and sister, listening to a scary story about a Bugane, the big, nasty creature that lives in the caves to the south of the Isle of Man. Nobody has seen one of these beasts and lived to tell the tale, but in winter storms you can hear it moaning as the wind whistles through the caves in the south of the Island. When it was time to go to bed, I was the youngest, so I had to go first. In those days, there were none of the modern light switches that let you switch it on downstairs and off upstairs. It was either on or off, and our family couldn’t afford to leave lights on. So I was the shivering little figure climbing the stairs on my own in the dark. And that’s when I heard the Bugane. It was on the landing above where my room was, shuffling along and muttering as it went. I was a scaredy-cat kid and I knew I was done for, but then I came over all cold. I clenched my fists and thought, uncharacteristically, ‘If I’m gone, I’ll do my best to take you with me.’ So I crept up the rest of the stairs and when the shuffling footsteps were just around the corner to me, I jumped out. ‘Yaaaa’ I shouted but immediately realized it was my grandmother. She was on her way to the bathroom, carrying a full bed pan. Well, I got into trouble for the wee on the wall and the wee on the ceiling, but she didn’t get into trouble for sounding like a Bugane and frightening me. That’s when I decided that if ever wrote stories, it wouldn’t always be the grown-ups who’d win! And it gave me an early insight into the power of story telling.

A few words about my writing: I’d been making up stories for my own children for years and later for my granddaughter. I didn’t consciously decide to become a writer. It was when I was making up yet another yarn that it came to me. I realized that this was the story I’d like to make into a book. The last fiction I had written was in school, forty years ago. I’d worked for the government for a long time and I wondered if this had crushed any writing skills I might have had before. So I took a short course in creative writing and was encouraged by my success. I’d been told never to have family members as beta readers but my daughters are very objective and my wife has never been reluctant to criticize me, so I asked them to read the first couple of chapters. I felt very vulnerable. This was from my heart and I felt if they hooted with laughter, I’d never lay finger on keyboard creatively again. But they were happy to be brutally honest and after I’d explained the meaning of ‘constructive’ criticism, we did well as a team. So, now I had a number of decisions to make. I’d invented the original story for children, but I lifted the age group slightly. The subject matter, then, had to be acceptable to teenagers. I personally don’t like swearing, so I was happy to keep that out of the book. I also know nothing at all about romance, so that was out as well. By this time I realized that these decisions had made the book more acceptable for school libraries. In Australia we have reading competitions in most states, and any book included in the reading list had a distinct advantage for sales. So I included this as part of my decision base for when I was mulling over the direction of the plot. Another decision concerned historical accuracy. My books are set in the first half of the fourteenth century, and things were a lot different then. I could either gloss over facts and concentrate on general description of the action, or put a lot of research into letting my readers see how things actually were. I’d even seen TV programs supposedly about these times, including phrases like, ‘I suppose it’s just not your cup of tea’ and the way Hollywood portrayed Henry VIII was hugely inaccurate. And I’d been around so many castles, I knew that forks were not used in England at that time, that potatoes, tomatoes and green beans hadn’t arrived from South America or pumpkin and turkeys from North America. I found out that the word ‘thug’ couldn’t be used because the Thuggi religion was only discovered in India in the late 1700s and that the Irish sheriff, Mr. Lynch, didn’t hang his own son without a trial until much later than the period I was interested in, thus making the word ‘lynched’ unusable. And, yes, it did take a lot longer to write the story, but I enjoyed the research. So those are a few of the factors I found I had to decide on my way to writing my first book.

And the rewards in writing: Before my first book was published, I was worried. What if people didn’t like it? I’d written a blurb that said how good the story was, but was that false pretenses? If people paid good money for my book and didn’t like it, I’d be devastated. I should have had more faith in my publisher, of course. It wouldn’t have gotten this far if it had been that bad. But I’m a worrier and didn’t think of that. Once my first book had been published, I started using my weekends to do book-signings. I had a vast poster made of the cover picture and on my table I set out my chainmail vest and helmet (my wife won’t trust me with a sword!) and copies of the book. I had a short blurb rehearsed for general enquiries (‘what’s the book about’) and a longer version for people who displayed more specific interest. I didn’t sit down but stood and smiled and said ‘hello’ to thousands of people. And it worked. And because I’d written the book the way I did, with no swearing, romance or sexual content, I’d had it (and eventually all three books) included in the New South Wales Premier’s Reading Challenge for high schools. This was a huge advantage in Australia. It was after the second book was published that I had people coming back for more. I was interviewed on TV and featured in newspapers quite a few times. I visited high schools and gave talks on writing, and this was incredibly rewarding. I was getting back far more than I’d put into it, not money wise (no way!) but in finding that I’d given people such enjoyment.

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Filed under Lachesis Publishing, PARANORMAL, TIME TRAVEL, writing, writing craft, writing your book, YA, YA PARANORMAL, YA Time Travel, YOUNG ADULT FICTION

How to Write Hot Sex Scenes by Alexis D. Craig (romantic suspense and erotica author)

Give Me Shelter COVEROur guest blog today is from Lachesis author Alexis D. Craig. Alexis writes and sultry and spicy romantic suspense (Give Me Shelter and Imminent Danger) featuring the brave men and women in law enforcement.  She also writes super hot erotica featuring sexy cops (Undercover Seduction). Today, Alexis shares her tips on writing a hot sex scene! Take it away Alexis . . . 

Okay, so you’re writing a romance novel and you have characters whose chemistry has come to a boil. They want to take the next logical step, and you want them to, too, but you’re not sure about writing the scene. Here’s where I come in to help.

Let’s start with a few simple dos and don’ts.

Don’t get uptight about it. You want it to flow naturally and the pace with which it does is dictated by your characters and the context of the scene.

Don’t rush it. You don’t have a set series of points you have to reach in a specific amount of time. The journey is just as important as the destination.

Don’t be afraid to get dirty with it. Sex is messy, the language can be quite vulgar and if your characters are feeling it, go for it. You obviously don’t have to use words that make you, the author, uncomfortable, but the very nature of the scene gives you more leeway in terms of propriety.

Don’t, under any circumstances, get too florid with the euphemisms. I’m not saying that everything has to be perfectly scientifically proper (e.g. ‘penis’, ‘vagina’, clitoris, etc…) BUT if you get too wild while beating around the bush (ahem) you’ll take the reader out of the head space you’re attempting to create and may, or may not incite laughter/cringing.

Do write in a space that makes you comfortable. I have found that writing sex scenes in Burger King tends to make me feel a bit self-conscious. It just doesn’t lend itself to the mood I need to create in the same way that my living room does.

Do use music to help feed your muse. I always talk about music in my posts, I know, but I find that the correct series of songs does carry a scene quite well from my head to the page. I’m not saying we have to bust out the Prince/Marvin Gaye/Usher, but if that’s where your characters are mentally, go with the flow.

Do get up and take short breaks when the scene just isn’t coming (ahem). Get up, walk around, walk away from it on the page and in your head. Take a minute, get a snack, come back to it and keep going. If you force it, the reader can tell the moment the scene switches from a hot sex scene to an ‘insert tab A into slot B’ instruction manual. Unless you’re writing that type of thing, I’m pretty sure that’s not what you’re going for in this case.

Do, for the love of all that is holy (including, but not limited to, little fishes, cats, Nilla wafers, and graham crackers), make sure that the things you write are, in fact, anatomically possible. Nothing ruins a good sex scene like written visuals that make no sense physically. I have, on occasion, solicited assistance to make sure that what I’m writing and what I’m seeing in my head actually work. Alas, there have been occasions where the writing and the limitations of the physical body bore no relation to one another. I put that book down and wanted nothing more to do with it.*

*Caveat to the previous, if you’re writing about non-human entities, the dead, the undead, or formerly alive but not a zombie, shifters, whatnot, those rules are a bit looser. Given the amount of disbelief already suspended by the reader, you could probably push it a bit more, but still, keep in mind that you never want a reader to be thinking, “WTF?” while reading about your characters effing.

Finally, some important points overall:

This is about your characters and their physical expression of their feelings for each other. Keep in mind that just because it’s hot doesn’t mean they have to act differently than they would under other circumstances.

If you’re writing about kink, it would behoove you to read about the kink in which you’re interested. Lack of research becomes painfully obvious, and quickly, if you don’t take the time to do it. Understanding of the subject matter, context, and how the reality differs from the outside world’s perceptions of it will all lend an authenticity to the scene that will elevate the hotness to blistering heights.*

*Caveat, or rather, an illustrative anecdote. During a conversation recently with a friend of mine, she expressed her beef with the 50 Shades series. Paraphrasing, “It’s not realistic. Especially the after care. After care is so important when scenes are over, due to their level of intensity and potential (mental/emotional) trauma to the sub. You cuddle them, clean them up, help them come back to themselves and feel safe and secure again. You don’t just have an intense scene and then walk out like you don’t give a fuck. That’s just asshattery, that’s not BDSM.”

As a follow up to the previous, the aftermath of a sex scene is vital for really illustrating your characters. They’re emotionally vulnerable, physically spent, and disinclined to maintain their facades they show the world. To that end, the partner, and the reader, can really see the character for who they are. Capitalize on that.

Obviously, if you’re writing and you just cannot get over the mental hump (ahem), you can always cut to action off screen (so to speak), and then move on to the next scene.

Finally, the thing I’ve found to be most important when writing the scenes: if it makes you hot while writing it, it’ll make the reader hot reading it.

Connect with Alexis D. Craig on her web site/blog and on facebook, twitter and goodreads.

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Filed under CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE, EROTIC ROMANCE, EROTIC ROMANTIC THRILLER, EROTICA, Lachesis Publishing, ROMANCE AUTHOR, romance authors, romance books, ROMANCE FICTION, ROMANCE NOVEL, ROMANTIC SUSPENSE, SENSUALITY, SEX, SEXUAL CONTENT, SEXY, SUSPENSE, SUSPENSE THRILLER