Monday, May 30, 2011

Taking a Fresh Perspective

Every so often, I conduct a black and white workshop for my photo club.

We go over the basics of looking for shapes, patterns, textures, and high contrast. It's a lot of fun!

Converting from color to black and white can make a scene come to life...


It can also save a scene that wasn't quite right...


How does this relate to writing?

Sometimes a scene or even the whole manuscript isn't working. We need to approach it from a new perspective and see what works best:

* Changing POV?
* Changing main characters?
* Changing setting?
* Changing genre?
* Changing storyline?

Just like switching from color to black and white, we can change something major in our manuscript that presents a fresh perspective and puts a new spin on our work.

Any changes you need to make?

Thursday, May 26, 2011

BEA, Memorial Day, and Storms

Book Expo America is in full swing this weekend! The BEA is an event like no other. I attended in 2006 and was overwhelmed. Hopefully they will resume moving the venue again. Until then, New York is too far for me.


If you can’t attend, check out Armchair BEA for updates, news, and giveaways.



Memorial Day is this coming Monday here in the USA, a time for us to remember those who’ve fallen and served during war.


I always think of my father, who served in the Navy in WWII. He was just 18 years old when drafted. He rarely mentioned his time in the service, but I still have the collection of Japanese plane insignias he acquired during that time.




And the natural disasters of the past six weeks are heartbreaking! Starting with the earthquake and tsunami in Japan to the tornado outbreaks, the destruction is just unbelievable. We were lucky on April 16 when the largest tornado outbreak ever to hit NC tore through our state. No damage, just large hail.

But the town just up the road from us was hit hard, and we’ve driven past that scene many times since.

The damage in Tuscaloosa terrifies me, because in some places, there’s nothing but the foundation remaining, and the stories of missing people and those dead in Joplin break my heart.

Keep those people in mind this weekend. Be grateful your family is safe and give to the relief efforts if possible. And have a safe Memorial Day Weekend.

Check in Saturday for the Weekend Sillies.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Writing From a Male POV

Writing from the point of view of the opposite sex can be challenging. Viewing the world from another perspective requires that we abandon our natural instincts. Since the books in my series, The Circle of Friends, featured a male lead, I had to understand the differences.

I read dozens of relationship books, seeking to comprehend the distinct qualities of the male gender. The books that provided me with the most insight were Men Are From Mars, Women From Venus and the Connecting With Your Husband/Wife series. Men and women really do view the world through different eyes!

- Men are not detail-oriented, at least not in the area of observation. They are focused on the big picture. When a man walks into a room, it’s doubtful he will notice the pattern on the couch or the smell of flowers by the window.

- Men tend to process information internally. While a woman will discuss her situation with friends, a man will privately think through his problems. Men tend to internalize rather than verbalize when seeking an answer. If he does discuss the situation, he wants answers not support.

- Because men normally do not discuss their problems, they use fewer words than women – by half! They tend to verbalize facts and opinions rather than feelings, too.

- Men focus better than women, who rely more on ‘diffused awareness.’ Once a man selects a course of action, little can distract him. While women multi-task with ease, men tend to focus on one thing at a time.

- Due to the amount of testosterone a man’s brain receives before he is born, he cannot think both logically and emotionally at the same time. Thus, when a man offers a logical explanation, a woman’s emotional reasoning simply doesn’t compute. And when a man grows angry, rationalizing with him is difficult as logic has gone out the window at that point.

- Men are not as emotionally expressive as their female counterparts. They are simply not wired in that manner.

- Last but not least, women seek to connect emotionally while men seek to connect… physically. The stirrings of love in a man come from physical attraction and contact first, emotional attachment second.

While all of that may appear to be stereotyping, it does provide a fundamental base for the male POV. Environment, background, and basic personality type also factor into the equation.

Armed with this knowledge, I found writing from a male perspective much easier. It was refreshing to discard my women intuitions and interpretations and just deal with the basics. I’d say it was almost liberating!

Are you comfortable writing from the opposite sex's POV?

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Thoughts on a Book Festival

This past weekend I attended the SC Book Festival in Columbia, SC, and wanted to share my thoughts on this event.

Pluses:

Held at the Convention Center, the event is very well done. It’s professional, clean, and well staffed. There were always people roaming the aisle. Situated on the first row by the entrance was a big plus - more traffic than the other aisles. They had an artist’s corner and an upstairs area with events for kids. Some of the vendors kept to themselves, but many were friendly and nice. Met some great people this weekend.

Minuses:

According to previous attendees, attendance was way down, and so were sales. (Most stated they only sold 30-50% of what they sold last year.) A lot of this had to do with timing - the festival is usually held in February. Mid-May meant more outdoor activities, nicer weather, and college was already out for the year. I think the great rise in eBooks had a lot to do with it, too. Fewer people are buying physical books.

The rest is the usual that one sees at any book event. People who walk through so fast, you wonder why they even came if they weren’t planning to actually stop and look. Half of the crowd was senior citizens, and they made a beeline for the Carolina history stuff. A few obnoxious authors. There’s the mass of writers who attend just to pump authors and publishers for information without buying any books. (Gotta love those people!) And two days standing (because you don’t dare sit - you have to engage passerbys and hand out bookmarks) is really draining. It also reminded me my why I normally don’t pay to attend events - it’s just not worth it. I felt bad for the self-published authors sitting there with one or two books - they lost big time.

Will I attend the SC Book Festival again? No. The EBook trend means even less attendees next year. The event was almost too formal, too. And of course, there’s the cost. That’s why I love the Book ‘Em events. More casual, a friendly environment, and no cost to authors or publishers.
And if you missed my announcement on Monday about the first ever NC Book ‘Em, click HERE.

What’s everyone else’s feeling about book festivals? Do you attend ones that require several hundred dollars for a booth? If you go as a reader, do you actually BUY books?

Monday, May 16, 2011

Woo-hoo! Book 'Em is Coming to NC!

Announcing the first ever Book ‘Em in North Carolina!

I’m thrilled to be attending this event and part of the committee. If you are an author, you don’t want to miss this book festival! We have a blast at Book ‘Em events.

Here’s the info from the website - and author registration is now open:

Book 'Em North Carolina is scheduled for Saturday, February 25, 2012. The event will be held at Robeson Community College in Lumberton, North Carolina

Book 'Em North Carolina is an innovative book fair that brings together dozens of authors under one roof to sell and sign their books, participate in panel discussions and talks, network and interact with fans one-on-one.

Attendance is FREE and open to the public.

The Book 'Em Foundation was founded by suspense author p.m.terrell and Waynesboro, Virginia Police Officer Mark Kearney as a partnership between authors and law enforcement. The mission of The Book 'Em Foundation is to raise public awareness of the correlation between high illiteracy rates and high crime rates.

The Book 'Em North Carolina annual event brings together at least 75 authors under one roof to speak on a variety of subjects and to sell their books. A portion of the proceeds raised from the event (a minimum of 40%) is given to the community - Robeson County and Lumberton, North Carolina - for the purpose of increasing literacy and reducing crime.

For information on how these events have helped raise funds for literacy and anti-crime efforts in various communities, visit The Book 'Em Foundation.
Please join us - it's the best time you'll ever have at a book festival.

Monday, May 09, 2011

Help For Writers!

Writers, do you need a little help?

Some people may not realize that I offer several services for writers and authors. There’s a brief listing under the tab above, or you can follow the links below. Whatever I can do to assist you in your author journey or help you to produce the best quality product possible, please let me know!

Private consulting for writers

Unsure what path to take or where to begin? I work with writers starting on the journey, providing them with information, links, and the knowledge they need to succeed.

Book formatting services

Need to prepare a book for your printer? Let me help you make it look professional and top notch!
I also do e-Book formatting - contact me for assistance! (Especially if you are struggling to get your book into distribution or a national catalog.)

Book cover design

A fantastic cover draws attention! For professional cover art/illustration/images, including full wrap around design, contact my husband Craig.
Also, inquire about professional book trailers and logos.

For services I don’t provide, I can point you in the direction of a professional - just ask!

Thursday, May 05, 2011

What I Learned...

...from my anniversary vacation!

I'm an all-out, volume set to 11, warp 9, hyperactive type of person. I don't hold still and I've involved in more things than you can imagine. Needless to say, I stretch myself thin on a daily basis.

After a few days in Wilmington, NC celebrating my 20th wedding anniversary, I learned something. I need some slower moments in my life. Moments away from my computer, from writing 'stuff,' from emailing and calling, from working on seminars... I desperately need some real-life moments I can enjoy at a leisurely pace.

Let me show you what I got to enjoy last week...

Our hotel was downtown, so we parked the car and simply walked.



We went on the Haunted Pub Crawl and learned a ton about the history of Wilmington.




We went to the Cape Fear Serpentarium.

This was our second visit and just as much fun.

The world's rarest and most dangerous reptiles, all under one roof. Bad place to be if there's an earthquake!



We took a horse drawn carriage ride!

There are seven different loops through the historic neighborhoods. The horses are resuces from the meathouse and trained in Chicago.

As our driver asked, when's the last time you enjoyed going 2 mph on the road?



We shopped, we strolled, we visited the Coast Guard ship, The Defiance, which was in port for a few weeks... All very relaxing!



One dinner was spent at this restaurant. As soon as we saw it, we knew we had to snag a balcony seat!




And we did!



The menu is all meat, but they made a special pasta dish just for me.

We even had room for desert! Guess all that walking gives one an appetite.





It was fun to go places we would've never know existed and see quaint little areas and surreal scences. I just had my little CoolPix, but I took a lot of photos.



It was probably the most relaxed I've been (for more than a few hours) in a long time!



What did I learn? Take time to enjoy life!!

And I have a short post at The Circle of Friends on how the Book Industry is Shifting, at least for me!