Friday, November 29, 2013

Just Typed "The End"

It's such a satisfying sensation to type these two words.

At long last after several hiccups and blind paths where I had to backtrack,  I've finally managed to type these two magic words on my Christmas themed romance  Kayla's Christmas.
It's really weird.
This book started out as a light-hearted romp and before I knew it there were serious undertones.
Jamie Barron his a wealth of hurt and hart break behind his ready laugh.  Kayla Anders, hurting at being alone in the world, robbed blind by her ex fiancĂ©, her career in ruins, flees to the mountains to nurse her wounds and regroup.
What they each find is a magnetic attraction, a scheming ex-wife and a whole host of heavy personal baggage.     
Set in Akaroa, that delightful South Island town with such a unique history. Akaroa is about the only place that would tempt me to move south.
One final read through to catch any errors, and then Kayla's Christmas  is off to the formatters and then it will be available on a sales platform near you.
Add it to your Christmas wish list... Sales links will be posted soon.  


Friday, November 22, 2013

And old art given a new twist

The Viking Runes…an Interesting New Field

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Members of Coast 2 Coast branch RWNZ

One of the real advantages of attending a writer’s retreat is having the chance to explore new ideas.
In this case it was not a “new”  idea…more a case of visiting an ancient idea, The Viking Runes as used by The Ancient Oracle.
In a workshop given by author Jen Yates and Gaylene Atkins, they showed us how we can use Runes in a thoroughly modern way.
I have to confess I would never have thought to use Rune Stones to develop characters for a romance novel, but after taking part in this workshop I am excited at the possibilities.
Jen gave us a great demonstration …
She worked with the stones to develop the characteristics and motivations of her two main characters for the historical novel she is plotting.  After spreading the stones face down on the table, she closed her eyes and moved her hand about two inches above the stones and as she felt the kinetic energy, discarded some until there was only a few and out of these selected the one giving off the most energy.
It was fascinating to watch.
There had been a free for all discussion among a lot of us who had read the first book in the series she is writing so we already knew a little about the two main characters who were bit players in the first book.  The heroine thought she was plain, and as the plain sister would never marry, but the hero could only see her kind heart…
As Jen picked up the rune she’d zeroed in on for her heroine and then read out to us what this Rune stone signified, the ideas flowed thick and fast on how to build character and motivation. It was an exhilarating experience to be part of the interaction between Jen and her audience.
Will I use try this technique for myself?
Definitely! After trying several shops I finally managed to get a copy of The Book of Runes by Ralph Blum and a set of Rune Stones in Huntly.  Will I get as good as Jen Yates at using them? That remains to be seen.
With this workshop and the one run by Sophia James, for the exercises I worked on Logan Sinclair’s story … the sequel to Lovers’ Lies that so many of my readers have asked for… and thanks to these inspiring people who are prepared to share the technicalities of their craft, I have the whole story almost mapped out.

Jen Yates is the author of  Through All Eternity  a stunning time travel novel set between ancient Atlantis and the modern world.

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Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Writer's Retreat leaves me buzzing

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Held at the Paradise Valley Lodge near Rotorua,  New Zealand’s thermal wonderland. The Lodge is in a peaceful rural setting far from the madding crowds, with manicured gardens that are not only a delight to the eye, they gave us time to replenish our creative minds and souls.
The retreat is a time to re-kindle friendships, give encouragement to other writers, listen to workshops that hone our craft and above all, to enjoy the camaraderie of like-minded people.

This year we were privileged to have the very talented author, Sophia James deliver a workshop on character development and layering character in your writing.  Sophia is  a very successful historical romance author and writes for Harlequin Mills & Boon.

She explained that while the historical hero could literally get away with murder because he existed in a less politically correct and meaner world, fraught with danger where lives were easily lost and medicines non-existent, and life was infinitely more difficult, the contemporary hero has to be larger than life too,  a man who others find attractive inside and out, a man who stands out from the crowd, and is dangerous and rawly attractive.
So how does an author create these strong, memorable characters who will stand out from the ordinary in what is a very crowded market place?  Sophia’s answer is to get to know your character, inside and out, to take risks, and above all remember that every detail has to count.

A strong name is a good place to start … ideally a name that can be shortened.

Put this name in a circle in the centre of the page then ask the questions that matter. First concentrate on looks, mannerisms… Hands are important … in a book you need to consider every tiny detail…why are his/her hands like this? What has made them this way? Dark questions throw up dark answers…you don’t answer these questions, you drop them in… and at this stage write down any ideas, no matter how wild…and when you as the author have asked ten questions … ask two or three more, don’t take the first choice, the easy choice, dig deeper and this way you create a character who will tell his own story.

Physical imperfections lead a reader to question the character’s past and will inevitably spark more questions, and make your reader sit up and take notice.  In the first three chapters you lay a trail of bait that makes a reader question what is going on, and in doing so you hook a reader and keep them turning the pages in the need to find the answers.

This was a thought-provoking workshop that has left me really thinking and has given me a greater insight into the craft of writing.