Looking for…

I’ve been in marketing mode for the past week, checking out websites for promotions, looking into beta readers, and re-writing blurbs to better solicit interest in the books already on the market.

I’ve probably mentioned that writing blurbs is harder than writing a novel. You have to condense your grand work into a dozen sentences in a way that motivates a reader to buy your book. I’ve read all the blogs, articles and books I can find on “how to” build a better blurb… Several pieces of advice given; add a tagline, have a hook, end it with a question. So, I went to the drawing board and have spent hours trying to phrase things just right, using the tools collected…but I’m still unsure it speaks to the soul of the book.

I’m looking for a couple of friends, family members or strangers, to review what I’ve written and critique how well I’ve captured the essence of the story. If this works well, I may reach out to any interested parties to be Beta readers. What are they? Readers who review the finished manuscript before it is published and provide feedback as to what works and what doesn’t, point out weak elements and highlight strengths.

I’m adding the new blurb I’ve written for Magic Bean Cafe. I received feedback from a friend, who’s been my one and only Beta reader since my first book. Please feel free to comment on whether or not this would pique your interest, and prompt you to hit “Download”.

Thanks to any and all who respond.

Rhea Cronun doesn’t want a glass slipper, or the prince who might come with it. Why should she? She’s got all the family she needs, along with a new café that she created six months ago. The five-star ratings are making her the talk of the town and she’s as busy as she’s ever been, but it’s leaving her little time for fun.

When Aisin Leehy comes strolling into Eden, encouraging her to play, she’s more than tempted. He’s the man who made Magic Bean possible and seems intent on spoiling her but not even the fairy house he built in her back yard cast the right spell. It’s her daughter Willow who’s become enchanted.  

Rhea needs more than a happily ever after ending. What will he have to do to prove he can give her the more she’s looking for?

Timing

You sit down, with an idea for a story. You’ve got interesting characters in mind, a theme you’re excited to work on, an ending in mind, the catalyst needed for change, now all that’s left is how to figure out how to put it all together.

I’m in the beginning phase of Remains to be Seen, the first three chapters drafted, but in no way, neat and clean. Cerri is a forensic anthropologist, Zain is a medical examiner, both have taken a back door out of their original field of archeology. I know why, I know how.

But the time line is a bit off.

I’m putting aside time this morning to try to sew up the loose threads of the story. Sometimes it takes contortion, which means it’s not going to be believable. The flow must be seamless.

Cerri’s story was pretty straight forward. She was on track to become a well-respected member of any dig. She’d been assigned to attend several prestigious projects during college, had traveled to the Yucatan to unravel another Aztec mystery, to Spain to study Neanderthal artifacts, and London, to study fourteenth century burial grounds, before tragedy struck and she left the field. Lucky for her, the shift in majors from archeology to anthropology, wasn’t a stretch. They both covered the study of bones, one in a cultural context, the other in a biological sense. A Masters followed and now she’s working in the Medical Examiner’s office as a forensic expert.

Zain is the one giving me some timing issues. He began his university studies at Oxford, but quit when he decided he wanted out of a field that no longer held his passion. From that point to his current status as assistant medical examiner is a tangled jumble of back and forth, up and down. I need to put things in straight line, in an orderly fashion so the transitions from one field to another are credible.

As I’ve been writing this blog post, I’ve been jotting down possibilities and things are becoming clearer. I’ll be adding to Zain’s past, but the new additions should add depth to the character, which can only add to the complexity of the storyline… because it’s not just about a happily ever after.

Short and sweet

I’m attempting to strengthen my marketing skills, so I’ve enrolled in some promotions, paid for my book to be shouted out near and far, and I’m checking out websites that promote indie authors.

From what I’ve read, I need a tagline.

What is tagline? It’s a mission statement in just a few words.

Who am I? What do I write? Who is my audience? What image to I want? What makes me unique?

It embodies passion, purpose and perspective.

Examples?

Tide’s In, Dirt’s Out. or The Quicker Picker Upper.

It says it all in no more than four words.

I’m making an attempt to write one, but I need your input. This is a call-out to anyone who has read my books. I’m asking for a few words that might suggest who I am and what I do.

Here’s a few I’ve come up with on my own.

Complex characters that come alive on the page

Strong women, complex storylines, unique voice.

It’s never just a happily ever after story. (This one’s kind of my favorite so far.)

If you are willing to take the time to think about it and go so far as to respond, I’ll send you the book of your choosing.

Thanks,

Faith

In my happy place

I put the finishing touches on Cant’ Be Tamed last week and I am now immersed in research for the next book in the series, Remains to Be Seen.

There is nothing I like better than digging in and learning new things.

Cerridwen Moore is a forensic anthropologist who works out of the Medical Examiner’s office. I bought Anthropology for Dummies, Sapiens, Forensics, and I’m making my way through Working Stiff,  a book written by a medical examiner. It’s an interesting take, well-written and I’ve got sticky tabs hanging out of the pages that contain mind-set, descriptions, and autopsies. I’ve also done some reading on archeological sites, in order to understand the life Cerri would have led had she stayed in the field. But tragedy struck and she had to shift gears.

I spent time over the weekend, creating more fully developed characters. Jotting down emotions, quirks, attitudes, fears, and strengths of both Cerri and Zain Bishara, the new hire. I tweaked the plot a bit as I went, creating a better way to bring them together.  It was the aha moment I needed to smooth out the story line.

I promised myself I’d take my time with this but eager to get started, I’ve already typed away on a first chapter. It’s the trickiest one. I’ve got work ahead of me, but for now I’ll stay in my happy place, where I can envision, imagine and develop complex people, learn where they came from and where they are going.

I’m sure there’ll be some surprises along the way, as always.

It happened to me in the last chapter of Can’t Be Tamed. I never saw that end coming.

 

Can’t Be Tamed

“Write what should not be forgotten.”  Isabel Allende

This quote resonated with me. Some days it feels right, some days it feels like a heavy weight I carry to the page every day.

I’ve read my share of excellent books, written by the likes of Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Jill Shalvis, Kristin Hannah. These authors develop great characters, quirky, believable, and real. There’s humor, lightness, and they take me away from the world.

There are some days that I wish I could follow suit but for some reason I’m compelled to write about those things that should not be forgotten. Homelessness, bullying, treatment of immigrants, civil rights, violence against women, inauthentic representation. I wrap these issues in the tissue paper of feelings and emotions, always creating strong women, with fierce voices, and men who love and respect their strength.

My new series Everyday Goddesses, raises the volume. I’ve gone back, as if around the spiral, where I delved into ancient burial sites, explored artifacts that support the belief that woman was all there was, in the beginning. She was seen in every part of the natural world, life and death, the trees, sky, sun and every golden ray.  It’s one of those things that should not be forgotten. We need to tap into our cellular memory, where she still resides, rooted in all that is numinous.

Lilith, according to ancient scripts, was Adam’s first wife. Made at the same time, from the same substance, not from his rib, equal to, not inferior in any way. She left the garden when Adam tried to exercise his dominance, free to reclaim her independence. I chose Lilith as one of the goddess archetypes to develop in the series, and her essence shines through the main character in Can’t Be Tamed.

Lilith Varsela reflects traits such as intellect, logic, compassion, and independence. She allows no man to control her, and can’t be tamed. But one day she comes to believe that there can be an equal sharing, a collaboration of efforts toward a common goal and with the right man beside her, she can become more than she could ever be alone.