Thursday, October 30, 2014

How Long Will Burns Chase His Talisman? #djinn #pararom

For a month, at least...

Join me for a month of interviews, guest posts, and giveaways! You'll want to stop at each blog to leave a comment because we'll be awarding a $25 gift card and handmade book bauble to a randomly drawn commenter...

11/3/2014 The Buttontapper
11/4/2014 Susana's Morning Room
11/5/2014 Room With Books
11/6/2014 Books and Other Spells
11/7/2014 House Millar
11/10/2014 Dena Garson - Real... Hot... Romance
11/11/2014 Unabridged Andra's
11/12/2014 Lisa Haselton's Reviews and Interviews
11/13/2014 Kinky Vanilla Romance
11/14/2014 Deal Sharing Aunt
11/17/2014 All I Want and More
11/18/2014 Laurie's Thoughts and Reviews
11/19/2014 Long and Short Reviews
11/20/2014 Straight from the Library
11/21/2014 Danita Minnis
11/24/2014 Booklover Sue
11/25/2014 Books N Pearls
11/26/2014 Bunny's Review
11/27/2014 MAD Hoydenish
11/28/2014 Romance Novel Giveaways

See you all Monday... let's talk books all month long!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Write Tighter, Write Smarter

In between promoting my latest release and running a multi-author giveaway, I'm still trying to make headway on my latest book project, The Heartbeat Thief. Since I'm editing today, I thought I'd share this post with my writer friends. Enjoy!

As a homeschooled writer, I'd learned to improve my craft one layer at a time.

My first WIP was a stack of notebooks, pages of endless prose that I'd written one summer. I wrote it for fun, an imaginary escape, without the least care for grammar or structure or plot. It was a technical wreck but I wasn't worried--because no one but me would ever read it.

My second…that was different. I knew I wanted to share that story. I also knew I had a lot to learn about writing. I began to amass my writer's library and scoured the internet for articles and discussions and workshops, all in the hopes of improving my writing. I spent years learning how to be a better writer--and will spend many more years learning, too.

Recently, I came across those notebooks of my first attempts at writing a novel and was shocked to see what my style was like when I wrote it eight years ago. I think the aspect that struck me the most was how much I rambled.

It wasn't that I wrote endless chapters of setting or backstory or dialogue. My problem was that I wrote the way I spoke--and I spoke with a lot of extra words.

Extra Words

Extra words make your sentences flimsy. A reader wants the heart of the story--and extra words get in the way. Readers crave hooks and action and a thrilling pace but extra words can cause the story to stumble.

My WIP had a lot of extra words. When I read back through those pages, I found myself skimming. That's the ultimate sign that I lost my audience--and my audience was me. How bad is that?

Tighten Those Lines

When I started homeschooling myself, I'd picked up loads of tips on how to improve the mechanics of my writing. Without realizing it, I began to write smarter because I wrote tighter. Of course, I was learning as I went--and applied most of my new skills through editing.

Editing is a technique that should always be done in layers--sentence, paragraph, scene, and story. You can tighten your writing at each of these layers, resulting in better craft and a better story.

Sentence Level

Extra words like to hide in sentences, adding bulk without substance. You can use the "find" function on your word processor to hunt out those words and eliminate them. The biggest culprits? Words such as really, very, and just, to name a few. You don't need them.

And not just single words-- entire categories such as adverbs and adjectives will loosen your sentences. If you need to enhance a noun or a verb, it may mean you didn't pick the right word in the first place. Find a stronger word and kick the enhancers to the curb.

Another tip to tighten your sentences? Skip the obvious. "He put his hat on his head." Unless he often puts his hat on a different body part, you can skip telling us where he put it.

You can also skip the obvious by eliminating things like "she could see" or "I heard"--because you follow those phrases with whatever is seen and heard. And gerunds? You probably don't need them--if your character grabs a gun and has no intention of swinging it like a club, you can drop the "to shoot" that might follow.

Paragraph Level

When looking to tighten a paragraph, I look for sections that feel like telling and not showing. I'll add a line or two that shows the action and then go back to eliminate the telling part.

Okay, you may be thinking, how can that be tighter? You're adding words!

Yes, I am…but they are healthy, vibrant words, packed with wholesome story goodness. I eliminated the empty calorie words. End result? Better writing and a stronger story.

Example: I could tell she didn't believe me.

The fix: With a sharp shake of her head, she jabbed a finger into my chest. "You do this every time! I tell you that I'm finally happy, and you concoct some stupid story about why I shouldn't be."

Yep, more words…but now the reader sees the disbelief and doesn't have to take the narrator's word for it. I added action and dialogue. That original line "I could tell she didn't believe me" is now fluff to be eliminated. Bye bye, extra words.

Scene Level

Sometimes your sentences are tight but your scenes aren't. Maybe you've got too much going on.

You can tighten your scenes by watching for unnecessary elements--any character or prop or intention or action that doesn't move the scene forward can be removed because they are distractions.

What if one of the characters wasn't present? Is someone worrying about an issue that is keeping the scene from being streamlined? If you can change a character's thoughts or attitude before the scene occurs, would you ultimately improve the flow of the scene itself?

Watch for elements that seem stagnant or present obstacles to your action. Removing them will tighten your scenes and your story.

Sometimes the element is an entire scene. Try deleting it and see what it does to improve the story.

Story Level

Take a step back and think about your story as a whole. How can you tighten it?

List your plotline and sub-plotlines. Do you have sub-plots that do little to move your story forward? If the little stories don't contribute to the plot or to the character's growth, you may be hindering the big story.  It's time to send those extra words on their way.

And the characters that are window-dressing? Send them home. Extra people mean extra words. If they don't work the story, there isn't a reason to keep them around.

Make the Cut

You may be intimidated by the prospect of cutting scenes and storylines and even characters from your story because of the damage it will do to your word count. Keep in mind that readers only want the words worth reading. You can always go back and add to the real story, using strong, vibrant language.

And think of it this way--you'll save an agent or editor the trouble of asking you to revise those same issues. Extra words keep your work from attaining "shelf-ready status". Be brave and do what's best for your story. You and your story and your writing craft will be all the better for it.

(Image courtesy of nkzs.)

Friday, October 17, 2014

#FIFG14 Fall Into Fantasy Giveaway #paranormal #fantasy #adult #YA

Welcome to the Fall Into Fantasy Giveaway, hosted by (yours, truly!) urban fantasy & paranormal romance author Ash Krafton…

Just like last year, more than FIFTY AUTHORS of fantasy and paranormal books are giving away books and swag. Hope you’re ready to start clicking and start winning because the Rafflecopters await!

This year, I am offering signed paperbacks of Bleeding Hearts (Demimonde #1) and Words That Bind, my brand-new paranormal romance. Two books, two winners, twice the love.

Bleeding Hearts
(Demimonde #1)

A shy advice columnist-turned-oracle must find a way to save her dangerous demivampire lover from the fate that threatens each of his race: evolution and the destruction of his soul.

When advice columnist Sophie meets dark and alluring Marek, she learns life-changing secrets about them both—he’s a demivampire struggling to avoid evolution and she’s an empathic oracle destined to save him. Sophie possesses the rare ability to reduce the spiritual damage that causes a demivamp to Fall, making her the only thing that stands between a DV and evolution. However, as Marek's dangerous past propels him toward his desperate fate, his enemies make darker plans for him: once vampire, powerful Marek would be second only to the Master himself. The vamps want to cause Marek's Fall and they intend to use Sophie to do it.

And for those who like a little love with their magic...

Words that Bind
Social worker Tam Kerish can’t keep her cool professionalism when steamy client Mr. Burns kindles a desire for more than a client-therapist relationship—so she drops him. However, they discover she’s the talisman to which Burns, an immortal djinn, has been bound since the days of King Solomon…and that makes it difficult.

Ethical guidelines are unequivocal when it comes to personal relationships with clients. However, the djinn has a thawing effect on the usually non-emotive Tam, who begins to feel true emotion whenever he is near. Tam has to make a difficult choice: to stay on the outside, forever looking in…or to turn her back on her entire world, just for the chance to finally experience what it means to fall in love.

In order to ensure you get a book you will love, we have divided our prizes into two groups—adult books and YA books. Feel free to enter either giveaway or both. 

Giveaway runs until October 31st...plenty of time to get all your entries in...

The authors:
Tricia Schneider, Nicole Zoltack, Marsha A. Moore, Mimi Sebastian, Terri Rochenski, Julie Reece, Lori J. Fitzgerald, Debbie Christiana, Georgia Lyn Hunter, M. Pax, Sharon Saracino, Shah Wharton, H. L. Burke, Angela Myron, Jocelyn Adams, James Garcia Jr, Tina Moss, Danielle DeVor, Sharon Buchbinder, April Aasheim, CL Bledsoe, Mara Valderran, Angela Yseult, Kallysten, Juli D. Revezzo, Aldrea Alien, Loralie Hall, Allyson Lindt, Sotia Lazu, Angela Castillo, Valerie Twombly, R.M. James, Shanyn Hosier,Ronesa Aveela, Sofia Grey, Konstanz Silverbow, Jamie Marchant, Brandy L Rivers, JC Andrijeski, Stacey Nash, Scarlett Dawn, Jami Gray, Erica Crouch, Janna Jennings, Tonya Macalino, Christine E. Schulze, Selah Janel, and Ash Krafton.

BookBox: embed book widget, share book list

BookBox: embed book widget, share book list

BookBox: embed book widget, share book list

a Rafflecopter giveaway

BookBox: embed book widget, share book list

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Make some new author friends and see what they’ve been up to…they may have written your next favorite book. 

Good luck to everyone and thanks for entering!

Monday, October 13, 2014

WORDS THAT BIND: "A Unique Paranormal Romance You Will Love"

Thanks to all the readers and bloggers who have made release day so wonderful!

WORDS THAT BIND has a 4.7 out of 5 star rating on Amazon! (Listen to the sound of my heart exploding...*kaboom*)

I just have to share some of the reviews...

“From the first page, the author pens a tale of mystery speckled with witty humor and intense (although initially denied) attraction…”
“Ash Krafton handles this potentially absurd story with such aplomb and demonstrates she has done her homework about psychotherapy to the point that after a few chapters the attraction she has nurtured between Tam and Burns makes terrific sense - and it is just fine that Burns is a djinn of ancient years. Such a clever idea for a story and Ash carries it off exceedingly well.”
“Ash Krafton was able to weave a story that wonderfully blended mystery, humor and romance…[she] respectfully and sensitively deal[s] with mental health issues without adding to the stigma of mental health.”
“An intelligently told story of love with a supernatural bent.”
As a fantasy writer, I am thrilled that readers are loving my new romance novel. I'm a huge fan of paranormal and fantasy stories and this was a book I truly enjoyed writing--for the love of my own guilty pleasures.
As a health care professional, I am grateful for the praise the clinical aspects of the story have received, because accurately portraying the complex issues faced by therapists is extremely important to me.
A huge part of me went into this novel. That's why I'm tickled that a reader titled their review "A Unique Paranormal Romance You Will Love" 
So, overall... I'm all smiles and I can finally breathe again. :)
And I'll need a deep, deep breath--because today starts the Bewitching Book Tour for WORDS THAT BIND!
Be sure to visit some of the blogs that are graciously hosting my book, and enter the tour giveaway.

Blog Tour
(Bewitching Book Tours)
October 13 Interview
Fang-tastic Books

October 13 Spotlight
Sapphyria's Book Reviews 

October 14 Interview
Deal Sharing Aunt

October 15 Spotlight
Kim Mullican

October 16 Interview
Pembroke Sinclair.  

October 17 Spotlight
Share My Destiny

October 20 Interview
Darkest Cravings

October 21 Character Interview
Eclipse Reviews

October 22 Review
Paranormal Romance and Authors That Rock

October 23 Spotlight
Houston Havens 

October 24 Spotlight
Valerie Twombly

October 27 Interview
Author Karen Swart

October 27 Spotlight
Sexy siren book blog

Friday, October 10, 2014

The Genie Is Out Of The Bottle... WORDS THAT BIND #release #paranormalromance

Today is the worldwide release of WORDS THAT BIND, a paranormal romance from The Wild Rose Press!
When a hot hero meets a cool heroine, there's bound to be steam.


Calm, cool, collected... it's not just a professional veneer. It's the way social worker Tam Kerish has always gone through life.
Emotionally detached. Clinically non-emotive. She's never known what it means to truly feel what others take for granted. A smile. A tear. A single moment of exhilaration.

That all changes the day he walks into her office. He's her polar opposite--and the ideal case study.

Burns is consumed by emotion, his fiery temper, his passionate drive to achieve his desires. Born of fire centuries before Christ, he is the last of Solomon's mighty djinni. Seething and smoldering, he is keenly interested in Tam, and the treasure she hides from him. It's only a matter of time until he gets what he wants.

He'll get so much more than he bargained for.

Lots of places to visit in the next couple of weeks--meeting new readers, checking out new blogs, and spending time talking books with some of my dearest friends. *hearts*

Before the book tour starts on Monday, let's have a little blast to spread the good news... pop in to the following spots to say hello and check out the blogging lovelies!

October 10 Release Day Blitz

Urban Fantasy Investigations

Sapphyria's Book Reviews

Angel’s Guilty Pleasures

SBM Book Obsession

Deal Sharing Aunt

BookShelves Of Dreams

Fang-tastic Books

Roxanne’s Realm

Lisa’s World of Books

The Creatively Green Write at Home Mom

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

A.J. Krafton, New Adult Author: Book Blast & Giveaway...Celebrate with the Inkling...

A.J. Krafton, New Adult Author: Book Blast & Giveaway...Celebrate with the Inkling...:   Happy Birthday to one of my favorite groups of authors... the Infinite Inklings! We're celebrating with a book blast and giveawa...

Terri Rochenski Talks Fantasy, Sequels, and Fun With Toothpicks

Longtime friend of the show author Terri Rochenski is celebrating the second book in her Pool of Soul series...SECRET OF THE SOULS! She's stopping by to say hi, share her new book, and talk about writing sequels. (The toothpick part comes further down.)

First, the shiny new book!


Thrust out of their homes by a human High Priest on a vengeful mission, the Natives of Derlund no longer have a place to call their own. One escaped capture, however, and now she, Hyla, is the only one who can save her people. 

For, Hyla, though, saving her nation isn’t her ultimate goal—returning to the Pool of Souls is. Becoming its Guardian and preserving their faith is her heart’s desire. The perils of her current journey, though, could leave her unable to fulfill that dream. 

To find her way back to the Pool, Hyla must live among dangerous, powerful humans willing to defend the Natives, and must submit herself—her Talents—to them. While her protection is paramount, plots to end Hyla’s life will push her to her physical and emotional limits. 

On the edge of sanity, her courage tested, and convictions nearly broken, Hyla’s final test of loyalty to her faith comes with the death of one she could have loved.

New to the series?
Pick up Book One: Eye of the Soul at a fabulous price!

My thoughts on writing a sequel... by Terri Rochenski 

My initial thought? UGH.
I mean, really. How the heck am I supposed to remember ALL the loose ends that need tied up in my fantasy series? How the heck am I supposed to keep track of what’s already been said, who’s met who, and what foreshadowing I did or didn’t use?
Stress much?
Yeah. And, I’m a planner with a capital P. It’s hard enough for me to keep track…how do pantsters pull it off???
Can you imagine George R.R. Martin’s writing space? I’ve never seen it – or pictures of it – but I can only imagine the pin boards, sticky notes, and notecard boxes. File folders. 3-ring binders. And the list goes on…
At least, that’s what I would need if I was him.
Thinking on my other genre-love, historical romance, the thought of sequel writing isn’t as scary. A love story doesn’t have various PoV’s, a half-dozen plot lines, and character arcs to complete. A sequel to a romance is either a continuation of that first book’s couple OR the story of a secondary character.
Easy peasy, IMO.
Well, perhaps not EASY, but a smidge easy-ER than attempting a fantasy sequel.
How ‘bout you? Think sequel writing is easy? What do you do to keep it easy-ER?

Terri Rochenski, Author:
Terri started writing stories in the 8th grade, when a little gnome whispered in her brain. Gundi’s Great Adventure never hit the best seller list, but it started a long love affair with storytelling.
Today she enjoys an escape to Middle Earth during the rare ‘me’ moments her three young children allow. When not playing toys, picking them back up, or kissing boo-boos, she can be found sprawled on the couch with a book or pencil in hand, and toothpicks propping her eyelids open.

Toothpicks? *shudder* :)