Nicholas Sparks Gets Divorced – Love is Dead?

Nicholas Sparks - TMZ.com photoIs Nicholas Sparks Divorce the End of True Love?

Of course it isn’t the end of true love! But you’d think it was if you listened to all the Twitter chatter about Mr. Sparks’s separation and pending divorce with his wife of 25 years. I’m just flabbergasted at the drivel that people are spewing because this bestselling romance novelist’s marriage didn’t work. Here are some of the ridiculous quotes flashing around the Twittersphere and I don’t want to put the author credits because they just don’t deserve the attention – but you can do searches on Twitter for them yourself if you’re interested.

  • “PSA: I was just informed that nicholas sparks got a divorce so basically love is dead”
  • Nicholas Sparks is getting a divorce and love is officially dead.”
  • “Nicholas Sparks is getting a divorce?! There’s no hope for love :(“
  • Nicholas Sparks got a divorce this week so basically there’s no hope for any of us”

I could continue, but I’m sure you get the point.

Reality Check

As a romance novelist myself, and having been through two divorces AND now in a very successful and healthy relationship, I think I have a pretty solid soap box on which to stand. Since this is my website, I’ll take the liberty of climbing on top of said makeshift podium and pontificate. TRUE LOVE IS NOT DEAD. I know because I’m living it. MUCH of the romance in my books is based on the true love principles I’m sharing in this article. I’ve said many times before, my husband is the heart that beats within Broderick MacDougal, the main character in my Bonded By Blood Vampire Chronicles.

How bloody absurd it is that people are taking this leap just because Nicholas Sparks had problems in his love life! BUT it highlights how unrealistic people are about love today. I’ll make a couple of important points I’ve learned the hard way through the years: Continue reading

What I’ve Learned About Twitter

Twitter Expert? Hardly!

I’m going to state right up front…I am no Twitter expert. I will say, however, having just recently come to finally understand the concept of how Twitter works AND how other people use Twitter, I’m able to grasp the concept of how it can help me communicate with readers. With that said, if anyone else has anything they can add or correct me on, please leave comments. We can all be better at using this amazing social networking venue if we all pitch in.

Since I’m a fiction author, I’ll be sharing this information from the perspective of novels and that portion of the publishing industry, so this article is probably more geared toward the fiction author who wants to learn how to use Twitter to get the word out about their novels, but the concepts covered here can be applied to almost anything, so read on.


This article is long, but covers the following topics (click topic to go straight to it…use up arrow in bottom-right corner of screen to go back to top…BUT click the MORE button below if you’re not in the actual article.):

Continue reading

Tips on Getting Published

Improving your grammar skills will help you get publishedCAN One Increase Their Chances of Getting Published?

Absolutely!! I’m putting on my editor’s hat today to share some tips on how to increase your chances of getting published. One of the first is to study your craft…and I can tell you there are MANY writers who don’t do this. This alone can help you stand out above the rest and get you published.

I’m appalled at the crap that comes flooding through submissions. And I STILL–OMG STILL–get authors asking, “Do we have to send in a polished manuscript, even to an agent?” Seriously????? Why would you want to send anything less? If these authors think getting their manuscript cleaned up for submissions is time-consuming, then they are definitely not ready for the editing process. And then, after so many rejections, they become self-published. It breaks the heart!! Writing should be taken seriously as a career, which means LEARNING YOUR CRAFT! Never stop studying and always strive to improve.

Here’s an excellent resource for some FREE grammar assistance: Writer’s Digest – Grammatically Correct by Anne Stillman. This link is to a free download excerpt of the book and worth the view. Lots of great advice in this snippet.

Another way to improve your writing and your chances of getting published is Continue reading

Direct Access to Editors

Grand Opening

It is with GREAT pleasure and much excitement that I announce my new business endeavor with my dear friend/fellow editor pal AJ Nuest. Today is the first day of our Grand Opening celebration and this is the announcement we’re lucky enough to post as guests on several upcoming blogs:

September 1-15th marks the official
Grand Opening of Mystical Press Services!!!

This means 50% Off all our classes
and services through September 15th!

http://mysticalpress.com 

In case you haven’t yet heard about our website, allow me to introduce you to a place where you just might find the fulfillment of your dreams. That’s right! The talented folks at Mystical Press want to help you reach your publishing goals!

How do we do that? I’m glad you asked!

Mystical Press is the culmination of an idea that came from two authors and professionally trained editors—AJ Nuest and Arial Burnz—where we help authors bridge the gap between the form-letter rejection and publication. In fact, we believe in this venture so passionately, our tagline is “Helping authors achieve their dreams.

At Mystical Press our primary goal is to help writers. As authors, we understand the frustration of not receiving constructive and useful feedback, the aggravation of navigating the murky depths of the publishing industry and that, sometimes, authors just need a place to vent. Well, we’re here to tell you, the insanity can end! Continue reading

Qualities of a Good Critique Partner

I’ve heard a lot of comments by many in the publishing industry that the occupation of a writer is a lonely one. You sit at the computer (typewriter or yellow legal pad, for you nostalgic types), alone with your thoughts and the voices you hear, crafting your tales. Though that part of the process may be a solitary experience, there’s a bigger picture. I’ve been writing for many years and along the journey, there are many people a writer needs to further their career along: beta readers, critique partners, editors, publishers, cheering section, readers and more. The journey to getting published is rarely done without others and they all have their place and importance. Since I recently found my critique partner, that’s the one I’ll focus on today. (Click on the links above if you’re interested in learning more about the other people that contribute to a writer’s journey.) Continue reading

10 Ways a Writer Can Take Advantage of Today’s Technology

I LOVE technology! It’s made my life so much easier as a writer…among other things. I remember the days of writing my novels on yellow, lined legal pads or typewriter (yes, I know, I’m dating myself) and then came the awesome personal computer: My first being a Tandy 1000. Sure, it was DOS based and monochrome, but HOLY COW, no more white-out or retyping a page!

Then the development of the Internet and WHAM! the world of writing exploded in so many ways. The best part about the Internet, as far as I’m concerned with writing, is E-MAIL SUBMISSIONS!! The days of packaging up that 250+ page manuscript are over! YAY! The latest technologies of tablets and eBook readers just makes my head spin when I think of all the possibilities! Apple announced it’s two newest features for the iPad, and it inspired me to write this blog entry to chat about ten things writers can do to take advantage of today’s technology to either write or promote their writing. E-mail, computers, and the Internet in general are givens, so I’ve thrown out some options that incorporate those. Here they are (in no particular order): Continue reading

Eliminating Writer’s Block

In honor of National Margarita Day, I’m celebrating being liberated from writer’s block!!!

Writer’s block…first there is the debate on whether or not it exists. Debate ended: It does. If it didn’t, it wouldn’t be the dreaded disease that plagues every writer on the planet. Those who have experienced it knows it prevents your creativity from flowing and brings your writing to a grinding halt. It’s not being lazy, it’s just misunderstanding what it really is. As writers, we all experience it at one time or another and we all know it’s the downside of being an author…or is it? Believe it or not, I believe I have found the cure for Writer’s Block! Continue reading

NEVER GIVE UP! NEVER SURRENDER!!

Eighteen years later, with blood, sweat and tears, I finally have a contract for my first novel – MIDNIGHT CONQUEST! Hurray! Let’s celebrate!!!

It was a long hard road, make no mistake, but don’t let that discourage you writers out there who are trying to get their first novel published. Every author goes through it. They pour their heart and soul into their first novel and expect it to be loved by all. When it isn’t, it’s a struggle to keep positive about your work and not take it personally. I hung on to encouraging stories of famous authors who had been rejected numerous times before their first novel was accepted. For Example: While I was stationed in Germany, Tom Clancy came to our base (Rhein-Main AB)  for a visit while doing research and shared with us that “The Hunt For Red October” was rejected 33 times before it was offered a contract (This web site states 12 times, but I’m more inclined to believe what I heard Clancy say). All of us authors go through the rejections before our first novel is published. Continue reading

“Lay vs. Lie (vs. Laid)” – GREAT Question!!

I love to share a good thing! As a subscriber to Writer’s Digest magazine and their blog/articles, I glean a lot of useful information about how to improve my craft as a writer…as all us writers should do! This particular article had my heart pumping with excitement and elation over a solved mystery! (Of course, had I taken the time and got off my proverbial butt, I could have done the research and found the proper answer myself. With that being said, however, Brian does a GREAT job explaining it AND making me laugh!) Continue reading

Ever Try To Interview Your Characters?

As a writer, I’ve come across those times when I just can’t seem to get past a certain issue with a character or my story seems to have stopped. I’ve tried my usual solo-brainstorming where I type away on the computer talking myself through an issue; I’ve put the writing aside and tried to let things take seed and revisited it later; tried to fill in any blanks in the Character Profile Sheet* that I may have missed or didn’t elaborate on…but to no avail. It’s at times like these that I interview my own characters.

The first rule about this is LET YOUR IMAGINATION GO! Don’t censor anything. Don’t rewrite anything. Don’t direct your characters to go in a certain direction. Just let it flow. Here’s how it works…at least this is how I conduct an interview with my characters.

  1. Sit down at the computer and in your mind, picture yourself in a setting…whatever setting comes to mind. You could find yourself in a park, on a subway train, at your old desk you wrote your first book/article/poem at, your bedroom you had when you were five years old…whatever. Let your mind take you to the first place that enters your mind. Write this down. Start typing what you’re seeing, how you feel, your thoughts on why you think you’re mind went here or what you’re thoughts are about the place. Don’t go into a major analysis here. Just make a light comment and then move on.
  2. Imagine your character, now, coming onto the scene. You don’t have to picture them in any great detail, but if it helps to do that, knock yourself out! The important thing is to bring your character onto the scene as if you were going to interact with him/her. Write all of this down.
  3. Let the exchange happen. This is the part where you kinda sit back and watch how you and your character interact. Who is the first one to speak? What do they say? What do you say? Are you both sitting there in uncomfortable silence? Are you at a loss for words? Then tell your character you’re not sure what you two should talk about. They may surprise you. Write all of this down.

This is a free-flowing form of brainstorming that allows you to see your characters the way you’ve created them in your subconscious. I’ve had characters come into a room or setting and they won’t sit down. I’ve asked them to relax and they either tell me why they’re agitated; or they say they didn’t realize it; or they tell me to stick it where the sun doesn’t shine and that they’re going to continue to pace.

The fun part about this is your characters will sometimes do things you didn’t expect them to do. I have a vampire character that has lit up a cigarette while we were interviewing. I asked, “Excuse me, but why do you smoke? You’re immortal…drugs have no affect on you, no addiction, no real satisfaction as far as I can see.” He told me, “I do it because I can. I get satisfaction out of the fact that I AM immortal and it won’t hurt me. It reminds me of my invincibility.” Well, there you have it! And his answer was as unexpected as the habit of smoking! Let your characters come alive here and you might end up developing traits about your character that you never dreamed of on your own.

Where you have your setting, what your characters say and how you interact with them has its own hidden meanings. Re-read your interview when you’re done and examine what those might be. What do these pieces of the setting and interview say to you about your character or what you think about your character? If you DID have the setting in your bedroom when you were five and you’re meeting with a male character in his 40s, this might say something about how you see him. Is he childish? Would he be comfortable in a room like this? If he is UNcomfortable, what does that say about you putting your character in an uncomfortable setting? Did you WANT him to be uncomfortable? Did you think he would be at home only to find out he wasn’t? Things like this reveal hidden meanings about your characters and/or story.

Finishing the conversation isn’t necessary, either. The point of this exercise is to move forward on your story and/or your character development. If you wish to conclude the meeting politely, then by all means, do so. Once you get those juices flowing, you’ve accomplished your goal! Hope this helps!!