Writers Corner – What Do You Mean I Have to Blog?

So, the publicist and marketing personnel at your publisher have suggested, or insisted that you start a blog.  Not just start one, but create interesting and informative posts on a regular basis, and do it with a smile! After you finish screaming and you have pulled out the last clump of your hair, take a deep breath.  Everything is going to be okay.  I promise.

There are a gazillion blogs on the internet, and every topic known to man has been covered over and over again.  This begs the questions, does anyone really care what I have to say? What am I going to blog about?

The short answer is, Yes! Your readers are interested in what goes on in your life and how your crazy mind works.  And as for what you going to blog about – well there are some easy ways to generate ideas, so again, breathe.

1.  Create Tags.  The most helpful advise I’ve gotten about blogging ideas was this:  Make a list of fifty to a hundred tags related to your books.  Yes, you can do it! It’s not as hard as it sounds.  Make sure you consider every character and subplot in your book when you compile the list.  Once you are finished, you will have a plethora of words that can help spark ideas for blog topics.  Try it!  It works!

2.  Read lots of blogs posted by your fellow authors Sometimes in their blogs they will pose a question or make a statement that you don’t agree with.  Use this opportunity to respond with your own thoughts.  Make sure you link to the original post, especially if you use direct quotes from it.

3. People love lists.  Lists are easy to scan and provide a wealth of information in a short amount of time.  List the best comments you’ve received, your favorite Facebook statuses, the best books you’ve read, the options are endless.

4.  Give away your secrets.  People appreciate help and like to know that there are others in the same boat.  List your resources and provide links when you share information so they can access the sites easily.  Include blogs and web pages that you can’t live without, and then sit back and wait for the kudos to fill up your comment box. 

5.  Share other author’s reviews, excerpts, interviews, etc.  If you’re tired of seeing these types of posts, create a list of ten of the most intriguing book trailers, or your favorite back cover blurbs.

There are many ways to grab your audience’s attention.  Don’t sweat it! If I can do it, I know you can!  Now that you have a few ideas get to work and have fun!

Cheers!

Monique O’Connor James

Author of The Keepers, Jamais Vu, Deja Vu, The Mulligan Man published by Astraea Press

Coming Summer 2012 – Becoming Jolie published by Crushing Hearts and Black Butterfly Publishing

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Review for Hurricane By Jenna-Lynn Duncan

I anxiously looked around, my heart palpitating, just in time to see an alligator slink into the green algae covered water that was on either side of us. I swallowed hard, and my heart raced even faster. Alligators were a different type of predator—the one thing I was afraid of. Now I was on my own personal swamp tour. What if my kidnappers left me in the middle of a swamp with five of
them creeping up on me? I’ve had that nightmare before and—oh no, if my dreams really are a sign of the future—I couldn’t breathe now.

Excerpt:
Adriana couldn’t decide what was worse—that Hurricane Katrina was heading for
New Orleans, or that she might not survive her kidnapping to see its potential
effects. She had trusted Hayden, even fallen for him, and now he and his
brother Luke were taking her deeper and deeper into the Bayou. Why had two of
her classmates, the mysterious Boudreaux brothers, kidnapped her? Why had
Adriana’s dreams started predicting the future? Most importantly, would she
make it out of the Bayou alive…

My Thoughts:

Adriana’s mom has never been part of her life, and her father is slowly backing away.  Life with nothing, but a catastrophic hurricane looming down on the city she loves, allows her to yield to the opportunity to find out about another world that exists; a world she is a part of.  Being a lover of all things, Louisiana, made this one a no-brainer for me.  Jenna Lynn’s descriptions of the city of New Orleans made me long to walk the French Quarter and nostalgic for pre-Katrina days.  Jenna Lynn is a wonderful storyteller and you will be sucked into the new world she has created and left wanting more.

Don’t miss this one!!!

Monique O’Connor James

Author of The Keepers, The Mulligan Man Available @ www.astraeapress.com

Coming Soon:  Jamais Vu

Six Sentence Sunday – Jamais Vu Coming in September!

Enjoy this excerpt from Jamais Vu….Coming Soon.

Someone had forced me to doubt myself, and it was difficult to find my self-worth again. In past conversations, I’d rallied against the selfishness of the act of taking one’s own life. I’d sworn I’d never be the person who cared so little about others as to act on those thoughts. Yet, here I was in the parking lot of my shrink’s office, contemplating what could have driven me to do the very deed I’d mocked. He was wrong. There was no possibility I’d shot myself on purpose.

Jamais Vu will be out in September 2011!

Monique O’Connor James

Twitter:               mjames13
WordPress:         www.moniquejames.wordpress.com
Website:             www.moniqueoconnorjames.com
 

5 Tips for Writing Dialogue

Sometimes dialogue can be tough!  Below are a few quick tips to help you get over the hurdle!  1.  Listen up – Every person has a different way of speaking.  Our accents are influenced by our geographical locations and our … Continue reading

10 Editor Nightmares

I feel like an expert on some of these!  The truth is, every writer has stumbling blocks that require hours of editing and practice to get past.  I’ve listened to editors and publishers complain about many of these and here is a … Continue reading

SSS – The Mulligan Man Short Story

Dakota Trace sat in Ms. Myers’ third period English class. As usual, the woman had her blonde hair stacked high on her head.  He watched the web of hair move in one heaping mound as she crossed the room. She reminded him of Marge Simpson, and had once told his class she slept with her head hanging off the edge of the bed to prevent her hair from getting matted. He imagined all the blood rushing to her face and the ensuing explosion, which would keep her out of the classroom for weeks. It had yet to happen.

The Mulligan man was written for The Japan Release Anthology Project at Astraea Press.  All proceeds go to this charity.  You can purchase it at the following link: 

http://www.astraeapress.com/#ecwid:category=1011841&mode=product&product=5192906

Cheers! 

Monique O’Connor James
Author of:  “The Keepers” and “The Mulligan Man”
 
Twitter:               mjames13
WordPress:         www.moniquejames.wordpress.com
Website:             www.moniqueoconnorjames.com
 

Meet Stephanie Taylor Publisher and Owner of Astraea Press!

As you may or may not know my first book “The Keepers” was published by a press which was the brain child of Stephanie Taylor.  Astraea also published my short story “The Mulligan Man”, and will be publishing my second … Continue reading

Fan-tastic #3 Mandy Anderson

I first met Mandy on Facebook and accosted her for a review.  She runs the book review blog Twimom227 Book Blog (http://twimom227.blogspot.com).  She read The Keepers and fell in love with it and we hit it off! Okay we hit it off before she fell in love, but it doesn’t hurt that she likes my book 😀  Ya’ll check out her blog and follow her on Facebook.

When did you first develop your passion for reading?

Mandy:  I am guessing my love affair with books began back in elementary. I always loved Library Day…just being around all those books was so magical to me. I could get lost in all those books.

Me too!  You know the other kids thought we were nerds! What are your hobbies?

Mandy: READING! I also love to sew. I have an etsy shop that I really need to go put more stuff in. So if I could ever make myself put down a book, and go to my sewing machine..I might have more money in my paypal acct.

Who is on your list of favorite authors?

Mandy:  I would say Amanda Hocking and Jennifer Laurens. I love Amanda Hockings work. But also to be a great author, it takes more than great writing. I think it also takes being a great person and interacting with your readers. And Jennifer Laurens is just that. She is always tweeting and commenting to her fan base. I have seen first hand a Best Selling author be absolutely rude and flat-out mean to her followers. Its sad really.

Sometimes I feel like I’ve lost my best friend when I finish reading a book….do you do that?

Mandy:  Yes, absolutely. In fact that is why I don’t do well with short stories. I get too attached and want to read all I can. Take for instance your book The Keepers. I just finished your book and am already itching for more of Jess and Justin.

Out of all the books you’ve read if you could have dinner with a character who would it be and why?

Mandy:  Ooooh that’s a good one. But also a hard one to answer. I think I would love to have dinner with Colin from Jennifer Laurens’ Overprotected or maybe even Tamani from Aprilynne Pike’s Wings series.

What are you currently reading?

Mandy:  I just started The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff

Any strange habits while reading? I

Mandy:  sometimes I skip paragraphs when I think its dragging…then find myself missing some key info a few paragraphs away…so  I then have to go back and re read it. 

How much description do you like in a book?

Mandy: A good amount…just not a whole bunch..cause then I end up getting confused or bored.

Anything else about you, you’d like to share with us? 

Mandy:  I still like going to the library and getting lost in all those books. And I love that my girls enjoy reading too.

If you would like Mandy to review your book, you can email her at Twimom101@yahoo.com.

Cheers!

Monique O’Connor James

Twitter:               mjames13

WordPress:         www.moniquejames.wordpress.com

Website:             www.moniqueoconnorjames.com

Facebook:          https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=511255176

Author Page:      https://www.facebook.com/pages/Monique-OConnor-James-Author/151581321573144

Buy Links:  http://www.astraeapress.com/#ecwid:category=662245&mode=product&product=4435578

Characters to Love

While I’m on vacation I thought I’d leave you with a couple of blogs so you don’t completely forget me!

Every couple of days in the writer/reader community on social media the following question is posed:  Who is your favorite character and why?

We all aspire to have a character or two that gets mentioned in every one of these threads.  How does one create characters who stick with readers, you ask?  If you google the question, you will get the same answer phrased a million different ways. But, I believe there are several things which come together to make  life-like and lovable, heroes/heroines and villains we can love to hate. Most of them are not covered on these lists.

If you’re like me you love to people watch.  Every person in the world has some habit or idiosyncrasy which makes them unique.  Remember in the movie Mr. and Mrs. Smith, when Jane realized the other spy was John?  She saw him wiggle his leg in a video and recognized him immediately.  These things make people interesting to look at and endear them to our hearts, whether we know it or not.  Does your hero chew on his thumb?  Does your villain bite his lip right before he tells a lie?

You can tell tons about a person by the way others react to him/her.  Does your heroine adore your hero?  Or does the sight of him make her skin crawl?  Your readers will react to all of characters’ feelings about each other, so craft these thoughts carefully.

What goes on  in your MC’s head?  I find the thoughts and questions which formulate inside a characters mind really tie me to them.  Make sure you sprinkle some of this inner dialogue in your story so your readers know precisely how he/she thinks.

When you are writing dialogue make sure you take into consideration the players background, accent, and geographical location.  Read it aloud and ask yourself if that person would really say those things.

Finally, have the character achieve some emotional or intellectual growth throughout the story.  The person doesn’t even have to be aware they have changed. However, within the paragraphs of your tale you can illustrate the differences in their reactions and ideals from the beginning of the story to the end.

Hope these suggestions help!

Cheers!

Monique O’Connor James

Twitter:               mjames13
WordPress:         www.moniquejames.wordpress.com
Website:             www.moniqueoconnorjames.com
 
Check out my novel The Keepers at Amazon, B & N, Astraea Press, or my website www.moniqueoconnorjames.com

Next time your wondering what the two women in the booth are saying…El MexicaNOOOOOOO! – Adventures of the dynamic duo.

Tamara and I weaved through the parking lot headed for lunch.  We couldn’t go far because the glass company had just put a new windshield in my car, and the black tape didn’t, in fact, look like racing stripes. However, I think Tamara believed me when I told her it did, because she agreed to drive so I could pretend it wasn’t my car.  We were supposed to be running errands, but I was struck by a brilliant idea.

“Let’s go to that new Mexican restaurant.”  I said, as I hunched further down in my seat praying no one could see me.  Never mind that everyone knows my car because of the big sticker with my daughter’s name on it. I was still hiding.    

I’d like to go on record as saying Tamara readily agreed.  If she doesn’t want to do something she just says it, but she jumped on this idea, so I refuse to take the blame alone.  It’s always an adventure when we go places together so I really didn’t think anything about the fact that it took nine minutes to park.  Tamara couldn’t get the car between the two yellow lines, but this is nothing new.  I just kept wondering if the people in Payless Shoe Store were all gathered at the window watching her struggle to get more than two inches space between my car and the Suburban next to it. 

I tried to duck around the other side of the oversized SUV, but I heard Tamara say, “What are you doing.”  I just laughed and sprinted for the door.    

Now we should have known right away there was something off about the place.  No other females were  in the building.  All the waiters were male, and otherwise there was a table full of burly construction workers and a couple of old men in the corner.  Of course we both picked this day to wear summer dresses cut above the knee, and as we walked across the floor all eyes followed us to the table.

Tamara stopped in her tracks and glared at the table.  I snorted knowing she had no intentions in keeping her mouth shut.  The benches were hard wood and straight back, with slats on the bottom which were so far apart a small child might fall through them.  Her mouth fell open. “Do they expect us to sit there?” 

 Tamara chuckled under her breath and ordered our drinks.  “Did you see the way he looked at you? I think he wants to eat you.”  

Involuntarily, my body convulsed into a full body shiver as I glanced over at the table of construction workers.  They were all still, eyes wide, staring at our table.  Honestly, I felt like I’d drifted onto another planet where women were alien.  Tamara picks this time to lean across the table and say, “You know, I feel lucky that we haven’t been shuffled off to the human trafficking warehouse in the back.”    

“They won’t stop staring,” I say, as I send the table of goons the stink eye.  None of them react.  Maybe we are visiting another universe.

“Let’s just eat and get out.” Tamara slurped her Dr. Pepper while remaining focused on my face.    

This is the exact moment when the waiter comes back with our food and leans in once again. His hair scrapes my cheek, and I make a noise similar to a whale giving birth…or so I imagine.  Tamara opens her mouth, and I can see the words before they leave her lips.  “Why don’t you just lick her?”    

Mortified, I slide down, until I’m sure only the two old men in the corner can see my face turn blood-red.  The waiter smiles and slithers away.  I can’t think of anything to say so I shovel a bite of food in my mouth expecting to be saved by wonderful Mexican cuisine.  But, no.  The cosmos are not lined up for this cloud to have a silver lining.  I chewed carefully, as if the speed at which my mouth moved had some effect on the horrible taste pooling in my mouth.

Surely, I was overreacting, still freaked out about the run in with Senior Pervert.  Nope, that’s not the case, because as my eyes trail from my plate back to Tamara, she’s trying to look sophisticated while spitting her food in a napkin.  “Oh my God, are you kidding me?”  She didn’t scream, but it was close enough.

“Let’s just get the check and get out of here before I die.” I offer as I dig for my wallet.    

“I don’t want to pay for this.”  She complains while staring at her plate, which is still full. 

In a gust of wind, the waiter comes back and looks down at our plates.  He doesn’t ask if it was okay, or if there is something wrong, he simply whisks our dishes away and plops down the bill.  I know at this point I’m walking a fine line with Tamara.  There exists, in her psyche, a tiny line which once crossed, will send her into a raving fit.  She has that crazy corner smile. It’s getting close.

I whip out my card and push it to the end of the table and in swoops the man to rush it off.  In seconds, he’s back and we are scurrying for the door.  As we pass the cashier, he leans over and says something like, “MMMM, later ladies.”    

Tamara casts a wicked eye back at him, and I grab her arm and push her out the door.  In the parking lot, she was almost laughing, but still obviously irritated.  “We shouldn’t have paid!!”  

“Get to the car. Hurry before we have to go back.”

By now, tears are running down her face as she shoves the key in the ignition and looks up at the tape still on my window.  “You should have let him lick you…then we wouldn’t have paid.”

 

Monique O’Connor James
Author of:  “The Keepers”
 
Twitter:               mjames13
WordPress:         www.moniquejames.wordpress.com
Website:             www.moniqueoconnorjames.com