Friday, September 1, 2017

Summer's End

Hope everyone has had a great summer! I always try to get a lot of writing done during the months when I'm not teaching and the two orchestras I play in aren't meeting. But somehow, the time is quickly filled with other commitments, and all the writing and sewing projects are still incomplete. Now that the fall schedule is starting, I've got to kick things up a notch or two.

I always get more done when I have a plan. The first step is to write out in broad strokes what I want to complete by the end of the month. And then I'll break it down into smaller steps. This afternoon I sat down and figured my four main goals for September. Tonight or tomorrow I'll figure out what needs to happen each week so that on September 30 I'll be able to say they're done!

What do you want to finish by the end of this month?
                                      ~ Patricia Kiyono

Monday, April 24, 2017

Interview with an Editor and Member Chris Allen-Riley

Member Elle Clouse interviews fellow member Chris Allen-Riley on editing!  Join Focus on Fantasy Romance as they discuss the editing process and cover some pitfalls facing new authors.

Mentioned in this podcast: Writing Slices; Reading the Books that Teach You to Write
Find out more about Chris’ writing as Bronwyn Green here:
And check out Round Table Author Services here:
More Focus on Fantasy Romance episode with Elle here.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

How Will 2017 be Different?

by Patricia Kiyono

Happy New Year! This is the time when we make decisions about our lives; we vow to make better choices, work harder, and become healthier. Or maybe we decide to let go of things that tie us down. As authors, we make decisions about what we want to complete. But how do we do that?

On January 14, I'll be speaking at the Grand Rapids Region Writers Group's monthly meeting about goal-setting. I'll have some exercises to share, but one of the things I want everyone to think about is to take stock of what the past year has been like. What have you accomplished? What were the things that allowed you to do these things? What did you want to accomplish but were unable to? What prevented you from doing them?

Once you've got a clear picture of what has come before, then you can look ahead. Decide what projects you want to get done. Not just "write something" but more specific. Try "finish my historical legal thriller." Or "finish and self-publish a memoir about my time in Paris." Then break it down into manageable chunks. What can you get done in a month? Write down 12 of those chunks for the year. Then break each of those 12 chunks into 4 smaller tasks. Now you've got your weekly goals. Keep track of these on a calendar, or whatever method works for you. A large task doesn't seem so daunting when you break it down into small, manageable steps.

Let's make this the year when you reach your goals!

Thursday, December 1, 2016

New Release

by Patricia Kiyono

I'm so pleased to announce the release of my new Christmas romance novella, Three French Inns! This is the third in a series that began in 2012 with The Partridge and the Peartree and continued with last year's Two Tutor Doves. This time, the story takes place in the French Alps, and I had a great time writing about Pierre and Caroline. Research was difficult - most of the resources available to me refer to the nobility, so I had to spend a lot of time reaching out to experts. Thanks to several other authors, as well as Dr. James Smither at GVSU, I was able to complete the book in time for this Christmas season! The book is only 99 cents, and is available at several online book sources. If you enjoy historical romance, I hope you'll give it a try!

Peter Brown joined His Majesty’s Army in the fight against Napoleon, but when he was wounded, a lovely French woman tended him. She was a recent widow, and they were on opposing sides of the war, so they went their separate ways. But he never forgot his “bel ange” — his beautiful angel.

Caroline Bouchard Duval marched with her husband in Napoleon’s army, eager to leave her sleepy village and see the world. But after being widowed, she returned to her childhood home in the French Alps. When a bloody traveler enters her father’s inn, she recognizes him immediately. Could this man give her another chance to fulfill her dreams?

Buy Links: Three French Inns is available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords, All-Romance ebooks, and Kobo.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Elections and Characters

My characters are having a field day with the upcoming elections. One is telling me which candidates remind him of which former world leaders – including Stalin and Hitler -and laughed at the Muppet's meme that went around social media. Another is finding England's potential departure from the EU fascinating and making comparisons to the US Revolution. And then there's Jess.

Who's Jess? Jess is my first and most beloved character. She's wildly independent, stubborn, unfetterd and doesn't give a damn what others think. My kinda girl! She's the one who forced me (she wouldn't shut up, especially at 3:00 a.m.) to write her story. Jess also swears like a sailor and loves picking up new insulting terms. She's having a field day with all of the mud-slinging, name calling, and fear mongering this election round.

New terms are being flung around my brain like so much confetti. She keeps repeating her favorites over and over, terms like “butt trumpet” keep popping up at inappropriate times. This is distracting at best, inconvenient at worst as she makes me laugh in the middle of conference calls or while troubleshooting an issue for a client.

Her BFF isn't much help as he admonishes her for her rancid mouth and penchant for speaking in a bad British accent when using her newly discovered phrases. As soon as Paul starts in Jess ramps it up, getting more foul until he throws his hands up in disgust and walks away. This of course has me belly laughing uncontrollably while my husband threatens to dial the local psych ward.

I'm not sure if this is normal behavior for characters or not, it is certainly normal for mine.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Writers Need Each Other

by Patricia Kiyono

When I write, I guess I tend to focus on what’s happening. But things can only happen if there are characters to make them happen. And the characters don’t do things without a reason. That was the basis of our lesson from Christie Craig at our teaching sessions at the Mid-Michigan Romance Writers’ Retreat from Harsh Reality last weekend. She spoke with conviction and LOTS of humor, drawing from her own life experiences as well as giving examples from her many books.

It’s difficult to not be inspired when you’re in a beautiful relaxing setting along with 35 other authors. But the inspiration for powerful writing comes when you have someone who helps you see what is needed to make a story go from “Oh, that’s nice” to “Man, that was awesome!” Each month, we get together and share our writing news, and then after lunch and a meeting we listen to a presenter who will hopefully leave us with a little gem of an idea that will make our writing better.

But what about the time between our meetings? We set goals, and many of us reach at least some of them. The idea of local write-ins was brought up at our last meeting and will hopefully catch on. I know several writers in the Kalamazoo area get together weekly at a coffee shop. Others meet monthly at a restaurant. Some are set up as critique groups, where each person shares something they’ve written. Others are quiet times, when people gather with their laptops and simply write. It’s a lot easier to concentrate on what you’re writing when you don’t have the distractions of home and family.

We have a few people who are looking for places to hold these write-ins. Whether it’s for camaraderie, writing help, or simply to get words on the page, consider getting together with your fellow writers on a regular basis. You and your writing will be glad you did.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Inappropriate Inspiration?

There was a recent tragedy in my state, perpetrated by a reportedly “sane” man. The court is waiting for evaluation results for good measure.

Regardless of what the state determines, the suspect has an interesting story on the why of his crime. As soon as I heard his explanation, my writer brain took off with a potential story line along a paranormal/conspiracy theory/mystery twisted line. At first I felt bad, getting a story idea off of a tragedy even though I often borrow pieces of real life to incorporate into some of my stories. Then I decide, what the heck, and asked some friends what they thought.

I got an interesting mix of responses back. Some people thought it was totally inappropriate to write up a story that was inspired by such an evil act. Others told me they thought Stephen King may have already done a story along the same line, only a few thought I should go ahead and tackle the storyline, thinking I might be able to have an interesting take on it.

When I read that Stephen King may have already done something similar, it started me wondering. Where does King get his inspiration? Are they from inappropriate places, such as real life evil doing or do they just come to him like many of my other characters do? Then I really began to wonder, how many other writers may get their ideas from “inappropriate” sources of inspiration – whether it be personal tragedy, global tragedy, or local tragedies perpetrated by humans – and whether or not they feel guilty or bad for basing a story off of a real life event.

I'm still debating whether or not to write up the story line. I have notes jotted down and luckily I have more than enough WIPs in the queue that I need ot work on that I can let it sit for awhile before making a decision.

So here's my big question: is it “normal” to feel uneasy about a story idea that jumps out at you from today's headlines? How would you, as a reader, feel if you throughly enjoyed a story that you discover is based off of a real-life tragedy?

Friday, March 11, 2016

To have beta reader or not to have…             

To have beta reader or not to have a beta was a question I had asked myself many times before publishing my book. Advice on this issue was wide spread and every answer imaginable was given. But the general consensus was to have at least one.

I decided to follow in the footsteps of an author, I personally knew who didn’t use them, and published my book without at least a beta reader.  After all, if she is good author, and I want to be successful, why not do it her way.

A friend read my book, and asked me to let her help me. Two things happened, one; I was like yes! Please! Because I felt like I was drowning in a sea of voice whispering my name in every direction. Especially with what to do next when you have a published book. And two, what did I do wrong?

Her answer was beta readers. And ummm… here is why, it is a good idea to have a beta reader. I am going to share with you what Sally one of my new beta readers said. “My main grouse is the writer’s assumption that we are privy to her thoughts without her having to tell us.  I have to say she is not the only one who is inclined to do this. “

I had to stop and think about this statement, there are few people in this world who, can write a story perfectly from start to finish, no grammar mistakes, no developmental errors, or have some kind of inconsistency. I am not one of those people. 

If you’re wondering if an editor would have found the same the mistake, yes and no, (just so you know the book was professional edited.). Editors do their best to catch as many mistakes as they can, but let’s be real. You try to catch the missing commas and other punctuations, sentence structure, developmental holes, POV, all at the same time. They’re going to miss things. Also keep in mind an editor reads hundreds of books in different genres and may not be a vivid reader in the genre you're writing, and may not have a basic understanding that while Vampire and Werewolves both have fangs. Only one needs blood to live. LOL.

 How do you know when you found a good beta reader, I will be honest with you my friend; Narella hooked me up good, and I mean real good. What I noticed about my ladies, Mikayla, Narella, Sally and Julie, they gave me a lot of feedback. I don’t mean feedback like, the book is really good, I like the plot, the character are interesting, or the kind of answers people give when they’re afraid of hurting your feelings.

 My beta readers weren’t afraid to point out my mistakes, tell me where I was confusing, lacking, and asked me question. And my favorite one, by my dear friend, Mikayla, and I quote “For the love of God, tell me what he looks like already.” LOL. Here is a perfect example of an author and editor (Who has probably edited hundreds of romance novels and almost every hero is tall, dark and handsome. Getting my point, it also goes along with what Sally said, thinking the reader is privy to the author’s thoughts) not catching the fact that there was no description of the hero, until chapter 3. No brainer on that one, right. This is how I knew I found the right group to beta readers for me they didn't tell me what I wanted to hear. 

 If you have a beta reader who isn’t giving you constructive criticism, you might want to think about looking for a new one. 

And finally don’t get offended by what they say. Their job is to critique your work from a reader’s perspective, and help make you a better writer.

Some rules are made to be broken, but now I am a firm believer having beta readers is one of those rules that shouldn’t be broken.

Happy Writing, Electra.  

Friday, January 15, 2016

New Release: Deadlocked by Libby Sinclair

New Release:  Deadlocked

GRRWG member Libby Sinclair celebrates the release of her first novella, Deadlocked, a sci-fi erotic romance.  

BLURB: Brielle Connors, former officer for the elite bounty hunters the Cavalier Security Corp, is on a mission. To get her job back and make her old boss and ex-boyfriend look like a fool. After weeks of research and leg work, she finally discovers the holy grail of bounties and sets out to reel it in. Only, the alien Tulan bounty hunter, Finn Strydom, beats her to it. Rushing to the payload and bickering all the way, the two find themselves stranded on an abandoned ship with no hope of rescue. A last minute confession leads to a hot close encounter as the two face death.

Deadlocked is available for $.99 until the end of January.