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Sunday, March 27, 2016

The Dreaded Synopsis



It's a dirty word to most authors. How are you supposed to turn 80,000 words into one measly little page, without losing all the juicy parts of the story? It's not possible right?

I'll admit... I used to hate synopses. I actually had to write one today (that spawned this blog post) for a YA Sci-Fi that I'm starting to query in the wide world of agents. I sat at the laptop staring at the blank page until I wanted to pick the computer up and throw it across the room. 

I even thought about culling any agents who asked for a synopsis and only querying those who didn't. But what a stupid idea that was! I would be the only loser in that scenario. I came to my senses pretty quickly after that thought.

Now, don't get me wrong... I know I can write a synopsis. I've written them before, it's more that I didn't WANT to. You know that pile of dishes in your sink? You could wash them, you have the know how and you've washed plenty of dishes before. But it's not a fun task and how nice would it be if someone else did them for you? You get it? That's how I felt. I just didn't want to do it.



I decided to refresh myself on the skills, hoping to be inspired. And I was! I stumbled across a Blog called Pub(lishing) Crawl and they had a beautifully described formula for writing a synopsis. I took the examples and did each step, just thinking about that one small section of my story, rather than as a whole. I answered each section, moving quickly and easily through the process. By the time I'd reached the end, I couldn't believe how EASY it had been. And it was fun too!

Authors -  if you're struggling to write a synopsis, or just want an easier way to do it than just forcing it out, click the link above or HERE and follow this simple process. You won't regret it.

I'm a big believer is supporting other authors and paying it forward. I hope that this helps some others. We've got it tough enough without stressing about synopses. 

Go forth and write, my friends!

What's in a Genre?

I hear a lot of people saying that you should pick a genre and stick to it. But my creativity doesn't work like that. My first few published novels were all contemporary romance, but what I'm writing now is YA.

Various genres of YA interest me. I've spent a lot of time writing a 4 book YA fantasy series about Time Traveling Witches, I've also written an Angel book which is classed as Paranormal, and I've just finished the first novel in a Sci-Fi trilogy.

Who's to say that I can't write across genre? I've asked this question to a few Literary Agents on Twitter. I won't name names because I don't want to put pressure on anyone to start getting submissions outside their wish list, but many of the agents have agreed that as long as the writing is good and plot is strong, it doesn't matter about the genre.

So, why do authors stick to genres? This is a very interested topic for me that I'm going to explore a little. If you have success in Romance (for example) the traditional publishing idea is that you keep your audience and they follow all your books. This works well, building a loyal audience and giving them the types of books that they love.

BUT... I argue the exact opposite. Wouldn't it make sense that you'd develop a wider audience if you covered many genres? And what if one of your romance readers decided to try out one of your sci-fi books because they enjoy your writing, and they discover a whole new world of books to explore.

I'm not saying the traditional way of sticking to genre is wrong, it's not wrong at all. I just don't want to stick to it. Maybe that means taking a risk. Maybe that means I'm not a rule follower, but I think it's right FOR ME.

I want to write romance. But I also want to write Fantasy and Sci-Fi. I don't want to define my books by genre, preferring to be known for good story telling and endearing characters.

We'll just have to see if I can cross genres successfully. But only time will tell me that.

I Wrote A New Book!

Hello friends,

It's been a long time since I posted, I've been mostly active on Twitter. But I'm feeling an urge to start blogging again so here I am. What have I been up to since we last spoke? A LOT!

My romance novel was published 5 years ago! That fact just blows my mind, and I've published a few other things since then under a pseudonym, but I'm coming back to my origins and wanting to start publishing YA books.



YA is what I love to read and what I love to write as well. In the past few years I've written several YA novels, and now I'm working on starting to get them published. Keep your eyes on this blog and my Twitter for news and updates.



I spent a month in the USA late last year and it was wonderful. I drove from California all the way across to New Orleans. I saw the Grand Canton, Monument Valley, Santa Fe, Texas, Memphis and so many other amazing things. It really was the trip of a life time. I'm aware that a lot of people find travel stories boring so I won't retell them all here, but if you're interested, just shoot me a message and I'd be happy to share some stories.

One funny story that I'll share is when we were at the Grand Canyon.

My friend and I decided that we would do some laundry and walked from our cabin to the laundry facilities in the small town like area. Along the way we walked past a family of deer who were eating from the trees and we stopped to take a few pictures. (Below) They must have had the slowest washing machines ever because by the time our clothes were dry, it was pitch black outside. There were no street lights, so we literally couldn't see two feet in front of us. We tried to use the flashlights on our iPhones, but I have to tell you, they DO NOT WORK very well in real all-encompassing darkness. We ended up stumbling around in the pitch black (my phone battery died) for over an hour, shivering from the cold and starving hungry. We'd lost the path and were walking thought the forest, completely lost. I was starting to think we were actually going to die. Our guide had warned us about bears in the woods and we kept hearing animal noises all around us. We saw a far off light in the distance and ran towards it, arms full of clean laundry. We'd found the cabins - but neither of us could remember our cabin number. We started peering through windows trying to see our belongings. Luckily we found our door and were safely inside, but there was a few minutes I thought we were goners. In hindsight we laugh about it, and I have to admit it was ridiculous. The next day, in the sun light, we saw how close the laundry room actually was to our cabin. Turns out we'd been walking in circles around it all that time.




Wednesday, November 5, 2014

The Playboy's Princess Book Blitz



Title: The Playboy's Princess
Author: Joy Fulcher
Add to Goodreads
Buy from Amazon | Barnes & Noble

What do a Hollywood playboy and a Disney Princess have in common? Not a lot, but they can fake it. 

Jade Pratt is living a tough life, surviving paycheck to paycheck by working at Disneyland. She'd like nothing more than to be swept off her feet by her own Prince Charming. 

Drew Malik is living what appears to be a charmed life: He’s the son of a famous actor and has money, women…anything he could want. But he's burning out in a life filled with booze and one night stands. When he finds out his trust fund is blocked until he either turns thirty or gets married, his friends plot to rescue him by placing an ad in the paper to find him a bride -- fast. 

When Jade answers the ad, the pair meet up and agree to an arrangement that will solve both their problems. But when their fake marriage elicits real feelings and real problems, they're both forced to re-evaluate their deal. 

Happily ever after was never the intention...but what if it's their destiny?











Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Review of Blocked by Jennifer Lane

BLOCKED
By Jennifer Lane



New Adult Contemporary/Sports Romance
Released October 21, 2014
College freshman Lucia Ramirez has a secret crush on Dane Monroe. He’s a tall drink of water — blond, brash, and one hell of a volleyball player. Hijole. Lucia hopes her volleyball scholarship to his school will make him notice her.
Too bad what’s noticeable is Dane’s obvious hatred for Lucia. Her family’s politics contradict everything he stands for. And politics are front and center in both their families. Dane’s mother is about to face Lucia’s father in the race for US President.
When Secret Service throws them together, Dane can’t deny his frustrating attraction to Lucia’s athletic curves and sweet faith in the world. Amid the intense pressure of college athletics and presidential politics, can opposites not just attract, but overcome overwhelming odds to be together? Or do their differences block their match from the start?



About the Author
Get psyched for romance with psychologist/author (psycho author) Jennifer Lane! By day she witnesses growth in her psychotherapy clients, and by night she wrangles misbehaving fictional characters as she writes sports romance and romantic suspense with a psychological twist. She can’t decide which is more fun.

A swimmer and volleyball player in college, Jen wove some of her own experiences into Streamline—a military mystery about swimmers. And readers can dip their toes into Jen’s world of swimming romance by sampling her free New Adult novella Swim Recruit.

College volleyball romance Blocked is Jen’s newest release, launching 10-21-14. Peek inside big-time college sports and even bigger national politics when the offspring of two presidential candidates find out whether opposites really do attract, or their match is blocked from the start.

Stories of redemption interest Jen the most, especially the healing power of love. She is also the author of The Conduct Series, a romantic suspense trilogy that includes With Good Behavior, Bad Behavior, and On Best Behavior. Ultimately, whether writing or reading, Jen loves stories that make her laugh and cry.
In her spare time she enjoys exercising, attending book club, hanging out with her plus-size, “I’m not fat, I’m big-boned” Izzie cat, and visiting her sisters and their families in Chicago and Hilton Head.



MY REVIEW

4 Stars


What can I say about this book, except that I loved it. I've read from this author before (another sports themed novel about swimming and domestic violence - Streamline - which was brilliant) so I was really excited to read this. Volleyball isn't a sport that I have much knowledge in, and apart from uncoordinated attempts in high school, fifteen years ago, I've never played either. But I should have known better than to worry I wouldn't understand. Jennifer does a great job of weaving the sports theme into the story without it feeling like a text book.

Can I just talk for a minute about how well written the characters are in this book? Dane is a rich and swoon-worthy character who stayed on my mind after I'd finished the book, and I loved that he was real and not perfect all the time. His chemistry with Lucia was sizzling and kept me turning pages to see their next interaction. 

Not being an American, the political stuff could have had the potential to be dry and uninteresting for me, but it wasn't. I don't know a lot about the American political parties, but loved the idea of two opposing party's leaders having their children fall in love - it gave the story a real Romeo-Juliet feel.

I don't want to give any spoilers, so all I'm going to say is that this book is excellent, you'll love the characters and get totally caught up in the story. This one is worth a read! 


Sunday, August 24, 2014

Cover Reveal - BLOCKED by Jennifer Lane

COVER REVEAL
BLOCKED
By Jennifer Lane



New Adult Contemporary/Sports Romance
Releasing October 21, 2014
College freshman Lucia Ramirez has a secret crush on Dane Monroe. He’s a tall drink of water — blond, brash, and one hell of a volleyball player. Hijole. Lucia hopes her volleyball scholarship to his school will make him notice her.
Too bad what’s noticeable is Dane’s obvious hatred for Lucia. Her family’s politics contradict everything he stands for. And politics are front and center in both their families. Dane’s mother is about to face Lucia’s father in the race for US President.
When Secret Service throws them together, Dane can’t deny his frustrating attraction to Lucia’s athletic curves and sweet faith in the world. Amid the intense pressure of college athletics and presidential politics, can opposites not just attract, but overcome overwhelming odds to be together? Or do their differences block their match from the start?

If you would like to participate in the Release Event and/or Request to Review BLOCKED, you can find out more information HERE.

GIVEAWAY
Jennifer Lane is giving away a $10 Amazon Gift Card and an Advanced Reader Copy of BLOCKED on her Facebook page! You can enter HERE.

About the Author
Get psyched for romance with psychologist/author (psycho author) Jennifer Lane! By day she witnesses growth in her psychotherapy clients, and by night she wrangles misbehaving fictional characters as she writes sports romance and romantic suspense with a psychological twist. She can’t decide which is more fun.

A swimmer and volleyball player in college, Jen wove some of her own experiences into Streamline—a military mystery about swimmers. And readers can dip their toes into Jen’s world of swimming romance by sampling her free New Adult novella Swim Recruit.

College volleyball romance Blocked is Jen’s newest release, launching 10-21-14. Peek inside big-time college sports and even bigger national politics when the offspring of two presidential candidates find out whether opposites really do attract, or their match is blocked from the start.

Stories of redemption interest Jen the most, especially the healing power of love. She is also the author of The Conduct Series, a romantic suspense trilogy that includes With Good Behavior, Bad Behavior, and On Best Behavior. Ultimately, whether writing or reading, Jen loves stories that make her laugh and cry.
In her spare time she enjoys exercising, attending book club, hanging out with her plus-size, “I’m not fat, I’m big-boned” Izzie cat, and visiting her sisters and their families in Chicago and Hilton Head.



Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Motivation

I'm so motivated at the moment. I'm working hard on a new business venture that I'm starting up and hoping to roll out later this year.

I'm hoping to combat Mental Health Discrimination with creative writing. How am I going to do that, you might ask... well I have a plan. It's a long thought out plan that I've actually been working towards for over a year. I'm running writing workshops for people with mental illness to help them learn to express themselves creatively.

I want to expand this to going into schools and giving creative writing workshops to children and young people to help educate about emotions and discrimination. I really enjoy doing this work as it brings my two passions together, social work and writing.

I'm open to tips, ideas, suggestions, feedback... any thoughts you have about this.

I already have a solid plan of action but I'm always open to feedback. If anyone has contacts in schools or know of people who would be interested in a workshop about creatively battling mental health stigma through writing and other exercises... please email me - hannahdowning81@gmail.com