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Category: Blogs

Home > Writing > Blogs

Why I believe in time travel by Jina Bacarr

August 11, 2017 by in category A Fantasy Life, Blogs, Jina’s Book Chat, The Romance Journey, Writing tagged as , , , , , , , , ,

I first read Jack Finney’s time travel novel, TIME AND AGAIN, when I was in college.

That time in your life when you believe you can change the world. That you can build new things, create new art, set the world on a new course of diplomacy. I wanted to do all those things, but most of all, I wanted to time travel.

In Mr. Finney’s novel, he sets the stage for the time period where his hero wants to go–like a stage set–then teaches him how to use his mind to go back in time. Imagine my joy when I discovered I could do the same thing–travel back in time by using my mind.

How? you ask.

By writing my own time travel stories.

I first wrote about Naughty Paris in 1889 . . . then Love Me Forever during the Civil War in 1862 . . . and now the home front in 1943.

I’ve almost finished my novel–over 100,000 words–and I plan to enter it in the Kindle Scout program (my Civil War time travel romance LOVE ME FOREVER, is a 2015 Kindle Scout winner).

It’s a Christmas story about a woman who gets a second chance to save the man she loves from being killed in the war by going back to 1943.

I have the cover finished . . . and blurb written. I’ll update this page when I’m ready to upload the manuscript to Kindle Scout.

Till then, here’s some info about my Civil War TT romance:  

Family is the theme of LOVE ME FOREVER. Two very different women, Liberty Jordan and Pauletta Sue Buckingham, with different ideas are thrown together in a mad, crazy scheme of spying, lost love, and passionate desire for what they can’t have.

The men they love.

Do they get their men?

Well, it is a romance, but it’s also a wild dramatic journey based on actual events in the Civil War. Liberty and Pauletta Sue will make you cheer, then cry, then hold your breath when it looks like all is lost…

Civil War time traveler, belle…and spy: Love Me Forever from Jina Bacarr on Vimeo.

Go to Naughty Paris in 1889: erotic romance

Go to “Naughty Paris” this Halloween from Jina Bacarr on Vimeo.

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The 2017 Book Buyers Best Contest for Published Authors

January 8, 2017 by in category Blogs, Contests tagged as , ,

The Orange County Chapter of Romance Writers of America is proud to announce that the Book Buyer’s Best Contest for 2017 is now open.

We are looking for entrants as well as preliminary round judges. If you wish to judge please contact the contest coordinators at: bbbcontest@occrwa.org.

This award will showcase the shining excellence of published authors in novella and novel length romance fiction and mainstream fiction with a central romance. The entry deadline is April 15, 2017.

The categories are:

  • Contemporary Series Romance
  • Contemporary Single Title Romance (Over 70,000 Words)
  • Mainstream Fiction with a Central Romance
  • Historical & Regency (Both Series and Single Title)
  • Romantic Suspense & Mystery with romantic elements (Over 70,000 Words)
  • Paranormal/Time Travel/Fantasy/Futuristic Romance (Both Series and Single Title)
  • Young Adult
  • Inspirational
  • Erotic Romance
  • Novella (Specify Category) (Over 15,000 to 40,000)

GLBT entries: Authors are to place their entries in the appropriate category

Judging

The preliminary round will be judged by booksellers, librarians and romance readers. First, second and third place will be awarded in each category. Highest score in each category will advance to the final round to be judged by the Top Pick Judge (TBA).

For a complete list of the rules and the official entry form, please visit: http://occrwa.org/contests/book-buyers-best/

If you need to contact the contest coordinators, Nikki Prince and/or Sabrina Sol please email: bbbcontest@occrwa.org

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Creating the Bond of Friendship in Your Novel by Connie Vines

November 13, 2016 by in category Blogs tagged as , , , ,

Nearly every book I’ve read has a protagonist. And all of those protagonists were surrounded by several, if not a great many, friends. Within my own stories, my protagonists have quite a few friends. Among those friends, there are usually one or two, maybe three, friends that the protagonist is especially close to. One of my all time favorite series, Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead, follows best friends Lissa and Rose, who act like sisters most of the time. While reading, it’s clear that the two have known each other for a long while, see each other as their closest allies, and see their lives as them against the world. It’s obvious that they’re very close. The question is how does Mead accomplish this? How does any author establish these types of close friendships between characters without blatantly telling the reader?

If you think of your own close friendships, or your best friends, you’ll probably recognize five or more of the following in your relationship with these particular friends –

Understand without speaking.

When you’ve known someone a really long time, or have spent so much time together, you get to know the person so well that you pick up on their habits and quirks and body language. When they bite their lip, you know it’s not that they’re confused, but that the water works are about to begin and it’s time to get them out of there.  You understand each other so well that no one needs to say anything.v You might not be able to read each others’ minds, but you understand each other well enough that neither of you needs to say anything. You just do.

Tease each other.

There’s artificial teasing, there’s bully teasing, there’s flirting teasing. But among friends, it’s the way we gently point out each others’ issues and faults without being cruel, it’s how we remind each other of good times, it’s how we connect and communicate. Between best friends, teasing is just another way we talk to each other. There’s no malice, jealousy, anger, or bitterness behind it. It’s often light, fun, laughable, and in good humor. It’s a way to make your friend laugh when they’re on the verge of tears. It’s the way we build each other up when our plans fall through. Teasing is always there, but it never, ever becomes a way of putting each other down.

Rely on each other.

Through good times and bad, friends can always be relied upon to be there and help each other. There are no excuses, there is no distance, there are no events that could prevent two best buds from helping each other out in times of emotional and physical need, and friends rely on each other for that. But friends also rely on each other for comfort, for support, for encouragement, and for all the things it seems the world wants to take away from us. 

Seek each other’s advice.

Perhaps more than our parents, teachers, advisors, and mentors, we seek advice from our friends first. This might be a perfectly faulty action, but because friends understand each other and rely on each other, it’s natural that we seek advice from those we know, and who know us, best. 

Feel comfortable around one another.

As with all of the above, friends are comfortable with each other enough to seek that advice, tease each other, and rely on one another. Even more than that, friends are comfortable with and around each other that they don’t care if they do something stupid, or say something idiotic. Because they’re comfortable with each other, these things happen and no one cares, because these silly things hardly define us. It’s the same with crying, or showing how truly angry we are, or how hopeless we feel. Friends know each other so well that they be vulnerable and sensitive, and the friend won’t misuse them.

Miss each other when gone.

Probably the greatest understatement of all these, but best friends will miss each other. They might be separated for only a day, maybe one has moved away. But miss each other they will, just the same. The effect this has on each other is anyone’s guess, as everyone reacts differently to separation. Some might become depressed, others might lash out, and some might just have that aching sense of loneliness in their gut that seems like it can’t ever be filled. There is most definitely a reaction, and missing each other is just the surface.

Have similar interests/hobbies/goals/pasts.

Whether they grew up together, or met at summer camp, or took the same art class, friends have similar interests. There’s something that initially drew them together, and in writing a book you can’t just put that aside. It will always be their foundation, and while the foundation can grow, there’s that one point, however small and insignificant in the present, that brought them together.

Grow together as individuals and as friends.

If any relationship is to last and get stronger, growth is a must. Trials, tragedy, celebration, joy; all these add to and change a person, their actions, and how they consider new situations, and this happens in a friendship as well. While going through similar occurrences, if friends cannot grow together, change. Make sure to show the friends, and their friendship, grow through the story.

Don’t judge.

It’s simple. Close friends, who understand, rely, advise, and help each other, just don’t judge. Regardless of what one does, or what the other thinks about a topic, they don’t judge. They accept that they’re individuals with different views and opinions on some things. 

Don’t try to change each other.

As I said, friends accept each other. They don’t try to change one another, or mould each other into what their ideal would be, because that would be the farthest thing from acceptance. Friends understand, they don’t judge, and they don’t try to change their friends’ personalities, opinions, views, likes or dislikes, or their hopes and dreams. They accept everything about each other, and celebrate their differences.

Confide everything.

Friends naturally want to talk with each other and discuss the things that happen in their lives, but best friends, as I’m sure you know, will talk about everything. They confide everything in each other without fear of being rejected or judged. 

Fights sometimes happen, but making amends occurs quickly.

No friendship is perfect, and because there are two people involved, disagreements are bound to occur. But when fights begin, whatever the topic, close friends will try to move past the argument and come to a conclusion, generally in the form of an agreement or better understanding of one another. They won’t linger on their differing opinions, and will try to make amends as soon as they can. This leads to stronger friendships, and is a way that the friendship can grow and develop.

Can’t imagine life without each other.

Perhaps more than anything else, best friends simply can’t imagine what life would be like if they weren’t together. It’s something they don’t want to think about, and is the last thing they’ll focus on when confronted with the real possibility of lifelong separation. They’ll come up with excuses, plans, arguments, anything that might be able to change the impending separation. They literally can’t picture their life being apart, because their personalities and dreams and emotional selves are so connected.

These are just a basic few things that can comprise a close friendship. Use some, use none, but make sure you really look at the characters you have and focus on showing that closeness where it’s supposed to exist. It offers greater development of both characters, adds to the realism of the plot, and helps with the overall story.

Good luck and good writing!


Connie

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What Eccentric Writing Habits Have I Never Mentioned? By Connie Vines

October 13, 2016 by in category Blogs tagged as , , , ,

Most authors, of course, have personal eccentric writing practices. Fueled, no doubt by his or her personal muse.  Agatha Christie munched on apples in the bathtub while pondering murder plots, Flannery O’Connor crunched vanilla wafers, and Vladimir Nabokov fueled his “prefatory glow” with molasses.

Then there was the color-coding of the muses:  Alexandre Dumas, for decades, he penned all of his fiction on a particular shade of blue paper, his poetry on yellow, and his articles on pink; on one occasion, while traveling in Europe, he ran out of his precious blue paper and was forced to write on a cream-colored pad, which he was convinced made his fiction suffer. Charles Dickens was partial to blue ink, but not for superstitious reasons — because it dried faster than other colors, it allowed him to pen his fiction and letters without the drudgery of blotting. Virginia Woolf used different-colored inks in her pens — greens, blues, and purples. Purple was her favorite, reserved for letters (including her love letters to Vita Sackville-West, diary entries, and manuscript drafts. Lewis Carroll also preferred purple ink, but for much more pragmatic reasons: During his years teaching mathematics at Oxford, teachers were expected to use purple ink to correct students’ work — a habit that carried over to Carroll’s fiction.

So how do my little eccentric (or never before mentioned) writing practices measure up?  Is my personal muse quirky, dull, or out of control?

Since my quirks are normal for me, I had to think about this for a bit.

• I always drink coffee that is part of my current ‘setting’.  When my setting is New Orleans I mail order my coffee from my favorite spot.

Café du Monde.  I have my cup and saucer, and a portable mug when I writing outdoors.   I have a blue coffee pot and matching tin cup when I writing westerns (yes, the coffee is VERY strong and black).  And of course, a Starbucks cup or a Disneyland mug when my novels take place in So.Cal.

• My music and my menu planning also is linked to my settings.  All within the range of normal.  Though I have more than my fair share of coffee mugs and cups.

• I listen to diction videos on YouTube so that I am not relying on my memory for the sound of a Cajun accent, Texan’s drawl, etc.

• I visit areas on Google Earth and Zillow.  Even if I have lived or vacationed there, I may have forgotten an interesting ‘something’ I can insert into dialogue, or find a way to describe a scene.

• I talk to myself.  Or not simple little sentences.  I’m talking about a two- way conversation: “Do you think that might work?”  â€œNo.  No one is that stupid!”  â€œHow about. . .”  This is the time my husband walks by to find out who’s on the phone, or if I’m asking him a question.  The dog even pokes her head in to see what’s going on.  I’m thinking this is a bit outside of the ‘normal’ range.

• When I write I have to make certain my work space in in perfect order.  I have colored folders/pens/notebooks that match and are exclusive to the story I’m working on at the moment.

• I never enroll in an online class when I’m writing—it’s guaranteed writers’ block.  I never talk about my WIP because I mentally clock that as writing time and lose interest in the story before it’s completed.

• Whatever story I’m am working on is my favorite.

• I survive on 3 hours sleep when I am deep in a story.  I know I drink coffee, but seem to run the story in my mind when I sleep too.

• I also pick up the quirks of my heroines.  I have several friends who are in theater and said it’s a bit like ‘method acting’. Fortunately, I’m back to my state of normal a couple of weeks after typing THE END.

I think all of this part of a writer’s voice.  It is what we, as readers, look for in a story.  Hopefully, it is what my readers, enjoy about the novels, short-stories and novellas that I write too.

Happy Reading and Writing!

Connie

Visit My Author Page @ Amazon.com 

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