Category: Guest Posts

Home > Columns > Guest Posts

Creating A Page Turner by Kat Martin

August 29, 2019 by in category Guest Posts tagged as , , , , ,

“I couldn’t put it down!” Those words are some of the most satisfying comments an author can receive. Nothing pleases me more than a note from someone grumbling about staying up late to finish one of my books.


It’s music to my ears.


There are lots of ways to earn those precious words. Writing a fast-paced novel is one of them. It is certainly my goal every time I start a new book.

Beyond Danger | Kat Martin | A Slice of Orange

My latest, THE DECEPTION, was no different. I knew I would be writing Hawk Maddox’s story. Hawk had been on my mind since he first appeared in a previous novel, BEYOND DANGER. I knew what he was like—strong, determined, tough as boot leather, and at six-foot-four, two-hundred-twenty pounds, a total beefcake hunk.


He was also a bounty hunter, which made him an interesting character with an interesting job. I always try to find the hero’s perfect match, and Kate Gallagher was just right for Hawk. Tall, blonde, and curvy, she loved country music and drinking tequila at the Sagebrush Saloon.


But that was her secret side. She also owned her own business consulting firm, so she was smart and hard-working.


I like to read books that draw me in and won’t let go, books I can’t wait to pick up again to find out what’s going to happen next.


There are lots of ways to do it. Pairing down description makes the story move faster—or as Elmore Leonard once said, “I try to leave out the parts people skip.”


A Hollywood movie trick is to jump right into the scene. Leave out the the Hello, how are you? I’m fine, how are you? and just start talking.


I try to use hooks at the beginning and end of chapter, though some authors end a chapter in the middle of the action to keep you turning the pages.


I’ve found I do a lot of characterization by showing how the hero, heroine, and sub characters react in a situation, rather than telling about their past. For instance, I don’t mention what the heroine did in high school unless it’s important to how she’ll solve the problem she’s facing.


These are a few of my techniques, though every author has his own style and there is nothing wrong with any of them as long as they work.


In THE DECEPTION, Kate Gallagher is devastated when she learns her sister has been murdered. Determined to find Chrissy’s killer, Kate hires lethal bounty hunter, Hawk Maddox. Working together, they follow a trail of clues that lead them deep into the city’s underbelly. Though Hawk warns Kate of the danger, nothing he says can convince Kate to walk away.


I hope you’ll watch for THE DECEPTION and that you find it a fast-paced, high-action page-turner.

Until next time, all best wishes and happy reading, Kat


Kat Martin | A Slice of Orange
Photo by Juan Carlo, Ventura Country Star

New York Times bestselling author Kat Martin is a graduate of the University of California at Santa Barbara where she majored in Anthropology and also studied History. Currently residing in Missoula, Montana with her Western-author husband, L. J. Martin, Kat has written sixty-five Historical and Contemporary Romantic Suspense novels. More than sixteen million copies of her books are in print and she has been published in twenty foreign countries. Kat is currently at work on her next Romantic Suspense.


Books by Kat Martin

BEYOND CONTROL

Buy now!
BEYOND CONTROL

BEYOND DANGER

Buy now!
BEYOND DANGER

BEYOND REASON

Buy now!
BEYOND REASON

COME MIDNIGHT

Buy now!
COME MIDNIGHT

PIVOT

Buy now!
PIVOT

SHADOWS AT DAWN

Buy now!
SHADOWS AT DAWN

THE PERFECT MURDER

Buy now!
THE PERFECT MURDER

THE ULTIMATE BETRAYAL

Buy now!
THE ULTIMATE BETRAYAL

THE CONSPIRACY

Buy now!
THE CONSPIRACY

THE DECEPTION

Buy now!
THE DECEPTION

WAIT UNTIL DARK

Buy now!
WAIT UNTIL DARK

THE LAST GOODNIGHT

Buy now!
THE LAST GOODNIGHT

0 0 Read more

The Kissing Index by Diane Sismour

August 13, 2019 by in category Guest Posts, Writing tagged as , ,

Do your kisses reveal the relationship between your characters to the reader—those delicious tastes of nectar shared between two people? Whether you are writing an innocent first kiss in Young Adult or a smoking-hot Romance, compel the reader to finish with believable splashes of magic.

You can keep the PG-13 rating and still turn up the heat by using all five senses to capture a first kiss. If she licks her lips nervously and draws his gaze to her mouth, the anticipation mounts. Are his fingers smooth or rough against her cheek as he brushes her hair back? Body temperatures rise and the simple scent of a shampoo is intoxicating in close proximity, triggering more reactions than just his pants becoming too tight. A shortness of breath and racing hearts all lead to the moment their lips meet for the first time.

A couple with time to explore each other engages in the slow lingering dance of tongues. Heighten sexual intrigue by adding tactile sensations to capture a scene and raise the hot factor. His lips are soft, tasting musky and very male. She bites hard into his neck, eliciting a deep moan from her lover that vibrates through her. She unzips his worn jeans and her body slides slowly down his legs with the denim. How can the rough plaster against her back feel so cold, while his hands are searing her skin? The story pace builds and the intensity between your characters drives the reader to a cover-to-cover read.

Passionate kisses exchanged between lovers should leave the reader squirming in their seat hoping no one interrupts them while reading the scene. The slow exploration is over—this is full body contact and clothes are flying around the room like a clearance sale at Feline’s Basement. While lip-locked, hands arouse responses hastening along all their partner’s sexual triggers. The hard tweak of a nipple evokes gut wrenching desire, fingernails raking across his hip and lower to mark claim has him pulling her closer, and the heavy musk of sex adds vivid tension to the scenes. She kicks a drink off the side-table, the glass shatters and neither notice. They are beyond caring about anything, but what’s happening between them and your reader is too.

So, how hot are your kisses? If they need work, remember to use your senses, take time to feel through the scene and it doesn’t hurt to practice. Whether the kisses are innocent nibbles or a toe-curling lip-lock there is always another level to compel the reader into your story.

Happy Writing

~ Diane Sismour


A READABLE FEAST

Buy now!
A READABLE FEAST
FIRST IMPRESSIONS SECOND CHANGES
FUR, FEATHERS AND SCALES: Sweet, Funny, and Strange Animal Tales

LET IT SNOW

Buy now!
LET IT SNOW

ONCE AROUND THE SUN

Buy now!
ONCE AROUND THE SUN

ONCE UPON A TIME

Buy now!
ONCE UPON A TIME

0 0 Read more

The Deception by Kat Martin

August 8, 2019 by in category Guest Posts tagged as , , , , , ,

Kat Martin | A Slice of Orange
Photo by Juan Carlo, Ventura Country Star

New York Times bestselling author Kat Martin is a graduate of the University of California at Santa Barbara where she majored in Anthropology and also studied History. Currently residing in Missoula, Montana with her Western-author husband, L. J. Martin, Kat has written sixty-five Historical and Contemporary Romantic Suspense novels. More than sixteen million copies of her books are in print and she has been published in twenty foreign countries. Kat is currently at work on her next Romantic Suspense.


As I was finishing the last few pages of upcoming novel, THE DECEPTION, Hawk Maddox and Kate Gallagher’s story, I got an interesting phone call. I’m fortunate to be represented by a literary agency in New York as well as an agency in Hollywood.

Beyond Reason | Kat Martin | A Slice of Orange


Since I love movies, I’ve always wanted to see one of my books made into a feature film. The Hollywood agency phoned about my novel BEYOND REASON. The story is set in Texas, an action adventure that revolves around the rivalry between Carly Drake, who inherits her grandfather’s failing trucking firm, and powerful, multimillionaire Lincoln Cain, her number one competitor.


Worse yet, Carly needs Linc’s help to find the men who are willing to kill to keep her from making Drake Trucking successful again. Big money is involved. And very big danger.


The transaction involving the rights was exciting from beginning to end, with David Haring at TinRes Entertainment making the offer, several agents negotiating the terms, and me thrilled to have a chance to see one of my books made into a film. Most likely, the story will be a made-for-TV movie, but it is also optioned with the possibility of a major motion picture or TV series. I would love to see 6’5” Lincoln Cain on a weekly TV show!


Once the deal was completed, I went back to work on THE DECEPTION, which is being released September 10th. I hope you will watch for it and that you will also keep an eye out for Linc and Carly’s movie. It takes years to complete a film, but I promise to keep you posted on details as they come in.


Till then happy reading and all best wishes, Kat


Media Links

Website
Monthy Contest Link
Twitter
Facebook
Goodreads
Instagram


PUBLISHERS WEEKLY REVIEW for THE DECEPTION

Martin revs the power from page one of this fast-paced romantic thriller, the second novel in her Maximum Security series (after The Conspiracy). After Kate Gallagher’s runaway younger sister, Chrissy, is murdered, she’s determined to find the killer, no matter what it takes. Bounty hunter Jason “Hawk” Maddox, a former Marine, doesn’t do relationships, but he’s quite willing to dance with Kate and start nudging her toward his bed; then she blurts out that her sister was killed. When Kate hires Hawk’s employer, Maximum Security, to investigate the murder, Martin immediately begins leading her well-drawn characters through a high-octane plot with hair-raising twists and turns, skillfully dragging red herrings everywhere. A subplot about a terrified, trafficked 13-year-old crackles with undeniable energy, as does the hot romance between Kate and Hawk. Even Martin’s most despicable characters (especially pedophile Denny Rayburg) are complex, adding to readers’ emotional investment. Fans of romantic suspense won’t be able to put this book down until the final page is turned, and Martin is likely to recruit thriller readers as well as romance fans with this snappy story. Agent: Alexandra Machinist, ICM. (Sept.)


Books by Kat Martin

BEYOND CONTROL

Buy now!
BEYOND CONTROL

BEYOND DANGER

Buy now!
BEYOND DANGER

BEYOND REASON

Buy now!
BEYOND REASON

COME MIDNIGHT

Buy now!
COME MIDNIGHT

PIVOT

Buy now!
PIVOT

SHADOWS AT DAWN

Buy now!
SHADOWS AT DAWN

THE PERFECT MURDER

Buy now!
THE PERFECT MURDER

THE ULTIMATE BETRAYAL

Buy now!
THE ULTIMATE BETRAYAL

THE CONSPIRACY

Buy now!
THE CONSPIRACY

THE DECEPTION

Buy now!
THE DECEPTION

WAIT UNTIL DARK

Buy now!
WAIT UNTIL DARK

THE LAST GOODNIGHT

Buy now!
THE LAST GOODNIGHT

0 0 Read more

Researching Columbia by Kat Martin

February 8, 2019 by in category Apples & Oranges by Marianne H. Donley, Guest Posts tagged as , , , , , , ,

Researching Columbia

Sometimes what you think is going to be a great idea for a novel turns out to be a whole lot of work! That’s what happens when you realize the idea you are now in the middle of isn’t going to work the way you thought it would.

In THE CONSPIRACY, I got the idea for a book that started in Texas, moved to the Caribbean, and ended up in Venezuela.  With all the trouble country is having, I thought it would be a great setting for a Romantic Thriller.

Unfortunately, after I was well into the book and started doing the necessary research for that segment of the story, I realized the geography I needed, and the rural setting didn’t exist in Venezuela.

I spent days digging around in South America, looking for a rainforest that could be reasonably reached from the Caribbean island of Aruba. Nothing worked.

The Conspiracy | Kat Martin | A Slice of Orange

Finally, I realized there actually was spot that exactly fit the image in my head. (This happens to writers all the time. No one knows why.) The spot was in Colombia, a place I had no desire to write about, but fit the story exactly.

So I went to work researching a remote area of Columbia accessible from Aruba.

Chase Garrett, the hero of THE CONSPIRACY, with the help of Harper Winston, the woman who hires him to find her missing brother, wind up in extreme danger in the Columbian tropical forest. It’s a very unusual place that required hours of research, but in the end, it was worth it.

I had my work cut out for me, finding which animals, reptiles, and birds lived in the area.  Reading about the customs of the indigenous tribes, and the politic. Rebel armies inhabit the forest, and they don’t like intruders.

The research made THE CONSPIRACY one of the most challenging books I’ve written, but hopefully it’s one of my most interesting. I hope you’ll look for THE CONPIRACY, the first of my Maximum Security series, and that you enjoy. Until next time, very best wishes and happy reading,

Kat

Kat Martin | A Slice of Orange
Photo by Juan Carlo, Ventura Country Star

New York Times bestselling author Kat Martin is a graduate of the University of California at Santa Barbara where she majored in Anthropology and also studied History. Currently residing in Missoula, Montana with her Western-author husband, L. J. Martin, Kat has written sixty-five Historical and Contemporary Romantic Suspense novels. More than sixteen million copies of her books are in print and she has been published in twenty foreign countries. Her last novel, BEYOND CONTROL, hit both big lists … NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER LIST as well as the USA TODAY BEST-SELLING BOOKS LIST. Kat is currently at work on her next Romantic Suspense.


A selection of books by Kat Martin

BEYOND CONTROL

Buy now!
BEYOND CONTROL

BEYOND DANGER

Buy now!
BEYOND DANGER

BEYOND REASON

Buy now!
BEYOND REASON

COME MIDNIGHT

Buy now!
COME MIDNIGHT

PIVOT

Buy now!
PIVOT

SHADOWS AT DAWN

Buy now!
SHADOWS AT DAWN

THE PERFECT MURDER

Buy now!
THE PERFECT MURDER

THE ULTIMATE BETRAYAL

Buy now!
THE ULTIMATE BETRAYAL

THE CONSPIRACY

Buy now!
THE CONSPIRACY

THE DECEPTION

Buy now!
THE DECEPTION

WAIT UNTIL DARK

Buy now!
WAIT UNTIL DARK

THE LAST GOODNIGHT

Buy now!
THE LAST GOODNIGHT
0 0 Read more

Balancing the Toddler-Mom and Writing Lives—Achievable or Myth? by Melinda S. Collins

November 28, 2018 by in category Guest Posts tagged as , , ,

Balancing | Melinda S. Collins | A Slice of Orange

 

Balance. My goodness, I have a love/hate relationship with this idea of having enough time for everything in my life—dayjob, daughter and hubby, keeping the home in a semi-state of controlled chaos, reading, writing the next great American novel. Oh, and taking time out for myself so I don’t lose my mind.

 

Every now and then I’m able to get into a good juggling rhythm. By every now and then I mean about every 1-2 months. Because, Murphy’s Law, if anything can go wrong, it will. Which means one can only wonder whether balance is truly achievable or just a big ‘ole myth.

 

Over the last few months, I’ve thought quite a lot about my own balancing act, and that lead me to first review the definition via Webster’s online:

 

Balance [bal-uhns] Noun

 

  1. A state of equilibrium or equipoise; equal distribution of weight, amount, etc.
  2. Something used to produce equilibrium; counterpoise.
  3. Mental steadiness or emotional stability; habit of calm behavior, judgment, etc.

 

While each of these definitions are on point, that last one is the epitome of my current life goal: creating a habit of calming behavior so I can have mental steadiness and emotional stability.

 

So now you may be wondering how the hell I’m going to manage that achievement, eh? I hear you. I have a job in the managed healthcare industry that I am very good at and really love (most days), a headstrong, energetic, and fast-growing two-year old daughter (read: stubborn, exhausting, and teething), a wonderful, supportive husband, a home I love but never devote enough time to its upkeep, and a novel I finished 2 years ago that needs heavy revisions so I can finally get it into the inboxes of the dozen agents/editors who’ve requested pages. Amongst all of that, I’ve got additional aspirations for furthering both my managed care and writing careers, expanding our little family (soon-ish), and getting my daughter involved in group activities. Whew! I may have been hit with a little anxiety just typing all that out.

 

So yeah, how the hell am I going to manage all of this? Well, luckily that wonderful husband I’ve mentioned has committed to my dreams in the same way I have, because in order for me to obtain the balance I need, his foundation of love and support will be invaluable (I’m also providing the same to him for his dreams). And because of that, I can confidently share my top five tips for balancing the writing and mom life while keeping your sanity… cause it’s not a myth. smile

 

  • Know your priorities. For me, family will always come first, no matter what. As long as my family is happy, loved, and functioning, everything else in my life is a bonus. This is where my dayjob comes into play as well, because my pay check greatly contributes to the roof over my family’s heads and the healthy, homemade meals they get every evening.
  • Goals are a non-negotiable. Without an end goal in mind, you cannot create a roadmap to achieving that said goal. Part of my 2019 goals includes making myself accountable to not only my family, but a critique partner. Next month I will send them my writerly goals for the first quarter of 2019, then I will sit down and create my roadmap for meeting those goals by the end of March. Then rinse and repeat for quarters two, three, and four. *smile*
  • Schedules are a necessary evil. Without a schedule, all you have are the destinations (goals). So in order to say you know how to achieve your goals, you need preplanned, dedicated, uninterrupted work time. For me that means every Saturday from 7am to 4pm is sacred. I work between forty and fifty hours any given week, and my boss will tell you that in that time I complete the work of 1.5 people. This means that during the week it’s very hard to do anything writerly unless it’s a simple beta read, because, let’s be honest, by the time dinner and bath time are done and the kid’s in the bed fast asleep, it’s nearly 8:30 and I’m t-minus one hour away from passing out myself. So as long as I have dedicated time to work on my writing, I can allow the chaos of family life to overtake my weeknights without worry.
  • A solid support system is key. In order to even stick to the schedule you’ve set, you need a support system that’ll not only make sure the toddler’s fed, changed, entertained, and safe, but also remind you they are sacrificing their time in order for you to have those few, precious hours. Lately my husband and I split our weekends: I have Saturday until 4 and he has Sunday until 4, after that time on both days we spend time with our daughter together. Each Saturday he’ll tell me to get my writing done, which is both a wonderful support and reminder that he’s counting on me to use my time wisely. And not just him but the critique partners who then take their time to review my work and provide invaluable feedback.
  • Be accountable to yourself, first and foremost. None of the above will work if you are not going to be accountable to yourself. After all, the main person you’re letting down by not achieving your goals is YOU. I’ve learned this the hard way, over and over again and, truth be told, I’m sick and tired of setting goals and never being able to check them off as complete, because I know that eventually what’ll happen is ten years will go by without a damn thing accomplished and I’ll be nothing but regretful and disappointed in myself. And that’s not the example I want to set for my daughter.

 

BONUS TIP

 

Celebrate. Every. Accomplishment.

 

When my kid actually follows instructions and puts away all the canned food she stacked throughout the kitchen? cheers REWARD.

When she lets me drop her off at daycare without a five-star, soap-opera-worthy dramatic meltdown. cheers REWARD.

And here’s my favorite: When she actually pees in her potty vs the bathroom floor? cheers REWARD.

 

Seriously. The reward system works, and it’s not just for kids. Even as adults, celebrating every accomplishment, no matter how small, sends a signal somewhere in our brain that then keeps us motivated to do more. To reach higher. To push ourselves beyond our limits because we can do this!

 

Because I need to drink my own Kool-Aid on this one, here are the writerly accomplishments I’m going to celebrate this week, as they will push me into the next project like nothing else:

  • I am a two-time Lawson Academy Immersion Grad. This means I not only participated and stuffed my brain with a ton of amazing craft lessons via online classes, but I immersed myself in those lessons for 5 days with Margie Lawson and small group of like-minded writers.
  • My second novel, Retribution, placed first in its category in the 2013 MCRW Melody of Love contest.
  • My latest novel, Case of Magic, has a dozen requests from the editors/agents I’ve pitched to at conventions.
  • My first venture into the short story world, One Night in December, will be released as part of an amazing anthology, Once Upon the Longest Night, on December 21st—the Winter Solstice, aka the longest night of the year. (How brilliant is that?)

 

‘Scuse me a second while I fix a celebratory cocktail.

 

Ok, so in closing… while I’ve been cooking on the things I need to do to obtain balance in my life, trust me when I say that it wasn’t until these last few weeks that my eyes were opened WIDE. Because of that, my drive to hold fast to these tips, follow and incorporate them every day has only grown ten-fold. And if I can make someone else’s life a little easier by sharing my hard-learned balancing lessons? Well, that’s a cherry on top of the messy cake known as my life. J

 

 

Happy writing! cheers

melinda | Melinda S. Collins | A Slice of Orange

 

 

 

Melinda S. Collins

Paranormal & Urban Fantasy Author

www.melindascollins.com


ONCE UPON THE LONGEST NIGHT
Buy now!

 

 


 

2 0 Read more

Copyright ©2017 A Slice of Orange. All Rights Reserved. ~PROUDLY POWERED BY WORDPRESS ~ CREATED BY ISHYOBOY.COM

>