A Slice of Orange

Home

Is the World Reopening?

October 4, 2022 by in category Pets, Romance & Lots of Suspense by Linda O. Johnston

I think it is! At least, I’ve attended more in-person events recently than I had in ages, and more to come.

Yes, I did go to a few small local events in person now and then before but not many. Mostly, I attended on Zoom. And I did go to several concerts at the Hollywood Bowl, getting seats in areas where it wasn’t very crowded.

But last month I attended an actual writers’ conference, Bouchercon, which was in Minneapolis this year. Fun conference, and it was definitely enjoyable to meet up with people I’d known before and to make new friends.

I also attended a gumbo party given by my local Mystery Writers of America chapter recently. And I went to a physical meeting of my local Sisters in Crime chapter as well. 

And upcoming is an event being thrown by Orange County Romance Writers, a Celebration of Romance.

More to come? Most likely. For one thing, next year’s Bouchercon will be in San Diego, and the Romance Writers of America conference will be in Anaheim. Since I live in Los Angeles, both are already beckoning to me. 

And I haven’t even mentioned some upcoming family travel plans. Yes, there’ll be more people around than I was used to for a while.

I doubt it’s only me. Are you starting to get out there in the world more yet? It’s still a bit scary. Though things have improved, people are still getting bad cases of Covid, including a friend of mine, and some are even dying.

But hope is increasing, as well as events!

~Linda

 

Some of Linda’s Many Books

BAD TO THE BONE

Buy now!
BAD TO THE BONE

BEAGLEMANIA

Buy now!
BEAGLEMANIA

BEAR WITNESS

Buy now!
BEAR WITNESS
COLTON 911: CAUGHT IN THE CROSSFIRE
COLTON FIRST RESPONDER (The Coltons of Mustang Valley)

COVERT ALLIANCE

Buy now!
COVERT ALLIANCE

FOR A GOOD PAWS

Buy now!
FOR A GOOD PAWS

GUARDIAN K-9 ON CALL

Buy now!
GUARDIAN K-9 ON CALL

HER UNDERCOVER REFUGE

Buy now!
HER UNDERCOVER REFUGE

HOUNDS ABOUND

Buy now!
HOUNDS ABOUND

PICK AND CHEWS

Buy now!
PICK AND CHEWS

PROTECTOR WOLF

Buy now!
PROTECTOR WOLF

SECOND CHANCE SOLDIER

Buy now!
SECOND CHANCE SOLDIER

THE MORE THE TERRIER

Buy now!
THE MORE THE TERRIER

TO CATCH A TREAT

Buy now!
TO CATCH A TREAT

TRAINED TO PROTECT

Buy now!
TRAINED TO PROTECT
UNDERCOVERING COLTON’S FAMILY SECRETS

UNLUCKY CHARMS

Buy now!
UNLUCKY CHARMS

VISIONARY WOLF (Alpha Force)

Buy now!
VISIONARY WOLF (Alpha Force)

2 0 Read more

Micromanaging your Manuscript During Editing #5

October 3, 2022 by in category Editing Your Novel Together by E. J. Williams, Partners in Crime by Janet Elizabeth Lynn & Will Zeilinger tagged as , , , , ,

Editing Your Novel Together

Micromanaging your Manuscript During Editing #5

By E.J. Williams

(Janet Elizabeth Lynn & Will Zeilinger)

Writing together as E. J. Williams, husband and wife, Will Zeilinger and Janet Elizabeth Lynn author the INTER-NATIONAL CRIME FILES, a hardboiled/thriller detective series that takes the reader to 1960s southern California, then on to international locales.

          Even after you’ve written the best book in the world, the pesky task of editing rears its ugly head! To those of you who love editing…our hats are off to you. We have come up with several suggestions that may help ease the editing process, whether you are editing your book for your editor, publisher, agent, or yourself.

          Micromanage each chapter when you edit. Start big, the chapters, then move to scenes and last sentences. Once you get to the sentence stage, fix every tiny problem or error you find. We know, when you are done, you can probably recite your manuscript by heart, but this is necessary.

          Though this mind-numbing task is necessary, it can bring about a great deal of pride when the process is complete. As a couple who write together, we have found these tips work well whether you are working alone or with someone.

And yes…we are still married!

Website: Janet Elizabeth Lynn

Website: Will Zeilinger                 

Some of Janet’s and Will’s Books

DESERT ICE

Buy now!
DESERT ICE

GAME TOWN

Buy now!
GAME TOWN

SLICK DEAL

Buy now!
SLICK DEAL

SLIVERS OF GLASS

Buy now!
SLIVERS OF GLASS

STRANGE MARKINGS

Buy now!
STRANGE MARKINGS
0 0 Read more

A Chat with Author Fae Rowen by Jann Ryan

October 2, 2022 by in category Archives, Jann says . . . tagged as , ,

From our archives: A Chat with Fae Rowen

Fae Rowen discovered the romance genre after years as a science fiction freak. Writing futuristics and medieval paranormals, she jokes that she can live anywhere but the present. As a mathematician, she knows life’s a lot more fun when you get to define your world and its rules.

Punished, oh-no, that’s published as a co-author of a math textbook, she yearns to hear personal stories about finding love from those who read her books, rather than the horrors of calculus lessons gone wrong. She is grateful for good friends who remind her to do the practical things in life like grocery shop, show up at the airport for a flight and pay bills.

A “hard” scientist who avoided writing classes like the plague, she now shares her brain with characters who demand that their stories be told. Amazing, gifted critique partners keep her on the straight and narrow.

 

Jann: We’re here today speaking with author Fae Rowen just days after the launch of the first book in her young adult science fiction romance series. Let’s get started.

 

Jann: How exciting! Fae, you just launched the first book in your P.R.I.S.M. Series. How does it feel?

Fae: This is going to sound funny, but it seems that all my friends are more excited than I am. I’m very happy to finally share this story, but even though I have lots of work still to do—there’s marketing and social media to do, PRISM 2 to write, another series to revise the first two books that are already written, and a third series that I’ve finished the first two books “in my head”—for now, I’m learning how to make social media more user-friendly for me. Next week I’ll start plotting and writing PRISM 2 and begin the final revision of Keeping Athena, the first book in my adult science fiction romance series. I’ve been working such long hours for the past eighteen months, it’s nice to just take a breather and bask a little in the congratulations. And…there is a kind of sadness that I’m not hanging out with these people in the same way anymore.

 

Jann: Can you tell us what preparation you did for the launch of this series?

Fae: More than five years ago, Jenny Hansen, Laura Drake, Sharla Rae and I started a blog for writers: Writers in the Storm. Jenny said we needed a platform for when we got published, so I climbed on the blog train along with them. It took a year before I finally understood the technology and idea behind a blog for writers.

Everyone says to write the best book you can, so I did. Every chapter went through the WITS critique shredder. I probably re-wrote the beginning of the book eight times. When I finished the book, I had an hour-long “session” with Michael Hauge. I felt like I’d been steam-rolled, but his questions and suggestions helped me clarify the soft-points in the book that I hadn’t seen. It’s amazing what he can cover in sixty minutes! I entered it in half a dozen contests to get feedback. Young adult science fiction is not a large sub-genre, so I didn’t expect much, but it finaled in just about every contest. I took it to an Immersion Class with Margie Lawson. Because I wanted to put out the best book I could, I worked with Tiffany Yates Martin, my editor, through four revisions to bring out themes I hadn’t even known were there. Remember, I’m a math major who avoided writing classes. I’m a pantser who abhors plotting and cringes when someone asks the theme or turning points of my novel. Luckily, I’ve always been a voracious reader, so those story-telling “landmarks” have been absorbed by osmosis. (More on this below in the answer to question #3.)

Eighteen months ago, when I decided to self-publish, I attended as many of the self-pubbing workshops and panels at RWA 2016 San Diego as I could. I filled a notebook with tips, timelines, and scheduling calendars. I thought I’d have my first book out (I was thinking it would be Keeping Athena) within six months. Ha! That deadline got pushed back four months, then another four, then two more, then two more. What caused all the changes? I was very picky about my cover, so that took two months longer than I’d anticipated. (But I love the results from Deranged Doctor Designs. They are marvelous to work with.) I reworked my website, with help from June Stevens Westerfield. I looked at other author’s newsletters and websites. I took a social media class. A few months later I started looking at my Facebook page once every two weeks. I started a Pinterest site to collect pictures and quotes that are pertinent to my genre in general and my books, specifically. Both Keeping Athena and P.R.I.S.M. required a fourth pass with Tiffany, requiring another couple of months. I joined a blog of YA authors, and I started telling people in my circle of acquaintances that I had written a book. (I have this secretive streak…)

Jann: Your characters in P.R.I.S.M. – Jericho, O’Neill and Cal – how did they come to life?

Fae: I don’t get inspiration about characters. The weird thing is, long before I ever start typing, my characters and their story show up in my brain. Don’t ask me how that works. One morning, I wake up, and they’re there. They aren’t fully fleshed out and I don’t know much more than the beginning and the end of the book, but I hang out with them. If they are persistent enough and I’m engaged in their lives, I write their story.

A very spiritual friend says she thinks I channel my stories. If that’s true, I wish I channeled better writing! I know my characters—and I believe that the exile world of Prism is also a character—very well. I’ve “lived” in their heads and in their surroundings. I know why they react as they do because I know their backstory. In the early drafts, when someone asked a question about some detail I invariably left out—because heck, I live there—I know the answer immediately. This has happened during pitches with agents and editors and they seem shocked at the information I can give them about what doesn’t appear in the book.

When I started P.R.I.S.M. I was hiking fifteen miles a week and eating more than a normal person would of protein shakes and bars. On the beautiful trails I wondered what it would be like if there were no ducks or squirrels or rabbits or lizards. I remembered what the Middle East was like when I spent a month there a few years ago. Long stretches of desolate sand dunes, very different food, a language I didn’t understand. I’ve been all over the world, but I couldn’t even figure out the road signs. All these bits of my past end up in the world of Prism.

Music has always been important in my life. I wrote my first book to only one song. I played that song the entire nine months I wrote that story. I played the song at work, too. Sometimes, brave co-workers asked if I had any other CD’s. Now before I start a book, I’m lucky to hear new songs on the radio that mesh well with the story. I end up with a playlist for each character, so when I’m writing a scene in that character’s POV, I listen to that playlist. For instance, Guardian (Alanis Morissette), Bring Me to Life (Evanescence) and I Drove All Night (Cyndi Lauper) are three of O’Neill’s songs, while every time Cal thinks about Jericho, it’s He’s a Pirate from Pirates of the Caribbean or when he’s with O and their friends it could be Uprising (Muse). Jericho’s POV comes to life with Geronimo (Say Hey to Single Life) and Satellite (Rise Against). Selecting my playlist is not a one-time chore, but more of an organic growth as I drive and listen to the radio. Once I identify a song for my playlist, I purchase it and listen to it until I find the next song. Usually there is a scene in each of my books that is based on a song on the playlist.

O’Neill has a lot of me in her. I didn’t realize just how much until Tiffany kept after me to dig deeper into O’s character arc. And Cal. Ah. He was just perfect for O. They came to me as so-in-love teenagers. Caring, always there, supportive Cal to balance O’s brashness and tight-leashed temper. They were, literally, destined to be together. And then Jericho shows up from Earth, just after O’s father goes missing. Can I just say right now how much I love O’s father? If Jocko Neill walked through my door, I’d be a goner. How did I not see when I was writing the book that he’s got so many of my husband’s good traits?

That was a really long answer. I guess the short answer is I find my characters in my life, in the people around me. But I couldn’t really match one character to one person. My characters are bits and pieces of what several people are—and my impressions of who they could become.

Jann: I see on your website that you have another series in the hanger to launch – The Keep Sphere Series. Tell us about it.

Fae: Thanks for asking. I’m so glad you visited my website. I wish I had time to hang out there more. I love writing the character blogs. And posting my “other” writing from what seems like a previous life.

Keeping Athena is an adult science fiction romance. When I wrote the book, a long time ago, I planned to write “sequels” about her two brothers. I wrote Keeping Athena and Contracting Joy, about Athena’s younger hot-shot cocky fighter pilot, before I started P.R.I.S.M.

Maybe I should mention here that I didn’t start writing to publish books. Did I say before that I might be considered weird? I started writing to tell the stories that accosted me every night when I turned out the light. (I was lucky to have a husband who was willing to eat corn flakes for dinner when, after work, I couldn’t stop writing in the middle of a space battle.) The Keep Sphere is populated with several planets, all having wonderful places and people with stories that could keep me busy for a long time.

Keeping Athena is filled with space battles, lies and betrayal, and two worlds at war. This is the kind of science fiction that made me a science fiction freak, and the romance that made me love the romance genre years later—all rolled into one story. Think Star Wars and Gone with the Wind, if Rhett and Scarlet ended up together and madly in love. Athena, an Agran fighter pilot and trained assassin, crashes behind enemy lines onto Drake’s tiny asteroid, becoming his prisoner. Drake is the second-in-command of the Keep forces, but he hides that fact from her, pretending to be a space bum. She struggles to escape. He struggles to decode the secrets in her nav boards. They both fight against the attraction they feel.

I got the idea for the Hangar Bay that’s on my website (www.faerowen.com) from the flight deck in what will be my third series, The Regent Fleet Academy. I wish I had a clone, because the first two books in that series are fully written in my head, I just need time to type them out. And, as usual, I’m in love. With a bad-boy hero, which I’ve never written before. Can I just share a song from Fire on Roof, the first book in the series? Shut Up and Dance by Walk the Moon is on my main character’s playlist the first half of the book, then it flips and is on the hero’s playlist. There is a scene for each of them based on the song, and they just might be my favorite scenes in the book.

Jann: What’s the best writing advice you ever received?

Fae: “The book won’t write itself.” Laura Drake told me this when I complained that I wasn’t getting the daily word count I wanted. She asked how long I was sitting at the computer. Uh…not long.

Jann: What are you dying to try next?

Fae: I’d love to write about Navy SEALS and special ops. I’d be willing to do the research for that, but I don’t think I could pull off the on-going suspense. I can tell you that I will never write historicals, even though I love to read regency romances. I don’t have the patience for hours of research that passionate readers know much better than I ever will. And because I don’t plot, mysteries are out. My stories are too convoluted with lots of subplots to be short. (P.R.I.S.M. came in at over 125,000 words.) My first book, still under the bed, was a medieval fantasy romance. I liked writing about knights and swords. But I have a lot to deal with in the future, and I’m good with that.

Jann: What’s the best thing about being an author?

Fae: I love being able to work whenever I want to-late at night, early in the morning, all day and night if I want to. And it’s great not to have to get dressed for “work” with make-up and hair to impress whomever.

Jann: If a spaceship landed in your backyard and the aliens on board offered to take you for a ride, would you go? Why or why not?

Fae: Are you kidding? Beam me up!

Thank you Fae Rowen for sharing your time with us here on A Slice of Orange and providing a look into your writing world.

Jann

Feedback from readers keeps her fingers on the keyboard. When she’s not hanging out at Writers in the Storm, you can visit Fae at http://faerowen.com or www.facebook.com/fae.rowen
Fae also blogs at YA Outside the Lines on the fifth of every month.

P.R.I.S.M., a young adult science fiction romance story of survival, betrayal, resolve, deceit, lies, and love is available now at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

P. R. I. S. M.

Buy now!
P. R. I. S. M.

0 0 Read more

October Featured Author: Denise M. Colby

October 1, 2022 by in category Apples & Oranges by Marianne H. Donley, Featured Author of the Month tagged as , , , ,

Denise M. Colby loves to write words that encourage, enrich, and engage whether it’s in her blog, social media, magazine articles, or devotions. With over 20+ years’ experience in marketing, she enjoys using her skills to help other authors.

Denise Colby |The Writing Journey

She treasures the written word and the messages that can be conveyed when certain words are strung together. An avid journal writer, she usually can be found with a pen and notepad whenever she’s reading God’s word. Denise is writing her first novel, a Christian Historical Romance and can be found at www.denisemcolby.com

She’s a member of RWA, OCC/RWA, Faith, Hope & Love Chapter of RWA, ACFW (where she is a semi-finalist in the Genesis contest Historical Romance Category), OC Chapter of ACFW, and SoCal Christian Writers’ Conference.

In addition to Denise’s column The Writing Journey on A Slice of Orange, you can read some of her magazine article here.


 Denise M. Colby’s Books


0 1 Read more

Eye of the Beholder

September 30, 2022 by in category Quill and Moss by Dianna Sinovic tagged as , ,
Photo by Kai Oberhäuser on Unsplash

Amy dipped her pen into the container of ink and added a few lines to the portrait of the white-haired man before her. Evaluating the results, she nodded slightly. Done. With a quick spray of sealer, she unfastened the paper from the holder and offered it to the patron.

His face crinkled into a smile. “My lord, you made me look charismatic, dear.” He stuffed a twenty into her tip jar and walked away with a bounce in his step.

It was just after one p.m. at the Art in the Park summer fair, and Amy ticked off her day’s productivity: Since the event opened at ten, she had sketched at least twenty people, and the queue of those waiting stretched toward the ice cream stand a hundred feet away.

“You are amazing,” gushed Beth, the fair organizer, sweeping past Amy on her rounds. “We’ll definitely want you back next year. I can’t believe the crowd.”

If I don’t burn out first, Amy thought. She had taken the gig at a friend’s urging, expecting to be bored with no clientele. Instead, she was giddy at the response. Old or young, tall or short, happy or glum, the people had flocked to the novelty of having their likeness drawn. A selfie on their phone was one thing; Amy guessed it was her unique perspective that was the attraction. Patron after patron had remarked, “You’ve zeroed in on the essence of me.”

“Next,” Amy called. Better keep the line moving while she still had the energy. 

A slender man with a shock of chocolate hair perched on the stool and looked at her. His eyes seemed like pools as dark as the ink she used. She tried to guess his age, but he could have been thirty or sixty.

“Hold that pose.” She dipped her pen into the liquid ebony and went to work. For each person she drew, so rapidly did the portraits come together, it was as though she was channeling directly from her eyes to her hands. But something was wrong with this one. The minutes ticked past, and the line of people fidgeted. She looked from the model to the paper and back. And once more, to check. 

What she had sketched bore no resemblance to the man on the stool. 

“What is that?”

The question from behind her shoulder made her jump. It was Beth, passing through again. With a quick grab, Amy crumpled the paper and dropped it into her makeshift trash bag. “My pen is acting up,” she lied. “I’ll just start over.”

Beth tsked sympathetically. “Take a break. You’ve been going nonstop.” Without pausing, she strode toward the queue. 

“Folks, our artist needs to give her hand a rest.” Beth’s tone was friendly but authoritative. “She’ll start up again in twenty minutes.”

A few people groaned, but no one challenged her. They drifted off to buy a hot dog or visit the crafter booths. The aroma of barbecue and wood smoke drifted in from the food trucks on the park perimeter.

Taking a deep breath, Amy turned to the patron still seated on the stool. She hesitated, then plunged ahead. “You’ll be first when I come back.” She closed the ink container and cleaned her nib with shaking hands, then shut her supply box with a click. 

She walked away from her portrait stand, pitched in the shade of a massive oak tree. Maybe the odd fellow with the wild mop of hair would move on, and she would not have to sketch him a second time. 

What had she drawn? She puzzled over the image, which was already fading from her memory, yet she could recall with ease the other faces she’d captured that day.

Fifteen minutes later, her shirt damp with sweat after wandering past the flea market tables and the used book tent, she was back at her easel. She relaxed to see that the stool was unoccupied, with the slim fellow nowhere nearby.

“Hey,” Beth called to her, hurrying over. “If you’re ready to start up again, I’ll make an announcement.”

“Sure.” Amy unscrewed the ink container, wiped her hands, and checked her nibs. 

“He left you this.” Beth held out a olive green sphere the size of an orange and etched with a pattern of dark lines that seemed to dance across the surface. “I don’t know what it is, but he said to tell you thanks.”

“Why?” Amy mused. The who was implicit. She turned the ball in her hand. Its coolness made her think of metal, but the exterior with its etching seemed organic, like a seed pod. “I didn’t finish his sketch.”

Beth shrugged. “He dug it out of your scrap bag. Didn’t seem to mind that it was wrinkled. I hope that was okay.”

Amy nodded. “Of course. It was his to take.” Although she could no longer recall what the fellow looked like or what she had drawn, she knew what to do with his gift. The answer floated into her head unbidden: a terracotta pot filled with rich, dark earth, daily sunshine, and regular watering, and the pod—because that’s what it indeed was—would sprout.

0 1 Read more

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