Happy Holidays to everyone. Itâ€™s that time of the year when we get a little confused as to how to greet people or be sociable.
The month of December is special to me for a couple of reasons. One itâ€™s the time of year that I celebrate the birth of my Lord and Savior and itâ€™s the anniversary of my novel writing career. I say novel, because the first things I had published where a couple of short shorties. Those were toe dabblers. But my official writing career began with my book, GENERATIONAL CURSE, last December.
In this first year of adding author to my resume, Iâ€™ve had a few firsts:
1st full-length book GENERATIONAL CURSE
1st novella THE GOOD GIRL
1st box set FLING NEW ADULT FICTION BOX SET [w/THE GOOD GIRL]
1st novelette THE ALEX CHRONICLES: GIRLFRIENDS & SECRETS
1st book signing at THE LOS ANGELES TIMES FESTIVAL OF BOOKS
In honor of my first anniversary, hereâ€™s the first chapter of my first published book.
On the heels of celebrating the one year anniversary of my first published, book, Iâ€™m happy to announce the next installment of Generational Curse [currently titled â€œIntentional Curse], is scheduled for summer 2016â€¦hopefully.
Itâ€™s been a fun 2015. Iâ€™m excited to see what happens in 2016. I pray everyone has a blessed and prosperous 2016 packed with great stories to share.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year
Fiction for Women Who Love God, Couture and Cute Guys
I have been on a blog tour for the past few weeks, which has been great. Itâ€™s given me a chance to chat with readers from all over. I can say that because, I know one of the blog stops was based in the United Kingdom and another was based in Australia. Iâ€™ve officially gone international. YEAH!
There are a lot of things I like about blog toursâ€¦Iâ€™ll expound more once itâ€™s over. One of the things I like is it forced me to really get to know my book. I know that sounds strange seeing I wrote the story, but there were a lot of things I had forgotten about their back story and personality. We talk a lot about building or developing characters at RWA and this was very helpful.
I am the first to admit, I am a novice when it come to writer lingo or jargonâ€¦protagonist, story arch, subplot, syntax, deep point of view, conflict. antagonist, alliteration. And donâ€™t get me started on lengthâ€¦short story, novelette , novella, full length, jumbo or super length. I may not explain it in correct author terms, but I get by. However, thereâ€™s one thing I know for sure, I read what I like and write what I like.
So when I decided to do the blog tour, I was asked to do a character interview. What the crap. I had no clue what that was. Iâ€™m not a stupid woman. I graduated college with honors. I had my own sports segment on my college television station for a year, which also aired on local cable. I interned in the Sports Department at the local NBC Station in Tulsa for a year. I worked in Public Relations and the music industry. Plus I run my own business, but this stumped me. When the blog tour promoter answered my simple question, another, â€œWhat the crap!â€ popped into my head. How was I going to interview these two people without giving the story away. Oh yeah, and I had to provide the questions.
I thought long and hard about this and once I started writing, it just flowed. This was my favorite type of interview to do during the tour. Iâ€™m already kicking around possible questions for characters from my next books. A good thing about this type of interview/post, is it makes the characters seem real, which helps tell the story.
Hereâ€™s my post from a couple of days ago that first appeared on Writer In Progress Blog [www.writerip.blogspot.com].
Meet GENERATIONAL CURSEâ€™s Kyla James and Sean Prescott
GENERATIONAL CURSE is set in New York. However, there are a few things about Sean and Kyla you might find interesting. So letâ€™s ask them.
Where do you live?
KYLA: Upper East Side
Tell us about your family? Any sisters and/or brothers?
KYLA: I grew up in a traditional home. My fatherâ€™s a doctor and my mother is his support. I have a younger sister, whoâ€™s also married to a doctor. All of them live in the suburbs.
SEAN: I grew up in a traditional situation. My dad is in construction and my mother worked in his office until a few years ago. They live in the suburbs. My older brother is married and is heart surgeon. He and his family live in California.
What do you do for a living?KYLA: Iâ€™m an Interior Designer
SEAN: Iâ€™m a Furniture Designer
Where do you work?
KYLA: All over Manhattan, the Hamptons and a few projects in Florida and Chicago
SEAN: My showroom is in Tribeca. However, I do custom work for clients all over the world.
How did you meet?
KYLA: I was leaving an appointment and walked passed his showroom and a chair in the window caught my eye.
SEAN: Thatâ€™s not how we met. I was doing a showing in Charlotte and she came in.
KYLA: I donâ€™t remember that.
SEAN: She walked in and started stroking all of the sofas and taking pictures. Then she asked if I shipped to New York. I said yes and gave her my card.
KYLA: Oh yeah. Now I remember. Because when he turned around and I saw his behind, I forgot about everything that happened beforehand.
KYLA: Shut up. Next question.
Is that how you started working together?
KYLA: No. I think it was at least what, a year later?
SEAN: About six months. Thatâ€™s when she walked into my showroom.
KYLA: Thatâ€™s right, now I remember. It was the chair. I knew it looked familiar. I went inside and I was surprised to see him. We started talking andâ€¦
What about the chair?
KYLA: I ordered it for my client.
SEAN: Then she came back the following month for another client and weâ€™ve been working on projects ever since.
So when did you start going out?
KYLA: Who said we were going out?
SEAN: Weâ€™re just friends.
Really, you seem very comfortable with each other.? [Theyâ€™re both smiling]
KYLA: Uhmâ€¦Iâ€™m in a relationship right now. Besides, I donâ€™t like to mix pleasure with business.
SEAN: So am I pleasure or business?
KYLA: Next question
Have you ever been in love? Engaged? Married?
KYLA: No. No. No.
SEAN: Yes. Yes. No.
What happened Sean?
SEAN: Next question
Tell us something the other doesnâ€™t know about you:
KYLA: Seanâ€™s my best friend.
SEAN: Iâ€™m in love with her.
Have you ever considered being more than friends?
KYLA: Uhmâ€¦I thought we covered this?
Okay, hereâ€™s the lightening round.
Print or ebook?
CD, vinyl or iPod??
KYLA: Yes, no, yes
SEAN: All three
Movies: Chick flick, action, suspense, documentaries?
KYLA: All four
SEAN: All four
KYLA: Really, you like chick flicks
SEAN: Next questions
Jazz, Hip Hop or old school R&B?
KYLA: Jazz and old school
SEAN: All three
Favorite comfort food?
KYLA: Fried chicken
SEAN: Mac and Cheese
Favorite pizza topping?
KYLA: Mushrooms, sausage and extra cheese
SEAN: Pepperoni, sausage and extra cheese is a must
How do you take your coffee?
KYLA: Sugar cookies
Dog person or cat person?
City or Suburbs:
Taxi or Subway:
KYLA: Taxi and foot
SEAN: Taxi or foot, sometimes the subway or I drive
Will you ever get married?
KYLA: Next question
Iâ€™ve been preparing for my first Blog Tourâ€¦yes, Iâ€™m very excited. I have to admit, I had no idea how much work was involved. I have a lot going on and at one time, I thought I could set up my own blog tour. Stop laughing those of you who know how difficult it is to undertake such a daunting task. Hey, hear me out. I come from the school of, Do what you can to save money and farm out the rest to save time. So maybe, that really didnâ€™t apply to this situation. Okay, Iâ€™ll be honest with myself, it didnâ€™t apply.
I am swamped. I have two books coming out this Summer, another in the revision stage and another about thirty-five percent from finishing. I know that because Iâ€™m doing the RWA The End challenge and tracking my progress. Plus, I have to complete the second installment to my first book GENERATIONAL CURSE.
As an indie writer, I do a lot of the work myself, except, editing and eformatting. Thank God. If I didnâ€™t have those deadlines I donâ€™t know where Iâ€™d be.
Anyway back to the blog tour. I thought, if I can design a cover, then I should be able to set up a blog tour. Iâ€™m laughing at myself. I made a list of possible blogs and reviewers and that was the extent of that. I got so bogged downâ€¦did I mention I own an online lingerie store and our house is under construction. I think I got tired reading that statement. When I looked at what I wanted to accomplish, I just didnâ€™t have the time.
I remember hearing about Goddess Fish Blog Tours at an OCC meeting as well as from some other sites. So I contacted them.
I write a genre thatâ€™s not too common so I was little apprehensive about a blog tour because of that. So before I agreed to book their service, I submitted a couple of chapters of my book to make sure there wouldnâ€™t be a problem. Letâ€™s be real, I wasnâ€™t about to pay for something that might night work or only yield a couple of blog stops. [Remember, I write Christian Fiction with Faith and Sex]. Thank God, that didnâ€™t happen. After they reviewed my excerpts, it was determined, they would market my book as a Contemporary Romance with Faith Elements and a little heat. I can work with that.
So how does this all work? About a month ago I received a slew of emails from the tour promoter. I remember it was a Friday night, and I was standing in line at Panda Express trying to decide between the ribs and the teriyaki chicken when my phone started dinging. I looked at my phone and my email was full of requests from the tour promoter. Wow. I was on a roll. The messages kept coming. About a week later the last one came in and I got to work.
Hereâ€™s the ironic part. I wrote the book, now I had to talk about the book, which seemed relatively easy. Man, reviewing the questions made me start to question myself. How is it I can push put eighty thousand plus words without a problem, but ask me to sum up my book in one sentence and I draw a blank? Or tell you why you should read my book without sounding arrogant? And donâ€™t get me started on the character interviews, [donâ€™t tell my promoter, but these turned out to be my favorite posts] or the â€œtell me about yourselfâ€ question. On paper, I think I read a little boringâ€¦I should work on that.
Back to the tour. The promoter gives you access to a site so you can chart your progress. I was a little nervous about this. What if there were no takers for my book? When I checked the site, I was excited and overwhelmed. My tour was completely booked. Praise God! Now I had to get to work.
I printed all the requests, reviewed them and that overwhelming feeling came back. It may seem like Iâ€™m exaggerating, but Iâ€™m not. What I thought happened was you answered a few questions, submitted an excerpt, the cover and that was it. Not so. In my list of procedures, I was reminded, no duplicate posts. Oh man, that meant all twenty blog posts had to be different. After the initial shock, I realized this was a good thing. It allowed me the opportunity to reacquaint myself with my book and my characters.
As writers, once we complete a book [i.e., send it to press] weâ€™re removed from it, at least I am and on to the next project. This process helped me to enjoy my book again. It also reinforced my theory, do what you can and farm out the rest.
When does the tour begin? May 11th – June 5th, Iâ€™ll be on a blog tour. Am I expecting big things, of course I am.
Fiction for Women Who Love God, Couture and Cute Guys
I want to talk about the preconceived notions people have about Christian, Inspirational or Faith based books. When someone hears a story has one of the three aforementioned tones, they immediately shut down thinking the story is going to be sweeter than cotton candy dipped in chocolate and covered with gum drops.
Thereâ€™s CIF [Christian, Inspirational, Faith] fiction that falls into that description and thereâ€™s nothing wrong with it. Itâ€™s written extremely well and packs a message for the reader. However, itâ€™s the misconception that all CIF books are like that which provokes a closed mind to experiencing some really great stories. [I swear Iâ€™m not preaching.]
When I decided to start writing, Iâ€™d dabbled a little in high school and college. Even so far as to writing a couple of plays. I found them later and felt theyâ€™d be a good base for a barbecue fire. When I read them again, I realized, although they were poorly written, they had a few things in common. The characters were all Christians but in real life situations. Let me explain. In a lot of CIF books, the story centers around the church with conflict between the pastor, the board, the choir director, pastorâ€™s family and some evil person not affiliated with the church. Thereâ€™s nothing wrong with those books. Iâ€™ve read a few and like them, however, they werenâ€™t the kinds of stories I wanted to tell.
I have always loved God, fashion and cute guys. I liked â€œThe Devil Wears Prada,â€ â€œBergdorf Blondes,â€ â€œElements of Styleâ€ and â€œThe Debutante Divorcee.â€ These were characters I could relate to. The books are filled with the most incredible fashion and very handsome men. The only thing they didnâ€™t have was a faith based theme. It was reading these books that it occurred to me, why not write a book with similar content, but add a little CIF to it.
My first attempt at writing a book sounded very much like ChickLit. I was fine with it until my beta readers ripped it to shreds. After a lot of re-writes, I finally had a book I was pleased with. Problem was, it wasnâ€™t considered acceptable. Why not? Response, Christians donâ€™t act like that, Christians donâ€™t care about designer clothes, Christians are happy being upper middle class at best, Christians donâ€™t get challenged, tempted, have racy dreams or wicked thoughts, Christians only have sex for procreation and on special occasions. And there is no way a Christian would get divorced, commit adultery, fornicate, swear, drink wine or dance.
Needless to say, I was stunned at the comments because I know a lot of Christians that have experienced and or faced a few of those things. So I set out to write books for â€œmy people.â€
It ticks me off when I hear people say no one will read books about Christians [or people of other religious beliefs] in real life situations. I want to read about â€œmy peopleâ€ dating, regretting, marrying, divorcing, falling in love, wearing designer clothes, traveling and being pursued by wealthy men. I donâ€™t want my heroine to be naive and deceived by an evil protagonist whose only objective is to steal her virginity or corrupt her. What about the sexy, fun Christian girl who works hard and falls for her boss, or divorces her cheating husband or who used to be a little slutty and is now in love with God struggling not to slip back into her old ways. These are great stories and if theyâ€™re written well, you can take the CIF elements out and theyâ€™ll still be great stories.
My next book is a take on Sex And The City. Itâ€™s five successful women all searching for love while wearing amazing clothes. I hear you saying thatâ€™s not possible because that book was all about sex. Not really, the core of that book was friendship. Sex was just one of the supporting characters, much like the clothes, men and New York.
I think itâ€™s a little more challenging to write a CIF book because you have to determine how far is too far. Although I want my books to have a little heat, Iâ€™m very careful about crossing the line. I want my kissing scenes to be as passionate as those found in traditional romance. Although most of my characters are Christians, I donâ€™t want their passion or desire to be watered down. I have chosen to share my characters thoughts. If my heroine finds the protagonist hot, sheâ€™s going to say so. And if heâ€™s having a lustful thought, I want you to read it. These little nuances make the characters feel realâ€¦just like in traditional romance.
So back to the original question, IS THERE A DIFFERENCE? Not really, just different levels of intensity.
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