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FIVE TIPS THAT TO SHARPEN YOUR WRITING

February 8, 2016 by in category Guest Posts, Spotlight tagged as , , ,

I never give writing tips. I figure everyone has his own personal style. Plus some people are just naturally good. But I do think there are a few things authors can do to sharpen their work. Here are some of the things I think about when I am writing a novel.

1. Start with a hook. Make your first sentence or at least your first paragraph compelling. Make the reader want to read the book! In INTO THE FURY, my newest Romantic Suspense, the first sentence reads,

SINNERS, SLUTS, and WHORES–BEWARE. Your TIME is at HAND. Standing next to the long mahogany table in the conference room, Ethan Brodie re-read the note he’d just been handed.
Everyone who sees this paragraph recognizes the threat in that note. Someone–probably a woman–could be in grave peril.

With any luck, this opening will intrigue the reader enough to keep reading.

2. Enter late and leave early. In the above example, we’re starting in the middle of the scene. We’re not in the conference room waiting for Ethan to show up. We aren’t there until after he receives the note. From there we start charging forward, finding out what’s going to happen next. Just remember the reader isn’t interested in “Hi, how are you?” “I’m fine, and you?”

At the end of the scene, get out.

3. Make sure there’s conflict in every scene. This doesn’t necessarily mean violent conflict. It can be man against nature, man against man, man against himself, anything that makes the reader interested in continuing.

In my example, the conflict in the opening scene of INTO THE FURY is mostly Ethan’s battle with himself. He doesn’t want to take a job bodyguarding what he thinks will be a bunch of air-headed models. He’s had too much woman trouble lately, but it’s a good job that pays well. They need his skills and so he decides to take it.

4. Stay in the active voice whenever possible. Try not to use the word was too many times. Here’s an example. A rumble of thunder in the sullen gray sky blotted the reverend’s next words. I could have written, The sound of thunder could be heard in the distance. The sky was a sullen gray. That’s passive voice. It’s important to stay active.

Personally, I have to work at this. I often go back and change from passive to active after I write the first draft.

5. Write characters that grow and change. Writing a character arc, it’s called. It means your characters learn something or do something that changes them. During the time Ethan is working with the La Belle lingerie models, he learns how difficult their job is. He comes to admire their work ethic and their brains.

It changes some of his thinking about the female sex and helps him realize the kind of woman he really wants in his life.

There are lots of great tips to writing. The five above I learned from studying very successful authors. Dean Koontz has a wonderful book called Learning To Write, but its out of print and hard to find.

All the authors I’ve studied, all the books by other authors that I’ve enjoyed through the years, have helped me immeasurably. I hope these tips will help you, too.

Best of luck with your writing and all good wishes for a terrific 2016.

 Warmest,
 Kat

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. She is married to L.J. Martin, author of western, non-fiction, and suspense novels.

Kat has written more than sixty-five novels. Sixteen million copies of her books are in print and she has been published in twenty foreign countries, including Japan, France, Germany, Argentina, Greece, China, Russia, and Spain.
Born in Bakersfield, California, Kat currently resides in Missoula, Montana, on a small ranch in the beautiful Sapphire mountains.

Her last 10 books have hit the prestigious New York Times bestseller list. AGAINST THE WILD, AGAINST THE SKY, and AGAINST THE TIDE her latest release, took top ten spots. Visti Kat at the following:

WEBSITE


VIDEO
PURCHASE LINKS

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TRAVELING FOR RESEARCH

January 27, 2016 by in category Guest Posts, Spotlight tagged as , , , , ,

I’ve always loved to travel. I’m fortunate to have married a man who enjoys it as much as I do…or maybe being adventurous was an unspoken quality I was looking for in a man.

Since I live in rural Montana, a twenty five miles to the nearest movie theater–I especially love going to the city.

INTO THE FURY is set in Seattle. When ten of La Belle lingerie’s most beautiful models receive death threats, its bodyguard Ethan’s Brodie’s job to protect them. Ethan goes toe to toe with bombshell blonde, Valentine Hart, in a fast-paced novel of action, adventure, and steamy romance.

I knew the story I wanted to tell, but I needed a starting point. From where we live, Seattle is the closest place I can go to get my “city fix.” Plus it’s a gorgeous place to visit, surrounded by the ocean and dozens of interesting islands, wonderful restaurants and great hotels.

Since Nick Brodie, my hero in AGAINST THE SKY, had moved to Seattle at the end of the book to get married and take a job with Brodie Operations Security Services, I decided to set my next three books there.

Ian Brodie owns the company the guys call BOSS, Inc. Nick’s cousins Ethan and Luke also work there, an office just chock full of hunky guys.

One of the things that made Seattle ideal for the trilogy was the interesting diversity of the people who live there, which also means different sorts of crimes.

I knew the area, since we go there often. I was able to use hotels we had stayed in and restaurants like the gorgeous El Gaucho, where we’ve dined and is very romantic.

Along with the trips to Seattle, I researched the criminal activity in the area and also used Google Earth to refresh my memory or help with locations I was less familiar with. Traveling for research can bring excitement, adventure, or just simple insight into a place different from where you live.

INTO THE FURY hit bookshelves on January 26, 2016 and is available in all e-book formats.

I hope you’ll watch for INTO THE FURY and that you enjoy it. Next up, INTO THE WHIRLIND out May 31, followed by INTO THE FIRESTROM.

Till then, all best and happy reading.

 Warmest, Kat

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. She is married to L.J. Martin, author of western, non-fiction, and suspense novels.

Kat has written more than sixty-five novels. Sixteen million copies of her books are in print and she has been published in twenty foreign countries, including Japan, France, Germany, Argentina, Greece, China, Russia, and Spain.

Born in Bakersfield, California, Kat currently resides in Missoula, Montana, on a small ranch in the beautiful Sapphire mountains.

Her last 10 books have hit the prestigious New York Times bestseller list. AGAINST THE WILD, AGAINST THE SKY, and AGAINST THE TIDE her latest release, took top ten spots.

Visit Kat’s website at www.katmartin.com

Or look for her on Facebook at Katmartin/author.

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Get to Know Kat Martin!

June 2, 2015 by in category Interviews, Spotlight tagged as , , , , , , , , ,

New York Times bestselling author Kat Martin was happy to answer a few questions for our Slice of Orange readers.

 
 
Barb: Which of your characters would you like to meet in person? Why?

Kat: One I would definitely want to meet is Rafe Brodie, the hero of my new book, AGAINST THE TIDE. Rafe is smart, rugged, and savvy. Plus he is gorgeous! Another of my favorite characters is Chance McLain from The Secret, a hunky Montana cowboy. I think you can guess the reason I’d like to meet him (grin). I like my heroine Olivia Chandler, also in TIDE. She’s one of the smartest women I’ve written. Liv really has her stuff together.

Jann: What is the one thing about you that people would be most surprised to know?

Kat: I’m a hermit. Unless we are traveling, I pretty much stay home and write.

Barb: What is your favorite gadget?

Kat: I love my iPad mini. I’m a total dinosaur except for that. I’m pretty good on the mini, and I love all the info I can get. Plus I can do my email when I’m traveling.

Jann: Is there a certain type of scene that’s harder for you to write than others?

Kat: I hate writing description. Which is why I don’t put a lot in. I’m not crazy about back-story. I don’t care what my hero/heroine did in high school unless it pertains to what is happening in his or her life now. Sex scenes are difficult to write because I want them to be fresh and match the tone of the story line at that time. I love writing dialog.

Barb: Do you have any plans in the future to write another Historical?

Kat: No more Historicals for me. Actually, I haven’t written one in years. I’ve written about 22 Romantic Suspense novels (plus the ones yet to be published). I feel as though I’ve found my calling. I love writing the hunky guys in my Against books.

Jann: What do you consider to be your best accomplishment?

Kat: Getting published, staying published, writing stories people seem to want to read. Staying four weeks on the New York Times Bestseller list with Against the Sky!

Barb: If you could pick one of your books to be made into a movie for TV or the big screen, which one would you pick and who would you want to play your characters?

Kat: I’ve given that a lot of thought. I would love to see a film made of The Secret, my near-death murder mystery set on a ranch in Montana. Finding the right guy to play Chance McLain, the cowboy part??? I’m open to suggestion. Caitlin, the heroine is a little redhead. Maybe someone out there has an idea for her as well. I think Against the Wind, another cowboy story, would also make a good film.

Against the Tide

Secrets and Danger Threaten in the Land of the Midnight Sun!

Liv Chandler is running for her life. She can’t trust anyone, not even the one man who makes her feel safe-rugged charter boat captain, Rafe Brodie.

Rafe is determined to uncover Liv’s secrets, but the beautiful café owner has a past more dangerous than Rafe can guess. Something terrible is coming, and even in remote Valdez, Alaska, Rafe can’t protect her forever.

Kat will give away a copy of AGAINST THE TIDE to one lucky commenter!!!

Kat is a graduate of the University of California at Santa Barbara where she majored in Anthropology and also studied History. She is married to L.J. Martin, author of western, non-fiction, and suspense novels. Kat has written more than sixty-five novels. Sixteen million copies of her books are in print and she has been published in twenty foreign countries, including Japan, France, Germany, Argentina, Greece, China, Russia, and Spain.

Kat currently resides in Missoula, Montana, on a small ranch in the beautiful Sapphire mountains. Her last nine books have hit the prestigious New York Times bestseller list. Both AGAINST THE WILD and AGAINST THE SKY, her latest release, took top ten spots. AGAINST THE TIDE the 3rd book in the Brodies of Alaska series will hit shelves in a couple weeks!

Visit Kat’s website at www.katmartin.com
Or look for her on Facebook at Katmartin/author.

 

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Choosing the Right Setting.

May 20, 2015 by in category Guest Posts, Spotlight tagged as , , , , , , ,

(Or does it choose you?)

At the end of May, AGAINST THE TIDE, the twelfth novel in my AGAINST series is being released. This is the last of three books about the rugged Brodie brothers of Alaska.

Being plot-oriented, I usually work through a story in my head then figure out the best place for the story to take place. Sometimes, as happened with the Alaska Trilogy, AGAINST THE WILD, AGAINST THE SKY, and AGAINST THE TIDE, the setting was an essential part of the stories before they were even conceived.

The concept for the trilogy began with a month-long trip my husband and I took to Alaska–a place that has fascinated me since childhood. Even before we set out, I knew I wanted to write an Alaskan trilogy, but had no story concepts until we set out on the five thousand mile journey north.

It was my second long trip, both of which involved traveling cross-country, staying in a tiny pickup camper. Every day and night spent out in the open filled my head with story ideas. By the time we got home, I had rough outlines for three high-action romantic suspense novels about the rugged Brodie brothers, Dylan, Nick, and Rafe, and the women who loved them.

In AGAINST THE TIDE, Rafe Brodie is the owner of a charter boat fishing company in remote Valdez. Liv Chandler, the beautiful new owner of the Pelican Café, has fled to Valdez, fearing for her life. Liv can’t trust anyone, not even Rafe, the one man who makes her feel safe.

Rafe finds Olivia an intriguing mystery. He’s determined to uncover her secrets, but the woman has a past more dangerous than Rafe can guess. When murder strikes in the tiny town, he begins to believe something terrible is coming. And even in remote Valdez, Alaska, Rafe may not be able to protect the woman he loves.

Though I was comfortable writing Alaska from the months I spent up there and was familiar with the wildlife and mountainous terrain, since I live in Montana, the trip added vistas, sounds, smells, and ideas for some of the interesting characters who appear in the novels.

Setting is always important to a story, in some books more than in others. To help me with the different locales, I use Google Maps extensively. They have street maps, street cameras, satellite views, terrain maps, and still photos, all of which help me see what an area looks like. What an amazing writers’ tool!

Going to the location, of course, is the best way to chose a setting. There are places I couldn’t write about without having been there. Alaska was one of them.

Driving all the way from Montana through Canada, over the Top of the World road, we took a side trip to Valdez. It was raining there, but the scenery was still spectacular. Valdez is the shipping terminal for the great Alaska pipeline, which gave me the plot line for AGAINST THE TIDE.

I try to choose locals that are fun for readers, enhance the suspense, and give insight into the characters.

I hope you enjoy my Alaskan he-man, Rafe Brodie, along with the mysterious Olivia Chandler in AGAINST THE TIDE.

Till then, very best wishes and happy reading, Kat


When Lane and Dylan work to solve the mystery,
they discover a legacy of injustice and murder.
With danger stalking their every move,
Dylan must risk everything to save Lane and
his daughter and uncover the truth–before it’s too late.

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. She is married to L.J. Martin, author of western, non-fiction, and suspense novels.

Kat has written more than sixty-five novels. Sixteen million copies of her books are in print and she has been published in twenty foreign countries, including Japan, France, Germany, Argentina, Greece, China, Russia, and Spain.

Born in Bakersfield, California, Kat currently resides in Missoula, Montana, on a small ranch in the beautiful Sapphire mountains.

Her last eleven books have hit the prestigious New York Times bestseller list. Both AGAINST THE WILD and AGAINST THE SKY, her latest release, took top ten spots. AGAINST THE TIDE the 3rd book in the Brodies of Alaska series will hit shelves in a couple weeks!

Visit Kat’s website at www.katmartin.com
Or look for her on Facebook at Katmartin/author.

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A Short Interview with Kat Martin

February 10, 2015 by in category Spotlight tagged as , ,

Kat MartinNew 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.   Before she started writing in 1985, Kat was a real estate broker.  During that time she met her husband, L.J. Martin, author of thirty western, non-fiction, historical, and suspense novels.  A resident of Missoula, Montana, Kat and her husband spend their winters in Ventura, California.  She is a currently writing her next Romantic Suspense.

 

With fifty-five novels to her credit and more than fifteen million copies of her books in print, Ms. Martin has been published in twenty-one foreign countries including France, Japan, Greece, Argentina, Russia, Sweden, Turkey, China, and Spain. Here is a short interview with Ms. Martin.

 

Have you ever suffered writer’s block? If so, how did/do you get past it?

 

I mostly suffer plotting block…that means I have my hero and heroine in deep trouble and I’m racking my brain, trying to figure out how to get them out.  I spend about half the time thinking and the other half writing a book.  I make a lot of notes, try to get some input from my husband, who’s also a writer.

 

What profession other than your own would you love to attempt? 

 

I wanted to be an astrophysicist.  Unfortunately, I don’t have that big a brain.

 

What’s the funniest (or sweetest or best or nicest) thing a fan ever said to you?

 

I had a wonderful email yesterday from a fan thanking me for the uplifting words I said to her mother who has cancer.  Sometimes readers tell me they escape their problem in the pages of my books.  I love hearing that.

 

If you could travel back in time whom would you like to meet and why?

Be fun to meet Buffalo Bill Cody.  He was a true hero and a legend, a handsome man in his day, too!

 

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

I would definitely go with them.  Life on earth is much too short.  Gotta jam in all you can.  Imagine what you could learn from a trip to another planet?

 

What’s the best thing about being an author? 

The great people you meet and the places you get to visit to research a book.

 

What are you currently working on and when can we read it

I just finished the edits for Against the Tide, which is Rafe Brodie’s story.  It’s the last of my Brodies of Alaska series, out May 27th.  After that, I’m sticking with the Brodies, introducing Nick’s cousin Ethan, a hunky PI and bodyguard who works at BOSS, Inc in Seattle, the first of my INTO books.  Into the Fury is book #1, out February, 2016.
You can read more about Kat on her website: www.KatMartin.com.

Or follow her on social media:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KatMartinAuthor

Twitter: @katbooks https://twitter.com/katbooks

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/luvromance/

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Kat-Martin/e/B000AQ0OJQ/

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/49381.Kat_Martin

Kat’s current book, Against The Sky, will debut at No. 7 on the New York Times Bestseller list.

Against The Sky | Kat Martin

It is available at the following online stores:

Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1420133845/

BN: 

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/against-the-sky-kat-martin/1119437332?ean=9781420133844

Indiebound:

http://www.indiebound.org/book/9781420133844

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