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Tag: Rebecca Forster

Home > ArchivesTag: Rebecca Forster

Writers in their Natural Habitat

November 10, 2017 by in category Charmed Writer, Writing, Writing Conferences tagged as , , , , , , , ,

When I think of my favorite authors at work, I think of them toiling away in a darkened room banging out pages on an antique typewriter in total isolation. There may or may not be a cigarette  on a long and a bottle of scotch involved, or a fine bottle of wine… It depends on the author. And, the truth is that writing is often a solitary process. But that is changing.

The internet and projects like NaNoWriMo, organizations like Romance Writer’s of America, and changes in the publishing industry itself are bringing writers together in new ways. Writers are reaching out to each other having write ins, offering support, sharing their experiences with traditional and indie publishing, even sharing financial information, things that were unheard of less than ten years ago.

Authors Jenna Barwin and Caitlyn O’Leary

In October, I was part of a panel of women writers at the InD’Scribe Conference in Burbank California. First of all, it was incredible to get to sit on this panel with legal thriller author, Rebecca Forster, Navy Seal Romance author, Caitlyn O’Leary, and paranormal author, Jenna Barwin, after all, my debut novella will not be released until February. But the panel was about mentoring, and both Rebecca Forster and Caitlyn O’Leary have been mentors on my fiction writing journey. And this is what I’m talking about, writers no longer hide in their writing caves darkened and solitary penning pages. They reach out to other authors and offer support, and share their experience. They come together in coffee shops to have write ins and bounce ideas off of each other. Writing has become a social event as well as an individual creative process.

As the Pro Liaison for the Orange County Chapter of Romance Writers of America I had the ability to reach out to successful published authors, editors and agents to ask them to talk to our group online, and almost every one of them said yes, volunteering to share their experience and let us pick their brains.

Charmed Writers live write in, clockwise from left, author Chris Lentz, author Alana Hrabal, my son and chauffeur, Gerrod Garcia, author Caraway Carter, author Jeri Bronson, and author Jenna Barwin

When I stepped down from that position I took the idea to another level and started a little online group called #Charmed Writers where we write together and have mini conferences with authors and industry experts as well as other experts who volunteer to join the group and share their knowledge.

So, the image of a writer has changed. We no longer hide in the dark like vampires, we come out to write in coffee shops and restaurants. We form groups, friendships and working relationships. Some of the mystery may have gone out of the life of a writer, but the magic is still there and maybe stronger than before. If you’re a writer, find your tribe, seek out support, share your journey with other writers and readers.

Where do I write? Usually in my brightly lit family room at my desk, with the curtains open and a view of my orange tree, but sometimes friends join me at my dining room table, or I meet them at a local coffee shop, usually no whiskey, but occasionally there is wine involved. Where do you write? And how do you imagine your favorite authors at work?

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Is the F-word a bomb?

August 31, 2017 by in category The Extra Squeeze, Writing tagged as , , , , ,
Is the F-Word a bomb? | The Extra Squeeze | A Slice of Orange

What does the Extra Squeeze Team think about the F-word?

Is the F word a bomb?

We’ve read books with it all over the place and yet notice that readers object to it.

Does anyone really like using it?

Would another word do?

When was it necessary?

Rebecca Forster | Extra Squeeze

Rebecca Forster 

USA Today Bestselling author of 35 books, including the Witness series and the new Finn O’Brien series.

Is the F word a bomb?

What kind of fucking question is that?


What kind of friggin’ question is that?


What kind of question is that?

Actually, this is a great question and one I am happy to weigh in on because the use of the F-word had an impact it had on my career.

I began my career as a romance writer (I was fired from this gig because I kept killing characters before they fell in love. My editor suggested a genre change.) I never used the F-word when I wrote romance. When I moved to contemporary women’s fiction I used it sparingly in these longer, more intricately plotted books (the word was only uttered by bad guys).

 

When I upped the ante and moved into a male dominated genre – legal thrillers – everything changed. Writing became tighter, characters multi-faceted, plots ‘torn from the headlines’ were much grittier. In my writing the F-bomb was spoken by hard charging attorneys and socially marginalized criminals alike to underscore their tenacity for fighting for justice in the former instance or illustrate disdain for the system in the latter.

 

Hostile Witness* was the first book where I really let loose. Lots of male thriller writers used the word, why not me? My editor at Penguin/Putnam had no problem with it and approved the book. When the Hostile Witness was traditionally published, I received no letters of complaint.

 

Then came the Internet. I republished the first three books of the Witness Series* and readers started posting reviews as easily as they clicked their Kindle. I remember the first bad review I received because of my use of the F word. It said, “The language in this book is vile. I will never read this author again.”

 

That stopped me cold, so I went back to the files and searched how many times I had used the F-word. I was shocked and embarrassed by what I found. In my quest to establish myself as a hard-edged thriller writer, I had gone overboard. Using profanity to the degree I had took the reader out of the story at best and offended them at worst. I asked myself, was there a better way to write a scene? A better way to inform a character? Had I been a lazy author and fallen back on a word rather than my skill to get a point across?

 

The answer to all these questions was yes. Now I use the word friggin’ or cut the word off at Fu­ — and let the reader’s mind fill in the blank. Bottom line, I took the review to heart, objectively looked at my work and made an informed decision before I re-edited the book. Did I lose anything by banning the F-word?

(F-word deleted) no.

 

*Hostile Witness is Free to readers.

**Sign up for my mailing list and get Hostile Witness and the Spotlight Novella, Hannah’s Diary, Free.

Jenny Jensen | A Slice of Orange

Jenny Jensen

Developmental editor who has worked for twenty plus years with new and established authors of both fiction and non-fiction, traditional and indie.

The Urban Dictionary defines ‘F-bomb’ as “the strongest weapon in one’s verbal arsenal” (a bit extreme, but it makes the point). Is it necessary to use in fiction? No, not necessary, but sometimes appropriate. The plot, the scene, the character, the action, the tone can all come together to make the F-word the only adjective or expletive that works. In that case, it should be a shocker – a strong, realistic part of the narrative rhythm. The word should be chosen with consideration and, by all the writing gods, don’t overuse it. Repetition strips the word of any value; it just becomes distasteful, silly and embarrassingly adolescent.

It wasn’t long ago a writer would never consider using the word, nor would a publisher let them, although the F word was understood to have the strength of a bomb.

from The Maltese Falcon (Dashiell Hammett, 1930)

The boy spoke two words, the first a short guttural verb, the second ”you”.

“People lose teeth talking like that.” Spade’s voice was still amiable though his face had become wooden.

Great, right!? There are so many options for word smithing around the F-word but that requires thought and skill. Too many authors take the easy way out and use it as verb, adjective and noun. That’s just lazy or the mark of a poor writer.

I recently ran across this Amazon review:

I gave it 5 stars, because the writing, the sense of humor the detective has, and the story! All great! In fact, you are such a good writer, you don’t need to use the “F” word as much as you do! Your characters are great without it!

Such a good writer…you don’t need to use… the reviewer said. That’s exactly what I mean.

H.O. Charles

Cover designer and author of the fantasy series, The Fireblade Array


Well, a bomb is something designed to explode on impact, so I guess if you want to f-bomb effectively, it needs to be unexpected! In that case, it’ll only detonate properly in the most delicate, sweetest and appeasing of godly novels! But, of course, readers don’t always like to be shocked so hard that they fall off their chairs, and using language that is not in-keeping with the story will only make it jar, in my opinion. As writers, we aim to torture and make our readers emotional from time to time, but there’s intent and then there’s intent.

 

I don’t mind using swear words – their offensiveness changes over time, and the F-bomb (being polite for you all here), is hardly the most offensive word or phrase out there at the moment. In some novels it’s absolutely appropriate to include swearing, and the target readership will reflect that. I do think over-reliance on a single swear word is a negative thing though. There are so many varied ways of swearing, and it’s up to the author to come up with setting- or character-appropriate vocabulary. In my fantasy novels, I frequently use ‘follocks!‘ (an obvious portmanteau of f**k and boll**ks), because it conveys the emotion I want, but also carries humour and sets the imaginary world apart from this one.

What do you think of using the F-word in fiction?

Ever wonder what industry professionals think about the issues that can really impact our careers? Each month The Extra Squeeze features a fresh topic related to books and publishing.

Amazon mover and shaker Rebecca Forster and her handpicked team of book professionals offer frank responses from the POV of each of their specialties — Writing, Editing, PR/Biz Development, and Cover Design.

Do you have a question for The Extra Squeeze? Contact us here.

We're Taking Questions | A Slice of Orange
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Featured Author of the Month: Rebecca Forster

August 24, 2017 by in category Featured Author of the Month tagged as , , ,

Featured Author: Rebecca Forster

 

Rebecca Forster marketed a world-class spa when it was still called a gym, did business in China before there were western toilettes at the Great Wall and mucked around with the sheep to find out exactly how her client’s fine wool clothing was manufactured. Then Rebecca wrote her first book and found her passion.

Now, over twenty-five books later, she is a USA Today and Amazon bestselling author and writes full-time, penning thrillers that explore the emotional impact of the justice system.

She earned her B.A. at Loyola, Chicago and her MBA at Loyola, Los Angeles. Rebecca has taught the Business of Creativity at University of California Long Beach Writers Certificate Program, UCLA and UC Irvine extension. Married to a Los Angeles Superior Court judge, she is the mother of two grown sons and spends her free time traveling, sewing, and playing tennis.

On A Slice of Orange, Rebecca’s column The Write Life appears on the 15th of every month, and as a part of The Extra Squeeze Team, the last day of every month.  A few of her books are listed below.

Series: A Finn O'Brien Thriller

SEVERED RELATIONS

Buy now!
SEVERED RELATIONS

FOREIGN RELATIONS

Buy now!
FOREIGN RELATIONS
Series: The Witness Series

HOSTILE WITNESS

Buy now!
HOSTILE WITNESS

SILENT WITNESS

Buy now!
SILENT WITNESS

PRIVILEGED WITNESS

Buy now!
PRIVILEGED WITNESS
Series: The Bailey Devlin Series
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The Dog Days of Summer, Birthdays, and Buttered Noses

August 1, 2017 by in category Apples & Oranges tagged as , , ,

The Dog Days of SummerThe Dog Days of Summer isn’t just an expression that indicates summer days so hot dogs are driven mad. It’s an actual astronomical event when, Sirius, the dog star rises in conjunction with the sun.  The Dog Days are listed as starting on July 3rd and continuing through August 11th.

In my family, the Dog Days of Summer marked the beginning of birthday season. I have three brothers and three sisters.  Then there are my children, nieces and nephews, in-laws (or as we insist out-laws) and now the grandchildren and grandnieces and grandnephews.  A significant number of them have birthdays in July and August.

Birthdays around our place was always a bit different. With so many relatives we seldom had friends to our birthday celebrations. We rarely severed cake but rather baked from scratch (including the crust) birthday pie. There were favorites – quite a few apple pies, pumpkin (made three days ahead of the feast and refrigerated to the proper coldness), lemon meringue, peach, and rhubarb for my mother.

And when my mémère (French for grandma) was alive, if it was your birthday, you got your nose buttered.  It was supposed to make you side through the year to your next birthday.

Memere and pepere | Marianne H. Donley | A Slice of Orange

Mémère and Pépère Hebert 1973

Now Mémère assured us this was an old French custom, but I never met any other family who practiced nose buttering –even the few friend of mine when we were growing up who also had a mémère and pépère.

So, a few years ago I googled it. Sure enough, other families butter noses, but the articles I read listed the custom is either Scottish or Irish.  I suspect Mémère would be upset by these claims as she was very proud of her French ancestry even though the family arrived in the New World well before there was a United States. She and Pépère spoke French at home, and my dad and his siblings didn’t learn English until they went to school.

I must admit that she frequently got things wrong.  She was also very proud of being born on June 13th and every year would tell us that she just missed being born on Friday the 13th (it happened to be a Thursday that year).  But when she died my aunts found her birth certificate. She wasn’t born on June 13th, that was the day she was baptized.  She was really born two days earlier and forever celebrated her birthday on the wrong day.

My aunts were upset, but I would like to think Mémère would not have cared if she had ever noticed.  She was happy to have a pie baked by my mom, and she would laugh her head off when we would sneak up and butter her nose so she could slide through another year.

Does your family have different birthday customs? What are they?


Marianne H. Donley | A Slice of Orange

Marianne H. Donley makes her home in Tennessee with her husband and son. She is a member of Bethlehem Writers Group, Romance Writers of America, OCC/RWA, and Music City Romance Writers. When Marianne isn’t working on A Slice of Orange, she might be writing short stories, funny romances, or quirky murder mysteries, but this could be a rumor.

 

If you want to know more about the Dog Days of Summer here are some links:

http://www.refinery29.com/2017/07/162153/dog-days-of-summer-spiritual-meaning

https://www.almanac.com/content/what-are-dog-days-summer

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dog_days

https://www.space.com/12624-dog-days-summer-sirius-star-skywatching-tips.html


Featured Author of the Month: Rebecca Forster

 

Rebecca Forster | Extra Squeeze

She marketed a world-class spa when it was still called a gym, did business in China before there were western toilettes at the Great Wall and mucked around with the sheep to find out exactly how her client’s fine wool clothing was manufactured. Then Rebecca wrote her first book and found her passion. Now, over twenty-five books later, she is a USA Today and Amazon bestselling author and writes full-time, penning thrillers that explore the emotional impact of the justice system. She earned her B.A. at Loyola, Chicago and her MBA at Loyola, Los Angeles. Rebecca has taught the Business of Creativity at University of California Long Beach Writers Certificate Program, UCLA and UC Irvine extension. Married to a Los Angeles Superior Court judge, she is the mother of two grown sons and spends her free time traveling, sewing, and playing tennis.

 

Rebecca’s newest book: 

FOREIGN RELATIONS

FOREIGN RELATIONS

$13.99eBook: $4.99
A FOREIGN WOMAN is dead, two countries want her FORGOTTEN. Detective Finn O'Brien wants justice. More info →
Buy from Amazon Kindle
Buy from Barnes and Noble
Buy from Kobo
Buy from Apple iBooks

 

 

 

 

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