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Writing Dialogue by Kat Martin

May 24, 2018 by in category Apples & Oranges by Marianne H. Donley, Guest Posts, Spotlight tagged as , , , , , , , ,

Writing Dialogue | Kat Martin | A Slice of Orange

One of the questions I’m commonly asked is how do you write dialogue?  No question, dialogue between characters can be tricky.  Each character has a unique voice that is distinct from others in the book.

Since I’ve never been particularly good at description, letting the characters tell the story is my favorite way to craft a novel.

Of course there has to be narration, ways to move the story forward and set the scene.  A lot of writers simply have a different way of telling a tale, maybe through a single character’s actions and observations or just a majority of narrative.  But if you want to move the book forward through dialog, here are a few helpful tricks.

First, enter the scene late and leave early.  Readers don’t want to hear “How are you?”  “I am fine.”

Second, once the characters start talking, let them talk—you can always delete or alter the conversation later.  But the fun is in hearing what the characters have to say.

Third, something I’m careful about, try not to overwork unfinished sentences.  “What do you mean you didn’t—“  Or “I don’t think you should—“ What?  Readers can’t read minds.  Yes, this is how people talk in real life, but your job is to make it sound like real conversation while it’s actually more fleshed out, easier to understand.

Fourth, be sure to use contractions to make the character’s speech sound more real.  Unless you have a character who says things like “I cannot do that,” use “can’t” or “won’t,” or “don’t” or whatever.

So now that you know some of tricks, you just have to listen to your characters and get them talking in your head—which I think is at least partly determined by how you describe them.

Once I sat in front of the post office with the car windows rolled up and tried to hear the voice of every person walking out.  It was amazing—no two voices sounded the same!  A strange story but true.

So listen to the voices in your head.  That’s my best advice.  And just keep writing.  It gets easier as you go along.

Kat

 


Summer Adventure | Kat Martin
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 with her Western-author husband, L. J. Martin, in Missoula, Montana, Kat has written sixty eight 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 is BEYOND CONTROL, which will be released May 29th.

WEBSITE

http://www.katmartin.com/

SOCIAL MEDIA

Twitter: https://twitter.com/katmartinauthor

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

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36190397-beyond-control


Beyond Control | Kat Martin | A Slice of Orange

 

BEYOND CONTROL

 

Victoria Bradford and her four-year old daughter are on the run from Tory’s abusive ex-fiancé.   Seventy miles north of Dallas, the Iron River Ranch is pretty much nowhere, exactly what Josh Cain wanted when he came back from Afghanistan.  Big skies, quiet nights, no trouble.

When Tory shows up with her adorable little girl, Josh realizes he is in for trouble of the most personal kind. But Josh has seen trouble before, and he doesn’t scare easy. Not when “accidents” start happening around the ranch. Not when Tory’s best friend is abducted.  Not even when he realizes their troubles are only the tip of the iceberg.

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CONTESTS

 

To CELEBRATE the release of BEYOND CONTROL, enter Kat’s new contest for a chance to win a KINDLE FIRE 7″ Display, Wi-Fi, 8 GB and a Kindle copy of AGAINST THE WINDAGAINST THE FIRE and AGAINST THE LAW.

Special Contest runs from May 1, 2018 through June 30, 2018.

SPECIAL CONTEST: https://www.katmartin.com/beyond-control-giveaway/

Monthly Contests

For MAY, Kat Martin is giving away to THREE winners a copy of both INTO THE FURY and MIDNIGHT SUN.

For JUNE, Kat Martin is giving away to THREE winners a copy of both INTO THE FIRESTORM and SEASON OF STRANGERS.

Monthly Contests: https://www.katmartin.com/monthly-contest/ 


 

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Mayhem & Murder in May

May 13, 2018 by in category Apples & Oranges by Marianne H. Donley tagged as , , , , , ,

Mayhem & Murder | Marianne H. Donley | A Slice of Orange

 

 

Do you read crime novels? 

 

The Crime Writers Association has declared May to be National Crime Reading Month.  They and The Crime Reading Association have a month-long list of books to read, events to attend, activities in which to participate and other goodies.  Here is the website.  The catch—looks like everything takes place in the UK.

But don’t despair if you happen not to live in the UK, here at  A Slice of Orange we have plenty of crime for you to read.


First up are the Thrillers 

from

Rebecca Foster, Maureen Klovers, and Jonathan Maberry

 

Secret Relations | Rececca Forster | A Slice of Orange Hagar's Last Dance | Maureen Klovers | A Slice of OrangeGlimpse | Jonathan Maberry | A Slice of Orange

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Next Mysteries

from

Janet Lynn & Will Zeilinger, Mary Castillo and Carol L. Wright 

 

Slick Deal | Janet Elizabeth Lynn and Will Zeilinger | A Slice of OrangeLost in the Light | Mary Castillo | A Slice of OrangeJudging a Book by Its Cover | Carol L. Wright | A Slice of Orange

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Cozy Mysteries

from

Linda O. Johnston, Meriam Wilhelm and Maureen Klovers

 

Pick and Chews | Linda O. Johnston | A Slice of OrangeMurder by Magic | Meriam Wilhelm | A Slice of OrangeThe Secret Garden | Maureen Klovers | A Slice of Orange

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


And if you like a little romance with your crime we have:

Romantic Suspense

from

Linda O. Johnston, Kat Martin, and Monica McCabe 

 

Second Chance Soldier | Linda O. Johnston | A Slice of OrangeBeyond Danger | Kat Martin | A Slice of OrangePhantom Pearl | Monica McCabe

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


We hope you enjoy your Mayhem & Murder in May. What crime novels are you planning to read?

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Beyond Danger by Kat Martin

February 13, 2018 by in category Apples & Oranges by Marianne H. Donley, Guest Posts, Spotlight tagged as , , , , , , , ,

Beyond Danger | Kat Martin | A Slice of Orange

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Beyond Danger (excerpt)

 

Kat Martin

Pleasant Hill, Texas

Beau could hardly believe it. His father was sixty years old! The girl sitting across from him in a booth at the Pleasant Hill Café looked like a teenager. A very pregnant teenager.

“Everything’s going to be okay, Missy,” Beau Reese said. “You don’t have to worry about anything from now on. I’ll make sure everything is taken care of from here on out.”

“He bought me presents,” the girl said, dabbing a Kleenex against the tears in her blue eyes. “He told me how pretty I was, how much he liked being with me. I thought he loved me.”

Fat chance of that, Beau thought. His dad had never loved anyone but himself. True, his father, a former Texas state senator, was still a handsome man, one who stayed in shape and looked twenty years younger. Didn’t make the situation any better.

“How old are you, Missy?”

“Nineteen.”

At least she was over the age of consent. That was something, not much.

Beau shoved a hand through his wavy black hair and took a steadying breath. He thought of the DNA test folded up and tucked into the pocket of his shirt. He had always wanted a baby brother or sister. Now at the age of thirty five, he was finally going to have one.

Beau felt a surge of protectiveness toward the young woman carrying his father’s child.

He looked over to where she sat hunched over next to her mother on the opposite side of the pink vinyl booth. “Everybody makes mistakes, Missy. You picked the wrong guy, that’s all. Doesn’t mean you won’t have a great kid.”

For the first time since he’d arrived, Missy managed a tentative smile. “Thank you for saying that.”

Beau returned the smile. “I’m going to have a baby sister. I promise she won’t have to worry about a thing from the day she’s born into this world.” Hell, he was worth more than half a billion dollars. He would see the child had everything she ever wanted.

When Missy’s lips trembled, her mother scooted out of the booth. “I think she’s had enough for today. This is all very hard on her and I don’t want her getting overly tired.” Josie reached for her daughter’s hand. “Let’s go home, honey. You’ll feel better after a nap.”

Beau got up, too, leaned over and brushed a kiss on Missy’s cheek. “You both have my number. If you need anything, call me. Okay?”

Missy swallowed. “Okay.”

“Thank you, Beau,” Josie said. “I should have called you sooner. I should have known you’d help us.”

“I’ll have my assistant send you a check right away. You’ll have money to take care of expenses and buy the things you need. After that, I’ll have a draft sent to Missy every month.”

Josie’s eyes teared up. “I didn’t know how I was going to manage the bills all by myself. Thank you again, Beau.”

He just nodded. “Keep me up to date on her condition.”

“I will,” Josie said.

Beau watched the women head for the door, the bell ringing as Josie shoved it open and she and Missy walked out of the café.

Leaving money on the table for his coffee, he followed the women out the door, his temper slowing climbing toward the boiling point, as it had been after he’d first received Josie’s call.

His father should be the one handling Missy’s pregnancy. He’d had months to step up and do the right thing. Beau figured he never would.
As he crossed the sidewalk and opened the door of his dark blue Ferrari, his temper cranked up another notch. By the time the car was roaring along the road to his father’s house, his fury was simmering, bubbling just below the surface.

Unconsciously his foot pressed harder on the gas, urging the car down the two-lane road at well over eighty miles an hour. With too many tickets in Howler County already, he forced himself to slow down.

Making the turn into Country Club Estates, he jammed on the brakes and the car slid to a stop in front of the house. The white, two-story home he’d been raised in oozed Southern charm, the row of columns out front mimicking an old-style plantation.

Climbing out of the Ferrari, one of his favorite vehicles, he pounded up the front steps and crossed the porch. The housekeeper had Mondays and Tuesdays off so he used his key to let himself into the entry.

On this chilly, end-of-January day, the ceiling fans, usually rotating throughout the five-thousand square-foot residence, hadn’t been turned on, leaving the interior strangely silent, the air oddly dense. The ticking of the ornate grandfather clock in the living room seemed louder than it usually did.

“Dad! It’s Beau! Where are you?” When he didn’t get an answer, he strode down the hall toward the study. He had phoned his father on the way over. Though he’d done his best to keep the anger out of his voice, he wasn’t sure he had succeeded. Maybe his father had left to avoid him.

“Dad!” Still no answer. Beau continued down the hall, his footsteps echoing in the quiet. As he reached the study, he noticed the door standing slightly ajar. Steeling himself for the confrontation ahead, he clamped down on his temper, rapped firmly, then shoved the door open.
His father wasn’t sitting at the big rosewood desk or in his favorite overstuffed chair next to the fireplace. Beau started to turn away when an odd gurgling sound sent the hairs up on the back of his neck.

“Dad!” At the opposite end of the desk, Beau spotted a prone figure lying on the floor in a spreading pool of blood. “Dad!” His father’s eyes were closed, his face as gray as ash. The handle of a letter opener protruded from the middle of his chest.

Beau raced to his father’s side. “Dad!” Blood oozed from the wound in his chest and streamed onto the hardwood floor. He had to stop the bleeding and he had to do it now!

He hesitated, praying he wouldn’t make it worse, then with no other option, grabbed the handle of the letter opener, jerked it out, gripped the front of his dad’s white shirt and ripped it open.

“Oh, my God! What are you–”

Beau glanced up. “Call 9-1-1! Hurry, he’s been stabbed! Hurry!”

The woman, a shapely brunette named Cassidy Jones, his father’s recently hired personal assistant, didn’t pause, just pulled her cell out of her pocket and hurriedly punched in the number. He heard her rattle off the address, give the dispatcher the name of the victim and said he had been stabbed.

Beau’s hand shook as he checked for a pulse, found none. The wound was catastrophic, a stab wound straight to the heart. No way could his father survive it.

Cassidy ended the call, ran over and knelt on the floor beside him.

“Here, use this to seal the hole.” She seemed amazingly in control as she handed him a credit card then ran to the wet bar and grabbed a towel, folded it into a pad, rushed back and handed it over. Beau pressed the towel over the credit card on top of the hole, all the while knowing his father was already dead or within moments of dying.

He checked again for a pulse. Shook his head, feeling an unexpected rush of grief. “His heart isn’t beating. Whoever stabbed him knew exactly where to bury the blade.” And compressions would only make it worse.

Cassidy reached down to check for herself, pressing her fingers in exactly the right spot on the side of his father’s neck. She had to know it was hopeless, just as he did, must have known Stewart Reese was dead.

“I’m sorry,” she said.

Beau studied his father’s face. Pain had turned his usually handsome features haggard and slack, nothing like the athletic older man who kept himself so fit and trim.

Sorrow slid through him, making his chest clamp down. Or maybe it was sadness for the kind of man his father was, the kind who had wound up the victim of a killer.

“Just hold on,” Cassidy said to him. “The ambulance should be here any minute.”

His mind went blank until the sound of a siren sliced into his conscious. Cassidy hurried off to let the EMTs into the house and a few moments later they appeared in the study.

“You need to give us some room, Mr. Reese,” one of them said gently, a skinny kid who looked like he knew what he was doing.

Beau backed away and Cassidy followed. He felt her eyes on him, assessing him with speculation–or was it suspicion?

It didn’t take long for the EMTs to have his father loaded onto a gurney and rolling down the hall, back outside to the ambulance. Beau strode along behind them, Cassidy trailing in his wake.

It occurred to him that she could be the killer. But somehow the timing seemed wrong and her reaction seemed genuine. The thought slid away.

As he climbed into the ambulance and sat down beside his dad, he flicked a last glance at the house. If Cassidy Jones hadn’t done it, who had? Had the killer still been inside when Beau arrived? How had he escaped? What was his motive?

The ambulance roared down the road, sirens wailing, blowing through intersections, weaving in and out between cars, careening around corners. All the way to the hospital Beau held his father’s hand. It was the closest he had ever felt to his dad.

The ambulance turned again and Pleasant Hill Memorial loomed ahead. The vehicle slammed to a stop in front of the emergency entrance and the back doors banged open.

After what seemed an eternity but was only a very few minutes, Beau’s father, Stewart Beaumont Reese, was pronounced Dead On Arrival.
Beau’s throat closed up. There were times as a boy he had wished his father dead, but that had been years ago.

Now his dad was gone and Beau wanted answers. He vowed whatever it took, for no matter how long, he wouldn’t stop until he found the man who had murdered his father.


BEYOND DANGER
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Surviving Danger by Kat Martin

January 30, 2018 by in category Apples & Oranges by Marianne H. Donley, Guest Posts, Spotlight tagged as , , , , , , , ,

Surviving Danger | Kat Martin | A Slice of Orange

Surviving Danger

As a writer, I’m always looking for new story ideas.  I often find that past experiences can be a great help.  Have you ever survived a dangerous situation?  How did you do it?

When I was first learning to snow ski, I got caught after dark on top of Stowe Mountain in Vermont.  It’s a huge ski area.  It was my first day on skis and, somehow I got separated from my friends.  I wound up on a black diamond run and of course I started falling—throwing myself down in the snow was the only way I knew how to stop!

By the time I got half way down the mountain, the ski lifts had all stopped running and it was dark and freezing cold.  I tried taking off my skis and walking, but the snow was deep, and it was even harder than trying to ski.  I knew I was in big trouble.

Maybe the reason I started writing Romantic Suspense had something to do with that day.  Just when I was ready to give up and just wait for whatever was going to happen to happen, a guy came skiing down the hill out of nowhere.

Instead of skiing on by, he swished to a stop right next to me.   He must have realized I was in trouble and if I didn’t get down the mountain, I could die in the subzero weather that night.  The guy—my hero—helped me get up and start “skiing” back down the mountain.  He showed me how to snow plow, helped me turn and never left me, no matter how many times I fell.

It took hours to get off that mountain.  We wound up in an empty parking lot, where I his car was parked, and he drove me back to the main lodge where my friends were waiting.  I never saw him again, but I’ve never forgotten him.  There is a chance he might have saved my life that night.

So, I guess there really are heroes out there in the real world.  At least I believe that.  Beau Reese, the hero in BEYOND DANGER, is that kind of guy.

Mega-rich, black-haired, and blue-eyed, Beau was a highly successful race car driver before he left the circuit, sort of a Texas Paul Newman.  Beau loves fast cars and fast women, but under it all he’s a one-woman man and Cassidy Jones is just the right woman for him.

Unfortunately, Beau is wanted for murder.

The good news is, Cassidy is a detective.  She’s convinced of Beau’s innocence and determined to prove it.

I hope you’ll watch for BEYOND DANGER, and in June, you’ll look for BEYOND CONTROL, Josh Cain’s story.  If you haven’t read BEYOND REASON, I hope you’ll give it a try.

Till next time, all best and happy reading, Kat


Kat Martin

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 with her Western-author husband, L. J. Martin, in Missoula, Montana, Kat has written sixty eight 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, INTO THE FIRESTORM, took the #7 spot on the New York Times Bestseller list.  This will be the 15th novel in a row to be included on that prestigious list.  Kat is currently at work on her next Romantic Suspense.

BEYOND CONTROL

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BEYOND CONTROL

BEYOND DANGER

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BEYOND DANGER

BEYOND REASON

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BEYOND REASON

COME MIDNIGHT

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COME MIDNIGHT

PIVOT

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PIVOT

SHADOWS AT DAWN

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SHADOWS AT DAWN

THE CONSPIRACY

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THE CONSPIRACY

THE DECEPTION

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THE DECEPTION

THE LAST GOODNIGHT

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THE LAST GOODNIGHT

THE PERFECT MURDER

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THE PERFECT MURDER

THE ULTIMATE BETRAYAL

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THE ULTIMATE BETRAYAL

WAIT UNTIL DARK

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WAIT UNTIL DARK

THE LAST MILE

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THE LAST MILE
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WHERE TO NEXT: Adventures with Monica McCabe

June 29, 2017 by in category Guest Posts tagged as , , , ,

 

Welcome | A Slice of Orange

Please welcome today’s guest blogger, Monica McCabe.  

 

 

 

Adventuring is in Monica McCabe’s blood. She’s addicted to travel, National Parks, & exploring new places and mysterious locales. She’s climbed glaciers and ancient Mayan pyramids, dived shipwrecks and reef caves, camped in Sasquatch country, and drove across the USA three times. When not traveling she’s writing romantic suspense and adventure for Lyrical Press, Kensington’s digital line. 

 

Recently I went on a hike at my town’s local greenway. I soaked up bright sunshine, admired the lush landscaping and a gently rolling stream that followed the trail. Then suddenly, I had an epiphany. Not the earth shattering, life changing kind. More like a realization, a cosmic connecting of the dots when it comes to being a writer.

It’s no secret that I love travel. I like going places. That fascination has infiltrated into my stories too, which brings us to that moment of truth on the trail. It occurred to me that books and real estate have a lot in common. Location, location, location. It’s also my mantra. I’m always on the prowl for a new place to explore – whether for vacations, movie time, or reading choices.

It also plays into being a writer. Some people start their story with characters. The WHO is important. They want to know everything about them – eye color, hair color, where they went to school. Not me. I start my story with the WHERE. Then I move into the WHAT. Until I get deep into location and plot, characters are just a vague impression. It’s taken me four books and a long nature hike to realize this is my process.

Setting is what motivates me to begin the book. Imagery helps create my story. I have a blank wall next to my computer. When I start to build my story world, that wall turns into a collage of pictures that detail out every major scene location. The deeper into the book I get, the more images fill that space.

Mere words cannot express how much I enjoy this kind of research. It’s the best part of writing. And yet, what inspires me to choose a location…I can’t say. I saw something, heard something, I honestly don’t know. It just happens.

Diamond Legacy.jpg

 

DIAMOND LEGACY is set in Botswana, Africa because I wanted a story about diamond smuggling. I dug in and learned that mining for the gemstone dominates the country’s economy and work force. And the animals! It was a perfect choice.

Emerald Fire.jpg

 

EMERALD FIRE opens in St. Lucia, West Indies. What better place to hide modern day pirates? Full of secret coves, luxury yachts, & breathtaking scenery, it’s every bit the perfect Caribbean island. We visited a few years ago, after I wrote the book. I really want to go again.

The latest book in the Jewel Intrigue Novels is PHANTOM PEARL. It’s a book divided. First half is in Australia, the second half Singapore. This time though, I took research to a whole new level. Hubby and I went to Australia and it was two weeks of pure awesome. This article could easily describe how endlessly amazing the place is, but I’ll restrain myself. Let me just say – if you’ve ever thought about it – DON’T WAIT. DO IT. It’s totally worth the 17 hour flight.

Back to PHANTOM PEARL. It’s a treasure hunting story that involves a WWII mystery surrounding Japan and Malaysia. So I hid the truth in the rainforests of Far North, Queensland.

 

Far North.jpg

 

Then it’s on to Singapore for a grand finale on Jurong Island, a massive industrial seaport. Have yet to visit Singapore, but if I ever get the chance… Did you know their airport is consistently voted best in the world? It’s a destination all its own.

 

Jurong Island.jpg

 

Based on my book reviews it seems my passion for travel shines through, because there’s a consistent theme. Vivid imagery, how the setting takes on a life of its own. I had one that swore I’d been to Africa. I wish! My secret weapon is Google Earth and travel journal sites like Trip Advisor. I spend hours going over every square inch by satellite and reading real life reviews for nuggets of gold to use in my books.

I’m already thinking of my next tale and I’m fairly certain it will be set in Italy’s spectacular Amalfi Coast. Because look at it! Can you imagine basking on board a luxury yacht in this harbor, sipping limoncello while soaking up the Mediterranean sun? Yes, please!

 

Amalfi Coast.jpg

 

So what about you? If you could go anywhere on the planet, where would it be?

Monica McCabe


Tell me the #1 spot on your bucket list and you’ll be entered to win a free copy of DIAMOND LEGACY or EMERALD FIRE. Africa or St. Lucia? The destination is yours to make.

 

Monica McCabe Series | A Slice of Orange

To learn more about the series, or to sign-up for her newsletter (it includes travel photos!) visit Monica at her website: www.monicamccabe.net


Thank you, Monica, for being our guest today on A Slice of Orange.  

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