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Cover Make-over: DIY or Not?

January 15, 2022 by in category The Write Life by Rebecca Forster, Writing tagged as , , , ,

Like so many people, I told myself ‘when Covid ends I’ll finish (fill in your WIP)’. As Covid dragged on, I became sluggish and uninspired when it came to writing, so I decided to give my most popular series, The Josie Bates Thrillers, a cover make-over.

I was going to have my wonderful graphic designer tackle the project, but found myself indecisive regarding the direction I wanted take. Without constructive input, her job would be impossible, so I decided to do a few rough drafts to clarify my thinking. Instead, I became obsessed with the process of redefining my work. This is what I learned when I went all in on DIY cover design.

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Chatting with Nikki Prince by Jann Ryan

January 2, 2022 by in category Jann says . . . tagged as , , , , ,

Jann Ryan is taking a much earned break. We’ll be running some of her past interviews while she’s off. Hope you enjoy this chat with Nikki Prince as much as we all did.

Today, I’m happy to be chatting with author, Nikki Prince. Nikki is a mother of two, who always had a dream to be a published author. Her passion lies in raising her children, gaming, reading and writing.  She has two Masters, one in English and the other in Creative Writing concentration in fiction.

Nikki’s a multi-published author with several publishing houses. She loves to write Interracial romances in all genres but wants to let everyone know to not box her in because there is always room for growth.  Nikki believes that love should truly be color blind and for all.

Nikki’s a member of Romance Writers of America National, DARA, and several online chapters.

Author Links

Website 
Instagram
Facebook Page 
Facebook Group
Twitter

Bakersfield Romance Writers Links

Facebook Group
Facebook Page
Instagram 
Twitter 
Website: coming soon


Jann Ryan: Since 2012, you have published seventeen books, earned a BA and MA in English and Creative Writing, active in several Romance Writers of America chapters, moved twice all while raising two wonderful children. Wow—how did you do it all?

Nikki Prince: It’s actually about 25 books and I earned another Masters in Literature during this time frame.  My two teens have been a great help as well as inspiration for me because I want them to know that anything is possible in their life as long as they go for it. 

I went back to school in 2014 and garnered the BA, and two MA’s in a 3-year span and have maintained a 3.9 GPA.  I’ve been wanting to write since I was 11 years old.  I finally made that dream a reality when I turned 43 and realized it is never too late to do what you’ve always wanted to do.  Writing and reading has been a passion for since I first found romance books at age 11.  Before finding my grandmother’s romances, and Johanna Lindsey on my father’s dresser I hated to read. 

Reading helped me in so many ways, you see I had a learning disability.  However, once I found romance books and started reading that all changed for me and the only inkling of a disability that I still have is in math which is another part of the brain.  Reading and writing saved my life in so many ways and knowing that I can bring joy to someone else from reading the worlds and characters that I build is so satisfyingly wonderful.  Another shining part in my writing and real life is belonging to RWA it is a wonderful community where writers of like minds can be together to nurture one another.

Jann Ryan: It’s Complicated debut in April of 2018. A reviewer declared it was a “steamy, intriguing romance.” Another said it was “friends with benefits until it goes sideways.” You have two great characters, Ashton Locke and Keiko Jarrett. For our readers who may not have found this incredible book tell us about it.

Nikki Prince: I’ve had this thought of creating a bunch of friends for who all intents and purposes are the best of girlfriends with great guy friends.  Three sets of friends and the desire to be together and yet there is something holding them back.  Ashton and Keiko’s love story has a few twists along the way to get to the HEA, because everyone deserves a happy ever after.

Jann Ryan: When can we read the next Nikki Prince novel?

Nikki Prince: The last story that I had come out is a short called Blurred Lines, and it came out June 2019.  I am working on edits for the second book in the Undeniable Series with  Áine Reid and Darian Tisdale in a story called “It’s Work” and following that the next story which is Emmerson Collins and Royce Hanson’s story called, “It’s Real.”  Beyond that I have a lot of stories still left in me to write.  Stories that may be paranormal, contemporary and love between the same gender, opposite gender, interracial mix or same racial mix as I believe everyone’s story should be told.

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

Nikki Prince: Indeed, I have.  I know there are some that say that writer’s block is imaginary.  In some ways I think that is true because there is inspiration to write everywhere.  However, there are times when the brain doesn’t want to function and let you put out the stories as you have before.  Because let’s face it, life can be messy it is one of the reasons most of us read romance is because it lets us get out of our own heads, our own lives and for a moment in time live a life of beauty. 

How I get past it is I game (I play World of Warcraft have since 2006), I spend time with my children, Travel somewhere different , read something else and sometimes a nap will rejuvenate the mind and spirit.   When I moved to Dallas last year in 2018 it was hard to get a chance to write and for me that was a block, however if it is in you to write and to create it never goes away so here I am.

Jann Ryan: What are you doing now between writing and life?

Right now I am working on putting together a writing community here in Bakersfield, California.  I knew when I moved here that RWA wasn’t represented here and I want to change that.  So far I have about 7 other people within the group.  I hope to gain more so that I can apply for Bakersfield Romance Writers to be a full chapter of the Romance Writers of America.  I am also in grad school for a third Masters.  This is a Masters in Marketing and Social Media.  I’m taking my time with this MA as I already have two and there is no rush, besides I have plenty of stories within me that I want to share with the world.

Jann Ryan: What’s your writing day like?

My writing day really depends.  Between having two teens in High School, being in grad school and looking for a full-time job here in Bakersfield (I’ve only been here since June), I write wherever and whenever I can.  That has always been the way of it since 2012.  I love writing and creating so I will write at night, in the afternoon, and in the morning.  Whatever it takes to get the stories done, I’ll do it.  One of the ways to do that is I love to do National Novel Writing Month (NanoWriMo) every November so that I can just immerse myself in my stories for a whole month.


A Few Books by Nikki Prince

#Me Too

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#Me Too

IT’S COMPLICATED

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IT’S COMPLICATED

ON ANGLE’S WINGS

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ON ANGLE’S WINGS

PURE ADRENALINE

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PURE ADRENALINE

SWAGGER

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SWAGGER
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Casting Your Story by Will Zeilinger

November 3, 2021 by in category Partners in Crime by Janet Elizabeth Lynn & Will Zeilinger tagged as , , , , ,

You’ve heard of “casting directors” in the world of film, TV, and advertising.

I was an art director for ads and commercials, and selecting the proper models or actors for a job was key to the success of each project. Likewise, as an author, you are the casting director for your story, and casting the right characters is crucial to keeping the reader interested.

If you have the casting correct, any two characters can be put in a scene together and keep the reader interested. This requires that each character is already interesting on their own and that they have an opinion about every other character. They don’t have to say anything about the others, but they can have an internal view that will affect their behavior toward the other members of the cast.

Each character should have a purpose in the story. If not, then they aren’t needed. They can interact with each other independently or confront one another through the main protagonist.

The types of character can vary, but in Joseph Campbell’s “The Hero’s Journey,” he identifies eight archetypes. You can vary these to fit your needs.

1The Hero Your protagonist
2The Mentor The one your protagonist goes to for advice
3The Ally The BFF or loyal friend
4The Herald The one who tells the protagonist they must change
5The Trickster Can function as comedy relief or goof (i.e., Gilligan)
6The Shapeshifter Not who you or the protagonist thinks they are
7The Guardian Tries to discourage the protagonist (to play it safe)
8The ShadowThe opposite of the protagonist – evil?

Think about the age, ethnicity, gender, education, and socio-economic background of each one. Are they a proper fit? Are they believable?

In the end, each of the character types I’ve mentioned have a unique of your plot and the rest of the cast. Consider the extent to which they interact, and consider using some aspects of the types above. Each character has the ability to move the story along.  You don’t necessarily need all of these types, but you are the author, so use who you need. You can even write a story with only one character.

While the easiest way to build characterization and personality in your protagonist (main character) is to surround them with people they must interact with, if you isolate your protagonist, then developing depth and interest becomes a challenge. 

Take the film, Castaway featuring Tom Hanks. He’s stuck on an island, alone, for four years. Writing a story featuring one character is an excellent exercise in character development. When writing a story like this, here are two things to remember, but this holds true for any type of story you tackle.

1. Your reader needs to care about your character

You must give the character a reason for the reader to care about what they do or what happens to them. As in a fully populated story, your main character doesn’t have to be “good” for the reader to care about them. Villains are just as interesting as heroes.

2. Have a conflict

Conflict kickstarts the story plot. Without conflict or a problem to solve, there’s no plot and no story. How your protagonist reacts to the conflict helps the reader to guess what they’ll do or not do next.

Here’s a tip I use to cast my stories:

I like to clip photos of different people and use them as my casting catalog when developing a story. I can always look at their faces and consider how they’ll look or what other characters think of them. If your casting doesn’t seem to be working, you can always re-cast a character.

Have fun. You’re the Director.


Some Book by Will Zeilinger and Janet Elizabeth Lynn

DESERT ICE

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DESERT ICE

GAME TOWN

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GAME TOWN

STRANGE MARKINGS

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STRANGE MARKINGS

SLICK DEAL

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SLICK DEAL

SLIVERS OF GLASS

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SLIVERS OF GLASS

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The Inner Mind of a Computer Geek

September 17, 2021 by in category Ages 2 Perfection Online Class, Online Classes tagged as , , , ,

Presented by: J.T. Evans
Date: October 1 – 31, 2021
Pricing: A2P Member fee: $15
Non-A2P Member fee: $30

About the Workshop:

Arthur C. Clarke’s third law states, “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” This means that the minds of the people who create “sufficiently advanced technology” are equally magical. In this course, I’ll delve into what motivates me as a computer technologist to continue to work in my field after an active career of over twenty-five years.

I’ll also touch upon the various technical fields in which I have expertise to provide insight into how things are done, why are they are done that way, and how mistakes can be made to reduce the security stance of a computer or network. I’ll also cover how criminal enterprises are leveraging technology to increase their revenue and reach. The flip side of the coin—what information security professionals are doing to put a stop to these nefarious activities—will also be taught as part of this class. Lastly, I’ll explore some futurist thoughts into what magic may pour forth from near-future technological advancements.

About the Presenter:

J.T. Evans started creating software for his grandfather’s business in 1980 at the tender age of seven using a TSR-80 from Radio Shack. In the intervening decades, he’s seen a world of change in technological leaps, and pervasiveness of computing in everyday life. Even trying to keep up with the latest and greatest advancements keeps J.T. busy, but he does his best because his career success in computing requires rapid shifts and constant learning.

Taking on the challenges of constant learning, J.T. has worked in a wide variety of computer-based jobs. Most of his professional career, he’s been a software engineer. However, he’s also worked as a Windows system administrator, Linux system administrator, systems engineer, support technician for various technologies, deep support troubleshooter, information security engineer, database administrator, system architect, and probably a few more fancy titles that have been forgotten to the ages. In a nutshell, if there’s a computer-based job out there in the world, J.T. has touched upon it at some level.

J.T’s first two novels in his Modern Mythology series from WordFire Press GRIFFIN’S FEATHER and VIPER’S BANE are out now.


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BACK TO SCHOOL: The Write Way to Learn your Craft

September 15, 2021 by in category The Write Life by Rebecca Forster, Writing tagged as , , ,

I never thought I’d be a novelist, much less a USA Today and Amazon bestseller. I wish I could say that I was an overnight success, but it’s taken years to hone my skills because I am self-taught. The extent of my writing education was to crack open a bestselling novel (with a glass of wine by my side), highlight important passages and transitions, and then mimic the authors’ style. At some point, I found my own voice, and it was magical. I could have cut years off my learning curve if I had access to the online information that is available now. While I love the energy of in-person education, I found two intriguing options for writers, whether they are new or experienced. Maybe one will be right for you.

‘Ninety-Day Novel’ walks you through finishing your first book in three months. There are weekly in person Zoom meetings, recorded lessons, and exercises landing in your mailbox to help you along. It doesn’t get more hands on than this.

Masterclass’ is awesome. This platform provides virtual classes taught by award-winning authors such as Margaret Atwood, Malcolm Gladwell, and James Patterson to name just a few. Masterclass will elevate your work, and as an added bonus you’ll learn how to get your finished work published.

CreativeLive is perfect for authors who are feeling pretty good about their craft but are looking for practical advice. No celebrity authors here. Rather, you’ll be learning from entrepreneurs, bloggers, and online personalities. 

This September take a cue from the kids. Get back to school and learn from the people who wrote the books on writing. You won’t even need a backpack!

*These links are for information only. Masterclass is $15.00 a month billed annually. Ninety-Day Novel is donation based, with $1,000 being suggested but $500 being the least amount accepted. Creative Live is $13.00 a month.

DREAMS: The 90s Collection

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DREAMS: The 90s Collection

SEASONS: The 90s Collection

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SEASONS: The 90s Collection
THE RECKLESS ONES: The 90s Collection

VANITIES: The 90s Collection

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VANITIES: The 90s Collection

VOWS: The 90s Collection

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VOWS: The 90s Collection
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