Category Archives: Writing

Want a Free Book?

The Eastern Factor, book 3 of my Kingdom of Haven series is coming soon.  Just to get things rolling a bit, I am giving away 5 copies The Order of the Wolf, the first book in the series, over at Goodreads.  

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So head on over to sign up for the book giveaway.  While you’re there, go ahead and friend me, or ask me a question on my author page, or leave a book review.

The giveaway is going until September 30th.

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Books Now Available on Kobo!

The first two novels in my Kingdom of Haven series are now available as e-books on Kobo.  Also, I will be sponsoring book giveaways for these titles in Goodreads to promote the third book in the series: The Eastern Factor.  More details to come.

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Who’s Telling your Story?

Often, when I am critiquing others I’ll ask:  Who is the Point of View character?  This probably isn’t technically accurate.  Point of View (POV) in fiction writing has to do with the narrator more than the character.  There are many references available on point of view, so I’ll just give a basic definition for each:

  • First Person POV— The narrator is the main character telling the story.
  • Second Person POV— The narrator is telling the story about the reader, essentially making the reader the main character.
  • Third Person POV—The narrator is telling someone else’s story.

To break this down a bit further, third person POV can be written as third person limited or omniscient.

  • Third Person Limited—The narrator follows the perspective of one character (at a time).
  • Third Person Omniscient—The narrator knows all and tells the story from such a perspective.

Second Person is not common.  Most fiction is either written in first person or third person POV.

First person, to me, is easier.  You are completely immersed in the view point character.  It is much easier to stay in that point of view as a writer.  I have spoken with many writers, especially new writers, that like first person because it is easier to stay on task as far as POV goes.

Third person Omniscient was very popular last century, but not so much today (especially in genre fiction).   Besides, third person limited is more effective at immersing the reader in the story.

So, I’m back to my initial point.  Why do I often ask writers:  Who is your POV character?  It is because the story is either written in third person omniscient, or third person limited and the author is not limiting the POV to one person.  For me, Omniscient is a turnoff in modern fiction, so I’ll always shy away from it as a reader and writer.

The true problem I see is third person limited that it is not limited.  I like simple writing—a story told from the viewpoint of one character.  I want to immerse myself in that character, and see things from their point of view.  Unlike first person, it is much harder to do this in third person limited.  The author must be aware of the POV perspective in every sentence, paragraph, and scene.  It is easy to deviate.  Here is an example:

John hated his job, but needed the money.  The only thing positive about working for United Rentals was Karen.  He stole a peek at his co-worker as she waited on a customer.

Karen saw him looking and frowned.  She wasn’t remotely interested in John, but didn’t know how to tell him.

So the first paragraph is from John’s perspective, and the second is from Karen’s.  This is third person omniscient, which makes it harder for the reader to become immersed in any one character.  For me, and I think most modern readers, it jars you out of the story when the perspective changes between different characters within a scene.

Now here is the same passage told exclusively from John’s perspective:

John hated his job, but he needed the money.  The only thing positive about working for United Rentals was Karen.  He stole a peek at his co-worker as she waited on a customer.

Karen saw him looking and scowled back at him.

John quickly looked away, pretending to shuffle some papers.

So I never truly leave John’s perspective, but the gist of what’s going on hasn’t really changed.  This is a pretty blatant perspective change and easy to spot.  Here is another example from a novel I am currently revising:

Edmond’s sister, Rowena, stood at the table just below the sword and chopped vegetables for the evening meal, oblivious to the sword or Edmond’s intent stare.  He barely noticed her, maybe a hint of her flaxen hair tugged at the edge of his vision.  She would have been appalled if she knew, her fair locks were her pride and joy.  She finally looked up and scowled at her younger brother.  “Father will stretch your hide if you don’t stop staring at that sword and get to your chores.”

Her voice startled Edmond into motion.  

This scene is told from Edmond’s Perspective, but is more focused on his sister Rowena.  While it touches upon what she would think (because Edmund knows how she would react), it doesn’t actually delve into her thoughts.  The POV is still limited to Edmund.  Now, the POV is not tightly limited to Edmund, because the narration shows her actions that Edmund doesn’t truly see, except maybe out of the corner of his eye.  So there is a bit of a POV gray area in relation to her actions.  My take is:  Because Edmund is in the room and can see her actions even though he is not particularly paying attention to them, it is close enough.

This is the point I’m trying to make:  The writer should be looking at POV on this level to ensure consistency.  If the POV character in a story written in 3rd person limited cannot see the action, hear the conversation, or read the other person’s mind then it should not be in the narration.  Find another way to show it.  Yes, it’s harder, but it makes for a more immersive experience for your reader.

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Filed under Editing, Writing

Coming Soon – The Eastern Factor

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I’ve been working on the final revision of this novel.  It is the third book in my Kingdom of Haven series.  Soon it will be off to the editor, and then out in the world.   It will be available around November.  More details to come.

In the meantime, here is the cover design by my friend Don.  He does a great job, and is very patient with my requests.  I’m sure he gets tired of me asking: Can you do this?  So far he hasn’t said no, so hats off to his talent.

 

 

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ConCarolinas

I attended ConCarolinas yesterday with my daughter.  It has become somewhat of a tradition for us to attend cons.  We shoot for the smaller local cons because they are typically more intimate than some of the bigger ones.  We started years ago with MarsCon out of Williamsburg, VA; tried out RavenCon in Richmond, VA; StellarCon in Greensboro, NC; and now have zoned in on ConCarolinas in Charlotte, NC.  Now that we live in Charlotte, ConCarolinas is definitely the most convenient to attend.

My daughter likes to cosplay at times and likes to talk to people at the convention, where I am the proverbial stick in the mud.  Yes, I’m the author.  Yes, I’m supposed to mingle, and meet other authors, and promote my books.  Yes, I suck at it.

I always make the rounds and talk to the authors hawking their wares.  I typically buy a handful of books from said authors, not the bookstores in the dealer room.  I hope they will do the same for me, in the future—next year.

I will be releasing the third book in my trilogy this winter (in time for Christmas), and next year will be the big marketing push to promote the series.  I plan to attend as many conventions as possible in 2018.  I’ll be the one sitting behind the table watching people walk by and hoping they’ll stop and talk.  I won’t lie—I’m a bit apprehensive about it, but excited at the same time.

Stop by and say hi.  It won’t matter if you buy a book, I’ll be happy to see you.

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An Early Christmas Present – For Me

My short story “Santa Doesn’t Work Here Anymorewill be coming your way this Christmas.  It will be appearing in the anthology Short and Twisted Christmas Tales sponsored by the North Texas Speculative Fiction Workshop.

This story has been sitting in my pile waiting for the right venue.  It feels good to get it out there.    I understand the anthology will be released in November.

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Submission?

I just started submitting short stories again.  No excuses—I stopped sending stuff out to focus on my novels.  Okay, that was my official excuse, and I’m sticking with it.  Looking back, it wasn’t the best plan.  Be that as it may, it’s been a few years since I submitted stories.  I’m guessing I’m not alone in disliking the submission process.  Well, I used to really dislike it, but now it’s so much easier.  Everyone has gone to online submission forms.  I like it!

Still, Something about the word submission irks me.  What does it mean exactly?  I decided to see what old Merriam-Webster had to say, and because I’m rather simple, I opted for the kid’s definition:

1:  the act of putting forward something (as for consideration or comment)

2:  the condition of being humble or obedient

3:  the act of giving in to power or authority

I recognize that the first definition is appropriate for this discussion, but why does it feel like the other two seem to hit closer to the mark?  No matter how thick-skinned you are, or how well you handle rejection, it feels like you are submitting a piece of yourself along with your story.  Then you have to be humble when you receive said rejection, and obedient to the whims of the publisher.

Maybe it’s just me, but I think it is a conspiracy.  Sending in your story is called a submission to put you in the right frame of mind.  Be prepared to submit to the authority of the publisher, all yea who enter here!  It can’t be a coincidence.

Anyway, I’ve sent out three submissions:  One was rejected within a day, one was accepted within a day, and the last is still out there.  Not bad odds.  Maybe I should have started submitting again sooner.

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Filed under Submitting Work, Writing