Author: Does Your Book Title Sing?

A book or story title has a big job. It has to stop a potential reader in her tracks and make her want to know more. Here are some ways to craft tantalizing titles that sing. #AmWriting #WritingTips

Whether you write fiction or nonfiction, short piece or novel, the title is one of the elements that first captures or loses a prospective reader's attention. So it better be great.

The job of a title is simply to grab your busy possible reader's attention and make her want to know, "What's that?"

A Tasty Morsel Book Tease: Bloodlust awakens, secreted deep in a cave. Humans are tasty. A Tasty Morsel by Ronda Del Boccio, available on Amazon Kindle http://WriteOnPurpose.com/morsel

I had been trying to find the perfect title for my fantasy suspense novel for weeks. I played with various ones, and finally got it. Yay! Below, I'll share techniques I use to get a title that sings.

When a title "sings," you FEEL it in your body. Sure, it touches the ear just right too, but once you've found the right one, it feels right.

Here are some of my titles.

  • A Tasty Morsel
  • "Into the Bubble" (spiritual fantasy short story"
  • Deadly Mist: Mirrored Worlds, Book 1 (fantasy-suspense novel, available to publish)
  • Real Dogs Don't Eat Kibble by Sandra Bailey
  • "She Had a Curfew...I Had a Van" (award-winning short story.
  • "Hillbilly Heaven" (award-winning short story)

Crafting Titles That Sing

Continue reading "Author: Does Your Book Title Sing?"

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MyBookProgress Update: Epic Fantasy Revision: Slogging through Editing

How’s that book coming along? Here’s your answer as it pertains to my epic fantasy novel revision of Rue the Day. #MyBOokProgress #AmWriting #AmEditing

A number of years ago I wrote an epic fantasy or maybe a paranormal fantasy. Hard to tell what to call it sometimes, as the lines blur.

I want to get it back out into the world now. A small press published it back before publishing was easier and cheaper. No, I didn't pay to publish but each copy of the book cost me $11, so that already made it an expensive book before earning any profit. I have my rights back, so I can publish it.

Rue the Day was never on Amazon and not widely available. I wrote it from start to polish in 4 months, and it's an intense story full of suspense, jealousy. and trickery.

I DESERVE Abundance! Image shows a flower against an unfocused background http://writeonpurpose.com/miracle

First Round: Revisions

Continue reading "MyBookProgress Update: Epic Fantasy Revision: Slogging through Editing"

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Epic Fantasy (Revision) Progress Update

Here’s another update on how I’m coming along with the epic fantasy novel revision!
#AmWriting #MyBOokProgress #AmEditing

Progress update on my Epic Fantasy (Revision)! So far I'm 25% complete on the Revision phase. 4 Weeks remain until the deadline. I've done some massaging and editing along the way. #AmWriting #MyBOokProgress #AmEditing

Author Ronda Del Boccio
Epic Fantasy (Revision)
Phase:Revision
Due:11 months ago
25%

I'm having a blast reworking this novel from 12 years ago. It's nice to delve back into the story, visit the characters, and realize how much I still like the story.

I hope you're progressing well with your works in progress!

Please share this all over the social web!

Follow your B.L.I.S.S.

Ronda Del Boccio

#1 best selling author, speaker, and Amazon Top Reviewer

About Ronda Del Boccio

Ronda Del Boccio is an award-winning and best Click for Member Home Pageselling author of both fiction and nonfiction. She tells transformational tales and helps visionary authors turn their dreams and imaginings into published books. See and order Ronda's books on Amazon.

Join Ronda's readers for free stories, sneak peeks at her next books and more at WriteOnPUrpose.com/read

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Epic Fantasy Revision Progress Update: Chapters 1-4 Done

I’m being transparent about my works in progress to share what I #AmWriting and #AmEditing. A little of both in this case as I revise an epic fantasy novel.

I just made progress on Epic Fantasy (Revision)! So far I'm 13% complete on the Revision phase. 5 Weeks remain until the deadline.

Author Ronda Del Boccio
Epic Fantasy (Revision)
Phase:Revision
Due:11 months ago
12.9%

A long time ago in a room very close by...

...I wrote my first novel in 4 months. I thought I was writing a short story, but no.

I wrote an epic fantasy novel a dozen years ago, and it's time for that book to experience a revival. SO I'm breathing new life into it and, hopefully, improving it. I suspect I've learned a few things about writing in those years.

I've done quite a bit of rearranging.

Chapter 1 used to be the prologue. It has a new scene and some things added to what was on the page back then.

What used to be Chapter 1 is now Chapter 3.

What used to be memories or the protagonist sharing her past with people has been moved into what is now Chapter 2.

Some things I've learned thus far:

Continue reading "Epic Fantasy Revision Progress Update: Chapters 1-4 Done"

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New: My Book Progress

Wondering what I #AmWriting & #AmEditing? I’m using a great new tool called #MyBookProgress to keep you in the loop, share stories & updates.

"How's that book coming along? is a common question people ask writers. I'm being transparent about it and sharing progress bars for my current works in progress right here on WriteOnPurpose.com.

#MyBOokProgress

I'm using a tool called My Book Progress to keep myself on track and you in the loop. Each day, I add the day's work to the tracker for that book or story.

Author Ronda Del Boccio
Deadly Mist
Phase:Proofing
100%
Hillbilly Daze Anthology
Phase:Assemble
Due:10 months ago
38.5%
Hidden Ozarks Paranormal Novellas
Phase:Revise
Due:10 months ago
33.3%
101 Tips & Hacks for Busy Writers
Phase:First draft
Due:8 months ago
19.8%
Leader Dog Jemma Memoir
0%

I'm so excited that now you can see at a glance how I'm doing on my various projects. And you can get free stories and special updates by joining Ronda's Readers, and if you're already one of my fans, you'll get those updates, so no need to re-subscribe..

My Works in Progress

I'm only tracking my active projects in MyBOokProgress, but here's what I have going on:

They All Died Smiling (Paranormal romance suspense): Complete. Waiting to hear back from the agent.

"Into the Bubble" (mystic/paranormal short story) This is the dolphin story I've been mentioning across the social web. Finally got a title. In the final edits and getting ready to seek a home for it. This is a companion story to "Trouble's Turn", which you can get FREE on Smashwords at WriteOnPurpose.com/foreverfree.

Hillbilly Daze (anthology: Writing more stories.

Rue the Day (coming of age epic fantasy romance): I had this out with a publisher and have regained my rights. I'm going through to freshen things up, then I will seek publication.

In My Right Mind (Paranormal Romance Novella): I wrote this a while back, and it will be in a set of 3 paranormal tales. Going through it for edits.

Hidden Ozarks: Not sure this will be the name, but this will have 3 connected paranormal novellas all set in the lush Ozarks. I have 2 of them already and will get going on the third soon.

I LOVE my readers!

When you read any of my books or stories, I am so happy! It's truly an honor. I like bringing you tantalizing transformational tales. I hope you'll keep in touch and tell me what stories you love, which characters make you mad, or whatever else you'd like to say.

Thank you!

Much love...

Follow your B.L.I.S.S.

Ronda Del Boccio

#1 best selling author, speaker, and Amazon Top Reviewer

About Ronda Del Boccio

Ronda Del Boccio is an award-winning and best Click for Member Home Pageselling author of both fiction and nonfiction. She tells transformational tales and helps visionary authors turn their dreams and imaginings into published books. See and order Ronda's books on Amazon or your favorite bookseller, and on Smashwords..

Join Ronda's readers for free stories, sneak peeks at her next books and more at WriteOnPUrpose.com/read

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A Tasty Morsel - Forever Free on Smashwords

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Book Review of Jewish Historical Fiction Novel Please Say Kaddish for Me by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

This is another #BookReview by #1 Amazon best selling author & top #BookReviewer Ronda Del Boccio. This one is a Jewish historical novel called Please Say Kaddish for Me by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields.

Welcome back to another Write On Purpose book review. I share well-written books. I highlight what makes each good from the reader’s perspective, and reveal what writing skills and techniques make it an irresistible read. Thus, each review serves both writers and readers. This time, it's a Jewish historical novel called Please Say Kaddish for Me by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields.

The author describes this book as "The dark side of Fiddler on the Roof." This is the perfect elevator pitch for the historical tale set in czarist Russia at the turn of the 20th Century. Here is the description from Amazon:

Please Say Kaddish for Me by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

Jewish persecution under Russian Czar

1899 Russia under the cruel Czarist rule is not a good place to be a Jew!

cover of Please Say Kaddish for Me by Rochelle Wisoff-FieldsRussia under the diabolical Czarist rule is a very bad place and a very bad time to be a Jew. Fair game to marauding peasants and government militia alike, the random slaughter of entire Jewish families is commonplace rather than a rare occurrence. It is, however, a time for brave men. And brave women.

Barefoot, wearing only a flimsy nightgown, sixteen-year-old Havah Cohen alone escapes the brutal massacre by the Czarist tyranny that destroys her home and slaughters her family on a frigid November night in 1899.

Love ignited, lost and found, insurmountable struggles and challenges, Kishinev's Jewish pogroms and all odds against them, Havah and her soul mate, Arel, withstand the storms of life in this unforgettable story of a time and place rarely spoken of, and romance and courage so profound as to be rarely experienced.

While I read more paranormal, fantasy and suspense, I enjoy historical fiction, because I gain insight into another era in a way that my boring history classes in school never conveyed.

What made Please Say Kaddish for Me a great story, and what can authors learn by reading it? Continue reading "Book Review of Jewish Historical Fiction Novel Please Say Kaddish for Me by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields"

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Innovative Way to Write a Novel Synopsis via Jan Morrill

If you struggle with writing book blurbs & synopses, this innovative idea might set you free.

If you're not a writer, this may surprise you. If you are an author who has ever tried to craft a synopsis for your novel or novella, you'll know this pain.

Writing a synopsis is almost harder than writing the novel itself.

Last year I was finishing up They All Died Smiling in preparation for getting it ready to pitch to an agent. By the way,  4months later, not a word from the agent. Still waiting But I digress.

I had to prepare a brief letter and a 1 page synopsis. FOr the uninitiated, this is a summary of the store, including the resolution at the end. It's supposed to cover the highlights quickly so a publisher or agent can decide if it's the sort of thing they want to see.

It's HARD. Did I mention that?

I have yet to find an author who enjoys writing them for their own book. I can help someone else write THEIRS with no sweat. Doing mine is a different matter.

A Tasty Morsel Book Tease: Bloodlust awakens, secreted deep in a cave. Humans are tasty. A Tasty Morsel by Ronda Del Boccio, available on Amazon Kindle http://WriteOnPurpose.com/morsel

I took a haiku class from author and speaker Jan Morrill last fall. Now, I don't write a lot of poetry, but 17 syllables I figured I could handle. She made haiku relevant for non-poets. If you missed my article about how valuable her workshop was, you can read "How Can Haiku Help Your Writing."

One of her BRILLIANT suggestions that would never have occurred to me was to write a haiku summarizing your book. While this would not replace the 1-pager publishers and agents want, it can serve as a great book blurb or elevator pitch that you might even put in the letter accompanying the submission.

I invite YOU to share a haiku of your novel or novella in the comments! The typical haiku form is as follows: 3 lines, 17 syllables total, 5-7-5. Continue reading "Innovative Way to Write a Novel Synopsis via Jan Morrill"

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They All Died Smiling Novel Update

What’s happening with the #paranormal #suspense novel They All died Smiling? Here’s an update on what’s happening now with this finally completed novel.

If you've been following my work, you may have seen posts with little excerpts or other tidbits from my works in progress. Here's the latest update on my novel.

NaNoWriMo and Beyond

National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) partiipant badge 2014) Continue reading "They All Died Smiling Novel Update"

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Location Name Generators

This entry is part of 2 in the series Name Generators

Writers need to name places, not just characters. Where do your heroes go to rown their sorrows or defeat the bad guys? Here are some useful location name generators for you. #WritingTips #WritingSkills

This entry is part of 2 in the series Name Generators

Looking for a name for your kingdom, realm, or tavern? These generators may be precisely the inspiration you seek.

Name Generators BLog Series

Realm Name Generator

You can select Earldoms, Duchies, and large or small areas. Here are some of the names that arose using the small area option:

  • Mystic Necromancer's Earldom
  • Orange Sunset State
  • Soft Duchy
  • Unholy Duchy of the Vine

Adventurous Places

I would call this a Quest Location Generator, because these are the sorts of names where your hero might go to right a wrong. Ready for an exciting place name where adventures happen? Here are a few examples that came up for me.

  • Battlefield of Visions
  • Cave of Oblivion
  • Decrepit Tunnels of Desolation
  • Maze of Secrets
  • Sanctum of Crystal

Those are great quest destinations!

Outer Plane Generator

Do you need a far away land with a mysterious name? Try this name propagator. Here are a few it offered me:

  • Domain of the Damned
  • Dry Cities of Suffering
  • False Wilderness of the Unnamed
  • First Region
  • Fourth Terrifying Hall

I like False Wilderness of the Unnamed. Sounds mysterious.

Rooms and Locations Generator

Sometimes you just need a room or structure rather than a realm or town. Here are some cool names it spat out for me:

  • Cloister of Deception
  • Dead Threshold of Hoards
  • Frozen Gallery
  • Gold Watchtower
  • Hideaway of Pits and Lanterns
  • Infamous Vault

I like Dead Threshold of Hoards. Really sick stuff would have to happen there. Infamous Vault is cool too, but it needs an "of something" after it, like Infamous Vault of Destinies.

Tavern Names

Where do your characters go for a quick pint after work, or to drown their sorrows? Here are some of the local watering hole names that came up for me:

  • The Funny Priestess
  • The Gory Sword Inn
  • The Joyous Bawd's Tavern
  • The Morose Footpad Saloon
  • The New Casque Saloon

Did these location names spark your muse into action? Did you stumble across a different generator you'd like to share? Please add your musings or great finds in the comments section.
Please share this all over the social web!

Follow your B.L.I.S.S.

Ronda Del Boccio

#1 best selling author, speaker, and Amazon Top Reviewer

About Ronda Del Boccio

Ronda Del Boccio is an award-winning and best Click for Member Home Pageselling author of both fiction and nonfiction. She tells transformational tales and helps visionary authors turn their dreams and imaginings into published books. See and order Ronda's books on Amazon.

Join Ronda's readers for free stories, sneak peeks at her next books and more at WriteOnPUrpose.com/read

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Character Name Generators

This entry is part 1 of 2 in the series Name Generators

Need a name? Sometimes it’s a challenge to get the right name for a character. Here are some online name generators that might provide some inspiration. #WritingAdvice #WritingTips #AmWriting

This entry is part 1 of 2 in the series Name Generators

Have you ever been writing a story (whether short or novel length) and found yourself stuck for a name of a character? I certainly have. Sometimes I have a first name and need a surname. Sometimes I want a fantasy- or an evil sounding name.

Name Generators BLog Series

So here are some name generators of different types that might be just what you seek. I hope you find htem useful. And if you come across a different one that isn't included in this list, please DO let me know by adding it to the comments using Facebook or Google+.

Fantasy Names

When I opened this generator, these are a few of the names it gave me:

  • Brand Ravendread
  •  Dirk Seraphdream
  •  Drake Loreguard
  •  Eden Griffonvictor
  • < Grail Chaostotem

Quick Character Namer

This isn't sophisticated, but it might give you a good idea. You can choose a male or female name and say how many names to provide. You could always mix and match. This uses common names in the USA based on census data.

  • Grace Mills
  •  Ivy Diaz
  •  Jillian Carson
  •  Joy Zelma Moon
  •  Juanita Mattie Chen
  •  Kathy Trevino
  •  Keisha Tasha Sanders
  •  Kristine Fuller

Weird Name Generator

I write fantasy and paranormal quite a bit, and next time I need a strange sounding name, I might try this one. Maybe one of these will be what you seek:

  • The Seventh Profane Queen Who Desires Madness
  • The Seventh Rogue That Burns the Monk
  • The Sly Bloodstained Sultanna
  • The Studious Forgotten Czarina That Burns Clouds
  • Turquoise of the Celestial Tower

Not sure why the fixation on burning clouds, but it just might tickle your muse. My personal fav from this short list is The Studious Forgotten Czarina That Burns Clouds. Maybe I'll use that as a writing prompt and write a story about her.

Evil Sounding Names

These names are inspired by J. R. R. Tolkein's body of work. Her are a few samples:

  • Durormat
  • Faua
  • Glard
  • Gwengoturathae
  • Ingo
  • Itungu
  • Lariauindua
  • Ldugon
  • Lonalongila
  • Matur

I'm using one of these for a Ghoul in a humorous paranormal sequel to A Tasty Morsel.

Demon Name Generator

I have a feeling I'll be using this one to help inspire me for the series around my "pantser" demon hunter Kassidy. Here are a few samples.

  • Hasatuzs
  • Zsuesason
  • Tonserolon
  • Lasoron
  • Nuhsatoah
  • Lais
  • Ponis
  • Olashadea

Western Names

I love looking at these generators, even though I don't write westerns. Here are a few from when I ran it to write this post:

  • Angela "Thinker" Jensen
  • Deborah "Gravedigger" Stevens
  • Gambling Reynolds
  • Joanne "Shooter" Payne
  • Lillie "Sunset" Beck
  • Lost Adams

My personal favorite from this list is Deborah "Gravedigger" Stevens. If you're into writing westerns, I bet you could craft a short story around a female grave digger, or one who doesn't dig them but has that nickname.

Wrestler Names

This one's also good for warriors/fighters or bad guys. I thought this was so funnyt that I had to share it. You don't need to be writing a story about WWF to use a name like any of these:

  • Q. O. "The Princess" Turner
  • Sandra "Unknowable Venus" Johnson
  • Stephanie "Blessed Goddess" Scott
  • Sue "The Word" Pierce

I like Stephanie "Blessed Goddess" Scott. Imagine a fighter with that appellation. Fun.Those should help you find character names. I'll post generators for places, animals, etc. in future posts, so watch the "Name Generators" series for more.

Please share this all over the social web!

Follow your B.L.I.S.S.

Ronda Del Boccio

#1 best selling author, speaker, and Amazon Top Reviewer

About Ronda Del Boccio

Ronda Del Boccio is an award-winning and best Click for Member Home Pageselling author of both fiction and nonfiction. She tells transformational tales and helps visionary authors turn their dreams and imaginings into published books. See and order Ronda's books on Amazon.

Join Ronda's readers for free stories, sneak peeks at her next books and more at WriteOnPUrpose.com/read

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Grief Is Like a Tea Bag: Book Excerpt from They All Died Smiling: Kassidy and Russell First Kiss

This is a combination writing clinic about bringing emotion into your work and a snack for readers in the form of a book excerpt of my upcoming novel They All Died Smiling. This excerpt shows Kassidy and Russell’s first kiss. She struggles between her attraction and grief over the death of her soldier husband.

I just did an interview for a funeral home. Not a job interview. The kind a writer gives to an interested party.

Yeah, I don't know "why Ronda" either, but there it is.

Writing Challenges

Anyway, the topic of grief naturally arose, and I mentioned how grief infiltrates life the way a teabag infuses its essence into water. Grief can be a powerful motivator for a wide variety of actions a character takes (or does not take).  For the reader, seeing how the protagonist or other character responds to grief can make for fascinating  reading. The more a book or short story brings out emotion in the reader, the better.

That means a writer needs to infuse each tale with any and all emotions that comprise life. An author who is a student of human  nature and a keen observer has a clear advantage in potraying these emotions on the page.

Here is a book excerpt from my upcoming novel They All Died Smiling, .showing how Kassidy's grief over the death of her husband makes it hard for her to consider being with another man, even though she knows full well Randy would want her to move on. Continue reading "Grief Is Like a Tea Bag: Book Excerpt from They All Died Smiling: Kassidy and Russell First Kiss"

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Writing Skills Book Review of Creative Characterization by Jan Morrill

This is a writing skills #BookReview of an excellent author resource called Creative Characterization by Jan Morrill. If you want to create complete characters who feel real, read this review now.

Having taken Jan Morrill's live workshop on creative characterization, I was thrilled when I saw the announcement that she had made a print (and Kindle) workbook to accompany it.

Creative Characterization by Jan Morrill

cover of Creative Characterization by Jan Morrill

 In Creative Characterization, award-winning author Jan Morrill discusses six different methods she uses to develop characters such as those in her historical fiction, The Red Kimono:

• Interviewing
• Describing Photos and Paintings
• Writing Letters
• Writing in a Different Point of View
• Accessing Character’s Inner Child
• Internalization

The exercises in this workbook will help develop characters, and may even lead to a bit of self-discovery along the way!

Do I find this book helpful for me as a fiction writer? Continue reading "Writing Skills Book Review of Creative Characterization by Jan Morrill"

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Writing Skills: What Flaws Does Your Character Have?

Whether you’re writing a short story or a novel, have you considered your characters’ imperfections? Here are some common flaws they might have #WritingSkills

I once read a series called The Celtiad. It was good in many ways, but the hero was a superlative bard, an expert shot, and more. While everyone has great skills, flaws are essential for interesting characters.

Is your character overly sensitive? Easily offended? Protecting a secret? Here are some possible character flaws yours might possess. Be sure to remember this when writing to keep each scene realistic within its context.

Common Character Flaws

Please share this review all over the social web!

Follow your B.L.I.S.S.

Ronda Del Boccio

#1 best selling author, speaker, and Amazon Top Reviewer

About Ronda Del Boccio

Ronda Del Boccio is an award-winning and best Click for Member Home Pageselling author of both fiction and nonfiction. She tells transformational tales and helps visionary authors turn their dreams and imaginings into published books. See and order Ronda's books on Amazon.

Join Ronda's readers for free stories, sneak peeks at her next books and more at WriteOnPUrpose.com/read

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Best Selling Author Ronda Del Boccio on Amazon

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Does Your Character Have a Hobby?

Most people have hobbies or favorite passtimes. Be sure to give them to your characters too. Here are some ideas.

Does your character collect bugs? Is she a sommelier? Is he a witty knitter?

In my upcoming book They All Died Smiling, Kassidy loves to bake.

Here are some possible hobbies for you to give your protagonist or other characters.

Hobbies for Characters

Follow your BLISS,

Ronda Del Boccio

#1 Amazon best selling author, speaker and mentor

See all my books on Amazon

Best Selling Author Ronda Del Boccio on Amazon

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Book Review of Contemporary Medical Adventure Novel State of Wonder by Ann Patchett

Each week, read a #bookReview on WriteOnPUrpose.com by best selling author, speaker & Top #BookReviewer Ronda Del Boccio. This week it’s a contemporary medical adventure novel called State of Wonder by Ann Patchett

Welcome back to another Write On Purpose book review. Each week, I review a well-written book, highlighting what makes it good from the reader’s perspective and what writing skills and techniques make it an irresistible read. Thus, each review serves both writers and readers.

This week, it's a contemporary medical adventure novel called State of Wonder by Ann Patchett. I read this book about a year ago, and it still sticks with me. That's why I decided to do a review of it here.

http://smile.amazon.com/State-Wonder-Ann-Patchett-ebook/dp/B004G8QZSS/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-

State of Wonder by Ann Patchett

Thankfully, the book is much more interesting than the cover. Here is the description from Amazon:

State of Wonder by Ann Patchett

Expect miracleswhen you read Ann Patchett’s fiction.”—New YorkTimes Book Review

Award-winning, New York Times bestsellingauthor Ann Patchett returns with a provocative andassured novel of morality and miracles, science and sacrifice set in the Amazonrainforest. Infusing the narrative with the same ingenuity and emotionalurgency that pervaded her acclaimed previous novels Bel Canto, Taft, Run, The Magician’s Assistant, and ThePatron Saint of Liars, Patchett delivers anenthrallingly innovative tale of aspiration, exploration, and attachment in State of Wonder—a gripping adventurestory and a profound look at the difficult choices we make in the name ofdiscovery and love.

Did this memorable book earn a 5 star review from me? Continue reading "Book Review of Contemporary Medical Adventure Novel State of Wonder by Ann Patchett"

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Author Interview with Teacher/Musician/ Author Lisa Litberg

Lisa Litberg is a teacher, musician and author who loves to dance. She seeks to inspire her students through writing, and she introduces her new coming-of-age novel Free. Discover what makes her tick in this #AuthorInterview

I'm excited to bring you an interview with a teacher who inspires her students through words and stories. Lisa Litberg is a woman of many, many talents! Discover the woman  behind the work in this author interview.  This is one stop on Lisa's virtual tour, so visit her site to see the other stops on her  blog tour.

Picture

Why do you write?

I have written for as long as I remember.  I don't think of it as a choice.  The words are there and seek release, so I release them.

What was the first thing you ever wrote, and when did you write it? 

The first thing I remember writing was a poem when I was four or five.  I still have it memorized.  "The sun the sun, oh my oh my, it makes flowers grow as high as the sky.  The rain the rain, oh my oh my, it helps the sun as it goes by."

What was your first sale of your writing, and what was it (article, story, poem, etc.)?

Aside from the articles I wrote for my college newspaper, which paid ten dollars for front page and five for everything else, my novel is my first paid gig!

What author do you most admire and why? 

I have several, for different reasons.

  • Harper Lee, for writing such an amazing piece of literature that had social impact.
  • S.E. Hinton, for creating characters far different than anyone would expect from her.
  • Stephen King, for his characterization and for being so prolific.  I could go on and on.

So many people write stories that languish in a drawer or on a computer. What caused you to seek a publisher?  Continue reading "Author Interview with Teacher/Musician/ Author Lisa Litberg"

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Writing skills: How Do I Edit My work

How important is editing, and what types of editing do you need to do for your book, story or article? Find out in this post. #Editing #writingskills #writingtip

When I go back through a story, article  or chapter (fiction or nonfiction), I call it Spiral Writing. I go through to add, subtract, tweak or enhance a particular element.

Here is a graphic showing the types of editing you'll do. And remember, it's important to get someone else's eyes on your writing...more than one someone.

Types of Editing infographic

Get free help with your book

Get a weekly success tip, free tutorials, plus several useful guides, including 7 Ways to Earn Money from Your Book While  You're Still Writing It now at WriteOnPurpose.com/free.

"7SIMPLE Ways to Make Money from Your Book While You're Still Writing It" Special Report image

Ronda Del BoccioFollow your BLISS,

Ronda Del Boccio

#1 best selling author, speaker and mentor

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Fiction Writing help: How Do I Write Great Dialogue?

If you get in the way of your characters, they won’t sound and feel like real people. This article gives specific tips for developing a good ear for how people really speak. You also get a sneak peek at my work in progress, THey All Died Smiling #dialogue #WritingSkills

(NOTE: Post updated to add new material to aid with dialogue writing).

I love writing dialogue! The characters speak and I take dictation. At least, that's how it feels to me. Here is a snippet of dialogue from my work in progress, They All Died Smiling. Kassidy, a writer/demon hunter, talks with her friend Floyd:

While finishing an assignment for the paper, I dialed my phone. “Floyd, I’m borrowing your studio for a half hour this afternoon, OK? Thanks. I appreciate it.”

“Uh…you’re welcome. Thanks for asking ahead of time.” I heard the smile in his voice and imagined him brushing a stray lock of blond hair out of those eyes that look like the sea.

“My pleasure. You won’t be in the throes of artistic fervor this afternoon. You will be at the gallery for your viewing.”

“You truly are a mess, Kass. It’s a showing, not a viewing. A viewing is what they do for dead bodies.”

Floyd was a good verbal sparring partner; I let him tease me in honor of our first meeting. I made that faux pas for real when interviewing him for a story about green pottery. Having come right from a wake to the gallery, I accidentally used the wrong word.

“Floyd, just the reception room, not the part full of your cherished creations. And I promise to make it up to you.”

“Ooh, that should be fun. I’ll hold you to it. You owe me big time for using my space.”

“Yes, I do.” My face flushed. “Sell lots of pots.”

“It’s a good thing you put an s on that.”

So many authors I know struggle with dialogue. Maybe I as a blind person have a distinct advantage over you sighted people, because I pay so mush attention to what I hear.

What's at the Root of Dialogue Problems?

My observations tell me that problems with dialogue come from 2 main issues with writing dialogue:

Dialogue Problems

Continue reading "Fiction Writing help: How Do I Write Great Dialogue?"

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Writer: Finish What You Start

Do you stick it out through the hardest part of writing? Here is some #writingskills help for you.

These tips on finishing your book are good ones. I am definitely taking note of them as I get my books ready to take your publishing journey. #writing #writinglifeReshared post from +Book Marketing Tools

The Hardest Part Of Writing Is… Writing. - Get some tips for finishing your book. http://bookmarketingtools.com/blog/the-hardest-part-of-writing-is-writing/

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Writing a Novel: After the First Draft

You wrote that first draft of your book…now what? #writingskills #editing #revision FInd out in this post.

THis month I #amrevising  my #wip   They All Died Smiling

As I go through the book start to finish, I'm so happy with where it went. No huge blunders. Yay!

Looking for ways to enrich scenes. When I write dialogue-heavy scenes, I often just write the words. Now, the #editing  phase, is when I go back and add gestures or other details.

I also read through for consistency, pacing, and character development.

I found a little pacing error that was easily enough fixed. I didn't want Kassidy catching on to something right away, but her intuition had to start nagging at her a bit.

So that's my update for They all Died Smiling!

Follow your BLISS,
Ronda Del Boccio
Best Selling Author and Speaker
  #paranormalromance   #paranormalsuspense  

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Character Development: What Music Does Your Character Like?

How well do you know your characters? Here’s one fun way to get better acquainted.

Kassidy, the protagonist in my novel-in-progress They All Died Smiling has a playlist. I know her well enough to understand her music tastes. Here's her playlist.

As you write, do you consider what your main characters would listen to? IF so, share your character's name and an example or two of his/her playlist songs.

Four BLISS,
Ronda Del Boccio
Award winning and best selling author
#characterdevelopment   #writingskills  

Embedded Link

http://www.rhapsody.com/playlist/mp.184178205

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Is My Book a Cozy? Writing a Cozy Mystery

This article teaches you what cozy mysteries are, the typical conventions of the genre, samples of cozies, plus some tips for writing your own.

A conversation amongst myself and some friends, including authors, non-writer readers, and a publisher,   inspired this article. An author was trying to decide whether her work in progress is a cozy or a suspense book. The publisher said it's not a cozy without a murder. He thought my WIP might be a cozy; I've been calling itparanormal suspense. A non-author reader had no idea what a cozy was.

There's a lot of confusion, especially at a time when genre lines blur and there are so many mashups (mixed genre stories). I had to read a few articles to say for sure what genre I think mine is. So this article should allay confusion.

What is a Cozy Mystery?

A cozy mystery has a dead body or two, but not a lot of gore. The reader can cozy up with a good book by the fire, under a blanket, and have a good story without being terrified or having a lesson in forensics. An amateur sleuth gets involved trying to solve the riddle of "whodunit."

Examples of Cozy mystery Series:

These are just a few of many examples. Here are new cozy mystery releases on Amazon.

Bad Hair Day Mysteries by Nancy J. Cohen feature Marla Shore, a hair salon owner. Beauty shops are notorious for loose lips, and in this case, a woman dies while her perm is processing, in the first book.

Murder, She Wrote series by Jessica Fletcher was turned into a TV series. Fletcher  is a mystery writer who stumbles over dead bodies the way some folks trip over their own two feet.

The Cat Who Mysteries by Lilian Jackson Braun: Reporter Jim Qwilleran  and his Siamese cat Koko (and later another Siamese named YumYum joins them) solve all sorts of mysteries, first in New York, then, more conventionally to the genre, in a small town.

 Royal Spyness Mysteries by Rhys Bowen is a historical cozy series about a minor royal without estate or fortune trying to make her way in a changing world. Meanwhile, she encounters various mysteries and is even told by HRM The Queen to watch for certain individuals.

Darcy and Flora Cozy Mystery Series, of which The Cemetery Club is the first. Reporter Darcy has returned to her hometown where she quite literally stumbles over a dead body while helping her mother Flora tend the cemetery.

Flavia De Luce Mysteries: Ten-year-old budding chemist and amateur sleuth Flavia finds herself in a world of trouble in this series. While it is technically juvenile fiction, I adore these stories.

Paranormal cozies: One of my writer friends said there were no paranormal cozies. There are a bunch of them, as you can see from this amazon search for "paranormal cozy mysteries." Series include the Gypsy Sleuths Mysteries and Magical Cures Mystery Series.

Cozy Conventions

Here are some conventions of the cozy mystery:

  • Always a series,
  • Each novel happens in a small town or enclosed environment, perhaps a workplace,
  • Every so often in the series, the protagonist is away from home base, such as on vacation,  so the book happens elsewhere.
  • The reader comes to care about the characters, especially the point of view character.
  • The amateur sleuth
  • Is often a business owner or writer.
  • She is  somehow personally connected to the situation, either suspected of committing the crime, trying to clear a relative/friend, or for other personal reasons.
  • The sleuth is involved in such a way she wants or needs to solve the mystery.
  • Someone in town/the environment knows almost everything about everybody.
  • A cast of quirky characters people the world of the story.
  • The sleuth may be married or may go in and out of relationships throughout the series.
  • There is no sex beyond a kiss and some cuddling. Anything else goes on off-page, in the reader's imagination.
  • The whole cast have ongoing lives, including marriages, health conditions, birthdays, town festivities, break-ups, babies, etc.
  • The setting itself becomes a character with its own life because so many people and stories breathe life into it.
  • There are false trails, liars, secrets, clues and much of what you would expect from any mystery.
  • The hero generally has a confidant that helps her make sense of things.
  • The villain is someone the reader wants to come to justice, and someone who most people in the world of the books will not sorely miss.

Cozy Possibilities

You'll find cozies that involve:

  • Animals -  cats, dogs
  • Hobbies, such as knitting
  • Romance
  • Ghosts
  • Businesses: hair salon, cookie bakery, kitchen, caterer, library, B&B
  • Locations: Bay, golf course, manor house, old London
  • Sleuth may be: a child, a senior, a man, a middle-aged woman, a couple, a mother and daughter
  • Some series include recipes, as in the Fresh  Baked, Patisserie and Hannah Swensen series'.

Read FREE Cozy Mysteries

Get FREE cozies from Amazon using this link - free Cozy Mysteries Note: Be sure to watch whether they're on a free giveaway promotion or are free for Kindle unlimited subscribers.

Writing the Cozy Mystery

Want to try your hand writing  cozy?  Get Writing the Cozy Mystery by Nancy Cohen for only 99c on Kindle or $6 in print as of this writing.

WritingTheCozyMysterybyNancyJCohen

This is an excellent guide that includes the how-to plus writing exercises and templates (guides) to use in crafting your own cozies. It's short and to the point. Order your copy of Writing the Cozy Mystery now. Have you written or started writing a cozy? I hope this article helps you. Follow your BLISS, Ronda Del Boccio Best selling author and Amazon Top Reviewer Order mY books from Amazon

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Book Review: The Cemetery Club by Blanche Day Manos and Barbara Burgess

This is a book review of the first in the Darcy and Flora Cozy Mystery Books, The Cemetery Club by Blanche Day Manos and Barbara Burgess, published by Pen-L Publishing in Nov. 2014. This is a book review for both authors and readers, helping the reader decide if this book is for you and helping the author hone your craft.

The Cemetery Club is a "cozy mystery" set in a small town in Oklahoma. I've noticed people are confused about what makes a cozy, so before I get into this particular one, here are some conventions of the genre.

What is a cozy mystery?

A cozy mystery has a dead body or two, but not a lot of gore. An amateur sleuth gets involved trying to solve the riddle of "whodunit."

Examples of cozy mysteries include:

Murder, She Wrote series by Jessica Fletcher was turned into a TV series. Fletcher  is a mystery writer who stumbles over dead bodies the way some folks trip over their own two feet.

The Cat Who mysteries by Lilian Jackson Braun: Reporter Jim Qwilleran  and his Siamese cat Koko (and later another Siamese named YumYum joins them) solve all sorts of mysteries, first in New York, then, more conventionally to the genre, in a small town.

 Royal Spyness Mysteries by Rhys Bowen is a historical cozy series about a minor royal without estate or fortune trying to make her way in a changing world. Meanwhile, she stumbles across mysteries and tries to keep her head above water.

and of course, the Darcy and Flora Cozy Mystery Series, of which The Cemetery Club is the first. Reporter Darcy has returned to her hometown where she quite literally stumbles over a dead body while helping her mother Flora tend the cemetery.

I would call this a Christian cozy series, because prayer and Christianity figure heavily in the plot. There is also a delightful Cherokee influence with the omen of the Owl, thanks to co-author Barbara Burgess..

Here is the information on Amazon about The Cemetery Club:

Cover of The Cemetery Club: a Darcy and Flora Cozy Mystery by Blanche Day Manos and Barbara Burgess

Goshen Cemetery lay quiet and peaceful under a benevolent spring sky. Darcy Campbell and her mother, Flora Tucker, had no inkling that in a few moments, the scene would change and they would face a horror on the ground and a threat from above, beyond their imaginations.bla

Mother-Daughter Team

I enjoy cozies. I'm not one for the true crime books full of blood and viscera. I don't watch CSI.  I don't enjoy reading steamy love scenes either. None of that is in any cozy.

I gravitate toward stories about people finding themselves in unexpected situations from which they must extract themselves. That's part and parcel of the cozy.

One of the aspects of this book I enjoyed was the mother-daughter team. Daughter Darcy couldn't have figured things out without her mother Flora.

Interestingly, Flora had the bigger emotional stake in solving the mystery, as she was long-time friends with the family of the deceased.

As they go through the experience, you see the kinds of things that happen with a grown daughter and her aging mother. FLora asserted her independence. Darcy helped her around puddles and other obstacles, and Darcy's purpose for coming to see her mother and going with her to the cemetery was simply to be with her.

The Hook

The job of the first paragraph of any novel is to grab the reader's interest. If you're a writer, remember that well when you write those first words.

Here's how The Cemetery Club begins:

When I awoke to sunshine, blue skies, and the smell of freshly perked coffee that morning, I had no inkling that a few hours later the sun would be blotted out by menacing clouds or that my mother and I would stumble upon a dead bo dy in a brush pile in Goshen Cemetery.

Isn't that just how momentous changes come upon us all? That was a good hook for the story.

At this point, the reader doesn't know anything about who's talking, so we don't "care" yet. That hook needs to show there's something newsworthy.

Some Blood But Nothing Gruesome

This is a murder mystery. There will be something other than sunshine and puppies, but it's not grotesque. Here is Darcy's discovery of dead Ben:

Only a bloody stump remained where the third finger of Ben's left hand should have been.

The two shaken women had little time to consider what to do next. Because what should happen to disturb the scene but a tornado that churns up the whole area.

I admit the storm felt a little over the top to me as a reader, but not so much I wanted to stop. Tornadoes definitely come up suddenly in Oklahoma as well as where I live in Missouri.

Motives and Secrets

Look at any newspaper or story online about a murder, and there is always a motive. Out here in the real world, plenty of families keep secrets. The Cemetery Club is no exception.

This secret involves a cache of hidden gold and plenty of people wanting to find it and call it their own. That adds a layer to the mystery.

Omens and Portents

 The Cemetery Club includes a character who never speaks a word, though he talks in his way: the Owl.

Owl

 At various key points in the tale, the owl makes himself known. I found the implication that believing in Native American ways was superstitious. The owl turns out to be a most helpful sign.

About the Authors Blanche Day Manos and Barbara Burgess

It may seem strange to some that a mild-mannered kindergarten teacher would become an author of cozy mysteries, but it's actually a good fit. A teacher is a word craft. So is a writer. A teacher wants the efforts of her labor to have a positive outcome. So does a writer. A teacher prays and hopes that each student has a positive take-away from her work. A writer hopes that for her readers too. A teacher would like each of the children in her classroom to achieve a satisfying life. Although she can't control that, as a writer she can control the way her books conclude!
A native Oklahoman, Blanche has a deep familiarity with the Sooner state, so it's the logical setting for her books. Her Cherokee heritage and feeling at home in the rural settings of Oklahoma are vividly woven into the background fabric of her books. Her other published cozies include Grave Shift and Best Left Buried, books two and three of the Darcy & Flora Series.
Barbara Burgess is a retired trial court administrator who says she found many good story ideas in the courtroom. One of those ideas evolved into her first suspense novel, Lethal Justice, published in 2010. She also co-authored The Cemetery Club, a mystery novel based on Cherokee history. Her father was half Cherokee and she says much of her family history involves Cherokee legend and beliefs similar to those found in Grave Shift. She has also written short fiction for Woman's World and Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine and freelanced for several Arkansas newspapers.

Order The Cemetery Club

Buy from Amazon

Buy from Pen-L Publishing

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NaNoWriMo 2014 WINNER Ronda Del Boccio, They All Died Smiling

Let the joyous news be spread that Ronda Del Boccio won NaNoWriMo 2014!

I hope you won't consider it bragging when I tell you the news that I WON NaNoWriMo 2014!

How exciting to cross the 50,000 word mark, validate my count and get to the winner's page.

National Novel Writing Month is a great way to commit to writing every day all the way to finishing a first draft of a book.

WINNER NaNoWriMo 2014

THe paranormal suspense novel They All Died Smiling is not finished yet, and I am taking a day off to rest my brain, but then it's right back to the keyboard to continue to the end.

Afterward, I'll go back through and make refinements. A couple of publishers are already interested in it, which astounds me.

I'm humbled and surprised, no matter what comes of it.

Writing 200 pages in a month means producing 6-7 pages every day if you're on a 7 day calendar or an average 10 per day if you take of weekends.  It requires dedication, discipline, and willingness to say NO to things, even when something else may seem more fun at the moment.

Whatever writing goals you set yourself,stick to them and you'll reach your mark.

If you want to know about my next release and get free stories, go to WriteOnPurpose.com/read right now.

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Follow your BLISS!

Ronda Del Boccio

#1 best selling author and speaker.

Read my books on Amazon

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Novel Writing Help: Do Your Characters Have to Cuss? NaNoWriMo Day 26

Today while working on They All Died Smiling, on my mad dash to 50,000 words this month for NaNoWriMo,  I needed to deal with an angry phone call without suddenly introducing swear words into an otherwise clean book.

Image depicting swearing, but with no actual foul words

At meetings of the Northwest Arkansas Writer's Workshop, when an author is reading their allowed five pages, sometimes there is a cuss word on the page but the author replaces it with something more for a G-rated audience.

We travelers talked about cussing and steamy scenes in writing on the road back home.  None of our group prefers Rated-R type content.

I'm pretty sure I won't ever write a character who drops F-bombs every other sentence. I don't care to read that and certainly have no desire to write it.

More mild cussing I can handle, though I'm happier without it. That's just me. I make no value judgments about you no matter what your preference may be.

The thing is, lots of people swear, and they won't all say "oh shucky-darns." Here's how I handled that in They All Died Smiling for the one scene in which it intrudes into the story.

Artfully Avoiding Cuss Words

Keep in mind that Kassidy, in whose head you are for the entire novel, is the daughter of a Baptist preacher and not prone to coarse talk.

Kassidy never made it to work because she was taken elsewhere. Her boss did not grow up in Maybury.

My cell vibrated for perhaps the fifth time. “Please excuse me, gentlemen. Since we’re on a break, I’d better answer this time. I’m pretty sure it’s my boss.”

Predictably, all the calls were from my editor. I answered. He yelled so loud into my ear it vibrated my head and I couldn’t even understand him. I dropped the phone, fumbled it back into my hand, switched sides, prepared to hold it a foot away from the other ear.

“What’s his name,” Joshua asked.

“Bob Barkley, my editor.”

He reached for the phone, tried several times without success o break through Bulldog Bob’s bellowing. Whence a moment of silence finally arrived, he put the phone to his ear and said, “Mr. Barkley, this is Agent Joshua Hayes of the FBI. Ms. Bates is helping us with an investigation.”

He yelled something a bull leaves behind so loud we all heard.

“That’s twenty bucks in the cuss can, Bob. And it’s the God’s honest truth.”

A pause, then uproarious laughter. “Oh yeah, and I’m the Queen of England.”

He next told me which portion of me needed to make an immediate appearance back at the Trib.

“Just that part? That’s forty bucks in the cuss can, Bob,” I said. “I’m afraid I’m detained.”

His debt doubled again before he slammed down the phone so hard I wondered if it broke. I’ve seen that in movies but never experienced it. I envisioned him stomping around the newsroom giving everyone an extra hard time. I’m in an alternate universe where a normal day has no meaning.

Russ’ mouth hung open.

“He thought I was lying.” Joshua stared stunned at my phone, then handed it back.

The incredulity in his voice, the look on my friend’s face, and Bob’s tantrum acted as a pressure release. I laughed so hard my sides hurt. I suppose I should have been upset, but with everything else in my life going sideways, I truly saw the humor.

Once I had regained composure, I told them, “I feel sorry for the poor folks in the newsroom today. Bulldog Bob is going to go berserk on them over the truth.”

What do you think of how I handled the situation? I hope Kass' natural wit came through in a way that made you chuckle without seeming ridiculous.

Now for the...

NaNoWriMo They All Died Smiling Update:

I WILL cross the 50,000 word mark either tonight or tomorrow, a few days ahead of the November 30 deadline.

Here is my counter:

May your muse continue to inspire you.

Follow your BLISS,

Ronda Del Boccio

#1 best selling author & speaker

You can order all my books on Amazon

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