He's the hero... Of course he's going to win! #AmWriting #AmReading


As always, I like to remind the folks who are reading this blog that first and foremost, I am a reader, then a writer. I read anywhere from one to three books a week, even when I’m writing. And considering the fact that I write only one to three books a year, I believe that means I have more clout as a reader than a writer. My opinion, of course. AndI do understand that not everyone likes what I like. But that’s okay. I never forget that. My posts are just my opinions. Also, since I also market books for a living, usually sharing one to six books daily, I read a lot of reviews. So, with that disclosure, onto today’s discussion about reading and/or writing.


Today I want to talk about the unbelievable story and happily-ever-after comments in reviews.

One of my least favorite comments in a review is that the story was unbelievable. I guess when a reader says that, I’d just like a little more clarification. What was unbelievable? The fact that what happened, happened, or that the writer didn’t make the characters seem believable?

I mean, really, if you think about itaren’t all stories supposed to be unbelievable? Isn’t that why they’re stories? Even the ‘Based on True Events’ stories. The reason those events are turned into a story in the first place is because the story is out of the norm, far-fetched, or shocking. I recently watched—well, I was in the room, as my hubby watched, as I NEVER would have watched it in a million years —No Pain No Gain. Halfway through the movie, and several times thereafter, the producers added a caption at the bottom of the screen: Yes, this is still a true story. Because it was so outlandish. I still have a hard time believing even half of it.

Heck, half of the stuff that was written thousands of years ago, is still read and studied in school: Greek Mythology, Homer's Iliad, for instance. No one questions a horse that flies or a half-man, half-goat. We know it’s not real; it’s called escapism. Especially back then when there wasn’t much else to do but work and tell stories.

The fact of the matter is, whether we’re reading a Tom Clancy thriller or a romance novel by Nora Roberts, the story is supposed to be a tad bit unbelievable, or it wouldn’t be exciting to read. 

Believe meif I just wrote about my day-to-day life, I’d bore you to tears. BUTif I went back a few years, I could start a story right in the middle of the action of some sensational or horrific event in my life. And yes, you would probably say, “What are the chances that happened?” But that’s what would make it a good story. Or, I can take an average event, and add some crazy twist. The point is, if nothing unusual happens, it's not really a story. Heck, it's barely a journal. Other than a few scribbles, we rarely write about a boring day in our diary. No, we wait until something exciting happens.

The other issue in reviews is the Happily Ever After, which we readers and writers commonly refer to as HEA. I see a lot of people who say… “Meh! It all worked out!”

Well, again, how many of us want to read the story where everyone dies at the end. Sometimes it’s okayif there’s meaning behind it. Like the book/movie Pay if Forward. I had a love/hate relationship with that ending, but at least there was hope. (No spoilers!)

As for books by Nicholas Sparks, I now question if the book has an HEA. I know that sounds lame, but I don’t want a book where there’s no hope at the end. I don’t mind a few tears, but I want a smile at the end.

Anyway, most of us readers want a Story and an HEA. We read for enjoyment, we read for escape, we read so that we can have hope.


So next time you read a book, and it sounds unbelievable, remember, that’s what authors are supposed to do: Tell a Story

Until next time, happy reading and writing, my friends!

Carmen

Thank you for stopping by my place and reading my musings. Remember, these are just my opinions and shouldn't be taken too seriously. If you have questions, please feel free to leave them in the comment section, and I promise you I will answer. I love talking about all things books, so if you want more posts on writing, marketing, new releases, and giveaways, please leave your email address here. I only send out a post once or twice a week at the most. :)

Curious about what I write?
Find my books in digital, print, and audio versions at your favorite retailer.
I'll even give you a free book, just for stopping by.
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The difference between a cliffhanger and a teaser…Readers, Authors, what say you? #AmWriting

My idea of a cliffhanger... ;)

Rarely will I comment on a review on Amazon or Goodreads, simply because authors are warned not to. However, every once and a while, if the reviewer's comment sounds lucid and respectful, I'll speak into their comment, just because I am selling a product, and I feel I should be willing to stand behind it, which I am!

One such case was about cliffhangers. First of all, let me be the first to assure my avid-reading friends that I HATE cliffhangers! And I don't write them. 

But, in one of my books, I decided to warn readers that because the book was a prequel, it does have a cliffhanger-like ending, but in my opinion, it really doesn't. I'll explain that in a few seconds. My beta readers suggested that I remove the disclosure, that after reading the story, I didn't need to apologize for the way the book ended, because it was a perfect ending. Well, I didn't listen. I kept the disclosure in the first part of the book: 'A note from the Author', AND I added it to the 'From the Author' section on Amazon, which is right below the description, simply because I didn't want to upset anyone.

The fact of the matter is...the story is a prequel, written after the first book in the series, and something happens in the first chapter of book one, so because it already happened, it had to happen. I just needed to work the story backwards from that point.

This person's complaint baffled me because I wasn't really sure what she calls a true cliffhanger. The first part of the story was complete; the current situation culminated to this one scene. Now...it was time to move on to the next situation. But...because I never want to leave anyone hanging, I did include the first two chapters of the next book, so you would know what happened and decide if you want to continue the next part of the story.

Contrary to what a lot of readers are saying, a book series that finishes one situation, but leaves something dangling is not a new practice started by Indie authors; it's been around for a long time. 

Two recent, mainstream books that come to the top of my head are Twilight and The Hunger Games. The current issue is resolved, but there's a bigger picture, a vengeful vampire scurrying off to lick her wounds and come back another day, or a powerful president who doesn't want anyone questioning his authority...

And yes...we had to wait for the next book, usually a year or so. At least most Indie authors get you the next book in the series in a few months. :)

I implore authors not to write cliffhangers without any resolution, but there's nothing wrong with a dangling carrot. I mean...really...how many people sat on pins and needles all summer while we waited to find out "Who shot J.R.?" The cliffhanger is not new! This is what makes a series, this is what keeps you coming back for more. 

BUT...I promise you. My books are all complete stories. You do not need to read the next book, the current situation is resolved, but YES...I am going to give you something that will hopefully make you want to come back for more.

And Twilight and The Hunger Games even split the last two movies in half, making movie goers wait to see the other half of the book.

Below are the firsts in my book series/collections, which...I also offer either FREE or at a really low price, another reason I can't understand why anyone would complain. 

I mean...what's a cup of coffee without a donught, a burger without fries or a Coke, and let's not forget about that two for special that every grocery store in the nation loves to run. I don't need two twelve packs of soda, but if I buy two, I save fifty percent... See...this is not a new practice; it's smart advertising.

Again, remember...I don't write REAL cliffhangers, and I don't suggest them, but I see nothing wrong with a dangling carrot.

Now...you tell me what you think! As always, I take to heart everything you, my avid-reading friends, say so that I can write a better story for you.


The firsts in my on-going collections...



Thank you for stopping by my place and reading my musings. Remember, these are just my opinions and shouldn't be taken too seriously. If you have questions, please feel free to leave them in the comment section, and I promise you I will answer. I love talking about all things books, so if you want more posts on writing, marketing, new releases, and giveaways, please leave your email address here. I only send out a post once or twice a week at the most. :)

Curious about what I write?
Find my books in digital, print, and audio versions at your favorite retailer.
I'll even give you a free book, just for stopping by.
 If it's not free in your area, use...
Smashwords

The Rules of Write Club and Selling Your Book - #AmWriting #Blog


I'm sure this has been done before, but when the idea hit me, I didn't even look to see what other authors' rules might be, since these are my rules, and I think they make sense. I'm reminded of some of these common courtesies every time I log on to Twitter and someone who hasn't even taken the time to follow me back sends me a direct message to buy their book. Or, if I haven't even met them, sends me an @ message demanding I check out their book.

So...here're a few rules of Write Club you might enjoy passing along.

The first rule of Write Club is: You talk about Write Club: with your muse, with your beta readers, with everyone you meet if you're talking about the love of writing and reading. 

The second rule of Write Club is: You do not talk about Write Club only to say: check out my book, buy my book, you just followed me on Twitter, so go read my book. 

The third rule of Write Club: Someone yells stop, goes limp, taps out, the talk is over. Find a common ground in person, on Twitter, on Facebook...wherever you socialize. But don't make it all about your book. Share info that your friends will have an interest in so their eyes don't glaze over. I assure you, if they like what you're talking about, they might take a look at what you write too.

The fourth rule of Write Club: You must make time to read. I'm going to quote Stephen King here, because I think he says it best: "If you don't have time to read, you don't have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that."

The fifth rule of Write Club, which is really the FIRST and most important rule of Write Club, but I was trying to stay with the movie quote: You Must Make Time to Write!

Now, go set some time aside daily to be friendly and sociable, to meet and greet your avid-reading friends, to interact with potential new friends. But remember, if you want to sell more books, the answer is plain and simple: write a better book and write more of them.

Hope you enjoyed this simple reminder. I'm off to write.

Until next time, happy reading and writing.

Carmen


Thank you for stopping by my place and reading my musings. Remember, these are just my opinions and shouldn't be taken too seriously. If you have questions, please feel free to leave them in the comment section, and I promise you I will answer. I love talking about all things books, so if you want more posts on writing, marketing, new releases, and giveaways, please leave your email address here. I only send out a post once or twice a week at the most. :)

Curious about what I write?
Find my books in digital, print, and audio versions at your favorite retailer.
I'll even give you a free book, just for stopping by.
 If it's not free in your area, use... Smashwords

Copyright: / 123RF Stock Photo

In honor of International Children's Book Day... #AmReading #ICBD

In honor of International Children's Book Day, Casper Mattress Company asked me what my favorite bedtime story was...and what I read to my children. 

Ahhh...was my first thought, as I hadn't thought about this in a long time, and it brought back great memories, memories of when I learned how fun and inspiring reading could be, and then when I'd introduced my love of books to my sons.

The first book I remember was James and the Giant Peach, which was actually read to me by my second grade teacher at school. The moment I lay in my bed and stared up at the ceiling, the characters would come alive, playing out all sorts of scenes that hadn't been in the book, providing an escape that made me fall in love with books.

From there, I wanted the feelings to continue, so I quickly learned the benefits of the library and often checked out a book nightly. Specifically, I remember 101 Dalmatians, the original full-length book, not the Disney version, and then I checked out every Peanuts book in the library.

For my children, it was every one of the Dr. Seuss books when they were young, their favorite being Green Eggs and Ham. As they got older, we moved on to The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis. 

Casper mattress company understands the importance of reading to our children before bed and are huge advocates for Children's Book Day! Find their blog post herewhich shares their favorite books from childhood.

Until next time, happy reading...and hopefully reading to your little one!

Carmen


Thank you for stopping by my place and reading my musings. Remember, these are just my opinions and shouldn't be taken too seriously. If you have questions, please feel free to leave them in the comment section, and I promise you I will answer. I love talking about all things books, so if you want more posts on writing, marketing, new releases, and giveaways, please leave your email address here. I only send out a post once or twice a week at the most. :)

Curious about what I write?
Find my books in digital, print, and audio versions at your favorite retailer.
I'll even give you a free book, just for stopping by.
 If it's not free in your area, use...
Smashwords