Birthdays: Martin Handford (1956), Bernard Waber (1924), Grazia Deledda (1871), Nicholas Mordvinoff (1911), Louis Auchincloss (1917), Ernest Becker (1924), Paul Goble (1933), Irvine Welsh (1958), Jim Thompson (1906), Jonathan Evison (1968), Katie Fforde (1952)
Tip: Different types of editing include: Developmental (checks for weak scenes, boring parts, plot inconsistencies, structure—the big picture); line editing (word choice, sentence construction, tags, etc.); copyedit (nitty gritty of grammar, punctuation, spelling, trademarks, etc.), and proofread (final overall look). If you hire an editor to go over your work, be sure you know what you’re getting.
Thought for the day: “If you are prepared to persevere, listen to good advice, recognise bad advice, read a lot and accept it may take many years, you probably will get published, eventually.” – Katie Fforde
Jumpstart: You wake up one morning, ready to start the day, but when you go into the bathroom, there’s a message on the mirror in your handwriting. It tells you not to go out. There are more notes over the house warning you not to go out. But it’s a beautiful day and you’ve been cooped up for days. What do you do? When did you write the notes and why?
Birthdays: TS Eliot (1888), Max Ehrmann (1872), Jane Smiley (1949), Mark Haddon (1962), Bernice McFadden (1965), Minette Walters (1949), Will Self (1961)
Tip: Remember that setting can reveal character. There’s a big difference between someone living in squalid conditions and a posh high rise. The setting helps define the character. Especially if there is a disconnect—someone raised in luxury now living on the streets or someone living in a mansion who grew up in squalid conditions will have very different opinions than someone who’s been there all their lives.
Thought for the day: “While plot and theme and pacing and every other element in fiction are important, the really key element in fiction is characters. Because if you’ve got characters that come alive, they tell your story.” Jean Auel
Jumpstart: You’re listening to the local news while cooking dinner. A news flash comes up about a dangerous criminal who’s wanted by the police…and it’s your name and picture they’re flashing. What do you do?
Birthdays: Jim Murphy (1963), James Ransome (1961), Charles Edward Russell (1860), William Faulkner (1897), Robert Laxalt (1923), Shel Silverstein (1930), Luanne Rice (1955), Kristin Hannah (1960), Bell Hooks (1952), Carlos Ruiz Zafon (1964)
Tip: Don’t make enemies of other authors by doing selfish things that benefit only you and hurt others. It will come back to haunt you and only give you a bad reputation among your peers.
Thought for the day: “Over the years, I’ve seen a lot of writers come and go — published and unpublished — and what I’ve learned is that the ones who make it keep writing no matter what. When life is tough, they write; when the kids are sick, they write; when rejections pile up, they write.” – Kristin Hannah
Jumpstart: You’ve been named in the will of someone you didn’t even know. A very rich someone. You will inherit everything, but only if you…(what?) and why did they leave it all to you?
Birthdays: David Drake (1945), Eavan Boland (1944), Eleanor Catton (1985), F. Scott Fitzgerald (1940), Horace Walpole (1717), Richard K. Morgan (1965), Robert Lewis Taylor (1912), John Brunner (1934), John Kessel (1950)
Tip: Figure out the GMC (goal, motivation, conflict) in your story. Every story should have this. In fact, each scene should have this. Try: (who) wants (what) because (why) but s/he can’t because (why not). For instance: Dorothy wants to go home because there’s no place like home but can’t because she needs to defeat the wicked witch and learns running away doesn’t help.
Thought for the day: “All fine prose is based on the verbs carrying the sentences. They make sentences move.” F. Scott Fitzgerald
Jumpstart: “I’d never have done that with you if I’d known…”
Birthdays: Anne Desclos (1907), Emmuska Orczy (1865), Frank Cottrell Boyce (1959), Jennie Shortridge (1959), Justine Larbalestier (1967), Wesley Chu (1976), Euripides (480 BC), Jaroslav Seifert (1901), Jerry B. Jenkins (1949), Bruce Brooks (1950), Peter David (1956), Bill Phillips (1964)
Tip: Different genres usually have different lengths. For instance, category romances tend to be around 60,000 words while a high fantasy can be 110,000 or more. Like everything, there are exceptions to this, but in general, check the standard word lengths for what you’re writing.
Thought for the day: “Do not despair when you are rejected. Welcome to the club. There isn’t a writer in the world who hasn’t been rejected. Many, many times.” – Justine Larbalestier
Jumpstart: You’ve just won a three-minute shopping spree at your favorite store. Where do you go and what do you buy?
This summer, ice cream entrepreneur Carly Redd’s only focus is expanding her business—until she’s coerced into attending her ex’s engagement party. Showing up without a date is unthinkable. She reluctantly agrees to be escorted by her brother’s co-worker, although doing so breaks her rule of not dating firefighters. The daughter of the town’s fire chief should wear a Do Not Touch sign, but firefighter Noah Harding’s interest blazed the moment he saw Carly. Agreeing to be her fake boyfriend is a no-brainer, but convincing Carly to trust him with her heart is harder than extinguishing a fire. Overstepping the platonic-only rule is as dangerous as fire and ice swirling into a tempting combustion.
The premise and research for this story were so much fun because who doesn’t like ice cream!
In my story, Cherry Red, the heroine, Carly Redd, creates new flavours of ice cream. While going to college, she worked as a bartender. She blended her knowledge of ice cream and alcohol and came up with several favourites for her adult customers.
While anyone can make their own ice cream float, it is important to pair the right flavour of ice cream with the equivalent beverage.
Here is one of Carly’s most requested ice cream creations.
1-1/2 cups champagne
1/2 cup no-pulp orange juice
1 cup vanilla ice cream
Shaved chocolate (optional)
Maraschino cherries (a must)
Pour 6 tablespoons champagne and 2 tablespoons orange juice into a 6-ounce champagne flute. Stir in 1/4 cup vanilla ice cream. Add a sprinkle of chocolate shavings. Repeat with remaining ingredients. Top with remaining chocolate shavings and cherries.
Darlene resides on the Atlantic Coast of Canada where the summers are too short, and the winters are too long. She writes contemporary romances with a focus on plot-driven page-turners. When not working on her next book, she can be found with her husband, her daughter, and her yellow Labrador.
“This might seem like a strange question, especially since we’ve just met, but would you be interested in going out for a coffee? Or an ice cream?” Noah rested an arm on the bar.
Carly glanced down at her jeans and black T-shirt embroidered with the company name and logo…a cluster of red cherries. In a room full of women all dolled up in fancy—and some a bit scanty—dresses, why would this incredibly handsome man ask her on a date? “I appreciate the offer, but I’m not interested…”
Noah raised a brow. “I know you like ice cream, so is it the coffee, or me?”
“What? No. I mean, yes.” She took a second to collect her scrambled thoughts. “I like coffee. I just don’t hang out with firefighters.” Not that he was a real firefighter. Did impersonators count in her rules of men to avoid? She never dated a stripper, but she wasn’t sure she could have a relationship with a guy who was paid to take off his clothes and have other women fawn over him. Not that the guy asked her on a date…just a simple coffee. His frown made her feel badly. “I’m sorry. It’s nothing personal.”
“Burnt in the past? No pun intended.” He smiled.
She couldn’t help but smile back. “Something like that.”
This link will bring you to my website which has links to all distributing sites for my books.
Birthdays: William Golding (1911), Ingrid Jonker (1933), Keorapetse Kgositsile (1938), Penelope Mortimer (1918), Rebecca Skloot (1972)
Tip: Make friends with your local bookseller by not just stopping in, but by purchasing books from them. Talk with them. Get to know them before you ask for a signing.
Thought for the day: “Write a page every day. That’s about 200 words, or 1000 words a week. Do that for two years and you’ll have a novel that’s long enough. Nothing will happen until you are producing at least one page per day.” – John Grisham
Jumpstart: I’ve never done anything like this. It’s not who I am. But today, I…
Birthdays: Samuel Johnson (1709), Anna Deavere Smith (1950), Christopher Ricks (1933), Lynn Abbey (1948), William March (1893), Richard Kluger (1934), Drew Gilpin Faust (1947), Steven Pinker (1954), Chris Hedges (1956)
Tip: When you get a contract (yay!), if you don’t have an agent, be sure you go over every clause carefully and ask about the ones you are unsure about. If nothing else, take it to a knowledgeable attorney and have them go over it for you.
Thought for the day: “Finally, one just has to shut up, sit down, and write.” – Natalie Goldberg Jumpstart: You’re remodeling your home, a place you’ve lived for at least a few years. While tearing out a wall, you find a skeleton…