Thursday, July 17, 2014

Psst . . . Can you keep a secret?

Thanks to the world's spy technology, the little-known software program--the one that has been secretly used by the best-selling authors--has been discovered, and soon it's going to be available to the masses. 


Doesn't it sound cool?

Well, it is.

It's a shrink and a cheerleader in one sleek electronic package. 

It corrects your grammar--with none of those annoying iPhone corrections that turn your 'boss your chops' into 'butt your chips'. It points out your overuse of adverbs and adjectives. It fixes your punctuation and highlights multiple occurrences of the same word in the entire novel.

But that's not all. Attawriter is the first and only product on the market that can point out the places in a manuscripts where you're telling, not showing. It utilizes special Nasa-developed technology that uses the combination of counters of your descriptors and nouns to accurately predict problem areas.

It even spots plot holes. Don't believe me? It highlighted the seventeenth dead guy on page 158 of my manuscript who was supposed to be hiding in an attic.

I once had a character look at herself in the mirror to describe her 'brilliant, clear blue eyes', and guess what? Attawriter was there to bring my attention to my rookie mistake.

It's gentle yet persistent in its criticism. It always starts with "you're a brilliant, one-of-a-kind writer who has never yet lived on earth" and even suggests you get another cup of coffee when you've been typing nonstop for more than an hour. 

It's integrated with Siri and sings "You Are the Champion" whenever you type "The End" or "Epilogue". It even converts your multiple exclamation points into smiley faces--because by then you're surely way too tired and need a little boost.

In other words, Attawriter is every writer's dream. It's better than your spouse, best friend, or your high-school English teacher.

It's the way of the future, and you can't afford to stay behind.

To sign up for the release of Attawriter, follow my blog.

Remember, if you're not on the Attawriter train, you're going to be left behind.

Happy writing!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Too Good to be True?

I admit it. I love having fun with my characters. They tend to get into lots of predicaments. I throw them into extreme situations--spandex-assisted bungee jumping, cake brides, waitressing job at a mobster home, lingerie murder case.

Oh, but it's not realistic. Right? There's no way it would happen in real life.


Well, I had an egg sandwich for breakfast. Would you like me to write a novel about making it?

Of course, things are a bit exaggerated in a novel. Heroine lands her dream job, which turns out to be a plot to incriminate the FED, then she instantly falls in love with a charming jerk, who also happens to be investigating the said case. Wanna try that in real life after eating your egg sandwich?

Everything is fair game in fiction--except boring, prolonged chapters where nothing fun or interesting happens. There's nothing like wordy, too-scientific or too-smart paragraphs to turn off readers and make them shut down their iReader in frustration.

Fiction is not real life. Readers want entertainment--whether intense, heart-stopping, can't-wait-to-learn-what-happens-next intrigue, or toes-curling, sensual game. While readers do want to identify with the characters, beware of a hero who comes off as too good to be true--unless he turns out to be a villain at the end.

Have fun writing, and your readers will love reading your stories.

What does it take to be a beta reader

Beta What?

A beta is the first reader who gets to read a writer's finished novel before it is published. A good beta will point out any plot inconsistencies or gaps, comment on character development, tell an author if a certain part of a novel drags on for too long, if an ending feels rushed.

A Beta is Not a Reviewer

There's a major difference between the two. Reviewers get the final version of the novel after it's published and their job is to give their perspective about the novel to potential readers.

A beta helps improve the novel before it is published.

A beta reader does not need to be gentle or worry too much about hurting a writer's feelings by pointing out things that don't work. Although gentle feedback is always preferred over harsher pointed remarks, as long as beta's criticism is constructive (showing the scenes that have issues and specific examples), writers welcome that kind of feedback.

Truly, the last thing the writer needs to hear from a beta reader is that his or her novel is "amazing", has no plot holes, or is the next best seller, when a beta reader is, in fact, just trying to be nice. Sure, bring on the praise when the novel is worth is, but the truth is, everybody's work needs some sort of  improvement, and writers are fully aware of that; otherwise they wouldn't be asking for beta readers' feedback.

So what the heck do I need beta readers for?

Every beta reader is unique and will be able to see different issues with a novel.

Writers take every beta reader's feedback seriously.

We appreciate the time beta readers take to thoughtfully review the novel, and we will probably include all of our beta readers names in the Acknowledgements section when a novel is published.

Without beta readers, our novels wouldn't be as polished or complete.

We trust our beta readers' feedback more than our spouses'.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Character Interview: Love is a Fire by Lyssa Layne

Have you read Lyssa Layne's "Love is a Fire" yet? Do you like sexy firefighters? Today I'm hanging out with one of the main characters, Nick Garrity, a love interest of Katy, in the novel. He's competent, handsome, and thinks he can handle the tough questions.

Here's my review of the novel and the link to Amazon.

Nick walks in wearing his snug FDNY shirt showcasing his muscular physique. Flashing a lopsided smile, he shakes your hand*

Hi Katerina, you look beautiful today. Thanks for meeting with me. 

What made you fall in love with Katy so quickly? You’ve proposed to her after only a few months of dating. How did you know she was the right woman for you?
*Nick's smile gets bigger at the mention of Katy*
Katy is unlike any other woman I've ever met. I could tell from the way she spoke to Doyle that she was loving and kind. She'll kill me for saying this but I knew right then that she'd be the mother of my kids. Once we actually talked and I looked into her eyes, I knew she was the future Mrs. Garrity. It sounds cheesy but once she walked into my life, I couldn't imagine her not being in it. We also have a lot in common with our work ethic, being health nuts, our love of Bob Marley, and I swear one day I'll beat her at Scrabble. But when she selflessly took time out of her life to take care of my mother, who she just met...*he tears up but quickly shakes it off* confirmed that she was the one. 

You’ve lost your temper a few times. What makes you lose it and what are some of the things you’d never forgive?
It's not something I'm proud of and honestly, I usually can keep it under control but love makes you crazy, right? I'm not going to stand by and let someone talk negatively about my Katy or anyone in my family. If you hurt someone I love, you can guarantee you won't be forgiven.

What are some of your qualities that Katy loves, in your opinion?
Do my good looks count? *He laughs and shakes his head* Katy loves that I'm a family guy. She had a completely different family growing up than I did so she appreciates how close we are. She also thinks I am a pretty good kisser. *Nick gives a wink and a laugh*

What’s the deal with Jeremiah? Can a woman really be friends with her ex?
If only I knew the answer to this, life would be easier, wouldn't it? Honestly though, I can't blame Jeremiah for loving Katy. She has a captive personality that makes youwant to love her. I can't imagine what it's like for him to be with her so long and then see her married to someone else now, it's gotta be tough. 

Can they still be friends? I hope so. The two of them have been through a lot, he was there for her during hard times which I'm grateful for because I would never want Katy to be hurting alone. He understands her in a way I don't so yeah, I hope they can be friends and hell, maybe he can teach me a thing or two about her.

Knowing the dangers of your job as a firefighter, why do you want your son to follow in your footsteps?
You can't look at the job and think about the dangers. It's about helping others who can't help themselves. If something happened to my family, I would want someone to help them. Katy does the same thing just in a different job. I think that's another reason we click so well, we understand its our job to take care of others.

When I was a kid, my brother and I always looked at our dad in "hero glasses." We'd see him run into a burning building and think he could do anything, he was indestructible but it goes beyond the job. I remember my dad's crew coming over for BBQs, being in the stands at my football games, helping my brother and I with homework when my dad was working. My mom always had help and we had great role models when our dad wasn't around. I hope one day my son will see me in the same way and want to join the FDNY family.
If you knew Katy would end up with your best friend, how would that make you feel? Would you beat the crap out of him or would you find it in yourself to be happy for them?
*Nick laughs* Have you met Jesse? I don't think he'll ever settle down with just one woman but if he did, it would probably be a woman like my Katy. The two of them have become good friends and I can't explain how much I appreciate how much he helps our family. After my brother died, Jess and I both agreed to take care of the other's family if anything happened to one of us. It's part of the brotherhood of FDNY. So if the two of them got together, if Katy was happy then I would be too. Odd question...

Thanks for having me, Katerina. Katerina, what a beautiful name, reminds me of Katherine. I should get going, I need to get back to that nursery and finish it up so I can surprise Katy.