The Secret Recipe for Writing a Perfect Pitch…or Blurb!

MonaKarel:

Kristen and Marcie are saving my bacon…I need to work on the blurb for A Question of Honor. This is written for Pitches but doesn’t it some across as PERFECT for a blurb? In one of the MANY comments, Marcie says: “Which character’s decision/problem sets the story in motion? Which of your POV characters has the most to lose? Which one is going to be the one to beat the antagonist/villain in the final showdown? Usually you’ll write your pitch focusing on that character.”  Oh yeah.

Originally posted on Kristen Lamb's Blog:

All the right ingredients can make magic... All the right ingredients can make magic…

Today, I am preparing to teach this weekend at the DFW Writers Workshop Conference, so I asked Marcy to guest post on an important topic. Conference season is upon us. Many of you will be talking to agents and editors soon. Or, you might be wracking your brain trying to nail down the hook for a query letter. Marcy is a master at teaching how to refine those tens of thousands of words into something coherent and interesting….

Take it away, Marcy!

***

Writing a book is easy…at least when compared to what we need to do after we finish. We had 50,000 to 100,000 words to write our novel, and now we have to condense that down into a couple of paragraphs for an agent pitch, query letter, Amazon description, or back cover copy.

It feels unfair. Mean really. After all, if…

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Sunday Sharing…Love Songs and Memories

Sunday evenings I go wandering through You Tube, indulging in memories and good times, sometimes finding something new and amazing to share.

I remember when I first heard this song, for once right around the time it came out. Yeah, a while back.

Noodling around on You Tube I found this version…Gobsmacked!

GO Wonder Woman!

OH, Jim Quincy Borden is sharing a sad song on his blog about love we thought would last forever. Pete Seeger’s Against The Wind. Jim likes this line: “Wish I didn’t know now what I didn’t know then”

I’m kind of partial to: “Surrounded by strangers I thought were my friends”

“Older now, still running against the wind.”

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Paying it Forward, and Seeking Love, with JM Maurer

JM Maurer’s offered to share her next book with us for Pay it Forward. The idea is she will do something wonderful for someone else…being brave enough to bring out a book around April First is pretty impressive, don’t you think?

SLAmazonTitle: Seeking Love (Emerging From Darkness Book 1)
By: JM Maurer @JMMaurer1
Publish Date: April 2, 2015
Categories: Contemporary Romance, Humor, Woman’s Fiction

Blurb:

Every day, Jessica Winters does what she does best—bury herself in patient care within the walls of the neuro intensive care unit, keeping herself busy to escape the dark sadness that controls her life. But the day she sees Matthew Moi, the intriguing man seated at her new patient’s bedside, her shattered heart begins to frantically beat once again.

As Matthew pins his mesmerizing gaze upon her, trying to distract her with his humorous and playful banter, she does her best to ignore him. Somehow he already knows a great deal about her, breaking down Jessica’s barriers and awakening her soul, drawing her out of the darkness and into his arms.

When her painful past resurfaces, revealing truths that threaten her future, Jessica struggles through her issues and fights to stay on a healing path . . . seeking love.
Buy Links:

Amazon: http://tinyurl.com/pa4chrn

Apple: http://tinyurl.com/nu6t5xp

Barnes & Noble: http://tinyurl.com/khmfx84

Kobo: http://tinyurl.com/nycysxl

Amazon Author Page: http://tinyurl.com/m7tfqsn

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/jmmaurer

ARe: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-seekinglove-1766707-149.html

Excerpt:

One thing I knew: I wasn’t that woman anymore. I wouldn’t be her anymore.

My heart was racing at the thought of being separated from Matthew by only the door, and I watched as it opened, knowing he stood mere feet away. I drew in a deep breath to calm my frantic nerves and steady my racing heart. It was the moment my eyes would see him again, and the same moment I knew all involuntary muscle movements would cease.

As Matthew stepped in and around the door, his alluring eyes captured me. The feeling was nothing new. I’d been imprisoned by his gaze before. And locked in it again, I watched as he drifted to me, the indisputable chemistry between us palpable and absolute. His mesmerizing eyes had hypnotized my burning soul, completely bewitching me.

“Hello, Jessica,” he murmured, pointing to an open area of the bed. “Mind if I sit?”

I gave a slight shake of my head, having difficulty forming the simple word “no,” and watched as he made himself comfortable facing me. His crisp charcoal-colored trousers bunched as he scooted on the bed. My sight roamed along his classic plum-colored dress shirt and stopped searching once I focused on his face.

About the Author:

JM Maurer lives with her family in Chicago. She makes it a point to never work on a full moon and cringes when a coworker authorpicuses the “Q” word—never, ever say, “It’s a quiet day today,” at her day job.

Known for being overly superstitious, she can usually be found scraping at the remnants of a Nutella container, screaming at a hockey game, or putting pen to paper, allowing the “real” crazy voices in her head to come alive. And after all this, it’s no wonder she’s an incurable romantic and loves escaping the rat race of life to immerse herself inside the world of a really good romance book . . . because, after all, what’s better than a happily-ever-after?
Find her Here:

Website: http://jmmaurer.com
Blog: http://jmmaurer.com/blog.html
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JMMaurerAuthor
Twitter: https://twitter.com/JMMaurer1
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13459844.J_M_Maurer
tsu: http://www.tsu.co/JMicheleMaurer

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Reviewing the Reviews

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Just ’cause it’s pretty!

I’ve been thinking about this blog for a while. So many times I come across a review that just begs for me to smack a palm across my face. What WERE they thinking? I decided instead of saving them all up for a huge blog I’d parcel them out from time to time, and maybe you’ll share the ones that piqued your interest.

I found a Kindle edition of a book by one of my favorite authors. Somehow I missed this book when it came out in 1987. I punched that deadly one-click and loaded it onto my Kindle. Then I looked at the reviews. Several of which stated “this reads like one of those 1980’s genre romances.”

Well, duh.

The book comes from the days of Alpha-hole heroes and innocent, plucky, damaged, sweet, sexy (for the right man only!) heroines. One or both has some kind of tragic past that interferes with their ability to love or commit or whatever the problem is going to be. Romance authors of that time were talented at producing such books.

Romance readers devoured them.

Yes, they’re dated. In the better ones, the descriptions and the emotions are still there, grabbing at our hearts and keeping us up late reading, for the third or fourth or fifth time, about the healing power of love.

Sigh.

I found a review complaining that the main character in a series was “too unrealistic.” Here we have a series with werewolves, vampires, fae, ghosts, and monsters. And this reviewer thinks one specific character is unrealistic? Seriously? Wow.

Then there was the one star review, complaining the story “had too many horses.” You’d think the cover, which was only a rearing horse, might have given the reader a clue.

What reviews have you found that make you want to dent the desk with your head?

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Squealy Fan Girl Memory, and a Cover Reveal

I joined RWA (Romance Writers of America) and OCC (Orange County Chapter) in 1989. At that time several of the heavy hitters had not left Southern California for parts north and gorgeous (as in San Juan Islands.) I was having books signed by a very favorite author. As we talked books and writing, she asked what I was writing. I kind of dithered around, and mentioned I was taking a six month hiatus due to a litter of Saluki puppies. She demanded pictures, and then grinned. “Six months,” she predicted.

from the lumix 011

Taking up time since 1972

She was right. Sigh.

I asked her why oh why didn’t she write the next book in a series. Sure I knew the answer but still..

She explained she’d moved on to other books and characters. Plus there were these pesky issues with the publisher.

Okay, I understood all that. But we her loyal readers really really really wanted that story.front cover

And she smiled.

And she said: “You write it.”

And I did. Well, okay not his story. But a story of a wounded warrior and the woman who completes him. Since I can get a bit carried away sometimes, I decided to make both of them scarred by their pasts. Today, I saw the potential cover.

“Can a woman with a past find love with a man who thinks he has no future?”

Yes, I think they can.

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What Really Matters…With Help from Susan Taylor..and Ffyr Drakul

Susan posed three questions HERE on Siouxsie’s Musings meant to make us think, to dig deep into who we are and what we want to be: **Brag  — what can I be proud of right now? Grateful — what  blessing in my life would I like to acknowledge? Desire — if money, time, and the laws of physics were no object, what would I desire?** She references her sources in the blog (Susan’s blogs always give me something new to think about.

I took a bit to think before I answered, which is one of the reasons I really enjoy her blog

{{a brag. That I never stop trying new things. I’m grateful I learned to do this, albeit later in life and not yet completely.Desire, if I had unlimited funds? To keep reaching out, doing more, and helping others do the same.
This isn’t totally altruistic…I’m trying hard to deal with total truth. I’ve traveled a bit, I’d like to travel more. But it is SO MUCH fun to watch others succeed, especially when I’ve had at least a small part in their success.}}}

I’ve learned to take pleasure in smaller things. Might be all the dishes clean at once, a garden planted and ready for success. A dress fitting for the first time in years. A 001forgotten memory, just waiting to show up when I most need it.

This evening it was a great Agility session with my firecracker of a Saluki boy, Ffyr Drakul (Fire Dragon) He was giggling with anticipation while I looked for a parking place and spent the first ten minutes just sniffing where all the dogs had been earlier.

We hadn’t been for several months. Always something else to do, or the weather was just so awful. His sister went a few times to the Tuesday session but seems like Thursday just kept getting away from us. So tonight he went instead. And we both are better for it1

What is your brag, your source of gratitude, your desire? If you haven’t found them yet, don’t put it off until a better time. Go. Embrace life…we’re blessed to be here. So many are not

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Chile Relleno Casserole? Low Carb? GIMME

I love Chile Relleno. Long, thick meaty green chiles, stuffed with cheese then dipped in a batter and fried. Oh, yeah. I’ve come across many different recipes, some shared from family cookbooks. Mostly the batter is some kind of flour or cornmeal mixture, maybe even crackers. Which are all awesome yummy but a real downer when you want to stay with a low carb lifestyle. Once in a very great while you might find the coating is only eggs, no flour, no cornmeal, just well beaten eggs. Bliss.

But any of these preparations take a long time to put together, between stuffing the peppers, dipping them, then frying.

When I saw a RECIPE for a chile relleno casserole, I was intrigued, and inspired. As you can see, there’s no frying, no

Looks pretty good from the outside

Looks pretty good from the outside

stuffing. Just layer the flattened chiles with cheese, then whip up the eggs and cream. How does it look?

Looks pretty good cut up

Looks pretty good cut up

It also heats up really well for breakfast. I got several meals out if this dish. Mind you I was using fresh roasted chiles but you can find them in cans, if you aren’t fortunate enough to live in New Mexico

If you ever want to come visit, give me some warning and I might just  make up a pan for everyone.

Yum

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Sharing Emotions and Music on Sunday

When my father’s Navy career took us to Japan in the last 60’s, there was not a lot of English language media available. Although we did see American television programs…Bonanza in Japanese can be most interesting. But there was a radio station available. One of the programs interpreted songs. I’d never thought of looking for hidden meanings in music, I just tried to learn the song itself: words, music, and so on.

The song I most remember him dissecting was this moody one by Roberta Flack

Here’s a bit of a mondegren for me to digest. Until I saw these lyrics earlier this week, I was convinced the refrain referred to “strumming my FATE with his fingers.” Even listening to the song today, it still sounds like fate. Instead, it’s PAIN. which gives an entirely different feel, don’t you think?

Now, here is a song that has run through my head ever since…well a very long time

And of course I did a bit of research. I’ve found extra enjoyment in who, how, and why. And I found this on good ol’ Wikipedia:  The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” is a 1957 folk song written by British political singer/songwriter Ewan MacColl for Peggy Seeger, who would later become his wife, to sing.

Which led to this interpretation:

And one more, which in my opinion should define a good relationship

Dang, and now I’ve got ear worms all over the darned place. Happy Sunday. It’s bright and sunshiney and I think I’m going to visit with some friends.

 

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Paying it Forward with Kate Corcino…Let’s Watch Those Sparks Rise #LERA_NM

I met Kate at a LERA meeting (That’s Land of Enchantment Romance Authors—a great group) She’s one of our ‘longish distance’ members, living four hours away or more. One of the wonderful things about LERA is sharing our successes at every meeting. Each  member introduces themselves and shares what they’ve been doing that month. A few months back, Kate holds up a book and quietly says: “My first book is published.” Insanity ensued, the room erupting in cheers (we’re a vocal group!) and she passed the book around. ‘Hmmm,’ I thought. ‘Nice cover. What’s the back blurb say? HMMMM INTERESTING.’

I loaded it on my Kindle. I read it. And I knew I had to let as many people as possible know about Kate, and Spark Rising!

The first full-length novel in an exciting new Futuristic Fantasy series that melds the best of Science Fiction Romance and Urban Fantasy, and the winner of a SFR Galaxy Award!
SPARK RISING
Book One of The Progenitor Saga
Available Now!

All that’s required to ignite a revolution is a single Spark rising…Spark Rising_FINAL_ebooksm

SPARK RISING is sale-priced at .99 cents for a very limited time at AMAZON

***

Agent Alex Reyes has been searching for the perfect weapon in his war against the men and women who use his kind to fuel their re-civilization. And now that he’s found her, he realizes she’s so much more than he dared to dream…
Two hundred years after the cataclysm that annihilated fossil fuels, Sparks keep electricity flowing through their control of energy-giving Dust. The Council of Nine rebuilt civilization on the backs of Sparks, offering citizens a comfortable life in a relo-city in exchange for power, particularly over the children able to fuel the future. The strongest of the boys are taken as Wards and raised to become elite agents, the Council’s enforcers and spies. Strong girls—those who could advance the rapidly-evolving matrilineal power—don’t exist. Not according to the Council.

Lena Gracey died as a child, mourned publicly by parents desperate to keep her from the Council. She was raised in hiding until she fled the relo-city for solitary freedom in the desert. Lena lives off the grid, selling her power on the black market.

Agent Alex Reyes was honed into a calculating weapon at the Ward School to do the Council’s dirty work. But Alex lives a double life. He’s leading the next generation of agents in a secret revolution to destroy those in power from within.

 The life Lena built to escape her past ends the day Alex arrives looking for a renegade Spark.

***

Hello, all!
I am so thrilled to be here to share a taste of SPARK RISING. This novel came to me in a series of glimpses–daydreams of a young woman, living apart for the safety of those she loves, filled with loneliness and pain. And power.
That power took the form of the ability to manipulate energy in all its forms. I first pictured her atop the ruins of a building, attempting to weld electrical components back together so she could power a water heater she’d rebuilt. Two things caught at my awareness. She was in my favorite Southwestern desert, sweaty, dirty, and desperate…a post-apocalyptic vibe. And she was welding together those metal components using her mind. I had one line, captured from her thoughts, that echoed with frustration and amusement with the force that gave her power…The Dust wanted to help…
My second glimpse was of the same young woman in the desert, preparing herself to discharge energy that had accumulated inside of her–the by-product of her work, and the signature of the Dust. She slowly undressed and piled her clothes a distance away, then paced in dread. She finally set herself, threw back her head in anticipation of agony not even the Dust could fully insulate her against, and released the energy to the earth and the sky. That lightning bolt flashing up and away, the after-image of her falling senseless to the glassed sand, and the knowledge that she’d wake in pain to collect herself and go about her life for another week or so until she had to go through it again seared themselves onto my brain and my heart.
I had to know more. Who was this girl? What was her story?
Her name is Magdalena.
And as for her story… She’s still sharing her story with me every day, and I’m scrambling to write it all down to share it with you.
If you’d like a taste, read on for an excerpt of Chapter One…SPARK RISING
***
“Nothing says ‘Home, Sweet Home’ like an abandoned gas station.”
The words came with a muffled snort from one of the two men following Lena. He probably hadn’t meant for her to hear them—probably—but the rich, husky tone of his voice carried them to her.
Lena rolled her eyes, her back still to the client and his assistant. “Does my home offend you, Mr. Reyes?” She kept her tone even and pleasant. It took effort. A lot of effort.
“No, no,” he answered from behind her. “I’m just trying to understand what would make someone see this place and say, ‘Now this…this is the place I want to call home.’” He paused. “Miss Gracey,” he added, mimicking her formality.
She could hear his amusement. It was nothing she hadn’t heard from other clients before. As far as she was concerned, he could keep trying. She highly doubted he’d get it.
When she’d arrived at the ancient gas station nine years before, she’d been fifteen and full of rage, fear, and pride over making her escape from a life of hiding in the city. The empty building still stood firm against the onslaught of the world. Buckled, collapsed pavement at the far end of the lot showed where the tanks below ground had ignited during the cataclysm two centuries before. The void was filled with sand pushed by the wind—a shifting, fatal trap for the unwary. A tumbleweed bounced across the rubble of the road, smashing against teetering pump fourteen, shedding thorns and seeds as it rolled off again.
The desolation was a reflection of Lena’s grief. She’d staked her claim on the station and carved her home out of drifted sand and weeds. She didn’t expect those who lived in the comfort of a relo-city—surrounded by people and walls to keep the world at bay—to understand why it mattered to claim a corner of the wild as hers alone. The cities that had grown out of the post-disaster relocation centers were the last hope of those clinging to the old ways. They were willing to give up a lot to live in safety. She knew safety was relative.
Now her client, and the assistant who’d powered the electric vehicle to get him out here, sized her home up as they followed her inside. The visual examination of the home she’d built for herself, the life alone, was typical of every client, every time.
This time the examination, and the judgment it implied, rankled. She spun around, mouth opened to snap at them.
She stopped. Alejandro Reyes had removed his antique sunglasses, and his dark eyes were focused on her. She tried to escape the intensity of them by looking down, but that was a mistake. Instead of a heated gaze, she caught his wide-chested, lean-hipped body as he slid closer to her like one of the big cats of the desert, stalking prey.
He’s not a hunter, Lena. Just another indolent client looking for a black market charge to make his easy life easier.

Facebook header image SPARK RISING
Still with me? *grin*
I hope you enjoyed this taste of the novel. I love to hear from readers (and potential readers). Feel free to visit me at http://www.katecorcino.com or drop me a line at katiecorcino[at]gmail.com
If you’d like to keep reading, Spark Rising is available in paperback form through both Amazon and Barnes&Noble online.
It is available in a variety of e-formats at these retailers:
Nook: http://bit.ly/1ITscuU
iBooks: http://bit.ly/1wZbkzG
Kobo: http://bit.ly/1vZh8Cd
And it is on sale at Amazon for .99 cents for a very limited time:

Author Bio:
Kate Corcino is a reformed shy girl who found her voice (and uses it…a lot). She believes in magic, coffee, Starburst candies, genre fiction, descriptive profanity, and cackling over wine with good friends. She also believes in the transformative power of screwing up and second chances. Cheers to works-in-progress of the literary and lifelong variety!

She is currently working on the continuation of the Progenitor Saga, a genre-bending near future dystopian adventure series with romance, science, magic, and plenty of action.
Kate lives in her beloved Southwestern U.S. desert with her husband, several children, three dogs, and two cats.

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Do NOT Let Them Win…with Thanks to Anna Blake

When you were younger…heck maybe even last week…did someone tell you, you just weren’t enough? Maybe not thin enough, or pretty enough, or young enough, or clever enough? Not necessarily in a shaming way, but “for your own good”

Anna Blake has written something so profound, I really want you to take a look. Yes, it’s about riding horses. But it’s also about being true to yourself, and not listening to people who want to ‘help’ by tearing you down:

TIPS FOR A FAT RIDER talks about being aware of your entire self, not just one aspect, whether it’s weight, hair, complexion or anything else that makes you feel ‘less.’

Let yourself stand out

Let yourself stand out

How often have we hesitated taking on a new project, or maybe going to a conference, until we’re enough? Maybe until we’ve lost enough weight, or we can afford that wicked new wardrobe? We let ourselves worry so much about how we look, we stop ourselves.

We do the same in our writing. We write and rewrite and edit over and over because we are so sure our words are just not good enough. Of course we want to send out our very best but at some point we need to say ENOUGH and just send our book out into the world.

I’m guilty of this on both ends of the question, not always having the confidence I should and also being automatically judgmental. Not a pretty picture either way. I’m working on that as we speak.

It’s been a gloomy few days here in New Mexico. Some rain to make up for the gray but I gotta say my solar batteries are running low!

low lying clouds on South Mountain...bet those people were feeling gloomy!

low lying clouds on South Mountain…bet those people were feeling gloomy!

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