The Prologue that Wasn’t

The KindleScout campaign for Keeping Kinley has officially ended. Thank you so, so much to everyone who nominated it! Whether it’s chosen or not, it’s been a great experience. I hope you all enjoyed reading the first couple of chapters and I’m excited to get the rest of the story into your hands.

As I was going through my manuscript (yet again) and looking over different files, I found a prologue that I toyed with using. In the end I decided it was unnecessary (as most prologues are) and it went into my ‘deleted’ folder. However, I thought it would be fun to share it with y’all, because I do like how it turned out.

The Prologue that Wasn’t:

I told myself I wouldn’t look, but some self destructive tendency drove me to part the curtains. He was returning from a carriage ride. With her. She was dressed in her finery, the picture of innocence and ladylike decorum. He smiled at her.

I loved that smile.

It shouldn’t have hurt. The crushing disappointment shouldn’t have had the power to knock the wind out of me. But he had made me believe in him, in us.

Even so, I was practical enough that I should have expected this outcome. The world was always going to come between us. The truth of who he was, and who I was. The truth that had forced me to walk away from him—again. Yet this was so much worse than when I had left him the first time, when we were children, and the only thing we had to lose was friendship.

Fun, huh?

I also wanted to share my print cover. As always, the handsome man that I call my own helped me with it. Or…I helped him with it. We collaborated, there you go. I especially love the apple watermark that he made for me.

 

I ordered the paperback proof several days ago, and I’m so excited for it to arrive. That’s still my favorite part of this whole process—getting to hold the physical book in my hands for the first time. There’s nothing quite like testing the weight and flipping the pages, knowing that I wrote all that.

So now I’ll sit back and wait to hear from the KindleScout people, and in the meantime I’ll proof my paperback so that it will be ready to go as soon as either KindleScout or I publish the ebook.

ONWARD!

 

Loving Your Characters

When I start reading a book, there are many factors that might prevent me from being able to immerse myself in the story. One of the biggest is unlikable characters. I imagine that’s the case with many readers, especially if you enjoy character driven books. We don’t want to cheer for a character that we just don’t like. Sometimes I don’t like characters because they’re boring, other times it’s because I don’t respect them. Whatever the reason, the fact remains that writing likable characters is essential for an author’s success.

What’s the first step to writing likable characters? You have to actually like them yourself. If you don’t love the characters you create, then how can you expect readers to love them? Continue reading

Year End Wrap-up

Painting Rain

PR PromoOriginally I had planned on releasing Painting Rain by mid-December. However, with the rewrites required, and other unforeseeable issues, I gave up on that deadline and allowed myself to focus on Christmas and family. I haven’t done much with it for the past several weeks, but now that out-of-town family is gone and the festivities are finished, I’ll be able to get back to work. I need to complete my final read-through before sending it off to copy editors. Once that’s done, I’ll finalize the cover and make it available for pre-order. I expect copies will land it reader hands in 4-6 weeks.
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Writing Retreat and my Next Project

I spent the second half of last week in Bear Lake with five other writers. It was our second annual writing retreat. The point is to get away from our usual days of work, family and kids, and focus just on our craft.

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Took this during one of only two times that I bothered enjoying the view.


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Inspiration for Heroes

Another question from my FB page. Someone asked where I get inspiration for my heroes. So here’s my attempt to answer:

Firstly, none of my characters are based on real people. I have utilized little quirks from people I’ve known and incorporated them into some of my characters, but that’s the extend of it.
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The Original Idea for Ella and her Sisters

I had a reader ask on my FB page where I came up with the original concept of Ella and her sisters.

The first few scenes that I wrote for Just Ella were so bad. They were stilted and awkward, the dialogue was contrived, and I was trying to write in the style that Jane Eyre was written in, which didn’t work since I’m not Charlotte Bronte. I didn’t have a handle on the old timey speech, and I didn’t really know who Ella was.
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Will Lorraina’s Story be Next?

Short answer: Yes.

I’ve been surprised at how many people ask this question. I doubt it will come as a surprise that out of all of the sisters, Lorraina was my least favorite. But I couldn’t just keep her as the token brat throughout the books. It didn’t feel realistic. So when her storyline started to progress in Missing Lily, I appreciated the chance for her to grow. Yes, she was still selfish and overly critical, but I started to better understand the reasons behind it, and I was able to make some headway with her character development. However, by the end of Missing Lily, I still didn’t like her enough to want to write from her point of view. I couldn’t empathize with her enough.

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Deciding to Save Marilee

43While I was still in the middle of writing Missing Lily, I started contemplating my next project. I decided that I didn’t want to do another princess story. I was done with those. I tried starting the story of Gavin’s younger sister, Kinley, but it never grabbed me. I thought about telling the story of Brinna, Gavin’s jilted fiancée, but I barely got beyond a couple of paragraphs with her.

As you know, my decision to not do another princess story didn’t pan out.

I had always liked Marilee because she was fun and made me smile, but I knew that she wasn’t mature enough for me to want to be inside her head for an entire book. I knew that if I was going to make her a heroine, she’d have to grow up, and she’d have to do it the hard way.
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The Chiseled Hero and Willowy Heroine.

I’ve read a lot of books. (Shocker.) And most of those books are romance because I love reading about those feelings—the discovery of attraction, then waiting on pins and needles to find out if the other person feels the same way. There is something so basically human about finding love. However, I think many authors get stuck on attraction and have a hard time moving on to meaningful relationships. When I’m reading a book, there is only

Unknownso much physical description that I can take. If the hero’s rock hard abs are the main focus, it’s tough for me to take it seriously. I tend to roll my eyes when the heroine’s berry red lips and tiny waist are expounded on. Physical description is fine. It’s good to know that the hero and heroine are attracted to one another. However, should that really be the characteristic that is focused on the most? Do we need to keep going back to the fact that she is the spitting image of Aphrodite anP10_116_1d his physique is like the statue of David?

My objection isn’t just that it’s redundant, or that it flattens the characters into nothing but their physical attributes.
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The Rest of the Story – Part 3

I went to see Into the Woods the day after Christmas. I love that musical to the moon and back, and I’m still just a little bitter that I wasn’t cast in it that one time in college. Granted I wasn’t actually enrolled at the time, but still!

Anyway. The hubby and I were driving home and he commented that Into the Woods was a perfect example of what I was talking about in my blog post about The Rest of the Story. Ain’t that the truth. The brilliance of that musical (in addition to the incredible music and lyrics) is that Act I tells the fairy tales so well. They are wrapped up in their neat happily ever afters, and then in the stage production, act II starts with “Once Upon a Time…Later,” and proceeds to tell the story of what happens AFTER the happily ever after. Because once you get what you wish, there will always be another wish to take its place.

Into-the-Woods-Lilla-Crawford Continue reading