How Do You Choose a Book to Read?

Books+Main a review by Zara West

~Does Books+Main Have the Right Idea? ~ There are a whole bunch of e-book sales listing services out there – Bookbud, Fussy Librarian, Rifle, E-Reader and more. These services list books that are on sale with a short sales-pitch type blurb. With 50 % of all romances being published independently, I use these services all the time to find new … Continue reading How Do You Choose a Book to Read?

Are you more likely to read a book that has won an award?

Close to the Skin by Zara West

~ Book Awards ~ This week my romantic suspense Close to the Skin is in a competition to win a Rone Award from InD’Tale Magazine– a beautiful and well-known e-magazine dedicated to romance writing. This award is one in which readers vote for their favorite book or author. This process is similar to a number of Reader Award contests for … Continue reading Are you more likely to read a book that has won an award?

Characters as Verbs

~ I ________ you ~ I was very fortunate to have the chance to hear Damon Suede speak at the New Jersey Romance Writers Conference last fall. The topic of his talk was character development. Give Your Character a Verb One thing that stood out for me was his suggestion that before you decide on … Continue reading Characters as Verbs

Fifteen Minutes Writing – The Book Factory Method

Writing in Fifteen Minutes by Zara West

~ Life in Fifteen Minutes ~ Do you know how much time you spend on daily activities like reading e-mail and perusing Facebook? Do you struggle to reach your daily word count? I know that I do. A while back, I took a workshop with USA best-selling author Kerri Nelson, which she has recently published … Continue reading Fifteen Minutes Writing – The Book Factory Method

Plotting a Romance: What Works for Me

ZAra West reviews Roamncing the Beat by Gwen Hayes

~The Path of True Love ~ I truly believe that the best way to learn to be a writer is to be a voracious reader. That said, how-to-writing books definitely have a place in honing one’s skills. I have read many books that I have found helpful. Today I will review one of my favorites … Continue reading Plotting a Romance: What Works for Me

Writing Visionary Goals

Writing visionary goals by Zara WEst

~ Why I Start with Visionary Goals ~ In my last post, I talked about how I set up my writing journal. In this post I will explain how I set my visionary goals. Designing Visionary Goals When designing goals, there are three things we are advised that make a good goal. The first is … Continue reading Writing Visionary Goals

My Writing Journal – Tips and Tricks

The beginning of a new year is always a good time to review what one has accomplished and to look forward to what might be one’s goals for the new year. A journal is a great place to start.

Writing a Series – 6 Tips for Success

~How to Extend the Story~ When I started writing my first romantic suspense Beneath the Skin, I had no plans to make it into a series. But it didn't take long for me to start imagining the lives of the secondary characters and wondering if they could win true love too. So when I pitched … Continue reading Writing a Series – 6 Tips for Success

Don’t Get Sued – How to Get Permission to Quote from Literary Works

Zara West talks about Getting permission to quote from other writers in your commercial works.

~Have You Covered All the Bases?~ Do you know how to legally quote from another writer in your own commercial works? In scholarly works, it is usually acceptable to quote from someone as long as you footnote and include a bibliography. That just doesn't work in commercial fiction and non-fiction. When I was writing my … Continue reading Don’t Get Sued – How to Get Permission to Quote from Literary Works

Editing for Sensory Language Part 7 Movement

~GOING BEYOND 5 SENSES ~ Remember those two hard-to-spell senses I mentioned back when I started this series? Well, now it is time to talk about them. The vestibular sense provides feedback on our body's balance, coordination, and movement in space. The kinesthetic or proprioception sense lets us know how our bones, muscles, and tendons … Continue reading Editing for Sensory Language Part 7 Movement

Editing for Sensory Language Part 6 Sound

Sensory Language for Writers Sound

~Do You Hear What I Hear? ~ Crash. Bang. Screech. Nothing can beat adding sound words into one's writing. Our sense of hearing develops long before we are born. At 18 weeks, an unborn infant can start to hear sounds. By 25 to 26 weeks, the fetus responds to sounds. By birth, infants can identify … Continue reading Editing for Sensory Language Part 6 Sound

Editing for Sensory Language Part 5: Vision

eye

~ Take a Good Look ~ When we read, we create visual images in our heads. We picture the heroine’s dress. We see the house. We visualize the car speeding past. These visual images grow out of our own visual memory of things our eyes have seen. In describing objects using the visual sense, it … Continue reading Editing for Sensory Language Part 5: Vision

Editing for Sensory Language Part 4 Touch

touch man

~ The Way It Feels ~ Close your eyes. Reach out and touch something nearby. Concentrate on how it feels to your fingertips. When we touch something a giant network of nerves are activated sending information to our brains. If we have touched something similar before, our brain may make a guess as to what … Continue reading Editing for Sensory Language Part 4 Touch

Editing for Sensory Language Part 3 Taste

Tasting Food

~ The Gustatory Sense: On the Tip of Our Tongue ~ Stick out your tongue and take a taste. Yum! Our sense of taste is probably our most pleasurable sense. It is also one of the most complex. We have almost 2000 taste sensors on our tongue, but what we actually taste is a combination … Continue reading Editing for Sensory Language Part 3 Taste

Editing for Sensory Language Part 2 SMELL

girl smells a sunflower

~ The Olfactory Sense: Using Our Nose ~ Smell is one of the most powerful of our senses. Smell forms and solidifies memories and evokes the emotions. A familiar odor can bring back an image or event from the past. Smells influence the choices we make and can change our mood and our behavior. Real estate … Continue reading Editing for Sensory Language Part 2 SMELL

Editing for Sensory Language

- Weaving in the Seven Senses - As you can tell from the title I am still editing. I have gone over my current manuscript for all the big things. Now it is time for me to add those little details that raise ordinary writing to the level that touches the reader emotionally. This is especially important in … Continue reading Editing for Sensory Language

Marathon Editing

Editing Tricks

Editing Tribulations and Tricks For the last several months, I have been stuck in editing mode. It's not that I dislike editing. I just like creating new stories better. Editing becomes a tribulation when all you do is edit from morning to night. That's what happens when you fast draft three books in a row … Continue reading Marathon Editing

Time Management versus Creativity in Writing

Notebook Zara West Suspense

Or Why Hitching Creativity to the Clock is Doomed to Failure Yikes! Where did the time go? My last post was when - December? So much for keeping a writing journal. It was such a good idea - writing down what was going on in my writing. So what happened?  Well, now that I am … Continue reading Time Management versus Creativity in Writing

Word Trackers. A Good Thing or Not?

word tracker

50,000 Words and Counting! I did it! For the third year in a row I managed to get down 50,000 words on my next novel, despite the holidays, a long-awaited visit from my sister who lives in Scotland, a book signing in Long Island, and all the daily things I do - like work. However, … Continue reading Word Trackers. A Good Thing or Not?