My first novel, written as a respite from working on my dissertation, took me five years to write. My second novel took seven years to write. My third novel took one month. What made the difference? Fast drafting. Fast drafting is the writing process in which you throw out everything you've learned about good writing … Continue reading Fast Drafting My Way to The End or What I Learned from NaNoWri
Ready. Set. Go. Got my plot. Got my characters. Got my GMC outline. Got my alarm set. Everything appears ready for me to dive in and write my first 2000 words (Technically you need to write 1533 a day, but I aim for 2000 words a day - that way I get ahead a bit … Continue reading NaNoWri starts Tomorrow and I Can’t Wait.
NaNoWri or National Novel Writing Month starts on Tuesday. This will be my third year participating. I don't know why, but somehow tracking words and trying to attain the 50,000 word challenge in 30 days just gets my blood flowing and the creative juices oozing. So I am getting set for the race to the … Continue reading Why NaNoWri fires me up to write faster
I have always loved words. Words are amazing things. They can make us feel happy. They can cut us to the quick. Loving words as much as I do, it comes as no surprise that I am a reader and a writer. When I was a teenager I collected favorite words and phrases on index … Continue reading Zara’s Words for Readers & Writers
Dear Readers, I have been busy. In June, my first romantic suspense Beneath the Skin was published by Wild Rose Press. I have just signed the contract for Close to the Skin, Book 2 in the Skin Quartet series. I have discovered that it is not the writing that is time consuming. I love writing. … Continue reading Forgive My Long Silence…
Where do you like to read? I’m a compulsive reader so I enjoy reading anywhere. I have been known to read while stirring the stew and in the few seconds it takes to microwave my tea. One of the reasons I like to read paperback books as opposed to e-books is that it is actually … Continue reading Favorite Places to Read
I’m having a Facebook Party for Beneath the Skin! Today is my big day. Beneath the Skin will be released to the world! In celebration, I am holding my first ever Facebook Party. In preparation, I have done a ton of research. Below is what I learned goes into having a successful party. Steps to a Successful Facebook … Continue reading Have a Successful Facebook Party
How I Made a Book Trailer for Beneath the Skin! Book trailers are the hot new thing in book marketing. With my background in making videos, I just had to try my hand at creating one for Beneath the Skin. It was terrific fun! How I Made the Book Trailer This is the first time I … Continue reading How I made a Book Trailer for Beneath the Skin
Beneath the Skin is Here! Look what arrived yesterday! A whole box of my hot off-the-press romantic suspense Beneath the Skin. I have published books before, but I think this was the most exciting of all my books. It has taken me seven years to move from non-fiction writing to fiction writing. I have taken … Continue reading Beneath the Skin is Available for Pre-Order
It’s coming. It’s almost here. My first romantic suspense, Beneath the Skin, will be available for pre-orders any day now, and I am having a Pre-Order Round-Up party on my Facebook Fan Page. Come join the party! Every day there will be a new question, a new poll, a new challenge, or a request for an … Continue reading There’s a Party Going on for Beneath the Skin!
Calling all readers! I have just heard. The worldwide release date for my romantic suspense Beneath the Skin is June 17th, 2016. On that date, Beneath the Skin will be available for purchase through Wild Rose Press as well as Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other major book distributors. It will be offered as an e-book … Continue reading Beneath the Skin Coming June 17th
"Traditionally artists have been considered soft and mellow people, a little bit kooky. Maybe we're a little bit more like pirates that way. We defend our territory, whatever space we steal to paint on, we defend it fiercely." Sandra "Lady Pink" Fabara in Chang, Jeff (2005). Can't Stop Won't Stop: A History of the Hip-Hop … Continue reading Graffiti Art in Beneath the Skin
Now I read a lot of romantic suspense novels. I love them. Why else would I write them? I like the fact that there is mystery and threatening villains along with the love story. I like the complexity of the plot and the challenging of binding the romance so tightly into the suspense plot line … Continue reading Beneath the Skin is different
Blood Code by USA Today bestselling author Misty Evans definitely fits the requirements for a romantic suspense. The heroine is a Russian princess who has lived in the United States from childhood. Suffering from a severe blood clotting disorder, she is now a geneticist focused on finding a cure. But when her grandmother is kidnapped … Continue reading Zara West’s Romantic Suspense Book Review
Characters have to eat too. Today is National Pizza Day so I thought I would give a plug for Fornino in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. This is where my romantic suspense hero in Beneath the Skin likes to eat. Aristides Stavros might be a famous artist, but he's not much of a cook. It also proves a great place to escape … Continue reading Food Moments in Fiction
So what do you think? Does it matter what characters wear in the novels you read? Is it worth the time for writers to search the Internet for just the right outfit? Today I needed to describe the handbag my character Bella Bell, a tattoo artist, carries. The bag had to fit her flamboyant sense of style … Continue reading Do what characters wear add to the enjoyment of a romantic suspense?
Today is National Wear Red Day in honor of women. So I thought that I would share some red outfits my characters might enjoy wearing on this day. Note: In keeping with my new awareness of ethically made clothing, all the gorgeous garments featured here are made in conscience to worker's rights and the environment or from … Continue reading Let Them Wear Red: Ethical Clothing for My Characters
There is nothing more difficult then writing about yourself. Nobody likes to brag. Nobody wants to pat herself or himself on the back. So composing a bio about myself to include in Beneath the Skin was a real challenge. I decided to do some research on what authors are supposed to include in their "About the Author" page. Neil Patel advises … Continue reading Zara West’s Author Bio for Beneath the Skin
Lisa Gardner in the “Seven Secrets of Romantic Suspense” lists the following elements that all romantic suspense novels need to be successful: A tense, dangerous setting Complex heroes, heroines, and most importantly, villains, who have goals they must accomplish and something personal at stake, often their only chance at love. Heroes and heroines with a … Continue reading What Makes a Romantic Suspense Suspenseful?
Beneath the Skin is my first romantic suspense. This is a genre that I have always enjoyed reading. A romantic suspense has two interlocking plot lines. There is the love story which wends it way through the novel, pulling the protagonists together and apart until they meet their Happy Ever After or Happy for Now … Continue reading When You Are a New Romantic Suspense Writer