P.H. Solomon on Writing Roots #StoryEmpireRoadshow

Happy Monday and welcome to the first day of the Story Empire Roadshow Blog Tour!

vintage photo of a bookmobile with crowd gathered around it

The authors of Story Empire have banned together on a week-long tour spanning all of our blogs to bring you entertaining posts, fabulous deals on books, giveaways and other prizes. To kick things off, please welcome P.H. Solomon!

Book cover for the Bow of Destiny, a fantasy novel by P.H. Solomon

Hello to everyone and thanks to Mae for hosting me today. I’m P. H. Solomon and I’m a fantasy author, living in greater Birmingham, AL. It’s great to be a part of Story Empire and be on the Roadshow this week. I hope you’ll enjoy all the stops and authors this week and take a look at our books. To see our schedule and information about our prizes, please click to our Roadshow page and see where we are making appearances each day. This week I’m giving away a $10 Amazon Gift Card to the most active commenter.

close up of fountain pen with tip on paperI like to write and have for several decades, even though I’ve taken several long breaks from it. During each hiatus, writing always nagged at me and I often thought of ideas and toyed with them from a writing perspective. But one of the main reasons I like to write is that I’m a reader. While I like to read mainly speculative fiction, I do dabble with mysteries, action-thrillers and non-fiction so I have a variety of interests.

But reading influenced me to write long before I ever made my first attempts and it always called me back to writing over the years, simply for the love of a good story. I suppose one of my first memories of reading a good book on my own as a child was when I read The Hobbit by Tolkien, probably about my fifth-grade year. I read all about Bilbo’s adventures while sitting on a grate of our old furnace because it was warm in a drafty old house. The reading warmed my mind as much as the furnace warmed me bodily. That was a nightly ritual for some weeks as I plodded through a much bigger book than I was used to reading on my own. But it led to reading all of The Lord of the Rings over the next year which greatly increased both my reading comprehension and vocabulary. It also led me to other books.

One summer after that, I dealt with a case swimmer’s ear infection for a week or so during June. During that time, I read all of The Chronicles of Narnia. The series kept me company but I was soon finished with it since I was free to devote most of each day to reading. Of course, when I finished and was well, I was more than ready to get out and be active the rest of the summer but the characters stayed with me all that time as I remembered their adventures.

Later, I read other fantasy books and really enjoyed Patricia McKillip during my teen years. I once picked up her newest book, Heir of Sea and Fire, the sequel to The Riddlemaster of Hed, and read it on Christmas break by the fire. It was another story of wonder and adventure and the cozy fire each night was a good setting for reading about characters often visiting new locales with their own campfires to which the characters gravitated for warmth on their journey.

Book cover for An Arrow Against the Wind, a fantasy novel by author P.H. SolomonThese reading memories are much of what gave me a love of story and eventually led me in to writing. Books have been life-long friends to me and they’ve often lent comfort in difficulty which is the case of stories since people started telling them around their nightly fires thousands of years ago. What books influenced you when you were young? What are your fondest reading memories? Thanks for reading this post today and be sure to check out our schedule. While you’re here, feel free to have a look at my current book, The Bow of Destiny and the upcoming release of An Arrow Against the Wind. You can click on my bio banner below to pay me a visit at my website and learn more about me and the rest of The Bow of Hart Saga. Please follow me all week as I share more about my writing each day.

Here are some of the places where you can catch up with me on social media:
Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Website | Pinterest | Google+ | Wattpad | Amazon Author

bio box for author P. H. Solomon

Continue to follow the Story Empire Roadshow at these
blogs for more giveaways, prizes and fun!

Staci Troilo | C. S. Boyack | Harmony Kent | Joan Hall | P. H. Solomon

 

The Monday Buzz from Story Empire 3-20-17

old world type map with script writing laid over top and words Story Empire set off as a bold headerNot only is it Monday and the start of a new work week, but it’s the first day of spring. Although it doesn’t look or feel spring-like in my corner of the world, I’m hoping mild temperatures return soon, bringing the flora and fauna that go with them.

In the meantime there is always the Monday Buzz from Story Empire to distract me.

And speaking of distractions, SEer Joan Hall has a great post today about blocking them when you’re trying to write. This one was an eye-opener for me. Hop over and check it out!

The Monday Buzz from Story Empire 3-13-17

old world type map with script writing laid over top and words Story Empire set off as a bold headerAnother week and another Monday. What’s the weather like in your part of the world? Two weeks ago we hit 75 degrees, an oddity for March, but a pleasant one. Tomorrow, a snow storm is poised to strike, Originally, the forecast was for six inches or more, but it’s since been upgraded to 10-18 inches.

Seriously? I have daffodils budding, and I saw my first robin yesterday. That all seems meaningless with the great white winter bearing down.

In other news, I’ve started working on a book proposal/draft that has me jazzed. It’s my second go round. The first proposal didn’t have pizzazz, but this one has me hooked. It’s progressing slowly, but progressing, and that’s reason to celebrate.

Another reason to celebrate is broadening our scope as authors. Today, on Story Empire, P. H. Solomon gives an introduction to Scrivener. This is a program I’ve had on my computer for a while but haven’t taken the time to learn. I don’t know about you, but I’m eager to see what insights P. H. has to share. While you’re roaming about the blogosphere, hop over and have a looksee.

P.S…to my early readers who may have seen the link about branding, I apologize, I had my dates mixed up. Didn’t I tell you it was a Monday! 😀

A Friday Visit

It’s Friday and that’s always a cause for celebration for me when the work week winds down to a close. Not that I don’t love my career in the working world, just that the weekend means I have more time to devote to my other enterprise—building my brand as an author. With that in mind, I’m excited to be the featured guest at Teri Polen’s blog, Books and Such, for Indie Author Friday.

Teri invited me over to answer a handful of questions about my writing habits. Granted, I’m not sharing the secrets of rocket science, but it’s all good fun. Hop over and say hello if you get a spare moment while you’re roaming the blogosphere. And while you’re there, poke around Teri’s blog and consider giving her a follow. Not only is she an author, but she reads a ton of books, too. There’s no better combo in my mind! 🙂

Did He Really Say That?

Happy Wednesday! The idea for today’s post came about from watching an old TV show. It made me realize that even when some things are wrong, they’re right.

Let’s talk dialogue and social attitudes. When I wrote my Point Pleasant series (set in 1982 and 1983) I had to stop and remind myself of words and expression that weren’t in use at the time. Even the morals and attitudes of the era were different.

Edward Mulhare and Hope Lange

Edward Mulhare and Hope Lange by NBC Television (eBay item photo front photo back) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Lately, I’ve been DVRing a few old TV shows. When I was kid, I was hooked on The Ghost and Mrs. Muir.  The idea behind the series came from a 1947 movie by the same name, but I didn’t know that at the time. Although the TV series was short-lived—two seasons—it was enough for me to fall madly in love with Edward Mulhare in the role of Captain Gregg. He was the “ghost” in the series title, a dashing sea captain who finds his home invaded by a young widow, her two small children, their maid, and a dog. Although the original movie was drama, the TV series played for comedy with romantic sparks flying between the stalwart Captain Gregg, and Mrs. Muir, the lovely widow. Watching it now, it’s horribly dated, but still makes me smile. Hubby, on the other hand can’t see the attraction.

Johnny Crawford and Chuck Connors of The Rifleman TV western

Johnny Crawford and Chuck Conners of The Rifleman by ABC Television (eBay item photo front photo back) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

We do, however, enjoy another old series, produced before I was born. The Rifleman is a western about Lucas McCain, a widower and Civil War veteran who is raising his young son, Mark, on his own. Although Chuck Conners in the title role gets to do a lot of fancy shooting with his specially modified rifle, the heart of the series is about the relationship between father and son. I’m a sucker for that stuff.

I was completely unfamiliar with The Rifleman until my husband found it on an obscure channel and got me hooked. The other night we watched an episode that aired in 1962. Mark and Lucas are cleaning up dinner dishes. Thoroughly enjoying the episode, I made the comment to hubby that “I’m gone on this series.”

This is the dialogue exchange between Mark and Lucas that immediately followed my comment:

Mark: (standing at sink and looking at a dirty dish) This isn’t clean, Pa.

Lucas: I guess that just goes to show the best dish washer is still a woman.

*Hysterical laughter from my husband*
*Yelling at the TV from me*

Husband: Are you gone on it now?

When I got done yelling (and he wiped his eyes from laughing so hard), I reminded myself the episode aired in 1962. Not only that, it reflected a time frame not long after the Civil War. Even if the episode was remade today, the mentality would be correct for the time period in which the show was set. Hard as that dialogue exchange is to swallow, there is nothing wrong with it when placed in perspective.

I remember writing a short story set in the 70s and cringing when I had to use the term stewardess instead of flight attendant. But I grew up hearing that term and it was correct for the time.

We all try to be authentic in our writing, but are there phrases you’ve had to use (based upon an era or time period) that made you cringe? Can you think of any example like mine from The Rifleman that made you roll your eyes or laugh? Heck, maybe you just want to tell me what silly old TV show you still remember fondly, despite the fact it would send PC monitors shrieking into the wild.

Let’s have some fun in the comments!

The Monday Buzz from Story Empire

old world type map with script writing laid over top and words Story Empire set off as a bold headerIt’s my turn in the wheelhouse at Story Empire today. With tax time in full swing and April’s deadline looming around the corner, I thought I’d share some thoughts on writing as a business versus a hobby. At some point or another we all have to cross that line. When I signed off on the dotted line of a publishing contract in 2012, the writing venue transitioned from hobby to business and I found myself faced with a whole new set of information to track.

I’m sharing a few things I’ve found helpful in establishing the business side of my writing. I’d love to get your input and any tips you may have too and invite you to join me for Writing: Business or Hobby?

The Monday Buzz from Story Empire

Happy Monday, gang! Eh, I realize that’s kind of an oxymoron, but it is what it is.

One good thing about Mondays? You can always count on an informative blog post over on the Story Empire site.

old world type map with script writing laid over top and words Story Empire set off as a bold header

Today’s post by Craig Boyack is of special interest to me. You’ve got to hop over and check out his take on Flipboard. I’ve used Flipboard for a while but I had no clue you could create your own magazine or that it’s a unique way to drive traffic to your blog. Who doesn’t like more blog traffic? And hey, the idea of my own magazine (created very simply) is highly appealing to me. I’ve been after him for a while to share the deets on how this is done, and it looks sooo easy!

Check it out yourself with Craig’s post, By Popular Demand, Flipboard. Hope to see you there!

Welcome Teri Polen with Sarah and #WritingTechinques

I’m so happy to introduce new friend, Teri Polen, who writes YA fiction and has recently released her debut novel Sarah. Teri and I met when she hosted an October/Halloweenish promotion for multiple authors on her blog and was kind enough to include me.

Since then, I’ve come to realize we have many common friends in the blogosphere. In addition to that, she held me glued to the pages through Sarah, a spooky YA novel centered around a vengeful ghost. You can find my five star review for Sarah on Amazon, but before you go gallivanting off, check out Teri’s post on writing techniques. The character quirks section really made me stop and think!

~ooOOoo~

Epiphanies (for me) in Writing Techniques

I’ve never had any ‘formal’ training in writing – both of my degrees are in business, and learning how to interpret balance sheets was worthless when it came to crafting a story.  Over the years, I’ve taken advantage of the free writing workshops at the annual book festival where I live (and discovered how horribly wrong I’d been doing things), attended numerous webinars, and read Stephen King’s On Writing so many times I could probably recite some passages from memory.  Once my brain had been rewired with the basics, I had to sift through various techniques to discover what worked for me.

One of my online classes required me to complete an extensive questionnaire about my characters – things I’d never thought about, like boxers or briefs, nervous habits, did they like long walks on the beach, and fav flavor of pop-tarts.  Okay, maybe not exactly those questions, but they seemed just as obscure at the time.  All I saw were pages and pages of homework – but once I started interviewing my characters, everything changed.  The deeper your understanding of your characters, the easier it is to breathe life into them and make them come alive for your readers.

Outlining – your either love it or hate it, but it seemed like a waste of time when I already had the general plot direction in my head.  Then I’d wind up in places I’d never planned, wrote myself into corners, found minor characters leading the story, and had no idea how I’d gotten there – raise your hand if those surroundings look familiar.  But I wasn’t a complete pantser either, so when I came across the Basic Beat Sheet at http://jamigold.com/, I knew I’d struck gold (pun totally intended).  A beat sheet is the road map of a story broken down into three acts that include the inciting incident, pinch points, midpoint, crisis, climax and resolution.  After typing in the projected total word count for your book, it calculates the page count and word count where these plot points should occur – which also helps with pacing.  You can print it out and fill in the blanks from there.  Every writer has their own process, but this one helped me focus and stay on track.

It all comes down to personal preferences and motivations and can be trial and error, but researching, talking to other authors, and reading about the craft of writing will help you find your path – there’s no magic formula to writing a novel.  And keep in mind, the learning never stops – there’s always room for improvement.  Now head to your writing caves!

Author, Teri Polen, outdoors and smiling for cameraAuthor Bio:
Teri Polen reads and watches horror, sci-fi, and fantasy.  The Walking Dead, Harry Potter, and anything Marvel-related are likely to cause fangirl delirium.  She lives in Bowling Green, KY with her husband, sons, and black cat.  Sarah, a YA horror/thriller, is her first novel.  Visit her online at www.teripolen.com

Connect with Teri at the following haunts:
Website

Facebook
Twitter
Goodreads 

~ooOOoo~

Book cover for the novel SARAH shows girl with long black hair hiding her face crawling down steps from attic doorBook Blurb for SARAH:
Seventeen-year-old horror fan Cain Shannon thought helping a ghost find her killers would be the supernatural adventure of a lifetime. Now, he just hopes to survive long enough to protect his family and friends from her.

A bet between friends goes horribly wrong, resulting in Sarah’s death. When she returns to seek justice against those responsible, Cain agrees to help her. But when he discovers Sarah has been hijacking his body, he realizes she wants retribution instead of justice.

Terrified of what could have happened when he wasn’t in control, Cain commands Sarah to leave his house – but exorcising her isn’t that easy. She retaliates against her murderers in bloody, horrific ways, each death making her stronger, then sets her sights on Cain. With the help of friends, Cain fights to save himself and his loved ones and searches for a way to stop Sarah before she kills again.

Purchase SARAH from:
Amazon
Barnes and Noble

 

Creative Fun on a Monday

Happy Monday! There was a time when I reserved this day for blogging about mythical creatures, urban legends, and folklore. At some point in the future, I hope to play around with Mythical Mondays again.

Brightly colored carousel horse on a lighted carouselIn the meantime, you can find me every fifth Monday at the Story Empire website. Today is one of my days, and I’ve got a really simple writing exercise for you to try. I was supposed to write a post on craft, but my mind is still fried from deadlines and edits. Since I’m not the best blog writer on craft to begin with, I thought I’d go the creative route instead. Curious?

I invite you to hop over and let your muse have some fun. The topic is What does childhood taste like?”  I look forward to your answers! 🙂

 

Announcing the Rave Reviews Writers’ Conference and Book Expo #RRBC

Hey, gang! If you’re a regular follower of my blog, you know I’m a member of the Rave Reviews Book Club, RRBC for short. I’ve written several posts in the past about this great community of indie and small press authors that have banned together to support each other through social media, networking and reviews. I’m coming up on a year membership renewal and I’m looking to another great year with RRBC. If you’re not familiar with how the book club works, please see my post Let’s Talk Book Clubs which is RRBC wrapped up in a nutshell.

What I really want to share with you today is something that RRBC founder, Nonnie Jules, and many dedicated members have been hard at work organizing—The Rave Reviews Writers’ Conference and Book Expo, taking place December 1-3, 2016.

Banner logo for the Rave Reviews Book Club Conference and Book Expo

Now before you start saying “Oh, I’d love to attend, but I’m not a member,” or “I’d love to attend but I’m sure it will be too far for me to travel,” you need to know two important facts:

  1. The RRBC Writer’s Conference and Book Expo IS OPEN TO EVERYONE! That’s right, you don’t have to be a member to attend, and,
  1. RRBC is hosting a virtual conference, so there’s no need to worry about expensive plane tickets, putting miles on your car, or dumpy hotel rooms.

What goodies can you expect? Check out this fabulous list:
Visit author booths
Attend conference sessions and workshops
Browse books for sale
Mingle and network with other writers and readers
Visit vendor booths
Have fun, enjoy yourself and learn at the same time

Some of the sessions being offered include:
Blogging for Success
Building your Author Platform
Formatting Made Easy
Book Blurbs Do’s and Don’ts
Marketing 101

There’s even a free bonus session on cover design! So grab your laptop, tablet, computer or smart phone and join in. 

closeup of laptop with RRBC conference logo displayed on screenTo see all of the workshops and sessions that are being offered, as well as to obtain pricing and register for the event, visit the official Rave Reviews Book Club Writers’ Conference and Book Expo website through the links above.

The registration deadline is November 23rd, so if you hadn’t gotten wind of this exciting event before, you’ve still got time to act.

And should you decide to join this uber-supportive group of authors (heck, I’m not sure why you wouldn’t), please tell them Mae Clair sent you. You can find the membership link here