April 17, 2014

#PlottingPrincesses # @VickiBatman - A Laugh a Minute


Laugh a Minute

You may have noticed my tagline: Vicki Batman, sassy writer of sexy and funny fiction.

I never thought of myself as being funny until a friend said something. I was like me? Really? I'd always appreciated books with humor.  And when another friend pressed in my arms #4 Janet Evanovich, I sighed with contentment after I read it, thinking someone who wrote what I liked to read. Naturally, I gobbled all of them up.

When I began writing, I noticed funny words crept in my work. And so did creepy witty dialogue. And I played havoc with internal dialogue. And found smiley faces in the edits.

After several of my short fictions were published in the True magazines, I let my girlfriends read them and watched and listened for their reactions. I saw smiles, snorts, giggles, ha's, etc. I knew then I'd done my job and done it right.

Finding a good funny word doesn't usually come through on my first draft. I have to work it-work it-work it. And when I go back later on and read what is there and it makes me smile--even after multiple thousands a gazillion passes—then I know all was done correctly.

So here's a treat from my funny romantic suspense/mystery, Temporarily Employed (coming soon!). My heroine Hattie, another sassy gal, is eyeing a guy with suspicion after he asks her out to dinner:
 
 

No frisking and no arrests were—so far, in my book—a good thing. Knowing he was Sarah Anne’s older brother, I found eliminating him from the stalker, murderer, and rapist categories easy. The something in the truck line sounded similar to approaches used in past dating experiences. For instance:

“Want to come up and look at my etchings?”

Translated: A roll in the hay.

Or the ever popular “Would you like to meet Mr. Lizard?”

Translated: Mr. Wiggly Worm.

“How about coming to my place for a drink?”

Translated: To ply me with multiple drinks and the requisite roll in the hay.

I hadn’t fallen for those then and wouldn’t be a sucker now.

He stuck his hands on his hips. “I know what you’re thinking. I’m not a stalker, murderer, or rapist." 

Apparently, he could read minds. "Just a minute." I closed the door enough to release the chain, then opened it. “Why can’t you just tell me whatever it is?”

“No. I want to show you—-”

“Not a Picasso?” I asked.

“No.”

“Not an iguana?”

A perplexed expression crossed his face. “A what?”

“Not your pet worm?”

“What pet worm?”

“Not—”

“Look, I don’t know what you’re thinking. The only worms I know about are for fishing."

 

*I have to add that I was once asked to "come up and see my hamster"—lolol.

How did I do?  Do you like to read funny books?


 

April 15, 2014

Michelle Miles: It's All In A Name

Sometimes I have trouble coming up with surnames for my characters. Other times, they come to me out of the blue. Not sure how or why but I think it’s my subconscious at work. Like in my urban fantasy Dream Walker series, my heroine’s last name is Walker. It was something I did completely subconscious and then realized how fitting it was.

In other cases, I pick specific surnames to go with the heritage of the character. Or they might have a particular meaning I’m going for in relation to the character’s personality traits.

Other times I’m just completely stumped.

I’m working on a new paranormal romance. It’s about a witch who returns to her small East Texas town after a ten year absence only to learn she’s there for a reason bigger than anything she expected. I couldn’t think of a surname for her aunt who passes away in the opening so I did what I always do when that happens.

iGoogle. (Meaning I crack open the interwebs :) )

Did you know you can find a list of the most popular surnames in the US? The UK? The World? You can also find the meaning of a surname, the origin, the coat of arms. It’s really fascinating stuff. I suppose all that comes in handy for the genealogists of the world. But for a writer? It’s a gold mine.

Just in case you were wondering, the top ten surnames in the US are:
  • Smith
  • Johnson
  • Williams
  • Jones
  • Brown
  • Davis
  • Miller
  • Wilson
  • Moore
  • Taylor
I usually steer clear of these common ones and try to find ones that are still familiar yet uncommon. For my current WIP, I’m using Wilder, Hunter, Hart and McAllister.

The funny thing is I found a GREAT website that ranked surnames. I can’t for the life of me remember how I searched for it and now I can’t find it again. That’s maddening. Especially when I KNOW it’s out there somewhere. Maybe I’ll figure out my search string—with Google it's all about how you search for things.

So there you have it. A little bit about how I find surnames for my characters. Don’t even get me started on first names for my characters. That’s a whole ‘nother blog post! ;)

April 14, 2014

Barb Han: My Writing Process



Thanks to author Diane Kelly, for inviting me to participate in the “My Writing Process” blog tour! Diane writes romantic mysteries featuring feisty heroines, quirky sidekicks, and sexy leading men, with humor that leaves readers laughing out loud. Diane’s manuscript for Death, Taxes, and a French Manicure won the Romance Writer's of America's  prestigious Golden Heart award. Visit Diane and learn more about her books at http://www.dianekelly.com/.

In this blog tour, authors share a bit about their writing process. Here are some details about mine:

1) What am I working on?  I’m working on a story that will help launch a new line for Harlequin, Harlequin Intrigue Noir. My story is about a female spy who has been assigned to go after one of her own. It’s darker, grittier, and sexier than anything I’ve ever written and I can’t wait to share it with you. The tentative release date is October 1st.

2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?
Others have said I write action like no one else they’ve read. I love that.

3) Why do I write what I do?
What could be better than getting to orchestrate two people falling in love, or killing a bad guy on the page? I love writing romantic suspense.  

4) How does my writing process work?
My process has changed a lot since signing on to write for Harlequin. For my publisher to buy a story, I have to think through the main plot points in advance and give them an outline of the story with the first three chapters. I’ve become more of a planner and that’s been a difficult but great thing for me. The even better news is that they don’t make me stick to the outline strictly. Stories unfold for me as I write them and rarely end up as I initially imagined. The surprise is the best part.
I write every day, seven days a week and pretty much everywhere. If I find I’m getting stale (which basically means I’m not getting much word count) at my desk, I move to the living room on the laptop. I bring my laptop to carpool and kid sports (practices). I’ll go to the coffee shop if writing at home stagnates. Changing scenery tends to boost my productivity. Writing every day consistently also increases speed and quality. My writing brain is a muscle just like any other. The more I work it out, the better.    
  
Look for the “My Writing Process” blog tour next week at these author sites:

Robena Grant enjoys writing the ordinary heroine in extraordinary circumstances who coaxes the solitary hero into creating a team. Visit Robena at www.robenagrant.com.

RoseAnn DeFranco: Following the pursuit of a musical theatre career in NYC, RoseAnn DeFranco turned her creative energy to writing funny, steamy romance with heart which resulted in the BROTHERS OF AUDUBON SPRINGS series. Visit RoseAnn at www.radefranco.com.  

Diana Layne: A homeschooling mother of six, suspense thriller author Diana Layne balances her hours between nurturing her children and killing off bad guys. Visit Diana at http://blog.dianalayne.com/ 

April 1, 2014

Kisses, Laughter & Love -- Three Zany Stories of Love


The last weekend has been kind of crazy after spending time at a lovely readers event in Atlanta,
Georgia where I met so many new readers. So today, I thought I would share with you my latest Boxed set. Right now it's on sale for .99 cents, but that could change at any moment. The price will be $5.99 as soon as Amazon updates their files. 

This boxed set includes three of my contemporary stories, The Wanted Bride (my favorite), My Sister's Boyfriend and The Reluctant Santa. Here is the blurbs on all three books.

March 27, 2014

Celebrating the release of AFTER THE SCANDAL

Welcome and Huzzah! Today I am celebrating the release of AFTER THE SCANDAL my 5th Reckless Bride novel. This novel is particularly dear to my heart, because it was the first novel I worked on in concert with the Plotting Princesses.

This wonderful group of authors got together to do what our title suggests: plot. This is a HUGE help to me, as I tend not to plot at all, but let my stories evolve as I go along, following where the characters lead me. While this is often lovely, and leads to wonderful surprises for both the reader and me, it is unfortunately dreadfully SLOW.

Enter the Plotting Princesses. I brought them my opening (already written) and gave them my inciting incident, and within a few moments they had given me so many wonderful ideas, and the biggest plot point—my hero and heroine needed to find a body. 

And off I went. While there are elements of a murder mystery to AFTER THE SCANDAL, I want to assure readers this is a love story first and foremost. A very fulfilling love story. :)

But you can judge for yourself. Here’s an exclusive excerpt of the opening:

March 25, 2014

    It's launch party time!

My latest release, Connor's Gamble, is available NOW!.  I'm shouting it from the rooftops, street corners, alleyways, and everywhere else. I'm so excited that this book is finally available!

And I'm having a launch party for all my friends on Facebook this Friday, March 28, 2014 from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.  Lots of my author friends are showing up and there will be lots of prizes being given away through the part (meaning lots and lots of books and other goodies). 



March 20, 2014

Vicki Batman ~ Cover Reveal!!! Temporarily Employed


A long journey for my baby is paying off
and I'm delighted to share with you!
Here's a little blurb to whet your appetite:  

Hattie Cook's dream job is down the toilet and her new SUV violated. Desperate for cash to cover the basic necessities of rent and food, she takes a temporary job at Buy Rite insurance company where she uncovers an embezzling scam tied to the death of a former employee--the very one she replaced. The last thing she wants is to clash with By-the-Book Detective Wellborn, no matter how much he makes her heart pound.

Allan Charles Wellborn has secretly adored Hattie all his life.  He evolved from a pocket protector-wearing geek to a handsome police detective.  When the police determine there's more to the death of a former Buy Rite employee, he steps in to lead the investigation.  Overly dedicated, always perfect, he puts his job first, even if doing so ultimately hurts the one he loves.

Can the killer be found before Hattie's time is up?