Monday, January 26, 2015

Monique DeVere Has Joined The Team at #MFRW.org To Produce a Monthly Column of Writing Tips

A few weeks ago I mentioned on Facebook that I'd been head-hunted to write a monthly blog column. I am now excited to say my first column is up!  Hook Me, Baby! You Have A Great Opening Hook, but Then What? 

I am truly honoured to join the team at MFRW. My column is in the area of writing tips to advance your writing, which goes out on the 26th of each month. The column is called Level-Up With Monique DeVere (tips to take your writing to the next level). 

I hope you'll take a moment to pop over and check it out. Please leave a comment so I know you stopped by: Visit Monique's Column.

Some of you might have noticed my Pull Up a Chair With Mon blog series. I'll still be running this spot. Yes, I know I've been neglectful of the blog, but I've been fighting a bug that just won't quit for good. I'm sure many of you have been knocked flat with the same bug, so you understand my plight, right?

Anyway, I'm hoping to be a better blogger... hmmm... I said that before, didn't I...? :)


Saturday, January 3, 2015

Happy New Year

After a year of just...man... I can't even begin to tell you about my year! Needless to say, I'm thrilled 2014 is over, and I'm totally looking forward to getting into 2015. 

I expect it wasn't surprising that by the end of 2014, my body had finally decided to step in and give me a break. I got sick around mid-November and ended up battling one bug after the other. In the end, I caught flu--I've never had flu in my life! But I caught it just before Christmas and it floored me. I'm still not 100% yet, but I'm feeling far more ready to take on the world.

I had high hopes for getting out several books last year, but my time got stolen so much that I only managed to put out a couple of books. This year, I'm not looking at numbers as much as I'm focused on writing a book God has put on my heart to write. To tell you the truth, I'm pretty juiced! It's nothing like my usual stuff. For starters, it isn't a romance, but it is contemporary. 

I'm also hoping to get out three other books I've been avoiding. I can't say for sure why I've been avoiding writing romance. Only that I'm tired of people calling my stuff fluff as if it's a bad thing to write about love, romance, laughter, and joy!!!  

Nonetheless, it's a new year and I shall push ahead on my new path and see where it leads me.

Thanks for hanging out with me, even if you don't say hello :) Have an amazing 2015! May God's blessings follow you each and every day throughout the year.



Hugs x

Saturday, October 25, 2014

#MySexySaturday LET'S PRETEND #MSSAuthor #Romance @MySexySaturday #Saturday7

I'm sharing another snippet for My Sexy Saturday blog hop. This week my seven sentences is from Let's Pretend, a second chance rom com about the love of family and that little spark that never goes away when you're with the one you're meant to be with. 

I know this week is suppose to be a bit Halloween. I don't do Halloween, but I do love sexy romance. 



Let's Pretend

Back Cover Copy


True love needs no pretence

When A&E trauma surgeon, Dr. Isobel Murphy, married sexy Irish firefighter, Lucas Delaney, she knew it was going to be forever. Unfortunately, she didn’t realise forever would only last five short years.

Keeping her failed marriage from her family seems like a piece of cake, until her grandmother calls a family gathering and Belle suspects she’s about to announce a critical illness. Making excuses for Luc’s absence, she flies home to Connecticut. Then delicious Lucas arrives for the three-day get-together and Belle knows things are going to get dicey. Especially since he still has the power to make her heart miss a beat, and her stomach bottom out.

When Belle asks him to pretend they’re still deeply in love, Luc doesn’t have a problem. He sees an opportunity to reclaim the love of his life. And he goes all out to remind Belle how it used to be between them, before long work hours and clashing schedules invaded their marriage. What he needs to know though, is, once the pretence is over, will Belle be applying for her decree absolute? Or will they be renewing wedding vows?


Sentence Excerpt

“What did you expect me to do? I was shocked to see you.”

“Interesting that your reflex to the shock of seeing me was to kiss me instead of slap me. Now that would have told everyone our marriage was in trouble.” He resumed his course toward the kitchen.

Aggravated beyond wisdom, Belle fell into step beside him. “Can I slap you now as a delayed reaction?” 



(C) Monique DeVere 2013
All Rights Reserved

*****


You can purchase Let's Pretend from any Amazon store-front, as well as several other booksellers, but here are two outlets for your convenience.




Please don't forget to check out the other fab authors participating in the My Sexy Saturday blog hop



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Friday, October 24, 2014

Pull Up A Chair With Mon ~ Let's Talk About: Where’d That Idea Come From? #WriteTips #WritersAndReaders


 Where’d That Idea Come From?

I have another treat for you! Yesterday I had the lovely Linda Carroll-Bradd visiting. Today I have the fabulous Nancy Fraser hanging out with me. She's another talented author that I love, and she's kindly agreed to pull up a chair with me to talk about where she gets her ideas. 

Monique: Welcome, Nancy! So thrilled you're here today.

Nancy: Thanks, Monique, I'm happy to be here.

Monique: One of the first questions authors are routinely asked is: "where do you get your ideas?" You have such a wide variety of books, it must be a challenge to come up with so many fresh ideas. Tell us about where you get your ideas, Nancy, then please share with us a little of your new contemporary romance Home is Where the Hunk is. 

Nancy: Like most authors, if I’ve heard that question once, I’ve heard it a hundred … no make that a thousand … times.

And, as I’ve always said, my ideas come from life.

I write both contemporary and historical romances, as well as the historical sub-genre known as vintage (think 1950’s, 1960’s). Ideas for each if these varied genres must be gleaned from entirely different places.

Contemporary romances are by far the easiest … just look around you. What’s hot on television? What’s the latest fad? The hardest part about finding an idea for a contemporary is that most of the current storylines have been done to death.

Because I like to inject humor into my contemporaries, I look for a funny incident to introduce my characters (e.g., a case of mistaken identity) like I did with my holiday novella, Pushing the Limits. My very first book, a sweet contemporary, brought my hero together based on something that had happened to me in real life. I’d been the victim of a flasher and so, I had my heroine (the victim) and the hero (the local sheriff) first meet when she goes to the authorities to make a rather comical statement.

My current book, Home is Where the Hunk is, was actually based on a true-life event. I interviewed the woman in question and then fashioned her heart-warming, selfless story into a romance. 

Historical romances are a bit more complicated. While the idea can come from something around you, research is still necessary to make the story fit the time period. Because I’m a child of the 50’s and 60’s, I find the vintage era easy to write and base my stories on actual memories from my childhood. I also let the wonderful music inspire me.

How about ideas for older historical romances? History books are a wealth of information, of course, but there are other places. When my mother passed away years ago I found a shoebox on a shelf in her bedroom closet. Filled with papers from the 1910’s and 20’s, it literally sang to me with possibilities. The box included ration stamps from World War II, a receipt for a car my grandfather purchased in 1924, and a card of pearl buttons that sold for ten cents. Each item, while of no value to anyone but my mother, shouted “write about me”, “tell my story”. In the bottom of the box were letters from my father to my mother, some from while he was away during the war, some from afterward when they were separated due to his work. I can honestly say … I had no idea my father was so romantic! I haven’t done “their” story yet, but I plan to.

So, where do those ideas come from … just about any place your mind can take you! Writers out there … unleash your inner muse and keep writing. Readers, please keep reading. You are why we do what we do!


Home is Where the Hunk is



Blurb

When globe-trotting photographer Allison Cain comes home to her family ranch in Montana it’s to get to know her nephew and to make amends with the widowed brother-in-law she’s left alone to raise his young son.

Evan Carver could never deny his late wife’s younger sister anything, despite the fact she’s been conspicuously absent over the past three years since her sister’s death. Now she’s home again on what she’s called an extended vacation. Evan’s first concern is for his son, Cody, and how his aunt’s visit will affect the five year old when she decides to return to her high profile career.

Allison has no intention of going back to work. In addition to getting to know Cody, she needs to confess her biggest secret to Evan. How do you tell the man you’ve always loved that you’re not just his son’s aunt, but also his mother?


Excerpt 

Slowly she raised her head. Unshed tears filled her eyes, making them glisten like liquid stars. Evan felt a lump form in his own throat. She blinked rapidly in what Evan suspected was a conscious effort to hide her emotions. A knot tightened his gut. He had the sudden urge to take Ali in his arms, as he’d done the day she arrived, and bury her face against his chest, preferably without the argument that followed.
In the very back of his over-used imagination, he could see her coming willingly into his arms. He could feel the heat of her tears against his chest. His reaction surprised and frightened him in equal measure. He didn’t want to feel this way about her, especially when he knew she wouldn’t stay.
“Me, too,” she admitted softly, drawing Evan’s attention from her teary eyes to her soft, pink lips. The tears she’d been fighting back so tenaciously now pearled on her lashes, threatening to spill forth at any second.
Evan moved away from the tree, inching his way around Cody and close to Allison’s side. Cautiously, he lifted his hand and caught the first tear on his thumb, uncertain of exactly what had made her cry, yet knowing he selfishly welcomed the chance to offer her comfort.
“When I left South America, the only thing I could think of was coming here. I wanted desperately to feel the lush grass beneath my bare feet and to smell the fresh, clean air.”
“I don’t care what made you decide to come home. You’re here now and welcome to stay as long as you like.” Drawing her into his arms, he held her close and tilted her chin up with his fingertips until their gazes met.
At the first touch of his lips to hers, Evan tasted the cinnamon and apple of the dessert they’d just consumed. He pressed his lips more firmly to hers. She hesitated only briefly before returning his kiss with one of her own. He barely had time to consider what they’d done when Ali’s trembling voice broke through his consciousness.
“Evan,” she whispered. “Don’t, please.” Pressing her hands to his chest, she pushed lightly. Yet, when he would have backed away, she clenched the front of his shirt tightly in her fists. “We can’t . . .” she warned, still seemingly unwilling to let him go.
“Ali, it was only a kiss.”
She looked up at him with tear-filled eyes and Evan knew if he didn’t let her go he’d likely do something they’d both regret. Gently, he grasped her hands in his and pulled them from the death grip she’d taken on his shirt. With his thumb he wiped away a final spent tear then released her completely. A moment later he was on his feet and walking back toward the damaged fence. It would take every ounce of strength he possessed, he realized, to keep from turning around and taking her into his arms again.


*****


BUY LINKS





Author BIO

Like most authors, Nancy Fraser began writing at an early age, usually on the walls and with crayons or, heaven forbid, permanent markers. Her love of writing often made her the English teacher’s pet, which, of course, resulted in a whole lot of teasing. Still, it was worth it.

When not writing (which is almost never), Nancy dotes on her five beautiful grandchildren and looks forward to traveling and reading when time permits. Nancy lives in Atlantic Canada where she enjoys the relaxed pace and colorful people. She invites you to visit her website (www.nancyfraser.ca) and follow her on Twitter (@nfraserauthor). Or, more importantly, just enjoy what she writes.


Nancy's hiding places:




Thursday, October 23, 2014

Pull Up A Chair With Mon ~ Let's Talk About: Tips for Writing a Short Story #WriteTips #Romance


Tips for Writing a Short Story

I'm thrilled to have Linda Carroll-Bradd here with me today. She's a talented author of over sixteen published books and novellas. She's kindly agreed to pull up a chair with me and share both her tips for writing short stories and an excerpt from her new release. I can't wait to read her stellar advice on a simple way to plot a short story. If you've been waiting for an easy to understand guide to the short story, you've come to the right place.

Monique: Welcome, Linda! So thrilled to have you here.

Linda: Thanks, Monique, I'm happy to be here.

Monique: First can you share your tips for writing a short story with us. I don't know about the rest of  you, but I can't wait! Then will you give us a peek at your new release: Unlocked Treasure?

Linda: Several months ago, I took an online class in writing a short story. My purpose in taking the class was to get fired up to write to a specific deadline. I’d been procrastinating and needed the push because I wasn’t getting a handle on my story. Besides the push, I gathered a few tips I wanted to share. As with every class I take, I tweak the info to fit my own needs.

In writing short shorts (5K words), the set-up is fairly easy—First meet, Refusal, Second meet, Acceptance. In that length, the story should be immediate and take place within a very short time frame. Look too easy? Really, the structure is just a skeleton but you figure that each of those steps can only take approximately 1,250 words (which is 5 pages), and writing that suddenly becomes manageable.

No need to write out long character biographies or go into detailed research on a particular setting. The focus will be tight on the characters and their involvement, but that has to happen somewhere. And you’ll have to provide a sense of the type of personalities these characters have. One of my go-to ways for characterization is to rely on an archetype from The Writer’s Guide to Heroes & Heroines by Tami Cowden, Caro LaFever,  & Sue Viders. To kick off the plot, I toss in a couple standard romantic tropes (Reunion, Woman in Jeopardy, Baby on the Doorstep, Revenge, Amnesia, Seeking Justice, etc.) and then I flesh out the specific details unique to this couple. 

For anyone wishing to have a copy of the template, go to this FOLDER on Dropbox.

This method has served me well over the past few months as I’ve used the template to write and contract three stories that were accepted into anthologies: Bewitching Gypsy in Spooktacular Seductions releasing 10/31; Wanderer, Come Home, in Cowboys, Creatures and Calico, Vol 1--available now; and Clari’s Hero in Present For a Cowboy, coming for Christmas.

Earlier this year, I wrote a story that includes genealogy, broken engagement, pirate history, yachting, treasure hunting, ancient maps—my research was all encompassing. Only when I focused on the elements described above did the story and the interactions between the characters come together. That became Unlocked Treasure, a contemporary novella with Halloween-themed events released by The Wild Rose Press.

Unlocked Treasure


Will a prophecy keep a lonely woman from accepting the promise of adventure?

Blurb

Aleen MacRae blames the lure of the sea for breaking apart first her family then her engagement. When her interest is caught by a treasure-seeking man, she resists—afraid to believe in her aunt’s prediction that her future is tied to the sea. Braden Williams is tracing his heritage and the pirate treasure linked to his ancestor. Will Aleen play things safe or accept what this free-spirited man offers?

Excerpt 

Ah, the story of her life—practically invisible. The reminder his first sighting had been of her bikini-clad backside made her blush. Still didn’t change the facts. Aleen squared her shoulders. “I remember, but the Manor grounds are still closed.” Should she be nervous about being alone with this stranger, especially one who ignored posted rules?
Sorry for the intrusion. Let me start over.” Smiling, he approached and extended his right hand. “My name’s Braden Williams.”
Aleen bit her lower lip, but accepted his hand. “Pleased to meet you. I’m Aleen MacRae.” At the moment their hands clasped, she felt warmth flooding her fingers. With a jerk, she released her grip, tingling sensations running along her skin. Immediately, the scent of fresh air and summer breezes wafted her way. Definitely a man of the sea. Just where I foretold your future lies. Whispers of her great-aunt Zsofika’s prophecy trickled through Aleen’s thoughts. At the memory, her cheeks flamed with heat.
Wow.” Frowning, Braden flexed his hand and narrowed his gaze then dropped it to his flexing fingers. “That was bizarre.”
Static electricity, from all that wind yesterday.” A reasonable explanation. In the back of her mind, Aleen could hear Zsofika scoff, “Static schmatic. A connection like that is destiny.”
Well…” His gaze searched her face. “Aleen—hey, that’s pretty, like the direction alee.” A wide smile exposed even teeth.
Her own smile dimmed. Like I’ve never heard that before. “Thanks.” This guy was not charming his way around the rules. “Sorry, but you’ll need to come back when the gardens are open for visitors. That’s Wednesdays through—”
Yeah, I read the sign.” He gave a dismissive wave then turned to gaze back at the main house. “But I just needed five minutes to check out some dimensions and the lot layout.”
So, you woke up this morning and just decided to start out your week by trespassing?”
*****

Giveaway contest running through 10/26 on Linda's blog or her Facebook pages.


BUY LINKS







Author BIO

As a child, Linda was often found lying on her bed reading about characters having exciting adventures in places far away. As an adult, she discovered romance books and read them at every spare moment. Upon reaching a landmark birthday, she decided to write one of those romances she loved so much. Easier said than done. Perseverance paid out and twelve years later, she received her first call from a publisher and a confession story was published. Now Linda writes heartwarming contemporary and historical stories with a touch of humor and a bit of sass, and many have a tie to her previous home of Texas.

Linda currently lives in the southern California mountains with her husband of 35 years and their two much-loved dogs, Shiba Inu Keiko and terrier mix Phoenix.

Linda's hiding places: