God Bless Texas

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Super Tuesday. I’m hopeful we’ll change this graphic today.

Texas voters-2

President’s Day 2016

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Click here to BUY99¢-2

Story Writing 101: The 3 Essentials of a Page Turner

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JerryJenkins blog.artToday’s guest post is from Jerry Jenkins. You might know him as author of the Left Behind series or other books. I only know his author blog roll, and it is full of useful, punchy insights and reminders. This is one of my favorites.

Story Writing 101: The 3 Essentials of a Page-Turner

Story writing is hard.

Budding authors ask me all the time how it’s done. Is there a trick, they want to know—a formula?

I wish there were. Beware writing coaches who promise shortcuts.

If you’ve spent much time on this site, you’ve read this before: If story writing were easy, anyone could do it. You’re here, I hope, because, though you know it’s hard, you still dream of doing it, and doing it right.

Not Easy, But Simple

I’m happy to say, however, that there is a handy and memorable way to look at crafting a story.

Picture your finished product as a car—any model you want. Make it as sleek and flashy or as solid and efficient as you wish.

All you really need are three essentials for this model:

  • An engine
  • A driver
  • Fuel

And since this dream car is a metaphor for what you want to write, here are the parts your story needs:

Concept—Your Story’s Engine

Simply put, you need a great idea. Tell a story that would keep your interest, keep you turning the pages.

If it accomplishes that, you can be sure there’ll be plenty of readers out there like you.

Just as your dream car goes nowhere without an engine, your story fails without a compelling idea that grips your reader from the get-go.

“Judith’s mother remarried two years after her father died…” is an anecdote.

“Judith hated her mother’s new husband…” is a story.

Character—Your Story’s Driver

Readers care about, fall in love with, and remember characters.

Good story writing means infusing your characters with sass and attitude and voice. They must be decisive and proactive, not ambivalent and reactive.

A memorable character learns and grows and rises to meet challenges. That’s who you want behind the wheel of your story.

Conflict—Your Story’s Fuel

What’s the point of owning a dream car—or writing the story you’ve always wanted to—and forgetting to fill its tank?

You’ve opted for a great concept as your engine, and a dynamic character serves as your heavy-footed driver.

So for fuel, you need conflict to keep your reader flipping those pages.

To keep every scene crackling, inject it with conflict. One character will counter another—argue, blame, criticize, fight.

Or a problem, challenge, danger, or life-and-death quest must present itself.

Conflict supercharges your engine when your driver floors the accelerator.

It’s Not That Complicated

Remind yourself to view your story as a car, and make sure you equip it with the best engine, driver, and fuel.

You’ll soon find yourself writing the stories you’ve always wanted to write.

And maybe soon we’ll see your name on the bestseller lists.

See more writer advice from Jerry here: JerryJenkins.com

Going with the flow…

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I planned to work with Ivy Jean this morning but Haines kept showing up… so I wrote the other into both their chapters. Sometimes I’m surprised by the ways my people connect. I love this work.

go with the flow

Tommy Ellis Heads Northwest

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I’m partial to tales of the sea. Mariner stories draw me right in. As luck would have it, my husband has several maritime characters in his family’s history. Coincidentally, they’ve all been radiomen, committed and vital to the safety of men and vessel. One seaman I’ve had the pleasure to know is Eric Smith, a true Yorkshireman. That means proud, hardworking gentleman–and storyteller. Kind of like the British version of Texan, only much more refined. After Eric’s death in 2011, his daughter Julie dusted off her childhood memories and paired them with Eric’s work stories. Then she dove into research in Hull, England, their home city so rich in the culture of food fishing, and in time gifted us with Tommy Ellis, the brave protagonist in a trilogy for youngsters. Julie Bonaficano writes as JES PARKIN. Here’s my review of book two just out:

51rF6DVxBDL._SX311_BO1,204,203,200_TOMMY ELLIS HEADS NORTHWEST is middle grade fiction but I’m a grandmother, and I learned about the real cost of seafood… and had a vivid experience fishing the Polar Sea.
It’s 1960 and Tommy is thirteen now. His father is captain of the Stella Vega, a sidewinder trawler that harvests the northern seas out of England. Tommy gets to spend another summer break on the vessel and he’s feeling like an old hand. Much is familiar, but plenty of trouble waits to wow him, as they plow through treacherous ice, amid bergs towering like skyscrapers. I could hear the quiet, and feel the dense fog on my cheeks; I could see the distinct hues of ancient frozen waters. Color abounds throughout the story, including colorful characters that watch out for the lad but don’t baby him at all.
Poor old Mr Hobbs, he only fishes around Greenland and stands in the bow when they’re not trawling, kenning for his lost brother, missing at sea for several years now. Brian, Cook’s mate, wants to be a chef because he can’t stand to be topside, the decks are too dangerous. And another young lad is guest of his father on this sail, First Mate’s son Robert. At ten-years-old, Robert is already in trouble with the law back home and his father is grasping for ways to straighten him out. Robert doesn’t like Tommy, is defiant to authority, and determined to do as he pleases. It doesn’t work out well. (spoiler alert)
Parkin’s book is well paced, not for lazy or squeamish readers, and highly interesting to those of us who appreciate a little historical reality in our fiction. I can’t wait for my grandson to be old enough for Tommy’s adventures.
Happy reading, Friends!
Buy it here. And PLEASE post a comment after enjoying the story. Reader feedback helps the trilogy of Tommy get discovered!

The Girl on the Train

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Written by Paula Hawkins

Girl on the Train
Read and reviewed by Adrienne


Psycho thriller murder mystery. Domestic. Like last year’s popular Gone Girl, this is a delicious slice of coupling on the edge of sanity. A wonderful, absorbing read! Loved the way Ms. Hawkins drew me into the minds of her people first, revealed their disturbing story slower, like a tease. Ala voyeurs, we watch Rachel ride the train and fake a life and fall off the wagon, to wake up in the gutter. She is not a protagonist easily loved; she is a heartsick voyeur addicted to booze and old secrets. But is her mind or the vodka playing tricks? Could she have blacked out and … done that? It’s hard to tell…

99¢ eBook this weekend

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November 21 – 23, 2014: Buy No One Can Know for 99¢

I’ll be in Miami on these dates where NOCK is being recognized by the Readers’ Favorite Book Awards. Since it’s also the anniversary of JFK’s assassination and I’ll miss research meetings in Dallas, this is my salute.

Gift idea? It’s a good chance to introduce my work to other fiction lovers you know.

I’m working hard on book two, BTW. Writer’s group lovingly refers to it as Someone Should Know [wink]. Hopefully I’ll get a chance to meet agents and publishers at the Miami conference and I can practice selling a series.. Here’s my elevator pitch as of today. What do you think?

It’s 1968. The hope of America is being stalked and assassinated, one peacemaker at a time. Martin Luther King Junior’s death crushes a young Vietnam vet, and when Senator Kennedy is taken out in L.A., he gets a a view behind the curtain of lies and sees into the bullshit of more loners with guns… but now they are onto him.

Thematically, the book is about restoring hope. Like No One Can Know, it is a tale from the Pritchard-Massey family that winds through the backdrop of ugly historical deeds.

Ivy Jean and our old spy, Haines, is back [big smile]. Here’s one of my favorite reader images from Sandy Burton of Austin, Texas 😉

Thanks for your loving support, good people!

Quiet Sat night, nice wine and great book.SandyB

NOCK honored by Readers’ Favorite

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Going to Miami for the awards ceremony, and my happy feet are tapping. Woot! Also, I’m ready to pitch my next manuscript to acquisition people who show up.RF Award Certificate-page-001

NIEA Honors

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NIEAseal-2014-Finalist-XLCan I have a whoop whoop? No One Can Know was ranked as Finalist in the fiction category for 2014’s National Indie Book Awards. It’s a huge honor to be selected as one of the best from thousands of fiction entrants. That it’s my first book affirms, once again,  I am right where I’m supposed to be.

Thank you, book lovers! Please stay tuned…

May 8th in Addison

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