Writing Advice for Authors
Who me? I’m fifty-two years old and I’ll tell you every time I hear this question I look over my shoulder to see who is being asked the question? It can’t be me, the washed up hairdresser from nowhere Tennessee!
I started in this industry very late in life. I always loved to read, and write. In grade-school and high school I always had a book in my hand, from Nancy Drew to Nero Wolf, I graduated to the Harlequin romances and Danielle Steele.
I was part of the creative writing club and penned my share of angsty poetry and short stories for our High school magazine, but…
And for many years I stopped reading, much less writing. Gasp! Yes, I didn’t read, because it made me sad. I knew what I wanted to do, and if I couldn’t do it, I didn’t want to others living their dream. Selfish and self-destructive. I know.
Finally my sister shoved a series under my nose I couldn’t resist, The Dark Hunters, by Sherrilyn Kenyon. Bam! I was hooked again, and once again I was reading a book a day. I found a community online of like- minded readers and review site looking for reviewers! Oooh! Free books!
So, I started reviewing for an online site. Through this connection I met many authors. I had a few tell me how much they liked my “voice.” (Damn, I had a voice? Who knew?) Some used quotes from my reviews on their book jackets. Wow, that made me proud. Others asked if I would be interested in beta reading their books.
Another new venture. Beta reading, more free books and before anyone else got to read them. Well duh! Yeah I’ll do that! I loved beta reading. I got to see the book in its forming stage, give me input, know that what I thought was helping to form the final product. It was almost like writing a book. Almost.
These writer friends of mine and my dear husband kept telling me, “You should write a book.” I really wanted to, I really did, but I was scared. I had never written anything longer than a short story and I wasn’t sure I could write a novel. Just the thought was so intimidating.
Then serendipity struck. I saw an ad for a short story contest! I thought, okay here’s my chance to dip my toe in the water. So, I wrote my short story. Heart of a Soldier, 37 pages. I submitted and I waited, and waited, and waited.
I didn’t win, but did get a contract to publish! After that, one thing just led to another. One book to another and I’ve been publishing ever since. Mine is obviously not the normal story. I have been very lucky.
At the right time, in the right place, and with the right contacts. It doesn’t happen that way for most people.
So as I said, when I hear that question, “What is your advice for writers?” I still look over my shoulder.
But, that being said. My best three pieces of advice: Read, read, read. You can’t be a good writer if you aren’t an avid reader. See what your competition is up to. See what’s selling and why. Look at how your fellow authors create real, likeable (or detestable) characters. Etc
Two: Write what you know. That’s not to say you can’t do research or write about shape-shifters or aliens. But to make your characters believable, put a little of what you know in them; A personality you know, home town slang, a job you’re familiar with, etc.
Three: Dialogue- The biggest screw-up I see in editing is dialogue that sounds like it comes from robots or 1900th century dukes. Make sure your characters talk like you talk. Use contractions. You don’t say, “I am going to the store, mother.” You say, “I’m goin’ to the store, Ma.” Remember, you’re not writing an English paper, you’re writing a fictional novel.
Thanks for stopping by to visit today! Happy Reading!
Twenty-five and never been kissed, Jenna Raynes is a beautiful woman with a rubenesque figure often overlooked by men. In the mood for a little honey, the sassy new schoolteacher is stopped in her tracks by one growled word from an alpha bear…“Mine.”
Bern Helms’ inner bear catches the scent of his destined mate. His animal’s desire is drawn to her curves, but Jenna is human, and not lured to him by instinct. Convincing her begins as a sizzling, sweet affair that is soon spoiled by danger. In their small backwater town, nerves are strung taut. Someone is abducting shifter children.
When confronted, Jenna is as protective of her students as a mamma bear. For Bern, all bets are off when the kidnapper’s take Jenna too. Nothing will keep a bear from his mate. The hunters will become the hunted…
Bern had come into the store for his daily honey fix. He admitted it, he was addicted to the stuff. He had just bought two dozen biscuits at the bakery and he was going to drown them in honey, along with a nice piece of salmon for dinner.
When he stepped through the door he stopped in his tracks. His nostrils flared and his heart began to race. What was that fabulous scent? Like honey and vanilla, but something else too. Something that was making his cock stand up and do a happy dance in his pants.
Mate. Oh my God and goddess, his mate was in this store. He couldn’t think. Instinct took over and his legs carried him to the source of the tantalizing scent that had his libido raging and his bear roaring.
He was beside her before his brain had caught up with his body. He had to touch her. She was his. His hand covered hers as she reached for a jar of honey on the shelf. “Mine,” he growled. When she looked up at him with crystal blue eyes he thought he’d fallen into them and drowned.
Flawless porcelain skin covered a face that could have been painted by Botticelli. Pale blonde lashes framed her startled eyes and her cheeks were flushed an enticing pink. She bit her bottom lip and he wanted to kiss away the sting her torment caused the luscious flesh.
“There’s more than one jar,” she said, and her voice was husky and sweet.
She took a step back and a low growl escaped his throat. His bear didn’t like their mate backing away from them.
“I beg your pardon?”
“You are mine. You are my mate.”
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Tamara Hoffa lives in central Tennessee, with her husband of 30 years, her parents, 2 dogs and 2 cats. She started reading at four years old and has rarely been seen without a book since. At home you will usually find her in “nana’s chair” with her kindle, her laptop or one of her precious, precocious grandson’s in her lap. Tamara is an author, an editor, and reviews/promotions coordinator for Secret Cravings Publishing. Tamara is proof positive that it’s never too late to reach for your dreams.
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I’m currently working on Fire Storm, Book 2 in the Gathering Storm Series