Category Archives: Uncategorized

Demolition of the Heart

 

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News Flash!!!!!
Iv’e Been Nominated for a BTS Red Carpet Award
My erotic romance novel Demolition of the Heart has been nominated for the BTS Book Reviews Red Carpet Awards in the mystery catergory.
Please vote for me at http://btsemag.com/…/read…/readers-choice-voting-paranormal/
scoll down and click on Mystery category – Demolition is third from the top.
Voting closes 8th December.
you my readers have bought my book, read my book and I appreciate your support. Support me once again by voting.

http://btsemag.com/

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When is a Final Draft a Final Draft?

The Final Draft

So you have drafted and drafted, edited, cut and added and spell checked. So you have your final draft. You’re happy with your work and just summoning up the courage to cast your ‘baby’ to the wolves of the publishing world.

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 Stop right there.

 I have discovered no matter how many times you read the manuscript you have always missed something.  Don’t send you ‘baby’ out there with its shoelaces undone.

shoes

My advice put it away for a week. Then look at it again. Read it aloud, again. You might be surprised how many bits you change, typos you missed or when you used a passive voice. Read it out loud, feel the pacing, rhythm and nuances. I know you will be thoroughly sick of it by now. You might never want to see it again, but do that last review anyway.

 

Have you checked for?

  1. Repeated words
    • How many times have you used ‘was’
    • Or your favorite words—mine are smiled, shrugged and turned.
    • Use the ‘find’ tool to check it out. Some versions of word will give you the number of times you have used the same word.
  2. Have you checked for ‘independently moving body parts? Like ‘his hand covered hers’ instead of ‘he covered her hand with his’
  3. Have you checked for adverbs – slowly – use ambled or quietly instead try tiptoed. Make sure you are expressing the nuances you mean to.
  4. How are your paragraphs – too short – too long
  5. What about your chapters – have you broken at the right place.
  6. How about ‘began’ – your characters should just do things – ‘he began to walk across the room’ use instead ‘he walked across the room’.
  7. ‘Feel’ – ‘when he kissed her she felt her breasts tingle’ try instead ‘When he kissed her, her breasts tingled’.
  8. and then’ – editors usually prefer either ‘and or ‘then’
  9. Have you followed the submission guidelines to the letter
  10. Have you tidied up loose ends – are all your characters and material items accounted for? Like she had that sword in chapter 10, but where is it now in chapter 13 or at the end.
  11. Punctuation, grammar, spelling – read up on the rules if it is not your forte.

  12. Have you checked for passive writing
  13. Have you checked for ‘show not tell’?
  14. Watch for POV- do not head hop
  15. Watch for redundant words – ‘she waved her hand at them’ should just be ‘she waved at them’
  16. Check the scene choreography – make sure that fight or love scene is physically possible.
  17. What out for slang or dialects
  18. Do the bits that should make the reader cry or laugh make you cry or laugh.
  19. And before you press ‘send’ make sure you have attached the files.

Now– are you happy with it. Sure?

 

I am sure I could add to this list, but as long as you have done your very best, get it out there. No manuscript will get acquired by lying in the bottom of the drawer or in an archived file.

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Now you have a magnificent sandcastle…

See how my manuscripts, my ‘babies’ are now published novels. Purchase a copy

Demolition of the Heart

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Deathly Embrace

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Blood Ties a Broken Heart.

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Ignite Passion – Read a Romance

 

Defining, Refining and expanding Sandcastles

 

 

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With the first draft I have told the story. Once you have that all important first draft you are ready to begin the real work. I like to leave that very raw first draft to sit for a month or two, maybe even more often beginning a whole new story. The interesting thing is that even though you have put the story ‘to bed’ it remains in your mind, unconsciously developing and maturing like a good wine or tasty cheese. Sometimes you might have flashes of thought about it and make notes, but mostly you don’t consciously think about it.

Some will make a hard copy others will work straight on the screen.

So sometime later I open up my draft and review the outline, the character profiles and the other material I have collated and reread the back story. In fact I immerse myself in the material. There are many things which I the writer must consider when I begin to re-write.

Now I the author become the narrator. As I work through the draft I become the eyes for the reader showing them now instead of telling them. But you must pace your story – fast enough to excite the reader, but not too fast that you exhaust them part way through.

“Show, don’t tell” should not be applied to all incidents in a story. According to James Scott Bell, “Sometimes a writer tells as a shortcut, to move quickly to the meaty part of the story or scene. Showing is essentially about making scenes vivid. If you try to do it constantly, the parts that are supposed to stand out won’t, and your readers will get exhausted.”[6] Showing requires more words; telling may cover a greater span of time more concisely.[7] novel that contains only showing would be incredibly long; therefore, a narrative can contain some legitimate telling. James Scott Bell

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Adding description, often this first rework will be full of boring adjectives – anything just to get the meaning and the description on the page; such as ‘slowly walked’ or ‘turned swiftly’. These can be changed to options like sauntered, ambled, or tiptoed depending on what nuances I want to awaken as I fine tune my story. And you must get details consistent for example your heroine must have blue eyes all the way through the story.

To build in the richness of the story you need to pay attention to the setting.  In the first draft I might put ‘it was stormy’ or a ‘huge thunderstorm’. But with the second and subsequent drafts it is important to tap into all the senses of the reader, to bring them into the story, have them feeling what the protagonist is feeling. Sight of course is often the dominant sense – but do not forget sounds, smell, touch and taste. And not to be overlooked the ‘sixth sense’ – that shiver along the skin or the prickle of hairs on the neck even when there is no visible cause for the sense of unease or fear.

So something like ‘huge thunderstorm’ becomes;

Overhead, thunder rattled and moaned. Iridescent flashes of lightening formed a kaleidoscope of shadows and eerie blue light. Despite the heat, Kayla shivered.

“Out!” he growled, thrusting her across the wide veranda and down the steps.

All around the world vibrated with the brutal force of thunder. Huge drops of rain smacked against her exposed skin. Kayla jumped as a fork of lightening ripped through the darkness, illuminating everything in silvery blue as it grounded itself in the middle of the lawn.

They stared at each other. His eyes appeared to fill with searing chips of dry ice that burnt into her soul. Diamantes of water dripped from his dark hair and ran in silken rivulets down his cheeks, highlighting the beard shadow on his jaw. Kayla stared—fascinated, her fingers twitched with the desire to brush them away. The moisture on her skin sizzled under the palm of his hand and Kayla stirred restlessly against the familiar ache his touch evoked. His grip loosened. Their awareness of each other cocooned them from the tempest of the storm. She swayed closer; a tiny moan forced its way past her lips. The collision with his body heat ignited a heady explosion of need that shattered the spell.

Kayla jerked back and shook the rain from her eyes. “I’m not leaving. Do what you want, but I’m sleeping in my grandmother’s bed tonight!” she shouted at him.

Another flash of blue fire from the sky dived for the ground. The boom from accompanying thunder burst over their heads. They both crouched.

“Inside, Kayla, before we get hit,” he yelled.

They sprinted up the steps and into the house.

(Excerpt from Demolition of the Heart)

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The time line is essential to the structure of the story. Each scene must build on the other or provide a satisfying conclusion. In this draft it is important to track the time lines and make sure all is in place to drive the story forward. You do not want your characters eating a cake before it was baked or in my case I had Logan in Deathly Embrace light the fire twice. It was picked up and became ‘he lit the fire’ and ‘he stoked’ the fire.

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Tired and grubby, Logan set the fire in the dining room, ordered pizza to be delivered then stripped and headed for the shower. As the hot water sluiced over his body, he toyed with ideas for the bathroom. The current bathroom was a huge area that could be divided into two bathrooms or a large bathroom with spa and toilet, and a second, separate toilet. He also thought about the laundry, because that was the same size and he wondered if he could turn the adjacent room into the master bedroom and make half the laundry into an additional bathroom.

 And two pages down

After collecting his pizza and doing a quick inspection of the house to ensure he was the only human occupant, he stoked the fire in the dining room hearth and settled down to eat. He suspected the ruckus in the bathroom had been caused by Cat or some other animal trying to escape after coming through the open windows last night, but then… he couldn’t explain the open windows.

(Excerpts from Deathly Embrace.)

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 So now the story flows, your timeline is in place, you have described the setting, played on the senses and have all the eyes the right color. It is looking good. You are encouraged by what you have created. ‘It is a good yarn’ a friend of mine would describe it. But there is more… and it is not a set of steak knives. Return for Part three soon in the meantime take a look at Demolition of the Heart, Deathly Embrace or my newest offering Blood Ties a Broken Heart. To read as a writer is to learn.

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Pride Publishing Launch

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Totally Entwined Group launches

THE NEW HOME FOR THE FINEST GLBTQI FICTION LAUNCHES TODAY

Pride Publishing launches today! Check out the new website here: www.pride-publishing.com

To celebrate the launch there is 25% off selected eBooks and lots of other promotions over at the website for this week only!

Read the whole press release here!

Want to submit?

Moving forward Pride Publishing will also accept submissions that are not only romance focused. We are actively seeking submissions, so as long as your stories involve characters who identify as GLBTQI, we’d like to see them. Please send your submissions to submissions@totallyentwined.com.

Building Sandcastles

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At a recent ‘Meet the Author’ event a participant asked me about my writing process. Fortunately for me it was an easy question to answer on a superficial basis as I had previously given this some consideration while at university. I already knew I wrote in layers; a first draft, a second (actually several drafts) and the third major draft before editing and polishing. Only it is more complicated than this and I thought I would share my more in depth thoughts on this process.

draft 1

I like this quote by Shannon Halt. Because writing is a craft and you  must have the raw materials to begin to create. A potter must start with a lump of clay or a painter with a canvas and paints, or even a carpenter with a pile of wood. But it goes further back and down deeper than that initial first draft.

The Way I See My Process…

The use the same analogy of sand pits and sand castles I would describe my process as:

A Vast Rich Desert of Ideas…

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The whole of my ideas, thought processes and stories to tell; a vast wilderness with no boundaries, no rules and immense beauty and creativity.  From this I extract an idea, a message, or a character and I gather a current set of ideas that relate to the story I want to write:

Choosing an idea…

With millions of grains – tiny germs of ideas to choose from it is challenging to choose but one… this time.

So I shovel out of my huge desert of ideas a significant pile of ideas.

pile of sand

I use an omniscient point of view to conduct my research. One must know all there is to know.

Definition of an omniscient point-of-view, in writing: is to know everything that can be known about a character, including past history, thoughts, feelings, etc. In Latin, omnis means “all” and sciens means “knowing”.

Plot development, character development and back story. I find by writing, sometimes several thousand words of the back story leaves me feeling settled in having got it off my chest and am not tempted to put it into the actual novel and bore poor readers right out of my book.

When I know all (well most of all – you never know when a character is going to do something unpredictable)

Adding the Boundaries…

I gather all this information into a neat pile and systematically contain those ideas in a format to guide me, enclose the ideas and provide parameters within which I must work. I love the research phase. It is often the easiest and inspiring, but can be time consuming. I love to get pictures of my characters, my locations. Of course a fantasy novel goes even further, but more of that later.

sandpit

Now with the ideas confined into a manageable form I am free to explore, feel passionate and pour out the story straight from the heart without fear I will exceed the boundaries. Once I have my pictures and research files in a lever arch I will often develop a table of characters with notes on who they are, where they fit in and who they might be connected to. Then I begin an outline; main points in the story, mini climaxes, main climax, low and high points, when sex begins, how many scenes, number of chapters.

Letting Loose the Passion…

For me that freedom to ignore the rules and literally throw a first draft on the page with no thought to spelling, grammar, punctuation, sentence construction or even timelines or whether an action scene is achievable or probable. A first draft must be created with energy, enthusiasm and direction.

draft 4

Using my outline I begin. I write and write and write, never stopping to edit or consider or to spell check.  Letters become words, and words, sentences. Those sentences form paragraphs, grow into pages to be collected into chapters and finally the last line with THE END.

It is just about getting the story out there, pouring my precious story onto the page.

What am I trying to achieve with this first draft.

  1. Build a skeletal structure of the plot and flesh it out
  2. Get the action on the page
  3. Develop the dialogue
  4. Sexual interactions.

 

draft 3

 

When you put that full stop at the end and saved a first draft it is indeed the most satisfying thing. I then run the spell check over the whole manuscript, divide it into approximate chapters then I save and put away. I will then come back to this draft in a few days and begin at the beginning.

Now the real writing has begun

 

draft 2

 

Next Cassandra will talk about writing the second, third, fourth or more drafts because…

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Reading and Writing

Cassandra’s Current Reading List

Today someone asked me the strangest question. ‘If I only had one day left and time to only read one more book what would I read’.

I have been an avid (passionate prolific reader) all my life. My taste in books is very eclectic, always has been. but it was easy to answer that question. ‘The Day of the Triffids’ by John Whyndam

My grandmother gave me the book to read, she was herself a great reader. the whole apocalyptic thing fascinated me and still does. One day I want to write a book of the same ilk.

They say as a writer we must read. One can ask why and I am not sure I can answer that. I read for pure enjoyment, but now as a writer I read also to appreciate other writer’s use of language, techniques and story telling ability. These are my peers and it is fascinating to get an insight into their work.

I have just recently finished reading 3 books by South Australian authors.

The first a YA fantasy by Wendy Noble

Great read. Wonderful fantasy world, believable characters and a story that draws you in. I thought the dragons were gorgeous, their characters so well defined and the interactions with Seeger intriguing.

Looking forward to number 2.

The second book was a romance by Trish Morey

Product Details

Fabulous love story set on the Yorke Peninsula South Australia. Pip has a second chance at love after 10 years away. Will she take it. Are the obstacles of long held secrets too high to surmount. Can she and Luke work things out and find love to match their passion for each other that will last forever. Loved it, fast paced, page turning story and great ending.

And the third… again a romance – well it is my genre after all.

Again a South Australian author, Victoria Purman and a SA setting this time the wild and beautiful Kangaroo Island. Calla is on a mission to find her estranged brother and in the process she find handsome hero firefighter Sam and falls deeply in love. But life is complicated and they have a rocky road to their happy ever after. Plenty to keep the reader turning the pages.

So what’s next for Cassandra
watch for the next post to find out…

 

Book Signing and Sales Event

Book Signing and Sales Event

Come and meet me at the

Kernewek Lowender Cornish Festival

Yorke Peninsula SOUTH AUSTRALIA

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kernewek

 

check out the fun and history at

Kernewek Lowender

 

  1. Friday 9.30 ‘Meet the Author’, at the Community Library, Blanche Terrace MOONTA SA.

  2. Friday 10 – 4 pm at Queen Square MOONTA

  3. Saturday 9 – 4 pm, Village Fair, Victoria Square KADINA

  4. Sunday 11-4 pm Cavalcade Fun Fair, KADINAbloodtiesabrokenheart_800 (1)demolitionoftheheart_800 (1)deathly