Deceptions of the Heart is on SALE for 99¢!

4.18.2014

The Heinous Habit of Head Hopping #amediting

Can you imagine how excited I was the first time a publisher wanted a full read of one of my manuscripts? I was ecstatic until I got the editor’s critique. The manuscript’s biggest issue? Point of view breaks, commonly called head hopping. I was given the opportunity to correct this deficiency, so I plodded through the story and revised it, thinking I had conquered the head hopping habit. Unfortunately, I still didn’t “get” it. I am happy to say the story was resubmitted to the same publisher and accepted for publication…five years later.

I’ve learned a lot in five years, and I think I finally mastered the concept of point of view. Sure I slip occasionally, but for the most part I keep the scene in one character’s head at a time.

Point of view is all about perspective. What does a character see, hear, feel, smell, taste, or think? A scene begins in one character’s perspective and should stay in that character’s perspective until the end of the scene. The point of view character’s perceptions can be revealed through inner dialogue, internal narrative, spoken dialogue, or action beats.

A point of view break occurs when the author inserts internal narrative that reveals what is in another character’s head, almost as if the author is hopping from head to head. Some breaks are subtle. Some are obvious. All of them are potentially distracting to the reader. Nothing is more distracting than the author bombarding the reader with the thoughts of everyone in the scene.

So what is a scene? A scene is a complete unit of action, narrative, and dialogue in the plotline, a section of the story that has a beginning and an ending. Sometimes a scene is a whole chapter. Sometimes it is only a portion of a chapter. Multiple scenes within a chapter are separated by scene breaks—a formatting mechanism to show the reader there is a break in the story, a shift to a new plot point. The goal of a scene is to reveal information to the reader that moves the plot forward. What signifies the story has moved to a new scene? The action will move to a new location or there will be a time lapse from one scene to another.


Don’t make the mistake I did in the example I used at the beginning of this post. I wanted to shift to another character’s point of view, so I added a blank line indicating a scene break and picked the scene up right where I left off. No. Not good. Bad writer. Make sure the scene is complete before moving on to another point of view.


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4.14.2014

Please Don't Break My #Heart Again

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Please don’t break my heart again. How many times have you heard that line in a movie or read it in a novel. Cliché? Maybe. But it’s a familiar sentiment, and maybe that’s why clichés become clichés. Because the circumstance exists often enough in real life that it becomes common. No one wants to have his or her heart broken. It’s just not fun.

When it comes to romantic suspense, it’s all about the heart. The heroine and hero put their heart into overcoming the odds, the danger, and the conflict to love each other...by the end of the book. So if the hero or heroine says, “Please don’t break my heart again,” don’t be surprised. One or the other of them, or both, have already had their hearts broken before the action even begins. Damaged people are more fascinating to read about than pristine, never-been-touched-by-the-hard-things-in-life characters. The great thing about good fiction is that it makes you believe those hard things in life can happen to someone...even if sometimes they can’t or won’t or don’t.

That reminds me of one of the best comments I have ever received in a review. From Brenda Youngerman on Amazon reviewing Deceptions Of the Heart, “There is a fuzzy line between good and evil here and Denise does a wonderful job of weaving the tale in such a way that when the book is finished you have to ask yourself... ‘Could that really happen?’ ”

Anson tells Jennifer/Rhonda (sometimes I call her Rhennifer) not to break his heart again. Here’s the scene from the book:

He turned me to him, searched my soul—the same intense scrutiny that tore my heart from my chest the previous night. He didn’t know what I would have done to gain his affection. I would have dug into my chest and yanked my unreliable, deceptive heart out if it pleased him.

“You’re telling the truth, aren’t you?” he asked. I couldn’t make my mouth form a reply. “Don’t break my heart again.” A declaration. A warning. A sweet confession of his feelings.

“There are things in our past that keep coming back to us. The only thing I can promise is I don’t want to hurt you again.”

He wrapped his hands around my wrists and I wondered if I’d said the wrong thing once again. He pulled me to him. “I guess that will have to be enough,” he whispered, his mouth brushing mine. His arms tightened around me and I melted into him. “I can’t stick to our deal.”

His words surprised me. “What do you mean?” I stammered.

“I can’t pretend anymore. I thought I could have this platonic sort of thing, but it’s not working.”

“What do you want from me?” I whispered, my heart thudding with all the desire I’d denied. Now that I was attempting to be someone better than both Rhonda and Jennifer, I knew without a doubt I needed Anson to want me.

“I want you to be my wife.” The hope that washed across his face clutched at my heart.

I offered a tentative smile and placed my hand on his cheek. This time he didn’t brush my simple gesture of affection away. “Then we want the same thing.”

I hope you enjoyed this snippet from Deceptions Of the Heart. It’s on SALE until April 24, 2014 for 99¢ at http://amzn.com/B00D0TAZ12.


4.08.2014

How To Build a Better Blurb

I confess writing the blurb has been the bane of my writerly existence. The only thing worse, for me, than writing the blurb is writing the dreaded synopsis.

My very first published work was a short story entitled Snow White and the Seven Dogs for an anthology. After signing the contract, my publisher wanted me to write a blurb and a tagline for my story. I discovered the blurb was just a little bit different from the 250 – 350 word description I inserted into the query that hopefully captured my publisher’s attention. No, the blurb, that wonderful bit of marketing that describes my book to the reading public, is another animal—and this beast has to have sharp teeth to grab a reader’s attention.

My early attempts at writing blurbs...well, those attempts sucked. Writing a well worded, concise, hard to ignore blurb is difficult and frustrating. How does an author condense her baby into a couple of hundred words? I struggled with this authorly skill until I received some wonderful direction from Lisa Dawn, the marketing guru at The Wild Rose Press.

Since then, I’ve noticed there are two predominant workable styles of blurb floating around the purchase links on Amazon and other fine eBook vendors.

The first style is the one Lisa suggested, and I love it because it breaks the blurb down into three manageable sections, and I am all for something that organizes my scattered thoughts. I am going to use the blurb she helped me with as an example.

First paragraph—Heroine’s goal, motivation, and conflict

Five years ago, a tragic accident robbed Chris Smith of a normal life (her goal is to live a normal life). Left with only a jagged scar, a set of wedding rings, and bits of memory—smells, sounds, and fleeting feelings—she copes with the loss of her identity (her motivation is to cope with her loss of identity). Amnesia has made her life a living purgatory (which leads to her conflict)…until she meets Steve West.

Second paragraph—Hero’s motivation, goal, and conflict

Steve’s construction company is remodeling the ski lifts in Purgatory, Colorado. However looking at Chris is seeing the face of his deceased wife (his goal is to get over losing his wife). Now the truths he’d been forced to believe (his conflict is that he believes she was never dead) have him searching for answers (his motivation is to prove she’s still alive).

Third paragraph—an overall conflict, premise wrap up

Murder, deception, and missing ransom money. Can Steve protect Chris…and prove she’s the wife he never believed dead before the killer tries again?

I love the one, two, and three punch in this short paragraph. Those three bites at the beginning wrap the plot premise up neatly. An added bonus? Lisa suggested writing the blurb with the intention of pasting parts of the verbiage into a 140-character Twitter post.

So here are the tweets than I dug out of the blurb...

A jagged scar, a set of wedding rings, and bits of memory #Purgatory #TWRP #romance #suspense #Colorado http://tinyurl.com/nfvw7tb 

Looking at Chris is seeing the face of his deceased wife. #Purgatory #romance #suspense #TWRP http://tinyurl.com/nfvw7tb

Murder, deception, and missing ransom money #Purgatory #TWRP #suspense  #romance http://tinyurl.com/nfvw7tb

Can Steve protect Chris and prove she’s the wife he never believe dead? #Purgatory #TWRP #suspense #romance http://tinyurl.com/nfvw7tb


Ummm... Feel free to post the above tweets to your Twitter feed. 

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4.07.2014

Cover Reveal - Love & Redemption by Chantel Rhondeau

Title: Love & Redemption (Agents in Love - Book 2)
Author: Chantel Rhondeau
Will be released: April 18, 2014
Genre: Romantic Suspense


Swearing off sex is anything but easy for bad girl Shelley Daniels. Especially after she bumps into super sexy Gavin Hart, who’s running for his life.

All Gavin wanted was fast money and a chance to start fresh. Now this jewelry thief is the target of professional assassins, ones he witnessed murder a woman in cold blood.

Gavin drags Shelley into the world she was desperate to escape, full of secret agents, assassin plots, and a frantic plan to stop a terrorist group from perfecting a new weapon. Gavin also attempts to steal what’s left of her jaded heart while they hide from the murderers.

The killers strike again, drawing the pair back to the city. When a child’s life hangs in the balance, Shelley and Gavin have a chance to make up for prior sins, but finding redemption means risking everything—including their chance for true love.

CONTENT WARNING: Language, violence, and sizzling love scenes

Add to your Goodreads TBR pile or sign up for Chantel's newsletter to get an email notifying you when the book is available!


If you missed the first book in the series Love & Deception (Agents in Love - Book 1) now is the time to get caught up with Nick and Carlie's story.

What if everything you believed in was a lie?



In hiding for six years, Carlie Hollis is tired of running. All she wants is to stay in Sayle, Washington and make a success of her struggling delicatessen. Because of her past, she’s suspicious of anyone who takes an interest in her.

Nick Kendall works as a spy in a top-secret government operation, protecting innocent people from danger. Sent to Sayle on a mission to infiltrate a suspected terrorist organization, Nick finds himself attracted to Carlie, an alleged key player of the group.

Despite her misgivings, Carlie develops feelings for the handsome stranger, believing he is there to help her. But when Nick finds evidence of her guilt, he’s given orders to do the unthinkable—eliminate the target, one he's fallen hopelessly in love with. Will he follow orders...or become hunted himself?

CONTENT WARNING: Violence, language, sizzling love scenes.

Buy it now:
Kindle Edition:
Amazon: US | UK 
Apple iBooks: US | UK | AU | CA |
Barnes & Noble:     US UK
Kobo 

4.06.2014

Sneak Peek from Laurel Heights -- There's a Ghost in My House

I've been revising an old manuscript and I'm excited about how it's coming together. Ever since I read Karen White's Tradd Street series, I've wanted to write a ghost story. Blending the paranormal with romantic suspense is...challenging.

I haven't written the blurb for this book yet...so, I'll treat you to a sneak peek from the first chapter.


She lay still beneath her comforter, listening to the unusual sounds coming from the lower floor. The house made a lot of noises, especially at night. She sucked in a ragged breath when it made a few more. Was someone in her house or was she being paranoid? Every shadow reminded her of Rand. He was in prison and would be incarcerated for a very long time, probably the rest of his life, but he could easily send one of his loyal associates to find her.

She wrapped her fingers around the grip of the baseball bat she kept next to her bed and hoped she wouldn’t have to use it. Confronting an intruder with a hollow piece of aluminum seemed like a lame defense. She had been considering purchasing a gun, but hadn’t done so yet. Maybe it was time.

She threw the comforter off, rose from the bed, slipped across the room with the bat over her shoulder, and opened the door to peer down the hallway toward the front stairs. Nothing moved. The house was quiet. Maybe a little too quiet. Only moments before, a symphony of strange noises had disturbed the night. It was as if opening her bedroom door had turned off the sound.

She stared at the back stairs directly across from her bedroom and considered going down to the first floor to check the door locks, but nixed the idea. Locked doors wouldn’t keep someone out of the house if they really wanted to get in. Better to barricade herself in her bedroom and keep the bat close by.

She slammed the door shut. No moonlight filtered through the flimsy fabric covering the window. The moon hid behind thick cloud cover. She tugged at the curtains, pulling them tighter to keep out the night. Before she stepped away, she caught a glimpse of something not quite right. Peeking between the curtain panels, she stared across the back yard through a grimy window and followed a dim light as it flitted back and forth inside the detached garage.

I anticipate the release of Laurel Heights September 2014. In the meantime, please consider purchasing one of my already published books. Click on the book banner to go to the purchase link.











4.03.2014

Get Ready! #Tess Is Coming Back In Crisis Of Serenity

I'm getting pumped for the release of Crisis of Serenity, the follow up to Crisis of Identity. It's coming July 2014! Watch this blog for more details on the release date.

Want to read a teaser from the new book? Okay, here it is! From the opening chapter of Crisis of Serenity...


So I was settled in Tennessee, at least for a while. I gulped down my distrust every single day and served Gatlinburg’s finest their breakfast, even though I had certainly had my fill of cops. This particular patrol officer seemed nice, but I swore I’d never trust a cop again. Ever.

“Thanks.” Jim flashed his gorgeous smile. “How are you today, Tess?” His eyes gleamed with expectation.

“Good. You want the usual?” I asked him the same question every Friday at seven a.m. He always sat at his favorite table. The one that offered the best view of Parkway. Jim was predictable. I liked that in a man. My ex-boyfriend Trevor was anything but.

“Hmmm. Let’s see… Yeah.” His order never varied. Four buttermilk pancakes. Four crispy pieces of bacon. Two eggs—over easy.

A shiver of dread snaked along my backbone. My head snapped up and I peered through the window. A thin ribbon of sidewalk separated the two-story-high plate glass from the roadway. The clink of silverware and restaurant grade china clattered against the background rhythm of cars stopping and starting. I wiped my bangs from my eyes and studied the flow of traffic on the street below. Two lines crept bumper-to-bumper in view of the restaurant, a small percentage of cars making it through the green light in one cycle. Stoplight #6 was always busy. A patrol unit had stopped at the signal. The officer turned his head my way. Our eyes met and held, and then my heart skipped a few beats. What was he doing here in Gatlinburg? I thought I had left him behind in Colorado.

Nothing on earth could have dragged me away from his stare. Life as I knew it changed, and my monotonous existence didn’t feel so safe anymore. The uncontrollable urge to escape overtook me…again. I had always been good at running.

“I was thinking…” Jim’s voice drifted in and out of my consciousness.

“Huh?”

“Tess, are you all right? You went pale all of a sudden.”

“I’m okay.” I turned my attention back to him. “I’ll put your order in.”


I left before he could hint that he wanted to take me out. He was predictable about that as well. Today wasn’t a good day. There might never be a good time—not with a ghost from my past invading my newly acquired contentment.


Have you read Crisis of Identity yet? If you haven't, here's the purchase link.



4.02.2014

You Might Be a Writer If... #amwriting

You might be a writer if...
1.  You stare into space as if you’re catatonic. You’re husband/son/daughter asks you, “Mom, are you okay?” You answer, “Yes, I’m just writing.” Because you write the scene in your head before you even touch your computer keyboard.
2.  You shamelessly listen to strangers’ conversations and don’t think of it as eavesdropping. No, you’re doing research for your next book and keeping a list on your cell phone’s notepad of interesting comments you’ve overheard. Then, you have no qualms about using those quotes.
3.  You wake up early in the morning, and the first thing you think about is the scene you wrote at 2 a.m. and how you could make it better. The last thing you think about before you close your eyes at night is how you’re going to write the next scene. Because you always have a work in progress.
4.  You have no problem killing someone...in your writing. You get by with murder and your readers love it. The pages of your books are littered with dead bodies and no one thinks of you as a serial killer.
5.  You often talk about your characters lives as if they are real people, and your family responds to your comments as if you are completely rational. Because to respond any other way elicits a snarl from you. Your family is almost as familiar with your characters as you are.
6.  You talk about plot, point of view, characterization, motive, goal, and conflict incessantly, and your loved ones just smile at you and go about whatever they were doing, knowing that you are in your writer’s zone. It’s like getting a non-verbal pat on the head.
7.  You worry about how you could have made your last book better...even after it’s published. Because no matter how long you’re in the business, there is always something new to learn about the art and craft of writing.
8.  You consider writer’s block to be worse than having a root canal. Worse than constipation. Worse than a recurring nightmare. Worse than that sinking feeling you get when you misplace your purse and you think you left it on a bench in the shopping mall.
9.  You embrace the idea that you’ll never be normal. You know you think differently from most people and you’re okay with that. After all, when it comes to fiction, normal is boring. Twisted is better.

10.      Your husband refers to your computer as Precious because it is never far from your side. If you misplace it, you suffer a panic attack. You obsessively back up your work...just in case your computer dies. Your computer is your best friend and you don’t think that’s sick.

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