Saturday, December 20, 2014

Saturday Snippets–The No Sex Clause, Free eBook!

@GlenysOConnell
perfect heroine
Yes, I come bearing a gift! First off, many thanks to all the people who downloaded last week’s free ebook, my romantic comedy, Marrying Money. Love you all!

Next up, here’s the second free eBook I promised. This one has a Christmas theme and a very feisty heroine who has reached a point in life where she re-examines her life and her past – and finds true love and friendship where she least expects it. The book is The No Sex Clause (but don’t let the title mislead you!)

Here’s the blurb:

nosexclausefinal (2)abAnna Findlay needs a man.

Anna has gone from being the bullied Mouse in a small town high school to the perfectly groomed and wealthy author of a pop psychology book on sex.


When her publicity agent talks her into going to her high school reunion at Christmas, there are two problems - Anna hated high school, and she has no one to go with. So, in her own pragmatic style, she hires an escort from an agency - a move that will change her life forever.

Anna finds herself revisiting her past and learning that she has never been comfortable in any of the personas she has invented for herself.

It takes falling in love - and Christmas - to show her that all she needs do is be herself.

The No Sex Clause is free from Saturday, the 20th of December, until Wednesday, the 24th, on most Amazon Kindle sites such as Amazon.com Amazon.ca and Amazon.co.uk

And while you’re on Amazon, pop over and take a peek at my latest romantic suspense, Another Man’s Son, from The Wild Rose Press Lobster Cove series Winking smile

141May your holidays be merry and bright!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Wednesday’s Writing: Don’t Know What to Give the Writers on Your List? Problem Solved!

@GlenysOConnell

winter cardinalHave a writer on your Christmas gift list? Stuck for ideas? That’s not surprising, considering you’re dealing with a person who can have anything he or she wants – in their imagination, of course!

But buying for writer friends or family needn’t be a chore. And it needn’t be expensive, either. Of course, the latest word processing programs, computer technology, a library full of books or a year’s rental on a retreat to a villa in France, would all be welcome gifts. Bear in mind that the latter could be very pricey indeed, because most of us writers are broke much of the time so you’d definitely have to throw in air fare and stock the place with food.

But for more realistic purposes, here are a few writer pleasing ideas:

1) Fancy pens, pencils, cute notebooks, or other desktop gadgets. Sure, we know we’re in the age of high tech, but there’s nothing like the allure of a clean, virginal page or a fancy new gel pen.

2) A really good diary with at least a page per day for notes. Or more than a page, to help keep track of word counts, deadlines, book signings, talk events, submission dates, etc.

3) The online version of The Writer’s Market.

4) The online version of Writer’s Digest

5) A comfy cushion for the desk chair – you’d be amazed just how numb one’s posterior can get after a few hours of typing madly, butt in chair….

6) One of those little desk puzzles, to give the brain a break from words. Careful with the choice, though – nothing too difficult. Writers are all too familiar with failure, and not being able to do the Rubik’s Cube, for example, can begin a slow slide into depression as fast as any rejection letter.

7) A pair of those woolly fingerless gloves, for typing when the power is out – or has been cut off – and there’s no heat.

8) Woolly socks with tops that will fit over flannel pajama bottoms.
9) Flannel pajama bottoms.

10) A gift card for Starbucks or Tim Horton’s, so that your writer won’t get black looks after sitting in the warm café for hours, typing without buying…..

clip_image004
11)  Probably the very best gift for a writer costs nothing: Time. Yes, time to write without interruption is such a gift! Be a friend. Don’t take offence when your writer buddy rolls her eyes at your suggestions that the two of you go out, when you know she’s on deadline. Offer to take the kids for a couple of hours, cook a meal, pick up groceries, dry cleaning, kids from school. Don’t talk for hours on the phone. Listen when she needs a sounding board, otherwise give her some space.

lady in pj'sTrust me, she or he will eventually emerge from the writing cave, eager and ready for human interaction again……one the writing is done. Until the next book, of course….

And speaking of the next book – don’t forget Saturday is the day for the next free eBook that I promised. This one has a Christmas theme to help get you in the mood, but it’s not all sweetness and light…..Be sure to check out Saturday’s Snippets this weekend!















Monday, December 15, 2014

Monday’s Inspiration–Live Your Passion


hardest decision"If there is no passion in your life, then have you really lived? Find your passion, whatever it may be. Become it, and let it become you and you will find great things happen FOR you, TO you and BECAUSE of you.." ~ T. Alan Armstrong

"Don't ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive and then go do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.." ~ Howard Thurman

“Passion is the oxygen of the soul” – Bill Butler
Quotes from Inspiring Quotes of the Week

You have probably heard that expression: “Follow your passion and the money will come” and scratched your head wondering how to make that happen. For artists, you wonder when you’ll earn enough from your passion to live without a job.

There’s the tempting possibility of quitting the day job, working like the devil turning out books, artwork, pottery, one-of-a-kind crafts and clothing, fabric arts, or whatever inflames your passion, and just hope that the cash comes in.

But in your heart you know – especially if you have the responsibility for others – that the bank isn’t going to accept your artwork as a mortgage payment, and the grocery store won’t take copies of your books in lieu of cold hard cash.
How, then, short of winning the lottery, can you follow your passion?

Here’s my take on that:
First off, an attitude change. Stop calling your everyday job The Evil Day Job. That tells your brain to hate what you spend 30-40 hours a week doing. Isn’t that in itself a recipe for restless misery?

Instead, consider what that work allows you to do – you have contact with people you can learn from, socialize with your co-workers, working together, you have a viable skill set with growing experience that may stand you in good stead, you have the opportunity to people watch, learn from the lives of others (invaluable if you’re a writer!) and, on top of that, you get to pay for the roof over your head and three meals a day.

Imagine if you spent all day at a desk in a room, alone, with no outside contact. Just you and your imagination. Yes, I know – it sounds wonderful. But pretty soon you’d get bored, restless, in need of contact and inspiration from the outside world.

For the creative person, every experience, every contact, is grist for the artistic mill. Use what you see around you, what you feel, what you learn from other people, your everyday experiences, yes, even your day job, to fuel your passion.

Next, Fake it until you make it!

First, you need to find your passion. Here’s a great article by Barrie Davenport in TransMind: What Do You Do When You Have No Earthly Idea What Your Passion Might Be?

Live the artistic life. Find some time every day to add to your growing talent, expertise, and insight. Paint, write, draw, create. You can squeeze a little time out here and there, even if it’s only happening in your head.

Go to conferences if you can, take your work to shows, to craft sales, to community events. I’ve heard from writers who have sold more books at a local crafts fair than through regular channels!

All the while you are stoking your passion, building your skills, using the daily grind of life to fuel your creativity.And one day, with luck, talent, hard work, something wonderful will happen.

You’ll be living your passion.

This week’s free ebook is Marrying Money, a fun romantic comedy set in Ireland. It’s free on Amazon Kindle from Dec 13 – 17 – get yours now for a relaxing read!

Friday, December 12, 2014

Saturday Snippets: Free Book: Marrying Money!

@GlenysOConnell

MarryingMoneyNew CoverWeb
I promised free ebooks before Christmas, and here’s the first! I know this blog has been neglected for the past couple of weeks, but I’m back and I’m raring to have you read this story about a modern day English aristocrat who needs a husband. She has a list of what she wants – but love has other ideas! If you love Brit humor you'll really 'get' this book!

Here’s the blurb:
Diana, Lady Ashburnham, needs to find a rich husband, and fast.
She's the last of an aristocratic line stretching back 500 years, and she's broke. The family fortunes have been eaten up by the crumbling mansion and impoverished estate. Not wanting to be known as the 'Ashburnham Who Lost The Lot', she refuses to sell off heirloom jewelry or let the estate be auctioned off to a dot.com millionaire or heavy metal rock star. 


That's when Diana has her Great Idea – she'll follow a new take on the way her ancestors raised money – by marrying money! 


So Diana corals her best friend, commoner Sally Barnes, into joining her on a trip to Ireland to try to net a – preferably titled – millionaire. After all, with the Celtic Tiger economic boom, Ireland is supposed to be awash with wealthy guys. As she tells Sally, Ashburnham ancestors plundered Ireland with Cromwell, so why shouldn’t Diana do a bit of plundering there herself? 


Sally, very much a common commoner from a council house, reluctantly agrees to the trip. 

They meet up with Diana's very pretentious but untitled cousin, Mairead, who married money herself – a wealthy 'paper products' entrepreneur. His line of work has led to many rude family jokes, but Diana has to admit that Mairead had landed herself in the lap of luxury with her marriage choices. 


It looks like Diana isn’t going to be so lucky. Not only do the very valuable Ashburnham Emeralds disappear at the Galway Races, where Sally, not Diana, is chosen the winner of the Ladies' Day Prize, but there seems a huge shortage of titled wealthy young men who would be willing to fork out the millions required to keep Alexandria House, the Ashburnham estate, and Diana all in the style to which they want to become accustomed.......


And things get even more confused when the titled Irish aristocrat who is perfect for Diana has other ideas, and Diana’s heart flutters for a tradesman…..

Reviews For Marrying Money:
4.5 star review from The Long & The Short:
Take a pile of crumbling stones called Alexandria House, add in a garrulous narrator, and you’re all set for a romp through a series of comedic calamities.
Ms. O’Connell marries comedy and suspense together as tightly as bindweed. She captures the idiocyncrinacies of the English class system so beautifully, then adds in some Irish blarney, and hey presto, you’re off again, until the tears of laughter stream down your face.
Her heroine, Lady Diane is larger than life and willing to admit to her flaws. Sally, her best friend, but ‘not her social equal’ is as Dr. Watson to Sherlock Holmes. She brings balance to events, and still manages to throw in some thought provoking personal digs, just when Lady D is in full flow.
Lady D is so busy looking for ‘The Right Man’, to save her estates, she doesn’t see him when he’s standing under her nose.
Bob the Builder, Ms. O’Connell’s hero, is everything a hero should be, but for Lady D, so entrenched in a search for a man from her own social echelon, he’s not in the running.
Lady D has lessons to learn, and part of the suspense is created when it seems she may not learn them in time.
If you enjoy reading about settings you feel you are standing in, surrounded by a vibrant cast of characters, with a pot-full of suspense and a happy-ever-after, then this is the book for you. If you can stop laughing long enough to clear your eyes of tears, that is!

Four Stars from
By Marion H. Campbell (Burbank, CA, US) -
This review is from: Marrying Money: Lady Diana's Story (Kindle Edition)
What happens when two girlfriends try to find the perfect rich man to marry? Great romp, fun book! Add a cool drink and the beach, and this makes for perfect summer reading.

Marrying Money: Lady Diana’s Story, is free on Kindle (and don’t forget you can get an app to read Kindle books on your PC, laptop or tablet – or even your smart phone!)
Free from Saturday, December 12, to December 17.
Get it on Amazon - here on Amazon.com
Or on Amazon.ca:
Or Amazon.co.uk

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Wednesday’s Writing: A Naked Writing Deal

 @GlenysOConnell

“I learned a lot from this author. The book is well written and helpful. I would recommend it to those who are starting out on the adventure of writing.” That’s what one reviewer said about Naked Writing: The No frills Way to Write Your Book.

Naked Writing CoverIf you’ve been reading this blog then you’ll know that I often include excerpts from my book on the basics of writing. Now here’s your chance to get Naked Writing for just a low, low price and help me with an experiment at the same time.

Here’s another review from an Amazon customer: “This is a basic course with a complete outline of how to write. I loved it. I never knew how much work went into writing. If you follow this course, actually writing the story is almost anticlimactic.”

I’m experimenting by putting Naked Writing up on Amazon’s Kindle Countdown, so on Thursday, November 27,  you can get the book for just 99 cents. On Saturday, November 29 the price goes up to $1.99, and then on December lst it will be $2.99 before going back up to the original price point of $3,99.

Finally, here’s a lovely review by very talented author Patricia Sands, who is a multi-published author:  “Glenys O'Connell knows about writing and she shares her expertise in this user-friendly book. After years of teaching successful online writing courses, author O'Connell has done writers a favour by compiling a book based on these courses. Her own writing style is warm and encouraging as she confronts many issues in Naked Writing faced by writers whether new or experienced. This is a book every writer will find helpful from beginning to end.” Patricia speaks from experience as she took my online writing course on which the book is based.

Keep on eye on this blog as Christmas approaches – I’m planning more special deals and actual freebies from my backlist of novels!

Naked Writing is available on Amazon.com, Amazon.ca, Amazon.co.uk, and other Amazon Kindle outlets near you at price-matched to your currency.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Wednesday’s Writing: The Pro-Active Writer

@GlenysOConnell

clip_image002I’ve talked before in this blog about the differences between a a dream and a goal – if you remember, that’s having a plan. Writers need to be pro-active, not just in getting the words down, but in editing, submitting their work, and marketing/promoting. 

No publisher is going to come knocking on your door if your book is just an idea in your mind. Work your plan and who knows? Maybe there’ll be that knock on the door.

It’s hard work, being a writer. But writers love it all the same. And sometimes hate it. But just can’t stop doing it. 

BlogGraphic29b Writing is like anything else – it doesn’t just happen. You’ve got to actively decide to do it. There’s the common image of the writer at his keyboard, glass of whisky at his elbow, pained expression on his face as he stares at the blank screen. His shirt buttons are undone, his hair stands on end, and there’re dark circles around his eyes…..that’s stuff for old movies.

There’s an old joke about Irish writer James Joyce, who was said to be notoriously slow in his writing.. A friend came to visit and found Joyce slumped over his pen and paper, looking very depressed.

 “Whatever’s wrong, James?” The friend asked.

“It’s the work. Isn’t it always the work?” James moaned.

“Well, have you written anything at all today?”

“Seven words.” Joyce groaned as if in pain.

“Why, James, that’s wonderful! Isn’t that more than you usually write?”

Joyce heaves a great sigh. “Yes," he replied. “But I don’t know what order they go in.”

Real writers are very disciplined, they organize their work and plan it out as you would with anything else that you want to do. I don’t actually believe in writers’ block, although I will agree there are times when you simply can’t write. Those times may be when your mind is cluttered with outside problems and worries, or may it’s simply that a story is simmering in your brain and isn’t yet ready to be written.

Writing requires a degree of commitment. If this was a flower arranging class, you’d all be eager to get home, buy flowers, and try your hand at some arranging. Well, writing demands a lot more than flower-arranging, which I agree is pretty creative, too. But the fact remains that you have to knuckle down and do it. Writers write. End of story.

There’s an impetus, a continuity, a mindset, that develops when you have a routine of doing something everyday. Even if it’s half-an hour during your lunch break, or an hour while the kids do their homework….set aside a definite time.

It’s also important to be disciplined about your Internet time. There are so many lovely things to do and see on the Net, and you can even claim they are educational. But nothing takes the place of your own writing time.

Naked Writing CoverComputers also have been a terrific boon to writers. Imagine how quickly Joyce could have played with arrangements for those seven words if he’d had a cut and paste option?

***This blog is taken in part from my book on the basics of writing: Naked Writing: The No Frills Way to Write Your Book. Now on Amazon in print and ebook!













Monday, November 17, 2014

Monday’s Inspiration: Afraid to Follow Your Heart? Wisdom from Eleanor Roosevelt

@GlenysOConnell

“Do what you feel in your heart to be right, for you’ll be criticized anyway.” Eleanor Roosevelt, 1884 –1962

Roosevelt
Whatever your political stripe, it’s hard to dismiss the character and achievements of Franklin Roosevelts’s wife and the longest serving American First Lady – she held the post from March 1933 to April 1945.

She wasn’t content to sit back and be a pretty ornament on her husband’s arm. She involved herself in social issues and in women’s rights issues. She was an early activist at a time when women were expected, to a large degree, to be ‘seen and not heard’.

Indeed, some of her work and her support of women’s organizations, literacy, the poor, and other social causes led to her being in hot water with the critics on a number of occasions.
Although not elected, Anna Eleanor Roosevelt could well be described as an American politician. In fact, President Harry S. Truman praised her as the "First Lady of the World" for her human rights achievements.

True to her philosophy, Mrs. Roosevelt did what her heart said was right, and accepted that she’d be criticized for it but did it anyway.
Many years on, we may still find ourselves holding back from doing what our hearts say we should. Do you hold your tongue when you feel you should speak out? Do you think “It’s not my place” when you see an issue or person who needs help? I confess that I have done this, for fear of the consequences, or fear of ‘getting involved’.

In writing, I have talked to authors who are afraid of opening up and writing the book of their hearts because of what their family, their friends, their church or other organization members, and community in general might think.

But things are not always as we see them. One writer had difficulty writing sexy scenes for fear of offending her family. Finally she took the plunge and wrote as her heart dictated. She was amazed when her Great Aunt read the book and asked if she was working on another…because she enjoyed the first so much. No censure there!

You never can tell what the results of being courageous and following your heart may be. But whatever criticism or praise may follow, you can be sure that you will feel better about yourself if you do what you believe is right.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Saturday’s Snippet: Another Man’s Son, from the #TWRP Lobster Cove Series

By @GlenysOConnell

perf5.000x8.000.inddA few months ago – it seems like yesterday – I was given the opportunity to submit a story to the proposed new Wild Rose Press series.
 I do like a challengeSmile.  I’ve never written for a series before, although I’ve toyed with several series ideas that I hope you’ll get to see at a later date. In fact, I liked Lobster Cove so much that I’ve submitted another book to the series. Fingers crossed!

The Lobster Cove series is quite special in a number of ways. One is that it is multi-genre – romance, romantic suspense, mystery, erotica, paranormal, fairies, sprites, ghosts and mythological beings were all welcome story lines.

The books were also set in different time spans – different historic periods, current day, mythical and I believe some futuristic as well.
Another difference for me, at least, was that all the books were co-ordinated. This means that each book must fit in various ways to the characters and events in other books that were set in the same time period.

Well, no-one has ever accused me of being a team player, so this last was a whole new ballgame for me. In Another Man’s Son, my hero is an FBI agent who is working undercover. I started out with the existing sheriff being asked to take a leave of absence for (fictional) health reasons.
But another book had been contracted where there was a newly elected, female sheriff.. Fortunately for my hero, the new sheriff had just got married and was planning to take time off for her honeymoon, so things worked out well. Now my character had to step into her place and interact briefly with her before she left. Which meant rewriting or adapting all the scenes that involved the sheriff. Whew!

I grew to admire my fellow series writers who took such care to meticulously match their work so that it wove nicely into the other books in progress. Not only that, but they were wonderfully generous in giving information to help make sure everyone was, to coin a phrase, on the same page.

In the weeks to come, I hope to bring you some snippets from other books in the Lobster Cove series. For now, here’s an excerpt from Another Man’s Son, which is now available in print and ebook from The Wild Rose Press, Amazon, and other book stores.

ANOTHER MAN’S SON

There he was. Without conscious thought her feet found a path through the crowd towards him and then he stood before her. She saw immediately that while he looked the same, there were subtle differences beyond the seven years that had passed since they’d last met. Back then, he’d still had the gawkiness of youth with the foreshadowing strength of the man he might become.

And now – now he’d fulfilled that promise of manhood - the veiled glances of every woman in the room were testament to that. But there was the stamp of hard experience on his face, lines around his beautiful brown eyes. Ben Asher. The man she'd once loved so deeply that she thought she’d die when he boarded the bus bound for the military training camp.

Mesmerized, Kathryn moved into his arms as naturally as if she'd never been out of them, and he hugged her to him in a reflex action that spoke volumes about his feelings. They swayed to the slow and sentimental tune the band now played, neither of them speaking, neither of them surprised that their dancing steps carried them through the big French doors and out onto the shadowed terrace. No surprise, either, as their lips met and melded in remembered passion.

She clung to him, her mouth drinking him in as all her other senses sang with the feel and scent of the man she'd loved so long ago – and came alive again with loving now. He groaned softly as her fingers smoothed the thick dark hair at the nape of his neck and then touched warm flesh beneath his shirt collar.

Her own flesh burned with desire at his touch as long ago dreams began to stir and awaken. Dreams that were even more impossible now than they'd been when she was young and deliriously in love.

The dream was broken when an icy voice spoke from the doorway: “Well, Asher, I see you've met my wife."










Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Wednesday’s Writing: The Few Words That Could Ruin Your Sales–Your Book Title

 
@GlenysOConnell
Funny_Lady_Receptionist_Desk_Working_Computer-1mdCould your titles actually be putting potential readers off? If you’re anything like me, a cute (to you) title arrives around the time of the book idea, or during the writing of it when one of your characters uses a phrase that catches your eye and provokes a Eureka! moment.
The accepted wisdom is that the cover lures a potential reader, the back blurb reels them in, and then you have 30 seconds of the first paragraph on the first page to seal the deal.

Blog Graphic 29th

But in my humble opinion, if your title sucks, you seriously damage the chance of your potential reader getting past first base.

I’ve not seen research on this, but I believe a catchy, intriguing title is your first line of hooking a reader – and a sale. For example, after one of my most successful books of a couple of years ago, the Indie published The No Sex Clause, I vowed to use the word ‘sex’ in as many titles as I could squeeze it into! I quickly came to the conclusion that wasn’t a good idea, as ‘sex’ doesn’t fit with other phrases. Sex & Naked Writing? Sex & Another Man’s Son, Sex: The Bride’s Curse? Uhmmm, not the right image at all.


While The No Sex Clause seemed to leap through the ether to readers, I decided it was the idea of a romance novel in which there was a binding clause that the protagonists couldn’t have sex that obviously intrigued a lot of people into pressing the BUY button.

Winters & Somers, which I thought was a neat title and one of my best books, didn’t fare as well. Judgement By Fire grabbed quite a lot of people’s attention, as did Resort to Murder. The latter two are examples of getting readers to ask the question: What? Who? Why? Read the book!

Marrying Money was a fun book that made quite a few readers smile all the way to the checkout button.

So, inquiring minds would ask, just what constitutes title magic?

Unusual word combinations. Common phrases used in an unusual way. Questions or statements that call the reader to seek an answer or explanation. Anything that arouses curiosity. Think of Gone With The Wind. Gone where? Who? Why? Oh, a romance. Gee, the civil war. An old Southern Mansion on the cover..Gotcha.

Elizabeth George’s What Came Before He Shot Her is a prime example. For followers of her Inspector Lynley series, the title promises an answer to the question we’d often wondered about: Why was Helen Lynley killed? Who did the deed? For those who are new to the series, the unusual title raises a raft of questions that pique curiosity enough to take a walk to the checkout.


Canadian author Louise Penny hit the title jackpot with her beautifully written and intriguing mystery series, the Inspector Gamache books, set in Quebec. Don’t titles such as The Beautiful Mystery, How The Light Gets In, or The Long Way Home, when applied to a detective series, just fill you with curiosity to find out more?


So, to sum up: titles aren’t just a bunch of words typed in as an afterthought. They are a vital part of telling your readers what your book is. A good title invites a prospective reader to solve a mystery, to enter a story, to seek the answers that lie between the covers of your book.


Don’t you think titles deserve some serious thought?


***You can follow the links to each of the books mentioned here, and my own books have a free first chapter read here on my website.














Monday, October 27, 2014

Monday’s Inspiration: Elizabeth Warren Quote


“If there’s any lesson I’ve learned in the last five years, it’s don’t be so sure about what lies ahead. There are amazing doors that could open.” – Elizabeth Warren, US. politician.

open doorWhatever your political views, there’s no doubt that Elizabeth Warren has learned a valuable life lesson with these words.. This vibrant and outspoken woman, who was elected to the US senate in 2012, is an interesting character no matter what your political beliefs are. 


Certainly, this quote is one that has a lot of bearing on all our lives.


Can you remember a time when you thought you'd hit the end of the road, only to suddenly find another door opening on an opportunity that intrigued you – or saved you?


Are you struggling with a current problem and can’t see a solution? Take some time out, close your eyes and breath deeply.


Then consider your options, write down the pros and cons, and see if you can find the door that is opening for you on to something wonderful!


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Saturday, October 25, 2014

Saturday’s Snippet: Irish Romantic Comedy, Winters & Somers


She’s a feisty wannabe Private Detective in Dublin, Ireland.

He’s a NY Homicide Cop who writes hot sexy romance novels.

Together they’re Winters & Somers.

Sound intriguing? Read on!
Winters & Somers is published by Tirgearr Publishing, Ireland.
winters&somersfinalcover (3)(427x640)PI Cíara Somers makes a good living testing the ‘temptability quotient’ of men for their insecure lovers…but when NY homicide cop and author of red hot romances, Jonathon Winters, makes her take him on as a partner in her Dublin agency, he gets the wrong message from her raunchy style..…especially when he wants her for himself. 

Somers isn’t the type to let a man push her around – the incorrigible Grannie Somers raised heto be her own woman. But when she discovers that even Grannie drools over Winters, she can’t help but wonder what it would be like to indulge in one of the fantasies that have millions of women reading his romantic books. 


And when Somers finally gets her first real case – to capture the notorious jewel thief dubbed The Diamond Darling – she has to survive the help of her weird relatives, the landlady from hell, two stoned friends, a stray dog – and Winters himself….


EXCERPT:

How could she admit to the World's Most Exasperating man that she wouldn't start an affair with him because she knew he would someday soon walk out of her life and leave her broken hearted? 

Other lovers, that hadn't been a problem – she'd known from the start that the passion was a temporary thing, and they'd part company once it burned itself out. Usually she'd been glad when they'd reached that point – some men could become so cloying!
But all her instincts said it was different with this one. Even now she was squirming in her seat as her treacherous hormones let the memory of his touch ripple silkily over her skin.

But at least he'd seemed to understand. He was right when he'd said their relationship wouldn't pay its way – in fact, would probably interfere with their working partnership. So, maybe she'd leave it at that.

She slipped her hand into her fanny pouch – yes, the precious jewels were still there. First, she'd go see Sly Stevie, the pawnbroker. He had a reputation for being sharp and once or twice there'd been rumors that he was also well in with the police, but she was sure he'd treat her fairly. After all, hadn't she been to school with his daughter Breege? And Breege wouldn't be above giving her old man a thorough tongue-lashing if he cheated one of her friends….

REVIEWS:

This book was so funny and hilarious that I scared my furry grandbaby, Simba, when I was ROFL and hyperventilating and coughing up my spleen! Ciara is such an awesome heroine as a Dublin PI with a kooky and witty voice inside her head. She has these great one liner sayings like, "muffler screamed like an animal in pain" or "Granny would say eat your roughage." Ms. O'Connell wrote such amazing and one of a kind characters, like color horror, Grace, loving, caring and a totally PITA Granny Somers and Ciara's misunderstood paternal grandparents, Margaret and Liam Henley. Jonathan is a NYC cop on writer's holiday and writes these sexy and awarding winning Romance (under another name) books and every female from 14 and up want to jump out of the brushes, kiss him, get an autograph or just chat! He is a fish out of water in Dublin and I could relate because I am a South Dakotan and Dublin is such different, wonderful and awe inspiring place, that Ms. O'Connell makes me wait to visit and maybe live there! The only thing I missed from this original storyline, quack characters, great one liners and HYPERVENTILATING with laughter tale, was more steamy and sexy scenes! This my first Ms. O'Connell book, but not my last! I highly recommend this book to romance readers who love to smile, giggle and YES, hyperventilate with laughter and maybe scare small animals with your coughing/laughing sounds. Winter & Somers gets a score of 4 fingers up and 8 toes!

And here's another review, this time from 'Lara":

This was a very quick and fun romp through Ireland with a hard working girl whose business is not going as planned. Next thing you know she's caught up with an American cop who is a best-selling romance writer with the wrong idea about her. They have plenty of chemistry, great dialogue, she has some funny family and friends, and overall the story reads like a fabulous comedy with a little family drama thrown in for good measure.

Rating: 5 cups

Ciara Sommers is trying her best to start her new Inquiry business, but all her clients are women who think their significant others are cheating on them. She wants better cases to work, but will take what she can get. When asked to help another agency, she agrees but only on her own terms. Will it make things worse for her in the long run?
Jonathan Winters is the most sought after author in Ireland. Leaving his roots in America, he goes to Ireland in the hope he can finally get another romance novel written. After meeting Ciara, he hopes to convince her to work with him. But, will his emotions or his mind run him?
Things seem to be going nowhere for Ciara until Jonathan offers to help her out. She is hesitant at first, but will not give up the side of her business that is going so well no matter what he thinks. Looking into the Diamond Darling case might be just the help Ciara needs, but working with Jonathan might distract her from everything else. When things hit too close to home, will Ciara be able to stick it out or will she run?
The opportunity to review another story by Ms. Grace (aka Glenys O’Connell)  is a true pleasure and having it set in Ireland a delight! I love this romance not only for how clean it is but also how humorous the characters are. I laughed a lot and cried a bit as well. The mystery in this book concerns Ciara’s family history and is an endearing romance. Get this story in your hands and enjoy it, one and all! It will not disappoint you and will leave you with a smile on your face!
Krista
Reviewer for Coffee Time Romance
Reviewer for Karen Find Out About New Books

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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Wednesday’s Writing: Creating Loglines


womanwritingWhat is a log line?  It’s the essence of your entire novel – or movie – boiled down to one or two sentences.

Sound crazy? Well, it’s not. Loglines have a lot of impact on your writing, as well as being a great device for when you’re in the elevator with the publisher, editor or agent whose attention you need to grab in 50 words or less!

The following is an excerpt from my book, Naked Writing: The No Frills Way to Write Your Book                !Naked Writing Cover
First of all, be brave. Write down your novel idea. How long is your description? A few pages? A page? Three paragraphs? A couple of sentences?
If your answer was the last option, a couple of sentences, then you're in luck. That's exactly what I want you to do - boil your entire story idea down into two or three crisp, bright sentences. This usually sets students off into groans and moans, but later when they realize what a valuable exercise it is, they're delighted.

Why should you express your idea in so few words? Several reasons:

1) You want to know how strong your idea is. Will it last the course?
If you are able to write it down in two or three sentences, and it still makes sense and sparkles brightly, then you can be fairly sure you've a workable idea. If not, it might be that you need to set it aside until other parts of the puzzle pop into your head.

I always keep an ideas file on my computer. I used to just scribble down notes, but in the end I had several purses crammed with bits of paper, receipts, and paper napkins, all with unintelligible scribbles that once were great ideas. I still scribble down ideas when they come to me - but as soon as I can, I type them into my computer file. Funnily enough, by the time I do this I have a lot more detail for the idea.

Antidote for a Weak Idea: Set it aside in your Ideas File, and read it every now and again - strengthening additions will occur to you. Look at your file to see if any other ideas can be merged to form a stronger whole. Ideas do not arrive in our heads fully formed, sometimes they come in bits and pieces and the smart writer is alert enough to capture them as they arrive.

2) Now you have this one paragraph mini outline. It keeps you focused on your story. Write it out on sticky notes and apply to your computer monitor, your diary - even the bathroom mirror if you dare!

3) This short form is your pitch to an editor or agent. In screenwriting, it's called a 'logline' and is used to capture the attention of producers and directors. In our case, we're going to nurture this simple paragraph, use it at the beginning of query letters and as the basis for the synopsis which is our selling tool when the book is finished and ready to do the rounds of publishers and agents.

See how useful this logline is? So how do you do it?

Take the most important part of your idea, add the names of the two main characters, and describe the problem they must overcome. Here are some examples from well known books:
Consider these:
A young couple fall in love and vow to remain together despite the opposition of their families and an edict from the ruling prince, but a misunderstanding brings about tragic consequences - Romeo and Juliet

A rebel leader goes up against the might of Rome, is betrayed by his own people, and is martyred. But his teachings of love and peace live on and are still celebrated 2000 years later – Jesus Christ, The New Testament

A man and woman struggle against powerful opposition to solve the riddle of an ancient code and find a precious artifact. They learn the truth about it, and in doing so they learn the truth about themselves and fall in love. But they face a dilemma when they find the artifact and realize the dangers it could pose. - The Da Vinci Code

A man whose family has worked a piece of land for generations believes it should be his, and is willing to kill to hold onto it. But his stubbornness results in the death of his only surviving son and he is left to question the true value of the land he so coveted - The Field.

Try it – I guarantee when you see how much this exercise clarifies your novel or non-fiction idea, and how useful it can be as part of your pitch, query letter, and later on, promotion, you’ll learn to love loglines!
                             And here’s a bit of shameless self-perf5.000x8.000.inddpromotion: My latest romantic suspense, Another Man’s Son, is now out in print. It’s part of the delightful Lobster Cove series from The Wild Rose Press, and you can read the first chapter on my website here.


















Monday, October 20, 2014

Monday’s Inspiration: Poet Laureate Ted Kooser, Via Writer’s Relief

 

While we can find a source of inspiration in many things, it’s always a pleasure to find a person who inspires, by their work, their life, and their achievements.

This is certainly true of two time Poet Laureate of the United States, Ted Kooser. In this interview with Writer’s Relief, the poet talks about his work and his philosophy.

Asked what gave him the most joy when writing, he gave this wonderful reply: “It happens when I am sitting with my notebook, picking away at a poem, and suddenly something wonderful unexpectedly rushes in from my blind side and I exclaim, “Yowie! Did I just write that?”

Wouldn’t we all like to feel like that more often?

Here’s the link to the article in Writer’s Relief – just click on the photograph or the poet’s name and it will take you there!

A two-time United States Poet Laureate, Ted Kooser is the TedKooserauthor of eleven full-length collections of poetry, including Weather Central and Delights and Shadows, winner of the 2005 Pulitzer Prize.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Building 'Real' Characters–Get to Know Them!

 
Characters make our books – they're the ones who make us womanwritinglaugh, cry, angry, sad. We root for the hero and heroine, yell mean things at the villain – or maybe even have a sneaking admiration for him – and develop a soft spot for minor characters and hope there’s a sequel to tell their story.
And the characters readers love can surprise you. I received a really good review of Resort to Murder, and there was no doubt that the reviewer loved one character in particular – Tuesday the Stray Dog. Go figure! In fact, Tuesday seems to have his own little fan base and I'll be putting his story up on my website a little later.178 (200x300)
Like many characters, Tuesday was based on a real dog. He was a stray, unlike Fizz, pictured here, who looks a lot like the original Tuesday but has been a pampered pet all her life.

ResorttoMurder_w3228_300[1]aMost writers base characters' behavior, voices, habits, mannerisms, etc., on people they have met, worked with, sat on a bus next to, spent time in the airport lounge with, sat in class with, or seen on television or at the movies. Remember that all your friends and relatives will be trying to identify themselves in your work, so disguise your characters well!
You can also use magazines to help build your characters – read interviews with celebs and other people who have been written up.
Often characters spring fully-grown into your mind, so clear you can just about reach out and touch them – or at least call them on the mind-phone. That's great at the beginning of the story, but often the familiarity with the characters starts to fade as we continue along, and other characters join in. How to avoid this?
Get to know your characters.
Build them from the ground up, but do it subtly – let them reveal themselves to you just as a new acquaintance would. You meet someone and they seem really sophisticated and distant. But a couple of meetings later, you realize they have a wicked sense of humor. Maybe that self-assurance isn't more than skin deep. Maybe that cool exterior hides a seething mass of anxieties and neuroses.
That's when you'd also slowly realize that they have a past, a time before you knew them, which has careerwomanshaped how they are today.
There's an ongoing argument in psychology about nature v nurture – are we born as we are (nature), or did we grow up this way because of our childhood experiences (nurture)?
Most psychologists today tend towards the nurture and nature combination – we are born with certain characteristics, but the way we are treated and the events in our childhoods decide which characteristics come to the front and shape who we are.
For example, a child born with a tendency towards anxiety may well grow to a relaxed, laid back adult if he is reared in a calm, loving atmosphere where his anxieties are soothed and he learns how to control them, and perhaps even more important, that he is in control of his life. The same child reared in a different environment may grow up anxious and insecure, a candidate for compulsive behavior disorder and numerous other mental health problems, or possibly even grow into a volatile, hostile, domineering and violent character who simply loses his cool if the world around him doesn't fall into line. Because he cannot handle the anxieties that flow in on him and make him feel out of control, he constantly seeks to be in total control, and anything out of the ordinary throws him for a loop.
So, what tendencies does your character have? And how did his life so far shape him? When you're really having difficulty with a character, you may need to think right back to his childhood – where did he come from? What was his family like? His schooling? Even the time in history that we are born in affects who we may become – hence the phrase 'War babies' to describe an entire generation who were a puzzle to their parents.
That can sound quite daunting, but it's not really.
Write down everything you want your character to be – is he an Alpha male? One of those people who have to win at any cost? A company executive at 30, and a heart attack patient at 35? Or is he a laid back character, one of those kids whose teachers always said 'Could do better if he worked harder?' and 'Not working to his potential', Think of the ramifications for your story if your character is either one of these, because these characters will behave quite differently in whatever situations you put them in.
Remember that characters often have minds of their own – trying to force them into behaviors they don’t want to do is a great way to spark Writer's Block. Of course, it's not really your character but your subconscious mind that is objecting to the route your plot is taking. At least, I think so…...
Sometimes having a good chat with your characters can clear the air and clarify what you need to do. It makes them real to you, and that's what we are looking for – real characters. Remember the fun you had with an imaginary friend, or a favourite stuffed animal, when you were a kid? Well, try to bring back that feeling with your characters. Talk to them. Listen to them. Interview them. Just make sure you do this in private. Talking to yourself is acceptable in a writer, but answering yourself back can still make your nearest and dearest wonder. And when you start sending your characters birthday and Christmas presents, you're really in trouble…..
There are a number of books on the market for writers about personality types and there are lots of sites on the Internet if you want to delve deeper. Beware, many of them let you take a personality test, and you can spend a lot of time browsing here! Instead of putting your own personality traits in to the questionnaires, you can insert the answers you think your character would give, and get a Personality Type designation for him or her that will help you develop the character.

  • What methods do you use to build your characters?
Glenys O’Connell is the author or Naked Writing: The No Frills Way to Write Your Book  She has a degree in psychology and is a trained counselor.This Blog Was Originally an Interview at http://siamckye.blogspot.ca/2009/10/coffee-with-my-characters.html

Monday, October 13, 2014

Monday’s Inspiration: Thanksgiving - Let Nature Refresh Your Soul


When the weather starts to turn cold and the strong winds start to strip the leaves from the trees, it’s easy to shiver and think that Winter is just around the corner. This attitude blinds us to the beauty all around us, beauty that can lift our hearts and give us hope. Next time you feel the melancholy for a year that seems close to ending, take a walk and let nature refresh your soul with her beauty.

 Happy Canadian Thanksgiving!


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Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Wednesday’s Writing: It Seems Not Everyone Could Love Another Man’s Son…The Things You Learn From Research.

 
perf5.000x8.000.inddHard though that may be to imagine, it does seem that not everyone could love Another Man’s Son..
But no, I’m not talking about my newly released romantic suspense, Another Man’s Son. What’s not to love there? I suppose you could call this a story behind the story.
When I first came up with the title – sometimes titles come to me and bring the idea with them, rather than the other way around – I did some Googling to see what else was out there with that title. I’d hoped it was mine alone, but it turned out there was at least one other book with the same title: Another Man’s Son by Katherine Stone - a lovely book that has a completely different genre and storyline to mine.
As I was researching I couldn’t help but look at some of the articles that popped up on the subject. According to research (yes, there have been studies of this sort of thing) PD – Paternity Discrepancy – or PF – Paternity Fraud - is not uncommon. PD or PF is ‘the disconnect between what men think is true and the genetic reality’. And research shows that it's a lot more common than we might believe.
According to one study that pulled together 19 other studies, there are more than a million dads out there in the USA alone taking care of another man’s child. Whether they know it or not.
Sadly,  not every man who loved a woman was also able to love her child – if that child was another man’s. Some evensleeping baby on a hand suggested that the woman have her child adopted. In more than one heartbreaking case, the man sued his partner after finding out he’d been raising a child or children that weren’t his.
I can only imagine the hurt and sorrow that lies behind some of these stories.
I started out wondering about the whole paternity issue, and why a 21st century woman would marry a man she didn’t love, just because she was pregnant with another man’s child?
In my novel, Another Man’s Son, Ket Morgan Junior knew he wasn’t the father of the son Kathryn Fitzgerald was carrying. But marrying her would give his father the grandson and heir he wanted, and that would mean more power in the Morgan companies for Ket.
For Kathryn Fitzgerald, being 19, pregnant and alone in Lobster Cove, a small Maine town, was terrifying. It seemed her lover had forgotten about her – he didn’t know about the child. Her father had been drinking heavily to cover the grief after her mother’s death. She had no-one to turn to for help.
When Ketler, her boss at the Morgan Bank, proposed a marriage of convenience to her, it seemed like the answer to her prayers. Ket would get the son and heir his father was pushing him to have, and Kathryn would get a safe, financially secure life and her child would have a bright future.
She was too innocent – and grateful – to question why Ket would want to marry a penniless nobody like herself when he could have his pick of the wealthy debutantes. 
What seemed like a miracle turned into a nightmare – and when her baby’s father came back to town on the day of her baby’s christening, he left believing she had betrayed him and had Another Man’s Son.
Seven years later he was back in town – could Kathryn make him understand her actions in passing off her child as Another Man’s Son?
See, there’s that title again. It seemed that my characters wanted their journey to be named Another Man’s Son, so off we went with the writing.
Excerpt:
There he was. Without conscious thought, her feet found a path through the crowd toward him and then he stood before her. She saw immediately that while he looked the same, there were subtle differences beyond the seven years that had passed since they’d last met. Back then, he’d had the gawkiness of youth with the foreshadowing strength of the man he might become.
And now—now he’d fulfilled that promise of manhood; the veiled glances of every woman in the room were testament to that. But there was the stamp of hard experience on his face, lines around his beautiful brown eyes. Ben Asher. The man she’d once loved so deeply she thought she’d die when he boarded the bus bound for the military training camp.















Monday, October 6, 2014

Monday’s Inspiration: Do You Talk Yourself Out of Success?

By Glenys O’Connell @GlenysOConnell

“Argue your limitations and sure enough, they’re yours.” #Richard Bach #quote

laoDo you talk to yourself? Most writers do – and we’re not alone. Most ‘Normal’ people talk to themselves, too. Not always out loud, but there’s that inner voice in your head that comments on just about everything you do, advises you, comes up with great (or not so great) ideas, comforts and inspires.

Or not.

Because lots of us have voices in our heads that talk us down. Sometimes they may even sound like someone in our past who has told us our ‘limits’. Your mother, another relative, a teacher, a friend, an employer, people who may have said things ‘for your own good’ or to ‘stop you getting big headed’. Perhaps people who were afraid to step out on Life’s High Wire themselves, and passed that fear on to you. Or people afraid they’d lose you if you became successful, or who were genuinely afraid you’d be hurt if you strove for high dreams and fell flat on your face.

guy on skateboardBut now that self-talk is firmly embedded in your mind. You want to write a book? It’s too much work…I’m not talented enough..who would want to read what I have to say…it’s silly, everyone would laugh….no-one from my social class has ever…I’m too old….

You want that beautiful home, that fulfilling job? You want love? Success? Happiness? A healthy inner voice cheers you on, tells you that you do deserve good things; but that negative inner voice will come up with all the reasons why it’s a bad idea, you don’t deserve it, who would love you anyway,. and why can’t you just settle for, well, second best?

Or fill in the blank here for what your little voice says:__________________________________

It may be a little voice, but it puts huge limits on you. It may help you stay within your comfort zone, but it doesn’t help you achieve the dreams that are in your heart.

Negative Self Talk Limits You.

Basically, your mind accepts what you tell it. If you say you can’t, well, you can’t.

Say you can, then that wonderful organ, your brain, will have all its neurons scurrying around for ideas and plans to help you do what you want to achieve.

never lose hopeOf course, it’s not that simple;sometimes you want something that just won’t work out for a number of different reasons that may be beyond your control. Funnily enough, if one dream doesn’t work out, your clever brain often comes up with a substitute dream much more suited to you, and do-able.

So, spend some time every day having a chat with yourself; tell yourself that you are a smart, caring, competent, deserving person.

It won’t be easy, it won’t be painless, but you can erase the limitations that experiences and other people have encouraged you to put on yourself. Talk nicely to yourself, be positive, and believe  that you can.

I leave you with one of my favorite quotes. Write it out and hang it where you’ll see if often:

‘Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it – boldness has genius, power and magic in it.” Johann von Goeth #quote

Glenys O’Connell is a trained counselor and the author of Depression: The Essential Guide and PTSD: The Essential Guide