Paperback, hardcover, or ebooks?

I saw this question floating around on Facebook, and it got me curious. How do you prefer to do your reading? Paperbacks, hardcovers, or ebooks?

I used to be all about a good mix of paperbacks and hardcovers. If there was a book, an author, or a series I really enjoyed, I’d re-buy the book in hardcover just to have it in my collection. I always had one or two paperbacks in arm’s reach, and even though I don’t carry a purse, I always had a book in my hand, in my lunch bag, or in my coat pocket. (Back when I wore coats, that is, pre-Arizona.)

When my husband and I moved in together, I went through our shared book collection and found a good percentage of our books were duplicates — which just goes to show that you marry the person who matches your reading habits!

But I’ve been typing for thirty-plus years now, and I’m at a point where holding up a paperback can be a strain on my wrists if I’ve been writing all day. Let’s not talk about hardcovers — especially not, for example, the Tom Clancy omnibus of Cardinal of the Kremlin/Red Storm Rising that I used to own. I’m pretty sure I could’ve used that book to stop bullets, it was so big and heavy.

The husband was an early adopter of ebooks. Skeptical as I was, when he bought me a Kindle for my birthday that first year, I tried it.

It was love at first sight.

Now, I have multiple Kindles: a Paperwhite that doesn’t work (GRR), two Kindle Keyboards that I use for editing my books, and a Kindle Fire that I use for recipes (though most of them should read “1. Get food. 2. Light on fire. 3. Order pizza.)

As much as I love the sight of a library or the tactile experience of turning pages, ebooks have stolen my heart — and my wrists. What’s your preferred reading method?

On Writing Confrontation

Writing confrontation is tough. We want people to get along. We want things to be nice and happy. We see, with the omniscience of the writer, why people should get along.

The trick is to completely immerse yourself in each character. Write slowly. With every word and gesture, each change in tone of voice, think about what that character would feel and think and know at that very instant.

In my Natural Dialog class, I teach that good dialog is like a trail of footprints in the sand. Each footprint naturally leads to the next. The path isn’t a straight line; it meanders, twisting around obstacles, diverting away from threats or towards pretty views. And the pace isn’t a marching rhythm; it moves slowly, lingering in good moments, and breaks into a run when things are exciting or stressed.

Think of a confrontation like that. Don’t write the whole damn thing at once. Write each individual line, and ask yourself “How would the other character respond?”

Plus, remember that you’ve chosen a point of view character*. Share with the reader what that POV character is thinking and feeling. Show how they’re interpreting the other character’s tone and body language.

Make it real, which means having them make mistakes, too. Let them misinterpret motivations. Let them mishear words. Give them misunderstandings.

And when the energy rises, have them interrupt one another, whether it’s “You’re WRONG!” or “I’m done! Walking away now!” or “Are you too blind to see the obvious?” or whatever.

And don’t resolve it too quickly. If the confrontation is important enough to write, it’s important enough to take your time and write it well.

My advice to an aspiring writer

I posted this to Wattpad a few days ago, and finally real life had calmed down enough that I remembered to post it here, too.

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Read. Read in your chosen genre and outside it. Try to find what works and what doesn’t work in every book you read.

Write. Write absolute crap that you never intend to show anyone else. Rewrite it so it’s a little bit better. Rewrite it again. Learn to love rewriting.

Delete. Don’t be scared to delete 50,000 words if it’s not going where you want it to go. Nothing you write is ever wasted. Every single word you write makes you a better writer, because it’s been a learning experience.

Learn. Learn grammar inside and out. Get a copy of the Chicago Manual of Style, the AP Style Guide, or another style guide and read it. Learn how to structure sentences, how to use commas, when to use semicolons, and so on. You can’t break the rules until you know the rules.

Persist. I’ve been writing stories since I was a child. I’m going to be 44 in a month, and I just published my first book this past July. I constantly let myself get sidetracked with work and other projects, and I was always too much of a coward to submit a manuscript to the slush pile, but I never stopped writing.

I just got the phone call that authors love

No, not the one from a publisher offering me a great contract. This one was from a reader.

I have a great relationship with the veterinarian’s office over at the local Air Force base. They’re professional and friendly, and they’ve kept me sane through unexpected seizures, attempts at faking death (thanks, cat!), and all the usual crises that come with having pets. So when I had some extra copies of my first book, The Longest Night, I brought them over and handed them out.

My vet just called to say that he loved it. “I really didn’t think I’d enjoy it, and I thought about not even saying that, but I really did. When’s your next book coming out? Where can I buy it?”

Talk about a great way to brighten an author’s day!

STARRED review from Publishers Weekly for The Deepest Night!

Read it here! What really stands out for me is this:

Where The Longest Night stood out by demonstrating that consent is sexy, this smashing sequel shows that respectful communication is downright scorching.

For me, consent and respect are two of the most important parts of a relationship. I don’t want to read about a character — hero or heroine — who can’t take no for an answer or who puts down their love interest at every turn. There’s nothing sexy about “you say no, but you mean yes” or being disrespectful.

While I know that a lot of people enjoy “forced seduction” books or say “but it’s just a fantasy, not reality!” that’s not for me.

I really hope that you guys enjoy The Deepest Night. Remember, it’s out on December 6 (the day after my birthday!) but you can preorder it now at amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com, iTunes, and other major retailers. And it’s been recorded for audible.com by the same narrator who did The Longest Night, Nichol Zanzarella!

Workshops at Northern Arizona Romance Writers of America

Date: Saturday, November 15
Time: 11:00-12:00 (first workshop), 12:00-1:00 (lunch), 1:00-2:00 (second workshop)
Location: Prescott Country Club, 1030 Prescott Country Club Blvd., Dewey, AZ 86327 (928.772.8812)
Cost: Free for the first meeting, guests $5 thereafter, according to their website

My first workshop will be on Natural Dialog, helping writers refine dialog to sound… well, more natural. My second will be on Consent & Condoms, helping writers integrate both into sex scenes without sacrificing spontaneity and heat.

Anyone going to be in Dallas for #RT15 next May?

Me!

I’m registered for the RT Booklovers Convention in Dallas next May! I’ll have more details later, but so far I’m signed up for the book signing event and for two appearances at Club RT.

Currently, I’ll be at Club RT on Thursday, May 14, 10:00 a.m. and Friday, May 15, 10:00 a.m. This is subject to change, though, so don’t mark your calendars yet.

Who else is going? This is a convention for readers, authors, and industry pros, so there’s something for everyone.

The best hamburgers on the planet

Since I can’t talk about my upcoming projects just yet (except to say that there’s some exciting stuff coming up soon!) I’m going to talk about the burgers that I had today at the husband’s company “burger burn,” as they called lunch. Read on for the recipe…

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Sometimes, we all need a little time to ourselves

Sorry for the silence! Lots of things have been going on over this past month, both good and bad.

Darian bath 004Darian

 

First off, my darling Darian has been having seizures again. He’s averaging one every five days, almost precisely, so it’s time to go back to the vet.

I’ve finished proofreading The Deepest Night and sent it back to Sourcebooks, so we’ll be seeing ARCs soon. There’s also a Goodreads giveaway for ten copies, so go sign up for a chance to win! The Bookish Babes featured The Deepest Night in this week’s Waiting on Wednesday, too.

And The Longest Night is now available for preorder as an audiobook from audible.com! I had a fantastic time working with Nicol Zanzarella, the narrator.

Other than that, I’ve been busy writing. It seems to be a toss-up — writing books or blogs — and books will win most every time. :)

How about you? What’s going on in your lives right now?