Thursday, August 29, 2019

The Unique Sound of an Author's Voice

Just as voices can be similar but not exact, so too the sound of an author's unique voice. I've been privileged to be a beta and crit partner to several authors, and have learned much about styles.

If you have paragraphs written by three different authors, fans of their work could match them up. For instance, one of my crit partners writes in an entirely different style from me: yaoi, and yet we work well as crit partners because we understand that we write differently, and that's okay.

Another crit partner writes linearly, start to finish, something I could never do. Their writing is so clean you could publish their rough drafts. I might give comments like, "Make me feel it" prompting more emotion in the scene, but I try not to insert my own style into theirs. The last thing I want to do is say something that translates to, "This is how I would write it."

It's their story. They have their own followers who expect certain things, and it certaintly isn't a book that sounds more like someone else wrote it than the author. 

The most valuable lesson I've learned in critiqueing others' work is:

It's their story, not mine. I can make suggestions, give them reader reaction, I can give an example of how to reorganize a tricky paragraph to eliminate overused words, but the moment I try to tell them how to write, I've crossed a line. 

I've changed their voice. All my crit partners have amazing voices that don't need changing. I do my best not to.

Betaing and critiquing is a privilege and honor. Also, I get to read totally awesome books before anyone else gets to.


Tuesday, August 27, 2019

What's in a Word: All That

Any one I've betaed for knows I'm highly critical of the word "that". Early on I had an editing program that counted "that", "was", and other words in my manuscript and compared the number to industry standards for the same word count. Know what I found out? That most "that" is not needed, or that replacing with another word strengthens the sentence.

Below, I'll use examples from my current work in progress, Consorts of the Red King:

There, in that moment, Van saw a vulnerability in Jorvik not seen since their first night together, when he’d been accosted by the guard.

What I decided on:

Van hadn’t witnessed such vulnerability in Jorvik since their first night together, when he’d been accosted by the guard. 

Example 2

Their only advantage was in being thought dead, though that also presented disadvantages.

Being thought dead gave them an advantage, but also a disadvantage. 

Example 3

The little part inside of him that needed safe haven wanted to believe they were wrong, that the man they’d served for over ten years hadn’t betrayed them, hadn’t tried to kill them.

The little part inside of him needing safe haven wanted to believe they were wrong. Surely the man they'd served for over ten years hadn't betrayed them, hadn't tried to kill them.  

Example 4

There was that matter.

Example 5

That could be either of them, or both. 

Who'd spoken? Tayn? Jorvik? Both?

Let's face it, sometimes "that" is necessary, but team up an editor who shouts, "No 'that'!" and my OCD, and you get a perfect storm of find and replace. There are still many instances of "that" in the book, but not in every sentence. 

I'm sure readers will thank me for that. Oops! There I do again!

Sunday, August 25, 2019

Book Sale!

Since I am a featured author this year at GRL, Dreamspinner has marked all Eden Winters books off 35% until September 9.

Also, free shipping to GRL with the code GR2019, also good until September 9.

Titles include Duet (in four languages!), Naked Tails, A Matter of When, and The Wish.

Get your copies now!

Saturday, August 24, 2019

Settling the Score - Now Available at Audible

Settling the Score was one of my earlier works, that shockingly sent me to New York City and the 2012 Lambda Awards. Out of many entrants, my book was one of five finalists chosen for the event. Wow!

I never expected to win, or even get recognition, but I entered to show my support for Lambda Literary's efforts. The day the finalists were announced I was at my day job, and went out to the car for my lunch break. I saw an email on my phone "2012 Lambda Finalists" and opened it, as I wanted to see who of the authors I knew were in the running.

The email started with, "Dear Lambda Finalist". I read four or five times, sure I was mistaken, but no, "Dear Lambda Finalist" was followed by "Settling the Score."

I did what any self-respecting Southern girl would do: I burst into tears. Then called Mama.

I'm glad none of my coworkers noticed me, for they'd have flocked to my car wondering what was wrong. I was in the middle of a huge project at work, and taking off for the awards would be tricky. My boss knew I dabbled in writing, but I never elaborated. In order to get the time off, I had to give her a valid reason.

I confessed all.

She gave me time off.

She bought and read the book.

She bought and read the Diversion series.

The book didn't win, but the honor was to have been chosen for finalist, especially as I was a relatively new author at the time. Gaining support from by boss? Priceless.

Fast forward to a few months ago, when a I put up the sixth book in the Diversion series on ACX for my narrator to grab (the whole "select your narrator" thing wasn't working). Narrator Joseph Morgan contacted me, and impressed me so much that I hated to decline.

What book did I have that I could offer him instead?

Settling the Score. And he did an amazing job.

Now Settling the Score is available at Audible here.

Outed and dumped on national television by his rising star boyfriend, Joey Nichols must face the bigotry of the locals in his small Southern town alone. His dreams of a happy ever after lie crushed at his feet. 

Novelist Troy Steele has an axe to grind against Hollywood heartbreaker types. Transforming Joey into a gorgeous, unobtainable hunk would be payback worthy of Troy’s poison pen. It's a brilliant way to get back at Joey’s image-obsessed ex-boyfriend and the movie producer who’s mutilating Troy’s novels. 

What begins as simple revenge may tangle them together in something far more complicated. Living well may be the best revenge, but Troy and Joey could rewrite that to loving well.

Friday, August 16, 2019

A Gift for Fans of the Diversion Series

What is a series author to do with information that needs to be delivered between books 7 and 8, but that doesn't belong in 8? Why, write a novella! Or better yet, two novellas!

The first takes place after Suspicion (Diversion 7) ends, and introduces Bo's family (finally!) Relation (Diversion 7.1) is now available to all you Bo and Lucky fans, and best of all, it's absolutely free.

Expecting to die while trapped in a Mexican drug tunnel can make a man rethink his life choices.
Bo and Lucky have a home, steady, if dangerous, work, and each other. Maybe even the beginnings of the reconciliation with the Lucklighter clan they promised themselves. The Schollenburgers, though—Bo hasn’t yet opened up that can of worms, near-death experiences or no.
Yet another Thanksgiving approaches with no plans to celebrate with family. Lucky’s willing to wait as long as Bo needs to get up his gumption.

He’s not nearly so patient with the bikers stalking him.

Get your copy today. 

Friday, August 9, 2019

The Me of Today

I had an interesting conversation with a friend recently. We were discussing books we liked, and I mentioned a book I once picked up and didn't finish because it simply wasn't to my tastes. A year later, I tried again, and thought, "What didn't I like about this book? It's fabulous!" The answer?

The book didn't change, I did.

We are all influenced by the world around us, our experiences, and whether we like it or not, the opinions of others, however subtly at times. When I look back over my life, my thoughts, opinions, and worldview changed over time. I learned, I looked at things a different way.

A phrase crept into the conversation with my friend: "the me of today." Instead of saying we didn't like a certain book or genre, we realized how we evolve in our tastes, likes, and dislikes. The me of today is vastly different from the me of ten years ago, twenty years ago, etc. So instead of saying we didn't like something, we said, "the me of today didn't really care for that."

Which brings me to why you won't see low ratings on books on my Goodreads list. The book I didn't like today might be the book I adore three years from now. Wouldn't I feel bad if I'd given the story a low rating or review? Also, I use that site to talk about the books I think those with similar reading tastes might like.

The great part? We're all entitled to our opinions. Isn't free-thought amazing? But my opinions change as I become older, wiser, and my understanding of the world shifts. 

So, the book on my e-reader that I didn't finish five years ago? Maybe it's time for the current me to look again.

Monday, July 29, 2019

Fan Art

A dear reader loved the Diversion series, and created fan art to post to Twitter. Oh, my God! Fan art! And such squee-worthy fan art too!

I love it so much that I contacted them and worked out a deal to use the image for swag and promotion. It's a scene straight from the first book, Diversion 1, and is a fitting representation of Bo and Lucky's relationship.

The art is by super talented artist Ayu Yamane.

Isn't it amazing? And sssooooooo Lucky and Bo!

If you're attending GRL this year, be sure to stop by, see me, and get your Bo and Lucky swag!

Click here to see the artist's other awesome works!