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Monthly Archives: August 2012

Author Interview – Barbara Barrett

 

I am thrilled to be able to introduce you to my friend Barbara. We both belonged to the same local RWA chapter several years ago. She now lives in Florida but happened to come back to Iowa to spend her summer. We had lunch and a chance to catch up and she told me about her first sale. I truly find the writing process interesting. I hope you enjoy this interview and maybe pick up something that will help with your writing process.

VirginiaWhere are you from?

Barbara – I was born in Burlington, Iowa, which just happens to be the setting of my debut novel, ‘The Sleepover Clause.’ After graduating from the University of Iowa, I moved to the Des Moines, Iowa area, where I’ve lived ever since. Three and a half years ago, I became a resident of Florida and now live there half the year (guess which half) just outside the Disney Parks in the shadow of the Mouse.

VirginiaHow long have you been writing?

Barbara – Much too long to admit, considering this is my debut novel. I guess I’m the new poster girl for “persistence pays off.”

VirginiaWhat do you write?

Barbara – I write contemporary romance fiction right now. My goal is to expand my writing efforts to include cozy mysteries and maybe even tackle a screenplay. I stay in touch with both through my membership in the RWA Kiss of Death and Scriptscene chapters. (I’m also a member of the Spacecoast Authors of Romance chapter.)

VirginiaTell us a little about your publisher and agent.

Barbara – Crimson Romance, an imprint of F+W Media, Adams Media, is a new epublisher focused on romance fiction. The first releases came out in early June, with several more added each Monday. They provide five categories: Contemporary Romance (my area), Historical Romance, Romantic Suspence, Paranormal Romance, and Spicy Romance. Their website can be found at http://www.crimsonromance.com.

I don’t have an agent.

VirginiaI know that last time we talked you’d sold your first book. A little bird told me you might have some more news?

Barbara – I wish I could tell you, but since it’s not a done deal, I’ll have to get back to you on that.

VirginiaDo you outline?

Barbara – Sort of. Whoever invented the Table function on Word made writing so much easier for me to lay out my plot line and get a sense of sequencing. I start out with each entry being just the main purpose of the chapter and/or what I want to take place in that chapter. Although I still tend to overwrite the first draft, that method helps eliminate scenes that don’t progress the story. Later, I add columns for the POV character, scenes, time, time elapsed from the beginning. Eventually, I add page numbers.

VirginiaAbout how long does it take to finish a book?

Barbara – Much too long! Easily two years thus far. Now that I’m being published, I will need to step up the pace.

VirginiaWhat is your writing day like?

Barbara – I tend to write best from mid-morning to late afternoon and during the early evening. I try to write sequentially as much as possible for continuity’s sake, but that doesn’t preclude me from jumping around, especially when I’m doing revisions. I learned from this first publishing experience that in the future I have to do a much better job keeping notes as I go along for later reference. As I can work it in, I want to learn how to use either Scrivener or OneNote to do that.

VirginiaCan you tell us how you found a publisher and/or agent?

Barbara – I wish I could recall whose note I saw on which loop that spread the word about the new epub, Crimson Romance, that was seeking submissions so that I could give them credit, but that information escapes me now. I went to the Adams Media website and read the Call for Submissions there.

Virginia When will your book come out?

Barbara – Monday, September 3

VirginiaWhat are you working on next?

Barbara – I’m currently working on the second book of a trilogy about a residential development here in Iowa. The H/H in the first book are two architects who have been assigned to come up with the design plan. This second book is about the developer and the general contractor. The final will involve the marketing and interior design end.

VirginiaDo you have some words of wisdom for the rest of us?

Barbara – Nothing very original – be persistent and believe in yourself. Keep writing and improving your craft. Don’t be afraid to promote yourself. Write about what appeals to you most; writing about what you know also helps, but you can always research that part.

 

Thanks Barbara, hope you have a great book launch. Now everyone let’s go check it out.

Virginia

 
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Posted by on August 30, 2012 in Author Interviews

 

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What’s Happening Wednesday

I continue to work on my story but I also took a little time to work on a short story. I am attending the Montezuma Writer’s Conference September 15th and decided to enter a short story for their contest.
Because I plan to mail it out tomorrow, this post will be short. Will let you know who the winners are. My friend Cheryl Sease has won for the past two years so I know how stiff the competition is.

If you are a writer in the central Iowa area and would like to attend. Go to the website for Montezuma All-Iowa Writers’ Conference. The one day event is only $25 by mail or at the door. You can google it for more information. This will be the third year for this event and I have a feeling each year it will be getting better. My friends Sparkle Abbey will be on a panel as well as a few other writers I know.

Hope to see you there.

Virginia

 
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Posted by on August 29, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Tuesday Tip

I don’t know about you but every four years we get pulled into this political insanity. I believe that everyone has a right to their opinion but I am tired of it already. They shove it down your throat with commercials, they call you night and day for surveys, they knock on your doors, and it gets old. I get enough from the political parties. I don’t want it from authors. I don’t care who you support, it’s your business but I do care about what you write and if you piss me off, I won’t read you.

I may not have sold a book, yet, but I’ve sold a few houses in my day as a REALTOR for fifteen years. There are certain things you don’t discuss with a buyer and politics is one of them.  It is easy to get sucked up into the political rhetoric and I’m not saying you can’t have a view, but if you are an author and you are in the business of selling books, I’m not sure you need to share your view with everyone. The elections will be over in a few weeks. Will all of your readers still be interested in your books when it’s over?

Yes it takes talent to write a novel but it is a business and no matter what you think, there are people who will disagree with you. People who may decide not to buy your books because of something you said that offended them.

I am not talking so much about the big authors out there who have made it because, they can pretty much do what they want to do. But if you are not there yet, why push away possible readers because of politics?

Just my humble opinion.

Virginia

 
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Posted by on August 28, 2012 in Writing a Novel

 

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Monday Motivation

I live in a suburb close to the state fairgrounds. In case you didn’t know it, our state fair was the one the movie State Fair was really about, at least the original movie. For two weeks every year, the volume of traffic explodes. They have to set up temporary lights and have police officers direct traffic, every day. It is so busy, I usually drive out of my way to get to downtown Des Moines, to avoid it on my way to work.

Our state fair is a big thing here. People actually drive in with big campers to stay for the duration.  Unless you are a farmer, I never really understood that.The attendees come from all over the United States and probably the world.  If I go at all, it is usually just for a few hours, one day. I have to confess, I have not been there in a few years. My husband and I used to meet another couple in the evening to listen to the Blues Band.

What amazes me is that we are a state that feeds the world and for 10 days each year, we stuff ourselves with food that is not good for you. I grabbed this photo from a share site so don’t think we actually had a Road Kill vendor but the big thing this year was bacon wrapped corn dogs. There are deep fried Twinkies, candy bars, and butter. Funnel cakes, root beer, lemonade, and of course the Bud tent. Don’t picture a small carnival here. This takes up several acres and includes animal barns, a varied industries building, a grandstand for shows and more. You can go see photos that have been judged as well as cooking. Antiques and quilts. The local media set up stages so they can report from the fair daily. On top of that is the midway with all the rides and of course fireworks every night. 355 days a year people work, raise families, attend sports events and are basically pretty normal until the fair comes and everyone is ready to party.

Write about your fair experience. Write about the crowd of people, what they wore, the smells, the sounds, the tastes.

If you have not had a chance to experience a real state fair, mark your calendars for next August in Iowa.

Virginia

 
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Posted by on August 27, 2012 in Writing a Novel

 

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What’s Up Wednesday

This has been a fun, busy week. Had two meetings Saturday. Iowa Romance Novelists met in the morning and Sisters in Crime in the afternoon. Katy Madison from the Kansas City chapter of RWA presented a program in the morning – Writing Blind – Revising Brilliant. She is a pantzer who whips through her first draft as soon as possible and then spends her time revising. She broke it down in the steps that she uses to revise. This was a great workshop with six pages of detailed information.  Very thorough. She must be doing something right, she is a 2012 Daphne Award winner.

Sara Humphries gave a talk at the Sisters in Crime meeting about ‘Fifty Shades of Red: A Study of Reader Expectations and the Contemporary Mystery. This lady likes details. She found “Twenty Rules for Writing Detective Stories by S.S. Van Dine from 1928 and we discussed whether each rule was relevant for contemporary mysteries.

We meet the third Saturday of the month and it feels like a monthly mini-conference. I always leave feeling motivated.

I have been writing a scene a day on my current story and feel like it is finally starting to come together. I understand that this will take me a while to complete and will keep pushing forward.

Lots of writing events coming up. The Montezuma Writer’s Conference is mid September and I am going to a Debra Dixon Workshop for ‘Goal, Motivation,and Conflict’ the end of September so I am trying to get as much writing done before those events.

If you live in the area and want any information on either the group meetings or workshops, feel free to comment. I would be happy to share that information with you.

Have a great week writing.

Virginia

 
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Posted by on August 22, 2012 in Writing a Novel

 

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Tuesday Tip

Here is a tip, I learned recently at a workshop. Whenever you get stuck with your story and have no idea what to do next. Get up and move. Take a walk. Stand up and flap your arms or do air push ups where you raise your arms above your head and act like you are pushing up.

I sometimes take a break and vacuum. I have a two story house and that is a pretty good workout. Moving and doing something that I don’t have to think about leaves my mind open to work on my story.

The act of moving gets your adrenaline going and helps you think better. Janet Evanovich has a treadmill next to her desk. After writing for so long, she hops on and walks for about 20 minutes then she goes back to writing.

I like to walk before I start writing. I tend to think about my story as I move. Try to keep a notepad or a tape recorder handy in case a brilliant idea pops up.

Do you use activity to break through a block? What are some of your tricks for moving forward when you get stuck?

Have a great writing week!

Virginia

 
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Posted by on August 21, 2012 in Writing a Novel

 

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Monday Motivation

You get off on the wrong exit and your car breaks down.

Write something…

Virginia

 
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Posted by on August 20, 2012 in Write a Novel

 
 
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