Sunday, September 29, 2013

Setting goals is a necessary pain in the backside! Yes/No?


 
Perusing a workshop on setting goals just recently had me wondering how others handle this kind of thing.

 
 
 
 
 
As for me, I keep a faint outline in my head of the work I want to have done by a certain time. I never set it to an actual date… anymore. Say like putting out a specific release date. I tried that once and it didn’t turn out so well. The universe just seems to have a way to screw up those efforts with some unforeseen calamity.

 
Once that lesson became firmly embedded in my rather thick brain, I’ve become ultra careful never to stick myself in that position again.

 
I do admit to having a week that I work toward. Somehow, that doesn’t seem so frightening and final to me. I know, I’m just hedging my bets but it sure takes off the pressure—until that last day appears and then… oh-oh!

 
I also have a pretty good idea of what I need to accomplish each day. If I’m in writing mode, then I go into my office with full intentions of writing those first few hours in the morning and leaving everything until later. Unfortunately, the best laid plans blah, blah don’t always work out. But I am pretty strict about my word count and tend to force myself to get busy. If I have to make up time in the evening and even into the late or early hours it’ll happen. I’ve been known to look like a train-wreck victim more than once after a marathon of writing.

 
I also set up certain commitments that need to be dealt with each week. This is where I tend to be better. My days might not always work out the way I expect, but somehow by the end of the week, most of the work does get done. Of course, not everyone is in the same position. Many of you have more time than others. But then your goals will be reasonable and based on those criteria.

 
Promotion uses up a lot of my hours and energy. Setting up books is much more work when you have eighteen to deal with. Therefore, I tend to promote one at a time, and with the Partays, I find it always gives a boost to the others in my back list. Don’t know about you, but for some reason I find that time flies out the window when I concentrate on this part of the business.

 
I also take on a lot of tasks that I probably should leave alone, time wasters that I can’t seem to stop. I’ve been getting better through necessity. Like staying off the loops and restricting my facebook and twitter time. Not perfect by a long shot, but what’s a girl to do? Social media has become a very enjoyable way of life now. It’s not just about getting known but having friends that I care about.
  

What about you? How do you handle your goals? Do you make them and stick to them? Go ahead - brag! I can take it :-)
 



 

Thursday, September 26, 2013

What YOU want in a Heroine!!


 
 
Okay my friends, this was a tough one.

 

When I asked you what you wanted to see in a hero, it was pretty easy to see that you ladies were looking for a protective, compassionate, strong man with a sense of humor.

 

Turns out that you expect a lot more from your heroine. I found it a bit strange that you desired a man who would be protective and yet most of you thought a heroine should be strong, able to take care of herself, not a whiner and feisty to boot.

 

I really appreciated the one answer from a man who said this: Tough, quick wit, and playing for keeps. Seems even the men don’t want a wimpy lady to woo.

 

 

Here’s the list I came up with from your comments.

  

A good heroine should be:

  

Able to look after herself / relies on self for own happiness  (2)

 

Strong  / Tough  (3)

 

Kind  (4)

 

Empathetic  (2)

 

Good sense of humor  (3)

 

Have common sense  (2)

 

Be able to face her weaknesses  (3)

 

Hard worker

 

Compassionate  (2)

 

Not a whiner  (2)

 

No need to emasculate her man

 

Flawed

 

Honest with herself

 

Try to do the right things

 

Feisty

 

Bold

 

Assertive  (2)

 

Doesn’t worry what others think of her

 

Intelligent

 

Brave

 

Sharp wit with a sharp tongue

 

Witty  (2)

 

Plays for keeps

 

Not afraid to ask for help

 

Not perfect / have issues and baggage to be realistic

 

 

The consensus seems to be that we want heroines that are kind, but tough and with a good sense of humor. They must have weaknesses so they can face and overcome them. And this journey must be carried out with wit and a feisty personality.

 

I was surprised and I guess kinda pleased that, not once, did any of the commenters stress a heroine had to be beautiful. Yet we all go to great lengths to give our girls lovely, well-described eyes, flowing locks, sparkling white teeth, plump lips and a body maybe the author herself yearns for.  Okay, I’m guilty!

 

For me, I see the hero and heroine in my story as personalities way before I see the actual person so I guess even without my knowing it, I’ve instinctively decided on what’s important and what isn’t. Then I plead guilty to adding their looks and bodies which I think should match the people I’ve created and – yep – they're usually well-formed and good-looking.

 

Obviously, by your own comments, looks are a minor part of a character’s attributes and not as important as we may think to the reader. I’ll keep that in mind when I write my next book. However, I’m not saying I’ll go so far as creating someone who’s dirt-ugly because in truth, no one is born without some positive features, right? But it might be fun to assist a girl to find her best features…. Oh wait! I already did that with help from a Cheeky Angel!! (did you see how I snuck in my title there… hehehe!)

 

 

It would be interesting to know how you create your character. First their looks – or their personalities???

 

 
Speaking about characters...
There are many new ones in the books on sale...
 
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 Sept 27th
 
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Sunday, September 22, 2013

SERIES: To Be or Not To Be (and when to stop being!)

I'd like to welcome my friend, Jade Kerrion, to my blog today. She is the author of the wonderful Double Helix series.

 

*** 

If Amazon (the company) were a river and all the books in its vast online repository were drops of water, you wouldn't be able to skim a pebble across its surface without hitting a book that is a part of a series. Series are popular--they work in movies, on TV, and in books--and for good reason. No one ever likes saying goodbye to the people they've fallen in love with. We like to see our heroes and heroines overcome adversity, and then do it again, and again. Novel series come in at least three different flavors.
 
 
1. Standalone books within a series with a rotating focus on various protagonists. Each novel within the series focuses on, and resolves, one major storyline, but the protagonist (usually a side character in one of the other novels) will claim the spotlight for one book within the series instead of all of them.


Romance novels tend to lean this way (after all, happily ever after usually happens only once per couple.) Nora Roberts has written many trilogies of families and friends, with each book focusing on a particular person finding his or her happy ending. Sherrilyn Kenyon does this with her (apparently unending) Dark Hunter series as well.
 
 
 2. Standalone books within a series focus on one or two key protagonists. Each novel within the series tackles one major
problem and resolves the problem by the end of the book.


Many detective and mystery novels adopt this flavor. As a teenager, I enjoyed Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys. These days, I read P.L. Blair's Portals series that features human detective, Kat Morales, and her elven partner, Tevis.
 
 
3. Non-standalone books within a series focus on one or two key protagonists, and story is typically best enjoyed in order from the first novel to the last.


Fantasy and science fiction novels, with their sweeping storylines and their tendency to put entire worlds and civilizations at risk of extinction (hey, high stakes, right?) tend to lean in this direction. Each book should resolve a major crisis, but some threads are clearly left trailing as feeders into the next book. Some of my favorite authors fall into this category, including David Eddings who wrote the Belgariad and Mallorean series, and Neil Gaiman, author of the Sandman. Just about all of my favorite authors are series writers. In hindsight, itÕs no surprise that I would, as an author, lean toward writing a series. My Double Helix series is a series of four novels. When I finished writing the fourth book, I finally tackled the issue IÕd been avoiding since November 2010, when I first started writing Double Helix series.
 
 
When do you stop?


Sometimes, the answer is easy: When you save the world. But what if the answer isn't as obvious? What if the world careens from crisis to crisis (sounds like our world, doesn't it?) What if the world always needs saving? I wrote the Double Helix series as a blend between a type 3 series (non-standalone) and a type 2 series (standalone.) The fourth book, Perfection Challenged, was actually the transition book between a non-standalone and standalone series. In theory, I could have gone on forever, coming up with yet another crisis for Danyael Sabre, the alpha empath, to handle. Challenges would always abound in a society transformed by the Genetic Revolution. Danyael would likely encounter most of them, but did he have to be the protagonist? Let's segue briefly into another series - Jacqueline Carey's Kushiel's Legacy series. Occasionally a storyline or plot transcends each book and unifies the series. In Kushiel's Legacy, it is the rocky path to love and happiness between the heroine, Phedre, and her protector, Joscelin. That storyline is the single thread that runs through the series, and for the series to end, the thread needs to be neatly knotted by the final book. My readers love Danyael. It was hard to make the decision to move him to the sidelines, yet in practice, I knew that Danyael's story was done, and for one primary reason. His story had come a full circle. He dealt with different challenges and antagonists over each of the four books, but the storyline that unified the series - his apparently unrequited love for the assassin Zara Itani - reached its conclusion in the fourth book. It was my gift to Danyael, the ending he deserved. 'But,' dismayed readers howl, 'you haven't yet done this, or that, or another. You haven't finished telling all the stories.' I've moved the spotlight off Danyael, but that doesn't mean he won't appear in a smaller role in another novel. Spin-offs are popular among series writers.

Some side characters in Sherrilyn Kenyon's Dark Hunter series show up as focal characters in her Dream Hunter series. And so it will be for my Double Helix series. I've already written a young adult spin-off. I have others planned, including a standalone series of romantic thrillers featuring mercenaries from Zara's agency, a novel about Xin, the Machiavellian clone of Fu Hao, a 1,200 BC general, priestess, and queen (busy woman indeed!), and a novel about Galahad, the genetically engineered perfect human being. Inevitably though, those novels and series will someday end. Quoting one of my favorite characters, Death from Neil Gaiman's Sandman series: 'It always ends. That's what gives it value.'

 
'The best of the four books - the perfect ending to an amazing series.'
 
 
Perfection Challenged, the thrilling conclusion to the multiple award-winning, bestselling DOUBLE HELIX series, is finally here. Grab your copy today. If you've never picked up the DOUBLE HELIX series, keep reading for a special offer on the six-time award-winning novel, Perfection Unleashed.


perfection-challenged-600x800

 

PERFECTION CHALLENGED

An alpha empath, Danyael Sabre has survived abominations and super soldiers, terrorists and assassins, but he cannot survive his failing body. He wants only to live out his final days in peace, but life and the woman he loves, the assassin Zara Itani, have other plans for him. Galahad, the perfect human being created by Pioneer Labs, is branded an international threat, and Danyael is appointed his jury, judge, and executioner. Danyael alone believes that Galahad can be the salvation that the world needs, but is the empath blinded by the fact that Galahad shares his genes, and the hope that there is something of him in Galahad? In a desperate race against time and his own dying body, Danyael struggles to find fragments of good in the perfect human being, and comes to the wrenching realization that his greatest battle will be a battle for the heart of the man who hates him. E-books available at Amazon / Amazon UK / Apple iTunes / Barnes & Noble / Kobo / Smashwords Paperbacks available at Amazon / Amazon UK


PERFECTION UNLEASHED

 Perfection Unleashed



"Higher octane than Heroes. More heart than X-Men." Recipient of six literary awards, including First place in Science Fiction, Reader Views Literary Awards 2012 and Gold medal winner, Science Fiction, Readers Favorites 2013.

FOR A LIMITED TIME, E-BOOKS AVAILABLE FOR JUST $0.99 (Discounted from $2.99) E-books available at Amazon / Amazon UK / Apple / Barnes & Noble / Kobo / Smashwords Paperbacks available at Amazon / Amazon UK / Barnes & Noble / Book Depository

Connect with Jade Kerrion: Website / Facebook / Twitter


***

Friday, September 20, 2013

An extra-ordinary experince I'll never forget!


 
 
 
I have to share an extra-ordinary experience I had on my trip a few days ago as I was travelling from the Island to Vancouver by Greyhound bus.

 

My heart swelled when I eavesdropped in a conversation between a small girl and her young mother. The child between four or five years old and the woman maybe in her later twenties or early thirties, sitting a few rows behind me, carried on a conversation and both their voices travelled easily.

 

From the time we left the ferry terminal and all the way into the city, the young mother pointed out all kinds of interesting things to see from the bus’s the window. For instance, how beautiful the red brick-work looked on an old building we passed and the gorgeous flowers in a well-loved garden that brightened the yard of a tumble-down older home.

 

I began to follow her voice and saw a huge, weirdly-shaped fig tree through her eyes that still had fruit hanging, a detail I normally wouldn’t even have noticed. With the help of this smart and observant woman both her daughter and I delighted in the sunflowers that grew taller than the hedge in order to catch the rays of the sun. The darling tot would ask questions in that delightful little-girl voice— like why were the flowers yellow. It’s not something I’d ever wondered about before but I found myself waiting with anticipation for her mother’s answer and I wasn’t disappointed. Without a moment’s hesitation, she said, “They’re called Sunflowers. So therefore they have to be yellow, right?”

 

I found myself nodding happily and thinking... of course!  And the child laughed with glee and said. “Right!”

 

Both her daughter and I were entranced with each new feature of nature or beauty this woman noticed and pointed out. I must admit to wearing a silly smile through this whole trip where I enjoyed the running commentary.

 

The only time I had to hide my face and wipe my cheeks was when she told her baby, (I'm writing this verbatim since by this time I was making notes) “The world is so beautiful. If you look close, you’ll see it everywhere. There’s bad—but the good is so much bigger and better.”

 

I don’t know about you, but I couldn’t help but think of how fortunate that angel was to have such a smart, giving and darling mom. She wasn’t spending her time with her cell phone as her main focus. Not once did she stop interacting with her daughter. Opening her own eyes, she saw the beauty in the world and shared it. What a fortunate little girl!

 

I have to admit that not only did I eavesdrop, I also made notes. In my heart I knew one day that child and her mother would appear in one of my books.

 

Do you also find characters for your books from personal experiences?
 
 





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Tuesday, September 17, 2013

A Perfect Hero!!


 


 
A while ago I asked my friends on facebook what attributes they thought made a man into a hero.
 

 
 
 
 
 


This was the list I received:

Smart

Funny

Strong - takes charge

Strong - but kind

Kinda like an Alpha Male

Protective

Compassionate - but still takes charge.

One who can laugh at himself but not at others

Protective

A man not a male

Honesty, a man with integrity

Empathetic (Compassionate)

Active and purposeful

Fantastic sense of humour

Honest and trustworthy

A tease with a sense of humour, but not to the expense of others.

Loves animals, and children

Protective

Ruggedly handsome, with a beard, and just-out-of-the-bed hair

Tall and strong. (Blonde)

Respectful towards women


Honorable


Has a sense of humor

 
Naughty - but nice
 

Once I’d compiled the list, I saw that a man being strong and protective was a huge point in a woman’s favor. It surprised me because in today’s world, women seem to be so self-sufficient. Of course, many have no choice.

It’s kinda nice though to think that we ladies still appreciate a man who can make us feel that we have someone to lean on. As much as I like a guy with a good sense of humor, I do admit that I still expect him to be “the man”.

So - when I write my heroes from now on, I’ll be checking this list and choosing which special traits he’ll have. And because I like to start off with a flawed hero most times, he might just have to hide these qualities at the begining of the story. It's good to torture characters...right? RIGHT??
 
Next list I will ask them to fill in is the heroine’s. We need someone special for this guy…  

 

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Sultry Summer Reads Blog Hop!

Safari Heat Book Tours and Author Services

 



 
All the rules and how the hop will work is listed on the
Safari Heat site.
 
Follow the link below.
 
 

***The Grand Prize Is A Kindle Fire HD 7”
Second Prize Is A 100.00 Gift Card to Amazon or B&N.
Plus books to go on the winner’s new Kindle.


***Winners for this blog hop must be residents of either Canada or the United States.
 

*******
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**

 

***Readers beware!!!*** Do not continue unless you like slightly steamy, yet totally delightful love scenes.

 

Excerpt from The Surrogate’s Secret:

 
“Sheri, I want to start off our life here in Chile the way we mean to go on. Tonight, may we be together as husband and wife?” Miguel's hand reached out, and his fingers slid through the soft tangle of curls swirling over her shoulders.

She stood up and turned her back to him, but he soon followed. He loomed over and his arms gently scooped her to him, his breath on her neck creating an army of goose bumps. Lips, soft and warm, moist and hot kissed their way from her ear, down her throat to her neck. Meanwhile, his nimble fingers worked at the collar of her blouse to give him access to more of her delighted skin.

Leaning back for him to take her weight became a necessity as her knees lost their power to hold her upright. With a snarl, he whipped her around and the onslaught of his mouth devouring hers became more important than breathing.

The handsome devil kissed the way every woman dreams of being kissed. He sucked and licked and entwined her tongue with his, inviting her to perform with him. How could she resist? Never in her life had she experienced heat building from normal to boil-over in seconds. Every nerve in her body, starting from her head to her to stomach, mostly between her legs, screamed ‘hallelujah’! 

Miguel's arm encircling her waist snuggled her close, and his hand on her bottom angled her directly to where his hardened body moved to explore her contours. At that moment, she could have climbed him like a monkey scaling a tree. Flushed and palpitating, every female part of her anatomy begged for more. It must have been the whimpering moans that stopped his play. She’d never know.

He framed her face, and she felt his hands tremble. When he went to speak, he started once, but then had to clear his throat so his initial whispering became clear. “I can’t stay with you right now, Sheri.”

The way he said her name was foreplay in itself.

“Juan is waiting to take me to the office. But, mi esposa, rest this afternoon, for tonight we will be very busy.” With a final kiss on her forehead, he left the room, a distinct shuffle noticeable.

She hugged herself and grinned. A firm believer in equality of the sexes, Sheri decided, since she’d be suffering from unrelieved horniness, so should he. 

Then her mood darkened. Once again, she’d missed the opportunity to come clean. The man hadn’t even given her a chance to talk, not that she could have said anything with her eyelashes glued to her cheek and her mouth devoid of any liquid whatsoever. 
 
***
 
Before you leave my site, I wanted to share with you the prizes I've chosen to give away to some lucky winners who write a comment below and of course, leave their e-mail address.
 
 
1st Prize - $25 Amazon Gift Certificate
2nd Prize - $10 Amazon Gift Certificate
3rd Prize - free gift copy of any one of my books - your choice ( Mimi's Amazon Page to see list)
4th Prize - free gift copy of The Surrogate's Secret
 
 
***Winners for my personal contest can be from anywhere that I can e-mail their gifts to them :-)
 
 
Example of what you'll need to add in the comment!!
Name: Mimi Barbour
Comment: Did you like the post??? Yes? / No? / It stunk? LOL
Twitter: Did you follow Mimi - yes/no
FaceBook:  Did you follow Mimi - yes/no
Blog: Did you follow Mimi - yes/no
Are You a Reader or Author: Author
Country You Live In: United States
 
 
 


 



***To keep hopping follow the link below.
 

 
Message from Blog Hop Co-ordinator, Carey Abbott.

 




If you care to enter.....there are four ways the readers can get extra entries into the grand prize giveaway. They get an entry for completing each of these things. (1) Leaving a comment, (2) following this blog, (3) following Mimi's FB, or (4) Following Mimi's Twitter. **Remember - you are not required to do anything you don't wish to.**

 
 
All the prizes on the hop page, except the books for the winner’s Kindle, I will give away daily. We will be giving away six to seven prizes a dayand randomly popping into blogs to pick winners. This is going to make the hop a little different than most because the readers won’t know who’s blog I will pick .


 
 
FUN     FUN     FUN     FUN     FUN

Monday, September 9, 2013

It's Celebration Time!!




 
 
I did it!!
 
Finished the book…

 
 
 
 


“Let it Ride” is in the can…. That’s film talk for it’s done… finito.

 

Wrote the last paragraph—which made me laugh out loud—about three hours ago and then headed straight for the wine bottle, chilling in the fridge.

 

It’s celebration time!!!

 

I mean, not only did I finish this particular story, but this was the final book in the Vegas Series. When I’d first planned to end the series with this last novel, I felt relief. That continued until I began to write it. Once I got involved with those characters again, I was hooked. They’re like a family to me now.

 

Not only do I understand their motivations, what makes them tick, I know how to push their buttons and to get them performing at their best.

 

Being a woman, I guess I fell harder for the heroes. First Kai—the bald-headed, cheeky, blue-eyed hotshot who had me in the palm of his hand every time I put his name on the page. He really turned my crank as much as he affected my ornery heroine Aurora. They made such a wonderful couple.

 

But… since I had to move on, Lisa showed up and she was wonderful fun. A curly-headed chatterbox who liked to pull Aurora’s chain about her love life. That is until her own man appeared on the scene. Jeff Waters came to me as smoothly as he lived his life. Delicious—think man-candy, and who doesn’t like sweets when it comes to the male species. I could visualize him as the good-looking devil who had everything going for him. Except the woman he wanted—wanted nothing to do with him. Serves him right for being so dam perfect!

 

Okay, I took pity on him, on them all. And as the book progressed so did my sadness at having to say good-bye. But… the sadness is filtered with satisfaction at having written six books and knowing they were popular and appreciated by my readers.

 

Plus, I did leave the golden thread I wrote about yesterday. There will be another book with at least two of these characters re-appearing. A new series? Hummm….I wonder?
 
 
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