Posted on

And the winner is…

ME! Plus forty-nine others, of course…

You may remember my post regarding me being shortlisted for Twisted50 Vol.2. Well, today they finally announced the fifty winners whose stories will be entered in the Twisted50 Volume 2 anthology. It was a long wait, but it was worth it :). Check out all the winners here.

My winning story is called ‘Rumour has it…’ and is not for the faint at heart. It’s about a girl who stands trial for gruesome murders committed. You’ll have to buy the book to read the whole story, and, man, are there some twisted stories in there! At the moment they’re voting on the book cover, but I’ll let you know the link to the book as soon as I’ve got it.

Now, I’m off to dance around the house!

#Twisted50

 

Posted on

Writers’ Corner update 30/11/2016

Check out my Writers’ Corner update 30/11/2016!

This week there is an interesting article on 10 Screenwriting Lessons We Can Take From… ANGEL HEART (1987). I must admit I have never seen the movie, but the article has some interesting points that can be taken into writing a novel. Another quirky article states that Cooking and Baking Could Help You Feel Better. Could be a way for one of your novel characters to deal with stress. Unfortunately the article won’t load in my magazine, perhaps it does for you. If not, you can find it here. Just click the search button and type ‘Feeling Down,’ it should come up with a cupcake 🙂 .

In Focus on Filming I have, of course, the same screenwriting lessons from Angel Heart, but also a very interesting article on the weird and sometimes cruel directors. I sure don’t envy those actors and actresses! I added an article with advice and tips for the novice screenwriter. Just in case you’ve always wanted to write a screenplay, but didn’t know how.

According to an article in Health Herald, we could be looking at a different life form soon! Scientist have, for the first time, made living cells incorporate silicon. Sci-Fi stuff! And before you go to bed, make sure you’re not angry about something. You may regret this later…

 

Posted on

My Book Arrived!

Suckers Trilogy books

20161124_103551.jpg

I’m so happy to announce that my proof book is finally a reality! It took a lot of blood, sweat, and tears, (and a lot of help from my friends!), but I wouldn’t have done it any other way 🙂 .

There are still some issues to sort out, but they are minor, nitty-gritty stuff. The important thing is that it exists and the order for the first batch to sell at the Winterland book fair has been placed. Now I’ll keep my fingers crossed the order arrives in time!

I will be adding the print version to Amazon soon, so those of you who prefer to hold a real book check it out in a few days.

Posted on

One Stop Fiction Online Book Club

One Stop Fiction is the baby of OSFARG (One Stop Fiction Authors Resource Group). It is an online book club for readers and writers. They have lots of book available, amongst which 30 FREE books, 20 genres to choose from, and a competition in which you can win a kindle reader worth $110! What more could you want?

OSF-Genres.JPG

Sign up now and enjoy the work of indie writers from all over the world. If you are a writer you can also advertise your books here. There is something for everyone!

It’s so easy, just sign up here…

This is the current list of FREE books available, if you still have any doubts about signing up 🙂 :

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Posted on

Lessons Learned #30

I had no idea what to write all week in my Lessons Learned, until I reached the point in my book where girl gets boy. And they go to bed for the first time. And they have sex. There, I’ve said it, the ‘S’-word. Sex! It has been such a taboo, until ’50 Shades of Grey’ came out and now it’s okay to read and talk about it (thank you, E.L. James!).

Konstantin_Somov_A_Kiss_1914.jpg

Before we go on, I’d like to make you understand what  the difference is between erotica and porn. Absolutely nothing. If you Google ‘erotic definition’ you get “relating to or tending to arouse sexual desire or excitement.” If you Google ‘pornography definition’ you get “printed or visual material containing the explicit description or display of sexual organs or activity, intended to stimulate sexual excitement.” So apart from the display of sexual organs perhaps, both are intended to stimulate sexual arousal. By the way, the letters in the heading are letters from the ‘nineteenth-century erotic alphabet,’ to be found on Wiki Commons. If you take Google literally, this is actually porn. A few descriptions of the difference of the two that sprung out in my research were ‘the height of the book shelf,’ ‘what he wants and what she wants’ and ‘it depends on the lighting.’ You decide what you call it.

Should you write about sex? Absolutely! It happens in everyday life, it’s the essence of our existence; no sex, no life. I must admit, I like to call my sex scenes ‘love scenes’ as I think that is what I write about. I don’t put it in as something gratuitous to rake up the audience numbers, as so many tv series seem to do nowadays. My son of fourteen has seen more sex on tv than I had when I was twenty-one. The business of written erotica also has never been so good! Since we can read whatever ‘anonymously’ on our tablet, without the tell-tale cover visible to all around us, the world is your oyster.

So how to write a good sex scene? That takes just as much thinking as any other scene in your story. Obviously there are the clichés to be avoided, like naming the sexual organs (unless you write hard core porn perhaps). Less is more. Don’t forget we are writing, not making a movie. The reader has their own imagination and all you have to do is to suggest, leave it up to them on what it looks like. Reading up on how to film a sex scene a while back, they said that close-ups of body parts are more arousing than the actual deed. Her hand gripping the sheets, his halter of breath, her moan as his head went below her navel, that kind of stuff. As the majority of erotica readers are older than forty-five, explicit description of the deed is like telling somebody how to eat.

VenusWillendorf.jpg

Another thing that is important in sex scenes is reality. People have sex as an affirmation of their emotional attraction to each other, no matter their looks. Well, normally, so let’s stick with that. While making love they explore each other’s bodies, so why not describe that. Not everybody is perfect and that’s okay. Let your protagonist caress that mole, tickle that flabby belly, kiss those stretch marks. It makes it all more believable. Readers should be able to relate and feel good about themselves, not feel too ugly to have sex themselves!

Last but not least, if what you write doesn’t do anything for you, the writer, it’s not working. If you can’t feel anything, what makes you think your reader would feel something? I live and breath my characters; I am happy when they laugh, I mourn when they die, and I get aroused when they make love. My husband isn’t complaining, if that is anything to go by 🙂 . Give it a try, it may spice up your love life too!

Have a Wonderful (and Sexy) Writing Weekend!

Posted on

And… Action!

Tonight I met with two wonderful people (and their daughter, a wonderful small person), who agreed to film the short ‘You Should Have’ with us. We got along like peas in a pod and I am sure there will be many more shorts that will feature them.

I’m so excited that we are finally filming again!

Posted on

Lessons Learned #28

When I began writing I ‘told’ the reader about the inner emotions of my characters, instead of ‘showing’ them. I would write ‘I was feeling anxious’ or ‘I was so angry!’ I have learned that this is not the way to go. I am currently going through my first book and trying to pick out those situations where I ‘told’ and try to convert them into ones where I ‘show.’

I found that my vocabulary is rather limited. I use the word ‘look’ a lot. He looked at me, I looked at him, we looked each other in the eye… Eyes are a big thing in my book 🙂 . I realised that I needed to widen my scope and write something more varied to keep my readers (and myself!) happy. So I downloaded lists of alternatives/synonyms from Pinterest. Never would I have thought that Pinterest would come in so handy for a writer…

Although I found a list with about 150 different ways to say ‘look,’ I found that most of them were unusable. Who writes ‘he looked askance’ or ‘my eyes had a gander’ (or however you’re supposed to use this word). Most of the words didn’t portray what I wanted to say, which was ‘look.’ There were a few though, like ‘saw,’ ‘glance,’ and ‘glimpse,’ which are okay, but four words don’t mean variety.

So here I was, stuck in my re-write. I knew what was wrong, but I didn’t know how to fix it. Then the lightbulb appeared above my head. I needed to use more body language! I needed to integrate the whole face, the whole body in the description. Which meant I needed to know what people did, how they changed, when showing certain emotions.

Now I’m not the best emotional expert. I can’t read people like a book and usually people find me very blunt in return. So I needed help, lots of it. I tried to study people when I was out and about, which isn’t very often. Unfortunately my brain doesn’t always cooperate and kept drifting off instead of doing its homework.

Then today, after cursing at my slow internet connection and not getting the websites on body language as fast as my impatient self wanted, I remembered I once bought a book called ‘Body language at work,’ by Peter Clayton. It isn’t the most varied piece of work, but it does the trick for me at the moment. It talks about zones and clusters, about trust and assertiveness, about doubt, disbelief and lies. Even about attraction between the two sexes. All the things that I need for my book!

Frog.jpg

I’m not saying that you need to buy this book. However, if you are like me and a bit of a frog in the ’emotion’ department, buy a book on body language and read it. It is extremely interesting to read about how people conform to standard principles. And most amazing when you see it happening in real life around you! It’s almost as entertaining as reading a book…

Have a Wonderful Writing Weekend!

Posted on

Success!

I just wanted to share with you the following:

Zero Issues.JPG

Zero Issues in my Repeat Words & Phrases. Finally!!!

Posted on

Email list for my re-vamped book

For those of you who are interested in romance, suspense, vampires, action, drama, and/or a bit of horror; you can now sign up for a FREE copy of my re-vamped novel when it’s ready. I’m already half-way re-writing it, so I’m hoping to have it ready in October (before Halloween!). You can find the form on my home page.

LLAV LOGO

It’s mainly a romance, but with a lot of suspense for those thrill seekers amongst you! As it’s about a virus turning people into vampires (well, sort of) there’s the paranormal/supernatural theme running through it (fangs piercing necks; check!), there’s the bit of horror (vampires do kill for a living, pun intended 🙂 ), guns are involved in multiple scenes (so lots of action), and as there are four love interest (technically speaking) there is enough drama to make a movie out of it (I think so at least 😀 ). Humour is a tricky one, not everybody’s humour is the same. But I’ve made people chuckle, so I’m confident to say there is some humour in it too :).

Anyway, it’s FREE, so why not sign up! I promise it won’t disappoint you 🙂 .

Posted on

Email List… :)

As I find it very hard to get away from my computer I am happy to say I have wasted my sunshine time wisely and finally made that email list for you to sign up on! Check out my Home Page for the form. I’m handing out free ebook copies to the first 25 to sign up!

LLAV LOGO

Posted on

Come on!

20160816_081626

Just when the kids have gone back to school, just when the DH has gone back to work, just when I as good as finalised the work on the constitution of the film club, and I finally think I can go full steam ahead with my writing… the weather turns good and I have to spend my days restoring the old window frames while I can…

20160816_140218

First stripping them of paint, then sanding , repairing rotted bits, sanding again, (undercoat) painting, sanding, painting, sanding, painting. And all in the next four days before it starts raining again. But when these two are done I only have eleven to go… 🙂

Posted on

Lessons Learned #24

My first use of ProWritingAid

First of all my excuses for not posting last week. What can I say, life has been hectic. Kids and DH home with holidays and activities for the film group… I haven’t been able to do any writing (for my books), but I had started the week before with ProWritingAid (PWA), so I want to let you know my first impression on it.

It was easy to install and I was surprised that it is actually an ‘add on’ to Word. But very handy to have it there in the top right of the tool bar. The first thing I did was to block a section of my text,  clicked the ‘general’ button of PWA and then the ‘full analysis’ one. Why wouldn’t I want to use it all? It took my computer a while to think about this a bit, but it wasn’t doing nothing. In my intro, which is only one-and-a-half page long, it found one-hundred-and-twenty-three issues. One-hundred-and-twenty-three! My heart sank. Was my writing really so bad? So I planted by butt a bit firmer in my chair and went through the list on the right hand side alongside my text to find out what these issues were.

PWA Issues ListAs per the list you see here (this is the one after I corrected all the issues it found in the first place, with only 82 issues left), they dissect your text big time. I found it more bearable to go through it when you start from the bottom. No idea why, but it seemed less daunting. But to be more clear I will start from the top here.

When you click the Overview Report you get a list of all the things that you did okay (green ticks, yay!) and red crosses, 🙁 ). I consistently get red crosses for sticky sentences and a too low glue index. I tried to work on this, but as my text often has dialogue in it I can’t get around the low glue index. The sticky sentences is also something I try to limit, but sometimes my re-wording just makes it worse.

Overused Words Check gives me ‘were, was and had.’ What do you expect? It’s written in the past tense…

The Writing Style Check I find very handy as it tells you where the passive verbs are. When it finds these I always try to make them active where possible. It also tells you if you have overdone it with the adverbs, a good one to keep in check. It also gives you ‘readability enhancements.’ I’m still not sure if these are good or bad. Anybody who could enlighten me on these?

Sentence Length Check is obvious. I don’t have a problem with these overall. The Clichés & Redundencies Report consistently tells me that using the word ‘sucker’ is cliché. Sorry, it’s about vampires, what can I say…

I have some issues with the Grammar Check. I had high hopes for this one, as English is not my first language. But all it does is tell me I’ve used words that it doesn’t recognises (made up place names, etc.) and that it blocks a complete paragraph purple and tells me there is an issue with it. However, it doesn’t tell me which issue! Very frustrating.

I tend to ignore the Sticky Sentences Check as making them shorter/different consistently means my writing becomes boring. The Dialogue Tags Check is another one I tend to ignore. There is dialogue or there isn’t. I usually use the word ‘said’ to tag dialogue, so they’re happy with it.

The Repeat Words & Phrases is one I highly appraise. I often find when reading indie author books this is one check they should have used. Even when half a book along, I find that using the same phrase is annoying. I hope I can get them all out of mine, but I guess that if they’re spread wide and far the only way to get them out is to read the book from start to finish as I’m not sure if PWA can check a whole book at once.

Corporate Wording Check occasionally says I’ve used the wrong word. Diction Check repeatedly tells me not to use a preposition at the end of the sentence and to not use the word ‘actually.’ Well, actually, my sentence structure holds up, so I’m keeping them in.

Vague & Abstract Words Check comes up with words like ‘all, like, would and (again) actually.’ Sometimes I can replace the words, but usually I can’t.

The Acronym Check lets you know if you are consistent with abbreviations (TV vs. tv). The Transitions Report is one I struggle with on a regular basis. They want you to have more than 25% transitions (a percentage of what I don’t know). I never get there. I even printed out a list with transitions words for me to use, but I just can’t fit them in. I don’t know if that is because of my limited vocabulary or not, but my text doesn’t seem to lend itself for a lot of transitions. And I bet if I could use them that my sentences would become ‘too long and sticky’ 🙂 .

I’m not sure if the Complex Words Check tells you how intelligent you are, but it reports how many words there are with four or five syllables. The NLP Predicates Check lets you know what percentage are visual or auditory-digital words. Apparently I am more of a visual person.

The Homonym Check is great if you have problems with there, their, and they’re. The Pacing Check tells you about the pacing of your text. Great if you are checking large pieces of text, I guess. I have never used the House Style Check as you need to set this one up first with your own style.

The Consistency Check gives you all the spelling, hyphenation and capitalisation consistency numbers. I like the Alliteration Analysis (note; not the Alliteration Check!) as it gives you an idea of the rhetoric index of your text. And who would have thought that the word ‘whatever’ is an alliteration?

Hail the Pronoun Check! With this beauty I found that in one paragraph I started every single sentence with ‘I.’ Big no-no! Never use the Combo Check though, it’s depressing…

So, overall I like PWA. You have to accept that your writing will never be perfect and that you only use PWA to check the issues that you struggle with and to get silly mistakes out. I notice that I’m getting faster and faster using it and it isn’t as daunting now compared to when I first opened the can or worms.

Have a Happy Writing Weekend!