Thursday, January 28, 2016

How to Write a Book



Everyone has an idea for a great book. However, there are a number of people who think that's all they need--just that one fantastic idea. What they do not seem to realize is that someone has to put all the words together before that book can be sent off to a publisher or self-published.

A considerable amount of time is required to put all the words together for a book. It takes sitting at a computer for hours and hours and hours typing in the sentences. It isn't magic.

I have been approached by more than a few individuals who think I can put their book together for them. I don't do that. I use up what spare time I have available in putting my own books together. Writing takes a lot of patience. Then, though I may proclaim my book finished, my editor certainly will not, and I will have to go through all the edits and fix each and every one. Getting a book published can be a tedious process.

There are many helpful references available to anyone who wants to write a book. If you have an incredible idea for a book, you better get started on it right now. Type out a bunch of sentences and then a bunch of paragraphs until you have perhaps 60,000 words or more.

Make sure you have a decent plot along with memorable characters. Realize that there are millions of other books available on the market and while yours is action-packed and suspenseful, the odds of you becoming incredibly wealthy overnight are rather slim.

In fact, you should definitely keep your day job.

Still, it can be very rewarding to see your book in print. If you have the drive, go for it. If you want to get your book published, don't give up. Tap out the words on the keyboard of your computer.

When your book is finally finished, send it off to a publisher or an agent. If you intend to self-publish, make sure you hire an editor to read through it. Then write another book because that is the life of a writer. If one of your books does land you a contract or sells well, it helps to have another book waiting in the wings.

Don't worry that someone will steal your idea. Those of us who are writers have plenty of our own ideas. Besides, there are really only a limited number of plots in this world.

What makes every book unique is the voice of the author.

Okay? Now get to work. :^)

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

No Cookouts Anytime Soon

This is our patio on the morning after the blizzard of 2016. We won't be having a cookout anytime soon. It's going to take some time for all the snow to melt. Unless we get more on top of what we've already received, which could happen. After all, it is January.

We were fortunate that we did not lose power during the storm, and we are on high ground so we don't have to worry about flooding. We were worried about our roof because a recent storm caused a few shingles to lift and we had water dripping into our living room. However, the roofer's fix seems to have held and we were delighted about that.

I spent the blizzard finishing a baby blanket I started, prompted by my crocheting friend. I also converted an old VHS tape to a DVD. I spent too much time on the internet looking at everyone else's snow pictures as well as the flooding along the coastal areas of NJ.

I shoveled snow. It was wicked outside, but we figured we better make at least one pass to get rid of what had already fallen before the rest of it came down during the night. Fortunately, we have a wonderful neighbor with a huge snowblower who helped us clear away a great deal of the white stuff. Otherwise, we'd still be out there.

I made my favorite pancakes for supper. Daughter #1 decided we deserved wine to go with them after all the shoveling. I didn't get much writing done. Listening to the wind made me too tense!

Were you in the path of the blizzard? How did you spend those hours while the storm raged outside?

Friday, January 22, 2016

Through the Reeds


One warm day last week, hubby and I went to one of the local parks for a walk. I spotted an old rotted stairway leading down to a rock dam. On one side of the dam, a thick stand of phragmites grew with a path beaten down by many feet. My curiosity got the better of me and I had to see where the path led. Would it end at the other side of the rock dam?

The phragmites were tall, making me feel short. A red-winged blackbird flew overhead, scolding me. I enjoyed the somewhat magical sensation of being hidden inside the reeds.

There are many analogies for walking along on an unknown path. For many writers, it is easy to equate  such a path to the process of writing a novel. You can't see very far ahead and you may not be sure where the next turn will lead, but it's that sense of adventure that makes writing so much fun.

Abruptly, I came to the end of my little sojourn. A broken down spillway blocked my progress. If I was more daring, I would have tried stepping over the mossy stones. But I'm not as spry as I used to be so I turned around and returned to the old stairway through my magical path. It was a short exploit, but delightful nevertheless.




Monday, January 18, 2016

THE COMPANY YOU KEEP--Available at Kindle Unlimited!

Currently, the digital edition of THE COMPANY YOU KEEP is available only through Kindle Unlimited. If you enjoy a book set in the wintertime, a marriage of convenience, a meddling ghost, and evil paranormal circumstances you should enjoy this story. One reviewer said, "The story is full of twists and turns and keeps the reader turning pages to the end." Another Kindle customer said, "The writing is fresh and original, an excellent read." One more said, "A fantastic story, with an even more imaginative ending."

An excerpt is available here: http://penelopemarzec.blogspot.com/2013/10/sunday-scenes-company-you-keep.html
Or watch the video!


Don't forget to get your Kindle Unlimited edition while it's still available!


Thursday, January 14, 2016

Cooking Up A Happy Ending


A romance book must have a happy ending. That's the guarantee. Romances without an uplifting ending are not not romances. In real life, the good guys do not always win and there are plenty of tragedies. When I pick up a romance, I want to forget about the real world.

However, to assume that there is a formula or recipe in writing a romance is to dismiss the nature of the art. Yes, romances are genre literature and so they are looked down upon by those who write and read literary novels. Literary novels are considered serious works. To me, they are most often seriously depressing. Romances do have sad scenes. My novel, HEAVEN'S BLUE, has choked up a number of readers--but it ends well.

There is a lot of variety to be found in getting to the end of a romance. While there are only so many plots in the world, romances are character driven novels--and when it comes to people, the choices are endless. I've read my share of cowboy romances, but they are not all the same. Every writer comes to the task with a completely unique set of characters roaming around in his or her mind. Jane Eyre is as real in most readers' minds as Nicole Kidman--maybe more real. The characters I put into my novels are very real to me.

Right now, I'm working on HOPING FOR JOY, a Christian romance based on part of I Corinthians 13--so there's some serious spiritual pondering in the story. Still, despite their differences, the hero and heroine will succeed in falling in love by the end. Why bother reading a romance when you know that the two protagonists will end up happy every after? For me, it's the sunshine I feel in my heart when I get to the end. How about you?


Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Forty Years in August This Year

In August this year, hubby and I will be celebrating our Fortieth Anniversary. I thought I'd start celebrating early. :-)
Here's to forty years of fun!

Friday, January 08, 2016

January Newsletter

Here's my January Newsletter, with all sorts of good news. If you would like to receive my newsletters, which are published every now and then, please sign up at my website page: http://penelopemarzec.weebly.com/sign-up.html


My newest book release and a household tip!
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Romance is in the air!


February is the month to celebrate love. What better way than reading my newest romance, OUTSIDE BLESSINGS. My Selkie halfling story will be released by New Concepts Publishing in February. Here's the publisher's blurb:

Welcome to Blessings, N.J. .... a seaside town with dark and dangerous secrets. Neema wants to prove her sister was murdered, that she didn't commit suicide, but the murderer is still out there, still dangerous, and Neema could be the next victim if she asks too many questions. She has a secret, one she dare not divulge, even to Emmett, the young lifeguard she falls in love with. But Emmett has a secret of his own.
The story takes place on the New Jersey shoreline in January of 1896--making it a paranormal/historical romance. There are no explicit sensual scenes.

The hero is a member of the Lifesaving Service, which eventually became the US Coast Guard. For those of you who live along the Jersey shore, you may have noticed the old lifesaving station in Monmouth Beach and the one on Sandy Hook. You can read more about the history of the Lifesaving Service at  http://www.uscg.mil/tcyorktown/ops/nmlbs/Surf/surf1.asp
The next book I have coming out with Prism Book Group is going to be  part of a series of books based on the well-known scripture from 1 Corinthians 13.

"
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails."

Each author took one particular part of the scripture. I have "love...always hopes." The titles of the books are different than the scripture. My title is Hoping for Joy. The cover for the book will look like the one pictured, but there will be a different couple on the cover--and, of course, different words. :-) I'll let you know when I have a release date. 
Now for a little thing I JUST LEARNED. The ends of the boxes of plastic wrap and aluminum foil have small notches in them. When pushed in, the notch will help prevent the roll from falling out. I feel like I failed Home Economics, but I thought I'd pass this on in case there's someone else swearing at the plastic wrap roll when  a simple push on the notch will solve the problem. Learn more here: http://www.slate.com/blogs/browbeat/2013/05/20/end_locks_aluminum_foil_and_saran_wrap_box_tabs_are_a_great_invention_photo.html
Copyright © *2016* *Penelope Marzec*, All rights reserved.

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Tuesday, January 05, 2016

How I Learned to Crochet


These are homemade scrunchies. Daughter #3 and I made them one year when we both had long hair. We had fun crocheting an assortment of scrunchies in varied colors to go with every outfit or for specific holidays. I came upon them in the process of cleaning out Daughter #3's room. She now has a house of her own, but her hair is short so she doesn't need them any more and neither do I.

I've crocheted many other things: hats, scarves, ornaments, afghans, even little sweaters for my daughters when they were babies. I tried knitting but I didn't enjoy it. Crocheting is comfortable, easy, and it brings back good memories.

My mother taught me to crochet when I was seven years old. Mom was pregnant with my youngest sister and nearly had a miscarriage. She had been ordered to rest in bed most of the time. She was normally very active and rarely sat still. So it must have been difficult for her to stay in one place with her feet up all the time.

To stay busy without moving much, she signed up for a mail order course in interior decorating. She also took up crochet. I sat beside her and learned to move the hook through the yarn. Soon I was making doll clothes and doilies. What fun!

My mother relied upon me a lot that year. I ironed my father's shirts for work, hung out laundry, and watched my other sister. Both my brother and I learned to cook. We became quite adept and self-sufficient, which was good.

Fortunately, all went well. My youngest sister was born healthy and Mom was soon back to being active.

Every now and then, I pick up a crochet hook, think of Mom, and make something. If you want to make crocheted scrunchies, there are many places online with instructions like this one http://joyfulhomemaking.com/2013/02/easy-crochet-scrunchie.html

Go on and give it a try. You might wind up with tons of scrunchies in every color of the rainbow. :-)

Friday, January 01, 2016

Read Brooke Williams!


Brooke Williams is one of the illustrious Prism Book Group authors. I read her book Accept This Dandelion back in March of 2015.  A take-off on a reality show, it was a cute and funny book with a heartwarming end--and I enjoyed it very much even though I never watch reality shows! 

There's now a sequel Dandelions on the Road. In addition Brooke Williams has written Mamarazzi and a Christmas story, Backwards Christmas. Brooke's books are packed with words that will make you smile. ☺ 

Check out Brooke's website at http://www.authorbrookewilliams.com and download her books, which--like all of the Prism Book Group offerings--are very reasonably priced.