Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Wednesday Writers Tips - How boys can write girl-talk



Last Wednesday I reviewed On Writing Romance by Leigh Michaels and gave an excerpt of her chapter on Writing Realistic Dialogue, or how girls can write boy-talk. This week I am including an excerpt on how boys can write girl-talk.  

Women tend to sympathize and share experiences.

From On Writing Romance - How To Craft A Novel That Sells by Leigh Michaels. In Chapter Twelve - Writing Dialogue and Introspection, subheading Gender-Specific Dialogue, Ms. Michaels has advice for men writing heroines' dialogue.

Writing a character of the opposite gender can be difficult, but if you check it against this list, your dialogue will be more convincing.

Check for advice. Women tend to sympathize and share experiences rather than give advice. Can you add empathy to your character's reactions and have her talk about similar things that happened to her, rather than tell someone what he should do? 
Check for bragging. Women tend to talk about their accomplishments and themselves in a self-deprecating fashion rather than a boastful one. Can you rephrase her comment in order to make them laugh at herself?   
Check for aggressiveness. Women tend to be indirect and manipulative; even an assertive woman usually considers the effect her statement is likely to have before she makes it. Can you add questions to her dialogue, or add approval-seeking comments and suggestions that masquerade as questions?

There are three more checks to make, too.

Check for details. Women notice styles; they know what colors go together (and which don't)... Check for emotions. Women tend to bubble over with emotion, with the exception that they're generally hesitant to express anger... Check for obliviousness. Womennotice and interpret facial expressions and body language, and they maintain eye contact.

More detail in the book, and the following from last week hold true for men writing women, too.

To write realistic dialogue, Ms. Michaels suggests: Eavesdrop (politely) as real people talk. Can you guess their relationship? Write dialogue and check it against the checklist. Read your dialogue aloud. Listen to someone else read your dialogue aloud.

This chapter (and the book) is chock full of great writing advice. And don't fret guys, there's advice for men writing women's dialogue. I'll post those tips next Wednesday.

I have several flags marking places to return to to study more in my copy of this book.

On Writing Romance by Leigh Michaels

I also reviewed the chapter on Maintaining Tension. I don't usually review the same book more than but I found last Wednesday's tip left such an impression on me that I wanted to share it, and I didn't want to leave the guys out so I had to post this week's tip, too.

My writing craft bookshelf.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Twelfth Sun by Mae Clair now available


My good on-line writing buddy, Mae Clair, has a new novel now available. Loved her first novel, Weathering Rock. Can't wait to read this one. ~Christy


by
If you haven't heard the news yet which several of my friends have been so wonderful to announce, my new release a contemporary romance/mystery showed up early on Amazon, B&N and Kobo. It's on iBooks for preorder and will be available there this Thursday.

So what's it about?

An older woman, a younger man, a reclusive billionaire, a lavish seaside mansion and a treasure hunt.  I had a lot of fun writing this one and hope you'll give it a look-see.

Here's the link for Amazon if you're interested:

Thanks, friends! 
Mae Clair

Friday, July 26, 2013

Friday Features - Aloha Chicken Sliders



All I can say is YUMMMM! ~Christy


Create Memorable Meals the Hawaiian Way

(Family Features) The longer, sunny days of summer offer the perfect opportunity to get together with friends and family for flavorful meals from the grill. To host a get-together the Hawaiian way – where all of your friends, family and neighbors feel special – focus on a few well-chosen elements to make even the most spontaneous gathering seem like a carefully orchestrated event.

Start with the buns
The most experienced grill chefs know selecting the right bun is just as important as what goes inside. King’s Hawaiian, the family-owned company known for its original Hawaiian sweet bread products, offers a lineup of Hamburger Buns, Sandwich Buns and Rolls to please burger-loyalists and slider-connoisseurs alike.

Serve-up scrumptious fillings
Once you have a great bun, there are endless ways to fill them. Try a light, fluffy and sweet bread to complement savory grilled burgers. Soft and sweet dinner rolls make the perfect pick for sliders. These small buns are great for grilled mini burgers or for something more exotic, such as this recipe for Hawaiian-style Aloha Chicken Sliders. For an added touch, quickly toast the hamburger buns and rolls on the grill for just a few seconds to create an irresistible combination of crispiness and sweetness. For other great summertime recipes, visit www.KingsHawaiian.com/recipes.

Provide delicious drinks and appetizers
While you’re tending to the grill, keep your hungry guests happy with appetizers and beverages. Serve a classic spinach dip in a hollowed out sweet round bread. Treat them to tropical beverages like the ever-popular Mai Tai or the specialty of the islands, POG, made from passion fruit, orange, and guava juices.


Aloha Chicken Sliders
Yield: 12 servings, 1 slider per serving

1          can crushed pineapple
1/4       cup soy sauce
1          clove garlic, minced
1          inch piece ginger, peeled and minced
1          teaspoon sesame oil
3          chicken breasts
2          tablespoon crushed pineapple
1/2       cup mayonnaise
1          teaspoon rice wine vinegar
3          slices provolone cheese, cut into 4 pieces
12        tomato slices
            Lettuce
            King’s Hawaiian Original Hawaiian Sweet Dinner Rolls

Open pineapple can and reserve two tablespoons for mayo.

Place pineapple, soy sauce, garlic, ginger and sesame oil in zip-top bag and mix well.

For sliders, slice each breast into four pieces and place into bag. Remove air from bag, seal and place in fridge for 6-8 hours. In small bowl, stir together two tablespoons pineapple, mayonnaise and vinegar.

Heat grill to high. Grill sliders for four minutes on each side. Top with cheese.

Cut rolls in half. Spread bottom of roll with pineapple mayonnaise; add tomato slice, lettuce, chicken and the top of roll.

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

Wednesday Writers Tips - How girls can write boy-talk


Dang, I hit SAVE instead of PUBLISH. Sorry if you followed my links and got nowhere... here it is now. 

Men tend to make statements rather than ask questions.

I came across this revelation few years ago and it has stuck in my head so that every time I write a man's dialogue I think of this advice. Thing is, I couldn't remember which of my books it came from. Then last night, as I was flipping through one of my books, serindipity! There it was.

I tried this advice with one of my Beta Heroes and, wow, it made him stronger and more sure of himself. I couldn't believe the difference knowing this one little tip had on my hero.

So today's tip is for women writing male dialogue. It is from On Writing Romance - How To Craft A Novel That Sells by Leigh Michaels. In Chapter Twelve - Writing Dialogue and Introspection, subheading Gender-Specific Dialogue, Ms. Michaels has advice for women writing heroes' dialogue.

Writing a character of the opposite gender can be difficult, but if you check it against this list, your dialogue will be more convincing.

Check for questions. Men tend to request specific information, rather than ask rhetorical questions. If your hero's questions can't be answered with a brief response, can you rephrase them? Instead of asking questions at all, can he make statements?
Check for explanations. Men tend to resist explaining; they generally don't volunteer justification for what they do. If you need him to explain, can you give a reason why he must?
Check for feelings. Men tend to share feelings only if stressed or forced; they're more likely to show anger than any other emotion. They generally don't volunteer feelings. If you need your hero to spill how he's feeling, can you make it more painful for him to not talk than to share his emotions?

There are three more checks to make, too.

Check for details. Men tend not to pay close attention to details. Check for abstractions. Men tend to avoid euphemisms, understatements, comparisons and metaphors. Check for approval-seeking behavior. Men tend to be direct rather than ask for validation of approval. 

More detail in the book, of course.

To write realistic dialogue, Ms. Michaels suggests: Eavesdrop (politely) as real people talk. Can you guess their relationship? Write dialogue and check it against the checklist. Read your dialogue aloud. Listen to someone else read your dialogue aloud.

This chapter (and the book) is chock full of great writing advice. And don't fret guys, there's advice for men writing women's dialogue. I'll post those tips next Wednesday.

I have several flags marking places to return to to study more in my copy of this book.

On Writing Romance by Leigh Michaels

I also reviewed the chapter on Maintaining Tension. I don't usually review the same book twice but I found this Wednesday's tip left such an impression on me that I wanted to share it, too.

My writing craft bookshelf.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Friday Features - Mom's WINNER Tuna, Couscous and Artichoke Salad

My mother was watching a cooking show and wrote down a tuna salad recipe then realized she didn't have all the ingredients, but she did have some. So she made up a recipe with what she had. 

And it's a WINNER! I love this tuna salad. We ate almost all of it for dinner, just the two of us. 

MOM'S WINNER TUNA, COUSCOUS & ARTICHOKE SALAD



Serves 4 for main dish or 6 for a side. 

1  cup dry pearl couscous
1  6 oz. can tuna in water, drained
1  14 oz. can artichoke quarters, drained
1  5.3 oz container Chavrie mild goat cheese
1/2  cup almonds, chopped
4 - 6  whole romain leaves, trimmed and washed

Cook couscous according to package instructions, fluff with a fork and put in fridge to cool. 
Mix remaining ingredients in a bowl, add couscous and mix well. Serve on one or or two romain leaves. 

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Wednesday Writers Tips - Authorpreneurs

I consider my self an aspiring Authorpreneur. Someone who builds a business around their writing. I write, format, design and publish books. But I don't do it all myself. I have a beta reader, a professional editor and a proofreader. And a world-wide web full of tutors.
I like having control of my product. And I like, at my age, not having to wait five, ten, twenty years for traditional publication.
With this comes responsibility. Responsibly to my readers to produce the best books I can. To do that I study and research not only for my current manuscript, but also the craft of writing, publishing and marketing.
Tonight's book is Becoming an Authorpreneur - Navigating A 21st-Century Career in Publishing by Kris Tualla.
If you're considering becoming an Indie Author or have already joined the club, or you are traditionally published looking for ways to promote your brand, this book has a lot of information for you.
Part One defines an Authorpreneur, discusses options, covers product quality, and social media.
Part Two covers options for publishing your book.

Here is Ms. Tualla's definition of an Authorpreneur:

An Authorpreneur is an author who actively promotes their brand through a variety of outlets such as:
  • websites, blogs and social media,
  • promotional materials both in print and on line, 
  • opportunities to speak,
  • generating media coverage,
  • teaching other authors in person or online, 
  • making in-person connections with readers,
  • creating a unique business plan to facilitate their product and their career.
But an Authorpreneur isn't necessarily an independent author.
She goes on to say:
Which authors today should consider themselves an authorpreneur?
The answer is simple: ANY author publishing through ANY publisher, through ANY format, and through ANY outlet, must consider themselves in business for themselves.

I have a nice collection of writers' craft books on all these subjects. I'm also a sharing person, I guess you could say I like to help others answer their questions. When I find a nugget that helps clarify something for me, I'm sure it will help someone else, too.


Authorpreneurs and other books on my bookshelf.

I have the paperback edition of this book.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Friday Features - Breakfast "Muffins" - Upside-Down Breakfast Stacks


Next month my family will visiting and I'm looking for ideas for breakfast that will work considering everyone gets up at different times. I've made egg, ham and cheese "muffins" before so when I saw this recipe with the addition of pancake I saved it. 
The thing I like about these kind of "muffins" is, if you aren't expecting company, you can make a bunch and stash them in the fridge then pull one or two out for breakfast when you're rushed to get to work. Zap them just enough to heat, too much and they get tough. 
~ Christy

Upside-Down Breakfast Stacks
Yield: 6 stacks
Prep Time: 15 min
Cook Time: 15 min














Crisco® Original No-Stick Cooking Spray
3          large eggs, lightly beaten
6          fully cooked sausage patties OR
6          vegetable sausage patties
3/4       cup Hungry Jack® Complete Buttermilk Pancake & Waffle Mix 
1/2       cup water
            Shredded sharp cheddar or pepper jack cheese (optional)
            Hungry Jack Original Syrup
           

Preparation Directions:
1.     HEAT oven to 375°F. Coat 6 muffin cups or glass custard cups generously with no-stick cooking spray.

2.     DIVIDE eggs evenly into prepared muffin cups. Top with sausage patty. Whisk pancake mix and water together in medium bowl until smooth. Pour evenly over sausage.

3.     BAKE 14 to 16 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 2 minutes. Invert onto baking sheet. Sprinkle immediately with cheese, if desired. Serve warm with syrup.


Bring Back Breakfast
This Weekend, Spend the Most Important Meal of the Day with the Most Important People in Your Life

Baseball practices, dance rehearsals, school work, and other weekday activities often make family mealtime seem like a thing of the past.

If you’re looking for ways your family can spend more quality time together, consider bringing back breakfast this weekend.

Enjoying each other’s company and a delicious breakfast is the perfect opportunity for your family to reconnect. Use the added time weekend mornings provide to prepare a wonderful, warm meal for your family to sit down and create lasting memories. Make your morning meal a weekend tradition the whole family can look forward to all week long.

Here are some easy tips to help make breakfast a family occasion:

Make Breakfast Special – Each week, request that a family member choose a fun theme for the breakfast table. From sports teams to movie themes to favorite colors - you’ll see that the choices are endless and they can inspire creative breakfast menus.

Find Some Breakfast Helpers – Let the whole family practice their cooking skills by helping you in the kitchen. Serve foods that are easy to dress up, like Hungry Jack® pancakes. Sometimes the simple pleasure of a warm plate of pancakes is all you need to create the perfect start to your weekend mornings together.

Create Breakfast Menu Magic – The sky is the limit when you have extra time to craft a hearty breakfast, so serve a variety of foods your family will love. You can’t go wrong with breakfast classics – from fresh veggie and egg dishes to the warm, fluffy goodness of a stack of Hungry Jack pancakes. Does your family enjoy creating breakfast masterpieces? Try these Upside-Down Breakfast Stacks, made with Hungry Jack pancakes, sausage patties, cheddar cheese and eggs, for a magical take on an ordinary meal.

For more recipes and breakfast tips to bring families together on the weekends, visit www.hungryjack.com.


©/® The J.M. Smucker Company

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Wednesday Writers Tips - Archetypes

I've found this book very helpful when I want to create characters that will play off each other.

The Complete Writer's Guide to Heroes & Heroines - Sixteen Master Archetypes by Tami D. Cowden, Caro LaFever, Sue Viders.

It starts with Section I, a list of Hero Archetypes: The Chief, The Bad Boy, The Best Friend, The Charmer, The Lost Soul, The Professor, The Swashbuckler, and The Warrior.

Then Section II, a list of Heroine Archetypes: The Boss, The Seductress, The Spunky Kid,
The Free Spirit, The Waif, The Librarian, The Crusader, The Nurturer.

Each archetype is explained, listing his/her qualities, virtues, flaws, background, and occupations. Sidebars on each page give examples of well-known movie heroes/heroines and other characters in literature both historic and modern.

Section III takes you through Using Archetypes to Create Characters and Section IV covers Archetype Interactions. This thorough chapter shows how a hero of one archetype reacts with a heroine of another archetype, giving you seemingly endless combinations where you can find the spark that could start your next Best Seller!

This quote, or writers tip, is from Section IV, Archetype Interactions.

Perfection is not only unattainable; it makes for a boring story -- and boring characters. During the course of a story, heroes and heroines not only encounter external obstacles, they have to deal with an internal conflict. On their journey, they must overcome some aspect of their personalities in order to survive and win the day.
During the discussion of the archetypes, it was noted that each one, male and female, has its own inherent flaws. By keeping these inherent flaws in mind while creating new characters, a writer can more easily produce meaningful and appropriate emotional hurdles for the heroes and heroines to overcome. Whether the writer uses a core archetype, an evolving archetype or a layered one [all explained in another chapter], the intrinsic failings of each archetype are the basic building blocks of plot. 

I wasn't sure if my current H&h are The Bad Boy and The Crusader, or The Lost Soul and The Librarian. But when I read The Bad Boy and The Librarian, I knew it was them. This book helped explain what I'd already felt about my characters, and now will help me "flesh them out".


Heroes & Heroines

See more Writers How To Books on my bookshelf.