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Fiction Groupie Archives

These are my writing posts from my former blog, spanning 2009-2012. To see new writing posts, click on the blog tab above. To see these archived post organized by topic, click "For Writers" above.


6 Reasons Why I'm Moving My Blog

Normally Fridays are reserved for my Fill-Me-In Friday links roundup. But today I wanted to talk about a big change I've decided on. After almost three years, 575 posts, and gaining about 2000 followers through Google Friend Connect and email subscriptions, I've decided that it's time for me to close the Fiction Groupie chapter and move all of my blogging to my main website.


This decision is one I've wrestled with for about six months because I love writing this blog and hanging out with you guys, but juggling two blogs and being limited to only writing topics over here has become a bit too much.


I will still talk about writing and will still be doing the Friday links round up over at my author blog, but the other three days will be broader topics.


Here is my tentative schedule:

  • Monday: Made of Win Monday - where I share simple things to brighten dark Mondays
  • Tuesday: Boyfriend of the Week
  • Wednesday: Writer Wednesday
  • Thursday: Books/Film/Flex Day - No theme so it may be an update on my 50/50 challenge, it may be a guest post, it could be anything.
  • Friday: Fill Me In Friday - This is the regular Fiction Groupie links round up of the best posts I've run across that week.


I also have a brand new, shiny Writer's Resource Page where I've sifted through all 575 of those FicGroupie posts and have pulled out the best articles and organized them by writing topic. It's so purty all organized and stuff *pets*. I will be adding to that page as I write new writing posts as well. But hopefully this will make sifting through the archive painless.



6 Reasons Why I'm Making the Change

1. Long-term home

I hope to be around for a while and if I stay here on a free Blogger account, I am building something on someone else's space. For instance, if someone reports my site as spammy or offensive or whatever, Blogger can take away my blog and give me no access to my archives. The likelihood of that happening is slim, but still a reminder that they have my content, not me.


2. Domain name

It looks more professional to have your blog on your own domain name. 


3The follower count began to be too important

People are impressed by a follower count, which is fine. But when I realized *I* was feeling tied to that follower count, I knew I needed to let it go. I don't do this for some arbitrary number I can stick on a badge. I do this because I like to chat with you guys, debate topics, and share new ideas. I hope most of you will follow me over, but it's not because you're some head of cattle to count.


4. Flexibility

I love writing about writing, publishing, and social networking. But sometimes I have other things I want to talk about. Because this became such a niche blog, I didn't feel comfortable throwing in other topics. The new set up and schedule will allow me to talk about a number of things.


5. Streamlining my life

As things have gotten busier, I've developed a deep need to simplify and streamline my life. Not just online, but in all aspects. And maintaining two blogs on two different platforms was clunky. I want to do everything in one place.


6. Sometimes chapters need to end

This blog's tagline is "Pantsing My Way Through Debut Authorhood". I've tracked everything from my failed first attempt at a novel, my querying process, getting rejected, getting an agent, and finally getting my debut published. There's still a lot ahead, but I do feel like I'm moving into a new chapter. 


So what does this mean for you? Hopefully it means you'll follow me over at the new place. Here's how you do that:





All content copyright of the author. Please ask permission before re-printing or re-posting. Fair use quotations and links do no require prior consent of the author. ©Roni Loren 2009-2012 |Copyright Statement|


Do Blog Tours Sell Books?


Hobart Red Tour Bus
Photo by Simon_sees 

So as most of you know, I've just wrapped up a blog tour for CRASH INTO YOU.  It was roughly 35 stops and spanned about six weeks. It was fun...and freaking exhausting. Writing that many posts about that many different topics and answering comments all while keeping my own two blogs afloat, doing other promo stuff, and trying to draft a novel that's due soon was a bit overwhelming. And that was with hiring Goddess Fish Promotions to do the organizational piece of the blog tour for me--scheduling the stops, giving me the topics, and getting the posts to the right people. (They were fabulous, btw. Very affordable and there's no way I would've been able to manage it all without that help.)


But even with outside help, I found myself having writer's block both for posts and for my WIP. I felt like I was in the middle of a tornado and I couldn't quite get anything done well.  (See last week's post on the 5 Emotional Stages of a Book Launch for more on that.) So now that it's over and I have two more titles to launch this year, I'm left asking the question--was all that work worth it? Is the amount of time the blog tour consumes proportionate to what you get out of it?

I honestly don't know. It obviously doesn't hurt, but it's hard to tell what has an impact on your sales and what doesn't. My gut instinct tells me a review on a book blog is worth much more than a guest post or interview on one. I mean, does hearing me talk about my writing journey or my family life compel new people to try my book?

I know for me as a reader, if I read a guest blog by an author it doesn't necessarily make me want to buy their book. It may expose me to a book I haven't heard of and if it's something I might like, I may buy. But if the book had been reviewed instead of the author interviewed, it would have the same effect--exposure.

Also, as an author, you spend time promoting your blog tour--tweeting posts, linking from your own blog, etc. But that's preaching to the choir. Y'all know me. Y'all know my book. If you haven't bought it already, a guest post somewhere else probably won't compel you to change your mind.

The same goes for blog tour giveaways in my opinion. We're so bombarded with "Free book!" and "Win!" now that it becomes white noise. Yes, there are some people who click and enter every giveaway, but those are often people who aren't going to buy your book if they don't win. They just enjoy the chance to win. And if you give away your own book you're promoting, there are times when people will delay buying to see if they won. That delay could mean you lose the chance of them impulse buying and then you risk them forgetting to buy it when they don't win.

Perhaps I'm just being cynical. Maybe guest posting all across the known interwebs does sell books. But it's definitely hard to measure the ratio of time invested to book sales.

What are your thoughts? Do you think guest posts and interviews sell books? Or do you think a review has more impact? How do you feel about giveaways? What kind of post compels you to buy someone's book?



"Revved up and red-hot sexy, CRASH INTO YOU, delivers a riveting romance!" --Lorelei James, NY Times Bestselling author of the ROUGH RIDERS series



CRASH INTO YOU is now available!

Read an excerpt here.

All content copyright of the author. Please ask permission before re-printing or re-posting. Fair use quotations and links do no require prior consent of the author. ©Roni Loren 2009-2012 |Copyright Statement|



How To Develop a Subplot by Claire Ashgrove

Today I have a special guest for you guys. Claire Ashgrove aka Tori St. Claire was my release day mate with Berkley Heat. But instead of just debuting one book like me, she had TWO books release on the SAME DAY under different names and at different publishers. And I thought I was tired. Whew!

So I'm so happy that she was able to take some time and stop by the blog to talk to us about weaving in subplots. Hope you enjoy!

Developing A Sub-plot
by Claire Ashgrove/Tori St. Claire
Hi, everyone!  I’d like to thank Roni first, for inviting me here today.  She’s my release-date-twin with Berkley Heat (for my erotic romantic suspense as Tori St. Claire, STRIPPED) and since discovering that, I’ve begun following her blog, learned some wonderful tips, and find myself concurring with a large majority of what she writes.  She’s someone to learn from, and I’m thrilled to be stopping in to say hello to all of you.
While I do share a release-date with Roni for STRIPPED, today I want to talk about subplots, and my paranormal romance IMMORTAL HOPE, that also released on January 3.
If you’ve ever read my Inherited Damnation series, you’ll find I am fascinated by subplots.  Not just fascinated, truly addicted.  The deeper, more layered, more intricate, the more I love them.  
So how does an author layer an effective subplot?
Well, in truth, it’s not easy.  And the more you like to subplot, the more difficult it can become.  (My newest proposal required a concept understanding of ten—yes ten!—books to get from point A to point Z) Add in that sometimes layering subplot requires deviating from what’s taught as ‘accepted craft’, and then there’s more hurdles for an author to overcome.  
But it can be done.  The trick is to consider the story you want to tell as a separate story from the one you have to tell.
Yes, well, consider this:  You’re writing romance.  The story you have to tell is a romantic journey between the hero and heroine, internal and external conflict there, and a happily ever after ending.  The story you want to tell is all the stuff going on around them that leads you (likely) to a second, third, even tenth book.  It’s the stuff that affects the world they are in.
If you break them out by separate stories, then you can evaluate the beginning, middle, and end of each.  You can decipher your ongoing conflict, your climax, your resolution for each.  Then, you are able to overlay the story you have to tell (Story A) onto the story you want to tell (Story B).
Once they are overlaid, you can look at the major plot points of Story B, and manipulate them so that they become external conflict points in Story A.  You may have a resolution to Story A, but as your overlay will depict, you have a lot more to tell with Story B, which is where your next book picks up.  The romantic journey for the hero and heroine influence the overall conflict of your main plot, and become goals that must be accomplished for the overall resolution.
I did this with IMMORTAL HOPE, the first book in The Curse of the Templars series. 

Templar knights defied the archangels and unearthed the copper scroll, revealing the gates to hell. Cursed for their forbidden act, they forever roam the earth protecting mankind from evil. But darkness stalks them, and battles they fight bring them ever-closer to eternal damnation. One promise remains to give them salvation – the return of the seraphs.
Embittered by his purpose, Merrick du Loire must honor an ancient pact and bring peace to his cousin’s soul. When he stumbles upon history professor Anne MacPherson, he discovers she possesses a sacred artifact that marks her as a seraph. Duty demands he set aside his personal quest and locate the knight she’s fated to heal. As he struggles with conflicting oaths, Anne arouses buried hope and sparks forbidden desire that challenges everything he’s sworn to uphold. 
Anne has six weeks to complete her thesis on the Knights Templar. When Merrick takes her to the Templar stronghold, he presents her with all she needs—and awakens a soul-deep ache, he alone can soothe. Yet loving Merrick comes with a price. If she admits she's destined for him, her gift of foresight predicts his death.

In this, Story B – the one I wanted to tell – was Azazel’s quest for the relics that would give him the power to overthrow the Almighty.  He needs eight to accomplish the vile deed, which provided a set of steps necessary to accomplish his goal.  He’s my main character.  His antagonists are my protagonists in my individual books.  So that story involved developing what he needs, how he’s going to either get them or fail, and what happens as a result of each step.  Who will oppose him, how they will oppose him, and whether those persons live or die.
Story A – the story I had to tell – was the romance between Merrick du Loire and Anne MacPherson.  To be a romance, we had to have the specific elements required by the genre: boy meets girl, sexual tension, boy gets girl, dark moment where boy loses girl, and then the resolution and HEA.  
What keeps them apart are the same things that work towards Azazel’s goal.  Immortal Hope covers a small portion of time in Story B, as opposed to trying to stuff it all into the same plot.  By using this approach, an author can take time to build necessary world elements, lay the foundation, ground the reader, and extend the life of an idea.
The result was the series concept:
In 1119, nine knights rode with Hughes de Payens to the Holy Land, becoming the Knights Templar. All were bound by marriage or by blood. Eight were recorded over time. The ninth vanished into history.
Beneath the legendary Temple Mount, the knights uncovered holy relics, including the Copper Scroll—a document written by Azazel’s unholy hand. For their forbidden digging, the archangels exacted a sacrifice. The knights would spend eternity battling the demons of Azazel’s creation, but with each vile death they claimed, a portion of darkness would enter their soul. In time, they would transform into knights of Azazel, warriors veined with evil, destined to fight against the Almighty.
Yet an ancient prophecy remained to give them hope. When darkness raped the land, the seraphs would return. Female descendants of the Nephilim would carry the light to heal their dying souls.
Centuries have passed. Azazel’s might grows to intolerable limits. With the acquisition of eight holy relics, he will gain the power to overthrow the Almighty.
Six Templars stand above the rest in duty, honor, and loyalty. But each is haunted by a tragic past, and their darkened souls rapidly near the end. As they battle both the overwhelming power of evil and the nightmares of lives they left behind, the seraphs are more than tools to victory.
They are salvation.
Overlaying two separate stories is only one approach to sub-plotting, but I feel it’s the easiest place to start, and the most basic to explain.  There are dozens of methods, dozens of charts out there to help an author track.  The most important thing to remember?  If you treat a subplot like its own individual book, the stronger and more engaging it will become, and the more room for later opportunity you develop.
Good luck with your writing in 2012! If there’s ever a question about writing you’d like to ask me, feel free to drop me an email anytime.

Claire will be giving away a $25 gift certificate to one randomly drawn commenter during the tour, and a second $25.00 gift certificate to a second randomly drawn commenter at the end of the tour.  Be sure to follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning! Click the Blog Tour badge for a complete list of blog stops.




"Hot and romantic, with an edge of suspense that will keep you entertained.” --Shayla Black, New York Times Bestselling author of SURRENDER TO ME



CRASH INTO YOU is now available!

Read an excerpt here.

All content copyright of the author. Please ask permission before re-printing or re-posting. Fair use quotations and links do no require prior consent of the author. ©Roni Loren 2009-2012 |Copyright Statement|



Fill Me In Friday: Best Writing Links of the Week


It's that time of the week again. Hope everyone had a wonderful week! Here are the best links I've come across in the last few days.


On Writing and Publishing:

The Literary Lab: Who is the Ultimate Authority of a Piece of Fiction?

25 Things Writers Should Know About Agents via Chuck Wendig

Novel Plotting Worksheets | Annie Neugebauer

Jennifer Represents...: The Fine Art of Zipping It, or XYZ PDQ

Reader Reviews and What Not To Do, by @WendySMarcus | Romance University

10 Bestselling Books with 50+ One-Star Reviews - GalleyCat

why Pinterest is totally not a waste of time: creating a visionboard for your novel

The Bookshelf Muse: Do You Need a Social Media Intervention?

The Value Rubric: Do Book Bloggers Really Matter? | Publishing Perspectives

Writability: Why I Don't Auto-Follow Back

No Shame Here | GENREALITY - on not considering any book a "guilty pleasure"

Writing in different genres: A Blog Series | Nicole Basaraba's Uni-Verse-City

Trust Thyself | Kait Nolan - on writer's block

What’s the Problem with FREE? « Kristen Lamb's Blog

Why blog hits DON’T REALLY MATTER | The Red Pen of Doom

The Twitter, it is NOT for selling books | The Red Pen of Doom

What You May Have Missed Here:

What You May Have Missed on the FINAL Week of My Blog Tour:


All right, that's it from my end. What were some of your favorite links of the week?  Have a great weekend!




 “...a sexy, sizzling tale that is sure to have readers begging for more!" –Jo Davis, author of I SPY A DARK OBSESSION


CRASH INTO YOU is now available!

Read an excerpt here.

All content copyright of the author. Please ask permission before re-printing or re-posting. Fair use quotations and links do no require prior consent of the author. ©Roni Loren 2009-2012 |Copyright Statement



The 5 Emotional Stages of a Book Launch

I've almost made it through month one of my debut release. The month has been an exciting, exhausting, and emotional whirlwind. I have lots of blog post ideas spinning through my head about the experience, what I've learned, and what I'd do differently.

But first I thought I'd give you a brief overview of what my debut month looked like.


The Five Emotional Stages of a Book Launch


A Big Smile
Photo by Anil Mohabir
Week One: Book Release Euphoria

You're so damn happy, you can't feel your face anymore because you're smiling so much. Your book is out there! People are talking about it, blogging about it, authors you're a fangirl of are tweeting congrats to you. You walk into your local bookstore and there it is--your book on the freaking shelf! You vacillate widely between wanting to cry and wanting to break out into song in public. You're so busy, you're lucky if you remember to eat and sleep.

facebook engancha
Photo by Olga Palma
Week Two: Obsession

You're guest blogging like a mad woman, responding to comments, tweeting about your blog tour, and trying to do you normal writing too. But that's not why you're at your computer. Nope, you're there because now you're obsessed. What's my Amazon ranking this hour? What are reviewers saying? How many ratings do I have on Goodreads? Ooh, is that a new review? What are people saying about me and my book? I need to google myself again. Must. Check. One. More. Time. It's maddening.

Geo Burn Out-1
Photo via gb_packards
Week Three: Burning Out

This is when the flip side of weeks one and two rears its ugly head. In all your obsession, you've realized not everyone thinks you're made of awesome and sugar cookies. It's inevitable. We anticipate that. Hell, we're writers. We're built on rejection. How much did we see to get to this point? But anticipating it and seeing it on the interwebs are two different things. Rejection up to this point hasn't felt personal. It's been more like structured feedback or the general "no thanks" from the agent. But online, people have no qualms about making it personal, saying mean things, or even making assumptions about what kind of person you are. Maybe one day that stuff just rolls off, but at least for me, I found it affecting my mood and distracting me from whatever I was supposed to be working on. (I'll blog about this in more depth another day.)

Felix hiding under the covers
Photo via Tracey Adams 
Week Four: Collapsing in Exhaustion and Cocooning

You're tired. Really bone tired, but also creatively and emotionally drained. You crave to get back to your routine and your life. For me, this meant a bit of cocooning or insulating myself. I stepped away from the week two obsession. If someone brings my attention to a review, I'll read it. Otherwise, I don't need to go out and see everything anyone has ever said about me or the book. And I don't need to say yes to everything.

Balance of nature
Photo by James Jordan
Week Five: Finding Balance and Re-Focusing on Why You're Doing This In the First Place

You realize the reason why you're doing all this stuff is because you love to write. You would like to make a living doing it. So you back away from all the hoopla and get back to your keyboard and your story. I'm not totally here yet, but I'm hoping by next week I will be, lol.
So those are my thoughts after four weeks, about 50 blog posts (counting guest posts and my own blogs), comment answering, completing copy edits on two books, plus trying to draft another with a tight deadline. *downs a shot of tequila* 

So what do you think? If you're published, have you experienced any of this? If you're hoping to get published, what do you think will be your biggest challenge during your book release? 



"Revved up and red-hot sexy, CRASH INTO YOU, delivers a riveting romance!" --Lorelei James, NY Times Bestselling author of the ROUGH RIDERS series



CRASH INTO YOU is now available!

Read an excerpt here.


All content copyright of the author. Please ask permission before re-printing or re-posting. Fair use quotations and links do no require prior consent of the author. ©Roni Loren 2009-2012 |Copyright Statement|