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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.

Entries in writers (59)


Speak Out With Your Geek Out: My Contribution

September 12 - 16, 2011
Today's post is not about writing, well not directly anyway. Today I'm participating in the campaign Speak Out with Your Geek Out. When I first saw the info about this earlier in the week via Chuck Wendig's blog, I knew I had to participate.

Definitely go here and learn what's it's all about. But to give you the gist, it's a week (Sept. 12-16) of celebrating why it's great to be different, to be you, and to be a geek. A week to show that we, the geeks of the world, can be positive role models. A week to share what hobbies and interests make you all giddy inside.

So I know it's going to come as a shock, but I wasn't in the popular crowd in school. I know, it's breaking news. *snort* I was, and still am, the quiet girl who would rather read a book than hang out at a party. I've always kept a very small group of friends (fellow geeks usually) who I can relax and be my dorky self around.  

In school, I kind of learned to hide the more "uncool" aspects of myself or my hobbies. I don't think I even told anyone that I was writing a book sophomore year even though that was all I thought about. My goal was to blend in. If you blended in, no one made fun of you, you just went unnoticed, which was fine by me. Well, except when it came to boys, I would've liked to have been noticed by them a little more, lol. But alas, I had no one to take me to junior prom, I didn't have my first date until 16--and even then it wasn't someone I met through school, and I tended to get caught in the "friend" zone with guys.

But even with all that, I never wanted to be someone else or be in the popular crowd. I didn't like what they liked, I didn't understand how they acted, and I knew if somehow I worked my way into that group, I'd be totally bored. So in a way, I've always been pretty damn comfortable with being a geek. 

And as I've grown older, I've learned to wear it more as a badge of honor than something to hide. The people I love and respect the most in my life are oddballs too. My parents, my husband, my closest friends.

And that may be part of the reason that when I found out my son may be diagnosed with high-functioning autism or Asperger's (he's still getting evaluated), I didn't totally freak out. Everything I read about Asperger's says things like--they have intense interest in certain subjects, they are often wildly smart, they don't understand or play the social games that others play, they can be brutally honest. And really, I don't wish this for him because if this is what he has, his life will be more difficult. But on the other hand, what's wrong with having passionate interests, with being honest, with not engaging in those social games we use to manipulate each other? It's sounds oddly similar to being a "geek".

So when people find out that he's being evaluated for this and say "Oh, I'm so sorry." I think to myself--don't be, it's going to be okay. He's amazing. My kid has been reading since two and a half, he knows the makes and models of every car that passes on the road at age 4, he has a photographic memory that absolutely stuns me. The fact that he hasn't yet figured out how to have a social conversation is okay. We'll get there.

So when I say I'm proud to be a geek and to know and love geeks, I mean it. Being "like everyone else" doesn't appeal to me at all. Who wants to be generic? *shudders*

Therefore, here is my contribution to Speaking Out with My Geek Out. These are things that I geek out over:
  • Books (duh)
  • Writing related things like conferences and craft books (also duh)
  • Cooking (Don't even ask me how many cookbooks I have. My favorite gift my husband gave me on our first Christmas was a fancy can opener. And a trip to the gourmet grocery store gets me giddy.)
  • 80s hair metal (Yes, I'm the girl who is still going to see Motley Crue, Poison, Def Lepard, etc. in concert on a regular basis.)
  • New Kids on the Block (yes, still.)
  • 80s movies (I'm highly nostalgic in general.)
  • Guitar Hero (me on Guitar, hubs on drums)
  • Office supplies (hours can be lost in a Staples)
  • Romantic movies and TV Shows (Things like pulling out my DVDs and watching all the seasons of Dawson's Creek or Friends over a multi-month marathon or watching Dirty Dancing for the bazillionth time.)
  • IKEA (do I have to explain this one?)
  • LSU Football (my friends used to want to go to the games to socialize, but I spent my time yelling at bad calls and acting like the boys)
  • Weather (totally fascinated by it)

The list could go on, but I won't bore you. : ) Hell, I'm surprised you've read this far. 

So if you consider yourself a geek, wave that flag proud. If I hadn't been such a nerd about reading and writing in high school, I never would've ended up with a career I absolutely totally adore. If all the boys had fallen at my feet, I wouldn't have had the need to conjure up romantic fictional stories in my head. My weirdness has served me well.

fishingboatproceeds:Gah it happened twice! This is coming to you directly from the tumblr of Wil Wheaton. 

Do you consider yourself a geek? What do you geek out about? What hobbies/interests did you/do you keep under wraps until you trust the person? And if you decide to join this campaign with a post, feel free to leave a link in the comments!

"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 for pre-order!
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 2009-2011 |Copyright Statement|


Voice Matters: Does Yours Fit Your Genre? by Ashley March

Hello, all! It's genre Monday and today I have the lovely and talented Ashley March, historical romance author extraordinaire, to talk with us about the ever-important voice.

Take it away, Ashley...




Voice Matters by Ashley March
I recently decided to try to write my first contemporary romance. I had great characters, a great storyline, and I figured it would be as easy to write as my usual Victorian romances. However, I realized very quickly that I had a big problem I never expected: I couldn’t find my contemporary romance voice.
We’ve all heard that each author has their own voice, but I believe that each author also has their own genre/sub-genre voice. Authors who write both romance and YA aren’t going to have the same voice, and the same is true for authors who write both historical and contemporary romance. As I struggled with finding my voice for contemporary romance, I realized that this is something I don’t often hear writers talking about. But the truth is this: voice matters not only as a means of making you stand out from among the crowd, but also as a means of putting you in the right crowd.
I’m a writer who believes in giving back to other writers and the writing community, and one of the ways I do this is by sometimes critiquing partials or fulls of pre-published writers. Often one of the comments that I have to make time and time again is that the writer’s voice sounds anachronistic. They’re using words that wouldn’t have been used in a certain period, or sometimes, even if those words were used, the phrasing simply sounds modern. As someone who pays a lot of attention to words—not only which words are chosen, but the rhythm of words, or how they sound when read—I know there’s a difference that can be seen in the voice of historical romance authors versus the voice of other romance sub-genres, and this difference is important. Not only can the right voice for a genre/sub-genre help the story feel more authentic, it can also help draw your reader more quickly into your story.
I thought this point would best be made through examples.
Here is a contemporary excerpt
(from Teresa Medeiros’ GOODNIGHT, TWEETHEART):
According to the page that popped up, Abby was now Abby_Donovan and she already had seventeen Followers. Having "Followers" made her feel like some sort of kooky religious cult leader. An empty box invited her to answer one simple question—"What's happening?"


Her fingers hovered over the keys, torn between typing, "None of your business" and "I'm sipping Cristal on the beach at St. Tropez with Brad Pitt."

Sighing, she finally settled on the truth: "I'm feeling sorry for myself." She hit the Update button and waited.

Here is a historical excerpt
(from Teresa Medeiros’ THE DEVIL WEARS PLAID):

For the first time since he'd muscled his way into the abbey, the stranger's mocking gaze flicked toward her. Even that brief glance was enough to bring a flush stinging to Emma's fair cheeks. Especially since his words held the undeniable and damning ring of truth.


This time it was almost a relief when Ian Hepburn once again sought to impose himself between them. "You may mock us and pretend to be avenging your ancestors as you always do," he said, a sneer curling his upper lip, "but everyone on this mountain knows that the Sinclairs have never been anything more than common cutthroats and thieves. If you and your ruffians have come to divest my uncle's guests of their jewels and purses, then why don't you bloody well get on with it and stop wasting your breath and our time?"

*** End of excerpts***
            I specifically chose one author who writes different sub-genres because I don’t believe showing excerpts from two authors writing different sub-genres would be fair for our analysis. We need a real-world example of how an author uses voice to draw a reader into the specific genre/sub-genre she’s writing.
            As you can see above, Teresa Medeiros’ contemporary voice is far different from her historical voice. If I were going to describe her contemporary voice, I would call it light-hearted in comparison to her historical voice. The change can be seen in the way the sentences are structured as well as the words chosen and, I would also say, the way the author engages the reader. The contemporary makes me feel as if the heroine could be my best friend, while the historical invites me to be the heroine that could make such a hero fall deeply in love. One is light and flirtatious; the other denser and more dramatic. If we were comparing movies, I would say that it’s the difference between You’ve Got Mail and Jane Eyre. This doesn’t mean that all contemporaries are light—because they’re not—and it doesn’t mean that all historicals are comparatively darker—because they’re not.
            What it does mean, however, is that writing a historical isn’t as simple as researching a certain place during a certain time and writing the story that goes along with it. You must find your historical voice, and you must know your readers’ expectations for what a historical voice sounds like.
            The following are recommendations for several historical romance authors with very strong voices. You’re not supposed to try to model your voice after theirs, but you should read them. Analyze what is different about their voices and what is the same. Reading in your genre/sub-genre is always important to know your market, but with the historical romance sub-genre in particular, part of the escape into the historical world is having a historical voice. If you want to write historical romance, I would say that developing a historical voice is equally as important as doing research in terms of bringing a feeling of authenticity to your writing. Don’t be fooled into thinking you don’t need one.
Recommendations for historical authors with strong voices:
Lisa Kleypas (try Dreaming of You or Devil in Winter)
This month’s must-read recommendation for both strong voice and for being a nearly perfect historical romance is Joanna Bourne’s THE FORBIDDEN ROSE.
 The Forbidden Rose (Berkley Sensation Historical Romance)
A glittering French aristocrat is on the run, disguised as a British governess. England's top spy has a score to settle with her family. But as they're drawn inexorably into the intrigue and madness of Revolutionary Paris, they gamble on a love to which neither of them will admit.
How important is voice to you as a reader and as a writer? If you’ve written in different genres/sub-genres, what tips and tricks do you use for changing your voice appropriately?
Ashley March is a baby-induced sleep-deprived romance author who lives in Colorado with her husband and two young daughters. Her newest Victorian historical romance, ROMANCING THE COUNTESS, is a love story about an earl and his best friend’s wife who are drawn together after their spouses—who were having an affair—die in a carriage accident. Her approach to the romance genre and the books she writes can be seen in the tagline on her website: Choose love. Hope in love. Believe in love.


Romancing the Countess (Signet Eclipse)
And Ashley has a new book out this month--Romancing the Countess (Signet Eclipse)! Go let her know how thankful we are for her sharing her insight with us by buying her super fabulous books!



“...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 for pre-order!

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 2009-2011 |Copyright Statement|



Fill-Me-In Friday


This week was a short online week for me because of the holiday and the fact that I had company in town over the weekend. So my favorite links list is a bit short this week and I'm sure I missed some good ones out there. So hopefully you can fill me in with your favorites too.


But first I do want to let you know that I have been interviewed and am answering such saucy questions as What is you favorite non-digital writing tool?--a dangerous question to ask an erotic romance author! To see the answer and lots more Q & A about writing and social networking, stop by Amy Beth Inverness's site.

Alright, now for the links...

On Writing:

Who Wrote It? Author Franchises by Julie Glover

Social Media and Your Author Brand over at Writers in the Storm <--great list of hashtags for writers included

Why Are So Many Literary Writers Shifting Into Genre? at The Millions

How To Build a Loyal Twitter Following by James Killick

Agent Jenny Bent on Why Social Media Savvy Is So Important

25 Things You Should Know About Synopses, Queries, and Treatments by Chuck Wendig (R-rated language included)

Have You Given Yourself Permission? by Jami Gold

For Fun:

Spark Facts (in which Nicholas Sparks is roasted) over at Evil Wylie which includes such tidbits as: "Nicholas Sparks once delivered a woman's baby during a reading, then signed the baby."

What You Missed on my Author Blog:


What You May Have Missed Here:

(my guest post at Janice Hardy's blog)



And for those of you who are interested in following my Tumblr, here is my fave pic of the week from over there. *Remember this is an 18+ site and is sometimes NSFW unless you work from home like me ;) 

So there's my update, what are some of your favorite links this week? 




“...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 for pre-order!

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 2009-2011 |Copyright Statement|


Building a Following: The Four Types of Bloggers


Photo by Matthew Hine (click pic for link)

Today I feel a bit like Casey Kasem--I'm blogging by request. : ) Shain Brown asked if I would mind blogging about how I found my niche as a blogger, which is a great topic idea. So Shain, (*said in my best Casey Kasem voice) here is your request and dedication...

There is a lot of information out there about building your social media presence and your author brand. You can hear from experts from every walk of life. And oftentimes, you hear conflicting points of view, which can leave you frustrated and unsure of what direction to go in.

I most often refer you guys to Kristen Lamb because I think she really focuses on what works best for writers. However, as I've noted before, I've broken many of her suggestions. My biggest one being that I created a blog for writers vs. something more broad that could attract both writers and readers.

I totally see her point about why blogging about writing exclusively kind of paints you into a corner. It's put me in the position to where I now have two blogs because I don't want to do a bait and switch with you guys and move away from the reason you signed up to follow this blog in the first place.

But here's the deal: This blog wouldn't have the following that it does if I hadn't made this a niche blog.

If you are trying to build a presence online, you are going to get a lot more traction by keeping a specific focus then you will being all over the place. People like to know what they're getting when they come to a blog. Consistency = following and Consistency + Great author voice = Magic

So hopefully you guys enjoy my voice and style and that's part of the reason you read my posts, but ultimately you probably come here to get writing and publishing info. If that weren't the case, then all of you would've hopped over to follow my author blog as well. But you haven't because you may not be interested in things like Boyfriend of the Week or Sappy Sunday. : ) And that's fine. That's one of the reasons why I didn't merge the blogs in the first place.

But before you get all freaked out if you don't have a niche or clear focus, also give some thought to what you want from your blog and what you want your blog to be.


Four Types of Bloggers


Group Hug
Community Blogger

Purpose: If you are blogging mainly to connect with other writers who are on the same journey as you so that you can all provide mutual support and cheerleading for each other, then you may be a community blogger. You are blogging as part of a specific community. You each comment on each other's blogs.

Action Plan: You don't need to have such a tight focus or niche. You're hanging out with friends and any topic is fair game.

Benefits: You can build a very loyal, very supportive group that you feel totally connected with.

Drawbacks: You may have trouble building a massive following. Posts about your word count or how far you are in your goals probably are not going to get lots of retweets or traction.



Photo by Irish Hunnyb
Information/Niche Blogger

Purpose: You are providing information or service for your reader. Maybe that's writing tips like this blog or maybe it's giving book reviews or keeping people up to date on the latest movie releases.

Action Plan: This is where a niche is helpful. What types of information, advice, or tips are you going to give? Make sure you blog in a way that gives people a takeaway when they read your post. You give them some nugget they can deposit in their mental bank after they close your post.

Benefits: If you are giving good information, you can build a significant following because people know they are going to get something worthwhile most of the time when they visit you.

Drawbacks: It can restrict you in your topics and you may only be appealing to a specific group. If you go too far afield from your main niche, you will lose follower engagement.




Photo by Andres Rodriguez

Entertainment Blogger

Purpose: Most often, this blogger's purpose is to make you laugh--that's your takeaway.


Action Plan: You can have a niche (like Chuck Wendig) or you can be more broad in your topics while keeping humor the theme (like Tawna Fenske).

Benefits: People love to laugh, so you can get a lot of followers and interest in your posts. You're not limited to a tight niche on topic because humor and your voice are the binding element.

Drawbacks: Being funny all the time can be hard. And if you don't have a natural talent for it, it can come across as forced.


floating typewriter poster
Photo by J E Theriot
Established Author Blogger

Purpose: These bloggers already have their books out there and followers typically come to them BECAUSE of their books.


Action Plan: This is when niche can go out the window. YOU are now the niche. You can write about the tomatoes in your garden and fans will be interested in seeing a peek into your life. However, the authors who stand out in this group are the ones who aren't just writing about their tomatoes. They are the ones who can attract non-fans to their sites based on their blog and THEN get them to buy their book. Think John Green, Seth Godin, etc. This last group is what we all should strive to be once we're published.

Benefit: When done right, you can engage with your current fans and make new ones who may have never thought of buying your book.

Drawback: Easy to get complacent and just phone in your blog.

So there is no wrong or right type of blog to go with. You just have to know what your goal is and what you want your followers to get from your blog. And obviously, if you do any of these types and have a boring voice or don't engage in conversation with your readers, then you won't get traction regardless. Connecting with others is the first goal no matter how you go about doing it.

I could write a ton more about this, but I'm going to stop before I ramble on too long. : )

So what type of blogger are you? Which type do you hope to be? Which kind do you prefer to read? And do you think having a niche is important?


"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 for pre-order!

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 2009-2011 |Copyright Statement|



Save the Pantser! A Solution for Pantsers with Plotter Envy

Today I'm a guest over at Janice Hardy's awesome writing blog, The Other Side of the Story. I would love for y'all to stop by and say hi.


“...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 for pre-order!

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 2009-2011 |Copyright Statement|


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