Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Do not disturb

When it comes to writing, I send the cameras packing when things progress sexually with my characters. Why do I put out the “do not disturb sign”? Because for me, the hottest moments are before the couple has sex. Yes, sex sells, but unresolved sexual tension keeps you invested, on the edge of your seat, waiting. Anticipation is always more exciting than the reality of the thing you are anticipating. There is even some science to back this up. Read about this interesting vacation study.

Growing up I loved old movies, where the hottest scenes were before the kiss. Witty banter and small significant touches and looks made sparks fly. The scene with Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed in “It’s a Wonderful Life”, where they are on the phone together, right before they kiss, is totally charged! It is HOT! Another example are the characters Mulder and Scully, who made holding hands hotter than the ever popular “Friends” Ross and Rachel kiss. In my opinion at least.

Don’t get me wrong, I love a good romance novel, but I always enjoyed the unresolved sexual tension and the build up to the romantic event better than the main event. Am I an old-fashion girl? Naive, out of touch, with what the world of readers want? Maybe. But I like to believe that there are others out there, that like me still get giddy over the little things: a longing look across the room, a shy smile or an innocent touch of the hand.

What are your thoughts and opinions on this? Chime in!

Saturday, March 21, 2015

My cover and the girl behind the silhouette.

When I started thinking about what I wanted for my cover I had a few ideas:

1) Simple
2) Silhouette
3) Red
From the beginning I knew I wanted something simple without a lot of details. Like this cover. I scoured Amazon and Google images looking at different covers in my genre to get ideas for the direction that I wanted going to go. After searching far and wide, I decided I would go with one color and a silhouette.

I wanted the silhouette to be special, so I asked my photographer friend to take a profile picture of one of my friends. We turned that photo into the silhouette you see today. I love that every time I look at the book cover I see the familiar features of someone I love dearly. So much better than buying some stock art silhouette.

The color red is a big theme in my book, so I decided to use it for my cover. I studied red covers for several weeks and decided that plain red, wouldn't work. This is when I decided on using the finger print as texture for the cover.

I took these concepts to a friend, who was a marketing guru in her past life (i.e. before kids). She put together a couple of mock-ups that I really loved. She mentioned that one of the parents at her kid's school made book covers for a living and that she was interested in meeting with me. So one night, she introduced me to Tamara Dever, co-owner and founder of TLC Graphics. Tamara was able to take the original concept and mock-up and bring it up a couple of notches. We went back and forth a few times before settling on the design that you see today.

While working on my book, I have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of help and support from friends and strangers alike. This experience has been a tremendous blessing. I look forward to sharing my labor of love with the rest of the world.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Seasons: 18 years of suspense

Eighteen years ago, while surfing the net (AOL), I came across an improv writers chat group and got into writing weird and wonderful things on the spot. One of the characters I developed through this exercise was Katherine Mitchel, the main characters of my book, Seasons, Book #1 of my suspense series: The Syndicate. I got the grand idea to write the book in late 1997 and have been fiddling with and ignoring it for the past eighteen years. Since the original version, it has gone through several major re-writes with only a few characters and sections still somewhat intact from the original concept, which at the time was more sci-fi than suspense.

About a year ago, I dusted off the old jump drive it was saved on and tried to work on it again. Well, I was horrified when I found that it was no longer on the drive! I thought for sure that any hope of ever finishing the book had been dashed away by an unthinking, delete-happy finger. It turned out that it was saved on the family computer, but for the couple of days before I found it, I was devastated. The old adage of you don’t know what you've got 'til it’s gone is so true! In my grief, I wrote what became the prologue and epilogue for my book. It was an elegy to the main character Katherine, who I thought had died with my book.

When I discovered the saved copy of the book, I began to write vignettes for it again. The tone and style of the book evolved greatly from the earlier copy. I got excited about writing for fun again. For the last 11 years all of my writing had been for grants, persuading philanthropist to give and give big. I am good at it, but it doesn't hold the fun for me it once did. I was ready for a change.

When an Indie writer friend of mine, from back home, posted on Facebook in October about the National Write a Novel in a Month (Nanowrimo) competition, I was intrigued. Maybe this could be the catalyst I needed to finish the book, I thought. So I pledged to write and finish my book over the course of November. I made friends with a very successful local Indie writer and began to meet regularly to work with her. She held me accountable and encouraged me to achieve my goal. With her support and the support of all my friends, my word count soared right past the required 50,000 words to finish and “win” Nanowrimo. I had finally achieved one of my life goals: the book was written! I have been working every spare minute since then to edit and format the finished novel. I am so excited that the day is drawing near when I can release my “baby” into the wilds of Amazon where it can grow and thrive on its own.

Don’t ever let anyone, including yourself, talk you out of accomplishing your dream. You really CAN do anything if you put your mind to it. So this week I am challenging everyone to think about a dream you have put on hold. Why is it on hold? What is holding you back? What can you let go so that you can make it happen? What would it look like? How would it feel to accomplish that goal?

KM Hodge author of the Syndicate Suspense Series.
 Book #1 Seasons is available for free on Kindle Unlimited