Tag Archive | Voice

They Seem So Real!

I’m suffering from a chapped nose. No, I don’t have a cold. Yes, I sometimes have allergies, but that’s not the reason either.

I just finished writing a difficult chapter. I can usually knock out a chapter a day, but this one took three. Along with half a box of tissues.

I tell myself all the time that I’m not crazy. Maybe that in itself is a little nuts. Then, I’m reminded of one of my favorite movie scenes from “Romancing the Stone.” Author, Joan Wilder, is hunting for tissues. Sobbing over what she’s written.

When I first saw that film over thirty years ago, I wasn’t a writer. At least, not an author of novels. But now that I am, I get it! When my characters hurt, I hurt. Thus, the tears.

I’ll never forget the first time someone told me that my characters seemed real. Probably one of the best compliments I’ve ever received. They’re certainly real to me. Otherwise, why would I cry for them? Why would I care so much?

I recently had a great conversation with a reader who’s on Book 3 of my Southern Secrets Saga. She talked to me about things that were happening in the story and asked a few questions. But mostly, we talked about the characters and how much we love them. I felt like we were discussing long-time mutual friends. At one point, she apologized for going on so long about the books. Oh, my goodness! There definitely had been no need for that, and I told her so. It was fun! I doubt she realized how she’d made my day.

I’m glad the imaginary people I bring to life feel real. I’m afraid that if they weren’t relatable, the story would fall flat. A reader should be able to walk hand in hand with the characters and experience what they’re going through. Good and bad. Emotion is healthy. I just wish I could spare my nose!

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What’s Your Taste?

We all have the same five senses, but because we’re all different, so are our tastes.

A person who loves to listen to classical music likely won’t care for rap. And vice-versa. The same goes for visual art. A lover of Michelangelo may not care for Picasso.

Let’s not forget the taste buds. Kids normally don’t like broccoli, but will devour candy. I happen to like both! Of course, when I was a kid, I turned my nose up at the broccoli. Yes, tastes can change.

Just like with every other form of art, people have certain likes and dislikes in the books they choose to read. If you’ve been following my blog, then you know I’m an author. If you’ve thought about giving my books a try, I’m happy to say that the e-book version of “Marked” is on sale now on Amazon for .99 cents! This sale will only be going on for another few days, so be sure to download it soon. I hope you’ll find that my writing suits your tastes! To find out more about my other books, be sure to check out the books tab on the menu above.

Here’s the link for “Marked.”

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00L4AHXEG

"Marked" by Jeanne Hardt

 

 

Thanks for stopping by!

Chasing the ‘WAS’ Monster

I’ve been thinking about this post for some time now and kept asking myself if I’m qualified enough to write it. I decided that even if I haven’t fully learned how to wrangle this beast, I’m still going to pass on what I’ve learned.

Every time I release a new book, I hope it’s better than the last. Not saying that my first releases weren’t good, but I honestly believe that the more I write, the more I grow as an author.

So, what’s a WAS monster? If you’re a writer, I’m sure I don’t have to tell you. If you’re not a writer, then maybe I shouldn’t be telling you! I risk having you go back to my older books and look for ‘was.’ You’ll find it. Frequently. Was isn’t such a bad thing, (especially in dialog), but what I’ve learned is that it can be improved on. For the most part, taking was out of the equation brings more action to a sentence.

For instance, instead of saying: The man was walking down the street, I’d simplify it to: The man walked down the street. It goes from being passive to active. Simple, but effective.

And here’s the funny thing…once you start tackling this monster, you’ll find really creative ways to dig deeper into your character’s point of view.

I’ve been working on a rewrite of my first manuscript. I came to this ‘was’ sentence: When Reverend Brown announced their engagement and upcoming wedding, it was no surprise to the congregation.

Not a bad sentence, right? Well…when I looked at it, I thought, that’s kind of flat. Besides, this is an important part of the plot. I needed to make an improvement. That simple sentence became this:

When Reverend Brown announced their engagement and upcoming wedding, the congregation stirred with instant chatter. It didn’t surprise Claire. They’d expected it for some time. If they only knew the truth. Now that would create real chatter. The kind of gossip they’d love to share.

In my opinion, a HUGE improvement. I can’t tell you how much fun I’m having doing a ‘was’ word search. I believe that little trick alone will substantially improve my work. Let me know what you think!

I don't care about 'was' I just want a cookie!

I don’t care about ‘was’ I just want a cookie!

And the Winner is …

The envelope, please.

And, the winner is …

Oh, my goodness, how I always wished I could be in the crowd waiting for my name to be called. Seeing the women in their glamorous dresses, and the men in fine tuxes made the event even more exciting. Whether it was an Oscar, an Emmy, a Tony, a Grammy,  or one of the many different kinds of music awards, I wanted one of each. Too much to wish for? Why not reach for the stars?

I believe that if we stop dreaming and reaching, a part of us dies.

Most people strive for excellence. Seriously, who wants to come in second? But not many people will reach the top. So those of us sitting in our living rooms watching the cream of the crop on their special night can enjoy being allowed to witness their success. And it’s a lot of fun. That being said, I’d still like to have one of those pretty awards!

Now that I’m a writer, a new kind of award has become that thing that I’m striving for. I witnessed my first awards ceremony at the Romance Writers of America’s national convention this past summer in San Antonio, TX. All I can say is, WOW! Right before my eyes I watched as some of my favorite authors–like Nora Roberts–presented awards to authors in an assortment of categories in romance fiction. My heart pounded–excited for the winners. They accepted their award, known as the RITA, decked out in floor-length gowns and looking just as sharp as any Academy Award winner. I cheered them on, proud of their success and happy that I could be a part of it. Yes–happy! Not jealous or envious, but genuinely happy. I’ve been given a new goal. One day I want to stand on that stage and accept a RITA of my own. Maybe one day I’ll even be asked to present an award. Why not? I consider myself a good writer and every book I write gets even better. I believe in my heart that it’s something reachable.

And if I never attain that precious emblem of writing recognition, that’s okay, too. Striving to reach a goal is half of the fun. It gives me something to shoot for. More important than anything, striving to be the best makes me a better writer.

But, I’ll tell you a secret. The greatest reward I get is when I have a new reader tell me that he/she enjoyed my book. Nothing feels better, or makes my day, like pleasing a reader. No statue can do that for me. And better still, compliments don’t have to be dusted. I like that!

WRITE ON!!!

 

 

 

 

Busy, Busy, Busy

Have you ever found that when your calendar is full, you accomplish more? Not just because you have a lot to do, but because you have to squeeze a bunch of stuff into a small amount of time.

I find that when I have nothing on my list of to-do’s, I fritter time away and put things off that could be done right at the moment. It’s too easy to tell myself that I have plenty of time to accomplish something because my plate is empty.

But, I don’t like an empty plate. I prefer to have it overflowing with a multitude of things to do. Things that will move me one step closer to accomplishing my long-term goals.

I had someone say to me today, “I thought you could do things spur of the moment because you aren’t working right now.” No, I don’t have a regular job, but boy am I working right now! And I’m loving it!

I’ve been blessed with a husband who is encouraging me to pursue my dream of being a full-time writer. In a very short time I’ll have my first published novel available on Amazon, and I still have high hopes of catching the eye of an agent who will fall in love with my work and help me move my career forward. I see the benefits of both self-publishing and traditional publishing and am happy that the industry allows these great options for writers.

So, though I’m not working a traditional nine-to-five job right now, I am by no means ‘not working.’ And the closer I get to publication, the busier I am. Getting a book in print is just the beginning. I’m studying up on marketing, and learning all I can about how to get the word out. This is a process, just like any job. But I have to say that I wouldn’t want to be doing anything else right now. I’m ready to take the challenge and run with it!

I would love to hear from all of you other authors out there. Tell me about your journey.

And most importantly…

WRITE ON!!

Marked

River Romance, Book 1

Cora Craighead wants more than anything to leave Plum Point, Arkansas, aboard one of the fantastic steamboats that pass by her run-down home on the Mississippi River. She’s certain there’s more to life out there…somewhere. Besides, anything has to better than living with her pa who spends his days and nights drinking and gambling.

Douglas Denton grew up on one of the wealthiest estates in Memphis, Tennessee. Life filled with parties, expensive clothing, and proper English never suited him. He longs for simplicity and a woman with a pure heart—not one who craves his money. Cora is that and more, but she belongs to someone else.

Cora finally gets her wish, only to be taken down a road of strife, uncertainty, and mysterious prophecies. When she’s finally discovered again by Douglas, she’s a widow, fearing for her life and that of her newborn child and blind companion.

Full of emotions, family secrets, and the search for true love, you’ll find it’s not just the cards that are marked. 

"Marked" by Jeanne Hardt

What to Write

So you’re looking at a blank page, and you ask yourself, “what do I put on it?”

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, my first book was inspired by a dream. It felt like something I had to write. To transfer all of my thoughts (and dreams) onto paper. And as I’ve moved forward, I find that I continue to enjoy writing historical romance, but I’ve also branched out into a few other categories. One book is medieval fantasy, and the newest one is contemporary with a paranormal twist. That one was really fun to write.

Granted, I enjoy writing, period. But what should I be writing?

At a recent retreat, our guest speaker gave a workshop on finding what inspires us and discovering what we’re suited to write. She had us compile a list of things we truly love, (detailed), and then also had us make lists of favorite movies, and books that we read when we were young. Once the list was compiled she was able to pinpoint our interests. Some of the writers in our group were very family oriented, and the things they loved centered around them. Those kind of writers are excellent candidates for writing small town stories that have strong family ties. Makes sense.

On the other hand, writers who liked quirky science fiction, or perhaps spent their youth pinning dead bugs to boards and framing them, or taking apart appliances and figuring out how they work, might be inclined to write sci-fi or steampunk.

For me, family is important, but when it came to my movie and book list I was definitely into fantasy and time travel. The importance of family and the time travel element is probably why I like writing historical.  When I started writing my medieval fantasy I thought I was going far away from my ‘norm.’  But since I’m a huge fan of Lord of the Rings, and some of my other favorite reading when I was in high school was Mary Stewart’s Arthurian Legend books, then it made sense to me. I fell in love with Merlin through her writing. Honestly, that was probably the first ‘romance’ I ever read. Not typical romance by any means, but it had a lasting effect.

So, my suggestion to you if you’re having a hard time figuring out what to write, is– Make a list.

But most importantly, write. Write what moves you, but if you truly love the things you’re writing about, you’ll write a much better book.

WRITE ON!!

 

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A Great Opportunity

Hey all you writers out there!

As you know, the key to getting your manuscript noticed is a great pitch. I am still learning the art, and believe me, it is an art all in itself!

My writers group, Music City Romance Writers, is sponsoring a pitch contest. This is a great way to get feedback on your pitch as well as get it into the hands of agents and editors. More information is listed below. Go for it!

WRITERS: MCRW’s Pitch contest is now open to entries!! Want help with your query blurb or back cover copy? Enter MCRW’s PICTH contest. http://bit.ly/1gJnWxW – All PAN judged, terrific final judges, quick turnaround!

 

Enter 200 word max. This would be the back cover copy or pitch letter blurb. — $15 entry fee — Accepting a max of 100 entries only! — Deadline: 11:59pm CST April 15

 

Final judges:  Suzie Townsend, New Leaf Literary — Pam van Hylckama Vlieg, Foreword Literary — Lauren MacCleod, Strothman Agency — Barbara Poelle, Irene Goodman Agency — Holly Root, Waxman Leavell Agency — Elizabeth Poteet, Assistant Editor, St. Martin’s Press

Good luck, and WRITE ON!

Write, write, write...