Tuesday, June 27, 2017

#Hyannis Harbor, #Books, Bingo, + Bulls ~ Busy #amwriting Month!

Connecting with Mrs. Cape Cod
and signing books for her at
Shopping & Bingo Night
My life is always a bit crazy, but things have been so unusually hectic since mid-April that I haven't had much time to post here.  But I did want to share some of the pictures from the events I've participated in, now that I have a little more time.  In May and June, I signed books at a monthly Shopping & Bingo Night which helps raise money for different charities.  I met a lot of people, including Mrs. Cape Cod (now Mrs. Massachusetts!), and I was thrilled when she purchased all 4 of my books.  I was even more excited to hear how much she loved GULL HARBOR, the first one she decided to read, the next day on social media--that's the type of thing that makes an author's day!

Woo hoo!  This is why I write, to pull people into exciting stories that keep
the pages turning and provide entertainment ...hearing things like this makes my day!

Saw this big boy as I walked across
campus at orientation - the campus at
UNH is absolutely beautiful
In June, my oldest son graduated from high school, which was a joyous occasion but also bittersweet--how can he be leaving home in the fall?  But we're proud to be sending him to the University of New Hampshire, home of the Wildcats and apparently this snapping turtle, which I came across as I was walking through campus during the 2-day orientation.

Katie, Kate, and myself at our Shanty at Hyannis Harbor

Before our trip to NH for orientation, I joined two other author friends for a 3-day book signing at the Artist Shanties at Hyannis Harbor.  We did this last year, and had such fun we decided to do it again.  We camped out at our Shanty from 11 am to 8 or 9 pm all day Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, chatting with locals and visitors enjoying the Harbor or returning from ferry trips to Martha's Vineyard and Hyannis. It was three long days, but we had a lot of laughs, and also connected with other local artists and crafters.

The view of Hyannis Harbor from the Shanties

While doing all this, I was also teaching my fitness classes every morning, as well as my current writing class which meets once a week.  I kept telling myself my vacation was on the horizon, if I could just make it!  Finally, it was here...my annual trip to Bethany Beach, Delaware, for a long weekend with my best friends from high school. We've been doing Girls Weekend there each summer since 2011, and it's become a wonderful tradition.  In the past, I've also signed books at the local book store while there, but this year, I decided I needed to just relax.  I'm so glad, too, because the Saturday I usually do the book signing turned out to be the new date for the 21st Dewey Beach Running of the Bulls.  A friend of one of the girls in our group actually started this event, twenty-one years ago, after a trip to Spain.  This Running of the Bulls does not involve any real animals, but rather two guys in a bull costume, escorted by a matador and lifeguards, chasing people down the beach.  Almost everyone wears a red bandanna and either a red or white shirt, although some people dress in more elaborate costumes.  A popular bar, the Starboard, sponsors the event, and it's become so popular crowds now rival any Spring Break beach bash.  The entire parking lot is shut down to make room for a stage, the bands, and of course all the partiers.  It was a crazy, fun-filled day, complete with even a fly-over by the National Guard.

Gearing up at The Starboard before chasing the bull

Now I'm home again, struggling to settle back into my routine, but glad the next few weeks are going to be much slower-paced.  I'm hoping to dive back into my unfinished manuscript for Novel #5, catch up on my reading, get some work done in the garden...and make time in between for a few naps!  

I miss my BFFs already...it was especially poignant to get together after
a few of our firstborn kids just graduated high school, and know that our
friendship is still going strong after our own high school years, 30 years ago!

Friday, June 16, 2017

"Haunting. Forbidden. Dangerously Sexy." 5* #Review! #FridayReads

With so many books out there, reviews can be tough to get, so I'm absolutely thrilled to have been reviewed at Nom de Plume, and positively over the moon to read such a fabulous review of Haunted Souls!  "Haunted Souls emanates everything a 5* read should be!"

A little teaser from one of my favorite scenes!

Haunted Souls is a steamy romance with a ghost mystery, "the perfect balance between saucy and spooky, and contemporary and thrilling.  Oooooo the deliciousness!"

Read the full review here!  Nom de Plume's Review of Haunted Souls

Haunted Souls was voted one of the Top 3 Reads of 2016 at Read Free.ly!

You can find Haunted Souls on Kindle, Nook, and iTunes, and in print as well, so grab a steamy romance mixed with haunting suspense for your weekend read!  

"Layer upon layer of delicious tension...OOOOOO gawd this is one heck of a steamy romance!"

Monday, June 12, 2017

Signing #Books in #Falmouth! #CapeCod Events

Signing books with my author friends at our
Shanty along Hyannis Harbor...a 3 day event!
I have one more event coming up to finish off a crazy haze of busy days! For 9 hours a day on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, I signed books and chatted with visitors to Hyannis, as one of the local authors, artists, & crafters showcasing their work in the Hyannis Harbor Artist Shanties.  It was a lot of fun, but very tiring after three long days in the sun.  Then, instead of settling back into my usual routine on Monday morning, I was off to New Hampshire, for a two-day orientation for my son's college.  So many information sessions have my mind reeling.  But as I sit in a dorm room writing this, I feel like I have a good handle on all the things we have to do to get ready for freshman year.  When I return home tomorrow night, it will be a quick turnaround to get back to Hyannis for Week 2 of my Fiction Writing and Publication Class.  

Then, this Wednesday, June 14th, I'll be participating in a Bingo Night Fundraiser in Falmouth.  This is a monthly event, and I participated last month for the first time and had a blast!  The suggested donation is $20 (proceeds to the March of Dimes ~ March for Babies [Team Noah and Chase] and Boston Children's Hospital Give a Smile campaign this month), and that gets you 20 games (wear purple for a bonus card!). Complimentary light appetizers, dinner and desserts available for order, and a cash bar too!

Where do I fit in?  There are a whole bunch of local artists and vendors setting up for shopping before and in between the games, and we've all donated to the cause as well as offered prizes for raffles.  The complete list of vendors is below, so if you're in the area, please consider stopping by!  

Wednesday, June 14th

5:30 to 9:30 at the Holiday Inn Cape Cod
291 Jones Road Falmouth

Shop with local artists and vendors:

PartyLite, LuLaRoe by Brooke, Thirty One, The Pampered Chef, Arbonne, Athena’s, Younique, Paparazzi Jewelry, Ruby Ribbon, Reine’s Creations, Nanny’s Knits, Pruvit, Tupperware, Dragonfly Dreams, Tastefully Simple, Cape and Island Candle Co., Kathryn Knight Books, Scentsy, It Works, Touchstone Crystal by Swarovski, Limelight by Alcone, Sophia’s Crafts, Washashore Whimsy, Cape Cod Kettle Corn, LuLaRoe by Stacy, Chloe’s Coastal Creations, Carole’s Jewelry Design & MORE!

Each Bingo Game winner scores a prize donated from one
of the vendors...what will my basket be this month?


Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Multi-Author #Book Signing! #Hyannis Harbor #CapeCod

Me, Katie, & Kate (K.R.) ~ 3 Ks get confusing!
We're gearing up for another weekend-long book signing! I’ll be signing books all weekend at the Hyannis Artist Shanties at Hyannis Harbor with two other Cape Cod authors, Katie O’Sullivan and K.R. Conway.  Between the three of us, we have a dozen titles for adults and teens, in genres including romance, paranormal suspense, urban fantasy, and young adult.  So if you’re in the Cape Cod area, stop by to grab some new summer reads!  We’ll be there in our shanty on Ocean Street (across from The Black Cat Restaurant) from 11 am – 8 pm on Friday, June 9, Saturday June 10, and Sunday, June 11.

The Artist Shanties are a group of cute little stand-alone “studios” right along the water.  Offerings vary by weekend, and all items available are handmade or handcrafted by the artist.  The site has a link to all the artists and their work, along with the dates they’ll be there.

We had a blast last year and we're looking forward to another fun weekend! Many of our books are set on Cape Cod, including my latest release, Haunted Souls, a steamy romance mixed with a ghost mystery, set in historic Barnstable Village.  In fact, the Old Jail House on Rt. 6A, considered actively haunted, served as the initial inspiration for the story.

My other romance/ghost story set on Cape Cod is Gull Harbor, which has been a #1 Kindle Bestseller on several occasions.  While Gull Harbor is a fictional town, I based it on Wellfleet, a beautiful area with kettle ponds and a coast line that's part of the Cape Cod National Seashore.  

If you're in the area, come by and visit us, and check out all the literary and artistic creations offered by Cape Cod locals!

Sunday, June 4, 2017

SILVER LAKE on the #Amazon "99 Romances for #99c Each" #KindleDeals

A #1 Kindle Bestseller!
My debut novel, a reunion romance/ghost mystery, has a special place in my heart, since it was my first book and I lived with the story--and the characters--in my head for years before I even wrote a single word.  Silver Lake was first published in 2012 by The Wild Rose Press, and then the electronic rights were acquired by Amazon's traditional publishing house for their Encore imprint several years later.  

This has been wonderful for Silver Lake's visibility, as Amazon occasionally drops the price for a temporary sale and features the title as one of their Kindle deals.  I noticed a big bump in sales this weekend, and upon investigation, I discovered Silver Lake is only 99 cents right now (a big savings from the usual $3.99 price) AND it's being featured as one of "99 Romances for 99 cents Each" on the Kindle Book Deals Homepage!

As I mentioned, Silver Lake is probably best described as "Paranormal Romantic Suspense"--it's a second chance romance between two friends who never acted on their feelings in high school...but it's also a mystery revolving around the disappearance of another of their friends, Brandy, who may be haunting the lake house where the group reunites in a last ditch effort to discover what happened to her during their senior year.

Brandy's ghost has a message to share...

And with 99 books on the list, there are many other sub-genres within Romance to choose from...and at that price point, why not grab a couple for your summer beach read collection?  The link to the whole list is Here: 99 Romances for 99c Each.  A link directly to Silver Lake at the current sale price is here:  Silver Lake on Kindle.  Hurry, I have no idea how long the deals will last!  Happy reading!

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Adding Tension + #Suspense to Fiction #amwriting

I infuse a lot of suspense into my novels, since in addition to romance, each of my books also involves some type of paranormal mystery: either spooky hauntings that need to be unraveled, or supernatural secrets that pose a dangerous threat.  Recently, I was invited to meet with a local writing group as a consultant, and one of the topics they asked to cover was methods of injecting suspense and tension into a story.  Here are some of the tips we discussed:

*Conflict is key.  There should be conflict in every genre of commercial fiction.  To increase tension, load on the conflict, both internal and external, to keep characters from their goals.

*Escalation of story problems, which add new questions beyond the hook (ex: the mystery of Brandy’s disappearance in Silver Lake—questions move from “Could be ghosts be real?” to “Is Brandy’s ghost really trying to communicate?” to “How can we help her communicate?” to “What really happened to her five years ago?” etc.).

*Stack the odds against the protagonist.  People love to root for the underdog (ex: In The Hunger Games, Katniss is from a very poor district and goes into the games with inadequate training from her mentor and little support from sponsors).

*Make the stakes high.  This does not necessarily mean the entire world will end if the character does not meet his or her goal, but the consequences of not meeting a goal should be extremely negative or even disastrous for the character.

*Give characters impossible choices (ex: Katniss in The Hunger Games—she either must kill other kids (both morally reprehensible and potentially difficult) OR be killed herself.  Neither is a good choice, but she could decide morals take precedence over her own life.  However, her family’s existence depends on her survival, as she provides the source of food.  Plus, she’s promised her sister she’ll survive.  So now we have a truly impossible choice: Kill other kids, who are trying to survive themselves and kill her, including the friendly boy from her district, OR be killed herself, break her promise to her sister, and possibly condemn her family to death.)

*Have some plans fail (ex: In The Martian, the abandoned astronaut’s first attempt at creating a water source fails spectacularly, decreasing his odds at survival).

*Create urgency.  A time constraint is useful for this (ex: The Finest Hours—the Coast Guard rescuers will have to reach the foundering tanker before it sinks into the stormy ocean, or everyone on board will die.)

*Use foreshadowing.  Foreshadowing is used to both build suspense and prepare reader for an event or scenario that otherwise might come out of nowhere.  There are many methods of foreshadowing, from blatant to extremely subtle.

*Make readers care about the protagonist.  Again, there are many ways to do this, including using deep POV to connect reader to character, creating engaging characters with realistic flaws, and avoiding “Mary Sues”.

*Use dramatic irony to create apprehension.  This can be employed when writing from multiple POVs.  (ex: In Gull Harbor, the reader sees what the bad guy has planned for Claire from his Point-of-View chapters.  However, neither Claire nor Max know—this knowledge is only between the reader and the villain.)  

Happy Writing!

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Fiction Writing Course in #Hyannis! #CapeCod #amwriting

I'm thrilled to be teaching a new "Fiction Writing and Publication" course this June, back at Hyannis Center on Main Street in Hyannis.  For the last few years, I've taught this popular class for both Cape Cod Community College's Center for Corporate and Professional Education and for the Town of Falmouth's Community School in a number of locations, and I've met so many aspiring authors and hopefully helped them on their writing journey.  I've even read some of their finished manuscripts and visited their writing groups, which has been so rewarding.  If you're interested in writing a novel, or exploring publishing options, and you're in the Cape Cod area, consider joining us!  The press release is below:

Ready to Write That Novel?

A course offered this summer in Hyannis provides instruction on writing fiction and guidance on publishing options.

For many writers, a quote by Nobel Prize-Winning Author Toni Morrison summarizes the beginning of the journey: “If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.”  Many people dream of writing a novel, but aren’t sure how to begin.  Even once a manuscript is finished, the choices within the publishing industry seem to grow every day.  Literary agents continue to seek clients for the big publishing houses, smaller electronic presses have become a force in the new digital world, and more options than ever exist for those looking to publish independently.  Unfortunately, this type of growth has also resulted in many sites looking to take advantage of authors eager to publish and promote their work.  The entire process can become overwhelming quickly.

A four-week evening class offered by Cape Cod Community College’s Center for Corporate and Professional Education aims to offer guidance to aspiring authors.  “Fiction Writing and Publication” will be held at the Hyannis Center on Tuesday evenings, June 6—June 27, from 6:00 – 8:30 p.m.  Bestselling author and Mashpee resident Kathryn Knight will teach the elements of successful fiction writing and outline the various options in the rapidly changing publishing industry.  Key concepts such as voice, POV, the hook, Goal-motivation-conflict, and character development will be discussed. Idea inspiration, common pitfalls, and query letters will also be covered.  Finally, avenues to publication - from self-publishing to small and digital presses to seeking agent representation - will be explored.

Hyannis Center is located at 540 Main Street.  Pre-registration is required; please visit Cape Cod Community College online or call 508.375.5010 to register.  Cost is $99, no materials or experience needed.

One of the reviews left by a class member!