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Category Archives: New Writer Tips

Tips and tools for new and established writers

Liza shares a bit of history.
Why did humans come to Hope?
Because they not only destroyed Earth but then they ruined the first planet they escaped to, which called originally called Hope (then renamed it Hopeless as it became crammed full of formally rich and totally useless people). Always the optimist, or perhaps, simply lacking creativity, they name this planet Hope as well.
What did the fairies think about them naming their planet Hope?
They couldn’t care less. Frankly, naming a planet just seemed silly. But it amused them enough that they would name little rocks silly names like ‘Rocky’, paint them and give them to each other on the human’s silly holiday.
Since when the ship first arrived, the Fairies welcomed them and let them name the planet, the humans assumed they were the new masters. The three to four foot tall fairies, who looked like humans, since their wings were hidden, had happy demeanors and were most helpful finding them nice places to live. Thus, the humans were not frightened by the little people. In fact, due to a serious shortage of human women, the men were most happy to mate with the taller of the little women.
And this is exactly how Rana, our soon to be Teenage Queen came to be. Her father was a human, but her mother was a powerful fairy, and so is Rana. She’ll need it for the troubles ahead.
Rana is only sixteen when she becomes queen. Her first challenge is to quell an internal coup while a massive army storms the gates of her castle. Her enemies believe her to be a child, but she has powers they’ve never suspected. She also has great dreams for her people, and she will do whatever is necessary to make them happen, even marrying a prince she does not want.

Liza O’Connor Social Media

Liza lives in Denville, NJ with her dog Jess. They hike in fabulous woods every day, rain or shine, sleet or snow. Having an adventurous nature, she learned to fly small Cessnas in NJ, hang-glide in New Zealand, kayak in Pennsylvania, ski in New York, scuba dive with great white sharks in Australia, dig up dinosaur bones in Montana, sky dive in Indiana, and raft a class four river in Tasmania. She’s an avid gardener, amateur photographer, and dabbler in watercolors and graphic arts. Yet through her entire life, her first love has and always will be writing novels.

 

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An editor is a crucial piece of the publishing puzzle and your relationship can make or break a project. Don’t make the same mistakes I did.

There is something to be said about the rush you get when you finally type the words “THE END” into a manuscript. You have put your heart and soul into the page and for me, it was like I finally reached the top of a mountain. Little did I know it was just the first plateau.

I had been fortunate by this time to have worked with some of the best self-publishing authors in the business and knew that editing was going to be a beast. I was a first time author for goodness sake. I thought it would be perfect to team up with a good friend who wanted to get into editing. This played out like a bad horror movie where everyone could see the monster behind the curtain but you.

I first want to go on record that the editor in question is an amazing editor. She really did help polish The Awakening into what it is today. Also, had I continued working with her it would probably be 1,000 times better. Yet, I know it would have lost the harried style that I was truly going for. We ultimately parted ways amicably and I shelved my book for four years because I lost all confidence in the project.

Finally, I couldn’t stand seeing all the Facebook Memories showing me a project that I truly loved. I went through and got the story edited and finally pushed publish on it. I figure that it was never going to win a Pulitzer, but it is a fun addition to vampire lore that is worth telling.

So what advice do I have for someone who is finishing up their novel?

Do your research! Talk to your editor about what they like to read and do a first chapter edit. It gives both of you the opportunity to see if you want to work together.

Remember that as a self-published author, you are the boss. Don’t let anyone discourage you from publishing if that is what you want to do.

The editor is ultimately out to create the best version of the story. If you have done your research and know that they are a good fit, then trust what they are saying.

The Awakening by JP Adkins

What would you do if you found out you were genetically a Vampire? Would you embrace it or run? I have found that power is a strange
thing – sometimes it pulls you into places you never knew you would go. I have done things that most have only dreamed of; ran through walls, jumped off buildings but it all seems like folly.
I am what happens when genetics mutate, when the species collide, when the beauty can’t resist the beast. I can’t infect with my kiss, but I can awaken with my seed — if they are a mutation such as I.

JP Adkins Social Media

JP Adkins sees it as his mission in life to help you realize your dreams and to uplift your mood. He is a celebrated graphic ,web , and clothing designer, has helped many authors publish their books, and has recently published his first novel, The Awakening.

JP Adkins gets pleasure in finding ways to make life more beautiful for himself and those around him. His dream is to travel the country writing inspirational stories and leading meditations wherever he goes. He believes too many times we allow ourselves to quit trying because we tell ourselves we don’t know how, we don’t have the money, and we aren’t good enough. He wants to inspire others to take the inspired action required to design their lives. In his quest to serve the world, he has taken the first steps in ordainment in the Order of the Jedi. You Are Loved!

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Dancing Fawn 

Author Ginger Simpson shares an opinion piece about reviewing books.

Sometimes I wonder if as an author
I should review the work of others. Before I was published, I read for the sheer
enjoyment, but now, after going through so many editing sessions and being whipped
into an actual author, I cannot read without my internal editor whispering in my
ear. I read with an eye for pitfalls I’ve been advised to avoid rather than losing
myself in the story as I once was able to do. Heck, before my debut novel, I hadn’t
even heard half the terms I hear now–headhopping, passive voice, transitions, etc..
Now the simplest mistakes keep me from really connecting with the characters. It
could be that the books I read all those years had been finely edited so assuming
a place in the heroine’s shoes came naturally.
Don’t get me wrong. I think editors
are an essential part of the process, and now when I read, I can definitely tell
the novices from the professionals. Is it fair to report to readers that I’ve found
areas in a story that should have been caught by an editor and the reader advised
to fix? I’m not sure. Does it make me come across as a “know it all?”
Trust me, I don’t. I learn a new rule every day, and the scary thing is that I’m
never sure that the rule is hard and fast.
It’s a fact that the majority of editors
working in small press are authors as well, and possibly some that haven’t been
writing very long themselves. Could it be they are just passing along what they’ve
learned? I’ve found that some of what I’ve been told isn’t exactly true, but I think
some of the examples I can share with you today make sense. For example: Overusing
He/She if you’ve made it clear whose POV your in at the moment. Read these two paragraphs
and see which sounds more polished.
John smelled Joan’s perfume as she
twirled by him on the dance floor. He envied the man who held her in his arms. He
believed she was the most beautiful woman in the room, and he vowed to ask her to
dance the next time the orchestra played a slow song. He intended to be the one
to take her home tonight.
John inhaled the sweet smell of Joan’s
perfume as she twirled by him on the dance floor. The man who held her in his arms
was one lucky guy. Before the evening ended, John intended to share a slow dance
with her, and if his prayers were answered, he’d be the one to take her home.
See, you don’t need he envied, he
believed, he intended. You’ve let the reader know by John enjoying the aroma of
Joan’s perfume that we’re in his POV, so anything you type should be interpreted
as his perspective.
Another pet peeve are needless tags.
It’s always best to use an action tag in place of he said, she said, but if you
end the dialogue with a question mark, do you really need to say, she asked? I think
the punctuation is a big hint. *smile* When only two people are in the room, using
the character’s names over and over becomes redundant. The reader is usually smart
enough to determine who is talking, and if you need to clarify, you can say something
like: “Are you crazy?” John’s eyes widened beneath a furrowed brow.
Editors become very important in keeping
the redundancy out of the story line. Authors don’t usually write an entire book
in one setting, so it’s very hard to remember everything you’ve already written.
For example: If you’ve pointed out to the reader that the heroine broke her leg
by falling off a horse, it isn’t necessary to repeat that information again in dialogue
with someone and then add it in a descriptive paragraph pages later. Readers, me
included, roll their eyes and say, “enough already…I know, I know.”
Since I don’t plot my stories and
find my memory isn’t what it used to be, I’ve taken to making notes about the physical
attributes of my characters. It’s quite easy to describe sky blue eyes in one chapter
and chocolate brown in another further down the line. Unless you’re writing from
the perspective of an Australian Shepherd, both eyes should be the same color and
remain that way throughout the story.
As an historical author, I learned
long ago, and I’m still learning, that you really need to be on guard to assure
your language is appropriate for the period about which you write. I’ve read some
love scenes lately that left me shaking my head because of the present day terminology
used for body parts. It’s really not believable that an Indian brave would bust
out with the word “clitoris.”
I’ve found the online Etymology dictionary
most helpful in determining the origin of most words, but judgement helps too. Think
about your story’s time period and how people spoke. While you might find word origins
described from the 1500s, that doesn’t mean they were used all over the globe. Example:
Ma/Maw/Momma is how a child addressed their female parent rather than just Mom in
1840. Although “kid” has been a word for a long time, the manner in which
it was used in the 1800s most often referred to a baby goat. Children were not kids,
but you could kid with them (tease). Historical credibility is all a matter of knowing
your time period and doing your research. Trust me, if you make a mistake, someone
will notice and let you know.

My most recent editor pointed out
her amazement that my heroine still had a bottom lip as she constantly chewed on
it. *lol* It’s so easy to utilize the same action without realizing you’ve overdone
it. Here again, that’s because we don’t write books in one sitting nor do we usually
go back and re-read the previous chapters. Thank God for those who devote their
time and talents to making us stop and think about our writing habits. What would
we do without our editors…internal and external?

Reviewing Books, Yay or Nay? by Ginger Simpson was first blogged here and is used with permission.

Buy This Book

About the Author

Ginger Simpson — Writing with a dream for bigger and better
things.

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Girls’ Night Out 

Welcome to RLF! Today’s guest post is by Susan Arden / Susan D Taylor.

It’s business as usual in writing
scorching romance. I power up the computer, drum my fingers, and
inhale. Time to find “him” and “her.” How about this time I
hand over the reins to you to locate a pair of lovers? Would you start with
an open casting call in which you hang a sign: hot men and women need apply?
Writing a romance requires that an
author open their heart and imagination in the creation of a pair of lovers. In
order for the lovers to exist within a story, I need a hook that gets me thinking…excited.
As a writer of nuclear heat-level romance, I begin with a visualization of a plot
line that begins in a physical spot. A church parking lot, a ranch, a stadium. Someplace
where two people might meet and fall in love. But that isn’t the place where the
story begins. It’s a trajectory point where I aim, more than likely a place about
sixty-percent of the way through the book where the characters hang out.
Once I get a feel for where the characters
and I are headed, I throw open the doors and the casting call begins and that means
it’s time to dig deep into their lives. The expectation for romance stories is that
these contain people who have attributes such as beauty, wit, strength, charisma
as well as a host of other attractive characteristics that are displayed throughout
the story—sky is the limit. But alas, every author knows that in loving our creations,
we must do our writer duty in our creating reflections of humanity by making them
human. And as humans, our lovers must have flaws.
So in writing, I draw from what I
know and as a past educator, I draw heavily on my education and classroom where
I had the honor and pleasure to spend my days with funny, energetic, sensitive,
stubborn students who were as varied the colors of the rainbow. But the one characteristic
they and I shared is we are learners…people who learn differently. I taught special
education and ironically have ADHD and facets of dyslexia. I understand what it
means to be reduced to a statistic and boxed into a category. Learners with special
needs require supports to actualize strengths to compensate for “things”
we don’t do so well. I can’t tell right from left, but instinctively know cardinal
direction regardless of where I’m at. I can do simple math like a calculator but
can’t understand high order math. I need to use a computer over pen and paper. I
read chunks of information but can’t read word for word. Numerical order and word
order are atypical or are repeated in the wrong order unless I close my eyes and
read from the picture in my mind.
In this go round in Girls’ Night Out
(GNO), I wanted to have a character who reflected those I know. Brett Gold has dysgraphia,
a form of dyslexia, and this helped to balance out extreme strength. Brett became
the hero with a wound (i.e., wounded hero archetype) in which that “flaw”
would affect him starting at a very young age. The hero in GNO had the love of a
parent to help him have the confidence to keep striving rather than to become embittered.
His dyslexia would give him perspective, frustrating him at times, but widen his
horizon to understand the suffering of others. Like the saying goes; bamboo is strong
for it bends in the whipping wind where an oak may crack in a strong storm.
So, in Girls’ Night Out the heroine, Cory
McLemore, is young and struggling to find her footing away from her over-protective
family when she encounters a man who seems to have the world by the tail. Brett
Gold, an NFL tight end isn’t the persona that he and the pro ball profession projects.
This is part sports romance and Western, and like any creature who bucks, there’s
a time for a heavy hand and there’s a time for giving some space, and that’s what
Brett does for Cory. There is spanking as this is an erotic romance and is utilized
by Brett with Cory in establishing structure. Yet Brett is more than the typical
alpha, he understands his lover’s need to find her authentic self where she requires
his support to allow her the opportunity to stretch her wings.
In writing the strong, capable hero,
a flaw of a disability such as learning difference can humanize someone who otherwise
might come off more like a God than a good guy, sweet enough to bring home to meet
mom and dad.
Namaste.

Buy This Book

Girls’ Night Out ~ A Bad Boys novel (Book 4)

Books Coming Soon

In Sweetest Curse, another type of disability is addressed: Undine’s
Curse. Stay tuned for that release coming in March 2014.
Double Trouble ~ A Bad Boys novel (Book 5) March 2014 Release

Learning Disabilities

For more information on learning disabilities, please visit The
National Center for Learning Disabilities http://ncld.org

Author Social Media

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Most people know about rock stars and have their favorites. I
have mine, but they are not in the music business. My rock stars are in the publishing
business. All of them are writers and for one reason or another they inspire me.

Bob Mayer

He’s been traditionally published and self-published and runs
a publishing company that is more of a partnership with the author. He’s taken the
new frontier of publishing and made it his own. What does he preach? Content is
king. Write a good book. Then write the next good book. A former Green Beret, he
uses the skills he learned in special forces to make his company and his brand successful.
Read his blog, Write it Forward.

JA Konrath

Another author who has been traditionally and self-published.
Of course he came to self-publishing with an audience already, but he often highlights
authors on his blog, The Newbie’s Guide to Publishing, who have been successful
at self-publishing without having his advantages. He also give back to the community.
He challenge his readers to write a book and publish it in 24 hours and he then
highlighted all those books on his blog. A write can also use on of his characters
to write a book and if he accepts it, he will edit and publish it at his expense
with both his name and the writer’s name. That is quite a boost for anyone willing
to do it.

Victoria Strauss

Victoria
is a founding member of Writer Beware. As long as there have been aspiring writers,
there have scams. Writer Beware is there to inform about them. With more and more
authors going the self-publishing route, Writer Beware’s services are needed even
more. Unscrupulous companies being bought by legitimate publishers has led to a
blurring of the lines between good business and bad. Writer Beware is there to save
us all from our desperation to see our books in print.

Melissa Foster

World Literary Café is website that all indie and traditionally
published authors can benefit from and it was started by Melissa. The site offers
paid advertising, some free advertising and, among other things, Tweet Teams, where
an author can help others tweet items in return for getting retweeted.

Kayelle Allen

Founder of the Yahoo Group Marketing for Romance Writers, Kayelle
has expanded it to include a blog and a newsletter both of which offer opportunities
for writers to get exposure. The group also has lots of discussions about marketing
which is a topic for every author.
If you as a writer are unfamiliar with any of these authors or
sites, you should acquaint yourself now. Your career will benefit from it.
Thanks for having me today.
Cmr

Available Books

Which Exit Angel
She’s a homicide detective and and angel who hasn’t earned her
wings. She’s sent down to investigate a murder at the Jersey Shore.
He’s a preacher questioning his faith. How are these two supposed to stop the impending
apocalypse? http://amzn.com/B00D1TPXZY
Along Came Pauly
A contemporary romance about a dog that brings two people together
who don’t want to be. She’s a vegetarian veterinarian who needs cash for a no-kill
shelter. He’s the heir to a hot dog fortune who must give away money before he gains
his inheritance. Sounds like a perfect match. It isn’t. http://amzn.com/B00EN33QNI

About the Author

Chris Redding lives in New Jersey with her husband, two sons, one dog
and three rabbits. She graduated from Penn State
with a degree in journalism. When she isn’t writing, she works for her local hospital. Her books are filled with romance, suspense and thrills.

Author Social Media

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This is Publisher Week at Romance Lives Forever. Three publishers
will be featured, each during one special week. Those publishers are Boroughs Publishing Group in February,
Liquid Silver Books in June, and JMS Books LLC in September.
 

The Kiss – Flash Fiction Inspiration

Flash Fiction Saturday… Give us a Kiss

Maybe you know it as sucking face or swapping spit. Yep. Old
as time itself. Certainly as old as the proverbial oldest profession. But, bottom
line is, what’s romance without a kiss? Not just any kiss. We’re talking kiss with
a capital K. The kiss that negates all previous kisses the hero or heroine has experienced
prior to this latest.
And there are as many types of kisses as there are smiles, touches,
and glances. All with their own special moment and, more importantly, meaning. That’s
what we’ll be exploring today. 

The kiss.

The tentative first kiss full of questions, doubts, and uncertainty.
When our hero and heroine meet, maybe for the first time, maybe after years of knowing
each other, and something happens. Something that can’t be explained even today.
Their eyes meet and, without a word, it happens. Just like that. Maybe they can’t
explain it afterwards, not in words. But much more than swapping spit took place
in those ten seconds of touching lips.
And we can’t forget that first moment of real passion when a
kiss and not words lead to the portal of something even more intimate… desire.
All punctuated by more kisses. Because what’s passion without kissing to communicate
encouragement, satisfaction, even need?
Then there is the heart breaking kiss. The kiss of a long goodbye.
Or, sadder still, the last kiss left on the lips of someone who
is leaving their life forever. Even at moments like this the most important
gesture can still be the kiss.
Can he or she stop them from leaving? Implore them to stay? To
reconsider?
So join us today in celebrating the art of the romantic kiss
in all its forms and glory. Flash us with 100 words of your best swap of spit, suck
of the face, but most of all, lover’s kiss.
The biggest rule is to have fun. And feel free to take your flash
as deep into the scene as you’d like. But remember, every flash must be only 100
words.
Thanks to our host today – Romance Lives Forever – for giving
us this great space to flash in. And thanks to you, my fellow flashers, for joining
me.

Where to find Liquid Silver Books

Stay in touch – Sign up for our new release announcement newsletter
and our special event notification newsletter. Subscribe at LSbooks.com and get
all the latest news delivered to your inbox!
Resist everything except temptation and a good book!
Liquid Silver Books Imprint of Atlantic
Bridge, Registered in Indiana USA
1999
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Hidden Diversions

Romance Lives Forever welcomes
Selena Illyria to the blog for an article on writing and writer’s block. This article
could have come from my own heart – after reading it, I felt I knew my friend Selena
much better. If you’re a writer, you owe it to yourself to read this. If you’re
a reader, this might make you appreciate writers a little bit more.
I’ve been
meaning to write this blog for quite some time but something or other always came
up. Over the past few months I’ve been having computer issues so that didn’t help.
Those issues made both editing and writing difficult. I was in panic mode during
those times; it was a fight to get in every edit or finish a sentence. After I turned
in my edits, which was a relief, I still had a book to finish but soon it became
evident that my old laptop wasn’t up to the task. Recently, I was able to get a
new laptop that would allow me to continue with writing and other things, which
was a relief. That sentiment didn’t last long.
As I waded
back into the world of writing it became clear that I was in trouble. For weeks
I’d been going around in manic mode to get things done. And once my edits were done,
I started to seep into depression with every day that I didn’t get to write or I
didn’t get to write enough. That depression turned to anger and stress. I became
mired in frustration at my inability to get anything done. I thought that getting
a new computer would help with all those emotions. It didn’t.
Now I
was in a new form of hell. One where every word was like pulling teeth or mucking
through molasses. No word was right or enough. I found myself falling backward into
old bad habits that I’d been trying to break after my burnout a year before. I became
angry at myself, frustrated that it wasn’t as easy at it once was. That my mind,
fingers and brain didn’t seem to want to cooperate or work with each other like
they used to. Even though I knew I couldn’t go back, I still wanted to recapture
that hubristic little shit that I was when I first started. When you finish your
first book and get it published you’re on a high. You can do anything, write anything.
Book after book can pour out of you like water. Phrases like writer’s block or burnout
don’t even apply. They’re like distant lands you’ll never visit and have no intention
of stopping in, not even for a moment. Those two things would never happen to you,
because you’re kick-ass, you’re made of so much awesome sauce that it comes out
of your pores.
Yeah right.
Then they both come and you get your ass handed to you, even if it’s temporary or
lasts longer than a week or month. The first time burnout happened to me, I needed
a few weeks to recover. Then those periods lasted longer and longer until it seem
never-ending. Now, I find myself in a new kind of Hades, one where I can finally
write but the words aren’t coming. Everything I put down sucks and my internal editor
is playing kickball with every sentence, comma, and my confidence.
The one
thing you never truly understand until you become a writer is that it’s truly a
solitary career. No one else can write what you write. Your editors can clean up
your work, improve your voice, and your publishers can put out your books, but in
the end, they can’t write them for you. They don’t have your voice or vision or
phrasing. You can write with a partner but you still have to pull your own weight.
And none of those people can give you confidence when you fall down or start to
wonder how you could ever have gotten published in the first place. Things get doubled
or tripled if you have people in your life that question why you write or make you
feel like crap because you don’t have “a real job.”
After
much wallowing, hiding in reading “comfort books” and pretending that
I’d get to writing the next day, eventually I had to stop hiding. So, I opened my
story and got back to work. Unfortunately I’d ended with a sex scene. Nothing says
sexy like depression. *rolls eyes* And that’s when the self-doubt and self-hatred
started. Writing the sex scene was painful and I’m still not done with it. Nothing
about it screamed emotional or enticing. I had to stop before I sabotaged myself,
but I still had to write. So, I put away that story, for now, to try a palate cleanser,
to write something that wasn’t contracted and something that wasn’t paranormal (which
the other story was). It wasn’t perfect, if an editor saw it there would be lots
of knuckle wrapping and tsk, tsk, tsking, but in the end I’d written something,
anything and it was pretty good. I had accomplished something.
Recovering
from all the pain, heartache, self-doubt, frustration, writer’s block, and writer’s
fear will take time, and baby steps. But in the end I am a writer and damn it, this
is what I’m meant to do. Even if it is painful, it’s my job and I love it even if
it can be a pain in the ass at times. Also, I know that I’ll make it through this
patch because I’m surrounded by awesome people. One more thing: I’m stubborn.
For more information about
Selena’s latest release:
Blurb:
Their passion may be the
death of them…
Werewolf Chief of Police
Torger, is running into walls while tracking the Draven’s Crossing serial killer.
No matter what he tries to do, he can’t find the clues needed to stop the terror
that stalks the streets of his city. Things aren’t helped by his attraction to the
dragon shifter and Draven City News Reporter, Isadora Jones. With political pressure
and bodies mounting, can he get through all these distractions and find the truth
before it’s too late?
Reporter Isadora Jones wants
to help with the investigation into the serial killer but Torger refuses to let
her. She decides to do it on her own, but her world goes upside down when the killer
sets his sights on her. Under Torger’s protection, they start to put the pieces
together but will it be too late for them?
Things go from bad
to worse when another killer appears. Draven’s Crossing just got a whole lot more
dangerous.
Buy Links:
Purple Sword Publications:
Amazon
Barnes and Noble
ARe
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Tax Tips for Authors.

Romance Lives
Forever welcomes author EM Lynley back to the blog. As a tax preparer, she has
a good insight into what authors need this time of year. Here are her top five
tips to us.

As both a
romance writer, and a tax preparer, I know exactly the worries and frustrations
my fellow authors go through every year. If 
you use tax prep software, you’re never sure what’s allowed or where on
Schedule C to put the cost of your website and cover art–or you pay through
the nose for an accountant to do your return. Kayelle asked me to offer a few
tips to help you feel a little more confident about your taxes, whether this
year as you rush to finish by April 15, or pick up some advice to help you out
when you file next year.

1. You can
write off that whip you bought while researching your BDSM story! There’s quite
a bit of latitude for authors to deduct research expenses. Just ask yourself:
“Would I buy this if I weren’t writing a story about X?” If not, then it’s a
legit research expense. I write off reference books, library fines on research
books, and trips to visit a location. I even wrote off some wine I bought while
writing a novel about a winemaker. You can also deduct some of the fiction you
buy, if you call it market research. Just don’t abuse that one. If you make
$500 on writing and spend $1000 on books for “research” you’ll find it
difficult to defend if the IRS asks any questions.

2. Document,
document, document. This is the magic word for the IRS. Keep records of
everything you buy or spend related to your writing business. You can do a
spreadsheet or write notes in a desk calendar. If the IRS happens to audit your
return, they’ll require this level of documentation, even if you don’t have
original receipts. You can even show them the scribbles in your calendar.

3. Other
deductions you might have missed: swag for conventions, fees for online
classes, contest entry fees, airfare and hotel for conventions, mileage for
trips to the library, bookstore, stock photos for cover art, your domain name,
RWA meetings (and the fees!), membership fees for any and all author
organizations. If you bought it for promotion, report it as
“advertising” expense. Anything that doesn’t fit into a standard category
on Schedule C goes as “Other.” Just document how the item was used
for business purposes: “RWA dues and meeting expenses” or “Books for research.”

4. Even
unpublished authors can take these deductions. If you had expenses in 2012, but
your book won’t be released until 2013, you can and should file Schedule C to
get the deductions for 2012. Don’t worry about a loss on your business return,
as long as 3 out of 5 years show a profit, the IRS won’t question the
occasional loss. And you can’t take the deductions in a later year, only the
year you actually spent the money.

5. Missed some
of these deductions? If you’ve already filed, but didn’t take as many
deductions as you’re legitimately entitled to, it’s not too late. You can file
an amended return. It’s  a correction to
the original, and if you are owed an additional refund, or have a smaller
balance due than on your original return, the IRS will send you the difference.

6. Bonus tip:
Like most of you, I get paid from many publishers through PayPal. I signed up
for a PayPal debit card, which I use for as many of my expenses as possible, so
I can keep personal and business expenses separate. Only use this card for
business expenses, and pay for personal items only from your personal bank
account or credit card. This will help with recordkeeping. Then, at the end of
the year, print out the statement and make a note what each item was for. Save
that with your return in case two years from now the IRS asks you to
substantiate a particular item. You won’t necessarily remember later on.

I teach an
online course each spring, covering these topics and a lot more. I do a
line-by-line Schedule C walkthrough and home office deductions, and explain
self-employment taxes as well as the dreaded estimated quarterly tax payments. The
course content is also available in a book, Tax Tips for Authors,
from Amazon
and Smashwords.
(Use coupon code DU56V to save $1.00 at Smashwords).

By night EM
Lynley writes gay erotic romance, but by day she’s a financial writer, editor,
and tax professional. She holds an MS degree in Financial Economics from the
London School of Economics and is a former staff economist at the White House
Council of Economic Advisers. 

Tax tips can also be found here: taxtipsforauthors.wordpress.com

QUESTIONS?

Have a question? Ask it here and leave your email. EM will answer your questions (if time allows).

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For Men Like Us

Romance Lives Forever welcomes Brita Addams to the blog
for an article on why it takes so long to write.

What took me so long?

I have asked myself that question
many times. Given that I’ve read all my life and aspired to be a writer since
middle school, even I am astounded that it took me so many years to actually
sit down and write for publication.
The simple explanation is that I
didn’t feel I had anything to say, but, as I said, that is the simple answer
and partially untrue. The truth of the matter is, I never knew my niche. My
thoughts were scattered to the four winds, interests in any number of directions,
and nothing concrete to anchor me.
Then along comes life and that
conspired to put my passion for the written word on the back burner, save for
the constancy of reading.
There was also the niggle in the
back of my head, that I couldn’t cut it. In seventh grade, my teacher, Mr.
Green, sent one of my short stories off to a famous writer, Hal Borland. I had no idea
until Mr. G. called me to his desk one day and showed me the paper, with myriad
comments in the margins, most of them positive, others constructive. He
explained that he thought the paper good enough to send to Borland, author of
one of the books we had read in English class. The final comment, at the bottom
of the page, was, “This girl has talent and shows great promise.”
Excited, I took the paper home
and showed it to my father. Now, Dad wasn’t a particularly encouraging fellow,
having never overcome his lifelong depression and issues that followed him to
the grave. He was also a frustrated writer, though he never got past the first
draft stage in anything he ever wrote. Anyway, he looked at the paper, got very
angry, and ripped it up. Amid mutters of “wasted time,” he stalked
off, leaving me upset and discouraged.
Now I say this because I hope that
others won’t let something like that to do then what it did to me. I never
wrote another word, save for continual journals and articles for the local
newspaper. Every time I picked up a pen, I heard those words that my father had
said. Isn’t it strange how words meant to hurt often drown out even the most
encouraging?
In later years, I often wrote
letters for friends who’d read things I had written, but that was the extent of
it. Something was missing, something that lived in my heart, while I refused to
let grow. My husband and I raised our children and went on with life. I still
read constantly, but by then, life was so busy, that writing wasn’t even a blip
on the radar.
One year for my birthday, my
husband gave me several of Philippa Gregory’s books, particularly The Other
Boleyn Girl and Earthly Joys. I have always loved non-fiction, have read
biographies and historical accounts for as long as I can remember. I hadn’t,
however, read romance. Gregory combines both, taking real people and creating
circumstances around them that tell a story that has some grounding in the
truth.
After devouring everything I
could by Gregory, I sought out other historical romances, not particularly
worried if they featured actual people, historical was enough for me. Oh, my,
did my world open up. I discovered Mary Balogh, Lisa Kleypas, and so many other
wonderful authors, and I couldn’t get enough.
After reading hundreds of
historical romances, my creativity came to life. I started plotting stories
long after I turned the light off at night. I got excited and told my husband
about the stories and patient man that he is, he listened. One day, he asked
me, “Do you think you could write a book?”
Thank God he did, because I
haven’t stopped since.

Previous Books

Tarnished Gold
Tarnished Gold

In 1915, starstruck Jack Abadie strikes out for the gilded
streets of the most sinful town in the country—Hollywood. With him, he takes a
secret that his country hometown would never understand. 

After years of hard work and a chance invitation to a gay
gentlemen’s club, Jack is discovered. Soon, his talent, matinee idol good
looks, and affable personality propel him to the height of stardom. But fame
breeds distrust. 
Meeting Wyatt Maitland turns Jack’s life upside down. He
wants to be worthy of his good fortune, but old demons haunt him. Only through
Wyatt’s strength can Jack face that which keeps him from being the man he wants
to be. Love without trust is empty. 
As the 1920s roar, scandals rock the movie industry. Public
tolerance of Hollywood’s
decadence has reached its limit. Under pressure to clean up its act, Jack’s
studio issues an ultimatum. Either forsake the man he loves and remain a box
office darling, or follow his heart and let his shining star fade to tarnished
gold.
Read an excerpt and purchase the Tarnished Gold ebook
or print,
signed by the author (if one of the first twenty sold.)
ForMen Like Us, which takes place during the Regency in England. You
can find it at Dreamspinner Press. Just click the title to be magically
transported.
For Men Like Us
After Preston Meacham’s lover dies trying to lend him aid at
Salamanca,
hopelessness becomes his only way of life. Despite his best efforts at starting
again, he has no pride left, which leads him to sell himself for a pittance at
a molly house. The mindless sex affords him his only respite from the horrors
he witnessed.
The Napoleonic War left Benedict Wilmot haunted by the acts he was forced to
commit and the torture he endured at the hands of a superior, a man who used
the threat of a gruesome death to force Ben to do his bidding. Even sleep gives
Ben no reprieve, for he can’t escape the destruction he caused.
When their paths cross, Ben feels an overwhelming need to protect Preston from his dangerous profession. As he explains,
“The streets are dangerous for men like us.” 
Serenity’s Dream
Lucien and Serenity – the rewritten, expanded version of the
first book in my Sapphire Club series.
Serenity Damrill has returned to her husband, Lucien after a
ten-year absence. She carries with her a secret that could destroy her life and
possibly all that Lucien has built.
Lucien was quite happy in his life running the Sapphire Club
and has no need for the frigid wife who deserted him the day after they were
married.
Can Lucien teach Serenity that her fear of the marriage bed
is unfounded? Will Serenity’s secret be the death knell for their
marriage? 
You can purchase Serenity’s Dream – Lucien and Serenity at Amazon

About the Author

Born in Upstate New York, Brita Addams has made her home in
the sultry south for many years. Brita’s home is a happy place, where she lives
with her real-life hero, her husband, and a fat cat named Stormee. She writes,
for the most part, erotic historical romance, both het and m/m, which is an
ideal fit, given her love of British and American history. Setting the
tone for each historical is important. Research plays an indispensible part in
the writing of any historical work, romance or otherwise. A great deal of
reading and study goes into each work, to give the story the authenticity it
deserves.

As a reader, Brita prefers historical works, romances and
otherwise. She believes herself born in the wrong century, though she says she
would find it difficult to live without air conditioning. Brita and her husband
love to travel, particularly cruises and long road trips. They completed a Civil
War battlefield tour a couple of years ago, and have visited many places
involved in the American Revolutionary War.

In May, 2013, they are going to England for two weeks, to visit the
places Brita writes about in her books, including the estate that inspired the
setting for her Sapphire Club series. Not the activities, just the floor plan.
A bit of trivia – Brita pronounces her name, B-Rita, like the woman’s name, and
oddly, not like the famous water filter.

Giveaway

Ebook giveaways at each stop. Random commenter’s choice from
my backlist
Serenity’s Dream

Signed 8×10 glossies of Jack Abadie

Grand Prize is a Kindle, along with the winner’s choice
of five (5) of my backlist titles, sent to them by email.
Rules: 
Leave a comment at one or all the stops. At each stop, a
random commenter will be selected to win their choice of backlist book
(Tarnished Gold excluded.) This selection will be made daily throughout the
tour, except where blog owners wish to extend the eligibility. Be sure to leave
an email address in your comment. 
All names of commenters and their email addresses will be
put into the drawing for the Kindle, even if they have won the daily drawing.
The more comments you make the more chances you have to win.
Other prizes include five (5) 8×10 glossies of Jack Abadie,
signed. The winners will be selected on April 10, from all the commenters at
all the stops, and notified by email.
The Grand Prize winner will be selected on April 10th and
notified by email. Once I have heard from the winner and obtained a shipping
address, I will order the Kindle and have it shipped directly to the winner.
They will also be eligible to select five (5) of my backlist titles and I will
email them to the winner.
Contest valid in the United States.
Full schedule for the Tarnished Gold Virtual BookTour

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Byzantine Gold

Romance Lives
Forever welcomes Chris Karlsen back to the blog for an article on writing romantic
suspense books as a retired detective.
When I retired after
twenty-five years in law enforcement, I thought I was pretty much done with all
things police related, other than watching a couple of shows on television. I could
finally write the romance story I’d had in my head for three decades. Since it was
a romance and not a thriller or mystery, it never occurred to me that I’d wind up
applying skills directly and indirectly learned conducting investigations. How wrong
I was.
My first two books,
Heroes Live Forever, and Journey in Time, were part of a paranormal series. Heroes
had a reincarnation aspect to the story. The hero and his best friend are aware
of what is happening when they enter into the experience. The heroine has no memory
of her previous life and connection to the hero. In order to convince her that the
outrageous tale he tells is true, as I wrote the scene, I put him across the interview
table from me. I mentally returned to my detective time. I asked myself what questions
would I ask a victim/witness/suspect. What answers would they need to give me to
convince me they were telling the truth? To convince the heroine, they had to convince
me first. If I believed it, I could make it believable on the page.
By the time I started
Journey in Time, I knew I wasn’t done with my police experience. This story required
knowledge of evidence, along with another exchange involving an outrageous tale
to convert a doubter to a believer. In this story a modern couple has been transported
back to Fourteenth Century England, an England
preparing for war with France.
The hero in this book is the best friend from the first novel. He is a product of
reincarnation. He has lived in this time and place before, and retains his memories
from the period. The heroine is a modern London
attorney who has been caught in the time portal with the hero. This time it is his
turn to sit across the interview table in my mental interrogation room. I put myself
in her place and questioned him relentlessly. I searched for the answers I needed
him to give to make me believe that I am indeed part of a terrible and dangerous
situation with no clue how it happened or how to return to the modern world. Unless
they find a way out, he will die in battle. History cannot be changed, including
his death. She would be alone in the alien medieval world.
In that story, there’s
a scene where the king orders the heroine to stay as a “guest” of a wool merchant,
who’s a favorite of the queen. It turns out the man is a vicious brute who attempts
to sexually assault her. She fights off the initial assault but is badly beaten
in the process. The hero locates her and brings her back to court and the wool merchant
back to stand trial. The merchant falsely accuses her of a crime. His testimony
is nothing but lies in an effort to defend the beating he gave her. The heroine
must present her side of the case before the king and entire court. I used my experience
testifying in criminal trials and had the heroine ask the questions a prosecutor
would’ve asked me or the defendant. I had the heroine use evidence that I’d use,
if this had been my case to present to a judge or jury. Lacking the technical equipment
and scientific means we have at our fingertips today, I relied on the most obvious
physical evidence available that could be seen and touched. I didn’t want the trial
to be an easy time for her. In my head, I laid out the crime scene and visualized
what she could take from there back to court. I went over the scene again and again,
like a detective does looking for anything I might’ve missed.
My last two books, Golden
Chariot and Byzantine Gold, are from a different series. They’re romantic thrillers.
Golden Chariot involves the murder of a Turkish government agent, artifact smuggling,
and the kidnapping of the heroine, a nautical archaeologist. She has a loose connection
to a private collector who purchases looted relics on the Black Market. The Turkish
agent sent to investigate the first agent’s murder must also investigate the heroine
further. Between my detective background and my research, I was able to put together
enough of the foreign legal process to make the investigation relatively accurate.
It should be noted that much is different with regards to due process and the judiciary
system. I was also able to use the heroine’s ignorance of how a foreign agency employs
due process to create a great deal of fear in her.
Toward the end of the
story, she is kidnapped and taken to a contract killer’s compound. I had a very
basic, I stress very basic, idea of the tactics needed to extract her. Here my background
came in handy but not as a result of my personal experience but with who I knew.
I had a friend who headed up a SWAT team for a major city. He was also in the Marine
Corps Reserves. After the invasion of Iraq,
he was deployed to both Baghdad
and Fallujah. His job was to teach young Marines urban crisis entry. He had retired
from both the police department and the military when I was writing Golden Chariot.
I called upon him to help me with the tactics, including the use of explosives and
how the extraction team would deploy once they gained entry into the compound. Phone
calls, emails, and drafts went back and forth. He was a great help and I was and
am incredibly grateful for his patience and assistance.
Byzantine Gold involves
the contract killer from Golden Chariot, in addition to a terrorist cell. The killer
is hunting the hero, bent on revenge. In a scene early in the story, he plans to
shoot the hero. I fired several different types of weapons over my career. I was
able to use my knowledge of range capacity, in addition to types of weapons the
killer might employ build that scene. I also used my experience in a later scene
involving a sniper type attack.
In the end of Byzantine
Gold, there’s a tactical operation where the terrorists are involved. As I mentioned,
my tactical knowledge is limited. But once again, I was able to call upon a friend
who is more than a friend, I asked my husband. He spent three years in the military
and thirty-one in law enforcement. While we sat in a hotel bar in Chicago, he helped me lay
out the schematics for the operation on cocktail napkins. While I was talking about
terrorists and how they’d approach, I noticed the man next to me giving me a rather
strange look. I half expected Homeland Security or the FBI or someone from one of
the alphabet agencies to rush into the bar and drag me off for questioning. I quickly
inserted a code word for terrorist.
In conclusion, I can
only say that when I began writing, I was firm in my conviction that in no way would
I relive my career through my characters. I did not want to write cop stories. I
love to read them and have several favorite authors who write fantastic ones. They
weren’t for me. I laugh now as I see in every story a part of the last twenty-five
years coming through my character’s lives. Fortunately, it has been to our mutual
benefit.

About the Author

Chris Karlsen
I was born and
raised in Chicago.
My father was a history professor and my mother was, and is, a voracious reader.
I grew up with a love of history and books.
My parents also
love traveling, a passion they passed onto me. I wanted to see the places I
read about, see the land and monuments from the time periods that fascinated
me. I’ve had the good fortune to travel extensively throughout Europe, the Near
East, and North Africa.
I am a retired
police detective. I spent twenty-five years in law enforcement with two
different agencies. My desire to write came in my early teens. After I retired,
I decided to pursue that dream.
I currently live in
the Pacific Northwest with my husband, four
rescue dogs and a rescue horse.
I’m close to finishing the first draft of book 3 in my Knights in Time
series. After that, I hope to start book 3 in my Dangerous Waters series, which
the series Golden Chariot and Byzantine Gold are from.

Previous Books

Heroes Live Forever
(book 1 in Knights in Time series)
Journey in Time
(book 2 in Knights in Time series)
Golden Chariot
(book 1 in Dangerous Waters series)

Books Coming Soon

Knight Blindness
(Knights in Time series)

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