Down to Earth Romance

Archive for the ‘Craft of Writing’ Category

#Words WTH? Why We Need Editors – #photography by Adele Downs

This is why we need editors–to avoid expensive and embarrassing spelling errors. See the mistake?

Photo copyright Adele Downs 2017

Aspiring or Published Romance Authors-The Sheila Contest Opening for Entries

Are you an aspiring romance author or a published author who’d like feedback on a new manuscript? The Sheila Contest, hosted by Valley Forge Romance Writers, can help.

On the path to publication of my novel LUXURY MODEL WIFE, releasing May 2016, I entered The Sheila Contest with an early draft of the manuscript under a different title, and finaled in the competition. Though I was happy to have scored high enough to make the cut and win a finalist badge, I didn’t win my category, or even take one of the top three spots.

Fueled by the desire to make my book a winner, I took the feedback I received from the judges to heart and revised the entire manuscript. After revisions, I polished the book again. And again. And again. I changed the title to LUXURY MODEL WIFE, and when I thought the manuscript was ready, pitched the rags to riches story to my publisher. Within a week I received an email with the magic words “love the book” and a contract arrived soon after.

If you’d like feedback on a work in progress or the opening of a completed novel, The Sheila Contest opens for entries March 13. You do not have to be a member of Romance Writers of America to enter.

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The Sheila Contest 2016

Sponsor: Valley Forge Romance Writers

Fee: $25 for VFRW members, $30 for non-members

Opens for Entries: March 13, 2016
Deadline: April 16, 2016

Eligibility: Participation is open to all romance writers who are unpublished, self-published, and published. Entry must be the author’s original unpublished work and not under contract.

Entry: First 20 pages of manuscript and up to 5 page unjudged synopsis.(25 page total)

First Round Judges: Three (3) qualified, trained judges, including: General, PRO and PAN members.

Categories and Final Judges:

Single Title: Junessa Viloria, Penguin Random House

Historical: Stephany Evans, Fine Print Literary Management

Erotic: Sara Megibow, KT Literary

Romantic Suspense: Alicia Condon, Kensington Publishing

Fantasy/Futuristic/Paranormal: Nicole Resciniti, The Seymour Agency.

Best of the Best – 1st place winners from the final round will move on to the Best of the Best round, judged by Best Selling Authors and Booksellers:

Madeline Hunter – New York Times & USA Today Best Selling Author

Mariah Stewart – New York Times & USA Today Best Selling Author

Terri Brisbin – USA Today Best Selling Author

Joan Silvestro –  Indie Bookseller, Hamilton Book Trader

Heather Soligo – Traditional Bookseller, Barnes & Noble, Christiana Mall

Grand Prize for Best of the Best: $100

Top Prizes: Certificates, and the 1st through 4th place winners will be printed in RWR Magazine. (Romance Writers Report is the trade magazine of Romance Writers of America.)

For more information please visit our website: http://www.vfrw.com

Guest Post-Paula Millhouse, Original Map Art

Please welcome my talented guest Paula Millhouse, whose original maps of the Kingdom of Chalvaren, the world she created for her fantasy novel Chalvaren Rising, intrigued me so much that I invited her to my blog to share her artistry with you. Paula is here to describe her fascinating process. Please be kind and like or leave a comment for Paula, and then check out her new release.

~ Best, Adele

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Cartography and Maps in Fantasy Worlds by Paula Millhouse:

Maps are important parts of Fantasy worlds. As a key to world-building a writer must see where her characters live, how the climate affects them, where water sources are located, and the best routes for trade, protection, and natural resources.

As a nod to Mr. Tolkien who inspired me with his maps of Middle Earth as a child, I decided, “HEY – my Fantasy Romance novel, Chalvaren Rising, needs a map too. I’m an artist – I can provide that.”

Kingdom of Chalvaren (c)Paula Millhouse/Boroughs Publishing Group 2015

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Map #1

Developing a Watercolor Painting

Here’s the first really rough draft of my map. Kinda ugly, right? Just like a first draft of a novel. You kinda know it’s got potential, but… you’re not willing to share that ugly puppy with anyone.

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Draft 2: This is my developmental edit

I took my really rough composition above, thought on it, and reconstructed it. I edited out the parts that didn’t work, added new elements like any great Cartographer would to ground the map’s Reader, and I revised the entire painting. I went to my photo-imaging program Gimp, and added text to the base image.

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Draft 3: How the Process of Creativity is Unified

Finally, I added my copy edit – which visually included development of the pencil dragon drawings, and what I thought might be the final text images. I love this edition. This is how art is made, whether with brushes and watercolors, or with the text of your prose. It’s a process. No matter what, I created this world of Chalvaren, and I feel her and now I see her not only in my imagination, but also on the page. This original watercolor painting now hangs in my house in honor of the love I have for Chalvaren’s territories, her castles, her dragons, and her citizens.

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But, and here’s the caveat of this post, remember Editors Always Matter.

My amazing editor over at Boroughs Publishing Group, Christopher Keeslar, took my piece of art and transformed it even further into what I consider to be the finished product, just like he did with my novel.

I adore the “Mappiness” of the image below, don’t you?

We were able to include the map in the book, a special nod to JRR Tolkien who introduced me to my first fictional dragon and fantasy world.

Kingdom of Chalvaren (c)Paula Millhouse/Boroughs Publishing Group 2015

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CHALVAREN RISING

With the love of Kort, Chalvaren’s warrior-prince heir, Mia Ansgar will seize her birthright and become the great dragon-riding wizardess prophesied to free that elven kingdom from her embittered sorceress kin.

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TO ASCEND TRIUMPHANT

Twenty-five years ago, Theo Ansgar abandoned the Kingdom of Chalvaren for a hiding place on another world. Some called him traitor. Some, thief. Now his fully grown daughter Mia must return to the land of her birth…and their war.

It was the elf prince Kort Elias who brought her back. Theirs was an instant connection, an inescapable union of body, soul and sorcery, reminding Mia of what she truly is, and what she must become. There is also Magnus, destined to be more potent than any wyrm Chalvaren has ever seen, a three-day-old dragonlet Mia must nurture and then ride. And then there is the Dragonstone, an artifact of power nonpareil. Joined, they can tip the scales of battle against the wraith-possessed forces of darkness, of Mia’s own embittered kin.

Redemption will be offered, the protected will become the protector, and an ancient prophecy will come to fruition, but only righteous love can conquer all.

BUY LINKS:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0157RBDHO

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/chalvaren-rising-paula-millhouse/1122654652?ean=2940152348019

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/576283

https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-chalvarenrising-1887385-153.html

https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/chalvaren-rising
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/26326979-chalvaren-rising

https://www.createspace.com/5625321

Author’s Bio

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Paula Millhouse is the writer of books where fantasy, romance, and suspense collide, including Chalvaren Rising, it’s prequel, Dragonstone, and Three Wishes. Dragonstone also appears in the anthology, A Gift of Fantasy.These stories are published by Boroughs Publishing Group.

“I wanted to find out what would happen if I designed a world where fantasy lovers get their adventure quest, but also gave their girlfriends a healthy dose of grown-up romance along the way. How can we blend High Fantasy and Romance into a story that leaves the Reader breathless, where magic and suspense collide in a spellbinding imaginary world?”

She is also the author of a romantic suspense series, where fast-paced thrillers collide with high-heat romance. The Wishes Chronicles includes Careful…, and All Your Wishes…

When not following her muse on quests for happily ever afters, Paula works in the field of medicine as a Family Nurse Practitioner by day, and micro-gardens in her potager with her husband and their pack and pride of furry babies. Born and raised in Savannah, Georgia, where Spanish moss whispers tales in breezes from the Atlantic Ocean, as a child Paula soaked in the sunshine and heritage of cobblestones, pirate lore, and stories steeped in savory mysteries of the south.

She’s a PRO member of Romance Writers of America, and the Fantasy, Futuristic, & Paranormal Writers specialty chapter.

She lives in the mountains now, but she honors her southern heritage as a storyteller by sharing her adventures in fiction with readers.

Find the Author here:

Amazon Author Page http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B006991RF8
Website https://www.paulamillhouse.com
Blog https://www.paulamillhouse.com
Twitter https://twitter.com/pmillhouse
Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/paulamillhousefans
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/PaulaMillhouse.Author
Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5398221.Paula_Millhouse
GooglePlus https://plus.google.com/+PaulaMillhouse/posts
Pinterest http://www.pinterest.com/pmillhouse/boards/
TSU http://www.tsu.co/pmillhouse
You Tube https://youtu.be/q2FCU-gJPog

Henry David Thoreau Cabin in The Woods @TylerArboretum

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My husband and I spent a beautiful summer day at the Tyler Arboretum in Media, Pennsylvania, and during our walk along the trails, came upon this cabin hidden in the woods.

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The arboretum staff recreated an exact replica of American poet Henry David Thoreau‘s tiny home beside Walden Pond in Massachusetts.

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Thoreau lived simply for two years and two months (1845-1847) in the one-room cabin he built himself, to write without distractions, on land owned by his good friend Ralph Waldo Emerson. If you look closely at the bottom right of this photo you’ll notice a spot of blue–the pond behind the cabin.

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One room with a fireplace, a bench to sit on, and a loft above him to sleep. This single room was re-recreated in the exact dimensions and style of the original home on Walden Pond. I imagine there was a table inside too, but little room for anything else. When I took this photo, I was standing inside the open doorway.

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Sleeping loft after a day of writing.

I think all writers look for a sanctuary in which to write. Though my romance novels couldn’t be more different from the writings of Thoreau, I felt a connection to his cabin and its surroundings because I understood his need for solitude. The cabin in the woods at Walden Pond was the highlight of my visit to the Tyler Arboretum and a place I’ll always remember.

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Thoreau wrote:

“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.”

NEW! BAKE, LOVE, WRITE Author Cookbook

NEW RELEASE! I’m pleased to be part of BAKE, LOVE, WRITE the multi-author cookbook edited by Lois Winston.

Available in digital format for .99 and also available in paperback!

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About Bake, Love, Write:

What do most authors have in common, no matter what genre they write? They love desserts. Sweets sustain them through pending deadlines and take the sting out of crushing rejection letters and nasty reviews. They also often celebrate their successes—selling a book, winning a writing award, making a bestseller list, or receiving a fabulous review—with decadent indulgences. And when authors chat with each other, they often talk about their writing and their lives. Recipes. Writing. Relationships. In this cookbook 105 authors not only share their favorite recipes for fabulous cakes, pies, cookies, candy, and more, they also share the best advice they’ve ever received on love and writing.

Authors include: Brenda Novak, Lois Winston, Debra Holland, Dale Mayer, Shelley Noble, Caridad Pineiro, Diana Orgain, Lisa Verge Higgins, Lynn Cahoon, Jasmine Haynes, Jan Carol, Meg Bellamy, Bobbi Chukran, Melissa Keir, Amy Gamet, Kristy Tate, Terry Shames, Barbara Phinney, Kitsy Clare, Raine English, Cathryn Cade, Haley Whitehall, Shilpa Mudiganti, Melinda Curtis, Jessa Slade, Jill Blake, Daryl Devore, Molly MacRae, Elizabeth Rose, Helena Fairfax, Lourdes Venard, Jessica Aspen, Maegan Beaumont, Kay Kendall, Elizabeth John, Victoria Adams, Cyndi Pauwels, Alice Loweecey, June Shaw, Donnell Ann Bell, T. Michelle Nelson, Nina Milton, Pam DeVoe, Skye Taylor, Conda V. Douglas, Pepper Phillips, Judy Alter, Cadence Denton, Lesley Diehl, Erin Farwell, Regan Walker, Kaye Spencer, Barbara Monajem, Kathleen Kaska, Catherine Kean, Rose Anderson, Suzie Tullett, Deborah Hughes, Cynthia Luhrs, Judy Baker, Alicia Dean, Leslie Langtry, Janis Susan May, Mitzi Flyte, Ruby Merritt, Renee D. Field, Kathryn Quick, Susan Cory, Judy Penz Sheluk, Kay Manis, Kathryn Jane, Debra Goldstein, E. Ayers, Chantilly White, Sloan McBride, Triss Stein, Ana Morgan, Adele Downs, L.C. Giroux, Pamela Aares, Nancy Warren, Barbara Lohr, J.J. Cook, Lynn Reynolds, Cori Arnold, B.V. Lawson, Lynn Franklin, M.L. Guida, Irene Peterson, Sue Viders, Liese Sherwood-Fabre, Susan Santangelo, Sheila Seabrook, Elaine Charton, Sharleen Scott, Kathy Bennett, Jody Payne, Reggi Allder, Ashlyn Chase, Beverley Bateman, Susan Lohrer, Donis Casey, Barbara Leavy, Stacy Juba, Karen Rose Smith.

Buy the book in paperback on Amazon

Buy a digital copy for .99 on Amazon

Buy a digital copy for .99 from B&N

Buy a digital copy for .99 on Kobo

Buy a digital copy for .99 on iTunes

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