1

As you might remember, I will be a guest author at the first ever East Coast Author’s Convention held October 4-6 2019. I’m really excited about it! If you’re going, or thinking you might like to attend a fun romance convention, tickets are on sale now. There’s lots of events to attend, some of which are free (but require a ticket to save your spot). I’ll be signing at the book fair in Evernight’s boardroom! Evernight will be hosting several other events that I’ll be a part of as well. You can check the schedule for more info.

Additionally, there’s a giveaway! You can win 4 free tickets to the book fair held on Saturday, October 5th. Just scroll down here for the Rafflecopter widget!

And last but not least, a reader’s choice awards is underway for the convention. Even if you’re not attending, you can vote. I’m up for three categories: Best Side Character (Luci Rossi from Boyfriend Material), Best Dark Romance (for Star-Crossed), and Author of the Year. Just an FYI *hinthint* 😉

Anyone planning on coming or think you might like to attend? It’s going to be a fun time for romance readers and authors alike!

1

Today is the day! Tickets are now on sale for the East Coast Author Convention, where I’ll be one of the guest authors–taking place October 4-5 2019 in Bucks County, Pennsylvania.

**Tickets are on sale HERE for the main events.**

**Visit this page for other activities, some of which are still TBA as far as time/prices/ticket sales.**

Hope to see you there!

28

It’s time for the Author Toolbox Blog Hop! The hop takes place the third Wednesday of every month (minus November/December) and focuses on the sharing of resources and learning tools for authors.

Stop by the hop page and check out all the participants and their posts this month! Also check out #AuthorToolboxBlogHop on Twitter.

A Common Theme

Many times authors don’t just write one book with the same characters and world–series, sequels, trilogies, quadrilogies and more are pretty common in a variety of genres. They’re often found in sci-fi and fantasy, and in the genre I write, romance. It’s also common in the mystery world, with multi-volume series that focus on one sleuth or detective. It’s this last example that brings me to what I want to talk about today:

The shared world series.

A “shared world” is usually written one of two major ways: either the main character or several major characters appear in every book, but the books only interconnect insofar as they take place in the same universe; or, every book has different characters but takes place in the same world with the same premise. Personally, I’m writing about this subject right now because I’m currently writing a shared world series. Mine is in the second format: every book has different characters, but they all have similar experiences in the same universe, revolving around the same premise. The first book in this series will come out this spring–I can’t wait!–but I’ve also written several more books in this series already.

Shared worlds, no matter how they’re written, have a few key components:

  • The books can be read in any order and still make sense–they’re not dependent on each other the way sequels and trilogies are. It’s not a single story told across multiple books.
  • The same characters or same premise/subjects appear in each book.
  • The set-up of the universe generally has to be explained in every book, to make them stand-alone.

As I write this series, I’m finding the last point to be the most challenging. Even though by this time I know everything about the world I’m writing in, and it’s been presented in every book so far, I have to explain the key components over again in each book no matter how annoying it is for me. That’s because every book could be the first book the reader picks up. The hard part is that I have to do it without repeating myself to the point a reader reading EVERY book would feel like I’m just being repetitive, and do it in a creative way that makes it non-invasive and part of the story. I’m trying to do this by adding new details to the setup every time and varying things a little. Yes, it’s a challenge–but it’s fun!

I know a lot of readers enjoy a shared world series. It’s great to write too, because you get to explore new characters and stories but with an established background already in place. Do you read books like this? Do you write them? Let me know in the comments!

40

It’s time for the Author Toolbox Blog Hop! The hop takes place the third Wednesday of every month (minus November/December) and focuses on the sharing of resources and learning tools for authors.

Stop by the hop page and check out all the participants and their posts this month! Also check out #AuthorToolboxBlogHop on Twitter.

Inside, Not Outside

If you’ve been writing for a while, you’ve probably heard the phrase “show, don’t tell” about a thousand times. This generally means instead of telling us that a character did something, you should show them completing the action. It provides more impact and makes for better reading. There’s different ways to “show,” however, that you might not have thought about before. One of the best things I ever learned from an editor is how to avoid filtering. Learning this lesson literally changed how I write.

What is filtering? Filtering is telling how a character feels, thinks, reacts, and perceives the world instead of showing it. Say you have a character named Joe. Filtering is telling us that “Joe thought,” “Joe wondered,” “Joe saw,” and “Joe heard.” If Joe is your POV character, we need to get deeper into his perspective. You should show us what’s going on in Joe’s head instead of explaining it. Here are some examples:

  • Instead of “Joe saw a dog on the street.”
  • Try “As Joe walked down the street, a brown and white dog loped past him.”

You don’t need to explain to us that Joe saw the dog. The fact that the dog is being described lets us know that Joe saw it–after all, we’re in his head.

  • Instead of “Joe heard music playing.”
  • Try “A soft melody came from the other room. Joe smiled. It was a familiar tune.”

Especially when it comes to things that involve the senses, it’s better to describe the thing that activates the sense rather than just saying the sense was activated. This puts us more in the moment, experiencing it along with the character.

This works with more abstract things like thinking and knowing as well.

  • Instead of “Joe knew something bad was about to happen.”
  • Try “A cold chill rushed down Joe’s spine. His skin prickled. Something wasn’t right here.”

We feel what Joe is feeling when the author describes what’s happening to him, instead of just telling us he senses that something is wrong. We all know what it’s like to be afraid, sick, happy, jealous, glad, and a million other emotions…and the storytelling is much stronger when the author evokes these emotions in the reader rather than telling us about them. It also helps us connect more with the character, not just because the character seems more real, but because how the character reacts tells us a lot about their personality.

A good way to eliminate this sort of filtering is to do a sweep of your manuscript and search for sensory words like felt, heard, saw, tasted, and smelled. Also look for words like knew, thought, and sensed. Of course, not every single use of these sorts of words will be wrong. No writing rule is without exceptions. There may be times where it’s very much appropriate to use filtering. But as a general rule, eliminating filtering makes a story more immediate and provoking. It’s very much a way of showing instead of telling.

Getting rid of filtering was one of the best things I ever learned to do. It made my writing a lot tighter and more like a “story.” What’s a good rule you learned that changed your writing?

5

Today I’m sharing some helpful tips for first-time book convention attendees, in honor of Love N. Vegas, a romance book convention/author signing that will be held October 27-29 at Planet Hollywood Vegas. Although I won’t be attending this convention, I’ve been to a few in my time!

For a full list of authors attending the event, check out Love N. Books site here. You can also buy tickets for the convention on their site and learn more. And of course, Vegas.com has some great flight and hotel packages for attendees.

I’ve mostly only attended book conventions as an author, but I’ll try to share some tips for both authors presenting at their first convention, as well as fans attending their first book convention.

It’s my first convention, I’m super nervous/don’t know anyone!

  • It’s okay to be nervous! A lot of other people are too, trust me. And you’re almost certainly not the only author/fan at their first convention.
  • Hang out in common spaces to meet people: lounges, bars, the lobby, eating areas, any place where folks are mingling. These are the best places to meet new folks and strike up a conversation.
  • Attend panels and readings–discover new authors, as well as other fans of your favorite authors. It’s always great to have someone to gush with!
  • If you can bring someone along with you to the convention it always makes things a little less nerve-wracking. But don’t worry, even if you go alone, it’s easy to make new friends.

What are some do’s and don’t’s of attending a book convention?

Authors:

  • DO be ready to mingle, chat, sign autographs, and take pictures with your fans. That’s what they’re there for!
  • DO keep an open mind, as not every fan who approaches you may agree with the way you wrote a story. Helpful criticism and venting may very well be part of your fan experience (this was something I wasn’t prepared for at my first convention!). Of course, there’s a huge difference between criticism and someone being abusive. Know when to end a conversation, if necessary.
  • DON’T stuff your work down the throat of everybody you see and promote yourself to the point of being annoying. Let folks find you–you may very well become their new favorite author!
  • DON’T get discouraged if you see other authors getting a lot more attention than you. You’re there to have fun and make your presence known to readers. That could be you someday, too.

Fans:

  • DO check out new authors, books, and series. Take in everything–and everyone–the convention has to offer and enjoy yourself to the fullest.
  • DO tell your favorite authors how much you love them, and tell them specific things you like about their characters and books. They’ll appreciate it!
  • DO make friends with other convention-goers as well and be open to conversation and discussion. You might just find your new best friend!
  • DON’T expect free stuff from every single author or expect people to give you free books. Authors need to make a living too!

What should I bring with me?

Authors:

  • Bring swag–things like pens, buttons, stickers, bookmarks, and other fun toys and gadgets with your name/website on them. The more creative and memorable, the better! You can also make things like character cards, postcards advertising your book, and business cards. I’ve seen authors make t-shirts to pass out, as well. Vistaprint is a great place to have things like this made in bulk, for a low price. You can also make posters/signage for your table. Make sure you bring advertising materials with you to pass out to fans!
  • If this is a convention where you can sell books, be realistic about how many you need, so you don’t sink a fortune into a book order. No one wants to go home with a huge box of their own unsold books!

Fans:

  • Bring anything you’d like your favorite author to sign for you–books, postcards, an autograph book. If you’ve made something special in honor of your favorite author, book, or character, bring it along. Trust me, authors love to see how you appreciate our work!
  • Bring money–trust me, you’re going to find all kinds of new books you want! Carry cash, as not all authors may be capable of processing a card for you.

What should I take home?

Books! Tons of books! Also swag, gifts, food, and memorabilia that reminds you of what a great time you had!

What do I wear?

The fun thing about conventions is they’re a time to cut loose, have fun, and dress any way you want to. Some people of course come in normal, casual wear, some people dress formally, and other people dress in costumes, like their favorite characters, or very dramatically or in period clothing. At my first convention I was Steampunk-ed out almost the entire time! Of course, always check ahead of time to see if there’s a dress code, but if there isn’t, you’ll probably see a lot of people dressed in fun attire!

Any additional tips/advice?

Book conventions can be really overwhelming, especially if it’s a huge event held somewhere exciting. Ask at check-in about maps and schedules to make your experience easier. It’s best (and most fun) to rent a hotel room in the hotel where the convention is held (if it’s held in one) but staying off premises can also be more relaxing and let you decompress between events.


There you have it! Are you planning on attending any book conventions in the near future, as a fan or author? Will you be going to Love N. Vegas? If you have any additional questions for me, feel free to ask!