Christmas: a Time For Renewal

cupcakesI recently celebrated another birthday, and I had to sit back and take stock of my life. Time is fleeting, and as I get closer to being able to collect medicare and social security, I wonder if my path as a writer has been worth it.

I love to write, but is it all it can be? Finding readers is hard, and all I can do is produce an enjoyable product, release it, and hope for the best. SPARK and SMOKE, released this year, are two full-length books in my Clan of Dragons series, and the third book will be released early next year.

I submitted SPARK into the RITA awards, the Oscar for writers, hosted every year by Romance Writers of America. I plan to submit SMOKE into the PRISM awards, a similar contest for paranormal writers.

On December 5th I shall release a boxed set…a renewal, of sorts, of three of my time travel adventures, along with highland-games-final-2my award-winning novella. Until then, the boxed set is available for pre-order. Releasing four older books in an attractively-priced boxed set gives me time to concentrate on creating new adventures for my readers.

All my titles can be found on my blog Where Happy Ever After takes the Road Less Traveled.

 

So…it is back to writing,

and I wish y’all Happy Holidays!

Expertise

I’m in the process of reviewing my editors comments on a new short story/novella. It’s the bonus story in my Merry Men Box Set #2 (which will be available December 15th).

box-set-2In Box Set #1, I included the story of how the parents of the hero in one of the books in the box set met, so I thought it would be fun to do that again. The problem is that to write this story I had to learn all about the treaty negotiations between France and Spain at the beginning of the Napoleonic War. That would have been fine. I love history. But I didn’t just have to learn what happened, I had to figure out how a negotiator would have actually conducted his negotiations. I had to figure out all of the nuances in this delicate task and the underlying political consequences of each move.

I had to learn all about the politics at the time and how treaties are actually negotiated! Ugh! I am not a politician. I don’t like politics all that much. It’s really slippery stuff. But in order to write a convincing, authentic story I had to have an idea of how these things worked and how people who engage in politics (and treaty negotiations) think. Once I did that, I had to make sure that the story wasn’t actually about the politics (because, lets face it, you don’t want to be reading a dry recounting of a pretty minor treaty negotiation, you want to be reading a romance novel!), but about the people. studying

It made me start thinking… as writers, we actually have to know a lot about things work. If we’re going to have someone murdered in a book, we have to know exactly how it happens, how the blood spurts, how it feels to hold a gun, or sword, or whatever the murder weapon is in your hand and how to wield it. Just how hard is it to slice off someone’s head? Well… actually, it’s really hard. There’s a lot of bone and tissue and tendon in there that you have to slice through. Why do I know this? Because I’ve written about it, so I had to learn about it.

I’m beginning to think that if people knew how much research goes into every novel, they’d have a lot more respect for writers. We become experts in whatever it is we’re writing about. We need to be in order to write convincing stories.

How is it then that writers are dismissed and thought of in the lowest possible terms? We know how to kill you. Er… I mean, we know a lot of stuff!🙂 History, medicine, politics, law, you name it, if a novel has been written about it, that author had to know that subject pretty darn well. No wonder the authors I know are so intelligent–intelligent enough not to get upset when our work is dismissed as frivolous.

So, what is your specialty? What could you write about? Or what have you learned by reading a great book?

Cover Reveal – Just Within a Highland Mist by Dawn Marie Hamilton

Just Within a Highland Mist

 

The fifth tale in the Highland Gardens series

Coming Winter 2017

 
 

Published Books in the Highland Gardens series:

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Available at Amazon.

 
 
~Dawn Marie

November is A Very ODD Month

jap-maple-2013November is one of my favorite months, and not because my country celebrates Thanksgiving Day on the 24th with some of my favorite foods: turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie! It is also my birthday month (the 13th), and the holiday shopping season starts on the 25th with a day most shoppers refer to as ‘Black Friday’, and the following Monday, November 28th, called ‘Cyber Monday’.

The word ‘November’ comes from the Roman word ‘novem’ meaning nine, because it was the ninth month in their Roman calendar. What is so special about this month? Well November is the official month for the following:

 

Aviation History Month

Child Safety Protection Month

National Adoption Awareness Month

National Diabetes Awareness Month

National Epilepsy Month

National Model Railroad Month

And National Novel Writing Month which is also known as NaNoWriMo. Many authors and would-be authors sit at their computer screens and write, write, write. The goal? To write at least 50,000 words (the start of a good book) and to commiserate with or get inspiration from writers all over the world. I participated once, and although it is not my cup-of-tea, I highly recommend joining. Learn more at their national website HERE

November is also known for being the official month for some very ODD Holidays, such as:

November 2   Deviled Egg Day…one of my favorite foods, but I HATE making them!

November 5   Book Lover’s Day…print books are like kittens because they are fun to cuddle up with.

November 7   Bittersweet Chocolate with Almonds Day…need I say more?

November 13   Sadie Hawkins Day…when I was 16, I asked a boy out because of this day!

November 16   Button Day…I have a big tin box full of buttons.

November 19   Have a Bad Day Day…what? Guess I will stay in bed.

November 27   Pins & Needles Day…our parents gave sis and I cats that we named Needles & Pins!

When not celebrating with one of these ideas, try one of my books… find all my titles HERE

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Have a great month!

 

Will you Nano?

nanowrimoNational Novel Writing Month starts in just a few days. For many writers, their normal writing life stops so that they can participate in this annual ritual of trying to write a 50,000 word novel in a month. For others, they see this as an opportunity to finally get to work on that book they’ve been wanting to write for years.

Since I write full time anyway, I rarely participate in NaNoWritMo (as it’s called). But this year, although I’ve gotten a head start, I’m in the process of trying to get a book done within the month.

My impetus isn’t just for the fun of it, or to see if I can do it, but rather because I was asked to write a book for a particular series and given a deadline of December 1. Luckily, I was also give two extra weeks and a word count of 25,000 instead of 50.

That being said, I will actually need to have the book done before the end of the month so that it can be edited and ready to be published by December 1–most people who participate in NaNoWriMo just try to finish a first draft, not have a book ready to be sent out into the world by the end.

So far, I’m managing to write 1500-2000 words a day, so I’m hopeful that my book will, in fact, get done on time.

So what exactly is this this quickly-written new book? Something completely new to me–a time-travel, paranormal, gay pirate romance! Yes, I was asked to write an LGBT pirate romance.

As I said, I’ve got a good start on it! Check back next month and I’ll tell you how I did, and hopefully by then I’ll even have a book description for you!

So, are you going to participate in NanoWriMo? If so, are you ready?

A Spidery tale: Sylvia’s Worst Nightmare by Dawn Marie Hamilton

With Halloween only eleven days away, I thought to share a bit of spidery fast fiction…

Sylvia’s Worst Nightmare

Shit. Late for work again.

The early morning California sun blinded. Sylvia slid into the cracked leather seat of her red MGB midget and her short black skirt rode up her thighs. Fumbling, she inserted the key into the ignition. “Please start.”

Click, click, click, click, click, vroom. “Yes!”

She pulled out of the driveway and headed for the city.

With one hand on the wheel, she scratched the raised bite mark near the vein on her wrist and shuddered. That too familiar prickly sensation of eight tiny phantom legs crawled over her skin. Revulsion chills crept down her spine. She despised spiders.

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Breathe, Sylvia. Breathe. She inhaled air deep into her lungs.

Entering the freeway, she zipped across the lanes to the left and sped with the traffic. Holy shit! Her worst nightmare crawled across the dashboard. She grabbed a used tissue from the passenger seat garbage pile and squashed the damn creepy crawly.

Her thigh started to itch like crazy. She swallowed hard and glanced down. A black widow skittered across her leg, and she spun the wheel.

The crunch of metal was the final sound. She’d never be late for work again.

~Dawn Marie Hamilton

Visit Dawn Marie Hamilton’s author page at Amazon.

Fangs, Talons, and Scales!

No, it isn’t Halloween, also known as All Hallow’s Eve, or Samhain, but there be dragons!

I write paranormal romance and my latest series, Clan of Dragons, is filled with dragons. When dealing with mythological creatures instead of actual wildlife, the writer has a certain freedom over other writers, which is why my dragons live in Scotland’s Black Cuillin Hills on the Isle of Skye.

Dragons have certain traits such as scales, talons, wings, fangs, spiked tails, etc. However, as a writer I can make my dragon purple with copper-colored wings, as I did in SPARK, the first book in my new series. Or, I can make my current hero a green dragon with snow-white wings as I did in SMOKE, the 2nd book which I just released! I can make my dragons speak, shift into humans, and fall in love.

This freedom-to twist and turn creatures in order to enhance my story-is why I love to write about dragons.  If you love dragons, Scotland, men in wool plaides, and romance, check out my newest series, Clan of Dragons.

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It’s October!

It’s October!

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I love October with Halloween, Fall Leaves, Apple Cider and Costumes. Maybe that’s why I write paranormal romance books full of Werewolves, Witches, and Shadow Walkers. But don’t get me wrong, I’m not into horror. I don’t like to be scared and if I see a scary movie I’ll probably have nightmares. Yes, I’m a lightweight.

I love “Love” and happy endings full of hope and dreams. See, totally a Romance Writer. This Halloween I’m dressing up as a “Fire Witch” from my “Witch Guardian Romance Series.” It was great fun to shop for special material to make flames. Wish we luck as I get the sewing machine out and try and whip this costume out before the end of the month.

What are you going to dress up as this Halloween?

Here’s my New Release:

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Fiery Magic

Book Three in the Witch Guardian Romance Series

Haytham Luften is an Air Witch Guardian supporting his team members while fighting Blood Cult members and the Marwolaeth possessed. He never expected to be gifted with a Destined One, or to hear his uncle, head of the Air House, threaten to renounce him if he dared claim the one woman who could share his magic.

Candace Kindle grew up on stories of “destined love” and sharing her magic with one special person. But with the Marwolaeth attacking, true love will have to wait for another day. Following her brother’s advice, she walks through a dimensional portal to take shelter with her mother and finds herself a slave in a land ruled by Dragons. There’s only one person who can save her, the Destined One she walked away from.

Apple     Amazon    Amazon UK    Barnes&Noble     Kobo     Smashwords

Something different

Do you like predictability in the books you read? Do you want to know exactly how it’s going to work out? How the characters are going to get from the beginning of the book to the end?

I would hazard a guess that the answer is a resounding “no!”.bored

We like surprises. We like something a little different; out of the ordinary.

If you’re a romance reader, you already know that two people in the book are going to end up in a committed relationship and usually by the second or third chapter you know who those two people are.

If you read mystery, you know that if there’s a dead body at the beginning of the book, by the end you’ll know who killed that person. If you read sci-fi or fantasy you’ve got a good idea of what you’re going to find when you crack open the pages of the book—a different world that the author has created and that you’re going to have fun exploring and learning about as you read the book. There may be magic or some complicated science that we could only dream of coming true.

You know this going into the book, but you don’t know what that world is going to be like or how the characters will have to navigate it. You don’t know who “did it” in your mystery. You don’t know what the hero and heroine of your romance are going to have to go through or give up in order to be together.

That’s the fun of reading a book.

So, if I told you that I wrote a Regency romance and you were a reader of Regency, you would expect ball rooms, lords and ladies, maybe some clever dialogue and all of it written in the third person (“He did this” and “She did that”).

If I told you that I’d written a Gothic romance you’d expect a haunted castle, a damsel in distress, a family curse, perhaps. It would be written in a dark, brooding manner, right?

Well, I just hate those stereotypes! I like to mix things up. So I’ve written a rather light (okay, there’s some spookiness, but nothing that will give you nightmares) Gothic Regency romance in the first person (“I did this” and “I saw that”).

What?!

MLG_400.jpgYes, you read that right. It’s a Gothic romance – there’s a ghost haunting a house with a deep, dark, troubled past. There’s a heroine who is in danger—although she’s not exactly a fainting ninny. She’s smart, and clever, and faces her obstacles head-on. It’s set in the Regency, although there’s not a ball room in sight. Okay, there are lords and ladies and maybe some clever dialogue (if I may say so, myself). But this is definitely not one of your Georgette Heyer-type romances.

It’s weird, and it’s different, and it’s fun, and there’s a slight mystery to it as well.

So, who’s up for something different? It’s called My Lord Ghost and you can check it out here.

Time to Start a New Story by Dawn Marie Hamilton

It’s time to start a new story. So many possibilities.

So what am I working on?

Two stories for the Highland Gardens time travel romance series are in the works. One a full-length novel. Just His Fae Kiss will be Caitrina and Douglas’s story. And the other a novella. Just Within a Highland Mist is Emily and Gregor’s story.

Portrait of a smiling young woman in woodland

Inspiration for Emily in Just Within a Highland Mist.

We met Emily near the end of the first book of the series, Just Beyond the Garden Gate. She was working at the Whispering Pines Inn as a hostess and her boyfriend tended bar in the lounge. Well, since then, they became engaged. Unfortunately, her fiancé was murdered.

Gregor is a new character to the series. He fostered at Castle Lachlan in his youth and has returned.

Here is the working blurb. It is unedited and could change before the tale is complete.

Just Within a Highland Mist:

Gregor MacLachlan returns to Castle Lachlan where he fostered as a green lad, ignoring rumors of fae activity. As a warrior with his cousin’s elite private guard, he hopes to prove to the clan he’s matured and has worth. A trio of pesky pixies have other plans for his heart. While hunting, a wayward shot from his bow nearly hits a strange lass who appears as if by magic.

Emily Smith follows one of the lads within her care onto a forbidden mound and wakes in a strange bed, in a place and time not her own. Can she release guilt over the tragic murder of her fiancé and find love in the arms of the dark-eyed stranger who becomes her champion?

I’m working on the cover and hope to share it soon.

Published Books in the Highland Gardens series:

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Available at Amazon.

 ~Dawn Marie