I don’t know about you, but my reading material choice often depends on my mood. Sometimes I feel like straight contemporary. Sometimes, I want paranormal. Other times, all I want to read is urban fantasy or stories about geek girls. Sometimes it’s YA. When I can’t find a book that fits my genre of the moment, I usually end up doing something else altogether.
Look…I’m not saying it’s a waste of time to rewatch Poldark.
But, it’s also not filling my reading well.
We won’t talk about my Aidan Turner well. That will never be filled.
Huh… That sounded dirtier than I’d intended. Anyway. Back to mood reading.
I recently started using Book+Main to find exactly what I’m in the mood for. You can search by keywords, so let’s say you want to read a book about a nerdy werewolf underwear model–put in those keywords, and let Book+Main do the rest.
It’ll bring up all of the excerpts on the site that fit your criteria and you can find exactly what you’re in the mood for. I also decided to list my books there, because I’m thinking that I’m not the only person out there who wants to read about a dom-y geek or an enemies to lovers vampire slayer book.
So, here’s my profile if you want to check out my bites–it’s free to join! I’m having a lot of fun exploring and getting acquainted with authors who are new to me, and I’m so loving this platform! You can also click the icon that has the little heart with the bite out of it in my social media links.
Husband: Do you know Kaylin Peyerk? (includes link to this book.)
Me: No… Should I? Husband: I thought maybe she was in your writers group. Me: Nope. Is she local? Husband: She’s (his coworker’s) girlfriend, and her book just came out. Me: Cool. Guess I’m getting a new book today.
And, you guys get to find out more about Kaylin and her books, so, settle in!
High Fae Acedemy: Year One
Tiana is an elemental fae who can control all five of the Earth’s elements, but all she’s ever wanted is to have a normal life. Because of this, she has spent her entire existence avoiding the High Fae Academy for gifted supernaturals.
After a successful twenty-one years of avoidance, a prophecy describing
the next Great War leads academy recruiter Orin to her home. He offers her a
new start, an explanation, and training for her wayward power. Tiana can’t help
but accept when she feels a draw toward him that leaves her breathless.
Little does she know that her powers are more than anyone had bargained for.
“Open your eyes, Tiana.
eyes flutter open and I sit up. A silhouette of a fully transformed fae male is
sitting cross-legged in front of me. He’s the spitting image of Lucian with
small differences. He looks like he’d be taller and brawnier. Despite him
merely being an image made of magic and light, his eyes glow deep purple, the
darker cousins to Lucian’s. His midnight hair is long and pulled back behind
his head in a braid running down his back. Rowan could be Lucian’s older
brother. Or a more dangerous, feral, and powerful version of him.
do you look just like him? How are you doing this?”
reply comes out breathy and strange. He replies, and while his mouth moves, I
can only hear him in my head.
Using your magical well, I can manifest like
this for short periods of time. I look like Lucian because I am his distant
relative. Before I became the king of the fae, I was a citizen of the spirit
court within the royal family.
hands move toward his form by themselves before I snatch them back again,
“Can I touch you?”
moves closer, one blink he’s a few feet away, and then his knees are nearly
touching mine. It doesn’t startle me. If anything, I lean closer to him in
wonder. His form is made up entirely of magic, swirling colors moving quickly
You may touch me, if you’d like to.
reach out with shaking fingers and lay one hand against his chest. It feels
solid and real. Like he’s living and breathing right in front of me. When his
fingers come up to brush my cheek, my eyelids flutter closed. It almost feels
like my own soul is caressing me, comforting me, making me whole again. I hold
his face in my hands and run my thumbs over his smooth cheeks. When Rowan
smiles at me it takes my breath away. Magic is sparkling off him so vividly
that I almost want to shield my eyes.
Lucian calls to my spirit, Rowan calls to my very being. The darkest depths or
recesses of my soul. He knows everything about me, yet I can sense love and
tenderness from him that makes me feel safe and happy. We move to lie side by
side together with our hands clasped tightly.
lie there like that long after darkness had fallen and the stars came out. We
spoke about our fears, his life he led while being king, and what may come of
us in the future. It’s a simple interaction that has no expectations, no
tensions, and it’s a relief to have this time with him. Although, it may have
had the opposite effect of what Rowan was hoping for. While I feel closer to
him, and my heart aches for him, he still isn’t real, right? He can’t stay with
me forever like this. And do I only like him more now because he resembles
Lucian, the man that I’m almost certain is my fated mate? The confusion in my
chest grows as I roll onto my side to face him.
form is dimmer now as if he doesn’t have much more time before he will
disappear. It allows me to better study his features. Rowan has a strong
jawline, deep coal violet eyes, and crow’s feet that speak of many hours spent
laughing. I can see his emotions plainly on his face as he watches me in
return. Love, fear, uncertainty.
they simply a reflection of my own feelings, or is Rowan capable of feeling
things? I’m still not sure how this shared body thing works. The thought leads
me back to the main question I keep asking. As if sensing my inner monologue,
he leans over me, one hand on either side of my head. His eyes search my face,
while his looks vulnerable. The pure honesty we have between us gives me the
courage to ask him one of my many burning questions.
My name is Kaylin Peyerk, and I live in the beautiful state of Michigan. I have five full bookshelves, a bursting Kindle library, and a total love for the written word. My favorite genres to read are paranormal romance, fantasy, and the occasional contemporary novel. I am a lover of swimming, video games, and my golden retriever.
work full time during the week as an accountant so I get up around 7AM in order
to get to work by 8am. After work I work out, take my dog for a walk, and then
sit down to write for an hour or two.
When did you realize you wanted to be
been a reader for many many years, but I wrote my first book in my freshman
year of high school. That year we read The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton in class
and I found out that she wrote that in high school which inspired me to give it
a try, and the rest is history.
What made you realize you wanted to
be honest, I didn’t even know I wanted to write paranormal romance. I just
found the genre this year and have read almost everything that Kindle has to
offer. Then I realized I’d love to dip my toe into the world of academy
paranormal romance books as they are very hot right now. It sounded intriguing
and fun while also allowing me to write to a flourishing market.
What do you consider your greatest
greatest accomplishment has changed over the years, but I would say starting my
book subscription box businesses is one that makes me the most proud. I have
two that service separate niches and I love interacting with all of my fellow
book lovers through this platform. It allows people who love the same genres to
Do you have any hobbies?
have two main hobbies that I do almost everyday. Of course the first is
reading, and I try to read within my written genre. This is because I love
paranormal romance, and it’s great to get a feel for what the readers are
enjoying as well to better serve them. The second is computer games such as
League of Legends or Civilization Five. These are strategy and moba games that
take a lot of patience and concentration. I love that about them.
What are some of your writing goals?
would like to finish and publish my last two novels in my three book series
next year, and publish my three part novella series as well. Each supernatural
species that attends the High Fae Academy will be getting their own three book
novella series. I’m excited to expand the universe.
Who are your favorite book
have several, I promise. Some of my favorite book boyfriends are Rhysand from A
Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas, Daniel from Fallen by Lauren Kate,
and Ren from the Tigers Curse series by Colleen Houck.
What are three of your best writing
would say my three tips are:
Write everyday even when you don’t
Save edits for later or you’ll never
finish the book.
Make a good playlist to listen to
Dog or cat person?
I have two, one is a golden retriever named Walter and the other is a corgi
City or country?
as I grew up in the country but now live in the city.
Morning or night person?
Get things done early or
But mostly early.
Introvert or extrovert?
a writer, so introvert obviously.
just released the first book in a brand new series, High Fae Academy: Year One. Congratulations!
What do you like best about writing
would say how different and interesting romantic relationships can be in the
paranormal world. There are fated mates, courting bonds, trial periods, the
options are endless. It gives it a sense of excitement and mystery that you
can’t get with a classic romance.
What do you like best about Tiana?
most of my reviewers and readers have said: how badass she is. Tiana has been a
fun character to write because she doesn’t take crap from anyone. It makes it
easy to write hilarious scenes and dialogue.
What do you like best about Orin?
would say how understanding he is. He’s very tuned into what Tiana needs to
hear while at the academy. However, I will say that he’s not my favorite love
interest in the book.
Are there other characters in your
story that you’re especially fond of? Why?
love Rowan so so much! He is a fantastic multi-layer character that has so much
to offer to Tiana and the story line. Plus, I’ve been told he’s a smart alec
who can’t keep his mouth shut which makes for a great read.
Were there any scenes that were
particularly difficult to write? If so, how?
would say that fight scenes are hard for me to write. It takes me a long time
to figure out what I want to add and how long it should be. Plus, I’m not
accustomed to writing them so it will take time and practice.
What’s up next for you?
I am currently writing two new installments to the High Fae Universe. One is book two in Tiana’s story which is High Fae Academy Year Two. This book comes out in January of 2020. The second is the first novella in the wolf shifter series called Arctic Hunter. This novella comes out on December 20th, 2019.
What would you most like readers to
know about you and your books?
I am a new author who is constantly looking for constructive criticism to make my stories better for readers. I’d like to be the best author that I can be in order to create stories that readers love, so any help along the way will be greatly appreciated!
This past weekend, I did a presentation for my local writers group about common writing mistakes I see as an editor, and since it ended up being a rather long presentation, I thought I’d put my notes into blog post form in case this might be helpful for anyone else. JSYK, this is just a quick overview of these issues. I could go on at length about any one of them. So, if you have questions, please pop them in the comment section, and I’ll do my best to answer them.
An info dump can appear anywhere
in a story, but in client edits, I usually see it in the beginning of the book.
However, this advice stands no matter where the dump occurs.
Often, our first impulse, as writers, is to spread a thick layer of backstory so the reader knows everything they need to know to understand what our characters are about to experience. And we mistakenly feel that they need to know all of this stuff before the action ever starts.
I’m going to need you to immediately squelch the impulse to info dump. Put it in a burlap sack with some old bricks and broken cement chunks, tie the bag shut, and toss it in the river.
In case you’re wondering what
might qualify as an info dump, let’s look at some backstory info for our
protagonist, Tabby. We might think that the reader needs to immediately know:
grieving her sister who went missing a year ago
parents’ marriage is falling apart
mom is an alcoholic
therapist is full of empty platitudes
always felt inferior to her missing sister
parents believe that her sister is dead
doesn’t think she is and wants to search for her
All of those elements are important to the story and to Tabby. And those things do need to work their way into the narrative, but it doesn’t need to happen in a giant avalanche of information.
reader is confronted with giant swaths of backstory and story setup, there are
no questions to ask. There’s nothing to be curious about. There’s nothing
that’s going to want to make them turn the page.
You want to slowly sprinkle those bits of backstory in as the plot unfolds. It’s the difference between gently seasoning your soup and tasting it as it’s cooking, and upending an entire one-pound box of coarse sea salt into the crockpot before you even put the lentils and beans in.
the Story in the Right Place
the story in the right place is closely related to the info dump beginning. The
narrative typically takes too much time getting to the action.
clients are having difficulty narrowing down where to begin the story, I ask
them to write a bit about what their character’s “normal” life is like. Then, I
ask them what’s about to change and what the impetus for that change is.
Either shortly before that moment of change or right at that moment of change is almost always the best place to begin the story.
Hooks or the Lack There Of
take nothing else from this presentation, please take this. Learn how to nail
both your beginning and ending chapter hooks.
you’re unfamiliar with the term, a chapter hook (either at the beginning of the
chapter or the end) is that line that makes the reader want to keep reading.
writer, one of your goals should be to end each chapter with varying degrees of
“Oh, shit. Now what?!” so the reader
tells themselves that they’re just going to read the next paragraph to make
sure everything is okay, and then they’ll go to sleep.
end up reading the entire next chapter instead and, before they know it, it’s
stupid o’clock in the morning, and they need to be at work in four hours. And if
they put your book down to sleep,
it’s only because they have a modicum of self-preservation, and they plan to
read the rest on their breaks and any time their boss’s back is turned.
don’t ever want to make it easy for them to put your book down. Which is why I
would caution you to avoid ending a chapter with your POV character falling
asleep. I’m talking about a normal going to bed moment—not falling asleep at
the wheel of a city bus or in the middle of a performance review with their
boss. (Actually, I’d totally turn the page to see what happened there.)
hook doesn’t always need to be a crisis sort of situation, but there should be
enough uncertainty surrounding that action, thought, or bit of dialogue that even
if the reader has an iron will, they still want to turn the page, even
if they’re capable of not caving to the desire.
you’re beginning your chapters and, especially as you’re ending them, ask
yourself if this is a line that would encourage you to screw over your chance
of getting a good night’s sleep and being a functional human being the next
day. If you’re just kind of meh about it, make a note and come back to it in
edits to shore it up.
You guys…I have sooooooo many feelings about dialogue. If you’ve been reading the blog for a while, you may remember the five-part post I did on writing natural-sounding dialogue. If you missed it, and you’d like to read the whole thing, click on Writing-Related Stuff and look for The 10 Dialogue Commandments.
But, right now, I’m just going to hammer on a couple things that crop up the most in client edits, rather than all ten dialogue commandments.
contractions in dialogue is a huge problem—particularly in contemporary
stories. Human beings are inherently lazy—this applies to our speech, too. We all
use contractions in our daily conversations, it makes sense that our characters
do, too. When they don’t, their words and their delivery comes across as
stilted or robotic. If you’re not already using contractions in your dialogue,
please take a moment to read that dialogue aloud, and you’ll see what I mean.
guessing you either sound like you’re a low-budget AI, or an invading alien
species that’s trying to blend in with the human population.
a caveat to this rule. If your character is trying to make a point, it’s fine
not to use the contraction to drive that point home.
example: “I will not go to a Nickelback concert with you.” Or “I would
rather chew broken glass wrapped in tin foil than watch a single episode of Naruto.”
you’d use I won’t or I’d rather. But since you’re trying to stress the severity
of the reaction, it’s fine to skip the contraction. But I’d recommend doing it
only when it really matters—when the characters’ reaction warrants skipping it.
(The contraction rule goes for the narrative prose, too, BTW.)
Script Dialogue is what I call it when characters are constantly using each
other’s names in their conversation.
that script writers do it because their goal is to get viewers engaged with and
hooked on the show. And they know that if someone’s stumbling in on a show
after the fourth or fifth episode, they’re less likely to continue watching,
because they won’t know who any of the characters are. Now, say you’re flipping
through the channels and you happen across Lucifer. In each scene, the
main characters refer to either the other character’s name or their occupation
or relationship. This works as shorthand to catch the viewer up on who’s who.
instance, Chloe constantly uses the names “Trixie”, “Dan”, “Linda”, “Ella”, and
“Lucifer” (who are her daughter, her ex, Lucifer’s therapist, a forensic
scientist she works with, and, of course, the devil) in conversation with them
in each scene they appear in.
Lucifer’s part, he’s constantly referring to Chloe as “detective” to Amandiel
as “brother”, to his therapist as “doctor”, to Chloe’s ex as “detective douche”,
Chloe’s child as “urchin, spawn, or child”, to the forensic scientist as “Ms.
Lopez”, and to his bodyguard as “Maze”.
television shows do this, though, some are more subtle about it. And once you
see it, you can’t unsee it. So…you know…you’re welcome.
The problem with this is that it’s annoying as hell. Especially, when you’re reading and characters continually using each other’s names or nicknames or terms of endearment in conversation. It doesn’t sound natural.
typically only use one another’s names in conversation if they’re A.) trying to
make a point. Or, B.) trying to get someone’s attention.
name technique isn’t as prevalent in movies. I assume that’s because once
you’ve made it to the theatre and the film’s begun, it’s unlikely that you’ll
forget who’s who.
your characters’ conversations more like a movie script than a TV script. They
know who they’re speaking to. And unless your reader is having issues with
short-term memory formation, they know, too. So, the constant name usage can
make readers stabby. And no one wants stabby readers.
to this is, Letting Your Dialogue Speak for Itself.
common writing advice is to use words other than said in dialogue tags so the
conversational exchange doesn’t get monotonous. That’s decent advice, but at
the same time, it’s really not.
off, you don’t always need dialogue tags. Action tags often work better because
they typically work to show the reader what’s happening in the scene.
too often those replacement tags, like exclaimed, lamented, sneered,
deadpanned, joked, teased, etc. are telling the reader how to interpret
feel that your dialogue needs that kind explanatory tag, it’s not strong enough
to be in the story. Dialogue needs to be strong enough to stand on its own. It
needs to be effective enough that the reader can infer tone. Thy don’t need to
be told how to interpret it.
those kinds of tags are utilized, it shows the reader that you don’t trust that
the dialogue stands on its own, and you don’t trust that the reader is smart
enough to figure it out. No one wants to be condescended to or spoon fed.
I don’t mean mentioning Beyoncé or Manolo Blahnik shoes.
have one character think of or mention another previously unknown (to the
reader) character without giving a least a phase of explanation as to who that
you might go into to detail two paragraphs down but, by then, it’s already too
late. The reader has already been pulled from the narrative flow wondering who
Barbara is. Or why the protagonist is flipping out over seeing the name Brad on
his caller ID.
don’t want to do anything that yanks the reader from the narrative flow.
hopping is when the reader is bounced from once characters thoughts and
feelings to another. I’ve seen it happen every few paragraphs and I’ve seen it
happen every few lines. This greatly hinders the readers ability to emotionally
connect with your characters because they’re not really with them long enough
to get attached to them.
head hopping no-no is to bounce into characters’ heads who the reader may never
see again. The restaurant server, the Lyft driver, the weird dude on the
subway, the protagonist’s dog walker, the chemistry teacher. It’s not their
book. We don’t need to be in their heads. At all.
there’s something that one of those people might be thinking that’s crucial to
the plot, it needs to come out in action and/or dialogue. Not by dipping into
rule of thumb to avoid head hopping is to stick with one narrative POV per
scene or chapter.
Hopping adjacent is Too Many Points of Views
might be wondering how many is too many. That varies by genre.
Is it a
romance between two people? More than two is too many.
Is it a
thriller, fantasy, sci-fi, lit fic, mystery? You can have more than two, but
each POV you allow into a story needs to have its own character arc that the
plot of the book depends on. If the POV doesn’t meet that criteria, that’s not
a character, that’s a plot device. And plot devices have no business having a
brings us to our next mistake, Character as Plot Device
my proudest parenting moments was when my daughter was watching some anime, and
I heard her yell, “That’s not a character, that’s a freaking plot device!” from
the next room.
Being my child she, of course, didn’t say freaking, but this post is taken from my presentation which was given in a family restaurant. So…
Anyway, some characters are literally plot devices—like the aforementioned Lyft driver and weird dude on the subway—and that’s cool.
is when a character is introduced as if the character is this really big deal,
like a close friend or relative, and the main character thinks about how
important this person is to him, but the person is literally in the story to
give the protagonist a ride to the 7-11 across town because he needs to meet
someone there who has information for him about a murder, and he can’t ask
anyone else to drive him because then they’ll know he’s getting involved in
something that he shouldn’t.
issue is when a POV character is used as an information delivery system. That
character exists in the story to give the reader information about things
happening in a place where the heroine isn’t. Now, it’s one thing if that
character has discernable goals and motivations of their own—if they’ve got
their own development arc that contributes to the plot. If they don’t, that’s
not a character, that’s a plot device. And plot devices don’t get to have their
If you have that going on in your book, your job is to find a way to deliver that info to the reader in a different way or by developing that plot device into a full-fledged character with their own story goals, motivations and conflicts.
If you’re writing a multiple POV book, it can sometimes be a
struggle to figure out whose POV the scene should be told from.
Nine times out of ten, it should be told from the character who
has the most to lose at that specific time in the story—the character who has
the most at stake.
Who has the most to lose physically, financially, emotionally
(emotionally is the most important one here)? That’s almost always the POV
you’re going to want to use because that POV is what the reader is going to
respond most strongly to.
Speaking of emotional responses, I want to talk about the Use
of Filter Words for a sec.
When you can avoid words like feel/felt/feeling,
hear/hearing/heard, watched/watching, see/seen/saw, know/knowing/knew,
thought/think all act as filter words. They filter the action in the sentence
through the character’s awareness and only then does it come to the reader.
When filter words and phrases are used, it pulls the POV from
deep to shallow.
For example: Julia heard the crunch of metal on metal and
slammed on her brakes.
Okay, so, the reader knows that Julia heard something and
reacted to it.
Compare that with: Metal screeched and buckled, the noise so
startling and jarring, Julia gasped and slammed on her brakes.
The second example is more immediate—more immersive—I hope.
Also, it’s a bonus illustration for telling vs. showing.
When filter words are used, they distance the reader from the
action of the story and sometimes the heart of the character. When there’s
distance, readers have a hard time connecting emotionally. And when they don’t
connect emotionally, they don’t care about the characters like we want them to.
When readers don’t care, they stop reading the book and are highly unlikely to
pick up the next one. It’s the horrible writer version of If You Give a
Mouse a Cookie.
Fragments vs. Incomplete Sentences
sentence fragment and an incomplete sentence are incomplete sentences.
difference is, the sentence fragment conveys a complete thought. The sentence
an incomplete sentence: With his hair sticking up and out at odd angles, brown
wingtip shoes that matched his velvet pants.
a sentence fragment: Hair sticking up at odd angles, brown wingtip shoes and
matching velvet pants.
sentence fragment to work, it typically needs to be paired with a line or two
that sets it up.
peered out the peephole. The blind date her neighbor had sent over had arrived,
and he definitely looked like someone Gretchen would try to set her up with. Hair sticking up at odd angles, brown
wingtip shoes and matching velvet pants.
fragment works because there are no extraneous verbs floating around, and the
rest of the paragraph sets up and supports the fragment.
are a number of things that fall into this category.
to cram too many things into one character. Like…the hero who’s a billionaire,
ex-SEAL, rock star, vampire, motor cycle club member.
happens more often than one would hope.
there’s trying to shove actions in where they don’t belong. This speaks to
character consistency and motivation.
say that you’ve established a character who’s smart and cautious. She’s timid
and plays it safe, doesn’t take chances, and despite the fact that she’s had ample
opportunity during the story to try new things, but she’s opted not to.
you’re coming up on the climax of the story, and your plot outline says that
she needs to be in the graveyard when it occurs. So, suddenly, your heretofore
cautious heroine (without any real motivation or explanation for her change in
outlook) suddenly becomes too stupid to live. She goes to that graveyard full
of vampires who want to eat her face for the flimsiest of excuses. Like, she’s
pissed at her BFF, the vampire slayer, because her BFF thinks she’s too
cautious when prior to this moment, she was fine being cautious. If this is
something that *just* occurs to her, that’s not motivation. That’s just
shoehorning your character into your plot in a way that’s not working.
form of shoehorning is trying to include elements simply because they’re
currently popular in fiction, but they don’t really fit the story. They don’t
move the story forward or fit the characters at all.
example of this would be two characters who are in the midst of a sex scene.
Neither one of these people has shown any interest in anything kinky, but BAM
suddenly one of them decides to spank the other one with a hairbrush or I don’t
know, some other household implement and the partner is inexplicably totally
fiction, this is a little condition I call Sudden Onset BDSM.
life, this is assault.
you’re writing, make sure that all of the elements you include make sense for
your characters. And if they don’t, find a way to motivate them so they do.
This is honestly a topic that needs its own entire presentation because there’s so much to unpack. One of the biggest mistakes I see is Lack of Conflict (and conflict that’s resolved too quickly)
things need to happen in the story. Things that are uncomfortable for your
characters and your readers. When there’s no discomfort, there’s no growth.
When there’s no conflict, there’s really no plot. Only conflict is interesting.
doesn’t all have to be huge and life threatening, but it needs to matter to your
characters. If it matters to your characters, it’ll matter to your readers.
There need to be consequences and stakes.
writers will give their characters a little bit of discomfort and then resolve
it almost immediately. Unfortunately, that makes your story tension go up and
down instead of continuing to climb and tighten to the inevitable climax of the
I have some words of wisdom my dear friend, Alex Kourvo, told me a million years ago, and I’d like to share it with you.
It doesn’t matter how much you
love your characters, you still have to grab them by the back of the head and
shove them face-first into an emotional meat grinder and make their lives complete
and total hell.
Then, when it’s really
bad, you need to make it worse.
Conflict is crucial.
I have a couple more technical type mistakes I’d like to mention.
when to use you and I vs. you and me.
This is one of those things that
is constantly misused, mostly because a lot of people think that using me
sounds wrong, and often childish or uneducated. Here’s a trick that my 10th
grade English teacher taught me, because this was one of his biggest
Use “I” if you’re the subject of
the sentence. Use “me” if you’re the object.
Here are some examples:
The teacher gave Sally and me
good grades. This is correct usage. You can tell because if you swapped
out “I” for “me” and took Sally out of the equation, you’d have The
teacher gave I good grades. And if the teacher is giving me good
grades for this kind of sentence construction, the teacher and I have bigger
problems than using “me” and “I” correctly.
The trick is to remove the other
person from the sentence. If “I” still works, you’re golden. If not, switch to
“me”. And when you do, you can thank Mr. Gossett, like I do.
Here are some other examples:
“Siobhan and I had some whiskey.”
(Siobhan and I is the compound subject of the sentence, so I is correct.)
“Tristan and I talk regularly.”
(Same deal. Tristan and I is the compound subject of the sentence.)
“I’d prefer this stay between you
and me.” (I’d is the subject here. You and me is the compound direct object in
only room here for you and me.” (Again, you and me is the compound direct object,
and I know each other quite well, don’t we?” (Here, Libby and I is the compound
Know your homophones. For instance, peak, peek, and pique all sound the same, but they all mean very different things. It’s important to get the right one. The wrong one will toss most readers out of the narrative flow. There are far, far too many to list, but here’s a website that did the work for both of us.
and where to use an apostrophe. An
apostrophe indicates the possessive form of a word, not the plural form.
There’s a sign I see every year,
starting around the beginning of Lent: All you can eat fish fry’s every Friday
No…just no. It’s fish fries.
Fish fry’s indicates a
possessive. It means that something belongs to the fish fry. What is it? The
fish fry’s excessive use of vegetable oil? The fish fry’s extra-large
napkin order? The fish fry’s pungent odor that clings to the hair and
clothing of everyone present? What?
It’s not book’s, rug’s, fan’s,
machine’s, or dresser’s. It’s books, rugs, fans, machines, and
dressers. Unless something specifically belongs to any of these
things, you don’t use an apostrophe.
And if you’re sending out holiday
cards or invitations to an entire family, they don’t go to the Jones’s, the De
La Rosa’s, the St. James’s, the Jarman’s, the Norris’s, the Cease’s, the Bartz’s,
the Trout’s, or the Green’s. They go to the Joneses, the De La
Rosas, the St. Jameses, the Jarmans, the Norrises, the Ceases, the Bartzes, the
Trouts, and the Greens.
yes, if you see corrected sale and/or produce signs at the Meijer on Alpine,
that was probably me. Or possibly my daughter.
Your Sentence Structure and Length
easy to fall into a rhythm while writing. He did this. She punched that. This
happened and, as a result, a sinkhole opened in Jacksonville and led straight
to hell. Rinse, repeat.
problem is, we tend to fall into narrative patterns that are comfortable for
us. As a result, the writing can become stale or even sing-songy—even when the
plot and characters are solid.
don’t need to worry so much about this during your first draft. Just get the
story out. But definitely pay attention to this during your editing process.
Make sure that you’re not starting all of your sentences the same way. Make
sure they’re of varying length.
each paragraph. How many similarly formed sentences do you see? Read them aloud.
Does it sound monotonous or sing-songy? If so, change it up! Surprise yourself
and your readers.
you’re having trouble varying your structure, pick up a favorite book, open it
to anywhere and take a hard look at the different types of sentences the author
uses. How many start with gerund phrases. How many start with “I” or the
character’s name/pronoun. How many are true compound sentences.
better to do this with a favorite book since you’ll already be familiar with
If you’re not an expert on what
you’re writing about, do your due diligence and research it. If you can, find
an expert who’s willing to read those sections and give you feedback, or who
will answer questions for you. If you’re writing a character who is of a
different race, gender identity, or sexual orientation than you, find yourself
a sensitivity reader who’s willing to give you feedback on your work.
Misuse and Abuse
I’m all about avoiding
word reps. They’re annoying to read and when you start noticing a lot of them
in the prose, it begins to feel like the author is either lazy or dumbing down
the narrative. Now, I’m sure you’re reading this and thinking, well the
thesaurus is the best friend of people who hate word reps.
It is…and it isn’t. You have to
be careful when you’re choosing synonyms that you have the right one in the
right form. Often times, I’ll be reading, and a fairly mundane word will just
stop me dead in the middle of a sentence because it reads as so out of
place that it jolted me from the story. When you’re searching for synonyms, the
thing to keep in mind is that words have nuances. And you need to make sure
that those nuances apply to your sentence.
Here’s an example:
Let’s say you write the
sentence: He made a good point.
But then you realized that
you just used the word “made” three lines above. So you get out your
handy dandy thesaurus and you look for synonyms for made.
And you write this: He
contrived a good point.
No. No, he didn’t. That’s not how contrived works. Just because contrived is listed as a synonym for made doesn’t make those two words interchangeable. Be aware of the word’s nuances before you haphazardly try to swap it out.
Welp, that’s it for now. I hope you found it helpful.
So, this month’s First Time post is from the first morning after features Josie and Declan from THE PROFESSOR’S STUDENT.
Declan woke, blinking slowly in the gray dawn light.
Josephine slept soundly in his arms, and he tugged her closer, smiling as she
sighed and burrowed against him, her lips brushing across his chest. His cock
was already hard. Granted, it usually was when he woke, but starting the
morning with a beautiful, warm woman in his arms made it extra enjoyable. He
couldn’t remember the last time he’d slept so well.
He also couldn’t remember the last time anyone had stayed
the night—Josephine’s drunken sleepover, aside. He supposed the last time would
have been Catia, before they’d broken up. When they were together, he’d thought
she was the one—that they were perfect for each other. But they’d crashed and
burned. Between his frequent trips out of the country and the fact that he was
based in Galway and she lived in London, they hadn’t been able to sustain a
relationship. His schedule had been the thing that had ultimately done them in.
Their plans had constantly gotten scrapped or changed at the last minute because
he’d been called away to authenticate one thing or another. She’d hated being
alone, and he’d often spent months at a time at dig sites. He’d been gutted
when they’d broken up, but he’d eventually come to realize that it hadn’t been
the right relationship for either of them. And he’d discovered that while he
missed the sex, he didn’t really miss her. And everyone deserved to be
important enough to someone else that they were missed.
Looking down at Josephine sleeping in his arms, he wondered
who missed her. He had a feeling he would, come August. Not that he was
planning to fall in love with her or anything, but he did like her. And, sure,
a lot of those feelings were fueled by the amazing sex they’d had last night,
but he genuinely liked her. Her intelligence, her sense of humor, her work
ethic, her curiosity, her kindness, her beauty, and god knew her ability to
give mind-numbing blow jobs was on the list. But she also frustrated him to no
end. He grinned down at her. Trade offs.
He carefully brushed the hair from her face, the auburn
strands looking more brown than red in the early morning light. Her eyes
fluttered open, and she blinked up at him then smiled almost shyly.
“Morning, sweetling. How’d you sleep?”
She stretched, her tight nipples grazing his chest. “Really
well. Almost like I’d been engaging in a lot of strenuous activity last night.”
He chuckled and dropped a kiss on the tip of her nose then
drifted lower to her lips. After kissing her slowly and thoroughly, he finally
lifted his head.
“As much as I’d like to take advantage of this morning
hard-on and your warm, willing body, we have things to do today.”
She reached between them and wrapped her hand around his
cock and stroked its length before sliding her fingers down and doing it again.
“You sure? It’s nice and cozy in here.”
Catching her hand, he pinned it to the bed. “I prefer to
have you squirming all day, wondering what will happen once we get back here.”
“Sadist,” she muttered.
“Aww, sweetling. You say that like it’s a bad thing.”
She glared at him, but her lips kept twitching.
“If you want a shower before we leave, you should get out of
bed and into the bathroom. I’ll make breakfast, and then, we’ll be on our way.”
Of course, he didn’t let go of her wrist. He loved having his hands on her.
Loved holding her immobile. Loved just holding her.
“Where are we going?” she asked.
“On an explore.”
Her eyes brightened. “Where are we exploring?”
“It’s a surprise. You’ll love it.”
She looked skeptical.
“I trusted you, and look where it got me.” She glanced
meaningfully at her wrist then back at him.
He dragged the sheet down her chest with his free hand and
watched her nipples bead. “I think we both know you enjoy where it got you.”
Her breath caught in her throat as he lowered his head.
His lips hovering millimeters above a taut peak, he licked the crinkled flesh then blew on it, watching as it tightened further. She shivered in response. Shivering harder when he added, “If you don’t get ready to leave, your punishment will be so, so much worse.”
If you’d like more, you can find the buy links to e-book, print, and audio here.
I feel like I have an endless supply of these, but I’ll try to limit it to three. And, as always, these are in no particular order.
1.) This Maya Angelou quote sums up a huge lesson I desperately needed to to have hammered into my skull–but I’ve got it now: When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.
2.) If you don’t take care of yourself, you can’t keep taking care of others and continue to thrive (or in some cases, even survive) physically, mentally, and emotionally. Martyring yourself to everyone else’s needs helps no one.
3.) If something doesn’t feel right, it’s probably not. Trust your gut/intuition/whatever you want to call it.
Click on their names to check out Kayleigh and Gwen‘s posts.
It’s time for another first time post, and this time, it’s first orgasm. This scene is from the book, IN BOUNDS, aka The Sportsball Book.
Why the hell had he stopped? Why wasn’t he already fucking
her into the wall? Had he changed his mind? Come to his senses? Ivy lifted her
head from Will’s shoulder. It was better that she find out now, right? Though,
it would have been even better to find out before she was nearly naked and
climbing him like a tree.
She forced herself to meet Will’s gaze. Instead of the
regret she’d expected to see, there was only desire. Her breath stalled as raw
hunger vibrated between them.
“Needed to see your face,” he said as he pushed into her,
slowly filling her with the heat of his cock.
She wasn’t sure if it was the position or that she’d gone
without sex for longer than she cared to remember or if he was so much thicker
than she’d recalled, but she was sure she’d never felt so full. As he shoved
farther in, each of the metal balls on the ends of his piercings dragged
deliciously along her delicate flesh. Her eyes nearly rolled back in her head
at the feeling. Every additional inch of movement heightened the sensation
until she was almost unbearably aroused.
Needing something to anchor herself to, she drove her
fingers into his hair. She knocked the hair-tie from his head, freeing the
honey-brown strands to fall down around his beautiful face as he began to
thrust. The first few strokes were torturously slow, and he trembled slightly
as if the pace was difficult to maintain.
A sinking feeling pitted her stomach, and she dropped a hand
and pushed at his shoulder. “Put me down. Stop.”
He stopped, concern shadowing his eyes. “Am I hurting you?”
She shook her head, eyes suddenly damp with embarrassed
tears. “No. You’re shaking. I’m too heavy for you.”
He stared into her eyes. “Pretty sure we’ve already
established you’re not too heavy for me.”
She didn’t respond. Mostly because she didn’t believe him.
“You want to know why I’m shaking?”
“I’m shaking because I’m finally
where I’ve wanted to be for the last twelve years.”
She opened her mouth to protest,
and he must have known it because he laid his fingers over her lips. “I’ve
thought of you so often over the years, and I always swore that if I ever had
another chance with you, I wouldn’t blow it by coming right away like I did the
first time. I swore I’d make it last.”
She swallowed thickly, unable to
speak even if she’d wanted to.
“I’m shaking because I’m trying to
hold off. Trying to make this last. Trying to make it good for you. Convince
you not to disappear on me again, when it’s over.”
“It’s already good for me,” she
finally whispered against his fingers. “Better than good.”
He leaned forward and kissed her,
thrusting his tongue into her mouth as he rocked into her. Breaking the kiss,
he murmured, “Want it to be better than that,” against her lips.
“Then fuck me.” She nipped at his
neck before laving the bite and tightening her thighs around his waist. “Hard.”
His fingers convulsed on her hips,
digging into her flesh, and she groaned, loving that little bite of pain.
He drew back then slammed forward again, grinding his pubic
bone against her clit. “How’s that? Hard enough?”
It was good. So good. But she was greedy. She wanted more.
“Harder.” She clutched at his shoulders. “Please, Will.”
Keeping her trapped between the wall and his chest, he
increased his pace, driving into her while he practically held her motionless.
The little bits of metal adorning his cock continued to stimulate her channel
as he filled her over and over.
“Not gonna last, love.”
She groaned. The ragged sound of his voice settled deep in
the pit of her stomach as he shafted her harder and faster.
He raised his hand and paused above her lips. It was the
same one he’d used to stroke her pussy. She could smell her moisture on his
“If you need to use your safeword while your mouth is
covered, I want you to pinch me. Understand?”
She nodded as he sealed his palm over her mouth. The feeling
of him hindering her ability to speak—to breathe—sent need screaming across
every nerve ending, and she was sure she wasn’t the only one dripping with her
arousal. She strained against him—hand and cock until her release overwhelmed
her. She screamed, the sound muffled by his palm as her pussy convulsed and
contracted around his still thrusting shaft.
She continued to rock against him, wanting to make him come,
too. He tightened his hand on her face, and the release that had begun to fade
flared to life again, as he fucked her headlong into another unbelievably
Finally, he stiffened, pressing her hard against the wall as
his eyes closed, and he shuddered almost violently against her. His hand fell
away from her face, and he rested his forehead on her shoulder as his gasping
breaths eventually slowed.
She kept one hand in his hair, gently caressing his head while the other smoothed up and down his sweat-damp back. His muscles moved beneath her palm as he shifted position and wrapped his arms around her, pulling her closer to him than she would have thought possible.
9.) Peruse Etsy for stuff I absolutely don’t need.
8.) Read. I always need more time for that.
7.) Work on one of my many bazillions of craft projects.
6.) Watch an episode of something on my TBW list.
5.) Clean. (hahahahahahahahayeahright)
4.) Make phone calls I’ve been putting off.
3.) Repaint my toes.
2.) Dink around on social media.
1.) Browse Pinterest for pics of Aidan Turner and/or new recipes for supper. But let’s be honest. If I only have an hour, pics of Aidan Turner are gonna win. What? The fam can eat grilled cheese again. It won’t kill them…
I think I’m the only one who blogged this week, so I don’t have any links for you. But, if I’m wrong, I’ll edit the post. 🙂