Think Like a Pro:  New Advent for Writers

Advice for the Week:  Looking for the Essentials?  Don’t Re-Invent the Wheel.  Learn from those who have gone before.

Who’s gone before?  Aristotle.  An ancient geeky Greek philosopher.  Aristotle rocks for writers struggling with character.

This week we start looking at 5 + 5 Essentials for Characters that the ancient Greek Aristotle first offered.

 

 

Purchase here!

 

 

 

More on Plot as the One Guiding Decision
A Continuation of the Previous Blog — which was shorter ๐Ÿ˜‰ .

Detailed Look at the 7 Types of Plot

The title of this chapter in Think like a Pro is โ€œOne Guiding Decision :: Plot Itโ€, and plot is truly the guiding decision for any writing.

While many plot structures abound (and several are discussed later in the Think/Pro chapter), it is the 7 Plot Types that will give the KEY that every writer needs to use to unlock story.

That KEY is coming, I promise, but first letโ€™s look at the three required elements for each of the 7 Plot Types.

Continue reading “Think…Pro: 7 Types of Plot”

Deadline on a Dream

Dream the Plan / Plan the Dream

Three years ago, when I made the decision to Think like a Pro, the approaching deadline for one of life’s major transitions drove me to consider it.

Life’s transitions include job changes, marriage or divorce, moving, children, taking on the fulltime care of a parent, and retirement.  Making a commitment to live a worthy life, changing diets to gluten-free or vegan, deciding to avoid all plastics, turning a dream into reality:  these are also life transitions. 

Often, very often, these last three are the hardest changes.  They require a re-commitment every day, every minute, every second.  They are individual changes, perhaps prompted by family and friends but dependent on the sole self to maintain the commitment.  And they require re-thinking constant aspects of life that most people never even consider.

Deadline: Junction on the Journey

Transitions are like junctions in our life’s journey.

The question we ask ourselves is this~ Where do I want to go when I reach that junction?

Continue reading “Think like a Pro: Deadline on a Dream”

First Off:  a new cover for A Game of Spies,

the second book in the Hearts in Hazard series

by M.A. Lee. 

Originally published in November 2015, the cover needed updating after M.A. Lee’s HnH books 4, 5, and 6 came out in Spring 2017.  Here’s a first look at the new cover.

Giles Hargreaves is hunting a French spy who somehow manages to steal government documents.  Josette amuses herself playing whist at salons hosted by her sister-in-law.  When Giles and Josette met, they are attracted immediately. 

But he believes she is connected to the French spy.

And she thinks he will break her heart.

Giles and Josette have their first serious conversation on a settee under a stairway in the Sourantine house.  The cover models perfectly capture that scene from the book.

The cover designer at Deranged Doctor Design combined the old cover with the new in a clever way.  The playing cards and the sealed letters from the old cover along with the dominant color image transfer from the old to the new while the focus is on the couple.

Here’s the former cover image.  I still love it, but I love the new one more.

A Game of Spies by M. A. Lee
After Publishing, What’s Next?

For a writer, it’s freaky hard to go to a site that has THE BOOK for sale, type in the name of the author, and nothing comes up for three or four pages.

A writer with part of my name shows up first in the Amazon Kindle store.  And then, oh the ignominy, the other writer with exactly my name shows up before my books do . . . and this after I did research before my first published book to ensure that no other Amazon writer was using my name.

Oh well.

Okay, all is not lost.  We can do a search for the title.

Digging into Death . . . Bam!  Got it in one.

A Game of Secrets . . . not on the first three pages.

A Game of Spies . . . 2nd page!  Yippee!

A Game of Hearts . . . Wow! 1st page.

The Danger of Secrets . . . 1st page.  Yippee!  Yippee!

The Danger for Spies . . . Success!  1st page, second one listed.  Wait, the first book doesn’t even have The Danger for Spies as a title.  ๐Ÿ™

The Danger to Hearts . . . 1st page, first one listed.  2nd Coming of Happiness!  Bliss Again!

But my author page doesn’t come up quickly unless you find one of my books and then click on my name.

And you can find the Hearts in Hazard series just by typing “Hearts in Hazard”.

Indie Challenges

Indie Writers face many challenges long after they have a story they believe is ready for print.

We want to present the best manuscript, one that is polished and as error free as possible.  100% perfection is not possible . . . so we strive for the highest level that is.

Then we can make a cover for ourselves or find someone who can do it at a cost we can afford.

I knew I couldn’t make a good cover.  I am artistically creative as well as verbally so, but a professional designer knows to look for things and add things in and use balance and proportion in ways that I never thought.

Plus, a professional designer knows the photoshop program they are using.  I would have a huge learning curve.  Shouldn’t I spend my time writing?

It took me 18 months to find a cover designer that fit my aesthetic.  I found Deranged Doctor Design by sheer luck . . . for a “God wink”.  They are life savers, believe me.  During my 18-month search, I worked on other books, which enabled me to put out three books back to back, October and November and December in 2015: my first three books, the first three in the Hearts in Hazard trilogy, a one-two-three punch.

DDD is the BEST!  I love working with them.  Their covers are lovely, no matter in which genre they are working.  They provide options and previews, and they are willing to switch things around.  They are clear in what they can and cannot do.  DDD works within a time frame that I understand.  They have a great template that pulls from the author the information they need to work with.  DDD is brave for working with Indie Writers.

Discoverability

After the writing and the editing and the cover designer, the job of an Indie Writer is not over.  Marketing comes next.  I am still working on this one.

Discoverability is now on my ToBeRead list.  By Kristine Kathryn Rusch, it discusses what a writer needs to know about getting their works to the audience in the current state of the reading marketplace.

Getting the book out there, getting the name out there, attracting attention with the right cover and the right blurb and the right audience, these are the five essentials for all Indie Writers.

But I’ll keep writing, and hopefully the “God wink” will happen soon. ๐Ÿ˜‰

I did drink the water in Greenville, MS!

~ M.A. Lee

 

In Spring 2017 M.A. Lee released the second three books in the Hearts in Hazard series, The Danger of Secrets,

the first cover: While we loved it, we love the new one more.

The Danger for Spies, and The Danger to Hearts. 

The first three books in HnH are ~ A Game of Secrets, A Game of Spies, and A Game of Hearts.

All of the books are loosely connected with some characters repeating.  However, the plot is completed within the book rather than carried into the next one.  Readers can finish one suspenseful without having to wait for the publication of the next one to discover the end to the mystery . . . and the romance.

The designers at Deranged Doctor Design developed wonderful covers for the three new books.  At M.A. Lee’s request, they used different models for each one.  Response to these new covers was wonderful.

However . . . .

The new covers didn’t keep the branded look for the first three HnH novels.

So, new covers for the first 3 are a must.

Here’s the first look at the new cover for the first Hearts in Hazard book, the first book published by M.A. Lee. (3 Firsts!)

A Game of Secrets

Hearts in Hazard, 1

M.A. Lee
New Cover, by Deranged Doctor Design! Available on Amazon Kindle.

Tony Farraday and Kate Charteris collide on a street.  Kate continues her flight from a nefarious cousin while Tony stays to receive his orders to find a French spy.

They meet again, without a collision, at the seaside inn where Kate has found a job and he has discovered smugglers who may be working with the French spy.

Soon they are deep into stolen government documents and smugglers’ suspicions as they fall in love.

In the first cover, the designer found an image of a period pistol as well as closely written papers and a feather quill.  The deep crimson background represented the dangerous game both Tony and Kate found themselves in, pretending to be innocent when they were deep in an investigation into smugglers and spies.

The designer used the same images and color for the second cover, bringing in the elements we loved with the models for Tony and Kate. (Isn’t he handsome?)

We LOVE, LOVE, LOVE how the designer incorporated the old cover with the new one.

As always, all Writers Ink Books are available on Amazon Kindle.  Click here to purchase.