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Wednesday, March 27, 2019

#harshcritiques Harsh Critiques by Janice Seagraves



Harsh Critiques
By Janice Seagraves


Hi this is Janice Seagraves. Welcome to my channel.

Before we start, I want to put this *disclaimer* out there. Please keep in mind that critiquers and critique groups are committing their time and effort for free. And it does help your work became more readable.

Would it help you to know that I've gotten some harsh critiques in the past, too?

Years ago, I received one that began with... "This is why I hate romance."

That critique... totally... destroyed me.

I was a wreck. I couldn't write for weeks. It made me wonder if I was even cut out to be an author. But... I had to develop that all-important thick skin.  And the sad part was... I thought I had.

*sigh*

And…more recently I got another harsh critique.

I had to go off and pout for a couple of days before I could even look at that critique again.

When I did, I realized...my critique partner was correct. She gave it to me straight and didn't pull any punches.

But, hey, there is always room for improvement.

Right?

Sometimes a manuscript will need a lot of work.

Here are some things to keep in mind when writing.

Remember to commit the emotion to the page. Most popular books today, tug at the heartstrings. They deliver the feels.

In every scene, try to incorporate the four senses: what they hear, what they see, and what they smell to really put your reader right there with your characters.

Now for the head hopping. Just remember to keep it to one scene, one POV. It’s as simple as that.
Easy peasy.

There are some wonderful tutorials on YouTube that can help. Critiques are the best way, but just reading in the genre that you're writing in will greatly improve your skills, too.

Just keeping writing. Don't ever stop.

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Year of the Cat


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Blurb:
Morgan isn’t expecting romance when she accompanies her friend for a week of skiing, but when she meets Jared all bets are off.
Haunted by the loss of his parents, werecat Jared Catterick earns his keep working for the Catclaw Clan. Jared has secrets that he doesn’t mind sharing with a special lady, and he hopes Morgan is that special someone. When his past and present collide it’s worse than he imagined, and he’s forced to fight for his life.


Excerpt:
Auntie walked into the middle of the hollow. “We the Catcall Clan are gathered here together to witness a challenge. Called by Munch son of Tiger, who challenges Jared Catterick son of nobody.”
“I am the son of somebody,” Jared yelled. The sudden flow of anger had his heart pounding hard against his ribs.
“Who? What are their names?” Auntie crossed her arm and leaned on one hip and tapped a toe.
“I donna remember. I was too young when they killed them and took me away,” Jared muttered. “And she knows that.”
“Is Catterick your real last name?” Killer asked him in the canine speech.
“Aye. I donna remember much about me old life, but I never forgot me name.”
“Just tell her Mr. and Mrs. Catterick,” Killer said.
“Me parents were Mr. and Mrs. Catterick,” Jared said in a loud clear voice.
A few people around the hollow snickered.
Auntie gave a quick nod. “Jared son of Mr. and Mrs. Catterick. Munch challenges you for the death of his da, Tiger.”
Munch marched to Auntie’s side. He was every bit as big as his father. Well-muscled and not just tall but wide. Where Tiger’s hair was gray and white, Munch was blond and black. Another man accompanied him, his second, a tall, lanky male named Boyd. Jared knew him well, even though he was younger.
“Och. Here we go,” Jared told Killer and walked out into the middle of the hollow.
“He’s big,” Killer said in the canine speech.
“And ugly. I wouldna want to ride him into battle.”
Killer stayed at his side. “Psst.”
“Eh?”
“You can fight, right?” Killer asked.
“Aye.”
“Good to know.”
Auntie looked at both males. “Jared, as the challenged, you may decide on weapons and forms.”
“Human and no weapons,” Jared said.
“Very well,” Auntie said. “You may use your feet, hands, elbows and knees. Even your head if you feel the need.”
“What aboot sticks and stones?” Munch asked, his voice youthful.
“Will break my bones,” Jared said under his breath.
Killer snickered.
“No weapons,” Auntie shook a finger at Munch. “That includes sticks and stones.”
“Well,” Munch crossed his arms, “since I canna change into cat form, I think I should be able to use whatever I find in the hollow.”
“This isn’t a free-for-all, Munch. There is discipline to a challenge. You must remain in your human form and fight like a human. With this match, we’ll have a square go.”
“Not very cat-like.” Munch sniffed.
Auntie fisted her hands and leaned toward Munch. “You’re not a cat. You are a shifter. You shift between three forms. Now stay with one for the duration of the fight.”
“Doesn’t he understand?” Killer asked.
“A bit daft that one,” Jared muttered back. Munch doesn’t seem have a lot of self-control. Unlike Tiger who would have done exactly what Auntie said to the letter.
“Seconds, to the side.” Auntie pointed. “You may view the fight only. Do not interfere unless your partner is hurt or someone breaks the rules.”
Both Boyd and Killer trotted to edge of the clearing.
Jared stood facing Munch. Several feet separated them. Jared shook out his arms, moved his head from side to side, and loosened his muscles.
Auntie raised her hand and did a karate chop between them. “Now fight.”
“I swear on me da’s grave, I will end you!” Munch roared and the skin on his face boiled. His hands burst out of his gloves and feet from his boots. The shift made Munch bigger, tearing his clothes. He stopped in the in-between state, like movie werewolves of old, but in this case half-cat and half-human. The only thing that remained of his clothes was his black overall snow pants and even that stretched taunt across him. Extending his claws, he snarled and reached for Jared. “I want to see you bleedin’.”
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Find Year of the Cat on Amazon for the kindle: https://www.amazon.com/Year-Cat-Janice-Seagraves-ebook/dp/B0748CP9JH/


Sunday, March 24, 2019

CLICHES I HAVE KNOWN AND LOVED





Here’s an oldie, but a goodie. Enjoy!

I love a good cliché. As soon as you hear one you know exactly what the writer or person is saying. So easy. Such an economy of words. As a writer it’s verboten to use clichés.

Here’s an ode to that which I must not use.

Every cloud has a silver lining.
Life’s not so bad, when you consider the alternative.
All’s fair in love and war.
There are plenty more fish in the sea. (Not so much anymore).
It’s better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all. (Is it?).
Beauty is only skin deep. (Tell that to the guys lusting after supermodels).
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. (See above note).
You can’t tell a book by its cover. (Maybe not, but a good cover is essential).
I’m not ugly; I’m visually challenging. (Okay. I never heard this one but I like it).
It’s what’s on the inside that really matters. (See above re supermodels and lust).
If you can’t beat them, join them.
Nobody is perfect.
I’m only human.
The devil made me do it.
It seemed like a good idea at the time.
Tomorrow, no one will remember (Ya think?)
Avoid clichés like the plague. (There are many things you need to avoid like the plague).
There is truth in every cliché. (This is why I love them).
Clichés sound better in a foreign language. (Ah, that’s how I can get away with using them in my writing).
There is nothing to fear but fear itself. (Good one, but overused).
Life sucks and then you die.
When God gives you lemons, make lemonade (I prefer to wallow in self-pity).
Life is a bitch. (Ain’t that the truth). Also, Karma is a bitch.
When it rains, it pours.
No pain, no gain.
Rome wasn’t built in a day.















If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.
I did it my way. (Or at least Sinatra did).
Parting is such sweet sorrow.
Have a nice life.
Live and learn.
To be or not to be.
Live and let live.
Shit happens.
Laughter is the best medicine.
Same shit, different day.
Carpe diem. (See clichés, foreign language above)
What goes around comes around.
Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans.
Life is messy.
Que sera, sera. (Ditto clichés and foreign languages)
Time will tell.
No news is good news.
There is no such thing as a free lunch.
Haste makes waste.
Cleanliness is next to godliness.
Do it right the first time. (Easy to say, hard to do)

There, I’ve done it. I’ve gotten my need for clichés out of my system. I will never again write one in a book. I promise. If you believe that one, I’ve got a bridge to sell you.

Feel free to add your favorites.

Here’s something I hope is cliché-free. My newest release, available for pre-order for only 99 cents! Release date is April 1. (It’s not an April Fool’s joke).


WEDDED ON A DARE (LOVE ON A DARE BOOK 2)

 For all those who wanted Kate and Zach’s story, from A Groom for Christmas, this is for you!

When a struggling actress takes a role as the glamorous temporary wife of a wealthy playboy, she finds love doesn’t always come on cue.

Struggling actress Kate Carluccio showed up for her wedding but her groom bowed out without warning. He absconded not only with her heart, but also her parents’ life savings. Her confidence shaken, Kate’s determined to find a way to restore her parents’ money. Then she’s offered the role of a lifetime: step out of her colorful high-top sneakers and into the glammed-up role of socialite wife to a shallow, annoying playboy. If only Kate wasn’t also secretly attracted to him, the one-and-a-half million dollars he offers with his proposal of a marriage-of-convenience might be easier to accept.

Breathtakingly handsome, super rich, and sophisticated with a bad boy vibe, Zach Lyon is a tabloid favorite. He may be a vice-president at his father’s company, but up until now he’s just played a supporting role. But when he discovers two executives are conspiring to force his dad out and take over the company, Zach decides it’s time to step into the spotlight. What better way than to take a glamorous new wife to Las Vegas to spend the Christmas holiday at the home of one of the conspiring executives?

As the curtain rises on the eclectic house party, Kate and Zach play their roles against the backdrop of schemers and snobs, while hiding deep secrets of their own. Can Kate pretend to love Zach without revealing the true depth of her attraction? Can Zach prove to his father he has the stability to go from understudy to leading man? They may have wedded on a dare, but with the stage set for romance, their marriage-of-convenience might just turn into a marriage-to-last-a-lifetime.
Universal link:



And, for your convenience, both A Groom for Christmas and Wedded On a Dare are together in a box set, Love On a Dare Duet!







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