Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Can You Spell Memoir Without the “I”?

As a child, I was painfully shy. I still am in many ways, though I’ve learned through practice to be more assertive and more comfortable interacting with folk face to face. So when I first started thinking seriously about writing about my days as a vet tech, I struggled with the best format. If I fictionalized the account, a la James Herriot’s brilliant All Things Bright and Beautiful series, I could make up a main character who was me but not me. Perhaps even write it in the third person because, really, how much hubris does it take to write about yourself, especially in the first person?

The story, though, didn’t seem to want to follow a typical novel approach and she felt odd, this character who was me but not me. Plus, in a strange way, telling my story through fictional eyes made the story itself feel like a lie.

So I switched to first person. But then I had this gawky teenager thinking wise thoughts and making decisions that were well beyond her years. Though the events were true, her involvement in them didn’t seem believable.

What I needed was authenticity and a way to distance the me writing the tales from the me who was (re)living them. What I wound up with was a Wonder Years sort of voice-over me who could serve as the interpreter and blank-filler-in-er for what the naïf me couldn’t grasp at the time.  

Having a comfortable format, though, doesn’t solve the underlying issue of feeling that I’m shouting “me me me” and wanting to duck into the nearest closet to avoid the attention. I still cringe every time I type “I” or “me” when writing a new tale. Even now, deep into Volume 2 of the Vet Tech Tales, I’m still insecure enough to ask who would possibly buy my book to hear about my past. Who could possibly care? Is what I’m doing simply the equivalent of trotting out the home movies and asking guests to sit through one tedious reel after another?

And, most importantly, is that teenage me really cool enough and interesting enough to be my own main character?

Yeah, still feeling awkward and shy about it all.

When YOU read a memoir, do you identify the author as the narrator or a character? Neither? Both?

And while I have you here, do you have any tips for making it easier to expose your younger self in public?

Phoenix Sullivan's short stories have appeared in various pro anthologies and magazines. In the corporate world, Phoenix was a professional writer and editor for 23 years. Before that, she was a registered veterinary technician, working with small animal clinics and wildlife rehab centers. She taps that knowledge in SECTOR C, a near-future medical thriller with a vet heroine, a CDC analyst hero and a pandemic that crosses both species and time.


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Think Like a Ghost

I like to read books that have a lot of characters, and I also like knowing what each individual character is thinking. I’m not sure why I feel I have to know everyone’s thoughts and feelings; maybe it’s because I’m a busybody and want to know all the details. I’m like that about real-life stories, too!

Because of this, my current writing project, a ghost story for middle-graders, has multiple points of view. I explore how everyone thinks and feels—even the ghost. In the process, I’m discovering that I have a lot of ideas about the thoughts and emotions of ghosts. How weird is that?

Trying to write from a different viewpoint has its challenges. For instance, how should a ghost react when seen by a living being? Would it feel relief or fear? It all depends on the ghost! Or, rather, on how the author perceives the ghost’s character. If you're interested in how ghosts think, you might enjoy reading this supernatural story. It should be ready for publication this summer.

I’ll be posting more on the internal life of ghosts as the book’s publication draws near. Meanwhile, for books with other excellent points of view, try:
SECTOR C by Phoenix Sullivan
The Warlock's Daughter by Jennifer Blake
Gypsy Bond by Lindy Corbin
Seducing the Night by Tamelia Tumlin

These authors have what it takes to get their point of view across beautifully. :)
Trudy Edgeworth is a sixth-grade science teacher who lives in Rogers, Arkansas. She is married to the love of her life, Keith, and was blessed with four amazing children. Despite her busy schedule with her career as a teacher, she finds time to pursue her true passion ... writing. She is currently working on a fictional piece for young adults at the request of her students and plans to have it finished by May 2012.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

What's on Your Bucket List?

It’s time for my family to start planning summer vacations. For the past two summers, my children and I have gone on two trips each year, one with my late husband’s relatives, and one with my clan.   It seems that this summer we’ll be continuing the trend. As we discussed possible destinations and activities, it occurred to me that we’re not getting any younger, and I shouldn’t miss any opportunity to check items off my bucket list. 
In case you missed the movie with Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson, a bucket list is a group of life goals that one hopes to accomplish before one “kicks the bucket” -- a euphemism for death. Although I’m a list fanatic, I don’t have a paper copy of mine yet. It’s still no more than a vague slideshow in my head. But if I could include it here, you might think it was rather tame. There would be no entries about swimming with Great Whites or climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro, no plans to run the Boston Marathon or swim the English Channel, and no desire to ride the tallest roller coaster or bungee jump off the Golden Gate Bridge. 
Though most of my goals are travel-related, I’m not a fan of pain or fear or falling. I’d prefer to spend the summer months in a different country each year, eating where the locals eat, shopping where they shop, and becoming fluent in multiple languages. I want to see my kids climb the Eiffel Tower and the Leaning Tower of Pisa, kiss the Blarney Stone, walk on the Great Wall of China, and touch the Pyramids of Giza. I want to force them to wander around the Louvre, the British Museum, the Accademia, the Rijksmuseum, and the Uffizi Gallery while I try to instill in them a love of art and history. And I want to be there when my mom crosses that Around the World Freighter Cruise off her list. 
I’m so consumed with travel plans that I’ve made the heroine of my first book a travel writer. She’s been sent to do a story about a tourist town on a small island off the coast of Louisiana, but she dreams of getting the really big assignments such as Paris, Florence, or Dubai. All she needs to catch her editor’s notice is a really great angle. Perhaps she can dig up some juicy tidbit about the gorgeous and gifted chef she finds burying his talents on this island at the end of nowhere. 
My March 20th deadline for finishing the story is fast approaching, and the pressure is on. But with everyone around me looking forward to summer plans, perhaps I can be forgiven for spending a morning blogging about my travel dreams and calling this task part of the job. And, I’m certain, you could be forgiven for spending your “free time” leaving us a comment rather than working on your taxes or folding laundry or paying bills. So tell us, please, we can’t wait to hear from you: What’s on your bucket list?


Kathy Faucheux (pronounced fo’- shā) is a former foreign language teacher who married her high school sweetheart, thus joining a lively, close-knit French family from the New Orleans area. Recently widowed, she’s moved home to North Louisiana to be near her mother, best-selling author Jennifer Blake, and to pursue a writing career. She’ll be publishing her first book with Steel Magnolia Press in early spring.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day!

The authors at Steel Magnolia Press know who our real valentines are today: YOU!

Because of you, our newly released contemporary romances have both hit the Amazon Bestseller Lists for Romance in the US and the UK. In the US, Catering to the Italian Playboy is currently at #35 and The Rent-A-Groom is at #44! In the UK, Catering hit #17 and Rent-A-Groom hit #31.

What's especially fun is seeing these books side-by-side on the lists, getting equal love from our wonderful readers.

Here they are snuggled together on the US Contemporary Romance Bestseller List at #s 14 and 15:

 And here they are together on the Hot New Releases for Contemporary Romance at #s 3 and 4:

What a wonderful Valentine's treat for Jennifer and Tamelia -- and all because of YOU. Thank you!

Wishing you an evening of love and romance!
~ The Authors at Steel Magnolia Press ~

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Two New Releases - FREE For 2 Days Only!

What better way to get into the mood for romance right before Valentine's Day than to be swept away by those achingly blissful happily-ever-afters?

Jennifer Blake and Tamelia Tumlin have each released a contemporary romance just in time for the occasion -- and in a gesture from the heart are offering their ebooks FREE on Amazon for 2 full days, February 9 and 10.

Click the titles and download your copies with our compliments and wishes for finding your own happy ending in a month when everyone believes in romance and the power of love.

And remember, if you don't have a Kindle, you can still read Kindle books on just about any device, even your computer, with a a free app from Amazon.

By Jennifer Blake

Even though Gina cancels her wedding mere days before the ceremony, she’s determined to keep her reservation for a famous honeymoon suite in Dallas.

Enter Race, a Texas cowboy who cleans up rather well, and who declares himself her substitute groom for the week.

Thinking her best friend hired Race, Gina goes along with the fun – at first. But is Race really who he seems? Why is Gina’s ex-fiancé staying at the same hotel? And just how far is Gina prepared to go with Race and that model-worthy face of his on their "honeymoon"?

By Tamelia Tumlin

It was humiliating! How could caterer Sophie Westbrook ever face the sexy Italian hotel tycoon again after the way she’d practically thrown herself at him six years earlier…and ended up in his bed? Yet here she was back in his hotel wearing only a G-string and a smile.

Maximus Rinaldi is not pleased to find a half-naked exotic dancer in the middle of his business meeting…until he discovers she’s the mystery woman he shared one unbelievable night with years ago. Max is determined to win her back into his bed, but Sophie has a secret that might just turn the sexy Italian playboy’s life upside down!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Writing Epiphany

After revamping my website, I had an epiphany. Nothing monumental, mind you, but an epiphany all the same. I have come to the conclusion I am an ADD writer. Since I teach elementary children by day, I know a lot (more than I'd like to actually) about attention deficit disorder. As I'm sure most of you know, attention deficit disorder means not being able to stay focused on one thing.

My writing ADD is pretty much the same. Instead, of writing the same type of romance all the time, I'm Always Doing something Different (hence my acronym ADD).

Most writers ususally find their niche and pen stories within their particular genre. Me? Not so much. I came to this realization as I was organizing my books into categories on my website. Even though all of my books are romances, I have a wide variety of stories under the romance umbrella ranging from paranormal to Christian. Hmm... See? Two polar opposites. Even the heat level in my books have a broad spectrum. Some are sweet and sassy and others (like my latest novel Catering to the Italian Playboy) are a bit spicier. At first, I thought this might be a bad thing, but I've come to realize that its more fun to write the story of your heart (at the time) than to try to stay within a specific style.

This brings me to my second epiphany. Readers can have a touch of ADD too. While most readers generally tend to read the same type of book the majority of the time, there are occasions where they too might want something a little different. Something outside their usual genre or maybe something a little diffrent within their favorite genre. So, my question for the readers is .... What do you like to read?

What are your favorite themes in a romance book? Do you like secret babies and family or do you like the total fantasy with sheiks and princes? Or maybe a warlock or werewolf is more your style. We'd love to know which themes tickle your fancy? Drop us a line or in the comments and let us know.


Tamelia Tumlin has worked with several online publishers, but is now writing exclusively for Steel Magnolia Press. Juggling motherhood, teaching and writing is a challenge, but one she welcomes to pursue her passion. Her romance novels range from sweet and sassy to dark and dangerous.