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Marketing for Romance Writers is a peer mentoring group for authors. It was founded in 2006 by Kayelle Allen.

The sting of emotions bombard him #SciFi #MFRWauthor #MFRWhooksWhen I wrote Bringer of Chaos, I knew the hero would not be a sympathetic character. I didn’t expect him to change, but as I wrote, trying to understand him, I began to see  my initial perception was false. He is an anti-hero but there is a nobility about him that I  never suspected. In the scene below, the Ultra Council has agreed to meet on a neutral starport for peace talks with humans. No one will believe him when he warns it’s a trap, so Pietas decides to push the humans into showing their hand.

Emotions Bombarded Pietas

At the appointed time, Pietas entered the elevator with the Council, ignoring the warning looks from his father. His mother tugged his father to the rear of the elevator, and cast a hopeful smile at her son. Seeing the two of them together, with his father newly reborn and his mother aged, reflected their differences. He had always been hot-tempered; she, wise.

Pietas turned away, wishing he did not have to disappoint her, but he could not in good conscience carry out the Council’s command. Lock his people into a treaty with these oath breakers? Never.

The entire Council would be furious with him. As usual.

His sister, Dessy, arrived as the doors were closing, and slid into place on his right as second-in-command.

On her bosom sat an oval-shaped gold and black brooch, the glass front of which revealed a plait of his hair stolen after the ritual they’d performed. She’d interwoven it into a complex pattern. His sister said nothing, but he felt her empathic outpouring of assent. Yet despite her emotional support, she had voted against him.

Would he never understand this woman? Shoulder to shoulder they faced front.

The sting of emotions bombarded Pietas from all angles. His skin twitched and he rubbed his arms as if cold. What hid within the jumbled emotions?

A cadre of humans waited in the assigned receiving chamber. Ten humans would be given in exchange for ten members of the Ultra Council, as Mahikos and the Council had requested. While the Ultras were on board Enderium Six, the humans would act as hostages. If anything happened to the Ultras, the humans would die lingering deaths.

A crawling-ant sensation on his skin escalated to a sting. These creatures hid some secret he did not yet fathom. Pietas bit the inside of his cheek, fighting the urge to lash out, to rip away the life of these mortals.

As agreed, the Council members had come unarmed. Ultras didn’t need weapons. They were weapons.

Read the entire first chapter and intro.
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Popular PNR Themes (paranormal romance) #PNR #paranormal #romance

Popular PNR Themes (paranormal romance) #PNR #paranormal #romanceBefore we discuss popular PNR themes, let’s look at what PNR is. It’s also known as paranormal romance, which is a mix of romance and speculative fiction. It involves elements beyond scientific explanation and focuses on romantic love. On the MFRW (Marketing for Romance Writers) Yahoo Group and our Facebook page, this genre is discussed often. Here’s a look at categories and popular PNR themes.

Categories in PNR

Paranormal romance encompasses themes from fantasy, science fiction, horror, and speculative fiction subgenres such as urban fantasy, time travel, ghosts, witches, demons, vampires, were-creatures, and fairies (or fae). Although some say vampire romance is on its way out, the fascination for this subgenre is holding strong.

Popular PNR themes

In romance, as in filmmaking, a broad trend seems to be extensions of pre-existing properties. In other words, books that revolve around a universe peopled with specific characters or locations. If you read series romance or you like trilogies and boxed sets, this is likely your favorite. Sequels and prequels are the order of the day. If one story set in a specific world is popular, chances are another one will be too. When an audience already knows the “rules” of the universe (i.e., whether vampires sparkle), they are set for the next story to unfold.

Many popular PNR themes offer glimpses of paranoia, fantasies of power, and stories based in parody or satire. The themes involve scenarios that pit “us against them” and showcase heroes/heroines who protect the family, tribe, or world from outside threats. There are also “love overcomes” themes in which the love between two people (romantic love and/or love of a sister for sister, mother for child, etc.) drives the story. Another popular type shows how banding together wins the day by pitting society or a tribe or family against an individual threat such as a monster or demon. Sometimes, these types of stories involve quests to obtain an item of importance or to complete a ritual.

The forbidden fruit in PNR

One of the most enticing aspects of the paranormal romance realm is the forbidden. Falling in love with a blood-sucking vampire or a soul-sucking demon? Crazy! Or helping an otherworldly being defend those in this world? Scary! But that’s part of the charm.

Not so popular PNR themes

Overemphasis on supernatural aspects
If the character’s abilities or supernatural gifts are the most important part of the story instead of the plot, there is little to hold the interest of the reader.

Unwarranted gore
Why must a story open with a scene of horrific death or torture? There are surely better ways to establish the evil and/or dangerous aspects of a monster or villain.

Saving the World – Again
If every story puts saving the world (or tribe or family, etc.) at stake, then the stake becomes commonplace. Ho hum, world saved. Check.

Mary Sues
The perfect character. Mary Sues have no faults, but many talents. They are usually princesses, princes, or the children of powerful beings who hold such titles.

That’s quite a list. What did I leave out? What genre bending books have you read (or written)? What are you currently reading? And what are your least liked aspects in a paranormal romance? Please share it in the comments. Like this post? You’re welcome to share it on social media.

5 Exercises and 5 Excuses for Writers #writerslife #MFRWauthor

5 Exercises and 5 Excuses for Writers #writerslife #MFRWauthorYou might not be aware, but writing can be hazardous to your health. For example, carpal tunnel syndrome affects millions and is a serious threat to many writers. I had surgery (called a carpal tunnel release) on each hand, one after the other, many years ago. I’m completely recovered but it was a long haul. Here are some exercises that helped me recover.

These five exercises are ones my physical therapist taught me. After those, I’ll pass on five excuses for the author who likes less of a challenge. Any writer can do these hand exercises. They are pleasant, and simple. Performing warm up exercises for your hands can help prevent carpal tunnel syndrome and other maladies.

I am not a doctor or a trained physical therapist, but I am a writer who has dealt with carpal tunnel and lived with the pain it causes. These are suggestions based on what I do myself and what my therapist gave me to do. As with any exercise program, check with a medical professional before beginning, or if you have concerns. I personally do all the exercises below and they work for me. I hope they’ll help you.

Exercises for Writers

Exercise 1

Spread your fingers as wide as possible, hold the stretch to a count of five. Make a tight fist and hold that to a count of five. Repeat. Do this at least twice per hand before beginning your day.

Exercise 2

With right hand open, place fingers in the palm of your left hand. Press with the right while resisting with the left. You might feel this all the way to your elbows. That’s okay. It means there’s a good stretch. Hold for a count of five. Reverse hands and repeat. Do this twice per hand. I credit my fast recovery from surgery with this kind of therapy.

Exercise 3

Holding your hand straight up, keep fingers together and bring your thumb across your palm. Try to touch the base of your little finger. Stretch for it. If this is difficult it likely means your hand is tight. Repeat five times. You can do both hands at once.

Exerci5 Exercises and 5 Excuses for Writers #writerslife #MFRWauthorse 4

Use a small stress ball. Here’s one available on Amazon that is safe, non-sticky, and is said to last a lifetime. This one claims to be safe around children, but use your own judment.  http://amzn.to/2tEhEOi Place the ball on a firm surface and place the palm of your hand atop it. Keeping your fingers straight, roll the ball beneath your hand. Stress balls often come with their own suggested exercises.

Exercise 5

If you have twin sinks this is easy. If you don’t, try two deep bowls. Fill one with hot water. Make it cool enough to hold your hand in comfortably, but still be considered hot. Fill the other side with cold water. You can float a few ice cubes in it. Plunge your hands in the hot water and hold for 30 seconds. Then put them right into the cold water for 60 seconds. Repeat five times. This makes my hands feel wonderful! I hope you enjoy it too.

Excuses for Writers

We all have days where we just can’t seem to cope. Days when good enough is good enough. For those days, try these excuses. Because we’re writers, these are writing-related.

Excuse 1

You’ve worked hard on marketing and writing so take a break. Play Spider Solitaire, Mahjongg, a word search puzzle, or other game. Alternate option: read.

Excuse 2

The submission process is stressful, so write in a pre-formatted document. To create, open a blank document and save it as Chapter One. Double-check the formatting. Set a new format to indent automatically five spaces when starting a new paragraph, format it for double lines and name it Editing.

Excuse 3

You should be well hydrated before beginning any exercise. Fill your coffee cup, lift, sip, and put it back down. Repeat with the other hand. Do this until the cup is empty. Refill so you can repeat again later if needed.

Excuse 4

You should keep to your schedule as much as possible, so check your email and calendar for any upcoming events. Because these tasks fall under marketing, this is an acceptable writing activity.

Excuse 5

Writers should use good equipment, including things used for exercise. Double-check the exercise equipment you have on hand to be sure it’s high quality. You might try comparison shopping online. While you’re ordering new items, stock up on coffee, creamer, and sugar. This might be a good time to consider the meal plan for the week.


There you have it. Five exercises and five excuses. Which you use depends on you. Have you faced similar issues with pain when writing? How did you deal with it? Feel free to leave a comment.

Best Hashtags for Writers #writerslife #MFRWauthor @kayelleallenWelcome to part two of a two-part series about using hashtags. Part one “What is a Hashtag” is found here. In this section, we’ll discuss the best hashtags for writers. Using hashtags to let readers know about the genres of our books is the #1 way writers use hashtags. In the banner on the left, notice the two embedded in the image: #ScifiRom and #KindleUnlimited. There are other ways to write those, including #SFR #SciFi #Romance and for the latter, #KU. It pays to know more than one and to know what is trending.

Best hashtags for writers

Find out which hashtag is being used most in your genre and use it. There are Twitter bots (legal) that pick up certain hashtags and retweet them to their followers. #SciFi is one of them. Make sure you’re using a hashtag that is actually in use already. If no one is searching for it, the hashtag is pointless. My favorite place to discover what the best hashtags for writers are at the moment is www.ritetag.com It’s free. I don’t use any hashtags till I’ve checked them out there.

Generally, use the single version of a word vs. the plural #book is better than #books for example. Check out this RiteTag listing of results for the word #romance:
https://ritetag.com/best-hashtags-for/romance

Other best hashtags for writers include #amwriting #amediting #MFRWauthor #writerslife #author — share yours in the comments.

A word about Triberr

First, let me say it’s Tri-berr not Tribb-er. It’s has 1 B and 2 Rs. Not Tribber – Triberr. Okay, stepping away from the soapbox…

The site Triberr is a blog amplifier. What that means is when you link your blog to the site, it allows other people to share your post with their social media. Try it for 30 days and you will not want to go back.

On Triberr, hashtags matter. You will gain a hundred-fold more readers with Triberr, so leverage that by using appropriate hashtags. Don’t add your own @name to the title. It will be included in every tweet that Triberr sends, even though you can’t see it on the site. Look at your mentions on Twitter and you will.

Should I use my name as a hashtag?

Is it better to write #KayelleAllen or @kayelleallen in a tweet? (fyi – the @kayelleallen is pronounced at-kayelleallen). These are referred to as mentions. (Mary mentioned you on Twitter means that Mary sent out a tweet that had your @name in it.

I don’t recommend using your name as a hashtag. Why not? You will get far more mileage from the @name because when anyone clicks that, it pops up a link so they can follow you. If they click it again, it takes them to your profile page. A hashtag with your name is only going to open a search for the name. It will not necessarily show your profile, which means it’s less likely to get you followers.

When you tweet, don’t add your own @name either. Obviously, if the tweet is from you, then the person can click your name since you are the sender. If your publicity person is talking about you, then yes, they should use your @name.

Don’t be afraid to use hashtags in your graphics. Especially branded graphics like the one below.

Best Hashtags for Writers #writerslife #MFRWauthor @kayelleallen

Hashtag Research

Here are three good links to check out for hashtag dos and don’ts:

https://blog.hootsuite.com/how-to-use-hashtags/
https://www.tintup.com/blog/7-examples-of-successful-hashtag-campaigns/
http://www.adweek.com/digital/ethan-martin-bukwild-guest-post-hashtags/


Putting hashtags to work

Now that you know what a hashtags are and how they work, what are you going to do with them? Do you have suggestions? What do you think are the best hashtags for writers? Please share in the comments.

 

Is it right to quit? 10 times it's ok #author #entrepreneur @kayelleallen

The question, “Is it right to quit?” seems to require a “No!” in response. But does it? Not if you are quitting for the right reasons. Here are ten times it’s okay (and perhaps advisable) to quit.

When is it right to quit?

  1. When you realize what you’re doing is wrong. You’ve gone about it the hard way, for example, or you realize your information was incorrect.
  2. When it’s harmful or dangerous to yourself, others, or the environment.
  3. When it’s wasteful and not a good use of resources. Is it right to quit if you can fix the issue? Perhaps not.
  4. When someone else can do it better for less. This is an iffy one — quality and quantity are market related. If you can make a widget for a dollar and someone else has a means to make ten of them for that price and they outperform yours, give serious thought to moving on.Is it right to quit? 10 times it's ok #author #entrepreneur @kayelleallen
  5. When it’s not going in the right direction for your purposes.
  6. When you can’t control what you’re doing and how you’re doing it, this is a good time to step back and reconsider how and why. Is it right to quit if you can’t control the outcome? This is probably one of the best times, depending on what you are trying to do in the first place.
  7. When it’s no longer necessary. At some point, when no one needs this product or service, set it aside and move on.
  8. When it’s time to hand it over to a new person. Perhaps someone you know needs a chance to succeed and this project would be ideal for them. Step back and coach, but let it go. Is it right to quit when it means enabling others? Yes.
  9. When you’ve lost your enthusiasm. Perhaps a different approach to the issue is needed, but if you’ve tried different things and you still don’t care, quit. I know, that flies in the face of contemporary advice, but don’t beat a dead horse. Ride a live one.
  10. When you no longer love it. You might be enthusiastic about the concept or the product, but you’re tired of it. You don’t want to do this anymore. Then by all means, step back and move on.

The point of knowing when to quit is knowing what to do afterward. Is it right to quit just because you feel like it? Well, why do you feel like it? Is it because one of the reasons above?

Let me share some things I decided to quit doing recently. I unsubscribed from a few online services I no longer used and from a few newsletters I never read. I stopped wasting time opening email and then filing it and instead, set up a filter in email to automatically file many emails from my target people (friends, family, and businesses). Now I can see the folders have unread mail, read it, and then either delete it or go on to the next thing. It cut down on time filing quite a bit.

I am a graphic designer and love creating fanart, plus book covers, banners, and more. I created a company, The Author’s Secret, for that purpose. However, after five years, I realized I was spending so much time maintaining social media, websites, blog posts, and more for both myself and the company that I had little time left to do what I want to do most. Write. So after a long soul-searching period, I decided to close the company.

Instead, I will offer a few of the same services from my own website. That way, I’m promoting only one site and one set of social media. It’s a win-win.

Is it right to quit? I think so, yes, when the reasons are sound. What do you think? Is it right to quit or should you slug it out no matter what? Share your thoughts in the comments. I’d love to hear from you, yea or nay.

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