Coming Soon

Sorry I’ve been absent. I’ve been busy writing Troll Curse, the sequel to Twin Curse. I’m on the last chapter now (or maybe the second last, sometimes it’s hard to tell!), and hoping to have it out in the next few months. Once this draft is done, I’ll be looking for a couple of beta readers, so if you’re interested, leave a comment (and your email address!) below.

I’m hoping to keep this blog a bit more updated, but when it comes to choosing writing blog posts, or writing novels, novels usually win! But I do post short updates on Facebook more frequently, so if you want to keep up with the latest, follow me there, or over on Twitter.

Character Profile – Kerit

Reckless-Recon-Cover-thumbOver the next week or two, I’m going to be sharing some background information about Reckless Recon, such as information about the characters, places and research behind the book.

Of course, the best place to start is with Kerit, who is the character we all know from the first two books.

Name: Kerit Bekkert

Age: 26

Height/Weight: tall, thin and wiry

Body type: wiry and lean

Scent: outdoorsy, beachy? (Can someone smell beachy?)

Texture (i.e. of hands, skin, etc.): firm and smooth

Clothing style/frequently worn clothes: tidy casual. At the beach, he’d wear board shorts and a rash vest. Around home, probably casual shorts and a t-shirt, going out, jeans and a collard shirt, not tucked in. (Need to check this with Reckless Rebellion)

Eyes: blue

Hair: blond, longish around his face, often hangs in his eyes

Characteristic tags: laid back and easy-going. Keeps to himself, and doesn’t get involved in other people’s problems. Or he didn’t, until his brother and sister-in-law were involved.

Race/Ethnic group: Born on Urslat to a high-middle class family

Years of schooling: finished high school

Any special occupational training: spent many years and hours surfing! And doing a lot of other outdoorsy activities such as rock climbing and hiking.

Occupation: surfer, paying the bills through sponsorship

 Skills, Abilities, and Talents: surfing, swimming, rock-climbing

Admirable personality traits (strengths): Positive, kind, thoughtful

Negative personality traits (weaknesses): self-conscious, doesn’t think much of himself

Things that make angry: Kerit is hard to anger. People putting him down, or thinking less of him, annoy him, but it has to be pretty blatant for him to become angry

Method of handling anger: walking away, talking it out, suppressing and ignoring it

Things that embarrass: just as he’s hard to anger, Kerit is hard to embarrass. If someone teases him, he’s likely to laugh along with the joke (although possibly be embarrassed inside?) Mostly, he dislikes being compared to others.

Method of handling embarrassment: joking, usually at his own expense

Fears: sharks!

Method of handling fear: avoidance, and a little bit of superstition

Philosophy of Life: have fun, do the things that inspire you in life, and stay true to yourself

Favourite Foods: Anything! Kerit likes pretty much all foods

Favourite Books: Kerit isn’t a big reader. His favourite books are probably surfing inspired

Favourite Place: Out on the waves, or at the beach

Item(s) special to character: dolphin necklace that he passed on to Tyris, and his surfboard

Person/friend close to character: his brother, Tyris, and now Marlee as well

Description of home, home life, and economic status: Kerit lives alone, in an apartment. His income comes from sponsorship of his surfing, and isn’t huge. He drives an average car. He comes from a high achieving family, so is the odd one out.

Most painful experiences in character’s past (to prove why they act the way they do): Kerit has had a pretty easy life. The only painful experiences he’s had are his parents not supporting his surfing, and his serious girlfriend wanting him to get a ’proper job’. Or… Maybe not knowing where Marlee had gone, and if she was ok, made him feel like he let his brother down.

Character’s goals (What they want)(Their biggest dream): Kerit is drifting at the beginning of the story. He’s left his surfing behind to follow Tyris and Marlee, and isn’t sure what he’s going to do with his life now, besides hope that Semala has a good ocean to surf. (Maybe one without sharks?)

Character’s motivation (Why they want the above goal): Kerit wants to be accepted, and to live a fun and happy life. Besides finding a good surfing ocean, and maybe building a beachside shack, he doesn’t have many goals

Character’s conflict (What is keeping them from their goal): the people on Semala, who don’t want anyone else on their planet! And the alien, keeping chasing him, and making his life more difficult.

Summarize character’s Fatal Flaw (the main problem to work through): Kerit constantly compares himself to his brother, and feels lacking. He is plagued by doubts, and avoids making decisions, preferring to defer to someone else

Is there anything else you’d like to know about Kerit? Feel free to ask any questions in the comments.

Reckless Recon is out!

Reckless-Recon-Cover-thumbFollowing his brother half way across the galaxy seemed like a good idea at the time, but it hadn’t hit him just how much he was giving up. Stir-crazy after three weeks in space, Kerit, professional surfer turned interstellar colonist, jumps at the chance to get off the ship and onto the new planet’s surface—even if it is a little inhospitable.

He expects searing heat. He expects acid rain. He even expects the sunburn from hell. What he doesn’t expect is to meet Folly—the most prickly, irritating, and fascinating girl he’s ever known. And he needs her help if they want to make this planet their new home.

Determined to find her father’s ship and prove he was a brilliant scientist, Folly has no interest in getting to know Kerit. The cute stranger is just a distraction. Unless of course he can help her in her search…

But something sinister lurks in the ruined city, and neither of them realise how much they are going to have to rely on each other if they want to make it out alive.

Reckless Recon is the third book in the Barren Planet Romance series.

Each book can be read alone, but is best enjoyed as part of the series.

The suggested reading order is:
Reckless Rescue
Reckless Rebellion
Reckless Recon

Why Does Editing Take So Long?

As some of you may have read, I finished the rough draft of Reckless Recon for Camp NaNoWriMo, just before the end of April. So here it is in the middle of June, and it’s not out yet. What gives?

In some ways, editing is almost as difficult as writing the rough draft. For that first job of getting the story down on paper, I try to switch off my ‘internal editor’, as he/she tends to bring writing to it’s knees. If I’m wondering if I’m making the right choices for the story or giving enough description, or following the right plot points, I tend to spend a lot of time staring at a blank page. So instead, I write. And I write whatever comes into my head. (In this case, it was large, and black, just saying.) For me, this leads to a better, and more interesting book. But also one that inevitably has some problems.

And by the time I finish that rough draft, I really can’t see what they are. So I send the book to my sister, and she picks up on bits lacking description, characters acting out of character, and bits that don’t make sense. Sometimes I post scenes I’m having extra trouble with on writing groups, for some alternate opinions. And of course, I work through two passes (one for story/character, one for sentence structure/grammar/typos) with my editor. Then hubby does a final proofread. Each of these passes can take a week, sometimes two, and really, they can’t be done concurrently.

So given that, I’m pretty pleased to announce that I’m almost done. I have a few little issues to fix, then it goes to hubby for a final proofread. While he’s doing that, I’ll be starting formatting. I already have these beautiful header graphics that my sister made up for me.

chapter-1Aren’t they pretty? I’ve set a tentative release date of the 26th of June, so not long now!

As with Reckless Rebellion, I’d love to have someone who hasn’t read the first two books do a read through for me, and see how this one reads as a standalone, so if you’re interested, leave a comment!

 

 

Muddy Colours on Amazon Covers

As I posted on Facebook, I created an entry in my bookshelf for Reckless Recon a couple of days ago. I like to do this a week or two before the book is ready to publish, just to keep my motivation up, to start filling in all the fields (keywords and categories can take a bit of thought, not to mention blurb. No, let’s not talk about blurbs yet). Sometimes, you even discover a problem that needs to be solved before the book can go live. In this case, when I uploaded my cover, I could instantly see that something was wrong. The beautiful yellow colours looked muddy and washed out, as you can see in the picture below. The image on the left is the one shown on my Amazon edit page, the one on the right is a screen capture from my own webpage.

Untitled-2I panicked. Something was wrong with my file. Or Amazon was messing up somehow. When I looked at my other covers, they were the same, although less obviously so.

I tried uploading several different formats. Tiff instead of JPEG (no difference), CMYK instead of RGB (wouldn’t let me upload), larger files, higher quality. Nothing made any difference. Every time I uploaded, I was faced with this same, washed out image. I posted on a writers forum I’m on, and received sympathy, but no suggestions. I even emailed KDP, and began the process of going through their canned responses in the hopes of getting an actual solution.

Then I checked back on the forum, and someone posted a comment about specifying a colour profile, and how I could right click on the image, select properties, and find out what colour profile the image was using. So I checked it out, and low and behold, my colour profile was ‘unspecified’. Hmm. So I did a bit of research to find out how to change it, (under Edit–>Convert to profile in Photoshop), changed it to sRGB (recommended by Amazon), and started the upload.

It took forever! I waited, staring at the spot where my image would be, torn between hope that it would display correctly, and fear that it would still look awful.

Luckily, it worked!

So I’ve spent the morning changing all my other covers, and now they’re all beautiful, just like they’re supposed to be

Seems like I’m never done learning about all this publishing stuff!

I’m Back!

Sorry for going all MIA in April. I was busy finishing off the rough draft of Reckless Recon!

2014-Winner-Vertical-BannerI signed up for Camp NaNoWriMo with a goal of 30,000 words, and not only did I meet my goal, but I also hit the end of the novel!

Sadly, it still has a bit of work to go. I’ve sent it off to my sister for a read thorough, and she’s already come back with lots of changes. Then it goes to the editor mid May, for two passes (one for story/continuity, then a line edit), then hubby will do my proofread.

At this stage, I’m hoping it will be out early June. I’d love to have it all to you sooner, but I also want to give you the best book I can write, so I’m going to be working hard for the next month!

I’ll be trying to update my blog a little more frequently this month, but in case I get lost and don’t, like my Facebook page for more frequent updates, or if you want to be notified as soon as Reckless Recon is available, sign up to my mailing list!

Reckless Rebellion Print Giveaway

I’m currently running a giveaway over on GoodReads for a print copy of my book. If you want a chance to win, hope on over and enter now!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Reckless Rebellion by Rinelle Grey

Reckless Rebellion

by Rinelle Grey

Giveaway ends April 27, 2014.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

 

Romance and the HEA – A Promise to the Reader

true-loveAt its core, a romance has to have to things: a central focus on the relationship between two characters, and a HEA ending – Happily Ever After.

I’ve noticed lately though, a tendency for writers to be considering writing a romance without the traditional HEA. Perhaps this has always been discussed, and I just haven’t read it, or perhaps it is new, following a general trend in society for ’real’, non happy endings.

Of course, there are a lot of well known love stories that DON’T have a happy ending, and I can count a lot of these as favourites of mine: Gone With the Wind and Love Story. Others though, have left a taste that wasn’t so pleasant, the most notable being City of Angels. Yes, it’s a movie, not a book, but it left a very lasting impact. To this day, I can’t talk about it without remembering the anger.

So what’s the difference? In both cases, the story ended badly for the characters, but one I loved, the other I hated.

The difference was my expectations. I had a pretty good idea how Gone With the Wind went. Everyone knows the famous last line – “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.” Love Story, by Eric Segal, is even more open about the ending, beginning the story with the line: “What do you say about a twenty-five year old woman who died?”

I’m typing those lines from memory, so they may not be perfect. My copies of these stories are up in my garage, but I’ve read both enough times to know passages off by heart.

With City of Angels, I went into it not knowing the ending. It ran exactly like a romance, had a perfect ending, and just when the closing credits should have run, they threw in a tragedy.

I’ve never watched the movie again. Thank heavens I only rented it!

The trick then, is to make sure readers know what to expect. If you try to fool people into thinking they’re reading a romance, when really it’s a love story with a tragic ending, then don’t worry, readers will tell each other in the reviews! I’ve skipped quite a few ’romance’ stories because of these sort of reviews.

For me, even though I’ve loved some love stories, these days, it’s all about the happy ending. I like knowing that I can read the story without really fearing for the characters. I can relax knowing that no matter how impossible it seems for the characters, that it will all work out in the end. That’s why I love reading romances. How many other genres can you read with that sort of knowledge?

It’s also why I write romances. I have zero interest in writing tragedy. I love happy, positive endings, to the point of being a little sappy sometimes. Readers of my stories can rest assured that they know what they’re getting in to.

Do you like knowing the story will have a happily ever after, or do you prefer to be surprised? How about those stories where they throw in a twist right at the end, and change everything you thought you’d known?

A Non-Writing Creative Endevour – Dice Dragons!

I made the mistake of showing my 9yo daughter some dice dragons on Facebook recently, made by the talented  Becca Golins. If you haven’t seen them, stop now and go look, I promise you won’t regret it.

My daughter wanted one desperately, and I did too! But even if I could justify the price, her shop is empty at the moment!

Luckily, continued searching led my daughter to her tutorial on YouTube, showing how she makes them. This we could do. So out to the craft store for some clay, and we sat down and watched the hour long tutorial, pausing and replaying a lot along the way!

Dice DragonThis is what I came up with.

I’m pretty happy with how it turned out for my first try. And it’s awesome fun. I put a dice in this picture, but although I love the idea, I didn’t really curl the tail enough to hold the dice properly. So here she is without a dice.

Dragon Sculpture

While I pretty much followed the tutorial step by step, and made a dragon that looked pretty much like Becca’s, my daughter loves to experiment. This is her sculpture.

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Of course, I sent a picture through to my sister, and the first thing she said was “You have to show me how to do that”. So today, we bought more clay, and headed round to make more dragons. I thought my dragon was lonely, and needed a friend. And that my husband shouldn’t be the only one in our house dragonless, so I picked out his favourite colours, and made this one.

Blue DragonPractice definitely improved my skills, and I tried a few different things here, the curly horns, and nose horn. But still mostly the same! But there was a reason for that. I needed them to match!

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My daughter picked some really great colours for her next one, and did a really great job again I reckon!

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And my sister, who is pretty much a grown up version of my daughter, did it her own way as well.

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Now I’m just wishing I had written a fantasy novel with dragons in it! It would be really cool to make dragons from one of my books. Trolls just aren’t the same.

Oh well, might have to write one. Or maybe go make more dragons.

 

A Macro Editing Tip

Editing is one of those tasks that most writers hate. It’s longer, and more tedious than writing is, and lacks the thrill of discovery that comes with a first draft. And yet, it’s vitally important to putting out a good novel.

I’ve written before about some of my editing processes, so today I just wanted to share a new discovery with you.

I’ve spent the last couple of days re-reading what I’ve written so far on Reckless Recon, wanting to make sure it all makes sense, and work out where I’m going from here.

But I struggled with it. I read through the first couple of chapters, and kept making a lot of small edits, changing a word here and some sentence structure there, but it just wasn’t flowing. I wasn’t getting an idea of where the story was going, and if it was working.

Since I had to go out the next day, I copied the file to my iPad, figuring I could read some while my daughter was playing with her friends at the park. I couldn’t make changes, since I don’t have an app that can edit files that large (and I find it awkward on the iPad, the keyboard is just too limited), but reading it was what I wanted to do anyway!

And what I discovered was that when I couldn’t edit, I stopped looking at all those little details, and began to see the larger story, like I wanted to.

Yes, I still ended up with about 4 pages of notes on things I wanted to change (Including a very funny typo that I shared on Facebook), but they were mostly inconsistencies and big picture changes. Only a few typos and sentence structure issues.

I think this was because I didn’t get bogged down in sentence structure and flow. I just made a note like *expand on this, needs more feeling* or *this doesn’t work because there was sun just a few pages back*, and moved on.

So if you’re having trouble sticking to a macro edit of your novel, I highly recommend reading it on a device where you can’t edit as you go. I’m going to make sure I do this for at least one edit in the future.

How about you? Do you read through your work somewhere other than on your computer during the edit process?

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