The Humorous and Not So Witty Path to Writing — By Guest Blogger Vivienne Diane Neal

I did not learn how to write until I went to college. “How does one get accepted into college without knowing how to write? What I mean is that writing correctly was not one of my strongest points. I had my share of dangling participles, run on sentences and incorrect use of tricky words, i.e. to, too, who, whom, lose, loose and so on. So becoming an author was never in the picture.
When I decided to go to college, I was in my late twenties, which was a surprise to me, because I had no interest in going to college when I graduated from high school. However, that all changed when I started to work at a textile company that made linings and interfacings. The company employed home economists in various regions of the country. Their job was to go into stores and demonstrate how to use those materials when constructing clothing. This is when I became interested in becoming a home economist.
Since a degree in home economics was required, I made up my mind to register at a community college where I obtained a Liberal Arts Degree. During my first year there, I was required to take English. The professor, who taught this subject, inspired me to be a better writer. She made the course exciting and stressed good grammar, correct use of words, and proper sentence structure in a clear-cut way. Still, becoming an author was never on my radar. I went on to complete my BS degree in Home Economics. That was in 1979.
In 1982, the court summoned me for jury duty. While serving, I met an editor who represented a major publishing house. When she discovered that I was a Home Economics Consultant, she thought I should write a book on home management. I made it very clear that I was not interested in writing a book. She kept insisting, and I kept saying, “No.” She was persistent. Finally, I gave in, developed an outline and sent it off to her publisher. A couple of weeks later, I heard from the publisher. They turned down the idea.   I cannot remember the reason they gave for rejecting the synopsis.  Even though my heart was not into writing this book, my ego was somewhat bruised.
Then in 2006, I started my second online dating site. Everything was going great; people were joining and becoming paid members, and I was making money. Then the unthinkable happened. After operating this site for over a year, and without any warning, the affiliate closed my site. After getting over that initial shock and displeasure, I wrote an article about the incident. From that piece, I wrote and self-published my first book, “Making Dollar$ And Cent$ Out Of Online Dating.” It is my personal journey into the difficulties I encountered while finding a company to host my site.
Eventually, I started to write short stories and decided to put those narratives into a book called “Shades of Deception,” a collection of ten short stories, and “Malicious Acts,” an anthology of five short stories. The genre is contemporary romance. Since my business is all about romance, my stories center on relationships, love, lust, deception, manipulation, betrayal, scandal and fraud.
Writing these books has had its challenges, but the rewards of having a product that you were involved with from start to finish, outweigh the setbacks. As a self-publisher, I have had my share of blunders. Even though I consider myself a good writer and sometimes become overconfident, I make mistakes and so do traditional publishers.  After publishing my books, I had to revise them, thanks to an author who gave me some constructive feedback. He found my stories clear and engaging but thought my segments were too long. After reviewing my books, I understood what he meant. Therefore, I split my lengthy paragraphs into shorter bits, and corrected a few mistakes, which somehow my proofreader and I missed. I learned a very good lesson. No matter how great of a writer I may think I am, I am not flawless.
For over twenty years, I wrote and edited articles for my past two publications and created a singles’ publication. I did not realize it then, but I was preparing myself to become an author. I still do not see myself as a novelist. Writing comes naturally to me. If I had to choose between reading and writing, I would pick the latter. Recently, someone asked me to provide a letter of recommendation. I did and read to her what I had written. She then asked, “Did you write author after your name?” I laughed and said, “Of course not.” 🙂
The author is now semi-retired, but she continues to write short stores and articles on love, romance, relationships and other topics of interest.
Links to author’s sites:

Way Out of Line Review

Today I got a great review for Way Out of Line from Ruth Ann Hixson:

Trish Jackson’s new novel, Way Out of Line, comes on like a freight train, starting out slow but quickly picking up speed to become an unstoppable force that rips apart the lives of two young lovers. Hal is convicted of statutory rape and sentenced to fifteen years in prison. Trent goes to college where guilt over lying about her age to Hal drives her to seek solace in drugs. Not finding it there she joins a religious cult.
Neither loses sight of their love with each other. Many years later they meet up in the wild bush of Mozambique where they run for their lives from a band of rebels.
Jackson ratchets up the suspense with each chapter, weaving a tapestry of intrigue and emotion until she draws all the threads together. This book is a well written, exciting novel that could cost the reader some sleep because it is difficult to leave it even for a little while.
Ruth Ann Hixson

Book Trailer – Way Out of Line

I’m almost done designing my book trailer for Way Out of Line, which is scheduled for release in May.

I used Power Point and royalty-free pictures from Creative Commons websites, and a royalty-free Power Point music download from a Creative Commons music site. I really wanted African music, but I couldn’t find anything I liked within my budget.

I’ll post it here as soon as it’s up on Youtube.

The Romance Genre

Romance authors write about something everyone seeks in their lives, which is probably why romance is the most widely read genre in the world.
Love is something we all crave. We are ecstatic when we find it and devastated when we lose it.
A true romance novel is a story woven around two people who fall in love. 
Technically it is always supposed to have a satisfying ending. This is not always the case, though. Some exceptional romances have endings that make you cry–take Doctor Zhivago and Gone with the Wind. No one could dispute the fact that they are both romances.

The romance genre is categorized in a wide array of sub-genres, which help readers choose stories that best suit their personal interests and comfort zone. Romance sub-genres include Contemporary Romance, Historical Romance, Paranormal Romance, Medieval Romance, Futuristic Romance, and Romantic Suspense. Many of these sub-genres have their own sub-genres: Western Romance, and Regency Romance both fall under the  Historical Romance category.

Romance novels can have varying degrees of intimacy and sexual content, from kissing and holding hands in the Young Adult genre, to the explicit scenes found in Erotica. While some readers are content for their characters to make love behind closed doors, for others, a book without an explicit love scene is disappointing.
With so many choices, how does a writer choose which genre to write about?
In my case, I did not sit down and say to myself “I think I’ll write a romantic suspense novel.”
No–when I started writing, the characters came to life in my head and told me what to write. It ended up being romantic suspense, and so did the next novel, and the next one. 
Romantic suspense novels incorporate suspense, murder mysteries, sleuthing, action and adventure into the lives of the two people who fall in love.
That’s what I love to read, and write. In Redneck P.I. and its sequel, Kick Assitude I added a comedic slant, which worked for me, and I’ve had some really great comments from readers, so I think it worked for the readers too.
Way Out of Line is more serious. Having been born and raised in Africa, I have to write about it and other novels still in my computer also see action there.
My other love is horses, and my next novel, “To the Limit” is about a veterinarian with a palomino mare.
I’d love to hear from others about their chosen genres.

The Next Step in the Publishing Process

I have submitted my most recently completed  manuscript—Kick Assitude—to my publisher.
My publisher only deals in e-books. This means I have to either find a publisher who is willing to publish only in print format—yeah right—or publish them in print form myself.
So, my next task is to format my upcoming novel, Way Out of Line for CreateSpace
 I do not have a clean copy devoid of all the edits. The only almost clean copy I have is the Author’s Review Copy (ARC), which is in pdf.
This means I first have to and remove all the formatting.  To do this you save it as a plain text file — .txt. You then save it again as an old word file —doc.
All the changes and edits I discovered when I went through my ARC have to be made in the Word copy.
After that, I have  to read through it and put in the italics where necessary, and make sure everything is correctly formatted. Last time I found a lot of broken sentences, and several extra spaces between line which had to be removed.
Once I am sure everything is 100% correct, I’ll copy and paste it onto the downloaded CreateSpace template for the size I have chosen, which is 5″x 8″. This is the most common size for mass market paperbacks. If you choose an odd size, some book sellers won’t take your book.
When the manuscript is ready, I’ll upload it to CreateSpace and wait for their comments. From past experiences, I imagine they will find something that needs to be changed, like the print being too high at  the top of too low at the bottom.
Time will tell. I don’t want to release the print book before the e-book, so I am not in a great hurry.

Manuscript Completed — Kick Assitude

I’m really happy to have completed my next novel, “Kick Assitude”, the sequel to “Redneck P.I.”.
I wrote the first draft as soon as Redneck P.I. had been accepted because I didn’t want to lose my protagonist Twila’s voice, so I figured I should write while it was still fresh in my mind.
After that, I started working on “Way Out of Line”, and did not get to look at the Kick Assitude draft for almost a year. When I did get back to it, I loved the story. I had forgotten a lot of what took place and I was really excited when I read it. It’s a great story–fast-paced, terrifying, and sizzling hot!
When I first submitted Redneck P.I., Jude said it sagged in the middle–which meant it got boring. She helped me to get it right.
There’s definitely no sagging anywhere in this story.
So I set about adding texture and getting the timeline right, and verifying facts that needed to be correct. It took a couple of months, but yesterday I sent it to my editor, Jude at Uncial Press. Yes!!
It was somewhere around 58,000 words in draft form, and it is now just over 71,000 words, which is about my most comfortable length.
Now I wait to hear from Jude She is really backed up and probably won’t get to reading it until he end of April, she told me. The readers have to look at it too, and if they all agree on it, Jude will let me know they have accepted it for publication.
I know it’s a great story, so I am confident they will accept it.
Now I have to get onto getting reviews for Way Out of Line. The more (good) reviews I have, the better.

Kick Assitude

While waiting for the corrected ARC (Author’s Review Copy) for Way Out of Line from my editor, Jude, I’m working on my next novel, Kick Assitude.
This is the sequel to Redneck P.I.
I wrote the first draft in 2010, after I had completed the review process of Redneck P.I. and it sat in my computer unread until I went back to take a look a couple of weeks ago.
Now that I have done several edits I LOVE it. I can’t believe how wonderfully it has come together, and I can’t wait for Jude’s comments once she’s read it. It’ll be a while before it’s ready for submission, though.