Friday, July 21, 2017

Going to RWA

I have been busy packing for the RWA Conference in Orlando.
With the new rules on baggage, I'm limiting myself to one bag for five days. sounds tricky, huh? It is. I need three pairs of shoes and underwear along with nice clothes for the conference and one special outfit for when I speak on a panel on Saturday morning.
So here I am writing my speech about an invisible disability. The panel is about giving your characters disabilities and making them real. If you're going to be there, come and listen. We have lots of handouts.
I'm excited about going. I need the enthusiasm. I always learn something new or am reminded of what I've forgotten.
I'm also looking forward to seeing friends I chat with on-line. this year I have an extra task. My local chapter wants to host on-line classes again and I'll be asking for help. If you're interested in doing a class let me know.

Please follow, friend or like me. I love to hear from my readers.
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Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Making Promo Fun? by Alicia Dean

So, I think we all agree, promo is a necessity, but sometimes a necessary evil. Like exercise, I think the key to sticking with promo is making it fun. (Don't get me wrong, I haven't figured out a way to make exercise fun :()

But, there are a few ways to make promo fun. I haven't tried all of these, but here are some thoughts about fun stuff to try AND some questions/thoughts about marketing in general.

1) Videos - Let your readers see you live and up close and personal. This is something I haven't done, but a weekly video chat on Facebook with your readers is a great way to promo. You can talk about your writing, read a short excerpt, ask them questions, talk about your life (just a little, not too much sharing). You can announce ahead of time and invite readers to join you.

2) What are you interested in, other than reading and writing? For me, it's Elvis, MLB, TV, NFL. Pick a topic unrelated to writing that interests you and write a weekly blog or Facebook post about it. You'll probably be more likely to write about it each week, because you love it. (Gardening, animals, scrapbooking, hang-gliding, etc)

3) Cross-Promo with other authors. Learning about other authors and sharing for them can be lots of fun.

4) Play games - maybe give away a book to one of the commenters. You can play games like, which of these lines is from so and so book. You can play games with other authors, let them share something on your Facebook or blog that readers can guess. Or, just have readers list their favorite book, movie, food, actor, animal, etc. Give away a book to one lucky commenter.

I wouldn't try all of these, it would be too time-consuming, but they are just some suggestions for potential things to do that might be more fun than pure drudgery. :)

A few questions/comments...

1) I'm starting to wonder about my Facebook Fan Page. It's difficult to get exposure/interaction, although the promo group Jannine and I run has helped to increase that a little. However, I wonder if maybe I should just use my regular profile page. That way, there would be a mixture of personal and book things. What are your thoughts?

2) I recently tried an Amazon ad, and I felt it was quite successful. I took Alison's advice and listed a ton of key words, searching for authors and books similar to mine. I also added key words as I went along. One tip I learned from a marketing expert I met in May was to bid a higher price, like maybe 75 cents per click, for more common key words so that when readers search that, your bid should make you float to the top. Have any of you tried Amazon ads? What was your experience like?

3) I've heard some discouraging things about Facebook ads. I was thinking of trying one, but what I've heard has put me off. I understand that the supposed price you are charged always goes up. You spend more money than you expect, and that your ads aren't necessarily getting the exposure you thought they would. I found it a little confusing with the targeting and such anyway. Do you guys know anything about FB ads?

Would love to hear feedback on any or all...thanks!

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Help Us Choose Our First Line! by Jannine Gallant

It's that time of year when the Roses of Prose start thinking about our holiday stories. As we have for the last several years, we will be posting short Christmas stories throughout the month of December. The only common denominator is the first line. That's where we need your help. We've had a LOT of first line suggestions this year, and we want to narrow the pack to the ones our readers think have the most potential before the final vote. Please leave comments telling us which lines are your favorites. Listed in the order they were received:

1) It was done. And she would lead the Christmas Parade down Main Street wearing nothing but a smile before she did it again.

2) She couldn't wait for Christmas to be over. Last night she'd dreamed she was being chased around the kitchen by a diabolical gingerbread man with glowing, red-hot eyes.

3) Pulling this off would take a Christmas miracle.

4) The eggnog was definitely spiked.

5) There was something about Santa no one had ever told her.

6) Stuck in an elevator on Christmas Eve...

7) Red really was his best color.

8) The only Christmas card she'd gotten and it was signed "Your Secret Admirer."

9) Her effort to steal Christmas failed.

10) She never liked Christmas when she was a kid.

11) Naughty and nice were never a problem for her.

12) What would Santa think about her last move?

13) There stood Santa, naked except for his black boots and his hat hanging on...

There are some definite contenders in here that get the creative juices flowing! What do you like in a first line? Long or short? General or specific? Pick your favorite line or two and leave us a comment. We'll announce the winning first line when we get a little closer to Christmas. Above all, don't forget to come back in December to read our stories!

And now for a book plug since it is my day to post... My BORN TO BE WILDE series is still on sale throughout the month of July. Check out my WEBSITE for direct buy links to all retailers.

Monday, July 17, 2017

My Daily Writing Life by Betsy Ashton

We all get the same questions. What is your daily routine? Do you write every day? How do you budget your time? Do you like promotional activities? Wouldn't you rather just write and not do anything else?

In order, my daily routine. I rise relatively early and am at my desk by eight. I put in three or more hours writing or editing, depending on where I am in my book journey. Right now, I'm in the death throes of editing my serial killer novel, which I plan to have out in early fall. I have a big fall festival in mid October...

I work in relative silence, meaning no music or television when I'm editing. Unless it's golf or tennis. I can edit to either sport and only glance up occasionally.  I clear my desk to edit the old-fashioned way. Pen and paper. I can't edit electronically, even when I use Narrator and listen to my book read back to me. Keying my changes is an additional "edit" because I focus on each word. If the word/sentence/paragraph/chapter does not move the story forward, it goes into the parking lot, never to be seen again in the book.

When I'm writing, I can have music on in the background. If music plays an essential role in setting the tone, I note what I'm listening to so that I can go back and recapture the mood during the editing process. When I write a new piece, I push as many words onto the page as possible. I have to get it all out, even the backstory that will never see print. I have to know what my main characters carry in their pockets or purses.

I'm a 10-15 draft editor. Not the entire manuscript, but I rework many sections until I think I have it right. Only, sometimes, to be reminded by readers that I'm still not perfect, but they'll give me a hall pass.

During the final edits, I fact-check, sleep with the thesaurus, and am never move than two inches away from Chicago Manual of Style.

When I need a break, I take fifteen minutes to play on social media. I look at kitty videos, add pictures to Pinterest, transfer a pic or two from cell to Instagram, and throw out snarky comments on Facebook and Twitter. Fifteen minutes could turn into hours if not for the hour glass I keep in the bookshelf next to my desk.

Afternoons are set aside for walking to clear my head, short naps or yoga to refresh body and soul, and setting up and executing promotional campaigns.

I do not work after six in the evening. I don't go on Facebook et al after I leave my desk. My cell is nearby for emergencies, not for playing games or watching more kitty videos. I read at night.

My goodness, that's a boring daily routine, but it works for me. I fancy myself a professional writer and must keep to a regimen or I'll slip back into casual, hobby writer. Can't, because I always see to have a deadline looming, though.

I'm going to skip the promotional question for now. That warrants another post later this month.

Lastly, would I rather write and not have to worry about promoting my books. Who wouldn't? But until I'm as big as Diane Fanning, Patricia Cornwell, or David Baldacci, I'll work every afternoon to promote my books and generate interest. I hope.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

I Did it Again by Alison Henderson

As you may remember, a couple of months ago I redesigned the cover for Boiling Point, the second book in my female bodyguard series. I was never completely comfortable with the original cover and didn't feel it was consistent with the series brand. I was so pleased with the new cover for Boiling Point that it got me thinking about the cover I'd designed for the third book in the series and my current WIP, Child's Play.

I'd struggled to find the right images for that cover, too. In this story, the heroine goes to work undercover as a nanny for an Archaeology professor whose young niece is being threatened. I had settled for a background of a child's bedroom, but once again, I'd struggled to find a figure I liked. Encouraged by my success with Boiling Point, I decided to try again. 

Now that the first two books featured outdoor background shots of the settings, I thought I'd take another look for a snowy college campus scene and found several I liked. I also found a new image of a woman with a gun wearing boots (season appropriate!) that is quite similar in pose to the figure on the cover of Unwritten Rules. Then I put a couple of my favorite settings--one with a red brick collegiate building and one with gray stone--together with the figure and showed them to OG.

Imagine my surprise when he pointed to the photo with the stone building and said, "That's Blair Arch at Princeton! I lived in that dorm one year, and that's the window of my room."
Well, that sealed my choice. Now, I not only have a cover that continues the image of the series brand perfectly, but it features OG's dorm room! (It's the second floor window to the left of her left calf.) According to him, this represents every college boy's fantasy--a giant woman in high-heeled boots and a micro skirt, carrying a gun and appearing right outside his window. LOL

Here are the three covers for the series. I finally think I've got a solid, unified look that reflects the tone. Whew! If at first...

And on another positive note, the book is actually progressing rather well.

Onward and upward!

Friday, July 14, 2017

RWA Bound! by Christine DePetrillo

At the end of the month I will be attending my first Romance Writers of America Annual Conference in Orlando, Florida and I am psyched! I've gone to local chapter events and other writing conferences, but nothing of this magnitude.

Did I also mention that I've never been "away from home" by myself? Yeah, 40-something years old and I've never traveled alone.

You can call me a loser. It's okay. I agree with you. Why in the hell have I waited this long to go on a quest? Clearly, no one would entrust me with tossing the One Ring into the fires of Mount Doom. You thought it took Frodo a long time to make the voyage. Me? 40+ years people. 40+ years.

I'll know people once I get there and I've been to Disney World like nine times. I feel comfortable navigating my way around down there, but a part of me is a little nervous. I'm not going to lie to you. I'm a writer. I imagine scenarios. Like airplane problems. Getting lost. Terrorist attacks.

Or the worst... getting stuck sitting near a baby on the flight. Ugh. Let's hope that doesn't happen.

I plan to pack light and just take a carry-on bag. Summer dresses that I can roll up for easy, fuss-free packing. A pair of comfortable shoes and a pair of cute sandals. Maybe a set of Mickey Mouse ears.

Traveling alone should make for a streamlined experience, right? No one to worry about but myself. No husband who ALWAYS is the guy security wants to investigate further. "Step aside, sir." Every. Single. Time. But me? Who would find me suspicious? I'm sailing right through that check in.

I'm looking forward to the entire experience. Going a day early to bounce around the parks and get my Disney fix. Then I plan to soak in the fun of being around other romance authors and people who "get" writing. People who understand the dream.  People who, like me, enjoy weaving a good tale.

If you've gone to an RWA conference before, what tips do you have for me?



Thursday, July 13, 2017

So this is how other people live?

I have not been writing.

This is very odd for me. I am almost always working on a new story. But I've taken these first few days of July to decompress, get caught up on some reading, and put my brain in neutral.

The first thing I've noticed is time: when you're not working on a book, there's a lot of free time. I work full-time, so that's 40-50 hours out of my week that's taken. I normally spend 2-3 hours a day working on writing, and an hour or two thinking about writing. When I free up 3-5 hours of Brain Time, that's a lot of free time.

How am I using it? Doing some reading -- I read outside my genre, so I'm reading historical fiction and other books. That's hard, though. I nitpick them and find all the errors, mentally critique them, and end up skimming a lot. I'm just not much of a reader anymore, sadly. I'm a writer, first and foremost.

I'm also getting caught up on organization -- cleaning out files, re-doing some bookcases, etc. I'm also doing a bit of charity sewing (but it's too hot to do much of this).

All of this adds up to: I'm getting antsy to get started on writing again. I'm just not set up for passive entertainment (TV, books, movies). I need active entertainment (the kind I write and generate for myself).

I expect that by the next time I post (on the 26th) I'll be elbow-deep into a new manuscript. Let's see, if that comes to pass, I will have taken 10 days off from writing.

Sounds about right ...


Wednesday, July 12, 2017

A Greyhound Tale

Roughly a month ago, I got a message from my nephew. He told me my sister was becoming more frail and wanted to see me. Could we come to Pennsylvania for her eighty-fifth birthday? Pauline is sixteen years older than I and I can't recall us ever having a cross word between us.

We've led two different lifestyles. She was a fulltime homemaker, who ran the sweeper between the mattress and box springs and canned her own fruit. I worked outside of the home, survived a divorce, and named all my dust bunnies. Even so, we were always affectionate.

Calvin and I thought of ways to reach her. Flying was out. Our local airport only flies south. We could go to Charlotte, North Carolina to Miami, Florida and then north to DC and hitch a commuter plane to Hagerstown, Maryland. We checked out Amtrak. We could easily take it to DC, rent a car, and drive out of the Capitol, heading north. The last time I drove through Washington, DC, we ended up almost in Ocean City, Maryland while I'd aged five years.

"I could drive the whole way," I suggested to Calvin. I thought his shaking head would tumble off his shoulders.

Calvin looked at me as if he'd discovered the solution to world peace. "You know what? I haven't ridden a bus in years. Let's see if we can take a bus up there. I rode it all the time to Hampton University. It's a relaxing way to travel."

I swear my sweet husband's memory has faded. There was nothing relaxing about our trip to Pennsylvania. But getting to see my sister and brother was great.

Left to Right: Me, my brother Ray, and Pauline. I'm the baby.

We had a great little family reunion. Plus, I got to see both of my sons and grandkids. A very pleasant trip. Then we got on the bus to head for home. At the terminal in Baltimore, a new driver got on.

I knew we were in trouble when she'd driven three blocks from the terminal, stopped, and yelled, "Okay, listen up, y'all. This is a new route for me. Is DC north or south of Baltimore?" She reached into a bag of fried chicken setting on her window ledge and pulled out a drumstick. "Which way do I go?"
Someone yelled directions and she aimed the bus toward DC while she chewed on her chicken. "See, I'm from South Carolina, but the company moved me up here to run this route." Honestly, the driver talked faster than the bus drove.

"Okay," she waved her chicken bone over her head. "I'm coming up on DC. Who has a phone with a GPS. Help me find the terminal." We gave her directions which she claimed were wrong. In the meantime, we circled the Washington Monument three times. Zipped the wrong way up a one way street. Horns honking. People yelling.

She flagged a city bus down as leaned out the window. "Hey! Can you tell me where the Greyhound terminal is?" She followed the other bus driver's directions and drove by the station twice while claiming the man was wrong. At one point she aimed the bus toward the White House, hell bent for leather,  while security guards ran toward us, waving their arms. They gave her the same directions that the city bus driver had.

She finally pulled into the back of the station--the wrong way. And when workers yelled and waved, she waved the chicken bone she'd been sucking on at them. "Get the hell out of my way. I've been praying on Jesus to find me the way here! I'm not backing up now."

Heavens, so had we!

Some trips just go haywire. Like Zoey Morningstar's trip to Paris for the birth of her sister's first child. Her daughter's kidnapping and rescue. A murder in the sex district. A bombing in the Metro. Going undercover with a handsome French Counterrorism Agent to find the terrorists who tried to kidnap her daughter. Passion. Her trip was to include none of those things, but like ours it had its own twists and turns. Only much more dangerous and sexy.

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Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Summertime…and the livin’ is…Well, You Decide – Part One by Margo Hoornstra

Some of you will remember the Gershwin song, Summertime from the musical Porgy and Bess. The opening line goes like this. Summertime…and the livin’ is…easy.

Brings to mind visions of tranquil days full of sunshine and fresh breezes. Lazy, hazy days to sit back, relax and soak in the quiet. Enjoy doing whatever we want, or nothing if that’s our choice.

In that spirit, we recently purchased a couple of Adirondack Chairs for the front yard.

And a glider swing to go with the rocker on the back deck.

Inviting, right? If only I could use them more.

If I may paraphrase the great Mr. G – in my world, it’s more like Summertime…and the livin’ is…busy! Not that I’m complaining, mind you. Oh no…

Here’s a taste of my current summer days, so far…

In June, my novella titled, For Money Or Love was released. It is one of six within the 99 cent box set, All In For Love

In July, I began promotion anew, (through Author Promo Pal aka Lacey Jewel, daughter of our own Alicia Dean) of my three novella anthology Saturday In Serendipity

Also in July, the final, final, final (fingers crossed) galley is now proofed, corrected, approved and returned to my editor, Ally Robertson of The Wild Rose Press for Book One in the four book series Brothers in BlueOn the Surface...

But, I’m not done yet…

Currently, I’m editing (and rewriting where necessary, Thanks, Jannine!) the first draft of Book Two of Brothers in BlueOn the Force

Oh, and, the Calla Lily I touted here last time on the 23rd. It’s actually blooming…


That’s my summer so far…

How about you? How’s your summer shaping up?

My days to blog here are the 11th and 23rd. For more about me and my stories, please visit my WEBSITE

Monday, July 10, 2017

My Golf and Writing on Parallel Paths by Rolynn Anderson

I’m a retired Washington State high school principal (and English teacher) who traded Seattle’s gray skies for sunny California in 2000, decided to write suspense novels, signed up for the golf experience at Cypress Ridge Golf Course in 2001, started writing...and never looked back.

Sixteen years later, I realize my adventures in writing matches my journey to become a skilled golfer.  I’ve learned golf and writing share the same pains and joys…and I wouldn’t give up either endeavor.

Let me show you how my golf and writing careers have followed parallel paths.  For instance, after writing eleven novels in nine years, I was picked up by Wild Rose Press-my thriller, LAST RESORT.  In golf, I chipped away at my index, dropping from a 28 to an 18.  For those of you who know the game, that means I took ten strokes off a round of eighteen holes of golf.  Yippee!

And I challenged myself by playing difficult golf courses, pocked with bunkers, and plagued by narrow fairways that took right and left turns at will.  As an author, I challenged myself at every crossroad, following LAST RESORT with a quirky series of three novels about a boutique funeral planner whose dead clients refuse to rest in piece.  Every book presents a new ‘golf course,’ forcing me to dig deeper for confidence, skill, and persistence.

You’re well aware of the old saw that we learned everything we need to know about life in Kindergarten.  Forget that.  I learned everything I know about writing from golf.  I whack at a golf ball with the same intensity I attack a sentence, no holds barred.  Each ‘lie’ (or plot sequence) is different.  Every hole (or scene) requires fresh insight.   I must learn the ins and outs of a new character…same with a new golf club.  Choosing a club, aligning the ball and calibrating my swing match my deliberate word choice and word order.  I love playing with great golfers as much as I’m inspired when I read novels by fabulous writers. Conflict?  Oh yeah! Novels are juiced up by conflict, as is competitive golf.  Each 'game' can go down because of a psych-out.

But the most important thing I learned from golf is the ‘practice’ element.  You can’t be a great golfer or writer without consistent, repetitive, focused encounters with the skill.  I write every day, revising and crafting new stories…and my golf index improves if I play two or three times a week.

I will tell you that in many ways, golf is easier than writing a novel.  Most books take me eight months to write, with the editing part as painful as labor.  In golf, four hours may produce a score of 82…or not.

I ask you to pick up a glass of champagne and join me in a cyber toast:  Here’s to golf (and chipping two more strokes of my index) and the launch of my new golf/geology/Italy/cave novel, BAD LIES.  Big sales and tiny handicaps to us all! 

To celebrate, I’m offering BAD LIES, in e-version, free for three days, July 10-12.  Download it, read it, and please review it on Amazon/Goodreads.  If I get 20 reviews, I can promo the novel on Book Bub…that’s my goal!  Thanks for helping me get there!

Here it is, BAD LIES

Italy’s haunted caves spell danger for an American golfer and a NATO geologist
Sophie Maxwell is a late-blooming, unorthodox golfer, and mother of a precocious thirteen year-old. Determined to put divorce, bankruptcy, and a penchant for gambling in her past, Sophie goes to Italy for a qualifying golf tournament.
Jack Walker turned his back on a pro golfing career to become a geologist. As a favor to his ailing father he’ll caddy for Sophie; off hours, he’ll find caves on the Mediterranean coast, suitable for NATO listening posts for terrorist activity.
Someone is determined to stop Jack’s underground hunt and ruin Sophie’s chances to win her tournament.
On a Rome golf course and in the Amalfi coast’s haunted caves, all the odds are stacked against Sophie and Jack.  In their gamble of a lifetime, who wins?

Seven Suspense Novels Spiked with Romance

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Sunday, July 9, 2017

Aging Gracefully, What a Joke! by Brenda Whiteside

Early 20s
I'm not fond of aging. This is my story, and I'd love to hear if you've had as much trouble as I have.

Every decade has brought a new complaint from me, a new hurdle to get over. The year before I turned thirty was one of my worst. There were milestones missed, intended accomplishments that never came to fruition. Wow, was I hard on myself. And then the physical signs of aging reared their ugly head.

My husband tells me that I approach aging with the wrong attitude. There should be joy in making it to the next decade. He doesn't understand my angst. I'm ecstatic to make it through every year. It's the physical aging part that has always made me...hmmm...angry, I guess.

I actually didn't mind turning forty. But then the forties started disappearing. Time sped forward and I went kicking and screaming toward the next decade. I dared anyone to acknowledge my fiftieth birthday. FDW warned a good friend
One month from 40
who was planning a surprise party that if she valued our friendship, and her life, to let it go. Luckily, she did. And I'm happy to say, she threw me the party for my fifty-first birthday. Thrilled me. So much fun.

And the years passed. I didn't know the meaning of the term "aging gracefully." The hurdle of acceptance was taller than Mount Everest. I quit wearing a swimsuit. The next thing to go
51st birthday party
was shorts. A few years later, sleeveless tops were taboo. It's not that I hadn't taken care of myself. My diet was excellent and exercise was a normal part of my routine. But there is only so much you can do as the years pile on. Vain? I suppose. But nothing could deter me, especially when those close to me proclaimed "you look great for your age." Argh! Yes, definitely vain.

Last week, that gigantic hurdle crumbled. There was no big ceremony, no
Well into my 50s
cosmetic surgery, no miracle. My four-year-old granddaughter wanted me to go to the pool and see how much she'd learned at swimming lessons. When I said, I would watch, her face fell. She wanted me in the water with her. How could I possibly say no?

I'm free!
I dug out my discarded swimsuit, held my breath, and tried it on. It fit. I peeked in the mirror. Okay, I don't look like I used to. How could I? I have a beautiful little granddaughter. I'm a Nana for pete's sake. But something just came over me, and I really can't tell you what. Padding across the cool deck, following that little girl into the pool, my self esteem was just fine. I had so much fun. And I am who I am. Isn't that aging
Thanks to this little girl

Saturday, July 8, 2017


If you’re an author, you read.  And if you read as an author, you’re bound to be more critical than Jane Doe who’s just picked up a book for enjoyment.  Or maybe not….  I’m not sure because I’ve taught English Language at university level, been an editor, and worked for Simon and Schuster so being critical is really ingrained in me.  You can probably therefore guess that my pet peeves include bad grammar and lousy punctuation.  Over the years, I’ve loosened up on the amount of commas necessary in a sentence for clarity, but I remain fairly strict.  I’ve been told that in fiction we should use emdashes instead of semi-colons, but that doesn’t sit well with me:  an emdash is for an interrupted thought; a semi-colon is for a secondary idea of the same thought expressed in the sentence.  Yup, it gets complicated.
But now, I’ve got new pet peeves.  I hate, hate, hate anachronisms in historical books.  For me, it’s sloppy research and there’s no excuse for it.  When writing an historical book I work with the on-line etymological dictionary.  Of course, you have to think, ‘does this word need to be looked up?’ and mistakes happen.  But did someone really think a woman would refer to a man’s abs in the 1880s?  Or discuss accessorizing a dress? And then there’s referring to a song in the 1860s when the song wasn’t written until the 1920s. But then maybe I shouldn’t be so annoyed about that; I’ve been watching the series, ‘Underground’ about the underground railway prior to the Civil War, and they keep playing ‘Summertime’ penned by Gershwin in 1935.
Someone once criticized a book of mine because I had a character briefly speak. like. this. We do it to emphasize what the character is saying and how he/she says it.  Personally, I don’t see a problem but this obviously annoyed my reader. My publisher has a stipulation that the hero and heroine should generally meet within the first four pages.  An author friend told me she disliked books where the h/h weren’t described early on, and another author wrote she hated reading about "a single tear" making its way. She demanded, 'who has a single tear?' And then we ask ourselves what’s the inner conflict?  What’s the goal/motivation/conflict of the story?  Is there character development? Does the story move along and make sense—is it properly constructed?  Goodness, there’s a minefield out there of things to dislike. And that’s before we even get to the love/sex scenes and how they’re described and their length (OF THE SCENE!)
But as I’ve learned from being in three anthologies now, some things will eat at one reader and not in the least bother the next, while the book will hit the wall in the room of yet another reader.
So what are your pet peeves?  What do you absolutely hate to find in a story when reading, whether it is in the basics of good English or the construction of the story itself.  And please let me know if any of them are in Bad Boy, Big Heart. 
I aim to please.
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