Novel, Published Author, Self Publishing, Writing

Falling In Love… With Fictional Characters

Any reader can attest to this… to say that they love to lose themself in the story of a good book… and to fall in love with the characters. It happens. A lot!

I’ve been an avid reader my entire life. For me, it was because of my love of acting. Taking on a role, and becoming that character was the best part about acting. It provided that escape from life, that escape from homework, friend drama, family drama… any drama! It created its own drama and I thrived on that. I still do. I’ve seen a ton of memes floating around on social media about readers falling in love with characters. But what about the writer? Has anyone ever wondered, while they’re reading a book, did the writer feel what I’m feeling?

One of my favorite quotes on writing is by Robert Frost. “No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader. No surprise in the writer, no surprise in the reader.” I love this so much because it’s so true. As a writer I feel all of the emotions that my characters feel. I cry when they cry. I’m angry when they’re angry. I’m surprised when a twist in one of my stories happens, because if the reader is surprised, you can bet that I shook my head in confusion and said, “Didn’t see that coming!” And of course, when my characters fall in love, you can also be assured that I am head over heels in love with them, too.

It’s kind of funny to experience those feelings, but I look at it as a positive side effect. Those chills and flutters are exciting in the beginning of any relationship, so it’s fun to embrace them as a writer. Right now, I’m currently working on the third book in a trilogy. I just released the first book titled, Where We Belong. Just like I did in Where We Belong, and in the follow-up book that’s yet to be released, Coming Home, I’m falling in love with my current character in The Courage To Return. I love the visual of him (more on that in a future blog post), I love his quiet nature, I love how he loves.

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

I fall in love with the female characters, too. I even have a different kind of love for my evil characters. They create conflict and of course we want to see the protagonist overcome any adversity, but those villains are there for a reason, and I kind of love them. I think more than loving them, I just enjoy the hell out of writing them!

What about you? Do you fall in love with your characters when you read or write? Drop a comment and let me know! Thanks for stopping by!

Novel, Published Author, Queries, Self Publishing, Writing

Query Time… Take Two!

Welcome to the third blog post that chronicles my query experience… or as I like to call it, My Exquerience! Last time I posted, I wrote about how I was feeling twitchy just thinking about the possibility of sending a query letter. It takes a lot of guts to put yourself out there no matter what you’re doing! I take those nerves as a good sign. Back in the day… yes, I just said back in the day… when I was doing theater, I was always a bundle of nerves before I got on stage. I would pace, my hands would tremble, and I’d feel sick to my stomach. I’m surprised I never actually got sick before I performed, because that’s how badly the nerves would get me. But every time I stepped on that stage, all those nerves melted away and turned into energy for a good performance. Over time, I took those nerves to be a good thing. The rare times I felt chill before I went on stage, it wasn’t a stellar performance. So, I’m embracing my twitchiness.

Ok, I know I just recapped my last post, so I’ll move on. The book I was going to query was The Art of Zen. My first standalone novel. Well, I started looking at the query form, and it requests word count. In my research, all agents request word count. I got twitchy again. Zen is a long novel. Really long. Research says that a debut novel should only be 80,000 to 100,000 words. Well, even though Zen is not my debut novel, it would probably be considered a debut because I’ve never been traditionally published.

I pondered the situation and reached out to a few friends. Should I fudge the wordcount in the hopes that an agent will request the entire manuscript and fall in love with it? Outright lie? Or should I tell them the honest truth and hope they give me a chance? I knew what the right thing was, and that’s what I was told. Tell the truth. There’s no sense in lying when you’re trying to build a potential relationship with someone. I get it… and I felt guilty for even thinking of lying. So, if you happen to be reading this and you’re a literary agent, I apologize. I’m only human.

The dilemma is that Zen is over 200,000 words. Yup, you read that right. I write big books, and I cannot lie! (You rapped that, didn’t you?) After a long discussion with my editor, here’s what I came up with. I’m going to reread The Art of Zen and turn it into two books. Yay! More time with Tia and Spencer. I’m also going to re-edit my baby, Set It Free, and put that on my “To Query” list. In the meantime, I’m going to query Where We Belong, since it’s about half the size of Zen. It’s also releasing on March 23rd, so make sure to check it out!

Yesterday, I was supposed to work on my query for Where We Belong, but I hit a snag uploading the cover. I finally got it uploaded last night and it should be good to go. Now I can focus on shouting it out, and on reworking my query letter.

It’s a lot of work, and a total labor of love. But guess what? I love it! I’m in the midst of writing the third book in the Where We Belong trilogy. I just love this group of characters and I can’t wait to share them with all of you!

Thanks for reading, and for joining me on My Exquerience!

Job Interview, Workplace Drama, Writing

Current WIP

Photo by Life Of Pix on Pexels.com

Through my years working as a receptionist, administrative assistant, and an executive assistant, I’ve experienced some pretty crazy things! From bad bosses, to outlandish gossip, I’ve seen it all and I’ve heard it all. Some situations are so out there, you’d have to actually be there to experience it in order to believe it.
At one point, I started to outline a book sharing all of my experiences, but I decided to do something different instead.

For the past 2 years, I’ve been working as a virtual assistant. (Check out my Facebook page here!) I’ve taken my years of office experience and I’m now offering my services to solo professionals and small business owners. I specialize in helping them with all the admin pieces of their businesses, like email newsletters, website updates, and calendar management.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

If you’ve followed my writing, you may remember that a few years ago, I started to document the interviews I was going on in my search for a new job. Some were great experiences, some of them were absolutely ridiculous, none of them ended with a job offer.

So, you may wonder what one has to do with the other. Administration and writing fiction. Well, instead of writing a non-fiction book about my observations as an admin, or about all the tea I could spill, I decided to merge the two.

My current work in progress, or WIP, is titled Executive Decisions. It follows the story of blogger Lauren Lane, who has had a year filled with 17 job interviews and not one offer. In the 17th interview, Lauren meets Drew Hanson, the CEO of Hanson Enterprises. Drew peeks at her blog ten minutes before her arrival and decides right on the spot that he’s not going to hire her. During Lauren’s interview, he even quotes her writing back to her about her job interview experience.

Photo by Suzy Hazelwood on Pexels.com

While most writers might be thrilled to have their work quoted back to them… Remember that scene from When Harry Met Sally? Harry’s friend Jess says, “No one has ever quoted me back to me before.” This should be a writer’s dream for Lauren, but not the way Drew Hanson does it. A run in after their interview shows the reader that these two might never see eye to eye. Instead of doing the mature thing and moving on from a bad interview, Lauren decides to take the low road for a bit and make Drew a perfect example of what a bad CEO looks like.

I have been having fun writing this book! When I write, my characters become real to me. It’s been nice to have Lauren to “share” my experiences with. She’s bold and honest when it comes to speaking up about the interviews she’s had, along with crazy workplace drama that she shares along the way.

I write contemporary romance, so somehow these two make peace and have an epic love story. Stay tuned for this one, you won’t want to miss it!

In the meantime, Meant To Be, book 4 in the Heart & Soul series will be available on October 5. Take a look at my author page on Amazon to see all of my books.

Thanks for stopping by!

Writing

It’s Been Awhile…

I haven’t written much lately… well, let me rephrase that. I haven’t written a blog lately. I know in the past, I’ve chronicled my writing journey, as well as my job interview experience. I don’t think I have the energy to get into what life is like in the job world. Let’s just say I’ve been unemployed since April 2020. More on that later.

I’ve been writing, a lot. If you read my books, you’ll know that I published book 3 in the Heart & Soul series. Through The Storm follows Alexandra Lorraine and Slater Heart as they navigate the scandal of a lifetime. They’re finally together, making up for lost time, and dealing with a media frenzy. I truly love Alexandra and Slater, but I haven’t been writing in the Heart & Soul series lately. More books are to come that follow them through life and introduce new characters, but it’s been put on pause for now. I’m really getting inspired to write other stories. Stand alone novels that have happy endings. My very first novel that is not part of a series is releasing on 2/14/2021. The Art of Zen. It’s an opposites attract love story.

So, what have I been working on for the last year? Well, I finished Zen last February. For a year, it’s been through editing and having people read it who I know I can trust to give me honest feedback. Now I’m ready to share that with you. I’m excited about this one. Like I do with all my books, I fell in love with these characters, and I hope you do, too! Up next is Where We Belong. It’s a friends to lovers story. Two people are brought together by a family tragedy. Through their grief, they rebuild their lives and fall in love.

When I finished writing Where We Belong, I felt like their story wasn’t completely over. In my heart, I knew there was more to it. So, this is now book one in a trilogy. I’m almost finished writing the second book in this trilogy titled, Coming Home. The second book tells the story of a man who returns home and falls in love with someone he knew from the past. They’re both coming out of troubled relationships and form a friendship that turns into love.

I also co-wrote a novella! My first collaboration, and my first novella. It was an interesting experience to learn another writer’s process. It is a holiday story that starts on New Year’s Eve. It’s called The Wish. We’ve gotten some good feedback on it and I’ve learned that people like fast reads. My books are long. The kind that can take either a few weeks, or a snowed-in weekend, to get through. To write something this short was a challenge for me. I’m glad I did it and grateful for the experience.

So, that’s what I’ve been up to. I’m finishing up Coming Home, then I need to check in with Alex and Slater and get the fourth book from the Heart & Soul series published so you can all enjoy their journey. It’s titled, Meant To Be. Thanks for reading this post, and make sure to spread the word if you’ve read and liked any of my books!

Until next time,

Brooke