Monday, April 3, 2017

A Guest and a Giveaway!

For those of you participating in A to Z, you're off to a good start. Congratulations!

For everyone else, this is the regular April post at the Tiki Hut.

Whichever works for you.

It's been a while since I've hosted a guest, but I have one this month and one next month. My April guest is Hank Quense, introduced to me via the fab Mason Canyon at MC Book Tours.

Y'all have a great month. I'll be around, still working on trilogy and blog related things. You'll see a few changes going on here. No worries - it's just me. Unless you see something truly weird and un-Tiki-like. In which case, please let me know.

One last bit of information before I turn you over to my guest. You're all invited to subscribe to my newsletter!
It will be sporadic, depending solely on book-related news and/or events.
It will be as short as possible.
There will be prizes! You have to sign up to find out what they are 🙂
Thanks in advance for your support.

It’s a pleasure to be participating in the Blog Tour for CREATING STORIES by Hank Quense through MC Book Tours.

Do you have a story in you? Do you know how to write it or how to tell it? Well, CREATING STORIES has the answers. In addition, Hank is offering a tour-wide giveaway featuring of five (5) eBooks of CREATING STORIES and three (3) print copies of the author’s MOXIE'S PROBLEM (U.S. entries only). See how you can enter to win below. If you don’t want to wait to win a copy of CREATING STORIES, Hank is offering a special ‘half price’ sale that will only be available during his tour (March 20 through April 14).

Hank, the author of more than twenty books, tells you how to write your story. He believes that stories come from the melding of three elements: getting ideas, story design, and story-telling. Ideas have to come from the author. CREATING STORIES covers the last two.

Creating Stories
by Hank Quense
  • Published by Strange World Publishing
  • AVAILABLE April 1, 2017
  • $8.99, 9947 KB, 105 Pages
  • Genre: Fiction Writing
  • ASIN: B01MZ6E3EM

          The book concentrates on developing characters including such rarely discussed requirements such as a dominant reader emotion and the character's biography.
          Plots are also covered in depth and a number of graphics are included to illustrate complex points. Another topic discusses subplots and how to utilize them and how to nest them within the main plot.
          A separate chapter discusses the relationship between the plot and the emotional arcs.
Other topics covered are character arcs, scene design, point-of-view, writing voice.

Be sure to add CREATING STORIES to your shelf on Goodreads.

 Here's a brief excerpt:

From chapter 5 of Creating Stories
Think about your protagonist.  He has to solve a plot problem.  That's the character's job.  Your character has to get up off the couch, go out into the cruel world and possibly risk his life in order to solve the problem.
Why should he go through all this effort?  That's the question you, the author, have to answer.  What's the character's motivation?  Why does he feel he has to solve the problem?  Why doesn't he say, "Let someone else do it."  Or, "I'm too busy." Or, "Maybe I'll do it later."
The lack of proper motivation is a death knell for a story.  The reader will never buy into a story in which the protagonist has a half-hearted motive.  Not only does the character have to be truly motivated, the author has to convince the reader that the character's motivation is real; that the character truly believes he has to solve the plot problem.  The more serious the plot problem is, the stronger the motivation has to be.  You can't have a dilatory effort to track down a serial killer.  Nor can you have an all-out effort by the entire cast to find a Mother's Day card.  If the characters are risking their lives, the motivation has to reflect the seriousness of the situation.
Simply put, motivation is what drives the protagonist to solve the plot problem and it's what drives the antagonist to struggle to prevent the good guy from succeeding.  Both the protagonist and the antagonist have to be motivated and these two motivations have to be commensurate in strength.  You can't have a highly motivated protagonist facing off against an antagonist who is only mildly motivated.
To complicate the motivation problem, the motivation has to be consistent with the character's persona.  A meek, mild-mannered character can’t suddenly start acting like a combat-experienced mercenary. 
Motivation is another area where what you can do and what the character can do is limited by the character you built.  Motivation has to be in sync with the DRE, the philosophy and the bio you gave the character.  If all these elements don’t match each other, the character's actions will not be believable, because his actions from scene to scene will not be consistent.
Inner and outer motivation:  A complex character, the kind readers love, should have both outer and inner motivation.  The outer motive is fairly easy to develop.  It is usually based on solving the plot problem.  Once this problem is resolved, the outer motive has been met.  The inner motive is more complicated.  It can be almost anything and doesn't have to be related to the plot problem.  The best combination of motives is a pair of mutually exclusive ones; the protagonist can't achieve one without giving up the other.  This constraint sets up natural internal conflict in the character and can lead to unexpected plot twists that will keep the reader involved.  Effectively, the author has constructed an engine of motivation and anti-motivation.
As an example of conflicting inner and outer motives, consider this situation: the protagonist has to rescue a man trapped on a mountain.  He does this because it's his job.  That's the protag's outer motive.  But the rescued man is engaged to the woman the protag loves.  That is the protag's inner motive; to romance the woman of his dreams whom he'll lose if he succeeds with his outer motive.  It is easy to see the great internal conflict that will harass this protagonist.  Should he let the guy die and then try to marry the woman?  Should he rescue the guy and lose the woman?
This combination of competing inner and outer motives can draw readers into the story and hold them.  Will the character murder for love or selflessly lose the woman?  Whatever he does, it must be consistent with his persona.  If he is narcissistic, he may choose murder.  If he is law-abiding, he may elect to save the guy.  Whatever he chooses to do, his motivation must be made clear to the reader.
Antagonist's motivation:  Successful stories need conflict, tension and emotions from more than just the protagonist.  If a properly motivated protagonist strives to solve the plot problem and doesn't encounter an equally motivated antagonist, the story will lack the conflict that produces the tension that leads to emotional outbursts.  Hence, the author must develop strong motives for the bad guy to keep the struggle equal.  The stronger the bad guy's motives, the stronger the story will be.
~ ~ ~
If you have any questions or comments on this material, leave a note and I'll respond.

About the Author:

Hank Quense writes humorous and satiric sci-fi and fantasy stories. 

He also writes and lectures about fiction writing and self-publishing. He has published 19 books and 50 short stories along with dozens of articles. He often lectures on fiction writing and publishing and has a series of guides covering the basics on each subject. He is currently working on a third Moxie novel that takes place in the Camelot era.

He and his wife, Pat, usually vacation in another galaxy or parallel universe. They also time travel occasionally when Hank is searching for new story ideas.

You can connect with Hank on his Amazon Author Page.

You can check out the schedule and follow Hank’s tour by clicking HERE.


This tour-wide giveaway is for five (5) eBooks of CREATING STORIES and three (3) print copies of the author’s MOXIE'S PROBLEM (U.S. entries only). The prizes are courtesy of the publisher. The giveaway will end at 12 a.m. (EST) on Tuesday, April 18.

To enter, click on the Rafflecopter widget below and follow the instructions. Carol here. In the past, Rafflecopter has refused to acknowledge my existence. So if this link from Mason doesn't work, check at the MC Book Tours site and find out where to go to sign up.

Thanks for stopping by today. Be sure to check out Hank’s book.

I'll be back here with a new guest on
Monday, May 1

Monday, March 6, 2017

I Did It!


The trilogy I've been working on for a couple of years now is finally complete and with my editor. All three books. 953 pages. 215,184 words.

Yet ... now I miss the heroine, Gracie Hofner. We shared so much during all these months. I miss our talks. Her smile. It's as if my best friend has moved away. Or gone on a long vacation.

While she's gone, though, I have much to do. I've made a list of Gracie things to do in order to get the book ready for publication. I've made another list of things I've let slide that I need to do in real life.

It took a while, but I finally prioritized items on the lists into a workable order. I don't know if I'll complete everything on the lists, but I do want to get the most urgent items accomplished while Gracie is getting massaged into shape by my editor's skilled hands.

Here are three lines--one from each book--which may or may not be included in the final published versions by the time I'm really finished with them.

Gracie Micro Fiction
Cold! Cold!
Ow! Ow! Ow!
Oh, crap.

You didn't think I'd really tell you anything important yet, did you? I haven't even shared the titles of the trilogy or the first book.

One of the big items I want to accomplish this month is to get my newsletter started and rolled out. Actually, I'll be happy to get it started, even if it isn't live by the end of March. I feel as if I'm stumbling into a bat cave blindfolded and handcuffed.

I hope I'm able to laugh about that feeling in a few months.

April is right around the corner, and as usual, it's A to Z month. Have you participated before? Are you going to participate this year?

If you're on the fence about whether to sign up, I highly urge you to give it a try. It's well worth the effort you'll put into it. It's a ton of fun. Warning: Prepare and schedule all your posts ahead of time. You'll find out why.

I'm not participating again this year. A to Z and Gracie Brain are a bit at odds with each other. But I'm pretty sure I'm going to find some interesting topics out there I won't be able to resist.

Next month, a guest blogger will be here. I'll still be around, but I'll mostly be busy working on other things. I do hope you'll stop in and see what he's all about. I'll still be visiting you.

And ... on Monday, March 20, I will be part of a blog post for International Day of Happiness at The Pursuit of Happiness blog. I hope you'll drop by and read what I have to say.

Next Blog Date:
Day C - Monday, April 3
🙂 C is for Carol's Blog 🙂

Monday, February 6, 2017

A Bouquet of Balloons

I sat down to write this blog, and I couldn't decide on a single idea. The possibilities were like a balloon bouquet. Lots of colorful choices, but none with enough substance to carry a full post.

So I decided to do a Tiki Top Ten. Pay no attention to the numbers. They only represent the order I decided to include the thought in this post - not any order of importance. There is no theme, just sharing some of the things going on in my head.

I haven't done a top ten type post in a long time. I hope I remember how 🎈

1. The Trilogy
I'm finally DONE with self-editing. Yes, I'm shouting! Now I'm reading it aloud. Fast. I always catch stuff here that I miss in other ways - awkward dialogue and missing words for the most part, but assorted other glitches, too.

The dogs love when I do this. They gather around and chill.

As soon as I input these changes, off it goes to the real editor.

2. February
Valentine's, President's Day, Mardi Gras, and when I'm ready for spring.

I've lived all over - warm climates, cold climates, moderate climates. My built-in Spring Alarm sounds sometime between February 1 and President's Day. When it does, I'm automatically ready for winter to be over.

That's when I'm ready to go to the nursery and buy a flat of flowers to plant. I'm not a gardener by any means, but at this point, I really need to feel my fingers in the dirt.

I don't know why that is. Something related to genes from generations past, I'm guessing.

3. What's for Dinner?
I love to cook. I like to experiment with recipes and layer flavors. However, making dinner night after night is a different animal. I'm desperately in search of quick and easy recipes. This trilogy has brought the matter to the forefront. Let me explain.

It's 6 p.m. Maybe I remembered to take something out of the freezer to thaw. Often, I haven't. People are getting hungry. Many nights I've thawed ground beef or turkey in the skillet. We're tired of chili mac and sloppy joes.

Specifically, I'd love some recipes or suggestions for meals that are quick to prepare and/or easy to clean up. Either of those is good. Both would be fantastic!

I'm not looking for something that has 10 ingredients I have to measure or 10 veggies I have to chop.

Anything you can suggest or link to, especially skillet meals or crockpot concoctions would be great.

4. It's been too long since I've been to the beach.
Period. That is all.

5. I'm a Mutt
I took the test on Facebook called "What Kind of Dog Are You?"

Y'all know I have a wide range of interests. It's impossible for me to have a favorite anything. LOL...laughing at myself as I type - this menagerie of a post is a perfect example. One favorite is way too limiting.

The exception to this is, of course, Live-In Handyman. But there are many things to love about him, so maybe that's why 💘

Anyway, the test said the good thing about being a Mutt is that they are healthier and more adaptable than purebreds.

So there 😁

6. Gracie Brain
I have Gracie Brain. It's caused by close and continuous contact with Gracie Hofner, the protagonist in the trilogy. This chickie and I have shared everything over the past couple of years.

Gracie Brain is the main reason I'm in search of quick and easy dinner recipes - see #3 above.

Gracie Brain causes me not to be able to think of anything other than Gracie World without conscious effort. It's most likely the reason for this Top Ten. Only the thoughts that were strongest bubbled out.

7. Texas
As much as I love Texas and as much as I know about Texas and Texans, what I actually KNOW is a drop in the old rusty bucket. I ended up doing a lot of research about my beautiful Lone Star State. Some items applied to only one book, while others ran through the entire trilogy.

I especially learned a lot more about San Antonio and San Antonians, as it is the setting for all three books.

8. Silly Stuff
I do silly stuff. All. The. Time. If you know someone who knows me IRL, ask them. They know. Just today...I was in the produce section of the grocery store. Ahead, I saw some beautiful radishes. In my head, I'm thinking Those are the biggest damn radishes I've ever seen. I got closer. They were beets. I like radishes, but not beets. Sigh.

9. Curiosity Killed the Cat
Thank God I'm not a cat. Or on the flip side of that, maybe that's why they have nine lives. I think I must be one of the most curious creatures on the planet. About everything. My poor mother. I probably made her crazy. Are you curious, too?

10. Super Bowl
Pick one. Or more. I'm easy. And a mutt☺
Lady Gaga
I read a book.
I watched a movie.
All of the Above
None of the Above

I'll be back here on Monday, March 6.
Happy February!

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Between the Goal Posts

Happy New Year!

We kicked that old year out and locked the door behind it. The next morning, it was nowhere to be found, so I guess it took the hint.

Here's a toast that 2017 will be a great year for all of us. Raise your glass, mug, paper cup, can, or bottle. Cheers!

How did you do on your goals last year?

Did you remember you had goals? :)

I did fair. I doubled my reading goal, but I did not create a newsletter. I came up short with my writing goal. I'm still editing, but I'm on the final pass of Book #3. The entire trilogy should be (saying a prayer, knocking on wood, etc.) to my editor around the end of February. She's been warned, LOL.

This year, my reading goal is the number of books I read in 2016. I doubt I will be doubling it again this year.

I'm so late to the newsletter game that it may be passe before I get started. But I will be getting the wheels in motion this spring. I have no idea what I'm doing here, so if you're a newsletter pro or know someone who is, I'd much appreciate your advice, suggestions, help, or your go-to person's name. Many thanks in advance.

My writing and publishing goals...complicated.

At minimum, Book #1 of the trilogy will see the light of day this year. Possibly Book #2, as well, but the timing of Book #2 depends on when the first book actually gets out there.

I also want to draft a new book. One book sounds like a piece of cake after writing this trilogy. Although I know that's not true at all. I have options here.

Option One is to expand the trilogy into a series, although each additional book would be a standalone. Several possible stories are there just waiting to be told. I know which of these stories should be told first, but I actually know more about the story that should come after it. So this will require a little thinking.

Option Two is a standalone that is already plotted.

Option Three is to revisit the plotted story to see if it could work as a series story - if I decide to go that way. If so, could it possibly fit with the story that needs to come next.

Too many choices!

So I have as much thinking and analyzing to do as I do writing. Almost. It's going to be difficult - I'm not the analytical type. Usually I operate by what feels right. It's time, perhaps, for more thinking than feeling before making this decision.

Have ideas or suggestions as to the best path?

Did you make goals this year?

Chocolate or Vanilla?

Wishing you the best rocking January ever!

I'll be back here on Monday, February 6.