Happy Release Day Jennifer Probst! Summers Sins Now Available!

Please Welcome Jennifer Probst to Write on the River!

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Writers are always looking for various ways to find new readers. At the same time we want to increase our readership, and occasionally may need to stretch our writing muscles a bit. Do something in a new genre. Write shorter, longer, or dive into essays. We need to keep the writing gene fresh, but try to stay in the game where we don’t have to sacrifice our current readership to rebuild a whole new one. Time is also an important factor. Between those long, emotional single title books I write, I enjoy switching to a shorter length and playing a bit.

One of my favorite ways to do this is writing a trilogy with two other authors.

The first time I ventured into this type of project was with the Sex on the Beach series. The concept was three best friends who go to Key West on Spring break and find love. Each of us took one of the girls and wrote her story. The novellas shared one to two common scenes,  but each one was a complete standalone. They were more fun read together but it wasn’t necessary. We combined networking and released all three books together.

I had a blast. And the books sold well.

It was so much fun, and I was writing in first person POV, new adult, so it was stretching my writing muscles. We wrote a continuation of the series the very next year.

summer sins by Jennifer Probst 300dpiI’m thrilled to write this blog on my release day of a brand new series called Hot in the Hamptons. Again, it’s three novellas, new adult, about three best friends who spend the summer in the Hamptons, revolving around a wedding. My book is Summer Sins, and Storme, the heroine is the one who will need to decide whether she’s going to go through with her wedding. All of the stories work together, but can read alone.

Besides being a great beach read, the Hamptons becomes a character in itself, with the lofty mansions, beach, popular nightspots, and the play-hard crowd that spills in for those perfect eight weeks of the year.

Here’s a teaser, blurb and links if you want to check it out. And next time you’re looking to do something different in your writing world, think about joining in with some other authors to create your own series!

Love burns hotter in the Hamptons. Come play.

The Hot in the Hamptons Series:

Summer Dreaming by Liz Matis | Amazon | iBooks | Nook | Kobo
Summer Temptation by Wendy S. Marcus | Amazon | iBooks | Nook | Kobo
Summer Sins by Jennifer Probst | Amazon | iBooks | Nook | Kobo

Three separate novellas. Three different authors. One summer to remember.
Read them all, or just read one. It’s up to you! But when read together, you’ll find extra story scenes to enhance your reading pleasure. No matter which route you choose, these standalone novellas will make you burn.

1 of N does not equal N—Craft Tuesday at Write on the River

Thumb_Nail_Novel_WriterArrghhh. Math. Sorry, but it’s the best way I can explain this concept. What this formula means is that just because you can buy a best-selling book written by so-and-so, the famous writer that does not mean you can write a similar book and get it published.

What I’m talking about is those people who sit there and complain that their book is just as good as such and such and, damn it, they should not only be published but have a bestseller. Also, those people who look at book number 5 from a best-selling author and complain about how bad it is. Yes, there are many book number 5’s from best-selling authors that if they were book number 1 from a new author, would not get published. But the primary thing that sells a book is the author’s name. I’ve always said Stephen King could write a book about doing his laundry and it would be on the bestseller list. Stephen King earned being Stephen King and to misquote a vice-presidential debate, I’ve read Stephen King and you ain’t no Stephen King. Neither am I.

Another thing people do is they see a technique used in a novel and use the same technique, and then get upset when told it doesn’t work. They angrily point to the published book that has the same technique and say, “SEE.” Unfortunately, what they don’t see is that that technique is part of the overall structure of the novel. It all ties together. I’ll discuss book dissection to study various aspects and techniques and I still stand by that; however, I also remind you of the story of Frankenstein. Just because you can put all the pieces together, that doesn’t mean you can necessarily bring it to life. There are some techniques that only work when combined in context of other parts of the novel; thus using it in isolation can be a glaring problem. You can’t take the beginning of one bestseller, tie it in with flashback style from another, and have a similar flashy ending as another and expect the novel to automatically work.

Every part of a novel is a thread connected to all the other parts. Pull on one piece and you pull on them all. Tear apart a novel or a movie and see the pieces, but then be like a watchmaker and see if you can put them all together again as the writer did and if you understand why they go back that way.

For example, Quentin Tarrantino ignored the classic three act screenplay structure with Pulp Fiction. Yet the movie was a great success. So therefore, a number of new screenwriters decided they didn’t need the three act structure. However, what they failed to see is that it was not so much the unique story structure that made Pulp Fiction such a success, but rather the intriguing dialogue. Tarrantino’s structure without the Tarrantino dialogue would have spelled failure.

It is also more important to figure out what is working and why, rather that what you feel didn’t work in a book you read. An attitude that will serve you little good is the there’s so much crap on the shelves in the bookstore. I admit that there are times when I am looking for something to read, and I stand in the local supermarket looking at the paperbacks, that I really can’t find anything I want to read or that sparks an interest. But that doesn’t automatically mean it’s all crap.

I had to do this many times. I’d read something I might not like, but it seems to be selling quite well. Instead of dismissing the rest of the world as stupid, I try to find what it is about the book that people like. That doesn’t mean I’m going to do the same thing, but it does broaden my horizon.

I don’t think there is anything wrong with a little fire burning deep inside believing you are better than those people getting published, but I think that’s the sort of thing that should be used to fuel your writing, not expressed loudly so everyone can hear it.

John Gardner once said that every book has its own rules. Remember that when you examine a book to see what you can learn from it. Look at the parts from the perspective of that book’s specific rules.

backgroundBlack Tuesday finalThe Novel Writers Toolkit, Write It Forward, How We Made Our First Million on Kindle, 102 Writing Mistakes, and Writer’s Conference Guide.

And coming 24 August and available for pre-order: Time Patrol: Black Tuesday

 

Summer Sins by Jennifer Probst Pre-Order Price only .99!

Please welcome NY Times Bestselling Author Jennifer Probst to Write on the River!

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I love summer vacation.

Honestly, I live for summer. The beach, the sun, the sand, the endless lazy mornings and the excitement of going away somewhere. As a NY girl born and bred, I visited Long Island several times to visit family and hit the beach. Maybe a concert at Jones Beach. Wine tastings. Great shopping. But I’ve always been intrigued by the mystery and coolness of the Hamptons.

The Hamptons is THE summer place to go for the rich and famous. Or the bored and wealthy. Expensive shops and mansions and long stretches of beach. Bars and restaurants to party all night.

When I decided to join two author friends to create a series of three best friends spending the summer together revolving around a big wedding, immediately the Hamptons became the perfect setting. Each new adult novella features one of the girls, leading up to the wedding that may or may not occur. They are all standalone – but are more fun to read together, especially for some extra bonuses.

For a limited time until release day – August 4th – all three books are priced at .99.

HITH_Preorder

Here’s a quick blurb of Summer Sins to wet your appetite.

HITH_SummerSins

Summer fun before my wedding…
I have one goal this summer. Hang with my besties for some much needed sun, sand, and relaxation while I put the final touches on my idyllic wedding. I didn’t count on meeting a smart-mouthed, bad boy biker whose gaze burns hotter than a beach bonfire. I never planned to lose myself, body and soul, and question my entire future. Now, I have to make a choice that’s tearing me apart, and could shatter the lives of the two men I love…

Turns into summer sins…
I have one goal this summer. CHILL. Do nothing. Nada. I need simple before I have to head into Manhattan to take on a high powered position on Wall Street. I didn’t count on a dark haired, inky- eyed spitfire who’d spin my world upside down, or make me burn for things I never thought I wanted. I vowed to make her my summer fling, but had no idea she was claimed by another. And now that she possessed not only my body but my soul, the stakes are too high for me to lose her…

Love burns hotter in the Hamptons. Come play.

The Hot in the Hamptons Series:

Summer Dreaming by Liz Matis | Amazon | iBooks | Nook | Kobo
Summer Temptation by Wendy S. Marcus | Amazon | iBooks | Nook | Kobo
Summer Sins by Jennifer Probst | Amazon | iBooks | Nook | Kobo

Three separate novellas. Three different authors. One summer to remember.
Read them all, or just read one. It’s up to you! But when read together, you’ll find extra story scenes to enhance your reading pleasure. No matter which route you choose, these standalone novellas will make you burn.

I hope everyone is enjoying their summer!

More on Point of View– Craft at Write on the River

Toolkit_TNYou have to consider point of view before you begin your book and before you write every scene, much as a movie director has to. You have to determine the best point of view to get across to the reader the story you are trying to tell. Decide where are you going to place the camera to the best advantage of the story.

Say you are going to write a thriller about a female FBI agent tracking down a vicious serial killer. You want to open your book with a scene that will grab the reader and set the stage for the suspense of the novel so you decide to open with a killing. What point of view will you use? Now, remember, no point of view is wrong—you just have to understand the advantages and disadvantages of your possible choices and make a knowledgeable decision. And remember, you will most likely be stuck with that point of view for the entire manuscript.

First person might be a bit difficult. After all, this would most likely mean your narrator actually witnesses the scene. This isn’t impossible, but it could be awkward. Perhaps you use first person from the protagonist’s point of view and she witnesses the murder but is not in a position to take any action? Using first person from the POV of the victim means the book is rather short, unless the victim survives the attack and swears vengeance. First person from the killer would make for a dark book, but it has been done.

You can decide to use third person from the point of view of the victim. This can build tension well, but also means the chapter will end abruptly.

You can use third person from the point of view of the killer, but remember that the killer knows who he or she is and therefore you have to be careful how much insight into the killer’s head you allow. A technique some use to overcome that limitation is to have the killer think of himself in different terms than his reality. The killer is Joe Schmo, but when he’s in killer mode he thinks of himself as Captain Hook, thus hiding his identity from the reader in third person insight.

Or, you could use omniscient, placing your ‘camera’ above the scene. Here, though, you have to be careful not to show too much and give away the killer’s identity. Much like a director might choose a dark basement where the viewer can’t see the killer’s face, you will do the same.

Another example of considering how to write a scene is if you have two characters meeting in a pub for an important exchange of dialogue. They sit across from each other. How are you going to ‘shoot’ this scene? From third person of one of the characters? That means you get that character’s thoughts and you describe the other character’s reactions—i.e. the camera is on your POV character’s shoulder. Is it important that the reader know one character’s thought more than the other’s? Or is it more important to show one character’s reactions than the others?

Or, do you keep switching the camera back and forth across the booth, going from one to the other? If you’re Larry McMurty and won a Pulitzer Prize you might be able to do that, but for most of us, such a constant switching of POV is very disconcerting to the reader. Or do you shoot it omniscient with the camera off to the side and simply show actions and record dialogue?

Consider this scene like a date. If you were out with someone and you knew exactly what they were thinking, and they knew what you were thinking, would there be any suspense to the date? Taking too many points of view can greatly reduce your suspense.

Black Tuesday finalI’ve written in all the above points of view. I tend to go with omniscient now as it’s the voice that works best for me, but it took me almost forty manuscripts to figure that out.

Coming 24 August: The Time Patrol: Black Tuesday

Six missions on 29 October to six different years, from 999 AD to 1980. Each operative has 24 hours to maintain our timeline or else everything snaps out of existence.

 

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