Tips from My Own Writing journey

My debut novel Secrets & Charades released in 2017, ten years after I wrote the first draft and completed a fiction writing course. I received 21 rejections as I pitched that book to 21 different publishers. Each time I’d rewrite and improve the content based on what I was learning at writer’s conferences and on the suggestions I received from the publishers (if they gave any.)

I entered contests to get more feedback. I won the Editor’s Choice Award in 2014, which earned me coaching and edits to hone my story. That lead to publication. Since then, I’ve published two other novels with two more to release this year. And two more that have yet to find a home.

I learned a few important things during that ten-year journey from rough draft to publication.

  • Never give up on your dream.
  • Stay teachable, so you are approachable.
  • Network with other writers, editors, and publishers, you never know when the door will open for you.
  • Share what you know with novice writers.
  • Humbly receive critiques and advice from other writers.
  • Be thankful for all those willing to share their knowledge of publishing.

I discovered all these valuable tools while sitting in writer’s conference classes and workshops. I listened to the author’s journeys and found inspiration. I paid attention to changing trends and gained the encouragement to go on.

Authoring a book is hard work, getting it published is harder and marketing for good sales is the hardest of all. I went into this novel writing thing very naïve of those facts. I assumed because publishers requested my manuscript after my pitch that they would scoop it up. Had I known these same publishers review hundreds of manuscripts a month and may only choose a handful, I might have been less devastated.

If you are just starting your writing journey, learn all you can. And for the published author, never stop learning.

Hope this bit of encouragement benefits someone today.

Do you have a word of encouragement for other authors? Share in the comments.

Coming soon!!!

Rescuing Her Heart, book #2 of the Healing Heart Series releases July 6, 2021 and is available for pre-order.
https://www.amazon.com/Rescuing-Her-Heart-Healing-Hearts/dp/1645263193

Halloween A Time for Romance

Yes, the title is correct. No mistake. In times past, Halloween was considered a time for romance. Single young adults planned parties to bring couples together. There were no ghosts, goblins, or zombies. Masquerade parties were usually more heroic in nature.

A Halloween party in the 19th century were times for hopeful single gents to find the girl of their dreams. There were several ways the party might start. The hostess might invite her guests to jump over a broom before they entered.

Apples

Often there were apples with the initials of eligible bachelors on them. Some clever families who had apple trees placed a kind of a paper tattoo of the single gents initials on still green apples. When the apples ripened to red, the papers were removed, and the initials were green on the skin. (Maybe that how the silly tradition of reciting the alphabet as you twist the stem of an apple. The letter that breaks the stem is the first initial of your true love. Okay, I am dating myself.)

Back to the apples at Halloween parties of the past.

Single women might be given the opportunity to choose an apple when they entered the party, and the initials on the apple matched the man she would share the first dance with. On other occasions, the web game was played. A large web of colored sting is woven throughout the room. Each young lady chose one string and followed it through the maze to the end where a gentleman’s name was on a paper. Again her companion for the evening.

Melt Tin Soldiers

And odd tradition at some of these Halloween parties was melting tin soldiers. I suppose the soldier represented their future mate. Once the soldier was liquid form, the tin was dripped from a spoon into cold water. When the tin hardened, its shape determined the occupation of her future husband. If it resembled a boat, he might be a sailor, an anvil-a blacksmith, and so on. Kinda like guessing the shapes in the clouds, I suppose.

Proposals

The Proposal game another popular game. Each man in the room had less than a minute to propose to each woman. Once their time was up the woman would give the gent a paper heart for yes or a paper lemon for no. The man with the most yeses won, of course.

Dancing

There was usually dancing and refreshments.

For those out west, these types of gatherings were the only times the single people had to get together. Most were busy on their homesteads and helping with family businesses. This was the perfect time to begin courting.

Be My Halloween Sweetheart

Late in the century, Halloween cards were exchanged. Again with a romantic twist.

I find the idea of these sorts of parties intriguing, and perhaps I will add one in a future novel.

Speaking of novels.

I’d like to give away a copy of my very first novel, Secrets & Charades, to celebrate the contracts I just signed for historical romance numbers four and five. E-book only outside the US. Otherwise, I’m happy to send an autographed paperback version.

Click link to order. https://www.amazon.com/Secrets-Charades-Cindy-Ervin-Huff-ebook

Have a romantic Halloween with that special someone. Share what you think about Halloweens of days gone by in the comments to be entered for a chance to win.

Two things happening today

My book Secrets and Charades is on sale for 99 cents until the 25th. Part of some marketing I am doing to promote it.

This was my attempt at a meme on Canva. Still have a learning curve. I have other memes but wanted to try something new. Sometimes it feels like I do more marketing than writing.

Also today I am live on Wordplay, Kristen Raymond’s podcast. It was a fun interview. Being unrehearsed made it interesting and also very nerve-wracking. You can check it out at the link below. It gives you several options to use to listen. Listen quick because I’m talking fast. LOL! If the link doesn’t work for you from here cut and paste it into your  browser.

 

https://www.wordplaypodcast.com/2020/06/episode-176-guest-cindy-ervin-huff.html

I waited to post my blog today so this link would be available.

If you’d like to promote your books with a podcast interview you can also sign up to be a guest on Kristen Raymond’s podcast at http://www.kristenraymond.com.

 

 

Diaries are a Gold Mind for Author’s Research

Some of the journals I’ve kept over the years. Great Aunt Ruth’s is written in a simple composition notebook.

If you write any sort of historical fiction, delving into journals of the time period is essential.

I love reading diaries. Not the ‘I have a secret crush’ teen diary but historical ones. As a writer, the insights I gain while reading personal diaries is a gold mine. These people didn’t write the diaries with a goal toward publication. Some dealt with a situation through journaling.  Anne Frank; The Diary of a Young Girl is an example of that.  Others wrote them for their children and grandchildren. The entries were spontaneous, full of emotions and commentaries of their day to day lives.

Family Diaries

My husband’s great aunt wrote a diary from 1940-42. She and her sister kept house for their bachelor brother who was working in the oil fields of Southern Illinois.  They lived in a huge tent with a wooden floor. Ruth journaled about what they fix for dinner, sewing projects and my husband’s parents who lived in a neighboring tent. They’d get a ride into town once a week to do their “trading.” She wrote that she paid a few cents more for a quart of milk. “It was worth it. Jersey cows give more cream.” Then on D-Day, when Pearl Harbor was bombed she made no reference. Instead, she continued to speak about those things near and dear.  Her journal gave me a glimpse into life in Southern Illinois in a time before I was born. And a deeper understanding of my mother-in-law who also talked about doing her “trading in town”. Such a fun journal to read.

I am presently reading some diaries written by William Huff. He may be related to my husband, Charley, through the Huff branch that moved to Texas. He printed the diaries from the internet back in the 90s when the web was young. The diaries were found among his descendant’s thing. The yellowed pages passed from generation to generation. William Huff traveled from Texas to California in 1949. The details of the geology of the area and his observations of his fellow-travelers are fascinating. He was a journalist who’d been outfitted by a businessman who wanted to know if a gold rush venture would be of value. Unlike others who struck out on this journey, his family was well-cared for while he was gone. There was only one woman among the travelers on his wagon train, Mrs. Dixon. William spent several paragraphs praising women for their ability to keep men civilized. He also talked about European immigrants in his group. I was surprised to hear a Prussian immigrant carried only a sword for protection.

The idea of a story set on a wagon train is why I’m reading this. I am noodling with this setting for a future novel.

How diaries influenced my debut novel

Historical Romance

When I was writing Secret & Charades I read journals and diaries of women in the West. They talked about the food they prepared and the chores they did. Some spoke about more private things. Some had traveled west; others had pursued a new path such as being a doctor. The things they shared helped me add realism to my stories.

I cried when I read the account of a woman who opened her door one morning to find her dead brother on the porch. She spoke of her numbness and pain.

I’d read historical diaries even if I never used the content in a book. They remind me of all the sacrifices of those who shaped our country.

Do you use personal accounts in your research, or have you read an ancestor’s diary?   I’ve maintained journals in years past, how about you?

 

 

Tips for a Successful Facebook Book Launch party

I just had my third book launch party on Facebook and as with every experience I learned a few new things. This time I shared the spotlight with three other authors. And each of them has multiple books out. Sharing the time is much different than doing it all my lonesome. We get the advantage of the other authors fans coming to our shared party. The Cowboys is a four-author novella collection.  We divided the party in four parts. Each of us taking an hour. We all provide prizes for giveaways and purchased a grand prize together.

Whether you’re part of a group or it’s your lone book the launch is focused on here are a few tips.

Choose a date

When planning your facebook party decided on the date you want to celebrate and allow time to post the upcoming event all over your social media.  Create an event page. (more on these below).

Talk it up

I went live on FB to chat about the book and what we would be doing at the party. (Facebook live is new for me.) The more I do it, I’m bound to get better. It helps people to see me as more than just print on the page.

Create a banner

Canva and PicMonkey have templates specially for FB so your banner is sized correctly when it’s created. You can ask or hire someone with more experience to create the banner for you. Use a version of the banner to create an event on Facebook. The event template is self-explanatory. Take time to peruse it before you start putting the info in. I’ve miesed it up getting in a hurry. Once it is created post it on your author page. Add links to other groups (if allowed). People can RSVP right on the event.

Time

Choose a time that will give you maximum exposure. I’ve done Wednesdays and Fridays. This last one was a Thursday evening. Depending on your target audience you want the time to be easy for others. 3-5 or 6-8 for a single book launch. (This is my choice, but others may prefer a different time.) An afternoon for a multi-author party. Make sure you clarify the time zone as well. Talk to others who write in your genre for their suggestions for times.

Prizes

Purchase fun prizes and post pictures online of those prizes ahead of time. This builds excitement. In choosing gifts consider how easily the item will be to ship. I had to find an odd-shaped box for a plaque I mailed. Some people stick with gift cards. You can offer your book in either e-book or paperback or both as prizes. It’s up to you. The prizes are to stimulate platform growth. The chances to win increase as the party goers subscribe to your newsletter or social media. My novel Secrets & Charades, happen to be free on Amazon in e-book the day of the book launch for The Cowboys. One woman immediately jumped on that opportunity.

 

The party is about more then your present book.

If your visitors interact that is awesome. I posted about the background for my book and the what if moment. Readers love to know what brought you to your setting and plot. Asking open ended questions can get a string of convo going. Linda asked if anyone had ever lived in Kansas. Jen asked for people to share a memory about their siblings after she share her own. We posted pictures of the characters and asked for feedback.

 

These types of questions give the participants more chances to comment. I like to ask multiple choice questions about my story. That gives people a chance to give a guess even if they’ve never read it, and sparks interest in the book.

 

Get your Street team involved.

Your street team is a group of readers who want to support you and step in to help where they can. Have them jump in to start conversations. once they do others will follow. Those who have read your book can mention how much they enjoyed it. They might ask their own questions that give you a chance to respond.

Share a portion of your book

I chose to read my first chapter at the last two parties. I went live rather than record it. That’s my preference. Jen did an excellent job recording hers. Recording would make me more nervous.  Offering the first page as a post works too, if reading live or recording is way out of your wheelhouse. Nothing says you can’t  get a friend who reads well to do it for you. People love to be read to, they really do. It sparks interest in finding out what happens next. We sold copies during the party based on the readings for sure.

And one thing I’d recommend is posting before the event on the event page are a few simple instructions. Remind them to click the discussion bar to see the event unfold. Then add a line about refreshing the page often. Otherwise people won’t stay long because they get frustrated when they can’t see all the posts. Or if they came later they may not know the party takes place in the discussion area.

A final note for after the party

Leave the party page open for 24 hours and encourage anyone who missed it live to go ahead and read through the posts. They can add comments and still be put in drawings. No one needs to lose out.

Hope what I shared helps you in your future Facebook launch parties. Have any of you done Facebook launch parties? Share in the comments things you’ve learned.

 

 

 

A Successful Author Fair

 

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Here I am at White Oak Author Fair in Crest Hill Illinios. Note I didn’t bring a lot of books because sales is not the focus.  This library treated the authors well, even provided lunch.

 

How to get the most out of Author Fairs

In case you haven’t guessed Library Author Fairs are not to sell books. Which is why I am very selective about the ones I attend. That is a day of my life I can’t get back, so I try to choose wisely. A well-run fair like the one I attended recently, can be of benefit to you as an author.

Let me list the ways

  1. Exposure

Smile and chat with readers who walk by. Have lots of bookmarks and other swag available for passersby to take. Invite FB friends and family to stop by.

  1. Grow your email addresses

I offered a chance to win a $10 Amazon card for signing up for my e-newsletter.  I got more names then I sold books. Those I hope to convert to fans as they receive my monthly e-newsletter.

 

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Author Mary Lynette More stopped by and agreed to guest on my blog

 

  1. Networking

I love to interview authors for this blog. I found some interesting ones to add to my calendar. Fairs are a time to share information such as advertising tips, best places to have book signings and find other serious writers to form writer’s groups or just hang out with. I make it a point to do something for other authors if I can, you never know when a connection will be advantage in the future.

  1. Donate your books

Check first to be sure your book will be displayed on a shelf rather than sold. Having your book on a local library shelf is huge. That donation is tax deductible by the way.

  1. Sell books

Yes, you may or may not sell any books. The average is 1-5. The co-authors at the table next to me sold out because family members and friends of one of the authors made it a point to come to the event. (refer to tip #1)

 

Writers what has  been your experience at Author Fairs ?

Readers why do you attend author fairs?

Don’t forget to subscribe before you leave if you want to recieve author interviews and other writerly things in your email.

 

 

Setting Mirrors Character Part 2

I’m picking up where I left off last post. I reviewed how the right setting helps the character reveal backstory and inner conflict in a natural way. Today I want to share a few examples of setting projecting mood.

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Secrets & Charades is my Historical Romance set in 1872. Dr. Evangeline Olson goes west as a mail order bride. A newly married couple who are strangers are going to be nervous and fearful until they get to know each other. Jake is a very practical man. Their first stop on their journey back to the ranch is at one of his line-cabins. It’s a soddie (a house constructed of dirt) that his men use if they are too far away from the ranch to make it home before dark. This is their non-honeymoon night based a a promise Jake made to Evangeline when they first met.

Evangeline scanned the dimly lit room. The lantern revealed bunk beds built right into the dirt wall, inhabited by insects. “That bed might move after all,” she muttered under her breath. “Would you prefer I cook?” She hoped her reluctance wasn’t obvious in her voice. “Show me what supplies you have.”

“I generally keep a few things on hand, but there’s other provisions in that box on the table. I’m gonna tend the horses. Watch the damper on the fireplace. It has a mind of its own.”

Evangeline’s hand trembled as she began the simple meal preparation. After placing two potatoes to bake in the hot ashes and securing a pan of beans on the fire, she set about cleaning the table with the underside of her dress. A spider met its demise as it crawled across the table.

“God,” she whispered. “I asked for a change. Help me make the best of it.”

As she reached into the box for the tin plates, she gave thanks for one blessing. “This is the least romantic place I could imagine. I hope Jake agrees.”

 

The dirt and dimness help emphasize her anxiety and her last line flows from her heart to her surroundings.

In this next example Jake takes her on a side trip on the last leg of the journey to the ranch. They visit the homestead he grew up in. This gives him an opportunity to tell her some unpleasant things about his past as they look at the run-down place.

 

Standing in the ruins of his past, Jake shared his history. “Ben taught my pa everythin’ he knew about ranchin’. They became good friends.”

“When did you move from here to your ranch?”

“After the war, I came home in pretty bad shape. The girl I’d hoped to marry had married my little brother, Robert.” Jake tried to sound matter-of-fact even though raw emotions lingered near the surface with his fatigue. “My pa died while I was off fightin’. I couldn’t bring myself to live in the same house with Robert and Nora, so I hired on as foreman for Ben.”

Evangeline nodded for him to go on.

“I was drinkin’ and carryin’ on, tryin’ to forget the war, not proud of my actions back then.” He removed his hat and wiped the sweat from his forehead with his sleeve. “Ben took me under his wing and showed me the light. Helped me forgive myself and receive God’s forgiveness. Came to Jesus because of Ben. I owe him my life.”

As they wander through the abandoned house and barn, Evangeline suggested they fix the place up. Her attitude gives him hope that this marriage can work.

There are times in the close confines of the wagon they fuss with each other because of fear and fatigue. Readers learn bits about their personalities as the story continues.

 

As you build your story world, think about places certain things can be revealed.  Places that seem natural for inner reflection or verbal sparring. I just completed a novella set in a blizzard on a ranch in Kansas. My settings are limited through most of the story. There are many scenes in the cabin, some in the barn. But key scenes take place out in the snowy woods, and in town.

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Don’t just write a setting for setting sake. Your last vacation destination to Merrimac Caverns might not be the best setting. Unless, the fear and anxiety you experienced while the tour guide led you through the dark recesses fits your heroine’s escape plans. Then bring up all those observations and link them to your characters feelings.

A tour of downtown Aurora in New Duet was necessary for my readers to understand Isabella’s new life. Evangeline’s first visits to shops in Charleton, Texas in Secrets & Charades helps readers know her better as she met its inhabitants. And the store room on the snowbound ranch in my novella gives a feel for the past without lots of verbiage.

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What is your favorite scene from a novel that brought you closer to the characters?

 

 

 

 

 

How Setting Mirrors Characters Lives

 

The right setting can turn backstory into revelation. Where things are brought to light is as important as what is shared. As in real life the right setting can draw out truths. Some people think best when they are walking along their favorite path. A conversation over a cup of coffee with a good friend might open the door to sharing a secret. Changing a tire in the rain can bring out frustration and anger over things unrelated to the tire.

When I wrote my first two novels, various setting helped set the mood for what was going on with my characters. I love dialog, but spewing out information for the sake of information is so much backstory.

In my contemporary romance. New Duet, Isabella Wilson is rebuilding her life. Her controlling late husband and his mother told her how to think. Escaping to Aurora to start over is a big step for her. After reconnecting with her sister Mindy, the two of them go to lunch at an Irish Pub. Mindy points out all the interesting architectural features knowing Isabella’s artistic mind would enjoy the atmosphere. Here is a portion of Isabella’s inner thoughts as she enjoys the ambiance.

Isabella’s neck ached from trying to see every corner of the room without leaving her chair. She envisioned Maureen’s shocked expression if she saw them eating in a bar. The thought made Isabella smile. Not one muscle tightened into a cower. No carefully worded reply to the picture of Maureen’s scowl came to mind. Ming’s joyful presence was a buffer for her thoughts.

Notice how backstory is interwoven naturally.  We see how much her mother-in law and late husband still have control over her.

Here is a piece of dialog from the same setting that gives us more backstory without bemoaning her fate in a narrative info dump fashion.

Ming gave her a mischievous grin. “Guess what’s downstairs below this very restaurant.” She leaned forward. “The Basement of the Dead.”

“What?”

“A laser tag game where you get to shoot Zombies. On

Halloween, it has a pretty impressive haunted house.” She laughed and pointed. “That look on your face is priceless. All shock and awe.”

Isabella schooled her expression, embarrassed. “I’m sorry, the church Ron and I attended might have boycotted it.”

See how much more powerful the comments are in context of the setting?

I sent Isabella to an Art Gallery that featured Wounded Warrior Art and Photos. She is trying to coax her artist muse back to life. The final photograph helps her resolve to overcome. The soldier is in his formal army uniform with all his medals. He is seated in a wheel chair with a leg of his uniform folded up. She sees something familiar in his eyes.

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Isabella gazed at the photo a while longer. If this soldier could exude peace with his visible wounds, she could seek that same peace with her internal ones. Father, I want to try. Confidence rested on her shoulders for the first time.

Artists feed their souls with art. Isabella finding confidence and peace from a well-done photograph fits her character and makes it believable that she would respond as she does. It’s not preachy but natural.

In my next post I’ll share examples of how the setting mirrors the mood of a character in a scene.

 

 

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Tell me what you really really want

Question Marks

Since I started this blog in 2010 I’ve shared a variety of writerly things and interviewed some fantastic authors. Today I decided to open it up to my readers to give me suggestions. What writerly things would you like to see on my blog? Are there favorite authors or upcoming authors you’d like to see on my site? I want to always be relevant so share with me your ideas.

What is one or a few things you’d love to know more about as a writer? Do you have some writing tips you’d love to share?

 

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Secrets & Charades has won three awards

 

Post your ideas here and I’ll get on them. I’ll bring guests aboard to address things that I lack knowledge.

I hate to post a blog for the sake of posting one. There are times I only post once a week rather than twice because I didn’t have something of value to share.

 

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New Duet is more than just a romance.

 

Asking you all for input will continue to bring value to Jubilee Writer.

I want to be the best encouragement I can for fellow-writers. Tell me what you need.

If you would rather email me or message me on Facebook you may. Please don’t ask me to post negative things about anyone in the writing field.

 

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Secrets & Charades audio version is doing well. Meghan Kelley is a wonderful narrator.

 

 

Looking forward to your ideas.

If you’re not a  subscriber and want to be you can receive a new post in your email when they are available.

 

 

How Does A Wedding Mirror Story Arc

This past Sunday was my daughter’s wedding. And as I mentioned in my last post, I would be laying my pen aside, but my mind would still be doing writerly things. Reflecting on the wedding, I found the day was a great analogy for story arc. Each part of the wedding and reception reflected how a story line grows in a novel.  As I smile thinking about the wonderful event on Sunday, I’ll share how I see the analogy and a few pictures not only to illustrate my point but also to share my joy.21314833_10214203649511292_4022649231922811820_n

Wedding theme

Today couples create a theme for their wedding that goes beyond colors. My daughter and her fiancé chose favorite things. Every part of the day a reflection of that choice.

(Photo of Cake Topper, table decorations and favors.)

Favorite superheroes cake topper. A CD of music representing their journey to marriage (Note the label looks like the one from Guardian of the Galaxy.) Favorite games in the table decorations.

Novels need a theme

Each novel we write must have a theme. Secrets and Charades’ theme: Your past does not have to determine your future.  New Duet has a similar message: leave the past behind. Writer’s weave the idea through the story from opening line to the end.

Novels can have settings that help carry the theme. My novels speak of new beginnings so the settings are opposite of the protagonist’s former lives.secret-charades-front-cover click here to order.

Wedding surprises and novel structure

My daughter and her husband wanted their guests to enjoy some of their favorite things. While the venue for their wedding and reception were typical, the whole day was uniquely their own.

The Bride and Groom represented the hero and heroine in the structure of a romance novel. Both have distinctive character qualities with their individual goals and desires. The wedding like a story arc has basic bones. The Bride and Groom enter a church or other setting where guests watch them say their vows. Everything beyond that is up for grabs.

Pam and Jon chose to have my niece perform the ceremony keeping it more of a family affair. The flower girl passed out flowers rather than sprinkling petals on the floor. And the ringbearer had a Chicago Bears Teddy Bear ring pillow to carry. There was a string trio, but the bride (to the surprise of her groom) entered to a recording of Somebody to Love, by Queen. The couple exited to Star Wars music after reciting traditional vows. Bubbles were showered on the couple who drove away in a classic 60s convertible.

Disasters a must

A microphone malfunction and the flower girl standing frozen in the aisle reminded me that stories must have a few disasters. Not necessarily an explosion but something to create tension. Perhaps the heroine can’t cook or the hero really isn’t very good at fixing things.

Unique elements

Our novels need to have unique bits that keep the reader engaged. A female doctor in the 1800s is unique but becoming a mail order bride is over the top. A wounded warrior after returning from a tour of duty in Afghanistan loses his leg in a motorcycle accident stateside which adds to his angst.

Unique elements for the decor : favorite superhero cake topper, party favors and a CD for every family of all the music representing their romance and each table had a different game for guest to play.

The wedding had a traditional photographer and a videographer but there was also a photo booth with props. A few added twists that spoke to the favorite things theme greeted guests at the reception. The table center pieces were games the guests were encouraged to play. Prizes were given to the first person at each table who won a game. The games were available to play all evening.

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Grandchildren engaged in a fun game.

Children’s games helped keep my grandchildren engaged, and many adults were loving the opportunity to play games rather than dance. All the games were ones Jon and Pam have enjoyed.  But the game curve intensified just like a plot twist. There were several pictures mixed into the decorations that represented favorite movies. There was a prize for the person who deciphered all the clues.

Plot Twists are a must to engage the reader

Twists are what make your story sing. Characters that aren’t who they seem, unexpected solutions and buried secrets. The protagonist doing what no one thought they could.

That brings me to my favorite part of the reception. My husband is not a dancer with a capital N. Pam wanted to do something unique for the father/daughter dance. So, for months they worked out the steps for Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious from the musical Mary Poppins complete with straw hat, cane and umbrella. The guests were surprised and delighted.

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The Father/Daughter Dance gets a 10. I have no photos to share of the dance right now. But this unexpected twist is priceless.

As in a well-written novel there was a challenge to the plan. In this case on the dance floor. Jon had no idea what Pam and her father had planned, but he wanted to do something extra special as well. (Sound like a familiar plot twist.) His mother made him a coat like the one from Beauty and the Beast that he put on after the initial traditional first dance. Jon insisted this dance would be the best yet. (the challenge.)  He changed into the coat bowed and took her hand as they danced to Beauty and the Beast. After the lovely dance, Pam threw down the gauntlet (in a joking manner of course), and she and her father to quote Jon, “Smoked him.” Yet he had another surprise up his sleeve. As the applause died down the Bridal Party held up paddles with the number 10. Another awesome surprise. Laughter and more applause resonated around the room. The DJ in his 30 years had never seen both the bride and groom keep a surprise from each other. Again, unique things sprinkled in a story arc.

During the toasts Pam’s brother David, who is serving in the Army gave a toast via Facebook Live on his brother Nathan’s phone that was broadcast to the whole room. So cool. David also viewed the wedding ceremony from his brother’s cellphone. Again, a sweet surprise thanks to technology that intensified the emotion.

A great The End

The reception wound down and the couple headed out for their honeymoon.

In a romance novel, the couple struggles with and overcomes all the disasters and unexpected twists in the plot. They enjoy or work through all the surprises to reach their happily-ever-after whether that is a wedding, a honeymoon or a declaration of love. In my novels, the theme of putting your past behind has been resolved and a promising future loom. The reader like the wedding guests will talk about what they experienced for a long after The End.

Thanks for indulging my afterglow thoughts. Happy writing.

What events in your life were fuel for your story arc?