An Impromptu, One in a Million Chance to Live a Scene from Your Novel

I love hiking. It’s one of my favorite wind-down hobbies.  That’s probably why “the woods” are usually a staple in my writing. This past weekend, while hiking with my husband and my pepped up poodle, I had an unexpected surprise.

There is a scene in FIRE IN THE WOODS where my MC, Jess, is walking along the side of the street and sees a deer grazing near the woods. Jess takes off into the woods after the deer, and ends up with more than she bargained for.

Back to “real life.” — While crossing the road from one part of the woods to the other Saturday, imagine my surprise when, about twenty feet from me, a deer crossed as well… heading for the same woods we were.

Luckily for me, the doe was quiet, and my poodle didn’t see her, or I would have been at the mercy of fifty pounds of barking, solid muscle tearing after a wild animal.

As the doe trotted beneath the canopy, I instantly made the connection with the scene in my novel, and I wondered… just how hard would it be to chase a deer in the woods? 

Research time!

I handed the leash off to my husband.

“You’re kidding, right?” he said.

“Nope!”

And off I went.  It would have been wonderful it this had been a buck, like in my novel, but the female deer was just as exciting for me, because in all the years I have been hiking, I have never actually seen one. It was a very cool experience. And, yes, I found out, you CAN chase a deer into the woods with some success. But like my character, Jess, I lost my fluffy-tailed friend about a quarter of a mile in.

After re-joining Hubbs and my pup, we finished our five-mile trek, and we saw the deer three more times. (or “a deer” I have no idea if it was the same one)  Pup even got to chase our woodland friend once. (That was the last time we saw the deer.  Smart deer.)

So… unexpectedly I discovered that you CAN chase a deer in the woods, and you can also see the same (or another) deer multiple times on the same day.  This sequence of scenes is now totally validated for me. Very cool – and it gave me a warm and fuzzy inside.

Have you ever had an unexpected chance to relive a scene in a book you have read?

JenniFer_EatonF

What do you look for in the second novel of a series?

Last night, after being poked and prodded by my son who wants to “talk books” with me, I stared reading Divergent. I mentioned this to an author friend of mine and she said “Loved Divergent. Insurgent [Second book] not so much. You know how second books go.”

“You know how second books go.”

This phase has been haunting me since she said it.  As most of you know, I am currently writing a “book two” in a series. I am already feeling the stress and strain of trying to make ASHES IN THE SKY just as good, if not BETTER than FIRE IN THE WOODS.

Sometimes, I fear I’m falling short.

Read-hold up PKO_0016876Are their chase scenes? Yes

Are there near misses? Yes

Are their explosions? Yes

Are the stakes higher? Yes

Are strong relationships built, ripped apart, and rekindled? Yes.

So what am I worried about?

“You know how second books go.”

I don’t want people finishing book two and saying that I missed the mark. I don’t want people saying they wish there was more of this, or why did there have to be so much of that.

The scarier thing is that book two is due before book one even comes out. So I can’t even wait for reviews or reader commentary of what they hope for in book two.

So….. I’m asking. If you are reading a book two in any series, what do you look for?

What “book two” blew you away, and WHY WAS IT SO GOOD?

What “book two” came up short, and WHY DID IT SEEM LACKING?

JenniFer_EatonF

May I introduce to you: an unlikely hero

I’m in a very interesting position right now. My novel FIRE IN THE WOODS comes out in about two months, and the early chatter isn’t about my quirky main character. Instead, people are talking about the guy who changes her life forever.

By accident.

This is part of an “introduce your character” game that posted a list of questions for the character to answer, but I couldn’t see David just sitting there and spilling his guts, so I’d rather give you a little character study that will do pretty much the same thing. And for grins and giggles, I’m going to do it in 80 words or less.

Let me introduce you to the current literary love of my life, David.

FireInTheWoods.v6-Book1-FinalDavid

It was a simple mission. Fly over the planet Earth, and send a signal to our people on the surface.

Earth was supposed to be a primitive world.

That was the first lie.

They shouldn’t have been able to detect me.

FireInTheWoods.v6-Book1-FinalThey shouldn’t have been able to defend themselves.

They shouldn’t have been able to shoot me down.

More lies.

Now my life is in jeopardy.

I was never supposed to set foot on Earth.

I was never supposed to interact with natives.

I was never supposed to meet… her.

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FIRE IN THE WOODS

Coming September, 2014

From Jennifer M. Eaton and Month9Books

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I’m really glad I said yes when Richard Leonard asked me to join in this game, because I LOVE that little introspection from David. I can see my character standing in the woods, with the fire raging behind him, speaking these words before he starts running for his life from the United States military. This really sets the tone for the beginning of the book.

Thanks for the idea Richard!

And thanks everyone else for spending a few minutes with David.

swish swivel squiggle 2Richard Leonard writes software and documentation for a living, and fiction for pleasure. He writes elements of sci-fi, romance, mystery, psychological thriller, religious conflict, action, but the common theme of his fictional writing is always based on what makes people tick. Living in the picturesque Yarra Valley wine region, east of Melbourne, Australia with his lovely wife, two teenage offspring and mischievous dog. Neither Richard, nor his dog, drink wine.

Website: richardleonard.wordpress.com

Twitter: @RichardELeonard

Score! Here’s a scene from the next Mortal Machine novel by @jocelynadams

Oooo! I’m all a tingle. I’m a huge Jocelyn Adams fan, and I’ve been counting the days until book #2 of the Mortal Machine series comes out. Today’s the day!

And here I am, little old me, with a Sneak Peak Excerpt from Book # 2: MIDNIGHT DAWN (Below in the post)

And double score!  Book two is on release day blitz for only $.99 on ebook. How cool is that!  If you love a lot of action with a splash of romance, your will eat this series up.

Pick up a copy at only $0.99 for a limited time!:

Amazon.com | Amazon.ca  |  iTunes  |  Barnes & Noble  |  All Romance eBooks

Back of the book:

Her soul remembers his touch, even if she doesn’t. 

With only three days until the wraith king turns the earth into an all-you-can-eat buffet, Addison Beckett is forced to enlist brooding sentinel Asher Green’s help to unlock the Mortal Machine. According to the founder, all she has to do is find the sanctuary—the same sanctuary she can’t remember because Asher erased her memories.

Trying to save humanity while navigating Asher’s lies is a royal pain. But the more time she and Asher spend together, the harder her soul tries to remind her what else he’s made her forget—that he loves her, wants her, needs her.

When she’s trapped by the wraith king and forced to pick who will stand by her in the coming battle, Addison is faced with an impossible choice: the sentinel she loves who refuses to love her back, or a powerful stranger who insists they’re meant to be together. Her decision will determine the fate of humanity, and once decided, can’t be undone.

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Are yea ready for that excerpt?  Strap yourself in. Here we gooooo!

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We flew along the freeway at a scary speed, the car floating as if not much of the rubber actually touched the road. If we hit anything, since my hands were still bound behind my back and I wasn’t a wearing seat belt, I’d end up smashing face-first into the security panel.

“We just have to keep ahead of the authorities until this phenomenon passes,” Caine said, “and then we’ll escape into the Shift.”

“Good luck with that,” Asher snapped out. “It’s still locked up tight.”

“Bloody hell.” Caine moved his hands up to ten and two on the wheel. “Hold on to your arses, girls and boys, we’re in for some turbulence.”

I leaned forward, straining to see through the clouded panel, and didn’t have to look too hard out the windshield to locate what he’d seen. In the distance, a line of headlights and police beacons cut a swath across the freeway, and they weren’t moving. How had they set up a roadblock so fast?

Had Baku tipped them off? I struggled in my cuffs, but they were tight, and I only succeeded in scraping my skin.

Asher cursed. “Goddammit, why can’t we catch a break tonight?”

“Um…why aren’t you slowing down, Caine?” I pressed myself against the back of the seat, crushing my own hands.

He grinned at me over his shoulder, and the car lurched forward, the engine growling harder into the early morning.

“Stop the damned car!” Asher raised his knees and thrust his heels against the divider screen with enough force to tip a bus on its ass, but it didn’t give at all.

Hands braced on the dash, Kyle shouted obscenities that soon turned into the Lord’s Prayer.

We bore down on the lights, closer and closer. Jesus, Caine was going to ram them, only the cruisers were parked head-on to us, so it wasn’t like we were going to get through.

“What is he doing?” I asked no one in particular.

“Spike strip!” Kyle yelled. The resulting swerve around the wicked-looking piece of metal with nails waiting to blow our tires threw me hard into Asher and shot my shoulder up with pain.

Cleared of the danger, Caine resumed course toward the barricade. He began counting down. “Five”—we were close enough to see the officers drawing weapons and settling behind car doors—“Four”—pops sounded outside from the cops who were positioned on the shoulder, firing at us, and the ones in our direct line scrambled out of the way—“Three”—the front right tire exploded, throwing me forward, and I might have smashed my face in if Asher hadn’t thrown his body across me—“Two”—I buried my face against his throat and told him I was sorry over and over again—“One.”

AAAAAAAAAAAARGHH!

Heading. Over. To buy. NOW!

Amazon.com | Amazon.ca  |  iTunes  |  Barnes & Noble  |  All Romance eBooks

Pick Up THE FIRST DAY OF THE NEW TOMORROW for only $.99

Coolness! THIS WEEKEND ONLY (August 1-3) MuseItUp Publishing is offering my young adult contemporary paranormal story THE FIRST DAY OF THE NEW TOMORROW for only $.99

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If you like a fun easy speculative fiction read, or you have a teenager who likes a little explosion mixed up in their paranormal, give THE FIRST DAY OF THE NEW TOMORROW a try!

Now Available from Jennifer M. EatonMaya dreams of perfect skin, beautiful hair, good grades, and Eric Brighton—the boy she’s been crushing on since middle school. No matter how hard she tries, all these things elude her, but when a creepy college recruiter arrives with news that Maya has omnipotent powers, things change quickly.

Having everything she wants is a lot harder than Maya expects, though. Will she give it all up for the chance to be normal again, even if it means losing Eric?

Zoom to MustItUp Publishing to pick up THE FIRST DAY OF THE NEW TOMORROW

Zoom to Amazon to pick up THE FIRST DAY OF THE NEW TOMORROW

JenniFer_EatonF

Wahoo! I’m Dork-Dancing over the cover for my novel FIRE IN THE WOODS! Coming in September from #Month9Books

I finally have a cover for FIRE IN THE WOODS and I couldn’t be happier.

Since this is a series, I asked for something that could be branded so readers could easily glance at the cover and say “Yep, that’s one of Jennifer M. Eaton’s books.”

 I am so in love with this cover, because it screams not only science fiction, but also the contemporary side, and that purple or “violescent” glow behind him has tons of meaning.

Oh!  And there’s a rafflecopter giveaway, too.  You could win a $10 gift card & a copy of the book, and most of you already qualify.  Good luck!

Are you ready to see?  Are ya? Are ya?

Here we gooooooo!

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Welcome to the Cover Reveal for

Fire in the Woods by Jennifer M. Eaton

presented by Month9Books!

Be sure to enter the giveaway found at the end of the post!

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When a plane crashes in the woods near Jess’s home, the boy of her dreams falls out of the sky—literally. But David’s not here to find a girlfriend. He’s from another planet, and if Jess can’t help him get back to his ship, he’ll be stuck on Earth with nothing to look forward to but the pointy end of a dissection scalpel.

But her father runs their house like an army barracks, and with an alien on the loose, Major Dad isn’t too keen on the idea of Jess going anywhere. Ever. So how the heck is she supposed to help the sweetest, strangest, and cutest guy she’s ever met?

Hiding him in her room probably isn’t the best idea. Especially since her Dad is in charge of the squadron searching for David. That doesn’t mean she won’t do it. It just means she can’t get caught.

Helping David get home while protecting her heart—that’s gonna be the hard part. After all, she can’t really fall for a guy who’s not exactly from here.

As they race through the woods with Major Dad and most of the U.S. military one breath behind them, Jess and David grow closer than either of them anticipated. But all is not what it seems. David has a genocide-sized secret, and one betrayal later, they are both in handcuffs as alien warships are positioning themselves around the globe. Time is ticking down to Armageddon, and Jess must think fast if she’s to save the boy she cares about without sacrificing Earth—and everyone on it.

add to goodreads

Title: Fire in the Woods
Publication date: September 2014
Publisher: Month9Books, LLC.
Author: Jennifer M. Eaton

Chapter-by-Chapter-header---About-the-Author

Jennifer M. Eaton

Corporate Team Leader by day, and Ranting Writer by night. Jennifer M. Eaton calls the East Coast of the USA home, where she lives with her husband, three energetic boys, and a pepped up poodle.

Jennifer hosts an informational blog “A Reference of Writing Rants for Writers (or Learn from My Mistakes)” aimed at helping all writers be the best they can be.

Beyond writing and motivating others, she also enjoys teaching her dog to jump through hoops—literally.

Jennifer’s perfect day includes long hikes in the woods, bicycling, swimming, snorkeling, and snuggling up by the fire with a great book; but her greatest joy is using her over-active imagination constructively… creating new worlds for everyone to enjoy.

Connect with the Author: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

Chapter-by-Chapter-header---Giveaway

Complete the Rafflecopter below for a chance to win!

(Winners will receive their book on release day)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

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Release day is September 25th.

I’m so excited I could just spit, but I won’t ’cause that’s gross.

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_JenniFer____EatoN

What do you do when your conflict doesn’t work?

Ugh!  I am working off a very loose outline for my book ASHES IN THE SKY, the sequel to FIRE IN THE WOODS that releases September 23, 2014.

Here I am, cruising along with about 100 pages written, and the bad guy starts discussing the reason for being bad.   Ugh_Back_to_the_drawing_board

It totally fell flat.  I mean, the whole idea sounded great in my head. He had a perfectly good reason for doing what he was about to do. I even sympathized with him… until I wrote it all out and read it on the page.

It just seemed… I don’t know… STUPID.

Now I don’t know WHAT to do.

After stewing over it for quite a while, I just skipped to the end of the scene, and kept writing.  Hopefully I will work it all out.

I really HATE doing that, because I find my writing is much more fluid if I write chronologically.  Now, I will need to go back a rewrite that chapter from scratch.

I’m NOT feeling good about it.

Has this ever happened to you… and idea tat sounded great in your head just didn’t work once you wrote it and read it back to yourself?

Jennifer___Eaton

How Not to Get Happily Published

Jennifer M Eaton:

I thought this was a great article – and I also got tied up in editing so I forgot to post something this week. Ha! This is a good article on small presses, for those interested. Enjoy!

Originally posted on Liz Burton's Portable Soup:

Education Concept. Read Books Sign.Now that what used to be sneered at as vanity publishing has been embraced by the mainstream, one thing that has been lost in all of the discussions that have gone before is that there are other options besides the two that have been the center of attention for all this time. By that, I refer to a fair number of digital presses that operate using the best elements of traditional publishing while adjusting their processes and their relationships with authors so that the end result is to everyone’s benefit.

However, all too often, writers who are interested in doing all the work of publishing themselves but who, for whatever reason, aren’t all that interested in seeking the attention of the Big Five have some misconceptions about how the digital publishing industry does business. Some of this is in the form of myths I will attempt to clear up.

If…

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Editing Under Pressure. Yes, It can be done #2

I am knee deep in the content edits for my new novel FIRE IN THE WOODS. The turn-around on the editing is KILLER.

So far, I’ve done okay. Easy changes to make the plot-lines flow more smoothly.

Then I got to the hard stuff.

The editor mentioned three words she felt were over used. So I went back and revised them to a minimum.  However, in doing this, I made notes of what I changed those words to in order to make sure I did not overuse these new words as well.

Ugh.

This is when the editing became a nightmare.  Each overused word I found, I changed. If it was a new word, I added it to the list to check later.

In the end, I had a list of 94 words to check. Each time I made a change, if it was a new word, I added it to the list. My goal was to use the words no more than once every twenty pages. Now, I have to admit they got a little closer than that at the end. There are just so many ways to explode something. But this process was long and tedious for me.

This led to long nights and a weekend behind the computer.

Okay, maybe I did NOT need to do this now. This kind of thing is normally not part of the content edit, but now that I saw the problem, I could not send it back until it was fixed. The perfectionist in me just wouldn’t allow it.

Seriously___Come_on..._Seriously___00000

I mean seriously: Do characters have to shake their heads/hands/or other extremities 94 times?

For your own search-and-destroy pleasure, here is the list of 94 words, and the rabbit trail that followed. Not all of these words were overused, but most of them were. For instance, “spewed” only appears once in my manuscript, but it was a word that I used to replace something else.

My challenge:  Take a look for these in your own manuscripts. Some involving explosions may not apply to everyone, but some of the everyday words might surprise you.  Try to use them only once every 20 pages and feel my pain.

Dang/Darn/Dernit

Shoot

Wow

Woa

Holy cow

Yikes

Sheesh

Geeze

Crap

God/Oh God

Say

Boy

Funny

Screamed

Howled

Shriek

Flinch

Gritted

Trembled

Adjusted

Moved

Shrugged

Pushed

Gazed

Scared

Terrified

Beckoned

Reeled

Burned

Itched

Seared

Handling

Recoiled

Throbbed

Spewed

Echoed

Yearn

Warn

Shuddered

Quaked

Bite cheek

Straighten

Eyes wide

Gape

Hunch

Looked

Spread

Slid

Churn

Singed

Shoved

Shimmied

Shiver

Tremor

Begged

Darkened

Strode

Startled

Gasp

Gulp

Alarmed

Chilled

Dumfounded

Frightened

Petrified

Wheezed

Whimpered

Sigh

Succumb

Groan

Moan

Grunted

Hitch

Shouted

Wailed

Stared

Shift weight

Thunder

Shook

Exhale

Finger

Grimaced

Slumped shoulders

Rub temples

Clenched

Puffed

Spoke

Hollered

Yelled

Called

Barked

Huffed

Sneered

Grumbled

I’ve already handed in my edits, and just reading over that list again made me tired.

What words do you tend to overuse?

_JenniFer____EatoN

Editing Under Pressure. Yes, It can be done #1

My first round edits came back for FIRE IN THE WOODS, which has been contracted with a three-month deadline to publication.  I took a deep breath, knowing that the completed edits were due back in FIVE DAYS.

Yikes!

I was pretty surprised, though.  This is the content edit phase, and they asked for very few changes.  In one spot, they thought the father should have reacted more quickly.  I fixed this simply by editing the dialog a smidge.

The next thing they said, which made me sweat a little, was that they didn’t buy the reason why my MC was afraid of another character. So I thought this over, and realized they were right when they said it felt like a forced conflict.  I really hadn’t developed that secondary character at all. He was too flat, and had no history.

Soooo

So I thought over why she might be afraid of him, and gave him a 100 word history based on a strategically placed inner thought/flashback.  I have to admit, this little change really gave both the MC and the secondary character depth.

Another thing I had to fix was a product of the multiple revisions this manuscript has seen over time.  Jess comes to a conclusion about “what’s going on” with no reason for it.  After thinking it over, she had a very good reason to come to this conclusion. The problem was, I never let the reader in as to HOW she came to this conclusion.  Again, an easy fix with a simple inner thought right before she comes to that little epiphany that drives the story onward.

The other changes were simple. A missing word here or there.

Then I hit the OMG part. And I will admit, this was totally MY DOING. In the spirit of always keeping my posts short, I’ll tell you all about it in my next segment. This is something I usually check for. I don’t even know how I missed it.

JenniFer_EatonF