Friday’s Feature with Clare Revell

I’m so excited to have Clare Revell here today to answer some fun questions and share her new book, Dark Lake.

Thank you so much for being here, Clare.

Tell us about your favorite character in your new book.

That would be Lou. She was the heroine in my YA series Signal Me. I wanted to do a story about her when she’d grown up and Dark Lake kind of just wrote itself. She’s feisty, has a temper, hates taking orders or being told she can’t do something.

Do you read the reviews and comments of your readers? How important are reviews to authors?

Yes, I do. Not that I get many – some books have loads, some have none. I find that hardly any are put on the UK side of Amazon and being a British author I always look there first. Even a short I loved it is great.

How much of yourself do you put into your books?

Ignoring the fact that Lou is my middle name and I hate taking orders? I tend to put a fair amount in. Dad always recognises things from my childhood. Hubby always recognises expressions as mine such as saying afty instead of afternoon. And strangely enough all of my heroines hate eight legged creatures. (not octopi)

Some people believe that being a published author is glamorous, is that true?

Nope. And it definitely doesn’t pay millions. Or produce film deals or anything like that. It’s a lot of hard work. Most of the day, or night, is spent handwriting each book, then typing it up.

Who are some of your favourite authors?

I grew up reading and loving Enid Blyton and Laura Ingalls Wilder. Then moved on to Danielle Steele, Elizabeth George, Tom Clancy and Clive Cussler.

Have you met any of them and found yourself having a fan-girl moment?

No. But TV stars… several. And the hosts of a quiz show on the BBC did a book signing at our local book shop before it closed. So I went and bought a book, had my photo taken and yes… fangirled.


DARK LAKE

Archaeologist Dr. Lou Fitzgerald is used to unexpected happenings, and they don’t usually faze her. After surviving a childhood disability, and dealing with an unfair boss, Lou has learned the art of rolling with the punches. But when she arrives at Dark Lake, what was supposed to be a simple archaeological dig is beyond even her wildest imaginations.

Land owner Evan Close has his own reasons for keeping the secrets of Dark Lake, and this attractive interloper is a menace. Her precious dig threatens to bring his house of cards tumbling down around him, and he feels helpless to stop it.

It soon becomes apparent there are dark forces at work, and Lou’s simple assignment turns into a mystery. Solving that mystery comes with a steep price.


Get your copy today!

Amazon.co.uk United Kingdom

Amazon.com United States


 

Read an excerpt from Chapter 1 of Dark Lake:

Lou leaned back in her chair, glad she was sitting down. Her heart raced, cheeks burned and her stomach clenched. “You’re kidding me,” she finally managed past the huge lump in her throat.

“No. I’m sorry. I’m not kidding. I’m deadly serious.” Varian certainly didn’t appear sorry, and he definitely didn’t sound apologetic. He both looked and sounded smug, as if this had been his plan all along.

“I can’t leave,” Lou insisted. “Didn’t you hear me? We found it. Proof that I was right all along.” She waved a file at him. “This is my work. My discovery. You can’t just replace me.”

Make that replace her again—the same way he always did, right when she was on the cusp on proving something or on the brink of another discovery.

“I’m sure your team is more than capable of carrying on without you.”

“Uh, no, they’re not,” she spluttered. Were they really having this conversation? “They need me as much as I need to be here.”

“Are you saying you don’t trust them?”

“No. I’m not saying that at all! I trust them implicitly. Well, most of them anyway.” She sucked in a deep breath, her hands curling into balls under the desk. She tamped down her temper and tried to put a lid on her emotions. “I’m saying I’ve put years into this and I want to—”

“—be the one to finish it?” Varian completed her sentence in that annoying manner, which only served to irritate her further.

She scowled, fingers drumming on the desk. “Yes. Is that so wrong? It’s my work, my paper, my blood, sweat, and tears, not to mention sleepless nights that have gone into this and you want to ditch me in favour of some up and coming lackey so you and he can take the glory? Again. It’s not fair.”

“Life isn’t fair. You’ve got an hour to get your notes and files together before you brief him and me—”

“I don’t believe I’m hearing this!”

“Then you leave and don’t look back.”

Lou scowled harder, wishing she could give him the “stink-eye” as Jim termed it when they were kids. “Who is he anyway? This person you’re replacing me with.”

“Monty is coming down to…”

She almost yelled aloud in frustration, reining it in at the last second. Monty was Varian’s son. It made sense he’d be the one taking over now that they were so close to a discovery that would make her name and put this corner of Wales on the map right up there with Stonehenge and the Grand Canyon.

Instead, Lou picked up a pen and hurled it across the portacabin. “What a surprise. You know, it’s so nice to see that nepotism is alive and well and flourishing in Wales. The exact same way it does all over the country wherever the Sparrow Foundation can be found.”

She paused, counting to five slowly. “Are you sacking me?” she muttered.

“On the contrary, I have a nice simple job for you.”

“Tell you what. Send Monty to do your nice simple job. See if he can do that without messing it up. We all know what happened on the Tumbrel dig. How he was responsible for those deaths.”

Varian’s expression darkened, and Lou wisely shut up before he really did sack her. “Have you heard of Dark Lake?” he asked.

“Should I have?”

“It’s a reservoir up in the Pennines. The villages of Abernay and Finlay were flooded in the first half of the last century to make the Aberfinay Dam, shortly before the start of the Second World War. It’s now known locally as Dark Lake after the new village that sprang up next to it. The dam provides water for one of the large towns. It doesn’t matter which one. The whole area is owned by an old family friend, Evan Close.”

Her fingers drummed her irritation on the desk. “And? What does this have to do with the price of fish?”

“The water levels have dropped enough to see the church spire above the level of the reservoir. A few unusual artefacts have washed ashore. I want you to go up there and see what’s going on.”

“Why?”

“Like I said the land is owned by a family friend. Neither of us wants this getting into the media. We’d prefer it be handled quickly and quietly. I can get you permission to dive once or twice. And arrange for a diving team to meet you up there.”

“Can’t it wait a few weeks?”

“No. It has to be done now.”

“Send Whatshisface up there.”

“Monty can’t swim. You can. You have a gold medal to prove it.”

Lou chewed her bottom lip. “That was a lifetime ago. I had to make a choice over careers, and I chose archaeology. I finally get my big break, and you’re taking it away from me. When I’ve done all the leg work, all the research…”

Varian handed her a file. “I’d shut up about now if I were you. Assuming you want to keep your job. I’m sending you to Dark Lake. End of discussion. I’ll see you in an hour.”

Lou stood. Part of her wanted to quit on the spot, but the other part of her had more sense. “You know what? Brief yourself. These are all my files and notes. I’m sure my team can tell you anything else you need to know if you can’t read my writing.”

“Lou…”

“Don’t you Lou me. I’ve spent the best part of ten years working for you, and this is how you repay me. Every. Single. Time.” She stomped over to the door and slammed it hard behind her.


More about Clare

Clare is a British author. She lives in a small town just outside Reading, England with her husband, whom she married in 1992, their three children, and unfriendly mini-panther, aka Tilly the black cat. They have recently been joined by Hedwig and Sirius the guinea pigs. Clare is half English and half Welsh, which makes watching rugby interesting at times as it doesn’t matter who wins.

Writing from an early childhood and encouraged by her teachers, she graduated from rewriting fairy stories through fan fiction to using her own original characters and enjoys writing an eclectic mix of romance, crime fiction and children’s stories. When she’s not writing, she can be found reading, crocheting or doing the many piles of laundry the occupants of her house manage to make.

Her books are based in the UK, with a couple of exceptions, thus, although the spelling may be American in some of them, the books contain British language and terminology and the more recent ones are written in UK English.

The first draft of every novel is hand written.

She has been a Christian for more than half her life. She goes to Carey Baptist where she is one of four registrars.

She can be found at:

http://www.revell124.plus.com/clarerevell/

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Monday’s Manuscript with Advice from TEN Award-winning Authors

Writing from the Trenches

Writers are always leaning on each other to learn the craft. Sometimes finding a mentor is hard to do because writers are busy people. When we’re not dealing with every day life, we’re working on the next release. Today, I’m excited to share with you the new book by TEN award-winning authors who have been where you are. They’ve been through the rejections, revisions, edits, critques, marketing and everything else that deals with writing. These ten authors have come together to share their advice and expertise in a new book, Writing from the Trenches. Here’s a sample of the great advice you’ll find:


 Maximizing Use of Beats in Dialogue

guest post by Julie Lessman

Action speaks louder than words. Do you believe it? Well, if you’re an author, you better, because we must use words to convey “action” in a reader’s mind.

 

Maximizing use of “beats” (action) in dialogue ramps up tension, so instead of overuse of speaker attributions (i.e., he said, she said), try a healthy dose of action beats with minimal speaker attributions.

 

1.) ACTION BEATS ALONE ENHANCE DRAMA, especially with only two speakers, allowing less chance for confusion. This excerpt from A Hope Undaunted shows it both ways.

SPEAKER ATTRIBUTION/BEATS:

“Is that all this was between us then?” he said, locking her wrist midair when she tried to slap him. “A little fun while your rich boyfriend was off limits?”

“I never started any of this,” she said, jerking her hand free, “and you know it. It was you.”

“No,” he said, fingers digging in as he pressed her to the counter. “But you sure finished it, didn’t you?”

BEATS ONLY:

She tried to slap him, but he locked her wrist midair with a painful grip. “Is that all this was between us then? A little fun while your rich boyfriend was off limits?”

She jerked her hand free. “I never started any of this, and you know it. It was you.”

His fingers dug in as he pressed her to the counter. “No, but you sure finished it, didn’t you?”

 

2.)ACTION BEATS W/MINIMAL SPEAKER ATTRIBUTIONS CAN ENHANCE EMOTION. In this angry love scene from A Passion Most Pure, I relied heavily on beats (underlined) because speaker attributions can slow the flow of a tense scene. Only two speaker attributions are included (bolded)to drive emotion home with a strong response.

 

She jerked her hand from his and stood, quivering as she caved against the chair.“I can’t marry you, Collin.”

He leaned in.“I know you love me. Can you deny it?”

She didn’t speak and he jumped up, gripping her arms to lift her to her feet.When she wouldn’t look at him, he grabbed her chin.“Look at me! Can you deny you love me?”

She stared through a mist of tears.“Let me go.”

“Tell me you don’t love me.”

“I don’t love you.”

“You’re lying, Faith. I would have thought better of you than that.”

“Well don’t!” she screamed. “I’m not better than that. You’ve said your apologies, Collin, now let me go.”

She tried to turn away. He jerked her back.“I know you love me. Don’t you think I can feel it every time I touch you?” He silenced her with a savage kiss. She struggled to pull free, but he only held her tighter, the blood pounding in his brain. His mouth was everywhere—her throat, her earlobes, her lips—and he could feel the heat coming in waves as she melted against him. She was quivering when he finally let her go.

“You love me, Faith,” he said quietly. “You know it, and I know it. Your heart belongs to me, and nothing can ever change that fact—not Charity, not you, and not your god.”


These examples shed light on just how important “beats” are, not only to good dialogue, but in escalating the romantic tension in a novel as well. And if you’re looking for more ideas to hone your craft, check out Writing From the Trenches: Tips & Techniques From Ten Award-Winning Authors. Here’s a blurb:

TEN-HUT! Gear up for your writing with tried-and-true tips from the trenches. Ten award-winning authors share invaluable tips and secrets they’ve gleaned the hard way, offering a broad range of insights and opinions on the best way to tackle tough subjects such as the following:

Plotting Techniques

Research

Characterization

Villains We Love to Hate

Dynamic Dialogue

Sigh-Worthy Heroes

The Right Heroine for the Job

Hooking Your Reader in the First Chapter

Scene Endings to Lead Your Readers On

Creating a Movie Set

Making your Readers Cry

Deep POV

Copyediting your Manuscript

Indie Publishing vs. Traditional Publishing

Marketing for Those Who Hate Marketing


At last … a writer’s tool that provides the experience and expertise of ten authors who’ve been on the front lines of publishing and lived to teach about it: Connie Almony, Lynnette Bonner, Hallee Bridgeman, Louise Gouge, Michelle Griep, Julie Lessman, Elizabeth Ludwig, Ane Mulligan, MaryLu Tyndall, and Erica Vetsch.

Get your copy today! 

AMAZON          B&N          KOBO

Friday’s Feature with Zoe M. McCarthy

Today I’m excited to feature Zoe McCarthy. It’s always fun to learn more about authors.  Today Zoe is here to answer a few questions and tell us about her new book, The Putting Green Whisperer.

Welcome, Zoe.

Zoe: Thank you, Theresa for hosting me on your blog.

Tell us about your favorite character in your new book.

I’m partial to Allie Masterson. As a teen, she experienced two tragedies. Her mother died and her pro-golfer father abandoned her in his inability to handle his grief and guilt. Allie has stockpiled defenses around her to prevent opening old wounds or incurring new injuries. She immerses herself in golf, something she’s good at and something that doesn’t let her down. She’s watchful of others’ motives. She relies on herself. But all this changes when she and fellow caddy Shoo Leonard become best friends, a relationship she wishes was something more.

Do you read the reviews and comments of your readers? How important are reviews to authors?

I do read readers’ reviews and comments. I think authors can learn from reviews. Where several readers make the same comment on an aspect of a book, an author can learn what she does well and where she could improve. I don’t dwell on reviews in which the reader doesn’t like the genre or that the book is Christian.

I believe reviews are important to the success of a book. Many readers don’t want to invest in a book that has few reviews.

How much of yourself do you put into your books?

I flavor my stories with rewritten personal events, humorous moments, and joys and disappointments.

Some people believe that being a published author is glamorous, is that true?

I haven’t experienced that. I think the glamor has lessened from the past, except for best-selling authors. Readers are overloaded with book choices. A workshop leader teaching Amazon marketing said authors compete with 800 new titles coming on Amazon a day. Most bookstore patrons don’t stop at an author’s book-signing table. They have Amazon to quickly find the books they want to read. Few people attend well-publicized author events at libraries or other venues. The glamor may have worn off for some authors too. Being an author is a lot of hard work in writing and promoting. They bear manuscript rejections and criticism from critique partners, editors, and online reviewers.

Who are some of your favorite authors? Have you met any of them and found yourself having a fan-girl moment?

I enjoy Jenny B. Jones’ books. I had a fifteen-minute mentor appointment with her at a conference and attended her workshop. I like books by Francine Rivers and Eva Marie Everson. Francine impressed me when I approached her at a conference. I told her that she and I must have had the same guide in Ephesus because her Mark of the Lion series setting was spot on. She said she’d never been to Ephesus. I’ve talked briefly with Eva Marie at conferences, and she has endorsed my nonfiction book Tailor Your Fiction Manuscript in 30 Days, which is coming out later this year. I like Suzanne Woods Fisher’s books too.


Suddenly unemployed, Allie Masterson returns home to Cary, North Carolina where she caddies for her father on the PGA Seniors Tour. There, she encounters a man who possesses an alluring gift of reading the contours of the green. Fascinated with his uncanny ability, Allie is excited to meet the Green Whisperer—until she discovers that the easygoing caddy is actually Shoo Leonard, the boy who teased her relentlessly when they were kids. Despite Allie’s reservations, when Shoo is faced with having to overcome a hand injury, she agrees to use her sport science degree to become his trainer…and then she falls for him.

Shoo Leonard is grateful to Allie for her singular determination to get him ready for the PGA tour, but he isn’t ready for anything more. Still raw from a broken engagement and focused on his career, he’s content to be her fist-pumping buddy…but then he falls for her.

What seems like a happily-ever-after on the horizon takes a turn when Allie decides she’s become a distraction to Shoo’s career. Is it time for her to step away or can The Putting Green Whisperer find the right words to make her stay?

Get your copy today!

Amazon.com

 

 


Read an excerpt

What was that all about? Shoo stared at the retreating caddy, whose blonde ponytail protruding from the back of her golf cap danced wildly as she hurried off. He craned his neck to keep her in sight as she wove through the caddies on the cart path.

Approaching him, she’d seemed like a girl on a mission. Her striking blue eyes, bright against her tanned skin, had focused on him, as if she’d rediscovered an old friend. No doubt about it, her smile had beamed at him. Then, bam! She’d done an about-face and slammed into the check-in table.

But he didn’t know her. Did he?

He mentally scanned his female acquaintances. No match surfaced. Unlikely he’d have forgotten the petite blonde.


About Zoe

A full-time writer and speaker, Zoe M. McCarthy writes contemporary Christian romances involving tenderness and humor. She is the author of The Invisible Woman in a Red Dress, Gift of the Magpie, and Calculated Risk. Believing opposites distract, Zoe creates heroes and heroines who learn to embrace their differences. Zoe and her husband live in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia.

Find Zoe online

Website and blog: https://zoemmccarthy.com