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How to catch a Beach Bachelor?

Buy one of my books. Or five.

Seriously, my BEACH BACHELORS SERIES features five of the hottest, handsomest heroes in bookdom. Or bachelordom.

Although reading them doesn't guarantee anything but a good read, you might get some pointers from Alix, the heroine of SEA OF GOLD, Book 1 of the series. As the book opens, she's sworn off men. Next thing you know, she's meeting treasure hunter Ponce Cabrera and "noticing the hard flatness of his abdomen and his slim but powerful hips." By the end of the book, they're in love. She's caught a Beach Bachelor for her very own.

Or Cathryn, heroine of Book 4, INTERIOR DESIGNS.

Cathryn is a workaholic. She doesn't have time for guys. Haven't we all said that at one time or another? And then we meet The One, and well, here's how it goes:

"She'd known her share of shallow men, and she wanted no more of them. But, oh, the complexities, the structure of this man's mind, the shifting colors she sensed inside him. Now, in the aftermath, she thought perhaps she should have let him take her home—to talk with him until the pearl-gray of the sky heralded sunrise, to inhabit the space of him for a few hours or even more."

Before long, Cathryn and Drew, the love of her life, are in a Relationship. Which soon is expanded to include his adorable seven-year-old daughter. With whom - if Cathryn decides it's forever - she and Drew can become a family.

Oh, those bachelors. Oh, the beach. It's time for summer reading. And summer loving.

My BEACH BACHELORS SERIES awaits you wherever digital books are sold. Click here to go there:

Please review my books! I'm always happy to know your thoughts. I'd love it if you'd subscribe to my newsletter. Just go the my Newsletter page, scroll to the bottom of the left-hand column and click. You can unsubscribe at any time. Read More 
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Q. & A. Part 1

Q. Ms Browning, why are you a writer?

A. It's how I earn a living. I'm lucky enough to get paid for it. In fact, I think of my work as a sort of assembly line.

Q. Ummm.....how's that?

A. This was one of Henry Ford's brilliant ideas. The parts ride past on a conveyor belt, and someone picks them up and bolts them onto the car. Everything has to be stuck on in the right place or the car is going to come out all cattywampus and no one will buy it. A good example of such a product is a camel. When is the last time you bought one of those?

Q. Not lately, but exactly how does this relate to writing?

A. Motorcycle of partway he considerable to flash sliding said and look will off dinner you me neon for join charm he the switching half turned his her as on blinking at in the the red lights.

Q. (Looking perplexed.) Alice, wait up! I was right behind you as you fell down the rabbit hole!

A. You can see how words all scrambled up don't create even a sentence, much less a story.

Q. Right.

A. Now if I, the storyteller, were to assemble those words in a different sequence, we'd have this passage from one of my books: Will you join me for dinner he said sliding partway off the motorcycle and switching on his considerable charm as he half turned to look at her in the flash of the blinking red neon lights. (From Beach Bachelors Book 5, CHERISHED BEGINNINGS.)

Q. With no punctuation.

A. That costs extra. The point is that if the writer doesn't grab the right words and arrange them coherently, there's no story. What would life be like without stories and someone to tell them? Without people to read them?

Q. It's bog-mindling. Do you think I can ever learn to write a book?

A. We'll talk about that as soon as you escape the rabbit hole, my friend. More about the wondrousness of writing later.

Pamela Browning

P.S. Please take a look at the video I created for my Keeping Secrets Series! Click on the link in the column on the left.

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If you "bought" this book for free on the internet, chances are it's been pirated. That's illegal.
No, it's not the kind with eye patches and wearing a parrot as a fashion accessory. Nor is it the sort that terrorizes Tom Hanks off the Somalian coast.

It's book pirates. People who hijack an author's book and offer it, free or otherwise, on a website set up for distributing purloined goods. That's illegal.

Recently I've offered Book 1 of my Keeping Secrets Series free at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other well-known online bookselling venues. Yes, I'm a nice person. I want you to read my books, and I like to make it easier for you.

However, offering a free book is also a business decision. If you enjoy EVER SINCE EVE, you will probably buy the next book in the series, THROUGH EYES OF LOVE. Then perhaps you'll order the next two books, SUNSHINE AND SHADOWS and TOUCH THE STARS. (They're all available now. Click on the links to the left.)

What worries me is that you might go to a pirate site to order my books. Which brings us to the central question: why would pirates invest time and effort into acquiring an unauthorized copy of my book and then give it away? I've just told you why I offer free books, but what's in it for them?

Money. Oh, they may not want it immediately, but many sites have a plan for getting it somehow, some way. Pirates can be good fishermen. My book is the bait they use to drag you into their net.

By obtaining a free book from a pirate site, you risk hackers draining your bank account or stealing your identity. Some sites operate from foreign countries where they can escape prosecution under copyright law. Or any other law, including one offering recourse for having your money stolen by a fly-by-night outfit that first stole from me.

Trying to put these pirates out of business is like playing whack-a-mole. Not going to work. It's easy for them to close down one site and open another from which they continue to victimize unsuspecting readers.

I'm concerned about being used as bait to lure my readers into a trap. You need to know the risks involved with shopping for free books at unauthorized sites. And if you check this website frequently, you'll know when I'm giving away free books or offering them at a discount. I'll also keep you informed at my Pamela Browning Author page on Facebook as well as through Twitter.

I really care about my readers, and I don't want you to think that I would ever participate in a pirating scam. I wrote this blog to let you know you're safe acquiring my books, free or otherwise, at www.amazon. com and www.bn.com as well as on Kobo and other well-known sites.

Please take care on the Internet! (Did I mention that the Keeping Secrets Series is available now by clicking on the links to the left? Oh. I did. Also, an excerpt from THROUGH EYES OF LOVE is posted below on my previous blog - enjoy! Thanks for your continued support of my work, and happy reading.) Read More 
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Writing Well

I wish I knew who wrote these rules. I first came across them many years ago and have been trying to find out the author ever since. Here they are, and I've added a few enhancements to the original.

The 26 Rules of Writing Well

1) Don't abbrev.
2) Check to see if you any words out.
3) Be carefully to use adjectives and adverbs correct.
4) About sentence fragments.
5) When dangling, don't use participles.
6) Don't use no double negatives.
7) Each pronoun agrees with their antecedent.
8) Just between you and I, case is important.
9) Join clauses good, like a conjunction should.
10) Don't use commas, that aren't necessary.
11) Its important to use apostrophe's right.
12) It's better not to unnecessarily split an infinitive.
13) Never leave a transitive verb just lay there without an object.
14) Only Proper nouns should be capitalized. also a sentence should begin with a capital letter and end with a full stop
15) Use hyphens in compound-words, not just in any two-word phrase.
16) In letters compositions reports and things like that we use commas to keep a string of items apart.
17) Watch out for irregular verbs that have creeped and snuck into our language.
18) Verbs has to agree with their subjects.
19) Avoid unnecessary redundancy.
20) A writer mustn't shift your point of view.
21) Don't write a run-on sentence you've got to punctuate it.
22) A preposition isn't a good thing to end a sentence with.
23) Avoid clichés like the plague.
24) 1 time only I will tell you this - never start a sentence with a number.
25) Always check your work for accuracy and completely.

I'm sure this was written before auto-correct because my word-processing program kept fixing the errors. As an editor, I can appreciate this. As a writer trying to get a blog posted, I don't. But I do thank the anonymous author for a few good laughs over the years. Read More 
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Write It!

It happened again the other day. A woman phoned and told me she had a wonderful plot for a book. Not only that, but it was the story of her life. And she was willing to let me write it.

I'd need to add plot points, she said. I'd get hints about those in the large box of scribblings that she'd deliver to my house ASAP. She wasn't sure how to construct the story, and I should add the dialogue. That wouldn't be too hard - she'd read my books and I seem to have a knack for it.

Of course, she'd want a cut of the royalties. She'd be happy with, oh, 80 percent. Right about then, I smelled something burning on the stove and escaped.

When writers get such phone calls, we wish we earned a living some other way.

"Why is that?" asked my friend Sasha, who thinks the writing life is so glamorous that I should find joy in jotting down my shopping list.

"Because someone else's story is not my story," I replied. (Not to mention that if I do all the work, I'm entitled to more than 20 percent of the income derived.)

"Hmmm," Sasha said thoughtfully. But she didn't really get it.

Here's the thing: I am a writer. One of the things writers do is think up plots and dialogue. The reason we do this is – WE CAN'T HELP IT. When you're a writer, you can't turn off the plot or the words in your head. And there is no cure, either. Plots and made-up conversations twitch at our brains the way tics twitch at some people's eyelids.

So with words flashing through our brains as though from weird alien strobe lights, illuminating corners of our minds and confusing us with complexities which we struggle to understand because we must – absolutely must – commit it all to paper so an editor will buy it, and there's not enough time in the day to get it all done, WHY WOULD WE WANT TO WRITE THE STORY OF YOUR LIFE?

You guessed it. We wouldn't. Also, strange as it may seem, we support ourselves with what we write. Other people sell soap. We sell words and ideas. Twenty percent of the take isn't going to cut it.

So, I humbly suggest that you write your own story. You may have been born a middle-eastern princess, fled the harem to marry a cosmonaut, divorced him after you discovered the Lost Continent of Atlantis, and given birth to Elvis's posthumous love child. That's great, but why give it to someone else? It's your story. The world is waiting for your talent, your brilliance, and your unique style. Self-publishing options make it possible for anyone to become an author, so go for it!

And you can keep all the money you earn instead of paying me 20 percent.

I will be happy to read your finished book. Just send me the link, and I'll be as delighted as anyone that you made it as a writer.

Happy writing to you! I think I smell something burning on the stove. And that's a good sign. It means I've paid the electric bill this month with what I've earned from writing.  Read More 
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I Spy, Almost

I wanted to write spy novels. Yes. I mean it. Cloak and dagger, assignations in misty alleys, the whole bit.

One day I tried my hand at it, and this is what I produced:

A frog who was a successful espionage agent decided one day while sitting on his chilly pad that it was time for this spy to come in from the cold.

"Wart'll I do?" moaned his Chief in dismay. "Without you, we'll be toadally at the mercy of The Enemy."

"Send me a youngster," proposed the frog, "and I'll train her in the art of espionage."

So the Chief assigned a young polliwog apprentice. Months of training followed, but the polliwog was such a slowpoke that the frog despaired of ever making her into a good spy.

Then, tactics of The Enemy made a mission necessary. "Speed is of the essence!" cried the Chief as the three of them rushed toward their checkpoint.

"Alas!" wailed the frog. "All is lost! This polliwog'll dawdle all day!"

The Enemy was hard on their heels, the frog dragging the slow polliwog every step of the way.

"Quick!" panted the Chief. "Holler something to distract them!"

At that the frog stopped abruptly, dropped the polliwog, and resigned himself to being captured. "This is the end. I can do no more," he proclaimed bitterly. "I can't possibly croak and drag 'er, too."

That's the end of my story, and it was the end of my career as a writer of espionage novels. Robert Ludlum, you have nothing to worry about. Happy New Year, everyone.  Read More 
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Why Read?

It's a relevant question now that we have so many other ways to use our eyes and our imaginations. TV, movies, video games. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest. IPad. Smart phones. Surfing the Web. Have I left something out?

I posed the question "Why read?" to my friends at lunch. They don't want their identities revealed,so I'll call them Sasha, Tamsin, and Morissey, names that I've never used in any of my books (see previous blog post).

"I want to immerse myself in a story," Sasha said. "It's about losing myself in another world."

"One world is enough to handle. For me, reading is a way to connect with characters I like. Who make no demands on me." This was Morissey, who is dealing with an untrainable dog, nieces who dug up their dead hamster and stuck it in her freezer, and a husband who - well, you don't want to know all that. Or maybe you do, but I'm not telling.

Tamsin stirred her tea. She only drinks Earl Grey. "It's not so much the story or the characters," she said after a while. "It's how you get from Point A to Point B. All stories have a beginning, a middle and an end. The way the author handles it is what interests me."

"Ah," Morissey said knowingly. "The workings of the author's mind."

"I'm surprised you think about the author at all," I said. Being an author, I focus on the characters I create. I try to leave myself out of it.

"Oh, we always think about the author," they chorused, nodding and then blinking at me as they waited to see what I'd say.

"I think about the reader," I told them. "All the time. Kind of like he or she is looking over my shoulder as I write."

Tamsin wrinkled her nose, whether at what I said or at the pungent steam rising from the Earl Grey, I couldn't tell.

"That's creepy," said Sasha. She thinks everything is creepy. She doesn't like spiders either.

"Having an imaginary reader around doesn't bother me." I shrugged and ate some pound cake. "I'm writing for the reader, so it seems as if she should be there when I do." I expected more questions about this, but nooooooo. There are two questions I get over and over again. One is "Where do you get your ideas?" The other usually follows fast upon the heels of that one. And so it did.

"Didn't you once tell us you write in your pajamas?" Tamsin asked with interest.

Inward groan. Outward nonchalance. "Must have been some other writer. Not me." I always say that. I'll leave you to guess if it's true or not, but remember, I write fiction for a living.

"I like the feel of the pages as I turn them. The paper and all," said Morissey. "It's soothing."

"Not me! I love my e-reader." This was Sasha.

"Me too," Tamsin said. "I hate paper books. They take up too much space."

"I'm never getting an e-reader." Morissey shuddered.

"Can't we like both? E-readers for convenience, book books because - well, because." I can't imagine not having book books all over the place. They make home seem like home.

"Okay, we can like both," one of them said, and the others nodded and passed the pound cake.

I started thinking: Are we witnessing the end of the book book? Those heavy volumes that we lugged home from the library every week when we were kids? Books that promised adventure, romance, information, and many happy hours with people we'd never forget? Scarlett O'Hara, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Anna Karenina, Heathcliff, Steinbeck on the road with Charley the dog. Anne Frank. Jody and the yearling.

With all the new technology available, maybe we are witnessing the demise of books as we knew them.

Only I don't think it really is all that tragic. A book is still a book whether it arrives from the library between covers or in a flash on my e-reader. The people in the stories are the same people, and we'll be forever fascinated by the thought processes in the author's head. We're still going to discuss good stories over pound cake with friends.

Everything is the same. Just different. And maybe it's better. I love being able to adjust the print size in my e-reader to a size that doesn't give me eyestrain. It's great to download the book I want to read in less than 30 seconds. Also, my e-reader talks. It reads stories to me.

So I'm embracing new technology. It's great. I like having options. Plus it gives me great comfort to know that no matter how my stories are delivered to my readers, one thing will remain constant. There will always be people around who ask if I write in my pajamas. Read More 
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Tears Are A Fine Thing

Have you ever wanted to write a bestseller? You can do it! All you have to do is analyze what makes a book sell lots of copies. Then do it yourself.

A very famous megaseller author writes fascinating, emotionally engaging books that regularly top the bestseller lists. Many of them have been made into movies. This author's one of my favorites. I read almost everything she writes. So I sat down with one of her books, a highlighter and an adding machine to figure out what makes her writing so popular.

The answer is tears.

In the book I was reading, the characters cry a total of 67 times during the book's 400 pages.

The hero is sharply drawn and sympathetic, and bad things happen to him. He's entitled to cry a lot. And he does - 22 times.

Another main character only cries 12 times, but she dies before the book ends.

The hero's daughter cries 10 times. She's really entitled to more, since she's just a kid.

The hero's mother produces tears 10 times, the father only once. He's probably just stoic, but he may also have obstructed tear ducts.

The hero's girlfriend cries six times and doesn't even appear until the last part of the book.

Other tears are scattered here and there among minor characters, and don't forget the reader. It's a good idea to keep a full box of Kleenex handy.

Weeping is stimulated not only by sad events but happy ones as well. Sad reasons for crying, however, outnumber happy ones by a ratio that I would have figured out if the numbers on my calculator hadn't been blurred by my own tears.

With 67 crying scenes in 400 pages, there's a crying scene an average of every 5.93 pages.

So when you sit down to write your bestseller, remember, tears sell. And after you write one, you'll be crying all the way to the bank. Read More 
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Love Scenes - Why?

Everybody knows why books have love scenes. It's because editors like them.

Well, maybe. Sometimes I think editors like love scenes for the same reason that a name actress takes her clothes off in a movie. It's expected. It's part of the job.

Do writers enjoy writing love scenes? Do editors insist upon them because they enjoy slogging through phrases such as, "He ogled her healthy body, whose long black hair shined in the sun"? (Yes, this is from an actual submitted and ultimately rejected manuscript. Not one of mine.)

I've written a lot of love scenes. Some were sweet and some were sexy, and I am not the one who decided which it would be. Neither did my editor. You know who did? The characters. Another driving force was the plot and what needed to happen to my characters for their story to play out.

Everything in a love scene needs to reflect an underlying emotion that the characters feel. Because it is a love scene, there's not a whole lot of verbal communication. It can go beyond "Me Tarzan, you Jane," but not by much.

In real people, emotions are stimulated by the five senses - sight, touch, taste, hearing, and smell. In fictional people, likewise. I once knew a famous writer who kept a list of the five senses taped to her computer monitor so that she'd be sure to include each one in every love scene. You could get carried away with that, but what ultimately makes it onto the page is something like, "Sebastian drifted his hand along the curve of Catriona's waist, and she rested her head on his shoulder. A loose tendril of her hair tickled his cheek. He closed his eyes, inhaled the scent of her perfume. It reminded him of (take your pick: the breeze on a summer night, lilacs in his mother's garden, Clorox bleach, etc.).

We understand through this love scene that the recalcitrant bad boy hero has his gentle side. Finally his emotions are coming into play in this relationship, whereas previously all he wanted to do was ride his motorcycle and play video games. Next Sebastian will notice that Catriona has lovely hazel eyes, that they are her outstanding feature, and that she is gazing at him with desire. Next thing, they'll be off to the gazebo where she'll lose her innocence and he'll realize that he's been missing a lot in life. One year hence they will welcome their first child into the world, only he doesn't know that now. The reader, however, suspects already.

See what has happened here? Moving into an intimate relationship has propelled the story forward. These two people will never be the same. The love scene was a catalyst for something much more important than body parts touching body parts. It illuminated the story.

And story is everything. It's why we read in the first place.

So next time you're reading a novel and find yourself in the middle of a love scene, give the author credit for choosing one of the many elements necessary to telling the story and putting that element in the right place to engage YOUR emotions.

Unless, of course, Sebastian is ogling Catriona's healthy body, whose long black hair shined in the sun. In that case, you might want to chuck the book into the wastebasket, like the editor who did the same. Read More 
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The Creation of Adam and Cara and Blake and Tia and Doug and Morgan, not to mention Asdfjkl;

My mouse pad bears a picture of Michelangelo's The Creation of Adam. God is depicted as an old man with a white beard who is reaching toward Adam, presumably with the intention to impart life.

The mouse pad was a gift from my daughter many years ago. She understood that writing involves sparking life into characters, because if you can't do that, you won't be a fiction writer.

"What do you think of the name Sasha?" I once asked the family at the dinner table. I was beginning a new book, and naming characters is one of the fun parts. "Good name for a dog," said my son, and poor Sasha, doomed, was renamed Juliana or Mariel before I returned to my computer.

It's hard for me to picture a character in one of my books if he/she doesn't have a name yet. Sometimes I fall in love with a name for no particular reason. My heroine Sasha was adventurous, way out of the mainstream, and given to wearing gypsyish clothing. But she wasn't doglike at all, and I couldn't burden her with a name that engendered an image of anything canine. So she never existed on the pages of my book. Sorry, Sasha.

Feeling comfortable with my main characters' names is important to me. They have to be fairly short. If I'm going to be writing a 75,000-word book, I don't want to be typing Elizabeth 6000 times in the course of telling the story. Plus that name has a Z in it, and despite being rigorously trained as a typist by the crotchety Mrs. Wray, who was the scourge of typing class at my high school, I still hit SHIFT more often than Z. It's something about the little finger. Unlike God, I have a hard time reaching out to create life, and when I do, it's going to be to someone named, say, Dash, the letters of which are all in my keyboard's Home Row.

Then there's renaming. Sometimes a hero seems like a Jake at first. You know, a dark-haired, restless, devil-may-care individual who might or might not have a beard. In the course of the first draft, Jake helps his friend retile his bathroom floor instead of watching the Super Bowl. He makes thoughtful comments like, "You know, I really like the color blue. Baby blue, like the sky after a good rain." This clues me in to the possibility that Jake isn't the rakish fellow he seemed at first. No, he's a calm and sensitive James, though not a Jim. Or maybe he's an Arthur. Thank goodness for Search-And-Rescue in my word processing program, because I can transform Jake into Arthur with a few key strokes.

Character naming is not to be taken lightly, nor is choosing a pseudonym. I've written books under a few different names, and people often ask why I've chosen them. My first books were published under the name Melanie Rowe. Early in my career I sold a book to Silhouette. They insisted, in those days, that all authors use a pseudonym, and no one cared that my real name, Pamela Browning, is lovely and euphonious. After much thought, I chose the pseudonym Melanie Love. I was writing romances, right? However, my editor, Leslie Wainger, didn't like the Love. She wouldn't accept the Love. She gave me a couple of hours to come up with something else.

It was my son's birthday and I was frosting cupcakes I'd baked to take to his birthday party at Cub Scouts. My mind wandered back to the day he was born. He was delivered by Dr. Rowe. Melanie.....ROWE! Before I loaded the cupcakes, fruit juice and party favors into the car, I phoned Leslie and told her my choice. She liked it, and that's how Melanie Rowe came to be. It seemed poignant and fitting that on the anniversary of my son's birth, when I'd given him life, I created a new self who would publish a few books under that name and then become Pamela Browning - again.

What with the creation of Deke and Martine and Nick and Cricket and Tim and Maura and Xan, not to mention Melanie Rowe, it's been a satisfying career. I still haven't used all my favorite names. I want to name someone Brock. And Claire, and Gabriel.

And Sasha, if a Russian Wolfhound should ever turn up in one of my books.  Read More 
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