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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 homeā€”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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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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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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Come on in and enjoy the view

Point of view, that is.

A novelist has options, lots of options. She chooses her book's setting, creates the characters, builds a plot. But perhaps her most important decision is figuring out who is the best character to tell her story.

Take Gone With the Wind, for instance. Scarlett O'Hara is one of the most memorable characters in modern fiction. Margaret Mitchell chose to relate the story from Scarlett's point of view for various reasons. One would be that Scarlett's life and that of aristocratic Southerners like her could never be the same after what we Southerners call "the late unpleasantness." But what if Ms. Mitchell had created another character, a young black man, perhaps a slave on the O'Hara plantation, to relate events from his own perspective? It would have been a completely different book, wouldn't it?

Or what if there'd been more than one point-of-view character in Gone With The Wind? Mammy, for instance, as a counterpoint to Scarlett. Would that have worked as well? Probably not, because then Scarlett would have needed many more scenes of conflict with Mammy, and Mammy stayed in the background for much of the book because what she could bring to the story was important, but not that important. She was Scarlett's conscience, and who needs a conscience when you're struggling to survive? Not our Scarlett, that's for sure.

Well, how about Gerald O'Hara, Scarlett's father, as a POV character? What if Ms. Mitchell had begun her novel in Ireland when Gerald was a boy? Would the story have had more impact if that were the case? Or less? Since Ms. Mitchell's area of expertise, the milieu in which she'd grown up, was the southern United States, and since she was concentrating on that society's upheaval, I think focusing on Gerald and his Irish background would have diluted the book's emotional impact on the reader.

Certainly Rhett, Ashley, or Melanie could have had their own points of view. It might have been fascinating to see Scarlett, her strengths as well as her imperfections, through their eyes. I'm glad Margaret Mitchell didn't give them a voice, though. If she had, she wouldn't have had as much space to devote to Scarlett. And we would have been deprived of many of the intricacies of Scarlett's fascinating character as she carried the story forward in her own inimitable way.

I'm writing a book with multiple points of view at present. For me it's a natural process. One character or another steps forward and says "Me, me, me! Write about me!" In this work-in-progress, five women are clamoring for my attention. When I started out, there was one. I added two more because my story needed depth, and then another because she was the perfect person to relate the backstory. Finally a sub character, an elderly Gullah woman, both wise and feisty, started jumping up and down and hollering, "Honey, don't you even think about leaving me out! Hunh."

As if I'd dare. Guess I'll go work on one of her chapters right now. Read More 
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Choice Words

When I give workshops, I'm sometimes required to read the attendees' manuscripts. Note: required is the word I've chosen here because we have to start somewhere.

But what if I'd used the word allowed or encouraged or requested? Puts a whole different slant on it, right?

Required implies that I must read manuscripts even if I would rather not.

Allowed gives you the idea that reading manuscripts is a privilege.

Encouraged? Someone wants me to read manuscripts, and perhaps I can pick and choose, or maybe I can go to the beach instead.

Requested means that they ask, and I could say no. In fact, I there's a good chance that in this instance, I will say no, considering that the beach is presently a cheerier prospect than a mountain of paper.

As for the manuscripts that I'm required to read, almost every one will include disconcerting combinations of words. Or combinations of disconcerting words. Or words in disconcerting combinations. Read on, if you dare.

Writers learn to use words that are active instead of passive, specific instead of general. Eulalie barreled into Samson as she rushed around the corner of the gym, not Eulalie ran into Samson as she went around the corner of the building. However, some beginning writers toss any old word into a sentence, perhaps figuring that if active is good, more active is better. Eulalie crashed into Samson (evokes images of Samson as a crash dummy, poor guy). Eulalie slammed into Samson (not bad, maybe even better than barreled). Eulalie flew into Samson (is Eulalie a bird? a bat? a 747?).

Maybe this writer ends up with Eulalie slammed into Samson as she rushed around the corner of the gym. Well, if Eulalie slammed, wouldn't she already have been rushing? Slammed implies velocity. Velocity isn't achieved by creeping.

So how can we get rid of rushing? Perhaps Eulalie slammed into Samson as she rounded the corner of the gym. However, if she rounded the corner of the gym, which is most likely a 90-degree angle, that may be a too-confusing picture for the reader, whose brain is already in shock from Eulalie's slamming, not to mention that if Eulalie slammed into him, Samson may be lying on the ground, further complicating the picture. With all these problems in this one sentence, it makes a person wonder how anything at all gets written, not to mention how I'm going to have time to go to the beach.

Also, Eulalie would be better off if she didn't go near the gym at all. After school, she should hie herself off to the parking lot where she'll meet Dwain, the love of her life, who smells like Brut instead of sweaty gym socks.

But that's another column. Read More 
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What I'm Reading This Week

Readers often ask me what I'm reading, so here goes:

The Man From Beijing by Henning Mankell
Marriage And Other Acts of Charity by Kate Braestrup
The Water's Lovely by Ruth Rendell
The Last Time I Saw You by Elizabeth Berg
Arcadia Falls by Carol Goodman

And yes, I started and will finish all of them this week.

Let me know what you're reading! Read More 
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Write What You Know About

One of the bits of hackneyed advice often heaped upon wannabe writers is Write What You Know.

How this became the gospel preached by writing teachers, English professors, and editors is a mystery to me. It may have to do with the fact that most writing teachers, English professors, and editors haven't earned a living as working writers. Here's my dictum for purveyors of such nonsense: Teach What You Know. You obviously don't know a heck of a lot about writing. Read More 
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Where do you get your ideas?

When people learn I'm a writer, the first question they ask is, "Where do you get your ideas?"

Where don't I get ideas? For instance, maybe someone is asking me that very question in  Read More 
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