Tag Archives: Saguaro Romance Writers

May 30, 2015: Pamela Tracy, Hands Across the Novel & Grammar and Critiquing for the Romance Writer

Hands Across the Novel

Pure characterization is highlighted in this workshop that divides your book into four sections and talks about how to chart growth via your hero, your heroine, your villain, and your plot.  Yes, you can consider your plot as a character.  Think Gone With The Wind.  How did the war change personalities as the novel went on?  How did Tara change? etc.

Grammar and Critiquing for the Romance Writer

As a college professor of English, commas give author Pamela Tracy no grief.  Do they give you grief?  They don’t need to.  Also, what is the difference between proof-reading, editing, and revising?  Let me help you with the very basics of writing tools and even show you how to look at the page as a whole during a hands-on romp through the process.

About the Speaker

Pamela Tracy is a USA Today award-winning author who lives with her husband (He claims to be the inspiration for most of her heroes) and son (He claims to be the interference for most of her writing time.) She was raised in Omaha, Nebraska, and started writing at a very young age (a series of romances, all with David Cassidy as the hero. Sometimes Bobby Sherman would interfere). Then, while earning a BA in Journalism at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas, she picked up the pen again only this time, it was an electric typewriter on which she wrote a very bad science fiction novel.)  First published in 1999 by Barbour Publishing, She has since published almost 30 books and sold more than a million copies.

Pamela has written contemporary, historical and suspenseful – all in the romance genre.  Her 2004 devotional Promises and Prayers for Teachers went all the way to number 2 on the Christian Bestseller Association list.  Her 2007 suspense Pursuit of Justice was a Rita finalist.  Then, her 2009 suspense Broken Lullaby won the American Christian Fiction Writers’ Book of the year award.  You can find out more about Pamela at pamelatracy.com

Meeting fee of $25 members, $30 guests and walk-ins includes lunch selected from a menu of three items during Saturday morning check-in. SPACE MAY BE LIMITED. Walk-ins are welcome, but whenever possible, please guarantee your spot by reserving on our payments page or by emailing reservations@tucsonRWA.org no later than 8 am Wednesday before the meeting.

LUNCH ORDERS ARE COLLECTED AT 10am. If you plan to be late, contact reservations@tucsonRWA.org so we will be prepared to order on your behalf.

This event takes place at our regular venue, the Clarion Hotel, 4550 S. Palo Verde Rd., Tucson & will include a chapter business meeting.


Friday Friends: Alica Mckenna Johnson A Must See For Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Authors

Troll Hunter, Tucson Writers Groups, Tucson RWA

One of the biggest issues authors of urban fantasy and paranormal books have is making it believable. Sure the reader wants to believe in shifters, vampires, ghosts and magical powers, but you the author still have to make it believable. You have to create the rules and maintain consistency within your work. It’s little things that make it work: the ease with which truths are revealed, small steps or precautions that are taken, and making that blend with the world we live in.
One of the best examples I have seen of this is in the movie Troll Hunter. It’s a Norwegian film done in documentary style, so it starts off kind of slow, but this is where the world building begins. A man who claims to be a troll hunter for the government is being interviewed by a college film student. Slowly this world that no one knows about opens up.
By the end of the movie I was convinced there were trolls in Norway, which is why I believe all urban fantasy and paranormal authors should watch it.
Do you have a movie that blew you away with how real the paranormal elements were?


Alica McKenna Johnson dreams of living on a clothing-optional beach where lovely men of many ethnic backgrounds bring her drinks and rub her feet, while wearing a variety of kilts and skirts (optional, of course). When on the verge of a nervous breakdown she plots her escape from exercise, gathers her sweats, and fills out applications to become the creepy night lady at the Circle K.

Alica lives in Tucson, Arizona with her very understanding husband, two to eleven children, depending on the time of day, and her daughter’s minions–aka the fish. Instead of collecting stamps–BORING–Alica collects sexy men in kilts. Hey, her husband is VERY understanding. At least Alica no longer collects them in the basement.

Please join Alica on her blog www.alicamckennajohnson.com

Or Facebook https://twitter.com/#!/AMckennaJohnson

Or Twitter https://www.facebook.com/AMckennaJohnsonAuthor


Friday Friends 50 Shades of Green by Mary Tate Engels


50 Shades of Green

Nothing says green like March! By now, we are so ready for some green! Green is Nature’s way of generating something new. It is fresh and clean, a doorway for artistry and innovation. Green is creativity.

So get your Green on for Wild Creativity this month!

Some Entertaining Stories: What if… this happened? Therefore… that happened! But … this got in the way and … a story ensued!

Some Exciting Fantasy: Just finished my first ghost story! I’m over the moon! What next?

Someplace different: maybe Ireland with its 50 shades of Green! Or Italy with its miles of seacoast and fantastic food!

Have some fun: Golf and March Madness college basketball!

Get some crazy-love: grand kids, children, friends and lovers!

Something Bookish: TFOB – Tucson Festival of Books – come on over for some fun with dozens of authors and thousands of book lovers.
This is my list – you make your own. Pull out your green pens, set up green décor (candles and such), and wrap up in a green scarf to remind yourself to be wildly creative. Be off and running into a green field! Bring a little (or a lot) of Green into your life! You’ll be happier for it!



Mary Tate Engels is the author of more than 33 books. For more see her website www.marytateengels.com .


Friday Friends Book Review 2,000 to 10,000 – How to write faster, write better, and write more of what you love



2,000 to 10,000 – How to write faster, write better, and write more of what you love by Rachel Aaron

Reviewed by Patricia Knoll

Rachel Aaron is the author of Fantasy and Science Fiction novels who quit her job a few years ago to write fulltime and take care of her infant son.  While still working at her old job, she managed to write about 2,000 words a day, which isn’t too sappy.  When she became a fulltime writer, she expected to have a much higher word count since she had many more hours in which to write, but it didn’t turn out that way.  She still was only writing about 2,000 words a day.  She set out to discover why and made some interesting discoveries about herself and her writing process.

What she came up with is a triangle of things she must accomplish in order to increase her word count.  They are Knowledge, Time, and Enthusiasm.

Knowledge:  She learned that her writing pace ground to a halt when she was trying to plot as she wrote, or trying to figure out what should happen next.  Her solution was to write down notes of what’s going to happen in each scene before she wrote it.  At the beginning of each writing session, she took five minutes to complete a quick description of what she was going to write that day.

Time:  Rachel made a spreadsheet (Be still my heart!  I adore spreadsheets because they can tell you so much.)  She kept track of what time she started writing, what time she stopped, how many words she wrote, and the location where she was writing.  She discovered that she wrote best in coffee shops where she didn’t have internet access.  She also found out that the longer she wrote, the faster she wrote, and the better she wrote.

Enthusiasm:  She realized that she wrote lickety-split on some scenes and others dragged.  After thinking about it, she saw that the scenes she’d been looking forward to writing went fast and well, while others, such as descriptions or background, didn’t.  She started using her five minute planning session to get excited about the scenes she would be writing that day, finding the fun parts, the hooks, the emotional bits that made it exciting.  Those were the things that moved her story forward.

Following the guidelines she set for herself, she has increased her writing production to 10,000 words a day.

Rachel seems to be a very analytical person who figured out what works for her.  Those of us who aren’t as analytical can benefit from her hard work to become more productive.

I bought this as an ebook for my Kindle.  It’s fast and easy to read, understand, and follow.  She has many more hints in the book, talking about characters and three act structure, for example.  One of the things I liked best about this book is Rachel’s positive, upbeat tone regarding the whole process of writing.  While she doesn’t make it seem easy, with her suggestions, it’s doable and enjoyable.



by Laurie Schnebly Campbell
You already know that, no matter what kind of plot you’re building, it’s gotta be motivated by your characters in order to feel plausible. It doesn’t matter whether you’re doing an emotional plot or an action plot or both — what makes it work is the characters.

So what IS it that makes your characters do what they do? Or another way of asking that is, what makes anybody do what they do?

There are all kinds of theories of motivation, and they all boil down to the same thing.

We want to be Okay.


Whatever it takes to be okay, that’s what motivates us.

Maslow talked about that, saying that to be Okay we first need Food and Water…yep, okay…Shelter…got it…then Safety…and in most books, those issues are pretty well taken care of. Sometimes you’ll get characters fleeing the murderer in the North Woods or laid off from the factory job, but food isn’t usually a driving motivation.

So we get into the next level of what people need to be Okay, which is Belonging / Acceptance / Love. Then there’s Respect of Others and Self-Respect, and finally there’s the drive to Be All You Can Be. Everywhere along that continuum, you’ve got some great motivators.


And that matters, because it’s the motivation that makes a character interesting.

Some writers start with the motivation: “let’s see, a woman who’s motivated by the desire for adventure would be THIS type of person.” Other writers start with the character: “my heroine wants to sail to Jamaica, so that must mean she’s motivated by adventure.”

Either way works fine. And either way leaves you totally free to write any kind of story you want.



Say, given this heroine who wants to sail to Jamaica in search of adventure, could your story be full of soul-deep emotion? Absolutely. Dizzying suspense? Yep. Heartwarming faith? Yep. Quirky humor? Yep. Spine-tingling terror? Yep.

It all depends on how you write it.

So in that case, why does the heroine’s motivation even matter?

Because it’s what makes her credible. Same as we can’t have pink-elephant aliens showing up in some 14th-century castle without sacrificing a bit of credibility, neither can we have this woman sailing off to Jamaica without SOME plausible motivation.

And that’s where it’s easy for us authors to fall down on the job. We love this heroine who’s rigging out her sailboat, we love that she’s going to Jamaica, and we know that on the way she’ll meet this incredibly witty sailor, there’ll be a pirate attack — oh, and the pirate ship will have a yellow parrot named Sidney! — it’s all taking shape. We KNOW it’ll work, because we can SEE this story.


But it’s that dazzling clarity which can get us into trouble. Because our readers weren’t IN on this first glorious flash of inspiration. They can’t see that wonderful vision. All they see is a heroine rigging out her sailboat for a trip to Jamaica, and they have no idea why she’s doing it.

Unless the readers GET her desire for adventure, they’re gonna feel out of the loop. They might not know why the story isn’t working for them, but they’re missing her motivation.

And motivation is what makes a book memorable.



For some writers, it comes so naturally that they never even question how their characters’ motivation will feed into the plot. (Which sometimes leaves them at loose ends, wondering what on earth can HAPPEN during their plot.)

For others, it’s more of a tack-on because their strength is in plotting. (Which sometimes leaves them wondering how to explain WHY this character did something that seems senseless but is actually integral to the plot.)

Either way, motivation is vital. And yet we’ve all found ourselves in trouble with motivation every now and then. So that’s my question for yoL6u:

When was the last time you found yourself dealing with a problem character? Who was this person? What did he or she do? How did you resolve the situation?

Everybody here will be able to sympathize with such a situation, because pesky characters strike EVERY writer! And if 25 people post today, one of ’em will win help for all their future characters,with free registration to my “Plotting Via Motivation” class (at WriterUniv.com) next month.

Meanwhile, I can’t wait to see those pesky characters on parade — because it’s always a lot more fun to read about other people’s problems than to focus on our own. :)

Laurie, hoping today will be slow at work so I can check email sooner than lunchtime…but don’t worry if it takes a while to hear back; I’m definitely checking in!