Tuesday, September 24, 2013

A to Z Blogging: Z is for Zed

As in The End. It's been fun blogging through the alphabet. I hope you've enjoyed reading my random musings. Next week, a new theme (maybe).  Until then, I thank you for reading my posts, my books, and my nonsense.

I now return to writing, editing, and life for a while. Lots coming up in the next few months.

Stay tuned...

For tips on writing and fun articles, visit Gina's Articles For Writers page: http://www.ginaardito.com/ArticlesforWriters.html
Need editing services for your manuscript? Gina is proud to announce the launch of Excellence in Editing: http://excellenceediting.com/

Sunday, September 22, 2013

A to Z Blogging: Y is for Yes

I'm a firm believer in opening myself up to possibilities. Over the years, there've been lots of times I've broken out of my comfort zone when an unusual opportunity presented itself. While the results haven't always turned out the way I anticipated, each event has brought me some unique lesson or insight that has, in some way, enriched me.

When was the last time you said, "Yes" to the universe? If you want to achieve anything, you have to believe in yourself. It's imperative that you envision yourself reaching your goal. Now, of course, I'm not talking about a goal like winning the lottery or guest hosting the Tonight Show or hitting the Forbes list of richest people. Those aren't true goals. 

Say yes to learning. Say yes to hard work. Say yes to opportunity, no matter where it presents itself. You never know where you'll end up.

For tips on writing and fun articles, visit Gina's Articles For Writers page: http://www.ginaardito.com/ArticlesforWriters.html
Need editing services for your manuscript? Gina is proud to announce the launch of Excellence in Editing: http://excellenceediting.com/

Thursday, September 19, 2013

A to Z Blogging: X is for Xavia

Xavia Donovan is a key character in my latest book, In Your Dreams. She's the manager of the Probation Department and Sean's new boss. But she's got her own marked history:


“Xavia.” Even the way Uriah said her name—with James Earl Jones depth and Darth Vader severity—ratcheted up the tension inside her. Clearly, his request to see her meant bad tidings. “Your son came through here. Again.”

She allowed herself to feel hope for the first time in eons, gripping the worn chair arms to keep her excitement in check. “When? Is he still here? Can I see him?” Maybe this time…

Uriah folded his arms over his gold-vested chest. “You know you cannot.”

Frustration reared its ugly head. Of course not. Once again, the Elder crushed her like an ant beneath his gilt shoe. “Then why tell me?” How long would they force her to do penance for one lousy mistake? Hands white-knuckling the chair arms, she glared up at Uriah. “Jee-zus, I get it. I screwed up. I couldn’t bear to live another day without my son so I offed myself, thinking we’d be reunited in death. My bad. And you guys saw that as a reason to punish me for eternity.”

No easy punishment, either. Instead of the joyful reunion she’d dreamed of, she arrived here and learned her suicide had damned them both to never see each other again. As much as that knowledge had devastated her, some kind of ripple effect had pulled an even worse voodoo on her son. No matter what kind of lifetime the Elders sent him to, he kept screwing up, kept winding up back here in the Afterlife before he reached adulthood.

“What happened this time?”

“He stole a car and was killed in a high-speed chase with the police.”


Police. Always the police. Her son, Noah, had been gunned down by a trigger-happy cop two blocks from their apartment in Bed-Stuy. At the time, Noah and a friend had been shooting out windows with a pellet gun. The idiot cop thought the gun was real, panicked, and shot her son straight through the heart. Since then, every time Uriah summoned her to one of these meetings, the scenario remained constant: Noah, caught doing something illegal, would come up against the Wall of Blue and lose. Every single time.

In Your Dreams is available now on Amazon.

For tips on writing and fun articles, visit Gina's Articles For Writers page: http://www.ginaardito.com/ArticlesforWriters.html
Need editing services for your manuscript? Gina is proud to announce the launch of Excellence in Editing: http://excellenceediting.com/

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

A to Z Blogging: W is for Workshops

I've got two workshops coming up on self-editing. This weekend, I'll be at the CTRWA's Fiction Fest in Mystic, CT. Then next month, I'll head to Iselin, NJ for the Put Your Heart in a Book Conference, hosted by NJRW.

I have some new destinations already on tap for next year, as well. As they're confirmed, I'll be sure to update my website's Appearances page with all the grisly details.

If your writing group might be interested in having me speak at an upcoming meeting, be sure to contact me at ginaardito@gmail.com. A list of my available workshops is available on my Appearances page. I love to travel to new places and connect with new writing friends so don't be shy about asking!


For tips on writing and fun articles, visit Gina's Articles For Writers page: http://www.ginaardito.com/ArticlesforWriters.html
Need editing services for your manuscript? Gina is proud to announce the launch of Excellence in Editing: http://excellenceediting.com/

Monday, September 16, 2013

A to Z Blogging: V is for Valentine

As in my FREE Valentine's Day short story, Duping Cupid. Have you read it yet? What are you waiting for? It's FREE!


Need a sneak peek? Okay, here goes:

At coat check, she grabbed her dark wool from the clerk and slipped into the sleeves. She walked out to the lobby, ready to hail a cab when another male voice called from behind her.


“Vivi.”

Once again, she turned. Once again, Bass rushed toward her. Seeing him brought relief—a friend was exactly what she needed right now. Her posture relaxed, and she found another smile for him. “Didn’t I send you home over an hour ago?”

“Since when do I listen?”

She laughed.

“I’ve been hanging out with our new employee, Raul. Nice kid. I’d just gone to the men’s room when you came out of the dining room.” He gestured to her buttoned coat. “Early night?”

“I called our client a dirtbag,” she confessed with a wince.

“Then I’m guessing he won’t be giving us a decent referral.”

All the tension that had brewed between them over the last three months washed away under the flow of their easy banter.

He jerked his head at the glass entrance a few feet away. “Take a walk with me?”

“A short one.” Extending her leg, she showed off the spiky heel. “These aren’t exactly athletic shoes.”

“You look spectacular, by the way. That dress could get a dead man’s attention.”

“Great. I’ll swing by the morgue on my way home. If I plan early, maybe I can grab a date for next Easter at my parents’.”

You can pick up your copy at Amazon, iTunes, Smashwords, and Barnes & Noble.

For tips on writing and fun articles, visit Gina's Articles For Writers page: http://www.ginaardito.com/ArticlesforWriters.html
Need editing services for your manuscript? Gina is proud to announce the launch of Excellence in Editing: http://excellenceediting.com/

Sunday, September 15, 2013

A to Z Blogging: U is for Uppity

I have this great plaque on my wall that I found at a small store in Vermont many years ago.

The title is "How to be an Uppity Woman" and it goes like this:

Wake UP to your magnificent potential
Let UP on the "shoulds" in your life
Dress UP however you want
Loosen UP and be silly
Give UP trying to do everything for everyone
Get UP your courage to be you-nique
Stand UP for yourself and your opinions
Face UP to what needs to be changed and do it
Lift UP your spirit in thanks for who you are
Open UP to love around and within you

Nice, huh? I like it. Why not give it a try? You'll feel better about yourself. I promise.


For tips on writing and fun articles, visit Gina's Articles For Writers page: http://www.ginaardito.com/ArticlesforWriters.html
Need editing services for your manuscript? Gina is proud to announce the launch of Excellence in Editing: http://excellenceediting.com/

Friday, September 13, 2013

A to Z Blogging: T is for Twenty-Seven

Today's my 27th wedding anniversary. Twenty-seven years of wedded bliss. With some not-so-blissful moments sprinkled into the mix to make it interesting. What's our secret?

How the heck do I know?

I think a lot of it is just good old fashioned stubbornness. We're both too obstinate to give up. And when we're mad at each other, there's no way either of us would let the other go to be happy somewhere else! Oh, no. If I'm miserable, you better believe he's going to be miserable right along with me. And vice versa. That's what makes a good, strong marriage: two stubborn people.

We fight. Good and loud. We laugh. Long and loud. We're obnoxious, sarcastic, and totally perfect for each other. No one else would have us. 

But there's more to it than that. We're best friends. We're confidants. We're parents. We're that middle-aged couple you see holding hands in the mall. We've shared great joy and devastating loss. 

He's every hero I write, every smile I wear, and every beat of my heart.

Happy anniversary, Filippo. Thanks for loving me almost as much as I love you.



For tips on writing and fun articles, visit Gina's Articles For Writers page: http://www.ginaardito.com/ArticlesforWriters.html
Need editing services for your manuscript? Gina is proud to announce the launch of Excellence in Editing: http://excellenceediting.com/

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

A to Z Blogging: S is for School Supplies

Yep. It's that time again in our little neck of the woods. The Boy went back to school yesterday, which means that after Le Day Job this afternoon, I'll be trekking to Staples for the annual improbable quest: 1.275-inch binders (with four rings), a calculator that can graph the periodic table and will cost me 9 million dollars (that he'll use once the whole school year), composition books in any color but black, and of course, crayons--'cuz, hey! It's not like high school kids can prepare for the SATs without a box of 64 Crayolas.

To reward myself for fighting the crowds, driving cross-country in search of these impossible grails, and still holding onto my sanity, I always take advantage of those back to school specials and buy myself a new toy. This year, I'm thinking...printer.

I killed my Canon last year, but luckily, still had my old Dell in the walk-in closet. And while Dell is still chugging along, there's a reason I retired the old guy several years ago. He's too slow for me. I print a lot. I mean...a lot. I need a printer that keeps up with my needs. Eight black and white pages a minute just doesn't cut it when I'm printing out a three-hundred-page manuscript fifteen minutes before work. (You do the math.)

So, share with me. What printer do you use and love? Which ones do you advise me to avoid?

For tips on writing and fun articles, visit Gina's Articles For Writers page: http://www.ginaardito.com/ArticlesforWriters.html
Need editing services for your manuscript? Gina is proud to announce the launch of Excellence in Editing: http://excellenceediting.com/

Monday, September 9, 2013

A to Z Blogging: R is for Reviews

If you're looking for another post about Goodreads, look elsewhere. I'm not getting involved in that cesspit of misunderstandings, online bullying (on BOTH sides of the fence, kids!), and drama in a dram.

Lots of writers eat or starve by reviews. We beg readers to review our work on Amazon, not because we need validation (okay, some of us need validation), but to pump up our books on the Amazon queue. The higher a book stands on the queue, the more readers can find it. So if you, the reader, love a certain author or a certain book, your three sentence snippet on Amazon (and the stars you give the book) actually help other readers to find that author or book. You don't need to be an expert. You only need to be a reader.

Did you get a free book from an author? Whether at a talk or appearance or via an online site? Write a review! Please? That's why writers give their work away. Look at it this way. That book probably took the author months (if not years) to write. Time and money were spent on editing, cover art, publishing. All of that time and energy was given to you for free. Say thank you by taking five minutes out of your busy day to write a review. 

Writers really do appreciate you helping them succeed!


For tips on writing and fun articles, visit Gina's Articles For Writers page: http://www.ginaardito.com/ArticlesforWriters.html
Need editing services for your manuscript? Gina is proud to announce the launch of Excellence in Editing: http://excellenceediting.com/

Sunday, September 8, 2013

A to Z Blogging: Q is for Quota

Do you set a quota when writing? Like...1000 words a day? 2000? 5000?

Personally, I think it's a bad idea. For any number of reasons. 

1. I believe it hinders your quality. Be honest. What happens when you're dog-tired and only made it to 900 words? Do you rest on your laurels and revive your spirit so that you can create that next stellar scene tomorrow, or do you just fluff up what you've already written with extraneous words to make your day's quota?

2. I don't know of any other career where someone works this way (artistic or not). Do painters say they'll only quit after doing 1000 brush strokes a day? Can your veterinarian only go home after treating 50 pets a day? 

3. If you're hiring a freelance editor, chances are good, you'll overpay for services. Why? Because of what I said in reason #1. You've got a lot of extraneous words, which translates to extraneous pages, which translates to extraneous dollars spent by you.

4. What good are a lot of words if the story's not great? Again, this kinda goes hand in hand with rule #1. I don't care if it's a full-length novel, a short story, or a clever limerick. As a general rule, writers don't get paid by the word in book length fiction. So why does your every writing day hinge on a number?

Look, I get it. It's a discipline thing. But here's a novel (no pun intended) idea! Do what I do: Write Every Day. Some days, I'll write a sentence. Other days, I write ten pages. No pressure to hit a quota. Write a sentence, write a paragraph, write a scene, write a chapter, write a book.  

Now, of course, lots of writers are going to disagree with me. NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month in November, wherein authors attempt to write a 50,000 word novel in a 30 day period) fans are definitely going to take me to task on this post. 

But here's the thing. If something works for you, go for it. Who am I to tell you not to? You like having a quota. Have a quota.

Today, I'm addressing anyone who feels inferior for not hitting a thousand words a day. Or doesn't get the whole idea of writing to a "bar" they have to reach. I'm here to say, you're not alone. And if you can't make it work for you, don't sweat it.

The trick is (and always has been) to find what works for you as a writer and stick to it!

For tips on writing and fun articles, visit Gina's Articles For Writers page: http://www.ginaardito.com/ArticlesforWriters.html
Need editing services for your manuscript? Gina is proud to announce the launch of Excellence in Editing: http://excellenceediting.com/

Saturday, September 7, 2013

A to Z Blogging: P is for Pantser

Yup, that's me. I don't plot. Ever. 

In fact, I spend a lot of time wandering around with a blank look on my face while saying to myself, "What happens next?" and running what's come before through my head.

It's an odd way to write, I admit. But it works for me. I need to be as surprised as my readers by "what happens next." 


A perfect example is in my historical romance, Echoes of Love, written under my pen name, Katherine Brandon. 

The story takes places in a fictional country on the border of Russia during Napoleon's invasion. Royal governess, Chesna Dubrow, has vowed to protect the heir to the throne at all costs. Soon enough, her life is in jeopardy, and the culprit might be someone she's trusted since childhood.

While I was writing this book, someone kept trying to kill off my heroine--and I had no idea who the culprit was. I didn't know until about twenty pages from The End. And boy, was I surprised when the would-be killer revealed him/herself! I hope you'll be, too.

So...yeah. I'm a Pantser. And proud of it.

Echoes of Love is available from Amazon and The Wild Rose Press.


For tips on writing and fun articles, visit Gina's Articles For Writers page: http://www.ginaardito.com/ArticlesforWriters.html
Need editing services for your manuscript? Gina is proud to announce the launch of Excellence in Editing: http://excellenceediting.com/

Friday, September 6, 2013

A to Z Blogging: J is for Java

Coffee addict that I am, what else would I use for today's letter? Java was originally a type of coffee, named for the country of its origin. Although no one really knows for sure, the first name for any coffee blend might have been "Mocha Java," but there's also some speculation that the Indonesian term for sweet black coffee, "kopi jawa," came first.

The first coffee plantation on the island of Java in Indonesia was owned by the Dutch East India Company (also pretty heavily invested in tea plantations--are you sensing a trend here?). The Dutch presented a coffee plant to the King of France, who was so taken with the product, he introduced coffee to the Caribbean.

For tips on writing and fun articles, visit Gina's Articles For Writers page: http://www.ginaardito.com/ArticlesforWriters.html
Need editing services for your manuscript? Gina is proud to announce the launch of Excellence in Editing: http://excellenceediting.com/

A to Z Blogging: O is for Opium

In my historical romance, Kismet's Salvation (under my pen name, Katherine Brandon), my heroine, Lydia Winchester, knows the evils of opium first-hand. Her father made his fortune transporting the drug from the Far East to Victorian London. Now,she's a gal on a mission: on her way to Hong Kong to return a precious sacred gem to a temple. *If* she can persuade Captain Armand St. Clair to take her along. 

“I see nothing humorous in my request,” she retorted.
Her features pinched, and he turned to hide his smile. He’d warned her not to raise her voice. “You don’t?”
“No, I don’t. I’m not seeking charity from you. I’m willing to pay for my passage.”
The laughter erupted again. Oh, how her naïveté amused him! “Do you know how much passage to Hong Kong costs?”
“No.” She stared at her feet, and then lifted her head, gaze steady on his face. “But I’m certain we could come to an agreement on a fair price.”
“Does your papa know where you are, little mouse?” Calling her little mouse seemed accurate enough for such a meek and brown creature. Why, in height, she barely reached his chest.
“I hardly see how that matters. I’m not a child.”
“Really?” He studied her more closely. Pale face, tiny stature, gray eyes. Definitely a mouse. And a youthful mouse at that. “You don’t look much older than one score.”
“Well, I am.”
“Are you married, madam?”
A rosy blush crept into her cheeks and lent some color to her bland features. “No.”
“Then you are your father’s responsibility until you wed. No doubt, he’ll deal with you far better than I.”
“Deal with me?”
She stamped her paw—or rather, her foot—but the effort only amused him more.
“No one deals with me, sir. I’m no man’s responsibility. I take care of myself, thank you.”
“Very well, then. Go home.” He waved a hand at her. “Shoo! Scurry back to your little hole where Mama and Papa Mouse are no doubt sick with worry over your disappearance.” 
“I will go to Hong Kong, Captain.” The vow, spoken softly, held more impact than if she’d shouted the words.
She had a spark, but not enough fire to sway him.
South Star does not take passengers.”
            She hesitated, and he wondered what brewed inside her feminine brain. Whatever she planned to say, she apparently reconsidered. She took several deep breaths before replying, “Forgive my intrusion. Thank you for your time. Perhaps we’ll meet again.”
            “I doubt it. I’m sailing for Hong Kong in the morning.”
            “As am I.” She moved past him, her shoulders thrown back and her bright red chin held high. “I wish you a safe and pleasant journey, sir.”
            She opened the door and disappeared into the night.

Kismet's Salvation, Book III of the Kismet Series, is available from Amazon and The Wild Rose Press.

For tips on writing and fun articles, visit Gina's Articles For Writers page: http://www.ginaardito.com/ArticlesforWriters.html
Need editing services for your manuscript? Gina is proud to announce the launch of Excellence in Editing: http://excellenceediting.com/

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

A to Z Blogging: N is for New Cover Reveal!

With special thanks to Elaina Lee of For the Muse Design for her artistic genius, here's the cover for In Your Dreams, Book II of the Afterlife Series.





Pretty, yes?
And what good is a cover without an excerpt? So...here goes:


“You haven’t been yourself lately,” Verity continued. “You’ve become impatient, surly, and distracted. Therefore, the Board has decided to reassign you.”

Yippee.

“Your sarcasm is grating, Sean,” Verity muttered, one eyebrow arched in disapproval. “I would advise you to keep your animosity in control until you leave this auditorium.”

With that simple admonishment, she transformed him into a petulant child. He’d forgotten the sensory link that allowed her to hear his thoughts as easily as if he shouted them. A flush of heat wafted over his neck and cheeks, and he ducked his head to hide his reaction from her knowing gaze. “Yes, ma’am.”

“You should also work on your sincerity. Your penitent act is a little weak.”

So much for hiding. “Yes, ma’am.” He clasped his hands on the tabletop in the pose of obedient schoolboy. Inside, however, his stomach roiled.

“Be that as it may,” Verity said. “Your services in bounty hunting are no longer required. The Board would like to transfer you to the Probation Department.”

His head jerked up, and he studied her face for any hint of ridicule. He found none. The most serene expression met his scrutiny. “Probation? For what? For disagreeing with your destruction of two loving, innocent people?” He shot to his feet, screeching the chair legs across the linoleum floor tiles. “Go to hell.”

“Sean.” A warning tone, followed by a sigh and a light tap to the wrist, beckoned him back into the chair. A command he refused this time. “You are not on probation. Yet. But your continued animosity toward me and the Board will not solve anything. I am urging you to forget about Luc and Jodie, for your own welfare. Since you’ve seen the Chasm for yourself, I’m sure you don’t want to find yourself banished there.”

He bit his tongue to keep a perfect fuck you in check and shook his head. “No, ma’am.”

“Sit.” She jerked her head toward the chair where he’d eaten so many meals as a child in Brooklyn. “We’ve much to discuss.”

Frowning, he dropped into the chair again. Why the hell couldn’t he maintain some backbone around her?

“And don’t pout,” she chastised gently.

“I’m not.” He meant the words to be a firm denial, but they came out an adolescent whine.

Verity laughed. “My mistake, then.” She laid her hands palms-up on the table, and her happy expression sobered without becoming harsh. “This isn’t a punishment or a demotion. You obviously can no longer continue as a bounty hunter. The Board, however, believes you can become an excellent probation officer. You’ll report to that department immediately after we’re through here. Xavia is waiting for you. But first, close your eyes. I want you to watch something.”

He barely did as she directed before a vivid scene popped into his head. Unlike his last experience with this neurosensory mind-meld, the details of Sean’s former lives did not fill his senses. Instead, he saw a young woman staring into a medicine cabinet mirror. Her eyes, glistening from the strip of lights above the cabinet and a well of unshed tears, shot lasers into Sean’s heart. So much pain communicated from those sweet teddy bear eyes. Unbidden, Sean reached out a hand to touch her, only to draw back when he remembered he was viewing an image in his head. Whoever the woman was, she resided on Earth, far from his place here in the Afterlife.

Scrick-tick. Scrick-tick.

The strange rhythmic sound in her bathroom drew his attention. A bottle of prescription painkillers, cradled between her trembling hands, rolled back and forth, the plastic catching on the gold band on her third finger.

So much pain.

Where the hell was her husband? Even separated by dimensions of time and space, Sean sensed how alone she was. Alone, abandoned, and rapidly losing hope.

“Who is she?” The question erupted before he could stifle his curiosity.


Verity frowned. “Her name is Isabelle Fichetti. And as soon as she swallows those pills, she’ll become your responsibility.”

In Your Dreams will be released later this month. Woo-hoo!

For tips on writing and fun articles, visit Gina's Articles For Writers page: http://www.ginaardito.com/ArticlesforWriters.html
Need editing services for your manuscript? Gina is proud to announce the launch of Excellence in Editing: http://excellenceediting.com/