My 2 am Revelation – I don’t Write Romance

I woke up at 2 am with an epiphany of sorts and the deep desire to share it with you. I realize that I have not blogged in some time – too busy with writing and life… but this you have got to hear.

How many authors really LIKE reviews? Hmmm. I for one have reviews that I like, but I also have some that I want to grab the reviewer and shake them and say…. “You don’t even know the details of the story; you are missing MAJOR parts and your reading comprehension is way off base – how could you possible understand it???”

That being said, even those who have the wrong name for the main character, have no idea of the year or context of the book, or have missed some giant detail that makes everything they know about a book completely false – even they can and do have some merit. That is exactly the case with a review I just saw come through a few days ago that says that one of my books is NOT a romance, and to her I can emphatically reply – NO – it’s not!!!

I have said this to so many people at meet and greets, Facebook Events, and book signings – I don’t write romance, even though my books almost always contain a romantic element. The people in my stories are always caught up in an incredible adventure, sometimes an incredibly HORRIBLE adventure; that’s what my stories are about. They are suspense and/or thriller. When, how and even IF they fall in love is something that happens along the way, not the reason their story is being told. Sometimes they end up together and sometimes they don’t, and this isn’t CHOOSE YOUR OWN ADVENTURE, so YOU do not get to pick the ending.

My books will never be Harlequin’s; they  will never follow a ‘romantic arch’ or fit in any cookie-cutter mold you want to stuff them into with a neatly predictable plot line. There are going to be surprises you didn’t see coming. There are going to be elements you never thought of and choices (hard damn choices) you aren’t always going to understand or like. That’s what a Samantha Jacobey book is all about, and I have enough GREAT reviews to know that is exactly what MANY readers enjoy most about my work.

So what did I gain from this cathartic awakening? I realized that I LOVE reviews – even bad ones! I love to have people say things that get me to thinking and considering the possibilities; I guess that’s the debater in me. They help me get to the deepest question of them all – why? I find myself asking that most often after someone has blasted me on Amazon or Goodreads, and like with all living things, I find that struggle and strife are good for me; they help me to reflect and make me stronger in the end.

Therefore, I want to say a HUGE thank you to everyone who writes a review – good, bad, wrong, or ugly. You keep voicing those opinions, and I will keep putting out books that make you scratch your head and say… “Damn; I didn’t see that coming.”

Inspired – Sam’s Tips for cleaner writing

Chatting with another author, I became inspired to make a post about a few of the things that I have learned in the few years that I have been writing. This list is certainly not all inclusive, but they are things that I feel are beneficial to keep in mind; especially for those looking for ways to improve the way their work ‘feels’ when it’s being read. Please enjoy.

Look out for WAS – as in WAS sitting… use sat, WAS standing…. use stood, WAS smiling…. use smiled Do a search for was – if it appears more than about 400 times in a 50k word manuscript, you probably have this issue. That doesn’t mean they all need to go away, but be sure it is the BEST way to say what you mean, and if it’s not, change it.

Avoid VERY, JUST and NOW – if you have put one of these words in, be sure that it adds to the meaning of the text; otherwise they are JUST filler and get annoying to look at.

Speaking of annoying, watch for ‘catch words’ that have been repeated often in a short space, such as a paragraph or page. If you need to talk about a table, but you say the word TABLE ten times on the same page, it gets on the reader’s nerves. Find a different word, or work around it so that you don’t become repetitive, unless you mean to be. Repetition is a literary device, and you want to save it for those times when it adds to the meaning.

Don’t be GRABBY – grabbed is a verb of last resort, and there are lots of other words that mean to pick something up, so only use grab if nothing else works.

“Tried” implies that an action failed; only use it if it did in fact fail, and then only sparingly. It also can become a filler word, so make a list of your bad habits and watch for them in the future so that you can filter them out – don’t try, do it.

I can’t say enough about word variation, especially when it comes to verbs; SAID gets old fast, and tells us nothing about the feeling behind the words. I read a book once were everyone was HEADING somewhere, and to this day I cannot put that in a text without stopping to think about it. Word programs come with a thesaurus option you should use regularly; after a while, you won’t need it as much, as new words will become a part of your tool-box and you will begin using them without effort.

Sentence lengths should vary. Using short choppy sentences as a rule makes your work sound artificial and dull. They also lead to heavy repetition as the noun is used over and over; avoid this by combining smaller sentences into longer ones, and saving the short ones for emphasizing a point.

On the other hand, longer sentences need to be punctuated well, so that they flow; insert commas where clauses fall and where speech naturally pauses. Oh, and use the semicolon to separate main clauses or to give a longer pause; especially when two ideas are connected, or you want one of them to stand out.

In dialogue, how often do we REALLY say the other person’s name? Reading a passage where they keep saying each other’s name REPEATEDLY gets annoying. Take all of those out, unless you are emphasizing a point, and stop using your character’s names excessively in descriptions as well. It’s a filler and can become tiresome for the reader.

Do searches of your finished manuscript before you start editing; locate hot-spots that you want to address when you are re-working the text, and add to it if you notice something new has crept in; like using an adjective excessively. If everything is AWESOME, you need a new way to describe it.

Finally, keep at it. You only get better at something when you do it regularly. Read articles, ask questions, and join in discussions; all of these things improve your understanding of mechanics. Also, never take what someone says about your writing personally; even a one-star review can have a nugget of wisdom hidden inside it, if you take the time to look with an open mind.

Fortunately for us, there are many styles of writing, and we are not all the same. Someone early on told me that I should write more like Stephen King. My response? Why – I don’t even like Stephen King. Shocking, I know, but therein lies the beauty of being a writer: I am working on being the BEST Samantha Jacobey that I can be, and all my wonderful fans make this journey all the more fun. So relax, and enjoy the ride; the bumps only make it more exciting and certainly can give us insight if we are open to the experience .

The Nerve of Some People

I stumbled upon a review yesterday, and I have been turning it in my head… I gave it over night to let it stew and have decide that it REALLY pisses me off…
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Not because of the two stars – so what if she didn’t like the ending; if you want to like the way every book ends, write your own.
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I didn’t mind the part where she gave huge spoilers; it happens.
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What I did mind was the opening sentence… and I quote…”I’m glad I waited until this book was made available on KU, because otherwise I would have returned it.”
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I have news for you, LADY – if you go to the movies, and you don’t like how it ends, you DON’T pick up your refund on the way out the door. You bought a ticket to ride, and you get what you get.
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The very idea of saying such a thing negates her opinion to me – not just on my book, but every other book or review she has ever written. You can’t advocate THEFT and then expect people to respect your opinion.
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I’ll stop there, because this could turn into a very serious rant, and I’m just not going to do that.
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What I am going to say is, THE IRREVOCABLE SERIES is a realistic scifi – a glimpse into the possibility of a true Armageddon…. and yeah, the whole thing is free on KU. Oh, and it’s a clean read, with no descriptive sex or violence. I hope you enjoy it, but please don’t steal it, or anyone else’s book just because Amazon will let you….
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❤ Sam

Medical Update

Cardiologist… sigh. We have good news, pretty much… sort of:
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1. he redid the EKG – it was fine this time, and the one last week may have been tainted because the clinic where I had the first one was freezing cold.
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2. he asked if anyone had ever mentioned my faint heart murmur… Uh, no they have not. No idea what it means yet, if anything. I guess we will find out down the line.
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3. My blood pressure has been fine at home all week, morning and night. As in this morning, it was 113 / 74 and pulse was 71. Boom – at their office, it’s 140 / 104, and pulse is still 70. WTH???
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4. Heart Testing… going to wear a heart monitor for a day and have a stress test next month. Oh joy…
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5. More testing… he wants to look at the blood vessels in my legs because they are covered in little tiny varicose veins, which have been there since I was at least 13…. I know this because I will never forget where I was sitting the time someone told me I had ‘old lady legs’ and pointed them out to me. Double sigh.
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The good news? He isn’t really concerned about most of it at my age, he just wants to see how my heart is doing and does when it is working hard; hence the stress test. And, I am on no restrictions, which means that I can walk, run, workout, and generally do what ever I normally do. That in itself brings me a lot of relief. YAY!!
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We just have to get the bp situation resolved and get my cholesterol down… since I have a family history of both, I’m going to focus on doing the best I can and not let it worry me too much. I mean, I hate to be pessimistic, but when they tried to lower my grand mother’s, her cholesterol went up. Not to mention my mother has fought with her blood pressure for twenty years, or more…. I’m not holding my breath.
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Thank you all for your messages and concern, but it looks like this is on the back burner for a month. Please don’t worry about me; I’m not. And I will let you know when I hear something then, what ever that may be..
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❤ Sam

The Power in the Hour

clock faceWell, we are a week into daylight savings time, and I must say… it sucks. I have noticed some law makers are pushing to have this practice of ‘springing forward’ and ‘falling back’ abolished, and I have decided that I need to put my two cents in on the issue.

Case in point… my son brought my grand daughter over for a visit yesterday afternoon, but said when he arrived that he had to be sure to leave in time to be home before dark. Thanks to DST, it can be difficult to decide exactly when ‘dark’ is going to happen, especially if you are traveling. That’s one good reason to set it, and leave it alone. People get tired of having to figure out what the heck time something as simple as dawn and dusk are going to happen.

Another reason? Some of us have to unwind before we actually go to sleep. I’m one of those people, and no, I don’t sleep when it’s still light outside unless I am sick or utterly exhausted. This is not so bad if  I can go to bed when it gets dark, and that is still a reasonable hour – say 9 pm. Then I can unwind for up to an hour and still be asleep by 10 pm.

Cover the windows, you say? That’s not the point; I live in Texas, not Alaska, and I should not have to black out my bedroom just to get some sleep on a normal schedule. Besides, just because I am in bed doesn’t mean that the rest of my house or the neighbors will be. All that noise and carrying on is disturbing, especially when one is trying to fall asleep with an over-active imagination.

Why would anyone need to go to bed before midnight, you might ask? Because, I like to get up by 5 am. That’s an hour before the rest of the house, and sometimes I am up by 3 am because I have a story that needs writing or some other work that needs doing. The extra time allows me to do that surrounded by peace and quiet.

So how does daylight savings interfere? I’m all out of sorts because of the switch, which is forced upon our entire family. We have to match what the rest of the community is doing if we go to school or work… there’s no getting around it. That means that I don’t lose that hour of sleep for one night; I lose it EVERY NIGHT until DST ends in the fall. Either that, or I get up later because I had to go to bed later, and instead of losing an hour of sleep, I have lost an hour of work time. Some choice there…

Let’s get on this people. It’s time to stop messing with the clock. Put it on standard time and leave it alone!

The Adventure Continues…

I woke up at 1 am today, with my ear still aching and thunder in the distance. My son and I are leaving in a few short hours, and my feelings about this trip are mixed.

I’m excited about the signing this weekend in Pittsburgh, as always – I love getting out there and meeting people. I am also looking forward to the few days he and I will have to check out some things in Washington, DC. That’s one of my bucket list items, and I jumped on the opportunity to see it as soon as I agreed to the Angels & Sirens Event.

So what’s the catch? It’s this stupid ear… the idea of getting on another plane has me totally bummed. I have never enjoyed flying due to the pressure and pain that it brings, but the trip to Sacramento a month ago has stuck with me for far too long, in the form of a massive ear infection that refuses to say die.

I always knew that I had ‘short’ Eustachian Tubes, since the doctor had said so when I was a kid with recurring ear infections. However, I had learned what to do to keep them at a minimum as an adult, and have not suffered from one in years. Well, having seen the doctor three times in as many weeks over this, she has repeatedly called them ‘dysfunctional’ – tell me something I don’t know.

I refuse to give up. I have been planning this trip for a year, and my son is looking forward to it even more than I am. We will make it through. But, after this year’s busy schedule has run it’s course, I only have two events planned for next year, and I don’t think I will be accepting any more events that require flight. I would have to WANT to go pretty bad to risk it after this experience…

Oh, side note – we are running the Irrevocable Series Boxed Set (that’s all 3 books) for only 99 cents over the weekend, so be sure to grab that if you have not read (it’s still free on KU for a bit longer as well). Here’s a few links for that…

Thunderclap – sign up for a reminder and share with friends… http://thndr.me/itxeF1

Amazon – for wishlist and purchase….  hyperurl.co/oj57el

And if you are coming to the event – wish me luck and I can’t wait to see you there!!!

Don’t tell me I can’t!

I’m home from California; the Love and Fifty signing ranks as my second best ever, the first being the one that Maya Banks attended, as far as sales goes. As far as fun, this one was far and away the best ever. I stayed with a very good friend while I was there, had another friend who joined us, and we were in a group of seven authors that made for a fantastic little niche. I feel like I attended a revival.

That being said, I realized that things have been difficult for me for a while. I don’t usually talk much about my life’s history. I put some of it in The Writer’s Block short stories, but it’s pretty watered down and veiled. I’m private like that, and won’t give away too much today, either. If you want to hear my horror stories, read between the lines of my books.

What I will say, is that no one will ever tell me that I can’t do it. I spent half my life listening to people tell me what I wasn’t. Not smart enough, not talented enough, not good enough, from the time I was born until here recently, in fact. I hate that; hate that I listened for so long. I am good enough, and I won’t believe anything else.

Today, I make my own way, so don’t tell me I can’t. I can do what I put my mind to because I am diligent and won’t give up. I will keep working on me, both as a writer and as a person, because you don’t actually fail until you give up trying.

I never said I was perfect, and I’m bound to make some mistakes along the way, but that’s how it goes. People who don’t make mistakes never do anything; that’s the only way to avoid them all together. I can’t let those things get me down, because life is too short to spend time worrying about regrets and what I wish I had done.

So where do I go from here? To Pittsburgh, of course! In three weeks, in fact. Between now and then I have much to do. I have continued doing the editing for Lavish, even after we finished my books, and I like how that feels to contribute to success on so many levels. Plus, I have several new books that I am working on, so those will be coming out starting this summer and into the fall. My plate is full, and I have so much to do! And life is good.

Off to San Antonio!!

Man, time flies, and it’s already February! If you are coming to event, I can’t wait to see you there. I have a giveaway set up for this weekend as well, so be sure to check it out on the Sales and Giveaway tab (rafflecopters are at the bottom).

I hate to say that I am nervous about traveling, but I always am. Going to hit the road now, and you can bet you will hear from me about the adventure when I get back.

Christmas Giveaway

brenda big free

 

THIS kicks off at 3 am CST…
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Merry Christmas, from Samantha Jacobey…
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Get all 3 of the Writer’s Block Short stories for FREE Dec. 24th and 25th
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The Agent – An author of dark tales is looking for someone to represent her. An agent who thinks all writers are the same wants the job. Will one lunch date be enough to convince him that she’s different… hyperurl.co/yv9bg9
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The Obsession – An author of dark tales hits a rough patch in her relationship with her significant other; one that lands her in the psych ward. Is this a speed bump or a major detour on the road to success… hyperurl.co/zjn027
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The Storm – An author of dark tales is off on another adventure. After picking up her sister, Sam and Mel are in the Houston area to attend a book signing. However, things are never easy for the middle-aged writer, and a hurricane threatens to spoil more than just their weekend… hyperurl.co/ta3mbp
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THANK YOU ALL for your reading, reviewing and support for 2015 and I hope to keep you on your toes in the year to come!!
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❤ Sam
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#Suspense #Thriller #SamJac #FreeReads

READ FOR FREE – Grab The Agent TODAY!!!

Happy FREE READ FRIDAY everyone!!!
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THE AGENT: A Short Story – An author of dark tales is looking for someone to represent her. An agent who thinks all writers are the same wants the job. Will one lunch date be enough to convince him that she’s different, or will her clouded past continue to overshadow her future?
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