Author Archives: KM Fawcett

How Star Trek Helps Us with Showing Rather than Telling

Want to be able to show and not tell in your writing? Use the Holodeck! The following article on showing vs telling has been swiped from Kristen Lamb’s blog.

You’ve heard the advice show, don’t tell until you can’t stand to hear it anymore. Yet all writers still seem to struggle with it. I think one of the reasons is we lack a clear way of understanding the difference between showing and telling. And that’s where Star Trek comes in to save the day.

Showing happens when we let the reader experience things for themselves, through the perspective of the characters. Jeff Gerke, editor-in-chief at Marcher Lord Press, explains showing in one simple question: Can the camera see it?

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While I love that way of looking at it, we’d have to really say, can the camera see it, hear it, smell it, touch it, taste it, or think it? (And that would be a strange camera.) Because of that, I prefer to think about showing as being in a Star Trek holodeck.

Click here for the rest of the article…

How Star Trek Helps Us with Showing Rather than Telling.

~K.M Fawcett

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Author Fun – Book Signings

I’d like to share with you just a few pictures from my book signings for CAPTIVE (the Survival Race #1). I had a blast signing books, answering questions about CAPTIVE and about how I got published, and seeing good friends. I’m so lucky to have the support of these wonderful people – both pictured and not.

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Lisa & Jurgen came dressed in CAPTIVE colors!

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Melanie brought her copy on Kindle. (which reminds me to sign up for Authorgraph)

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Signing a copy for Katie.

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Thanks to ALL the Hellers for your support!

1010814_10201142529272897_1855511495_nI donated a copy of CAPTIVE to my local library. Librarian Karen graciously accepted the book and sent this picture to the local paper, the Readington News.

The following picture is the only one I have from last night’s book signing at my parents’ house. I’m sure my mom will email me some soon. Below is me with my aunt, Sharon Moran, who also wrote a book Daughters Of Destiny: Dramatic monologues of four Amazing American Women. I’m so blessed to have the wonderful support of my family. Aunts and cousins bought multiple copies for other family members who couldn’t make it, and I ran out of books!

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Aunt Sharon and me with our books.

I have a few more book signings on the schedule. I’ll be at RWA’s national conference in Atlanta signing at the Readers for Life Literacy signing on Wednesday, July 17th, as well as Grand Central Publishing’s signing on July 20th (my birthday!). Click on the link to see the 400+ authors who will be signing at Readers for Life.

August 4th I’ll be at A Paperback Exchange in Belmar, NJ. I hope to see you at one or more of these places!

~KM Fawcett

This Author Thanks You

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Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I am blessed to have a wonderfully supportive network of family and friends. If you follow the blog then you’re probably aware that Tuesday was release day for my first novel, CAPTIVE, and that I’ve been doing a blog tour this week.

All Tuesday long I’d received congratulatory messages on my personal and author Facebook pages. It was humbling to see everyone’s excitement for me. Friends checked out my bog tour and made comments on my Facebook page, they shared my Amazon buy link on their walls, and many of their friends liked and commented as well. How cool was that?

Some even kept an eye on the Amazon Best Sellers Rank all day. So did I, which I know I probably shouldn’t do, but couldn’t resist. I couldn’t believe it when CAPTIVE made into the top 100 in the kindle store for Sci-Fi Romance. It started out at 95 in the morning and at one point, around midnight I think, it went as low as #32! The rank for the whole Kindle store was #10,283 (it was ranked like #500,000 a couple days before 🙂 ). Thank you to everyone who bought a copy!

Friends also called when they found reviews for CAPTIVE. I wonder if reading reviews can count as exercise, because it’s a heart-pounding activity. So far they have been great, and I am very excited about the positive feedback. Especially from two of the reviewers who said they don’t normally read sci-fi romance, but loved my book. What a great feeling! Now I’m sure I’ll receive some negative reviews. Not everyone likes everything. Even my favorite authors received hateful 1 star reviews for books I loved. So when that happens, I’ll just have to re-read the good ones, and pretend the bad ones don’t matter. And call my support network to cry on their shoulders. 😉

945422_10200441983384821_429943506_nTuesday night, my wonderfully supportive husband (who hand sold a copy of my book to everyone at his work) took the kids and me out to dinner to celebrate.

As we were leaving, he texted some local friends and asked if they would come over for a toast. They did! They dropped what they were doing at 8:30pm (which was probably helping kids with homework since school doesn’t let out for two more weeks) and came over for champagne. Who doesn’t love an impromptu party?

No words can fully express my gratitude to all those who have supported me in my writing. I realize not every author is as fortunate, which is why I want to let everyone know how much I appreciate and love you! Thank you so very much!

~KM Fawcett

CAPTIVE Blog Tour

Blog Tour imageTomorrow June 4th is the official release day for my debut paranormal romance novel, CAPTIVE! I can’t believe it’s finally here. 🙂 I’m thrilled and scared. Today begins my blog tour, and I’d really love and appreciate some friendly Attacking The Page “faces” to visit me (and maybe leave a comment). Here is the schedule…

June 3    SMEXY Books                       Interview

June 3    Babette James                      Guest Post – Self Defense

June 4    Night Owl Reviews               Interview

June 5    A Buckeye Girl Reads          Q&A

June 5    Caridad Pineiro                     Excerpt & Fun Facts

June 6    Paranormal Romantic Suspense Reviews        Guest Post

June 6    My Book Addiction and More             Interview – Martial Arts & Captive

June 6    Attacking the Page               Blog – Thank you

June 7    Paranormal Haven               Guest post – Captive: Behind the Scenes

June 8    The Qwillery                          Interview

June 10  Wild Women Authors          Character Interview

June 17   Ex Libris                                Fun Facts and Except

June 19   Star-Crossed Romance                            Guest Post – Codes of Character

June 20  Fantasy, Futuristic, & Paranormal        Writing Fight Scenes (part 1)

July 8     Fantasy, Futuristic, & Paranormal         Writing Fight Scenes (part 2)

TBA         RT online                              Article & Excerpt

AN IMPOSSIBLE JOURNEY

The last thing Addy Dawson remembers is a blazing inferno and freezing river water overtaking her lungs. When she awakens, Addy finds herself on a strange, alien planet, trapped in a cell with no doors, no windows– and to her horror– a naked warrior who claims to be her mate.

AN UNDENIABLE PASSION

An alpha gladiator, Max is forced to breed and produce the finest specimens for the Survival Race, a deadly blood sport created by the alien rulers of Hyborea. To rebel means torture-or worse-yet Max refuses to become the animal his captors want him to be. But their jailors will not be denied, and soon Addy and Max find themselves unwilling players in this cruel game. Pushed to the limit, they will risk everything for the chance at a life free from captivity. And though fate brought them together as adversaries, Max and Addy will discover that when they’re together, there’s nothing in the universe that can stop them.

You can find CAPTIVE (book 1 inthe Survival Race) at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books A Million, IndieBound, Book Depository, and other online stores.

~KM Fawcett

Doctor Who and The Black Moment

Thanks to Jennifer Crusie and Who Sundays on her Argh Ink blog, I’ve started watching Doctor Who (the new series with the ninth, tenth, and eleventh doctors). I watched the first episode, “Rose” and thought, “This is pretty good. The killing mannequins are a little hokey, but I like the characters and the show.” So then I watched the next episode and then the next, and in two weeks I’ve watched 4 seasons plus all the specials.

Someone could have warned me that Doctor Who was TV crack!

I can’t get enough. I love this show. The characters are fun, the writing is brilliant, and the situations always go from bad to worse. As I watch and wonder what clever way the doctor will get everyone out of this mess…bam!…the situation goes from worse to absolute disaster.

What? There’s no way they can get out of this! Someone’s going to die. Will it be a companion? Will it be the Doctor?

Talk about action packed fiction! Wow.

My family thinks I’m crazy watching this show…(well, perhaps it’s not the show so much as my obsessive viewing). What they don’t realize is that I’m not merely watching, I’m working. Doctor Who has actually improved my writing.

Last week, I’d been contemplating a black moment, the part of the story where all seems lost. It wasn’t working. It didn’t have the impact it should…probably because the moment was more gray than black. Watching the depth of trouble the Doctor and his gang get into, and the clever ways they get out of them helped me push further and think up a darker, better, more meaningful black moment. It worked. I’m very excited about what I came up with.

So the next time the family interrupts me with a “You’re watching this again?” I can reply, “Shh. I’m working.” 😉

Are you a Doctor Who fan? Who is your favorite Doctor? If you’re a writer, what TV shows or movies helped improve your writing? Please leave a comment, but no spoilers. Today I’ll be watching David Tennant’s last episode, The End of Time, Part Two.

~ K.M Fawcett

Character Arc ala Michael Hauge

A while back I wrote a blog post about Michael Hauge’s Six Stage Plot Structure, which I’ve found to be an incredibly powerful tool for plotting my characters’ inner and outer journeys, as well as the story’s turning points and black moment.

Today, I want to talk more about character arc.

A character needs to grow and change. He starts with one viewpoint at the beginning, but the events in the story serve to change that character’s viewpoint by the end. Michael Hauge says, “The character arc is the transformation from living in fear to living courageously. A character will arc when he moves from his identity to his essence.”

Identity = emotional armor (facade) worn to protect himself from some wound.

Essence = who the character is when the emotional armor is stripped. True self.

At the beginning of the story, a character will have an emotional need that he may or may not be aware of. The emotional need will probably manifest itself as a physical goal (the outer goal). But the physical goal is primarily a symbol representing the emotional need (the true inner goal).

For example, the hero’s outer goal might be to win the big promotion at work. But what does the hero truly desire? What is his emotional need? Perhaps the promotion will give him the approval he’s been seeking. Or perhaps a sense of accomplishment.

Why does this character have this emotional need?

An emotional need grows from an emotional wound. This wound creates the character’s beliefs. The character will make choices and decisions in his life based on these beliefs.

If our example character desires approval, it could be because his girlfriend’s parents dislike/disapprove of him. Or perhaps he desires a sense of accomplishment because he has failed too many times in the past.

The character’s wound will create a fear. In order to never experience that fear again, the character creates an emotional armor, his facade (his identity). If our example character fears disapproval, he may become a doormat, letting people walk all over him or take advantage of him at work. If he fears failure, he may cheat or lie in order to get the promotion

Though the outer motivation is the same–winning the promotion–each unique wound and fear gives rise to different inner motivations resulting in different story conflicts.

The essence is who the person really is or really wants to be. By the end of the story the character discovers their true essence. In a romance (which I write), the hero will chose to live in his or her essence, giving the reader their happy ending.

To sum it all up…

From a character’s wound grows a fear, which gives way to his identity (emotional armor). The only way he can obtain his emotional need is to step out of his identity and into his essence (true self).

“The character arc is the transformation from living in fear to living courageously.” – Michael Hauge

For more information, check out Michael Hauge’s website.

~KM Fawcett

Make It Work!

581865_4881958959508_1434331787_nWhen teaching his students, Sensei Advincula can be heard saying, “Make it work.” This means that sometimes an individual needs to adjust a basic, effective principle or concept in order to make it work for them. This could be as simple as blocking and countering with groin strike rather than a strike to the throat if you are much shorter than your attacker. Why would I reach up when my target of opportunity (the groin) is closer?

Adjusting, adapting, and overcoming doesn’t only apply to martial arts, it applies to life. And writing…

Each year Scott and I send for Sensei Advincula to come stay with us for a weekend of martial arts training. During one of our sessions this year, Sensei taught us knife-fighting techniques with the Flesheater, the combat knife he designed.

Something during our training session (Perhaps the mention of reaming?) sparked a question about a technique I used in my book, CAPTIVE. When I asked Sensei about it, I learned I goofed up my sword fight choreography. That night, over a cup of tea at the kitchen table, I read the scene to him and learned something important about Claymores.

A Claymore is a long sword with a heavy, straight blade that was used in Scotland, especially in the Highlands, during the 15th – 17th centuries. The word Claymore was derived from a Celtic word meaning great sword. Its average length was 55 inches. Because of its weight (5 – 8 pounds), it had a long hilt for a two-handed grip. I’d learned all this from my research. However, I had imagined the hands were positioned one on top of the other like you’d hold a baseball bat. Sensei explained this wasn’t the case. The hands are positioned further apart to give leverage to hold and maneuver the weapon.

Hand position makes a difference when writing about how the weapon is used.

Sensei explained Claymores were wielded mainly against multiple opponents with sweeping and slashing movements. The weight could penetrate through armor. It was not typically used for thrusting or piercing or fighting one-on-one.

Fortunately, my futuristic gladiators used sweeping and slashing techniques to try and kill each other. Unfortunately, they were fighting one-on-one and also used thrusts.

Okay. No big deal. I’ll just adapt and change their weapons to broadswords instead. The art on my book cover already displays a sword with a smaller hilt. (Side note: I think the art department cut the length of the Claymore’s handle in order to downplay the Historical feel to the cover. See version 1 and 2 below.)

1st draft

1st draft

Final cover

Final cover

After Sensei left, I researched some more and got myself confused with all the conflicting information I read. It appears to me that broadswords don’t have quatrefoils (the four circles on a Claymore’s cross guard) like you see on CAPTIVE’s cover. And that broadswords have basket hilts. Yikes! I don’t want to ask my editor if the art department can redo my cover because I goofed up. Who wants to be known as that author? I also don’t want to keep a mistake in the book. Now what?

MAKE IT WORK!

I decided to make up my own name for the sword so it can look like what’s already on the cover and do damn well what I want. After all, I’m writing fiction. If I want my gladiator’s weapon to be a long, one-handed sword with a Claymore inspired design, than so be it. 🙂

Now I just need to come up with a name. I thought about Gladmor or Gladimor. It’s a shortened form of the Latin words gladius mortis, which (according to Google translate) means Sword of Death. I like that it kind of still sounds like Claymore. But my husband thought it sounded too happy.

Then I thought about one of the moves in our kata and suggested Dragon Tongue.

What do you think? Do you like Gladmor, Gladimor, or Dragon tongue? Or do you have a better name for this sword? I’d really love to hear your thoughts in the comments section.

~K.M. Fawcett

Favorite Romantic Couple

IMG_0045Happy St. Valentine’s Day!

Love is in the air…and in the movies…and, of course, in romance novels.

Let’s have some fun on this day of romance and talk favorite couples. Who is YOUR favorite Romantic Couple? I don’t care if they are from a movie, a play, or a book. Tell me who your favorite couple is.

There are so many to choose from, but I have to say that my favorite romantic couple has to be Jamie and Claire from Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series. Love, love, love Jamie! Seriously who wouldn’t love a man in a kilt who sacrifices himself for the safety of the woman he loves? *Swoon*

It’s your turn…tell me in the comments section who your favorite couple is and where I can find them.

Enjoy the day with your sweetheart.

~K.M. Fawcett

Happy New Year 2013!

Yes I realize Times Square dropped the ball six weeks ago. Unfortunately, I wasn’t ready to ring in the New Year then. I had too many things to finish before 2012 ended. I was behind on book 2…behind on karate work…behind on household projects.

I was a duck paddling like hell to keep afloat.

How could I possibly start off the New Year with a clean slate when there was no way humanly possible to reach my goals by December 31st?

I needed another month. That’s when the idea hit me. If I followed the lunar calendar, I could add six more weeks onto my year. That’s six more weeks in which I could finish everything before the New Year started.

The Chinese New Year. February 10th.

You know what? It worked.

I finished and turned in book 2 to my editor on Jan 27th. With the help of a hardworking karate student, I caught up on outstanding dojo business. And I’ve tackled a lot of those household projects. Still working on the biggest one, which is cleaning and purging the basement and putting everything up on Freecycle. I can’t believe how much we’ve already gotten rid of. Though, what really blows my mind is how much is still down there. Does the rest of America accumulate as much STUFF as we do? Where does it all come from? I don’t even like to shop! Sorry…I digress.

Anyway, I feel great having accomplished what I’d wanted. Now I have a reason to raise my glass and celebrate. It’s wonderful starting off this New Year (the Year of the Black Snake) with a new writing project.

Of course, this led to a curiosity about what the Year of the Black Snake has in store for me. I Googled my Chinese zodiac sign (the ox) and found this on the About Sichuan China website:

Year of the Ox 2013 – Summary

2013 should be a good year for the Year of the Ox person.

Their hard work, loyalty and reliability should ensure a successful year in business, career, fortune and relationships.

Just beware of those negative traits – stubbornness and misplaced loyalty.

And they should look after their health in 2013 otherwise sickness will spoil a lot of good things that should happen in 2013!

For the person born in the Year of the Ox 2013 should have successes as long as the Ox person builds on their positive traits and manages their negative ones!

So the ox person needs to work hard but balance that hard work with exercise and good nutrition to avoid health problems.

In other words, 2013 will be a good year if I maintain balance. That’s good advice for anyone in any year, don’t you think?

~K.M. Fawcett

Laugh Today

Everyone loves funny animal videos right? Okay maybe not everyone, but most of us do. Well, I saw this YouTube video the other day and it made me laugh. Though, I must admit feeling bad for the dog. He looks so concerned. Poor guy.

I hope you can use a laugh today too. Enjoy!

Ultimate Dog Tease

~K.M. Fawcett