Real People vs Fictional #MFRWAuthors #17

When I wrote my Arbor University series, I based the characters on some Real People.  I was careful (with a few exceptions), to a) get their permission and b) let them preview the story before I submitted it for publication.

The exceptions:  I had lost contact with a few, but since we’ve reconnected, and I now control all the content since my rights have returned, I sent the parties involved a copy of the stories and told them if anything they found objectionable, I’d be happy to change it.  So far, of these parties, no one has objected.  In fact, I even used one’s name as a placeholder, but forgot to change it.  Now that particular story is about to be re-released, and I offered to find another name, but was told by that person not to change it:)

Sometimes you’re not going to have this experience….I’m just happy to have understanding (and flattered!) friends!

Of all the friends who previewed ‘their’ story, only one had a minor objection:  The fictional name was too close to their real one, so it was a minor change I was happy to make.

Of the ones who didn’t get a chance to preview, I did receive praise for fictionalizing so much of the details, even they didn’t recognize themselves!

In short, I was lucky.  No one has sued me yet, for ‘defamation of character’ or ‘invasion of privacy’.

Keep in mind, the above stories were written 1985-2009.  All stories since are completely fictional.

Why is it better to completely invent characters?

Because you don’t have to jump through the above hoops when you write!

Now, that’s not to say I don’t draw inspirations from Real People….I speculate where Life might take them, and pick and choose the tiny details I know to include in the story.  For instance, if I happen to know someone with pink streaks in her hair and a lip ring, I might include a character with, say, purple streaks and a nose ring.  See there?  Change a few details and my friend never knows it’s her, unless I tell her.

Another writer friend jokingly refers to herself as a ‘Professional Liar’, since we all bend the truth to write our stories, and spin them to sell.  After all, how many times has an author hooked you with a blurb or an excerpt, only to discover you can’t finish the book, due to whatever reason?

Characters matter.  But if you base them on Real People, take precautions.

What’s YOUR opinion?

I’m off to the North HS Spring Craft Fair in Evansville Saturday!  Wish me luck; the past two events have only averaged one sale per event.  Last year, things didn’t pick up until May, but I’m hoping with the two new ones arriving soon, and since this is the first time I’ve done this particular event, people will be interested in reading my work:)


“When Do I Celebrate?” #MFRWAuthors #16

“Celebrate good times, come on!”

(Click the link to see what song popped into my head when I saw this topic!)

Maybe it’s just me, but I celebrate every milestone in my writing process.

-If I’ve had a wonderful day of productivity (IE: Words flowing/four solid hours of writing/finishing a particularly emotionally draining scene), I break out the wine or vodka and Kool-Aid.

-When I type ‘the end’, I ask the spouse to take us out to dinner, or at least a lunch for he and I.

-When I have fantastic cover art to share, more wine is consumed.

-When the editing is finished, some sort of celebration is planned, whether it’s simply a meal out or I drink a glass of wine, or go to karaoke (hell, if any of the above or below occurs on a karaoke night, that’s all the celebration I need!).

-Release Day is different.  It depends on whether or not I need to spend more time on the computer during the day, so I may request he pick me up something from a fast-food restaurant for lunch, as I splash the news all over social media.  And yes, there will be wine at the end of the day, as well as something sweet:)  I’ll also throw myself a Release Party with my writer’s group at the coffee shop, and either make cupcakes or brownies.

What about you?

I’m off to the 9th Annual Kentuckiana Author’s Fair in La Grange, KY tomorrow!  Today I’m traveling, then setting up at 8am.  Doors open at 10, then at four, we break down and head home.  I’ll be popping into my future DIL’s Pure Romance party for a bit before continuing onto church, since our choir always sings at the Easter Vigil.  Then a brief pop into karaoke before heading home to put together the Easter baskets for the granddaughter and youngest child, and falling into bed.  I’ll have to be back at church on Sunday at 7am!  It’s going to be a loooooong and somewhat sleep-deprived weekend!

Hope you all have a very happy and blessed Easter!

Do. NOT. Engage! #MFRWAuthors #15

Several years ago, there was a big bruha on GoodReads when an author received a poor review, and confronted the reviewer.  A war of words soon followed…..and I don’t think that particular author has been heard from again… least not that I’ve heard.  I can’t even remember his/her name!  But the lesson was clear….if you receive a bad review, DO NOT RESPOND.  You’ll only make the situation worse.

I was curious at the time, because I’ve never received a negative review, and so I went to each of my links, looking at the ratings.  I spotted a 1-star rating on one of my more popular books, and clicked on that reviewer’s link, since no review had been left.  To my surprise, this reader only read Christian Inspirational books, or General Fiction books, and had been giving poor ratings to all Erotic Romances.  My question was, WHY?  If you don’t read a particular genre, why read it anyway and give it a one star?  Makes no sense….but hey….now I knew why.

A year or so ago, I’d read a blurb for a book, and ordered the free sample.  I enjoyed the first few pages, but felt the story had ‘wandered off course’ by the time I got to the end.  I left a 3-star rating, and stated the ‘while I enjoyed the part I’d read, it didn’t cause me any desire to buy it and finish the book.’  Three days later, I was notified my review had a comment.  To my surprise, it was the author, begging me to give it a chance.  It was only $.99, so after some cordial conversation, I went back to Amazon and ordered it.  Yes, I read it; yes, it confirmed my belief that I wasn’t going to be very interested in it, and yes, I added that to my review.  He left me alone, and me rolling my eyes about why I had allowed him to bully me into buying a book I didn’t want to read……but that was just me being me.  I’m a people pleaser.

***Sidebar*****  Please don’t email me, begging me to read your book.  I’ve toughened up to such strategies, plus this makes you look desperate.  You should never ‘beg’ anyone to buy your product! ****End Sidebar***

Did this author break the rules of conduct?  Sort of…..but at least he was cordial about it.  If a friend happens to leave a stinging public review, confront them privately (hopefully your friends won’t do this, ha ha!).  If what a reviewer says has you so angry you can’t see straight, or sends you into a spiraling depression, then walk away from the computer and throw your tantrum/pity party in PRIVATE.  Then pull on your big girl panties, toughen up your ego, and get back to work.  Write something even better than you did before.  Because that’s the only way to ‘show up’ your reviewer; ‘force them’ to leave you a positive one!

Unless, of course, what you write will never make them happy.  Just say ‘good riddance’ and move on.

What’s your opinion? 

My BFF is arriving Friday night, and on Sat, we’re traveling to Evansville to spend a few hours with our ‘Fourth Angel’, who is on her 2nd fight with cancer.  She nearly gave up last winter, but is trying another round of chemo anyway.  I haven’t seen her since October, so hoping to give her an early Easter present.  Then we come back here for my writing group’s Open Mic Night, and on Sunday, I’m in the chorus for a ‘Rock Opera’ based on the Passion of the Christ.  I don’t know if both my parents will come down for it, or just one, but I’m excited about this performance.  In addition to our 9-person chorus, we have solos, a piano, a bell choir, children’s choir, and a bass whatchamacallit, that sounds like a bass guitar.  I’ve been told it will be taped, so hope to have the YouTube link to share (if you’re interested!) in a week or two.


It’s How You Talk To People #MFRWAuthors #14

“Hello, welcome to this week’s meeting.  Does anyone have anything new they’d like to share?

“Yes!  I just discovered I was accepted into an anthology, releasing late next month.  My story is about a woman who wants to change her destiny, and seeks out a shaman who ultimately shows her she’s on the right path.”

“Interesting, and congrats to you!  Have you put all the details on social media and your website?”

“Yes.  I’m also making flyers and promotional items to display on social media, and at my next event, until my author copies arrive.  I’ve also scheduled Facebook ads, and will be featured on six blogs the week it releases.”

“Fantastic.  Anyone else?”

“I’ve got news….My book won the prestigious RONE award, and it hit the NY Times Best-seller list yesterday.  My children’s book was accepted into all the libraries all across the US, and my publisher informed me last night it’s being translated into all languages.  I’m almost ready to release my second children’s book, and several schools have already called, wanting me to come into classrooms and talk about my life as a writer, the whole process, and even having the children purchase my books.  Did I tell you how I managed to accomplish this?  My best friend happens to be on the school board and when she read my first book, she called all the principals in her school corporation and got me in front of the right people.  She won’t do this for just anyone….I guess a mystery author contacted her two months ago, but my friend didn’t like the book, so she put her off.  Anyway, now I’m about to go on a small tour of schools across the southern part of the state, since the local paper wrote an article about me and my RONE award.  My phone has been ringing off the hook, AND my email is flooded with invitations to appear at this event or that…..”

(Twenty minutes later…)

“….oh my goodness, I didn’t realize it was getting so late.  I need to go; I just had this fabulous idea pop into my head.  Goodbye everyone!”

“I guess that’s all the time we have for today, folks.  Can I ask that whomever’s in charge of setting up next meeting, NOT contacting that person?  I think she’s got her marketing down pat.  This group is really for those who are clueless about marketing.”

“I only invited her, thinking she’d share some of her ideas, not take over the entire meeting.”

“That, my friends, is called bragging, not marketing.  If every other word out of your mouth is ‘I-I-I’, then you’re not listening to anyone.  See you all back here next week, when our topic will be about reviews. Plus, if anyone has buy links, or has updated their sites, send them to me and I’ll gladly share them on social media.  See you next week!”

Anything you’d like to add? 

The 1st craft fair of the season will be this weekend at East Side Park in Washington, In, a ‘Spring Vendor Fest’.  Friday, 4-8pm and Sat 9-2 or 3pm.  If you’re in the area, I’d love to see you and talk more about my upcoming projects (no bragging, just info, ha ha!).  Plus, I’ve updated my Prize Wheel with better pictures and Velcro to hold them in place, so at least stop by and say hi, and spin the wheel?  Mention this post and you might win something better than just candy, ha ha!