Tag Archives: Tamara Clarke

Update on Focus

It’s been a busy month for me, which only partially explains my lengthy absence from Facebook and my blog. I moved again, and hopefully for the last time until I win the lottery or my Prince Charming sweeps me off to Far, Far Away. 🙂 I had a short family vacation to bid farewell (sprinkle ashes) to my maternal grandfather, who passed last August, and aside from it being a bittersweet occasion, it was a wonderful time to catch up with everyone I haven’t seen in oh, about seven years… And finally, I left one of my two part-time jobs, just as my summer job at the golf course is starting up again. But that’s okay. The one was way too stressful for a part-time job, and I feel heaps better since leaving it behind. I also love the golf course gig, because how else would I get to golf at one of Canada’s top one hundred courses. 😉

All in all though, it adds up to me not being able to focus much on writing. Or even editing. I’ve been slogging through an old “Ice” story lately, polishing and sprucing it up but as you know, I loathe the editorial process. I do it because it’s necessary and I’m interested in making sure my work is worthy of being read, but doesn’t mean I have to like it.

I’ve also been working on two or three other new stories. One is the fifth in the TAITS adventure series, another is a new hockey-romance, and the last is in the fantasy genre, and while they’ve all been coming out fast and furious, I’ve painted myself into a corner, so to speak, in every single one. It’s not the first time it’s happened but I am extra frustrated because I can’t choose one over another to get through these road blocks. All three main novels I’m working on have me stumped. I’m more than a little afraid it’ll mean going back and scrapping a large portion of each and I’m stubborn enough to not want to do it. See my previous note on loathing editing…

On another topic, but still related, I’ve been playing with the idea of putting my books through the Kindle Createspace process, which would mean interested readers would be able to purchase my books in print. It does involve quite a bit more prep on my part, and I don’t have enough know-how on designing covers just yet. As well, it would mean selling all my work exclusively through Amazon Kindle. I don’t mind so much, but I do sell a fair amount through the other outlets (eg. Kobo, iBook store, Nook Books, etc.) so I’m worried about losing those readers. I don’t want to limit my exposure, since I have so little as it is, but I have had more than a few people express interest in buying my books in print. Any thoughts you want to share, I’m open to your opinions. 🙂 I may or may not like it, but I’m always happy to have the feedback.

So where does all this leave me? Unfocused on writing, but focused enough to write this post. 🙂 Which isn’t all bad. I’ve decided to give you a sneak peek of the fantasy story I’m working on – check it out over on my ‘Sneak Peeks’ page. Maybe putting it out there in the world will spur something, and get me going again. Maybe not. Maybe I need to take a break from writing, and catch up on my gargantuan to-be-read pile of books and ebooks, because frankly, it’s giving me anxiety seeing them all piled up there (physically on my shelf, and figuratively on my ebook device). I know I can’t get through them all in an instant, but I do want to read them all, and one piece of advice I’ve had from other writers, and that I sometimes give, is to read, read, read.

And there you have it. I can’t focus because my characters are being stubborn and the plot bunnies are off enjoying the summer that finally arrived, and because… life happens.

As always, take care and happy reading.

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Follow The Rules

I’ve been thinking a lot about the rules lately. Not laws. 😉 The rules when it comes to what I write. You might be thinking, what rules? There are no rules, beyond basic grammar, spelling and punctuation. Except there are.

In the genres I write, contemporary and suspenseful romance, the rules are pretty basic. They’re the same as the real world. I don’t deal in magic, portals to other dimensions, space travel, or supernatural creatures. People don’t fly, murder is wrong, and no man or woman is perfect. Sounds simple enough, right? I used to think so, but lately, I’ve been thinking that I’ve got a set of rules that I write within.

Let me explain a bit more.

In a fantasy novel, for example, the rules are different. There might be magic, wizards, flying people, and werewolves, etc, right? But they follow rules, or canon, set out by the author. They might be: magic is good, but can be used by bad people. People can fly, but it requires a certain spell, or they’re not able to fly beyond our own atmosphere. Werewolves exist, but only at the full moon, or maybe they can shapeshift on their own schedule. It all depends on the novel, or the world that the author has created. Once they’ve established that world, the rules are set. If a werewolf can only change at the full moon, then that is the rule. If people can fly without a magic spell, then they don’t need to cast a spell before jumping off the Eiffel Tower. They can’t break the rules. They can’t, in the penultimate chapter, suddenly have a werewolf change at the new moon. It would be against the rules. Do you understand?

When it comes to my own work, you still wouldn’t think the rules are all that restrictive. And they’re really not, but I do have them. I didn’t start out telling myself that I have to follow them, or that I can never change them. Each of my hockey-romance books are stand-alone and could each presumably come with a new set of rules if I wanted.

The TAITS series of adventure/mystery, they on the other hand, do have to follow the rules I’ve created. The technology they use is advanced, but it’s not omnipotent. They take care of foreign threats in far-off places, but they can still diffuse situations they come across at home. The characters are faster, smarter, and more resourceful than the average person, which means they can move faster, or handle more firepower than most people. There are a few other minor details that you probably never gave a second thought to while reading them, or that I even considered while writing them. All together, it makes up a sort of playbook that I have to reference whenever I write something new.

I’m not sure when it occurred to me that I’ve been writing everything I do within a set of rules. I suppose it’s been on my mind in the last couple months since I’ve posted the last two stories on Lit, “Cold as Ice” and “Reflections on Ice.” I enjoyed writing both of those, for different reasons, and to me, they ended on satisfactory notes. The majority of feedback I received was positive, but there were several people who commented that I’d ended the stories without a marriage, or even a hint of a proposal. This isn’t the first time I’ve had that sort of response, and I suppose it’s because I rarely end my stories with marriage or a proposal. It’s not a hard and fast rule, but in my mind, I cannot suddenly have my characters go from the first tentative confessions of love to all-out marriage and commitment at the end of my stories.

I write contemporary romance, which, to me, means they’re modern interpretations of love and romance, within the societal norms I’m used to in the Western world. Meaning, people don’t meet and get married after dating for a month or two. They don’t even get engaged. Not typically, anyway. I’m sure everyone out there has some story of love-at-first-sight or meant-to-be about real, live people they know, but whatever the case may be, that is not typical. That is a very small percentage of people who experience those things, and in my opinion, having those situations in my stories would not make sense.

There have been three stories in my catalogue of work where the characters have come together in marriage or engagement by the end. In those stories, that step in their relationship made sense. They’d been together for some time, and they’d spoken of marriage or a life together. It wasn’t just a grand finale chapter or epilogue I tacked on the end to bring some kind of final conclusion to the story.

In my other works, the characters have only known each other for a very short amount of time. (Kaitlyn and Alex dated for about two months, Mina and Drew, the same, Dylan and Cassia dated a grand total of two and a half weeks before the end) To me, it would be disingenuous to have them end in marriage mere weeks after they got together in the beginning. It may not have started out as a rule in my head, but it has come to be something I do follow, in my efforts to keep my stories as “real” as possible. Yes, yes, I know. I write fiction, and really, my hockey-romance stories could arguably be classified as pure fantasy, but I still try to have realistic characters, dealing with realistic issues in a realistic world, our world.

Maybe I don’t like the stereotypical happily ever after scenario because I don’t want to see my stories ending at all. Maybe I like to keep them open-ended for future sequels. 🙂 I know I like revisiting characters in later stories, weaving friendships throughout and updating on characters from old stories – in a more realistic timeline.

I’m not suggesting my rules are the same for all romance, contemporary or otherwise. They’re just what I find myself working with, or having had worked with all along. Any set of stories, romance, fantasy, or otherwise, does fall within a set of rules. You may not know it, may never be able to pick them out after having read them, but they’re there. I know occasionally I read something and find myself detaching a bit from the story, and it can sometimes be because the author has strayed from their own canon.

I read a truly awful hockey-romance themed ebook a few weeks ago. The story was all over the place, the characters went from being jerks to whiners and back again repeatedly, and there was a sad lack of research when it came to hockey facts, which annoyed me to no end. How hard is it to Google even the most basic hockey facts? Altogether, along with poor editing, I couldn’t get into it at all. It felt like the writer put down whatever they felt like in the moment, without a thought for previous actions or timelines. I can suspend my disbelief for just about any kind of story – I mean, look at what I write! – but this was too much. It’s just an example, of my own opinion, of how a story loses so much when an author isn’t consistent at all. Can you think of anything you’ve read recently that sounds similar?

I’m currently working on something brand new, in a new genre for me. It’s a fantasy story, and I’m making the rules up as I go, but writing notes as I go along as well. I’m sure I’ll contradict myself at some point – hence, the notes – but that’s why there’s the editing process. I hope the end product will be faithful to the world I’ve created and that I won’t have readers poking hole after hole in my efforts. It’s definitely got some plot points that will require firm guidelines. It’s not something I’ve spent a lot of time on before – well, not since I was a kid – but I’m excited to be working on something new and exciting anyway.

The rules are there for a reason. Then again, many of you are probably thinking, rules are meant to be broken. Maybe, maybe not. When it comes to my own writing, I’ll always be working on the things I need to, in order to improve and continue to deliver something I love, in the hopes you might love it as well. 🙂

Take care, and happy reading!

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“Sugar and Ice” – Update

Hello!

I’m happy to report (so soon!) that my latest release, “Sugar and Ice”, is now available at all the usual retailers for purchase now. You can buy it at Amazon Kindle, Smashwords, Barnes & Noble Nook Book Store, Kobo Books, and at the iTunes book store. I hope you take the time to check it out, and maybe buy it! If you do, please leave a comment on whichever site you purchase it from. It’s wonderful support for an indie author like me, who can’t afford much in the way of traditional advertising.

As always, take care and happy reading!

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Publication News – “Sugar and Ice”

Hello all! I have happy and exciting news to share with you. Available for purchase now is my latest release, an all new novel, “Sugar and Ice.” It stars some familiar characters, or at least they may be familiar if you’ve read “A Crack In the Ice,” and if you haven’t, now’s the perfect time. 😉

cover-page-2nd-draft-smash

When a trade brings Rafe O’Brien back to Montreal, Eliza Murray isn’t sure what to think. Their past was a mixture of joy and heartbreak, and neither of them have quite learned how to move on. Then he walks into her bakery and all those old feelings rush to the surface.

Eliza has been trying to get over Rafe for years. She’s even dating again. But nothing feels quite right without him. When they see each other again, Rafe isn’t the same laid-back, romantic man she once knew. She doesn’t know how to deal with everything he makes her feel and she can’t help but wonder if this is their second chance.

From the moment he sets foot in Montreal, Rafe is bombarded with memories and heartache. He thought he’d moved on but one glimpse of Eliza and he’s lost again. He knows he wants another chance to prove how much she means to him but he has no idea what Eliza wants and he’s terrified that it isn’t him.

I’ll update as my new book becomes available at the other stores, but for now, it’s available at Amazon Kindle and on Smashwords. As always, I ask that you please, please write a review if you purchase my book. I am an indie writer, and can’t afford fancy marketing people and plans, so word-of-mouth and on-line reviews are all I’ve got. I’ll love you forever!

As always, take care and happy reading.

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New Sneak Peek

If you’ve read my latest “Ice” story publication, “A Crack in the Ice”, you might be familiar with the characters featured in my next story. I’m hoping to have this completed and ready for publication this spring or summer, but as always, I don’t make any promises!
Anyway, pop onto my Sneak Peeks page for a taste of what’s to come. The title is “Sugar and Ice.”

I hope everyone is enjoying what’s left of the weekend. As always, take care and happy reading. 🙂

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Publication News!

Hello and Happy Holidays!

I have exciting news to share. I’ve been working on something for AGES it seems, and it’s finally ready. Now available on Amazon Kindle, the fourth in my adventure/spy series, affectionately known as TAITS, Duty and Deception. It’s been extensively reworked and revamped and edited to within an inch of its life, and now it’s available to read once again. Read on for the book description or click this link to go right to the Amazon Kindle page to purchase.

DandD cover 2nd draft

“In the fourth book of the TAITS series, Cricket finally gets to show her teammates what she can do.

The smart, easy-going computer genius has always loved her place on the team, but lately, she feels like something’s missing. She convinces Rhodes to let her go on an undercover mission to bring in the guy who tried to kill her teammates in Montreal: Ivan Laratta. Cricket trains, studies his weaknesses and she knows she’s ready for anything. Anything but the way he makes her feel when they come face-to-face. Too bad he only knows her as Tabitha Cutter, mercenary-for-hire.

Ivan doesn’t know what to make of the mousy brunette when she shows up wanting to join his crew. All he knows is she’s smart and tough and he can’t stop thinking about her. There’s just something about her attitude and the way she’s always messing with her glasses. Everything about her gets under his skin and he finds himself letting her in, to his tough-as-nails crew and into his heart.

A big job takes them halfway around the world and it doesn’t take long for the dangers to pile up, or for the wicked chemistry between Cricket and Ivan to become more than a hot distraction. Before they know it, they’re running for their lives, pursued by numerous enemies, and Cricket is faced with a devastating choice: complete her mission, and do her duty by arresting Ivan, or turn her back on everything and everyone she cares for to be with the man she’s fallen for.”

In other news, the holidays are always a busy time of year. This year is no exception. I’ll be off and travelling again soon, not that that will change how often I post here. 🙂 I will have my computer with me at all times though, so rest assured, I will always be hard at work on something. Next up, hopefully another ice story, maybe even something popping up for free on Lit. No pun intended. 😀

As always, take care and happy reading, and a very Merry Christmas to everyone!

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New Feature – Sneak Peeks

Hello all. 😀

I’m going to try to make an effort to write more regularly on here. Not often, mind you, but in some sort of steady fashion. I make no promises! LOL. I am writing more than I was at this time last year, which is good, and I’ve been working on a few different things. When I say a few different things, I mean many.

I’m trying to edit and revise the fourth book in my TAITS series, I’ve been writing and restarting (many times) a sequel to Breaking Through the Ice, and I’m writing two or three other new stories, in new genres. It’s a bit crazy, trying to focus on one thing long enough to be productive but I enjoy it and I’m sure most writers would tell you that they have one or two things – at least! – on the go at any given time.

Also, as you may or may not know, I don’t really have a beta reader for a lot of things. I’m not complaining, it’s just the way it is. I can send things to a few different friends, but they have lives of their own and I don’t always get the immediate feedback I crave. And of course, it’s all about me! LOL.

In that spirit, I’ve decided to start a new feature on here. It’s a new tab (see above) called “Sneak Peeks”. From time-to-time, I will post small or large chunks of stories I’m working on. Some will be published, some might never be. Some might feature familiar names or places, and others will be entirely new. I hope you’ll take the time to read them over and tell me what you think.

Speaking of sharing thoughts… I want to take a moment to ask anybody out there who has read my published works to consider leaving a comment or rating on them. I’m an indie writer and I have no budget for advertising beyond what I do here or on Facebook. I can’t force anyone to leave comments or ratings and it’s the ONLY way to get the word out about my work. So please, if you’ve purchased something of mine from Amazon Kindle, Smashwords, the iTunes bookstore, Kobo Books or the Nook Book store, please go onto the website and leave a rating, and a comment. It doesn’t have to be a glowing review (though I would prefer not to be completely torn to shreds! 😉 ) but an honest review would be very much appreciated.

On that note, I’ll leave you now to enjoy the first sampling over under my “Sneak Peeks” tab. I hope everyone has recovered nicely from the holiday season and is sticking to their resolutions.

Take care, and happy reading.

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