#WriteTip - 5 Places to Find Story Ideas by @MSKosciuszko, spotlighting her #Sweet #Romance ONCE AND FOREVER

I'm delighted to welcome M.S. Kaye back to my blog today. We've checked out the first two books in her series, and she's back with number 3. Find out all about it after this brief writing tip break. 

5 Places to Find Story Ideas

by M.S. Kaye

The first question most people ask me when they find out I write is “How do you come up with your ideas?” I think part of the trick is just to be constantly tuned into that part of your brain. Where other people might think, “Wow, I need to Facebook that,” writers are thinking, “Ooh, that’s a great story idea!” Other than everyday life, here are some places where I find ideas and inspiration:

  1. History—Some crazy things have happened in our world throughout the ages. Why not use it? I either pick an event or circumstance and modify it to fit my purposes, or create a link to some major event in history.
  2. Mythology and Fairy Tales—Even crazier things happen in mythology, which makes it a ripe playing ground for writers. One of my YA novels is about teenagers who have been reincarnated as Sumerian Gods. The book recreates a mythological story in a modern way.
  3. Movies—No, I don’t mean steal ideas, but you can pull bits and pieces about the story or characters and then twist it around in your mind and come up with something completely different.
  4. Dreams—I know it sounds corny, but some of my favorite stories come to me from the flashes I see in my dreams. My first novel was a story I’d dreamed clearly. It took me years to realize it wasn’t going to go away and I needed to write it down. Now it’s one of my favorite stories.
  5. Literature—I love referencing famous works to hint at the theme or plot points to come. Or maybe take an O. Henry story and expand it in a modern way. Maybe find out what happened to Tom Sawyer when he grew up.

Where do you find your inspiration?

Once & Forever

Book 3

by M.S. Kaye

Who is the mysterious Santa who leaves toys on the convent steps?

After a twelve-year separation, Eden is finally reunited with her brother, Thomas, but why hadn’t she reached out to him in all those years? Eden, a nun, is constantly struggling against her dark past of living on the streets, and her attraction to Trace, an ex-convict farm worker. As Eden and Trace confess their pasts to each other and grow closer, will they be able to resist getting too close?

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Excerpt

“You know what he did to git sent to prison?” one of the convenience store clerks murmured to the other.

Trace could just hear them over the horrible rendition of “Jingle Bells” playin’ through the speakers. He ignored them, like he always did. He tried to come into town late in the evening to avoid people as much as possible, but that also meant it was quiet enough that he could often hear what people murmured about him. Once he’d grabbed some protein bars and a can of beer, he headed up to the counter to pay.

The clerk with a buzz-cut told him the total, and Trace handed him some cash.

Neither of the clerks made eye contact with him, but they both hovered over the cash register as if he might snatch it and run.

Buzz-cut closed the cash drawer right quick and handed Trace’s change back.

“Thank you.” Trace stuffed the change in his pocket, took the bag of protein bars in one hand and his beer in the other, and walked out of the store.

He headed for the back lot toward the alley. He could get through most of downtown by way of the alley. This late at night it was almost too dark to see where he was goin’, but that was part of what he liked about it.

“Bitch,” someone growled. And then the sound of something—or someone—smacking into the brick wall of the back of the convenience store.

Trace moved more quickly and turned the corner, and he caught sight of a skinny, young woman punching a man in the face. His head snapped back. But then another man slammed his fist across her jaw. She looked so frail that the punch seemed like shooting a cannon ball at a piece of notebook paper.

“Hey!” Trace roared and ran at them. “Git away from her.”

About M.S. Kaye

M.S. Kaye has several published books under her black belt. A transplant from Ohio, she resides with her husband Corey in Jacksonville, Florida, where she tries not to melt in the sun. Find suspense and the unusual at www.BooksByMSK.com.

To receive news on upcoming releases, sign up for email updates on her website.

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#WriteTip - (Not) Filtering POV by M.S. Kaye (@MSKosciuszko), with a #CoverReveal for ONCE AND AGAIN

The writing tip I have for you today touches upon one of my biggest pet peeves as a reader. I'll let M.S. Kaye explain why!

(Not) Filtering POV by M.S. Kaye

Point of view can be a tricky thing. I was recently editing a manuscript for a publisher I work with, and the author continually filtered every action through the point of view of the main character. This isn’t wrong necessarily, just not as strong as it could be.

Consider these sentences:

“Sarah saw the man run out into the road.”

“The man ran out into the road.”

If Sarah is established to be the point of view character, there is no need to filter every action through her; the reader already knows he/she is experiencing the things Sarah is. Continuing to filter through the character keeps a wall between the reader and the action, and also makes the writing feel repetitive. Sarah saw… Sarah heard… Sarah smelled…

In almost all cases, it’s better for the story if the reader feels they are experiencing the action as if they are Sarah, not standing off to the side watching Sarah watch the action. And we all know it’s best to cut as many unnecessary words as possible.

Once & Again

Book 2

by M.S. Kaye

She was once his secret desire… Will she be again?

Father Aiden, an ex-marine and new priest, falls in love with Maylynn, but he struggles to stay away from her. He’s successful for many years, though he can’t keep her out of his dreams.

Then one day she shows up for a pre-marital counselling session with her fiancé, Davis. Aiden soon realizes Davis isn’t who he says he is, but what does that mean for Maylynn, and for himself?

Will be released August 4, 2016 from Inkspell Publishing. Pre-order on Amazon or add to your to-read on Goodreads today! 

Excerpt

“You’re studying to be a priest?”

He made himself meet her eyes. “I am a priest.”

She let go of his hand and stepped back.

Her smiled was tight. “I’m glad you found your path.”

Quiet.

He couldn’t quite read her expression. The distance between them felt like a gorge chiseled into the earth.

“Are you all right, Maylynn?” he asked.

“I’m really happy for you.” Then she added, “Father Aiden.”

For some reason, her words stabbed him in the gut. He usually liked when people used his title—it seemed to imply a certain amount of trust.

“I’m sorry, Maylynn.” He wasn’t entirely sure why he was apologizing. He just didn’t like to see her uncomfortable.

“I’m happy for you,” she repeated.

Then he realized what the problem was. He hadn’t anticipated this.

He moved closer. “I’m so sorry.”

Her forced smile finally dropped. “Why didn’t you tell me sooner?”

“It didn’t occur to me…”

“That I might be attracted to you?”

“Yes.”

“Why aren’t you wearing your collar?” Anger prickled the edge of her voice.

“My mother’s last wish was that I find my father. I’ve been following her notes. She was convinced he was somewhere in this area.”

“Wait… Your mother’s name was Adalina?”

He nodded. With the number of times the shelter was mentioned in the notes, he figured his mother and Maylynn had met.

A pause.

Anger flashed in her eyes. “You still should’ve told me.”

“I’m sorry.”

“Why’d you play with me like that?”

“I swear that wasn’t my intent.”

“You knew damn well what was going on. Was it a game—see if you still had it? If you could still get the chicks?”

Under the anger in her eyes, he saw the hurt. He swore he could feel it exactly, as if it was his own.

He shifted even closer, just in front of her. “I’m sorry,” he said again. His voice lowered, quieted. “I didn’t see what you were feeling because I was fighting so hard myself. I still am.”

“Fighting what?”

“What I felt the first time I saw you, what I’m still feeling.”

She waited, glaring at him.

“I’m attracted to you,” he said. “Intensely.”

ABOUT M.S. KAYE

M.S. Kaye has several published books under her black belt. A transplant from Ohio, she resides with her husband Corey in Jacksonville, Florida, where she tries not to melt in the sun. Find suspense and the unusual at www.BooksByMSK.com.

To receive news on upcoming releases, sign up for email updates on her website.

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#WriteTip - Is SAID Dead? by M.S. Kaye (@MSKosciuszko), with a #CoverReveal for ONCE

Have you ever seen authors/editors geek out over dialogue tags? It's a sight to behold. Anyway, I've invited M.S. Kaye over to explain the debate over the most controversial of all tags--"said."

Is Said Dead? by M.S. Kaye

I recently saw a Facebook post that claimed “said is dead.” It went on to list all the other “better” options to use, along with the emotion that correlates to each word.

I do agree that sometimes yelled, demanded, or murmured are the best words for the job, showing how the dialogue is being said, especially if it’s difficult to show the emotion through the particular dialogue. However, most of the time, “said” is exactly what I want.

Said is dead, huh? Of course it is. That’s the whole point!

Readers barely even notice it. It serves its purpose of clarifying the speaker and then shuts up and stands in the corner like it’s supposed to. Dialogue tags remind the reader of the author’s presence, so when you have to use a tag, why not use the one that’s almost invisible?

 

Once

Book One

by M.S. Kaye

Her first and also her once.

Jonathan and Rebecca’s paths cross at exactly the right moment, when each most needs to hear what the other has to say.

But Jonathan is three days from entering the priesthood, and Rebecca leaves him to his peace. But he is unable to find peace.

Without each other’s comfort and strength, they must each struggle to forge a new path, with only memories of the one day that changed everything.

But are they able to forget and let go?

Releases July 2, 2016 from Inkspell Publishing. 
Pre-order on Amazon or Kobo, and add to your Goodreads TBR list today! 

Excerpt

“What’s the answer?”

He paused. “A switchblade.”

With my fingertips, I reached out and traced the scar across his cheek. “Did you win?”

He removed my hand and closed his eyes. “Yes.”

I slid his Book back to him. “This says we can find forgiveness.”

His eyes still closed, his jaw clenched. He bowed his head. “It also says ‘Thou shalt not kill.’”

I took his hand in both of mine, petted his rough skin, and then brought it to my lips. He had a talent for guiding invisibly, but I didn’t know how to do that.

He watched me again. His eyes were intense, like the black of the night sky, and his forehead was furrowed, as if his emotions were scattered, as if he was shocked at my reaction, as if he had been sure his answer would drive me away. But I knew him. Already, I knew him.

“You’re still a good person,” I said.

His jaw clenched. “I’ve been trying to believe that.”

“I have faith in you.”

He continued to watch me. His forehead never smoothed, as if he was fighting for strength, but his eyes softened. He slid around the booth, closer to me.

I didn’t move, not sure what to do, what was right, what he wanted.

He leaned closer.

I only watched him.

He touched his lips to my cheek, the faintest pressure. I struggled to sit still, to keep my hands in my lap, not to grab hold of him. And then his lips were gone, such brief contact that I couldn’t be sure if he had actually kissed my cheek or if I wanted his contact so much that I’d imagined it.

He spoke in my ear. “You must be some kind of final test.”

My heart pounded into my ribs, against the point of the blade. “Are you going to pass?”

His lips brushed against my jaw. “I don’t know.”

He trailed to my neck, his mouth softly pressing. My hand curled into his hair, the other on his shoulder, holding, clutching. His mouth found mine, barely touching. His warmth invaded my head.

“God give me strength,” he murmured.

The door slid open, and the compartment filled with laughter.

He closed his eyes. Then he slid away from me.

About M.S. Kaye

M.S. Kaye has several published books under her black belt. A transplant from Ohio, she resides with her husband Corey in Jacksonville, Florida, where she tries not to melt in the sun. Find suspense and the unusual at www.BooksByMSK.com.

To receive news on upcoming releases, sign up for email updates on her website.

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