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ORCHARD MURDERS GIVEAWAY

Wow, 653 people signed up in one day up for my Goodreads Giveaway. Here is your chance to signup for the giveaway and get a free Orchard Murders paperback.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Orchard Murders by Janice L. Dennie

The Orchard Murders

by Janice L. Dennie

The giveaway ends October 01, 2021. See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
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HOW TO WRITE A BOOK

 

Some people have asked me to help them write a book when they mean, write the book for me. What’s the saying, teach a man to fish. You know the rest. This blog post is mainly for people who want to write and publish their books but don’t know how or where to start. I am the author of twelve contemporary and historical fiction novels that I have published on Amazon.com. I worked for a small university press, where I learned my publishing skills before starting a career with a federal agency. Join my mailing list on janicedennie.com to receive bonus content, updates, and special offers. Feel free to chat with me on Facebook.com/Janice Dennie or leave a message below.

STEP 1 – WRITE YOUR STORY

Write your story on a piece of paper or computer. No one knows your account better than you. Don’t worry how it sounds. You can always clean it up later. You become a writer by writing.

YOUR BOOK’S QUESTION

Ask yourself this question. What will your reader get for reading your book? An exciting story filled with thrills or an inspirational story that promises to lift their spirits? Or perhaps a story that will open their minds to a world they’ve never known? You must adhere to this question throughout your book.

I recommend reading “The Weekend Novelist” by Robert Ray and Writer’s Digest “Elements of Fiction Writing” books.

WRITE A SYNOPSIS OR OUTLINE

Write a synopsis or outline of your story/plot. Create a clear story arc that provides a well-defined beginning, middle, and end of your story. You should include every major plot twist where something unexpected happens, including your characters’ motivations, giving each a unique voice, add any conflict and big turning points or climactic scenes in your synopsis. 

I usually begin my synopsis with an inciting incident; something extraordinary happens to kick off the story. Then I develop five (5) major plot/story points that I can later break up into chapters. Next, I create the crisis – something unexpected that goes wrong. Then the climax or dark moment, when all is lost, and finally the resolution that ties up all loose ends, answer all questions, and solves all problems.

Here is a sample synopsis from my novel, “Kenton’s Vintage Affair.”

SAMPLE SYNOPSIS

Unemployed chef Briana Rutledge inherits her grandmother’s cottage in Napa, California. 

She sets out to turn the cottage into her dream restaurant, but Tiffany Young and her father, restaurateur Nathaniel Young, plot to run Briana out of town. 

Vintner Kenton Underwood is known for his superior Cabernet Sauvignon winemaking skills. To increase sales, Kenton needs to expand Underwood Hills Winery by adding white wines to the label. Peter Keller of Eagles Nest Winery obstructs Kenton’s expansion plans to get back on top as Napa Valley’s top Cabernet Sauvignon winemaker.

Kenton has no room for love until he meets sexy, understated, Briana Rutledge who finds a special place in his heart. But Briana harbors a deep-seated fear that thwarts her future happiness. Kenton also suffers from an obsession that fuels his competitive behavior that threatens to ruin his relationship with Briana.

STEP 2 – BUILD YOUR BOOK

Like building a house, every book must have a structural frame made out of 2×4’s. Break your synopsis up into three parts. Aristotle came up with the idea of the three-act play. Act I, the beginning of your story, Act II, the middle, and Act III, the end.

ACT I

Your opening scene is an essential part of your book because you must capture the reader’s attention by the first paragraph, page, or at least by page three. You should also bring all of your characters on stage in Act I. You don’t want to introduce characters in the middle or end of your book. Character development is significant, but that is a discussion that comes later.

ACT II

The middle of your story comes after introducing the characters/conflict. It is the meaty part of your story that dramatizes incidents that move the book toward the end. It should include scenes and incidents that increase in conflict and expose characters. These incidents show the reader that your character can change. Act II is where your story builds up to a frenzy with an unbearable situation, and then the story ends. No. You haven’t answered the story question.

ACT III

Answering the question or delivering the promise of your book requires a satisfying ending. If you promised the reader that they would experience an exciting story filled with thrills by reading your book, now is not time to end your account with a peaceful compromise where everybody gets along. It would be best to have an ending that uses the same characters, conflicts, problems, and tensions to show readers the climax. I would highly suggest reading Beginning, Middles, & Ends, by Nancy Kress. 

STEP 3

Voice and POV  

A solid method to make a character important to your readers is using the character’s point of view. The character sees situations, incidents, etc., from their perspective. Does your character see things from a common viewpoint or an eccentric one? 

When you narrate your story in the first-person point of view, your main character must be present in every scene. However, when you narrate in the omniscient third-person point-of-view, your character is not present in every scene because you are the narrator. “You can show the readers every character’s thoughts, dreams, memories, and desires, in the past, present, or future. If you narrate in the limited third-person point of view, you tell the story from one character’s point-of-view, seeing only what that character sees, aware of what that character wants. The limited third-person narrator can never change viewpoints in mid-sentence. You must show a clear division or a chapter break, or a line space. The limited narrator can change the viewpoint from one scene to another as long as there is a clear chapter break.” (Card 157)

STEP 4 DEVELOPING CHARACTERS

Coming soon.

CASTLES IN AFRICA?

The Medieval City of Gondar, Ethiopia

Gondar, Ethiopia sits high and proud 7,500 feet above sea level with mountains rising on every side and Lake Tana gleaming in the distance. The site of the city was well chosen for defense because it spreads over the top of a ridge making access to it difficult from any direction.

For 200 years during Ethiopia’s middle ages in the 17th and 18th Centuries, the kings of Gondar ruled much of Northern Ethiopia. In 1632 King Fasilides selected Gondar as his capital, and it soon became the political and cultural center of the country. Although the civilization of Axum was one of the main strings of Ethiopian culture, the achievements of the Middle Ages, centered in Gondar, have had a great influence on the nation.

After the decline of the Zagwe Dynasty at Lalibela, Ethiopia was ruled by kings who moved the court with them from place to place in Northern Ethiopia. Moslem armies sought to penetrate the highlands and under Ahamed Gran in the 16th Century, burned Axum and defeated the Ethiopian armies. By this time the Portuguese had established contact with the Kingdom of Prestor John and sent Christopher da Gama, a son of Vasco, to help Ethiopia fight the Moslem armies. After the death of Ahamed Gran, Portuguese missionaries sought to convert the Ethiopians to Roman Catholicism but failed. By the 17th Century, the period of long religious conflict with the Moslems and Portuguese was passing and a new epoch was ready to be added to Ethiopian history. 

 King Fasilides and his dynasty built some of the most remarkable buildings in Africa, and Gondar became an imperial walled city of towers and castles. Although influenced by Portuguese design, the castles emerge as thoroughly and uniquely Ethiopian.

The largest castle is four stories high and was built of rough-cut stones and lime mortar with cedar doors, beams, and furniture. It is a large rectangular building with a grand outside staircase, a watchtower, and four semi-detached rough turrets at the corners. Around the great castle of King Fasilides is a stately group of castles with their turrets, narrow windows, dungeons, and staircases all surrounded by a battlement wall with twelve gates. Once centers of authority and government, these feudal fortresses seem lonely and deserted now, perhaps remembering when the Temple of Love, the House of Songs, and the Paradise Gardens Pulsated with life.

During the years when Gondar was the capital of Ethiopia, a number of visitors from Europe and other continents reached Gondar and returned home to tell with amazement what they had seen. At the end of the 17th Century, a French diplomat described the great palaces of Gondar with rich decorations, beautifully carved furniture and the emperor’s gold throne. More than 50 years later the Scotchman James Bruce came to Gondar where he lived several years. He visited the source of the Blue Nile which he claimed to have discovered, and his books about Ethiopia received wide circulation in the English-speaking world.

JANICE’S DECEMBER 2020 NEWSLETTER

Dear Readers:

2020 has been a challenging year for many of us. My heart goes out to all families who’ve lost loved ones due to the Corona Virus. I pray that 2021 will be a better year for everyone. I felt so bad for children forced to stay at home during the pandemic that I wrote a children’s story to take them into a magical world. It’s called “Mystical Nights of the Water Sprites.” Available on Amazon.com. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0878ZNPZQ/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_hsch_vapi_tkin_p1_i2

It’s about three tween girls, Haniah (11) and her friends, Amy and Fiona. As the story opens, they are complaining about their boring summer vacation. They disobey their parents and get lost while hiking alone in the Sierra Mountains. The next morning, they meet some winged water sprites sitting on pebbles & leaves at Big Bear Creek. Haniah watches as the water sprites’ leader lifts her staff and turns a squirrel into a dandelion. The story takes off into a world of adventure that will keep children occupied and distracted from thinking about their isolated situation.

Besides writing, I spent this summer gardening in an attempt to distract myself from the solitary life caused by the Corona Virus. I grew some tomatoes, Jalapeno peppers, and greens in my vegetable garden. I also grew some sunflowers-which I will never grow again, zinnias, hollyhocks, petunias, and roses in my flower garden.

I decided to make my debut in the world of mystery with my new novel, “The Orchard Murders,” scheduled to be released on June 1, 2021. It follows private investigator Jason Sutton, an ex-Navy SEAL who gets a tip on his cell phone about a dead body buried in an apple orchard on highway twelve. He sets out to find the body and is shocked at what he discovers.

SNEAK PEAK:  

Look for book 2 in the Jason Sutton series next year. Jason sets out to find who’s blackmailing the Sutton family because of his wayward cousin’s illegal shenanigans.

Have a safe and happy Holiday Season! 

Take Care, Janice

Meet the Underwoods

 MEET THE UNDERWOODS OF NAPA VALLEY.

A heartwarming new romance series set in California’s lush Napa Valley.

The Underwood brothers have inherited the character DNA of their male ancestors, a line of old fashioned southern gentlemen who took great pride in protecting their families.  Henrietta Underwood, the family matriarch, wants to marry off all five of her adult grandchildren to loving spouses. She has dubbed each one with a character trait.  As the eldest brother, Kenton Underwood is “the protective one.”  He’s protective of his family and stays busy running his family’s winery.  The next brother, Justin Underwood is “the strong one.” He’s a passionate civil rights attorney, and a modern day knight in shining armor, who fights to protect the woman he loves in court.  The next is billionaire, Carter Underwood, “the gifted one.”  He is a hard driving, self-centered CEO who’s used to controlling his time, money and heart until he meets Courtney Oliver, the former “Miss Oakland” who makes him realize his heart has a mind of its own and he can’t tell it who to love. Brandon Underwood, is “the artistic one.” He has lost his passion for painting until he meets Ciara Alexander, an ambitious ballerina who must choose between her blind ambition, and Brandon’s love. If you haven’t met the Underwood brothers of Napa Valley, now’s the time to meet these handsome, sexy men who have as much ambition as they have charm. The Underwoods of Napa Valley series takes a look at a family that enhances love and relationships among the vines, and changes personalities forever.

DOWNLOAD

Thank you for subscribing to my VIP email list. Here is a link for you to get your free book. Google Docs LINK: http://noorosha.com/paydown-download-page-2/ Detailed instructions how to download files and load onto your device.

New for Valentine’s Day

  Jason Underwood returns home from Afghanistan only to find his girlfriend happily married to another man. To help him get some rest, Jason’s sister, Tisha convinces him to accompany her on a vacation to Napa, California to visit their relatives. Upon arrival, Jason realizes the airlines has misplaced his bag containing his pain medication. He visits the local VA hospital where he is treated by Nurse Amber Carrington, who threatens to crack his icy exterior. But Jason is determined not to allow another woman past his carefully guarded heart. Amber Carrington is on a mission to heal as many veterans as possible after losing her ex-boyfriend in Afghanistan. To Amber, Lieutenant Jason Underwood comes off as a bossy, commando type of soldier, used to barking out orders to his subordinates. But she’s accustomed to that kind of behavior from her patients, and sees through Jason’s tough exterior. She sees a man who, like her, suffers from a broken heart. Will Jason allow Amber to heal his wounded leg as well as his wounded heart? Will Amber overcome losing her ex-boyfriend?

NAPA VALLEY WINE TRAIN

I was appalled at what happened to the Reading Edge book club on the Napa Valley Wine Train.  What happened to them is a prime example of why I wrote THE UNDERWOOD’S OF NAPA VALLEY SERIES. I wrote this series about an African-American winery in Napa Valley when I became aware of the presence of Black wineries in the Valley.  I never knew they existed, and my question was why.  I felt if I never wrote the series, how would people ever know.  I have a list of African American wineries, past and present, listed in the back of KENTON’S VINTAGE AFFAIR, book 1 in the series. The book establishes the title character as an African-American vintner and the obstacles he overcomes in the wine industry.  I am sorry for what happened to the ladies on the Napa Valley Wine Train.

I MISS MULTICULTURAL ROMANCE AUTHOR FRANCIS RAY

 It’s funny how you never really miss someone until they are gone. I feel that way about the great romance author Francis Ray. I sat on a panel with her at a symposium of multicultural romance authors at the San Francisco Library. She was a lovely person and one of my favorite authors. Every now and then, I really miss looking for her new releases. 

STOP CHASING BUTTERFLIES

In my book THE LION OF JUDAH, the heroine gives up on romantic relationships because of a tragic experience in her past.  It’s easy to give up and throw in the towel on so many things,  but I think love is like a butterfly–as long as you chase it, you’ll never catch it.   If you want to be in a loving relationship focus on becoming your best self, and stop chasing butterflies.  One day, love like a butterfly, will land on your shoulder when you least expect it.

  butterfly

MULTICULTURAL ROMANCE

Last night, I saw a movie called “The Quiet American,” on television. At first I started to turn the channel because I thought why should I look at this movie about these people. I have nothing in common with the Vietnamese heroine or the Caucasian hero. But then there was something about the story that caught my interest. It was a love story–and I am a sucker for any love story. This story was about this American guy who was crazy in love with this Vietnamese woman. As I continued to watch the movie, the plot thickened. It took place in the 1950’s before the US got involved in the Vietnam War. I never really understood why America got involved in that war, but this movie broke it down like a fraction. Not only did I get to see a wonderful Multi-cultural love story, that broke my heart in the end, but the story answered all of my unanswered questions about that war. Wow was all I could say at the end of that movie when the person I least suspected turned out to be a killer. It was one of the best movies I’ve ever seen. I say this because, I think people should not limit themselves when it comes to reading romance novels. Give stories about people, who do not look like you, a chance. Read multicultural romance novels as much as you read mainstream romance novels, I am willing to bet, that you will enjoy those stories as much as I enjoyed “The Quiet American.” Here is a real good article that talks about the evolution of multicultural romance novels. Enjoy! http://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/new-titles/adult-announcements/article/64666-in-loving-color-romance-2014.html

Another Multicultural Blog

I found another great blog on Hero’s and Heartbreakers discussing the topic of Multicultural romance and why readers of mainstream romance avoid reading multicultural romance.  Very interesting blog.  Take a look.  http://www.heroesandheartbreakerscom/blogs/2012/10/removing-the-shade-barriers-of-multicultural-romances

WHAT’S SO ROMANTIC ABOUT NAPA VALLEY.

What’s so romantic about Napa Valley. My new romance series is set in the Napa Valley wine country.  Some people may wonder what’s so romantic about Napa Valley.  Let me give you a hint.  Quaint bed and breakfasts, cozy hotels and spas that offer massages with a relaxing atmosphere and a romantic setting. Gourmet breakfast any time of the day, and complimentary wine and cheese in the evenings.  Complimentary turn down at night with a bottle of champagne, chocolates, rose petals, scented candles and soft music. Freshly baked bread and coffee from local bakeries.  Champagne and oysters from local restaurants.  Walks around various small towns peeking through windows, or stopping in for tastings. Shopping at elegant boutiques, and hot art galleries that line Highway 29. Ordering fresh baked bread, fine meats and local cheeses and wine at a delicatessens located inside wineries.  Then heading to a winery’s picnic area, for a meal among the vines or wandering around the grounds until you find the perfect spot in the vineyard to kick back, relax, and enjoy the scenery with the one you love.  That’s what’s so romantic about the Napa Valley wine country.  I hope you enjoy my romance novels that take you there on janicedennie.com. wineroses  

WELCOME TO MY BLOG

Welcome to my little area in cyberspace where, I like to dig deep into the genre of historical and contemporary fiction, particularly multicultural romance, mystery, and suspense. I enjoy writing about relationships between people who have difficult obstacles to overcome. The lowest common denominator for reading any novel is the story, isn’t it? The characters can be from all walks of life for me to appreciate a good story.