Friday, April 29, 2016

Successful Writing Secret: Conflict in Description

My newest title, Write Short to Succeed inspired by my class: Hows and Whys of Writing Short, click on the link above to sign up for the next one night class on May 3, 2016.

We authors are always learning and stretching our writing muscles. So when I attended a conference recently, I was surprised by how many new authors struggled with a particular concept:


Conflict needs to be in every part of an author's work. This includes description. Description? Yes, description. Ummm, I can hear new writers saying, isn't description just describing stuff? Nope. Or at least it's full of conflict if it's a success for the author.

Easiest way to explain this is to provide an example using a very well known cliche: 

It was a dark and stormy night.
Okay where is the conflict here? Well, in the fact that dark and stormy nights are difficult and dangerous. However, it's much better to not rely on such obvious elements to create the conflict. Instead, how about:

It was a warm, bright, sunny and horrid day.
The twist with "horrid" creates a conflict. It raises the question of why the day is horrid.

It was a warm, bright and sunny day. Despite the warmth, she couldn't stop shivering.
Can you spot the conflict? That "she can't stop shivering" is a contrast that raises questions?

Or how about:

It was a warm, bright and sunny day. She hated such days. Too pleasant by far.
Her emotional response creates conflict. And perhaps a touch of characterization.

Or a different type of description:

No conflict:
She was a pretty woman. Everyone always told her so.

She never knew how pretty she was. When people told her how lovely her face, she never believed them.
Again, her emotional response raises questions, why won't she believe how pretty she is? This creates conflict and some characterization.

Conflict raises questions, makes the reader wonder why there is this conflict and makes the reader wonder how the conflict will be resolved. Conflict keeps the reader reading!

An exercise:
Spot the descriptions in other author's writing. Read through them with an eye to whether or not they possess conflict. If not, why not? How could a description have more conflict? Or if it does have conflict, how?

Authors, questions? Answers? Are you conflicted?

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Christmas romance short story on sale until December 13th! And a recipe!

On Sale for only 99 cents until 12/13/15 from Muse It Up Publishing!

Yes, it's that time of the year, Christmas reads! My novelette Christmas romance A Crispy Rice Christmas is on sale until the 13th! It tells the tale of a gal whose culinary skills are worse than lacking...

And for more Christmas great reads all on sale visit Muse It Up Publishing! Romance, mystery and more!

Now for the easy childhood recipe we all remember.  This recipe was the inspiration for A Crispy Rice Christmas, because one Christmas I decided to use red food coloring and here were the results.

No one would touch them. And a recipe my main character...well read the story to find out!

Crispy Rice Bars

4 tablespoons margarine, butter or coconut oil
6 cups crispy rice cereal
1 16 ounce bag of marshmallows (fresh mini marshmallows work best)
In a large saucepan, heat the butter on medium heat until it melts. Add marshmallows and stir constantly until marshmallows all melt. Remove from heat. Add crispy rice cereal and stir well. Using a greased spatula, spread mixture in a buttered 15 X 10 inch pan. Cut into bars when cooled.

Okay, now for the variations:
Add vanilla or rum or orange or lemon extract, a teaspoon or two.
Add a cup of nuts, or raisins or any dried fruit, or a cup of chocolate bits (or a third a cup of each!).
Add any spices you like, nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice, cardamon.
Add 1/3 cup of cocoa.
Or be daring and trying a bit of pepper and hot sauce to the cocoa! Strange but good if you like it weird and spicy!

Readers do you have any tales of Christmas cookery disasters to share?


Wednesday, November 18, 2015

JQ Rose on Cliches and Deadly Undertaking on my blog today!

Hi Conda, Thanks so much for hosting me today. I’m expressing annoyance with my bad habit of using clichés in my writing.

Writing and Removing Clichés by J.Q. Rose

For some reason clichés are not approved by editors when checking my stories. I don’t know why. It makes writing as easy as pie. These familiar expressions are as good as gold when it comes to taking a short cut in your storytelling.

Instead of writing a paragraph about how bad the storm is, I can just say the rain is coming down in buckets. The reader knows exactly how bad that is. However, after sending this in to the editor, the phrase will appear red-lined in the manuscript and a comment will show up in the margin gently reminding me that is a cliché. But seriously, if you have to describe how hot the weather is in a story, why can’t you say it was hot enough to fry an egg on the sidewalk? That really does explain the heat factor!

When push comes to shove, a cliché is the way to go for me. For instance, when the coroner arrives at the death scene, why can’t he say the victim kicked the bucket? That’s so much more colorful than saying he’s dead.

It makes me madder than a wet hen when I realize I have used clichés in my writing. For Pete’s sake, I KNOW the editors won’t let me use them, so I try to be conscious about it when I write and re-visit the chapters.

When I was writing my mystery, Deadly Undertaking, I combed through every word, every paragraph, and every page trying to ferret out the clichés. Still and all, once in a while a cliché is missed and once they’re out there, you can’t put the toothpaste back in the tube. To tell you the truth, I don’t always recognize them. So I submit the manuscript for editing on a wing and a prayer that I have caught every cliché and I won’t have the editor tearing her hair out when she reads it.

There’s no time like the present to change and recognize clichés in my writing. How about you? I plan to be as sharp as a tack when putting words down on paper so I can make it easier for me and my editor to get through the manuscript.

I’m not trying to pull the wool over your eyes. I am vowing to do better on using clichés. Just notice how much I’ve improved already!
# # # #

Deadly Undertaking
A handsome detective, a shadow man, and a murder victim kill Lauren’s plan for a simple life.
Back of the Book:
Lauren Staab knew there would be dead bodies around when she returned home. After all, her family is in the funeral business, Staab and Blood Funeral Home. Still, finding an extra body on the floor of the garage between the hearse and the flower car shocked her. Lauren’s plan to return to her hometown to help care for her mother and keep the books for the funeral home suddenly turns upside down in a struggle to prove she and her family are not guilty of murdering the man. But will the real killer return for her, her dad, her brother? Her mother’s secrets, a killer, a handsome policeman, and a shadow man muddle up her intention to have a simple life. Welcome home, Lauren!
Barnes and Noble

Amazon Biography

J Q Rose is an avid reader, photographer, and blogger with blogs about writing and growing a vegetable garden. Janet and her husband are snow birds who spend winters in Florida allowing them to garden twelve months out of the year. Summer finds her up north camping and hunting toads, frogs, and salamanders with her grandchildren.

 After writing feature articles in magazines, newspapers, and online magazines for over fifteen years, J.Q. Rose entered the world of fiction. Her published mysteries are Sunshine Boulevard, Coda to Murder, and Deadly Undertaking. Blogging, photography, Pegs and Jokers board games, and travel are the things that keep her out of trouble. She and her husband, Gardener Ted spend winters in Florida and summers up north camping and hunting toads, frogs, and salamanders with her four grandsons and granddaughter.

Connect with J.Q. Rose online at

J.Q. Rose blog
J. Q.  Rose Amazon Author Page

Rafflecopter Information:
Thank you so much for hosting me on the Deadly Undertaking Blog Tour.  Readers, you’re invited to enter the Rafflecopter drawing for prizes during the tour November 12-25. Find the Rafflecopter and the blog tour schedule at the Contest page on the J.Q. Rose blog. Good luck!

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Write Short to Succeed: Quick, easy tips from my upcoming class!

Register here for my The Hows and Whys of Writing Short, Tuesday, October 20th, 7-8 p.m. Or go to and the Personal Enrichment classes for more.

A couple of tips for a sweet taste of my class:

Why write short? Because it's a free class in editing and writing.
It's an excellent way to learn to write fiction and nonfiction, both. Because ever short story and article are…short. Which means you can focus on all the elements of the writing, plot, description, characterization, the senses and how, where, who, why etc. You can experiment and play with different genres, ideas, formats, without committing to 400 pages of writing before realizing something doesn’t work. And most of the time it does work and gives you a finished piece to sell. It’s a writing course you’ll get paid for!

How to learn to write short? READ short stories and articles. 

The major way to learn how to write short is to read short. Read a lot, they're short, after all. Read stories in publications you want to be in.  Read a lot in your genre, but not exclusively so. Read magazines, anthologies, etc and published stand alones. Read the classics and the brand new releases.
 Want to know more? Attend my class!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Back to School Deals: The Mall Fairies series! (Why you should go direct to publishers)

 Get The Mall Fairies: Exile and my other Mall Fairies titles for 30% off through September 30th!

Here's one reason why I'm a hybrid author. My publisher, Muse It Up Publishing, is having a great Back to School Deal. What did I have to do? Write my Mall Fairies series as well as I could.

And The Mall Fairies: Exile, The Mall Fairies: War and the stand alone short story, A foodie Fairy's First Foray are not the only Middle Grade, Tween and YA reads you'll find for sale, there's lots more (and having read several, I can say these are often great reads for adults too!). 

The reason to go direct to publishers? Two reasons are here: you get an additional 30% off the eBook already discounted sale price and the authors get a bigger royalty percentage of the sales  (as the publisher doesn't have to pay vendors).

Here's the directions and links (or just click on my titles). Enjoy!

The Mall Fairies: Exile by Conda V. Douglas

Save 30% this month during our BACK TO SCHOOL Event

Use discount code MUSEITYOUNG2015 in your Muse cart, save, then finalize the order.

Perfect time to stock up your child’s eReader for the holiday season or begin your pre-holiday shopping before the hustle and bustle begins.

Special exclusive at MuseItUp Publishing $2.99 plus an additional 30% off with code
MUSEITYOUNG2015 until end of September

Thursday, September 10, 2015

One Reason Amazon Rules the Book Publishing World and an Opportunity for Great Free Reads!

Foul Wind by Kathy McIntosh is a humorous mystery set in wacky North Idaho. Want an opportunity to read it for free? Then read on!

The publishing world keeps changing and Amazon keeps coming up with excellent ideas that are part of that change. One of Amazon's newest publishing ventures is KindleScout, in which the readers act as acquiring editors and pick the titles to be published! I think this is a brilliant idea. Who better to pick books they want to read than the readers? And Amazon came up with a great idea to "pay" those readers, if a title you nominate is bought and published by Amazon, you get that title for FREE when it's published! Woot! 

Plus, it's easy to do. Just head over to KindleScout and sign in with your Amazon account. The site is easy to navigate and each book has a cover, a blurb and the first three chapters for you to peruse. You can only nominate three books at a time and they are only up on KindleScout for 30 days so I usually go to "Ending Soon" first and take a look.

Except when I know the book is something I want to read! Foul Wind by Kathy McIntosh is such a book! Here's the blurb: 

Noses wrinkle in Hancock, Idaho, when a foul wind blows from the new wind turbine at a nearby hog farm. When a blackmailer threatens to reveal secrets about the development and its investors, suspicion falls on Feather Sullivan and her sister, compelling their mother to meddle. Interfering moms on a hog farm get messy—and deadly—fast! When the blackmailer ends up murdered, Feather and a mouth-watering PI seek answers while she tries to keep her snooping mother from becoming another victim.

Just my type of humorous mystery, perfect for an cup of tea and cozy chair afternoon. If it's your cup of tea too, head over to Foul Wind soon as there is only 8 days left to nominate this title!

Dear readers, what do you think of KindleScout? Love it? Hate it? Or?

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Wedding Horror Stories and a Bridesmaid Short Story on sale!

My honey Bruce and I at our niece's ceremony, fun, but a little damp!

June, the month of brides and weddings, just ended. Whew. We attended my niece's ceremony in a tiny town outside of Austin. A delightful time, although my niece worried because of what happened while the minister was giving the vows. We were out in a large tent and an enormous thunderstorm blew through, emphasizing the minister's words with thunderclaps and great rumblings, as if the skies objected. The rain managed to find every single crack and hole in that tent, dousing a number of people, including the groom! Upsetting to the bride until Bruce mentioned that this would be a memorable occasion and a great story.
In honor of all those June wedding disasters, The Bridesmaid Wore Stains is on sale for only 99 cents until July 4th! Get your copy here.

So dear readers, let me know in the comments your tales of weddings past, present and maybe future?