Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Fun with Commas Part 2: Rules to Memorize

Happy Writer Wednesday!


I have a few more comma rules for you this week, and then next week we'll take a break from them for a bit and focus on something else.

1. Use a comma to separate two or more coordinating adjectives when they are used to describe the same noun. Don't use one if the adjectives aren't coordinating. For instance: The artist painted in bright, bold colors. The green brick house was hard to miss.

2. Use a comma to set apart free modified at the beginning or end of a sentence. Laughing loudly, I looked up at the sky. I looked up at the sky, laughing loudly.

3. Use a comma to indicate a pause or a contrasted element. She looked sad, almost broken. His voice was shrill, not pleasant.

4. Use a comma to differentiate between dialogue or quotations. "You can try," he said with a grin, "but you won't win."

See? Easy peasy. Just kidding. Commas can be a pain, but remember to stick to the rules, and you'll do just fine! :)

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Fun with Commas: Rules to Memorize

Happy Writer Wednesday!


Welcome back to another installment of Writer Wednesday! We're continuing on the Comma Train this week with a look at some of the rules for comma usage.

1. Use a comma to separate three or more items in a list. I'm personally a big fan of the Oxford comma, and use it before the word "and" in a list, though it's allegedly not necessary.

2. Use a comma to separate independent clauses joined by a conjunction. Remember the conjunctions are your fanboys (for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so).

3.Use a comma to separate an introductory phrase from the meat of the sentence. You should also use a comma to separate an introductory word from the sentence. For instance: Yes, I am reading that. However, you can borrow it.

4. Use a comma to set off addresses, titles, items in a date, and geographical names. Little Rock, Arkansas \ July 22, 2019, \ Olivia Ronson, MD, is running for office. 1234 John Street, Los Angeles, California,

Next week, we'll continue with some of the other rules of comma usage!

Friday, June 28, 2019

Rapture and Halton are LIVE! #romance #newreleases


Tristan Riley and Lillian Maddox are back in Rapture, the action-packed finale to the Teplo Trilogy! Through July 1st, you can start the series for FREE, and get the second book for .99c!

You can also now snag Halton (Vested Interest #6), NYT Bestselling Author Melanie Moreland's new release! He's growly. He's possessive. He is so freakin' hot!



Rapture Summary



All's fair in love and war…

Four months ago, DEA agent Tristan Riley nearly lost his life and the disabled ballerina who stole his heart. Now his relationship with Lillian Maddox is stronger than ever, and he wants nothing more than to put Teplo and the Vetrov case behind him. But when Elijah Noel and the deadly Vetrov drug appear in Los Angeles, Tristan is thrust right back into the middle of his worst nightmare.

In order to stop a vicious gang war and keep the drug out of Pedro Francisco's hands, the DEA agent finds himself wading into unfamiliar gang territory. The stakes are high, and the body count is even higher. Los Angeles is nothing like Seattle…and Francisco's people are a whole new level of terrifying.

When the DEA jeopardizes Lillian's safety and loses their one shot at finding the Vetrov drug, Tristan walks away from his job to save her life. With a rogue ATF agent and Michael Kincaid at his side, he will stop at nothing to bring her home safely.

Outnumbered, outgunned, and with his back against the wall, Tristan will find his resolve tested in ways he never could have imagined. Making a deal with the devil was never in his plans, but he'll do whatever it takes to save his ballerina one last time…even if he has to catapult the entire West Coast into a drug war unlike they've ever seen.



Ravished (The Teplo Trilogy #1) is FREE through 7/1/19

Rhapsody (The Teplo Trilogy #2) is .99c through 7/1/19

Amazon | Goodreads





Halton Summary

When love turns to hate—that’s where I come in.

I’m Halton Andrew Smithers, attorney. Hal to my clients and friends.

Messy divorces, deadbeat dads, runaway wives, cheating partners—I handle them all.

I know the seedy side of love, and it isn’t pretty. I avoid emotional attachments—I’ve seen all too often when hot passion turns to frozen tundra.

I satisfy myself with helping people behind the scenes. It gives me a sense of satisfaction that completes my life.

Until she enters it and everything I believe is turned upside down.

She fills a void I never knew existed, and I know without her, my life will never be the same again.

For the first time, I want to try.

For her.

But am I strong enough?




Rapture Excerpt

Roman strolled across the barren waiting room, headed for the desk separated from the rest of the room by bullet-proof glass. Tristan followed behind him, glancing around. Like most jails, this one wasn't anything to write home about. The chairs were bolted to the floor. A few grimy magazines were littered around, most torn and illegible from heavy use. Large signs were posted throughout the room, warning visitors of the strict rules and the consequences of violating them. Cameras were positioned high up on the cinderblock walls, capturing every angle of the room.

"Roman Gregory, ATF. And Tristan Riley, DEA. We're here to see Jesus de Silva. They should be expecting us." Using one finger, Roman lifted the chain around his neck for the visitation clerk to inspect his badge.

Her bored gaze flickered over his shield before she lifted her expectant gaze to Tristan. He held his badge up for the same disinterested inspection.

"Any weapons?"

"Nope."

"Are you taking anything in with you?"

"Just the case file and my car key." Roman tapped the file on the desk and then presented the key in question.

The clerk barely glanced at it before sliding a sign-in sheet across the desk toward him. "Sign in here. They're taking him to interview room three. Go through the sally port, take a left, and it'll be the third room on the right."

Roman scrawled their names and the time across the visitation log before sliding it back to the woman. "Thanks, Jessie."

"Mmhmm."

They walked in silence through the waiting room and then to their third set of metal detectors for the day, dropping their badges, the case file, and Roman's car key into a plastic bin. Tristan sighed loudly when the metal pins in his arm set the damn thing off and he had to explain, yet again, why the wand kept triggering on his arm.

The guard examined the surgical scar carefully, like he expected Tristan to rip it open and pull out a gun or drugs. Eventually, the man grunted wordlessly and waved him through.

"Son of a bitch," he muttered, yanking the sleeve of his shirt back down.

"Makes you wonder exactly how many ways they've seen shit brought inside, doesn't it?" Roman asked, waiting for the guard to buzz them into the sally port.

"I don't even want to know." Prisoners were nothing if not creative when it came to smuggling contraband into jails. It wouldn't surprise him if one or two had tried to pull some shit like that at some point.

Roman chuckled.

Once they were through the sally port and into the jail proper, the smell hit Tristan right in the gut. He'd never understand how jails could smell like industrial strength cleaner and stale urine at the same time, but somehow, they always managed to do exactly that. The combination was worse than the noxious cloud of perfume, body odor, and stale smoke that had permeated Teplo every night.

"Fair warning, de Silva doesn't like me much," Roman muttered as they made their way down the hall to the interview room.

"Old friends?"

"I dislocated his dick, and broke his jaw and both of his legs a few months ago." Roman shrugged, his expression completely stoic. "He's still bitter."

"Not very sporting of him," Tristan said. He'd already known that Roman and his former partner, Brady Kaplan, had kicked the shit out of de Silva and a handful of his buddies after Guerrero targeted Mila. From what Jason had told him, Roman was suspended for a while and Brady resigned after everything went down. For whatever reason, de Silva didn't pursue charges. The dick thing was new info though.

"He had it coming."

"I didn't even know you could dislocate a dick," Tristan muttered. The thought of de Silva's dick being out of commission for a while made him happy. He hoped the fucker never worked properly again.

"I didn't either at the time."

Tristan laughed loudly at the hint of quiet surprise in Roman's voice.

"Agent Gregory?" A rotund man popped his head out of the doorway, his gray eyes bouncing from Roman to Tristan and then back again. With a few strands of hair badly combed over his balding head and sweat staining his button down, he looked squirrely as fuck.

"That'd be me." Roman held up his shield.

"Tristan Riley," Tristan muttered to the man, not bothering to add the whole "agent" part. Over the years, he'd been called a lot of things, but nothing pissed him off more than someone calling him Agent Riley. It grated on his nerves for reasons he couldn't even explain to himself…perhaps because he'd never felt particularly worthy of the Riley name to begin with. Oddly, that wasn't the case any longer.

For once in his life, he actually thought his parents would have been proud of the man he'd become. That, he knew, was Lillian's doing. She made him see himself clearly…and he wasn't as bad as he'd always believed.

He still hated being called Agent Riley though.

"I'm William Black, Mr. de Silva's lawyer." The man held out his hand, only to lower it again when he realized neither Tristan nor Roman intended to shake it. He pursed his lips, his expression souring. "You understand he's here of his own volition to speak with you?"

"I'm sure the plea deal the D.A. offered him on the drug trafficking and weapons charges has nothing to do with his willingness to speak to us today," Roman shot right back at him.

Black's lips compressed into an even tighter line, his face going red.

"Frankly, I don't give a fuck if he's here because God told him to be here," Roman muttered, glaring down at the man. "We have questions. He has answers. Let's get this shit over with."

Black huffed and then stepped aside, allowing Roman to duck into the interview room. Tristan followed behind him, keeping as much distance between himself and Black as possible. The man smelled like piss and stale sweat.

The nondescript interview room didn't hold much. Paint peeled from the walls and an inch of dirt and grime was visible in the corners. The four chairs in the small space were bolted to the floor. So was the table in the center of the room. Two guards stood at the door on the opposite side of the room, pretending to look everywhere except at them.

The man handcuffed and shackled to the table had shaggy black hair and gang tattoos all over his face and hands. Unless Tristan missed his guess, Jesus de Silva was in his late twenties or early thirties. One of his front teeth was missing in action. The permanent sneer on his face and those hard brown eyes made him appear sullen. Intelligence shone in his eyes though, making it clear he wasn't just another gangbanger. He was smart enough to have made it damn near to the top of one of the most violent gangs in Los Angeles, and that counted for something.

"Puto," he muttered, his lips twisting into a sneer as he glared at Roman.

"Miss me, de Silva?" Roman asked, slapping the case file down onto the table.

"Fuck you, homie."

"We both know I'm not your type, de Silva. You prefer innocent teenagers, remember?" Hatred rolled through Roman's expression as he stared at the gangbanger. "You sick fuck."

"If that's how you're going to speak to my client–"

"Settle down, Black. I know his fucking rights." Roman rolled his eyes and dropped down into the chair across from de Silva. "Riley, this is Jesus. Jesus, this is Riley. He likes you about as well as my last partner did. You remember Brady, right?"

The gangbanger ignored him, his hard gaze flickering across Tristan's face. He schooled his expression quickly, but not quickly enough to hide the flare of recognition, followed by annoyance that flashed across his face.

When Black made his way around the table to take the seat beside his client, Roman caught Tristan's eye and arched a brow. Tristan nodded back before sliding into an empty chair, letting the ATF agent know he'd noticed it too.

Somehow, de Silva knew who he was and wasn't thrilled to see him here.

Wasn't that just fucking lovely?





RAPTURE GIVEAWAY



Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Commas and Omitted Words

Happy Writer Wednesday!


Commas can be complex. We're taught these simple little rules in school...and then we get into writing and realize that those simple little rules just don't cover everything the comma encompasses. Over the next couple of weeks, I'll be sharing some tips to help you remember when you need a comma and when you can skip it.

When you're omitting a word from a compound sentence, use a comma to show that a repeated word was left out of the second clause.

You don't have to use a comma in a sentence when you're omitting the word that. This is where I struggle! I often think I need a comma to denote the missing word (as above), and then have to go through every manuscript with a fine-tooth comb to figure out where I did that. Fun times!

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Don't Submit that Manuscript until You Read It Differently!

Happy Writer Wednesday!



I cannot tell you enough how important it is to read your manuscript with "fresh eyes" before you submit or publish it. We have a tendency to read things the way we INTENDED them to be written, and not the way we ACTUALLY wrote them. This is even more true if you're reading on the same device you wrote those words on!

In order to catch errors and typos, change it up! Print out your manuscript. Put it on your Kindle. Read it out loud. This will help you catch mistakes you might have otherwise overlooked.

With so many readers now using ereaders, giving your manuscript a pass or two on your ereader will allow you to see it how most readers will. Something might flow well in a Word document, but not so much so on an ereader. Those short sentences that made the scene pop on the computer may seem choppy and rudimentary. Those paragraphs that you thought were the perfect length might end up seeming incredibly long on an ereader.

I cannot count how many times I've thought something looked great in Word, only to see it on my ereader and realize the paragraph is way too long, the sentence doesn't flow well, or I have a typo. It's so much less stressful to find those errors before you send your baby out into the world than it is to have a reader point them out later!

You put your blood, sweat, and tears into writing your manuscript. Give it one more pass and help it glow!