Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Use Emotional Anchors To Turn Your Book Into a Page-Turner

I'm going to tell you a secret.  It's a secret that took me years to develop, and yet it's a very simple secret.  This secret has prompted reviewers to say things like this:

Wow, man, this series just gets better and better...Heck, I read both books 2 and this one in the same day.
Michelle's review of Heaven Sent

Lord I started reading it at work and then when it was time to leave I switched over to my Kindle and kept reading it. That is how much I loved this story.
Kyle Jacobson's review of Earth Angel

This book is a page turner until the very end! You get to enjoy some hairy and even fun adventures.
Lettee Shelton's review of Falling

This is a sample of over 1300 mostly four and five star reviews and ratings my books have received on Goodreads, many of them claiming my books are page-turners.

How do I do it?  How do I write books that keep readers up all night (more than one reviewer has said this).  The very simple secret is I use emotional anchors.  I hook the reader with my character's emotions.  You're probably thinking "that's no secret. Anyone can do that."  You're right, anyone can.  Yet, it took me over 20 years to figure out that the key to a page-turner wasn't plot, or intrigue, or mystery, it was emotion.

I'm going to share a sample of my latest work with you to show you what I mean.  Notice the scene is not propelled by the action, it's propelled by what's happening to the character emotionally.  In this selection, six year-old Marty has been left at home alone by his older sister, who was supposed to be babysitting him:

         With both Phoebe and Allison gone, the apartment was quiet.  It was nighttime quiet, even though Marty could see the bright June sun streaming in through the living room blinds, casting long shadows onto the faded carpet.

         He looked down at the treasure Allison had dumped into his pillow fort before she left.  Think I'll read.  I'm a big boy now, and that's what big boys do.  We don't play, we read.

         Marty picked up his favorite book, Tall Timber Tales, about Paul Bunyan and Babe the blue ox  He decided the read the part where babe drank the entire Grand Coulee River.  He wasn't sure how big the Grand Coulee was, but drinking any sized river was a big drink of water.

         What Was that?

         A sound.  A soft, sliding sound had come from Marty and Allison's bedroom.  It sounded as though someone or... something had slid out from underneath his bed.

         "Hello."  No answer.  Of course there wasn't an answer.  There's nothing there.  It's jut my magination.  Allison complained about his overactive magination all the time.

"I know there's no monster there," Marty called out.  "So you may as well get back under the bed."  Nothing.  

         Marty glanced down at the book in his lap.  He folded it back to the picture of Paul and Babe on the cover.  He enjoyed staring at the picture because when he did, he magined himself hangin' out with old Paul and babe.  He could magine so good that sometimes...

Marty's attention was again drawn to the bedroom.  He peered wide-eyed around the arm of the old couch because this time he was certain he'd heard the closet door opening, certain he now heard whispering--monster voices.

         I gotta get outta here.  The thought drifted in like an early season snow, yet stuck like the first big fall of the year.  If I don't leave now, all they'll find of me are bones and clothes.  Monsters only eat the good stuff.  Then another thought drifted in--scaredycat.

         That's what Allison would call him for being so afraid.  And I thought you were a big boy... I AM A BIG BOY!  

I'm going to stop there.  If you're like most readers, you'll want me to continue.  You'll want me to continue until you've turned the last page.  And here's the twist.  It's not the possibility of monsters or the mystery of what will happen next that hooked you.  It's Marty's emotional state.  You're anchored to it because you recognize and understand it.  Even if you've never been left alone as a child, you understand how vulnerable that person must feel.  Your emotions anchor you to the character's emotions--and now you're hooked.  My books are a roller coaster ride of character emotions.

Yes, there'rs mystery, romance, battles with demons and escapes from hilltop castles.  The illusion is the reader gets hooked on those things.  But that's just the illusion.  My goal is to move you from emotional anchor to emotional anchor until the end.  Lots of books have mystery, romance and great battles.  Those things have occurred in many of the books you've put down and never returned to.  So hook your reader into your character's emotional state, and you'll keep them hooked to the end.  That's my secret.  It's the reason readers love my books.  If you want them to love your books, hook them with emotional anchors.

Happy Reading/Happy Writing!

The sample chosen is from my latest, a horror/thrill I'm writing with Sal Conte, currently entitled The Memory Giver.

Friday, April 11, 2014

My Interview With Myself Part II

Sal Conte

Question: Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published?

E: When my first novel, Never Slow Dance With A Zombie, first came out, my publisher set up a number of reading/signings.  One of them was at Book Soup, a well known indie book store here in Los Angeles.  I arrived early to set up.  There were a number of young women milling about outside the store.  I didn't think anything of it, and then heard from a store worker they were there for me.  How incredibly exciting that was, to have fans taking time out of their day to came and see me.  So gratifying.  In fact, it was awesome.  I'll never forget it.

Question: Where do you find yourself getting inspired--sitting in your writing den at home, our in nature, or in a crowded place, full of bustle and noise?

E: I am constantly bombarded with ideas, notions, inspiration.  This can come sitting alone, watching a movie, while working, in the middle of a conversation--anywhere, anytime.  Recently I was at a movie screening when one of the scenes triggered an idea.  I had to go out into the lobby to write it down.  Inspiration is all around me no matter where I am.  It's my blessing and my curse.

Question: Can you tell us more about your current projects?

I'm very excited to tell you I started writing a horror/thriller.  It's in the very early stages, but I'm writing it with my horror writing alter ego, Sal Conte.  I plan to premiere it in chapters very soon on Watpad.  Both Sal and I will be tweeting about it.  That should be fun, so follow us on Twitter: @EVanLowe @SalConte1.  I've also been working on a very neat TV project, but I won't mention it until it becomes more real.  TV projects often don't materialize.  I'm also excited because I have several new things for you to read that will be available this year, including my FREE ebook novella, I Want You Back!  Follow me and stay tuned for updates on everything.

Question: What books are you reading now?

I recently finished reading Memoirs of a Sword Swallower.  This was research for a project I thought I was going to work on, but decided to work on later.   I'm also reading The Stone Man by Luke Smitherd.

Question: Do you have any specific thing you'd like to say to readers?

E: Yes.  If anyone is interested in reading my Watpad project, or following any of my exploits in 2014, I encourage you to sign up for my newsletter. for special friends ( or frans, as I call them).  This is not my regular newsletter. This one contains more intimate details of my writing life, along with contests just for my frans.  I don't send it out often, so I won't be loading up your inbox with junk.  If you're interested, please email me at info@evanlowe.com under the subject heading "The 25" and I will add you to my frans list.  While you're at it, please sign up for and follow me on Watpad.  This is where the new book will premiere for FREE.  It's the only place you can read it.

Question: What's your favorite season?

E: Summer.  I blame it on being born in June.  June 22nd.  I love warm, even hot, weather.

Question: What was your favorite children's book?

E: My favorite children's books are the Harry Potter series.  I wish they were around when I was a child.  My favorite book in the series is Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.

Thanks for stopping by for my two part series.  I hope you enjoyed getting to know me better. If you have any follow up questions, please state them in the comments.  I'd love to hear from you.  In the mean time, Happy Reading/Happy Writing.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

My Interview With Myself Part I

Falling Launch Paty

During the Falling blog tour I did a number of interviews.  I culled what I felt were my most interesting questions and answers for you, my frans.  Here for your reading pleasure is my two part series...

My Interview With Myself

Question: What prompted you to choose the young adult genre?

E: I never planned on writing YA.  The genre kind of chose me.  In 2001 I developed a TV series for the Disney Channel--Even Stevens.  I'd never done anything other than prime time TV before that.  During the process, I discovered I remembered my teen and pre-teen years as if it was yesterday.  Not so much the actions of those years, but the intense emotions.  After Even Stevens, I came up with an idea for another TV show that Disney didn't buy.  I tried selling the idea to Nickelodeon, but there was no interest there either.  So I decided to write it as a novel.  During my writing journey, I came up with a crazy idea for another novel. That crazy idea wouldn't let go.  I wound up abandoning the first novel and wrote Never Slow Dance With A Zombie.  I've been writing paranormal YA with humor ever since.  By the way, I never went back to the original novel.

Question: Do you feel that your TV, play, and screenwriting experience has influenced your novels.  If so, how?

E: Working in television definitely influenced my ability to write the way I do today.  Early in my career, I was fortunate enough to write for Bill Cosby and The Cosby Show.  It was there I learned how to interject humor into story-telling. I knew how to write a good joke before then, but The Cosby Show had a rule no other show had at that time--no jokes in the script.  I had to learn how to write humor without telling a joke.  If you've read any of my novels you know how humorous they are.  I learned that very important skill writing for The Cosby Show.

Question: What's your typical day like?

E: Since writing Never Slow Dance With A Zombie, I've maintained a pretty strict schedule of working out (exercise) in the morning, writing during the day with a few breaks for food and errands, and finishing in time to enjoy the evenings with family and friends.  This past year, however, I've started inching back into TV and film, making a shambles out of my once neat schedule.  As we speak, I write whenever I'm not working on a TV or film project.  Not ideal, and I definitely wouldn't recommend it, but it's how things are right now.  I need to create a new writing schedule to accommodate my other projects.

Question: Besides a great imagination, what other skills do you think an author needs to possess in order to write successful YA paranormal novels?

E: I think all authors need to be good observers of the human condition.  Our characters cannot be puppets, created just to move our plots along.  They must act and react as we might act, out of their own fears, desires and needs.  Characters must be relatable, and that comes from observing others and ourselves, and infusing our characters with that humanness. This, I believe, is the greatest skill an author can possess.

Question: If you were stranded on a desert island, which of your characters would you want by your side?

E: That would have to be Aunt Jaz.  If you're a fan of The Falling Angels, you know throughout the series, there are very few times when Aunt Jaz isn't cooking, or baking or talking about good food.  I'm sure Aunt Jaz would find something on that island that she could make taste delicious. She also has a great sense of humor and a big, boisterous laugh.  Laughter would be the perfect medicine as we waited to be rescued.

Question: Favorite Food?

For the past several years it's been pizza... and beer.  Yes, pizza and beer are a food group  ;-)

Question: Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

E: My most important advice for would-be professionals is to get into the habit of finishing your work.  When I taught writing at USC (The University of Southern California) I can't tell you how many talented writers I came across who never had careers because they didn't develop the discipline to complete their work. Don't worry so much about making it perfect. Do that after you've completed the draft.  You can't have a career without a body of work, and you can't have a body of work if you don't complete things.  This is good advice for life in general, by the way.  Nuf said?

I hope you enjoyed part I.  If you have follow-ups to any of the questions, please state them in the comments section, and I will answer them as soon as I can.  And please come back Friday for part II of My Interview With Myself.   My latest novel, Falling is now available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble, and ibooks.  Pick up a copy now.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Happy Falling Day

Today is publication day for the final book in The Falling Angels Saga entitled Falling.  Those of you reading the saga know why they're called "falling" angels instead of "fallen" angels.  I'm so excited about this book for many reasons.  One, I think it's my best work so far.  Another reason is I'm excited to begin a new journey writing new characters and experiences.

White Whisker Books (my Falling Angles publisher) is hosting a publication party tonight at Vromans Books in Pasadena at 7pm.  The party is open to the public, so if you're in Southern Cal and you're not doing anything tonight, I'd love for you to stop by for a reading, some good conversation and some refreshments.  AND, you can wish me a Happy Falling Day.  Falling is now available on Amazon for both e and paper books.  Click on the link to grab a copy now: Falling On Amazon.


Thursday, February 27, 2014

A Double Publication Party

 White Whisker Books, is having a special day at Vroman’s Bookstore on Thursday March 13th at 7 pm. That evening, they will be debuting two new books.  The first is mine, Falling, the fourth and final book in The Falling Angels Saga.  Here’s the cover blurb:

The End is Near
Will Megan Barnett go falling back into the arms of dreamy earth angel, Guy Matson, upon his return? Or, is she in fact, falling in love with the demon, Orthon?  Or, will her out of control abilities send her falling into Satan’s open arms?
In the final, heart-stopping chapter of the Falling Angels Saga, Megan Barnett is on a quest to rid her life of Satan forever, but Satan has other plans, including a lavish wedding, and he’s willing to destroy her family and everyone she loves to have his way.  To add to the drama, rogue demons have risen from hell with plans of their own.
Will Megan finally have her happily-ever-after, or is she doomed to an eternity in HELL

On that evening, I will also be announcing the winner of my The Easter Egg Contest.

In the second presentation, author Shelly Lowenkopf will be bringing out his first collection of short fiction, Love Will Make You Drink and Gamble, Stay Out Late at Night. It's not officially published until June 5th, so this is a pre-publication party for Shelly, but there will be some advance copies for sale.

Shelly’s stories have been published in magazines and literary journals over the years. All the stories take place in Santa Barbara which, as Shelly describes, “is an oceanside city north of Los Angeles, where people go after they've burned out in San Francisco and L.A.—but there's no safe haven anywhere.”  Shelly's presence has special significance for me as Shelly was my favorite writing professor at USC.  It was Shelly who encouraged me to follow my dream.  So we have him to blame :)

The party is open to the public.  There will be refreshments served.  I hope to see some of you there.  Those of you who live in other parts of the country, please tell your friends in Southern Cal to come out and join us.  I promise to take good care of them.  Peace.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Falling Cover Reveal

If you haven't yet seen it, here's cover for the final book in The Falling Angels Saga.  Falling.  Isn't it stunning?  I really have to hand it to Jayde for designing such beautiful covers for this series.  Here's the blurb:

Think twice before you agree to marry Satan. There’s no divorcing the devil.

The End is Near

Will Megan Barnett go falling back into the arms of dreamy earth angel, Guy Matson? Or, is she in fact, falling in love with the demon, Orthon? Or, will her out-of-control abilities send her falling into Satan’s open arms?

In the final, heart-stopping chapter of the Falling Angels Saga, Megan Barnett is on a quest to rid her life of Satan forever, but Satan has other plans, including a lavish wedding, and he’s willing to destroy her family and everyone she loves to have his way. To add to the drama, rogue demons have risen from hell with plans of their own.

Will Megan finally have her happily-ever-after, or is she doomed to an eternity in HELL?

Falling will be available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble on March 13th in both ebooks and paper books.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Easter Egg Contest Winner

Hi Everyone,

The Easter Egg Contest ended on Thursday March 13th.  I've been out of town so I couldn't announce it sooner. There was only one correct answer.  As stated in the original post, the winner of the $25 Amazon gift card will be revealed at my book launch party at Vroman's books in Pasadena on March 13th.  Until then.