Monday, July 28, 2014

I Could ... but I Won't.

Writerly Tip 149: Using the words "I could" almost always = lazy writing. It happens all the much in fact that it seems to be a growing trend.

What do I mean? Keep reading.

1) I could hear the horses' hoofs.
2) I could see the pain on his face.
3) I could hear his smile through the phone.

One of those works; the other two are just poorly stated. Now, which one is okay, and how could we fix the others? What's wrong with "I could" anyway? In short, it's completely telling vs. showing. case you were wondering, number 3 is acceptable.

Imagine you're actually in a field (or the city streets, or Oz, or wherever), and you hear horses. How are you experiencing it? 

Try this: Horses' hoofs clopped over the cobblestones ... or yellow brick road.
Whichever you prefer. ;)
Doesn't that sound better? It paints a clearer picture in the same amount of words.

Now we're on to our guy who's obviously hurting. Maybe he just got caught lying to his girlfriend, and he feels terrible. Perhaps his dog died. Maybe some dude kicked him in the junk. We at least know he's feeling some kind of pain.

Now then, number 2: He gritted his teeth as tears pooled in the corner of his eyes.
Obviously you need to cater to the situation. 
If he'd been kicked in the nads, he would've doubled over, and you wouldn't see his face. 
You get the picture.

Why then does number 3 work? Because it's logical. That's the best way to say it. Have you ever heard a smile in someone's voice while talking on the phone? It makes sense that "I could." Would it throw you off to read, "He smiled through the phone?" I guess you could take away what it meant, but in reality, the mental image that creates is kind of terrifying.

Writing "I could" isn't an evil act, but consider the situation and use them sparingly. Always ask yourself, "Can I show this moment instead of explaining it?"

Keep Writing!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Heart and Soul - Book 3 in The Minstrel Series


Heart & Soul

Heart & Soul is the third book in The Minstrel Series 

(This is a connected book series - while each book can stand alone, they are best enjoyed in sequence.)


She's heartbroken. He's heartless.

Gabriele Baumann-Smith is deliriously in love with her young husband Lennon.
Except, it turns out that Lennon Smith isn't his real name. In fact, he's full of secrets: a cottage on the southern British coast, an old girlfriend and... an identical twin brother.

Callum Jones—not his real name—can't believe his brother's widow came to England. He'd warned Mick—Lennon—that an inheritance could put the girl's life in danger, and he was right.

“Mrs. Smith” is the last thing Callum needs to worry about right now. She's beautiful, sure, takes his breath away at times. But when she looks at him, who does she see?

Gabriele's heart is battered and bruised. Can one brother fix what the other left behind? And will they live long enough to find out?

BUZZ for Heart & Soul

"...this took a turn for the spy/thriller genre, which surprised me, but still carried the strong romantic flavor and wonderful accompanying music, like the first two books. I think this is a great series and would recommend it to contemporary romance fans." Denise Jaden, author of Foreign Exchange

"Another great book by Lee! This one had action, wit and a forbidden love! Love the characters and their interaction with each other! Can't wait to see what she has in store for us next!" Tressa Sager, Amazon reviewer

"I don't want to give away what the danger is, but suffice it to say, it's a real and plausible threat. Gabrielle is a good leading lady. She doesn't back down from anything or anyone in this book, but she's still vulnerable, making her well-rounded and likable." J Harrell, Amazon reviewer

AMAZON | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | itunes | Google Play

Heart & Soul in Print

The Music fromThe Minstrel Series Volume 3 Heart & Soul

Featuring the author's daughter, Tasia Strauss!

Lee Strauss' thoughts on The Minstrel Series and Heart & Soul:

"My musician husband and I just randomly started talking about the idea of working on a project together - wouldn't it be great if we could collaborate and merge our two artistic worlds? Writing and Music? That was the seed that started the muse talking, and soon afterward The Minstrel Series was born!

For Heart & Soul, I knew I wanted to move the series from Germany to England (next to Ireland and Boston!) and that I needed a small coastal town not far from London. I used Google Earth to examine the British coastline to search for the perfect town and found it in Emsworth. Living in Germany part-time has its advantages and one of them is its proximity to England. My husband and I did a quick five day research trip. (It also came in handy for the next book, a Christmas novella set in London - stay tuned!)

Because of the musical aspect of this series, I'm always on the prowl for songs and singers. My connection to the singer-songwriter world via my musical husband has been a big advantage. My husband's musical genes have also been down to our kids, so it's exciting to involve my daughter Tasia in the project to be the singing voice of Gabriele."

Click HERE to read the first chapter of Heart & Soul. 

**One of the entry options will ask a question from the above chapter.

About The Minstrel Series:

The Minstrel Series is a collection of contemporary romance novels set in the singer/songwriter world. The books are companion novels, with shared settings and characters, but each is a complete stand-alone story with a HEA (happily ever after) and no cliffhangers!

The books include MP3 links to original music by talented Indie Artists, so you can hear the characters sing!

#1     Sun & Moon
#2     Flesh & Bone 
#3     Heart & Soul 
#3.5  Peace & Goodwill (Christmas Novella coming Fall 2014)

It also has its own FACEBOOK (link) page and its own BANDCAMP (link) page where you can listen to the original music associated with the books. Albums are also available on AMAZON.

About Lee Strauss:

Lee Strauss is the author of The Minstrel Series (contemporary romance), The Perception Series (young adult dystopian) and young adult historical fiction. She is the married mother of four grown children, three boys and a girl, and divides her time between British Columbia, Canada and Dresden, Germany. When she's not writing or reading she likes to cycle, hike and do yoga. She enjoys traveling (but not jet lag >:0), soy lattes, red wine and dark chocolate.


New Release! HEART & SOUL, bk3 in a connected series by @leestrauss #Romance #Thriller #suspense #music #musicians

Love #Romance and #Suspense? #Music? HEART & SOUL, bk3 in a connected series by @leestraussbooks

a Rafflecopter giveaway