Friday, November 12, 2010

Learning to Hone with Guest Blogger Vivi Dumas

Win a free copy of Soul Catcher and meet guest author Vivi Dumas today at the Book Boost!

Here's what she had to say about Honing the Craft:

As a new writer, I still have many things to learn about the craft of writing. I don’t have an English degree and I’m not a Creative Writing major so I’m learning as I go. Fortunately, for me, I have found many venues to help enhance my learning.

When I began to get feedback on my first novel, I started to understand there was some fundamentals of writing and storytelling expected from the industry I was missing. Some changes I could make from the comments, they were common sense. But other comments I had to research to figure out what it meant. At that point, I decided, if I was going to be serious about writing, I would have to learn more about the craft and the industry.

I started my writing education by taking a beginning writing class at the local college. The class gave me a good understanding of the basic fundamentals of writing and help me identify many of the problems of my first manuscript. I also took a critique class, which provided a critique of the first 20 pages of your manuscript. It provided me detailed feedback to improve my writing.
Since then, I have enjoyed taking courses on specific topics through various online sites. I’ve just finished classes on Deep POV and Finding Your Voice. Both classes provided me with tools and skills I will use to better my writing. I’ve found great information on Romance University site, Writers Digest, and in the RWA Magazine.

Learning is a continual process. You should never stop trying to increase your knowledge and better yourself. Learning comes in many forms, find one that works for you. I used my beginning writing class to work on my second novel, Soul Catcher. It was a great experience and helped prepare the story for submission. So, continue to learn the craft and grow your skills.

A Note from the Book Boost: As both an instructor of online writing courses and an Education Coordinator for an RWA Chapter, I couldn't agree more. Taking classes even AFTER you're published is a great way to improve your writing and learn new methods for making writing magic happen! Thanks for joining us today. Congrats on your debut releases!


Top supermodel, Angel Dias, lives the life of the rich and fabulous, until a heinous car accident mars her face. After thirteen surgeries and losing everything she deemed important, she seeks out the dark forces to salvage her life and decides to conjure the Devil for help, making a deal to recover her beauty. In exchange for his help, Lucifer forces her to hunt supernatural renegades, which have eluded the pits of Hell. In her quest to find beauty and get out of her contract with Lucifer, Angel stumbles upon love in the arms of a demon.

Commander of the Legions and an Underworld Demon, Jacque Toussant, takes a field commission to escape the madness of a failed relationship and prove himself worthy of his demon heritage. Jacque is content with his existence as a field soldier until Lucifer gives him a special assignment to oversee a new trainee, a supermodel nonetheless. Humans hold low appeal for Jacque, especially the females. That is until he meets Angel. Jacque risks everything, including his life, to find a way to break Angel’s deal with Lucifer.


The growls and snarls inched closer. Angel’s feet pounded the dirt, kicking up red dust all around her. The barren trees provided little sanctuary. Her heart and mind raced as she tried to think of her next move. The skies darkened above and thunder rumbled through the thick air. The air smelled of dampness.

How long had she been running? It seemed hours. Other than Noel, the other cadets were long gone ahead of her. Being human sucked when it came to supernatural warfare, but she refused to give up. Every day the class waited, watched, wondering when she was going to quit. Two of the others had already dropped out, and they were demons.

Noel passed Angel on the left, ducking through the low branches of the charred trees, cackling as he passed. Angel picked up her speed, her calves cramping and an ache developing in her side. She wanted to stop. Stopping meant quitting. Quitting was not an option. The hellish howls closed in on her.

Angel glanced over her shoulder and caught sight of one of the ugly beasts. It’s long, rounded snout protruded from an enlarged head. Red eyes peered through the charred trees, scanning the landscape. A ridge of ivory spikes ran down the monster’s back extending from each vertebra. The dog-like fiend pounded through the forest on powerful, muscular legs, which carried its compact body. Out running them wasn’t going to work. She had to come up with another plan. Scanning the terrain in front of her, the only place to go was up. The trees disappeared into the grey clouds. If she could climb high enough, maybe she could wait them out. Or maybe they would go find another victim.

She lunged for the closest branch, leveraged her foot on the tree trunk, and boosted herself off the ground. It took all her strength to hoist her weight into the tree. As she reached for the second branch, three hounds pounced on the trunk, clawing at her dangling foot. The dark-haired one’s razor sharp teeth nipped Angel’s ankle. Stretching for the next limb, she stared down just in time to see the dagger like claws of the reddish colored beast rip into her calf.

Scurrying up the tree, she climbed higher until she was out of reach of the animals. Angel perched on one of the higher limbs, praying it could hold her weight. She clung to the trunk and observed the creatures clawing the burnt bark off the tree. Slowly, deliberately, a hound dug its sharp claws into the tree, using them like spikes, and began to maneuver its way to her.

Tremors quivered through Angel’s body, almost causing her to lose her grip and fall. Thunder clapped and lightning flashed. Ominous clouds gathered overhead, growing darker as the hound drew nearer. The animal swiped at Angel’s bleeding leg, barely missing as she jerked it onto the branch she sat on. Electricity hummed in the air. Angel felt the energy gathering about her, a strange, eerie sensation floating on top of her skin.

The hound’s red eyes glowed as it stretched towards Angel, drooling from its mouth and snarling. Angel stood on the limb, grabbing for the one above her. As she pulled on the branch, it snapped in her hand. She wrapped her arms around the trunk to keep from falling. The beast snagged her ankle, jerking its head, trying to yank her from her perch. Lightning flashed through the sky, hitting its target—Angel.

Angel closed her eyes as the bolt of electricity hit. The pain she expected never came. Her body absorbed the energy and channeled it to the beast attached to her ankle. The smell of burning fur wafted to Angel’s nostrils. The hound fell to the ground with a thud. The two other monsters sniffed its cohort and growled up at her. Angel redirected the remaining energy to the creatures below with deadly accuracy.

Want More Vivi?
Visit her website here:
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Contest Time:
Leave a question or comment for Vivi and be entered to win a free copy of Soul Catcher! Winner selected in about a week and posted in the Recent Winners box on the right hand column of the blog. Check back to see if you are a winner and to claim your prize!


Unknown said...

Writing is an ever learning, constantly changing career. Good Luck to you Vivi you are a fresh voice in the Romance world!

Vivi Dumas said...

Thank you for stopping by and the kind words Kathleen. Your support is appreciated.

Lucy Beugeling-Ramos said...

What a hot cover! I like it!

When did you know you wanted to be writer?
Good luck on the writing!

*yadkny* said...

Hi Vivi!
It seems there are more and more outlets these days for writers to learn about their craft and get feedback. I would love to try my hand at it and maybe some day I will:) For now, I'm happy just being a reader.

Congrats on your release! That cover really is HOT!!!

Vivi Dumas said...

Sorry for answering so late. I have been a little under the weather.

Thank you for coming by Lucy! I knew I liked to write for some time, but only decide to attempt to write a novel about a year ago.

Yadkny - All I can say is try it and if it's not for you then you can scratch it off your list.