Smoke and Ashes Launch & Benefit Raffle

I’m thrilled to announce that I will be hosting a benefit for the Missoula YWCA through the Smoke and Ashes Launch & Benefit Raffle. My novel, Smoke and Ashes, delves into a relationship in which the heroine feels trapped in an unhealthy and abusive relationship. I felt a special need to raise awareness and funds for this organization because not only have my character’s lives been affected by domestic violence but mine has as well. This is my chance to make a difference in the lives that are still in jeopardy.YWCA-Transparent-LogoMany of my friends and family members have also benefited from the YWCA—finding housing, jobs, and the support they needed to leave abusive relationships...and make sure they and their children are safe.All money raised will go directly to the Missoula YWCA. YWCA Missoula is dedicated to eliminating racism, empowering women and promoting peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all.They will provide services that will change lives (including transitional housing, emergency housing, and rapid re-housing), services that will help end domestic and sexual violence (through emergency shelter, services for children, support groups, and sexual assault services), and transform our community (through GUTS—Girls Using Their Strengths), summer outdoor adventure camps, after-school groups, and community action projects).Domestic violence is a silent epidemic. Women all over the United States, in all socioeconomic brackets, are suffering.By donating today, you will be helping women break the cycle of abuse and find a place where they, along with their children, can start fresh.You can change a life. To donate to the YWCA directly, click: Missoula YWCA.Smoke and Ashes_thumbnailSmoke and Ashes will land on store shelves on April 19, 2016! It will be available at all booksellers.I’ve started to receive donations for the Smoke and Ashes Launch & Benefit Raffle. The raffle tickets will be offered at all Missoula book signing events: April 23 @Barnes and Noble from 1-3 p.m., April 30 @Hastings from 1-3 p.m., and the final day (in which I shall pick winners) is May 7 @Fact and Fiction from 11-1 p.m. I would love to see you there! (I will also be signing at several RT events in Las Vegas.)Feel free to check out the event's page on Facebook!Raffle items include books, promotional materials, wine and spirits, household goods, Baskin Robbins gift cards, a variety of awesome prizes! Thanks to Janie Crouch (a Harlequin author from Germany) we even have donations coming from across the world! J Cash donations have started to arrive including Rocky Mountain Dental Lab and Kohl’s of Missoula (who has stepped up and donated $500 for the event—thank you Kohl’s)!If you’d like to donate items to the raffle, you can contact me directly: DanicaWinters (AT sign) DanicaWinters (Dot) net.  (Sorry for the wonky spelling of the email address, but I get A LOT of spammers.) You can also get directly to me by tweeting me @DanicaWinters.ALL donations are welcome.This is your chance to make a difference.*If you or someone you know needs help escaping domestic violence, you can call the Domestic Violence hotline (1-800-799-7233) or check out the DV website: http://www.thehotline.org/blog/get-help-today/

Quick Update on 5/15/2016:

Thank you to all of you who came out and supported the Smoke and Ashes Launch and Benefit Raffle. Together we helped raise $1200 for the Missoula YWCA. I couldn't be more proud that we came together to empower women and their families within my local community.I look forward to doing something like this again!

Passing on the Passion: Goal, Motivation and Conflict

Writing a Great Parnormal Romance SynopsisLast week, I had the distinguished honor of teaching a class on Plotting Your Novel at the Missoula Public Library.  It was an incredible success and I would like to share some of the points I was teaching for those of you who are interested in becoming authors.Before you begin work on your novel you need to have a plan in place for your book and your characters.The first step in plotting your novel is knowing three things about the book: The Goal, The Motivation and The ConflictWhat is a Goal?Goal is the "What" of your book.

™“A goal is a desired result, a purpose or an objective.  A goal is the prize or reward that your character wants to obtain or achieve.  Everybody likes a winner, and readers are no exception to the rule.”
™Debra Dixon (GMC Goal Motivation Conflict, 1996)
Your character’s goal must be urgent.
™They need to:
™Find the cure for cancer before their husband passes away.
™Rescue their long lost sister from a band of pirates.
™Give an injured jockey the ride he’s been waiting his whole life to attain, but must prove to the world he can ride again.
™Give a work driven maniac a chance at a job that will risk his family, but give him the job satisfaction he’s always wanted.
™Remember*  We don’t always achieve our goals and neither should our characters.

What is Motivation?Motivation is the "Why" of your book.  Why do your character's want to achieve their goal?–“Motivation is what drives your character to obtain or achieve his goal… Keep it simple.  Keep it strong.  Keep it focused.”

™ Debra Dixon (GMC Goal Motivation Conflict, 1996)

What is Conflict?Conflict is the "Why not?" of your book.  Why can't they achieve their goal? What/Who is standing in their way? Why?

–“Conflict is the reason your character can’t have what he wants.  If you character could have what he wanted, then you have no book!  Conflict is the obstacle or impediment your character must face in obtaining or achieving his goal.  Conflict is not an optional element.”
™Debra Dixon (GMC Goal Motivation Conflict, 1996)
Within each of these catagories each can be subdivided into:
Internal (non-tangible) and
External (tangible). IE The External Goal: (Example) The man wants to discover the cure for cancer.  Internal Goal: He needs to save his wife.
Within your book, the GMC should be involved in the overall concept and, additionally, in every chapter.  This should also be used in developing each of your characters, including your antagonist--very few people are entirely 'bad' instead they have a motivation that we may not agree with or understand.  Using GMC you can help create three-dimensional characters who are relatable and understandable--thus making your story stronger.
If you have questions, please do not hesitate in asking!