Rob Kaufman's Blog

November 10, 2016

Hi Readers!


I’m getting ready to post a new Facebook ad and would LOVE some feedback. Please take a look below and let me know what you think! Let me know on either on my Amazon Author Page…  my blog or EMAIL me at Rob@AuthorRobKaufman.com. I look forward to hearing your thoughts!


Thanks.


Rob


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Published on November 10, 2016 05:27 • 20 views

August 7, 2015

Win one of 3 signed ONE LAST LIE copies.
It’s easy to enter. Just CLICK HERE
GOOD LUCK!

One Last Lie

READ MORE:
USA Today Best Selling Author Jon Land says One Last Lie is, “Reminiscent of Sandra Brown at her best, a suburban shocker on par with Lisa Gardner and Harlan Coben.”

She’s demonic and evil, a wicked she-devil you’ll love to hate in this riveting psychological thriller that reviewers say is, “gripping”, “heartwrenching” and “holding my breath suspenseful”.

Angela is beautiful and charismatic on the outside. But on the inside, a demon rages, determined to get anyone and anything she wants. And now with her biological clock ticking, she seduces her old friend Philip, and his partner Jonathan, into having a child with her through artificial insemination.

From the moment the parenting agreement is signed, Angela’s mask of deceit slips away and she leads the fathers-to-be on a relentless, agonizing journey filled with lies, anguish and finally tragedy that forever changes the lives of everyone involved.

Five star reviewers rave that One Last Lie is a gripping thriller of fiction, a novel of pure suspense from which they are unable to pull themselves away. Like Annie Wilkes from Misery and Alex Forrest from Fatal Attraction, Angela drags innocent lives into her web of insanity – a place from which readers have confessed is hard to escape, even weeks after turning the final page.
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Published on August 07, 2015 13:34 • 125 views • Tags: free-book, giveaway, one-last-lie, rob-kaufman, signed-copy

Win one of 3 signed ONE LAST LIE copies.

It’s easy to enter. Just CLICK HERE


GOOD LUCK!


READ MORE:

USA Today Best Selling Author Jon Land says One Last Lie is, “Reminiscent of Sandra Brown at her best, a suburban shocker on par with Lisa Gardner and Harlan Coben.”


She’s demonic and evil, a wicked she-devil you’ll love to hate in this riveting psychological thriller that reviewers say is, “gripping”, “heartwrenching” and “holding my breath suspenseful”.


Angela is beautiful and charismatic on the outside. But on the inside, a demon rages, determined to get anyone and anything she wants. And now with her biological clock ticking, she seduces her old friend Philip, and his partner Jonathan, into having a child with her through artificial insemination.


From the moment the parenting agreement is signed, Angela’s mask of deceit slips away and she leads the fathers-to-be on a relentless, agonizing journey filled with lies, anguish and finally tragedy that forever changes the lives of everyone involved.


Five star reviewers rave that One Last Lie is a gripping thriller of fiction, a novel of pure suspense from which they are unable to pull themselves away. Like Annie Wilkes from Misery and Alex Forrest from Fatal Attraction, Angela drags innocent lives into her web of insanity – a place from which readers have confessed is hard to escape, even weeks after turning the final page.

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Published on August 07, 2015 11:33 • 16 views

May 22, 2015

Making Your Characters Complex


Complex characters have contradictions and nuances, so they never read as one-dimensional or as “types.” Readers usually react well to complexity. So here are some tips for creating complex characters.


Forget Your Character’s Station in Life


The last thing you want to do is try to write a cheerleader who acts like a cheerleader, a truck driver who acts like a truck driver, etc. Stereotypes aren’t just reductive and disrespectful, they’re actually inaccurate. Real-life high school athletes don’t spend all their time giving swirlies to “nerds,” and having belching contests. Writing this way will cause your character to be simple and flat — it calls attention to the construct, which deflates the reading experience. Focus on your character’s particular struggles, and give her traits unique to her—forget about what societal type she belongs to.


Let the Character Lead


One way that complexity takes shape is in subtlety. That is, if a character is too determined, it reads as simplicity. By determined, I mean the reader actually “feels” the writer pushing the character. If the mother has to verbally abuse the child on p. 113 because the writer must create and maintain the dynamic of the demanding mother who damages the child’s self-esteem (which is what causes the child’s reckless behavior….), you have over-determination, which, again, calls out the construct. If, on the other hand, the mother, having vented anger through insults on p. 59, now is a bit nicer due to a good mood, etc., you have more rounded characters.


A good way to achieve this sort of complexity is to let the characters speak to you. After you’ve created them, think of their real-life counterparts. Rather than making them do things to illustrate particular themes, get in touch with what they’d do in certain situations. That will drive the plot in a direction you may not have planned, and it’s hard to give up this control. But it will enhance the complexity of the character, because their actions will not be so similar, tailored toward a particular personality profile. And that brings me to my last tip.


Contradictions


It’s important for your character to have contradictions. The high school jock can be a history buff — he may have a quirky, less-than-erudite way of going about it, but he shouldn’t be without a brain. The English professor can have a weakness for TV shows like “Entourage,” while the wealthy CEO can enjoy stopping by McDonald’s for salty fries. Someone can be ruthless to people who he thinks are cowards, while forgiving of others. A technological whiz can get into trouble during a chase due to having no sense of direction. Generally, readers love contradictions, and if they measure them against people they know in real life, they’ll come off as realistic.


Ultimately, complexity is about faith. Have faith in your characters — let them wander and explore and lead you. Controlling them too much is a path to simplicity.

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Published on May 22, 2015 04:58 • 17 views

May 9, 2015

How To Draw In a Reader


 The Humvee exploded in a neon-orange ball of fire, shards of metal launching into the night…


 I’m an assassin. But only if you have the kind of money it takes three men to carry.


Every writer has heard the maxim “draw in the reader.” But passages like those above take it a bit too far. There’s a difference between drawing in a reader and making her feel overwhelmed or that her intelligence is being insulted. Further, if the first couple of paragraphs of your short story or novella are too over-the-top, they can cause a reader to disengage and feel there’s nothing to truly grab on to.


That brings us to the question: what do all these textbooks and guidelines and instructors mean when they say you should draw in a reader? If that means making a reader “want to keep reading,” that brings up another question: what motivates a reader and why would a reader want to stop reading after a paragraph or two, anyway?


Motion or Development


I’ve heard quite a few agents and editors say that for short stories or novellas, a writer should provide a sense that something is underfoot, to allow the reader to meet the main character and start to feel the atmosphere – helping to set up a sense of conflict. This is opposed to pure description or aimless discussions of human nature that don’t move anything forward. It allows the reader to step into the story, which is what most readers want. It doesn’t assume they need to be grabbed and shaken in line one. Here’s the beginning of Tim O’Brien’s “The Things They Carried,” one of the most celebrated stories of all time:


 


First Lieutenant Jimmy Cross carried letters from a girl


named Martha, a junior at Mount Sebastian College in New Jersey.


They were not love letters, but Lieutenant Cross was hoping,


so he kept them folded in plastic at the bottom of his rucksack.


 


The reader meets a love struck and worried soldier, and the details of plastic and the rucksack begin to draw the reader into the world of the story.


A Contract with a Reader


A problem with explosions or bluster in the first line is that they might embody some false advertising—is your reader to expect balls of flame on every page? One of the things a good intro can do is set the reader up for his or her experience with the narrative voice. Here’s the opener from Denis Johnson’s amazing short story, “Emergency”:


 


I’d been working in the emergency room for about three weeks, I guess.


This was in 1973, before the summer ended. With nothing to do on the overnight shift


but batch the  insurance reports from the daytime shifts, I just started wandering around,


over to the coronary-care unit, down to the cafeteria, etcetera, looking for Georgie,


the orderly, a pretty good friend of mine. He often stole pills from the cabinets.


 


This allows the reader to get on board with a narrator whose voice is laconic, understated, who likes to pop pills and wander around a coronary unit. It’s no wonder that so many readers stick around, wanting to get into this guy’s mind.


And that’s why I think that drawing in a reader is really about being as genuine as possible, providing a sample of the experience the reader will get for the rest of the story. One doesn’t have to result to sensationalism or tricks. Just be yourself and tell the story the way people want to hear it – they’ll be sure to follow you all the way to the end.

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Published on May 09, 2015 06:34 • 13 views

March 18, 2015

If you haven’t read “One Last Lie” (ahem… yet), Angela is the primary character. In no uncertain terms, she is “demonic” and adds to the story’s mystery and suspense at every turn.


I’ve received emails, tweets and reviews from readers who are angry with me for creating such an evil character. Although many of these readers eventually confess their love of hating her, some hold on to their fury. Perhaps Angela hits a little too close to home?


I shudder at the thought…


So where did Angela come from? How was her character formed and developed? Like many of my plots and characters, she was conceived during an insignificant event that was made significant by my unrelenting and twisted thought process…


****************


It was a few years ago when a good friend of mine – let’s call her Lisa – asked me for my sperm. I’d known Lisa for many years and she’d never asked me for anything more than a sip of my Caramel Machiatto. So after she asked me “the question”, I cocked my head and didn’t say a word. She continued to talk about her motherly instincts and the ticking of her “biological clock”. It appeared she had given it a lot of thought, talked with many people and was now ready to proceed. Apparently, I was the last to know.


I was stunned, speechless and, I must admit, quite flattered. I stuttered, grabbed her hand and asked for a few days to think about it.

It just so happened that the next day I was having lunch with my good friend Tina, who, by the way, is also a lawyer. I decided to bring up Lisa’s question… or more exact, her “request”.


Tina dropped the fork onto her plate. “Absolutely not!” She snapped.

“Why not?” I snapped back.

“The laws surrounding surrogacy, sperm donation, parenthood, all of it, is too unclear. Even if she says now that she doesn’t want money or support, she might change her mind down the line. What if she’s really a nut and her pregnancy hormones put her over the edge? Seriously, what if she’s unstable?”

“She’s not,” I said adamantly.

“But what if she is?” Tina insisted.

“She’s not,” I insisted back.

“But what if…?”

“She’s not.”

“But…”

“She’s… well… hmmm… what if she is?” I said, staring into space.


****************


And that’s when Angela was conceived, along with most of the plot for “One Last Lie”.

The entire story came to me that day while sitting across the table from Tina. By the time we finished lunch and I had envisioned what was going to happen to Philip and Jonathan, I realized I could never give Lisa my sperm. If she was as crazy as the woman I just conjured up in my mind, I knew I had to run for the hills.


Do you know someone like Angela? Do you know someone who could be the main character of a book? We’d love to hear about them…

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Published on March 18, 2015 04:37 • 29 views

February 28, 2015

Fourth grade… a classroom filled with thirty two screaming children… my stomachache worsening with each passing second. For a moment I wondered if I should visit the school nurse, again, for the third time that day. Glancing at the clock on the wall I felt the weakest sense of relief: Only 1 hour left. I can hold it in. And since my childhood anxiety had pretty much given me a stomachache every day (except for weekends – funny how that worked), I’d become an expert at “holding it in” – in more ways than one.


To add fuel to my inexplicable fire of worry, I was blessed with the inability to properly enunciate the letter “R”. These days it’s called de-rhotacization. Back then I called it torture. Like Elmer Fudd, I’d pronounce “very” as “vewy”, “cross” and “cwoss”, “write” as “white”. Not a day went by without one of my precious classmates requesting me to say the word “girl” or “bird”.


“Just say it,” Maria Foglia cried. “Just say it.”


I’d go back to my writing.


“Just say ‘girl’ and I won’t ask you again. Ever. I promise.”


She’d look at the other children who had stopped what they were doing. Like bettors at a prize fight, they were eager to see who’d win the battle: Maria, with her unashamed goading. Or me, with a silence that screamed louder than Maria’s voice ever could.


I searched the room for my teacher, Mrs. Katz. Where’d she go? Didn’t she see I needed my daily rescue? I turned toward the door at the back of the classroom and could see she was busy at the copy machine. Great. Of all the times…


“C’mon, Wob, just say it.” Maria laughed at her own sense of humor. “Say ‘girl’. Just once. Say ‘girl’.”


The reverberation of her voice inside my head caused my brain neurons to fire uncontrollably. This, in turn, brought my stomach discomfort to a level I’d not yet experienced. It’s definitely time for the nurse. As I was about to utter the one syllable that would make Maria disappear until tomorrow, Mrs. Katz appeared from the copy room with a stack of copies in her hand.


“Enough!” she yelled. “Maria, sit!” Maria humpfed and plopped into her chair. The other children followed her lead.


Mrs. Katz slapped the copies against her thigh as she walked to the front of the room. After reaching the blackboard, she turned around slowly and peered at no one in particular. The room was silent.


“I finished reading all of your short stories last night,” she started. “And I wasn’t very impressed.”


There were sighs and moans. The loudest pained expression coming from Maria, as usual.


“Before I hand back your graded stories, there was one I wanted to share with you. Just one story, out of thirty two, that I think each and every one of you should read.”


By that time we were all looking at one another wondering whose story was about to be shared. Mrs. Katz was a stickler. She only offered guidance, never praise. At least not that I could remember. And then it hit me: Jill DeMarco. She was the nicest, smartest and prettiest girl in class. Straight A’s since first grade and actually had a poem published in our town’s local paper. Her blue eyes and perfect smile always lit up the room and I knew from the moment I met her she was going to be a star.


I gazed at Jill as Mrs. Katz began to hand out the copies. She slipped one onto my desk and when I looked down I felt a rush of heat permeate my face. The rush quickly turned to a pulsing and my eyes began to water.


On the top of the sheet of paper it read: “Too Late” by Robert Kaufman. The neurons started to refire.


“I want you to take the next ten minutes to read this story,” Mrs. Katz said, standing once again before the blackboard. “I’d like you to take note of the metaphors he uses – if you remember what a metaphor is; and how he uses words in a way that helps you actually see the people and places within the story. And last but not least, notice how he uses his imagination.” She looked at me, a smile not on her face but in her eyes. “Start reading now.”


I, of course, didn’t have to read it because I wrote it. My job now was to figure out how to handle the backlash of teacher praise; how to ward off the “teacher’s pet” label from Maria and her ilk; how to defend myself when classmates would start calling me “weird” because of the morbid and ghoulish nature of my writing.


As I pondered my self-protecting strategies, I noticed the quiet in the room. There wasn’t any whispering or fighting; no passing of notes or pulling of hair. Everyone was reading, caught up in a story I wrote while in one of my writing “trances” – a period of time during which words flowed onto paper almost as quickly as they appeared in my mind. By the expressions on the faces around me and the unadulterated silence in the room, it was obvious my trance was contagious.


It was at that moment I understood the gift I’d been given and the way in which I’d be able to share it.


I heard some murmurs and other odd sounds as some of the kids finished reading. When I turned to look behind me, I caught Maria staring at me with a combined expression of both amazement and admiration. From that day forward, she never again harassed me about my speech – or anything else for that matter. She left me alone and I figured that was the gift she decided to share with me.


A few days later I started speech class and within a month I was pronouncing the letter “R” exactly as it should sound – which is a good thing, since I have two of them in my name. My story was never published in our local paper nor did it ever make it to the NY Times Best Seller List. But that didn’t matter. It was the story that started my career and brought about the defining moment that let me know who I was and who I was going to be.


Do you have a defining momenta point in time when you felt something so significant, it changed your life forever?


We’d love to hear about it…

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Published on February 28, 2015 11:20 • 63 views

February 26, 2015

ENTER TO WIN one of 3 signed copies of Rob Kaufman’s book: “One Last Lie”.

Giveaway starts February 26, 2015 and ends March 4, 2015.


Be one of the FIRST to receive a paperback version with the newly released cover.


If you have any questions, just post them here!

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Published on February 26, 2015 03:50 • 21 views

February 4, 2015

Rob Kaufman’s books on Goodreads






In the Shadow of Stone In the Shadow of Stone


reviews: 1

ratings: 20 (avg rating 4.60)

 




One Last Lie One Last Lie


reviews: 1

ratings: 1 (avg rating 4.00)

 

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Published on February 04, 2015 04:26 • 32 views

 



Goodreads Book Giveaway
One Last Lie by Rob Kaufman

One Last Lie
by Rob Kaufman

Giveaway ends June 15, 2012.


See the giveaway details

at Goodreads.





Enter to win




 

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Published on February 04, 2015 04:26 • 23 views