Monday, February 20, 2012
Mykaela Whindom's hometown has gone from sleepy resort to supernatural war zone almost overnight. All the unexplained deaths and disappearances, including her own father's, has thrown her normal teenage life into chaos. Finding herself thrust into the role of protector, she's in over her head. But with the help of a young, hot headed rookie cop, Brad, and her newly awakened powers of sensing evil, she tries to guard the town from a scourge of cursed souls who prey on the living.
But in this fight, what Mykaela doesn't know could kill her...
Mesmerized by new student, Kerr Lachlan, she wonders if his opportune arrival at school isn't mystical in origin as well. As if things weren't bizarre enough, she's warned of a plot against her life by the same person she thought responsible for the chaos...ex-boyfriend turned Sea King, Dylan. But his warnings fall on deaf ears, and as the war rages on, Mykaela is forced to confront the harsh realities about Dylan, herself, and her father's death. Who is ravening her hometown? What does it want, or more likely...who does it want and why?
Bailey Morrison isn't human. She is a beauty, with all the right parts to make up a stunning woman but there is so much more of her. She is also a hired killer to the Queen of all magick.
Her DNA ~ mixed up like a lethal cocktail gives her abilities unlike anyone has ever seen. And when she is to help Pete Marshall, computer wiz for a pack of wolves, she gets involved with Aaron and his kiss of vampires as well.
Tristan St. James likes order. He lines things up in neat rows, sharpens pencils to the exact height and he wears a tie to everything. He is aghast with state of Aaron's office and won't even go inside.
Bailey doesn't want a mate, especially one as uptight and anal as Tristan. He thinks his life is just peachy the way it is. But something so...primal about the young woman messes with his order and he isn't thrilled about it until he has a taste of her. She risks everything, including her life just to keep him safe.
There's a contract out on the Alpha. Without Bradley's death then Aaron and his new family die. So Bailey does the only thing she can. She takes the life of one to save so many.
What will Tristan do now that his mate is a wanted criminal?
What to keep and what to toss; a writer’s dilemma
Of all the battles a writer has to wage within himself, this is one gives me the most grief. Early in my career, I felt obligated to toss everything in, including the kitchen sink. Of course, my first editor knew better than that and counseled me to go for a bit more brevity. Actually, a lot more. Taught me the value of the saying that less is more.
Perhaps the main reason I told too much was fear of the dreaded ‘hook’. We all know we need to hook our readers from the very first sentence, but, gosh how are they going to be hooked if they don’t know the entire history of the main character? Stuff like that. Lol.
Along the way, I had an opportunity for a few weeks of mentoring by a NYT best-selling author, and she taught me a lot. Interestingly enough, her advice was for me to gather all sorts of peripheral data to flesh out my protagonist before I wrote word one. I went shopping and picked out the kind of pen I’d find on her desk, the style notebook she kept handy, items in her home that she would kill to keep, etc.
I thought at first my mentor was daft. Why did I need to pick the china in her buffet, the clothes in her closet, the time of day she was most vulnerable to a case of the blues. On and on went the list. By the time I’d complied with her instructions, the course was nearly over, and I felt cheated.
But, and this is a dandy, I sifted through all that stuff and, you know what? I suddenly saw my character as human, a person with strengths and weaknesses, passion, hungers and aversions, to wit; a real living breathing, suffering, imperfect but lovable person.
I wrote the book. The final story won’t be written on that book in my lifetime, since I have no way of knowing how it will fare in the competitive world of fiction writing. But I wrote the doggone book and I’m proud of it.
Now, back to my question. How much of all that periphery data did I include? Not too much in terms of straightforward narrative, though my understanding what kind of blouse she would purchase or her favorite song made her come alive in the pages of my book. So, my advice to fellow authors is, compile a book on your main characters. Don’t be shy, and don’t undershoot on this. You’ll ultimately, perhaps with the aid of a good editor, hone it down to the essence of what it is to be alive on God’s green earth.
Happy reading, all.Pat Dale
Thursday, February 16, 2012
Author: Crymsyn Hart
Genre: Paranormal Erotic Romance/BDSM
Length: Novella, 30,486 words, 86 Pages PDF
Heat Level: Erotic
Even the fallen have wings.
Emera runs The Denizen, a place where the wicked come to be spanked and whipped. All she longs for is someone to love. When she starts receiving gifts and strange invitations, she begins to wonder who has an interest in her.
Keenan has searched for Emera for centuries. Even though he wants to barge into the Den and rescue her, he has to be sure that she is still the pure angel he remembers. If not, he will have to do the impossible.
In order to free Emera from the service of her demon lord, Keenan has to slay her Master. Sebastian is on to both of them and will stop at nothing to keep Emera with him.
Wednesday, February 15, 2012
by Danielle Thorne
Most people don’t enjoy blemishes. We throw away moldy bread, agonize over pimples, and rub those little smears on the mirror. Why then, do we prefer our heroes with a few defects?
This isn’t a new idea. Jane Austen created one of the most memorable and complicated heroes in 1813 when she penned Pride and Prejudice. Our first few encounters with Fitzwilliam Darcy do not fare well in the opening pages. How could anyone fall for such a rude snob? But in a matter of chapters and exchanges of the heart, it isn’t just Elizabeth Bennet who falls for the gentleman. Readers do, too.
Most of us started out with Prince Charming, while toddling around in our mother’s heels, but by the time reality sank its teeth into our virgin hearts, things were changing. Suddenly there was the “bad boy.” He was the cute but always-in-trouble boy on the playground with the cool tee-shirt and sweaty hair. You know the one; he yanked your ponytail hard enough to make you cry and lured you under the monkey bars for a sloppy first kiss. We all ran from boys like that. But it was kind of fun.
Nobody wants to reach for something they don’t believe they can ever have and let’s face it--none of us are the perfect size with perfect features. Our scars from reality’s bite marks make it hard for us to buy that some perfect hero is going to sweep us off our feet and love us for eternity. And if it can’t happen for us, we have a hard time buying it can happen for a heroine, even one that we love. We need a hero with a few flaws. Whether they are physical, emotional, or just a personality quirk, flaws make our heroes more human. They give us something to forgive (So we can forgive ourselves?). And don’t forget, there’s also the flattering idea that a woman can make a man love hard enough to change!
The perfect hero is imperfect. We love him despite his flaws. He loves us back and he changes for the better. I believe this principle gives us hope, not just for our heroine’s Happily Ever After, but for our own. A good romance story can be so much more than a Cinderella story. It can make us believe that despite all our blemishes we can be loved; and despite his, he’s still the next best thing to Mr. Darcy!
Find out a little more about my flawed hero in JOSETTE. Available now from Whimsical!
Josette Price sees her future in Beddingfield Park, while her brother, George, needlessly pursues a naval career. But dark, brooding Captain Carter rides into their lives with news that ruins everything: George has been lost at sea. Only Captain Carter and his delightfully spinsterish relatives can stop the Price sisters from making a choice that would be the greatest tragedy of all.
Here’s to heroes!
Official Author Website: www.daniellethorne.com
Follow My Blog: www.thebalancewriter/blogspot.com
Danielle Thorne freelanced for online and print magazines from 1998 through 2001, adding reviewing and editing to her resume. She has published poetry, short fiction and novels. Danielle is the author of sweet romantic adventure books, both historical and contemporary.
Other work has appeared with Espresso Fiction, Every Day Fiction, Arts and Prose Magazine, Mississippi Crow, The Nantahala Review, StorySouth, Bookideas, The Mid-West Review, and more. She won an Honorable Mention in Writer’s Digest’s 2006 annual writing competition and won the 2008 Awe-Struck Short Novel Contest. In 2009, Danielle won Classic Romance Revival's Work in Progress Contest, which resulted in another contract for her fiction.
Danielle currently writes from south of Atlanta, Georgia. She was the 2009-2010 Co-Chair for the New Voices Competition for young writers, is active with online author groups such as Classic Romance Revival and EPIC, and she moderates for The Sweetest Romance Authors at the Coffee Time Romance boards and Goodreads. Besides contract editing and writing full time, Danielle has four sons with her husband, Rob. Together they enjoy travel and the outdoors.
Tuesday, February 14, 2012
by Debra (Companion of Lady Holmeshire) Brown
Though I am not a bestseller (yet), and I am only published once, I find that I am having quite some success and so feel that I am now qualified to explain to you how to write historical fiction. (Please do not check my qualifications with anyone who has read my book.) Be sure to take notes in complete faith, as remember, I am successful.
Writing HistFic is not as easy as writing contemporary work. It must be done in steps.
1) Set aside some years for research and sign up for NetFlix. You will need both streaming and physical DVDs for this tedious process.
2) It costs money to make money. If you are not working, take your Mastercard and buy a good supply of popcorn. Microwave popcorn is preferred as you have your work cut out for you. (Use your lowest interest card- it might be a while before your first check.) Few are able to research well without chocolate, but you will have to ration it to maintain your current weight, as you will not be getting any exercise. Do not cheat on the rations. (Under no circumstances should you set the portions so low as to injure your self-esteem. You must be able to say, truthfully, “I am, indeed, a person who never cheats.”)
3) Have your spouse take the children and raise them somewhere else.
4) Get a journal- a nice, pretty one with solid black paper inside, as it will be your best (only) friend for some years. And you do have a Mastercard. You may use pastel metallic gel pens, which are especially attractive on the black paper.
5) Now you must choose an era. Open NetFlix to Masterpiece Theater. What appeals to you? Is it Tristan, slashing at people? Or Henry and Eleanor arguing in winter? Perhaps you prefer Happily-Ever-After-With-Jane-Austen. (It is not yet prudent to watch Lost in Austen, even though her name is upon it.) Miss Marple and Poirot are a bit recent, but could, depending on your age, be considered historical fiction.
6) It is time for the research to begin. With popcorn and chocolate on the coffee table (have enough Espresso and Mountain Dew to stay awake until four a.m.) flop down on the couch. Get up and hunt under the cushions for the remotes. Flop down again, journal in hand. This is no time to do movie chats on Indie Jane (but if you do, sign in with an unfamiliar username so you can claim that you did not).
7) Get up and get your laptop. You must ascertain what era each of the shows is set in. How is this done? One sure-fire way is to check out the costuming. Should your favorite show have dresses with the waist-line up under the (blush) bosom, it is necessary to learn what that fashion is called. If you were not yet born to remember the one month that such dresses were popular in the sixties, get up and get your cell phone to call your mother. (No, that generation is NOT historical.) Ask your mother what the style was called. For our purposes, I will speed things up and tell you myself. Empire. Look up Empire dresses and scour several articles as to what era they were in besides the sixties. You will learn that they came from the Regency era. There is no need to learn that the Empire referred to was Napoleon’s, because most Regency novels you write will entirely ignore that there was a raging war going on to benefit Napoleon while your young men, who should be off to the war, fighting against him, are dancing in ballrooms. Now you have chosen the era in which your story will be set. (Note: I did not write “the era your story will be set in“. I went to ‘grammar’ school.)
Select a movie from your favored era. I recommend TV series as they have many episodes, and you have much to learn. Turn on the show and pick up your gel pen. Any doodling should relate to the seriousness of your task. This is work. You can change colors as often as you wish.
9) (English readers can skip this step. Shoo.) You will detect strange usages of language. This will be partially because it hails from past history, but mainly because it is from over the so-called pond. If you have not studied geography, you should know that you cannot walk to Britain. The language will grow on you, though. You might notice that upper-class personages in the film did not use words that puff out their cheeks or create other indelicate facial conditions. You will have to write their dialogue in compliance and practice their lines while looking in the mirror carefully. Now, they might not have bathed, or they might use a chamber-pot behind a screen next to the banquet table (though not in the movie, which was made to misinform on that topic), but they will not use words that puff out their cheeks or blow out candles for the same reason. You will begin to hear new words and phrases in the movies. In the future, you will do networking with English authors just for this reason. For now, just copy down anything which does not make any sense.
10) (The English can skip this step, too.) Due to cultural differences, this step will take several years. When you watch period-appropriate movies for research purposes, you will learn that one movie must lead to another. For example, when you are watching a movie which says something confusing, in utter disgust, like “Pray, what is taking them so long downstairs?”, you will need to open your laptop and put in a disc which has the correct search words, such as “Upstairs, Downstairs”. This will cause a two or three month delay in the original movie. If you properly rationed your chocolate and do not need to go shopping often, you might reduce the diversion to weeks.
11) Having watched all the movies of the period, you are ready to begin thinking up your own story. Many people cannot, and must rewrite or extend something of Jane Austen’s. (Whoops?) I do not recommend doing further research as it will only confuse you. You might note that the dress colors mentioned in scholarly works, for example, contradict what was artistically harmonious on the movie screen. And worse yet, scholarly works will not agree with each other. You can see the value, therefore, in sticking to our movie research methods.
12) Start with the ending. Write it down in pink for everlasting happiness, unless you are hung up on using a word processor. Gel pens are doodlier, though, and you do not want to wreck the historical atmosphere by using modern technology.
13) Once you know how the story ends, you can back up and figure out how to arrive there by some unexpected means. In this way, you can have some ordinary, normal life event for the ending, but no one will have dreamed that it could happen. While recovering from the shock, they will think that you are quite the author!
14) Now you will need to edit what you have written. Ernest Hemingway recommended many, many rewrites. The first time through, delete all references to texting, microwaves and Bubbalicious. Then think back a few more decades and remove telephones, psychedelic references and comic books. Probably do this before sending the book to your beta readers. They are not at all tactful and can injure your pride. No doubt your book will require more rewrites once they have kicked it around. You do not have to include them on your acknowledgments page.
15) At this point, you should be ready to search for an agent and become a published author. This may give rise to further differences in views of what makes for a good book. Do not let agents or publishers stop you. You have, after all, done your research- something that is not required of authors of ordinary, contemporary novels. Keep your chin up (do not ask a Brit how they say this- it’s embarrassing) and self-publish, if you must. Power to the people. This is where Jane Austen had troubles. Self-publishing was not yet invented, and she had to have relatives pull strings for her. You, however, live in the Age of Gel Pens.
16) Send your book off to reviewers and book bloggers. Do not give it to the neighbors. They won’t read it because they have a TV. You will have to wait and wait on book bloggers even, because they have free books coming from every direction. Eventually, though, you will start to have some reviews coming in. See mine as an example: http://authordebrabrown.blogspot.com/p/reviews-of-my-books.html.
I say, heartily- Congratulations on your beautiful little first book!
Um, I called mine The Companion of Lady Holmeshire. You will need to make up equally strange names. End them with suffixes like ton, shire, bury and ham. Start them with Victorian detective names.
You can read about my books on this site: http://authordebrabrown.blogspot.com. Determine for yourself whether you should take my advice. Ta!
Monday, February 6, 2012
The snow hasn’t even attempted to thaw when Ian’s life is turned upside down. His only sister is murdered, leaving him as the sole family to his 14 year-old niece. As an uncle, he’d been there for them, but he is clueless when it comes to actually seeing to Terra’s wellbeing. Muddling through, they become closer, healing together through the trauma, and slowly begin to feel like family.
Ian has a deep secret though. Not even Terra’s mother knew, and when Caleb is the officer to deliver a freezing and terrified niece to his door, that secret is in jeopardy of being blown sky-high.
Adele has stumbled upon an odd but attractive man in the Mystery Shop across the street from her lofthouse. Lured in by him almost daily, she soon discovers that he is far more than he seems. Kadar can’t leave the store even if he wants to. He grants every patron the object of their desire, no matter how trivial. Little does Adelle know that what she desires might be enough to set him free.
Saturday, February 4, 2012
On reviews: Good and Bad
Nothing is more exciting than a good review, it lifts your spirits and justifies all the hard work you put into your novel. However, there are always bad reviews, and they can be devastating…if you let them…
For the first few months after Doppelganger Experiment was published, I was receiving 4 and 5 star reviews, pure heaven. But then I began to receive some ‘not so good’ reviews, needless to say, it was pretty disheartening. I’d worked so hard, but not hard enough! I think as human beings, it’s instinctual to lay blame on anyone but ourselves, after reading the reviews, I wanted to do just that. But I couldn’t, I wrote the book, I made the mistakes and they were mine, I owned them and it was up to me to fix them.
I did the only thing I could think of, I asked my publisher to pull the book, have it re-edited and then I too went through it with a fine tooth comb and made additional edits and revisions. I also published 2 star reviews on Amazon and Goodreads (2 stars as to not skew the existing review status); I did this so that the readers would know that I heard them, that I respect them and that I wanted to make it right! Is the book better now? I truly hope so.
I think I’ve learned a great deal from this experience, and I hope it’s made me a better writer. The 2nd Edition of Doppelganger Experience (revised and re-edited) will be available on February 4, 2012 and can be purchased via Amazon.com
Margaret A. Millmore - Bio
I was born and raised in Southern California and moved to San Francisco in 1991. I currently reside there with my husband. I am the grandniece of Irish author Benedict Kiely and the second cousin of Irish author Sharon Owens. I’ve written two flash fiction stories for Bay Area artist Kenny Mencher (The Welcome Home and Untitled-Luke N. Goode).
After more than four weeks in a coma, Jane woke up to find several things wrong; she didn’t remember the last three years, she was married to a man she didn’t know, and frightening dreams were infiltrating her sleep. But were they dreams or memories? As she struggles to recapture a life she doesn’t remember she discovers clues that lead to flashes of memories and the discovery of horrific experiments that end in murder... and something worse than murder. A psychological thriller based in San Francisco.