Sunday, May 20, 2018

Tricks to Build a Character

The character is the heart of the story in my writing world. I figure out the characters long before I figure out the plot. Maybe because memorable characters are what I look for in books, movies, and shows I love. Maybe because I feel like who a character is will determine how they react to the external and internal impacts going on in his/her life.

I'll be honest, I don't have a single, guaranteed, this-always-works method for determining a character. Sometimes they pop into my head fully formed. More often than not, they start out as a vague entity. I do, however, have several tricks I use to help me profile my character and turn them into something real.

Here are my top 4 methods for setting up my characters:

Character Archetype

I'm a romance writer, and my go to, kick things off tool for creating characters is the book The Complete Writer's Guide to Heroes and Heroines: Sixteen Master Archetypes.  This book is fabulous because not only does it give several archetypes for heroes and heroines, but it also gives a how would one type of hero work with one type of heroine.

I don't take these and just write my characters out. What I do is take bits and pieces that I think will work particularly well within my story. I also use it as inspiration. Ex. The librarian is quiet but will stand up to the boss when her intellect tells her to. How can I use that in my story?

Write the Blurb (GMC)

I will frequently write the blurb first. My blurbs always have one part for the hero and one for the heroine and essentially lay out the GMC (goal, motivation, conflict) in one paragraph for each.

The hero/heroine has a problem/need/opportunity resulting in a required action/mission/quest/job (goal) with obstacles that block his/her path (conflict) with something at stake (motivation).
(This sentence is pulled from a workshop with Larry Brooks - I highly recommend you take it!)

By having a simple sentence that breaks down the cornerstones of my characters, I can reference that throughout my writing to keep myself on track.

Character Verbs

Last year at RWA I took Damon Suede's Power Couples workshop. If you get a chance, take it! The biggest element I use from that workshop is Damon's use of verbs. To paraphrase... He assigns a powerful verb to a character. Then he uses variations/synonyms of that verb for each of their scenes. There's also a way to make sure your H/H have verbs that help create conflict.

Picking a verb for my H/H is one of the first things I do. But seriously, take that workshop. I can't tell you about it as well as Damon can. :)

Pick 1 Particular Thing

I use this technique any time I feel like a character is coming in flat--a main character or a secondary character. Even, sometimes, random characters. I try to think of one very unique thing about that character and I build a backstory around that unique thing. Slipping that 1 particular thing into the story ALWAYS ends up making that character come alive.

Unique things could be a multitude of elements. Usually I try to make it something observable by other characters. For example:
  • a tattoo
  • a scar
  • a particular word they use
  • a favorite song
  • something they don't like
  • something they notice or are drawn to
I could keep going. Hopefully you  get the idea. The other trick is to have that element have meaning to the character. You'd be surprised at how fast that can become a central theme.

I used to just start writing and see how a character developed. Sometimes I still do that (you can only make a pantser plot so much). But These techniques have become so effective for me, that I find I'm addicted and have to do them every time. If you've read my books, can you pick out any of these in my characters? I'd love to see if my craft is showing. ;)

Fellow authors, what are your favorite tricks?

***This post was originally part of an #MFRWAuthor Blog Hop, but I wanted to share here as well.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Write What You Know by Elizabeth Alsobrooks

Everyone always says to write what you know, but that doesn’t have to mean that all you can write about are places you’ve been, activities at which you’re an expert and events you’ve experienced personally. It most often means, literally, to research something you want to write about so well that you’ve added it to your plethora of things you know.

Some of you might ask if it really matters whether you research if you’re just making it up, as in fiction writing and building your own world. The simple answer is: hell yes! Here’s an example: many people often say what a great Sci-Fi writer someone is and that their “make believe” stuff actually comes true. Hm, I wonder why that is? It’s because they so thoroughly researched a scientific theory that they understand it on a left-brain basis and are able to then fictionalize it for their own purposes with a right-brain concept. As modern science advances, scientists can refine theories and the hypothesis is recreated in a real-world application, literally rather than creatively. 

It’s not just science that needs to be researched. If you have a character with certain hobbies or one who plays sports or rock climbs or hikes, or, well, anything that makes a character seem three-dimensional, even if it’s a taste for cinnamon added to their coffee, it’s something you need to research. Yes, research can be as simple as what types of coffee taste best with cinnamon added. They can also be as complicated as what type of machine might theoretically be used to detect the presence of jinn (yes, I have researched that!). It’s what makes your writing stand out among the millions of books that come out every year. It just makes you a better writer and it’s something readers may not always notice on a specific level, but one they appreciate by how much more realistic and believable your make-believe world really is.

That said, you need to be careful. Realistic fiction is a strong goal, so even though it’s fiction, you need to apply your facts in realistic ways. Some people who read fiction are experts in various things. Of course, you know that, but did you also know I’ve seen reviewers write scathing condemnations of writers who get things wrong, or who stray too far from the “facts” while using facts to back up their make-believe that they offend the experts? So, where and how does one research to gain a better understanding of things, so that even if you change some details it’s still believable in your make-believe world?

I don’t need to be a retired educator to know most people begin and unfortunately end with Wikipedia. Why is this bad? Because literally anyone can write or change anything they want on Wikipedia, about any subject at all. Be honest. How many experts do you think spend their time writing entries on Wikipedia? Next to none. It would tarnish their reputations in many respects. Do you think I let my college students use Wikipedia on their Works Cited page? Hardly. Do they credit nine-year-old Mikey who cut and pasted it, plagiarizing NASA?

So where do you go for your information? NASA’s a great start if you’re looking for science facts. I’ve used it and I don’t write science fiction. I have science fiction elements in my mashup urban fantasy reinvented (yes, that’s what I call it because I took genre facts with my left brain and got creative with them with my right brain!). 

If you are lucky enough to have access to university archives online, use those by all means! If not, always check the bottom of a web page, or the top, for copyright data. That will tell you who’s responsible for the information on that website and give you a good clue about whether they are ‘true’ experts, as in recognized by other professionals in their field, on the information you want. Use more than one reference, because you might have difficulty understanding the theories or concepts at first and reading it several different ways from various writing styles helps comprehension. Sites put out by authorities for youngsters is a great place to gain a better understanding of the main concepts. This goes for science, sports, hobbies, and anything else that might be complicated. Just remember that if you’re looking for rules, as in for sports, if you’re talking about adults, you need to look up professional or university rules specifically, because they differ, as do the rules for kids’ sports. 

Does all this research seem complicated? It can be and is often the most labor-intensive part of writing but thank goodness for the internet. Just think what we writers had to do before we had it? And, for many of us, it’s really interesting to find out details about so many things.

Better researching . . . makes better books.

Check out some non-science fiction vs nonsense in one of my books, such as The Book of Life. I'm about 3/4 done with the sequel, The Tree of Life, where you can discover how to detect jinn--in "my" world! You can get The Book of Life in digital, paperback, or also in audio! Click and listen to a clip!

 Audio clip

Monday, May 14, 2018

Legacy of the Stars

My evil twin, Bianca Swan, who writes erotic romance has decided to take a story I wrote called Star Angel, a short piece published in Four by Moonlight, and run with it.  She is up to about 55 pages.  Though it is an erotic romance, the beginning isn't too spicy. So, here is a sample of Legacy of the Stars:

Chapter 1
I watched her walk down the aisle with another man. I’d always known it would happen someday, but I hadn’t expected tragedy to strike like lightning or, dear God, so soon. My Lily looked like an ice princess in her alabaster gown with its silver beads and pearls glittering in the mellow light of the church. In his tuxedo, he looked like the usurper he was.
Her smile glanced off me as she passed the family pew. Brief, oh, so brief that touch before she looked up at her future husband. She was radiant, but with each step she took another piece broke off my heart. Lily was a ballerina and, graceful as the dancer in Swan Lake, glided down her long walk to matrimony. Too soon, they reached the altar.
The man marrying my sister spoke his part, the words echoing hollowly in the expanse of the church. Then…
“Do you, Lily Jane Spears…”
I think while she said her vows I held my breath, perhaps, unable to breathe at all.
Then the breathless moment was over. He folded back the innocent veil and kissed my Lily.  He probably thought she was a virgin. She should have been. She certainly looked virginal in her sacrificial robes. Head held high, a nineteen-year-old girl had bravely took that fatal walk, and now swept down the same aisle a married woman.
She was beautiful. She was his wife. She wasn’t mine anymore.
With the arrival of this moment, our secret was secured, but I was the one left behind. Lily had always feared that I’d go first, and in truth, I thought I’d be the initial victim of our mother’s marriage mill. Everything had happened quite differently than expected. Lily had been a better return on investment. Peter Fellows had more than two pennies to rub together.
One couldn’t really blame Mom. After Father’s death, we’d been forced to move from the land of milk and honey. Thomas Furman Spears had provided well for his family while he lived, but with his demise, he’d abandoned us to near poverty. A long-haul trucker cum potato farmer didn’t put us in the category of wealthy, but he’d spoiled both his children, though, in fact, I’d known Lily was his favorite.
After Father passed, we moved to the Lone Star State, and Mother returned to work as an admin for a scrooge of a boss. At fifteen, to help with expenses, I took a part-time job in the hardware store after school three days a week. At sixteen, Lily was suddenly thrust into the role of homemaker, welcoming us both home at night.
I felt isolated now. Cast away in an emotional storm. I grasped at my rigid control. My thoughts wandered from the floral-scented church and the tragedy playing out before me to the not-so-distant past. To other teenagers, three years was an eternity. To us, it was a time of learning and togetherness—and of startling revelations for me.

I’d preferred to think Lily felt as I did. That certain things were timeless.  That belief betrayed me.
Prospector’s Rest, Six Months Earlier
The Meadow Valley High School was a stately structure resembling a classic English University, ivy crawling along the brick front and cement bay windows overlooking a parklike entryway. I often wondered how such a building had found its way to a small town in West Texas. The area wasn’t exactly known for its beauty and culture, but when Dad died, we’d left Idaho, returning to my mother’s hometown. I don’t think she even glanced over her shoulder as we passed over the Idaho state line. She did toot the car horn, but that was our way of marking progress wherever we went.
I awoke from the sudden flood of memories when another student bumped into me, spilling her books to the grass.
“Sorry!” Jane Perkins grimaced. “I wasn’t watching where I was going.”
I’d seen Jane around school. She was a pretty girl with long brown hair as straight as my own and eyes the color of a gray winter morning. She held my gaze for a long moment, then smiled before bending quickly to retrieve her books.
“Let me help.” I grabbed a volume from the grass and handed it to her.
“Thanks. Sorry again.” She turned to go, turned back. “Say, Asher, are you going to the Prom?”
“No plans yet,” I said.
 Peter Fellows, a Senior this year, had asked Lily, and she’d accepted though he was a  year older and a grade ahead of her.
“If you don’t have a date—I don’t have one—I mean would you like to go together.” The invitation came out on a rush, and Jane’s high cheekbones pinkened. A lot of people in the area had Native American blood. Jane’s features, including her cheeks, was classic.
“Sure.” I smiled, letting my hand come to rest on her elbow in an unassuming caress.
Her blush deepened, as enchanting as her smile. “Great. I’m late for class.” She shoved a folded piece of paper into my hand. “Call me. I’ll call you back. We’ll plan for the Prom. There’s your sister.” 
Jane pointed to a cluster of students milling around, waiting for the school bus.
“Talk later then.” I smiled, and she hesitated a minute, staring at me.
“Later.” She waved.
As I drew nearer where my sister stood, the conversation within her little group came clear.
“Have you seen the new Star Wars movie yet?” The boy fiddled with car keys on a long chain, regarding my sister with big brown cow eyes.
She shook her head. Her hair captured the afternoon sun in a copper halo. In fact, in her long white dress—why were pretty dresses called Sunday clothes?—she looked like a fiery-haired angel. This morning as we dressed for school, she’d cursed that she hadn’t had time to do the laundry and was going to be overdressed.
She’d been concerned about the other girls' opinions. I’d laughed and said, ‘if you’ve got it, flaunt it.’ Now, that wisdom and witticism had come back to bite my butt...hard.

If you have any comments or suggestions, please share. This is very much a work in progress! Happy 14th of May!

Sunday, May 13, 2018

#Mothers and the Future by Diane Burton

Happy Mother’s Day to all you mothers and to all the mothers you know!

Mothers come in all shapes, sizes, and ages. There are mothers who gave birth and mothers of the heart. I’m fortunate to have had a wonderful mother and a terrific mother-in-law. I’m doubly fortunate to be mother to two great adult children and to their spouses who call me Mom.

I’m sure we all know couples who long for children but physically cannot have them. Some will go through expensive procedures to have a child from in vitro fertilization to surrogate motherhood. Some couples adopt.

Motherhood is not for the faint of heart. Starting with conception, we have worries and physical pain. The older we are the higher the risks. Two of my grandchildren were lost in miscarriages. The emotional pain expectant mothers go through upon that loss is immeasurable. Childbirth is no picnic, either. In my mother’s day, doctors slapped chloroform on a woman, and the next thing she knew she had a baby. I come from the generation that wanted everything natural. No drugs. We were tough. 😊 And, of course, the father would be in the delivery room instead of pacing the waiting room or off fishing.

Giving birth does not equal motherhood. Raising a child is a lifelong occupation. It’s a good thing we didn’t realize what we were in for when we longed for a child. Worry didn’t end with the pregnancy but exploded as the child grew. And let’s not even go into the expense of raising that child.

Advances in medicine (and attitude) are growing all the time. Think about the advances in your lifetime. What about the future? As a science fiction writer, my imagination can come up with many scenarios. My colleagues imagine even more. We writers play the “what if” game.

What if everyone who wanted a child could have one? What if a woman didn’t have to carry her child? Extend fertilization outside the mother’s body so the whole gestational period was also outside. No inconvenience of frequent trips to the bathroom, gestational diabetes, exhaustion, plus the expense of a new wardrobe. You carried on with your life and popped into the lab occasionally to watch the fetus mature. No waiting for an ultrasound to show what s/he looked like. Also, no pain of childbirth. No drugs, either. You get a call from the lab saying your baby is ready to be picked up. Sort of like a car from the dealership.

Whatever the future brings, our future as humans depends on mothers. 

Motherhood is my greatest accomplishment, my greatest pleasure. Grandmotherhood is even better. 😊

Monday, May 7, 2018

Poking the Muse (Who, Maybe, I Shouldn't Be Keeping in a Cage and Starving) by Jane Kindred

A couple of months ago, I mentioned that my muse seemed to have gone dark. I was hoping by this month’s blog post I’d have a happy “I’m writing so fast my fingers are cramping” post to write. Alas, I haven’t written a single word.

I know a lot of people don’t believe in writer’s block. They think it’s an excuse lazy people make for not being willing to put “butt in chair” and just do the work. I suspect those same people tell their depressed friends that if they just went outside and got some exercise and counted their blessings every day, they’d feel better.

I don’t know if this is writer’s block. I just know that I want to be writing, I have time to write, and I am not writing. I see other writers on Twitter talking about drowning in plot bunnies, telling their new characters clamoring for a story to get in line. And there’s nothing in my head.

Well, not entirely nothing. There are two characters who keep dancing at the edges of my dreams, but they refuse to come out into the light and play. I named them the other day—Armand and William—in hopes of coaxing them out of hiding, but to no avail. I know the skeleton of their story (it’s based on a popular fairy tale), and I have vague images of a fog-shrouded setting of stone statuary and an empty, cobwebbed manor estate, but Armand and William remain stubbornly silent.

I think part of my problem is that the panic of a deadline isn’t looming over me, and I’ve gotten used to panic-writing. Another part is my aging cat, who howls bloody murder if I do anything but sit on the bed and let him have my lap. Not to mention the existential angst of living in 2018. But if I had a real story brewing, those things wouldn’t matter (or at least they would be mere details, obstacles, incidental).

In the meantime, I’m anxious and worried about everything. Which is something I’ve always lived with, but not writing definitely exacerbates it. It’s like a constant feeling in the back of my mind that I’m going to get in trouble, I’ve done something wrong, or some karmic fate is going to catch up to me, some disaster I cannot escape.

Spinning other people’s fates has always had a remarkably calming effect on that background noise. I often wonder if other writers use their writing this way, consciously or otherwise. Giving their characters problems and flaws that they can eventually triumph over. Writing worlds that they, the author, can control when everything in the real, mundane world is so often out of our control. Writing as therapy. Maybe that’s something I can do. Maybe.

Maybe I’m doing it right now.

Maybe Armand and William need a therapist.

Friday, May 4, 2018

When Fiction and Reality Become One

 By Maureen L. Bonatch

Crows lurk around the office where I work at the day job. They unexpectedly fly at the window and startle me, and others, from working. Just the other day one stared me down in the parking lot.  Cawing. I had to force a little extra courage in my step as I approached him while he watched me with a narrowed eye. I’d seen him before. Sitting on top of the light posts in the parking lot. Watching
Photo courtesy Creative Commons Unsplash

When I see him, it makes my skin crawl a little. 

I’ll glance back to see if he’s still there. He is. If he’s still watching me. He is

He can’t fool me. I know who he is. That crow is Randall Flagg.

Characters That Invade Reality 

If you love Stephen King books, as I do, and especially his book, THE STAND, then you’ll know exactly who I’m talking about. The demonic, evil figure of Randall Flagg appeared not long after the plague in the story. He could disguise himself as a crow—and I’ve never been able to look at a crow the same since. Randall Flagg was a character I loved to hate. A character that has lived on in my mind for years, and I’m not the only one.

I can mention seeing “Randall Flagg” to people and some of them don’t question it. They nod and don’t even frown, or question my sanity. Because they know who I mean. The character has lived on beyond the book in their minds, and mine, and become part of our reality. To me, I don’t think of him as a character in the book. He’s moved beyond that and stepped from the paper into our world.

True to Life Characters

The art of creating a true to life character is something to be admired. It displays an author’s ability to create a character as real to others as it is to them. One that had previously only lived in their thoughts. 

Randall Flagg has stepped over from fiction to reality so far that he has his own Wikipeida page. So I know it’s not just me keeping a wary eye on any crow that lingers a little too long. 

What Fiction Characters Have Become Part of Your Reality?

Author Bio: Maureen Bonatch grew up in small town Pennsylvania and her love of the four seasons—hockey, biking, sweat pants and hibernation—keeps her there. While immersed in writing or reading paranormal romance and fantasy, she survives on caffeine, wine, music, and laughter. A feisty Shih Tzu keeps her in line. Find Maureen on her websiteFacebookTwitter

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

5 Distractions--Confounding Catch-Flies that Discombobulate my Creativity

We all have priorities and we all have goals and we all have things we like to do as opposed to those things we feel we should do. For me, writing still seems like a guilty pleasure. Now that I’ve decided to really give it the old college try, many things get in the way. These are my 5 greatest distractions.

5—Day Job. Really, I have the perfect day job. It’s online so nobody knows I’m sitting cross-legged wearing my pjs with hair that looks like last year’s haystack sipping Scotch at 9:30 in the morning. It’s only part time and though that lessens the money I make, it leaves me with more free time than I’ve ever had before.  But it’s still  a distraction and sometimes I feel guilty for not paying more attention to it.  I used to be an over achiever so I took on extra duties and did all those things that you do to get noticed. Been there; done that. But now, I’m not up for that. It’s a weird feeling and, after all, I do have an obligation to meet. I mean, these unwary people are paying me money to do what I do and that money pays for certain luxuries I’ve come to enjoy—like food, electricity, and Redbox movies.
I remind myself that the dayjob is transient, much like my in-laws. It will not last much longer and when it’s gone, I’ll barely remember it. 
4—Gardening.  Right now my garden is just getting underway. I enjoy yardwork and gardening but, let’s face it, I’m not as young as I once was and a couple of hours digging in the dirt or mowing the virulent herbage I call a yard takes a lot out of me. I can only do so much before I have to crawl into a vat of anti-itch, anti-pain ointment. This distraction will calm down as the summer goes along, but right now the mournful call of unplanted zinnia, the plaintive wails of sprouted parsley yearning to breathe free, and the moans of under-watered seedlings waft into my office on every spring zephyr.


3—Housework. I do like a clean house, but you can’t tell by looking. I learned long ago that housework is happy to wait for you—it will still be there later in the day and the world will keep spinning even if I have dirty windows. My mother and my sister are immaculate housekeepers. I am not. So I am torn between the knowledge that housework is not an essential task—I mean, as long as the place isn’t in such sad shape the health department needs to be called—and the desire to live up to the standards I grew up with.


2—Reading and watching TV. Consuming other people’s creativity instead of producing my own. Oh, this is a problem. I can always rationalize that the fresh murder mystery I want to read is actually research or the hilarious, offbeat comedy I want to watch will provide inspiration. The truth, of course, is that it’s easier to veg out in front of the TV or with a book than to get busy and get to work. If anyone knows a way to solve this—do tell.


1—Family. My kids are great kids and are busy with their own lives. When they drop by, they are the priority so I have no qualms or regrets about spending time with them. They are lots of fun. Right now, I have a huge distraction in the kid area because my daughter is pregnant with my first grandchild. This is a miracle beyond belief because 1—she always professed an absolute and abiding non-interest in children of any ilk and 2—she successfully reached the age of 40 without producing a child or any reasonable facsimile thereof. Now we have a little girl in the oven and—drumroll—she is due on my birthday.


This is a sign from the Universe so I am fully invested in this experience. Trouble is my daughter is in Germany—choosing to hang around the father of said girl-child instead of living in my basement in the OutBack miles from anything faintly resembling civilization. Go figure.

I’ve told you mine. Now tell me yours. What distracts you from doing what you want to do? AND HOW DO YOU MAKE IT WORK ANYWAY?

Monday, April 30, 2018

What’s in a name?

One would think naming characters would be easy, but folks, it’s not. At least, a lot of the times it’s not. Like naming your babies, there are so many things to consider. The character’s family history, the author’s personal taste, the cheesiness level, and name meanings are just a few of those things.

When I started writing the story that would eventually become Prophecy, my heroine’s name was Alexis. This was completely understandable because at that time I was a teenager and I loved the name Alexis. There was no reason to question my choice as she was my baby and I could name her whatever I darn well pleased. Right?

Welllll, not so much.

About thirty years later, Alexis and her hero resurfaced in my mind. It was time for their story to be told, but with certain changes. Alexis had grown, matured. She wasn’t the effervescent (and often annoying) nineteen-year-old she’d been before, and her name needed to reflect that change. 

Fortunately, for this story, I didn’t need to change it much. I bought a mega-sized book of baby names and perused it in search of the perfect name. It turns out that Alexis means “defender of mankind”. This is essentially what her character does—defends mankind on Earth. She becomes the voice and face of her people to the new intergalactic community Earthlings are suddenly exposed to. But since Alexis was forever stuck in my head as a teenage girl, the name couldn’t stay.

But, whaddya know, Alexandra also means defender of mankind and sounded more mature—like twenty-two-year-old mature. Hey! I had a first name!

There is a quiet and tender scene in Prophecy where Alexandra (aka: Alex) and her hero have a moment alone to regroup and actually get to know each other a little better. (I love this scene, btw.) Alex tells him her middle name, which is…oh, crap. I had no middle name! And not just any name would do. It needed to tie her to her people, past, present, and future. It had to be something really meaningful. One thing I knew about her family and past was that her father had been the head of the history department at the local university and had taught ancient history. He particularly loved ancient Greek history. How could I use this to choose the right middle name for her? 

Quick, back to the baby name book. Weirdly, I opened the book to the girl “G” names, and a short way down the page I found the name Gaia. Do you have any idea what that name means? Earth. It means, earth.


Defender of mankind of Earth. Done.

Now, what about her hero? He was an alien, so an argument could be made that I could just make up a name and attach my own meaning to it, but that didn’t feel right. (Although, in a moment of frustration I did do exactly this for a minor character in Salvation, but that’s another story).

The hero’s ancestors had been the basis of the legends of Atlantis. For the sake of my sanity, I decided the aliens interacted first and foremost with the ancient Greeks, but their subtle influence spread throughout Europe including languages, names, and mythologies. One name that caught my attention was Griffin, meaning fierce and warrior, like the mythological griffon. Researching this, I discovered there are griffons throughout many cultures’ histories in Europe and the Middle East.

But, Griffin seemed a little too trendy for my hero. Shortening it to Griff might work, but he was an alien and that spelling was too, well, normal. If I changed the “i” to a “y” and dropped an “f”…yeah. Gryf. That worked.

Of course, he would also need a middle name for that quiet, tender scene. Once again I madly flipped through that baby name book searching for male names of Greek origin. I finally found Dimitri. You'll never believe what that name means. It means: Loves the earth.

Oh. My. Gawd. Is that freaking perfect, or what?

The fierce warrior who loves the earth. Dayum, I’m good. But, once again the spelling needed to be “alien-nized”, and the final result was Dimytro. 

Close enough!

And that’s how Alexandra Gaia Bock and Gryf Dimytro Helyg got their names.

I told you it isn’t simple.

Btw, if you haven't read Prophecy yet, now would be the perfect time to get started. If you have read it, you might want to reread it now to refresh your memory. The release date for the third and final book in the series arcCollisionwill be announced very soon!

A nightmare of galactic proportions…
One normal day turns into horror when Earth is attacked. Now ER nurse Alexandra Bock is imprisoned aboard an alien slave ship with no way out. She deems all aliens untrustworthy, including the handsome blue-skinned Matiran captain who shares her cell.

A betrayal from within…
One night of treachery leaves Senior Captain Gryf Helyg a prisoner of his enemies. Because of him, Earth’s inhabitants face extinction and his home world is threatened. But his plans for escape are complicated by his inexplicable draw to the Earth woman imprisoned with him.

A chance to save both their peoples…
One ancient prophecy holds the key to free Alexandra and Gryf’s war-ravaged worlds. Can two wounded souls who have lost everything learn to trust and forgive in order to fulfill the prophecy, and find a love that will last for eternity?

USA Today Bestselling Author Lea Kirk loves to transport her readers to other worlds with her science fiction romance Prophecy series (Prophecy, All of Me, and Salvation). She’s made one foray into paranormal with her Kindle World vampire novella, Made for Her. Currently she is working on book three of the series, Collision, which will be released later this year

When she not busy writing, she’s hanging out with her wonderful hubby of twenty-eight years, their five kids (aka, the nerd herd), and a spoiled Dobie mix pup. 

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Work is writing by Barbara Edwards

 I need a subplot. A nice ghost is appropriate I think. I don’t want to talk about the story I have in the works. I don’t like to go into depth because I’ve found it dries up my juices. 

So I need a ghost. but what kind? 

To fit the story it needs to be gentle. No screaming in the middle of the night. No throwing items at the hero. No shivers or chills, well maybe some. After all a ghost should affect the people around it.

So I’m leaning toward a girlish laugh when no-one is there. A touch from a cold slender hand. I want the reader to wonder why this ghost is haunting this place. I don’t want any of the obvious reasons. No young female died here. No missing persons from this house. 

So why is she here? Oh, I already know but I’m not going to tell you yet. I need to build the story to support her presence. 

I can picture her. A sweet smile, slender, youthful, and energetic. She runs through the house, plays under the trees and in the garden. 

My hero doesn’t believe in ghosts and the house has no history of haunting. So what has my hero uncovered?

I have to keep working on this story. She’s got me hooked.

So back to the keyboard.

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Friday, April 27, 2018

Write your Way out of the Corner by L. A. Kelley

You’re cruising along nicely, enjoying the literary scenery; characters jell, plots flow smoothly, descriptions create the mood of the proper time and place. Suddenly, and for no apparent reason, you swerve. Ideas fall part and that engrossing manuscript that flowed along so neatly is now one hot mess. Don’t throw out your fictional baby with the literary bathwater. You’ve only reached a snag on the road to publication. Sometimes coming to a dead stop is necessary to get thoughts in order. In general, weakness occur in two places; character or plot issues. One method to get back on track is called the W5. It asks basic questions about character and plot and can help guide your thoughts.

Character Issues

If you want to round out your hero or heroine (H/H) consider how they interact with others. Who is directly affected by their actions? Only the H/H? What about friends? Family Members? Are they really important to the story or just window dressing? If they don’t advance the plot, what good are they? Too many clutter a plot and slow down the action. Secondary characters should have a specific purpose (so should the H/H.) If Joe the Coffee Shop guy’s only function is to give the heroine her cup of coffee in the morning than delete Joe the Coffee Shop guy and have her brew her own.

Are you clear on the strengths and weakness of the H/H? Every human has both, and both should appear somewhere in the story or else you have a caricature and not a person. How do these strength or weaknesses help the H/H agenda and move the plot along. How do they hinder? Who makes the decisions in the story? If one character is always leading, then the others are probably too weak and ineffective. 

Where is the most tension between the main characters? Is it a personality conflict or conflict of ideals?  How can they be resolved? Should one convince the other or is a combination of both the best pathway to success. Can the H/H get help from others? Do these characters have an alternate function or are they only there to feed information to the H/H? If so, they may not be important and the information they distribute can be found in another way.

Plot Issues

What is both the best and worst case scenario for this story? Think of at least three steps necessary for your H/H to achieve. What is the least and most important one of them? In most stories, the objective is obvious, but if your plot feels a little lackluster consider one alternative or a hidden agenda. This is the way people act in real life. They aren’t ruled by single motives alone.

Is the action well-paced? Will a reader feel rising tension beginning with the first chapter and have a satisfying letdown at the end? Novels don’t have only one climatic point, but a series of smaller ones, some more important than others. They lead up to the denouement or final resolution. Does the H/H take action at the right time? A writer can’t keep a reader on an emotional high throughout an entire novel. There has to be some downtime, too, to flesh out the story. Lastly, when will the H/H know they succeeded? Will it be at the denouement or shortly thereafter with a final resolution?

Have you considered the why of this story? Why must it be told? (“To score a publishing contract” is not the right answer.) The story should be told because it’s enjoyable or enlightening. Have you conveyed to the reader sympathy for the characters so that they care about the resolution? What about the characters? Are the reasons for their actions clear? Are obstacles placed in the path of the story’s resolution or are you merely throwing barriers in the H/H’s way to make the story longer. Each barrier should have a logical reason behind it and a different resolution.

Now you’re back on track. Put on that writing cap and get to work. The story awaits.

L. A. Kelley writes science fiction and fantasy adventures with humor, romance, and a touch of sass. She kills off characters with abandon if they don't mind.