Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Where Do Writers Get Ideas? by Elizabeth Alsobrooks

“It is the beating of his hideous heart!” says Edgar Allen Poe’s ‘insane’ narrator.

Wait. Narrator? What kind of story has a narrator the reader can’t depend upon to tell them the truth?An ingenious one is the simple answer. The longer answer is that one of Poe’s great talents was surprising his reader, letting the truly horrific details of the story unfold, page by page, until the reader realizes that yes, the nagging suspicions they had, the unbelievable reality they suspected actually happened.

In Poe’s The Tell-Tale Heart, a horror story almost all eighth grade English books contain in order to grab the attention of even the most lagging and reluctant readers, the narration is in a rare second person point of view which draws the reader in, despite themselves.  The narrator begins by addressing his audience and asking why they say that he is mad when clearly he is not. Instantly the reader wants to know why the narrator has been accused of being insane, and why the more he protests, the more the reader realizes he is indeed raving mad.

Two of the most frequently asked questions many authors get asked is who inspired us to write, and how do we get ideas for our writing. While I read many, many different authors growing up, one of my favorite books was the complete works of Edgar Allen Poe. What kid didn’t love to watch Saturday fright matinees on TV staring Vincent Price bringing classics like The Pit and the Pendulum to life? 

The unusual way in which he masterfully manipulated his reader’s response, how he anticipated their reaction and was thus able to deploy the pace and flow of his stories with twists and turns and breathtaking surprises still fascinates me.

There are reasons that classic tales become just that, and the intriguing use of point of view in Poe’s Tell-Tale Heart is just one of the many reasons he’s still one of my all time favorite authors. If it’s been a while, you may want to revisit some of those classic tales. 

What stories inspire you?

Friday, June 14, 2019

Mutated DNA, Morgan and You

In my mythos, my vampires never died to be resurrected corpses.  They are mutants, a virus having altered their mortal DNA into immortals with powers greater than their original human selves. 

My anthology, Morgan D’Arcy: A Vampyre Rhapsody and in the soon to be released Sinners’ Opera, the book of my heart, both star Morgan D’Arcy, my favorite of my characters. These vampires can’t bear sunlight, but the Cross and garlic have no effect on them. The vampires as a race are called Vampyre. Morgan is something of a rebel and determined to marry a mortal. Lucien, the Chief Councilor of the council that rules the Vampyre, must prevent him from doing so. Rhapsody is now available on Amazon and other on-line sites.

Back to the mutated DNA! Interestingly enough, I found the information below on the internet.  My viral mutations are actually possible (maybe not to the extent in my books yet still within reason):
Date:  January 8, 2010
Source:  University of Texas at Arlington


 “About eight percent of human genetic material comes from a virus and not from our ancestors, according to a new study. The research shows that the genomes of humans and other mammals contain DNA derived from the insertion of bornaviruses, RNA viruses whose replication and transcription takes place in the nucleus.”

In the 2000s, a scientist at the University of Michigan studied people with HIV and found other viruses in the blood of these subjects.  Surprisingly, these viruses came from within the patients’ own DNA.

Retroviruses, including HIV, share three common genes:  gag, which gives rise to the inner shell that stores the virus’s genes; env makes knobs on the outer surface of the virus, allowing it to adhere to the cells and invade them; and finally pol.  The latter makes an enzyme which introduces the virus’s genes into the host cell’s DNA."

Actually, the human genome contains segments of DNA matching pol, env, and gag.  Scientists have found sizeable quantity of retrovirus DNA in our genes, in fact, as stated above, eight percent of the human genome.  Both in human and other species, studies of these endogenous retroviruses reveal that they have genetically merged with the human DNA.  Retroviruses regularly infected our ancestors, but rarely infected sperm or an egg, but when they did, they managed to permeate an embryo, new cells in the embryo inheriting the retrovirus DNA.  When the child grew into an adult and produced offspring, the DNA of the virus was transmitted as well.
So, Morgan, Lucien and the Vampyre could possibly exist.

Happy Friday!  You have viral altered DNA.  J

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Walk Like An #Egyptian by Diane Burton #myths

In high school, my favorite subject was Latin. Weird, I know. Probably because it was taught by my favorite teacher. Mildred Bell make the class so interesting. From her, I learn Roman mythology and the Greek equivalents of gods and goddesses. Even today, we often come across references to Roman and Greek mythology. 

When Rick Riodan's Percy Jackson series came out, I devoured the books. Greek mythology. Right up my alley. Then, he wrote The Red Pyramid with Egyptian gods and goddesses. I tried but couldn't keep them straight. Soon the story lost interest. Oh, well. He wrote more stories with Greek myths.

In April, Veronica Scott visited here with her new release, Song of the Nile. Ah, Egyptians. Because I enjoy her science fiction romances, I gave it a try. Wow. Talk about devouring books. Like eating potato chips, I couldn't stop at one. I was so fascinated, I read all in the series. The story, of course, came first. But, she wove into the story enough details about the particular god or goddess to inform the reader without overwhelming.

Isn't that what we're supposed to do? It's the same with backstory. We have to weave in enough detail to help the reader understand without overwhelming. First chapters are so hard. We have all this information about our characters that we want to share. Yet if we do so, we run the risk of exasperating the reader who's mentally saying, "Get on with the story."

Without being overwhelmed, I'm happy to say I've expanded my knowledge of Egyptian mythology. 

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Guest: Keri Kruspe & CHAKRAS #authorkkruspe


…dealing with shiny objects that demand constant attention

By Keri Kruspe

The other day I was at a writer’s meeting, (Mid-Michigan RWA Chapter) chatting with Diane Burton when she noticed a ring I wear on my right middle finger. She exclaimed what an unusual ring it was and wanted to know what it represented. The gal sitting on her other side called out “it’s a chakra (pronounced shah’krah) ring!”, which made me smile since that’s exactly what it was.

 I admitted that I wear it for a couple of reasons, (the main one is because it’s pretty!) but also because it’s a constant reminder to keep myself in balance. While I am not a “hard core” practitioner, I do like the idea of keeping oneself in balance.

During our conversation, Diane confessed she’d never heard about chakras and wondered if I’d write about it and share it on Paranormal Romantics blog. I immediately said “yes”! I’d love to share with others my search for balance. Besides, maybe the info could be used as a personality trait for a heroine in a paranormal romance novel….

So I did a little research and this is what I’ve come up with:

In a simple definition, Chakra physiology is the connection between the physical body and the metaphysical centers of energy, called chakras, believed to be located throughout the body. A general consensus is there are seven major chakras located along or near the spine from the base of the spinal column to the top of your head.
Each chakra is thought to influence the internal organ or section of the body where it is located, along with the associated endocrine glands and nervous system.
Yogapedia defines Chakra Physiology as:
When the chakra energy is balanced, it helps keep the body healthy. When it is not balanced, the physical body – as well as your “emotional” body – can be negatively affected.
The chakras, their associated glands and the effects on the physical body include:

·         Root chakra (reproductive glands) – affects sexual development and secretes sex hormones.
    • Color – Red 
    • Element - Earth
·         Sacral or spleen chakra (adrenal gland) – controls metabolism and the immune system
    • Color – Orange
    • Element - Water
·         Solar plexus chakra (pancreas) – also controls metabolism
    • Color – Yellow
    • Element - Fire
·         Heart chakra (thymus gland) – also regulates the immune system
    • Color – Green
    • Element – Air
·         Throat chakra (thyroid gland) – regulates both metabolism and body temperature
    • Color – Light Blue
    • Element - Sound
·         Third eye chakra (pituitary gland) – produces hormones and controls functioning of the lower five glands
    • Color – Indigo
    • Element - Light
·         Crown chakra (pineal gland) – controls biological cycles
    • Color – White or Violet
    • Element – Thought
Hmm…this information may be interesting, but how can I apply this to my everyday life and not just use it as a research assignment?  How can I maintain some type of balance in my life as I tend to obsess with my writing all the time?

 Here are some thoughts:
1.      Meditation is probably the most effective way to balance the chakras. There are many chakra meditations that can be found online, but it is also easy enough to practice on your own. Each chakra is associated with a color that can be used to help you go deeper into your meditation and make it more effective.
2.      A regular yoga practice is incredibly effective at balancing the chakras. As with meditation, you can visualize and focus your attention on the different chakras throughout your practice. Visualize the colors that correspond to the chakra you are focusing on as you are doing the postures.
3.      The use of breathing techniques not only helps to relax the body, but it also allows you to control the flow of energy throughout your body. There are numerous techniques you can explore that works best for you.
4.      Aromatherapy can be used for a variety of different ailments. Plant-derived oils can also be used for chakra balancing as they correspond to different chakras. The oils can be used by simply breathing them in or applying them topically.

It’s easy for us as writers to lose sight of taking care of oneself. Like most writers, I tend to get absorbed in the worlds I create, and I sometimes forget to stop and “smell the roses”. I’m so concerned about launching my third book while marketing the first, creating a reader magnet and making an outline for the next installment while checking on my social media while creating a new ad while….while…anyway, enter my inner squirrel and see how easy it is for me to get lost with “shiny” things. 

Not to mention how I work full time, have a forty-year relationship with my husband that needs constant TLC along with trying to be a part of my children and their children’s life.
…and we got a new puppy to nurture…a Jack Russell. The dog should be a redhead – she’s so feisty.

By no means do I think I’m unique. We all have busy lives, constantly being pulled in a hundred different directions. Any time I feel overwhelmed, I glimpse at my silver ring and take a deep breath and notice what I’m paying too much attention to. That way I can “listen” to what my body is telling me, (am I tired, stressed, confused?) and take a step back and know it’s okay to come back to my passion of writing once I’m rejuvenated.

Oooh…look…pop up…snap chat…gotta check…

Keri Kruspe, author of Otherworldly Romantic Adventures – to inspire others to discover the possibilities of “what if…

Keri has been an author since the age of twelve and has always been fascinated with otherworldly stories that end in Happily Ever After. Her current sci-fi romance trilogy, An Alien Exchange (winner 2018 SPF Galaxy award) had its first release winter 2018. The story continues with D’zia’s Dilemma and concludes with Ki’s Redemption, releasing end of May 2019.

A native Nevadan, Keri resides with her family in the wilds of Northwest Michigan where she enjoys the stark change in seasons and the pleasures each one brings. An avid reader, Keri loves an enjoyable bottle of red wine, a variety of delicious foods and watching action/adventure movies…usually at the same time. You can find her most days immersed in her fantasy world on her latest novel while foot tappin’ to classic rock. When not absorbed in her writing, Keri works alongside her husband in building their dream home or discovering intelligent life in America in their RV. 
Join the fun and sign up for her mailing list at www.kerikruspe.com 
You can find Keri hanging around at the usual sites:

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

A Lot Can Happen in 17 Years

By Maureen Bonatch 

The 17-year cicadas have emerged in my area of Pennsylvania with a vengeance. I’d never really thought much about these winged insects that are sometimes referred to as a locust, and look a bit like a red-eyed grasshopper until they came out whining their shrill mating call that we hear from our home all day long.

The cicada’s lifespan is relatively short once they emerge from the ground, about 4-6 weeks, and the next big batch of them won’t return for another 17 years.

cicada photo taken by my cousin

17 years.

That’s a long time when you think about taking that long to develop just to release into the world. A little over seventeen years ago my twins were born. They graduate high school this week—ready to shed the shell of their teenage years and emerge into the world as young adults.

Trying out their caps and gowns

That, and the occasional hum of chatter between the twins that’s difficult for anyone to differentiate outside of teenage ears, are the only obvious characteristics between them and the cicadas. 

My twins are ready to start the next chapter of their story, while the mass quantities and volume of cicadas has many wondering about theirs.

As a native Pennsylvanian…

…I assumed most were familiar with cicadas, but when I asked others if they’d heard them and seen them, many—some not far from my house, but not in as wooded of an area—had not. Most found it interesting since it’s kind of a once-in-17-years kind of thing. 

So as some of my family gathered for a picnic last week, surrounded by the whine of cicadas that had my author’s brain whirring with stories of alien invasions, or other potential sci-fi stories featuring red-eyed creatures, we pondered just what the winged insect’s story. 

Here’s some information if you want to learn more about cicadas. Plus check out the video below of the sound of the cicadas from our deck (and the chatter of some of my family in the background).

As a romance writer …

…it seemed bittersweet that the cicada would emerge from the ground after 17-years to sing their mating song, lay their eggs, only to die a few weeks later. Hopefully they find that special someone who made it worth emerging from their underground home.

What’s Going on in Your Neck of the Woods?

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

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