Tuesday, May 30, 2017

What do you do with Vampires in Space?

Just Some Thoughts On A Story 

I started a story not too long ago for an anthology. Unfortunately, I had to drop out of the antho due to time constraints and was left with a half-finished story about a vampire on a spaceship, heading to a colony on a planet.

I think it is a neat idea, and was thinking of finishing it. I set in the same world as my book Starlander's Myth, which has a griffon-shifter widow. This is set in space western, cousin of steampunk type world. So we're talking some wild mix of sub-genres.
(I really think this cover needs a space ship in the background!)

Of course, there is the whole marketing question. The keywords would be all over the place. Would it attract any readers? Should I follow my muse or try to be practical?

It would be romance, of course, and probably pretty steamy.

I'm looking forward to the antho a friend is putting together.

Anyone else working on something mixed-genre? Or not working on one? 

I guess my real dilemma is the balance between the muse and the market. I don't think that will be settled anytime soon.

Monday, May 29, 2017

I Get Knocked Down, But I Get Up Again...with @MeganSlayer ~ A Journey of Writing, Rejection and Starting Over

When I sit down to write, I have a general plan for the story. General. I won't say it's ever a very well fleshed out outline. I'm not that organized. I have the idea and I'll start plotting, but usually the characters start talking and I end up with chunks of dialogue within the outline. Now, I know there's not a singular way to do an outline. It's a matter of preference. But it can be kind of confusing to anyone reading my notes. Outline, outline, outline...DIALOGUE! Heh heh. 

So I was asked to take part in an anthology. Sure. I had been debating doing this sub call anyhow and now that I was encouraged to take part, I set out to do it. I had this great idea. Planned the thing out. Like the whole thing. I even had chunks of dialogue. Like big chunks. I was jazzed. So jazzed...I might have written 2/3 of the story before I knew if it would fly for the call. I was excited. The story was flowing.

Then I heard from the powers that be. They didn't want it. What? How...

Instead of getting upset or knocked down and not getting up again, I dusted myself off. Now if you've been reading my blog, you'll see this isn't the first time recently that I've been knocked down so to speak. It's been kind of a rough couple of months. 

I could've hidden for a while and said to hell with what I was doing. I could've gotten angry and lashed out. But what would getting mad do? Up my blood pressure and give me a headache. Hiding isn't a bad idea, but I'm not the type to hide. The characters are there and when I can't write, I'm not happy. I write because the characters demand to speak.

So, I dusted myself off and dove into a new outline. I saw a photo that inspired me and the topic happened to gel with the sub call. I wrote the plot and waited. It fit the call! Needless to say, plugging along and keeping going worked for me. I started over and I'm back to my happy place. 

Has this ever happened to you? A thing you thought wouldn't knock you down did, but you kept going? I'd love to hear about it. :-)

Chasing Sparks by Megan Slayer 
A FREE Read Available from Loose Id
Part of the Battle Scarred Series
M/M, Paranormal, Contemporary, Vampires
Coming Soon!

Two vampires have the chance to step into the sunshine without being charred. Most creatures of the night wouldn’t chance losing their undead life for good. But Anders and Galen have heightened abilities. They won’t char. What are they going to do? Celebrate summer, being together, and sunshine. Mix in hot sex under the veil of stars and fireworks…who wouldn’t want to take a step and chase sparks?

Megan Slayer - It's Always Fun to Squirm

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Sunday, May 28, 2017

Building a World by Barbara Edwards

I have an idea stewing in my brain for a paranormal set on another planet. I’ve been playing with this since reading ‘Dune’, a planet far different from earth. I want to create a world and Frank Herbert made it seem easy. It’s taken me years to understand the complexities, the attention to detail he used.

I decided to make a world similar to earth because it seemed easier. Make a few basic changes. and voila! Not so. If you  understand how nature and climate interlock to a cellular level, any change changes an entire chain of logic. 

Why do you think mammals didn’t successfully evolve until the large dinosaur no longer ruled the planet? 
My planet will have a longer rotation around a similar sun. It does have an oxygen atmosphere that allows man to exist without breathing aids. Sounds great doesn’t it? 

What effect does a longer year have on settlers originally from Earth’s 365 day year? Can
domesticated animals adapt? How about plants? Will they become invasive species like ones transplanted from Asia or Africa to North America?

The more I  write the more questions I have to research. A story that I have plotted out and chewing at my keyboard is taking months longer than I expected.

I’m working "Home" between my other paranormals for my Rhodes End series.

Please follow, friend or like me. I love to hear from my readers.
Amazon Author’s Page http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B003F6ZK1A

Saturday, May 27, 2017

The Down and Dirty on Ghostwriting by L. A. Kelley Without Help from Anyone (or so she says)

(Scroll to the bottom for a free ebook offer of my new release)

Ask any real author. Writing a book is hard work, but the mob isn’t the only business with hired guns. They abound in publishing and are called ghostwriters.  Ghostwriters work for cash up front. In exchange for a hefty paycheck, a ghostwriter often gets no credit and may even have to sign a non-disclosure agreement, in effect, denying any input into the project.

Why be a Ghostwriter?
What causes talented writers to not only cheerfully agree to publicly deny their accomplishments but also willingly assign them to someone who can’t string three sentences together to form a coherent paragraph? The answer is stability and money. Ghostwriting used to be publishing’s dirty little secret, but now is considered a subgenre and good ghostwriters are in high demand. Once a ghostwriter gains a reputation for professionalism, sticking to a schedule, and keeping his or her mouth shut, publishers even seek them out instead of the other way around.

How Much Do Ghostwriters Make?

Ghostwriting can offer a nice income. North of the border, the Canadian Writers Union sets the minimum fee for ghostwriting a book at $25,000. In the US tracking down ghostwriting payments is murkier as each writer sets his or her own.  Fees vary wildly, by genre, length and whether the project is for a celebrity. According to Writers Weekly, an experienced writer with a verifiable track record can earn $10,000 to $15,000 for a small project and prices go up from there.  Ghostwriting has four general methods of payment; hourly, per page, per word, and per project. Shorter items are generally paid hourly, per page, or per word. Average hourly fees range from $70-$250. A per page fee might run $25 to $50, while per word might go from $0.25 to $3.

The biggest payoffs are for full-length books. Ghostwriters often bid on projects and again prices vary according to genre, page length and the amount of research needed.  The low end is roughly $15,000 while the high end might be $l50,000. A celebrity autobiography can command much more and a well-known ghostwriter may even earn a percentage of royalties.

Famous Ghostwriters
Even writers with prolific careers used ghostwriters. The Player on the Other Side by Ellery Queen was ghostwritten by Theodore Sturgeon. James Patterson, what a man. Why, he comes out with a book a month. Oh, really? Have you taken a close look at one of his covers? His name is splashed in large manly writer’s font at the top in a place sure to grab your eyes, but who is that name in teeny tiny print at the bottom. Here’s a hint. It’s not his dry cleaner.

Peruse a list of well-known authors who were also ghostwriters and you’ll find a few surprises. H. P. Lovecraft was a prolific ghostwriter who created stories for Harry Houdini. Early in his career, Mozart ghostwrote music for other composers. A strong suspicion exists President Ulysses S. Grant’s autobiography was done by longtime friend, Mark Twain.

Other Famous Ghostwriters
Tennis as I Play it by Maurice McLoughlin (Sinclair Lewis)
Daughter of the Tejas by Ophelia Ray (Larry McMurtry)
My Chinese Marriage by Mae T. Franking (Katherine Anne Porter)

What’s the Benefit of a Ghostwriter to a Publisher?
Writing is a skill. Few famous people can put pen to paper with any degree of competency, but ego’s rule. Promising someone they can be known henceforth as a New York Times bestselling author holds definite appeal. It’s easy to lure someone to a big publishing contract when no actual work is involved other than signing their name on the dotted line and cashing the check.

Publishers often want to continue or expand a popular series. Both the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew books were ghostwritten. Demand for the Goosebumps series was so high author R. L. Stine couldn’t maintain output, so the publisher used ghostwriters to produce a book a month. The Sweet Valley High series has Francine Pascal on the covers, but in fact she was the series’ creator. Pascal put together a reference manual for ghostwriters to craft stories while her role remained editorial. Without writing a word, she sold over 150 million copies worldwide. Books #25 to #52 in the Animorph series by K. A. Applegate were written by one of 12 different ghostwriters picked from Applegate’s former editors and writing students.

Book written by dead guy
Tom Clancy, V.C. Andrews, Mickey Spillane, and Ian Fleming recently had their names on new releases, which is pretty good considering they’ve all been dead for years. As a nod to the increased legitimacy of ghostwriting, the actual authors of the books now share credit and have a place of honor on the cover, too.

Famous Ghostwritten Books That Were on the New York Times Bestseller Lists (with ghostwriter in parentheses)
Donald Trump in The Art of the Deal (Tony Schwartz)
Sam Walton in Made in America (John Huey)
Stephen Covey in The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People (Ken Shelton)
Sarah Palin in Going Rogue (Lynn Vincent)
JFK’s Profiles in Courage (Ted Sorensen)

What do you Need to be a Ghostwriter?
  • No ego. You get little or no credit for your hard work.
  • Solid writing credentials as a freelancer helps.
  • Strong work ethic and people skills. You’ll often be on a deadline and have to deal with input from the ‘author.’

Want to give it a try? Check out Guru  and Reedsy  for job postings.

Good Bones
Would you like a free ebook? Consider this a pretty please begging request on bended knee for Amazon reviews for my new release. Read the blurb below. If you think Good Bones would be to your liking send me an email at l.a.kelley.author@gmail.com 

Tell me whether you need epub, mobi, or PDF

Read and (I hope) love the book

Post a few kind words on Amazon

BOOM. You're done. Bless you. 

Good Bones

No matter how challenging the case, psychologist Katherine Fleming never shirks from helping a patient confront a painful issue. Her keen powers of observation and compassionate nature have eased many troubled souls, but a homicide detective with a buried secret of his own stirs more than just clinical interest.

The first time Detective Jake Sumner spied the old house, he sensed the good bones. Little did he know the purchase of the property included an unusual tenant far from resting in peace. Can the new psychologist in town help him treat a ghostly trauma case or is his growing attraction to Katherine Fleming best left buried?  

With the aid of a mysterious white cat and a mystical mirror, Katherine and Jake join forces to solve a murder. Can they stop a killer from claiming the next victim or will their investigation only lead them six feet under?

L. A. Kelley writes fantasy sci-fi adventures with humor, romance and a touch of sass. The only ghostwriting she’s done is in her new release, Good Bones, an honest to goodness ghost story. For more details on her books, check out L. A. Kelley’s Amazon Author Page.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Tools of the Trade by Nancy Gideon

I've always loved this picture of the early 19th Century vampire hunting kit. A nice, tidy assortment of all-business paraphernalia needed to get the job done that, I realized in an epiphany, hasn't gone out of style from my first vampire romance MIDNIGHT KISS, in Regency era England, to the last, MIDNIGHT CRUSADER, set in glittery Las Vegas. Now that's a guy who knew how to pack for the long haul!

Today, I'd have gone for a nice Gucci carry on to stash my stuff, paired with matching shoes, depending on the event. Or the warded trunk of a badass black '67 Impala driven by a Winchester.

Whoops, wrong badass . . .

The tools of the trade are pretty much standard for taking out your ordinary vampire, werewolf, demon, etc. : Bible, holy water, cross and rosary, fire, stake with hammer to drive the point home, and silver - either sharp and pointy and/or bullet version, with pungent garnish optional, whether in an old Carpathian village or on the streets of New York City. You gotta love tradition with staying power. With the passage of time, the tools may be newer, shinier, NIV vs King James, or carry a warranty from Sears, but they all maintain the century's old attributes for killing the unnatural dead (again). But that doesn’t mean you can’t update a classic for your paranormal hunter. Take a tip from VanHelsing's rapid fire crossbow, Abraham Lincoln-Vampire Hunter's acrobatics or Blade's iridescent UV grenades. Nothing is more fun than upgrading the traditional to delight your audience. Or surprising them when the expected cure (or kill) all proves nothing but a myth. What do you mean that only works in the movies?

Don't mock the classics. When in doubt, go for basic black . . . and blue (like those knuckle dusters inscribed with Enochian symbols) but don’t be afraid to include a few flashy accessories (take that from a gal who LOVES her accessories!). The tried and true spiced with your own magical take on what gets your hero and heroine though the night alive can make a believer out of the most cynical reader and have them returning, over and over, just like Dracula remakes.

Sink your teeth into these tasty tributes to the undead where it doesn’t hurt (much) to think outside the box.

What are some unique ways you’ve seen (or written) for disposing of preternatural pests?

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Nancy Gideon on the Web

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Bucket List

I've been watching a comedy on Netflix called No Tomorrow. The premise: This guy, Xavier, is convinced an asteroid is going to impact the earth in eight months, wiping us out. 

 So he quits his job and writes a "bucket list" of things he wants to do during his last days. Some of them are poignant, like reconnecting with his estranged father. Some are adventurous, like skydiving. And some are wacky. Rolling down a hill in a huge hamster bubbles was one.
When I turned 60, I experienced the same morbid feeling of "last days" and started my own bucket list. Now, I smile every time I cross something off. Here's the list:

11.     Write & publish my first novel (Done! Song of the Ancients, 2015)
22.      Earn $1,000 from book and apply for PAN status RWA (Done! 2016)
33.     Write a suspense novel (working – aiming for completed draft August)
44.     Write next novel in the paranormal series (starting August)
55.     Get a bigger publisher. Maybe an agent also.
66.     Learn to snowshoe
77.     Learn to cross country ski
88.     Run a 10k race as a senior
99.     Learn to Tango-Salsa-Mambo
110.  Back country hike Yosemite
111. Buy a cabin in the woods (Done! We spend our summers there)
112.  Go through a Croning ceremony
113.  Make a quilt (well, actually finish one)
114. Para-sail
    15.  Attend oldest son's wedding with his new love.  (Almost. He just got engaged last week)
116. Become a grandma (done, sorta)
117.  Witness youngest son fall in love and get married.
118. Take great vacations for book research in Hawaii, Scotland, Wales, Alaska, Newfoundland, Iceland, Central America (Woot Woot! Have Scotland booked for July)
119. Visit an active volcano (this is conjunction with my Ancient Magic Book 3 plot)
220.   Participate in a shamanic journey ceremony

Now it's your turn.  Leave YOUR bucket list in the comments. From the comments here and on my personal website (writerSandy.com), I will draw a random name for a digital copy of my paranormal novel, Song of the Ancients.

The only limitation is your imagination. Here's your chance to share your dreams!

 Sandy Wright loves to take ordinary characters and thrust them into extraordinary situations.

In her debut novel, Song of the Ancients, a Midwestern woman moves west for a fresh start. Instead, she becomes the prey in an ancient war to open an underworld portal buried in Sedona, Arizona's magical red rocks.

Readers interested in the dark side of our supernatural world will enjoy of this paranormal suspense series, written by a real-life Wiccan high priestess.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

I know Mother's Day has past, but this is a little tale I conceived, just for that special recognition of mothers everywhere!  

The Alien's Mother by Francesca Quarto

It was a typical Mother's Day in the small outpost of Glimmer Roost.  They still celebrated long- remembered holidays from Earth times, only now they did it in zero gravity.  
So, no bunches of roses and boxes of chocolates and jewelry; just the hand-made cards that could be erased and reused for the next holiday.  There was no shortage of shiny baubles to be given, but they were as common as road gravel back on Terra One. After all, the brilliant stones gave the very name to the mining town.
Mother's Day wasn't that big around there anyway, what with the lack of any women.  And usually the only time the word "mother" was spoken, it was quickly followed with a profanity. Now that word, would be around human settlements until the end days!
This Mother's Day seemed destined to be marked like hundreds before it in Glimmer Roost; they broke out the Alien's Mother.
She landed on the remote planet several months after the Pilgrim Miners. They had already set up the rough, outlying buildings for what would become, Glimmer Roost.  
She announced her arrival by blasting a group of unarmed surveyors and building engineers to space dust.  There was no provocation on their part, unless you count their aggressive reshaping of the landscape.  
One of the mounds they eradicated was, unfortunately, the entrance to the alien's domicile; a hive-like structure of connecting tunnels and chambers.  At the time it was destroyed to make room for the growing outpost, it sheltered the Alien's entire family tree, from oldest to youngest.  
She responded as any mother would, with unchecked rage and righteous lethality.  She entered into a running skirmish with the Pilgrim Guard Unit that had been called in by a lone survivor of the mound killings.  
Her end was assured, as they were human and she, a mere alien, not withstanding that this was her home planet.
The body of the Alien mother was to be kept for further study by the scientists that would follow one day.  She was perfectly preserved, but as time went on, the Pilgrims realized the corporation would not waste resources on studying anything that couldn't produce a profit.
Being human men, offspring of mothers all, they were moved, after the first one hundred years, to celebrate that most honored holiday, Mother's Day. 
Forthwith, the preserved body of the alien mother was brought to the communal feasting hall, where the children of human kind, could lay hand-made gifts around her four, stiff and blueish feet.  
They had taken this mother of another race and co-opted her as their own.  Over a span of many hundred cycles, the reputation, along with the petrified shell of the last mother in Glimmer Roost, was transformed.
From death bringer, to life giver; from alien, to familiar.
Mother's Day became "The Great Mother's Day"  proving, even in dying, there was no death for the Alien's Mother.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Using Sensory Description in Paranormal Romance

A frequent tip you'll hear in writing workshops, seminars, and blogs is to include the senses in your descriptions. One workshop I attended mentioned trying to include all 5 senses on every page. I took this to be a bit of an exaggeration, as that would be a LOT of description on every page. But it gives you a goal to shoot for so you remember to include sensory description as much as possible.

My personal rule of thumb is to attempt to get all 5 senses to show up in every five pages. This is actually much harder than it sounds, so let's dig into a little bit.

5 Commonly Learned Senses

Sight tends to be the easiest of the senses to remember because you can describe what the character is seeing in terms of surroundings, other people, gestures, or even what's inside their head. However, since this one is the easiest to include, don't forget to include little details that we all notice without realizing it... colors, shapes, changes in the surroundings, locations of objects or people in relation to the POV. For that deep POV touch, have characters note things that they would notice. No two people would walk into a room and notice the same things. Think about what in the room/the scene/another character might catch your characters eye. 

Sound can be relatively easy because you can describe voices if you include a lot of dialogue like I prefer. But I find I forget to includes sounds of everyday life that we all tend to tune out, but are there nonetheless. Things like cars passing, low murmurs of voices at parties, background music, etc. You don't need a lot, just a touch here and there. Again, try to incorporate things your character might notice.

Touch could be the bread and butter for a romance writer. Touch can be a very sensual experience. Wonderfully descriptive words come from touch - rough, smooth, silky, hard, soft, lush, scratchy. Think about textures of furniture, of food, of clothing, of skin, of pets, even the air. You get the idea.

You would think that smell would be easy to include, but unless there's food involved, I find I really have to think about smells. (I guess I love food.) Smells surround us, but unless they're strong we don't think about it much. Next time you get out of the car or enter a new building, think about what it smells like. Does it smell like a hospital? Like Christmas? Like a trash bin? Like piney woods? Like flowers? What do people around you smell like? Like what they just ate? Their cologne? Their shampoo? The pool water they just swam in?

This is perhaps the hardest sense to include regularly because most of us only think of taste in terms of food. And, at least for my characters, I don't have them eating in every chapter. However, taste can come into play in ways that are more subtle. Have you ever tasted the metallic flavor of blood, or the lips of the person you just kissed, or a scent in the air is so strong you can taste it?

Other Senses

Did you know there are more than 5 senses these days? I heard a trivia question recently saying that there are more than 5 senses--which, as a writer who tries to include these details in my descriptions, I found fascinating.

In researching this a little, I discovered that scientists are still divided on the additional senses. Some link them to specific sensory organs in our bodies (eyes, ears, olfactory, tongue, skin - but also inner ear, etc.). Some consider that there are subcategories to the main 5.

Regardless of classification, here are some additional senses that most of the websites I reviewed agreed on:
  • Temperature - Hold/Cold
  • Balance
  • Pain
  • Sense of where your limbs and body parts are
  • Thirst
  • Hunger
  • Time

Just think of all the new ways you could incorporate these additional sensory details!

Paranormal Senses

Now let's take it yet a step further, into a genre specific bonus!

In paranormal romance, we are dealing with creatures that don't have just their human senses. They could potentially have heightened sense. Take werewolves and wolf shifters for example. Several articles pointed out that animals have heightened versions of these senses. Dogs smell 100x better than humans. So it stands to reason my wolf shifters would as well.

Think about having fun with the possibilities this presents. For example:

A dragon might be cold intolerant, because they like heat better. They might also have a great sense of balance which could be needed for flying. How much fun would a dragon with inner-ear issues be to write, because suddenly they are grounded (and more interesting).

A vampire might be a great CSI because they can taste elements in blood. What if they could be a DNA tester? Or  blood-alcohol tester?

A psychic can't stand to be touched because it triggers visions. That'll make intimate relationships difficult. Build in conflict right there.

I think you get where I'm going now. (In fact, I might go write that dragon with balance issues right now.)

I hope you have a ton of fun trying to fit in some new sensory detail, and maybe even make a character more interesting because of it! Let me know what you come up with!

Friday, May 19, 2017

Moon Magic by C.J. Burright

I grew up in the country and spent most of my summers outdoors. I rode horses with my friends in the surrounding woods (fighting orcs, of course, with the elven army), waded through creeks to catch crawdads, splashed in the secret neighborhood swimming hole until my toes wrinkled worse than grandpa’s patooty.  Sure, I miss all those childhood activities, especially when I’m holed up in an office all day, but what I miss the most are the summer evenings.  We’d sleep out under the open sky, roughing it without wimpy tents or air mattresses, and stay up until that time of night when deep quiet creeps in and an otherworldly element charges the air.  Without street lamps and house lights, the cosmos hold a hypnotizing brilliance.  I’d stare up at the landscape of stars for hours and wonder how far away Luke Skywalker was at that very moment.  Light years, I guessed.  Maybe I was his other long-lost Jedi sister and somewhere in the heavens my light saber awaited…

The moon was just as mysterious, although I never really trusted the man in the moon.  Too pale. Ate too much Swiss cheese.  But the moon still fascinates me, so I thought I’d share a few fun moon facts.
Full moons have specific names, thanks to the Native Americans.  Since we already missed the May full moon, let’s prepare for June. June is the Strawberry Moon, because…STRAWBERRIES! Nothing better than fresh strawberry shortcake, right? Europeans call it the Rose Moon, and others call it the Hot Moon. Did you know “honeymoon” came from the full moon in June?  Since June lands in between the planting and harvesting season, it was a fine month to get hitched.  And white flowers are thought to be inhabited by Moon spirits, who appear at full moon, especially in July, August, and September, so if you want to attract love, use Jasmine.

And did you know you can schedule life according to the moon?  Here are some helpful May and June dates provided by the Farmer’s Almanac:
Best days to start projects: May 26 and June 25.
Best days for fishing (which I always encourage my husband to do for peaceful writing time): 1-9; 23-30.
Best days for dental care: June 1, 2, 28, and 29.
Want to quit smoking? Try May 20, 24 or June 16 and 21.
In case you need to cut some pounds for the upcoming swimsuit season, start your diet on May 20 or 24 for an early start or June 26 or 21.

And a few extra fun facts and superstitions:

According to a study at Bradford Royal Infirmary, the chances of being bitten by a dog are twice as high during a full moon.  No wonder I’m a cat person.

It’s unlucky to look at the moon over your shoulder.

The word “lunatic” came to describe someone who was moon mad as a result of sleeping under the moonlight, or being overexposed to it.

A study by Tübingen University, Germany, claimed that police reports for 50 new and full moon cycles showed that the moon is responsible for binge drinking. See? You can
blame that empty wine jug on the full moon.

Don’t sleep under moonlight. Hippocrates claims you’ll have nightmares.  I’m proof that isn’t true, but maybe that only applies to Greeks. Then again, it's entirely possibly my Dreamcaster series was inspired this way...

Any full moon stories, facts, or fallacies you want to share? When was the last time you took a moment to gaze up at the moon and stars?

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Jolly Old England & Cowboys (??)

I'm in Yorkshire visiting my son and his growing family (a new baby in April - 9.5 lb baby boy named Aleston Douglas Nightingale) for the entire month of May, but this transplanted Texan wanted to share with you an anthology celebrating hunky cowboys and the Lone Star State.

The Cowboys of Clark's Folly (Texas) features four stories set in the imaginary town of Clark's Folly which is south of Dallas.  As the only resident of Texas, I had a slight advantage, perhaps. It's interesting to see how three women from Georgia viewed Texas.

The stories are Esther's Cowboy by MM Mayfield; A Cowboy's Cinderella by MJ Flournoy; Matchmaker by Carol Shaughnessy; and Return to Folly by Yours Truly.  Matchmaker is an erotic paranormal romance. The other stories are just good old cowboy romance!

The anthology, published by Gilded Dragonfly Books is available on Amazon as an eBook and will later be available in print.  Buy Link:  http://a.co/ib535pH

Here's the Blurb:

Welcome to Clark's Folly, Texas, a town where you will find cowboys to lust over. Each of the four novellas will make you fall in love. The cowboys are tough, but so are the women who tame them.If you love Cowboys, you don't want to miss these sexy, sensual stories. Take a fantasy trip to Texas and find the cowboy of your dreams.

To celebrate the release, I'm offering a copy of the book to a commenter who'll agree to review the book--love or hate. :-)


I'm walking the moors of Yorkshire while you read this or perhaps visiting The White Cliffs of Dover.  The White Cliffs of Dover is one of my all-time favorite books, and, if possible, I'd like to take my granddaughter, travel by train to the coast, and take a ferry to France.  The White Cliffs are supposed to be much more spectacular viewed from across the Channel.  I'll report when I return in June.  Wish me happy castle hopping!

All the best and more!

Saturday, May 13, 2017

World Building: Celebrations by Diane Burton

On Thursday, Hubs and I spent the day savoring Dutch food, like boerenkool stamppot (mashed potatoes and kale), gehaktballen (meatball and gravy), saucijzenbroodjes (like pigs in a blanket), and olibollen (a big deep-fried ball covered in powdered sugar) or Hollandse boterkoek (almond flavored shortbread) for dessert. Makes me hungry thinking about all the wonderful flavors.

 We also shopped in the Marktplaats where vendors displayed Dutch souvenirs, like hand-made wooden shoes, tulip decorated mugs, and just about anything with a Delft design. And, of course, windmills. Dancers in the street wearing wooden shoes (and multiple pairs of socks) is always fun to watch. The best part of the day was watching a parade of children dressed in Dutch costumes, accompanied by marching bands.

Each year, Holland, Michigan celebrates their Dutch heritage with the Tulip Time Festival. I remember when my sister and I drove across the state to watch our siblings in their high school marching band in a parade. We saw President Gerald Ford (when he was a representative) riding in a convertible and waving to the crowd. Now we go to watch our grandchildren.

Celebrating heritage or founding comes easily for us in the United States. We’re such a young country, and most of our citizens come from all over the world. Many of my own ancestors came from The Netherlands, so I especially enjoy Tulip Time. Since I’m a “melting pot” like so many in the U.S., I could easily join in festivities for German, Polish, Irish, British, Scottish, Welsh . . . you get the picture.

As part of the world building for our stories, we should think about celebrations and festivals—secular and/or religious. Where did the inhabitants come from? What do they hold dear? What are their celebrations like? How long do the festivities last?

In my Switched series, the planet Serenia was founded by a group of colonists called the Intrepid Ones. Like most world-building, I knew so much more than what appears in the book(s) where small but significant details are dropped into conversations or the narrative. The reader doesn’t need to know as much as the author, but I made up an entire scenario about the Intrepid Ones: who they were, how they arrived, what they found, why they left their home planet.

It made sense to me that the Serenians would hold an annual celebration to honor those who settled their planet. At the beginning of Switched Resolution, the crew of the starship Freedom are supposed to serve as an honor guard at the opening ceremonies for Founders' Day. Not good when the captain and officers don’t show up. They had other priorities, like retrieving their ship stolen by rebels.

Hmm. I wonder what foods they served during the festivities.


Actions have consequences as Space Fleet Captain Marcus Viator and NASA reject Scott Cherella discover when they switched places. Does the reserved Marcus have what it takes to imitate his smart-aleck twin? Despite help from his love, Veronese, Scott’s already been outed by two of Marcus’ best friends.

When rebels steal the ship with part of the crew aboard, Scott has to rescue them and retrieve the Freedom. The stakes increase when he discovers the rebels are heading for Earth. They know he’s a fraud and they want Marcus. The safety of the Alliance of Planets depends on Scott and his allies.

Switched Resolution, which wraps up the Switched series, takes the reader from Earth—where Marcus adjusts to a pregnant Jessie—to the starship Freedom commandeered by rebels, to the chase ship with Scott and Veronese aboard.