Sunday, September 30, 2018

What's on Your Author Bookshelf?


Oh, my peeps…September has been an exceedingly chaotic month for me. And exciting! If you’ve read my first book, Prophecy, and wondered what happened next to Gryf and Alexandra, the answer is coming in a little holiday novella I’m working on. It’s a companion story written for my readers, so yes, it’ll make more sense if you read Prophecy first. This novella should be out by, or before, the first week of November.

Anyhoo, all this story writing has had me thinking a lot about what I’ve learned about writing over the past two and half years. Specifically, what books I’ve turned to in my quest to educate myself. Which of them would I recommend to a newbie writer? Or to a not-so-newbie writer with the burning desire to learn more.

Here are a few of the staples on my author bookshelf:

If you’re a writer and don’t have this, get it! It is a treasure trove of useful phraseology that has inspired my muse. And the good news is that there’s a whole series of these thesauruses: Emotion, Positive Trait, Negative Trait, etc. They’re all writer must-haves, imo, but The Emotion Thesaurus has been the most useful to me.




No, I don’t write spanking stories, and yes, this is exactly what you think. But, let’s face it, if an author uses the same set of words for all their make out/sex scenes, then the reader might start yawning. This book has inspired me to get creative with the words I use when writing acts of love in my stories.



 

This compilation of writing advice from members of the San Francisco-Bay Area RWA inspired and motivated me in my pre-published days. The stories and advice are timeless, and I refer to them still.







This book introduced me to the concept of Deep POV. Deep POV isn’t for every writer, but when I first read this book I knew the style appealed to me. It fit me. I’m not perfect at DPOV yet, but I’m trying. And as an intro to this method of writing, this book has been a tremendous help.






First, a confession: This book is not on my bookshelf…yet. It’s on my birthday wish list for my family to buy for me (because they always ask what I want and as I get older I find I want/need less and less). So, one way or another I will have it by early November. However, this book is based on an excellent and informative webinar by Alice which I attended, so technically I’m already familiar with the contents.




If I need to get into the DPOV frame of mind quickly, I pick up one of Suzanne Brockmann’s books, read a random paragraph or two, and suddenly I’m able to crawl into my character’s head and think like them. That may sound weird, but this really works for me. If Brockmann is not your style, try another author who writes DPOV.



So, there you have a small sampling of some of my how-to-write library. If you’re an author, please share with us in the comments which writing books have helped you.



See you all again on Oct. 30th…the day before Halloweeeeeeen!

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

USA Today Bestselling Author Lea Kirk loves to transport her readers to other worlds with her science fiction romance Prophecy series. She’s an avid Trekkie, Gryffindor, and wannabe space explorer. She’s made one foray into paranormal romance with her Magic, NM vampire novella, Made for Her, and hopes to write more stories in this world.

When she’s 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.

For more on Lea's books (past, present, and future), check out her:








Saturday, September 29, 2018

The Sweetest October ~ @MeganSlayer #contemporary #romance #halloween

I've always wanted to write a sweet romance. The idea has been there for a while. This year, I set out to do just that--write a sweet October romance. I believe I succeeded with The Sweetest October. See what you think.


The Sweetest October By Megan Slayer 

Contemporary Holiday Romance
Sweet
Novel
Megan Slayer Publications

Love and Halloween are an odd couple, but they can be the best means to heal a broken heart. 

Allison Prince never planned on leaving her job with the Waite Gazette, but when the chance to discover her past comes along, she can’t say no. She’s determined to learn about her grandmother and make the advice in her column more relatable. With her rescue dog, Woofy, beside her, she sets out to learn as much as she can about Hallowsville, Ohio. 

Erik Greene doesn’t believe in love and isn’t fond of Halloween. He’s convinced his broken heart won’t heal—until he meets Allison and visits the local animal shelter. He doesn’t want a journalist snooping around Hallowsville. But Allison isn’t all she seems and the pup at the shelter proves love is possible. 

Can he open his heart to new opportunities and chase the love of his life? Or is he destined to be the Dandy Devil of Hallowsville all alone? 

Purchase Link(s): 


Thursday, September 27, 2018

What a Character. Exploring Character Motivation by L. A. Kelley


You may think science fiction or fantasy requires little more than flights of fancy, but no matter the genre, every story is character driven. Their decisions and actions steer the plot to a logical conclusion, and that requires the author to make a host of choices along the way. Why are character motivations so important? First, they reveal struggles. Every character has them whether they’re hero or villain. Sometimes they’re minor and at other times life-altering, but the eventual outcome must make sense for the character.

Motivation can define roles. Even if a character doesn’t take a physical journey, they often have a psychological one that effects their life. After all, if a person is exactly the same from beginning to the end of the book, what was the point of recording the journey to begin? Real people are changed by the choices they make. Fictional ones should be, too.

Motivation is also intrinsic to character growth and development. Even heroic characters must confront doubts, fears, and insecurities. How and why they face them and their subsequent actions makes the story believable. Everyone has a breaking point. How far would the heroine go to defeat the villain? How far can the villain press the hero before he snaps? Most importantly, what drives a character in the face of failure? What keeps them struggling to their feet and moving forward?

Types of Motivation
There are different types of motivation. They can come one at time or several at once. A character can even be unaware of their effects. Some of the more obvious are below.

Internal versus external
Pressures that motivate characters can come from different directions. Internal motivations are those that are psychological in nature. Did a person’s traumatic childhood event effects how he or she views the world? External factors are caused by things outside the character’s control. A big one can be war, a smaller one might be putting a person in the right place at the wrong time.

Set versus flexible
Some motivation are set. A starving person will search desperately for food. Other motivations may change over time. These can occur when new relationships develop with other characters or an individual experiences a sudden loss or gain. This can be personal, professional, or economic. A change in a career path or lifestyle can also redirect motivation. Sudden discoveries about persons, places, or things often cause drastic alteration in thinking. It makes perfect sense for a character to change motivations as long as the decisions they make are realistic and work within the context of the story.

Making Motivation Work for You

Stuck in a scene with that funny dead feeling that it just isn’t
working? Try using a chart like the one on the left with three points; character action, character motivation, and evidence from the text. Key in on the action and then determine the motivation. If you can’t find any evidence in the text that ties together action and motivation, then the scene isn’t logical and it’s time for a rewrite. For a list of list of fun motivations, check out the TV Tropes Motivation Index at https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/MotivationIndex

Finally, listen to your characters. Sometimes the little buggers have a mind of their own and no matter what you plotted out they steering you in a particular direction. Even though you don’t want to go there, they are generally right.

L. A. Kelley writes science fiction and fantasy adventures with humor, romance, and a touch of sass. She is a character in her own right.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Starting All Over Again . . . by Nancy Gideon


Decades ago, I never conceived that in my 60's I’d have to do a life makeover . . . not just once, but twice (this, since rebuilding from divorce 10 years ago). Moving across the state after an unexpected job loss to live with my widowed sister, searching for work after holding the same job for 15 years, going on . . . unemployment. Then finding the perfect fit in the law office of my dreams only to have that disappear with the sudden retirement of both attorneys, last day – tomorrow! Adrift, with that healthcare premium looming, what do I do? Hang it up (not old enough for Medicare) . . . or jump back into the fray? The phrase “I’m too old for this sh*t” threatens to become my new mantra.

Ending my “House of Terriot” dark shapeshifter series is the emotional drop of the other shoe. With the release of PRINCE OF DREAMS next week, on October 2, I’m saying good-bye to the family of brothers I fell in love with quite by accident . . . enough so, to create a four-book spin-off series. With my “HoT” files quiet for the first time in three years (almost the same number as the recent job), I’m not sure what to do with myself. Do I have enough energy and enthusiasm left in the ole creative brain pan? It feels like there was so much left . . . unfinished, with both the books and the job.


How can I disagree with such an eloquent argument?

This weekend at a writers’ retreat on Lake Michigan, I’m opening new files – titled RISE BY MOONLIGHT. Resume created. Job search begun. Interview the day after Release Day. Starting all over again . . . rough, exhausting, daunting, but doable. And . . . exciting.



I guess you’re as old as you feel, and I’m beginning to feel a bit frisky just thinking about hooking up with Max Savoie again (and we haven’t seen the last of those Terriot boys, either!).

Encourage me with your own Starting Over triumphs . . .

♚♚♚♚♚

Nancy Gideon on the Web


Sunday, September 23, 2018


The Peacock's Roar by Francesca Quarto




The Peacock's was a life of privilege, strutting the zoo grounds like the King, on a Progress.  His wealth of colorful feathers, never failed to amaze visitors, lucky enough to see them unfurled.  Without notice, except for a scratchy sounding roar, his posterior would explode into a rainbow.  This luxuriant fan undulated slowly, as if waved by a Nubian slave over Nefertiti's warm brow.
Often times, during my time there, I'd see this puffed-up male, sitting atop the outdoor cages and enclosures of the big cats.  He never seemed aware of them as they prowled below, occasionally looking upward, in his direction.  He was fearless of their claws and large, toothy mouths.  They, in turn, never growled, or acted agitated with his intrusions on their domains, if indeed, a zoo cage can be considered a "domain."
There were over a dozen or more Peacocks and Peahens roaming at-will over the grounds of the small Indiana zoo.  They were all part of what is euphemistically called the "Collection" owned by a zoo.  Some of the animals in this wild hording, are actually on loan from various zoos around the country, even from outside the country.  But they all share a common pedigree.  Their ancestors, going back in history, were once free to roam their environment, free to eat what and when they wanted, free to procreate when the urge was upon them.  They were free to live and then to die, without interference and manipulations.
But freedom in the wild comes with its own costs.  Even on the Savannah, or deep inside the green gloom of the Rain Forest,  one can find bullies and bandits, claim jumpers and changing loyalties, killers of babies and cannibalism.  
People often have a tendency to view the untamed geography on our planet, with an idealized eye.  Doing so, these few, wild places, are stripped of their natural identity and made into unattainable Paradises.  Do we do that to recreate what we have lost, or rather, to dominate what we desire?
The roaming Peacock never shows any concern with the philosophy of humans.  Our dramas are our own and he could care less as he sits atop the lion's cage and adds his own roar of life, for the expectant visitors.



Thursday, September 20, 2018

Mating May Tear Them Apart (New Release - The Boss)

In shifter worlds, mating and how it works is a pretty big deal, critical to relationships and inter-shifter/inter-pack dynamics. Which is why I decided to make it the central conflict of my brand new dragon shifter series, Fire's Edge.

Yes, I still have fated mates, but I'm throwing in a bit of a wrench in that dragon shifters (who live thousands of years) have politicized the entire mating process. It doesn't help that if the mates choose wrong, the woman dies in the process and the guy loses part of his soul. And, if a male doesn't find his mate by a certain age, he'll die sooner as his body, his mind, or both breaks down. 

Those in power can't entirely force the issue by assigning mates to the "right" people--the fates and certain physical marks prevent that. However, there has to be a reason some clans aren't getting as many mates, some shifters have never found theirs, and more and more mates are dying in the process.

Meanwhile, the heroes of the Fire's Edge series are a team of enforcers who were hand picked by their kings to enforce the laws in the colonies. The position is one of honor, given only to the best fighters and most loyal dragons. So how can they question the very processes and laws they've sworn to uphold?

The mating situation has already caused problems for our team of enforcers. A few have experienced the terrible side--losing a false mate or never having been chosen. One of their ranks has turned traitor, leaving the team and fighting them directly. And all are about to question the process in their own way as dragon mates find them.

The conflict through the course of the series will become one of choosing sides, determining who to trust, protecting the men they consider to be brothers, and possibly breaking with the very shifters who put them in the positions they love in the first place. Can finding their own mates impact the bone deep loyalty of the men who've sworn to protect the laws and the very way of life of their people?

You can start finding out with two new releases!

The Mate

In this FREE prequel short story, discover the current way mates are found and presented to each other, and decide for yourself if the process is broken or just...complicated.

Available Now!





The Boss

In book 1 of the Fire's Edge series, meet Finn and his team of dragon shifter enforcers and see how their world starts to pivot when Delaney, a human with a dragon problem, enters the picture.

Releases 9.24.18 - Preorder Now!



Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Hans and Greta by Elizabeth Alsobrooks

Ever wonder what really happened to Hansel & Gretel. Find out . . . if you dare. Here's a sample of Hans and Greta, a horror short appearing soon in Tell-Tale Publishing's 3rd Annual Horror Anthology. Are you getting chills yet? I am . . . from excitement! I love October and all its fun Spooktacular events!



She snatched the puppet by the arm and jerked the stiletto from its grasp.  “Knock it off, Mother. You deserved it, you know you did. Did you think you could make me live like your slave forever? You told me if I helped you kill your husband I would finally get to live as your daughter.”
           “How dare you lecture me?” the puppet snarled. “What kind of DAUGHTER kills her own mother? I was working on it. You know I was. I bought us a chalet in France. The passports were being created. We could have lived there under new names and you could have gotten a rich husband of your own.”
           “Shut up, Mother. You know you would never have left. You only cared about yourself, your prestige, your charity functions. What a joke. You didn’t give a damn about any of those people your charities were helping. You used to call orphans useless brats, a suck on humanity. Yet you treated your own daughter as though you were ashamed of her. Was it my fault you were raped and your parents threw you out onto the streets once it became apparent that you were pregnant?”
           “Did I abort you? Did I abandon you? No! I have always taken care of you, and this is the thanks I got?”
“I’m sorry, okay?  I was angry. You kept putting me off until I no longer believed you.”
The puppet jerked her hand away and ran over to the dresser. Its movements were awkward and disjointed, limbs jerking as though seized and released. Clearly it wasn’t used to pulling its own strings. It pressed a button and a secret drawer opened on the bottom of a jewelry box from which she extracted a key. Running to the closet, the jerky movement more pronounced when hurrying, it threw open the door and hurried to the back. Prying up a floorboard, it reached in and took out a book. The key fit snugly into the lock and the puppet opened it, flipping through until it found what it sought.
“Yes, yes, I thought I remembered this. Kill the girl first. I can use this spell to switch bodies and we can burn this puppet in the furnace after she’s trapped inside. Then I’ll inherit the estate again, after I kill the boy, and we can finally move to France, but this time as sisters. We can both get rich husbands, not that we’ll need them.”
“If I help you again, do you promise to do it this time, Mother?”
“How can you doubt me? Haven’t I gotten us this far, despite your screwups? My husband would have survived that car crash if I hadn’t given him that injection and left him in the ruination of his precious sports car for the authorities to find him.”
Would you like to read more? For those of you who aren't faint-hearted, read the entire tale on my website at: www.elizabethalsobrooks.com/blog

And have a Spooktacular October! Be sure to visit Tell-Tale Publishing's Halloween Horror Party!

Friday, September 14, 2018

Hurricane Florence & Other Things That Go Bump in the Night


Hurricane Florence is rushing toward the Carolinas, and no one I’ve met in my hometown seems to be the least concerned. I’m both flabbergasted and concerned for everyone’s welfare. In Houston, where I lived until April 1 this year, the mention of a hurricane and the grocery shelves were bare of milk, bread and water. I went shopping and the shelves were well-stocked! But say the word ‘snow’ and the South closes down—the shelves are bare with the first mention of the ‘snow’word.

As it reaches the coast, the hurricane is dropping from the supposed Cat 5 to a Cat 2. We may only get rain, but lots of it.  I was in Houston last year when the city flooded and watched the water crawling from the bayou (a nice name for a water ditch) into my backyard and creep from the flooded street in front of my house. It was no fun. Luckily, in my area, the electricity never went off.
This year in my new home  I fear losing power.  Yes, I’m afraid of the dark. I have candles and a flashlight, but I’m accustomed to a nightlight.  I’m not good at roughing it—eating food cold and not taking a shower.

By the next time I post, Hurricane Florence will be history. I just hope that when she is remembered, it will be as one of the many such storms that ‘fizzled out'.

But I have my milk and bread.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Medical Futures by Diane Burton


I’m curious. Always have been. The oddest things can make me open Google and try to find out as much as I can about a new topic. For several years, I’ve subscribed to Space.com, EarthSky News, and Life Science—online newsletters about space and science (as if you couldn’t guess). So much info, so little time to read.


Recently, I found another newsletter called The Medical Futurist. That really piqued my interest. When I’m writing sci-fi romances and my characters are ill or injured in the future, I need to come up with some device that can heal them instantly, or as close to instant as possible. Or, if my characters are on a starship zooming through space for long periods of time, I have to figure out how they are going to eat. Even in the future, fresh food spoils.
 
Photo credit: The Medical Futurist

In The Medical Futurist, I’ve learned about all sorts of down-the-road technology that is closer to reality than I thought. How about food replicators? You remember those from Star Trek and other science fiction films, don’t you? They must be fantasy or something way in the future. But, hold on a minute. We’ve heard of 3-D printers. So why not use them to create food? Since I’m not crazy about cooking but love to eat, I’m very interested. A company in Barcelona manufactures a device called Foodini, a 3-D food printer using fresh ingredients. It’s supposed to make it easier to eat healthy. The company estimates that in about 10-15 years everyone will have the device on their kitchen counter. I’d give anything for one now so I don’t have to think about what’s for dinner.

Photo credit: The Medical Futurist

This week’s newsletter brought up a topic that is sure to help those who travel a lot. Right now, in my not-too-small town (but not a big city, either), my doctor is connected to the hospital, as are two urgent care facilities. If I go to Emergency or Urgent Care, they can bring up my whole medical history—the meds I take regularly, allergies, immunizations, etc. But, what if I’m traveling out of state or even out of the country and have a medical emergency? Not so easy to get the info the doctors need to treat me. In an emergency, time is of the essence. The longer they wait for the info, the greater the crisis.
 
photo credit: Fitbit.com
Many of us wear a Fitbit or other fitness tracker that besides reporting the number of steps we’ve taken, measures our heartrate, sleep cycles, cardio fitness levels, etc. In the not-too-distant future, digital tattoos on our skin will reveal our medical history. Doctors will be able to monitor and diagnose critical health conditions like heart arrythmia, sleep disorders, and brain activities without invasive procedures. Let’s say a person has a high risk of stroke. The digital tattoo could send alerts and even call an ambulance and relay medical data. I don’t know about you, but I’m fascinated by this.
 
Photo credit: The Medical Futurist

When we were first married, we lived next door to a little girl who had juvenile diabetes (type I diabetes). At that time, we were just hearing about a revolutionary device—a pump that would deliver insulin as the body needed it. Even though the pump is worn outside the body, it is connected by a tube under the skin. Invasive. South Korean researchers have developed sensors (worn on the skin like a tattoo) that measure the temperature and sweat of people with type II diabetes, analyses the data, and, if necessary, delivers insulin through a microneedle array. Less invasive than the pump.

As much as we love to watch and/or read science fiction, let’s face it. We’re looking at our future. The more writers dream up ways to prevent or cure illnesses, the more scientists will try to make it happen. I’m amazed at what the future holds.

What other things might the medical future have in store?

Friday, September 7, 2018

We Don’t Need Any Characters Around to Give the Joint Atmosphere

The title of this post is a line from what may be my favorite movie of all time: It’s a Wonderful Life. (Not to jump the gun on the holiday season, but it just happened to be on my mind.)

That line is also preceded by one of the lines that always make me laugh: “Look, mister, we serve hard drinks in here for men who want to get drunk fast.” (Read in an exaggerated 40s gangster voice.) It makes me giggle, because, apparently, if George Bailey had never been born, everyone he knows would have turned into an asshole and a caricature of a friendless loser. Everyone his life touched unravels without his friendship or the little acts of kindness he’s done over the years.

The quote popped into my head because I was going to write about what gives a place atmosphere, but I realized that this humorous, throwaway line has some crucial truth to it: Characters are needed to give a joint (or book) atmosphere.

It’s one thing my current WIP is lacking at the moment. I’ve been struggling through it, letting myself write some not-so-great words just so I can at least get words on the page. But so far, I’ve been unable to focus on anyone but the two main characters. There are no fleshed-out supporting characters yet—and there’s very little atmosphere.

Part of the problem with this story is that no one in it is what they seem to be—but no one is fully aware at the moment of their magically altered states. And since I’m a “pantser” who couldn’t write from an outline if one bit me in the ass, I’m kind of stuck fumbling along with my characters in their false identities and delusions, wondering what the truth is, until they figure it all out.

What I think the story needs in the meantime is the development of the characters surrounding the two principals—the friends, the family members, the people with whom they cross paths—and, of course, the villain. Because every story needs its Mr. Potter, after all. (And I’m just assuming you’ve all seen It’s a Wonderful Life a thousand times, like I have. If you haven’t, make sure you sit through it at least once this holiday season. You won’t be sorry. It delivers new things every time I watch it, and I’ve watched it every year for decades. It has layers, and lots of lovely details.) At any rate, my story does have a villain, but for the most part, he hasn’t been on the page. (There are Reasons. But still.)

Going back to George Bailey for a minute, the interesting thing about him is that he did affect so many lives for the better—but he’s not an extraordinary man or a man without flaws. He’s constantly longing for a life he can’t have, no matter how much he’s been blessed in his actual life, and he’s bitter (in my opinion, rightly so) that he’s had to sacrifice his own hopes and dreams to take care of everyone else in his life and give them what they want. And on the infamous Christmas Eve on which he ultimately attempts to take his own life, he’s terrorized his wife and his kids, been verbally abusive to his child’s teacher, and turned on his forgetful uncle, ready to let him go to prison for a stupid mistake—all because something has finally happened that George can’t fix with self-sacrifice.

Strangely, that moment of selfishness and ugliness is what I like about George Bailey. At a critical moment in his life, he’s not a nice person. If he was, there would be no conflict. I’ve been watching a light-paranormal romance series from the Hallmark Channel recently—The Good Witch—and while I’ve enjoyed it, after binging three seasons, I’ve noticed one thing that really bothers me: none of the main characters have any real flaws. They’re always thinking of other people, and they never do anything selfish or mean. They’re classic Mary Sues. My favorite character has turned out to be the “naughty cousin” (shades of Bewitched’s Serena?) who keeps doing things out of selfish motivation—the only character who really does—but even she ends up doing good despite herself. It’s kind of maddening.

So I’m pretty much rambling at this point (it is, of course, the middle of the night, because I can never manage to remember to write these posts until the last minute), but my own rambling has given me food for thought. Are my MCs Mary Sues? I hope not. But they’re going to need some personal conflict and flaws—along with those characters I need to sketch out to give the joint atmosphere. Time to get back to work. (And to stop daydreaming of the holidays. It’s only just Pumpkin Season. Mmmm…pumpkins.)

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

4 Life Lessons from My Dog


Scruff is my writing partner. Kind of an unusual name for a writing partner unless you realize he’s a dog, a Shih Tzu to be exact. I’ve mentioned Scruff’s role in my writing process before

Such as how he waits for me to get in the office to start writing (mostly because he wants a treat—he knows I keep some in there) or how he gets me out of the chair to stretch and play for a while when I need a break. 

But there are other lessons I’ve learned about writing, and enjoying life in general from Scruff.

 

Make Time for Naps 

Scuff naps a lot. Pretty much a large portion of his day is spending
napping. It's made me wonder if he’s part cat. Napping is something I rarely, if ever take the time to do because there is always so much that needs done on my To-Do list. 

Although most of these things would still be there if I took a little break now and then to stretch and rest my eyes. 

My body would probably thank me for the reprieve. Writers, and anyone else who spends a lot of time sitting, benefits from taking care of their body.

Forgive and Forget


No matter what Scruff may have gotten in trouble for, or how
cranky I might be, he quickly forgets it and moves on. He’s just as happy to see me and his sappy smile makes it impossible to stay angry with him, or anything else in the world. 

Most of us tend to linger on past wrongdoings or wallow in guilt or anger over regrets from time to time. 

We are often our harshest critics, and the time we spend doubting ourselves, and others, from things that happened in our past don’t usually provide any benefits. As much as I’d love to find one, so far, a magical “do-over” button has eluded me. If the story isn’t working out, I either push on or work on something else. Focusing on one tiny piece for too long makes me lose track of the big picture. 

Eat Dessert First 

If Scruff gets a little bit of “people food” he waits to see if he’s going to get something better and eats that first. 


We often hold our rewards until we meet a goal, or do all the things we “should” do, but sometimes it’s better to treat ourselves first and celebrate the little triumphs to inspire us to keep moving. 

Don’t wait to read that book you’re looking forward to until you get a large block of uninterrupted time. 

Why not enjoy a chapter now? 

 

Size Doesn’t Matter
 

Scruff is a big dog—in his mind. If the door is open a crack—that he can easily fit through—he waits until we open it more to pass through. If he’s safe on the deck, he fears nothing. He trots around
with the arrogance of a much larger dog where he rules our household.

As a reader, I’m not usually concerned about the length of a story. I’m more concerned about how much I enjoy the characters and the storyline. 

The only time I might be a little upset is if it’s so good that it ends too soon. As a writer, I have my eye on the word count as I’m writing, but I also know when the story is “done”, and it doesn’t usually follow the rules about word count and chapter length.  

Have You Learned Any Lessons from Your Pets?
 

P.S. Don’t forget to check out the All Things Magical Giveaway! Kindle Fire! Ebooks & Gift Cards- Oh My! Click Right Here to check it out.


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

Monday, September 3, 2018

GUEST: A.R. Braun and her #NewRelease STORM OF THE GODS


When I started writing Storm of the Gods, I had always envisioned an urban fantasy novel. As someone who is a big fan of and reads a lot of urban fantasy, I knew my story had to contain some elements of the genre. I wasn’t going to have traditional vampires and shapeshifters or fae, though Storm has plenty of its own monsters. Instead, I decided to go the route of magic.

Originally, Storm of the Gods focused on witchcraft, but with more rewrites and new ideas as I expanded the universe, I decided “traditional” witchcraft wasn’t a good fit for the story. Not that there aren’t interesting witches in Greek lore. Hecate and Circe are complex and engaging women who constantly toe the line of victim and villain. But early beta reads suggested that was a story seen too many times.

So I went with the alternative, an idea I’d already been playing with: descendants, or scions, as I chose to refer to them as. In Storm, magic is taught to scions at a young age while they’re in school. As each scion matures, they learn to use magic in various ways: they can “sense” other auras by “pushing” their magic outward, using it as a sixth sense if you will. By the time they reach adulthood, they’re able to harness the magic within them into spells befitting their lineage, i.e.: as a war scion, main character Derek is able to control and create elemental fire, Adapt his body to various combat settings/scenarios, learn and master any fighting style easily, and go into a Berserker Rage that makes him a fighting machine that doesn’t respond to exertion or pain.

Other variations of magic can be learned through enchantments, which are spells that can be created through herbs, chants, and rituals. Derek’s mental link with his younger brother Liam was created with an enchantment. The only scions that can access and use enchantments without ingredients are Athena’s descendants, craft scions. Finally, and most dangerously, hexes are enchantments that can be placed on a person to detrimental effect. One of the side characters––and Derek’s target for most of the story––has a hexed memory, and her plotline is one I’m thrilled to explore later on.

The more urban fantasy I read, the more I seek books that challenge the traditional paranormal stereotypes. I will always have a love for the classic werewolf/vampire/mage stories, but I define the paranormal aspects of Storm of the Gods as purely magical ones. They carry power, mystery, and danger, and that’s the paranormal at its core.




Blurb

Thirty years ago, the gods of Greek legend returned to the world. Their return restored their powers, which had been spent in a cataclysmic battle with the Titans. With the ancient deities imprisoned in Tartarus, the Olympians now reside in Néo Vasíleio, formerly known as California.
Twenty-four-year-old Derek Aerios is a war scion, a descendent of Ares, the God of War. He and his brother, eighteen-year-old Liam, capture mythological creatures and rogue scions as part of Ares’s elite military force. As he struggles to cope with his violent powers and the scars of a traumatic childhood, Derek tries to keep the two vows he has made: protect his brother, and never kill a human again.
But when Ares forces him to hunt and kill four rogue scions under Athena’s control—by threatening Liam’s life—Derek chooses to go after the scions in order to save his brother and keep his promise to himself.
Yet the closer Derek gets to the scions, the more he realizes that his orders are part of a deeper conspiracy that put him at odds with his mission and his conscience. Athena may not be the enemy, a traitor could be in their midst, and the Titans could be closer to freedom than ever before. 




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About the Author

Amy is a Canadian urban fantasy and horror author. Her work revolves around monsters, magic, mythology, and mayhem. She started writing in her early teens, and never stopped. She loves building unique worlds filled with fun characters and intense action. 

When she isn’t writing, she’s reading, watching movies, taking photos, gaming, struggling with chocoholism and ice cream addiction, and diving headfirst into danger in Dungeons & Dragons campaigns. Amy can be found online on Facebook (www.facebook.com/amybraunauthor/) Twitter (@amybraunauthor) and Instagram (@amybraunauthor)


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Sunday, September 2, 2018

Unique Blog Ideas for Paranormal Bloggers by Sorchia DuBois



Blogging—love it or hate it—the consensus is that consistent blogging builds interest in your work, adds to your readership, and drives book sales. Unfortunately, blog post ideas often dry up like last year’s eye of newt. 

I kind of like blogging when I do it right (which means NOT waiting until the day before, staying up into the wee hours, and sliding the post in sideways well after the deadline.) As we round the corner from Summer to Autumn in the Northern Hemisphere, a paranormal writer’s thoughts turn to all things Halloweenie. And thus follows her blog, but after a while, it becomes a ticklish business to avoid repeating yourself. I mean, how many times can you explain patiently what the equinox is and where Halloween comes from?

So I’m looking for topics of interest to paranormal, Gothic, and fantasy readers. Here are a few ideas (feel free to take them and make them your own. We all have unique views on these things—maybe we could even do a series.)

Lists

  • A list of horror movies—or any kind of seasonal or genre related movie 
  • A list of paranormal books and/or authors who inspired you 
  • A list of haunted places you’ve visited or would like to visit 
  • A list of the creepiest critters in legend 
  • a list of great paranormal blogs 

Advice

  • How to survive a ghost hunt 
  • How to find a reputable medium (or extra large—whatever) 
  • How to read palms, read tarot cards, read tea leave, etc. 
  • How to find out if your house is haunted 
  • How to get rid of a pesky ghost 
  • How to attract fairies 

Information 

  • Haunted bed and breakfasts 
  • Legendary monsters in your own backyard 
  • Historic events that inspired a story 

Giveaways and Freebies

  • Excerpts and free stories 
  • Serial stories 
  • Giveaways of something besides books 
  • Giveaways of books 

And, of course, Promotions. 

I have a Thursday feature on my blog called Novel Magic. This is a guest post by authors who write paranormal, horror, fantasy, or a related genre and who have a book to promote. 

I’m adding a straight promo on Fridays called a Book Whammy which is just the blurb, the cover, a little author info and links. 

If you’d like to sign up for either or both of these at any time, just drop by my sign-up calendar.

What else? 

What topics tickle your fancy? What kinds of headlines make you feverish to click the Read More button? Which of those I’ve listed would you be most likely to read? 

Drop a comment and let's get this Halloween Party Started!