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The Saturday Slash

  Posted by bigblackcat97 in Writer, Writer Pants on Fire, 23 July 2016 · 19 views

Meet my Hatchet of Death (or, some other colorful description RC Lewis and I come up with at any given moment). This is how I edit myself, it is how I edit others. If you think you want to play with me and my hatchet, shoot us an email.

We all know the first line of a query is your "hook." I call the last line the "sinker." You want it to punch them in the face, in a nice, friendly kind of way that makes them unable to forget you after having read the 300 other queries in their inbox.

If you're looking for query advice, but are slightly intimidated by my claws, blade, or just my rolling googly-eyes, check out the query critique boards over at AgentQueryConnect. This is where I got my start, with advice from people smarter than me. Don't be afraid to ask for help with the most critical first step of your writing journey - the query. My comments appear in green.

The absence of a war does not guarantee the existence of peace. This is a decent hook. It has my interest.

At first glance, Tymeria is a kingdom of beautiful wineries, fair maidens, and noble knights. But beneath its beautiful vineyards is a graveyard. A graveyard for the nonhuman races and any human who dares to help them. In Tymeria, the only good elf is a dead elf. I like it.

Eighteen-year-old Jevan once thought he had no family. Fourteen years ago, because of the echo from the previous age reference I would rephrase with "At the age of four" he woke up abandoned with nothing but the memory of his own name. Now, his family’s use "family is" a band of mercenaries known as the Knightmares. It’s not a desirable life – assassinations, theft, a bit of butchery, bodyguard service – but a man’s got to eat.

When the Knightmares receive a request from a wealthy family to rescue a young girl from rival mercenaries, they assume it’s just another job. At first, all goes well. However, the kidnappers weren’t mercenaries, but  are members of Tymeria’s religious military organization: the Paladins. And the damsel-in-distress is really part of a rare nonhuman race with the ability to transform into a deadly humanoid wolf creature – a wolfborn.

With vengeful paladins hunting them, and the wolfborn’s presence generating a debate that may tear them apart, the fate of the Knightmares hangs perilously in the balance more than ever before. Because they know the facts – any one of them can be killed at any time. Well, technically this is true of all of us, at all times. Why is their situation different? Killed by who? The wolf born? The paladins? Each other?

Told through several alternating viewpoints, KNIGHTMARE is a New Adult Fantasy novel of 90,000 words with a George R. R. Martin-esque narrative and a unique twist on the werewolf genre.

Overall I think this is a good query. Adjust for some of the awkward phrasing and clear up the vagueness at the end, and I think you're in pretty good shape.

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Finding a New Narrative Voice

  Posted by Joe Stephens in My Train of Thought, 23 July 2016 · 13 views

As you may know if you follow my writing career, other than a few short stories, I've always written with one voice: Harry Shalan's. And people who know me well and read my books say that they hear me when they read Harry, so it's not much of a stretch to write him. Yes, hes' fictional and yes, he's married and yes he's good at a lot of things that I'm not and yes he's considerably younger than I, so he and I aren't the same person. But our sensibilities and attitudes toward the world are identical. We have the same moral compass and the same sense of humor and the same tastes in everything to women to food.

Which is why my new writing project is an exciting challenge for me. I'm writing with a third person narrator who is limited to knowledge of the thoughts of the main character. Part of what makes it tricky is maintaining the balance between allowing the narrator as a character to have a voice of its own and allowing the thoughts and level of development of the main character, who is currently an extremely gifted five-year-old right now, to bleed in. As she ages, so will her language and understanding of the world. But the narrator will remain static.
Sound, Wave, Voice, Listen, Digitalkunst
Another big change for me is the overall tone of the piece. It's not that it's humorless, but it's generally a much more serious take on the world than Harry's. Because I tend to be a sarcastic and humorous person, writing in a voice that isn't like that is tough sometimes. As I said, there are occasional humorous elements, but they are much more gentle and event-driven than in my Shalan books, in which the humor comes from the main characters' responses to situations.

Boxer Dogs, Dogs, Good Aiderbichl, Sanctuary
This is what Eddie looks like in my
head. He's modeled after my late
dog Ginger visually and in
temperament. 
I'm enjoying this change of pace, but if you're a fan of Harry, Dee, Jenn, Otis, and Eddie, have no fear. I've no intention of retiring them any time soon. I enjoy taking on the persona of Harry Shalan, Private Eye, the slightly bent but gallant modern knight, as he travels around town in his noble steed Ellie saving the day. So please be patient as I stretch my literary legs a little and see if I can find a different voice that's just as satisfying.





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Weirdness of researching,

Posted by LWFlouisa in LWFlouisa's Blog, 22 July 2016 · 25 views

Researching specific historical cases in true crime is really weird. Sometimes you'll literally have to contact the history who is like the only with an available book out, to ask for clarification about the case because English online resources like community edited encyclopedia have like no information about it.

I didn't pick a harder interest to research, female gendered French murderesses.

Oh I write weird romance in science fiction settings, if you didn't know.

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Spotlight: Death's Fool (2nd book in the Impetus Rising Series) by Sophia Whittemore

  Posted by Lora Palmer in Lora Palmer's Blog, 20 July 2016 · 23 views

Today please give a warm welcome to Author Sophia Whittemore, who joins us today on the blog with her newly released second book in the Impetus Rising Series, DEATH'S FOOL.  Check out the blurb and an exciting excerpt, and connect with Sophia through social media.

TITLE: DEATH’S FOOL- 2nd Book in the Impetus Rising Series
AUTHOR: By Sophia Whittemore

BLURB:         “Isak was love. Isak was bravery. Isak was death.”
            Her lover has been cursed. Her mother has been kidnapped. Her best friend’s soul has been stolen and his body deformed. And Diana is afraid that she too is turning into a bloodthirsty monster, just like her father. Awoken from an enchantment placed on her by her treacherous lover, the half-Impetus god, half mortal Diana is flung into a war between mutant shadows and the Impetus beings. Diana must navigate a world where queens torture their faithful knights, human children play with giants, and magic has darkness within it. Diana knows she has some power within her, some sleeping evil that demands to be set free. But is she truly her father, or is she her own person? Secrets are revealed to her about the cursed Prince Isaakios that she never knew before, secrets like the women he once had in his life, or the havoc he once wreaked upon the Earth. How far will this twisted love go for Diana before she is broken? Or will she break before she even gets the chance to save the world one last time? 
EXCERPT: 
            Suddenly, a scream sounded through the luxurious halls. A candle tipped over and a fire started on one of the curtains. The ice sculpture began to tip, its base melting from the flames. Pride put out the fire with his strong hands, yanking the curtain down and dousing it in buckets of water with the help of some humans. I looked to see who could have ruined this moment and felt the ground quake. The doors slammed open, causing the floor to tremble beneath us. I nearly lost my footing. The dress disappeared and I was back in sensible training clothing and gear. It had all been an enchantment, a beautiful dream for as long as it lasted.
            And now, back to the present, I saw a darkened figure coming toward us. The candles blazed higher upon the figure’s approach. Face hidden beneath a tattered hood, his eyes gleamed, murky brown, his skin, once bronzed, was now a dull, ashier gray. I peered closely at the boy’s black hair and saw Basel’s face hidden beneath it, stubble dotting worn, drawn features. He staggered against a table with party favors. He shoved slices of turkey into his mouth with stubbed, bloody fingernails, eating like a starving animal.
            Appetite filled, he reached for a pitcher of dizzying nectar and drank it by scooping it up with his hands. His eyes were wild, his laser-focus disconcerting, floating everywhere at once. His gaze narrowed when he saw me. “It’s you!” The creature that once was Basel roared, voice nearly hitting the same pitch as an ethereal wail. “I know your face. You’re the one that cursed me to be…to be…”
            He looked down at his body as though seeing it for the very first time. His veins, once swollen with shadow venom, were now empty and a scarily pale blue as the blood had drained haphazardly from them. 
“What am I?” he asked, his voice dropping to the same voice of the confused boy who fell out of his treehouse and wanted to cry for his mommy back when we were little children. “Tell me what I am!”
            I moved to go to him, but Isak held out an arm. “Don’t do that.” His gaze was stern, taking in all of Basel’s appearance in the cool, calm way of a medical professional. “I’ve seen this before.”
            “Yes, but what is this?” I looked at Basel, swinging about like a violent animal. “Shouldn’t we go to help him? Perhaps he escaped from my father’s grasp—”
            “No, he didn’t escape. Your father let him go.”

AUTHOR BIO:
Sophia Whittemore is a Dartmouth student and multiracial author with an Indonesian mother and a Minnesotan father. She has had book signings at Barnes & Noble for her Impetus Rising Series, available on Amazon and other outlets, the first book published when she was only seventeen. She has been featured as a Standout in the Daily Herald and a Rad Reads author in Girls' Life Magazine. Her love for the English language manifested itself in eighth grade when she went to the Scripps National Spelling Bee and has continued with other languages such as Spanish and Indonesian. Her prior publications include "A Clock's Work" in a Handersen Publishing magazine, “Blind Man’s Bluff” in Parallel Ink, and winning multiple awards in the Best Midwestern Writing competition for high school writers. She currently resides in Chicago, Illinois with her family and food-loving mini schnauzer called Tiger. Drawing on inspiration from her two cultural backgrounds, Sophia lives a life playing tennis, traveling, and writing about her dual life experiences through other characters in her works or on her blog.
AUTHOR’S SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS: 
Instagram: @authorsophiawhittemore
COVER ART: 
 

Release Date: July 21st, 2016



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2016 PitchWars Bio – Bring on the YA!

  Posted by Amy Trueblood in Amy Trueblood's Blog, 19 July 2016 · 44 views

              Welcome to my blog and my bio and wishlist for Pitch Wars! Although I’m a newbie mentor this year, I’m no stranger to Pitch Wars. I’ve been chosen as an alternate twice. First for a YA Thriller, then for a YA Historical (for which I had to pull out of […]

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Laurel Garver & Fish Out of Water!

  Posted by Jemi in Just Jemi, 18 July 2016 · 29 views

Please welcome one of my bloggy friends to the blog today -- Laurel Garver!
***
The amazing power of fish-out-of-water stories

Stories about a character forced into an unfamiliar context are a staple of creative narratives, from books to plays, TV
shows, and films. The most common kind of fish out of water is geographical—crossing the urban-rural divide or visiting a foreign land. Crossing socioeconomic or class divides is common in fairy tales, yet often with very little realistic nuance—going from pauper to prince overnight would actually be quite stressful! Other divides include ethnic (My Big, Fat Greek Wedding), religious (David & Layla), educational (Good Will Hunting), temporal (A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court), and generational (Freaky Friday).

We love fish-out-of-water stories because they tell us about the human condition, and make us examine our own inner workings. Every one of us has places where we feel at home and places where we don’t. Those contrasts, if handled well, make for wonderful story tension. 

Here are some of the specific “powers” these kinds of stories have, as I discovered while writing my latest novel, Almost There, about an urban teen who, on the eve of a trip to Paris, gets stuck in her mother’s rural hometown. 

Reveal temperament
Characters’ reactions to unfamiliar environments shows how adaptable, accepting, or curious they are. Does the unfamiliar threaten or fascinate? How confidently or timidly do characters carry themselves among those unlike them? 

Weaknesses and fears that never come out in familiar, comfortable environments often show themselves in new venues. Conversely, the new experiences can cause unknown interests and strengths to emerge. 

When I dropped New Yorker Danielle in rural northern Pennsylvania, I found that her city-kid independence expressed itself as curiosity—and also made her seem a bit cocky to the locals. The wooded landscape initially frightens her, but also proves an inspiration for creating new art.

Reveal a comfort zone and sense of “normal”
Your concept of what is safe or dangerous, wonderful or disgusting, cool or weird is to a large degree colored by how unfamiliar things compare to life inside your comfort zone.
An urbanite will feel far more comfortable in man-made environments and in the press of a crowd. Put one in the woods, and they’ll likely find the environment deeply sinister. Sounds they can’t account for might be a dangerous predator; dirt could be full of gross, crawly things. 

As an outsider, a character might make striking or hilarious observations a local wouldn’t. For example, on arriving at her grandfather’s, Dani describes the summer hum of crickets chirping as “a threatening cacophony, reminding me that this is their crawly, leggy, wingy territory.”

Dani’s normal is multicultural and fairly unfazed by difference. When she learns the neighbor has been labeled with the ethnic slur “Mick,” she quips, “Seriously? Is being Irish considered weirdly ethnic here? In New York, you could have earlobes stretched to your shoulders and pierce your whole face with nails and hardly get a passing glance from anyone.” 

Reveal underlying biases 
Characters approach unfamiliar things with a set of expectations—sometimes even deep prejudices they didn’t know they held until put in proximity with this environment. 

For example, when an unfamiliar beater Volvo appears in her grandfather’s driveway, Dani assumes that only an elderly person would drive such a car, and this person must be “be a granny from Poppa’s church bringing us dinner. I hope it’s one of those epic tuna noodle casseroles with crushed potato chips on top that Mum always jokes about. I bet it’s as delicious as it is lowbrow.” It’s actually one of her New York friends, an additional shock because she’s accustomed to no one learning to drive until they’re 18 and no longer a restricted “junior learner”—rules peculiar to the five boroughs. 

Awakening to biases can become an instrument for change in a character. When Dani befriends a neighbor and sees the ways he struggles that she never has, she begins to re-evaluate her own life, and realizes just how privileged her upbringing has been. 

Reveal values
We all naturally make judgments about unfamiliar things. The familiar world will be held up as a model, and the unfamiliar measured against it as either inferior or superior. How a character makes value judgments about which culture is superior gives a very accurate window into their entire value system.

For example, Dani recognizes in the neighbor boy an entrepreneurial drive she’s never seen in her city friends. She notes that he acts “like a grown man” when seeking work and calls it “intriguing.” Rather than label him a boring workaholic, she admires his maturity. 

What is your favorite fish-out-of-water story? Why does it speak to you?

About the Author
Laurel Garver is a Philadelphia-based writer, editor, professor’s wife and mom to an arty teenager. An indie film enthusiast and incurable Anglophile, she enjoys geeking out about Harry Potter and Dr. Who, playing word games, singing in church choir, and taking long walks in Philly's Fairmount Park. You can follow her on her blog, on Twitter, or on Facebook.

About Almost There
Genre: Young Adult Inspirational

Paris, the City of Lights. To seventeen-year-old Dani Deane, it’s the Promised Land. There, her widowed mother’s depression will vanish and she will no longer fear losing her only parent, her arty New York life, or her devoted boyfriend.

But shortly before their Paris getaway, Dani’s tyrannical grandfather falls ill, pulling them to rural Pennsylvania to deal with his hoarder horror of a house. Among the piles, Dani finds disturbing truths that could make Mum completely unravel. Desperate to protect her from pain and escape to Paris, Dani hatches a plan with the flirtatious neighbor boy that only threatens the relationships she most wants to save. 

Why would God block all paths to Paris? Could real hope for healing be as close as a box tucked in the rafters?


Available here: Amazon  /  Barnes and Noble  /  Smashwords  / Apple iTunes   
***

Thanks Laurel!

I love fish-out-of-water scenes and stories. The story I'm currently attempting to plot plotting is going to have a strong element of this. 

Maybe my love goes back to my the first time I saw Wizard of Oz! 
How about you? What's your favourite Fish-out-of-Water story?


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Who Do You Write For from Bishop O'Connell

  Posted by Michelle4Laughs in Michelle4Laughs: It's in the Details, 12 July 2016 · 25 views

As writers we often have one eye on our intended audience as we write, even if it isn’t conscious. Like a lot of art, if you ask a writer about his book, either you or he will compare it to something else: “It’s Harry Potter meets A Tale of Two Cities.” Inadvertently, or perhaps quite intentionally, this book’s audience has been identified. It is the very small but dedicated group of readers who enjoy books about child wizards during the turmoil of the French Revolution. Most of us don’t intend such comparisons to define our intended audience, but it happens and permeates what we write. No matter your genre—including literary fiction—odds are you have a set of preconceived notions that go with your selection of an audience.

_______________________________________________________________


Almost a year after their wedding, and two since their daughter Fiona was rescued from a kidnapping by dark faeries, life has finally settled down for Caitlin and Edward. They maintain a facade of normalcy, but a family being watched over by the fae’s Rogue Court is far from ordinary. Still, it seems the perfect time to go on their long-awaited honeymoon, so they head to New Orleans.


Little do they know, New Orleans is at the center of a territory their Rogue Court guardians hold no sway in, so the Court sends in Wraith, a teenage spell slinger, to watch over them. It’s not long before they discover an otherworldly force is overtaking the city, raising the dead, and they’re drawn into a web of dark magic. At the same time, a secret government agency tasked with protecting the mortal world against the supernatural begins their own investigation of the case. But the culprit may not be the villain everyone expects. Can Wraith, Caitlin, and Edward stop whoever is bringing the vengeful dead back to life before another massacre, and before an innocent is punished for crimes beyond her control?

______________________________________________________________

As a fantasy writer, I tend to take for granted that my readers will know that elves have pointed ears, dwarves are short and bearded, magic spells are cast by wizards, and countless other small things. I’m assuming those readers will have enjoyed other fantasy novels, particularly what is considered the canon (Tolkien especially) and thus have some context. But, our assumptions can cut both ways. Experienced fans of our genre might read in a mystical explanation to something completely mundane. Conversely, the uninitiated might be completely mystified by something that is a given to most fantasy readers. How do we as writers prevent this?

For me, the answer is simple: assume your reader has never picked up a fantasy novel before. That’s right, nothing. Nada. Zip. Zilch. This has two benefits. The first is that you prevent any confusion or frustration on the part of your reader. The second is that you’ve just opened your book up to countless readers outside your genre. That’s not to imply this is an easy feat. What is easy is to be so proud of the complex world you’ve created that you can’t wait to show your reader and you inundate her with information. In my post, Too Much Information! Knowing What to Reveal and When I went over the “how” of exposition. What I will delve into, is the “why.”

Let’s ignore the obvious: you don’t want your reader to be bored by a dissertation before getting to the story. That’s important, of course, but what I want to discuss here is the second reason. I take Ms. Rowling’s lead and assume ignorance on the part of reader and that opens my books up to a broader audience. Really, in the end, don’t we as writers want our stories to be read, and enjoyed, by as many people as possible? I certainly do. I’m sure there are those who think of themselves as purists and unless you know the arcane details you’re not “worthy” of reading the story, but that’s not for me. I want my tales to be enjoyed by anyone who picks it up, even if their usual preference is romance, mystery, biographies, printer manuals, math books, cereal boxes, newspapers, well, you get the idea. I believe if you strip out the supernatural aspects out of my novels and replace them with mundane aspects, the plot and characters still hold together. At least, that’s what I strive for. That, and no readers left scratching their heads when they’re done.

This is something all of us should strive for. It doesn’t matter if you’re writing a book about faeries, or the Founding Fathers of the United States. After all, your readers might not be American or aware of American history. See? There I just assumed the readers of this piece were mostly American. I could’ve deleted that line, but I think it serves to show all of us that we have to strive, constantly, against those sorts of assumptions. Don’t limit yourself, or your work, by not inviting someone in to enjoy it. Be a good host and make your party as inclusive as possible, and ensure each guest is as welcome as possible. I hope if you’ve read my books, you found them so welcoming, and if you haven’t, consider this an open invitation.

--------------------------------------

Bishop O'Connell is the author of the American Faerie Tale series, a consultant, writer, blogger, and lover of kilts and beer, as well as a member of the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America. Born in Naples Italy while his father was stationed in Sardinia, Bishop grew up in San Diego, CA where he fell in love with the ocean and fish tacos. After wandering the country for work and school (absolutely not because he was in hiding from mind controlling bunnies), he settled Richmond VA, where he writes, collects swords, revels in his immortality as a critically acclaimed "visionary" of the urban fantasy genre, and is regularly chastised for making up things for his bio. He can also be found online at A Quiet Pint (aquietpint.com), where he muses philosophical on life, the universe, and everything, as well as various aspects of writing and the road to getting published.


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More Sweet Romance Reads (Free Series Starters)

  Posted by Jean Oram in The Love Bug Blog, 09 July 2016 · 42 views

It’s the season for summer beach reads that are light and fun and I have just the thing for you!

What is it?

I’ve paired up with four other sweet romance authors to offer readers FIVE free sweet romances to help sweep them away this summer!


That’s a sweet deal. (Tee hee!)

If you’ve already read and loved Whiskey and Gumdrops you’ve got to check out the other four great novels in the My Sweet Love box set! (Don’t forget to leave us a review where you download the book for free.)

My Sweet Love (Contemporary Romance Boxed Set) includes stories from:

Stacy Claflin, Susan Hatler, Ciara Knight, Jean Oram (me!) & Lindi Peterson. 

Grab it free until early September:

Amazon


Kobo


B&N


iBooks


Google: coming soon

More about the books found in My Sweet Love:

Enjoy five sweet and refreshing, clean romances with heart—from first loves to second chances, all from award winning, and bestselling authors. 

Seaside Surprises (a novel) by Stacy Claflin, USA Today Bestselling Author 

Tiffany Saunders hopes to pick up the pieces of her life in a new city. She winds up stranded in Kittle Falls and a chance meeting with a handsome local changes everything. 

Jake Hunter has some deep emotional scars and is trying to cope with running the family business. The last thing he wants is a relationship—until a mysterious brunette walks into his store and complicates it all. 

Tiffany prefers to keep the painful memories of the past where they belong—in her rear view mirror. But dark secrets cannot stay hidden forever. Just as the walls around Tiffany’s heart start to come down, the past catches up with her. Will true love be able to conquer all? 

Love at First Date (a novella) by Susan Hatler, New York Times & USA Today Bestselling Author 

Ellen decides that finding the right guy is about compatibility. So she signs up for Detailed Dating—the local online dating scene in Sacramento. She filters through the profiles of each provided “match,” and narrows it down to two candidates. 

When Ellen’s friend asks her for a favor, dog-sitting leads to disaster and Ellen ends up at the vet where she meets a man she can’t get out of her mind. Henry isn’t a logical choice, but she pays for dog obedience class just to spend more time with him. 

Ellen knows that for a lasting relationship, she should go for one of the pre-screened guys. But her heart keeps begging her to give Henry a chance. 

Riverbend (a novella) by Ciara Knight, USA Today Bestselling Author 

Five years after the death of his wife, Dr. Mitchem Taylor is ready to open his heart again. Only one thing stands in the way of giving love a second chance–the strictly enforced “no dating” rule. A rule that pierces his heart every time he thinks about his university assistant, Cynthia. 
Cynthia Gold has been in love with her boss, Mitchem since they day they met. Pining away over a love she can never have forces her to make a drastic change—a new job thousands of miles away. But can she walk away from her life she enjoys and a boy who’s like a son, or keep her heart bound to a man who may never love her. 

Whiskey and Gumdrops (a novel) by Jean Oram, New York Times & USA Today Bestselling Author 

Mandy Mattson just saw her ex tie the knot with her long-time rival and there’s only one way to make herself feel better–to finally follow her dreams and open her own restaurant. 

But she can’t do it alone… She’s going to need the help of her sexy best friend, Frankie Smith–the man she’s been keeping at arm’s length since she began crushing on him in high school.

Will she be able to follow her dreams even if it means losing her heart? 

Uptown Heiress (a novella) by Lindi Peterson, Award Winning Author 

Hotel empire heiress Grace Adams has an epiphany. Love isn’t a game. Neither is life. It’s time to find a job and prove she doesn’t need Daddy’s money. Waiter, Justin Walker, is biding his time working for the rich crowd. His service pays off when he meets beautiful Grace Adams. He asks her out, not knowing she’s a hotel heiress. 

When they find out they are competing for the same job, Grace and Justin try to maintain their budding friendship and romance. When Justin discovers that Grace represents all he tries to avoid, will Justin’s view of high society keep him from finding love? Or will time-honored truths show Grace and Justin the beauty of everlasting love. 

Come home to these five ‘close to your heart’ romance stories, which will leave you with a warm smile.

Enjoy!

Xo 

P.S. Don’t forget my readers get a free Blueberry Springs set of short stories when they subscribe to my newsletter right here on my site: www.jeanoram.com/freebook


The post More Sweet Romance Reads (Free Series Starters) appeared first on Jean Oram.


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Just playin' with preview.

  Posted by Rick Pieters in Room to Wonder, 22 June 2016 · 102 views



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9 Simple Ways to Get Outdoors as a Family

  Posted by Jean Oram in It's All Kid's Play Blog, 23 May 2016 · 56 views

Posted ImageSo many schools are reducing recess–outdoor play–due to budget cuts and hopes of boosting test scores. However, studies show that increased recess time results in better test scores compared to increasing time in the classroom. Yikes!
But here’s something you may not have heard about in the argument for keeping recess. Outdoor play–and specifically, recess–helps our kids eyesight. I know! Wow, right?
On the website All About Vision, they quote several studies that found all sorts of interesting results. Here are a few quotes I found particularly interesting:

The researchers calculated a 2 percent drop in the risk of developing myopia for each additional hour children spend outdoors per week. “This is equivalent to an 18 percent reduction for every additional hour of exposure per day,” they said.
Compared with children with normal eyesight or farsightedness, children with myopia spent an average of 3.7 fewer hours per week outside.

In other words, more time outside means you’re increasing your child’s chance they WON’T need glasses. Think of all the money you’ll save!
In favour of recess:

The study authors concluded that outdoor activities during recess in elementary school have a significant protective effect on myopia risk among children that are not yet nearsighted and reduce the progression of myopia among nearsighted schoolchildren.

The 12-year-old children who spent more time outdoors had less myopia at the end of the two-year study period than others in the study.

There you have it.
Let’s get outside and play! What do we do in the Oram household? Well, first of all we got a dog. Why? Because not only does it teach our kids empathy and responsibility for others, but our dog gets us outside daily. We walk the dog, the kids ride their bikes alongside or walk too. It’s great exercise for all of us!

The brain is better able to pay attention, hold things in memory, and show self-control after it has been outdoors.
–Gabrielle Principe, Your Brain on Childhood

Getting a dog isn’t your thing? It doesn’t have to be complicated or strenuous. How about these simple activities that will get you outdoors:
9 Ways To Get Outside as a Family

Watch the Sunrise / Sunset
Does the world seem different at this time of day? What colors do you see in the sky?
Find Cloud Animals
Lie on your back and look at the clouds—whoa! Is that a giraffe?
Draw on the Sidewalk with Chalk
Try and Catch Your Shadow
Can you catch it?
Water Fights
Ring Toss
Make your own rings out of plastic container lids. Then shove a stick into the ground to toss them onto!
Hopscotch
Play CatchPosted Image
Eat Outside
Picnic, BBQ, simply taking your meal out on the deck–it’s still outdoors and you’ll still get the benefits of being out in nature. Both for your soul and your eyesight.

Thanks for playing! See you next time. And if you need more activity ideas don’t forget to check out my book, 1,001 Boredom Busting Play Ideas. It’s reasonably priced so everyone can play.

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Birthday Bash Giveaway 2016!

  Posted by MarcyKate in MarcyKate's Blog, 16 May 2016 · 6 views

May is hands down my favorite month of the year. It’s warm! It’s sunny! And, today, it’s my birthday! (I don’t care how old I get–I’m pretty darn fond of life, so I like to celebrate it :P) I’m a big fan of birthdays, and I particularly enjoy parties. And what’s a party without your friends? […]

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BOSTON KNIGHTS - A Story About A Little Gold And A Little Love

Posted by AK Paladin in AK Paladin's Blog, 29 April 2016 · 122 views
Love Gold Treasure

This story was inspired from two directions. The first was the discovery of two unusual keys at the Flinder's Market in Adelaide. The second was two ladies that I have known for many years that do everything together. And no, there is nothing of me in this story. Well, very little that I will admit to anyway.

This story practically wrote itself. The keys were discovered the first weekend in February, the story was finished and through the first critical editing by the second week in March.

The teaser for Boston Knights follows:

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The discovery that some ancient stories handed down in the families had more truth to them than fiction sparks a hunt for the real truth of the stories. Told as bedtime stories, three individuals find themselves working together to find out more about their ancestors and where they might have hidden some gold, or if it was after all, nothing but a hoax.

The adventure begins with Steve, whose elder brothers work in construction. Having found an old desk amidst some demolition work of theirs, they call their brother to salvage it and see if perhaps he might want to restore it and some other bits and pieces.

As Steve is an antiquities restoration expert, he is definitely interested. Within the desk, behind some well locked drawers, he eventually finds hints that the stories he was told as a kid, may have been more than just stories. In his pursuit of answers, he finds members of two other families that heard the same stories when they were children.

This begins a delightful adventure that finds the three of them embroiled in more and more details that lead them further and further from their homes.

Eventually, the puzzle pieces begin to come together in Ayr, Scottland when they make the acquaintance of some more members of the extended families, only to find their hopes dashed when they discover any gold that may have existed was quickly squandered. Moreover, any additional clues seem to have been destroyed.

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This is what I would call a light romance and adventure. At a somewhere over 63,000 words, it is a quick and easy read aimed at young adults and romantics looking for something a little different.

I will 'clean up' my teaser as I get this book through its final editing. It is, by the way, a finished manuscript ready for presentation to an agent/publisher.

I'm still looking.


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Batman v. Superman A Movie review

  Posted by Utsav M in Pineapple Lightning, 16 April 2016 · 82 views



Wassup peeps. Last week has been a bit busy, so this is a little late. I meant to watch and review this movie earlier than this but even though I did manage to do the watching part, I did not feel like reviewing it. Why you ask? Because they messed up a potentially epic movie.

Starting off Batman as a seasoned crime-fighter is great. It gives us a perspective few super-hero movies do. However, even though they make him a grizzled veteran, they cannot but help show his origin story of parents dying and falling into a cave of bats. Make that the first scene and we are already into 15 minutes of logos (yeah, call out to cinema sins) and a story shown in a much better and detailed manner in Batman Begins a decade ago. Batman is portrayed decently by Ben Affleck, who has found his acting chops since the horror known as Daredevil- the movie. Thankfully both Affleck and Daredevil seem to have moved on to bigger and better things.

As far as Superman goes, I have never liked Henry Cavill as the Man of Steel and I did not like the movie either. I am glad they kept continuity from the movie and turned the mass destruction of Metropolis into a plot point but the story feels hollow even with the bone-structure of a great movie. Superman is conflicted but not conflicted enough to hang up his cape. Lois is ever present and irritating (I cannot believe I said that about Amy Adams) and is supposed to be his human anchor but again feels forced.

Luthor - well...sigh. While they alluded to the fact that this is Alexander Luthor not Lex Luthor, I wonder why they would not pull the trigger on one of the most iconic villains of all time. With the story backdrop, he would have been perfect as a foil to bring down Superman. Instead, we get a Joker ripoff trying to build Doomsday and kidnapping Superman's mother to goad him into a fight with Batman. Talk about lame and cliched.

As far as the fight is concerned, it is a good fight but the end of the fight is contrived and feels...you guessed it...forced. I mean, who in their right mind would say, "Save Martha", instead of  "Save my mother"? I want to slap the guy who came up with the cool realization that both Batman's and Superman's mother share a name and would be a cool plot point to use that to stop their fight.

The only breath of fresh air is Wonder Woman who is mysterious and understated and her reveal is very well done. She looks every bit Superman's equal in the fight against Doomsday. The fight was well done and Superman sacrificing himself was a good twist...except that it wasn't.

Everyone and their three next generations know a Justice League movie is coming and Justice League cannot not have a live and flying Supes. Ending the movie without showing his casket move would have been brave for the new Justice League. Let it be formed without Superman. Let him join in a dire hour. Make his return monumental. But nah...DC has no cojones.

And as far as the random teasers for the Flash, Cyborg and Aquaman sprinkled throughout the movie, they feel ...gah...yes ...forced and unnecessary. They could have just mentioned their names without having video trailers for each of them. Learn from Marvel, Thordamnit!!

Anyhow, I am disappointed even though I never had much hope to begin with, which shows how poor a job they have done. And I am forced to stop myself from ranting.

Signing off,

Utsav



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Query Review Request

Posted by KellyMoore in KellyMoore's Blog, 12 April 2016 · 162 views

AS IT SHOULD BE, a women’s fiction novel of 81,000 words. Emily’s marriage crumbles when she discovers her husband’s secret love nest – filled with the furnishings she has carefully stored away for their future vacation home; and on the heels of their divorce, due to an unexpected night of passion during their estrangement, she finds herself expecting the child she has always longed for. When her ex-husband, Tom, marries his new lover, Emily escapes her heartache by making a new life for herself and her child in a place that stole her heart long ago - the captivating village town of Seaside.

As It Should Be is the story of a woman who finds herself with the chance to redirect her path from that of one who is tossed aside and struggling against bitterness, to a woman with new hope - and fresh new purpose for her life. It is a tale of transition: from a seemingly secure marriage, to the awkwardness and uncertainties of singledom; from a life without the responsibilities of children, to the wonders and challenges of pregnancy and motherhood; from the familiar comforts of home - to the possibilities of life and love in a bright new place.

I am happy to forward all or a portion of my manuscript for your review if you are interested. Thank you sincerely for your time and I hope to hear from you soon.
Warm regards,
Kelly Moore

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The Short Story Process

Posted by Terence Park in T.P. Archie's Blog, 12 April 2016 · 151 views
Short Stories and 6 more...

Short Stories.
We've all done them.

I started just after my first novel, The Insertion, had reached draft – hopefully that's a book that'll never see the light of day. This was back in 2009. I was on Litarena, a site over at http://www.litarena.com/discussion/ I did 4 pieces there - essentially spin-off tales from The Insertion (all I could think of). My biggest problem: I was thinking 'novel'. That site was difficult to navigate and I headed over to Creative Writers on My Telegraph where I became a regular contributor to their monthly contest. It took me about six months to get the hang of trimming the story to size. Things started to click when I based my story model on American comic book monster tales - these were panel drawn art work, 4 and 5 pages in length as published in 1960s titles such as Monsters on the Prowl, Creatures on the Loose, Tales of the Unexpected.

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In all, I reckon I must have submitted over 40 stories to them. CWG as it's known, is hosted on the blogging platform of the Daily Telegraph and membership is free. Up to recently it was still going strong and can be found at http://my.telegraph....-writing/forum/ If you go there, look for Bleda or Atiller (username handles) and say 'Archie sent me'. Later I joined the Short Story Club, also on My Telegraph. Our hostess was author, Louise, Doughty and I got stuck into the exercises she set, producing a few promising novel starts in the process.

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Outside the net, I go to local writing groups in and around Rossendale, in the North of England. Hasiwriters, based at Haslingden Library, are largely to blame for the many unfinished pieces in my collection - as many as 40. By definition an unfinished piece is a minus – of course on the plus side, it had to have had something to interest me - I don't start unless my imagination is triggered. I think of unfinished stories as a back-catalogue of ideas to pick up and develop when my creativity is all worn out :-).
Other groups I attend vary; Irwell Writers (The Mosses Centre, Bury) does idea generation, read-around and feedback, whereas Manchester Speculative Fiction (MadLabs, Manchester) does pure feedback - they use the Milford Method. Burnley Writers were competition geared last time I looked in. Holmfirth Writers (over the Pennines in Yorkshire) does idea generation, writing + read around. The trick is keeping a focus on your personal writing projects. In my head, I've enough unfinished stories (40) and unfinished novels (10) to keep me going to Doomsday.

Detailed stats – these change all the time. Typically I write around 300 words in a session. Recently I started a piece called Fickleday – it's now at 1,000 and when it's done it'll come to between 5k and 10k words. The setting is the Earth's lithosphere (underground) — I might have Nazis in! Before I do more work on it, I have to get back to Dragonshard, two thirds done. Dragonshard will come in around 10k. Both these pieces are a take on pulp themes - updated with bits of fresh science.


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First Things First!

  Posted by mlebleek in Bleeker Street, 04 April 2016 · 102 views

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Today I am sharing a guest blog post I shared on Books a la mode this past week. It is on the importance of first lines. I’ll post the beginning of the piece here and you can finish reading it on the Books a la Mode website. Also, add a comment in the comments section to be entered to win a copy of WHEN I’M GONE!

 

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Excerpt from Books a la Mode:

 

Sometimes when you are writing a book you feel incredibly powerful. “I, authoress Emily Bleeker, created this world…these people…these emotions and lives!!!” And then other times you feel completely at the whim of outside forces. “I, secret writer EmilyB, wrestle with writer’s block…plot holes…rebellious characters and self-doubt….” Both of these personas are there, living inside of me (in the healthiest possible way for multiple personalities to exist). But, moments of great power and weakness aside, there is one part of the creative process that I refuse to leave to the whim of my power/humility struggle and that is—the opening line.

I’m a bit of a nerd when it comes to first lines in books. I always take special note of which sentence an author chooses to share with the world. All my favorite books have my favorite first lines: Pride and Prejudice, Tale of Two Cities, Gone With the Wind…I could go on. Before I became an author I don’t think I even noticed those first words, at least not in a conscious way. I’d jump into a book and not really understand why it pulled me in, called to me. But now I understand how those first glimpses of your story, your tone, your characters—are incredibly significant and honestly quite fun to create.

For both Wreckage and When I’m Gone I knew the first lines of these stories before I had even worked out all of the major plot points……READ THE REST AT: Books a la Mode! 




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Must read 'Pursued'

Posted by arielle99 in AuthorGSW, 12 March 2016 · 234 views
love, romance, thriller, fiction and 3 more...

Must read 'Pursued' Attached Image

It's finally here! At last, I know the wait must've been very crucial and long but it is done. Just want to thank my AgentQuery FAM for making this dream come true, thank you so much for your kind DM and loving words, it was much appreciated! Could not have done it without you all! ❤️😭🙈❤️ *** Did not know where to post this,, but wanted to thank everyone for their everlasting support and kinds words*** Being a new author is difficult, props to all authors, but I would really appreciate if you all could spread the love, word around social media !! Thanks a million AgentQuery FAM


SUMMARY: Arielle Platinum, CEO of Gregory Industry, has everything she ever asked for–until she witnessed the death of an exotic dancer. Thought to be a liability by the mob, a hit is placed on Arielle. Now on the run, Arielle finds herself alone and scared. Her life was nearing its end. About to give up, she is rescued by the last person she ever thought of, Jason Hampton-a man she had not seen since he dropped out of high school. Jason, now a wanted criminal for previous crimes, asks her to trust him and together they will defeat the mob.


Blog with the first 3 chapters: Whisperingit.wordpress.com


Lulu link: http://www.lulu.com/...t-22602699.html


Amazon: http://www.amazon.co...C/ref=r_soa_w_d


iBooks: Coming soon


social media insta: @authorgsw


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Claiming the Katana

  Posted by Professor VJ Duke in The Punchy Lands!, 03 March 2016 · 113 views

Birds of a feather don’t flock together because birds of a feather tend to be jealous of that feather.

V. Shnodgrate, Renowned PL Poet

Untitled“Hehaha!” Salami laughed triumphantly.

And he jumped up on a stool for added height. Daddy Salami isn’t too tall, you know. And the stool didn’t add too much to his height. It was a 3-inch stool, if that.

Salami scowled and became decidedly more cranky.

The stool had betrayed him, see.

“Ya cur-belly!” he shouted from his perch. “Ya think ya won? Ya just lost!” And then he belted forth in a strained voice: “Ya just lost evvvvvvvvvverything!

The professor really wished he hadn’t said that. After all, we were the ones that lost. Well, sorta. Must always keep in the warrior frame of mind, see.

Warrior Frame of Mind:

How are we? Solid.

Chance of success? 100%.

What to fear? Nothing.

I am the reaper.

See. Double-see. And a triple-see, just to make sure you saw.

King Arthur shook his head.

“You think you won?” he asked. “Yeah, no. Not even close.”

Arthur strode further into the room, his regal cape flapping in the breeze behind him.

There was no breeze since we were in a castle. But any time a cape is described in writing, there’s always a breeze, I find. So, I added one for kicks, giggles, and whatnot.

Arthur stopped inches from Ruber Salami.

The ant had met the bear. That was the size difference anyway.

See what I mean? You can't even see the ant.

See what I mean? You can’t even see the ant.

“I’ll enjoy seeing you suffer,” Arthur said.

“Me?” Ruber asked, aghast. “It was his plan.” Ruber stuck a thumb out in Salami’s direction. “Why come and pick on me? And, look, there’s PVJ, too!”

“Ruber,” I said, “don’t bring me up. I’d rather not be brought up; I’d rather not be here; I’d rather just not be–at this special moment.”

Arthur looked at me with a scowl and shook his head.

Then to his soldiers: “Off to the dungeons with them.”

“Didn’t ya hear me?” Salami screamed, frantic from his perch. “I’ve won, cur-face!”

Arthur spun. “Really? You think that by saying that you’re going to win?” He sighed.

And that’s when it happened: Salami propelled himself from his perch, towards the katana. He scooped it up and tossed it to his son. Ruber grabbed it but was immediately torpedo-ed (new word) by Arthur. The katana hit the ground.

This professor scooped it up; the soldiers charged in, and the battle begin.

I traded thrust for thrust, slash for slash. Their broadswords and this professor’s katana lit up the night sky.

Figuratively speaking.

Like this.

Like this.

Ruber and Salami were also fighting.

Somehow this professor ended up fighting Arthur. The king was holding a katana–it looked exactly like the Jeweled Katana, in fact, save for one significant characteristic: It was way smaller, to fit a person of Arthur’s size.

But still.

Why make a copy of the sword?

We traded blows.

Crack!

Arthur’s katana split in half.

He stepped back, and this professor made towards the exit.

Like an giant anteater running from a jaguar.

Only I don't have a tail like that.

Only I don’t have a tail like that.

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How to Create a Successful Writing Habit

  Posted by Jean Oram in The Helpful Writer, 29 February 2016 · 127 views

I assume you are a writer if you are reading this and that you want to take your game up to A-Game level. You want to create a writing habit that is efficient, effective, and ultimately successful.

Being within the first few weeks of the new year, some of us have grand and lofty writing goals and resolutions such as: I will write every day. Or: I will finish this story draft by summer holidays.

But how do you create a habit? Or flipping that around, how do you break bad habits in order to form good ones?

I was listening to a podcast on Social Triggers the other day while driving across the frosty prairie and Derek Halpern was interviewing Charles Duhigg, the author of “The Power of Habit.” He had some interesting things to say about habits. Namely that there is a cue that pops us into a reward system that creates a routine or habit.


For me, the cue is my son’s morning nap. He’s in his crib and that is my cue to ‘reward’ myself with a big cup of green tea and sit down and write (also a reward). If I don’t have that big cup of tea I begin thinking about it instead of writing. Drinking tea while I write in the morning while my son naps is my routine. It is a habit that works for me. I have even managed to transform a less efficient time of day into an efficient one with this habit.

But what if you don’t have a good writing habit? How can you make one? Well, I suggest you check out this awesome flowchart of Charles Duhigg’s. (Used with permission.) As well, you can get more background on this by checking out Derek Halpern’s podcast–you can listen to it straight from your computer–or reading Charles’ book “The Power of Habit.”


How to Change a Habit Flowchart by Charles Duhrigg

How to Change a Habit from Charles Duhrigg–click to enlarge. (Then click again until you get the ‘+’ button on your cursor.)


So how about you? Do you have a cue that signals that it is time to write? Do you have a routine that makes you successful? Think about it. If you do, share what works for you. If not, share what you think you might be able to do. Let’s make 2013 our best writing year yet!

 



*Originally posted on jeanoram.com in 2013

The post How to Create a Successful Writing Habit appeared first on The Helpful Writer.


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Hay House has some videos for anyone new to publishing.

Posted by CartoonistWriter in CartoonistWriter's Blog, 18 February 2016 · 153 views
new authors, new to publishing and 2 more...

My wife had forwarded this free information released by Hay House for new authors about the publishing process.

http://www.learn.hay...tm_content=6550

http://www.learn.hay...tm_content=6550

http://www.learn.hay...tm_content=6550



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