Meet the author – Char Webster


My guest today is Char Webster. First, my apologies for not connecting at Penned Con and secondly thank you for agreeing to be interviewed.

Tell me a little bit about yourself and where you are from.

Southern New Jersey, is where I was raised in a very suburban town and neighborhood. I was always active, loving to ride my bike everywhere and for hours. The TV was never an interest and it still isn’t. There are so many shows that I have heard about but have never seen. (I am maybe the only person alive who has never watched Seinfeld.)

My day job (Marketing and Strategic Planning) is very demanding, but I like it. I get to work on all kinds of different projects and every day is something different.

I spend as much time as I can with my adorable niece, Briella, who is 18 months old. She has discovered a love for shoes and I have completely indulged that because her Aunt Char LOVES shoes too! It’s one of my favorite things to shop for.

I’m really close with my family and I’m thankful that most of us live in the same area. Holidays are usually at my house and I wouldn’t change that. I love the happy chaos.

Family is very important to me. This past year, I was made acutely aware of what is important. What genre do you write?

YA/NA Paranormal (Urban Fantasy) Romantic Suspense

What genre do you read? Which do you read the most?

I love paranormal, fantasy, urban fantasy, mythology, and sci-fi. Lately, I have been hooked on shifter books and vampires.

Who are your favorite authors – can include Indy authors.

Traditionally Published Authors I Love: JK Rowling, Cassandra Clare, Rick Riordan, Matthew Reilly and James Rollins (I could go on)

Indie Authors I LOVE: Ednah Walters, Melissa Haag, Teresa Gabelman, Erica Stevens, St Bende, Jaymin Eve, Cameo Renea, Alyssa Rose Ivy, Quinn Loftis, Breda K Davies, and so many more. There is not enough room here!

My oldest daughter absolutely adores Rick Riordan and Quinn Loftis! What do you value most in a friend?

Loyalty and a great sense of humor. Both are really important.

Where do you get your inspiration for your books?

I have always had so many different stories in my head and it’s just now that I am writing about some of them. My mom used to tell us incredible stories she would make up before we went to bed and I always looked forward to hearing about the next adventure the three little girls would go on.

I did that for my girls as well. I started off reading books to them,  then we moved to me making up stories. I remember one about a snake in a pillowcase that they asked me to repeat multiple times. Tell us a little about your latest book.

I am writing the fourth and final book in the Gifted Series. These books focus on a group of people who have special powers or abilities. The main character, Kate, grew up away from that society, not having any idea of her origins. She helps a couple of kids from foster care and they literally drag her into a world of kidnapping, danger, and evil.

Are you a pantser or plotter, or a plontser?

I have no idea what this is.

LOL. I guess I wasn’t too clear on my made-up words.  A pantser is an author who writes by the seat of their pants.  A plotter is someone who outlines their story whether it is a basic rough outline – beginning, middle end, or nine plot points or a detailed outline with subsets. A plontser is a combination of the two.  What’s next for you?

After the final book in the gifted Series is completed. I have an idea for two different series. The first will be about elemental magic users that are disappearing and the second is about shapeshifters. I can’t wait to start them both.

Oh, those sound amazing! I love those type of stories. What do you like to do when you are not writing?

Playing with my niece, shopping with my mom and sisters, trying out new restaurants and hanging out with my friends.

What is your work area like? (desk or work at a table or on the sofa, tidy or untidy, OCD organized, chaos, perfectly decorated, a niche carved out in a closet, etc. )

I sit on my couch with a tall glass of iced tea next to me and my laptop on my crisscrossed legs with the TV tuned to a music channel (usually country). Once in a while, I will have a Hallmark Channel movie on. I love romantic comedies.

What is your ideal getaway vacation?

I love finding new places to explore. There is always something cool to do and to see just about everywhere I go. I am not very good with sitting still, so I don’t last very long on the beach.

Do you ever use real people as a basis for your characters?

All the time. No one person is an exact character, but everyone around me has contributed to a character trait. My sister Kelly is a Guidance Counselor which is the job of my main character, Kate. Kelly is also an amazing listener and gives great advice, so I wrote those traits for Kate. My sister, Chrisie, was an English Professor when I started the series, so Kate’s best friend, Cindy, teaches English. Cindy talks very fast, is really strong and doesn’t realize it, and is tall and willowy, which are all things that remind me of Chrisie. I’ve borrowed lots of traits from the guy in my life for my characters, Nick, Robert, Jason, and Ryan.

What is your favorite food?

This is a tough one for me because I LOVE food. French Fries, Pizza, and bagels (especially breakfast sandwiches) are a few of my favorites. I really love breakfast too. That is my favorite meal of the day.

Do you snack while you write or is food off limits in the office area?

I usually don’t snack because once I start writing, I get in a groove and I don’t want to mess with that.

If I give you a story prompt,  could you write a flash fiction piece of 1000 words or less?

YES! That sounds like fun!

Awesome! PM me on Facebook and I will give you a prompt for my flash fiction challenge for December/January!

Char Webster is the best-selling author of young adult/new adult paranormal/urban fantasy romantic suspense books that create a world where people can escape reality for a little while.

Reading and getting lost in a story have always been Char Webster’s favorite things to do. She has also had a love for writing, which led her to her daytime career in public relations and marketing. After years of writing for others, Char decided to write something for herself.

Char Webster loves living in South Jersey because she feels like it is in the center of everything.

Social Media Links

Facebook:   www.facebook.com/CharWebsterAuthor

Facebook group:   www.facebook.com/groups/GiftedSociety

Twitter:   www.twitter.com/JustaGirlinSJ

Instagram:   www.instagram.com/char.webster

Goodreads:   https://www.goodreads.com/CharWebsterAuthor

Amazon:   https://www.amazon.com/Char-Webster/e/B017GPYNN6

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/char-webster

Experiments, A Gifted Series Prequel

(short story)

Amazon: http://goo.gl/WpqUhF

B&N: http://goo.gl/PQQCcK

iBooks: https://itun.es/us/IPwifb.l

Kobo: http://goo.gl/PnSXdF

The Gifted Society, a race of people with special abilities, lives among humans. They have survived for thousands of years by hiding their special powers from the world.

Now, someone is trying to manipulate human DNA to create the gene mutation that triggers these abilities. Nick, Robert, Jason and Ryan, newly graduated from the Gifted Society’s Elite Academy, are tasked with stopping whoever is behind these experiments.

Will the guys succeed with their first assignment? Will they be able to stop the experiments? Discover the beginnings of the Gift Series in this prequel novelette.

Discovery, Book One of the Gifted Series

#Romance  *  #Suspense  *  #Mystery  *  #Intrigue

Buy Now for Free!

Amazon: https://goo.gl/NEvb5F

Barnes & Noble: https://goo.gl/uOdgXW

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/discovery-43

iBooks: https://itun.es/us/9nI6-.l

Hunted by evil.

Hidden from birth.

Knowing nothing of her powerful origins, twenty-three-year-old Kate Sutton believes her life is perfectly normal and is looking forward to a quiet relaxing summer.

Her life dramatically changes when she’s asked to help three troubled kids in the foster care system. Strange things begin to happen, and Kate discovers that her foster kids are not quite who she had thought and that neither is she.

Suddenly, Kate is thrust into a world where people have powers and she and the kids are being stalked. Now, she must learn who she really is and keep the kids safe before it’s too late.

A hot guy keeps showing up everywhere she goes, but is he there to help her or turn her and the kids over to the ones searching for them?

Discover the danger of being Gifted. #GiftedSeries * #Free

#Romance * #Suspense * #Mystery * #Paranormal

Blurb:

Hunted by evil. Hidden from birth. Knowing nothing of her powerful origins, Kate believes she’s ordinary, but her life dramatically changes when she helps three troubled kids. Suddenly, Kate is thrust into a world where people have powers and she and the kids are being stalked. With the help of a mysterious guy she doesn’t know if she can trust, Kate must uncover her past to keep everyone safe. Discover the dangers of being Gifted.

 

Exploration, Book Two of the Gifted Series

#Romance  *  #Suspense  *  #Mystery  *  #Intrigue

On Kindle Unlimited Until Dec 24, 2017

Amazon: https://goo.gl/KlhRcm

What does it mean to be Gifted? And just how dangerous can it be?

When Nick took off to track down a kidnapper and killer, he left Kate alone to deal with her new life. Thrown into a world she knew nothing about, Kate must piece together information from the past and discover her role in the events that have begun to unfold.

Will history repeat itself? Will Kate be able to protect the kids and herself from the forces who want to use them to unlock a power that could destroy everything?

Transformation, Book Three of the Gifted Series

Power is shifting. Control of the Gifted Society is in jeopardy. Will Kate and her friends be ready?

Kate Sutton has learned that being Gifted is extremely dangerous. New revelations put her life at even greater risk. People are after Kate for her abilities and will stop at nothing to control or destroy her.

Nick, Robert, Jason, and Ryan are trying to figure out all of the different players and what each of them is after. Will they discover the truth before it’s too late to help Kate?

#Romance  *  #Suspense  *  #Mystery  *  #Intrigue

On Kindle Unlimited Until Dec 24, 2017

Amazon: http://goo.gl/nNrmrZ

Stubborn Souls, A Runes Universe Novella

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2onXYd5

Valkyrie Aria was sure of three things: she is one of the best soul reapers there is, she gets cranky when her assignments take her too far from the beach, and she hates Damian with a fiery passion that will last throughout time.

Grimnir Damian has done some stupid things in his long life, but the worst by far was leaving his soul mate, Aria, at the altar all those years ago. Six hundred years later, they can’t be within a mile of each other or sparks will fly, and not the good kind.

Now, the man responsible for making Damian walk out on their marriage has escaped from an Asgardian prison, and the Valkyrie Council is forcing Aria and Damian to team up to capture him.

Can they put their differences aside long enough to save the nine realms?

Part of Ednah Walters’ Runes Universe

Mini Description:

Aria and Damian have hated each other for centuries. Can they put their differences aside long enough to work together to save the nine realms?

Acceptance: Book Four of the Gifted Series

Coming Winter 2017-18

An ancient, evil family line is seeking to restore their powers that had been taken away thousands of years ago to protect the world. Kate Sutton and her adopted kids are caught in the middle.

Will she take her place with the Gifted Society and accept her destiny or will she cause the destruction of them all?

Find out in the conclusion of the Gifted Series.

 

Those should keep you busy for a while! I am very curious to read Stubborn Souls myself! In fact, I’m going to go get me a copy now!

Write on my friends, write on!

 

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Summer Lit Blitz – Miranda Shanklin


My guest this week is Miranda Shanklin, a fellow Eclectic Bard’s Books author. I met Miranda at last year’s Kentuckiana Author Book Blitz. I was such a nervous wreck, I barely remember anything from the event. I do remember Miranda and her lovely daughter. She seemes so relaxed and at ease while I was trying not to throw up on people.  I’ve managed to glean a tidbit  or two from her. I’m not an introvert by any means,  but that first author event was worse than getting up on stage in front of 200 people.

Here’s your chance to get to know a little about Miranda.

1. Tell me a little about yourself

     I live in Central Illinois with my husband and our two teenage children. I work day job as a paralegal. I am also the assistant coach on my daughter’s competition dance team. I have been an avid reader since I was a kid. I have always loved to get lost in a good book. Now that my children are older I am chasing my dream of being an author.
2. What genre do you write?
   Paranormal romance for now…..  I currently have a 5 book paranormal romance series out.
3.  Do you have any future books already planned out?
     Yes. I have a trilogy that is a spin-off from my series that will be coming out probably next year. Then a contemporary romance. I am also researching a paranormal suspense series that will be starting to come out probably 2018.
4. Are you a plotter or a pantser?
   I am usually a pantser. I sit down at my compter and just start typing. I am usually just as surprised at what happens as you are! I have tried plotting and it never goes where I want it to. It is like my characters look at it and start acting like petulant toddlers saying ‘I don’t want to do that!’
5.  Do you have a dedicated writing space?
    Not really. My writing space is my dining room table. It keeps me in the middle of everything. That can be good or bad it depends on the day and how good my focus is that day LOL
6.  Was there a book that was really hard for you to write?
    I am having a hard time writing the third book in the spin off trilogy. The original series is in the process of being re-edited right now and I have written the first 2 books in the trilogy. All that is left is the last book in the trilogy. The whole trilogy still needs to go through the whole editing process but I haven’t been able to even start writing that last book. It will bring an end to that whole idea. It will be a final goodbye to all of those characters. It will be a final end to both the series and the trilogy. The book that started it all and the characters that brought me to where I am will be put to bed. It is more a sentimental thing and I will get over it, I just need to put fingers to keyboard. It is just getting moving on it.
7.  How do you keep track of details?
  Many authors use many different methods for this. I use a whiteboard. It is something that is not the best looking to walk into my dining room and see this huge whiteboard with multi-colored lines and words scribbled all over but I can look across from my seat and know exactly where to look without searching for the information I need for a name, eye color or hair color as I am writing.
8.  How do you come up with names for your characters?
    Most of the names I use I just look up names online. Some of them are from people I know.  I try not to use people I know unless it is a very minor role. I did use my kids names but I made sure it was alright with them and they told me as long it was for characters that were nothing like them. I go to name websites and just scroll through until a name jumps out at me for the character that I am looking for.
9.  Do you have designated writing times?
   No. I write when I have time to. I have such busy schedule that sit down in front of my computer every chance I get. There are times that the hubby will tell me that I am not allowed to be on the computer cause I have to pay attention to him, but other than that I am in front of the computer whenever I am able to be.
10.   What is your favorite thing about being an author?
   I love that I might be able to give to someone else what so many authors have given to me. I have used books for an escape and enjoyment since childhood. If only one person gets that from my books then it is all worth it.
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It has been many lifetimes since the cycle began.
The cycle that still haunts Annisa Lawson.
A spell cast in desperation to help, which only caused heartache.

Now, Annisa has found her way out of the varying repeats of her past; only to bring more danger to herself, and those around her. Now she must learn to survive with the help of her friends: Chase, Penelope, and Landon have all gone through each life cycle with Annisa. Sometimes helping, sometimes hindering. Now that Annisa has broken the cycle of their collective punishment, she finds that she needs her friends more than ever to keep their enemies, known, and unknown, at bay. As the group of friends learn of their souls’ journeys through their many life cycles, they must also learn to control the magick they have discovered within themselves and each other, in order to defeat the most feared assassin in their world.

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Soul Redemption
Just when Annisa and her friends were starting to think maybe the Counsel would leave them alone, two new students arrive at school. In any other town, new students wouldn’t be a sign that something big was about to happen to Annisa, Chase, Landon, and Penelope; but this wasn’t a normal town and they weren’t normal teenagers. They had come into their powers and defeated the most feared assassin in their world, so the appearance of new witches in their small town could only mean one thing…..the Counsel was ready to make another attempt to destroy them. After watching the new students alienate them from everyone they know, including their parents, Annisa and her friends break through the spell and things start to calm down for them. It’s not until an old enemy returns with news that will shock them that they realize everything is not as it seems. Now they have to decide whether or not to trust an old enemy claiming to help them, or try and fight against the Counsel’s most trusted Advisors on their own. The choice the group makes will change their lives forever.
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Soul Knowledge 
Annisa Lawson and her friends were getting pretty good at surviving. So far, they have defeated every force sent to destroy them. So when they are faced with new forces they had never thought possible, they were not entirely prepared. They were scrambling to catch up their magickal knowledge of the forces that were being sent after them. With their newly strengthened bond, they would have to work together to triumph. Just when they think they have it all figured out, something new pops up. They are offered help, but will it be enough to once again overcome the forces working against them? The highly misunderstood forces in play will either help or hinder them; the question is, who do they trust? The collective uncertainty and lack of knowledge could be the downfall of the entire group, testing their ability to trust in their own power, and that of each other. Can they overcome these forces and once again defend their special bond from destruction?
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Soul Freedom
With the stress of graduation and planning weddings, Annisa and her group of friends want to end things with the Counsel once and for all. They strengthen their bond to the strongest it can be and go on the offensive. After they achieve their goal, they find that was not their only problem. Now they have to figure out who will be the next Counsel, and how to deal with other realms that have found their way in. While the group guards over the Origin, Annisa goes with members of the other realms to track down the wayward travelers, before they cause too much damage in our realm. To prevent this from happening again or any damage that may result, the group, along with their newly appointed Counsel, must come up with a system to allow other realms access to our realm, so they don’t have to constantly be on the lookout for trespassers from other realms. Can it be done in time for Annisa and her friends to enjoy graduation, and Annisa’s upcoming nuptials? With the help of friends and family, it just may be possible!
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Soul Discovery
Annisa and her group have finally made it to the point where they don’t have to watch over their shoulders for someone trying to destroy them. They have put together a system that allows the other realms access to our realm and they are still able to keep an eye on them. Will the faeries and the trolls outsmart them and accomplish their goal? Will Annisa and the others be able to obtain enough support to keep their realm intact? Or will the faeries and trolls destroy all that this realm stands for? Chase and Annisa have taken on a task that they are not sure if they can accomplish without the help of the others who have to stay behind and keep things running smoothly at the passageways. They will have to be creative and convincing to pull this one off and create a truce between all the realms.

 

 

Thank you Miranda for being such a lovely guest and I hope to have you back again when you rerelease the rest of this series as well as the spin off!

Write one my friends, write on!

Ellie

A to Z Challenge – H


H – House

 

 old town house

old town house

I absolutely love this old house! This is not my house! This house was built in the 1800’s. There are at least ten  homes from the 1800’s in our town. This one is by far my favorite. There used to be a porch swing on  the wrap around porch but the current owners removed it. This house has character and history which I would much prefer over a cracker box lookalike home.

If there was something worth a touristy stop in our little town, this would make a perfect bed and breakfast, or a tea house. Some day when I am rolling in the dough and can buy this house I may make it into a Victorian Tea Room that serves Mint Juleps and Hard Lemonade along with delicious strawberry shortcake and lots of pie!

I’ve always wanted to buy an old home and do renovations on it. This one has been kept in pristine condition so there wouldn’t be much work to be done.

Some day!

Write on my friends, write on! Dream on as well!

Ellie

 

Snippet Sunday


Courtesy of VL Locey

Courtesy of VL Locey

The ladies in my writing group have  been doing this through November during NANO.  I’m a little late on the uptake but never the less, I’ve decided to join in.  I’ll be sharing just a snippet of the current work in progress which is the next to be released  Valkyrie’s Curse: The Awakening.

This is from Chapter 1: The Viking

The beginning of page 2 of my draft copy. (Formatted will be different.)

The ship slowed as it found the soft sand. Jorvic gave the forward motion. Two men steadied the ship as the others slipped into the surf. It was only knee-deep, the men sloshed forward. By the stealth of moonlight, they slipped silently through the secret door on the outer wall.

Surprisingly, there were no guards stationed on the other side. Sixteen men moved into the tunnels. There were no torches lit nor were there any guardsmen. Once inside the village, the men spread out, killing the pale usurpers.

Olaf and Sven ran to their father’s house while Aella ran to the Temple. His assignment was to get the key. Aella easily slew the two men at the Temple door, they were slow and unprepared. Ahead Aella saw a shadow move beyond the curtain. He took the sword from the hand of the second guard he had killed. Now armed with two swords he moved forward cautiously. Aella moved behind the altar and found the secret compartment in the back opened. The key was gone.

Out of the corner of his eye, he caught a movement. He had to get that key! Aella moved to follow the thief. Swiftly he thrust his sword forward spun around and struck again with both swords, removing the thief’s arm. As the arm fell to the ground, the key dropped free. For a split second, his eyes followed the key, enough time for the man to raise his broad axe, but Aella was faster and thrust again. One sword found its mark in the enemy’s chest, the other slashed across the man’s throat.

Ivan Thorskill, Jorvic’s younger brother fell to his knees, blood flowing from his neck and chest, spurting from the shoulder. Aella watched as if in slow motion. The full weight of his actions bore down with sudden clarity. This wasn’t right.

Does that wet your appetite for more? Does it sound interesting? Share your thoughts on this excerpt in the comments.

Go check out my friend’s snippets as well:

Cathy Brockman

V.L. Locey

Oh! By the way,  this is NOT a romance.  It does have  a romantic interest however.  I can’t wait to introduce you to Scott and Helena.  

Till nex time,

write on my friends, write on!

~~~~~

Ellie

 

Character Building


“Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls, the most massive characters are seared with scars. “

Khalil Gibran

How do you create riveting characters?

Nobody wants to read  a story with flat Stanley.   No author wants to write with flat Stanley.  We want fully developed characters that convey the movie playing inside our heads.  We want the world to meet our imaginary friends and love or hate them  the same as we do.

Sometimes,  we like to play devil’s advocate and see if the audience ” gets it” with a character.  It’s simple to write the typical weasel,  the lovable innocent, the  dashing cad that you want to  get his come uppance.  But  how do you  show the tormented soul without being cliche’? How do you show the dark haunted  individual and  keep the audience guessing as to whether he’s good or evil?  Has he gone to the dark side?  Was he always dark?  Or does he appear to be evil but in the end he saves the day?

Allow me to introduce you to one of my scarred souls. Her  birth  name was Hopshetut, daughter of the Pharoah.  Born into privilege, power, and position  it wasn’t enough for Hapshetsut. The life of a woman in 1050 BC came with  certain aspects that she found distasteful.  Her tale is  of woe and disturbing  events.

The only woman Pharoah that Egypt has ever known, disgracing her lineage to the point that her images were scratched from every   place in Egypt. Mystery surrounded the life of the real Hapshetsut.  In her quest for power and immortality she  was entombed alive and leaves behind an empty grave-site.

I found the whole  “mystery” aspect intriguing and well, I just couldn’t leave it alone.  While watching The Mummy with my family,  my mind began to wander  as my National Geographic magazine lay open beside me.  My eyes wandered,  the TV, the magazine.  I’d seen the movie before.  The magazine won.

My version may be a little more fanciful, but it’s not as far fetched as the Loch Ness monster, or Sasquatch!  I was asked what authors  influenced me as many writers  have been.    How do you acknowledge the writer’s of  TV shows you grew up with when you didn’t learn the writer’s names?

The Twilight Zone, Night Gallery, Creature From the Black Lagoon  – is it any wonder I’m as whack as I am?  Thrills and chills, goose bumps, things that go bump in the night all influenced my morbid sense of curiosity to play what-if.

Hapshetsut has taken on  flesh in such a rapid manner,   it was like she whispered it in my ear on the night wind.

This is a rendition that a friend has done for me  for Hapshetsut: http://sylvestertemple.tumblr.com/post/74477324809/quite-pleased-with-how-this-came-out-in-the-end

I think he has captured my character there.  Of course, based on the information I gave him, he has done exceptional.

Care for a little taste?

Here’s just a brief  excerpt from chapter one:

Tonight was a banquet.  There were camel trains loaded with gifts, and tithes for the Pharaoh. The annual tribute feast wasn’t for two more moons. Yet she was to be present at her Father’s side. At least she wasn’t sent in with the harem. At these things she was always allowed to present herself as the proper princess.

In another portion of the palace Thutmose II stood arms akimbo, as his servants draped his shendyt over his loins. He stood while the harem girls bathed and dried him. He stood while his servants dressed him. He took great pride in his physical appearance. He sat on his stone bench while Akshermunset the preistess painted his eye makeup. He had long desired her. She trained at the tutors when he was a child, now she was the preistess. She was not considered a commoner and he wanted to ask his father if she could be his queen when he ruled now that he ws next in line for the throne. He dreaded these gala affairs. The only good thing was that when it was over he’d have at least three of the harem beauties in his quarters and have his fill of wine.

Just as Kirsis had finished applying thick black eyeliner to Hopshetsut’s eyes Matia came to the open doorway bowing low. “It is time Princess Hopshetsut.”

It was at times like these she felt she was where she belonged. She held a regal sense of power. Shed seen plenty of the s ancient papyrus; she knew what she had to do to get the power. It was a small price to pay, but blood offered to one of the gods would bring them to the temple. She would arrange the meeting with Senmut.

She walked to the grand plaza, head held high. She would enjoy this night, and make certain her father and brother were both too drunk to request her company. With a smug grin she entered the plaza and approached the throne, bowing before her father who motioned her to stand at his left.

Nubian dancers performed a tribal dance in Pharoah’s honor. Moabite warriors did a sword display then bowed before Pharaoh. Then Pharaoh rose to make his edicts and announcements. This got Hopshetsut’s attention because her father was a wise ruler, and now she would learn the reason for this banquet.

Everyone quieted when the Pharaoh rose. He walked to the Dias, where his throne sat to make his announcements. “Last month, Osiris claimed my sons for her own. Osiris was greedy last month. She took many of your children as well.” He walked behind the queen’s throne. Caressing his hand down her arm. It has been a hard time for all of us. In the grip of grief I have been forced to make decisions that affect the future of Egypt after Osiris has called me to the other side.” He paced, hands clasped behind his back, a stern expression.

“The period for grieving is over as today I have decided for the future of the great nation of Egypt. My remaining heirs, Thutmose II and Hopshetsut” He summoned them to rise and come to his side. “Thutmose II has learned a great deal in military tactics. He has returned to me a man in his own right.”

Hopshetsut didn’t for a second buy the speech. She knew better than anyone what a simpleton her brother really was. But she wasn’t about to interrupt the Pharaoh. She walked to his left side as was the custom, bowing her knee to her father, to her Pharaoh.

Thutmose II wasn’t as gracious, or mindful of protocol. He walked towards his father face on and stood to his right, clasping his father’s hand without a bow, without a nod. Hopshetsut didn’t miss the sudden clenching of their father’s jaw.

“Hopshetsut has been schooled alongside her brother in all matters. She has always been the best scholar and the most studious. Her mind is as sharp as our Captain of the Guard.” He lifted his daughter’s hand to his lips to plant a kiss.

This can’t be good. As he raised her hand for a kiss, she saw the glare in her brother’s eyes and played it up, bowing her head demurely as her father’s lips touched her knuckles. What came next shocked her to her absolute core. In a thousand years she hadn’t expected this humiliating blow.

“Thutmose II, my son shall be named Pharaoh of Egypt when Osiris has called me to the beyond, AND my daughter Hopshetsut shall reign as Queen of Egypt by his side. The two together shall bring our great land into a new era. A greater land than it is today.”

She didn’t know who was floored more, herself or her halfwit brother. After father announced it she thought ‘of course’. Thutmose II would never be allowed to rule alone, and a woman was never to be Pharaoh. Her brother’s blood wasn’t pure, and his hands were bound to hand over the throne to any female. She forced a fake smile on her face. She knew how to play the game. Unlike her dimwit brother, she accepted fate. At least until she could change it.

Well, now I feel I need to go dabble with the Queen of the Fae for her part of this story.

TTFN, and write on my friends – write on!

I Need A Hero


A romantic hero must possess an awareness of himself, his motives, convictions, and his inner world.   This hero must understand the value of his experiences, whether through intuition, logical reasonings, or dare I say it, getting in touch with his emotions.  He may act irrational, may behave contrary to his inner thoughts, but his awareness must be piqued.  The audience must be able to relate and emotionally connect with our romantic hero on some level of his emotions so that no matter what his experience is we can relate and expect the best of our hero.

In the romance genre there are a few stereotypes for our heroes.

Bad Boy Hero:

Nice girls and bad girls alike love to flirt with danger.  Nothing says danger more than the bad boy.  He is in a league of his own, breaking barriers, breaking rules, and breaking women’s hearts until he meets his match.   More heroines and readers fall for the Bad Boy than any other hero. He is the ultimate rebel: mysterious, aloof, seemingly indifferent, the one we are convinced we can change. He starts off behaving badly and unrepentant, a rebel through and through. His inner good is revealed in the end due to actions of the heroine or circumstances that force the Bad Boy to become the knight in shining armor, and reveal that she in fact is the one that broke through to the tender heart inside.

Alpha Male:

The Alpha Male…we love him, we hate him, we adore him and resent him. The born take-charge leader in any situation, all look up to him and want to be him. He’s cool, confident, steady, strong, and sure. And of course he is uber sexy – flinging his locks in a carefree manner.  A body like Joe Mangionella, hair like Fabio’s, a smile like Jake Gyllenhall, and a voice that leaves us weak in the knees. His ultimate role, I’ve noticed, is to take care of the heroine  in whatever capacity is availed to him.  He rescues her from a fall, from thieves and bandits, and always looks good doing it. Later, when the heroine has captured his attention he takes care of other needs like no one else is humanly capable of.  Fair damsels in distress, and the Disney hero is on the scene.

Brooding Hero:

What a tortured soul our Brooding hero is, misunderstood, just needing the opportunity to  prove himself. Oh, how we love to torment him!  He is aloof, angry, wounded, and ultimately the most vulnerable heroe out there.  The Brooding Hero has captured many hearts in recent history with Angel and Edward Cullen. Yes, the misunderstood sensitive brooding hero is the perfect foil for the paranormal.  Don’t hate him because he is vampire, he didn’t ask for this.

Rogue Hero:

The Rogue, the Regency staple, is essentially a womanizing cad, a promiscuous dog that would nail a snake if you held its head down. Other than needing a clean card from his physician, he is a charmer, can be quite dashing, carelessly sexy, carefree about life, and love.  The Rogue knows no bounds to his carnal desires, turning innocence to wanton, releasing the inner vixen in readers and heroines.  He embraces his women like he embraces life; with zeal and deep passion.  Commitment is not a word in his vocabulary, until the heroine turns his world on end, making nothing else matter as much as having her in his life.  If I were to write about the rogue, this is the point where my heroine would have him begging her, pleading her to stay with him, he’ll change and she turns the tables on him, shattering his life into a million brittle pieces, making him feel life is but a shallow husk without her in it.  but I believe in the happily ever after, so I skip this heartbreaker for my own writing.

Nerd Hero:

Another name for the Nerd Hero is the Beta Hero. He’s kind, sweet, and decent. He can be the goofy best friend, or the slightly awkward guy that is overlooked.  This hero type is thrust into the hero role almost exclusively due to the heroine, and always rises to the occasion proving that good guys are great guys, and great lovers!

Tycoon Hero:

This hero type  litters many romance books. He can be a millionaire, billionaire, prince, shiek, or wealthy boss. Ninety percent of the time the Tycoon starts out isolated and jaded.  He is dissatisfied with his “playboy life” and often meets a down to earth girl that shows him happiness.

Protector Hero:

The Protector Hero comes in many disguises and professions, most are obvious, but some are a little harder to discern . You can find him playing the role of a cop, firefighter, spy, detective, bodyguard, part of the military, etc. The plot behind many Protector Hero stories involves a mystery where he almost loses the heroine while trying to save her.  The near loss brings him to the reality that he needs her desperately.

Daredevil Hero:

Pirates, swashbuckler, and superheroes make up the majority of  Daredevil Heroes. They love action, fights, they live for the thrills. Enter the damsel in distress and they are on it! Daredevil heroes can sometimes be found in humorous romance, as their antics trying to impress the damsels are often quite comical, but in the end he wins the fair maidens heart.

Warrior Hero:

The Warrior Hero, oddly enough is a reluctant hero. He thinks he’s above it all. His mission is to fight and protect his home, his country, and his men. He fights for honor, integrity, he fights because he is a man above other men.  Then a woman shows up and throws his ordered world into chaos – gotta love that.  Havoc ensues, not necessarily because of her but it becomes centered around her.  He fights his emotions, fights love every step of the way.  Other lesser men fall for women’s charms but not him.  In the end, he’s the sweetest most docile caring lover that ever was, but the warrior is always just below the surface now ready to defend her honor and fight for his new life with her. Ironically, this hero is conquered by the most demure of heroines.

Paranormal Hero:

Then there’s the Paranormal Hero, when a human male just won’t cut it.  The Paranormal Hero is prepared to win hearts, yet steal our very souls. He oozes sex appeal with his otherworldly hotness, taking our imaginations down a one way road to a dead-end alley of no return.  He gives us images of erotic passions, extraordinary experiences that a simple human could never provide.  The ultimate forbidden fruit, tempting us to sample just one bite knowing there is no turning back.  Call him a vampire, a wizard, a lycanthrope, or whatever sort of being, it’s all the same to him.  He lost his soul ages ago, and the heroine might , just might be able to save his wretched soul from despair, or at least provide a good meal in the end.

The anti-hero:

The anti-hero is akin to the nerd hero, but is less obvious.  The reluctant hero, the guy you don’t expect to come through in the end.  Sometimes he seems like the antagonist, right up to the critical moment when it comes down to making the right choice, and hero boy can’t cut the muster, then anti-hero steps forward, letting the heroine know that he’s been there for her all along, and always will be.

 

So, where are these guys in real life?  Only in our imaginations, which is why we turn to fiction. In reality the alpha male that tries to boss us around or order us around is going to meet with firm resistance to the point that no matter how hot he is, he can take a flying leap back to the medieval times.  In real life bad boys end up in jail – not a promising future as provider for our future sons and daughters.  The tycoon?  Well, they are out there but we don’t travel in the same circles as Shiek Hotness, or Heir von Richness. There are plenty of rogues out there breaking hearts left and right.  When I come across the next ‘Angel’, I’ll send him on a mission to rid the plant of them.   In the meantime, you decide for yourself which heroes appeal to you.

In the end it all comes to this, we dream of being romanced, pursued with passion like the characters in those books.   We want the hero to want us, or at least a man who would romance us to some degree.

Write on my friends, write on!

It’s Alive!


Those famous words from Dr. Frankenstein came to my mind this morning while in a discussion with a writer friend.  It’s November, which means roughly 350,000 people or more are trying their hand at writing.

Remember in Ratatouille when the chef said “Anyone can cook.”?  That’s true, but not everyone cooks well.  The same is true for writing.  Anyone can write, not all can write well.  NaNoWriMO is a great time to try your hand at writing.  Thirty days of literary abandon that  serves several purposes.

  • Daily habit – A mere 1667 words a day, not a ridiculous amount but sometimes even that little bit is difficult especially if you are not in the daily habit of writing.
  • Accumulative Incentive – the 1667 adds up quickly, and NaNoWriMO has charts, calendars, and many materials to show you where you should be  for the word counts,  and shows the cumulative effect of doing it daily.  In a way it’s nearly as magical as the principle of compound interest.  Both are investments, it’s up to you to utilize them.
  • Get the first draft down – This point is confusing for many newbies.  A first draft is not a polished draft, and not everything you write is gold.  Voltaire wrote “Candide” in three days without the convenience of modern editing practices.  It is a short but enduring tale that entertains and mocks humanity itself, poking fun at every turn. The dry humor is as welcome today as it was shocking and in your face in its day. Hemingway it is said, edited one particular passage 37 times before he was satisfied.  Any writer worth their salt will spend more time editing than actually writing.  I know, sorry to burst your bubble but it’s true.
  • NaNoWriMo has a deadline and a finish line – for those of us, Yes, like me, that have a mountain of unfinished projects collecting dust like an old ladies Hummel figure collection, NaNo sets the pace, puts the finish line in clear sight, and has a definite deadline.  Thirty days, not thirty-one, not thirty-two.  50,000 words not 49,500 or 36,800 – 50,ooo words in thirty days.  It’s a mini marathon with daily workouts. They practically hold your hand, encouraging you to the finish.

As some of you may know, I changed my mind about participating in NaNO.  Yes, I know – back and forth, back and forth, like a ship tossed at sea.  Which was the final straw as my new project is about pirates, ships treasure, and romance on the high sea – arggggghhh.  I am plugging away at the NaNo novel, but I made myself a deal.  I will tackle my other irons first before ever putting a single word towards my nano count.  I am behind the curve where last year I was crushing it.  If you take into consideration though, the number of words written and edited daily on articles, Kiss of the Dragon, Faere Guardian, Love Notes and whatever Storytime project I”m working on, my daily word count for total number of words written is more like 4500 – 5000 a day. I am well aware I need to focus, that’s not the point here.  Let’s move on shall we?

So what has my dander up?  It’s many people posting to the NaNo group bragging about their most recent paragraph or prose.  It’s not one person but a collective of the general idea that their writing is golden.  Let’s get this put into perspective – a NaNo novel is 50,000 words – which is short of any standard length novel including YA, which runs between 60,000 and 75,000. Harlequin romances sometimes come in at 50000 as other trade romance novels.  I could almost guarantee though, that even Harlequin novels are edited and revised from their initial draft.  November is for writing, December is for editing.  Many seem to forget that necessary evil.

My second complaint about the mass number of posts is the telling.  I”m sure you’ve heard the old mantra show don’t tell when writing.

Johnny and Susie went into the barn.  Rick was dead in  Stars stall.  There was a bloody scythe hanging over the door and the rear door to the barn w as standing open.  Who could have done it?   ( The character names have been changed to protect the writer, and condensed slightly to make a point.)

Where’s the description?  Where is the emotion? The shock?  What about the senses?  I should be transported into that barn, Johnny and Susie laughing with each other lightheartedly joking about the fact that their friend Rick was always late.  Perhaps they were going to the show, or to a rodeo. Where’s the senses in this?  What are they seeing, hearing, what about the smell? The coppery tang to the air as they approach finding their friend in a pool of blood soaked straw, the dark crimson blood dripping from the scythe that is wobbling back and forth on the stall door.  Where is the building terror?  The sense of fear that the murderer wasn’t far as the scythe was still rocking and the door was swinging on its hinges?  I want it to draw me into the scene,  make me want more.

Sadly, many think because there is a mass of words in the file that their novel is complete.  First draft we write the backbone of the story, we tell. Second draft we create – breathing life into a dead document, making the characters live, adding depth,breadth, and length, giving it flavor.  You don’t want to read my first draft for a love scene.  It often reads like a technical manual.  Insert tab A into slot B, repeat.  OK, not quite that bad but you get the idea.

Anyone can write, but it takes work to write a story that readers want to read.  It’s my goal to improve my craft, working towards a polished piece that leaves a reader on the edge of her seat, turning pages to find out what happens next.  I’m not the fastest writer, nor do I come up with the most ingenious plots.  Simple plots can come to life when the right words are strung together.  the basic plot of all romance writing is very simple – two people fall in love, and in my world, live happily ever after.  The same plot can be told millions of different ways.  When I can get my writer’s voice out-of-the-way enough to get the reader involved with my characters needs and desires, then I have succeeded in telling a tale worth reading.

Sadly, many NaNoers will put out a Frankennovel.  They have every right to feel proud for accomplishing the goal of 50000 words, and reaching the end, but much like The monster with the Abby Normal brain, it just ain’t quite right!  Do us all a favor and edit the crap out of that beast before publishing.

Write on my friends, write on!

A Dragon’s Song


If I were to describe my book by a song I would choose “Bring Me To Life” by Evanescence, to describe Kiss of the Dragon (copyright Ellie Mack 2012).  Kiss of the Dragon is a paranormal romance about Isabelle Lennox, an interior designer from Texas.  She falls through a mirror to end up back in medieval times where she meets Zanathrus Fallon, Lord of the Green Dragons.

Everything that she has thought about who she is, is about to be shattered.  When she is thrown into Zane’s world, it “wakes her up inside” awakening her true being. Like a Celtic knot, her life is interwoven intricately into the tapestry of life, prophecy, and destiny. The hidden truths begin to surface as their relationship develops. The ordinary existence she had is nothing compared to the grandeur of who she really is.

In a world of dragons, wyverns, mages, and warriors; Isabelle discovers her own strength and purpose. She is either the destiny or the destruction for the dragon world.  Which will it be?  Either way, there’s no turning back to the darkness that was before.

In the chorus the female lead singer is singing “wake me up inside, bid my blood to run, save me from the nothing I’ve become.”  Then at the end of this song the lyrics are: I’ve been living a lie there’s nothing inside, Bring me to life.

Reality has never been as good as fantasy.

Lyrics to “Bring Me to Life”

How can you see into my eyes like open doors?

Leading you down into my core when I’ve been so numb.

Without a soul, my spirit’s sleeping somewhere cold

Until you fixed it there and lead me back home.

Wake me up (wake me up inside)

I can’t wake up (wake me up inside)

Save Me (Call my name and save me from the dark)

Wake me up (Bid my blood to run)

I can’t wake up (Before I come undone)

Save me (Save me from the nothing I’ve become)

Now I know what I’m without

You can’t just leave me

Breathe into me and make me real. Bring me to life.

Wake me up (wake me up inside)

I can’t wake up (wake me up inside)

Save Me (Call my name and save me from the dark)

Wake me up (Bid my blood to run)

I can’t wake up (Before I come undone)

Save me (Save me from the nothing I’ve become)

I’ve been living a lie. There’s nothing inside.

Bring me to life.

Frozen inside without your touch

Without your love, darling

Only you are the life among the dead.

All this time, I can’t believe I couldn’t see

Kept the dark but you were there in front of me

I’ve been sleeping a thousand years it seems

Got to open my eyes to everything

Wake me up (wake me up inside)

I can’t wake up (wake me up inside)

Save Me (Call my name and save me from the dark)

Wake me up (Bid my blood to run)

I can’t wake up (Before I come undone)

Save me (Save me from the nothing I’ve become)

I’ve been living a lie there’s nothing inside

Bring me to life.

“Kiss of the Dragon” is a current work in progress that I will be submitting for publication in 2012.

Write On my friends, write on!

Romance Prevails


Today begins a new story over on a storytime blog that features different writers.  A five-week  installment paranormal romance with a twist.  There’s always a twist.  It’s what makes each romance unique from the myriad of others that are out there.

Let’s face it the basic romance plot is pretty simple.  Two people meet, they fall in love, they live happily ever after.  Ah, but the twist sets it apart.  What if they don’t live happily ever after?  What if they are happy for now?  Or if it’ a tragedy?  What if there’s another man?  Or woman?  There has to be something that is either keeping them apart, or something that has to be overcome.

Even in other genres, romance prevails.  In a good spy thriller there is usually some sort of romance involved.  Even if it’s this episodes “Bond” girl,  the passion is there.  The Spy Who Loved Me wouldn’t be as effective without the romance element.  Romance inevitably adds a certain bit of excitement and danger to even the simplest stories.

The idea of letting another person into your personal and intimate space is downright scary.   Allowing someone to get close enough that they could seriously hurt you, completely destroy you if they are not trustworthycan be terrifying.  When matters of the heart are involved, things can go from good to bad faster than you can flip a switch.

King David lusted after another man’s wife.  He saw Bathsheba in the garden bathing, and desired her.  He ende up having her husband Uzziah killed in order to have her.  Bathsheba and David’s child died, but later she gave him another son, Solomon.  There’s nothing picture perfect about that relationship, in fact there’s more twist there than many modern stories.

Romeo and Juliet were fated lovers that in the end couldn’t overcome their families prejudices. This tale ends in tragedy.

Tristan and Isolde; Arthur, Guenevere and Lancelot; Frankie and Johnny; Mac and Barrons; the list goes on and on.

In an era that we can reach people across the globe with a click of our Facebook button,  we are simultaneously moving into an area of becoming more isolated than ever before.   Yet the hope of love prevails.  Most of us aren’t so calloused that we have truly given up on the idea of love.  There is a small grain of hope within us, that perhaps somewhere, somehow, there is someone out there that will love us and care about us on a deep intimate level that we can share our lives with.

It doesn’t have to be true love, a fated love, love at first sight or any of the cliché things.  We have an inner desire for companionship. A small flicker of hope that says we don’t have to be alone.   Even for the doggiest dog, at some level they desire closeness.

Matters of the heart dictate how we behave.  For young trusting lovers, it’s carefree and joyous.  For the once burned twice shy lover it’s a different matter.  They become guarded, untrusting, and suspicious of the other’s motives.  The multiple burn victim is often calloused, and tries to act like they don’t care.  It takes that one in a million person to get through their tough exterior, to get past the self-defense tactics, and beyond the facade of ambivalence.

We read romance because we want to experience the thrill, the joy, the pain, the heartache while not actually experiencing it for ourselves because the bottom line is  that it can be terrifying to put yourself on the line, vulnerable to someone else.  Reading romance is a safe way to dream, a safe way to experience the roller coaster ride without actually risking our heart.  There is the slight drawback that in the end we are in the same place, left dreaming and hoping and still afraid to take the plunge ourselves.

My new story over at Storytime, Valkyrie’s Curse,  is about two kinds of guys.  The gorgeous bad boy that makes us want to flirt with danger, and the good guy that is sincere, honest and trustworthy.  Why is it we think we have to push our boundaries with danger before we can be happy with the good guy?  Isn’t it amazing the trouble we can get ourselves into before we appreciate what we could have had all along?

Whether it’s the happily ever after, the happy for now, or the tragedy, we love reading a good romance.  At times we’ll even read the cheesy not as good ones.  It’s safer than risking our own hearts.

Write on my friends, write on!

Pushing Beyond the Wall


What do you do for motivation?

Is it reading?  Are you motivated by those little pictures that your friends share on Facebook?  What motivates you to keep going when you’ve hit the wall?  Ah, now there is a different matter.  It takes a different kind of motivation to start, than it does to continue, or even to persevere when you meet with adversity.

In a recent discussion with fellow writers, the topic of experience came up.  One young writer blushed profusely while sharing her difficulty in writing “those” scenes when she had yet to experience them.  Yes, that experience.  We all have our own ideas when it comes to love and romance.  The typical “dinner and a show” date that is common fare isn’t for everyone.  Some prefer attending a football game, cuddling together under a blanket.  Some prefer an active date; playing golf or racing moto-cross.  Some prefer the cozy comfort of dinner at home then a shared movie.

So it  only stands to reason that once we get to that moment, “the move” isn’t going to work the same on all of us.  The winning combination that may have scored with Lizzy, leaves Mark scratching his head wondering what’s the problem with Anita. Anita is wondering what the heck Mark is doing, Mark is thinking there must be something wrong with Anita for not getting into it, and when Lizzy finds out that Mark is with Anita I doubt his winning combination is going to work on her any more either!

So the conversation progressed from kisses to more intimate loving.  A little bit of humor helps ease the tension in the room, and we can discuss what things typically do work.  What makes that first knee-popping kiss?

As an innocent girl, my ideas were much different from my ideas now as a married woman.  I listened more than I talked.  I observed their subtle reactions, the embarrassed grins, the blushing cheeks, the twirling of hair as they shared their own ideas.  It was refreshing, encouraging, and challenging.

Mother was right, once you say yes, you can never go back.  When innocence is taken by force, it is a hard thing to get past.  It’s hard to imagine the dreamy state of the innocent teen girls. How much easier would it be for them to write a YA novel?  The perspective they offer allows a more real perspective than a mature woman. Likewise, it should be easier for me to write those intimate scenes.  You’d think so anyway, right?

Writing a really steamy scene is in some ways like videotaping your fantasy relationship.  It’s not necessarily anything you’ve ever actually experienced, but perhaps something you wish had or would happen. Often it’s not even your own personal fantasies, and here’s where a lot of readers of erotica don’t seem to get it, it’s your characters fantasies.  It has nothing to do with what you wold do, or how you would do it in your own personal life. Of course you’d have to have three dimensional characters to realize this.

For example:  I’ve never been to a castle.  I’ve never been kissed on the high parapets of a tower.  I’ve never had a picnic there either, but it was what Zane decided to do to get to know his beautiful guest Isabel when they shared their first kiss.

Most fiction readers get that it’s fiction.  There are those however that don’t seem to understand that concept.  I know as writer’s we are told to write what you know, but can you imagine a world where the writer knew what he wrote about?

That would mean that the murder mystery writer had committed murder.  The science fiction writer who tells a tale about aliens had experience with aliens.  That guy that wrote the Zombie book – yeah.  A historical fiction writer would have had to live during the time. Ridiculous

I have to say though, I must be impressive to someone. Someone that imagines that I can time travel, shape shift into a dragon,  work magic, have power over the Fae world and dragon world, as well as experience every detail in my other stories; I rock!

Yes, hail the all-powerful creator of fictional universes, conqueror of dragons and Fae!

I can’t even type it with a straight face.

Just because someone writes about a topic in fiction doesn’t mean they “live” or experience the things they write about.  A young writer is just as capable as a more mature writer in fiction.  Experience is a good teacher, but a good writer can use what they have within them to create their own masterpiece!

Don’t let anyone put limits on you because of your youth, or your maturity.  The last person that told me I was too old to do something was  put to shame when I proved myself.  (OK, I was saying a little prayer of Thank you God! inside that I didn’t embarrass myself.)

Write what you know, dare to write what you don’t know. Regardless of what genre you choose,

Write on my friends, write on!