Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Thursday's Heroine - Amara from Toth's Priest by Janet Lane Walters Pub. by Books We Love LTD #MFRWauthor

A chill walked Amara’s spine and broke her concentration on the movements of the martial arts exercise. As she hit the wall to propel herself into the air, she slipped and landed in a heap on the matted gym floor of the church run community center. She peered toward the door. The local drug lord and his nephew paused in the doorway. Ramos was probably headed to Father Joe’s office for his weekly visit. Her hands coiled into fists.

Ramos moved away but Miguel sauntered to her side.  He stroked her cheek with a finger. Her body shook. Every day he grew bolder.

Miguel leaned closer. “Gonna own you, babe. Make you mine.”

She shook her head. “No.”

He leered. “Once I take you hard, I’ll own you body and soul ‘til I tire of you. Then my boys will have a taste.”

Words of defiance froze on her tongue. His hooded gaze stripped her naked. He squeezed her breast. “See you soon.”

She rose and completed the final exercise of today’s martial arts training session. A quick glance at the door showed he was gone. She should have felt relief but her hands shook and the sour smell of fear remained.

“Ready for a match?” another of the students asked.

Amara shook her head. “I have to leave.”

The teenager stepped closer. “Wonder what Ramos wants?”

“Father Joe will know but I don’t intend to ask.” With shaking hands she pulled on her jeans and tee shirt and tied her sneakers. In a half-run, she hurried to the door and left the community center.
Outside, aromas reached her. Cooking food, exhaust from cars and busses. Her own fear-laced sweat. Noises penetrated. Music, horns, people’s voices. Her head darted from side to side. Was anyone watching her?

What could she do?  Each time she’d encountered Ramos’s nephew her fear strengthened. Each time his words carried the same threat.

“Gonna plow you good, babe. You’ll sing for me real sweet.”

She had no one to guard her back. Hadn’t had anyone since her father’s death. She sighed. She’d almost had a friend. An undercover cop had saved her. Then Ramos had discovered the man’s identity. Seth had vanished. Was he dead?

As she scurried toward the apartment building where she lived with her uncle and his family, she fought to control the fear rocketing through her thoughts. Her breathing came in quick gasps. After her father’s death and her mother’s suicide, her uncle had reluctantly given her a home. Social Security benefits had been the reason but she would soon age out.

When she reached the building instead of stopping on the fourth floor she continued up the stairs toward the roof. She wasn’t ready to hear her uncle’s demands for her to quit school and find a job. She rubbed her arms. There was no one to help her.

The sound of feet on the stairs from below reached her. She crouched and peered through the railing. She sucked in a breath. Would her pounding heart shatter her ribs? Why was Ramos here? One of his bodyguards pounded on her uncle’s door.

When the men entered the apartment, she raced lightly up the rest of the stairs and opened the door to the roof. The heavy metal slab nearly slipped from her hands. She paused for a moment to use a piece of wood to block the handle. She ran across the roof. Once she reached the edge, she slipped over the low wall and placed her feet on the fire escape. Step by step she made her way down until she reached the fourth floor and the windows of her uncle’s living room. Had she missed anything of importance? The unseasonable heat of the autumn day meant open windows. She crouched where she could hear.

“Mr. Ramos, what do you want from me?” Her uncle’s voice vibrated with fear.

“I have come to offer safety for you, your wife and children. There will also be money allowing you to relocate.”

Ramos’ smooth voice sent chills darting over Amara’s skin. Her hands clenched.

“What do you want me to do?” her uncle asked.

“You have a beautiful niece. I have a handsome nephew who is my heir. Miguel wants the girl. Bring her to me and all will be as I promise.”

Would her uncle accept? Amara knew the answer. He had no love for her other than for the money she brought into the house. Her body tensed. The metal of the fire escape burned her hands.

“What if she won’t obey me? She holds herself apart from the family.”

Ramos laughed. “You will make her obey. Aren’t you the man of the house? Bring her to me. She was seen entering the building not long ago.”

When her uncle said nothing, Amara felt a moment of hope.

“I said now,” Ramos barked.

“But…” Her uncle rose. Would he tell the drug lord she hadn’t come home?

To keep from crying out, Amara bit her finger. Time to move. She had to escape but where could she go? When they didn’t find her in her room would her uncle remember how she often went to the roof? She eased to her feet. No time or way to reach her room and the stash of money she’d hidden. She needed a place to hide. With care she climbed to the roof and rolled over the wall.
After her breathing slowed, she searched her pockets. Phone. Twelve dollars, mostly singles and some change. The paper Seth had given her before he disappeared. If she ever needed an escape, today was the time. She read the words.
Life got you down? Have unsolved problems?
Looking for an escape? The answer is in your stars.
A counselor is available night and day.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Wednesday's Writer's Tip Step 3 in Planning Your Novel "MFRWauthor

 Karen Wiesner in her book From First Draft To Finished Novel calls the third step Blueprint. In this step there are a number of levels. This becomes an outline and includes a number of features.

Character sketch begin the process for her. For me the first step is designing the plot in a very general way. Much depends on if you're a plot person or a character person.

Let's look at the character sketch. This means writing down everything you can think of about the character. For me I choose a character's Sun sigh, Moon and Ascendant. This gives me a number of character points. Some go together and some are in opposition giving the character questions about what they want and why they want it. I generally don't really know my characters until I finish a rough draft of the story.

Plot Sketch is her second point. As you saw I'm the reverse. The plot sketch depends on the type of story being written. A mystery has one kind of plot. A romance a different one and there are many variations. I decide on the beginning and the end. The middle will come as the rough draft is written.

Then there's the Setting sketch and this can be a minimal or as worked out as needed. This for me is world building and the world may be contemporary, historical or fantasy. Al;l the features here are included even the houses,

These three sketches form the blueprint of the plan of the story you;'re creating.

Tuesday's Inspiration - Painting Bright Pictures - Using Sight #MFRWauthor

John D. MacDonald made this statement in an essay. "The writer must provide the materials with which the reader will construct bright pictures in his head."

When I thought about what this meant I realized those words meant the sights, sounds, taste, smell and touch of things. Describing those give the reader a way to associate with the story and build a picture of what the world you've created is all about. Think of writing about a house. Sure you can describe it as a rectangular box but then add the little details and you can make the house any house you wish. Let's give it a try.

The house next door is a Victorian. This does bring a hazy picture to the reader. But add something like this. The "Painted Lady" next door wore her coat of pale lavender with purple touches. Brings the house in clearer. Perhaps this house is different. The purple shutters on the Victorian house next door hung like limp fingers. Gives a different picture.

In other inspirations we'll look at the other senses. Sight is one used ofted by writers but the use is more like "She saw a tall man. Or she saw three children. Or he saw a car." I could go on forever but you get the picture. Without the little picture the reader will glaze over what the characters see and forget. He saw a sleek red convertible and envy filled his heart. She saw broad shoulders and wondered how his shirt remained intact. Of the three children, one caught her eye. The little girl's yellow curls resembled a dandelion making her wish to run her hand across the child's head.

Hopefully you get the picture. But using sight beyond the mundans helps the reader form a bright picture in his head.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Meandering On Monday with Janet Lane Walters #MFRWauthor

Meander 1 - I always wonder how one manages to combine writing with promoting. To do both takes a lot of twisting and turning with ones life. Then add a four ball where one must add something else into the mix and there's no real time to do much of anything. I'll get through the twisted time in my life but it becomes hard to do all one wants to do.

Meander 2 - Been reading and I always wonder about books someone raves about but that leave me cold. I've started one just recently that has several people saying what a great movie it will make. I don't see this but I'm only on chapter 2 so maybe the story will pick up. I sure hope so.

Meander 3 - While I'm writing it's going slower than it had before I hope that doesn't mean I'm running out of steam. The story should be a good one when I finish. I like the plot. Divided Dreams is into the third try and what I have so far seems good to me. A romance but never a typical one. The trick to getting into main stream romance is to have the hero and heroine together from almost page one. They don't come together in my story until the end of chapter 1 some 3000 words from the opening. That's why I'll never make the best seller list. I plain don't like to write exactly to a formula.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Sunday - Talking about My Books - Pursuing Michael West MD

Michael West MD has a five year plan before he can consider making a commitment. He’s happy dating women who have no desire for a long-term affair. Encountering Zelda, the pest, the menace, the little girl next door who has impacted his life makes him want to run. She managed to ruin his senior prom and sent several of his dates running. Now she’s grown and the nurse manager of the surgical unit where he will see her every day. What’s a doctor to do but run?

Zelda has loved Michael for year. She knows of the odd accidents her presence has caused him. After an encounter in the condo swimming pool, the accidents become hers but she refuses to give up her quest. The problem is his dating system. He seems to be on an alphabetical quest. He’s just met G and she’s Z. Can she find a way to turn his thoughts to her or must she give up her pursuit?

Writing this story was a lot of fun, especially since it's a tongue in cheek nurse/doctor romance. One day the character of Michael came to me and I realized he was dating women in an alphabetic order. Suddenly I needed a heroine to suit him and Zelda was born.

Her first acquaintance with Michael was when she and her single mother moved into the house next door. Zelda leans over the fence between the backyards, falls, hits Michael who is holding a football that breaks a window in his parents' house. He is four years older and at this point girls aren't of interest. But Zelda continues to plague him through high school and even appears at his college.

Michael has a ton of student loans for college and medical school and a father whose idea is a man pays his debts before he does anything else. Michael is haunted by these debts and decides he won't get serious until they're paid off.

Zelda has other ideas and her own unique way of pursuing him. Check out the story and read the trials of Michael as he tries to avoid Zelda.  The real question is who will succumb to love first.

Saturday Victoria Chatham talking about Heroes, Heroines and Villains

Do you write a single genre or do your fingers flow over the keys creating tales in many forms? Does your reading choices reflect your writing choices? Are there genres you wouldn’t attempt?

I write historical novels, especially Regency which is my first love. I also have two novellas in a trilogy that is set in the Edwardian era. Book 3 in this trilogy is coming soon. I’ve loved the Regency period since I read my first Georgette Heyer novel, Frederica. Since then I’ve read many more Regency novels by various authors including Mary Balogh, Jo Beverley and Lisa Kleypas. I also have several outlines for contemporary western romances, these prompted by authors Linda Lael Miller, Diana Palmer and Jo Goodman. These outlines are still under the bed but could work as a series as all the characters are linked. Paranormal, science fiction and fantasy are subjects I just wouldn’t attempt as I do not have the particular mind-set to even want to try. I’m a slow writer and it would take me far too long to dream up my own ghosts and vampires and other worlds, especially when there are so many talented authors who already do that.

1.      Heroes, Heroines, Villains. Which are your favorite to write? Does one of these come easy and why?

I like my heroes and heroines to be as equal as the genre will allow so I can’t say that either is favourite. Usually I begin with whichever character makes the most chatter in my mind. Something akin to the squeaky wheel getting all the attention.  Villains I have a hard time with as I tend to not make them villainous enough! I have to dig really deep to make them truly nefarious within the context of the story.

2.      Heroes. How do you find them? Do pictures, real life or plain imagination create the man you want every reader to love? Do they come before the plot or after you have the idea for the story?

This is a really good reason to look at guys and I find magazines for men and adverts in which men are featured to be really useful. I collect these pictures and put them in a file and often will build up a physical picture from these.  Although I must say I think I’m lucky in that my characters usually come to me pretty well fully formed. Sometimes a name will pop into my head which starts me off building the  character. Other times I ‘see’ the character and then have to come up with a name. I will write a timeline for each character, starting with their date of birth so I can use astrological signs to build their strengths and weaknesses and likes and dislikes. The characters always come before the plot. They are usually so clear to me and then I have to decide what happens to them.

3.      Heroines. How do you find them? Do pictures, real life or imagination create the woman you want the reader to root for? Do they appear before the plot or after you have the idea for the story?

My heroines appear as do my heroes so I follow the same process with them. I recently met a young lady with a very pretty name and asked her if she’d mind me naming a character after her. She was thrilled. I’m not sure yet in which book that character will appearbut she’s pretty feisty already as I like my heroines to be capable of standing up for themselves.

4.      Villains or villainesses or an antagonist, since they don’t always have to be the bad guy or girl. They can be a person opposed to the hero’s or heroine’s obtaining their goal. How do you choose one? How do you make them human?

Picking or creating a villain or villainess comes after I have created a plot. Who will mostly be affected by my hero and heroine’s relationship? Who wants to keep them apart? What does that person hope to gain? Whatever I come up with I have to work at making the situation worse but I always like to create a feasible reason for my villains to be the way they are and there are so many emotions to choose from whetherit be revenge, fear, or just plain envy. 

5.      What is your latest release? Who is the hero, heroine and or the villain?

His Dark Enchantress came out in paperback in August. The hero is Lucius, Earl of Avondale and the heroine is Miss Emmaline Devereux. I actually have two villains in this novel, Lady Rosemary Darnley and her nephew Sir Peregrine Styles who does all her dirty work for her.

6.      What are you working on now?

I’m finishing the third book in the Buxton Chronicles trilogy, Shell Shocked. It’s set right at the end of World War 1. My characters in this series are Lord Randolph and Lady Serena Buxton. Whatever I am writing I am always jotting down notes for other stories as ideas come to me so I don’t think I’ll ever be short of material.

7.      How can people find you?



Thursday, November 20, 2014

Friday's Blogs of books by Victoria Chatham

A London season is the last thing bright, beautiful Emmaline Devereux wants. But her grandfather knows he is dying and insists that she find herself a husband and secure her future. But Emmaline has a past that, if revealed, will undoubtedly bring disgrace on her and those with whom she associates.
Lucius, Earl of Avondale, has sworn to not marry until he is forty, but fate brings Emmaline to his door. Intrigued by her, Lucius swears to unravel her mystery even if it does mean a marriage of convenience with her to appease her grandfather. But then Emmaline’s past catches up with her and she is abducted. Will Lucius want to find her and will the truth tear them apart or strengthen their love?

Lady Serena Buxton follows her husband from England to Cold Creek, a gold mining town in northern California. But, when she arrives, Randolph is missing.
The sheriff seems to be keeping a watchful eye on her. She cannot trust Douglas King, the mine manager who treats her as if she is already a widow. The bank manager refuses her request for access to Randolph’s funds. With no husband and no money, what is a girl to do?
Serena has an unsuspected and quite shocking talent. Two enterprising local ladies help her prepare for a public performance but the only suitable venue in town belongs to King with whom she strikes a bargain. The whole town turns out to see the show, the venue is packed.
But who is in the crowd watching? Will King insist on exacting his fees and will Serena be reunited with the husband she loves?

Lord Randolph and Lady Serena Buxton’s orderly lives are upset by Pinkerton Agent Stuart Montgomery’s unexpected arrival at their estate in England. And this is no ordinary social call!
Montgomery is investigating four suspicious deaths at an American aviation company, and of the two remaining partners one is the old friend of Lady Serena’s. Can Montgomery convince his friends to return to America with him in hopes of finding the missing piece to the puzzle that will help him close the case?
Serena has her doubts. Her concern for her friend, Sir Hilary, is overlaid by her fear that Randolph may once again find his life in danger from an old adversary who once left him for dead. Does Montgomery really want their assistance? Or is his case just an excuse to renew a potentially scandalous association with her?  Time is running out as events escalate revealing more secrets than ever suspected.