Thursday, July 31, 2014

Thursday's Hero - Eric From On Opposite Sides by Janet Lane Walters #MFRWauthor

On Saturday morning at a few minutes after ten, Eric left his apartment.  Moments later, his sneakers slapped against the asphalt surface of the path leading to Community Park.  The shade beneath the oak and maple trees bright relief from the relentless August sun.
            Today promised to be as hot as Eastlake Community would be if the problems that beaded like the sweat on his forehead weren’t solved.  For an instant, he allowed himself to regret the injury that had ended his career as a cop and his decision to become a nurse, the way his father and a number of ex-cops he knew had done.  During the week since his arrival, he’d asked himself a dozen times why he’d listened to Sam and applied for the position as Director of Nursing.
            “Something fishy’s going on.  I’m not sure who, what or why.  You’ve got the training to dig out the info.”
            In the past week, he’d learned a number of facts, but none were illegal.  The nurse managers and supervisors couldn’t see or didn’t care about the signs of unrest among
the nurses.  Sometimes, he thought administration was the problem.  But since their contracts protected them, he couldn’t fire the lot.
            He emerged from the tree-sheltered path and stopped to let a herd of children charge past.  Where was Sam and where was the ballfield?  His buddy had volunteered him as first base umpire for the game between the nurses and a team from the other departments.
            “Eric, over here.”
            He jogged toward the picnic table where Sam sat.  The children returned.  With the adroitness he’d once displayed on the football field, he twisted and evaded until he cleared the crowd.
            “Just like old times, my man.”  Sam’s brown hand slapped Eric’s.
            “Hardly.  Where’s your gaudy uniform?”  When Eric had played football, Sam had been a member of the marching band.  He’d also been pianist for the jazz ensemble.  Eric rested his hands on his thighs until he caught his breath.  “I’m too old for this.”
            Sam laughed.  “At thirty-two?  In five minutes, I guarantee you’ll be rejuvenated.”
            “About the game.  Fun or serious?”
            “A bit of both.”  Sam slid from the table.  “The captain and pitcher for the nurses is intense.  She likes 
to win.”
            “Is this a warning?”
            Sam’s laughter rolled the way his fingers moved along the piano keys.  “You’ll see.  Wait ‘til you see her legs.  Long and lean and stretching forever.  Simone threatened to blacken my eyes if I leer.  Grab a beer and let’s go.”
            When Eric reached the field, he forgot the beer.  The hospital’s problems vanished.  He put the beer on the ground several yards from first base and stared at the pitcher.  Sam had been on target.
            He studied her exceptional legs until they vanished beneath brief red shorts.  His stare lingered on the white tee short that clung to her small yet perfect breasts.  Sunlight caught the red glints in her brown hair and turned them into flames.  As she moved from the mound, his body reacted.  How was he going to remember he was her boss?

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Wednesday's Writer's Tip - Story Connectors in Series #MFRWauthor

Inspired by Writing The Fiction Series by Karen Wiesner." For the series where the connection isn't a tight one, the type of series that depends on something other than the quest for a particular object, there need to be ties or story connectors. These stories may be those that can be read without having read the others in the series. For this kind of a series, a tie or probably ties are needed.

The characters in each story come from the same town. If this is the case, there can be a number of story connectors. The name of the town, the places in town that are unique and that the characters visit frequently. This will cause the reader to suddenly feel like they are someone visiting a familiar place.

The connectors in this kind of story could be something else like the use of a particular word in a series. Mysteries often use this The Murder, The Case of... This often shows the reader that perhaps the main character is the same but this is a new case. Often done in mysteries. This can be the use of the main character's name in the title. The reader sees this kind of thing in the title and they say, "Oh, yes."

In my own loosely connected series one story consistently uses a Maine Coon cat as the connector. Even when he's not physically present in the story there are mentions to the cat. Another though the connector is the birth sign of the heroines, there are such things as the name of the town, a favorite eating place, the local hospital. These things are in most of the stories and they help the reader know these stories are part of a series,

So story connectors are needed and especially in the series that aren't tightly woven.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Tuesday's Inspiration -William Carlos Williams #MFRWauthor

Today's quote always makes me smile. A long time ago, a writer friend gave this to me as a small Christmas gift. Our critique group at that time tried to do things we needn't spend much on. That still holds with a limit. So here's the quote.

"I think of writing as a disease. You can't stop it." Once the writing virus invades, writing is something that must be done. Now, maybe this isn't so for some writers. There are those who write one book and never write another. There are some who write the same book over and over again. There are people who think about writing a book and never do. And there are closet writers who never let anyone know they are writing.

What about you? Has the disease of writing made you think you might like to do this? Now there are many things that go into becoming a writer. Some of these things aren't necessarily fun. You have to put your work out there for people to read. You need to send it to an editor. You have to grow a thick skin when reviewers say things you'd rather not hear. Or those people who you thought were your friends make comments about what you've written.

The thing about the disease of writing is how severe is your case. The only cure is to stop writing. What fun would that be?

Monday, July 28, 2014

Meandering on Monday with Janet Lane Walters #MFRWauthor

Meander 1 - Prices - Recently went to check out one of my favorite authors on Kindle and the price of his new book in the electronic form made me blink many times. I will not pay $13.99 for the electronic version of a book. Maybe I'm cheap but that's the way I see this. The highest I will go is $7.99 and even that doesn't sit right with me. The one thing I will never do is find one of those sites where one can find a sharer and download the book for free. I don't even enter contests where the prize is a free ebook. When I judge them in a contest, the moment the contest ends, I remove them from my computer. So this is my price protest for the day.

Meander 2 - The case of the spider. She came from the powder room, her face white with fear. There's a huge spider in there. I grabbed by handy can of bug spray and went inside expecting to see a spider at least the size of a tarantula or larger. I aimed the spray at the creature that was about the size of the nail on my pinkie. The moral of the story is when you're afraid of something it always seems larger than life. Must remember this when writing.

Meander 3 - Toth's Priest is moving forward, Have less that 10,000 words until the book is finished. Then it will be on to another story. This draft is the filling in of details that have been skimmed over or caught by the critique group,

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Sunday's My Series - Katherine Miller - Hudson House Murders by Janet Lane Walters #MFRWauthor

Book 4 in the cozy mystery series sees Katherine going undercover as a nurse at an exclusive nursing home in the town where she lives. I had fun with this book turning a house and the grounds on the river into a nursing home. Of course I enlarged the house and made the grounds more beautiful than they are in person. That's one of the beauties of being a writer taking the familiar and changing it into something else. But back to the story.

Katherine has a new set of tenants. One is a young woman, the granddaughter of a friend who was blamed for something as a child she didn't do. She was sent to relatives and has returned to town. Katherine wishes to re-unite her with her grandmother, a friend of Katherine's. There is at least one family member who wants to prevent this. Katherine's friend falls at church and fractures her hip. She is admitted to the nursing home. Katherine visits her and the friend tells her about some things she heard and about a death among the patients. This triggers Katherine's suspicions.

Suspicions flare and though she talks to her police friend he says there's nothing he can do. Katherine decides to go undercover as a nurse. She has kept her license current. She is hired and works the afternoon shift. And the fun begins.

This book in the series was fun to write. Since Katherine has become a couple with Lars the book adds to the romance and to the mystery.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Saturday's Excerpt from Her Alien Savior by Elle Thorne #MFRWauthor

Her Alien Savior
An alien soldier without emotions.
Finn is three quarters Asazi and one quarter human. He’s a lieutenant in the Asazi army and his desire is to be the best soldier he can. He’s spent a lifetime denying his human side, only to find out that now it makes him key to a mission on Earth. A mission that includes Marissa Sanchez, Target 41, a determined, smart-mouthed spitfire that brings out emotions his Asazi nature rejects.
A human woman with a target on her.
Marissa’s dream is to keep her restaurant from being seized by ruthless developers. She’s broke, out of options, has a deadline, and a cheating ex who offers to marry her and solve her financial problems. Everything changes when a guy named Finn saves her life and provides a completely different kind of option.
Excerpt from Her Alien Savior by Elle Thorne
And just like that—no notice, no clues, nothing—she was gone. The phone rang, she answered it, the call couldn’t have been more than a minute, maybe two. Then she looked like a balloon that had the air drained out of it. She laid her head on the table, then got up, grabbed her purse, didn’t even respond to his question, didn’t even act like she’d heard it, or that he even existed. And then she was gone.
He wondered if he should let her go. He wondered if he should abort the mission altogether, maybe move on to the next target, because this one seemed so . . . so . . . unpredictable.
Then the inexplicable happened, as if someone else was controlling his body, his mind, his actions, he found himself telling Belle he had to run an errand. And he followed her, this dark-haired, green-eyed woman with a warrior’s spirit. He knew why he did it. He’d seen that look she had on her face. He’d seen it on shell-shocked soldiers who’d seen too much, lived through too much and were numb. And numb soldiers did stupid things. Dangerous things.
Did female humans—women, Kal’s word reverberated in his mind—did women do stupid things when they were numb or shell-shocked? He wished he’d paid better attention to some of the lessons. Right now, knowing more about humans would serve him better than knowing all the different techniques of killing, survival, espionage, evasion, reconnaissance, and escape. He slipped into the foot-traffic, keeping enough of a distance behind her, and hoping she wouldn’t notice him. Of course she wouldn’t, he chastised himself. He was trained well. Sure, he counter-argued himself, but not to evade discovery in a densely-populated area.
As soon as he was home, as soon as this mission was complete, he would suggest to the Elite Measures Academy that they implement evasion in populated areas to their curriculum, but for now, he needed to pay better attention. To stay on his guard so she wouldn’t notice him. Who knew how she’d react to his following her. If she were mildly hostile earlier, now she may be outright antagonistic.
She stopped in front of her car, keys in hand. Then shook her head, as if arguing with herself. Her hair caught the sun’s rays, a deep auburn tint in the dark waves. She turned around, a full revolution, and Finn stepped behind a light post, while maintaining an appreciative eye on the way she filled her jeans. She made a sharp 180 and headed down the street.
What was that about? What had that phone call meant? Belle seemed concerned when Marissa told her to get help and run the dinner shift without her, as if this was not a commonplace event. As if Marissa never missed a day’s work. Was she going somewhere to a business meeting? What kind of meeting would have her looking so defeated, so emotionless?
He walked behind her, keeping his distance varied, on occasion crossing the street as she trudged on, almost in a stupor. An hour later she stopped and surveyed her surroundings. He guessed they’d gone a good couple of miles from Two West Two. This was a far shabbier part of town, mostly dotted with bars, car repair shops, and homes with occasional bars across their windows, the ones that weren’t in disarray. The ones that were in disarray, well—he supposed there was no reason to bar anyone from entering those.
She hurried across the street into a—
Finn looked for a sign. Anything that would identify the building. It wasn’t a place of business, as far as he could tell.
A couple followed her in. Then another couple, holding hands. Odd. Maybe it was a business? But one that was unmarked? What sort of business would that be? The green door had no identifying marks, not even a street number. In her state of mind, she’d be easy prey, probably not even paying attention. He couldn’t just let her be in there alone. Or maybe he was overreacting. Maybe he should go away.
And go where? There was nothing else, nowhere else to go. He had one mission. Marissa. Leaving her would mean he wouldn’t be accomplishing his mission. Well, that and the fact he didn’t want to admit to himself he wanted to be where she was. That in itself was too confusing to deal with. So what else was there to do but go in?
No, he’d wait and see if she came out. But first he had to make sure that there were no other exits. The building was two-story, white-washed brick, a metal staircase led to the second floor on the outside. Metal staircase with concrete steps and a metal, ornate handrail.
A quick trip around the building assured there were no windows. Odd, a building without windows. It used to have windows but they’d been sealed with bricks.
Finn took a spot across the street at a café and kept an eye on the green door. For more than an hour. No one came out, four more laughing couples went in. And a couple of unaccompanied women. And one man.
Finn stretched in the chair, the human epidermis uncomfortable over his own skin in this heat. The sun was lowering. Thankfully. But not going down, not yet.
Maybe he should make an entrance. Just to verify she was okay. For the mission, he told himself. Knowing he wouldn’t believe his own lie.
He crossed over and approached the door. Not even a peephole for security reasons. He tugged on the handle. The door yielded without hesitation. Dimness greeted his eyes. And took some adjusting to.
A bar.
This place was a bar. Jazz music drifted throughout the sofa and love seat dotted place. Candles and overstuffed large chairs added to the ambience.
But no Marissa.
He made his way upstairs. More sofas. No bar. Couples were in the sofas, but no one who was unaccompanied. Did he miss those, where were they?
He skimmed down the steps, two at a time. Around the corner. There she was. Her back was to him, but she was in front of the bar’s mirror. A drink in her hand.
He stepped back—quick—but NOT quick enough. She frowned at his image in the mirror, as if to be sure she wasn’t seeing things, and turned around.
She scratched her head, almost childlike in her action. He knew what that meant. Or hoped it didn’t mean what he thought it did.
Her slurred word confirmed it. She was drunk.
“You’re following. You. Are. Following.” She took a drink. “Me.”
He didn’t know what to say. If he confirmed it would she accuse him of being a stalker? Would the bartender call the cops? That would be ugly. If he denied it—no point in that—she’d know the truth.
“I was concerned.” Might as well go with the truth.
“About me? Little ol’ me?” She set the drink down, and it splashed up, clearly a hard landing. “You’re a scout. For one of those developers.” A sneer marred her features.
He was confused. What developers? Did he want to let her know he didn’t know what she was talking about? May as well, since her thinking that he was a scout for a developer wasn’t working out too well for him. “I don’t know what you mean. What developers?”
She drew back, exaggeratedly so, almost theatrical. The stunned expression that replaced the sneer would have been funny, if the circumstances weren’t the same, if she didn’t hate him without a reason. “What do you mean, what developers? You don’t know? You didn’t—Belle didn’t—you—”
Evidently she wasn’t going to assemble a sentence that made sense, so he would have to take the lead. “I don’t know what you’re talking about. I left right after you did. You didn’t seem to be okay.”
“And you were worried about me.”
“We’ve already established that.” He pushed her drink away. She’d had enough and was too difficult to communicate with.
She brought it closer, took the straw between her teeth. The fluid rose through the opaque straw. She closed her eyes as she drank. If she weren’t getting on his nerves with her incomprehension, he’d have been—
—cancel that thought. Too late—
—he was aroused. Very much so.
Cursed woman. Her cheeks hollowed as she sucked on the straw and damn if his body didn’t have a surge of electricity that flowed through it. Thoughts ran rampant through his mind. Thoughts and a visual. And just like that—wham!—his wings pushed up against the human skin. He hoped they wouldn’t pop through. That’s all he needed. Functional or not, his wings would not go unnoticed, even in a dark bar.
He shifted away, hoping that everything would subside. Not much time in this body and it was already controlling him and in return it threatened results that were uncontrollable.
“Oh, now you’re mad?” Her head was cocked, one eyebrow raised, green eyes gleaming in the dancing candlelight.
“No, but I am wondering what this developer business is all about.”
“Don’t worry about it. So if you’re a scout, but you don’t work for a developer, then . . .” She swirled the straw around and around in the glass, the ice tinkling a soft jingle. Her eyes followed the tiny whirlpool created by the straw. In a flash, her head popped up, her eyes wide, like she’d seen something. Or knew something. “I get it. You’re a talent scout. A headhunter for restaurants? Looking for managers?”
He took a second to evaluate an answer. She didn’t seem to be appalled by that idea, seemed pleased by it. As if that wasn’t a bad thing. As if it might actually be a good thing.
“Yes.” He tried to keep his tone confident, as if this was the truth. He raised himself taller in the stool. “That’s exactly right.”
She sank into a more relaxed pose.
He didn’t exhale in relief, not wanting her to know, but he felt his pulse going back to normal. And his passion, and with it his wings retracting.

Friday, July 25, 2014

How She Does It featuring Elle Thorne #MFRWauthor

An alien soldier without emotions.
Finn is three quarters Asazi and one quarter human. He’s a lieutenant in the Asazi army and his desire is to be the best soldier he can. He’s spent a lifetime denying his human side, only to find out that now it makes him key to a mission on Earth. A mission that includes Marissa Sanchez, Target 41, a determined, smart-mouthed spitfire that brings out emotions his Asazi nature rejects.
A human woman with a target on her.
Marissa’s dream is to keep her restaurant from being seized by ruthless developers. She’s broke, out of options, has a deadline, and a cheating ex who offers to marry her and solve her financial problems. Everything changes when a guy named Finn saves her life and provides a completely different kind of option.
We all know there are six elements of fiction. Who, What, When, Where, Why and How. I believe the first five lead to the sixth which for me is plot. What's your take on this?
 To me the most important part of a story is WHO. Readers connect with characters. The other stuff can make it interesting, but if there’s no connection, there’s really no story.
1.      How do you create your characters? Do you have a specific method?
 My characters aren’t something I create. They’re always in my head, long before the story comes to fruition. They simply find themselves in the right story for them. I know in general who a character is, but the story fleshes them out in a way that I don’t foresee. In fact, though I am a plotter, I really don’t know exactly how a character will react until they are put in that position which merits a reaction.
2. Do your characters come before the plot?
 Probably. They lie in wait until the right plotline comes into play. Then they take over.
3. Do you know how the story will end before you begin? In a general way or a specific one?
   Generally, yes. I do know.
4. Do you choose settings you know or do you have books of settings and plans of houses sitting around?
No books of settings laying around. J Yet.
Some of the settings I know. A different planet is definitely something I don’t know. It springs from the mind.
5. Where do you do your research? On line or from books?
Online and in person.
6. Are you a draft writer or do you revise as you go along and why? Do you sketch out your plot or do you let the characters develop the route to the end?
Sketch out for sure, that way I don’t meander too much.