Sunday, September 21, 2014

Sunday, Looking at my books - Choices by Janet Lane Walters #MFRWauthor #Suspense #BooksWeLove

Choices was begun as a sequel to a book that had been published but then the line changed. I had just four chapters written and put it aside. Not only because I wasn't sure where to send the book but also I had written myself to the point where I didn't know where the story was going. The heroine originally was in her fifties and had never been married or had much to do with men. Not a great start for a romance.

When I went back and looked at it, I realized I did like the heroine but I'd made her much too old. She now became the Director of Nursing at the hospital where she'd worked since graduating. I gave her an old affair with a doctor who used ehr and walked away, a college sweetheart who couldn't stand the fact that she had a sister who was mentally challenged. I also wanted to put a bit of intrigue into the story. The villain of the story became the hospital's CEO who wanted to destroy the nurse's union by forcing a strike. Not only that but he wanted to farm many of the hospital services such as food services and cleaning to companies used by friends of his.

Now I had that part of the plot so I needed to give the heroine a romance. In a way I gave her two. She rescues a kitted and nearly gets hit by a car. She's rescued by the owner of a local bar/restaurant. He is a widower with grown children and he finds her sad and fascinating. Then back into her life comes the old college flame who has an anemia and he regrets walking away from her. He's divorced. To add a complication here, his nephew is the hospital's CEO.

The story was fun to write and some of the things I put in the book I found in newspaper articles after I'd written the book and it was published. Life can sometimes imitate fiction.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Saturday's Blurbs featuring books by Kat Attalla #MFRWauthor #BooksWeLove

With oil wells springing up like weeds and the Bedouins getting restless, what's a modern Nadiarian prince to do?

Before he can deal with domestic issues Prince Yousef A’del Sharif must deal with the arrival if his college sweetheart, Honor McPherson. Their passionate affair lasted through his year of graduate school at Harvard. But when it came time to return to the oil-rich nation, Honor wasn’t ready to follow. He took her reluctance for rejection and they parted ways.
One year later Honor hesitantly touches down in Nadiar to be with her ailing father, who works for the royal family. And she has reason to be nervous. Yousef left her with more than a broken heart. She has his son. Yousef is livid and wants revenge. But to insure his parental rights with the child, he must instead convince her to marry him by any means necessary.
But can he win over her heart when he played on her deepest fears to make her stay?

Prince Samir A’Del Sharif is a sexy, sarcastic, bad boy and more trouble than ultraconservative Delilah Jordan has ever known

When she was a child, Delilah Jordan’s Nadiarian father signed a marriage contract from his deathbed to ensure his daughter’s future. Her outraged American mother whisks her back to the states and never says a word. Years later she discovers that the contract was never dissolved. Shocked, but sure her husband will not want to be married either she set out for Nadiar to end her inconvenient marriage. She doesn't count on her attraction to her husband.
Prince Samir A’Del Sharif is also stunned to discover that the marriage is still valid. The last thing the cynical playboy wants is a wife-- even if she is a sensual beauty. Honor bound by a promise made to her hero-father, he cannot give her the quiet divorce she seeks. If she convinces her family to allow him out of the arrangement he will grant her request. But after waiting twenty years for the return of her granddaughter the matriarch of the family will never agree to anything that takes Delilah away from them again.
As they work tirelessly to prove just how unsuited they are they keep stumbling over their undeniable attraction. But can the inconvenient marriage turn into a lifetime of love?

He is no Prince Charming.

With seven older brothers, Rashid Mansour Khalid, black sheep of the ruling family of Touzar will never ascend to the throne. Just as well because the former mercenary has no interest in a royal life. After four years in Afghanistan, he moves to Boston and provides private security to diplomats. His new client-- the king of neighboring Nadiar. Assignment-- provide security for Princess Mona. The catch-- don't let her know she is being protected while she attends graduate school in Boston.
She is not your average Princess.

Mona A’Del Sharif led a sheltered existence. She wants to finish her education in The States while having a typical American experience; sharing an apartment with roommates and working a part-time job. However, she isn’t looking for romance, especially from a sexy alpha-male like Rashid. He insists that because they share similar cultures that he will watch over her.
When a romantic relationship develops, Mona battles with her conscience. She knows what is expected of her as a Nadiarian princess and it does not include losing her heart and soul to a working class man. Falling for the client wasn’t part of Rashid’s plan either. But will she be relieved or shattered when she learns he hasn’t been honest about who and what he is?

AVALABLE FROM BOOKS WE LOVE wherever books are sold

On the eve of a yearlong transfer to Singapore, fabric designer Caitlin Adams threw caution to the wind. Spending a soulful night in the arms of sexy Andrew Sinclair made her want to put hard-won cynicism aside and believe in dreams of a future together. Until she discovered Andrew had lied to her about their chance encounter. A year later, only her cherished baby's face was a reminder of the man she was still trying to forget.
Falling for a spirited woman like Caitlin was the last thing hard-headed businessman Andrew Sinclair meant to do, especially after she'd stormed out of his hotel room before he could explain himself. Now she's back in The States, and he's determined to be a father to their child, even if it means filing a custody suit to get her attention.
Desperate to avoid a legal battle, Caitlin’s only choice is to agree to live in his house for six months-time enough for him to bond with his son. But Andrew is about to learn that love can't be negotiated unless he's willing to make his heart part of the bargain.

When an independent, blue-blooded heiress is placed in protective custody with a controlling, blue collar cop, the sparks fly.

Detective Wolf Krieger blames himself for his partner’s death. Since then, he has trusted nobody: Not his new partner and certainly not himself. Wolf is assigned the job of protecting a witness who has received deaths. He should be on the streets investigating, not stuck in some penthouse, babysitting an heiress. Especially one with brains, beauty and a body that could tempt a saint onto the road to sin.
 Kelsey Winston is not your average heiress. A short and very bitter marriage to a violent man shattered her opinion of the male species. And the dark, brooding detective assigned to protect her, is not likely to change her point of view. Wolf is determined to keep a cool distance. Her defiant attitude fosters his belief that she is a spoiled princess. His assignment is to keep her safe, and he will do his job his way, whether she likes it or not.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Friday Kat Attalla is talking about Heroes, Heroines and Villains #MFRWauthor #Suspense #BooksWeLove

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

I write both contemporary romance and romantic suspense. And while I read all genres those are my two favorites. One genre that I particularly enjoy reading is techno-thrillers but I would never attempt to write one. I'm not sure I would be willing to take on horror either.

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

I think my favorites are the heroines. I like them spunky with attitude and a little sarcastic. A lot like me. My heroes are alpha males. I was married for 30 years to a beta man and I wouldn't change it for the world but our great romance would not be a page turning book. I think the villains come hardest to me. I don't think or at least I don't want to think that there is Evil. Even villain has a story. But then in the end I end up making them too sympathetic.

 3. 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?

 I think that the most important thing about a hero is that your reader falls in love with him by the end of the book. I usually have an idea for the plot first. Then I choose the hero. I like them strong, flawed and oozing with sexuality

 4. 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?

Once I have an idea of who the hero is I imagine the exact opposite to pair him up with. I heard once that if your hero is a firefighter your heroine should be a pyromaniac. A bit extreme but it makes the point. External conflict is easy to create but internal conflict comes from the characters. They need to be at odds with each other to carry the book.

5. 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?

I have gotten a lot of my story ideas from the news or just from observing like around me. My latest works have been novellas in the series I titled Married to a Prince. They are all set in fictitious countries in the Middle East where the alpha male rules. A smart and ambitious woman who is aware of what she wants and knows how to get it, matches wits with the man who says "not me."  Usually the stories do not involve villains. Probably the biggest issues are the cultural differences.

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

 My latest release is The Prodigal Prince. Rashid is the black sheep of the ruling family who walked away from his title. Mona is the princess of a neighboring country who wants to study abroad without the constraints of palace bodyguards. The hero is hired by her father, the king, to protect her but never let her know that she is being watched.

7. What are you working on now?

My current work in process is a story between the older brother of the hero in the Prodigal Prince and former roommate of the princess, a feminist with a tragic past.  Despite their opposite beliefs an undeniable attraction has them agreeing to a no strings pure sex relationship. The villain of the story is not so much a person but the paparazzi who find hunting Royals a popular sport and a huge conflict for a woman hoping to prove herself as an equal when they are determined to paint her as no more than a mistress.

 8. How can people find you?  website
Facebook Kathryn Butti Attalla

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Thursday's Hero - Kashe from Bast's Warrior by Janet Lane Walters #MFRWauthor #BooksWeLove

Kashe of Mero sat on his bed in his chamber of the family compound. His head pounded. When he opened his eyes he saw the day had progressed into late afternoon. The bright light made him wince. He recalled the past night’s celebration for the retirement of the family’s arms master who had been his mentor and friend. From the Tuten he had learned the skills of a warrior. Last night Kashe had finally defeated his mentor with weapons and a capacity for beer.

“Kashe.” His father’s voice stabbed like a dagger.

He groaned and sat up. The drum in his head banged. Leave me alone, he wanted to shout. The Nomarch of Mero’s anger toward his middle son was nothing new. What did he want now?
As second son Kashe had been marked for the priesthood. He had no desire to become a priest. He found satisfaction in his role as a warrior. Yet, duty called for obedience.

If any other temple had been chosen he might have agreed. He had no taste for this newly risen cadre of men seeking to force their god into the circle of goddesses and gods of the Two Lands. Aken Re had been unknown until the invaders had arrived. The army of those men had been defeated so why did their priests linger?

The beaded curtain jangled adding cacophonic notes to the beating in his head. “Answer me.” The nomarch entered and halted at the foot of Kashe’s bed. “Rise and present yourself in the central hall. We have guests. Your older brother has news of importance.”

Kashe groaned. He and Pian were a year apart in age and generations in philosophy. In embracing the new religion, His brother had seen an advantage for bringing his ambitions to fruition. He believed the priests would smooth his path to the pharaoh’s chair.

Kashe sat on the edge of the bed and considered his brother and his plans. Pian was slender and shorter than Kashe. He fit the picture of an ideal pharaoh in appearance but not in character. He was cruel and selfish. His sense of justice and honor were lacking. He had no love for Kashe. 

“Throwback” was the mildest of the names Pian used as needles to jab his younger brother. Kashe had strengths his brother lacked. Every match on the training field had ended with Kashe as the victor.

He rose. He couldn’t help that in stature and build he resembled the Nubian ancestors his father and older brother chose to forget in their desire for power. If Pian became pharaoh the Nomarch of Mero would become his son’s chief advisor.

“Are you coming?” his father asked.

If he said no who knew what would happen. Kashe stretched. “As soon as I wash and dress.” Though he would rather have bathed he would make do here. He glanced in the polished metal mirror. His warrior’s braid was neat enough. He poured water from a pitcher into a basin and washed. After donning a fresh kilt he fitted wrist and arm bands and selected a collar necklace.As he left the family sleeping quarters he braced for the evening meal, the main one of the day. He entered the central hall and hid a desire to duck behind one of the pillars. On the dais his parents sat with a pair of priests. Their gold medallions glittered in the torch light. His older brother stood before the men.

As Kashe neared the platform he noticed the robes were embroidered with gold-rayed discs representing their god. The pair were opposites. One was rotund, smiling and fluttering his hands while speaking. The other was lean with a hawk-like nose and a somber expression. Kashe noticed his younger brother lingered in the shadows near the dais. If anything was to be learned Namose would know.

The nomarch gestured. He strode past his sisters who were engaged in a board game and gossip. 

When Pian’s voice took on a tone both servile and arrogant Kashe grimaced.

“My lords, Oris and Hebu, beloved of Aken Re, has the daughter been found? I so desire to look in her face and claim her as my chief wife. The honor you offer humbles me.”

The rotund priest’s smile broadened. “As yet we have not found her, but the signs point to where she is hidden. When the auspicious hour arrives we will claim her.” He turned from Pian to the nomarch. “You know the price.”

The nomarch pointed to Kashe. “My lords of Aken Re, this is my middle son. He is skilled with weapons and has a vast knowledge of strategy. He will enter your temple as a priest.”

Both men studied Kashe. Their gazes moved from his head to his feet. Embarrassment and shame over the avidity of their appraisal made him flush. He was not some piece of livestock or a slave to be purchased. A cauldron of anger bubbled.

Oris rubbed his fleshy hands. “Indeed, he is magnificent.”

The thin priest’s eyes narrowed. He addressed his companion in an unfamiliar language. “Nomarch, he will do nicely,” he added.

Kashe wanted to rub his arms to ward off a sudden chill, but he wouldn’t allow the pair to see his distaste and fear. He kept his gaze steady and examined the thin priest. Hebu’s eyes were serpent-like, dull and flat. Kashe’s hands formed fists. Though Oris had been named as the chief priest, his companion was the more dangerous of the pair. Another thing became clear. Hebu belonged to the defeated enemy. Kashe had heard that language from a prisoner his father had brought to the compound as a slave.

Oris nodded. “He will be the perfect battle leader for our men.”

Pian made a face. “He will be yours when I become pharaoh.”

The nomarch shook his head. “He will be theirs when I decree.”

Kashe drew a deep breath. “Father, I beg you to change your mind. I have no desire to serve in any temple. I’m no scholar and have no knowledge of portents and omens. I’ve no wish for easy living or in having my days ordered by rituals that allow no freedom.” He turned to leave.

His father grasped his arm. “You will obey. Your sacrifice will undo all your willfulness and the shame your tainted heritage has brought to me. When this new moon completes the cycle you will enter the temple of Aken Re.

Though he remained until the evening meal ended his thoughts centered on finding a way to escape his father’s command. He had to leave home, but where would he go? He listened to his father, older brother, and the priests as they made plans. Finding the missing daughter of the last pharaoh was their goal. The priests sought her. So did his father. The one who found her first would control the future of the Two Lands.

As soon as the meal ended Kashe retreated to his sleeping chamber. He had no desire to listen as more schemes were hatched and scenarios developed. He thought of escaping to his favorite beer house, but not tonight. The entourage accompanying the priests was quartered on the roof of the house and in the garden. He had no desire to have his departure noted.

He parted the beaded curtain and strode into his chamber. A pile of scrolls stood on the low table. He opened one and crushed the thin papyrus sheet. “The Ways of Aken Re, the True and Only God.”
Distaste curved his mouth into a scowl. He wanted to burn the scrolls or slash them to shreds. Not a good idea, he decided. Know your enemy. His mentor had repeated those words until they were engraved in Kashe’s mind. Though Tuten had meant this advice for contests of arms Kashe believed they applied to his current situation. He would read the scrolls, but not tonight. The crescent moon didn’t provide enough light. Neither would the saucer lamp. He retired to bed for a night’s sleep filled with dreams he wanted to forget.

For two days Kashe read. The contents of the scrolls disgusted him. The priests of Aken Re had diluted and twisted the teachings of the temples of the Two Lands and skewed them to fit their version of the world. They intended to make their god supreme. There were tales in the scrolls telling how Aken Re had defeated the ancient goddesses and gods of the Two Lands, major and minor and eaten their essences.

He finished the last scroll. What now? Did the rotund priest intend to remain here until the moon ended? The serpent-eyed one had vanished. Most of the entourage was now housed near the river. The departure of the strangers had relieved some of Kashe’s fears. Not all, for he had no plan to escape the fate his father had decreed.

With a scowl he scooped the scrolls and carried them to the west loggia. There, he dumped them in a heap on one of the low tables. As he neared his chamber he heard two of the slaves speaking. Their gossip made him smile. The remaining priest planned to leave in two or three days.

Kashe returned to his chamber and went to the window. When a large hawk landed on the sill he stepped back. He stared at the avian. The bird made no attempt to attack. he held out his arm. The hawk dropped a scroll and an amulet that landed on the floor with a click. The avian settled on Kashe’s wrist cuff. He stared into its eyes.

“Horu,” Kashe said.

The hawk’s head bobbed as though in answer. “Horru.”

Did hawks have names? “I’ll call you Horu Ka, soul of the god of the skies.” The bird returned to the window. Kashe picked up the gold amulet. A grin crossed his face as he read the hieroglyphics. “Chosen of Horu.” Here was the perfect reason to refuse his father’s plans for him. Would the nomarch and Pian accept the calling? Kashe was sure he would learn.

He lifted the scroll and read the words.

Three will come from afar, warrior, ruler and advisor will be joined by three from the Two Lands. United, they will drive away those who seek to destroy the land and the people. Success brings prosperity. Failure means death. During the time when each pair works to complete their task they may not join flesh to flesh. Celibate they must remain until their quest ends lest disaster strikes the Two Lands.

He walked from his chamber into the central hall where the family and the priest had gathered for the evening meal. His father gestured. “You’ve been hiding in your chamber for days. Have you decided to obey?”

Kashe shrugged. “I’ve been reading the scrolls. They’re in the loggia. The words left me with no desire to become a priest of Aken Re. What I read sounded like lies.”

Pian jumped to his feet. “You will not usurp my place. I will be pharaoh. All the power and wealth of the double crown will be mine.”

“I have no wish to rule or serve the priests.”

The nomarch glared. “You have been promised to them. Your battle skills will be needed to bring the stubborn people of this land to worship the one and only god.”

Oris smiled. “You cannot resist. You are ours.”

Kashe sucked in a breath. We’ll see, he thought. The amulet burned against his chest. He leaned forward and wondered why they didn’t see the medallion. Was it invisible for a reason? He ate and fled to his room. As he walked down the hall he heard the slap of sandals on the stone and braced for an attack.

“You must listen to them,” his younger brother said. “If you disobey Father, the priest will send serpents after you.”

“Don’t fret, little brother. Come to my chamber. I’ve something to show you.” Kashe parted the curtains so Namose could enter first. “This is why I can’t go.” He held out the amulet. “A hawk brought this to me.”

Namose studied the gold circle. “Chosen of Horu.” He looked up and gasped. “At the window.”

Kashe grinned and extended his arm for the bird. “Horu Ka, this is Namose, my younger brother.” 

The hawk tilted his head. “As you see I’ve been selected by the god of the skies.”

Namose nodded. “And you will leave home.”

“I believe I must.”

“I want to go with you.” The youth’s dark eyes held a plea. “If you can’t serve them I fear Father will send me or one of our sisters to their temple. The priests have a son or daughter from every nome except Mero in their service. They want Father and Pian to follow their orders. Our nome is the largest and richest of all. I don’t trust the priests. If I must serve a god I would choose Toth, the god of wisdom.”

Kashe looked away. Since he had no idea where to go, how he could take a boy who had just reached his fifteenth year? “You must remain here until I can find a safe place. Then I will send for you.”

“Do you mean that?”

“Yes.” He studied his younger brother. Here was the male member of the family with a strong knowledge of the land. If only their father didn’t favor Pian. The oldest son was their father’s favorite. Namose, the youngest, was ignored by the nomarch and favored by their mother.

“When are you going?”

“Not tonight. I’m going to a beer house to think.” He pushed Namose to the door. “Better if you don’t see me leave. If they discover I’m out, you can truthfully say you left me in my chamber.”

Namose paused outside the curtain. “Good thinking.”

Kashe waited until his brother vanished before crossing to the window. He slipped out and crept across the garden to the rear gate. Once beyond the wall, the hawk landed on his wrist guard. Kashe strode to the riverside village. A few mugs of beer and a good fight might be an outlet for the energy coursing through his body.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Wednesday's Writer's Tip - On Writing Series Information dumps plus book on pre-order

Avoiding information dumps is a must when writing a series. Having read a number of series, I know this sort of prologue that comes before a new book in the series can become annoying, especially when the book is five or six in the series and the information given becomes a dump. I've read series where the same prologue is used to open each book and frankly, I skip them. So will most of the readers.

Yes, it's important when writing a series to let the reader know what's happened before but there are ways to do this a bit at a time. A character's memory, a bit of dialogue, even a paragraph or two at the beginning that shows the underlying theme of the story. I've done this with a single sentence that opens a story. I've had the characters tell the story in dialogue to show what went before. But it's also important to let the characters know the story stands on its own with perhaps a hint about what's to come in the next book.

The next time you're thinking about doing a synopsis of each story in the previous books in the series, think again. Boring the reader before they start the story is a sure way to lose readers.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Tuesday's Inspiration plus a release quote Sloan Wilson #MFRWauthor #Suspense #BooksWeLove

  1. Before I begin the inspiration though I must admit seeing a book released is an inspiration for me.
  2. Just released yesterday. An alternate ancient Egypt with no pyramids or the Sphinx but with action and adventure with the avatars of the three gods worshipped aiding the hero and heroine.
"A story is a drastic condensation of a life. It must be given form with a climax sometime before the end."

When I read this, I started to think about what I was doing when writing a story. The quote is right but while the story doesn't follow the character's life from beginning to the end the story is condensed. The important events are highlighted. One may be writing about a man or woman finding love for the first time or again, The writer needs to know a bit about the character's past and feel this deftly into the story. Or the writer could be writing about a criminal or the person who catches them. What makes them what they has to be there bit not every incident in the life, just hints of the apst.

The story has to have a form, something our real lives don't have. There is the beginning the middle and the end. Giving form to this is very important to making the story something readers want to read. Without form the story is a series of incidents with nothing bonding these elements together. The form is the binding, sort of like glue sticking the bits on the character's tree of life.

Why condensation? Imagine how boring the story would be if every minute of the life was written out. Would you read this story? I know I wouldn't. Probably a lot of readers wouldn't either. So give your stories form and condense them to the elements that bring the character's life to the center.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Meandering On Monday with Janet Lane Walters #MFRWauthor

Meander 1 - I enjoy crossword puzzles and sometimes the one in the Sunday Times. Doing them increases my fund of words to use when I'm writing. But while doing one yesterday I found myself thinking about words. I came across a clue where the word though spelled the same way had two diverse meanings. I first chose the wrong one since both meanings had a five letter word that worked. I ended up with the second meaning. This brought me to look at another thing that has always puzzled me. We say hoof that when plural becomes hooves. Why doesn't roof become rooves? Maybe I'll never know. Another thing while doing crossword puzzles is the value of knowing cliches. Often these are the basis of clues or the answers are some or part of one.

Meander 2 I'm going to have a book up for pre-order on Amazon. Horu's Chosen an alternate Egypt story. My publisher has decided to try a trial of this. I'll be interested to see what happens when this is at the end. Will be an interesting project.

Meander 3 - WIP is now For The Love Of Michael and am correcting and expanding on what I wrote a long time ago. Passive voice 20%. These days I freak out if I have more than 3%. This book needs a make-over and if I can make it 10 percent larger it can be published as a new book. The story is a farce, a tongue in cheek romance. An experiment I thought I'd try. Did a lot of this sort of thing years ago, The typical nurse/doctor romance becomes hopefully a tongue-in-cheek look at romance. I have a lot more to go on this and know I need to do some chapter changing. Once I get the words right, then I have to go and see that the chapters are right without too many days settled in each chapter.