Thursday, April 24, 2014

Thursday's Hero - Matt Blakefield from A Sudden Seduction by Janet Lane Walters #MFRWauthor #NCPauthor

“You’re next.”
Matt Blakefield choked on the piece of wedding cake he’d been about to swallow. “Not in a million years.”
His gaze slid around the table in the inn’s dining room spearing each couple with a glare. Friends and family had gathered to celebrate this morning’s marriage of his brother to the mother of his recently discovered son. Since the nine-year-old was the only other unattached male present, Matt knew the whispered remark had been addressed to him.
“I have a friend,” one of his sisters said.
The other grinned. “She’d be perfect.”
“No sale.” Matt dropped the napkin on the table.
“Remember the curse.” Mark grinned. “None of us has escaped.”
Time to hit the road. With this decision made, as though in answer to his desire, Matt’s cell phone vibrated. Salvation,
He answered. “Matt here…You did…Great news…I’m on my way…Yeah today…Doesn’t matter.”
As if he’d stay here where plans he wanted no part of were being laid. He’d been present for the important event. There was no reason for him to linger and a huge need to escape. Although the meeting with the Good Magazine Group’s investigator wasn’t until Monday morning, Matt seized the opportunity. “Have to leave. Have information on this year’s make-over house for Good Livin’.”
“On the weekend?” His father, CEO of the magazine group and recently married to his teenage sweetheart, arched an eyebrow.
“Yeah. It’s the Smiton house. You know the one I intend to use as the project for showing people how to convert a house from energy sucking to energy efficient. Jules has a line on the owner. I want the contract signed so we can start work.”
His father’s eyes narrowed. “If there’s a problem find another house. Who knows what condition the Smiton’s house is in? No one has lived there for years.”
“I checked. The place is sound.”
“Find a house where the owners are in residence. They’ll appreciate the free upgrade.”
Matt groaned. “And spend hours listening to complaints about being inconvenienced or hearing about changes that won’t work.” Matt pushed to his feet. What he didn’t say was that he planned to buy and live in the house.
He kissed his new sister-in-law. “Let Mark spoil you and Davey. My brother has a few years of making up to do.”
Matt strode to the coatroom to retrieve his leather jacket and helmet. He’d planned to hang out here until tomorrow but not with the schemes buzzing in the ladies’ heads. He leaned over the counter, kissed the middle-aged woman’s cheek and dropped a ten spot in the tip dish.
He dashed out the door and down the steps to the parking lot and his bike. As the engine roared to life the relatives gathered and protests began.
So much for a quick escape. He braced for the arguments.
“Stay,” his new sister-in-law called. “You can have one of the cabins all to yourself.”
“We won’t bother you. I promise,” his step-mother said.
She wouldn’t but her promise didn’t include his sisters. “Another time.”
“Matt, it’s going to rain.” The voices of four females rose in a chorus.
“I won’t melt.” He slipped on his helmet. With a spray of gravel he headed to the road.
Exit Matthew, fleeing a bunch of women intent on ending his bachelor state.
What about his father, brother and his sisters’ fianc├ęs. He bet the guys envied his freedom.”
“You’re next.” Had someone said that or was it his imagination?
He waved. “Not today. Not this year. Maybe never.” The engine’s roar drowned any comments.
Visions of being followed by a parade of match-makers crowded his thoughts. Instead of heading for the interstate he decided to cross from Vermont into upstate New York. Exploring new territory was a perfect ending to his escape.
Once they’d found the perfect mate, why did happy couples believe every bachelor should be part of a twosome? He wasn’t ready to take a wife or enter a long term situation. He enjoyed his single state and found pleasure with a variety of women. Granted there’d been a dry spell lately—not his fault. He hadn’t met a woman who’d tempted him for even a night.
As he sped along the serpentine roads, a misting rain began. Moments after crossing into New York the storm turned earnest. Water fell in wind-driven gusts. Thunder rumbled like a mad drummer played a kettledrum. Lightning streaked across the sky in a brilliant display. Although the time was late afternoon the darkness spoke of night.
Time to find a motel, bed and breakfast or a rustic inn with a room for the night.

He reached a crossroads and paused to read the signs. The nearest town was fifty miles away. He dug out his cell. No service. He wiped the face plate of his helmet and chose a road. The headlights cast a tunnel through the gloom. Shadows impinged on the narrow band of light. He sent the bike down the road. Off on an adventure, hopefully with a dry room at the end of the road.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Wednesday's Writer's Tip - Just Before You Start #MFRWauthor

This technique is taken from Dwight V. Swain's book Techniques of the Selling Writer. I do this every time I start a book and I find it keeps me on track. Doesn't keep me from exploring side roads but it keeps me moving toward the end of the book. A few times I haven't done this, the book ends up not as good as others. The other thing is often my stories are a three person bit and each of the characters has a different path to take but entwining these story lines is important. So here goes.

What you need are a sentence and a question. The sentence contains the situation, the character, and the goal. The question gives the opponent and the impending disaster. Sounds simple, and it really is. Here are the ones I set out for my current work in progress.

Threatened with a situation that will destroy her, Amara decides to accept an escape into an alternate Egypt where she must perform a task and receive, love and acceptance. Can she live in an alien land and rescue Namose from the evil priest Hebu to bring justice to the land?

As a prisoner of the evil priest, Namose is forced to aid him in gaining powers granted to the priests of Toth and knowing he must escape to prevent the foreign priests from destroying the Two Lands. Can he find a way to escape and join forces with Amara to bring justice to the land.

Scheming to bring the worship of Aken Re, the one and only god to the Two Lands, Hebu has captured Namose and schemes to kidnap the children who are the future of the Two Lands and turn them into followers of his god. Can he succeed when Amara and Namose join forces to defeat him?

Those are the plot lines that set for me what the story will be. Now it's time to write the story. It's something worth trying. Usually I don't have to put it down. The statement and question form in my head but any time I find myself drifting off track, thinking of the original statement question will bring me back on track.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Tuesday's Inspiration - Linguistic Competence #MFRWauthor

I've been reading John Gardner's  On Becoming A Novelist and am coming to the end of his great advice. What I read today is about linguistic competency. "Have faith" is the advice he gives. For me, the words come out in a rush during the first draft. Then I go back and look at the words. What I usually find is a lot of repetition. The same word appears line after line and paragraph after paragraph. The scene becomes boring. Not that there isn't action or emotion but because the same words are used time and time again. Doubt sets in. Will this story of these two interesting people ever come to life. Finding the right words will help. "Have faith."

As I sit about revising I find I've fallen into several patterns in the attempt to get the story down. That's when faith comes in. How many times did I use that particular word. Is there a better word. Why are there so many its. That one is easy to change by finding when the specific works best. Some words can remain even though they are repeats. Repeated words often bring a strange understanding of what is happening in the scene.

Do I sit with a dictionary or the Thesarus? Sometimes I do. Other times a good substitute word leaps into my thoughts and the one that appears is absolutely right. The dictionary comes in handy when the spelling is wrong on a word. So what I've learned is to have faith and use the tools when absolutely necessary. Linguistic competency comes from reading and writing. So have faith.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Meandering On Monday with Janet Lane Walters #MFRWauthor

Meander 1 - Typing in the dark. The switch controlling the lights in my study broke. Of course this had to happen on Sunday when no one in their right mind would call an electrician. I have managed to light the area where I write things by hand but the computer is nearly in the dark. It's not the screen, that's bright enough. It's the keyboard that's in the dark. I've found a solution. They laughed at Christmas when I won the strange LED little light but it has come in handy once again. Typing goes slower than I would like but it does happen and for that I'm glad. Perseverance is part of what one must do to become a published author.

Meander 2 - Traded Easter baskets for the grandchildren for hard boiled decorated eggs. Sounds silly but for me there's nothing like children dyed eggs at Easter. Oldest granddaughter agrees and says "It's no fun dying eggs when you're older." Had a great visit with the kids though. Enjoy them a lot.

Meander 3 - Finally figured where I went wrong while writing the third episode of the Alternate Egypt world stories. Am back on track and now ready to go forward. One problem is that I won't have anything new to read at critique. Not a problem for me but could be for the others. I may not have anything to read next week either but I am pleased with how the story is going. Melodic Dreams is with the editor and hopefully I'll soon have it back for edits. Hope I didn't miss too many problems.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

3 Blog Visit Sunday - Discoveries by Janet Lane Walters

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Saturday's Excerpt from Cursed in Shadow by Andrea Cooper #MFRWauthor

When I rose, the two guards sidestepped away. Nay, they would not gamble their lives again by being within my reach.Thankfully, since rescuing Celeste from the oak cave had taken all night, Shadowdancer was rested for the ride back to Tamlon.With Celeste’s wounds slathered with yarroway and other healing plants, she mounted. Then Emillya climbed up behind her.

At least one Elvin besides me did not hate humans. If Emillya didn’t like humans, or Celeste for that matter, she wouldn’t speak to her much less ride on a horse with her. I ran alongside them while Celeste and Emillya talked. One guard raced on the opposite side of Shadowdancer, the other in front. And it appeared the horse gave the Elvin a race.

The Elvin were considerate enough to let Shadowdancer canter or walk whenever he tired. How they understood that running the horse too long too fast would be the end of him I do not know. There have never been horses in Elvin lands for as long as I can remember.

We all took turns getting Celeste to talk to us about her cave adventure; she must stay awake awhile longer, even though we could all see she fought to keep her eyes open.

“As soon as you’ve rested,” Emillya told her, glowering at my constant interruptions to translate, “you need to view the prophecies of the four. Nivel gave me instructions when he left with Brock. The library vaults await unchanged. He told me you’d come back after banishing the Warloc to the underworld.

“Hopefully, Brock hasn’t caused unrealized damage by the oak magic trapping you.”

I nearly stumbled at her words. How was I to know snares waited to spring upon humans in our land? Our kind was immune.Just as I opened my mouth to voice my argument, Celeste smiled at me. Her grey eyes held a glimmer of her merriment, and my frown eased.

With a chuckle, I turned back to the path. Celeste was safe now. And that was all that mattered.

“We’ll make camp at dark.” Emillya patted Shadowdancer’s rump. “Should make Tamlon soon. It’s a fine horse—any other I fear would take us three or four nights to return.”

“That reminds me.” I said. “How did you get to the labyrinth so soon? The journey from Tamlon is longer than the time of Celeste’s entrapment.”

“We have a secret path Nivel created. It’s ancient magic and travels Elvin here within an hour.”

“Then let’s take this path back.” Celeste said.

“It’s only for Elvin. The magic would crush a human and perhaps even a horse.”

“Perhaps your magic needs to be altered now.” Celeste smiled.

“Indeed.” Emillya answered. “I’ll mention the request to the elders.”

When we arrived in Tamlon, I hoped to show Celeste the wonders of my land. And bask in the sun naked with her.

After the others slept, I laid down beside Celeste. She turned and snuggled her head under my chin. “Your language is so beautiful. Almost like music with its rhythms and melody.”

My hand traced circles up and down her back. “Emir voulan sptrea.”

“What does that mean?”

I eased her chin up and she looked into my eyes. “We are one heart.” I kissed her and relished in the sweetness of her mouth for we could do little else with company.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Friday's How She Does It featuring Andrea Cooper #MFRWauthor

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?
I agree that plot is extremely important. I have read many novels in which there was no real plot or it felt thrown together. I think plot is what helps keep the reader turning pages.
1.      How do you create your characters? Do you have a specific method?
The plot comes easily to me, then the characters. If I cannot picture or hear a main character, I do a character profile and an interview. Usually, during the interview, the character will open up to me. Once, I had a character give me her mantra, which I would not have known if I had skipped over the interview.
However, some characters just come to me. Brock, from The Garnet Dagger Book 1 Legends of Oblivion, repeated the first few lines in the book in my mind when I was at work one day, until I wrote them down.
2. Do your characters come before the plot?
The plot comes first for me, then the characters. Once they came simultaneously as stubborn, feisty Kaireen in Viking Fire – my historical romance. Also, I have secondary characters, like Elva in Viking Fire, that I did not plot out in advance and revealed themselves while I was writing.
3. Do you know how the story will end before you begin? In a general way or a specific one?
I know in a general way how the story will end. However, I do not have specifics. One novel I wrote, unpublished to date, I knew the antagonist would die. However, I spent the whole novel thinking it would be one of the main characters would be the one to kill him, when a minor character stepped forward. He had a past with the villain that clicked into place at the ending.
4. Do you choose settings you know or do you have books of settings and plans of houses sitting around?
I choose the settings of my imagination in part and the internet. Many of my novels, whether fantasy, paranormal or historical romance, take place in an ancient world. I research locations, buildings, etc. The best research tool was a Young Adult reference book about the Middle Ages.
5. Where do you do your research? On line or from books?
Both. I go online first, then for specific questions I look to books.
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?
I am a draft writer. I have to get the story out on paper, because although I know the ending-ish, I do not know the road the characters and plot will take to get there. So far, I have not outlined a novel. I enjoy discovering the characters and story as I write.

Attached is the excerpt and cover. 

Cursed in Shadow Book 1.5 Legends of Oblivion series
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