Friday, December 2, 2016

Friday's Interview featuring Suzanne de Montigny #MFRWauthor #Plot

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?

Sounds about right to me. I have a beginning, middle, and end, and the HOW is what happens along the way.

1.        How do you create your characters? Do you have a specific method?
Oftentimes real people walk into my novels. Other times, it’s combinations of real people, but no one in particular. Then there are characters I totally make up.



2.        Do your characters come before the plot?
Yes and no. In my present project, most of the characters are based on people who once lived. But I needed other people too, so I invented them as the plot called for them.


3.        Do you know how the story will end before you begin? In a general way or a specific one? 
Definitely. It’s what happens along the way that is a surprise. I’ve oftentimes said that writing a novel is like reading a really good book except it’s you writing it. You don’t know what’s going to happen next.
   

4.        Do you choose settings you know or do you have books of settings and plans of houses sitting around?
They’re totally in my mind.


5.        Where do you do your research? On line or from books?
Definitely on-line.



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 revise as I go along. The first draft is the hardest, and it’s usually just awful. Then I go back and fix things up. After I’ve finished the whole book, then I fill in the missing things. And yes, the characters take on a life of their own.

7.        Where can we find you on the net?



Thursday, December 1, 2016

Thursday's Opening Scene - Seducing the Chef #MFRWauthor #contemporaryromance #cooking

Allie Blakefield stormed into her father’s office. “What is the meaning of this memo?” She slammed the offensive paper on her desk. Last week she’d submitted her plans for the six issues starting in January. “Let me read the memo. “Good Eatin’ will have no good or bad words for Five Cuisines, a restaurant owned by the Ramsey family.’”
Peter Blakefield ran his hands through his thick blond hair where a few streaks of gray could hardly be seen. “The memo is clear and you will honor the terms. There has been bad blood between the families for generations.”
Allie laughed. “Is this like the Hatfields and the McCoys?  I thought as editor of Good Eatin’ I make decisions about the restaurants to be featured.”
“In this case I’ve over-ruled you.” He leaned across the desk. “How was California?”
Allie’s hands fisted. His change of subject rankled but she knew he’d told her all he planned to say about the Ramsey family. She would discover a way to learn more.
“Warm. Some good food and some bad. The restaurants have been selected and the photo shoots arranged.” She curled in the chair across from his desk. “Why can’t I visit Five Cuisines? I’ve heard dozens of raves from people who have eaten there. Some family fight from years ago is a poor reason not to do a feature.”
“Forget that restaurant. I made a similar decision fifteen years ago.”
She frowned. Fifteen years ago her mother had been ill and had died. Back then her father had edited Good Eatin’. He’d become editor in chief for all four magazines and a single parent of four children. What else had happened then? Her curiosity simmered but knew he wouldn’t tell her more. “I still want to scout the place.”
“I said no. Stop pushing. Don’t you understand no means no.” He slapped the desk. “Have the galleys for the next issue been proofed?”
“Yes.”
“Then I’ll see you on Sunday for dinner.”
Allie rose and turned toward the door. “I’m not sure I can make it.” Though Sunday dinners were a family affair, usually one or more of her siblings were absent.
“Try.”
“Always do,” His command followed her down the hall. She entered her office and slammed the door. Vowing to learn more about her father’s reasons for meddling in her territory she dialed her aunt’s number. When the older woman answered Allie grinned. Time for questions and answers. “Aunt Laura, what can you tell me about the Blakefield-Ramsey feud?”
Her aunt laughed. “Why now? That ended when Victor died. His wife took their son to her family in Europe. Never heard of them since.”
Allie leaned back in her chair. She talked about the restaurant and the raves she’d heard from people who had eaten there. “I want to feature the place. He forbade me to go near Five Cuisines or do an article.”
Laura chuckled. “So he waved a red flag and like a bull you’ll charge.”
“Yes, but I need the facts.”
“I’ll tell you as much as I can. Let me refresh my coffee.”
“Guess I’ll need some.” Allie filled her cup.
“The feud began over loyalties during the Revolutionary War. They were Royalists and we were Rebels. There were ups and downs. All signs of the rivalry disappeared during the Civil War.”
“So why now?” This whole matter was ridiculous.
“Your dad and Victor attended County Day School. They were rivals in sports and academics. This followed them to college where they fell in love with the same woman. She and Peter were engaged but Victor married her.”
Allie’s spine stiffened. “What about Mom? Didn’t Dad love her? Did he marry her or the magazines?”
Her aunt sighed. “Peter married her on the rebound. They learned to value each other and I believe he loved her. When she died he was devastated.”
“Nothing explains today’s attitude about me doing a feature. The past can’t be changed. Shouldn’t trouble the now.”
Laura’s voice took on a knowing tone. “I know. This might give you a clearer picture. Several months before your mom died Victor Ramsey lost his restaurant. He killed himself. His wife blamed your father.”
Hearing the final bit didn’t make sense to Allie. “Thanks for the info. Bye.” She hung up.
The situation belonged in the dark ages. She couldn’t see why Good Eatin’ couldn’t do a spread on the most unusual restaurant in the area. A dining spot that produced raves by bloggers and reviews by customers intrigued her.
She clenched her teeth. No matter what her father ordered she intended to visit the restaurant. She leaned back in her chair and made a decision. She had some accumulated vacation time. The latest edition was done and the next still being worked on. This was a good time to take a few days. The thought of driving across the bridge for five days in a row didn’t thrill her but she would unless she found another way.
She booted her computer and searched the employee base for someone who lived on the west bank of the Hudson River. She found several, read the names and tapped an extension. One of the names belonged to a good friend. A deep voice answered.
“Steve, Allie here. When do you leave for Alaska?”
“Tuesday evening. Why?”
“Do you have a guest room?”
“Yes.”
“Could I sack out there for five nights while you’re away? I promise I won’t snoop.”
He chuckled. “You I trust. You’re too direct to be a snoop. Meg’s the one who pries. What’s up?”
“I want to check Five Cuisines.”
“You’ll love the restaurant. When you do I want to shoot the pics.”
“This is only a preliminary look. Keep what I’m doing tucked away.”
“Will do. The apartment is yours.”
“Just where is your place?”
He gave her the number. “Just a few blocks from your destination.”
“Perfect.”
“While you’re in town wander around. There are some neat shops and several other good restaurants.
“Sounds like I’ll have a busy time. Where do I find the key?”
“I’ll drop it off tomorrow and alert the doorman to your arrival,” he said. “Oh, I have a new neighbor. He’s a good-looking guy. Just your type.”
“And just what is my type?”
Steve laughed. “Not me.”
“Which apartment?”
“Directly below mine. If you score, I want a finder’s fee. He seems to be the strong silent type.”
She grinned. “You’re outrageous. See you tomorrow.”


Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Wednesday's Writer's Tip - Writing ABC - I Is For Image #MFRWauthor #amwriting


I had to think about this one a bit since I wondered what I considered Image in writing. There are many ways to look at image. Often an image is a thing and that's one way I use it. I spent time looking over my writing and realized there were several images I use often. One is gems. Many of my books have gems, not all are precious stones or even semi-precious but gems that have other powers. This makes them images of the paranormal. They can also be concrete. Another thing I realize occurs frequently in my books are caves.  Caves can be used to symbolize a number of things but we're not speaking of Symbols, just of the things that appear frequently in my stories.

How about you? Do you have recurrent images in your stories? One of my favorite writers has towers in many of her stories. Another has swords of many kinds. So think about your body of work and think of what your images are. I also try to understand the why of my use of these images. Caves is fairly easy since they're dark, mysterious and can be dangerous. I've used them to show each of these situations. Gems has been more difficult to decide the why of them. Perhaps one reason is the hypnotic quality of gems. Also there is their reflective quality. Gems can also be mysterious.

So look at your stories and find your images.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Tuesday's Inspiration - Cooler weather #MFRWauthor #Hibernation # writing


I've heard it said "Bears hibernate in the winter." I understand their metabolism goes way down and they enter a coma like state. Not this writer. I hibernate in the summer." During the heated days my brain grows sluggish and my writing speed slows. I don't enter a coma like state but something similar.

Then the change in temperature comes. The first frost sends electricity to my brain and I come up with words that were such a struggle during the summer. Mt pen flies across the page and the computer keys and it's almost like there was another person who emerged from a summer's sleep. Not sure this happens to other people. I know those who have summers off seem to have a lot of energy, I don't. I hibernate in the summer.

How about you. Does the cooler weather spur you to become more creative and able to think with flashes of inspiration coming at lightning speed? For me the cooler weather spurs me to create. How about you? Do you hibernate in the summer?

Monday, November 28, 2016

Meandering On Monday with Janet Lane Walters #MFRWauthor #poem #writing

Meander 1 _ Poem - Myths

The gods of yore have passed away,
And in their steads have come today,
A kind of blankness in our souls.
No longer do we hear the belling tolls
That take us to the breathless heights.
And when we are alone at night
We find ourselves just that. We cry
Aloud but now our souls are dry.

Meander 2 - Thanksgiving. On Thursday I baked a turkey. There's nothing odd about that since it was Thanksgiving. The interesting bit was I cooked the turkey in my grandmother's roasting pan. The pan must be somewhere between 70 and 80 years old. The pan is great and when I use it, I find myself thinking about my grandmother and how she loved to make Thanksgiving dinner. What I really remember is that she ate very little of the dinner she cooked. I wondered why and realized after cooking all that food she wasn't hungry. I was the same on Thursday and ate just a taste of everything. But the food was good as the family and our guest testified.

Meander 3 - Writing - I'm continuing with Cancer-Capricorn Connection and the book should be done by the middle of January. I did the art sheet for this book and also begun the one for Past Betrayals. Hopefully it also will be done by the end of January. Then it will be off to something new and that is the Leo-Aquarius Connection and the planning on the Virgo-Pisces Connection and that series will be done.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Sunday's Book - Seducing the Chef - At First Sight Series #MFRWauthor #romantic comedy #food

Seducing the Chef (At First Sight Book 1)


Seducing the Chef - Allie Blakefield, editor of Good Eatin' wants to do a feature on Five Cuisines a restaurant across the river from NY City. Her father forbids the feature and won't say why. She's not one to sit back and be ruled by someone. She borrows a friend's apartment. 

While leaning over the balcony she sees a handsome dark haired man doing a Yoga routine. He looks up and she is struck by the Blakefield curse. Love at first sight. 

The pair start a hot and heavy romantic interlude. She visits the restaurant and is recognized by Greg, the chef's mother. The woman goes ballistic and the affair is broken. Can Allie learn what's going on and rescue her love?

Reviews:


on July 25, 2016
3.75

“Seducing the Chef” by Janet Lane-Walter is part of the ‘At First Sight’ series. This contemporary romance centers around chef Greg Ramsey and review magazine editor Allie Blakefield whose searing attraction threatens to become disrupted by a tragic family feud between their respective parents. Navigating the tricky challenges to find a way to be together may require a very special dish…of crow.

This relatively short story is a quick and breezy reworking of the traditional family feud theme a la Romeo and Juliet but given a wonderfully sensual twist. I had trouble believing that the offspring could be so ignorant of the feud and would have liked a bit more depth to the characters but I enjoyed the descriptions of the culinary journey (yum) and appreciated the setup for the next story in the series, in addition to the very long preview. The author has nice imagery and I think this was an enjoyable light story.

A copy of this story was provided to me for review
on July 19, 2016
Smoking hot!

Wow … when the blurb says “love at first sight” it isn’t kidding. The relationship between our hero and heroine goes from zero to 60 in about two pages.

I read this story knowing it was short, so I understand that it’s tough to fully develop a plot or characters in so few pages. I’ve tried to figure that into my feelings about the book, and into my rating. The author is definitely talented. Her skill is undeniable and her voice is fun and easy to read, and I have no issue with that at all. And, although there were a few editing errors and wrong word use, technically, it was a good story.

My issue was the speed of the relationship development. “Love at first sight” doesn’t have to mean leaping into bed moments after meeting someone (and before knowing anything about them … integral to the story is the fact their families are enemies, but since they barely get each other’s first names before getting naked, they have no idea). They progress quickly to a little very light bondage, which felt out of place since that requires a bit of trust and how do you build real trust in a day? I’m not adverse to a story with plenty of sex (especially well-written sex, which this was, though a bit less descriptive than erotic romance), so it wasn’t that abundance that was frustrating, just that I felt as if the plot suffered because so much space was given to sex instead of story.

Still, I really did appreciate the author’s voice and I would definitely pick up another one of her books to try. And if you prefer lots of heat in your stories, this may be a great choice for you to read.

originally posted at long and short reviews
on July 19, 2016
This was a fun, short, and sexy read. While there isn’t a whole lot of character development, the story moves quickly, pulling the reader along. There is a lot of sex in this, to the point where I would categorize this as an erotic romance novella, which I wasn’t expecting. There was a plot, but the romance and passion between the two characters were definitely the main focus. Plus, certain elements of the plot had me scratching my head in confusion or needing to suspend belief. In other words: Romeo and Juliet with less drama, more sex, and a happy ending, all with a tad of fairy tale magic thrown in. Oh, and some amazing and delicious sounding dishes.

My only big complaint about the book is that it needs editing. There were quite a few comma mistakes, not to mention other grammatical errors, which kept pulling me out of the story. The grammar errors aside, this makes for a fun quick summer read, and I am interested in seeing what happens with Meg in book 2.

*I received this book in exchange for an honest review.*

on July 11, 2016
***I received a copy of this ebook in exchange for an honest review***

I’m not a grammar freak so the few typos I found didn’t make me shave off one star in my rating. However, some story line issues did. I don’t like spoilers so, as an example, I’ll just say that bondage requires intimacy and trust, which partners only achieve as a relationship progresses. Also, the blurb mentions a Blakefield curse: love at first sight. That wasn’t exactly how things happened so I was a bit disappointed.

Because this is a short-story, I expected things to progress fast so the timeline of Greg and Allie’s affair didn’t bother me. After all, I could see many elements from Romeo and Juliet in Seducing the Chef. It’s almost like a modernized version where you’ll find the balcony, instant passion, an old feud, and misfortune fueled by misleading information. Although it isn’t a tragedy as the classic story of the star-crossed lovers, it’s also not a romantic comedy as its category describes it. But it’s a story that will make you feel good, hot, and bothered in the best way possible. The sex scenes are mouthwatering just as I like them. After all, being an erotica writer, sex scenes are my domain and I know how hard it is to write good ones. Janet Lan-Walters did a great job here. Kudos.

I recommend Seducing the Chef if you’re looking for a quick, entertaining read to heat up your summer nights.


on March 16, 2016
I loved this book. It's one of the those books you can't put down and before you know it, you have the read the entire thing. It was a feel happy kind of book that leaves you feeling good. The characters are likeable and I would recommend this to all romance lovers.,

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Saturday's Blurbs featuring Books By Barbara Donlan Bradley #MFRWauthor #science fiction #romance

Dominated by Desire Book 1 Of the Vespian Way Blurb:
Heather can’t believe she is the only person on Earth that can protect Storm, the ambassador from Vespia. It has something to do with some pheromone the Vespian male exudes. Although everyone tells her she is immune she doesn’t agree. There is something about the man that makes her desire skyrocket whenever she is around him.
Storm finds the Heather fascinating, bright violet eyes that hold a world of emotions in them. He finds himself drawn to her, wanting her with a depth he never experienced before. When she becomes the focal point of several kidnapping attempts he realizes she’s going to need his protection, the perfect excuse to get to know her better.

Animal Desire Book 3 of the Vespian Way Blurb:
Heather is now six months pregnant and finds her mate a bit overprotective. She can’t help if she glows when she is frustrated. Things get a little more complicated when she is called home because of Ialog. He released information, making it look like she is being mistreated by the Vespians. How is she going to hide her pregnancy? She left Earth sterile.
Storm isn’t happy about her leaving the safety of Vespia, but wants to show that Heather is happy and safe under his care. He knows Ialog and is worried the man is going to try to take his mate from him again. His fears become very real when Ialog kidnaps her. Now he has to find a way to bring her home.

Hesitant Desire Book 5 of the Vespian Way Blurb:
Heather swore she’d never go back to Aruka after a mission had gone bad. The planet had an archaic view of women and Heather fought against those views, angering one man to the point of whipping her. Now Earth has requested she rescue a missing woman on that planet. She wants to say no, but Storm has already accepted for her, as long as he accompanies her. They hoped it would be a quick in and out assignment but didn’t expect to run into the man carrying such hatred for her all these years. Now they have to try to finish their mission while evading the man who’s only goal is to make Heather pay for her crimes.

Hidden Desire Book 8 of the Vespian Way Blurb:
Heather wants to fight beside her people, not watch from a safe distance. So when her brother comes up with a way to disguise her she jumps at the chance. Now she can try out for an elite team to help defeat Reasta, who has a stronghold on their planet. No one knows who she is, including her mate, who has also been disguised. They must find each other, qualify for the team and help rescue the elders without being found out.

Timeless Desire Book 9 of the Vespian Way Blurb:

Someone keeps altering the timeline and only Sam and Skye are aware of the change. The culprit doesn’t want Heather and Storm together, yet they keep finding each other, no matter how many times it is changed. Everything needs to be righted and the person messing with it needs to be stopped. It’s up to Sam and Skye to get things back the way it should be.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Friday's Interview featuring Barbara Donlon Bradley #MFRWauthor

1. 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 mostly write SF.Futuristic (hot) romance with a fantasy short story thrown in for fun. But...I have published time travel, fantasy and a straight historical. I love reading SF of any kind and when I found the romance novels in that genre I read as many as I could get my hands on. I find them fun to write. As far as what I wouldn't write I don't think I'd write a murder/mystery right now. It's not something I see myself writing.
2. Heroes, Heroines, Villains. Which are your favorite to write?

This is a tough one. I do have fun with my villains, but love my heroes and heroines too. Can I say all of them?
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?

Wow, this is a good one. My heroes are part of plain imagination. I don't use pictures or real life people. I normally have my characters and a basic idea for the plot when I start writing. My books are character driven so they'r always the first thing I create when coming up with a new story.
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?

My answer is pretty much the same as it was for the heroes. I'm not one to look for people who look like my characters. These characters whisper in my ear and they're never happy with anyone I think that they could look like.

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?

They basically come out of my plot. I'm a pantser and don't have much more than a blurb in my head as I start my books. It's kind of weird to other authors because I write linear. I start at the beginning and keep going until the book is done. I don't jump around and write different scenes then string them together. I'm not sure why I write this way but it does work. So as I write (I normally have two to three upcoming scenes worked out in my head as I write the rough draft) my way of plotting will work out who the villain is and why they are after the hero/heroine. 
6. What is your latest release? Who is the hero, heroine and or the villain?

My latest release is the 9th book in my series The Vespian Way. Timeless Desire features Heather and Storm, my main hero and heroine of the series. In this book they find Susan (a character from book 3) keeps changing the timeline. She has never liked Heather and wants what she has. Skye and Sam weren't effected by the timeline change and have to fight to get everything back the way it was.

7. What are you working on now?

Right now I'm working on the 10th book of the series. Heather and Storm have declared war on Reasta and Earth has volunteered their help so I have humans on Vespia which has never happened before. I'm about halfway done - that's when I got that aha moment to my plot so have gone back to the beginning to add a few things before I continue to write that rough draft.
8. How can people find you?
Like most authors I've got a lot of social media links - pinterest, facebook, twitter and my blog  - which I try to post to twice a week - one in an interview of other authors - it's so much fun to see the answers, I also do one one the art of writing and have been toying with the idea of doing one on my writing. I keep getting aksed how I find time to write so thought maybe I should try to show how I get it done. Here's the links - 

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Thursday's Second Scene from Confrontations - Affinities 4 #MFRWauthor #fantasy

VALCON

With a shrill nagging voice ringing in his ears Val signaled his three companions forward. He closed his mind to the muttered complaints of the youngest member of the quartet. Why me? Was it because he was more than a year older than any of the halflings that he had to ride herd on the most impetuous of the Fire affinities? He groaned when Ky’s courser sprinted into the lead.
“At last,” she shouted. “Come on. Hurry We’ve a long way to go.”
Val shook his head. “We won’t reach our destination any faster if your courser falls and you smack your head.”
“Hah! I’m a better rider than that.”
Val felt a strong desire to scream and return to the keep. Would he ever see the elderly pair who had become almost parents again? He closed off those thoughts before his emotions tangled with regret. With Water as his affinity his emotions and those of others sometimes swamped him.
The quartet rode past fields that wouldn’t be planted this spring. As they entered the forest Val noticed how the road they’d widened when they first came to the keep had narrowed. The Rover wagons would never pass the tangle of weeds, briars and saplings now.
He paused and waited for Kirlon. “Can you read the winds of the forest and ride? We need to be sure there are no homeless men lurking nearby.
Kirlon nodded. “I’ve been checking. Other than animals I can hear none but our group. How far will we travel today?”
“I hope to reach the plains.” Val urged his courser into a trot.
At moonrise they emerged from the gloom beneath the trees. Val stared at the grassy plain. A memory slammed into his thoughts. Here, his party had been confronted by a group of homeless men led by a dom. Zand and the dom had dueled with Fire. The flames had spread along the grass. Only by using his affinity to pull rain from the clouds had Val been able to prevent a disaster.
Ky jumped from her steed and cleared some turf away. She piled some wood in the center and called fire to ignite the kindling. “Will we visit the Rovers?”
Val shook his head. “I would enjoy seeing the children but that would add too many days to our journey.” Regret filled his voice. The four children rescued from the streets of Cedris had been like younger siblings to him. “We must reach our focus as soon as possible.”
“I know.” Ky erected the metal stand over the fire and hung several pots of water on the hooks. “Do you think we can cleanse Easren?”
He patted her head. “Doma Jandia believes we can.” He rose and lifted several sacks from the panniers. He added dried meat and vegetables to one and grain and fruit to a second. Kirlon and Geni joined them.
“How long before we reach the Ruran River?” Geni asked.
“Three or four days of long travel,” Val said.
“We’ll pass near the site of the buried Soutren henge,” Kirlon said. “Do you think that’s where our group will go next?”
“Maybe,” Ky said.
Val stirred each pot. “We won’t be that close. We’ll be on the other side of the river and a seven day of travel from that henge. When we reach the first bridge we’ll cross into Easren.”
Geni filled mugs with tea. “We should leave at dawn.”
“And travel until moonrise.” Val watched the pair of forstcats bound into the high grass. “Will they be back before we leave?”
Ky reached for a bowl. “One whistle and they’ll come running even if they’re unsuccessful in their hunt.” A squeal sounded. “They have their dinner. Tomorrow I’ll have them scare some grass hens. We’ll have a feast.” She tasted the stew. “When we reach Easren because of the rain we’ll have little chance to hunt.”
Val dished some of the stew for himself. After eating he went to his sleep saque. Tomorrow and the next few days would be long. How bad were conditions in Easren? Soon he would learn. He yawned. He must remind Kirlon to read the winds frequently. Not only did they need to avoid doms and domas but all the people of the princedom. Until the web of evil over the land was cleansed little could be done for the inhabitants.
At midmorning of the fourth day of travel Val rose in the stirrups to peer ahead. Mist blurred the view but he could hear the rushing water of the river. Before long the hazy outline of a bridge emerged from the gloom. Wind driven droplets of water bathed his face.
Ky trotted ahead and then returned. “I hope the bridge remains solid until we’re across.”
Val urged his steed forward. “If a crossing here is impossible we’ll find another way.”
“We can use our affinities,” Ky said.
“How?”
“We’ll think of a way.”
When they reached the bridge Val groaned. The span had to hold until they crossed. The banks were too steep and to far apart for the coursers to swim. Even if they could climb down the riverbank he couldn’t imagine using his affinity to form a clear path between walls of water. The strong current would thwart their passage even if all four with an affinity for Water were present.
Ky halted at the entrance to the wooden bridge. She waved to Kirlon and Geni. “Hurry, we must cross before the bridge collapses. If we don’t cross here we’ll have to ride almost to the highlands before finding a ford.”
Kirlon reached then. “That would take us days out of the way.”
“And we’d encounter swamps,” Geni said.
Val helped Geni dismount. “Use your affinity for Earth and see if the bridge will support us.”
She nodded and strode forward to press her hands against the wood. “For now but we must hurry. There are some missing planks and pieces of the railing are gone. If we remain in the center we should be fine.”
Val stepped to her side. Water washed over the boards. He gulped deep breaths of air and reached for a calm center. “We’ll cross now and in this order. Ky, Geni and Kirlon. I’ll go last. Ky, when you reach the far end be prepared to control the steeds. Kirlon, see if you can use Air in some way.”
“Will do.”
Ky grabbed the reins of her courser. As she stepped onto the bridge the forstcats yowled. The felines she’d raised since she found them in the forest soon after their birth had no fear of water but they hated remaining in the panniers.
The mist became a steady drizzle. Geni pulled her courser onto the planks. Val used his affinity to drive the water from the wooden surface.
Kirlon paused at Val’s side. “Let me keep the water from the boards. See if you can slow that mass of debris and trees from slamming into the supports.”
Val drew a deep breath and stared at the churning water. He focused on the raging current. While slowing the flow he noticed Ky and Geni’s slow progress. Ky reached a section where the railing had been swept away. How easily she could tumble into the river and be swept away. He wanted to shout for them to hurry and feared to startle them. Kirlon led his courser onto the bridge.
Val began the crossing. The boards creaked and groaned. A small tree slammed into a support. Val gasped. His courser squealed in fear.
“Steady,” Val urged, not only the steed but himself. He wished for Ky’s ability to control animals. He glanced upstream. The roaring of the water deafened him. His heart stuttered when he saw a massive oka tree tumble toward the central support. “Ky, Geni, Kirlon, hurry.”
Val tugged on the courser’s reins. He jumped across a gap in the boards where a plank had washed away. The animal balked. Val jerked on the reins. The effort he expended to restrain the tree’s progress sapped his strength. Fear rose and added to the panic churning inside.
A gust of wind-driven rain slapped his face. Kirlon had lost control of his element. The slap pushed Val toward a gap in the railing. For a brief moment he tottered there and caught his balance. His heart pounded in heavy thuds against his chest. He moved past the broken rail. The courser refused to move.
“Come,” he called. The steed tossed its head and snorted. The reins slipped from Val’s hands. He continued forward and hoped the animal would follow. Thoughts of the supplies they would lose and the time lost if he had to walk brought a rush of anger and a tinge of fear. They could fail to reach their destination and leave their part in the cleansing undone.
He looked up. The massive tree sped toward the bridge. “Ky,” he shouted. “Control my steed.” Had she heard him? His eyes widened. The oka would hit the middle support. He ran.
From behind he heard dull thuds of the courser’s hooves. He felt hot breath on his back. With a leap he cleared the end of the bridge, staggered several steps and fell. His breath whooshed out. The hooves of the steed nearly clipped his head. He hugged the ground. When he tried to raise his legs shook.
“Val.” Geni grabbed his arm. “Get up.”
Kirlon pulled on his other arm. The three half-ran and half–staggered to where Ky stood with the coursers. A loud boom sounded. Val turned his head.  Born by a jet of water, pieces of wood shot upward.
When the three reached the steeds, Geni released his arm. “We need to ride now. The ground isn’t stable here.”
Val climbed into the saddle. With Ky in the lead the four coursers galloped through the rain pouring from the sullen sky.  Val turned and stared at the shattered bridge. His eyes widened in alarm. The riverbank slid into the gorge. Great cracks appeared on the road’s surface.
For a time they maintained the headlong pack. Val felt his steed falter. Ky held up her hand. The four slowed to a walk.
Pools of water collected on either side of the road. The saturated soil could absorb no more. Though the spring equinox had occurred several days before, the farmers couldn’t plow or plant for the seeds would rot.
What would happen if he and his friends couldn’t undo the harm the doms and domas had wrought? Uncertainty stained his thoughts. Ahead he saw a cluster of houses. When Ky turned into a side lane Val released his held breath. He had no desire to ride through a village and be bombarded by the emotions of the people. His affinity for Water gave him the ability to experience the emotions of others.



Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Wednesday's Writer's Tip - Writing ABC - H is for Humor #MFRWauthor #Writing

 H could stand for a lot of things like hero, heroine, honesty and at least one of the genres of writing - Horror. What struck me as I was sitting down to write this today was the need for humor.

I'm not talking about slap-stick bits though they can be fin written into a story. Like an inept man who must change a baby's diaper. Or a heroine who is a klutz. Humor is this but there are those little bits of humor that fit into a story for other reasons.

Sometimes when the writing of scene after scene where dramatic events are always life-threatening the reader may need a breath. Just a short scene that's brings a smile to the reader's face can make him or her want to finish the story. So think of light humor as a way to allow the reader to take a breath.

Children often can perform this purpose. They can allow the drama to take a break for a bit of time.

Do you put those little bits of humor in your stories? Not the ones that make the reader roar with laughter but the ones that bring a smile and release the tension for a short time.