Saturday, November 30, 2013

Let's Hear From The Villains - from Moon Summoned by Janet Lane Walters

Moon Summoned has three villains so today I thought I'd share them with you.

Together the three men rolled a huge stone across the mouth of the inner cave where the bodies of the Triad who had once ruled the three branches of the priesthood of the Lord of Shadows had been buried. Their powers had been spent during the battle with those who served the Mistress of the Moons.

Gamish, now Thamaturg brushed his hands on his gray-tinged blue robe. The buried men had begun what he and his co-rulers would finish. “’Tis done,” he said.

“What now?” Lugal, the Cabal asked.

“We go to the land they prepared for us.” Sargon, the Gladius, strode to the scrying pool. “Surely the under-priests and princes have had enough time to subdue the people of Keltoi.”

“I fear we must complete the taming,” Gamish said. “They are a most stubborn and ungrateful people.” He started toward the cavern mouth.

“First let us use the pool to see what those whose mantles we wear wrought during the battle.” The Cabal rubbed his fleshy hands in anticipation.

Wouldn’t if be better to foresee what will come, Gamish thought. Though if these two have no inkling of what may happen, my plans will bear the fruit I crave.”       

Sargon gestured to the pool. “Who begins?”

Gamish censed the dark water. For an instant, the cloud of noxious smoke obscured the pool. “Let us see what has passed.” A glow from beneath swelled. Pictures formed of the battle on the plateau near the sacred place of those who served the Abomination. Lugal and Sargon watched the changing scenes with avid interest.

Would they see what he had? Gamish fought a desire to laugh. Did the Cabal and the Gladius know the battle wasn’t finished? Did they know the Queen of Darkness was the other face of the Mistress, just as the Lord of Light held the Lord of Shadows in his depths?

Lugal waved the serpent rod over the water. “Now the victory horns will sound.” The serpent raised its head. A stream of venom shot into the pool. With slow sensuous movements Lugal stroked the snake.

Gamish held in a snort of disdain. He had no liking for his co-rulers. Neither man seemed to know that what had been fought must be met again. In all the times of watching the scene of confrontation, hadn’t they noticed the bodies of the Three weren’t among the dead.

The Gladius laughed. “Look, the Warrior has fallen. The power of the Three is broken.” Flames flowed along his sword, touched the water and raised clouds of steam.

Just as the fog had rolled from the mountains to hide the retreat of the priestesses, Gamish thought. His lip curled. His co-rulers were fools. Did they think the nome of Keltoi belonged to the Lord of Shadows? In the future, a second eclipse loomed. Unless those chosen to succeed the Three were found before the power was passed, the battle would be fought anew. No matter what the others thought, he would plan, and where a Triad now ruled, he would stand alone.

The rock floor of the cave shook. From the earth a rumble sounded. Gamish grasped the censor. “We must be away and make haste to our destination.”

Lugal nodded. “A ship waits on the shore.”

Sargon strode ahead of them. “We go to claim the reward our predecessors forged for us.”

Gamish followed the pair from the cavern. As he stepped into the night, he stared at the waning moon. Clouds gathered in the sky. The tremors of the earth grew in magnitude. A great roar rose from the cave. The place where those who had once ruled the three orders of the Lord of Shadows were interred was swallowed for all time.

Just as I will swallow my enemies, Gamish thought. During his childhood in the stronghold of his father, he had learned his skills in secret planning. His talent had taken him from that house, but the trickery he’d learned there had earned him his present position. Though the Three would rise again, he would prevail. He would raise a woman to corrupt the Three and thus Seer, Warrior, Healer would be his to command.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Another Opening Scene from Moon Summoned by Janet Lane Walters

Plans change and I thought I would be computerless for the weekend so I didn't schedule anyone for Friday and Saturday. I've decided to use this as my time and give you some opening scenes both days. This time it's from Moon Summoned. This fantasy has three heroes, three heroines and three villains. Lots of magic and arcane duels.






The setting sun brought shadows creeping along the mountain slopes. From the battle lines stretched across the plateau, the smell of blood mingled with the dust. Metal clanged against metal. Shouts, curses and screams filled the air. The moans of the wounded broke the Seer’s concentration on the amber light streaming from the crystal atop her staff. The beam sent a jagged pattern through the growing darkness.

A piercing cry arose. The ruby ray from the Warrior’s sword shot toward the sky. The Healer darted among the fallen and knelt beside the sorely wounded woman. Blue light from the Healer’s wand focused on the Warrior’s wounds. The Healer poured life-sustaining energy through the azure beam.

Gusts of wind drove thick waves of fog from the mountain peaks to obscure the plain and to cover the retreat of the women. A cluster of the servants of the Mistress of the Moons, clad in tunics of amber, red and blue, stumbled after those who bore the Warrior. They carried her between a pair of standing stones into a narrow passage that led to a crater lake and the Place of Choosing.

The Seer stumbled and would have fallen if the Healer hadn’t caught her arm. Together they moved through the fog. The edges of their cloaks brushed the standing stones.

“How much time have we?” the Healer asked.

The Seer tightened her grip on the staff. “I pray enough to complete the ritual before the eclipse hides the light of the moon.”

The Healer guided the other woman into the narrow passage. “With the coming of the fog, the bright moon and the dark moon have risen. We must succeed or all is lost for the One we serve.”

“Pray our call is answered before the next eclipse and the time of the lunar of the dark moon. For now and to all eternity, the thirteenth moon, the dark moon will rise each year to fill the sky.”

“We must wait thirteen years before this comes to pass. Pray the Mistress of the Moons will hold the Queen of Darkness at bay so the ones we call will have a chance.”

“Unless those who serve the Lord of Shadows call the Queen forth.”

The Healer sucked in a breath. “Never will the ones who serve the shadowed one share the rule.”

The Seer sighed. “Mistress bless. So be it. We will call, the Three will come and all will be as it has been. Unlike those in the other nomes, we can’t allow a drastic change to alter what we’ve built.”

“Agreed,” the Healer said.

They emerged from the passage and walked across the rock-strewn earth to the crater lake. The walls on three sides formed a crescent around the pool.

The Seer marshaled enough strength to walk unassisted. Her hair, darkened by age, flew wildly around her face. The Healer’s hair was as black as a night beneath the dark moon.

The remaining women clustered at the edge of the lake. The Seer and the Healer took the ends of the stretcher on which the Warrior lay. They waded through the cool water to the isle in the center of the lake. Gently they laid their companion on the pale rock. The Healer placed the Warrior’s sword on her chest and crossed the woman’s arms beneath the orb in the hilt.

Those who served the Mistress as seers, warriors and healers held torches aloft.

The ebon globe slid across the surface of the pale golden moon. The Seer passed her hand over the head of her staff. From the depths of the amber crystal, a band of pale yellow light flowed.

“From out of time and out of space, we three, Seer, Warrior, Healer, send our spirits questing for those who will continue the battle against the Lord of Shadows. We call for those who will keep the faith exactly as we have. Mistress of the Moons, pray keep the Queen of Darkness in bonds so You will prevail.”

The Healer raised her wand. The blue crystal on the tip flared and blue light shone. “The time of passing is upon us.” Her voice held neither fear nor anticipation. “Moon bright becomes Moon dark. May this eclipse add strength to our quest.”

The dark orb continued its stately progress across the face of the moon. The Seer held her staff so the light shone across the body of the Warrior. “How fares our sister?”

The Healer pressed a hand against the Warrior’s chest. “Her heart beats, but her body weakens. Can she bring forth the light of her sword?”

“The Mistress will sustain her.”

The Healer gasped. From the ruby crystal embedded in the hilt of the Warrior’s sword, a red ray rose to touch the blue and amber. “Just as our lights unite, we three are one.”


Moon Bright, Moon dark,

Mistress of the Moons.

From out of time,

From the depths of space.

Call the Three,

Seer, Warrior, Healer.

Empower them.

From conception comes the thought.

From the thought rises the desire.

From desire springs the seed.

And the fruit becomes the harvest,

Ending shadows, bringing light.


The women who had gathered at the edge of the lake added their voices to those of the Three. Once, twice, thrice, they intoned the call. As the dark globe completely covered the moon, they plunged their torches into the water. Clouds of herb-scented smoke obscured the isle. When the sun rose only a staff, a sword and a wand remained.


Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thursday's Opening Scene from Healwoman by Janet Lane Walters

Healwoman is one of my. recent releases. It's an Epic fantasy


The Hodara of Healing in Bethsada

Mabe sat on one of the stone benches in the Grotto.  The Eldest had called her here and she didn’t know why.  She didn’t think she had done anything to deserve a judging, but why else would the god and goddess want her presence?  Soon, the moon would rise and she would dip her hands in the chill waters of the crater lake.  Midra and Midran would speak.  The only time she had heard their voices had been the night she’d finished her training and had been accepted as a Healwoman.  She rubbed her hands along her arms.

The Eldest touched her shoulder.  “The time is near.  There are things I must tell you.”

“Are you sure ’tis me they want?”

“You are part of their plans for the future.”  The old woman smiled.  “In the days of yore, the Three of Midra--Seer, Warrior, Healer--united with their mates.  Together they defeated those who embraced the dark faces of Midra and Midran.  For a time, the priestesses and priests who served the god and goddess walked in the light and brought miracles to the land.  But as time rolled on its circular path, what was once came again.  The dark face of Midra enthralled the priestesses.  They turned from the light.  Then the power of the goddess faltered.  Midran drew his priests into the shadows.  Still, what was will come again.”

Mabe nodded.  She’d read the old tales kept in the archives.  She had found them fascinating, but were they true?  They told of the days when the face of the goddess had darkened.  ’Twas then the Healwomen had walked away from the temples to found their own place.  In the years that followed, the temples had ruled and men had little power in ruling any of the four divisions of the land now known as nomes.  Gradually, the priests of Midran had gained strength, first in the light.  Then they had embraced the dark face of the god.

She glanced at the dome over the cavern.  Rays of moonlight shone through the four crescent shaped holes, one for each nome.  Keltoi, Sippal, Nilos and Incal.  Bands of color--red, yellow, blue and white--spread across the water.  The arrival of the colors never failed to startle and amaze Mabe.  What caused them to appear?  She turned to the Eldest.  “What do the legends have to do with me?”

“One will come from Keltoi.  She is a daughter of this nome.  Her lineage rises from the Seer, the Warrior, the Healer and their spouses.  She will have four talents and will be the gleaner who finds the Four and Four.  One pair for each nome.  They will bring light from darkness.  You will seek and find her.  Bring her to Bethsada so she can enter the hodara and learn.”

Mabe nodded and accepted the task.  She felt both humbled and excited to be chosen.  “When do I leave?”

The Eldest rose.  “The god and goddess will tell you when.”  She placed her hands on Mabe’s head.  “Seek their blessing.  Their commands are for you alone.”

Once the shuffling footsteps of the old woman no longer echoed, Mabe closed her eyes.  Her thoughts turned inward.  She had hoped to remain in Bethsada and join the other women who taught in the hodara.  Though her talents in Earth and Fire were moderate, her years of travel had brought her knowledge of the customs and ways of the people in each nome.  This knowledge was valuable to the Healwomen who staffed the many hodaras.

She rose and walked to the rock shelf surrounding the crater lake.  She knelt and dipped her hands in the icy water.  “Midra, Midran, I have come.  What would you have me do?”

As the voices of the god and goddess sounded in her head, awe filled her being.  The desires to laugh and cry co-mingled.  She remained silent and listened.

*Go.  Seek the one who will find the Four and Four.  Beware all who serve the dark faces.  They will try to keep you from completing your task.*

“How will I know the one I seek?”

*She will find you, for she prays for refuge from the ones who slink in the shadows.*

“And the enemies?”

*One you know, for you have faced and defeated her in the past.  Of the other, if he knew the girl was his daughter, he would be filled with joy.  While he is not of the dark, he might seek to sequester her so her growth would be stunted.*

*Of her enemies, there are two she must face.  One would see her dead.  The other will crave her as a possession.  Rise.  Gather your supplies.  Choose a companion for your journey.  On the morrow, leave for Keltoi.*

Mabe sank back on her heels.  She dried her hands on her skirt.  She rose and left the Grotto.  There was much to do before morning.  As she strode through the tunnel, she considered who to ask to accompany her.  Glena was her choice.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Wednesday's Writer's Tip - Character Growth and Development

You've chosen the characters for your story and you have the right number to sustain the plot. But some how they seem static. There are ways to bring them to vivid life and to enchant your readers into wanting to know more about these characters. But how?

Put them under pressure. Give them a stressful situation. Plunge them into the action of the story. Sounds like a lot but as you develop your plot, bring the characters into the action.

Change the static character into one who is developing. Characters need to grow, especially in a novel. Let them learn by experience, just as real people do. But characters aren't real. As the writer, you must invest part of yourself in the character development.  This brings up a point some writers think and even say. "My hero just took over the story and changed the direction." Did they really or did the writer become so invested in this character by learning about them that the direction of the story changes.

I know I've had this kind of epiphany and suddenly I know though I sketched out the plot the direction to reach the end has changed because I learned something about the people in my stories that made the path toward the end take a turn. Sometimes this is good and sometimes I have to go back and return these characters to the original idea. What has happened is my investment in the character has made them grow. But if they grow beyond the structure of the plot then I have to go back and return this character to the story line. Or I'll end up with general chaos rather than a story.

The character grows and develops in the writer's mind and knowing them certainly brings them to life.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Tuesday's Inspiration - The Writer's Eye

When I first read about the Writer's Eye in On Becoming A Novelist by John Gardner I was sure I didn't have one. I also wasn't sure what it meant. "The good writer sees things sharply, vividly, accurately and selectively ( meaning he chooses what's important). I'll end the quote now and start explaining what I thought.

Pictures to me don't really turn me on or send my imagination flowing. I don't cut out pictures of people or places to use in my stories. Every character I use to people my stories come straight from my imagination. The places I write about are often ones I see every day or places I know from my life's experience. Then one day what the Writer's Eye meant suddenly popped into my head. The eye is centered on choosing the right words to show what I meant through gestures or that vivid word that made a person or a place alive to someone else.

I used to use she smiled, he grinned a lot when trying to show what a character was thinking. I still use them but I also have learned to add a bit showing what this gesture did to the other person. That's just an example or the way I found to use the Writer's Eye. His smile sent heat flowing over her skin just the way it had years ago. Now that smile becomes more than just a smile. The aroma of baking cookies sent her back to the days when she'd stood with her grandmother waiting for the chocolate chip cookies to be taken from the oven.

Things like that are part of the Writer's Eye and something I've had to develop over the years. They usually don't come to life in the initial draft but they do when I'm doing the re-writes or revisions. And they take time to find the right picture to draw the reader in. The Writer's Eye sort of turns the writer into the character they're developing.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Meandering on Monday with Janet Lane Walters

Meander 1 - Plans change and mine have so what do I do with the Friday and Saturday days I didn't garner an author to take those days. Now I could do them myself and I probably will in some manner but it won't be How She Does It but it will be posts. Since I had one release last week and I believe I'll have another on Friday, I'll post excerpts from them on those days and also on Thursday. So instead of being about others, this will be about me.

Meander 2 is about promoting, sort of. I've been putting my books on the nice pages on Maniac Readers. The problem is there are so many books but I'm working on the ones from Books We Love. Then I must start on my other publishers. There are so many books. I also need a slap upside my head for forgetting a post I was supposed to do for another blog. When these opportunities occur, I need to do them at once. I sort of feel like I should be writing something like Obsessions of a Compulsive Writer. Perhaps I will. I don't have a muse but I do have stories floating in my head that want to be told now.

Meander 3. Working on putting all the corrections into Amber Chronicles and have one more segment to go. Makes me want to cheer but then I have to do the formatting and all else that goes into working on the story to get it ready for publication. I'm very pleased with these fairy like-stories and will be glad to see the collection finished. I've begun Melodic Dreams and am doing the blocking in of the love story between an Occupational Therapist, a Cancer and a Composer of music, a Taurus. Am able to draw on a daughter for one and my own twisted past for the other. Story is of course complicated in some ways but hopefully it will see the end before long. Getting that initial draft down is always where the fun and the work come in.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Saturday's Excerpt from Fight Princess by M. S. Kaye

Thank you so much for allowing me to be your guest!


Book title: Fight Princess

Author: M. S. Kaye

Genre: Romantic Suspense

Purchase at:

Price: $5.99

Contact M. S. Kaye at:




Through the peephole she saw Cullen staring her down, as if he could see through the door. “I know you’re in there, Celisse. Your car’s outside.”

Celisse grumbled under her breath. Then she spoke loud enough for him to hear. “How do you know where I live?”

“It’s not that hard to get a person’s address—as you damn well know.”

Crap. How did he know? “What are you talking about?”

“You made it downtown so quickly because you were already in my apartment.” His jaw flexed as he continued to glare at the door. She was almost impressed he was able to maintain that intense, pissed-off posture and expression when she saw in his eyes that he was barely hanging on through the exhaustion. Like riding a bike, if he stopped, he would probably fall down.

She turned the bolt and opened the door. “How would I have gotten in your apartment—and why would I want to?”

“You flashed a beautiful smile at Alfie. Don’t tell me you don’t know exactly what you’re doing.”

Celisse hesitated. Hearing him say that… She wasn’t sure how to react.

He pushed the door open a bit further and slid past her into the apartment. She didn’t think to stop him until he was already past her. She turned and looked at him standing in the middle of her little living room, like a storm cloud in her usually calm and cloudless space. This small, cheap apartment was the first place she had ever lived where she felt completely comfortable.

She realized he was looking at her, not at her eyes. She crossed her arms over her chest. “What do you want?”

His jaw tightened again, and he met her eyes like lightning flashing across the sky. “Don’t ask me why in the hell you’d want to be in my apartment.”

It took her a second to realize he was answering her previous question.

“What did you think you’d find?” he asked.

“Certainly not stacks of hundred-dollar bills.”

“It’s none of your goddamn concern how much money I have and why. Stay out of my business.”


“Excuse me?”

“My best friend’s boyfriend was murdered, and then the accused slips me a note that says things aren’t what they seem. What did you think I was going to do?”

He paused, and the glare in his expression that had about blinded her a few seconds ago dulled to the glower of the moon in a clouded sky. He turned and looked around her apartment—her TV stand with a couple movies on top, the potted plant next to the sliding glass doors, her one pathetic attempt at gardening, and then over to the bookshelf where he started reading titles.

She stood next to him. “What do you think you’re doing?”

“Does it annoy you?” He took a book from the shelf and flipped through its pages. “Someone going through your things, invading your privacy?”

Celisse snatched the book out of his hand, before he realized what it was.

“Are you pissed yet?” he asked.

“I wonder how it would look to the court if the police were called on you the same day you posted bail.”

He took a step toward her, and she backed up with her hands in guard position.

He stopped, and his voice was inside out from what it had been. “I would never hurt you.”

“You were arrested for murder today.”

His expression sobered, like fog pulling across a jagged cliff face. “I’m sorry. I never meant to scare you.” He walked across her living room, out the door, and down the stairs.


Friday, November 22, 2013

Friday's How She Does It featuring M. S. Kaye

Hi Janet,
Thanks for having me as a guest on your blog! Please see the below completed interview. The basic info and excerpt from the book are in the attached rtf file, and the cover art is attached as a jpg. Please let me know if you have any questions.
1.      How do you create your characters? Do you have a specific method?
 I decide on the necessary characteristics to make the plot work, and then I create traits and a background that I think make for a more powerful story.
2. Do your characters come before the plot? Do you sketch out your plot or do you let the characters develop the route to the end?
 I have the plot laid out, but keep it mostly basic, allowing for changes as inspiration strikes.
3. Do you know how the story will end before you begin? In a general way or a specific one?
 Yes. Usually only generally.
4. Do you choose settings you know or do you have books of settings and plans of houses sitting around?
Sometimes the setting is a place I know, and sometimes it's all about research. It depends on what location is going to most help me tell the story in the way I want it to be told. (and yes, I do have books of house plans--I was in architecture school years ago.)
5. Where do you do your research? On line or from books?
6. Are you a draft writer or do you revise as you go along and why?
I'm a draft writer, but I try to have the plot pretty clear in my head so that the second draft isn't a complete tear-apart.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Thursday's Opening Scene Peru from All Our Yesterdays

The last rays of the sun colored the distant snow-covered peaks. Coyllur stood in the courtyard of the Sun Temple and stared at the road beyond the entrance. Her father was late. Since she'd been taken to the temple after her mother's death, he had come every lunar for a visit and to bring fresh fish for the temple. Her shoulders slumped. He wasn't coming. The sea harvest wouldn't arrive this lunar. What had happened? Unless there had been trouble, he would have been here by now. Tears threatened, but she held them back.

She saw movement on the road and felt a hope quickly extinguished when she identified the runner. A chasqui held his quipu. The knotted string dangled from the messenger's hand. What news did he bring?

Moments after the chasqui disappeared into the temple, a Sun Priestess appeared. "Child, I have news of your father."

Coyllur approached Chaquira. "Has he been hurt?"

The priestess took her hand. "It is not known how or where my youngest brother is. A floating fortress came near the shore and spawned small boats. Strangers came from the boats. They took your father and some others when they left."

Coyllur blinked tears away. "Then I will believe he lives and I will see him again."

"You will." Chaquira held out her hand. "Come with me. There are things I must tell you. For many nights, I have dreamed of strange places and people. Last night, the visions drew to an end and I know what they mean."

Coyllur followed her aunt to her cell. A prophecy meant change. Was she to be sent to the Sun Temple in Cuzco? Was she to be a Chosen Woman to serve the Inca in life and death?

Chaquira sat on a stool. Coyllur sat at the priestess' feet.

"A time of change approaches for the land and for you. Strangers came and will return. Among them is one tied to you by the strings of an ancient curse given in a land beyond your imagination."

Coyllur frowned. Were these strangers the ones who had taken her father?

Chaquira leaned forward. "This I say to you. When you see his face, you will love him. This love must remain pure until you are bound together. There are three who will help and two who wish to prevent this union. Time and again, they have manipulated and succeeded. This time, they must not."

Coyllur frowned. She was too young to join with any man. Besides, she belonged to the temple. If she was to have a mate, the Inca would choose him. "I hear, but I do not understand."

"In time, you will."

Coyllur sighed. "When?"

"In many turnings of the moon." Chaquira patted her head. "Seek your mat."

"A good night to you." Coyllur scurried away. As she hurried to the room she shared with the other girls, a priest beckoned. She tensed. Though Suka was handsome, something about him made her fearful.

He caught her arm. "Why aren't you with the other girls? Were you seeking me?"

She stared at the floor. To meet his gaze would expose her fear. "I was with the Sun Priestess Chaquira."

He lifted her chin with his fingers. "You are lovely, but too young for the pleasures I could show you." He laughed. "You won't be young forever."

Coyllur backed away. "I must go."

"Tell Sumac I await her. She is late for her lessons and I would see her at once."

Coyllur ran the rest of the way to the sleeping chamber. Sumac sat on her mat. The older girl was near the end of her training. Soon she would be a priestess. What kind of lessons did Suka teach? Coyllur shuddered. None she wanted to learn.

Her friend, Coca, waved. Coyllur stopped before Sumac.

The older girl glared. "What do you want?"

"The Sun Priest, Suka, awaits you."

Sumac undulated from the mat. Her icy smile chilled Coyllur. "Your turn will come, but I doubt you'll enjoy the lessons. He'll punish you for your haughty ways. Just because your hair and skin are lighter than most doesn't make you a treasure."

Coyllur frowned. Was Sumac one of her enemies?

Coca waited until Sumac left. "Let's go bathe. I waited for you."

Coyllur picked up a clean dress. "Why does she go to Suka?"

Coca laughed. "To learn how to please a man. I watched through a spy hole once. He mounted her like the llamas do."

"But the Chosen are virgins."

"Not all. Some of the priestesses serve the priests."

"He said he will teach me. I don't like him. What can I do?"

"Don't let him catch you alone." Coca stepped into the heated pool. "Did your father send the chasqui?"

Coyllur joined her friend. "The chasqui came to Chaquira. Coca, my father has been taken away by strangers."

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Wednesday's Writer's Tip - How Many Characters Make A Story?

Last week we looked at the way characters come into being. Now it's how many characters does the story need? This question needs a bit of thought because each story is different and for each story there needs to be the right amount of characters.

I suppose you could write a romance with just two characters but that would seem straightforward and there would be little room for interaction with others and this is where some of the tension in the story happens. Each story needs enough characters to make the story happen. So how do you figure how many characters to people your story.

Too few characters makes for a very short story and too many and you could have a very long story. Each character introduced takes words. Having too many uses words you need to reach the end of the story. Too many characters can confuse the reader, especially if they're introduced in the first few pages of the story.

So look at your story and see which characters are necessary. There's the protagonist and the antagonist both are needed. Then there are the characters who can be combined to cut down on the number needed. Do you need the grocery clerk, the cab driver, or the walk on character. If they don't have a purpose in the story, don't give them a name or a description. They're really part of the scenery.

So look at your story and determine if you have enough characters to make the story reach the end. If a character isn't for or against the main character leave them out. Remember all these people in the story should have a function for they are figments of the writer's imagination and exist to keep the reader turning the pages.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Tuesday's Inspiration - On Meaning

When we're writing often finding the meaning can be difficult. John Gardner in On Becoming A Novelist made a statement that made me think and think. "Getting down one's exact meaning helps one discover what one means."

How often during the revision stage of writing have you been stopped while writing a sentence or a paragraph seeking the exact word to give meaning to a sentence. This happens to me frequently. During the roughing out of the story, the words often flow one after another without a thought and it's only later that I look to see if the words I've chosen are the right words. Now, this can become an unwillingness to let the story go when I put in a word I think might be the right one and on a later look through decide the first one I've used is the right one. Other times I come upon blank spaces in a sentence where no word came to make the meaning clear and suddenly it's there.

Exploring and finding words is what a writer does. Unlike the artist who shows images to give meaning, the writer must find words to create pictures. Finding the right word gives life and meaning to the story. While not always successful the journey lies in the search.

How about you? Do you use the first words that come to mind and never look beyond what they really mean? Do you spend time searching for the one word that makes the meaning clear to you and hopefully to the reader?

Monday, November 18, 2013

Meandering on Monday with Janet Lane Walters

Meander I I have two books available today on Kindle for 99 cents
Shattered Dreams (Moonchild)   

A Double Opposition                     

They are available for a limited time at this great price                                      

Meander 2 Time management has gone to pot. There are so many things I need to do today and not enough hours. Promoting takes a lot of time since I must update my Manias Reader's Page with about 30 books and stories. This will take days and days since I can only spend so much time doing this. Getting the first of a fantasy series up on Create Space will also take time since I've forgotten how to do this and must call them. Then there's shopping for Christmas a season that's jumping in before I have a chance to think about it. The writing will be in Meander 3

Meander 3 Am editing two stories Rekindled Dreams and Amber Chronicles. Putting in the words that are words but not the ones I want along with making corrections is very interesting and time-consuming. Hope to have both finished and able to send them off to Books We Love before long.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Saturday's Excerpt from More Than A Convenient Marriage by Dani Collins

More Than A Convenient Marriage? by Dani Collins





It started with a signature…


Rich, powerful and with a beautiful wife to boot, it seems like Greek shipping magnate Gideon Vozaras has it all. But little does the world know his perfect life is all a façade…


After years of disguising her pain behind a flawless smile, untouchable heiress Adara Vozaras has reached breaking point. Her marriage, once held together by an undeniable passion, has become nothing more than a convenience.


But Gideon can't afford the public scrutiny that a divorce would bring and if there's one thing his harsh past has taught him, it's how to fight dirty to keep what's his...




Gideon Vozaras used all his discipline to keep his foot light on the accelerator as he followed the rented car, forcing himself to maintain an unhurried pace along the narrow island road while he gripped the wheel in white-knuckled fists.  When the other car parked outside the palatial gate of an estate, he pulled his own rental onto the shoulder a discreet distance back then stayed in his vehicle to see if the other driver noticed.  As he cut the engine, the AC stopped.  Heat enveloped him.


Welcome to Hell. 


He hated Greece at the best of times and today was predicted to be one of the hottest on record.  The air shimmered under the relentless sun and it wasn’t even ten o’clock yet.  But the weather was barely worth noticing.


The gates of the estate were open.  The other car could have driven straight through and up to the house, but stayed parked outside.  He watched the female driver emerge and take a moment to consider the unguarded entrance.  Her shoulders gave a lift and drop as though she screwed up her courage before she took action and walked in. 


As she disappeared between imposing brick posts, Gideon left his own car and followed at a measured pace, gut knotting with every step.  Outraged stung his veins. 


He wanted to believe that wasn’t his wife, but there was no mistaking Adara Vozaras.  Not for him.  Maybe her tourist clothes of flip-flops, jeans chopped above the knees, a sleeveless top, and a pair of pigtails didn’t fit her usual professional élan, but he knew that backside.  The tug it caused in his blood was indisputable.  No other woman made an immediate sexual fire crackle awake in him like this.  His relentless hunger for Adara had always been his cross to bear and today it was particularly unwelcome. 


Spending the week with her mother.  This ain’t Chatham, sweetheart.


He paused as he came alongside her car, glancing inside to see a map of the island on the passenger seat.  A logo in its corner matched the hotel he’d been told she was booked into.  And now she was advising her lover where to meet her?  Walking bold as you please up his million-dollar drive to his billion-dollar house?  The only clue to the estate’s ownership, the shields welded to the gate, were turned back against the brick wall that fenced the estate from the road.


Gideon’s entire body twitched with an urge to slip his reins of control.  He was not a poor man.  He’d got past envying other men their wealth once he’d acquired a level of his own. 


Nevertheless, a niggle of his dock-rat inferiority complex wormed to life as he took in what he could see of the shoreline property that rolled into a vineyard and orange grove.  The towering stone house, three stories with turrets on each corner, belonged on an English estate, not a Greek island.  It was twenty bedrooms minimum.  If this was the owner’s weekend retreat, he was an obscenely rich man. 


Not that Adara needed a rich man.  She had grown up wanting for nothing.  She had a fortune in her own right plus half of Gideon’s so what was the attraction here?




The insidious whisper formed a knot of betrayal behind his breastbone.  Was this why she hadn’t shared that stacked body of hers with him for weeks?  His hands curled into fists as he tried to swallow back his gall.


Dreading what he might see as he looked to the front door, he shifted for a full view.  Adara had paused halfway to the house to speak with a gardener.  A truck overflowing with landscaping tools was parked midway up the drive and workers were crawling like bees over the blooming gardens.


The sun seared the back of Gideon’s neck, strong enough to burn through his shirt to his shoulders, making sweat pool between his shoulder blades and tickle annoyingly down his spine. 

They had arrived early this morning, Adara off the ferry, Gideon following in a power boat he was ‘test-piloting.’  She’d been driving a car she’d rented in Athens.  His rental had been negotiated at the marina, but the island was small.  It hadn’t surprised him when she’d driven right past the nose of his car as he had turned onto the main road. 


No, the surprise had been the call thirty-six hours previously when their travel agent had dialed his mobile by mistake.  Ever the survivor, Gideon had thought quickly.  He’d mentioned that he’d like to surprise his wife by joining her and within seconds, Gideon had had all the details of Adara’s clandestine trip.


Well, not all.  He didn’t know whom she was here to see or how she’d met her mystery man.   Why was she doing this when he gave her everything she asked for?


He watched Adara’s slender neck bow in disappointment.  Ha.  The bastard wasn’t home.  Grimly satisfied, Gideon folded his arms and waited for his wife.





Dani Collins spent twenty-five years dreaming of writing full time and finally made her first sale to Harlequin Mills & Boon in May of 2012. She’s still dreaming of making Romance Author her day job, but for now she writes around work, family, and enough exercise to keep her out of traction. For more information about Dani, you can visit her website at, listen to her interview with Nice Girls Reading Naughty Books, or watch her interview on GFTV.





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Friday, November 15, 2013

Friday's How She Does It featuring Dani Collins

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?


Hi Janet, thanks for having me.


I agree with you. Romance readers in particular already know how a story will end. They are reading to find out how the characters get from No Way This Will Work to Happily Ever After. That ‘how’ is definitely the plot. 



1. How do you create your characters? Do you have a specific method?


I don’t have a template where I log that the hero has green eyes or other attributes (although I should have a rudimentary one. I often find myself searching ‘eyes’ so I can see if I gave him a certain color in early chapters.)


I do write a few paragraphs of back story for each. This typically covers their childhood, the relationships they had in their formative years that impact how they think about love and marriage, plus their current dreams and aspirations going into the opening of the book.



2. Do your characters come before the plot? Do you sketch out your plot or do you let the characters develop the route to the end?


Absolutely characters come before plot. I spent many an unpublished year learning how to plot and have had to unlearn a lot of it to write the character driven romance that works better for Harlequin Presents.


I usually sketch out a 1-2 page synopsis that I submit to my editor, to ensure the concept works for them and reassure myself I have enough story to fill the word count. I don’t stick to this outline very tightly as I write, however. The characters have a lot of room to stretch in other directions.


3. Do you know how the story will end before you begin? In a general way or a specific one?


Obviously in romance I know the story will end well, but I don’t really know how it will end. I’m just realizing this as I answer this question and am trying to tally up which books had a solid end as I wrote, but can’t think of one book that did.


I usually have a sense of where it will end which gives a clue, I suppose. Eg. A hospital, her parent’s house, his palace. The actual details and final conflict become clearer to me as I get closer to it.



4. Do you choose settings you know or do you have books of settings and plans of houses sitting around?


One of the best perks of writing for Harlequin Presents/Mills & Boon Modern is the settings. We’re trying to give the reader an imaginary vacation to the Caribbean or Paris or a fashion salon in Milan. I don’t think I could afford to do that research in person, although I aspire to!



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


I do a lot of online research especially as things come up during the first draft, like a piece of jewelry or a villa or the local foods in Venezuela. I occasionally buy magazines like Hello! or Architectural Digest for inspiration. Oscar season is a fabulous time to research gowns. This Spring I bought Time’s 100 Most Influential People. It’s an amazing resource for things like careers, politics and culture.



6. Are you a draft writer or do you revise as you go along and why?


I revise as I go along. My deadlines are really tight so I have to feel confident when I reach The End that the rest is pretty solid. Also, it helps my process to continually go back and check my through line. Before I published, I wrote books where the ending was basically from a different book than the first half because I had changed so many elements. I’ve learned to stay the course for the sake of my time and sanity.


Thank you so much for having me, Janet.





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