Monday, March 31, 2014

Meandering On Monday with Janet Lane Walters #MFRwriter

Meander 1 -For some reason my blog seems to be taking off. At least for me the numbers are interesting with people at least looking though there are few comments. Began doing this in 2007 and will continue blogging. Enjoy coming up with topics. I suppose I should visit other blogs and do things on them but I seldom do that.

Meander 2 - Been writing reviews but I would rather just rate them. There are people who write long long bits but I can't seem to do this even when I loved the books. The one thing I don't do is write nasty ones. I don't think I'll ever do a review on a book I didn't like and there's a good reason. If I don't like a book I never finish it. There are books I would read over and over again. I still can't write long and flowery bits about them.

Meander 3 - Am really rocking on the stuff for Toth's Priest and will have the rough draft done by the end of the week or the beginning of the next. Then I must really dig out the books on Egypt, look at the two other books in the series. The good thing is that I'll remember what I wrote after reading a few lines of a passage. That's kind of freaky but for me it works. Can't get involved in writing down all that goes into each world I write but I will be honing in on finishing works and worlds. Next week will be busy getting Melodic Dreams ready to send off.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

3 Blog Visit Sunday - Discoveried by Janet Lane Walters #MFRauthor rejections and reviews Contest

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Saturday's Excerpt from A Cruise To Remember by Beverley Bateman

The steamy Puerto Rican air slapped Eric Peterson in the face as the sliding door automatically opened. He hesitated at the sudden temperature change, before he proceeded outside into the heat of the upper deck of the ship. Leaning on the rail, the sun beating down on the back of his neck, he scanned the diorama from the dock area to old town San Juan.
The old and the new intermingled amongst the ongoing construction, forming an interesting panorama. He wished he’d come in a day or two earlier to tour the area. He’d only received the information on the assignment a few days ago. He needed to get up to speed before the cruise ship sailed.
Eric turned his attention to the dock below, where boarding had commenced. A staggered line of passengers shuffled toward the main gangway.
His gaze snapped back to two women who stopped briefly for the ship’s photographer. The older woman was well dressed in a white, semi-tailored skirt and a pinkish blouse. She wore her silver hair in an elegant bun at the base of her neck. The jewelry around her neck and her wrist sparkled as it caught the sun’s rays, magnifying the light, shooting it back toward the sky. He had no doubt they were diamonds, probably high quality. If she was trying to draw attention to herself, she was certainly going to accomplish it.
Jewels were one of his areas of expertise and the main reason he’d managed to pull this assignment. That, and the short time he’d spent as a medic in the army.
His eyes lingered on the younger woman. She shone like a jewel in her own right--white-blonde, shoulder-length hair, gleamed in the sunlight. Her green colored sundress fit her body, revealing the promise of well-rounded breasts and a tiny waistline.
A strong desire to meet this attractive young woman gripped him.
He’d never felt anything like this before. He gave himself a mental shake.
It’s probably the motion of the ship. Yeah, that, or I’m just plain horny. It’s been awhile since I scored.
Eric’s continued to observe her as she proceeded up the gangway. The sundress she wore was some kind of soft material that draped and clung to that perfectly proportioned figure. He wondered if the color of the dress matched her eyes.
She glanced upward, smiling. He felt she was smiling just for him. Eric smiled back, resisting an urge to wave. This assignment was looking better and better. He watched her disappear through the entrance.
Work was his life. He was damn good at it and respected by his peers. To him, women were an enjoyable pastime. A smile flickered across his face. Yes, they were enjoyable, but that was all. He’d never let any woman interfere with his work. That’s why it had been awhile since he’d been with anyone.
Eric’s attitude toward women was based on what they could do for him. Usually it was sex, but occasionally they could help him with his job, like this time.
He glanced back toward the gangway, but the two women had disappeared. An elderly man with a cane had replaced them.
Disappointment slipped over him. This was a feeling that he knew well, although it wasn’t one he normally associated with women.
Because of his background and upbringing, he’d decided years ago that he wanted a career, with no strings or attachments, and no permanent involvements. He’d even taken a vow when he was in college, to remain single--though not celibate--his entire life. He had seen far too many bad marriages to even consider the possibility. It wasn’t in the cards for him.
Besides, there were too many beautiful girls to charm. It would take a lifetime to get around to most of them. And none of them wanted their man to be away on dangerous missions after they were married. They wanted a stay at home, family-orientated husband.
That left him out of the picture.
No, he was independent, happy to travel to different parts of the world, playing different roles, depending on his assignment. He had no one to worry about but himself. He had no intention of ever changing his lifestyle, but that didn’t mean he couldn’t meet and enjoy the company of a beautiful blonde.
Eric strode back to the sliding glass door. When it opened, it was the cool inside air that blasted him. He didn’t hesitate and stepped quickly inside. He chose the stairs instead of the elevator. He hurried down the steps, running his hand over the teak railings. He enjoyed the feel of the well-crafted wood. They were polished to a mirror-like shine with brass accents.
He took the steps two at a time and arrived at the main lobby area within minutes. Stopping before the last few stairs he paused where he had a good view of both the entrance and the lobby. It gave him a clear view of the passengers who boarded.
He relaxed against the wall and scanned the entire room. There was no sign of the blonde in the green sundress. She must have gone to her cabin. Slightly disappointed, he looked back to the entrance and skimmed over each person entered.
The passengers would appreciate the lobby with the huge teardrop crystal chandelier hanging over the comfortable pink sofas and glass coffee tables. Large bouquets of colorful arranged flowers in hues of pink and purple and blue sat on the corner tables. It had that welcome-to-my-home feeling.
A couple burst into the room. The man wore red plaid shorts, a yellow and orange floral shirt, brown socks, and black shoes. A straw hat was smashed onto his head, and a camera with a large lens swung around his neck. His large paw-like hand clutched an economy, used to be white, handkerchief, which he used to mop his florid face.
“Hurry up, Myra. Don’t take all day. We don’t want to waste any time. Not at these prices.” He yelled at the woman behind him.
A short, thin woman shuffled through the entrance, a dozen steps behind him.
She wore a large, lime-green tee shirt with the map of Alabama on the front. It hung over a pair of brown cotton shorts, one size too small. A red scarf was tied over her mousy brown hair. She carried a humungous green plastic purse hooked over her shoulder. Large black sunglasses perched partway down her nose.
They both carried huge shopping bags that kept banging first into each other, then into the crew who were there to welcome them. An air of not--so--quiet desperation hung over them.
“So, where the hell do we go now?”
“Welcome aboard, sir. Do you have your boarding passes?” One of the female crewmembers asked.
“Yeah, yeah, you got them Myra?”
“Yes, George, I think so.” The woman put down her shopping bag, slipping the large green plastic handbag from her shoulder and balanced the bag on her knee. She started to fumble through it, yanking out a comb, then a pocket book, then shoving them back again, pushing things around inside the bag with her hands.
“I know I got them somewhere, George. Hold on, I think it’s here.” She wiped her forehead with a fist then dove back into the bag again.
“Damn it, Myra. I gave them to you so as you could hold them, not lose the damn things. You can’t ever find anything in that damn purse of yours.”
“Here they are.” She pulled them triumphantly out of her bag.
“It’s about time, damn it. I can’t depend on you for anything, gimme.” He grabbed the boarding passes and shoved them at the crewmember.
“Here, so, where the hell do we go now?”
The woman crewmember read the passes. “You’re cabin is to the right sir, on the main deck.”
“Okay, fine, hotshot, how do we get there?” The man mopped his face.
“The porter will show you.” She waved, and a porter appeared in front of them.
“Welcome aboard, sir. Follow me and I’ll escort you to your cabin. Can I carry anything for you, sir?” The porter flashed a bright smile.
“Y’r damn right, here take these bags.” The man shoved the shopping bags at the porter.
The man, George, sighed loudly. “I don’t know, Myra. I don’t know why people keep saying cruising is so great. Damn it, give me Nashville any day.”
“Once you’re settled in, sir, I’m sure you’ll enjoy the cruise.” The porter headed toward the corridor, with the couple shuffling along behind him.
“They took the damn passports, too. Damn it, Myra, I don’t know why a United States citizen should have to carry a passport on a cruise. You didn’t need one to go to Nashville. And then when you arrive at the damn ship they take it away from you. What the hell are they going to want from us next?”
Eric smiled. He could relate to these people. Maybe not the outfits they wore, or the man’s negativism, but the unknown. This was Eric’s first time on a cruise ship also.
He shifted his position and continued to watch passengers entering in a slow, steady stream. Many were well-dressed, wealthy passengers.
The right corner of his upper lip curled upward into a sneer. In his experience, the wealthy were mostly leeches and bloodsuckers, who took from society and gave nothing in return. They were too wrapped up in their own importance, separated from any vestige of the real world.
His father had worked for such a man when they lived in Switzerland. Eric had gone to school with his son, Philippe. Because of that, he’d had to cope with on-going public humiliation because of Philippe and his superior attitude toward the middle class and the poor. Philippe had been a snob and a real prick, taking great delight in pointing out Eric’s class distinction to everyone.
Eric’s smile was tinged with bitterness. He preferred the couple from Alabama. They were down-to-earth, real people. They looked like they were from a small farm somewhere out in the country. They may have been dressed in their brilliant floral shirts right off the souvenir shop rack, accompanied by those clashing Bermuda shorts, but they were real.
He might smile at their typical tourist appearance--the big camera slung around the man’s neck--but Eric had more respect for them than he did for the nouveau riche. He respected people who worked hard for their money. They were usually family-oriented and contributed to their community. They were the ones that kept a country together.
He shifted his position again, unconsciously pulling his shoulders back and tightening his abdomen. A tall, leggy, redhead with large breasts sidled through the main doorway. He found himself admiring a pair of shapely legs that seemed to go forever until they finally joined with an equally shapely body, most of which was displayed for the public to appreciate. She wore a pair of brief, tight white shorts and a sleeveless black tee shirt with a low cut V-neck. Her designer sunglasses hung from the V of her t-shirt.
The woman paused. She surveyed the room with a lazy gaze. She stopped to look at Eric an smiled. She bent down, supposedly to tie the shoelace on one of her runners. She wasn’t wearing a bra. She didn’t need one, and he appreciated the large, firm breasts that were exposed to him--and anyone else who wanted to look. Little was left to his imagination.
Eric felt his body respond. He smiled in appreciation. She straightened up and looked in his direction. She tilted her head to one side and made direct eye contact. She smiled an invitation in his direction and waited expectantly. He knew she expected him to come over and introduce himself. He doubted if many men ever refused her invitation.
He held the eye contact and struggled with himself. It was a tempting offer. Eric started to take that first step and then jerked back. He was interested, but he wanted to wait and check out the other women who came on board. He wouldn’t have much spare time, and he wanted to spend it wisely. Red was certainly near the top of his list at the moment, right behind the petite blonde.
He returned her smile and imperceptibly shook his head. She shrugged and glided across the room to the elevator, hips swaying invitingly.
God, the way she moves promises so much. I must be a fool to turn it down.
She stopped in front of the elevator door, glanced over her shoulder to make sure he was watching. She licked her finger and ran it over her lower lip. When he still didn’t respond, she shrugged again. She gave him a slight wave and she stepped inside the elevator. The doors closed in front of her.
Eric continued to stare at the closed doors, remembering the beautiful, exciting view when she bent down to tie her shoe. He hoped he hadn’t made a damn mistake. It wouldn’t take her long to find a man that showed more interest than he had.
This could definitely be his best assignment yet, but it didn’t look like he was going to have any time to enjoy it. If he did manage to find a little time for the pleasures of life, his gut told him he would prefer to find that attractive young blonde and get to know her a better.
Eric grinned to himself. If he wanted to keep his job he’d better find the man, or woman, he was here to catch. Interpol had been working this case for months with nothing to show for it but some angry victims. This latest tip was the best thing they had come up with since the case started. He needed to review the passenger list again and identify his top suspects. He was sure the tip was solid. They were close. He would get them this time.
He turned back to the entrance in time to see a tall, swarthy, gentleman, probably in his mid to late thirties, saunter into the room. The hairs on the back of Eric’s neck stood on end and an electric shiver gripped his spine, creeping down vertebrae by vertebrae, as he observed the man.
A snake, the man reminded him of a well-oiled snake, ready to strike.
With his olive skin and black hair, slicked back, he was probably Latino.
His perfectly pressed white slacks and a white short-sleeved, designer golf shirt with a green and gold crest over the pocket looked expensive. The golf shirt was open at the neck revealing a thick gold chain. A navy cardigan hooked on one finger, hung casually over his shoulder. He carried a Pierre Cardin gym bag in one hand with his tennis racquet attached to the side.
The man nodded to the crew. He appeared familiar with them. It wasn’t his first cruise. He shook his head at the porter who approached.
Before leaving the area he moved to a corner on Eric’s left, opposite the entrance. He also had a clear view of the people who milled around the lobby, as well as those still coming on board.
He stood quietly, surveying the passengers, much as Eric was doing.
Eric watched the man skip quickly over the ordinary tourists. He concentrated only on the well-dressed passengers. Those who appeared to have money. The man’s eyes narrowed as he spotted a middle-aged lady wearing a diamond necklace and matching bracelet.
Interesting; I wonder whether he’s searching for women or jewelry or both. And what does he plan to do with whatever he finds?
Eric continued to observe the man, trying to read his mind, curious about his reasons for being aboard. He wasn’t here for the cruise, Eric was sure of that. He would have loved the older woman in the diamonds Eric had seen earlier.
What was his game? Was he a gigolo?
The swarthy gentleman appeared to be a man with a purpose. There was something about bothered Eric. He couldn’t quite put his finger on it. He searched his memory for anything that might have showed up on the pre-sailing search, but nothing popped.
He’d check with Mickey later and see who the guy was and what his purpose was on the ship.
After a few more minutes, the man turned, proceeding quickly down the closest corridor.
Eric stepped down into the lobby and walked down the opposite corridor on the right--no that’s the starboard side of the ship. He needed to start using ship talk.
He checked his watch before he proceeded slowly along the corridor, becoming familiar with the ship’s layout. He moved meticulously up the ship, one deck at a time.
The corridors were longer than any hotel corridor where he had stayed. The ship had to be the size of two or three large hotels, at least. On the eighth deck he noticed the cabin style changing, becoming larger, with more window space and balconies. These were the suites.
On deck nine, the Bridge deck, were the most expensive suites: the owners’ suite and the four family suites. At the end of that corridor, with doors tightly closed, was the Royal Suite: the largest and most expensive accommodation onboard. This was the one he was particularly interested in checking out. If there were going to be any thefts, it would probably be here.
He stopped in front of the solid oak door, staring at the elegant paneling. He wondered who would be staying behind those closed doors.
Eric checked his watch again, and realized he was officially on duty. He raced down the hall, and punched the elevator button. He didn’t want to start his assignment off by being late. Not when he was already concerned about whether the woman, who knew his real reason for being here, was going to accept her role and support him or sabotage him.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Friday's How She Does It featuring Beverley Bateman

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?

Good question. As a plotter I’m afraid I’d have to disagree. I come up with the What, then I work on the Why and the How. That’s my plot. Then it’s the Who. The
Where can depend on the plot or the character or maybe someplace I’ve been or read about.  

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

 After I have my plot I think about the characters. I could start with either hero or heroine. I do a draft of some of their characteristics and goals. Then I think about who the other main character should be. How can they challenge each other? What’s the conflicts? I do a character sketch with their habits, good or bad, and their goals.

2. Do your characters come before the plot?

No, my plot always comes first. I love to plot and once I get an idea for a plot I think about for a little while, get a feel for it and then I start to work on the type of characters that would work in the story.

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

Sometimes. Sometimes I think I have it figured out and as I’m writing the story different ideas come to me, or the line I’m following doesn’t work with the characters and I end up with a different ending.

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

I’m not sure about books of settings and plans of houses sitting around. Some of my stories are placed in settings I know. I’ve taken several Caribbean cruises so the setting for A Cruise to Remember comes from that. I have a few set in New Orleans and I’ve been there. Others I’ve set in Miami and I really don’t know the area. So it’s a combination of both.

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

Most of my research is done online, although I do use books. For Witness Protection I used the book WITSEC. For one on online chat rooms I used information sent to me from a sheriff who works in the chat rooms. So once again, it’s a combination of both. Hopefully whatever makes it the better story.

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?

Wow, that’s a lot of questions. Let me see, I’m a draft writer. Once I have the plot and an idea of the characters I usually do a one line sentence for each scene then I start writing and I write the book. When it’s finished I go back, add more detail, edit and delete. I think I’ve already answered about sketching out my plot. I do a very short sketch of each scene, but if the characters show me a better route, I’ll follow their guideline.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Thursday's Hero - Alex Carter from A Minor Opposition

Alex Carter from a Minor Opposition

The annoying ring of the phone interrupted a strange, yet beautiful dream.  Alex Carter groped for the receiver and mumbled a greeting.  Instead of the husky drawl of his answering service, the sound of his sister’s voice confused him.  She spewed a stream of sentences with the force of a flash flood.  “Megan, slow down.  Do you know what time it is?“
          “Six AM and I have to work and Laurel arrives this morning and I was supposed to meet her, but I can’t so do me a favor and go to the airport.  Her plane arrives at ten.”
          Alex pushed into a sitting position.  “It’s Wednesday.”
          “Very good.”
          The sarcasm in her voice made him clench his teeth.  “Brat.”
          “I know you’re off and since I can’t go and neither can Jen, you have to.  Just think, you can do this favor for me without rearranging your office hours.  Were you planning something special with Johnny?”
          “Noooo”  He dragged out his response.  Who was Laurel?
          “Please say you’ll go.  The other day when she called, I was so excited about her coming home, I never thought about who would meet her.”
          Alex interrupted her stream of words.  “I’ll do it.”
          “Great.  See you.”
          “Wait a minute!”  He shouted to gain her attention.  “How will I know her?”
          “Brown hair, brown eyes, tall, slender.  She was here the summer Mom got sick.  She roomed with Jen and me at Grantley.”
          “My memories are vague.”
          “Alzheimer’s so soon.”
          “I’ll remember that.”  Alex stretched.  “Once I have her, what will I do with her.”  Megan’s giggle pressed a warning button.  “No way, sister mine.”
          “We’ll see.”
          He imagined the cat in the cream smile on her face.  “Megan!”
          “I’ll leave my key under the mat.  Have her call the minute you arrive.  See you.”
          Alex held the receiver until he heard a dial tone.  Why did he have the feeling Megan had just orchestrated a crescendo in his life?  His sister had a habit of trying to match every unmarried acquaintance, friend or relative with someone.  He shook his head.  Being involved in one of her schemes was the last thing he wanted.
          Should he take Johnny or arrange for Sarah Rodgers to pick him up from kindergarten?  He wasn’t sure.
          After he finished dressing in jeans and a cream-colored knit shirt, he decided that while a five year old might find the airport fascinating, if the plane arrived late, his son would complain and fidget.
          Alex remembered hours wasted at the airport waiting for his wife to return from one of her vacations in Europe with her “beautiful” friends.  Though nearly three years had passed since the divorce and six months since her death, his anger remained strong.
          Pushing thoughts of Rhonda aside, he ran down the stairs of the post-Revolutionary farmhouse.  The aroma of fresh coffee made his stomach rumble.
          While he breakfasted, he reviewed his memories of Laurel Richmond.  Bit by bit, he built a picture of a tall, slender girl with a mass of brown hair, huge amber eyes and a propensity for popping into his presence as though she’d set an ambush.
          His hand tightened on his coffee mug.  “Poor little rich girl.”  The comment had been his mother’s.  Laurel Richmond was an heiress.  Megan, he silently shouted.  Not me.  There was no room in his life for another spoiled rich woman.

          He been there, done that.  Money bread selfishness.  His dead wife was proof of that.  The moment her trust fund had been hers, she’d run to destruction.  Parties, alcohol, drugs.  She hadn’t had a thought for her son or the man she’d professed to love,

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Wednesday's Writer's Tip - Knowing The Markets

Knowing the market is one of the musts of being a writer, but there are times when knowing the market doesn't work. So what does this mean. There are a number of factors to look at when you're writing your story. So let's look at them.

The age of the characters. Stories with younger characters tend to sell better than those with aging characters. The sex of the characters. Now this depends on your chosen genre pr the audience the writer is seeking to sell to. Settings and the choice of one depends on the chosen audience. Categories or genre writing. Here the audience are often fans and they're widely red. Taking a trite story line unless there are twists might make for few readers. Treatment means whether you write light and bright or dark and violent. There are areas where one form works and others where they don't.

But here's the trick. In a quote from John D MacDonald. "A book written for one publishing house has little chance of acceptance at that house. A book written for oneself, , the toughest one-man audience a writer can have, has a good chance of acceptance anywhere."

So the moral of the story is to know the markets and also to write the book you'd like to read. Someone will buy it and who knows, you might end up with the gold ring of success.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Tuesday's Inspiration - Problems in Novels

"Problems in novels, unlike problems in algebra, have more than one solution." John Gardner from On Becoming A Novelist.

When I first read this my forehead wrinkled in thought. Then something hit me. This statement was so true. I started to look at one problem and started to look at possible solutions. Some were good, some so so and some didn't fit. What they didn't fit was the character as I imagined the character to be. I thought of a problem that could be the foundation for a novel. Mary discovers John has been cheating on her. Happens a lot. Now what were some possible solutions.

Mary can walk away from John and never see him again.
Mary can make his life miserable.
Mary can act against the other woman.
Mary can act against John.

There are probably more solutions to this problem or twists to the solutions I've imagined. The trick is to examine the characters and to see what action in solving the problem works for that character. There is a potential for many stories but only one that will work for the characters.

If Mary chooses the first solution, this could lead her in a different direction in life and to a totally new story. Choosing the second of the solution could be a really dark story and Mary could end up being eliminated. Selecting the third possibility could be s strong story. The fourth can be an interesting story. Or the solution to Mary's problem could be something totally different.

So when plotting your story, think of the possible solutions to the main problem and also look at how the minor problems have been solved and give it a twist if you can find one.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Meandering on Monday with Janet Lane Walters

Meander 1 - Whine. I usually take the weather as it comes but enough is enough. Spring has arrived and they're talking snow again. I have no desire to slog through snow any longer. I do like what snow does to the trees and ground in the barren winter. Still it would be nice to see the giant piles of snow melting and vanish and to see green, not to mention the early flowers, Will they come this year? There is nothing we can do about the weather but sure wish we could. I do like the seasons but winter has stayed too long. One can't shoo it like a cat but still --

Meander 2 - The fun exercise. At Saturday's NJRomance meeting we had a neat exercise where we divided into groups and each had a crime to decide on the villain and the motives. Murder was my group and we brainstormed and discussed reasons for the wife to kill the mistress and how to blame her husband. What a fun time. Though some of the ideas were out there this is a great idea and way to spear things. What would be interesting would be for each of the members of the group to write the story giving it their own twists. Things are brewing in my head and maybe when I finish all the things on my planned schedule I can come up with a suspense story featuring some of what we brainstormed.

Meander 3 - My writing. Typing is moving along. Hope to have it all done and to be able to organize Melodic Dreams for sending to publisher. Am blocking in Toth's Priest and the story is moving along. Have blocked in 8 chapters of 31 and it's looking like there will be about 30,000 words in the rough draft. There are a lot of things in the story like fight, kiss and the like. There may be more physical and magical events in this one since in my Egypt Toth priests and priestesses have learned powers and that's how things are done on a grand scale. Of course there are ny pyramids of  Sphinx but there are camels. One must sacrifice somethings for camels.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

3 Blog Visit Sunday discoveries by Janet Lane Walters

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Saturday's Excerpt from Trailing Kaiwulf by Kayelle Allen

Trailing Kaiwulf
A Trace, Rescue, and Identification League Story

New Braeswyck, Colonies of Man
TRAIL Field Office
January 24, 15128 AD (151.28.24 New Terran Date [NTD])

The com unit in Jeff Thompson's office crackled to life. "Security here. Jee arrived, boss, and you were" -- The sound of splintering wood followed --"right. Oh, man! There goes another door. What'd you do to her this time?"

Thompson disconnected. He activated the monitors on his wall and stood. TRAIL Agent Jee Tonopah might be the shortest agent in the company, but she had enough temper for half a dozen.

Jee and her partner, Dane Raphyel, had passed through every scanner in the building to get this far into the enclave, yet right there in plain sight on both their hips sat weapons. Fat lot of good TRAIL's security did. The guards outside his office backed away from the pair without a challenge.

"What am I paying you clowns for? At least slow them down. Cool her off!"

But no, the outer door to his assistant's office banged open and thumps sounded on the floor. The lamp on Thompson's desk shook as if Jee had an elephant with her. Dane dwarfed his partner.

"Computer, unlock entry door." Jee would kick it in if he kept it sealed. Last time it had taken months to ship in replacement parts.

The BioMate embedded in Thompson's arm flashed a warning about heart rate, so he tightened his grip on the stress-soother stone in his hand. All it did was bruise his palm. He flung the rock aside.

The TRAIL agents blew into his office like twin whirlwinds.

Thompson forced himself not to back away.

"How dare you!" Jee dumped a tattered knapsack onto the floor. She kicked the visitor's chair out of her way, then slammed her hands onto the desk and glared at him like a dragon ready to flame him into a puddle of blackened flesh.

Dane folded his arms and leaned against the door, blocking any escape it might offer.

Thompson eased around the desk to survey the damage. "Fight fire with fire," his therapist had told him. Time to put it to the test. He pointed at the splintered chair. "I paid six thousand sig-creds for that. It's eleventh kilo-century Terran."

Jee snorted. "If you paid that much for a four hundred year-old chair you got taken, Thompson. Beats me why you'd admit to being so stupid."

Thompson dug his fingernails into his palms. A month of stress therapy trashed after one minute with this woman. It's only money. He sucked in a deep breath, held it for a count of three and exhaled. "No matter. My assistant found a craftsman to repair that rare Fellsian vase you smashed six months ago. Maybe this can be fixed, too."

Jee flung dark curls out of her eyes. "Do you have any idea how long it took to get reservations on a first class sleepliner to Earth? How dare you call me back here? TRAIL doesn't own me, Jeff Thompson."

"Now, Jee, I--

"I'd be half way there if it wasn't for you. How dare you cancel my leave? Who do you think you are?"

"Watch this holovid before you give me a definite no." Thompson initiated a life-sized holographic image of a youth.

"I'm not watching a thing. I..." Jee's voice faded as the holovid activated. "Whoa." She made a sensual growl, low in her throat. "Who is that?"

"Kaiwulf. Down, girl." He shot a knowing glance at Dane. "Excellent picture, isn't it? We don't get this quality too often."

Travel to a godforsaken planet on the outskirts of space. Check. Hold intrusive military types at bay. Check. Find an invisible man in a different dimension. Check. Finish out the vacation TRAIL yanked you back from to do it? Easier said than done.

As a thank you for reading, please accept a copy of Immortals Secret Societies. When you click it, this will either offer you a download, or open in a new window, depending on your settings. To read it, you need Adobe Reader, available free.
Kayelle Allen is a multi-published, award-winning Science Fiction Romance author of unstoppable heroes, uncompromising love, and unforgettable passion. She is the founder of Marketing for Romance Writers.
The Author's Secret

Friday, March 21, 2014

Friday's How She Does It with Kayelle Allen

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?
That's a good point. The "How" is plot when you think about it. How does the story unfold? How do the characters solve the mystery? How do the hero and heroine fall in love? The plot is how all this unfolds.

1. How do you create your characters? Do you have a specific method?
I need a name before I can create a character. The name defines the person. I've never been able to write Hero or Heroine as a substitute. A guy named Johnny Reb is not going to react the same way as a guy named Matthias de Mille. The name shapes the character.

2. Do your characters come before the plot?
I'd say the characters are the basis for the story. Most of my writing is character-driven.

3. Do you know how the story will end before you begin? In a general way or a specific one?
I don't start writing until I know how the story will end. I'm a plotter who allows the characters to deviate from the plot if needed. I think of myself as a "plotser". I write the blurb for the book first, and a short synopsis. If I can't describe the book in a few sentences, I don't know it well enough to write it. I have tried writing freestyle with no plot in mind. It ends up being a waste of time. I don't accomplish anything worthwhile.

4. Do you choose settings you know or do you have books of settings and plans of houses sitting around?
I have a Pinterest board for two of my main characters that focuses on their surroundings. I have folders of pictures for inspiration. I am usually visually inspired when I write. A picture can spark a writing frenzy.

5. Where do you do your research? Online or from books?
Mostly online. It's so easy to do. I use magazines and books as well, but I am the Google queen. I know how to search the internet.

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 have a well plotted story and write from that. Because I write complex plots with themes such as conspiracies and betrayals, I need to know who does what to whom. That said, nothing stops me from allowing a plot to change if a character dictates a change. I had one story planned meticulously and had planned a minor love affair for one of the characters. It was supposed to be a fling only. But the two fell into love so hard that there was no way I could break them up. I ended up redoing the entire plot sequence. So while I do plan, I also allow for change and growth.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Thursday's Hero - Tony from A Marriage Inconvenient

 Today's Hero is Tony from A Marriage - Inconvenient. He has problems and then a friend asks him for a favor

After pausing on the stairs to listen to Hazel’s ultimatum about hiring a sitter, Tony climbed to the second floor.  His thoughts churned with a dozen conflicting emotions.  Carrie was the last person he’d expected to find on his doorstep.  When the bell had rung, he’s braced himself for another confrontation with an irate parent who had come to complain about Chad’s unruly behavior.  Instead, he’d found a friend.
            His day had been filled with unexpected incidents that had set him on edge.  A clinic patient had died and Chad had acted up in school and at home.  The third sitter in as many months had quit and taken a large chunk of his bank account.
            Carrie’s arrival, while not a disaster, had pushed his thoughts to what could have been.  She was the girl he’d watched grow into the woman he should have married.  The one he’d never told how he felt and the one he couldn’t tell now.  He’d chosen to marry Marilyn and the reason for that ill-fated marriage was throwing yet another temper tantrum.
            He groaned.  He’d tried to make the marriage work.  He’d tried to give his wife the things she’d demanded, tried and failed.  At least he hadn’t been the one to walk out the way his father had.
            Chad was testing his patience and his love.  Tony frowned.  He knew the reason for the constant outbursts and pranks, but they abraded.  When would his son understand that no matter what he did, he was loved?
            Tony reached the door of his son’s room and ducked to avoid the sneaker that sailed through the air and smacked against the wall.  He and Chad collided.  Tony pulled his son into a tight embrace.
            “That’s enough,”  Tony said.
            “I didn’t do anything.”  The scowl on Chad’s face reflected the anger in his blue eyes.
            Tony released his son and closed the door.  He fought to keep his anger and disappointment from erupting in a roar.  “You didn’t attack the sitter’s clothes with glue?  You didn’t talk your buddies into cutting school and heading to that tumble-down, abandoned house?  What else didn’t you do?”
            Chad looked up and Tony faced a younger version of himself, a version filled with the same anger Tony had felt years ago.  He wanted to say that anger got you nowhere, but he couldn’t find the words.
            “You don’t understand.”  Tears filled the seven year old’s eyes.
            “Then let’s talk about the glue.  Why did you do it?”
            Chad slumped on the bed.  “She didn’t care about me.  Just you.”
            “I heard her talking to her girlfriend.  Said you kissed her and was going to marry her.  You can’t get married again.”
            Tony groaned.  “That’s what he got for hiring a college student.  The next sitter would be someone Hazel’s age.  “I never kissed her.  And as for marriage, that’s not in my plans right now.”
            Hope flashed in Chad’s eyes.  “Good.  You can marry Mom again.  Then I won’t have to leave.”
            Tony sat on the bed and put his arm around his son’s shoulders.  “I can’t do that.  She’s married to Brian and on her honeymoon.”
            Chad thrust out his lower lip.  “She’s playing a game.
I heard her.  She said you’d be sorry when you heard she was getting married again.  She said you’d come back.”
            “I’m not.  I hope she’s happy.”
            “I hate her.”
            “No, you don’t.  You’re angry and hurt, but tantrums won’t change what had happened.”
            “It’s not fair.”
            “You’re right.”
            Though he understood his son’s feelings, he couldn’t change what had happened.  He’d been older when his dad had left, but he’d felt the same sense of abandonment.
            “If she didn’t get married to him, would you marry her again?”
            Tony’s shoulders slumped.  Even if Marilyn hadn’t found another man, he wouldn’t have walked that street again.  He had to find a way past his son’s stubborn insistence that life had to be his way.
            “We’ll talk tomorrow.  You need to hit the bed.  You have school.”
            “That’s not fair either.  Why do I have to go to school when you’re off?”
            A groan rumbled through Tony’s chest.  “No more dawdling.  To sleep, and tomorrow after school you need to clean this mess.  I’ve got to go.  I have company.”
            “Another sitter?”
            “An old friend.”
            “No more sitters.”
            Tony shook his head.  “I can’t promise that.  Someone has to be here in case I get called to the clinic at night.  I can’t leave you alone and Hazel can’t stay every night. What if Ben needs her?”
            “You left Mom at night.  She was mad and she cried a lot.”
            Tony gulped a breath.  He wouldn’t criticize his ex-wife.  She hadn’t understood the demands of his residency or that when he’d joined the medical group, he’d be the low man and subject to frequent night calls.  He hadn’t been free to party the way she wanted.  Until he’d discovered how often she had left Chad with sitters, he’d felt guilty about leaving her alone.  He still felt guilty about what those years and the divorce had done to his son.
            “I know your mom felt lonely and I’m sorry she cried.”
            “I’m not coming down to meet your company.”
            “That’s right.  You’re going to sleep.”
            Chad crawled beneath the covers.  “Night, Dad.”
            Though Tony wished for an apology, he could wait.  He hugged his son.  “Love you.  See you in the morning.  Good dreams.”
            In time, Chad would realize temper tantrums wouldn’t soothe the pain her felt.  Four months wasn’t long enough to
change his view of how to behave.
            Downstairs, Tony paused in the living room doorway and studied Carrie.  She was curled on a corner of the couch with the armrest as a pillow.  A tangle of dark auburn curls framed her face.  He smiled.  Even in sleep, she looked like a sprite.
            She also looked desirable.  He shook his head.  This was Carrie -- his buddy.  Thank heavens she’d never known how he had felt.  That would have multiplied his guilt tenfold when Marilyn had announced her pregnancy.
            He couldn’t tell Carrie how he’d once loved and wanted to marry her.  He wasn’t even sure they could be friends.  His ex-wife had taught him there was no place in his life for love.  His hands clenched and he pushed aside Marilyn’s ugly accusations.
            The moment he entered the room, Carrie struggled to sit up.  “I’m all right.  I wasn’t sleeping.  Who needs...I’ll be right there.”
            “Whoa,”  he said.  “You’re not at the hospital.  Are you always this beat?”
            She blinked and then smiled.  “Comes from working two jobs.  Three thirteen hour shifts at WPH and three at Children’s.  Nights.”
            “So you said.  Explain.”
            “Mom needs special care.  She’s in a wheelchair and has
a full-time aide.”
            Carrie would do anything for her only parent, he thought.  Mrs. Graham had worked two jobs to see Carrie had the same things as her friends.
            “Sorry to hear that.  She was always so active.”
            Tears glistened in Carrie’s green eyes.  “She hates being an invalid.”
            He sat beside her.  “So what can I do to help?”
            She looked everywhere but at him.  Her heart beat double time.  Could she say what she’d come to ask?
            When his fingers brushed her shoulder, warmth and comfort seeped into her pores.  She resisted the urge to snuggle and turned so she could see his face.  Frown lines wrinkled his forehead.  His blue eyes held questions and an illusive quality.  That hidden emotion puzzled her.  She had to keep this matter uncomplicated by desire and unrealistic expectations.
            “Is your son all right?”
            “For the moment.  I’m sure in time he’ll adjust.”
            “Won’t he go back to his mother?”
            “She relinquished custody.  Her new husband has a problem with raising another man’s son.”
            “How unfeeling.  Does Chad know?”
            “Marilyn said she told him he’d be staying here, but I don’t think he believed her.  He doesn’t even accept her
            His gaze captured hers and she saw pain that raised in her a wish to soothe.  That wasn’t why she’d come, but if he agreed to her proposition, she’d find a way to help him and his son.
            “I’m glad you came,”  he said.  “It’s been too long since we’ve talked.”
            “Six years.”
            “I didn’t realize how much I’ve missed you until I opened the door and saw you.  Remember those nights when we hashed cases and treatments?”
            How could she forget?  “Sure do.”  Did he still have the same enthusiasm for solving medical problems?  Hers had vanished.  Work had become duty and routine.  “Why did you leave the city?”
            “I thought...It doesn’t matter.”
            Why not, she wondered.  Had he closed down after the divorce the way he had the night Marilyn had accused them of things that hadn’t happened.  She remembered what he’d said after Marilyn had stormed away.
            “I’m married,”  he had said.  “Sure we’ve been friends for years, but Marilyn and the baby come first.”
            “I understand.”  She had smiled and with her head held high, had walked away.  At least she’d never told him she loved him.
            Tears blurred her vision.  She forced the harsh memories away.  “Did you come here to hide?”
            “Hardly.  I left a lucrative and hectic practice to hold my marriage together.  I thought Marilyn would appreciate the sacrifice of money for more time with each other.”
            “And you’re angry that she didn’t?”
            “Not particularly.”  He looked away.
            “So why did you stay?”
            “For the challenge.  People her need me.”  He cleared his throat.  “Ready to tell me why you came?”
            She took a deep breath.  Her throat felt tight.  “I need a husband.  Will you marry me?”
            “What?”  His eyes focused on her abdomen.  He’d kill the jerk.  What lowlife would leave the woman who carried his child to bear the burden alone?  “Who is he?  And don’t make excuses for his behavior.”
            Her cheeks flamed.  “That’s not why I need a husband.”
            The surge of adrenaline ebbed.  Tony felt as though he’d run ten miles.  “If you’re not pregnant, why do you need a husband?”
            “I --”  She started to rise.
            He pulled her back.  “You’re not laying this on me and bolting.  Give.”
            “So I can provide Mom with the things she needs and
only work one job.”
            “You’re not making sense.  Does it look like I’ll be much help financially?”  He waited for an answer and prayed he could endure one of her convoluted explanations.
            “I don’t need your money.  Just your name.  You see, my grandfather died and left me a lot of money.”
            “Didn’t he die before you were born?”
            “Mom’s dad did.  This was my father’s dad.  Just because he didn’t acknowledge me doesn’t mean he didn’t exist.”
            “Am I missing something here?  Why do you need to be married?”
            “The money can’t be used without the approval of the husband I don’t have.  Archaic, right?”  What she failed to mention were the nights when her grandfather had been her patient and the conversations they’d had about her life and her love for Tony Flynn.
            He paused.  He wanted to help her, but marriage?  Especially one with a built-in failure factor?  Could he risk ruining the tenuous bond he had with his son for the woman who’d been his best friend.  “Carrie...I...”
            “Just until the money’s released and I have a trust set up for Mom.  Then I’ll split.  Please.  You’ll hardly see me.”
            “As in you’ll be working two jobs?”
            She nodded.  “I don’t even have to live here.  I have an apartment in the city.”
            “How would we see if the marriage will work?”  He groaned.  Why had he said that?  Had he gone crazy?  The last thing he needed was another marriage and another woman to disappoint.
            “Why would you want to stay married?”  she asked.
            “I don’t believe in divorce.”
            “But you are.”
            She had him there.  Not only was he divorced, but Marilyn had had the marriage annulled.  “When do you need to know?  I can’t make this kind of decision on the spot.”
            “Tomorrow so we can get the license and have the wedding on Sunday.”
            “Why the rush?”
            “Because I’ve run out of time.”  She stared at her hands.
            “And you waited until today?”
            “This hasn’t been the easiest thing I’ve ever done.”
            The answer to her question wasn’t any easier for him.  How would Chad react.  “I’ll let you know.”
            She rose.  “I’ll leave my number.  Call me early and please say yes.”
            “Do you work tonight?”
            “I’m off.  Why?”
            “Stay here.  You’re beat and it’s a hell of a drive back.  I’d worry about you having an accident.”
            “One thing this house has is plenty of bedrooms.  I’ll lend you a tee shirt.  Oh, if I get called out, would you mind if I wake you?” 
            “No problem.”
            “Good.  I’ll send Hazel home.  She worries about leaving her husband alone at night.  He has emphysema.”
            Carrie brushed his cheek with a feathery kiss.  He clenched his hands to keep from grabbing her.  She’d offered him what he’d wanted years ago and what he’d carelessly messed up.
            Marriage -- Carrie -- Chad!
            Oh lord, what would he say to his son?

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Wednesday's Writer's Tip - Looking at the subject of your story

The stories you write may be good or bad or they may be neither. As a writer, you must decide if you want to go with the flow or take your own path. Taking your own path can be difficult but following the latest trend can also keep you from soaring as a writer. So how do you choose to do this. Every writer aspires to become one of the best but not many will make it, especially in today's market. So there are some things to look at.

Difuse versus complex - Choosing the length of a story often depends on the complexity. A friend asked me how she could write a shorter piece involving characters in a series she is writing. She talked about what she had planned and to me it sounded too complicated for a short piece. For me a short story involved just one incident from a character's life. Not a complicated story that involves many levels. So choosing the length of a story is one way to make the story shine.

So when you're planning your story decide if you're writing about a person's single incident that brings a change to him or her or if this is a longer change based on what happens over a span of time. Look at the strength of the story and the complexity of the idea. Are there going to be many viewpoint characters or just one or two. The more people whose eyes are in the story, the more complex the story. Finally look at the amount of time the story will take. A day usuallly means a short story, though not always but years make for a long story.

So there are decisions only you as the writer can make. So ask yourself these questions before you begin the story and decide on the length,

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Tuesday's Inspiration - Showing Dramatically

Back to On Becoming A Novelist by John Gardner. This quote sent me thinking about what a writer must learn to do. "Anything necessary to the action's development must be shown dramatically."

Does this mean every action in the story must be developed in a dramatic fashion. Not necessarily so. Not all actions in a story are ones that need to be depicted every moment. There are those areas that can be summarized rather than shown in living color. But if you want to show a character's inner nature there are scenes that must be shown.

Saying he had an abnormal love for his mother is one such area, especially if this allows him to act in certain ways. I discovered this while writing "Code Blue." The reader needed to know what was behind his reason for acting the way he did without the heroine seeing he was anything other than normal.

Other stories have scenes that need to be developed fully to show why a character acts in the way they do. Often this must be done without going into back story. Back story can interrupt the flow. This is where the writer must decide where the story begins. A prologue could show what needs to be shown. Better is to start the story with a scene that brings this action to the reader's attention in a dramatic way without having to show the past. Difficult but necessary. A short flash of thought. A bit of action. The seeds of a plan that reflects on the reason the character's reasons for their actions.

This is part of the learning process of becoming a writer. Finding the way can be done by looking at alternate ways to show the reader the why behind the actions. And knowing which one way to choose. Finding the best solution to a problem in the story, once learned is one of the keys to success.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Meandering on Monday with Janet Lane Walters

Meander 1 - About Reviews. Lately I've been doing some reviews for books I have read. There's a star system for these reads and I've come to some conclusion. I can't review books I haven't loved. Writers need to know when their books are a success. For me that's where it's at. When I read a book I don't like I can't find anything to say about it. I also can't give a book the highest score unless it blows me out of the water. There are few that do that. Those are the books I re-read. In the last few years, there have been few of them. There have been a number of books that are okay. I don't review them. I would rather not find fault with these stories. So if I do review a book, I have to either love it or really love it. I am not the greatest reviewer in the world.

Meander 2 - About promotion. I really don't like to do promotion, but there are few writers who do like this but I've been pushing myself to put my books up where they may be seen by other people. I had a lot of books go to countdown and I did promote them. I also talked to one of my publishers about putting some of the books on sale for a limited amount of time. Perhaps this will do something to these books and perhaps drive others to the series of which they are a part of. I need to do this to another publisher and so I will see what I can do. I actually have too many books out there making this a time intensive chore. Working on this.

Meader 3 - My own writing. I am finishing the final draft of Melodic Dreams and then comes the draft where I go page by page, checking for errors and changing words. This is always a fun one to do. Then I must get the book ready to send to the publisher. That is always a time consuming chore. The life of a writer means a lot of solitary time but I wouldn't have it any other way. Once this one is sent off I'll begin on Toth's Priest, a story that I had to redesign the outline. This one will involve magic of a sort.