Friday, October 31, 2014

Friday's Guest - Tim Smith talking about Heroes, Heroines and Villains #MFRWauthor

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

I’m currently writing for two different series – one featuring a private eye, the other starring a former CIA spook and his lover. Both are in the mystery/thriller genre but the Vic Fallon private eye series is more mystery with a touch of romance. It echoes the work of Raymond Chandler, Donald E. Westlake and Robert B. Parker. Fallon is like an old school gumshoe from the 1940’s or 50’s but in a contemporary setting with current themes. I’ve also published several romantic comedies.

My reading choices definitely reflect my writing choices. I’ve enjoyed those kinds of stories for years, featuring the tough wisecracking hero with an eye for the ladies who always takes one on the chin in the name of love. With this series, I wanted to bring Phillip Marlowe, Sam Spade, Peter Gunn and Jim Rockford into the 21st century and I think I’ve succeeded, based on what readers have told me.

As for genres I wouldn’t attempt, I have no interest in writing vampire, paranormal or shape-shifter romance because I don’t understand them.     

2 – Heroes, heroines, villains. Which are your favorites to write? Does one of these come easy and why?

I enjoy crafting heroes and heroines but a really colorful villain can be fun to write. Most of them have a screw loose any way (hence why they do what they do) and you can go over the top with characters like that, as long as they get theirs in the end. You typically know what motivates the hero but sometimes it’s fun to explore the villain’s psyche and see what makes them run. One of my stories featured a villainess who became sexually aroused by shooting people. Another featured a mob enforcer who liked breaking heads but really got into being degraded by hookers. I think I’m seeing a trend here.

3 – Heroes. How do you find them? Do pictures, real life or plain imagination create the man you want the reader to root for? Do they come before the plot or after you have the idea for the story?

When I get a good story concept I decide which series it would best be suited for. If it’s a ripped from the headlines idea, it would probably fit the Nick Seven spy thriller series. If it’s something quirkier, I’ll make it a Vic Fallon private eye caper. The online dangers of sexting formed the premise for the Fallon mystery “Lido Key,” and the Wikileaks affair was the jumping off point for the Nick Seven thriller “Never Look Back.”

I generally have a mental image of what I want my heroes to look like before I begin. I like to make them more three dimensional by including something that reflects their moral code, which often mirrors my own. For example, Vic Fallon can’t tolerate domestic violence against women. It was the reason he was nearly bounced off the police force and it’s something I also feel strongly about. I like to make my heroes and heroines human, with many of the everyday foibles we all have. I’m bored with some of the heroes I’ve read in crime fiction stories that come off as too real to be believable. When one of my heroes gets into a fight or a shooting match, they bleed like the rest of us. 

4 – Heroines. How do you find them? Do pictures, real life or plain imagination create the man you want the reader to root for? Do they come before the plot or after you have the idea for the story?

I usually have an idea of what I want the heroine to look like before I start writing. Since the Vic Fallon series features a different female lead in each story, I work hard to not have them appear the same. I’m a very visual writer, seeing the scenes play out on a movie screen in my mind, and I cast the parts accordingly. If I’m seeking a certain look, inspired by an actress I’ve mentally cast for the part, I may find a picture of them and refer to it when creating the character.

I don’t like to ruin the whole theater of the mind thing for the readers, though. I recall reading one of the later James Bond novels by Ian Fleming. When it came time to introduce the girl of the week, Fleming did the unthinkable – he described her as looking “just like Ursula Andress.” That ruined it for me because I had someone else in mind.   

5 – Villains or villainesses or an antagonist, since they don’t always have to be the bad guy or girl. They can be a person opposed to the hero’s or heroine’s obtaining their goal. How do you choose one? How do you make them human?

Choosing the antagonist can be tricky, and sometimes there’s more than one. It helps to put your faith in mankind on hold and realize that like it or not, most of us have a little larceny in our souls. In the Nick Seven thrillers, there’s always the primary villain for Nick to lock horns with but since he’s a former CIA spook, don’t be surprised when someone from the government also gets involved. That characters past life was filled with double-dealers and shady people with political agendas. It would be a shame to waste all that treachery and distrust, wouldn’t it? 

I try to make the bad people human just like I do with my heroes and heroines. I’m a people watcher and I’m always making note of little things people do. It can be anything from the way someone turns a phrase, or their dialect, or the way they compulsively arrange the silverware at the dinner table. People are unique and I try to add those little touches to every character I create. An editor told me long ago to always include a brief physical description when I introduce a character, no matter how large or small their part may be. Best advice I ever received.

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

My latest release is “The Dirty Blonde.” It’s the third installment in the Vic Fallon private eye series, but the books don’t need to be read in order. For the uninitiated, Fallon is a former cop who was about to be let go from the Sandusky, Ohio police force for unnecessary roughness when he got shot and took a disability separation. He doesn’t really have to work and usually takes cases when he’s bored or intrigued. There’s a different female lead in each story, which keeps it interesting.

When I conceived this series I kept thinking of the private eye shows we all watched on TV in the sixties and seventies, like “Mannix,” “Peter Gunn” and “The Rockford Files.” In each episode, the hero got involved with a different woman and just when things were about to get interesting they’d cut to a commercial. In written form we don’t have commercials so I can show what really happens after the lights go down low.   

7 – What are you working on now?

I recently submitted the fourth Nick Seven spy thriller, “Operation Payback” and I’m working on another installment. I’m also working on another Vic Fallon caper.

8 – How can people find you?

My website is I’m also on Facebook, and I have an author page on Amazon. If they can’t find me at any of those places, they can try the Buckhorn Tavern in Dayton, Ohio.


Tim Smith is an award-winning, bestselling author whose books range from romantic mystery/thrillers to contemporary erotic romance. He is also a freelance photographer. He can often be found in The Florida Keys, indulging his passion for parasailing between research and seeking out the perfect Mojito. His website is

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Thursday's Hero Kristan From The Amber Chronicles by Janet Lane Walters, #MFRWauthor

The youngest prince of Rivand stared at the sky.  The moon had risen and was new.  He lifted the bottle of wine and drank deeply.  If only he could find something to be other than the wastrel prince, a man without a place in the kingdom.  He drank again and finished the bottle.  When he gestured for another, he saw the palace page appear.  Kristen tried to make himself invisible.  There could be no other man or woman in this tavern being sought by the king.

He watched the page search the faces of the men gathered around the tables.  Perhaps he wouldn’t be seen here on the balcony.  His hopes were dashed when the page hurried through the crowded room and appeared at Kristan’s side.  “Your sire requests your presence.”

Kristin rose and followed the boy to the tavern door.  At least he hadn’t imbibed enough to make his stagger.  He mounted his horse and rode through town to the imposing stone building that had been his home for all his life.

As he entered the throne room, she saw his father waited.  His oldest brother usually sat at the king’s side.  Where was the crown prince?  Did this mean his heir was about to be born?  Kristen shivered.  One day, a crown prince might be called to face the Witch of the Woods. He recalled the cryptic words he’d read in his grandfather memoirs and remembered his vow to free the woman caught in the amber gem.

“Kristen,” his father’s voice was low and rumbled with anger.  “Your conduct is unbecoming to a prince.  I’m tired of hearing of your constant pursuit of wine, women and dice.”

Kristan straightened.  “What else is there for me?  My oldest brother follows you.  The second will be his advisor.  The third will head the army.  The fourth, the navy.  The fifth the treasury and the sixth the agriculture of Rivand.  There is nothing left for me.”

“Not so.  There is marriage.  One has been arranged with the daughter of Wevald.  Put your affairs in order.  You leave at the end of the week.”

“I don’t want to marry someone I’ve never seen.”  Kristan turned and fled the room.

“You will do as ordered,” the king shouted.

Kristan raced along the empty corridors until he reached his chambers.  He sat on the edge of the bed and wished the numbness of the liquor he’d drunk would return.  He had to make plans.  This marriage his father had arranged wasn’t for him.  From deep inside came the certainty that for him there was another destiny though what he didn’t know.

He rose.  He had to leave the palace tonight.  Where he would go, he wasn’t sure.  He found a haversack and quickly packed a few changes of clothes.  From the chest at the foot of his bed he took the sleeping blanket he had used on hunting trips.  His hand brushed a tear-shaped globe.  He lifted the amber crystal and held it to the candlelight.

“Emme,” he whispered.  His thoughts flashed to the night his grandfather had died and how the valet had brought the amber orb to him.  For years, he had kept the globe beside his bed and stared at the woman trapped inside.  Without knowing why, he tucked the sphere in his haversack.  He stuffed coins in his boots where many men kept knives.  He hurried to the stable and saddled his horse.  He rode quickly through the town and exited the gates and rode toward the forest.

The crescent of the new moon rose but the light cast was dimmed by the trees.  Though the leaves were those of spring and small, the trees were crowded.  Kristan heard a rustling.  The wind or an animal, he thought.  The small light cast by the crescent moon cast shadows.

“Hoy.”  The shout startled him.  Someone leaped from one of the trees and knocked him from the horse.  The animal squealed.

Kristan was unable to free his sword.  His attackers slashed with knives.  He was able to land a few blows before something hit his head so hard he was dazed.  He collapsed and held his breath.

The thieves grabbed his pack and began to rummage in the contents.  He was glad he had thought to hide his coins.

“What’s this?”

“Amber and a large chunk.”  Suddenly one of the men screamed.  “No.”

The amber globe fell to the ground.  The men ran.  Moonlight illuminated the globe and the shimmer around the sphere appeared to grow.  Kristen tried to get to his knees.  His head felt as thought he’d been spinning for he couldn’t believe what he thought he saw.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Wednesday's Writer's Tip - A Bit More On Series - #MFRWauthor

You have your series planned and the first story written. Now comes the time to market these stories that may take several years to write. What are some things you need to consider? There are a number of places they can be published. You can hope one of the big publishers picks the series up, you can go to a small publisher or you can publish the series yourself. But making the series appealing to readers is something that's very important. Writing the Fiction Series by Karen Wiesner has some hints about this and I'll show you what some of them mean.

When you're writing a series something in the titles of each story contained in the world you've created makes sense. There are many series out there. The series can have an over all title. I've used this several times in my own series. Affinities is one and then each of the titles of the particular stories falls under this major titles. An even better way is for each of the stories to have a particular word in the title of each book. I'm working on a series and though it does have a title for the whole series, each of the so far three stories and the fourth I'm working on has Dreams in the title. So here two markers are there to bring the stories to the attention of readers.

A second method is to make use of a series blurb. This is great for promoting the entire series and is something both general and specific to a series. The best way I can explain what I found about using such a thing is to have a series blurb that is very general and yet somehow leads the reader into the series. Such as Four teens are forced to leave their home and parents to seek teachers to show them how to use their affinities for Earth, Fire, Water and Air. Following this comes the blurb for the story. A reader finding that first line will think aha this is another story in that series.

There are two more suggestions that I'll address next time.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Tuesday's Inspiration - Isaac Asimov Quote #MFRWauthor

While reading an old book of essays by authors I came across a short essay by Isaac Asimov. Not he was talking abut being prolific but the words I read could also be to anyone who wants to be a published author. You have to like to write.

Think about this. Now you may have the urge to write and there are many reasons for this but it comes down to the bottom line. If you don't 100% like what you're doing then while you may write stories and may have a sale or two but you won't keep going day after day pushing the keys if you don't like what you're doing.

There are people who write one book and it may be a wonderful book but they never write another book or story. Could it be that they realized they were doing something they didn't like. Could be and I have known people who fit this category. They can be brilliant writers but they haven't reached the goal in their mine, money, fame, whatever they desire so they stop.

So the moral of this bit is no matter why you choose to write You have to like to write. Maybe it's the characters, maybe the plot, even the setting but every part of writing must mean you're doing what you like.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Meandering On Monday with Janet Lane Walters #MFRWauthor

Meander 1 - More on what makes a professional author. If one were to be held to the quota of 20,000 words a year would this push them too hard? This means if one went for words per month, 1667 and that doesn't seem like a lot. If one looked for a weekly total of words written that would mean 385. Doesn't seem impossible at least to me. So let's look at the daily total of words and it comes to 55 words a day. All new words, of course. I really think there are other factors that go into being a professional writer and one of them is being published. Whether short stories, novellas or full length books being published is where it's at and until one is published I don't think the number of new words really means a thing.

Meander 2 - Reading for contests can be the pits. I've finished my chores for the time and must finish with the scores. Then there will be 2 more rounds and also 2 more contests to judge. One is great since there are only three pages to critique and a really good score sheet to put yes or no in. The other is to read and rate.

Meander 3 My wroting. Am doing the last draft of Pursuing Michael West MD and am starting on the next of the dream books - Divided Dreams. Always good to finish a book and to begin again. Pursuing is a re-write of a book that sold well as a novella but I cringed when I saw all the beginner mistakes in the book. The passive voice now is standing around 1% and may go to 2 or 3 but never the 20 % I began with, I will have added about 6000 words making this a longer novella or a short book. We will see.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Sunday - Talking About My Books - The Doctor's Dilemma #MFRWauthor #BooksWeLove

When I began to write The Doctor's Dilemma, I had in mind one thing and that was to write a circular story where the opening scene was reflected in the final scene. Then what became a blurb hit me. Take one foot-loos doctor, add a nurse who wants a settled life, add to a small Texas town and give him a set of infant twins he is left by a dying foster sister and you have the Doctor's Dilemma. The story was a fun one to write and I was able to use some of the memories I had of Texas where we lived for a few years ages ago.

The hero needed to have reasons why he never wanted to settle down and I gave him a foot-loose life with the longest he'd ever lived in one place was during his college years and medical school. As a foster child he bounced from family to family and the one person who he had connected with was his foster sister who gave birth to the twins. Moving and moving during his childhood set the pattern for his later life when he chose to be the kind of doctor who worked for an agency that sent him to various towns.

The heroine had the same kind of childhood but she was moved and moved from town to town by her parents who as artists moved nearly every year. She yearns for a settled home. Making friends and losing them troubled her and she wants a settled life.

The story was a fun one to write. The arrival of the twins forces the hero to look at his life and the absence of his housekeeper who will care for the children leaves him asking the nurse to remain until the woman returns. His growing attachment to the babies and to the nurse force him to look at his life. She is also forced to look at what she wants. Is a home a person or a place? Both need to look at their lives.

At one time I was going to write other stories about this town and the characters in the town but no stories came into myhead. Perhaps one day, there will be other stories.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Saturday's Blurbs - Books By Linda Hall #MFRWauthor

Night Watch

Desolate Maine shores... Murder... And peace slipping away on the outgoing tide... 

For yacht delivery captain, Em Ridge, having a billionaire's daughter go overboard on her first captaining job is not a good beginning. The sailboat is new, state of the art, her crew on this trip include two close sailing friends. But an unknown fourth, who can't even tie a bowline, and the unruly owner's daughter turn the idlyic trip into an adventure not wanted. 

Two years ago Em buried her husband, her soulmate, her sailing buddy, and with him buried a secret. As hours on the open seas slide by, secrets are resurrected that tie Em's past to a present, awash with murder and deception. 

Will Em's career go overboard? Will the investigating detective help her or hurt her? Any why does the best boat delivery captain on the east coast pull at her heart strings? 

The oft foggy coast of Maine holds secrets it does not want to give up, and a lot of bodies can be hidden in The Pine Tree State's largest city. 

Strange Faces

A touch of mystery, a hint of horror and a dash of magic

From experienced and award winning author Linda Hall comes Strange Faces, a collection of seven stories that will take you to a place where killers can linger in your backyard but where magic can sometimes change everything. The voyage begins with Pickers and Choosers, and with a group of young dumpster foragers who witness a murder. Or do they? And why now, after twenty-seven years is the terrible memory resurfacing? In A Nice Cup of Something Hot we meet Mrs. Wilkers, a divorced woman obsessed with her ex-husband, his new wife, and ultimately with death and murder. 

The connection between siblings plays a key role in two of the stories. We Are Brothers is about very different twins. Weather Ladies attempts to answer the question, what do you do when you find out your sister is a murderer? Mad Scientist is all about revenge. How far can someone be provoked? Far enough to murder? On the lighter side, The Hockey Bag features a young man, who through no fault of his own, gets caught up in a rather gruesome bag of tricks. You will smile, or tear up, with A Small Season of Magic. It’s a story of a girl, of bullying, and what happens when a small bit of magic intervenes. 

Hall’s writing has been described as “crisp, intense, filled with suspense and intriguing characters” and writing which has the ability to “keep you on the edge of your seat until the end.” 

-  -
Steal Away

What took Ellen away from her famous husband yearly, to the cold windy coast of Maine? Piecing together the life of an unhappy minister's wife, private investigator Teri Blake-Addison trails the wreckage to a remote Canadian island. When murder rocks the community, she realizes the puzzle may not be as simple as it had seemed. Book One in the Teri Blake-Addison private investigator series

Island of Refuge

The lives of five homeless people living in a church on an island are shattered when one of them is murdered. Meanwhile, two states over, another investigation is begun, a seeming unrelated one. But what is discovered shatters the island dwellers to the very core and intertwines the lives of the island dwellers as they seek to make peace with themselves, their lives, and God.

Katheryn's Secret

Mystery writer Sharon Colebrook finds herself the unexpected recipient of her deceased Aunt Katie's papers, and hopes to learn about a murder Katie had hinted at years before. But as Sharon and her husband Jeff head from the west coast of Canada to the east coast of Maine to begin to investigate, the carefully kept facade of her strict religious family begins to crumble. Secrets, long buried, begin to surface, and only God's grace can put this family back together again.




Friday, October 24, 2014

Friday's Guest - Linda Hall talking about Heroes, Heroines and Villains #MFRWauthor

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

I started off this life as a mystery reader. Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys were my companions. When I grew up it would be natural that I would be a mystery writer. Deep down and to my core that's what I am. Mysteries are still my reading of choice.  I tried, briefly, to write romance, since it's so popular, but my poor romances kept being populated by dead bodies. Of course, that's not to say my books don't have romance. They most certainly do!  I have a weird theory about romance: I think that every book - even literary and poetic - must include an element of romance. Night Watch, my full length mystery novel—Book One of a new series—is out now, and this past spring I released a book of short stories. I love this new Indie publishing revolution, because I can experiment with lengths - full length, novellas and short stories. I love reading short mysteries and enjoy writing them. 

What wouldn't I attempt? I'm not really sure. I think it's important for writers to write what they like to read. The idea of fantasy frightens me, but I do have a ghost story that I wrote for a past NaNoWriMo that I want to bring out and have another look at.

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

I think most authors find villains the easiest to write. I don't know what that says about us as writers,  but it's something that seems to be true across the board. Maybe we can work out all of our pent up emotions when we get into the head of a villain! It's quite fun, actually to come up with villains and crimes.

3. Heroes. How do you find them? Do pictures, real life or plain imagination create the man you want every reader to love? Do they come before the plot or after you have the idea for the story?

I usually start a story with either a bit of a plot idea, setting or character. But no matter where I start, the characters are the most important part of the story. I don't know where the actual people come from - parts of people that I know or have met, pictures that I see, and my imagination. Mostly my imagination. I'm not one of those writers who finds online pictures of people and copies them onto a desk top for reference. I just don't do that. I guess my characters are mostly composites.

4. Heroines. How do you find them? Do pictures, real life or imagination create the woman you want the reader to root for? Do they appear before the plot or after you have the idea for the story?

I love boats and sailing and have long wanted to write about a strong female character who has her boat delivery captain's license. Her name is Em Ridge and her job is mainly delivering boats from Point A to Point B  - but of course mystery ensues, along with romance. Poor Em is kind of an alter ego for me. I love sailing, but I'm not very brave. Em, on the other hand is brave and capable and strong.

5. Villains or villainesses or an antagonist, since they don’t always have to be the bad guy or girl. They can be a person opposed to the hero’s or heroine’s obtaining their goal. How do you choose one? How do you make them human?

When writing a villain it's important to understand that we are not machines. Every villain came from a mother. Every villain has his or her own story and the reasons why she is the way she is. I think it's important to get those stories out there, too. A long time ago I read that every villain needs a soft spot. So, in my first book I gave the bad guy a pet hamster. It can be as simple as that.

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

Night Watch is my newest release and is Book One in the new Em Ridge mystery series that I'm quite excited to write! Recently widowed Em Ridge has just been given her first ever captaining job and she wants desperately to succeed. She and her crew are to deliver a billionaire's luxury yacht from Canada to Bermuda and then on down to the Bahamas. But there is one catch, the billionaire's rather unruly 21 year old daughter is to come along. Her father rules his family like he rules his corporations and feels his daughter needs a bit of an "outward bound" experience.

As for who is the hero and villain, well, you'll have to read the book to find out! No spoilers here.

7. What are you working on now?

Right now I'm working on writing down the bones, the skeleton, if you will, of The Bitter End, Book Two in my series. In November I'll be writing that book as part of NaNoWriMo

8. How can people find you?




Thursday, October 23, 2014

Thursday's Hero - Ivor From The Amber Cage by Janet Lane Walters #MFRWauthor #BooksWeLove

The wailing notes of the bagpipes lingered in the air. Ivor, Crown Prince of Rivand gasped deep breaths. He grinned. “Did I pass?” He squeezed the words out.

The old man smiled. “You have. Shame you can’t pursue what could be a brilliant career as a master of music.”

Ivor bowed his head. His passion for music overshadowed the duty his birth order dictated. Alas, the spotlight wasn’t for him.

The bells of the town clock chimed ten times. Ivor scowled. “I’ll be late for my morning meeting with my twin.” He dashed from the music room and ran through the halls of the palace to the salle.
Moments later, he donned the protective gear and drew his sword from the sheath. Time to face his brother in another senseless match. He had no taste for the fighting life his twin savored.

Andros raised his sword. “Ready to lose again?”

The glee in his twin’s voice rasped Ivor’s nerves. He hated these forced encounters. As crown prince martial arts must be mastered so he could lead the troops of Rivand if the country came under attack by one of the neighboring princedoms.

He had learned the movements of the dance of the sword and had practiced until they had become automatic. Fighting was alien to his nature. He feared suffering an injury to hands able to play any instrument. He shuddered as other the possibilities arose. A head injury could destroy the melodies waiting to emerge. What if a lucky blow harmed his throat to make singing impossible?
Andros attacked. Ivor defended. His twin was a master or the blade, excelled in strategy and was a superb negotiator. Andros embodied every skill a crown prince needed.

Ivor scowled. Had they been switched during the hectic moments following their birth?

The shout accompanying Andros’ lunge pulled Ivor into the present. He tried to turn the duel into a real fight. His brother’s blade neared his chest. Ivor froze. His sword flew through the air.

Andros laughed. “My win.”

Ivor nodded. “As usual.”


His body tensed. He stared toward the observation area overlooking the salle. Why was his father present during every defeat? He knelt with his head bowed.

“To my study now,” Prince Gregori shouted.

Ivor retrieved his sword and slid the blade into the sheath. His twin’s mocking laughter grated. Ivor’s hands clenched. He faced an angry tirade when all he wanted was to return to the music chamber and work on his latest composition, Lament for the Lost Princes.

The solstice was but three days away. On that date he would join the ranks of the vanished. Even now the moon moved toward full. Being lost seemed better than being the next ruler of Rivand.
He entered his father’s study and knelt at the feet of the ruling prince. He waited for the angry comments focusing on the qualities for his position as crown prince he lacked.

“Was there ever a time when you defeated Andros in a friendly match? You are Crown Prince. You must be first in all important matters.”

Ivor drew a shuddering breath. “What does how I perform matter? The solstice looms. The moon will be full. I will soon vanish like the other lost princes.”

Gregori scowled. “Your door will be guarded so there will be no chance you will leave. On the morning of the summer solstice you will marry. Your bride arrives tomorrow.” He lifted a stack of papers. “These will burn.”

Ivor recognized his compositions. “No!” Anger he couldn’t express tightened his throat. To speak would fire his father’s temper. Already his back burned with memories of floggings received for his failures to learn the skills needed by a crown prince. Acid rushed into his throat. He swallowed to keep from spewing.

“I rule here until I die. Then you will have your turn.” Prince Gregori shoved the papers into the fireplace and lit them with a glowing candle. “Tonight your instruments will burn. Rivand needs no music-performing fool as a ruler.”

“Let Andros be your heir. He’s better suited. Perhaps the midwife forgot which of us arrived first on the day we were born.”

“Do not think to escape your duty. You are dismissed.”

Ivor bowed. “I hear.” He backed from the room. Rebellion stirred. How could he see the musical instruments that brought him pleasure be destroyed?

He scurried to the music chamber. His teacher stood with his hands to his head. “I couldn’t stop him.”

“I know. ‘Twas not your fault.” Ivor pulled the most valuable lutes, fiddles and lap harps from the shelves. He added a few reeds and brass horns to the collection. “Give these to your most promising students, the ones who can’t afford the best. My father plans to destroy them tonight.”


“To rule I must forsake music.” Ivor slid his favorite flute into the sheath with his sword, taking care not to scratch the silver on the gemmed hilt. “Go quickly.” He pushed a wheeled hand cart to the rear door.

The moment the teacher left Ivor opened the door into the hall. His twin pushed past him. “What have you done?”

“Gave some gifts to the worthy.”

“Father said all the instruments are to be destroyed.

Ivor glared. “Go tell him what I’ve done. Don’t fear. You will have my place.”

“What do you mean?”

“The lost princes. Remember the tales our nurse told us. They are true. Already I feel a need to leave the palace. I’ll be glad to be gone. Without music Rivand is no place for me.”

Andros smiled. “I pray your words are true. I won’t report what you’ve done.”

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Wednesday's Writer's Tip - Continuing with Writing the Fiction Series by Karen Wiesner #MFRWauthor

More things to consider when writing a series and there are many. This book is a trove of good information gathered together by Karen Wiesner.

Promises. When writing a series a writer should keep the promises to the reader. Leaving things dangling can draw a reader to select the next book in the series but leaving too many of these threads dangling can really upset readers. Proposing a single question that is the main one can carry over but all those little questions can be solved book by book and new ones created.

Killing Characters - Unless you have a good reason, don't kill one of the main characters in a series. The reader will become upset since they have invested a lot in said character. Sherlock Holmes was killed off in that series but he miraculously returned to be in other stories. If you're going to kill off a character during the course of a series establish this character and show the potential for death during one or more of the stories. Of course in the end, killing the villain or villainess is fine and can make a grand ending to a story.

Turning the Bad Guy into a Good Guy. - This can trouble a reader, especially if they really hated the bad guy. There are ways to do this if you really want to make this change. Showing a bit of what makes him the bad guy in the story and you have already given him or her a reason to change. In The Amber Chronicles, Emme starts out as the bad one and immediately you hear why she is being sent away for she has lessons to learn about love. In the end she is redeemed but her road to growth becomes a quest for her. I have a villain from a story I would like to redeem, if I ever find time to plot the story out.

Preparing For The next Book. A series needs more than one book and two doesn't do it. Three or more books are needed and when you're nearing the end of book one, two, or more you need to plant the seeds for the next book. This can be done in many ways but needs to be done. In one series, the chance for the trilogy is set up by mentioning the two gods and one goddess of the ancient Egypt I've created. This means there will be three possible stories. Bast's Warrior, Horu's Chosen and Toth's Priest. Some of the characters who will be in the other books are either present in some way in the other books. The preparation for the next book should be somehow made clear in the current one.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Tuesday's Inspiration - There Is No Muse, There's You . I wa. #MFRWauthor

When you sit down to write, you need to have a goal. I do remember those days when I began and my writing was sporadic. I sat with pen in hand or in front of the typewriter and stared at the blank page waiting for the inspiration. Needless to say very little words ever reached the page. I was waiting for the Muse, something other writers said they had. Reading books on writing, I searched for ways to find this muse. Never found her or him. What I found was the words were inside myself waiting for me to find a plot, a character, a need to tell a story. What I also learned was to do this I couldn't stare at the blank pages, I had to set goals.

Goals in my book seemed to be the number or words I wrote each day. I set my goal as one I thought I could accomplish. An organization I belong to has set this goal so low it's ridiculous. 18 words a day for 365 days and one has 6667 words at the end of the year. My goal was one I believed I could reach. One page a day. At the end of this time I would have 365 pages of a story. There are books this long but not that many these days. I wasn't writing War and Peace or some other time. I was looking in the 50,000 to 80,000 word book. In those days publishers looked at page count, not word count. Times have changed and so have my writing stints. I'm no longer satisfied with 250 words a day or one page.

My writing goals gradually increased and I learned something else. Those words you first put on paper had to be revised. No one writes the perfect story on the first draft. Maybe you could if you followed the 18 words a day but I know I would be bored with the story before I reached the three year goal of 20,000 words and had a novella. Now I have two goals and they alternate. Being a draft writer, when I begin a story I do a rough work that is little more than a plot outline with characters and all their quirks thrown in and scenes that may have one or ten words. When I reach the end I'll have a kind of outline and the words will be a mess with plot holes beyond plot holes. This is written at 1000 words a day. When I'll be away, I write ahead. I also don't stop when the 1000 words for the day end and I'm still going hot. The other goal is during re-writing that means 2000 words a day and when revising I do 3000 to 4000 words a day.

The real thing here is to set yourself an obtainable goal and write every day or if this can't be done, write ahead. And remember the muse for writing in yourself and your own determination.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Meandering on Monday with Janet Lane Walters #MFRWauthor

Meander 1 - I'm going to make some people angry with what I'm about to say but something in the new stuff from RWA (Romance Writers of America) really got to me. It's about what's considered a professional writer. When I heard 20,000 words, I thought every year this is a good place to start. But I was wrong. A writer to consider themself a professional writer it's 20,000 words in 3 (three Years) Excuse me. Being someone whose goal is 1000 words a day if the material is new and 3000 to 4000 thousand words a day when revising I had to look at what this means and how many words this will be written yearly, monthly, weekly and daily. Pulling out my trusty calculator I began.

20,000 words in 3 years comes down to 6667 words a year. How many people can meet this qualification. Probably most of them. Then we come down to the monthly quota. By dividing the 6667 by 12 the total becomes 556 every month. Again, if not paralyzed anyone can hit that quota unless they have no hands but then they could dictate the words to one of those voice programs. The total shrinks if one goes to the weekly amount. Taking the yearly total and dividing it by 52 and the writer only has to write 128 words every week. Hard to reach. I don't think so, Now we come to the daily total needed. Divide 6667 by 365, ignoring leap year since that will make the total less. The answer is 18. Eighteen words a day makes one a professional writer? I don't think so.

Even if a person wrote 100 words a day, all of them new they would come up with 36500 words and be at least half way to writing a  73000 word book. Add another and the book could be over  a hundred thousand words/

I like the idea that qualifying as a writer is not based on money earned every year. I have books released in 1998 that are still earning a decent amount of money every year. So moving money from the decision to call a writer a writer is good but dumbing down the number of words written every day is ridiculous. To me 20,000 words a year is the way to determine who is and who isn't a writer determined to become published. Though there are other issues brought up about a tiered group and who can vote and hold offices. So I leave this wrod of advice. To be considered a professional in the world I'm speaking about just keep track of those 18 new words you write every day.

Meander 2 - The New Jersey Romance Writer's conference was really great. The speakers were inspirational and the workshops were fun. Meeting other writers and people who want to become writers was great.

Meander 3 - Came home from the conference. Arrived around 11 AM. After unfreezing my brain from being over stimulated by great conversation, I sat down and wrote my 1000 words for the day and also managed to revise about the same number of words along with making dinner, watching television from 9 PM to !! Pm and realizing if I was aiming for 18 words a day I wouldn't have to write for 56 days. Write on.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Thursday's Hero From My new Release Horu's Chosen by Janet Lane Walters #MFRWauthor #BooksWeLove

Horu's Chosen (An Alternate Egypt Book 2)

    It's here today. The second book of the alternate ancient Egypt fantasy is here as of today
    Seth, an undercover cop has been betrayed by his handler. To escape he calls a number on a flyer and is transported to an ancient Egypt he doesn’t understand. He must rescue the Daughter from the evil priests of Aken Re. Merin is the Daughter....

A low voice whispered in his ear. Seth struggled to makes sense of the words. At first the rhythm and pattern of the sounds seemed wrong. Finally as though a key clicked open a lock in his head the words made sense.
“You are Horu’s Chosen. His temple has been corrupted by worshippers of a god alien to the Two Lands.”
Seth struggled to sit up. What was going on?
“You are here to rescue the Daughter and find the jewelry given to the first queen by the goddess and two gods.”
What the hell? Was he trapped in a dream where a disembodied voice spoke?
“Failure can bring death or slavery. During the days spent together you must remain apart from the Daughter. A hawk will come. A hawk will help.”
Weird. Seth stretched his hand in an attempt to grab the speaker and demand an explanation. No one was there. His hand dropped. He winced when it rapped a hard surface. Cautiously he opened his eyes to study his surroundings. Nothing seemed familiar. He squeezed his eyelids tight. Where was he?
A second glance added to the confusion. Was he trapped in a drug-induced dream? How could that be? He didn’t do drugs. He ran his hands along his body. All the parts were there but he was naked. He frowned. Sleeping in clothes was a habit. Being prepared for a quick escape was essential.
Strange aromas increased his puzzlement. He turned on his side and saw a row of naked men. Seth pushed into a sitting position. Nothing changed. He tamped a gush of panic. There must be an explanation.
Slowly memories rose. Disjointed like the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. Betrayal. The center. A flyer. Amara. Tira. Father Joe. Ramos. Coffee shop. Brownstone. Bob Tolena. Horoscope. Leo. Pieces clicked together. Seth remembered who he was and what had happened until the moment the wheel turned. Had he really entered another time and place?
“Will you go?”
“You will be given a task.”
Failure could mean death."
His breath escaped in a rush. Whatever the women had done, he was here. Who was Horu? Who was the Daughter? Where was he?
He rose. There were no windows, only narrow openings high on the walls. A curtain of strings with beads, shells and stones hung in the doorway. No chance of sneaking out unnoticed. If he could leave here he had no idea where he’d landed. He had to draw on his undercover skills and play the situation cautiously.
The curtain jangled. Three men entered. One wore a red robe. A short obese man with a metal collar carried a flail. The third, a muscular man, had a knife sheathed on his belt. Must be a guard.
The guard and the fat man were bald. The other man’s straight dark hair was cut to shoulder length.
Seth touched his head and exhaled. Hair remained long but tangled.
“Up, slaves.”
Seth’s mouth gaped. He understood but the words were in no language he recognized. This meant he’d been displaced in time and place.
Seth looked for clothes and saw none. He followed the other men from the room into a stone-paved courtyard. The walls looked like unpainted adobe.
A woman pointed to some kind of paste in a pottery jar. Her appraisal of his body made him want to turn his back. When the other men smeared this over their bodies, Seth did the same.
Leather buckets of water were poured over his head and flowed over his body. Seth caught a cloth and scrubbed including his head. After a second dousing, towels of thin material unlike the terry ones he used at home were provided. With water dripping from his hair Seth lined with the other men to receive a long strip of cloth. He watched the way the other men wrapped the linen into a loin cloth. He imitated the process.
A chunk of bread spread with cheese and topped with a thick slice of onion and a mug of liquid constituted breakfast. He ate the bread and washed it down with warm beer. His nose wrinkled. Sure would have liked an iced cold brew but a steaming cup of coffee would have been better.
“Come,” the fat man said.
Seth glanced at his companions. “Where are we going?”
“To the market square where we’ll be sold. You’re new. When did you arrive?”
And a stranger, Seth thought. “During the night. Don’t remember much until I woke.” His hands curled into fists. He hadn’t been warned about slavery. How long must he continue to stay one? He had his orders. He had to find the Daughter.
A frown wrinkled his brow. At home he’d been a slave to duty. Was his predicament any different here? Until he had more information he would continue where he’d been dumped. Definitely an interesting introduction to this strange world.
He marched with the other men to the market square. Seth stared at the booths and the people. Heaps of onions and melons waited to be purchased. Tantalizing aromas of cooking meats made his gut rumble. The line of men reached a clear space. He was directed to stand on a low platform. The morning sun made him sweat.
He turned to the man he’d spoken to before. “Don’t they feed us more than that small bite?”
“If you aren’t purchased by midday, you’ll return to the compound for cooked lentils and barley bread.”
Seth made a face. What he wanted was two eggs over easy, sausage and pancakes with a carafe of coffee. Wistful thinking. Good thing hunger whetted the appetite. “To drink.”
“Sweet water or beer.”
Seth’s shoulders slumped. The guard rapped his back. “Stand straight.” He pointed to the obese man. “He can order a flailing.”
With a nod Seth came to attention. Across the square he saw a young man and another of those red robes approaching. The obese man bowed to them. After a conversation with the fat man the pair strode along the line. He pointed to Seth and three others. A dialogue with the slave seller began. Money exchanged hands.
“You a fighter?” the young man asked Seth.
He shrugged. What did he know about the weapons of this land? “Unarmed combat. Can use a knife and can learn others.” He figured being a fighter would be better than doing some kind of slave labor. He thought of the documentaries he’d seen showing men pulling large block of stone to build pyramids.
“Mace, bow, spear?”
Seth closed his eyes. “Probably a mace and a spear. I’ve never shot a bow.”
The young man touched Seth’s arm. “Head shaved or a braid.”
“A warrior’s choice.”
Before long Seth and the three others were bound in a line and ordered to follow the palanquin bearing the priest and the young man. They trudged along a narrow road of hard packed earth. In the distance, Seth saw a wall.
“The one wearing the red robe, who is he?” Seth asked one of his fellows.

“A priest of Aken Re.”