Monday, May 20, 2019

Where's Jemi?



Hi everyone!

I'm over at the WEP blog today talking a bit about how I started writing shorts 
and a bit about my whole writing journey.

I hope you'll pop on over and say hi!



Wednesday, May 1, 2019

IWSG & The Power of Story

The Insecure Writer's Support Group is the brainchild of Alex J. Cavanaugh. He, his clones, minions, friends, and fellow authors make it an amazing event every month.



Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

And we’re revving up IWSG Day to make it more fun and interactive! Every month, we'll announce a question that members can answer in their IWSG Day post. These questions may prompt you to share advice, insight, a personal experience or story. Include your answer to the question in your IWSG post or let it inspire your post if you are struggling with something to say.

***

May 1 question - What was an early experience where you learned that language had power?

Great question!

One of my earliest memories of the power of the written word was when I read Little Women.

Major Spoiler Directly Ahead!

In the book, one of the characters, Beth, dies. It was the first time I'd read about the death of a character. It was the first time fiction ripped into my soul and cracked my heart.

Devastated, I sobbed, raced through the book, and started it again.

Maybe this time, Beth would be okay.

I was obviously pretty young - young enough to hope that the words might have magically changed, that this character I loved would live.

Not sure I ever looked at fiction the same way again. The power of story continued to lure me, but I kept one eye on the author, wondering what choice he or she would make. And why.

How about you? Do you remember that first tragedy that you read?The first book that broke your heart?

Monday, April 15, 2019

WEP Challenge: Play On

Update!
I'm thrilled to share this badge announcing this little story placed 1st in the WEP challenge this time around. Thank you so much! Definitely check out this link to the rest of the fabulous stories for the challenge!



***
Tinny music filled the room as the ballerina twirled on her stand. Scratches marred the pink tutu, but her smile remained intact.
Beethoven attempted to soothe the soul.
Or was it Bach? Brahms?
Da da, da da, da da, da da, dum.
Maybe Tchaikovsky.
He’d heard her play it so many times. Her hands had moved like butterflies over the keys. When they’d first met, he’d told her that her music was magic made to lure men in.
As they’d gotten to know each other better, he’d called it foreplay. And they’d made good on all the sensual promises in the notes.
Da da, da da, da da, da da, dum.
Beethoven. He was sure it was Beethoven.
He brushed the diamonds he’d given her in Venice. Her joy had shone brighter than the full moon. He’d professed his love that night while the gondolier serenaded.
The music slowed and he reached to wind it again before it stopped.
Da da, dum.
They’d traveled to so many wonderful places while she played for audiences, each one larger than the last. He’d bought her baubles and bits to make her smile. Silly tourist keychains meant as much to her as the sapphires and rubies.
He cradled her hand, seeing the agile one that once stroked the ivories with such grace. And love. She’d touched everything with love. Especially him.
He held her hand while Beethoven played and the ballerina twirled.
He held her hand while he relived their love and their lives.
He wound the box again and again.
Da da, da da, da da, da da, dum.
He held her hand as it grew cold.
And still he held her hand.

***
This is an entry for the WEP Challenge for April: Jewel Box.
Check out the link for links to all of the other entries - the entires are always amazing. Love seeing how the prompt ends up differently for everyone.

How about you? Do you enjoy writing flash fiction? Do you find prompts easy to work with or do they drive you batty?

Monday, April 8, 2019

Elizabeth Mueller & Masquerade: Oddly Suited

The latest IWSG anthology looks like another winner! Today, I've got Elizabeth Mueller, one of the authors, here to answer some questions!

***

Have you written YA romance before this short story?
Yes, I have. They are my favorite kinds of romances to write. Darkspell is my first published out there.

What was it about the prompt that intrigued you?
The prompt was YA Masquerade Romance—I find each one in itself: I love YA, romance,
and masquerades. Imagine what all three can do? Whoa!

What was your favourite part of writing this short story?
I loved creating the mysticism behind it, the implied history of their romantic intrigue.

As a writer, do you tend to start with characters, setting, or plot when you first get an idea? Oh, how do I answer that? It’s always a combination of things that come at me all at once I can’t possibly tell one from the other. Sometimes it’s a concept: like a character bound hand and foot by the queen’s body guards as he glares up at her (both are love interests). The story then unfolds as I imagine how he got himself into that mess and why. So fun!

Introduce us to the main character in your story.
Meet Ivy. Independent, smart, honorable. Curious. It’s what gets her into the mess to begin with but if she hadn’t have listened to her instincts, all would have been lost!


About my Short Story, ‘The Cog Prince’
Falling in love, saving the day, and a masque—oh my! The clock strikes the thirteenth hour and Ivy is sucked into a masquerade ball of whirling dancers where the Cog Prince has summoned her. A mysterious darkness seeks their destruction and she alone holds the key. Will Ivy save them in time?

Author Bio
Award-winning author Elizabeth Mueller lives in Texas with her husband, five lively children, five indoor kitties, a few outdoor kitties, and seventeen chickens. While she enjoys homeschooling her kidlets, she thrives as a full-time writer of any genre that captures her heart. She loves to hear from her readers!


***

Masquerade: Oddly Suited Tour Banner

Today I'm taking part in the blog tour for Masquerade: Oddly Suited, a young-adult romance anthology from The Insecure Writer's Support Group which is coming out on 30th April 2019!

About the Anthology

Title: Masquerade: Oddly SuitedRelease date: April 30th, 2019
Publisher: Dancing Lemur Press
Genres: Young Adult Fiction: Romance – General / Paranormal / Contemporary
Print ISBN: 9781939844644
EBook ISBN: 9781939844651

Book cover for Masquerade: Oddly Suited

Find love at the ball...
Can a fake dating game show lead to love? Will a missing key free a clock-bound prince? Can a softball pitcher and a baseball catcher work together? Is there a vampire living in Paradise, Newfoundland? What’s more important—a virtual Traveler or a virtual date to the ball?
Ten authors explore young love in all its facets, from heartbreak to budding passion. Featuring the talents of L.G. Keltner, Jennifer Lane, C.D. Gallant-King, Elizabeth Mueller, Angela Brown, Myles Christensen, Deborah Solice, Carrie-Anne Brownian, Anstice Brown, and Chelsea Marie Ballard.
Hand-picked by a panel of agents and authors, these ten tales will mystify and surprise even as they touch your heart. Don your mask and join the party…


Stories Featured

Oddly Suited, LG Keltner
The silliest situations may be oddly suited for romance.
Behind the Catcher’s Mask, Jennifer Lane
Who can help her through a meltdown on the pitcher’s mound?
The Dark Charade, CD Gallant-King
The new girl in town falls in love for a mysterious boy who is maybe, probably, most definitely, a vampire.
The Cog Prince, Elizabeth Mueller
Falling in love, saving the day, and a masque—oh my! Will a missing key free a clock-bound prince?
A Diver’s Ball, Angela Brown
You can be anything you want in the online world of Cumulus. A human. An elf. A powerful beast mutation from your wildest imagination. But can you be in love?
Flower of Ronda, Myles Christensen
What if life's price of servanthood could be changed?
Fearless Heart, Deborah Solice
Is he a figment of her imagination conjured to keep her sane, or is he something else…something more?
Charleston Masquerade, Carrie-Anne Brownian
Can two worlds come together and find love?
Sea of Sorrows, Anstice Brown
What could a shapeshifting siren know about love?
Remedy, Chelsea Marie Ballard
Everything is against Remy and Rudy, but on the night of the Masquerade Ball, they must choose: each other or their lives?
You can find out more about the authors of Masquerade: Oddly Suited here.

Giveaway

The authors of Masquerade: Oddly Suited are giving away a $50 Amazon gift card to one winner. To enter, please complete the Rafflecopter below. The giveaway is open internationally from 12:00 am GMT 17th March to 12:00am GMT 6th May.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tour Schedule

Visit the other blog tour hosts below to find out more about the stories and authors featured in Masquerade: Oddly Suited.
***
So excited for this book to come out! Can't wait to see if Ivy saves the day!
Thanks for the visit, Elizabeth!

How about you? Do you start with characters, setting, or plot first? Or do they all come in a blend the way they do for Elizabeth?

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

IWSG & The 1 Wish

The Insecure Writer's Support Group is the brainchild of Alex J. Cavanaugh. He, his clones, minions, friends, and fellow authors make it an amazing event every month.




Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

And we’re revving up IWSG Day to make it more fun and interactive! Every month, we'll announce a question that members can answer in their IWSG Day post. These questions may prompt you to share advice, insight, a personal experience or story. Include your answer to the question in your IWSG post or let it inspire your post if you are struggling with something to say.

***
April 3 question: If you could use a wish to help you write just ONE scene/chapter of your book, which one would it be? (examples: fight scene / first kiss scene / death scene / chase scene / first chapter / middle chapter / end chapter, etc.)

Wow - what a thought-provoking question!

I think (at this moment anyway!) that I would use my wish on the final chapter.
Tying up loose ends can be such a challenge!

In my romance stories, I tend to be a little cheesy when I write the first draft of the last chapter.

In my dementia project - which is a combo of memoir/narrative non-fiction and self-help advice for caregivers of those with dementia - tying up the entire book and ending with encouragement and hope is proving to be a little challenging as well. I think I'm almost there, though!

Over all of these though, I think I would spend that wish on writing the blurb that will pull in ALL the readers! 😀

How about you, where would you spend that wish?

Monday, April 1, 2019

Jane Godman & Finding The Voice Inside

Please welcome Jane Godman to the blog today!
***

When you find your authentic voice, it’s like stepping into a comfortable pair of shoes. The rhythm and pacing of your words feel right, as if they’re meant just for you.”
Shirley Kawa-Jump

We hear a lot in writing about the author’s “voice” and how important it is to ensure that it’s unique and engaging. I’ll admit it’s a concept with which I struggled in the early days of my career.

Wasn’t writing an interesting story enough? What was it that made my voice different from anyone else’s? Gradually, I came to recognize the way I brought my own personality to the page when I wrote. In the same way that I can identify the voice of my favorite authors, I can now see what makes my own writing stand out.

Author Voice
So what is voice? It’s the author's style, a distinctive quality that makes his or her writing unique, and which conveys the author's attitude, personality, and character to the reader.
Tone, choice of words, content, and even punctuation make up the authorial voice. It is usually fairly consistent. With some very famous authors it is even possible to identify the author by reading an excerpt of his or her work.

The following is from Charles Dickens’ famous story, A Christmas Carol. 
… Scrooge had as little of what is called fancy about him as any man in the city of London, even including—which is a bold word—the corporation, aldermen, and livery. Let it also be borne in mind that Scrooge had not bestowed one thought on Marley, since his last mention of his seven-years' dead partner that afternoon. And then let any man explain to me, if he can, how it happened that Scrooge, having his key in the lock of the door, saw in the knocker, without its undergoing any intermediate process of change—not a knocker, but Marley's face.

Some of the features that immediately identify this as a piece of Dickens’ writing are: the humorous description, the “wordiness”, and the way he talks directly to the reader (as if the reader could respond). 

Character Voice
The writer’s main voice is the one that tells the story, but there are other voices that take a turn under the spotlight. They are, of course, the characters the author has created. 

Every person has their own way of putting together words, phrases, and ideas. These elements make up that person’s voice. Some people are witty or chatty, others are stilted or curt. For each of their characters, the author must find a believable voice.

As well as being a master of the narrative voice, Dickens created memorable character voices, one of the most compelling of which was Uriah Heep from David Copperfield. 
"'When I was quite a young boy,' said Uriah, 'I got to know what umbleness did, and I took to it. I ate umble pie with an appetite. I stopped at the umble point of my learning, and says I, "Hard hard!" 

Heep is a nasty character who calls himself “’umble” (humble), but we get a sense from the way he talks that he is anything but.

How do you develop your writer voice?

The best way to develop your writer’s voice is to read a lot. And write a lot. There’s really no other way to do it.
Stephen King

When you’re reading, notice the writer’s voice. These writers have very distinctive, strong voices: Penelope Trunk, Erika Napoletano, Johnny B. Truant, Chuck Wendig, Chris Guillebeau

When it comes to writing, don’t be afraid to let go and experiment. What have you got to lose? Happy writing!

***
JANE GODMAN is a 2019 Romantic Novelists’ Award winner and 2018 Daphne du Maurier Award finalist. She writes thrillers for Harlequin Romantic Suspense/Mills and Boon Heroes and paranormal romance for Harlequin Nocturne/Mills and Boon Supernatural and St. Martin’s Press Romance. She also self publishes her historical and gothic stories.
Jane was born in Scotland and has lived in Germany, Wales, Malta, South Africa, and England. She still gets the urge to travel, although these days she tends to head for a Spanish beach, or a European city that is steeped in history. 
When she isn’t reading or writing romance, Jane enjoys cooking, spending time with her family, and enjoying the antics of her dogs, Gravy and Vera.  

 Connect with Jane Godman on the web:

Website         Facebook          Twitter         Goodreads


Colton’s Secret Bodyguard (The Coltons of Roaring Spring)

His mission: keep her safe, no matter what…
A Coltons of Roaring Springs thriller
Just as Bree Colton is about to take the local art world by storm, someone is determined to sabotage her success…unless Rylan Bennet can keep her safe. Bree doesn’t want anyone to protect her—not even gorgeous Rylan, whose secrets threaten them both. But can the former soldier win the battle for Bree’s heart and the war against a sinister foe?

Buy on:


Amazon UK              Amazon Aust

Harlequin                 B&N 


Kobo        Book Depository        iBooks

***
Thanks so much Jane! I really enjoyed Colton's Secret Bodyguard - great characters and a plot that kept me turning pages far into the night!! If my readers enjoy romance, suspense, and great characters, this is a fabulous read!

How about you? Have you developed your author's voice? Who are some of your favourite authors who have distinctive voices? I'm currently rereading the Lord Of The Rings trilogy and am loving Tolkein's voice all over again!

Monday, March 18, 2019

Comfort Reads

Between the flu and snow and more snow and freezing rain and a broken water main, it's been a roller coaster couple of weeks.

For a day or two, my head/eyes couldn't handle any screens. When my head cleared enough to read, I reached for one of my all-time favourite books.

I've owned it for decades. The spine is broken from so many reads and it brings me comfort just holding the book.

I have several comfort reads, but this time I pulled out Lord Of The Rings: Fellowship of the Ring.

Reading it is like seeing a friend you've lost touch with for a few years, but as soon as you get together, it's perfect.

The language is gorgeous, the characters complex, the story pulls me in again.

What about you? Do you re-read your favourite books? What are some of your favourite comfort reads?