Thursday, October 31, 2013

The balloon goes Pop!

Seance time! It's late, it's dark, and it's the night before Halloween!

I will dim the lights as we take our seats at the large round table with its worn, white, delicate cloth and a crystal ball in the center. Join hands and close your eyes. Who do you see?

I imagine sitting on a sunny porch on a hot summer day sipping lemonade with the insanely intelligent and sweetly snarky Mark Twain. In his classic white suit and scruffy, laughing white beard, a cigar poking out of the side of his mouth, Mr. Twain gazes thoughtfully at the fluffy white clouds above magnificent magnolia trees before he begins his oration. I could sit here all day and listen to the witticisms flowing from his mouth.

At least we have what's been recorded (these are by Mark Twain from Brainy Quotes)

Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don't mind, it doesn't matter.

It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open one's mouth and remove all doubt.

If you tell the truth, you don't have to remember anything.

Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.


Some of the others we contacted in our seance were...
Authors - Charles Dickens, Edgar Allen Poe, Margaret Mitchell, John Steinbeck, Mary Shelley,Stieg Larsson, Dame Daphne du Maurier, Jane Austen, Washington Irving, Carl Sagan, & Dr. Seuss!
Actors - Stan & Ollie, Heath Ledger

Mysterious, exciting, and fun! Thanks so much to those participating and especially to my co-hosts! AngelaGwen, and Roland! I really enjoyed reading everyone's posts!

But wait! Prizes! We have prizes! Each of us chose random winners from the participants and from the commenters on the posts - surprise!

The winners for me are...
Sheena Kay Graham and Donna Hole!
each receiving a Pop Travel gift!
 
Thanks again to all participants!
 
and
HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!

Monday, October 28, 2013

snap, crackle, POP!

Welcome, faithful friends! I feel like I'm fading from blogging. But I still try and visit as many as I can. And hopefully the things I share are worth viewing and reading! Like today I'm taking my Pop Travel Blog Tour over to Elizabeth Seckman! She's so romantic and full of spunk! A real sweetheart with some sweet books under her belt. I hope you will go visit her today, as I give some Lazy Housewife advice for staying healthy! Especially good for the sickie season! (Even though my little guy got a bug last week - can't prevent everything!)

I missed the Friday celebration with Vikki, but I do have several things to celebrate, so I'll say them anyway!

  • My little guy's fourth grade football team won their second championship in a hard fought battle this weekend! They're so cute! I mean, fierce!
  • I finally finished my last look at broken branch falls and am ready for the editor! Which left me free for the next celebration...
  • I finally finished my wonderful friend's book! And here is my review:

Wilder Mage by CD Coffelt!

Wilder Mage exposes an underground world of magic hidden from humans, controlled by an evil, psychotic temptress. When mysterious, handsome Justus encounters fiery, independent Sable, their powerful magic isn't their only spark. Coffelt pieces the characters together in an intricate puzzle, filling the reader with anticipation of how it will turn out. I thoroughly enjoyed discovering how magic works in this realm and Coffelt's descriptions wrapped me into the scenes. I'm anxious for the next one!

Wilder Mage

CD Coffelt, Huntress

  • And now, I'm super excited to get back into juicing up my sequels, Simulation in the Sleuth of the South, Cooper Files series... and Cradle Rock, in the Beast World series or Book of Ages series, can't decide which yet, after BBF.
Lastly, AngelaGwen, and Roland Yeomans and I are offering more chances for people to win something in our FROM THE GREAT BEYOND BLOG HOP!
On October 30, our participants will write a post about a famous deceased author or celebrity they'd like to contact in our seance. If you didn't get a chance to participate, but still would like a prize, go visit the posts and comment and we'll enter those, too. So we will haunt the blogs, reading the posts, then the spirits will select winners from the commenters and from the posters, to be announced on October 31. The prizes will be frightfully good, including copies of our books and more! We hope you will join us for a ghostly good time!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Pop Out

Just popped in to pop back out again. Seems like that's all I do these days!
Hope you all had a fantastic weekend! We went to a fun harvest party - love to get out and talk to other moms, let the kids run around in the dark, and see the dads let loose, too.

So, today, I'm over at Julie Flanders's blog and I've switched our roles! I'm interviewing her for my blog tour. Since she will be releasing her second book The Ghosts of Aquinnah in Dec, I wanted to let everyone get to know her better, too! She's a fellow Cincinnatian, but we have yet to meet in person! Hopefully we will when we are accepted to an Ohio book festival next spring. Someday, Julie. Someday!

And don't forget to sign up for our Seance where we reach out into the Great Beyond! Since my senses tell me you all are so busy and may not have time to write a post, we are going to work out another way to raise the stakes for prizes... we'll let you all know the plan as the deadly hour approaches!


Friday, October 18, 2013

Popcorn, chips, and CAKE!

I'm celebrating with my little guy, who is not going to stay little for long. On Wednesday, he turned 10!

For his birthday, he is having some other little guys for a sleepover and a movie the next day. Should be fun and wild! Boys are so silly!

Speaking of silly. I'm also celebrating with my middle guy and his successful football season in middle school. Next year he plays in 9th grade. Hard to believe!

We had a picnic for the crazy guys and it was fun to see them play and be silly!

And finally, I'm celebrating four years of blogging (it was actually in Sept, but you know how busy I've been, sadly, blogging less!). Hard to believe that too!

These celebrations brought to you by Vikki's weekly hop! Thanks, Vik!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Pop-o-lopogus!

Happy October!
Did I already say that? Well, it's worth repeating. The weather has been gorgeous, the days have been full of events, and the leaves are changing - and don't forget, pumpkin everything!

Today, wonderful friends, I am popping in to do a Halloween Interview with Yolanda for my Pop Travel Blog Tour. She came up with some scary, creepy, disturbing, but fun questions. I also sent her a photo of me way back when I used to make my own costumes. I loved doing that! Now I just wear t-shirts and hand out candy... We need more adult costume parties around here!

Yolanda recently released Memories of Murder... here's all her info:
~Yolanda Renèe ~

Blogger at Defending the Pen

By the way, my fun, funny editor at Curiosity Quills has his second book coming out. It has an awesome cover and per his MO, he had to do something wild and crazy to hype the launch. He's so creative! Check out the trailer he tagged on the end of this "Star Wars" casting promo!

And don't forget to enter the "From the Great Beyond" blog hop. Since it looks like we may be short of post entries for all our prizes, we are thinking of broadening this opportunity to commenters on the participating blogs who post and posters will get five entries to each commenter's single.

Will you dress up for Halloween this year? What are your kids going to be, if you have some who trick or treat? And what is your favorite Halloween costume of years past? Go visit Yolanda and see mine =)

Friday, October 11, 2013

That color makes your eyes POP!

As a member of the Blog Tour Exchange, I am happy to host Renee' Novelle.

Renee' Novelle is preceded by a long line of published family members, including Pulitzer Prize nominated author and Poet Laureate of Kentucky Jesse Stuart. She's an avid reader, an enthusiastic quote poster, and rarely takes "no" as a final answer. She has an unhealthy obsession for theater, dance, music and art, and strongly believes that wine is simultaneously the beginning of, and resolution to, all of life's problems. She believes in following dreams, and that in the end, you always end up where you're meant to be.
I love that last thought!

Renee's latest novel is CALCULATED, an intense psychological thriller and today she will tell us what it takes to create complex characters and a twisted plot. Even though I love to read a good psychological thriller, I don't think I could cultivate one myself. But she makes it sound less intimidating, inviting even - and that's how she lures you in!

Developing a Psychological Thriller
By Renee Novelle

As writers, we know that every genre has its own unique pleasures, as well as its own tribulations, when bringing a story to life. Psychological thrillers are no different. In fact, because the focus is more internal, more on feelings and thoughts and expressions that don’t have boundaries, the challenge to create a truly unique, gripping plot can often be complicated.

On one hand, there’s an extraordinary freedom that can be found by the limitless possibilities that embody a good psychological thriller. On the other hand, the devil is in the details as they say, and not paying very close attention to that could turn a great story into a mediocre one.

For any new writers wishing to dabble in this genre, here are my five key points in developing a wicked story line that readers won’t be able to put down.

Plot

I know, this seems like an elementary point to make. However, crafting just the right core concept for a psychological thriller can often be the writer’s first stumbling block.

Don’t be afraid to dive into the dark and controversial when exploring the genre. In fact, often times it’s those socially controversial subjects that do the best. Silence of the Lambs dealt with cannibalism and cross dressers. Shutter Island introduced us to a world of mental illnesses. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo wasn’t afraid to mix misogynist rapists with religious elements. Push the limits of your own comfort zone, and introduce your audience to a perspective they might not be all together familiar with.

Character Development

This, I think is where the story really comes together. Sure, in a psychological thriller you might have characters that are a bit... out there. But it’s still extremely important to make them believable. Force the readers to connect with them. Expose their strengths and weaknesses to the fullest.

In order to do this, the characters have to be real to you. If you’re writing about a serial killer, you have to get in the mind of serial killer. If the protagonist is criminally insane, you have to know what that looks like, what it sounds like, what it feels like. That may mean reading diaries and autobiographies, watching documentaries, streaming live interviews... wherever your research takes you, plunge yourself into it fully.

When all the characters finally become real to you, everything else is just the simple matter of conveying the details to your readers.

Setting

Setting can have an extreme impact on the plot in your thriller. If the story takes place in the city, busy streets, crowded sidewalks and skyscrapers filled with people can provide all sorts of possibilities for action. If your setting is the country, the element of tranquility and silence can be used against your characters to create even more suspenseful scenes. Likewise, if your protagonist spends the entire duration of the story locked in a single room in an old house, think about what this could do to the psyche. Selecting just the right setting can make all the difference in the quality of the story.

Time Period

The place in time that you decide to drop your story can also have an interesting effect when you consider all the cultural nuances that could change how people feel and, ultimately, behave. By doing thorough research into what was socially acceptable and unacceptable at the time, you can discover a myriad of opportunities to play on these concepts and further deepen the personalities of your characters. By featuring a feminist during women’s suffrage, or an interracial relationship in the 1960’s, you can show a lot about your characters – and their mentality – without having to come right out and say it. Use this to your benefit wherever possible, and make bold statements that readers can connect with.

Twists

This is my favorite part of the process! Creating unique twists that the reader didn’t see coming. And this, for me at least, is the easiest part. Generally, I’ll plot out the entire story, then go back and occasionally throw in something random, something unpredicted in the middle of an otherwise mild scene. This happens a lot in my first book, Calculated.

And don’t forget the ending. I like to spend the entire duration of the story leading my readers to a certain place. I like for them to believe they know what will happen in that last chapter. And then, suddenly, in the last few paragraphs, I turn the tables on them and show them how nothing was as it originally seemed. And if they go back through the book, they could probably pick up on the subtle foreshadowing the entire time. This kind of mind twist – like what you can find in Fight Club and Kiss the Girls – is what will have readers not only remembering your books, but begging you to write the next one.

--That was a great article! I'm so glad Renee' chose me to host her. Great advice! And here is more about CALCULATED by Renee' Novelle.

An investigative journalist gets an unlikely tip from a mysterious informant. Dismissing it as impossible, she disregards the information and drops the story. Until the informant turns up dead, as predicted. 

Plunged into the murky waters of a seedy underground prostitution ring, this psychological thriller provides twist upon dark twist in a story that would ultimately pin the church and several government officials in the largest murder cover-up the city has ever witnessed. 

But is it true, or has the journalist merely been used as a pawn in a greater scheme? And how many people is she willing to sacrifice trying to figure it out?


Purchase CALCULATED on Amazon
Renee's links:


Monday, October 7, 2013

Mommas & Poppas

I miss you guys! I miss blogging. I miss reading. I miss writing! Wah!
I've been grading, grading, grading! And will probably lose my voice from cheering at my little guy's football game (won against a tough rival!) AND I also had a smash of a shopping/book signing party - even sold some books! Hope you had a great weekend too!

Today, I am popping over to New Zealand! I love my fun friend, Rhonda. She's been an awesome supporter from my humble beginnings (to my humble now!) She travels all over creation – seriously! – with her sweet family. They always have the best time because they know how to laugh! She is passing on two of the best lessons to her kids: not to take life so seriously, and to appreciate what you have.

I can't wait to visit her some day!

And lest we forget - I'm celebrating Halloween with  AngelaGwen, and Roland YeomansWe are giving away some great prizes - including our books and a couple of cool autographed posters from Roland, the seance coordinator! Hope you'll join in!


Here's the details:
Sign up below, then on October 30 put up a post about a famous deceased author or celebrity you'd like to contact in our seance! Tell us what moved you to choose this person. And what would you like to say? We will haunt your blogs, reading about your choices, then the spirits will select winners to be announced on October 31. The prizes are frightfully good! It will be a ghostly good time!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Heart poppin'!

Let's hear it for Gwen and Angela! They are blitzing around the blogosphere talking about their latest releases - A Guilty Ghost Surprised and They All Fall Down, respectively. While they're here, they're sharing some:

Blooper Moments
You’ve seen the reels, those “lights, camera, action,” zingers that don’t go as planned. Well, that certainly happens with writing.

It would be wonderful if the first draft could be absolutely perfect. No grammatical errors, no plot holes wide as the Grand Canyon, no sequence-of-events issues. But that’s just not reality for Gwen or myself. Sugar-Honey-Iced-Tea happens and sometimes, you have to laugh at it.
For example, in A Guilty Ghost Surprised, there is a scene where Indigo is getting a cup of coffee:

I closed the blinds and poured a mug of coffee from the side table.
Edit note: You’ll want to add a little something here. It’s like the side table is made of coffee as it currently reads.

This was corrected to: I closed the blinds and poured a mug of coffee from the carafe on the side table.
Much better!

Another example is from They All Fall Down where Governess Woods – for those of you who’ve read Neverlove, you’ll remember she lives up to the title of governess – must bare a little skin:
“Not exactly holy.” Governess Woods undid her bra and dropped it to the floor, turning around. She cupped her hands to her breasts.

Edit note: *snort* just a minor thing, but maybe she should cup her hands to her breasts before she turns around? Cuz she totally just flashed them J
This was corrected to: “Not exactly holy.” Governess Woods undid her bra. She cupped her breasts as the lacey undergarment dropped to the floor, then she turned to face Lisel and Abby.

Alright! No more holy –erm – peep show lol!
There are tons of great scenes (non-blooper-y scenes) to enjoy between A Guilty Ghost Surprised and They All Fall Down. Get your copy to laugh and cry along with our characters.
Do you have an interesting blooper moment? Whether writing, life or movie, feel free to share.

About A Guilty Ghost Surprised: Indigo Eady and gang are back with a  feather and a Chance setting off another twisting-turning investigation to bring a cold case, and loved ones, closure at last.
AGGS buy links: Amazon and Barnes & Noble

About They All Fall Down: Free of their duties as Cleanser and Harvestor, Abby and Basil try to move on with their lives. But some secrets remain. And what is done in the dark won’t be good when it comes to light.
TAFD buy links: Amazon and Barnes & Noble

Gwen Gardner and Angela Brown - YA paranormal authors embarking on the adventure of a lifetime. Share with us as we take the Indie journey to bring our works to the world. Buckle up! There'll be mystery, mayhem, action and emotional roller coasters...oh, and a few things that go bump in the night.

Hauntings are scary but we love interaction:
And don’t forget about the giveaway!
That was a lot of fun! I have plenty of blooper moments - and I bet there are tons out there just with people texting and walking...

Before you go, I have two announcements...

The winners for my Pop Travel Blog Tour September Giveaway were:
Crystal Collier - $25 Amazon GC
Michael Di Gesu - signed copy of Pop Travel
Vikki Biram - replica QV bracelet

And since it's October, that means it's time for another giveaway! And this time I'm doing a blog hop with my buddies, Angela, Gwen, and Roland Yeomans! They are supernatural superstars, so what better way to celebrate the Halloween Holiday than with a SEANCE! Announcing the
FROM THE GREAT BEYOND BLOG HOP!

Sign up below, and on October 30 write a post about a famous deceased author or celebrity you'd like to contact in our seance! Why did you choose? And what would you like to say? We will haunt your blogs, reading about your choices, then the spirits will select winners to be announced on October 31. The prizes will be frightfully good, including copies of our books and more! We hope you will join us for a ghostly good time!