Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Creative Inspirations by Darla Jones

When my writing juices wane I turn to painting. When I paint, I make up stories about my painting. In this oil painting of an old mill there is a tiny house in the background. Who lives there? Perhaps a family and the father owns the mill. Perhaps a lonely, grumpy old man who is the foreman at the mill. There is a great story there just waiting to come out.

Darla Jones TWRP author of romantic suspense: Opalescence and soon to be published Give Love a Chance.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Tsunami Crimes Review


Disasters are Chrys Fey’s thing and she does them so well. Tsunami Crimes, the third in her disaster series, is her best yet, in my opinion.  It’s non-stop action with interludes of romance and a glimpse of an intimate wedding.

Their honeymoon in Hawaii turns deadly. After Beth and Donovan are torn apart by the surge of the Tsunami, their search for each other takes on a whole new prospective when she’s kidnapped by Jackson’s men

The writing makes you feel like you are right there with Beth in the Tsunami, being towed under, scraped up by rocks and relief at finding other survivors. You feel Donovan’s despair while searching for her but what has happened to her is so much worse than he imagines… until the phone call.

Will they live through this disaster?  You’ll have to read the book to find out.   I truly enjoyed this novel and highly recommend it.

It’s a whopping FIVE stars in my book!

Tena Stetler

Thursday, January 05, 2017

A New Year with Sandra Masters

 

Hello Everyone:

 This year 2016  has been quite a year for authors. I’m fortunate in that The Wild Rose Press is my publisher and that I have four books in The Duke Series Available. Thought you might be interested in how I chose Barbados Island as a location for segments of my novel, THE DUKE’S MAGNIFICENT BASTARD.

 

Decades ago, my then husband and I vacationed in the Caribbean and visited Barbados and Aruba. The water was blue; the winds were breezy, and the sun was HOT on the beaches. Wary of being on the other end of sun poison, I lathered my body was sunscreen, wore a caftan with a mandarin collar and long sleeves, and a turban to prevent my exposure. Sitting in a chair under a large tropical umbrella, I felt safe from nature.

 

Fast forward two hours and I felt my cheeks flush and the lobes of my ears stung. I gathered my sun-tanned husband, and we went back to the hotel to summon a physician. Yes, I had sun poison and could not subject myself to the outdoors.  Not wanting to spoil things for my companion, I suggested he broil in the sun and leave me and my lobster-like skin to stay in the room. Not very much fun, so I started reading a tourist version of  Barbados history from the hotel guest books. The maid would come in daily, and we’d chat. She was an Arawak Indian, and she would regale me with stories of her family and its culture.

 

Stuck in the room, I’d wait for her to knock on the door. Of course, she had her duties, so our time was brief. She told me about Taino descendants of an extinct elite tribe, and I was able to get to a library and read about their history.

 

Back to the hotel, I started writing notes on a yellow pad to use one day for a novel. Writing was my obsession, and though not published, compiling notes filled my binders.  Obviously, I did not bring a computer or any version thereof.

 

My editor informed me that I could write a prequel of 7,500 words or more, and so I wrote the 15,000-word prequel, THORN, SON OF A DUKE. It depicted Thorn Wick’s life on the islands as a half-breed with his mother, a descendent of a Taino King, in a dynasty that no longer existed. At age seventeen, his dying mother has him promise to visit his father in England, the renowned Duke of Althorn, who was unaware of his existence.

 

This prequel led to the full-length novel, THE DUKE’S MAGNIFICENT BASTARD. Yanked from the West Indies, Thorn sails to London, England where he is considered illegitimate. Can anyone imagine the emotions that consumed him? He belonged to two opposite worlds, and in each, he had to fight for existence. Except for the noble duke’s recognition and that of the family who supports him, acceptance though difficult was made easier. Every time he thought he conquered the obstacles, another one showed its ugly head. Thorn fights against all the odds. His goal is for acceptance by aristocratic society with honor like his father.

Thus, the novel unfolds. WARNING: Contains a multi-cultural Anglo-West Indian hero, an aristocratic English heroine, a noble duke, an evil witch doctor, a Barbados chieftain intent on redemption, and an amazing Argamak Turkmen horse all within the bounds of romance, and intrigue, with an element of suspense. It released on November 4, 2016.

 Prepare to be transported from island life in Barbados to aristocratic England and then back to Barbados where stunning revelations wrack our hero’s world. Did I mention that this is a spicy Regency?

 

I’ve never created a duke I didn’t fall in love with, and though Thorn Wick is not one, in his heart, he is a man to honor…and worthy of love.

 





The Duke’s Magnificent Bastard - Release Date November 4, 2016




Once in a while
In the middle of ordinary life
LOVE gives us a FAIRY TALE.

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

My Earth-Bound Angels

“For truly we are all angels temporarily hiding as humans.”
― Brian L. Weiss

I love angels, holy wars, good vs. evil – all those themes. Since I write from things close to my heart, these themes keep popping up in my work. One of the favorite heroines I’ve created is demon hunter, Elle Connor, from my Hell On Heels series. She is tough as old leather but with a vulnerability when it comes to giving and receiving love. I put this body of work away right after I wrote the series and read it again with fresh eyes. I found key parts of myself in Elle.

I spent the better part of my youth watching chick-flicks, thinking to myself how cool it was to see a group of women support, love, and respect each other through the roller coaster that is life. I had close friends but it was somehow never as magical and larger-than-life than the stories told on – screen. I grew into young womanhood, a little disappointed that I could never seem to capture that magic in a few of my own feminine friendships.
As I got older, I began to have more deep, meaningful conversations with the girls and women in my family. My friends and I drifted in different directions, as life was calling us. I started with a big group of feminine friends and, by the time I was thirty, I remained close to only a few. I was forced to look elsewhere for that vibrant, necessary connection of womanhood and sisterhood. I finally found what I needed in the root of my family of women.
My sisters were now young adults, my Mom and stepmom sought to pass along their knowledge of the world and their wisdom. The timing was perfect, as I found joy and solace in what I call my “earth-bound angels”. They are always available – for emotionally heavy conversations or just for silly laughs. Now, I never lack for honest opinions, soulful wisdom on any topic imaginable, and light-hearted giggles with glasses of wine at midnight. Being a part of this circle is supremely fulfilling – and better than the best chick-flick!

Tamela Miles
https://www.facebook.com/sassysleepingbeauties/

Monday, December 26, 2016

Creating a great villain

The Beauty of the Beast
One of paranormal fiction’s special challenges is building supernatural characters that are relatable. Readers are hooked by the fantastic, but the creatures they remember most are rooted in the human.

We all know the rules for our heroes and heroines. As multi-dimensional beings, they must have strengths and weaknesses, even as they cast spells, shapeshift and crave human blood. They need a back story and believable motivations and goals. Some quirkiness adds texture and interest. Would Mercy Thompson be as interesting if Patricia Briggs hadn’t made her a mechanic? We think not.
A deeper challenge is applying those rules to our villains. We’re tempted to cloak them in absolute evil. Randomly bloodthirsty beasts and apocalyptic monsters are fun to create. Giving them reasons for their despicable actions is more difficult.
Let’s say upfront that we consider Patricia Briggs a master of characterization. While she has developed her share of bad-to-bone nasties, we remain most haunted by those that are more complex.
In Blood Bound, Mercy Thompson and the Columbia Basin wolf pack grapple with a vampire who is also a sorcerer and is attached to a demon. This is one seriously wretched villain. He kills with abandon, most notably in a horrific motel murder that an innocent human is blamed for. Make no mistake, readers hate this guy.
But this vampire’s name is Corey. Yes, Corey–like the two young actors from that 1980’s classic, The Lost Boys. Corey conjures visions of the boy next door. When you learn more about him, you find he didn’t ask to become a vicious killer. He did seek the thrill of being a sorcerer, however, which makes him a truly bad vampire. You can’t help but have a little sympathy for Corey even as you root for Mercy to kick his ass.
The river monster in Briggs’ River Marked is equally complicated. The creature’s insatiable appetite is fed by taking over minds and guiding humans willingly to their deaths. Yeah, it’s sick. But you can relate on some level when you find out the legend Native American legend about She Who Watches, the beast who’s always hungry for humans. She’s so powerful and so persuasive, especially when she’s trying to make deals with Mercy.
Some tips for building the perfect beast include:
The unexpected. Vampires have most often been beautiful people, and they’re usually very sexually adept, but again, Briggs comes through with a member of the local vampire seethe who is an older woman with the mind of a child. She’s a virtuoso on the piano but has to be watched constantly because she acts without thought.
The tragic. The villain in Awakening Magic, which features the Connelly witches of New Mourne, is the Woman in White. She’s the ghost of a young woman who had everything she loved taken from her by someone who should have been trusted. As a result, she’s still haunting the small North Georgia town inhabited by the Connelly coven and a variety of other supernatural beings. Because she was grief stricken, she demanded a tribute when the Connellys first came to New Mourne in the 1700s—the life of one of the young witches. This has continued for centuries, but as the story progresses, you begin to understand the Woman in White’s grief, especially when the demon shows up.
The one rule to keep in mind when creating your characters is remembering everyone’s goal is to move the story forward. You have to create three-dimensional, believable characters but only you may know much of their backstory. Sometimes it’s especially easy to get caught up in the story of these peripheral characters—just let them impact the story as necessary. In searching for Corey, Mercy found her own supernatural powers increased. In our book, the young witch, Brenna must fully embrace her magic before she can help her family.
Nora Roberts is superb at dealing with secondary characters. There may be a romance going on with them or a completely different story line, but it will be subtle and all of it will support what’s happening with the two main characters.
Whatever type of fiction you’re writing, world building is at the core. All characters matter and what motivates the villain to do evil matters too. It’s all part of the story.
Neely Powell
@NeelyPowell3
www.neelypowellauthor.com

Saturday, December 24, 2016

MORPHING THE CHRISTMAS LETTER

Since 1968 I’ve sent out a dutiful Christmas letter each December that had three major intentions. Touching base with friends and family was always a given, but exercising my writing skill and incorporating a historical timeline were ulterior motives. Each of our children will someday benefit from a Christmas binder of letters that includes a parallel view of the family in changing times, along with some family photos and greeting cards through the years.

     When the nest thinned out, we opted to take Christmas photos of hub and I with one or more of the animals left in our domestic “zoo.” In my Pride and Prejudice phase, we rented costumes and posed as Darcy and Elizabeth with our favorite white Arabian. Another year, we posed in bathing suits on a snow-covered patio, enjoying summer drinks. “Greetings from tropical Minnesota” topped that year’s newsletter.

     Keeping the letter witty, cheerful and held to one or two sides of a single page was often a challenge. Running an impromptu wildlife preserve on our woodsy Minnesota acreage the last few decades, however, provided a wealth of material. (I count four children and even their children among “wildlife” which included horses, deer, turkeys, dogs, cats, rabbits, squirrels, birds, snakes, rodents and even a pygmy goat and a pelican.)

After the holidays, I always regretted time constraints that squelched focus on more than the occasional article or feature for a local paper or magazine. Somewhere deep inside those spurts of creativity the Great American Novel fluttered impatient wings. When I did carve out time in my busy life to freelance—that demanding novel raged and pouted over the put-off. Things began to pop when I joined a few National Writing Associations and began to attend their writer conferences.

     After placing in a short story competition , the judge wrote a letter begging me to continue the story. An agent at a Las Vegas Writers Conference suggested I write a novella first, then pursue the longer novel I finally got around to pitching. I took their collective advice and my debut novel, “The Accidental Wife,” was scooped up by Wild Rose Press and released in 2015 to good reviews and several awards. Confidence surged into motivation. With an empty nest and only one dog left in our menagerie, I had no more excuses!

     I write full time now, churning out ideas once suppressed by time. The vanity license plate on my hot little red car expresses it all. “Novel CJ” is finally in gear. Book Two, “The Accidental Stranger” will be released January 6th in my “Accidental” series. The annual Christmas letter is morphing into a newsletter put out bi-monthly for fans. It is no accident; there is never a time-stamp on creativity or new careers. Never too late to promote delayed dreams! And to think…it all began with one of those much maligned, dutiful Christmas letters.

Cj Fosdick
http://www.cjfosdick.com

Friday, December 23, 2016

Moonlight On The Shenandoah


My new release Moonlight On The Shenandoah is a ghost story packed with eerie experiences, adventure, and love. What inspired me to write this book? It tumbled around in my head for years while I wrote other stories, tended to my dying mom, and tended numerous grandchildren.

We live on several acres of land adjoining the Shenandoah National Park and we have a wonderful view of the Shenandoah Valley from our porch and decks where the two forks of the Shenandoah River run through the valley below. There is also a Civil War-era grave on our property that was part of the inspiration for this book. All the "what ifs" came into play in my mind. Along with the wonderful spooky mists that descend upon us in these deciduous wooded mountains and the strong Civil War history in the area, the setting was perfect for a ghost story. I spent hours researching this county just for the love of history. I learned a lot of interesting details, some that made it into my book. The ghost's story began rather different from what it evolved into. Once I got to know my characters, they more or less grabbed the story and ran. I just followed in pursuit of a wonderful tale.

I hope y'all can enjoy this intricate love story that brings together lost souls and unearths old wounds to heal them. Azure and Benjamin find friendship in the company of Jesse, a hundred and fifty-year-old ghost. His death was unexpected and his body never found, two things he wants to set right when he first approaches Azure for help.

Christine Poe
http://catalog.thewildrosepress.com/all-titles/4737-moonlight-on-the-shenandoah.html