Featured

Welcome

Hi, and thanks for visiting the site. Feel free to browse and leave a comment. This is my blogging site, so when I’m not beavering away in an attempt to build new worlds, I can be found right here – connecting with the community and exploring my creative side.

In case you are wondering about my current writing endeavours, I am working on a serialised fiction project – The Collective. The first in the series will be released in December 2016.

Here on the site, I usually provide regular updates, take part in writing challenges, and generally support my blogging friends.

I look forward to catching up with you soon.

Thanks for stopping by

Mel

Writing a Serial – The Saga Continues

In August I wrote a post about the trials of beginning my journey into serialised fiction. I learned a lot from the process, and the result of those lessons meant I had a few decisions to make about the future of the Collective.

In short, I had to rethink my whole plan. I still believe it will make a good serial, it just needs a stronger foundation before the group can come together and share their adventures. I’m sure readers will appreciate the time to familiarise themselves with the characters – all thirteen of them.

It’s for that reason I’ve decided to give each character their own novel. Yes, that’s thirteen books (at least) before the collective can be formed. By that time, readers will know the history, will be familiar with the world itself, and regular episodes will complement the series as a whole.

So, since the first novel won’t be ready until February 2017, and I promised a release this month, I wrote a novella – Badge of Honour – featuring Maddison Wood from the Fractured series. I will be releasing that Christmas week, and I’m excited about it.

I’m also excited about the fact that I have a new image of Maddy to share with you. I’ve been working with Magical Designs to create covers for The Collective, and The Fractured. Bekah Reece sketched Maddy for me, and I’ll be using her for future covers because she looks fantastic.

Yes, I messed up my timing when it comes to the serial and the planners among you are probably shaking your head, but there’s a silver lining. So, here she is, my feisty witch with hair that will tie you up in knots…I give you Maddy…

maddy-comission-2

I will be providing a sneak peak of Badge of Honour, and of course there will be a cover reveal coming soon.

Thanks for stopping by.

Mel

 

Faithful Friend – Thursday Photo Prompt #writephoto

First of all, Happy Thanksgiving everyone. We might not celebrate in the UK, but we can still be thankful for the gifts we’ve been given. I’m thankful for my two beautiful daughters, my supportive family, and my friends.

It was thinking of my internet friends, and realising I’ve been absent for so long, that prompted me to take part in Sue’s photo challenge this week. That, and the fact Sue’s prompts are awesome, so thanks for the inspiration, Sue.

faithful-friend

Rosalie pulled her hat further forward, until it covered half of her face. She still had a problem with light, and yet every part of her skin – the parts uncovered at least – craved the warmth of the sun. The breeze against her bare arms was a soothing touch, as soothing as the presence by her side.

Taking a deep breath, she began to cross the sprawling grounds of the Davison estate. They knew she was there, had given permission for her excursion. It bothered them, Rosalie knew, but she couldn’t let that deter her. They all had ghosts to put to rest, and the Davison family owed her a lot more than access to their land.

Still, when she stepped onto the path that would lead her back into the past, she felt her heart accelerate. When she reached the end, her skin felt raw and sensitive. The breeze no longer soothed, it irritated, and yet she didn’t turn back.

The low whine from her companion had her glancing down. She bent to tangle her fingers in his shaggy mane. “It’s okay, boy. I just need a minute.”

Ben whined again, and Rosalie saw something close to a reprimand in his deep brown eyes. He didn’t want her to be here either, or perhaps he was as terrified as she was; caught up in his own memories of what transpired.

“It’s important,” she whispered, as though she needed to defend herself. “I have to do this.”

He barked once, unsettling the quiet air around them and sending a few creatures scurrying into the underbrush.

If he had a voice she imagined, he would have told her to get moving.

Ruffling the fur along his neck one more time, Rosalie continued. This time she didn’t hesitate, not even when she came to the steps she had once viewed as a mountain too hazardous to climb.

At the bottom, she paused. It hurt her eyes, but she pushed her hat back so she could face what lay in front of her. It was easier after a little time and distance. She almost managed to see what others probably saw – a hidden treasure within the hillside. Almost. All the time in the world wouldn’t change the reality of what it had once been.

Her eyes drifted to the narrow opening. At one time a makeshift door had hung on rudimentary hinges. She hadn’t known how flimsy it was at the time, but she could still remember the sound when those hinges tore free and the door fell. Or perhaps that was only in her head – the sweet, sweet sound of freedom. After all, the door was covered with so much foliage she was surprised when it didn’t swing right back into place.

“It’s time,” she whispered, whether to Ben or to prompt herself, she wasn’t sure.

Rosalie’s breathing was laboured by the time she made it inside. It was cold, dark and damp, just as she remembered, but she had no intention of venturing any further than the entranceway.

Removing her hat, she placed it on the floor along with her bag. Then, with slow steady breaths, she removed the blanket and spread it out.

Her eyes were burning with unshed tears, her muscles aching from the tension, but she managed to sit with her back straight and her eyes on the mound of earth she knew was there, but couldn’t see.

“I’m sorry it’s been so long,” she whispered, finally allowing the tears to fall.

Ben padded over to sit beside her. He dropped to his stomach and laid his head on her knees.

“I wanted to come sooner, but I…” her words trailed off. In truth, she hadn’t been well enough to make the trip.

Ben whimpered, the sound vibrating against her leg and shaking a memory loose.

She had been terrified the first time she saw him, but not that day. That day he had taken more punishment than she had. Her master, the one she now knew was Warren Davison, had kicked Ben so hard he hit the wall.

At first, when he didn’t get back up, she thought he was dead. Then Warren had moved over to him, cursed him to hell and back, and stormed from her prison without looking back.

Rosalie had dragged herself to the wounded animal and cradled his head in her lap. The familiar weight had past and present bleeding together until she swore she could fee every bruise, every scar on her soul.

“You saved me, you know,” she whispered, running her hand through Ben’s fur.

She’d done the same that day. Soothed him without words until he had lifted his head and butted it against her hand. How long they sat in the dark she had no way to tell. She only knew that when Ben finally moved, what he did next changed the course of her life.

He had crawled across the floor, his short, sharp breaths searching until he stopped to paw furiously at the hard ground.

Rosalie had followed the sound, terrified that Ben would discover her secret – the weakened section of flooring that she had spent an eternity uncovering. At the time, she hadn’t known that Warren had been the one to weaken the earth. She liked the idea that he had unwittingly provided her with the tools to aid her escape. If he hadn’t dug up the earth in the first place, she might have died in the hell he created.

Ben had found her secret that day, and though she tried to stop him, he had pawed the ground until she sat back and let him do his worst. As time ticked by, she began to fantasise that he would dig them to freedom. She could almost see the light, a light she hadn’t seen in so long her very cells craved it.

And then he had barked, startling her out of the fantasy and pulling her straight into a nightmare. She had crawled over to him, feeling inside the soft earth until her hand hit something cold and hard. The scream building in her lungs broke free when she realised what it was – a body.

Rosalie covered her mouth to hold in the sob. That day she had cried into Ben’s fur until her throat was raw.

“I wanted to thank you,” she whispered, dropping her hand to her chest. She missed the heavy weight of the necklace against her skin, a necklace she had found that day. Simone Beatty, the girl Warren had murdered, had been clutching the chain in her hand.

How Rosalie found it, how she knew how to use it, she might never know. But as she began carefully laying the earth back into place, Simone’s hand had opened as though she were offering Rosalie a talisman.

It had taken a long time, but Rosalie had used the heavy, silver crucifix to further weaken the hinges that shuddered and creaked whenever Warren closed her in.

After her escape, she had put the necklace around her neck and refused to take it off. Not even the nurses managed to convince her. It gave her the strength she needed to get through the weeks that followed; the endless questions, the unearthing of Simone’s body, and the start of her long recovery.

“Thank you for the gift,” she said, louder this time. “Thank you for lending me your strength and support.”

She bent to kiss the top of Ben’s head. Her faithful friend, a friend who hadn’t left her side since Warren’s parents had released him. A friend who had once tried to protect Simone, and who had never given up his goal of saving her. She was no longer trapped beneath the cold ground, she was free, and so was Rosalie.

“I’ll take good care of Ben for you,” she said, rising to her feet. “And I want you to know he takes really good care of me.”

As she moved towards the doorway, a breeze ruffled her hair and as it lifted from her shoulders, so did the weight she had been carrying in her heart for months. The room felt truly empty now, as though Simone had been waiting to say goodbye.

photoprompt

Thanks for stopping by.

Mel

New Release: Charms of the Feykin by Charles Yallowitz

I’m delighted to share details about Charles Yallowitz’ new release – Charms of the Feykin. More exciting Windemere adventures…bring it on!

Return to Windemere in Charms of the Feykin!

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen
Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

To make a champion fall, one must wound their very soul.

Nyx is leading the charge to rescue Delvin and Sari, who have gone missing in the southern jungles of Windemere. Battling through the local predators, the champions are surprised when they reunite in the Feykin city of Rhundar. Instead of captives, the missing heroes have become the city’s rulers and are on the verge of starting a war with those that want to exterminate their new followers. Even with such a noble cause, Delvin and Sari have changed into brutal warlords that may kill each other and their friends long before they step onto the battlefield.

Have Delvin and Sari really changed for the worst or is there a greater threat pulling the champions’ strings?

Grab it on Amazon!

Add it to your Goodreads ‘To Read’ List!

Excerpt: Broken Bonds

Sari draws two daggers and sprints at Luke, slashing at his sabers in an attempt to cut his hands as he unsheathes his weapons. Instead, the forest tracker unclips the scabbards from his belt and spreads his arms to avoid the gypsy’s attack. The swords still sheathed, he does his best to deflect his former friend’s strikes while harmlessly smacking her in the sides. When a dagger slices his arm, Luke kicks out to knock Sari back. A hint of a grin on her face causes him to slow his attack, his foot aching as it bounces off her immovable body. Knowing he has to trick her, the half-elf runs backwards to get the gypsy to charge. Before she falls behind, the warrior lets her gradually catch up while remaining out of slashing range. Once Luke reaches the riverbank, he lunges forward and aims a swing at the sprinting woman’s knee. Forced to decide between taking a blow that would surely break bone or risk a similar injury by turning her power on while running, Sari tries to twist out of the way. She lands on her back at the forest tracker’s feet and curses when he pins her arms by jamming his sabers against her wrists.

Before Luke can tell the gypsy to stop struggling, an arm of water bursts from the river and bats him away. Phelan leaps out of the rapids and sprints at the prone warrior, his daggers lengthened by keenly edged liquid. The weapons sink into the muddy earth when their target rolls away, the ringing of drawn steel revealing that the champion is no longer restraining himself. With a flurry of stabs and slashes, the half-elf drives his new opponent back and whittles away at the watery daggers. Trying not to kill the Feykin, Luke delivers an echoing hilt punch to Phelan’s head every time the other warrior attempts a counterattack. Faced with the full speed and skill of the agile forest tracker, the outclassed hunter has various watery weapons fly out of the river. None of them hit the champion, who remains close enough to continue his barrage of muscle-rattling strikes.

Ducking to the side, Luke slashes at the other man’s exposed flank in what he hopes will be a crippling, but non-lethal, blow. The saber clangs off a patch of icy armor and a freezing tremor makes the half-elf’s arm go numb. A searing pain erupts from his lower back and he whirls around, the motion preventing Sari’s dagger from doing more than a long cut across his side. His first saber swings an inch over her head, but his second weapon leaves a gash up the middle of her chin. Enraged by the pain, the gypsy moves out of Luke’s reach and summons a massive hammer of water. She freezes the forest tracker’s feet to the ground before he can move, which allows the large weapon to connect. It repeatedly comes down on the warrior, breaking several ribs and one of his arms. Sheathing his sabers and remaining on the ground, the half-elf draws the stiletto and hurls it into Sari’s thigh. A look of shock is on her face and she stares at Luke’s battered form as if seeing such injuries for the first time.

Need to catch Legends of Windemere from the beginning? Then click on the covers below!

You can start for FREE . . .

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen
Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

Or grab the $4.99 ‘3 in 1’ bundles!

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen 3D Conversion by Bestt_graphics
Cover Art by Jason Pedersen
3D Conversion by Bestt_graphics
Cover Art by Jason Pedersen
Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

.

.

.

.

.

.

Also Available in Single eBooks:

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen
Cover Art by Jason Pedersen
Cover Art by Jason Pedersen
Cover Art by Jason Pedersen
Cover Art by Jason Pedersen
Cover Art by Jason Pedersen
Cover art by Jason Pedersen
Cover art by Jason Pedersen

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

Interested in a new adventure? Then grab your Kindle & dive back into the world of Windemere! Don’t forget an apple for Fizzle.

Author Photo

About the Author:

Charles Yallowitz was born and raised on Long Island, NY, but he has spent most of his life wandering his own imagination in a blissful haze. Occasionally, he would return from this world for the necessities such as food, showers, and Saturday morning cartoons. One day he returned from his imagination and decided he would share his stories with the world. After his wife decided that she was tired of hearing the same stories repeatedly, she convinced him that it would make more sense to follow his dream of being a fantasy author. So, locked within the house under orders to shut up and get to work, Charles brings you Legends of Windemere. He looks forward to sharing all of his stories with you, and his wife is happy he finally has someone else to play with.

Blog: www.legendsofwindemere.com
Twitter: @cyallowitz
Facebook: Charles Yallowitz
Website: www.charleseyallowitz.com

The Perfect Cover #writephoto

Written in response to Sue Vincent’s Thursday Photo Prompt. Thanks for the inspiration, Sue – I hope you’re having a good time on your travels🙂

ruins

Joanna crawled up the embankment, leaving a trail of red in her wake. She looked back, tracking the path she had taken; the trail like a flag to the raging bull on her tail. He was as relentless as the animal, too, and she imagined she could hear his snorting breath.

Her gaze shifted back to the ruins in front of her, her beacon of hope. If she could just find cover, she had a chance.

Pressing her body lower to the ground, she clamped her teeth together as shots exploded around her. She was a sitting duck out there, and she only had herself to blame. Joanna knew he couldn’t see her, knew he was aiming for the stark colour that leaked behind her.

She had to fight the urge to give in to her fear and stay put. Sure, it would make him sweat, but the longer she remained in place the less likely she was to succeed. Already her muscles screamed in protest. He never tired of the game, and though adrenalin had carried her this far, it was about to crash in a big way.

Taking a deep breath, she inched forward, her eyes narrowing in on the foliage covering the ruins like a protective coat of armour. Perhaps they would extend the courtesy to her. After all, the creeping plants that flared into a wide skirt at the foot of the stone were the perfect for hiding place.

It’s now or never.

Ignoring the soft pfft-pfft sounds that hit the grass around her, Joanna crawled as quickly as she could to the top. None of the shots hit her, and she felt a surge of triumph. The assault course her brother forced her to complete had finally paid off.

She didn’t get to her feet, didn’t allow herself to make a mistake now. Instead, she scrambled forward, through the entrance to the ruins, until she had ample cover. Only then, did she ease her body into a crouch, crab walking – her eyes on the empty windows – until she reached the small pack hidden in the debris. Snatching it up, Joanna let out a whoop of triumph, even as she was digging inside for her treasure.

The sound of footsteps outside didn’t deter her. She whipped the flag out of the pack and waved it in the air.

“Well played, Jo-Jo. Well played,” her brother said, panting.

She turned to the doorway, eyeing his readied paintball gun and gave him a winning smile. “Thanks, bro.” Her gaze dropped to her own gun, which was still leaking paint. She had doctored it, of course; taunting him. Luckily, she didn’t get a drop on her clothing.

“Do you think the others packed in by now?” he asked, gazing out across the meadow.

Joanna snorted. “Of course. They’ll be back at camp.” Their friends always let them go their own way, knowing how competitive they became whenever they played the game – any game.

When he turned back, he was grinning too. “Then let’s join them.”

Grabbing the water from her pack so she could clean the evidence of their game, she walked to him. “With any luck, they’ve already started dinner.”

The sound of her brother’s laughter tickled her ear as he hooked an arm around her shoulder and led her out.

photoprompt.png

Thanks for stopping by.

Mel

 

Writers Quote Wednesday Writing Challenge – Waiting Game

This week for the Writers Quote Wednesday Writing Challenge (#WQWWC) the theme is Autumn.

The quote I chose is by George Eliot:

Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns. George Eliot.

There is something truly magnificent about autumn, and though we Brits don’t celebrate the holiday, it is a time for thanksgiving. For the glorious colours that explode to life, even in death. For the rich and pleasant smells, the wind on your cheeks, the fire in the hearth, and the warm drinks shared with friends.

I found myself inspired by the theme, so I created a few images to (hopefully) entertain you.

autumn-collage

autumn-pic

My inspiration for the piece of flash fiction has its roots in my current project. Eventually I will get back to my other works but, as you probably know, I have lived and breathed the Collective for the last six months. I went in a different direction, and used a goddess (of autumn), a completely new character who is surprisingly vocal considering she’s only been in my head for a day!

I’m considering a new series for the blog, and have been itching to find an opportunity to break the fourth wall – this might be it!

Waiting Game

There was a time when committing an act of hubris meant great suffering, and death. Not anymore. In Nearyon, arrogance and pride are applauded, and coercion will probably earn you a pat on the back.

Given the sorry state of affairs, I should not have been surprised that a bunch of upstarts who call themselves mercenaries for hire took me from my home. The kind who, if gathering brain cells was as easy as reaping a harvest, they should be filling their boots. And the worst part – aside from the fact they’re idiots – they take cues from a damn playbook. I mean, seriously, they should get it over with and set up their own club – HubrisRUs.

Okay, so maybe I’m a tad bitter because I haven’t figured out a way to escape, but still, my jailers don’t even have powers to speak of. No. What they have is powerful friends with the ability to dampen a god’s power. I should be flattered that they took extra precautions with me (I’m Thera by the way – in case you were wondering), and put me in a cell that is guarded against earth magic. Which kind of sucks, since my power links to the elements.

Still, I’m not completely defenceless. It took me three days to recover from the dampening spell, but it was worth the hours I spent plotting my revenge. The instant I came back online, I discovered a weakness (did I mention my jailers are idiots?) and, though I couldn’t pinpoint my location, I did manage to escape for a short time using astral projection.

I’m not going to lie, it didn’t exactly go according to plan. My sisters have the same ability, and give that they had been searching for me, the moment our connection snapped back into place they projected too. We sort of passed on the astral plane like ships in the night. It’s one way to find entertainment, I suppose. When you’re stuck inside a box it’s hard to find things to laugh at.

So, now it’s a waiting game. I can’t get out, but my sisters will find a way to get in, and together we will wreak havoc. As an added bonus, I will free all the other prisoners and we might even create our own playbook – 101 Ways to Exact Revenge. Not particularly inventive, but let’s just say I have a one track mind.


 

It didn’t really go anywhere, except as an introduction of sorts. It’s my first attempt at finding the right tone for the story and I wanted to keep it under 500 words. It’s a work in progress shall we say😉

Thanks for stopping by

Mel

Thanks also to Colleen and Ronovan for inspiring us each week.

autumn

 

Sleeping Giant #writephoto

Written in response to Sue Vincent’s Thursday Photo Prompt. Thanks for the inspiration, Sue🙂

Reflection

“What does it mean?”

Tamaya stared at the water, which had gathered in the frozen eye socket of Medea, the sleeping giant of Nearyon. She studied Aaron’s reflection as it fluttered across the surface in the beginnings of a watery dance. “I think it means she’s being summoned.”

A shadow flashed across the water, the merest glimpse of Esha flying in to land. The siren tucked her wings tight to her back and peered over Aaron’s shoulder. “She doesn’t appear to be weeping anymore. Is that good or bad?”

“I have no idea.” Tamaya turned in a circle, taking in the bodies littered across the stone – the mountain Medea had become almost a thousand years ago. The absence of blood could only mean one thing – the process had begun. Tamaya recognised the signs for what they were, and based on the clean surface around the slain villagers’, she knew their blood had not trickled down the mountain like Medea’s tears. No. The stone had absorbed it – a sacrifice to coax the great beast.

Tamaya’s gaze moved to her teammates, and for the first time since they arrived in Nearyon, she wondered if they were right for the job. “I think we need to bring in Orion. If she does rise, we don’t have the power to control her.”

“That’s not entirely true. You could reverse the process and force her back into slumber.” Aaron frowned as they felt the stone vibrate beneath them. “And I know you can channel Orion’s power. We all can.”

He had a point. As members of the Collective they were bound to one another; a familial network of thirteen. The others had their own assignments, but they would lend their power if needed.

“There’s a reason that even the gods are afraid of her,” she said, pulling the bandanna from her head to wipe the perspiration from her neck. “And she is going to be royally pissed that she was awoken without permission.”

“We don’t know for sure she didn’t plan this,” Esha said. “Shit, for all we know the villagers’ sacrificed themselves.” Her wings came unfurled, the red tips glinting in the sun.

Tamaya dropped to her knees and leaned over so her face was close to the water, so close her breath sent tiny ripples across the surface. “Don’t say I didn’t warn you,” she said, without bothering to look up.

Gathering her power, she felt the pull of the elements as she searched for a connection. It snapped into place a second before the water changed, and she was looking into the eye of Medea. A deep bronze that seemed to burn with the power of the sun.

‘Why do you wish to prevent me from rising, little one?’

The voice in her mind was heavy and rich. There was enough strength to crush her beneath the weight of it. Tamaya wasn’t afraid. Not yet. She could also feel Aaron and Esha’s telepathic presence. ‘With respect, we are simply alarmed by the timing. It is unexpected.’

The pressure in her head eased a little. ‘I did not ask to be disturbed from my slumber unless such a time arose that my people were in danger.’

‘And yet your people were the ones sacrificed here today.’ Tamaya felt Aaron’s soft rebuke in her mind, but ignored it. ‘Are we to understand there is a threat to Nearyon?’

Instead of responding with words, Medea sent images filtering into Tamaya’s mind. She saw Medea’s loyal followers, those who understood that when the time came, only she would have the power to save them. This conviction, passed down through generations, was a kind of knowing that culminated in Medea’s awakening. The villagers had sensed great danger, a danger Tamaya and her team had not seen.

‘Gather your forces, little one. For a war is coming.’ Medea said, before severing the connection.

A moment later, Tamaya and her teammates were tossed from the mountain as Medea shed her sleeping form. Esha caught them instinctively, though there was no need. Medea assured them a soft landing by easing their descent with a swish of her long, elegant tail.

“Holy shit,” Tamaya breathed, looking up at the great beast. She had heard the stories, had listened avidly as her grandmother regaled her with tales of Medea and her journey into sleep. But she was not prepared for the beauty of a legend come to life. She found herself looking into eyes of power and grace. Eyes that until a few minutes ago had been hollow sockets in the mountain.

Those eyes, fanned with incredible lashes, blinked once and then Medea shot forward and took to the sky. She flashed across the clearing like a searing flame, no longer the sleeping giant, but a magnificent, fiery dragon.

“Well,” Aaron said, grinning up at the sky. “I hate to say I told you so, but she looked pretty calm to me.”

Tamaya went to punch his shoulder, but he was too quick. He dodged her easily. “I still don’t like it. We’ve seen no evidence of violence in the realm, except for the villagers here today.”

“That doesn’t mean anything and you know it. Trouble is always brewing.” Aaron swung an arm around her neck, and this time he wasn’t fast enough to dodge her when she elbowed him in the ribs. He laughed, but didn’t release her. “Let’s rendezvous with the others and decide if we want to join this particular fight.”

She ducked out from under his arm. First, she wanted to repair the damage to the land caused by Medea’s transformation. But she should have known better. Instead of an empty crater, the earth had righted itself and melded seamlessly with the rolling valley.

“Okay. Fine. Let’s head out,” she said, hiding her grin as Esha and Aaron’s laughter followed her out of the clearing.


Thanks for stopping by.

Mel

5 Tips for Improving Dialogue

I recently had a discussion with a fellow writer about dialogue, and decided to share the processes I use to improve authenticity within my work.

quote

TIPS FOR IMPROVING DIALOGUE

  1. Give your imaginary friends a voice: I’ve talked about this before, but I often allow my characters free rein to have a discussion out of context, which basically means I let them loose to talk about whatever the hell they want. Those conversations, or pages of dialogue (almost like a script) rarely see the light of day. It’s the same as practising our skills by writing a scene or short story that is dialogue only. You can ignore all the normal rules; you don’t need any kind of structure. It’s like gathering a group of imaginary friends and allowing them the freedom to play. It can be fun, and is an excellent way to get to know your characters better.
  2. Follow the beat: There is always a flow to dialogue, especially if characters have a rapport. The to and fro of conversation can be extremely entertaining for the reader. In order to maintain that flow and avoid intruding on the process, I try to keep speech (or dialogue) tags to a minimum. I do this in a number of ways. Sometimes it’s by using silence, because a lack of words can have a powerful impact. Other times I rely on descriptive beats. I like them because they actively show us a character’s personality, and quickly demonstrate emotion or action. An example would what be – He bit down on the inside of his lip. “I’m perfectly serious.” Of course there must be balance in all things. There is a danger of becoming repetitive or distracting from the dialogue itself.
  3. Sound it out: Most writers read their work aloud because it helps them to pick up on errors they might otherwise miss; an interruption of the flow, going off point, an ambiguous or telling section of narrative, etc. Reading aloud dialogue is one of the best ways to determine if the dialogue is authentic. It’s like listening to a conversation. You can detect which parts sound unnatural or forced, and you’ll definitely identify whether the words used are a true reflection of your characters. It goes back to  point 1. If you have been practising, reading the section aloud can give you an insight into what a character is thinking or feeling
  4. Feel the scene: Although I practice with long chunks of dialogue, I try to avoid senseless discussion in an actual scene. It’s important to ground the conversation, to create seamless transitions. When we’re having a discussion with friends, it’s natural for our minds to wonder, to consider the topic, and relate it to our lives. It’s also natural to allow distractions to interfere, such as being in a busy coffee shop. How a character responds lets us know what kind of person they are.
  5. Sharing the spotlight: Like any strong personality, some characters like to hog all the limelight and take over the scene. Unless you’re doing this for a reason, be it for humour or to show a character trait/flaw, try to avoid giving one character the floor for too long.

What about you? How do you work on your dialogue?

Thanks for stopping by.

Mel

What I learned from writing serialised fiction

As some of you know, aside from being away from blogging for a while, I’ve been writing a serial. At the end of the year I will be releasing the epidsodes, or installments, as a complete season. In preparation for that, and the next season, which I hope to release next year, I’ve been considering the valuable lessons I’ve learned along the way. The first and most important, is the frequency between episodes. Next time they will be weekly, rather than monthly. A compromise to the suggestion that I should post a daily installment.

collective-header

Here are my top five tips:

1: Find your inner-architect: I’m going to start with the obvious first, and for those of you who are planners, you can sit back and give yourself a nice pat on the back for having this one in the bag. For those of us who go with the flow, more like an errant butterfly flitting from one place to another, it can be a little tough. Loose notes become a thing of the past, and basic outlines…nope – not happening. That means digging back through all those extremely helpful posts about the best way to map your characters, etc. because there are just some things Excel can’t do. Even my whiteboard, which covers an entire wall (I kid you not) doesn’t meet the requirements when so many timelines are happening at once. And though post-it notes are useful, the novelty wears off when you’re buried beneath them trying to dig your way through  to the prize – that being information pertinent to the plot.

2. Learn from TV Shows: I chose to post my episodes monthly, and given there is a lot of action, plus more characters than it is safe to use in a novel (see point 3), it isn’t surprising that readers lose the thread because they have to wait for the next installment. It wasn’t until I was watching one of my favourite shows that it hit me like Homer Simpson’s palm at the back of my head…no wait, that’s Gibbs from NCIS – I’m getting my shows mixed up. Anyway, I digress. The point I’m trying to make is those two helpful words at the beginning of any show – ‘Previously on…’ As easy as that, by adding a summary, readers are caught up. It might seem obvious, but it never occurred to me. D’oh!

3. Arm you Beta Readers: I have a few loyal beta readers who are familiar with my work, but who aren’t necessarily familiar with serialised fiction in this format. I failed to explain that, like a television show, the series has a regular cast of characters and they don’t all get to shine at once. Like a TV series, it can be overwhelming to get to know so many new ‘faces’ and unlike a novel when it is advisable to limit the number of interactions, this type of series (in my opinion) relies on a diverse cast who each get their own story arc.

4. Don’t let your characters lead you astray: Going back to my earlier point, and my errant tendencies, I found myself becoming easily distracted by the number of sub-plots that emerged as I was writing an episode. As writers we know our characters, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have their secrets. We might know their backstory, might even be intimately familiar with them and think we know what direction they will take, but that isn’t always the case. Our characters like to take us by surprise, and reveal details of their past that threaten to pull us in an entirely different direction. It wasn’t until my ‘notes’ on a character’s backstory became a twenty thousand word story in its own right that I caught myself!

5. Plan for the journey, regardless of the destination: This again seems like an obvious point, but it’s not enough to rely on a strong beginning to a readers journey, because, even if you’ve hinted at their final destination, what comes in between must contribute to the trip itself. I did a lot of research before committing to the serial and the best tips I found relate to writers falling short around episode 3. We’re all familiar with those filler episodes in a TV show that don’t seem to progress the story, and though they are harmless enough, you must have a strong following before you can throw readers/viewers a curve ball and expect them to catch it.

I also found it useful to read serialised novels before I began, and there are some great examples. I won’t lie, there were times I wondered if I chose the right format, but overall I’m happy I decided on sharing the story in bite-sized chunks.

If you’re interested in any other part of this particular writing journey, feel free to pick my brain as it were.

Thanks, as always, for stopping by.

Mel

 

 

To Hunt a Sub by Jacqui Murray

I was so excited about this post I dragged myself out of hibernation. To say it’s a pleasure to be part of Jacqui’s blog hop is an understatement. I’ve been waiting for the release of To Hunt a Sub for a while, so I’m going to leave you to soak up the details and head over to Amazon to get myself a copy.

But, before I go, I want congratulate Jacqui on her debut novel. She’ll be stopping by at some point today, so if you have any questions, please leave them in the comments. There’s nothing quite like the excitement of release day, so let’s commence with the festivities.

THAS-small [16806]

An unlikely team is America’s only chance

 A brilliant Ph.D. candidate, a cynical ex-SEAL, and a quirky experimental robot team up against terrorists intent on stealing America’s most powerful nuclear weapon, the Trident submarine. By all measures, they are an unlikely trio–one believes in brawn, another brains, and the third is all geek. What no one realizes is this trio has a secret weapon: the wisdom of a formidable female who died two million years ago.

Quote from author:

What sets this story apart from other thrillers is the edgy science used to build the drama, the creative thinking that unravels the deadly plot, and the captivating prehistoric female who unwittingly becomes the guide and mentor to Kalian Delamagente as she struggles to stop a madman from destroying her life.

Book information:

Title and author: To Hunt a Sub by J. Murray

Release Date: August 15, 2016 by Structured Learning

Genre: Thriller

Cover by: Paper and Sage 

Available at:

Kindle  August 15th

 Author bio:

jmm pic [16808]Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy. She is the author/editor of over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, adjunct professor of technology in education, webmaster for four blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer,  a columnist for TeachHUB, Editorial Review Board member for Journal for Computing Teachers, monthly contributor to Today’s Author and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. You can find her books at her publisher’s website, Structured Learning.


THAS-small [16806]Purchase Link



Thanks for stopping by. I’ll be catching up with all my friends over the next couple of days.

Mel

Tribe of the Snow Tiger by Charles E Yallowitz

One of the things I enjoy about blogging, is being able to share the love. In this case that is giving back some of the wonderful support that exists within the writing community. The main way I do this is by spotlighting other authors. Normally, I do this over at Writing Room 101, but as I’ve been a way for a while and missed the chance to celebrate Charles Yallowitz’s new release, I’m doing it here. So, onto the good stuff. Here are the details:

Now Available

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen
Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

Timoran Wrath has a shameful secret that is about to see the light of day.

The noble barbarian has always been a constant source of strength and wisdom for his beloved friends. His loyalty has been unwavering and they know that he would never hesitate to lay down his life for them. Even in their darkest hour, the champions know that Timoran will come through and fight to the bitter end. Now they must return the favor as he reunites with his tribe and willingly faces the executioner’s blade.

Is it possible that the honorable Timoran was nothing more than an illusion?

Don’t forget to add it to your Goodreads ‘To Read’ List too!

Excerpt: The Snow Tiger

Yahoo Image Search
Yahoo Image Search

“The snow is too bright and level for me to see anything clearly,” the barbarian growls. The sound of shuffling and mild cursing draws his attention to Nyx who has sunk up to her nose in snow. “What are you doing, fire sprite?”

Nyx shivers while squinting into the distance, her eyes coated in bronze energy. “The reason you can’t see anything might be because you’re too tall. I’m trying to see if there’s anything that breaks the level ground. My eyes are enhanced right now, but I don’t . . . wait a second . . . I think there’s something buried out there. A beast of some kind? It’s a very subtle up and down motion that reminds me of something breathing. It just stopped moving, but I don’t know what that means. I’ll lead the way.”

Not waiting for a response, Nyx pushes through the thick snow and uses wind magic to gradually shift the powder out of her path. She does her best to move quietly and avoid disturbing whatever they are approaching, but the crunch of frozen grass beneath her boots makes the half-elf cringe with every step. A violent sneeze threatens to erupt from her nose, stifled quickly by a silence spell around her nostrils. Rubbing at her cold legs, Nyx is thankful when Timoran puts a vest made of black fur over her. The Ifrit hair warms her body and drives away the looming cold that has been brewing in her chest for the last few minutes. With renewed energy, the channeler walks a little faster and adds a simple heat spell to the wind that is steadily clearing the path.

“Wow. Such a beautiful creature,” she whispers when she steps into a circular clearing that surrounds the dead beast.

The enormous snow tiger’s blue and black fur is thick, the hairs sparkling when touched by direct sunlight. It has long incisors of glistening white that jut out of its mouth due to their size and sharpness. A slender tail lies limp in the exposed grass and still twitches as the muscles continue to lose their tension. Powerful legs and massive paws are splayed on the ground, giving the body the appearance of having peacefully died in its sleep. The gaping wound in the gorgeous snow tiger’s side is the only sign of an attack, the surrounding fur matted with aromatic blood.

Timoran’s rage boils when he spots the three cubs that are mewling and pushing against their dead mother. Judging from their size and faint, black stripes, he assumes they are no older than three months. Rusty manacles are attached to their back legs, the chains running to a stake that has been driven into the muddy earth. Restraining his anger, the barbarian moves within reach of the animals and gently breaks the metal bindings that are bruising their ankles. Scared and confused, the cubs cower against the still warm corpse and hiss whenever one of the adventurers comes close. One of the snow tigers bravely charges at Timoran and bites his boot, proudly returning to the others when the towering figure moves away.

Need to catch Legends of Windemere from the beginning? Then click on the covers below!

You can start for FREE . . .

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen
Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

Or grab the $4.99 ‘3 in 1’ bundles!

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen 3D Conversion by Bestt_graphics
Cover Art by Jason Pedersen
3D Conversion by Bestt_graphics
Cover Art by Jason Pedersen
Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

 

Also Available:

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen
Cover Art by Jason Pedersen
Cover Art by Jason Pedersen
Cover Art by Jason Pedersen
Cover Art by Jason Pedersen
Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

Interested in a new adventure? Then grab your Kindle & dive back into the world of Windemere! Don’t forget an apple for Fizzle.

Author PhotoAbout the Author:

Charles Yallowitz was born and raised on Long Island, NY, but he has spent most of his life wandering his own imagination in a blissful haze. Occasionally, he would return from this world for the necessities such as food, showers, and Saturday morning cartoons. One day he returned from his imagination and decided he would share his stories with the world. After his wife decided that she was tired of hearing the same stories repeatedly, she convinced him that it would make more sense to follow his dream of being a fantasy author. So, locked within the house under orders to shut up and get to work, Charles brings you Legends of Windemere. He looks forward to sharing all of his stories with you, and his wife is happy he finally has someone else to play with.

Blog: www.legendsofwindemere.com
Twitter: @cyallowitz
Facebook: Charles Yallowitz
Website: www.charleseyallowitz.com

 


Thanks for stopping by.

Mel