Guest Post

Introducing Geoff Le Pard, author of My Father and Other Liars

It is my absolute pleasure to welcome Geoff Le Pard to the blog today. I met Geoff in person earlier this year, and he is as genuine as his blogging personality would suggest. If you caught my earlier post you’ll know that Geoff is running a blog book tour at the moment. The more I learn about My Father and Other Liars, the more I look forward to reading it.


The treatment of the adult orphan.

When I started writing My Father and Other Liars I had been thinking about the grieving process. My own father died in 2005 and, while his death came naturally as the end of a process the family lived through, I was intrigued by how the impact of grief worked. I vividly recall the moment I was told he had been diagnosed with cancer. I was sitting in my office, about 3.30 in the afternoon when the phone rang. Mum. She never rang me at work. I knew Dad was in for tests but her news hit me like a set of punches. It wasn’t a long call and by the end of it the initial shock became numbness. I sat staring at the conference table at the other end of my room and realised I couldn’t talk, not without breaking down. I was 47, head of this that and what have you and breaking down would have been embarrassing, humiliating. I got up, walked to the toilets and shut myself in a cubicle.

And that was it. An hour later I was off home to pick up the car and drive to my parents. From there on until well past his actual death a year later and well past the funeral I shed not a tear, felt rather divorced from all the emotion around me. He died in March 2005. In August I cried for the first time. I’ve had those tearing up moments since, never when I expect them and always difficult to deal with.

I talked to a friend about this, about how no one really seemed to understand this late flowering grief. He said something to the effect that being an adult orphan isn’t taken seriously. It’s expected, parents dying before their children. When that occurs at an expected age, people understand your loss, are sympathetic. But they expect you to be ‘grown up’ and ‘get over it’. Why? That’s what I asked myself. I read an excellent book ‘The Orphaned Adult’ by Alexander Levy. In it he takes a series of case studies to examine how grief impacts us as adults when we lose one or more parents.

I wanted to incorporate this theme into my book, since it was about fathers and my father’s death was still quite raw. My main character, Maurice Oldham is in his thirties and has lost his mother, blaming himself for her death. His father is also lost to him, but emotionally not because he’s dead. The book begins very shortly after Maurice finds his father – he believed him dead for many years – and he is angry and, in many senses, grieving for both parents. Finding his father alive robs him of his grief and that causes anger and a different grief in its own right. One of the themes throughout the book is how Maurice tries to come to terms with his father’s continued existence and the betrayals he feels at his father’s hands.

When Mum died five years later, the process was as erratic and difficult. I stood at the graveside and felt an awful heavy lump. This was truly it. Both parents had gone and the tangible connection to my past, my youth, my ancestry gone with it. I tried to bring out some of that in My Father and Other Liars, that linkage and to see in Maurice’s stuttering steps towards a reconciliation with his father the attempt to postpone that loss of one’s own living history.


my father and other liarsMy Father and Other Liars is the second book by Geoff Le Pard. Published in August it is available as an ebook and paperback here:

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.com

 

 

 

dead flies and sherry trifleHis first book, Dead Flies and Sherry Trifle can be found here:

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.com


GeoffGeoff Le Pard started writing to entertain in 2006. He hasn’t left his keyboard since. When he’s not churning out novels he writes some maudlin self-indulgent poetry and blogs at geofflepard.com. He walks the dog for mutual inspiration and most of his best ideas come out of these strolls.


Blog Tour 2 poster 2

Thanks for stopping by.

Mel

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Guest Post by Louise Findlay

I have a special treat for you today, a short-story written by Louise Findlay. If you would like to know more about Louise and her work, I featured her on my author blog during the Fantasy Solstice Tour. For further details, click here.

Vicious Vines by Louise Findlay

I so hated this world. The clogging smell of petrol and dust. I could feel the air on my skin, all contaminated like a stain on my soul. I wasn’t wasteful like the humans. Clothes weren’t a necessity for me. I could just weave vines into makeshift garments, to stave off the cold. It was a waste making clothes from cloth and linen. It harmed plants and if they suffered, I suffered.

I always thought my unusual green eyes were a mark of my connection to the environment. The plants thought so. Their piercing shade certainly stood out from my auburn hair.

I was scared that my skin was taking on a greenish hue. I didn’t think I would change, but I didn’t really know what was happening to me; that was the worrying thing. The plants were happy though. As I accessed my powers I was becoming more like them by the day.

Everything hurt more and more, and I could hear the plants’ cries in my head. It was agonising; the constant screaming plaguing my mind. Humans destroyed everything they touched. They were responsible for the death and destruction of all this wildlife. I didn’t count myself among their number.

I made a last ditch attempt to free myself from this burden. Humans didn’t listen to reason, they only cared about what benefited them.  They would pay for laying waste to the forests. They would pay for driving animals out of their homes. They would pay for uprooting plants from their habitat.

It was all the humans fault. Their industrial revolution; building things at the expense of others. It would come back to haunt them. I would make sure of it.

I didn’t have full control over my plant powers, but I knew I could rely on them to do what I wanted. To bring vengeance down upon the human menace.

I might have been content to leave them alone if I didn’t hear the constant screaming inside my head day and night; in my every waking moment and in my dreams as well. It was like having a drill constantly mining away at my brain.

CRACK! It was an agonising shift in my fingers whenever I called the vines to me. Every time I felt the change grow stronger. I didn’t know how to both keep my power, and halt the change. Part of me welcomed it, though the other part just wanted to stay the same.

I would do to the humans what was slowly happening to me. Yes, poetic justice. I’d infect them with plant genes. Then I would watch them trying to survive in their urban metropolis. It would take a lot of strength, but it would be worth it. I forced myself to create balls of swirling energy. The downside was that it was a bit too obvious. Humans ran and fought against anything they didn’t understand. They might escape my curse. Just as my muscles were about to give out, I condensed the energy to vapour. That would do. A swirling mist to encase and infect them.

Hahahaha. I walked for miles to the nearest town and watched the chaos unfold. It worked better than I’d ever imagined. I heard them crying out as they struggled to walk, could hear the conversion in my mind. Their thoughts were being simplified into matters which only concerned plants: food, water, sunlight and procreation. The newly converted plants were weak willed. I knew I could control them if I so desired. Why was I doing this? It was part vengeance; I felt the plants’ pain and wanted the cause of it to pay. But it was also to stop the pain. I couldn’t live with it any longer. It was slowly killing me.

Kathryx

Damn. I was going to kill whoever cursed me to this existence. No one harmed me and got away with it. No one harmed Kathryx without consequences. I had survived unspeakable torments.

As soon as I saw the eerie green mist I knew it was malevolent. I knew my body was changing. I could feel the crippling pain that accompanied it. Arrgh. It was like my body was being torn in two, and only half of me wanted to resist. But the other part, the part which was already damned, did not. I would find whoever did this, and they would pay. On my life they would pay.

The sunlight. It was like a blinding inferno of heavenly day. It nourished the vines that were slowly creeping up my face, but it burned my eyes. I was torn between sacred night and heavenly fire. As a vampire, daylight was my enemy. As a plant, it was quickly becoming my friend.

I suppose my vampiric nature was the reason I wasn’t like the humans. It didn’t matter now anyway. I was dead, whether man or woman or vampire. Plants didn’t bleed. My entire food source had been wiped out in one fell swoop. I had no desire to turn into a piece of shrubbery, but my wishes were of no concern. My body was fighting the battle for me. No sword or spear or arrow could fix this; no weapon could. But rendering the person who did this limb from limb, would make me the happiest creature alive.

I tried to resist the overwhelming urge to claw the vines off my face. They would only grow back again. I had tried that already, which resulted in a mauled face. All I could smell was the infestation of plants. When this was all over, if I was still myself, I was going to set fire to them all. Then I spotted it. Food. Human food. If the person wasn’t greenified yet it meant they had something to do with this.

Everything was slowing down. My feet were dragging. I just couldn’t maintain my speed. Once I was but a blip in the eyes of humans, and now I was struggling to walk. I had to find this person before I became rooted to the spot.

There she was. The red haired menace who started all this. I could see it in her eyes. That spark of violence I saw so often in my own kind. Oh, she was going to the feel the wrath of the last vampire alive.

I had my throwing knives out and began to slice the vines off her body as I charged straight at her with red in my eyes. The vines grew back as soon as I severed them.

“Stop it, please. You’re hurting them,” the menace pleaded.

Hurt plants? Oh, I’d show her hurt. She didn’t even know the meaning of pain. Try being left to starve underground, and trying to claw your way to the surface after having acid thrown on your decaying body.

“You change me back now before I decide your corpse is more useful to me,” I commanded.

She was scared. I could see the tears rolling down her face and hear the palpitations of her heart. This little snip of a girl thought she could destroy everything on the planet and not suffer the consequences? Naïve.

I suppose I should have been worried when I saw that glint in her eyes. But what could a human teenager do to me a vampire? Really?

Ugh. The vines were constricting around my body. I could feel the pressure round my neck. I held my breath, but I knew I didn’t have long before suffocation became a real concern.

“Look who’s in control now,” the human taunted.

No human was going to best me. I was the predator, not the prey. I just had to move my arms. The vines. If I ripped them off I might have enough time to kill her before they regrew. It would hurt though; tear my face. The regrowth would take a decade, even with my healing abilities. Disfigurement was better than death by strangulation, and by a human no less.

I tore my razor sharp nails across my face, screaming even as I took one of my knives from the floor and plunged it into her chest.

Instantly, the vines released me. As I stood panting, the human was breathing her last breath. I could feel the infection slowly retract from my body. The plant life began to wither as I watched her pained struggles.

I was free though. Free at last. Before I collapsed from the strain, I heard the human’s last words.

“Vira. My name is Vira” she said, and then promptly died.


http://louisefindlaybooks.com

Read my print books http://lulu.com/spotlight/angel7090695001

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Thanks for stopping by.

Mel

Did That Monster Come Out of You? By Charles E. Yallowitz

Thank you to Melissa for offering to host a promo/guest blog. Now to get the introduction and promo stuff out of the way. My name is Charles E. Yallowitz and I’m the author behind the Legends of Windemere epic fantasy series where the latest one is Sleeper of the Wildwood Fugue. I also just released a 27-page short story for 99 cents called Ichabod Brooks & the City of Beasts, so you can get a quick, cheap taste of me . . . whatever. Let’s move on to the fun!

Batman Villains

Batman Villains

Authors talk a lot about their heroes and how they came about. You don’t hear as much about the villains until after that villain becomes popular. Even then, there are many antagonists that don’t fall into the full evil category. Darth Vader redeemed himself and I’m still lost on the most evil thing he did outside of the prequels. Force choked his own men? I have to admit that I never got the monster vibe from Darth Vader. Maybe because a lot of my favorite villains are those that can be redeemed. I’m not really here to talk about those because this is more about the writing of villains. Specifically, the horrific, irredeemable, blight on humanity monster type.

In The Compass Key, I introduced one of my newer villains. This baddie was going to be suave and confident. I hit the second one more than the first, but something else came out as I wrote him. This monster had no redeemable qualities. He was terrifying to write and he’s a ‘great’ character, but there is no sign that he has any goodness in him. The other villains show hints of compassion and humanity. This guy revels in pain, death, manipulation, and control. Within the first book he’s in, this villain has tortured, betrayed, and (here’s the worst one) attempted to rape. That last one forced me to stop writing for an hour. I saw where it was going and I couldn’t turn away from it because he is that level of evil. It’s an act that solidifies him as more of a monster than the Lich and Trinity.

So that’s the scary part about some villain writing. Somebody comes up with these creatures of pure evil. I wonder how common it is for an author to create a character that they can’t wait to kill. Not because it’s a badly written character, annoying, or the fans hate it. They want that character to die because that type of monster should not be allowed to roam free. Seriously, I want this character dead for what he’s done and I can’t do it for a few books because I need him to push the heroes.

Typically, I give some tips on how to design a character like this, but he came out of nowhere. Maybe the other villains were too nice and he filled a niche. If anything, it requires a different mindset for the heroes when they handle him. That might be the main point with a monster villain. It’s a type that cannot be turned, reasoned with, or contained for very long. A hero has to face the abyss and risk crossing a line to put a monster down since there’s no other way. Easy for a violent, kill my enemies hero, but difficult for one who doesn’t kill. So like many bad guys, this type could be more about the effect on the protagonists than anything else.

So, have you ever created a villain so repulsive and evil that you stopped to wonder where it came from?


Charles E. Yallowitz

Charles E. Yallowitz

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: LEGENDS OF WINDEMERE
TWITTER: @CYALLOWITZ
FACEBOOK: CHARLES YALLOWITZ
WEBSITE: WWW.CHARLESEYALLOWITZ.COM


I’d like to thank Charles for being a guest today. I think he posed an excellent question regarding the villainous characters we create, and I’m looking forward to hearing from you in the comments.

Tomorrow, I will be providing a review of Ichabod Brooks & the City of Beasts, so be sure to come back then.

Mel

Guest Post: Renee Scattergood, Author of the Shadow Stalker Series

E9 Button

It’s Shadow Stalker time again! This weekend sees the release of episode 9, and to celebrate I have a special guest post from Renee to start us off. Tomorrow I will have a review of the episode, so be sure to come back then.

But first, let me introduce you to Turning Tides; episode 9 of the Shadow Stalker series.

Episode 8 300 dpiMakari has finally come to realize Auren is not the delohi-saqu, and his father, Drevin, Emperor of the Galvadi, has been wrong about her all along. He goes to Zain, Auren’s father, for help to heal Auren’s mind after he had wrongfully broken her. Now Makari vows to protect Auren and help her escape, but she refuses to leave without her father.

Auren and Makari’s love for each other grows, and the connection they share deepens. They have to be careful, however. Spending too much time together is causing the other guides to grow suspicious. Makari’s loyalty is tested, and he is forced to do something he swore he’d never do again.


Using Social Media Effectively

By Renee Scattergood

Promoting a new book is hard, but I have found most of the difficulty stems from misinformation available on the internet, especially the use of social media for advertisement and promotion. Authors are being led to believe that the best way to promote themselves and their work is through social media by bombarding people with ads. Worse, we’re encouraged to play the you-follow-me-I’ll-follow-you game to get more followers.

The truth is, people don’t get onto social media because they want to be bombarded with ads. They get on there to meet new people and socialize. So using social media for marketing purposes has to be done with that in mind. The best part is, it can be done effectively.

Building an author platform is all about making yourself visible and getting to know people, so social media is the best way to get this process started. You can use your blog to share helpful information, free short stories, etc. Then you share those on social media to drive traffic to your blog. Once you get people going to your blog consistently because they like what you’re sharing, they’ll likely even sign up to your newsletter (if you have one, and if you don’t I strongly recommend getting one).

In the meantime, you can be connecting with other authors and the readers you attract. Let them get to know who you are as a person and interact with them. The more they get to know you as a person, the more they’ll care about what you write as an author.

Another thing you’ll want to avoid is following people just to get them to follow back. If you think about it, you’re really only hurting yourself by doing this. You want people to read what you share on social media, but they’re not going to care if all they’re doing is trying to get another follower for themselves. I only follow people I’m interested in (or people I know personally), and I only want people following me who really want to read my stuff. Otherwise, what’s the point? Having ten thousands followers won’t mean a thing if none of them even read what you share.

Using social media as it’s intended can really help you as an author. This means meeting new people and letting them get to know you. It means sharing valuable information and entertaining posts. It also means understanding the number of followers you have is less important than having followers who really want to know you as an author.


Renee ScattergoodRenee Scattergood lives in Australia with her husband, Nathan, and daughter, Taiya. She has always been a fan of fantasy and was inspired to become a story-teller by George Lucas, but didn’t start considering writing down her stories until she reached her late twenties. Now she enjoys writing fantasy. She is currently publishing her monthly Shadow Stalker series, and she has also published a prequel novella to the series called, Demon Hunt. Aside from writing, she loves reading (Fantasy, of course), watching movies with her family, and doing crafts and science experiments with her daughter.


Guest post by Scott Keen, author of Scar of the Downers

I have a special treat for you today, a guest post by Scott Keen, author of Scar of the Downers. I have included information about his novel at the bottom of the post so you can learn more about the work.

How Writing Screenplays Teach Novelists Discipline

By Scott Keen

A few years ago, I went to a writer’s conference where one of the speakers said that he advised his students to learn scriptwriting before novel writing. I think that his reasoning for this is because in script writing you have to focus on the bare bones of a story. In it, you find its skeletal structure. I would add to that reasoning this: You also have to show the action rather than tell your audience about it. Screenplays are completely visual. I think in some ways, novelists can have a tendency to have less action and more exposition, both of which are the death knell of a good screenplay.

In a typical screenplay, you start with the basic three-act structure (of course there are exceptions to this. Some would say most Hollywood scripts follow a four or five-act structure.) I would challenge you to watch a movie and see if you can point out some of the following structural points:

  1. The Inciting Incident
  2. The First Act Climax
  3. The Complication
  4. The Turning Point
  5. The Second Act Climax
  6. The Resolution

Knowing the structure of the screenplay is the framing of the house. If you want to build a house, you have to know how to frame it. There’s nothing worse than reading a book and realize that there’s no story to it. It’s a series of events with no discernible direction or connection with one another. While some people may like that type of story, I find it rather hard to get through.

There is more rigidity in screenplay writing, which can be both good and bad. It’s bad if you want to tell a bigger story than you can fit in a typical length movie. In a screenplay, any description only tells what you want the audience to see. In some ways you can paint a more vivid, detailed, and wider picture in a novel. Think of the depth of the world in the Lord of the Rings books that you could never get in the movies. On the other hand, doesn’t everyone want to see that scene with Gandalf coming down the hill at the end of The Two Towers? That’s why the director is considered the artistic force behind a movie. He or she gives flesh to what the writer wrote.

After all, that is the sole purpose of a screenplay: to be made into a movie. The purpose of a novel is to be read – the author is the director, using words to paint a picture. You have to take that into consideration when you have a story that you want to tell. If you have a story with the grandeur and breadth of Star Wars and you have no connections in Hollywood, it’s a better idea to write that as a novel. You have a much better chance of it getting noticed. I can write about far off planets or about the neighbor next door. The words alone can take you wherever you want to go. I’m not bound by money or technology. It is the reader’s imagination that provides the visuals, and with that, there’s a sense of freedom.

So, learning to write a screenplay can be a good discipline for a novelist. In my opinion, having a strong plot and telling a story well is paramount to character, style, voice, etc. Writing a screenplay will force you to focus on that aspect of storytelling.

As the director Sam Mendes once said, “I think movies are a director’s medium in the end. Theater is the actor’s medium.” I would add that novels are a writer’s medium. And that is why I, as a writer, am so drawn to it.


About the Author: 

IMG_6555Scott Keen grew up in Black River, NY, the youngest of three children. While in law school, he realized he didn’t want to be a lawyer. So he did the practical thing–he became a writer. Now, many years later with an MFA in script and screenwriting, he is married with four daughters, two of whom he homeschools. He blogs at www.scottkeenbooks.com.

About Scar of the Downers:

ScarDowners_CVR_LRGBranded on the slaves in the Northern Reaches beyond Ungstah, the scar marks each one as a Downer. It is who they are. There is no escaping this world. Still, strange things are stirring.

Two foreigners ride through the Northern Reaches on a secret mission. An unknown cloaked figure wanders the streets of the dark city of Ungstah. What they want no one can be sure, but it all centers around a Downer named Crik.

Crik, too scared to seek freedom, spends his days working in his master’s store, avoiding the spirit-eating Ash Kings while scavenging food for himself and his best friend, Jak. Until he steals from the wrong person. When Jak is sold to satisfy the debt, Crik burns down his master’s house and is sentenced to death.

To survive, Crik and his friends must leave behind their life of slavery to do what no other Downer has ever done before–escape from the city of Ungstah.


I would like to thank Scott for sharing his experience with us, and for agreeing to be a guest on the blog. I’m sure he would be thrilled to answer any questions you have.

Thanks for stopping by.

Mel

Finding a Writing Community – Guest Post by Karen Mann

coverauthorbuzz-2

Finding a Writing Community
By Karen Mann

We know writing is a solitary occupation. Writers are often introverts and like being alone. But most of us don’t want to keep our writing to ourselves. We write in hopes someone will read our writing. It’s important to find a writing community with which to share your work. If publication is your goal, you’ll want to get opinions and tips from other writers before sending out a submission or approaching an agent or editor. Here are some tips for finding a writing community that benefits you.

Find a writing group. Writing groups are usually 4-6 people who meet regularly and exchange writing. Members critique other members’ work, and members revise based on suggestions. Check your community news for local groups, or search online to find one in your area. Writing groups are usually free to join unlike the next suggestions.

Go to a writers’ conference. A writers’ conference offers various features, such as talks by authors, agents, or editors; mini-classes; workshops; manuscript critiques; plus connection with other writers. Writers’ conferences often have themes, such as mystery, romance, fiction, screenwriting, etc. Newpages.com has a list of writers’ conferences and events under Writers Resources.

Take a writing class. You may find courses through adult education, community colleges, or universities. If you take a class to improve your writing and find a community, enroll in a local class rather than taking an online class.

Join a writing association. Many states or large cities have writing associations that offer many opportunities for writers. Search for lists of writing associations, and you’ll find one near you. Associations often have conferences, classes, groups, and readings.

Attend an MFA in Writing program. MFA in Writing programs not only give you the chance to work with an author instructor, but also a chance to cultivate a community with others who have a passion for writing just like you. Low-residency MFA in Writing programs allow adults to improve their writing by earning a degree without moving to a college town. Each semester begins with a residency, usually 7-10 days, after which students return home to study through an exchange of writing, or perhaps online workshops, with an experienced mentor. Through an alumni association, MFA program connections last longer than you’ll be a student; they can last a lifetime. You’ll make friends who not only share your love of writing but also care about you.

Finding a community is essential to nurturing your love of writing. Take a break from the writing and find some writer friends—for critiquing, for a literary discussion, for sharing, or maybe just for lunch!

karenmannphoto-2Karen Mann is the author of The Woman of La Mancha and The Saved Man. She is the co-founder and Administrative Director of the low-residency Master of Fine Arts in Writing Program at Spalding University (www.spalding.edu/mfa). She is also the managing editor of The Louisville Review, a national literary magazine since 1976 (www.louisvillereview.org). Having lived in Indiana most of her life, she now lives in San Jose, California. See more about her books at http://www.karenmannwrites.com.

About The Woman of La Mancha:

coverauthorbuzz-2The Woman of La Mancha, a companion book to Don Quixote, tells the woman’s story of Don Quixote by recounting the story of the girl he called Dulcinea, the woman he loved from afar.

It’s 1583. An eleven-year-old girl wakes in the back of a cart. She has lost her memory and is taken in by a kindly farm family in La Mancha. She adopts the name Aldonza. She doesn’t speak for quite some time. Once she speaks, there is a family member who is jealous of her and causes a good deal of trouble, even causing her to be forced to leave La Mancha in tragic circumstances. Having to create a new life in a new location and still unaware of her birth family, she adopts the name Dulcinea and moves in the circles of nobility. While seeking her identity, she becomes the consort of wealthy men, finds reason to disguise herself as a man, and learns herbal healing to help others.

There is a parallel story of a young man, Don Christopher, a knight of King Philip and the betrothed of the girl, who sets off on with a young squire, Sancho, to find the girl. Christopher’s adventures take them across Spain and force him to grow up. Does he continue the quest to find his betrothed or marry another and break the contract with the king?

Both young people have many experiences and grow up before the readers’ eyes. Floating in and out of each other’s paths as they travel around Spain, will they eventually find each other and be together?

Guest Post by Renee Scattergood – Author of the Shadow Stalker Series

Everyone’s a Critic

By Renee Scattergood

When I was a teenager, I didn’t take criticism well at all. From my perspective it was a personal attack. Sometimes it was, and maybe that’s why I had a negative response to any form of feedback I received (even if it was positive, believe it or not). I don’t recall what happened between then and now to make me start appreciating it, but I can tell you what I’ve learned over the years.

There is a big difference between constructive criticism and plain old negative feedback (for instance, someone telling you they hated your book without explaining why). When someone tells me they didn’t like something I’ve written, I just shrug it off. I don’t expect everyone will enjoy what I write. I certainly don’t like everything I read. Everyone has different likes and dislikes and that’s fine. So I’m not going to waste energy on trying to make everyone like me.

What I have learned to value is constructive criticism. It’s not just a negative remark. It comes with a gift. You’re being given feedback you can use to improve your work and make it better the next time. Someone might tell you they enjoyed your story, but your dialogue was a little dry. So now you know you need to do some research and get some practice with writing dialogue. It’s not meant to be hurtful and vindictive, but helpful and informative. After all, it’s hard to judge your own work objectively.

My mom’s favorite saying has always been “Opinions are like (bum)holes. Everyone has them.” Next time someone gives you negative feedback and doesn’t explain their reasons, instead of getting angry or feeling offended, ask them why. You might learn something that can help you later, and he or she might appreciate the fact that you took the time to ask.

Of course, not everyone will have a good reason. Some people just like to spread misery for the sake of spreading misery. If that’s the case, just move on. They’re not worth your time.

***

Renee Scattergood

Renee Scattergood lives in Australia with her husband, Nathan, and daughter, Taiya. She was inspired to become a story-teller by George Lucas, but didn’t start considering writing down her stories until she reached her late twenties. Now she enjoys writing high fantasy, and has recently began publishing her first series, Shadow Stalker. Aside from writing, she loves reading (Fantasy, of course), watching movies with her family, and doing crafts and science experiments with her daughter.

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Sign up for Renee’s newsletter and get a free copy of Shadow Stalker: Forbidden Love.

http://reneescattergood.com

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Linkedin: http://bit.ly/ReneeScattergood-LinkedIn

Guest Post – Gloria Weber: E-book Covers (Historical Fiction)

As a writer, I like trying to write in different genres, because I love to read them and to push my limits.  As a reader, I try to vary my reading, because I like discovering new things to love.  Often, what I read I write.

There’s one exception: Historical Romance.

I love reading knights falling in love with ladies in castles.  I love dashing great coats and tricky bodices.  I love horses and carriages and the sexy times inside of them.  It’s almost like another world.  I’m totally a sucker when it comes to reading Historical Romance.

And I’ve tried to write it.  Since the Geneva Convention has put a ban on inhumane forms of torture I have never let another person read these attempts.  It was that bad.

The skill it takes to have a good romance novel is insane!  Hot scenes are a delicate balance of actions, feelings, and pacing that I fumble over.  Stereo instructions are sexier than what I come up with.  Also, the historical knowledge.  Making sure you aren’t mixing Regency and Edwardian eras with fashions, styles, and etiquette!  I’m horrible with dates and do just the above.  Historical Romance is totally beyond my grasp to write.

But not beyond my grasp is using imaging programs.  I love digital art.  And as of late, I’ve been making some Historical Romance inspired covers.  Can’t write them, so cover them, I guess.  I’ve put them up for sale for $10 each, so those writers on tight budgets looking for a beautiful cover can find one.

Finally, I’m able to contribute a a genre I love, but can’t write.

You can find my Etsy cover shop at:
https://www.etsy.com/shop/QuickEbookCovers

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Have a great day,

Gloria Weber

Writer of Speculative Fiction
 
Visit my Website to find out more about:

GASLIGHT DEMONS a novel published by Morbidgames Publishing.
MAD one of the tales in 20,001: A Steampunk Odyssey.
ETERNAL SERVICE a story in The Ghost IS the Machine.
CRIMSON MAIL (Volume 1) and NO MAIL (Volume 2) in the The Crimson Pact anthology series.

Author Spotlight: Quan Williams Blog Tour – Guest Post

This week Quan Williams, author of GodMode, is celebrating the release of his new book with a Blog Tour, organised by Dragon Knight Chronicles.

Writing Room 101 will be providing three stops along the tour. Today Quan has a guest post for us. On Wednesday I will be providing a review of the book and on Saturday, Quan joins us for an exclusive interview.

So, without further ado, I’ll hand you over to the man himself.

The Osh Moment

By Quan Williams

Here’s a little tidbit for all of you fledgeling writers out there. This is something that I feel is essential to any good story, and something that you must be able to master for your stories to reach their full potential. I personally use it quite a bit.

I call it “The OSH moment.”

What is the OSH moment, you may ask?

The OSH moment is, simply put, the moment where the feces hits the fan. This is the one moment where everything is either going wrong or is about to go wrong, and your protagonist is wondering “what the hell am I going to do now?”

If you look at basically any movie – let’s say a love story – you’ll see this principle in action. You have your boy meets girl moment, but there’s always some twist to the meeting, some secret or tidbit of information that the protagonist has that his or her love interest isn’t privy to. The two have their ups and downs throughout the movie, but everything seems to be progressing along. Then that little tidbit becomes public knowledge, and the truth comes out, and this moment puts the whole relationship in jeopardy. That is the OSH moment, the crossroads where things can go either way.

And it doesn’t just work in romance stories. You have it in your spy novels where the spy’s cover is blown, or in action movies where the hero meets the foe he can’t beat. All of those old “wanna get away?” airline commercials are based on the OSH moment.

You especially get this moment in real life. For instance, I was working at the plant a while back, and the machine I was working on was acting snarky. The maintenance guy comes around to try to fix the durned thing, but can’t quite figure out what’s wrong with it. So he goes out to get some more tools. I’m standing there waiting for him, and I don’t like standing around when I’m getting paid to work. So I pick up one of the components he was looking at, thinking “Well, maybe he missed something.” Yeah, like I’m going to find something a trained mechanic missed. Complete brainfart on my part, but I digress. Almost as soon as I pick the thing up, little bitty parts of the component fall out, bounce off of the machine, and roll over the floor. And when maintenance guy comes back, I just knew he was going to be livid that somebody messed with the part while he was gone.

This is the OSH moment; the moment where you’re most likely to yell

“O’SH!”

Get it now?

As a writer, you want to have as many of these in your story as possible, especially at the end of chapters or acts or commercial breaks. It’s a crucial element to help ramp up the tension in your story. And you want to have at least one big OSH moment towards the end. Give it a try, and I guarantee your stories will be that much more fun to read.

By the way, there’s a song you should be listening to that illustrates my point perfectly. Check out “Oh Sh*t,” by the Pharcyde. It encompasses everything I just mentioned, and it’s even named after my new term. Check it out.


****

godmode-coverSynopsis:

Elijah wakes up in a cage, and can barely remember anything about himself or his situation. He fights his way alone to escape a building full of bizarre and deadly monsters, while learning disturbing truths about himself. Once he finds the way out, he has to pass it up and keep fighting to rescue hiw wife and child from his nemesis.

photoAuthor Bio

Quan Williams has previously published three other books and various short stories, as well as spending two years as a journalist for The Michigan Daily Newspaper. He studied creative writing under the tutelage of Jonis Agee, author of “Strange Angels” and “South of Resurrection.”

Social Media Links:

Facebook: http://facebook.com/quannage

LinkedIn: http://linkedin.com/in/quannage

Twitter: http://twitter.com/bahamutali

Google +: http://plus.google.com/+JuQuanWilliams/posts/dfYxCtyVdAq

Purchasing Links:

amazon.comhttp://amzn.to/10xhzvz

kindle:  http://amzn.to/1GrgVRg

Smashwords.com: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/325166?ref=DragonKnight2013

Also available: bn.com, nook, and itunes

The book is $12.99, downloads are 2.99

Guest Post: Writers’ Critique Groups by D. Wallace Peach

It’s obvious to me, I need to set up a critique group as soon as possible! This guest post on Nicholas’ site is definitely worth a read 🙂

Nicholas C. Rossis

From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's booksI first came across D. Wallace Peach on Bookvetter; her fantasy novel Sunwielder was one of several suggested to me. It joined my tbr list and climbed steadily until I read it. That was a few months ago, and still find it twirling in my head.

Peach has created not just a great fantasy world, but also one of the best books I’ve read this year, so be sure to check out her “ask and ye shall receive” giveaway! It couldn’t be simpler: just leave a comment on her website saying which book you’d like to receive. The first twenty visitors will get a free copy in their email!

One of the best things of our era is the ease with which we can get in touch with our favourite authors. I contacted her to let her know how much I enjoyed her book, and she agreed to a guest post…

View original post 1,403 more words

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