Monday, May 31, 2010

Guest - Cate Masters

Good morning, everyone! Today's guest, Cate Masters, will be discussing how we create the 'reality' behind our stories. And she has a Giveaway so you'll want to read down to that section. Enjoy!

Oh, and here's another way to be a winner. If you're a member of my newsgroup OR if you join my newsgroup you can have your name entered in a special Grand Prize drawing for my soon-to-be released book, Heartstone. Just follow the directions in the  -- Lynda Again section to see how to enter and what the prizes will be.
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Thanks so much for having me as a guest on Star-Crossed Romance!


Creating the Fictive Dream

The best writing creates a continuous, seamless, alternate reality for the reader. What James Frey calls the “fictive dream.” How do we, as writers, find that dream world, entering and re-entering as we write and revise? How do we translate it to story?

In “Plot and Structure,” James Scott Bell said, “A good story transports the reader to a new place via experience. Not through arguments or facts, but through the illusion that life is taking place on the page. Not his life. Someone else’s. Your character’s lives.” Sounds simple, doesn’t it?

John Gardner’s “The Art of Fiction” delves further into this notion: “In the writing state—the state of inspiration—the fictive dream springs up fully alive: the writer forgets the words he has written on the page and sees, instead, his characters moving around their rooms, hunting through cupboards, glancing irritably through their mail, setting mousetraps, loading pistols. The dream is as alive and compelling as one’s dreams at night, and when the writer writes down on paper what he has imagined, the words, however inadequate, do not distract his mind from the fictive dream but provide him with a fix on it, so that when the dream flags he can reread what he’s written and find the dream starting up again. This and nothing else is the desperately sought and tragically fragile writer’s process: in his imagination, he sees made-up people doing things—sees them clearly—and in the act of wondering what they will do next he sees what they will do next, and all this he writes down in the best, most accurate words he can find, understanding even as he writes that he may have to find better words later, and that a change in the words may mean a sharpening or deepening of the vision, the fictive dream or vision becoming more and more lucid, until reality, by comparison, seems cold, tedious, and dead.”

Whew. I’m so glad to know other writers feel the same as me. Ever start writing and not want to come out of that dream state? I have. The obligations of real life take a back seat to story when the fictive dream is flowing strong. My dog Lily will stand beside me in vain, trying to will me to take her outside to play. I tell her she has to wait, like the dishes and laundry and sometimes the cooking. When I’m deep in the flow, it’s difficult for me to find that exact wave again.

Sometimes that’s a good thing. Sometimes the flow slows to a trickle and strands me on a rocky bed. So getting up and walking away can be a good thing. It can lend perspective, so that next time I dive in, the flow will be stronger.

But I want the reader to be right there with me in the flow, thrilling to the ups, gasping at the sharp turns, despairing at the downs. How can I grab that reader and leap from the hold of the Reality Plane into the realm of the Fictive Dream? Better, how I can make that reader want to leap with me?

The simple answer is: write a great story. James Frey said, “The power of stories is without limit.” The more complicated question is: what constitutes a great story? While different readers will have different answers, great stories share common elements: a strong lead to hook readers, a dominant objective for the main characters (even better if it’s an objective to which readers can relate), hurdles for the main characters in the form of conflict and confrontation, and an ending that will leave the reader satisfied.

Four simple components James Scott Bell refers to in “Plot & Structure” as LOCK (lead, objective, confrontation, knockout ending). An oversimplified idea for a complex process, obviously, but writers who stick with their craft will eventually learn to master these components. The journey can be long and arduous, and the best writers retrace their steps again and again through revisions. Why? To get the flow on the page to be as seamless as the imagery flowing through the writer’s head. To bring readers into the fictive dream.

My latest release reflects this idea on two levels. My contemporary novel, Fever Dreams, available from Eternal Press on May 7, carries readers into the fictive dream of the story, which further leads into the dream world of the heroine. Dreams allow us to delve deeper into our subconscious. Most importantly, they allow us the freedom to explore our most basic desires, and to set our imaginations free. Fever Dreams was a fun way to explore these concepts. The novel contains many fantasy dream sequences that allowed me to delve into the subconscious of the heroine, Diana, in a unique manner. Through her dreams, she recognizes her feelings for Cal overwhelm her reason and better judgment. She knows the relationship has wonderful elements, but in almost a sensory overload way.

Book Trailer for Fever Dreams:




When Diana Taylor changes jobs, she doesn’t expect it to change her life.
Meeting Cal
opens up a new world of passion. He encourages her to pursue her passion for photography. Her love overwhelms her, blurs the line between reality and dreams. But is it love or obsession?

Buy Link: Click on the Title Fever Dreams: OR copy & paste http://www.eternalpress.biz/book.php?isbn=9781615720910

GIVEAWAY!
I’ll give away a PDF of Fever Dreams to a commenter. If you like, share your own technique for bringing readers into the fictive dream. Or share if you’ve ever had Fever Dreams about someone you loved. :) I’ll pick a winner at random on Friday, June 5th. Please be sure to include your email address so I’ll know how to email you the PDF if you win.

Other upcoming releases include a fantasy novel with romantic elements called Surfacing, about a mermaid and an indie rocker. Also, a short story with magic realism elements called Winning. Follow my blog at http://catemasters.blogspot.com for the latest news! Thanks, and sweet dreams!

Cate Masters writes fantasy/dark fantasy, historical, contemporary and speculative fiction, described by reviewers as “so compelling, I did not want to put it down,” “such romantic tales that really touch your soul,” “filled with action scenes which made it a riveting story,” and “the author weaves a great tale with a creative way of using words that makes the story refreshing to read.” Visit Cate online at www.catemasters.com, www.catemasters.blogspot.com or follow her on Facebook or Twitter.



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-- Lynda Again

Become a member of my newsgroup, enter the contest and perhaps you'll win! You'll love the prizes, trust me :-) (Note: Prizes may not appear exactly as they are shown) You can increase your chances of winning by entering every week until Heartstone is released or until June 7, whichever is later. Remember - to enter the prize drawing: You MUST be a member of my newsgroup (see how to join below) AND send me an email LyndaK.Scott@gmail.com with Heartstone Grand Prize in the subject line AND leave a comment here.

In addition to a free e-copy of Heartstone,











the winner will receive a LED Ear Light







and a 6-in-1 Mini Desk Tool.


You'll also receive your very own Heartstone necklace!

Wookie loves lots of names to pick from and you can increase your odds of winning by entering every week until Heartstone is released. So don't delay, join my newsgroup, leave a comment for this blog and email me with the words Heartstone Grand Prize in the subject line. Wookie loves lots of names to pick from.

Directions on how to join the newsgroup are below. Hope to see you there!

To join my newsletter, send a blank email to:
LyndaKScott-Newsgroup-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

OR add your email address to the box below and click Join Now

Subscribe to LyndaKScott-Newsgroup




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Saturday, May 29, 2010

My New Web Home

I'm totally pleased by my new web home at www.lyndakscott.com and the work my webmistress has done there. It's beyond all my expectations and totally rocks me out, LOL

Let me know how you like it (and if you're a member of my newsgroup, don't forget to enter the Heartstone Grand Prize drawing contest)

Friday, May 28, 2010

Prince Among Men

Tonight, along with many others, I went to see Prince of Persia to kick off my long weekend. I won't spoil it for you, but I will say I enjoyed it immensely! Not just because I got to see a lot of Prince Dastan (Jake Gyllenhaal) with his bad boy garb, long hair and stubble.



Gorgeous as it was, that wasn't what struck me. At the core of the movie were real values...of brotherhood, the strength of family, listening to one's heart, and making your own destiny. At every turn (and there were many leaps and bounds) the hero and heroine had to fall back on these traits and find courage to press on.



I realized on his holiday's eve that I've known other brave people who were full of courage...men and women alike. People who devoted themselves to a cause greater than themselves. These people give up their lives, their time with loved ones to help others...to help our country.



As a college student in Fayetteville, the city butted up against Fort Bragg, I didn't always get woken up by my alarm clock. Imagine air maneuvers and cargo planes flying by over head...or rounds from training missions exploding miles away. I sat in class elbow to elbow with men and women who regularly wore some part of their fatigues or a symbol that marked them as military brethren. Whenever I saw one I was honored. I knew what they were giving up, but barely recognized the scope of what their life was like.



It broke my heart to hear one man say that he'd gone to Desert Storm, waiting for the day he could return state side and hold his wife, only to come back and discover she was pregnant by another man. Sure this happens in books and games all the time as a plotline...but this was real life, real raw emotion inches from me. Needless to say I've never forgotten that day.


I have friends who are ex-military, and friends who write about military characters, and some that overlap in those two spheres. Both respect the men and women who serve our country, feel for the families also caught up in the battles, and strive to do what they can to fly yellow ribbons in more than the literal sense. Everywhere we turn we're sure to hear or see someone who is affected by the war being raged. Whether it's personally face-to-face, in the paper, or on television during the usual Memorial Day special.

On Monday I plan to honor our soldiers' bravery and courage by thanking them for my freedom which didn't come free. I will praise them for their sense of brotherhood to guard each other's back, I will praise their families who continue to make such monumental sacrifices, I will praise them for listening to their hearts and not always their heads, and praise them for helping write our destiny in these turbulent times.



Monday, May 24, 2010

Guest - Don Luis de la Cosa

Good morning everyone! Today's guest is author Don Luis de la Cosa, who has given us a very interesting take on writing science fiction. Plus he's given us lots of links to further answer any questions we may have. Enjoy!

Oh, and if you leave a comment PLUS if you either join my newsgroup or are already a member, I'll enter your name in a drawing to take place when Heartstone becomes available. Read the -- Lynda Again section to see what the prizes will be.




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World building in science fiction is exceedingly crucial to the development of a good story. But, world building is something of an amorphous concept if the task itself is not properly contextualized. Primary among concerns when writing deliciously effective science fiction pieces is to ensure that the science element is sound, a topic for which I have written an entirely different post.

However, all things being equal, in terms of building a world, think – and think often – of our own diminutive blue sphere. Ours is a planet replete with tropicalities, aridities, glacialities, rushing water, heart stopping heights, and that’s just on the surface. Beneath ground, Gollum- like creatures mix in an infinite variety of environments, and in the deep oceans, beasts with names such as the Vampyroteuthis Infernalis exist, though they receive conspicuously little publicity. A few years ago, the BBC completed a documentary entitled “Planet Earth”, which I highly recommend if only so that you can foment a base for what sort of evolutionary concepts are available. You will notice that I use a great deal of visuals – movies and related accoutrement, - to explain literary concepts, but I feel that the message is essentially the same.

Nextly, science-fiction, much like is frequently the case in zombie films, have something of a political bent. The 1980’s film classic Robocop, aside from all the what was for then incredibly fast-paced, high-octane action sequences, warns explicitly of the dangers in allowing an authoritarian military/police establishment too much latitude and the ability to control too much.

Waterwold explores another extreme, where the whole of our planet is now inundated, supposedly as a result of the polar ice caps melting due to global warming. Seen correctly, and with the proper guidance, the 90’s era Wachowski brothers opus The Matrix comprises the entire Buddhist life cycle, but from the perspective of a world overtaken entirely by machines. The Harrison Ford lead Blade Runner posits the polemic of what if artificially intelligent androids designed to be “more human than human” (a reality not so far off in the future any longer) actually succeed in their mission.

Enemy Mine is the Louis Gosset Jr. and Dennis Quaid captained space odyssey of two interstellar fighter pilots whose heated dogfight crash-lands them on an entirely undeveloped, little-known planet on the edges of the area over which their planet’s race and ours are warring. During the course of the film, they each learn each other’s language, and the fact that their respective religions even have parallel philosophies. “Truth is truth” is the poignant line from the film.

In the end, and the long –winded point here is, each of these stories brings with it the film maker’s own brand of parameters; just like any board game, field game, or video game, there are rules to how each planet operates, and how its inhabitants must operate within it. Some of the most pervasive social problems that are frequently set against the backdrop of science-fiction resolutions are, for example: border conflicts, xenophobia, weapons technology, species (especially homo sapiens sapiens) evolution, terra- forming, multi-national companies doing nefarious deeds, and ‘religion’ in a variety of forms.

We, for example, have one sun, and one moon, with religions based on each. Imagine coming from a planet circling a binary star system, or having 4, 5, or 6 moons. How big would the planet have to be to have enough specific gravity to hold onto 4 (or more) moons? How long would one of their days be? What would their plants, or people, or animals look like? What if the main ingredient in their air was chlorine instead of nitrogen and oxygen? How would you solve the problem of humans on an exploratory or diplomatic mission breathing there without having to constantly rely on oxygen tanks all the time?

To solve these problems myself, I always start with reading classics – Frank Herbert’s Dune series, Phillip K Dick, William Gibson, Isaac Asimov, Robert Heinlein, Piers Anthony, etc. However, I happen to like my own examples, all very adult fiction oriented, which you can find on my Amazon Author’s page, or by clicking the links below.

As always, go out and experience the world. The very best authors have a wealth of interesting life stories to weave into their fiction, they don’t just copy styles. So, challenge yourself, put down the iPad, PDA, TV remote, XBOX controller, or what have you, and get out of the house. Go climb a tree and read a book, or take a rafting trip and journal the entire time, travel somewhere really far from home, and learn a new language, and do it often. I can’t emphasize enough the absolute necessity of having something interesting to talk about when you write. Once you have that, you can take your pen anywhere, and have it make sense. Thanks for reading!

Join My Facebook Fan page!

See my Amazon Author’s page!

Or follow me on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/donluisdelacosa

Mythos follows daring adventurers through rough seas tantalized by the Kraken's appropriately adapted appendages, a wondrous land through which Alice might never have survived, a knight in shining armor that saves his paramour from a life of servitude, and urban fiction that reminds us the city can be as much about magical realism, as any other fantasy locale.




In Battery Drain, Alex's life is pretty simple: hack through the back doors of a few multinational companies' accounting sections, grab a million here, a million there, and feed his addictions. But a recent run in with a virtual security system forced him to reexamine his priorities. That's when Morgan reappeared in his life. Morgan - seductive, deadly, beautiful raven haired assassin that haunts men's dreams, walks out of a crowd and hands him the opportunity for a new kind of mission, one that includes her as a bonus prize. In return, Alex must become a cybernetically enhanced superwarrior, question his own humanity, and all along, Morgan fades in and out of his dreams, his personal experience, and continues to offer her influence and her sexual favors, in his life.



With These Eyes I Do Not Truly See is a snapshot in the life of one unsuspecting, successful, urban professional woman whose life seems meticulously planned from her current stage through retirement. Planned, that is, until she decides on a whim to join some colleagues from her graduate class at a bar in Manhattan's Lower East Side, only to find out that she's the object of a particular vampire's bloodlust, and passion!...




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-- Lynda Again
In addition to a free e-copy of Heartstone,




the winner will receive a LED Ear Light














and a 6-in-1 Mini Desk Tool.






You'll also receive your very own Heartstone necklace!








Wookie loves lots of names to pick from and you can increase your odds of winning by entering every week until Heartstone is released. So don't delay, join my newsgroup, leave a comment for this blog and email me with the words Heartstone Grand Prize in the subject line. Wookie loves lots of names to pick from.


Become a member of my newsgroup, enter the contest and perhaps you'll win! You'll love the prizes, trust me :-) (Note: Prizes may not appear exactly as they are shown)

Directions on how to join the newsgroup are below. Hope to see you there!

To join my newsletter, send a blank email to:
LyndaKScott-Newsgroup-subscribe@yahoogroups.com
Be My Friend http://www.myspace.com/lyndakscott
My Website: http://www.lyndakscott.com
My Blog: http://www.lyndakscott.blogspot.com
Tweet me: http://www.twitter.com/lyndakscott
Be My Friend on:
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Sunday, May 23, 2010

Review - Tall, Dark and Wolfish


Tall, Dark and Wolfish
Lydia Dare
Sourcebooks, Inc
May 2010

The youngest brother of the Duke of Blackmoor, Lord Benjamin Westfield, made one little mistake too close to the full of the moon and got too rough with a paramour. Fortunately, her outcry stopped him before he went too far. But it’s been two months since that happened and he hasn’t been able to ‘change’ since then. He’s broken and it’s both terrifying and heartbreaking for him. When he’s urged to seek a healer in Scotland, he leaps at the chance to find relief.

What he finds, however, is Elsbeth Campbell, a healer and practitioner of ancient witchcraft, who may need him as much as he needs her. Shortly after Ben arrives in Edinburgh, he’s asked to escort Elsbeth to a ball with his friend Alex and her friend Caitrin. With his acute, wolfish hearing, he hears the snide comments about Elsbeth and it raises his ire. Apparently, the beautiful young woman was born a bastard and though her behavior is highly proper, she’s still looked down on. And, to help protect her reputation, her friends make it difficult for him to spend time with her. Then the worst happens and Elsbeth’s grandfather takes a turn for the worse. She and Ben race through the countryside to her little home. Ben admires her speed and agility and feels his attraction growing with every racing stride they take. But, this is not the time to pursue her. His heart breaks a little as he sees her grief. He wants to help her, to shoulder some of her pain but isn’t certain how he can do it.

Elsbeth finds herself alone in the world. Her mother has passed and now her grandfather has left her. Her father? Well, he didn’t stay to make her mother a proper married woman. She’s content with her lot, though, and happy with her coven sisters who make up the Coig. She’s a talented healer, as her mother before her. With her reputation, she believes she may never attract the attention of an honorable man. Lord Benjamin Westfield’s obvious attraction puzzles her. That she’s just as attracted to him is a bit worrisome. He’s a Sassenach and will go back to London. She won’t have her heart broken and her reputation shattered the way her mother’s were.

When Ben discovers that Elsbeth is the daughter of the healer he’d been sent to find, he fears the cure for his inability to change is lost. However, Elsbeth works to find the cure that her mother had mentioned one time years earlier. But in odd thing happens...when Ben is with her, he feels almost normal, as if he could change. He wants to pursue that but he wants to pursue the beautiful healer even more.

Once again, Ms Dare has created a fantastical Regency style paranormal romance that will leave her readers delighted and fanning themselves. Her writing style is easy to read and true to the feel of today’s Regency historicals. However, this is not a Georgette Heyer Regency. It’s blazing hot, with a masterful yet sensitive hero and a heroine who is his mental and emotional match. Beg, borrow or better yet, buy it. You won’t be sorry.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Star Light, Star Bright...Interstellar Interview with Michelle Rowen


Michelle Rowen knew she wanted to be a writer the moment she saw Joan Wilder finish her book and celebrate with her cat on "Romancing the Stone". By the time she was 20 she had plenty of beginnings, but she'd never gotten past the thirty page mark...and her characters inevitably ended up in a diner deciding what to order.

She went to workshops, bought books and thought--why does it all seem so difficult? She hadn't finished a book, and was walking around calling herself a writer. Why did she think she could get published? Because she loved the ideas for her books...and that led her to focus to write something she loved to read. Since she'd devoured YAs as a teen, she decided to pen a trilogy. Needless to say she sent it out on rounds, but only got back "complimentary" rejections.

She refocused on a scribbled note that read--"What if Bridget Jones was a vampire?" With that idea and a kick start from The Writer's Digest Novel Writing Course she finished the manuscript in a year. Michelle sent it out and the second agent that saw it offered her representation. A week later she had a 2 book deal with Warner. So she's proof you can get an agent by being in the slush pile...all you have to do is make your work shine!





Michelle now pens paranormal romances, urban fantasy, futuristic romantic suspense and young adult fantasy. Her novels have garnered her spots on the Waldenbooks/Borders Group romance bestseller list as well as a Holt Medallion in 2007 for Best First Book!

To her credit, she has written the Immortality Bites series, the YA Demon Princess books, and this month she'll be launching a new paranormal series--Living in Eden--with THE DEMON IN ME.

Michelle lives in Southern Ontario and is the current President of Toronto Romance Writers.









What spurred the Living in Eden novel, A DEMON IN ME, after your popular Immortality Bites series? What prompted you to switch to demons and witches in lieu of vamps?

I enjoyed writing my vampires, but I was ready for a change. I’d been playing with the idea of a woman possessed by a demon who turns out to be the hero of the book. I added in witches since I’d never written about them before. I like to keep things fresh. I think if every book I wrote was about vamps, I’d get bored.








Why do you think it's important to mix humor with paranormal/urban fantasy elements?

I think every story needs a bit of comic relief to keep things from getting too intense or dreary. For my work, humor is important since I can’t write any other way. I just wrote a book that I found to be very dark, very different from what I normally do, and the bestselling author I sent it to for a cover quote commented that it had the Rowen trademark wit. I’m like....what? Death and destruction ain’t witty. But it’s not the subject matter, it’s the voice. Even if the storyline is dark, my writing voice trends lighter -- which is a good thing, I think, and helps to add an extra dimension to what might otherwise be dark and depressing storylines.






In the event you decided to write a self-help book like one of the characters does in THE DEMON IN ME, what would your area of interest be?

Dieting. I think I know so much about this subject I could probably teach a class on it.










If you had to choose a favorite TV show or movie that has influenced your work, which one would it be?

Hands down, it would be Buffy, mostly because I loved how that show mixed humor and drama, which is what I attempt to do in my books.






Are there any must haves you need to write or something that really gives you a good vibe for certain scenes?

I need to have complete silence since I’m easily distracted.










As a multi-published author what have you found to be the biggest reward, and the most eye opening negative aspect?

I find the work itself is the reward -- getting the chance to make stuff up and get paid for it. Sometimes it’s as close to magic as real life can get. The realities of how difficult it is to make a living is the most eye openingly negative aspect. Writing really doesn’t pay as much as you might think it does and the Stephenie Meyers and J.K. Rowlings are one in a million. But it doesn’t mean it’s not worth trying anyway.




Do you have anything else on the horizon fans need to know about? Conference appearances, new titles or signing to attend?

My second book in the Living in Eden series, SOMETHING WICKED, is out in October 2010. In 2011, I’m taking my voice a bit darker with my vampire urban fantasy NIGHTSHADE. This new world will encompass two books and one novella in an anthology about the same characters. The third book in the Living in Eden series, THAT OLD BLACK MAGIC will also come out in late 2011. I’m going to be attending the RWA National Conference in Orlando at the end of this July and there’s a big charity signing every year that’s open to the public -- I’m really excited that it will be held at Disneyworld. Can’t wait! I’m also going to be at the Polaris 24 convention here in the Toronto area in mid-July.





Want to learn more about Michelle--her thoughts on writing, FAQs, fave links and quotes? Visit her website at http://www.michellerowen.com/!

If you post a comment or question below you'll be entered in a drawing to win a signed copy of THE DEMON IN ME. If you don't have an e-mail address listed as part of your Blogspot Profile, please include it in your comment!





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Monday, May 17, 2010

Guest - Eilis Flynn

Good morning, everyone! Today's guest has an intriguing article for us about what draws us to purchase something. What do you think? Is she on to something?

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Your Heritage, Your Stories
By Eilis Flynn

Years ago, I worked at a magazine that had a feature every few months that examined the art scene, and more specifically, the art that had sold in the previous few months. It was an insightful look into the world of art, and the people who buy art. One phrase has stayed with me since then: “When people have money, they buy their heritage, an art dealer commented during an interview.

That fascinated me, and I couldn’t say it wasn’t true. What draws us to something? What compels us? More often than not something strikes our fancy, or hits a visceral note within us. Since I had been visiting relatives in Japan the previous year and impulsively spent the equivalent of $25 on a good-quality woodblock print, that dealer’s comment definitely struck a chord in me.

That print fascinated me. It wasn’t rare – it’s a winter scene in historical Japan, mostly snow, with a figure hurrying through the snow – but there was something about it that grabbed me. (Note: I’m not that fond of snow. I don’t like being cold. So it wasn’t the idea of cold or snow or ice. Brr.) I’ve stared at that print over the decades since I bought it, and I saw another version recently at an exhibit of woodblock prints.

I finally realized that it was the suggestion of a presence observing the quiet winter scene that intrigued me. It may not have been intended, and indeed, I may have imagined the entire thing. Maybe it was just supposed to be a winter scene.

Or maybe not.

But the faint suggestion of an unseen presence has always intrigued me. It may be the gods keeping the winter traveler safe that appealed to me, and that theme has always been in the back of my mind in my work. My heritage is always with me in the stories I write, and I can feel it. Can you feel yours?

Eilis Flynn has worked on Wall Street or Wall Street-related venues most of her working life, so why should her stories be anymore based in reality? She can be found at http://www.eilisflynn.com.

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Echoes of Passion

He had to discover the truth behind the lies.

When Secret Sciences Police officer Daegon Bosaru hears rumors about the role that his dying father, the former Neotian ambassador to the Amalgamation, played in the Neotian civil war, he has to find out the truth behind the lies. To discover the truth, Daegon must travel to the new home world of his clan — where he encounters a mysterious, passionate woman he has been seeing in his dreams for most of his life. She has information he needs — but she disappears whenever he gets close to her.

She was a woman he had seen almost every night, but never met
What does the mysterious woman know? And what do the accusations against his father have to do with all this? Bosaru discovers that Verot Barus Kurog, the crazed ex-dictator who led the home world into a civil war, is still alive, and has plans to rise to glory again, no matter how many more people have to die for it to happen — and the doomsday device that destroyed Neotia Prime is still within his grasp.
Why has she been in his dreams for the past twenty years?

Bosaru must track down the mad ex-dictator — but first, he must find out what the woman of mystery knows.

There's more going on than meets the eye!
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-- Lynda Again

This week's member word is embezzle   \im-BEZZ-ul\   verb
: to appropriate (as property entrusted to one's care) fraudulently to one's own use

Members of my newsgroup will know what to do with today's word. You can know too by joining us. But don't worry, there isn't any chatter. You'll only get notices from me so it won't fill your mailbox. My fluffy cat, Wookie Baby, will help me select the lucky person whose name is drawn and I'll announce it here on Friday. (She'd do it herself but her English vocabulary is limited to NO-when she's going to the vet and WOE-when she's getting a bath, lol) This week's prize is an autographed copy of a very interesting book - According to Jane by Marilyn Brant (light paranormal). .

Become a member of my newsgroup, enter the contest and perhaps you'll win! You'll love the prize, trust me :-)

Directions on how to join the newsgroup are below. Hope to see you there!

To join my newsletter, send a blank email to:
LyndaKScott-Newsgroup-subscribe@yahoogroups.com
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Friday, May 14, 2010

Endure to Do More!

Things are super busy in my house today! Tonight is Relay for Life...where my sister and I will be walking all night for the Endurance Relay Raffle. I wrote an article for Alamance Woman, hoping though they don't really run essays that they'd say "Yes!" I will say the editor had me sweating, but I found out a couple of days before it hit stands that it had made the May issue. I mentioned it before, but decided since I've gotten the most response from it than almost any of my peices that I'd share it with you today. It just seems...right!

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Moans and groans still echo from my high school memories…when I recall my tennis coach announcing a run around the walking track beside the courts. In short, I hated to run. Sprints were a gray area, but long distance weren’t my thing. Maybe because I always ended up last…in hindsight likely due to my mind set. I didn’t want to run, so I didn’t strive to do it well.

My how things change. Now I’m a runner, and like most I find an excuse to run even when I don’t need to—to the mailbox, to get to my car faster, to get out of the rain. So how did a non-runner become a runner? I let my sister talk me into a race.

Sure I’d huffed and puffed through a mile while losing thirty pounds, but never a 5K. As they say, there’s always a first time. Enter Mebane on the Move 2008. I sprinted over the finish line to cheers and wild clapping…dead last. The tail car hot on my heels, likely tired of following me at a snail’s pace. Afterwards, among the other runners at the Fitness Festival something magical happened. Instead of throwing the towel in on running, I decided to do better next time.

My twin and I seem to always bite off more than we expect. School projects, hobbies…so the Relay for Life at Burlington City Park shouldn’t have come as a surprise. We’d heard of the momentous event, and decided to search out a team to honor our family and friends who’d battled cancer and some who’d succumbed after a long, hard fight. Like our dad who’d lived the last month of his life in a hospital and fallen to lung cancer just after moving to Hospice.

Now you know the why, so we’ll move on to how we came up to the point of no return, a.k.a the gut check moment. We’d joined a young team, picking them from the roster because they had a single member. We partook in the fundraisers, and then on Relay night we arrived eager to help set up our little camp site. Even the sprinkle couldn’t banish our good cheer as we waited to do our part to keep someone on the track at all times. Especially since the sponsor was adding to our team total for staying true to the Relay rule. Following in the footsteps of survivors, we continued on our endless loop of laps around the ball field. For almost ten hours straight.


In the midnight hour another magical moment happened. The energy slacked, the field’s crowd thinned and only the long haulers were left…trying to last all night along with their MP3 players. Exhausted and hobbled by blisters, my sister and I dug deep. I found the will to continue by thinking about my father and those last moments we’d shared. I remembered my grandfather who’d died from heart disease, and the way he’d always hung strong to go on another day. As I walked alongside a sea of luminaries I looked for names I recognized, reflecting on the computer wallpaper I’d made with a similar scene that bore the names of everyone I knew who deserved to be honored or remembered. The image filled up my screen…a sad testament. What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger, right?

In the past few months, I’ve logged more than 250 miles to prep for the Myrtle Beach Half Marathon. I’d planned to run with my sister in February, though she’d signed up for the marathon…26.2 miles. Surgery and recovery made her bump the goal down to the half. I’d opted for the half after having to rehab a hip injury. When the freak Valentine’s Day snowstorm sailed through and coated the beach with five inches, we knew it looked bad. About midnight, we learned the event had been cancelled. Sure we were bummed, but we got up, geared up and earned our medals by doing 13.2 miles along Ocean Boulevard. Why? Because we’d come to run, to see if all our hours of training would pay off…to prove to ourselves how strong we were. Yet we feel cheated since we didn’t cross the official finish line.

So this May we’re upping the stakes. Walking the Relay for Life event last year helped us realize we had the mental and physical endurance to do a marathon. This year how can we do less? To up the ante, literally, we’re helping One More Day, a brand new team, with an Endurance Relay Raffle. We’ll walk wearing our trusty pedometers, and the person who picks the number closest to the total of combined steps without going over wins part of the pot. The rest goes to Relay for Life to aid in the fight against cancer…and to spare families the pain we’ve known.


Though our hearts still ache for our loss, we’re channeling what we’ve learned to help others. If you’re enduring a battle with illness, trying to find a way to fit in fitness, or want to test yourself, consider doing a race. As I like to say “If you can only walk, then do so with purpose. You don’t have to walk for anyone but yourself.” However, walking for others, even a one mile Fun Run, can give you a sense of accomplishment you’ll be proud to share. By being more confidant and secure with yourself, you can shine your light upon the world and pay your newfound worth forward.

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If you'd like to know more about what I and my team will be up to tonight, check out http://www.relayforlife.org/alamancenc. And my page is at: http://main.acsevents.org/goto/kristy.mabe






Monday, May 10, 2010

Guest - Danielle Ackley-McPhail

Good morning everyone! Today's guest is author Danielle Ackley-McPhail.She's been both an editor and an award-winning author. She's got a fabulous article for us today. Oh, and read all the way to the Lynda Again section for details on her contest!

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Establishing Reality in Your Fantasy

I know…I know… seems like I’m contradicting myself, doesn’t it? Not really. No matter what you are writing—science fiction, fantasy, romance, etc—you need to establish some reality that your audience can identify with. Sometimes this draws on your own experience (after all, mostly we do write about what we know automatically), but sometimes we want to explore something different. For my novel, The Halfling’s Court: A Bad-Ass Faerie Tale, I wanted the backdrop of a biker bar with my primary character the leader of a biker gang. I am not a biker. I don’t interact with bikers. I’ve only been on a motorcycle once.

Yeah...what was I thinking! Actually, I was thinking this is going to be really cool! It was also a lot of work, though. See, bikers aren’t just tough men and women (or faeries, in the case of my novel) wearing leather and riding motor bikes. There is an entire culture there, right down to a unique language that to the uninitiated definitely needs interpretation. Fortunate for me, there are a lot of biker sites out there that have glossaries of terms that define the phrases for you and even put them into context. This was invaluable to me when I went to incorporate flavor into my story. Some of it was obvious and I could just substitute the terms for other words I would generally use, for example:

“What’ll you have?” asked the hot, young mattress cover masquerading as a waitress.


But often I had to work a bit of explanation into the text. Case in point:

“You keep tellin’ yourself that,” she murmured, her gaze brutal in its wisdom.

“These riders are here to make the run with you…with the Wind Walker.”

He hissed through clenched teeth. “Anyone can be a wind walker; all it takes is treating people right, looking out for them on the road.”


It was a challenge to insert just enough “color” without alienating the reader. I sprinkled in some motorcycle and biker facts, used the language where it felt appropriate and not forced and then let the story progress. It took research, but with the internet there is more than enough material out there on virtually anything you could want to use as a theme. And for what is not readily accessible, consider interviewing someone living in that culture or take a field trip (if that is an option) to observe people similar to the characters you wish to write. For me it was simple. My main character, Lance, is physically based on my uncle, and the secondary character Bubba is based on my brother. I have first-hand experience with their personalities and mindset as it applies to the culture I needed to portray.

Once I had the biker elements incorporated I could work in the fantasy thread needed for the story, in fact, in a way this was simpler than if I had chosen a different social group because believe it or not there are already fantasy elements in the biker world. Primary for my purposes was the legend of the road gremlin. See, the original biker gangs were made up of retired Air Force personnel. In the Air Force if something went wrong with a plane it was gremlins. When they transitioned into bikers that bit of legend came with them, morphed into road gremlins. To protect themselves from this hazard bikers hang little bells off their motorcycles. The ringing either scares the gremlins away from the bike before they get on, or it traps them in the bowl of the bell if they are already in residence. This was an ideal element for me to incorporate to link “reality” with “fantasy”.

To further strengthen the link between my bikers and the magical realm of faeries my biker gang is called the Wild Hunt, mirroring the legendary Hunt found in myth and folklore, only substituting motorcycles for the horses the faeries would ride. Also to mirror the magical realm the hierarchy of a biker club mimics a Court (as in royal or faerie) structure, thus setting up the primary conflict in my tale

When I applied magic to my characters it was something appropriate to their lifestyle…helmets spelled for protection, magic tattoos that link one character with another...things you would expect in real life, only with a magic twist.

After all, that is the challenge. Give a reader just enough that is familiar to them and then give it an unexpected twist. Now this context is urban fantasy, but a similar foundation can be applied to high fantasy equally as well. Just take the culture or social group you want to emulate and do you research then find ways to adapt their identifying features to a fantasy setting.

Have fun, play with it, but definitely do your homework because if you don’t capture the proper feel it doesn’t matter how well written the other aspects of your story are, if one thing doesn’t ring true it throws off the whole story.

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Better Get Your Bad-Ass On!

THE RUMBLE OF A HARLEY...
THE GLEAM OF BLACK LEATHER...
THE SHINE OF POLISHED CHROME...
THE FREEDOM OF THE OPEN ROAD....

Motorcycles meet magic and mayhem as Lance Cosain, the halfling leader of The Wild Hunt MC, protects his turf and his people from attacks ordered by Dair na Scath, the high king of the fae.

Holding his own against rogue fae, redcaps, and the gremlins of the road, all Lance wants to do is settle down with his lady. Instead he goes toe-to-toe with the high king’s champion over an ancient dagger and the claim to a throne.

Who will triumph? The king of the road or the king of the realm? Either way, the Hunt is on!

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EXCERPT (from The Halfing’s Court)
“Hey, man, it’s been a while.”

Lance turned abruptly to see a tall, lean man with shoulder-length, golden-blond hair and bright green eyes that glowed with power deep within. Lance nodded, giving his best friend a comfortable grin. Gavin was Suzanne’s brother. If he was here, she had to be around somewhere. Lance went back to scanning the place.

“She’s not here,” Gavin continued, as if reading his mind.

Lance’s brow drew down low, and the grin took on a menacing feel. He shoved away from Gavin and headed toward the bar.

“Suzanne’s not here,” Gavin went on as he followed. “but she should be. She called two hours ago to say she caught some static outside of Dalton, and I was to let you know she’s on her way.”

She was coming! Delayed only by an encounter with the police. He closed his eyes and breathed, deep and slow. Then the rest of what Gavin had said broke through.

“Two hours ago? Dalton’s not even an hour away. Was she havin’ trouble with the Shovelhead?”

“The bike was runnin’ fine.”

Lance didn’t know what to think. Suzanne was one of the best bikers he knew; she should have been here by now. Why hadn’t she called a second time? He wasn’t comfortable with the possibilities that came to mind. “Anything else happen on her ride?”

Gavin considered the question. “She told me she had a run-in with a couple of BUGs a few days back, but she said it was nothing. A few insults. It looked like they might get tough, but a cherry-top cruised by and the guys backed off. She was fine; they were gone. I didn’t think anything more of it….” His voice trailed off.

A slow burn devoured Lance’s patience. “And you haven’t gone after her yet?”

“I only just pulled in ten minutes before you.” Gavin’s mouth was grim. “She left the message at the bar.”

Where the hell was she?

http://www.darkquestbooks.com/store/product-info.php?pid68.html

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BIO
Award-winning author Danielle Ackley-McPhail has worked both sides of the publishing industry for over fifteen years. She is senior editor of the Bad-Ass Faeries anthology series, and a member of The Garden State Horror Writers and Broad Universe, a writer’s organization focusing on promoting the works of women authors in the speculative genres. Her most recent novel is The Halfling’s Court: A Bad-Ass Faerie Tale. She can be found on LiveJournal (damcphail), Facebook (Danielle Ackley-McPhail), and Twitter (DMcPhail). To learn more about her work, visit www.sidhenadaire.com.
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- Lynda Again

Danielle is offering a free ebook and a free computer wallpaper image to one lucky person who leaves a comment AND sends her an email at greenfirephoenix @ aol.com (no spaces) by noon on Friday, May 14


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