“Souls Around the World Blog Hop” an excerpt from Star Bright

Maria turned to face her, “Thanks, for everything and for letting us stay in your house.”

“No biggie, that’s what best friends…” Jane stopped, interrupted by a noise in the kitchen. They turned to face the kitchen door, neither of them making a move. Jane took a step and stood next to Maria, her eyes glued to the kitchen door, “I need to call Tom,” she put her hand in her apron pocket and pulled it out cursing quietly, “I left my phone behind the counter.”

Maria moved forward, “I’ll go get it.”  Jane pulled her back.

“Are you crazy? Let’s just get out of here!”

“What if they are covering all the exists? Let’s just call Tom and the Sheriff.” Maria pulled her hand out of Jane’s hold and walked quietly to the counter. She crouched down and searched for Jane’s phone.

“Maria!” Jane yelled. The fear in her voice made Maria freeze. She felt her heart race and her throat dry out. She hadn’t felt that kind of fear since Ricky died. She stood up and slowly turned to the shadow next to her.

“Hello honey, did you miss me?”

Maria’s heart raced faster and her body tightened. She fought  the  urge  to  curl  up  on  the  floor  and  cry desperately. She thought she had rid herself of this nightmare. She was right the first time, nothing could save her from him, not even death.

“You did this to me.” He hissed out pointing to his face with a disfigured finger. Maria hadn’t bothered to really look at him. When she heard his voice, the same scary,  angry  face  popped  into  her  head,  but  now  she really looked at him.

The left side of his face and neck was burnt and the skin was folded up. The edge of his lips and his left eye were drooped down. His arms were covered, but his fingers exposed more burn marks. He let his hair grow out to cover his forehead and his ear. Maria looked at him sickened,  all  she  could  think  about  was  the  character Two-face in the Batman movie.

Moving closer to Maria, “I disgust you, don’t I?” She moved back and bumped into the counter. There was nowhere  to  go,  “Answer  me,  do  I  disgust  you?”  He roared louder. Maria looked at him, the familiar fear creeping  inside  her.  She  jumped  on  the  counter,  but Ricky pulled her down before she could get over it. She fell back, crushing into the glasses and the liquor bottles behind her.

Jane watched Ricky for a moment, shocked that the dead man was still alive. He had been laying low for three months, healing and planning his revenge. She should have known, evil people are usually harder to kill. When Maria went crushing into the glasses, she picked up a stool and knock Ricky over the head with it. He fell over Maria like a ton of bricks. Maria screamed, pushing Ricky off her with her bleeding hands, Jane grabbed her phone and her purse and followed Maria out of the diner.
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Author’s Compromising On Their Work

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Why do publishers ask for the first three chapters of a MS?

Have you ever read the first chapter of a book and found it really bland, but because you’ve spent money on this book, or an author has asked you for an honest review, you push yourself to read at least the next two chapters. And when those do nothing for you either, the book is cast aside.

How many reviews have you seen with the words ‘couldn’t finish because I couldn’t relate’ or ‘the first chapters were so boring i figured the rest of the book will be the same’.

When author’s send a query to the publisher, attached is a book synopsis. How the synopsis is written influences whether or not the author will receive a callback requesting the first three chapters of the MS. This is where the author either secures a contract or receives a rejection letter. These first chapters need to be engaging, drawing the reader in and keeping them hooked to the end of the book. I call these chapters bait because they determine the readership of that book.

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So can we blame publishers when they ask authors to either add or subtract to it? Can we truly blame publishers when at the end of the day, the book should be carrying the editor’s name not the author’s because it doesn’t resemble the original work?

Publishers never sign books that are not marketable despite how great the story may be. They would never place themselves in a position of facing huge losses because they believe in an author’s vision, in their creative ingenuity crossing their fingers hoping readers also see this. In circumstances where the publishers find the story interesting enough, they do ask authors to rework the book and re-submit.

Usually i ask myself, ‘why should i struggle to identify what i need to rework when i have no idea what they see as being wrong with it?’ This is because the publishers doesn’t want to spend more than what they deem necessary on editors. The less work the book needs the better/ cheaper for them. And once an author ‘reworked’ (and some authors just change one or two words and resubmit) and the publisher deems the changes satisfactory, the author receives a contract. The publishers gave the author a chance to perfect the MS and once the contract is signed, it’s their turn to do with it as they think best.

There is all this lingo that you need to read and understand before signing on the dotted line and most of the time, authors don’t take the necessary time to read and understand. Well, there are three sections that need undivided attention, the Royalties, rights and terms of agreement.

‘The author agrees to be open about changes the publishers believe the manuscript need and should not be obstinate. if so, the contract will be broken and author will pay for work already done up to the point of disagreement’

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Yeah, authors really need to watch out for this line in their contracts because holding onto your integrity will end up costing a bundle. So for those who have no other choice but to agree, they do find that the book has undergone so many changes it doesn’t resemble the story s/he penned down. Why? Because publishers only publish marketable manuscripts. For those who published vampire books during the Twilight craze, they did find their books resembling that series a lot, just not so much as to risk being sued for plagiarism, because Edward and Bella was what was marketable during that time.

Book covers aren’t immune either. The author describes what they like, what they believe best tells their story in a picture or the models pose. You’d think that would be simple enough. No way. If publishers don’t like the description given, the author receives an email containing a cover s/he either didn’t approve of the first time or didn’t ask for with the comment ‘the publisher has made the executive decision to chose the final book cover‘.

Clearly, the publishing industry is just like any other entertainment industry in the world. Author’s are forced to conform to what is in season at the time and unique becomes the ugly step-sister.  Well, unless there is just one or two things that make it standout from all the other zebras. It does explain why publishers have authors write books under one theme, or a plot line. See why there are so many self-published authors who do better than those represented. Because they are uniquely themselves, not a clone of Stephanie Meyer or the other big names in publishing.

So do you as an author fight for your vision or do you compromise? When does an author say I’d rather invest in my own work and be uniquely me or will they say as long as I’m getting paid they can do the hell they want with the book?

Books ought to be judged by their own merits, and what makes them unique and if the creative vision is compelling and engaging and not some business model. Personally, I don’t read books with the same plot line or story line unless there is something very unique about them. What’s the point of paying for three to five books that are the same nursery rhythm with the same melody and lyrics just sang by different people at a different tempo?

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STRENGTH IN OUR COLORS

KENYAN&HERLOVERS

When we meet real tragedy in life, we can react in two ways

— either by losing hope and falling into self-destructive habits,

or by using the challenge to find our inner strength.

Dalai Lama

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KENYA has four colors in its flag. Each color is a symbol. The colour black represents the people of the Republic of Kenya, red for the blood shed during the fight for freedom, green for the country’s landscape; the white fimbriation was added later to symbolize peace and honesty. The black, red, and white traditional Maasai shield and two spears symbolize the defense of all the things mentioned above.

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Its is obvious to the whole world the tragedy that took place in my home, Nairobi Kenya. Innocent lives were lost, from the innocent unborn child to someone grandfather. As the world watched what was happening to a foreign land, Kenyans lived it. They watched, a prayer…

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Welcome Featured Romance Author Chicki Brown

downloadShades of Romance Magazine 2011 Author of the Year, Chicki Brown has published six novels and one novella, all of which have made different Kindle bestseller lists.

A voracious reader since she was a child, Chicki grew up in New Jersey reading everything she could get her hands on. Now she concentrates on romance, women’s fiction and suspense.

Mother of two and grandmother of five, Brown was born and raised in New Jersey and now calls suburban Atlanta, Georgia home.

She can be found at any of the following sites: Blog, Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook

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BLURB:
 

School media specialist, Gianne Marvray, has been through the worst two years of her life physically and emotionally. After a battle with cancer and all it entails, she is finally ready to start living her life again. She wants to see new places, meet new people and experience new things, but she isn’t ready for the rollercoaster ride she’s about to embark on when she meets Las Vegas personal trainer and raw vegan foods advocate, Marc Stafford.

After a four year absence, Marc comes home to Atlanta to attend a family celebration in one of his brother’s honor. He’s not thrilled about seeing his father, but he has promised his mother that he won’t throw off the family balance by being the only one of their six sons absent. All Marc wants to do is make an appearance at the event and spend a little time with his brothers. Little does he know that this is the night he will meet the woman who will forever change his life.

 

EXCERPT:

Gianne strolled through the room and looked for an unoccupied table. When she didn’t find a vacant table, she chose one not far from the door where only two people were seated. Neither of them seemed friendly, probably the reason they were sitting alone. Once she settled in the chair and smoothed her dress, Gianne busied herself with reading the short printed program placed above each water glass, which took all of five minutes. She closed her eyes and willed herself to at least enjoy the meal. When she opened them, she looked right into the watercolor gaze of the handsomest man she’d ever seen. And he was staring directly at her.

Not knowing what else to do, Gianne offered him a small smile, yet he just stood there appearing startled, which she didn’t understand. Just to be certain she was the object of his attention, she turned and glanced over her shoulder to see if anyone stood behind her. When she looked back, her movement seemed to stir him.

“Please forgive me for staring,” he said in a deep, rich tone that sent waves of warmth right to her core. “Have we met before?”

Although she tried, Gianne was unable to keep her gaze from traveling the length of his tall body from those incredible eyes to the long black hair that curled onto his wide shoulders and over the black designer suit that fit his lean, yet well-built body perfectly.

“I don’t think so. You must be one of the Stafford brothers.”

He moved closer and acknowledged the other two guests at the table for the first time with a smile and a casual nod before he extended his hand to her. “Marc Stafford. And you are?”

“Gianne Marvray.”

“Beautiful name. Very fitting.” He smiled, and an air of sensuality surrounded him. “Are you a friend of Vic’s?”

“Not really. I know him professionally.” No need to give him the gory details. And your brother, the fine surgeon that he is, made sure I never have any children of my own.

He lowered his gaze, and she knew he was admiring the cleavage showcased by the V in the front of her dress. “Do you mind if I join you? I’d rather not sit with the family.” He shrugged. “Long story.”

He set his glass on the table, pulled out the chair on her left and sat angling his body toward her.

“Dr. Stafford mentioned that he has six sons. Where do you fall in the lineup?”

“Charles and I are actually number three. We’re twins.”

“Really? Which one is he?” she asked, returning her gaze to the head table.

“The second one to my father’s left.”

She studied his brother from a distance then said, “Oh, yes. I see the likeness. It’s just your hair that makes you look different. Is that intentional?”

Marc chuckled. “No. It just took me thirty-five years to finally stop wearing the buzz cut my father always insisted on.”

She gave the shiny hair cascading onto the shoulders of his perfectly fitted suit an admiring glance. “I guess I’m sensitive to the whole hair thing, since mine is just starting to grow back.” She ran a hand over her head and Marc frowned.
Available on: Amazon, Smashwords, Nook 

 

Five Habits to Avoid in Fiction Writing

Another great article from Scribendi I just had to share. This site is so great in giving meaningful writing advice, i’ve made it a part of my reading schedule. Make sure you visit this site during your writing journey. I’ve noticed a change in my own writing and it’s just been a week!

Bad Habits You Must Avoid In Your Writing!

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1. Generic verbs and nouns

Imagine trying to paint everything in the world using only four colors. The results would probably look pretty generic. When you are a writer, your language is your medium. People, places, and things (i.e., nouns) have names, and it’s your job to know what they are. Precise nouns work wonders in fiction writing because nouns have connotations or meanings that go beyond their dictionary definitions. If one character gives another character flowers, tell readers what kind of flowers. Are they tulips or columbines or snapdragons or peonies? This information could hint at what time of year it is (tulips are pretty scarce in September) and could also tell us something about the character who gives the flowers. Four dozen roses are expensive—does this person have money or like to show off? A bouquet of wildflowers might have come from the character’s backyard—perhaps this person likes to garden.

A similar thought process should be applied to the selection of verbs. There are at least 12 synonyms for the verb to laugh, and each one evokes a specific image. A character could express amusement by cackling, chortling, chuckling, giggling, guffawing, snickering, sniggering, tittering, crowing, whooping, simpering, or smirking. Precise verbs contribute greatly to characterization. If a man walks into a room, all readers know is that he has entered. He could be anybody. But if he limps in, right away readers want to know if he is old or injured or tired. If he gallops in, readers know he is energetic or excited about some piece of news. If he swaggers, readers wonder if he is full of himself or perhaps just drunk.

2. The exception: He said, she said

Reading good dialogue makes readers feel like they’re actually listening in on a real conversation. Because of this, it can be very disruptive if the author keeps butting in to tell readers that the speaker intoned or declared or asserted or retorted. It could seem that using “said” repeatedly in dialogue tags is repetitive, but in fact the little word is so inconspicuous, it just fades into the background—which is exactly what we want when we’re trying to listen in on a good conversation. The rare deviation is fine (asked, in particular, seems to be okay once in a while), but if you find yourself using a colorful synonym for every dialogue tag in your manuscript or screenplay, you may be doing more harm than good.

3. Adjective/Adverb-a-rhea

Sometimes a well-placed and specific adverb or adjective strengthens or clarifies an image. However, many writers, in a misguided attempt to make their fiction writing descriptive, overuse these words. If you master the use of precise nouns and verbs (see tip number one), you’ll almost certainly avoid the bad habit of propping up a weak verb or noun with a host of intrusive modifiers, as in the following example:

Carrying a steaming and fragrant mug, she walked angrily and loudly into his office.

Why write that, when you could have simply said:

Carrying her peppermint tea, she stormed into his office.

The second sentence actually gives us more information using fewer words.

Furthermore, when editing your manuscript, be especially wary of adjectives that don’t actually convey much…

interesting, lovely, exciting, beautiful

…and adverbs that introduce redundancy…

stereo blared loudly (blared implies high volume)

scrubbed vigorously (scrubbed implies intensity)

…or contradict the meaning of the verb or adjective they modify.

slightly pregnant (with pregnancy, you either are or aren’t!)

very unique (something is either unique or not unique)

4. Inconsistent point of view

An author of fiction must choose the perspective, or point of view, from which a story will be told. In first-person narration, one charactertells the story in his or her own voice (using “I”). Third-person narration can be either limited (an objective narrator tells the story by focusing on a particular character’s thoughts and interactions) or omniscient (the narrator sees and hears all). No single point of view is better than another, but once you have made a choice, be consistent. If your story is told in first-person, then remember that the narrator must be present in every scene he describes to the reader; otherwise, how would he have the information? If a limited third-person narrator who hears only Tom’s thoughts tells the story for the first four chapters, the reader should not suddenly be privy to the mailman’s daydreams in chapter five.

Of course, there are some fine examples of novels that experiment with point of view by switching between narrators. But even in these stories, some kind of predictable pattern is imposed for clarity, such as a change in narrator from one chapter to the next but not within a chapter.

5. Unnaturally expositional, stilted, or irrelevant dialogue

Read your dialogue out loud. Does it sound like the way people actually talk (without all the ums and ahs and boring digressions, of course)? Do the characters rattle off factual information you are trying to jam into the story? Are they talking about the weather? Because if they’re talking about the weather, you’d better have a good reason for it. Otherwise, the reader will feel bored, and a bored reader closes his or her book and turns on the TV.

All this advice is important, but by far the worst habit a fiction writer can develop is the habit of giving up too easily. Keep writing every day. If you need help, remember that our manuscript editors are available 24/7 and they can help you tackle all of your manuscript mishaps.

 

COVER REVEAL “HER VENICE AFFAIR” by CHRISTINA O.W

KENYAN&HERLOVERS

28082010093 Not many people know this but I did not come into this world alone. My twin sister Rinah (Christina OW) and I are different in so many ways. But we both possess the desire to create, and crazy imaginations too. I think looking alike and creativity are the only things we have in common. She has a new book coming out on October 30th by Secret Cravings (did I mention we also have similar publishers). Its called HER VENICE AFFAIR, fancy name huh? Well read the synopsis and first chapter and preorder it. I know you are going to love it. DSC_0310 Riana and Reno Albury came to America with their mother Cora Davis who ran away from her New Providence home after she was confronted by her lover’s wife. After their mother’s death and Reno’s deportation, Riana is left alone in NYU. Life seems to only gets worse when she…

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Welcome Featured Romance Author Deanna Jewel

Please welcome Deanna Jewel, multi-genre romance author. Ms. Jewel shares wisdom and personal experiences in her interview, information writers, authors, and readers may use or find interesting. Readers, thank you for joining us this week and be sure to get into her contests below! Without further delay, I’ll hand the floor over to Ms. Jewel:

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Christina: Deanna, welcome my blog! Of your books, which one was the easiest to write? Why?

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 Deanna:  Thank you for having me this week. I love chatting with new readers! Never Surrender was the easiest. I have to explain this: No Turning Back was actually my FIRST manuscript, but published second because I had so much correcting to do as I learned a LOT writing that first manuscript. When I wrote Never Surrender, it came easier than my first manuscript and was like a movie in my head that I just put on paper. During the writing of the second one, I had learned the meaning of POV for characters and NOT to head hop for my readers. That only confuses them and causes them to go back and reread. So – Never Surrender was released first but was my second manuscript. No Turning Back was the first, and for me a training manuscript, and was released second.

 Christina: Which of your characters do you most resonate with?

Deanna:  It’s not so much one character as it is different character traits. I like a strong female who isn’t always on the fence about how to react to a situation. They’re strong and know what they want and one way or another, WILL get what they want!

Christina: Which of your characters was the toughest to write? Why?

Deanna: The toughest was Vanessa in No Turning Back. I still can’t put my finger on it but she was different. She’s still a strong-willed character but I know I didn’t  go deep enough with her.

Christina: What is your writing routine – a typical day? Explain.

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Deanna:  I do my own marketing and email in the morning and normally write at night because I help at the office as much as I can as we own offices for a tax business, so we’re extremely busy January through April. My writing begins again full force about mid-May. I wrote a sequel to No Turning Back and reincarnated my characters 200 years later in Whispers at Ghost Point, about a ghost in an abandoned light house at Wilmington NC.

 Christina: Did you do research for your books and if so, where did you find it?

 Deanna:  For Never Surrender, my brother lived in Dubois WY and when I visited there back in ’95 and ’97 the story just popped into my head or rather, the characters did, and wouldn’t leave until I finished their story. They are now at me to write the sequel and I’m not ready to do that yet so they keep etching scenes into my mind for later. I did lots of research on the Shoshone Nation and their way of life back then so I hope I did them proud in my novel. I was also lucky enough to contact a linguistics professor from Boise State University who was kind enough to translate a bit of my Shoshone dialogue into their language for me. I’d love to reach him to let him know it’s now in print but haven’t been successful at that. He did the translation back in ’98 for me so it’s been a while.

The research I did for No Turning Back was fun but I have to admit I was very fortunate to have someone stumble upon a few chapters I’d posted and she let me know that I didn’t have all my equine information correct. She alerted me to bloodlines in England at the time my story takes place so I was able to pull in and include that information to make the story a bit more real. I owe all the horse information to her and she IS in my acknowledgements for the book.

For Whispers at Ghost Point, my husband and I visited Wilmington NC and Savannah GA. I’m happy to say I ate and walked many of the locations in the story. I loved visiting both states and locations! I also believe in the paranormal and that helped me make the ghost as real as possible!

 Christina: What inspired you to write fiction? Romance?

 Deanna:  I’ve always been a romantic at heart and still am. I also believe in happy endings and finding love a second time when one thinks there is no one else for them. I fell in love with Kathleen Woodiwiss, Rosemary Rogers, Virginia Henley, and Victoria Holt – oops, I think that’s dating myself a bit, but their books are soooo good. Then I read several by other authors that had poor plotting, bad dialogue, head hopping which caused me to have to reread paragraphs to see if I missed something and I knew I had to at least try my hand at writing. It took me 15 years after writing the stories to actually put them into print so I hope readers will enjoy them.

 Christina: List the ways people can find you.ebook_image

 Deanna:  I have contact links on my websites, as well as links to sign up for my newsletter (I do hold contests for subscribers!) All of my books are available on at all online stores and Never Surrender and Unleash Your Inner Strength are FREE until the end of September. I love to hear from readers and other authors so please contact me, follow me or join me:

Website BookBuzzer FanPageFB Blog Smashwords

 Christina: What tip would you give an aspiring fiction author?

 Deanna: Study character POV so you aren’t head hopping; this confuses the readers. If you ever read a book and it seems a fast read for you, it’s probably because the author only used a few points of view so you didn’t always wonder whose head you were in!

Be sure to use all five senses! Your readers want to smell what the characters smell, feel what they touch…does the hero have a smooth face or did he not shave yet today? *wink* Let the reader taste what the characters do – is the lemonade tart? Does it stab at the back of their jaw when they taste it?

One more tip:  Read your work out loud. If it sounds short and choppy as you read out loud, it will sound the same way to a reader. Make one sentence flow into the next so it reads smoother. Word has a function that will let you find words that are used too often such as she/he, her/him, was, etc. Use that and highlight those words then go back and make changes. Don’t make your story sound like an instruction manual!

 Christina: Would you tell us about why you decided to self-publish, and how it is working out?

 Deanna:  A few years ago I agreed to go with an online publisher. It ended badly and was partly my fault because I didn’t research her company or her for that matter. I woke up one day to find the website gone and the authors scrambling to figure out what was happening. She’d kept all the royalties and not paid any of them for a year or more. Luckily, I wasn’t one of the badly burned authors and didn’t lose much money but some lost a lot.

Currently, I self-publish after being burned like that. I do realize not all online publishers are like that but I’m not ready to take that chance again just yet. I enjoy doing my covers although I did have someone else finish the cover for No Turning Back for me and I didn’t have the time to learn how then. I did produce the new cover for Never Surrender and have received many comments on it! The sales are finally moving on that book also.

I do my own marketing, Twitter, FaceBook, blog, Author’s Den, websites, book signings, book marks, book trailers, at YouTube (which I find I love doing though they take about twelve hours to do, or longer), and I do interviews on my blog for other authors to help get their books out there.

 Christina: Tell us a little about your current work in progress.

Deanna:  I recently finished Whispers at Ghost Point and it’s now available. I find reincarnation fascinating though some don’t believe in that. I do and I believe in ghosts and that they are all around us, good or bad. But my ghost in Whispers has been trapped in the light house for centuries searching for the love he lost in a past life, his ship and his crew off the coast of North Carolina.

I’m now working on the sequel to my Indian time travel, Never Surrender. I’ve got no title yet and no release date at this point but the story will continue where Never Surrender ends. I hope all of you download the FREE book while you can.

 Christina: Can you share a bit of your historical with us?

 Deanna: I’d love to share a bit from No Turning Back:

 Excerpt:

Jewel_276:Layout 1 He tasted her skin and kissed a path down the side of her neck, along her bared collar bone. The muscles low in his groin contracted as her touch ignited embers deep inside of him that had lain dormant far too long. Nathan had hoped he’d hardened his feelings, buried them deep, but this woman had unknowingly found a way to caress his soul. He never thought he’d find another female who could incite such rolling passion within him, but then – Vanessa was no ordinary woman.

Listening to her moans of pleasure, feeling her body quiver at his touch, he knew he had awakened feelings she wanted left hidden, but the fire she created with him needed to be quenched. The heaviness of his arousal, coupled with the intoxicating scent of her, intensified the sensitivity of his flesh, making the movement of her hands on his back send a tremor down his spine. He ached all over for her.

As his lips seared a path across the swell of her breast, a moan again escaped her lips. When he glanced at her face, her closed eyes more than explained the pleasure she experienced with him. He slid his fingers beneath the material of her gown at her other shoulder, slipping it down to bare her breasts. He took his time, enjoying her soft skin. Leisurely tasting a rosy peak, Nathan gathered the weight of her breast in his hand. She pressed her head back into the pillow, and bit into her lower lip. Her movements brushed against his arousal and a groan slipped from his throat as he suckled her breast.

Gripping Vanessa’s waist, he rolled over, taking her with him. Her hair swept his face. He brushed it to one side, cupped her face in his hands and their eyes met; he sought another slow, amorous kiss. Her lips burned with fire, her tongue hot against his own, swirling together, making him crazy. The passion intensified his emotions.

The weight of her body atop him drove his desire to the edge. He’d make love to her right now if they didn’t slow down. With his need for her being so strong and suppressed for too long, Nathan withdrew from the kiss. Vanessa’s breath came in ragged gasps, telling him this affected her in the same way. He’d loved her for so long now and to hope for the same feelings to be returned made his heart soar.

She rested her forehead on his chest as he held her tight. “Nathan…we have to stop. I can’t do this,” she whispered and the muscles of his body tensed upon hearing her words, knowing they couldn’t go where they both wanted at the moment.

 * * * *

 Christina: Deanna, thank you. It’s been a pleasure and enlightening having you as my featured guest author today. Congratulations and I wish you many more publishing successes.

Deanna:  Christina, thank you so much for introducing me to your readers. I hope you get a chance to read Never Surrender so you can enjoy a trip back to the Rockies in Wyoming and meet Taima, my blue-eyed warrior! Readers, thank you all for stopping in. Do click over and get into my other contests! My Grand Prize Contest is HERE.

CONTEST ALERT!!!

Leave a comment, along with your email and GC choice, and tell me what your favorite genre is to read and why. I’ll pick one commenter on the 21st to win a $10 gift card! Plus the code for the Grand Prize giveaway via Rafflecopter (4-$25 gift cards) – drawing is Oct 14th:

 <a id=”rc-8e5fca36″ href=”http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/8e5fca36/” rel=”nofollow”>a Rafflecopter giveaway</a>

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 Author Biography &Links

Deanna Jewel lives in the Pacific Northwest and has been writing multi-genre romance since 1991. She is married to a retired captain of the fire department. He’s also owned his own businesses for 23 years. They have two Siamese cats: Zoie and Sinbad, who keep them entertained. Deanna has enjoyed reading historical romance novels for over thirty years, camping with her family, and traveling.

She writes to draw the reader into the story to experience what the characters feel, to show both the hero’s and heroine’s points of view, and to take the reader away from their every day stress to a place not yet visited.

A trip to Dubois, Wyoming, south of Yellowstone, inspired her time-travel novel. The landscape and town locations described in NEVER SURRENDER are real.  Jon Daley, a professor at Boise State University, translated the Shoshone language that you will find in the book. This novel won an Honorable Mention in the 2008 Quill Awards at Writing.com.

NO TURNING BACK, her historical romance, takes place in England, 1778, was released in April 2010, and is available in print, eBook and iBook for download to your electronic readers.

Her newest novel, WHISPERS AT GHOST POINT, released in late December, 2012. Whispers takes place at an abandoned lighthouse in Wilmington, NC and is the sequel to No Turning Back. The characters are reincarnated into the present. Join Dana as she learns about her past while working toward her future. The dangers that lurk at an abandoned lighthouse pull her into a past she was unaware of but also involves a man she’s never met…in this lifetime!

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The End by Denise Moncrief

The End:

Sometimes the end is only the beginning.

 

Almost a year after her husband dies, Ellie Marston opens the file for Tab’s last manuscript, a thriller so compelling it reads like a true story. His manuscript needs an ending, so Ellie writes the obvious conclusion. The same morning she types The End, her career as an assistant district attorney falls apart. Accused of throwing the high profile Patterson case, she resigns in disgrace. The only friend she has left in the criminal justice system is Det. Paul Santiago, a man she has worked closely with on numerous cases. While she was married to Tab, she squashed her growing feelings for Paul, determined to make her deteriorating marriage work, but circumstances after Tab’s death bring Ellie and Paul together.

Ellie’s paranoia increases as she becomes convinced Patterson is harassing her, certain that someone is searching her belongings for any hidden evidence she might have that would reopen his case. It becomes clear there was a conspiracy to release Patterson. She seeks help from her former co-worker, Presley Sinclair, but soon discovers Presley is deeply involved in the subsequent cover up. Worse yet, Tab’s affair with Presley drew him into the twisted conspiracy as well.

Together Paul and Ellie attempt to uncover the conspiracy in the District Attorney’s office, the set up that forced her to resign. The key to the mystery is hidden in the pages of Tab’s manuscript. Once Paul and Ellie come to the correct conclusion—Tab’s manuscript is a true story and Ellie’s added ending is the only logical outcome—Ellie attempts to reveal Patterson’s hidden partner in the District Attorney’s office, but the co-conspirator she uncovers is not whom she suspects. Danger swirls around her as she steps further and further into the conspirator’s trap.

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Excerpt of The End:

Tab’s Mac wobbled on the edge of the coffee table in front of me as my fingers tapped out the letters of the final sentence of the final scene as if they had a mind of their own. The idea for the ending had come to me in the middle of the night, and I was determined to finish the project before I forgot what I wanted to write. I hit return and then spaced down and typed The End with a flourish. I didn’t know if writers wrote that at the end of a manuscript, but I did it anyway.

I leaned back on the sofa. A smile should have formed, but it didn’t. I was pleased…but exhausted. The urge to finish Tab’s final project had been satisfied. How did he do this? The process had mutilated every one of my emotions.

He had put a lot of himself into his writing. I’d watched him, absorbed for hours on end, struggling to choose just the right word or just the right sentence structure. He’d tried for years to get an agent or a publisher to read one of his manuscripts. After numerous rejections, he’d send them to the virtual trash bin with an angry jab to the delete button. It appeared like a lot of wasted effort to me.

Thinking about Tab kicked me in the gut once again. He had been dead for almost a year, but his memory could still hit me hard when I least expected it. It’s true. You never get over losing someone you love the way I had loved him.

I was awake late one night the previous week watching Castle on a Netflix disk, when I decided it was time to read Tab’s unfinished masterpiece—well at least it would have been a masterpiece in his humble opinion—if he had discussed it with me. He never mentioned the project. I didn’t even know the manuscript existed until after the accident that took his life. If I hadn’t been searching the hard drive of his Mac for something else, I would have never known about it.

Odd. Tab wasn’t a secretive sort of guy. Was he?

So his unfinished manuscript had remained unread on the hard drive of his Mac for months. I’d put the idea of reading his final words aside, but then I couldn’t stand it anymore. I had to read what he left behind.

When I opened the file, I expected to read something sentimental and just a little cheesy, something with a made-for-television happy ending. I expected to cry like a baby when I read his final words. Tab was the most dramatic man I’d ever met.

Instead, I became engrossed in a thriller that read so real I wondered if he had written a true story. All the plot needed was a realistic ending.

And the end came to me in the middle of the night.

It was done now. For better or for worse. I reached for my coffee mug and took a sip, then grimaced. The brew had gone stone cold. I rose from the sofa and slogged into the kitchen to refill my cup and stick it in the microwave. As I waited for the ready beep, the view outside my window captured my attention. A bare limb of an oak tree swayed, easily manipulated by the wind. The weather promised another gloomy, rainy day. I pulled my robe closer around me, but the chill of the morning pierced the terry cloth. I shuddered and headed for my bedroom.

My linens lay on my bed, twisted and tangled from tossing and turning. I had no desire to go to work. Finishing Tab’s masterpiece had drained my energy, and when I finally dragged my butt into the office, I would have to confront my boss. Executive Assistant District Attorney Michael Leads would not be happy with my lack of progress on the Baxter case. Into my second year as an assistant district attorney, I was well aware I had missed my calling. My confidence in the criminal justice system had disappeared. My passion for convicting the right offender put me in constant conflict with a process that had morphed over the years into a system designed for speed rather than accuracy.

With no enthusiasm, I dressed for the day. I chose my best black suit because it matched my mood, but beneath it I wore a bright, cherry red blouse. My power outfit. I needed all the chutzpah I could manage to face Leads’ wrath. It was coming at me, like a hurricane hovering off the coast trying to decide which shore was most vulnerable.

After applying a few final touches to my makeup, I zipped a brush through my hair, made a pretense of brushing my teeth, and swished an ounce of mouthwash. I held my hand over my mouth. My breath still smelled of stale coffee. I looked into the mirror and groaned, then swiped at the toothpaste stain on my lapel with a damp rag before heading toward the living room. After a few minutes of panicked searching, I found my only pair of black heels under the sofa.

I was as ready for my confrontation with Leads as I was ever going to get. My briefcase leaned next to the front door where I’d dropped it the night before. I had planned to review some case files before I went to bed, but once I closed my apartment door behind me, nothing could have motivated me to open my briefcase last night.

The ride to the office was probably the longest of my career. Lights flashed through the windows as the train passed through another station. I held tight to a strap above me because all the seats were full, always a marker of how my day would go. I was running late, and there was no hope for me.

My mind drifted. Instead of mentally listing the things I needed to accomplish at work that day, I dwelt on how I should have chosen a different path for my life and what that path would have been. Had everything I suffered to work my way through college and then law school really been for nothing?

Available from 5 Prince Publishing www.5princebooks.com  books@5princebooks.com

Genre: Fiction/Romance/Suspense

Release Date: September 5, 2012

Digital ISBN 13:978-1-939217-69-1 ISBN 10: 1-939217-69-5

Print ISBN 13:978-1-939217-70-7  ISBN 10: 1-939217-70-9

Purchase link : www.5princebooks.com/buy.html

 

download (6)Denise wrote her first story when she was in high school—seventeen hand-written pages on school-ruled paper and an obvious rip-off of the last romance novel she read. She earned a degree in accounting, giving her some nice skills to earn a little money, but her passion has always been writing. She has written numerous short stories and more than a few full-length novels. Her favorite pastimes when she’s not writing are spending time with her family, traveling, reading, and scrapbooking. She lives in Louisiana with her husband, two children, and one very chubby dog.

www.denisemoncrief.com

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www.twitter.com/dmoncrief0131

www.amazon.com/Denise-Moncrief/e/B007Y6Z1CU

Ten tips to help you avoid telling writing

Hi All!

My editor keeps telling me I ‘tell’ a story instead of ‘showing’. She did explain it to me but I still had no idea what she was talking about so I went looking for a detailed explanation. I found this article on Scribendi and it helped me a lot and i thought to share it with you. It has a lot of helpful tips on showing writing.

How to Avoid Telling Writing in Fiction

 

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Creative writing teachers love to dole out wisdom or advice about fiction writing, as if they’re part of some esoteric order that guarantees enlightenment to all who memorize their pearls of wisdom. One of the most often quoted axioms is: “Show, don’t tell.” The idea is to keep students from explaining the story, that is, to stop them from using telling writing and get them to use showing writing instead. Creative writing students have heard this phrase so many times it has essentially lost all meaning. In fact, it has become such an entrenched part of learning how to write that we seem incapable of recognizing the statement fails to fulfill its own standards. “Show, don’t tell”? Pfft… Have you ever read a more telling sentence in your life? Never one to be content with the status quo, I have compiled ten tips that actually describe how to avoid telling writing.

1. Use dialogue

This is probably one of the easiest ways to avoid telling writing. Dialogue allows readers to explore the scene as if they were there. Dialogue can also help with characterization, providing emotion, and accentuating mood. Here’s a fun exercise: try to write a complete story using only dialogue.

2. Use the senses

Another way to avoid telling writing is to make use of the five senses. Evoking the senses requires readers to recall their own experiences. Try to focus on the underused senses. Writers tend to focus on the senses of sight, touch, and hearing, but smell and taste are just as evocative. One of my favorite books as a kid was Jerry Spinelli’s “Maniac Magee.” It’s the book that made me want to be a writer, all because of one phrase: “sweet onion smelling grass.”

3. Description

Description is sometimes problematic because it’s so easy to overdo. Remember the job of description is to paint a scene, but only the necessary parts of that scene. You don’t need to include every detail. Describe what is relevant and describe it in a new and fresh way. For example, instead of this telling writing sentence, “John was very tall,” try something like, “John kept bumping his head on the top of the doorframe.”

4. Look for adjectives

This is a great technique for finding instances of telling writing in your manuscript. Nearly every instance of an adjective is an undeveloped opportunity for some great showing writing. Consider the phrase “smelly dog.” As a phrase, it’s fine, if boring. Try to show the smelly dog: “Joanna wrinkled her nose as the dog approached and then tried to sneeze the scent away.” Your turn: try to think of other ways to describe a smelly dog.

5. Use nouns that work for you

Nouns are the laziest parts of speech in the English language. They don’t really do much. Whatever they are, that’s what they are. But nouns can be whipped into shape and used to avoid telling writing. Consider the difference between the words “husky,” “dog,” and “mongrel.” They might all refer to the same thing; but ask yourself, which would you rather pet?

6. Avoid adverbs

Avoiding adverbs is another relatively simple technique that will help turn your telling writing into showing writing. These little words are very easy to spot. Look for any word ending in “ly” and consider expanding it to show the story action. Instead of “She ran tiredly,” consider the phrase “She ran until her legs pumped battery acid.”

7. Metaphors

Using metaphors is another great way to avoid telling writing. However, as with description, you must be careful when using metaphors because they can cross into the realm of clichés in the blink of an eye. If creative writing has a crime worse than telling, it’s being clichéd. If you use “in the blink of an eye,” I will personally come and poke you in your blinking eye.

8. Be on guard for emotional qualifiers

I don’t have many pet peeves in writing, but emotional qualifiers drive me absolutely nuts. Whenever I read the word “anguish” in creative writing, I see red. Words like “amazement,” “happily,” and “sadly” make my blood boil. Instead of using these empty words, find new and refreshing ways to describe emotional states, or better yet, allow your characters to convey their emotional states through action and dialogue. That being said, writers should also avoid clichéd gestures for emotion (e.g., biting fingernails to convey anxiety).

9. Be specific, not vague

The above points could be accurately summarized by stating that writers should be specific rather than vague. Telling writing does not deal in specifics, which allows writers to rely on generalizations. For some reason, writers sometimes fear that being too specific will alienate their readers, but the opposite is actually true. The more specific you can make your writing, the more accessible your writing becomes—and the larger your potential audience.

10. Don’t overdo it!

Now that you know how to show, you must remember one other axiom–with great power comes great responsibility. “Show, don’t tell” is not a license to overwrite. While researching this article, I came across sample after sample of over-written prose submitted as examples of “showing” writing. Good writing should mix showing and telling. Telling writing is boring. Writing that only shows has a tendency to be so over the top that it detracts from the story. Ultimately, your goal as a writer should be to engage your reader with interesting, fresh, and concise prose. Admittedly, this is sometimes difficult, but Scribendi.com’s book editors can critique your story and ensure that it is the best it can possibly be.

On Thin Ice By Bernadette Marie

Another great novel by Bernadette Marie… On Thin Ice!!

Bernadette Author

Malory (Wil) Wilson needed to recover from her divorce. A nice transition from West Coast life back to Aspen Creek, the small Colorado mountain town she grew up in would put things straight. The plan was foolproof until she discovered that the first man to break her heart, retired NHL player Christopher Douglas, also returned to Aspen Creek.

 

Christopher had taken enough hits in his career. He didn’t know his heart would take one when Wil returned to Aspen Creek. Hell bent on winning her over after having broken her heart years earlier, he will risk everything to get her back—including his life.

 

When the ice rink Malory’s father built faces being shut down the couple find themselves working together to save the business. However, forgiveness and newfound love just might come to a crashing end when Christopher’s archenemy skates into town bent on revenge.

 

Skating on thin ice, without a guardian angel looking out for Christopher, Malory could lose him forever.

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Excerpt of On Thin Ice:

The tires of Malory’s old red Jeep crunched the frozen snow over loose gravel. The sound curled her mouth into a smile. That was how winter was supposed to sound.

The sky filled with the orange and blue hues of a rising sun as the chill of the air stirred together with the heat from the vehicle’s heater. All of it brought back a flood of memories from her childhood. All of them warm and welcome.

She pulled her Jeep into a parking space in front of the large metal building that housed the ice arena. A huge banner above the front doors read, “Home to NHL Player Christopher Douglas.”

She shook her head. Well, she thought, at least someone claimed him. If memory was correct, he’d played for multiple NHL teams in his very short professional career. So he’d never called anywhere home for long, except Aspen Creek.

But everyone had started somewhere, including her.

Above the banner announcing the fame of Christopher Douglas was the name of the building. Aspen Creek Ice Center.

It was good to be home.

And home was where she planned to stay.

She didn’t see her father’s pickup parked on the side of the building. She’d told him she’d meet him there at seven. It was already seven-ten. He wouldn’t have headed off to breakfast without her. After all, he’d awakened her at four forty-five in the morning just to invite her.

She turned off the engine and pulled the keys from the column, placing them in the pocket of her coat. She might have been born and raised in the small Colorado town where people left their doors unlocked and the keys in their cars, but she’d been in California long enough to have picked up some less trusting habits. Sadly, those new habits had her locking part of herself away too.

She stepped out into the cold and quickly slid on her gloves. It was the kind of cold that took your breath away. It froze the inside of your nose, and when the wind blew through the valley, it burned your skin. She pulled the stocking cap from her pocket and pulled it over her head, making sure to cover her ears. She hit the lock on the door and slammed it shut. Then as fast as she could, without falling on her butt, she headed across the slick parking lot for the front door of the arena, which had been the love child of her mother and father years before she’d been born.

The heater above the door did its job. It took that pins-and-needles chill from her skin just enough to comfort her.

White concrete walls, which held bleachers on the other side, blocked the view of the ice rink from the door. There were no spectators at seven fifteen on a Wednesday morning, but the ice wasn’t empty.

Malory had been there enough times in the early morning to know that at least a dozen figure skaters and a few hockey players had already etched their presence into the glossy finish of the ice before they went about their day.

Malory stood there for a moment. She closed her eyes and just let the building surround her. When she opened them, the smiling faces of the hundreds that had graced the ice over the past forty years greeted her. Early photographs in black-and-white and later ones in color lined the corridor that lead toward the ice. The first set of eyes to catch her matched her own. They were her mother’s.

Malory stood and stared at the picture of her mother, then only twenty-two. She wore an Olympic medal around her neck and had a bouquet of roses tucked in the crevice of her arm. Hadn’t that been the very picture her father had hoped to recreate with her? Oh, he’d tried, but she was never the skater her mother had been.

She blew out a breath. Her parents had opened the skating rink with money her mother had won from competitions and endorsements after her Olympic win. People had laughed at them. The hockey player wanna-be and the washed-up Olympian. What good was it going to do to build an ice rink in a town of three thousand? But the gamble had paid off.

Young girls wanted to skate under Ginger Bromell-Wilson. Boys wanted to learn to play hockey from Harvey Wilson, the man who had almost made it to the NHL. Neighboring towns embraced the opportunity, and the Aspen Creek Ice Center was born.

Only four short years later Malory entered the picture. Another two and her mother was gone.

Malory had lived thirty-one years without her mother, but it still tore her apart. She didn’t know her. She didn’t have one memory of her except for the pictures that hung on the walls of the building her father had put up twenty years ago to replace the original structure. What Malory had was the sadness that her father had always carried in his heart.

He’d tried to replace Ginger, Malory now understood, with her. He’d tried to raise her to be an Olympian figure skater. But she was no Ginger Bromell-Wilson. She was only a look-alike with some of the skill.

Malory let her mother’s eyes follow her as she walked down the corridor toward the ice. There were no figure skaters on the ice as she’d first thought. She didn’t have to see it to know that. The sound was of a single skater. The short stops that tore up the ice and the sound of wood hitting the cold hard surface said hockey player. There was the sound of the puck sliding on the ice. The ping as the puck ricocheted off of the pole and the crack of the stick against the ice in a fit of anger resonated through the arena. Curses that flew from the mouth of the player confirmed that the player was an adult and had missed the mark of the net. A low laugh escaped her throat. You were never too old to enjoy indoor ice.

She turned down the short hall that led to the ice. The smell of adrenaline and sweat had permeated every crevice of the building over the years. It was a nasty smell, but it too made her feel at home.

Breathing deeply, she lifted her head to watch the hockey player she’d heard when she walked in. She saw him and gasped. He skated down the ice, around the other net, keeping the puck on the edge of his stick and then as he hit the blue line, he smacked the puck into the net. He turned back around, caught the puck with the stick, and then caught her eye.

The crooked grin that erupted on his face made her heart rate kick up. It raced so fast that she wasn’t sure her chest would hold it inside any longer. Fifteen years had passed since they’d last spoken, but not a day had gone by that she hadn’t thought of him.

Malory tried to will her feet to walk closer to the door he skated toward. She found the task hard to do. His hair was long and peeked out of the sides and back of his helmet. His dark eyes sparkled as he neared her.

By the time he’d unlatched the door, she realized she’d walked toward him and now he towered above her only inches away. At six foot three, he was an enormous sight in front of her. The skates added at least three more inches to his height. He wore no pads, but his shoulders were square and muscular under his loose jersey.

 

Available from 5 Prince Publishing www.5princebooks.com  books@5princebooks.com

Genre: Fiction, Romance, Contemporary

Release Date: September 4, 2013

Digital ISBN 13:978-1-939217-75-2 ISBN 10: 1-939217-75-X

Print ISBN 13:978-1-939217-76-9 ISBN 10: 1-939217-76-8

Purchase link : www.5princebooks.com/buy.html

 

Other posts on Bernadette Marie

Lost and Found, Center Stage, First Kiss, Keller Family, Opposite attract