Thursday Teaser – Creator of Shadows!

 

“Help us! We’re trapped!”

“Trapped…”

“TRAPPED!…”

 

Andred’s eyelids burst open as she let out a cry, staring blankly up at the ceiling and not knowing if she really had called out of not. As the dream tumbled into place, she reached across a shaking hand to turn the lamp on, needing the comfort of the glow around her bedroom. As the bulb burst into life, shining on every corner of the room, she eased herself up. Her flesh still trembled from the nightmare, and she wiped a hand across her face, staring down at it with wide eyes as she realised she was coated in cold sweat. It had drenched her bedsheets, all of them twisted and tangled up in her legs and half on the floor.

Letting out a shaky breath, the goddess leaned her head back against the headboard, her chest heaving like a pump. The nightmare had been too real, too vivid. So many wailing voices and cries, all trapped together in the darkness. And that feeling that hovered over them all, a being of unimaginable terror that prevented any of them from ever leaving. And the Andred herself had been one of the many, calling out names of people who would never come, who would never hear them, shrieking until her vocal chords gave out.

As she rubbed her sore eyes with her fingers, trying to ease herself back into some form of calm, she heard footsteps hammering down the hallways outside. A second later, the door burst open to reveal Vladimir, out of breath with flashing eyes. Casting a quick glance around the room, he came over to Andred’s side, taking in her frightened expression and soaked bedsheets. Shaking his head, he grasped her cheeks gently in his palms, forcing her to stare into his piercing eyes. “Andred, what happened? I heard you screaming.”

“Oh, Vladimir,” Andred whispered, her own voice croaky and weak, as though she really had been screaming endlessly in that horrifying void. Her eyes fell to his side, unable to look him in the eyes, and they fell on the sight of his sword, hanging by his side. He was dressed only in pyjama bottoms, but he had still found time to arm himself. Throwing her arms around his neck, uncaring what the implications might be, she let out a sob.

“Hey, ssh. Was it a nightmare?” the vampire asked gently, concern thickening his accent as he rubbed a hand over her back soothingly. Andred could feel his palms pressing her closer with each motion, willing her to be alright.

Nodding her head profusely so he would know she was otherwise unaffected, she pulled away and leaned against her headboard again, locking puffy red eyes with his fierce gaze. “Vladimir, it was a terrible nightmare. And the worst part is…it was real,” she whispered.

“No, not if it was a nightmare. It will—“

“If I dreamt it, it was a nightmare, Vladimir,” she countered firmly, clasping his hand so tightly her nails dug into his skin. Throwing the sheet off herself, she drew her knees up to her chest and let go of him, hugging them into her chin. “You’ve never asked about my ancient years. I was known then by my formal name of Andraste. My sister was Brigitania, and between us, we were in charge of the land now known as Britain—here, in short. She had the north, and I had the south. We were older than those names, of course, but it’s the name we were known by when we were truly known as Goddesses of the Green Isle. I had the gift of divination, and I could bestow it on anyone I chose. But it also means when I dream, I see into other worlds, other places.” She gave an involuntary shudder. “And I saw somewhere terrible tonight.”

Searching her face, Vladimir asked quietly, “Where was it?”

Andred screwed up her face to catch onto a fragment of the dream, a memory which was fast fading away with being awake in the light and safety of her room. “I’m not sure, but…it wasn’t here. It was somewhere else, another plane. Like the Otherworld, but not there. And there were voices, so many voices. All calling out and crying our names. Like they knew us. And…I think they do.”

Vladimir’s features paled, and he shifted on the bedspread, pulling one leg up to see the goddess better. Giving a shrug, he asked, “Are you going to give me a clue?”

“The Dansu?”

His mouth fell open as he let out a soft gasp, and he blinked a few times, carding his hand through his hair. Finally he uttered, “But it can’t be. All those years ago, they helped us to fight the demons. We knew they were going to the Otherworld—“

“They never got there,” Andred interrupted, shaking her head slowly. Biting her lip, she fisted her hands against the sheet, scrunching it in her palms. “I’m not sure what’s happened, but they’re trapped somewhere. Someone—or something—is keeping them there. And I don’t know why.”

 

Taken from Creator of Shadows, Copyright © Miranda Stork 2014

 

Have you read the first and second books in the Scarlet Rain Series yet? Get the first one, Vigilante of Shadows, FREE for a limited time! click here!

And grab the second book, Keeper of Shadows, here!

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September Again by Hunter S. Jones!

Hello, lovely people! 🙂 Remember the fabulous September Ends I featured a while back on the blog? Well Hunter S. Jones and ‘An Anonymous English Poet’ have done it again! Read down to find out more about their newest offering, September Again.

 

 

According to Cherokee beliefs, opportunity will bless you twice.

September Again, second in the series, September Stories, is the follow up to the hugely popular indie sensation, September Ends. September Again finds Liz Snow Savage leaving England. She follows her daughter Zelda Savage back to America after Zelda’s betrayal of her. More drama ensues as Liz looks for meaning in life while Zelda finds her direction after the tragedy of losing Jack O. Savage, The Poet. Set mainly in Chattanooga, Tennessee, September Again chronicles the rhythm of life’s cycles. The ebb and flow of love unravel the mystery of Liz’s past. September Again allows a further glimpse into the intricate web of passion and desire which have entangled Liz Snow, Pete Hendrix and Jack O. Savage for years. Will a chance encounter finally reveal the truth? What act will change the destiny of Liz and Zelda forever? The story of sin, salvation and redemption continues in Book 2 of the September Stories, told through a mosaic of prose with a smattering poetry. 

Magic happens when you least expect it.

Where can I get a copy?

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Amazon CAN

And where can I find out more about the authors?

Hunter’s Amazon Profile

Anonymous Poet’s Profile

Hunter’s Blog

Hunter’s Facebook

Hunter’s Twitter

Snippet Time – Creator of Shadows!

I love reunions. Just saying. Especially when it’s a character from the past. Also, PSSST! I’m going to have the pre-order links hopefully up by end of the week, so watch out for them. 😉


Arianwen swallowed hard, her throat tightening with worry. They hadn’t expected the people here to know anything about the goings-on in the capital, but they seemed as informed—possibly more—as they were. Deron stepped out carefully from behind Inghard, offering up a tense smile to the two guards. “Both,” he answered easily. “I’m human, and I have friends who are part o’ the Human Resistance. But ‘dis lot,” he gestured with a thumb, “are part o’ the Immortal Resistance. The point is, we’re all Resistance.”

The older man narrowed his eyes at Deron for a moment, chewing at his lip. Seemingly satisfied with the answer, he gave a curt nod, replying, “Aye, we agree. But it’s all humans here, I don’t think I can let you in. We won’t attack you, but you’ve got to move on. Get going.”

As he and the younger man turned to leave, Arianwen was gripped by a sudden mad idea to run over to him, and her legs pumped forwards before she had a chance to think over her decision. “Nae, lass!” Aodhan cried out as she jogged towards them. Opening her mouth to shout for the older man, her heart leapt into her throat as two hot black barrels appeared in front of her face, the young man’s tense features at the other end.

“We said ‘get going’, immortal. Do as you’re told,” the young man hissed in a faint French accent, his hair blowing gently in the wind that had picked up, scattering dust particles through the air. As if to make his point further, he clicked the safety off on the weapon, and moved forwards enough to make her stagger backwards, her feet scraping against the loose gravel below.

Holding her hands up to show she meant no harm, she shook her head, gazing deep into the man’s eyes. She saw terror there, not the cold, steely gaze she expected of someone guarding an entire fort. Speaking softly, she urged, “Please listen to me. We’re really not here to harm you in any way, or anyone inside. We wouldn’t be here if we didn’t have to be, I promise you. There is only one thing we want, and that is to bring the Clan to their knees.” Arianwen bit out the last few words, venom from her emotions flavouring each syllable.

The older man spun on his heel and took in the sight of the demoness stood on her own, hands still raised in the air, before marching back across and lowering the younger man’s rifle. “Easy, Pierre, easy,” he soothed. “Let’s not lose our heads. They already said they mean no harm.”

Pierre gave an exasperated sigh, but he slung the gun over his shoulder as his companion asked, giving Arianwen a cold stare. “And you believe them?”

“Yes,” the other man replied, “I believe them. They haven’t tried to attack us in the last few seconds, have they?” Pulling his own rifle onto his back, he clasped his hands in front of his camouflage-covered torso and directed his attention at Arianwen, giving her hands a gentle nod. As she lowered them slowly to her sides, he continued, “My name is Franklin. We’re not making you stay out here because we don’t want you. But there are children inside there, and youngsters who have never been outside the walls of the Castle. Do you have any idea how it feels to be that human and terrified?”

Arianwen drew herself up smartly, smiling broadly. “I do,” she answered honestly. “I wasn’t always an immortal, you know. I was once human, like you all. And Deron here is human, and Psyche is…” She trailed off as she gestured towards her jet-haired friend, struggling to find the right words. “Well, she’s still half-human, anyway.” Turning back to Franklin, she added, “We know, believe me. I used to be a police officer before the war started. I know what people are capable of. And I also know what’s capable if we stand by and do nothing.”

Franklin gave a heavy sigh and squeezed his temples between his forefinger and thumb, before blinking and looking back up at Arianwen with tired eyes. “I’m sorry,” he retorted with a shrug, “there’s nothing I can do. Rules are rules.”

With that, he gestured to his companion, and they both turned to head back to the entrance. “No!” Arianwen begged, breathing heavily. “You have to listen, I—“

“Arianwen! Arianwen Harris?”

The male voice that called out her name from above the watchtower was familiar and hard to place all at once. Her mind buzzing with names of anyone and everyone she had known in her lifetime so far, she gazed up towards the tower and bright blue sky, squinting and using her hand as a shade. An elderly man was leaning over the side of the walls, waving frantically down to her. Narrowing her eyes further, she searched his face, flickering over every wrinkle and line around his shining eyes—it can’t be. It is! Waving excitedly back, she shouted up, “By the gods! Shiner! What the hell are you doing here?” Turning back to Aodhan with a face flushed with happiness, she grinned and cried out, “Aodhan! It’s Shiner!”

The rest of the group exchanged confused looks with each other, watching curiously as Aodhan’s jaw dropped and he raced over to Arianwen’s side. Gazing up with her, he let out a low gasp. “F**k me, it is. I never thought I would see that wee guy again.”

The elderly man disappeared from view, and unintelligible shouts came from the other side of the fort. Cries and yells could be heard making their way down from the air to the ground, and when they hit the bottom the screech of pulling wires echoed into the hazy afternoon air. With a groan, the metal entrance door scraped forwards, heaving up from the ground as the pulleys worked their magic in opening it wide. Arianwen nearly had to cover her ears from the metallic sound as it rose up into the air and revealed the inside of the fort, a crowd of people stood on the other side with wide eyes and frightened expressions.

As the dust cleared, Shiner came striding through the crowd, racing outside to meet his old friend. Arianwen’s lip wobbled before she felt the emotions bubbling up from her chest, and her eyes watered with tears. Holding her arms out wide, she sprinted across and wrapped them around the old man, sobbing with relief—relief that he hadn’t died, relief that she had found him again, and he was safe. She felt the warmth of Aodhan’s hand on her back, and he slapped a hand on Shiner’s shoulder. “Good to see you again, old man,” he said hoarsely, voice thick with feeling.

Breaking the bear-hug, Shiner stood back and smiled broadly at the two before him, wiping his tired eyes with the back of his sleeve. His features were etched with lines and worry, and his once thick hair was thin and grey, but it was definitely still him. “Come on,” he croaked in his Geordie accent. “Let’s get you inside, like. We can talk about why both of us are in the middle of nowhere in the fort.” Giving a wave to the two guards, he beckoned the group forwards.

After glancing nervously at one another, then over to the two demons, the others eventually trudged forwards. They stared forwards, ignoring the two guards in case they changed their minds, and they vanished into the fort as the heavy door slammed down again behind them with a cloud of muddy dust.

 

Taken from Creator of Shadows © Copyright Miranda Stork 2014

A Day In The Life Of…Kate Perkins-Armond

On March 31, 2014, I don’t get out of bed until afternoon. Part of this, of course, is that I’m an insomniac who regularly stays up until 4 a.m., but lately it’s been more than that. My glasses are broken. Which means every minute spent out of bed — and not forever walking into things thanks to legal blindness — is spent wearing custom-made contact lenses that are technically very unhealthy to wear beyond 12 hours. And I always go beyond twelve hours.

But I’m trying to be good today, so I lie in bed and try to think about work-related things. Specifically, I try to think about the one project for which I’m currently being paid. The other six writing and editing jobs currently on my freelance plate are all for – or with – my dear friend Jeff. He and I work on a complicated IOU system.

Thing is, the job that’s being paid in a bizarre thing called money comes with it the request to greatly expand the book’s love scenes, and I am far from in a romantic mood. I am frustrated by the job in general; I got through the previous night’s editing work by, on Jeff’s advice, imagining a meteor hitting the city as soon as the story is finished, removing it from my overstressed life. Today, however, I lie in bed and try to think romantic thoughts. Even if some of them are from different stories, old play-test works of mine that I am willing to steal from outright.

I get up and put in my contact lenses. I check the usual news, immediately feel my anxiety starting to flare up, and play a game of 2048 instead (addictive little flash things). Then it’s time to check on various social media things I’m running for Jeff’s Dawn of Steam series. Of the three people involved in this little self-publishing project (there’s another co-contributor, Jeff’s friend Sarah), I am possibly the best at marketing, and I am appalled by that fact. Jeff doesn’t have my anxiety disorder getting in the way, but all the Facebook/tumblr/Twitter stuff is really rough for him. Don’t even talk to him about code for the web site. Well, I can, but he’ll just say mine is wonderful without having the slightest idea what I’m doing.

When that’s done, I get some orange juice, then open the file for the book I’m being paid to proofread and expand. I put in commas and quotation marks, make tenses consistent, and yes, write two love scenes. There’s admittedly a lot of moving around in my chair to try to get the distance just right for my eyes, the strain being a little harder on me lately since I have to keep my contacts in longer.

At some point, my husband and I notice each other to be home and awake, respectively. We’d somehow missed that. I ask if there’s any news on where his work will be taking us next year. There isn’t. I consider muttering something about ‘gypsy academic lifestyle,’ but somewhere in my mind, a half-Roma amateur anthropologist called Julietta Penn rolls her eyes at me. Now that I’m done with the paid work, I’ll be able to get back to reading the third volume of Dawn of Steam, in which she is one of ‘my babies,’ the characters of whom I’m most fond and to whose characterization I pay extra close attention. I’ve written whole pages of Julietta myself, when it was agreed she needed more and the others didn’t have the time.

Eventually, when peanut butter crackers and occasional swigs of orange juice just aren’t enough, I get out the chicken I’ve had soaking in buttermilk in the fridge overnight, season it, flour it, and fry it up for lunch for me and my husband. Drinking it with more orange juice  will help absorb the iron better, so it’s said.

I open up the file for Dawn of Steam: House of the Rising Sun.  Yes, Jeff is a huge fan of the folk-blues song made famous by The Animals. Since the third volume of Dawn of Steam is set part in Japan and part in New Orleans, he apparently couldn’t resist.  Jeff wrote this entire three-volume epistolary Steampunk story in a single month – a November, to be precise. Most National Novel Writing Month writers are happy if they make the official goal of 50,000 words, but he had to write 300,000 in his first NaNoWriMo.  By the time he wrote House of the Rising Sun, he pretty much hadn’t slept in three weeks. In the initial draft, it shows.  It really does show.  That’s part of why it’s taken me so long to get through it. Massive restructuring will be required, moreso than the first two volumes, one of which is published and one of which is in third-draft edits.

As I read, I e-mail myself a running tally of notes to be addressed later when Jeff and I are less stressed.  Since I have been stressed, the notes are a bit snarky in places.  I point out an anachronism with simply a reference to the sentence and an ‘oh, honey, nooo.’ Simultaneously, I am exchanging e-mails with Jeff. A little of it is clarifying questions, but mostly just friend stuff.  Then he e-mails back a question mark.  I realize I sent the ‘oh, honey, nooo’ note to him instead of myself. I apologize and explain the anachronism. It’s no problem in his opinion, but it still annoys me that I was so careless.

Then I have to get up, walk around the apartment to expend nervous energy, and check the mail. The newsletter for my church has arrived. There it is on page 6, “Book Reading, April 22.” There are already little fliers on the church bulletin board saying “My Book Is Out (the primary authors helped)!” I still haven’t decided for certain which passage to read. The beginning is unfortunately the slowest part, but everything else has spoilers. Additionally, I get anxious about reading certain passages to a roomful of progressive-minded Unitarian Universalists without making it seem like the 1815 characters’ patriarchal nonsense is being validated. The irony is that also I worry if certain of my Catholic relatives back home will read far enough and carefully enough into the series to notice the biracial lesbians. My inner pedant immediately corrects me.  One of them is not a lesbian; she’s bisexual.

I return to the third volume. Eventually, I finish it.  Even though the ending needs some restructuring, it makes me cry. For once, it’s not tears of editing frustration – because I get those too – just normal sentimental tear-jerking on my part.

I fry up some more chicken for a late supper, because there was more chicken left, and not much else. After supper, I sit down and talk to Jeff online about the book. He’s sorry/not sorry about making me cry. We discuss various improvements and additions. As I look at the clock, I start to get anxious.  It’s almost midnight in my time zone, almost April, and I let the boy talk me into Camp NaNoWriMo. We have multiple novels, in the series and otherwise, to market or edit, and several short stories in progress for anthologies, and I haven’t done my taxes, but he talked me into doing a special mini-National-Novel-Writing-Month to focus on my own work. I’ve tried NaNoWriMo three times, and never gotten above 2,000 words. I freeze up on non-collaborative projects. Somehow, though, he talked me into it.  When midnight hits, I start to type in a new file and have to steel myself against going back and re-editing every sentence eight times.  I hit my goal of 333 words for the first night in 45 minutes and surprise myself. I’ll edit it all later.

Soon, it’s approaching midnight in Jeff’s time zone. He’s going to be working on Dawn of Steam 4. Never mind that I’d carefully registered all sorts of things for ‘the Dawn of Steam trilogy,’ the boy had to start us on a Book 4. Sure, sure, it’ll be the beginning of a new trilogy, set a few years later. Still, he doesn’t seem to get it when I therefore call it Breakfast-Time of Steam 1.

We’re getting into the time of night where Jeff normally gives me some stress-and-anxiety-managing tips for the night and the coming day, before I get ready for bed. However, he’s gone into Prolific Writer Mode, and while he’ll stop if I ask, I don’t want to interrupt. Instead, I start searching for indie publishing resources again. I run across an idea that would, in fact, involve writing over 1,000 words all by myself. It’ll be nonfiction, though, so I take a breath and give it a try. I even make myself keep the editing minimal before I send it off, take out my contact lenses, and go to bed.

 

Copyright © Dawn of Steam Trilogy 2014

Copyright © Dawn of Steam Trilogy 2014

 

Another fascinating day in the life of a creative! To find out more about Kate Perkins-Armond and her projects, click below to be taken to the good stuff! 😉

Website: www.dawnofsteam.net

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00IOC6HNU

Facebook: www.facebook.com/dawnofsteamtrilogy

Tumblr: dawnofsteam.tumblr.com

So What’s New, Scarlet Pimpernel?

Holy wardrobes, Batman! There’s no way it’s been two months since I posted on here…has it? You guys remember my usual drink, right? I wouldn’t like to have to repeat that recipe again. Anyhoo, HELLO! And hello to the new followers I’ve gained over Christmas and New Year – it’s fab to have you here. Happy New Year to everyone, and I hope you don’t have any resolutions I wouldn’t do. 😉

As for my resolutions, just before Christmas I embarked on a big one – signing up for a degree with the Open University. It starts in just two days, and frankly, I’m chewing my nails off just a little bit. A tiny bit. It’s not really because of anything more nerve-racking than it being a new experience, so I’m loving it, but at the same time, I feel like that new kid at school again. Still, at least I get to behave like a student now, leaving clothes in a dirty pile, not doing the washing-up….what? It’s practically law. I mustn’t do these things. It’ll upset the Law of Students Leaving Their Clothes Act….er….well, never mind about all that. I’m posting a snippet today to kick things off for the New Year, so look at that instead. Shiny, shiny snippet!

It’s just a little bit from the upcoming Creator of Shadows, and things are kicking off between Feoran and Lorenna. Seriously, things are on fiyah right now. Enjoy! (and I promise the next post will not be so late next time! 😀 )

‘As if on cue, keys rattled in the lock above Lorenna’s head. She jumped up in readiness, cursing the lack of protection she had for herself. Her violet eyes drifted over to the bed, a brief thought about trying to snap off a leg dancing around her mind. But there wasn’t time. She shuffled backwards as the oak door shuddered open, revealing the ominous silhouette of Feoran.

“Hello, little witch. Enjoying your stay?”

Lorenna gave a sneer. “The views aren’t much, and the food is terrible. I’d rate it a shitty experience so far.”

Feoran strode into the room, the sconces from behind casting light across the sharp planes of his face, black eyes gleaming like hot coals. A slow grin crossed his face, and he shrugged casually, meandering across the stone slabs until he halted in front of her. Lorenna flinched, but kept her features cold and unafraid. “Little witch, you’ll find you catch more flies with honey than vinegar, you know. I have much more comfortable rooms than this.”

“I’d rather jump in a pit of snakes, thanks.” Lorenna’s mouth drew in a hard line.

Feoran hid a snigger. “That can be arranged.”

Lorenna gave a dry laugh, and tossed her hair over her shoulder, folding her arms. “So what do I owe this immense pleasure to? I’ve got a busy day, you know.”

“Doing what? Making sparks?” The vampire jerked his finger towards her hands. “You can’t do much else in here. I had it specially made for you.”

“How kind,” Lorenna spat, her breathing speeding up with her rising fury. “Let’s cut to it. What the f**k do you want, Feoran?”’

Taken from Creator of Shadows, copyright © Miranda Stork 2014

Writer Tip Wednesday – Get Out There And Live It!

Good morning, everyone! 😀 Happy Hump Day to all – and only two days to the fabulous Friday. Today, the writer tips go out from the laptop and into the big bad world. LOL Well, in a manner of speaking. I know you’re comfy in that chair. 😀

 

About a week ago, the fabulous Trish Marie Dawson put up a post on her blog about a really vital part of being an author that is often forgotten – reading books! With all the other million-and-one things we have to do on a daily basis, it often gets pushed to one side. But it is so important that we don’t just read, but read EVERYTHING. Even if it’s that rushed few pages in the bathroom, or a quick read on the train to work, we need to keep ourselves – and our muses – fresh. You can read more of her brilliant post here. 🙂

But what’s the other important part of writing that often gets forgotten? LIVING IT. That’s right, I mean leaving the laptop altogether, and heading out into the Great Outdoors. Well, if you character is mainly inside, I guess it would be the Great…Indoors? Either way, it’s a necessity. How often do you read a book (providing you’re following the good advice above 😉 ) and realise that a situation or character doesn’t sound believable? Now, I’m not suggesting that thriller writers go out and commit a crime, or that romance authors throw themselves at a kilted man. (Although if you’re single, and a sexy kilted man walks by, I say go for it, writer or not. LOL )

 

But try to think about what your character would really feel, what they would experience. If your book is set in another country, can you pull off how that country’s culture is? The best way to get this right of course, is to either live in that country, or at least visit it. But don’t fear, you don’t need to book a flight to the middle of Romania right now, there is another way. Research, glorious research. The internet is always a good start, as it holds a valuable wealth of information. Learn all you can about a country. Not just the national costume and how many gold mines it has, but the little things. Is it primarily a religious country? How will this affect your character? Are they happy to go along with this, or do they rally against it? How does this shape them? The second part of this research can come from actual experiences though, even if you don’t go there. Try to find out if any of your friends or family have visited that country, or if they know anyone who has. Perhaps they even know a native of that country! Try to learn all you can from a person who has actually been there.

This same research can go for anything, especially landscapes. If you’re setting your book in a very real-and-here place, then you need to get the geography right. You can do some guesswork, but it takes away from your story when someone has been there, and they know it’s incorrect. Take my current WIP, Daughters Of Brigitania. (Don’t groan, there’s only one mention this time. 😛 ) It’s set in a place called Stanwick, near Darlington in the UK. It’s only twenty minutes drive from where I live, so I’m pretty lucky that I can visit it when I need to. But going to see the ruins of the Iron Age fortifications really gives you a – frankly, breath-taking – idea of just how enormous they were. The hills to one side let me know just what my characters would have seen every morning when they woke up, and being out in desolate country-side shows me just how isolated they would have been two-thousand years ago.

What about if your character is someone very different how your own personality? If you have to write about a crazed killer, (And I’m hoping you’re not a crazed killer here. If you are, thanks for reading my blog, and I live really, really far away from you. Like, really far away. LOL) then how do you manage to portray them? Sometimes, it helps to be a bit of an amateur psychologist. What are the worst things that they’ve done? Why did they do them? It’s no good simply saying, “Because they’re the bad guy”, or slapping some childhood trauma on it without understanding them. You need to build up a picture of them, just as you would for characters you understand much better. Think about what would make you do it. Yes, lovely, docile, sweet you. Your character, when they were born, were just like everyone else. (I suppose at this point, I should make a note of saying sometimes villains in books, depending on the book-iverse, are born as such. But it’s few and far between when this can be carried off, and it makes for a less believable character. Think of ‘The Omen’, with little Damien. He’s possibly the most evil character possible, and yet he’s a sweet, innocent little boy to start with.) So providing your character is just like everyone else, what warped them into who they are now? How did it build up? Do internal research, searching for the emotions that would drive you to change this way.

 

So I hope today’s writer tip inspires you to go and see more of the Great Outdoors – or the Great Inner You! And don’t forget to check out Trish Marie Dawson’s post either, it’s definitely another brilliant tip. 😉

Top Ten Tuesday – Some More Of The Best!

Hello there, folks! 😀 Well, we made it through Monday with our hair intact, so let’s roll onto Tuesday – and the Top Ten of the week! We’ve got a mixed bag here today, and don’t forget to scroll right down to find out how you can be on next week’s ‘Top Ten’ too! So without further ado, let’s get on with the books! 😉 (In no particular order, as always.)

Genre: Paranormal/Humour/Romance

Price: $2.99

Blurb: All Cassandra Bick wants is to be left to get on with doing her job. But when you’re a Sensitive whose business is running a dating agency for vampires, life is never going to be straightforward – especially when there’s a supernatural war brewing in London, a sexy new bloodsucker in town and your mysterious, homicidal and vampire hating ex-lover chooses this moment to reappear in your life…

Witty, sharp and entertaining, Dark Dates is a heady mix of vampires, witches and werewolves – with the occasional angel thrown in – and introduces Cassandra Bick, a likeable heroine destined to join the ranks of fantasy’s feistiest females.

Genre: Ghost/Paranormal

Price: $2.84

Blurb: When a call from a stranger lures psychic medium Mickey McCoy to Hollywood, he is told that the male employees of the Brahms Museum of Art are in danger of being murdered. But this mysterious informant refuses to share further details, leaving Mickey on his own to gather all the facts and stop the murders from happening.

At the museum Mickey is drawn to a self-portrait of Renaissance artist Lavinia Rossi Zanetti. It doesn’t take long before he realizes her soul is attached to the painting, and she likes to kill. For years, the companion portrait of her lover that hung beside her own served to keep her calm. But that painting has been lost.

At first glance it seems a simple matter of reuniting the two paintings to keep Lavinia in check. But as Mickey unravels the mystery of how this could be, he finds himself at the center of something more sinister. An agreement called an Accordo somehow allows Lavinia to live forever. Without realizing it, Mickey passes the point of no return and must eradicate the painting and sever the Accordo. If he fails, a greater horror than he could have imagined will be unleashed upon the Earth, and he—along with the one he loves most—will face a fate worse than death.

Capture2

Genre: Historical Romance

Price: $2.45

Blurb: Lord Sebastian Griffiths would do anything for his beloved dying mother. But he didn’t see this one coming: to see him married before she died.

Sebastian, a 38-year-old confirmed bachelor, liked things done his way and his way only. Sebastian considered a wife to be an embarrassing, time-consuming, meddling and unnecessary addition to his life.

After consulting with Dennis Burrows, a solicitor and good friend from university, he forms a plan to buy a temporary wife that could be paid off when his mother died.
Isabel couldn’t believe her own father could sell her into marriage. After spending nine years in debtors’ prison looking after him, Isabel had become a strong, independent woman. It was that or fall apart and die from hunger.

But Isabel wasn’t ready for Sebastian. He was an attractive, arrogant, dangerous pig, yet she’d gone ahead with the marriage, for the love of her father, and the chance to get him out of the hellhole they had been living in for the last nine years.

Sebastian is caught unawares by the passion he experiences with Isabel. After his mother dies, and he leaves Isabel for the second time, he realises he’s truly fallen in love with his own wife. Miserable and drowning his sorrows, he is rescued by Burrows, who knows his friend has to pull himself together for the sake of his unborn child, something Sebastian has yet to discover.

Will Sebastian be able to find the courage to go back to Isabel and win her heart, or will she turn him out like the rat he’s been?

Genre: Fantasy/Romance/Action

Price: $1.99

Blurb: The war between Atlantis and Oceania has raged for decades, but it wasn’t always so…

Lifelong friends and allies, Crehon Ariskan, Emperor of Atlantis, and Atargatis, future Mer King of Oceania, face a devastating threat from abroad. They agree to do whatever it takes to protect their worlds, but the toll of battle becomes higher than they ever imagined and in an instant friends turn to foes.

Secrets, love, sex, betrayal, and tragedy await.

The war is about to begin in this prelude to the Warriors of the Atlantean Empire Series.

Genre: Paranormal Romance/Suspense

Price: $1.19

Blurb: A powerful woman, an extraordinary man, and a maniac who wants to destroy them. Fate has brought them together, but will it make them stronger or destroy them all in end?

Escape to a world where the impossible becomes possible and sparks ignite.

WHISPER CAPE is a town of secrets and Addison MacKenna soon becomes tangled in a web of them. Plagued with nightmares of her father’s sudden and brutal death, Addie struggles with her anguish and refuses to believe his demise was accidental.

Fighting to shake off one of those devastating early morning nightmares, Addison finds it even harder to escape from the vision of a man lying on the side of the road–a man she may have just killed. When she frantically tries to locate him, he seemingly disappears, just the beginning of strange occurrences in her life. She also cannot ignore the weird sensations in her own body. Suddenly, the impossible seems possible, but is that a blessing or a curse?

Believing that her continual and worsening nightmares are both the key to her own new abilities and the clue to her father’s death, Addie knows she will not rest until she has the answers she craves. As she strives to cope with her new remarkable talents, someone else learns of her abilities–a disgruntled maniacal psychopath with his own agenda that involves eliminating Addie. The only one who can protect her, instruct her in the use of her powers and teach her how to destroy the murderous monster is the same man who makes Addie’s heart race and her blood heat with passion. The same man she’d left for dead.

Cael Sheridan may be arrogant and mysterious but he’s also undeniably gorgeous. A member of a secret society, he is sworn to protect the woman he believes to be the daughter of his recently murdered mentor. In the process, he finds it impossible to resist her magnetic sensuality, complicating his efforts to shield and guide her as she learns to manage her newly acquired skills. At the same time, Addison has much to teach him about trust and commitment. Will fate win in the end? You be the judge.

Genre: Paranormal/Humour

Price: $2.92

Blurb: It’s a hot and steamy summer in New York. You could fry an egg on the sidewalk and melt your brains on the subway platform. There’s a crime wave involving blood banks, a philosophical parrot and all too many super-friendly dog-people in Tompkins Square Park. Willie is hanging on to what’s left of her equilibrium until she realizes that the man living next door is a vampire.

Written in journal entries, emails and voice mail messages — the contemporary versions of the dairies and letters that told the original Dracula story — Bram Stoker’s Summer Sublet is a visit to the comic corner of the dark side.

Bram Stoker’s Summer Sublet is the second in the Candy’s Monsters ebook series of novellas inspired by the classics of horror.

Genre: Paranormal/Humour

Price: $1.15

Blurb: ***Warning***  If you are one of those obsessive and crazy fans of Twilight–you’ve legally changed your last name to Cullen, relocated to some rainy podunk town in Washington and apply glitter glue to your skin before going out in the sun–you may just burn your Kindle after reading.

Smella Rosepetal must find a millionaire husband to finance her baby’s heart transplant. She flies home to her deputy father’s ranch in Pitchforks, Texas, where she falls in love with Deadward Forest, a wealthy environmentalist vampire.

When a deranged murderer is on the loose in Pitchforks, killing romance heroines, Deadward assumes Smella would be safer without him. Smella turns to her childhood friend, Snake Long, for comfort. But Snake doesn’t have the money to save her baby, so Smella places herself in peril in a desperate hunt for a rich husband.

Time is running out for Smella’s baby, and she must escape from the Australian Outback and face down Flabio, an overweight and disgruntled, aspiring cover model, plus enraged vampire wives and their homosexual, vampire, cowboy husbands, a jealous were-gerbil, James Bond, a drunk rodeo clown and Smella’s strange boyfriend who wants to drain her blood, yet is repulsed by her smell.

ROMANCE NOVEL—the unabridged, unauthorized comedic look at the bestselling vampire series that will leave you wondering who the hell ever believed vampires could “sparkle.” And you’ll laugh…all the way to the bathroom!

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Price: $1.20

Blurb: She is forced to kill . . .

When a much-needed vacation turns into work for the third Fate, Atropos vows to sever the mortal’s lifeline quickly and get back to the sea and sand. Having her mysterious quarry offer a deal in exchange for more time is an unexpected complication. Always surrounded by darkness and death, Attie embraces the chance to toy with life and love and to help right an unjust wrong.

He refuses to die . . .

Dru spent months praying for death. Anger over the brutal killing of his family festered until those prayers turned to plans for revenge. Making a deal with the Death Fate was the only way to extend his lease on life. He only needed a handful of days to avenge those he lost, but within minutes of meeting Atropos he knew he’d want forever.

Chasing Fate is a 26,000-word standalone, paranormal romance novella in the Unspun anthology, which sheds light on the Greek Fates, three ancient goddesses who played a role in many myths. The other Unspun novellas are Creating Fate by Rachel Firasek and Stealing Fate by Berinn Rae.

Genre: Paranormal/Fantasy/YA

Price: $2.99

Blurb: What happens when Darkness and Light collide?

Seventeen is a life changing age for Emma Wise.
As her family’s sole survivor in a car crash, she is left with a broken arm, and a few scrapes and bruises. But these are only outward marks; inside, her heart is broken and the pieces scattered.

Whisked away to Alaska, to an aunt she’s never met, Emma starts over. Secrets unveil themselves and now…she doesn’t even know who or what she is.

A centuries old prophecy places Emma in the heart of danger. Creatures of horrifying and evil proportions are after her, and it will take Emma, her aunt, and six, gorgeously, captivating Guardians to keep her safe. But, if she can survive until her eighteenth birthday… things will change.

Genre: Paranormal/Fantasy/YA

Price: PERMA-FREE!

Blurb: Cameron Winters is a freak. Fortunately, no one but her family knows the truth …that Cameron can read minds. For years Cameron has hidden behind a facade of normalcy, warned that there are those who would do her harm. When gorgeous and mysterious Lewis Douglas arrives he destroys everything Cameron has ever believed and tempts her with possibilities of freedom. Determined to embrace her hidden talents, Cameron heads to a secret haven with Lewis; a place where she meets others like her, Mind Readers.

But as Cameron soon finds out some things are too good to be true. When the Mind Readers realize the extent of Cameron’s abilities, they want to use her powers for their own needs. Cameron suddenly finds herself involved in a war in which her idea of what is right and wrong is greatly tested. In the end she’ll be forced to make a choice that will not only threaten her relationship with Lewis, but her very life.

Best for ages 14 and over.

 

So that’s your lot! I hope you pick some (if not all!) of these great books up, and hopefully enjoy them! 🙂 Don’t forget, you’re supporting indies everywhere when you buy an indie book, and it’s far cheaper than anything you’ll be eating for lunch!
Also, would YOU like to have your book on next week’s Top Ten? Simply send me a short email, with a link to your book, and a short paragraph to say hello (because it would be weird to get an email with just a link LOL). Your book MUST have a minimum of five 4/5 star reviews, as unless I’ve read your book, I need something to go on! 🙂

Manic Monday Rolls By Once More – Your Writing Style

Good morning, folks! 😀 I know it’s Monday, but don’t hide under your duvets. Just think of it as Tuesday Eve. 😛

Now, I’ve got today’s blog post below, but first I want to share some awesome (well, to me at least) news with you guys! I’m a suspense/horror SEMI-FINALIST in The Kindle Book Review’s 2013 Best Indie Book Awards, with Vigilante Of Shadows! Okay, so I didn’t make the top 5, but I’m still ecstatic that my little book was good enough to be noticed for at least semi-finalist. 😀 And IN the top 5 is a book from one of my best writer friends, Trish Marie Dawson! (Her book is I Hope You Find Me, and I suggest you pick it up ASAP. It is an amazing book, and the reason I ever got to know the lovely lady herself.) So go, Trish! 🙂

 

What’s your style as a writer? No, I don’t mean all those little gorgeous additions you put in afterwards, like chapter headings and such. What I mean is…would someone pick your book up, and instantly know it was yours? There are certain writers in the world whose style is so well known, that even under pen names, you know who they are. (Clears throat over a certain recent crime thriller) It’s not about good or bad, or who likes it and who doesn’t – it’s about adding to your brand. We as indie authors do so much to ‘brand’ our Facebook pages, our Twitter pages, our covers, our marketing…that sometimes we forget the strongest ‘branding’ is the very style of our writing.

So how do you know if you have a style? What sets your books apart from everyone else’s? It can be a certain way you write, how you describe things, or even the very structure of your plotlines. Let’s pick that apart a bit more, huh? 😛

 

Description

This can be a good thing, or a bad thing. There are authors who describe too much – this is also ‘style’, whether it’s right or wrong – and then they are known for stretching out how a sofa looks over two pages. But by the same token, writers can be known for not describing enough. Too short, and the writer feels like they’re rushing through the rabbit hole with a jet-pack on. So after you’ve got the length of descriptions right, what else are you going to tweak about it? Well, it really comes down to what you like as a writer, as you are going to stuff away those tit-bits for later and recycle your own version. A big clincher for me with any book is character descriptions, I can’t get enough of them. I think (I hope!) this comes across in my books, as I always enjoy a character-driven story just a hint more than a story-driven one. So how you describe your characters can have a big impact on your style. I like to include facial movements a lot. And the eyes can be a true window into how anyone is feeling. If someone twitches, what is it for? If someone’s mouth curls, what kind of smile is it? I like to lead the reader through the tiny details, the ones we won’t miss when we’re actually stood having a conversation with a real person.

 

Structure

So, the next point – how do you lay out your plotline? Is it linear, or non-linear? for my books, I like them to spiral off in many directions at once, joining together at the end to give the conclusion. I’ve tried NOT to do it, but it seems to be a natural thing – so I’ve accepted it as my ‘style’. I write primarily in third-person (I’m not sure how it could be done successfully in first-person, but I’m sure someone has done it 🙂 ), so it allows me to be a fly-on-the-wall of many different characters, giving the reader a view that the character themselves may not have. If you already know what the villain is planning, and the heroes are walking into the trap – what will happen next? It also allows for a lot of explaining in parts that every character can’t be at. (A recent historical series on the TV, based on a certain Plantagenet family, is a good example. It was written from the POV of one female character, which meant it was very difficult to accurately tell the reader what happened with certain battles.) Or is your style linear? Do you lead the reader down a winding path, with curiosities along the way? The way you structure a story can add a lot to your branding, as generally readers will always prefer one way or the other.

 

Recycling

What do you re-use in your books? Now, I don’t really mean using the same structure for another book, and changing the names – I’m pretty certain that’s NOT the way to go. 😀 But do you have a set of rules for characters? Are the heroes always a ‘type’ or person, are the heroines? I like to have strong men and women in my books, but they always have flaws – sometimes severe ones. I’m interested in how a person’s past can affect them too, so I like to either throw in a flashback to their past, or have them telling someone. Sometimes I let the reader guess why they are the way they are right until the end. My villains are never black and white either, as everyone has some good in them. They’re nearly always definitely the ‘bad guy’, but I like to give them redeeming features – sometimes, my ‘bad guys’ can end up helping the good guys, if only for a while. This just happened at the end of Keeper Of Shadows. So how do you write your characters? Do they have a particular ‘style’ of their own? Is there something about your characters that would let someone know they reading a ‘By So-And-So’ book?How can you make them yours? Use something about them that makes them ‘yours’ – after all, they live in your head! 😀

 

So what’s your style? What else would you add to this list? 😀

Focus Friday – Relative Deceit Release!

Welcome to the blog tour of Relative Deceit! This wonderful novel is being re-published through Moon Rose Publishing on the 30th August 2013, and is a crime thriller that will have your brain in knots. A fortune, a family, and one man greedy for it all. Scroll down to find out more, and get ready to add this to your summer reading!

 

The Blurb!

Sir George, Baronet of Bancroft Hall, has run his family and their fortunes into the ground. All seems hopeless, until they are visited by their cousin, Gregory Rogers. He promises to return the family to their former glory, but is he all he seems?

Driven by jealousy, greed and desire, nothing will stop Gregory Rogers from taking that which he believes is his. He’ll do anything to gain money, Bancroft Hall and the power that comes with the title of Baronet.

Even murder.

Until his eyes fall upon the beautiful Jane. Clever, intelligent, and beautiful, she finds herself the unknowing victim of a vicious plan to dispose of her parents and brothers. With no one standing in the way of Gregory’s plans, can she rescue him from himself?

Will she be the one thing that he cannot ruin, in order to have?

More About The Author

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Karen Aminadra is an English author who can usually be found with her head in the clouds and muttering inanely to herself.  She mostly resides in her writing cave, and is occasionally allowed to come out to eat.  Her love of reading, writing short stories and her childhood imaginary world led quite naturally to writing novels.  Encouraged to read by her bookworm father and grandmother and by  winning a writing competition in just her first year of secondary school, she was spurred on, and she has been writing stories ever since.  Her love of mystery and plot twists that she put into that first story continues today.  She has travelled to and lived in many countries, not just in her imagination, and has gained an insight into people’s characters that shines through in her work.  Today, with her feet firmly back in England, she travels the world, the universe and in time through her imagination and her novels.

Links For The Author

Website

Facebook Author Page

Twitter

 Moon Rose Publishing

Links For The Book

Amazon UK

Amazon US

Kobo

Smashwords

Moon Rose Publishing

Teaser Thursday – Creator Of Shadows!

Hello, lovely peeps! 😀 I know, I know what you’re thinking…no, not that thing about the cookies. That I was going to put up a snippet of Daughters Of Brigitania today? Well…I’m not. Muhahaha! I’ve decided it might be nice to give you guys a peek at Creator Of Shadows instead, the third in my Scarlet Rain series. Enjoy! 🙂 

*And as always, this is from a WIP, so remember there might be a few editing errors. 😉

If she tried slamming herself against the door one more time, she was going to break something vital.

Lorenna gave a grunt, and slid down against the polished wood, landing heavily on her butt. She lifted a grubby hand and ran it through her stuck-together hair, rolling her eyes in disgust at the tatters. She slumped back and roved her eyes around her cell, taking in the broken bed and bench. The floor was made up of grey slabs of stone, cold and unforgiving as she perched herself on it.

“You could have at least left me with some water!” she cried out, twisting herself so her shout could be heard outside. Lorenna sighed to herself, and leaned her head against the door once more. She didn’t have a clue where Feoran was. Or why he had taken her—well, no, that wasn’t strictly true. It was because he had the hots for her. Unrequited hots, I’d like to add. But it still didn’t explain exactly why he thought locking her up would help her see him in a romantic light. Stockholm Syndrome might be the closest he would get, and that wasn’t going to happen any time soon.

Receiving no answer, the witch rubbed her hands together, firing up her magic. Thrusting her hands out, she attempted to blow a hole through the stone walls…succeeding only in making a few small sparks jump away from her fingers. “Bloody hell!” she yelled in frustration. There seemed to be some kind of barrier in the room, preventing her from casting any spells. Perhaps snatching her away from battle hadn’t been a spur of the moment thing, after all. Feoran had obviously planned this for some time.

As if on cue, keys rattled in the lock above Lorenna’s head. She jumped up in readiness, cursing the lack of protection she had for herself. Her violet eyes drifted over to the bed, a brief thought about trying to snap off a leg floating past. But there wasn’t time. She shuffled backwards as the oak door shuddered open, revealing the ominous silhouette of Feoran.

“Hello, little witch. Enjoying your stay?”

Lorenna gave a sneer. “The views aren’t much, and the food is terrible. I’d rate it a sh***y experience so far.”

Feoran strode into the room, the sconces from behind him casting light across the sharp planes of his face, black eyes gleaming like hot coals. A slow grin crossed his face, and he shrugged casually, meandering across the stone slabs until he halted in front of her. Lorenna flinched, but kept her features cold and unafraid. “Little witch, you’ll find you catch more flies with honey than vinegar, you know. I have much more comfortable rooms than this.”

“I’d rather jump in a pit of snakes, thanks.” Lorenna’s mouth drew in a hard line.

Feoran hid a snigger. “That can be arranged.”

Lorenna gave a dry laugh, and tossed her hair over her shoulder, folding her arms. “So what do I owe this immense pleasure to? I’ve got a busy day, you know.”

“Doing what? Making sparks?” The vampire jerked his finger towards her hands. “You can’t do much else in here. I had it specially made for you.”

“How kind,” Lorenna spat, her breathing speeding up with her rising fury. “Let’s cut to it. What the f*** do you want, Feoran?”

He twirled around and made his way to the bed, seating himself on it heavily. Lorenna’s eyes flickered over to the open door, but she knew better than that. Feoran followed her eye-line, clearing his throat to attract her attention back to him. “If you want to put it so bluntly, a f***. What do you think I want, Lorenna? A cosy conversation?”

Taken aback by his words, the witch swallowed anxiously, trying to coax some saliva back into her dry throat. She shook her head resolutely, tightening her grip on her skin. Her violet eyes darkened to purple as she innocently replied, “You know what, Feoran? I think you’re a lot like the Phantom of the Opera.”

“Not quite what you would expect under the surface and into choral music?” he smirked back, letting his tongue run over one fang.

Lorenna’s lips twitched, and she retorted, “No. Just as ugly under the mask and twice as unlikely to get the girl.”

Like this snippet? Why not sign up to my newsletter here, where you can be kept up to date with all my releases, including Creator Of Shadows. 😀

(Taken from ‘Creator Of Shadows’, Copyright © 2013 Miranda Stork. Do not reproduce, use, copy, or include in any way in any format, digital or print, without prior permission of the author.)