Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Writing Evil by Yolanda Renee

I was already excited about Memories of Murder by Yolanda Renee, and now that I've gotten a little more insight into the story in this post, I'm even more excited! Yolanda is writing about a topic that's very important to me...evil. (Bwah ha ha ha ha). Seriously though, I think evil characters are some of the easiest to get wrong, and it's great to hear about the care Yolanda put into creating the evil in her novels.

Murder, Madness & Love will be re-released on August 19, 2013
Memories of Murder will be released on October 4, 2013

Isn't that the coolest cover?

            I researched evil before developing the characters in my novels. One such resource was The Writer's Complete Crime Reference Book by Martin Roth. According to Mr. Roth and recent studies regarding serial killers, most cases involving a serial killer are the result of cultural or sociological problems. Mr. Roth went on to describe three types of sociopaths: The visionary type – hears voices that belong to either God or a demon ordering them to kill. The second type finds his gratification over exercising power over his victims, and the third type is pleasure seeker. Mr. Roth goes on to explain that in the majority of cases the serial killer's primary mission is to act out a secret fantasy and may involve: cannibalism, torture, mutilation, etc.
         For Memories of Murder I chose the visionary sociopath with a goal. He doesn't hear the voice of a demon—he believes he is one. My antagonist Lucifer, believes he is evil incarnate and all because of what his mother told him as a child, as well as what he witnessed at a very early age.
         Murder, Madness & Love is a mystery until the unveiling of evil and I don't want to give anything away, but in Memories of Murder the antagonist appears early as his evil self and there is no need to guess the killer. The character of Lucifer believes he is the son of Lucifer.
Below is a short story that I wrote to help create my character but is not included in the book.

** ********** **

The Making of a Monster
“Congratulations, it’s a boy!”
“I know. I’ve always known I’d have a son.” Bell declared as she took him from the nurse and let him rest against her bosom. “You are so beautiful my little one.”
“Do you have a name picked out?”
“Lucifer S. Reynard,” Bell said proudly. She pretended not to notice the surprised look of the doctor and nurses.
“That’s a…different name. Is it his father’s?” The doctor asked.
“Of course. Who else would he be named after?”
“Then that’s the name you want on the birth certificate? The S, what does it stand for.” The nurse inquired.
“The S is just an initial, you know like Harry S. Truman.” She leaned back against the pillow and cuddled her tiny bundle. Bell was nineteen and a prostitute, had been since the age of twelve after running away from her foster parents. This was her first pregnancy. It was a planned pregnancy.
Mommies little monster,” she whispered. “We know your daddy don’t we. The S stands for Samael, but they don’t need to know that. In time, though, they’ll know it. In time, all in good time,” she smiled and relaxed in her happiness.
“Do you want him circumcised?”
“No. It’s not necessary.”
“Have you considered the hygiene factor? We've done a number of circumcisions on older children because of a lack of cleanliness.”
Bell sneered. “My Lucii will not be cut for any reason!” The tone of her voice shocked them all. “It’s barbarian and unnatural, and it’s my decision.”
Her outburst stopped them in their tracks. Silence followed and a harsh tension permeated the room. They observed her carefully, but relaxed when they noticed that she was happily feeding her tiny son.
Do you want me to have a member of the La Leche League drop by to see you?” the nurse asked.
“Why, doesn’t it look like I know what I’m doing? Just clean him up, and let me get a shower. I plan to go home today. I can’t afford to lie around a hospital.”
Bell had a Black Sabbath to attend. Tonight she would give her child to the cause. She would present him to the priests and he would be marked as the one. The celebration would go on for three days and adoration and respect would be hers.
** ********** **
Learn more about Renee and her books following these links:

Monday, July 29, 2013

The Charge is 99 cents this week!

If you haven't downloaded a copy of The Charge yet, now is the perfect time! The Charge will be 99 cents on Amazon until 8/4/13.

Even if you don't have a Kindle, it's easy to download a Kindle app to a PC, phone, or tablet. Your purchase will help The Charge move up in the Amazon rankings so more people will see it!

If you already have a Kindle copy of The Charge, you can help by spreading the word about the sale.

BUY NOW



Also, check out other 99 cent titles from Curiosity Quills Press this week! May I suggest, Nefertiti's Heart by A.W. Exley and Automatic Woman by Nathan Yocum.




I'm also happy to announce that The Charge recently won the Reader's Choice Award in the Blogger Book Fair in the science fiction new adult category! Thank you to everyone who voted.


I'm working on the sequel now! Like The Charge on Facebook to make sure you get all the latest updates.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Sizzling Summer Giveaway - Win a Kindle Fire Pre-loaded with Books!



YA Bound Book Tours is organizing the Sizzling Summer Giveaway event featuring 50 authors!  This giveaway event will take place July 22nd to July 27th.  The giveaway is 2 Kindle Fire HD's with e-book prize packs! (shown below)

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Managing Reader Expectations through Cover Art by C.J. Brightley

It's day three of the Blogger Book Fair! Today I am proud to welcome C.J. Brightley, author of the Erdemen Honor series, including The King’s Sword and A Cold Wind.



Take it away, C.J.!

---

Does your book meet your reader’s expectations? It’s a more complicated question than it first appears. Many factors play into reader expectations, including genre, cover art, blurb, the author’s name and reputation, and the reader’s pre-conceived ideas.

Understanding reader expectations is critical to the success of your book. One of the fastest ways to disappoint a reader is to promise one thing and deliver another. The factors mentioned above, the author makes an implicit or explicit promise to the reader: “stick with me and you’ll find out what happens to Protagonist” or “stick with me, and you’ll find out why this happened,” etc.

Great writers can subvert those promises. There are ways to mitigate reader expectations without changing the story you want to tell. As an author, you need to be aware of what promises you are making to your reader, and either plan to fulfill them in some way, or understand how you’re going to either mitigate the expectations or deliberately subvert them for the sake of your story.

Cover art is one of the critical parts of establishing a book as a fantasy. Certain “looks” are common to fantasy covers, and cover art that conforms to those looks signals to a reader, or potential reader, that they’re looking at an epic fantasy, an urban fantasy, a thriller, a mystery, “women’s fiction” (whatever that means), or something else. However, a book cover needs to stand out too, or it doesn’t perform its primary function, that of catching a reader’s eye and enticing him or her to read the blurb and consider reading the book.

One of the interesting facts of being an indie author is that I choose my own cover art. That’s both exciting and stressful! I assume that publishing companies know more about what sells than I do, because they have access to a much greater data set. However, I know my book better than anyone else, and I knew that there were some reader expectations that I wanted to mitigate through the cover art.

When I chose the cover art for my books The King’s Sword and A Cold Wind in my Erdemen Honor series, I wanted to signal that the books were fantasy, but a little different than many other high fantasy books. The books are set in a fictional world, with cultures not directly drawn from Europe or any other real-world setting. I was inspired by real historical cultures, but the world is unique, not “England with magic.” The world does not include magic at all; there are no dragons or any other fantastic creatures. It’s almost like historical fiction for a world that isn’t ours.

The sword-bearing figure on the front signals “fantasy” without showing many of the trappings of a pseudo-European fantasy setting. The background is more stark and representative rather than a lush depiction of a particular setting or event in the books. Urban Fantasy covers, in contrast, often seem to have faces or figures posed in dramatic ways with suitably gritty urban backgrounds. I stayed away from faces partly because I didn’t think I could find a photo or image of anyone who looked like Kemen (the main character and narrator), and partly because I wanted to signal that the story was more toward high fantasy in a lower-tech world, rather than modern urban fantasy.

If anything, the cross-genre cover inspiration came from literary fiction. My series is definitely fantasy, but it’s character-driven and not epic in scale; each book has a relatively small cast of characters that a reader grows to know more deeply. Looking at literary fiction book covers, I noticed a trend toward a more graphic look. My books aren’t literary fiction, but they do prioritize character-growth over non-stop heart-pounding danger.

I love the cover art, and I feel they represent my books well.

Do the covers entice you? What do you expect to find between the covers of these books? If you’ve published a book, how do you feel about your cover art? Does it accomplish what you hoped it would?

---

About the author of this blog post: C. J. Brightley

I’m the author of the Erdemen Honor series, including The King’s Sword and A Cold Wind. I’m working on the third book in the series, to be released winter 2013, as well as a separate urban fantasy / supernatural thriller series scheduled for publication in winter 2013/2014. I’d love to connect with you on Facebook,Google+, or my website at CJBrightley.com. You can find my books at Amazon, Smashwords, Barnes&Noble, Kobo, and the iBookstore.

I will be at Intervention (Internet+Convention) 2013 August 23-25 in Rockville, MD! I’ll be signing books, and you can get a free sneak peek into my works in progress. If you can’t make but you want to check out the books, please contact me directly and I’ll see what I can do.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

World Building for Writers by Tom Lucas

It's day 2 of the Blogger Book Fair! I'm pleased to welcome author Tom Lucas. He teaches a world-building course in a Creative Writing BFA program, and shares some great tips on the topic.

Also check out Tom Lucas's novel, Leather to the Corinthians, "an absurd postmodern fable that defiantly flips a middle finger at modern American life. Through the perspectives of its multiple characters, it explores the absurdities of organized religion, the military, big business, fast food, advertising, sex, and the media. Witty, with bitter undertones, its story possesses a satirical spirit as it plays with traditional story structure, phrasing and cultural references. Its multiple layers encourage return visits as its characters have many more unique tales to tell."


Now, take it away, Tom!
---

Welcome to the Blogger Book Fair! What’s most exciting to me about this event is the great diversity amongst the writers, bloggers, and books that are participating this week.

It’s a bit trite, but there is truly something for everyone here. I hope that you have the chance to find something great to add to your reading list. Taking a look around, I see many thrilling stories, exciting characters, and my personal favorite – bold new worlds.

I am always intrigued by imaginative settings – epic fantasy realms, speculative futures, or mysterious ancient worlds. I suppose it’s this love for a rich backdrop that would lead me to teach a research for world-building course in a Creative Writing BFA program.

Many of my students are overwhelmed when they first sit down to design a world. It requires considering a multitude of factors, conducting thorough research, and some mental heavy lifting. We’re talking about building a world, and as mere mortals, it will take us more than 6 days.

To help aspiring writers (perhaps you) to build a world that is logical, plausible, and authentic, I have created a simple system to help build a foundation that will support a world for its lifetime.

WORLD BUILDING FOR BEGINNERS:

RESEARCH:
In order to create a world that engage an audience, it must have rules. It must have an internal logic, no matter how wild or fantastic. The writer must use research to support their ideas. Many consider “research” to be a bad word, so let’s reframe it. Research = exploration and discovery.  It’s about answering questions, and it’s important to know what questions you need to answer before beginning research -- otherwise it’s just wandering aimlessly around the garden of knowledge.

It’s my suggestion that you parcel out the research in stages.

LOCATION RESEARCH:
Begin the research by considering the location or locations in your world. What do you need to know in order to describe and detail the environment? Brainstorm a list of words or phrases that define the questions you have. Think of geography, weather, climate, flora, fauna, population – anything that pertains to the immediate, physical world of your story.

It doesn’t matter what kind of world you are building. There is always something from the world around us that can be applied to your creation. Fantasy stories often draw upon what we know about Medieval Europe. Science fiction, well, what’s the first word? SCIENCE. Connect your imagination with facts and it will feel real and vital.
Once you have established the locations of your world and how they work, it’s time to open your mind to the slippery concept of time period.

TIME PERIOD RESEARCH:
Think of the time period of your story as the moment in time in which the story takes place. What is the history of your world? How has it influenced the “now” of the story? What defines life in this moment for your characters? Think about technology, society, fashion, etc.

Look at the world around you. How does it affect you? How would you perform your normal daily tasks 100 years ago? 100 years in the future?

Another way that you can consider this concept: New York in 2013 is a different place than New York in 2000, or 1983, or 1883. What are those differences?

Ask yourself these questions and determine what you need to know in order to truly define the “moment in which the story takes place”.

DETAILS RESEARCH: Now that you have handled the physical environment as well as the time period, you should now take a look at the little details that make a world special. It’s time to add those unique and memorable touches that will make your world stand out. These can be details such as props (weapons, personal effects, clothing/costuming, etc), set pieces or sub-locations, mythologies, and more. Anything that is specific to your world applies here. This is the free-for-all stage in your research, so have fun.

Think of the stories and worlds that you love, and use the details that made you adore them to inspire you to create your details.

START WRITING: Now you have a solid world concept that is supported by research and your creativity. It’s time to start writing that story.

About Tom:

Tom Lucas was born and raised in Detroit, and although currently enjoying the lack of snow and ice in Florida, remains a son of the post-industrial apocalypse.

Throughout his childhood, Tom found solace in comic books, Star Wars action figures, movies, cartoons, and video games.  His passion for media, as well as story, has carried him through his adult life.

Tom is the author of Leather to the Corinthians, a surreal dystopian satire, a college professor, blogger, poet, book reviewer, and spoken word performer.

When not writing, Tom likes to drive fast and take chances.

For more information visit: http://readtomlucas.com/
Connect with Tom on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TomLucasAuthor

Leather to the Corinthians: http://amzn.com/0988526107

Monday, July 22, 2013

Blogger Book Fair: The Forever Girl by Rebecca Hamilton


This week, I'll be spreading the word about one new book every day for the Blogger Book Fair! I am honored to start off the Blogger Book Fair with the sensational novel, The Forever Girl. 

The Forever Girl (Forever Girl Series #1)


HarperCollins: "It’s rare to see such natural flow and tempo from a debut author."

Sophia's family has skeletons, but they aren't in their graves. At twenty-two, practicing Wiccan Sophia Parsons is scratching out a living waiting tables in her Rocky Mountain hometown, a pariah after a string of unsolved murders with only one thing in common: her. Sophia can imagine lots of ways to improve her life, but she'd settle for just getting rid of the buzzing noise in her head. When the spell she casts goes wrong, the static turns into voices. Her personal demons get company, and the newcomers are dangerous. One of them is a man named Charles, who Sophia falls for despite her better judgment. He has connections that might help her unveil the mystery surrounding her ancestor's hanging, but she gets more than she bargains for when she finally decides to trust him. Survival in his world, she learns, means not asking questions and staying out of the immortal council's way. It's a line she crossed long ago. If Sophia wants to survive the council and save the people she loves, she must accept who she is, perform dark magic, and fight to the death for her freedom. 


The Forever Girl is a full-length Paranormal Fantasy novel that will appeal to lovers of paranormal romance, urban fantasy, witches, vampire fiction, ghost stories, paranormal mystery, and paranormal horror.



Saturday, July 13, 2013

Write Like A Man


I have often pondered why I prefer writing from the male POV. That has to be weird, right? As a woman, shouldn't I feel more comfortable speaking as a woman? Shouldn't I be more versed in what women think and feel?

Although quite girly in real life, for some reason in fiction, I'm a tomboy.

I can write from the female POV, and do in The Charge, which is told from multiple POVs. As a matter of fact, the original draft of the novel that would become The Charge was written from Lena's perspective, the leading lady in the story.

Deciding to change my main character from Lena to Warren was a big decision, namely because it meant re-writing most of the novel. But I also didn't trust that I could master the voice of an 18-year-old guy, especially one like Warren, who is not that much like me. However, I decided to make the change at the suggestion of some astute critique partners.

From a plot perspective, writing the story from Lena's perspective had been a mistake. She's deeply involved in the story, but it's not about her. It's Warren's story, and should be told by him. Honestly, I think I was stuck in the female-focused mentality of the YA/NA genre. I naturally started writing from the female perspective, just because it seemed like the normal thing to do, even though it wasn't right for my story.

When I stated writing the story from Warren's POV, it felt like fireworks erupted in my head. It worked better partly because it made for a better plot, but also his voice flowed so naturally. The prose came to life with color and texture.

My leaning toward the male POV didn't stop with Warren. The exact same thing happened with my next novel (which I hope to publish soon). When planning the story in my head and in outlines, I fully intended to write from the perspective of the main female character. But when I actually sat down to write, the main male character took the helm. I just started writing a scene from his perspective and he tumbled out for a whole novel.  In retrospect, I am very glad I chose him as a MC. He's a deeply flawed character and making him into a likable MC added much more complexity than I would have had otherwise.

Who knows, perhaps I do have some deeply seeded gender issues, but my guess is that something else is going on here. I like writing from the male perspective because the voice is less like mine. When you're attempting to write from the perspective of someone who is not like you, you have to make a more conscious effort to create a strong and consistent voice, which at least in my case, improves the quality of my writing.

In addition, I find it more enjoyable to write as a character unlike myself. Don't get me wrong, I'm a huge Sharon fan, but I live in my head 24/7. Stepping out of myself adds fire to my writing because it's fresh and different, and I enjoy the challenge. So, at the end of the day, I don't think it's that much about gender. I enjoy writing as someone different from me. 

If you often write from the POV of your own gender, or as characters otherwise similar to you, I challenge you to a few exercises where you write as someone unlike you. If you're like me, hopefully it will help to enhance your voice and add fresh color to your writing.


So, what about you? Do you usually write MCs of the same gender? If so, why do you lean towards one or the other?

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Guest Post by Jack Craven of The Charge

I'm starting a series of posts on Thursdays especially for fans of The Charge!

http://angelcute22.deviantart.com/art/Blue-Glass-Eye-103274291


Today, I would like to welcome Dr. Jack Craven, a character from The Charge. He is here to explain what Blue Energy is, and what it is most certainly not.

Mythology related to the phenomenon of "blue energy" abounds in popular culture, and even the members of the Wilde family themselves have misguided beliefs about what blue energy is and what it means to have it.

Blue Energy is the common term used for the increased bioelectricity in the bodies of all people with Wilde DNA. Bioelectricity is electricity derived from living tissue. One common misconception is that only Wildes have bioelectricity, but that couldn't be further from the truth. All living creatures generate bioelectricity, Wildes simply generate more.

Our increased bioelectricity is fact, and I'm certainly not here to contest it. The issue at hand is not it's existence, but what it's existence means. Wilde parents will often tell their children that bioelectricity is the essence of life itself, or "the soul". It is the part of us that goes on living after our flesh bodies perish.

I personally do not believe in the soul, but that's not the real problem here. The problem is that when Wilde parents tell their children that Blue Energy is the soul, it implies that Wildes have a stronger or greater soul than other humans. This dangerous belief has given the Wilde family a God complex for generations.

In addition, Wildes often consider our increased bioelectricity to be a superpower of sorts, or "God's will". It is true that our affliction has benefits. The increased bioelectricity in our brain sends messages faster and we are able to utilize more of our brain tissue. However, this is merely an accident of nature. Blue Energy comes from a mutation in our DNA, just like any inherited disorder. We're not special, we're broken.


The Wilde family is at the brink of a new age. We have the opportunity to re-define ourselves and I strongly urge my "brethren" to make this new age and age of reason and humility.