Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Writing Prompt Wednesday # 2

One of the most difficult parts of being an author is sitting down and writing. Creating a habit around writing can really help with this challenge. I've found that forcing yourself to write daily, even if it isn't writing in your current work-in-progress, is a great way to build that habit. There are many ways to do this, one very popular way is to use daily writing prompts.

I thought it would be fun to have a weekly writing prompt challenge. So on Wednesdays I plan to post a writing prompt challenge, with a paranormal theme (of course) to help inspire the writer in you. The challenge is simple. Set an alarm on your phone for thirty minutes to one hour. Get inspired by the prompt and create a scene or two. I'll share mine in the post. Don't worry about editing your work, the key is to simply build a habit around writing, editing comes after you get the story out. You don't need to share your work, you can keep it in your own personal journal and maybe use it for a future story, but I'd love to hear if this challenge is beneficial to you. Let me know in the comment section below.

As a life coach and hypnotherapist I've helped many people with relationship and dating issues, and as an author of paranormal romance, dating and romance runs the gauntlet in my stories. I have two series that focus specifically on dating (Dating a Werewolf and Aphrodite's Love Connection). It's a great topic with so many possibilities. With part four of Rhyme's Reason (Dating a Werewolf) and Bear-i-licious Cowboy (Aphrodite's Love Connection) upcoming releases, I thought it would be fun to focus on dating for this week's writing prompt.

Writing Prompt # 2

You work for a dating service and have been tasked with creating a perfect blind date for a potential high profile match (try a vampire prince and a medium or maybe a werewolf and a witch... or create your own supernatural couple).

Ready, set, go!

"No, the date has to be after nightfall, preferably two hours after the sun goes down." I huffed into the phone. Aimee's assistant was being extremely difficult on hashing out the details for this date and if I didn't make something happen soon, my boss was going to make my life a living hell.

"As you can imagine, Miss. Jackson's busiest time is after the sun goes down. I'm sure she doesn't want to be interrupted by a ghost or two during her first date." The man's nasally voice repeated the same answer he'd given five times in the last twenty minute conversation.

"She is going on a date with a vampire, I'm sure a little ghost interruption is par for the course." I argued.

"My sources tell me the Prince is a day walker. Can't he make an adjustment to his schedule? Miss. Jackson is, after all, a famous television medium."

"We're all aware of her fame, Mr. Blake." I took a deep breath and refused to finish my thought out loud, but I think being a prince trumps out being a television reality show star. This match was far from being made in heaven, but my boss was positive it would be a love match, if we could just get the two of them together in a room.

"I'm sorry, Miss. Jackson is not going to budge on this point. If you want to make this arrangement happen, he will need to be open to a daytime date." The assistant hung up the phone.

"Fudge cakes!" I slammed the phone back on the receiver and leaned back in my chair. I squeezed the bridge of my nose to help fight off the migraine that was beginning to form in my head. Mario made it clear this needed to happen this week. We were down on our quotas and after three months of poor matchmaking results, we didn't have much wiggle room.

I flipped on the computer screen and examined Prince Donovan and Aimee Jackson's profiles side by side. They were definitely an good looking couple. She had dark exotic looks with long wavy hair surrounding a heart shaped, tan face and he brought forth an air of royalty with his dark hair, chiseled jaw, and demanding eyes. There was something about his grey eyes that seemed to capture my attention every time I looked at him. He made my insides turn to jelly over a picture, it would be interesting to see the affect he would have on me when we finally met in person. None of it mattered, he was out of my league and ear marked for another client. If I could just find a way to get them together.

My eyes roamed the profiles and an idea started forming. It was going to take some maneuvering, but I had the beginning of a plan. I grabbed my purse and keys and headed for the door.

End of Sample...

Once you get started the stories will start flowing. I've already decided this rough draft writing sample will be used in the second book of the Aphrodite's Love Connection series. Now that I've started the idea, it's time to create an outline and schedule the writing time for the next book. Sometimes this happens with writing prompts and sometimes you create something that can be saved for later use when you least expect it. The idea isn't about creating something you can use all the time, it is more about creating a habit around writing. Now it's your turn. Set your timers and see what you can come up with from the writing prompt provided above. Don't forget to let me know what you think of these Wednesday challenge posts in the comment section below. Happy writing.

I mentioned a couple series in the blog post above.

Aphrodite's Love Connection and Dating a Werewolf. Check them out at the links below.

Bear-i-licious Cowboy is the first book in the Aphrodite's Love Connection series. It is available for a limited time in the Once Upon a Midnight Anthology for only $0.99 on most major retailers.

Once Upon a Midnight

Amazon US
Amazon UK
Barnes and Noble Nook

Bear-i-licious Cowboy for individual sale at $2.99. Grab it in the Once Upon a Midnight Anthology set for only $0.99 (links above) by November 2nd for a great deal on this book and 19 other great reads by some very talented authors.

Amazon US
Amazon UK

Dating a Werewolf Series contains Rayne's Thunder, Rhyme's Reason, and coming soon, River's Fire. Rayne's Thunder is available as the complete serial or you can get each individual part here. Rhyme's Reason will be complete by the end of 2016. Check out each part here. The complete serial set will be available by mid December. River's Fire will be released as a complete story in the first half of 2017.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Sneak Peek of Bear-i-licious Cowboy: Meet Tucker

Bear-i-licious Cowboy is one of the 20 stories in the Once Upon a Midnight Anthology which is currently available for $0.99 on pre-order. This set will be released October 11th 2016 and is only available through November 2nd.

Bear-i-licious Cowboy won't be available for individual sale until November 11th, 2016 and the price for this story is $2.99. It is available for pre-order but the real deal for a limited time is to grab it in the Anthology. Best part of the Anthology? All proceeds will go to The Epilepsy Foundation.

I'm excited about this new story, it is the first story in the Aphrodite's Love Connection series. A paranormal romance series with mythological gods and goddesses. Each story is a complete romance with HEA or HFN. The overall arc to the series is about love conquering all and overcoming hate. Aphrodite's Love Connection is a dating service run by the Greek goddess Aphrodite and her son Eros. Their mission is to bring supernatural couples together to balance the scales of love and hate and hopefully, if they create enough love matches, they will stop the oncoming apocalypse.

In Bear-i-licious Cowboy, Tucker (a bear shifter cowboy and clan alpha) is forced to pick a mate within a month or Artemis will remove him from his leadership role. She believes a mate will soften his rough edges and make him a better leader. Tucker doesn't agree, but the ultimatum leaves him little choice. When he rescues Ashlee from a vampire assassin, he realizes that fate has brought him his mate.

Ashlee is a very human woman who has been targeted because she knows too much of the supernatural world. Her best friend is a witch. The reality is she knows nothing about the supernatural world and she is a victim of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. When she does discover the creatures that go bump in the night, she doesn't want anything to do with them. That is until she discovers her connection to Tucker. Ashlee is a super fun character and you can get a sneak peek of her here.

Check out a sneak peek of Tucker's character below. I hope you enjoy. Be sure to one click Once Upon a Midnight or grab the individual copy of Bear-i-licious Cowboy at the links below if you miss the limited run. Thank you for reading.

Sneak Peek of Tucker's character in Bear-i-licious Cowboy

Tucker watched from the corner of the room as humans and supernatural creatures weaved in and out of the elegant ballroom. Laughter and chatter filtered through the crowd. As far as he could tell, the party was going well. People were mingling, pairing up, Aphrodite and her son, Eros, seemed pleased with the mixer.
He couldn’t remember a time when he felt more out of place. It didn’t help that he wasn’t happy about being here. He knew his responsibility to Artemis and her expectations. She expected him to find a mate. He’d do just that, but he was looking for one that didn’t strike his fancy. He didn’t need a distraction, and he knew all too well that a woman, a mate, was a terrible distraction. If she was a true mate, she’d tear his energy in two or worse, if she was weaker than him, she’d become a problem. He didn’t have time to protect someone while he tried to rebuild his flailing pack.
He’d met suitable potential mates at the party. Josette seemed like a good option at first. Her red hair and lightly freckled skin made her pretty enough. She was a little too skinny for his tastes, but that could always be rectified. The problem was her day job, she was a dominatrix and enjoyed her power over men. She was the last thing he needed in his den. A little whipping wasn’t the issue; it was that she’d be far more interesting than dealing with the fight he had over property with the neighboring wolf pack. Not to mention, he wasn’t the kind of man that could share his woman. She’d have to quit her job.
Mariah also sparked his interest, a witch with dark, exotic looks. Not only could she protect herself, but she’d offer more strength to their dwindling numbers rather than becoming a hindrance. The problem was that she had no intention of living in the forest. To be fair, even if she wanted to, she couldn’t. She came from a powerful witch family, and had responsibilities on the council.
He was beginning to think that was the case with most of these women. For him, nature was his sanctuary, but they seemed to run from it like it was the plague. It was a deal breaker for him. His mate would need to live in his den with him while he rebuilt his pack and strengthened his borders. He knew these objections wouldn’t appease Artemis. She wanted him to find a mate and would not accept excuses.
A pretty blonde woman, who had been eyeing him across the crowd, caught his interest for a moment, until a scent drew his attention to the door. Two women entered; one tall and skinny, and the other, shorter and far curvier. They were both very attractive. The taller woman had brown curls and sun-kissed skin, and the lovelier woman was blonde and beautiful. It wasn’t their looks that caught his attention initially. He thought it was the witch, or maybe it was the human friend. Whichever scent drew his attention, it was something strong, distinctive, and completely intoxicating.
He watched them enter the room. The tall one seemed confident and exuded a strong aura. If he ventured a guess, she was the witch, but he needed to get closer to be sure. The blonde girl with sexy curves that went for miles seemed like she felt out of place. She was uncomfortable even though she was hot as hell. The way she fiddled with the hem of her black dress and adjusted her low cut neck line made him smile. The other women here were refined and polished, but this pretty, petite blonde was obviously a fish out of water, and as refreshing as a cool breeze.
Before he knew what he was doing, his feet were heading across the room toward the two girlfriends. Just as he was about to intercept their steps to the open bar, a male vampire stepped in front of him and steered them in the opposite direction.
His interest was obviously in the curvy blonde human, since vampires and witches rarely got along thanks to a century’s-old feud between the two supernatural races. No one really knew what sparked this quarrel, except maybe elders of the two groups. If they did know, they weren’t sharing, and they weren’t doing anything to alleviate the tension between both species either.
Tucker’s only real question was if his interest was in food or romance. Either option didn’t sit well with him. Something about the blonde intrigued him. He hadn’t intended to follow, but something told him to go. His bear was driven to protect, despite his desire to walk away. He didn’t need to involve himself in other people’s affairs. He had enough on his plate.
If the human and witch were dense enough to accompany the vampire outside, away from the safety of this event, then so be it. His actions didn’t follow his thoughts which irritated him further, and he pursued them toward the exit.
The curvy blonde allowed the vampire to lead her outside. Her friend tagged along, which he found himself grateful for. At least the human had some form of protection, but he had no idea how strong the witch was, a thought that was unsettling. The nagging voice in his head said to stay out of it, but the bear wouldn’t hear it. Reluctantly, he followed.
“And where are you off to in such a hurry?” Josette stepped in his path and seductively pressed a toothpick into his nipple. The slight prick was meant to be stimulating, but her interruption was nothing more than a gnat circling his head. His lip curled, but he managed to hold in the snarl that was erupting in his chest. He needed to find the girls.
A satisfied smile spread across her pretty face. “I was right, you do like it rough.” She pressed the toothpick in deeper.
He twisted her wrist back as he pulled her hand away and crushed her body against his. His voice was harsher than intended when he whispered, “I’m not interested in playing games, Josette.” He rushed out the door and sniffed the air, seeking a whiff of cinnamon and pine which he recognized as the human’s scent.

Grab Bear-i-licious Cowboy for $0.99 in the Once Upon a Midnight Anthology from now through November 2nd, 2016 at most major retailers below

You can also get this story individually here on Amazon for $2.99 at the links below.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Writing the Deep Point of View is more for beginners

Day 4 of 30 Reading Challenge

Writing the Deep Point of View from Rayne Hall would've been super helpful when I first started writing, now, though, it was more of a refresher course with little added insight to merge into my writer's tool box. If you're a new writer, this book is a great resource. Experienced storytellers understand the nuances of different points of view (POV) and how popping in and out of POV can disrupt the flow of the story for the reader.

I am really enjoying this challenge. Whether the book I am reading is a refresher course or something new, I find it a valuable experience.

Check out the other books I've read in this series so far here.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Writing Prompt Wednesday...

I've decided to start a new weekly blog post to help inspire myself and others to start writing. Each Wednesday I am going to post a writing prompt and my response to the prompt. I encourage you to join in on the fun. Post your own response in comment section below... share it out and invite others to join in the fun.

Why I am doing this? Writing is hard. Creating a daily writing habit is hard. Authors, bloggers, and anyone else who writes daily will tell you it can be difficult and finding inspiration is a big factor in this. These writing prompts are designed to help generate inspiration. I challenge you to write anywhere from 100 to 1000 words in response to the writing prompt. Even if you don't want to share it on the post, start a journal and do your own daily writing prompts. Before long, you might find you've built a habit about writing.

I thought it would be fun to tie it into my story Bear-i-licious Cowboy which is my newest release on pre-order for $2.99 on Kindle or for a limited time it is available for only $0.99 in the Once Upon a Midnight Anthology set where ALL proceeds are going to the Epilepsy Foundation.

In Bear-i-licious Cowboy, the very human Ashlee is exposed to the paranormal world through a dating company called Aphrodite's Love Connection (a dating connection company that pairs supernatural creatures with their mates run by Aphrodite herself and her son Eros). The reason for the dating connection company is that hate has taken center stage in the world and love has been knocked out of balance. Aphrodite and Eros need to bring love back to the masses to keep an apocalypse from happening. They do this, one couple at a time (each book is a stand alone romance).

Ashlee isn't receptive to the paranormal world. She has the idea that it only exists in fiction, but is forced into this world by a series of unfortunate events. It made for some great internal and external conflict.

Working off the same idea (being forced into a paranormal situation that the character once thought could only be a work of fiction), here is this week's writing prompt....

The main character has been kidnapped by an angry witch. How does he or she escape? (To make it interesting, you're main character doesn't believe in magic or the supernatural)...

My response...

Terror climbed up my spine like a thousand tiny spider legs, causing my skin to pimple in goosebumps and a shiver to run through my body. I wrestled with the ropes that bound my hands, each movement cut into my skin like sharp razor blades, but the pain wasn't my concern, my only thought was to escape. I'd been taught to engage the kidnapper into conversation, a way to humanize myself and possibly find a way to freedom and would've loved to make that happen had I not had a filthy rag stuffed in my mouth and bound by another rope around my head. Every attempt to dislodge the fabric left me gagging. 

I stared at my captor, she was a pretty woman with long dark hair and sharp green eyes. I didn't know her. This made the fear run deeper because I knew she had no attachment to me either. I needed to find out why I was here, but was helpless to do that in the position she'd left me. There was another woman beside me in the same predicament. Her skin and hair were matted in dirt from the floor beneath our feet. She'd cried rivers of tears if the deep grooves on her cheeks were any indication and had been there much longer than I had been.  

The kidnapper was mixing some herbs in a large black pot, heated by a campfire below. She tossed in a dead chicken and a poof of smoke exploded from the cauldron and ignited again when she spoke strange words from an unknown language. When she was done, she turned to us. "Now all that is left is your sacrifice. Who would like to go first?" She moved her index finger from me to the other girl reciting the nursery rhyme, 'iney, miney, moe'.

I closed my eyes before she even finished the childhood game, I knew it would be me. This woman was going to sacrifice me for some ridiculous ritual. I needed to find a way to escape and this was my only chance.  

"Looks like you won." She clapped her hands with joyful glee as she pulled me up and moved me toward the cauldron. 

I resisted, dragging my feet and trying to maneuver out of her vice like grasp. When my bound hands smack her across the face, the glee in her eyes disappeared and was replaced with something far more menacing. She grabbed my hair and snapped my head over the boiling water. "I was trying to be nice. You were going to be the vessel for sister's soul, but now you'll be the blood sacrifice." She pulled out a wicked looking knife and placed it at my throat. 

I reacted. Survival my only focus. I kicked back and made contact with her leg. She lost her grip on the knife. Turning around I charged her and sent her flying backward against the cavern's stone wall. Luck had her hitting her head and she crumbled to the ground. I ran to the other girl and we removed each other's gags. 

"Hurry, we need to get out of here before she regains consciousness." The scared prisoner laced her fingers in mine and we ran for the exit. We'd escape, call the authorities, and the strange, delusional woman would be put back in the insane asylum where she belonged. 

Whew, that was fun. The above may or may not go in a story someday, but it definitely inspired me to write some more on my current work-in-progress. Now it is your turn. See what you can come up with. Share it below if you like or  put it in a writing journal for you to use in later projects.

Be sure to subscribe to this blog so you can join in on more of these fun activities in future posts. Have a wonderful day...

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Writing Vivid Dialogues: Writer's Journey to Honing her Craft

I've been a independent author and small press published author for about 3 years now. I've learned a lot over that time. First, being an author is a business. You create a brand and you market. Second, being an author takes writing skills and it is important to keep these skill sets sharp. In answer to the second point, I decided to engage in a 30 day challenge where I read a book a day that focuses on improving my skills as an author. Many of these books are entry level and become refresher courses for the experienced author, but refreshing skills can be as impactful as learning new ones. Sometimes along the way, I get to learn new skills in the midst of the refresher details so this is a win, win!

Day three:

Writing Vivid Dialogue: Professional Techniques for Fiction Authors was a chunky read with a lot of valuable information. For beginning authors, this a a great help aid to making your stories pop. For more experience authors, I found this a great refresher course. I call this book a course, because the author Rayne Hall writes it in that fashion. Each section has an activity to be completed. It was like I was taking an entry level college course on writing dialogue.

I also noticed that while reading through this book and continuing with my own work-in-progress, I've seen my writing intensify in the dialogue sections. This is a great resource for anyone wanting to become an author or someone wanting to hone their craft as an author. But this book will not replace the need for an editor and proofreader.

I highly recommend. I've only read two book in Rayne Hall's Professional Techniques for Fiction Authors series, but after those two I plan to read plenty more. Off to read day four's book... Have a great day.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Writing Fight Scenes (Professional Techniques for Fiction Authors): 30 Books in 30 Day Challenge

Day Two:

As a writer of paranormal romance and mystery, a few Science Fiction and Dystopian Romance novels, fight scenes are a must as much as the love scenes. I am not a fighter or warrior, I am lover and writer, but to create believable fight scenes is a necessity to keeping the readers engaged and turning pages. Prior to reading this book, I watched a ton of You Tube fight videos to help me craft a fight scene. I will continue to do so, but I did enjoy reading "Writing Fight Scenes: Professional Techniques for Fiction Authors" by Rayne Hall for many reasons.

She reinforced the idea that fight scenes are not just the act of fighting, they are about the suspense leading up to the scene, the location, the five senses, the beginning, middle, surprises, ending and aftermath. For those of us that are not trained warriors these can be forgotten, it made for a great refresher on what creates amazing scenes.

I even put together a cheat sheet for myself on creating solid fight scenes from the information gone over in this book as well as my past experiences with fight scenes. This book is a definite read for anyone that wants to learn how to or improve their scene writing skills on fight scenes.

Now that I have read this book, designed a process for writing effective fight scenes, I am planning on going over the two scenes I've already written for Cursed (Blood Courtesans Series), which is my current work in progress, and review these scenes to make sure they have the necessary components.

The other thing I really enjoyed about this book was the amount of research information the author shared with the readers. She goes into great detail about many specific weapons, how to use these weapons, motives generally used by the wielder of the weapon, and blunders or mistakes made by writers who are not trained in using these specific weapons. She even offers links to many example in the book. It was definitely a great read.