Guest Post: Perseverance by Doug Solter


First, I would like to thank Billie for allowing me do a guest post on her blog. Today I want to share a personal story about perseverance. No, I’m not a life coach and I refuse to tell you any secrets about unlocking your true potential. But sometimes writers can’t see the end of the road because we are so caught up inside our story forest that we lose sight of the road that can lead us out of the forest. Now some writers enjoy being lost inside that forest. However, if that writer wants a finished book out of that journey, they better find a way out of that stupid forest before it consumes all their creativity and time. How do I know? Because it happened to me.
One day I had this idea for a new book after reading Twilight. (Yes, I did read it and stop all that snickering. Say with me on this.) Okay, I didn’t like Bella Swan’s character because to me she was rather weak and I like strong female characters. So it got me thinking…
What if the girl was strong? Like a werewolf? Yeah, but that’s been done in some books. Okay. What if the boy was weak? He’s not special and actually needs a strong girlfriend to bring him out of his shell and make him learn how to be stronger? And she can’t bite him and turn him into a brave werewolf because that would be cheating.
Thought that was a good enough idea to start an outline of my story to see if I had a book there. I always outline my books. Not to say I follow them to the letter when I’m writing the first draft, but it’s nice to have something you can go back to if you lose your way on the path through the story forest. (Sometimes you can build a lot of new paths in the story forest, which is fine, just as long as they ALL connect back up at the end.)  So I did my outline and felt like I had enough material for a book. I knew the beginning and the end of my story. Had a few good sub-plots and story elements that would support the middle sections of the book. I felt I was in good shape for the first draft so I took a hike deep inside my new story forest, confident I would get to the other side of the path I was on.
Wrote the first act of the story and everything was great. Halfway into the second act and the story elements were hitting on all the correct notes. So far so good. And then I hit the midpoint of the book and the path stopped.
Hmm. I could see the ending. The path that began the third act was in the far distance. I could see my ending, but I had nothing to connect it with. All the sub-plots and story elements I had planned to use for this portion of the story had already been used or were not strong enough to last into the second half of the story. A novel needs conflict and tension in the middle to drive it towards the third act. But all my good story ammunition was already spent and here I am stuck right in the middle of the novel.
Yeah, I was in trouble.
I rewrote the book from the beginning to see if the creative juices would help build up the momentum and carry me over that empty space. Surely something new would pop into my head to fix that big gaping hole in my second act.
It didn’t work. I was still stranded inside the forest.
I tried writing the book from the werewolf girl’s POV to see if that unleashed an idea.
It didn’t.
I rewrote the book alternating between the boy and girl’s POV.
Nothing. I became frustrated. Why couldn’t I solve this? It’s ridiculous. I was a writer. I created stuff. Why wasn’t this connecting up? It was a paranormal werewolf story not freaking War and Peace.
I abandoned the novel and worked on two other projects, hoping the answer would come if I gave the story some distance. Again and again I would return to that stupid werewolf book and then again and again I would stall in the middle of the second act. I loved the characters so much that a part of me still wanted to solve this personal enigma because I wanted to see these characters complete their story. But I still couldn’t crack it. Another part of me wanted to get rid of the novel so it wouldn’t keep wasting my precious writing time on a project that was going nowhere.
I confided to a writer friend about my torment and my intentions on deleting the book. Joe told me not to do that and kept encouraging me to keep working on it. But I wanted to be free of the torment the book produced in my creative life. So I deleted the book from my hard drive.
Then I loaded the backup file of the novel back on to my hard drive.
Damn it. I couldn’t kill this stupid book. The story still clutched at my heart. Still not wanting to die. Still hoping I found a way to save it from extinction. Instead of deleted the back up file, I left it alone again.
At this point, I had lost count on how many times I tried to restart the book. However, on whatever numbered attempt it was, I decided to simplify. Instead of focusing on escalating the stakes of the plot, I decided to escalate the natural conflict inherit in the relationship between the human boy and the werewolf girl. Make their relationship so toxic that it would keep the reader engaged until the third act drops in to take over. And then that major shift in thinking allowed the words to flow out. A series of new scenes began a new sequence. Three main plot sequences and a new sub-plot sequence helped build a new path through that last half of the second act which finally connected to the old path.
Finally I was able to walk out of the forest with a complete novel called My Girlfriend Bites.
Now I’m not telling writers to stick with every project that doesn’t work. Sometimes you can outline an idea and then find out it’s not strong enough to last 60,000 words. That’s a good discovery because it saved you precious writing time that could be used towards another idea that will make a much better novel. But if you ever find yourself stranded in that story forest like me, don’t be afraid to give your book some breathing room. Have the confidence in knowing that the answer you need to fix your book is somewhere deep inside you. It might take more time than you realize, but don’t get discouraged if the answers don’t come right away.
They will. In time.
Remember that patience and perseverance are always a writer’s best friends.
New Release Blurb:

 Last season seventeen-year-old Samantha Sutton shined as the hottest new racing star of Formula One, but the girl’s rise to the top takes a hit when her boss steals her arch-rival Emilio Ronaldo away from Ferrari and makes the sexist jerk her team’s number-one driver. This sends Samantha’s perfect life into a tail spin that threatens to destroy everything she’s worked so hard for.

Besides her six wins last season, the best thing Samantha won was Manny, the cute German boy who saved her from herself. But Manny chafes against the self-absorbed racing star rising above the ashes of the simple girl he fell in love with. Can he save that simple girl from destroying herself again?

While Samantha’s performance on the track suffers and her status on the team plummets, Emilio rises within striking distance of another championship. Is this the final wake-up call the girl needs to beat Emilio and win the world championship? Or will the pressure break her.

Interview: Norm Hamilton, author of From Thine Own Well


What inspired you to write your first book?
Frustration with the Harper government in Canada was the catalyst forFrom Thine Own Well, a story of a dystopian Canadian future. They signed a 31 year agreement allowing Chinese corporations to sue Canadian governments should there be rules and regulations that hindered their profits. That motivation grew to include irresponsible mining, polluted watersheds and corporate control of government. In short, disgust with political matters was the inspiration.
Do you have a specific writing style?
No; short and simple, no. I write when inspiration prompts me. If what I do is to be considered a writing style, it is that I write, rewrite, read and rewrite. Then I have it edited and set about rewriting again.
How did you come up with the title?
I believe in food and water security; that we must provide for ourselves and not depend on others for life-sustaining necessities. That said I encourage our communities to safeguard our water systems jealously.
Although I’m not religious by any means, the phrase in Proverbs 5:15 “Drink water from your own cistern, running water from your own well” caught my imagination. I reworked the last four words for the title.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Our world teeters on the precipice of disaster. Investigating alternate forms of energy and reducing dependency on fossil fuels is paramount. We can no longer allow the multi-national corporate control of our governments. We require resources but obtaining them must have minimal impact on the environment, regardless of the demands of corporations.
Providence connected me with water.org as a result of writing this novel. These good folks work at providing clean water throughout the world. A mere $25 can provide clean water to someone for a lifetime.
How much of the book is realistic?
I believe the story presented in From Thine Own Well is not only possible, it is plausible. Similar situations are now taking place. For example:
·       Opening of the Peel Watershed in Yukon to mining development and fracking
·       The recent devastating tailings pond spill at the Mount Polley Mine in BC.
Statements from readers on how realistic the story is:
·       A wonderfully realistic dystopian!
·       This is what I would call realistic dystopian.
·       From Thine Own Well is a pertinent piece of eco-fiction
·       An attention-getting look at the future
Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
As alluded to above, the story is based on reality. I’ve watched corporate control of government decisions place profits before people. I lived in Yukon, a pristine area of the world, for 40 years. Recent agreements with Chinese mining corporations are disconcerting. Opening the watersheds to development by oil and gas companies causes concern, and may prove disastrous.
Changes to the Navigable Waters Act in 2012 removed protection for all waterways in Canada except for the three oceans, 97 lakes and 62 rivers. This left the majority open to destruction. In Yukon, only the Yukon River is protected.
Some of the characters in the story are based on real people, as I see them. Others possess characteristics of folks I have met.
Are there any deleted scenes or “cut” characters you’d like to share?
There’s a dog, Bob, who is an integral part of From Thine Own Well’s story line. At one time there was a scene where Bob was killed. As it turned out, that scene didn’t work so it was reworked.
There is another scene that I wrote, removed, re-wrote, deleted and finally put back in. I was having difficulty with the feelings it evoked in me, but eventually chose to leave the emotions as part of the tale.
What books have most influenced your life most?
Some books have influenced my writing and beliefs.
·       Margaret Atwood’s “The Handmaid’s Tale”
·       Ken Follett’s World War II novels, epic volumes of The Pillars of the Earth series and the Century Trilogy
·       Stephen King and Justin Cronin for their horror and apocalyptic passages.
Dan Millman’s Way of the Peaceful Warrior and other books in his series of shamanistic writings and self-help have helped shape my personal life.
If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
I would choose Ken Follett as my personal mentor. His ability to create worlds with live characters, locations that appear in the mind’s eye and believable situations is amazing. Couple that with the inclusion of factual information and historical accuracy and he provides everything I could ask for in a writer.
What book are you reading now?
At the time of this writing I just finished reading Writer (Daughter of Time Book 2) by Erec Stebbins. It’s a tale of survival and cooperation between species and races, an account of hatred, vengeance and annihilation. But woven throughout is a remarkable love story. You can read my review on my website. http://normhamilton.ca/writer/writer-daughter-of-time-book-2
Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
I have been enjoying the work of indie writers exclusively for the past few months. Some standouts, out for me, are Martyn V. Halm (Amsterdam Assassin Series), Carmen Amato (Emilia Cruz Series) and Erec Stebbins (Daughter of Time Series). These authors are proof that indie writers are every bit as good as those promoted by mainstream publishers. I have posted review on their works on my website.
What are your current projects?
I am honing my short story skills, taking instruction from experts and practicing the craft. The result of this is that I am busy writing a number of shorts with varying styles, emphases, and subjects. That said, they all have human relationship in common.
Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
I am fortunate in that I have friends that support me in my endeavours. However, I’ve learnt to not rely on them for more than moral support By that I mean friends will always tell you something is great because, for them, it is. They love your creation.
The greatest help I had to write a novel was the National Novel Writing Month. (NaNoWriMo) http://nanowrimo.org/. Joining this in 2012 gave me the impetus to complete a first draft. A year of re-writes and editing later, I published From Thine Own Well.
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
I’m going to answer with a resounding no. The reason is that once the project is completed, published and marketed, it’s time to move on to another. The things I learnt creating the last book will, inevitably help in the writing of the next.
Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I’ve always had a desire to share my thoughts and stories through the written word. For most of my life I chose to work outside the home, have a family and raise our children. Now that I’m retired and the kids are grown, I have the opportunity to take that off my bucket list.
Can you share a little of your current work with us?
As mentioned earlier I am honing my craft. Hence, there really isn’t a “current” piece of work to share. I have an inspirational personal story being considered by editors. A short love story and an essay on personal growth are in the works.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
The greatest challenge, for me and many others, is fear. I’ve written a guest blog for this website that explains it further than I can go into here. See http://bit.ly/YkXRCX
Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
I’d be repeating myself here. See my comments on Ken Follett in the “If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?” section above.
Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
No, I haven’t traveled at all concerning my books.
Who designed the covers?
I have had cover designs done by Elliot Hamilton-Boucher as well as creating some myself.
What was the hardest part of writing your book?
For me, the most difficult part was, and is, having confidence in myself and my work. It seems that no matter how many great reviews I get or how many times I’m published, I still get that twinge of insecurity.
Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
The biggest thing I learnt is that I can do it. That is huge. There’s been all kinds of writing, publishing and marketing lessons as well, but realizing that I can actually write a book is, by far, the greatest lesson of all.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
The one thing that I can suggest is something you will hear over and over again. If you want to write … write. Don’t wait for everything to be perfect, write. When you don’t feel up to it, write. The only way you will ever get anything written is to, you guessed it, write.
Everything else will find its own way. Tell your stories.
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
The main thing I’d like to say to my readers is Thank you.
Thank you for sharing part of your life with me by reading my work. I hope that the words that were written as I laboured over the keyboard will have some meaning in your lives.
What were the challenges (research, literary, psychological, and logistical) in bringing it to life?
I did a considerable amount of research before attempting to write From Thine Own Well. There were two main reasons for that.
One, the subject matter is one that I wanted to maintain objectivity and present as balanced a picture as possible.
Second, I believed it necessary to have as much factual information as possible so the dystopian world that was created is believable.
Author Bio
Norm Hamilton (1951- ) lived in Whitehorse, Yukon for 40 years and has now retired to Vancouver Island with his wife, Anna, where he is meeting people and experiencing new adventures.
Norm had numerous feature articles published locally while in Whitehorse as well as a column on photography that he wrote for a year. He has one non-fiction book, The Digital Eye, a compilation of articles for people wanting to improve their photography skills and a novel, From Thine Own Well, about a dystopian Canadian society after the fracking.
Book Blurb
Disillusioned former Yukon mining exploration worker, Landon McGuire, is torn from his self-imposed exile into a Canada he no longer recognizes. Water is a precious commodity, and the environment is contaminated. Individual rights are non-existent and corporate rule is the law—a law enforced by the corporation’s own brutal militia.
Unregulated fracking and irresponsible mining have destroyed the watersheds. A small group of people band together to combat the ruling coalition, but find themselves embroiled in a dangerous game. Landon meets Nora and is drawn into the fray. What begins as a fact-finding mission turns deadly as they get closer to the truth.
Deceit, threats and violent encounters emphasize the reality that economy trumps environment even when lives are at stake.

Reviews

“This is a truly thought-provoking story that people need to read. I enjoyed the plot twists and the vivid description, the tension and moments of humour.”
Erin Potter, Shamrock Editing
“A sensitive topic, spiced up and delivered with insight and originality, as tense as it is thought-provoking.”
Matt Kruze, Author of Crime Mysteries
Excerp
“A plume of black smoke belched from the Peterbilt’s exhaust stacks as Josh brought the powerful diesel through the curves and began climbing the 8% rise in the highway known as Jackson’s Hill. There was a lookout at the top where he would be able to turn off and take a break after seven straight hours of driving from the mine. He felt a surge of joy as he pushed down the throttle to keep the containers with 21,000 kilograms of ore moving upward. He loved being in control of that much power.
Who would’ve believed that little Joshua Parsons from Trinity, Newfoundland could be making this much money and giving so much to Beth and the kids, he thought. He crested the top of the climb and pulled into the viewpoint. He slid out of his seat, down the step and then walked over to the guard rail, overlooking a section of the Tintina Trench a bit south of Stewart Crossing.
In the distance he could barely make out the flags that were flying on the top of the oil and gas rigs that dotted the low-lying plain. He was thinking of those damned environmentalists who had tried to stop development in this area. They’re stunned as me arse, he thought. There’s a lot of people working because of all of this. All kinds of money has been taken outta here. Oil and gas exploration is good for the economy. Mmm-hmm, this is the best thing that’s ever happened to me.
He walked back to the big rig and climbed back into the cockpit. He was anxious to get to the next stretch of road as it was a gradual decline into the lower reaches of the Trench and he would be able to make some good time. He was looking forward to getting home to Carmacks.
The massive starter shook the huge PACCAR MX engine as it cranked up to starting speed. Another belch of black smoke and the 18-wheeler was ready to roll again. He dropped it into gear, released the air brakes and cranked the shiny red behemoth back onto the road. He started humming the tune to “Missing Home Today” and a moment later broke into full song.
The truck lurched precipitously toward the side of the road. He held tight to the steering wheel as he brought it back toward centre.
The sound of tires screaming and air from the brakes hissing echoed through the valley below as Josh wrestled the truck to a stop. He squinted, then his brow furrowed as complete disbelief ran through him. The road ahead was undulating—moving up and down like a gymnast’s ribbon. Unbelievably, the motion was headed toward him.
He was glued to his seat, terrified and locked in by the seatbelt when it hit. The groan of twisting metal and the crash of breaking glass went unheard as the roar of the trees and rocks being thrown about drowned out all other sound. He stared, unblinking, as the truck was raised 10 metres, then dumped on its side to roll into an ever-expanding maw of moving earth.
It was over less than a minute later … “
Buy/Contact Links
Amazon.com – http://amzn.to/1ikb6bC
Smashwords – http://bit.ly/1feqDuK
Thanks for the interview, BC Brown. It’s a pleasure to share my experiences and joy of writing with you and your readers.

Twitter Twits

Spam. Nobody likes it. Not even with eggs and peanut butter cups. And Twitter can be a confusing, high-trafficked site. Like the rest of social media, Twitter’s function is to be, you guessed it, social.

Authors love (as they should) Twitter for reaching out to readers, connecting with authors and industry professionals, and building their platforms. The downfall many run into when tweeting is the absolute spammy nature of their posts.

If your stream is filled with nothing but:

“On sale now! NAME OF BOOK – Get Yours Today – LINK”
“‘She whispered, ‘I saw the murderer.’ Paranormal Mystery – NAME OF BOOK – LINK”
“Latest #blog – #Author BLAH BLAH’s NAME OF BOOK – LINK”
You have a problem. You are a Twitter Twit.
Harsh words. I know. But think about it. Do you like seeing your ads filled with nothing but hard and soft selling? No. So why do it to the people who follow you?
Sometime over the years we saw FB de-evolve into people’s to-do lists. You know, they looked something like:
Grocery shopping, edits, maybe time for the park later, and then macaroni and cheese for dinner.
Although they tend to much more long winded than that example. FB became void of thought or comment. Slowly Twitter is doing the same, only it’s chocked full of ads of all shapes and sizes.
There is nothing wrong with announcing blog articles or prizes you’ve won or when your book is on sale. Just remember that for every one of those you post roughly 3 billion other people are posting one or two of their own. That begins to look like an advertisement agencies portfolio in quick fashion.
Instead why not try injecting thought or comment into Twitter again? Don’t panic. They don’t have to

be original thoughts or comments (although those are best). They can be famous quotes, followed by your reaction or thought; they could be a funny picture you found online, followed by your reaction or thought.

Do you see a pattern? The vital aspect is… followed by YOUR thought or reaction.
Don’t be a Twitter twit. Remember to vary your tweets with real thought, real reaction. Spam-bots make terrible friends.

BC Brown is the author of three novels and has participated in multiple short story anthologies. Having committed almost every ‘bad deed’ in the book of ‘How to Be An Author’, she now strives to educate other writers through humor and simple instruction.

Random Rant 110: Kindness & Dirty Words

Dirty words are rarely considered good. Despite that, I use dirty words a lot. There are few who can dispute that. The other day, there came an instance where the dirtiest words I have were my repayment for a true act of humanitarianism. And I couldn’t be prouder of the fact. Here’s why.

Everyone has shitty days. Anything can make a person’s day turn from okay to utter crap in the span of, like, three seconds.

For me, the fact I’d just spent twelve of the worst hours possible with people I have nothing in common with was unpleasant but not horrible. It also wasn’t terrible that I was broke for another five days. (Although it wasn’t exactly a rosey cup of tea, there’s Netflix, the public library, and tons of free shit to do in the city. Plus, of course, my writing.) Even that I needed a massage (anyone who knows about my car accident knows why this is vital) and couldn’t get in for one for another two weeks didn’t make the day awful.

What was the capper, you ask? A flat fucking tire. But, wait, there’s more.

A flat tire sucks, yes. I had a spare, however. A “donut” tire isn’t the most reliable means of transportation but it does in a spot. I could replace the tire. Inconvenient financially but not ridiculous.

I limped the car out of rush hour traffic into a gas station. I lifted the spare, jack, and tire iron out of the trunk and set to the half crank, just enough to raise pressure off the tire so I could loosen the lug nuts. Then I inserted the tire iron and – TWIST! – found the tire iron is too large for the lug nuts. Fuck. A man asked if I’d like help. Thinking I’m defective, I let him have a go.

TWIST! Nothing. The tire iron was too large.

It’s at that stage that my day went from crummy to crappy. It started raining.

Rain isn’t so bad. It’s just water. Normally I’d agree. But I live in Arizona. We get a grand total of two feet of rain a year. Two feet of rain isn’t much when you consider it. But, when you live in the desert, you get all two feet within the span of, oh, four days.

My flat tire day was one out of four.

The skies opened, rain poured for about twenty minutes, then the sky cleared, leaving me and my would-be rescuer wet. I was left wet, broke, tired, irritated, and had a flat tire. But, wait, there’s more.

My would-be rescuer (Jason is his name) proceeded to spend the next hour asking every person who rolled into the station if we could try their irons. I called the Doctor to see if he could arrange a ride to my location and bring a borrowed one. Two dozen plus were asked for assistance. Most didn’t bother to look (most of them sporting brand new, or only a year or two old, vehicles. So I call bullshit they didn’t have a spare and a jack with tire iron).

They weren’t the worst though. The terrible people were the ones who said “Just let me fill up my gas, and I’ll come over and try.” Once their tanks were full, they drove off, leaving us wet, broke, and having every tool I needed to help myself except one. Those people were the dicks. The real reason my day went from crummy to shitty.

Then there was Jason who, despite having more important things to do with his time, despite having little more than two nickels to rub together, in need of a job and on the hunt, and without a permanent place to live, spent over an hour trying to get me help.

The person who had the least had the most to give in my time of need.

Jason and I talked a lot while we worked. I learned the details I’ve already imparted. During our talk, even with his troubles, he rarely stopped smiling, wishing only for a little break so he could work for something better. As I’ve said, I didn’t have much to give but I did have knowledge. A small place I pass by almost daily (a day labor place is all it really is, but work is work) had signs out front looking for help. I told him about it, and he agreed to arrange transport.

By this point, we’d been rejected by twenty-eight people. Yes, that’s 28 people who are dicks.

Enter Xavier, a young college-aged kid in a nice car.

When Jason said he was asking that guy for help, I was dubious. I mean, we’d been turned down by dozens of people already. The ‘poor snob’ in me saw the somewhat preppy looking kid in his nice, new car and thought he’d never help out a person like me in my shabby (and I ain’t talking chic) Lola. To my surprise, Xavier popped his trunk right at the pump, helped Jason dig out his tire iron, and let Jason take it to work on my tire while he finished gassing up.

And the damned thing FIT!!

After fueling, the young guy came over. Jason was putting the final tightening on the tire, and I was almost ready to go (having called off the Doctor and his ride when we found the iron worked). I didn’t have anything to give but my gratitude to Xavier, who told me he only expected me to pay it forward, accepted his tire iron, and took off to whatever destination.

Jason helped load the tire and jack and, worthless, iron in my trunk. I still didn’t have anything to give. Except…

In the trunk I’d found a copy of one of my anthologies – Quixotic: Not Every Day Love Stories. It had wiggled under the trunk liner, into the crevice where the spare is kept. I remember the copy. I had it at the 2012 Fright Night convention. I’d spilled tea or coffee on it after signing it. When I’d gotten home from the trip and picked up my car (I’d borrowed my sister’s nice, shiny one), I’d tossed it in the trunk, keeping it separate from the promo merch. There, I’d forgotten about it and it buried itself.

Jason and I had talked about my three jobs. I hadn’t talked about my books though. I was flustered and irritated and mentioning my art right then wasn’t forefront in my mind. Now it was. Now I had something to repay his kindness.

I offered the book and explained the deplorable condition. Normally I’d never let anyone have that copy; it was bent, crumpled, and stained. But that day I had nothing to give but my less than pretty, less than ideal, and dirty words – in both verbal and written forms. That day I was happy and proud to repay a true act of kindness with dirty words.

BC Brown is the author of three novels and has participated in multiple short story anthologies. Having committed almost every ‘bad deed’ in the book of ‘How to Be An Author’, she now strives to educate other writers through humor and simple instruction.

Anthologies: Fracas: A Collection of Short FrictionQuixotic: Not Everyday Love Stories A Chimerical World: Tales of the Seelie Court

New Release: Heart’s Last Chance by Kenzie Michaels/Molly Daniels


“How do you get your ideas?”

“Are you a plotter or a pantser?”

These are the two questions I’m asked the most and the easy answer to the first is simply, ‘Life’.  I’ve

gotten ideas while shopping, waiting in the dentist chair, from news blurbs on the radio, and even from my own experiences.

The second question isn’t so easy to answer.  I’ve had books come to me, fully formed, while others started out with nothing more than a vague idea.  I’ve sat down at the computer with a brief outline or simply a character telling me what to write.  I have noticed most of my completed work is when I have some idea of where the story is going, whether it be HEA or some sort of plot line.

My latest book, and the upcoming sequels, came about simply because I decided to try something new.  I had read Water Lust by Mary Winter back in 2002, and since hers dealt with a merman, I decided to try an imaginary friend.  I had no idea Brock would reveal himself to be an alien; my initial idea was ghost.  I put it away for a few years, since I didn’t want to write about space aliens; hadn’t I learned my lesson in the 9thgrade, when I tried to write my own ending to Star Wars?

Last year, I came across those handwritten pages, and decided to finish the story.  The result was Heart’s Last Chance, and two months later, Brock’s brother Niko demanded his story.  When I pitched it to my publisher, I mentioned the possibility of four or five sequels, since Brock has four siblings and a widowed mother.  My publisher sent me a contract for the entire series.  What the hell had I done?

My class reunion approached.  Five years ago, classmates pitched ideas at me left and right, which I turned into Class Reunion (published last year).  I jokingly wondered if anyone would talk to me this year, since I had taken liberties with personal stories, and hoped I’d disguised them enough.  This time, a character and a title were pitched, and since I have aliens on the brain, you guessed it….I’m now writing the 4th book in that series, even though Niko’s not finished, and #3 is still an idea!

So that’s how my series was ‘born’, and maybe it gives you a glimpse into the strange life of a romance writer. 
_________________________________________________________________________
Heart’s Last Chance released Sept 12th and is available on Amazon, B&N, Smashwords, ARE, and IBooks the following week.  Here’s a spicy excerpt for your enjoyment.

Everyone has an imaginary friend at some point, right?  Well, what if you discover yours is actually an alien who is fascinated with Earth? 

Tricia Alexander’s dreams are haunted by a mystery lover.  When she discovers the man she met in a nightclub is from another planet, will she accept his story or kick him out?

Brock was young Tricia’s imaginary friend and confidant, and watched her grow up over the years.  After gaining permission from the leaders of his planet, he sought to bond with her twice before, but with little results.  When he’s given a final chance, will he succeed?  Or will a family crisis prove too much?
Excerpt: (spicy rating)
“Hurry up, I have another surprise for you.”
Brock scrubbed his body and hair, then shut off the water. Wrapping his towel around him, he paused at the sight of his Chosen spread-eagle on the bed, stroking herself with a small object. His throat went dry as she let out a gasp and repeated the action.
“See something you like?” Her breathy voice was heavy with passion.
“Keep going…that is so hot.” He dried his skin, never taking his eyes from the erotic scene in front of him.
She brought the object to her face and turned the base, causing a low buzzing sound.
Brock’s cock sprang back to life when she plunged it back onto the lips of her glistening pussy. Her pretty face contorted with passion as she cried out. She gasped, her legs twitching as she came down, then moved it to a new place, using a circular motion.
“Put it in.” Stroking his rod, Brock threw the towel on the floor.
Tricia obliged, and drew her legs up while keeping them apart. “Want to do this?”

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Thank you for having me today BC!  Here is where I can be found:

Website: www.mollydaniels.wordpress.com(The Chosen series has its own page!)


Blog: http://kenziemichaels.blogspot.com

Face Book Page:  https://www.facebook.com/pages/Author-Kenzie-Michaels/248105468603737

Twitter: www.twitter.com/kenziemichaels

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Kenzie-Michaels/e/B004TYM7FE/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

Nook:

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/kenzie-michaels?keyword=kenzie+michaels&store=eb

ook

ARE: http://www.allromanceebooks.com/storeSearch.html

Bio:

Kenzie is the ‘wild child’ of author Molly Daniels. They cohabitate nicely inside the brain of a woman in Indiana who’s the mother of three and ‘Aunt Molly’ to the entire neighborhood. A devout chocoholic, her hubby has learned to watch out when the characters in her head take over and not get too upset when the words are flowing and all concept of time is lost. (LOL)
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Blog Host: 

BC Brown is the author of three novels and has participated in multiple short story anthologies. Having committed almost every ‘bad deed’ in the book of ‘How to Be An Author’, she now strives to educate other writers through humor and simple instruction.

Anthologies: Fracas: A Collection of Short FrictionQuixotic: Not Everyday Love Stories A Chimerical World: Tales of the Seelie Court

Meaty Characters

Stories are easy. The world is full of millions and millions of tiny stories begging to be written. Settings are easy. The world is chocked full of scenes, places, and settings to choose. Twists; twists are easy. Have you ever known a story, one worth telling, that went exactly as planned? Of course not. 

What’s not so easy, when it comes to writing, are well defined, unique characters. People that make the reader suspend disbelief long enough to think maybe, just maybe, that voluptuous redhead in the story is a vampire AND a real person. There’s only one way to do that.

Well written characters.

How do you know, for certain, your characters don’t wind up flat, stale rehashes? Attention to detail and follow through.

Writing is hard work. That’s well known. Plucking plot, setting, characters, twists and turns all from thin air isn’t easy. If it were, everyone would write that novel they claim they’ve been meaning to write for years in an instant. It takes an attention to detail that most people lack. One of the most important things a writer can pay attention to is how they present their characters.

Know your world. By having a thorough knowledge of your world, how it works, and its ends and outs, you’ll find who will fit best in the world. They become a well fit puzzle piece, completing the picture you present readers.

Appearance. Keeping the details of your character’s looks is important. This can include anything from their hair and eye color, to birth marks, and even clothing choices. Let’s face it, there are only so many different hair and eye color combinations that can be made (not counting, I suppose, oddity choices like blue or pink or whatever). But staying away from stereotypes (think Gingers in leather, ugh! it happens so often, or raven tresses with blue eyes boring!) lends a reality to a character. It also means to take care that your characters’ appearances don’t suddenly change throughout the story, unless there is a damned good reason (for example: scars/wounds, tattoos/piercings).

Nuances. Also known as ‘tics’ or nervous habits, these minor details carry HUGE weight. These can be portrayed in any manner you choose – finger twitches while idle, slurring the letter ‘R’ in spoken words, twirls a lock of hair when thinking. They all lend depth. Adding customary habits to characters lends believability. Everyone has tendencies and habits, include fictional people.

Vocabulary. Speech is a defining trait. It’s hard to believe someone with a Jamaican accent in 1888 London in any realistic setting. Thus the reader trying to suspend disbelief that the Jamaican is also tracking a shape shifting Loch Ness monster through the streets might have a little trouble swallowing that tale.

World Role. This goes back to knowing your world. You wouldn’t bring a Tibetan monk into a technologically advanced post apocalyptic society and expect him to be the story’s hacker. Once you get to know how your world works then you can figure out what role your character is most likely to play.

History. Good writers know more back story for their character than they EVER put into the story. They know how their heroine got the scar on her cheek (a playground accident where she fell from a slide as a child), knows why the hero wears his hair short at all times (once got it caught in a machine at work and was nearly scalped in the process), or why the mage is terrified of water spells (accidentally drowned her pet rat with her first ever spell). Great writers, however, know when and what history to use in their stories. Is it relevant to use all that information? Probably not, unless it happens to get mentioned in passing how the heroine got her scar. The point is, it is vital to know a ton of information about each character. It is not correct to put ALL of that information in your story.

In short, it’s easy to come up with your character in five minutes. And there isn’t anything wrong with the fact you started a story with a character you thought about in five minutes. The injustice to readers and yourself is if you finish a story with that character the exact same way.


BC Brown is the author of three novels and has participated in multiple short story anthologies. Having committed almost every bad deed in the book of ‘How to Be An Author’, she now strives to educate other writers through humor and simple instruction.

Anthologies: Fracas: A Collection of Short FrictionQuixotic: Not Everyday Love Stories A Chimerical World: Tales of the Seelie Court

She can be found on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Guest Post: Magic Will Happen by Norm Hamilton

Don’t give up on your manuscript before the magic happens.

We’ve all heard about the writer who doesn’t trust his own ability, who thinks his material is insufficient, who wonders if or why anyone would read his work. I get that. No matter how many times I’m published or how many great reviews I get on my books, I still have questions. But I’ve learned what I need to overcome.
Fear is a major stumbling block for many of us. Fear that the piece won’t be good, fear of ridicule, fear of failure … fear of success. Courage will overcome fear.
My favourite definition of courage is “facing your fear but doing it anyway.” The next step is simple, albeit not always easy. Get on with it. Believe it or not, time will pass whether you write your piece or not. If you don’t, you end up with nothing. Conversely, if you persevere you will succeed. So, create it anyway.
Follow this simple edict and you will have a manuscript, even if you are not satisfied. Congratulations! Now go over it again. Read with the eyes of a reader, as if it was written by someone else. Then rewrite where necessary.
Once it’s perfected … remember that it isn’t. Have it edited. Chances are you need to pare material from the narrative, reword some areas and shift things around. None of us can do this alone. Find an editor you can work with. Check their credentials and previous work, and then trust in the process.
The editor’s task is to ensure that your piece maintains a specific direction, removing what inhibits that focus or isn’t essential. They will help your readers remain targeted.  A good editor can also assist with the structure of the piece so it is chronologically or logically delineated. Your story gets refined and then polished to a sparkling lustre.
Remember, the editor’s suggestions are intended to help make your work better. They are not condemnations. That said; they are only suggestions. You still own the power to accept or reject their ideas. Use the opportunity to learn, but stay in control of your work and your voice.
Follow up with a strong proofreader. Don’t try to proofread your own work. It is said that if you do you will read what you thought you wrote. The result is missed errors, omissions and typos.
Whether submitting to a publication, on social networks or posting on a blog, your baby is now ready to share with the world. The next step is easy.
Start your next piece.
Bio:
After 40 years in Yukon Norm Hamilton now lives on Vancouver Island where he is meeting new friends and experiencing new adventures to write about. His popular novel, “From Thine Own Well” is a dystopian account of Canada’s future. Find him at http://normhamilton.ca/writer and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/NormHamiltonWriter.
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Books by Norm Hamilton

From Thine Own Well Enter a dystopian Canadian society that reviewers agree is frighteningly feasible. Corporations control the government. Deaths and destruction result. Fracking and irresponsible mining contaminate watersheds and citizens have lost their rights. 
The Digital Eye Do you want a fun, simple way to improve your photography? Within minutes, each article in this book helps you make better images.
email: norm@normhamilton.ca
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Host Bio:

BC Brown is the author of three novels and has participated in multiple short story anthologies. Having committed almost every bad deed in the book of ‘How to Be An Author’, she now strives to educate other writers through humor and simple instruction.

Anthologies: Fracas: A Collection of Short FrictionQuixotic: Not Everyday Love Stories A Chimerical World: Tales of the Seelie Court

She can be found on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.