The Tuesday Tease – A Little Change

Well, I know I’ve been sharing blips of my current-work-in-process, Return to Walandra, BUT I’ve fallen prey to something I’m sure most writers do… I got distracted and pulled away to another project.

While I plan to finish writing Return to Walandra, the ‘voices’ have temporarily gone silent because of the ‘voices’ for my first attempt at writing a movie screenplay are screaming in my head. LOL

Sacrificing Souls is from my Paranormal/Horror Halloween blog short story from a couple of years ago. I had always thought it could make a great ‘scare-fest’ on the big screen, so I thought why not put it into a screenplay, right?

Of course, there was one little problem… I’ve never written a screenplay.  So, I took the plunge. I purchased Final Draft and started watching YouTube videos on how to make this dive into unfamiliar waters without drowning. LOL

Wow, talk about a completely different way of writing!  One thing I’m happy about is I’ve always written LOTS of dialogue in my books, so at least I’m one step ahead there.

So, in the spirit of The Tuesday Tease, I thought I’d share some of my screenplay with you as I go through a first edit. I’m sure there will be SEVERAL more edits. LOL

I wasn’t able to make it look exactly the way it does in Final Draft, but this will give you an idea of what I’m doing. As my fellow authors will see, writing a screenplay is a WHOLE  different animal. LOL

This is a scene from Sacrificing Souls:

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The WORN wheels on the dolly RUB against the metal frame, SQUEAKING LOUDLY with each rotation. Frank enters the kitchen. He walks toward the corner by the exit to the back porch.

The temperature in the room suddenly drops, showing each breath Frank takes. Pushing the dolly to the corner, Frank SENSES an unseen presence. Beads of sweat appear on his forehead, in spite of the cold.

Frank STOPS and glances around the room. Dread is on his face. Frank unclasps the strap around the boxes.

DEEP SINISTER VOICE

You shall be another sacrifice.

Frank FREEZES in place, his eyes wide with fear.

FRANK (quivering)

Who–Who said that?

DEEP SINISTER VOICE (evil laughter)

Frank looks around the room. His face is ASHEN and his body TREMBLES.

FRANK

You–you– you’re not real. I–I–I’m just letting m–m–my imagine g–g–getting the best of me.

Frank lifts the first box and sets it next to the wall.

DEEP SINISTER VOICE (louder evil laughter)

Frank picks up two of the boxes and stacks them by the first. He reaches for the last two boxes. His vision becomes blurry.

FRANK (groans)

With both hands, Frank frantically RUBS his eyes.

DEEP SINISTER VOICE

Your death will be thought as an accident, but you will know the truth.

SMASH CUT TO:

Flames fill the room. The intense heat of the flames GLOWS. The metal cabinet handles and the appliances on the countertop are BUBBLING and MELTING. Frank STUMBLES backward, tripping over one of the kitchen table chairs. Holding out his hands, Frank watches the flesh melt away, leaving only bone.

FRANK (agonizing groans)

The fire grows until his entire body is trapped in the flames. His body THRASHES, as the flames consume his flesh. Frank is on the verge of MADNESS. He opens his mouth to CRY OUT when in a FLASH of bright light, THE ROOM AND HE RETURN TO NORMAL.

Frank quickly sets the last two boxes next to the others and RUSHES out of the kitchen, pushing the dolly, its wheels SQUEAKING LOUDLY.

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I hope you enjoyed the tease from my first screenplay.  While this is a whole new learning curve for me, I must confess that I’m having a blast!

Sacricifing Souls image
This is how I envision the mansion. WGA Registration Number: 1944758

 

 

The Tuesday Tease – Week 4

Here’s some more fun from Return to Walandra: Book 2 – The Dragon’s Blood Key

cover 2 for return to walandra 1Donna and Steve leaned forward and looked closer at the stone.  It was quite beautiful, but upon closer inspection, they noticed a spark of light glowing from its center.

“I don’t understand.  I’ve seen this necklace around her neck for months, but I don’t remember it glowing like this,” Donna reached up to touch the stone.

“It is glowing now to give her the strength she needs to stop the Evil Queen in her plan to destroy Walandra.  We are on the verge of a great battle, and I fear many will not survive,” King Ashlym’s voice was firm and unyielding.

 

The Tuesday Tease – Week 3

Here’s another tease for Return to Walandra. Enjoy!

cover 2 for return to walandra 1“Demlins are dark, evil creatures that live in the Land of Shadows.  These two are servants of Alona and were sent here to earn Cassy’s trust so they could use her to destroy the Royal family.”  Keira glanced at Cassy and gave her a knowing look.

“Oh, no, is Frier okay?  They haven’t harmed him, have they?”  Cassy’s heart ached at the idea of Frier in the hands of Alona.

“No, he’s safe for now, but if we don’t stop Alona, I fear the entire Royal family will be lost.”  Keira did not want to frighten Cassy, but it was important she knew the truth.

“I don’t understand.  What does this all have to do with Cassy?”  Steve cleared his throat, trying to calm his nerves.

I hope you enjoyed this week’s teaser from Return to Walandra. If you haven’t read book 1, it’s available on Amazon for only $2.99 or free on Kindle Unlimited.

 

The Tuesday Tease – Week 2

Last week I began a series of post with a few chapters of my current work-in-process. Return to Walandra is the sequel to The Dragon’s Blood Key. Here is this week’s tease:

cover 2 for return to walandra 1“Stop fighting,” David growled in a low and menacing tone as he tried to regain his grip on her.

“Cassy, what’s happening to me.  I feel strange,” Melissa cried out.

“Let her go!” Cassy shouted as she reached for Melissa again.

“Stop fighting, and I promise she will wake up in her bed safe and sound.”  David wrapped his arm around Cassy’s waist when suddenly an agonizing pain shot through him.  “What have you done to me?”

“Look at her eyes, they’re green!” Ralph shouted.  “Come on, we need to go before it’s too late.”

A burning rage built up from deep inside Cassy as she reached for Melissa again.  “Melissa, take my arm!”

It was then Cassy realized Melissa appeared transparent.  “Melissa, please look at me.”

“Stop wasting our time,” David grabbed Cassy again, but this time the pain he experienced from her touch knocked him back several steps.

“Leave her!  We’ll take her sister, that way she’ll come to us,” Ralph yelled as he faded away as well.

Realizing he had no choice, David released his hold on Cassy.

“I will see you soon, Champion,” his laughter filled the air as the three of them disappeared.

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It’s getting exciting now. Come back next week for another Tuesday Tease.

I hope you enjoyed this week’s teaser from Return to Walandra. If you haven’t read book 1 it’s available on Amazon for only $2.99 or free on Kindle Unlimited.

 

Cover Reveal!

Nothing is more fun than a Cover Reveal.

Yesterday, I told you about my current Work-in-Process, Return to Walandra, the sequel to The Dragon’s Blood Key. I hope you enjoyed reading the tease and watching the Book Trailer Video.

Today I thought I’d share with you the cover I created. I believe it captures the feel of this exciting story. Drumroll…

cover 2 for return to walandra 1

I’m having so much fun writing this continuation of the Dragon’s Blood Key saga. I love the characters and I’m sure you will too. I have brought many of the favorites from book 1 and have even introduced a few new ones.

 

 

 

The Tuesday Tease: Week 1

I have been neglecting my blog for some time. With other projects and the everyday events of life, consuming all my time this little blog has been shoved to the side. Well, I decided it was time to show my blog some attention.

Between some of the crazy things I’ve been doing the last few months, I’ve somehow managed to squeeze in some time to work on the sequel to The Dragon’s Blood Key: Return to Walandra.

This story holds a special place in my heart. The morning I woke up a couple of years ago with a wild story about Dragons and magical creatures burning in my mind, it opened a whole new writing experience for me.

I had been one to write dark, twisted thrillers, so I must admit the desire to write a YA Fantasy came as quite a surprise to me. That morning, I climbed out of my bed, sat in front of my handy laptop computer and to my surprise two weeks later I had written The Dragon’s Blood Key. I must admit it was a crazy two weeks. My husband was still driving over-the-road, so I was home alone.

I barely slept, I even forgot to eat (which wouldn’t hurt me to do more often. LOL), but it didn’t matter; the voices in my head had a story to tell, so I was held captive.

I must confess the voices haven’t been so chatty with the sequel. They have come to me in bursts. However, as I sit at my laptop, I find myself amazed how so many questions posed in the first book are somehow answered in the second one. I didn’t know there were even questions while writing the first book, but as the voices dictate this next story to me, I find sub-plots filling in the gaps. If you are a writer, I know you’ll understand what I mean. LOL

So, back to the reason for this post. I decided to begin a series of posts titled: The Tuesday Tease. Each Tuesday I will share a few paragraphs of my current work-in-process. While I hope you will enjoy the posts and look forward to the book’s release, I’m also open to suggestions. Writing is a growing adventure, so I feel input from others can be a benefit. Just remember, this is unedited so you may see issues the editor will find later. Okay, let’s get started…

Here is the book trailer video for The Dragon’s Blood Key

Isn’t that a fun video? It sets the mood perfectly for this exciting story. Now that I have your attention, here’s a taste of book 2.

Return to Walandra: Book 2 – The Dragon’s Blood Key

The morning sun shone brightly over the mountains to the east as Frier returned to the castle.  The feel of the sun on his wings and the wind on his face was comforting, yet it was unable to help him forget the pain in his heart for even the briefest moment.  Since Cassy had returned to her realm, Frier had spent many nights at Roupert’s hut deep in the forest, hoping to force the memory of her from his mind.  He knew it was wrong of him to leave the palace, but it was the only place where he could find peace.

While walking to his chambers, Frier heard a voice from behind him.

“Good morning, son.  It’s nice to see you looking well this morning.  Did you have a nice flight?”  Queen Privlana had worried about Frier since Cassy returned to her realm.  It seemed he would stay to himself far too often, and then vanish for days at a time.

“Good morning, Mother.  Yes, it was quite enjoyable.”  He turned to meet her gaze.

“Your father has been looking for you.  He has important business to discuss.”  The Queen knew this was not welcome news by the expression on Frier’s face.

“I’m sorry; where is he?”  Frier hoped this discussion was not the one he had been trying to avoid over the last few weeks.  He was in no mood to hear of royal responsibilities and other such things.

Privlana saw the dread in Frier’s eyes.  She understood the feelings he had for Cassy, but she had hoped over time he would come to grips with them and somehow find the strength to move on.  “He waits for you in the Conference Room.  The generals are discussing some distressing reports.  He needs you to join them as soon as you can.”

Frier had hoped he could take more time to become acquainted with the Royal responsibilities, but it looked as though he was mistaken.  “Thank you, Mother.  I will join them now.”

Queen Privlana’s heart broke as she watched Frier walk away with his shoulders slumped. It was as though the weight of their kingdom rested upon the young Prince.

“I’m so sorry for your pain, my son.  To give your heart in love only to say goodbye is a pain no Dragon should be forced to endure.”  Privlana whispered, fighting the anguish stirring in her heart.

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I hope you enjoyed this week’s tease from Return to Walandra. If you haven’t read book 1, it’s available on Amazon for only $2.99 or free on Kindle Unlimited.

Surviving the dreaded 1-Star review

Book reviews.  Just the mention can make a writer break out into a sweat.  Will the readers love my book, or will they hate it?  Getting a positive review fills your heart with joy, and yes, pride.  It lets you know all the long and lonely hours of plugging away on your computer have paid off.  Your faith in yourself as a writer is vindicated.  All the naysayers for your foolish idea of writing a book are silenced.  Life is good.  You are now ready to begin writing your second book… and then the unthinkable happens.

44037-29419Nothing can cause a writer to question their storytelling skills quicker than a negative review.  When I received my first 1-Star review and then several more, I was convinced my career as a writer was over.  I fell into a deep depression and refused to write anything again.  I mean, why should I?  I believed I could tell a good story by my positive reviews, but now I’m told my writing is crap.  How can the same story be seen so differently?

When I was about to give up, my husband told me to go to Amazon and read the negative reviews left for some famous authors.  I remember thinking, famous authors surely don’t get the nasty 1-Star reviews like I did.  Heck, they’re famous.  People love their work. That’s why they’re famous, right?  Boy, was I wrong.

After reading some mean and downright nasty 1-Star reviews left for such greats as Stephen King, Dean Koontz, and others, I came to realize that you just cannot please everyone.  I also realized to use those bad reviews as a growing tool and a way to improve my writing.  I had several on my debut book that tore me up over editing issues.  Yes, I take the blame for that.  I did a stupid thing at the time I published the book on Amazon.  But others complained about certain things in the story itself.  I took their complaints and tried to use them to improve my future writing.

So, basically, my advice to the new writer is not to panic when, not if, but when you get a negative review.  Don’t think your career as a writer is over.  Use it as a growing tool and realize even the greats get their fair share of them.

Being a writer is a growing experience.  Your skills grow every time you put your words on paper or your computer.  Also, you will find over time that your belief in yourself will grow.  You’ll be more willing to take chances, and you’ll soon realize you were meant to be a writer.

read-and-review-the-last-krystallos (1)_InPixioSo, are reviews important?  You, dang right, they are.  Now, I’m not saying they’re important to feed our egos.  No, they’re important to help get our books seen by more readers.  You see, once your book hits 50 reviews on Amazon, they will start promoting it to their readers.  Now, I’m not saying it has to be 50 good reviews.  I’m saying a total of 50 reviews of a combination of any star rating. So, don’t worry about a handful of bad reviews hurting you with readers.  In fact, I’ve had readers tell me how they don’t trust a book that has nothing but 5-Star reviews.  They say the reviews are probably just by family and friends of the author.  I’ve even had readers tell me they decided to download my debut book because they wanted to see if it was as bad as some reviewers stated.  I guess if that works, then good for me. LOL

Getting readers to leave a review is difficult, but when they do, it’s a gift that keeps on giving.  Thank your readers, and then do your best to provide them with more books for them to enjoy.

I hope this post helps clear any questions about how to handle a bad review.  So, get busy writing your next EXCITING book!

Writing heals your Soul

As a writer, I’ve had fun developing exciting characters for my books.  In my Next Move, You’re Dead trilogy, I had fun with Erebus, the diabolical villain who toys with people’s lives.  I’ve had fun writing about dragons, vigilantes, and paranormal entities.  However, the one story that was difficult for me to write was Hellfire’s Judgment.  So often as writers, we are able to separate ourselves from our stories.  But every once and a while we have a story that strikes a little too close to home.  Hellfire’s Judgment is that story for me.

When I first published this book, it was a short story.  I wanted to tell the story of a girl who is brutally raped and the rapist get’s away with his crime because of his powerful family.  While it was a decent short story, the readers let me know they wanted more.  I really didn’t want to dive back into it, but I figured if the readers wanted more I should give them what they wanted.

You are probably wondering why I was so reluctant to go deeper into this story.  It’s because I would be forced to revisit my own painful memories of being a rape survivor.  While I was not a child when I was violated, I still remember the feeling of helplessness and anger.  It was those feelings I knew I would have to relive when making Hellfire’s Judgment into a full-length novel.

So, I opened my word doc and started typing.  It was an overwhelming experience for me With each click on my keyboard the words seemed to flow from somewhere deep inside of me.  I cried as Sherry had to face her attacker in court.  I cried as her family faced the threats from those tied to the attackers powerful family.  However, with each word, I felt my own pain and anger steadily losing its grip on my soul.

By the time I had written the last paragraph, that dark stain on my soul, though not completely erased, was no longer controlling my emotions.  I felt empowered and free.  The image of the man who had attacked me was no longer haunting me in my dreams.

I’ve always read how we should write of things we know.  I just never realized how by doing so, it can also heal a pain we have shoved down deep inside of us.

I was thrilled when after I released the full-length version of Hellfire’s Judgment as seeing the reaction from the readers.  It always makes you feel good as a writer when you’re able to bring the reader into the story and let them feel your pain.  If you think Hellfire’s Judgment would be a book you’d like to read, you can find it on Amazon.

Here is a book trailer video I made for Hellfire’s Judgment

Advice for First-time Authors

You’ve worked for months, or maybe even years to finish your first book. As you stare at the words you just typed on the last page, a frightening thought enters your mind…now what? I remember that feeling. I remember the excitement I felt to finish writing my first book, but I also remember the fear of not knowing what I would need to get my masterpiece published.

Many of us dream of being a famous author.  We wonder what it would be like to have people reading the words we struggled to put on the pages.  We’ve come to love the characters in our story as they came to life in our minds, and we’ve enjoyed taking them on their journey.  However, the time has come to let them go and give them to the world.

The first thing you’ll need to do is to find a good editor.  While you may believe our book is perfect, an editor can give you a good healthy dose of reality.  Surviving your first edit is a growing experience.  Nothing makes you realize you don’t have a firm grasp on the English language quicker than to receive your manuscript back from the editor with those dreaded editing tags with suggestions for you to consider changing in your book.

When I saw the right-side of my document filled with those tags, I nearly closed the file and walked away from my computer.  Surely, someone with that many suggestions could NEVER be a professional writer.  Apparently, I didn’t have the firm grasp on grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, and reading flow I thought I had.

The important lesson I learned that day was writing is not only a creative endeavor but is one of learning and tossing aside all those bad habits we’ve all picked up over the years on social media.

So, you’ve survived the editing process and now it’s time to make that important decision… do I shop my book around to traditional publishers or do you take the Indie Published route.  That’s an important decision.  However, since I chose the Indie Published route that is where my knowledge is, so let’s get started.

I’m sure most of you have bought an ebook from one of the many distributors such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and iTunes just to name a few. Well, in order for those books to look good on your e-reader they must be properly formatted.  You ask, what is formatting?  Formatting is preparing your document for publishing as an ebook.  There are several technical things done during the formatting process such as preparing a working Table of Contents with links to each chapter, setting each page to fit properly on whatever device is used, and there are other features that can be added to give your book that ‘special look’ we all want.

Of course, while our book is being formatted, we need to decide on a book cover.  The book cover is more important than most of us realize.  You see, the cover gives that first impression a potential reader will have about your book.  Does the cover image catch their attention? Does it give them a feeling about your story?  Will it look good as a thumbnail? If you can answer YES to those questions then you have chosen a good cover. When I published my first book, I had no idea how to create a book cover.  After talking to other authors and doing some research, I found a cover designer to make the perfect cover for my book.  However, over time, I decided to learn how to make my own. It was a long learning process but well worth it to me.  If you want to see my covers go to the My Books page.

Now, you’re ready to publish.

ebook_logosThere are several distributors to choose from.  Of course, Amazon is the big guy on the block.  Amazon, by far, corners the market on ebook sales, but Barnes & Noble and iTunes are also popular sites for readers to find their next favorite book. I know as a first-time author it can be overwhelming, but it’s really pretty easy.  First, always offer your book on Amazon.  Next, I would recommend putting it on Smashwords.  For those of you who have never heard of Smashwords, it will get your book on several of the popular outlets thus saving you the time and headache of managing different accounts. Pricing your book is also something important to consider.  According to most retailers, $2.99 seems to be the ‘sweet spot’ price for a full-length novel and 99 cents seems to be popular for short stories or novellas.  I have my full-length books priced at $2.99, but I offer my novellas for FREE.  Some may not agree with this practice, but I consider them to be advertising for my writing.  You may not want to do this at first, but over time, I find it a valuable thing to offer readers who don’t know who I am.

If you decide you want to have your book in paperback, Amazon has a wonderful service called Createspace.  I use it because it’s easy to get my books set up for paperback, and if I don’t want to worry about creating an extra cover for print you can use their cover creator using your ebook cover image. However, you will need to have your book formatted for print because your ebook copy will not work. Yeah, I know, more work.

I do want to warn you about the Smashwords Meatgrinder.  It’s not as scary as it sounds.  Since Smashwords converts your book to work on several different devices, it’s a little picky on how your book needs to be formatted.  They do offer instructions, but if you don’t want to deal with it, be sure you have someone format your book who knows how to get a book through the dreaded Meatgrinder. LOL

So, you’ve done it. You are now a published author.  Take some time to enjoy the feeling. Pour yourself a drink, and relish the feeling.  However, once the celebration is done…the real work begins… marketing. YIKES!  I’ll leave that for another post.

If you want help getting your book ready to publish, I can help for a reasonable price. 

Deadly Reads Author Services

I hope this post has answered any of those nagging questions on how to get your book out to the reading public.  I wish you much success, and if you have any questions don’t hesitate to ask. Now, get started on your second book.

 

 

 

Are Fairies Real?

I must admit that I love a good fantasy as much as the next person.  I enjoy escaping into a mystical world with endless possibilities and heroes of all types.  However, as a writer, I’ve only written one fantasy, The Dragon’s Blood Key, which grabbed me and wouldn’t let go until I had written the entire story… and in two short weeks.  That’s right.  From the moment I sat up in my bed with the characters screaming in my mind, until I sent it off to the editor it was only two weeks.  I have never written a full-length novel that quickly and I haven’t since.

So, you ask, “Why this post?”  No, I’m not going to promote The Dragon’s Blood Key; I want to talk about all those mythical creatures we’ve all come to love.

I’m currently working on another fantasy.  Unfortunately, this one hasn’t possessed me like The Dragon’s Blood Key did but I will say I am enjoying the journey as the story comes to life.  When I was doing the research for this book I came to realize how many cultures have told stories of strange creatures living among us.  Some are evil, while others are good and only want to help us. 

Malora Danning cover for blogWhen the idea for this new book popped into my mind, I had thought it would just be a stand-alone book;, however, with all the exciting legends I’ve found about mystical creatures, I believe this will end up being a series of several exciting adventures for our hero, Malora Danning.   You see, Malora is an Aos Sí, of an ancient and powerful people who once controlled Ireland known as the Tuatha Dé Danann. (“People of the Goddess Danu”)  They were known to be tall, fair-skinned, with red hair, light eyes, and of great beauty. But like any great people after their banishment, over time they became mere objects of children’s stories; the fairy people of Irish folklore said to live beneath the hills. 

During my research, I found several interesting stories of amazing beings and creatures that I plan to use in this series.  Here is a blog post that has an AWESOME list.  She is a wealth of information and worth a follow.

A Writer’s List of Mythical Creatures and Beings!

When I read her list of mystical creatures and beings, I knew I could have some fun bringing them to life in my series.  Here are a few of the ones that seem to stand out to me.

Brownies are from England and Scotland, these are little people who are loyal to human households and will sometimes help out with the chores. You don’t want to make them mad, though. Harry Potter fans, take note: a dobbie or dobie is a kind of brownie, and an angry brownie can turn into a boggart.  This character will always be a fun character to put in a fantasy.

Firebird is described as a large bird with majestic plumage that glows brightly emitting red, orange, and yellow light, like a bonfire that is just past the turbulent flame. The feathers do not cease glowing if removed, and one feather can light a large room if not concealed. I can have a lot of fun with this fascinating creature.  It is beautiful but dangerous showing no sign of friendliness.

Kitsune is Japanese for fox. In some Japanese tales, foxes have magical powers and can shapeshift into women. The more tails a kitsune has, the older and more powerful she is.  I already have an idea of how to introduce this character to Malora.

Selkies (also spelled silkies, sylkies, selchies, Scots:selkie fowk) are mythological creatures found in Irish, Scottish, Faroese, and Icelandic folklore. Selkies are said to live as seals in the sea but shed their skin to become human on land. I had never heard of these, but I think they’d make a great addition to the story.

Valkyries

Valkyries  Their name means Choosers of the Slain.  Valkyries show up at battles to decide who will die. Then they escort the souls of the chosen back to Valhalla, where everyone has a good time.  I must admit they are one of my favorites, as I’m sure they are one of yours, too.  I mean, heck, how cool is it to have such powers?  I can see these exciting beings meeting Malora. LOL

There are far too many interesting creatures and beings to list here, but I’m sure you can see that I’ll have fun bringing them alive in my series, Malora Danning. I wish to give a shout out to blogger, Bryn Donovan for all her wonderful information.

So, I asked at the beginning of the post, Are Fairies Real?  I think so, and I choose to believe our world is full of creatures and beings who live beyond our perception.  Doesn’t that make things more interesting?