Category Archives: fiction

Does the Stork bring me plots?

Aleyne Desert

 

This month’s topic: Topic: In designing your plots what do you rely on most: personal
experience, imagination, or research?

I’ve been giving this a lot of thought in the weeks since we decided on this topic, trying to tease out just where my plot ideas came from. In order to keep this investigation to a reasonable size < grin> I decided to concentrate on the four science fiction novels in my Novels of Aleyne series.

As in all science fiction, the world in which the novels take place came from my imagination, but it came from both the Plot Fairy and my own personal experience. The novels take place on a military base. The main characters in two of the novels, Brad from Broken Bonds and Rob from Rob’s Rebellion are army officers. The main characters of the other two, Keth from Relocated and Martin from Geek Games, are adolescent boys. The setting I used is an army base  a desert environment. In Broken Bonds, the legal system takes on a major role, as does computer hacking in Geek Games. Many of the important secondary characters in the series are either army officers, writers, artists, or musicians.  These are all elements with which I am personally familiar or which I was able to research in order to get enough information to fill out the plot.

First, the desert and the army. My father, an attorney, served in World War II and entertained my sister and me with many stories when we were growing up. My father was a Judge Advocate General — basically, the army equivalent of a district attorney.  He told a story about a Black sergeant who was prosecuted for going AWOL to a bar that was 100 yards off the base. None of the White officers who were with him were brought up on charges. This story haunted me, and a secondary character, Johnny Dragon, is a Black sergeant who is imprisoned by the military for the same charge and who befriends Brad, my main character.

My middle son also spent eight years in the army where he served as a captain in military intelligence. He spent two tours of duty in Iraq. I shamelessly picked his brains when I was writing Rob’s Rebellion because military procedure plays an important role.

Among the other subjects I researched in the course of writing the series were Native American mythology (Brad’s ancestry is Native American), yoga and meditation, the procedures used when someone is charged with a crime,  the International Court, glass blowing and ceramics.

I can’t help feeling that in spite of the major roll imagination plays in my plot building, it is shored up by my research and my personal experience.

Margaret Fieland https://margaretfieland.wordpress.com
Victoria Chatham http://www.victoriachatham.com
Skye Taylor http://www.skye-writer.com/blogging_by_the_sea
Beverley Bateman http://beverleybateman.blogspot.ca/
Dr. Bob Rich https://wp.me/p3Xihq-1dm
Diane Bator http://dbator.blogspot.ca/
Connie Vines http://mizging.blogspot.com/
Anne Stenhouse  http://annestenhousenovelist.wordpress.com/
Rhobin L Courtright http://www.rhobincourtright.com

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Character Creation

Creating a Character

This month’s topic: How do you develop secondary characters? Do you
even have a favorite secondary character?

I don’t develop secondary characters any differently than I develop the major ones: I imagine them moving and talking, and I write little scenes about them. I know that many authors fill out lists of characteristics about their characters, but I usually can’t answer those questions until after I’ve written most of the first draft.

I do sometimes give my characters personality tests. Myers-Briggs is a favorite of mine, not because I take it as gospel in any way, but because it is pretty quick and easy to use. Enneagrams, which I believe gives a much fuller picture of a character, is, for me, both more difficult to “administer” and more difficult to understand.

Myers-Briggs:

This test was once a popular method of typing your boss and co-workers. Your Myers-Briggs type is a four-letter code that spells out your place on each of the four axes:

E or I: Introverted or extraverted

N or S:  Intuition (N) or sensing(S) N’s start with the big picture and S’s start with the details.

F or T: Feeling (F) or Thinking (T). Feelers make decisions with their hearts (think Captain Kirk) and T’s with their heads (Mr. Spock).

J or P: Judging(J) or Perceiving(P):  J’s enjoy routine and P’s like surprises.

Here is a writeup of the eight preferences: https://www.knowyourtype.com/8_preferences.html

and here’s one about the sixteen types:  www.khttps://www.knowyourtype.com/16_types.html

Multiple-choice Myers-Briggs test: http://www.humanmetrics.com/cgi-win/jtypes2.asp

A much simpler one where you just have to pick one in each of the four categories (includes descriptions): http://www.personalitypathways.com/type_inventory.html

Another simple test:  http://www.teamtechnology.co.uk/mmdi/questionnaire/

Enneagram

An Enneagram is pictured as a circle with intersecting lines, and a type consists of one of the nine types, a wing type, and a variant. In spite of having taken an online course and doing some reading on Enneagrams, I still don’t have much of a ‘feel’ for the types.

Enneagram:

Official:  www.enneagraminstitute.com

Chakras and enneagram information, easier (IMO) to understand http://www.eclecticenergies.com/

About the nine types: http://www.9types.com/

Free enneagram test http://www.eclecticenergies.com/enneagram/test.php

Another one http://www.9types.com/rheti/index.php

Character Creation Software

Typing Chimp has a free version available for download. It’s loads of fun, but some features are disabled: http://www.typingchimp.com/

Writers cafe http://www.writerscafe.com/

Links

Here is a link to my publisher’s website, where you will find all four of the novels mentioned above: http://museituppublishing.com/bookstore/index.php/our-authors/56-our-authors/authors-f/149-author-4764

Do check out the posts of the other participants

Skye Taylor http://www.skye-writer.com/blogging_by_the_sea
Margaret Fieland https://margaretfieland.wordpress.com
Helena Fairfax http://www.helenafairfax.com/blog
Dr. Bob Rich https://wp.me/p3Xihq-1tC
Fiona McGier http://www.fionamcgier.com/
Beverley Bateman http://beverleybateman.blogspot.ca/
Connie Vines http://mizging.blogspot.com/
Judith Copek http://lynx-sis.blogspot.com/
Rhobin L Courtright http://rhobinsrambles.blogspot.com/

Victoria Chatham http://www.victoriachatham.com

Check out Candi Fox’s newest book, Harlequin’s Deception

Harlequin’s Deception
The Naked Truth Series
By Candi Fox

Candi will be awarding 1 $10 Amazon GC, 2 Eooks of Harlequin’s Deception and 1 Print Copy of Harlequin’s Deception to randomly drawn winners via rafflecopter during the tour. Please use the RaffleCopter below to enter. Remember you may increase your chances of winning by visiting the other tour stops. You may find those locations here.

BLURB: 

Ten years ago, the world as we know it changed. The shift is what it became known as. Overnight, paranormal beings came out of the proverbial closet. Something in reality had shifted. Those who had no idea they were paranormal were awakened to a new reality. Ten years in and Harlowe Lake Kelly, Harley to her friends, is back in her small Oklahoma town, widowed and striking out in a new career, namely, a successful magic agency. Her uncanny abilities at using potions, spells, and other means at solving supernatural crimes, thrust her into a partnership with local law enforcement. Things would be great if it wasn’t for the three sexy, but deadly, men who stand at all corners of her new life. Lucien, the ancient, alluring Vampire who has made it clear he wants more than Harley’s luscious curves. Cowboy, who wants to possess her in every way imaginable, and Aiden. The newcomer who has strict orders from his Vampire boss… but she senses has his own agenda. But in a world where things and beings are never what they seem, life isn’t promised and love comes with many strings. So what’s a girl to do to untangle those strings?

Amazon Buy Link


About the Author: 

Candi Fox, co-host of the wildly popular radio show Candi and Company with over 900 thousand listeners began her venture in the paranormal at the tender age of two, when she witnessed her first apparition. From that moment on the paranormal seemed to follow her. No matter where she moved, the house she lived in the house next door, or the house down the street always seemed to be haunted. 

She often wondered if she drew the spirits to her. Little did she know that she was indeed a magnet of sorts. It wasn’t until she was in her late twenties that she found people who could not only explain her gifts, but would also help her hone them. Armed with this new knowledge she began to openly explore hauntings and other paranormal phenomena.

Growing up in Indiana lent her the opportunity to explore many famous haunted places including the Hannah House, which was once part of the Underground Railroad. A little over two years ago she moved to Tulsa, OK and has began to explore the haunted landscape in a new state.

Candi lives with her husband, and furry children in Tulsa. She is passionate about the occult, saving and rehabilitating horses, horseback riding, magic, all things mystical and has her Reiki Mastery.

She uses her own paranormal experiences as well as her own life traumas to write from a grounded and realistic perspective about subjects that are hard to talk about and even harder to feel for yourself.

Social Links: 
Facebook | Amazon | Website | Facebook Author Page | Blog | Twitter | Instagram

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Read about Unnatural Allies by Shari Elder

Unnatural Allies (Shifting Alliances, #2 by Shari Elder)

Thank you so much for having me on your blog. I’m very excited to share Unnatural Allies, Book Two in the paranormal romance series, Shifting Alliances. Although part of a series, it can be read as a stand-alone novel.

 

Unnatural Allies (Shifting Alliances Book 2)
By: Shari Elder
Genre: M/F Paranormal Romance
Release Date:
Cover Artist: Jay Aheer

Blurb

A World in Transition
Violent fae encroachment on shifter land is heating up. With death tolls rising, the impossible becomes necessary – an alliance among predator and prey shifters.

An Inconceivable Love
Nicca Baron, lone wolf and wolf clan beta, finds herself under the command of Evan Grant, the rat alpha.  In different circumstances, he’d be dinner. Or so her wolf keeps reminding her.  Evan proves to be a perceptive leader, a skilled fighter and irresistible to her lonely heart.

To rule the rats, you have to rule the pack. Evan is a whiz at managing people and groups. Until he finds himself leading a mission made up of every single large animal that thrives on rat flesh. And not the kind between his legs.  The only bright light is Nicca. Her storm gray eyes miss nothing, her brilliant mind comprehends everything and her succulent curves offer the perfect place for a rat to nestle.

An Impossible Future
In each other’s arms, Nicca and Evan discover love and a new perspective in an off-kilter world. But a wolf cannot mate with a rat, no matter the strength of the human attraction.

Buy Links

Amazon

Evernight

Bookstrand

Excerpt

Evan had never seen Nicca look frightened before. Those silver eyes expanded into saucers, and they were still beautiful. He wanted to wrap her in his arms, just hold her close as they both tried to process a world spinning out of control. Even his rat wanted to comfort her.
She was getting under skin and fur.
The last leaves hung limp on the branches, resisting winter’s pull. Away from the sidhe, the air had warmed, although the sky retained a grayish winter hue. Shifter bodies held heat, keeping them comfortable in the most brutal frost. Evan burned hot from continuous movement, the too frequent adrenaline spikes, and Nicca’s nearness. Everything about her fit, like she was made for him. That agile mind, open-mindedness, those lush curves. Hell, she even spouted poetry. He yearned to put a sign around her neck—no trespassing, this woman belongs to Evan Grant.
Except for that whole wolf thing…
“Why don’t we find a comfortable place to set up camp near Fairy Falls and call it a day?” he said to get his mind back to practical things, not wishing for something he couldn’t have. He told himself he selected the location as part of the mission. All species declared the pristine, wild falls a safe zone, so they wouldn’t need the wolves or eagles to stand guard. The fact that it was the number one rated site for shifter romances had nothing to do with the selection. Nothing at all.
No one would ever accuse Nicca of talking too much, but she was withdrawn even for her on the hike to the Falls. “Any suggestions on places to sleep?” he asked when her silence got too loud for him.
“I’ve, uh, never really been here,” she whispered, looking at the ground. “Just run by it on patrols sometimes.”
“And that makes you sad?” He itched to run his hand down her cheek.
“This mission makes me sad.” Her gaze stayed lowered as she walked.
His rat senses perceived a deep despondency wrapped around her like a black aura.
“This mission makes you angry, anxious, and confused. Not sad.”
“Who are you to correct my assessment of my emotional state?” She gave him a half-hearted snarl. He figured he’d hit an open, raw nerve.
“I lead this mission, and I will not have you fall apart on me. Right now, you are not okay.” He opened his arm, aping Rafe’s earlier action, inviting her to him to take comfort. “Let me help.” Let me touch you.
She visibly shook herself, ignoring his outstretched limb. “You’re right. I need space. Let me run as wolf.”
He dropped his hand, then nodded to cover the ripping sound his heart was making. “Stay close,” he said over the lump of disappointment lodged in his throat. “Give me your backpack, and I’ll find a place to sleep. Meet me at the falls when you’re done.”
Relief brightened her eyes. Once shifted, she brushed against his leg, then licked at his hand dangling by his side. He ran his fingers through her thick, gray fur touched with black and silver as she trotted off. “Grab some happy, Nicca,” he said into the air, as she raced out of sight. Come back to me. Accept me.
Alone, he hummed as he walked toward the falls. The low tune soothed his skittish rat, who hated being alone and wasn’t too fond of the woods. Rats felt secure in the pack. The human in him appreciated the red gold of the sunset streaking across the powder blue of the sky, weaving in and out of spiky, hunter green firs that ate up the landscape. Beauty truly did soothe an aching heart. The whirr of winter birds, a chorus to his ears, unnerved the rat. He picked up his pace, following the smell of ice and the roar of the falling water.
When he arrived at the falls, he saw Nicca standing at the edge of the descending water, running her fingers through the stream. That sadness he’d sensed earlier scented the air and dulled those unique gray eyes. Following a powerful intuition, he approached quietly, staying upwind so she wouldn’t notice until he stood directly behind her. She may have rejected his offer of support earlier, but he was determined to try again. His way.
She turned to face him, and tilted her head up to meet his gaze. He pushed behind one ear a lock of hair that was draped along her cheek. The tresses felt like silk, the skin velvet against his fingertips.
“Evan?”
He leaned over, touching lips to lips ever so gently. Giving comfort. Sneaking a taste. Exploring what might be. She pressed back, her mouth opening slightly beneath his. He sank into cherry and cinnamon, shyness and heat. She didn’t require a friend; she needed a lover. He desperately wanted to be that man.
He pulled back, falling hard for the blush staining her cheeks a bright pink.
“Follow me,” he said, taking her hand, and led her to the camping spot he noticed along the way.
To love a wolf.

About Shari Elder

Hello, I’m Shari. By day, I crawl out of bed, mainline coffee, walk the dog, get my kid off to school, hop on the metro, and save cities within the four walls of my office. Usually by email.

At night, the other Shari emerges.  I take off the suit, curl up on the couch and let my imagination play, with words and images until stories take shape (while periodically checking on my teen-ager, hiding out in the bedroom and plotting world domination).  As my alter ego, I save cities in a cape and spangled tights, wander space and time on a surfboard, fly over the Himalayas on feathered wings, make six-toed footprints in indigo talc snow on the sixth planet in the Andromeda galaxy or eavesdrop on Olympian gods while pretending to whip up a bowl of ambrosia.

In all these wondrous worlds, romance and passion blossom. I can’t resist a happy ending. And I am particularly prone to writing happy endings for those who have given up on ever getting one. That gives me immense satisfaction.

Join me on my journey. The best ideas emerge from team work.

Hang out with Shari on the Web

Website – www.sharielder.com
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/ShariElderStories/
Twitter – https://twitter.com/ShariElderBooks
Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/ShariElder
Pinterest – https://www.pinterest.com/ShariElderBooks/

See it here: the cover for Prophecy of Solstice’s End by Diantha Jones

S
Prophecy of Solstice’s End

Oracle of Delphi #3

By Diantha Jones 

BLURB: 

Summer Solstice is here. Let the games begin.

Nothing but lies (some of them her own) and deceit have brought Chloe to Olympus for the Solstice Olympic Games. As the Oracle and the special guest of the King of Myth, Chloe becomes immersed in a life of unfathomable luxury, taunting history, and overwhelming excitement. Though scheming and untrustworthy, the gods remain on their best behavior as the tension and anticipation builds around the outcome of the Quest of the Twelve Labors, the deadliest competition of the Games. All seems well on the celestial front…until athletes start turning up dead and a philosopher missing for months returns with a most terrifying story…

But that’s not all.

As Strafford confronts his troubled past and more is learned about the Great Unknown Prophecy, Chloe grows close to another, setting off a chain of events that will bring her face-to-face with a truth that will rock both of her worlds to their core.

And it’ll all happen before Solstice’s end…

Book Links:
Amazon  | B&N | Goodreads


Author Bio:

Diantha Jones loves writing fantasy books filled with adventure, romance, and magic. She’s the author of the Oracle of Delphi series, the Mythos series, and the Djinn Order series (as A. Star). When she isn’t writing or working, she is reading or being hypnotized by Netflix. She is a serious night-owl and while everyone else is grinning in the warmth and sunlight, she’s hoping for gloominess and rain. Yeah, she’s weird like that.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Goodreads (A. Star) | Amazon | Pinterest | DJ’s Book Corner

Ghost Touch by LA Dragoni

For fifteen minutes each night a portal opens in Tamara’s
barn and a horde of ghosts spills into her yard. She and Dex work together to
find a way to help Cal and the thousands of spirits stuck in the void to cross
over. When she learns she has the ghost touch—the ability to touch the ghosts
as if they were corporeal—and she accidentally helps a little boy cross, she
believes it might be possible. But not all the spirits play nice and when they
learn they can sip energy from her ghost touch, they become greedy putting her
life at risk.
Each time Cal has to pull her from the mass of ghosts, her
touch restores him more and more until he is at danger of being stuck on
earth—forever, which is very enticing to Tamara the better she knows him. Will
she and Dex figure out how to help the spirits cross and if they do, will she
be able to let Cal go?
Available in ebook, and audiobook
from Amazon, and now available in print!
Also available on Barnes
and Noble
, Kobo,
iTunes, and other
e-tailers.
Excerpt:
Tamara rubbed her hands together then held them
toward the fire. The air had an extra chill to it. “Hurry up, they should be
here soon.”
She’d barely finished speaking when bright light
burst through the barn. Tamara spun back around. “Dex!”
She shielded her eyes with a hand searching for
Dex’s familiar silhouette, but couldn’t make him out in the chaos of ghosts
streaming from within the building.
“Dex!” she shouted again, leaping forward and running
toward the door. A stabbing pain of cold sliced through her upper arm when she
knocked against the ghost with the shovel in his hand. He stopped to stare at
her with a surprised expression on his face. She pushed forward, ignoring the
increasing pain as she jostled up against the ghosts.
A knot of ghosts hunkered together where she last
saw Dexter. She pushed through them, her warm touch surprising enough to make
them jump back. Dex lay crumpled in a quivering ball at the center of the
group. Tamara kneeled beside him and clutched his shoulders.
“Dex! Are you okay?” He didn’t respond, just
rocked to and fro, mumbling incoherent words. She shouted. “Dex! Can you hear
me?”
His gaze finally lifted, a wary look colored with
terror.
“Oh my God.” Tamara wrapped her arms around him.
His body was ice cold. She pressed as much of herself against him as she could
and buried her face in his hair. “I gotcha. You’ll be okay.”
Then she became aware of an ache worming through
her muscles and realized hands pawed at her, clutched her, and were trying to
pull her away. She raised a furious glare at the eager crowd of ghouls and
snarled. “Stop! Leave us alone.”
However, hunger showed in the eyes of those who’d
been dead a short enough time to still have them. Actions became more insistent
and then combative. The group shoved and swayed until she worried she’d be
crushed beneath them when they fell. She kept her arms wrapped around Dex,
hoping to keep the spirits off him, but many simply reached through him to get
to her. He shuddered violently and had grown quiet.
Each individual touch drained her of warmth and
energy, yet they continued to grope at her arms and back, tug on her hair and
clothing. She grew weaker and weaker until the edges of her vision dimmed and
she could barely feel the boy she was trying to protect. Just before she passed
out, a roar penetrated her frozen mind and she sensed more than saw the crowd
spring away. But she was already too far gone and lost consciousness just as
lukewarm hands gripped her upper arms.
Reviews:
The writing’s terrific,
the storyline compelling. Truth be told, I rushed to the end to find out who
Tamara would end up with.
-Stuart R. West

About the author: LA
Dragoni
isn’t too particular about who falls in love or where they fall in
love. She simply considers it her job to capture the story about their love.
Whether it’s paranormal, mythical, or time travel, LA will be there to divine
their story for you. She lives in Central Oregon with her husband and children,
but haunts ghost towns and cemeteries up and down the west, in search of the
next adventure to sift through her storytelling brain. Follow LA on Facebook and Twitter. Subscribe to her mailing list and learn more about LA and
her work at www.ladragoni.com

A Little Christmas Cheer

Here are a couple of short Christmas tales:

mtnsAfter Christmas Blues

Even with a full day to deliver presents, Santa doesn’t finish on time. He gets home late on Christmas Day, and he’s so exhausted he’s in bed for a week.

“It’s outrageous,” Donner snorts when Mrs Claus asks for help. “We need a new plan.”

“Oh, it’s not so bad,” Rudolph murmurs. “After all, it’s only once a year.” His nose flashes a couple of times.

Donner tosses his antlers. “Just wait until you’re my age. That sleigh gets heavier every year, and when I get back I’m too stiff to fly for at least a month.”

“Well, what do you suggest?” Vixen pipes up. “We’re already limiting our deliveries to good children between five and ten who celebrate Christmas.” She tosses her antlers and smiles.

“Yes,” Blixen adds, “and we’ve got a stack of complaints from the parents of the under-fives.”

“There’s that new North Pole Federal Express office,” Prancer offers, shifting from hoof to hoof. “We could offload the excess, just leave enough so Santa doesn’t feel useless.”

The reindeer all nod.

And that, boys and girls, is why most Christmas gifts come in the mail.

 A Case of the Flue

“Santa has a fever. Mrs. Claus put him to bed.”  Rudolph pawed the snowy ground. “Who will drive the sleigh?”

“No one,” Blixen said. “We’ll send everything by Federal Express.”

“Belief in Santa is at an all-time low. If we send everything by mail, no one will believe.” Rudolph tossed his antlers, almost skewering Blixen.

“And Santa will feel useless and become depressed.” Blixen led the way into the barn.

“Ready to get hitched?” one of the elves asked. Without waiting for an answer, he began harnessing the reindeer.

Blixen  said, “Rudolph is in the lead. He could grab the gifts by the ribbons and drop them down the chimneys.”

“But what if the children spot the Santa-less sleigh? Then no one will ever believe again.”

“We should go. It’s our best chance to save Christmas.” Blixen stamped his hoof and turned to the elf. “Freddie, go tell Mrs. Claus to tell Santa not to worry, we’re on top of the delivery crisis.”

“Better hope everyone’s cleaned their chimney,” Blixen muttered as they rose into the air.

The rest of the reindeer snickered.

And so, boys and girls, don’t feel too bad if you got a lump or two of coal this year.
And now for a couple of poems …

Round
The sphere
is the perfect
shape

for conserving heat,
providing the least
surface area
per unit
of volume,

thus explaining
why Santa

lives at
the North Pole.

What Happens Christmas Night

I’ve noticed that Saint Nick’s a bit
too big around for him to fit
inside our chimney, Christmas night
the struggle must be quite a sight.

Perhaps he oils his nice red suit
all over so that he can shoot
right down the chimney. Then you’ll see
he’ll cut his hand and sprain his knee.

I guess that all those aches and pains
will hurt so much that he’ll complain
that getting down was such a chore
he’s going to leave us by the door!