Friday, February 2, 2018

Happy Valentine's Month




Just because Valentine's Day hasn't arrived doesn't mean the entire months shouldn't be celebrated. 
So, we compiled a compiled a few quotes to help keep the mood going.  
Enjoy!

The most precious possession that ever comes to a man in this world is a woman's heart. 
~ by Josiah G. Holland ~

There is only one happiness in life: to love and be loved.
~ by George Sand ~

Love is an act of endless forgiveness
A tender look which becomes a habit.
~ by Peter Ustinov ~

Love is a fruit in season at all times,
and within the reach of every hand.
~ by Mother Teresa ~

The best and most beautiful things in this world cannot be seen or even heard, but must be felt with the heart.
~ by Helen Keller ~

The courses of true love never did run smooth.
~ by William Shakespeare ~

But true love is a durable fire,
In the mind ever burning,
Never sick, never old, never dead,
From itself never turning.
~ by Sir Walter Raleigh ~

Some people come into our lives and quickly go.
Some people move our souls to dance. They awaken us to new understanding with the passing whisper of their wisdom.
Some people make the sky more beautiful to gaze upon.
They stay in our lives for awhile, leave footprints on our hearts, and we are never ever the same.
~ by Flavia Weedn ~


Seduce my mind and you can have my body,
Find my soul and I'm yours forever.
~ by Anonymous ~

So dear I love him that with him,
All deaths I could endure.
Without him, live no life.
~ by William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet ~

To love is to receive a glimpse of heaven.
~ by Karen Sunde ~

Love has no other desire but to fulfill itself
But if your love and must needs have desires,
Let these be your desires:
• To melt and be like a running brook
• That sings its melody to the night.
• To know the pain of too much tenderness.
• To be wounded by your own understanding of love;
• And to bleed willingly and joyfully.
• To wake at dawn with a winged heart
• And give thanks for another day of loving;
• To rest at the noon hour and meditate love's ecstasy;
• To return home at eventide with gratitude;
• And then to sleep with a prayer
• For the beloved in your heart
• And a song of praise upon your lips.
~ by Gibran Kahlil Gibran ~

Husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it .. For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.
~ by The Holy Bible, New International Version Ephesians 5:25-33 ~

Love doesn't make the world go round,
Love is what makes the ride worthwhile.
~ by Elizabeth Browning ~





***
We'd love to hear from anyone interested in what we do. Anyone who writes us at writingteamcw@yahoo.com (Write - Blog Dawn - in subject line) and leaves an s-mail address, we will send you a free ebook (choose erotic or romantic thriller) and add you to any future mailings.



Angelica Hart and Zi ~ Vixen Bright and Zachary Zane
www.champagnebooks.com - www.carnalpassions.com - angelicahartandzi.com




Thursday, February 1, 2018

Things a Pantser Will Do


I’m a pantser and proud of it. Here is one reason why.

I was working on a lengthy manuscript the other day. The scene had the heroine trying to escape a boring party and being harassed by a dull male until she eventually shooed him away. At that point he was just inserted by me as part of the scenery. I began to wonder if he had an ulterior motive. What was his real purpose? Maybe he was up to no good.

If I was a serious plotter I would already know the answers, having decided he was simply a walk-on, throw-away character passing her by in the night. But being a pantser, I wondered if I should find something useful for him to do and employ him a while longer.

The heroine is going on a trip. Would anyone be curious about this? I have it! My throw-away character is a bumbling spy who must continue to pursue her. Gives me someone to keep her busy while she is in transit. I can use the action around this hapless male to explain the how and why of a few other things going on rather than use a boring info dump. So I did.

Might never have come up with this angle if I was a meticulous plotter. While not a character who will become a main player, he did get to play an expanded part.

I often create characters I know little about at the time, only to learn more about them as I create. Sometimes they become major players. In this case a simple walk-on player earned at least two more scenes and probably made enough extra to cover his groceries and beer for the next week.

R.J.Hore
www.facebook.com/RonaldJHore

The Dark Lady Trilogy (Volume 1,2,3)
The Queen’s Pawn (Volume 1,2,3)
The Housetrap Chronicles (Volumes 1 to 8)
Alex in Wanderland,
Knight’s Bridge
We’re Not in Kansas
Toltec Dawn Trilogy (Volume 1, 2, 3)

Saturday, January 27, 2018

pending 2







***
We'd love to hear from anyone interested in what we do. Anyone who writes us at writingteamcw@yahoo.com (Write - Blog Dawn - in subject line) and leaves an s-mail address, we will send you a free ebook (choose erotic or romantic thriller) and add you to any future mailings.



Angelica Hart and Zi ~ Vixen Bright and Zachary Zane
www.champagnebooks.com - www.carnalpassions.com - angelicahartandzi.com










Sunday, January 14, 2018

Is it Ever Done?

Is it Ever Done?

Writing is a satisfying occupation, be it journaling, writing poetry, short stories or novels, but is your manuscript ever done—finished—completed?

After working on The Knife for over thirty years, and most recently, seriously for three years, I believed it was finished. It had been through two different writing critique groups and two beta readers. One gave a hearty thumbs up. Then I waited for the other reader’s comments.

Aargh! After all my careful editing and rewriting, Beta #2 found two serious plot errors that skipped right by everyone else. Maybe that’s a good thing. If I’d sent it to the agent, would he also have not noticed the flaw? But once it was pointed out to me it stood out like an emergency flare on a dark night.

The story starts with a murder and, as it moves along, we have at least five suspects plus a couple of red herrings. The ending took everyone by surprise (as I’d hoped it would), yet they could go back and see the clues along the way.

In the denouement, our villain is confronted by several people, some of whom were suspects. Two of them are shocked to learn that person is the killer. Unfortunately, the way I wrote the story, they should have known all along. I’m glad no one else caught that flaw, but now that I know it’s there, I have to go back and write ending number four, making sure it is clear who knew what, when.

I’m thinking Beta Reader #2 ought to be on the political investigation committees. This is a person who knows how to detect a flaw in a story and root out conflicting stories.

Veronica Helen Hart is the author of the Blender Series at Champagne Book Group, as well as Silent Autumn from the same publisher. Her other books are historic novels about women striving to overcome serious odds. She is currently rewriting the ending to The Knife, and working on a novella about a young man returning home after being captive in North Korea for twenty years. This story revolves around the family dynamics as affected by his disappearance and reappearance.

Visit Veronica at: www.uppitywomanpress.com


Friday, January 5, 2018

REVIEW ~THE FORTUNE TELLER'S SECRET by Ron D. Voigts - Book 2 "A Cavendish Brown Paranormal Mystery"

 

FROM THE DESK OF
DONA PENZA TATTLE, ESQ.
AND
ASSOCIATE WRYE BALDERDASH
 
Greetings,

“Whaja think I should wear for Halloween? Tattle holds up a ghost costume, a mummy costume, and a Witch’s hat.

Wrye decides to stay clear of anything suggesting Tattle might be a witch. “How about ghost? Then you can go boo-gie.”

“Ha-ha! But what about the mummy?”

“You’re not wrapped up thigh enough. Brrrhahahaha!” Wrye laughed at his joke.

She wrinkled her nose at him then put on the witch’s hat. “How about….”

Wrye tossed the hat aside, again refusing the bait of calling her witchy. Instead he escorted her into a Love of Literature Leap.


Wrye Balderdash and Cavendish Brown exchanged hi five, low five, and a chest bump. 
 
Good to see you again. That last paranormal adventure in THE WITCH’S DAUGHTER was harrowing.” Wyre does the two finger eye point. “You almost had this ole man wetting his pants.”

Cavendish raked fingers through his hair, “That was a boo-licious treat, glad to have shared it.”

“Hey, I’m the jokester ‘round here!”

Tattle kisses Cavendish on the cheek. “Actually, that would be moi. See you in cyberspace.”

With a wink, the two vanish in their Love of Literature Leap Review and appear in THE FORTUNE TELLER'S SECRET by Ron D. Voigts - Book 2 "A Cavendish Brown Paranormal Mystery"

After he felt Tattle’s kiss, Cavendish awakened and realized he was dreaming. “Who were those two strange specters?”

Tattle smacked Wrye on the arm, playfully. “He thought we were specters. Tee hee.”

“He called us strange. What a great compliment. I like this character.”

“Cavendish is not your typical hero, but he is A…A…Adorable! And always gets caught in the odd and bizarre. I’d have it no other way. His imperfections are what makes him so perfect.”

“You have a crush!”

Tattle’s thumb and forefinger nearly met. “Maybe just a little, but I am always impartial in my reviews. I fully got caught up in the story not just cause Cavendish is a dimensional, complex character but because the author nabs your attention immediately. I mean, a female ghost appears to him, he tackles a cold case file, there’s a dead man on the Ferris Wheel, and a teenager plotting to bomb the carnival. Ooooheeeee!

“That’s not all of it,” Wrye concluded. “Don’t forget how he and local sheriff, Clinton Pike, can’t agree on anything. Plus, there is the appearance of The Angel of Death, a Fortune Teller’s skills predict Cavendish’s life is at stake.” Wrye pretended to kick an imaginary bucket. “And away he goes.”

“He’s going nowhere, you bucket kicker, you!  He has the help of Jane, a psychic, and Alex, a Goth witch!”

“The paranormal layers the storyline with a different twist. Ron D. Voigts executes every phrase of the plot with a grab-em-hard and don’t let go attitude. There is never a glitch, or hang-up. Just one mystery after another, that you, the reader, must uncover and unravel. However, not a single hint gives you an idea to the conclusion. You just have to read and read and read. Another winner! This book is another winner!”

“For me, it’s not just the brilliance of the overall story, it is the individual characters. They aren’t puppets dancing to the author’s pen strokes, more storytellers expecting the author to write their personal narratives. I find myself expecting Alex to walk around the corner with a wink or Marbella Wellingway, newspaper owner, to offer me a deadline. Every minute detail is exposed in every character, while the plot continually demands one’s attention. As always Ron D. Voigts gave us an unforgettable story needs to be read more than once.  You won’t be disappointed. Excellent work!”


***
We'd love to hear from anyone interested in what we do. Anyone who writes us at writingteamcw@yahoo.com (Write - Blog Dawn - in subject line) and leaves an s-mail address, we will send you a free ebook (choose erotic or romantic thriller) and add you to any future mailings.



Angelica Hart and Zi ~ Vixen Bright and Zachary Zane
www.champagnebooks.com - www.carnalpassions.com - angelicahartandzi.com










Thursday, January 4, 2018

A Matter of Length


I’m currently struggling with a sequel to a novel that hasn’t been published (or accepted?) yet. This project was originally going to be the second and third in a trilogy. Being a confirmed pantser, I had the ideas but no detailed outline of these next two books.  About a hundred pages in I started to wonder if I had enough plot to warrant two volumes. Maybe a single volume, divided into parts one and two would be better? Which leads me to a discussion on length.

When I started writing I’d knock off a novel, send it out, and while waiting the two years for a rejection letter, fire off several short stories to anthologies. I had one editor tell me twice, in her polite rejections, that my short stories sounded more like novels. I eventually had a short story win first in a writing contest, and another published in an anthology, but the novel seed had been germinated.

I really do prefer the novel length where I can get to know the characters well while spinning out the tale. Then I discovered the novella. (In my fevered brain, about 30,000 words)

I wanted to write a fantasy detective tale for some time. I had the ideas and format and dashed off “Housetrap.” Then I discovered the novella is not an easy sale. There are a limited number of markets. I had an editor tell me he liked the story but it was too long for his magazine. Not to be discouraged, I whipped up two more tales, packaged the three together as book-length, and fired them off to publishers. It worked. Two publishers asked to see the manuscript. Of course, two years later they were still saying they were interested. In the meantime I found someone else (Champagne) and we were away. The Housetrap Chronicles are up to number eight now, with the first six packaged in volumes 1 & 2 and all available as ebooks.

But I still normally prefer the novel length with my usual target to come in at around 100,000 words.

One of my last forays back into the realm of the short story was a tale told by disheartened knight who rescues a lady seeking refuge. I finished the project but wasn’t entirely satisfied. What happens next? I ended up writing in effect three more short stories, each told by a different individual, and linking them together as “Knights’ Bridge,” in a novella format and much more satisfying, to me anyway, than the original short story.

Of course, length is also subject to the publisher’s needs and wishes. I wrote a tale, that came in somewhere over the 100,000 word mark and sent it away. The publisher loved it but had a request. She asked that I split it into two full-length novels, which meant adding more meat to the story, and then write a third as she felt there were too many loose ends still dangling. That was an interesting exercise, and fortunately the format of the plot made it an easy chore. There was even a brief discussion about turning it into a series.

Pick a length that suits the tale, and write it, but in the back of your mind, think about publishers and the markets where hopefully it will ultimately end up.

R.J.Hore
www.facebook.com/RonaldJHore

The Dark Lady Trilogy (Volume 1,2,3)
The Queen’s Pawn (Volume 1,2,3)
The Housetrap Chronicles (Volumes 1 to 8)
Alex in Wanderland,
Knight’s Bridge
We’re Not in Kansas

Toltec Dawn Trilogy (Volume 1, 2, 3)

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Seeing Red

Seeing Red

Have you ever walked down a crowded street and suddenly felt a shiver of fear as someone passed you? Did you turn around to see what caused that sensation? Was it the negative energy surrounding that person you felt? As it invaded your own energy, it alerted you, but did you do anything about it?

Not much you could do, was there? Signal a police officer and say, “That man has an evil aura!” See where that lands you. I can recall at least three specific occasions when this happened to me. They were so vivid I could probably describe the weather, what I wore that day, and the exact location of the incidents. I admit I’d have to close my eyes and spend a little time on the recollections.

In a crowded city where crimes occur every day, there’s no way to follow up on that feeling. How would you know if it was perpetrated by “your” stranger? Most crimes never make it onto the news outlets anyway.

Once I worked with a man in a show in New York and while we waited in the wings for our cues to go on, I had a sudden compulsion to say, “I know about you.” I don’t know where the thought came from, nor why I said it, but his reaction was astonishing. He blanched and said in a hoarse whisper, “What do you know? How? How did you find out?”

He carefully avoided me for the rest of the run of that show. His acting was fine, and he never did anything to draw undue attention to himself, at least no more than any other actor might do.

There were one or two other ESP incidents throughout my life; one in particular was, again, among actors when we were joking about being psychic. A woman next to me put her hand in mine and said, “Can you read my palm?”

Jokingly, I held her hand in my open palm and then passed my other hand over it, playing up the role of medium, when I was overcome by a dark shadow and saw her in a car accident. I dropped her hand, and said, “I can’t really do this.” She knew right away I had sensed something, but I dropped the subject and left the party early.

Three days later, on my way home from the grocery store I felt compelled to stop at her house. She was not a friend of mine; I had never been to her house. I only knew where it was because we all had contact sheets for one another. When I got there an older woman answered the door. It was Rachel’s mother, who had come in from out of state. I said I was there to see Rachel. Mother said, “I’ll see if she wants to come out. She’s resting.”

As it was early afternoon, I asked, “Is she sick?”

“No, she was in a car accident on the bridge the other night (Mid-Hudson Bridge) after a cast party.”

Our paths did not cross again for nearly two years when once again I felt a compulsion to stop at her house. And, as before, her mother answered the door. And again, she said she’d see if Rachel was up for visitors. It turned out Rachel’s five-year-old daughter had died the night before of a sudden brain infection. We spent hours talking about past lives and connections. I have never seen Rachel since that day, and so hope that means there were no more traumas in her life.

This week, at my writing group, a new person entered the library meeting room. I asked if he was looking for the writing group and he said yes and took a seat. When asked to introduce himself, he went to great lengths to explain why he didn’t like another group he joined and so he thought he’d try ours, to see if we were any better at critiquing. As he shuffled papers in his hand to show that he writes short pieces, I watched his hands turn red—bright blood red right up to his wrists. I blinked, looked at other members in the room to see if my eyes had gone funny, but didn’t see any other discolorations. I looked back at his hands and once again, saw the red. As he spoke the red faded.

I told the person sitting next to me about it and she said, “He’s a writer; he uses his hands and he’s obviously angry.” That’s what I saw.


Now I have to take all these incidents, plus several I haven’t mentioned and put them together in a book. Title: Seeing Red.

Veronica Helen Hart is the award winning author of nine published novels (Champagne Book Group), several plays, and one multi-award winning musical. She is a Regional Director for the Florida Writers Association, a member of Sisters in Crime, and Daytona Area Writers. Visit her website at: uppitywomanpress.com.  

Friday, December 8, 2017

Review BAI TIDE by Erika Mitchell


FROM THE DESK OF
DONA PENZA TATTLE, ESQ.
AND
ASSOCIATE WRYE BALDERDASH


Arm-in-arm, the literary sleuths, dash into their review of the thriller BAI TIDE by Erika Mitchell.

“Move over James Bond, Sherlock Holmes, Adrian Monk, and Maxwell Smart, there’s a new investigator in town!” Wrye pulls down his Fedora and holds up a finger gun. “Bai Tsu, a newbie, Asian/American CIA agent is out there and ready to take numbers and peel potatoes.”

“Peel potatoes,” mouthed Tattle, took a puzzled breath and let it go. “Bai, fresh from BLOOD MONEY, is twenty something, humorous and self-effacing, tough yet modest and on an undercover cushy job assignment as a gym teacher for a girl’s prep school. This mission should have been as easy as eating a snow cone on a hot day, but nooooo, it turns out that one of the girls are being targeted.  So, during the investigation, Bai unearths a devious plot that could ultimately kill millions upon millions of people.”

“Ah m’slip-and-slide reviewer, did you also realize he needs to ask for help from the very person he can’t trust? Annnnd that he will be traveling across the globe in heat and sand, cold and ice?”

“I did, I did.” Tattle nodded vigorously. “Erika also takes unusual secondary characters and weaves them in and out of the story seamlessly. Her plotline is flawless. The research is amazing. Though this is a fun read, you also learn a few things, just as Bai learns more about himself and his chosen profession. I really like this new breed of character, and Bai’s style of investigation. I am hooked!”

Ericka did a masterful job with the action sequences, especially the hand-to-hand combat. As a martial arts fan, I found the fight scenes to be accurate and enticing. And much to Tattle’s delight, there was a nice dusting of prickly romance to satisfy her ooohhh ahhhh needs.”

“Hey! I don’t ooohhh ahhh anything.” She gives Wrye a sniff then adds, “This is action laden, tension absorbing and totally entertaining. Read this book, it is a delight.”

Hope you enjoyed this month’s reviews. More to come!

***
We'd love to hear from anyone interested in what we do. Anyone who writes us at writingteamcw@yahoo.com (Write - Blog Dawn - in subject line) and leaves an s-mail address, we will send you a free ebook (choose erotic or romantic thriller) and add you to any future mailings.



Angelica Hart and Zi ~ Vixen Bright and Zachary Zane ~ Dona Penza Tattle and Wrye Balderdash
www.champagnebooks.com - www.carnalpassions.com - angelicahartandzi.com










Thursday, December 7, 2017

Why I Write Fantasy and Soft Science Fiction


There is a good reason why I write soft science fiction. I wasn’t a science nerd at school. Physics was the first subject that threw me for a loop when I ran headlong into it. Up until that class, I’d always held it over my buddy Allen that I was better than him in school. Then physics grabbed me by the throat and threw me for a loss. Allen aced it.

So when I write a science fiction story, you know there are certain areas I’m going to have to fudge. I try to avoid technical explanations I might have to give, and there are potentially minefields full of them out there in the void. (Which is not really void?). I really admire writers who can get the details correct (as far as I’m concerned!) while not dragging down the story with heavy techno-babble.

I always toss out the old line that if I’m writing a story where someone is driving a car, I don’t have to explain the inner workings of a gasoline (or hybrid electric!) engine, so why do you want to know how I get my spaceship up to warp speed? But that’s not quite true, is it? I think you should try and make the story believable. Still, when you go to those big budget summer movies, it’s permissible to suspend belief and just let the adventure rip.

The reason these thoughts are rattling around inside my head is I’m working on the second volume in a projected trilogy where at least some of the story will fall into the Space Opera category. I’d like to get the little details sounding correct, even if I have to fudge the big picture. This is a bit of a struggle.

Fantasy is another matter. I’ve often told friends the reason I write fantasy is because I’m lazy and don’t have to do all the research to create historical novels. That is only partially true. I like to make up settings, build worlds, characters and plots, unrestricted by conventional countries and backgrounds. I’ve always been a fan of history, read a lot of it, but have little desire to be restricted by having to stay within the existing lines, so to speak.

I ran face-first into this with a recent trilogy. I decided to write a what-if alternate history. Great, now I can make up a lot of the details once my change in what happens in history takes place. However, I still have to stick to actual geography, and blend in what is going on in the rest of the real world. This means having to take the time to do some actual detail searching instead of plunging blindly ahead with my writing. Now I catch a glimpse of what the historical authors go through, and why, I really prefer to write fantasy. Besides, I really can get sidetracked mucking about where the research may lead me rather than sticking to the actual creating.

I’d rather let my wild imagination make things up instead of doing the research, with one caveat. You still have to write within the realms of possibility, in your imaginary world, or explain why not. Rules are made to be broken, but only knowingly.
R.J.Hore
www.facebook.com/RonaldJHore

The Dark Lady Trilogy (Volume 1,2,3)
The Queen’s Pawn (Volume 1,2,3)
The Housetrap Chronicles (Volumes 1 to 8)
Alex in Wanderland,
Knight’s Bridge
We’re Not in Kansas

Toltec Dawn Trilogy (Volume 1, 2, 3)

Sunday, November 19, 2017

The View from Here - On Character

The View from Here – On Character

Recently while speaking to a group of college students about writing historical fiction, a young man asked, “How can you, an old white woman, know what it feels like to be a four year old black slave kid?”

He referred to my sub-plot about Armbruster Slade, aka Ledger, who featured in the life of Elisabeth Ackert-Riis, the protagonist.

Ledger was bought as a four year old in 1849 when the two Slade brothers, merchants, came across the slave market. The brothers differed in their opinions about the morality of slavery. The younger Slade bought the boy, took him to England and tore up his ownership papers.

The story goes on and the boy, named Armbruster Slade, becomes an adult and set out on his own with an annual stipend for life.

To step into the little boy’s head, one needs go no further than one’s own memory of being separated from a parent. Imagine being put on a train with a tag pined to your coat and told, “Your aunt will meet you at the station. Don’t talk to strangers.” It didn’t matter the race, the sex, or the religion, the child was wide-eyed with fear, but also fascinated by the change of scenery as the train ran along the river.

When you’re “old,” if you’ve paid attention, you can probably imagine yourself as nearly any kind of person.

You’ve felt rage at an injustice? You might get into a police officer’s head.

You’ve had your heart take a sudden leap off a cliff when meeting someone new? You can write about blind love.

You, or your spouse, have borne a child and watched it grow. The emotions are boundless.

It’s nice being old. So many variations of people generate emotional memories, some good; some not so good, but they are all there for the asking.

What experiences in your life have you drawn from to create your own characters?

Veronica Helen Hart is the award winning author of The Reluctant Daughters, where Ledger is introduced. With eight other published novels under her belt, as well as several short stories, she is currently working on a story about a boy who returns home from North Korea, having been kidnapped at the age of nine and released twenty years later, Boy Comes Home, and a paranormal murder mystery, The Knife. www.veronicahhart.com