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Friday, March 28, 2014

Hurricane Crimes Cocktail

IMPORTANT: First, I want to say I am not a bartender but I did do a lot of research to find out how to make cocktails and studied many recipes. There is 2.5 ounces of alcohol in this drink. (Many mixed drinks have more.) Second, I want to add for everyone to please drink responsibly!

I decided to make this cocktail for the blog “Cocktails and Books”. I thought it would be fun to include it with my guest post, but I never heard back from them so their loss turned into my blog gain.

I thought long and hard about what ingredients I wanted to include in this cocktail, and for someone who doesn’t drink alcohol it wasn’t easy. I went with a strong cocktail to match the intensity of Hurricane Crimes with the severe weather. Then I came up with the idea for the mashed blackberries for a “scary” look to illustrate the murder and crimes aspect of my story. Finally, sugar because of the romance.

Hurricane Crimes Cocktail


Need:

*2 oz Whiskey
*.5 oz Sweet Vermouth
*2 oz of Cranberry Raspberry Juice
*1/3 cup of fresh or frozen blackberries
*Sugar
*Ice
Tip #1: One ounce equals two tablespoons.

Steps:

*If you're using frozen blackberries, thaw them out. 
*Mash the berries gently with a wooden spoon inside the glass. 
* Sprinkle a bit of sugar over the berries.
* Add whiskey, fill with ice, then add sweet vermouth and juice. Stir.
* Sprinkle more sugar on the top. Don’t stir.
* Enjoy! But don’t drink and drive!

Hurricane Crimes Cocktail
I'm sorry my picture is not very elegant.
Tip #2: If you don’t like Cranberry Raspberry juice, you can swap it out for whatever cranberry or juice flavor you enjoy most. 
Tip #3: If you want a drink that’s not so strong, you can forgo the sweet vermouth and add more juice.
Tip #4: For a non-alcoholic version, replace the whiskey with sparkling water or Sprite. :)

Close up of the berries. Creepy, right? 
That's why it symbolizes murder.

And since I made this drink for my story, here it is:


ALL BOOK LINKS: 

Now I want to say again to PLEASE DRINK RESPONSIBLY!

Thank you!


Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Writing About: Superstitions

Writing about superstitions can be a lot of fun! And incorporating superstitions into your horror or paranormal stories can add a dash of originality and uniqueness to the plot.

Superstition: is the term for belief in supernatural causality: that one event leads to the cause of another without any natural process linking the two events, such as astrology, religion, omens, witchcraft, etc., that contradicts natural science.

Here are 15 superstitions you can use in your story:

·         Deaths occur in threes
·         Bad luck comes in threes
·         Friday the 13th is an unlucky day
·         Breaking a mirror will give you seven years bad luck.
·         Making a wish on a wishbone will make it come true.
·         Finding a penny and picking it up will give you good luck all day long.
·         Beginner's luck
·         Step on a crack, break your mother’s back.
·         Garlic protects you from vampires.
·         At the end of the rainbow is a pot of gold.
·         A cat has nine lives.
·         Refusing a kiss under mistletoe will bring you bad luck.
·         A sailor wearing an earring cannot drown.
·         A drowned woman floats face up, a drowned man floats face down.
·         If you shiver, someone walked over your grave.

There are many superstitions! Do research to find one that intrigues you.


Here are 7 things you need to consider while planning your story:

1.    Decide whether your main character is a believer or a skeptic.

2.    How does the superstition come into the story? (Does your character want to test their theory that superstitions aren’t real and purposefully breaks a mirror? Does your detective protagonist go to a string of drowning crime scenes? Are they cursed by a witch?)

3.    Think outside the box!

4.    How does the superstition impact your main character? (Do they notice their wish is coming true after they break a wishbone?)

5.    What kind of events unfold to make the superstition real? (Have two people died? Is your character waiting to find out who the third death will be?)

6.    Can you use horror or suspense in your story? A lot of superstitions can use both!

7.    How does it end? (Does the superstition prove to be real or fake? If it’s real (and unlucky) how does it end? Does it get passed onto someone else?)


When I was writing my short story “Greeting Evil”, which is about three best friends who play with a Ouija board, I combined my own experience as a (dumb) teen and the belief that evil spirits are attached to Ouija boards. And I had a lot of fun writing it. But I want to add that I do NOT have that Ouija board anymore. Nor will I touch one ever again! 

Check out my story hereI’m sorry that the background picture and font makes it difficult to read. :(

Finally, here's a song to inspire you. I love Alezx Johnson! 



QUESTIONS: Do you think superstitions are bogus? Or do you believe in certain ones? 




P.S. NEW Short Fiction Market! A blogging friend of mine is kickstarting an online magazine, Fantasy Scroll, to publish quality science fiction, fantasy, horror, and paranormal short stories. This is going to be a great market for new and published writers, so help the magazine start up by spreading the word and/or donating. To find out more about the campaign, please visit: http://kck.st/1pp8ZVh


Friday, March 21, 2014

Dance the Moon Down by R.L. Bartram / Excerpt

Title: Dance the Moon Down
Author: R.L. Bartram
Genre: Historical Drama
Page Count: 300
Publisher: Authors OnLine

BLURB:

In 1910, no one believed there would ever be a war with Germany. Safe in her affluent middle-class life, the rumours held no significance for Victoria either. It was her father’s decision to enrol her at university that began to change all that. There she befriends the rebellious and outspoken Beryl Whittaker, an emergent suffragette, but it was her love for Gerald Avery, a talented young poet from a neighbouring university that sets the seal on her future.

After a clandestine romance, they marry in January 1914, but with the outbreak of the First World War, Gerald volunteers and within months has gone missing in France. Convinced that he is still alive, Victoria’s initial attempts to discover what has become of him, implicate her in a murderous assault on Lord Kitchener resulting in her being interrogated as a spy, and later tempted to adultery.

Now virtually destitute, Victoria is reduced to finding work as a common labourer on a rundown farm, where she discovers a world of unimaginable ignorance and poverty. It is only her conviction that Gerald will some day return that sustains her through the dark days of hardship and privation as her life becomes a battle of faith against adversity.

BOOK LINKS:

EXCERPT: 

Victoria heard someone pass close by, approach the desk and stop. After a moment, not having felt a hand on her shoulder, she opened her eyes to see a young officer standing in front of her. He bore such a striking resemblance to Gerald that for a moment she thought that it was actually he.

‘This is Lieutenant Fairchild,’ Colonel Bass informed her bluntly, ‘temporarily assigned to this department. I’ve put him in charge of investigating your husband’s case. In future, you’ll direct all your questions to him.’ Closing the file, he handed it to the lieutenant.

‘Carry on, Fairchild.’

The lieutenant took the file, turned to her, smiled and gestured that she should follow him.

Victoria was only too glad to do so, but as she rose to leave, Colonel Bass had one last word of warning.

‘In future, young woman, I suggest that you confine your activities to the appropriate channels. If you persist in pursuing your original course, you may discover that this department is no longer disposed to offer you the leniency it’s shown today.‘ With that, he looked down and began writing again.

With an outstretched hand, Lieutenant Fairchild reaffirmed his invitation for her to follow him. Victoria couldn’t wait to get out of the room. She was shaking from head to toe and in such a state that, by the time she reached the corridor, she was desperate to confide her feelings to just about anyone.

‘That man,’ she told the lieutenant, her voice wavering with emotion, ‘that awful man is overbearing, rude and insensitive!’

‘He’s a colonel in the British army,’ Lieutenant Fairchild pointed out. ‘He’s supposed to be.’

His candour did nothing to alleviate her distress. ‘Do you know, he accused me of being a spy?’

The gravity of her statement merely seemed to amuse him. ‘My dear Mrs Avery, if he’d ever once thought that you were actually a spy, then you’d never have been allowed into this building. At this moment, you’d be languishing in His Majesty’s Prison Holloway, awaiting execution.’ Victoria drew a huge gasp, her eyes widening with incredulity; she could hardly believe her ears. ‘You mean to say that he put me through all that, knowing all the time that I wasn’t a spy?’

‘Believe it or not, he did you a favour,’ Lieutenant Fairchild told her. ‘It could have been far more serious had he wished to make it so.’ Victoria was incensed. She felt completely humiliated.

Disregarding his remarks, her agitation began to boil over. ‘That’s despicable!’ she fumed.  ‘I don’t think the corridor is the best place for this conversation,’ he advised. ‘I’m certain we’ll be much more comfortable in my office.’

The lieutenant’s office was tiny in comparison to the baronial hall occupied by Colonel Bass, but it was far more inviting. It was hardly bigger than a cupboard, lined with filing cabinets and cluttered with stacks of paper that further reduced its size.

‘Sorry about the mess,’ he apologised, ‘but lowly lieutenants don’t rate a lot of space.’ He paused, studying her for a moment. ‘May I offer you some tea?’ he asked. ‘You look as though you need it.’

When the tea arrived, Victoria was grateful to receive a cup. Her ordeal had left her parched, and it was all she could do to stop herself from gulping it. Nevertheless, to her acute embarrassment, each time she tried to replace the cup back onto the saucer, her trembling hand made it rattle conspicuously, and in spite of trying not to, she slurped when she drank.

Lieutenant Fairchild waited patiently for her to recover enough to continue. Eventually, Victoria put the cup down and eyed him warily. Despite his good looks and easy charm, she was still paranoid about military conspiracies. ‘It won’t work, you know,’ she told him.

The lieutenant folded his hands on the desk top and smiled indulgently. ‘What won’t work?’ he asked.

She was certain that he knew exactly what she was talking about, but if he insisted on continuing this silly charade, then she would tell him anyway. ‘I’ve made a nuisance of myself, and after frightening the life out of me, that colonel of yours thinks to distract me by putting a pretty face in my way.’

It took him some moments to comprehend what she was alluding to. Then suddenly, his eyes widened in surprise. ‘Oh, I see. You mean me. I can honestly say that I’ve never thought of myself in quite those terms before,’ he admitted, still somewhat bemused by her remark. ‘Do you suppose Colonel Bass sees me that way?’

Victoria was only too well aware that his amusement was entirely at her expense, and was determined not to be the butt of the joke.

‘You know precisely what I mean, Lieutenant,’ she remarked coldly.

‘Please, call me Alan,’ he invited, taking her by surprise, ‘and may I call you Victoria?’

He had a beguiling way about him that easily disarmed her caution, and after an appropriate pause required by formality, she nodded her consent.

‘Excellent,’ he beamed. ‘I’m sure we’re going to be great friends.’

Under any other circumstances, his remark might have been considered presumptuous. Perhaps the harrowing events of the last few hours had tired her, wearing down her resistance, making her susceptible to his overtures. In any event, Victoria found the suggestion not altogether unattractive. Maybe Colonel Bass was a better judge of character than she’d given him credit for.


BIO:

Born in Edmonton, London in 1951, Robert spent several of his formative years living in Cornwall where he began to develop a life long love of nature and the rural way of life. He began writing in his early teens and much of his short romantic fiction was subsequently published in various national periodicals including “Secrets”, “Red Letter” and “The People’s Friend”.

Never one to let the necessity of making a living get in the way of his writing, Robert has continued to write for the best part of his life whilst holding down a succession of jobs which have included Health food shop manager, Typewriter mechanic and Taxidermist. Yes- you read that correctly.

His passion for the history of the early twentieth centaury is second only to his love of writing.  It was whilst researching in this area that he came across the letters and diaries of some women who had lived through the trauma of the First World War. What he read in them inspired him to write his debut novel “Dance The Moon Down” and the rest, as they say, is history.

Robert is single and lives and writes in Hertfordshire.


QUESTIONS: Do you like historical dramas? What did you think of the excerpt for Dance the Moon Down?


Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Show AND Tell

We all have heard the saying “Show don’t tell”, and we all know showing is good. When you show, you are creating a vivid image in your reader’s mind for what is happening in your book. I admit it, sometimes I tell when I should show (I'm not perfect), but the rule "show don't tell" shouldn't be taken too literally all of the time.

Let me explain.

If you only show you will have a book full of lengthy descriptions and too many details that will overwhelm your readers. I once read a book, which I loved, that showed the character shopping for EVERYTHING she lost due to a house fire. This happened right after the climax and it made me skip whole paragraphs out of annoyance. I wanted to read the end, not read about the heroine's shopping spree! On the other hand, if you only tell, you will have an informative story that will probably bore your readers to pieces. So the best strategy is to show and tell when appropriate.


Show action.

Show your character’s passion and feelings.

Show scenery and visuals.

Tell information and facts.

Tell minor details.

Tell when you need to summarize a previous event.

In other words, show the entertaining parts that can engage a reader, and tell the less entertaining parts your readers just need to know. The key to showing AND telling is not to be excessive with either option, but to find a balance.


3 Tips to help you show:
#1: Close your eyes and picture exactly how you want an event to unfold as if you are watching a movie. Open your eyes and write everything you saw so you can show it to your readers. 
#2: Be specific. 
#3: Use the 5 senses: see, hear, taste, smell, and touch. 

SHARE: Your tips for SHOWING in writing.


QUESTION: Do you believe in “Show, Don’t Tell”, or do you think “Show AND Tell” is a better strategy?


Friday, March 14, 2014

The Seer's Lover by Kat de Falla / Book Blast

Calise Rowe's question of who walks among us leads her into an ancient war between seers and demons.

Title: The Seer’s Lover
Author: Kat de Falla
Genre:  Mainstream Paranormal/Paranormal Romance
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
World Wide Release Date: June 2014

BLURB:

For years, Calise Rowe has been able to sense unusual energy from certain people, making her believe she's different. She's about to find out she's right.

After an elderly Latino man is murdered outside her pharmacy, Calise takes his last words to heart. "Find Mary. Mal Pais."

In the sultry Costa Rican jungles, her search for the truth leads her to Lucas Rojas, a seer of the angels and demons who walk among us. After hiding from his gift for years, he refuses to bring Calise into his dangerous world. Calise falls for the reclusive Lucas who agrees to help her. But unwittingly, he draws her into an ancient war between demons and seers.

Calise's biggest danger comes from her her ex-boyfriend, a fallen angel, or transitor, who will do anything, including consort with demons, to get rid of Lucas and win her back.

Buy Links:

*A portion of the proceeds from this book will be donated to www.iorphan.org 


EXCERPT:

She traced a circle in the sand with her finger.

Why would she disclose her whole existence to someone she’d just met? Someone who talked so little about himself that she found herself talking to fill the void. Saying things she could barely admit in her own head.

His hand covered hers. “I’m lonely, too. Getting to know you this week has been the brightest point in my life and I don’t want you to leave, but I know the only place you’ll be safe is far away from me.”

She swallowed. He had read her mind.

He lay down on his back and closed his eyes. “Cali, you know when you hear a song for the first time and you kind of ingest it? You can’t possibly know right away that it will be one of your favorite songs for the rest of your life. A classic.”

“Yeah.” She hoped he was going somewhere good with this.

“That first listen,” he continued, “you pick up a little of the melody and some lyrics that catch you. But when the song ends, you have to hear it again because you want to memorize all the words and sing along. After you hear it a few times and learn the words inside and out, then you begin to let the melody seep inside you. Next thing you know, you’ve completely digested the song and find yourself humming it while you are doing nothing, like shaving or driving your car.

Finally, the song becomes so ingrained it becomes a part of you. Forever. You can recall it and it’s with you whenever you need it. Am I making any sense?”

She nodded, blinking back the tears fighting to fall.

“Cali, I don’t want you to go back because you’re my favorite song.”


*Visit www.bayafaya.com for FREE music downloads that accompany this book.


BIO:

Author Kat de Falla was born and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin where she learned to roller skate, ride a banana seat bike, and love Shakespeare thanks to her high school English teacher.

Four years at the UW-Madison wasn’t enough, so she returned to her beloved college town for her Doctor of Pharmacy degree and is happily employed as a retail pharmacist where she fills prescriptions and chats with her patients.

She is married to her soul mate, classical guitarist, Lee de Falla and raising four kids together ala the Brady Bunch.

AUTHOR LINKS:
(Message her to join her street team!)


QUESTION: What do you think of The Seer's Lover?

This is one book I look forward to reading! Thank you for being a part of Write with Fey, Kat!


Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Writing About: Ghosts (Part One)

I have written a couple of stories about ghosts and thought it would be fun to inform other writers how to write about ghosts in their stories.

There are two ways you can write about a ghost. The first method is to rely heavily on the paranormal element, and the second is to treat the ghost like a human character.

1.    Paranormal Ghost

This type of ghost is perfect for horror stories because they can be extremely frightening. The element of fear has to be present though for this to work. Your characters must show fear whether they can see the ghost or not.

If they can’t see the ghost, you need to utilize the tools the paranormal genre offers to make it clear a ghost is the culprit of the unexplained events. Some techniques you can use are: a gust of cold wind, the sensation of being touched, whispers, voices, screams and/or the sound of someone crying, items being thrown or moved, nightmares, messages scrawled in steam, and horrifying images that are there one moment and gone the next.

If your character(s) can see the ghost, or catch a glimpse of it, the ghost can be see-through or solid. A solid ghost can have pale or grayish skin as well as blood and visible signs of how they died. The trick is to get creative! A visible ghost can cause all of the same havoc as an invisible ghost.
TIP #1: Watch “The Sixth Sense” and “Gothika” (one of my favorite movies) for some ideas on how to write about paranormal and human ghosts.
My take on a ghost. It's a sheet. 
2.    Human Ghost

Although the person is dead, he/she can still be very human. Going this route can be used for any genre: romance, paranormal, mystery, thriller and suspense. And the ghost should be treated as all the other characters you write about in your books. Meaning, the ghost will need a name, appearance, and personality. The fact he/she is dead is just another detail. The ghost will also need a story (a past).

I have used this technique in two different ways. The first is to have the ghost as the main character that no one can see. The second way is to let the hero/heroine of your story interact with your ghostly character.

Whatever path you choose, the ghost should be as human as possible, even if he/she is see-through. They won’t be scary or bloody, but the ghost can still try to scare the hero/heroine. And if you want, the ghost can have some not-so-nice motives such as revenge.
TIP #2: The ghost should have a goal (finding his/her killer or helping a loved one.)
TIP #3: If your ghost can communicate with other characters, he/she should do as much (or more than) the living characters.
My take on a human ghost. It's me. lol
At the end of the story, the ghost’s conflict should be solved, and maybe he/she moved onto the other side. If you used the paranormal technique and wrote about a petrifying ghost then the character who was being haunted should’ve found a way to banish the evil spirit. Or perhaps the evil spirit took over their body. Whatever.

But no matter what you do, or what kind of ghost you choose to write about, get creative and try something new!


SHARE: Your tips for writing about ghosts.


QUESTIONS: Do you believe in ghosts?

Have you written a ghost story? Tell me about it!


Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Songs Inspire My Writing

The Insecure Writer's Support Group is a safe place for insecure writers of all kinds. 

If you need an inspiration boost, my dear insecure writer, then dig through your CD’s or search your playlist for a song that matches the scene you have to write. For me, rock music is my go to genre for any action scene. Love songs obviously work great for love scenes. But if you don’t like lyrics in the music you listen to while you write, there are many classical masterpieces that can fit the tone of the event you have to write, too.

My colorful headphones. :)
Here are 5 songs that have inspired my writing:


1.    Somewhere by Within Temptation

In the last book of my unpublished series I wrote a moving scene that involves the kidnapping of one of my characters, and her husband goes on a desperate hunt to find her. The intense love and fear he has is enough to choke anyone up with tears. This song, which is about searching for your lost love until your dying day, really helped me to capture the emotion I needed to write the scene. Give it a listen!

Writing About: A Kidnapping



2.    Titanium by David Guetta Feat. Sia

The heroine in my series had a difficult past. When I was writing about the time when she ran away at sixteen, I listened to Titanium on repeat. I could picture her running for her life, and was pleasantly surprised when I watched the video and saw it was pretty similar to what I had written. Great minds think alike. ;)



3.    Nobody’s Home by Avril Lavigne

After my MC runs away, she lives on the streets for a couple of weeks. This song by Avril is about not having a home or a family to turn to, and was my theme for this time in my heroine’s life.



4.    Russian Roulette by Rihanna

During a moment in the third book of my series a character is tortured quite brutally by an ex boyfriend. Russian Roulette is a dark song about a man taunting a woman and forcing her to kill herself. It is a chilling song and it gave me everything I needed to write a shocking and devastating torture scene.


5.    Into the Light by In This Moment

Whenever I listen to this song my eyes fill with tears. The lyrics, about a loved one dying and having to saying goodbye, are so heart-wrenching. I listened to it while writing a moment when my heroine loses a loved one, because I knew it would put me in the frame of mind the scene required.

Warning: This song may make you cry too!



Today is also the World Wide Release of Hurricane Crimes, so I’d like to share the 5 songs that would make the soundtrack for my short story:

(When Beth ventures out of her house and into severe weather.)
(When Beth finds out Donovan is a murder suspect.)
(For the scene when Beth and Donovan are intimate.)
5. Hurricane by 30 Seconds to Mars (The Theme Song)




QUESTIONS:
1.    Do you listen to music while you write or do you need silence?
2.    Is there a song (or songs) that has inspired your writing?


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