Monday, June 29, 2015

Writing About: Undercover Operations




LAST STOP ON MY BLOG TOUR:

Gwen Gardener - My Favorite Ghosts

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In Seismic Crimes, my sequel to Hurricane Crimes, one of my characters goes undercover. *No spoilers here!* This scene is one of my favorites because of the suspense.



If you ever find yourself writing a mystery or thriller that requires one or more of your characters to go undercover, keep these 5 things in mind:

1. Mission

First, is your character a cop, detective, civilian operative, reporter, or someone trying to solve a mystery solo and taking matters into his/her own hands? After you answer that, make it clear why your character is going undercover. What is his/her mission? This could be anything from getting information they need, finding out who is stealing lawn ornaments from neighbors, or even taking down criminals. Make sure the purpose fits your story line and moves the plot forward.

2. Disguise

When someone goes undercover, they can’t go as him/herself. Your character will need a disguise that’ll fit the situation. If your character is going undercover as a gang member, he/she will have to dress and act the part, even adoring their body with the bandanna or color of the gang. Or maybe your character is going undercover to bust a millionaire. In that case, a bit of glam is required. A person can go undercover as anyone, so let your imagination go wild.


Image from Pixabay

3. Name

A disguise isn’t the only thing your character will need to keep his/her identity safe. Your character will also need a name to complete the disguise. If your character is going undercover in a gang, think of a street name. If your character needs to pretend to be rich, use a last name that exudes wealth like Kennedy.

4. Place

Where does your character go to play his/her role? The mission will dictate where this place should be. It could be a house or business, an alley or a street corner. Wherever it is, describe it to add a bit of suspense.


5. Danger!

Whenever someone goes undercover, danger is always involved. Even if bullets don’t fly, add your character’s thoughts to show his/her fear of being caught or of the situation. Portray the people your character has to trick in a darker light. Make them intense, powerful, and even menacing. Your character could also have a gun/taser/pepper spray in case things go south.


Image from Pixabay

TIP: If your character has to go undercover multiple times, make the danger and stakes higher each time.


QUESTION: Think of the main character in your current WIP...now if this character was going undercover in a gang, what street name would you give him/her?


My Answer: For Beth (Hurricane Crimes), her street name would be Steel (because she’s my heroine of steel). And Donovan’s would be Blood Heart.


Friday, June 26, 2015

Reader Interview with Jonel Boyko


I am happy to introduce Jonel Boyko to Write with Fey for a reader interview. She is a talented blogger and an avid reader/reviewer. Let’s give her a warm welcome!


1. Tell us about Confessions of a Bibliophile (Pure Jonel).

Pure Jonel, a book blog with 1000+ followers, was launched in December of 2012. With monthly hits of 10,000+ and daily posts including reviews, guest posts, author interviews, giveaways and more. I don’t differentiate or discriminate between traditionally published and independently published works. All writing is taken and reviewed based upon its own merits. As the sole reviewer on the blog I endeavor to give my unbiased opinion of each work I read.

2. Who is your favorite author and why?

Just one?  Oh dear.  If I were to pick just one, I’d have to say Susan Mallery.  The fantastic town of Fool’s Gold is an amazingly real town that I won’t ever forget.  These sweet romances are books that I could read & reread again and again.

3. I don't think I've read anything by Susan Mallery. *hangs head* What book can you read over and over again?

The Complete Sherlock Holmes.  Hands down, my favorite story.

4. What kinds of book covers attract you?

I fully admit that I shop based on book covers.  If it catches my eye, I’ll buy it based on little else.  I tend to steer away from ‘cartooney’ covers, looking for something much more realistic.  Cowboys also catch my eyes.

Jonel's puppy and reading nook.
5. I'm a sucker for a good cover too. Who is your favorite fictional character?

Doc in Jacqueline Rhoades’ Alpha’s Daughter.  He was the perfect mix of alpha male & sweet & sensitive.  He’s also the type of guy that you just can’t get out of your head.  Oh, and did I mention that he’s a shifter?

6. Gotta love a shifter! Which author do you have a love/hate relationship with?

Veronica Roth.  Loved the first two novels in the Divergent series, but the third book????  Who ends a series like that?  I had to keep reading, but it was like a train wreck for me.

7. I've been interested in reading this series. I'll have to see about that last book. Growing up, what was your favorite children’s book?

The Wind in the Willows.  It was a fantastic escape from reality for me.  I absolutely loved how the animals were so real.

8. What would you like to know about the authors you enjoy reading the most?

Other than release dates?  Lol.  I always enjoy finding out where authors get their ideas from and how they began writing.



Hyper Round:

1. Ebooks or Print books? Print, preferably paperback

2. Movie Adaptations: Yay or Nay? Nay (except Harry Potter)

3. Favorite reading spot? Armchair in my reading nook

4. Favorite reading snack? Sweet chili kettle chips


BIO:

I am an avid reader turned blogger.  I believe that an explanation for everything in life can be found in the Big Bang Theory. If for no other reason, because laughter fixes everything.

 
I have a cat & a dog who both love to curl up with me while reading.  Both area also high energy animals who love to play, but are also well suited to the life of a bibliophile.  When not reading I also enjoy spending time at the barn with my horse. 

As someone who thoroughly enjoyed post-secondary education, I have both a BSc (double major in Biology and Classics) and a BA (honours in history with an emphasis medieval religious history). 

Reader Links:
Twitter:  @PureJonel


Thank you for putting down a book (a good book, no doubt) long enough to answer my questions, Jonel. You can now get back to reading. ;)

Please leave a comment for Jonel.


Wednesday, June 24, 2015

I'm a Tree Hugger + Infinity Dreams Award



BLOG TOUR:

Stephanie's Studio - Witch Love

Shanjeniah's Lovely Chaos - Alfredo Pizza Recipe

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I don't really hug trees, but I sure do love them. I've always felt a connection to trees as if they have souls/spirits. Everywhere I go, I see cool trees I want to take pictures of. 

The first 4 pictures (vertical) were taken at Erna Nixon Park and the rest (minus the last one) were taken near the Central Brevard Library in Florida.











QUESTION: Do you love trees?

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Lidy Wilks at Paving My Author’s Road nominated me for the Infinity Dreams Blog Award. Thank you so much, Lidy!

I don’t really know the meaning behind this award and tried to find out, but I love dreams and the infinity symbol. :)


Here are the rules for the award:
1) Thank the blogger who nominated you.
2) Tell us 11 facts about yourself.
3) Answer the questions that were set for you to answer.
4) Nominate 11 bloggers and set questions for them.


For those 11 facts go here: 20 Random Facts About Me


Lidy’s Questions for Me:

1) What was the first book you’ve ever read? 

I can picture few books that I read at an early age but don’t recall the titles, so I’ll go with the book I remember the most from my childhood: Are You MY Mother by P.D. Eastman.

2) If you were to choose, which book would you like to be physically transported into? 

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. This is my favorite HP book.

3) What do you like to do to bring yourself out of a funk/bad mood? 

Listen to music.

4) How do you determine success? 

By meeting a goal.

5) Do you prefer paperback or eBook? Why? 

Both. I like the feel of paperbacks and pick them for novels, but I love eBooks and being able to read short stories on devices.

6) Are you a Star Trek fan or Star Wars? 

Star Wars 

7) What TV show(s) are you currently obsessed with? 

Same shows as always...Revenge and Scandal.

8) Who would you want to play you in your biography movie? 

Emma Watson

9) What is your dream destination? 

Ireland

10) Who is your favorite super hero/heroine? 

Super hero - Superwoman 

Heroine - Hermione Granger

11) Who is your hero?  

My mom. <3


Since I just nominated 10 bloggers last week I sort of cheated on this next part. I picked the first 11 people who commented on my blog on Monday (unless I had nominated them before). But believe me when I saw they are all worthy and that I would've nominated all of them eventually. Besides that, I struggle to think of bloggers on the spot. 


My nominations:

All of my nominees are women...sorry, guys, but apparently more women read my blog and comment early. Or maybe you have a slow Monday? (Pat and Alex are always one of the first to comment, but I had nominated them for awards before.) I am thankful for all of my male readers though. You guys rock! :D


Questions for my nominees:
1. What is something you’d do tomorrow if money wasn’t an object?
2. What is your biggest, wildest dream?
3. What are you goals for your blog for the next year?

I left it at three questions and stuck to the concept of dreams and blogs. :)


Goodbye for now!


Monday, June 22, 2015

Working with a Cover Artist



BLOG TOUR:

Philip Verghese Ariel's Writings - 13 Reasons Why Writing is Great

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Book covers are extremely important. It’s the first thing a reader sees and it’s true that people judge books by their covers. Most readers are more inclined to pick up a book with a cover they think is attractive. Of course what one reader finds attractive in a book cover can turn other readers off.

When you consider your book cover, first think about the genre. You wouldn’t want a bare-chested stud on the cover of your sci-fi novel. Or would you?

But don’t feel restricted by your book’s genre and the cookie-cutter covers you see. If you write erotica, but don’t like the nude bodies twisted into suggestive positions on the covers of nearly every erotica book, you don’t have to do that. Think about 50 Shades of Grey for a moment. Those books were widely successful and yet a tie is pictured on the first book, a masquerade mask is on the second, and handcuffs are on the third. Your cover could also be a picture of a prop.

TIP #1: Take a trip to a bookstore and examine the covers in your niche. Find a bunch that catch your eye and write down what you like about them. Is it the colors? The font? The images?

Try answering these questions to figure out what you like and dislike:

1. Do you like covers with people or faces on it?

2. Do you like covers with scenery?

3. Do you like objects/props?

TIP #2: While writing/editing your book, think about the most important scenes and how they could be translated into a cover.

TIP #3: If a scene doesn’t work, figure out what elements are present throughout your story. For example: If your book is heavy on crime, maybe you’d want a crime scene depicted on the cover.

When it’s time for you to work with a cover artist tell him or her everything you possibly can, as most probably won’t read your book. Giving him/her the blurb to read to get a feel for your story is often a good idea.

A list of things to tell your cover artist: 
1. Time and Setting (Especially important for historical genres or books set in foreign places.)
2. Tone and Mood. (Example: dark, romantic.) 
3. Important Elements (If your book is heavy with magic, your cover should reflect that.)
4. What does your hero and heroine look like? (Include age, ethnicity, hair/eye color, and their physique.)

5. Do you have ideas about what the cover could look like? (This is where you can give great detail about a scene or scenery as well as font color and type.)

Not every writer has the chance to work closely with their cover artist. With my small press, I never get the chance to talk one on one with the cover artist. I only have one chance to convey what I want for my covers by filling out a form. If you have the opportunity to give input and see samples throughout the process then you are lucky!

One more thing...not everyone has the same experience working with their cover artist. You may end up with a cover you love or one you hate. The good thing is, you usually get the chance to decline a cover.


Personal Story: For my novella, 30 Seconds, the head of marketing sent me an email to tell me the cover artist went in a different direction with my cover and I was allowed to see it to approve or reject it. Well, it was all wrong. The cover would’ve been great for a crime novel, but not a romantic-suspense. The only thing that the cover artist did that I suggested was the title designed to look like a countdown. When I rejected it, I hand-picked the picture of a police car and a red-headed woman, which are now featured on my cover. See above.



SHARE: Do you have a horror cover art story?




QUESTIONS: What kinds of book covers do you like the best? Do you fantasize about the covers for your WIPs? Do you have a go-to cover artist?


Friday, June 19, 2015

Scene Spotlight for Defying Reason by Elizabeth Seckman



I am co-hosting Unicorn Bell today: DearAspiring Author

BLOG TOUR:

Yolanda Renee - Favorite SupernaturalBeings

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Today I am happy to host Elizabeth Seckman for a scene spotlight of her latest, Defying Reason. I hope you enjoy it!

Genre: Women’s Lit/Romance
Publisher: World Castle Publishing
Release Date: February 2015

Books Links:

Scene Spotlight:

Taking my hand, he led me through a thicket of dense woods that smelled so sweet and warm, I couldn't breathe in deeply enough to capture the smell. It was fresh and clean, heavy with the sweet scent of flowers.

At the end of the path, it opened up to the quiet ocean. White sand covered the little cove, not the usual brown like on the upper island. Stripping off my sandals, I let my toes sink into the warm, soft sand. It was so soft, it felt fake. I couldn't stop my toes from curling into it.

Tanner sat under one of the bigger trees, which was hardly what I'd have called a tree. It was more like an overgrown bush with a trunk. Once settled, he took my hand and pulled me down, settling me between his legs with my back against his chest and his arms wrapped around my waist. Resting his chin on my shoulder, he said, “Some say this was Blackbeard's cove. You never know, we could be sitting on a pot of gold.”


Questions:

1. Where does this scene take place?

Springer’s Cove, Ocracoke Island, North Carolina

2. What inspired this scene?

A visit to the area. The Outer Banks has so much history, beauty, and serenity, it’s impossible not to ignite the imagination.

3. Did you have to do something unique to get yourself in the frame of mind to tackle this scene?

No, I just pretend I’m there!

Ocracoke Cove
Image from Elizabeth

4. Was this scene difficult or easy to write?

It was pretty easy. I outlined the story while on vacation at the beach, so as I visited places, I imagined Tanner and Jo were there.

5. Can you tell us a secret about this scene?

At the end of the scene, Tanner and Jo were interrupted by an elderly couple celebrating their anniversary. They ask Tanner to take their picture. When my family was visiting the spot, a couple who were on a second honeymoon did stop and ask us to take their picture, so I wrote them into the scene.




BIO:

Elizabeth is a multi-published author of books for people who are believers in happily-ever- after, true love, and stories with a bit of fun and twists with their plots. The mother of four young men, she tackles laundry daily and is the keeper of the kitchen. She lives along the shores of the Ohio River in West Virginia, but dreams daily of the beach.

Author Links: 



Thank you, Elizabeth, for being a great guest. I’d welcome you back anytime. J

Please leave a comment for Elizabeth.


Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Swans by Chrys Fey (Flash Fiction)


I am co-hosting Unicorn Bell today: Dear Young Writer

BLOG TOUR:
Rachel Pattinson - Top 10 Ghost Entertainment

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SWANS is a flash fiction story I wrote last year for a contest. It is based on the myth of swan maidens. When I lost the contest, I submitted it to magazines and ezines. The bit of feedback I got back with my rejections is that it wasn't unique enough. Since I wasn't trying to do something new with the myth, I decided to publish it here for everyone's entertainment. I hope you like it!


Swans
By
Chrys Fey

            Nehe, a beautiful swan, glided over the ebony waters of a pond in Cork, Ireland. Her webbed feet swished gently beneath her body. Ripples spread leisurely across the water as she bobbed her head, extending the curve of her long neck.


            Her form passed over the reflection of the full moon and she lifted her head to look at the real thing. Way up in the night sky, with stars like sugar crystals, the moon’s eyes stared at her expectantly. It knew her intentions, her desires to experience a new life.
            Closing her eyes she continued to swim across the pond and thought, I want to be human. Upon opening her eyes, she saw a sparkling haze surround her, like a puff of glittery exhaust. Magic swirled within those sparkles and flowed along her feathers. She felt her webbed toes separate, her legs elongate. Her wings transformed into arms, and a lean torso sprouted out of the water. Her feet touched the bottom of the pond and she walked with human legs.
            No more was she a swan, but a young woman with alabaster skin, black eyes, and pure-white hair that reached her hips. She wore a white silk dress and carried a coat of feathers in her arms.
            Emerging from the cloud of glitter, she stepped out of the pond onto grass. Knowing her swanskin was the only way she’d be able to return to her rightful form, she hid it beneath a rose bush.
            Free from her bonds, she danced among the woods with a gracefulness she never possessed when she had wings. She swung around tree trunks and skipped along dirt paths. The moon guided her wherever she went.
            She spent the whole night romping, enjoying her newfound independence. Each breath that filled her human lungs was intoxicating. She wanted to continue her fun, to explore the rest of the world, but the dark hours started to turn to light. She hurried back to her pond. While wadding back into the cold water, she donned her feathers and morphed back into a swan.
            With a heavy heart, she swam to the far end of the pond where her family crowded together in their slumber.
            The next night she slipped away again and shed her swanskin to delight in the life she craved. She hid her feathers beneath the same bush as before, and ventured further into a world she didn’t know but secretly coveted. She did this every night for several moon phases.
            Coming home one dawn, she encountered a black swan waiting for her in the center of the pond. “Welcome back, Nehe,” the black swan greeted her.
            “Zhay, what are you doing here?”
            “Following you.” She stretched her black neck in authority. “I know what you’ve been doing.”
            Nehe lowered her head in shame.
            “I don’t blame you, sister. I’ve done the same thing, and countless other swans have too, but it is dangerous. You have to be more cautious. It would be wise if you never turned human again.”
            “But my heart yearns for it.”
            “You must desist! Swear to me you will.”
            Trying to hide her sorrow, Nehe promised Zhay a promise she would soon break.


            Once more, she snuck out of the pond, out of her feathers, and went on an adventure. All of her wild running and play quickly exhausted her though, so she returned to her pond to retrieve her coat, but it wasn’t where she had left it. She checked the other bushes nearby and came up empty. Frantic, she scurried along the edge of the woods, searching for a single feather to point her in the direction of her coat.
            Tears blurred her eyes. Without her coat, she would never be a swan again, she would never be able to go home, and she would never see her family. She couldn’t believe how foolish she had been.
            I should’ve listened to Zhay. She turned her back to the woods and looked out over the pond. Would she come if I called to her for help? Or would she leave me to my new fate?
            Right when she was about to call out to Zhay, a large hand clamped over her mouth, and an arm circled her waist. She flapped her arms, kicked her feet and bucked in an attempt to break free. The strength of her captor was great, but she didn’t give up. She shook her head until the hand slipped from her mouth, and she bit it.
             “Ah! Damn it,” a man’s voice growled in her ear. His arms tightened around her as he yanked her through the woods. “Stop fighting! You’re mine now.”
            She fought harder. “You can’t have me,” she said with a deep, human voice. “I am one of the Fay. I am a swan!”
            “But not anymore,” he taunted. “You shed your swanskin.”
            Fear washed through her like algae. “You have my coat, don’t you?”
            “I do, my swan maiden. Now you’re stuck in human form forever.”
            He wrestled her to a nearby house where he locked her into the basement. She paced the concrete floor with her bare feet and shouted at the top of her lungs, demanding him to set her free.
            The sun rose, sending spears of light through the high, barred window. She watched the angle of the beams shift over the floor as every hour passed. Mid-day, the door above creaked open. She ran across the floor, hoping to make it up the stairs before the door could close. A hunk of bread came bumping down the wooden steps and landed on the floor. Near the foot of the stairs, she saw a handful of raw spinach leaves fluttering in the air. When she reached the bottom, the door was already shut.
            At night, the man returned. The moment he was insight, with his two feet on the concrete, Nehe launched herself at him, but he shoved her to the floor as if she weighed less than a feather pillow. She glared up at him, brimming with hate. For the first time since he pushed her into the basement, she could see him clearly. He had a ponytail of black hair, loose strands fell around his face. His eyes were a frozen blue. He was massive in width and height—a giant in her eyes.


            “I’m not meant to live as a human,” she told him.
            “Funny. You should’ve realized that sooner, before you became one night after night.”
            “How do you know I’ve shed my skin night after night?”
            “Because I saw you come out of the water that first night, saw where you hid your coat, watched you dance. And when you continued to do it, I decided I’d take you as my bride.”
            “I’m not to be taken!” She pulled a silver whistle from beneath her silk bodice and blew it with all her might, sending out a high-pitched cry.
            He jumped forward and ripped the delicate chain from her neck. “What is this?”
            “You’ll see.”
            He tossed the whistle across the basement. “I found a priest who will wed us tonight. Come on!” He grabbed her arm and yanked her several steps.
            The sound of the front door breaking stopped their tug-of-war.
            “What was that?” he demanded.
            Nehe only smiled.
            The beat of dozens of wings and a chorus of angry honks became deafening. The basement door flew open, letting in a flock of swans. They attacked the man, biting him and ramming into his body, so that he released his hold on her.
            She dashed up the stairs where more swans waited for her. They flapped their wings and wobbled on their short legs as they led her down a hall, up two flights of stairs, and into the attic.
            A massive swan hopped onto a trunk and belted loudly.
            “Thank you, brother,” she said.
            The swan hopped down.
            She threw the lid open with a bang. Inside was her swanskin.  She pulled it out and hugged it to her chest. With it cradled protectively in her arms, she hurried out of her captor’s house.
            All the swans that came to her rescue surrounded her in the woods, escorting her to safety. When she reached the pond, she slowed her gait from a run to a slow walk, for standing at the shore of the pond was a tall, regal woman with dark skin and a sheet of onyx hair. She wore a black dress of silk that pooled at her feet.
            “Zhay.” Nehe bowed her head.
            “Are you ready to come home, my sister?”
            Nehe nodded as drops of liquid salt coated her eyes. “I never should’ve left. A swan is what I am meant to be, and I will proudly be a swan forever.”
Taking Zhay’s hand, Nehe stepped into the water. A mist swooped around them as they walked deeper, and when it dissolved into the night air, all that remained were two swans—one black and one white.



THE END

QUESTIONS: What did you think of my story? Have you heard about the myth of swan maidens? Do you like swans?


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