Monday, February 29, 2016

Writing About: A Car Chase (Road Rage)



In Book 3 of my Disaster Crimes series there is an intense car chase with Beth Kennedy. As always with these action scenes, I had a blast writing it, but it wasn’t easy. While keeping the pace fast, I also had to describe what was going on. Every second of the chase had to be detailed.

Getting into such details can be difficult for some writers, so I’m sharing several things you should remember if you need to write a car chase.


1. Where is your character going?

Before you begin a car chase, you need to tell your readers where your character is and where he/she is going. This may seem like a small detail but it paints a clear picture. In Book 3, Beth was heading home when the car chase occurs.

2. What does the car chasing your character do?

To make a chase exciting, the other car needs to cause a lot of trouble. The hostile driver could slam into your character’s bumper, sideswipe the car, or even run him/her off the road. Guns could also come into play.
TIP: Think these actions through, though, because if your character’s car is totaled or your character is injured (whiplash is a common injury when a car is hit from behind), you have to carry-out these problems through a couple of chapters, at least.
3. Other Cars and Pedestrians

Anytime there’s a car chase or road rage, other cars and pedestrians in the area are in danger. Make sure you don’t write an unrealistic chase scene with no other cars on the road. Your character may have to maneuver around cars or could hit one by accident. He/she may also have to dodge pedestrians crossing the street.

4. Red Lights

One problem your character will face and can’t control is a red light. You can have your character run a red light in desperation or get stuck behind it with nowhere to go. Even if you don’t want any red lights, mentioning green and yellow lights is smart since you can’t drive a block in most cities without seeing stoplights.

Image from Pixabay

5. How does your character lose the pursuer?

The car chasing your character won’t just disappear. Consider how the chase ends and what’ll make the most sense to your story. Will cops get involved? Will your character lose the other car with slick, fast driving?

6. Car Damage

When the chase is over, don’t just end it with the arrival at a safe destination. Have him/her inspect their car for damage. If the car was rammed, there will be body damage and the airbags would’ve deployed. A visit to the ER is always wise to rule out injuries.

7. Fear

Being in a car chase is scary. Show your character’s fear as they peer through the rearview mirror and drive for his/her life. White knuckles in the steering wheel, racing heart, and beads of sweat.

The fear that lingers after a car chase (or accident) is something you should give attention to. Your character could be frightened to drive or become anxious whenever he/she sees a car like the one that chase him/her.

Image from Pixabay

Other things to consider:

- Who is doing the chasing?

Maybe your character has been in a conflict with someone, or the driver is a mystery that you’ll unravel later.

- Why is your character being chased?

It is because of road rage or something more sinister? If your character doesn’t know at the moment, reveal it with the scenes/chapters that follow.

- What kinds of vehicles are involved?

Is your character in a BMW, and the pursuer in a truck? Adding this info adds detail to the scene and can create more tension.




QUESTION: Have you even been involved in road rage?


Friday, February 26, 2016

The Shell-Shocked Redemption / Roland Yeomans / Guest Post



Today I have the clever and humorous Roland Yeomans for a not-blog tour post from his...blog tour. ;)

Take it away, Roland! 



THE SHELL-SHOCKED REDEMPTION

Or

My Next Stop On My “Don’t You Hate Book Tours?” Book Tour

Yes, my name is C. Mai Kahunas and my new book is “Thrust Is Not Just a Term in Rocket Science.”

Aw, man, you found me out.  My name really is Roland Yeomans: Reader, Writer, Dreamer.


What many bloggers won’t tell you is that when they see a favorite blog has a book tour post, they dart away faster than Taylor Swift from a real relationship.

But mine is different.  Have you been badgered with the cover yet?  No, you have not.

You want to see it?  I’m going to be like Trump on a date and take your NO for a YES.


See? No title yet or cover blurb or even my wonderful name.

That wasn’t so bad, was it?  I’m going to pretend you didn’t say that.  (Sulks in Cyber Silence)

Right off, you can see it is Steampunk.  And why is Steampunk still so popular?

Well, the Victorians were dealing with financial difficulties, as well as social and ethical questions as we are going through now.

Downton Abbey shows how drawn we are to a period when the times are perceived to be more elegant, yet people all too much as we are now.

People are looking into the past to try and figure out what to do about the future.

The Victorian period was also the time of Jules Verne’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and H. G. Wells’ The Time Machine and The War of the Worlds.

Anything seemed possible … as with today.

So how do we make our new novels stand out?

Did you know that many great novels had their first chapters excerpted in magazines? 

Think the stunning completeness of the first chapter in Ian McEwan’s On Chesil Beach which was excerpted in The New Yorker.

Or did you know that some experts believe your first chapter should have its own arc like a short story? 

There are some anthologies that include previously published material.  And there are some that ONLY include previously published material (they know the material has already been thought of as publishable.)

Writing your first chapter so it could be published as a short story gives you one more weapon in your arsenal to give your novel more options.

And yes, the first two chapters of my novel could be used as short stories.

How else can you make your novel stand out?

Give it the AROUND THE WATER COOLER magic.

Today, the internet has replaced the water cooler for the place to chat about cool new discoveries.

How to cast that magic spell?

REPEATABLE DIALOGUE:

From my novel:
Oh, don’t groan.  The dialogue to come is short and snappy.  You’ll be repeating these to your friends … just you watch.

The vampiric Abigail Adams:
“Oh, Lucy, why the long face?  Blood is warm.  It is like drinking hot chocolate … but with screaming.”

Samuel McCord:
“Lincoln, I thought you knew. When you dance with the Devil, you don’t lead, he does.”

Mark Twain:
“The trouble with trouble is that it always starts out as so much fun.”

Ada Byron Lovelace:
“Oh, Samuel, Franklin was not smelling my perfume.  I am wearing none.  He was smelling my … my blood.”


This March come board the Xanadu, the 1st Air/Steamship in 1867 on the honeymoon cruise of Samuel McCord and Empress Meilori Shinseen.  Ports of call: Paris, the Unholy Lands, and Realms Beyond the Pale.

Plots, intrigue, betrayals, deceit, and murder reign supreme … and that is just in their bedroom!

Watch out for the insane Abraham Lincoln, the crippled General Sherman, the vampiric Benjamin Franklin, the shrewd, thieving Thomas Edison, and the vengeful Captain Nemo, following the airship in his Nautilus.

Cost of Passage?  Just $9.99!  A bargain … unless you run into the vampiric Abigail Adams.

When I write, I do it to music.  This is the tune to which I wrote of the Xanadu majestically slipping through the boiling mists to descend from the clouds to battle the Nautilus.



Thank you, Roland, for such an entertaining post!

Please leave Roland a comment! :)


Wednesday, February 24, 2016

F – Fighting Chance + Excerpt




The Fighting Chance is Beth’s studio where she teaches self-defense. She’s had her studio for five years and is widely respected among those in her line of business throughout Central Florida. She started out as a student when a girl she knew was raped and killed. Later she became an assistant and then became an instructor.

Helping others, showing them how brave and strong they can be is her mission. She hates to see women and children abused and strives to give them all a fighting chance.

Here’s an excerpt in Donovan’s perspective as he views her class.

Excerpt:

The sun was submerging into the horizon, leaking oranges and pinks across the sky. Seeing such a beautiful sunset brought back the memory of the bruised skies from Hurricane Sabrina’s bulking mass.

Amazing how nature can reward us with beautiful things one moment then punish us on a whim.

He entered the studio to the sound of sneakers pounding the blue mat and gloved hands punching protective gear. Corissa, Beth’s front desk receptionist, a young woman with 24-karat gold hair and diamond eyes—a pale gray bordering on translucence—beamed at him as she put down her psychology book.

He glanced at the blue mat where Beth coached seven people on how to get out of a bear hug by lifting their elbows and rotating from side to side as fast as they could. Some connected with the head of their attacker and others didn’t, but the objective was to loosen the hold around their middle so they could spin out of the hug, grab their attacker, and finish with a knee to the groin.

Donovan had been amazed when he saw Beth’s studio the first time. She had done a great job creating her business and studio. White walls with purple words—Strength, Rise, Strive, Live—encouraged her students as they learned to protect themselves. At the far end of the room, Beth had turned the wall into a slate of signatures. Everyone who had ever set foot on the blue mat had signed his or her name. Quite a lot of names were already scribbled in permanent marker.



To read more of these scenes, pre-order Seismic Crimes on Amazon.




QUESTION: If it were real, would you go to Beth’s studio?


Monday, February 22, 2016

Tattoos, Birth Marks and Scars - Character ER



When we introduce a new character in a story, we (should) describe their facial features (sharp cheek bones, hooked nose, straight eyebrows, etc.), skin/hair/eye color, and body (slender, curvy, petite, tall, stocky, etc.), but we should look past the common traits and get a little more intimate with our characters.

Going beyond the normal descriptions can paint better images of our characters, and also make them not just more relatable but also memorable.

One of my characters in a WIP had a slight gap between her front teeth and a freckle on the bridge of her nose. 
Avrianna Heavenborn (introduced in Ghost of Death) the MC in my unpublished series has a slightly crooked middle finger with a freckle on it. She got that from me. ;)
Both of my characters in my wrestling romance story have tattoos with meanings personal to my characters. 
And in my Disaster Crimes series, Beth has a scar across her chest from a tree branch that cut her in Hurricane Crimes
Image from Pixabay

When it comes to your characters, think about their personality and job to figure out if a tattoo, birth mark or scar could enhance their appearance. 

For example: a strong hero could have a scar cutting through his eyebrow. A quirky teenager could have a tattoo of Perry the Platypus. And a sexy woman could have a freckle between her breasts.

We aren’t clean slates. We have imperfections and body art, so let’s give them to our characters too!



QUESTION: Do any of your characters have noticeable tattoos, birth marks or scars? Do you?

I have a dragonfly tattoo on my arm and a foot long scar across my right side from spine surgery.



Friday, February 19, 2016

L. Diane Wolfe and I are Merging Our Author Services!



I am thrilled to announce that L. Diane Wolfe and I are joining forces to help indie authors edit and format their books for publication.

Why spend more than you need to for extensive editing and professional formatting? And why spend hours, even days, looking for two separate people to take care of these needs when you can get both of them right when you need them?

If you take advantage of my affordable editing, you’ll get a 20% discount on L. Diane Wolfe’s formatting!



Chrys Fey’s Editing Services:

Short stories (any genre)
Novellas (any genre)
Novels (any genre)


NOTE: I will edit the first 10 pages of your novel-length book (over 100 pages), or the first 5 pages of a novella of 50-100 pages, for FREE for you to decide if I’m a good fit to edit your manuscript.


FULL EDIT + CRITIQUE:

In which I comment on content (plot and characters), check for typos, punctuation errors and grammar. I will cut unnecessary words and sentences, check for redundancies, repeated words, and POV changes. I will also offer easy fixes and suggestions on content.

Price: $1.00 per page


MANUSCRIPT CRITIQUE:

In which I focus on content (plot and characters) with no typo fixes or other forms of editing. I will point out flaws (if any), offer easy fixes, suggestions, and also comment on things I like.

Price: $0.50 per page

- Turnaround time can be anywhere from 5 days to 3 weeks depending on the project or the deadline we agree upon.


For more info on Chrys Fey’s editing service go HERE.

###

L. Diane Wolfe’s Formatting Services:


NOTE: Once we have decided on the basic design layout, I will format up to ten pages for FREE for your approval.


PRINT BOOK FORMATTING:

The Basic Interior Print Design Includes:

Title pages(s)
Copyright page
Dedication
Table of contents

- Running headers and page numbers
- Properly set gutters, margins, and line spacing
- Text properly justified and paragraphs indented
- Widow and orphan control
- Up to 20 quotes / bullet lists
- About the author page
- Other books page
- Grayscale graphics / photos / logo outside of main body of text

Minimum Fee: $99.00

- Turnaround time is 5 - 8 days.


EBOOK FORMATTING:

Formatted for Smashwords, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, etc., including ePub, Mobi, html, and pdf files.

Minimum Fee: $30.00

- Turnaround time is 3 - 7 days.


NOTE: I will correct errors in formatting (extra paragraph returns, tabs, etc.) as they arise. Will include a hyperlinked Table of Contents. Unusual or special formatting or paragraph styles are available on a manuscript by manuscript basis.


For more info on L. Diane Wolfe’s formatting services go HERE.

###

RECCOMENDATION:

Craig R. Wolfe's Cover Design Services:



Craig R. Wolfe (yes, L. Diane’s husband) provides professional cover art services. He can create any cover art and wrap-around size to suit your printers' or publishers' specifications.

Service Options:
Basic - for authors on a budget
Standard - for author seeking a more dynamic solution
Premium - high end solution with graphic illustrations

For more info on Craig R Wolfe’s cover design services go HERE


We look forward to working with you! :)


Wednesday, February 17, 2016

E – My Editing (Typo) Goofs





I love going over my first draft and seeing the silly typos that occurred while writing. Then there’s the goofs I spot after the first round of edits that somehow slipped past me. I’m sharing the best ones from Seismic Crimes.


Here they are:

Goof #1: A moment later, she heard the door bang sh*t.

(Umm…I meant to say “shut.” LOL!)

Goof #2: The last time he stepped inside, he came fact to fact with a crooked cop who hit him over the head and held him beneath the water.

(Fact to Fact? I type too fast for my own good.)

Goof #3: Not the brain hair matted with blood.

(I didn’t know there was such a thing as “brain hair.” Must be a new shade of brown.)

Goof #4: Beth was sorry they didn’t have longer to get to know each other beyond the introductions at the airport, the fried at Ryan’s funeral, and the silence during dinner.

("The fried?" I almost don’t know what I meant there. I’ll change that to “tears.”)

Goof #5: Beth and Donovan had a simple Thanksgiving dinner with two Cornish hens, a box of turkey dressing, a can of cranberry sauce, instant potatoes with a blog of garlic butter to make up for the bland taste, and a couple of beers.

(A blog of garlic butter? Would that be with Blogger or Wordpress?)

Goof #6: …causing Beth to stumble on the points of her five-inch feels.

(I didn’t know feelings could be five inches long.)

Goof #7: Women were running in their business suits, their shoes in their hands, their rude stockings ripped up to their knees and spotted with blood.

(I had no idea stockings could be rude.)

Goof #8: He rotated in place, searching for the fire chief. When he found him, standing near the building, talking into a radio, he limped over, couching as he went.

(Couching should be coughing….)

Goof #9: The ground shook beneath the coy Beth was sleeping on, prying her awake.

(Can a cot be coy? I don’t think so.)

Goof #10Before they left, Beth ordered Donovan a roast beer sub on Italian bread to go.

(I’m sure a lot of guys would like a beer sub, but I meant beef.)

Goof #11: He limped toward her like a robot with a bed leg and every joint in need of oil.

(I didn’t know robots had bed legs. Let’s switch that “e” for an “a”, shall we?)

Goof #12: I’m going to put my gin down, but I’ve killed men twice your size with my bare hands, so don’t think I won’t do the same to you.

(A gin-drinking criminal? Nope. That’s supposed to be “gun.”)


QUESTION: What’s the silliest typo you've found?


Monday, February 15, 2016

Writing About: Valentine's Day + The Muse Party Blogfest



Valentine’s Day is always a sweet holiday for a romance, but it could also be a sinister holiday for a mystery/thriller. Here are a few things for you to consider for your fictional Valentine’s Day:

1. Couples

Couples love Valentine’s Day. Unless, of course, they are going through a divorce or aren’t happy in their relationship. This is the day for couples to profess their love for one another and spoil each other rotten with chocolate/treats, flowers, dinner, cards, and other gifts. For a romance, you can share the sweet and steamy details of your characters Valentine’s Day. Get your readers to feel all warm and fuzzy or hot and bothered.

But not all Valentine’s Days are good, though. An evil spouse could try to commit murder or maybe someone is unfaithful and has an affair on Valentine’s Day. You can get their route and create any storyline with V-Day.

Image from Pixabay

2. Single People

Single people tend to hate Valentine’s Day. We roll our eyes at all the mushy posts on Facebook and even try to hide until the day is over. We grumble, grit our teeth, and cringe. Write a romance story with a single character who hates everything V-Day and maybe bumps into someone who could be a future love interest. Or…for a mystery/thriller, a single could go around killing couples on Valentine’s Day. Now wouldn’t that make a good detective thriller?



Valentine’s Day traditions:

-       In the Philippines, they have mass wedding celebrations on Valentine’s Day. In 2013, 4,000 couples were married together.

-       In Guatemala they wear feathered masks and Mayan-inspired clothing to celebrations.

-       In South Africa they pin the name of their sweetheart on their sleeve all day.

-       In Estonia, Valentine’s day is known as “Friends Day” so single people can be included in on the festivities. Family and friends exchange gifts to show their love for each other.

-       In Denmark, they exchange “lover cards.”

-       Back in the day, in France, women would burn images of the men who wronged them in a bon fire. This is no longer practiced because this as well as the insults they’d shout at the opposite sex became too...crazy. Well, I’m sure some still do this in private. haha



QUESTIONS: Do you like V-Day? Have you written about Valentine’s Day?




Here are the questions:

1. Who did you bring to the party? Is he/she your Valentine or anti-Valentine?

I brought my muse, Ena. She is both my Valentine and anti-Valentine. Why? Because she loves Valentine’s Day but I hate it, so we both play the part to satisfy each other.

2. Which one of you is the more romantic person?

Ena. I feel awkward just hugging people. Even my loved ones. But Ena gushes romance. If she were to bleed, her blood would be glittery and swirling with red, pink, and purple. She is THE romantic.

3. What gift are you giving to your (anti) Valentine?

I’m giving Ena a day off from musing. And she’s promised me a great day of writing tomorrow. Yippee!

4. Are you guys wearing red or pink (or black...)?

I’m wearing a black T-shirt because it’s what I prefer, and skinny jeans. But don’t worry! I have on some pretty jewelry and red lipstick. I’m not a pink person, but Ena is a full-time girly-girl. When you have lavender hair and transparent wings, it’s hard not to be. She’s wearing a sparkling pink dress, reminiscent of the blue dress Ariel wore when she come out of the water and ran to her prince at the end of The Little Mermaid.

5. Did you bring any Valentine's Day treats?

Sure did! I brought chocolate cheesecake and Ena brought pink Rice Crispie treats...cut into hearts. See what I mean? She’s a hopeless romantic, which is good since I write romance.

6. Name a song for our Love Playlist or Anti-Love Playlist (or both)!

For the Anti-Love Playlist I have to go with Tears Don’t Fall by Bullet for My Valentine.
Ena chose the song for the Love Playlist...Take My Breath Away by Berlin. *groan*

7. Got a great anti/Valentine party game?

Ena suggests the game where you pass an apple with only your neck. I veto that game. How about we throw darts at pictures of the people who broke our hearts?

8. Feeling the love or just feeling nauseous? How will you have fun at the party?

Ena will be fluttering around, flirting with the cute, eligible guys and dancing from person to person to shower them with Valentine affection. Me? I’ll be a wallflower; smiling nervously at everyone and nibbling on one of Ena’s Rice Crispie treats.

9. Has your muse been a good Valentine?

My muse had been a great Valentine. She pulled me out of my corner and got me to dance the Macarana with her. And she seems to have made friends with everyone. Even Jordan.


*Jordan's Bonus Question: Did you bring me & Sarah a musiversary gift?

Duh! I brought a good basket for of things writers need: chocolate, pens, notebooks, flash drives, candles, coffee, and much more.

Ena brought a bottle of writing fairy dust. She says to sprinkle just a tiny bit on your keyboard to get the words flowing. Not more than a pinch, though, because it’s very potent. If you use more than recommended...well, she says it’s not a pretty sight.


Friday, February 12, 2016

Blogger Interview with Vanessa Morgan from Traveling Cats



I have a special treat for all cat lovers. Today I am interviewing blogger and author, Vanessa Morgan, from the Traveling Cats blog. If you love cats but don’t know this site, Happy Birthday...even if it’s not your birthday. ;)


1. Hi, Vanessa! Tell us about your blog Traveling Cats. What made you want to share photos of cats from around the world?

I was going through some of my old travel photos and it struck me that at least half of them were cat pictures. I thought that it could be fun to collect them all on a blog, and subdivide them per city and country. Two weeks later, Traveling Cats was born.

2. What was your very first blog post?

My first ever post was a photo of a French cat: http://www.traveling-cats.com/2013/01/cat-from-gruissan-france.html. In the beginning of Traveling Cats, I was just posting one picture a day. Now I post entire photo series.

3. Is there a specific country that you feel has the most beautiful cats?

All cats are beautiful, of course, but felines from Northern Europe have a little extra.



4. Do you like dogs? :P

Actually, I was just thinking earlier today that I really want to add a dog to the family someday.

5. What are the top 5 most-viewed posts on your blog?






6. You’ve published a book called “Avalon: A Heartwarming True Cat Story.” Tell us about it!

The book is the true story about my cat, Avalon. He wasn’t your ordinary cat. He acted in movies and music videos, appeared in my books, spoke a few words of French (I swear this is true), and made a hobby out of vomiting on the guinea pig. But what makes his story truly special is the extraordinary bond we shared together.


7. Share your number one tip to bloggers just starting out.

Use StumbleUpon. Seriously, nothing compares to StumbleUpon in terms of the traffic the site sends me. It’s not unusual to get over 7,000 views for one single blog post in a few days, coming from StumbleUpon alone. Sometimes it’s a lot more.

Otherwise, interacting on social media is really important, too. I share other people’s travel photos of cats daily and readers often send me their own. I also make sure to reply to every single comment on Twitter and Facebook, and I like a lot of blog posts from others. It really helps.


Hyper Round:

1. Favorite time to post blogs? On holiday J
2. Blogger or Wordpress? Blogger
3. Do you host guests? Absolutely
4. Where are you when you’re blogging? At home or in a coffee shop



BIO: 

Vanessa Morgan is an author, screenwriter, and blogger. Three of her stories – A Good Man, Next to Her, The Strangers Outside – have been turned into films. When she’s not working on her latest book, you can find her reading, watching horror movies, digging through flea markets, or photographing felines for her blog Traveling Cats. She lives in Belgium.

LINKS:


Thank you for talking to us about Avalon and Traveling Cats, Vanessa!

Please leave a comment for Vanessa.

QUESTION: Are you a cat lover?


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