Saturday, November 12, 2011

Guest Post by J.E. Taylor

Today we have a late treat for you, author J.E. Taylor!  Now here's J.E. Taylor on writing a series…
As my bio says, I started writing in 2007 and those first eighteen months provided for some serious prolific prose. I wrote eight full first drafts in that timeframe along with close to a dozen short stories. Twenty years of pent up stories - stories with flushed out plots, three dimensional characters and vivid scenes pieced together in the file cabinet in my mind and when I opened the drawer, man they just rocketed out.
I can still remember the feeling of typing The End on my first book. Exhilaration. Pure and simple. For those that have never taken this on, it’s daunting and getting to the finish line can be just as grueling and satisfying as running a marathon.
But before I could bask in the glow of my accomplishment, before I could take a breath, the characters clamored and demanded I scribe more of their lives and I dove in writing books two and three in my erotic Games Series.
It wasn’t until I finished the series (or so I thought) that I dusted off a novel I began over twenty years ago. That ragged start to a manuscript titled Mirror Lake completely lacked originality. College students trying to flee from a killer in the woods – hmmm – sounds a little too much like Friday the 13th if you ask me.
Well, I re-tooled the plot, throwing in some twists and turns and that initial Friday the 13th-esque plot morphed into Dark Reckoning, a thriller/romance introducing my favorite cocky undercover G-man – Special Agent Steve Williams. I never set out to write another series. However, yet again, the characters wouldn’t leave me be and in the next book I took Steve Williams undercover into a highly profitable drug ring in New York City and threw in a serial killer side story just to complicate things. Thus Vengeance was born.
By this time the characters from both series banged around in the file cabinets of my brain, making such a racket that I had to listen and this created seeds of a very intriguing thought.
The very idea of Special Agent Williams thrown in the same ring with Ty Aris was indeed a thrilling concept – a colossal what if...
Oh yes, I went there.
As Author Poppet said, I went where very few dare to tread. In Hunting Season, I took a compelling crime novel and added a supernatural twist.
Imagine you’re a criminal that successfully hid from the eyes of the law for fifteen years. Into your life comes an FBI agent on the edge - and this Fed knows your identity. He also knows about your family’s unique set of supernatural gifts. Gifts that could help him hunt down a killer. Welcome to Hunting Season.
Still the characters would not let go, they kept rattling around upstairs while I focused on a couple ideas that I’ve had brewing and before I knew it, the seeds of the latest Steve Williams Novel, Georgia Reign, bloomed.
Georgia Reign takes place in the aftermath of Hunting Season and while Hunting Season was by far the most fun to write, Georgia Reign proved to be the most difficult for a variety of reasons. The blood, sweat and tears that went into Georgia Reign paid off when I got the following review from fellow author Gemma Rice:
Georgia Reign is impossible to ignore or put down. Once you start reading, you are hooked. A good author gets you emotionally invested with the characters, and Taylor is an exceptional thriller author. If you love crime thrillers, you really HAVE to start reading the Steve Williams novels by J.E. Taylor. She takes you on a ride you will never forget. Gripping, disturbing, page turning crime thrillers don't get better than this.” Poppet / Gemma Rice – Author of Seithe, Darkroom and Djinn

As if that’s not enough, here’s the back cover blurb for Georgia Reign.

Special Agent Steve Williams, still reeling from the death of Chris Ryan and his unexpected inheritance, isn’t ready to step back into the line of fire. Relations with his wife are strained at best, and now he’s saddled with a new partner and a not so silent guardian angel.
When his boss calls with news of another case, a serial killer in Atlanta targeting children, it strikes a nerve in Steve. Caught between responsibility and instinct, he makes a choice – a choice he’ll regret forever.



J.E. Taylor is a writer, a publisher, an editor, a manuscript formatter, a mother, a wife and a business analyst, not necessarily in that order. She first sat down to seriously write in February of 2007 after her daughter asked:
“Mom, if you could do anything, what would you do?”
From that moment on, she hasn’t looked back and now her writing resume includes six+ published novels along with several short stories on the virtual shelves including a few within eXcessica anthologies.
In addition to being co-owner of Novel Concept Publishing (www.novelconceptpublishing), Ms. Taylor also moonlights as an Assistant Editor of Allegory (www.allegoryezine.com), an online venue for Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror. She has been known to edit a book or two and also offers her services judging writing contests for various RWA chapters.

She lives in Connecticut with her husband and two children and during the summer months enjoys her weekends on the shore in southern Maine.
Visit her at www.jetaylor75.com.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Last Days of Twisted: Guest Post by Lizzy Ford

Last up for Twisted is a little treat from Lizzy Ford, author of the Rhyn Trilogy and War of God series...A Demon's Desire is currently free as a little Halloween present for all of you!  So go download and get to reading!!  For now here's a little bit about Lizzy:

Lizzy Ford is the hyper-prolific author of the Rhyn Trilogy and War of God series, both launched in 2011, as well as multiple single title sweet paranormal romances. Lizzy’s books have reached into the bestseller lists on both Amazon US and Amazon UK for multiple categories. Lizzy is considered by most to be the ultimate writing freak of nature for her abilityto write and publish a novel every 30-45 days.



Synopsis: Emma crossed paths with a black witch in an ill-fated love triangle that ended in Emma fleeing and the death of the man they both loved. Two years later, the witch is seeking revenge. Emma turns to the only person who can help her: a man rumored to be half-demon with the power to control the shadows. Tristan agrees to help her lift the curse on her family but isn’t prepared for what he uncovers.

Link: http://www.guerrillawordfare.com/2011/10/a-demons-desire/


Lizzy’s books are available from Amazon, BN, Smashwords,iBooks/iTunes, and all other eReader libraries.

Lizzy's website: http://www.guerrillawordfare.com/
Facebook fan page: http://www.facebook.com/#!/LizzyFordBooks
Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/LizzyFord2010

Last Days of Twisted: Guest Post by John Blackport

So here in lovely New England, we got slammed with a lovely snow storm...a trick instead of a treat!  I've had no internet connection over the last few days, but I've actually been one of the lucky ones because we've had power.  So you'll have to excuse my tardiness with the last two posts I had planned for my Twisted feature!  This being said, you'll be getting the last two posts today...first up, John Blackport, author of Raingun....

I’ve got the most shocking Halloween costume planned.

Everyone’s going to hate it! It’s offensive! It’s disgusting! I’m dressing up as one of the most depraved, miserable things in existence.

I’m going to jump out at passing Trick-or-Treaters dressed as an adverb.

Kids will run in horror, and even the most jaded adolescent roped into shepherding their siblings through my neighborhood will pale at the sight of such a horrible menace. The first batch of kids will run away screaming. The second batch will require years of therapy. Before a third batch can be traumatized, the police will cordon off my property with yellow tape, which will soon be lined by legions of outraged parents with torches and pitchforks. Police will wait for haz-mat suits, wondering how they’ll contain a threat like me in time to head off the military nuking the town from orbit.

Thanks to Anti-Adverb Hysteria.

Sometimes anti-adverb fervor is misapplied by an over-reliance on typing “ly” into Word’s "Find and Replace" function. This is because when it comes to overused adverbs, the most insidious of these DO NOT END with the -ly suffix: "just", "even", "quite" and "still". This can be confusing: “just” is good when used as an adjective, while “even” and “still” can each be used as a verb or an adjective; but when used as adverbs, they are often unnecessary.

Come to think of it, "often" is a distant fifth to that list --- because it's "often" unnecessary. (Not here, though!)

Anti-adverb hysteria also claims innocent bystanders. Decent, law-abiding adjectives can get caught in the crossfire of drive-by adverb hunters because the letters "ly" happen to grace their caboose. “Friendly” and “lovely” are the most obvious examples, along with “deadly”, “lonely”, “silly”, “ugly” and “smelly” --- all of which are useful adjectives to have around on Halloween!

I once wrote a scene once where a single mother --- a professional dancer --- was separated from her son after she was wrongly accused of child trafficking. As it happened, she was cleared a day or two later, and was taken by wagon to be reunited with him. It was a very emotional moment for this character: she was worried about her son’s safety, eager to hug him again, but still angry at having been falsely accused.

Coming out of the wagon, she slipped. I was not telling the story from the mother’s point of view, so I couldn’t get the reader directly into her head. But I felt it important to show --- not tell! --- the reason why she slipped just then (it was her emotional state). If I didn’t show the reason, readers may have thought the woman had been too nervous to eat (and was hungry); hadn’t slept (and was tired); or was eager to touch her son again (thereby leaping off the wagon before it had come to a complete stop). I didn’t want anyo f these outcomes.

Readers may have even ignored the fact that she slipped --- which I didn’t want either. Dancers don’t slip all the time. And mothers forcibly separated from their children don’t get reunited with them every day either.

I suppose I could have made a bigger deal of the woman’s slip --- I could have her do a faceplant into a mud puddle, for example. And if she was fifty pounds overweight, maybe I would have done it that way. But she was a dancer.

So I found it appropriate to add a smidgen more description to modify the verb, “slipped”.

To modify the verb, I suppose I could have used a phrase rather than an adverb. But the worst effect of adverbs isn’t their overuse, but the outrages spawned by the semantic gymnastics of writers trying to *avoid* them. The most common effect seems to be the Unwanted Prepositional Phrase, i.e. "in a sad lament", "with a happy lilt to her voice," "under her angry brow", “with a predatory look in her eye”, or the like --- which only makes the prose more wordy.

The purpose of including the scene of the mother-son reunion was to foreshadow conflict in their future relationship. Since it was expository, I had to keep the pace fast.. Nothing’s faster than one word. So I used . . . an adverb. I’ll bet you’re wondering which one! But that will have to remain a mystery.

Frankly, I’ve forgotten precisely which adverb I used. Looking it up would be difficult because ultimately, I cut that scene for word count. But if it hadn’t been cut, I would have kept the adverb!

And I’d do it again!

Try and stop me . . . !

BWAHAHAHA!


Synopsis of Raingun:
Rick Rivoire is flush with money, women, and prospects. He protects his country as one of the Rainguns, an elite regiment of spellcasting cavalry.

But national policy drifts ominously into slavery and religious persecution, sparking rebellion. Joining the rebels could land Rick on a prison ship, in slave-irons --- or atop the same gallows where he watched his father hang.

The alternative looks no brighter. The status quo imperils Rick’s hard-won self-respect. Supporting tyranny would doom his dream to emulate the valiant swordswoman who braved a den of monsters to rescue the lonely, terrified nine-year-old boy he once was.

Rick can’t stay above the fray forever. He must either defend an aristocracy whose actions disgust him --- or risk everything he has.


Half of this e-book's royalties will go to the Scleroderma Research Foundation, a 501(c)3 nonprofit. The story contains sex and violence, and is intended for adults only.

Excerpt from Raingun:
           "Those two are cute together, old and in love,” said Danya. “You mustn’t tell them that, though. Shall we sit?”
“I’m sure you want to sit again after singing so powerfully. So how did Joaquim lose his eyes?”
“In Fedyrshchenkoff. He was tortured, for stealing. When he was in the army.”
Rick’s blood slowed. “That’s awful.”
“The awful part was losing his eyes. But you knew that.”
“When did this happen?”
“Many years ago. He sold the army’s korba on the black market. He’s lucky they didn’t execute him.”
“Execution might have been kinder.”
“He had only one Gift left, even then. Or at least he said he did. No doubt that helped convince them to spare his life.”
“How long did they have him?”
“Oh, many months. Over a year, maybe two. You can see from the way he shuffles, his hip was broken too. Twice, with a hammer.”
“Why do all that to a helpless old man?”
“He wasn’t so old and helpless then. They hoped he’d give up names of the buyers. But he didn’t know their names, so that was that. Eventually they believed him and sent him home.” Danya finished rolling something between papers, lit it on the table’s candle, and brought it to her mouth to inhale. “But they beat him very often. He had a bad time.”
“How did he get through it?”
“Why don’t you ask him.”
“I can’t do that. It might upset him.”
“And so what? He’s blind. He can’t hurt you.” She grinned archly. “If he tries to hit you, you can run away.”
Rick tried to sound firm, but not too serious. “I will not force an amiable old blind fellow who reminds me of my grandfather to relive torture.”
“Oh why the hell not! He makes everyone else relive it. Some days he won’t shut up about it.”
“So he talks of it often? How did he get through it?”
“Well, Joaquim says. . .” she tapped her hand holding the gasper, trying to shake off ash it didn’t have. “He imagined Samantha’s face. When someone tortures you? They control your thought, so there’s no escape. But some people escape, back to comforting memories, and stay there.”
“What do you mean, stay there?” Rick didn’t like having his brow knit in front of Danya, because it didn’t show him at his best. But he couldn’t help it now. “Do you mean, they stay there forever, lost forever? Don’t the torturers try to drag them out?”
Danya exhaled, her face resigned. “I’m sure they do.”
“Like a wolf, trying to get at a rabbit hidden in a hollow log. Only the rabbit can’t bolt out the other side, because it’s stuck now.”
Danya surveyed him. “You’ve thought about this a lot, haven’t you?”

Raingun is available at: 

 Amazon: : http://www.amazon.com/Raingun-The-Chronicles-ebook/dp/B005HQ4JAO/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1319832417&sr=8-1
Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/raingun-john-blackport/1104952552?ean=2940013138414&itm=1&usri=raingun
Smashwords: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/81283



Saturday, October 29, 2011

23rd Day of Twisted: Guest Post by Benjamin Andrews

Hey all...So there's been a few bumps in the road with my Twisted feature here, but I guess that was to be expected.  And I'm back on track today...so without further ado, here's Benjamin Andrews, author of Rift of Askrah.  Enjoy!



Meet the Author - Benjamin Andrews

First I'd like to thank Rachel for giving me the opportunity to do a guest post on this blog. As an introduction, I am Benjamin Andrews. I've loved books since I was young, and have always enjoyed getting lost in other worlds. I've written various books and stories throughout my youth, and after graduating from college in February of 2011, I set to fulfilling my next life goal. Becoming an author.

Out of various projects I've created over the years, I finally settled on the Rift of Askrah series to be my pilot project. It was tough to decide what I wanted to write first, but after a lot of introspection, I finally settled on this series, which was my second book idea ever. The first time I ever wrote anything associated with this series was at the age of 15. I had just finished the outline to my first series, when this one came to me. I opted to write down this new idea instead of forge on with my first book.

Life has a funny way of taking us down different paths though, and I didn't write for quite some time. After my college graduation though, I decided it was time again, and the Rift of Askrah series was chosen.

*About the Rift of Askrah series*

 Rift of Askrah is the story of Nihlen Draven, prince of the nation of Draven. His entire life has been spent preparing to take the throne in the future. Nihlen is a highly gifted person, and an ideal candidate to be king.

The world has enjoyed a long era of peace. Peace never lasts forever though, and danger is brewing in the shadows. The scale tips when Nihlen is kidnapped from his castle, during a ceremony he knows little about. The breaking of that ceremony leads to something awakening in Nihlen.

 What awakens is an ability, powers similar to magic. These abilities are just one of the many changes the world is experiencing. Nihlen's kidnapping is only the beginning of these events, and after escaping his confinement, with the help of two of his kidnappers, Nihlen discovers his nation has been invaded by the neighboring kingdom of Rinh. His life now lost to him, Nihlen is forced to flee his homeland. He embarks on a quest to save his kingdom, and is pulled into this changing age. The past of once great nation known as Askrah is resurfacing, and that history centers around Nihlen. Saving his kingdom is only the beginning of the trials he will have to face before all is said and done.


*Purchase Rift of Askrah Book 1: Fracture




 *About the Writing Process*

Writing books has been one of the most adventurous events of my life. I've imbued a part of my soul into it, and it has taken a life of its own. I've felt few things as rewarding as completing my first book. Seeing the totality of my work out there for others to read and enjoy feels incredible. As I crafted the environments, plots, and characters, I fell into another world. Inside my mind, I can see them at their moments of triumphs, and moments of defeat. I can feel the energy surging through the air, as if an electric current ran through the air.

When you read my books, I hope you feel the same thing.

 *My Message To Other Writers*

No matter how you do it, entering the publishing world can be a daunting task. Either facing a mountain of rejection letters, or swimming in obscurity as an independent author. It can be easy to get discouraged, but never give up on your dream! Keep at it, and always keep writing something new. If you work at it, and learn all you can, the rest will work itself out.

 *Find Me On The Web*

Connect with me on the web for up to date information about upcoming and current books, original poetry, blog posts, tweets, and all kinds of other information.



Tuesday, October 25, 2011

19th Day of Twisted: Guest Post by Tallulah Grace

19th Day of Twisted already!  Today we have Tallulah Grace, author of Fate, Spellbound, and Destiny, with an exciting excerpt from Fate.  Enjoy!

I’ve always been infatuated with experiences and events relating to the paranormal. As a student of psychology, I also find sociopaths, psychopaths and people with even a hint of abnormal behavior intriguing. It’s no wonder that my first trilogy includes three novels that tell the stories of three best friends, all with individual paranormal abilities. Don’t think I left out the psychos; the first two books of the series, FATE and SPELLBOUND, have villainous characters that easily fit into any social setting. The third book, DESTINY, explores reincarnation and the possibility that love can last for more than one lifetime.

In FATE, Timeless Trilogy, BookOne, Kris Collins is stalked by a serial killer, but how did she ever land on his radar? In the spirit of Halloween, I’m sharing a glimpse into one of their first encounters. The most frightening aspect of this scenario is that it could happen to anyone.

     “I told you not to wear that cat suit. You look like sin on a stick.” Kris laughed as Roni struck a pose.
     “Can I help it if Charleston men can’t behave in polite company? I thought Southerners were raised better. Whose idea was this anyway?”
     “Yours.”  Cassie rolled her eyes as she tried to maneuver across the cobblestone sidewalk on stilettos. “I believe your exact words were, ‘Come on, girls, let’s kick up our heels.’ I could cheerfully kick these heels to kingdom come about now. What were we thinking?” Cassie gave up and stepped out of the torturous shoes,wincing as her feet touched the cold stones.
     “Atleast you can get out of yours.” Kris grabbed Cassie’s arm for balance. “I’m strapped into these things three different ways. Why does something that looks so good have to feel so bad?”
     “Because men design them; they don’t have to wear them.” Roni sidestepped a group of partygoers taking up most of the walkway. One man stopped to admire her choice of costume.
     “Hey little kitty cat, wanna come home with me?” He stumbled slightly, leering first at Roni, then at Cassie and Kris as they stepped to her side. “Your friends are welcome too; we’ll have us a party.”
     “In your dreams, Dumbo.” Roni mumbled as the girls switched to the opposite side of the street.
     “Hey.  Where you going?” The man called, then began to follow.
     “Why did we park so far away?” Kris asked as she dug into her purse for pepperspray.
     “No worries,” Roni sounded more confident than she felt. “He’s just a harmless drunk.” Looking back, she frowned at the man’s persistence. His progress had been stalled by several groups of trick-or-treaters, but he was now moving towards them with determination and no signs of inebriation.
Cassie glanced back as well and sighed. “What is it about Halloween that brings out the crazies?”
Kris, still digging into her purse, walked straight into a hard, stationary body.
     “Oh, I’m sorry.” She apologized as two strong arms helped to steady her. “I’m afraid I didn’t see you.” A pleasant musky aroma that was purely male surrounded her. She stepped back and he slowly dropped his hold.
     “No harm done.” He assured her with an engaging smile. “I was also distracted.” Hegestured to the pseudo drunk, now weaving his way through the line of parked cars that separated him from the sidewalk. “Is that gentleman bothering you?”
     “That, sir, is no gentleman.” Roni gave her best southern belle impression as she turned to answer the tall stranger.
     “In that case, would you ladies like an escort?” His smile briefly included Roniand Cassie before returning to Kris.
     “Thanks,” Kris replied, “but our car is just ahead. We’ll be fine.” She met his gaze before pulling the spray from her purse. “Besides, we’re prepared.” She shook the pink canister back and forth.
     “So I see.” The handsome stranger tilted his hat and stepped aside, allowing themto pass. “In that case, have a lovely evening ladies.”
     “Thanks, you too.” Kris and Cassie spoke in unison as they moved past him. Roni eyed him slowly as she followed. Waiting until he was out of earshot, she poked Kris on the arm. “I think he likes you.”
Kris laughed. “He was just being nice.” She glanced back and met the stranger’s stare. Turning quickly back around, she hastened her pace. “Let’s get home.”
     Cassie’s antique Victorian mansion stood only a few streets over from the party. The two minute drive home took almost twenty, thanks to slow moving traffic on streets filled with pedestrians. Goblins, witches, monsters and an array of other costume-clad kids and adults roamed the residential lanes leading to Battery Park.
     “Look, there’s Cassie thirty years from now.” Roni pointed at a child dressed as an old hag, dragging a bag nearly filled with candy.
     “Speak for yourself, cat woman. At least my costume leaves a little to the imagination.” Cassie teased.
     “Look over there,” Kris pointed at the entrance to one of Charleston’s many graveyards. “What do you think they’re supposed to be?”
     “Looks like a cross between Frankenstein and the mummy who ate Ohio.” Roni quipped.
     The women were so absorbed with the sights and sounds of Halloween, that they failed to notice the man standing in the shadows of the old oak tree towering over Cassie’s front lawn. Moving closer to the tree as they pulled into the driveway, he considered his prey.
     “Stupid woman,” he whispered aloud. “She didn’t even recognize me.”  

FATE, SPELLBOUND and DESTINYare available separately or as a compilation at Amazon. Visit http://www.tallulahgrace.com for more details, or start the journey by taking a look inside FATE here, http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0054QZNRA

Monday, October 24, 2011

18th Day of Twisted: Guest Post by Artemis Hunt

It's the 18th Day of Twisted, and unfortunately, Monday...the upside to this is that we have Artemis Hunt here, author of Snow White and the Alien (as well as many more titles), to brighten your morning!  Enjoy!

I'm exactly 2 months into indie publishing, and it has been a heck of a rollercoaster ride. I didn't know what to expect. I guess I was naive. I was a traditionally published author before this, and sales tend to be very huge at launch, where you get maximal display on the HOT NEW RELEASES shelves, and bookstores give you front table space. So you make most of your sales in the first few months of your launch. I remember during one Xmas, I sold 100 books in one bookstore alone and climbed to the No. 2 of their bestseller charts.

Then after a while, your books get relegated to other shelves, and sales taper off. So it's all about frontage for traditionally published print books.

I indie published because I heard so much about it from Joe Konrath and Amanda Hocking. So I decided to try it. My first book that I indie published was SNOW WHITE AND THE ALIEN. I was avidly watching sales every day and being a nervous wreck about it. Finally, I couldn't bear putting all my eggs in one book, so I released 2 more novels and several short stories from my traditionally published backlist. All this happened within 2 months. I diversified in many genres - YA fantasy, romantic comedy, horror, erotica - just to see what would take off.

My sales look like this:

Aug (1 week): 14
Sept: 44
Oct: 332 (as of time of writing, Oct 21st)

I soon discovered what took off quickly - erotica! I wrote several short stories under another pen name, and all within 6 hours each. I charged $2.99 for a 5500-word story, and they still sold! I diversified my platforms - I sold not only on Amazon and Smashwords, but All Romance Ebooks and Bookstrand. As a result, I made many sales on many sources.

My other books might take off later, or they mightn't take off at all. All I know is I didn't stop writing. I learned to do my own professional looking covers for several bucks each, using Dreamstime and Fotolia. As a result, I learned to keep production costs down. I never turned my back on traditional publishing either. I'm in the midst of submitting manuscripts to agents even now (since I parted ways with my old agent a long time ago). My longtime friend and beta-reader just got a $100K Big Six book deal on a book I helped her with, and so I truly believe we should diversify even on those channels - trad publishing and indie!

It can be done!

So all this is what I learned so far, and I wanted to share it with all of you. It's not all this or all that. Open your mind, and soon you'll find your niche.

Please visit my blog at http://artemishunt.blogspot.com/ for more stories :)


Artemis Hunt

Sunday, October 23, 2011

17th Day of Twisted: Guest Post by Dannika Dark

It's the 17th day of Twisted, and we have Dannika Dark, author of Sterling.  Story sounds awesome, and the cover looks great! 

When I was a little girl, I never dreamed of Prince Charming sweeping me off my feet. My head was always in the realm of fantasy, just not that kind of fantasy. I wanted to step through mirrors into alternate worlds, shapeshift, or discover I was a magical being with hidden powers I never thought possible. Fantasy has always been a huge part of my life because it is the heart and soul of imagination. It cannot be explained by numbers, analyzed beneath a microscope, nor does it have limitations.

Then I grew up in a world where everything has an explanation. Yet, there has always been a part of me that is completely fascinated with mythology. What really lurks in the dark shadows? Why do some things have no explanation?

When I started writing, I thought about the very definition we have placed on every fantasy creature from vampire to mage to ghosts. Some like to think the rules are set in stone. I like to think that if these creatures did exist, that they have removed themselves so completely from humans that everything we thought we knew was wrong. Perhaps they even contributed to some of the false beliefs that have floated around for centuries. It keeps them safe; it keeps them misunderstood. Before technology came along, people lived isolated lives. They feared outsiders and those that were different from them. Someone with power or unique abilities would create fear and jealousy. Therefore it became easy to tell those bedtime stories to children about vampires, the big bad wolf, witches, and trolls. That became the foundation for "Sterling", my first novel.

ZoĆ« Merrick is a woman living an ordinary life when one evening she is brutally attacked and murdered. Except, she isn't really dead. She has been changed into something else, something not human. The really exciting part was discovering right along with her that she was a Mage. I didn't want to stray completely from the idea of what a Mage was - which is a sorcerer or warlock. By definition, it is a person with power. In "Sterling", a Mage is an energy source that uses power and manipulates it. I loved this door opening because it paved the way for each breed that I've written about and allowed such flexibility. A writer’s world is not made of concrete walls; it is expansive and ever changing. It is a never ending canvas. What I love about writing is that I get to unleash that world into written form and allow readers to cross over. I'm very excited to be able to share my books and hope that you love "Sterling" as much as I do.

Dannika Dark


Saturday, October 22, 2011

16th Day of Twisted: Guest Post by Ty Hutchinson

It's the 16th day of Twisted, which means I've got Ty Hutchinson, author of Chop Suey.  Happy reading!

I hate writing about writing.

I try to like it but I don’t. Some writers are very good at it. They’re interesting and informative. I’m not. That’s why I let them handle it. I also suck at writing about the industry too. There are a lot of authors out there who have their fingers on the pulse of this business. They can read an article and in minute spit out a blog post breaking it down, complete with opinions. I’m happy to let them own that. I’m also pretty bad at keeping the two big author arguments alive: traditional versus self-publishing and ninety-nine cents versus two ninety-nine. Boy, some authors are really good at sucking people into that debate.

I know it looks like I don’t contribute much to the conversation. You’re right, at least not in that way.

However, I am pretty good at killing people. I push them off buildings. I’ll slice their necks with a butcher knife. I can dismember them. I’ll beat them until they’re almost dead and then let the animals finish them off. I don’t know how I got so good at it. I never took classes. The gift of gutting doesn’t run in my family. Prodigy? Perhaps. In any case, I’ll stick with what I know. This is how I contribute. I hope I’m helpful to other writers in the same way they’re helpful to me.

Excuse me. I’ve got some killing to do.

Ty Hutchinson is a writer living in Northern California. When he’s not writing, he might be traveling, gaming, eating or sharpening his knife. You can buy his latest book, Chop Suey on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. It’s a wickedly funny, action thriller. Visit his blog at tyhutchinson.wordpress.com for more nonsense.

Friday, October 21, 2011

15th Day of Twisted: Scary Movies

It's the 15th Day of Twisted, and I have to admit that I must be asleep at the controls because I can't find today's featured author's post!  I made a calendar with people's names on each date that they volunteered to post on, and I have my author's first name written down, but I can't find her post anywhere in my email or anywhere else.  So, my fault and I apologize. 

So since I don't know how to contact this first name only mysterious author, I decided to talk about scary movies.  It is almost Halloween after all.  I saw an article on MSN.com the other day about the 50 scariest movies of all time.  After flipping through the slide show, I had to admit I just didn't agree with them.  I mean, they had some stuff on there that I had just thought was funny, like the Exorcist.  Don't get me wrong, that is fun to watch, but I don't really find it scary.  Weird, yes.  Creepy, kinda.  Scary, no. 

Scary movies seem to go a few ways for me: terrifying, amusing, or let down.   Could also be a combination of these labels.  For example, I found Thirteen Ghosts terrifying.  I would not watch that again if you paid me.  I hated that guy with his head in the box.  I already said I found the Exorcist amusing.  I just watched Paranormal Activity and I found that to be a combination of all three labels.  It was creepy, not terrifying.  I laughed at the part where she got dragged out of her bed and down the hall.  And I hated how the movie ended, total let down. 

So what are your thoughts?  Scariest movie of all time?  Supposedly scary movie that you found to be more of a comedy or stupid?  Comment away!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

14th Day of Twisted: Guest Post by Tammie Clarke Gibbs

It's the 14th Day of Twisted and we have Tammie Clarke Gibbs, author of Island of Secrets.  Looks intriguing! 

If there’s one thing I’ve learned as an author it’s that an idea can come from anywhere.

The loose concept for ISLAND OF SECRETS, my debut novel, came from a family history. The small red book, compiled by a distant family member was written to give each of us insight into our ancestors. In addition, it contained a historical account (whether accurate or legend I couldn’t say) that inspired me to elaborate, and the result was the #1 Bestselling Gothic Romance and #5th Bestselling Time Travel 9/14/11 at Amazon US.

Imagine a family crest, a ship held up to land by a severed and bloody palm. Imagine a woman struggling with her own problems, pretending to be somebody else to help a friend out who discovers a note of warning dated hundreds of years before she was born and addressed to HER. Imagine an Island of Secrets.

I love an old manor with a grand staircase and hidden passageways. I love secrets that span centuries just waiting for fate to step in and reveal the answers and right the wrongs of the past that lingered. I love a love story that can withstand the test of time and grow stronger despite evil forces' interference.

I’ve always had a preoccupation with old books, family histories, old houses, unexplained phenomena and such. The books I enjoy reading the most are those that keep me guessing, those with a little mystery and page-turning suspense woven throughout. When it comes to real life historical accounts like old diaries and such I’m drawn like a moth to a candle. 

Spooky houses have always fascinated me and when I’m traveling, I watch closely for prospects for future books. You never know when you’ll come across a place, a story or an object that will spur your next novel. That’s why I’m always looking. As morbid as it sounds, I visit graveyards to research names appropriate to a time period and scour books that were actually written in the time period my characters will live so that I can get a feel for what they would say and do, first hand. You’d be amazed at how many people depend on histories written by contemporary authors, when the most reliable sources are those who lived during the period. 

I’m working on a new book actually based on a couple of lessor know legends that caught my attention and spurred my imagination. 

Whether you’re a writer or just enjoy the written word, we share one thing in common, the love a good story told well. For now, I’ll endeavor to uncover those little nuggets of information whether via an unusual house or forgotten volume in a dusty library that will prompt my creative juices to flow freely. Until, the next time our paths cross, I’ll leave you with a snippet and invite you to visit an ISLAND OF SECRETS...

Tammie Clarke Gibbs

Excerpt:

Still clenching the scribbled note of warning, Lila Fitzpatrick stepped out of the carriage and into the crisp, cool, night.

The haunting silhouette of Winship Manor towered above like a savage animal, crouching in the darkness waiting for its prey.

Large, strange-looking statues were poised protectively on either side of the door. Above them, an eerie glow emanated from the flaming torches that lit part of the narrow pathway.

Lila shivered. She wished she’d thought to bring a sweater. She wished she was wearing some comfy sweats and not this straight, black skirt she could barely walk in.

She reached for the door then paused. Something about the coat of arms bolted under the heavy knocker unnerved her. It wasn’t a very friendly picture. A ship held up to land by a severed, bloody hand and the name Winship.

She stood staring for the longest time. She’d been invited, but felt reluctant to announce her arrival.

Lila looked down at the note then slipped it and the other purse inside her own. She was sure the note had something to do with her jitters, that and the fact that this place looked nothing like the brochure.

She was beginning to understand why the heiress and her new hubby fled. Winship Manor did not look like any posh resort she’d ever seen. It looked like a haunted castle.

The night was chilly. The howling whistle of the wind had followed the carriage the entire distance from the shore to Winship’s tangled gates of iron. Now, however, there was nothing. The trees were oddly still. The only sound, her heart thumping in her breast, echoed in her ears.

Lila lifted the knocker. It was cold against her fingers, and she dropped it sending a loud, quite annoying thud reverberating through the still evening air. She’d known better than to let Cassie talk her into such a hair-brained scheme.

Not only was she stuck on an island pretending to be someone she wasn’t she was getting warning notes from more than three hundred years ago too.

Tammie Clarke Gibbs is the author of ISLAND OF SECRETS, a Time Travel, Gothic Romance and several other non-fiction titles. She is awaiting the upcoming release of her second novel THE COUNTERFEIT, A Mid-Western Historical Romantic Suspense. You can purchase her books via Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords and at most online ebookstores.


Link to Amazon: http://amzn.com/B004DNWQ98

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

13th Day of Twisted: Guest Post by B.J. Whittington

Welcome to the 13th Day of Twisted!  Today we have B.J. Whittington, author of Dragon Soul.  Enjoy! 

As a child, my parents encouraged a strong imagination. I suppose most parents do. ‘Make Believe” becomes a major part of a child’s day.   From Tea Parties, to laser sword fights to building forts in snow banks or sandcastles on the beach or in the local sand lot. Vivid play-acting enriches the lives of children across the world. A sword can be the high-tech toy purchase from the local department store, or a branch shorn of leaves. It only takes the imagination of the child to propel them into a fantasy      world where all things are possible.

Of course, we cannot forget Halloween, where legions of children don costumes and parade through neighborhoods throughout the United States.  My favorite blocks were the ones that some of the houses set up something to scare the kids, a bubbling cauldron, a bowl filled with eyeballs floating in some unsightly goo or even the occasional mini-haunted house. We all knew it was Make Believe, but we immersed ourselves in the moment and screamed in fear or gasped with revulsion.

We loose all this, as we become adults. Oh, sure, on occasion we can play pirate with our kids or the kids next door, if you’re not a parent yet... Nevertheless, as we grasp the role of a grown-up, we discard the daily simulation of living in a dream world.

Except . . . In novels. The pages of a book become our portal to different worlds, different lives, new people and situations. I  confess, I am a Sci-Fi and Fantasy junky. I cannot go long without my fix. Any day I have not had the opportunity to delve between the pages of a good Fantasy or Sci-fi novel leaves me with a gentle itch that something is missing. Should circumstances warrant I have to go several days, well, I am downright twitchy.  I want a deep, immersing tale with multi-layered characters in a world that only exists in the author’s and my imagination.

Fantasy novels are my favorites, they plunge me into Make Believe every time I open the book. Halloween can be a daily event. I get to dress up in my imagination and play a role, and if the writing is good then it is a treat.

When I set out to write my book Dragon Soul I wanted to take the reader on the same type of journey that I crave. There used to be a commercial, about bath oil beads, it said “Calgon, take me away”.      That is what I wrote Dragon Soul to do: to take the reader away to a different world where they’re anxious when characters are afraid, and laugh aloud at some of their antics. Isn’t that the point?

Dragon Soul  http://www.amazon.com/dp/B005EIBEIU is a 130,000 word fantasy novel, the first in the series Dragons in the Mist. The second book will be out by Jan 2012.

Thol, a goat herder at Vedicville, never imagined he would start his day as a human and end up as a dragon. Who would?   Granted, he lived in a village of the Palmir People that mentored Dragon Hosts, but  there are usually indications that a person is Host to a Dragon Soul. The first indication for Thol, was when his hands began to elongate and turn into talons.   

At Thol's Scholla they taught that Dragon Souls are intelligent and giving. Not so, with his Dragon Soul--Rasdor--he is almost simple in his thoughts. Food, play and sleep are all that cross his mind,      avaricious to please only himself... Unless he is dwelling on his wrath at his perceived ill treatment when he first Transformed, then he is full of a destructive rage verging on madness.

Rasdor is prone to what Thol's dama called a temper tantrum. However, the temper tantrum thrown by a child is laughable in comparison to those thrown by a dragon. Thol finds Rasdor completely      unpredictable. He can see Rasdor's access to skills of his kind coming forth much faster than his      maturity level. Soon an all-powerful dragon would be loose on the countryside with the behavior of a spoiled child...

Vedicville serves as a place to mentor Dragon Souls and Hosts, humans who transform into dragons. When Rasdor emerges unexpectedly and fly's off in a panic, the villagers commence a journey to find him.

The search uncovers more than the lost dragon, the key to saving their entire civilization. If they realize it in time.

I invite you to delve into my world with me, hopefully you, too, will have a Take me away moment!

B.J. Whittington
http://bjwhittington.com/


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