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 (, 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

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.


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

Lizzy's website:
Facebook fan page:!/LizzyFordBooks

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 . . . !


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: :
Barnes & Noble: