Tag Archives: paranormal blog

Bloghop and Book Review Thursday

Thursday’s Bite

a paranormal blog

Just a brief nod to the blog hop on Paranormal Freebies. If you are a paranormal author looking for a fun bloghop sign up HERE. No responsiblities other than to check out your fellow PNR authors.

If you want a challenge, write a less than 500 word ghost story and post the link HERE. There is a prize. Link closes on Tues the 12th and judging will begin!

There will be two more writing challenges, I’ll post them here or you can go directly to PNRFreebies for the low-down.

And last but not least, ML Guida has done a fab book review of Lynda Hilburn’s Dead in the City HERE. Lynda is not only a fabulous person, but she writes a very creative series about a Vampire Shrink! Love it!

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Filed under Bloghops, Paranormal Book Review

Introducing the Amazing Carolyn Cooper

Analytics were something I never gave a first, second or third thought to before I began taking classes with the amazing Carolyn Cooper. I started with her class on how to improve your website, moved on to her analytics class. I learned an amazing amount. If you are the kind of person who wants a bargain, likes to receive way more than she paid for, take one of Carolyn’s classes. There was so much amazing information, here I am months later and I still need to go back through my notes and figure out what I didn’t absorb.

I love, love, love classes like Carolyn’s that are packed full of the information I need, but I find that it takes months to digest the information. I take the class, get a little knowledge into my brain, then I have to put it aside for a little while. Take it out later and digest it over months so the information isn’t overwhelming.

If you need a basics course on tweaking your website or blog, my first post on Brinda Berry and Gloria Richard (find HERE) will get you started. If you are ready for the big time take one of Carolyn’s classes, but don’t say I didn’t warn you! I have it on my to-do list for December, to go through my class notes from Carolyn’s class, and go step by step tweaking and fixing the small things that will cascade my blog to stardom!

And then maybe I’ll be ready to absorb Kristen’s class in January. I posted about Kristen Lamb last week. (Click HERE) She and Caroline teach overlapping information, but they focus on different aspects of the same idea. Both are incredibly valuable and I definitely find it of value to take classes on the same subjects from a variety of people. Why? Because one will teach you in depth about subject A, and a little about subject B…and then the second teacher will do the opposite.

While both teach about social media and tweaking your website, Carolyn focuses more on using your analytics and your page layout, as well as Twitter, FB, etc. Carolyn also works with more than just authors, so her classes, while targeted to authors, bring in a different dimension. She’s been marketing since she was at her mother’s knee, and working with computers and communication almost as long, so she is a veritable encyclopedia (does anyone even know that word anymore?) of information.

Where are you on your path to blogdom stardom? Are you just taking baby steps? Finding out how to add pictures and bling to your site? Or are you ready to dig deep into the wide world of Google Analytics?

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Filed under Moonday mania, website

Kristen Lamb

Moonday Mania

A blog on the craft of Writing

Once an author becomes serious about being a professional author it is difficult not to find yourself wondering what in the world is this marketing thing and where do I start?

Never fear, Kristen Lamb is here!

My go to expert for social media is Kristen Lamb, one of her recent posts (click HERE) touches on something I am just now starting to struggle with, analytics. Kristen’s blog always has something of interest to writers, but her social media expertise is what keeps me coming back. She is the author of my favorite social media book, We Are Not Alone. We Are Not Alone is the book that got me thinking about how to blog, not just spitting out words on the page.

In We Are Not Alone, Kristen focuses on the whys, wherefores and what the hell-do-I-do nows of social media. Kristen walks you through every step from developing a brand to what you should and should not be doing on your blog.

I am in direct violation of Kristen’s advice with this very column! Kristen says you should be blogging on what you are writing in order to reach readers. And of course, blogging on writing violates that very idea. That is exactly why I added my Thursday’s Bite blog, which focuses on Paranormal. It’s also why I developed Paranormal Freebies “A place where paranormal readers and authors converge.” Both of these endevours tie me to readers who may or may not be authors.

Kristen’s other book Are You There Blog? It’s Me, Writer is blog focused. That is on my TBR list, once I finish We Are Not Alone. I’m sure I’ll find out just what else it is that I’m not doing right. Actually I plan on doing most of what Kristen says, and on ParanormalFreebies.com, I actually have. On that site I have book reviews coming up on the first Monday’s of the month. I have a variety of interested authors blogging on interesting topics, and I get to blog there myself on all things magical and mystical.

Kristen not only has these two fantastic books to help you along, but she blogs regularly on topics ranging from marketing to editing to the social faux pas that can kill you on Twitter. And she’s funny. Did I mention that? Just go look at the tab on her website about the Pants of Shame. 

It’s because of Kristen that I started reading The Tipping Point and I’m now thinking about how to make not just my posts “sticky” but maybe somehow my book or my pen name. Hmm, who knew we’d all want to get sticky? The Tipping Point is a great audio read when you have a long drive, although I hear the rights are in turmoil so I don’t think you can purchase it in audio. The library is where I had to go to read Malcom Gladwell’s thought provoking book on what makes epidemics tip. Now I understand the Twilight epidemic.

Kristen also teaches classes at Bob Mayer’s site Who Dares Wins Publishing. I have on my to do list to take a class from either her or Bob or Jennifer Talty this year. It’s on my bucket list and at an affordable $20-$40 for an online class all I have to do is find the time. Okay, I’m making the time.

In the meantime you’ll find me in doctor’s office’s, waiting in the car to pick people up and at the breakfast table, highlighter in hand, pouring over We Are Not Alone. And of course I drink my coffee in the mornings looking over Kristen’s blogs. You should too. Just don’t have a mouthful of coffee when looking at the “Pants of Shame”. I refuse to be held responsible.

Have you checked out Kristen’s blog? What is your favorite piece of advice she gives? Have you read the post on WHAT WENT WRONG WITH THE STAR WARS PREQUELS? If you have, tell me, isn’t that the best Darth Vadar costume ever!?

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Filed under Moonday mania, website

The Sinkhole of Inspiration

Thursday’s Bite

a paranormal blog

Today I’m welcoming fellow Paranormal Freebiesteam member, ML Guida to Thursday’s Bite. ML is pursuing her Master of Arts in Creative Writing through Regis University.  On November 15th, 2011, her novella,Cassandra, will be published through Five Prince Press in the anthology Finding Ms. Wright.

http://www.mlguida.com/

I hope everybody had a Happy Spooky Halloween.   I have to admit I overdosed on John Carpenter’s Halloween.  I love watching Jamie Lee Curtis be terrorized by Michael Myers.  What I like about John Carpenter’s Halloween is the suspense – how Michael jumps out of dark corners, the music and the tension.  When movies just show horrible gore and blood, they lose the tension and terror.  Think of JAWS.  How many times have you heard the theme song and shuddered?  As you can see, horror movies have always been a favorite past time for me.  A couple of weekends ago, I saw Paranormal Activity 3 and yes, it’s scary, because it possesses these same components.  My favorite is the babysitter sitting in the kitchen.  I won’t give away what happens because it’s one of the best scenes in the movie.  If you like to be scared, I’d recommend it.

I enjoy horror books as much as I do the movies.  But sometimes, the screenplay misses the terror of the book.  For instance, Stephen King’s The Shining is a suspenseful book, but the movie with Jack Nicholas fails to capture the terror in the book.  I know many people would disagree with me, but I like the ending in the book better than I do the movie.   My other favorite author is Anne Rice.  I feel in love with Lestat, Louis and Armand.  The ultimate sexy vampires!  I believe both Rice and King’s ability to develop believable characters makes their books hard to put down.

My fascination with scary movies and books led me to write paranormal romance.  In my world, I can create my own supernatural monsters.  In Cassandra, I create an Underworld where demons dwell, not the ones that will possess you like in The Exorcist, but demons that had mated with mystical and real creatures.  My hero, Eric, is Prince of the Dragon Demons who are in danger of becoming feral and conquering their world and then focusing on ours.

Many times, readers want to know writers come up with our ideas.  Writers develop ideas based on every day experiences.  In this case, I surfed the internet and stumbled upon a sinkhole in South America.  The huge sinkhole sunk over 100 feet into the ground.  A highway had caved into the hole.  I broke out in shivers when I saw it, because I wondered what would happen if it stretched to hell and something crawled out.  I took it one step further and thought about my favorite mountain town, Frisco.  What if a sinkhole happened in the middle of the night at Walter Byron Park?  Hmmm…what if a demon flew out searching for his mate?  Eric Wyvern comes to life for me.  What would happen if the heroine could see ghosts and a demon goddess from the Underworld?  The demon goddess in my book is the Wraith, and I have to admit she was fun to write about.   She is shrouded in a dark cloak and all you can see is her skeletal hands and red burning eyes.  When she talks, she hisses.  She is one of my favorite characters in this book.

So, the next time you see a sinkhole, imagine where it would go?  What lives down there?  What wants to escape into our world?

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Filed under Thursdays Bite

Halloween Treats 2011 Grand Prize Giveaway Today!

Moonday Mania

a blog about the craft of writing

Today is the day I announce the  Halloween Treats Grand Prize Winners for the entire month! Three lucky people will win a swag bag with wonderful Jessica Aspen Swag and a Barnes and Noble $15 Gift Certificate! But hold your horses, I have to gab for a minute first.

This has been a whirlwind October for me, and believe you me,  I have enjoyed riding the whirlwind. From running my first big contest, Halloween Treats, to exploring the world of Flash Fiction with Rach Harrie’s Third Writing Campaign, it’s been one new experience after another. I feel like I’m at the amusement park on my game board of life.

And I expect the rest of the year to continue to be filled with wonderful and scary new experiences. I’ll be working on my first professional edits, with my new editor from Passion in Print Press. I’ll be researching my options for my first professional blog tour. And I’ll be doing all this while running CRW’s Award of Excellence, our amazing contest for romance authors with books published in 2011.

This year not only was the beginning of this blog, but it also marked the beginning of Paranormal Freebies. A blog and ezine that I share with ML Guida, Hillar Seidl and Marilyn Wigglesworth. We’ve had great fun creating a place for paranormal readers and authors to converge.

My latest ride on the whirlwind came on Monday, October 24th with the opening of the Choose Your Own Adventure blog hop, Ahoy Sea Serpent. If you havent tried it start at  Kerri Cuevas’s blog and find out what happens when a group of random bloggers get together to write a story, and make you, the reader, the decision maker. Thanks Kerri for a wonderful opportunity.

This month I’ve given away a book with every blog post and today is the grand prize drawing! If you’ve been hanging out here you know that I’m running the contest in celebration of my novella Little Red Riding Wolf’s acceptence from Passion in Print Press. Little Red Riding Wolf will be available February 18th, 2012

My last giveaway book winner from Saturday’s blog is Gloria! WOOT!

I will be doing a whirlwing blog tour during January and February and promoting Little Red Riding Wolf‘s release date. And I’m thinking I just might run another contest in February. It’s not only my release month, but it also contains romance’s biggest holiday, Valentine’s Day. So don’t forget to check back during the month of February and find out what fun prizes are being given away. Who knows? I might even have copies of Little Red to give away.

So, on to what you’re really here for…

Drum roll please!

And the winners (you had to have commented during the month of October during my blogs to win) of the three amazing Jessica Aspen Swag bags complete with Barnes and Noble gift certificates are…..

CASEY W!

KT HANNA

JEN

Congratulations! Send me your contact info through the contact page and I’ll get your prizes to you! Any prizes not claimed by November 30th will be forfeit.

And for everyone who dropped by and commented this month, thank you very much. I’ve enjoyed getting to meet each and every one of you and hope to keep hearing from you on a regular basis.

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Filed under Moonday mania, Writer's Journey

Shadow Fall Review

Sensational Saturdays

A blog for whatever I feel like writing

Today I’m posting my end of the month Thursday’s Bite Book Review, delayed one posting by the amazing Hillary Seidl’s take over of Thursday’s Bite. I plan to be back on schedule for the month of November, so check back on the last Thursday of the month for a new review and another Bite.

ΩΩΩΩΩ

Erin Kellison rocks!

Not only is she amazingly sweet and funny, but she can really write romance. Her book Shadow Fall is the second in the series that began with Shadow Bound and continues with Shadow Man out September 2011. I had the opportunity of meeting Erin at Rom Con 2011 and she made our paranormal games a blast.

Shadow Fall tells the tale of ballet artist Annabella whose talent for ballet creates a link between our world and the shadow world. Annabella’s grace and beauty lure not only a shadow wolf, but also tempt a fallen angel, Custo.  Custo’s tale of desperation as he races time and deportation back to heaven to save Annabella from the stalking wolf intertwines beautifully with Annabella’s ballet and the world’s battle against the wraiths.

Confused? You won’t be. I read this as a stand alone and was up to speed immediately without being bogged down in backstory. Ellison’s skill as a story teller sucked me in and kept me wanting more. And I’ve awarded her the coveted five omegas, ΩΩΩΩΩ not just for a superb book I’ll want to read again, but for creating a fabulous series that call me from the shadows.

If you’ve read the first book in the series, Shadow Bound, you will have already met Custo. I have yet to read the first one, but I’ll definitely be on the lookout for the story of Adam and Talia the half-breed daughter of the Shadowman himself. All three of these characters play important roles in Shadow Fall, but the stars are Custo, Annabella and the wolf.

And if you’re like me and love a good series it looks like the fourth in the series a novella entitled, Shadow Touch, will be out June 2011. Definitely add Erin to your TBR pile, in fact put her on the top!

Today is the last day in my Halloween Treats giveaway in celebration of my novella Little Red Riding Wolf available on February 18th, 2012 from Passion in Print Press. Leave a comment to enter in today’s drawing for The Bride Wore Scarlet and to get a final entry into Monday’s drawing for three grand prizes of swag bags and B&N Gift certificates. Contest closes Sunday, October 30th night at midnight!

Thursday’s winner is Sherry Isaac! Congratulations and send me your address through my contact box and we’ll get you your prizes!

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Filed under Sensational Saturday's, Supernaturals

Retreat Bijou, Elizabeth Pelletier of Entangled Publishing

Sensational Saturdays

a blog about whatever is on my mind

This is the last in a three part series about the wonderful jewels I gleaned from the Colorado Romance Writers Retreat. To read the initial post about the CRW retreat you can visit HERE. To read about the amazing Margie Lawson’s Defeating Self Defeating Behaviors you can visit HERE. And to read about coping with contest grief with Ann Brady you can visit HERE.

Have you ever wished you knew exactly what an editor was thinking when they read through the slush pile? Do you want to know what stands out and how you can get your manuscript read? Well, we were lucky enough at the retreat to have our very own editor at our mercy. Liz Pelletier from Entangled Publishing was brave enough to step into the room and answer all our questions. She was frank, she was open and she let us know exactly what we could expect from Entangled when we sent our babies off to the slaughter.

No, that’s the first thing. Entangled is a small press. They are fairly new and they really take the time to look at your query and to try to read through those first five pages. If you are worried that no one even looks at your piece, Liz does. She can’t read everything, but she looks at the query and decides if it should be read in depth by an intern. So how do you get her attention?

She said it was simple. She needed to connect to the story, connect to the characters. And she needed to do it right away. Make your character either likeable, in a situation of adversity, sympathetic or empathetic (put the reader in the character’s shoes).

That’s it. If you do that, right away, Liz will send it on to the next step where they read it and critique it. At least the first thirty pages.

And then what happens? Well a few books get picked up. Most don’t. Why?

  1. The reader couldn’t connect with the character
  2. Lack of voice or too much voice
  3. Too many books just like it
  4. Just don’t love it
If you can hit the character hook, the interesting plot or a twist on an old plot, then you will make it to the next step. As long as they have a place for it. Liz said occasionally it happens that there is a fantastic book, but they just signed someone with a similar plot and they can’t publish two books that are so similar.
At Entangled they work with each author in depth, so they have to really like the book. Liz reads the books she’s responsible for multiple times. She has to love the story or she just won’t want to face it over and over and over again.
Is there anything else you can do to maybe get a leg up with a publisher? Yes. Edit your query and your submission. Then edit them again. Actually read them, don’t just spell check. And if you can, have someone else read them and make sure you didn’t use the wrong there, or two for to. I know you’ve heard this many times, but editors are still getting manuscripts with major editing mistakes. Don’t be a victim!
Be on the internet, be a prescence. We’ve talked about this before, but you should at least have a website and be on some sort of social networking platform. Editors want to know you can market yourself. Or at least that you know you should be doing it!
Google yourself. Check out if someone can find you, or does that stripper with the dog face come up instead. (Hey, it happens!)
Make sure your book is within the parameters for their house. If they don’t do YA, don’t send your YA mystery to them. Check the submission rules and be aware. Every  house is different with different rules. Get in line with the rules and you stand at least a chance. Get out of line and you will be receiving an auto rejection. Next!
I want to thank Liz for her time and consideration. She made me think and even though I’m not sharing everything on my three pages of notes I hope this made you think. Sometimes we take rejection personally, but after listening to Liz I had a new respect for how an editor makes her decisions. Thanks Liz!
Let me know about your experiences with rejections. Did the editor give a reason? Did you listen?
Today’s Halloween Treats book is giveaway is a signed copy of CRW’s very own Alegra Gray’s Nothing But Scandal. Halloween Treats is my treat to you in celebration of my novella Little Red Riding Wolf’s publication on February 18th, 2012 by Passion in Print Press. Leave a comment to enter the drawing for the book and to enter the grand prize drawing on October 31st for three swag bags and B&N gift cards!
Nicole Grueber has won Thursday’s book, Dragon Moon. Send me your address through the contact box and I’ll send you your book. Congratulations!

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Filed under channeling success, Sensational Saturday's

Final Challenge of the Third Writing Campaign

Thursday’s Bite

a paranormal blog

Newsflash: I just found out that my sensual paranormal novella, Little Red Riding Wolf will be released on February 18th, 2012! Thank you Passion in Print Press!

Today I am posting my attempt at the final challenge of the Third Writing Campaign. It’s been fun and exciting to try to not only write extremely short, but to make it interesting, add a twist and incorporate weird words into my efforts. Here are the parameters for this weeks challenge:

Write a blog post in 300 words or less, excluding the title. The post can be in any format, whether flash fiction, non-fiction, humorous blog musings, poem, etc. The blog post should show:

  • that it’s morning, 
  • that a man or a woman (or both) is at the beach
  • that the MC (main character) is bored
  • that something stinks behind where he/she is sitting
  • that something surprising happens.

Just for fun, see if you can involve all five senses AND include these random words: “synbatec,” “wastopaneer,” and “tacise.”   (NB. these words are completely made up and are not intended to have any meaning other than the one you give them).

Tacise at the Beach

Cerise sat and extended her long bare legs in front of her, pushing her fingers high into the sky. Reaching for the streaks of iridescent color that heralded the dawn, she strove for enlightenment. It was elusive.

She bent at the waist. Bowed to the flat early morning ocean till her nose scraped the black sand between her thighs, and yawned.

This should be sacred time. Time to prep for her day as a synbatec. Without this time she knew she would lose it, as she applied the syntha-skin to each victim’s body.

But it wasn’t working. The repetitive lap, lap, lapping of the waves seemed repressive. Day after day the bright sun started as a glow, billowing out into a glorious sunrise that did nothing for her. And today was even worse.

Usually she could ignore sounds and scents that distracted her from her early morning tacise exercises, but today the stench of something caught between dead fish and excrement teased her senses.

She attempted ignoring the smell, but the best she could achieve was a flat un-involvement with her environment. This wasn’t working.

She stood, focusing her attention on the salty ocean smell, but it proved elusive, drowning under the putrid stench that wafted through her open mouth and choked her throat.

Beep. Beep. Beep.

“That’s it!” Cerise whirled around, hitting the button on her mini-holo sythiziser. The beach disappeared. Her apartment balcony burst into view, a wastopaneer lurching its way down the alley below.

“I’ve had it!” She slammed into her apartment. Shut the door on the noise of the automatic trash collector as it sucked up her roommate’s corpse from the alley pavement.

This wasn’t working. She’d thought getting rid of Tanya would help, but she still couldn’t get into the rhythm.

She’d have to move.

If you enjoyed the post, please vote for me at Rach Writes, I’m number 74. And be sure to check out some of the other fabulous entries and vote for them as well. All of us have worked very hard during the campaign to not only keep up, but write interesting content. And check back on October 24th for the first day of the Choose Your Own Adventure Bloghop, starting at midnight EST on Kerri Cuevas’ blog HERE.

While you’re here, don’t forget to leave a comment to enter today’s Halloween Treats Contest celebrating my contract for my sensual novella Little Red Riding Wolf. Comment to enter the drawing for a copy of Rebecca York’s Dragon Moon.

Congratulations to Sharon Clare for winning Monday’s book! Send me your address through the contact box and I’ll mail your book.

 

During the entire month of October I’m giving away awesome books and everyone who leaves a comment will be entered into my final grand prize drawing on October 31st for three swag bags filled with goodies and a B&N gift card! Leave a comment to enter today!

Update: Thursday’s winner is Nicole Grueber! Send me your address and I’ll send you your book! Congratulations!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Third Writers Platform Building Campaign, Thursdays Bite

Advanced Plotting with Chris Eboch

Moonday Madness

A blog about the craft of writing

Today’s guest is multi-published author Chris Eboch. Chris is not only an accomplished fiction author, but she now teaches what she has learned. Her book Advanced Plotting will help you smooth out those bumps in the road. 

A woman heard I was a writer with 12 books published, and she said, “Why aren’t you living in Beverly Hills?”

I managed to keep a straight face. Besides the fact that I prefer New Mexico to Beverly Hills, 12 books in about as many years does not pay a living wage. It does, however, mean that I’ve learned a lot over the years. I’ve written historical fiction (The Eyes of Pharaoh, a mystery set in ancient Egypt, and The Well of Sacrifice, a Mayan adventure, both for ages nine and up), an original paperback series (the Haunted series, which starts with The Ghost on the Stairs, also for kids), and various types of work for hire. I also recently started writing romantic suspense for adults under the name Kris Bock (Rattled is a treasure hunting adventure in the New Mexico wilderness).

Besides my published books, I have a dozen unpublished manuscripts – part of the learning process. I learn a lot from teaching other writers as well. I lead workshops, work with students through a correspondence school, and do private manuscript critiques. You can’t analyze thousands of stories and novels without learning a few things about what works and what doesn’t.

And yet, somehow, that doesn’t mean it’s easy to see the flaws in your own work. But I’ve found a method to help. I call it the Plot Outline Exercise, and I discuss it at length in my book Advanced Plotting. The short summary is, you make an outline of your finished manuscript, briefly describing the main action and any subplots in each chapter. Then you analyze your plot. Looking at the outline, rather than the entire manuscript, makes it easier to see the big picture without getting distracted by little details.

That doesn’t mean it’s easy. It takes a lot of work to make a manuscript strong, so I ask over 40 questions, divided into sections for Conflict, Tension, Main Character, Subplots and Secondary Characters, Theme, and Fine Tuning. For example, here are the opening three from Conflict (and each of these bullet points I consider to be one question, despite the multiple question marks):

·         Put a check mark by the line if there is conflict in that chapter. For chapters where there is no conflict, can you cut those, interweave with other chapters, or add new conflict? The conflict can be physical danger, emotional stress, or both, so long as the main character (MC) is facing a challenge.

·         Where do we learn what the main conflict is? Could it be sooner? Is there some form of conflict at the beginning, even if it is not the main conflict? Does it at least relate to the main conflict? The inciting incident—the problem that gets the story going—should happen as soon as possible, but not until the moment is ripe. The reader must have enough understanding of the character and situation to make the incident meaningful. Too soon, and the reader is confused. Too late, and the reader gets bored first.

·         Where do we learn the stakes? What are they? Do you have positive stakes (what the MC will get if he succeeds), negative stakes (what the MC will suffer if he fails), or best of all, both? Could the penalty for failure be worse? Your MC should not be able to walk away without penalty.

As you answer each question, you make notes on the outline for where you need to make changes on your manuscript. Then, of course, you need to actually make the changes. Advanced Plotting has over 20 additional articles to explain how to make these changes, covering topics such as getting off to a fast start and using cliffhanger chapter endings.

As I said, it isn’t easy to do this kind of revision, but when the result is a much stronger manuscript, it’s worthwhile. Since I now outline before I start writing, I use the Plot Outline Exercise at that planning stage and catch a lot of problems early, but not every writer can – or wants to – sketch out a manuscript in detail in advance. However you write, making an outline at some point can help you see what you really have, so you can identify and fix problems.

Learn more about Chris and read excerpts of her work at www.chriseboch.com (for children’s books) or www.krisbock.com (for adult romantic suspense written under the name Kris Bock) or see her Amazon page at http://www.amazon.com/Chris-Eboch/e/B001JS25VE/. You can also read excerpts from Advance Plotting on her blog:http://chriseboch.blogspot.com/.

Thanks Chris! Leave a question or comment for Chris and you will be entered in today’s Halloween Treats drawing for an autographed copy of Michelle Celmer’s A Clandestine Corporate Affair. All commenters will be entered in the drawing for three grand prizes to occur on October 31st, so check back to see if you are a winner! Saturday’s winner is Gloria Richard! Congratulations Gloria, send me your address and I’ll send you the book!

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Filed under Moonday mania, writing craft, writing organization

The Ins and Outs of Historical Paranormal

Today I am thrilled to provide another Halloween Treat in the form of guest blogger Jana Denardo. Jana writes historical paranormal, a growing sub-genre and one that I find particularly interesting. Don’t forget to leave a comment for Jana to enter my month long Halloween Treats Contest in celebration of my upcoming release Little Red Riding Wolf from Passion in Print Press.

The paranormal and urban fantasy subgenres are heavy on modern day stories, but the genre has begun to grow up and down the time line. One notable series that’s moved paranormals from the current era is Gail Carriger’s Parasol Protectorate series, set in the ever-popular Victorian era. Using a historical setting adds another level of difficulty to the world building and plot.

The first level, of course, is typical of any paranormal story. Who are you your paranormal entities? Are they good, evil or, like humans, both?  For me, the real consideration is what are their abilities and weaknesses. Any bobble in what you establish early on can destroy reader faith and I’ve seen it happen to the best of them. I remember a scene in Buffy the Vampire Slayer where a vampire didn’t go to dust. They passed it off as him being so old, that he reacted differently than usual. Later in the series, they came up with another even older vampire and he dusted fairly normal. A little slip like that can make the blogs light up as fans nitpick away.
For me, the easiest way to keep their abilities straight is to keep records of how the paranormal aspects work. I’m not an outliner, and while this sometimes leads me into blind canyons that I’ll have to write around if there’s a sequel, I am a good note taker when it comes to character attributes and supernatural abilities. This way if my vampires don’t burn up when hit with holy water, I don’t have them blistering three chapters after I’ve made that announcement. It is embarrassing to get called on a mistake like that by an editor.

Still, coming up with the paranormal attributes is the fun part. You can world build and bend things to fix your story. You can take an old creature from folklore and twist it into something new and exciting. However, when adding the layer that is the historical setting, you lose the ability to bend certain historical facts. Regardless of genre, most readers who enjoy historical settings are sticklers for accuracy. The exception to this would, of course, be alternative histories and steampunk. Even with those, historical research is necessary. You can not believable create an alternative history without first knowing the actual facts.

Nothing makes me run faster than reading an author’s blog and seeing them proclaim they hate research but are going to write a historical story anyway. I’ve seen that more times than I want to think about. A quick look at Wikipedia might be enough to say, knock out a short Buffy the Vampire Slayer  fan fiction with Angelus and Darla cheering on Jack the Ripper  – might – but it is not enough, by itself, to be the foundation for a historical novel.

However, this blog entry isn’t really about how to do the research. Most of us have experience in that if only from high school history classes. I’m more concerned about considering the possibilities inherent in a historic setting. In the 1800s, the belief in vampires was stronger than it is today, so it could impact your story in a variety of ways. Prey with built-in paranoia and armed with crosses and holy water, which were often part of the household goods, could present difficulties for a vampire. Ever see a vampire hunting kit from that time? They are very interesting and would make a fun addition to a story.

Go back a hundred years earlier, and almost everyone would believe in ghosts and spirits.  This could work for or against you, depending on what your story needed in way of the characters’ belief system. Heck, even going back a mere twenty-five years could take the tension up a notch, because it would be easy to isolate the protagonist from potential aid, leaving them at the mercy of a paranormal entity by the mere fact no one had cell phones and couldn’t just place a call out.
Another concern is the morals and cultural stigmas of the time period and the country in question, or even what part of the country you are in. I came up against this when I started my 1930’s era demon hunter series. Without thinking about it, I knew I wanted a world-wide organization and pulled the characters from all over then assembled the team in my hometown of Pittsburgh. These demon hunters included Hindu and Chinese men, and all four are homosexual, which ran me smack up against the prejudices of the day (and to what degree of prejudice they faced would vary depending on where in the country they are). A minority or female protagonist would have to face very different circumstances and have even more hurdles to clear.

I could keep on going about the pitfalls of trying to cram too much research into the story, or getting caught up in the lingo of the day but we’d be here forever. The historic paranormal story may be a bit more work up front, but if you enjoy the research like I do, you won’t mind that one bit. It’s fun to play in various points of history. Thanks to Jessica for allowing me the time to talk to you all. I hope this was help. If you’d like to find my blog, I’m at http://jana-denardo.livejournal.com/ and if you’d like to read my 1930’s demon hunter series, you can find them here: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/index.php?cPath=55_202&osCsid=8dlkb1ua7verd7mcgid4uug4o5 and they are Snowbound (which includes Temple, urban fantasy/historical) in the anthology Necking  and  A Brief Respite is hidden on my author’s page as a piece of ‘Halloween candy’

In celebration of my upcoming release from Passion in Print Press, Little Red Riding Wolf, I am running a contest for the entire month of October! Leave a comment for Jana and enter to win a copy of Demon from the Dark by Kresley Cole!

Monday’s winner of my Halloween Treats contest in celebration of Little Red Riding Wolf is Kerri. Congratulations Kerri, send me your address through my contact box on my contact page and I’ll ship you your book!

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Filed under paranormal inspiration, roots of paranormal romance, Thursdays Bite