Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Roseanne Dowell: Coming Events

Roseanne Dowell: Coming Events: Wow, there's a lot going on the next couple of months with MuseItUp Publishing and its authors.
First up is the Back to School Blog Fe...

Romance and cliffhangers

Hello! My name is Lindsay Townsend. I write historical romance and romantic suspense for Kensington Zebra, Siren-Bookstrand and now for Muse It Up. Today I'd like to talk about cliffhangers.

The cliffhanger is a favourite device - a mini-climax, usually involving high stakes, that leaves the reader wondering how it will be resolved. This trick of leaving the reader hanging is one used in films and soaps, too. After all, we are curious and want to know -

1. What happened next?
2. How did the situation resolve itself?
3. How does the hero/heroine get out of that mess?
4. What will so-and-so say now they know that? How will so-and-so react?

Cliff-hangers come in various forms, but the one I'm writing about today is the relationship cliff-hanger. 

Does X love me? How do I feel about X? Will my step-child/real child/adopted child/newly-found child love me?  These relationship cliffhangers are all about feelings. Characters are strongly drawn and their feelings shown in great detail and depth, to help readers identify with them and feel an investment in their stories. A relationship cliff hanger can be a quarrel, a disappearance, a break of some kind, or a moment of revelation - 'Yes I love so-and-so!' - and then what next? Does the character tell the person of their love? How it will be received? This is the stuff of all romance and relationship stories.

In my forthcoming Muse It Up story, A Christmas Sleeping Beauty, I had to ensure there were high stakes for the hero and heroine. I did this by adding a ticking clock as a cliffhanger. I also made sure that although asleep, the heroine has an active role to play in the story. Her choices add to the romantic tension.

In wider relationship stories it may be more than boy and girl - it may be family issues, fathers and sons, mothers and daughters and so on. But the emotions, the relationships, and that final decision to either go forward with the relationship or give up on it, are what drives the story.

Best wishes, Lindsay.

(Image from Wikimedia Commons.)

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Banyan historical young adult fiction now available

Banyan by Sameena Bachmeier
A Tween/Young Adult Historical Fiction
Free Teacher's Guide

Kannie Irnest had the picture perfect life as a child until her father left her and her mother alone. It wasn't long before the world as she knew it began unraveling and creating a web of misery around her. Her mother was no longer the loving mother she knew. Bitter and lonely, Kannie sank into a depression. The only joy Kannie seemed to find was with her friend Kristopher. They were like two peas in a pod since a young age and when they were together it was as if the world around them didn't matter. Mysteriously, one day on Kannie's way to school, she is given a Banyan tree stick. She learns that it is a wishing stick. Although skeptical, Kannie is desperate to experience a happy life and she wishes on the Banyan stick to be anywhere but in that moment in her life. She awakens everyday thereafter to a different historical event that exposes her to experiences, places and people she had only read about in books.  From the Salem Witch trials, to being aboard the infamous Britannic, to taking flight upon the Apollo 11, each journey she embarks on teaches her to believe in herself, forgive others and appreciate the path that lies in front of her. She also now, must embark on her greatest venture yet, finding her way back home.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Edits and Final Galleys

Edits and Final Galleys

Some authors think of edits as torture, a necessary evil. Me, I love edits. Oh, don't get me wrong, it hurts when my editors tell me to cut this sentence or even a paragraph. I worked hard over those words. The story is my baby, my life. I spent hours, days, weeks, even years laboring over it.
Sometimes I look at the manuscript and all I see is red. What the heck, it couldn't be that bad, could it? Is the editor picking on me?
One of the most important things to remember when doing edits is to keep an open mind. I like to paraphrase rather than use thoughts. That means I use the word she a lot. The reason I dislike thoughts, well two reasons, actually - 1. editors like to put thoughts into Italics. - I dislike italics - no, I hate italics. Nothing takes me out of a story worse than italics. They distract me and that's not something you want to do with a reader. Most of the books I've read   about writing say- don't use them. (and I've read a lot of books on writing, Donald Maass for one). The other reason I don't like them is thoughts also distract me. So instead of writing, I hated when he does that, I write She hated when he did that. Eliminates the need for italics and I. To me it reads much better. However, my editor doesn't like all the shes. Okay I know I use a lot of them and truthfully, I don't see a problem with it. The sentences make sense. Readers know they're thoughts. They don't need italics to tell them. I try hard to avoid thoughts that need italics, but sometimes you just have to use them.
Okay, back to editing. As the author, you have the final say on your work. But don't be stubborn. Your editor is there to help you make your work the best it can be. I've seldom had to disagree with my editor. Most of the time I look at what she wants to delete or change and I agree. Sometimes, it's back story. Sometimes it's just unneeded information.
Another reason I like edits, it gives me a chance to change things that don't sound right to me or maybe add something that will add to the story - No, I'm not talking about pages or chapters. I'm talking about a sentence or two that might add tension or help clarify what you're talking about.
Once you're done with edits, you send them back to the editor. They might go back and forth several times before you both agree and are satisfied with the final manuscript.  Ha, that's not the final manuscript at all. Now comes line edits. A different editor goes through what you and your content editor just agreed is the best manuscript. The line editor will go through line by line and suggest changes that are sometimes repetitive sentences etc. They also make sure all the commas, periods, and spelling is correct. If a sentence doesn't make sense to them, they'll suggest you change it. Again, it's your work, but keep an open mind. Think of the line editor as one of your readers. If she/he thinks it doesn't sound right, so will your reader. I seldom disagree with my line editor. Unless I have a character that speaks in a certain way,I'll usually take the suggestion.
Now comes the final galley. This is it. This is what your book is going to look like. This is your responsibility to make sure that every i is dotted and every t is crossed - so to speak. Look for spelling, commas, periods and yes, sometimes wrong words here or there. This is the last opportunity to make your book the best it's going to be. Final galleys aren't for changing sentences or paragraphs or adding to the story. Go through the final galley carefully. Even editors, no matter how good they are, miss things. A misspelled word, missing comma, etc. No one is perfect. It's the last polish before your editor sends the book off for publishing.
Think of edits as a way to improve your manuscript, not to destroy it. Editors want to work with you, not against you.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Balls of a Hairy Goat and Adder's Spit Launch Party...

Help Celebrate the launch 
of the Science Fiction Fantasy series
take a chance to win a prize...
Join us at our Blog Party 
on Sept 2nd to claim prizes...

Rules: Play my Chronicles of Caleath Word Search and then see what the free letters spell out. Some have SORRY, but most have a surprise doorprize. To check out the list of prizes please visit my website. ROSALIESKINNER.COM 

I suggest you print out the puzzle, highlight, or use the line tool in Word to mark the words you find as you play the game. Words could be in any direction and some letters can be used twice. The first few letters remaining, starting at top left will be your code word. The spaces below the words indicate how many letters your code word has.

To enter: Email CaleathsQuest@gmail.com with the subject “competition”. Please include your name and country. Caleath’s competition manager will reply on Wednesday 31st of August with a numbered word search dedicated just for you. 

Deadline: To receive your gift you post a comment on  on WENDY L's blog, and send your codeword back to Caleathsquest@gmail.com between Sept 2nd and no later than SEPTEMBER 4th.
Sorry, but if the deadline comes and go you’ll have to wait for the next contest when Book Two: Exiled: Winter’s Curse releases.

Now have fun and good luck!

Thank you, Jazmin, for our new blog look!

I'd like to thank our editor, Jazmin, for redesigning our blog.

So what do you guys think? Leave Jazmin a note. Thanks.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Grab Your Reader with Conflict

By Lea Schizas

What exactly is conflict in a story? Simple…a problem/obstacle your main character needs to overcome by the end of the story. Think of it as your engine that drives your car forward. Without one your car remains idle, collecting dust in the driveway. Give your car a super booster engine and you’ll be coasting the streets with no worries. Well, until the police stop you.

In a story conflict moves your character through various situations he must overcome. This intrigues and pulls your reader deeper into the story, connecting with your character’s predicament. A character needs to have a hurdle tossed at them, makes for an intriguing situation to find out the outcome. Without an outcome, there is no magnetic charge with your reader.

Before writing your story and making up your character profile, ask yourself these questions:

1-    What will be the main goal my character will face and need to overcome?
2-    Who will be my target audience?

The second question is important because it will help to focus your words and subject matter to suit the appropriate audience. For stories aimed at children, your focus will need to adapt to a child’s view of the world around them. Most of the time the story is told through the character’s point of view aged a few years older than the intended audience. For example, if you aim your story for the 8 – 10 age group then setting a story for a twelve year old character would be best since kids always like to read and associate with kids a bit older than them.

What subject matter can you write about for this age group? Middle grade readers love mysteries, soft spooky tales ( no knife-wielding maniacs, head chopping, blood and core etc, more suspenseful and ‘goose-bumping tales like in the “Goosebumps” books), magical tales (Harry Potter), even teeny bopper stories like “The Babysitters Club” or  “Sweet Valley High”. These latter ones are suitable for the Young Adult market, too.


Here are some examples of conflicts in some books:

- the almighty tried and successful ‘good against evil’
Think Harry Potter, The Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, Little Red Riding Hood, The Three Little Pigs…yes, these fairy tales were using the ‘good against evil’ method if you sit down and think about it. The wolves in both fairy tales were intent on overcoming their ‘so-they-thought’ weaker counterparts.

In the above examples, something stood in the protagonist’s way:

Harry tries to defeat Voldemort but problems and other antagonists along the way makes this quest difficult for him.

The Lord of the Rings finds Frodo’s quest to destroy the Ring but evil and dark forces stand in his way, too.

Luke Skywalker in Star Wars needs to defeat the new order of evil, and he, too, faces many obstacles and characters along the way.

In each of these examples, these obstacles (new smaller conflicts against the bigger goal they are after) causes a reader to continue reading to find out if he’ll be successful, how he will outsmart them, and what change will this cause in the main character. Along with these obstacles, throwing in some inner conflicts alongside the outer emotions helps to cast them more as three-dimensional beings, for example:

Luke Skywalker deals with the knowledge he has a sister somewhere out there. His inner being and emotions help to make him more sympathetic, which eventually bonds the reader to him. The same with Frodo; his world has been thrown for a loop when he takes on the quest of the Ring…along the way he begins to doubt if he, indeed, is the best man for this job. Also, he questions his will power to avoid succumbing to the dark forces once he has tasted the Ring’s power.

Another example to show you what ‘inner conflict’ means:

Let’s assume your book is based on a police officer who mistakenly shoots a young child while pursuing a suspect. It’s dark in the building and the kid jumped out of nowhere with a toy gun. The police officer is suspended while the case is being investigated.


How he deals and is dealt by his immediate peers
His struggle to remove the visions of the killing
The emotional turmoil as he waits for the investigation to conclude.
His dealings with the parents of the child he accidentally killed.

Throughout all of these emotions the one factor that will bind your reader to continue will be: How will he fare at the end of this book. The way you first portray this particular character in the beginning will be totally different by the end because of the various upsets he’s had to deal with. Show him as upbeat, nonchalant, no change at the end and you will lose your reader’s interest in the book and in you as an author.

Think of real life: if you had to go through a trauma as the officer in the example above, how would it change you? A writer needs to wear his character’s shoes and get inside his head to fully understand him. Write a story with a stick person and you get stale material. Write a story with powerful emotions and you have one interesting read.


By the end of your book all inner and outer conflicts need to have reached a conclusion. Whether your character overcame or failed is not as important as making sure he tried to meet them head on. You cannot place a conflict (or foreshadow) without making sure by the end of the story some sort of a resolution was made. This is cheating a reader and they WILL notice, especially if one of those conflicts was the one he’s been hoping to see the outcome to.

In the Flesh...and Out of my Comfort Zone

So, I thought it would be a good opportunity to briefly introduce my next tale while also pondering my move to Switzerland. I'm currently two weeks away from classes and having lots of fun navigating my way around Geneva and trying to learn French on the go. It's difficult, to say the least, and makes asking for directions, locating supermarkets and getting the internet at home all the harder, lol. That being said, I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of people who have tried to be helpful. Even if they don't speak English, the French (or Swiss French) have often tried to assist this lost author when its been pretty obvious that I need help with something or other. Who says the French are cold! I suppose the least I can do to return the favour is try harder to pick up their language (which is only fair), but I have a feeling that, no matter how fluent I may become, my stories will always be in English.

And now on to my new tale :) It'll be released in December and is called In the Flesh. This story was inspired by an episode of Are You Afraid of the Dark in which a young painter receives an offer by a mysterious gallery owner to complete an abandoned work (above image). In my tale, the paintings are very much completed, very much alive. And art truly imitates life, in the darkest way.

In the Flesh:

It is the flesh. The warmth of eternal lust...

In the backstreets of his drab city, Alex finds the perfect gift for a bitter girlfriend, who misses her rural home. Invited into a world of staring portraits, he walks away with the cool gaze of a former rancher, like him forced to move to modernity.

At first, the gift is welcome. Those blue eyes stare out from a world of rural comfort, what Rachel misses and loves. But there is more behind the gaze, so much more, and slowly it spreads, infects their lives, wanting to break free of its painted mileu and into the real world.

The art gallery. So many frozen faces, all staring...

Sheila is the mistress of these paintings. Each portrait captures the youth of long gone subjects, but for what purpose? Alex returns to her to relinquish his gift’s burden upon his home, his Rachel. And the mistress waits within these walls of paralysed eyes, soft whispers and gentle murmurs that defy the prison of gilded picture frames. Trapped youth yearns for freedom. But Sheila’s lust knows no bounds.

As Alex and Rachel are pulled into her game, they learn the true secret behind her brush. The secret of the flesh.

The gifts of lust do not come cheap. There is a price, for mistress and subject alike...

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Writers' Workshops and Linda Spur

Writer’s Workshops and Linda Spur

As well as belonging to three online critique groups, where I can post a chapter of my historical novels in progress and receive constructive critiques in return for critiquing other members’ chapters, I also belong to Watford Writers. Every Monday the society meets in Cassiobury Park, Watford, Hertfordshire, England at Cafe Cha Cha at 7.30 p.m.

From time to time Watford Writers arranges for guest speakers and workshops. Linda Spur’s workshops are very popular and well-attended.

Linda Spur is rarely seen without a pen and notepad in hand – although in recent months, this is more likely to be an iPad. Linda is well-qualified to advise writers. She started working on local and regional newspapers before moving to the BBC World Service for a broadcasting career of over twenty years. Since then, she has worked as a freelance journalist and as a teacher of Creative Writing and computer skills. She is currently studying for a Masters in Creative Writing at Brunel University.

Writing takes up a lot of her “leisure” time, trying to finish what she hopes will be the next block-busting novel. Her work with the BBC meant she frequently travelled overseas; today, she loves exploring Britain – on foot and by car. But always with the iPad at hand for when inspiration strikes!

In addition to her regular classes, Linda runs occasional Creative Writing workshops for local writing groups. She finds these can serve several purposes: “I’m a great believer in trying different genres of writing. Even if you never intend to write a play, an evening of playwriting exercises will help with your dialogue while poetry makes you think carefully about every word you put down on paper! Moreover, experimenting with, for example, historical fiction or fantasy writing might well open up a whole new area that you had never considered writing before.

“I also find that workshops are ideal for reminders – such as remembering to use all the senses. Writers come up with some lovely images when they use the senses but, over time, authors might forget to involve them until they are reminded. Similarly, the occasional reminder to use a setting more creatively can pay dividends.

“Workshops provide a very supportive environment for writers – beginners and experienced ones alike. Trying something out in a small group first is far less daunting than on your own. Also, learning to give and receive constructive feedback is probably one of the most useful ways of improving your own writing.”

At one of Linda’s workshops, I read a non-fiction article I had written called The Scarlet Pimpernel and His muse. Linda pointed out that the article should be split into two. The first titled Baroness Orczy, and the second titled The Scarlet Pimpernel fact and fiction.

I took Linda’s advice and subsequently placed both articles with Vintage Script a small press magazine. Next year I might re-submit both articles, offering second British serial rights or first American serial rights.

After another workshop, Linda was kind enough to read the first three chapters of my novel Sunday’s Child set in the Regency period. She returned it with the comment that I had introduced too many characters too fast. I took this ‘on board’, revised the chapters and submitted the novel to MuseItUp Publishing with the happy result that it will be published in June, 2012.

Recently, Linda gave a workshop on playwriting. I do not intend to write a play so I shilly shallied about whether or not to attend. To my surprise I enjoyed the workshop during one part of which we were asked to form small groups and write snippets from proposed plays on various themes. Each person assumed the role of one character and wrote that character’s lines. Later we read our snippets to the group. One of my parts was that of a mother-in-law who doesn’t like her son-in-law. A line when she speaks to her son-in-law was: “I believe in live and let live, but not where you’re concerned.” That raised a roar of laughter. All in all, the workshop was fun. It has had the happy result of making me more adventurous about attending other workshops focussed on various forms of writing that I have not attempted.

Wherever you live, whether you are a new writer or an experienced, multi-published writer Linda and I are confident that participating in workshops will pay dividends,

All the best,
Rosemary Morris
Historical Novelist

Forthcoming releases from MuseItUpPublishing
Tangled Love 27.01.2012
Sunday’s Child 06.2012


Thursday, August 18, 2011

Maybe Once Or Twice In A Lifetime- A Blog following Two Muse Authors in Greece

Once or twice in a lifetime you might have the extreme good luck to stumble upon a person whose life and aspirations so closely mirror your own that you are instantly connected. One such person in my life is my friend and fellow Muse Authoress, Viviane Brentanos. It just so happens that she lives in a pretty amazing place--The island of Corfu, Greece.

Both of us are drawn to write stories of struggle and triumph, passion and everyday extraordinary people. When we met online we began a nearly daily interaction that has included, what she terms 'the slashing' of each other's work, as well as sharing thoughts and feelings about everything under the sun.

The waning days of July found me landing at Corfu's small airport, renting a car and making my way around the bay to the Hotel Oasis where Viviane works as front desk clerk/hostess/psychologist/stand-in parent and jack of most trades.

Viv at her Station

Corfu's economy is largely dependent on tourism, most of which occurs between May and September. During the cool rainy winter months the residents return to their quiet lives, but during high season it's seven days a week long hours spent smiling and tending to the onslaught.

This is my second visit to Corfu. This time I had the pleasure of meeting Viv's boss and family owner of the hotel. A host this rare should be mentioned. Generous and helpful, Petros made our time at his lovely little hotel a gem.

The Oasis clings to the cliff side and overlooks the crystal clear Ionian Sea. Little Mouse Island dots the warm aqua/azure water and families from all over the region enjoy its private beach, daily breakfast served on a large open air terrace and sparkling pool.



Oasis Hotel private beach area

Mouse Island

Touring about the island affords many more gorgeous vistas, none the equal of Viv's little corner of the world, but magnificent nonetheless. From Agios Gordios distinctive offshore rock spiking from the sea,

Agios Georgios


to the tiny villages that reflect Greece past,




Lakones Village next to Achillion

to the nightlife action and rocking sea sport town of Kavos,


and the beautiful curve of Roda's cafe-lined beach,



Outdoor cafe decor-

the world weary traveler can find endless beauty and a way of life not unlike that of a small town anywhere.

People know each other, care about each other and, yes, sometimes gossip about each other. But isn't this a sign of human connection so many of us crave in this impersonal work-a-day society?

Don't expect to hear much English should you choose to visit, but almost everyone knows it and uses it as the lingua franka. Mythos--perhaps the best lager in the world, flows plentifully.

Kebab dinner

Pitas are unlike their cousin Gyros, but every bit as delicious and the local Kumquat Liqueur is served over ice or with a swirl of cream.

Sailboats and yachts abound.


Cruise ships goes by

The night time sky like a diamond spattered ebony velvet. Cicadas sing in the trees and the smell of junipers mingle with baked earth and grass.


Gorgeous Junipers

From thirty thousand feet it looks like a dream.


Small wonder this Italian flavoured jewel is sought after for relaxation by those in the know.

Thanks for the insider tip, Viv.





Albania just across the water


Christine London
Author of Reluctant Companions
Visit my website at www.christinelondon.com for the latest!

Fall In Love--- Hawaii

Hundreds of blog readers have read my travel logs, enjoying words and photos of some of the world's most beautiful places. Now you can revel in a visceral love letter to...


My time in the islands always lures me back. One of the true treasures of this planet, Oahu teams with abundant flora and fauna. The beauty of an island is its isolation from mainland evolution. North shore--frozen in time.

Hawaii is magic.

If you have loved the many far flung locales here on London Blog, click over to MuseItHot Publisher and fall in LOVE with...

Reluctant Companions


Coming Friday August 19, 2011...
Order Here
ISBN 978-1-927085-36-3

Grieving the loss of her beloved father, Chellie is convinced to take time off from her work-a day job to enjoy a secret retreat at a hidden Oahu bungalow. Property of the womanizing ex of her best friend, Chellie agrees only after being assured her privacy. Overworked, burnt out and sour on life, Scottish film star Cameron McClain nearly had to be hog tied by his manager to take a holiday at his secret escape destination on the Hawaiian North shore. Reluctant guests alone on one of the world’s most beautiful islands---except they are not alone…


A movement, a shadow disturbed her peripheral vision just enough to jolt her from her uninvited anguish. Forcing her senses to sharpen, she sniffed back the need for a tissue and tiptoed to the edge of the lanai. Wrong part of the world for Sasquatch, she thought, briefly wondering if the Hawaiians had similar legend. Too laid back…Polynesian paralysis would prohibit such disturbing musings. They were the invention of overworked, stressed people trying to escape the insistent demands of the modern world. No such burden here in the land of Mahalo and hang loose.

It occurred to her that it was not the world she’d just left behind. She was about as far away from relaxed as an over processed perm.

The rain had ceased, the liquid chorus continued from every leaf and petal as they shed the weight of the passing storm. Straining to differentiate any foreign sound from the thrum of droplets splashing along on their journey from foliage to earth, she held her normal breathing in check, mouth open as means of silencing her own autonomic noise. Scrolling the immediate horizon like a cat burglar avoiding detection, she reached for the bamboo railing to steady her.

Bounding through the slick underbrush flashed the silhouette of a man in forward trajectory, a parabola of doom the likes of which she’d not seen since her friend Jill had taken a spill off her snowboard on the slopes of Lake Tahoe’s Diamond Peak. That had cost Jill six weeks in traction and her gift for belly dancing.

“Shite.” The ensuing male explicative sounded like the fated call of a condemned man.

Undergrowth rustling, banana tree quaking, the ground cover had swallowed whoever it was that had evidently survived the fall. A part of her didn’t want to stick around to see what emerged from the forest floor, but her sense of philanthropy held in check her initial urge to turn tail and run. The banana tree shook violently a long moment later, large elliptical leaves bending, seeming to disappear into the undergrowth as though some great herbivore were consuming them.

It took Chellie another indeterminate amount of time to realize her jaw was slack and she was indeed gaping at the commotion in dread and morbid anticipation. Like a newborn colt standing for the first time, the specter of a man emerged from the plants, body slick and smeared with the russet earth, hair drenched, spaghetti-like in wild abandon, frame struggling to attain upright stature in a curious combination of strength, embarrassment and anger. Whites of his eyes glowing in the dusk, he continued his colorful diatribe.

“Bleedin’ vines…snarlin’ round the f**kin’--”

His eyes snagged on her, his expression escalating from irritation to rage. “And who the fookin’ hell are you?” He evaluated her face a second longer, realizing that her eyes were dropping to inspect him…the whole of him…filthy, wet and… “Shite,” he rasped again, yanking the banana leaves he held at his sides at lightning speed to cover his privates. The ensuing image of him was of a Michelangelo statue run through the mud, covered by a mutant fig leaf.

She clung to reason just long enough to see the humor in the image before her. She also couldn’t help but notice that the man was spectacular. In the light of the ascending moon, his skin looked like polished marble slick with sweat and dirt, but undeniably sculpted. And the effigy of his face was worth the price of admission alone. He was the most extraordinary surreal mixture of anger, self-reprimand and pure animal earthiness.

“The owner of this private estate. So take your damn banana leaves and get out.” She struggled to maintain an expression worthy of being taken seriously, feigning the sudden need to wipe at something at the corner of her mouth.

“So you’re a squatter as well as a liar.” He looked up at her in inflamed irritation. “I’ve the keys to prove you wrong.”

“What keys? There’s not a door within twenty miles.”

“That’s where you’re wrong. I’ve the true owner’s jeep parked just the other side of the stream leadin’ here.”

She leaned further over the railing in growing indignation. “And that’s supposed to convince me of your authenticity.’”

He moved forward, making his way to the stairs that ascended to the lanai. “I’ve me bleedin’ gear in the bedroom to—.” He paused half way up the steps, rotating one of the banana leaves to cover his rear. “Why the hell do I owe you any explanation? I’ve been here three days now and have no intention of sharin’ the surroundin’s with some…some…woman.” The final word he emphasized with particular disgust.

She instinctively backed away, he presenting a very large, threatening countenance that screamed menace. Reaching for a cylindrical shape on the lanai table, she kept her eyes on him. Grasping it by Braille, she raised it over her head like a nightstick.

His expression melted from angst to humor in a flash. “What ya goin’ ta do, spray me to death, woman?” He snorted, tension draining from his body like water through a sieve.

She shot a glance to the object in her hand. Bug spray? Shit! Stay cool. Raising it higher over her head, she shrieked, “Back off, buddy.”

His abdomen contracted in mirth. “Unless you’ve been trained in the modern martial art of fumigation, I think I’m safe.”

“Fine, smart ass, but you’re gonna have to…” She slid her eyes to his groin and back in one lightning glance. “…Drop your leaves to get it away from me.”

He folded over in a spasm of laughter. She moved toward him. In a blink, he recovered full stature. She froze.

“It appears we’re at a stand off.” He pulled the leaves tighter against his body. “Let’s compromise. You put the insect repellant back in its place and I shall relieve you of the substantial burden of havin’ a naked man on the doorstep.”

She lowered the can. “Now you’re talking. Five minutes to get your stuff and hit the road. "

Reluctant Companions By Christine London

MuseItHot Publishing- http://tinyurl.com/3nns7px

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Coming Sept. 9th - Connection of the Minds

Did you ever have a feeling something bad was about to happen? Kind of a premonition, intuition, omen or whatever you want to call it? I’m sure at some point in your life you’ve experienced ESP. I mean we all have, haven’t we? Especially with a spouse or sibling. I bet sometimes you even finish each other’s sentences. Nothing unusual in that, is there? Not at all.
But I experienced something even stranger. Oh, I’m Rebecca Brennan. Can’t expect you to read my mind, can I?  I have this rare connection with someone’s mind. I feel what he feels, hear what he hears and even know what he’s thinking. Not all the time, just sometimes. Thank God for that. I’d hate to know what he’s thinking all the time.  I even feel his pain.  Trust me, that’s not good. In fact, none of its good. I mean seriously, how would you like to wake up in the middle of the night, screaming in pain and there’s absolutely nothing physically wrong with you? Believe me, you wouldn’t.
That’s exactly what happened to me in Connection of the Minds. I have these strange visions about someone else’s life. Some might think it’s a unique gift. Believe me, it’s not.
Connection of the Minds will be  available at:: http://bit.ly/ConnectionoftheMinds

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Rochelle's Reviews: Whodunit and Another Twin?!

Rochelle's Reviews: Whodunit and Another Twin?!

Meet Elizabeth Ashley

Hi, I’m Elizabeth Ashley, heroine of May I Have this Dance. During the summer of 1955 I fell in love. Deeply in love. I met Danny Sullivan while we visited Lakeview Resort, where we went every year ever since I could remember. That summer was special, I became of age. It was my coming out year. That’s high society talk for looking for a husband.
Well I found mine. Danny!  We were inseparable, much to my father’s dismay. My father was… well, let’s just say old fashioned.
Wait, old fashioned wasn’t even the word to describe my father. He should have lived in the Victorian Era. Honest, he was such a stick in the mud.  And strict. Good lord, you can’t imagine how strict he was. Nothing I did pleased him. And dating Danny Sullivan definitely did not please him. He tried to forbid it, but I pretty much ignored him. Something I’d never done before. I knew he wouldn’t do anything because he wouldn’t go against Danny’s aunt, Mrs. James. Actually, she really wasn’t Danny’s aunt, but that’s another story. She called him her nephew and that was enough for the people at Lakeview.
Mrs. James was the most prominent person in Lakeview. Heck, she pretty much owned most of it. So no one went against her. To suffer Mrs. James’s wrath just wasn’t worth the risk. No one did it, including my father. But that didn’t keep Father from disapproving of Danny.
 Oh no, Father didn’t approve of Danny in any way, shape or form. He never passed up a chance to lecture me on Danny’s lack of breeding. Not that it mattered to me. Danny was everything I was looking for in a man. He was sweet, caring, sensitive and attentive. What more could a woman want?
So I did pretty much what I wanted.  Danny and I soon became a couple. That meant none of the other guys even asked me to dance, which was fine with me. None of those guys held a candle to Danny. 
When he asked me to marry him, I couldn’t believe it. I mean me, Danny wanted to marry me! I was in seventh heaven. Until it came time to ask Father that is.
To find out what happened, you’ll have to read May I Have this Dance is available  from MuseItUp Publishing http://bit.ly/MayIHaveThisDance.
To learn more about me, visit my website: www.roseannedowell.com

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Don't Close that Door by Lea Schizas

Don’t Close that Door
By Lea Schizas

One foolproof way to close a door, a cyber door or any other publishing door in your face is by sending an editor a query with the following: “My story/article is suitable for all ages.” Now, why would this annoy a magazine editor? Well, here goes:

  • You are now forcing this editor to read the entire thing (if you’re so lucky and don’t get a rejection slip right off) and judge for himself what age group you intended it for. Mind you, this is a neat trick to get them to read the entire thing but is this the reaction you want to get from them? Annoyance? I don’t think so.
  • By being so ‘vague’ in your target age you are giving them the impression you haven’t done your homework…that you’re hoping they might be able to ‘fit it in somewhere’…that your ‘for all ages’ will go undetected and he’ll love it after the article/story is read.

Your best way to approach this ‘age appropriate’ area when querying an editor is to make sure you have done your homework, studied your target audience, written a piece that immediately zones into this specific target group and prove it to the editor with the answers to WHO/WHAT/WHY. By focusing on WHO your target audience is you will explain WHAT your story/article is about and WHY you believe your audience will be interested in this and WHY you are the best person to write this piece. Another area to go with WHO is WHO is your immediate competition in the same topic.

The reason why many magazines specifically mention: middle grade, young adult, picture books, adult, fantasy, mystery, etc. is because they have done their research into this demographic area and pinpoint all articles/stories to suit this target age group. So, if you send in a picture book manuscript to a publisher who targets young adult, what do you suppose their response will be? I think you know - REJECTION! Their Young Adult audience will not be very enthusiastic with a picture book suitable for ages 2 – 5.

Each children’s magazine primarily targets and sets up their magazine in such a way to appeal to a specific age group. For this reason you need to carefully research the market you will be submitting to. Read their guidelines like your life depended on it because in a way, your writing life does depend on it. If you want to get out of the slush pile, recognized for following all the guidelines, then stop sending them vague submissions.

Age Level Guide:

2 – 5 years old: considered the ‘Pre-reader’ stage, children who might not be able to read on their own, parents read to them - Interests in this age group might be:

·        Families
·        pets/animals
·        babies
·        holidays/events (Halloween, Christmas, Easter, etc.)
·        sports
·        going shopping with mom and/or dad.
·        First day events like ‘at school – at the doctor – on vacation – meeting a new babysitter – etc.

This age level has a short attention span so word count can be anywhere from 100 to 500. These books have plenty of pictures/illustrations to bring the story alive and allow the child to follow it easier. Check each publisher’s guidelines.

6 – 9 years old: vocabulary is expanding meaning they can handle harder words as long as the meaning is clear within the context of the sentence.

8 – 12 years old: This age group does not like to be preached. They are fluent readers by now and some of the genres they might be interested in are:

·        sci-fi
·        fantasy
·        mystery
·        adventure

This age group loves books they can associate and bond with the main characters, especially if the character is 2 -3 years older than them. The protagonist’s struggles should hit a key with this age group, struggles that kids face in the present times.

By knowing your target audience you can better adapt your stories/articles to suit their needs. But better than that, you will have shown the editor you did your homework and possibly end up with an acceptance letter.