Saturday, August 30, 2014

Sunday Musings: August 31 2014

Have you mused?

To the best of my knowledge, Shakespeare wrote:

To be or not to be
That is the question... kill your character or not to kill your character
That's an author's question.


"to be or not to be," Hamlet was actually talking about suicide. But to kill a character, tough call. If you make the reader love this character, making them cry can be cool. Hopefully they have other characters they love in the story. If the reader has lost someone dear maybe they can relate. Making the book more real, bringing it off the pages.

I don't kill primary protagonists.  To my mind, that is a betrayal of the reader (not to mention the characters).  It's a rare occurrence for me to kill secondary important characters; I've done it only once.  Antagonists, true black-hearted villains, are another story.  They usually die either in the book or off stage (aka formal execution, actual or anticipated).

I kill multiple characters in each of my mysteries, sometimes shown explicitly. One of my best murders was what I would call a psychological murder. However as it stands right now, I wouldn't kill my protagonist. Kay Driscoll has had multiple attempts on her life, but has always far.

I killed a major character in the first Aleyne novel, "Relocated." It wasn't my intention to do so when I planned the novel, but as I wrote the first draft, it became clear to me that it was necessary.

DAWN KNOX, author

I don't usually kill off main characters although a secondary character in 'Daffodil and the Thin Place' gets his  comeuppance. I have written some horror and dark stories where the protagonist dies but I don't think after what's revealed in the story, the reader would be too disappointed. I like the idea of good winning out in the end.

So far I haven't killed off a major character in any of my published novels but two important ones are murdered in my unpublished mediaeval novel which I will complete the final revision after I finish Monday's Child the sequel to Sunday's Child, a Regency novel,

MEG AMOR, author

Aloha everyone! :-)

I can't stand killing off characters. It's one of my things. I don't mind a baddie dying. I usually am quite cheerful about those, but not a good character. I'm always dissapointed when it happens, so I don't do it myself. 

In the TV series Luther, they killed off Luther's right hand man and I was frankly, not impressed. It actually ruined the end for me. I do often read the end of a book first, to check who's still standing. Then I can relax and read the whole book through. :-)

So, for this reason. Henry's mother was about 102 at last count. LOL. But very sprightly!!! LOL

I killed off one of my semi-main characters, Freddy, and eleven of his cohorts in my only novel…so far.  My novel is a tween story, so maybe that was not such a good idea.  But, considering he was one of the twelve roosters in All Because of Chickens, maybe he and they do not qualify.  By the way, I have it from a good source, that he was pretty tasty!

'Kill off.' That depends on the definition.
When required, characters die. It's a part of life. I've written a saga which spans generations.
I don't want my characters living to 150 years of age simply because I like them. Death keeps things realistic.

When I'm writing, I've never set out to kill any of my characters. Especially not in my first book. When I wrote the scene where Sir Maldwyn died, it was because I felt it needed to be written. His death and other characters' reactions to it told a lot about each of them. It also made my main character realize she was living in a harsh and violent world and made her think about some choices she had to make. Since then, I've realized death scenes can be emotional and touching and revealing.

Anne and I killed off a favorite character once and it was so traumatic for us and the other characters that we found a way to bring him back.

Yes, I have ‘yelled’ at my authors for scaring me when they have either killed or appeared to have killed a character.


See comment as editor.

Also, wrote entire review in this ‘oh no you didn’t’ voice once.


Dear reader, thank you again for joining us and we’d love to hear from you. Keep smiling and have a fun week. Never stop believing. See you next Sunday…nothing better than being cozy in bed with some Musings.

If you have a question or comment you’d like us to muse upon, do not hesitate to contact me Christine Steeves-Speakman  at

Thursday, August 28, 2014


We have 3 new reads today that just rolled off the press!!! Congratulations to P.N. Holland, Donna Jean McDunn, and Thomas Briar.

A young boy discovers magic while he faces an evil spirit trying to kill him at his Lampson School.
The Lost Boys of Lampson by P.N. Holland
Tween Paranormal
Cover Designer Celairen
Billy’s grade 7 year is not at all what he expected. Lampson School is not the same. It is cold and unwelcoming. Worse than that, there is something weird going on—a dark figure in a window, crows attacking him and his best friend Ricky, a strange girl, Amy, who looks like she belongs in the past and his nemesis, Andrew is picking a fight with him. It doesn’t seem to matter what he does, the school is out to get him, but why?
It’s not until the dark figure tries to kill him that he realizes he has to solve the mystery of the missing boys to understand why he is a target. With Amy’s help, he might be able to figure it out and stop the evil entity, but with Ricky not wanting to include her and his own self-doubts keeping him from acting, the evil may have already won.
Now available at:
Barnes & Noble:

Emily must help a murdered child find closure and stop a vengeful ghost from possessing and destroying innocent lives.
Visions by Donna Jean McDunn
Book 2 in The Nightmare Series
YA Paranormal
Cover Designer Charlotte Volnek
Emily's psychic abilities have grown since the acceptance of her “gift” and the defeat of the father and son sociopaths, the Nelsons, whom she has sent away to prison for life.
But when an old friend of her boyfriend, Tony, comes to Charles City, Emily is suspicious and fears things may not be as they seem. Something, or someone, a “Shadow” of darkness, appears to be taking over the bodies of new friends and old.
Then Max, Emily’s murdered dog from her childhood, suddenly comes onto the scene. Emily is certain the ghost dog’s presence means big trouble is brewing.
As her fears grow, the arrival of a young murder victim, adds to her stress, but she vows to find a way to help the child, no matter what.
Her visions aren’t working and only adding to her confusion.
A young man shows up, ostensibly to be of assistance. He claims to be her ‘soulmate’ of sorts. But is he? Or is he simply symbolic of more trouble on the horizon for Emily and her true love?
Will Emily accept his help to protect those most important to her from an evil, vengeful ghost, and prevent him from turning the innocent into killers?
And will she discover where the child’s body is hidden and who killed her, so the young girl and her family can finally have peace? Perhaps, in this case, only the “Shadow” knows.  
Available at:
Barnes & Noble:

What's Clarissa going to do when a lost love returns after a three year absence?
A Lost Love Returns
by Thomas Briar
Contemporary Erotic Romance
Three years after her boyfriend's mysterious disappearance, Clarissa has finally recovered enough to move on with her life. She's graduated from college, found a good job, and is engaged to someone else now. She is happy once again.
So why has Jake, her long lost first love, suddenly turned back up in Key West, Florida at their favorite sidewalk café? Where had he been and what had he been doing during his absence? But most important of all, what could he possibly want from her after all this time?
NOW available at:
Barnes & Noble:

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Sunday Musings: August 24 2014

Come Muse With Us

Good Morning, Musers and Muse Readers!

If I sound a tad hyper, it's cause I am. Pulling all this in anticipation of a Family Game Night, hope your Saturday night was filled with giggles.

Today we're musing about something that every book needs...a title.

Mine...Midnight Find...came after the story was written. Why this title? The main character finds what she's searching for at midnight. Pretty simple. And for me, I work better with a title coming after the story. Some writers I know need the title first.

Let's see what my Muser Family has to offer:

How did you find your title? How important is the title? What's the silliest title you've ever started with...did you keep it?  Join in Muse Readers and leave your comment, love to know your impressions.

MEG AMOR, author

Aloha everyone! Interesting question as always Chris! Thanks :-)

I love the title of a book in my personal writing. I'm not sure it means THAT much to the reader though. Sometimes a title will catch my eye and make me want to look inside the book. Two Pink Flamingos ride the Pink Caddie to Graceland!

I'd probably look inside this book, just because the title caught my eye.

But for me, the title is most personal to me. Once I've read a book, the title might tie in with the book and I think...aha...there it is. Jonathon Kellerman always works the title of his book into the work somewhere. I like that.

I do think sometimes titles with place names catch my eye too.

Under the Tuscan Sun
A Year in Provence
A Farewell to France

The titles important to ME personally. It says what the whole book is about to ME. The reader might not see it that way. :-)

My titles generally just 'pop' in. Sometimes I change a title a few times, but in the end, it's exactly right for what I want. I always want the essense of the story to be told in the title.

DARK WAR - is about Charlie's inner dark war with himself, which he battles and wins. And we had to have Dark in the title. LOL. It was for the Wild Darkness Calls anthology.

HENRY AND ISOLDE - is the deep old classic love story of Henry and Isolde. Told many times over in many different ways. This is my new take on it, but it's an old soulful deeply romantic story of two lovers.

THE CHI CIRCLE - is named for the three lovers who form a committed Troika relationship with each other. Charlie, Henry and Izzy. CHI. Then it's tied in further in the story, by the finding of a past life and the overlapping circle of life that continues - the balance of energies in the Universe. The Chi Circle.  

THE FLAME STILL BURNS - My three lovers connection never dies, across so many lifetimes. They go back to the beginning of time when the twin souls or twin flames were first here. It's connected to that eternal flame we all carry in our hearts.

RUSSIAN SOUL SONGS - My three lovers past life in Russia together, the call to each other, that is so's like a soul song they must obey. They come from a Romani and nobility life in Russia, but it doesn't stop their souls singing to each other.

The meaning is VERY personal for me, but I doubt the reader gets the deeper meaning. Maybe they do. I don't know.

I don't think I've ever come up with a silly title. Damn. :-)

Thanks and aloha. Meg :-)_


Titles don’t catch my attention as much as a cover does.  CROSSED OUT is the only one of my novels that kept the original title.  I wouldn’t bulge on that one!  My protagonist, Stephanie, makes talismans of the dead to help them cross over to their version of heaven.  So you can see why it was important to keep that title!

The others, including EARRINGS OF IXTUMEA, were changed numerous times.  Interesting tidbit: the original title to EARRINGS was THE ADVENTURES OF LUPE.  Yeah, not too catchy.  And my critique group helped me come up with ‘Ixtumea’.  Originally it was Idumea.    I wanted a more ‘Mesoamerican’ feel. 

I chose Sunday's Child for my traditional Regency novel because it is perfect for the heroine.

Tangled Love suits my novel set in the reign of Queen Anne Stuart 1702-1714.

False Pretences is pertinent to the Theme and Plot of my other traditional Regency novel.

 Far Beyond Rubies is the perfect biblical quotation to describe my heroine in my second novel set in Queen Anne Stuart's reign.

 Finding the right title for the Captain and the Countess was the most tricky one. I was suggested by my copy editor's husband and gratefully accepted.

 My current novel Monday's Child, the second of a series, in which some of the characters from Sunday's Child, reappear is apt.

 In future, with the exception of the Child series, I shall check to see if my chosen title is listed on Amazon and, if it is choose another original one.

DAWN KNOX, author

Usually, titles just pop into my head either while I'm writing a story or when I've finished. Occasionally, I have trouble deciding, and then I think of what encapsulates the story for me, whether it is one of the characters or a particular theme. I try to think of something appropriate involving that, using a method, such as a play on words. I try not to give too much away in a title and to make it intriguing.

In 'Daffodil and the Thin Place', I used the protagonist's name and the setting, which is something I wouldn't normally do. A title such as 'Mary in the Garden' or 'Peter in the House' isn't very exciting but I hoped that the girl's unusual name and the use of 'Thin Place' would interest potential readers.

The strangest title I've ever chosen was a bit of a gamble because not only does it include a deliberate spelling error but that particular word has a strikethrough to show it's incorrect and is followed by the correct spelling as if someone has crossed it out and corrected it. Thankfully, a publisher wasn't put off by the title of 'The Four Riders of the Apopalycse Apocalypse' and he included it in an anthology of speculative fiction.


Personally I think the title is very important. It has to grab the reader's attention. It's also an indication of the genre and is just as important as the cover art. Some of my titles are longer but maybe I should shorten them into something more easily remembered.

Seriously, I think we as authors should view them as very short summaries of the book but without giving away the story.

Titles are important.  They grab the potential reader's interest and should say something about the book.  I work to find something that feels right.  Sometimes, this happens quickly, Sometimes, I have to play with ideas for a while. I've never had a silly one.

My least favorite title is CALL TO ARMS, the ninth novel in the Star Commandos series.  I had wanted "Vengeance", but the publisher was releasing another book with that title int he same time frame and so summarily assigned "Call to Arms" without consulting me.  I would have renamed it "Homeworld War" this time around but refrained because I did not want to alter the series or upset its existing fans.

Sometimes the title is obvious to me from the get-go, and sometimes I struggle with it. For the three sci fi novels published by Muse, "Relocated", the first, was titled from the get-go. For "Broken Bonds" and "Geek Games," I used "New Aleyne Novel" and "Martin's Book" as working titles. When the time came, I managed to come up with titles I liked without too much difficulty.

For the fourth one, the one I just submitted, I started with "Rob's Book," after the main character. Unfortunately no title jumped out at me despite my best efforts, and I ended up submitting with the title, "Rob's Rebellion."

I love titles, and I find that choosing the right one is very important. When I'm looking for books at a bookstore or online, I usually just see the title first, even before the cover, so the title has to catch my interest enough for me to check the book out further.

As for making my own titles, I'm terrible at it, and I have to try to squeeze out a title from my imagination to get a good one. I usually have a crummy "on the go" title as I'm writing, and then I make a proper title after a lot of thought after I've written a book or short story. I like the idea of titles having some special meaning to them that you could only know after you've read the book, though so far, I haven't made many titles like that.

How do you find your title? The title usually comes to me first. In fact, most of my stories have begun with a title that sat around for months until the story fleshed out.

How important is the title? Very important to me. It has to hint at what the book contains, but give nothing away.

What's the silliest title you've ever started with...did you keep it? Egg-Beater Helicopter. Yes, I kept it. The story was for middle age children, a short, but it never sold. I guess it was too silly a concept, but it was funny.

Ken:    We’re writing about book names?  The dumbest and the best?  I’ve come up with some doozies, haven’t I.

Anne:  Yeah.  A Prelude to Anger.  Most people didn’t even know what a prelude was.

Ken:    I know I didn’t.

Anne:  And what about Personal Injury.  A reader would think we were writing about ambulance chasers, not about a woman detective who gets her heart broken when she solves the case. 

Ken:    You’re breaking my heart.  I loved that title.  It had a double entendre.

Anne:  Get over it, Ken.

Ken:    Okay, what about Urban Gothic.  Even you have to admit it had a certain ring to it.  Four syllables.  Long short.  Long short.  Right?

Anne:  Sure.  In theory.  Too bad the story wasn’t a gothic.

Ken:    Picky, picky, picky.  So what is your favorite?

Anne:  My all time favorite is Thick Coming Fancies.

Ken:    Anne, are you kidding?  The book is still in our closet. 

Anne:  Yeah.  But it was our first book. And it’s a great title.

Ken:    Yeah ...  Wait, I think you thought of that one.

Anne:  What’s your point?

Dear reader, thank you again for joining us and we’d love to hear from you. Keep smiling and have a fun week. Never stop believing. See you next Sunday…nothing better than being cozy in bed with some Musings.

If you have a question or comment you’d like us to muse upon, do not hesitate to contact me Christine Steeves-Speakman  at