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VBT – Interview with Martin Reaves

 Thriller, VBT Guest Feature  Comments Off on VBT – Interview with Martin Reaves
Aug 262012
 

At this time, the Xarrokian Governing Body would like to express it’s gratitude to one Martin Reaves for granting an entertaining and reflective interview for our people and everyone who engages on this transmission channel.

You may begin enjoying the crafted, honed and enjoyable skill of Mr. Reaves:

VBT Interview:
How did you get into writing?  I think it’s more of matter how writing got into me.  I’ve been a voracious reader as far back as I can remember. Stories captivated me.  Eventually I realized that writing my own stuff was the ultimate “choose your own adventure.”  The realization that I could make up my own stories was (and is) intoxicating.

What is your first piece of work to be released?  Relative Sanity was the first, although Relative Karma was actually finished first.  Before either of these longer works, I had some short stories and articles pop up here and there, as well as many short vignettes for stage.
What would you consider your greatest accomplishment?  The creation of my two amazing daughters…although I had some help.

Can you describe that feeling?  It’s what I call a head-shaker.  My girls are adults now, and I count them among my closest friends.  I am astonished by their beauty, intelligence and humor.  Their heart and compassion humbles me.  When I step back and realize they sprang from my DNA, I can only shake my head and be grateful.

What about your current (or most recent) work stands out as compared to what came before it?  My current project is one I can’t say much about, and that in itself is what sets it apart.  I’m usually so excited when a story grabs me that it’s all I can talk about; this one has had the opposite effect.  I’m afraid to drag it into the light until it’s ready to be seen.

Can you share some of it with us?   Well, as noted above, I’m keeping this one pretty close to the vest.  But…since you asked so nicely.  The idea was born when I saw a road sign on a road trip.  Seriously: The sign was a girl’s name that I found interesting. Before the trip was over I had spun out a dozen plotlines, scenarios, etc.  All from a single name.  I can only say this was The Muse at work.  The power of possibility was (and is) such that I was afraid to start writing anything for a long time.  I was terrified of setting down a single sentence for fear of setting the story off in the wrong direction.  This one scares me in all the right ways.

Can you share a short excerpt of a previous work with us?  Here’s a short excerpt from Relative Sanity—the opening to a favorite scene that sets the story off in a new direction:  They smoked without speaking.  With each inhale Nick took in as much smoke as his lungs would allow, held it until dark smudges began to pulsate at the edge of his vision, then tried to lose himself in the poisonous exhale.  Inevitably the smoke cleared and he was still standing next to Alex, minutes away from changing everything.
He sucked the last from his cigarette, flicked it into the dead-quiet street, thought about lighting another and sucking it down, continuing the process until the pack was empty and there was nothing left to do but go inside, tear open a vein and bleed the fucking misery into the open.

Do you feel that your writing style has changed at all since you began writing?  Absolutely.  I used to write much more of what has been called “purple prose,” flowery and with lots of detailed imagery.  I blame my early love of the brilliant works of Clive Barker, Charles Grant and their ilk.  This type of writing is quite effective for works of dark fantasy, but became less effective for the type of writing I began to produce, which I guess I would describe as dark, realistic suspense.  My writing seems to work better with less flower and more grit.  More show and less tell.  Barker and Grant are masters at descriptive fiction—I was not.

What do you think has bettered your skills? What do you think has hindered you?  Easy answers to both questions.  Reading has sharpened my skills, followed closely by writing.  Want to be a better writer?  To quote Stephen King: “Read a lot and write a lot.”  And the greatest hindrance to my writing has been, unquestionably, too much time spent in front of the television; which is to say, too much time spent not writing or reading.
Which of your characters stands out the most to you, and why? I think it’s probably going to be one of the characters in my WIP, but since I can’t talk about that…I guess I’d have to say Babylon and Bella, the young protagonists of Relative Sanity.  They are complex in ways I can’t really describe with spoiling the story (which you are all going to read and review immediately, yes?), but here’s a snippet:
Babylon looked at the tiny sliver of window over the tub; it was dark outside.  How long had she been asleep?
“It’s time,” Bella said.
“Time for what?”
“Time to get out of this damned bathroom.”
“Don’t you swear, Bella,” Babylon whispered.
“Don’t change the subject.”
Babylon looked at her toes, no longer shriveled from the soak in the tub.  “You were the one said we had to watch out for him.”
“We still do.  But he had a chance and didn’t do anything.  He’s probably as scared of actually doing something as he is afraid he might do something.”
“Huh?”
“Never mind.  Just get up.  He’s fixing dinner.  We need to eat.”
Babylon huddled into the big shirt.  “I don’t want to.”  Only she did kind of want to because her bottom was numb from sitting on the floor so long, and she certainly was hungry.
“You have to, Baby.”
“I don’t hafta do nothin’!”
In the kitchen it went suddenly quiet.
“He’s listening,” Bella whispered.
“Let him listen.  I ain’t leaving this room.”
“Then I will.”
She stood, shifted her weight from one leg to the other until her circulation caught up.  Then she rearranged the shirt, pulled the belt tight and opened the door.
“Bella, you can’t,” Babylon hissed.
But Bella could, and Bella did.

Do you have a writing mantra?  Yes, it’s “write every day.”  I hope to someday actually follow it.
Is writing your hobby or your job?  Music is my hobby.  Sales (for now) is my job.  Writing is my passion…until the scales tip and it becomes my job.

What do you do when you’re not creating the next masterpiece?  I sell plastic by day.  It pays the bills and keeps the word processor running.  I am also a musician and singer and husband and father.  I stay pretty busy.

Do you like sports?   I like all sports a little bit I guess…as long as there are friends around, and plenty of good food and drink.  I do not follow any sports, because they mostly bore me to tears (the sports, not my friends).

Do you have a favorite musical artist? Who?  Depends on my mood, but I guess I’d have to say Rush (the band, not Limbaugh).  I also enjoy cinematic music; John Williams, Alexandre Desplat (love writing to his stuff), James Horner, etc.

What book are you reading right now?  Good Omens, a comic novel of the apocalypse by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett.  If you know these writers, you know I’m in for a rollicking good time.

When do you anticipate your next work to be released?  I’m spending a lot of time networking and marketing and, errrr, answering interview questions, so it’s tough to say.  I will likely release a collection of short fiction by year’s end, entitled Dark Thoughts.  My actual WIP (the novel that scares me as I hope it will scare readers) will likely not see the cyber light of day until sometime next year.
Where can we find you online?   Hither and yon…or, more precisely:
Facebook Author: https://www.facebook.com/MartinReavesAuthor?ref=hl#
Facebook Personal: https://www.facebook.com/Mottlee
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Martin-Reaves/e/B005DI98LG/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_pop_1
Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/mott342
Twitter: https://twitter.com/MartinReaves
Wordpress: http://mott342.wordpress.com/
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5042356.Martin_Reaves

Martin Reaves is a writer primarily of suspense/thrillers with a psychological edge. And sometimes horror…or humor…heck, even romance. (Aren’t all these things connected on some level?).  Upon turning 48 he realized he was no longer 47…he wasn’t sure what to do with this information so he moved on.  Martin is very happily married to his childhood sweet-patootie, and has two incredible adult daughters who he considers among his best friends.  Reading and Writing are twin first-loves, followed by music . He is a musician and singer and has been performing semi-professionally for longer than he’d care to think about.

 

 

 Posted by at 12:23 am

VBT – A Great Debate – Reviewers/Authors

 VBT Guest Feature  Comments Off on VBT – A Great Debate – Reviewers/Authors
Aug 132012
 

The Xarrokian council has seen it fit to add this contributor to our vast database: Natalie Star

During this blog tour issues between reviewers and authors has gotten some attention. A few of us on the tour and behind the scenes wrote a series of blog posts touching on the subject. To follow along check out the links below in order.

Ritesh starts: http://alexiachronicles.blogspot.com/2012/07/i-am-blogger-and-i-am-pissed-1.html

My response: http://wwwbookbabe.blogspot.com/2012/07/why-natalie-star-is-pissed.html?showComment=1343014199787#c1588411442242558889

Ritesh continues: http://alexiachronicles.blogspot.in/2012/07/i-am-blogger-and-i-am-pissed-2.html

Tara’s response: http://tasha-turner.com/im-an-author-and-im-pissed/

Here’s my response too:

6. Put out a good book: I would never dream of putting out a book without having it edited, there are some author’s that do. They either can’t afford it, or claim they do just fine on their own. But I know as a writer that I need to have my work looked at, so that’s one expense I feel is worth it.

I’ve read books by author’s who had a great stories, but the lack of editing made me cringe one too many times that I was removed from the story over and over again. It’s such a disappointment, so I shy away from their future works. As for the bad covers, yeah there have been a few that were so bad I didn’t even consider them, even the free ones. They might be great stories, but bad covers usually indicate no editor due to lack of funding.

So I agree with Ritesh on this one: if you can’t afford and editor, find a good beta reader who can help you spot mistakes. I don’t write reviews for the most part, but I do give stars to books I’ve read. Poor editing knocks off one star right away. I just read one that was so bad I had to knock 2 stars off. It’s a shame because the story itself was really good, but because the mistakes were so bad, I kept getting frustrated while reading it.

7. Help the blogs in return: I will always post the blog link on my facebook, my facebook groups, and twitter. That’s just something I do, it would be rude not to. It’s that whole “scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours” thing.

Sometimes I post on the blog comments and sometimes I don’t, it just depends on the nature of the blog. It’s a tough call though, I don’t want to prevent readers from commenting if they know I’m posting. I want them to be honest with an open dialog and sometimes they hold back because the author is “in the house”. So I try to sit back and judge by the comments that come in or I just ask the blogger their opinion. They usually have a handle on their regular readers.

8. Demanding reviews: I don’t think I’ve ever come across that way. I did beg for a few once I am guilty of that, and when a couple of them said no, I bowed out graciously. But if I were a reviewer demanding attitudes would be a turn off right there. I would delete those books from my TBR list immediately.

9. Book pricing: I would, and will buy books from the big six that are over $10. I won’t buy a book by a newbie indie author for that amount. Not until they’ve proven themselves to me. I’m published through a small press publisher and my book is $5.99 on Amazon, and I’ve been told it’s a bit too pricey with it being my debut novel and all. (My publisher does offer it for $4.99 on their site). But apparently even that is too much for some people.

It’s up to the publisher how to price it, and then I only get a percentage of the sales, so if we go too low I wouldn’t see much of anything for my time and work. No one wants to work for free. The other money has to pay for my editors, I have three per book (content, line, and senior editors), my cover artist, and so many more people who work on it: they format it, they post it on a dozen or more purchase sites, they send it out for reviews, they market a little bit, and have resources for me to use. So yeah, it’s all neat stuff in my contract, but at a price, and that money has to come from somewhere.

10. Going to war: This one is huge and I cannot begin to cover it, but one-star reviews can bring out the worst in authors. Authors should know they can’t please everyone and that they need to act professionally. Being nasty, whining, and belly aching is not becoming to anyone. Then there are those that like to bash authors, and/or write bad reviews, because this is somehow fun for them. What can you do about them? Nothing really, just turn the other cheek and walk away.

What says you? Let us know in the comment section below!

******

I know Ritesh has put out his third and final installment, but I haven’t the time to respond right now. Hopefully soon! Here is his final link (I haven’t even read it yet): http://alexiachronicles.blogspot.in/2012/08/i-am-blogger-and-i-am-pissed-3.html

******

Links:

Book Trailer on You Tube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M8x0K05MHWA

http://www.authornataliestar.com

http://authornataliestar.blogspot.com

https://twitter.com/#!/iamjustnatalie

https://plus.google.com/u/0/116484157865842677580/posts

http://www.shelfari.com/nataliestar

http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5424878.Natalie_Star

Purchase sites: http://authornataliestar.blogspot.com/2012/01/keeper-where-can-you-find-it.html

Author Bio:

When I’m not reading or writing, I can be found with my husband supporting my two children on the soccer fields. Or maybe running around with my camera taking photos while camping and/or hiking. Or lastly, and most probable – I’m watching movies on Netflix while simultaneously perusing Facebook.

Our family resides in the state of Virginia along with our old-unintelligent-diabetic cat named Lucky.

The Keeper (Young Adult/Paranormal Romance/heat level 2), by Natalie Star

Blurb:

The morning of her sixteenth birthday, Billie feels blessed despite the reoccurring nightmare that wakes her. Loving parents, a caring boyfriend, and great friends surround her until an heirloom necklace throws her into a world she never imagined.
“Gifted” with supernatural powers and an unexpected destiny as the Keeper, Billie and a mysterious boy from her past must work together to find answers. But, as they begin to discover feelings for one another, he disappears leaving her to fight evil alone. Her life spirals out of control. She breaks up with her boyfriend, Tony, and alienates her best friends Arianna and Jocelyn to protect them from the truth.
As dark forces pursue her, Billie longs to run away from it all, yet a need to do what’s right compels her to face the future as the keeper of more than her own fortune.

Buy it here for $4.99: http://bonobookstore.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=20

 Posted by at 3:31 pm

VBT – Writing in a Day: Mom and Author Interrupted

 VBT Guest Feature  Comments Off on VBT – Writing in a Day: Mom and Author Interrupted
Jul 292012
 

It is the pleasure of the Xarrokian people to welcome the talented Nikki Noffsinger. She is a woman much like the creator of Xarrok itself.

            This week, the assignment given to all of us who have been part of the Tasha Turner’s Virtual Blog Tour were asked to describe a typical writing day. I am going to ask dear readers that you take the next few minutes to either raid your liquor cabinet, pour a glass of wine, have a tall cold one, or see what the rates are on at home electro shock therapy. Go ahead, I’ll wait.

Ready? Here goes. First of all I write at various times in the 24 hour day. Sometimes I can write whole chapters and sometimes it is just a thought or two. I am a mother of two; a sixteen year old girl and a seven year old with ADHD-so yeah, it is like winning the lotto when I can write a whole chapter. Usually the mornings are not my most creative. My brain is still trying to wake up and I’m doing this “Night of the Living Dead” shuffle and I speak in grunts. The voices in my head are even unhappy that I am awake when the day is still called A.M…

My day starts with several coffee IVs and my son who can’t make up his mind what cereal he wants and I’m trying to remember what cereal is. Again, I do not function in the morning hours. Besides, how many of you can write a romantic scene or even a sex scene with the theme song from “Olivia” or “Adventure Time”. However, maybe a sex scene with the theme music from “Adventure Time” would be kind of funny, I mean think about it, hot hunky guy going in for the honey spot just as the song keys up. That would so sell like hotcakes, right? Don’t look at me, I didn’t promise that I wasn’t a disturbed individual here. I have a sixteen year old pubescent daughter and a seven year old boy who could give Junior from Problem Child a run for his money.

When the kids are either at school or are occupied, I then put the dishes in the sink and decide that of course they need to soak awhile, and I might as well look at the latest project I’m working on. I constantly have more than one story going because I forever have more than one story in my head. I usually get maybe twenty-five or thirty minutes before the phone starts ringing. Have I ever mentioned how much I hate phones? When I want someone to call-they don’t but the minute I get down to writing or get into a book, the calls are one right after the other.

By the afternoon towards evening-there is just no writing. Most days I’m running errands or I’m putting out fires between my kids and wishing I had the number to someone who either performs lobotomies or electro shock therapy. They really should bring home shock kits back. Yes, I have a very warped sense of humor-I have to or I would be cross-eyed and drooling in a corner talking about green kitchens and purple chickens. Yeah, not a pretty sight.

When the sun goes down and the kids are engrossed in either television or heading to bed, that is when I feel I am at my most creative. There is nothing to disrupt the flow of energy and I can immerse myself into the story I’m trying to tell. I am a complete night owl and maybe that is why I write about vampires; we’re kindred spirits seeing as we are one with the night. Then again, I’m not really into blood drinking so I’ll be making my own Bloody Marys minus the O pos.

I don’t write outlines and maybe I should but I never know my day from one moment to the next. I would like to paint the picture that I don’t have a daily amount of conflict, 100 places I have to go and things to do, or that my children don’t act like they are spawned from the devil’s third cousin twice removed but that’s my life. Writing to me is my passion and it is my balm when the sun goes down and the kids go to bed and all is quiet. Just me, my lap top, and some music and that is what gets me through.

 

What is your day like? Are you an author who has no interruptions or are like me and has natural disasters occurring over the smallest of things? Do you use an outline and follow it to the letter? What are your writing companions-things you have to help the creative juices flow?

 

About the Author

 

Nicole Noffsinger or Nikki as she is known is a 37 year old mother of two children and has always loved writing and creating stories from a young age. She lives with her family in a mid-sized Indiana town. Aside from writing she has an eclectic taste in both music and art, loves to travel, and has a great love of all things that go “bump” in the night.

 

Links

http://www.xoxopublishing.com

http://nikkitrueblue.blogspot.com/

https://www.facebook.com/nicole.noffsinger

https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Realm-Of-Author-Nikki-Noffsinger/191125007586215

VBT – Title of the Blog by Bruce Blake

 VBT Guest Feature  Comments Off on VBT – Title of the Blog by Bruce Blake
Jul 162012
 

Today the Xarrokian government is hosting Bruce Blake and his discussion about the skill involved in his creations. 

Title of Blog

 

That’s sort of how my novels start out—with a working title, often just simple descriptions. For example, the second Icarus Fell novel, which will be released on Kindle this week (July 17), was called “New Icarus Novel” for most of its writing. Not exactly the catchiest title, but a good place holder. No chance it would make it on to the cover of a book and draw readers in because of its wit and relevance.

Some titles come easily, some are a challenge. On rare occasions, the title is the impetus behind the story (not me so far, but I’ve heard of it happening). For purposes of example, let’s have a look at my two Icarus novels.

“On Unfaithful Wings” was known as “Harvester” pretty much from its humble beginnings as an idea about a dead guy who begrudgingly helps souls on their way to Heaven. I thought it was a pretty good title, though it did go through a couple of variations before I settled down with it: Soul Harvester, Harvester of Souls, etc. I liked the feel of a one word title and, knowing it would be a series, thought they could all be one word titles. It wasn’t until I was close to publication that the change occurred. I had sent the manuscript to my editor, whom I was working with for the first time. She did a wonderful job helping me with the book, but one of the things she pointed out was that the title didn’t do the story justice. Not very urban fantasy, not very exciting, not a title that drew people in. I thought about it and eventually conceded the point when a couple of my beta readers agreed with the editor’s opinion (including my mother-in-law who said it sounded like it should be a book about farmers…which it’s not).

And the hunt began.

It took me a conscious effort and a bit of time and research to come up with the title. Eventually, I entered the name Icarus in everyone’s little friend, Google, and came up with the poem by Erasmus Darwin that serves as the opening of the book: “…with melting wax and loosened strings, sunk hapless Icarus on unfaithful wings…” Problem solved. A week before publication.

Whew.

The title for the second Icarus novel dropped on my out of the sky. Or from the back of an SUV, to be precise. I was still writing and editing, not really thinking about a title, when I pulled up to a stop light behind an old Toyota 4-Runner. It had surf boards on the roof rack and looked like a vehicle that was familiar with the term “off road”. In the back window, someone had affixed a bumper sticker with a quote from a poem found in The Lord of the Rings that bespoke the SUV owner’s attitude about adventuring. It said: “Not all who wander are lost”. As it was, it didn’t really suit my book, but drop one word, which changes the entire sentiment of the phrase, and voila: “All Who Wander Are Lost”. The book follows Icarus as he travels to Hell in an attempt to recover the souls of his friends. Lost souls. Icarus, and others, get lost. They wander through Hell. Perfect.

I don’t expect perfect titles to magically appear on the backs of Toyotas every time I need them, and I don’t want to cut it as close as I did on the first book, so now I keep a list of titles, just in case. I a a title collector, if you will. Maybe one day, one of them will inspire a story.

Here’s hoping.

What are some of your favourite titles of books? Why do you like them?

If you’re a writer: at what stage of writing your book do you feel like you have to have a title in place?

 

Biography 

Bruce Blake lives on Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada. When pressing issues like shovelling snow and building igloos don’t take up his spare time, Bruce can be found taking the dog sled to the nearest coffee shop to work on his short stories and novels.

Actually, Victoria, B.C. is only a couple hours north of Seattle, Wash., where more rain is seen than snow. Since snow isn’t really a pressing issue, Bruce spends more time trying to remember to leave the “u” out of words like “colour” and “neighbour” then he does shovelling. The father of two, Bruce is also the trophy husband of burlesque diva Miss Rosie Bitts.

Bruce has been writing since grade school but it wasn’t until five years ago he set his sights on becoming a full-time writer. Since then, his first short story, “Another Man’s Shoes” was published in the Winter 2008 edition of Cemetery Moon, another short, “Yardwork”, was made into a podcast in Oct., 2011 by Pseudopod and his first Icarus Fell novel, “On Unfaithful Wings”, was published to Kindle in Dec., 2011. The second Icarus Fell novel, “All Who Wander Are Lost”, is scheduled for release July 17, 2012, with the first book in the four-part “Khirro’s Journey” epic fantasy coming soon after. He has plans for at least three more Icarus novels, several stand alones, and a possible YA fantasy co-written with his eleven-year-old daughter.

 

On Unfaithful Wings

I was alive, then I was dead, now I’m stuck somewhere in between.

My name is Icarus Fell. I am a harvester.

The archangel Michael brought me back to collect souls and help them on their way to Heaven–that’s what a harvester does. If I get enough of them before the bad guys do–if I do a good job–I can have my life back. Now people I knew in life are dying, killed by a murderer’s knife, their bodies defiled, and the cops think I’m the killer.

I’m not, but I think I know who is.

But how does a dead man, a man who no longer exists, stop a psycho? I’m not sure, but I’m going to stop him before everyone I know is dead.

I have to stop him before he gets to my son.

 

Tweet blurb: Murder, angels, and a guy who just wishes they’d let him be dead. On Unfaithful Wings #amreading #urbanfantasy http://amzn.to/GKi7mq

 

www.on-unfaithful-wings.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/?ref=logo#!/bruce.blake.585

Twitter: @bruceablake

Kindle:http://amzn.to/GKi7mq

bruceblake@hotmail.ca

Blog

Guild of Dreams

 Posted by at 12:10 pm

Why My Story Sees The Light of Day ~ Raymond Frazee

 VBT Guest Feature  Comments Off on Why My Story Sees The Light of Day ~ Raymond Frazee
Jul 082012
 

With careful consideration, and incredible talent the book Diners at the Memory’s End was born. Take a moment to read the story behind the creation by the talented Raymond Frazee, who is the guest of the Xarrokian broadcast today.

 

Why My Story Sees the Light of Day

 

Diners at the Memory’s End.  Strange title, strange story.  Well, not to me.  For me, it’s been something that’s stuck with me for quite some time . . .

I’ve blogged about this before, but Diners is part of a group of stories I decided to build around two characters.  The novel in which those characters appear, Transporting, was started about twenty years ago, and was finally finished earlier this year.  It’s a huge story—about 300,000 words—and will eventually be split up as a trilogy.

To be honest it’s my pride and joy.

But, now, Diners . . .

From 1989 to 1992 I worked for a rather large company in downtown Chicago.  Most of the people in the IT department, where I labored, were—to put it bluntly—cretins.  Really stupid, really shallow, or a little of both—take your pick, I was around them for nine hours out of every work day.

There were, however, a few good people—namely three women who worked in the same department.  One was the IT Director’s secretary; one was a fellow software developer; and the third was a technical writer.  The four of use hung together for while, going to lunch and even shopping now and then when we thought we could get the time off.

At one point I was telling them about how I was writing a novel, and there was the, “Oh, that’s very nice,” comments that often come when one makes such revelations.  I don’t know how we got on the subject, but it was decided that I would write a new story, then print it out and give a copy to each of the women so they could read, and perhaps, enjoy.

Sometime in 1990 the first draft of Diners was written.  The women saw it, they loved it, they encouraged me to keep writing.

I didn’t.  But that’s another story.

Cue 2012.  I was finishing edits on one novel, Her Demonic Majesty, and was wondering what was coming next.  I had no real feel for my next story, no pull in the right direction.  I was just sort of hanging out, and wondering, “Hum . . . is this writer’s block?”  No, because I wasn’t writing anything.

I just didn’t know what to do next.

Then it hit me:  I’d always talked about rewriting Diners, and since I was in a bit of a groove with those characters—hey, why not?  Lay it out and write it down.

It seemed like a good idea.  So here I am, about seven weeks later, making my way—slowly—through the story.  I’m over the hump, only 15,000 or so words from making it a novel, and I’m finally feeling as if I’m creating something lasting here.  Not just in this story, but for the characters within.  It’s more continuity from the novel.  It builds upon their personalities.  And it fleshes out the world in which they live.

It’s a good thing.

And I’m very glad I’m writing it, because no one else could.

Author Bio

 

A native of Northwest Indiana, Raymond Frazee has been writing from a very early age, but has only recently seen success.  His first work, Kuntilanak, is a horror story self published on Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, and Amazon, in September, 2011.  His second story, Captivate and Control, is a story of mild erotica/BDSM, published on 6 May, 2012, by Naughty Nights Press, and also found on Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, and Amazon.  He current has two novels being reviewed for publication:  one he calls “A modern steampunkish fantasy,” and the other he describes as “full of erotic horror”.

 

Follow me on:

 

Facebook:  Author Raymond Frazee

Blog:  Wide Awake But Dreaming

Also on Twitter

 

 Posted by at 9:49 am

VBT- Field of Grace ~ Fiction by Allison Bruning

 Paranormal, Romance, VBT Guest Feature  Comments Off on VBT- Field of Grace ~ Fiction by Allison Bruning
Jul 012012
 
It has been brought to the attention of the Xarrokian Governing body that the people need to enjoy themselves. As such, we sought the help of an incredibly talented author, and generous spirit, Allison Bruning. She is happily providing an exceptional piece of literature for enjoyment. She has based this exceptional piece of literature on the image included. Please advise her of your enjoyment once you have taken the time to read.“It all happened right here,” My father says as we climb upon the top of the picnic table. I stare out towards the farmer’s field. Nothing lies before me except cornfields and a small pond on my left with a few trees around it. This trip was a complete waste of time. Today’s Father’s Day. I had come home to Marion for my summer break from college. It hadn’t been a long trip home from Ohio State University. Fact was, I could have visited home more often. Marion didn’t lie very far from Columbus. It wasn’t like it would have taken me weeks or days to go home but I had grown up in the small town and wanted as far, away from there as possible! When you’re related to over half the people in the county the last place you want to be is in the county.
                “I don’t see anything but rocks, trees, dirt and plants. Let’s go dad. I thought you wanted to go hiking somewhere special. All we’ve done is driven out of town, towards LaRue and asked a farmer if we could hike in his fields. I was expecting to go hiking at Mohican State Park not in some farmer’s back field!”
                “Johnny, this is a special place. This is where it happened.”
                “Where? What happened,” I asked totally annoyed at my father’s speculative answer. Why couldn’t he give me a straight answer?
                “This is where our family line almost died in the summer of 1912.”
                I looked at my dad with a curious face. Died? Alright I had to admit he had peaked up my curiosity. “1912, that would be my great, great grandparents,” I asked.
                “Yes.” My father stood silent for a long moment. I really hated when he did that.
                “Well, what happened,” I asked enthusiastically.
                My father smiled and pointed towards an old dirt road covered with grass. “It happened right there.” The events laid before me as I saw the story happen before my eyes.

 

                Twelve year old Stella McGavish peered out the window her father’s two benched Ford Model T.  The large field full of people, cars, wagons and horses came into her view. The further her father drove the more the large white tent came into view.  Woman and children ran along the field yelling, “The preacher and his family are here. They’re here! They’re here!”  Deep in her heart she was grateful her parents had decided to leave her six brothers and two sisters at home. This was going to be a special day indeed! Just her and her parents bring the Lord’s message to the masses. “Ma,” Stella said leaning over the back of the front bench.
                “Stella, sit back,” Mrs. McGavish said.
                “Look at all the people! There’s so many you can’t see the grass!”
                “The good Lord has provided, Stella. There’ll be plenty of sinners to join our flock,” Preacher McGavish answered with an Appalachian accent.
                “Isn’t it exciting though. You said God called us out of the mountains of West Virginia to lead his people who live in Ohio back to him. Just look,” Stella beamed.
                “Yes, baby girl. I am excited too,” her father answered with a disciplined look. “But let us not forget we are not here to celebrate we are here to do God’s will. This is the beginning of the tent revivals. There’ll be plenty of time to celebrate when the week is through.”
                “Yes, sir,” Stella answered then leaned back in her chair.
The day had gone by so quickly. Her father had preached for three hours then they ate lunch. Lunch had been wonderful. One of the members from her father’s congregation had secured meat from the local grocer in Marion while the women had made the sides and dessert. Stella couldn’t remember the last time she had ever eaten so much food! But now she was beginning to think having so much to eat hadn’t been such a great idea. Stella slowly backed out of the tent, hoping not to cause much of a scene as her father was preaching. She clutched her arms over her stomach, grimaced and ran out of the tent. She fell to her knees and vomited. Tears ran down her eyes from the excruciating pain.
“Stella,” her mother’s voice beckoned from behind her.
“It hurts. I ate too much,” Stella cried.
“You’re not the only one sick.” Her mother said placing the back of her hand on her daughter’s cheek. “You are burning with fever.” Her mother lifted her up in her arms and ran inside the tent. Men and woman ran around the tent aiding those who were ill. When had so many become ill? Her mother laid her on the ground next to the sick men, women and children.  Stella closed her eyes.
Rain trickled upon the top of the tent. A soft breeze gently blew inside. Stella turned her head, slowly opening her eyes.  The grassy floor underneath the tent had been replaced by ailing bodies of men, women and children. Three adults moved from between the sick yet none of them was her father. Where was he?! She turned her right. Her mother lay beside her with her arm around Stella’s father.  “Ma,” Stella called pushing her mother. Her mother never replied.


My father paused as he stared into nothing. “What happened? Stella had to live. She was my great great grandmother,” I said towards him anxiously awaiting his reply.
“She almost died too. The revival was an hour and a half away from town. When Stella had awakened one of the elders had already left to get the doctor in Marion. He never made it.”
“Why?”
“He got sick, had a car accident and died. But none of the congregation knew it. The people stayed in the tent for the night. Many of them grew worse but no one died. The following more the three remaining elders grew concerned so one of the men went to Marion. He found the accident on his way into town. When he saw the man was dead he continued on towards Marion. Later that morning, the doctor had arrived to the revival with plenty of help. When the town had heard of Pastor McGavish’s ailment and the others who were suffering they immediatly wanted to help him. So they loaded up their cars and wagons then followed the doctor out to the encampment. There they found twenty-seven men, woman and children all suffering from extreme food poisoning.”
“Food poisoning? How?”
“The grocer had sold them bad meat but they weren’t the only ones who had been ill from the meat. Many families in Marion had suffered from the same thing. It was a terrible case and some of the townspeople had died from it.”
“Stella’s mom?”
“She survived.   It could have been much worse for everyone had the doctor never arrived when he did and with the help he had they were able to transport everyone to the hospital just in time. The event had affected everyone involved. The grocer felt bad about the meat. He never again contracted with the farmer who had sold it to him. He almost went out of business but after awhile the people forgave him. Pastor McGavish and his family had been outsiders in the community. They had faced many hardships because they were from another state. You see in Marion County its all about who you are related to and still is to this day. Don’t get me wrong, son. Our family is big and very protective of all our family members but we are good people. Pastor McGavish learned that. He saw the same people who had appeared cold-hearted to him and his family had mercy, love and kindness in their hearts. He began to have a  greater appreciation for the people of his new hometown, Marion. And the people of Marion? Well, after the incident, little by little they began to open up to the new pastor. Pastor McGavish’s congregation grew so large they had to move out of home and build a church. It still stands today and even though its been generations since he was alive people still flock to his Methodist Church.”
“Seems to me it wasn’t the people who learned a lesson that day but Grandfather McGavish.”
“Indeed. He and the people learned to have a greater appreciation for the community they lived in, the neighbors around then and their own lives. It just goes to show you that when someone helps you they are showing mercy, compassion and love. We just have to open our own hearts to accept them for who they are. We can’t change someone into something they are not.  We are all different and we should be grateful for that. What a boring place this world would be if we were all the same. With mercy, love and compassion for others we can change the world for the better. That is what everyone learned that day.”

 

 

About Our Guest: 
The Executive Director of the Kentucky Young Writers Connection, a non-profit agency of writers who promote young authors throughout the state of Kentucky. Allison originally hails from Marion, Ohio. Her father, Roland Irving Bruning, was the son of German immigrants who came to the United States at the turn of the 20th century. Her mother’s family had been in the United States since the 17th century. Allison is a member of the Peter Foree Chapter of the  Daughters of American Revolution. Her linage traces to Private Reuben Messenger of Connecticut. Her educational background includes a BA in Theater Arts with a minor in Anthropology and a Texas Elementary Teaching certificate. Both acquired at Sul Ross State University in Alpine, Texas. Allison received National Honor Society memberships in both Theater Arts and Communication. Allison was also honored her sophomore year with admission into the All American Scholars register. She holds graduate hours in Cultural Anthropology and Education. In 2007 she was named Who’s Who Among America’s Educators. She is also the recipient of the Girl Scout Silver and Gold Awards.
Allison lives with her husband in Kentucky.  Calico is book one from the series, Children of the Shawnee. It is available at http://amzn.to/JSNRpm. She is currently working on the sequel, Rose.  She is also working on another series, The Secret Heritage, which traces the life of her great great grandmother at the turn of the 20th century in Ohio. Allison’s interest includes Ohio Valley history, anthropology, travel, culture, history, camping, hiking, backpacking, spending time with her family and genealogy. Her genres include historical fiction, paranormal, romance, and suspense.
 
You can reach her at:
Facebook Fan Page http://on.fb.me/plvkxJ
Twitter: @emeraldkell

VBT Feature Tara Chevrestt: Currently Reading

 VBT Guest Feature  Comments Off on VBT Feature Tara Chevrestt: Currently Reading
Jun 242012
 

Today we welcome an incredible and talented woman who has created some dynamically incredible characters. Tara Chevrestt is discussing the book that has her attention right now. Her passion for reading is contagious.

 

Without further delay, Tara Chevrestt:
I’m currently reading a book called Flight from Berlin by David John. What made me pick it up? The title caught my eye first. Flight. That word grabs me every time. I’m an aviation buff. Course, upon closer inspection, I find the book doesn’t really have anything to do with aviation (except it does have the Hindenburg in it) but two reporters and a huge Nazi cover up.

Has it helped me with my own writing? No. I actually try NOT to think about my own writing when I sit down and read for pleasure. I never compare my own work with others. It’s too depressing. LOL. Besides, being a writer and an editor means I think “books” all day long so when I finally shut down my computer for the night and grab another book, it’s strictly for pleasure.

My favorite quote from it so far: “Shit doesn’t have a nice side.” Seriously, that’s a good one.

What I like about it? Though a minor side story, I love the Hindenburg parts. I had to Google it and learn more, look up pictures of the interior and such. I also just love WWII history. I often ask myself why? It’s a time full of hatred and ugliness. What was done to the Jews was so vile, it makes me sick to my stomach. Where does this hatred stem from? How are people capable of such ugliness? But I’m a firm believer that if we forget history, we may repeat it.

It was also a time in which women came to the forefront, left the home, went to work. A new independence was born. And aviation grew to amazing heights. So despite the ugliness of these years, they fascinate me.

I also enjoy the tension and drama behind the 1936 Olympic Games. There was so much more going on than we realize.

So, what era/time/genre of book do YOU find yourself drawn to? Why?

 

About the Author 

Tara Chevrestt is a deaf woman, former aviation mechanic, writer, and an editor. She is most passionate about planes, motorcycles, dogs, and above all, reading. That led to her love of writing. Between her writing and her editing, which allows her to be home with her little canine kids, she believes she has the greatest job in the world. She is very happily married.

Tara also writes as Sonia Hightower. Sonia writes the racy stuff and argues that she was here first. She just wasn’t allowed to be unleashed until the last year.

While Tara and Sonia continue to fight over the laptop and debate who writes the next book, you can find buy links, blurbs, and other fun bits on their website: http://tarachevrestt.weebly.com/index.html or their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Tara-Chevrestt-Sonia-Hightower/218383211513877.

 Posted by at 6:33 am

Virtual Blog Tour Feature Joseph Eastwood

 VBT Guest Feature  Comments Off on Virtual Blog Tour Feature Joseph Eastwood
Jun 212012
 

The Xarrokian people are happy to present the talented author and creative spirit of Mr. Joseph Eastwood

Favorite Author? Not Possible, this is why:

I don’t believe that anyone can have a favourite book or a favourite author, nobody can be so dedicated to a book or an author, it’s just impossible, or well, it’s like those girls (typically) who are constantly talking about some band and getting into bitchy arguments because of a comment that someone made about another band member. And people are judgey, that’s why I don’t have favourite books or authors, in fact, usually my favourite author is the one that I’m reading at the time, similarly with favourite book.

 

The above paragraph might not have made much sense, but I’m sure that you got the gist. So at the moment guys, my favourite author is Suzanne Collins, and my favourite book is Catching Fire, because that’s what I’m reading at the moment, and I love her writing, but what I love more is her description of food… that woman can make my belly grumble even when it’s been fed.

 

To pad this guest post out I’ll tell you about some of the authors on my bookshelf. So, we have Trudi Canavan and The Magician’s Guild, probably one of the first proper books that I read and I remember staying up late at night, sitting on the landing so that I could read it under the light. She’s a really good writer and I love the world that she’s created, if you ever get the chance to pick up a Trudi Canavan book, go for it. I have a small collection of Stephen King books, not the biggest fan of his writing, but a huge fan of his success. I also have quite a few of Charlaine Harris’ books. I regrettably have quite a few PC & Kristen Cast books, and I hate THEM (but I’ll have to leave that for blog post) because they are messed up, and they have created some of the WORST characters in fiction that I’ve read. I’ll just list them now, this is getting quite long: Christopher Poalini, L. J. Smith, J.K. Rowling, William Shakespeare, Sara Shepard, Heather Brewer… okay, I have a lot more than that, it’s just I’m in the middle of packing them all away and it’s pretty dark right now.

 

I feel like I’ve definitely done my fair share of book/author ranting, and this was supposed to be a happy post! Ha! Have a great day!

 

Who populates your book shelves?

Is there a book you could read over and over?

 

~About Joseph ~

 

Joseph Eastwood is the eldest of five siblings. He lives and grew up in Lancaster, England, where he also attends the University of Cumbria, studying English Literature and Creative Writing.

He has always had a giant creative connection in his life, from drawing and writing to having an eclectic taste in music and reading a wide range of books, which he hopes reflects in his own writing. He also loves watching sci-fi, supernatural and fantasy based TV shows and films. Among some of his favourites are Supernatural, The Vampire Diaries and True Blood. As well as those he loves dramas, like The Good Wife and Desperate Housewives.

Joseph is either busy doing edits and writing or trying to get some university work done. He lives for creativity, striving to be different and thinking up new hoops for his characters to jump through.

 

Where to find him

http://www.josepheastwood.com/ – Blog

https://www.facebook.com/josephswriting – Facebook page

https://twitter.com/#!/Joe_Eastwood – Twitter

 Posted by at 6:46 pm
Jun 102012
 

The Xarrokian governing body is pleased to welcome our next visitor, DeAnna Troupe:

 

Summer Plans

For most work at home parents, the end of school signals anxiety and panic. Writers are no exception. Why? Most writers use the time that kids are in school as time to get the stuff done for business. However, when school ends, parents now have to figure out how they are going to get their work done with the kids in the house ALL DAY long. Don’t panic. You don’t have to put your business on hold for three months. Here are some tips to help you stay on top of things this summer.

 

Outsource Tasks

Okay if you’ve been following my blog for any length of time, you will know that I am a big advocate of outsourcing. Delegate tasks you either don’t have time for or aren’t good at. With the kids at home, you don’t have the time you used to have, but you still have the same bills you had when school was in session. Outsourcing will free up your time so you can still get your writing done.

 

Choose Projects More Carefully

With time at a premium, you have to be more picky about the work you accept. If you know you finish some tasks faster than others, only take that kind of work during this crunch time. If there’s stuff you know you hate doing, you may have to decline those projects. If you have clients that you have to chase down to get your payment, you may want to stop accepting projects from them during the summer since you won’t have time to be a bill collector. If some of the projects you take mean that you have less time to write, you may also want to decline these projects.

 

Keep The Kids Occupied

Find creative ways to keep the kids occupied while you are working. Are the artsy? Give them some arts and crafts projects to work on. Do they like legos? Get them a few lego kits and let them have at it. Of course if none of these work, you can let them watch tv for a few hours while you work.

Summer doesn’t have to be a time of angst. Summer can be productive if you put a few things in place to help keep things running smoothly. What are your plans to help keep your business running smoothly this summer? Leave your tips in the comment section.

About the Author DeAnna Troupe

DeAnna Troupe is a native of Atlanta, Georgia, and a serial entrepreneur that has always loved helping others.  Her very first job was as an algebra tutor at the tender age of 14.  Since then she has amassed over 10 years of experience at all levels of business including running her own freelance secretarial business for 5 years.  She has been on the social media scene since before we even knew that’s what we were doing.  She has a knack for coming up with creative ways to solve tough problems.  She has two books out on Amazon’s kindle. One is called Tips For The Sophisticated Marketer. The other one is called Tips About Twitter For The Sophisticated Marketer. She is an effective teacher that enjoys seeing her clients get to the next level with their business.  When she’s not coaching clients on integrating video in their social media strategy, she enjoys spending time with her husband and kids. She also enjoys reading, writing, crocheting, singing, playing cards, and playing board games. Facebook: DeAnna Troupe Coach

Twitter: DeAnna Troupe

Web: http://www.learnsmallbusiness.com

 Posted by at 2:35 pm
Jun 062012
 

This is a talented Erotica Author:

 

If I were to describe my book by a song I would choose “Bring Me To Life” by Evanescence, to describe Kiss of the Dragon (copyright Ellie Mack 2012).  Kiss of the Dragon is a paranormal romance about Isabelle Lennox, an interior designer from Texas.  She falls through a mirror to end up back in medieval times where she meets Zanathrus Fallon, Lord of the Green Dragons.

Everything that she has thought about who she is, is about to be shattered.  When she is thrown into Zane’s world, it “wakes her up inside” awakening her true being. Like a Celtic knot, her life is interwoven intricately into the tapestry of life, prophecy, and destiny. The hidden truths begin to surface as their relationship develops. The ordinary existence she had is nothing compared to the grandeur of who she really is.

In a world of dragons, wyverns, mages, and warriors; Isabelle discovers her own strength and purpose. She is either the destiny or destruction for the dragon world.  Which will it be?  Either way, there’s no turning back to the darkness that was before.

In the chorus the female lead singer is singing “wake me up inside, bid my blood to run, save me from the nothing I’ve become.”  Up to this point Isabelle’s life has been a “nothing” existence. Then at the end of this song the lyrics are: I’ve been living a lie there’s nothing inside, Bring me to life.  Once her true self is awakened, there’s no turning back.

Reality has never been as good as fantasy.

 

Lyrics to “Bring Me to Life

How can you see into my eyes like open doors?

Leading you down into my core when I’ve been so numb.

Without a soul, my spirit’s sleeping somewhere cold

Until you fixed it there and lead me back home.

 

Wake me up (wake me up inside)

I can’t wake up (wake me up inside)

Save Me (Call my name and save me from the dark)

Wake me up (Bid my blood to run)

I can’t wake up (Before I come undone)

Save me (Save me from the nothing I’ve become)

 

Now I know what I’m without

You can’t just leave me

Breathe into me and make me real. Bring me to life.

 

Wake me up (wake me up inside)

I can’t wake up (wake me up inside)

Save Me (Call my name and save me from the dark)

Wake me up (Bid my blood to run)

I can’t wake up (Before I come undone)

Save me (Save me from the nothing I’ve become)

 

I’ve been living a lie. There’s nothing inside.

Bring me to life.

 

Frozen inside without your touch

Without your love, darling

Only you are the life among the dead.

 

All this time, I can’t believe I couldn’t see

Kept the dark but you were there in front of me

I’ve been sleeping a thousand years it seems

Got to open my eyes to everything

 

Wake me up (wake me up inside)

I can’t wake up (wake me up inside)

Save Me (Call my name and save me from the dark)

Wake me up (Bid my blood to run)

I can’t wake up (Before I come undone)

Save me (Save me from the nothing I’ve become)

 

I’ve been living a lie there’s nothing inside

Bring me to life.

 

“Kiss of the Dragon” is a current work in progress, scheduled for publication in 2012.

About the Author:

Ellie Mack lives in a small town near St. Louis, Missouri. She graduated from Southeast Missouri State University with a BS in geography/cartography. She has worked for Department of Defense, county government, as a substitute teacher, and various other jobs.  Her hobbies include reading, bicycling, playing Tombraider, and Dance games such as Dance Dance Revolution, and Zumba. Between being a mother to two teenage girls, a wife, homemaker, and a mortgage loan officer, Ellie writes paranormal romances.
Ellie’s first erotica piece is appearing on http://storytimetrysts.blogspot.com/
Ellie’s blog can be found at:  http://quotidiandose.wordpress.com/2012/05/25/passion-2/

 Posted by at 4:26 am