Andy Peloquin

I am an artist – words are my palette

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Romance in Fantasy: Yes or No?

I think the question isn’t “Should fantasy include romance?” Instead, I think we should be asking “How much romance?”

The truth is that EVERYONE loves love. There is something wonderful about falling in love, finding that special someone in your life, and sharing your heart with your “soul mate”. No matter how cynical you act, there is always a part of you that can’t help but smile when you read the story of two people falling in love.

But when it comes to WRITING romance, you have to walk a very fine line. Too little can be just as bad as too much emphasis on romance. If you don’t do it right, you could turn an epic fantasy or sci-fi novel into nothing more than crappy genre romance.

I love writing romance as much as the next guy or gal, but here is what I tell myself when I write romance into a novel:

  1. Keep it relevant. Is the romantic sub-plot going to help develop my character or story? If not, it’s just distracting from what’s really important: the MC’s journey, growth, and development. Romance can play a central role in character development, but many writers throw it in there just because it appeals to readers. Make that romance relevant to the story, and it won’t feel like it’s there “just because”.
  2. Keep it in its place. How many chapters of an epic fantasy novel do you really need to dedicate to the budding love between two characters? Romance and relationships have their highs and lows, but most fantasy readers aren’t picking up your book because they’re looking forward to a spicy romance. That’s not to say you should trim it back or eliminate it, but simply keep it in its place.

It’s easy to forget that romance ISN’T the most important part of the story, just like it’s easy to forget to include romance in the story in the first place. The secret to being a truly effective writer is knowing how to walk that fine line between too much and too little romance.

Now, what about sex? Does sex deserve a place in your fantasy novels? I actually asked this question to a few writers and editors, and we had a fascinating discussion on the topic:

Add Sex in Fantasy video

This post is part of the Virtual Fantasy Con Blog Tour.

Pop over here to see the rest of the Blog Tour posts…

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Book Review: Operation Camilla by Tabitha Ormiston Smith

It’s Bonus Book Review Saturday, and today I’m bringing you something a bit out of the ordinary. It’s a dark comedy mixed with a mystery—something I found enjoyable, and I’m sure you will too!

(Read my review of Tabitha’s Once Upon a Dragon and Dance of Chaos)

Operation Camilla

A sleazy solicitor hacks into a dating website in order to boost his failing family law practice. But he doesn’t count on Tom! Meanwhile, Tammy has found her dream man, but can she keep him?operation-camilla-bk-2-cover-ebook-2april2016-2500operation-camilla-bk-2-cover-ebook-2april2016-2500

There’s romance, there’s mystery, there’s humour. And there’s a cat!

My Review: 4 Stars

This book was fun, short, and beautifully snarky! It has that classic Tabitha Ormiston Smith humor that made me (literally) laugh out loud, and I couldn’t put the book down all the way through.

Make no mistake: this isn’t literary gold. Don’t go into this book expecting a high-octane tale of hackers, hard-boiled police detectives, and difficult crimes. Think of this as one of those low-budget movies that become cult classics because they’re just so enjoyable! No heavy reading or thought-provoking depth, just a rollicking good time.

Here’s a Taste:

Josh regarded his uncle sceptically. “Seems odd they don’t have their own computer people, though. I mean, a big organisation like Asio.”

Blackman tapped the side of his nose. “It’s a black op, Josh. Full freedom, but no support. I’m on my own with this. And I need the help of someone I can trust. I need your help, Josh. For the children,” he finished, with a significant look.

“Children? What children?”

Damn, he’d laid it on too thick. “Figure of speech, mate. I mean the security of our nation, and the country our children are going to inherit, see what I mean?”

“Alright, Uncle Don. What was it you wanted me to do?”

“I need you to hack into a website. This website.” He passed over a slip of paper. “I want to know everyone they have dealings with.”

Josh stared at the paper. “Uncle Don, I know this site. It’s a dating agency.”

“Ostensibly. Huh? Huh?” He waggled his eyebrows in what he hoped was a meaningful way.

“I want to know everyone who’s on their list, and the codenames they’re using. If you can get copies of their communications in and out, that would be ideal.”

“But Uncle Don, a dating agency?”

“Think about it, Josh. Communications going in and out all the time. People using code names. Meetings being arranged. Think about it. We want to know where and when those meetings are taking place.”

He had him now. The kid’s eyes were shining.

“Can you do it, Josh? Remember, no risks. I may risk my own life for my country, but yours is not on the table.”

“Let me see what I can do, ’kay?”

“And no talking about it on the phone. If you see me anywhere but here, don’t say anything. This room’s been swept for bugs, but…”

Josh nodded. “Say no more, Uncle Don. My lips are sealed.” He made a zipping gesture across his mouth.

“We’ll meet back here in, say, a week. If anyone asks, I was having some trouble with my computer. Everyone knows I’m a technophobe. It’s useful for them to know that, if you know what I mean.”

“Geez. Do you have, like, a Batcave under here?”

Good lord. The boy was even younger than he looked. Blackman did his best to paste a mysterious expression on his face. “Need to know basis, Josh, capisce?”

About the Author:

Tabitha Ormiston-Smith has spent her life in the pursuit of a good laugh. This quest has taken her through financial reporting, Information Technology, the military, commercial recovery and degrees in Computer Science, Philosophy and Law. Still on the hunt, now Tabitha shares her kills with her readers.

Find the book on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Operation-Camilla-Tomcat-Book-ebook/dp/B01H2O3OO0

Read her thoughts on her website: http://tormistonsmith.wix.com/tabitha

Follow her on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/OrmistonSmith/

Tweet at her: @OrmistonSmith

 

 

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18 Amazing Marketing Tips that WORK

Marketing is the writer’s bane! While there is nothing we want more than to retreat into our little bubble of creativity, unfortunately that is no longer an option. Unless you’re Stephen King or G.R.R. Martin, you have to do a lot of marketing. For indie authors, the vast majority of the marketing rests squarely on your shoulders.

But we don’t have endless time to dedicate to both marketing and writing. It’s vital, therefore, that you/I/we find ways to make the most of the little marketing time available.

In the video below, I talk with a few indie author marketing pros to find out what they do that actually WORKS (sells books). The 18 tips in the video will help you to know where to focus your marketing efforts, what to do, and how to do it effectively:

Cliff Notes:

  1. Make Book 1 in a series freebie
  2. Get involved in writers’ group, professional organizations, etc. NETWORK!!!!
  3. Don’t give anything away for free. Make readers work for it using sign-ups, etc.
  4. Use FreeBooksy, Bargain Booksy, and other promo newsletters for promo/freebie days. (Look on Awesome Gang for free websites and pages for promos)
  5. Promote yourself, not your product.
  6. Reach readers as well as fellow authors by sharing resources that interest them as well.
  7. Don’t put all your eggs into a basket–sell it EVERYWHERE, not just Amazon.
    1. Though KDP Select does offer benefits.
  8. Take advantage Hootsuite, Buffer, and other social media content automated sharing services.
  9. Create a fan group.
  10. Add social media and website links to the back of your eBooks and in your email signature.
  11. Include message in the back of your book (eBook and paperback) to leave a review.
  12. Build your email list and keep fans engaged.
  13. What to send in newsletter: recap of activities for month, excerpts from WIP, give away free paperback, blog content (or links to it), change things up, etc.
  14. Always have promo materials on hand!!!
  15. Use Headtalker or Thunderclap to promote your book, even if not on a big launch or giveaway. ANYTIME is good!
  16. Always plan ahead!!! Set up a launch plan well in advance of the date!
  17. Create image teasers to generate interest into the books, using quotes to your book + link to your website.
  18. Go to Hashtag.org and find hashtags relevant to your content/book.

Meet the Panelists

Megan Peticolas Haskell:

Legend has it I was born with a book in my hands. Thirty-ish years later, I’m a stay-at-home-mom who prefers a good story over doing the dishes. Only now, I’m building my own fantasy worlds! Sanyare: The Last Descendant is my first published novel, but the sequel, Sanyare: The Heir Apparent, is set to release on September 21, 2016. I am also the Program Director of O.C. Writers, A Network of Published and Aspiring Authors, located in Orange County, CA. To find out more about me and my books, visit my website at www.meganhaskell.com!

Facebook: www.facebook.com/meganhaskellauthor

Twitter: www.twitter.com/meganphaskell

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/meganphaskell/

G+: https://plus.google.com/b/109428672595505357182/+MeganhaskellAuthor/posts

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/12172278.Megan_Haskell

 

Sarah Hendrix-Craft

Sarah is a queen of Chaos. She’s finally broke the chains of working a day job and now freelances working as a personal assistant for Jennifer Brozek and Cat Rambo and handles promotions for Apocalypse Ink Productions and Evil Girlfriend Media, TANSTAAFL Press and Jim French’s Imagination Theatre. Spare time finds her writing, beading, and knitting.  To complete her love of all things unorganized, she has 3 cats, 2 teenage boys and a husband. You can find her work in Space Battles #6 from Flying Pen Press, the In Situ, and the FISH anthologies both from Dagan Books, “Ordinary Hero” from Lakeside Circus and  “The Coin Whisperer” in Abyss and Apex or follow her blog, Twitter or Facebook.

 

Karina Kantas:

Karina Kantas is the author of the popular OUTLAW series. She also writes short stories and when her imagination is working over time, she writes thought provoking dark flash fiction.

There are many layers to Karina’s writing style and talent. As you will see in her flash fiction collections. And in UNDRESSED she opens up more to her fans. Giving them another glimpse of her warped mind.

When Karina isn’t busy working on her next best seller, she’s designing teasers, book trailers, recording audio or videoing small readings and then working on Twitter and FB posts.

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/ExplosiveWriter/

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Karina-Kantas/e/B0034P98EW

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100010977245139

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Duel to the Death: Aviere Mye

I, Andy Peloquin, challenge you, EM Whittaker, to a duel to the death! But it is not we who will fight, but our characters…

In the black corner, weighing in at 180 pounds, standing a cool 6 feet tall, the Hunter of Voramis!

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Tale of the Tape:

  • Superhuman reflexes, strength, speed–think Captain America, but stronger
  • Thousands of years of weapons training
  • Body has accelerated healing factor–can survive a sword to the heart (can be killed by drowning, iron weapons, beheading, and suffocation)
  • Cannot be killed by anything but iron
  • Accursed dagger that heals him when he kills
  • No magical abilities whatsoever
  • No hesitation to kill if he perceives opponent as a threat/obstacle to his desires–classic anti-hero

In the purple corner, we have Aviere Mye, the Poisoner of Baltimore City, once-donna of central Baltimore.

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Tale of the Tape:

  • Can shift into a black panther (referred to as black jaguars in North America), and hold the form for five minutes at a time until practiced, due to her handicap listed below.
  • Shift her eyes for heightened sight, smell and hearing, or shifting claws out to attack her opponent discretely.
  • Poisoned blood from a genetic mutation at birth (being stuck or brushed by her claws causes paralysis after effecting the central nervous system).
  • Highly advanced poison-making, potions and medicinal medicines. Masters Degree in pharmacology with a minor in biochemistry.
  • Intelligence in the 190 IQ range, which allows her to analyze situations quickly.
  • Skilled in street fighting, despite her lithe frame.
  • Knowledgeable about the human body, including pressure and chakra points.
  • Protected by magical talismans from her brother and husband. Since her older brother is a highly advanced mage, he’s spelled her jewelry and other items against negative soul sucking energies. The engagement and wedding rings from her husband prevent reading inside her mind and protect her from illusion magicks, since her greatest rival resorts to these tactics for attacks.
  • Skilled with shooting small pistols and air guns (has a modified air gun used as a vial gun and poisoned needle gun).

Two enter the ring, only one can leave alive!

How would Aviere kill the Hunter? While the Hunter is a formidable foe, Aviere’s quick speed and cautious fighting style would allow her to keep her distance from the Hunter. She would only resort to shifting if she couldn’t attack him long distance, depending on what disguise he used.   The poison she’d use depended on his form – if the Hunter donned a human disguise, she’d use a vial of hemlock or thallium to inject into the Hunter’s bloodstream. Effects would start immediately with cardiac and central nervous system problems, which can last anywhere from 30 minutes to a few hours. However, Aviere’s tested her concoctions on humans, shifters and mages with differing results, so she’d have to stall until the effects caused the desired effect – death.

To kill Aviere: The Hunter would try to overwhelm her with his inhuman speed, strength, and skill. All he has to do is pierce her skin with Soulhunger, and the dagger will consume her soul. Not even someone with considerable magical abilities can survive Soulhunger’s bite–it was created to kill demons.

Who would win?

The Hunter relies on strength and speed, while Aviere’s strength lie in her feline senses–she masks her scent and presence. Her fighting style consists of keeping her distance from her target, so with this strategy, she’d probably be successful against subduing the Hunter. She would keep back and shoot him with her poisons.

Because of his supernatural healing, the effects would wear off, but Aviere always keeps a vial contained with the same drugs for lethal injection. As the effects stall the Hunter as his body heals, she uses the advantage to shoot him with the last vial. With his abilities taxed, the Hunter probably wouldn’t fight off the combinations of anesthetic and paralytic agents, along with potassium chloride (which stops the heart and cardiac functions).

However, what Aviere doesn’t know is that none of her poisons work against the Hunter. They will slow him down, even temporarily appear to kill him, but he has survived worse. She fails to realize that pure iron or Soulhunger are the only weapons that can put an end to this half-demon assassin. Once the Hunter heals, he will come for her. Even if she is protected from Soulhunger’s bite, she can be broken and killed like any other mortal. The Hunter has faced many brutal thugs and street toughs, and they all lie dead.

Winner: The Hunter. Death does not come so easily for the assassin of Voramis.

Want to find out more about this poisoner who would dare challenge the legendary assassin of Voramis to the death? Click here to read about Aviere Mye…

 

Who do YOU think would win? Did we get the match-up right? Leave a comment below and let me know…

 

You would post the same duel to the death on your blog, but changing it so YOU challenge ME, and you post a link to my books. Sort of a cross-promo, but in a hella-fun way!

 

 

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Awesome Resources for Creative Writing: MS Wishlist

When it comes to creative writing, I sit down with a very definite goal in mind: tell a story I have already outlined and defined. However, that’s just me. I know many writers actually like hearing ideas and inspiration from other sources. It helps them to come up with creative concepts that are more “marketable”.

To that end, I present to you the latest resource for creative writing: Manuscript Wishlist, or MS Wishlist.

MS Wishlist is a website where agents and editors post their “I wish I could have this!” For example, here are a few of today’s (Monday Sep 19th) wishlist posts:

  • #MSWL in YA or Adult -> original ghost stories, eerie near-contemporary settings, long buried secrets, high concept coming of age.
  • You know what I really want to read? The BAD MOMS for the expecting moms-to-be and the not-gonna-happens and the not-quite-yets. #WF #MSWL
  • Really want a story about a girl who works in a library and falls in love with someone through the books she pulls for them.
  • Craving exciting high fantasy: rich secondary world, complex characters, subtle magic, and high stakes.
  • Old Hollywood was the worst. Love to see something set there that doesn’t sugarcoat it.

These are all posts by agents and editors from big-name literary agencies and publishing houses, so you know they’re ideas that could appeal to the people you need to reach to get your books in the right place. If you’re looking for a direction for your next story, this is an EXCELLENT site to check out.

You may be thinking, “But I want to write the story I want to write!” Good for you. You should always try to tell the story that is as true to YOU as possible.

But, let me tell you this: what if you could tell YOUR story, but make it something people are looking for? If you can tweak your story so it will appeal to agents before you even write it, you have a MUCH better chance of success in the long run!

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Duel to the Death: Cassie Dune

I, Andy Peloquin, challenge you, Victoria DeLuis, to a duel to the death! But it is not we who will fight, but our characters…

In the black corner, weighing in at 180 pounds, standing a cool 6 feet tall, the Hunter of Voramis!

Bucelarii 2 Small

Tale of the Tape:

  • Superhuman reflexes, strength, speed–think Captain America, but stronger
  • Thousands of years of weapons training
  • Body has accelerated healing factor–can survive a sword to the heart (can be killed by drowning, iron weapons, beheading, and suffocation)
  • Cannot be killed by anything but iron
  • Accursed dagger that heals him when he kills
  • No magical abilities whatsoever
  • No hesitation to kill if he perceives opponent as a threat/obstacle to his desires–classic anti-hero

In the purple corner, weighing in at a miniscule 110 pounds, standing a tiny 5’ 4”, the necromancer Cassie Dune.

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Tale of the Tape:

  • Cassie is the bearer of a Caim tattoo infused with metal from the Pair Dadeni (the Black Cauldron of Rebirth). This tattoo enhances her magical ability to:
  • Control spirits and raise the dead
  • Cast a powerful circle of protection, that creates a shockwave of energy around her, casting her enemies away and denying them the chance to cause her physical harm
  • If gravely injured, the tattoo brings forth the power of the cauldron of rebirth and heals her mortal wounds
  • A guardian of trapped souls, Cassie has released thousands of spirits trapped within enchanted artefacts and sent them to their awaiting afterlife, and she would feel it her duty to free those trapped within Soulhunger

Two enter the ring, only one can leave alive!

To kill Cassie: The Hunter would try to overwhelm her with his inhuman speed, strength, and skill. All he has to do is pierce her skin with Soulhunger, and the dagger will consume her soul. Not even someone with considerable magical abilities can survive Soulhunger’s bite–it was created to kill demons.

How would Cassie kill the Hunter? With her circle of protection in place, Cassie would call forth ghosts and zombies to attack the Hunter, while utilising her magical abilities to weave an unbreakable bond into the structure of Soulhunger at an atomic level. When, at last, she becomes one with the accursed blade, she would fracture and destroy it from within, freeing the trapped souls in the process. Without his blade to heal him, Hunter will succumb to the zombie horde, who will not hesitate to rip his head off.

Winner: Cassie Dune. Not even the Hunter can stand before a horde of the undead.

Want to find out more about this necromanceress who would dare challenge the legendary assassin of Voramis to the death? Click here to read about her…”

Who do YOU think would win? Did we get the match-up right? Leave a comment below and let me know…

Want to match your character against the Hunter? Click here to enter your protagonist/antagonist in a duel to the death!

 

 

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Guest Post: How To Promote Your Work On Social Media (Without Being Annoying)

Today, I’ve got a guest post on being smart with your social media:

 

As any writer who has been writing for a while knows, writing a book takes countless hours of hard work. And the hard work doesn’t end there: promoting your book will take a lot of effort. Yet all your promotional efforts will be worth it if it grows your reader base and helps you sell more books in the long run.

One of the ways many writers promote their work is by using social media. Most people use at least one form of social media, be it Facebook, Twitter or even blogs. This makes it an excellent tool to help you reach as many people as possible. There is one caveat though: you will only harm your reputation and book sales if you begin to annoy people on social media. Plastering messages about buying your book everywhere is likely to irritate users. It might even drive potential readers away. Social media can be a powerful tool, so use it wisely.

Create Your Author Platform

One of the cornerstones of a successful social media promotion campaign is an outstanding author platform. The term “author platform” is a little tricky to define because different people have different views about it. In terms of social media, the most relevant definition is that your author platform allows you to open a channel of communication between yourself and your readers. Creating your author platform on social media is an effective way to do this.

The easiest way to build your platform is to start a blog. While there has been some debate about whether or not blogs are social media, they certainly seem to fit the definition. At its most basic level, social media consists of applications and websites that allow users to take part in social networking and to share content. Blogs are a form of communication and many people will leave comments in response. Is that not a form of social media?

Once you’ve started your blog, you need to use it in an effective manner. Remember that your readers want to learn more about you and your work. So don’t limit your posts to information about your work, make sure to write posts that help your readers get to know you as a person. You will also want to avoid posting the same information continuously. People love novelty, so keep adding new details in your posts. This will keep your readers excited.

As we mentioned before, an author platform creates a channel of communication between you and your readers. This means that you need to play an active role in your blog’s comment section. Respond to comments and get to know your readers a little better. This will show them that you’re interested in them, which help will keep them interested in you and your work.

Expand Your Social Network

Once you’ve created your author platform in the form of a blog, you should start joining other social media websites. There are so many, but you should try to join as many as possible. Try Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Goodreads and as many others as you can find. Create pages or groups for yourself on each platform and link them back to your blog. Remember to put the details of your work and a link to your blog in each of your social media account profiles.

Again, don’t use the same information repeatedly. Add new information about yourself and your work to your pages and groups regularly. Remember to get involved with your followers and readers by replying to their comments. If you have any trolls, simply ignore them or delete them.

Expand Your Footprint.

After expanding your social network by joining social media websites and creating pages and profiles for yourself, you need to expand your social media footprint. You can do this by finding and joining other social media users, pages and groups that are related to the topic or genre of your work.

Once you’ve done this, you need to get involved with the users of those pages and groups. Join in conversations in the comments sections or start your own relevant conversations. As previously mentioned, don’t just talk about your book 100 percent of the time. Make meaningful comments and if other users find become curious about you, they can follow the link to your blog in your profile.

Conclusion

The bottom line is that social media is an exceptionally useful tool for promoting your work, provided you use it correctly. Have you got any other good ideas about how to use social media to promote your work? Any thoughts about those mentioned above? Please tell us all about them in the comments section below.

 

About the author: Caroline is an entertainment and technology blogger with a special interest in books and publishing. You can see more of her work at Culture Coverage and Secure Thoughts.

 

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Wicked Wednesday: A Few Good Authors

Instead of the traditional book reviews, I’m going to do something a tad different today: I’m going to shine the spotlight on a few authors worth checking out…

Victoria DeLuis

Victoria DeLuis has been writing since a young age, but never had the courage to pursue writing as a career. When her daughter was born in 2010, Victoria decided that she wanted her daughter to grow up and follow her dreams, and the best way to ensure this was to have parent who followed theirs. Victoria, therefore, returned to University part-time, to study creative writing. After graduating in June, it was time to put all her study and hard work into practise, and the Independent Necromancers Bureau was born.

Victoria lives in Wales with her husband, daughter, three cats, and one dog.

Website: http://victorisdeluis.com

Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/b7NMj5  A Matter of Death is FREE to all newsletter subscribers

Amazon author page: https://www.amazon.com/Victoria-DeLuis/e/B01IBREYUU/

Goodreads author page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15456918.Victoria_DeLuis

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/victoriadeluis

Twitter: https://twitter.com/DeLuiswrites

Here’s a book I’d say is worth a look:

Till Death

In a world where rogue necromancers control the dead and turn them against the living, The Independent Necromancers’ Bureau works to keep law and order.

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When some uninvited guests show up at a wedding party, Cassie Dune— an agent with the INB— must fight to stop them. With the aid of Detective Inspector Luke Baron, Cassie must stop a rampaging horde of zombies before it’s too late— an act that causes her to learn more about her power and its origins.

Tricia Drammeh

Tricia Drammeh is an author of multicultural fantasy, young adult paranormal, and contemporary fiction. She lives in New Hampshire with her husband, children, and three adorable animals. When she isn’t writing, she can be found devouring books and consuming vast amounts of coffee.

Website & Blog: http://www.triciadrammeh.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Tricia-Drammeh-Author/453408644723825

Twitter: @triciadrammeh

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Tricia-Drammeh/e/B008UI2CE6/

A book worth checking out:

Spellbound (Spellbringers, Book 1)

The Demon Re’Vel stalks his prey in the forest of dreams, slowly gaining control over the mind of his victim. Rachel doesn’t realize the Demon is real. In fact, she doesn’t believe in magic, Demons, Hunters, or any of the other things the Alexanders have warned her about. She resists their protection, but can’t resist her overwhelming feelings for Jace.

Alisa has been drawn to Jace since the day she saved him from a Hunter attack. A mere human in a world of Spellbringers, Alisa has been embraced by the Alexander family as a hero, but not everyone is willing to accept her. Jace’s intimidating older brother, Bryce, keeps his emotions and his secrets hidden. When Bryce confides in Alisa, it puts her relationship with Jace and the entire Alexander family at risk.

Danger, secrets, and betrayal collide, and when the Demon makes his claim, the small, southern town of Oaktree becomes a battleground for Rachel’s life.

TJ Ryan

TJ Ryan is a Canadian author, born on the rainy West Coast (or is that wet coast?) of British Columbia. He spent his early years travelling the world, obsessing over new cultures and culinary experiences. Preferring spaceships to airplanes, he has now settled into his little slice of rainforest paradise, escaping reality through Science Fiction.

He is known for packing high levels of action and mystery into his writing, and his latest book The Dead Planet has a growing number of 5 star reviews. TJ has a number of exciting new sci fi books planned for this year, including the second book to his Broken Earth Saga space opera series.

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AuthorTJRyan

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authortjryan

Blog: www.tjryan-author.com

A book of his worth checking out:

The Dead Planet

A dead planet. A rogue AI. A secret mission.
Tara Royce’s first day as the Academy’s newest Earth Defense Engineer was anything but ordinary. If humanity has any hope of returning to the dead planet in the next few thousand years, that is assuming it regenerates at all, they must first protect it from alien attack – and the Defense Engineers are its first and last line of defense.

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Aliens aren’t the only thing the new Engineer needs to look out for, though, and she soon discovers that the stakes are much higher than she ever could have imagined.

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Awesome Resources for Creative Writing: Word Dreams

One of the hardest parts of creative writing (for me, at least) is communicating emotions.

Oh, it’s easy to say “John felt mad”, but that’s crappy writing. Instead, you want to say it more like “John clenched his fists against the rush of heat in his chest”. That shows the emotion rather than telling it–always much more immersive, and thus better writing all around!

In a previous post, I already mentioned the Emotions Thesaurus. Now, I’ve found another awesome resource for writing emotions: Word Dreams.

The website Word Dreams contains a lot of valuable resources: classes, book reviews, and LOTS of amazing tips for writers. But it’s the “How to Show (Not Tell) an Emotion” series of posts that I found incredibly useful.

The list is broken down into three segments:

How to Show (Not Tell) an Emotion A to D

How to Show (Not Tell) an Emotion E to O

How to Show (Not Tell) an Emotion S to Z

These give you a fairly complete list of emotions, and simple ways to write them. For example:

Stress — Withdrawing from others, Angry outbursts, Low energy level, My stomach gets tense.

Excitement — heart race, cheeks flush, pupils dilate, skin tingles, and breathing quickens.

They’re simple examples, but they can help you to avoid all those clichéd ways of showing emotions (eyes widening in surprise, clenching your fists when angry, etc.).

I just discovered this page last week, and already I’ve used it a half-dozen times in my own writing. DEFINITELY a useful resource for any writer who wants to “show” instead of “tell” the emotional side of their characters and settings.

Too Wyrd Front cover

Duel to the Death: Mercy

I, Andy Peloquin, challenge you, Sarah Buhrman, to a duel to the death! But it is not we who will fight, but our characters…

In the black corner, weighing in at 180 pounds, standing a cool 6 feet tall, the Hunter of Voramis!

Bucelarii 2 Small

Tale of the Tape:

  • Superhuman reflexes, strength, speed–think Captain America, but stronger
  • Thousands of years of weapons training
  • Body has accelerated healing factor–can survive a sword to the heart (can be killed by drowning, iron weapons, beheading, and suffocation)
  • Cannot be killed by anything but iron
  • Accursed dagger that heals him when he kills
  • No magical abilities whatsoever
  • No hesitation to kill if he perceives opponent as a threat/obstacle to his desires–classic anti-hero

In the yellow corner, we have Mercy, the embodiment of Odin’s will and the vanguard of his army.

Too Wyrd Front cover

Tale of the Tape:

  • Carries a bowie knife that transforms into a sword
  • Master of virtually all fighting styles, having been on earth for hundreds of years doing Odin’s bidding.
  • She is a god-creature, an extension of Odin, she has no soul and cannot be killed–she is simply absorbed and re-manifested through Odin.
  • Mercy is protective, determined and compassionate – for a Valkyrie. Mercy is a manifestation of Odin’s empathy for humanity.

Two enter the ring, only one can leave alive!

How would (your character) kill the Hunter? Valkyrie weapons are made of cold-iron, as that is a primary weakness of the Jotun, the ice and fire giants, enemies of the Aesir and of Odin. Mercy recently finished helping Nicola begin her quest, leading her sister-Valkyrie in battle against not-so-good-ol’-Bob and his demons, given to him by Jehovah (at least, they are pretty sure it’s Jehovah). She has experience with demon-kind and with monstrous creatures, and she will simply fight until the enemy is defeated. That’s what the Valkyrie do.

To kill (your character): The Hunter would try to overwhelm her with his inhuman speed, strength, and skill. All he has to do is pierce her skin with Soulhunger, and the dagger will consume her soul. Not even someone with considerable magical abilities can survive Soulhunger’s bite–it was created to kill demons.

Who would win?

Faced with the almighty power of Odin’s messenger, one who wields the cold-iron (the Hunter’s weakness) of the Aesir, the Hunter would grit his teeth and fight until his last breath. With no soul for Soulhunger to consume, he would have no way to heal himself from the iron’s poison.

Winner: Mercy. Not even the Hunter can withstand the power of the gods.

Want to find out more about this Valkyrie who would dare challenge the legendary assassin of Voramis to the death? Click here to read about her…

 

Who do YOU think would win? Did we get the match-up right? Leave a comment below and let me know…

Want to match your character against the Hunter? Click here to enter your protagonist/antagonist in a duel to the death!

 

 

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