Tag Archives: Online Writing

The Vital Importance of the Storytellers–Beth Trissel


“I come from a family of great readers and storytellers.” Katherine Dunn

So do I, and I’ve given much thought to the inestimable value of the storytellers, both in the family and those with a far broader reach. In each generation, the storytellers remind us who we are, where we’re going, and most importantly to me, where we came from. The keepers of the story pass on that knowledge, those family accounts, the history. Someone must keep the stories alive, lest we forget. I am blessed to come from a family with a rich wealth of genealogy and lines traced back as far as Geoffrey Chaucer, and farther. I know who I am and where I came from and hold it as a sacred trust to pass that on. In this crazy world, it’s more important than ever to remember. So I tell my children, my grandchildren, my nieces…and reach out to the world through my writing. I am one of the storytellers.

“If a nation loses its storytellers, it loses its childhood.”
Peter Handke

How I Got to Neverland


Some people would probably say I’m still there.  Well, it all began with a tree and a monkey.

The timeless story of Peter Pan was first shared with me when I was five and visiting my missionary grandparents in the Philippines. An elderly gentleman with a twinkle in his blue eyes gathered us children beneath the shady boughs of a big tree and read from this wondrous book while his pet monkey ran up and down the trunk chittering at us. I sat enthralled listening to Mr. Mahy’s every word.

It was a simple act of kindness on his part and the beginning of a lifelong love of stories and imagination on mine. I will always be indebted to him. Not that my parents weren’t also gifted in storytelling, but this singular event is still stamped in my mind with images of pixies and sparkly dust that made you fly, Wendy and the lost boys, the bad old croc that swallowed a clock, and the battle of good and evil between fun loving Peter Pan and the heartless Captain Hook.

And I wonder, what exactly is Neverland? A place of magic and adventure where anything is possible, a land of pure enchantment, or does its potential lie within each of us who have hearts to believe? Is it only children who possess this ability or can any of us, beleaguered and cynical though we might be, still reach for the stars?

Clearly, writers believe that.  Each of us can bring a bit of wonder into the lives of those within our circle by the tales we weave. Tell your stories, whatever they may be.  Share the wonderful gift of imagination, and believe.  Someone will be very glad you did.  Thank you Mr. Mahy.

Direction to Neverland:

Second star to the right and straight on ‘til morning!”

You might just stay.

*Image of beautiful green-eyed boy reminds me of Peter Pan

*Royalty free images

YA Fantasy The Last Great Wizard of Yden by S. G. Rogers


I’m pleased to have Author Suzanne Rogers as my guest today, sharing her YA fantasy (also appeals to imaginative adults) The Last Great Wizard of Yden.  I think it would make a good movie, the kind my 14 yr. old niece and I are on the lookout for.

Blurb:  After his father is kidnapped, sixteen-year-old Jon stumbles across a closely guarded family secret–one that will challenge everything he has ever believed about his father and himself.  A magical ring his father leaves behind unlocks a portal to another dimension, but in using it, Jon unwittingly unchains the forces of evil.

A crisis develops when a malevolent wizard transports to Earth to kidnap one of Jon’s friends.  With the help of some unlikely schoolmates, and a warrior princess from Yden, Jon embarks on a dangerous quest to free his friend and his father from the most vicious wizard the magical world has ever known.  In the end, Jon will be forced to fight for his life as he attempts to rescue the last great wizard of Yden.~

S.G. Rogers in Fantasyland

“Toto, I have a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.” ~Dorothy in “The Wizard of Oz

 When Dorothy steps out into a Technicolor Munchkinland, it’s a magical moment in cinematic history.  That feeling of wonderment is exactly what I’m shooting for when I am building a fantasy world for my readers to explore.  In “The Last Great Wizard of Yden,” my sixteen-year-old protagonist is accidentally transported to a magical world, and my challenge is to start with the familiar and then begin to layer elements of the fantastic, like icing on a cake:

Excerpt: One moment Jon was sitting at his drafting table. In the next, he was sprawled in the middle of a dirt road, having fallen painfully on his behind. His wrist was still tingling, as if he’d stuck his finger in a light socket, and his nostrils burned with the unmistakable scent of ozone.

“Get out of the way!” a man yelled.

 A wooden cart, pulled by a team of enormous horses, was bearing down on him. Jon rolled to the side as the cart rumbled past, its wheels barely clearing his head. The driver dragged the team to a halt. “I should report you to the cygards,” he snarled.

Before Jon realized what was happening, the driver’s arm recoiled and he let loose a bullwhip. The popper cracked mere centimeters from Jon’s face. As he scrambled to his feet, the cart moved on, raising a cloud of dust in its wake. Jon stumbled backward, coughing, but then the tail of a strange animal snaked around his waist. The beast resembled a stocky horse, but it had stubby horns and hard ridges where the mane should be. The tail was reminiscent of a small elephant’s trunk. Jon shuddered and twisted out of the animal’s reach.

A plump woman hurried toward him, parcel in hand. “You there! Step away from my puleden!”

Puleden?

“S-sorry,” Jon stammered.

When the extraordinary creature wrapped its muscular tail around the woman’s parcel, Jon gaped in amazement.

“What’re you looking at, vagrant?” the woman snapped.

Without waiting for an answer, the woman unhitched her puleden from a rough-hewn post and led it away. Jon narrowly avoided the road apple the animal left in its wake.

As he took in his surroundings, his mind refused to accept what his eyes were showing him. Somehow he’d traveled instantaneously to a village plucked straight from the pages of a medieval storybook. People were shopping at a busy open-air marketplace nearby, which consisted of rustic wooden stalls, booths, and tents. No cars were on the road, nor could Jon see any modern machinery of any kind. Women were clothed in long, coarsely woven dresses, while men wore cloth shirts and trousers with hide vests. Everyone over a certain age seemed to be wearing a hat of one sort or another. The vendors at the food booths wore the same kind of two-cornered hat oddly similar in shape to ones Jon had seen at fast-food joints.

When a light rain began to moisten his skin, Jon focused his attention upward. To his astonishment he saw not one but two suns in between the streaky, gray clouds. One was nearly overhead and the other, much smaller sun was on the horizon. The realization he was no longer on Earth began to sink in.

I’m on Yden.

****

 My goal is to weave together threads of the familiar and the unfamiliar, to create a world that you’d give anything to see—or do anything to avoid.  When I was writing “Yden,” I went location scouting on the Internet.   It’s all well and good to have an image in your head, and quite another to convey the details necessary to make that picture come to life for a reader.

Many of the scenes take place in an underground cavern…a fantastic garden…or a tree house built in an old tree.  So many places on Earth have a magical, breathtaking quality to them.  With a little embellishment, they become the perfect settings for wizards, dragons and nymphs—and you don’t even have to drop a house on anyone’s sister to get there. – S.G. Rogers

Images of: Camlann Medieval Village

El Árbol del Tule, Mexico, Topiary garden – Funchal Island, Carlsbad Caverns

LINKS for Author S.G. Rogers

http://tinyurl.com/3wfa6yk (Astraea Press)

http://tinyurl.com/3doybdm (Amazon)

http://tinyurl.com/3tev9ej (BN.com)

Twitter: @suzannegrogers

Blog: http://childofyden.wordpress.com/

Author Lilly Gayle Writes Victorian Romance Laced With Danger!


I’m pleased to have my friend and fellow author Lilly Gayle here today. Welcome Lilly!  The Victorian Time period is one I’ve always found intriguing and I’ve lived in old homes from that era, so this setting appeals to me.  Your new story sounds great and is in my TBR pile.  I’ve  purchased it so I know it’s there. 🙂

I see you’re sharing insights about plot pitfalls, ever valuable to consider both as a seasoned author and one just venturing down this long and twisted road where indeed many a pitfall awaits us.

Take it away, Lilly!

Lilly: A plot is the events that make up a story, how those events relate to the main characters, and the sequence in which the events occur.

Subplots are plots or events that occur within the main plot that can alter the events or the characters and their decisions. Subplots allow for expansion of the novel and make it easier for the author to add plot twists or unexpected events. But too many subplots water down the main plot to the point where the reader no longer knows whose story it is or even what the story is about. (*Something I have to watch for).

A novel usually has subplots and twists, but if the subplot begins to overshadow the real plot then it tends to bog down the story—the same for too many antagonists or protagonist.  Adding too many subplots and characters makes it harder to tie up the loose ends—and every subplot must be resolved. (*So true)

I’m basically a pantster, but even those less meticulous writers need to know the plot of their story before they begin. (This is something I forgot while writing my current WIP.) But utilizing a basic plot outline to map out my story got me back on track. I hope others find this basic plot outline as useful as I did.

Prologue (optional)—no more than two or three pages

  • Short setup that introduces characters or events necessary to the plot
  • Usually starts with action or useful dialogue that provides backstory without backstory dumping
  • Establishes a past or history of events that “predate” the novel

The Exposition or Beginning—no more than 30 pages or 3 chapters.

  • Introduces the main characters
  • Shows basic goals and motivation of main characters
  • Reveals a challenge, possibly internal conflicts

Conflict or Rising Action

  • Introduces main external conflict
  • All major characters are known-protagonists are established
  • The protagonist understands his/her goals and begins to work toward accomplishing those goals but smaller problems emerge (subplots.)
  • Progress is made toward the smaller problems
  • Tension or complications arise or increase between the main characters (personal conflict)
  • A big event occurs

Middle (Revelation)

  • The part of the story most likely to drag if the writer isn’t careful
  • Main characters decide upon a course of action for solving the main conflict
  • Protagonists learn about others; primarily about his or her self
  • Events lead up to a  crisis

Crisis

  • All seems lost
  • Conflict/problem seems insurmountable
  • Worst moments in story

Climax (Showdown)

  • The turning point of the story.
  • Question are asked, accusations are made, and decisions are reached.
  • The protagonist and the antagonist go against one another either directly or indirectly but there is no clear winner.

Falling Action.

  • New insights for characters
  • Sometimes a false resolution is reached
  • Short section, fast paced but everything is headed toward a final resolution

Resolution(Denouement)

  • Final confrontation between the protagonist and antagonist
  • Loose ends are tied up
  • In romance, this is where the happily ever after is revealed.
  • In a love story, this is where the great sacrifice is made.

Epilogue (Dawn)—Optional but must have an Epilogue if there is a Prologue

  • Last page or two
  • Happily ever after… but…
  • Leaves a question or two, without undoing the story
  • Great for books with planned sequels~
All Excellent Points!  Thanks so much for sharing that helpful information.  
And now for the blurb from Lilly’s recent release,
SLIGHTLY TARNISHED:

When a brooding English earl with a SLIGHTLY TARNISHED reputation marries his dead wife’s American cousin to save her from her uncle’s vengeful schemes, the sea captain’s daughter with a taste for adventure sparks desires he thought long dead.

Nicole Keller has always been headstrong and independent, but after a failed business venture and a sinking ship take her father, her home, and her childhood sweetheart, Nikki must support herself and her mother. But moving to England and marrying Chadwick Masters, Earl of Gilchrest isn’t what she has in mind. And falling in love with the mysterious earl could endanger both their lives.~

EXCERPT:

“This will be your room.” He opened the door and stood to one side so she could enter. “I’m afraid you will have to continue to make do without a lady’s maid. The only household staff I employ are Mrs. Lomax, Dickens, Cook, and my groom. My driver lives in the village as do the few maids I hire on occasion to help Mrs. Lomax with the laundry and heavier cleaning.”

Nikki smiled. “That’s quite all right, Lord Masters. I’m used to doing for myself, and it’s only for a week.”

He returned her smile and leaned forward, his warm breath fanning her cheek. “What happened toChad? Surely we’ve gone beyond such formalities now, Nicole.”

Gooseflesh rippled over her skin. Her body quivered. “I don’t think it would be proper for me to call you by your given name.” She risked a glance at his face and wished she hadn’t. His eyes no longer looked worried. They were hot—almost feverish. Her skin heated.

“It didn’t stop you before,” he said, his deep voice a husky rumble. Despite the heat, Nikki shivered.

Oh my!

“I don’t think this is proper either,” she stammered when he brushed his lips against her temple. A delicious tingle skittered down her spine.

“No, probably not,” he said, nibbling her neck.

A strange tension rippled through her muscles, tightening them with pleasure. She arched her neck, granting him access as he slid his lips along the column of her throat. Her hands bunched the skirt of her plain, serviceable dress. Her stomach quivered.

“What are you doing?” she asked, breathless and giddy.

He pulled his hands from his pockets and pulled her closer. “I’m seducing you, I think.”

“Seducing me?” Her heart hammered against her ribs.

“Hmm. You’re doing it again.” Then he lowered his mouth and kissed her.~

For more on Author Lilly Gayle visit:

www.lillygayle.com

www.lillygayleromance.blogspot.com

www.facebook.com/lillygaylebooks

The Secret Life of Bees, errrr, Writers


Ever noticed that when writers are portrayed in movies they tend to come across as, well, nuts?  The examples are endless.  Take Nim’s Island, the author in this film is so agoraphobic/germaphobic she can’t open the door to get her mail, runs through bottles of handsanitizer, and only eats a certain kind of soup—not certain which phobia that is.   She also carries on vivid conversations with her only companion who happens to be the main character in her novels.  *Gerard Butler, so certainly tempting, but throw in  delusional schizophrenia.  And then there’s Stranger Than Fiction where the novelist, another ‘eccentric’ to put it mildly, has Godlike power over her bedeviled character who ultimately arrives on her doorstep begging for his life.  She plans to kill him in her novel.  And the list goes on.

I suppose there’s some justification for this crazy writer theme, as there’s a fine line between creativity and insanity.   And it’s not lost on me that this portrayal is coming to us via the scriptwriters, although they’re mostly making fun of novelists.   But it’s my thinking that most people simply do not understand the mindset of writers.  For example, on chat loops, Twitter, workshops…we blithely inquire of  each other which would be the best way to kill someone in a given situation or time period.

When I taught my herbal lore class last fall I received numerous queries as to which poisonous herb to use for the desired effect, depending on how fast or slowly an author wished their character to succumb–yes, yes, we’re speaking of characters–and in what form to deliver the fatal elixir, mixed with food or other medication…and should they disguise the bitter taste or will the unsuspecting victim just knock it back as is?

Writers can be quite morbid at times, but all in pursuit of our craft.   How to better persuade readers that the story is REAL, because to us it is.

The other day on Twitter I noted a tweet from, I assumed, a writer asking what was the most romantic way for a young man to propose to his girlfriend and  make it really special.  My first thought was, are they writing a contemporary or historical, so I shot back, “What century are we in?”

The answer from the probably puzzled groom to be was, “The 21st, I hope.”

“Ah, a modern setting,” I said to self while wondering at the ‘I hope.’  I mean surely they knew what time period their story was in.  But I persevered.  Being primarily an historical author, I simply pointed out that in many of the romantic comedies I’ve seen there’s a tendency for the proposal/I love you confession to come via a microphone or shouted in front of a crowd, like in a football arena.

The tweeted answer was, “Yes, I see what you mean but she’s not a sports fan.”

No biggie, I thought.  Most anywhere people gather will do. An Irish pub, fountain in the center of a town square, airplane terminal, or best of all breaking into the adored one’s  wedding to someone else just in the nick of time.

Not helpful in this situation, I might add.  Once I realized I was advising  an actual proposal, I chuckled heartily and left him to it. The last I saw a proposal at Disneyland was faring the best.

Among random tweets from writers I noted this week:  “Gonna watch Winnie the Pooh with the kids and then finish my demon novel.”   Anyone see the irony in that?   But it’s typical.   All of this has led me to my conclusion that writers have their own language–a secret life–which most do not understand.

I’ve gotta go figure out how to handle that ghost/exorcism without making it TOO paranormal.   In my latest historical, of course.  ~

The Talented Maeve Greyson Is My Guest~


I’m delighted to have Maeve with me.  She’s a lovely, gracious lady and has made it to an impressive level in the Kensington Brava / RT Book Reviews Writing with the Stars contest.  I’ll let Maeve tell us a little about her intriguing entry, her recent release, and herself. Take it away, Maeve~

Not every first meeting is love at first sight…

I admit it. I love a good spat between the hero and heroine. I’ve always heard there’s a fine line between love and hate and I adore romances that push the limit. I know you’ve read them. The hero picks at the heroine until she snaps –or vice versa. They explode into a heated tirade and end up in each other’s arms.  I often wonder if this is some sort of throwback to the days when little boys pestered little girls until they ran home in tears?  It seems like the MORE the little boy likes the girl…the more he aggravates her. Come to think of it, I married just such a pestering “little boy”.  But THAT’s another blog. 😉

Beth was kind enough to invite me to her lovely blog to talk about my paranormal romance, ETERNITY’S MARK.  I’m so excited that my story has made it to the final round of the Kensington Brava / RT Book Reviews Writing with the Stars contest.  I wanted to share a “never before shared” excerpt. So, I decided Taggart and Hannah’s first meet would be a lovely taste. Hannah’s irritated that she’s been interrupted from a very emotional day to meet some stranger in the town’s small café. This excerpt gives you a bit of  a hint at the sparring about to ensue.

I hope you enjoy this glimpse into ETERNITY’S MARK and if you’re so inclined to help me bring home the win, I’ve included the voting link below:

Voting link:

http://www.rtbookreviews.com/content/writing-stars-vote-love-scene

Taggart and Hannah meet:

The bell on the wire hanging above the door jangled.  Taggart knew it was her before he raised his eyes; he sensed it by the way the skin tingled at the base of his neck.  Her energy tickled a shiver up his spine.  The sacred guardian’s aura flooded the room and he was her protector.  He would’ve known she entered his presence even if he had been blind.

Taggart hid his grin behind the white ceramic mug he clasped between his hands.  The collective jaws of the Guild of Barac’Nairn would’ve hit the floor had they been sitting at Taggart’s side.  Hannah MacPherson, the blessed guardian, was not what they would’ve expected.  Taggart chuckled into the depths of his cup.  As far as he was concerned, the fiery lass beamed the definition of pure delight itself.

The tiny, young woman ordained to be guardian of the sacred Draecna sported a ratty St. Louis Cardinal’s baseball cap pulled low over snapping green eyes.  Her auburn ponytail exploded through the tattered hole in the back.  The tangled mass of curls tumbled down her back as though a windstorm had tossed her into the cafe.  Grass and mud stained the ragged knees of her jeans.  Her well-worn tee shirt clung to her curves like tissue wrapped around a tempting gift.  Taggart sat down his coffee, stretching back in his chair unable to resist chuckling again.  He’d never seen a woman don such boots.   Steel-toed work boots laced tight about her tiny ankles.  She plodded across the room like a heavy construction worker.

He held his breath to keep from laughing aloud as she stalked her way over to the counter.  He could tell by the way the woman stomped, she prepared to unleash the hounds of hell if any dared cross her path.  Such a fierce small package, she reminded him of the territorial wood nymphs of Glenoc Mur.  She’d barely reach the middle of his chest, yet she stood coiled so tight, the woman stood ready to explode.

The longer Taggart studied her, the more his amusement faded.  True, Hannah MacPherson brewed for a fight.  Taggart shifted in his seat as the realization hit; he stood centered in her crosshairs.  Taggart peered closer.  She also suffered; her face revealed a great deal of emotional pain.    Her wound simmered deep.  Hannah MacPherson might be small but her heart swelled with sorrow.

Taggart sucked in a slow breath, struggling against an uncomfortable stirring deep within his chest.  His precious guardian had been deeply hurt; she fluttered as a wounded bird.  Taggart watched as Hannah’s head turned with eyes narrowed when Millie whispered and pointed in his direction.  He unfolded his frame and stood beside the table as Hannah whirled and barreled his way.

“Mr. de Gaelson?  I believe you wanted to see me?  I’m Hannah MacPherson.”  Hannah stuck out her hand as though daring him to take it and fixed Taggart with a green-eyed glare.

Taggart closed his hand around Hannah’s cold, stiff grasp and held it as he leveled with her gaze.  “Please, call me Taggart.”

“What can I do for you, Taggart?”  Hannah clipped the words with a jerk of her hand, rubbing her fingers as though his touch disturbed her.  She shot Millie a brooding glare, her glance sliding back to Taggart as if blaming Millie for his presence.

Taggart bit back a smile.  The woman wasn’t going to make his life easy.  He read the wariness in Hannah’s eyes and the way she’d withdrawn from his touch.  Good.  She should be wary.  It would increase her lifespan and make protecting her somewhat easier, albeit getting close to her and winning her trust could prove even more of a challenge.  Taggart nodded toward the table while he motioned for Millie.  “Would ye like some coffee while we talk?”

“Not really, thanks.”  Hannah sent Millie scuttling back around the counter with a single shake of her head.  “I don’t mean to sound rude, Mr. de Gaelson­­−”

“Taggart, Ms. MacPherson.  Please.  I asked ye to call me, Taggart, remember?”  Taggart cleared his throat.  God’s teeth, the stubborn woman insisted on doing things her own way.  Lucky for her, they were on this side of the threshold.  If they were in Erastaed, he wouldha sifted them to someplace quiet and spelled her.  He’d seal her lips and open her ears so she’d have no choice but to hear his words.  By Isla’s golden beard, she had to see she needed protection.  ‘Twas time she faced her destiny.

About Maeve:

Maeve Greyson writes paranormal romances from her cozy little home in western Kentucky.  Tucked away in the middle of nowhere, her stories spark with magic and love, where anything might happen to get to that happily ever after.

Her writing partner, Jasper –the rat terrier/Chihuahua mix, critiques all her work.  Under his sharp eye and the endless support of her husband of over thirty-one years, she snuggles back in their secluded wood and pours her daydreams into the keyboard.

Her debut novel, BEYOND A HIGHLAND WHISPER, just became available from The Wild Rose Press and she recently contracted THE HIGHLANDER’S FURY with them as well.

Maeve’s Links:

Website: http://www.maevegreyson.com/
Blog: http://maevegreyson.blogspot.com/
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/maeve.greyson OR http://www.facebook.com/maeve.greyson#!/maeve.greyson.page
Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/maevegreyson
The Wild Rose Press: http://thewildrosepress.com/index.php?main_page=advanced_search_result&search_in_description=1&keyword=maeve+greyson

WRITER WELLNESS, A WRITER’S PATH TO HEALTH AND CREATIVITY


Today I’m pleased to have Author Joy E. Held as my guest.  Joy has some interesting and helpful tips to share with us.~

Hi, Beth! Thanks for being a super host today. I wanted to share a list I call “The Many Joys of Journaling: Why the Journal Is A Writer’s Best Friend.”

Journals are:

1.  A good opportunity to clear your head of distractions

2.  A great source of story and poem ideas

3.  A personal history of events, learn from the past

4.  Great for exploring a range of emotions

5.  A place that allows self-observation, a meta-cognitive opportunity

6.  A source of awareness of growth and change

7.  An opportunity to function in the present moment

8.  A place for self-counseling to work out problems

9.  Good place to identify problems that you can’t work out on your own, limitations

10.  A way for a writer to connect with himself and the world around him

11.  A way learn what you truly believe in

12.  A way to discover what truthful writing is

13.  A way to learn how to focus intently

14.  A good place to learn how to write with flow

15.  A way to understand patterns in your life

16.  A way to understand your purposes in life

17.  Help you recognize your passions, notice repetitive themes

18.  A way to learn to appreciate time, a journal teaches patience

19.  A way to learn to appreciate form, space and design

20.  A way to become more compassionate toward yourself and others, teaches acceptance

Journals don’t have to be long or time consuming. Keep it simple and record a single thought a day. The main benefit is cleansing. It’s liberating and refreshing to get worries on the journal page. It keeps them from bugging you while you work.

Living the Writer Wellness plan for many years has enabled me to live a compassionate, productive, and creative life. Journaling is the underpinning of the whole process.

Do you journal?

Please visit my blog every other week for tips on the five practices of Writer Wellness which are journaling, fitness, relaxation, nutrition, and creative play.

www.writerwellness.wordpress.com

Be well, write well!

Joy Held is the author of Writer Wellness, A Writer’s Path to Health and Creativity, Who Dares Wins Publishing, www.whodareswinspublishing.com available in digital and print TODAY!

Contact Joy: joybeth1109@yahoo.com

*THIS INFORMATION IS NOT MEANT TO REPLACE THE ADVICE OF A QUALIFIED HEALTH CARE PRACTITIONER. SEEK COUNCIL BEFORE STARTING AN EXERCISE PROGRAM.

The Wizard’s Wife


Today, the very talented author Toni Sweeney is my guest.  We are fellow Pink Fuzzy Slipper Writers, where I’ve gotten to know Toni, who amazes me with her imagination.  Weave your spell, my lady.

Once upon a time long, long ago in a dimension far, far away, there was a world called Ais Linn, where a people called the Ailiff Fae lived, a people blessed with the gift of Power. Ais Linn was a wonderful place, where leprechauns lived side by side with elves and sprites, and unicorns roamed the mountains, where they were safe from the hunters who sought them for their magical horns.  In the Damhain Garrai, that dark forest covering a good portion of the kingdom and separating the two halves, werewolves prowled.  The Aifliff Fae discovered secret openings, portals leading into another plane, to a planet called Earth.  The fae moved between this world and their own…

And they found Earth fair an’ the people likewise, if somewhat naïve in their beliefs.  They thought the fae magical and the fae let them think it, because it was mostly true.

Of the two rulers of Ais Linn, one family was the Tiarnas d’Geal Tina, the Lords of White Fire, and their opposite number was the Tiarnas d’Doit Tina, the Lords of Dark Fire. The Lords of White Fair were tall and fair, red-haired and green-eyed. Their wings like those of the dragonfly’s wings with the colors of the Monarch, and from them was chosen the wizard who would be their Champion, the son of Prince Padraig who ruled half of Ais Linn.  The Dark Lords were also tall and handsome but black-haired and crimson-eyed, their wings iron-gray and blood-red, and their wizard was as wicked as Padraig’s son was good.  Then it came about the Lord of White Fire learned the Lord of Dark Fire was planning to invade Earth and bring his evil there, that one day an astronomical event would occur, the Harmonic Convergence, when White Fire magic would be at its weakest, and no one would be able to stop him…

So he sent his Champion to live among the people and guard them, but the Champion of White Fire was young, and the women of Earth were comely, and the lad found ’twas true what he’d been warned, that mortal maids were drawn to the Fae like butterflies to honey, so he fell in love with a young maiden and lost his heart and would make her his bride despite his lord father’s warning.  And the Lord of White Fire was wroth because he knew nothing good ever came when a Fae loves a mortal…

…that’s the setting for Wizard’s Wife. A faery wizard is forced to choose between his wife and unborn child and keeping the oath he made to protect the Earth.  If he makes the wrong decision, he loses everything; either way, something precious will be lost forever, but will it be his own happiness or that of every person on the Earth?

Cross the Portal into Ais Linn, where Unicorns roam and werewolves prowl, where a faery wizard struggles to protect the Earth from the Lord of Dark Fire…and a brave young woman follows her husband into danger, into a dimension where she’s the only mortal in a land of magical beings…

Where she’s the Wizard’s Wife.

It’s a contemporary fairy tale, with unicorns and leprechauns, wizards and knights, feisty damsels and daring feats of magic, blending with Celtic legends for a read I hope everyone will enjoy.~

Sounds fascinating, Toni.  And I love your pics and trailer.

Wizard’s Wife was released January 15 by Class Act Books.  For a look at Chapter One, go to:  http://www.classactbooks.com/The-Wizards-Wife-Trade-by-Toni-V-Sweeney_p_269.html

More information on Toni may be found on her website:  http://www.tonivsweeney.com/

Excerpts From Native American Romance Novel Red Bird’s Song


Each of my stories is my favorite when I’m writing it, but there’s something special about Red Bird’s Song.  Maybe because many of the events depicted in the story and the inspiration behind it are true.  Red Bird’s Song is based on events that happened to my early American Scots-Irish ancestors in the Virginia colonial frontier. The novel began as historical fiction with a strong romantic element but evolved into a historical romance, painstakingly researched and pulsing with emotion. The romance between Wicomechee and Charity throbs with tension, tenderness, passion and angst.

A bonus for readers, at the end of the book is the account of this Shawnee warrior I discovered in distant branches of the family tree.

Yes, Wicomechee really lived and he comes vividly to life along with the others characters in this adventurous romance with a strong The Last of the Mohicans flavor.

Blurb: Taken captive by a war party wasn’t how Charity Edmonson hoped to escape an unwanted marriage. Nor did Shawnee warrior Wicomechee expect to find the treasure promised by his grandfather’s vision in the unpredictable red-headed girl.

George III’s English Red-Coats, unprincipled colonial militia, prejudice and jealousy are not the only enemies Charity and Wicomechee will face before they can hope for a peaceful life. The greatest obstacle to happiness is in their own hearts.  As they struggle through bleak mountains and cold weather, facing wild nature and wilder men, Wicomechee and Charity must learn to trust each other.

FIRST EXCERPT:

Charity swiped angrily at a tear.
She’d run away, if she had anyone to run to.
It wasn’t right they were all dead.

On impulse, she jumped to the ground. “I’ll go anyway,” she muttered. “Eat nuts and berries and live in the woods.”

“Will you go alone?” a low voice asked.

Sucking in her breath, she whirled around. Less than twenty feet away, grasping his musket, stood a tall young brave.  Stripes of red and black paint blurred his striking features.  His dark brown eyes riveted her in place. This warrior was like no other and the most savagely handsome man she’d ever seen.

God help her.  She should flee now, but could only stare, open-mouthed.

She swept her disbelieving gaze over the loose black hair brushing an open buckskin vest that revealed his bronzed chest and shoulders molded into contours of muscle. An elkskin breechclout left a great deal of his hard thighs exposed.  Despite the dread hammering in her chest, a fiery blush burned her cheeks. But it was the sheathed knife hanging on his left side and the lethal tomahawk slung on his right that snapped Charity from her near-trance.

In a rush of memories, she recalled the stories of her father’s death under the scalping knife and neighbors who’d suffered the same violent fate.

No Indians had been spotted in their settlement since the Shawnee grew hostile and war had erupted nine years ago, but the warfare had ended.  Hadn’t it?

Clenching ice-cold fingers, she dug her nails into her palms. “What in God’s name are you doing here?” she forced past the dry lump in her throat.

“Watching you.”

****

SECOND EXCERPT:

He slid the musket over his shoulder by a woven
strap. A faint smile curved his lips. “You wish to go
live among the trees? Come with me.”

Instinctively, Charity shied back.

The warrior closed the distance between them and
extended a corded arm circled with twin bands of
silver. His voice went from butter to grit. “Now.”

Musket shots cracked above the rapid water.
War whoops rang through the trees. Charity
scrambled back with a shriek.

He lunged at her. Jerked fully to life, she flung
the basket at his chest and spun around. Catching
up her skirts, she raced over the uneven ground
along the river.

She had only the hair of a head start, but by heaven she could run. Hadn’t her brother, Craig, said as much?

Clinging to his praise, she tore through grass
heavy with seed heads. The slap of her shoes and
swish of her petticoats sounded alongside the rapid
water.  She sensed but didn’t hear the warrior’s
stealthy pursuit.  Dodging rocks masked by the haze,
she hurtled across downed branches, risking a nasty
fall. But what did that matter with the hound of hell
snapping at her heels?

Faster! Heart pounding in her ears, she leapt over a moss-encrusted log and stumbled. Grabbing a bent sapling for support, she righted herself and sprang away through a blur of color. Her chest thudded. She could scarcely get her breath and shot a glance over her shoulder.

Lord, no! Her pursuer’s glove-like moccasins had the advantage over her square-toed shoes, as did his
ground-covering strides. He rapidly narrowed the gap between them. God save her or she’d be killed and scalped like her father.

Summoning every ounce of speed, she spurted
ahead, sides heaving, pain stabbing her chest. She
flew around a bend in the river and stopped short. A
prickly tangle of burdock and brambles blocked the
path. She looked wildly around. No way through.
Shooting to the side, she clamored up the bank.

Down she went, sliding over loose stones,
lurching forward with outstretched hands and
scraping her palms. She ignored the sting and
scrambled up to pelt through tall grass and spikes of
mullein. If she hid among the stand of cedars just
ahead, he might not find—-too late.   He’d come.

THIRD EXCERPT:

A scream ripped from Charity’s throat.  She grabbed up a stout stick and spun around.  Shaking the loose mane from her eyes, she brandished her makeshift weapon. “Stay back!”

He arched one black brow. “You think to strike me with that?”

Before she heaved another ragged breath, he snatched it away. “What now?” he challenged.

She lunged, pushing against his rock-hard chest—like trying to dislodge an anvil. She dug in her heels and struggled to knock him off balance and down the slope. Not a prudent move. She’d unwittingly placed herself in his hands.

He snapped unyielding arms around her. “I have you.”

She twisted, shrieking, in his steely grasp, kicking at his rooted legs and grinding her feet into the earth. The fragrance of spearmint charged the air. How ironic to die surrounded by such sweet scent.

Gripping her tightly, he forced her down to the leafy ground in a press of hard muscle and heated skin. His gleaming black hair spilled over her face as he pinned her thrashing arms. “Stop fighting me.”

“I’ll fight to the end!”

He straddled her and stilled her pummeling legs. “For your life? Have I tomahawk or knife in my hand?”

She gaped up at him, her breath rasping in her throat. Whether he spoke in bemusement or annoyance, she couldn’t tell from his controlled expression, but the weapons remained at his side. And he wouldn’t waste gunpowder and a lead ball on her when he could so easily kill her with a single blow.

“You’ll let me live?” she gulped in short bursts.

“Did I not say you will come with me?”

She searched his eyes for signs of malice and saw none, only a keen watchfulness. Her stomach churned as he clasped her wrists with one hand and reached toward his waist.

A spasm shuddered through her. Had he only been tormenting her? Was he—even now—drawing his knife?

She squeezed her eyes shut, moaning, against the cruel blade. But no fatal kiss of steel met her throat. Instead, firm, warm fingers lightly stroked her cheek.

“I have no wish to do you harm. You are my captive.”

She opened her eyes in breathless tension. There it was again, that piercing gaze. If she hadn’t already been winded, one glance from him would have robbed her of air. She inhaled his scent, both intimidating and strangely compelling.

Her panting eased. “What will you do?” she asked hoarsely.

“Slow you. You run like peshikthe, the deer.”

Native American Romance Novel RED BIRD’S SONG is available in digital download & print fromThe Wild Rose Press, Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other online booksellers.

*Royalty free images. My mother, Pat Churchman took the nature shots and the image of the old family musket.

Tips For Surviving A Writer’s Conference By Historical Romance Author Liz Arnold


LIZ ARNOLD is an historical romance writer with a new book out from The Wild Rose Press, MESSAGE TO LOVE, set during the Spanish-American War in 1898.   Beautiful cover.
Today Liz is talking today about what she does to survive a writer’s conference!
I’m interested to hear this.  Take it away Liz~
After five hours in the car, I didn’t feel like going to the writer’s conference. The driving, the early morning preparations, and saying good-bye to my children combined to make my body sluggish and my heart heavy. But the conference began that evening at 7:00 p.m. with “Night Owl” sessions until 11:00 p.m. Twelve hours of activities were planned for the next day. I had an hour and a half to check in, change clothes, and pick up my conference information. I didn’t want to miss anything, but I was really zapped!

Thanks to great organization and nice people, the hotel and conference check-ins went smoothly and left me with time on my hands. I changed into exercise clothes, grabbed a bottle of water, and headed for the hotel activities area.
Thirty-minutes of easy yoga later, my head was clear and I felt energized again. I had done deep breathing exercises and several gentle yoga poses and I felt peaceful and open-minded. The water helped the tension headache drain away and I was excited to go to the conference.

I had a fabulous, productive weekend because I incorporated some basic principles of exercise and hydration into my plans. I also carved out a few minutes both days to write in my journal. These activities helped me cope with the stresses that accompany a writing convention. Stress isn’t all bad. New people and surroundings, and intellectual challenges create a normal amount of stress that is easy to deal with if writers will remember a few important tips:

*Water-sounds simple, but it’s easy to forget especially when attending a conference sets a writer off his/her normal schedule. It’s always available, just make a habit of drinking several ounces every two hours no matter how long the line is at the restroom.
*Exercise-your body may feel fatigued from the extra walking and excess sitting, but the cure is more exercise–specific exercises that increase circulation and reduce swelling. Simple yoga poses will help immensely. Using the hotel treadmill or exercise bike will do amazing things for reducing swelling.
*Food-take along foods you are used to eating so your body is not shocked by all new foods while you’re at the conference.
*Journal-writing a few head-clearing lines on a scrap of paper while at the conference will do wonders for keeping you focused. Don’t take your regular journal from home with you. Don’t want to misplace it! Write a few notes on hotel stationary and tape it into your journal when you get home.
I would love to hear what you’ve done to survive a con!
Thanks for having me, Beth!
Thanks for joining me here, Liz, and for all the excellent suggestions.  Anyone have some of your own?