Saturday, May 28, 2016

Setting the scene for readers

There are many techniques that are essential for writing a good novel. One of them is setting the scene at each new chapter and scene break. It’s easy to forget this when a writer is caught up in his or her story. As writers, we know our characters, where they are, and what they are doing in the story, but it’s our job to convey that to readers. Otherwise, they will be forced to figure out what’s going on. This will draw them out of the story.

In some of the books I have edited, a character will pop up out of nowhere in a scene and suddenly speak. This character’s presence needs to be established early on. Another common issue is dialogue without any tags to show what the character is doing or where he or she is.

The best way to prevent this is to start with the point-of-view character for that section if the story has more than one. If the section starts with a different character, it can be misleading to readers. Next it helps to add a description or a dialogue tag with a detail or two to let readers know where the characters are and what they are doing. This should be done in the first paragraph. Setting the scene for smoother transitions can be easy to forget because we are thinking of so many other aspects of the story, but it’s important not to confuse readers. Below is an example of a new chapter beginning from one of my books.

It was much too quiet even for the night. The trees stood silent in the forest, their leaves motionless. Lycaon lifted his face to the sky, listening for the familiar rustling of nocturnal creatures, the occasional sound of an owl. Nothing.
Anexus made eye contact with one of his warriors, his expression wary. He had sensed the strange quiet too.
“We are being hunted.” Lycaon moved his bound hands to his side. “Untie me.”
The king of Orchomenus cast him a doubtful frown.
Lycaon shrugged. “Then leave me bound. I will not be the one killed by whatever creature is watching us.”
A shrill scream shattered the quiet.
“What in the deepest reaches of Hades was that?” Anexus gripped his sword.
“Some hapless creature just met its end,” Lycaon whispered. “You and your men are next.”
“Untie him.” Anexus pointed to one warrior then motioned for his other men to form a circle.
The young man quickly untied Lycaon. He rubbed his freed hands to get the blood circulating then grabbed his sword from one of the warriors. “I sensed it earlier. Whatever it is, I doubt it is human, and it is probably what killed your people and livestock.”
Uneasiness filled the air around the warriors. All of them gripped weapons, bodies tense, eyes wide and vigilant.
A swift shadow moved between two trees.


Beauty may be the real beast.



Kelley Heckart
Otherworldly tales steeped in myth & magic.


Monday, May 23, 2016

Writers: Have fun and use Twitter more effectively

Is Twitter for marketing or for fun?

Let's face it, the "buy my book…Buy My Book…BUY MY BOOK" approach on twitter is a study in futility. My timeline has a lot of authors using this type of self-promotion, most of which I ignore unless the book is a new release.

How can we as writers use Twitter more effectively and still have fun? Of course, and here is the best way to do it.

"Hashtags!"

Hashtags are the # symbol that is used before a certain word to create tweets within that group. Here are some examples of common hashtags for author.

#amwriting
#amediting
#erotica
#romance
#NewRelease
#WritersLife
#Writers
#1lineWed

One of my favorite is #1linewed because on Wednesdays it's a chance to put out tweets of your work in progress and get exposure for your future books. The #1linewed has themes for each Wednesday, and you can find that day's theme by the hashtag: #1LineWedTheme.

#WritersLife is another great one because you can find blog links and find out what other writers are doing in their life. You'll find inspirational quotes, tweets on people experiencing writer's block and this hashtag decently interactive.

Every writer wants to sell a story once it's been published, but marketing shouldn't make you miserable. Use a hashtag to get noticed.

Tweet something interesting.

My hero in (insert book title) won't let me sleep. #writerslife

Ask a question and use a hashtag.
Is 3 pages too short for a chapter? #Writers

Post an update on your writing.
1200 words written today on my contemporary suspense. #amwriting

Search the hashtags and reply to other writer's tweets. Interaction makes a huge difference in your enjoyment with Twitter. People truly do have common experiences and it's great when we can show support to others by replying to their tweet.

Some days will be more active than others, so don't get discouraged if you don't get any replies or retweets. Also remember that there is nothing wrong with promotional tweets in between your hashtag tweets.

If I like someone's profile and tweets, I'll retweet their promotional tweet. I'm always happy to support others if they're real on Twitter.

Do you have a favorite hashtag?

Any other Twitter tips you'd like to share?

Mary Corrales
http://www.evernightpublishing.com/bet-your-sweet-aces-by-mary-corrales/
 
Mary Corrales is a multi-published author of erotica and erotic romance in several genres including paranormal, contemporary suspense, fantasy, and dystopian. She love's hearing from readers so don't be shy and send her an email.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

My favorite book


I was recently asked to blog about my favorite book of all the stories I’ve written. It was very difficult indeed. I’ve written over one hundred stories. How could I possibly choose just one?

Obviously my first published book is very close to my heart. After all, no one ever forgets their first. That’s “Intensity” an MMF ménage. It became the first book in a trilogy published by Siren.


http://www.bookstrand.com/intensity

But after much thought I decided that even though it’s very special because it was my first, it’s not my favorite.

As my bio explains, I write all different kinds of romance, whatever genre and pairing of characters that they demand. “The Paint Store Boys” books are all MM, contemporary, whereas some of my series have different pairings within them because that’s what the characters wanted. So that makes this series special.
But what makes “Sunshine Yellow Days” my favorite (although a good momma never admits she has a favorite) is that Basil is such an outrageously flamboyant person, and Edward is so quiet and self effacing.


Edward is a nervous, frightened, failure who tries very hard to be ignored and to remain invisible. The word “invisible” isn’t even in Basil’s vocabulary. From the top of his green and purple hair, to the soles of his tap-dancing, bright red leather boots, he is front and center of the stage all the time and no one could possibly fail to see him. Their romance is very, very precious indeed.

http://www.bookstrand.com/sunshine-yellow-days

Berengaria Brown’s links:
Blog: http://berengariasblog.blogspot.com/
Bookstrand: http://www.bookstrand.com/berengaria-brown
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Berengaria-Brown/e/B00541R3YQ/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/berengaria.brown?fref=ts
Twitter: https://twitter.com/BerengariaBrown
ARe: http://www.allromanceebooks.com/storeSearch.html?searchBy=author&qString=Berengaria+Brown


Thursday, April 28, 2016

Signs of spring as Beltaine draws near

Spring is one of my favorite times of the year. The hummingbirds are visiting my feeder, the quail babies hide in my yard while their parents stand guard. I love spring and the new beginnings it brings. This is the light side of spring, one I would rather embrace.


But there is a dark side. Spring was important to the ancient Celts. Beltaine was a vital time of the year, signaling the end of a long, cold, dark winter. It was also a time tinged with sadness because battles were fought in the spring.

One of my books, Beltaine's Song, is filled with spring themes, including battles fought between the Irish and the Picts in the sixth century of what is now called Scotland. There were women warriors among the fighters. My heroine was one of them. What puts the warrior in the heart of a woman? This is one of the themes I explored in this trilogy.

Among the beauty of spring, there was the ugliness of death.

Excerpt from Beltaine's Song:
The armies clashed below on the peninsula, staining the green earth with bright red blood. Heartrending screams from the dying broke the calm, silencing the seabirds with fear. War is ugly. Is the Christian Hell like this?
Surrounded on all sides by the churlish sea, islands emerged from the mist, brooding in the distance, witnesses to the horrible bloodshed. Fresh sea air swallowed some of the detestable smells of battle, filling her lungs with the scent of briny air, but the faint scent of blood set her pulse racing. With a heavy heart, she thought this battle particularly ugly because blood fought against blood, dividing the clans.
Domelch sensed something foul in the air around Dunadd, treachery lurking in the darkest corners. She thought back to the day she saw her brother riding hard to Dunadd—from the south. She knew Aedan sensed the foulness of treachery for the archers' positioning had been kept secret from all the commanders. If he suspected Galan, he had kept that to himself.
Gathering her archers, they positioned themselves in the hill's crevices, waiting for Aedan's army to lure the enemy their way and give Domelch the signal from the battle horn.
Crouched in a painful position between two rocks, Domelch nocked her arrow and waited. “Fire at my signal,” she ordered her archers.
Quiet, the archers became one with the craggy hill dressed in gray and green tunics, blending into the gray moss-covered hills. The cold, damp stones pressed painfully into Domelch's sides. Keeping her muscles still, she ignored the pain, her mind focused on the battle array below.
Clashing spears and swords against war shields splintered the air, drowning out the sea tides. War cries and yelps of pain mingled with horses' neighs and bursts from battle horns. She waited for the three short bursts of the battle horn, her heart racing with each passing moment as the battle neared their position.
Three short blasts from the ox-horn echoed through the hills, a fearsome sound like the trumpets of the Underworld calling home the dead. Domelch shuddered at the thought. We will send the dead home, she thought. “Loose your arrows,” she commanded, gathering her courage and battle fury.

Kelley Heckart
Otherworldly tales steeped in myth & magic.


A Greek vampire, Celtic kings, vengeful goddesses, an ancient faery curse… 
All three books of my Dark Goddess trilogy are available in Print and Ebook. Set in Dark Age Scotland, I mixed history with a Samhain/Beltaine myth that revolves around an Irish clan and the goddesses Brigit and Cailleach.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Why is it so?


As someone famous once said, “I was born with the kind of enquiring mind that frequently gets me into trouble”. I, too, am one of those annoying people who often asks “Why?”

It’s not enough for me to read a book where many groupings are menages. I want to know why. Do they belong to a BDSM club that encourages its members to form polyamorous relationships? It is a custom or part of their heritage? Are they perhaps shapeshifters who need more than one partner to complete their transformation? Why? Why do some many people in this world group in threes or fours or more?

This isn’t just for ménages, it’s for any non-average situation. Anything out of the ordinary. Situations that are different make for great stories, but for me, there always has to be a reason why those differences have occurred.

I suppose that’s why once I have satisfied myself why a particular world which suits certain characters exists, that world keeps recurring in my books.


It’s not just with ménages, it also happens with other worlds as well. Several years ago two men who work at the Botanical Gardens met and fell in love. Their names are Kalman and Enre. Enre has fiery red hair and an attitude to match. The world is full of injustice and he wants everything to be fair and equitable. Kalman is older, calm and logical. Nonetheless the attraction between them is very real and passionate. Their story is told in “Hotter Than Hell.” Thus began the “Spicy Love” series. Neither of them would leave me alone though, so they were back for a sequel in “Still Hotter Than Hell”.


The Botanical Gardens where they work is a beautiful place and there’s something erotically primeval about digging in the dirt, growing amazing flowers, and watching seeds bloom. Then several people, work colleagues of Kalman and Enre, started demanding their own story. Beverley, Hyacinthe, and Inigo now have their own story, “Spicy Love” book three, “Blooming Love”, which is due for release in April. But this story isn’t an MM, it’s a ménage, FFM. There’s also a touch of the paranormal in this story.
One thing I can promise readers though. Trust me, there’s an absolutely solid, real-life reason, why this world and this story suddenly turned out this way.

“Hotter Than Hell” Spicy Love Book 1: http://www.amazon.com/Hotter-Than-Hell-Spicy-Love-ebook/dp/B00MQIJY4W/
“Still Hotter Than Hell” Spicy love Book 2: http://www.amazon.com/Still-Hotter-Than-Hell-Spicy-ebook/dp/B00N29T32M
Berengaria Brown

Thursday, March 31, 2016

March 31, 1944 - A trip down country music memory lane by Kaye Spencer


I was a child of the 1950s and 1960s who grew up in a country music-listening home. I feel fortunate that my parents, particularly my dad, kept the radio tuned to our small town’s local radio station, which played country music almost all day long, every day. I still have most of my 33⅓ rpm and my 45 rpm records that I played hour-after-after on my record player.




While my tastes in music have changed over the years, and I’m not particularly enamored of today’s country music (George Strait excluded – love his music), I’m grateful that so many country music artists and songs from my growing-up years had such long-lasting and far-reaching influences on my writing.

Marty Robbins, Faron Young, Johnny Cash, Patsy Cline, Loretta Lynn, Conway Twitty, Merle Haggard, Johnny Horton, Hank Snow, Ferlin Husky, Hank Williams, Willie Nelson, Jim Reeves, George Jones, Tammy Wynette…

You get the picture.

Where am I going with this? One of my favorite country music legends was born today—March 31, 1928—in Corsicana, Texas… Lefty Frizzell.

But I’m not here to give you a biographical tribute, you can read more about his life Here and Here.

I’m sharing this, because his song, Saginaw Michigan, ranks way up there on my list of all-time greatest country songs. It’s a story of true love overcoming obstacles and persevering in order to blossom and grow, which is what lies at the heart of the stories I write.

Here is Lefty Frizzell singing Saginaw Michigan.



Also, for your reading pleasure – THE COMANCHERO’S BRIDE – a western tale of love, jealousy, and revenge






Buy Links    Amazon | Barnes and Noble  |  Smashwords | Kobo | iBooks



Until next time,

Kaye Spencer
Writing the West one romance at a time

Record player image:  Morguefile.com
Musical notes image: Openclipart.com



 

Monday, March 28, 2016

An Easter surprise visit

Easter is a time for rebirth and new beginnings. This year is all about new beginnings for me because we just made a big move. We downsized. I'm not going to miss the house as much as I'm going to miss my huge Palo Verde tree (aka The Tree of Life) and all of the wildlife that gathered beneath that beautiful tree. There were the large desert iguanas, Mr. and Mrs. Godzilla, owls, and a multitude of birds that visited our old backyard. I was bummed about leaving all of that behind, but today I had hope that I will have some new backyard wildlife to interact with and enjoy. As I watered the new Palo Verde tree growing on our back slope at the new house, a hummingbird appeared, then there were two hummingbirds bathing in the water's spray. I managed to capture a picture of one of them. It was a magical experience and a sign of the new experiences to come. Happy Easter!


My hummingbird visitor.


Kelley Heckart
Otherworldly tales steeped in myth & magic.



Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Naughty Lovers: Love Is In The Air


Naughty Lovers: Love Is In The Air
by Tina Donahue, Charlotte Boyett-Compo, Suz deMello, Terry Rissen, Nicole Austin, Regina Kammer, Berengaria Brown, Katherine Kingston, Alexa Silver.
Nine stories for only 99 cents!
Including BBW, BDSM, Contemporary, Fantasy, Lesbian Romance, M/F/M, M/M, New Adult, Paranormal, Regency, Sci-Fi, Shape-shifter, Speculative Fiction, Steampunk, & Stepbrother romance from bestselling authors.

Featuring:
THE RIDE OF HER LIFE, by Tina Donahue
Maddy’s so desperate for fun, she’s signed up for speed dating. Ew. Before she can ditch the event, Ben, her sexy driver, arrives. After one sinfully hot kiss, they’re breaking all the rules, and then some, on a sensuous spring night.

LOVE IN THE AIR, by Suz deMello
Jill’s been curious about BDSM since reading Fifty Shades, and firefighter Zack is more than willing to scratch that itch for her.

RENAISSANCE, by Alexa Silver
Kira meets Sage, one of the guys from her favorite band, at a “rock workshop”. Can she trust this handsome rockstar or is he after more than her talent?

BASTARD’S BONUS, by Terry Rissen
There is no love lost between the Glass Spinners’ Guild and the Tavern Keepers’ Guild. For Ian and Zane, it means they can never be together, or risk losing everything.

CINDERELLA SCANDAL, by Nicole Austin
It was a onetime indulgence—a random encounter between strangers. A good girl’s dirty little secret with her bad boy stepbrother. Anything else is forbidden. Or is it?

SWING FOLLIES: OCKHAM STEAM-WORKS LABORATORY CHRONICLES 3, by Regina Kammer
Blimey. Delia’s besotted. With Edward. But when an old flame from Edward’s revolutionary past swings by and steams up the laboratory, has Delia missed her chance at love?

SAPPHO’S SISTERS, by Berengaria Brown
Lady Eustacia Lumley, the only child of the Earl of Wentworth, must marry well and ensure the succession. Only problem is she’s falling in love with another woman.

BLAST FROM THE PAST, by Katherine Kingston
Lynn’s past relationship with Ryan wasn’t healthy, but when she meets him again after a long separation the old flames reignite. Can they have a more mature relationship now?

THE WYNDRAIDER’S CONQUEST, by Charlotte Boyett-Compo
Prime Reaper Xandon Cree must pick the next test pilot to fly a super-secret war craft. Picking a female for the job is not what he had in mind.

Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B01BZECETY/

Paperback: http://www.amazon.com/dp/1523830735/


An excerpt from my story, "Sappho's Sisters'. PG13 FF romance.

That evening, the women settled into a comfortable sofa in front of the fire in the yellow sitting room at Green Meadows with their embroidery.
“It’s good to be home again,” said Eustacia. “I like the hustle and bustle of Town, and shopping and parties are always fun, but I prefer to come home and sleep in my own bed.”
“Thank you once again for inviting me to stay with you for three months. Poor Papa is at his wits’ end wondering what to do about us all. Now that I’ve turned eighteen, he’s suddenly realized that Anne is very nearly twenty-two and time is running out to find her a good husband.”
“Four children in four years. Ugh. That’s one aspect of marriage I have never accepted—a baby every year.”
“No. I find that concept unappealing too. In fact, I find most men unappealing—selfish, arrogant, and quite often, silly. So many of the notables I danced with at Almack’s could not think past their clothes and their horses. They all either owned, or would inherit, property. Shouldn’t they be thinking about their lands and the needs of their tenants? Papa is always concerned about the lives of his parishioners.”
“Maybe they thought they shouldn’t talk about such things with a young woman.”
“Possibly.” Margaret did not sound convinced.
“Do you not want a husband and children of your own?”
“What I want is irrelevant. Papa can’t keep supporting us all, and what else is there for a woman who’s noble-born but impoverished? I’ve thought seriously about becoming a teacher or governess, but families wanting a governess usually also have sons, so they won’t hire a young woman like me. I could be a companion to an old lady. I can sing, and draw, and sew, as well as speak passable French. But I suspect agreeable old ladies wanting a companion are few and far between, and I’m much more likely to end up with a most disagreeable old lady.”
They both laughed, and then turned the conversation to happier topics.
Much later that evening, Eustacia noticed Margaret screwing up her eyes and frowning. “What’s wrong, Margaret?”
“I have the headache. I seem to get it more and more often these evenings. I don’t understand why. The light here is good for sewing, much better than at home. Good wax candles are so much more expensive than tallow,” she said and sighed.
“It’s almost time to go up to our chambers anyway. Would you like me to come and massage your head? My nurse used to massage mine and it really helps.”
“Yes, thank you. That would be nice.”
They put away their embroidery and walked companionably up the stairs together. Eustacia’s maid was waiting for her and soon Eustacia was in her night rail and robe, her hair brushed out. She dismissed the maid before walking down the hall to Margaret’s room. Margaret, who had no maid, was just tying her robe.
“Sit at your dressing table and let me undo your hair,” Eustacia said.
Slowly, she pulled out the pins and untwisted the braid. Margaret’s long, shiny brown hair rippled across her shoulders and down her back. Eustacia picked up Margaret’s hairbrush and drew it through the thick, wavy hair, pulling carefully and steadily from root to end in smooth sweeps.
“That does feel good. I can remember when my nanny used to brush my hair. I always enjoyed it.”
“I want you to enjoy this, too,” Eustacia whispered, letting her hot breath tickle Margaret’s left ear as she kept up the smooth strokes with the hairbrush. From front to back, from root to tip, Eustacia drew the brush through the hair in firm but gently soothing sweeps.
Margaret’s eyes closed and her shoulders relaxed some of their tension.
Eustacia noticed this, nodded to herself, and put down the brush, replacing it with her fingers as she pressed against Margaret’s scalp and began her massaging. First she rubbed in deep circles, beginning at the left ear and working her way across Margaret’s head to the right ear. Then she moved to the front of Margaret’s head, massaging deeply, pressing her fingers firmly against Margaret’s scalp, kneading from front to back this time.
By the time she’d finished, she could tell Margaret was much more relaxed, her shoulders no longer tense, her brow no longer furrowed.
Eustacia bent and pressed her lips to Margaret’s still-exposed neck, kissing it with soft, light, butterfly kisses from left to right across her neck, ending at her right ear, which she gently sucked into her mouth and nibbled on. Eustacia blew into that ear, then began to kiss her way across to the other side and repeated her caress on the other ear.
“Mmm, feels so good.”
Eustacia let her hands rest on Margaret’s shoulders, rubbing them softly, then more firmly, soothing and stroking down to the elbows, and then back up again.
Margaret’s eyes were closed, her breath coming more harshly, her body totally relaxed in Eustacia’s hands.
Eustacia rested her palms on Margaret’s sides, and when Margaret made no move to complain, she ran them up to cup the younger woman’s breasts. Margaret’s nipples were hard little points under the soft velvet of her robe. Eustacia pushed the robe apart so she could touch Margaret’s breasts through the thin linen of her night rail. The breasts were full and round, her nipples now engorged, and just touching them made cream seep from Eustacia’s cunny.
“Take off your night rail. Let me see you naked.”
“You first.”

Buy links:
Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B01BZECETY/

Paperback: http://www.amazon.com/dp/1523830735/

Book Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hBgvO9B6LRc



Sunday, February 28, 2016

Ever wonder what it's like to be a wolf?

Wouldn’t it feel great to be in the body of a wolf? I’ve always wondered what it would be like. Alas, I don’t have that extraordinary ability, but my character in The Wolf Queen does. I get to live it through her eyes.

Snippet from The Wolf Queen:
Naked, she closed her eyes and thought of the wolf that lived inside her. Her blood grew hot as it coursed through her body. Her limbs twisted, her body shifting and transforming in a rush of tingles and surprisingly mild pain despite muscles, bones, and skin reshaping. The exhilarating sensations thrummed in her blood, a powerful combination of strength and belonging. She found herself on all fours, looking through the keen eyes of a wolf. An unexpected surge of excitement sent her leaping and pawing at the ground. She ran around to prepare for the jump across the river, testing her newfound skills. How could she have gone through her life so far and not experienced this?
Because it is forbidden.
****


Book Title: The Wolf Queen
Author: Kelley Heckart
Genre: Greek myths/fantasy/paranormal/werewolves/romance
Release date: 12/17/15
Page Count: 246
ISBN-13: 978-1519606242
ISBN-10: 1519606249 
ASIN: B019HML564

Blurb

The Wolf Queen
Book 2: The Arcadia Series

A new twist on Beauty and the Beast and the Greek myth of Lycaon the werewolf. A Bronze Age fantasy, adventure, and romance set in Arcadia, the wild forests of the goddess Artemis… Game of Thrones meets The Iliad


A tormented wolf man… A mysterious girl with a terrible secret…

Alara, a princess from a foreign land, is forced to wed the sorcerer-king Aramon, a power-hungry warlord, who discovers her dark secret and wants to use her to create an invincible army. When she meets Lycaon, she must decide if she should trust the cursed, tormented half-man half-wolf who might be her enemy or her true mate.

Lycaon, once a great king until he was cursed by Zeus to be a werewolf, is drawn to the mysterious princess. He is torn between helping Alara escape and using her to gain power over those who despise him.

Secrets abound and old enemies are reunited to battle Aramon before his terrible plan is unleashed. Time is running out as the dark moon approaches. Soon, Arcadia will be overrun with an unstoppable, vicious army unless Aramon can be defeated. To prevent his victory, the cost is high. As Lycaon’s affection for Alara grows, it becomes more difficult for him to decide which to save: Arcadia or her.


5 stars! “A read any paranormal reader could love and one I highly recommend.” Sorrel at LASR
5 stars! “This was an amazing story full of twist and turns. Kelley Heckart is an incredible author and I found myself lost in the story from the start.” Amazon review

Kelley Heckart, Historical fantasy romance author
Captivating...Sensual...Otherworldly