Monday, June 26, 2017

The Love of Reading & Writing by Nathan Bush


The Love of Reading & Writing by Nathan Bush


Hello out there to all my fellow readers and authors.  No matter what our genre of preference, I’m sure none of us will ever forget when we first fell in love with the written word.  For me, it was The Hobbit.  I still have the first, and only, copy I bought many, many decades ago.  The opening line grabbed me and never let go.  That’s all it took.  I have been a fan of reading ever since.

The love of reading eventually turned me to a new passion, one of writing.  I have written hundreds of thousands of words for short stories, poems, and songs.  All unpublished and most unread by anyone other than myself.  Mainly because I was afraid to let anyone read them for fear of ridicule.  Who hasn’t felt the gut wrenching fear of unanswerable internal questions?  Is it good enough?  Will anyone besides my mother like it? Or even want to read it?


I finally won out over my fears.  After spending two long years writing and rewriting, and editing, I published my first completed novel, Written in Blood, in July of 2016.  It is the first book in my Christian-based crime series, The Foley Chronicles: Files from the 8th District.  While it has not won critical acclaim, it has garnered multiple 4 and 5 star reviews on both Amazon and Goodreads.

I am now ready to choke out those nagging questions and mixed emotions once again.  The second book in my series, Root of Evil, will be available by June 15th, on both Amazon and CreateSpace.  

Thanks, and happy reading.



Here's a few links (hope they work):


Thanks for having me on your blog.  You are most awesome!

Nathan



Thursday, June 22, 2017

A Guardian Falls by R. Tran




A Guardian Falls

by author R. Tran

Genre: Fantasy



Book Blurb:

All looks bleak when Mara is forced to return home after her love’s brush with death. She only has one magical artifact and the army seems out of reach. The consequences should she fail or even succeed finally set in and Mara has doubts about everything.  There will be a war of blades and magic with Mara at the center, but Mara wonders if she has the strength to survive.



Excerpt:

In the dim morning light, Mara heard voices in the distance too faint to understand. Bishop shifted below her, anxious for the coming battle. Mara pulled her cloak tighter against the chill air and damp drizzle as she waited for news of Laran’s army. A few of the horses behind her snorted their dislike of Drake’s swift approach.



“It’s just as we thought. Half his troops went south in an attempt to flank us and back us into the mountains, but the remainder are coming head on. It shouldn’t be long now. Is the shield in place?” Drake asked, looking off to the horizon.



“It has been since first light. Its constant hum is driving me crazy. Every fiber in my body longs to bring it down,” she informed him.



“You’ll be distracted soon enough,” Drake assured her.



Mara gave a forced smile. “I only want one man’s life. It’s a shame so many will have to die defending him.”



“I’m sure he’s saying the same thing.”



“He’s not on the battlefield. He’s locked away in the castle somewhere. I can feel it,” she spat annoyed at his cowardice. She looked to Drake. “How was Kess?”



“Worried about you. Don’t worry, you’ll see each other tonight,” Drake promised.



Mara looked up when a spell crashed into the shield above. Unsure of what was going on, Bishop sidestepped. Mara calmed him and he didn’t move when another spell crashed into the shield. Flames licked the shield overhead but rolled off like water on oiled canvas.



“What are they up to?” Drake asked, looking up as well.



“My guess is they’re trying to bring down the shield so they can kill us with magic.”



Drake gave her a weary look. He was all too familiar with magic. “Are you sure this will hold?”



“No, but it was created by magic far stronger than any they have,” Mara replied as blue lightning crackled over the shield’s surface. “They’re getting closer.”



Arrows darkened the sky in the distance. “The battle’s begun,” Drake said menacingly. He drew his sword with a mischievous grin and kicked his horse into a run. “See you tonight,” he called as he rode off. Mara drew a short sword and kicked Bishop into a run. The other men were at his heels. Everyone was eager to begin. The sooner it started, the sooner it would end.



Mara reined Bishop into a throng of men ahead of her. He eagerly rushed in and pushed men out of his way. She swung down on an enemy soldier successfully severing an artery. Blood sprayed out as he fell to the ground. She caught another squarely in the chest knocking him backwards. She barely had time to pull out her axe before he fell. Mara cut off a man’s hand as he raised it to swing at one of her soldiers.



As Mara pressed forward, a man lunged into her path. She instantly threw her axe and struck him in the chest. Mara heard the crunch of bone when it hit and the man sank to his knees gasping for air. Three men caught her by surprise and rushed toward her with the intent of dragging her off her horse. Mara wouldn’t have time to go around them.



Bishop, on the other hand, saw them and stopped suddenly. Rearing up, he kicked one man in the head on the way up and another in the chest on the way down. Mara formed a blue ball of flame and held it in her hand waiting to hurl it at the third when she landed. His eyes went wide when he saw the ball headed towards him.


Get this brand-new release as well as book one as a FREEBIE for a limited time:




June 12 – 16, 2017




Author Biography: R. Tran is a first-time author who started writing as therapy after losing her father at 16. Her first manuscript was finished 4 years later but sat around for years gathering dust before she had the courage to let someone read it. Sixteen years and many revisions later, what began as therapy is now a published novel.
Twenty years after her father's death she has a husband, two children, and a dog he never met.



Social Media Links:


twitter: @rtranbooks

email: (used for book promotions) mailto:rtranbooks.com@outlook.com

Friday, June 16, 2017

A Tale of Two Parrots by Chrys Cymri

A Tale of Two Parrots

The story of a second chance at love--and inspiration

By Chrys Cymri

If the smoke detector hadn’t gone faulty, Xander would not have died on Christmas Eve.


23 December 2015. A malfunction in my house’s alarm system had meant that every thirty minutes, for around ten minutes, an ear-splitting noise would spiral throughout the building. The alarm company, after trying to talk me through a fix over the phone, finally sent someone out. He cut the wires, advising me that the fault was irreparable and the unit would have to be replaced.

The four hours of aural hell had left me with a splitting headache. I let my green cheek conure out of her cage and started to get ready to cook my dinner. I popped into the next room to collect a magazine, and when I tried to shut the door, it caught on something. 

It only took a moment for me to realize that the ‘something’ had been my bird’s head. Xander flew onto a kitchen cabinet and made a noise of such distress that the air was sucked from my lungs. I could see that her head pained her. Only the next morning did I notice that the lower mandible of her beak had been shoved sideways. She couldn’t eat, and even drinking was difficult.


Finding a vet open on Christmas Eve was a challenge. The specialist avian practice was shut for the holidays. The general vet sent me home with a syringe and liquid hamster food (!). However, even when I managed to pin Xander down and squirt food into her beak, she coughed and gasped. The physical damage was just too great. So I arranged for a friend to drive me back to the vet. And I held my little bird while the vet gave my beloved bird the injection which would end her life.

Xander had been with me through so much. My divorce, a change in career, more house moves than any creature should have to face. She had given me a reason to smile on the darkest days. And now she was gone. I had her ashes incorporated into a small glass heart as I grieved.


This should have been a good time for me. After many years of writing fantasy novels, I had finally come up with a new series which beta readers loved. Xander had been the inspiration behind Morey, the small gryphon who accompanies the main character, Penny White. When I published the book, ‘The Temptation of Dragons’, I dedicated the novel to her. 

My life seemed empty. I was now living totally alone. There seemed no reason to return home from work. I knew that I had to share my life with a new companion, for my own sanity’s sake.

Since there are so many parrots looking for second chances, I started looking for a rescue bird. Through searching the web I found Tilly, a year old green cheek conure looking for a new home, and in March I collected her.

I was very nervous. I felt I had the experience to deal with whatever issues a rescue bird might have, but on the other hand, Xander had been so tame and trusting. And I’d had Xander from the age of three months old. Would this new bird and I be able to form a bond?

Things were a bit rocky to start with. I’d make assumptions which Tilly didn’t share! But I read up and employed clicker and target training, and taught her a number of tricks (including flighted recall). Our relationship grew from strength to strength. 

There were some adjustments to be made. I’d gone from a mature bird to a youngster! I went to the Think Parrots show and spent a small fortune on toys--Tilly becomes bored far more easily than Xander ever did. I bought a bigger cage and transitioned her to a different type of pellet diet. Unlike Xander, Tilly doesn’t really care for dried chilli pods, but she would sell her grandmother’s egg for a Nutriberry.

My new companion also influenced my next novel. Tilly is much cheekier than Xander, and her antics fed into the character of Clyde, the small snail shark who lives with Penny. 

A few days before Christmas, ‘Your memories on Facebook’ offered me a video I’d made of Xander. Watching her dance to my rendition of ‘Once in Royal David’s City’ brought tears to my eyes. But then I lifted Tilly to the computer screen, and let her see the video. ‘That’s your sister,’ I told her. ‘And I love you both very much.’


Thursday, March 23, 2017

Crashing...RL Jackson

SCRIPT:
FADE IN:
INT. – LIVINGROOM DESK- NIGHT
SUPER: “3:00 A.M
R.L, early 30-something sits at her computer desk and ponders the blank word document in front of her. A bead of sweat forms on her brow.

MANUSCRIPT:
R.L sits at her computer desk, the scorching lamp shining on her face as she stares at the blank computer screen. A bead of sweat rolls down her brow. It’s three-o-clock in the morning and she sighed aloud, looking at the time in the lower right corner of her computer. She’d been sitting in her darkened living room for hours now not being able to sleep, but still not able to write anything either; the chalk white document in front of her still only showed the blinking cursor as evidence for her “writing”. Get it together, she thought, as she cracked her knuckles and placed her fingers on the keyboard.

Screenwriting and novel writing have special pros and cons of each, whether you’re traditionally published or self-published, or whether you’re making an indie film or shopping a script around to film houses. This is a topic that hits home for me being that I started my serious pursuit of professional writing with scripts before writing fiction novels. The process in hindsight for script writing is similar to manuscripts, but these are very different beasts. For me when I start any story idea, I watch it in my mind first. If I can’t imagine it in my own head, how will anyone else? Makes sense to me. After that I write detailed “story worlds” where I set the scene ( sleepy mariner town or a post-apocalyptic wasteland), then the characters I want to see (i love large ensemble casts), then I break all of that down further until I know  intimate details like, what each character’s favorite color is to what their favorite food choices may be.) When that’s said and done, I then write out my plot map and set up my “mini-movie” formula to ensure that I’m hitting the correct beats needed to keep things moving, interesting and full of suspense.
Once all of this has been plotted out, the fun really begins as words are either going to fly out of me and end up on the screen, or I’ll sit there without a clue as to what to write next. The same is true when I’m writing a manuscript as well. I plan and plot in a very similar way, but I have to think a lot more. In a script, the director and cinematographer will be able to build a set to show watchers the scene and the mood being conveyed. In novel writing, you have to actually be able to do that with words to immerse your reader, but also be clever about it too. No one wants to read three paragraphs on how good a banana tastes to the character, or how sunny the day was. You have to find a happy medium and that is where I ran into a lot of trouble at first.
With scripts, they want a fast page turner, 90-120 pages of pure entertainment, without any fuss. After being so used to writing like that, my first manuscript was pretty skinny, so instead of faking my way through it, I picked up some books and read. When I got the hang of how much description others used, it helped to open my mind up and be able to “show instead of tell”.  A lot of people think that phrase is only true for manuscripts but it’s not. In scripts, you are required to do the same, just less of it, which has its own challenges. I remember giving a script to a good friend of mine who is a pretty popular director right now, and he told me that the V.O’s (Voice over’s) I had in much of the script killed the story. He told me that the best scripts in this particular genre, did the showing, without needing the V.O’s at all, and made a bigger more dramatic impact. It blew me away and in that instance, I ended up with lots of short descriptions instead of actual dialogue, which made the suspense level go from 5 to 11 (on my imaginary suspense scale).  So you have to achieve the very same things in similar ways but follow very strict guidelines in a script. If a producer has an hour to kill but can’t get off page one in a minute or less, he/she probably won’t bother reading it unless it’s a “Lord of The Rings” caliber situation. The mechanics will depend essentially on what you’re writing and what the emotion is you’re trying to convey and knowing that with detailed outlines of your story will help you achieve it for both.
.
Script: Fast paced, little description, page turner, 90-120 pages
Novel: Fast paced, good descriptions, page turner, length is up to you
If you want to give scripts a try, get yourself some good software like Final Draft, or Writer Duet which is free. I’ve used both and when/if you are collaborating with a group, Writer Duet allows you to talk with your partner and see script changes in real-time. It also works for manuscripts written by author collaborations as well! Also, download some Hollywood scripts, a lot of them are free so you can get a feel for the format. It’s the same advice people give with fiction writing: Read your genre!
I say all this, not because I’m an expert, I am most certainly not, but to say to do your homework and research. Being an indie in either field requires a lot of hard work. I find being an indie author to be rewarding with the freedom and control but it’s no different from being an indie film-maker.I thought the vampire script market was saturated, lol! But I won’t despair, writing requires an audience or building one and if you want to take it seriously in either medium, you have to be a go-getter and have confidence in yourself and what you write. Don’t give up because something is hard or one person says something didn’t work for them. Find beta reader’s and editors, preferably recommended from other reputable authors in your circle.
SCRIPT- INDIE FILMMAKER: Have a good script, find funding, market, attract A-list talent (not as hard as you think), establish distribution, get paperwork in order, secure talent, film if all the stars align just right. (And none of this happens in order by the way. Sometimes you get talent with nothing but an idea and luck, or you have everything else and can’t find any recognizable talent interested, which doesn’t help distribution efforts. HARD WORK.)
NOVEL- INDIE WRITER: Have good manuscript, publish e-book, format for paperback, publish that, find fan base, market, advertise promote, watch rankings, social gatherings, social takeovers, launch parties, giveaways, discounts, write more, relevant blog posts, conferences, seminars, networking. ( No particular order other than a manuscript is needed before anything can get moving essentially and you still need money to do marketing. HARD WORK)
These look pretty similar and it is apparent that most of the work happens AFTER your masterpiece is completed or nearly completed. Neither is for the faint of heart as you can clearly see.
“Write, Publish, Edit, Repeat” is my motto. Emphasis on edit for both script and manuscript. Don’t put in months of hard work, to have it all mean nothing because you couldn’t afford an editor. Grammarly is free if that’s your only option and will point out lots of mistakes. Print your manuscript/script out chapter by chapter or scene by scene and read it. You will be surprised at the amount of mistakes you find and fix, and then even MORE surprised at how many your editor will find even after you’ve done all that. It’s worth every penny to put your best foot foreward. Again these are just my thoughts and experiences and not meant to be the definitive explanation of all things regarding either industry. I’m still learning everyday and I’m sure I have lots more to go.
All in all, I’ve enjoyed the journey of both and will continue my pursuit of story-telling no matter where it will lead: Oscar or NYT Best-seller list. A girl can dream, “write”?



Shared by the amazing RL Jackson! Check out her links!

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Meet R.L. Jackson: Author Interview

Meet R.L. Jackson. Author Extraordinaire.



1- Where did your idea for this novel come from?
I had the story rolling around in my head for a while but honestly, I get inspired from music. Full on montages spring about sometimes so between that, and the feeling I had to write a different story that was original helped shape the novel. 

2- What quirks of your characters, if any, come from real life?

Ummm lol let me see, I think for my character Lana, it's her ability to tell it like it is and cut the b.s comes DIRECTLY from me.  The important thing with that quirk is being able to take it, if you can give it. 

3- Did you have a favorite character- one you grew attached to?

I think I've grown attached to both main characters. They're these young people literally tripping and stumbling through life and I want to do them justice and give them the story they deserve.  

4- Did the plot take off on its own, or did you know exactly where it was going?
I knew how I wanted it to end, but the start and journey definitely took off in its own. 

5- Was there any point that you closed the laptop and said- I can't do this?

Lol like every other day but I had to push through until it was the best I could make it. 
6- Do you play music when you write?
Oh yes especially when I'm stuck with a scene. I play a song that matches the mood and "watch the scene" in my head then I correlate in the manuscript. 

7- What is your life prepared you for being an indie author?

Being an aspiring screenwriter for sure. I've spent years writing scripts, getting optioned, having the project fall through, creating wonderful relationships and learning how the industry of entertainment worked from that side.  That helped in certain aspects but indie authoring is another best and just as much work if not more. 

8- What actors are playing your characters?
For Kayden Ian Somerhalder for Lana Kat Graham. lol I love The Vampire Diaries so they'd be first pick. 

9- What advice would you give indie authors?
Write, Edit, Publish, Repeat. But take your time and make sure it's a story you want to tell, it's the best you can make it before sending to an editor or beta, then take advice on your story from a constructive point of view. If the advice helps and makes your story better, do it. If it doesn't don't. You ultimately decide what's happens here. Just be smart, be bold and get it done. 

10- What are you working on now?
A lot lol. I'm writing the sequel to "Crashing Into Me", I've started another awesome passion project that I can't mention yet, but I'm bursting with excitement to announce as well as writing scripts. The work never ends but it's exciting stuff and 2017 will be amazing!!

Find R.L. Jackson on these sites:

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Meet Alex Carver: Author Interview

I would like to introduce you to Alex Carver, the creative writer behind the Inspector Stone series!



1- Who is your favorite character that you've written and why?

I like Zack Wild, who features in my next release, there are elements of me in the character, as well as some wish-fulfilment, and I put him through a bit of hell, which was fun to do.

2- Have you hated any of your characters?

Probably the bad guy in Written In Blood, which is my next release, he's a very unpleasant character who does some horrible things.

3- What scene was the hardest to write?

The most difficult one I can think of was in Where There's A Will, Inspector Stone finds out his grandmother has cancer, it's not a long scene or even very involved, but for me it was difficult because it mirrors my life to a degree, my own grandmother died of cancer so I was writing something I had experienced when I did that scene. 

4- What is your favorite part of being an author?

That has to be the ability and the opportunity to take something or someone I see and create an entire story around it, it's loads of fun.

5- What books did you read growing up?

I've been a big reader for most of my life, but the book that stands out most for me from my childhood was Lord of the Rings, I read it when I was about 12, I also read Bram Stoker's Dracula, which got me hooked on vampires as characters. 

6- How do you research?

Usually I do a google search for the information I'm after and then cross-check the information that comes up on multiple sites to ensure what I've found is right; if I can, I'll use a professional or well-respected website to get the information

7- Is there any crime you've read about that you've said, no- I can't write this?

I'd like to say I'm prepared to write about anything, so long as I feel I can handle the subject respectfully, and without glorifying it in any way, after all, but if I'm honest, I don't think I could write about abuse, especially of children. I can't imagine coming up with a storyline that would involve that kind of crime, and I certainly don't think I could write I book that handled the topic in a way that wouldn't offend people.

8- Do you plan or let it develop as it's happening?

My writing is a mixture of both; I try to be organised and plan thoroughly before I get started on writing a book, but every so often an idea just leaps into my mind and I have to get to the writing and see where I'm going to be taken. 

9- Where do you expect to be in five years?

I have about a dozen novels written on paper, in five years I expect to have all of them released, and to be making a living from them, and probably working on some new material as well.

10- What are you working on now?

I'm in the final stages of editing Written In Blood, a thriller about a serial killer terrorising a small English village, on pre-order now and officially released on April 1st, and I am working on the 2nd book in my Inspector Stone series, which will be out later in the year. 

Some interesting and difficult questions there, thanks

Alex R Carver