Tuesday, December 31, 2013

A Page Straight From... #apagestraightfrom

Sinner, Book 1 of the kan Ingan Archives 
by Toni V. Sweeney

The kan Ingans have never been shy about writing of their triumphs, or their failures, either.  Some call them literary exhibitionists because of that.  Gathered here is the story of one of their family—Aric kan Ingan… Sinner… Exile… Rebel… King…

Taken from his mother at the age of twelve, and raised as heir to the Arcanian throne, Aric loses his inheritance when his uncle abruptly married Elizabeth Sheffield, an Earthwoman. Aric rebuffs Elizabeth's overtures of friendship, only to have events take an unexpected turn when he falls in love with his uncle's wife.

While Aric and Elizabeth begin a forbidden passion, other forces in the kingdom are conspiring rebellion and murder…

…with Aric as the not-so-innocent pawn…

Chosen as one of the best Science Fiction Romances series of 2012 by the Paranormal Romance Guild.

Chosen as one of the top ten in SF/Fantasy By the 2012 Preditors & Editors Readers Poll.

A Page from:

She was standing on the other side of the room behind the divan, hands resting on its back. Her color was good, eyes bright. The dark hair was once again lustrous and gleaming, loose in a cascade of waves falling about the shoulders of her green gown. She’d gained a little weight, too, and no longer looked like an insubstantial wraith.
She was beautiful.
“My lady.” Aric bowed. “How are you?”
“I didn’t ask you here to discuss my health.”
The words were an attack, no greeting, no acknowledgement of his bow, simply that blunt statement as if he were a recalcitrant schoolboy called before his tutor. To his present state of mind, her hostility was without cause.
“Your health’s of great importance, Your Majesty,” he replied, ignoring her rudeness. There was a flickering of surprise that he wasn’t responding with his own anger. “I appreciate your seeing me.”
The dark brows shot up. “How polite we are today. I’d better watch my step. I’ve learned you’re at your most dangerous when your manners show.”
“Don’t mock me, my Lady, I beg you.” He shook his head, trying to keep the distress out of his voice, horrified when a slight whine crept in.
“Humble, too? Should I get out my sword and shield?” She smiled cruelly. “Perhaps I should call my White to protect me since my husband isn’t here. Why were you so anxious for him to attend the council on Andvari, Aric? Was it so you could play Margrave once more?”
He didn’t answer.
“Poor, poor Lord Ghiralaine! That’s the only way you’ll ever be ruler now, I’m afraid.”
Damn, she knows how to dig in her claws!
“Elizabeth, don’t!” He couldn’t, wouldn’t take any more.
“Your Lordship!” There was mock horror in her voice. “You’ve just committed a grievous social error!”
He forced himself to stay calm. “I need to speak to you, Elizabeth.”
“And I to you,” she agreed. “I think it’s time some things were decided between us.”
“Will you begin, or shall I?”
She hesitated. “First, there’s something I need to know. The last time we spoke, had you been drinking?”
“No, Elizabeth.” He smiled slightly. “I was totally sober.”
She looked dismayed, as if she’d convinced herself otherwise and didn’t want this belief refuted. “Before my daughter was born, you told me you had certain... feelings... toward me.”
“No,” he corrected, “I told you I loved you.”
“You’ve a strange way of showing it!” she flared. “I was under the impression you hated me. God knows, I’ve tried to make you like me.”
“I don’t like you, Elizabeth. I love you.” He wasn’t going to stand there and listen any longer. Nor was he going to spit out pretty phrases. He was going to tell her exactly and bluntly how he felt, once and for all. “Love! Do you know the word? It’s that emotion you pretend to have for my uncle. If there’s anyone I hate, it’s him for being able to touch you!”
“For God’s sake, what are you saying?”
Before he realized it she was standing in front of him, pressing her hand against his mouth.  He kissed her fingers and she jerked her hand away as if he’d bitten her.
“I love you, Elizabeth, and I think you feel the same way about me.”
“No!” The denial was too violent to be sincere. She shook her head. “No, no, no!”
“Why did you send for me?”
“I—to…” She tried to speak, swallowed, and stood there helplessly.
“Don’t lie, my Lady.”
“How dare you call me a liar!” She was still attempting to hide behind anger.
“It’s true. You’ve always lied! To Deroes, to me, to yourself.  I received your thoughts, Elizabeth.  I imaged two men making love to you.”
“You were mistaken!”  She didn’t look as surprised as he expected.  Had she deliberately done sent him those mental images?  “That ability you have can sometimes be wrong. You picked up someone else’s thoughts.”
“There were two! Before your marriage to my uncle, you were wondering how it’d be between us.”
“No, no, no!” She looked ready to burst into tears. “I love my husband!”
“He’s thirty-three years older than you.” He caught her by the shoulders, shaking her. “Gods, he’s having to use medication to perform. You need someone younger, someone who can satisfy you. You need me.
She didn’t get a chance to answer. Aric kissed her.  She stiffened and pulled away. One hand drew back.
He braced himself to be struck.

The hand fell to her side. “Lock the door.”


Okay, I rather doubt that you’ve never heard about making character checklists that ask what your hero and heroine are like.  I mean – come on- in order to write about them, we need to portray and understand them, right?

Everyone has their own tailored list, I know I do.  And I’m adding to it all the time.  Why?  Because, if we don’t understand our characters, we won’t know how they’ll react in any given situation.  Face it, we respond, react, and feel about a situation, because of what we’ve learned along our path in life.  The same applies to our characters.

When getting ready to start a book, I ask myself the following questions and jot down notes (in my 5”x5” notebook – which I create for every book I write).

While going through this process of getting to know your characters, keep in mind questions your hero and heroine agree and disagree on.  For instance, her mother left her and she hates anything connected with mothers.  He on the other hand has a devoted, loving mother who would so anything for him.

So what types of questions should you ask?

·        Character name (soooo important) Does it have a meaning?
·        Age
·        Physical appearance
o   Any particular tags – lisp, limp, stutter,
o   Manerisms?
o   Accents
o   Heritage
§  Baggage on this?
§  Parental baggage?
§  Siblings? (do they get along?)
§  Birth information – state – live there whole life?  Where is he/she now?  Why?
·        Where does story take place?
·        Been married before?  Divorced/widowed?  Bad relationship? Good relationship – why did it end?
o   Is she/he bitter about opposite sex?
o   Any love interests now?
·        Children?  Sex/ages
·        Friends/male-female/ if pertinent to story?
·        Enemies?
·        Live in house, apartment, in country, city? 
o   Style?
o   Live alone/sharing?
o   Personal style
·        Hobbies?
·        Education
·        Job?  Career?
·        Goals?  Aspirations?
·        Secrets?
·        Personal issues?
·        What makes her/him far from perfect? 
o   I include this one – because when I started writing – my characters didn’t have enough ‘flaws’ … it’s important not to create perfect characters – no one is perfect (much to my chagrin!)
·        At the beginning of story – what is her/his main problem?
·        What does she/he do to make the situation worse?
·        What does the hero hate/love about heroine?
·        What does the heroine hate/love about hero?
·        What about hero do you want reader to love/hate?
·        What about heroine do you want reader to love/hate?
·        Why should the reader care about the hero?
·        Why should the reader care about the heroine?

Once you finish running through the questions above (1800s Native American story – not all apply) – jot down what surprised you.   You’ll know your characters better after answering these questions.  Are you ready to start writing now?

Bear in mind – even though you know so much about your characters – don’t put all the information in your story just because you have it.  You may never have to share she hates her old boyfriend from high school . . . if it has no impact on the story.

Getting to know your characters ahead of time will make him/her ‘real’ in your mind – and therefore, they become real on paper.

Monday, December 30, 2013


Fiction is sometimes given a bad wrap.  Face it, when someone tells you they write and read only ‘nonfiction’ their IQ shoots up … 25%.  Yep, many people have this idea that nonfiction is for those ‘smart’ folks.

Sorry people – not me.  I’m happy for nonfiction writers/readers, it’s their choice and if that’s their preference, good for them.  But in many ways I think, boy they have it easy.  They write only with the facts and that’s it.

Fiction writers on the other hand – we have our job cut out for us.  We have to create characters and make the reader ‘believe they are real.’  Through action, dialogue, span or range of your story, you make your people ‘come alive’ in your reader’s head.  They are believable ‘real’ people facing ‘real’ chalenges, ‘real’ dangers, and showing ‘real’ consequences, taking the reader with them.

Don’t forget our characters have real pasts, family history, and they feel ‘real’ emotions, prejudices, and experiences.

We bring our characters to life from a particular point-of-view (POV).  We take our reader to a particular time and place and draw them into the world of our character.  If you walk, talk, and even breath along with your character, that will flow onto the page and your reader will walk, talk, and breath with your characters, too.

I’m certain that there are nonfiction writers out there who are able to take a reader away from it all, bringing their real-life character to life in the mind’s eye of their reader.  But I’m also convinced our fiction writers are doing the same thing, with more imagination, flare, excitement, and let’s face it – their journey is the one the reader wants to be on.

If you’ve done your job right, your reader will be looking for your next book, because it did what it was suppose to do.  Suspend the disbelief and take them away from it all . . . on a journey of emotion . . . that satisfied them at the end.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Did Santa Bring You a New Phone or Tablet?

Fill your new electronic gadget with great reading and inexpensive titles from Books We Love. Our ebooks are already a bargain at $2.99 for single titles ~ and right now you can find all kinds of special deals ~ Titles ranging from 99 cents to $1.99!

Click here and check out the special savings, going on now at Amazon.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Round Robin Blog with Ginger #RndRobn1213

I missed participating in Rhobin's "Round Robin" last month, but I'm back again at it again.  As you may or may not know...she provides the topic and the participants give answers.  If you'd like to find out more about Rhobin Lee Courtright, feel free to follow this link.

This month's topic: What have you learned from writing? And what are your goals for 2014 and further into the future?

It would take me well into 2014 to list all the things I've learned from writing.  Each editing session or critique has provided a learning experience, and I personally believe the most valuable lesson is a novel is better shown than told.  Anyone can tell a story, but it takes a real talent to move the reader into the characters shoes and let them experience the story from that perspective.  You can "tell" them a pie is baking, but can they smell what kind it is?  Does the fresh smell of apples and cinnamon waft in the air?  Does their mouth water? You can tell the reader about kisses, but will she/he feel the caress of the hero's breath on the heroine's neck or the shivers that pinprick her spine?   If they mount a horse, will the wind whip their hair and a morning chill sting their cheeks?  These are elements, my debut novel sorely missed and wouldn't have seen daylight without the help of an editor who "showed" me the difference.

If you peruse this blog, you'll find all kinds of bitches and moans about editing and things to avoid.  When you've been writing a dozen or so years, you do learn a lot, and not all of it is crystal clear or a hard and fast rule.  Many things depend upon the publishing house.  Go figure!

As far as the future.  I'm not as confident as I once was about the time I have left.  I'm in good health, and I hope to continue writing for years, but having just turned 68 makes me question how many works-in-progress I have to finish in whatever time the Good Lord gives me.  Writing brings me pleasure when my characters are talkative, but when life impairs your hearing, writing becomes a chore one can't manage.  2013 hasn't been my best productive year, so I'm hoping for some new additions to my back list with the coming year.   I'm so thankful to Books We Love for allowing me to breathe new life into some of my older novels and give them a chance for the exposure I'd hoped they would receive.  I've released a few brand new ones, too, but be on the lookout for more.  That's my goal.

Now...hop on over to Aimee Heil's blog, writing as A.J. Maguire @     http://ajmaguire.wordpress.com/ and see what she's learned and intends to pursue in 2014.

Welcome, Mary Ann Kempher

 I'd like to welcome our guest, Mary Ann to Dishin' It Out.  She has a novel recently released that she would like to share with you, and as you know, we always welcome the opportunity to help promote our peers.  So, without further ado, I give you a little teaser from Forever Doomed:

It's not wise to wander the cruise ship Forever alone at night. You might not live to see daylight. 

Detective Jack Harney agrees to do an old Army buddy a favor. 

Curt Noble had some personal business to attend to, he didn’t say what. What he did say was he needed someone to temporarily take over his duties as head of security on the struggling cruise ship. 

It’s not just a sense of obligation that motivates Jack to agree to Curt's request; Jack moved thousands of miles, started over, and still can't get Amy O'Brian out of his heart or mind. When she shows up on the ship, as part of a large wedding party, Jack must fight to stay focused. To make matters worse, Amy isn't his only distraction; a sexy and mysterious woman has made it her mission to seduce Jack.

Forever. Jack hesitates, but he owes Curt his life, so agrees. He’s told the worst mischief he can expect to encounter will be the occasional shoplifter, or drunk. Instead, one week into the cruise, a beautiful red head and a member of the crew are ruthlessly murdered. Are the two murders connected? It’s up to Jack to find out. He must find the killer before the ship returns to Tampa’s port, or worse, before another dead body is found. This won't be easy. The ship is old, it's security systems outdated, and clues are few, or so it seems at first.

As the body count rises, and time slips away, Jack has to ask himself, “Did someone commit the perfect crime?” 


Author Bio:
MaryAnn Kempher's writing is infused with mystery and romance. She spent her teen years spent living in Reno NV where her first book, Mocha, Moonlight, and Murder is set. The setting for her second book, Forever Doomed, was inspired by her love of the ocean. Her writing influences include favorite authors Agatha Christie, Jane Austen and Janet Evanovich. Her guilty pleasures include any and all sweets, including a good cup of Mocha. She is married with two children.

For more about MaryAnn Kempher, visit her author Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorMaryAnnKempher
or her website: mkempher.com

Purchase MaryAnn’s books here:

If you purchase Forever Doomed in paperback for uner $11, you can get the Kindle version for just 99 cents.

Thursday, December 26, 2013


Facebook – You have to have it in your arsenal of writing tools.  It’s one of those time stealers if you allow it.  So my first advice is manage Facebook, don’t let it manage you.

Don’t be afraid of adding ‘friends’ . . . mine are, besides family and close friends, people who like reading, writing, articles and ideas about writing, etc.  They are engaged, supportive, and excited about writing also.

Not only will your followers see you as a professional writer, they’ll see you as a person, one with family and hobbies, just like them. (Click here to friend me.) https://www.facebook.com/ritakarnopp

I wish I could acclaim ‘Facebook savvy’ but my name isn’t Ginger Simpson!  We all need a Ginger – one who has a way with ‘social media.’  I’m old school, I’m sad to admit, and nothing that is media comes easy to me.  So, I have had to learn the hard way – the way I always learn things – at the School Of Hard Knocks.
Fear keeps us paralyzed – and it’s been a struggle to relax and realize anything can be learned.  I wouldn’t post anything I wouldn’t say to others in a conversation, so why fear posting it?

Then came the blessed day my writer friend, media savvy Ginger, asked me to join her on her already popular and successful blog site; http://mizging.blogspot.com  Not only was I honored, I was totally humbled by her request.  Of course I shouted, “Yes!”  Then asked myself, “What have I just agreed to?”

My strategy was to be a ‘solid contributor’ and make her glad … even ecstatic (maybe that’s a bit strong) that she asked me to join her.  J

Facebook Strategy – One thing I felt certain -I had to know my demographics – anyone who wants to read articles about writing.  People who are learning to write, other authors, those who have product or service for writers, or those with messages to share regarding writing.

So I’ve learned a few things since the day I said, “Yes,” to Ginger. 

1.   Tag everyone as part of a group.  This will help you manage your growing list of friends. 
a.   Do this when people request to be your friend.
b.   You can tag those who are already your friends.
c.    Why should you do this?
                                       i.    It allows you to choose what lists should see what information.  For example you might only want your family and close friends to see your personal photos or maybe an invitation to a family party.
                                     ii.    Use this ‘privacy control’ with finesse, or you might find you’ve offended someone if they find out they’ve been blocked from certain areas of your profile.

2.   Is your Facebook a personal or professional site? 
a.   You may want an ‘only personal’ Facebook site, or
b.   You may want it to be focused on your writing career.
                                       i.    Is it your sales tool?
c.    You might want to consider creating an environment of interaction, learning, sharing, and mix in a little book promotion. 
d.   This site may be the connection you need to share some one-on-one time with other writers and readers.
e.   Share your services options, but leave it up to them to contact you at a ‘hyperlink’ to do business on.

3.   A time sink hole – Whatever you decide, decide ahead of time how much time you want to allow yourself for Facebook.  I do the same with emails.  If you don’t, you won’t have time to write.
a.   Don’t get caught up in games, causes, quizzes, etc.  It will rob you of your writing time for sure.
b.   Save yourself time for a single Facebook page and forego creating a ‘fan page.’
                                       i.    Because you then will have to maintain two separate profiles and two separate interactions – it just saves you time in the long run.
Facebook is an incredible tool that is growing – and in my humble opinion – will be here for a long time to come.  The interactions you develop will not only bring you reader fans, but even more important good old fashion friends.

I’d love to see you on my blog site:  www.mizging.blogspot.com

And please visit and ‘friend’ me at: www.facebook/ritakarnopp.com

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