Guest posts

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Guest post Divine Scales author Jennifer Blackstream

DivineScales 500x750

Title: Divine Scales
Author: Jennifer Blackstream
Genre: Fantasy Romance
A warrior with a hunger for sin . . .
Driven by a terrible hunger for the black souls of evil men, Patricio, divine executioner of the gods, patrols the kingdom with blood on his hands and ice in his heart. The families of his victims sing his praises–the result of a witch’s cruel curse that condemns him to be forever surrounded by false adulation. When the curse sours the first hint at romance Patricio has had since becoming the king’s heir, his rage is all consuming. Disgusted, he leaves the mermaid in the sea and returns to the palace…only to be shocked when she bargains for the legs to follow him.
A mermaid out of her element . . .
Marcela’s world has been turned upside-down–literally. Once a proud member of her father King Triton’s royal guard, she’s now the victim of an angel’s curse. Enchanted into false adoration bordering on obsession, she traded her tail–and her voice–to the sea witch for the legs she needed to pursue the object of her desire. In a cruel twist of fate, the very magic that gave her the means to pursue her passion also broke the spell that caused it. Now she’s in the angel’s arms, but how can either of them trust the desire churning inside them when so much magic has muddied the waters?
Trust isn’t easy when nothing is as it seems . . .
A mermaid with legs and no singing voice. An angel with a curse. A witch with a chip on her shoulder. The world is full of magic and mayhem, and for an angel and a mermaid, it will take more than a kiss to balance…the Divine Scales.

Author Bio

Jennifer Blackstream is a psychology enthusiast with both a B.A. and M.A. in Psychology. Her fascination with the human mind is most appeased through the study of mythology and folklore as well as any novel by Sir Terry Pratchett.
Jennifer enjoys listening to Alice Cooper, trying new recipes (to which she will add garlic whether it calls for it or not), watching television with her family, and playing with her woefully intelligent young son. She lives in Ohio.
Jennifer spends most of her time drinking coffee from her X-Men mug and desperately trying to get all her ideas written down before her son can find that all magical button on her laptop to make her latest work vanish.
To learn more about Jennifer Blackstream and her novels, visit her website at

Guest Post

I get a lot of questions about inspiration. What inspires my characters and plot? To be honest, it’s hard to say. Usually, the ideas just come to me out of the blue. But every once in a while, something I’m reading will spark an idea. I’ll read something another author’s done and think, “Now, if it were me, I would have done this a little differently…” And then my muse takes the idea and runs with it. So, I suppose what I read has a great deal to do with my inspiration. With that in mind, here are a few of my favorite authors. I’ve tried to stay in the fantasy/paranormal romance genre in case my readers would like to try them out.

Laurell K. Hamilton

Technically, Laurell is urban fantasy. However, her books (particularly later ones) have a great deal of romance (and an even greater deal of sex), so I’m counting her. Laurell is not for the faint of heart. Her gore is outmatched only by her eroticism (again, this is mostly later books, her earlier ones were much less romance/sex and more mystery/horror/paranormal). Her Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter series is about a necromancer (Anita) who helps the police solve crimes when there is a paranormal element involved. She is also a necromancer for hire, and those cases can get very interesting as well. To top it all off, Anita has a protective streak, and often finds herself involved in someone else’s mess because she simply isn’t willing to walk away and leave someone who needs help. I love the combination of mystery/paranormal/romance, and I highly recommend the series.

What I love about Laurell’s books:

·         The mystery keeps the suspense very high, which makes the books hard to put down
·         Jean-Cladue, her vampire, is deliciously Machiavellian
·         The erotic scenes are incredibly well-written and very intense
·         Her plots are usually complex enough, that the books can be re-read over and over and you still won’t predict everything that happens

What I love less about Laurell’s books:

·         She tends to have whiner-men. There’s almost always a man in there that’s emotionally needy, and he usually takes up a lot of screen time. It becomes a bit tiresome when there’s more than one.
·         In later books, the sex gets a bit more attention than the plot
·         Anita has become something of a Mary Sue (again, in later books, she starts off beautifully). Honestly, to save the series, Anita is going to have to be stripped of some serious power.

Katie MacAlister

I love Katie’s Aisling Grey: Guardian series. They are about a human, Aisling, who discovers she’s a guardian. She also discovers that she is apparently the mate of the head of the Green Dragons. Oh, and she’s accidentally claimed a demon servant who appears as her dog. As Aisling struggles to figure out just how all this paranormal stuff works, she ends up involved in various plots and mysteries that happen in that new world.

What I love about Katie’s books:

·         They are laugh out loud funny
·         Her mythology is very entertaining, as are her dragon politics
·         I enjoy the mysteries she infuses in with the romance, they really pull you through the book

What I love less about Katie’s books:

·         I found some of the description a bit confusing, but it wasn’t confusing enough to turn me away. Specifically, I’m a bit unsure of how draconic Drake (the leader of the Green Dragons) is?
·         Sometimes I’m laughing so much that it keeps the mystery from being as suspenseful as it might otherwise be
·         The books usually end with something tearing Aisling and Drake apart (romantically speaking), so that they can get together again in the next book. Sometimes, the break up seemed a little thin

I could go on an on about other favorite authors, but I’d hate to completely take over my host’s lovely blog, so I’ll leave you with these two. Check out the Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter series and the Aisling Grey: Guardian series. You’ll be glad you did!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Guest post for "The Wraith"by Arielle Strauss

The Wraith

Arielle StraussThe Wraith

Arielle Strauss is a twenty-two year old author, actress, and percussionist originally from Freehold, New Jersey. She graduated with a BA in Liberal Arts from Sarah Lawrence College, where she began to write “The Wraith Trilogy.” She’s pleased to finally share her first novel, “The Wraith,” with the world, and is currently working on its sequel.

The Wraith – Ophelia Weller never believed in ghosts until the night she became one. But when the aftermath of a frat party on the most haunted campus in America leaves her face to face with her own naked corpse, she really has no other option. Now a wraith, Ophelia is a spirit hidden amongst the living. Forced to conceal her undead identity from the world, and struggling to remain visible to the humans around her, how will she ever manage to convince her dearest friend of the truth? Or muster the courage to tell her beautiful gym partner that she just may be in love with her? And, with no memory of her death, how will Ophelia solve the mystery of her murder?

Guest Post 

NaNoWriMo...With A Twist

I always admired people who successfully completed National Novel Writing Month. I mean, to write an entire 50,000 word novel in 30 days is hugely impressive. But what if you only had 28 days? And it had to be a young adult paranormal romance novel? 

February is Antwinowrimo, Anti Twilight Novel Writing Month. Now, don't get me wrong; I read the complete Twilight Saga. And I enjoyed it. Yes, there were aspects of the series I didn't appreciate, but as a whole I had a great deal of fun reading those books. The challenge of Antwinowrimo is to write a novel that's better. On February 1st 2010, I began to attempt this crazy task.

I had no idea what I wanted to write about at first. I figured since there were so many stories about vampires and wolves, I would write a story about a ghost. Her name would be Ophelia, after the Shakespearean heroine. And her love interest would be a living girl she met at school. To this day, I've never read a young adult paranormal romance novel where the lead character is bisexual. Sure, I've seen bisexuality represented in television and in movies, but never in the form of a book geared toward people my own age. So I wrote Ophelia in the hopes that young people like her might finally see themselves represented.

Let me tell you, the first draft of this book is vastly different from the published version. I wrote "The Wraith" my freshman year of college. It was published three months after I graduated. Needless to say, the editing process was a long one. But during those four years, I completed the trilogy as schoolwork. 

If you're a creative writing student, I urge you to try and convince your professors to oversee the projects you want to focus on. I know I wouldn't have come as far as publishing if my professors hadn't lent me their guidance every step of the way. "The Wraith" is a story of a tortured soul who comes to find love and meaning all around her. I hope you enjoy the first two books. Book 3 will arrive before you know it!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Washed Hands,by Jonathan Charles Bruce - Guest Post

Washed Hands

Title: Washed Hands
Author: Jonathan Charles Bruce (
Genre: Mystery, Thriller
Release Date: October 14, 2014
Publisher: Booktrope Publishing (
Price: $13.95 (paperback)
ISBN:              9781620154656
Breaking up can be one of the hardest things a person can do, something that the dedicated team at Washed Hands, Inc. thoroughly understands. Whether one’s soon-to-be-ex is manipulative, violent, or anything else that makes a clean break difficult, the company’s rejection counselors ensure that the split is established and maintained in no uncertain terms. And in the toughest cases, no one’s better at this than Monica Deimos. Brought in on what appeared to be a relatively straight-forward domestic nightmare, Monica realizes all-too-late that she has been set up to take the fall for the murder of a wealthy socialite. As the police close in, Monica needs to discover who she can trust, who wants her out of the way, and why she was framed. She’s no fool, though. The best case scenario ends in a jail cell… the worst in a body bag.

Jonathan Bruce began writing what amounted to terrible Star Trek: The Next Generation fan fiction when he was four. Although the original manuscripts are lost (or perhaps destroyed), we can rest assured that his prose has improved significantly since then. After high school, he began writing and directing plays which gradually improved depending on whom you ask. He discovered his love of a good fight scene after writing a Dracula knock-off which took a 19th century classic and made it less about Victorian yearning and 300% more about stabbing things in the jugular.
And yes, this means he wrote vampire fiction before Stephanie Meyer made it cool to sparkle in the sun.
He has a Master’s Degree in History, thanks largely to his thesis focusing on MUSIC, a Milwaukee-based school desegregation campaign during the 1960′s. He also enjoys discussing/making fun of pop culture of the 20th century and reading books of a non-historical nature. In his off moments, you can catch him writing for fun or making inane movies about nothing in particular. He also occasionally provides work for Twenty Four Pages a Second, a pretty keen website you should totally check out.
Guest Post

It’s hard coming up with something to write today that isn’t going to be a bit on the sullen side. I apologize for that. I blame the slow shamble toward winter for the somber tone.

            Washed Hands had started life as a one-off gag post for my blog. The central idea behind it was no joke however—an agency created for the sole purpose of assisting people with their breakups is something that I think would make things a lot easier all around. It sounds tremendously impersonal, I’m sure, but I’ve been through breakups where I’ve turned into an awful person, desperate to maintain a hold on something that had long since died. It’s sobering (and honestly embarrassing) to realize the kind of darkness and general pettiness that we’re capable of. And it’s not just me; I’ve seen friends deal with their significant others as the latter devolve into selfish, angry monsters, professing love one moment before lashing out the next.

            Washed Hands mission, to preserve a client’s day-to-day life as much as possible, will probably strike some as callous and outright cold. I see it as a sad, but logical, extension of the world we live in. Toxic relationships are all around us—our Facebook and Twitter feeds are filled with drama that we divert our eyes from because we know that it’s better to stand by and watch the meltdown than get involved.

            I’m not saying that it’s a solution, of course. What we’d need is a complete re-education process. Teach people to define themselves as single entities that partner with people rather than engage in some kind of abstract contract that confers companionship at the cost of autonomy and individuality. Stop writing stories that put heroes and heroines meeting the one when they’re barely old enough to vote. Admit that it’s totally fine to not have everything figured out when you’re in your 20’s. And maybe, just maybe, that respect—not jealousy, or attractiveness, or sexual compatibility, or any of the other superficial motes of advice profound idiots hand out—is something you absolutely need before getting involved with another person.

            Washed Hands, fictional business that it is, is dedicated to basically providing a barrier between exes. And, since it’s a business, it costs money for the service. Some would see the triumph of capitalism. I see something that, at best, is a band-aid on a tumor. Sure, it helps people that may not have the means—emotional or otherwise—of affecting a breakup in a safe and secure manner. But wouldn’t it be better all-around if it didn’t have to exist at all?

            And even then, there would be those that fall through the cracks—those that couldn’t afford the service, those trapped in an all-controlling abusive relationship, those who normalize their suffering as “just something couples go through”, those who blame themselves… I made the business from the ground up when writing it, and even as I typed I was all too aware of the holes, the gaps, the bleakness of something like that even existing in our world would mean.

            I’m not trying to say that I don’t love Washed Hands—I certainly do. It’s just a lot heavier on a philosophical level than I was really anticipating. That’s pretty cool. I’ve mentioned elsewhere that I write to figure out who I am and how I fit into this crazy world of ours, and Washed Hands is no different. It took me to some interesting places, and at the very least, I hope you get to see some of them, too.

            And then there’s the whole “reading it for enjoyment” thing. I hope it’s entertaining. It’d be really terrible if it wasn’t.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Guest post Hooked by Bobbi JG Weiss

 His name is Jonathan Stuart, and he’s just an ornery post-alcoholic bookstore owner from Pasadena with a mania for fencing and a bad habit of disappointing his girlfriend. He doesn’t want to be in the Neverland, impossibly trapped aboard the Jolly Roger with a horde of greedy stinking pirates. He was tricked there by Peter Pan.
      Pan happily invites children to come to his wondrous magical island, but he has to trick adults. No adult in their right mind would go willingly. Adults, you see, don’t have a very good time in the Neverland. The fairies and mermaids are against them. The island itself is against them. Most of all, Peter Pan is against them.
      In particular, Peter Pan is against Jonathan Stuart. Why? Jonathan had better figure that out, and he’d better do it fast before his mutating memories insist that, not only does he indeed belong in this nightmarish hell of bloodthirsty children, ticking crocodiles and vengeful boy gods, but he’s never existed anyplace else.
      So you see, he’s definitely not Captain Hook.
      Well, not yet.

The following author bio is taken from the author's web site

Hi! Bobbi here!

David and I have been successful full-time freelance writers for over 20 years. Yes, it can be done! We, however, have done it by writing a vast array of really unusual stuff.

You know those products you see in stores that seem to always just be there, as if nobody really created them, they’re just part of the big jumble of goodies always on the shelves? Things like kids’ video games, trading cards, children’s activity books, coffee mugs with funny slogans* – heck, even clothing tags with blurbs on them**. David and I have written that stuff. Sure, we’ve written plenty of things with our names on them, like novels, magazine articles, cartoons, interviews and such. But much of our work has involved “invisible” tie-in products, things that don’t have creator credits on the box, things that people buy all the time without ever wondering how such products ever got there.

Well, we’re the got there part. And it’s given us a unique perspective on the written word and what it can do.

David and I like to say that we’ve sold just about every form of writing there is, from James Bond collector cards to LensCrafter ads, from Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean MMO to the silly little comic strips that used to be printed on Donald Duck Orange Juice containers. Now we've entered the wild world of self-publishing. It's about doggone time we write our own stuff, woot!t Captain Hook.
Guest post

HOOKED: Setting and Point-of-View

This article contains spoilers!

The various settings I use in Hooked aren't arbitrary locations — they are the plot, they define the plot. The settings form the basis of the whole story. The protagonist, Jonathan Stuart, starts out in the real world, which is already giving him problems, and he ends up in a fantasy world that's worse. Much much worse. And he wants out. So setting is everything in Hooked.

I opened the story in 1989 because 1) I wanted to use the Loma Prieta Earthquake, and 2) I wanted Stuart to live in an area of upheaval. Hooked is a story about one of the worst upheavals a person can experience — abduction — so I wanted to foreshadow it in a clear, almost obvious, way. I decided on Pasadena because, in 1989, the downtown area was a mass of construction (I know what it was like, I lived nearby!).

In any major city, construction areas create a feeling of environmental change-by-force, and they bring inconvenience and stress, especially in downtown locations. Downtown Pasadena in 1989 was a mess, and this reflects Stuart's own life before the story even begins. Also, construction implies an architect in charge, someone who is changing things, even rebuilding things from the ground up, for a pre-determined purpose. That's the plot of Hooked in a nutshell! (Side note: I also just love the word Pasadena. It's intrinsically funny, as when Stuart says, “I’m just a bookstore owner from Pasadena!” Yeah, yeah, it's like "the little old lady from Pasadena..." Not quite as good as Cucamonga, but close.)

Another setting in Stuart's reality is his bookstore. I made him own a bookstore because I wanted him to have one foot out of reality from the start. He loves to read. He loves just being around books because stories are a way for him to escape the tragic aspects of his life. His house is also full of books, by the way. The fact that his ultimate Hell becomes the Neverland, one of the most beloved of all storybook worlds, is therefore made all the more ironic.

Once in the Neverland, setting is everything — not because Stuart is now in a fantasy world that’s really cool, but because his goal is the opposite of what most people would think. He wants to get out. Everything he does from the moment he arrives is an attempt to get back home. Sure, he can see how beautiful the Neverland is, and he wishes he could have been there as a child, but he's an adult, and that makes the place Hell. No, even worse than that — it's a Hell designed specifically for him (I did mention an architect earlier, right?).

The Neverland is a place of beauty. The verdant greenery of Pan’s island serves as a symbol of newness, of growth, of potential. The place is full of life and practically humming with glorious magic. It's designed to please children so, naturally, Stuart can't experience it that way. That aspect is not for him. He has to sit there and yearn for all the goodness but not be allowed to partake of it. All he gets is the bad stuff, and there's plenty of bad stuff there!

I want Peter Pan fans to know that I have not turned Barrie’s amazing creation dark. That is to say, I have not written a story where Peter Pan is evil and the Neverland is a scary place full of evil magic and monsters or something. I admire Barrie too much to do that, and I love the original story of Peter Pan too much to even think of doing it. The Neverland of Hooked is the same wonderful magical place that Barrie created, and Peter Pan is the same wonderful child hero. But to adults, well… that's another matter. Stuart’s predicament takes nothing away from Barrie’s original setting. It’s all still there. It just depends on your point of view, that of a child or that of an adult. Even in Barrie's novel, the adults (pirates) had a pretty rotten time in the Neverland. That's where much of the idea for Hooked came from.
Our real world seems to operate the same, don't you think? As kids our planet is a wonderful adventurous place. But the older we get, the more dangers we recognize, the more worries we develop, the more we experience how things can go wrong and hurt us. Yes, the wonder of the world remains (hopefully), but adults have been through too much to just leap around and laugh all day. Adults have to face the dark aspects of reality because we must take care of the little ones. It's sort of a vicious circle.

So that's how I approached setting in Hooked. The novel, obviously, goes into great detail about all I've mentioned above, and poor Jonathan Stuart must struggle with it all. But hey, it's a dark fantasy/horror. Stuart doesn't stand a chance. Or does he?

I'm not telling.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

The Baker's Men by Donald Levin - author guest post

The Baker's MenDonald Levin

Divider 9

 TitleThe Baker’s Men Author: Donald Levin Publisher: Poison Toe Press Publication Date: April 20, 2014
Pages: 338 ISBN: 978-0615968568 Genre: Mystery / Crime Fiction / Police Procedural
Format: Paperback, eBook, PDF
Easter, 2009. The nation is still reeling from the previous year’s financial crisis. Ferndale Police detective Martin Preuss is spending a quiet evening with his son when he’s called out to investigate a savage after-hours shooting at a bakery in his suburban Detroit community. Was it a random burglary gone bad? A cold-blooded execution linked to Detroit’s drug trade? Most frightening of all, is there a terrorist connection with the Iraqi War vets who work at the store? Struggling with these questions, frustrated by the dizzying uncertainties of the case and hindered by the treachery of his own colleagues who scheme against him, Preuss is drawn into a whirlwind of greed, violence, and revenge that spans generations across metropolitan Detroit.
Divider 9
Guest Post On Writing Fiction and Poetry
By Donald Levin
Are writing poetry and writing fiction different activities? On first blush, the answer seems obvious: of course! Poetry and fiction are two different genres, they don’t look the same, they don’t sound the same, they take very different amounts of time to read, and they have very different effects on the reader.

So case closed, right?

Well, not so fast. As someone who has published both poetry and fiction, I can tell you that writing poetry and writing fiction are more alike than you might think . . . maybe they even have more similarities than differences.

For example, a writer goes through the same processes when she writes a poem as when she writes a piece of fiction, whether short story or novel. Poets and fiction writers all wrestle with issues of form, structure, tone, diction, point of view, and message. Poems and pieces of fiction are all products of the intersection between our creative imaginations and the world around us. We might think fiction takes longer to write than poetry, but it’s not unusual for poets to work for months and even years to get a single poem “right.” I once published a short story, “Freewheelin’,” that I cranked out in a couple of days, yet I typically work over drafts of poems for months before I share them with anybody, let alone try to publish them.

Even the sources of inspiration for both genres are similar. People often think poets are inspired by going out and contemplating the moon or, as Wordsworth said, meditating on “emotion recollected in tranquility.” But my experience suggests we’re more inspired by what we read. As a poet I get inspired by reading other poems, just as I get inspired to write fiction by reading novels and short stories. Then too, sometimes reading a novel inspires a poem. Writing a poem might suggest an idea for a short story.

Poets and novels have the same kinds of impact on their readers. Both touch people’s minds and hearts, and both, when they’re good, enlarge our sympathies about the joys, sorrows, and possibilities of being human.

For a writer, a key question is, Does writing in one genre impact my writing in another? Mainly, I think writing outside your primary genre can increase what musicians call your “chops” . . . your technical skills. It increases your overall dexterity and versatility. Learning how to move a plot along in fiction teaches you how to stage the effects of your poetry; the increased attention to words that a poem requires makes you more sensitive to the power of language in your stories.

Bookshelves are full of works by people who wrote outside their customary genres . . . Poets like James Dickey and Margaret Atwood wrote novels, and even the novelist Ernest Hemingway published poetry. Maybe the entire notion of genres is something made up by critics to pin down the slippery genius of writers?

So what does all this mean for you? If you think of yourself as primarily a fiction writer, try your hand at poetry. If you’re a poet, take a crack at a short story or, if you’re ambitious, a novel. You don’t have to produce “The Waste Land” or War and Peace to grow as a writer in meaningful ways.

You might discover a knack for a kind of writing you never knew you had. And you’ll have given yourself a whole new literary world to explore.

Author Bio
An award-winning fiction writer and poet, Donald Levin is the author of The Baker’s Men, the second book in the Martin Preuss mystery seriesCrimes of Love, the first Martin Preuss mystery; The House of Grins, a mainstream novel; and two books of poetry, In Praise of Old Photographs and New Year’s Tangerine. Widely published as a poet and with twenty-five years’ experience as a professional writer, he is dean of the faculty and professor of English at Marygrove College in Detroit. He lives in Ferndale, Michigan, the setting for his Martin Preuss mysteries. You can visit Donald Levin’s website at
Connect with Donald:

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

This Beautful World by Elisabeth Jackson Guest Post

Title: This Beautiful World
Author:  Elisabeth Jackson
Genre: Romantic Suspense / Mystery
As children, RaeAnne and her sidekick King were held captive after they discovered the body of a boy their age in a crate of apples in their small town’s peculiar orchard. Now RaeAnne is grown and the mother of a troubled young daughter. After her mother is killed in an accident, she travels home to her father with her daughter. But RaeAnne finds that she is not welcomed by everyone, and frightening incidents start to happen involving her and her family. As RaeAnne unravels the mysteries of her childhood, including what happened to her older brother, who vanished on the same night RaeAnne and King found terror in the orchard, she reunites with King. The boy she knew has grown up to be very handsome and guarded. But can the two ever be more than old friends who share a terrifying secret?

Author Bio
Displaying Elisabeth_Jackson_author_photo.jpgElisabeth Jackson loves the outdoors and dogs, rescued dogs in particular. This Beautiful World is her debut novel and blends haunting childhood secrets, romantic themes, second chances and a mystery in a small town setting, with a dash of Gothic elements. When she is not writing small town Romances and Mysteries, she works as a freelance business writer. Her characters are inspired by the rural towns she has visited and lived in. She welcomes readers to connect with her at and

Guest Post

Using a First Person Narrator

When a writer and mentor I admire once told me he thought a first person narrator I had crafted was, as he put it, “kind of strange,” for a while I thought I’d never write in the first person again. I have a much thicker skin these days and a poodle-hound adopted dog who keeps my perspective grounded by reminding me there are far more important things in life, like throwing tennis balls she can chase. But I continued to wonder if it would be harder to get a reader to like a first person narrator than a third person narrative.
One of the benefits of using a first person narrator in my debut was that I was able to handle emotionally difficult topics and scenes in a sensitive, active way, and the reader is (hopefully) able to connect with RaeAnne partly through the trauma she and King experience as kids.
An advantage of a first person narrator is that if a writer manages to craft a one-of-a-kind narrator, then the character’s voice can draw the reader in and hold them throughout the story. If done well, readers can really connect with a first person narrator.
On the other hand, a disadvantage is that if a reader doesn’t connect with your narrator, then they might have a hard time connecting with the whole story. Opinions vary, and what someone else loathes, somebody else might just adore.
Another thing I have always been cautious about when writing a story is incorporating the past and the present into the narrative. I will openly admit that I’ve written pieces where this did not work, and it took some effort and revisions to make it go smoothly for This Beautiful World. But it can be done.

Who are some of your favorite fictional narrators?

Monday, August 18, 2014

Guest Post by Dallas Sutherland author of The Greying

Title: The Greying (Book One in the Landland Chronicles)
Author: Dallas Sutherland
Genre: Fantasy Novella
LANDLAND CRIES OUT FOR A SAVIOUR... Upon the death of her mother, Meah is pulled across the boundary that separates this world and another time and place where the dog-like Firbog have brought the mists of the greying. Under the evil Queen Berilbog they threaten to claim all the lands. With her Mother dead and her Father missing - she is on her own! Can Meah learn how to use the power of the thinking? Will there be enough time to save both Landland and herself? Will Meah ever find her way home again? She must triumph over grief and sadness on her journey into a world made cold, grey, and colourless by the ravages of the greying. Meah travels into the depths of Bigriverland to find the mysterious sage, The Biggo. In the heart of Dead Wood, Meah meets Josh O'Tosh, the last of the warrior Pictish Priests. Battling lurking homunculi and the horrors of the many-headed-winged-thing, they set out to recover the only thing that will save Landland ...her mother's Book-of-Colours.

Guest Post by Dallas Sutherland


lMetalepses, Mise en abyme, Slipstream, Metaxis

Have you ever wanted to do something more with a straight fantasy quest story? Well, I have. Here I will describe some of the concepts used within my own novella, The Greying, which is really a parody of the fantasy genre. I've utilised the above elements to bring the story into the here and now. Of course, the novella is written for a younger reader, but that does not mean they need to understand all of the underlying concepts I am about to discuss here. There are many more themes to be found within the book that directly relate to the genre's humble beginnings in the realm of Faery Tale. Nonetheless, I do hope the young reader will give the book the thumbs up.

lMetafiction Defined

Generally speaking Metafiction is writing about writing. This means the reader becomes aware of the fictional nature of the tale when the narrative folds back upon itself; the writing becomes self-reflexive. In The Greying, metafiction is used as a fictional strategy. Quite apart from its narrative term which highlights the unreality of the story, when used as a fictional strategy metafiction can serve to broaden our understanding of the dual nature of storytelling: the reader who is reading, and the reader who through their imagination has become a part of the story. Linda Hutcheon in her book Narcissistic Narrative: The Metafictional Paradox (2013, p. 20) expands upon this '… it is the human imaginative process that is explicitly called into action, in both author and reader.' In this sense, the author is calling upon the reader to explore their own imagination.
I'll have to ask you to explore your own imagination by reading The Greying if you want the full picture. I can't give it all away here; that would be spoiling.

lMetalepses, Mis en abyme, Slipstream, and Metaxis Defined

Metalepses are where narrative folds back upon itself and any boundaries that may have existed between the teller of the story and the reader are dissolved. A metalepsis is a metafictional device and can be used to give a story an element of 'slipstream' (sliding into realms of the strange), or to provide what is known as mise en abyme, a frame within a frame. In The Greying, the protagonist, Teah, realises she exists within a story she is reading about in the here and now, but that here and now is another world away; frames within frames. Metalepsis, mis en abyme, and slipstream combine to provide a metafictional undercurrent that becomes 'metaxis' (see Vermuelen & van der Akker 2010) and Teah is simultaneously here, there, and nowhere. Now that is very strange.
This leaves the reader in an uneasy position for the usual codes of the genre have seemingly been subverted and they are left with the same confusion that exists within the story; they become one with the unreality of the situation.
If interested, you can read more about the narrative structures underlying The Greying at my blog
Here, you will find more about pastiche and parody.
Happy imagining.

Author Bio  

Over the last twenty-five years, the Author has exhibited a creative bent across a range of industries including graphic design, fine arts, and trompe l'oeil murals. He has lectured in fine arts and studied Art History, Literature, Adult Education, and Creative Writing. Works include play scripts and short stories. The Greying is his first published novella, with further books planned as part of the fantasy series. He draws inspiration from myth, legend, and fairy tales.

He lives on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, Australia with his partner Kerri, and daughter Ruby.
Links  (30% off code AV64GVYE)