Guest posts

Thursday, February 26, 2015

H.A.L.F. The Deep Beneath by Natalie Wright Author Guest Post

Title: H.A.L.F.: The Deep Beneath
Author: Natalie Wright
Genre: YA Science Fiction

Some writers conceive a character first then build a story around them. I, however, tend to have an idea for a plot first then create characters to people my new world.

The plot for H.A.L.F.: The Deep Beneath came to me nearly whole in a flash while I was driving. I hurried home and jotted down my idea in a few quickly scribbled pages.

But a story is nothing without characters. I wanted the female lead character for H.A.L.F. to be very different than Emily Adams (the main character in my first series, The Akasha Chronicles). What fun is it to write the same character over and over again?

I started with physical traits. Where Emily is somewhat tall and lanky, Erika is small and scrappy. Emily has red hair and fair skin of Irish descent. Erika has dark hair (nearly black), brown eyes and mocha skin from her Latina mother.
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Emily Adams from The Akasha Chronicles

Emily runs for fun. Erika only runs if something is chasing her.

But the contrast between the characters doesn’t stop at physical features. While Emily wants nothing more than to fit in with her peers, Erika could give a rat’s hind end less what people think of her. Emily’s journey is to find confidence in herself. To own who (and what) she really is.

Erika knows who she is, and if someone doesn’t like it, they can kiss her …

Well, you get the picture.

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As I reflect on the two lead female characters I’ve created, I think Emily more closely resembles how I was on the inside when I was a teen (and perhaps still am to some degree). Erika represents what I aspire to be: self-assured and confident.

But both characters are brave as heroines need to be, and far more courageous than I will ever be.

The beauty of writing a series is the thrill of seeing how the characters grow and change. Erika has confidence in herself, yes, but sometimes even a self-reliant person needs to accept help.

And love.

Erika’s growth as a character has only begun. I’m excited to see where she’ll be four more books from now! ;-)

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Mr. 8 - A Thriller by David Thirteen - Guest Post

Image result for David Thirteen Mr. 8Image result for David Thirteen Mr. 8

Title: Mr. 8
Author: David J. Thirteen
Genre: Psychological Thriller / Horror

Psychology professor Denton Reed has been pulled out of the classroom to find a killer. Bodies are turning up all over the quiet town of Bexhill. They are found dismembered and burned beyond recognition in a snow covered farmer’s field, by the abandoned mill, and under the train bridge. The only clue linking the victims is the bizarre figure eight patterns left behind in their homes.
Denton must use his unique profiling techniques to uncover the murderer, who the police have dubbed Mr. 8. As he begins to unravel the mystery, a strange pattern begins to emerge. Before their deaths, each victim was seized by dark obsessions and inexplicable changes in behavior. Whatever strange forces are affecting the people of Bexhill, they may actually be more dangerous than any killer.
As a wave of insanity sweeps the town, Denton will put his life on the line to get to the source of the madness and risk all to protect the woman he loves.
But is it already too late?

Author Bio
David J. Thirteen has studied English Literature, Film Making, and Media Studies. He has lived and worked in the technology field for twenty years throughout the North East, in both Canada and the U.S. Writing has been a hidden passion for most of his life.

Mr. 8 is his first published novel and will be in stores on February 5th, 2015. It was first written as a serial story on Wattpad, where it became a #1 ranked feature novel. He still writes and posts new stories on Wattpad every week.

David currently lives in Toronto, Canada and lives a bright life, while dreaming dark dreams.

Guest Post: Shifting Genres: Perils and Lessons Learned

When I began planning out my novel, Mr. 8, it became obvious that the story would experience a genre shift about halfway through. I couldn’t remove it or change it, since the plot hinged on this twist. But I knew this would not be easy to pull off and began to worry about dealing with it.

            A genre shift is nothing original. There are many examples in literature although it does tend to be a rarely used device. It occurs when a story starts out fitting neatly into one category and then because of a twist in the plot, it diverts into an entirely different set of tropes. A classic example is Psycho (the novel by Robert Bloch or the film by Alfred Hitchcock, take your pick). It begins with a noir tale of an embezzler on the run but quickly changes to horror, when she is brutally murdered.  And it stays horror for the rest of the story.
            In my own novel, things start off in the vein of a traditional crime mystery. An unlikely but skilled sleuth, Denton, gets mixed up in a series of murders that the police are attributing to a serial killer. But in the process of tracking down the culprit, he uncovers something unexpected and the plot turns toward the supernatural.
            There was a big risk in doing this. A genre shift has the ability to surprise and shock an audience, but it can also frustrate and alienate them. One of the key aspects of genre fiction is that there are certain expectations about what can and can’t happen; by flipping genres those expectations become subverted.
            Knowing the peril of pursuing this story, the fear of a possible negative reaction became as much a part of the writing process as plot, characterization, and scene setting. I knew I had to work out a way that readers would accept the twist and stay with the story. What I started to focus on was making sure the reader was in Denton’s shoes every step he took. Every surprise, discovery, revelation for Denton had to be felt just as intensely by the person reading. It pushed me to look at the narration in a way that I never had before. Getting in the head of my characters was nothing new, but trying to glue the reader into Denton’s head was.
            So what happened when the shift occurred, when the detective story was gone and the inexplicable took over?
            My main concern was that readers would not believe it. The story had been grounded in reality up until that point, so it seemed that introducing a supernatural element would only pull people out of the story and cause them to scoff at the ridiculousness of the situation. I needed to change that. I needed for the reader to accept it and to continue on with the story. They solution ended up being simple: Denton doesn’t believe it either. He is sceptical—despite overwhelming evidence he fights for the rational. He fears that it might be real…but it can’t be…can it?
            By anticipating a readers’ reaction, I was able to get out in front of the problem. The identification with the main character acquired depth from not just telling the audience what they should feel, but by mirroring their own feelings back to them.
            It was a hard fought lesson to learn, but once I got to the end I realized that it is a lesson about good storytelling that goes beyond just dealing with genre shifts.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Guest author post "Mysticism and Myths"by 6 authors

Title: Mysticism & Myths
Genre: Paranormal Collection (Sampler) by Jaxx Summers, Karen Perkins, Margo Bond Collins Dormaine G., Perri Forrest,Abby Vandiver
Have you ever wondered about different myths of the world? These include the stories that so many cultures live by and the ones that of the best movies are based upon? You do know that these interesting concepts haven’t just appeared out thin air, right?
Introducing Mysticism & Myths, a sampler by six authors of varying genres. Each author has chosen a legend or culture from various regions, and embellished the details. Webs have been spun, and fantasies have been built in an effort to deliver to a collection that is sure to be entertaining.
The worlds captured in these stories are many! From ghosts and vampires to sea dwellers and shapeshifters, and even ancestral rebirths! There’s something for everyone.
For detailed synopsis, please visit:

What is this desire that many have with books? Whether we choose to read in a traditional state by way of tangible works or by way of an electronic device, the ability of mere phrases to transform is astonishing. Can anyone think back to the first time they fell in love with a book? My first enticement was in reading “Wuthering Heights” at about eight years old. Sure I’d read more age appropriate titles before that time, but there was just something about the language that seduced my young mind. And then, I moved from Emily Bronte to Charlotte Bronte’s “Jane Eyre”. With either book in hand, a dictionary in the next and notepad (with pen) on my bed; I became bedazzled by great writing. I would sniff each book, inhaling the musky aroma because they held a promise of life – a life that I could claim whenever I read. Talk about imagination! I would consider each unfamiliar term, look it up in the dictionary, write it out and use it in a sentence to make certain I understood its meaning. I was desperate for stories, and felt my life too simple. And would you know, any life at all would do. I tried not to limit my reading because you never really know what treasure you might find within the pages of a book. And so I read the wonderful “Things Fall Apart” by Chinua Achebe, and a book that I am not sure of how I ever got hold of, “Dianetics.” All that mattered to me was that I was reading. Oh, for the love of words!
I’ve grown since then and continue to enjoy words, books, learning and even my own writing. I still know how to appreciate great reading and remarkable words. But these days, I read on my tablet. It has a built in dictionary, I’m able to highlight and comment on my thoughts. Boy, do I take full advantage of those features. This enables me to daydream and hold my spot at the same time. You see, each book offers a life of its own. And for those writers that gift us with work that serves up the deepest most intimate thoughts of their characters, I thank you for feeding my needs. Thank you Paulo Coelho for every single book that you have ever written! And thank you to the newer published authors that have fed my need for words.
As for with my work, I strive to do the same. It’s about what a writer includes and how they include it all. I love to be seduced by remarkable characters, clever wording, and believable circumstances. But then, there is also that need for a story to captivate all of my senses, keeping me alert and aware at every moment. I strive to give this to my readers. I write to make that connection as real as possible. Oh, for the love of words!