Dreaming in the Pages

Books ... where dreams are better than reality

Broken Pieces

Jack Canon's American Destiny

Friday, March 28, 2014

Kevin Sterling Asks Think You’ve Got the Write Stuff? @KSterlingWriter #Action #Mystery #WriteTip

So, you’re pretty darn talented at writing, huh? In fact, your English teachers and professors told you about it your whole life. You have a superb vocabulary, a wild imagination, a flair for the dramatic, and lots of terrific story ideas. Now it’s just a matter of bringing it all together and writing the great American novel.
I run across a lot of people who say, “I have a great idea for a book, but just haven’t taken the time to sit down and write it yet.” Some of those people may actually get it done (I know a few who have), but most never will. Or if they start, they’ll eventually give up on the project.
Why is that?
For starters, writing a book isn’t as easy as it may seem, especially if it’s a full-length novel. And I don’t think anyone understands that until they give it a try. It isn’t just a matter of pounding out the story on one’s computer, writing page after page until the book is finished. Oh, it’s far from that.
I’ve written non-fiction, and while it’s not a piece of cake by any stretch, it’s at least a methodical process. The writer starts with a known subject, understands where the presentation needs to go from start to finish, and creates a detailed outline to make sure all the requisite information is included and laid out in a logical and comprehensible fashion. Then it’s a matter of time and discipline to write each section until the first draft is done. Then the editing process starts.
Fiction, on the other hand, is all about creating something that doesn’t exist. And it better be something original that no one else has ever quite created before! Nothing is “known”, and the author has a moving target until he or she is finished. That’s because storylines have a way of taking their own paths, and it seems like the author is always scrambling to keep up until finally putting a kibosh on the whole thing.
If writing a novel were as simple as sitting down at a computer and pounding out a story, lots of people would do it. But it’s really like any other profession in that it involves a unique set of talents, skills, knowledge, and brain functionality.
What do I mean by “brain functionality”? Well, fiction-writing is both a creative and technical process that simultaneously requires both hemispheres of the brain. So a person who isn’t principally dominant on either the left or right side is usually best suited for the task. Or, at the very least, they need the ability to firmly tap into both.
On the knowledge front, one must learn about publishing industry rules and guidelines before starting on a novel, otherwise someone will have a big mess to clean up. These rules and guidelines pertain to things like first or third-person narrative, point of view (POV), dialogue, tense, punctuation, grammatical flexibility (or lack thereof), and active versus passive writing. A competent editor will help with all these things, but the author should at least take a few writing courses and/or read comprehensive books on the subject to prevent handing over a manuscript that is so nonconforming that no one in their right mind would touch it.
The other important requirement for writing any full-length book is self-discipline. It’s one thing to work on projects at the office with a boss or client breathing down your neck. But it’s another to be at home where no one is cracking the whip, and there are millions of other things screaming to be done, making it oh so easy to put one’s book on the back burner and get to it “tomorrow”. But take my word for it when I say “tomorrow” never comes. You simply have to do it, just like going to the gym.
This is also where we see a major difference between fiction and non-fiction. With fiction, one is far more likely to experience “writer’s block” and/or having no sense of where the story is going. That makes it even more attractive to ignore the book. It’s also easy with fiction to lose control over one’s storyline and let it turn into a mind-numbing nightmare, hence why I am a full believer in using an outline and ALWAYS keeping it in sync with the book, even if I have to stay up until 2:00am to ensure everything is lined up before I go to bed. Otherwise, the amount of willpower it may take to deal with such a huge, convoluted mess could be downright prohibitive.
Don’t get me wrong. My objective here is not to discourage people from writing novels. I just think it’s important to know what they’re getting into. If they do, perhaps the task won’t seem so daunting.
You know what they say about happiness, right? It’s all about reality versus expectations.
Well, there you go.
Happy writing!

"James Bond Meets Fifty Shades of Grey"

Immerse yourself in the world class novels that combine action, mystery & suspense with tantalizing and tastefully written erotica. You’ll find all your sensibilities roused at once with Kevin Sterling’s ultra-sexy, action-packed Jack Lazar Series.

In this fourth action-packed thriller, Jack travels to Denmark for a business venture, but what seems to be a textbook transaction turns into a nightmare after he gets involved with Katarina, a vivacious Danish girl who apparently lacks a moral compass, not to mention an off button. After naively believing their liaison was just a random encounter, Jack discovers she’s connected to his business deal, and there’s a dangerous political group with skin in the game, too.
Katarina makes a convincing case of being a victim, not part of the conspiracy, but can Jack really trust her?
The firestorm gets out of control as Jack digs deeper, unearths the convoluted plot behind it all, and discovers that innocent people are being heartlessly killed. He’s not only horrified by the reason why it’s happening, but how it’s being done, and there appears to be no way to stop it from occurring again.
Then the scheme’s real objective emerges, launching Jack into action with intelligence operatives to prevent it. But that’s not so easy with assassins on Jack’s tail, forcing him to struggle for survival while trying to prevent Katarina from getting caught in the crossfire.
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Action, Mystery, Suspense
Rating – R
More details about the author
Connect with Kevin Sterling on Facebook & Twitter

Frances M. Thompson on Her Favourite Place in the Entire World @BushBirdie #Fiction #Travel

 What’s your favorite place in the entire world?
As a regular traveller and travel writer, I have too many to mention so I’ll go with something safe like Amsterdam, where we currently live. Aside from all the beautiful canals and architecture, I love this city for being a place where people can be themselves – whatever that may be – and I love how safe it is for children. Every summer you see kids drawing chalk on the pavements outside their houses, often unaccompanied. Sadly that doesn’t happen so much in London (where I’m from).
How has your upbringing influenced your writing?
My upbringing definitely influences my writing. My mother is an avid reader and she always encouraged me to read as a child. Later, she was one of my biggest supporters when I moved away from a more corporate career to become a freelance writer and now I’m writing books and stories, I can see how very deeply proud of me she is. My father on the other hand is a much slower reader, but he is a born storyteller who would make up all sorts of weird and wonderful stories for us as children (“The Ambitious Rice Crispie” was a favourite!). He is also very passionate about music and I definitely think the varied types of pop and classical music I grew up listening to has influenced my writing; I love how music makes me feel.
Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I’ve always loved writing and as a child I was very quick to learn new words and I was very good at spelling and reading. I think learning to read and write is the greatest freedom for a child. I was also very artistic in other ways – I loved theatre and art – and so even before I was at high school I was creating illustrated books out of pieces of paper stuck together with tape. I found some of them recently and while my drawings are terrible I was relieved to see I actually finished many of these stories. Because that was my biggest problem as a teenager and young adult; I had so many great ideas for stories or a novel and I would sit down and tap away for hours and days and weeks, but I sadly never finished anything. I suppose life got in the way. Also my love of theatre and drama grew and for a long time I wanted to be an actress. It wasn’t until long after I gave up this dream and I became a freelance copywriter that I realised my writing had value and I felt encouraged to start a project and finish it. The result is my first collection of short stories, Shy Feet: Short Stories Inspired by Travel.
What inspires you to write and why?
My mother, because I know a part of her would have maybe liked to have been a writer or done something more creative, but she actually trained as a doctor and spent all her life caring for people. I’m very proud of her! I’m also inspired every November by my fellow NaNoWriMo-ers because they make me realise that I’m actually incredibly lucky to work freelance because that gives me so much more freedom and flexibility to write. I always remember reading a forum post by a single mum with three children and a 9-5 job, and she was still finding time to write her 1667 words a day; that was when I realised I had it very easy and I had no excuses not to finish!
What genre are you most comfortable writing?
This is an interesting question because I haven’t really experimented much with genre yet. Shy Feet – my first short story collection – is very much contemporary fiction though it touches on humour and romance. Right now I’m working on a collection of short stories all about London and a few of them are a little supernatural – there’s a ghost story! – and there’s also a story that is a real detective mystery, and I’ve really enjoyed writing these different types of fiction. I’m also 50% of the way through my first draft of a novel and while it’s very similar in writing style to Shy Feet – contemporary fiction with very modern prose - it also has more suspense and mystery. So in short, I think these are all the genres I enjoy writing in, but I’m not afraid to try others in the future.
What inspired you to write your first book?
I’ve been putting off and finding excuses to not write a book for years – almost all my adult life – and this was very easy when I lived and worked in London. I was often travelling for work or I was in the office for 10+ hours a day and then had a busy social life to maintain. So when I left London and changed to a freelance career I could manage while travelling, I began to realise how much time and freedom I really had. Suddenly I had no excuses and so I got to work writing my first book, determined to finish it, which I did thanks partly to NaNoWriMo. I also felt encouraged by the life-changing decision I made to leave London and travel indefinitely; once you face one fear, I think facing another is a little bit easier.
What do you consider the biggest challenge about writing a novel, or about writing in general?
I find keeping track of everything so difficult in a novel. I’m currently a little bit lost about 50% way through the first draft of my novel and I’m realising how much more planning would have helped me, particularly when it comes to documenting the background of my characters, especially because in the novel an event in the past is very central to the present story.
When it comes to writing in general, I think the hardest part is fitting it around the everyday activities I have to do. Right now I need to focus on keeping up with freelance work in order to pay the bills, but at the same time if I focus too much on this, then I will never finish another book. It’s all about balance, but honestly speaking, this is a lovely problem to have!
Did writing Shy Feet teach you anything and what was it?
I went on such a journey writing Shy Feet, in particular when it came to editing it. I actually dreaded the editing process, but in fact, it was during the months I spent chopping, adding, changing and re-writing that I saw my stories really grow. Towards the end, I was so focused on the language and on polishing the reading experience that I didn’t fully realise which themes were emerging in the stories. But about a month after I published Shy Feet, I revisited the book and re-read some of the stories. I realised that in addition to travel (which links all the stories) a few themes really stood out; loss and motherhood. This was really interesting because as I was editing the stories my family suffered a horrible loss that really shook me up and also over the last few years I’ve been really thinking about my relationship with my mother, mainly because I was travelling so much and I missed her! It’s so funny that my subconscious made these themes so prominent in the stories because they definitely weren’t intentional. So to summarise, I’ve learned that you may not always realise the power of your own subconscious and the influence of you current life experience on your writing.
Did you intend to make writing a career?
Not really! I actually really enjoyed my previous role, which was as a corporate researcher and consultant doing investigative due diligence for multi-national companies. That said, I’ve always loved reading and writing, and publishing a book was always my secret dream. In 2009 I started blogging (about my local area in London) and people began to not only compliment my writing but also – and perhaps more importantly - people really enjoyed reading my words. This was when I started to think about writing as a career. Four years later, I am a freelance writer and author. I write over 2000 words a day for clients and I also try to write at least another 2000 for my own purposes be that my fiction or my blog. I’m very happy that writing is my career.
What is your greatest strength as a writer?
I think my greatest strength is that I enjoy editing and I believe passionately in the importance of editing and re-writing in order to strengthen a story. Some writers are a little reluctant to identify changes or chop what they’ve already written but I know how important this is and I’m very committed to doing this before I then ask a professional editor to review my work. You can never be too thorough!
Can you share a little of your current work with us?
I’m currently editing a collection of short stories called “A to Z: Short Stories Inspired by London”. The stories are all connected because they are set in London and the city is very much a main character in many of the stories. I am very proud of this collection because I have tackled some themes that are quite heavy – religion, death, racism - but I’ve tried to do it in an unusual and uplifting way which prompts discussion rather than sadness or judgment. I’m also about halfway through the first draft of my novel which is about a young woman in the 29th year of her life. It’s a part-mystery, part-family drama about the problems she faces and the unusual ways she goes about solving them.

"This collection of stories is like a blanket woven from 100% wanderlust under which you can hide as Frances M. Thompson tucks you in with her words and keeps you warm with her descriptions of characters you'll love and places you can tell she knows by heart." Gesa Neitzel, www.bedouinwriter.com
Shy Feet: Short Stories Inspired by Travel is a collection of twelve quirky, charismatic and touching tales of travel.
The inquisitive Ruth tells the story of The Lost Children of Gatwick Airport and in Max's Holiday we learn what a seven-year-old boy considers a "proper holiday" to be. In The Flowers Sleep Tonight, we meet Thomas and Carly, two solo travellers whose paths keep crossing... because that's exactly what Thomas wants. A spontaneous plan to elope is revealed in The Runaways and Homes from Homes is about the lessons Patricia learns from the hotel bellboy she has a fling with. Oh, Henry is the story of how a dream holiday can mean two different things to two lovers and Katie's Maps is an offbeat love letter to a vast collection of maps. Extracts from a travel journal tell one woman's life story in All the Beaches are Made of Pebbles and find out what Australia and underpants have to do with Claudia wanting to leave her husband of forty years in The Road is Long.
From the unforgiving Australian Outback to the jagged beauty of the Amalfi Coast, along the pebbled beaches of Brighton & Hove and down the busy streets of late night Barcelona, this collection of short stories highlights how travel intersects and enriches all of our lives, often without us realising it...
"Shy Feet: Short Stories Inspired by Travel transports you to exotic locales without leaving your armchair and leaves you wanting more... Frances M. Thompson has a novel in her and I can't wait to read it." Nathalie Harris, www.acooknotmad.com
Buy Now @ Amazon & Smashwords
Genre – Short Stories, Contemporary Fiction
Rating – PG13
More details about the author
Connect with Frances M Thompson on Facebook & Twitter

Thursday, March 27, 2014

@EileenMaksym on Writers as 'Architects and Gardeners' PLUS #Giveaway #YA #Paranormal

When asked about outlines in an interview, George R.R. Martin, author of the A Song of Ice and Fire series, said “I think there are two types of writers: the architects and the gardeners. The architects plan everything ahead of time, like an architect building a house… The gardeners dig a hole, drop in a seed and water it…And I'm much more a gardener than an architect.”
Some authors come down very heavily on one side or the other of this issue.  Some say that when you start writing, you must have an end in mind.  Others say that having a strict plan is sure to produce stilted, artificial work.  But most end up in the middle here with Martin.  They personally lean one side or the other, but ultimately recognize that they can be shades of both, and that what’s important is what works for the individual author.  To use Martin’s terms here, if you’re an architect and planning out every intricacy of the story is what works for you, go for it!  And if you’re a gardener and you let your ideas take root and grow on their own, great!
Personally, I tend to be a gardener.  As my mentor and friend, author Paul McComas, puts it, I “write to find out.”  I feel that this method helps me produce organic fiction, where the characters develop and deepen into three dimensions and the plot is natural and surprising (even to me!)  This is how I wrote Haunted.  I had an idea that I wanted to write about three college friends who were interested in researching the paranormal.  I had Tara, bright but troubled, Paul, a smart ass with paranormal abilities, and Steven, my viewpoint character who had a crush on Tara.  I gave them something to do -- a haunted house to investigate and a question about the neurological basis of paranormal experience to research – and then let them go and wrote what happened.  Everything sprung from those seeds; I just let the vines grow where they wanted.
When I started writing Crisis, a sequel to Haunted, I realized that I had to do things a little differently, because I did have an end in mind, and a vague idea of how I wanted to get there.  It was an interesting experience, because it was really the first time I had been on the architect side of the dichotomy.  I didn’t plan it all out in detail – to continue the metaphor, I didn’t know what color the walls were going to be, what the counters would be made of.  There was leeway there for my garden to grow.  But I had a structure for it to follow, like a trellis.
If you’re not sure whether you’re a gardener or an architect, try them out!  Try writing a short story where you plan everything out.  Then try writing one where you start with the seed of an idea and see where it takes you!
Tara Martin – exceptionally accomplished neurobiology major with a troubled past. Steven Trent – confident political science major with an irresistible attraction to Tara. Paul Stratton – history major who is able to hear spirits. Together, they make up the Society for Paranormal Researchers at their prestigious New England University. When they’re not in class or writing papers, the three friends are chasing their passion….ghosts.
When the group learns of a local retired couple trying to sell a house they claim is haunted, they decide to investigate. As the clues unfold, a familiar spirit interrupts their investigation and Tara finds her life in danger. Can her friends save her before it’s too late?
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – YA paranormal, NA paranormal
Rating – PG-13
More details about the author
Connect with Eileen Maksym on Facebook & Twitter
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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

10 Things you Didn’t know About #Author Olga Soaje (#litfiction #women)

1.- I studied Finance and Economics.
2.- Our family dog is named “Joy” that is mix between Pekinese and Poodle so we say she is a Poodlenese.
3.- English is my second language.
4.- At some point in my life I read every Danielle Steel novel I could find.
5.- While writing my first novel “Borrowing my mother’s saints” only a few people knew, because I was shy about writing.
6.- I link playlist or songs to the book and constantly hear them while writing. Yes, I even loop them some time.
7.- I always carry pen and paper in my handbag, inspiration hits sometimes in the most unexpected places.
8.- One of the scenes of “Borrowing my mother’s saints” was actually written first on a napkin.
9.- I cried sometimes while writing “Twelve Houses”
10.- After I finish writing a novel I get very sensitive and kind of blue, letting go of the characters I’ve loved for months.
Can anything good follow the best thing that ever happened to you?
Amelia Weiss loved her husband of thirty-five years very much, but now he’s left her a widow. Without him, she is unable to work in her sculpture studio without crying. She no longer has a bridge to her estranged daughter. And she can’t seem to keep her mind in the present.
But when her daughter reaches out asking for her help and her agent threatens a lawsuit if Amelia doesn’t deliver for an upcoming exhibit, she’s forced to make a choice. Will she reengage with her life and the people in it—allowing room for things to be different than they were before? Or, will she remain stuck in the past, choosing her memories over real-life relationships?
Thrust fully into the present, Amelia stumbles into a surprising journey of self-discovery.
Buy @ Amazon
Genre – Contemporary Fiction, Literary Fiction, Women's Fiction
Rating – PG-13
More details about the author
Connect with Olga Soaje on Facebook

Generation (A Medical #Thriller) by William Knight @_William_Knight #Crime #Horror

Parnell was an old man operating at the pace of a teenager, still battling to make a difference, to add something to life, and he talked to the assembled internet generation as if they were equals. Even though he was fighting frailty and in need of a permanent nurse, his passion infected the room and enthused the listeners. Amazing. And far from being trite, his literary reference actually stirred something within Hendrix. We have a duty to not go gentle into that good night, he repeated to himself.
“That was brilliant,” said Joan, intruding on his self-comparison with the seventy-year old.
“Yes.” Hendrix replied limply. He smiled. Joan had a future, but honestly, he couldn’t see how a man like Parnell would be interested in owning a magazine obsessed with oversize animals and UFO conspiracies.
They began filtering out of the conference room.
“You going to start tweeting now, Aitch?” asked Joan.
Her words flashed him a surge of his mobile-phone paranoia, but he quickly hid behind sarcasm, “Not sure I can edit my features down to a hundred and forty characters Joan. Maybe you can help?”
He was briefly horrified when she took the comment at face value, “Sure, I’d love to,” she said.
A stand-off. He stared into her eyes for a second and saw the hint of a smile. He laughed and Joan’s smile broadened. He could be generous and add dry sense of humour to her unfavourable character analysis, and despite the crescent-moon eyebrows her smiling face was not unattractive.
“Tom’s got another trip for you? Somewhere up north this time,” she said. “You’re getting about a bit.”
“Young, free and single.” God, that sounded like a come on. “I mean, I don’t have any ties here at the moment,” he stammered. He felt his ears turning purple. Joan appeared not to have noticed. They walked around the central column of the building towards Strange Phenomenas island of furniture.
He pulled the swivel chair out from under his desk and sat down.
“Any idea what it is?” he said.
She shrugged. “Ghosts, I think. Don’t forget to tweet. Especially if you catch one,” she said, as she disappeared behind the vanity screen.
A man emerges from the sodden undergrowth, lost, lonely and starving he is mown down by a speeding car on the edge of a remote forest.
Rumours of ghostly apparitions haunt a rural Northumberland community.
A renowned forensic research establishment is troubled by impossible results and unprecedented interference from an influential drug company.

Hendrix 'Aitch' Harrison is a tech-phobic journalist who must link these events together.

Normally side-lined to investigate UFOs and big-beast myths, but thrust into world of cynical corporate motivations, Hendrix is aided by a determined and ambitious entomologist. Together they delve into a grisly world of clinical trials and a viral treatment beyond imagining.
In a chase of escalating dangers, Aitch must battle more than his fear of technology to expose the macabre fate of the drugged victims donated to scientific research.
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Crime, Thriller, Horror
Rating – R-16
More details about the author
Connect with William Knight on Facebook & Twitter