Tag Archives: Without Mercy

Tuesday Two-Minute Writing Tip – Sharing Other Blog Posts: Creating Villains and Emotional Arcs

Got two minutes? Then check out this week’s quick tip ~ Two excellent posts from other bloggers

Hello and welcome…I am a freelance editor and an editor for The Wild Rose Press, as well as an author. I often struggle with my own writing, and I have found that sometimes, a little reminder of ways to improve the process can be helpful, so, I like to share these moments of brilliance with others :). But, in this busy world of ours, who has time for pages and pages of writing tips? That’s why I’ve condensed mine down to quick flashes you can read in (approximately) two minutes. Enjoy…

TWoMinuteTip

Disclaimer: All of my tips are suggestions, and are only my opinion. And, for the most part, there are exceptions when going against my advice will make your story read better. Take what works, leave the rest.

Over the past few days, I’ve read two blog posts that contained fantastic information, so I thought I would share them. They came at a perfect time for me since I am in the beginning stages of writing my suspense/thriller novel.

Blog 1:

This first post is about villains. In a suspense, your villains are almost as important, if not just as important, as your protagonist. After I read this article, I realized that part of my difficulty in getting my latest story out of the starting gate was that I did not have a clear picture of the villain, nor was he, or she, very interesting or well-developed. Now that I read this article, my Big V is starting to become deliciously and dastardly real:

8 Things I Learned about Villains by Emily Wenstrom

 

Blog 2:

Emotion in a story is oftentimes a bit tricky and elusive. It’s not important to infuse high, dramatic emotion in each scene, but in order to keep your readers interested and ‘on their toes,’ it is helpful to tweak the emotion/expectation in as many scenes as possible. After reading the below post, I decided to keep this in mind as I’m drafting my latest WIP and see where I can add arcs to increase pacing.

How to Create Awesome Scene Arcs that Surprise Readers by K.M. Weiland

What do you think? Will these tips be helpful to you? I know that I’m definitely looking forward to the opportunity to apply them. Now, if I can just carve out some writing time. 🙂

Until next time…happy writing!

*** If you would like to send me a few sample pages (around 7500 words or so, even though I will not edit that many on the blog. It just gives me more to choose from) for me to edit and share on an upcoming blog post, please do so in the body of an email to AliciaMDean@aol.com. Please use the subject line: “Blog Submission” This is for published or unpublished authors. In the email, please include whether you would like me to use your name or keep it anonymous, and whether or not you would like me to include any contact info or buy info for your books. Also, you can let me know if you would like for me to run my edits by you before posting on the blog. Please keep in mind, this is for samples to use for blog posts. I will not edit or use samples from all the submissions I receive, but I will use as many as possible. 

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

*** Find the Magic and the book I use for examples in FTM, Without Mercy, are both on sale for 1.50 each. Click HERE for Find the Magic and HERE for Without Mercy ***

16

How to write a novel? That is the question. There are probably as many answers to that question as there are people who ask it.

Wanting to write and actually doing it are two very different things. I am well acquainted with the sometimes grueling process of churning out a story. Over the years, I have tried many methods for creating and completing manuscripts, and have tweaked and honed it down to a workable (for me) process.

Using specific examples from one of my own novels, Without Mercy, I share my method in this mini how to book. The first eight steps actually deal with plotting while the last two are designed to help expand your outline into a well-developed draft. There is no one, perfect way to create a story, but there will be a method, or methods that work for you. I’m not sure if this is the one, but it works for me. Only you can decide if it also works for you. Fingers crossed that it does!

*** Warning – Please do not purchase without reading a sample. (This is solid advice for any book, fiction or non. If you are not intrigued in the sample, you will likely not enjoy the book)

Amazon: Click Here

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14 Comments

Filed under For Writers, Promo Tips, Tips from an Editor

Tuesday Two-Minute Writing Tip – Handy Reference Tools for Varying Your Prose

Got two minutes? Then check out this week’s quick tip ~ Helpful lists for finding just the right word(s)

Hello and welcome…I am a freelance editor and an editor for The Wild Rose Press, as well as an author. I often struggle with my own writing, and I have found that sometimes, a little reminder of ways to improve the process can be helpful, so, I like to share these moments of brilliance with others :). But, in this busy world of ours, who has time for pages and pages of writing tips? That’s why I’ve condensed mine down to quick flashes you can read in (approximately) two minutes. Enjoy…

TWoMinuteTip

Disclaimer: All of my tips are suggestions, and are only my opinion. And, for the most part, there are exceptions when going against my advice will make your story read better. Take what works, leave the rest.

If you’re like me, you find that, oftentimes, your writing all sounds the same. You use the same old words to describe emotion, body language, action verbs, etc. Sometimes it’s difficult to think of fresh ways to express yourself. As I’ve often preached, it’s best to avoid using the word ‘very’ but it can be challenging to find an impactful word to replace the ‘very’ combo (very tired, very angry, etc). Over time, I have come across some ‘cheat sheets’ that help me a great deal. I thought I would share them in hopes they help you too:

1,000 Verbs to Write By (different ways to say ‘run, walked, etc’):

Click here for 1000VerbstoWriteBy

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Gestures and Body Movements (if, like me, you have your characters nodding and shrugging all the time) 

Click here for Gestures and movements

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Reference Charts:

1AvoidVery Updated2 1NegativeTraits Lateest

1Emotion Part 1

1EmotionPart 2

I suggest that you not use these charts in your first draft. That is the time to get the story down, quickly and in whatever wording flows best at the time. (Yes, I know some of you take your time with your first draft and you barely need any revisions, but for those of us who need to just write the story, asap, I recommend waiting until the next pass to refer to these tools).

So, what do you think? Will these be beneficial? Do you have any ‘cheat sheets’ of your own you’d like to share? 

Until next time…happy writing!

*** ENDS FEBRUARY 29th!!! Temporary Discount on Freelance Editing – 20% off any editing package. If you wish to take advantage of the special and your MS is not quite ready, you can secure the sale price by paying a $100 deposit through paypal. Details of my editing services can be found by clicking HERE

 

*** If you would like to send me a few sample pages (around 7500 words or so, even though I will not edit that many on the blog. It just gives me more to choose from) for me to edit and share on an upcoming blog post, please do so in the body of an email to AliciaMDean@aol.com. Please use the subject line: “Blog Submission” This is for published or unpublished authors. In the email, please include whether you would like me to use your name or keep it anonymous, and whether or not you would like me to include any contact info or buy info for your books. Also, you can let me know if you would like for me to run my edits by you before posting on the blog. Please keep in mind, this is for samples to use for blog posts. I will not edit or use samples from all the submissions I receive, but I will use as many as possible. 

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

*** Find the Magic and the book I use for examples in FTM, Without Mercy, are both on sale for 99 cents each. Click HERE for Find the Magic and HERE for Without Mercy ***

16

How to write a novel? That is the question. There are probably as many answers to that question as there are people who ask it.

Wanting to write and actually doing it are two very different things. I am well acquainted with the sometimes grueling process of churning out a story. Over the years, I have tried many methods for creating and completing manuscripts, and have tweaked and honed it down to a workable (for me) process.

Using specific examples from one of my own novels, Without Mercy, I share my method in this mini how to book. The first eight steps actually deal with plotting while the last two are designed to help expand your outline into a well-developed draft. There is no one, perfect way to create a story, but there will be a method, or methods that work for you. I’m not sure if this is the one, but it works for me. Only you can decide if it also works for you. Fingers crossed that it does!

*** Warning – Please do not purchase without reading a sample. (This is solid advice for any book, fiction or non. If you are not intrigued in the sample, you will likely not enjoy the book)

Amazon: Click Here

13 Comments

Filed under For Writers, Promo Tips, Tips from an Editor

Tuesday Two-Minute Writing Tip – Sample Edits from Linda Nightingale’s WIP, Royal Secrets

Got two minutes? Then check out this week’s quick tip ~ An edit of a few pages of Royal Secrets

Hello and welcome…I am a freelance editor and an editor for The Wild Rose Press, as well as an author. I often struggle with my own writing, and I have found that sometimes, a little reminder of ways to improve the process can be helpful, so, I like to share these moments of brilliance with others :). But, in this busy world of ours, who has time for pages and pages of writing tips? That’s why I’ve condensed mine down to quick flashes you can read in (approximately) two minutes. Enjoy…

TWoMinuteTip

Disclaimer: All of my tips are suggestions, and are only my opinion. And, for the most part, there are exceptions when going against my advice will make your story read better. Take what works, leave the rest.

 

Today, Linda Nightingale has agreed to expose herself for the benefit of others. 🙂 She volunteered to allow me to edit a portion of her latest Work in Process on  my blog. I will have to say, I didn’t find much I felt needed revisions. Linda’s writing is pretty solid. But, I do have a few suggestions she might incorporate. 

Find all of Linda’s books on Amazon HERE

ROYAL SECRETS

Chapter 1

Prince Abelard Alexander Leandres swung his beautiful Ingrid into a waltz to the immortal The Blue Danube. Around the opulent ballroom of whites and golds, they spun on the gleaming oak floor.  Gazing into each other’s eyes, they smiled as if the world were theirs to command…and it was, to their way of thinking. Newspapers and television across the globe speculated that the pale blonde Scandinavian miss would soon be a princess of Desjardins. Their relationship had long been viral on the social media. [I would do away with this intro. It doesn’t really add anything and it might be better just to dive into his POV]

****

My dark blue eyes still fixed on her [Ingrid’s] ice-blue ones, I lost focus for a moment. Something inside me, some restlessness or deeper need, ate at me late at night, and sometimes, like now, in the midst of my duties, reared its anonymous face to torment me. Ingrid’s expensive perfume, the gift I’d bought her in Paris on impulse, seemed to wrap around me and suffocate me. I resisted the urge to gasp for breath.

The golden music from the band in Leandres livery switched to another classic. Ingrid’s hand slid to my elbow, and she offered me a flirty wink as I escorted her from the dance floor. She wasn’t a woman to be ignored. Her beauty alone turned heads, even without the fact that her exquisite countenance was on every tabloid with a prince. [This sentence is maybe a little unclear and slightly awkward. Also, there is a misplaced modifier. ‘With a prince’ modifies tabloid, when it should modify her (or, her countenance). So maybe something like: Her beauty alone would turn heads, even had she not accompanied a prince in all the tabloid articles’ – It’s still not perfect, but it’s a little more accurate, as far as the order of words. :)] 

“This is our second anniversary, Zander.”  She squeezed my arm. “I bet you’d forgotten.”

I winced, stiffening slightly at the reference.  I had forgotten the occasion.  It was hard to believe that Ingrid and I had been lovers for two years.  The media already had us engaged, but I wasn’t of that inclination yet. She was intelligent, beautiful, and good in bed, but there was just that something missing.  Surely, a man my age shouldn’t believe in romance.  My father constantly reminded me that at twenty-eight, he’d had a wife and an heir. Me. Therefore, I should have a wife and children by now.  He tossed nubile young maidens in my path, but I had Ingrid, and no one else appealed to me the way she did.

At each island of people, we stopped for a brief conversation, constantly moving in the direction of a quiet alcove I’d seen across the room. I was far from reclusive or introverted, but tonight I simply wished I could ditch my duties and seek solitude.  I’d much have preferred to be finalizing the American ambassadorship. This evening breathed a premonition down my neck, and a chill slithered over me. In my custom-tailored formalwear, I suffered a shiver that went unnoticed. [He can’t really say that it went unnoticed. He wouldn’t know that for sure]

Ingrid tugged me to a halt.  “Are you ill?  You’re very quiet.”

I gave her a quick one-armed hug. “Nothing is amiss, dear Ingrid. Perhaps, I’m merely in a pensive mood.”

My elderly but sarcastic aunt lifted her silvery head and beckoned with a slight nod. Inwardly, I flinched. Aunt Heloise had a penchant for asking embarrassing questions and making innuendos about matrimony.  Like a good swordsman, I fended the questions, but the hints were encouragement for Ingrid, and, in the midst of a crowded ballroom, I’d realized I wasn’t in love with the blonde beauty who counted on becoming queen.

“Good evening, madam.” Ingrid dropped a little curtsey. “You look lovely this evening. I hope your trip to America went well.”

Aunt Heloise glanced from Ingrid to me with a look of mild surprise—that I hadn’t spoken first as was customary?  Annoyed at Ingrid, I offered my kinswoman a brief greeting and a forced smile. I didn’t dislike my aunt, far from it.  I merely knew that she’d silently chide me for Ingrid’s impertinence.

She returned her attention to Ingrid. “Very well, thank you. In fact, it appears Desjardins will soon acquire an ambassador from the United States. That wasn’t the purpose of my visit, mind you. Negotiations with my brother have been proceeding for some time.”

A wide, enchanting smile lit Ingrid’s face and fired her eyes to a sapphire sparkle. “Why that’s absolutely marvelous.”

“What do you think, Alexander?” My aunt pinned me in her notorious, direct, and demanding gaze, not using my family nickname. “Surely, you have an opinion.”

That accusation took me aback. Blast and damn it, I’d be quite as formal as she. “My father and I have discussed this possibility, my dear Duchess.  Point of fact, I worked with him in these negotiations.”

“I thought that might be the case.” Aunt Heloise smiled. “Are you playing tomorrow?”

“Zander has a new polo pony from Argentina to debut.” Ingrid beamed a white-toothed smile.  “They’re going to be splendid on the field.”

I wanted to shake her. She acted as if I were a mute, constantly jumping into the conversation on my behalf—without invitation.

Unaware of the tense situation, my father joined the group. “Good evening, Heloise, Ingrid, son. The ball is proceeding nicely.  Alexander, we must meet early tomorrow. We have matters to discuss regarding the US ambassador. Your mother is already planning another ball in his honor.”

“Heloise just told us. What an achievement for you, Your Majesty.” Ingrid curtseyed again, but why she insisted on calling my father Your Majesty puzzled and irritated me. The King didn’t hold to protocol when with his family and their friends.

“Can you join me on a conference call early tomorrow morning?” My father clapped me on the shoulder.

“I’m sure Zander was instrumental in charming the Americans,” Ingrid said before I could respond.

My father [For deeper POV, I would just use ‘Father’] whispered a laugh.  “Zander is always quite charming as far as the press is concerned.”

Anger twisted my stomach. How dare the woman answer for me—repeatedly!  When did she assume the role of spokesman for a royal prince?  Warmth colored [I wouldn’t use ‘colored’ since he can’t see his cheeks. He can say how it felt. Warmth suffused my cheeks. And, speaking of cheeks, this doesn’t sound very manly. Since we’re in a man’s POV, I would say ‘face’ but I also wonder if he would use ‘warmth.’ Maybe ‘heat’ sounds a little more manly] my cheeks. Aunt Heloise’s eyes widened.

I forced [obviously just a typo. Missing ‘my’] annoyed gaze away from Ingrid and willed my rigid jaw to relax.  “Of course. What time?”

“We’ll be speaking to the new ambassador as well.” Father shot Ingrid a frowning glance.

The King had never liked the pretty blonde and made no secret of it to me. Mischief sparkled in eyes the same deep blue as mine. He looked on the verge of saying something more…something very wicked, but excused himself to greet English aristocracy.

Ingrid turned to follow, but I arrested her by taking her hand. [Since this next sentence is her dialogue following his action, I’d move it down to a new paragraph and perhaps indicate she’s speaking] “I’d like to meet His Lordship.”

“And you shall, but first we must have a word about your sudden urge to speak for me tonight.” I gave her hand a gentle squeeze. “I’m quite capable of conversing without your help, and I must say I was irritated by your behavior.”

A blush crept up her neck and across her ivory face. “Zander, you’ve never chided me before.”

Was the blush embarrassment or anger?

“You’ve never misbehaved so flagrantly.” Once the accusation slipped past my lips, I regretted it…or did I?  Tonight, my feelings were ambivalent.

She stiffened, her voice icy. “Misbehaved? Don’t treat me like a child.”

I turned her toward the group around Lord and Lady Malgovern.  “Don’t use that tone with me, Ingrid. I’m going to introduce you to the man you’ve been ogling over my shoulder.”

Ingrid stood six feet tall in her bare feet.  With her four inch heels, we were eye-to-eye. She laughed. “You’re jealous.”

“Not at all. It was merely an observation.” I dropped her hand. “I’m not the jealous type. Surely, you know that by now.”

“You’re handsome, royalty, and the world’s darling. Why should you be jealous?” She placed her hand at the crook of my elbow. “One day, I might get trampled by a stampede of women.  It’s a good thing I’m not insecure.”

“At, [No comma here. Perhaps after ‘least’ but not here] least you didn’t call me arrogant…as you’ve often done.”  I smiled and, with a hand at her waist, guided her along the star-studded path that was my life.

****

Virginia Claire McDonald dropped her phone on an inlaid desk and stared at the Atlantic from the window of her friend’s home—mansion—on the Battery. She didn’t actually see the beauty of the waves lapping the Seawall. The window was open, and the sound of their soft conversation drifted to her deaf ears. [This is a little confusing. Whose conversation? And, if it drifted to her ‘deaf’ ears, then she can’t really speak of it, because she didn’t hear it] Stunned [Why is she stunned?] , she stood motionless, images from magazines, newspapers, and on-line articles flashing before her eyes. Her friend’s father had actually been appointed to an ambassadorship in Desjardins, a small, elegant principality blessed with mountains and white seashores.  Of course, Chrissy would spend the summer with her parents in the country that was Prince Charming’s home.

Ginny was twenty-five years old and chided herself every time she indulged in hero worship. She shouldn’t believe in romance…but she did…as dreamers do.

“Dear God,” she breathed. “You might actually get to see Prince Alexander.”

“See who, Ginny?” Chrissy flopped onto the bed and said in her deep-South accent, “You’re all flushed. What’s wrong?”  She laughed. “Will you miss me that much this summer?”

In travels with her parents, Chrissy had lost most of her Southern accent, but once she [ missing ‘was’] back in Charleston, it didn’t take long for it to resurface.

“Nothing’s wrong.” She turned to her friend with a shaky smile. “Your dad’s been appointed to Desjardins. Can you believe it?  You might actually see our hero. I wish I were you.”

“Don’t get excited.” Chrissy studied her red nails. “It’s not like I’m going to get a date with the world’s favorite prince. He’s been squiring that Scandinavian blonde for a couple of years. I’m a nobody from South Carolina, and I doubt he even knows where that is.”

“Yeah right, a nobody who lives in one of the most historic and expensive houses in Charleston, Chrissy. Your daddy is the United States Ambassador to Desjardins.  I’m the peasant.”

Her friend shrugged. “I don’t think Dad’s Audi will catch Alexander’s Ferrari.” Chrissy gestured as if she were driving a car. “They say he drives like a bat out of hell.”

Ginny chuckled. “Toss that long blonde hair—he likes blondes—bat those big brown eyes, and shake your pretty booty. I bet the prince will notice you. You do get to go the parties and big to-dos. He’ll see you.”

“Rags to riches.” Chrissy threw a pillow at Ginny. “I know this will come as a shock, but I’ve never really believed in fairytales. I know you do…”

Ginny fended the down pillow weapon to the floor. “It’s time to start. You have tons of beautiful dresses.” She pointed at the antique chifferobe containing Chrissy’s formal wardrobe. “You’re going to stand out at the ball. Cinderella, don’t forget to lose your glass slipper.  If he doesn’t pick it up, throw it at his handsome head. I’m so excited I could celebrate with some pecan pie and ice cream.”

“You’re on for the pie and ice cream.” Chrissy leapt to her feet.

“You can return with your parents immediately after graduation. I’m thrilled for you.” Ginny hugged her friend. [‘her friend’ is probably used a little too frequently] “If you marry Alexander, you won’t have to go to medical school and cut up corpses.”

“I never intended to. You’re the one who wanted a career in the medical field.”

Ginny frowned. “Dumb butt, it doesn’t hurt to dream. Princess Christabel sounds good, don’t you think? I’d be envious, of course.”

Chrissy flung an arm around Ginny’s neck. “You are a dreamer.  A dreamer in the first degree.”

“Guess who wants to be a lawyer.” She tweaked her friend’s cheek.

****

The week before graduation passed in a fog of hurry and dreams that Ginny spoon-fed to Chrissy every day.  Both sets of parents arrived for their big event—graduation from the College of Charleston—but the ambassador had to return to Desjardins the day after in order to settle in before Chrissy joined them for the summer. Together, she and Chrissy moved out of the furnished apartment they’d shared near campus. Ginny’s parents and brother didn’t stay the next day either. They had places to go and people to see, she supposed. Bert was always their favorite, and nothing she could do quite measured up. It was all very well and good, and soon over.

In her 2009 Honda Civic, Ginny drove her friend to the airport.  “Have a great summer.”

“Maybe you can come visit.”  Chrissy hugged her as they unloaded multi-striped hardside luggage, a majority of her things having been shipped. “I have lots of dresses that will fit you. We always did trade clothing. I loved that amber dress of yours.  I know you’d snag your prince charming’s eye. As you said to me, toss your long red hair, bat your green eyes, and shake your booty. Right?”

A sinking feeling gave Ginny pause. She wanted to say, I don’t have the money, but she tried to sound optimistic.  “I plan to get a summer job.  I’ll save my money, then watch out Prince Alexander.”

Ginny caught a glimpse of herself in a cab’s window.  Faded blue jeans and a university sweatshirt. Yep, definitely royalty material.  At eighteen, she’d married her high school sweetheart straight out of high school. That heartache still haunted her with or without his pleading calls.  Mike was a wonderful guy except that he preferred drinking with his buddies to being home with his wife.  The divorce was final, but during that long, lonely year, Ginny had held onto her dreams like a lifeline. Prince Alexander of Desjardins had been her solace.

“What are you laughing at?” Chrissy tapped her shoulder.

“Myself. I’m good amusement material.” Ginny swung her friend’s carry-on to the ground. “Sometimes, when I’m on Facebook, I just laugh at my own foibles.”

Chrissy’s smile faded. “Stop it. It wasn’t your fault that your a-hole husband made you miserable.”

“I know.”  You’re going to get to live my dreams, all those dreams I clung to at night. I’m not envious of my best friend. Yes, I am, damn it, I am.

“I’m going to do a little work for Dad.” Tears glittered on Chrissy’s mascaraed lashes. “I’ll help you get the money to visit me.”

“I’ll find a way.” Ginny patted the other girl’s [Sounds a little distant. I know it’s not great to overuse character names, but I think I’d use Chrissy here] cheek.

“We will.” Chrissy tapped her a High Five.

“You’d better check in.” A lump of unshed sadness choked her.

Chrissy tapped her finger to the end of Ginny’s nose.  “See you soon.”

Ginny nodded.  Short of a miracle, she’d never see Desjardins.

****

Looking like a blonde version of an actress from Pretty Woman, Ingrid sat on the sidelines in her brown-and-white polka dot dress. The skirt flared beneath a white patent leather belt hugging her slender waist.  I noticed all this while I paused to tap my whip to my helmet, saluting her as the polo match began. Damn, she was a pretty woman—to equal any movie star. So, why was my heart beating a retreat?

Wearing the number four, I was always referred to as the Back.  [I don’t understand this but it could be because I know nothing about polo] We charged into the match, my new pony quickly showing his mettle and speed as a player on the opposite team attempted to ride me off in a bump to spoil my shot and remove me from the play. A good bump can [‘could’ – tense was switched here] shake discs and rattle teeth. He was within the 45 degree limit, but we held our own, and I completed my shot.  The first of six chukkas sped by in fierce competition.

I loved polo. The excitement and speed of the sport definitely got the [I think a more active phrase and not using a qualifier like ‘definitely’ might make it more active and impactful. Something like ‘The excitement and speed of the sport spiked my adrenaline’ or something like that :)] adrenaline pumping.  The preciseness appealed to my inner perfectionist, but if I had to choose, fast cars on tight turns was [were] a greater thrill.  Nothing felt better than the quick handling of a finely tuned and engineered machine.  A great day was coming.  I was entered in the Grand Prix, fully aware that I’d be up against the best drivers in the world.

Since I was the sole heir, Abelard Pierre Leandres, King of Desjardins, was against the idea, but Father denied me nothing. I was one lucky, arrogant bastard with a perfect lineage tracing back centuries.  Fate waits for no man.

 

See, not much to offer. I really enjoyed the chapter. Linda did an excellent job with description, sensory detail, and set up. We all know a certain redhead is about to shake up the prince’s world. 🙂 Thank you, Linda, for sharing your work with us. If any of you would like to volunteer your work for my blog, please see below for information on how to do that.

Until next time…happy writing!

 

*** Temporary Discount on Freelance Editing – 20% off any editing package. If you wish to take advantage of the special and your MS is not quite ready, you can secure the sale price by paying a $100 deposit through paypal. Details of my editing services can be found by clicking HERE

 

*** If you would like to send me a few sample pages (around 7500 words or so, even though I will not edit that many on the blog. It just gives me more to choose from) for me to edit and share on an upcoming blog post, please do so in the body of an email to AliciaMDean@aol.com. Please use the subject line: “Blog Submission” This is for published or unpublished authors. In the email, please include whether you would like me to use your name or keep it anonymous, and whether or not you would like me to include any contact info or buy info for your books. Also, you can let me know if you would like for me to run my edits by you before posting on the blog. Please keep in mind, this is for samples to use for blog posts. I will not edit or use samples from all the submissions I receive, but I will use as many as possible. 

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

*** Find the Magic and the book I use for examples in FTM, Without Mercy, are both on sale for 99 cents each. Click HERE for Find the Magic and HERE for Without Mercy ***

16

How to write a novel? That is the question. There are probably as many answers to that question as there are people who ask it.

Wanting to write and actually doing it are two very different things. I am well acquainted with the sometimes grueling process of churning out a story. Over the years, I have tried many methods for creating and completing manuscripts, and have tweaked and honed it down to a workable (for me) process.

Using specific examples from one of my own novels, Without Mercy, I share my method in this mini how to book. The first eight steps actually deal with plotting while the last two are designed to help expand your outline into a well-developed draft. There is no one, perfect way to create a story, but there will be a method, or methods that work for you. I’m not sure if this is the one, but it works for me. Only you can decide if it also works for you. Fingers crossed that it does!

*** Warning – Please do not purchase without reading a sample. (This is solid advice for any book, fiction or non. If you are not intrigued in the sample, you will likely not enjoy the book)

Amazon: Click Here

14 Comments

Filed under For Writers, Promo Tips, Tips from an Editor

A Visit to Eischen’s for Chicken, Okra, and a History Lesson

Last Saturday, I took part in a book signing at the Anadarko Library. I met some new readers and had a blast! The people at the library were wonderful, especially my friend and fellow writer, Tamrie Foxtail, who put the whole thing together. She did a marvelous job, and I so appreciate her hard work.

Here are two of the readers we met, sisters Samantha and Montania (yes, that’s spelled correctly). They were so cute and so enthusiastic about reading. I thought it interesting that, even though they are quite young, they preferred print books over ebooks. Guess new technology isn’t always welcome. 🙂

Fans 28617355612_image

I made the trip with my Martini Club 4 peeps, Amanda McCabe, Kathy L Wheeler, and Krysta Scott. On the way back, we drove to Okrache and had lunch at Eischen’s. It was wonderful! I’d been there a handful of times, it’s my son, Presley’s, favorite place to go, but I hadn’t been in ages. Amanda and Krysta had never been. In case you’re not familiar with Eischen’s, it was once featured on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives. The bar opened in 1896 and is reputed to be the ‘oldest bar in Oklahoma’ although I was educated on the fact that it’s not actually the oldest bar. Blue Belle Saloon in Guthrie is three years older, but Eischen’s is the oldest bar that has stayed in business since it’s opening, other than briefly closing for prohibition in the early 1900’s and a fire in 1993, and is the only one still owned by the same family. Blue Belle has opened and closed over the years and changed ownership several times.

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Our server, Ryan, was awesome. He took good care of us and was friendly and helpful. I asked him about the history of the bar, and since he didn’t know all the information, he brought over A.J., who was a wealth of information. (I most likely have some of the details wrong. I didn’t take notes, I was just soaking it all up in my over-worked pea brain :))

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Ryan, our server, behind the bar of Eischen’s

Eischen’s is known for it’s yummy fried chicken and okra, and I was curious about how they came to serve these dishes. A.J. said it was the result of a shuffleboard contest in 1963. The winner would receive a chicken dinner (winner, winner, chicken dinner), and the owner and his friend (who had a part in running the bar), used the friend’s recipe and cooked the winner a chicken dinner. It was such a hit, that the owner purchased the recipe and has been serving it ever since. Okra was added some years later when farmers would bring it in and have the people in the bar sample it. The okra was a hit as well, and was added to the menu. Speaking of the menu, it’s very limited. They offer chili, roast beef sandwiches, nachos, frito chili pie, and barbecue sandwiches, in addition to the chicken and okra, but not much else. Then again, when you serve chicken and okra that tastes like that, you don’t need anything else.

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A.J. is the bearded guy behind the register.

 

I was fascinated with A.J.’s telling of the history of the bar. He told of how they came to be closed on Sundays. Farmers would come to the bar on Thursdays and pretty much stay straight through until Monday. The wives converged on the owners and demanded they do something about it. They agreed to start closing on Sundays, so the farmers would go home. 🙂

In my Suspense/Thriller, Without Mercy, I set a scene in Eischen’s, when my hero goes to meet up with the bad guys. You can read the Eischen’s excerpt below…

Without Mercy Extra Large

Buy links:

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Blurb:

How far will a mother go to protect her child?

When an apparently random bank robbery turns out to be a sinister plan, single mother China Beckett is thrust into a nightmare.

A group of mercenaries take over her life, threatening her young daughter and everyone they love. Each time China makes a mistake, someone dies. She’ll fight to the last breath to protect her child, but that might not be enough.

As the lives of China’s loved ones are jeopardized, she must take action, although she has no idea where to turn—and time is running out. But then, a startling truth is revealed and China discovers that the only person who can save them might be a ghost from the past.

*** Warning: Explicit language and graphic violence ***

Excerpt:

He arrived at Eischen’s in just under an hour. The hardwood floors were worn, and the walls held vintage beer signs. In a room at the back stood a few pool tables. To the right were tables surrounded by metal chairs. Plastic upholstered booths lined one wall. The place was crowded for a Monday night. What would it be like on the weekend?

Royce and Bishop sat at a table. Royce stood and waved Aiden over like an old friend anxious for a reunion.

Aiden squeezed past the bodies waiting to be seated and headed to the table.

“Sit.” Royce gestured to the chair across from him. “You remember Dan Bishop?”

“I do.” Aiden slid into a chair.

Bishop inclined his head in a nod, and Aiden returned it.

Royce twisted around and draped an arm over the back of his chair. “I took the liberty of ordering chicken, okra, and Budweiser. They’re world famous for their chicken. I haven’t tried it, but since it’s about the only thing on the menu, I figured I’d give it a shot. That okay with you?”

Aiden shrugged.

A thin, fifty-something waitress wearing jeans and a green Eischen’s T-shirt came over with three cans of Budweiser and sat them in the center of the table. “Chicken’ll be out in a minute, boys.”

Royce picked up a can and tipped it toward her. “Thank you, darlin’.”

He was rewarded with a wide smile before she moved on to another table.

Aiden shot a look around the dining room. The other customers were so close he could reach out and touch them. He leaned slightly toward Royce. “You really think this is the best place to conduct private business?”

“I think it’ll do just fine. The noise level will help drown out our conversation.”

“Sides,” Bishop cut in. “We had a taste for chicken. Folks around us are here for the same. Don’t give a hoot what we’re sayin’.”

Aiden spread his hands out in front of him on the scarred table. “So, what’s this all about? What do you want?”

“If you recall, we have a bit of unfinished business. A job about seven years ago where you never showed up at the rendezvous location to divvy up the payout.”

Aiden snorted a laugh. “That’s what this is all about? You think I ripped you off? I was in an explosion, ended up in the hospital. As soon as I came to, I went straight for the money. I was captured right after I collected. Arrested on some trumped up charge. The rebels took every bit of it.”

Royce shrugged. “Maybe. Maybe not. We think you might have it hidden somewhere. We know you were thrown in prison, but we got a feeling you hid the money first. Now me and Bishop here, we’re understanding fellas. We were willing to put it behind us. Then, I run into somebody who has it out for you. Hired us to get our own money back, how do you like that?” He chuckled. “Our boss expects a payout.”

Aiden’s gut roiled. These men were counting on money he didn’t have, and China and her kid’s lives were in danger if they didn’t get it. He had maybe five mil Wes’s accountant was holding, then if they’d give him time, he could do the job in Texas and get another mil. But the take from the job they’d done was fifteen. They wouldn’t be satisfied with a third of that.

“What makes your boss think it’ll do any good to use the woman and kid for leverage? Why would I care what happens to them?”

Royce grinned. “You’re in love with the Beckett woman.”

Stone’s chest tightened. “That’s a bunch of blarney.”

He raised his brows and smirked. “Right. That’s why you pined after her when you had to leave her behind to do the job in Tanier. Why you couldn’t wait to get back to her sweet little body.”

Anger simmered through Stone’s veins. Royce was just trying to get a rise out of him. He had to keep his cool. “You’ve got it all wrong.”

“Maybe. Boss man thinks you’re enough of a sap you won’t leave a woman and kid to fend for themselves, especially since the kid’s yours.”

Why did everyone keep saying that? Stone tried to keep his expression bland. “Kid ain’t mine. You gents are barking up the wrong Irishman. I don’t give two figs what happens to either of the females.”

Royce threw his head back and laughed. “Come on, Aiden. Even if you aren’t in love with her, and even if the kid’s not yours, you are not the kind of man who could walk away and leave them to die. Especially over something you started.”

Before he could respond, the waitress returned, her arms lined with food in paper containers. Efficiently, as if she’d done it thousands of times, she placed chicken, okra, bread, and a paper container of onions and pickles on the table, then laid a stack of wax paper squares down, which Aiden presumed were the plates.

“You boys ready for another beer?”

“You betcha. Thanks, sweetheart.”

This time a blush accompanied the smile. “Be back in a jif. You holler if you need anything else.”

After she disappeared, Royce and Bishop took turns picking out pieces of chicken and handfuls of okra, plopping them on the wax paper. Aiden’s stomach growled. The chicken smelled and looked delicious.

He helped himself to a leg and a handful of okra. The food was better than it looked. Who would have thought an old bar in nowhere Oklahoma would have the best fried chicken and okra he’d ever tasted? But then, to be fair, he could count on one hand the number of times he’d had fried chicken and okra.

“Damn, that’s good stuff,” Bishop said, licking his fingers. “They weren’t lyin.”

Royce nodded, picking up his can of beer and draining it as the waitress brought them a second round. When she left, he said, “So, am I right? You won’t leave China and Emma to die at our hands, now will you?”

Aiden pushed the chicken aside and picked up his beer, taking a long swallow from the can. They had him dead to rights. He wouldn’t let a stranger die because of something he’d done. Despite China’s betrayal, he damned sure couldn’t let her and her kid come to harm on his account.

 

 

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99¢ Sale Ends Soon – How to Plot with Find the Magic & Suspense Thriller Without Mercy

The last day of 99 cent pricing for each of these books is November 15, 2014. Be sure to grab your copies now.

(They will, however, continue to be available through Kindle Unlimited after the sale ends.)

Find the Magic – How to Plot a Story in 10 Easy Steps

(Click on the cover to be taken to the Amazon Buy Page)

Vertical background of brown color with magic book

How to write a novel? That is the question. There are probably as many answers to that question as there are people who ask it.

Wanting to write and actually doing it are two very different things. I am well acquainted with the sometimes grueling process of churning out a story. Over the years, I have tried many methods for creating and completing manuscripts, and have tweaked and honed it down to a workable (for me) process.

Using specific examples from one of my own novels, Without Mercy, I share my method in this mini how to book. The first eight steps actually deal with plotting while the last two are designed to help expand your outline into a well-developed draft. There is no one, perfect way to create a story, but there will be a method, or methods that work for you. I’m not sure if this is the one, but it works for me. Only you can decide if it also works for you. Fingers crossed that it does!

*** Warning – Please do not purchase without reading a sample. (This is solid advice for any book, fiction or non. If you are not intrigued in the sample, you will likely not enjoy the book)

Review:

5.0 out of 5 stars Great quick-start guide for writers November 8, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A quick read with easy to follow directions for streamlined plotting and excellent tips for rewriting clunky sentences. Includes some show and tell examples for clear understanding of the concepts presented. Will be one of my go-to reference books. I bought the book after seeing mention of it being released. A great bargain!

 

Without Mercy

(Click on the cover to be taken to the Amazon Buy Page)

Without Mercy Extra Large

How far will a mother go to protect her child?

When an apparently random bank robbery turns out to be a sinister plan, single mother China Beckett is thrust into a nightmare.

A group of mercenaries take over her life, threatening her young daughter and everyone they love. Each time China makes a mistake, someone dies. She’ll fight to the last breath to protect her child, but with no idea what move will be the wrong one, that might not be enough.

As the lives of China’s loved ones are jeopardized, she must take action, although she has no idea where to turn—and time is running out. But then, a startling truth is revealed and China discovers that the only person who can save them might be a ghost from the past.

*** Warning: Explicit language and graphic violence ***

 

Review:

5.0 out of 5 stars A Gripping Story of Love and Betrayal September 27, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Single mom China Beckett is Teller Manager for Greater Oklahoma Bank. On just another work day, she gets a phone call that her six year old has suffered an asthma attack at school. When she goes to her bitchy manager’s office for permission to leave, the boss from hell gives her a hard time.
Then the woman is shot. Dead. Right in front of China.A bank robbery is in process. And the robbers apparently know who she is. They call her by name.

This is how China Beckett is launched into a bizarre and horrifically violent period of her life. A period in which: 1. A scarred and psychotic bodyguard moves into her house; 2. Random people are killed in order to make her cooperate; 3. Her estranged lover returns from the dead; and 4. She finds out she is tougher than anyone thinks.

Wow, what a story. There is a man behind the curtain who is pulling the strings, manipulating everyone from the band of psychotic killers to their random victims to China and everyone she loves. We are kept guessing who that might be. Is it China’s current boyfriend, the sweet fireman and former mercenary? Her ex-husband, a successful doctor who suddenly ran off to San Francisco? Or Aiden, the father of her daughter, a man she
thought had died years before in a civil war in Africa?

There’s so much to like about Alicia Dean’s newest suspense novel. I was rooting for China from page one because she is brave, consistently putting her child’s safety above everything else. Riveted by the swift plot, I had no idea how she would rescue herself, save her child, and find the love she deserves. But I was sure she would do so because China Beckett is cool, smart, and tough as hell.

You’ll have to read Without Mercy to see how one devoted mother takes a life-threatening situation into her own capable hands. And manages to turns her whole life around.

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Elvis Presley – Ramblings of a Lifelong Fan – Part XV – Elvis’ Twin

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I have always been fascinated by the fact that Elvis was born a twin. The other baby, Jesse Garon, was stillborn. Can you imagine, what if Jesse had been born? Would they have looked alike? Would Jesse have been able to sing like Elvis? Would he have been an entertainer as well, or would it have changed Elvis’ course in life, and maybe he wouldn’t have become an entertainer at all? Throughout his life, Elvis was also fascinated about his twin. Those close to him knew just how much losing Jesse Garon affected him.

Here is a great article by Elvis’ hairdresser and friend, Larry Geller. He talks about how intrigued Elvis was about the fact that he had a twin brother. 

Click here for article

A couple of additional things to share…

I love it when other celebrities talk about Elvis, and this definitely caught my attention. I saw Robert Plant, lead singer of Led Zepplin on Jimmy Fallon recently. Plant is a huge Elvis fan. He speaks with Jimmy about meeting Elvis in 1974. Elvis said he’d heard that Robert sound checked to one of his songs and asked him which one. Robert said “Love Me.” They were leaving and headed down the hallway. Elvis turned around and started singing “Love Me” and Robert Plant sang with him. Plant said, “I could have packed up, quit and gone home right then.” (I paraphrased). Even though I’ve basically quoted the entire interview, here it is if you want to check it out:

 

Lastly, I have a new release out, and as I’ve stated before, I try to mention Elvis in all my published works. Here is a little snippet from Without Mercy:

China’s house was too quiet. She put on an Elvis Presley CD—finding comfort in the music she and her aunt had listened to when she was growing up—and turned the volume up as loud as it would go. She was heading up the stairs when it occurred to her that the music would mask the noise of an intruder.

Debating for just a moment, she decided the silence was worse, and left the music on. “Danny Boy” blasted around her as she reached the top of the stairs.

Her house was a multi-level, thirty four hundred square-foot Tudor with five bedrooms, a pool, sauna and hot tub. The front was secluded by an overhang of trees, and the back yard opened up into a wooded area. The home was much more elaborate than she could possibly afford on her salary. There were months she could barely make the utilities, and last summer she hadn’t opened the pool because she couldn’t afford the upkeep. But at least she didn’t have to pay a mortgage.

She’d always counted herself lucky that Gary had left her the house as compensation for his abandonment. But now it felt like enemy territory, and the spacious rooms seemed to be nothing more than good hiding places for intruders.

In the bathroom, she turned the shower on as hot as it would go and stripped, stepping quickly inside. Steam surrounded her, the spray so strong, it stung her skin. But that was okay. It meant she was alive.

She wasn’t sure how long she’d been standing under the water. It had turned cold, yet she remained. The strains of “Love Comin’ Down” penetrated through the closed door. She considered getting out, but the cold water was starting to numb her, and that was what she needed. To forget, not to feel for a while.

“China?” A man’s voice bellowed her name at the same time the bathroom door flung open, slamming against the wall. She screamed as the shower curtain was yanked back.

On sale – Only 99¢ for a limited time!

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A Character Blog for Without Mercy

I was tagged by Nora Snowdon in a blog hop and asked to answer questions about my current WIP (Work in Progress). So, here goes…

1) What is the name of your character?  Is he/she fictional or a historic person?

China Beckett, she’s fictional

2) When and where is the story set?

Present day, metro Oklahoma City

3) What should we know about him/her?

She’s a single mother, and her child’s father, a mercenary, was killed in Africa before he knew she was pregnant. She loves her daughter more than life itself

4) What is the main conflict? What messes up his/her life?

A group of mercenaries have taken over her life and are threatening to kill her daughter and the people they love.

5) What is the personal goal of the character?

To protect her daughter.

6) Is there a working title for this novel, and can we read more about it?

Without Mercy

7) When can we expect the book to be published?

September 26, 2014

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I am tagging three of my author friends:

 

M.J. Schiller:

THE HEART TEACHES BEST http://amzn.com/B00IGAGKXM
MJ is a lunch lady in the heart of Central Illinois. My gosh! Can you get more folksy than that? She met her husband at the University of Missouri-Columbia and now she has a nineteen-year-old (how did that happen?) and seventeen year old triplets! She loves to read, karaoke (where she can pretend she is a rock star) and spends WAY too much time on Facebook. She grew up in St. Louis and still has family there.

 

Diane Burton:

Diane Burton writes adventure stories and romance, in this world and beyond.

Website: www.dianeburton.com

The Chameleon http://amzn.com/B00K8GDN00

 

Kae Elle Wheeler:

Website: http://kathylwheeler.com/

Coming soon…The Price of Scorn

Kae Elle Wheeler (aka Kathy L Wheeler), author of both historical and contemporary romance, has a BA in Management Information Systems with a vocal minor. She loves musical theater, NBA, NFL, reading, writing, travel, and, surprise—karaoke. She is a member of several RWA Chapters, including DARA, OKRWA and The Beau Monde.

 

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