Friday, December 19, 2014

The Least Envied by Sean DeLauder Making Your Characters Recognizable & Giveaway

Cast back in time to a perilous wasteland, Andrew is tasked with recording the fate of an individual history has chosen to ignore. Threatened by knee-high creatures called Wogs, an enigmatic beast known as the Forest Monster, and the man orchestrating the slow annihilation of the world, Andrew discovers all hope for salvation and survival rests with a boy without a history.

Making Your Character Recognizable by Sean DeLauder:
A multitude of ingredients go into a character’s recipe, including personality, appearance, motivation, but out of my respect for your time I’ll limit myself to Making an Easily Identifiable Character.

Typically, you can identify a well-made character by a readily identifiable quirk. This could not only give you an easy way to recognize them, it may also serve to tell you something about their personality.

Some such identifiers are uncomplicated, such as giving your character blue hair—it’s a way to stand out, but it says little about them (unless blue hair means something significant). Harry Potter had his scar, but it told you only about an event. It lent no insight to his personality. Joss Whedon’s Firefly characters could be identified simply by listening to their dialogue, and their manner of speaking did lend some insight into their character.

The latter example gives credence to the fact that what makes a character unique isn’t necessarily defined solely by their appearance. Perhaps they have a tic that causes them to finish each sentence with the word “Ribbit”. Or, for that matter, “Gollum”.

During my tenure at BGSU I was fortunate enough to have Tony Doerr (yes, THAT Tony Doerr) as an instructor in several courses. One of the most lucid memories I have of that experience is a class in which he discussed how to make a character recognizable—by giving him or her a characteristic that in some way marks them as distinct. “A guy with a dead fish in his back pocket” is the offhand suggestion he made. These are the sort of people who will stand out in a crowd without being unobtrusive or deliberately drawing attention to themselves (especially if the fish has been in the pocket for a while).

It’s not necessary to make the feature obnoxious, like hair made out of fire or a coat made out of barking dogs. Readers, so long as they aren’t Michael Bay, can appreciate subtlety and don’t need to be buried under the ostentatiousness of a character’s quirks. Unless the character is ostentatious, that is.

In which case, fire up that dog coat and howl away.

Regardless what you do, it’s important that people have no trouble distinguishing your character. I guarantee that if your character shows up unannounced and begins speaking from the shadows, punctuating each sentence with the word “Ribbit”, your readers will have no difficulty recognizing that character and their brains will light up like a cloud full of lightning as they process who that character is without having to speak their name.

Do these characters need to be conspicuous and outlandish? Certainly not. They just need to function within the story. Giving a character roller skates for hands is a good way to create an easily identifiable image, so long as it serves a purpose—there must be a rationale that reinforces the plot of your story or your readers will end up confused. You can certainly have a character with roller skates for hands in your post-apocalyptic, desert-themed roller derby actioner, but this character is less likely to fit well in your paranormal romance.

Unless you are Tim Burton. Then anything goes.

“Will I win?” asked Billy-Bob.

Gordimer grimaced and rubbed his nose. He checked the parchment, eyes glazing as if he were looking at it but not reading it.

“You will find victory in defeat and death.” Gordimer rolled the parchment, cleared his throat, and added, “You will also need fourteen acorns.”

The pleasant flavor of heroism had gone suddenly sour. Victory in death? This bit of information didn't make much sense. He certainly couldn't win if he were dead. And victory could hardly be had through defeat.

“What was that last part?” asked Billy-Bob.

“You will need fourteen acorns,” Gordimer repeated.

Billy-Bob's head shook.

“No no. The other part.”

He leaned forward to look at the parchment, but Gordimer clutched it to himself, then lit a corner with a small flame he produced from somewhere unseen. The parchment burst into a brilliant white fire and was gone. Mostly. Gordimer's eyes went wide and he fanned the air, swatting at bits of glowing cinder and fluttering his wings as they circled about him, hissing and biting back curses when flecks of fire reached his skin. When they were scattered he wiped his hands across grime-darkened pants.

“Messy stuff,” he mumbled.

Maybe it was better he didn't understand the meaning of the parchment. Maybe Gordimer had misread it. In fact, the more he considered the bit about victory and death the less he wanted to know.

“Why do I need fourteen acorns?” Billy-Bob asked.

Gordimer's lips quirked.

“Because thirteen is bad luck.”


AUTHOR Bio and Links:
This author has held several positions in recent years, including Content Writer, Grant Writer, Obituary Clerk, and Staff Writer, and is under the false impression that these experiences have added to his character since they have not contributed much to his finances. He was awarded a BFA in Creative Writing and Journalism and a BA in Technical Communication by Bowling Green State University because they are giving and eager to make friends. He has a few scattered publications with The Circle magazine, Wild Violet, Toasted Cheese, and Lovable Losers Literary Revue, and resides in the drab, northeastern region of Ohio because it makes everything else seem fascinating, exotic, and beautiful.

Sean DeLauder will be awarding $25 Amazon or BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour, and a $25 Amazon or BN GC to a randomly drawn host.
The more you comment, the better your chances of winning. The tour dates can be found here: 
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Thursday, December 18, 2014

The 13th Descent by Ky Lehman Excerpt & Giveaway



The revolutionary year following Serenay "Ren" Avalon's eighteenth birthday could rival Clark Kent's entire adolescence.

After her mother and her grandmother were killed in a car bomb explosion at the heart of their sleepy hillside town where nothing extraordinary usually happens, she discovers that her mother is actually alive and in hiding, her long lost father is a Father, and her best friend, who turns out was once an Archangel, has taken a gargantuan step back in his evolution to live on Earth with her for the past thirteen lifetimes. And besides being the only one in her immediate circle with a serious case of past life dementia, she learns that during her first lifetime, she was married to one of the greatest teachers history has ever known who is now the gorgeous lead singer of a hot new rock band taking the world by storm, and who is keen to meet up with her again in the twenty first century.

As Ren realizes that the powerful family name she bears also brings with it the promise of an unnatural death, she is reminded that it has always brought hope to people on both sides of the veil, human and Tor. As the world draws closer to being completely shrouded by the dark cloaks of her age-old enemies, the Bloodstones, she now, more than ever before, has to draw strength from her origins to protect her family and their ancient truth from this global force responsible for torturing and killing centuries of her ancestors.

As she struggles to unearth who she was, who she is, and who she chooses to be, as well as the expectations of her first mortal love and the heavenly love she has always guiltily denied, she has until midnight on the Solstice find a way to bring light to a compromised heart and to a world on the brink of perpetual darkness.

This first book in The Rosefire Trilogy by debut YA author, Ky Lehman, is a reminder of how the choices we make in the throes of love, loss, hope, and adversity are what makes the divine human, and the human divine.

“Come on, Renay! You’re as slow as a wet week,” she snaps.

“Right behind you,” I grumble, trying to coax my jelly legs to step out of the car.

She bustles us inside and disarms her house alarm. She grabs my hand, leads me straight to the navy blue comfy couch and gestures for me to sit. “Drink?” she asks.

“No, thanks.”

She goes to the kitchen and gets me a tall glass of water anyway.

Then everything goes from strange to downright bizarre when she sits down, squishes in next to me, puts her arm around my shoulders and rests her cheek on my hair. I am wedged in-between her and the armrest: I couldn’t move if I tried, and I honestly don’t want to. Hugs from my one and only aunt are like sunny days in the winter. They are rare. They are warm. They smell of cream and cinnamon. They go by too quickly. And you know you’ll have to wait a while for the next one.

“Look at me, Renay,” she gently commands. Bleary eyed, she carefully scans my face and sighs.

It seems she is already regretting what she is yet to say. A chill of forewarning forces a shiver: it sets my heart pounding and my legs that have finally regained feeling start to twitch and shake, preparing to run. She senses my panic and holds me tighter, and starts to softly hum a familiar tune that Nanna must have used to calm her down too. Slowly, the dread resides and the warmth returns. My stiff posture thaws allowing me to slump into her side. Realising she has been given the green light, she takes a deep breath and starts talking.

Aunt Romey has never been one to beat around the bush. Simple English. No fluff. The bare facts followed by her opinion of them. But this time, the candour I usually appreciate brings with it a realisation that hits me so hard, that, for the first time since the bomb went off, I am relieved the undercooked takeout chicken kept me home that night.

Bedtime stories that once lulled me into sweet dreams now leave me feeling cold, heavy and sick.

Horrifying truth gives a voice to the intoxicated mutterings of a grieving husband and father.

Nanna’s fairy tales.

Georgie Pa’s drunken rants.

All of the frayed strands and loose ends I’ve obliviously left hanging tangle and weave into the blood stained tapestry that is Aunt Romey’s history lesson.

Three versions of the same unfathomable story, each with its own conclusion. The fairy tale ends in hope.

The drunken rant ends in fear.

And the history lesson will only end with the death of the Three Roses, who my newfound enemies believe are Nanna, Mum and me.

Surrounded by the ghosts of our ancestors and their vindicating screams, I cling to the only olive branch within reach.

Mum may be on the run, but she is alive and well.

But the sinewy little branch is not strong enough to bear the weight of centuries of lost life. It snaps, and I limply fall into large, familiar, bloodstained hands that carry me off into the black quiet.

AUTHOR Bio and Links:
KY LEHMAN is a novelist, a children's author, a teacher of swimming and water safety, wife to her high school sweetheart and the proud mother of their three very tall sons. She lives in the Yarra Ranges, Victoria, Australia with her husband and their children where she is currently writing the second book in The Rosefire Trilogy, The 13th Rising.



Ky will be awarding a $15 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.
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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Christmas With the Marquis by Jean Hart Stewart Excerpt & Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. A randomly drawn winner will receive $15 PayPal cash. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

When an arrogant Marquis’s seduction fails, he plans a Xmas celebration at his country estate. Inviting the one girl who not only rejects him but seems to hate him is part of his plan to win her. His scheming soon turns to much more than decorating the house for Xmas. Abigail’s beauty incites a plan for revenge on the Marquis by his most depraved enemy, who is bent on kidnapping and raping Abigail. Can the Marquis save her and make this a merry Christmas after all?

Enjoy an excerpt:

Abigail called after them. “Galoshes are by the back door. Gloves and scarves also. You don’t want to wear your best clothes on an expedition like this, gentlemen”

She leaned back in her chair and watched them go. Startled, but pleased, she hurried to her own rooms to change into riding clothes and tall boots. She adored tramping in the woods and how could she not join in the search for the perfect Yule log? After scarcely a thought she pulled on the breeches she wore when she was riding at home with no one caring what she did. She pulled on her riding boots, although she picked her second-best pair. Who knew what such wonderful snow would do to good boots?

She ran lightly down the steps to the back door. A small screech escaped her when the felt herself hauled against a strong chest, and looked up in astonishment at a livid Jason glaring down at her. Maybe not Jason, right now. No, definitely the Marquis. An irate Marquis, giving her a good swat on her rear and glaring at her.

“Don’t you even think of trying to escape me, you little fool. You’re not at your country home. You’re at mine, with some of the most licentious noblemen in London who’d be delighted to see you so scantily clothed. Do you want them to line up at your door tonight, you vexatious idiot?”

Abigail simply stared at him for a moment, her temper ready to boil over, when he suddenly softened, ran his hands over her hips and around her waist and pulled her against him. His kiss was hot and blazing, lingering at her lips with his tongue pushing into her mouth in a dizzying display of passion that had her clinging to his coat lapels.

“My god, Abigail, how am I going to stay away from you?”

He lay his forehead softly against her hair and softly caressed her well rounded bottom.

Stunned, she couldn’t think of a thing to say. She wrenched herself away and fled back to her room. She’d simply not thought of anything but her own comfort and that wonderful snow. Of course a woman didn’t appear in breeches at a house party for London aristocrats! Not unless there was a hunt scheduled or good riding was available.

She was an idiot.

How could she face Jason, and indeed her grandmother? And she herself was supposed to be chaperoning Bettina?

Burying her face in her hands, she tried to shut out her regretful thoughts. The fact that her every thought centered on Jason and his reactions didn’t even occur to her.

She didn’t see the lascivious face of Lord Wilcombe, earl of Wilmington, watching them from a corner of the hallway.

About the Author:
Jean feels she’s very much a Californian although she was born in Ohio. California has been home for a good many years. Life changed drastically for her when she was six and her father died incredibly from an errant golf ball. A dishonest insurance agent forced her sheltered mother to seek work, and she became a teacher. Her hours required Jean to be alone in the house in the afternoon, and since she was forbidden to leave till her mother got home, she became an avid reader. The local library supplied most of the books and she developed early her two of main interests, Jane Austen and King Arthur.

Reading is still one of her favorite activities, although she sometimes has to push it aside to make room for her enduring love of writing. Her journalism degree was used infrequently until recently. Marriage and raising two children pleasantly got in the way. After twenty years of being a real estate broker and with the kids raised she finally could devote her time to writing, her first love.

Jean's enchantment with the lore and legends of Druids and, therefore, delving into their history led to fascinating research that inspired her popular Garland of Druids Series for Cerridwen Press. She's now enjoying writing stories filled with magic and romance for her Songs of the Mages Series, also for Cerridwen Press.

Few things in her life have been so satisfying, especially when all her books have a happy ending. Wonderful to make happen. It only gets more interesting when a secondary character demands his very own book. Who would want to deny him? Not Jean!

Buy the book at Amazon or MuseItUp Publishing.

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Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Deadman's Blood by T. Lynne Tolles Excerpt & Giveaway

As the dust settles from the destruction of the Bloodstone Heart, a small scroll that had been hidden in the hearth of the altar room for hundreds of years, reveals a prophecy that seems to be about the Larsen family. While the group tries to unravel the riddles of the prophecy they also start to notice they've acquired some interesting new powers from the Bloodstone itself, some of which are going to take some getting use to.

Darby and Devon head to Ireland to set up house and get ready for their impending nuptials when Darby is asked to help cure the Summer Queen of the Everworld or the delicate balance of power between the Seelie and Unseelie courts will topple throwing the planet into a deadly ice age. While at home, things take a turn for the worse when there's a tragic airplane crash, the Larsen vampires start dropping like flies, Bernard goes missing, and all the bad deeds dealt seem to point towards one person - the Dark Angel.

What's so important about the altar room? Why are people dying in the name of this prophecy? Will the Larsen's survive these new tragedies? These questions and other deep seated secrets will be revealed in this final installment of the Blood Series.

The rest of the group had started to stir when Bernard poked his head into the dining room and asked Josh to join him. Josh got up and headed for the door, holding onto Melanie’s hand and pulling her behind him.

“What’s up, Bernard?”

“Well, I called Dr. Rowe here to check on your hand.  I felt with such a bad cut, he should take a look at it,” Bernard said.

“You shouldn’t have, Bernard. It doesn’t hurt a bit,” Josh said.

“You should have it looked at, Josh. It looked like it was bleeding pretty badly before you took a shower,” Melanie urged.

“Fine. But I’m telling you it’s fine,” Josh argued.

Bernard walked Josh and Melanie into a room at the other end of the house, where Dr. Rowe was unpacking something from his bag.

“Ah, Mr. Brenner and the lovely Ms. Harper. How are you both?” Dr. Rowe inquired.

Melanie said, “Very well, Dr. Rowe. Thank you for coming.”

“So, Josh. I hear you had a run in with a nasty jar,” Dr. Rowe joked.

“It’s not a big deal,” Josh said.

“Are you kidding? He crushed it and the lid,” Bernard interjected.

“I’m sure the jar just had a flaw in it and I grabbed it at that fragile spot,” Josh argued.

“Well, let’s see how deep it is. I’m sure Bernard cleaned it well. He’s been patching you all up so much lately that he’s practically an MD himself,” Dr. Rowe said with a chuckle.

Josh held out his bandaged hand to the doctor. The bandages were red all the way through. Dr. Rowe carefully unwrapped his hand. “Hmm,” he said, looking at Melanie. “If I didn’t know better, I’d say you were a vampire and healing yourself quite quickly.”

Bernard stepped forward as Melanie and Josh both looked at the unbandaged hand.  There were two red lines across his palm, one about an inch across and the other about a quarter inch, but the wounds looked two weeks old and almost completely healed.

Bernard stuttered, “But...but...this morning...”

Dr. Rowe looked from Bernard to Josh then said, “Been biting vampires lately?”

“Uh, no,” Josh said.

“Well...I don’t know what to say, you certainly don’t need my services. It looks fine. No infection. At this rate, by tomorrow you won’t know you had a cut at all. Quite remarkable for a human. The only explanation I can come up with is that you were in contact with a ‘healer,’” Dr. Rowe said.

T. Lynne Tolles can be found most days, juggling one of two cat muses and a laptop, tripping over a Newfoundland puppy and washing a never-ending pile of laundry. When life doesn’t get in the way, she writes paranormal romances for new adults.
Her passion for witches, ghosts, and vampires together with a light-hearted wit are reflected in her loveable characters and the adventures of mystery they unravel to find their happily ever after.


$50 Amazon GC or 5 premium swag packs.
The more they comment, the better their chances of winning. The tour dates can be found here:
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