Tag Archives: paranormal

Guest post – Anthony Diesso

Please welcome Anthony Diesso, author of The Haunted Spring. (AKA our old friend and blog-hacker Feebil E Willie.)


Hello, everybody!

As my novel, The Haunted Spring, is just now floating in on the e-book ether, like a huge conversation bubble let loose from the cartoon head that made it, I thought I might say a few things about it in way of an introduction.

It’s a pretty straightforward story, actually: a young man, a young woman, love, new life, then loss, and finally life again. There’s also a ghost. But as for what “type” of story it is, I wish I could tell you. Maybe I should have asked someone while writing it, but it’s probably too late now. The whole dilemma might have also made for a good contest, a sort of sideshow, “Guess what the thing is” type of promotion, but I didn’t rent out the booth in time.The Haunted Spring could be, in one way or another, a serious comedy, a slice of life in which impossible things happen, or, perhaps most accurately, a ghost story that wants to be about something else.
It may also have the soul of a toddler, carefully building things up for the sheer joy of knocking them down. Ruins and people are an endless curiosity (to me at least), which could mean that ruins of people pretty much top the list. In describing the relationship of Jay and Anna, I went through a lot of trouble to walk through the door (so to speak), carefully spread my blanket of objects, stomp and break each one, heap them all together, then back out the way I came. I don’t think I have a mean streak: I’m sort of fond of my imaginary friends. But I guess I thought it was my job to set them down with a degree ofsadistic compassion, to sympathize with them as I put them through so much hell and trouble.Much of the story is based upon my wife’s and my experience in an NICU ward after our son was born about three months premature.  The book scarcely does justice to the parents I met there and what they endured: in many cases, months of agonizing hope, the daily watch, the updates by doctors and nurses, their pinning everything to words similar to those told me by the doctor on the night my son was born: “He’s stable, and we expect him to survive.” My boy is four now, and so spunky that it’s sometimes easy to forget how he fought his way into  the world and how he fought to stay there.  But opening an old box and picking up an extra pair of diapers we had but never used, seeing how they fit snugly around three of my fingers, reminds me of where my son was, where my wife and I were, and where so many fine people–parents, doctors, nurses–were fighting and are still fighting.The ending of The Haunted Spring is, I think, a happy one, although one involving sacrifice. I hope the reader doesn’t consider reaching the book’s conclusion a sacrifice as well. I put in as much wit and mystery and humor as I could. It’s devoid of social “insights”, and there doesn’t seem to be a lesson in it, either: I did my very best to keep one out.  I’m not didactic by nature (and if I had the chance, why, I’d sit you down and prove it), and I never learn from my mistakes: at best, I simply learn new and curious ways to repeat them.
Anyway, Death Valley Scotty, a man whom I’ve never met, and about whom I know very little (which is to say, someone I can put my absolute faith in), once said, “Don’t complain; don’t explain”. He’s dead now, but not from that philosophy; and to keep from pushing my book so hard that I send it over a cliff, I think I’d better respect his sound advice and break off here. By the way, I’ve dedicated The Haunted Spring to my wife, who certainly deserves it. If it wasn’t for her endless…wait, that last sentence doesn’t sound quite right. But rather than explain, I guess now’s a pretty good place to sneak out.
Anthony Diesso
  • Excerpt
We sat down, poked through the menu, and when the waiter arrived, we ordered an Aztec tortilla soup. I ate having only a vague idea of how it tasted: warm and salty. Anna must have noticed my distraction, as I rolled the paper wrapping off a straw around my thumb and index finger.
“Well, how do you like your mummy?” she asked, referring to the crisp, tortilla strips that floated in the broth,
I looked down, snorted as I laughed. “Fine. The wrappings are done just right.”
“I wasn’t sure. You seemed to be lost in deep reflection.”
“Uh-huh. I’m staring at my face in the soup.”
“Oh. Anything interesting?”
“I have wobbly skin, and my complexion is awful.”
“Hmm…I suppose you never can tell what people are thinking when they’re quiet.”
“Actually, I was quiet but not all that thoughtful. It’s just a habit. Sit still and don’t think of anything. People will read thoughts into your face, and they think you’re profound.”
“That’s quite a system, Jay.”
“It’s worked pretty well. I’ve got a steady job, and friends, and not too many enemies, and parents who still love me, and aunts and uncles who send cards on Christmas.” I smiled widely, without showing teeth. That was the first time she’d said my name, and the intimacy of it lingered in my thoughts.
The hours blurred by. Daylight from the window peripherally thinned as I focused on the woman in front of me: her shy though earnest glances, the way something I said could touch her face, its candle-lit and lustrous, although delicately shaded moods. And without sounding like a prospective employer—or a nag—I was also able to piece together a bit of her personal history. It did become, for some unreasonable reason, sort of a mission, rather than a simple curiosity. I don’t know why it’s like that. How many men admire a woman for her mystery while trying to pluck out all her secrets? I suppose there’s almost something religious about it.
Gradually the peculiar knick-knacks on the walls, the slits of twilight through the window blinds began to seep into our talk. We never mentioned them directly, but they quieted our speech, and shadowed innocuous topics like our childhoods and older family members.
“Oh, by the way,” I asked, “what was the story that you mentioned on our walk?”
“That’s right,” she muttered after a pause, rubbing her first and middle fingers against an eyebrow. “I, uh… at the age of eight, I lost my grandmother. She was older… you know. We’d spent a lot of time together during her final illness. She had to stay indoors, because of the late summer chill, so I’d go outside, collect garden flowers in my skirt and bring them in to her. I’d lay them on her lap, upon the blanket, and her eyes would grow this wide. Then she’d reach out a shaky arm to touch my shoulder. She’d try to lean forward, out of the chair, but I’d step nearer, and she’d plant a wobbly kiss—mwah! Then I’d step back, and she’d just look at me and give me this sort of puckered smile, without any teeth.
“She died quietly during the night, in bed, and, in the morning, before she was removed, my mother brought me in to say goodbye and to touch her hand. I was taught the soul stays until the body’s placed into the ground, so I began to look about, in the room, the yard, before the slowly bleeding autumn trees. I kept wiping my eyes and looking very hard, but still I couldn’t find it.
“That night I dreamt. My grandmother came to me in my bedroom, distressed over a bruise on her forehead. And pointing with twitchy fingers to the wound, she cried, ‘Anna, look! You see? My head—there’s blood.’
“And I reminded her, “But…but Grandma, you’re dead.”
“’Dead?’ she asked.”
I lowered eyes away from Anna. And for a moment I stalled, hoping to come up with a reply better than “Oh, how sad—,” or “Isn’t life strange—,” or “We shouldn’t dwell on such events—.” The silence grew worse, so that I finally blurted out, “Would you like a drink?”
“No, thank you. But don’t let me stop you.” She was about to add something; yet with her lips just parted, having breathed out a starting vowel, she stopped, and released her thought as a gentle exhalation.
Walking back to the apartments, in that dusk of broadening dark and sour light, we spoke less frequently. There was a quiet that had settled over both of us, over the fronts of houses, doors and windows painted with the hour. The road and sidewalk glowed rosily, with a trim of rusty shadow, and above, the clouded twilight, like a basket of ripened peaches, shone all puffs of swollen orange, red and blue. I was going to comment on it, but I looked at Anna looking at me and smiling rosily. And working up my nerve to not say anything, I simply nodded and smiled back.

5 Great Lines from Kresley Cole, Dreams of a Dark Warrior

5 Great Lines from Kresley Cole, Dreams of a Dark Warrior


“For the record,” she continued, “it’s not my fault I came in here looking like Chesty LaRue. You caught me on laundry day, so I have no undergarments on. Though I will cop to a little extra spring in my step for your benefit.”


She murmured, “You’re unfinished.”
“Aye, precisely.”
“I need to go.”
When she moved to get up, he shoved her against his side and slapped her arse to keep her there. “You stay with me.”
She snapped, “What do you want from me, Chase?”
He drew his head back in confusion. “I want everything. You’re mine, Regin.”


“Your ultimatum didn’t sit well with me, so naturally, I voiced my opinion.”
“Which was?”
“That you should go copulate with a pig. It sounded way cooler in medieval French.”


“One day I’m going to make that little piggy cry all the way home.”


“I can draw you a diagram. Hint: I’m slot B, and you’re tab A.”

Ava Delany
The Fetish Club Series, The Homecoming Series, and The Beginnings Series.
Look for my newest release- A Surprising Day – on Kindle, Allromanceebooks, and many other places where ebooks are sold.

5 Great Lines – J.R. Ward’s Dark Lover.

5 Great Lines from J.R. Ward’s Dark Lover.


“You’ve won the evolutionary lottery: You’re a vampire. Let’s go to Disneyland!”


The half-human was the hottest thing he’d ever gotten anywhere near. And he’d cozied up to a lightning strike once or twice before.


“Perfect date material, she thought. A vampire with the social equivalent of road rage.”


“Tell me something,boys. Do you wear that leather to turn each other on? I mean, is it a dick thing with you all?”


Wrath dragged Beth into his arms and hugged her hard, talking in that other language again. When he pulled back, he ended the monologue with something like leelan.
Beth: “Is that vampire talk for bitch?”

Ava Delany
The Fetish Club Series, The Homecoming Series, and The Beginnings Series.
Look for my newest release- A Surprising Day – on Kindle, Allromanceebooks, and many other places where ebooks are sold.

A Tale of Two Book Offers.

OKAY! After a few weeks spent with my feet off the ground, I am now officially back to work and ready to blog. Gosh, where do I begin? In the space of little more than a month I have gone from 2010 GH finalist to Golden Heart winner for THE YARD MAN. And as the Aussie guy who sells the onion chopper on TV says––but wait there’s more!

On July 27, I was in the Dallas airport waiting for my connecting flight, checking my phone for messages. I was expecting to meet a GH finalist sister there, who was on the same flight to Orlando. There was a message, from a 212 area code. NYC. My heart rate accelerated slightly. Turns out it was Audrey LaFehr, Kensington, with a book offer for recently completed manuscript THE SEDUCTION OF PHAETON BLACK.

Great! Awesome! (Insert numerous crazy-mixed feelings here.) I had an offer and no agent.

During the conference, my crit partner and I e-mailed every agent I had queried over the last four months and you would not believe the response. And I’m talking big agents. HUGE. It was both exciting and overwhelming. One afternoon, Richard Curtis sat down beside me at the Dolphin fountain and we struck up a conversation. (Fairy tales can come true, it can happen to you––if you are in the Magic Kingdom, Orlando, Florida.) That evening THE YARD MAN won the Romantic Suspense category and Richard took my crit partner and I out for a glass of champagne. Three days later, after reading both my manuscripts, he offered representation. I could not be more thrilled. He is the perfect agent for me. We are muy simpatico.

On my trip home from Orlando, sitting in the airport, my cell phone rang. Damn! If it wasn’t another editor with an offer for THE YARD MAN.

From now on, when anyone asks me how to snag an agent or publisher, the simple answer has got to be: Always check your messages in airports. And spend plenty of time skulking around the hotel lobby at writer’s conferences!

On August 19, 2010, Richard called to confirm electronic hand shakes on two book deals. The offer we accepted for THE YARD MAN came from Danielle Poiesz, Pocket Books and we have also accepted Audery LaFer’s offer for THE SEDUCTION OF PHAETON BLACK. Both offers are three book deals.

After a carefree happy dance around my desk, I sobered up fast when Richard called back and went over a tentative release schedule and my delivery dates for books two and three––of two contracts. I did a bit of quick figuring and calculated I have four books to deliver in just a little under 24 months.  Yikes!

As I prepare to hit the ground running, I appeal to blog readers and writers everywhere for HELP! If you have any practical tips, time saving ideas, or schedule-juggling-pointers, please drop a line in comments. This has been an awesome summer I will never forget, and now if you will excuse me, I have books to write!

G. Jillian Stone

There are fields in time that burn with desire. Meet me there.

Jillian is a 2010 Golden Heart winner for THE YARD MAN, which has sold to Pocket Books, release date spring 2012. Scotland Yard detectives have never been as wickedly sexy or as brilliantly clever. Her recent novel, the story of a devilish occult detective who falls for a sultry Cajun beauty titled, THE SEDUCTION OF PHAETON BLACK has also sold to Kensington, for release in fall 2012. For blurbs on both books please drop by her website: www.gjillianstone.com

Orlando Update: What if there really is a Magic Kingdom?

First, some of you may or may not know that THE YARD MAN won the Golden Heart RS category––but what you don’t know is the whirlwind of other things that happened last week, before and after the awards banquet.

All I can say is, when it happens, it happens fast and I don’t care how long you have waited, YOU ARE NOT PREPARED.

A little over ten days ago, I was sitting in the Dallas airport waiting for my connecting flight to Orlando. I was hoping to meet another GH finalist there, as we both were both on the same flight, so I checked my cell phone. There was a message with a 212 area code. NYC. My heart raced a little. I returned the call and to make a long story short, when I got off the phone I had an offer on my newest manuscript, a historical paranormal, THE SEDUCTION OF PHAETON BLACK. (Based on a contest final, for those of you who enter RWA chapter contests.)

Great. I had an offer and no agent.

When I arrived at the hotel my crit partner, a.c. Mason, was already in the room. I sat her down and told her what had happened. After the screaming died down, she and I set about e-mailing messages to every reputable agent we could think of (I had all their addresses stored in my iPhone as I had been querying for months) I sent a very brief message stating that I had received a three book offer and would they be interested in representing me? Well, you may or may not believe the response, but I was overwhelmed by sudden interest, and from HUGE agents.

Needless to say, the next events might read like a fairy story, but, let’s face it, we write them, why can’t they come true? While stalking Steven Axelrod around the Dolphin fountain in the lobby, I managed to run into another agent, Richard Curtis.

That afternoon Mr. Curtis bought me a diet coke and we talked. In the hotel bar, après the Golden Heart Rita Awards, Richard, my crit partner and I celebrated with a glass of champagne. Several days later, after reading both manuscripts, he proposed representation and I am thrilled to announce that I have signed with Richard Curtis Associates. Since the GH win, several publishers have also expressed interest in the THE YARD MAN. Last week, Richard and I worked on series proposals for both books and I hope to be able to report more good news in the weeks to come.

Here are my best insights for those of us who write and are as yet, unpublished (which still includes me). Never give up. Take BOLD RISKS with your writing and SHOOT HIGH, especially when it comes to agents and publishers.

So, what do you think? Was it the Tinkerbell pixie dust that did it?

G. Jillian Stone

There are fields in time that burn with desire. Meet me there.

Jillian is a 2010 Golden Heart winner for THE YARD MAN, the first story in The Yard Men Series. Set in late Victorian London, Scotland Yard detectives have never been as wickedly sexy or as brilliantly clever. To read more about her latest work in progress, THE SEDUCTION OF PHAETON BLACK, please drop by her website: gjillianstone.com

You’ve got a brand profile and tagline. Now what?

One of the fastest and least expensive ways to launch your brand is through social networking. And what might be the best way to do that? Website? Blog? Facebook? Twitter? Can a writer do all that promotion and still have time to write? Time management is a huge concern and rightly so. Every writer has mixed feelings about how much time marketing and promotion takes away from their writing.

Might I suggest you start with baby steps? And only commit to what you can reasonably manage and feel comfortable doing.

Twitter is like a teeny-tiny blog. You get 140 characters (not words) to message your Twitter followers. Great way to announce news and drive traffic to a guest blog or website contest. I was recently told about a writer who only Twitters. That’s it. She finds it easy to bang out a few brief messages every day and stay on schedule. She is contracted to write three books by year’s end. Who wouldn’t choose Twitter?

Published or unpublished, you must consider your website launch a priority. An author website communicates to everyone in the publishing world that you are serious about the business of author/book promotion. If this is your first website, and you are not confident about creating one on your own, there are web development firms that specialize in web design and implementation for small businesses. Many of these companies have hundreds of attractive templates to choose/customize from. And do call in all your favors! Like, do not be afraid to ask for help from a tech-savvy friend or graphic designer relative.

Once your author website is up and running smoothly, you can add a blog. A weekly blog is less of a commitment, but a daily journal/blog is brief and can also be stress free. And if you find you have nothing to blog about, you can always plug in a vacation picture, video of your cat, or a new recipe! Don’t want to blog alone? A blog site concept created with a crit partner or critique group might be exactly right for you. Plus, whatever you blog can be linked to your website.

If the idea of a website or blog commitment is just too daunting, why not ease into your author brand promotion with a Facebook page? It’s a terrific way to network with other writers and romance readers. You can add fan pages and blog links later on. You can also use the tabs in Facebook to post reviews, add book cover art or trailers, and make announcements about signings and workshops.

Website? Blog? Facebook? Twitter? I would pick one or two and then add more, only if you feel like you can handle more. COMING NEXT WEEK: Advanced work in advertising promotion and the importance of testing.

G. Jillian Stone

There are fields in time that burn with desire. Meet me there.

Jillian is a 2010 Golden Heart finalist for THE YARD MAN, the first story in The Yard Men Series. Set in late Victorian London, Scotland Yard detectives have never been as wickedly sexy or as brilliantly clever. To read more about her latest work in progress, THE SEDUCTION OF PHAETON BLACK, please drop by her website: www.gjillianstone.com jillstone@mac.com

Breakthrough Branding for Romance Authors. Part Deux. The Brand Signature.

This week, I will be posting examples of the kinds of brand signatures you should be able to formulate by completing the brand profile. So, if you are stumped or have run into a block, this should help. I am going to spend a lot of time with this profile before we move on to other areas of branding and promotion, because the framework is the foundation for everything that comes after–like developing a creative strategy. Strategy is the next phase of your brand work, as well as planning promotion and advertising; what kinds of media to use, print/cyber, whether to twitter or not, holding contests/giveaways, etc.

Branding is emotional, just like romance novels. A reader’s decision to purchase a new release from a branded author is not based on a value proposition or couponing. Whether a reader purchases a favorite author for $6.99 through Amazon or pays $7.99 at Barnes & Noble is irrelevant. Once your brand is established, readers will purchase again because they enjoyed your other novels and you deliver a great read. How did Donald Maass put it, again? “Delight your readers with your own brand of story, then continue to delight them in a similar way (only better) on a regular basis.”

EXAMPLES OF BRAND PROFILE DIRECTIONS: Pull out four or five key words or phrases from your profile, then, create a run-on sentence––string them all together. I have put together some examples below.

Chick Lit Profile: These female survival guides promise laughter, steamy love scenes, sexy infuriating men and sassy smart heroines.

Take away: WOW! This author makes me laugh. She is fresh and vibrant. I love her sexy, infuriating men! I want to look her up on Amazon and purchase.

Erotic Romance Profile: Buttoned-up business women loose their passions with powerful, difficult alpha males and reveal darker, hidden agendas.

Take away: M-mm. Sounds like she sets up interesting tensions. Power chicks, dark sexy heroes and kink. I’m intrigued.

So, what is your brand signature? Dark and erotic? Fresh and funny? Let’s do one more:

Paranormal: Magically-powered heroines pair with ultra sexy/macho mortal heroes for hot sex/adventure.

Take away: I’d love to know how the mortal men keep up, or keep it up? Haha! The brand sentence above seems like it is limited to a series. In that respect, if I was the author, I might want to broaden the signature. Also what is the tone? Is this light paranormal or dark? Could be either.

The place to crystallize your brand is in the signature or tag line. I’ll use myself as an example. I write historical romantic suspense, as well as historical paranormal, on the hot end of the love scene spectrum. My brand signature is:

There are fields in time that burn with desire. Meet me there.

What does this say to you? Well, I am trying for several things. Fields in time says historical, but also hints at paranormal. What about hot or erotic content? Burn with desire. I’d say so! Meet me there. Invites the reader into my world of fiction.

Most everyone I know writes in more than one subgenre, so dig deep and look for the defining characteristics of your work, beyond category.

Go back through your profile and consider your brand signature. If you would like feed back please e-mail me direct or leave a comment on this blog. My website and email address are listed below. Above all, don’t get discouraged. Even if you set the profile aside for a while, keep working on your brand. Eventually, you will hit upon an idea and things will click into place.

Graphics (visuals) as well as copy play a huge role in branding, here is your HOMEWORK FOR NEXT WEEK:

Sometimes concrete examples help with the finer points of branding, so I have created what I hope is a fun exercise. I want you to visit several author websites. They must be sites you have never visited before. And they must be authors who do not have established brands. Click on a few tabs, and gather impressions. TRY NOT TO READ ANYTHING. Now, quickly close up the window.

Write down your impressions of each author. What is the brand personality of the website? Based on your glance at the graphics, what subgenre do they write? Are you intrigued? Now go back to the sites for a second visit, read a few pages. How well did the writers/authors do? Does their site reflect a strong brand identity? Did you guess their subgenre correctly?

I have included a few websites at random. Some are unpublished authors, others are pubbed. They are all in the process of building their brand. How well do we think they are doing? Next week: How to Create a Brand Strategy.








G. Jillian Stone

There are fields in time that burn with desire. Meet me there.

Jillian is a recent Golden Heart finalist for THE YARD MAN, the first story in The Yard Men Series. Set in late Victorian London, Scotland Yard detectives have never been as wickedly sexy or as brilliantly clever. To read more about her latest work in progress, THE SEDUCTION OF PHAETON BLACK, please drop by her website: www.gjillianstone.com jillstone@mac.com

ONE MAN’S THOUGHTS: Roll of the Dice

I don’t know if anyone has heard of a series called Twilight, but my wife sure has. The hardback copies are stacked on the bookshelf in the other room, the movies are constantly in the DVD player and on an occasion when I’m in my lovely wife’s car there is even a Twilight soundtrack to listen to. I am grateful that we have no posters— yet.

When it comes to that series I’m not a fan. The characters are all indecisive and full of self-pity. I cannot relate to male characters because they don’t behave like men and don’t even get me started on Bella. However the point of this week’s blog isn’t what I think is wrong with a series of books that is selling like surgical masks during a SARS outbreak, the purpose is to say that I am inspired by Stephanie Meyer’s work.

As a writer it is important to know that your work is comparable to anything else out there. That belief will keep an author writing and encourage them to present their manuscripts with pride. A writer must tell the story that is important to them— not write about whatever the current fad may be. A story written from the heart, no matter what the shortcomings are, will be more satisfying. Meyers did this and struck a chord with millions. It is the intensity of her characters that give them popularity, not their motivations or reasoning. In short, the specifics don’t matter; it’s all about the emotions that they elicit.

Charles Frazier’s Cold Mountain motivated me to finish my novel. Cold Mountain sold well, they made a major motion picture and it was the man’s first book. I was flabbergasted upon learning that. His first book! Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t anticipate that level of success for myself but you can’t help but think that if he can do it the so can I. Then I discovered that Charles had a doctorate in English and that, my friends, is a bonus. Still, it was quite the accomplishment and it compels me to remain at the laptop tapping away at the keys to tell my own stories.

Something all struggling artist should be aware of if they’re not already; there is an enormous amount of undiscovered talent out there. While there are certainly best sellers that perhaps are overrated, there are many who never touch the charts that are better than I could ever hope to be. The best advice is to keep at it and roll the dice with each new manuscript.

Until next time— happy writing.

Michael Matthews Bingamon

Things I Have Learned In My Journey to Becoming a Writer

Believe in Yourself and Your Dreams

You are the only one that can achieve your goals and you have to push yourself. If you don’t believe in yourself who will? Nothing worth achieving is going to be easy. Everyone goes through the stage were they feel they want to give up but remember the feeling you had when you first wanted to start writing. The rush and joy of the dream in the beginning.

Find a Good Support System

Sometimes the dream starts to fall apart and doubt creeps in. I think if you could see doubt he would look like the Noid from dominos pizza. Bouncing around all evil and refusing to give up. However, if you have good friends that support you then you can push doubt aside. I am blessed with a family that believes in my dream to be a writer.

Writing Buddies

Not everyone has the support of their family and friends. People seem to think writing is a pipe dream. So, what do you do now? You find other writer to be your support group. No one knows the joys and sorrows of the writing journey like another writer. I have some of the most amazing fellow authors that lift me up when I am in a rut and push me a little further when they think I can do better.

Grow a Tough Skin

This was one of the hardest things for me to learn. Not everyone is going to love your writing. This does not mean you are a bad writer but you aren’t going to please everyone. I write paranormals and some people laugh and refuse to read about vampires and other para creatures. Does that make me a bad writer no, my writing is just no their cup of tea and that’s fine. So, don’t let one bad apple make you feel like your writing is a joke. You need the skin of a rhino to make it in the writing world.

Join a Critique Group

Not all crit groups are the same, it took me a while to find the right one, but when you do its great. I have learned so much from other critters. When I started I thought you just sat down, wrote and ta-da you have a finished manuscript. Reality check it’s not that easy and crit groups are a great place to learn the ropes.

Receiving Critiques

This was a really had one for me in the beginning but I have gotten better at knowing how to take advice. This all stems back to growing that tough skin. You also have to realize not everything a critter says will work for your story. Learning what works of you story and what doesn’t is your final decision not theirs. I always tell my crit partners to take what works and trash the rest. You are the only one that knows how the story should be written.

Giving Critiques

Be kind but be honest. If you tell your crit partner everything they write is great, you aren’t helping them. None of us are perfect and we all make mistakes. So, give them your thoughts and ideas on their work. There is a difference between honesty and being harsh and nasty. Tell them what you liked about the story too. A good crit partner will tell you the bad with the good.

Take a Writing Class

I learned a lot from criting but there were still thing I wasn’t getting. Therefore, I decided to take a writing class and it all became clear. The things critters were telling me I was doing wrong, I just wasn’t getting them all. Things like show don’t tell went right over my head. However, when I took the class and saw examples of the wrong way and the right way everything fell into place. I encourage everyone just starting out to take a writing class. You can even take them online.

These are just my experiences on my ongoing journey to becoming a published writer. I hope it helps to know we all go through these things and you aren’t alone. As writers, we have to come together and support each other. Most writers are willing to help a new writer and mentor them. They are out there you just have to find them. I would love to hear your thoughts on starting a writing career and what you are going through or have gone through.

I also wanted to let you all know I have a new website. Hope you get a chance to pop by and check it out. Leave me a message and let me know what you think. I will also have a blog on my site starting this Monday. Hope to see you there. Here is the link.


Happy Reading and Writing,

Tabitha Blake


I have to give you all a rain check on my blog this week. My husband has been in the hospital. He is stable, doing fine and hopefully will be home by the end of the week. There has been no time to write on my current novel or figure out a blog. I have spent most of the week at the hospital. I plan to be back into the swing of things by next Thursday. Hope to see you all here next week.

Happy Reading and Writing,

Tabitha Blake

Paranormal gibberish. Please use sparingly.


Whether you are writing historical, fantasy, science fiction or paranormal, when it comes to world building I much prefer to be drawn into a new or strange domain by being introduced to fascinating characters/creatures or reading evocative, visceral narrative description. I dislike having to puzzle out a lot of made up words and language or worse,  read through awkward exposition or backstory to explain to me what these new words mean.

The very best example of this sort of world building gibberish can be found in the scene in Ghostbusters, when Louis (possessed by Vinz Clortho, Gozer the Gozerain) is brought into Ghostbuster headquarters:

“Louis, who is Gozer?”

“He will come in one of the prechosen forms. During the rectification of the Vuldranii, he came as large and moving Torb. Then, during the third reconciliation of the Mekertix supplicant, they chose a new form–that of a giant Slor! Many shubbs and zuuls knew what is was to be roasted in the depths of the Sloar that day I can tell you.”

Okay, that was satire. Hilarious satire. But how often have you read a fellow writer’s manuscript and had one of those eye-roll experiences as you slog through an overdose of this very kind of vernacular?  I’m sorry, I have zero tolerance for gibberish of any sort. Techobabble, sci-fi slang, ghost patter, demonese, angel idioms, Greco-myth-speak.  All of it.  And the historical writers can be just as bad, especially when they get esoteric and show-offy pointless.

On the other hand. If you can do it will style, then you may get away with it. I believe that’s called pulling it off. And, I grant you a certain amount of odd-speak is not only expected, it is probably even necessary, but this made up jargon should be sprinkled about in the story. Sparingly, I think, is the operative word here.

Give me your Gozer in moderation, please.

Honestly, to suck me into an ancient or futuristic world I need layers of information.
The writer must use all the senses, sight, sound, taste, touch, smell. I need facts, the rules of the world. All of these things help to ground me, the reader, in the story. But I have to be……beguiled. Drawn into the mystery of this new world, whether it’s by a creeping fog slowly drifting over a dark lane in late Victorian London or the triple moon sky of an alien planet. These kinds of thrilling sights and eerie descriptions help create an emotional connection. Too much gibberish (especially up front) makes it hard for the reader to immerse themselves in the time-space continuum, so to speak.

No matter how extraordinary your field of dreams is, try to keep it real. No amount of comic book lingo will ever supplant the wonder of creating and experiencing a living breathing world filled with whatever kind of fire-breathing dragons you wish to thrill me with.

G. Jillian Stone
There are fields in time that burn with desire. Meet me there.

Jillian is a recent Golden Heart finalist for THE YARD MAN, the first story in The Yard Men Series. Set in late Victorian London, Scotland Yard detectives have never been as wickedly sexy or as brilliantly clever. To read more about her latest work in progress, THE SEDUCTION OF PHAETON BLACK, please drop by her website: http://www.gjillianstone.com

To Outline or Not To Outline

That is the big question…do you or don’t you outline. I started my first novel without an outline. Flying by the seat of my pants, was my idea of being creative. I thought an outline would box my creativity in, I refused to stifle myself with guidelines. That was a big mistake. Constantly wondering in the dark and lost, no idea where the story was going or how it was going to get there. I became frustrated and started to think it was my writing that was lacking but it was not the writing it was my method. I wanted to sit at my computer and hope for the best with no planning. I was writing blindly. This caused me to want to quit many times. Talking to a friend about my frustrations, she asked me where my book was going and maybe she could help me. My answer was I have no clue. In a years time I had about thirteen chapters and my story had changed a millions times. Every time it changed, I went back to the beginning and rewrote the previous chapters. It was an endless cycle; I became frustrated with the story. It wasn’t really the story but the fact that I had no bones to my story and you need the bones of the story to move it forward. You can’t just fly along on a wish and a pray.

Currently I have put that story on the back burner and started a new one. I outlined the whole thing and amazingly have written seven chapters on two weeks. The outline keeps me grounded. Knowing what should be in each chapter and where the story is going has taken all the stress out of writing. I know what needs to be in each chapter and when those key points are there, the chapter is done. There is no guessing anymore and my confidence is back. I will eventually go back to my pervious story and finish it but I will most definitely outline it and think it though before I start on it again. The outline actually gave me more freedom in my writing and didn’t box me in as I had thought it would. I still veer from the out line at times but I also know what ever I add will progress the story. I think of it like a map, if you don’t have a map how do you get from point A to point B? Never again will I try to write a story without one. The outline is an amazing tool that a writer should never take for granted.

Do you use an outline or are you a panster? If your a panster do you find yourself frustrated a lot? I would love to hear about your methods and ideas on making the writing process easier.

Happy Reading and Writing,

Tabitha Blake

Just for Fun

I had a really busy weekend but a great Mother’s Day. I hope all you moms out there did too. Therefore, this week I thought we would just have some fun. I found some fun little quizzes and trivia for you. The first few are for the paranormal lovers out there and the second half for the historical fans. I hope you enjoy them. Next week I will tackle something a little more serious. What that is hasn’t come to me but it will.

Paranormal Quizzes:

Lords of the Underworld Quiz (Which Lord is Perfect for You)


Which Immortal Is Your Soul Mate?


Black Dagger Brothers Quiz


Kresley Cole’s Immortals After Dark Trivia


Vampire History Quiz


Shifter Trivia


Historical Quizzes:

What Regency Heroine Are You?


Which Austen Heroine Are You?


Which Literary Heroine Are You?


Georgian Costumes: Regency to Romantic Quiz


Historical Romance  Writing Formula Quiz


Happy Reading and Writing,

Tabitha Blake

Does This Sound Familiar?

What do women want in a man? Well there are a few things we expect. The thing is men say they can’t understand us, but it’s really not that hard. The things we want aren’t that difficult to achieve. As women we thrive on these thing and it keeps the relationship strong. You don’t have to necessarily have every single one of these traits but remember these are the things that really rev our engines, so to speak.  Oh and at the bottom I will tell you the whole point of this blog.

Women want confidence.

Stand tall and believe in yourself. We don’t want some wimpy crybaby. I’m not saying don’t be sensitive but there is a time and place for being sensitive to our needs. Sensitive every waking moment is a definite turn off.

Women want a man that makes her feel like she is the only one.

We go nuts over a man that focuses on only us when we are out and about. We don’t want a man who checks out every woman we pass. Yes I know it is in your nature men to do this but at least do it with some taste and not blatantly right in front of us. We want to be the center of your universe or at least feel like we are.

Women want a man with a sense of humor.

We love a man that can make us laugh. Take a chance and be silly. Laughing brings joy and if just made her laugh, you just brought joy into her life. Bingo now she wants to spend more time with you.

Women want a man that will listen to us and not give advice.

One of the biggest problems with men is they always want to solve the big dilemma. Well reality check. Sometimes we don’t want you to fix it, we just want you to listen. Yeah we may be whinny at time but let us have our moment and we will get over it. When you try to fix it we get angry and it drags on longer.

Women want men to treat them like the sexiest woman on the planet.

We want men to make us fell like there is no one that compares to us. Men that border on out of control in the bedroom because we drive them over the edge. We want to feel sexy and sometimes we need a little reassurance from our men.

Women want loyal men, we need to know you will be faithful.

We don’t want to have to worry or wonder what you are doing every time you walk out the door. A loyal man is very sexy. It all goes back to not wanting anyone else but one woman.

Women love a man with a plan. We love ambition.

We like men who know who they are, what we’re doing tonight and what we’re doing with our lives. We don’t want indecisive men, don’t shrug your shoulders and say whatever you want to do. That drives most women crazy. Sweep us off our feet and surprise us.

Women want generous men.

This doesn’t mean gifts necessarily, though gifts are nice. We want a man that is willing to give to others. It could be your time to a good cause or helping someone in need. But again I will say gifts are nice every once in awhile, it says you were thinking about us.

Be a true friend.

We need friendship, in fact we crave it. If we don’t feel the closeness of being friends we feel the relationship is fractured. Be there rather than just promise to be there. Constant committed positive action is the definition of love. We need to be able to depend on you.

Women want to be loved, despite their flaws, and need to be satisfied mentally, emotionally, and spiritually as much as physically.

Women need to feel connected to the love of their life. If we don’t feel that connection the whole relationship is off. Sexually speaking women define sex differently than men, using words like soft candlelight, light touch, then becoming more aggressive as their mood arises to the occasion.

Women appreciate a man that is creative.

It’s easy to buy flowers but it is the little things you do for us that are so important. The little notes you leave us, or the sweet little text we get in the middle of the day letting us know you are thinking about us. We thrive on the little things you do especially for us. Put it this way if you think it is corny and stupid we will probably love it.

Women want a sense of security.

We want to know you will always be there in our time of need. We want to know you will still be there if we get sick or when we get old or flabby. We feel secure when your there to support us emotionally and physically.

To sum it up.

Ok now to give you the true reason for this blog. Does any of this sound familiar to any of you romance writers? These are the qualities we write into our hero’s. (Confidence, only wants one woman, sense of humor, listens well, makes heroine feel like the sexiest woman alive, loyal, has a plan, generous, friendship, creative, gives sense of security.) We write what we want in a man. Creating a hero that is every woman’s dream. We supply the fantasy, the gorgeous hunk with all the right moves. It’s funny how we do this without even thinking about it. I don’t sit around and say I want my hero to be all these things. It just happens. It is in our nature as a woman to want these things. These things are the basis for a great hero. Women have to be drawn into the story to keep reading. As writers we have to supply them with this perfect man. They expect to be swept off their feet and indulge in the fantasy.

Happy Reading and Writing,

Tabitha Blake

Author Spotlight – Missy Martine

This week’s author spotlight is on Missy Martine.

The Pen and Muse said:
“Martine creates a world in which a reader could get lost in and never want to come home.”

Borrow Books said:
” happy to see that there’s at least one author out there who makes her characters strong enough to conquer their baser instincts! Well done MM!”

Sensual Erotic Romance & Erotica said:
“Missy Martine captures your heart with her tale of Cass. With the struggles Cass faces, you are overcome by the heart wrenching story of her past. Table for Three is a must read, scorcher of a book.”

Check out our author spotlight page and see what all the fuss is about.

Our Author Spotlight for February is Missy Martine.

About her-

Missy Martine is a retired nurse, and former business owner. She met the love of her life in an internet chat room back in 1997, and has been happily married for the last ten years. Now they live in California with their three babies, Beau, Midnight and Bubba. The three male cats live very pampered lives since being rescued by Missy and her husband.

Missy loves traveling, and has been all over the world. Although her favorite places are in the high desert, she has learned to love walking on the beach near her home. Her favorite vacations have been when they loaded up the jeep with supplies, and then took off for Wyoming and Montana to explore the back roads. Another of her hobbies is photography, and she loves taking pictures of wild animals. With her digital camera always ready, she’s been known to take several hundred pictures a day of the wildlife and scenery they encounter.

An avid reader of romance, she is a firm believer and advocate of getting a second chance at love. Visit her website and learn more about her writing.

Current Works –

Table For Three

Book Reviews R Us. 5-Stars
Cass Abernathy is heading to Oregon to claim an inheritance. She doesn’t expect to find sexy twin brothers determined to make her theirs, or an amorous attorney holding on to her inheritance. Will she accept the love offered, and discover the truth about her inheritance before it’s too late?

Discovering Her Wolfen Heritage

Dark Diva Reviews – 5 Delightful Divas
Remus has always known Maddie would be his mate, but a tragic accident and a cruel doctor kept them apart for many years. Now they’re reunited, but Maddie doesn’t know about her heritage. Will she accept the wolf that lives inside and give her love to Remus?


The Pen and Muse said:
“Martine creates a world in which a reader could get lost in and never want to come home.”

Book Wenches said:
” Ms. Martine has a talent for pulling her reader into the story and not letting them go.”

Dark Divas said:
“Missy Martine grants us with yet another wonderful book. She is a delicious temptation too good to pass up! Missy Martine creates a world of desire and love and adds a good dose of suspense. Like a delightful drug, I seem to be coming back for more.”

Trailers –