Thursday, December 31, 2015

Happy New Year

What are you hoping for in 2016?

I usually like to spend some time going over the year that past, just to see if I made my goals, but for whatever reason, I didn't make any last year. I don't bother with resolutions, they seem to be more self discipline than I have, but I think goals and things to hope for are a positive endeavor. So here are a few of mine.

I haven't been writing as much as I should, so I made a schedule, and added catch up days in case I fall behind. I have a few novels that are almost finished, a couple of anthology novelettes, and of course I plan on keeping up on Pretentious. I also have another series of short stories planned, but that will all be published together when the time comes. But every writer probably has more writing on their new year list.

Reading more books is a definite for the new year. Most people know that I read for a screenwriting contest every year, but this year, I want to read more novels, and post more reviews. You might see a 'this was just okay,' review on this blog, but chances are you'll never see a bad one. I have too many books to read, so if I don't get into it, I usually put the book down and move to another one.

Working out more often is always on the list, but I have a new bike desk to help with that, so I have no excuse not to get a daily workout in. I wish the desk part was bigger, but it's great for someone who sits at a computer a good portion of the day.

The last change for 2016 is to eat in more often. We tend to eat out more than we should, but eating in is usually more healthy,tastes better since I'm a good cook, and saves money. My husband likes to do a lot of grilling too.

My one frivolous plan is to save enough money to purchase a hot tub next year, but I say that every year and never get it done. Maybe this year is the one to make it happen..

What are you planning and hoping for next year?.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Character Madness Monday - Interview 3 of 5 The Followers of Torments

This Week Tolor Interviews 

Beslynx Spiritwalker

Interview 3 of 5 


The Followers of Torments, series, 

by Katheryn Caffee

Tell us about your story

Which one?  If it’s about me, you’ll have to wait.  I’ve seen you talking to the others, so I presume you wish to speak about that filth who tries to pretend to be an alpha?  

What part do you play in it?

I tricked, and I was trapped.  I want no part in this tale.

Is it scary or a love story?

Who cares.  If it is scary, then it is even more reason for me to get out of it.  I still cannot believe the Woodland Path helped him trick me into the Path forsaken collar of his, and now will not provide me any guidance.

Have you heard any good gossip lately?

None worth sharing.  Thanks to the fiend who claims he “owns” me, I am going to have to move again.  And, I had just begun to earn a place in that village, too.  Do you realize how much it is going to cost me?  If not in wares, than in contracts that I cannot meet because I am not there to fill them.

If you could be anything you want to be, what would you be?

A proper werewolf.  I have been cursed from my first shift.  My father may not care, but the rest of the pack does.  And, pack law has it that any born who are born in fur, and cannot shift, or have the wrong shift receive no support from the pack, and must find a way to live on their own.  Even a babe born in skin who cannot shift receives better care than I.


Because, beran, I want to be happy, and included in the family.  Not some “ghost” condemned to see, but never to participate.  Even old Fenn had trouble justifying my first hunt – the one that makes a pup an adult.  And, it was because of Bowyer’s first spoken words that I was cursed, though he has long made up for it.

Where would you live?

With the pack, where I belong.

Where do you live now?

No where, is where.  I had a home in Coldshollow, but with this latest trap, I can’t go back.  I’m not even sure I’ll have any of my tools and supplies when I return.

Do you have a boyfriend/girlfriend? 

Would you be able to develop any lasting friendships if you were forced to move every ten or eleven years?  That’s about how long I can stay in a Leukreschen settlement before they start questioning me about the lack of aging.  I can’t help it that I age slower than they.

What would they think about the change?

Don’t even get me started.  This is an injustice, and one I will see righted, even if I have to kill the fiend myself!

Does your fur mat and pull? I was just wandering because I have a mat right now and it really hurts.

I would never let my coat get into such condition that it would do that.  Even in the warming days of spring I am careful to keep it pristine.  

Who is the scariest person in your story?

Me.  Just give me a moment, and I promise all our troubles will be over.

Who is the happiest?

I would have to say that delta that was trapped before me.  I swear that pup never has a sad day in his life.

What’s your author like?

Are you sure you want to know?  

She’s a cruel, vindictive, mean spirited whelp of the lowest planes.  I have no idea what she thinks she is doing, but she could have warned me what was coming, so I wouldn’t accept the trap.

Do you think she portrayed your part well?

By the Woodland Path, NO!  Even if I were a true werewolf, like any other member of the pack, the answer would still be no!  There is no call for what she has done to me!

Does she sleep as much as Jena does?

Oh, I could wish she did.  I might have a chance of fixing this problem from the top down.

Do you have any pictures to share?

If you insist.

Out of the Darkness sale links: - Smashwords  - Barns and Noble  - iTunes - Scribd - universal Amazon

Remember the Shadows sale links: - Smashwords  - Barns and Noble - iTunes  - Scribd - universal Amazon

Into the Sunlits sale links: - Smashwords - Barns and Noble - iTunes - universal Amazon

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Monday, December 21, 2015

Character Madness Monday - Interview 2 of 5 The Followers of Torments

This Week Tolor Interviews 


Interview 2 of 5 


The Followers of Torments, series, 

by Katheryn Caffee

Tell us about your story

There are two stories with me.  The first is how I came to be, though I have not yet attempted to chronicle that one.  The second is much later, after I had learned the rudiments of what I needed to know.  I convinced my progenitor to “lose” me in a wager to the fighter I saw so long ago in the Sands.  There is something about him… something I can not yet grasp… that is important to myself, and my House.  Only in service to him will I be able to come to understand what that something is, or to bring my rogue gifts under control.

What part do you play in it?

I am a guide for Nameless, though I must tread carefully.  He is my master, and yet I must ensure he reaches the end I have foreseen.   I am also his Silk’s trainer.  All new captives are turned over to me for their training in preparation for the Sands.  He helps, but as a Runner, there are many things he must do which limit the time he can spend training his stable.  I am his right hand, and yet I am nothing.

Is it scary or a love story?

In a way, it is a little of both.  Do not get me wrong, Nameless has no idea what love is, or what it entails.  Yet, he loves Voras with his entire being, which is what makes it a scary tale.  I fear what will happen to him – both what he does to himself, and what She may do to him along the way.  He has so much to learn, and to do so, he must be divorced from the Web Mother, or else She will prevent him from learning it.

Have you heard any good gossip lately?

I’ve heard some of the best gossip!  Our chronicler has started talking to each of us, separate from Nameless, and is attempting to chronicle our lives as well.  It is going to be such an interesting time, learning if my gifts have given me accurate information.

It is also said our chronicler has the ability to see deep into our past.  That is one area I have never been able to explore.  My progenitor compelled me to never do so, and yet there is something back there that is important.  I know it!

If you could be anything you want to be, what would you be?

The head of my House.


The current prince is an incompetent fool who thinks he is the Tormenter’s gift to the world, and that he is the direct heir of Innu.  Even I can see he is not.  For starters, he is of mixed heritage, and Innu never had children.  We are a House in decline because of his foolish stewardship, and that must stop.  I will not let the idiot ruin us.

Where would you live?

Hmm.  That I do not know.  I have grown fond of the Melkreschen Realm.  Such wonderful flavors there, and a never ending feast.  Yet, the House’s established territory has features that make it desirable as well.  Perhaps, during the lunars when the sun is strongest I would remain in the Melkreschen Realm, then when the sun’s power weakens, in our ancestral home.

Where do you live now?

Wherever master is, is where you’ll find me.  I never know where he’ll take us to next.  Though, it appears I’ll not be seeing either of my preferred environments anytime soon.  Master has some odd ideas, and insists on trying to bring them about.

Do you have a boyfriend/girlfriend? 

I think so, but do not know for certain.  ::Flashes her fangs in a grin::  Though, if Innu arrived and asked me to be his bride, I would not say “no”.

What would they think about the change?

I was left alone, considered by everyone to be too insane to remain nearby.  Before I was embraced, I had been driven out of my village and abandoned by my protector.  There is only myself to consider now.  And Master.  I cannot forget to consider Master.

Does your fur mat and pull? I was just wandering because I have a mat right now and it really hurts.

Dear friend, if I have fur, then someone has cursed me and I would like to know who.  Though, I will admit that there are times I do not like my hair, matted as it is.  The rest of the time, I could care less.  It is as it is, and I have other things to keep my mind occupied.

Who is the scariest person in your story?

I would have to say Master.  Not for his fighting prowess, but because of what he could do if he makes the wrong choices.  There is something about him that I can see, but I have yet to be able to say.  It frightens me, because I fear my Gifts are awakening like my progenitor’s did – always for others, never for myself, and yet somehow I must know what to expect if I am to help him make the right choices that preserve the largest number of lives.

Who is the happiest?

To be honest, I think it is that scamp Raonal.  He may not like the collar, but he has a way about him that makes everything he does a game, and almost everyone he comes across laugh.  Even when he was faced with a first-blood fight, he still managed to make it funny.

What’s your author like?

Smart, headstrong, and everything you would want for a scribe.  She occasionally tries to guess the tale we have to tell, but after a bit of a tug-of-war with the story, she remembers she’s just the scribe and we’re the story tellers.

Do you think she portrayed your part well?

Very well.  Though, perhaps I am not as unbalanced as she portrays me.  Perhaps I am?

Does she sleep as much as Jena does?

As I do not know who “Jena” is, I cannot guess how much she sleeps.  K. sleeps less than some I’ve met, more than others.  And, at times, she refuses to wake, so I cannot honestly say how much she sleeps.

Do you have any pictures to share?

Out of the Darkness sale links: - Smashwords  - Barns and Noble  - iTunes - Scribd - universal Amazon

Remember the Shadows sale links: - Smashwords  - Barns and Noble - iTunes  - Scribd - universal Amazon

Into the Sunlits sale links: - Smashwords - Barns and Noble - iTunes - universal Amazon

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Thursday, December 17, 2015

Hurdles in Writing - When I Hit A Roadblock, This Is What I do.

Ironically, this was this week's blog prompt, but it seems like a hurdle to me.

There have been a few roadblocks for me over the years. Idea's usually aren't the issue though. One of my favorite screenwriters used to tell his students to open a newspaper if they need ideas. There's plenty of tension and life happening in there. I've never opened the newspaper, but I love tinkering with writer's prompts and images. Usually running into the right image is just what I need. I've used prompts and images, for both stories, and single scenes.

Sometimes I have trouble changing scenes when the intensity changes. I've found music is great for getting past that. I just figure out what emotion or atmosphere I need to create. There are all kinds of music playlists on youtube, spotify, and other websites. Just key in what you need. If words bother you, there are instrumentals, which is what I use most often, since words distract me.

Since I plan my stories. I always have an end. That isn't to say it will be 'the end,' because sometimes there are changes, and something else works better for the story. But even with planning, I tend to freeze up on the last third of the book. I've never been able to figure out why this happens, but I've seen it happen to other authors too, so there must be some kind of psychology behind it. This has been my biggest writing block, even though it makes no sense.

For atmosphere, we have images, for emotion we have music. I can always turn to a friend willing to plot with me, but freezing toward the end can't be dealt with by any of those things, and you probably won't like the answers I've found, if this is a problem for you, because they aren't easy.

The first answer is to find encouragement from your friends, or fans. People who like your work and have the ability to encourage. This isn't always enough to push through though. I suppose this answer is easy enough, but it might still take a while to get through the problem.

The second way that I've found is to simply to force myself forward. I might only write half or less of what I usually manage in a day, but I make myself work on it until I get past the block. Another teacher I had over the years said when you hit a roadblock, move on, because the story will come back together, and you can come back and take care of the problem later. I've found that he's right, it usually will come back together if you keep pushing forward.

One roadblock I hit was during Nanowrimo, Actually, Julnowrimo. I wrote Reflections in July. The problem was that I kept hitting snags where I wasn't sure if the historical accuracy. I Have friends that majored in history, and they are always willing to help, if they aren't busy, but they usually are, so I had a few friends who agreed to research any problems I ran into. I can't tell you how helpful that was, and critiquers still found areas for me to work on when I was finished.

If you're too overwhelmed to push through, put the story down for awhile. Work on something else, study or research things that apply to your story, or just freewrite for a few days and try to push forward again.

If you have other ways I haven't mentioned, feel free to share them.

Have an awesome day everyone.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Hurdles in Writing: Avoiding Prologues

It's been a while since I wrote the last hurdles in writing post. This one is pretty huge for some people, and others tend to ignore this piece of craft. Not writing the prologue was never a real issue for me, but the problem it causes for many writer's, including myself at times, is the same, 

Then how will the reader's know the premise or background, and where do I start my story?

I'm going to start off by reminding you that I believe in craft. There are reasons that some things work, and others don't, but I've never been taught to see them as rules. Every writer has their own thoughts on the issue, and their own style of writing. The comments in this post are simply my opinions. Take what you find helpful, and toss the rest.

So, let's start with some of the reasons we avoid prologues.

I read a post once where someone said this. 
"Writing a prologue is like saying I'm going to tell you a story, but I have to tell you this first, or you won't get it."

Ouch. I didn't like the definition, but seriously thought it hit home. A prologue does sometimes create the ambiance for the story, but if you start with your plot, the ambiance should settle like a blanket, right? 

(I am sorry I can't give the person who wrote the statement credit for it, but it was a bounce around the web when I should have been writing, sort of day, and I didn't catch the name of the person who posted).

So what can we do to add the information the reader needs that would have been in the prologue?

We write it into the story. I was taught to write balanced scenes, and I have found balance a more refreshing read.It usually avoids too much backstory, description, and information dumps, but provides what the reader needs. I could get crazy here with what belongs in a scene, but here it is without too much detail.

  • Action and/or dialogue addressing the issue at hand. These two are usually separate, but there are times when a scene doesn't need both.
  • The setting of your scene so the reader knows where you are.
  • Description, so the reader can see what has up to this point, only been in the author's head.
  • Inner landscape. We want to know what the characters are thinking and feeling.
  • Backstory. Only what's needed.
  • A smooth transition (I added this one myself, but set up where your going to some degree so the reader stays in the story without a bump when they get to the next scene).
Incorporating all of these things will usually cover what information the reader needs right now, and sets up things that need to be set-up for the future. 

Don't misunderstand, you'll still need to be careful about information dumps, and I think description is a personal thing, some people love a lot of it, others hate anything but the most minimal. 

Another reason to avoid prologues is that a lot of people skip them. 

I know a few people who love them, but in reality, usually the prologue isn't necessary to follow a story. I attended a writer's conference a couple years ago where an agent discussed what she did and didn't want from Authors. She said not to send her anything that people might not read. I think that makes sense. 

So that kind of leaves us with where to start.

The best place to start is with the main plot, and hit the ground running. I know writers that argue with this, but I've learned from experience, that people don't always want what they think they do.

When I first wrote The Carriage, it was similar to the way it's written now, but critiquer's kept asking for the backstory about the brother who died. Mom, who died at my character's birth, and numerous other issues. I had a lot of trouble with that advice. I don't like reading a lot of stuff that isn't moving a story, and people that have been dead for years, (aside from the paranormal characters and creatures meant to move a story), make it stagnant. But I'm not always right, and I seriously think a lot of writers would be so much better if they were teachable.Too many of us get defensive, and shut down. I don't want to be one of them, so I took the critiquers' advice, and wrote in the backstory they wanted.

The biggest response was 'whoa, does all this stuff need to be here?' This came from some of the same people who told me to add it. I changed it back, and they all sighed with relief. If I trusted classes and my own instincts, I could have saved a good deal of time and frustration. My plan had always been to write short stories, separate from the novel for fans who wanted them, to download free. One is posted on my website, as well as online retailers now, and has been well received.

I'll remind everyone here, that I said I believe in craft, not rules, and I do feel there are times to do things differently. I have a contemporary NA romance I started when my character's were teenagers, and they grow up together. Their love story is the main plot, but it has a lot of characters and subplots, so I started when they met, and progressed as I moved the story forward. By the time we get to the end, many things will have come full circle, but sometimes the reader doesn't know why something does or doesn't need to be there. The comments and reviews have been great so far, but it was hard to write, and publish it the way I did.

I'll end with this. 

I remember someone telling one of my teachers they needed a prologue because it was the start of their story, and people needed to know it. Her answer was simple:
"Then why not just start there?"

Have an awesome day, everyone.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Character Madness Monday is Back

This Week Tolor Interviews 


from The Followers of Torments, series, 

by Katheryn Caffee

It's been a while since the last character interview. This will be the first of five character interviews from this series. Be prepared for a treat. Nameless speech pattern is strange to follow at first, but he has become a much loved character by many, and it becomes easier to follow after settling into the differences. 

Tell us about your story

What “story” is?  Life is.  Live, die, born, become.  Is story not to anyone.

What part do you play in it?

What part is?  Life is.  Win I, eat I, live I.  Said enough?

Is it scary or a love story?

::shrugs::  Scary why?  Living am free now.  Alone not, Her favor have always.  Apart not am.

Have you heard any good gossip lately?

Gossip?  What is?

If you could be anything you want to be, what would you be?

As am now, everything perfectly wrong.  Her life my care. Her honor my hands hold.  


Purpose other than Her is what?  

Where would you live?

Where She is, home am.  

Where do you live now?

Arena where Silk is.  Where Her honor increase can.

Do you have a boyfriend/girlfriend? 

What is that?

What would they think about the change?

What change?

Does your fur mat and pull? I was just wandering because I have a mat right now and it really hurts.

What is fur?  ::Reaches up to scratch his matted dreadlocks::  What is mat?

Who is the scariest person in your story?

What is scary?  Apart from Her scary is.  Alone scary is.  Her Calling to Child be, scary is.  Person dead only.

Who is the happiest?

He who obey happy is.  He who not, dead is.

What’s your author like?

Nice she.  Keep Her happy.

Do you think she portrayed your part well?

No.  Wrong everything was.  Lived I, ate I, survived I.  Free now, win I.  Strange ways find, nice is always be author me to.

Does she sleep as much as Jena does?

 Know not.  Listens always does, sleep know not if.

Do you have any pictures to share?

Summay for Out of the Darkness - Followers of Torment's Book 1

He is called Nameless. Born to fight in the Arena, he has won his way to freedom. In a bloody world where cunning and strength count for all, and personal gain is everything, he finds that freedom is even more chaotic than slavery. Bound to honor oaths both to Goddess and self, he must fight a war against the culture that spawned him to strike his own path.

Author Bio

Born in Houston, K. Caffee has a long history of spinning captivating tales for a wide range of interested people.  One of her earliest memories is being lost in a huddle of adults as a kindergartener on her way to a church choir camp.  Whatever she tale she had been telling was captivating enough the entire group missed a rest stop, and the bus driver proved to be very patient when the 20 or so adults all requested an emergency stop about an hour after the scheduled one. 
After several years of running various role play campaigns, K. Caffee thought her story telling days were done.  She entered the work force, then school, but the stories were not done with her.  The Followers of Torments saga ambushed her in 2014 with the ultimatum “write.. or don’t sleep.”  As you can tell, despite a valiant effort to focus solely on school, K. Caffee lost the fight.  And, now, despite still carrying an overloaded graduate schedule, she continues to write and more of the pukah who gave her the ultimatum in the first place are lining up at the mental doors demanding to be let in.
What free time she can pry out of the hands of her story and her school work she devotes to her two furry, feline owners, human family, and discovering new friends on Facebook, Twitter, or keeping up with documenting the various non-story thoughts she gets on her blog.

Out of the Darkness sale links: - Smashwords  - Barns and Noble  - iTunes - Scribd - universal Amazon

Remember the Shadows sale links: - Smashwords  - Barns and Noble - iTunes  - Scribd - universal Amazon

Into the Sunlits sale links: - Smashwords - Barns and Noble - iTunes - universal Amazon

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Monday, December 7, 2015

Blog Prompt: How Artwork Affects My Writing

This is the first of this week's blog-prompts, and for me, it's a pretty good one. I have a writer's prompt blog, and a Pinterest board with fantasy images for writing prompts, I bought tons of images, and have used free sites too. And we all know about the blog-prompt group, since I usually post from it at least once a week. I also had a Musicians with a Pen, group, but lacking vision, it bit the dust pretty fast.

For me, inspiration comes from everywhere, and when I'm writing, the muse goes all over the place. I've tried writing the ideas down, but I've found that the vision still wavers with time. So, to avoid that problem, I started writing terrible first drafts. I know that's okay, but the worse they are, the more difficult I find the rewrite to be. I have a couple of great novels coming as soon as I finish those rewrites.

My fascination with images began when I told a writing partner I wanted to write a dragon story. Waiting to hash out the plot and details, he kept asking if I had started yet, and finally sent me a website with incredible dragon images. I loved it, and spent hours flipping through them, in awe of the talent of the artists. I wasn't on Pinterest at that time, but many of those images on there now. Here is the link to the website if anyone wants to check it out.

I use images and music to inspire me when I need a specific mood, or when the feel of the story needs correction,  although I've been known to sit down and write exactly what I believe the characters would feel, and how their specific personality would react to a given situation. Images are much faster than that.

Here are some of the images from Reflections that I've found inspiring, and why.

Juliette is my main character. When the story begins, she is a Regency era, teenager. She's arrogant, and cruel. When the story ends she has learned survival skills in some very difficult conditions, and she' learned how to love, and treat people with respect.

My character has dark hair, initially worn in the ringlets that were popular in her time, but as time moves on, her clothing and look have to change too, so she wears her hair down. While Reflections is a YA fantasy/fairy-tale. this image shows a touch of beautiful, sexy, arrogance, and a stubbornness that will make her strong.

I loved the idea of a female centaur and was so excited when I found this image on Shutterstock. Actually, all these images came from Shutterstock.

The woman is beautiful, she has style, but she is sassy, and she is not weak. She can stand up and defend herself in almost any situation, and take care of herself too.

My beloved Zylphia. A witch with a vendetta that refuses to take any sass from anybody. She loves her niece, but she expects Emily to obey her, and she will keep Juliette and the exotic creatures she's taken into her world, under her thumb where they belong.

Colovere, the unicorn in Reflection. He embodies wisdom. He is a King, and he is fiercely loyal. He has a clearing in the middle of the forest that he's claimed for himself. He love unconditionally, and chooses to love without wisdom at times. It was impossible to find a unicorn with a white body, black horn, tail and mane, and a gold spiral that corkscrews around his horn. This was the closest I could come.

If you want to check out my Pinterest boards, you can find them here:

If you want to join my blog-prompt group, you can find us here:

If you want to check out the Writer's Corner blog, you can find it here:

What inspires you?

Sunday, December 6, 2015

This week's Blog Prompt: If I Had Three Wishes

I've been really bad keeping this blog up lately. Not because I don't know what to write about, there are an abundance of things to discuss, and this blog is one of my favorite things that I work on as a writer. I do have my writer's prompt blog caught up till the first of the year, but I'm a writer's prompt fanatic. Setting up the blog prompt group was fun, but we aren't always interested in the same style of posts. I tend to focus on characterization a lot, but that's just who I am. I love great characters, and having fun with them. Keep your eyes open for the Character interviews coming up. They should be a lot of fun.

So, Three Wishes?

Like most people I know, I would wish for an end to hatred. 

I've learned over the years that it takes a special person to agree to disagree. We're people, and we all think differently. That will never change, so we need to agree to disagree sometimes, get along with each other, and stop hating. I didn't like adding this to the list, because it seems obvious, but it would be my first wish.

My second wish would be to be successful

We all want to be successful, right? But success generally comes with hard work and staying focused. However it happened, this would be my second wish.

My third wish would be to have a beautiful home, furnished the way I like it, paid in full.

This is kind of an interesting wish. It's always been considered the American dream, but it's a dream being realized by less people these days. 

I decided to get my hair done in Hollywood prior to a screenwriter;s conference one year. I don't remember what country the stylist was from, but I asked if she liked it better here. She loved it here. The only thing she missed was that in her country, property wasn't as expensive, and a home of your own was something you expected when you settled down to have a family. Maybe I should change this third wish to all of us having the home of our dreams, or at least something nice we can keep up.

There are so many things to wish for, how could anyone choose given an immediate choice. I know many would ask for good health, and I can't argue that would probably be a better choice than wish two or three. This might be better written as 'If I had ten wishes'. 

What would you wish for?

Friday, December 4, 2015

December Newsletter Followers Only Giveaway

As outlined in the December newsletter
What do you find interesting to read in a newsletter?

Monday, November 30, 2015

This Last Weeks Blog Prompt - Thanksgiving

I'm a little late on this one. I pulled a prompt, then decided to make Thanksgiving the prompt, and had no idea what I wanted to write, so now I'm at the end of the week, and this part of the holiday season is over.

I've always thought Thanksgiving and Christmas were special days, because for some of us, it's the only time our families get together. My son and his family are separated from me by more than a thousand miles, and working out the time and funds for travel is always debatable. I think that's true for a lot of people these days, so this thought is truer than ever.

My husband and I stayed home this year and spent the holiday with friends. We talked about the last year, friends we lost, some recently, and others that moved away. There was also a lot of conversation about the past, what we're doing for the rest of the season, and what we hope for next year. All good things to talk about. It was a lot of fun, but I still missed seeing the rest of my family.

We will be travelling to see my in-laws for Christmas, and that's something to look forward to.

The other thing I like about Thanksgiving is that it gives us a moment to reflect. Whatever we believe, most of us have something to be thankful for, and I think it's good to remember the things that are special to us.

I know it's a tough time for families who have lost loved ones, and if that's the case with you, I hope you'll be able to latch on to some great memories. Both my parents are gone, and I miss the old Christmas' when the entire family came together.

Whatever your plans for the rest of the season, I hope you had a great Thanksgiving, and will be able to spend some quality time with your families. Have a happy holiday season, however you keep it.

Friday, November 20, 2015

This Weeks Blog Prompt - My Favorite Character Ever and Why?

Spoiler Alert!

I never did work on last week's blog prompt. I love this weeks topic because I have so many favorite characters. Here are a few of them:  Merlin, from Mary Stewart's Merlin Trilogy, Merlin from Mists of Avalon, Ichigo from the Anime, Bleach, and Rurouni Kenshin, from another anime named after him. But my favorite character is Lucivar Yaslana, from Anne Bishop's Black Jewels series.

I'm big on studying characters. I love to see how the writers brought them to life, and what makes them great.The one thing all of these characters have in common is that they are forced into situations they don't want, and their construction is outside the normal box we place 'types' of characters in.

Anne bishop takes characters that are ultra powerful, and gives them a thorn that makes them weak. Her story is the only 18+ on the list, but her storyline and characterization is awesome. She took a Christian theme and applied it to a world of darkness where the men are being oppressed. They are waiting for the prophesied Priestess, 'Witch', to come and save them from the tyranny of the women who control them. Witch is a awesome character too. Lucivar is Satan's son and he's been enslaved and in prison for hundreds of years. He pushes himself to the limit in everything and holds himself, and those around him, to a high standard. He's also a part of race that receives a lot of racist reaction from people.

All of Anne Bishop's characters are well defined. Lucivar's brother is much different than him. Let's look at the other characters listed.

Mary Stewart's Merlin is a bastard born into a royal family. His mother refuses to say who his father is, and since they live in a time of fear and superstition, people begin to see him as devil's spawn. He can see things that are going to happen, and it totally freaks out the people around him. His uncle tries to kill him, another uncle hates him. He learns about his spiritual gift from a hermit who lives on a hill, and also how to use fear as a weapon at a very young age. He spends his almost his entire life learning about who and what his is, escaping those who are afraid or jealous of him, and protecting Arthur, who is hidden for his own safety, until he's old enough to take the crown. Even so, Merlin understands relationship, and learns to love deeply, whether the recipient is family, servant, friend, or lover. Mary Stewart created a man, gifted by the gods, but when the gift and the gods focus a different direction, he's left alone, and vulnerable.

Merlin from The Mists of Avalon is a pagan Priest, who is subject to the goddess and priestess' of Avalon. He is crippled and unattractive and many are repulsed by him. He is the only one that compromises what he believes, but he sees the pain the new religion is causing, and the way of the future It's been so long since I read this book that I don't remember the specific act that costs him his life, but he dies for the betrayal of what he believes in as his values change.

Ichigo Kurosaki in Bleach seems like a normal boy, but a Shinagami (Soul Reaper) comes into his life, everything changes. He learns to fight when all the odds are against him, and doesn't give up even in the worst of circumstances, growing in power as the story moves forward. He constantly teaches about taking care of family and friends, and no matter what the cost is, he does.

Rurouni Kenshin is the greatest samurai of his time. He fought for what he believed was right, against his master's wishes and it creates a heartache he lives with all his life, because he isn't a killer. After the war is over, he fights only with a reverse blade sword, which requires a lot of skill to win the battle and not be harmed himself. When someone he trained goes rogue, he is forced into action to stop him, while refusing to be controlled by the government like he was in the war.

All of these characters have their values challenged every step of the way, but they struggle forward, fighting for what they believe in, and they are fiercely loyal. Everyone loves a strong, but compassionate hero that knows when and what to compromise, and when not to.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Hurdles in Writing - Timelines

Time lines. I guess I should clarify. I'm not talking about the date your manuscript is due, but the time line in your story. I know not everyone is affected by them, but they have been one of the biggest hurdles in my writing career.

This hurdle can arise when you are dealing with characters who age throughout the story; time passages, time travel, and in historical fiction, as well as other situations.

The first time I dealt with this problem was my very first story. I've mentioned Pretentious, before. I'm publishing it now as a serial, but it's been on the back-burner for years since I've been focused on my fantasy stories. Last time I mentioned it, I had to go on a quest to learn how to infuse emotion into the story. This time, my characters meet in high school, and grow up together. Events and friends ages all needed to match. Ironically, One of the issues was my main character and his sister being the right ages to support where each of them were in the story-line. Then there were graduations and other events that threw it out of sync. I had to sit and break down the entire story to see the bigger picture, and correct the problems.

Imagine my frustration when my third novel, Reflections, had the same problem, but for different reasons. Reflections is a YA - fairytale/fantasy. My main character was cursed to live in a world behind a mirror where she watches the natural world, family and friends, move on without her. The story began in the Victorian Era, and ended in the modern day world.

I should add here that with the exception of my novel, The Carriage, I write in third because a number of my characters have their own subplots that intermingle with the main plot. All of the love and drama these characters experience has to be accurate on the timeline for the main story. I don't have issues with them tying into the main plot because that's thought out in advance.

I will also add that while my stories are planned, I allow myself to free-write when my muse is moving. Sometimes that means corrections and changes have to be made.

In Reflections, I had subplots with children being born and growing up, characters dying, people travelling, and it all needed to fit perfectly with the Victorian Era, and The California Gold Rush. I realized the timeline was off before I finished writing the story. I wrote the problem areas down as I went, and later found the only way to fix those issues was to move the story back to the Regency Era. That meant making the corrections I needed, and cultural corrections created by the changing eras. It took a lot of time, but when it comes to accuracy in my stories, I do my best to make everything line up properly, and I don't publish anything until the issues are solved.

The only ways I know to deal with these problems are by planning, and sticking to the plan. That's never going to work for me. Something always expands or changes as I go, but if I see my timeline going off the grid, I make a note of it, and address it as fast as I can. It's much easier than having to re-write the story due to numerous changes later. There is also a program online for time lines, but when I'm in the middle of a story, stopping to deal with a learning curve doesn't really work for me.

My third novel didn't have the timeline issues, but it was written in first, with minimal subplots. I wrote a short companion story for the antagonist, and made it available on my website because readers wanted to know more about him. Maybe you think it should have been added, but it wouldn't have moved the story forward, so it would have stagnated the main plot. It was fun writing something separate that was always meant to be free anyway.

For myself, he best way I've found to fix an incorrect timeline is to go over the story from beginning to end. I do a quick rewrite before handing my manuscript to critiquers anyway, so this is less of an inconvenience than it would be otherwise. It also allows me to be certain I didn't miss anything. As the cliche goes; better safe than sorry.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Hurdles in Writing: Who Can I Trust?

I think this topic is an important series, so I want to add to it, and I had a list of topics, but managed to accidentally delete it while not paying close attention. That habit in itself is a hurdle, but I went looking for writer's tips just to find a new topic for today, and it only took me seconds to find it.

When you have a question or problem with your writing, who do you ask?

This is a tough question. There is so much information out there. Some is good, and some is not. What works for one may not work for someone else. So what can you do? I can't give you a solid answer, but will give you my opinions, and explain what worked for me.

My first hurdle was a scene in my first manuscript. It was a sad break-up between my main character and his girlfriend. It should have been heart-wrenching, but it had the emotion of a rock. It didn't occur to me to turn to the internet, so I kept rewriting.

When I first started writing I took a creative , and screenwriting class at the same time. I'm not a fast writer so it kept me busy. I also signed up for a screenwriting magazine, and Writer's Digest. While I fought with that scene, the screenwriting magazine arrived, advertising a conference in Los Angeles. They had seminars on all kinds of issues. One of them was emotion. I signed up and went to every workshop on emotion they offered.

The end result wasn't great. I ended up re-writing the entire manuscript in a different point of view, and there were changes that had to occur leading up to the fight that broke my characters up.

Why was the conference so special? Because I could see who was teaching before I signed up. I knew the featured speakers were successful in their field. what movies they had sold and worked on, and could see what they specialized in. Some worked for production companies, others had sold and seen their movies produced. Now they worked in a university writer's program, and they all believed in learning craft.

I probably creeped one of the teachers out. I told him my problem, and sat in every seminar he did, because he specialized in emotion. He seemed fine with that, and told me that what I needed to learn was the same for a novel, as it was for a screenplay.

I left that conference with the information I needed. Could I have looked for the answer online? Of course, but I wouldn't trade what I learned from those conferences. We attended every year for the next five summers. It wasn't the conference itself that made the difference, but the quality of the teachers. It just makes sense to learn from people who have been successful.

I eventually took some classes at the UCLA Writer's Extension's online program. I wouldn't trade those classes either, but I know time and money can make such programs impossible. There are free classes online too, but I didn't know that at the time.

My next hurdle was learning how to write a fight scene. I'm a girly girl, and I was spooked. I did a search online at that point. Not knowing the credentials of my teachers, I went from website to website until the logistics began to click. I was able to read some of the credentials, but not all of them.

Since then I've met, and heard of numerous people who had no real qualifications, but were hosting workshops for a good chunk of money. Am I saying they need a degree? No. But they should have some kind of success in their background. At least the respect of the writing community. A friend of mine used to insist Terry Pratchett had never learned craft, but he was a reader, and journalist. Journalist's write.

Don't have the money for classes or conferences? There are so many books that teach writing on the shelves, from ten-dollars and up. Look at the back or the inside flap and see what their credentials are, but remember these are the areas used to sell their book. Have they self-published fifty books? Anyone can do that given enough time. How many books did they sell? I was fortunate to learn from bestselling authors, who taught from a book that cost me ten-dollars. Word of mouth helps too. Just sitting and studying how your favorite author writes can teach you about writing. And let's not forget the free online courses.

I have three self-published novels now. They aren't best sellers, but I'm not done yet, and I believe they have the quality they need to become one. Marketing was a huge hurdle for me, but that's another post, and the blog-prompt for this week so that will most likely be my next article.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Blog Prompt - Hurdles in Writing - Criticism

This week's blog prompt was about 'hurdles in writing'. Hurdles we faced, and how we overcame them. It sounded dangerously close to the writer's journey, if you read that last week, but there are hurdles that weren't there. Things that seemed less important, so I didn't think of them, or they weren't mentioned, and while that's true in some cases, I think this hurdle was pretty important.

Here is the link to my blog prompt group if you want to join us. We're on facebook, and I pull two new prompts from a jar every Monday. Blog Prompts It's old fashioned, but fun, and our blogs are never neglected unless we're over the top, busy.

Today's hurdle is criticism

When you take classes specific to novel writing, or even creative writing courses, you have your classmates to critique your work. I remember the very first time my creative writing teacher addressed critiquing. There were people arguing like cats the following week. I wasn't one of them because I'm more the passive aggressive type, rather than confrontational, but I was feeling the sting as bad as the next guy. I soon learned to look the pages over, and put the writing aside for a few days.

Some rules can be broken, but critiquing is important. It should never be avoided entirely. Why? Because...

  • We don't always see our own mistakes.
  • Criticizer's can find holes in the story or subplot you missed.
  • Sometimes a criticizer will have a better idea for something specific in the story. 
  • Criticizer's find errors in the writing, or things that make sense to you, but not the reader.
 I could continue, but I think this addresses the bulk of it. 

When I left my writing classes to write, it wasn't long before I found myself with no one to critique my work. I had stayed in contact with a few classmates, but sometimes life takes over and people have to deal with their own lives, or they just don't have time. There were some writing groups around, but they were inconvenient, and the times didn't work for me. 

It seems foolish to say I didn't think of the internet until I hit the end of my rope, but it's true. I couldn't figure out how it would work and if people could be trusted, but I did a search online, and found a number of groups. I settled into Scribophile. 

Not really being a computer person, it took me a while to learn how things worked, but eventually with a little help, I settled in. I can't say it got better, because it immediately got worse. The criticism was over the top and I became hurt and frustrated, really fast. Information dumps were my biggest grievance at the time. I'm better with that now. I don't remember the other issues anymore, but I stuck it out and I'm a better writer for it today. 

Not everything I was told was constructive. Sometimes people were downright mean, but most of the time I found something helpful, and I made some great critiquing friends. Some of them are successful Authors today, others are still working on that. 

So how do we know who to trust? I found that when the criticism is constructive, it has a balance. The criticizer will tell you what you're doing right, and why it works, as well as what's wrong, and why it doesn't work. You might not always agree, and that's okay. Ultimately, you have to make the final decision about what's right for your story, but don't use that as an excuse to deceive yourself if something really does need to be changed. Sometimes writing is hard. If you need to put a critique down and go back to it later to make an unbiased decision, that's fine, but use criticism as a tool to help you become the best writer you can be, and to write the best story you can possibly write. You owe it to yourself, and your fans.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

A FantasyCon Guest Post - Jonathan Yanez - What Makes Paranormal... Paranormal?

So What Makes Paranormal... Paranormal?

In an age when writer's are asked to place their work in a specific genre, which genre do we choose? Just to name a few genres we have; paranormal, dystopian, steampunk, fantasy, science fiction, supernatural, epic fantasy, etc... There seems to be an army of option all bleeding into one another and making for a confusing decision. I'll spend the next few paragraphs giving you a better idea on what defines the paranormal genre and separates it from all the others.

First the actual definition of paranormal as defined by the Merriam-Webster Dictionary.

"PARANORMAL - very strange and not able to be explained by what scientists know about nature and the world."

Still not super clear, right? As writers I think we have done a better job by narrowing in on a more thorough answer. Novels tagged as paranormal have been written in our modern day world with the introduction of paranormal elements such as; werewolves, vampires, witches, angels, ghosts, and so on. Examples of books that fall in the paranormal range could be Twilight (a paranormal romance) or The Mortal Instruments Series.

The aspect that makes this genre so different and unique is the freedom to mix our everyday lives with the fantastical. It twists what we know and turns everything we take as ordinary on its head. It makes us ask questions like, "what if?" and challenges us to reimagine what we thought we knew.

Author Bio:

Jonathan Yanez is the author of over a dozen fantasy and science fiction novels. His works include, The Elite Series, The Nephilim Chronicles, Thrive, Bad Land, Steam and Shadows and The DeCadia Code. He has been both traditionally and independently published with his works being adapted into; ebook, print, audiobook and even optioned for film.

You can connect with him by clicking the following links to his website, facebook page or twitter account;,

Jonathan YaƱez

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

The Writer's Journey

The Writer's Journey was the blog prompt for my group last week, and since this week's would have been a little redundant for me, I decided to take on my path as a writer.

Authors and Screenwriters are as unique as snowflakes. If you asked the same question to hundreds of writer's, Every story would differ. So here is my journey in the blanket of white.

I tend to be a scattered person. That's one of the reasons I plan my stories. When I get a new idea, it often comes like a download with numerous characters and lots of scattered plot and subplot information. I think my writing journey has been very much the same.

Years ago, a friend asked why I didn't write. I always had a book in my hands, and would sometimes read for days with minimal interruptions. Secretly I wanted to write, but I didn't really believe I had the talent to do it.

The seed had been planted, but it would be years before I broke down and took my first creative writing class. I remember the teacher's frustration when she told me my problem was that I didn't want to hurt my characters. If only she could see me now. *smile*

It's an inside joke that my characters fear me, and I think it must be true, but it wasn't when I started. If I had an idea, I ran with it, and every day was parties and roses. *Boring* I won't even get into my (lack of) punctuations skills. I took a screenwriting class at the same time, but for some reason, those characters were a little bit more abused, and since everyone else is the class was writing horror, The  Teacher loved me. If you're a writer, you already know I had a lot to learn.

When I first sat down with my novel, I wrote for days on end, and nearly finished the book. I had a better balance by then, but the story lacked any semblance of emotion, even in places where the lack of emotion made no sense. There is a screenwriting conference in Los Angeles every year, and I found it about that time. They have a lot of seminars with successful screenwriters and teachers, so my husband and I packed the car, and headed for LA. That conference became an annual vacation for us for quite some time.

I focused all the seminars I attended on my weaknesses. For a writer to be the best they can be, they must see their own weaknesses and be teachable. If they aren't, they will most likely, eventually hit a wall, but that's a post for a different day, because we need to learn how to separate the wheat from the chaff, but as the cliche goes, I digress. The first couple of years were spent learning proper formatting, how to throw rocks at my characters, and how to instill emotion into my stories. I met some great teachers and learned so much. That led me to the UCLA Writer's Extension.

I spent a couple years learning craft. I don't push craft. If it isn't for you, that's fine, I don't argue with anyone else's choices, I believe in craft, because I've seen the change in my own writing, and in others as well. Having said that, I don't believe in rules. Learn, so you can make an educated choice when you want to go off the beaten path. But that's another story for different day. I did mention I tend to be scattered.

After a few years in the program, I realized I needed to take time to put things together and just write. I had made a mess of my story, Veiled Memories, by doing an off the beaten path, experiment, that didn't work, and I needed to clean up the mess. I've done that and the story is now published.

My journey didn't end there. I always meant to go back to the Writer's Extension, but classes are expensive and the time involved left me unable to fully pursue my stories. I'm not a fast typist, and while I get a lot of ideas, they don't always come at the most convenient time. At that point I had more novels started, but I no longer had a writer's group to critique my work. So I did some research online and found Scribophile. I met great people there, and some of them are successful authors, and good friends today. But Scribophile can be time-consuming too, so I don;t spend as much time there these days, although I do still have my account and check in on occasion.

I grew frustrated at one point, and took more than a year long break, but studied characterization in everything during that time. Anime, movies, various character sheets, books, people ... anything that had breath caught my attention, and that brings me to where I am today.

Here is the fruit from my personal journey:

-I'm obsessed with characterization

-I throw rocks at my characters, but I often fix them up too. That's part of the beauty of being the writer. I get to choose who comes out ahead.

-I have great friends to turn to when I don't understand something, or when I need help plotting something out, or even covering a hole. Sometimes it's just nice to have someone to talk to.

-My bad guys are bad, but they learn, and my good guys are good, and they have things to learn too.

-My stories have a strong emotional quality.

-I've been a judge for the first two rounds of a screenwriting contest for years, and I love it, because it helps people.

I still have a lot to learn, This journey isn't over yet.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Raven Williams Omnibus Release

Realm Jumper Chronicles
Raven Williams

Volumes 1-3 

Now available in one great set.

Realm Jumper Chronicles Omnibus Edition

A world where fantasy and paranormal collide and chaos reigns supreme.  Do you dare to enter?  

Welcome to the Omnibus Edition of the Realm Jumper Chronicles.  In this edition, you will find the first three books in the Realm Jumper Chronicles Series.

Elven-Jumper, Book 1:
What happens when humans begin having memories and dreams of a life as an Elf? Do the Elves step in or do they leave the humans to their own devices and hope they remain undetected? 

Elf-Witch, Book 2:
When an Ancient Witch Prophecy is discovered, The Elves, Guardians, and Dragon-Shifters become involved in the human realm once more. When worlds collide, destinies become entwined.

Elven-Fire, Book 3:
With war looming, each of the Elder Species must make a choice. The Elves and Phoenix-Shifters have pledged their support. Will the other species join them or leave Earth to its fate?

Order your copy here:

Follow Raven here:

Saturday, October 10, 2015

A FantasyCon Guest Post by Author Rick Haynes

A Virtual FantasyCon Guest Post

The Magic Within


Author, Rick Haynes

The Magic Within 

Fairy-tales ... from me?
After all, I mainly write medieval fantasy.
And where would I start?
At the beginning, I suppose.
But of course, didn’t we love to hear fairy-tales from our parents?

When I was small, my dad told me a different story every night, and every single one came from his own imagination. Looking back I realise how many were inspired by fairy-tales.

With the vivid imagination of a small boy, I had dreams of standing in front of the fire-breathing dragon and slaying it with one slash of my huge sword. Dad even made me a wooden one. And what about Jack and the Beanstalk? I loved it, but my mum was none too pleased when I cut down her giant sunflower.

Of course fairy-tales were told many, many, years before I emerged into the world. Take the classic story of Little Red Riding Hood as an example. This tale was originally dated back to the 17th century. But latest research has suggested that it could be over 2600 years old, because a similar tale has been found in China. The only differences being that the main protagonist was a small boy and the wolf was replaced with a tiger. Now that is amazing, for stories from that time, and for centuries afterwards, were never written down. Whilst subtle alterations have occurred and the tales have evolved over time, the basic story has endured.

Not long after my father read me that story I met a large Alsatian in our street. I took one look before running all the way home, screaming wolf at the top of my voice. When my mother introduced me to the neighbour’s new dog and he licked me to death, I realised the difference between fiction and truth. I think I slept better that night.
And I still smile at the memory.

One of the most prolific writers of his era was Hans Christian Andersen, yet he is more famous for his wonderful fairy-tales; my favourite being - The Ugly Duckling. What a great tale, and with a nice moral. You can be ugly but you can change, and become beautiful. I’ve always believed that the story should not be taken too literally, as I am sure that he perceived that beauty could be found on the inside as well as the outside.

So, what do we expect from our fairy-tales?

Like any other story we demand a beginning, middle, and an ending, preferably a happy one: anything to keep us interested all the way through. But we don’t always get what we want, do we?

And even then it’s not enough, is it?

We want, no, demand more, don’t we?

We want a princess or three, evil villains, brave princes and dragons with long tales and sharp teeth. And we wish for, elves, imps, dwarves, orcs, and fairies; not forgetting bucketfuls of fairy-dust. For you can’t have a fairytale without fairy-dust, can you?

With all the characters leaping from the pages our fantasies soar like an eagle, and all boundaries disappear in a trice.

I wonder what would happen if we could bottle up the power of a child’s imagination. The mind boggles with the possibilities.

We love fairy-stories, and even though the tales get bigger in the telling, we pass them on to our children, and our grandchildren. We never worry about the effect on our young because we know that the tales never hurt us.

And as we see the magic in their eyes, we remember.
Because fairy-tales will never die as long as we continue to allow the magic of the words to flow from generation to generation.

And as a teller of tales, I should know ... shouldn’t I?

Rick Haynes – Author Bio

I was born way back before time meant anything. One zillion reincarnations later, I think I know who I am, but I am prepared for a second opinion.
I have always enjoyed medieval fantasy tales. Once I started, I could never put them down, often reading them into the early hours. I found myself living the characters that jumped out from the pages, and I always hoped that one day I could create my own world, full of vile creatures and true heroes. And after the passing of too many seasons I finally began to remove the ideas from my head and commence writing.
Several fantasy short stories arrived, and I found that the ideas came along quicker than I could type. My Drabbles also received a dose of fantasy magic, yet in the background, the dream of a novel grew.
It has taken many a month to produce a story that had lain dormant for so many years. Evil Never Dies - professionally edited - is my first novel and is a classic tale of good and evil set against a backdrop of green lands, snowy mountains and dusty plains.
I show the horrors of war, as well as the loyalty, love and fears of all those involved. I believe that all men are flawed, and I leave it to my readers, to decide whether I have succeeded in showing their strengths and weaknesses, their compassion and cruelty. For war brings out the best and the worst in even the gentlest of men.
I have let my mind wander freely over the words, and I hope that you will enjoy your trip into the world of my imagination.