Happy Birthday To Me! Oh Yeah! Aspen Too!

Yes, today is my birthday. I’m a whopping 41 years old! I just graduated my second son and will have 5 grand kids by the end of the year. I’m getting up there for sure.

So what’s so awesome about the day of my birth? I get to share it with the fictional part of me. Aspen Darktower is a very important woman in my life. You see, she is me in many ways.

Aspen is very much the girl I once was and grows into the woman I wish to be. She is how I think of myself when I was young, a dreamer, shy but intelligent, and a hopeless romantic. Yet she blossoms into what she was destined to be: a leader of people, a strong mother, a devoted wife who still values her independence. Yes, that’s still me. But she endures unimaginable challenges in her lifetime that I feel would break me. Perhaps that’s why I love her so much.

When I wrote Noble Courage, I had grand ideas of what the perfect story would be. It started as a book that I intended to be a male smack down. I spent air of my life fearing men and then as a young adult, my heart was shattered time and again. So much of my personal drama made a compelling story for one wishing to wallow in another’s misery. So I twisted the story, pulled at the story, and evolved it to be the hauntingly addictive story that it is today.

However, as I readied to publish my work, I did a horrid job in editing. I will say it again, I’m a writer not an editor. So I will be the first to say that it just sucked unless typos and errors do not bother you. But it bothered a lot of other people. I have endured my years locked in a contract with another publisher, one who didn’t care about my work or even as me, the author, unless I was handing them more money. I was embarrassed to hand a book to anyone at all and consequently, my work has gone unnoticed by just about everyone.

But that’s about to change! Noble Courage is currently with an editor and is about to re-release on July 29th! The new and improved story will upload to Kindle and we are praying to get it done in paperback again as a second edition!

While we are working hard with these changes and meetings on changes and dreaming about changes, you are about to be offered an awesome opportunity to win a Kindle just for you, complete with my series in the library! And I will take it even further and gift you the final installment of the series, Key of the Kingdom, when it’s ready for release! That’s right! You get the very first copy!

What I need from you is to stay tuned. Watch for my posts that will have updates and fun moments with my characters. Then, when the time comes, one lucky person will win the Kindle I have sitting in my home, unopened and brand new!

Sound good to you? It sounds pretty dang awesome to me! So spread the word, reblog my posts, recruit readers and help me make this the best celebration ever!

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Remember The Art of You?

A while back, I wrote a short story based on a dream that I’d had. It featured the very talented Hugh Jackman.
Well, I was in McCall, ID and had the chance to eat ice cream from Ice Cream Alley. Yes, those were all real places from my personal paradise.
I took the liberty of snapping some pictures of scenes in the story. Enjoy!

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We are Only as Good as our Technology…

Things have been quiet on here as of late because my computer has decided to forbid me access to all my social media outlets EXCEPT Facebook! Go figure. So, it is my conclusion that I need a new laptop. That sucks since I don’t have the money at the moment to splurge and buy one. Lol. So I’m reduced to using my very intelligent iPhone to post with. That takes 100% more energy and frustration! So please bear with me here… I hope to be up and going again here soon!! :)

Thinking the Plot is the Easy Part? Think Again…

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I love to write. We all know that.  But anyone can love to write and not everyone does it well. I’m humble enough to say that I’m no bestseller. I could be, no doubt about that… It is still a work in progress. But I’m not alone in my quest, swimming in the sea of literature millions deep and just as many wide.

The plot is essentially the foundation on which your story is built upon. I’m sure there will be those who argue with me. But even transparent characters can be made strong by a great plot. And there is no setting, no matter how fantastical, that can withstand a Swiss cheese plot. It must have a rhythm to it…a build up, a climax, and a resolution or ending. That is the one thing that really doesn’t differ from any fiction book or manuscript out there.

There are ratios out there for the recipe of a good book. There are some that say that only formally educated, with a degree, writers are worth a darn. I disagree with all those rules. The only one I do agree with is the rhythm. Anyone who tells you that you can’t write without a degree is wrong.

So focusing on the plot is so important. But think about yours…Is it twisted or predictable? If it’s predictable, are there elements to distract the reader? Is it slow moving? Is it boring? What elements have you included to make it more interesting? Characters and setting do not count. Get that all out of your head right now. If you think about a birthday cake, the plot should be the actual cake, the setting should be the frosting all over it, and the characters are all the pretty decorations on the frosting.

wedding cake

Generally, the plot starts with an idea. Just one idea. The people you see may not be named yet or have hair color or eye color, but you see them living out this idea and it builds. Things happen, conflict usually ensues, and it comes to an end with loose ties neatly tied up in a pretty little package.

I used to read historical fiction and for years, I would crack a book and want to get lost in this parallel world to my reality. Not trying to slam true, historical fiction, but they are all essentially the same. There is a girl, girl meets boy, girl refuses boy until the very end of the book where they run off into the sunset together and live happily ever after. I stopped reading books because they were all the same…down to the kinds of racy covers they graced the shelves with. I grew bored.

Do you want this to happen to you? I didn’t think so.

What’s the solution to this problem? BE ORIGINAL! You don’t have to be so far out there that people can’t relate to you, but for crying out loud, own the story! Do something different!

Here is my recipe for Noble Courage:

Peasant girl meets boy (love at first sight)->Peasant girl is sold to a ruthless lord and is taken away from where her love at first sight boy is->Ruthless lord’s patience is tested to the limits->Love at first sight boy searches for the peasant girl->Peasant girl develops feelings for the ruthless lord->ruthless lord develops feelings for the peasant girl->Greedy king comes for a visit->Greedy king thinks he can outsmart the ruthless lord and the peasant girl->Peasant girl outsmarts the greedy king->Love at first sight boy outsmarts them all->Ruthless lord must band together with the greedy king to save the peasant girl->There is no happily ever after->Peasant girl, ruthless lord, greedy king, and love at first sight boy find the ways to put their lives back together->Set up the book for the rest of the series.

WHEW! See how different my story is over others?

Now think of your story and compare it to others in a similar genre. Do you copy their formula or have  you stood out on your own?

What about twists and turns? I think they are pretty important. Even my recipe above would be a little boring without the psychotic antagonist, the beatings, the kidnapping, the paternal revelation, the secret wedding, the war, the dungeons, the death, the traitors, and the post traumatic stress of all of the above. Twist it up until your readers feel like they are losing their minds! Make them really think about what is about to happen and be floored when they are wrong! The unpredictability is what makes it all interesting. It makes a reader want to keep reading when they turn that page or end that chapter.

I’m not going to tell you to leave sex out of a story or to force the hero to win or even to allow your heroine to only have sex with one person through the life of the book. That is up to you. But be wary of your target audience and write appropriately. I have sex scenes in my books and the older teenage girls love them, but mine are not a YA category either.

I remember reading “Flowers in the Attic” when I was first in high school. There was sexual content in that book…along with the rest of the series. I wasn’t the only teen who liked V.C. Andrews either. My word of advice: No matter what you write, make it tasteful and make it matter. Don’t riddle your book with scenes that could be very offensive to parts of your audience. Keep it balanced nicely.

You know, even for as many people love my books, there are those who fan themselves and slam the book shut claiming it is too sexual in nature. Well, if this was a common complaint, I could understand them. But when my pie is 90% readers who think it was tastefully done and 10% those who think it was too adult, I will place my bets with the vast majority. If it was the other way around, I might omit a scene or two.

Okay. Enough about sex.

So I am just trying to say: There are no rules in fiction, but bad fiction should never go out there. Your story should always move forward at a pace that relates well to your book.

I’m not a big outline person at all. I hate them, actually. But I have made them to keep track of events and the age of characters. But to merely jot down your own recipe to your plot will help you to know how to fill in the blanks to get from beginning to end. If you find that your book is very “cookie cutter”, change it. Please, for the love of books, change it! There’s enough bland books out there to bore you into oblivion. DON’T fall into that category!

I hope I told you something you might not have thought about. It is sad to me that I stopped reading because of a lack of originality. But I also find it sad that my work is discredited as an “indie” author, so it must suck. I beg to differ. I challenge you to read my books and guess where the story is going to go. No, I DARE you to! Right now, all of my books are available on the Kindle and book one is going through an intensive overhaul to be re-published. I love to hear if I shock your socks off! I will warn you, there are few who guess how it will all end. Muahaha!

Are you up for the challenge…ahem…dare?!?

YOU NEED TO READ THIS…LIKE REALLY…LIKE NOW

dkorthbooks:

This is a promo running for a fellow blogger. Go download it before the price goes up!! Lol

Originally posted on hastywords:

OMG I almost forgot to tell everyone!  My book is available via Kindle for only .99 for a short time.  In fact maybe only for a few short hours because I set it up to start YESTERDAY.  It will be only $1.99 until the beginning of next week if you miss the .99 offer!   Remember you don’t have to OWN a kindle to download and read all you need is Kindle’s free app which is what I have.   I hope lot’s of people buy so I can continue contributing in this fun publishing world.

Click on the picture and it should take you directly to AMAZON!!!  GO before it is really expensive again :)

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Hear Ye, Hear Ye! AWARDS TIME!

This has been a great week! Thank you to all who have interacted with me in comments, reblogging, and liking my work! Some posts take a HUGE amount of time and others don’t. But I’m all about giving back and extending my hand of friendship to those around me. The fact that you read my work and talk back to me about it means the world to me! Thank you!

So I want to give out some kudos to those who have been amazing this week. Now I want to do this each week, so you can rise through the ranks the more you visit and comment! I know, I know…I can’t hand out cool presents each week, but there are times I will do a random give-away for those who participate on a regular basis. I’m unpredictable that way.

Take a moment to take a peek at these awesome bloggers! Follow them, talk to them, love them!

Without further ado…Here are my awards for this week!

Royal Subjects: Award for following my blog!

photo attribution: guttenberg.org

photo attribution: guttenberg.org

 

Knights of the Crown: Award for comments on my posts!

Photo Attribution: Unknown

Photo Attribution: Unknown

 

Allies of the Kingdom: Award for reblogging my posts!

photo attribution: wikipedia.org

photo attribution: wikipedia.org

 

King’s Herald: Award for liking my posts!

Photo Attribution: Midsommer Actors via Flickr Creative Commons

Photo Attribution: Midsommer Actors via Flickr Creative Commons

 

Thank you sooo much for your love and support! I couldn’t keep going without you!

If you feel so inclined to read my books, you can find them all HERE! Just know that I appreciate you reading!

$0.99 – Dream Brother: A Novel – Kindle Ebook

dkorthbooks:

Take a moment to download Brian’s book! A few thoughts always help an author, so don’t forget to leave them for him!

Originally posted on Indie Hero:

“Meth, memories, and monsters.”

The Amazon Kindle version of Dream Brother is $0.99 until May 1st, 2014. Here are the links:

Amazon US

Amazon UK

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like it, re-blog it, tweet it, pin it, share it on Facebook, Google plus it,

email it, Digg it, share it on Reddit or Tumblr, stumble it,

or just simply tell someone about it.

Thanks.

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