Saturday, February 27, 2010

Sweet February


Having been born in the month of November, I have often wondered why poets, writers and songwriters have been so in love with the month. Okay, right now you are probably wondering why am I talking about November when it is only February. Well, the first reason is to give you a hint that there are only 9 more shopping months before my birthday (wink, wink, nudge, nudge), and the second is to illustrate that sweet Novembers really have nothing on February. I mean, if any month was going to be sweet, shouldn't it be this one. It is, after all, the month of love, filled with kisses, love and the sweet whisperings of desire. While I don't usually celebrate Valentine's Day, I know for me, February has been very sweet.

First, there was the weather. The January thaw, if you live in cold climates or more specifically Canada, was postponed to the first few weeks of February. It was as if Mother Nature was giving us the warm sunshine to make our hearts glow with the potential that Valentine's brings. Then there was the holiday itself, when my kids gave me their valentines, their faces bursting with pride at their homemade gifts.

Of course, February was an amazing month for me as a writer. Deadlines reached, finally! And my first book feels like it is coming closer to being completed. In fact, I received the cover in February and we agreed on an excerpt. I was so happy about it, that I raced to the computer and created a book trailer. So, while this isn't all about love, it definitely ties in to how sweet February can be.

Book Trailer for Immortal Desire:



Here's to a sweeter March!

Sirena
www.sirenavanschaik.com

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Creating Creative Characters


Creating Compelling Characters
by Barbara Edwards

What are the key to compelling characters who make a story live? There are a few basics. The first is to make them unique. That means make them so individual they draw you into their lives.
The idea for your character may be an actor, a trait from an acquaintance, or from your imagination. It’s up to you to take that character and expand that start into a living, breathing person.
At a lecture on enneagram types by Laurie Schnebly Campbell I learned about dominant traits, something I’d been using for years without knowing it. This is a basic tool to associate three or four characteristics that illustrate his/her character. For example a perfectionist might have a need for order, control or an adventurer seeks excitement and new things. Check it out or attend a lecture. It’s extremely useful.
Every scene should show one or more of these characteristics through her dialogue, body language or thoughts. Add other related traits so your character is multifaceted and different form the others.
Use her surrounding to show who she is, her relationships or lack of, and her actions. She lives in the woods, a solitary life or in a busy city to be with or avoid people. Little things like a collection of cat figures from her childhood or a love of blueberry jam lend reality. Use tags to distinguish your character. E.g. the hero is described a moving like a predator, his hair a golden mane, his moves cat-like.
In Ancient Awakening, my hero has animal characteristics. He’s comfortable in the dark, his hearing is keen, his sense of smell sharpened, so I balanced that with a logical mind.
Excerpt from Ancient Awakening: Steve’s fingers clawed through his rumpled hair as he absently adjusted the focus on his microscope. He needed another trim badly. His rapidly growing hair was more than an irritation. Along with his thickened nails, it was another symptom.
Frustrated when his vision remained blurred he closed his eyes. He had to take a break. He hadn’t slept since early yesterday morning. His ability to concentrate on the task at hand was keeping him sane, but his thoughts twisted with the implications of the discovery at the dump.
Swallowing a mouthful of the artificial protein drink he’d concocted when nothing else would settle in his stomach, he stared at the fresh slide sample.
What he’d seen of the bloodless corpse had poised him on the edge of panic. He couldn’t hesitate any longer. He pressed the heels of his hands against his eyelids to blot out the memory of Mel concentrating on the puzzle of the dead man, her changeable hazel eyes green with curiosity.
He didn’t want to think about Mel. The way she always moved like those too thin, sensuous women on the covers of glamour magazines, with slim hips, long legs and no breasts had his groin tightening. The longing to taste her lips added to his misery. He could smell her scent on the breeze.

What do you think is the most important characteristic to emphasize?

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Friday, February 19, 2010

Romance Throughout the Year

I have to say once again, my husband and I didn't celebrate Valentine's Day. It's not that my husband isn't romantic. He does some really sweet things throughout the year. But he doesn't see a reason to spend extra money just to celebrate a day made up by the card industry.

And over the 11 years of our marriage...I've learned this isn't a battle I want to fight. The day doesn't mean so much to me. He remembers birthdays and our anniversary. Randomly picks up flowers, chocolate, or ice cream just because he knows I'll like the treat. I think those things mean more to me than if he did it on a day everyone else got the same treatment.

I will sometimes make a special dinner (usually seafood or steak) and give him back massages. Simple things that we can do for each other that doesn't require paying for a babysitter for the kids or fighting crowds. I think I prefer having little things throughout the year than a big splash on a single day.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

A Message for Wendy

A Winter Ghost Story


Years ago my sister met a young man. He was kind and sweet, and they had a good relationship. Then tragedy struck and he was killed in a freak accident. They buried him in the town cemetery not very far from where she still lives. Though years have passed, he was always a fond memory. She's a grandmother now several times over.
Years later, one sad day after the burial of a family member in the same cemetery, one of her grandsons had wandered off through the headstones. It's a small town and small cemetery, so a quick call brought the little fellow back...but he had a message..."That man over there wanted to tell you hello."
"What man?" she asked.
"That one over there." The child pointed, but no one was there.
"Who?" She looked around. The crowd had thinned.
He took Wendy's hand and led her to a far corner, to the headstone of her friend.
"I don't know his name. He's gone now, but he was standing right here."

There have been many other odd incidents over the years. All of them leave you with an odd feeling. My parents' house has to be one of the creepiest places to be alone. The doorbell rings. The toilets flush. You hear footsteps. And just when you think you've imagined it all some really odd thing happens, like objects disappearing and reappearing... I almost want to call in paranormal investigators then I think do we really want to know the place is haunted?

If you're ready for a "ghostly tale" check out --Dangerous Hauntings by Jo Barrett.

Dangerous Hauntings








Saturday, February 13, 2010

Love is in the air... & a prize~




Amor Vincit Omnia!
Love Conquers All! Or maybe you need a little help in the conquest? Fear not, my friends, here is a bit of knowledge to help you in your romantic endeavors...

Lots of quotes today... from two interesting little books that you just might need to purchase. ;) Note, I just don't know if I'd think a card with an eye painted on it represents anything other than I'm being watched, er... stalked! Isn't symbolism amazing? Not to mention, it changes through time. Let's see what these two authors have to say about love tokens and potions.

Heart-shaped jewelry: worn on the bodice, head, ears, throat and wrists. "The wearing of a heart on the sleeve" to denote affection gave rise to the well-known saying still in use today. (Jones & Ames' LOVE TOKENS, P. 20)

"Drink to me with only thine eyes
And I will pledge with mine;
Or leave a kiss but in the cup
And I'll not look for wine.
The thirst that from the soul doth rise
Doth ask a drink divine;
But might I of Jove's nectar sup,
I would not change for thine."
~Ben Jonson "To Celia" from VOLPONE

Those who liked to add mystery, tokens were sometimes given in the form of a miniature painting of the eye or lips. This would give rise to much speculation as to whom the "secret one" might be! (Jones & Ames' LOVE TOKENS, p. 21)

"Potio" is Latin for a drink or poisonous draught. (Jones & Ames' LOVE POTIONS, p. 11) Here's a potion to help those eager to win the heart of another...

#1: A POTION: A BLEND OF HERBS AND SPICES

In medieval times, the pretty blue-flowered herb "borage" was used as a "pep" pill to lift flagging spirits and to lighten the heart. Even its name testifies to its powers. "Borrach" is a Celtic word for coursage. It was said to induce a state of euphoria, which the drinker would attribute to the company, rather than to the drink!

Ingredients:
100g/4 oz toasted bread
150g/6 oz sugar
1 sugar lump saturated with orange-flavor essence
1/4 tsp numeg
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ginger
1 liter/2 pints brown ale
1/2 liter/1 pint mead
10-12 borage flowers

Method:
Put the toasted bread into a bowl, add the sugar and sugar lump. Add the nutmeg and mix in the ground cinnamon and ginger. Pour in brown ale and mead. Stir well and sprinkle with flowers. Leave to stand for one hour. Strain and serve.

Partake of this with the object of your desires, but not too liberally! Mead has for centuries been known as the honeymoon drink. (Jones & Ames' LOVE POTIONS, P. 12)

#2 Honeymoon
So, just what does the term refer to...

"But of all the lunar things that change
The one that shows most fickle and strange
And takes the most eccentric range
Is the moon - so called - of honey."
~Thomas Hood

In former times, honeyed wines were taken as an aphrodisiac during the first month of marriage. (Jones & Ames' LOVE POTIONS, P. 13) Even though alcohol was a source of protein in a world where people ate blackbirds and sparrows, I tend to wonder if the "spirits" helped the woman stuck in an arranged marriage forget about her arranged marriage. ;) But I'm the world's biggest pessimst. LOL

And if this isn't enough info for you, check out my post SKHYE'S VALENTINES about the symbolism in hearts including the symbolism I've created for my Time Guardian series. May the force be with you on the morrow... and you land many cool gifts from your beloved.

CONTEST: today only!
Stop by my yahoo group to enter to win the wee-est sterling-silver claddagh pendant on 18" chain... The deadline is midnight CST tonight! ~Skhye

Dare to walk in their footsteps...

"FORBIDDEN ETERNITY ... spine-tingling suspense. The story is dynamite; it explodes off the pages and leaves you breathless for more." ~Tulip, LASR

"... a unique blend of mystic Medieval Gothic and romance…and a true blood-curdling thriller." THE SPELL OF THE KILLING MOON ~Snapdragon, LASR

"Arthur is a masterpiece..." HE OF THE FIERY SWORD's King Arthur ~Diane Mason; The Romance Studio

Time Guardian books in print
Time Guardian books in e-format

Skhye's website
Time Guardians

P.S. And don't forget tomorrow is Chinese New Years. Alas, I blather. For all who linger here are avid lunar lovers... ;) We already made our Vietnamese dragon! And my daughter has practiced her parade feuled by a rice-cracker overdose!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Valentine's Day

How strange is it for a romance author to not like Valentine's Day? Don't get me wrong. I love "love." But ever since elementary school and the pressure of making cards for those special someones in my life, I've dreaded Valentine's Day.

Fast forward twenty odd years and I get a marriage proposal at the end of January. We wanted to get married quickly since it was a second marriage for both of us, but I wanted to leave enough time to find a nice dress and for any family members who wanted to make the trip to come. Two weeks is what I decided it would take. Low and behold that's Valentine's Day.

Does anyone know what the likelihood of finding someone to marry you on Valentine's Day two weeks prior to the day is? Unless you go to Vegas and get lost in the masses, it's not very good. Besides, Valentine's was on a Monday that year and what fun are Mondays? So, we decided on the following Friday.

It was a great little ceremony. We were married by a magistrate named, Ernie Irby. He wore a double-breasted navy blue suit with a red bow tie. A true southern gentleman. We said our vows in the living room of our loft overlooking downtown Richmond, VA at 10:30 a.m. His dad and stepmother flew in and acted as our witnesses. I found a beautiful ivory dress with the slightest of trains embroidered with gold roses. (It was unbelievably on clearance for $40 from $120.) My dear husband wore a gray suit and his ever-changing eyes were the brightest, clearest blue I've ever seen. (Maybe with the exception of the recent birth of our son.)

We had a lovely dinner that evening at a local steak house with the friends we had made in the city. The next morning we took a trip to Williamsburg, VA with his dad and stepmom and I got a picture of hubby in the stocks. Seemed appropriate. Then it was off to Florida for a lovely honeymoon in the sun.

So, what's the point of all this? Make Valentine's Day yours. A reason to celebrate love can be found or made.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Romance

Ah, Valentine's Day is in the air. The scent of roses and chocolate tantalizing my nose and making me sneeze. I love seeing what plant my hubby gets me. One year it was a lemon tree that I managed to coax into producing a lemon, which was then eaten by my dog. Not just the lemon, but the whole tree. Bad dog.

But Valentine's day is a symbol of romance and reminds me of when I first met my hubby. Do you have a similar memory? We were set up on a blind date and the rest is history. :) The funny thing is my friend who introduced us asked me right before soon-to-be-hubby came by if I was nervous. Of course I wasn't as long as she was ok if I didn't like her friend. She said, I can't believe you're not nervous, you could marry him. I'm thought, yeah right. Famous last words. :)

What is your romantic moment?

Monday, February 8, 2010

Falling in love

As readers and writers of romance, falling is love is like the air we breath - vital to our existence.
I know some people look down their noses on romance novels - an attitude I've never understood. How can someone not enjoy a story about people overcoming obstacles, resolving conflicts, coming to a better understanding of who they are, and above all falling in love? With romance novels, and their Happily Ever Afters, we are left with a feeling of hope, and a reminder of the warmth love brings to our hearts.

Life does not guarantee a happy ending, and therefore, as far as I'm concerned, hope is precious and never to be thrown away. Life is always filled with ups and downs, but February (and Valentine's day) is a time of year when we should celebrate those in our lives that we love, and love us in return - friends, family and partners. You don't need expensive gifts, all you need is a smile, a hug, some extra time, or simply three precious words, "I love you".

So, enjoy Valentine's Day, and those who share your lives, and don't forget it's also a great time of year to read romance :)

-Louise Delamore

Sunday, February 7, 2010

romantic gestures

Hello, everyone, well, it's that time of year again, Valentine's. I thought i'd just talk briefly about romantic gestures, bringing up some questions to consider. What was the most romantic gesture you made for your partner or your partner made for you? People can get pretty creative when it comes to this.

Is it the little things that are the most romantic or the grand gestures? And the timing...is something more romantic if done on Valentine's day or an anniversary, or on a random day of the year? Maybe that doesn't matter.

What would impress you, and what would impress your partner when it comes to doing something romantic? Well, just things to think about.

I wish you all a very happy Valentine's day.
-Corinne MacGregor

Friday, February 5, 2010

Before the Moon Rises ~ Available Now


Oh, yeah! I really do love this one. My first completed werewolf novella that I entered into the Got Wolf Contest - alas, I didn't win, but my scores did manage high marks and Callie offered me a contract in rather short order...
Janet and I have a lot in common. We're both ER nurses with an edge about life.
Max and I have a lot in common... We both live behind gates with amazing high tech security systems.
I hope you enjoy Before the Moon Rises and look forward to Richard's story, Only For You.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Life is Not a Planned Event

When I was younger, I had my whole life planned out. I was going to go to college, then x-ray school, graduate, and get a job as a travel technologist. I was going to maybe do some writing and see the country. I wasn’t going to get married until I was thirty, and I certainly wasn’t going to have children before age thirty-two. And at age thirty-five, I was going to have my tubes tied.

But the only thing I got right in my planning was having my tubes tied at thirty-five.

Sometimes in life we get what we need and not what we want.

I never planned on getting married at age twenty, but then, I never planned on meeting Johnny my freshman year of college. And I didn’t meet him at school. I met him at a bar in Clarksville, Virginia,


a lakeside town less than twenty miles from where I grew up in Grassy Creek, North Carolina. Clarksville is also the hometown of Dr. Megan Harper,the heroine in my vampire romance, OUT OF THE DARKNESS, which will be released from The Wild Rose Press in May of this year.

My husband is from South Boston, Virginia, which is about twenty or so miles on the other side of Clarksville. The night we met, he followed my sisters and me home from the bar so he could see where I lived. (I’d kill my daughters if they did anything so stupid!) But Johnny followed us home and came inside to meet my mother who is also from South Boston. I knew from the moment I met Johnny that he was someone special. And that night, he asked me out for the following night.

Since it was dark when he followed me home, he asked if I could meet him in Clarksville the next night because he was afraid he couldn’t find my house again, which was way out in the boondocks. My dad agreed to take me to a convenience store in Clarksville and let him pick me up there. But when the time came and went and he didn’t show up, I was devastated. I just knew I’d been stood up by some low-life I’d met in a bar.

How could I have been so stupid? How could I let those silver blue eyes fool me?

I couldn’t look at my dad. But then, this beat up old truck pulled into the convenience store parking lot and out jumped Johnny, full of apologies. His car had broken down on the side of the road—this was before cell phones—and he had to hitchhike the rest of the way to Clarksville. I was so relieved!

He and my dad shook hands and my dad agreed to take a look at his car. So, we piled into my dad’s car and drove back up the road to where Johnny’s car had broken down.

My dad knows a lot about cars and was able to repair the busted radiator hose but the radiator needed water. Luckily, there was a creek down an embankment and a plastic milk jug in the ditch. So, I volunteered to climb down to the creek and fill the jug with water…

And I fell in…

And got wet and muddy.

But the car got fixed and I went on my first date with Johnny. And he took me to meet his folks so he could borrow his dad’s car to take me home after the date. So, I met his parents with a wet left shoe and muddy pants. But one month later, Johnny and I were going steady. And nine months later we were engaged. And nine months after that, we were married. And this June, we will celebrate our thirtieth wedding anniversary.

Thirty years has gone by fast. Like any couple, we’ve had our ups and downs, but I’ve learned a lot about love and romance. You have to do things as a family, but a couple needs date night. Everyone needs alone time, I have my computer and writing. My husband has his garage. But doing things together keeps us together. And now that we're older, we spend a lot of time at the beach. We fish, or ride bikes or just sit and watch the waves. We’ve found common interests but we don’t try to change the interests we don’t share.

Life is about compromise. And sharing. In equal measure.

I still like to plan but I’ve learned that plans are not only not written in stone, they are very likely written in the sand at high tide.
Everything changes….