Friday, March 30, 2012
I've been working on a series (and destroying it LOL) for a few years now. Finally, I decided to go back to basics and rebuild the bones of the story from the ground up. It took me three weeks of angsting, but I've finally got a blurb that "almost" captures the story I envisioned.
What are your secrets for laying story foundations? Please share, it's a plotting emergency!
Here's what I have...
Fang Cell (trademark pending)
Some legends are born. Others are made. But the legend of FANG CELL (tm) was forged at the gates of Hell.
On December 21, 2012, the world of Naval Special Operations changed forever.
A virtual warfare experiment gone wrong has torn a rift between the virtual realm and the physical one. The war game's fearsome supernatural warrior, Ryder Black, has been catapulted into physical reality. Capable of assuming the form of the Cerberus who guards the gates of Hell, he holds the power to unleash the scourges of Hell upon his enemies.
But Ryder Black’s DNA has been exploited by a ruthless Navy Captain hell bent on creating an immortal army known as Fang Cell.
Discovering the war game’s highly addictive substance known as Immortium has entered reality along with Ryder Black, the Navy now holds the power to cage and control the supernatural operatives like animals. The hopelessly addicted Fangs are forced to do a madman's bidding on the battlefield, or to face a hellish withdrawal from the substance they would gladly kill for one more dose of.
But the balance of power over the Fangs is threatened by the discovery that there is more to Immortium than its ability to render the Fangs compliant. When human women begin shooting the mysterious drug for its aphrodisiac effect, the Fangs begin to learn that the will of the heart is far more powerful than the evil aspirations of a madman.
Can the power of love possibly be enough to stop a self-serving Naval Officer from unleashing the scourges of Hell on an unsuspecting world? Only the passions stirred in the hearts of the Fangs by the women who love them will serve to elevate their stories into the stuff of legend.
Thursday, March 29, 2012
“I just finished your “Freaks of Greenfield High” story about an hour ago!! I got to say, i’ve read a lot of stories on wattpad in the last week and half (i’m an obsessed reader when it comes to romantic stories) – and you are the first writer that i felt compelled to leave a message to. I absolutely loved this story and how you managed to tie together all loose ends by the end of the story! Many writers can not get past the feat of creating characters that are dynamic and have a life to them. And you managed to make a cyborg into probably the most humane character i’ve read in a long while. I loved the fact that this story was so heart touching without even needing for there to be copious amounts of PDAs. lol don’t get me wrong, I love to read the occasional physically moving scene every once in a while. But it’s great to see a writer that can create a story that moves their readers without even needing a sex scene. Also, the fact that you managed to pull together a fairly complex story in just 20 parts is really wonderful too :) I stayed up until 5 in the morning reading this story before I dozed off, and then I got right back to the story when I woke up to finish it. Simply put, I really loved it :) Please keep writing! You have a wonderful talent and I hope to become a fan of more of your stories. I know you included an epilogue in this story, but will you writing a sequel to this wonderful plot?”Pranavi
Re: Freaks of Greenfield High“Hi. I’m 48 pushing 49 and I guess i’m what folks call a computer geek. Have a wife and 4 boys, and I must say, I found your story well VERY entertaining. I NEVER just Read stories. I don’t have time to read books, unless they are computer related information. So just for enjoyment, never, not since I was a kid, and this was really a wonderful story kept my interest the entire way. Started it yesterday morning and haven’t really put it down till now when I finished it. EXCELLENT. I’d LOVE to see this book made into a MOVIE. Or heck a TV series LOL.”Frank
Re: Freaks of Greenfield High“So, I kept seeing this pop up whenever I was looking for a read and I’d skip over it because I really wasn’t interested in a story with a cyborg in it, but finally, because it kept nagging at me, I gave it a shot and wow, probably one of my favorites! I absolutely loved the characters and the storyline, it was amazing! I spent half my break from college laying on my couch and reading it. Good grief. Thank you for the great story.”indigofish
Tuesday, March 27, 2012
Jennifer L Hart for Writers Gone Wild.
So last Friday The Hunger Games made its theatrical debut. Originally I planned on going to see it on opening day but the school system here in NC likes to spoil my fun whenever possible and the kids had a half day. And Monday off. So I'm planning to go today.
I'll admit I wasn't intending to read the books until I saw the theatrical trailer for the movie. Even though they were post-apocolyptic, I'm not a big Y.A. reader. (No sex scenes ;-) But the movie trailer that I saw back in December intreagued me and I went ahead and read them.
Over the years I have watched many books turned into movies and listened to lots of people gripe about how the movie didn't do the book justice. Mention Starship Troopers to my father-in-law and you'll get an earful. Same thing goes for my husband and the Lord of the Rings trilogy. (He actually wanted them to be LONGER!!! Just what we need, more schlepping through Mordor, it's like watching me at Wal-Mart, no one wants to see more of that. Especially me.)
Anyhow, I take a different view of movies that came from books. Chances are, the plot is tighter than any movie script that was intended to be a movie script because you have at least two writers behind the wheel, the one that created the book and the one who writes the screenplay based on the book. The goals are more clearly defined, the characters well established. If I enjoyed the story in one medium, I'll probably like it in the other. With True Grit, I just wanted my agony to end with both the book and the movie. (English class assignment, had to see that sucker through to the gawd awful end.) I understand about time constraints and why certain things are left out and try not to hold them against the movie producers, as long as it doesn't interfere with the telling of the story.
One of my all time favorite books-to-movies combos is Circle of Friends. The book by Maeve Binchy is a fabulous read, set in Ireland post WWII it focuses on college students, young love, Catholic morality and first betrayals. The movie starring Chris O'Donnell and Minnie Driver is almost startlingly different, the ending is completely redone, as are a few of the major events which, having read the book several times before the movie came out, I was able to pinpoint the first time through. But that didn't detract from my enjoyment of both.
Also see my book to movie analysis for One For The Money on The Laundry List.
So what about you? Are you a fan of the book to movie set up? Or do you prefer one medium or another? What's the best book-to-movie tale you've ever seen? The worst? And have you/ are you planning to seen the Hunger Games? Inquiring minds want to know!
Friday, March 16, 2012
I have a friend who tells everyone that she has the perfect boyfriend. Tall, dark, handsome and he never ever disagrees with her. She’s not lying. His name is Berkley and he’s a black lab.
My best friend and constant companion is a female Jack Russell Terrier. She’s short, cute and very active. I like to refer to her as my little exercise plan. She can also be very pushy at times. There’s a game we play, when she gets just a little too insistent on getting her own way. I call it – Who’s the Boss? Occasionally, she lets me win that one.
Sassi adopted me at the local shelter. I think the fates combined to throw us together. I picked out a nice quiet male spaniel cross, but someone mixed up the paperwork. When I went to pick him up, the volunteer produced this under-nourished critter with the saddest brown eyes I’d ever seen. She wagged her tail and tried to bounce up high enough to lick my face. I was very doubtful, but the nice lady, after apologizing and explaining that the spaniel had gone elsewhere, told me that I could take her home and try her for a week. If it didn’t work out, I could take her back, no questions asked. Can you believe I fell for that?!
Well, I took her home and she ran around in manic circles for several hours before throwing herself on my bed and going to sleep. The shelter had named her Dash, but after watching her take over my house in less time than it takes me to cook dinner, I dubbed her Sassi. Since that day, she’s become the office greeter, the kayak club mascot and my sounding board when I’m plotting a new story. . She makes me laugh, and adapts to just about anything I decide to do. She can swim, ride on the motorcycle, and walk for endless miles on those short leg. She knows how to be gentle with small children, and when the kids are old enough to play fetch she patiently teaches them what to do. My youngest grandson spent countless hours chasing her around the house to put the tennis ball back in her mouth after she’d dropped it at his feet.
Sometimes, when we’re sitting on the sofa sharing a snack in the evening, I wonder if she snuck into the office at the shelter and switched that paperwork herself. I wouldn’t put it past her!
Thursday, March 15, 2012
A young woman, desperate to provide her chronically ill sister the care she needs, decides to sell herself. But who could have foreseen her first client would be the alien Crystal Warrior destined to be her life-mate? Or that this complex, compelling man who’s captured her heart, plans to kill himself rather than risk being imprisoned in his cursed crystal a third time. She’ll fight to save him, but it could be a losing battle… because he’s still in love with the woman who refused to bond with him decades ago.
Jade’s a talented painter, but was forced to give up her dreams of art school to care for her chronically ill sister. Faced with escalating medical bills, Jade lies to her sister and her best friend, and advertises herself as an escort. Her ad is answered by Peter Stone, aka Pieter, the Crystal Guardian. He gives Jade a malachite crystal and when she touches it, she shares the torment of the man trapped inside. The crystal breaks and a Crystal Warrior named Malach appears in the flesh.Malach spent centuries imprisoned in his cursed crystal before he was given the chance to bond with a woman named Francesca. When the bonding failed, he believed he would be put to death by the Crystal Guardian, but he discovered a far worse fate was to be imprisoned yet again to suffer years of torment and sensory deprivation. He’ll willingly bond with Jade, if that’s what it takes to have another chance at freedom, but if he deems it likely they will fail the next stage of the bonding–the Testing–Malach has vowed to kill himself rather than endure imprisonment a third time.Jade is horrified when she learns the true extent of Malach’s suffering. She’s determined to save him, but it could be a losing battle… because he’s still in love with Francesca, the woman who refused to bond with him decades ago.Jade’s solution is to have her aunt cast a love-spell over them. But will a simple love-spell fool the Crystal Guardian and allow Jade and Malach to pass the Testing? And how far is Jade prepared to go when Malach’s first love, who’d believed him dead all these years, comes knocking on her door?
Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Comes out April 23rd from Carina Press. In the meantime, I'm off to Kauai this weekend for over a week. I am so looking forward to the warm weather, it almost makes the terror of flying worthwhile. And since last time I went to Hawaii there was a major tsunami from the Japan earthquake that we had to evacuate for, I figure this time should be much more peaceful. There can't be a natural disaster every time I go there, right?
Tuesday, March 13, 2012
Hey gang, I'm up to my sculpted eyebrows in my current WIP so I'm treating you all to another guest author.
Please welcome my guest and debut author Kylie Griffin!
Guest Blog for Writer’s Gone Wild – “Tormented Heroines”
As a reader some of my favorite "keepers" on my bookshelf contain characters we often label as tortured or tormented.
For example, one of my favorite tortured heroes is Zarek from Sherrilyn Kenyon's DANCE WITH THE DEVIL. He's an illegitimate son of a Roman noble, disfigured by a lifetime of abuse, reviled for his appearance, sold as a slave, and exiled and shunned by his Dark-Hunter peers. Quite a laundry list of issues to deal with, eh?
What I loved about his story was finding out how he gained the reputation of being the cold, cynical bad-boy of the Dark-Hunter world, and then how he dealt with his past and the problems his behavior created in the present.
But tortured heroes don't just have to be male. I also love reading (and writing) about tormented heroines. Whether it's an physical affliction or an emotional one, seeing how these characters struggle to cope with or deal with their issues is a huge hook for me.
I had a lot of fun writing about Annika, the heroine in my debut release. VENGEANCE BORN (Berkley Sensation) is her story. She's a tormented heroine. A half demon, half human hybrid, she’s grown up knowing her demon father kidnapped and raped her human mother to breed a half-blood child so he could get even with an old enemy.
In the scene below, Kalan - the hero of the story - discovers a secret Annika's kept hidden from him. They've escaped from the dungeons of her father's fortress and on the run, trying to make it to human territory but ingrained perceptions and distrust influence their actions.
Kalan turned his stormy gaze on her. “Why’d you lie to me?”
Fear clawed in her gut. Would he pick up where Vash had left off if she refused to answer him?
“I didn’t lie to you.” To her shame, her voice trembled. “I neglected to tell you something important.”
“You used deflection and deception.” His accusation cut like a whip. She flinched. “When were you going to tell me who you were?”
“Would you have helped me had you known who I was?” she demanded. His silence answered for him. “Hesia might have had faith in your reputation as a Light Blade but I didn’t, not when my life hung in the balance.”
His face darkened with her reckless tone. “Your life? Your lineage ensured your status among the Na’Reish.”
Blood drained from her face. She sucked in a ragged breath. “You think that gave me an advantage?” Her voice rose and cracked. “My father barely tolerated me.”
“Then why did he let you live?”
“Revenge.” She bit out the word even before she had the chance to think.
Kalan blinked then a slow frown marred his brow. Merciful Mother, surely he didn’t imagine her father cared for her? Her temper soared higher.
“Savyr’s firstborn son was killed by a Light Blade warrior.” Trembling, she ground out the facts past stiff lips. “He wanted the human responsible dead, but that was before he learned the warrior had offspring of his own. A daughter. So, he captured her instead then raped her until she fell pregnant.”
Chills raced along her arms. The memory of watching her father’s dark lips peel back over his fangs in a malicious smile terrified her even now. He’d taken such pleasure in telling her how her mother had screamed and fought him. Even knowing how sadistic and malicious he could be, the thought of him forcing her mother, time after time, made her sick to her soul.
While raping slaves wasn’t condoned by the Na’Reish, it was a practice rarely spoken about. Especially considering bloodline purity played such a prominent role in their culture. Many talked about Savyr’s obsession for revenge but few were naïve enough to question him about it in his presence.
Annika clenched her hands. “He made sure she couldn’t kill herself or injure the baby inside her so that she’d lose it. For nearly eleven months, he’d kept her chained to a bed in his private chambers, her every move observed by loyal blood-slaves.”
Kalan still watched her, his gaze intense, his expression shuttered. Unlike the other humans in her father’s household, he hadn’t flinched or grimaced with the details of her mother’s story. Did he believe her?
It shocked her to realize she wanted him to, badly. Blood pounded in her head. Had it been a mistake to tell him anything? She couldn’t hold his gaze and stared at the wooden boards beneath her boots. When would she learn not to care about what others thought?
Her fingernails bit into the skin on the palms of her hands. He was going to hear the rest of the story whether he believed her or not.
“Once I was born, Savyr intended sending us back to her father. The disgrace of returning with a Na’Chi child would’ve satisfied my father’s need for revenge, but the birthing was difficult. It took too long. My mother died. If I believe his version of events, she did it just to spite him. Sending me back to my grandfather alone served no purpose. There was no proof of my bloodline. So, he kept me and has reminded me daily of why I existed.”
His blood runs through your veins. Savyr’s angry mantra echoed in her head. Breaking you is the only satisfaction I have left.
Defying him had brought her a great amount of satisfaction. She wanted to believe her endurance and strength were traits inherited from her mother.
The smile that stretched her lips felt brittle, crooked. “Someone had to pay for the death of his son.”
Her past was distasteful, yet worse was the hope and assumption that Kalan might accept her. The expressionless mask on his face gave away nothing but his recent actions proved he was just like everyone else. He didn’t care.
Annika buried her disappointment and hurt deep but couldn’t stop trembling. She’d made a mistake thinking her life could be anything different. Hesia’s love was a blessing and she’d abandoned her to follow a haze-induced dream.
She met Kalan’s eyes, her gaze steady but inside she felt as frozen as the water rushing beneath the ferry. Her next words, forced from between numb lips, felt like shards of ice slicing her throat. “Tell me, Light Blade, what privileges do you think I inherited being bred as a tool of retribution?”
Hardly the ideal start for a child or the perfect life for a person, is it? Intriguing content for a story, but tie in the added problems of cultural and social rank to her burden and things get really interesting.
Bloodline purity in demon culture is paramount. Being Na’Chi in demon society, Annika belongs at the very bottom of the social order - even the human slaves who serve the Na'Reish demons rank above her. Imagine how both human and demons would treat a child of mixed blood, and then throw in the added complication of an ancient war between the races and racial prejudice.
And what if Annika dreams of escaping her life to find out more about her human heritage? Or hopes to find someone who will love her for who she is? How's she going to deal with and resolve these issues?
Well, VENGEANCE BORN reveals all :-), and to find out you'll have to read Annika's story. Lucky I have a spare copy to giveaway.
So, what do you think about tormented heroines? Do you like reading about them? Does the idea of a tormented heroine interest you or turn you off reading a story? To go into the draw for the copy of VENGEANCE BORN, share your thoughts.
VENGEANCE BORN blurb
There is no mercy in the demon realm. No escape. In this place of desperation and conflict, anyone who is not pure bred is virtually powerless. Until an unlikely champion is born…
Annika, half-blood daughter of the Na’Reish King, longs for more than her tormented life among her father’s people. Conceived in hatred and bred as a tool of retribution, she’s gifted with a special talent that can heal as well as destroy.
With the Na’Reish vastly outnumbering them, Kalan, a Light Blade warrior, knows the future of humankind depends on him alone. Incursions into human territory and raids for blood-slaves by the Na’Reish Horde have increased. As Chosen-leader, he faces the task of stopping the demons—and convincing the Council of aging Light Blade warriors that change is necessary for survival.
When Annika learns Kalan is a prisoner in her father’s dungeon, her dream of escape seems within reach. She agrees to free him in exchange for his protection once they reach human territory. Now, marked for death for helping him, Annika must learn to trust Kalan as they face not only the perilous journey to the border but enemies within the Council—and discover a shocking truth that could throw the human race into civil war…
Kylie Griffin Bio
Kylie Griffin’s obsession with all things paranormal/fantasy started at an early age, when she used to imagine the jacaranda tree in her front yard was a spaceship used to defend the world from invading enemies. Writing stories seemed a natural extension to her childhood adventures.
Today, she’s a primary school teacher sharing her love for the written word with young children. In her spare time, she writes and reads all things paranormal.
Kylie lives in a small rural village in outback New South Wales, Australia, where she volunteers in a number of emergency service organizations in her local community. Visit her website at www.kyliegriffin.com
Friday, March 9, 2012
I retired from my barely off the ground writing career last month.
No, really, I did.
I didn’t choose to call it quits because I didn’t want to write anymore, but rather because I mourned the joy the pursuit of craft once brought me. It was passion for the craft that pushed me to the brink of seeing all my literary dreams become a reality. And then, as lives sometimes do, mine imploded. And imploded. And imploded again.
Yeah, it sucked to be me for a while.
For two years, I have floundered to recapture the author I had once been. Instead of building on my prior successes, project by project fell to the wayside. I stopped trusting my voice, my very ability to carry a story through to the end. Sometimes my failures were due to my personal difficulties. Others could be blamed on the extreme flux the publishing industry has experienced over the last two years. None of it was good for the ego, especially one boasting a generous helping of diva.
One day about a month ago, after yet another horrific family crisis, I sat down at my keyboard to write. Instead of the familiar fluttering of joy I longed for, I found only tears. Writing was the last thing I wanted to do. After a good cry, I admitted to myself that the creativity that once infused my life with joy had morphed into drudgery—not a good place to tell a story from. At least not one I’d ever ask a reader to invest their precious time and money in.
It was time, if not to quit, then at least retire.
The only retired people I truly know are my parents. While my mom’s version of retirement involves a recliner and an endless stream of soap operas and talk news shows, my father’s retirement has been all about FUN.
Since quitting the job he devoted forty-odd years of his life to, he has reinvented himself several times over by simply following his passions.
First he retreated to the attic bedroom and reclaimed it for himself. There, he indulged his lifelong love of trains. Over the years, he has replicated, from memory and in miniature, the railroad that ran through his childhood home, right down to a scale reconstruction of the log cabin his grandparents built long before he was born.
At the age of seventy, and concerned with his health, he became an accomplished mountain biker. He spends many a weekend indulging his inner research junkie by biking old railroad routes or searching out the sites of historical events. Dad, he loves him some history. Want to know something about the civil war or various versions of the Arthurian legends? Go ask Dad. Trust me. He’ll tell you. And tell you. And tell you again—assuming you can pedal fast enough to keep up with him.
I want a retirement like that.
After the load of crap that’s befallen my family over the last two years, I think I deserve it. So yes, in my retirement, I will write. Not for money, but rather for fun. Not for editors, because as a retired author, I'm allowed not to give a damn what's hot and whats not.
Should that writing find print, so be it. In the interim, I aim to have fun. Because for me, turning my passion into my work was what sucked the very soul out of it. And that's what I'm retiring from. (Yes, I allowed myself to end a sentence with a preposition! I'm retired, I can do that!)