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Sunday, April 30, 2017

Reader Interview: Dionne shares her thoughts on my work! | Renee Scattergood

Originally posted by Renee Scattergood:



I'd like to thank Dionne for taking the time to fill out my reader interview and share her thoughts on my work.
Tell me a little about yourself:
I'm a writer myself and I love to read.
Which of my books is your favorite?
Shadow Stalker
What did you like most about that book?
Characters
What did you like least about that book?
Nothing not to like. The books were good.
What do you like most about writing style?
There's a rhythm, you might say, to it.
What do you dislike about my writing style?
If the pace is too fast, except in action.
Who was your favorite character?
Don't know. I like mainly the main character (Auren).
What did you like most about that character?
They're a hero.
What did you like least about that character?
Don't know. Nothing not to like about them...yet.
Is there anything else you'd like to share with other potential readers?
Read them, and you'll like them too.
Thanks again, Dionne. Shadow Stalker Part 1 (Episodes 1 - 6) is a free download!

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Saturday Sneak Peeks: The Redemption Games – A #YA #SciFi #Thriller | Renee Scattergood

Originally posted by Renee Scattergood:


Designed by Kathryn Jenkins at Magical Designs
I released my newest short story this week, so I wanted to give you a sneak peek:
There was no sound. Jillian was sure she outran them this time. She was smart though. Too smart to move this early and give up her location. The last time she did that, they nearly got her. She crouched in the shadows of a dumpster and waited. About twenty minutes passed before she dared to move, and even then it was only to move further into the alley where she could eat in peace.
“All this for a box of cereal,” Jillian whispered to herself. She squeezed through the small opening in the boarded up doorway of the abandoned building she called home. After climbing to the second floor, she barricaded herself in a small room that she was sure had once been an office. Probably where the boss sat in his cushy chair while the people worked their butts off in the sweat shop below.
After opening the box, she shoved handful after handful of cereal into her mouth until she couldn’t swallow another bite. Leaning back she sighed. It had been days since she had a full belly.
Jillian didn’t realize she had started dozing until a noise woke her. She wasn’t alone in the building. She heard the soft clang of boots on the metal stairway. She was trapped. She hid behind some boxes and old furniture that had been left behind just in time for someone to force their way through her barricade. She froze. For a moment there was no sound.
“I know you’re here,” a male’s voice called out.
Want to read more?
Jillian doesn’t think things can get any worse. She ran away from home and has survived on the streets for over a year, but when a man shows up promising her a better future, she ignores her instincts and goes with him. Now she finds herself on an alien world in a last-man-standing competition that she has no hope of winning, unless she can find an ally.

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Friday, April 28, 2017

Author Spotlight: The Summer that Melted Everything by Tiffany McDaniel | Renee Scattergood

Originally posted by Renee Scattergood:


Welcome to another Friday Author Spotlight! This week I have Tiffany McDaniel with her debut novel, The Summer that Melted Everything. Tiffany shared a bit about herself in an interview, but first...
An Ohio native, Tiffany McDaniel’s writing is inspired by the rolling hills and buckeye woods of the land she knows. She is also a poet, playwright, screenwriter, and artist. She is the winner of the Not-the-Booker Prize for her debut novel, The Summer that Melted Everything, which was a Goodreads Choice Award double nominee.

About the Book

Fielding Bliss has never forgotten the summer of 1984: the year a heat wave scorched Breathed, Ohio. The year he became friends with the devil.
Sal seems to appear out of nowhere - a bruised and tattered thirteen-year-old boy claiming to be the devil himself answering an invitation. Fielding Bliss, the son of a local prosecutor, brings him home where he's welcomed into the Bliss family, assuming he's a runaway from a nearby farm town.
When word spreads that the devil has come to Breathed, not everyone is happy to welcome this self-proclaimed fallen angel. Murmurs follow him and tensions rise, along with the temperature as an unbearable heat wave rolls into town right along with him. As strange accidents start to occur, riled by the feverish heat, some in the town start to believe that Sal is exactly who he claims to be. While the Bliss family wrestle with their own personal demons, a fanatic drives the town to the brink of a catastrophe that will change this sleepy Ohio backwater forever.

Get it Today!

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indie Bound

Keep reading for an interview with the author:

"I MELT WITH YOU FOR THAT ETERNAL ALWAYS"
Original Watercolor by Tiffany McDaniel
Why did you decide to be a writer?
Writing is the first thing I remember doing as a child without being told to do so. I've always had an innate desire to write down what's in my head. I never decided to be a writer. I just embraced the story within me.
What inspires you to write?
For me, the inspiration always comes from the characters. I'm inspired to write a story that honors the characters and honors their truths.
How long does it take you to write a novel?
I have eight written novels and on average they've taken me a month to write. One novel I wrote in eight days. My pace may sound fast but I don't like for the story to sit for too long or it loses its essence. The quality control comes in the drafting and copy-editing stages, which can take longer.
What are your goals as an author?
My goal would be to make a career out of words. I hope to be an author that readers can trust with their time and that I not only entertain with my writing but that I also write something that encourages thought. I hope to be part of a larger conversation. A conversation about who we are. A conversation about who we want to be.
What do you enjoy doing aside from writing?
Aside from writing, I enjoy the outdoors and doing things in nature like gardening. I also like baking. Art is a big part of my life and I use all mediums from charcoal to pastel, pencil to paint. I also love film.
"THE TRUE DEVIL EXISTS IN THE START OF A MAN"
Original Watercolor by Tiffany McDaniel
How many books do you have on your "to read" list? What are some of them?
I have quite a few. The new Shirley Jackson biography by Ruth Franklin and Burnt Offerings by Robert Marasco among them.
What is your writing process?
I never outline or plan the story ahead. I like for the story to evolve one word and one page at a time. Directing a story too much can domesticate it. I like to preserve the story's wild soul.
How do you come up with the titles for your books?
I always start writing a new novel with the title and the first line. These two things put me on the path to the rest of the story. Titles can come from anywhere. In the case of The Summer that Melted Everything, it was one of those Ohio summers that was so hot I felt like I was melting. A little arranging of words, and the title was born out of true heat.
Do you have any advice for other authors?
My advice would be to never give up. I wrote my first novel when I was eighteen. I wouldn't get a publishing contract until I was twenty-nine for The Summer that Melted Everything, which is my first published novel but my fifth or sixth written. For me it was a long eleven year journey full of rejection and perseverance. For those writers still on the journey to publication, it's important to never give up and never turn your back on your dreams.

Apprentice Mistake: A Short Story by Owen Tyler

Teslanar, having just finished college at a magical school, has acquired an apprenticeship to the head sorceress of the college he attended. Things are looking good for Teslanar. After a few more years he can finally fulfill his life long dream of becoming a wizard.

Given his first chance to relax for an afternoon, Teslanar decided to take a stroll through the courtyard. He has no idea that his afternoon will test him more than any teacher ever could.

Download Apprentice Mistake to find out what happens when Teslanar tries to save an old man and ends up trapped in a secret passage.


Get it today on Amazon!

Thursday, April 27, 2017

The Illusions of Dialogue by Jesse Teller | Renee Scattergood

Originally posted by Renee Scattergood:


I came from a family of storytellers, I mean, gifted storytellers. They could pick you up and lift you into a tale like none other I have ever known. I apprenticed under them, and it made me the writer I am. I have been telling stories all my life and writing for most of my life, and at first, the storytelling didn’t translate to the written word.
If I wrote the story as I heard it, it always fell flat. There was no way to transfer the experience of telling a story to writing one. The teller has more tools.
Words don’t make the story. My grandfather had an eighth-grade education. He had a very basic vocabulary. But man, listening to him tell a story was an experience I cannot describe.
Well, I’m going to try.
It was not the words he used at all; it was the way he spoke. He used inflection like a master working a clay pot. He had a grip on the dramatics. He knew when to sip.
Have you ever been listening to a story being told by a truly gifted storyteller, and he stops to take a sip of his drink? There is magic in that moment. The entire room freezes. No one speaks. No one breathes. The sounds of the room drop down to nothing. The TV in the background turns itself down, and everyone waits.
The thing I learned from my uncles, grandfather, and mother is that it is not the words, the sound effects, or even the tone of voice. It is in the pause. The pause holds all the power of the tale. Conversation is this way as well. Magical moments wait within the breath between words. The rhythm of the speaking tells the story in a way nothing else ever could.
Think about great orators. The breaths they take and the way they pause are the magic of the speech.
You don’t believe me. You are looking at me like you don’t believe me. Okay, let’s look at any piece of dialogue. I’m a writer. I happen to have some right on hand. Hold on while I get it.
Okay, I’m back. Did you notice that the period at the end of that last paragraph did not accurately convey the passage of time? Remember that. We are getting to that.
Now, in order to make my point, I’m going to show it to you bare bones and suck the illusion right out of the piece. Yes, my friend, there are illusions in every great piece of dialogue. That is actually why we are here. Just wait.
“I know, you make cheese. You’re a spy. Named Smear. Who makes cheese. Smear, the cheese maker. I would wager a guess that you’re the most dangerous cheese maker this country has ever known,” Rayph said.
“I’ll get better,” Smear said. Both laughed.
“I have to go. Got a thing to do. Thanks for the tea and what-have-you.”
This is the dialogue of a scene I have written. All the conversation is there. Every word of it. I have not changed a letter, not one piece of the conversation.
So, this is what we know now. Smear makes cheese. He is also a spy. He is dangerous and the country knows it. Rayph is leaving, and he has thanked Smear for the tea. We know that. It is right there. But the illusion of talking has been sucked out of it.
No one talks like this. This is totally unbelievable. Sadly, this is what I read a lot of the time. You can’t feel the cadence. You can’t feel the rhythm of the conversation. That is a major problem in writing because we are given crude tools to work with. We have a comma. That tiny piece of punctuation is supposed to imply a pause in the conversation. Well, it doesn’t. What would you say if I told you there is a long pause between the two phrases “thanks for the tea” and “what-have-you”? There is a pretty long pause there. Rayph also takes a breath for effect between the phrase “I know you make cheese” and the phrase “You’re a spy named Smear.” A pretty important pause lives right there. This conversation, like every one you have had, is riddled with pauses for effect and little breaths that give the dialogue meaning and make it worth listening to or reading.
In order to write real and convincing dialogue, we need to feel those pauses. They need to be there, but a simple comma or period will not do. It is too crude a tool. Go back up and read that piece of dialogue again. Feel how stilted it is and how clunky. Now, this is how it actually reads. This is the illusion I wove in it to give it breaths and dramatic pauses:
Rayph nodded. “I know, you make cheese,” Rayph said. “You’re a spy. Named Smear. Who makes cheese. Smear, the cheese maker. I would wager a guess that you’re the most dangerous cheese maker this country has ever known.”
“I’ll get better,” Smear said. Both laughed.
“I have to go. Got a thing to do,” Rayph said. He stood and drained his mug. “Thanks for the tea and,” he motioned to the cheese, “what-have-you.”
No comma in the world is going to change the first version into the second. But if we weave a little magic with tag placement, then we give the illusion of a pause. Look at the first line.
“I know, you make cheese,” Rayph said. “You’re a spy. Named Smear."
Placing “Rayph said” in the middle of the speech makes the reader pause to read that tag. The thing about tags is they are almost invisible. If you are reading a well-written piece, you don’t even notice them. They blow right by you. When you read that sentence, you don’t even think of the tag. But you have to pause in the conversation long enough to read it. That one beat, the amount of time it takes to read that two-word tag, gives the reader just enough of a breath to make it look like the speaker stopped talking for a moment, thought about what he would say, and said it.
One tag did that. It was not punctuation. It was not a really long period or comma that created the rhythm of the speech. It was a tag.
Let’s keep looking. I want to take a minute and look at the last part of the dialogue. Let’s start here:
“I have to go. Got a thing to do,” Rayph said. He stood and drained his mug. “Thanks for the tea and,” he motioned to the cheese, “what-have-you.”
I needed a longer pause between “Got a thing to do” and “Thanks for the tea.” So, I broke free of the conversation and, just for a breath, described an action. In the time it takes to read that tiny bit of description, the speaker has taken a long pause. I do the same thing between “Thanks for the tea and,” and the line “what-have-you.” In that breath, he has looked at the cheese and has been unwilling to call it cheese at all. He instead calls it what-have-you.
But when I throw in that line of Rayph motioning to the cheese, it gives the idea that he had no idea what to call it. Was it cheese or some other disgusting thing that he ate? Without a pause right there, a break in the rhythm of the conversation, we don’t understand at all.
Great dialogue, like a well-told story or a perfectly orated speech, is filled with pauses for dramatic effect. We can’t use those pauses when we write a conversation, but by using brief spots of description or a well-placed tag, we can create illusions of that same effect as if we were standing in the room hearing Rayph and Smear talk about tea and what-have-you.

Jesse Teller fell in love with fantasy when he was five years old and played his first game of Dungeons & Dragons. The game gave him the ability to create stories and characters from a young age. He started consuming fantasy in every form and, by nine, was obsessed with the genre. As a young adult, he knew he wanted to make his life about fantasy. From exploring the relationship between man and woman, to studying the qualities of a leader or a tyrant, Jesse Teller uses his stories and settings to study real-world themes and issues.
Connect with the Author

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Fantasy Art Wednesday | Allison D. Reid

Originally posted by Allison D. Reid:


Get inspired with this week’s Fantasy Art Wednesday, where fun fantasy artwork is combined with a writing prompt to get your creative juices flowing.

I love ruins, and I love arches–they are full of mystery, and beauty. You can’t help but wonder where they lead…what was once surrounding them. The old stones tell stories of their own. This image I found particularly beautiful. Someone added a note to it–I have no idea if it was the artist or someone else. It said, “I stand within the portal of my dreams and I must not fear what is to be…it will be even if I wish for it to be different…more to my liking…but I may not know what I really need.”  
What if this archway is not simply the remains of an old structure, but a portal of dreams. Step through and dare to seek them, prepared to face whatever lies on the other side. Our dreams, even when achieved, never quite come out the way we expect, do they? There is always some twist, some unanticipated pleasure or consequence we could not foresee. There is as much risk in following them as there is standing still.
Dare to approach this old crumbling archway, though it may be more than it seems. Will you step into it or walk away? What dreams would you carry with you to the other side? Will they lift you beyond your own vision to be something greater? Or will they twist and change into something completely unexpected? Once through, will there be a way to return, or does the dream, in whatever form it takes, become unchangeable reality that you cannot escape?
Old Ruins by Ninjatic

The Black Dagger Gods (Novelette) by Alesha Escobar

$0.99


Perfect for fans of American Gods, this novelette shares the story of Babalu Aye, the African demigod, stuck in downtown Los Angeles trying not to fade away. When a Native American deity shows up at his doorstep with tales of conspiracy and deicide, Babalu must team up with an unlikely pantheon to uncover someone known as the Black Dagger murderer...before he’s next.

Get Yours Today!

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Subscribe & Win $100, Kindle, or Books! | Joshua Robertson

Originally posted by Joshua Robertson:


Join the Spring Super Subs Sweepstakes!

Every newsletter you subscribe to gets you one entry toward the three prizes.

CLICK HERE and enter the contest on C.L. Cannon’s website!

PRIZES

Grand Prize Winner will receive a $100 Amazon gift card.
First Runner-up will receive a 6″ Kindle Fire in their choice of color. (or a GC for the same amount if outside the US)
Second Runner-up will receive an ebook library of 25+ books from multiple genres.

Special Feature: Stifled by Rainy Kaye | Renee Scattergood

Originally posted by Renee Scattergood:


englishedstifledDimitri would like nothing more than to live a low-key life in Naples, Italy. His girlfriend, Syd, has other plans. After three months of researching, she is positive she has found a jinn on a killing spree in San Diego, California. Since Syd gave Dimitri the one thing he thought was out of reach, he feels obligated to use his ill-gained talents for her cause.
A few hours back in the US proves that Dimitri and Syd didn’t quite make the clean escape they had thought. As they trail the elusive jinn, someone else trails them. What should have been a simple trip to confirm once and for all if the jinn are living among humans, instead reveals a community keeping dark secrets.
Unfortunately for Dim, the only way out is in.



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Monday, April 24, 2017

Medieval Monday: Easter | Allison D. Reid

Originally posted by Allison D. Reid:


Easter was the most important holiday in the medieval world, with many medieval calendars beginning the “new year” with Easter. The holiday included both serious reflection and joyous celebration. Lent was taken quite seriously—forty days of fasting was strictly observed, and the preparations made in anticipation of Easter were extensive. The days before Easter were largely spent in church, starting with the previous Wednesday when services called the Tenebrae began.
On Maundy Thursday (celebration of the Last Supper) the service was solemn and very quiet, with the altars stripped bare of all their decoration. Instead they were covered with branches. This was symbolic of the treatment Jesus received when he was stripped, beaten, and forced to wear a crown of thorns on his way to the cross.
On Good Friday, the medieval world mourned Christ’s death, and a common practice was to begin the day by “creeping to the Cross” barefoot and on one’s hands and knees. Church services were held in almost complete darkness, with just one candleholder (a Hearse) that was gradually extinguished to symbolize the earth falling into darkness. Only the central candle, which represented the light of Christ, remained lit. The priest would read the story of the Passion from the Gospel of John and lift up prayers for God’s mercy and the cleansing of their sins. It would have been a powerful ceremony. No one used tools or nails made of iron on Good Friday. Holy Saturday would have been another day of somber reflection as the world remained in darkness with Jesus lying in the tomb.
But on Easter morning, everything changed—Jesus had risen from the grave, and it was time for a celebration! Church began at sunrise, with everyone gathered outside of the church to sing hymns before going in for services. The darkness from before was replaced with light and the somber mood replaced by joy. Some monasteries put on plays to re-enact the day’s significance. The monks would wear white robes to represent the women who first discovered that Jesus’ tomb was empty, and that he was indeed risen. The forty day fast was finally over, and once all of the church-related activities had ended, it was it was finally time for feasting. Feasts were usually put on by royalty, lords, and wealthy nobles. Symbolically, putting on a great feast for the community was reminiscent of Jesus washing the disciples’ feet. With no expense spared, it was an act of charity toward those who had much less, and whose winter reserves were nearing depletion (if not already depleted).
Certain fun traditions were observed as well, such as wearing or receiving new clothes and enjoying colorful Easter eggs. Eggs were boiled in salt water to preserve them during Lent, when eating them was forbidden.  They made their re-appearance on Easter, sometimes painted or dyed for the occasion—usually red to symbolize the blood of Christ.  In Germanic regions they were painted green and hung on trees. Children made games of rolling them downhill, or they were hidden (and found) to represent the disciples finding Jesus’ empty tomb.  Egg coloring could be as simple as boiling them with onions to give them a golden color, or they could actually be decorated with gold leaf, as Edward I did with his Easter eggs in 1290.
The celebration did not end on Easter Sunday, however. Hock Monday followed, during which young women “captured” young men and would only release them if paid a ransom (really a donation to the church). On Hock Tuesday, the roles were reversed and the young women were captured. As you can imagine, these antics did not always end well, and eventually attempts were made to better control them—sometimes even forbid them outright.

Use the Medieval Monday Index to discover more topics relating to daily life in the Middle Ages.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Shadow Stalker Part 4 (Episode 19) Release – by Renee Scattergood | Writer's Treasure Chest

Originally posted on Writer's Treasure Chest:



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Bio:

Renee Scattergood lives in Australia with her husband, Nathan, and daughter, Taiya. She has always been a fan of fantasy and was inspired to become a story-teller by George Lucas, but didn’t start considering writing down her stories until she reached her late twenties. Now she enjoys writing dark fantasy and paranormal thrillers.

She is currently publishing her monthly Shadow Stalker serial, and she has published a prequel novella to the series called, Demon Hunt. She is also working on a new series of novels, A God’s Deception.

Aside from writing, she loves reading (fantasy, of course), watching movies with her family, and doing crafts and science experiments with her daughter. Visit her site for more information and a free copy of Shadow Stalker Part 1 (Episodes 1 – 6)http://reneescattergood.com
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Author Pages:

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Newsletter

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Description:
Auren is coerced into returning to the Dark Isle, but when Makari is betrayed and forced into hiding, she knows she can’t stay. Will Kado stand in her way?




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Excerpt #1:

Kado closed the distance between us. “Auren, I’m taking you from this place. You can either come or your own free will or by force.”

Tamir tensed next to me. I held my hand up to stall whatever he was planning. I didn’t need this turning into a fight, especially in front of Jade. Physically she was healing well, but her mind was still fragile.

“If I go with you—“

“If?” Kado arched an eyebrow.

“’If’ I go with you, we have to take Jade as well, and you have to promise me you’ll return her to Deakan on Appolia before we return to the Dark Isle.”

“It’s not possible, Auren. You can give birth any day now. Makari will keep Jade safe for the time being.”

Jade grabbed tightly onto my arm.

I stood my ground. “I won’t leave without her.”
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Excerpt #2:

“Let’s move,” he whispered.

He turned towards the mountains to lead us on a more difficult path. So much for taking the easier route through the pass. It wouldn’t likely slow the dogs, but it might slow their handlers and the dogs wouldn’t stray far from them. By the time we started up the mountain, the dogs were getting closer.

“Keep going,” Kado told me. “I’m going to lead them away from you and I’ll catch up.”

Kado strode off. Jade watched him with panic in her eyes.

“Don’t worry. He’ll be back soon,” I assured her.

“Yeah, but what if they come after us?”

Excerpt #3:

Jade rested her hand on my shoulder and gave it a squeeze. “It must have been hard realizing you knew nothing about who you really were.”

“It was, but at the same time at least I finally understood why Kado was so protective of me. Even then, the Galvadi were hunting for me. And I didn’t make it easy for him. He was trying to keep us off their scanners, while I was doing everything possible to gain some freedom.”

“That’s pretty scary. I wonder if you ever came close to being captured even then.”

I shrugged. “Kado never said anything, but then he’s not one to rehash the past unless there’s something to gain from it.”

Jade sighed. “Does Kado hate me?”