1 package bacon
2 packages wienies/ lil smokies
1½ sticks butter, melted
1½ cups brown sugar
PREHEAT oven to 375° F.
CUT bacon into ¼ inch – ½ inch pieces. Wrap bacon around each wienie. Secure with a toothpick and place in a single layer in 9 X 13 inch pan.
COMBINE butter with brown sugar. Pour over wienies.
BAKE for 20 minutes. Turn up heat to 400 and cook for 5 minutes longer to make bacon crispy.
Here's a little teaser from my contemporary romance for your reading pleasure.
A nationally televised bombshell revealing a secret son turns marriage therapist Caleb Paden’s life upside down. While others focus on the public relations disaster for his company, he can only think of rescuing his baby and providing the stable home dictated by his marriage theories—one devoid of love and emotions.
Olivia Wells might not be the baby’s biological mother, but she loves him as much as any parent could. Letting him go will break her heart. Letting him go to a man who doesn’t believe in love will tear her apart.
As she helps Caleb bond with his child, Olivia finds herself falling for the man behind the stuffy therapist persona. However, he wants nothing to do with her love and emotions, and those are the only things she has to give. If she can’t convince him love is the answer, not the enemy, she will lose both the baby she loves and her heart.
“Scones?” He recoiled as if she’d announced the kitchen teemed with roaches.
“You don’t like them?” She set the tin on the side table and arranged the dishes of butter and strawberry preserves.
She bit her tongue over the urge to tell him how much she detested his books. “I use a recipe my grandmother brought over from Scotland. I serve plain scones along with two other flavors of the day.”
“Coffee will suffice.” He picked up his cup. “Thank you, Olivia, for your hospitality. I’m in need of a room tonight for myself and my, uh, son. A suite would be best, if possible. I’ll pay the going rate, naturally.”
He had no idea what “going rate” she offered to misguided marriage therapists. Not that it mattered. Whether he paid for his stay or not, he had to sleep under her roof. The storm didn’t leave either of them a choice. And she had plenty of rooms. Her other scheduled guests for the week had cancelled due to the weather. “Of course you need to stay. But Liam already has his own room and he’s currently asleep there.”
“From now on, he’ll stay with me.”
Her heart fell to the pit of her stomach. “Dr. Paden, you’re chilled and must have had a terrible drive. Why don’t you relax and worry about yourself this evening. Liam is on a schedule where he goes to sleep before dinner and sleeps through to the early morning. I’ll introduce you to him then.”
He set down his coffee cup with an ominous clank. “I didn’t come here for coffee and scones. I came for my son. Take me to him now.”
She clasped her shaking hands behind her back. She had no legal claim to Liam. But how could she give up the child she loved to such an overbearing, pompous ass?
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Monday, 22 May 2017
Monday, 15 May 2017
Some houses provide a style guide. Double check for any submission rules before sending your book and risking a default rejection. If the house is relaxed on their formatting, that doesn't mean you shouldn't bother cleaning up the formatting any less than you'd bother cleaning up the content.
If they don't have a style for submissions, a pretty basic format is appreciated. Centered chapter headings, .3 to .5 indent on new paragraphs, 1.5 spaced lines, all black text in a basic font/typeface (making it "pretty" won't impress your editor), and no all capped or underlined words (use italics for emphasis).
Here are a few shortcuts when it comes to cleaning up your manuscript. Note: I have a PC, so I don't know if these translate to a Mac.
Extra Spaces: We are no longer a society of the double space after ending a sentence. One space. One. But if you have a habit of adding two, no problem. There's a quick fix. Open up your find/replace option. In the find box, hit the space bar twice. In the replace box, hit the space bar once. Then select replace all. Do that until the find/replace reaches zero.
Tabs: No. Just no. Do not use the tab button when indenting. Go to the top of the document, select the page layout tab an set your indent for the document there. Sometimes hitting the tab is natural. You can fix that as well. In the find/replace option, find ^t and replace with nothing. Leave the replace box blank. Replace all. Then select all on your document and set your tab as indicated above-through the page layout option.
Spaces Before or After Paragraphs: These hidden spaces may seem innocent enough, but if you are self publishing, these extra spaces can cause the designer a lot of stress depending on which program they use to convert your document. Remove extra spaces by again using the find/replace option. Find: space bar^p, and replace with ^p. Replace all. Do the same, but with the space on the other side of the paragraph break. ^pspacebar, replace with ^p. This will give you clean returns throughout.
Soft Returns: These also are pain when formatting. Find/replace ^l with ^p.
As for the document, please, please, PLEASE do not hit the enter button multiple times to start a new chapter. Nooo!!! Use a solid page break. Ctrl+Enter will break the page and give you (and your designer) a clean start on the next chapter. The problem with hitting enter over and over is that while it may push the chapter heading to a new page on your computer screen, it doesn't always work out that way on your editor's screen. If not, your chapter headings end up in all kinds of crazy places. Just do a page break, and nobody has to wonder WTH.
There are a dozens of little things that could also be done, but this really hits the big ones. Follow these tips, and your editor/designer will love you just a little more.
Reach out to her at firstname.lastname@example.org if you'd like to discuss your project with her.
Monday, 8 May 2017
Sharon Ledwith has a brand new series coming in June 2017 and today I am revealing the cover to you!
Here is some information about the book:
Print Length: 203 pages
Publisher: Mirror World Publishing; 1 edition
Publication Date: June 17, 2017
Read the blurb:
The Fairy Falls Animal Shelter is in trouble. Money trouble. It’s up to an old calico cat named Whiskey—a shelter cat who has mastered the skill of observation—to find a new human pack leader so that their home will be saved. With the help of Nobel, the leader of the shelter dogs, the animals set out to use the ancient skill of telepathy to contact any human who bothers to listen to them. Unfortunately for fifteen-year-old Meagan Walsh, she hears them, loud and clear.
Forced to live with her Aunt Izzy in the safe and quiet town of Fairy Falls, Meagan is caught stealing and is sentenced to do community hours at the animal shelter where her aunt works. Realizing Meagan can hear her, Whiskey realizes that Meagan just might have the pack leader qualities necessary to save the animals. Avoiding Whiskey and the rest of shelter animals becomes impossible for Meagan, so she finally gives in and promises to help them. Meagan, along with her newfound friends, Reid Robertson and Natalie Knight, discover that someone in Fairy Falls is not only out to destroy the shelter, but the animals as well. Can Meagan convince her aunt and co-workers that the animals are in danger? If she fails, then all the animals’ voices will be silenced forever.
Are You Ready for the Cover?
You Can Pre-Order the Book, Too!!
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Escape to the past and have a blast.
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Thursday, 4 May 2017
Welcome to the Book Tour for The Sun God's Heir: Rebirth, Book 2 in Elliott Baker's new series!
Title: The Sun God's Heir: Rebirth, Book 2
Author Name: Elliott Baker
Genre(s): Historical Fiction, Fantasy
Release Date: April 18, 2017
Grab Your Copy from Amazon: http://amzn.to/2lEnUke
Visit the Tour Hosts:
About The Sun God's Heir: Rebirth, Book 2:
The Count of Monte Cristo meets ancient Egypt in this riveting sequel to The Sun God’s Heir: Return.
Set during the wave tossed years of white slavery and Barbary pirates, this is the epic story of René Gilbert, a journey that defies time as he must draw on a larger awareness earned in previous lifetimes.
The plague’s dark fingers curl around Bordeaux. René must return home to save those he loves. But first he has to escape a Moroccan sultan’s clutches. In Bordeaux, an enemy waits, filled with a hatred three thousand years old. Only René can defeat this dark power, and only if he reclaims his own ancient past. In this arena, death is but the least of failure’s penalties.
The medina of Casablanca was a warren of narrow winding streets filled with stalls of all shapes and sizes. René followed Akeefa and Abdul-Karim as they entered through a constricted archway and left behind the blinding sunlight. René stopped to take it all in. A thousand sights and sounds assaulted him at once. An intense level of energy and human striving filled the air. The sounds and smells were strident, immediate. A cacophony reverberated from the walls as metalworkers hammered on copper and brass and iron. Jewelers, leather workers, and weaponsmiths all contributed to the din of men and animals pursuing their desires. The enticing smells of food and coffee pervaded the space. Booth after booth of delicacies was on display along with the occasional goat carcass that hung from the canopy poles waiting for the butcher’s cleaver.
“This is overwhelming.” René sucked in a deep breath. “Something smells good. Perhaps we might sit and have a coffee while I try to make sense of this incredible place.”
“That is an excellent idea.” Abdul-Karim grinned. “I know just the place and ’tis not far from here.”
“More food,” Akeefa said with some exasperation. “You promised I would be able to shop and you know I cannot go off on my own. Some stupid man would say or do something and after I had killed him, we would spend the morning yelling or fighting or both. With you two, I will at least have some measure of freedom.”
René gazed sideways at Akeefa. He knew her well enough not to doubt the possibility of her statement, but he hoped she spoke in jest.
Abdul-Karim grimaced like he had bitten into a lemon. He turned to René. “You must trust my experience in this. Given the amount of walking and waiting we face, you will definitely need nourishment.”
René laughed. “Perhaps we might feed Abdul-Karim so we may better attack this shopping from a position of strength.”
“Oh, all right.” Akeefa rolled her eyes. “My master taught me when to make a strategic retreat and this is clearly one of those times. I will want, however, to see that stamina later. Understood?” She glared at Abdul-Karim.
Her effort was wasted on her older brother. Abdul-Karim’s demeanor changed to one of joyful expectation. “I know just the place. Best pastries in Morocco. This way.”
René glanced around. Even over the din and chaotic movement of the medina, he had the sensation they were being watched. The fact that he was a Frenchman was immaterial. There were many different nationalities present within the medina. Non, he, René Gilbert, was being observed.
“Do you believe they will attack again so soon?” asked René.
“The Hashashin that attacked us on the quay in Larache were paid by the sultan’s younger brother Ismail. I do not sense that level of organization. There are many bands of robbers and slavers within Morocco. It can be a difficult place to live,” said Abdul-Karim. “And there are those in Rabat who will not allow our victory over their brethren go unrevenged, regardless of the sultan’s orders.”
Both men loosened their blades while Akeefa huffed at the conventions that prevented her from carrying a sword. Still, an attacker would find her armed.
“Let us sit at that tavern.” Abdul-Karim pointed across the lane. “It has good sight lines and there are avenues of escape if necessary.”
Once seated, Abdul-Karim ordered coffee and an assortment of cakes.
Akeefa pursed her lips.
“What? We might as well eat something while we wait.”
The square had grown quieter as people found their business called them elsewhere. Men collected in small groups. So far, the numbers of their enemies were not overwhelming and René was content to wait. He glanced at Abdul-Karim. The smile on his face evidenced a gleeful anticipation at the prospect of combat. His friend genuinely liked to fight.
“It appears someone is willing to invest a great deal of money in our removal. As much as I would like to engage in this contest—” Abdul-Karim glanced over at his sister. “And we have them outmanned, father would advise us to retreat and gather reinforcements.”
Abdul-Karim inclined his head. They stood as groups of men moved to block the exits.
“We may not be offered that opportunity.” Akeefa slipped her hand beneath her burka.
“Let us make our way toward the medina’s entrance. If we reach the confines of the arch, we gain a slight advantage in the number of our enemy able to come against us.” René’s rapier was in his hand.
The scimitar Abdul-Karim pulled from his sash reflected sunlight along its razor sharp edge. A wicked looking dagger appeared in Akeefa’s hand. René eased left of Akeefa leaving a sword length between them as Abdul-Karim stepped to her right.
The square was now empty except for the growing number of armed men drawing their swords. René studied the upper stories of the souk. No musket barrels protruded from those windows.
René counted thirty men circling them and moving closer. “Akeefa, move to the front and make first contact. A moment’s confusion having you walk before us will be useful. It is not that unusual for a woman to carry a dagger. Perhaps you might hold it a little less respectfully.”
“I will do my clumsy best.” Akeefa managed to move to the front, intentionally tripping on her burka.
The number of men waiting before the medina’s arch had increased to ten. Smug smiles played on their faces. Apparently they found humor in two men so cowardly as to hope a woman would protect them. One eager young mercenary swaggered out to meet Akeefa.
“Throw down your weapons and your deaths will be easier,” said the man as he waved his scimitar toward Akeefa. He ignored the dagger that shook in her trembling hand.
“D…do you intend to kill us all?” Akeefa stuttered in a high-pitched voice.
The fool preened, sticking his chest out. “Drop your weapons.”
In the briefest space of time, Akeefa moved to within striking distance and slit his throat, relieving him of his weapon before his body crumpled into the dust. The others froze at the speed and skill with which she had dispatched one of their own. In that timeless moment of inaction, René and Abdul-Karim each killed two men of the nine left standing before the arch.
René looked up. More armed men ran toward the arch. He paused and settled within, allowing his training to govern his actions. He sensed more than saw Akeefa adjust her clothing.
She ripped the scarf from her face and stood in as wide a stance as the burka allowed. She reversed the scimitar and jammed it between her legs, slicing the thin material to the ground. Thus unencumbered, she returned to the fight.
René nodded and on cue they formed a circle, defending each other as well as dispatching those who came against them. They narrowed the access lanes which caused their attackers to fight each other to get at them.
“Move toward the arch,” said René.
There were too many swords slashing at them. Their progress was slow. These men were not the highly trained Hashashin, but they were experienced enough that their numbers would eventually prevail.
Although René had no desire to kill, this fight did not grant him that moral luxury. He picked up a second sword and wielded both with withering accuracy. The attackers who faced Akeefa died with an expression of bewilderment.
Still, too many swords. Every moment reduced their chances.
Meet the Author:
Award winning novelist and international playwright Elliott Baker grew up in Jacksonville, Florida. With four musicals and one play published and produced in the United States, New Zealand, Portugal, England, and Canada, Elliott is pleased to release his first novels. The Sun God’s Heir: Return, book one of the trilogy, was released this past January, and book two, Rebirth will come out on April 18th, followed in July by the third and final book of the series, Redemption. A member of the Authors Guild and the Dramatists Guild, Elliott lives in New Hampshire with his wife Sally Ann.
(P.S. - Book 1 is Free!)
Book One, Return https://books.pronoun.
Book Two, Rebirth https://books.pronoun.
You can find Elliott at the following places:
Book Two, Rebirth https://books.pronoun.
You can find Elliott at the following places:
Monday, 1 May 2017
Last week’s post marked a day of remembering the Holocaust victims during World War Two. You can read it HERE if you missed it. In that post, my friend and fellow author, Carol Browne and I wrote a poignant piece about two people we chose who had survived the terrible Holocaust, and went on to make a difference to the world in their own way.
I picked the latest book in The Last Timekeepers young adult time travel series, The Last Timekeepers and the Dark Secret for my annual May Goodreads Giveaway because the story touches on the lives of people who not only endured World War Two, but fought the Nazis on their own ground. I touch briefly on the Jewish round-ups, the injustices, and what my characters experienced on their time travel mission in Amsterdam during 1942. If you think you’d be interested in going back in time and fighting the Nazis with my time traveling crew, then I urge you to enter my giveaway for a chance to win a signed copy.
Thank you for taking the time to read my blog. Cheers, and good luck!
Monday, 24 April 2017
|Entrance to a death camp. Translation: Work Brings Freedom|
April 24th marks Holocaust Remembrance Day. To honour this day, I approached my author friend, Carol Browne, who wrote a book about a Holocaust survivor, to ask if she’d like to get together to do an article about two people who had survived the Holocaust and made a substantial difference in this world. Carol was totally on board, so we put our heads together, and these are the two heroic people we chose…
Born in Sighet, Romania on 30th September, 1928, Elie Wiesel was a student of religion. In 1940 his family was forced to live in a Jewish ghetto, along with many others, but worse was to come in May, 1944, when Jews living in Sighet were deported to Auschwitz concentration camp. Elie was then aged fifteen. He and his father were used as slave labourers there before being sent on a forced march to Buchenwald, where his father was so badly beaten by a German soldier he died. The camp was liberated three months later and Elie was free, but he had lost his parents and youngest sister to the Holocaust. His two older sisters miraculously survived.
Elie was a student at the Sorbonne, 1948-51, and began a career in journalism. In 1960 his book La Nuit (Night) was published. It told of his experiences during the Holocaust and became an international bestseller. Two novels followed: Dawn (1961) and Day (1962). Altogether these books comprised a trilogy that looked closely at man’s inhumanity to man.
Wiesel became an American citizen in 1963. He went on to write many books and became a revered activist and public orator, speaking out against injustices all over the world. In 1978, Jimmy Carter appointed him as chair of the President's Commission on the Holocaust. Among his many awards were the U.S. Presidential Medal of Freedom and the French Legion of Honour's Grand Croix. He held teaching posts at a number of universities and, together with his wife Marion, founded the Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity, to combat the intolerance and injustice that so concerned him.
In 1986, Wiesel’s activism finally won him the Nobel Peace Prize.
On July 2, 2016, Wiesel died at his home in Manhattan, aged 87. In spite of horrendous experiences in the death camps, he had not lost his faith in humanity and never failed in his duty to his fellow man. To quote the citation of his Nobel Peace Prize, “Wiesel is a messenger to mankind. His message is one of peace, atonement and human dignity. His belief that the forces fighting evil in the world can be victorious is a hard-won belief.”
|Otto and Anne Frank|
You may have heard of Otto Heinrich Frank through his famous daughter, Anne. After his liberation from Auschwitz, Otto made his way back to Amsterdam, June 3rd, 1945, to find out that his wife and later his two daughters had perished in the death camps. Otto slowly learned to live with his grief. “There is no point in brooding”, he wrote to a friend on March 16, 1946. “We have to go to living, go on building. We don’t want to forget, but we mustn’t let our memories lead us to negativism.”
On the same day Otto Frank learned of his daughters’ deaths, Miep Gies, a trusted employee and dear friend, gave him Anne’s red-and-light-green checkered diary, her notebooks, and 327 loose sheets of onionskin paper Miep had rescued and kept safe in her desk drawer. Otto went to work on putting the papers in some kind of order, and typed out a manuscript which he had professionally edited. After Otto gave a copy of the corrected manuscript to several friends and relatives to read, he was urged to publish the diary by a professor friend, who said, “It was the most moving document about that time I know, and a literary masterpiece.”
Originally published with the title Het Achterhuis (The House Behind) in March 1947, the first American edition appeared in 1952 under the title Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl. Believe it or not, the diary didn’t become a bestseller until it was adapted for the stage and performed throughout the world. On May 3, 1957, the Anne Frank Foundation was established to preserve the building (263 Prinsengracht) where the Franks hid during the war. Otto Frank insisted that the foundation also establish a centre that would promote contact among young people of different countries and religious backgrounds to prevent intolerance and discrimination. On May 3, 1960, the Anne Frank House opened as a museum and to this date receives over a million visitors each year. In the end, the Nazi terror could not silence Anne’s voice, thanks to her father’s deep devotion to bring Anne’s words out into the world.
About the Authors:
Born in Stafford in the UK, Carol Browne was raised in Crewe, Cheshire, which she thinks of as her home town. Interested in reading and writing at an early age, Carol pursued her passions at Nottingham University and was awarded an honours degree in English Language and Literature. Now living and working in the Cambridgeshire countryside, Carol usually writes fiction and is a contracted author at Burning Willow Press. Being Krystyna, published by Dilliebooks on 11th November, 2016, is her first non-fiction book.
Being Krystyna; A story of survival in WWII
It’s 2012, the year of the London Olympics, and for young Polish immigrant Agnieszka, visiting fellow countrywoman Krystyna in a Peterborough care home is a simple act of kindness. However, the meeting proves to be the beginning of a life-changing experience.
Krystyna’s stories about the past are not memories of the good old days but recollections of war-ravaged Europe: The Warsaw Ghetto, Pawiak Prison, Ravensbrück Concentration Camp, and the death march to freedom.
The losses and ordeals Krystyna suffered and what she had to do to survive, these are horrors Agnieszka must confront when she volunteers to be Krystyna’s biographer.
Will Agnieszka find a way to accomplish her task, and, in this harrowing story of survival, what is the message for us today?
Sharon Ledwith is the author of the middle-grade/young adult time travel adventure series, THE LAST TIMEKEEPERS, and the teen psychic mystery series, MYSTERIOUS TALES FROM FAIRY FALLS. When not writing, researching, or revising, she enjoys reading, exercising, anything arcane, and an occasional dram of scotch. Sharon lives a serene, yet busy life in a southern tourist region of Ontario, Canada, with her hubby, one spoiled yellow Labrador and a moody calico cat.
Learn more about Sharon on her WEBSITE and BLOG. Stay connected on FACEBOOK, TWITTER, GOOGLE+, and GOODREADS. Check out THE LAST TIMEKEEPERS TIME TRAVEL SERIES Facebook page.
The Last Timekeepers and the Dark Secret, Book #2:
Fourteen year-old Jordan Jensen always considered himself a team player on and off the field, until the second Timekeeper mission lands him in Amsterdam during World War Two. Pulled into the world of espionage, torture, and intolerance, Jordan and the rest of the Timekeepers have no choice but to do whatever they can to stay one step ahead of the Nazis in order to find and protect a mysterious book.
With the help of the Dutch Resistance, an eccentric baron, Nordic runes, and an ancient volume originating from Atlantis, Jordan must learn that it takes true teamwork, trust, and sacrifice to keep time safe from the evils of fascism. Can Jordan find the hero within to conquer the darkness surrounding the Timekeepers? If he doesn’t, then the terrible truth of what the Nazis did will never see the light of day.
Monday, 17 April 2017
Welcome to the book tour for Uncharted by Justine Alley Dowsett and Murandy Damodred.
Author Name: Justine Alley Dowsett & Murandy Damodred
Page Count: 344 pgs.
Genre(s): Fantasy, Romance, Historical, Comedy, Adventure, Swashbuckling, Polyamoury
Release Date: April 17, 2017
Follow the Tour:
About the Book:
Fated to be a Priestess of Saegard, Meredith dreams of leading a normal life with a family and a home of her own, something she’ll never have if she swears her life to the Order. A chance encounter with a stranger in the sacred Celestial Chamber sends her previously well-ordered life into a tailspin of adventure and mayhem as she is blamed for the theft of a legendary artifact.
Now a fugitive, Meredith must join forces with Captain Reginald Lawrence, the son of the man who initially brought her to the Temple, and his enigmatic business partner, the charming yet at times infuriating, Grey Rhodes, to find the Celestial Bowl and clear her name. From the cosmopolitan capital of Saegard to the coast of Ismera and back again, Meredith’s journey will reveal the true nature of her past, present, and ultimately, her future.
Guest Post: Writing Uncharted Together by Justine Alley Dowsett
Murandy Damodred and I wrote our fantasy / romantic comedy novel, Uncharted, together. This is not our first co-written novel. In fact, it’s our fifth, so we’ve got a system worked out for how we do it.
First we split up the characters:
Since we write primarily romance, our stories have at least a male protagonist and a female protagonist, so for Murandy and I what works best is to divide the characters by gender. Murandy tends to write the female main character or characters and I write the male ones. This way, we split up the work and while writing, it’s easier and more interesting to have conversations with each other.
For Uncharted, that’s Meredith as the protagonist and Reginald and Grey as the lead male characters.
We discuss the story and the world and decide where we want to start:
Generally speaking, any planning we do as far as coming up with the concept of the story and who the characters are has been done before this point, but now that we know who’s who, we can flesh things out. We bounce ideas off of one another to decide where the story begins and where the inciting incident is.
In Uncharted, we started with the prologue. We wanted to show the moment that sets Meredith on her journey, as that journey was going to be central to the plot.
I set the scene:
As the narrator, it’s my job to describe the setting and to set the scene for the character(s).
From the prologue of Uncharted:
Noiseless on slippered feet, Meredith darted swiftly to the oversized double doors of the Celestial Chamber. She glanced once quickly over each shoulder to make sure she was still alone in the Great Hall before she gave the wide gilded handle a tug and felt the latch give way. With a grimace of effort, she pulled the heavy door open just enough to allow herself to squeeze into the chamber beyond.
Expecting darkness, moonlight dazzled her senses. The silvery light pooled in the middle of a wide and perfectly round central platform, serving to bring focus to the reason for this room’s existence: an ethereal-looking blue bowl lined with silver and filled with glittering water.
The Celestial Bowl beckoned to Meredith from its place on the solitary stone pedestal in the centre of the chamber. The sound of rushing water from the underground river that surfaced briefly in this room filled her ears as she let the heavy door fall quietly shut behind her.
Murandy decides what her character is thinking, doing, or saying:
In response to the information I’ve given her in my description of the scene, Murandy decides what happens next based on her character’s motivations.
I shouldn’t be in here, a small voice in the back of her mind reminded her, even as she took a step toward the glittering artifact. It’s only that I just can’t help but question if this life is for me. I want a family, a home…and a husband. I owe the Order for what they’ve done for me, but if I stay here and become a Priestess, I can’t have any of those things.
If I can just have a look at my destiny tonight, then maybe the path I should take will become clear. Besides, she countered the nagging sound of her conscience, if I wait until tomorrow’s ceremony to see my future, it will be too late to change it.
I let her know how the world or the characters around her react:
Her decision made, Meredith closed the distance between herself and the bowl with purpose, crossing the small, railless stone bridge spanning a gap over the rushing water beneath. As she neared the bowl, she kept her eyes fixated on the calm, reflective surface of the water within, not wanting to chance missing even the slightest bit of whatever vision it might grant her. Moonlight glinted off the silver interior of the bowl, making the room seem brighter than it actually was. As if in a trance, she lost herself in the beauty of the dancing light and that was when she saw it.
A man, no…only his torso, wearing a dark grey suit coat buttoned over his left breast. He stood with pride in his bearing, but beyond the grey coat and a single purple flower in his lapel the image cut off at the neck and didn’t show his face. Meredith leaned forward, trying to get a better angle.
The vision, if that’s what it was, continued and she saw herself from behind, unmistakeable with her lengthy waves of chocolate brown hair cascading over the hood of her light grey Priestess cloak. The vision of herself flung herself at this man and his arms reached up to hold her. Engrossed now, Meredith leaned directly over the bowl, determined to get a glimpse at the face of her mystery man when the image in the silver-lined water abruptly disappeared.
And so it goes:
Back and forth, the action and dialogue unfold as control of the scene is passed between us. And when one scene ends, we repeat the process, deciding where to start, setting the scene, adding thoughts, actions and dialogue, and responding. This is what works for Murandy and I, but there are lots of ways to co-write and divide the work. The trick is to work with someone you can rely on, trust, and generally get along with because co-writing takes a lot of compromise and being on the same page.
Read an Excerpt:
The door to her ‘room’ on The Clover was just as she remembered it, although it seemed much smaller now that she was older. No larger than a water closet, the addition on the backside of the Captain’s Quarters that had been built for her was still there as though, after all this time, it was waiting for her return.
Reaching for the small brass ring that served as a handle, Meredith pulled the half-sized door open and was dismayed to find that there was no way she’d fit inside the small space. It was filled to the brim with all manner of junk. Tackle boxes, rope, a crate filled with empty bottles, and a pile of soiled linen; her ‘bedroom’ had been repurposed into the ship’s dumping ground.
This is my room. For no reason that she could fully articulate, Meredith felt indignant. Even if it’s been more than ten years, it was built for me and I’m taking it back! The irrational desire to re-stake her claim on something that hadn’t been hers for a decade took over and she grabbed the nearest thing to her and turned with purpose, ready to hoist a crate filled with empty liquor bottles over the railing and into the water below.
“Whoa, hold on just a minute!” Captain Laurent’s son grabbed hold of her arm before she could gain the height she needed to throw the crate overboard.
His noble friend, minus his navy suit jacket now, stood just behind him, almost as if staying out of her range. His white shirt was nearly clean, though she could see where brownish grey stew coloured the frills of his collar. Meredith felt only slightly guilty about her little ‘outburst’. He deserved it…he’s a jerk.
“No,” she stated, imploring him to listen, “you destroyed my room and I’m taking it back. It’s the only home I ever really had.”
“Your…room?” A light went on behind the young Captain’s eyes. “That’s why it had a bed in there…I always thought it was a dog house. Didn’t know why my dad would’ve wanted a dog aboard a ship, but he was always doing all sorts of foolish things.”
“Like taking in strays?” Meredith demanded, arching a brow disdainfully in his direction. “Is that what you’re implying?”
“Ah, no!” Reginald’s eyes went wide, his hands going up in a defensive fashion. “No, of course not! My dad was always winning strange sorts of stuff in poker tournaments. He was gambler.”
“Are you now implying that I was bought or won in a card game, like some sort of…child slave?”
His eyes bugged even further out of his head, if that was possible, and his cheeks flushed. “Ah…no…I mean…you weren’t, were you?”
“Of course not!”
“So now that we’ve established that you aren’t a stray dog or a child slave,” the noble interjected in a no-nonsense tone of voice, his grey eyes dark, “do you mind telling us who you are and what you’re doing here?”
Meredith fought the urge to laugh because the bit of mushy carrot in his hair was so at odds with his expression.
“I am here because I need passage out of Saegard. I fell in the water, got drenched, then walked here during the night. I was cold, wet, and badly bruised…from my fall. No one was around on deck, so I thought I would warm up inside. I took my clothes off to dry so I wouldn’t catch a cold and I used the silks because they were all I could find. That’s when I fell asleep. And I would have told you all of that, if you weren’t being such a jerk!”
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Justine Alley Dowsett
From obtaining her BA in Drama at the University of Windsor to becoming an entrepreneur in video game production and later, publishing, Justine Alley Dowsett's unswerving ambition has always led her to pursue her dreams. She lives in Windsor, Ontario and dedicates her time to writing and publishing fiction novels. When not focusing on growing her business, she enjoys role-playing with friends and developing new ideas to write about.
With a background in Drama and Communications from the University of Windsor, Murandy Damodred enjoys fantasy fiction with strong romantic subplots. She is an avid role-player and is happiest when living vicariously through her characters. Though she'd rather think of herself as the heroine of her next novel, in the real world she is an expert in sales and management living in Windsor, Ontario.
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