Tag Archives: blog tour

A new #romance #thriller series

Staci Troilo is here today to introduce her new series to everyone. Staci is a dear friend, a great colleague, and one hell of a writer. You guys make her feel welcome.

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Thanks for inviting me here today, Craig. I appreciate having a chance to talk to your readers about my new novel. Hi, everybody!

Expanded Excerpt:

“What the hell are you playing at?”

“Me?” She recoiled. “What do you mean?”

“I mean these games. Hot then cold then hot again. Mad at me one minute, interested the next. You kept me up all night, and I want to know why.”

She jumped to her feet. “What are you talking about?”

“I’m talking about kissing then running. I’m talking about the fake-sleep seduction routine. I thought it might be to avoid talking to me, but I wasn’t asking you questions last night. So tell me…” He stalked toward her, but she stood her ground. Stood toe-to-toe with her, but she didn’t budge. Peered down at her, and she merely leaned back and met his gaze. “I want answers. Today. About last night. About everything.”

“Last night was what it was. I wanted—” She wanted him. But the words wouldn’t come. “I wanted comfort. But I guess that was too much to ask.”

“And the rest?”

“The rest of what?”

“Your job. Charlie. Why someone would target Tasha to get to you.”

Her stomach lurched at the mention of her best friend. “I don’t know!”

“You have to know!” He took a deep breath. When he finally spoke, his tone was softer. “Brae, people don’t get chased and shot at for no reason. Nor do their homes get trashed for fun and their best friends get run off the road on a whim. You’ve crossed the wrong person, and I need to know who. I need to know what you did. Did you steal something from someone? Learn something you shouldn’t have? Sell secrets to the wrong people?”

“Who the hell do you think I am? Mata Hari? I work at a think tank. I work crazy long hours in hermetically-sealed rooms with very few people. I have virtually no social life and definitely no clandestine one.” Her chest rose and fell with her rapid breaths, and her pulse raced.

Danny stood close enough to study her face, to look for any signs she was lying. His expression hardened.

Guess he found one.

“What do you need a hermetically-sealed room for at a think tank?”

She blinked. No good answer came to her, so she said nothing.

“What are you working on in your lab?”

Braelyn let out a low, slow breath—a breath she hadn’t realized she’d been holding. “That’s… classified.”

 ***

Blurb:

Some passwords protect more than just secrets.

Danny Caruso was glad to be back in the United States, back to his regular job. Back to his comfortable routine of all work and no play. But when his friend Mac asks a favor of him, he can’t refuse. He owes the guy everything. So he accepts the job, even though it means a twenty-four/seven protection detail guarding a particularly exacerbating—and beautiful—woman.

Braelyn Edwards is careful to stay out of the spotlight, preferring to hide in the background and skip the trappings of a vibrant social life. But her privacy is threatened when there’s an attempt on her life and a bodyguard is foisted on her. Compounding problems? He doesn’t just want to protect her. He wants to investigate every detail of her life, starting with her top-secret job.

Danny casts his sights on Charlie Park, her coworker, her partner… the one man who knows all Braelyn’s secrets. She’s frustrated by the distrust until she realizes jealousy fuels Danny’s suspicions as much as instinct and proof. One of them is right about Charlie—but by the time they figure it out, it may be too late to save their relationship. And Braelyn’s life.

Universal Purchase Link

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Password is the first story in the Nightforce Security Series. A sequel is already in the works. The next installment will be a novella released in March as part of Susan Stoker’s Special Forces Kindle World. So if this series interests you, you won’t have long to wait.

Staci Troilo writes because she has hundreds of stories in her head. She publishes because people told her she should share them. She’s a multi-genre author whose love for writing is only surpassed by her love for family and friends, and that relationship-centric focus is featured in her work.

Connect with Staci on Social Media:

Web | Blog | Newsletter | Facebook Group | Twitter | Facebook | Other Social Media Links

 

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Not doing what I should be doing

While I’m following my blog tour around, I’ve found it hard to write. That doesn’t mean I’ve been completely idle though.

I have bulldogs that need cuddles, a daughter who likes to talk about her big promotion, and my back to deal with. For some reason, my back issue decided to remind me it’s not over yesterday. It’s a bit worse today. This is an important week at work, so it needs to go away.

I reblogged Joan’s post earlier today. Now that it’s after five here, I’m going to mention that it was my turn over at Story Empire. There is a neat conversation going on in the comments about how different we all are when it comes to developing character. Stop over and join in the conversation, I’ll be monitoring the comments.

I also took some time to give my blog a facelift. I found some cool snowflake wallpaper, and Lisa went out to the island and made a snow sculpture for the banner. Then I assembled and scheduled this week’s Lisa Burton Radio.

One of the things I’ve been doing between comments and tweets is looking at my outlines. Something odd happened and it deviates from my master plan. After I finish the novella, I’m supposed to start on a novel called Grinders. This one is a cyberpunk novel about people who do extreme body modifications in an attempt to become better than everyone else. There will be some bio-hacking and such to flesh out the world.

The deal is that it’s not quite ripe when it comes to plot. I have some great characters, locations, and events. It just needs more time in the fermenter.

While I was doing that, one of my problem children kind of grew up. This one started off as a fantasy. Then it evolved into a flintlock fantasy. Somehow, in the past few weeks it became a pirate story and it all seems ready to go. Maybe it has something to do with my new hat stands. There will be magic, some artifacts, and monsters to make it one of my stories. The only remaining question is whether it’s our world or an alternate.

Sometimes it happens this way. I didn’t think this one would be ready for a couple of years. It’s nearly there, and whatever else it needs will come to me as I’m drafting it. I went from one act that I completely reworked, to three acts that are ready to start writing. You know, after I finish the novella called Estivation.

The Hat is still selling, and the reviews are all favorable. I’m so glad that people are enjoying this one. It needs more action, but I have faith in this little story. If you haven’t picked up a copy yet, click on the image in my sidebar and drop 99¢, I think you’ll be glad you did.

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A quick update

The launch for The Hat is going well. Books are selling, and reviews are starting to come in too. It’s a short read, so that helps speed the reviews along. Everyone seems to be enjoying it so far. I got up in the neighborhood of 140 on Amazon’s superhero list, but it’s dropped back now. I decided not to take a screen shot until I hit double digits. The algorithms are strange in that if I sell 10 copies in one hour, the numbers will soar. If I sell those same ten books in one day, they don’t budge at all. Algorithms are fickle.

This is a good reason to hold a pre-sale. All of the advance sales will download at once and stack the deck for an hour or two. It wasn’t that big of a deal to me so I didn’t this time. If it matters to you, it’s a decent trick.

It seems like a lot of people are releasing books right now. I’ve hosted several of them here, and will host several more. This is one of the great things about the author community. We all try to help each other.

There are some traffic jams going on, and I decided to be the one to deal with it. It isn’t fair to ask someone to host me, then dictate when they can post something. I basically have traffic jams every day this week, but I have a plan. I will let my guest have the spotlight here during the day, then reblog content from my tour after 5:00.

You may ask why I’m reblogging at all, and that’s a fair question. My followers already know I released a book, they have a reasonable idea of what it’s about, and whether they might want to read it. Here’s the deal, and it matters to me: I have a lot of followers, and I want to send you guys to visit the folks that are helping me.

As an author, or even an editor, cover designer, or formatter, you need to know a few people to help spread the word. These folks supporting me this week, might be willing to support other author friends in the future. This is your chance to meet some cool people who support authors. I encourage you to visit them and follow their blogs. Leave a comment, introduce yourself, and make a friend in the business.

Harmony Kent is one of my partners over at Story Empire. She shared her review of The Hat on her own blog today. I’d appreciate it if you guys would send her a little traffic and help her blog grow. She’s a nice lady, a great author, and does a little editing herself. In other words, a good friend to make. Here is the link: Harmony Kent.

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Check out Lazy Days

Anita and Jaye are two super supportive authors and bloggers. They’re here to present their new book, Lazy Days.

Blurb:

This novella is the true story of our family’s first proper holiday back in the Seventies. Looking back, I wonder what made us think it was a good idea, but despite all the things that could have gone wrong, we had a fantastic time. I was the Skipper most of the time, and for some reason decided to record our adventures in a small notebook. We were young and without husbands, Anita was a widow, and I was glad to be rid of mine. (and that is another story) Money was precious and scarce back then, but all the saving and sacrifice turned out to be worth every single memory we all cherish.

This notebook has been treasured and kept safe, despite numerous house moves and family disasters, as a symbol of our courage and determination. Renting a boat on the Norfolk Broads could so easily have been one of the stupidest things we had ever done, but even after 40 years, we have such good memories of that time.

Over the years, we often thought of making it into a proper book, but along with everything else in our often-complicated family life, it was something we never got around to. Until just recently, when we were looking for some old photographs, found the now fragile notebook and knew it was time.

It wasn’t as easy as we imagined it would be either, for our logbook writing skills leave a lot to be desired, but there was just enough information entered on those pages to get us started.

Enjoy this excerpt:

Saturday

We had waited a long time for this day to arrive, and now the time had arrived, we could have flown to the Norfolk Broads powered by our excitement. The tension coming from all of us made the air crackle with electricity as we prepared to leave. Going anywhere with the kids is never easy, but we had planned this holiday with far more skill than our usual days out, and researched everything of interest and planned our route to ensure plenty of happy days. For the first time in our lives, we would be miles from home on a boat for two weeks. There would be six of us on this holiday, two women, four kids and two small dogs. There was the possibility of enough trouble there to last us a lifetime!

I wasn’t expecting much trouble from the teenage girls, Anita Jr and Heidi; but the two younger boys, Stephen, ten and Darren, eight would be a challenge, for they have the knack of finding trouble anywhere.  Added to the mix were our two small dogs.  Lady, a cross between a Pekinese and a Yorkie, blessed with sharp teeth and a ferocious dislike of strangers, and Katy, an adorable chocolate coloured toy poodle pup.

Getting them all in our car proved a bit tricky. A big Ford Granada, normally a comfortable fit for all of us, but this time we had Heidi, our younger step-sister to fit in too. She had been staying with us while her mother was in the hospital.

I sensed an air of resentment as the kids tried hard to fit themselves into the back seat. Various elbows were used to show disapproval, prompting a chorus of complaints. For a moment, it looked as if we wouldn’t be going anywhere. The situation looked hopeless. Anita finished packing our luggage into the boot of the car and appeared at my side.

‘Is there a problem here? Do we want to go on this holiday or not?’

No one spoke, but as I watched, a subtle relaxing of tightly packed bodies occurred as they all thought about it. They knew their mother well. She would cancel everything if they didn’t accept their fate and settle down, and if the holiday was cancelled because of them, they would never hear the end of it.

I am always amazed by the way Anita handles her brood. It must come with practice, although I doubted I would ever learn how to do it! You probably need to be a parent first.

Looking at them, resignation on all their faces, I prayed the boat would be bigger than it looked in the brochure. I also prayed I would get us all the way to Norfolk without incident. I hadn’t been driving long, and my nerves were already stretched to breaking point.

We had been up since before dawn and ready to leave by 7.15. As we drove through the dark and empty streets of London, everyone is unusually silent.  Probably wondering, like me, if this could be the biggest mistake of our lives. After several wrong turns and a massive frustration overload that nearly has me screaming, I finally find the A12, the road that will take us all the way up the south-east coast to Norfolk.

The sun had come up, so at least the weather looks like being a lovely day. The dogs are asleep, snuggled around Anita’s feet on a blanket. There is no fighting on the back seat, and I wonder if they feel as scared as I did. The plan is to go as far as we can before making any pit stops for refreshments and/or toilet breaks, so we pass swiftly through Chelmsford and Colchester without stopping. The traffic begins to build up as we approach Ipswich, so we decide to stop for a well-deserved break.

We pass several roadside cafes, but most of them looked small and unappealing but when we spot a Little Chef, we decide to take a chance. Several bladders were screaming, including mine, so we have to stop somewhere. Anita walks the dogs to a patch of grass in the car park, while I escort everyone else to the nearest toilets.

The Little Chef is very American and modern. I have a quick look at the menu, hoping there will be enough suitable food for our fussy lot. They have a selection of burgers, chips, pasta and sandwiches, both toasted and ordinary, so there should be something there for everyone. It would be cheaper to take away, but the thought of everyone trying to eat in the car didn’t bear thinking about, so I don’t mention it.

From the moment we walk into the restaurant, I sense everyone staring at us. They probably expect trouble, or at least, noise. This is always possible, of course, but today I hope not.

Anita Jr and Heidi settle for toasted sandwiches, but the boys insist on chips. I want a decent cup of coffee, which I knew was unlikely. These places call it coffee, but this is usually where the similarity ends. It is hardly ever drinkable. Anita returns from walking the dogs and with a quick glance, appraised my parenting skills. ‘What are we supposed to be having then, Jaye?’

‘I wasn’t sure what you would like, but I was thinking of toast and coffee. What about you?’ I resented the implication I should have already ordered for her. As if I would presume, or even guess what to get.

She nods, so I leave the table to order the toast and while I wait, I watch them from a distance, amazed to see them talking normally to their mother and each other. I had yet to reach that level of acceptance, still regarded as a bit of a visitor by the kids. I hoped this holiday would go some way to making me feel more at home.

Back at the car, the elbowing starts again until they notice their mother watching. It’s amazing how fast kids can behave when they want to! I could tell by their faces that they think this holiday is a big mistake. But we are committed now, halfway there, whether we like it or not!

Six hours and 130 miles after leaving London, we arrive at the boatyard at Oulton Broad. To say we were all glad to get out of the car would be an understatement. The tension hadn’t eased at all and the muscles in my neck felt like rocks. Anita pats me on the back, probably for a job well done and I knew we could both do with several cups of decent coffee if we were ever to feel normal again. Our boat isn’t ready for us, adding to our growing sense of doom, so we pile back into the car to go shopping for a few essentials.

Back at the boat yard, I have trouble reversing the car into the tight parking spot. The wheels skidding on the gravel slope, unable to get a grip is a terrifying sound. For one horrible moment, I could see us in the water, car and all. I wonder if this could be an omen of what might happen to us on this holiday.

There were boats of varying sizes in the boatyard. Some of them were small, and I was getting nervous. What if our boat turned out to be the size of a sardine tin?

We needn’t have worried. Our cruiser was a huge boat, more like a floating dock. Called ‘Sovereign’ and supposed to sleep, 6/7 people.  That remains to be seen, I thought.  The boat is painted a pretty blue and white, with a large cabin area up front with a sliding canopy. This can be closed at night, creating the bigger of the bedrooms. We didn’t understand how at first, but after some investigation, we discover a double bed neatly hidden in the wall. What with all the seating for everyone, we were beginning to relax a little. There were two further bedrooms, sorry, cabins! A chemical toilet and shower room, and a long narrow galley kitchen. How I could cook anything on the tiny cooker was anyone’s guess, so sandwiches and salad might have to be the order of the day.

We finally manage to unpack our clothes and try to get organised, but the storage on the boat is so compact, it’s a bit like squeezing a gallon into a pint pot. This boat might be big but it’s still a floating dolls house!  There is no room for the empty suitcases, so they go back to the car. Before we could cast off, the owner of the boatyard arrives to show us how to steer the boat and maintain the engine. The engine is huge, so much bigger than a car engine; looking as if it came from a boat the size of the Queen Mary! I have the mandatory driving lesson and didn’t disgrace myself too much, but the thought of being in charge of such a powerful craft was beginning to intimidate me. We would be alone, in the middle of nowhere. Masters of our own fate – were we ready for this?

We all agree the chemical toilet will take some getting used to. When you flush it, the pump squirts water everywhere and the kids tell me the chemicals smell awful. I can’t tell if this is true as I am getting over a cold and can’t smell anything. The toilet cubicle doubles as a shower room, so everything will get soaked in the process.

When we open the canopy/roof of the main cabin area, we immediately realise that the dogs will have to spend the holiday on their leads. Understandably, they are not happy about this, and neither are we, but there is nothing to stop them jumping over the side to get to the ducks!

I didn’t think being on their leads would work well either, as Katy leapt at a passing duck and ended up dangling over the edge of the boat, almost strangling herself which kind of proved the point. After being rescued, she tried to throw herself in again. My heart sank, thinking we had made a big mistake in bringing the dogs on this holiday. At this rate someone would have to spend the holiday dog watching, just to ensure we could take them home again. We couldn’t risk letting them off the lead either, as that would probably be the last time we saw either of them.

After a few frustrating minutes, Anita solves the problem by tying their leads further away from the edge of the boat. They could still see everything, but couldn’t jump over the edge!

We cast off from Oulton Broad and make for a place called Geldeston. We need a short trip to get the feel of things and get us out of the boatyard. I keep the speed down while I search for some confidence, but I found the Sovereign hard to control, even at a slow speed. No matter how hard I try to relax, it still feels like being the biggest mistake of my life.

It is beautiful here on the water, the scenery is amazing with loads of ducks and swans, and several horses grazing by the water. The sense of peace and freedom is mind-blowing. There are no houses on this stretch of the river and no noise, apart from the ducks. When we get in their way, they get annoyed and complain something fierce. Despite all my misgivings, I start to relax and enjoy steering the Sovereign. I am beginning to think it would impossible not to relax here in Norfolk.

The sun is beginning to set as we moor up for the night, a huge red ball shining on the water, painting everything with a rosy pink glow. Anita washes the decks, something we are supposed to do every day, and then we go for a walk. To discover we are on the wrong side of the river for the chip shop. Being on water and not a road will take some getting used to. Darren falls over a mooring rope, literally five minutes after being warned about them, so no change there.

In the absence of chips, we go back to the boat for beans on toast. The television is the size of a postage stamp, but the picture is good. While we eat supper, I study my family and can tell we will all sleep well tonight, as everyone looks exhausted. As adventures go, I think this one has the makings of being a good one. Lady looks ancient, straining to stay awake, her little head nodding. Katy, the younger dog, wouldn’t be far behind.

Bedtime is a riot, as the kids discover it’s not a bit like being at home. The girls carry on like a pair of nuns when they discover the sheets and blankets are not to their liking. Funny how fussy they can be when normally such slobs at home. Anita takes charge of the situation, and within minutes everyone is comfortably sorted out.

It seemed like only five minutes later, all the kids are asleep and we could finally relax for the first time today. It is chilly now the sun has gone down. We are moored near a church with a clock that chimes the hours. We discovered this after putting the kitchen clock in a cupboard because we couldn’t stand the ticking. It is so quiet here.

So, we had made it through day one. All things considered, it hadn’t been bad at all, no big arguments and no major disasters. Heidi managed to be seasick for all of twenty minutes, so this was all right too.

About Jaye

I had no intention of becoming a writer. I loved to read, and for most of my life, that was enough for me. More than enough really, for I am a compulsive reader and will read anything I can lay my hands on. Give me a bookshelf full of books and I will start at one end and read my way to the other.

Then I offered to edit my sister Anita’s books. She hates computers, so I offered to type them up too. Before I knew it, my brain began to explore what other things I could be doing.

I tried to ignore that inner voice, for I was busy enough already. Anita was writing faster than I could format, and there were all my other interests too. Gardening, DIY, dressmaking and a host of craft projects. I love to be busy, but it came to the point where something had to give, never mind add something else to the list.

I considered myself a writer when I held my first paperback copy of my book Nine Lives in my hand for the first time. Up until that magic moment, I doubted I would ever feel like a writer. But holding that paperback copy finally convinced me.

My favourite character didn’t really appear until book two, The Last Life, and his name is Detective Inspector David Snow. The fact that my detective looks a lot like Tom Selleck should indicate how fond I am of him. I just love writing about him.

That was then, and I have now finished writing The Broken Life, the third book in my mystery thriller series.  The characters just turned up in my head, one by one, nagged me for weeks until I gave in, and listened. So you can never say never.

This genre came as a surprise, for I lean towards the supernatural, spooky kind of book, so I have no idea where the idea came from. If anything, I should have expected to write medical stories, as I always wanted to be a doctor, and these are some of my favourite television programmes.

My favourite fiction book just happens to be The Scarlet Ribbon, Anita’s supernatural mystery romance. I was the editor for this one and fell in love with it. And no, she didn’t have to pay me to say this!

My life has not been easy by anyone’s standards, and now I am growing old, I sometimes look back and wonder how I managed to get through it all. So, the perfect epitaph for me would be… “She did her best…” Even though I made a pigs ear out of most of it!

About Anita

Hi, my name is Anita and although I am 71, I am by no means a ‘silver surfer’. I have been writing fiction novels for a while now, but never managed to be picked up by any of the mainstream publishers. They all said they loved what I wrote, but found it hard to slot them into a category!  It came tantalisingly close, but no cigar, as they say.

I realised I would have to try something else. I saved all of the rejection letters, because most of them had very encouraging comments. If my mother had slapped me as gently when I was a child, it wouldn’t have hurt half as much!

I even wrote to James Herbert once in desperation and he was so kind and supportive, it gave me the inspiration to continue writing.

Now I am retired and with the help of my sister-in-law Jaye, (who has learnt to be a ‘surfer’) we decided to dust off some of my manuscripts and try to achieve the impossible with a second chance to find out if anyone out there likes the kind of books I write…

How do I write?

I am a paper and pencil girl. You could chain me to a computer for years and nothing would happen! Jaye, on the other hand is managing to cope with all the editing and marketing, but then she has far more patience than I do.  (And she is as stubborn as a mule which helps a lot!)

They say you are never too old to learn, but in my case never is another word for infinity!

What made me want to write?

I love music, especially country music. It always seems to take me to where my own hurt lives. Songs about heartache help my pen run along the paper, almost as though the pain writes the words.

How do I find my characters?

They tend to find me. I was listening to ‘Ruby, don’t take your love to town’ sung by Kenny Rogers and a few days later the characters for Bad Moon popped into my head and just took over. I seem to have an affinity with West Virginia and the people who live there. Just hearing the way they talk makes a connection in my head, maybe I lived there once in another life.

It was the same with The Scarlet Ribbon. The words of that song put the characters in my head and they pulled me in.

Not so sure where the idea for Simple came from, even though it is a similar story to Bad Moon, but there was a girl at school when I was eleven who had a bad stammer, and I often wonder what became of her.

The books I like to read…

I love the stories of Merlin and Arthur, but my reading list covers a wide range of genres. One of my all-time favourites is ‘River God’ by Wilbur Smith, the character of Taita really spoke to me.

***

Pick up your copy of Lazy Days right here, link.

You can catch up with Anita and Jaye at the following locations:

Website:     http://jenanita01.com

Twitter:      https://twitter.com/jaydawes2/media

Facebook:  http://facebook.com/anita.dawes.37

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8638857.Jaye_Marie

Anita’s Author Page/Amazon Link :    https://Author.to/AnitaLink

Jaye’s Author Page/Amazon Link:       https://Author.to/JayeLink

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Warlord of the Forgotten Age

Charles Yallowitz is a good friend of mine. He has appeared on my blog many times, and me on his. If you are the kind who read comments, you’ll find us getting into some fairly deep topics on one site or the other. Charles has what I see as a major accomplishment. He’s completed the final volume of his Legends of Windemere series. As a writer of stand-alone books I am in awe. This series is epic fantasy, and epic in proportion at fifteen volumes.

Many months ago, we got into a discussion about writing characters of the opposite gender. This isn’t something that comes easy to every writer. Our discussion morphed into the following post, and it’s part of his blast to announce Warlord of the Forgotten Age to the world. Read the post, join in the discussion, and get your copy of the book. I’ll also note that if you’re one who likes to wait for completion before starting a series, this is the time to jump on the Windermere train.

Oh, and if you would use those sharing buttons, we would both appreciate it. I’ve released enough books to know that spreading the word is super important.

Thank you to Craig for helping me promote Legends of Windemere: Warlord of the Forgotten Age, which is also the last of the series.  That works for the necessary sales pitch because I want to get to the fun.

A while back, Craig wrote a guest post for my blog about how he writes female characters.  This is a question I’ve seen come up a lot in forums with people asking members of one group how they write characters from another.  It’s almost like readers are surprised when a man writes a strong, interesting female character or a woman comes up with a great male character.  Although, more the former than the latter because many female authors admitted that they find heroes and villains easier to write than heroines and villainesses. By the way, ‘villainesses’ is a word that doesn’t get used nearly enough   So, where do I stand on this?

Honestly, I never really thought about it until now.  Since I was a teenager, I focused more on how the characters acted and evolved.  The gender was important only to denote romantic interests, pronouns, clothing, and physical appearance, but the core of my characters was to make them human.  My heroines had to be able to pull their weight on teams and have unique skills that made them stand out.  In my earliest stories, I gave all of my characters roles and the female protagonists did tend to fall into caster and healer roles.  Only recently did I revisit these characters and redesign all of them to flush them out more.  To be honest, the males weren’t any better, but I think most of us have started out with flat characters.

In regards to the women of Windemere specifically, I started with a character that was introduced in the connected D&D game.  Selenia Hamilton isn’t the best example of how I write female characters.  The reason is because she’s a tough, legendary mercenary who now runs a warrior school, but has eliminated her femininity to the point where she’s very masculine.  A lot of authors seem to think this is the way to go for a ‘strong, female’ character.  I considered changing her, but realized she’s one of Windemere’s pioneers in terms of proving women can be strong warriors.  So, it would make sense that she went this route and paved the road for characters like Nyx, Sari, Kira Grasdon, and Dariana. Does this mean Selenia Hamilton is a bad character?  Not in the least, but it does show one way I used to think when it came to creating tough heroines. The thing is that you do have people like this in the real world, so I don’t see why it would be a problem to have fictional versions.  I’ve met plenty of women who decided that the only way to get ahead is to act more like a man. So, here we have me observing different types of women (men too to be fair) and using the variety.  After all, not every character of the same gender has to be the same.

That’s really the biggest thing that’s helped me write female characters in general.  I look around to see how women respond to things, listen to what they would like to see in heroines, and watch for various personality traits.  This really began because of Nyx, who is easily the most powerful hero in Legends of Windemere.  Seriously, who’s going to try and tell her that she’s not?  Nyx started as my wife’s first D&D character and I worked with her to do the transition from game to book.  I had to keep the personality the same while making it deeper and more flexible since she was going to be facing monsters instead of finals.  It wasn’t easy because the game Nyx wasn’t nearly as powerful, but still ran into battle and tended to get knocked out in the first round.  Mages are NOT supposed to rush into hand-to-hand, which is why the book version knows how to fight and has a massive defiance streak.  This experience led to me doing the same thing, but it gets difficult with characters that don’t have a real-life counterpart.  For those, I paid attention to heroines and villainesses from movies, shows, games, books, and whatever else I could find. I was looking at how other creators handled female characters and went on forums to see what people thought.  Usually, I found more complaints than praise, but it helped me figure out the details.

After all of that, I still came up with one important fact that I use for all of my characters.  It doesn’t matter if they’re male or female.  I write about heroes who stand for good and villains who wish to do bad.  They’re motivations, personalities, and abilities might be different, but all of them stand for something more than what’s between their legs.  I want all of my characters to be seen as strong and flawed, which is why I pay more attention to the core than the fleshy coating.  Personally, I think that should be the goal.  Make a strong character of either gender that everyone can enjoy and you’ve done something special.  Thanks again to Craig and hope people check out Warlord of the Forgotten Age to see how Nyx, Sari, and Dariana do against the Baron.  Oh, I guess the guys will be there too.

Author Bio & Social Media

Charles Yallowitz was born and raised on Long Island, NY, but he has spent most of his life wandering his own imagination in a blissful haze. Occasionally, he would return from this world for the necessities such as food, showers, and Saturday morning cartoons. One day he returned from his imagination and decided he would share his stories with the world. After his wife decided that she was tired of hearing the same stories repeatedly, she convinced him that it would make more sense to follow his dream of being a fantasy author. So, locked within the house under orders to shut up and get to work, Charles brings you Legends of Windemere. He looks forward to sharing all of his stories with you, and his wife is happy he finally has someone else to play with.

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All cover art done by JASON PEDERSEN

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Is it safe to come out yet?

Honestly, is there anyone out there who doesn't know I have a new book out? I've hit it hard over the last month or so on the promotional front. It takes time to write all those pieces. Then I have to organize my volunteer hosts, and participate in any comments we might get.

This is harder than it sounds, because I don't assign specific dates to the tour posts. I give the hosts some loose parameters, and live with what I get. I asked my hosts not to post on Thursdays, because Lisa Burton Radio is that day. My own guests deserve their day in the spotlight.

There were a couple of review posts that I didn't calculate into the mix, but I tried to support them too. I know there has been a lot of reblogging on my site through this phase. If I can benefit from my hosts' traffic, maybe they can benefit from some of mine too. It isn't much, but it feels polite to me.

Then there is the fact that all of the posts were unique. It wasn't like reading the same thing over and over. I also liked the Lisa Burton posters for this book. If you missed any of them, I included them as back of the book material. For 99¢ you can have all three of them.

The tour worked out well for mid summer. I moved about a dozen copies per day at first, and it's now trickled down to one per day. That may not sound like much, but that's all the promo I've done too. I was going to advertise on Facebook, but they've pissed me off lately. They push me to boost or advertise every single post I make. Let's face it, not every post is worth spending $20 on.

You authors out there would have met some wonderful supportive hosts if you went on the tour. Don't underestimate the value of knowing a few people like that. Someday you'll want to make a blog tour too, and there's no time like the present to make a few friends. I owe these hosts a lot, and you may see some of them over here from time to time.

I'm pretty happy as it stands now. Reviews are trickling in, and every book needs more. The point is that I have some. I got within three notches of one of the Amazon charts, but never did hit the top 100. It would have been great, but it could still happen. The Amazon machine is strange. Sell three or four in an hour and land a review on the same day and poof – top 100.

I'm checking for reviews a few times every day, but I'll calm down soon. I always have. The reviews have been positive, and that makes me very happy. This book was a risk in my mind, and those who took a chance seem to have enjoyed it.

Tomorrow I need to work on more Lisa Burton Radio posts. I have next week's post ready, I only need to assemble and schedule it. This isn't enough though. I also need to finalize the week after, and work up a couple more shticks.

I have some editing on my horizon too. Depending on how things go, I may even tackle some micro-fiction for October.

Hope you guys enjoyed the tour. Thanks for sticking with me through it, and thanks for reading and reviewing my newest book. There are more on the way.

Did you notice my restraint? No book title, no purchase link. If you're dying to know, scroll through my recent posts.

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A post of opportunity

When I sent out all of my blog tour posts, I never gave anyone specific dates to post them. I figured I’d be happy that anyone volunteered to host me at all. I think it’s a respectful way of borrowing other folks’ blog space.

It puts me in the position of watching my WordPress Reader so I can support those posts when they do go up. I knew this would be the case, this isn’t my first blog tour. I haven’t seen a new one today, so I’m checking in. If one goes up this evening, I’ll post right over the top of this post with no remorse at all.

Sales are doing well so far. I never did get close to the top 100 list again, but each review bumps the standings higher. I’ve watched these things for years, and a cluster of sales will do it, as will a couple of reviews in rapid succession. Shy of asking everyone to do something at a specific time, I’m at the mercy of the Fates. This feels right to me. Hitting a top 100 list is nice, but in the long run it doesn’t accomplish much. It’s like collecting a badge in a video game; makes you happy for a while and that’s about it. Staying there for a length of time is another matter.

The odd thing is that both of my Experimental Notebooks have started selling again. They are doing pretty well too. I’m not promoting them at all, only The Enhanced League. Could people be following Enhanced League to my author page, then getting a glimpse of those awesome covers and changing direction? I’m not complaining at all, I just find it interesting.

We’ve had some nice comment threads on a few of the tour posts, and I invite you to join in. I enjoy talking (writing) with everyone. The tour should wrap up by next weekend or shortly thereafter.

The air conditioner broke down on Wednesday. This created a huge panic at our house, because we’ve already had one heat stroke disaster and don’t want another one. We got the bulldogs through with wet bandanas, the ceiling fan, and their wading pool. I had an odd flex day this week and was able to be home for the repair man. All is well now, and it was under warranty.

Hope everyone has a great weekend. Try to stay cool, maybe dig between the seat cushions and find 99 cents and check out The Enhanced League. It’s okay if you get distracted and wind up with an Experimental Notebook instead. What? Oh, just click that cover picture in my sidebar. Thanks.

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