Tag Archives: Story Empire

Back to the writing cabin

I got a decent start this morning, and didn’t take time to look at any social media. There is a particular section of the book I wanted to complete.

Lisa met me in the kitchen in her pirate garb, then followed me to the office. “Are you going to include the adventure with Waltus, or not?”

I’ve been toying with this section for a long time. It goes in, it gets cut, it goes back in, etc. The main issue boils down to a lot of making ready, setting sail, and traveling. The arctic is a fascinating place, but the interesting bits are few and far between. I know, I’ve been there.

I didn’t want it to be unrealistic, but have to keep the modern fiction reader in mind. I decided to include a bit of crush/romance because people on a ship are still people. Then I added Waltus back into the story.

People seem to love the root monsters, and their tales kind of reflect the truth, but aren’t documentaries either. Instead of living through the adventure, I had James come across the aftermath and ask what the hell happened. Flattop isn’t maybe as animated as the other monsters, but he did a good job filling his captain in about the attack by Waltus on the ships.

This all played out against a stark icy landscape that posed an obstacle to getting the ships where they need to go. I included some wandering around on the sea ice, and eventually found a laborious way to move all three ships. I stopped after moving the first one, but I have two more to go. I’ll likely shorten those parts up, because readers will have already seen that action.

It was 12:30 when I looked up. “Okay, Waltus is back in. I should probably work on my next Story Empire post.”

“I want to read it,” Lisa said.

“You’ll have to wait until I leave. I need to start researching my next post.”

“Killjoy.” The WiFi went down.

“What happened? I need to look up some data about the Guardian Archetype.”

“I turned it off.”

“Don’t be a brat. You can read Lanternfish after I leave. I need the Internet so I can get my next post ready.”

“Nope, I’m the Threshold Guardian. You can’t complete your task without appeasing me.”

“You’ve got to be kidding me! I can’t believe you… oh. I get it. Now turn the WiFi back on so I can rough out this post.”

Lisa smirked, then spun on her heels and left. The WiFi came back on, and I managed to rough out my post, and even found a decent graphic for it.

Old What’s Her Face and I have a combined errand trip this afternoon, and I might even get the post scheduled before the evening is over. It came to well over 3000 words of new fiction, but I didn’t keep an exact count again.

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A blogging kind of weekend

I didn’t even try to write new fiction this weekend. I only get two days, and Old What’s Her Face was off for both of them. I decided to dedicate my time to blogging.

Most of this is the slow promotion of Grinders. I wrote a post that should go live tomorrow, and I’ll try to find time to share it here. I was also invited to do an interview for an old friend, and that will post next week sometime. My promo is all set through this week.

I’m enjoying this promo tour a lot more than past ones. I can manage two a week, and it’s far superior to multiple posts per day for one week. There could be something to keeping the book in the public eye for a longer period of time.

I also wrote and scheduled my next post for Story Empire. I’m working my way through the Character Archetypes over there, and most of them have been pretty fun. This post was work. The Trickster is an odd character to write about, and there are nearly as many opinions about it as there are writing blogs. I have it ready to post later this month, and there is time to tweak it here and there.

Aside from that, welcome to Daylight Savings Time. There is a bill running through the Idaho Legislature to pick one and stay with it all year. Of course it didn’t happen in time to prevent us from changing today. I really don’t care, but know it bothers a lot of people. I need to call my parents this morning, but I’m dragging my feet. Mom probably won’t adopt DST until she gets up this morning.

We managed date night last night, since it was payday. We went to Old Chicago for beer and pizza. I’m halfway toward earning my St. Patrick’s Day tee shirt. We can go back the next payday and complete it. After that we stopped off for tennis balls and Nylabones. It’s not like the dogs are neglected, and sometimes we ought to remember the marketing is designed to hook people.

I’d like to do some reading, but between feisty dogs with new toys, and Old What’s Her Face, it might not happen.

I noticed that I haven’t had a lot of images here lately. All blog posts are better with graphics, and I know that. So here’s a picture of Otto, trying to talk Mom into taking him for coffee. He likes the ride, the baristas all pet him, and he gets one called a pupaccino.

Mom, it’s time to go.

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Eventide, from the Hode’s Hill Series

Mae Clair is one of my favorite people. She’s a partner over at Story Empire and one hell of an author. She’s here today to tell us about Eventide, which wraps up her Hode’s Hill Series.

I would appreciate it, and I know Mae would, if you would use those sharing buttons at the end of her guest post.

Hi, Craig. Thanks for hosting me today with my new supernatural suspense/mystery release. Eventide is the last book in my Hode’s Hill mystery series. As in the first two novels, Cusp of Night and End of Day, I’ve chosen to use dual timelines with dual mysteries that converge at the end. 

It’s challenging writing a book with more than one timeline. In essence, the author has to plot two separate stories, balancing two separate sets of characters, then find a way for everything to gel at the conclusion. This is even harder when you’re a panster.

 

In the past, I never had a problem pantsing my novels, but Eventide was an exception. It’s common for me to panic whenever I reach the third quarter point and realize I have to tie up numerous plot threads—without a plan. Somehow it always works out smoothly, despite anxiety flareups. Eventide, however, challenged me on a level I hadn’t encountered before. My panic turned into PANIC! Made even worse because I was up against a publisher’s deadline. I swore up and down I’d become a plotter after surviving Eventide, and for the most part, my groundwork is much stronger than before. I’m still pantsing, but at least now I have a safety net for backup.

 

Something that did help with Eventide was working with established characters. The leads in the present day portion of the story will be familiar to anyone who read End of Day. Jillian Cley and Dante DeLuca are back, joined by Jillian’s sister Madison, who made an appearance in End of Day. This is really Madison’s story as she starts life over, after spending three years in a care facility without speaking. She’s strong and determined, her husband’s murder behind her. But the house she purchases is isolated and rumored to be haunted. And when she discovers an old cistern in the basement, it’s just the start of unraveling a mystery that spans centuries.

 

In this short excerpt, Madison’s boyfriend, Roth, has been working to remove the lid from the cistern:

 

“Hey, come here. I think I’ve got it.”

 

Drying her hands on a tea towel, she picked her way down the steps. Roth had hooked a cage light to an overhead beam for more illumination and had a variety of tools strewn around the cistern. He’d managed to remove all eight bolts. Looking at the long ends scattered by the lid, Madison was surprised by how deeply they’d been threaded into the floor.

 

“Did you hear anything while you were working?” she asked.

 

“Nothing.” Roth sat back on his haunches. He’d drudged up a sweat again, the knees of his jeans grimy with dirt, black muck freckling his hands. The least she could do was offer him a place to shower when he was through.

 

“Ready?” He indicated the lid with a grin.

 

In many ways, it felt like opening a treasure chest. A long time ago someone had taken extra effort to secure the lid in place. Maybe it was nothing more than she thought. An old cistern, decades or centuries out of use. And yet—

 

She nodded.

 

With effort, Roth shoved the heavy cover aside, back and shoulder muscles bunching with the exertion.

 

“What the—” His face contorted. Gagging, he recoiled.

 

A noxious cloud of sulfur and decay engulfed Madison.

 

“Oh, that’s awful!” She pressed the tea towel to her nose and mouth. “It smells like something died.”

 

“Not even close. It smells a hell of a lot worse.” Roth snatched a flashlight from the floor. With one hand cupped over his nose, he angled the beam into the hole. “I can’t tell if anything’s down there. It looks about ten feet deep, maybe more.”

 

“Is there water?” Despite the stench, Madison inched closer.

 

“Not that I can see. If there is, it’s a long way down.”

 

A blast of cold air hit them in the face, strong enough to make Madison backpedal. The bare bulbs dangling from the rafters flickered then died. Roth’s flashlight sputtered, failing altogether.

 

Chilled, Madison hugged her arms to her chest. “What was that?”

 

I hope you’re curious enough to find out. Eventide is now available from all online book sellers, so if the story sounds like something that interests you, please consider ordering. You’ll make this author very happy. Thank you in advance for your consideration! J

 

Universal Purchase Link

 

BLURB:

 

The darkness is coming . . .  

The old house near Hode’s Hill, Pennsylvania is a place for Madison Hewitt to start over—to put the trauma of her husband’s murder, and her subsequent breakdown, behind her. She isn’t bothered by a burial plot on the property, or the mysterious, sealed cistern in the basement. Not at first. Even the presence of cold spots and strange odors could be fabrications of her still troubled mind. But how to explain her slashed tires, or the ominous messages that grow ever more threatening?
 
Convinced the answer lies in the past, Madison delves into the history of the home’s original owners, only to discover the origin of a powerful evil. An entity that may be connected to a series of gruesome attacks that have left police baffled. No matter where she turns—past or present—terror lingers just a step away, spurred on by a twisted obsession that can only be satisfied through death…

 

 

Order Eventide HERE

Connect with Mae Clair at BOOKBUB and the following haunts:

Amazon| BookBub| Newsletter Sign-Up 
Website | Blog| Twitter| Goodreads| All Social Media

 

 

 

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Something Wicked presents: Fatal Attractions

Joan Hall is with us today. I first met Joan when she joined Story Empire, and she’s a powerful addition to the team. I’ve read some of the Driscoll Lake series, and enjoyed every bit of it. I need to finish the rest of it, and it’s on my list.

Make Joan feel welcome today, and feel free to use those sharing buttons on her behalf. I know she’d do it for you if you were on tour.

***

Hello, everyone. It’s a pleasure to be here for Story Empire’s Something Wicked Tour. Craig, thanks for hosting me on this final day.


Jealousy is a powerful emotion that is often hard for some people to control. In some cases, it can lead people to do unthinkable things, up to and including murder.

A Belgian woman killed her sky-diving partner because of a love triangle. A Florida man, Brian Bates, murdered his ex-wife when he learned she’d began dating again. A Miami high school student killed his best friend because of jealousy. The list goes on.

In Unclear Purposes, the third and final book of the Driscoll Lake Series a jealous person is set on revenge. They won’t allow anything or anyone to stand in the way of getting what they want. Curious? Here’s an excerpt from the book.

Excerpt:

Some occasions required a person to be an extrovert. To mingle with the crowd. Other times one needed to blend into the background. Being able to disguise oneself had its advantages. The ability to be virtually unrecognizable.

Tonight was a time to remain hidden. To observe.

Three couples sat at a table close to the stage. It was a cozy little scene with lots of interaction among them. The women each had a distinct beauty, the men all tall and handsome. Talk about standing out in a crowd.

Who wouldn’t envy the brunette and her six-foot-four husband? Or the auburn-haired physician and her successful man? But the third couple was the most intriguing.

What exactly was between them? Casual friendship? Something more? The desire to know had been festering for several weeks. It was the reason for tonight’s visit to Pinnacle. To confirm what was already feared.

It didn’t take long to determine the answer. The way Christine and Vince danced together wasn’t something casual friends would do.

When the song ended, Rachel Nichols whispered something to them before leaving the floor with her husband. Whatever it was, caused a change in Vince. It wasn’t hard to see he had gone into alert mode as if looking for something or someone.

Careful. He’s been in law enforcement. Trained to be observant. Wouldn’t take much for him to notice something out of the ordinary.

The inner battle began.

Calm down. Breathe. There’s no way anyone would recognize you. Still, it’s probably best you leave. Your mission is accomplished. You’ve got the information you came for.

The relationship between Christine Lawrence and Vince Green would have to end. There were lots of ways to ensure that would happen. But when it came down to it, there was only one way to guarantee success.

Blurb:

Some people take secrets to the grave…

Three years after her husband’s murder, Christine Lawrence still struggles for balance. She has a rewarding career and a close circle of friends but feels oddly unfulfilled. Worse, the close relationship she once had with her teenage daughter has grown increasingly strained.

Former FBI agent, Vince Green, is battling demons of his own—painful secrets that drove him from Driscoll Lake. Newly resettled in the small town, he makes his living as a private investigator.

When Vince and Christine cross paths, stumbling over the body of a murder victim, he’s forced to confront memories he thought long buried. The circumstances surrounding the killing are eerily similar to a victim from his past.

As the body count continues to rise, Christine finds herself drawn to Vince. With a murderer stalking the streets of Driscoll Lake, neither is aware the killer has targeted her as the next victim—or that Vince’s past is key to unmasking a disturbed and deadly killer.

Universal Purchase Link

Connect with Joan:

Website | Blog | Goodreads | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | BookBub

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Something Wicked: The Astral Conspiracy Series

Your Story Empire authors are on tour this week. It’s my great pleasure to host Staci Troilo today, but she’s incognito. This series is published under one of her pen names. Make her feel welcome, and share this on your social media if you can. I’ve read this one and think it’s awesome.

Thanks for welcoming me here today, Craig.

The Gate

Ciao, amici! For the last two days in the Story Empire Something Wicked tour, I discussed some of the ancient lore woven into my Astral Conspiracy series (specifically the first book, The Gate).

Today, I’m going in the other direction.

My series is a combination of ancient history and futuristic tech. It’s time to delve into the futuristic tech part.

Science fiction can be a fascinating genre, with story worlds as rich and complex as the fantasy genre. But instead of magical realms filled with dragons, elves, and ogres, we’re looking at medical, communication, and transportation advancements.

A Typical Unwatering

Photo Attribution: Phylyp [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)%5D

There’s a trick to writing sci-fi tech that fantasy writers don’t necessarily need to concern themselves with, though. And that’s believability. To an extent. Let me explain.

In every novel (set in “real life” or not), readers have certain expectations about what the world is like. Obviously, the real life stuff is easy enough to deal with—research the time period or, if it’s contemporary, design the story-world to be like what you encounter every day. Fantasy worlds are limited only by their imaginations. If they want something to be a certain way, they only have to attribute it to magic. (Most fantasy fiction has an element of magic in it.) It’s a little different for sci-fi.

Science fiction has “science” right in its name. That means the author has to rely on scientific principles, or the readers won’t buy into the story. Those principles can be pushed well beyond our current bounds, but everything has to be rooted in science fact.

Take, for example, worm holes (a favorite subject of mine, and if you’re interested, you can read more here). Einstein proved worm holes are theoretically plausible. Do we have the technology to use them now? Not even close. But they’re a possibility authors can use in science fiction because the theory is rooted in proven fact.

In the Invasion Universe, a lot of scientific technology is introduced. Some things, like self-driving cars and holographic entertainment, are easy for readers to accept. We’re on the cusp of those technologies becoming commonplace, anyway. Other things (like intergalactic space travel and medical mesh that heals injuries) are barely on our radar.

So, how do writers get away with these advancements?

Simple. It’s a matter of introduction.

Things that take a lot more explanation and suspension of reader belief are better introduced as alien technology instead of human invention. That way, readers aren’t bogged down with trying to understand something that isn’t logically explicable. (It’s kind of the scientific version of the magical workaround fantasy authors can use.)

It doesn’t have to be that way. But it helps. It’s a solution I relied on to make things more acceptable to my readers.

How a sci-fi author handles writing about advanced tech will inevitably vary. The most important thing is to not get lost in techno-babble. Readers don’t want or need a four-page description of how something functions. Fiction is an immersive experience. Put yourself in the reader’s shoes. You want to experience this world just as you experience our reality. In real life, you don’t get a dissertation anytime you use technology. You turn on your television and expect to watch a show. You aren’t told how that happens (and thank God for that); you just trust that it will.

That’s the most organic way to introduce technological advancements in fiction. The characters live with it, so they know what it does and don’t over-think it (or maybe don’t think about it at all). And if the characters come across alien tech, they would discuss it in their own terms. They might marvel at what it does, but they won’t take it apart to learn how it works.

Save that kind of writing for instruction manuals.

There is a lot of advanced technology in my novel, The Gate, book one of my Astral Conspiracy series. I think I introduced these advancements in a believable and organic way. If you’re interested in seeing how I handled it, I encourage you to read the book.


The Gate

He lost his job. Lost his girl. Now it’s all he can do not to lose his life.

Landon Thorne is a disgraced archaeologist, a laughing stock in his field because of his unconventional beliefs – he’s an ancient astronaut theorist. No one takes him seriously.

Until an alien armada targets Earth.

Now Landon’s in high demand – by the US government and someone far more sinister.

They race across two continents to the Gate of the Gods, the one place on Earth that might give humans an advantage over the aliens. But no one is prepared for what they’ll find.

And not everyone will make it out alive.

The Gate is the first of five novels in the Astral Conspiracy Series, part of Sterling and Stone’s Invasion Universe.

Universal Purchase Link

***

That’s some awesome advice that goes beyond science fiction. Thanks for that Staci. We’re all on tour today, and we’d appreciate you finding us and checking out our posts. I’m over at Staci’s today, by pure coincidence of the schedule, if you really miss me.

Connect with Staci online:

Website | Amazon | BookBub | Goodreads | Social Media

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Something Wicked Presents: The Bow of Hart Saga

Hi, Gang. My Story Empire compatriots are taking our show on the road this week. We try to bring you useful information throughout the year to help with your own writing and publishing efforts.

We write books, too, and sometimes need to do a bit of promo. During this lead up to Halloween, please join us on the Something Wicked tour. You’re sure to find something for your Halloween reading.

It’s my pleasure to open this tour up with P. H. Solomon. He’s here to tell us about his Bow of Hart Saga:

Magic is an ongoing part of The Bow of Hart Saga and Corgren’s part is almost always through the use of spells. At the beginning, it’s revealed how much he’s been shadowing Athson and much more that extends throughout the series and into the third book, The White Arrow. But when the book begins, Corgren is revealed disguised by magic which makes for a good subject for Halloween since he’s essentially in costume. Let’s take a look:

 

Darkness groped across the western sky, covering the forest city of Auguron. Domikyas paused while closing his shop doors and listened as the evening breeze caressed the towering trees that sheltered the city.

He clenched a fist. They had robbed him of Lucinda.

The portly Rokan merchant barred the windows, sighed, and waddled through the store. Domikyas passed between aisles of Rokan weapons, furs, cloth, and trinkets, his many wares displayed on counters, and entered his office. He stood by his desk, arranged in neat order and set with carved Rokan relief. The merchant shut the door. “Sa vuss tai nomish.”

Domikyas’ short body grew. His pot-belly thinned. The pudgy, clean-shaven face narrowed and lengthened, sprouting a trimmed, black beard at his chin. Bulging eyes sank above a flat nose that pushed forward into a hook, leaving him with a perpetual sneer. His yellow merchant’s smock of fine-cut Rokan weave lengthened and narrowed to fit the taller frame and transformed into blue velvet.

He opened the door to the warehouse, grasped his oil lamp and found, as expected, two men remaining in the building from among his dismissed followers. Luthan stood snuffing through his crooked nose, his brow furrowed at the stinking slave stooping beside him. The latter man wore a cloth tied over ruined eyes while another rag gagged him.

“Is he ready, Luthan?” The Rokan merchant swept past the hulking guard. The blind man’s nostrils flared with his labored breathing.

“He is, Master Corgren.” Luthan yanked the shackles binding the blind man’s hands.

“Bring him.” Corgren stalked away.

“Come, slave.” The guard dragged the cringing figure by the manacles and followed his master.

The blind man shuffled after the guard. Corgren ignored the reluctant step of the slave. A useful ingredient for what was to come, but worthless elsewise. His lips curled. Disgusting creature.

Corgren lifted the trapdoor leading to the cellar. Muted light from a guttering candle threatened to plunge the basement into darkness. The wizard descended the steps, his lantern shedding light on the clutter of boxes containing prized possessions.

 

 

Find out more about The Bow of Destiny:

 

Haunted by his past. Hunted in the present. Uncertain what is real.

Athson suffered hallucinations ever since he was orphaned, including a dog no one else sees. The will in his possession, bestowed in a dream, can’t be real. But the trolls now hunting him are. A destiny, both inconvenient and unavoidable, drags Athson into an unwanted quest that challenges all his assumptions. Can he trust anyone? Sworn to secrecy by his dead father about the bow, Athson wants nothing to do with it. A dragon and a wizard want the bow – and Athson dead. Running from the quest and his destiny are tempting options. Then he finds something unexpected. Will his discovery destroy him before he recovers the bow?

 

Find The Bow of Destiny on Amazon in e-book, audio and print.

Also in this series:

An Arrow Against the Wind

The White Arrow

 

About the author

 

P. H. Solomon loves reading and writing fantasy of all kinds, especially epic fantasy. If a book has dragons, elves, dwarves, wizards, magic or mythical creatures, it’s in his reading zone. He lives in the greater Birmingham, AL area where he strongly dislikes yard work and sanding the deck rail. However, he performs these duties to maintain a nice home for his loved ones as well as the family’s German Shepherds. In his spare time, P. H. rides herd as a Computer Whisperer on large computers called servers (harmonica not required). Additionally, he enjoys reading, running, most sports and fantasy football. Having a degree in Anthropology, he also has a wide array of more “serious” interests in addition to working regularly to hone his writing. His first novel, The Bow of Destiny was named 2016 Book of the Year by Fantasia Reviews and is the first book of The Bow of Hart Saga. The sequel novel, An Arrow Against the Wind, was released in April of 2017. The third book of the series, The White Arrow, was released during October of 2017. P. H. Solomon also authored the award-winning short story, The Black Bag, which won best published short story at SCWC 2012. P. H. is also a member of Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA).

 

Thanks for stopping by today. Please take time to share this post. Whether you’ve read The Bow of Hart Saga or not, please leave you reactions to this scene and the book.

Find P. H. Solomon at the following locations

Twitter   Facebook   Goodreads   Website  BookBub

Pinterest    Wattpad   Amazon Author

SFWA Member  Contributing Author, Story Empire

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Checking in for the weekend

I had a houseful of company this weekend. It’s just easier to step back and spend family time, than step away from them to keep this place updated.

I usually try to blog around three times per week, more occasionally. With the Viral Blues tour going on, it was pretty simple to reblog wherever I was and keep some original content available.

It occurred to me it might be easier to appear less places per week and spread the tour out. Prior to this release, I crammed about a dozen or more appearances into a ten day period, then went crazy trying to keep up with all of them. Spreading it all out didn’t make it any easier. You try stuff and you learn. It was worth a shot.

If nothing else, it could be more productive, since I’m targeting the Halloween season this time. Maybe there’s someone out there who hasn’t started looking for a story yet. Not everyone gets into Halloween for a long as I do.

All of my posts are original material, so following me around isn’t too boring. By now, my regulars all know about my book. You’ve either gotten a copy, or decided it wasn’t for you. The purpose of touring is to reach a larger audience. My hosts have regulars I haven’t met, or only know peripherally. Maybe one of them will take a chance on me, that’s kind of the theory.

The good news is all the reblogging is about to stop. (Hears a small cheer spread across the blogosphere.) This is because I’m also participating in the Something Wicked tour with my partners over at Story Empire. We’re all taking our show on the road to promote a few suitable Halloween titles. This means I’ll be hosting someone every day next week. My appearances will be on their blogs, but I won’t post over the top of my guests. Here is the Something Wicked tour schedule if you want to check in on any of us.

At Story Empire we try to bring our fellow authors valuable content. Sometimes it involves story craft, others it’s about promotion, all kinds of topics. We’re all authors, too, and we have to promote our own wares occasionally. I hope you guys take advantage of this to meet some outstanding authors, maybe find a new blog to follow, or even just spread the word. I’ll do my best to keep up with the ones I wrote and answer questions, or participate in the comments.

In other news, I have a full work-week ahead of me, then I’m burning some leave time. My goal is to get Serang off to the formatter, then prepare some posts to tour her story around. I’ll have to identify a few hosts and put the touch on them for Serang.

I’m probably crazy for scheduling them so close together, but I don’t see a lot of options. At least my schedule will be clear for whatever comes next.

As far as what comes next, I’d love to get back to HMS Lanternfish. I glanced at it briefly, and don’t even remember some of what I’ve written. Before I take it up again, I’ll have to read it from the beginning to get back into it. That’s one of the bad things about long breaks. I’m pretty sure I’m not alone on this. Promo has to happen, and the break was necessary.

It was a nice family weekend, we had some great seafood one night, and had a good visit. I don’t mind losing some time for that. Hope all of you had wonderful weekends, too.

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