Tuesday, December 31, 2013

What Turning 50 Means to Me

Today, I'm turning fifty. The Big Five Oh! I always imagined it would be a momentous day, a milestone of sorts.

Turning twenty was such a milestone. It was then that I finally accepted that I was an adult. It wasn't all joyous. I joked that it was my mid-life crisis. I loved being a teenager in the prime of my life. Twenty didn't mean I had grown old, but it did mean I had grown older. My twenty-year-old brain figured old would come later, say, when I turned fifty.

Turning 50. Fire hazard?
In some respects, the fifty milestone is exactly what I expected. I'm grateful to be alive and acutely aware that a half-century of life lay behind, rather than in front, of me.

The fifty mile-marker comes with some costs. Things don't work as well now as they did years ago. Joints creak and pop. Muscles complain. The brain learns more slowly and forgets more frequently. Hair goes gray or goes away. And eyes refuse to focus on anything within two feet of them.

But the milestone also comes with some perks. My two children and three grandchildren are perks most priceless. I've accumulated fifty years worth of wisdom. I have a home and a good job with great coworkers.

I'm not old enough to have gone mountain climbing with Moses or talk about the weather with Noah, but I did see the end of the Vietnam War, the Berlin Wall come down, Challenger explode, Watergate unfold, President Reagan shot and all 444 days of the Iran hostage crisis. I saw the rise and fall of disco, CB radios, and Netscape Navigator. I witnessed the birth of Nasdaq, MTV, Microsoft, the first test-tube baby and a cloned sheep named Dolly. I saw pocket calculators, personal computers, cell phones and the internet itself invented--not all by Al Gore. :-)

I experienced the bliss of finding the perfect wife and the inconsolable anguish of losing her. Maybe that's what it took for me to finally accept that flesh and blood are not immortal.

Please be safe!
I've seen a lot, done a lot, survived a lot. I've achieved successes and learned from failures. Thanks to modern medicine, I've even defied death.

So, as expected, turning fifty is still a milestone. Yes, in some ways I really do feel old, but in other ways, not so much. I've learned to cherish not only each birthday, but every day. They're all gifts we're not guaranteed to receive.

Turning fifty means I'm alive. And come bliss or heartache, I'll accept that gift and keep living it as best I can.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Happy Birthday, Angel Baby

Myra,

As with the card celebrating what would have been our 29th anniversary, I give to you this one celebrating your birthday. And being the well-trained husband that I am, I'll not broadcast your age.

Whether it be by cosmic accident or divine grace, we found each other. From the moment we met, a beautiful friendship evolved. And from that friendship came even more.

2013-12-13 Birthday Card Cover

Within months, I had no dream, no goal that didn't include you. We committed ourselves to each other completely, till death do us part. We became one, two halves of a whole, a partnership in every sense of the word.


2013-12-13 Birthday Card Inside

I then experienced for almost twenty-nine years the bliss of loving the perfect-for-me wife. We gave each other all we had and did so without reservation. We loved. We cherished. We thrived.

(Envelope)

Our reward came in the form of a wondrous marriage. We were as inseparable as wet and water. Only death had the power to sever our bond.

It's your birthday, Myra, but every birthday you had was a gift to me.

Monday, November 18, 2013

The Importance of Turkeys

Turkeys were prominent in my little bungalow Sunday. With it being the four-month marker of my wife's passing, I worried it might turn into one of those sad, weepy days. Fortunately, turkeys and family came to the rescue.

The need to concoct some kind of sweet dessert for work and flex my kitchen muscles a bit gave me a much needed diversion. I felt that making good use of Myra's kitchen was a fitting way to honor her memory.

Sweet birds created by a bird brain and his daughter

Grandchildren laughing and sneaking treats under the willfully blind eyes of Paw Paw makes Paw Paw's house a fun weekend excursion. Grandchildren with half a ton of sugar in their bellies are primed for the return trip home.

And if birds weren't enough, grandchildren cure most any sadness

The importance of turkeys becomes clear when family joins forces to face a fowl challenge undertaken by the half-senile widowed man. Time spent with family is time best spent.

All grandchildren should learn to make peace with turkeys

We all had fun. We baked and decorated and frosted happy turkeys. We had insufficient space to accommodate angry birds, electronic or otherwise. Frosting was the glue that held the birds together. Love is the glue that holds our family together.

The turkeys are packed and ready to brighten my coworkers' day too

So, what does a widower do when asked to bring snacks to work? He ponders the importance of turkeys and how they bring family together. Nothing else can turn a monthly mourning milestone into a thankful, happy affair.

For any who are interested, the ingredients for sweet turkeys are:
  • Double-stuff Oreos. (Make sure they're double-stuff!)
  • Candy corn
  • Whoppers
  • Mini-peanut butter cups
  • Dark frosting (We used chocolate.)
  • Icing for eyes and legs. (Yellow, white and black)
  • Frosted brownies or cupcakes. (Oreos don't slide so much on frosting.)
  • Reese's Pieces to decorate the brownies or cupcakes
  • A lot of love and family for extra sweetness

In the event I don't post again until after Thanksgiving, please accept my wish of a happy holiday. May you find a multitude of reasons to be thankful. And don't forget the important role of turkeys.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Three Months Separated

I decided a momentary break from my blogging hiatus was due. I'm surfacing for a multitude of reasons, not the least of which is to convey gratitude to all who have been checking in on me from time to time. Your compassion and support have been incredibly welcome and helpful.

I also wanted to let you all know how I'm faring.

Three months ago, death separated me from my wife of twenty-nine years. For all twenty-nine of those years, I've loved her more than life itself. I've searched for reasons and meaning. I've clung to hopes and promises. I've remembered and I've cried. God, how I've cried.

Her wedding rings are never far from my heart
This tempest of emotions is neither brief nor tame. I'm but an island besieged by a hurricane, its fury unyielding. Moments of calm are only the storm's eye. I've wept in its wind and railed at its rain, but the tempest persists. It always will.

But I am weathering the storm!

It's grueling. It's painful. But I promised her I would live and love for us both. And I'm doing it. Thankfully, I'm not doing it alone. My mother, brother and children have given vital support. And those three precious grandsons of mine are three very important reasons to succeed.

I've chosen to share some very specific things that have helped me succeed so far:
  • The bereavement counseling at Hospice. (Thanks for persuading me to give it a shot, guys!) There, I'm free to talk about Myra and my loss without burdening family and friends. And I've received some excellent suggestions and comfort.
  • Wearing her rings around my neck. Having something of hers that's tangible somehow preserves the physical connection. I hold them, kiss them and tell her how much I love her.
  • I remind myself--frequently--that Myra was God's before she was mine. She was God's gift to me, but only for a time. I choose to be grateful for that time.
  • I write Myra a letter every single day just as if I were on a business trip. Captured within those letters are every significant thought, event and emotion I've experienced since her death. They express my anguish, my love, my despair, my hopes--everything. It's probably the single most therapeutic thing I do.


I've already filled up one 160-page journal, and am well into the last third of this 200-page journal. I have two more waiting.

I have no idea how long I'll continue writing her or how long I'll continue writing daily. I'm guessing that I'll never completely stop.


In the short term, I have a couple very difficult months ahead of me. We've always made big deals of Thanksgiving, Christmas and even the traditional New Year's Day dinner. However, December also holds her birthday, my birthday and a grandson's birthday. Those too were big deals in our family.

This week has been a good one. Last week was tumultuous and I wrestled with some serious anger. Bouts of depression arise--often without warning. Laughter can become tears in mere seconds and vice versa. It's all normal and part of the grieving process.

The important thing is that I am healing. It's an agonizingly slow process, but it is happening. In time, I'll return from my hiatus. I'll resume work on my writing, hop some blogs and again contribute what I can to this awesome community of writers and bloggers that I've come to call friends.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Taking the World by Storm



CassaStorm
By Alex J Cavanaugh

From the Amazon Best Selling Series!

A storm gathers across the galaxy…

Commanding the Cassan base on Tgren, Byron thought he’d put the days of battle behind him. As a galaxy-wide war encroaches upon the desert planet, Byron’s ideal life is threatened and he’s caught between the Tgrens and the Cassans.

After enemy ships attack the desert planet, Byron discovers another battle within his own family. The declaration of war between all ten races triggers nightmares in his son, threatening to destroy the boy’s mind.

Meanwhile the ancient alien ship is transmitting a code that might signal the end of all life in the galaxy. And the mysterious probe that almost destroyed Tgren twenty years ago could return. As his world begins to crumble, Byron suspects a connection. The storm is about to break, and Byron is caught in the middle…

“With a talent for worldbuilding and a compelling cast of characters, Alex J. Cavanaugh combines high powered space battles and the challenges of family dynamics to provide readers a space opera with heart.”
- Elizabeth S. Craig, author of the Southern Quilting and Myrtle Clover mysteries

“I thought the revelation was going to be one thing and I was completely wrong … CassaStorm pushes the limits…”
- Tyson Mauermann, Speculative Reviews

“…mesmerizing story of survival, personal sacrifice, tolerance, and compassion. It’s a rare jewel that successfully utilizes both character and plot to tell a story of such immense scope and intimate passion…” - Nancy S. Thompson, author of The Mistaken

$16.95 USA, 6x9 Trade paperback, 268 pages, Dancing Lemur Press, L.L.C.
Science fiction/adventure and science fiction/space opera
Print ISBN 9781939844002 eBook ISBN 9781939844019
$4.99 EBook available in all formats

Find CassaStorm:
Amazon -



Alex J. Cavanaugh has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and works in web design and graphics. He is experienced in technical editing and worked with an adult literacy program for several years. A fan of all things science fiction, his interests range from books and movies to music and games. Online he is the Ninja Captain and founder of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group. The author of the Amazon bestsellers, CassaStar and CassaFire, he lives in the Carolinas with his wife.



Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Sheena-kay Graham Reavels Sacrifice Her Cover

Title: Sacrifice HER by Sheena-kay Graham
Goodreads: Sacrifice HER
Release Date: December 2013
Summary: When a city is at stake is the life of one sixteen-year old girl worth risking thousands? Deidra Moore goes on the run after escaping from a group of human sacrifices for Bane: God of War. She doesn't believe he exists and sees uncertainty in the scorching desert as a better alternative. But Faux City isn't finished with her and their leader Lord Brinn is ordered by Bane - through one of his maiden worshipers- to bring her back or face dire consequences. In the desert Deidra meets a wanderer named Kane and as feelings spark can they find a safe place to lead a new life before Lord Brinn and his soldiers catch up with them? Yet the question remains. Does Bane really exist and if he does what will happen if either side succeeds or fails? Told in alternating perspectives of both the runaway servant girl and the blonde strong willed leader.

Author Bio:
Sheena-kay Graham was never meant for a traditional job behind a desk. Her childhood career plans included becoming a ballerina, actress or someone who helped people. So naturally she decided to be a writer who writes from her bed. Yes, no desk for this Jamaican book lover. No matter if it’s reading, writing or using the computer....you get the gist. The love of the written word has always been with her leading to stories, novels, poetry and way too much fan fiction. This Christian woman can be found trolling Amazon online, in local book bookstores, watching movies on the big screen, or in her bed, or reading/writing/on the laptop...again in her bed. Mainly writes YA fiction and is ready to unleash her creativity to wow the masses.
 
Links
Cover Design: 
Image of woman with flowing hair (purchased): © Transfuchsian | Dreamstime.com
Cover Designer:  Langao @ http://fiverr.com/langao
And for a final bit of wow factor. Look at what I got for free without asking.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Six Weeks Report Card

When I was in middle and high school some thirty-five years ago (wow!) we received those dreaded report cards every six weeks. Mom had to sign them to prove sneaky little students weren't scamming the system.

It has now been six weeks since I lost my perfect-for-me wife. While I don't expect anyone to sign and return this report card, I wanted to let everyone know how I'm faring.

Overall, I think I warrant a B on my report card. I consider this to be phenomenal seeing as how I expected a D-.

Most expected my biggest challenge would be the quiet, empty house. It's not. It isn't easy, but in truth, the solitude gives me the privacy I need to grieve unrestrained. There are, however, two significant hurdles in my path.

Hurdle #1: I can't keep my mind from returning to the ICU and reliving the event (the whole day, really) that changed my life forever. This is something with which I will have to deal eventually. It's the only aspect of the grieving (or healing) process I've intentionally deferred. It sets me to borderline panic. I will get through this, but it will take a while.

Hurdle #2: Guilt. I feel guilty when I spend hours upon hours moping, mourning and weeping. I know she doesn't want that. She wants me living, loving, writing, experiencing joy and making the most of myself. However, I feel guilty when I do that too, as though I'm ignoring or forgetting or even betraying her somehow. I hope to come to terms with this one soon. It's unbelievably distracting. And guilt can quickly become an unhealthy emotion.

I give myself an A in the regrets category though. Of the few regrets I have, most are not major or significant. We were unbelievably happy and content together. We did well all the crucial things required for a joyous marriage. We also did well in avoiding (or quickly correcting) those things that can divide or even destroy an otherwise thriving marriage.

For Myra and me, love was not a state of being, but an action stemming from choice. I usually call that commitment. Commitment is something we had in abundance.

So there you have it, my report card. I'm still on hiatus (or summer break if I stick with my theme) and am unsure how long I will remain so. Prayers and well-wishes are still welcome and appreciated.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Sunday Surfing and a Hiatus

I almost didn't post this week's Sunday Surfing links. I'm still taking baby steps and haven't done any browsing lately, but a few worth sharing did come across my Facebook feed.

I ask for your patience and understanding while I try to establish a new routine. Virtually everything I've written lately is either to or about my wife. I still want to reveal covers, participate in blog tours and host others. I just don't anticipate publishing much in the way of self-written posts for a while.

I am healing, but I am also still grieving. Myra would haunt me if I abandoned writing and blogging, so this is only a hiatus, not a permanent cessation. I am most grateful for your continued prayers and support while I adapt to life without my wife.

Now, let the links begin:

Famous Self-Published Authors

Promotion: Is Ignorance Bliss?

Typesetting Your Book In Word

Social Media Secrets Part II

5 Ways to Write a Killer Plot Twist

Standard Pages for A Fiction Website

Why “Show, Don’t Tell” Is the Great Lie of Writing Workshops

Three Top Strategies to Guarantee Book Sales

The screenwriter's nitty-gritty for the better bad guy

Evolution of a Cover: MENTATS OF DUNE

A look at the latest Thor: The Dark World trailer.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

KateMarie Collins Blog Tour

And let us begin with Teaser #8...

“We are in an inn, Lord Senyan, in a town by the name of Serenity. It is a mining community, on the shores of Lake Brahl. I...” Senyan raised a hand, cutting him off.

Nodding with understanding, Senyan let the curtain drop in front of the window again. “There is a ruin outside of town, about five miles or so. It was a temple at one time. Do you know where I speak of?” He didn’t look at the priest but rather began to rummage through a chest for what equipment may be there.

“Yes, Lord Senyan. I know it well.” The priest answered quickly.

Blurb for ‘Son of Corse: Book 2 of The Raven Chronicles”
By KateMarie Collins

It’s been almost two years since Arwenna banished the Demon Corse from her world. Life has been good. Idyllic, almost.

The illusion is shattered in a heartbeat during her sister’s wedding. Not only are once-dead enemies back, but they’ve stolen Arwenna’s only child, Sera.

The price Arwenna will have to pay to save her daughter is high. Can she muster the strength to make a pact that jeopardizes not just her own soul, but that of an entire world?

Solstice – KateMarie Collins
Solstice – Mark of the Successor
Amazon – Daughter of Hauk (Kindle eBook)
Amazon – Mark of the Successor (Kindle eBook)
Amazon – Kick the Can (Kindle eBook)
Amazon – Daughter of Hauk (Paperback)
Audio Book – Daughter of Hauk (Audio Book)

About KateMarie Collins

Born in the late 60's, KateMarie has lived most of her life in the Pacific NW. While she's always been creative, she didn't turn towards writing until 2008. She found a love for the craft. With the encouragement of her husband and two daughters, she started submitting her work to publishers. When she's not taking care of her family, KateMarie enjoys attending events for the Society for Creative Anachronism. The SCA has allowed her to combine both a creative nature and love of history. She currently resides with her family and three cats in what she likes to refer to as "Seattle Suburbia".

Twitter: @DaughterHauk
FB: http://www.facebook.com/pages/KateMarie-Collins/217255151699492
Blog: http://www.katemariecollins.wordpress.com

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Sunday Surfing and Deepest Gratitude

Happy Anniversary, Myra.
Please allow me to start this post by conveying my sincerest, deepest gratitude to everyone who has expressed their condolences, thoughts, prayers and sympathies to my family and me over the past two-and-a-half weeks.

You cannot know how much they have helped, especially with so many coming on the same day I had to pick up the death certificates. I'm so grateful to DL HammondsAlex Cavanaugh and Al Diaz for their respective roles in making the "Blitz" such a special blessing.

Today is August 4th, our anniversary, the 29-year milestone, and the first with us apart.

I picked up a card to celebrate just as I've always done. Within it, I spilled my heart just as I always have. I'm unable to hand it to her this year and I don't know Heaven's mailing address. I am therefore putting it on my blog. Surely Heaven has wi-fi.

Even through the ache of loss, my love for you remains.


(Click to enlarge)
Now, for the surfing.

Please note that as time progresses, I should be able to raise the quantity of links back up to their original level. I'm still taking baby steps for now. I'm way behind on my visiting, but I do plan to catch up soon.

Two Words Writers Should Avoid

"than I" and "than me"

10 Words That You've Probably Been Misusing

Author Brand in the Age of Indie (Indie Life)

More on Author Branding

Storytelling Across Platforms

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Elsie Park on Medieval Weapons & Shadows of Valor

Jeff, thank you for having me as a guest! I enjoy you blog posts and comments, and I’m honored to be here.


Shadows of Valor is my debut medieval fiction. I love historical stories. In fact, medieval weapons are fascinating to me. There are five I like very much and try to implement into my stories.
  1. Crossbow: Easier to handle than the long bow. The arrows shot from it could penetrate metal armor. Though crossbows were considered by knights to be a “cowardly” weapon because it didn’t require close-contact fighting, it was a most effective tool and one I would personally love to wield if I lived back then.

  2. Broadsword: A two-edged, 3-4 foot long sword favored by knights. It weighed between 3-5 pounds and was used in close-contact fighting. Coupled with the skill of the wielder, the sword could slice limbs or dismember heads in one stroke.

  3. Dagger: A simple weapon carried by just about everyone of every class. It was small and concealable. It’s multi-use as a weapon or tool for hunting and even eating food place it on my list of essential blades to have.

  4. Flail/morning star/mace: These three weapons are quite similar to each other, all usually having some sort of spiked ball(s) on the end of a long handle, sometimes swinging from a chain as well. I added them because they just look really COOL and they look like they could do some serious damage.

  5. Trebuchet: I LOVE this awesomely massive weapon of destruction, the ingenious device made possible through the use of a counter weight mechanism. It was used in full effect well up to the point of gun powder being introduced into Europe in the mid-13th century. My favorite movie scenes using trebuchets come from the high fantasy “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” directed by Peter Jackson. Awesome!

What is SHADOWS OF VALOR about and how did I come to write it?

Overview: Taking place in 1300 A.D. England, The Shadow (aka Sir Calan), a knight-spy working under the direction of King Edward I, hunts down and arrests smugglers who defy the law and evade paying their taxes. The Shadow’s duty is fueled by vengeance from a childhood experience against smugglers who used and murdered the innocent and poor. Dealing with society at its worst, The Shadow becomes cynical and struggles to reign in his desire to execute lethal justice before turning the perpetrators over to local authorities. He feels his soul turning black with hate in his continual fight against evil. A childhood acquaintance, Lady Elsbeth, enters his life years later, bringing light to his soul once again, but in an effort to keep his identity and duty secret, he must also deceive her. This creates distrust and uncertainty between them, not to mention her accepting another man as suitor. Smugglers infiltrate the castle and The Shadow must discover who they are before Elsbeth and others are hurt or killed.

I have always loved fantastical and historical stories about princesses, knights, pirates, Vikings, wizards, dragons, and anything adventurous in another time. I like to get lost in unknown worlds . . . places I don’t experience everyday. I chose 1300 A.D. England because I liked the clothing styles and King Edward’s wool tax that caused some people to smuggle their goods. This was a great backdrop for a story. I’ve always loved books, reading and watching good movies (especially historicals), so when a bunch of adventurous medieval scenes started invading my head, I thought those would make a good movie or story if coupled with a good plot. But could I really write a full-length novel? I’d never done anything like that before. So on a whim I jotted my ideas down and my first step to writing Shadows of Valor was taken.

Also drawn to the poems by Tolkien in “The Hobbit” and “The Lord of the Rings,” I also wrote ballads into my story and composed the written music for them. I’ve included a medieval recipe in the book as well. My publisher gave me the unique opportunity to compile two of my songs into a 2-minute score for my visual book trailer. I was flattered and elated to take part in it.

Shadows of Valor will be released September 7, 2013 through Jolly Fish Press. It can be ordered from any bookstore including Barnes and Noble and Amazon and will be available in hard cover, paperback and e-readers (including Kindle, Nook, and Kobo, as well as any tablet, smartphone, or computer). I’m excited over the release of Shadows of Valor, and I hope people will love the story and my music as much as I loved writing and composing it.

Thanks again, Jeff, for hosting a wonderful blog and allowing me to take up a small part of it. Best regards and wishes to you in all your writing adventures.




Elsie Park’s contact information:

E-mail – elsie_rees@hotmail.com
Elsie Park's Facebook Author Page
Twitter - @elsiepark1
Blog: Elsie Park

Shadows of Valor at:
Barnes and Noble (available for pre-order)

To schedule a book signing, appearance, or interview, contact my publicist, Kirk Cunningham: kirk@jollyfishpress.com or me at elsie_rees@hotmail.com.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Navigating the Tempest

In memory of my wonderful wife

Some of you know this, but on the afternoon of Wednesday, July 17, 2013, I made an announcement on Facebook that broke my heart.

































I cannot begin to express the aching sorrow that flooded my entire being. Over the twenty-nine years that Myra and I were married, we had become one; one mind, one heart, one soul.

August 4, 1984

Until Myra's sweet spirit departed, I did not believe the human heart could survive this level of ache. It is relentless. A gaping hole rests in my chest, open and raw, so deep that I wonder if healing is even possible.



Her death has shattered my very identity. I now must begin the long and arduous struggle to discover who I am without her.


My children have lost their mother and my grandchildren their Maw Maw. And I have lost a wife. She made me complete and whole, better than who I was alone.


My home is now empty. I long for her touch, her laugh and her unconditional love. I yearn to see that smile from across the table, hear her voice over the phone and watch her bounce a grandson on her knee.


I'll never again smell the magic she made in the kitchen or the perfume she'd wear on an evening out. She's no longer there when I turn to share a joke or a dream or a regret.


I will persevere and bravely carry on, for she'd wish nothing less. I'll love our children and grandchildren for the both of us. I'll smile at her memory and weep for what I have lost.


Losing Myra has ushered in the darkest hour of my life. I do not know how long this darkness will last. All I know is that I'm embarking on a new chapter in my life with no idea of what lies ahead. And for the first time in three decades, I'm walking my path alone.



I am angry. I am broken. I am lost. I gave her my solemn vow that I would love and live for us both. I will not break that vow. I'll claw and crawl through each day if I must, but I fear genuine joy will elude me all the days of my life.

Family and friends have overwhelmed me with amazing support. I wear my brave face for them and try to stay strong--whatever that means. But their compassion and prayers do encourage me to face each tomorrow and for that I am thankful.

Death may have taken her from my reach, but nothing can take her from my heart.

To all who are married, I say this: cherish your spouse and make every minute count. It took just over 48 hours for me to go from concerned husband to grieving widower.


Although I've mentioned Myra in numerous posts, here are a few in which she was prominent:
August is Awesome Because of My Wife Myra
Things For Which I'm Thankful
28 is a Tough Number

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Next Stop: Cassie Mae's Friday Night Alibi

I Write Fluff: 
A Guest Post by Cassie Mae


Every genre has opposites. Not only to satisfy many different readers, but to BALANCE what’s already out there. For every deep and dark, there is light and fluff. Why? Because what a boring world we’d live in if we only had one side.

Like when you head to the movies… sometimes you want something thought-provoking.

And other times you want something that will make you laugh.

Books are the same way :)

Middle Grade

A little more action oriented.

And a light and funny read to balance.


Young Adult

Darker:

Lighter:


Adult

Darker:

Lighter:


New Adult

Deeper:
 


I’d like to think my book could sit right there on the lighter side. A book that balances out the deep and darkness of the other. Something different, yet targeted to the same age group.

Yes, I write fluff, and I’m darn proud of it. In a world full of pain and darkness, I want to give something light and fun, to remind people you can find happiness and enjoy life through it all.

So, when I’m in the mood for a tear-jerker, or a darker book, I’ll reach for those beautifully written books. And when I’m in the mood to laugh, or something a little more fun and light, I’ll reach for those beautifully written books. Because they BOTH bring so much to the genre.

A big thank you to Jeff! And catch my book FRIDAY NIGHT ALIBI, out July 29th!


About Cassie Mae:

Cassie Mae is a nerd to the core from Utah, who likes to write about other nerds who find love. She’s the author of the Amazon Bestseller REASONS I FELL FOR THE FUNNY FAT FRIEND, and is the debut author for the Random House FLIRT line with her New Adult novels FRIDAY NIGHT ALIBI and SWITCHED. She also has a three book deal with Swoon Romance Publishing, including her book HOW TO DATE A NERD. She spends time with her angel children and perfect husband who fan her and feed her grapes while she clacks away on the keyboard. Then she wakes up from that dream world and manages to get a few words on the computer while the house explodes around her. When she’s not writing, she’s spending time with the youth in her community as a volleyball and basketball coach, or searching the house desperately for chocolate.

Cassie Mae

Author of Reasons I Fell for the Funny Fat Friend
Friday Night Alibi to be released July 29th by Random House Flirt
How to Date a Nerd to be released September 24th by Swoon Romance Publishing
Switched to be released December 30th by Random House Flirt
Facebook
Blog

Purchase link: http://www.randomhouse.com/book/231683/friday-night-alibi-by-cassie-mae


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Martin Willoughby on The Evolution Of A Character

Some characters drop into my mind fully formed, others take their time and go through several iterations, causing me stress and hassle, while others are a downright pain the backside.
For Tempers Fugit, two of the main characters, Alan and Mae, were fully formed from the start and needed nothing more than fine tuning. The third main character, Carla Neill went through several iterations before I settled on her character and looks.

Mae, once the book turned into a comedy, was easy. A girl raised by robots with a simple outlook on life and plenty of confidence, an attribute enhanced by knowing her pet robot would always be there to help her. Alan? Shortish, chubby and balding, always feeling alone and apart from the world he lived in. Based heavily on me. (All together now...aaaaaahhhhhhhh)

Carla started out as a blue-skinned alien, morphed into the ship’s captain, then into the woman she is now. Even so, after two books, I’m still not sure what she’s really like or how she would react in certain situations. No doubt I’ll find out the hard way as she reappears in future books. The two half-formed characters left behind in her wake became people in their own right and play significant roles in the unfolding story of love, greed and stupidity.

Carla was always going to be Mae’s mother, no matter what, though how she came to have a daughter went through hoops. Originally she was a blue-skinned alien who first met Alan when he appeared on the bridge of the Atlantic. Over a convoluted storyline, they fell in love, got married, she was kidnapped by a ‘Human First’ group who tried to change her appearance and genes into a human, fell pregnant by Alan, was whisked back in time, gave birth, pulled back to her own time (Leaving her unnamed daughter in the past) and finally gets reunited with said child when she is pulled forward in time by Harold.

I had problems writing that.

Some of the secondary characters, in the original iteration as a piece of serious SF, were too comic for their own good. The evil Dagon, Furteen, and Harold Kennedy, the arrogant controller of time (Imagine Dr Who with a huge ego and no common sense), were more suited to a pantomime than SF. I was told, through aggressive character behaviour and some strange voices in my head, that they wanted to make people laugh...for the right reasons.

Throughout the entire process, the only character who didn’t change was Alan. Why? The starting point for Tempers Fugit was a question: what would it be like for an ordinary person to be dragged against his will into the future? Alan (or me) was that person. How he reacts is based on how I think I would react in those circumstances. Yes, that does mean I’d collapse into tears if I was thrown into the brig by three burly marines.

Writers are prone to say that the character tells them what should happen next, to much shaking of heads and tut-tutting from others. But, to an extent, it’s true. Where the writer doesn’t let that happen, the resulting book seems stilted, awkward and unbelievable and is the cause of much bad (and published the traditional way) writing.

I let the characters tell me I should’ve been writing a comedy and followed their advice. I hope I did them justice. (If not, blame them and the voices in my head)


About Martin Willoughby:

Martin Willoughby is an author of some repute and a legend in his own lunchtime. When not writing he fixes computers, raises teenage children and acts in an amateur theatre group where he’s always cast as the baddy. He’s won many awards in his lifetime, including an Oscar for best actor which he received from his mother as a Christmas present many years ago. Tempers Fugit is his first book, his second, Apollo The Thirteenth, will be released later this year to even more fanfare and approval. You can stalk him on twitter or via his blog, From Sand to Glass.

Twitter: @Willabywriter
From Sand To Glass (Blog)
Tempers Fugit on Amazon UK
Tempers Fugit on Amazon US