29 November, 2015

James Bond 007's #Spectre - Some Thoughts

Let me begin this one at the very beginning.

My introduction to the 007 Adventure began back in the 80's, and it was Roger Moore who captivated my heart as well as my soul with his version of the shaken, not stirred secret agent in  For Your Eyes Only.

There was no prior-to-that for me because I grew up in a Catholic home and both parents were convinced (even having never seen nor read an Ian Fleming novel) that we would all be damned to hell as a family collective if any one of us dared read or watch a 007 flick.

It was all of that wanton, indiscriminate sex, you see.

I became hooked anyway and made it a practice to view as many of the Bond films as I could, and after marriage, it became more easy a task to accomplish with cable television and late nights spent in a rocking chair with an infant/baby in my arms.

Until then, I had adored Roger Moore and honestly still do, but after watching so many of the franchises films, I came to the conclusion that no one held a candle to Sir Sean Connery.

Later, the two babies I'd rocked to sleep late at night made their introductory viewings with the likes of Pierce Brosnan and both would agree that he is, of course, the perfect and most memorable of the 007 secret agents.

And, I think it is a generational type thing, too. Depending on when you were introduced to the series and how into the movies you really are, it can sway an opinion about which of the previous 007 actors is or was the best.

But then along comes this new guy, and all of the horrible, mean, and downright thoughtless comments made about him becoming the next Bond.

I, for one, felt sorry for the guy even when I had no idea who he even was.

I'd never heard of him but was never really impressed with the blond haired, blue-eyed set of male, so my opinion wasn't all that high or flattering regardless of what everyone else was saying about him as the next Bond.

I just wasn't that interested in watching anymore Bond films.

Call it my brand of stubborn fool. I didn't want to say anything mean or hateful about the guy, but I was about as convinced of his being able to pull it off as the next fan.

Shame on me!

Because, eventually, I did watch one of his movies, Casino Royale, and . . . all I can say is, Daniel Craig made my head spin. He was completely successful at putting me, my silly opinion, and those of every other nay-sayer, to shame.

To rest, actually.

Then I watched his first Bond, Quantum of Solace,  online and was even more of the opinion that Daniel Craig and the 007 stories he's portraying are the best. It doesn't matter what the critics think, either. Rarely, if ever, have they swayed my opinion.

I wanted to see more, and so I did. I watched Sky Fall  and became convinced that there should never have been another Bond other than Mr. Craig.


He had said he would put his all into the part, and we all know how true that turned out to be.

At this point, I had read a few of Ian Fleming's novels and had also watched a documentary on the man behind Bond.

If anything, I understood more and could appreciate its spectacular success better than I had prior to having read and learned as much as I could about the behind-the-scenes stuff.

With Connery, it was all about Connery and not Bond.

With Moore, it was all about silly, witty come-backs and flash than about Bond.

With Brosnan, it was all about being PC and not stepping on anyone's sensitive toes, and a whole ton of gratuitous violence the likes of which had never been seen in a Bond flick prior to his entrance on the 007 scene.

Also, I could never get past his Remington Steele character whenever I saw him, not to mention his Mrs. Doubtfire stint.

So, that leaves our Mr. Craig and what it is he brings to the 007 table of things.

He isn't PC for starters, thank you! He's not a vile letch, either, but he is as no-nonsense about the women he beds as he is about the role he's paid to play -- a secret agent working for MI6 who possesses a license to kill.

Craig's Bond is the most believable of them all, his conflicts are entirely realistic, and when a woman attempts to put him in his place, he has a reasonable yet honest come-back that is not always as witty or charming as the previous Bonds would have preferred.

Which leads me to Spectre and why I am now convinced that Daniel Craig needs to re-think his hem-haw position on not returning for another go at playing James.

I researched this dilemma and here are a few quotes and their resources:

'Spectre' Producer Expects Daniel Craig to Return for Another Bond Movie - The Hollywood Reporter

(Craig being asked if he'll return) 'I don’t know. I really don’t know. [...] Honestly. I’m not trying to be coy. At the moment I can’t even conceive it.' - Forbes Magazine

And, a bit on how well Spectre actually did during its Premiere week both here and in the U.K.

‘Spectre’ Scores $80.4 Million at Foreign Box Office, Shatters U.K. Opening Record - Variety

The real issues with the Bond francise include needing a new distributor and re-signing Craig to another 5 films.

I think, after Spectre's success and the viewer's reaction to his talent in the Bond regard, that Craig will reconsider his indecisive decision to stop being 007.

If you haven't watched it yet, Spectre  actually worked to clear up all of the loose ends from his previous movies -- even going back as far as the Sean Connery days.

The title, for example, stands for Special Executive for Counter-intelligence, Terrorism, Revenge and Extortion, and we've all heard Spectre being tossed around over the decades, too.

Craig's Bond makes an unlikely move at the very end, but then he appears before Q to make one, final request (which I won't mention in case someone hasn't seen the movie yet).

All I could think was that I hope the beautiful smile Craig's Bond offered at that point wasn't one of utter relief at knowing he wouldn't be making another Bond film again.

I want to believe that Craig will be back, and that he'll perform better than ever.

It is difficult to form an opinion about which of the Daniel Craig Bond films I enjoyed best, and after returning home from the theatre this Thanksgiving weekend, I am not sure I know the answer, still.

I liked them all, and I'd watch them over again, too, which is saying a lot, believe me.

Lastly, I just want to point out the amazing fact that in the middle of this film, I was beyond happy to see that the Bond Girl this time around wasn't tough as nails, a bad-ass to the bone, and more than capable of fending for herself and not needing Bond's help in the slightest.

When she said, "I'm scared." and James grasped her hand for reassurance, I wanted to leap from my chair and applaud . . . but, I didn't.

I managed to keep my cool, unlike the dude seated an empty chair from mine, who started to bob in place when the pre-movie music started, and he actually clapped loud and hard to the beat, which prompted the other movie-goers to do the same in all of the CLAP, CLAP, CLAP instances thereafter.

Me: face-palm

My choice for this week's #HotGuySunday post

26 November, 2015

Release Day: Ethan's Fall

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Book: Ethan’s Fall
Series: A Choice Novel
Author: Dee Palmer
Hosted By: Francessca's Romance Reviews

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They say once bitten… Ethan Cates is anything but shy. A little time away from his playboy playground has hardened his heart and returning from his travels he has every intention of keeping it that way.This summer his plan is for the three S’s Sun, Sea and Surf…It’s just not his entire plan. Three more S’s… Sex, Sex and more Sex. Ethan loves women. He is just not ever going to love one women and this summer he is on a mission to prove it.

Everyone has a story but not everyone wants to tell their story. Ada is hiding and has no choice but to stay that way because she needs to find someone more than she needs to take her next breath. If she is found and identified she knows she will never get that chance. It’s not a life choice. This is self preservation, she’s lost too much but she will never give up.

For the first time since moving to the small coastal town Ada feels isolated in her opinion of Ethan, the towns favourite prodigal son. He is arrogant, rude and a complete arse to her. But, the first time in forever, Ada is distracted by a man who seems to delight in torturing her, teasing her and playing a game Ada can’t afford to lose…A game she can’t afford to play.

Add To Goodreads

Purchase Links

Amazon UK
Amazon USA

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“Shit!” I recognize the voice right away though. Ada grabs my hips to stop her from falling right into me, but snaps her hands away the moment she’s stable. “Shit!” she repeats more to herself by the quiet volume.
“And good morning to you. You are keen at least. Buddy did say you were a hard worker---” I want to try for a sterner tone but my smile spreads with unprecedented pleasure at this unexpected visit.
“I’m not here to clean!” She grumbles and moves to step around me. I block her descent.
“A booty call then?” I have to pinch my lips at the thought, but her scowl makes me laugh. “Maybe not?”
“Yeah…maybe not.” Ada tries again to get past, but my maneuverer makes her step back. She loses her footing and once more grabs for me, this time pulling me onto her.
“Are you sure about that?” My voice lowers and I know she can feel me harden against her thigh, because her eyes dip to the non-gap between us, and she struggles to swallow. Oh, I fucking love this. I can’t resist a gentle roll of my hips into her soft frame and am rewarded with an inaudible whimper. I’ll take that. “Maybe we should take this inside.” My hands are holding her captive, placed on either side of her head, supporting my frame just out of reach, and she tilts her head leaning forward for contact. My lips skim hers, and she whispers against my mouth,
“Not a fucking chance.” Her lips curl but I crush the smile right off her face with a deep urgent kiss. I dip down on one elbow, so I can thread one hand into her hair to pull her head back, causing a groan to escape her throat, and her nails to dig into my side. I can feel her legs tremble as she fights her desire to spread for me. I want that. Fuck! My tired arse muscles are in agony and painfully protest at each deliberate slow thrust. I try and wedge myself between her legs, inching her wider. Fuck it! We don’t have to take this inside, we can go right here. I want to kiss her neck, her tits…Christ! I want to swallow her whole, but her lips taste so fucking sweet I’m not ready to give them up. Her tongue sweeps against mine, tentative and demanding, tasting me and taking from me. She is intoxicating and when she sucks my bottom lip into her mouth, I go just that little bit harder. Painfully hard right before she bites down and draws blood.
“Mmmm, now you’re just teasing?” I suck the swollen tissue to stop the trickle of blood. It’s not much---I’ve had worse. I lift myself enough for her to wiggle away and wrap her arms tight over her chest. A poor attempt to hide her arousal. It makes me all warm inside. “There’s no shame in wanting to fuck me, Ada. I get that a lot.”

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Early Feedback

Wow, a truly amazing book! Warning, the prologue may destroy you, starting whirlwinds of raw emotions, love, hate, fear, anger, ecstasy, joy, happiness and so much more. This book is not only HOT HOT HOT, but takes you on a crazy wonderful journey. I was riveted from start to finish. Ada and Ethan have learned to survive, but trusting is a whole different ballgame!!! A must read!!!!!!!! ~ Susan Ritter

This book will gut you at the begining, put you back together in the middle, and leave you wanting more at the end. Can you say book hangover with a HEA? ~ Kris Ward

Have you ever felt like you can never love again because your heart has been broken.... Will Ethan ever love again??? This book will take you on a ride of emotions but you will not be able to put it down it will totally consume you ~ Joan Readsalot

You know you're onto a winner when you can start a book and finish it in one sitting. And that is exactly what we did. All outside disturbances seemed not to exist as we once again lost ourselves in the story of Ethan and Ada. ~ Bloggers From Down Under

Another really good book from Dee Palmer, i find it hard to believe she's a fairly new author. This book has it all, a gripping story, a hot, sweet, sexy man and a main female character that you just wanna hug, then go on a killing rampage for. ~ Goodreads Review

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Other Books In The Series

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Never A Choice
(The choices Trilogy Book 1)

Amazon UK
Amazon USA

Always A Choice
(The choices Trilogy Book 2)

Amazon UK
Amazon USA

The Only Choice
(The choices Trilogy Book 3)

Amazon UK
Amazon USA

About The Author

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Dee Palmer hates talking about herself in the third person so I won’t. My husband had my iPod engraved one Christmas with ‘sing like no-one’s listening’ and I know my family actually wish they weren’t listening because I am, in fact, tone deaf but it doesn’t stop me and this gentle support has enabled me to fulfill a dream. This has been a truly brilliant experience, I wrote The Choices Trilogy back to back and released them this year just one month apart...Don't you hate waiting for the next book in a series? The entire process has undoubtedly been made possible by my incredibly supportive family. I know this is very much an acknowledgment but I know I wouldn’t be writing even this single paragraph if it wasn’t for them so this is about who I am, I am because they let me be.

25 November, 2015

Binge Watching the Novels I've Read

For the past three days (and nights) I've been watching every episode of  Agatha Christie's Marple.

I just finished watching the last uploaded episode tonight and am sad that it is over (for now, I think, with episode 3 of season 6 being the last).

I guess this qualifies as an addiction, but if I had come to The Musketeers (BBCA) late, it is likely I'd have done the very same thing . . . watch episode after thrilling episode until I'm too tired to watch anymore and then wake up the next day to resume that addiction.

The first time I binge watched anything was a few years ago with Game of Thrones, finding it online via Comcast Internet access I'd signed up for down in Illinois. I ended up watching the entire first season in less than two days and was enthralled, to say the least.

I managed to finish the second season of Game of Thrones just prior to leaving Illinois, and when I got back home, made sure to special order HBO so as not to miss season 3. However, I lost interest when it seemed to have switched gears; concentrating more on blood, gore, extreme violence, and a lot of gratuitous sex. When that nasty, inbred boy died and his sister/brother parents had that rape scene at his coffin . . . that was it for me.

As The Musketeer's ended it's season, I started to watch Ripper Street and became easily engrossed in the plot. It saddens me, though, to think that I may have come in on the tail end of the whole thing. I don't know that there will be another season, and I can't find the beginnings of it online so as to be able to catch up with another binge-watch.

Then there is Poldark, another late-to-me PBS offering that I stumbled upon by chance and got to watch just one episode from the first season; episode 3 or 4, I think. Since then, I've had a devil of a time trying to find it online or on the television to record.

At my son's place, however, I'm able to pay-to-view each episode at $1.99 a go, so I made it through season 1 and will hopefully get to resume watching all of season two that way.

I'm actually afraid to watch an episode of Downton Abbey because I know it's been going on for years and that there must be at least a dozen or more episodes from start to finish (if it is even finished yet). As hard as it was to find Poldark to play catch-up, I think it will be even more difficult to find the very beginnings of Downton Abbey in order to do the same thing.

Six seasons, I believe? Heck, if there is a way to watch seasons 1-6 online, I'd be in binge-watch heaven!

A majority of my life was not spent in front of the idiot box. I grew up at a time when television wasn't so much for children as it was for adults who either became engrossed in daytime soap operas while the kiddies were away at school, or the nightly news broadcasts and sporting events.

Sunday evenings were a big deal with The Wonderful World of Disney and a bowl of popcorn.

I grew up on music and books and later, writing. If it wasn't a book, then I wanted to be outside playing and not indoors.

Now, however, and with too much time on my hands, binge watching what appeals to me as a writer is not as difficult or even time consuming as it might seem.

I remember reading as many of the Agatha Christie novels as I could get my hands on back in high school, and then it was her Poiroit Mysteries. When those came out on PBS, it was probably when I began to binge watch -- or to become addicted to something on the television.

All Creatures Great and Small was another, and I read all of those novels as well.

I used to think that watching anything on television would somehow destroy my imagination as a writer, and you'll notice, too, that none of the series I'm so fond of are American-made.


Reading will probably always be the best way to learn how to write, but watching what you've already read is an even better way to reach an understanding about how words create scenes, how those scenes are best set, and what makes a character so dynamic.

Scene-setting is an interesting aspect.

It amazes me how many movies I've watched over the years and never noticed the scores until it is just the movie scores I am listening to, and then suddenly that movie takes on a whole new meaning.

I love movie scores and yet never tend to hear them when I'm watching a movie.

So, too, with watching  a drama based on a novel I've read, and suddenly the places, the faces, and even the scenery take on a new dimension in my head.

This helps a writer to concentrate on more than just the dialogue, believe it or not. For me, anyway, I'm suddenly staring at the castle or manor house behind the people doing all that talking. The walkways and are they paved, dirt, grass, or gravel? What kind of trees are those? Did I just hear a woodpecker pecking at one of them? Wow! Look at all of that leaded glass on that gray stone mansion back there!

I see whether or not the men are in wool vests, bow ties, and how they've fashioned their hair. I especially note their pants waist lines, which tend to rise and fall depending on not only the era but age and even circumstance.

Wallpaper is another thing that jumps out at me, and also how stairs are not only positioned inside a house but whether or not they curve, disappear inside a ceiling line, make any creaking noises, or are they real wood or painted? Plain or carpeted?

It has come to my attention that these are the things that deserve attention in a novel if you want the reader to have a better understanding of place within a scene.

Talking about the weather might not be cool, but describing it in a scene is. And, not to spend a few paragraphs on it, but to give enough detail in a few sentences to make the reader feel like she'd get wet without an umbrella or start to shiver even with the thermostat turned up in her reading room.

And now, I'm off to start another binge-watch marathon of Foyle's War using Uverse this time.


23 November, 2015

Monday Musings

Let's start off with something amusing on this cold, gray Monday in late November.

An author buddy directed me to a post that includes 22 'dedications' found at the beginning of novels that are both funny and noteworthy for the rest of us.

When it comes to dedications, it was something I used to dream about writing some day, but then when it came right down to actually writing and self-publishing my work, that idea took flight and I didn't even bother with a dedication for my first novel!

With my second release, Love Over Time, I remembered that I should write a dedication and offered it up to my son.

Being clever is not one of my strong suits, and wit usually arrives anywhere from five minutes to five hours or even five days after the fact.

I'm hopeless.

In the newsworthy department, I came across this post on my Facebook feed about an Author Call to Amazon.

The Horror Writers Association (HWA), a nonprofit organization for writers and publishing professionals promoting horror literature, has recently written an open letter to Amazon’s CEO, Jeff Bezos, asking for a review of the policies around Amazon’s review system. Namley, it seems the HWA is seeking a way to remove reviews they deem as inappropriate in how spiteful it can be.

There is a petition underway in this endeavor with a current 8,000 count total that includes Anne Rice, who, apparently, is a victim of bullying in this regard.

I don't believe the HWA are the only group of authors who are seeking some type of a resolution to this ongoing dilemma, either. I've been reading articles about Amazon's current ratings system for more than a year now and think it is time that they stepped up to the mark.

A new type of ratings/review system needs implementation, but how, when, and what it might entail remains a mystery.

Which brings me to the next bit of news.

Last week, this article from Gawker made the rounds on my Facebook feed about a self-published author who probably needs psychiatric help TODAY.

These two stories, one about anonymous folk who like to prey on the innocent and then one of our ilk preying on a nasty reviewer, bring the issue of free speech around full circle.

The first article proves a valid point about at least being able to recognize a fake reviewer when we encounter them. It never occurred to me that a potential reader is capable of posting a review when they, in fact, only downloaded the free excerpt.

It also makes zero sense why anyone would target a perfect stranger and then set out to destroy their attempt at wanting to make a living as a writer.

However, in the second article's case, the author is the one doing irreparable damage to not only himself but other authors who find themselves being victimized by the public when it comes to harsh reviews.

And so I'm led to yet, another article found on my Facebook feed that is yet, another self-help and advice column directed at me in general.

I subscribe to Writer's Write, and most of the time they offer up interesting, if not helpful articles geared toward me, the newbie and struggling artist.

Not all the time, but sometimes.

And, their 5 Things Authors on Facebook  Should Know is surprisingly helpful -- if you are an established author with a significant fan base.

Which isn't me.

Still, the tips in the article are smart and worth the read if you hope to become a more engaging, liked author with plenty of follows.

Right now, I haven't created an author 'page' because as I mentioned above, I have a ZERO fan base. In the two years since I first published until this very moment, I have a grand total of TWO 'fans' who are actually my two besties on Facebook.

Apparently, no one has read either of my novels, and no one is responding to the few paid downloads they've received thus far.

I have three e-mail contacts (my son, my daughter, and my sister) and so there is no point in my using MailChimp to generate a fan base.

And, since no one is responding to my attempts at free advertising via Reader's Gazette, or by my joining Triberr to help get the word out, and Tweeting on a once daily basis about both novels, it isn't likely I'll need to create an author page on Facebook any time soon.

I have this blog with numerous excerpts and eye-catching ads for both books.

I am a daily presence on my author Facebook 'profile' not 'page' and work hard to like and share the works of fellow authors there as well as attempting to get the word out about my own works.

I have a Tumblr page as well and uploaded the first 4 chapters of my first novel on WattPad.

I am also rather active on Google+ and joined their Self-Published group.

Even with all of the above-mentioned activity, a startling 99.99% of the articles which I find on my FB feed that are supposed to be geared toward the author are really geared toward and written for the established, popular, and selling-like-hotcakes authors out there.

Not me.

Because the advice never works to help generate sales, much less get the word out about me as an author.

None of it ever applies to someone like me.

Is it any wonder I feel down and out, useless, and like I am spinning my wheels going nowhere fast?

In the helpful advice category of things, I am always being told to continue to write and publish in order to gain that following, have need of MailChimp, and then to create an author page on Facebook.

And, so, I write.

I write as tears stream down my cheeks and more awful thoughts enter my head about being a failure, an awful writer, and with zero talent.


Sometimes, Monday's actually do suck.

This bit of woe-is-me leads me to the last of the online articles for the day.

From Self-Publishing Relief comes Why You Shouldn't Go It Alone


My first thought is: because you don't want me to commit suicide? ;-)

It says I need proofreading skills and suggests I hire a professional and offers a link to those willing to help (at a cost, of course, which excludes me -- Miss Broke-Ass Unemployed).

Then it says I need to be cover savvy. Which, again, makes perfect sense but excludes me because the article, again, offers a link to hire those who can help in this regard at a cost.

I lucked out with the first two publications and am only hopeful that by the time this third novel is complete that I will, again, have somehow miraculously scraped up just enough $$ to afford another professional cover.

Next, it says I need a marketing strategy.

More money, I think.

However! It does say this much:

Your author website should be the cornerstone of your promotional efforts. Make sure it is professional, engaging, and easy to navigate.

Now, I am willing to bet that readers prefer to visit author web pages that are paid for and designed by a pro, but don't quote me on that one.

Strike three for me!

Yes, as a matter of fact, Monday's truly do suck.

As for my WIP . . . I haven't touched it since last Friday.

No news to report aside from a waffling in regards to the male lead's last name (again).

Onward, ho!

21 November, 2015

Assassin's Touch (Iron Portal, #1) by Laurie London #Review

Pages: 183 
Devices: Unlimited
Published: January 18, 2014
Series: 1 of 4
Author Website: www.LaurieLondonBooks.com
Sexual Content: 4/5
Genre: Paranormal Novella Romance


Haunted by loss, Cascadian assassin Rickert D'Angelus is on a mission of vengeance. Determined to stop the Pacifican army from finding a portal to his world, he leads a group of warriors into New Seattle with one goal--to kill all Pacifican soldiers. 
Agent Neyla Trihorn had the perfect life until a deadly accident revealed her latent para-abilities. Now, the former fashion designer is the Pacifican army's hottest commodity in their fight against the invaders. 
When Rickert discovers a beautiful, unconscious soldier on a cold mountain ledge near the portal, he realizes she's a Protection-Talent and cannot be killed. To prevent the army from using her skills again, he takes her as his prisoner instead. 
But when he pulls her into his arms, a sexy and compelling vision appears, awakening something inside him. Something he can't ignore. 
Torn between duty and passion, Rickert must decide if the vision is a Talent trick designed to foil the enemy or the answer to his deepest desires... 

Author's Note

ASSASSIN'S TOUCH, the first book in the Iron Portal paranormal romance series. Enter a darkly sensual world where secret portals separate modern and ancient realms, band-of-brother heroes fight evil together, and sworn enemies dare to become passionate lovers. 
All of the Iron Portal books are standalone titles with no cliffhangers. Each one has a new couple and story-arc. They are hot paranormal romances with band-of-brother heroes, strong heroines, lots of suspense and danger, and plenty of sexy times. I hope you enjoy them! 


This was offered for Free on Amazon via BookBub.

A delightful read with hardly any GPS issues to speak of, I enjoyed this story and look forward to reading the rest of the series.

The other characters were introduced, and this was the first in the series, but the author claims that all four are standalone.

It was an interesting story about a girl being tugged and pulled through life in New Seattle, on the Pacifican side of things when she's called to duty and expected to help keep safe with her Protection-Talent ability the other soldiers who are about to locate an iron portal to the other side.

She gets into a scuffle with one of those soldiers, a man who treats her pretty badly, when he pushes her over a ledge and she falls hard onto the edge of a cliff directly in front of a man from the other side -- Rickert, their enemy.

Rickert witnesses the abuse by this soldier and does the unexpected yet chivalrous thing, which helped to make the reader like him and want to know more.

Once he touches her, he sees a risqué vision that unnerves him, and from there, he struggles to remember who he is and why he hates all Pacifican soldiers, including her.

He takes her through the iron portal, to his side of the same planet, as a prisoner, but with the sexy visions continuing, and with her now conscious and able to attempt to fight for her freedom, Rickert becomes more enamored until he's torn between duty and heart.

She is instantly attracted as well, and it isn't long before the steamy romance ensues, and then truths are revealed while the two of them together make for one powerful team against anyone who dares mess with her . . . or him, as the case may be.

It has a happy ending (of sorts) and not too many plot holes or twists to be concerned about, along with a teaser for the 2nd in the series of four.

On a scale of 1 to 10, I'd give Rickert a hearty 8 for hunk, manly, semi-alpha and a huge wang.



As most novella's go, I find it a bit disconcerting to have the two leads fall in love based solely on looks and not compatibility -- without their being given the chance to get to know one another a bit more.

Due to length restrictions in the novella category, it leaves the author little to work with. There is usually less personality displayed and a whole lot of physique/appearance as the basis for love, and I find it difficult to swallow.

Not for sexual encounters, of course, but when the word LOVE enters the picture, followed closely by marriage, family, and offspring, then it just becomes irrational to my mind.

Their story is worth reading, but maybe like me, you might feel slightly gypped when you're finished; thinking that you wanted to read more and discover more about them.

Second: I was thrown off near the end, when we discover why the Pacificans are constantly threatening the Cascadians. Throughout the novella, we are told that if you carry any type of metal through the iron portal, that you'll be destroyed, and yet the 'baskets' that the Pacificans use to do their awful deed are made of iron.

I didn't get that part.

Iron is a chemical element with symbol Fe (from Latin: ferrum) and atomic number 26. It is a metal in the first transition series. It is by mass the most common element on Earth, forming much of Earth's outer and inner core. It is the fourth most common element in the Earth's crust. -- Wikipedia


Book 1: Assassin's Touch - Rickert and Neyla

Book 2: Rogue's Passion - Asher and Olivia

Book 3: Warrior's Heart - Vince and Zara

Book 4: Rebel's Desire - Toryn and Keely

Iron Portal Boxed Set, Books 1-3

First Snowfall

Men come in handy for a lot of different reasons, but with winter fast approaching this part of the world (SE Michigan) and me not being a lover of said season, it is the one time of the year when wishing for and even wanting a man around the house grows strong(er).

Today's insignificant snowfall (4-6" total) is a reminder of things to come, like having to sweep the white stuff off the car and shovel the porch, the driveway, and the sidewalk, but also to be reminded that if there was a man in my life, I wouldn't have to do any of those things.

Then again, being a once-bitten, twice shy kind of gal, I remember all of the times when I had to do the shoveling, car sweeping, and freezing my butt off in sub-zero temps while I was married, so the want of a man isn't quite so strong most any time of the year.

Having just returned indoors after removing upwards of a FOOT of snow off the car, the porch, and the driveway (screw the sidewalk -- it'll be Sunday tomorrow, so no street action, and the mailman prefers to walk across everyone's lawn instead of using the sidewalk to deliver the mail anyway) -- the casualty count slowly rises.

Charlie Horse behind my left kneecap (ouch!) and now my left bicep is giving me a hard time.

Not being too much of a nay-sayer, I still cling to the hopeful notion that the weather prognosticators are correct in assuming that my fair city will experience a mild, dry winter. It IS still fall until December 20th after all, and the prediction for this El Niño winter is for above-average temps and below-average precipitation, so there is still hope that I won't have to be outside in the driving snow and freezing temps pushing a shovel and car whisk too often.

My overall lack of muscle tone, at least, will be grateful.

Yes, it's a pretty sight to see . . . just not to drive in, be outside for too long in, or have to work at to keep off most surfaces. Those things take all of the fun out of winter/snow for me.

There is lightning to accompany the snowfall, too, which makes for an extra-special treat on a first snow of the season . . . snow.

We also had a split-second power outage when a transformer blew, but no black-out . . . yet.

Book boyfriends are better the rest of the year. Like the wisdom of a grandmother who will say she adores her grandchildren because they don't stay with her forever, book boyfriends are men we can fall in and out of love with at whim and not hurt their feelings.

We are free to pick and choose our book boyfriends and not feel the least bit shallow about wanting or expecting certain things from them: looks, muscle tone, hair length/color, eyes, and personality.

Real men, not so much. You get what you get and either like it or don't, and that is the difference between being with someone or being alone.

Book boyfriends won't argue, be obstinate, or nit-pick the littlest, stupid things, and we're pretty certain that if we asked them to do something, that they would do it without question or promise of a later date and time, when it is more convenient for them.

Like going outside in the cold and shoveling the snow.

Yet, for that, we need a real man (or a better, more fit body), and I fall into the latter category of things there.

So, while I bemoan my lonely, single-life fate this winter, I leave you with a pretty picture of the first snowfall, 2015, and a lovely tune titled Snowfall.

18 November, 2015

A Few Laughs and a #WIPWednesday

Really should be writing right now.

I will, I tell myself . . . for the past few hours now.

So, when all else fails, I blog.

Let's start with today's People Magazine award, shall we?

People Magazine selects David Beckham as Sexiest Man Alive for 2015.

It bugs me more to keep thinking that this dude already won the award, like, ten years ago or more, only to do an online search that comes up with zilch in the fact-checking category of needless things.

My vote? Ross Poldark's Aidan Turner

If I knew how to make the Eartha Kitt purr, I would.

Up next, a post that includes excerpts from a list of the 2015 Nominees for Worst Sex Scenes in Fiction.

And, this isn't even Romantic Fiction! It's just sex scenes inside a fictional novel, which is funny enough as is.

What they've chosen as nominee material, however, is a lot more funny and even more unbelievable. A lot of 'what the hell were they thinking?'  as I read each excerpt.

Here's my favorite:

Fear of Dying by Erica Jong
I slip into bed, amazed that Asher is making the first move – which is unusual for him. While I lie next to him, astounded by his presence still, he opens my silk robe and touches my cunt as if he were Adam just discovering Eve’s pussy.
‘Beautiful,’ he says.
And then he begins to run his tongue slowly along my labia, gently inserting one finger to feel for my G-spot on the front wall of wet pussy.

And, I could be wrong in my thinking, but, how does a guy destroy a sex scene in his own novel? Is it me, or does this seem like eight-ways of just wrong?

Before, During, After by Richard Bausch
She reached up and brought him to her, then rolled over on top of him and began softly to move down. When she took him, still a little flaccid, into her mouth, he moaned, ‘Oh, lover.’ She felt him harden, and she tightened her lips and pulled, and then ran her tongue slow along the shaft, and then straightened and straddled him, guiding him into her, sinking and rising on him, head back, hands gripping his shoulders. It went on. It was very good.

Not to mention that these awards go to famous authors -- well, I would prefer the word popular to famous, and even if that doesn't make a whole lot of sense.

Famous conjures up images of Cary Grant, Emily Dickenson, Tom Hanks, and Queen Elizabeth.

Popular -- like the Beckham dude -- would satisfy a whole ton of PoP BS making the rounds each and every trend-setting few months.

Anyway, the excerpts are hilarious and you should read all of them, if not for the giggle factor, then as a wake-up call and warning siren for any and all of the sex scenes currently being devised in our latest W'sIP.

And, speaking of WIP, here's a teaser from mine:

Inigo Returns

“I don’t recall receiving news of your visit.”
“Yeah, well,” Inigo grinned, exhaling a puff of laughter. “It was a spur-of-the-moment thing.”
“How’d you get in?”
Inigo glanced at the front entrance without thinking before he frowned at his oldest brother. In the blink of an eye, he had been reduced to the same cowardly sap he had been as a boy. Outraged, Inigo shot to his feet and didn’t bother to zip up as he bared down on Iliya with all of the bravado and pent-up rage he could muster on such short notice.
He shoved his t-shirt over his head and tugged hard, covering his washboard abs as he glared at his brother. “It’s great seeing you again, too, braw.”
“I asked how you got in.”
Startled, Inigo held the hem of his shirt and blinked twice before shaking off olden-days mode and remembering who he was now. Iliya not only looked the same, he also behaved the same way as far as Inigo could tell. Iliya remained accusatory in both expression and voice tone, and Inigo had to remind himself that he wasn’t eighteen anymore and hadn’t cared about shit like this for twelve years. He laughed again before turning aside his head and shaking it. After setting his hands on his hips, he shot Iliya dagger eyes.
“I used a foot to shove a planter aside on the porch, reached down to find the key, put it in the knob, and turned the key til I heard a click. What.”
He jumped back in time to avoid the hammer fist directed at his jaw. The split-second move caused a much-needed adrenaline rush and made him smile. Inigo exhaled more quiet laughter. Just as quickly, though, his anger returned and he stepped forward, ready to do battle.
“Damn me for not checking into a hotel instead.”
“Damn you is right,” Iliya growled. “And, as usual, your piss-poor timing proves little has changed. You can’t stay here, and ―.”
“Oh?” Inigo cried. “Is it still your place, your rules?”
“As a matter of fact,” Iliya began when Inigo made a sour face and turned aside his big body, giving Iliya a reason to pause. He was pissed and didn't care that it showed; not as tired and sore as he felt just then. He could see the way that Iliya scanned him head to toe and back again, and the nerve endings along his spine started to bristle. He knew that warning scan like the back of his hand, and as he watched Iliya's set jaw muscle start to twitch, he took a deep breath and clenched his fingers tightly, knowing that round two was about to begin.
“I’m tired, Iliya,” he complained. Too tired to argue or try to defend his own actions. Sure, he should have let his brother know that he was coming over, and maybe Iliya had a right to be upset about it,   but, this could wait until he at least received a few more hours' sleep, right? “I’ve been on the road for two days and rolled in here around three, I think. What time is it now, anyway? It feels like I only got about an hour of real sleep.”
“Tough,” Iliya shot back. “I said you can’t stay here, and I mean it.”
Inigo opened his mouth to protest. To shout, really. It pissed him off to know that his older brother was just as stubborn as he remembered, and that he still refused to listen or take pity on him. Frustration and anger rose up to make him want to argue now, but then Iliya's cell phone rang, distracting them both.

Word Count: 21,924
Surname: Brézlyn
Chapters: 7 completed
Status: Rough Draft

17 November, 2015

Show & Tell: Just a Game

Just when you think you've finally figured it out, along comes more information to blow such an assumption right out of the water.

In my case, it is the annoying and confusing Show vs. Tell issue in novel writing.

Part of the problem lies with myself, of course.

I've admitted this several times already. I just don't see it in other writing and hardly ever in my own. Which is likely due to the simple fact that I do not see an issue with telling or recognize the key words that are meant to red-flag a tell versus a show instance.

And, when I read things that suggest I consider my audience's viewpoint, pretend I'm holding a camera, or to rely on Mark Twain's "Don't Tell me what the Play is about, Show me what the Actors are Doing", it still doesn't help.

Not in the slightest.

Nothing seems to resonate with me and SHOW. Even when I think I get it, I end up not getting it and fall back on my style of writing. Which makes the guilt crop up to slow the writing process until doubt creeps in to make me think I'm spinning my wheels and getting nowhere.

Even more confusing are the article writers and the folks who follow them that claim I am right and the Show vs Tell guru's are wrong.

Yes, there are those who actually agree with me.

They see the issue as I do, or DON'T see it as I don't see it, and would even prefer to read the telling parts instead of a lot of flowery SHOW.

It isn't that I don't want to describe scenery, characters, and their environment -- but, I don't believe that this is my real problem with the SHOW thing. I feel confident about being able to describe places, people, things, and even events as they occur in a scene.

What I don't get, or think I get until I don't anymore, are the key words and phrases that take a body of work from SHOW back to TELL.

Like the feel/felt thing.

He felt awful about missing the concert after having promised his wife and child that he'd be there, but the decision to stay at the meeting and not get fired still seemed like the right thing to do in his mind.

WHAT, for heaven's sake?

And, how in the world is this written in a way that will confuse, bore, or annoy the reader?

People would rather read: Guilt crept up slowly as John dragged his heavy feet towards the darkened concert hall. His daughter's fourth-grade recital had ended forty-five minutes ago, but there was just no way he could have walked out in the middle of that meeting without the risk of being fired.

What I hear above is a lot of passive voice.

Which, by the way, I had ground out of me my second time around in College just a few years back. To the college professors in all of my English Lit, Language, and Linguistics classes, passive voice is the Devil.

And then along comes this gem that I saw on my Facebook feed just the other day:

Come on, now.


Personally, I read the left passage with far more ease and understanding than I did the right-side passage.

For me, the worst thing about this 'offering' is that it is being shown to young, impressionable minds as early as the Third grade. Having taught the Third grade for 8 years, I have to say that it would never have made it into my classroom.


And, the horrible grammar issues aside, I wasn't the only one who preferred to read the red, bad, TELL side of things:

Which, of course, leads me right back to square-one in the CONFUSION department.

The guru's are trying to convince me (and the world) that show is better than tell, and yet a surprising majority of the people who respond to such advice tend to disagree.

My old college professors still loom overhead shaking a finger at me every time I go near a passive voice instance, too.

So, which is it to be? Show be damned and onward ho! with Tell? Whisk away the Professor visions and revert to passive voice in order to show?

I believe in all of my stories and have great affinity towards all of my characters.

I miss those that I've sent down Published Lane and sometimes want to go back and re-read their story -- except I don't because I'm terrified of finding fault with my published work.

That being said, I also realize how silly that way of thinking is and that it is imperative for me to go back and write a 2nd Edition that sounds better, reads with more ease, and that isn't chock-full of grammar issues.

Like telling instead of showing.

Another article that I won't be citing here (to save that author's face) said that if I insist upon using Tell in my work, that I can expect for NO publisher in the known universe to EVER read my submissions.

In the article, she said she tosses them in the waste basket and moves on.


My immediate thought? Bitch! You're posting a help article on Show vs Tell and then TELLING ME you won't waste your time trying to help someone who doesn't get it?

So, fine.

I'm doomed to repeat the same damning mistake again and again with no help in sight and certainly no HOPE of ever seeing my work in print.

Meanwhile, I continue to attempt to write because it's what I do. I never claimed to be Pulitzer worthy and have no aspirations of watching my work appear on the silver screen -- but maybe some day.

Some day all of this will just click for me, and my next novel will be a shining example of SHOW that all the world will adore, and I'll have publishing houses clamoring for the chance to sign me to a book deal.

Maybe, SOME day.

For now, I continue to write and hope that I'm improving; that I'm recognizing TELL and rewording it so that the reader (and potential publishers) will like what I SHOW.

16 November, 2015

Review of The St. Nicholas' Day Wager by Em Taylor

Pages: 107
Pub: November 26, 2014
Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
Language: English
Sexual Content: 4/5
Genre: Historical/Regency
FREE on Amazon


As the clock in White’s hallway chimes midnight on St Nicholas’ Day morning, Lord Nicholas, Viscount Eastden makes a stupid wager. Somewhat foxed, he agrees to a wager which states that he can marry the spinster sister of the Earl of Thornwich by Christmas eve. If Thornwich wins the wager and Eastden fails in his quest to marry her, he will get ten thousand pounds and vice versa.
Having grown up on neighboring estates, Nicholas can’t figure out why a nice girl like Gabriella failed for so many seasons on the marriage mart. 
Gabriella appreciates the viscount’s honesty when he explains the wager. Knowing the dire straits of her family’s finances and her brother’s addiction to gambling, it seems that marriage to Nick may be the only option.
Can she overcome his cruel words from their childhood when he taunted her about the strawberry birthmark on her face which blights her appearance? 
After such a rocky start, can the Spirit of Christmas find its way into the lives of Nick, Gabriella and their families or will injury and grievances from the past keep them apart forever? 

Before I explain to you why I enjoyed this Historical Novella with a Christmas theme, I'd like to point out the fact that it is the very first time I've ever encountered an Author's disclaimer!

Content Warning: This book is not a sweet romance. It contains sex scenes. If such content is not to your taste or offends you, please do not upset yourself by purchasing this book. Thank you.

Isn't that cute? I just don't know if or how well it works to keep away those who would otherwise submit a snarky, pissy review based on personal offense instead of it having anything to do with bad content or some other issue with THE STORY.


A few GPS issues did not prevent me from finishing this novella or enjoying it!

It flowed well, the characters were not only believable but engaging, and Em Taylor weaved enough magic to make me (and a lot of her fans) really, REALLY like the male lead, Lord Nicholas, Viscount Eastden.

Hot guy alert!

The author also wrote well enough to help me understand, sympathize with, and root for the heroine, Gabriella. Her brother is a cad and it was easy enough not to like him or his caustic wife, and then it became almost as easy to understand where it was they were coming from and why they behaved the way they did before things changed along with their hearts and minds.

A short, sweet, and even steamy romance novella offered for free via Amazon (not just the Unlimited) that didn't have too many GPS issues to explain why it is offered as a give-away, so if you haven't read this one yet, I recommend that you do -- you won't be disappointed.

Oh, and the word LAVE appeared just once, too.

Love Over Time, Excerpt

Genre: Contemporary/Adult/Fantasy
Sexual Content: 3/5
Release Date: July 5, 2015
Pages: 276
Syndication: EPub/Self
On Amazon: Kindle
At Smashwords: Others
List: $3.99


A chance encounter at the airport is innocent enough, but it sets in motion a chain of calamitous events that leave photographer, Kaisa Dalen, badly shaken and jet pilot, Perry Lindstrom, reluctantly determined to protect her at all cost. 
She believes in fate and that an ancient curse still affects the women in her family, but Liv is determined to find a way to break the spell and finally experience true love without the fear of that love being destroyed by tragedy. 
He believes in vicious cycles but is determined to live a better life than the heartless, cruel one his father and grandfather taught him. Perry refuses to fall prey to the cruelty gene, so Love is out of the question . . . until his resolve is put to the test via a series of unfortunate events that force him and the lovely Kaisa to keep crossing paths.

An Excerpt

While smoothing a hand down the landing gear’s steel pole, Perry's mind instantly switched gears and he imagined himself smoothing that same hand along Kaisa’s calf. He could still see her in that sexy, black dress and in those amazing high heels. Neon pink with lime green under soles, a lot like she walked in watermelons instead of shoes, but Perry didn’t mind. They looked good on her and made him want to bite into that particular variety of fruit.

Damn it. Will you stop?

The silent admonishment made him frown, but a second later and he was smiling again; thinking about Kaisa again. He shook his head that time, knowing it was pointless to dwell on something he wasn’t able to have or deserved to desire this way.

Women were one thing, but Kaisa was another thing altogether. She wasn’t just another woman to him, and that was what had him in such a state right now.

When it came to women, it had always been wise to let them be the one to lead him down the path to glory and not the other way around. And Perry only let that happen if he knew for certain that she would let him go on his merry way afterwards.

“Your a useless coward.”

His late father’s words hit Perry like a blast of heat from a bonfire. It was what he needed to hear, though, and he knew it despite the anger that now threatened to make an appearance, along with bad memories that would spoil his day.

If there’s one sure way to remind me why I’m not going to let myself get close to a woman, it’d be to think about the old man.

Before another bit of unwanted history could enter his head, Perry caught sight of something neon pink between his thighs. He stared between his bent knees as if awaiting the familiar shoe to do something when it rubbed against his crotch, making him grunt with instant arousal.

While still clinging to the side of the plane’s nose, Perry spun on his left foot and saw Kaisa standing in front of him. While she giggled behind a hand, he lost his footing and fell backwards, hitting the back of his head against the metal pole of the landing gear.

Pain made him close his eyes tight before he thought to reach behind his head and rub where it now burned. A dull moan left him at the same time that he heard Kaisa’s surprised gasp, and after opening one eye, he was startled to see her crouched before him.

Her beautiful face was filled with concern, and for a brief few seconds, Perry let that vision wash over him like a refreshing shower after a strenuous workout. She reached out to set her hand against the back of his head, forcing him to quickly lower his hand.

So much for avoidance. He wanted to be accommodating instead.

It felt amazing to be touched by the woman he sought to avoid. What was even more amazing, though, was that while she checked for a bump or cut, he got to grin like an idiot at the unexpected close-up of her cleavage. She smelled like heaven, too, and she was still wearing the sexy black dress from the night before.

His hands reached out to touch her arms, his lips puckered up for their first kiss, and his whole body grew stiff with mounting need.

“Are you okay?”

The sexy background music droned to silence, the candlelit ambiance evaporated, and Perry’s hot imagination withered like a time-lapse houseplant dying from neglect.

Lifting his gaze from her chest, he saw that she hadn’t lost the concerned frown. Reality returned to kick him in the groin, and he could feel the heat of blush start to roast his cheeks.

Perry shot to his feet, careful to duck to his left that time and avoid another bean to the head. He tried to smile at Kaisa and set a hand against the back of his throbbing head, nodding in response.

“I’m sorry,” she said, and with a giggling lilt in her voice that made him smile a bit too brightly and against his will. “I meant to push against your ass, but my foot slipped.”

That made Perry lean back with hearty laughter. A few minutes later, and after using a sleeve to wipe the tears from his eyes, he noticed that Kaisa was still wearing Jordan’s overcoat. The smile left him as quickly as if she had shaken it clean from an etch-a-sketch.

Or, as if Jordan had.

15 November, 2015

Grammar Time

In keeping with my unintentional theme on what to look for when editing/revising our Romance novels, I'd like to discuss the issue of misspelled, misused, and misinterpreted occurrences in our work.

And, yes, none more so than in my own. This isn't a gripe post and more of a help post (I hope). In all honesty, I don't look at this as complaining or wanting to sound better than some and more of an attempt to help elevate our genre to a higher, more acceptable status than what it is right now.

We deserve it.

Heroin vs. Heroine

An opioid painkiller vs a Female hero

Blond vs Blonde

This derives from French, and in keeping with their gender-based language, it should remain that in French, blond is masculine and blonde is feminine. So, a man has blond hair and a woman has blonde hair.

Damn it vs Dammit

Not entirely sure how this one got started or even why.

Research indicates that this is profoundly American, and that our Southern neighbors even go so far as to write Damnit, which is a misspelling of the non-word Dammit, and neither is correct.

Damn It is a two-word cuss of consternation, and Dammit is something a beaver will attempt on any pond. Damnit just means you forgot to hit the space bar.

Concrete vs Cement

Cement is a binder used to hold the other (concrete) materials together, and Concrete is the end result.

So, we walk and drive on CONCRETE . . . period. Using cement to mean concrete is like saying we fill up our cars with crude, we like to breathe fresh water particles, and our favorite dough is chocolate chip.

Cute Words that Aren't

Have you read the word SAMMICH in any novels? I have three times now, and I still can't believe my eyes.  The poor Earl of Sandwich must be tired from having to roll over in his grave so often.

Awake/Awaken/Awoke    Woke/Woken/Awoken   Wake/Waked/Waken/Wakened 

These all depend on tense. And whether or not you care about the use/abuse of lazy English appearing in your writing.

She is now wide AWAKE
WAKE UP, sleepyhead!
(past participle) We will/need to AWAKEN before dawn / The crash of thunder AWAKENED him from his restless slumber.
(past tense) He AWOKE from a sound sleep at the loud bang outside his room.
WOKE UP is an acceptable past-tense replacement.

WOKEN is lazy usage and ultimately became accepted as a word, but that doesn't make it correct.
So, too, with WAKEN(ed)
(Waked Up is a no-no -- unless you're five or younger)

Now, as Lazy English goes, we're all guilty of some form of language abuse, be it deliberate or unknowing.

I was raised to believe that a club sandwich was something other than turkey on rye. Imagine my shock and disappointment the first time I ordered a club sandwich and was handed a turkey on rye!

"I ordered a club sandwich," I grumbled to my friend.

"That is a club sandwich," she replied.

"It is not," I argued. "A club sandwich has bacon, lettuce, tomato, and Spanish olives."

"No," my friend said and rolled her eyes, "that would be a BLT."

(My mother STILL calls a BLT a Club)

I once dated a guy who used the phrase Ramp & Rave about as often as I would correct him with RANT & Rave. We ended up ranting and raving about a lot of things before eventually going our separate ways.

The Hyphen

There is only one (-), and it shouldn't be confused with the (−) to indicate negative/minus.

When separating two words, we hyphenate: First-class.
A word break at the end of a margin uses the same thing to separate a single word like ask-
ing, and software such as Word and Kindle will insert these for you.

The Dash

( ― ) Not to be confused with the hyphen or vise-versa. And, I've seen plenty of First―Class usage in novels. It just looks bad.

The dash is used to break up dialogue and to denote emphasis of thought. "If he ever calls me again―and I do mean ever―I'm going to explode." Or for the hesitant/anxious speaker: "I―I don't know."

Also used when cutting off dialogue mid-sentence. "What I meant was―." "I said shut up, Larry."


(Greek, singular Ellipsis)

By far, the most abused of symbols in everything from novels to blog posts to memes.

"…" should not be confused with ". . ." or you'll confuse the reader.

... is an omission and . . . is a pause.

Article writers will use the omission... when quoting only part of what someone else has said. You'll see them use the pause . . . when quoting bits and pieces of someone else's words.

In your novel, however, it is a little different.

(omission) "I really need to find another job, or else I'll end up... " He lets out a heavy sigh, grabs his man purse, and heads out the door.

(pause) "I really need to find another job, or else I'll end up . . . hell, I already AM like my father."

As a courtesy to your reader, leave space between the . . . and after the... so that they appear less cramped.

This is marked to post on Sunday but was written on Friday, the 13th. Although I'm far from superstitious, we all know what a horrific day this turned out to be for our friends in Paris and Japan.

Uplifting, happy thoughts are needed right now, and I'd like to be able to say I was a part of that effort, so next week I will attempt to post nothing but happy thoughts!

Your comments, thoughts, suggestions, issues, and insight are always welcome. Please feel free to reply to any of my posts.

14 November, 2015

Repetition in Writing: It All Depends

Reading a novel requires effort. Enough effort to prove in scientific research that the act of reading works to help slow the onset of Alzheimer's.

And what a reader wants when reading is to be sucked in; swept away from her own reality and left to hover over each scene like a wraith -- unseen yet completely engaged.

The other day, a Facebook feed comment mentioned the disappointment felt at finding, in her own body of yet-unpublished work, a lot of repetitive words within a single sentence, paragraph, or chapter.

It's a noble issue to consider when writing and wanting to publish and then hoping for great reviews and tons of sales. I've already posted a few articles that prove (regardless of what you see and read online these days) that grammar, punctuation, and spelling matter to readers!

Revision and Editing matter, too.

In the last few months, I noticed the repetition issue in a lot of the novels that I've read. Reading 'said' a few dozen times in the space of three paragraphs is bad, but other than the standard prepositions, having to re-read the same word over and over again is distracting.

Words like gun, weapon, kiss, hand, and eyes come to mind.

And, according to a free-trial AutoCrit report on the first chapter of my latest WIP, they are the words feel and felt.

I've since learned that felt  is a tell word and feel  is a show word.

(example NOT found in my WIP): "She felt all icky inside after stepping on that ant mound." versus "She could feel herself getting icky after stepping on that ant mound."

I prefer to read (and write) the first sentence to the second.

An example of repetition: "She received a lovely bouquet of red roses from her current lover. The red roses smelled divine. She found a vase for the red roses and set the red roses inside the vase, pausing to smell their divine fragrance. The lovely red roses in the crystal vase she chose to put them in complimented the pink and lacy accents of her boudoir, and their beautiful fragrance scented the boudoir nicely.

She just adores receiving red roses from men."

(I just made that up, by the way)

And, yes, I'll concede that it is a bit of an exaggeration, but not by a whole lot. I'm sure some of you out there have read slightly similar prose and find it just as distracting.

I'm nowhere near finished with this third novel to be worrying about the editing/revision process just yet, but the issue will loom overhead for the duration regardless of where I am in the writing process.

So, I sent the first chapter of my WIP through a word-count machine found online and free to use. Here is the word cloud the chapter generated -- which is based on word count and nothing more.

and another one using another generator

and a third

In all three images, the larger the word, the more often it was found in the body of work.

Two of the three generators did not offer the option to ignore prepositions, names, or pronouns, so of course the character names will show largest in these examples.

Which brings me to another writing dilemma and reader annoyance: the use and abuse of names versus pronouns in a paragraph or chapter.

I prefer to start out with an introduction and then lean on the pronouns:

"Here stands Inigo Brézlyn, a former Rugby player now retired after another ankle injury meant keep playing and never walk again or walk away now while you still can.

"He's a big guy at six foot three and weighing nearly two-hundred pounds, but ladies, be assured it is solid muscle, with a BMI index of about 1.

"Inigo likes sports and has played rugby for the past seven years, so now what's he supposed to do with his life? He'd like to go home after being away for ten years, but memories of the awful way in which he'd left that home keep cropping up to haunt and annoy him."

(again, more made-up fa-shizzle and not the real thing)

By replacing each highlighted word above with Inigo, you will see where the redundancy issue starts to rear its ugly head.

AND YET it, too, is a writer's conundrum to decide on the use of pronouns to replace a name or just keep repeating that name again and again throughout the first chapter or the entire book.

I don't like having to read names again and again. Especially when I'm well aware of who they are in a scene.

"Carrie and David continued to argue about what to do on their first date. He wanted to go to the movies, and she wanted to walk along the pier at the edge of town. She said she felt that it was the perfect night to do so before winter set in and months would pass before either could be that in-tune with nature again. He insisted that while the pier wasn't going anywhere, the movie was a blockbuster worth standing in a long line to see. He also felt that being able to brag about the event to their mutual friends via Instagram was cool.

"'Once a year isn't nearly as exciting as once in a lifetime,' he said to try and encourage her to agree with his line of thinking.

"'Yes,' she replied, 'but it's supposed to snow tomorrow and then get really cold. And besides, I don't like big crowds. I'm a bit of a germ-a-phobe, too, by the way.'"

"While continuing to argue, they heard a knock on Carrie's car window. She turned her head and saw Mary smiling and waving at her. David looked out the passenger window and saw Tom and Jim doing the same thing."

(overkill, sure, and not at all what 'honest' writing should look like in print, but hopefully it still manages to prove a point).

And finally, there is the confusing Chapter 1 intro and then pronoun usage throughout the rest of the book.

It never fails that I will have to keep going back to Chapter 1 in order to get reacquainted with the people I'm supposed to care about. What was this guys name again?

This is a huge problem when using an electronic device to read as opposed to a paperback, in which case you can simply flip the book over and re-read the blurb for a refresher course in who's who.

(I could just develop the habit of writing them down and save myself the trouble of having to go back each time I forget a character's name, but why?)

So, once I'm finished with this rough-draft WIP, I intend to pay closer attention to repetition as well as the other, more obvious issues -- and continue to attempt recognizing show versus tell.

If anyone has a sure-fire answer to the show vs. tell dilemma, I'd appreciate hearing from you!

Your comments, thoughts, suggestions, issues, and insight are always welcome. Please feel free to reply to any of my posts.