I got wonderful news! I was informed that Soul Taker is available in “Indie California’! Read more about it below – I am so very excited!! Please, help me spread the word! Thank you!
See the message I got here below
My Aunt, my late Dad’s youngest sister, passed away at 81.
Sister Sebastiana grew up as the youngest of eight children on a farm with a connected restaurant. Like her siblings, she had to start helping in her parent’s businesses quite early.
When she was 24 years old, she decided to dedicate her life to God. After her novitiate, she first became a kindergarten teacher and later decided to go back to her congregation when they called her for help.
She always beamed and laughed when she told stories from her kindergarten children. Sister Sebastiana had hearty, infectious laughter and shared her youngest brother’s, my Dad’s, humor. Maybe that’s one of the reasons why I liked her so much.
When she got ill four years ago, she gathered courage and continued her life with God and continued her work. But the illness was stronger than her strength of life. Very calmly, Sister Sebastiana accepted her diagnosis and faced death with admirable faith in God. She carried the suffering of her illness with impressive patience and lost the fight yesterday when she closed her eyes forever.
Our entire family is going to miss her terribly. She was always a rock in the ocean of our lives. But we know she is with her Creator now and, as heavy as my heart is, I know her soul is with God.
I am death on four paws
I have no smell and no race
My food is meat in the raws
I’m not betrayed by a trace.
I’m not in danger to go extinct
My color protects me in every case
I solely live on my own instinct
I have a territory, not a personal space.
I’m a silent lethal danger,
I’m always hidden and calm
I can’t be discovered by some stranger
when I approach you, say your last psalm.
My prey is often bigger than me
but I’m smart and I’m strong
Your size it can’t save you, you’d see
don’t believe to outrun me, you are dead wrong.
I do exist from Canada in the North
through the Americans all the way
in the Andes in the south and so forth
where I am I always find my prey.
I’m gorgeous and secret I sneak on silent sole,
respect me, I’m hidden and I don’t feel shame
I’m not by many names, but I’m no evil soul
Call me Moutain Lion, Puma or Cougar – and it is my name.
(Copyright: Aurora Jean Alexander, February 2020)
Jodie Renner posts on Anne R. Allen’s blog and provides us with excellent advice about not giving our readers a reason to reject our novel. Thank you so much, Jodie!
Have your trusted friends or beta readers told you your WIP novel is too long, confusing, or just doesn’t grab them? Here are some typical “big-picture” weaknesses to watch out for in your fiction and correct before sending it to an editor, publishing it, or pitching it to an agent.
These types of glaring gaffes in writing, pacing, plot, or structure will bog down your story and invite bad reviews, which could sink your reputation as a novelist. Fortunately, they can all be remedied at the revision and self-editing stages.
Thank you for sharing your informative and interesting blog post, Meg. We really appreciate it! To many of us it’s important they start looking right away.
Outside feedback is vital to the success of your manuscript.
As I’ve quoted many times before on my YouTube channel, according to Terry Pratchett, “The first draft is just you telling yourself the story.”
Our first drafts are imperfect translations of the perfect story in our minds. This version of the story isn’t ready for the eyes of the reader. But in order to improve the weaknesses in our story, we first need to be able to locate them. That’s where critique partners (CPs) and beta readers come in.
Before we get into where you can find CPs and beta readers, let’s first talk about what they are.
Laurence O’Bryan informs us about the Amazon Ads Dashboard changes and what they mean for us authors. Thank you very much for your informative post, Laurence!
Advertising a book on Amazon is one way to help ensure readers have a chance to see it when they are looking for similar books on Amazon. Most books are simply never seen by readers, as there are now so many on Amazon.
But first, a safety note. Please test Amazon ads with a small daily budget perhaps $2 a day with 3 different ads (campaigns) = $6 total daily budget, but only if you can afford to lose this for a few days or longer.
It can take a week or two for Amazon to start showing your ads, depending on your bids and genre, so if nothing happens in the first few days, please be patient and keep monitoring. The ads can start at any time. They usually start slowly, spending far less than your daily budget, but in some smaller genres the ads start fast and will spend your full daily budget.
So, monitor the results every day to see what your spend is. And monitor your Royalties in your KDP dashboard.
Anne R. Allen provides us with an experience no author ever wants to make. Read the blog post and you know what I mean. Thanks for sharing your experience with us, Anne.
Recently I got a furious Facebook message from a stranger who accused me of “using her life” in one of my books. It’s amazing how sometimes life imitates fiction.
She had apparently been a Facebook friend, and she dramatically unfriended me after sending a distraught DM describing the traumas in her life that I’d “stolen”.
Since she’d blocked me, I wasn’t able to assure her that Leona Von Schmidt, one of the suspects in The Queen of Staves, is an entirely fictional construct—a comic character who is not meant to resemble any real inhabitant of Planet Earth, living or dead.
When I wrote the book, I’d known nothing about the details of the Facebook woman’s life that she accused me of revealing. (Although of course, I know them now. Some things can’t be unread, alas.)
Kristen Lamb provides us with an excellent blog post about ‘The Synopsis’. There is still a lot I have to learn and I’m grateful for Kristen’s advice. Thank you!
There is one word known to strike fear into the hearts of most writers. Synopsis. Most of us would rather perform brain surgery from space using a lemon zester and a squirrel than be forced to boil down our entire novel into one page.
But alas we need to embrace the synopsis for numerous reasons. First and foremost, if we want to land an agent, it works in our favor to already have an AWESOME synopsis handy because the odds are, at some point, the agent will request one.
Sigh. I know. Sorry.
When it comes to synopses, I lean toward the, ‘Better to beg forgiveness than to ask permission’ camp. Which is where already having a seriously spiffy synopsis helps.
Think of it this way. E-mail sucks. Getting lots of emails and having to juggle it all sucks. Agents get a lot of emails.
Since I am also a person who gets a ridiculous amount of email, I can tell you with conviction that I LOVE people who save me work. They do this by saving me steps.
After I had published ‘Soul Taker,’ I was told there were a few questions left open in my book, for example – what would happen to that angel Katie met with Raphael, Sundance?
The second book, ‘Sundance,’ answered those questions, but then I was asked if there was more to be read about the warriors in that book… it can’t be that they… and so on.
I admit I was a bit surprised at first. I know tons of books where we have, as usually, protagonists, antagonists, sub-characters, and tons of ‘small’ characters that don’t have too much of a purpose, except being there for one or two scenes and then disappear. We all know ‘the maid’ or ‘the butler’ or ‘the mailman’ in many movies. The person enters a scene, does or even says something and leaves… but in my case, I got questioned about the future of some of the supporting characters. I first was confused but then finally decided to take it as a compliment. It seems, even my supporting characters are important enough to my readers that they’re interested in what happens to them!
But let’s get back to the additions to a book series.
See, ‘The Council Of Twelve’ series is quite well planned. A book ‘in-between’ is basically impossible. But what I could do is write some ‘extra stories.’ The first word that came to my mind was: Sequel. From what I learned in the meantime, that is not exactly what these additions to an existing series would be.
According to Jim Henry, on his homepage jimhenry.conlang.org, the definition of a sequel would be:
“Sequel” (from Latin “sequela”) originally seems to have meant “what happens next”; later it took on the additional meaning of “a story whose events take place later in the same imagined history as a certain other story” — usually with reference to novels, but also short stories, epic poems, and films.
He did mention different definitions of additional stories as well. According to Jim Henry, Wikipedia defines “interquel” as a story taking place between two previously published ones. Jeffrey Henning has a different definition of “interquel,” basically the same as Jim Henry’s coinage “paraquel” (see below).
a story that takes place simultaneously with a certain other story
a story that takes place partly before, partly after a certain other story
a story that takes place during a gap in some other story’s narrative
Now, armed with all that information about the different ‘extra-stories,’ will I be writing anything then? And if yes, why? I’ll tell you:
I was asked about these character’s stories – and I think, if these ‘supporting characters’ are so very important to my readers, I will tell their story too.
However, I decided to ‘collect’ the additional stories in an extra book. To tell you the truth, I’m not that much into finding out whether they are inquels, interquels or ‘whatever’-quels, as long as my readers love the characters and stories, but I promise, they will be extraordinary and they will make my supporting characters the center of their own story’s universe. They might not be novels or novellas, they might be novelettes – but they will introduce you to a wonderful personality which tells you how the character is linked to ‘The Council Of Twelve,’ and I’m convinced you will love them.
Thank you to those who asked me to tell their tale as well. I’m very honored!
It’s February 9, 2020 – ‘Oscar’ Sunday. For hours everyone with a name in Hollywood is walking the red carpet. I enjoyed the event enormously. Since I’m not an expert, I will definitely not criticize any of the academy’s decision. I don’t have the right to do that… many excellent actors and actresses, film artists, and Academy members have done their best in these decisions.
But what I’m sure going to do, is saying a word or two to the wardrobe some of the famous Hollywood Elite wore today. Of course, I cannot show every single participant and wardrobe here. But I picked the ones that triggered the most reaction in me. I promise one thing I’ll do my best. All these comments are strictly my personal opinion and my own taste. I hope you’ll enjoy the pictures, the comments, and if you agree or disagree with me, let me know in the comments.
We have a few nice, impressive and safe dresses here with some of our beloved Hollywood actresses, Renee Zellweger, Natalie Portman, Salma Hayek, and Scarlet Johansson
We also have a nicely and safely dressed Mindy Kaling, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Kelly Ripa, and America Ferrera, who is glowing, thanks to her pregnancy. Congratulations, America.
I hope very much you’ll forgive me for interrupting the ‘Ladie’s Oscar Night’ for a few pictures of very well dressed (and other) gentlemen. We have, of course, the very well classically dressed tuxedo participants: Brad Pitt, Keanu Reeves (here with his date: his Mom), Taika Waititi, Tom Hanks, Leo DiCaprio, and Rami Malek.
Of course, we have two more gentlemen that need to be mentioned, our all-time-favorites, Robert DeNiro and Al Pacino, one of them in a classic tux while Al Pacino looks his typical self, a bit ragged, a bit disheveled, just as we all love him.
And then, of course, two to mention whose choice of wardrobe (or stylist), I, unfortunately, cannot understand: Timothée Chalamet and Billy Porter. It is one thing to be yourself, it’s another thing to look completely out of place and out of space. To me, that’s a no-go, sorry.
We have breathtaking dress picks, like Laura Dern, Sigourney Weaver, Sandra Oh, and Cynthia Erivo. I know, I read in some places, Sandra Oh belonged to the worst dressed actresses, but I don’t agree. I think she looks fresh and beautiful in her golden ruffled Ellie Saab dress. Also, I heard comments that Laura Dern’s dress is horrible, I don’t think so. I’m quoting my sister here: ‘Normally I don’t like black and pink mixed, but that is not classic pink, it’s more a discreet powder tone which makes her look classic and gorgeous.’. To me, Sigourney Weaver’s forest green dress is a timeless classic, simple but elegant, and makes her look beautiful. And of course, Cynthia’s dress, even as unusual it is, it’s still elegant and makes her look regal.
We have a few memorable, classically beautiful, even breathtaking wardrobe choices, for example, Regina King, Beanie Feldstein, Margot Robbie, Charlize Theron, Penelope Cruz, and Rebel Wilson. In my opinion, well chosen, well done.
Now, let’s get to those participants, who I think, were a bit unlucky in their choice of wardrobe (or stylist). I’m very much into staying true to oneself, but that doesn’t mean, that ‘oneself’ is the center of the universe, and no adaption whatsoever is necessary. Not everything classic is bad or simply old-fashioned. Sometimes it’s beautiful and breathtaking! ‘Taking risks’ in my book, doesn’t mean looking like you got lost and should actually be at another event.
Zazie Beetz, I’m sorry, but for the most important award of the year, this is just insufficient. It’s beautiful, no doubt, but it’s not enough. Next time, please, upgrade!
Saoirse Ronan, I know it’s Gucci, but I’m afraid, even though the top looks amazing, the frills in the middle and the entire bottom don’t. That dress looks like you’re wearing two or three unfinished dresses hastily sewn together. I’m sure, next time, your choice will be much better.
Kristen Wiig… I’m sorry, but no… This looks a bit like the curtain in the bathroom of an old German castle… In an emergency, it also can serve as a table cloth on Christmas with these frills on the side, or – it may also be a tomato ravioli… depending on how hungry one is while looking at it. You have this absolutely breathtaking body – deciding on this sausage peel wasn’t necessary!
Olivia Coleman – far better than the Golden Globe dress, but not good enough for you. Three colors weren’t necessary – a nice simple black and white dress would have been beautiful on you – and that awkward sleeve-do on the dress once again adds width and weight to your frame. Still, room for improvement.
Little Julia Butters… my-oh-my. Young girls can look so cute on the red carpet. Some stylists manage to display the presentiment of future beauty and talent by dressing their young clients. This stylist – didn’t. Julia Butters looks like she’s wearing the dress in which Miss Piggy exploded. I hope from the bottom of my heart, next time someone keeps an eye on that girl!
Blac Chyna… I’m not sure what exactly your contribution to the Hollywood acting community is. I’m just wondering why you are showing up on the red carpet of the most important Award of the year, looking like you actually planned to go to the porn awards. Got lost? If not, maybe you should…
Billie Eilish – really? Sorry, Chanel or not – I think nothing on this look is the least bit positive. You have such a gorgeous face – that hair color is completely blocking your entire look, no matter if it’s fluorescent. The hawk-like claws aren’t helping. They look cheap. The entire oversized outfit makes you look like a meth bong. No-no…
On A Personal Note:
In a post like this one, I would normally not adding any kind of statement. It should just show my opinion about the fashion, it should make people look at the pictures, giggle a bit about my descriptions, agree or disagree with me and have fun. But today I was a bit surprised – and also a bit sad.
In today’s Oscar Memoriam Tribute, one actor, who was even featured in one of the shown pictures, “Once Upon A Time In Hollywood”, was left out: Luke Perry.
Luke Perry, our favorite ‘Beverly Hills 90210’ star, passed away on March 4, 2019, after suffering a stroke at the age of 52. His passing came one week after the 2019 Academy Awards, so it would actually be ‘logical’ to have him mentioned in the 2019 tribute. But he was famously missing.
That’s why I mentioned him here once again. R. I. P. Luke Perry.
All pictures courtesy of Google.com unless mentioned differently.