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How do we describe pain? Pain can have many different ‘forms’ of manifestation: I found the following words:

  • ache
  • pang
  • prick
  • shoot
  • smart
  • sting
  • stitch
  • throw
  • tingle
  • twinge
  • Burning
  • Sharp
  • Aching
  • Dull
  • Stabbing
  • Radiating
  • Throbbing
  • Cramping
  • Shooting

There are probably many more words to describe pain… in most cases, we describe what aches us when we are experiencing a headache, a tummy ache, when we fell and got injured, when our head, our knee, or our hand hurts when we cut or pricked ourselves…

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But… where is the table to describe the pain of heartbreak? Nagging, crushing, piercing…? We heard it all. But nobody can really invent, or find new words to really express what a human being with a broken heart feels. It’s too much to describe, or there are no words? That probably is most accurate, or, as I said once: “The pain of a broken heart is despair.”

Now, a broken heart is caused by loss… generally the loss of a beloved human being, maybe even a pet… The loss of a human being can be caused by separation by decision, or by death.

In medical terms, it’s called ‘Broken Heart Syndrome’, BHS. I have published a blog post about it, you can find it here.

How to describe what you feel? How to tell your doctor, your psychiatrist, or your best friend, what your tears mean? Tears can’t mend your heart, they are just a manifestation of the words you can’t speak aloud.

How to describe, when nothing you feel makes sense? How to describe the patience you needed to be with someone, how to describe the joy you felt when even talking to the person? How to describe the loss you felt, after saying good night over the phone, and how to describe the endless hours of missing someone’s voice, even if it doesn’t really make sense?

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Do you have experience describing broken heart pain? Help us out, we would like to know. It’s horrible, not to know what we feel, or how to express it.

The Best Part Of Telling A Story – Part V

April 14, 2022 I published the first part of this blog post series, April 28, the second part followed. The third part was published May 26, 2022, and part #4 was published July 11, 2022.. This blog post series talks about the best part of telling a story. There are so many good parts, to me, each holds its own appeal. Let’s have a look at them again:

1. Drafting the plot

2. Finding a motive

3. Creating the protagonist and antagonist

4. Finding the perfect location

5. Thinking of plot twists

6. Create side characters

[7. Depending on the story, maybe even create a world]

Today we are looking into ‘plot twists’. When I looked at that ‘phrase’ I had to laugh loudly. Now, there are as many plot twists as there are stories. And, of course, I am unable to mention all plot twists today, or ever, when it comes to that. Important at this point is, that our story, in fact, has a plot twist.

Let me describe it that way: Reading a story without any plot twist is about the same excitement as listeing to someone reading the phone book.

I’d like to start with a simple example: Boy A separates from Girl A, to be together with Girl B. Girl A decides to continue her life without Boy A, despite thinking, he was ‘the One’. While she gets over the separation, she meets Boy B. When Boy A sees her with Boy B, he’s jealous and tries whatever he can to get Girl A back. While trying to do that, he hurts Girl B horribly… – And here it gets thrilling. (Or, it could get thrilling, if it’s done right.) Why don’t we check out different possibilities?


Girl A finds out she was right, and Boy A is ‘the One’ for her. She forgives him, and they get back together… Girl B is hurt, but she understands. Boy B ‘disappears’ from the story, but he has always only been an unimportant side character and nobody misses him…

Chick Lit:

Girl B is sad, but is contacted by Boy B, and they both get together. A Happy End for both couples is ahead. Additionally, Girl A meets Girl B at the shopping mall and they start talking. They find out, they have quite a few things in common, and they become really great friends.


Boy A and Girl A settle down and work together on their ranch, with huge herds of cattle and they also successfully breed horses, they have two babies, a boy, and a girl. Boy B is a bit disappointed. Girl A would have been perfect for him to settle down, but this wasn’t his path. He composes and sings a really sad song and rides into the sunset. Girl B moves to the next big city and opens a brothel.


Girl B is actually a ‘Mormos’, a cruel supernatural monster, which has to mate with a human, kill him, and give birth to the spawn, before again, disappearing for three centuries, while the spawn spreads evil in the world. Boy A’s jealousy has ended their relationship and she couldn’t fulfill her plans, which makes her kill everybody in the story, including the mermaid and the gargoyle (don’t ask me why, I had no idea they were even in that story)… then she uses Boy B for her purpose, which is ending up really badly, since he’s a werewolf.


Girl A gets back together with Boy A, which leaves Girl B to meet with Boy B, who is actually a serial killer and starts with her… then Boy B goes over to kill a few others on his way to kill Girl A as he had planned all along, Boy A is the only one who can save the girl (and the story, too).

Four characters, five possibilities, only from one simple example. Of course , there are endless possibilities, and I’m sure, if I thought about it somewhat longer, I could come up with a few more examples.

What we have here, at the moment, are five examples, two of them don’t really have a ‘twist’… Romance and ‘Chick Lit’ just go from A to B, nothing exciting or thrilling happens. These stories are, most likely, as lame as watching a fly cleaning itself. (Even though, I’m always under the impression, a fly rubbing its first two legs against each other looks like their incredibly smug about something and I imagine them giggling maliciously, only that the frequence is too high for me to hear… But then, that’s different, and a subject for another time)

What’s important here is, that the story has to take a different turn than what’s ‘expected’ from the reader. Generally, there is nothing wrong with the first and second examples, if it were the real life. Their uncomplicated, easy, and without any further challenges, which we, of course, would want for everybody. But for a reader, it’s the lamest story one can imagine.

We want ‘adventure’, or we want to be scared, or maybe we want to bite our fingernails while reading, because the story is so thrilling, we can barely sit still. We want to cry, to laugh, or to yell, maybe even to scream, but we want to feel something! We want emotions in our book, and we want to read about them and feel them. What would we feel if everything always goes smoothly? Nothing… boredom, mostly. And that’s when our readers say: ‘That book was a waste of my time’… and that’s exactly what we don’t want.

One of the fun parts to write our story is, to add unexpected turns the story takes. Maybe it’s fun, maybe it’s scary, but it has to lead our story into a direction the reader wouldn’t think of… and that’s going to be a good story.

Tell us in the comments, if you have another idea to take Girl A, Boy A, and Girl and Boy B… or if you would like to add something else, when it comes to plot twists? We’re happy to read about your experiences!

Soul Taker Secrets – A Unique Place For A Meeting

In one of my books in ‘The Council Of Twelve’ series, I have set up a meeting in the ‘Hundertwasser’ church in Baernbach, Austria.

Despite my books being fantasy books, there is the occasional real existing location on Earth mentioned within the stories. This is one of them.

The church, designed by ‘Friedensreich Hundertwasser’, is a small, but impressive piece of architecture that I admire deeply. I’m not a big fan of ‘Hundertwasser’, but he did this design right.

“Hundertwasser stood out as an opponent of “a straight line” and any standardization, expressing this concept in the field of building design. His best-known work is the Hundertwasserhaus in Vienna, which has become a notable place of interest in the Austrian capital, characterized by imaginative vitality and uniqueness.” (Source:

When I was there for the first time, one thing impressed me most: the peacefulness of the church and its surroundings. It is unbelievable how wonderfully calm and protected the place is. Despite the famous name of the architect, the church is a cool, comfortable place to sit and rest, inviting, without being overloaded with gold appliques, It’s more a work of natural materials that underline the connection between our creator and nature.

That was one of the reasons why I picked this location to showcase in one of my stories.

I don’t want to give away too much here, since the book, where the church is mentioned, will be published at a later time.

But one thing might be interesting to you at this point: It was not a ‘Council Member’ who demanded this location for the meeting… it was the ‘other side’…

Have you ever picked a particular spot or happening and used it in one of your stories or books? If yes, why did you do that and what was it that made this particular location so unique? Let us know in the comments. We’re curious.

A Monumental Computer Crash

To a writer who’s typing in the last few pages of her first crime novel, nothing is more annoying than a computer crash, namely one she should have seen coming.

Sometime earlier this year, end of January, to be precise, I installed Windows 11 on my laptop. I followed the instructions until the last detail because I didn’t want anything to fail. I backed up my data and did what I had to do to get this system up and properly running.

A few days later I started having problems opening Word. And it got worse every single time I opened the computer. The laptop got slower and slower and it became almost unbearable.

Finally, after having settled in a bit better, I decided to face this problem and get it fixed, which I did with a total of almost 16 hours on the phone with Microsoft.

It turned out, that I did everything right when it came to the installation. Little did I know, that, unlike what my laptop manufacturer wrote online, my ASUS laptop is NOT compatible with Windows 11.

Well, I’m a user, not an expert, how would I know? I checked, as I was supposed to, but I didn’t ‘counter check’, double- or triple check, or consult any other sources, I counted on my manufacturer’s word – and got screwed.

Of course, now, after reinstalling Windows 10 on my laptop, I have to go back and set it up again, which means, it’s like a fresh start, with the backup data copied back onto my computer – which, of course, unfortunately, didn’t work as properly as it should have.

In addition to the fact that I am supposed to clean up my blog, do a few other things, write blog posts, and write more books in the series, am still waiting for my editor to get back to me, and I’m desperate for my crime story to be finally in this computer, I got more books to type in, and since I can use Word again, it’s time I’m getting that stuff done!

Still, computer crashes suck, and I was several times, very, very close to throwing that thing out the window! I didn’t know I could curse like a sailorman, seriously… I used words I didn’t even know I had in my vocabulary.

Maybe it’s time I get a new computer… *sigh*

What did you do the last time your computer annoyed you? Maybe I can learn how to handle that a bit better next time. Let us know in the comments. We’re curious.

Author-Agent “Handshake” Agreements: Be Wary – Written By Victoria Strauss

This is an updated version of a post I put online several years ago, in response to complaints about “handshake” offers from a particular agent at a large agency.

That agent is no longer making those offers (as far as I know). And handshake agreements are rare these days. But I’ve recently heard from several writers who received handshake or no-contract offers from other agents at other agencies–so it’s not impossible that you may encounter such an offer in your agent search. If you do, there’s reason to be cautious.

What’s a Handshake Agreement?

According to Wikipedia, a handshake agreement, or oral contract, is

…a contract, the terms of which have been agreed by spoken communication. This is in contrast to a written contract, where the contract is a written document. There may be written, or other physical evidence, of an oral contract – for example where the parties write down what they have agreed – but the contract itself is not a written one.

“Spoken”, here, is metaphorical: the agent doesn’t need to literally speak the words. The point is that they are offering some form of representation without a written contract to formalize the arrangement. This might be an email promising to submit your work to a few publishers to “see what happens”, with a contract to follow if a publisher makes an offer. Or the agent might tell you outright that they prefer to work without a written contract. Or there might be no mention of a contract at all.


An Empty Shell

There are times when I feel hollow

When times drags out the shallow days

The sun, it shines, provides the warmth

That shows the normal summer ways.


Surrounded am I, by furry companions

And people in whose house I live.

I do, what I can, not to be a burden

But I don’t know how much I still can give.


I’m feeling blue, and worse by the hour

I feel forgotten, like I don’t matter at all.

No work, nobody who gives me a chance

To prove my worth – I feel useless and small.


There’s one person in this world who fills my life

With warmth, with smiles, and with some joy

But even he, goes forward and back, undecided

I feel hurt and humiliated, like a toy.


All I need is some success, a chance, some energy

Make me smile, talk to me, and make me feel alive

Currently, I feel alone, in a huge building, my thoughts an echo

Don’t leave me here with only myself – I need to thrive!


Maybe I just wither, unloved, undesired, forgotten and alone

If I just disappear, nobody would care if I slowly fade.

Leave the sunlight, go into darkness, enjoy the moon.

go into the night, accompanied by only shade.


Maybe it’s not the non-chances, or sadness that are killing

Maybe it’s not neglect, or sadness that trigger fears

Maybe it’s more, maybe it’s pain, hurt and loneliness

That make me drown in an ocean of tears….


(Copyright, Aurora Jean Alexander, July 2022)

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The Best Part Of Telling A Story – Part IV

April 14, 2022 I published the first part of this blog post series, April 28, the second part followed. The third part was published May 26, 2022. This blog post series talks about the best part of telling a story. There are so many good parts, to me, each holds its own appeal. Let’s have a look at them again:

1. Drafting the plot

2. Finding a motive

3. Creating the protagonist and antagonist

4. Finding the perfect location

5. Thinking of plot twists

6. Create side characters

[7. Depending on the story, maybe even create a world]

Now, let’s find out what ‘the perfect location’ means, and where it’s supposed to be?

One of the main rules of writing says: “Write what you know.”

Besides that being the most misunderstood advice when it comes to writing, it still holds a little piece of good meaning, when it comes to ‘location’. ( Nathan Englander, the critically acclaimed author of ‘What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank’ says, that authencitiy in fiction means thinly veiled autobiography. If you’re a drunken, bralwing adventurer like Hemingway, no problem, but Englander says, growing up he watched TV, played videogames and dreamt about being a writer. Was he supposed to write about the Atari 2600? Englander says, ‘Write what you know’ isn’t about events, it’s about emotions. Have you experienced love, jealousy, longing, or loss? According to Englander, it doesn’t matter where the story takes place, your front yard, or another galaxy, if you’re writing what you know, the reader will believe you. (Source:

And here, I admit, my opinion is divided. Part of me wants to agree with Nathan Englander, the other part doesn’t. And that’s mainly, because ‘The Council of Twelve’ series mentions places on Earth, where, in many cases, I have been before, but also, Heaven and Hell, where you normally don’t go, at least not, until you face the Grim Reaper.


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How can I write about locations nobody alive has ever set foot in? And that’s the fantasy writer in me, who wants to agree with Englander. You’re right… it doesn’t matter where the location is. I can make it up, I write fantasy… I can create locations that serve my story, that are as horrible, or as beautiful, as I need them to be…

The other half of me, working on a crime story, wants to scream: STOP! Of course, it matters, where the story takes place! How can I write about a murder that is happening in a dirty back alley in Shanghai? I have never been in that city. (Except at the airport, but that’s a different story, and not for now)… What’s wrong with the murder in Tuscon, Arizona, where the writer lives, or in Tulsa, Oklahoma, or in Keystone, South Dakota, if the writer grew up there and knows every building like the back of their hand?

To me, writing my crime story, meant I picked the location I knew, and that’s where I lived at the time. I was busy enough with creating a crime, a plot, keeping my characters straight, inventing, writing, changing, adjusting, trying to feel like an evil individual and being impatient because it took longer than expected… I didn’t have time to make up locations I have never seen before.

I read a series of books I love very much, Don Massenzio’s Frank Rozzani Books. Don Massenzio’s main protagonist, Frank Rozzani was born, where the author was born, and he lives, where the author lives, in Jacksonville, Florida. I doubt very much that is a coincidence. Don Massenzio, I’m sure, will answer our questions hereof.

As for my preferences: I enjoyed both, mentioning places, where I’ve been, where I lived at the time, what I saw, and show them in my books… but also I immensely thrive in the process of creating locations that don’t exist.

When you’re a writer, what do you enjoy? Have you experienced both in your career? What do you enjoy most? When you’re a reader, and you read in a book about a location you have seen, do you judge the story according to the accuracy of the places? Let us know in the comments, we are curious.

How To Start Your Own Author Newsletter – Re-blog

(This blog post was published the first time September 9, 2015 here on ‘Writer’s Treasure Chest’.)

When I started building my network on social media and created “Writer’s Treasure Chest” I was not prepared for this much more to come. There are many more challenges to face. One of these challenges is to create my own Author Newsletter.

I started research on writer’s newsletters.

There are as many hints, tips and tricks as newsletter owners, and I’m desperate to be as well informed as possible before giving it a try. I’d like my first newsletter to be a success, not some amateurish “good luck” try.

Tips & Tricks

One of the first blog posts about newsletters I read had been written July 5, 2013 by Steena Holmes. She provides a list of what a newsletter can be used for. Mrs. Holmes hands out warnings on what not do with newsletters. She as well dedicates an entire paragraph on and how to get people to sign up. I like her writing style very much and I recommend this blog post to every writer who’s just starting. Her entire blog post can be found here:

Choose your Newsletter Provider

Steena Holmes mentioned one particular Newsletter and campaign provider: “Mail Chimp”. I did research on several providers and Mail Chimp seems user friendly and offers a variety of designs. I even found an easy to read and helpful “step-by-step” manual. It can be found here: This valuable tool provides tricks and screen shots to guide me through the process.

Decide on a professional design

After reading these posts and articles I tried to imagine how to stay true to my brand and still deliver a professional looking and interesting newsletter for my future readers. The answer I found on wikiHow: They even offer sample newsletters there which I found attractive. But the one thing impressing me most on wikiHow was their first paragraph. “Although images and layout are important, the written content is the biggest factor in whether your newsletter is successful. However, writing a newsletter requires more than just a good grasp of proper English grammar and extensive vocabulary. You need to be interesting, relevant, and easy to be read. Here are some simple steps you can take to write a good newsletter.”

The four types of Author’s Newsletters

Having a nice design in mind does not make a newsletter yet and found a blog post, written by Cheryl Reif. She offers four different Author’s Newsletters:

  • Chat & Conversation
  • News &Updates
  • Tools & Resources
  • Recycled Content

I need to decide now what type of newsletter mine should become. Cheryl Reif’s blog post can be found here

What did I learn?

I will try to keep it short. I know, I provided a few links to read and all I do now is a quick bullet list:

  • Keep the feature article short
  • Add extra valuable information for your readers
  • Tell your readers what you will write about to keep them interested
  • Create a list of upcoming events (if you have any)
  • Don’t play “hard to get” – give full contact information
  • Combine great content with a professional looking layout
  • Keep your readers entertained with providing a quote.
  • Send out your electronic newsletter every 30 days
  • Watch your subscriber’s list grow
  • The next step for me now will be to start on my first newsletter. In case I’ve made you curious how it will turn out:
Please, click the icon to subscribe.
Please, click the icon to subscribe.

I’d be delighted to welcome you as my reader. Thank you!

Happy Birthday To My Wonderful Sister

My sister… what can I tell you about her? She’s beautiful, she’s smart, highly intelligent, wonderful, got a great sense of humor, and she’s the best friend anyone can have.

I’m lucky to have her as my sister, and I cannot be more grateful! No matter what, she’s always been there for me!

Today, she celebrates her birthday. I won’t tell you a number, because she is 18 months younger than I am, and believe me, I’m notoriously secretive about my age! But, of course, now, she has to face the fact, that she’s getting older, (wiser too, of course!) and, that she starts looking older than I do… *grin*

But age is, in fact, only a number, and we won’t hold that against her, since we are generous.

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Instead, please, celebrate my sister’s birthday with us!

Happy Birthday, wonderful you!! You’re not getting older, you’re just getting better!!

I wish for you to enjoy life with a smile, I wish for you to see the small things in a wonderful light, listen to the birds sing, and watch the squirrels. I wish for you to make a few wishes, close your eyes, send them out into the universe and see them come true! I wish for you to see how amazing and beautiful you are! I wish for you to celebrate your life by eating a piece of cake and enjoying every bite of it! I wish I was there to celebrate and hug you, because you mean so much to me!

I love you, little Sister!

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Happy Independence Day 2022

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“The Star-Spangled Banner” is the national anthem of the United States. By the time the song officially became the country’s anthem in 1931, it had been one of America’s most popular patriotic tunes for more than a century. The anthem’s history began the morning of September 14, 1814, when an attorney and amateur poet named Francis Scott Key watched U.S. soldiers—who were under bombardment from British naval forces during the War of 1812—raise a large American flag over Fort McHenry in Baltimore, Maryland. (Source:


O say can you see, by the dawn’s early light,
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming,
Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight,
O’er the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming?
And the rockets’ red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there;
O say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?
And the rockets’ red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there;
O say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

I wish you and your loved ones

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