Soul Taker Secrets – Simin’s Birthday Surprise

It was Simin’s Birthday, and Katie had planned to surprise her with a meal. Zepheira told her about a dish containing chicken meat, fruit, and rice. That sounded wonderful, and Katie decided to cook that for the entire Council of Twelve and their consorts, including Sundance, of course. It wasn’t easy to keep Simin away, since she was, first of all, the best cook of the consorts, and also, to keep it secret from her. Zye decided to support Katie, while Sundance made sure, Simin was decently distracted, so she wouldn’t get suspicious.

It worked wonderfully, and Katie and Zepheira earned their praise for this meal. In case you feel like cooking it, here we go. Feel free to let me know how you like it.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons Unsalted Butter
  • 1 Onion, small, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoon Fresh Garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 teaspoon Chili Flakes
  • 1 cup Dry White Wine
  • 1 cup Fresh Cream, (whipping cream)
  • 450 grams Half Shell Mussels, ( 1 pound )
  • Salt and Black Pepper, to taste
  • 1 Lemon, juice and zest
  • 1/2 cup Parsley, chopped

Instructions

  1. .Melt the Butter in a large skillet (with a lid) – saute the Onion, Garlic and Chili Flakes until soft
  2. Add the White Wine and simmer until reduced by two thirds – add the Cream and simmer 2 – 3 minutes
  3. Add the Mussels and cover the skillet – over low heat, steam the Mussels until cooked – about 8 – 10 minutes
  4. Remove from heat – season to taste with Salt and Black Pepper – stir through the Lemon Juice, finely grated Zest and Parsley
  5. Serve as an appetizer with fresh, crusty bread slices

(Source: https://www.withablast.net/mussels-in-lemon-garlic-butter-sauce/ )

Interview With One Of My Characters VII

Hello Alfred, it’s a pleasure to meet you. I really appreciate you took the time to visit me here.

Thank you very much for the invitation, A.J. I enjoy being here.

It’s a little impertinent to ask, but how was your trip?

*booming laughter* Thank you, it was as fast and pleasant as ever.

Does that mean, that your kind teleports, just as Archangels, and many other supernatural creatures?

Of course, we do. Cherubim are Angels, after all.

I’m trying to hide a giggle, to be honest. I’m so sorry… but I always imagined, Cherubim to be short, little overweight boys in diapers, just sprouting their first wings?

*amused laughter again* Yeah, I don’t hear that the first time. Koyu told me the very same thing, once she found out who I am. But I have to disappoint you, just as I had to disillusion her. In Middle Eastern art, we were represented as lions or bulls with eagle wings and a human face. According to Christian beliefs, we belonged to the angels who guarded the entrance of the Garden of Eden… later, in Renaissance art, we were represented as little chubby kids with tiny wings. But the truth is, we are angels of the second highest order of the ninefold celestial hierarchy. We serve and praise our Highest, and very often, we serve as observers, just like I do. And just like every other angel, we look as we look. We blend in.

Thank you for your detailed information. I really appreciate it. Now, you mentioned being an observer. That’s what you do in your bookstore?

You’re welcome – and that’s exactly right. I met Koyu there. Sometimes we drank a cup of coffee together. She’s an unusual personality, but I wasn’t sure what she was up to. At one point I had to report her. She understood I had my duties, and we remained friends.

So, she wasn’t mad about you reporting her? She was taken in front of the Council Of Twelve, wasn’t she?

Yes, she was. And no, she never held a grudge. She still visits me in my bookstore, and occasionally we have a cup of coffee. Of course, now she’s got her own duties and tasks, and our meetings became rare. But I appreciate each one of her visits and consider her a friend.

Can you tell us more about her? I mean, how did the story start, and how did you know she isn’t human?

I cannot tell you more about her. Don’t forget, her story isn’t generally known yet. I told you, we occasionally met on the backstairs of my bookstore in the alley and drank a cup of coffee. Everything else you will read when her story will be published. As for me realizing she’s not human… I’m an Angel, that’s what I do. I have that talent, just as each one of my brothers and sisters has it.

You said Cherubim are the second highest order in the divine hierarchy. Does that mean you’re a good friend with the Council Of Twelve members?

*laughs* Yes, and No. Don’t forget, an Archangel is as different from an Angel, as an Angel is from a Human. The power an Archangel radiates intimidates many of us. We do have commanders, supervisors, and higher officers. I’m on a more friendly term with Andreas, the Council of Twelve assistant. He’s an amazing angel, and we get help from him, no matter when we call. I know the Council Members, yes, and I spoke to the one or the other before. But these Archangels are a powerful lot. On the other hand, they carry the burden of the World on their shoulders, taking over the responsibility as custodians for our Father and Lord. That’s not an easy task and they have my highest respect for that.

I understand a bit better now. Thank you for telling us. Now…

I’m sorry for interrupting here. But I’m called. I will have to leave you for now. But it was a pleasure meeting you in person. And one day, we might meet again.

Goodbye, Alfred.


Koyu’s Story Is Ready To Be Told

COMING SOON!!!

The fifth book of “The Council Of Twelve” series

DREAM WALKER

All Writers Are Introverts

My answer? Not true!

Picture courtesy of Google.com

First of all, from what I learned, there are very, very few true introverts or extroverts in this world. Most are a mix of both. Yes, we people tend to one side, but in general, we are a quite healthy mix of both.

Also, don’t forget, introverts aren’t eremites. It’s not like these people tend to hide in a cave, locking out everyone and everybody who approaches them. It just means, they usually prefer smaller gatherings before loud parties with dozens or hundreds of people. It doesn’t mean, they never go to a party, it only means, after a while, they will politely say good night or prefer a so-called ‘French farewell’, where they disappear and contact the host the next day to let them know, all is good, and they ‘didn’t feel so well’, but it was a wonderful party and thank you for the invitation! Nobody who knows introverts is going to be angry about that… it happens on a regular basis with them.

Now, who did set the rumor up, writers had to be introverted, because they bury themselves in work, all alone and brooding, separated from society, until they dive up, reborn from the ashes of the paper of their stories, flying high, soaring for a moment, enjoying the immense honor and love their fans shower them with, until the next idea forces them to once more disappear in the undefined cave of their narrow broom shed, where they write, during the night… whiskey and tequila next to them, while sleeping off their hangover for days at the time… (Oh, I love that image… I’m actually trying to picture myself doing that, but I get interrupted by the loud laughing fits I keep having.)

Now, let’s face a little reality here. Writers do their work the best they can. There are as many work processes as there are writers, probably even a few more. Most writers are not drunk while working; Hemingway’s drunk depression might sound like an ideal example of a world-weary genius, but most of us writers prefer to be able to write a coherent sentence that actually makes sense. We prefer to do our work with a minimal chance of typos or grammatical errors. We don’t ‘bury’ ourselves, we just prefer to work in peace and silence without too many interruptions that kill the buzz or interrupt the flow. Most of us set a goal, like 7 – 8 hours a day. (Sometimes only six, to each his/her own)… after that, we have a meal, shower, go to bed and work again the next day. Yes, our story is told in our head, we work alone, but also, the writing is only the smallest part of our work. Marketing, social media presence, public speaking, author visits, book clubs, teaching…? We are busy with many other things, too, that is part of what we do! And most of that part, demands meeting with people, networking, being chatty, open, friendly, and everything else nobody would expect an introvert to master.

There are plenty of articles around, describing introverts and extroverts, none of them describes being one of them as suffering from a personality disorder. It’s just a personality trait. Habits, preference, whatever we want to describe it. Introverts are not sick, they just feel good with their work, the peace and quiet, and the characters in their latest book.

I read a great article about introverts and extroverts on introvertdear.com. They also offer a quiz that goes with the article. Answer 21 questions, and you know if you tend to be more of an intro- or an extrovert.

What do you think, I turned out to be? Oh yes… no surprise there…

What is your experience with either personality? What do you think you are, and were you surprised finding out more about it? Let us know in the comments.

The Best Part Of Telling A Story – Part I

I have been asked numerous times what the best part of being a writer is… I usually reply that it is the start, when the page is still blank and waits for the words to show up on the monitor. But, to be honest, I’m not really sure that’s true. In fact, I think, there are several steps that are just as much fun than starting to type…

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]


Of course, crime story writers work differently than fantasy writers do. Now, since I write fantasy, but wrote a crime story out of my fantasy series, let me start with the fun part on both…

Part I – Drafting A Plot

‘The Council of Twelve’ series generally starts with a new charkacter being introduced to the readers. Since I just started to draft a new book, I would like to be careful not to give away too much. But imagine my thoughts are going into the following direction:

A New Consort

What Is She?

How Does She Meet The Council Of Twelve?

Why Does She Meet Them?

What Complicates The Situation?

Who Is Her Consort?

How Are The Problems Going To Show Up?

What Does The Council Of Twelve Do To Solve The Problem?

What Is The New Consort’s Part In The Fight Good Vs. Evil?

How Is This Story Going To Open A Spot For The Next Story?


When it comes to drafting a new crime story, my first draft was lighter and only contained a few questions:

Who Is The Victim?

Who Is The Perpetrator?

What Is The Motive?

Who Are The Suspects?

Who Is The Investigator?


Before these questions are not answered, I won’t start to write. There are a whole lot of notes to take, and during the plot draft, more questions will inevitably show up. A book rises and falls with the plot, and it has to be worked out very carefully. If the reader at the end is left with too many lose ends, the book is either no good, or it’s part of a series and the questions are supposed to be answered in the next part.

Saving time on the plot draft is not the best time saved. Of course, I can only talk about myself and what is fun for me, but this is the first fun step of telling a new story for me.

If you’re a writer and have something to add, or if you’re a reader and would like to ask questions, the post is open to comments.

A New Home For The Writer Beware Blog

I got the news this week that the ‘Writer Beware’ blog, which I keep re-posting here, on ‘Writer’s Treasure Chest’, moved to WordPress.

Victoria Strauss, who does so much for us writers by warning us from scams, foul play, screw-overs, phonies, and more, took the Writer’s Beware blog from Blogspot to WordPress, which is going to make re-blogging a lot easier. I’m sure, she’ll feel home here quite quickly!

Good Luck to Victoria, and we’re looking forward to her very helpful posts! Way to go!


Welcome to the new home of the Writer Beware blog!

After many years on the Blogger platform, we have finally transitioned to WordPress, which offers much greater flexibility in terms of design, control, and ease of use.

We also have a new, easy to remember web address: writerbeware.blog.

I’ve been dissatisfied with Blogger for a while now. I’m not a web developer, but I’m not helpless, either; I maintain the Writer Beware website on the SFWA site, and I built and maintain two additional websites, my own and another for an organization my husband is part of. But every time I thought about moving to a new platform, the size of the challenge just seemed too daunting. How would I transfer hundreds of posts, not to mention the thousands of comments and images that go with them? What about all the non-working inbound links the move would create? Links wouldn’t be a problem if I just started fresh on a brand-new WordPress site–but then the blog would exist on two platforms, with two different web addresses. And what about WB’s thousands of followers and subscribers?

CONTINUE READING HERE

Writer’s Tools – Fountain Pens

How many times have I mentioned, that I love beautiful pens, all kinds of pens, ballpoint pens, special pens, light pens, exclusive pens, unique pens… I’m like so many other writers. One of the bestestest sentences a man can tell me is: “I saw this beautiful pen and knew, it is for you.” (And, of course, hand me an exclusive Cartier Ballpoint pen, nicely surrounded by gift wrap and a bow!)

But today, I’m not talking about ‘regular’ pens, I’m talking about Fountain Pens… they’re the most elegant writer’s tools, in my opinion (not exactly counting the quill, since that one got out of style quite some time ago – considering how many birds had to sacrifice their feathers for those, that development wasn’t that bad, I assume).

As many of you know, I write the first draft of my books by hand. I use some scrapbook or paper notebook, a cheap pen, and start scribbling. Considering I have so many great pens, it’s actually a pity I don’t use those, but, of course, they have to be saved for special occasions; also, I’m scared to death to take them anywhere with me to avoid losing them. That makes me a pen-hoarder (or collector, if you will, but the expression doesn’t change anything on the fact that I’m irrational when it comes to pens).

My writing process already takes quite a while, and I’m certainly not stupid enough to believe writing the first draft with a fountain pen would speed up that process in any kind of way! But that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t want to write with one occasionally…

It took me a moment to return to reality, after this blog post, since my writer’s fantasy ran wild circles when I saw the beautiful fountain pens… Just a small selection here… these are modern, stylish, fun… but not particularly elegant though… (I picked them from the Gouletpens.com website)

A few of them have true potential, I have to say. Check out these three, Two Pilot Fountain pens, and a Visconti, Homo Sapiens… how beautiful!

But the truly breathtaking fountain pens I found on a website The Gentlemen Stationer. The owner of the blog, Joe, writes about his experiences with different pens – and Fountain pens, and describes in detail what to expect, weight and measures, and shows pictures. I’m not going to re-write, of course, Joe did the work. He even describes the prices, and doesn’t forget one of my favorites, the ‘Montblanc’, an exclusive, status-symbol-like Swiss brand in excellent quality.

However, I will add a Fountain pen I had the unbelievable luck to write with a couple times: A Cartier Fountain pen, very exclusive, absolutely stunning, but it was still an exquisite feeling to write with it. The pen is heavy, but feels like home, even in my slightly smaller hand, even though it’s obviously made for a man.

And the price? Yes… that’s another thing… Well, if you must know: You won’t get it below $1200. Is it worth it? In my heart and collection? Yes… – In my head? No way… I would be so scared to break or lose it, I’d never use it… But I still can admire – and dream, right?

What’s your dream? Let us know in the comments.

Preparing For More ‘Council Of Twelve’ Adventures


Last week, as of Tuesday, I surprisingly found myself in a situation when I suddenly had a lot of time at my hands, but unfortunately, my books were as far away from me, you could have counted the distance in lightyears…

What do you do, when you’re a writer, you cannot stare into your phone all the time, you have certain limitations in movement, pen, and paper – and feel the need to continue your work? Right, you ask for pen and paper and start drafting.

  1. Make a list of the published, written, and WIP titles of ‘The Council of Twelve’ series
  2. Plan the two last books in the series
  3. plan the second and third of the collected ‘The Council of Twelve’ novelette books
  4. Start drafting character sheets for the two last books in the series’ new consort characters
  5. Find names for the very same two consort characters
  6. Draft a character description of one of the most unusual novelettes that will be part of the collections.

I did all that by hand, considering to type it into my OneNotes at a later time – and then decided I wouldn’t. Why should I do that? I wrote it once, and I got the notes. I would have to work out the characters eventually, but at this time these are new ideas, which means, they go into the OneNotes ‘New Ideas’ folder and will stay there, until I’m ready to take on the challenge to start writing these books.

So I took pictures of my notes and moved them into the app.

And once more I’m grateful for today’s helpful and supportive technology. Remember typewriters? Oh yes, we could type there, with ‘blue sheets’ in between, and if you permitted yourself one typo, everybody could see it. And we could use copy machines. But then we still had to keep the paper. Now I can take a picture and move it to wherever it’s needed. I’m lucky. I’m happy, I’m relieved…

The Council of Twelve series is still progressing… but I also permit myself the thought to develop ideas outside of the series. There’s still a lot of work to be done, but I don’t want to ‘end up’ only to be defined by one style, by one genre, or by one series. I know I can do more than that, and that’s what I’m working on.

When you’re writing in your genre and feel like peeking into another one, which one would that be – and why? Let us know in the comments, we’re curious.

Soul Taker Secrets – Valentine’s Dinner A La Katie

Lately, we celebrated Valentine’s Day, the day for loved ones, and the ones that mean the most to us. Katie decided to have the Council Members over with their respective consorts. We know, our consorts love to cook together, but unfortunately, this year, the only one who had time to help Katie, was Simin. Sundance had to answer a call and Zepheira needed to take over a tracker class. That left our two consorts Simin and Katie with the dinner preparations.

They decided to take it easy and keep it light and served Easy Lemon Butter Fish with rice for dinner. Of course, the mandatory tiramisu followed the main course, but that goes without saying.

The ladies were complimented on their cooking, and the fish was excellent (because Simin made it). Since Katie took responsibility for the rice, it was a bit dry, but our Council members didn’t expect anything else and ate it like warriors do: without complaints or groaning.


(Of course, the Council of Twelve with consorts, is a group of 16 people… but this recipe I decided to show you for a group of four instead)

Ingredients

  • 4 good-sized firm white fish fillets, about 6 inches long, 1-inch thickness (cod, halibut, or mahi would work well.)
  • 3 TB melted butter (I use salted, but unsalted is fine)
  • Juice and zest from 1 medium lemon
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt, plus extra to taste
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 TB olive oil
  • freshly chopped basil or parsley leaves, for garnish and flavor
  • extra lemon slices for serving

Instructions

  1. Use paper towels to thoroughly pat-dry excess moisture from fish fillets – this step is crucial for fish to brown nicely in pan. Set aside.
  2. In a bowl, combine melted butter, lemon juice and zest, and 1/2 tsp kosher salt. Stir to combine well. Taste and add a bit more kosher salt, if desired.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine the remaining 1/2 tsp kosher salt, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, and black pepper. Evenly press spice mixture onto all sides of fish fillets.
  4. In a large, heavy pan over medium high heat, heat up the olive oil until hot. Once your oil is sizzling,  Cook 2 fish fillets at a time to avoid overcrowding (allows for even browning.) Cook each side just until fish becomes opaque, feels somewhat firm in the center, and is browned – lightly drizzle some of the lemon butter sauce as you cook, reserving the rest for serving. Take care not to over-cook, as that will result in a tougher texture. Season with extra kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
  5. Serve fish with with remaining lemon butter sauce, basil or parsley, and lemon wedges.

Notes

** Be sure to use coarse kosher salt, not fine table salt. Kosher salt is much milder and less salty. ** The actual cook time varies, depending on type, cut, and starting temp of fish. Katie typically cooks about 3-4 minutes per side. She checks for doneness by lightly pressing fillet centers for firmness. Once it feels somewhat firm, it’s usually done. ** She served it with white lemon rice with parsley.

Picture courtesy of ‘Chew Out Loud’. Full link below

(Recipe Source: https://www.chewoutloud.com/easy-lemon-butter-fish-15-minutes/)

Smashwords Alert – Big News! Smashwords and Draft2Digital to Unite as One

A letter from Mark Coker

Dear Friends of Smashwords,

This letter isn’t a goodbye; it’s a new hello.

Today we announced that Draft2Digital is acquiring Smashwords. We’re joining together to do more for authors, publishers, and readers.

Fourteen years ago when I created Smashwords, I set out on a crazy mission to change the way books were published, marketed, and sold. I wanted to empower every writer in the world with free tools to self-publish ebooks with pride, professionalism, and success. I wanted to give readers the freedom to enjoy the wonderful diversity of indie-published titles that I knew our publishing platform could help unleash.

Thanks to your trust and partnership, today 150,000 authors and publishers around the world use Smashwords to publish almost 600,000 ebooks. Nearly $200 million worth of Smashwords ebooks have been purchased at retail, and over $110 million paid out to authors and publishers. These books enriched the lives of readers, indie authors, publishers, booksellers, and the broader culture of books.

The impact of our little startup reached far beyond the numbers. As a friend of Smashwords, you’ve been part of something really big.

CONTINUE READING HERE

What Kind of Book Translates Well to the Screen? – Written By Jane Friedman

Given the increase in book-to-screen deals in recent years, and the tendency of the TV/movie industry to build off existing intellectual property, it’s natural for authors to wonder if their own work is suitable for adaptation—or if they can increase their chances of writing something that will be adapted. In a panel last year at the virtual Bologna Book Fair, several players in the industry discussed what they look for in projects.

Continue reading HERE