Monthly Archives: July 2012

VBT: With a Wolfish Grin

VBT: With a Wolfish Grin

      Welcome to Week TEN (ten!!!) of the Tasha Turner Coaching/MasterKoda VBT!
      This week’s we have a special treat for you – a return to PP.net by the self-proclaimed “wolf addict” – Dominique Goodall! Dominique is the author behind the forthcoming “Echoes of Winter” which itself is a part of the “Seasons of the Wolf” series. This time, she’s here to discuss her technique… is she a ‘pantser’ or a ‘plotter’?
      Without further ado, let’s give a big round of virtual applause to Dominique! *cheers*

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With a Wolfish Grin

by Dominique Goodall

      So…the question I always find non-writing people asking me is a very unusual one. They ask me whether I plan what I write or if I just go with the flow, so to speak. There are words that are used to describe people who use these avenues, ‘plotter’s or pantser’s.’
      I’ve tried it both ways throughout the last years. I’ve tried storyboards, timelines – the full chorus of ways to aid and guide a story along what could be called a natural ebb and flow for the plot I have in mind. I’ve also tried just letting my fingers write, my mind dictate where the story should go…
      I’ve even done both at the same time! I tend to get a vague idea for a beginning, and random events throughout the story for scenes. I then have an idea for the ending which I just vaguely try to twist towards, to guide the story towards.
      If anyone was to spend a day with me when I was writing…mostly what they would see would be procrastination. I sit about, read, watch TV, play games and chat with people. I take my time to walk the dogs, handled the hedgehogs, feed the snake and lounge about on the sofa. I even train my dogs instead of write…
      But it’s when I really want to write that the ‘magic’ happens. I open up Facebook (IF it’s shut. Which is rare.), go onto one of the writer’s groups and then sit there again. I look for writing sprints (and if you don’t know what one of those is, hit google!)…then the MS (that’s manuscript) comes out and I really hit the word count HARD.
      I can write more than 2000 words in an hour’s hard sprint, I can really just burn out the word count which really will move the story-line on.
      So – back to the original question. Am I a plotter or a pantser? I’m both, and real proud to admit that!
      How about you?
      Plotter?
      Pantser?
      What is your writing routine when you know you are on a good track?
      Share some tales of your own experiences of working by the seat of your pants or letting your mind work unmolested.
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Dominique Goodall is the author of the soon to be released Echoes of Winter, book one in the “Seasons of the Wolf” series and a self-confessed wolf addict. She has currently been published in two anthologies by Crushing Hearts and Black Butterfly Publishing and is currently working on getting herself better known by sending in manuscripts for as many different anthologies as she possibly can.

As much as she loves to admit it, she never will be able to count her wolf stuff- there’s nothing left for her to be truly able to collect without her own home.

She can be found on Facebook, friended on Facebook, at her blog, or on Twitter.

You can also like “Echoes of Winter” here.
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      Super-huge thanks to Dominique for returning this week to share her thoughts on flying by the seat or planning each step. So, which are you? A pantser? Or a plotter? Comment below and then stop by my FB page to vote!

Love & Rainbows,
P.P.

[Editor's Note: My guest post at the BookBabe, Tara Cheverestt's blog is here.]

Snippet Sunday: Marked

Snippet Sunday: Marked

      Today’s excerpt is a scene from WT: Madaya. It is from an older draft, but I always sort of liked it. At this point in the story, the Secubant are no longer content to work their wicked ways from the hidden villages. They turn their collective attention from destroying the Vindari and set out to return to power. But first they require a pawn… young Lourdan Hazei of Acernas…
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      “Do you fear me, little one?” he chuckled, his deep voice like gravel in a velvet pouch. There was a pause as the cold blade trailed across her cheek. “You should…”
      “I fear no man,” Lourdan replied, lifting her chin in defiance.
      He nodded, long black curls shifting over his shoulder, and stepped away. His eyes trailed down her body, pensively. Each was a different shade: the right was a cold, flinty gray and the left was nearly black. She cringed, his disconcerting gaze was nearly tangible on her bare flesh.
      “Sadly, my love, I know you lie. Your eyes are clear…perhaps you believe there is nothing earthly to fear. But,” he sniffed the air, meeting her gaze. He lowered his voice to a hoarse whisper, leaning down until she could feel his hot breath on her face. “I can smell your fear.”
      The rope around her ankles and wrists bit painfully into her skin as she tried to shrink away from him, and a smile crossed his face when she winced. Slowly the man dragged the flat of his dagger down the side of her neck, hesitating at the base of her throat. It slid over her chest, the unnatural chill from the blade penetrating her thin silk tunic, and down her belly. With a grunt, the man tore open the lower half of her shirt. He lifted his arm and flicked the knife to one side, then down. Lourdan bit into her lower lip, determined to show no weakness, but as he carved his glyph into her abdomen silent tears spilled from her eyes.
      Low, rhythmic words in a tongue she did not understand rolled from his tongue and his eyes fell closed as he began to sway slightly. Rock grated against rock as the stone door opened and a dim light spilled into the cavern. Lourdan squinted, then gasped.
      “Ah, you’ve done well, husband.” A female voice cooed. “Loradin’s lovechild, yes?”
      The man nodded once, bowing his head and stepped away from the young woman bound on the granite altar. “Lourdan Hazei of Acernas. Meet Summoner Bae, Vayne, the next M’Ambra of the Secubant.”
      Suddenly, she understood, but there was no relief in the realization that they would not kill her.
      “Delius,” Vayne gestured with her hand, “Finish marking her. The spell is incomplete.”
      There was no Vindari blood in her veins, but she could feel the weave tightening around her body. Vayne watched intently, pale eyes fixated on the young woman. She tapped her nails against her cheek as her husband worked; a frown forming upon her lips. His work was sloppy, his weaving loose and gaping in places. Angrily, she pushed him aside and leaned over the girl’s prostrate form.
      “If you cannot do it properly, fool, do not bother!”
      Vayne closed her eyes tightly, and her fingers began to twitch as they plaited etherial strands. The elements twirled and danced in her grip, sliding around the young woman. Blood trickled from the glyph and as she looped the braided light into the wound, Vayne leaned closer to Lourdan, hovering over her. Flesh closed, puckering around the spell and the girl began to scream. The braid alternatively flashed hot and cold, writhing inside her abdomen. Pain unlike anything she had even known seared through her body and blackness enveloped her. As the final words of the incantation left her lips, Vayne bent her head and dragged her tongue over the burned flesh, tasting magic and blood.
      “Control.” Delius smirked, freeing the girl from her bonds. “She will wake soon. Then she will be ours.”
      “No.” She glanced back at him. “She will be mine.”

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      And that’s it for today’s snippet. What did you think? Comments, questions, suggestions appreciated – let me hear about it below!

Love & Rainbows,
P.P.

Home is Heaven…for Beginners.

Home is Heaven...for Beginners.

      Home.
      They say its where your heart is. Or that where your heart is, so then is home. There are two interpretations of that statement as far as I can see. The literal; that in which ever physical location your actual beating heart is, that is your home. Or the metaphysical; your home is where your heart lives – where your love lies.
      Both can be true, I think, depending on circumstance. Technically, I am at home right now, where I sit writing this rambling, potentially incoherant essay. My literal heart is thumping away in its usual, rhythmic manner whilst my body occupies a seat before the computer at my desk. In my apartment. Surrounded by my (okay, our) things. I am, to speak in the most semantical of ways, at home.
      But if you were to ask me, “Penelope Price, where is home to you?” I would most certainly not answer: “That brown chair in my apartment.”
      Well, I might. Because I spend a lot (no really, A. LOT.) of time in it. Chances are, however, my answer would be something more philosophical.
      “What a wonderful question, friend!” I might say, if I were a patronizing douche (which I fervently hope I am not, generally speaking). “Home can mean so many things to so many people! But for me, home is [redacted].”
      I really like my apartment. I adore its location (mostly) and our neighbors. I quite like that Jack’s mother lives a matter of minutes away on foot. I absolutely love that Jack is there and that we are building our life together there. It is “home”. But…
      Home is [redacted]. Not the suburb of Seattle I grew up in – though I still get a little misty when I see my mountain rising up from the mists on a foggy King County morning – nor is it any of the cities I’ve lived in here in Pennsylvania – though I have spent about five years here now. Home is the sleepy collegiate cow-town I moved to after High School. The town I have tried to escape a few times. The town that always draws me back. The town that I dreamt of raising little Jack Jr. in. The town where my mother lives, and my platonic soulmate, and my best friend.
      [redacted].
      That’s home to me. No matter where I live, where my ‘stuff’ is, or where I travel, I have never just felt home the way I do when I see the valley sprawling out before me. It calls to me with a siren’s song, “Come back to me, Penelope, come back…baaaaaaaack…” And I do. Over and over again. Hell, I wish I were there right now. And maybe one of these days, when I no longer have to rely on an income generated outside of the house, I will move back and raise my family there and let them spread my ashes into the ever-present wind and rest there eternally.
      Because I believe that while I live wherever Jack and I lay our heads, and that my heart belongs to him, for me, home will always be defined as [redacted].

Love & Nostalgic Rainbows,
P.P.

P.S. For the sake of personal privacy… and because the residents may or may not have chased me out with pitchforks and torches on more than one occasion… I’ve omitted the actual name of my home town.

P.P.S. The title is a quote from an American clergyman called Charles Henry Parkhurst and when I think of home, and how much I love home, I can’t help but think that even if he meant something entirely different… for me, its utterly true.

Liebster Blog Award!

Liebster Blog Award!

      So, I’m a total fun-killer because although I am totally going to fill-in the questions and post them… I don’t think I’ll be tagging 11 people just because… um… I’m lazy and I don’t want to admit that I probably don’t have 11 blogger-friends to tag.
      This is what I know about the Liebster Blog Award

The Liebster Blog Award is given to bloggers who have less than 200 followers. Liebster is a German word meaning: sweetest, kindest, nicest, dearest, beloved, lovely, pleasant, valued, cute, endearing and welcome.

The rules are:
      1. Thank and link back to the person who presented you with the award. Add the award logo to your blog.
      2. Answer the eleven questions posted for the nominees.
      3. Share eleven random facts about yourself.
      4. Write eleven questions for your nominees and then…
      5. Nominate eleven worthy blogs and contact those bloggers so they know about it! (No tag backs.)

      Without further ado, here are my answers to the 11 questions the sassy, witty, sexy Ellie Mack sent me!

1. Which genres do you read and write? Why?
      Technically, that’s two questions, but since I love Ellie so dearly, I’ll overlook her clever ploy.
      I read fantasy, horror, thrillers, historical fiction, sci-fi, blah blah blah. Basically, anything I stumble upon and like. Despite my huge issue with infidelity, I am not a single-genre woman. I’m open to the world of words and will likely try anything once – literature-wise. Recent reads have been “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” by Seth Grahame-Smith, “What She Knew” by TL Burns & KR Hughes, and a re-read of “Les Miserables” by Victor Hugo. I’ve got Catrina Taylor’s “Xarrok” coming up next, and a whole slew of other things after that.
      I write fantasy. Usually, fantasy of a political/low magic/epic variety, though I have drifted toward standard high-fantasy (yes, I wrote about Elves) occasionally. Right now, I am writing modern-day fantasy, which is a major deviation for me. But let it not be said that I cannot or do not write in other genres. I have a sci-fi WIP simmering on a back burner, a historical fiction, and in the past I’ve written paranormal, crime, romance, erotica, comedy… I do it all! And some of it, very well.
      Why? Because I love words, I love how other people put them together to create different feelings and moods. I read everything because I think that if you limit your writing to being ‘just’ fantasy or ‘just’ thriller – it will suffer. I like to think that even in a ‘fantasy’ novel, I can bring elements of romance or horror or comedy or tragedy. And the best way, in my experience, to write better (regardless of genre) is to read more. Thus, I have a book at hand at all times.

2. Are you a “pantser” or a “plotter”?
      Ah, the eternal question!
      Both.
      “Incandescence” was begun on a whim, but in my determination to FINISH it, I decided I needed an Outline. It was rough, but it was definitely more than I had done for any of the dozen unfinished WIPs I began during the tumultuous Aughts (er… is that what we’re calling the decade between 2000-2009?).
      I always do a lot of research, but historically, I have not always done a lot of plotting. I feel like, for me, a lot of the story just needs to come out organically. It will be sliced and diced and chopped and chipped in the edits and rewrite, but during the initial draft – I tend heavily toward “pantser”.
      After the success of finishing “Incandescence” though (and with the addition of Scrivener to my daily life) I may have to start changing my game. Time will tell. I am definitely plotting the outline for “Inferno”.

3. Is there a writer who inspires you?
      Yes.
      Several, really. Even though I believe I identified as a writer long before I read anything by the following authors, these names have inspired me to do more, do write better, to keep going.

  • Timothy Fields
  • Victor Hugo
  • Melanie Rawn
  • Raymond Frazee

4. If you could talk to any three people, dead or alive, who would they be?
      In no particular order, and assuming language would not be a barrier:

  • My Dad
  • Naoko Takeuchi
  • …um. I’ll get back to you on this one.

5. Describe your work space
      Hmm. Presently, my work space doubles as my office cubicle. I have a small workstation on which rests my work laptop, monitor, keyboard, reference junk, et cetera. When I twist my chair to the left, I am facing the fold-out table Jack and I use as a computer desk.
      Nothing fancy here. Just a worn-out old Dell, my external hard drive, a bottle of Jergens Ultra-Healing (for my über-dry hands), a lamp, an alarm clock with extra-big numbers so I can see the time without my glasses, a Himalayan Pink Salt grinder (why is it out here?), assorted nail polishes & products, vitamins, Clorox disinfectant wipes, my spare glasses, some junk mail…
      I do a lot of my writing on the bed in a notebook these days, just because this is not the most creativity-enhancing spot in the world. When we move, Jack & I intend to really go all-out in putting together a writing space. I want red walls. I wrote some GREAT freaking stuff when I had a red office…
      With handcuffs on the wall.
      …*ahem*

6. Who is your favorite author?
      That’s pretty much impossible to qualify these days. In addition to those listed above, I adore or have been positively-influenced by so many writers (pubbed or no). Call this answer a cop-out if you must, but I simply cannot choose.

7. If your book were made into a movie, who would play your main character(s)?
      Oh gosh. I have five characters for “Incandescence” whom I would call main. Can I dream up actors/faces for all of them? No wait! I hate to put faces to them now and color the reader’s imaginations.
      I do have a couple ‘potential’ Hannahs picked-out, and a Luke. And an Alexander, in fact. But I never have found a face that really screams out Michael to me. I’d be more interested to read what the readers think about who should play who…

8. Where do you see yourself in five years?
      Married. A baby. A dog. About seven more novels under my belt. Possibly published traditionally. Definitely published electronically. Writing and finding happiness in all the small things that I am blessed to have in my life.

9. What is the strangest thing you’ve ever eaten?
      Mealworms.
      Yes…Mealworms.

10. What foods coax your muse into productivity?
      Although I like to describe the food in my character’s world with detail and invisible drool on my chin, I don’t generally eat while I am writing (because I’m too busy eating to type). I do find that when my creativity seems drained, however, some lovely potato chips and a break to chomp on them while reading, tends to to get the muse jumping again.
      It might have more to do with the reading than the food though.
      Plus, I’m trying to avoid chips, so its best I don’t associate them with productivity. Tee-hee.

11. Coffee or Tea? What’s your favorite, how do you like it, and in what quantity?
      Tea. I am drinking a lot of green tea, iced, lately. I’ve always preferred tea to coffee, though in the past year or so… I have found it pleasant to spend a chilly morning on the porch with Jack and a steaming mug o’ joe. We banter back and forth, talk about plots and characters and generally just be awesome.

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      Well, that’s done. I hope you know me a little better after this adventure into Liebster-dom. I hope I didn’t scare anyone away with that photo of mealworms. I would have directly placed it into the post, but alas – I’m getting paranoid about copyright law in the wake of this article.
      So – what did you find out about me that you didn’t know before? Do you think I should try to tag 11 people? Should I tag YOU?

Love & Rainbows,
P.P.

VBT: Today, Tomorrow, the Future

VBT: Today, Tomorrow, the Future

      Welcome back, peeps! Welcome to Week Nine of the Tasha Turner Coaching/MasterKoda VBT!
      This week’s scheduled guest is the sweet & talented Aurora Martinez! Check out her post below about her posting habits and what you can expect to see in the future on her blog.

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Today, Tomorrow & Beyond

by Aurora Martinez


      I have always been a writer. When I first learned to write in Kindergarten, I wrote about pigs who “groo” wings and became “butterfys.” I knew way back then that I would have a love affair with writing. Over 20 years later, that love flows over into writing novels, blogs, reviews and poetry.
      I am happy to be hosted by Penelope Price on her blog. A regular post on my own blog could be anywhere from a Spotlight on Authors to odd things and reviews of books, movies or shows.
      Right now, I’m focusing on Spotlights and reviews, but I’m also making some time to write. My book, a fantasy story, called “Child of the Loch” can be found on Goodreads. I released it in for free in May but took it back off the shelves. There were great reviews (nothing below a 3 star review) and I was happy with what people had to stay. However, I got some really great advice from some trusted and published Authors. At this point I’m taking some time to rewrite, edit and prepare to re-lease a new version for pay. Until then I’m hoping to contribute to the success of other writers.
      Thanks for hosting me, Penelope. Have a great week!

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      Aurora is a fellow MasterKoda/TTC member and the author of a fantasy novel called “Child of the Loch” which she is presently re-writing. She also curates a lovely blog and you can find her on Facebook, or at Goodreads.
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      Big thanks to Aurora for telling us about what you can find on her blog now and in the future! How do you decide what to blog about? Do you do reviews? Write about writing?

Love & Rainbows,
P.P.

[Editor's Note: My guest post at the lovely Dominique Goodalls's blog is here.]

Snippet Sunday: Pills Don’t Kill the Pain

Snippet Sunday: Pills Don't Kill the Pain

      Today’s excerpt comes from a different old story-in-the-round my bestie and I wrote back in 2008, called: Hollyweird. It is a series of vignettes about Hollywood, the Paparazzi, fame, hangers-on, celebrity gossip websites and the dark side of it all. Some of them were pretty freakin’ hilarious. This one, one of the later episodes, is not so much funny as… sad. But I thought I’d share a blast from the past.
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      Someone save me.

      I’m sorry. I’m the cliché. I’m exactly what they said I would be.

      It all started so innocently. I was a cute baby. No really – I was damn cute. Some producer was in our hometown to bury his Great Aunt and my big sister was pushing my pram up the sidewalk. His name was Jacob Diamond and the sleeze stalked us all the way home. He insisted on talking to my parents – who were in the throes of a messy argument that had them about two minutes from filing from divorce. They signed a contract and sealed up my future. Saved their marriage for about three years, but that’s another story.

      They mostly used twins, due to child labor laws, but I was a natural and it was just as easy to use me for the real shots and stick some stunt baby in the background for the rest.

      The show was a ratings darling and so was I. The older I got, the more they loved me. I was making more money at four than the rest of the cast; I had my own line of dolls, books, toddler clothes.

      I was already an empire when the show folded after ten years on the air.

      I remember reading the stories of Drew Barrymore & Maculay Culkin, or hearing about all those 80s child stars and how they ended up disillusioned, robbing 7-11 stores and smoking crack.

      I vowed that I wasn’t so stupid. My parents were equally as fucked up as theirs, but I was my own person (at eleven). I was rich, famous, adored by the masses. And I knew I wouldn’t end up like them, snorting coke off some tranvestite hooker’s ass outside the Viper Room.

      It was crystal meth in some Spic’s trailer in East LA for me.

      Drunk in public at twelve. Caught smoking pot at thirteen with my co-star and lover, who was nineteen and playing my older brother in some crappy movie that ended up in the dollar bin at Walmart within two months of release. Arrested for possession at fifteen. Slapped with a DUI at sixteen and my license revoked. First stint in rehab came right after that. Sure, I laid low for a few years, got clean.

      Then I made a majestic comeback in a new Jacob Diamond sitcom. Ran for five glorious seasons during which I spent the end of my teens and the start of my 20s so drunk or high that I couldn’t remember my lines and was generally a slutty bitch to everyone involved. Still, it worked for the character I guess and the royalties from syndication keep me in booze and pills.

      Or they did ’til my fucking business manager ran off to Brazil with my mother. And took every damn dime I ever made.

      You don’t even wanna know what I did to keep myself flush in the dark years. The ones when everyone that matters forgot my name. The ones that are all a blur.

      You really don’t want to know what I do now, just to survive. Most days are clear, and I wish they weren’t. More drugs to take away then pain, they’d be welcome. Hurts so much just to breathe most of the time…

      Someone save me, if you will. And take away all these pills.

      I think they wrote that song about me. Or for me.

      Someone save me.

      Someone.

      Anyone.

      Please?
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      And that’s it for today’s snippet. What did you think? Meh? Hooray? Would you like to read more of our “Hollyweird” shorts? Comments, questions, suggestions appreciated – let me hear about it below!

Love & Rainbows,
P.P.

VBT: The Ruling Factor of Contemplation

VBT: The Ruling Factor of Contemplation

      Welcome back, peeps! Welcome to Week Eight of the Tasha Turner Coaching/MasterKoda VBT!
      This week’s scheduled guest is the illustrious Jennifer Don! *wild applause* She’s here to expound on this week’s theme and talk about how she names her books and her characters. Its a topic that confounds me regularly, but all the other writers on the VBT are sharing some excellent tips and ideas as well. So after you read Jennifer’s post (and comment!) click on the TTC button to the right and check out some other posts as well! Onto the interview!

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Grey Wolves, the Ruling Factor of Contemplation

an Interview with Jennifer Don


      How did you arrive at your chosen title for your current book?

      This has to be one of the hardest questions I’ve had to answer and I’m sure I’m not alone on this one. The reason being for that is the way in which they (being titles) arise. Unlike my other current projects, “Timber Varden” was without a title for all of two days, which was during the short planning time before I began writing it. The others have so far been what I would call instant, they have always been there and why or where they come from isn’t a question I can answer easily. However, I will with “Timber Varden”.
      For this book, I started doing some research into Grey Wolf. While doing this, their other breed name caught my attention. Not only are they known as Grey Wolves, but they are also known as Timber Wolves. This as you will have guessed is where the Timber part of my title came into being. But that wasn’t enough on its own. It needed something else, something different to run alongside it.
      It was here that I began playing around with it and partnered it with other words, but nothing was pulling at me, nothing screamed YES! This is what I want. I wanted something different, something that would be unique, which I’m hoping I’ve managed to do just that. I then started thinking of where the main portion of the book would take place. It came to me that it was a place of solitude, of peace akin to those we often find in private or public gardens and a place where answers can be found without distraction. The whole thought on Gardens and what the presented had caught my attention, but Timber Garden’s would never have worked for what I wanted. I knew it wasn’t right but I also knew that I was moving in the right direction. Out of the blue, I had the instinctive urge to change the G to a V and from there on out, I’ve never looked back. I felt a deep connection, a knowing if you will that I now had the right title to work with.
      It wasn’t until later that I realised the title was more fitting than I first thought. In a discussion, a question was asked on the Timber part, made in reference to sound. This whole question is more relevant when we look at this word a little further. Apart from the whole wood aspect it also represents Music; I’ll show you what I mean. Timber (music) the distinctive property of a complex sound (a voice or noise or musical sound). EG: The timbre of her soprano was rich and lovely. The muffled tune of the broken bell summoned them to meet.
      I know it has gone from being Timber to Timbre here but there is relevance in the matter. It relates to the novel because Christian hears voices, whispers if you will, in the wind. Some of these come about when the Wolves of Timber Varden are howling, which in short is meant to represent what it is that they howl about.

      Now that we’ve had a look at how the Title came to be, could you tell us about your characters?

      My characters… hmm, what can I say? They were just there when the planning came into place. I already knew who would be the main Character of Timber Varden; there was no question on that matter. Nor could I change his name if I tried. It wouldn’t work any other way. For some writers, they go through what we would consider as being an audition period where we try out other characters and put them through their paces with certain scenes… I didn’t. Not with Timber Varden, nor did I encounter that with my other books that I am working on. Christian was the one for me, and there was nothing I could do that would alter that. He’s what you would call… a cantankerous fool. He is very set in his ways which makes him perfect for the role; perhaps not argumentative in general, he does obtain these attributes.
Sati on the other hand, he was always ever going to be there. Sati is representative of a white wolf that I see constantly in my mind’s eye and in meditation. I had his name long before I knew he would feature heavily in the story. Everything that Sati represents is the wolf I see constantly. Christian and Sati, have this unspoken bond where they know what is needed of the other in order to proceed. It’s this level of trust and understanding that is shared between me and that of the unknown. Alvar and Tranquilina however are a little more complex in that their names hold the meaning of their attributes and personalities. The only way to explain this is to show you the meaning of the names.
      Alvar \a-lvar, al-var\ as a boy’s name (also used as girl’s name Alvar), is pronounced AL-vah. It is of Old English origin, and the meaning of Alvar is “elf or magical army, warrior”. From Aelfhere. Also possibly an anglicized form of Spanish Alvaro, meaning “all guard” in Old German. Architect Alvar Aalto. Alvar himself is more the guardian of Timber Varden, an elemental force of protection and support.
      Tranquilina \t-ranquili-na, tr(a)-nqui-lina\ as a girl’s name is of Spanish and Latin origin, and the meaning of Tranquilina is “calm, peaceful”. I chose this name due to the calming effect she holds with those around her, no matter how disciplined a situation is, she is able to uphold the peace and keep everyone calm. As you can imagine, neither of these names are in common us and from that it felt more right to run with them. The other characters within the book arrived like Christian did. They just were.
      While we’re on the topic of Characters currently, I feel I hold a different connection with them or rather the muse that forms the character when compared to other writers. I know I shouldn’t compare myself to another as we are all individuals, but when I see people showing how their character dictates the flow and changes aspects on their own, I am often left wondering why mine aren’t doing something similar. However, that is for me to understand and I should know by now that each writer will work differently.

      What I want to ask is how to you arrive at your titles?
      How do you choose your characters?
      Do they arrive like mine, when they choose and when they please?

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      Jennifer spent many years without daring to lift a pen, without writing a word that wasn’t forced. But 2008 arrived and with it, her love of writing. She began with poetry which quenched her thirst to begin with but soon that wasn’t enough to satisfy her. 2011 arrived with a dream to write her first novel – Awakening, which is on-going. November saw her attempt her first NaNoWriMo, and so Timber Varden was born, with the bulk of it being written within that month. Now she finds herself aiming to re-write that draft and turn it into her first published novel.

You can find her on Facebook, her awesome blog, on Twitter, at Goodreads or via email.
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      Big thanks to Jennifer for sharing her inspiration and process. I echo her questions to you, reader – how do you name your characters & books? Tell us in the comments below!

Love & Rainbows,
P.P.

[Editor's Note: My guest post at the lovely Debra Jayne East's blog here.]

Snippet Sunday: Green-Eyes in the Mirror

Snippet Sunday: Green-Eyes in the Mirror

      Today’s excerpt comes from an old project, written in rounds by my amazing best friend and I: Posthumous. This project is not one we ever completed, but it was fun nonetheless. Below you’ll find the opening, by yours truly.
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Chapter One: Trapped



      Fuzzy.
           Everything’s blurry.
White. Everywhere, white. Misty. Glowing.
           Warmth. Joy. A man’s smile.
      His eyes are green. Can’t see them. Just remember.
Gold glistens. Pale and cool. Around my finger.
      Diamonds in a line. Champagne flows.
Music. So much music. Laughter and dancing.
           Fairytale.
      Tin cans clinking. Open road.
Evening stars, sunset.
           Reach over the backseat. Luggage.
           Combs in my hair. White tulle everywhere.
Smiling at him. Green eyes. He has green eyes. What’s his name?
      Lights glare. Can’t see! Too bright.
           And I’m flying. Like a bird.
      Bleeding. Red dots on white silk. Hurts.
Hurts so much. Blurry again. Hazy, red.
           Black fenders. Crunched chrome.
Where is he? Green eyes.
      Green eyes.
           Light. So much light.
…Darkness.

* * *

      With a gasp, she sat straight up in bed. Uneasily, she wiped her hand across her eyes, her chest. She dripped with perspiration; cold sweat brought on by the most horrific dream. It still flashed there, behind her eyes. The distant, diaphanous fingers touching lightly here, there, like butterfly kisses upon her churning mind. Slowly, she reclined on the pillows and let her arms fall across her breasts. Like a corpse in repose, she closed her eyes and sunk into the feather-filled depths of the bed.
      With the nightmare burnt to cinders and dashed from her mind, she found herself curiously thoughtless. A vast, empty nothingness filled her head and she opened her eyes as a frown formed upon her lips. Concentration furrowed her brow, then a low, dull panic as the void expanded, leaving her nameless, soulless… a shell.
      Green eyes. Light. Blinding me. So bright.
      Darkness.

      She sat upright again, throwing the think silken sheet from her body. A haze was descending now, flooding her senses. Memories came and went in a pulsating dance. Delirium. Pictures and scents and sensations. Nausea swept through her and she grit her teeth as her fingers clenched the bedclothes.
      “Oh God.”
      She froze, the sound of her own voice alien in her ears. Eyes widened, unseeingly tracing around the room. It was white. So very white. The sheets, the walls. Tears swam before her eyes and the world went blurry again. Warm wetness slipped down her cheeks. She could taste the saltiness of her sorrow.
      “Oh God.”
      She said it again, her voice breaking, her stomach heaving; she wretched, but her stomach was empty and the spasms fruitless. She clung to the sheets, the room began spinning. Everything was white. The floor. The ceiling. Tears fell faster now and she doubled over, vomiting bile into the back of her throat. Her fingers trembled as she let go of the sheets and pressed her hands to her face. Blocking out the light; blocking out the white.
      “Oh…”
      Her voice caught on the syllable. She gurgled and strained, leaning forward as if to expel the word by force. And then she did.
      “God!”
      An audible click reverberated through her skull. The simple sound of a key into a lock, the closing of a door. Click.
      And then silence. With a shakey intake of breath, she dropped her hands, sitting upright again. Her palms cupped one other loosely, discarded into her lap limply. Tears dried upon her cheeks and she blinked others away as she turned her head slowly, seeking the source of that single, simple click.
      “H-hello?” She managed, shifting her legs as if to climb out of the bed. She set her foot upon the floor; first one, then the other. They supported her, though she wobbled briefly, and she took a deep breath.
      One step further; left foot forward, and then the right.
      A second click echoed across her brain.
      A whirlwind caught her, swirling through the room like chaos incarnate. Books and papers and sheets and clothes, all tossed to the cyclone as it pummeled her. She opened her mouth to scream, but in the thundering storm, she heard nothing but the wind. Hair lashed her face like a bullwhip, tearing fine lines in her flesh. Blood seeped like teardrops, smeared across her cheeks by the force of the tornado. Pain seared her, sundering her limbs from her body as the storm raged around her. Darkness replaced the white; darkness pressed in and everything else scattered before it.

* * *

      She stumbled, and hit her knees, catching her weight on her wrists. Her hands flew to her face, feeling hysterically for cuts or contusions. There were none. The room came into focus, filled with clear, warm light. Nothing out of place. The bedclothes rumpled, but not torn; the bookshelf filled, the papers on the desk untouched.
      “But I-” she frowned, pushing herself to her feet. They were bare, nails painted in a soft petal pink, and her pants pooled around the ankle. Her pajamas were cotton, loose in the leg and too long in the arms. Dark blue with pale stripes, masculine, in fact. She chuckled inwardly and hugged them close. They must be Orin’s. Mmm… married at last. She turned to the bed, looking for him. Puzzled because it was not her bed; because it was empty.
      “Where…?” She began stupidly, turning again in a circle.
      An unfamiliar face peeked into the door at that moment. The woman smiled. Her teeth white and smiling, her lips thick and painted red.
      “Jules, you planning on sleeping through the big day?”
      “Huh? I’m-”
      She blinked furiously, looking down at her hands in confusion. The nails were buffed, gleaming and tipped in white. There was no ring. She lifted her hand, palm facing in, questioningly.
      “Where’s my ring?”
      The woman lifted a brow curiously. “You feelin’ alright, Jules? You don’t look so good. Nervous, huh?”
      “Where’s my ring? My wedding ring. Where’s Orin?”
      She stepped into the room and made to put a heavy, comfortingly soft arm around her shoulders. “Its natural to be nervous, Jules. It must’ve been some heavy nightmare though, to leave you trippin’ like this.”
      “Who is Jules? Who are you?
      “You’re Jules, sweetie,” the woman said guardedly as the younger one shoved away her affectionate advances. “Julienne Yeager. I’ve called you Jules since you were knee-high-”
      “No! No, my name is Amara. Amara Morrigan. I- I just got married.”
      The woman shook her head. “Girl, don’t tell me you were high last night! I told them girls to give you a safe night out!” She threw her hands up, exasperated. “I’ll get you a glass of cold water. You just sit your behind down. You’ll be right as rain soon.”
      “But I’m… I’m not…” Amara trailed off, confused. She could hear the woman talking to herself, berating someone named Charise as she stalked down the hallway. Her heels made a clacking sound on the hardwood floors.
      “I’m… not Julienne.” Amara whispered to herself weakly, shifting herself to the padded chair that sat before an antique dressing table. “I’m Amara. I am. Orin…where’s…”
      Her voice trailed on even after she froze in fascinated horror at the mirror before her. A stranger looked back at her. Creamy chocolate skin and wide brown eyes rimmed with green, but dark as night toward the pupil. She raised a hand to her face then looked down at it, clattering out of the chair. It was brown, the nails freshly painted in a brilliant lavendar, smooth and unveined, but- not her own.
      “No! This can’t be- I-”
      Amara stumbled backward, bumping into the bed and turning around in a helpless circle. She dove for the edge of the vanity, gripping it tightly as she stared into the wild, crazed eyes of someone she had never before seen.
      “This isn’t real. I am Amara Marie Morrigan. My fiancé- no, husband, his name is Orin. Orin Luciano. I-”
      The denial caught in her throat and her entire body shuddered involuntarily. A frightened, distant voice spoke within her and rose up, filling the strange voids that seemed to permeate her body. It whispered, it wrapped itself around her. Its fear and sorrow were strangling.
      I am Jules, the voice spoke gently to her, slipping inside her very mind. I don’t know why you came here, I’m so scared. So scared. Please, Amara, please. Let me go!
      “Let you go?” She asked outloud, “Let you go?!”
      You’re hurting me. You have to get out! This is my body! My life! The voice’s anger tempered its fear but it screeched, raging against her. Get out of me! Get out! Leave me alone!
      “I don’t know- I don’t know how. I don’t-” Amara cried, slumping against the bed. “I don’t understand what’s… I want Orin…”
      The same older woman, with her cropped salt and pepper hair and thick red lips returned with a glass and a frown firmly stamped on her face.
      “Oh no, honey, no. You ain’t gonna mess this one up. That boy is too fine a man and your mama paid too much for this wedding for you to ruin it now. C’mon, Jules, take a drink, here have one of Rona’s pills. You’ll be fine. We’ll get you showered, dressed. Its your wedding day, babygirl, you don’t wanna keep Tyler waiting, do you?”
      Amara stood, ready to defy the strange woman and opened her mouth to protest. In that instant, she felt the other presence surge forward and she was forced into the backseat.
      “Aunt Gin!” Jules sobbed, throwing herself into her aunt’s warm, broad bosom. She held the girl a moment, stroking her back until she contained herself, but was distubed by the crazed expression in her eyes when she forced a smile and nodded.
      “I’m ready now, Aunt Gin. Dunno what came over me.”
      “That’s my girl,” Gin chuckled a little wearily and headed for the door. “We’ve got breffast downstairs, if you’re hungry. C’mon down.”
      Amara felt the head bob in a nod, the lips softening into a more easy smile, but could not alter them. She saw through Julienne’s eyes as the girl assumed full control of the body, felt the water she splashed on her lovely face, heard the jovial banter of cousins and friends in the kitchen below. She was helpless, she was powerless.
      She was trapped.
- – – – – – – – – – -
      And that’s it for today’s snippet. What did you think? Are in interested to see what direction my co-writer took when he wrote the next bit? Which direction would YOU have taken it? Do you want to take a crack at writing a new chapter two? Comments, questions, suggestions appreciated – let me hear about it below!

Love & Rainbows,
P.P.

VBT: A Single Grey Shadow

VBT: A Single Grey Shadow

      Welcome back, peeps! Welcome to Week Seven of the Tasha Turner Coaching/MasterKoda VBT!
      This week’s scheduled guest is the self-proclaimed “wolf addict” – Dominique Goodall! Dominique is the author behind the forthcoming “Echoes of Winter” (have you seen her cover art, by the by? GORGEOUS!) which itself is a part of the “Seasons of the Wolf” series. She’s one heckuva writer and today she is sharing the inspiration behind her novel as well as a lovely poem. Without further ado, let’s give a big round of virtual applause to Dominique! *cheers*

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Paw-Prints & Memories

By Dominique Goodall

      The thing that kicked off Echoes of Winter and the sequels are not at all connected to the books. It was a TV show I only watched because I was fascinated by wolves. It was showing the way that pups develop in the womb of the female dog, and while they were showing it they also showed the most accepted theory behind how wolves became dogs.
      When they were talking about how three female Eastern European wolves were believed to be the reason for humans and wolves to live side by side, I could almost picture a different story. Yes, wolves came in and became dogs…but what would happen AFTER the truce? What would happen after humans were no longer able to look after the creatures that had helped to keep them alive?

      A poem was also spawned that day, which really said my emotions on the subject and in a way…is the opposite of Echoes of Winter.
      I called this Paw-prints and Memories.

A grey shadow passes by,
Leaving just a memory.
A paw print in the snow,
Something to be cherished.
He hunts, hunts for his pack,
Them enslaved,
His heart filled with longing.
He gives no voice to this.
He carries on his lonely search,
alone and weary by the day.
Leaving but paw-prints,
but memories on the mind.
Finally he finds them,
Bound to man’s will,
Sitting by his fire,
Unharmed and well.
Now he cries to them,
A sad voice in the dark.
His family answers with a growl,
They have turned from him.
Now alone, weary, and heart-sore,
He leaves them be,
Never to be heard again,
Only paw-prints and memories.
A single grey shadow.

      As you can see, this is literally related to the TV program – but again, it didn’t have the premise in my mind that Echoes of Winter did, and even now completed, does. Pups will be featuring heavily, the wolves in the pack will be focusing heavily on pups in book two, after all.
      What TV shows have impacted your life?
      How did they affect you?

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Dominique Goodall is the author of the soon to be released Echoes of Winter, book one in the “Seasons of the Wolf” series and a self-confessed wolf addict. She has currently been published in two anthologies by Crushing Hearts and Black Butterfly Publishing and is currently working on getting herself better known by sending in manuscripts for as many different anthologies as she possibly can.

As much as she loves to admit it, she never will be able to count her wolf stuff- there’s nothing left for her to be truly able to collect without her own home.

She can be found on Facebook, friended on Facebook, at her blog, or on Twitter.

You can also like “Echoes of Winter” here.
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      Big thanks to Dominique for sharing her inspiration and – BONUS! – a lovely poem with us. I echo her questions to you, reader – what influences your writing? What sparks the ideas that you write about? TV? Books? Life? Tell us in the comments below!

Love & Rainbows,
P.P.

[Editor's Note: My Guest Post for the week will be linked here shortly.]

Faux Real!

Faux Real!

      As those of you who have “Liked” me on Facebook know – I recently acquired five shiny copies of “Debut Novel” by Penelope Price. Big, thick, glossy paperbacks filled with about six hundred pages of unedited awesome.
      It can still qualify as awesome pre-edits, right?
      Right?
      *sigh*
      I like to think so. If you’ve followed the FB page or this blog, you may be aware that I have not always been 100% in love with the novel. I have had moments of doubt, hours of loathing, days of lukewarm affection and a few bright twinkles of inexplicable pride-filled unfathomably random LOVE.
      Mostly, its been – “meh”.
      Look, I know I am a good writer (or was). I rarely have doubts about my own abilities, yet my faith in this story and the way I had chosen to tell it definitely wavered. I really had to force myself to take a step away from my preferred genre (much more traditional fantasy) and take a journey to the modern-day. It did not come easily and I really struggled with whether to bother finishing, whether the characters that I had encountered and come to love really came through on the page.
      Then a funny thing happened. The novel that I began in November for NaNoWriMo and completed in March thanks to my sprinting friends – was a real physical book in my hand. And as I read it… I found that I liked it. I laughed with the characters and kept turning the pages and before I knew it, I was 250 pages in to the nearly 600 page book.
      It is sort of like, a miracle.
      To find that, in the first REAL re-reading, I actually like my own book. Given my previously lukewarm feelings about it… I know, I’m just blathering. And maybe no one else – ever – will love the book but the fact is — I do!

Love & Rainbows,
P.P.