Kill Me, My Darlings

Today is Guest Post Day, and who better to have come over and guest than Bruce Blake, a most entertaining gentleman who has graced these pages before.  So sit back and listen closely while he gives us a little bit of his writing knowledge.

Take it away, Bruce.



On Murder and Deletions


Kill your darlings.

That darling little piece of writing advice is attributed to William Faulkner, author of Absalom, Absalom!, As I Lay Dying, The Sound and the Fury, and many others. It may be derivative from some other writer’s advice, and it has certainly been adopted by Stephen King, who tends to beat it to death (though why hands that out as advice in the midst of writing 1000+ page novels is a mystery). What it refers to, for those who may be uninitiated into our little band of serial killers, is not letting your own love of your writing stop you from cutting a word, sentence, scene, chapter, etc, which is not necessary to your novel.

Our assignment this week for the blog tour is to share with you a deletion. When I first began thinking about this, I was concerned. It is not often I delete whole chunks of a manuscript. Words, sentences, sometimes paragraphs, to be sure, but rarely more than that. How was I going to find a few sentences here and there to cobble together for my post? And then I remembered my current work in progress.

You forgot your work in progress, Bruce? Well, no, not exactly. The first book that makes up my four part epic fantasy, Khirro’s Journey, was the first novel I wrote and I finished the first draft about six years ago (don’t hold it against me; I’ve written and published two novels in the meantime and the first two books of the Journey have made it to draft number 11).

After I finished the first book, Blood of the King, I did a couple of edits, then passed it off to my beta readers. They wanted me to change the beginning. “The beginning?” I cried. “But that sets the stage. It introduces the characters! How can I cut the beginning?” The debate raged and, after much arguing, pouting and probably a few tears, I ended up chopping off the first thirty pages of the book.

You heard me…thirty pages.

I’m not going to reprint them all here, but I will give you a taste, and then I’ll let you in on why I ended up making the cut. Please bear in mind, these words never made it to the final edit, and I didn’t try to spruce them up for this post, so forgive any errors in spelling, grammar or good taste.

Without further ado, the never-to-be-seen-anywhere-but-here former opening of Blood of the King.


Men boiled over the land bridge, swarming onto the salt flats like so many maggots spilling from a burst corpse.  Wavering sheets of heat radiated from the sun hardened land, twisting and distorting the army into unearthly shapes.

“The heat is in our favor,” Braymon said leaning against a merlon.  Even the gentle sea breeze playing across his face gave no respite from the summer’s swelter.  “But the parched flats will make for an easy march.”

Neither of the men standing behind him said anything, allowing their king to ruminate aloud on the invaders who had been seeping into his kingdom for the better part of six hours.  If he wanted their input, he would ask for it.

“I played on these plains as a child,” Braymon said wistfully.  “I learned to swim in the Bay of Tears.  Back then, the fortress was a place to be explored, soldier was a game to be played.  How things have changed.” Sunlight flashed on shields and armor, melding the distant army into a blurred, shimmering mass.  “How many do you think, Rudric?”

“Thousands, my liege,” Rudric replied from his place at the king’s left. Braymon didn’t look at him as he spoke, instead keeping his eyes on the horde encroaching on his kingdom.

“Always trying to lift my spirits Rudric.  Thank you,” the king said with an unenthusiastic chuckle.  “But I should think they are more tens of thousands.  What do you think, Therrador?”

“At least, my king.  They are many, but the fortress is strong.”

Braymon looked to the sun in the east climbing higher into the sky.  Below, the Sea of Linghala sparkled, waves rolling gently shoreward, indifferently chasing the enemy onto the plains.  Would he ever dip a toe into its bracing waters again?  Only time would tell. He turned and put a hand on Rudric’s shoulder, bare flesh slapping against metal armor; it was hot to the touch.

“A day—maybe two, but no longer—and they will fall upon us; I’d wager it. Have the men ready by nightfall.  Our enemy doesn’t conceal their intent, so we best give them the courtesy of a fight they won’t soon forget.  There’s bloody work ahead of us.  Go and make ready, Rudric.”

The knight bowed shallowly at the waist before taking his leave. Braymon turned back to the plains stretching out from the foot of the Isthmus Fortress’s massive wall.  Therrador stepped up beside him.

Atop the wall, they were more than a hundred feet above the plains and, on a clear day like today, could see for leagues upon leagues.  Built nearly a thousand years before, the fortress wall was some forty feet thick, its surface scarred by battles fought centuries ago. Braymon traced his finger along the jagged corner of the merlon where a piece had been knocked free by an enemy catapult the Gods alone knew how long ago.

“It’s been many seasons since this wall was last called upon to keep out the enemy,” the king said.  He pushed at a crack in the stone and a piece came away in his hand.  He turned it over in his fingers, examining it as though he were trying to learn its story.  “I had hoped many more would come and go before it was tested again.”

“As we all did, my king.  But the wall will hold; it need not prove its mettle often to repel those dogs.”

Braymon looked at the man—his friend of more than two decades.  All those years had changed his looks only little—a few strands of gray showed in the braid of his beard and his short black hair, his naturally dark complexion was showing more wear.  Still, his features gave way little of the ferocity with which Braymon had seen Therrador fight.  But for the scar over is right eye, one might mistakenly think he had held the role of statesman and adviser all his life, rather having grown into it alongside Braymon’s rule.  Many times had the king felt relieved and thankful Therrador was on his side.

“It’s not the strength of the wall which burdens my thoughts, Therrador,” Braymon said.  He tossed the piece of stone absently over the crenellations, sending it hurtling to the ground too far below for them to hear it land.  “It’s been nearly twenty summers since Erechania has seen anything more than skirmishes.  The warriors who fought beside us all those years ago are old and tired, or long since gone to the fields of the dead.  Too many of our soldiers have never loosed an arrow but at a target nor swung their swords for more than practice.”

Therrador nodded, meeting Braymon’s gaze.  “You’re right, your majesty, but they are well trained.  And the soldiers of Erechania couldn’t ask for a better leader.”

“Hmph.” Braymon returned to surveying the enemy as they continued to funnel from the land bridge, filling the distant flats like sand in an hourglass.

How appropriate, he thought.  For soon time will run out.

Waves on the Bay of Tears rolled on, mindless of human indulgences like war and greed, or of man himself.  No matter what came to pass, the sea would go on forever; blood would wash away, the dead would rot and decay and disappear, but the waves would roll ever on.  So many years had passed since Braymon had frolicked on those waves, equally as heedless to the follies of men.  So much death had happened since then, and there was still more to come.  Soon the plains would be stained red, waiting for the sea and the rains to wash them clean.  And the waves would continue.


 In the 28 pages that follow, we meet the main character, Khirro, and see him interact with others as the fortress is prepared for siege. He’s a farmer who makes an inept soldier (sorry for the cliche, but the truth is, in a medieval-style society, most of the citizens were farmers by necessity) who eventually finds himself fighting off invaders at the king’s side. At the end of the 30 pages, Khirro has been incapacitated and King Braymon is seemingly killed.

There is much I liked in these pages: the negative imagery of the men invading like maggots from a corpse; the powerful king’s wistful remembrances; and later, Khirro’s relationship with some of his fellow soldiers. So why cut it? Three reason:

  1. King Braymon dies on page 30 and does not appear anywhere in the book again, so why spend a bunch of time building his character? That can be done through other characters.
  2. Too much time spent on description, not enough action. If you’ve read  my other books, you know I like to keep description to a minimum. In my opinion, the reader should create the world with only a little direction from me.
  3. The characters Khirro interacts with never show up again in the book, so they also became wasted words. Other characters and situations later in the story are more than enough to reveal and build Khirro’s character.

So where does the book start? With Braymon’s death and Khirro almost immediately being dragged into a magical plot to save the kingdom. Instead of 30 pages of character building, the story begins in media res. And I think it has made a stronger book. Watch for book 1 of Khirro’s Journey to be released in September.

One of Elmore Leonard’s 10 Rules of Good Writing is “try not to write the parts that people tend not to read”. Have you ever read a book and wondered why a scene was there? Do you skip parts of books? Did you skip to the bottom of this blog post?

I hope not.



Bruce Blake lives on Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada. When pressing issues like shovelling snow and building igloos don’t take up his spare time, Bruce can be found taking the dog sled to the nearest coffee shop to work on his short stories and novels.

Actually, Victoria, B.C. is only a couple hours north of Seattle, Wash., where more rain is seen than snow. Since snow isn’t really a pressing issue, Bruce spends more time trying to remember to leave the “u” out of words like “colour” and “neighbour” then he does shovelling. The father of two, Bruce is also the trophy husband of burlesque diva Miss Rosie Bitts.

Bruce has been writing since grade school but it wasn’t until five years ago he set his sights on becoming a full-time writer. Since then, his first short story, “Another Man’s Shoes” was published in the Winter 2008 edition of Cemetery Moon, another short, “Yardwork”, was made into a podcast in Oct., 2011 by Pseudopod and his first Icarus Fell novel, “On Unfaithful Wings”, was published to Kindle in Dec., 2011. The second Icarus Fell novel, “All Who Wander Are Lost”, was released in July, 2012, and the first book in the four-part “Khirro’s Journey” epic fantasy is due in September, 2012. He has plans for at least three more Icarus novels, several stand alones, and a possible YA fantasy co-written with his eleven-year-old daughter.


On Unfaithful Wings

I was alive, then I was dead, now I’m stuck somewhere in between.

My name is Icarus Fell. I am a harvester.

The archangel Michael brought me back to collect souls and help them on their way to Heaven–that’s what a harvester does. If I get enough of them before the bad guys do–if I do a good job–I can have my life back. Now people I knew in life are dying, killed by a murderer’s knife, their bodies defiled, and the cops think I’m the killer.

I’m not, but I think I know who is.

But how does a dead man, a man who no longer exists, stop a psycho? I’m not sure, but I’m going to stop him before everyone I know is dead.

I have to stop him before he gets to my son.



On Unfaithful Wings




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Super Questions From the Lounge

Today I’ve opened the Interview Lounge, and today I have author Allison Bruning hanging with me today.  I’ve a few questions for her, so sit back, relax, and enjoy the conversation.


When did you begin writing?

I started writing when I was in Kindergarten. I was so excited when I wrote my first story that I showed it to my grandmother. She saw the potential I had and encouraged me throughout my schooling to create books then read them to her.

What was the first story you wrote?

I can’t recall. I started writing poetry, moved into prose then into short stories. By the time I was in High School I was writing screenplays. In college, I went back to poetry and short stories. I began my first novel six years ago.

When did you first think, “Whoa, I’m really a writer”?  Or have you not yet had that epiphany?

I’m staring to realize the talent I have. I’ve had people tell me that I am but it has been hard to believe it myself because I am too hard on myself. Recently, since I began Graduate School, I have had the epiphany that I am a writer. Not only a writer but one that can straddle the fine line between the entertainment business and literary sides.

Why did you start blogging?

Last year.

Tell me something interesting about your blog that you’ve never made public before.

My first few posts are all over the place because I never quite understood what blogging was all about. It wasn’t until I hired Tasha Turner and she explained it to me that I was able to comprehend what blogging was supposed to do.

Tell us about your current project.

I am currently in the process of writing a short ghost story that takes place outside of Fort Davis, Texas. It’s loosely based on a local legend from the area.

Who is your favorite character in (name of your current story here), and why is that?

I just love Doctor Alexander James McGillpatrick Turner of Calico. He was so fun to write. Although he’s a secondary character he is a very complex man with inner demons of his past that he has to work out.

Where is your favorite place to write?

My dining room. I have a nice round table in a small room with a window. I love to look out the window periodically when I write.

Have you ever fallen in love with a fictional character, and if so, whom?

If I could I would marry Little Owl from Calico in a heart beat.

What is the best story you’ve ever read?

The inheritance cycle – all of the books

I’m in the  middle of the Hunger Games. Usually I don’t read 1st person stories but these are really sticking to me.

What is the worst story you’ve ever read?

War of the Worlds by HG Wells

When your story gets made into a movie, (1) who do you want to play the main character?  (2)  Who do you think will actually play that part?

I would love to see Taylor Swift as Calico

And Michael Spears as Little Owl.

What story do you really want to write, and why?

I have so many! Where can I begin? I like to write the untold stories from history, especially ones that have strong female leads.

What does your muse look like?

Depends on the story I am writing on. She tends to change form based on the time period. I’m really attracted to the Grecian era and Native Americans.

What is your favorite word?

I tend to write really a lot, really I do.

Lastly, if you could, for one day, live anywhere as anyone, where and whom would that be?

I would want to be Pocahontas. She was such a strong woman and she showed the Europeans that not all native people are bad.


About Allison Bruning:

The Executive Director of the Kentucky Young Writers Connection, a non-profit agency of writers who promote young authors throughout the state of Kentucky. Allison originally hails from Marion, Ohio. Her father, Roland Irving Bruning, was the son of German immigrants who came to the United States at the turn of the 20th century. Her mother’s family had been in the United States since the 17th century. Allison is a member of the Peter Foree Chapter of the Daughters of American Revolution. Her linage traces to Private Reuben Messenger of Connecticut. Her educational background includes a BA in Theater Arts with a minor in Anthropology and a Texas Elementary Teaching certificate. Both acquired at Sul Ross State University in Alpine, Texas. Allison received National Honor Society memberships in both Theater Arts and Communication. Allison was also honored her sophomore year with admission into the All American Scholars register. She holds graduate hours in Cultural Anthropology and Education. In 2007 she was named Who’s Who Among America’s Educators. She is also the recipient of the Girl Scout Silver and Gold Awards.

Allison lives with her husband in Kentucky.  Calico is book one from the series, Children of the Shawnee. She is currently working on the sequel, Rose.  She is also working on another series, The Secret Heritage, which traces the life of her great great grandmother at the turn of the 20th century in Ohio. Allison’s interest includes Ohio Valley history, anthropology, travel, culture, history, camping, hiking, backpacking, spending time with her family and genealogy. Her genres include historical fiction, paranormal, romance, and suspense.

You can reach her at:


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Karma Time is Here

Today my guest is Martin Reaves.  Lets not wait to see what he has to say–take it away, Martin:



Martin Reaves here.  Happy to share an excerpt from my suspense novel, Relative Karma.

*     *     *

This scene is sort of a respite from the building intensity.  Jeff Vincent is in the midst of a nightmare.  Dead bodies are piling up. His estranged love, Shelley, is being tormented by persons unknown.  Here we find him with his old friend, Karl, soaked in bourbon and attempting to find order in chaos.


I was having a little trouble focusing.

We’d moved to the living room with a bucket of ice and the booze Karl had picked up at the liquor store around the corner.

“Damn fine having a house of spirits so close,” he’d said.  “Up the hill, it would take me a good twenty minutes to get to a store where they sell anything worth drinking.  Half the time I remember I’m not supposed to be drinking and change my mind before I even get halfway there.  Hell of a thing, needing to be drunk and can’t be bothered to make the drive.”

We’d been at it pretty good for the last hour and my head felt too heavy for my neck.  I’d had enough caffeine to keep me awake, but that didn’t stop the bourbon from doing its job.  Karl had become more talkative, but otherwise seemed unaffected.  If I didn’t go easy I was going to be passed out long before he was through settling his thoughts.

And Jewel had told me to go easy on the alcohol.  Well, I could blame it on Daniel for not being there to watch out for me.

I got up off the couch to put some music on.  The room lurched sideways and I had to stand still until things equaled out.

Karl smiled.  “Ill-advised, Vincent.  Ill-advised.”

“I was going to put some music on.”

“Something soft then.  Something to tell stories by.”  His voice was starting to deepen, becoming more gravelly but at the same time more soothing.  Then again, at that point a cement mixer probably would have sounded soothing.

My stereo system is Surround Sound, and uses an extremely complex remote control to operate everything.  I held the device up to the light to try and make sense of the rows of buttons.

Something rumbled up out of Karl that sounded like it was supposed to be a laugh.  “My God, are you gettin’ ready to launch the space shuttle?”

“Shut up, Karl.”  I managed to find the CD I wanted and somehow got the player opened and everything set to the mode for music.  I chose the setting that simulated the acoustics of a large hall and put the player on repeat.  I made it back to the couch just as the church bells began their rich tolling.

“Listen,” I said.  “We’re entering the church now.”

The bells gave way to a haunting, swirling blend of deep harmonies that still gave me chills, as it had the first time Shelley and I heard it in the little bookstore in Mendocino.  I remembered standing next to her, both of us riffling pages and sneaking peeks at endings; smelling the smells of books and concentrated imagination, then this music began and we both froze and looked at each other with the unspoken certainty that something wonderful had found us.

Karl had gone very still.  “What’s this now, boy.”

“It’s sacred music,” I whispered, “sung by the Russian Orthodox Church.  No instruments, only their voices.  It was all recorded in one of those huge stone cathedrals.”  I looked at the stereo and said, “What will Norma do when she finds out you’ve been drinking?”

He swirled the liquid in his glass.  “You’re gonna tell her?”

“You don’t think she’ll know?”

He smiled faintly.  “She’ll know.”

“And she’ll be okay with it.”

“No, she’ll be righteously pissed and she’ll rant and rave and call me a weak bastard.”

“Is it worth it?”

His eyes shifted toward me.  “If I had a choice in the matter I could say whether it was worth it or not.  It’s never my choice to hurt Norma.  It’s never my choice to feel that I am controlled by a chemical.  It just is and maybe someday it won’t be.  Norma will not be happy, but she will understand.”

Karl sipped his drink and tipped his head back, allowing the deep resonant sound of the voices to wash over him.  With his eyes closed he said, “Tell me about your family.  That’s a story I’ve not heard.”

For the last forty minutes or so we’d been mostly swapping bad jokes and worse puns—a deliberate attempt to pretend there was not a tape in the kitchen with a hysterical woman screaming ‘My bitch’ over and over—but the mood had mellowed considerably.

I dropped a few pieces of ice into my glass and rattled the cubes for a refill.  “It’s not a very good story.”  I heard the last word come out “shtory” and decided I would definitely have to sip a little more slowly.

“The hell,” he said.  “You’re young enough to still be wet behind the ears, but your bank account is bulging as a result of money allegedly left you from a father you say is allegedly still living.”

I started to tell him there was no “allegedly” about it, but couldn’t get my tongue around the word.  So I just said, “It’s true.”

“So tell me.”

“There’s not much to tell.”

“Come on, boy.”

“Give me a second,” I said.  I forgot I had decided to sip and swallowed some bourbon.  Hard liquor was not a favorite of mine but it was amazing how much smoother it got as you worked at it.  The past was not something I celebrated, unless it was the recent past with Shelley—and that was not something I chose to dwell on either because the past is a mean son of a bitch that inevitably leads to the present.

My forehead was beginning to feel like it was sliding down over my nose so I set my drink down.  “Did you know my mom was an alcoholic?”

His voice was a sigh.  “No.”

“When I was little, I used to think I had the best mom in the world.  She was always rolling around on the floor with me and laughing.”  I smiled at the memory.  “Mom was always laughing.  We’d set up Lego buildings and crash them with my Tonka trucks.  She was so funny when she made the vroom vroom sounds, because she didn’t know how to do it and make it sound like a car—she’d say it like she was reading it off a page: ‘vroom vroom.’”

I glanced at Karl and it seemed that I could actually hear my eyes moving in their sockets.  “She was drunk.  Always.  But I didn’t know that then.  I didn’t know what drunk was until later; I just knew that my mom played with me on the floor.  None of my friends’ moms played like she did—they all thought she was fun because they didn’t know what drunk was either, but I guess they told their parents and their parents educated them because after a while they stopped coming over.

“I remember getting out of school and there she’d be on the other side of the fence waiving and calling my name, ‘Jeffrey, yoo-hoo, Jeffrey!’  Except from her shit-faced mouth it came out sounding like ‘Jerry’.  I always thought it was just her fooling around and I’d laugh at her along with my friends.  She’d walk home with me and when we got there my toys were already laid out, not just in preparation for me, but scattered across the living room, like she’d been playing with them for hours.  Back then, I didn’t understand why Dad wouldn’t play with us.  He’d just sit in his chair, drinking his coffee and smoking his pipe, scowling at us.  ‘Beverly, get up off the God-damned floor,’ he’d say in his five-foot-nothing, hundred-and-forty-pound whisper.  Then he stopped saying anything.  After a while, when she got like that—which in my memory seems like all the time—he’d just get up and leave the room.  At night I’d hear them screaming at each other.  I always thought he was so mean.  Mom was fun.  She died when I was eight.”

I looked at my glass on the end table and tried to decide if it was worth the effort to pick it up.  Karl’s glass was empty and he’d made no move to refill it.

“The booze killed her,” he said.

I considered that.  “I don’t know,” I said.  “I think maybe not drinking killed her.”

I told him about that last year, trying to keep things in order because the images were jumbled:  The two of us laughing until we couldn’t breathe; the time Mom’s robe fell open, revealing her sex to me—how she’d caught me looking because I had stopped laughing and couldn’t stop staring and then she was covering herself up and saying, Nothing but trouble down there, Jeffrey, and it was over and we were vroom-vrooming again.

“I got my first hint that things weren’t quite right the day she puked on my trucks.  It wasn’t so much that she threw up, it was her reaction.  She laughed…and started to finger paint with it.  On me.”

“Jesus,” Karl said.

“In school, we were starting to talk about drug and alcohol abuse and I began to get an idea what was happening.  I became her judge and jury and the next time she came to get me at school I ignored her.  Just left her standing there calling for Jerry over and over.”

I reached for my glass, got my fingers around it and dropped it.  It seemed impossibly far away and I stared at it for several seconds trying to determine any benefit in bending down for it.  “What was I saying?”

Karl was staring at me with what looked like tears in his eyes.  “I think you were finished.”

“Was I?  No…I remember now…because I wanted to tell you that I finally confronted her.  I was a self-righteous little prick too.”

My words were becoming liquid, with no definition, but I think I got the rest out.  Out of embarrassment I’d told her she was a drunk and an alcoholic and she needed to get help.  I stopped playing on the floor with her and she stopped coming for me at school.  For a while, she would be on the floor when I got home, playing with my toys and crying.  I ignored her and one day she was sitting in the recliner when I got home, eyes half-lidded, her hair falling over her face in sweaty strings and her nightgown a sodden mess that clung to her like a fever.  She was shaking uncontrollably.  She’d looked at me with gritted teeth and said in a strangled, guttural voice, “I stopped drinking, Jeffery.”  It didn’t sound the least bit like Jerry.

“That was her last week alive,” I said.  “As far as I know she never picked up another drink.  My parents didn’t scream at each other anymore.  All I could hear at night was Mom moaning, then their door would open and close and I’d watch from my door as Dad got a blanket from the hall closet and carried it to the living room couch so he could get some sleep.  Somewhere in there Mom just died.  I got home from school one day and Dad was at the kitchen table telling me she was gone and I knew by his tone he didn’t mean she’d gone to visit relatives.”

“Thank you,” Karl said.

I frowned.  “For what?”

“For sharing your pain with me.”

I wasn’t sure that I had done him any favors.  My eyes drifted around the room and I was struck by how unfamiliar everything looked.  Karl sat stiffly, gripping the arms of his chair as though afraid he might float away if he let go.

I said, “You wanted to hear about my father.”

“You’ve told me what I needed to hear—and what you needed to tell.”



*     *     *

Martin Reaves is a writer primarily of suspense/thrillers with a psychological edge. And sometimes horror…or humor…heck, even romance. (Aren’t all these things connected on some level?).  Upon turning 48 he realized he was no longer 47…he wasn’t sure what to do with this information so he moved on.  Martin is very happily married to his childhood sweet-patootie, and has two incredible adult daughters who he considers among his best friends.  Reading and Writing are twin first-loves, followed by music (he is a musician and singer and has been performing semi-professionally for longer than he’d care to think about).  When not selling plastic to pay the bills, he (and his books) can be found here:


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Pantser on Fire

Am I busy today, or what?  I have another guest on my blog today:  Ellie Mack, out of the Show-me State, who’s going to show a little bit about how she goes about her writing process.  Take it away, Ellie:



Some Kind of Voodoo

By Ellie Mack


How do you do that magic you do?  For the linear thinker, it seems impossible to create tales of the fantastic.  Do I really want to let them see inside my methodology?

Beware for here lies dragons, leviathans, lycanthropes, and other mythical beasties. Inside the realms of my imagination, entire worlds are created.  Species, subspecies, and entire races thrive and coexist, usually not in peaceful harmony.

Years of creation fostered by an early love of reading have breathed life into the dark caverns, inside the magical caves, into the crevices where no light has ever shone to reach the minuscule monsters and gigantic gorgons. Bits and pieces from good books I’ve read were filed away to later be reanimated into a transmutated form from their original creation.

The material gleaned from fiction as well as information filed from life experience combine somehow in a huge swirling cauldron. It simmers it boils, it creates troubles and toils.  Oh wait, how did Shakespeare get in here?

Translate each of the little bits into, let’s say car parts. There’s a huge junk yard of  wrecked cars, worn out cars, piles of parts, a few rats and of course a couple dogs guarding the place.  Then let’s say you set off a bomb in the middle.  Ideally, when the dust settles the parts and pieces have combined to create a sleek cherry red Ferrari, completely assembled in the middle of  the blow back area.  Set off ten more bombs, and you just get shredded parts.

To get the Ferrari, the parts all have to come together just exactly right, birthed by the creation of chaos.  OK, look;  I’m making this all up.  How do I come up with ideas?  I don’t know.  They just pop in there.

How do I tackle the ideas?  By nature I’m a pantser.  I start off on a sprint, that often turns into a marathon.  If left to my natural tendencies my project will either be abandoned when the next brilliant flash happens, or the tale will be some 250,000 words plus.  I have taken my pantsing to the next level, by applying a plotters principles.

The ideas come, a burst happens, then I evaluate.  I begin asking what ifs and working out the story.  When I come to reasonable, not always rational plot points I outline my stories.  I break them down into scenes.  I usually write complete scenes, as natural breaks are between scenes.

Back to the original question: How do you do that magic you do?   By principled pantsing, and spark juice administered in daily doses over a long time.

I know, you’re scratching your head and wondering what sort of juice I’m really on.  I’ll never tell, it’s my personal label!

How do you work your magic?  Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Write on my friends, write on!


Ellie Mack lives in a small town near St. Louis, Missouri. She graduated from Southeast Missouri State University with a BS in geography/cartography. She has worked for Department of Defense, county government, as a substitute teacher, and various other jobs.  Her hobbies include reading, bicycling, playing Tombraider, and Dance games such as Dance Dance Revolution, and Zumba. Between being a mother to two teenage girls, a wife, homemaker, and a mortgage loan officer, Ellie writes paranormal romances.
Ellie’s first erotica piece is appearing on The Storytime Trysts Blog.

Ellie’s blog is found here!


Serious Serializing

Today we’re coming from across the ocean, to the Land of the Olympics, and Joseph Eastwood is going to tell us about something that’s close to his heart–namely, what he loves to write, and how.


Standalone or Series?

I ask almost everyone this question at some point in knowing them, and there isn’t really a consensus. Some prefer series, and some prefer standalone. The Harry Potter books could not have been  just one stand alone novel–because it would have been a BRICK! While Stephen King mainly writes stand alone novels.

I’m a series novelist–I have (let me count) planned 5 series which accumulates 27 books. I have planned all 27 books roughly, or outlined them–I lead a very indoorsy life, in fact I rarely go out. I planned 12 of those books when I was 14-16 and I was absolutely horrendous at writing, but I’ve grown a lot since then, both in maturity and in my writing style, and now that I am 19 I am going to write all of these (well, that’s the plan anyway).

You might be asking, why have you planned so many series of books? Apart from staying indoors at all times, I like to make spider diagrams and brainstorm until the early hours of the morning (which I used to get told off about) and another reason why I like to plan and write them is because I’m no good at goodbyes and I get really attached to my characters that sometimes I think they’re real… *p.s. I’m not crazy… it’s a writer thing*

I also like reading series, they are my preferred choice–I like them because I know that when I’ve finished one book, I’m going to have another to read, whereas if it was a standalone novel I might want to read more of them, this is especially frustrating when you fall in love with a character, or absolutely hate a character and want to hate them some more .

I’ve enjoyed planning each of my series and so far I am enjoying writing them as well. I enjoy the character development that goes through the series and also the variety of characters that can be introduced.

And for all those people who are marketing savvy, writing a series is especially good because one book will lead to the next as one book alone out there might not sell as well, but that wasn’t the slant I took on the different series when I was 14 because in all honesty I didn’t have a clue about marketing and publicity. Now that I know, I’m sharing this little gem of information with you–so that’s why I prefer series, both reading and writing!

Okay–Question time! What do you prefer to write? And what do you prefer to read?


About Lumen

Lumen is the first in the four-part Blood Luminary series following the characters, Daniel Satoria, Jac Lister and Mia Crosgrove.

Daniel, like all other adolescents on Templar Island is going through the final transition that will allow him to manipulate the bonds of energy and do more than just tamper with his own biological form.

After a near-death experience he is accepted into Croft’s Academy, the only private school on the island and for someone like Daniel to gain access to such teaching is a privilege, and they won’t let him forget it. He tries to fit in, but that’s when things take a turn for the worst, and everything he once knew can’t be possible any more. He doesn’t know who to trust or what to believe.


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About Joseph

Joseph Eastwood is the eldest of five siblings. He lives and grew up in Lancaster, England, where he also attends the University of Cumbria, studying English Literature and Creative Writing.

He has always had a giant creative connection in his life, from drawing and writing to having an eclectic taste in music and reading a wide range of books, which he hopes reflects in his own writing. He also loves watching sci-fi, supernatural and fantasy based TV shows and films. Among some of his favourites are Supernatural, The Vampire Diaries and True Blood. As well as those he loves dramas, like The Good Wife and Desperate Housewives.

Joseph is either busy doing edits and writing or trying to get some university work done. He lives for creativity, striving to be different and thinking up new hoops for his characters to jump through.




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Come On In My Blogging Kitchen

Today I continue upon my blogging tour, and my guest today is the lovely Laci Paige, who is here to tell us about how she was inspired her to start her most current work in progress.  You would do well to attend to Laci, ’cause she gets this evil look in her eyes when she notices you looking away . . .

And with that, here’s Laci!



Hello, before I go on, I’d like to thank Raymond for hosting me on his blog this week! We are participating in a virtual blog tour, and we are just about half way done. So, if you haven’t been following us – it’s not too late, it doesn’t end until early September.

So today I’m going to tell you what inspired my latest work in progress, aka WIP.

A movie…I think, or a TV show.

Don’t even ask me which one it was, I don’t remember. It wasn’t a very good story. But there was a beach, bonfires, and teenage issues. It got my muse going when we were on the highway riding several states over to visit with friends.

I cranked out close to 7K words on that trip all because the highway traffic slowed to a crawl. We were two hours late getting to our destination. It was due to a tractor trailer that was turned over on its side. The accident was on the other side of the highway, but due to rubbernecking we were delayed. I hate that!

At any rate, I cranked out the start of a pretty good story. Only problem is, I had other stories in progress before that one. So it had to be put on the back burner for now. The working title is “Boat”. I know, it will change, but I needed something to save it under on the computer, and I just happened to be on a boat scene at that point. A saucy boat scene at that.

The setting of my story is in a beach community along the south eastern shore of the USA. No where specific, but in my mind it’s called Turtle Cove. It’s the story of a girl (who works at a bait and tackle shop), who wants a boy (who works at the marina). He thinks of her as only a friend until a new boy (a spoiled rich guy) shows up. The three of them are “just friends” until….

Sorry, you’ll just have to wait until later this year to find out what happens.

Until then you can read my debut novella, Let’s Keep On Truckin’, which is available for purchase on Amazon.


In the comment section below tell me something about this blog that interested you! Raymond and I love to hear from our readers!

Author Bio:

When Laci’s not reading or writing she can be found spending time with her husband supporting their children. Laci enjoys camping, hiking, & photography. And she loves to chat with fans on Twitter and Facebook. Laci and her family currently reside in Hampton Roads, VA.

Laci’s Place blog.

Laci on Twitter.

Laci on Facebook.

Laci’s Author’s Page on Facebook.

Let’s Keep On Truckin’ on Decadent Publishing.