Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Something... Is it one of your pet peeves?

I was just writing an article about 'polishing your manuscript' for Fantasy Faction and realised once I posted it away that I hadn't included 'SOMETHING' in my list of words to avoid.
Is it on your list too?
Back in the day,  before my eyes were opened by a note in a critique, I thought there was nothing wrong with something.
Now though, the sight of 'something' in a manuscript makes me a little judgmental. Is the author being lazy, are they keeping something from their readers, or do they really think that a vague reference is enough to keep a reader interested?
Consider if you will,
'Something made him turn...'
REALLY? What? Why isn't the author sharing their information with us? Don't they think we care? What made him turn?
Was it;
"The hint of her perfume made him turn.."
Isn't that more interesting?
"The sound of the safety switch being released on a gun, made him turn...'
You get the drift.
I could go on... have you come across 'something' that made you wonder too?

So, there might be a good reason for using 'something' sometime, but personally I think it is worth considering as one of those pesky words to be avoided. Don't you reckon?

Monday, March 28, 2011

How to Create a series of Fantasy Covers...

The Chronicles of Caleath have a series of awesome covers to tempt readers. The team behind the creation of these covers deserve recognition. It's a long story...began when I first self published and was given a cover that brought tears to my eyes. Anyhow.. here's how the final eight covers came about...

FIRST FIND YOUR HERO...Finding someone suitable for becoming your hero means hanging about looking conspicuous at medieaval faires and the like. Helps to have a friend who is involved so when you spot a likely looking hero type across the way, she can introduce you. Thanks to Rachel from our local writing group, we were introduced to Matt. He was performing with his re enactment group ROGNVALD'S LITH.
 Being the wonderful character he is, Matt agreed to pose for some shots then and there. When the background had cars and powerpoles in them he suggested using his property for location shots and offered to wear the right type of costume for the books.

Once we decided that we needed to travel to Matt's property and stay a night or two, my organising director booked accomodation and also arranged for her photographer friend to accompany us. Rachel Lewis, known for her photographs under her working name FIATHRIEL on Deviantart, brought her camera and skills. 

Before we arrived at Matt's property of rolling hills,
 forests, creeks and paddocks, he had read the first
four books in the series. Familiar with the character and the story line, Matt suggested various locations within an hour's drive from his place.
The first photoshoot was at the top of the waterfall pictured. Then Lisa, Rachel and Matt scrambled down a steep cliff laden with cloak and lugging chain mail and camera gear. Sadly I could not negotiate the climb and had to wait patiently for the crew to return.
My first glimpse of the idyllic location and photos produced came later.

ORGANISER, ARTISTIC DIRECTOR and ENTHUSIASTIC SUPPORT came in the form of Lisa Egan, soon to become my dear daughter in law.
Lisa's imagination and eye helped create the right look to each scene. Matt's incredible range of armour and equipment added the right
touch to the photos.
It is one thing to be in a wonderful location, it is another altogether to be able to place the model and incorporate the mood and feel that will be reflected for a cover picture.


Lisa, Matt and Rachel produced some magical shots and I still enjoy going through the collection.

The two waterfall shoots produced the covers for Winter, Underground, Legacy, Memory and Fragile Sun.

The night shoot on Saturday evening, produced the Battle cover.
The cloak apparently is annying to wear. Makes scrambling up a vertical cliff, wearing 40kg of chain mail a challenge.
Still... looks great. What author would forego the chance to have a cloaked hero? A short servicable cloak.. hmm. Where is the magic in that? Thanks Matt. Sorry about the climb!

This great 'wheat field' series was shot in Matt's own  100 acre back yard. Each year Matt's property is used to host a mediaeval re enactment battle. Known as the Generals last stand... a dedicated group of local combatants camp out and do battle over a long weekend. There are forts built and battles fought. Incredible setting.  Incredible hobby.


Someone had to carry the spare gear. I volunteered. The rest of the
crew were all working too hard and I wanted to do my bit. :)

Did I mention the chain mail weighs about 100kg?  Hmm.. ok, it starts out weighing about 20kg at the bottom of the hill, but by the time you have lumbered through the forest and up to the grass plain, it weighs much more! Mind you as the sun set and the cold crept across the paddocks the gambeson was welcome and so was the cloak. :)

There was a shoot in the forest, and another in the field of 'wheat' on Matt's property,  where the Autumn cover, was shot.

We travelled on Sunday to a couple of locations that
Matt had in mind. Here we took the shots for the cover of Invaded.
Some of my favourite photos come from the last location where
Matt found a small shard of crystal, that fitted perfectly with the
story line. To this day I keep the piece of coloured quartz on
my writing desk.

Having good quality photos, professionally presented and of high resolution, meant I could offer them to the publisher for my covers. I had already obtained copywrite and written permission from Matt, and I am still in constant touch  with him and Rachel. We are all thrilled that our efforts have enabled Delilah to purchase the photos and use them in the covers.
The cost might have been high in a dollar sense, but I consider every dollar well spent. How much fun did I have as the author, seeing my character come to life? Priceless.
Every author dreams of seeing their books become movies. Well.. this was pretty close. :)

So, creating a series of covers for Fantasy novels can be a Fantastic experience in itself. :)

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Comment for the Themed Blog at Museitup Publishing....

I have been asked to post this comment regarding the scene I posted on the Museitup Publishing blog.
The comment is from Ruth, who has read The Chronicles of Caleath in their original form and is waiting for them to be released by Museitup Publishing with new editing and covers!!
Ruth said:
"Here is my comment, you post if for me. I tried and couldn't because I have no url.

Reading an exerpt from Caleath for the first time here one might think this was pertaining to a horror story; it is most definitely not. The Chronicles of Caleath is the best fantasy sci/fi I've ever had the honor to read. Some of Ms Skinner's critics have actually accused the book as being 'too' descriptive, well, if one truly wants to 'feel' what the subject on the page feels as well as sees, in other words, 'jump into the story', this is the book for you. A story you will never forget and will always yearn for more of."

As you can imagine... Ruth's generous words have made my day!!

To read the extract on the Muse blog...
Scene from EXILED: Autmn's Peril

Friday, March 25, 2011

Posted an Extract from EXILED: Autumn's Peril at the Museitup Publishing Blog...

Today Museitup Publishing authors are posting favourite extracts from their books. I have included a short descriptive dream sequence from the first chapter of EXILED: Autumn's Peril.
Drop by and have a look. It won't take more than a minute. Please leave a comment!!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Understanding the Pronoun...

A deeper look at the pronoun.
A pronoun is a word that is used to substitute for a noun or a noun-phrase. The pronoun refers to a person or a thing that is understood from the context of the sentence.
There are eight distinct types of pronouns. The Fantasy author will use all of them, but understanding why can help with successful writing.
The eight types are: Personal, Possessive, Reflexive, Reciprocal, Relative, Demonstrative, Interrogative and Indefinite.
1st person (speaker): I, we
2nd person (spoken to): you, you
3rd person (spoken of):  he, she, it, one, they
1st person (speaker): my, mine, our, ours
2nd person (spoken to): your, yours
3rd person (spoken of): his, her, hers, its, one’s, their, theirs 
1st person (speaker): me, us
2nd person (spoken to): you
3rd person (spoken of):  him, her, it, one, them
 myself, yourself, himself, herself, itself, oneself, ourselves, yourselves, themselves
 each other, one another
Relative Interrogative:
 who, whose, whom, which, that, what, whatever, (expanded form) whoever, whatever
this, that, these, those
 anything anybody anyone, something, some, somebody, someone, nothing, nobody, none, no one, everyone, everybody, everything

Try to keep pronouns and their subject clear and precise. Confusion can be cause easily by the over use of any pronouns.
The danger of uncertain reference can affect the use of ‘it’ and ‘they’.
Example:  Only a few of the knights owned warhorses. They needed to find mounts.
‘They’ seems to refer to the knights who already had horses, rather than those who did not.
Uncertain reference can also affect ‘he’ and ‘she’
  “He told him he must help him saddle the horse.”
 Here the reader has no idea who is saying what to whom. Avoiding the pronouns can clarify the situation but leads to a stilted style of writing and is probably better to rewrite the sentence.’
  “Connor told Dean that Dean must help Connor saddle the horse.”
“Connor needed to saddle his horse, he told Dean to help him.”
“Connor needed to saddle his horse, he told Dean to help.” 
For the sake of clarity, the Fantasy author should not to let a personal pronoun come before the noun it is subject to.Some indefinite pronouns cause confusion, as to whether they should have a singular or plural verb.
Anyone could see they rode well.
Could as easily be:
Anyone could see he/she rode well.
It is a common problem, and some editors have an aversion to the overuse of ‘it’. It’s not necessary to use ‘it’ when writing. To these editors ‘it’ is an example of laziness on the author’s part. It’s not hard to find words to substitute for ‘it’.
 Some editors dislike the over use of ‘it’. There is no need for excessive use of this pronoun when writing. To these editors the repeated occurrence of this particular word is an example of laziness on the author’s part. For the successful writer, finding words to substitute for the offending pronoun isn’t difficult.
Keep in mind the correct use of pronouns as you write and edit.

As seen on Australian Author Rosalie Skinner Wordpress.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

BOOK EIGHT: 'ADRIFT: The Fragile Sun' now has its COVER TOO...

Another stunning offering from Delilah!
What can I say except WOW...
Thank you!
I can't go without thanking Matt and Rachel and Lisa again.  For all their efforts in getting great photos for Delilah to use. They have faith in my writing. Their support, enthusasim and ideas through the long process of finding the right publisher have helped me immeasurably.  I must mention Lea Schizas and thank her too.Without the continued determination of these people, The Chronicles would still be gathering dust.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

ADRIFT: In Search of Memory now has a cover!

Another wonderful cover... the series is almost complete. I feel very lucky to have such a terrific collection of covers.
Thanks again to all concerned. :) Delilah, Rachel, Matt and Lisa... I love you guys!!!

UNDERGROUND the day of the Sun, now has a cover too...

Wheee... another beautiful cover!

They just keep getting better... another COVER...

INVADED: The Darkest Day now has a cover.. check this out!!!
Again I thank Delilah, Rachel Lewis, Matt and Lisa for making these covers possible.

Monday, March 14, 2011

THE CHRONICLES OF CALEATH are getting MORE covers....

BOOK THREE in the Chronicles of Caleath
BOOK FOUR in the Chronicles of Caleath

Two new covers for two more books. It is an exciting time.

My first Fantasy Faction article...

I would like to present my first article: 'Avoid Rejection: Editors Pet Peeves'

A three editors give us an insight to what their pet peeves are when going over a manuscript.
You are welcome to join the discussion and leave a comment.


Sunday, March 13, 2011

What makes a hero?

We don't have to look far these days to see heroic behaviour. Natural disasters bring out the heroes in our society. From the young boy who told rescuers to take his brother first...and died with his mother before they returned, to the pre school teacher who saved fourteen children from the tsunami, only to find no one came to collect them.

When we are writing, we judge our heroes are judged on the challenges they face.  In my personal opinion, I think the smallest act of kindness in need has merit beyond measure. Improving the conditions of a single child can prove as momentous as saving a galaxy, if the story and characters are well written.

Today the world is reeling from the effects of floods, fire, earthquake, tsunami and cyclones. Each and every act of real heroism in the face of adversity outpasses the most dramatic act described in fiction. How can a fiction author compete with what Nature is  doing? She uses natural disasters as raw material for creating situations for characters to find their inner strengths. Thank goodness so many people are finding that their true nature is heroic. Surviving the devastation takes heroism to face each day after the initial crisis is averted. Coping takes strength. Recovering will make a hero out of each survivor.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Japan's earthquake and Tsunami

Dreadful scenes and news has again shocked and dismayed us. Our hearts and prayers go out to the thousands effected by the frightening and devastating catastrophy. For those with family and friends lost in the horror, our deepest sympathy. For those waiting to hear...prayers and hope.

We have only just caught our breath after reeling from the New Zealand tragedy. Australia is still cleaning up after the floods and cyclone. Our peaceful world seems to be in turmoil. All we can do is offer our help and love while watching in disbelief and dispair.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

A spicy romance set among Mermaids and Pirates. Want to know more?

I am happy to welcome Marsha to my blog. 
 Pirates and Mermaids... what a great combination Marsha. Thanks for coming today to share more about this captivating story. “Tears on a Tranquil Lake” was released by MuseitHOT Publishing in February.

I’m really glad to be here today, Rosalie! Thanks for inviting me. Here is my blurb:

What a surprise for a young woman, to find herself suddenly transformed into a mermaid.

Ciel’s first thought – track down the merman who changed her and make him reverse his magic. Unable to find him, survival in her new world becomes paramount. She eagerly accepts help from a dashing pirate captain who takes a fancy to her, lavishing her with finery. When her merman does show up, he competes for her affection. One look into his eyes makes her life more complex -- he is her soul mate.

Which man will she choose – pirate captain or merman? Which life – human or mermaid? Caribbean adventures and dangers chase Ciel as she searches for decisions and the key to her happiness.

Warning: This book contains Haitian vodou, sultry wenches, foul-mouthed scalliwag pirates, overindulgence of fine Caribbean rum, and amorous encounters on deserted beaches.

This steamy paranormal romance was inspired by the colorful history of a real pirate? Can you tell us a little about this character?
I’ve recently moved to Tampa and when I learned about the local Gasparilla Festival, I was fascinated by the famed buccaneer legend, as well as the wild, Mardi Gras style celebration. My fantasy erotic romance book, Tears on a Tranquil Lake resulted, with a pirate captain, a mermaid, and a merman as characters.

According to legend, swashbuckling buccaneer José Gaspar, known by the nickname Gasparilla, was a Spanish pirate who terrorized Florida’s west coast during late 18th and early 19th centuries. 

As an aristocrat by birth and officer in the Spanish Navy, Gasparilla was well educated, possessed courtly manners, and had all the appearances of a fine gentleman.

There are a few versions of his motive for becoming a pirate. One claims he achieved high rank of councilor to King Charles III. Popular in court, he held favor with many ladies.

When he spurned one lover for another, the jilted lady took revenge by accusing him falsely of theft of crown jewels. In order to escape arrest, he took leave of Spain in his naval ship, vowing to seek his own revenge through piracy.

An aristocrat-turned-pirate began an adventurous life as an outlaw of the sea. A very romantic legend of the man.

During the next thirty-eight years he called himself “Gasparilla” and trolled the Florida coastline, sacking every passing ship for treasure. Eventually, he was fooled into attacking and pillaging what he thought was a large British merchant ship. But when it approached, the merchant lowered its colors and raised an American flag--the pirate-hunting schooner, the USS Enterprise. It burned his ship, and Gasparilla jumped to a watery grave.

You have enough material and atmosphere in your local town, to keep your writing fingers itchy. Other than ‘author’ of ‘hot’ romance what are three words you would use to describe yourself?

Fit; imaginative; spiritual

Do they influence you as a writer?
Yes, definitely; they are all connected. I exercise daily and am very fit, usually bicycling 16-18 miles each week, kayaking for an hour or so around our lagoon, attending yoga classes, or doing my own yoga routines at home. Yoga leads to inner exploration and meditation, a spiritual discovery. Exercise gives me so much. It clears my mind, so my writing time is considerably more focused and effective. Also, it takes me on journeys inside my mind or outside in nature that bring me an endless supply of new writing ideas. I write fantasy romance. Those journeys feed my imagination and bring me a wealth of magic.

Do you have a regime when writing? A special place, time, mood or do you snatch opportunities to pen ideas or write a few lines?

A typical day for me is getting up around 7:30 AM, reading mail and keeping up with my networking/promotional work. 

Then I exercise. I’m either out the door to the yoga studio or do routines at home five days a week. The other days I’m out bicycling or kayaking. I recently purchased a used kayak—my favorite new toy! We live on a large saltwater lagoon and taking it out for an hour or more is a treat. I always exercise as part of my daily routine and have for at least a decade. 

After that, my afternoon is all about household chores and editing. I’m a night owl and do most of my focused writing after dinner, usually staying up until 2 AM.

Does your Muse follow rules and plot lines or does she offer ideas on a whim?
I follow a plot outline for the main characters, but the secondary characters roam freely and bring some interesting freshness as I write.

Has there been one event in your life that changed/inspired your writing career? For example, moving to a historic and colorful location?
During the winter of 2008-9, I moved my mother from NW Ohio to Tampa. It didn’t take much to convince me to stay through the winter to help her get settled before I moved my own household the following summer. My first Florida winter inspired me to write my book Tears on a Tranquil Lake. 

Shortly after, my husband and I moved our household to a town nearby, directly on Tampa Bay. We live on a saltwater lagoon which connects to the Bay. Certainly, moving here has changed my writing. Even after two years, it still looks to my mid-western mind like a Dr. Seuss world, which is terrific because I still adore his books–easily, my favorite childhood author. Daily, I step outside to see crazy-looking trees which remind me of truffula trees and water birds that look like swami-swans. I smile and love living within my childhood fantasies. With my cycling, kayaking, and beach visits, I’m outside often and inevitably my mind is lured by the unusual nature here to create fantasy settings for my books.

Would you like to tell us about the main character of your book and/or the villain? Or would you like to share a non steaming excerpt? Either or both… we are keen to learn more about the story.
Excerpt from Chapter 1, Tears on a Tranquil Lake, fantasy romance

The ‘gator wanted to drown me….make me an easier meal. A chill passed through my body and I shivered. Feverish heat built up inside me, spreading from my head and torso down my limbs. Eventually the wild drumbeat of my heart obliterated everything. I panicked and tried to move, but lacked control of my muscles. Immobile and helpless, I could only listen. The throbbing pulse dimmed as the lake’s waters claimed my life. I submitted…mind blank to all except the faint thump. For an immeasurably long time I heard its rhythm fading away. Seconds or dozens of minutes, I didn't know; altered perception foiled my judgment.

Then, a touch against my face—shattering my delirium.

Fear engulfed my barely conscious mind. What was it? Death seemed welcome compared to experiencing an alligator attack upon my body.

Something soft caressed my lips, not at all like hard reptilian scales.

My sense of touch heightened. Encouraged by returning consciousness, I struggled against the darkness. My eyes searched, yet still failed to see.

Soon, I understood the feeling of lips pressing upon mine. Their burning heat made me panic. I tried to jerk back, but had no muscle control, no way to resist. They forced my lips apart, and a fiery tongue thrust inside my mouth.

In short time my limbs tingled with renewed sensation. Attempting to thrash my arms, I found them both secured.

The mysterious tongue persisted, searing my own.

Strangely, the warmth moved across my entire body and I calmed, mesmerized by this unusual kiss. In some curious manner it restored my consciousness. Peacefulness spread over me, and I accepted this connection as my life force. Our kiss grew pleasurable and I slipped my tongue along the other. Waves of passion rippled through my body and I desired whatever being touched me. Wanting to know more, I opened my eyes. Light pained my limited vision.

A hazy image flashed in front of me.

I pulled back, ending the kiss and viewed a sweep of dark hair turning away, moving up toward the surface.

Where can we get this book?

It may be purchased from:
MuseItUp Publishing
Barnes & Noble
Coffee Time Romance Bookstore
All Romance

Marsha, the story behind Tears on a Tranquil Lake, the concept of a mermaid, a merman and a pirate is wonderful and fresh. Despite not generally reading ‘hot’ romances I am tempted to buy this book myself. 

I hear that you have another book to be released through MuseitHOT Publishing in June. Please tell us about ‘Sea Glass and Sand Memories’? Again a terrific cover. Would share a non steaming excerpt?

Thanks! I love the cover art too. It’s just the setting I imagined for this story.

Looking forward to a relaxing week at a Lake Michigan coastal resort, Kate finds much more than the picturesque dunes she intended to paint.

Adventures start when her requested room is switched beside an unusual couple – a witch and her lover, a ghost.

During her stay, the handsome ghost, Anson, tries to ensnare her into helping him escape the witch who killed him and then enslaved his spirit. The witch holds him captive on the property of his mother’s resort. Anson wins Kate’s heart and loyalty; she goes to great lengths to free him.

Warning: This story contains paranormal sex, pagan abuse of a ghost spirit, nightmares, and happy family memories.

Another winning title, story and cover.
Marsha I wish you every success with your books. Thanks so much for being here today and tempting us so delightfully.

Thanks again for inviting me to hang out here with you today, Rosalie!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

THE CHRONICLES OF CALEATH are getting covers....

Thanks to Delilah, for her creative skills and to Matt, Rachel and Lisa for making the EXILED photoshoot a brilliant success.

Monday, March 7, 2011

This week Marsha Moore drops in...

With the release of her book 'Tears on a Tranquil Lake', Marsha will visit on Wednesday and tell us more about her writing and this delightful 'hot' story. See you there.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Sneak a Peek: Aussie Authors at Work.

Sneak a peek: Aussie Authors at Work is a new blog that focuses on Australian authors, what they are writing and how they manage their writing and lives down under.
Thanks to those wonderful Australian authors and their generous spirit, who have agreed to join Wendy Laharnar and me. Sneak a Peek: Aussie Authors at Work will promote and share writing with an authentic Australian theme.
Drop by and check out our first posts. Maggi Andersen reviews Anne Gracie's The Perfect Rake.