Spooky Pictures from Nature to Inspire Writing

 

 

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Originally this blog post was going to be titled “spooky trees,” but I was inspired by squee1313 to work with my picture of a bridge and my “sketch” app.

When I went walking there it didn’t seem very scary. Now in retrospect . . .

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Another spooky tree.

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At the river crossing:

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A haunted ferry perhaps?

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100_0966I hope that everyone has a scary (but safe) Halloween!

Chris

 

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5 Minutes with Milo James Fowler

Yakuza Territory

This is a chance to learn a bit more about Milo James Fowler, whose novella, Yakuza Territory, will be published by Musa on November 7, 2014.

Milo James Fowler

Website: www.milojamesfowler.com

Twitter: @mfowler76

About the Author

I started writing when . . . I was 12. After reading too many Hardy Boys books, I figured I could write something better. I don’t know if I succeeded, but I definitely entertained myself.

What I love most about writing is . . . creating characters that readers enjoy.

The toughest thing about writing is . . . ending a story.

The writer I most admire is . . . Ray Bradbury. His poetic prose is unmatched.

My lifelong hero is . . . C.S. Lewis – Till We Have Faces rocked my world.

If I wasn’t a writer, I would be . . . a full-time teacher. As it is, I’m a full-time teacher and a part-time writer. Hoping to swap those in the next 10 years or so.

Other than writing, I’m good at . . . playing guitar, mountain biking, surfing, and eating Mexican food.

When I’m writing, I listen to post-rock: Explosions in the Sky, This Will Destroy You, Collapse Under the Empire, Pg Lost, Mogwai, and my favorite cellist is Zoe Keating.

Favorite Novels: The Gunslinger, The Road, The Princess Bride, The Lord of the Rings – books that start with the, I guess.

Favorite Movies: Serenity, Inception, Abbot & Costello’s Jack & the Beanstalk, My Man Godfrey, Prince Valiant, Galaxy Quest, Guardians of the Galaxy

Favorite Actors/Actresses: Clive Owen, Denzel Washington, Cate Blanchett, Sophia Loren

Favorite Sport Team: the San Diego Chargers

Favorite Foods: all things Mexican and Italian—but not together

Modern convenience I can’t live without: Laptop or toilet?

Nobody knows that I’m . . . afraid of the dark—and I love it.

I wish I could . . . stop stressing over stupid little things.

Best advice I’ve received: “Never give up, never surrender!” – Galaxy Quest

Worst advice I’ve received: Go ahead, it’ll grow out.

Advice to aspiring authors: Read a lot. Write even more. Polish up your work and get it in front of as many editors as possible. Work with them to hone your craft and style. Be open to critique but never lose faith in yourself or your stories.

Yakuza Territory

Yakuza Territory

A detective with no way out.  A telepath with something to prove… 

Struggling to survive the night, one private eye must rely on his wits to solve a mystery where he’s outnumbered, outgunned, and trapped inside a police station with a soulless killing machine.

http://musapublishing.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=6&products_id=831

http://www.amazon.com/Milo-James-Fowler/e/B0058CVZT0/ref=la_B0058CVZT0_pg_1?rh=n%3A283155%2Cp_82%3AB0058CVZT0&ie=UTF8&qid=1410106849

 

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Reading: Cover Reveal for The Stars Are Infinite

I am pleased to present this post from Amber Sky Forbes about her newest book, The Stars Are Infinite. Enjoy!
Chris

Here is the what I think is the gorgeous cover of The Stars Are Infinite!

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It is the sequel to When Stars Die. There will be a third book that I plan to call All Stars Align, which will be the final one in The Stars Trilogy. Here is the blurb for this novel:

Alice Sheraton is slated to be executed as a witch; however, her father spares her. He sends her to Finight Hill, a safe house for witches. Here a Shadowman begins to pursue her, and from this Shadowman she learns she has been bound with a terrible fate since birth: either be a martyr to free witches from their misery, or choose to live knowing her existence will bring on more chaos.

This novel has a December release , and you will know more information later, especially when you sign up for the newsletter.

Now here is an interview with Alice Sheraton so that way you get to know a little bit about her before you begin to read this sequel. There are no spoilers. However, make sure you read the first book before buying this one, or else you will get confused:

Hello, Alice. It must be strange being in an interview for you, especially because you’ve spent much of your life never having any attention drawn to you.

Alice: It’s true. Much of my life has been spent preparing me to find a suitable husband. I did go to a finishing school before coming to Finight, so I do have a great deal of education. At the same time, when I was in the other school, I was taught to never draw any attention to myself. So I am nervous about this. What will my mother think? I used to love painting, until my mother took that away from me. I am well-read, and I had my own collection of books in my room. I loved being with Sara, who liked to get into all sorts of trouble I never agreed with, but did so anyway. These things are memorable, but if my mother ever found out about them, she would beat me with a wooden board.

What are your parents like?

Alice: My father has been nothing but supportive, and I’d like to think that if I had said something about wanting to own my own life, he would have been supportive. My mother, on the other hand, is an alcoholic, which is why I was born as a witch. The Seven Deadly Sins give birth to witches, and I suppose my mother’s continual sin is gluttony.

How has being a witch impacted your life?

Alice: Dreadful. I don’t even want to think or talk about what led up to my discovery. I was imprisoned in a small, dirty room in Governor Branch’s home. He is a horrid, perverted man married to my best friend Sara, who is around my age: I am fifteen. I was slated to be executed, but my father saved me by paying a handsome sum of gold to Governor Branch. He couldn’t refuse the money, so he and Father decided to send me off to a safe house called Finight Hill. It looks like any other finishing school, and it is in a secluded area.

What were your reactions to Finight Hill?

Alice: I was paranoid at first. It’s lovely on the exterior, but it’s rather bland on the inside. My other finishing school was richly furnished, with original paintings, marble sculptures, fresh flowers. It was, I suppose, like the inside of a rich man’s home. Finight had no such decorations. So I was scared. I thought I was sent there to be executed, that my father truly had no idea where he was sending me. Governor Branch wanted me dead, but when I met Pastor Brandon and a boy named Nathaniel, their presence and kindness swept away any paranoia I had.

Tell us about Pastor Brandon and Nathaniel.

Alice: Pastor Brandon is nice but strange. He falls into these fits where he cries out, “Curse is everyone who hangs on a tree!” This is a sentence commonly used right before witch executions. He also coughs up some substance from time to time. I don’t know what it is, but it’s black. Even so, he has made me feel welcomed.

Nathaniel, on the other hand, is beautiful, and I saw that right from the start, though I couldn’t admit it to myself. He’s also troubled. He smokes a lot, he scratches himself, and he’s reckless, but he has made me feel welcomed at Finight, and I accepted his friendship. Master Akilah isn’t too fond of him because of his reckless behavior.

How do you feel about Master Akilah?

Alice: I can’t stand him. Neither can Pastor Brandon nor Nathaniel. He was rude to me my first day there when he introduced me, complaining that I was late, not even welcoming me. He is the one who created the unnecessarily strict rules rules for Finight, where we are watched at all times, as though we are in an asylum. We do have certain activities that we have to do throughout the day, like studying. We can go outside once a week–under strict supervision. Nathaniel is smart enough to evade some of these rules, but it eventually becomes our downfall. After a certain event takes place, the rules become worse. At that point, we can’t even have doors to our rooms.

You hear voices?

Alice: I’m unsure if the voice is real or not. It sounds real. She at first told me Pastor Brandon killed her. Then she told me I should kill him. She said he knew who I was, and I couldn’t make any sense of that. He apparently knows the future. When I fainted and woke up in my room, her final words to me were, “You will be mine.” We all thought it was stress and nerves. I thought I was insane, but I was so certain the voice was real. And it is. It truly is.

Can you tell us who the voice belongs to?

Alice: Her name is Annarelius, a Shadowman, a dead witch. She wants me because I can set the world free from sin, allowing everyone, even witches, into Paradise.

Tell us about this Shadowman.

Alice: I would rather not.

Are there any final words?

Alice: My story…it is mine and mine alone, rife with the darkness that is innate in the life of a witch. It was a very hard story to tell. If witches are not freed, at least my account will make them feel less alone, if my account will even be allowed to exist. Witches are insignificant. We are nothing. Those who used to love us betray us and automatically hate us when they find out we are witches. This was the case with my best friend, Sara. The Vulgate, our bible, indoctrinates people into hating us, which is why they can hate so easily. I am not sure if this hatred will ever be erased. I have never known any allies to stop the hatred. I have never known any witches to start a rebellion. But our world is filled with nothing but cruelty. The ugliness of our world surpasses its beauty. Love is the only beauty that exists, but there isn’t enough of it.

Those are some very harrowing words, Alice, but I know you will be the one to make that change. Thank you for letting me interview you.

Alice:

I hope you enjoyed Alice’s interview and will pick up the already available When Stars Die and the not-yet-released The Stars Are Infinite when you are able to pre-order it or buy it on its release day. Remember it will have a December release date and will be mentioned in a future newsletter.

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ImageAbout the Author

Amber Skye Forbes is a dancing writer who prefers pointe shoes over street shoes, leotards over skirts, and ballet buns over hairstyles. She loves striped tights and bows and will edit your face with a Sharpie if she doesn’t like your attitude. She lives in Augusta, Georgia where she writes dark fiction that will one day put her in a psychiatric ward…again. But she doesn’t care because her cat is a super hero who will break her out.

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5 Minutes with Brita Addams

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I recently attended the Musa Publishing 3 Year Anniversary Celebration and met several of my fellow Musa authors.  Brita Addams was one of the authors who generously agreed to be interviewed for one of my 5 Minute Interviews.  I hope you all enjoy learning more about Brita and her work!

Chris

5 Minutes with Brita Addams

This is a chance to learn a bit more about Brita Addams whose novel, Thornhill’s Dilemma, will be published November 7th at Musa Publishing.

Website: britaaddams.net

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/BritaAddams 

About the Author

I started writing . . . I’ve written all my life, or from about 6th grade. I didn’t however, write from publication until five years ago. In between, my husband and I raised our family, during which time, I’d have never found the time to write.

What I love most about writing . . . I have a creative mind, exercised over the years through flower arranging, cross-stitch, macramé, crocheting and knitting, scrapbooking, and genealogy. Writing affords me unlimited creation.

The toughest thing about writing . . . at the risk of sounding glib, the toughest thing is writing for me is the blurb, tagline, and coming up with a title. I love the story building, but the other stuff is difficult for me.

The writer I most admire . . . I love Phillipa Gregory’s work. She combines real historical figures with her own stories, something I love. I also love Mary Balogh and Lisa Kleypas’ historicals.

My lifelong hero . . . this is easy. My hero is and always has been my husband. When we met, I had two children and he had none. He and I dated for four years and after we married, he adopted my daughter, would have adopted my son if my son had wanted him to, and then we had a child together. She was born with a severe disability, and together with our other children, we raised her. Clint supported us all so I could be home with the kids. To them, he is Dad, never stepdad, ever. He’s deserving of our love and admiration, and for all of us, he is a hero.

If I wasn’t a writer, I would be . . . a very bored human being, and I never use the word bored. I have to exercise my mind. I can’t conceive of a day that I don’t either write or plot a new story.

Other than writing, I am really good at . . . genealogy. I’ve traced my family back many, many generations, have lectured on cruise ships about genealogical research, and have conducted more interviews with “distant relatives,” than I care to think about. I’ve tramped through old cemeteries, been shoulder high in documents in dusty town hall basements, and taken thousands of pictures of gravestones. There isn’t anything about genealogy I don’t love.

When I am writing, I listen to . . . absolute silence. I am too easily distracted by music and TV.

Favorite Novels: Simply Love by Mary Balogh. Hands down one of the best romance novels I’ve ever read. Any of Phillipa Gregory’s works. I love them all. You can’t beat Jane Austen, particularly Pride and Prejudice. I read tons of research books, as I write historical fiction and thoroughly research every aspect of my stories.

Favorite Movies: I love old movies – Gone with the Wind is my favorite.

Favorite Actors/Actresses: Clark Gable, Tyrone Power, and more modern day Channing Tatum, Jason Stratham, Sean Connery, Russell Crowe, Denzel Washington, Morgan Freeman. I don’t have favorite modern actresses. I do love a couple of older, unfortunately dead actresses – Irene Dunne and Vivian Leigh are favorites.

Favorite Foods: My husband’s gumbo – either chicken or seafood, and his potato salad.

Modern convenience I can’t live without: I live in Southern Louisiana so the answer to that is air conditioning.

Nobody knows that I . . . No one knows that and no one ever will. :-)

I wish I could stop . . . Serious note: I wish I could stop the progression of my husband’s Parkinson’s Disease. I’ve never felt so helpless in my life.

Advice to aspiring authors:

Learn what passive voice and filters are and how to write without them. Both make manuscripts clunky and distance readers from the action.

Never think you know everything about writing—we never do.

Follow your editor’s lead, but ask questions. Never stop learning. Editors don’t want to destroy your author voice, but they do want to help you produce the best book possible. Obstinacy about correcting mistakes gets you nowhere.

Understand and fix passive voice. The difference in your writing is night and day. Discover the newbie mistakes and don’t make them – use of began or started (I began to read a book. Instead of: I read a book,) intensifiers like very, so, really and tons of others, filters (he felt his heart beat, instead of – his heart beat. Of course it did and if he didn’t, who did?,) and showing vs. telling, and never use the word literally unless you mean literally. We see this all the time. “I’m literally tearing my hair out of my head.” No, not literally. Oh, yeah, and never, no matter what, use the word basically.

If you can conquer these few things, you’re on your way to better writing, happier readers, and quality prose.

Study. Read. Practice.

Thornhill’s Dilemma is the third book in my Sapphire Club series, now available for presale at Musa Publishing.

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Staid Phillip Allard, the Duke of Thornhill, and Alexander Chilton, a man of voracious sexual tastes, enjoy a long-standing relationship that satisfies them both,

until a young debutante inadvertently involves Phillip in her defiant quest.

Lady Hope is curious and accepting, but although Phillip cares for her, he can never love her as she wishes. When tragedy occurs, guilt leaves Phillip lost and numb.

Will he find his way back to Alex, or has he burned the one bridge that matters most?

 

This book contains a couple of menage scenes, M/F/M. It also contains spanking, voyeurism, and sexual activity between two men.

Thornhill’s Dilemma will release on November 7th, but is available for presale on Musa Publishing.

 

My Amazon author page

About Brita Addams:

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Born in a small town in upstate New York, Brita Addams has made her home in the sultry south for many years. In the Frog Capital of the World, Brita shares her home with her real-life hero—her husband, and a fat cat named Stormee. All their children are grown.

Given her love of history, Brita writes both het and gay historical romance. Many of her historicals have appeared on category bestseller lists at various online retailers.

Musa Publishing has contracted many of Brita’s historical romances, including the rewritten and expanded, best-selling Sapphire Club series.

Tarnished Gold, the first in her gay romance Tarnished series for Dreamspinner Press, was a winner in the 2013 Rainbow Awards, Historical Romance category. The book also received nominations for Best Historical and Best Book of 2013 from the readers of the Goodreads M/M Romance Group.

A bit of trivia—Brita pronounces her name, Bree-ta, and not Brit-a, like the famous water filter. Brita Addams is a mash-up of her real middle name and her husband’s middle name, with an additional d and s.

Readers can find more information about Brita Addams at any of the following places:

Website/Blog  Twitter Facebook

Fan page  Pinterest

Booklikes

Monthly column at The Novel Approach

And the Rest is History WON Radio/Blog Talk Radio shows

 

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Guest Blog Post At Musa

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Musa Publishing shared a blog post of mine.  You can find it at http://musapublishing.blogspot.com/2014/10/congratulations-musa.html

Chris

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On Writing: More Fall Photo Inspirations

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I decided to have lunch outside today at my favorite nearby park.  I packed some chicken salad, grabbed my camera, and headed out.

I hope that you enjoy the photographs and that they inspire you to write!

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The fall season is one of my favorites because of all the colorful trees and bushes.  The area where I live is nice because of all the parks and forest preserves.  I like to walk along this specific path near the park.  You may have noticed pictures of this fence previously on my blog!

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There is a railroad track through this area.

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This is one of my favorite pictures from today.

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One last burst of fall colors.100_0953I also took some photos of what can only be categorized as “spooky trees.”  I will share them closer to Halloween.

Chris

 

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On Writing: Inspirations from Fall

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I hope that you all enjoy and that the pictures inspire you to write!

Chris

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