Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Guest Post: Barbara Custer

I'm very pleased to host author Barbara Custer this week. The beginning of a book is so important, it keeps a reader interested and the ending gets them motivated to look into your other books or the next one in a series. 

Guest Post:

Those Troublesome Beginnings and Endings

This past month, I wrote a short story. It took a week to write it, but I needed another two weeks to rework the ending. According to my beta readers, I started off with fire but fell flat at the end. People ask what I find most difficult about writing. I’d say that writing beginnings and endings are tough. Especially endings.

Years ago, I started writing short stories. Now and then, an editor might ask for a rewrite, saying, “Your ending needs work.” That was when I’d start groaning. Behind the editor’s desk now, I notice that other authors struggle with their endings. When I request a rewrite for Night to Dawn magazine, it usually involves the ending.

“One Last Favor,” a novella-length story in the City of Brotherly Death gave me the hardest way to go with its ending. This tale features Tara, a nurse who goes up against the leader of a zombie colony. On my first draft, it ended with Tara willingly becoming undead. Then I realized that a dedicated nurse like Tara wouldn’t throw in with monsters that terrorize humans, so I attempted a different ending. My editor felt that my revised conclusion didn’t work, and she was right. That story went back and forth between my writer’s group and the editor three times. I came up with Tara marrying Chris, another major player, but my editor noted that I needed to resolve Tara’s pursuit by the revenants stalking her town. Several pots of coffee later, I came up with a workable ending. Thankfully, my editor had patience and a sense of humor.

When Blood Reigns didn’t give me any grief with the ending because it’s part of a serial. My current WIP is probably the last in the series. However, I was supposed to introduce my characters when I’m writing the second and third books in a serial, in case the reader hadn’t gotten around to buying the first book. Since that hadn’t happened, I wound up reworking the beginning by writing a prologue where Alexis tells someone about the struggles she went through in the previous novel (Steel Rose).

With my current WIP, I suspect I’m in for it as far as endings go. I’ll need to tie up the subplots and show that my characters have changed. A “twist” ending may work, but it has to be believable. The ending has succeeded when, upon arriving at the last word, the reader and I feel satisfied.

Why is this process so hard? In the beginning, I’m introducing a cast of new characters; I need to get to know them before I can construct a beginning that works. The thought crossed my mind to write the ending and use that as a basis for my story. The trouble is, my characters have minds of their own, and their decisions take me in different directions. Someone suggested that I let the characters decide their ending.
Have beginnings and endings posed a struggle for you? I’d love to hear about your experiences with this.

Blurb for When Blood Reigns:

Marked for death, Alexis accompanies her lover, Yeron, and four survivors of a zombie invasion on a search for the renegades who created a chemical that induces a zombie-like state. On the way, ravenous flesh-eaters attack Alexis’s team; one survivor turns on her. She realizes too late that the renegades have been tracking her every move. When officials capture her, she becomes deathly ill. Can DNA splicing save her? Will Yeron’s attempts at rescue jeopardize all their lives?

Author Bio & Links

Barbara lives near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where she works full time as a respiratory therapist. When she’s not working with her patients, she’s enjoying a fright flick or working on horror and science fiction tales. She’s published Night to Dawn magazine since 2004.
Other books by Barbara include Twilight Healer, City of Brotherly Death, Infinite Sight, and Steel Rose; also novellas Close Liaisons and Life Raft: Earth. She enjoys bringing her medical background to the printed page, and then blending it with supernatural horror. She maintains a presence on Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, and The Writers Coffeehouse forum. Look for the photos with the Mylar balloons,
and you’ll find her.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Guest Post: Jeremy Breitenbach

I met Jeremy at the event, Our books Are Not Free. He was looking for an author slot and they were all filled but after talking with him, I offered him a spot on my blog. Thirty-one years ago my son was born a two pound preemie and has cerebral palsy. He's the best son I could ask for and I admire anyone with a disability that strives for happiness. Here is Jeremy's story and I hope you will support him by buying his book, sharing this post with friends, and connecting with him on social media.

Guest Post:

I was born prematurely at 24 weeks gestation.  I am blind (legally blind to be specific).  I have no vision in my right eye and limited in my left.  I use braille to read and write.  I also have cerebral palsy which limits me to the use of one hand, my left.

I use a device called a VoiceNote Apex to write/braille my books.  It is part of the BrailleNote family of products from HumanWare.  The VoiceNote Apex's only difference from a BrailleNote Apex is that the VoiceNote doesn't have a refreshable braille display.  It uses text-to-speech (tts).

The first book I published is called The Gateway: A physicist opens a gateway on a planet within another dimension which leads to an alien invasion; violence and strong language.

Buy on Amazon:  https://www.amazon.com/Gateway-Jeremy-Breitenbach-ebook/dp/B00P453Y2M/

Barnes & Noble:  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-gateway-jeremy-breitenbach/1120684018?ean=9781502377043

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/28286896-the-gateway

Connect with Jeremy:

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/JeremyBbach

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/OfficialJeremyBreitenbach

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

New Release: Blood Brothers by Julie Nicholls

I’d like to announce the release of Blood Brothers. This is the 2nd book in the Blood Trilogy. We have already followed the characters – K34GEN, Gabriel, Lyssa, and GH05T from book one, Blood Ties, but it seems their trials are not over yet.
Gabriel is pure lycan and was caged by Dr. Keller at Solgen Labs. Dr. Keller is a genetic scientist who used Gabriel’s lycan DNA to create the perfect soldier by splicing his genes with a human. K34GEN was Solgen’s top hunter…but then Keller realized he could improve the enhancements he’d given the human and created GH05T. She was faster and stronger than K34GEN, with a few added enhancements, and it meant K34GEN was no longer the top dog. The former hunter, K34GEN teamed up with Gabriel and together they attempted to bring down Solgen Labs.
The story continues in Blood Brothers

Synopsis : Blood Brothers

When you've been a “guest” of Solgen Labs, brothers from another mother takes on a whole new meaning. Keagen and Gabriel thought they were experts on all Solgen's dirty little secrets. Until they met Ghost and found the deceit and conspiracy goes more than bone-deep; it goes right down to their spliced and enhanced DNA.

Need a sneaky peek?

“Your room’s better than mine.” Keagen pushed the door open wider as he edged his way into Ghost’s quarters. “I guess it’s a girl thing.” He snickered.
“Hey, if you want the pink duvet, take it,” Ghost quipped.
Keagen casually scanned the room while closing the space between them. He noticed the furrows congregating along Ghost’s forehead and blew out a weighty breath.
“I know what’s going on in there.” He pressed the tip of a finger to Ghost’s temple. The possibility she might be right and he should tell Gabriel about his condition was on his mind constantly, but finding the courage to admit he was imperfect wasn’t something he could do easily. He’d never concerned himself with the worries of others previously but seeing Ghost’s agitated expression bothered him. The realization that he could end up like K44 gnawed at him like a dog with a bone, and it was highly probable that this rabid dog would need putting out of its misery. Fear wasn’t in his vocabulary. There had never been anything he was afraid of…until now.
Ghost grabbed his finger and with pleading eyes stared at Keagen. She felt his pain. The possibility not only his body, but also his brain, might betray him was stinging—lacing him with more poison on an already infected wound. She wished he would listen to her and willingly let Lyra and Gabriel help, but the stubborn mask he wore wasn’t about to come off anytime soon.
They turned simultaneously to the sound of a knock on the door followed by Lyra’s soft voice.
“I’m sorry to disturb you. I know you’ve had a long journey, but Michaels wants to brief you on the current situation with K44.”
“It’s okay. We’re ready,” Ghost replied.
She released Keagen’s finger and moved toward the door, but Keagen halted her departure with a firm grasp of her arm. He pulled her close and let his mouth rest against her neck.
“I will tell Gabriel and Lyra about my problems…I promise.”
Ghost shrugged her shoulders. “It’s your business. I get that. I’m sure I’d feel the same, but it doesn’t mean I can’t worry about you.”
She smiled tentatively and headed out the door with Keagen following.
“Where’s Gabe?” Keagen directed his question to Lyra, who was already striding down the corridor.
She called over her shoulder and smiled. “He’s in recovery.”
Keagen charged forward and grabbed her arm, spinning her around. “From what?”
“The procedure.” She frowned. “Didn’t he tell you he’d agreed to give us the samples we need to help K44?”
“No, he didn’t.” Keagen scowled. “He said he wasn’t going to allow anyone else to experiment on him. What changed his mind?”
“You did,” Lyra replied and continued on to Michaels’ office after pulling her arm free and leaving Keagen standing with his mouth gaping.
Ghost sucked in a deep breath and braced. She approached Keagen from behind and stopped suddenly as he whirled around to face her. His furious expression greeted her.
“You told him…didn’t you?”
Ghost lowered her eyes. Before she could open her mouth to apologize, Keagen turned and followed Lyra to the operations room. Her eyes fell shut as she sucked in another large breath. She knew she’d fucked up. Her heart told her to chase after him and make him understand why she’d told Gabriel, but she knew he wouldn’t be interested. While something inside her said it was for the best, she felt guilty because she’d broken his trust.