Teaser Tuesday: Clash Among the Clouds #fantasy #adventure

Cover art by Jason Pedersen

In Legends of Windemere: The Merchant of Nevra Coilwe get a better idea of what makes Yola Biggs the Chaos Goddess tick.  She sure caused a lot of trouble in this volume, which came close to throwing the entire prophecy out of whack.  This excerpt is a perfect example of how crazy and dangerous she can be.

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2018 Holiday Giveaway

El Space--The Blog of L. Marie


It’s almost Christmas! Even if you don’t celebrate the holiday, you can still receive a gift! Part of the Christmas story involves Magi bringing gifts to the newborn King. (Feel free to hum “We Three Kings” or “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” as you read this.) No one really knows if there were three Magi, also known as wise men, as the songs declare. But I know that right here, right now, there are three wise people—three delightful authors—who are part of the gift-giving process! Say hello to Sarah Aronson, Stephen Bramucci, and Melanie Crowder!


I couldn’t be more excited to have them here! Sarah is represented by Sarah Davies. Stephen is represented by Sara Crowe. And Melanie is represented by Ammi-Joan Paquette. They have written several books between them. Some are already out; some are yet to come in 2019. It’s as easy…

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Pieces of a Book: Chapters and Scenes

I’m a big Planner.  From Legends of Windemere to Life & Times of Ichabod Brooks, I set things up before I really get started.  I look at this as a first draft in a way because it helps me lock in main events and get an idea of character paths.  Others do the same, but I’ve noticed that it doesn’t always look the same.  The overall structure of the book can take many forms.  I’m just going to mention mine and maybe others will talk about theirs in the comments.  Perhaps other posts too because I don’t think people discuss their own layout style as much as their writing style.


I do chapters, which isn’t something rare.  I aim for 13-18 chapters when doing a novel, but it does depend a lot on the story itself.  There have been some that come in short and fall under novels.  Short story collections don’t get this treatment either, but I’ll get to that later.  Using chapters allows for transitions to happen ‘off page’, mid-story suspense, and jumping between several concurrent storylines.  Of course, everybody knows this, so I’m just doing an overview.

One thing I do that isn’t as common is using a Prologue.  Technically, this could be Chapter 1, but I use it to set up the main story.  We’re told that the main hero should be introduced in the opening pages, but that can be a problem if you want to create foreshadowing of the events he or she will face.  So, the Prologue works as a buildup to the main event.  You can show characters who are working behind the scenes or are meant to show up later.  For example, I used the Prologues of Legends of Windemere to show what Baron Kernaghan, his agents, and the Gods were doing leading up to the events of the story.  With War of Nytefall, I do the same only the characters involved tend to be more central.  For these, I try to develop an aura of mystery and suspense about the overall adventure.

Chapters are fairly straightforward in my opinion, but there are the smaller divisions that can show a great variety:


These are the sections of a chapter, but you only get them if your chapters are divided.  If you aren’t adding multiple events/locations into one chapter then the overall section is the scene as well.  As before, you can get suspense and transitions out of these jumps, but you have to be more careful.  While a chapter can span days, a scene change tends to be more hours unless you’re skipping large chunks of a journey.  It’s harder to move locations as well, but it’s doable if you want the focal scene to get a time skip.  For example, I could write one scene where Clyde and Mab are planning a heist then put another scene with Chastity and Titus talking about another aspect of the story.  After that, I go back to the heist as it occurs instead of showing the hours that lead up to it.  In this scenario, the real difference between chapters and scenes is page length.

My personal usage of scenes varies depending on what I’m writing.  Short stories are all scenes with no real chapters.  A book will have the chapters divided into 2-4 scenes.  I typically only do 2 for a Prologue or final chapter.  Most commonly, I do 3 to create a beginning/middle/end movement for whatever event is taking place.  This can still happen with 4 (or the rare 5), but I feel more comfortable with 3.  That isn’t to say I try to cram things in or be vague simply to hit that number.  Many times, I’ll take an outline to merge scenes that go together or divide one that seems to be jumping.  This is where my structure can be fairly flexible.

So, what kind of structure do you use for writing?

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Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Buy a Book for Christmas – #Wealth #Relationships #humour – Sharon Marchisello, Lisa Thomson, Barb Taub and Molly Stevens.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

We are in the last phase of the Christmas Promotions of books in the Cafe. So far I have tried to group books into genres (loose sometimes) and now I am sharing some of the books that are stand alone or are in a non-fiction category.

Such as the first book, published in November, by Sharon Marchisello and reflects her experience within the financial sector. We all would like to reach a state of financial security or independence, and this book is aimed at guiding us to that state. Live Well, Grow Wealth: A Commonsense Guide to Shrinking Your Financial Footprint.

About the book.

Live Well, Grow Wealth is Personal Finance 101, a commonsense guide to shrinking your financial footprint. Sharon Marchisello compares managing your financial life to reaching and maintaining a healthy weight, and in ten easy-to-follow steps, she shows ordinary people how to build wealth by living within…

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Lovers in Hell (Heroes in Hell Series) by Janet and Chris Morris #fantasy #scifi

By: Janet and Chris Morris, Nancy Asire, Joe Bonadonna, S.E. Lindberg, Michael E. Dellert, Michael H. Hanson, A.L. Butcher, Andrew P. Weston

Only fools fall in love, and hell is filled with fools. Our damned lovers include Christopher Marlowe and Will Shakespeare, Napoleon and Wellington, Orpheus and Eurydice, Hatshepsut and Senenmut, Abelard and Heloise, Helen and Penelope, Saint Teresa and Satan’s Reaper, Madge Kendall and the Elephant Man, and more . . . — all of whom pay a hellish price for indulging their affections.

Shakespeare said “To be wise and love exceeds man’s might,” and in Lovers in Hell, the damned in hell exceed all bounds as they search for their true loves, punish the perfidious, and avoid getting caught up in Satan’s snares. In ten stories of misery and madness, hell’s most loveless seek to slake the thirst that can never be quenched and find true love amid the lies of ages.


My story – A Hand of Four Queens follows Helen of Troy, Clytemnestra, Dido and Queen Penelope as they try and destroy the Golden Apple – the item which arguably started the Trojan War – when Paris chose Aphrodite as the most beautiful of the goddesses, and in her turn she gave him the most beautiful woman in the world as his wife. Unfortunately, Helen of Troy, otherwise known as Helen of Sparta was married to King Menelaus and he was rather annoyed that his wife legged it with Paris. His brother was the mighty Agamemnon (who was married to Clytemnestra) and he had a very large army and fleet…. Thus begins the Trojan War.

In this tale Helen is cursed to sleep with anyone bearing the Golden Apple – they all look like Paris or Diomedes, at least until after. Clytemnestra longs for the husband she had murdered, who unsurprisingly hates her, Penelope is doomed to be away from Odysseus until she has unwoven the shroud on the Loom of Lies – which reweaves itself every day and Dido – well she is even more of a tragic character.  This being Hell nothing goes as planned, nothing works properly and no one can be trusted.

Brief Excerpt:

Lovers in Hell Excerpt

A Hand of Four Queens – A L Butcher

Upon the floor, a myth rolled slowly, tossed from a weaver’s slender fingers. A curse made real, and the toy of gods long since lost— or at least misplaced, this item was. The glow from it drew the eyes, soft and warm in this place of sin and suffering. It was beautiful. It was deadly.

“Helen, Helen daughter of Leda . . . touch me. I can be yours if the price be paid. Dare you risk the flames and play a hand of four queens in the ultimate game, the game for your myth and your freedom?” The mouth next to her ear was soft as sunlight and as rare. Once it had breathed into the ear of an adventurer king, and its owner had woven lies to protect a long-lost lover. Now they whispered a kind of charm, a myth unravelled like a broken loom. The whisperer knew all about looms. Then the room went silent, and empty save the writhing bodies beneath the awful blankets.

Helen’s fingers reached from beneath the itchy, scratchy thornweave blanket, trying to touch the Golden Apple in her enchanted state: Her curse. In times so far away but ever etched upon myth the Apple had been a gift to a warrior, a prince and fool and from it spewed war, murder and treachery. Had Helen been a little more awake, not so drawn to the glow, she might have seen the door closing and the shadows shift. But Helen of Sparta did not.

Once she’d been the most beautiful woman in the world. Now she was the Trojan Whore. Helen of Sparta, Helen of Troy; the woman whose seduction and abduction spawned a decade of war, the fall of a city-state and the death of thousands. It had spawned the myth of myths.

Why should readers buy this book (50 words max)?

The Heroes in Hell series is a wonderful collection of characters from history thrust together into a darkly humorous, deliciously twisted afterlife and avoid the gaping pitfalls of existing in Hell – where nothing works properly, everything is a parody of the world above and unlikely friendships are forged as best they can be. Lovers in Hell brings together a collection of people who vainly, naively or stubbornly want to indulge their affections.

Available Now!

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Gyah! Where Did My Cursor Go?

Seriously, I hit one button on my laptop and my cursor shot off to the right like it remembered that it left the stove on . . . for the last week.  It’s back now, but I don’t trust the little guy right now.  Almost as much as the space bar that occasionally decides that it’s on a coffee break.  To be fair, I hit that button enough that you can see discoloration on one thumb tip sized spot.  Might be me not hitting it hard enough either, which is a statement that means this goal post is starting off weird.

I keep saying ‘this has been a week’, so I’m going to try to talk a bit more.  Some things are still a secret such as a lot of work and some personal things.  One interesting thing at work is that a few students found me online.  Not that I’m hard to find since I have 20 books on Amazon, a blog, various social media accounts, and have been doing various author interviews since 2013.  I’d be more surprised if I made it to the end of the year and none of them tried to Google me.  Anyway, this has led to me being asked various questions and getting the occasional requests to put them in a book.  Ah, to be young and not realize that fiction authors are infamous for doing horrible things to their characters.  This does make me wonder if any of them are reading this post though.  Hmmmm . . . In that case:

I hope all of you finished your homework.

I am getting into the schedule and even managed to do a little notebook work during one of my breaks.  It’s not much, but it’s the most writing I’ve done in a few months.  I designed 2 heroes and 1 villain for a Sin story.  (I REALLY gotta name this series!)  My hope is to take the next step towards my creative recovery and get back to editing War of Nytefall: Rivalry.  I got through the first 4 chapters and then things got hectic, so I’m aiming to dive back in.  If I can finish it before the end of the year then I might even start writing the next one.  This is going to be slow going and it makes me feel like I’m not going to be able to do anything more than my core series.  That means Derailing Bedlam will be the end for Cassidy and Lloyd and Ichabod Brooks won’t get another collection.  Not for a long time at least.  Other pieces of my life need to fall into place before I can get the time in.  For now, I would probably be running 1-2 chapters a week at best.  All I have are nights and the occasional weekend, but that’s if I do nothing else.  Dropping from 3-4 releases a year to 1 (2 at best) is rough.

A lot of it depends on me finding a new alpha reader.  This is someone willing to read the book in a month and let me know if it makes sense.  I don’t go along with the ‘kill your babies’ line of thinking, which makes me difficult for many to work with.  Suggesting I tear out a chapter or character is typically met with scowling.  Part of this is because I go through at least 4 planning and outline stages that include the shredding of the overall story and characters.  You might not think it’s the same, but I will spend a few hours pouring over an outline and imagining the path of the story.  Again, this makes me more difficult to deal with and I have trust issues as well.  Geez, no wonder I can’t sell any books when this is how I present myself.  Does this make me a tortured artist?  *hides the medieval rack in the closet*  It was a Passover gift.

Seriously though . . . Where was I going with this?  No idea.  I’m going to finish the February blog post scheduling tonight and might jump into editing tomorrow after the little guy goes to bed.  I’m already trying to make a list of March posts that I can put together near the end of January.  Topics are always welcomed.  Could be an author subject, specific book questions, or whatever you want my opinion on.  Wait!  I remember what I was going to do!

I have a desk now!  Put it together last Saturday and I’ve got pictures that I’m putting in a slideshow.  I didn’t take as many as I planned because the instructions weren’t the easiest to follow:

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Goals of the week:

  1. Work and parenthood.
  2. Start editing War of Nytefall: Rivalry
  3. A little work on Sin story when I have breaks.
  4. Winter concert for son.
  5. Continue biking and trying to eat healthy.  Bought a chickpea salad and a bunch of fruit and veggies that should last the week.  Going to be doing cold cut (chicken or sausage) sandwiches too.
  6. Possibly look over the next Ichabod Brooks collection to consider it as a summer project.  Not sure what that time period will look like, but I’m probably only going to do an April and December release from now on.  Depends on editing and writing ability.
  7. Continue reading ‘Rave Master’ and get to ‘Seven Deadly Sins’ season 3.
  8. Get my head back on straight with everything going on.
  9. Finish February posts.

Hope everyone has a fun week!  Sorry if I’m not as social as I used to be.

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A Thief’s Opinion on City Guards

Cover Art by Alison Hunt

Clyde here . . . For some reason.  I’m supposed to talk about my opinion of city guards since I’m a thief.  That means I’ve run into my fair share of them.  It also means Mab has gone into hiding and probably slipped my name to someone in order to avoid doing this herself.  Lately, I’ve been more warrior than thief while she’s still a burglar to her core even now.  Can’t promise this will be long or coherent and I won’t be giving tips on how to catch someone like me.  Well, the one piece of advice is to get out of my way, which is all you’re going to get from me.

Long ago, I was a thief and that made me the mortal enemy of city guards.  Not my targets, but those who would stand in my way.  There’s no way to specifically define these relationships because they vary from one person to another.  One member of each group might see no problem with killing the other while their friend is more into evasion or capturing.  A person can go through phases too with a thief starting out as someone who avoids notice and then gets more lethal.  Personally, I’d rather not waste my time on mortal guards unless I’m really angry or they don’t give me a choice.  Vampires are something different, but there really isn’t much point in slaughtering mortals when it’s more of a challenge to get by them.

City guards really are the most common living obstacle that you’re going to run into.  I say living only because someone might say walls and doors are more common.  Those aside, you’re bound to bump into at least one guard on your way to an urban heist.  All it takes is one noise to get their attention and then you have to escape.  Even the least talented of their kind can sound an alarm if you give them a reason.  Unlike walls and doors, they’re moving obstacles, which makes it more difficult.  Few things are more embarrassing than thinking you have the patrol patterns down and you turn a corner to slam into a knight who decided to sneak away for a snack.  Since they’re always suspicious of people roaming at night wearing all black, you have to hope you can talk your way out of it.  That’s a skill that many thieves are lacking in these days.

Would my job be easier without them?  Of course, but you wouldn’t have nearly as much fun pulling heists.  What’s the point if there’s nobody to hold the victory over?  Sure, there are bodyguards and rival thieves, but they do it for money.  Going up against guards means you fight men and women who believe in the law and are out for justice.  There’s an odd thrill to defeating them and, at least for me, a level of respect since they are fighting for what they believe.  People like that can be easy to predict at times, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t a threat.  Unlike bodyguards and thieves, these people won’t give up as soon as you leave a heist.  You know they’re going to hound you for at least a few hours and, even after that, you can easily fall back into their sights.  Not that I’m afraid of them.  I just admire the challenge they add to my jobs.

Guess that’s really all I can say about them before I say too much.

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