War of Nytefall: Savagery Cover Reveal

Last minute surprise!  The cover art for War of Nytefall: Savagery is here!  That means the book is coming out this weekend.  Just in time for my birthday.  Take a look!

Cover Art by Alison Hunt

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Why Do I Use Humor?

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Honestly, I thought this would be a more challenging question with a deeper answer, but I’ve been sitting here for a while.  The question of how to use humor has been asked several times, but I always wanted to touch on the why.  After all, I use it in all of my stories in the form of puns, witticisms, and physical gags.  So . . . why?

Well, it’s because humor helps me relieve tension and stress outside of writing.  I think laughter or at least a positive reaction can help even in dark times.  Yet, I also understand that it’s just me and you can’t always insert comedy to a situation.  That makes it all the more special in my mind.  It’s become a device that demonstrates personalities.  Not only the person making the joke or doing the gag, but those who react to it.  Are they serious or are they silly?  Can they laugh easily or is it a monumental task?  You also get a sense of relationships by who can joke around with each other.  Two characters who can laugh together are seen as closer than those who can’t share such an action.  They can still be friends, but it’s a different flavor of relationship.  So, humor can show things that would otherwise have to be told or blatantly pointed out.  It’s certainly a versatile tool for an author to have, but it doesn’t work for every type of story.

That’s all I could think of in regards to this question.  Kind of messy, but that’s also how I see it because it can be useful in various situations.  So, why do you use humor in your writing?  If you don’t then what would you use it for if given the opportunity?

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Teaser Tuesday: Clash of Monsters #fantasy #vampires

Cover Art by Alison Hunt

Can’t do a bunch of Teaser Tuesdays without adding an action scene.  Let’s go for one of the big ones too.  War of Nytefall: Savagery has plenty of fighting and adventure, so enjoy a taste.

Continue reading

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7 Tips to Balancing the Humor and the Heavy

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I like to included humor in my stories.  Yet, I don’t want them to be seen as comedies.  I like to touch on heavy topics in my stories.  Yet, I don’t want them to be seen as serious dramas.  That means I need to have both and keep things balanced.  That isn’t nearly as easy as some people believe.  You can’t throw the two around whenever you feel like it in the hopes of creating an equilibrium.  Humor and heavy can clash like battling titans instead of uniting like pieces of a puzzle.  So, what are some ways to handle this?

  1. Whichever one is going to be the main tone of the story should be introduced from the beginning.  If you want to have a serious story with humorous sections and conversations then you need to set the heavy stage.  If it’s supposed to be a comedic tale that moves into serious territory then start with the funny.  You do have a runway to work with since the opening is more character and world introduction, so the tone may be neutral first.  Eventually, you need to decide on who gets the bigger slice of pizza.
  2. Heavy topics can overshadow everything.  The moment you go heavy or dark, the harder it is to add humor or even casual pieces.  This is because heavy is designed to touch on the darker emotions such as anger and sadness.  You want to stir these in the audience to get them into the tone.  Humor is lighter and aims to get people to laugh, which might not be easy to do if they’re already provoked by whatever topic you’ve picked to get them serious.  So, hold off on the heavy if that’s not the main tone of the book or try not to go too deep into the void to maintain some humor.
  3. Humor doesn’t always break tension in a good way.  If the scene is supposed to be serious to get a point across then throwing humor in could destroy that.  Think about having a deep or serious conversation only for it to be derailed by somebody cracking jokes every few minutes.  Readers will think that the author doesn’t really want to talk about this subject or that they are mocking it.  Read the room you’ve created before you insert humor.
  4. Heavy and humor are not universal.  A way to maintain balance between the two is understanding that every person handles things differently.  For example, some people grieve in solitude while others search out another person to talk to.  Others may become self-destructive and another group will be logical about the loss to prevent any emotions.  With humor, you have some who will crack jokes and others who won’t find much funny.  Try to vary these reactions among your characters to help the audience see them as individuals instead of emotional copies of each other.
  5. Dark humor could be a useful tool in adding comedy to heavy stories.  You have to be careful in how you use it.  Some people can perceive it as mocking the subject matter if it hasn’t been used prior to the event.  Establish that characters have this kind of sense of humor first, so that the audience isn’t surprised when it happens.  In fact, they might just expect it.  Also, make sure that the other characters would be okay with it or have them voice their displeasure or anger over the joking around.
  6. In general, research the heavy topics that you want to introduce.  This way, you don’t inadvertently turn them into a joke.  Plenty of misconceptions out there about things such as addiction and mental illness.  Yes, those can be heavy topics.
  7. Don’t toss away the idea that humor can be done to get a character out of a darker tone of story.  This might sound like it contradicts what I said earlier, but I mean to do it gradually here.  While heavy can be all-consuming in a story, humor can chip away at it if done strategically.  Of course, you may need to establish senses of humor of characters first.  I’m a broken record there.  The point is that you can shift the tone to a lighter, but not pure comedy, story by doing this.  In fact, you can see a lot of more modern comedies do this while hilarity at the start, a heavy topic strikes, and then a gradual rise into a humor/heavy balance.
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Hi SEers! Denise here, and today I’m going to talk about how writing affects our health. Writing has many benefits for our minds and brain. Letting …


Some great advice. Tend to forget about the physical health aspect when writing.

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Check This Out: The Losers at the Center of the Galaxy

Please join me in welcoming back to the blog the one-and-only Mary Winn Heider. Woot woot!. Mary Winn is here to talk about her latest middle grade …

Check This Out: The Losers at the Center of the Galaxy
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Blog Tour Volunteers for War of Nytefall: Savagery

Cover Art by Alison Hunt

Yeah, I’m leaving this for the eleventh hour, but I got a few volunteers already.  Still, it doesn’t hurt to post this and see if I can get some more.  If you want me to promote your book in return then I’m happy to oblige.  These are going to be a promo that includes a teaser, blurb, cover, author info, and sales info.  If you want something special and have an idea for it then let me know, but that’s going to take a little time.  Anyway:

Any Volunteers to Help Promote
When It Comes Out

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Nearing the End of Spring Break

I’m going to hate writing this.  Not only because it was a bad week, but I really can’t take the well wishes and optimism.  Hopefully, people read this first part and understand why I’m in this kind of mood.

Due to unexpected events, I didn’t get to spend any time with my son until today.  This is the ONLY day I get with him for Spring Break, which started last Saturday.  If I wasn’t able to get today then it would have been a full 2 weeks since I’d spent time with him.  I spent the entire week angry and miserable because all of our plans were crushed.  Certain entities rose to make things worse.  Best comparison is if somebody locked in a stockade and a person comes to strap a bag full of manure over their head.  I’m not happy about the situation.

I helped a friend install a window and had dinner with him and his family, but it was supposed to be something I took my son too.  So, everything this week has been filled with a level of numbness.  People don’t seem to get that fathers can miss their children.  A few people were confused on why I was acting like a zombie.  Guess society hasn’t reached the point where fathers are allowed to be emotionally connected to children.  Another reason I hate this situation.

My sadness was pushed away a few times.  Last Saturday was Passover without my son who was supposed to be there.  My 6-month-old niece was there though, so I got to play with her a bit.  All of my energy of the day went to making her laugh, which was probably more for my sake than hers.  May have hovered a bit too much.  To be fair, this was at the start of the events and there were ‘incidents’ going on from Friday through Sunday.  I might not have been at my lowest.

Extra suckage went to the fact that Passover meant no pizza as comfort food.

With all other plans destroyed, I spent the week editing.  Barely left my room for anything other than bathroom and food.  Finished editing War of Nytefall: Savagery and should be done implementing the suggestions of a beta reader for Do I Need to Use a Dragon? tomorrow.  That second one might have gone faster if I wasn’t in a fragile mental state.  I took everything personally, including gravity resulting in my seltzer falling off the desk.  You know things are rough when you’re crying and cursing a friggin’ law of nature.  Still, all of the advice has helped me make it a stronger work, especially since non-fiction isn’t my area of expertise.

If I wasn’t editing, I was watching television.  I watched all of ‘Doom Patrol’, which was fun and little depressing.  Come to think of it, I might have been connecting too much with the characters who felt like their luck sucked.  Not the best choice when sad and ending every night with a glass of wine.  I didn’t want to sacrifice another new series to my mood once I finished, so I went back to ‘Arifureta’.  This was a short anime that I watched last year and enjoyed.  I should really watch the final ‘Rurouni Kenshin’ live-action movie at some point.  Maybe tomorrow after I finish editing.  Try to end this Spring Break on a high note since I go back to work on Monday.

With all of the editing done, I’ll be focusing on preparing outlines for the next series. War of Nytefall: Savagery is going to be delayed in getting published a little.  Recent events have made that one tougher and I want to get more volunteers if possible.  Think I only have a handful at this moment.  There might be a post going up tomorrow about it, but I’m not sure.  The new look of WordPress confuses me, especially since I can’t filter through posts by category or time period.  This was an improvement?

On the plus side, I get my son this week and Friday is my birthday.  I might actually get to do something for it this year.  Last time, the lockdowns an quarantines hit around that time, so all of my plans were canceled.  Not that I take my birthday as seriously as I used to since I’m just old.  Every year brings more aches, pains, and regrets.  Wake me when my luck changes and I can celebrate a year where things went well instead of badly or staying the same.

Not sure what else to talk about here since I’m definitely in a mood.  I’m hoping to finish the May posts this week while my son is asleep.  This means I should try to figure out what to do about June.  I’m still aiming for poetry and wondering how this can be done to help with books.  I could do a Monday for each series (Legends, Nytefall, Ichabod, Bedlam), but then I’ve got 9 more to cover Wednesday and Friday.  Characters might not work.  I might just junk the idea and go for fun poem topics.  Nothing structured either.  Just stream of consciousness stuff.  Nothing I do here causes sales anyway.

Goals of the week:

  1. Time with son
  2. Finish editing Do I Need to Use a Dragon?
  3. May posts and June prep
  4. Work and meetings
  5. Pizza
  6. Watch TV
  7. Try to cheer up
  8. Birthday
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Alastyre the Monster of Clyde’s Nightmares

Younger Toguro and Yusuke Yurameshi

The main event of War of Nytefall: Savagery is the appearance of actions of a ‘man’ named Alastyre.  He made a brief appearance at the end of Ravenous, but this is when he really shows up.  So, what can I say about him?

Not that much since I would like because his origins ended up turning into a big reveal in the story.  He does tie into past events in the series, which was part of the original concept from the first version.  I was going to have him be a recurring threat that continued to plague Clyde in every book.  Alastyre wasn’t going to be part of the overall events, but just a man who is determined to destroy Clyde.  That has stayed in place with a desire to do something about the Dawn Fangs.

The difference I made is that he’s connected to a few previous events while not showing his true nature.  At the least moment, I realized that it would ruin his impact if he was always around.  The big battle would be anticlimactic and dull.  Not to mention, I forgot to have him appear in a few volumes since the planned attacks threw off the rhythm.  Clyde was on a mission and trying to handle a problem.  Then, Alastyre would attack for a slugfest that had no effect on the rest of the story.  It isn’t like Clyde would be killed or take permanent damage.  So, I had a very powerful gnat that kept showing up in the books to ruin the flow of the story.  What was I to do?

All I can say is that it’s a good thing I couldn’t make up my mind and had 2 outlines for the series.  One had Alastyre showing up repeatedly for a fight with no real reason given for it.  He would have new tricks and be determined to kill Clyde, who would either be too distracted to kill him or not think it’s worth his time.  That’s the one that made the series too comedic and broken.  Alastyre was supposed to be this monster that could rival Clyde and here he was being a running gag.  So, the other option was to pull out War of Nytefall: Savagery and bring the book from 7 to 8 books.  It was a faint idea at first that got beefed up by other situations such as Kai’s situation, Mab’s addiction, Desirae existing, and the vampire civil war being in a stalemate.  In this way, Alastyre turned into the catalyst for the series to enter its final stage.  Obviously, I was much happier with this route.

Thankfully, the easiest part was to design Alastyre to be a monster who could rival Clyde in terms of power.  All I had to do was make him strong, tough, and aggressive.  He surpasses Clyde in a few areas too, especially in terms of brutality.  This makes sense.  Alastyre has been battling Dawn Fangs for a long time, which requires a lot of violence and carnage to make sure they’re dead.  Clyde has been coasting through most of his fights.  So, running into a fellow monster will be a shock to his system.  This is why he has to train in order to get strong enough to stand up to Alastyre.  His pride will take a major hit here as well, but that’s not surprising.

Yeah, this is a tough post to really make.  I can’t give details into Alastyre without giving away big events.  So, check out War of Nytefall: Savagery to see what kind of chaos he unleashes on Nytefall and Nyte.  You may be very surprised to see who steps up to hold him back while Clyde does his training.

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Don’t Talk Like That: How to Write Good Dialogue–Tags & Beats

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Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Hi SErs! Harmony here 🙂

Today, I’d like to take another look at dialogue. Because this is such a large topic, I have spread the topic over a few posts. As the post title suggests, we’ll look at ‘tags and beats’ around dialogue today.

‘ “So, what’s the deal on dialogue attributions?” the young writer asked. “I’ll tell you,” said the wise old writer. “It’s not complicated, but it’s important.” “I’m ready to listen!” the young writer asseverated. The wise old writer slapped him. “Don’t ever asseverate anything again. Just listen.” ‘

The above amusing quote comes from How to Write Amazing Dialogue by James Scott Bell.

Top Tip: Basically, an attribution is what most of us call a dialogue tag. We use dialogue tags to identify the speaker to the reader, and a tag is an excellent way to avoid too much name…

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