Stuck

My writing has been going very slowly lately, as I obsessively re-write the same chapter. It’s a frustrating situation. In my head, I know exactly what I want my character to say and do, but I have so many things running through my head when I’m writing that I feel absolutely stuck.

For example:
• Don’t include unnecessary information
• Use more active verbs
• Don’t use too many pronouns
• Keep up the tension, both internal and external

But finally this pass week, I finished the chapter, and I’m happy with the results. It feels absolutely freeing to be able to move on; however, this whole situation got me thinking. Why did I get so hung up? The first few chapters of this book flew by, and were good, so why did I suddenly start doubting myself so much?

I think I’m the kind of person who always wants to be improving, so when someone gives me X feedback, I never want to make the same mistake again. The difficult thing about writing is that it’s perfectly normal to make the same mistake over and over again, because I’m always writing something for the first time. No matter how good I get, there will always be issues with my first draft. I think the trick is to make sure I fix those problems by the time I get to the second or third draft.

So I am trying to just keep pushing forward with my new chapter, without focusing quite so much on what I should or shouldn’t be doing, and instead focusing on what I am writing.

Weird Writer habit–what you read when you write #writerlife #writerhabit

Sorry guys, I know we had a visitor scheduled for today, but deadlines, edits and life in general have a way of messing up even the best laid interviews. Especially when it happens on both my end and theirs. We’re going to try to reconnect, but for now, I’ll bow to your request for scintillating information on my weird writer habits.

Yes, habits as in more than one, but we’ll just test the waters with my first one:

What I read when I’m in the midst of a project.

We’ve all heard it, if you write, you must read. And read I do. As a matter of fact, one of the biggest blessing of having an e-reader is that it doesn’t take up as much space in my purse/backpack/luggage as paperbacks, nor does it encourage my Igor impression since one e-reader weighs weigh less than five to six paperbacks. 

I’m a huge reader of a wide variety of genres because, if the story’s good, I’m there. Those characters and worlds that suck you right in and haunt your every waking moment are like boxes of the finest chocolate for me. So, imagine my surprise when, early on in my writing career, I discovered that what I read impacted what I was writing.

Now, I wasn’t going around repeating word for word what I read in my stuff, but my developmental process on story arc or character motivation would take turns that weren’t true to my story. For a bit I worried perhaps I’d lost my writing mojo or my Muse had decided to go into the witness protection program. Then, one day as Raine and I were discussing a potential situation, I realized why her voice sounded…well, off.  Somehow, she was channeling the heroine of the book I was currently reading. 

Horrified, I immediately cut of all communication with Raine and sent her far, far away.  Then I quickly finished up the book I was reading (because you do not quit half way through a damn good book, ever), took a deep breath, and began examining the puzzle pieces of my creative process.

When I identified the exact moment, the actual decision Raine had made that was completely foreign to her nature, I was then able to correct it, and get my story back on track. 

Phew, crisis averted. I then had to deal with the very real withdrawal effects of not reading for the next few months as I finished my story. No way, did I want to fall into that sneaky little trap again. 

Of course, after the words THE END were typed, I then went on a reading binge to end all reading binges. When I finally surfaced, I realized that because my creative process is a constant spinning mess in the back of my mind 24/7, I needed to keep a clear line between my current works in progress and what I read when working on them. 

So when I’m working with Raine, Xander and Natasha, I suddenly devour romantic suspense or non-fiction pieces. When Cyn took up residence, I went right back to my first love, Urban Fantasy and Fantasy. So long as I can stay away from the same genre I’m writing in, I’m okay and my story lines tend not to tangle. Plus, I tend to find some really cool books out there (FEED by Mira Grant being the latest, and I’ve got Joshua Roots’ UNDEAD CHAOS downloaded for my dining pleasure soon).

So right now as Natasha and I “discuss” her story, I have a huge selection of the finest chocolates waiting for me when THE END comes along–Anne Bishop, Patricia Briggs, Ilona Andrews, Joshua Roots, Jacquelyn Frank, Jennifer Ashley, JD Tyler, and oh so much more). 

However, I’m not starving, oh no. Because I get to indulge in Elle Kennedy, Trish McCallan, Cynthia Eden, Cristin Harber, Kaylea Cross, Jennifer Lowry, Maya Banks, Lora Leigh, and Suzanne Wright (and yep, many more) until Natasha and I complete our little soiree. 

So weird writer habit one: I can’t read in the genre I’m writing in until my story is done.

Since I know I’m not the only one out there, here’s a question:

Readers–do you tend to stick to one genre at a time or do you mix it up?

Writers–what do you find yourself reading when you’re in the midst of writing?

Jami’s Future blog posts now open for suggestions… #blogsuggestions

To say it’s been a little nutty around here is putting it mildly, but I’m fairly certain we’ve managed to survive the worst of it.  I’ve been lucky enough to have some great authors swing by and help pick up the slack while I try to get the wild, writing horse under control.

To give you an idea of what the last sixty days has thrown at me:

SHADOW’S MOON is in the final stages of preparing for it’s debut on  May 10th, 2014.  

I think I have all my goodies set up for the Romantic Times (RT 2014) conference in New Orleans for May.  

The newest shack is now presentable and open for visitors, the packing boxes are tucked away.

The Prankster Duo have been corralled and should be stumbling along the last part of their scholastic adventures.

The evil day job and I are at an impasse, wherein they’re being nice to me and I’m checking out interesting bits and pieces shining on the side of the road.

SHADOW’S CURSE is proving its name apt. Natasha is showing how demons really do thrive on chaos, even if that means the poor schlep (me) that has to tell the story gets battered to a pulp and sent back to fix those pesky little issues.  (Sigh)  My personal deadline is now mid-April to get this done. Maybe I’ll get a couple of weeks before RT 2014 to enjoy some quiet, but I doubt it.

HUNTED BY THE PAST is coming up fast in the rearview mirror. I’m expecting to be crowded to the edge with edits shortly. 

And when I went to take a deep breath, I realized, hey, there’s a whole ‘nother six months of the year open for interviews.  I know we’ve been having fun with all the authors that have been stopping by, but you all have been patient, and subject to my choices. I’m thinking it’s time to mix it up a bit.  

So instead of relying on more interviews and blog hops, I’m going to throw this out there.

Tell me what you’d like to see discussed, I’m always looking for cool topics.

Wait, don’t go, I’m serious. This blog isn’t just about me, it’s about you the readers as well, so I’m honestly curious.

What kind of posts would you like to see? I’m not saying it will happen every week, but still, I’m all open to suggestions. See, here’s the thing with being a writer (even if you are a voracious reader), your blog topics are centered around what impacts you at that particular time. Critique groups, editing dilemmas, promotional hells, review worries,  but there’s so much more to talk about.

So I’m looking to gather a list of suggestions from you, then I’ll put it up as a poll and start from the most popular and work my way down. Sound like a plan? Okay, good. In case you need a starter kit, here’s  few items I’ve seen done well:

Round-robin stories.  I’m sure I can get a few writerly friends to join with me. I promise I have some.

Gather a list of blog visitor questions for our kidnap…er…interview victims.

Exploring the wild worlds of what happens in writing, techniques, questions of “What do you do, when…”

What topics stir your blood? Are you intrigued by different genres? What happens behind the book scenes? Is there some burning question you’ve always wanted to ask, but never felt comfortable putting out there? 

Start a hypothetical “what-if” threads.

Recommend new reads.

A debate on the merits of having JJ Abrams do the new Star Wars flicks.

So bring it, guys, throw stuff out there and let’s find out what sticks to the walls. (They’re clean, promise.)

 

Formulas

Blank Book

My latest fiction piece was recently critiqued by some of my fellow writers, and the results were surprising. Apparently, I like to use “was,” as well as, pronouns a lot. This sparked a brief conversation about not using as many passive sentences. When I got home, I was a bit dumbfounded about how to make these changes, so I made one of the biggest mistakes a writer can probably make. I immediately started tying to fix my work. After an unpleasant hour or two, I gave up. Every time I tried to write a sentence without a pronoun, “was” somehow made its way into the sentence, and every time I tried to take “was” out of a sentence, a pronoun would appear. I started to feel like I was trying to figure out the solution to a formula where X was impossible to determine.

This wasn’t, however, the first time I’ve been told that I write a lot of passive sentences. It’s just that I don’t see them when I’m writing. I create a chapter, read it over, and love it (most of the time). I prepare myself for dumb mistakes, ridiculous editing errors, and the like, but trying to stop writing passive sentences isn’t what I expect. More than that, it’s a far more daunting task than correcting punctuation. It means I need to really reevaluate the way I write. Not to change it all, but to just be more aware of it.

I spent some time the next day researching passive sentences, even though it’s something I’ve done before. These were some of the things I learned:
• Passive sentences often occur because the object is where the subject should be.
• Passive sentences often have a lot of useless words.
• Passive sentences use the verb “to be” a lot.

Those three points were the most useful to me, because they pretty much sum up the feedback I received. But even with this information, I’m struggling to apply it to my own writing. Here is an example of what I’m struggling with:
One of my typical sentences: He was scared of what might happen if he allowed himself to take that next step into a place both foreign and frightening.
How I think I can improve it: He couldn’t take the next step. Fear of such a foreign place kept him hesitating on the threshold.

I can already tell trying to write more active sentences is going to a difficult concept for me to master, but I know it’s something worth improving upon. Any good hints or tips? Does anyone else struggle with this?

Tortured Characters

Greetings and Salutations most noble readers of the blog,

Last week I saw this on Facebook.1794568_10152309172540934_1781001103_n It got me to thinking. As a writer, I put my characters through some really awful crap. Then I dangle the diamond encrusted carrot, leading them to think the worst is over and SLAP, they find themselves back up the creek without a paddle, or a canoe for that matter. They’re so gullible. It’s so much fun to toy with their emotions. So back to this Facebook post. As I said it got me to thinking, what if I’m a character in some sadistic bastards head. WOW!!! Chew on that for a bit. Has the excrement impacted the spinning blade apparatus lately, or are you waiting for that Doc Martin to thump to the floor.

Who is writing your story? Charles Dickens, Stephen King, Christopher Moore, Amber Kallyn or Jami Gray?

More importantly what genre is your story in? Romance, Urban Fantasy, Humor, Literary, or heaven forbid Horror.

Is it a series, insuring that you misery will drag out before the publics critical eye for decades to come? Or is it a stand alone in which your seemingly endless torment will surely end within 120,000 words or so.

Maybe you’re the fatally flawed heroine who gets the handsome sensitive man in the end.(romance) everyone say it with me , ahhhh. Or are you’re the pathetic geek who does everything to guarantee the right couple get together in the end, insuring your own anguish forever.(romantic tragedy) ouch.

If your the comic hero in a Christopher Moore novel it may not end well for you, as in It’s a Dirty Job. Or you could end your days laughing your Fool head off while debauching everyone else like Pocket in The Serpent of Venice. (coming in April)

If your in a Stephen King novel, well let’s just say there is very little hope for your eternal happiness, IF you survive you will be endlessly haunted by your trials.

If Chuck Dickens is writing your story it could go any number of ways, so my best advice is hold on tight, you will get a good ride either way.

If you find yourself in one of Amber Kallyn’s Paranormal Romances you will be surrounded by exotic creatures, heart throbbing drama, and challenges galore, but you always get the studly, sensitive, funny, guy in the end. It won’t be easy so hang in there.

If Jami Gray is twisting the blade in your back you’re in for one hell of a ride in a world full of fantastical characters with political agendas that make Washington DC inhabitants look like boy scouts. As a Kyn you get really cool powers and monsters who abuse them.

So I’ve posed a lot  of questions here today. As for me I haven’t decided what genre my story is yet, but I’m going to give it some thought before next week.

Here is my challenge to you. Click the little comment bubble and tell me what genre your story is and, if you’re feeling especially verbose, who do you think might be pulling your strings. Fabulous prizes await, okay sorry, that’s a bold face lie, there are no prizes.

We usually end with a short snappy quotation. This week I’m going to share the last paragraph of a short story by Tobias Wolf, called Bullet In The Brain.

The bullet was already in the brain; it won’t be outrun forever, or charmed to a halt. In the end it will do its work and leave the troubled skull behind, dragging its comet’s tail of memory and hope and talent and love into the marble hall of commerce. That can’t be helped. But for now Anders can still make time for the tethered dog to bark at the flying ball, time for the boy in right field to smack his sweat-blackened mitt and softly chant, They is, they is, they is.

For the rest of Bullet In The Brain visit your local independent book store and ask for Tobias Wolf’s The Night In Question. 

Thanks for stopping by,

Write On,

Dave Benneman AKA Eerie Dwarf

Song writers and poets

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Greetings and Salutations,

I’ve been away for a while and I must say I didn’t really miss you. When I travel I do my best to leave the usual behind and immerse myself in the country I’m visiting. Costa Rica is beautiful and fun. While it’s not the most exotic place I’ve visited, it is the kind of place that takes you out of yourself. Now on to todays topic.

As a writer I crave that perfect turn-of-phrase. I yearn to write that one memorable line that will stop a reader for the second it takes to sigh or chuckle. In a novel of 100,000 words that will occur. The of averages almost guarantee it.

When I read poetry or listen to music, I’m ashamed. Poets and song writers do this with at regular intervals in a page or two.  Without further ado, I will pay homage to these word smiths today.We’ll start with song writers.

Bruce Springsteen, from Thunder Road

There were ghosts in the eyes

Of all the boys you sent away

They haunt this dusty beach road

In the skeleton frames of burned out Chevrolets 

Bob Dylan, from A Simple Twist Of Fate

A saxophone someplace far off played 

As she was walking on by the arcade 

As the light bust through a beat up shade 

Where he was waking up. She dropped a coin into the cup of a blind man at the gate 

And forgot about a simple twist of fate.

Gordon Lightfoot, from The Wreck Of The Edmund Fitzgerald

The wind in the wires made a tattle-tale sound

and a wave broke over the bow

And every man knew

As the captain did too

T’was the witch of November come stealin’

Tom Waits, from A New Coat Of Paint

All your scribbled love dreams, are lost or thrown away,

Here amidst the shuffle of an overflowing day

Tom Waits, from Mr. Siegal 

you got to tell me brave captain,

why are the wicked so strong,

how do the angels get to sleep, when the

devil leaves the porch light on.

POETS

David Whyte, form Self-Portrait 

I want to know if you are willing  

to live day by day, with the consequence of love  

and the bitter unwanted passion of your sure defeat.

I have heard even the gods speak of God

Mary Oliver, from Have You Ever Tried To Enter The Long Black Branches?  

Listen, are you breathing just a little, and calling it life

While the soul, after all, is only a window,

and the opening of the window no more difficult

than wakening from a little sleep

Billy Collins, from In The Moment

I could feel the day offering itself to me,

and I wanted nothing more

than to be in the moment–but which moment?

Not that one, or that one, or that one,

Charles Bukowski, from Regrets Of Sorts

 but I do like the music of language

 the curl of the unexpected word

the sensation of a tasty almost never-used

near-virgin word

I’m certain you all have your own favorites, and  you are surely aghast because I left them out. I urge you to go now and pull that book of poetry off the shelf, or that song from wherever you store your music and enjoy it for the art that it is and the joy it brings you.

As for me, I’m going to try harder to raise my game. As always I’ll leave you with a quote which may seem ridiculous at this point, but there are so many.

W. B. Yeats, from A Prayer For Old Age

God guard me from those thoughts men think

In the mind alone;

He that sings a lasting song

Thinks in the marrow bone

Write On,

Dave Benneman

Next Step

Figuring out my next step is a constant part of my life. Sometimes I feel the smartest thing to do is to keep writing, plunging myself into my novel and pushing myself, no matter if each word feels like another splinter being removed from my brain. Other times, I think I should wait until inspiration strikes and sentences, paragraphs, and pages flow like my thoughts to paper (minus the middle-man). Still, other times I think it’s more important to get my name out there. I don’t want to just be a tiny voice screaming out into the writing world, only to be heard as a whisper, when the time finally comes for me to send out query letters.

My “definite” answer to this conundrum changes on a week-to-week or sometimes a daily basis. More often than not, it’s influenced by what I “need” that week. Sometimes I need to accomplish something, anything, so I create short-term goals that are reachable. It gives me, perhaps, an undeserved joy, knowing something is done. Still, other times I need to keep progressing in my novel. I need to put all the ideas, thoughts, conversations, motivations, and page turning plot twists from my head onto paper.

Lately, I’ve been doing a little of everything. Some days two sentences are added to my novel. Other days, a short story is composed. And still others, chapters and series are mapped out in excruciating detail. There is a strange joy and agony to my career. Writing is in my blood. I need it, not like air, but like I need human interaction. For those nerds who get my reference, I’m an artistic Sim. Yes, I need to bathe, eat, work, sleep, and socialize, but I also need to create. Therefore, I enjoy this strange hacking away at a tree that may never fall. I like the feel of my fingers on the keyboard, and even the glow of my computer. As painful as some sentences are to write, especially when they’re deleted the following day, I couldn’t be fully complete without writing.

The organized side of me is always trying to plan my next step, even if there is very little logic to what I do. It gives me peace to have a plan, even if it goes terribly array, and even if the plans come on a day-by-day basis, as long as writing is always a part of my life.

KC Klein on Inspiration and a Giveaway @kckleinbooks

Please help me welcome the lovely KC Klein to the blog today, talking about a writer’s inspiration. Also, make sure you leave a comment and your email to be entered in her giveaway : )

Finding Inspiration In Texas

First, I wanted to thank Amber for allowing me to come on her blog and do a guest post. What better place to talk about my latest book in the Texas Fever series, Hustlin’ Texas, than at a blog dedicated to romance? Amber has been so kind to work around my schedule and all my last minute postponements. Thank you so much Amber for working with me. Your patience has been amazing. J

A few years ago, before I even thought about writing a series, I started thinking about a sweet little love story that was centered on a headstrong young woman who had fallen for the cowboy next door. Add to it my heroine’s absolute passion for horses and a desperate rancher, and I had myself a story. So naturally when I started writing, I had to place my book in a small town in Texas. Well, the problem was I live in Arizona and had nUntitled-1 copyever been to Texas.

I was grateful to learn that the southern part of Texas has similar landscaping as Arizona and after interviewing and following around some local horse ranchers I was able to pull off a realistic Texas setting. But…I still felt the need to visit Texas and get the feel of the local flavor.

My best friend, Pam Silva, took pity on me and invited me to stay with her family who lived in the small town of Whitesboro, Texas.

Untitled-2 copy I learned a lot. I toured both small and large working horse ranches, saw long-horned cattle up close, found out in Texas that just about everything can be fried…catfish, hushpuppies, okra, sweet hushpuppies, and that no one I saw seemed as interested in pool like the woman on my cover. (What a shame.)

I also found that I wasn’t the first author, by far, to be inspired by Texas. In the Stockyard Museum in Fort Worth there is a wedding dress on display called the “Bad Luck Wedding Dress.” Due to technical difficulties I lost my pictures of the dress, but found a photo and the history of the gown on the museum website. Though you can’t tell from this photo all I have to say is that the women back then must have been very, very tiny.Untitled-3 copy

Alongside the dress was a romance novel by Geralyn Dawson who was inspired to write an entire series around the legend of this dress. Here’s her book cover. Untitled-4 copy

How cool is that to find your book kept in the Stockyard Museum alongside the actual dress that inspired your book—if only. (Insert heartfelt sigh here)

Well, maybe my book won’t make it into a museum, but I hope it will make its way into readers’ homes and hearts.

Thank you for letting me share a tiny bit of what inspired me in Texas. Below is the blurb and teaser of my latest book, Hustlin’ Texas. I hope you enjoy it. If you do, leave a comment below with your email address and you’ll be entered into a drawing for an e-copy of Hustlin’ Texas.

Thanks again and happy reading.

Hustlin' Texas (ebook) (2)Excerpt

Jett nodded, then glanced around the crowded bar. When he turned his gaze back on her, a person would be hard pressed to describe his eyes as anything sweet or candy like. “I was hoping you’d be up for a little game of nine-ball.”

Nikki took a sip from her beer and raised her brow in question. Nine-ball was the hustler’s game. It was short and quick, without all the rules of straight pool.

He nodded his head toward the tables in the back. “I heard you played.”

“Then you heard wrong.” She took another sip, eying him the whole time. “I’ve given it up for Lent.”

The corner of his mouth hinted at a smile. “Found God, have you?”

“Among other things.”

Jett glanced to the tables, then back to her. “One game. No money.”

Nikki shook her head. “I don’t play for fun. No thrill in it.”

He swallowed, and she could see his jaw work. “Then we’ll play for a favor. A debt. You up for a little more red in your ledger?”

She didn’t want to ask, not really, but gambling was too deep in her blood not to hear the stakes. “What’s the favor?”

He smiled, not the golden boy smile she’d come to know, but instead one that lacked any charm at all. “Well, Texas, that’s the thrill part. You don’t know until the end. Anything goes. No boundaries.”

Her heart did a funky jump-start in her chest at the possibilities, but her game face was ice-cold. “No limits?”

“None. Unless that’s too much heat for you? We could place some ground rules if you want to play it safe.”

Nikki knew what Jett was doing. It was so obvious, and yet, there was that achingly familiar thrill that zipped up her spine and buzzed in her blood. Some families were predisposed toward red hair or near-sightedness. The Logans were addicts. Throw a dart at the family tree and you’d hit a vice—drinking, smoking, shopping. You name it, and the Logans could turn anything into a compulsion. But really, under all the addictions, there was only one. One vice that was as indicative of a Logan as dark hair, brown skin, and blue eyes.

It was very basic, really. The Logans were gamblers.

There were stories as far back as her grandfather, if stories in the Logan family could be believed, who won his first car—a 1950 Cadillac—on the toss of a coin. Then there was her father, Dakota, who’d bet on every sports game invented, and even ones that hadn’t, like golf without clubs. Her father had once bet a hundred dollars on his ability to throw a golf ball through the eighteen holes. Legend had it, he’d won that hundred, but lost the money in the same night in an “I can piss into a can from the second story” contest.

So Jett knew what he was doing. And Nikki was smart enough to know this was more than a simple favor and way more than a simple game of pool. She also knew something else. Jett was no match for her in this game.

She hid her smile with a sip of her drink. The thrill of a “sure thing” was headier than any shot of tequila, more exciting than a leather-jacketed man on a motorcycle.

“Oh, I can take the heat,” she said.

“But can you handle this much heat?”

“Oh, I can handle it. Because we both know I can beat you with one hand tied behind my back and blindfolded.”

His eyebrows arched. “Then you’d best start figuring out what your favor will be.”

Nikki put down her bottle, no longer needing the buzz. “Already have.” Her car fixed…for starters. “You really think you can beat me at pool?”

God, he was so cocky. It was almost tragic.

His eyes narrowed and there was absolutely no humor in his voice when he spoke. “Oh, I’m betting on it.”

BIO: KC Klein has lived most of her life with her head in the clouds and her nose buried in a book. She did stop reading long enough to make a home with a real life hero, her husband, for over sixteen years. A mother of two children, she spends her time slaying dragons, saving princesses, and championing the belief in the happily-ever-after. Her debut novel, Dark Future, is a finalist in the 2012 Prism contest and has been honored with a reviewer’s choice award. Her other titles include a sci- fi, 2012 RONE award winning romance anthology, Hotter on the Edge, and the first two books in her Texas Fever contemporary romance series, Texas Wide Open, and Hustlin’ Texas. KC loves to hear from readers and can be found desperately pounding away on her laptop in yoga pants and leopard slippers or more conveniently at www.kckleinbooks.com. Sign for her quarterly newsletter for updates on her latest releases, sales, and free giveaways.

Blurb for Hustlin’ Texas:

“Sassy, sexy, fun, but sweet at heart, KC Klein knows how to spin a tall Texas yarn.”—Lori Wilde

“A sexy read. KC Klein’s hero is as hot as a Texan summer’s day. KC is an author to watch..” —Rachel Gibson

Only one person in Oak Groves is happy to see bad girl Nikki Logan back in town…

Oak Groves’ most beloved bachelor, Jett Avery, lives by a simple set of rules. Getting involved with a complicated woman isn’t one of them. He learned that the hard way two years ago when he spent one of the most incredible nights of his life with Nikki Logan. But then she hightailed it out of town, never to be seen again—until now. It might be time to break one of those rules…

Picking up the pieces of her life, Nikki is back in Oak Groves, face to face with the one man she’s done her best to forget. But she has her reasons for being here—and they don’t include winding up in bed with Jett. Especially since he’ll never forgive her once he finds out the truth about why she’s back…

Buy links for Hustlin’ Texas:

Amazon: http://kckleinbooks.com/HustlinTexas

Barns and Nobel: http://kckleinbooks.com/BNHustlinTexas

Kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/hustlin-texas

Blurb for TEXAS WIDE OPEN:

“A tortured hero, a love that defies distance and time…this is a book you won’t soon forget.” –Cat Johnson

Katie Harris loved growing up on a ranch. She had her horse, the beautiful Texas prairie, and Cole Logan, the cowboy next door. But there are a lot of secrets hidden under a Texas sky…

Katie always knew she’d marry Cole one day—until he broke her dreams and her heart. But now that Katie’s father is sick, she’s back home, older, wiser and nowhere near the love-sick fool she once was.

Cole knows Katie doesn’t want anything to do with him. But after so many years, he can’t pretend she’s no more than a neighbor. Holding his ground was hard enough when she was seventeen. Now that she’s her own woman, Cole’s heart doesn’t stand a chance…

“Passionate, gritty and fast paced…with a hot blooded, honorable hero to make every woman’s knees go weak.”—Diane Whiteside

Buy Links for TEXAS WIDE OPEN:

Amazon: http://kckleinbooks.com/TexasWideOpenAmazon

Barns and Noble: http://kckleinbooks.com/TexasWideOpenBN

Blurb for DARK FUTURE:

A woman caught between two futures…

Awakened in the middle of the night by a future version of herself, Kris Davenport is given a mission: go travel in time to save the world–and his life. Of course, her future self doesn’t tell her who he is just sends her into the darkness and straight into an alien invasion.

…must choose between the man who has her heart…

He turns out to be ConRad Smith, the callous, untrusting military commander of Earth’s army and the world’s last defense. There’s only one way for Smith to know for sure if this strange woman is an alien spy–slice her throat. Except, he didn’t anticipate the desire he would feel as he interrogates the hot-tempered, warm-blooded woman.

…or the fate that saves the world.

As Kris and ConRad struggle to trust each other in a world on the brink of destruction, they each will have to face the ultimate choice of whether to fight or die… survive or forgive.

Buy Links for DARK FUTURE:

Amazon e-book: http://kckleinbooks.com/AmazonDarkFuture

Amazon print book: http://www.amazon.com/Dark-Future-Kc-Klein/dp/0062117041

Avon Impulse: http://www.avonromance.com/buy/dark-future-epb/

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Friday the Thirteenth

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Greetings and Salutations,

I know many of you think it’s ludicrous to hide in a dark cave completely isolated from the world because of the date.  You certainly have the right to draw your own conclusions.  I’ve experienced several very nasty consequences as a result of ignoring specific signs and warnings.  You shouldn’t mess with the unnatural  laws of the cosmos.  Friday the Thirteenth is in fact a very serious force to be reckoned with.  There are many precautions to be taken, like never use any form of technology.  Internet and cell phones are guaranteed paths to the destruction of your soul.  Even two cans and a string can lead the forces of evil to your doorstep.  I don’t even use fire.  Too risky.

The number 13 alone is a serious threat, hotel owners leave entire floors out buildings. Clearly they understand the threat. In numerology, the number twelve is considered the number of completeness, as reflected in the twelve months of the year, twelve hours of the clock, twelve gods of Olympus, whereas the number thirteen is considered irregular, transgressing this completeness.

Friday has been considered an unlucky day at least since the 14th century’s The Canterbury Tales, and many other professions have regarded Friday as an unlucky day to undertake journeys or begin new projects. Black Friday has been associated with stock market crashes and other disasters since the 1800s.  According to the Stress Management Center and Phobia Institute in Asheville, North Carolina, an estimated 17 to 21 million people in the U.S. are affected by a fear of this day. I ask you, can they all be wrong?

Of course there are other things that must be avoided as well. Break a mirror and you’ll have seven years of darkness filling your life.  Allow a black cat to cross your path, I shudder to think of it. Do you have any idea how many mothers suffer from back aches because their children ignored the step on a crack rule.  I mean really the statistics are staggering.  Walk under a ladder?  You’d have to be suicidal.  Spill salt, evil eye.  I could go on (some might say I have, but those who know me best know I’ve gone off the deep end long ago.)  My slogan is superstitious and alive is better than not and well…not.

Here’s the good news.  Throw some salt over your shoulder to cancel spilled salt. Carry a rabbit’s foot in your pocket to ward off the evil eye.  Turn yourself around in a circle seven times to cancel out bad luck. This four leaf clover in my lapel isn’t a fashion statement you know.  If you wear your clothes inside out it insulates you from bad luck.  For some things you must buy spells from the old crone who lives deep in the forest.  She’s a little pricey, but she’s good.  I bought this warthog tusk charm from her.  It has saved my bacon on many occasions.

I’ve got to catch the last bus to the caves, so until next week, I’ll leave you this quote from Alfred Hitchcock

“Revenge is sweet and not fattening.”

 

Write On,

Dave Benneman AKA Eerie Dwarf

Fright-days welcomes, drum roll please, Howard Phillips Lovecraft

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Greetings and Salutations,

Today we are back at the unconsecrated graveyard to visit with another author. I’ve been hoping for weeks that our next guest would grant us an interview. I am very excited to have him with us.

He is a writer who is widely seen as the most significant 20th century author in Horror Fiction. At the time Weird Tales Magazine was building a reputation, he was a regular contributor, he turned down an offer of the editorship. Some of his most celebrated tales including The Call of Cthulhu, canonical to the Cthulhu MythosHorror, fantasy and science fiction author Stephen King called him “the twentieth century’s greatest practitioner of the classic horror tale.” Graham Harman said, “No other writer is so perplexed by the gap between objects and the power of language to describe them, or between objects and the qualities they possess.” So with no further a due, I present, Howard Phillip Lovecraft.

220px-Howard_Phillips_Lovecraft_in_1915_(2) 220px-H.P._Lovecraft's_grave

HP; Thank you, Bob warned me the accommodations were less than ideal, but he assured me the warm welcome would make up for it.

You’re referring to Robert Bloch?

HP; Yes, he convinced me to come. I tried to make two weeks ago, but something happened on our end and some other guy jumped through ahead of me. A Richard Baitman, or something? He was too big for me to argue with.

Richard Bachman.

HP; That’s it, Bachman. He wasn’t a very nice fellow.

That was very unsettling for us all. He hasn’t returned either. I do hope that fellow Steve Brown, and Stephen King are doing alright. He made some thinly veiled threats as he left. Enough about him please let’s talk about your influences.

HP; Of course Edgar Allen Poe was very big. Arthur Machen’s tales of ancient evil returning to the modern world. Joseph Addison and Jonathan Swift. My own vivid nightmares are certainly a contributing factor.

E.A Poe and yourself have many biographical details  in common. Like Poe your work was out of step with your time. You both passed on at a young age and you were both penniless when you did so.

HP; The loss of our parents, bouts of deep depression, self-imposed isolation, the list goes on. 

You must be happy with the high regard with which you are held today and the endless list of authors you have influenced.

HP; Happiness is not something experienced in the plain where I exist. It would have nice if all this veneration presented itself in my life time. It does me little good to know that I am appreciated years I died a painful, lonely, penniless death.

Sorry I brought that up. One of your reoccurring themes is the mysterious information stumbled on by unsuspecting characters.

220px-Weird_Tales_March_1944220px-Cthulhu_sketch_by_LovecraftHP; Ahh yes usually with a Promethean ending. You say unsuspecting character, yet they are driven to learn knowledge that is forbidden them. Their curiosity, ambition, and the temptation of acquiring power compel them to open Pandora’s box and unleash the evils within. They are not naive dupes as you suggest. on the contrary they often make choices without consideration to the consequences. hence the person who acquires the knowledge is utterly destroyed.

Of course you’re right, but the reader identifies with the character as somehow being coerced or deceived into making those choices.

HP; That would be naiveté on the part of the reader. Just as in the Cthulu stories the antagonist is an alien being who is indifferent to humans at best more often hostile, and yet they are worshipped by clans of humans as Gods. You may see the worshippers as poor savages, Where as my view is they bring this on themselves at the hope of becoming the beneficiary of the god like powers.  They are not innocents, they are greedy, manipulating, and selfish. They perpetuate a modern era decadence, and they receive their just deserts.

What of, The Rats In The Walls or The Alchemist, surely you make exceptions where a character gets punished through no fault of their own.

HP; Inherited guilt is something of a paradox. Where the fortunate circumstances of the character are due to the misdeeds of a forebear and yet they themselves are innocent. The piper must be paid, Mr. Benneman, better he is paid in this life than in the next.

I see my flame is burning low, so allow me to leave you with one thought. Support living writers and artists now, while they are among you. Do not wait until they have long passed on to acknowledge their commitment to society.

Whooosh

“Wow that was a pretty dramatic exit. I didn’t get to ask him about all the films based on his stories. OH, well. What an amazing guy.

Let’s close with a quotation from the man himself.

“It is only the inferior thinker who hastens to explain the singular and the complex by the primitive shortcut of supernaturalism.” H.P.Lovecraft.

Thanks for stopping by,

Write On,

Dave Benneman