Science Fiction: The Gate

Staci Troilo is a guest poster today on Craig Boyack’s Entertaining Stories blog. Check out this excerpt from her latest release, The Gate, written under her pen name D. L. Cross, and don’t forget to spread the word! Thanks, Craig and Staci, for a great post!

Entertaining Stories

Staci Troilo is one of my closest author friends. She’s got something new for all of us under her pen-name of D. L. Cross. Let’s make her feel welcome and share this around today.

“No Idea” Excerpt from New Sci-Fi Novel: THE GATE

Thanks for inviting me here today. I’m excited to share an excerpt from The Gate, Book 1 of the Astral Conspiracy series in the Invasion Universe. 


“You do realize I’ve never done this before. I have no idea what’ll happen up there.”

“You better hope it’s what I want to happen. Or you won’t be coming back down.”

Landon gulped, no longer certain he’d made the right choice to stay on Lorena’s behalf. So far, the mercs had been more or less gentlemanly toward her. She’d probably walk out of this ordeal alive. 

The same couldn’t be said about him.

They followed a path…

View original post 565 more words

#GoneButNotForgotten #WhyWriteWrong – Originally Posted May 5, 2018

Retrieving a post from last year, hoping it will be new to many of you. If you did read it before, feel free to ignore it this time around, unless you (like me) can always use an occasional reminder about these things.  😀


I’m taking a moment tonight to talk about three words that I see misused fairly often, especially the third: Peek, peak, and pique. These words are not interchangeable, though in the last week, I have seen all three misused in a series I’ve been reading, and more than once, at that. Let’s take a look at them.

Though all three are pronounced exactly the same way, they are very different in meaning, to wit:

Peek is to take a quick look at something, perhaps in a sneaky manner. He peeked at the answers to his homework assignment. If what you want to say deals with the way your character is looking at something, you want PEEK.

Peak is usually used to reference the summit  or highest point of something. The peak of the mountain was covered with snow. Or perhaps: The whipped cream was mounded on the top of the pie in fluffy peaks. It could also work for a summit a bit less tangible, like: The child actor’s popularity peaked when she was a mere eight years of age.

Pique is definitely the one misused most often. Pique is a state of irritation or resentment. It can also be used to indicate  the rousing of curiosity. Her spiteful tone left him in a fit of pique. Or: His curiosity was piqued by the mysterious letter. So this one deals with emotions, and has nothing to do with peeking through a crack in the door, or climbing to the peak of the jungle gym.

Now, have I piqued your curiosity enough to wonder if your blinds are pulled, so no one can peek in your windows and discover you’re the annoying neighbor playing your stereo at peak volume? (Oh, even I’M groaning at that one!) But you get my drift. And I hope this helps clear up any confusion about these three words.

Signing off now. As you were, folks! 😀


I am not an English teacher, grammarian, or expert on all matters of this nature, but I promise I have consulted with those who are before posting anything in this series.

#ShareAReviewDay Tuesday – The Heart of Applebutter Hill by Donna W. Hill

Please help me welcome our second guest of the day, Donna W. Hill, who will be sharing a lovely review from her book The Heart of Applebutter Hill. I’m sure this one will speak to many of you, and you’ll be happy to share it on your favorite social media. Thanks!


The Heart of Applebutter Hill
by Donna W. Hill

 Reviewed by Jacqueline Williams

From the Editor: Jacqueline Williams has taught in New York, in Uganda, and on the San Carlos Indian Reservation in Arizona. After she earned a master’s degree in special education from Northern Arizona University, she served as a special education teacher and administrator in Mesa, Arizona. Now retired, she writes poetry and serves as dance coordinator in the Mesa public schools.

The Heart of Applebutter Hill
 by Donna W. Hill

 Smashwords Press, 2013, 346 pages

 Available in print and as a Kindle ebook, and from Bookshare and Learning Ally.

The Heart of Applebutter Hill is a story of suspense and a passage through adolescent growth. Coping with vision loss and bullying are combined with adventure and fantasy, demonstrating Donna Hill’s vivid imagination. This novel will inspire teachers and readers who want to be part of the solution to bullying and other actions that harm the disadvantaged.

Continue reading

#ShareAReviewDay Tuesday – The Prince’s Man by Deborah Jay

This morning, our #ShareAReviewDay guest is Deborah Jay, and the review she is featuring is from her novel The Prince’s Man. I know you’ll enjoy learning about this one, and I can attest to how good it is! Let’s help get the word out to those who haven’t discovered it yet. Thanks!



April 9, 2019
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase

I’m not sure what I was expecting when I started reading ‘The Prince’s Man’, but the reality blew me away.

The story is a grown up fantasy reminiscent of Robin Hobb’s Farseer series [which I also happen to love]. You’ll find Machiavellian politics, intrigue, loyalty, a hint of love, and a cast of characters you can relate to. Yes, they have their flaws, but don’t we all?

To my mind, watching the characters change and grow is at least half the fun. The other half is getting to know the world in which those characters live. In all types of speculative fiction, the world is as much of a ‘character’ as the characters themselves. Think how important the planet Arrakis is to the story of Dune.

As readers we want to step out of our everyday lives and get lost in another world. And the author does not disappoint. The otherness of The Prince’s Man is evident right from the start, but there are no boring info. dumps. We learn about the world in the same way we learn about the human characters, by watching the story unfold, a bit at a time.

And finally, I’d like to say something about the plot. It. Is. Not. Predictable. To me, that’s one of the book’s greatest strengths. I like to be surprised, and nothing puts me off more than ‘the same old same old’. In The Prince’s Man, the author kept me guessing right to the end.

I’m looking forward to reading the next book of the series, and I highly recommend this one to anyone who likes a story with real meat on its bones.

Continue reading

Character Sheets

A quick and easy way to create character sheets that I just love. Perfect for a handy reference to little details you have to be consistent with throughout your book(s). It’s going to help me greatly with my secondary characters, especially, who only occasionally pop in. Check it out, and while you’re there, be sure to check the links on Overview and Series Premise. This is good stuff! 🙂 Don’t forget to pass it along! And thanks to Staci for this very helpful series!

Story Empire

Ciao, amici. We’ve been discussing the story bible. So far, we have the overview and the series premise. Today, we’re going to cover character sheets.

character sheet

There are a few things you absolutely need to keep consistent when you create a character. Appearance, age, and the character arc. Filling out this simple form will give you an easy, at-a-glance reference that helps you keep all these things straight. (If you’re interested in this specific form, click on the graphic to download it to use as-is or manipulate for your own needs.)

The first column is simply the characters’ names. Make sure you write first and last. This will keep you from changing the spelling or the last name (which isn’t mentioned frequently) later in the story. Once you have a row for each main character, color code them so they are easy to distinguish. And if you write in Scrivener…

View original post 401 more words

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Weekly Round Up

Another week, another wonderful round-up post from Sally Cronin’s fabulous Smorgasbord blog. Sally has a new feature underway that promises to be very entertaining, along with jokes, health information, and even some wonderful singing birds! Check it out and spread the word. Thanks, and thanks to Sally, also, for such a terrific week on her blog! 🙂 ❤

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Welcome to the round up of posts that you might have missed this week on Smorgasbord.

A quiet week on the home front, with a couple of days of sunshine and more today, so I will be out in the garden for much of the day…not so much making hay as getting rid of the rust in my joints!  David has been working to level off the back garden which was left as a weedy slope, and once the workmen have completed the pathway and resurfaced the back patio, we shall have a lovely spot to eat out which gets the sun in the summer until 10.00pm.  Also another step to getting the house ready to go on the market next spring.

I have also managed to find dry enough days to finish by pot plants. We then had three days of torrential rain and I am afraid some of…

View original post 1,032 more words

Author Inspiration and This Week’s Writing Links

As always, Staci Troilo’s “Author Inspiration and This Week’s Writing Links” post is AWESOME. Do yourself a favor–check it out! And then share far and wide so others can enjoy it, as well. Thanks, and thanks, Staci, for another great recap. (I really love the Gaiman quote, too. He’s a favorite of mine.)

Staci Troilo

Ciao, amici! The days are passing with dizzying speed. Makes me think of warp drives and worm holes (since I’m in sci-fi mode these days) but my series is decidedly grounded on our planet. Doesn’t mean I won’t take to the stars later, but as for now, no space operas. Just alien invasions.

There’s a reason sci-fi and fantasy get lumped together so often. They both require suspension of belief and extensive world-building. My love for this type of writing started back before I could even read. It started with fairytales. Today’s quote is another by Neil Gaiman (the guy seriously says a lot of profound stuff).

Fairy tales are more than true:
not because they tell us that dragons exist,
but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.

I’m having so much fun slaying my dragons. And I don’t just mean literary monsters. I think writers battle…

View original post 448 more words

#ShareAReviewDay Tuesday – Amanda in New Mexico: Ghosts in the Wind by Darlene Foster

This afternoon, please help me welcome Darlene Foster to The Write Stuff. Darlene is sharing a review of Amanda in New Mexico: Ghosts in the Wind, and I know you’ll enjoy reading this one. Don’t forget to pass it along to all and sundry to help more people learn about this wonderful series. Thanks!

Bette A. Stevens

January 15, 2019

Amanda and her sixth-grade class are on an educational field trip from their hometown of Calgary, Canada to visit, explore and document their experiences in New Mexico, USA. As the class tours Taos, New Mexico and the surrounding area, their trip is interrupted by ghosts present and past. In “Amanda in New Mexico—Ghosts in the Wind,” Foster has written a contemporary fiction story through which middle-grade students will not only learn about the region’s geography, architecture, and artifacts—they’ll learn invaluable life lessons along the way. Students and teachers are sure to want to follow Amanda through further adventures in this well-written series.

~Bette A. Stevens, author of award-winning children’s picture book” AMAZING MATILDA, A Monarch’s Tale” and other books for children and adults. Continue reading

#ShareAReviewDay Tuesday – A Thousand Yesteryears by Mae Clair

This morning, we are very happy to welcome Mae Clair to our first returning #ShareAReviewDay post.  I know you are going to enjoy reading about her deliciously shivery book, A Thousand Yesteryears, which is currently on sale for a super bargain price. Check it out, and share the news! Thanks.


A Thousand Yesteryears by Mae Clair
Book 1 of the Point Pleasant series (can be read as a standalone)

Press review provided by NY Times bestselling author, Kevin O’Brien

“A THOUSAND YESTERYEARS is masterful, bone-chilling fiction that begins with a real-life tragedy on December 15, 1967: the Silver Bridge collapse in Point Pleasant, West Virginia.  46 people died.  Author Mae Clair has seamlessly woven fact, fiction and creepy urban folklore into one intense thriller. The gripping story focuses on two witnesses to the disaster—fifteen years later.  Both Eve Parrish and Caden Flynn lost loved ones in the catastrophe and still carry the emotional scars.  After a long absence, Eve returns to Point Pleasant to bury her recently-deceased aunt, face some old ghosts, and reunite with her one-time “impossible-crush,” Caden.  But when Eve begins to investigate her aunt’s death, she’s plunged into danger and a nightmare world where scary urban legends are very real.  Full of suspense, A THOUSAND YESTERYEARS will keep you guessing, gasping and turning the pages for more.” Continue reading