Using a Character Bible – Is it worth it?

Brand new year, brand new chance to work on a new book. But you might want to check out Don Massenzio’s timely post on Character Bibles first. I know some of you are diligent about this, but for those (like me) who have been careless in this regard, Don’s post is a good place to start thinking about getting organized so you don’t forget those important details from earlier books. Check it out, and then please consider passing it along so others get the reminder, too. Thanks, and thanks to Don for giving me a nudge in the right direction. Great post! 🙂

Author Don Massenzio

As I embark on my next writing venture after a 2020 hiatus, I realized something. The equation of my age plus the stress of 2020 and the length of time since I’ve written a Frank Rozzani book has added up to me forgetting the details of many of my familiar characters. I remember reading a while back about having a character bible, a book of character profiles. The article I read talked about how this is especially important if you write a multiple-book series with the same characters.

At the time, I said to myself, “I’ll never forget these characters. They’re part of me.” Well, as I get older, I’m pretty sure there are actual parts of me that I’ve forgotten.

As I try to write for my tried and true characters, I find myself searching my previous books for things like dates, names, hair and eye color and other…

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#GuestDayTuesday – Subject A36 by Teri Polen

Today, please help me welcome our special guest, author Teri Polen, featuring her latest book, Subject A36. I’ve read this one, Folks, I can tell you it is terrific. It’s Young Adult written so that we “OLD” adults can enjoy it, too, and I did, every minute of it! In fact, I’m eagerly awaiting the next in the series. So, without further ado, let’s let Teri share some fun information about herself and her work. Teri, the floor is yours!


Thanks, Marcia!

If you’re a regular visitor at my blog, you know that every October for the past several years I’ve hosted Bad Moon Rising, which features thirty-one indie authors of horror, paranormal, and supernatural (or really any genre that falls under that umbrella).  Other than the book info, there’s also a short interview with both fun and writing-related questions.  While brainstorming ideas for this guest post, it occurred to me that I’ve never answered any of my own writing-related questions from October 2020, so I decided this was my chance.  I guess it’s me interviewing me.

If you had to give up snacks or drinks during writing sessions, which would be more difficult?

Definitely drinks.  I don’t snack while writing, but I’ll always have either a Diet Coke or water beside me.  If I’m writing at night, you’ll find a glass of red wine.  Sometimes I sneak in a hit of chocolate before I start—dark chocolate Hershey Kisses or Reese’s Thins.

Do you write to music?

Yes!  I usually have a playlist for each book.  Music inspires me and helps me visualize the scene as it plays out.  Sometimes lyrics give me ideas.  When I wrote The Gemini Connection, the twin brother main characters had different musical preferences.  Evan wanted my favorite genres—hard/alternate rock, but Simon demanded classical, a type I don’t mind, but it’s not something you’ll find in my music library.  Those boys were polar opposites, but I sure miss them. 

What was the hardest scene to write in your featured book?

It’s hard to describe without giving away spoilers, but I’ll try.  My MC, Asher, lost his family at a young age, but is now part of a found family.  There’s a scene where he experiences devastating pain that just ripped me apart.  It took me several days to write it, and I still wonder if I got it right.  The intensity was hard to convey.

I’m thrilled to say that Subject A36 was voted one of the 50 Best Indie Books of 2020 on Readfree.ly.com!  With the quarantine and silent characters plus recovering from COVID, the sequel has been a long time coming, but I promise I’m working on it.  Hope you enjoy the A36 excerpt below.  It’s from Asher’s point of view when he was eight years old. 

EXCERPT:

“Asher!”  Mom gripped the porch railing and called for me.  Her voice cracked and was laced with tears.  Dad vaulted over the porch railing, landed solidly on the grass, and frantically scanned our expansive yard. 

My stomach clenched.  Something was very wrong.  “Over here!”

Dad’s gaze locked on mine.  “Code Exodus!  Now, Asher.  Run!”

Was this another drill?  We’d practiced twice a week, the times always unexpected, without fail for as long as I could remember.  Drills were a regular part of our life, like eating, sleeping, and homework.  Protocol was pounded into our brains.  There could be no hesitation. 

But this felt different.  Dad’s expression was tight and urgent.  Tears streamed down Mom’s face, and I knew.  This was no drill.  It was real this time.  We’d been found.  Code Tribe—we leave together.  Code Exodus—we leave without our parents. 

Code Exodus rules.    

Grab the backpack.

Leave immediately. 

Don’t stop for anything or anyone.

Run to the Wallaces.

When my sisters could no longer keep up, hide them and keep running.

BOOK DESCRIPTION:

If genetic engineering could guarantee you and your family perfect health and unparalleled beauty, would you pay top dollar for it? Would you kill for it?

Residents of the Colony would. And do.

Only the Insurgents can stop them.

Seventeen-year-old Asher Solomon is a premier operative with the Insurgents. He and his team have rescued countless hostages, saving them from painful deaths in Colony labs as desirable genetic traits are stripped from their bodies.

He’s also suffered more losses than anyone should have to.

Then Asher gets intel that might give his people the upper hand. The Colony is searching for Subject A36. If the Insurgents determine the subject’s identity first, they might be able to turn the tide of the war.

Asher and his team embark on their riskiest mission ever, and the stakes have never been higher. But even if he survives the physical dangers, the devastating secrets he uncovers might destroy him. 

Buy Subject A36 HERE


Teri Polen, Author

Teri Polen reads and watches horror, sci-fi, and fantasy.  The Walking Dead, Harry Potter, and anything Marvel-related are likely to cause fangirl delirium.  She lives in Bowling Green, KY with her husband, sons, and black cat.  Her first novel, Sarah, a YA horror/thriller, was a horror finalist in the 2017 Next Generation Indie Book Awards.  Visit her online HERE

Contact Links:

Website
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BookBub  

Hi, Everybody! Just a quick update for you, so you’ll know I haven’t forgotten you guys, or my promises that The Write Stuff was going to become more active in the weeks ahead. And that’s going to start happening very shortly, honest! 

I did have to take a slight break again due to my daughter and family coming to visit from Denver. They’ve been here almost two weeks, and it has been a great time, filled with a ton and a half of fun. (A two-year-old granddaughter and a 7-year-old grandson can really fill a house with noise and laughter, and an enormous amount of activity!)

Today is packing up day, though, and they will be heading back to Colorado tomorrow. I’m so sad to see them go, but also totally worn out (in the best way) from all the things we’ve been up to. (Gramps and Granny haven’t seen that much action in years!) 

Lest you think we weren’t being truly careful, let me assure you that my daughter was tested 3 times before the visit, and the four of them quarantined themselves for two weeks. And all of our activities have been “open air” and in low traffic areas. They’ve gone canoeing several times, gone to the (non-crowded) beach three times, and, BEST OF ALL, they gave me a private river outing on my friend Doug’s eco-tour boat, and my son & family came, too. So just the 9 of us, the captain in the back, and Doug, who has been isolating for months, just like me. I hadn’t been out on the St. Johns in about a year and a half (gasp!) and it was glorious. Perfect weather and a fabulous time for all of us.


BACK AT THE MARINA, TIRED BUT HAPPY!
(Reya,  SIL Myres, Kaelen, Me, Hubby Mark, Son Jason, Granddaughter Tabitha, Daughter Erin, and DIL Jenny)

What a motley crew, eh? But boy, did we have fun! 

Starting Sunday, life will be getting back to normal around here, such as normal is during on ongoing pandemic. But the best part is that I will have time to check in with my favorite blogs again, and to get some fun things going here. I do have a guest on Tuesday, and am planning a #FirstLineFriday next week, too. I’ll be running #WildlifeWednesday a couple of times a month, if all goes well, and in general, being a lot more active here on The Write Stuff. Hope you’ll visit often!

Now, go ye forth and enjoy your life, whether it’s quieter than usual right now or not. There’s still loads of stuff we can do, even when staying home, after all. And personally, I’m hoping to get back to my WIP and get that story told! What are YOUR plans? (Inquiring minds wanna know!)

 

Smorgasbord Book Reviews – #Mystery #Paranormal – The Light (Wake-Robin Ridge Book 4) by Marcia Meara

Had a wonderful surprise this morning when Sally Cronin reviewed The Light, my fourth Wake-Robin Ridge book, over on her fabulous Smorgasbord blog. Released at the very beginning of the pandemic, this book didn’t get much promotion from me, so I’d be extra grateful if you could take a moment to share her post far and wide. Thanks so much, and my heartfelt thanks to Sally for such lovely words. 🙂 ❤

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

I loved the Wake-Robin Ridge series by Marcia Meara and this week I have read book four in the series… The Light.

About the book

The Magic is Back!

For Robert MacKenzie Cole—or Rabbit, as he’s known to all—the chance to accompany his family to see North Carolina’s infamous Brown Mountain Lights has him nearly dizzy with excitement. And what better night to watch this unexplained phenomenon unfold than Halloween?

But when the entrancing, unpredictable lights show up, Rabbit gets far more than he bargained for. He’s gifted with what folks in the Appalachians call “the Sight,” and it’s this extrasensory perception that enables him to spot the one light different from all the rest.

In his biggest challenge to date, Rabbit—aided by his daddy and his newest friend, Austin Dupree— begins a quest to learn more about the mysterious light. Their investigation unveils a web of cons and corruption…

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#GuestDayTuesday – #GwenMPlano – The Culmination, A New Beginning

Why am I reblogging a post from my own blog? Because WordPress seems to have failed to send out notification emails, and I don’t want any of you to miss this super post by Gwen Plano. It’s my first #GuestDayTuesday post of 2021, and WAY to good to be missed. Please check it out.

The Write Stuff

Hi, Everybody! Please help me welcome our first guest of 2021, my friend and author, Gwen Plano. Gwen is here to share her latest release, The Culmination, a new beginning with us. I know you’ll be excited to learn about this one, so without further ado, take it away, Gwen!

Thank you so much for inviting me to your blog, Marcia, and for helping me launch The Culmination, a new beginning. With the New Year upon us, this is a perfect time to focus on the book.

***

What’s it about? The Culmination can best be described as a military thriller. It tackles difficult topics such as denuclearization, the power struggles over oil in the Middle East, as well as the ever-present danger of war. Readers will find themselves sitting with the Joint Chiefs of Staff, walking in the historic Red Square, and laughing with children in an orphanage…

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#GuestDayTuesday – #GwenMPlano – The Culmination, A New Beginning

Hi, Everybody! Please help me welcome our first guest of 2021, my friend and author, Gwen Plano. Gwen is here to share her latest release, The Culmination, a new beginning with us. I know you’ll be excited to learn about this one, so without further ado, take it away, Gwen!

 

Thank you so much for inviting me to your blog, Marcia, and for helping me launch The Culmination, a new beginning. With the New Year upon us, this is a perfect time to focus on the book.

 

 

***

What’s it about? The Culmination can best be described as a military thriller. It tackles difficult topics such as denuclearization, the power struggles over oil in the Middle East, as well as the ever-present danger of war. Readers will find themselves sitting with the Joint Chiefs of Staff, walking in the historic Red Square, and laughing with children in an orphanage in Turkey. They will glimpse the horror of war and watch the give and take of a negotiated peace. Readers will also meet the two Heads of State who fall in love and subsequently commit themselves to creating a world in which all are family.

I never expected to write this book, but in some ways, I had no choice. The characters crowded into my office and insisted that I listen to them. In a very real way, they wrote the book. I simply tapped the keys and through the process, I learned intensely..

To celebrate the New Year, the Kindle edition will remain on sale through this week and then will return to its full price of $2.99.  

BLURB:

The Culmination, a new beginning is the third book in The Contract thriller series. After an assassination attempt on an Air Force base in northern California, tensions mount. Heads of state meet to craft a denuclearization agreement. The meetings between these nuclear powers take a murderous turn. A nefarious conspiracy re-emerges and leads the characters into the heart of the Middle East, where they encounter the unexpected and find a reason for hope. 

EXCERPT:

In his hospital suite, Admiral Parker sits by the wall of windows. Since the second attempt on his life, he’s found himself unable to sleep. Parker keeps hearing gunshots and has flashes of scenes from his service in Vietnam.

Drowsy, his head grows heavy and falls to his chest. His mind takes him back to Vietnam. Grisly scenes flash before him of mangled bodies, thundering missile explosions, and shrill screams. He shudders and recoils. Then he startles when someone touches his shoulder. When he opens his eyes, he finds the base chaplain stands next to him.

“Hello, Admiral. I’m told you might appreciate a friend to talk to. I’d like to be that friend if it’s okay with you.”

Parker shrugs his acceptance. “I suspect you’re here because I’m remembering things. I, ah … I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I keep having flashes of Vietnam. It’s like I’m reliving it, but why? Why now?”

“My understanding is that the sniper’s bullet came within a hair of your heart. One centimeter more, and we wouldn’t be talking right now.”

“That’s true, but still …”

“And, it was the Medal of Honor that protected you.”

“Yes …”

“Awarded because of your extraordinary valor in Vietnam, right?”

“Correct.”

“Maybe it’s time to remember your experience there and make your peace.”

“Some things are best to forget, chaplain.”

“And yet, you’ve discovered that you haven’t forgotten. The experience lives and haunts you with its devastation.”

“I don’t understand it. After all these years, it feels like it happened yesterday. I keep seeing the same scenes over and over.”

“Tell me about what you see.”

Parker looks away, his eyes welling, and his jaw tightening. “Marines got trapped at the Delta. They needed help, badly. The sub Commander asked for volunteers to go ashore, and I offered. The sub got as close to land as possible, and I swam to shore and found mayhem. I could barely see through the smoke. The thumping sound of the Hueys mixed with desperate cries for help. It was a scene from hell. Bodies strewn everywhere. Torsos without arms. Without legs. Arms and legs without bodies. Hell.”

Parker stops and wipes his eyes. “I arrived too late. Yet I searched for any injured. There were none. It was a graveyard. I decided to go back to the sub, and when I drew close to the shoreline, I heard a moan. It turns out that I’d stepped on a Marine’s arm and broken it. The Marine lay buried in the mud but was alive. That man was Samuel Williams.” 

“As in President Samuel Williams?”

“Yes. I called in for a patrol boat and got Williams into the craft. Though I did what I could, I was too late, except for Williams.” Parker slumps, and his head falls.

The chaplain breaks the silence with a question, “Do you pray, Parker?”

“Yeah.”

“Do you mind telling me how you pray?”

“I say the Lord’s Prayer, and usually, I hold my mom’s beads.” He raises his hand and shows the chaplain an old wooden rosary.

“Do you bring that prayer into your memories?”

“Not really. The past is past. Until recently, I thought I’d moved on.”

“Time isn’t linear. We can be a young child one moment, and an old man the next. The past is as real as the present through our memories.” 

***

Buy The Culmination HERE


Contact Gwen:

Blog:  https://www.gwenplano.com/blog-reflections
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/GMPlano
Twitter: https://twitter.com/gmplano
Amazon Author’s page:  https://amzn.to/3eAU2Bt 

Book links:

Letting Go into Perfect Love https://amzn.to/3bToO7t
The Contract between heaven and earth https://amzn.to/2U2Lgmv
The Choice: the unexpected heroes https://amzn.to/3lcz8eA
The Culmination, a new beginning https://amzn.to/3eEWkj9

 

#MondayMeme #MondayBlogs

First Monday of the New Year, and though I’m very busy with my visiting family, I did want to stop by and let you know that things are picking up around The Write Stuff, bit by bit. Just to get the week off to a good start, here are a couple of writing, reading, and book-related memes to make  you smile. Hope a couple of them are new to you!

Enjoy!
😀

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

After a long, hard, frustrating, stressful, and largely unpleasant year, I think we are all entitled to enter 2021 with high hopes for a better one. That doesn’t mean we don’t have things to be grateful for. There  are always, always, ALWAYS things to be grateful for, and I hope you’ll be remembering some of those throughout the day.

At the same time, I know we’d all like to find some easier times ahead, and I’m sending each of you my wish for exactly that. More laughter, less hair tearing. More time to enjoy the things you love,  and less time stuck at home. More days spent with family and friends, and not quite so many spent without the ones we we want to be with. Yep, that’s what I’m hoping for each of us, and I do think we deserve at least some of those!

My New Year’s Advice? Remember we’re still HERE, and every single morning brings another chance to do it all better! Grab it while you can! 😀 ❤ 😀

HAPPY NEW YEAR, MY FRIENDS!

#OnSale #Promo – Entire Riverbend Series – $1.99 each

Good Morning, Everyone! Hope your Christmas was Merry & Bright! Today, I’m offering a Happy New Year special, in the hopes that something fun will get the new year off to a great start. If you haven’t checked out my Riverbend series, now’s the time! Each book will be on sale for the (ready?) “low, low, LOW” price of $1.99 from today through December 31. Riverbend is a fictional small town in central Florida where anything can happen. And does. Unlike my mountain series, there’s nothing paranormal going on here because the folks who live in Riverbend are weird enough all by themselves. 😀 Hope you’ll check it out.  Happy Reading!

SWAMP GHOSTS: Riverbend Book 1

BLURB:

Wildlife photographer Gunnar Wolfe looked like the kind of guy every man wanted to be and every woman just plain wanted, and the St. Johns River of central Florida drew him like a magnet. EcoTour boat owner Maggie Devlin knew all the river’s secrets, including the deadliest ones found in the swamps. But neither Maggie nor Gunn was prepared for the danger that would come after them on two legs.

On a quest to make history photographing the rarest birds of them all, Gunnar hires the fiery, no-nonsense Maggie to canoe him into the most remote wetland areas in the state. He was unprepared for how much he would enjoy both the trips and Maggie’s company. He soon realizes he wants more than she’s able to give, but before he can win her over, they make a grisly discovery that changes everything, and turns the quiet little town of Riverbend upside down. A serial killer is on the prowl among them.


FINDING HUNTER: Riverbend Book 2

BLURB:

Before, I never thought about taking a life. Not once.
Now, the thought fills my mind day and night, and
I wonder how I’ll hide that terrible need,
As an old car swings to the shoulder,
And stops.

~ Traveling Man ~

Hunter Painter’s darkest fears have shaped his offbeat personality since he was a child, crippling him in ways invisible to those unable to see past his quiet exterior. In a sleepy Florida town known for its eccentric inhabitants, he’s always been a mystery to most.

Only one person sees beyond Hunter’s quirky facade. Willow Greene, the new age herbalist who owns the local candle and potpourri shop, has secretly loved him since they were in high school. When, sixteen years later, she discovers Hunter has loved her just as long, Willow hopes her dreams are finally coming true.

Willow soon learns that Hunter fears happiness at her side isn’t in the cards for him. With her natural optimism and courage, she almost convinces him he’s wrong—that they can really have that life together they both long for—but even Willow can’t stop what Hunter knows is coming.

One by one, his worst nightmares become reality, culminating in an unthinkable tragedy, which devastates everyone it touches. Willow’s battle begins in earnest as Hunter is plunged into a bleak, guilt-ridden despair, threatening to destroy not only their love, but Hunter, himself.

Finding Hunter is the story of a lost man’s desperate struggle to make his way home again, and one woman’s unshakeable faith in him and the power of their love.


THAT DARKEST PLACE: Riverbend Book 3

BLURB:

“There are dark places in every heart, in every head. Some you turn away from. Some you light a candle within. But there is one place so black, it consumes all light. It will pull you in and swallow you whole. You don’t leave your brother stranded in that darkest place.”
~Hunter Painter~

The new year is a chance for new beginnings—usually hopeful, positive ones. But when Jackson Painter plows his car into a tree shortly after midnight on January 1, his new beginnings are tragic. His brothers, Forrest and Hunter, take up a grim bedside vigil at the hospital, waiting for Jackson to regain consciousness and anxious over how he’ll take the news that he’s lost a leg and his fiancée is dead. After all, the accident was all his fault.

As the shocking truth emerges, one thing becomes obvious—Jackson will need unconditional love and support from both of his brothers if he is to survive.

Just as he begins the long road to recovery, danger, in the form of a sinister, unsigned note, plunges him back into bleak despair. Scrawled in blood red letters, the accusation—and the threat—is clear. “MURDERER!”

Will the long, harrowing ordeal that lies ahead draw the Painter brothers closer together, or drive them apart forever?

Suspenseful and often heartbreaking, this small-town tale is a testimonial to the redemptive power of love and paints a story filled with humor, romance, and fierce family loyalty.


And there you have my last sale of the year. Hope you’ve found a new book or two that appeals to you. Thanks so much for being such a lovely group of followers. You’ve made my life richer throughout good years and not-so-good ones, and I appreciate every single one of you! Here’s to a much better year ahead!