Guest Post: Portraying My Characters as Real Human Beings by Dianne Lynn Gardner

Author Dianne Lynn Gardner

I am very happy to introduce my guest for the week, Dianne Gardner, who asks if teenagers can turn their awareness of their parent’s inadequacies into respect for them, as Ian, the main protagonist in her book does, and grasp what a large part the power of love plays. Welcome Dianne and thank you for being here.

As much as Ian wants him to be, Alex Wilson isn’t a perfect father.

I’ve heard a little buzz about my book Deception Peak concerning that very subject. Alex Wilson, a grown man, a father, doesn’t make excellent choices, he’s a little selfish actually and  the reader wonders if they can trust him. But really, as they say, there’s a method behind the madness! It wasn’t an accident.

I wanted to write a book that teen-age boys can relate to. I don’t come from a perfectIan Wilson from the book Deception Peak by Dianne Gardner family, and my kids certainly weren’t raised in one. I see many, many children being raised in single parent homes. Often the parents aren’t much more mature than the kids. Not their fault. Perhaps they had emotional issues that set them back. In Alex’s case, he’s still surviving the death of his spouse, and coming to grips with being a single parent.  No one taught him how and he certainly didn’t expect things to turn out like they did.

A broken family means imperfection.

How could I put a perfect dad in a book meant for teens living in an imperfect world?

They’d know I was lying to them.

Alex Wilson - A character in Deception Peak by Dianne Lynn GardnerAnd you know, there isn’t anything in the Book of Life that says just because we reach a certain age (adulthood— when’s that by the way?) we’re going to make perfect choices… like there’s some software programmed into our brains that clicks on at age such-and-such.

If I were writing that message in my stories, than woe to the kids who’d be waiting around for the reboot!

It just doesn’t happen. And it isn’t fair to kids to try and convince them otherwise.

We are in the middle of a journey. Child, young adult, adult, senior, whatever stage we’re at, we’re learning and growing. Hopefully we get some sense  as we grow older, but there are events in life that can set us back too.

What’s important, and something that I wanted to make sure the reader gets from the series, is that no matter how many faults Ian finally realizes his father has-he still loves him.

No matter how many personal problems parents have today; problems like Dad not paying child support, or not coming around to see their children enough, or Mom drinking too much, or Mom and Dad fighting, or even Mom and Dad not understanding what the kids are going through…the real issue Deception Peak addresses is, how can I love my parent despite his or her inadequacies?

For Ian, he doesn’t even see it as a choice. He loves his dad. Period. But he wrestles with passing judgment on him none the less. It isn’t until his eyes are opened to how others view the world, that he realizes his critical eye.

Indeed, the need for family becomes evident in the midst of tragedy, and Ian is exposed to tragedy.

One of the most crucial eye openers Ian gets is when he meets Vilfred for the first time. A cripple, unable to move but for his friendly smile and wise advice, Ian learns the story of Vilfred’s sacrifice to save an undeserving people from their own idol worship. It humbles Ian. Vilfred is a man who was much like his own father once. A hunter, strong, caring. With Vilfred as his mentor, Ian begins to appreciate his father, and to respect him.

As a side note, compared to some of the situations kids find themselves in these days I’d say Alex Wilson is a pretty cool dad – regardless of taking the plunge with his son into a dangerous and mysterious realm.

“Deception Peak”, published by Hydra Publications, is available from Amazon in Paperback and Kindle  formats.

Hydra Publications

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Book video trailer

Deception Peak by Dianne Lynn Gardner- Book cover

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Guest Post: To Catch a Reader by Sarah Buchynski

Sarah Buchynski

My guest this week is the young fantasy author, Sarah Buchynski, who shares her passion for writing; along with some great insights into how she feels is the best way to engage her readers. Wonderful stuff! Welcome, Sarah, and thank you for being here.

Today, I am supposed to write about something I am passionate about in life. However, what really is passion?  I would like to think of it as something in one’s life that brings them great joy.  So, what brings me great joy in life?  There are many things, but I am going to focus on writing.  More specifically, creating a piece of work that others will be entertained when exposed to it.  While I am writing, I am thinking of many things at once.  How can I write down the ideas that are swimming in my head to convey them to the reader without boring them to death?  What would sound better: It was morning and it came fast. The sky was filled with many colours; or: It was now dawn and it had come swiftly.  With it came swirls of pink and red clouds.  The colours painted a beautiful canvas in the sky.  Just for the sake of illustrating a point, the first quote is relatively dull.  It does get the information across, but is it entertaining?  Will the reader be entranced by the scenario, and does it allow them to “enter” the story?  I personally think it would not.  The second example has a bit more detail – this detail can help a reader see the story inside their minds as they are reading.  For fiction works, I think that it is important to paint a picture inside the reader’s mind.  Since I am passionate about entertaining people through my literature, this concept is a priority for me to incorporate into my work.

Everything I do in my writing relates back to how to entertain the reader.  After I get my canvas of words painted on a tangible medium, I then ask myself another question – how can I make my story larger than life, but still believable?  This may seem like an oxymoron, at first.  However, there is a thin line as to where the two are no longer compatible.  For instance, in fantasy, a lot of its elements do not exist in reality.  So when writing, you have a lot of freedom.  Yet, I cannot give a character such weird ability that will leave the reader thinking, “Okay, as if that could really happen…”  Sometimes you cannot make a human character have ultra superhuman abilities, since we live in a reality where people can never be like that.  So, since we are used to that reality, we naturally feel this way.  However, for something that does not exist in our reality, I can make it larger than life because we do not have the ability to anticipate all the possibilities.

A thesaurus, adjectives, treading the line between fantasy and reality, and research are my best friends and tools to making my passion come to life.  The research is like “eye candy” for a reader.  I find that many readers appreciate and enjoy it when writers incorporate a storyline around mystical concepts like ancient times (people, artifacts, places, etc.) or mythology.  However, I sometimes find that simply alluding to these concepts, rather than dwelling on them full-blown in the story, can add that extra “tease” to spark one’s interest in the story and characters.

I hope that whoever read this blog was entertained, while I shared my passion with all of you!

Bio

Sarah Buchynski is a young author that showed a passion for writing even as a child. In her grade school years, she placed second in an essay writing contest for the Royal Canadian Legion and has two poems published in a student anthology with Creative Communications and several works in school-based anthologies. Now she has expanded her writing ambitions with her first fantasy series, Before True Light, which is available as a Kindle eBook on Amazon.

As a writer, one of Sarah’s main techniques is to paint a vivid picture into the reader’s mind through carefully constructed imagery. In addition to the embedded metaphors which older audiences can enjoy along with the story.

Sarah’s other technique is research. Almost every name of places and characters have been carefully researched so that it is relevant to the storyline. Sarah believes that everything in a story should have a purpose to an extend, so that makes research even more important even for works of fiction.

 Before True Light:  The Awakening by Sarah Buchynski Book Cover

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Guest Post: All in the Mind by Jenny Twist

I am delighted, yet again, to welcome back another of my past guest Bloggers.  This time it is the wonderful author, Jenny Twist, who has returned for a visit with her thought-provoking post about her new book; a novel with a sort of physical Benjamin Button syndrome twist to the plot. Thank you, Jenny, for being my guest again, and welcome back.Guest Blogger Jenny Twist on Amelia Curzon's Blog - Curzon

Years ago I read about an old folks’ home where they did the experiment of making their environment like that of their youth. I can’t remember where I read this or what they were attempting to prove, but I do remember that one surprising result was that the subjects’ hair darkened.

I’ve had the idea lurking at the back of my mind ever since. What if you carried the experiment to its logical conclusion?

Last year I entered Nanowrimo for the first time (a competition to write a novel in a month) and this was the idea that resurfaced when I sat down at my computer. I have never written so fast and furiously in my life before. The story just poured onto the page.

I kept coming across gaps in my knowledge but followed Stephen King’s advice and just wrote it, intending to deal with all that later. When I picked it up again a few weeks later and got down to seriously working on it I found I had to do a lot of research on the Second World War. I knew a fair bit already from reading and television documentaries, as well as the experiences of my own parents, but I needed to know things like what branded goods they used, how the rationing system worked, etc.

I also realised, when one of my characters suddenly got completely out of hand and decided to return to India, that I was woefully ignorant of Indian culture. I knew some from reading, and I had studied a lot of Indian history at university, but I had no idea whether my knowledge would suffice for modern-day India. The problem with something like that is you All in the Mind by Jenny Twist book cover on aecurzon.wordpress.comdon’t know what it is you don’t know. I did not realise, for example, that a Hindu would be unlikely to understand Urdu. So I appealed on Twitter for experts on Hindu culture to read and correct it. I had four responses and checked all their comments with Google. Thank you, you wonderful people. You’ve saved me a lot of embarrassment. And thank God for Google. It’s saved me weeks of work.

My dear friend, Caroline, read the proofs when she was staying with me and suggested the idea for a cover. She painted the beautiful hands. They belong to her mother, Anne Ritson, to whom the book is dedicated. The photograph is of my own mother, May Thornton, who was a nurse at the end of the Second World War.

So, to a large extent, this book is the product of friendship.

Here are some of the things other authors have to say about it:

Jenny Twist is an enormously talented story-weaver who just goes on getting better.  Fans of the wonderful novel, ‘Domingo’s Angel’ will not be disappointed with this latest offering from her.  It’s a sweet and haunting feel-good story which will immerse you totally in its fictional world and leave you feeling deeply satisfied.  Absolutely recommended.  (Lynette Sofras)

All in the Mind will take you on a mind trip, one from which you won’t want to return. As always, Jenny Twist’s fiction is an addictive treat that’s tightly woven to draw the readers in and keep them there.  (Su Halfwerk) 

This book moved me more than any other in recent memory, not because it was sad, although some scenes were very tragic, but because of the depth of emotion I felt for the characters, and the lasting love they share. . I dare anyone to read this book and not be moved to tears of joy.  (Tara Fox Hall)

Biography

Jenny Twist was born in York and brought up in the West Yorkshire mill town of Heckmondwike, the eldest grandchild of a huge extended family.

She left school at fifteen and went to work in an asbestos factory. After working in various jobs, including bacon-packer and escapologist’s assistant, she returned to full-time education and did a BA in history at Manchester and post-graduate studies at Oxford.

She stayed in Oxford working as a recruitment consultant for many years and it was there that she met and married her husband, Vic.

In 2001 they retired and moved to Southern Spain where they live with their rather eccentric dog and cat

Her first book, Take One At Bedtime, was published in April 2011 and the second, Domingo’s Angel, was published in July 2011. Her novella, Doppelganger, was published in the anthology Curious Hearts in July 2011, Uncle Vernon, was published in Spellbound, in November 2011, Jamey and the Alien and Uncle Albert’s Christmas were published in Warm Christmas Wishes in December 2011, Mantequero was published in the anthology Winter Wonders in December 2011 and Away With the Fairies, her first self-published story, in September 2012.

Her new anthology, with Tara Fox Hall, Bedtime Shadows, a collection of spooky, speculative and romance stories, was published 24th September 2012.

Her new novel, All in the Mind, about an old woman who mysteriously begins to get younger, will be published 24th October 2012.

A few other places to find Jenny

Website

Facebook

Goodreads Blog

Twitter

Email: casahoya@gmail.com

And a few more books …

Bedtime Shadows by Jenny Twist book cover on aecurzon.wordpress.com

Away with the Fairies by Jenny Twist book cover on aecurzon.wordpress.com

The novel Spellbound book cover on aecurzon.wordpress.com

The novel Domingo's Angel book cover on aecurzon.wordpress.com

The novel Winter Wonders book cover on aecurzon.wordpress.com

Why Being a Ghost Writer is Wonderful! by Karen Cole

Ghost Writer Inc Guest Blogging on https://aecurzon.wordpress.com/I have hosted many outstanding and gifted writers on my Blogs, but never before have I had the privilege of introducing a ghost writer. So I am especially pleased this week to do just that and greet ghost writer Karen Cole. Welcome Karen and thank you warmly for accepting my invitation and being my guest. 

First of all, it’s a very free feeling knowing that when your own writing is attributed to someone else, if people get judgemental about the work it doesn’t come back to you!  LOL – I’m kidding of course; I feel bad anytime someone “pans” something I’ve written under a client’s name. But that doesn’t happen very often. I’m an award-winning writer, editor and poet, and my work usually receives terrific reviews and often attains best seller status as well.

Anyway, being a ghost writer is eerily spooky fun. You get to pick your own hours, just as a freelance writer does; but as the gigs are not generally steady ones, you really are free to work whenever you want. This is as long as you meet the client’s deadlines, which are usually pretty loose ones. Also, you can get some of the credit for your work – I usually ask for credit as a book’s “editor,” no matter what type of work, including research, rewriting and ghost writing, that I have actually done on the book.

And the pay can be good as well. I offer affordable ghost writing services, so I sometimes don’t take more than $5,000 USD to work on a project, if it doesn’t entail a lot of work and mostly involves editing a client’s already written manuscript or ample notes. But our company has gotten $25,000 and up for our work on various manuscripts and screenplays, and I have received great figures as well. I can’t talk much about the work I do for celebrities and well-known clients, though – that’s why I’m a ghost writer – you can’t discuss much outside of your work, and I’ve signed a lot of NDAs (non-disclosure agreements).

Finally, over the years I have learned a lot from ghost writing. Ghost writers do a lot of background research, and so I’ve found out about and added to the professional literature on a wide variety of subjects, from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to the Holocaust to Eastern yoga practices. I learn every day from my clients, especially on how to mediate between writers and clients, as I run a ghost writing service that sends work out to writers on our team. And I learn a lot on how to get along with people on a professional basis.

But I think the best thing is how I’ve learned from editing certain book manuscripts and screenplays; there is always something new, and it’s so much fun to learn all about new things!

About Karen Cole

Karen Cole is an affordable book ghost writer, copy editor, proof reader, rewriter and book author with a team of 100+ writing field and book / screenplay workers, some of which are New York Times best-selling authors. We do inexpensive marketing, promotions and publishing or optioning assistance, and we have contacts with literary agents, commercial publishers and literary or film field professionals. We also offer ghost writers for music and composition, such as rap music and other genres, and we have ghost writing for Facebook and Twitter as well.

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Changing the Persona of the Vampire by Ashlynne Laynne

Guest Bloggers on Amelia Curzon's blogWriting this week, we welcome author Ashlynne Laynne, giving us her purist views on penning  vampire fiction.

I am passionate about changing the persona of the vampire.

I’ve been obsessed with the horror genre since my grandmother took me to see Creepshow when I was very young. I’m a horror movie fanatic, and I watch everything—slasher, cheesy b rated, zombie, vampire, witches. You name it; I will or have already seen it. My movie library is more than half horror.

My Progeny Series is about a family of vampires and one within their family who is different, yet the same. Ascher is a half-bloodling (half-human and half vampire). His skin possesses the warmth of a human’s, yet he lives off blood and is immortal like his family.

New wave authors are bringing forth a new breed of vampire. The days of the cold-blooded, garlic fearing, cross-avoiding fiends of old are slowly giving way to a new type of warrior. The new blood is tougher, meaner, more human-like and fall deeper in love than any of their predecessors. These guys have the gentle touch of a feather but can tear an enemy apart with the same hands. They’re as passionate about their clan ties as they are about the women who stir their blood.

They’re bold, sexy warriors with hearts of gold and wills of steel. Their bodies are lean, sculpted immortal vessels of paranormal strength and ability. They’re devoted brothers, enemy slayers and erotic lovers capable of completely satisfying their chosen mate.

An author’s imagination dictates a character’s world and we empower ourselves to freely interpret our mythical beings—even if it goes against the grain of traditional vampire roles. For me, creating feeling and intense vampires that are outside the typical vampire box is important. My vampires love passionately, have a strong sense of brotherhood and feel the full gamut of human emotions.

While I’m not one to conform, I subscribe to the fact that vampires are pale and blood drinkers. I, however, don’t have mine running around draining the life out of poor, unsuspecting victims. I’m a purist in believing that they are cold-skinned and burn in sunlight, but I’m not one to believe that vampires are emotionless, evil fiends who sleep in coffins and plan the demise of us warm-blooded humans.

The humanization of the “undead” makes for more interesting and intense love stories with the ability to suck the reader in, while fueling the imagination.

And really…why is it so hard to believe that a vampire might have the emotional capacity to love as much as a human? They typically were human once and surely felt the full range of emotions during that time. So, why wouldn’t that carry over into immortality?

With the Twilight craze, True Blood and the Vampire Diaries (all of which I find fabulous) vampires have taken on a sexy, new persona becoming objects of longing and lust for young and older women alike. And who could blame us? I mean…if a vampire that looked like Ian Somerhalder wanted to bite me, I wouldn’t say no.

He wouldn’t need his vampire mind control for me to comply.<<<<>>>> 

About Ashlynne

Ashlynne Laynne has always had a soft spot in her heart for vampires but grew tired of the garlic fearing, sun-loathing creatures of old. An avid horror movie fan, she tends to enjoy media and music that is of a younger, more eclectic nature. This was the catalyst for her writing The Progeny. The vampire/witch pairing is unique and different when most books pair vampires with werewolves.

Ashlynne loves writing on the edge and teetering between the erotica and romance genres, and thinks of Ascher and Shauna as the wicked, damned version of Romeo and Juliet. She is currently working on books three and four of her Progeny Series, book one of her upcoming Rocker Series, and an untitled novella WIP. In her spare time, she enjoys cooking, reading and spending time with her family. She juggles the hats of wife, mother, full-time employee and part-time writer, hoping to write full-time one day soon.

Ashlynne lives in North Carolina with her husband and teenage son.

Ashlynne’s Links

Will You Do the Work? by Mohanalakshmi Rajakumar

Guest Bloggers on Amelia Curzon's blog

Looking for some sound advice about starting out as a writer!  Well, my Guest Blogger for the week is here to share the essential basics of where to begin.  A warm welcome to you, Mohanalakshmi Rajakumar, and thank you for your user-friendly guidance. 

People ask me for writing advice all the time. After all, I used to work for a publishing house and I am now an indie author of six titles.  I don’t mind giving advice, I really don’t. I do mind repeating myself. So for the sake of all perpetuity, I’m going to share the key steps to getting started as a writer.

Below, I’m going to share everything you need to consider if you want to be published. “Everything” as in the beginning steps you’ll need to take.  If you want to know more, consider my book So You Want to Sell a Million Copies? Or others like it that offer more in-depth guidelines, links, and information.Guest Blogger Author Mohanalakshmi Rajakumar on Amelia Curzon's Blog - "Curzon"

Step One:

Write a book. Yes, I know this might seem slightly obvious but you’d be amazed how many people seem to miss this crucial step in their rush to get into print. They have a great idea, a story that will leap at readers, and they can’t wait to sell it. Well, last time I checked, you can’t sell something that doesn’t exist (well, people on Wall Street try all the time and look where that got the global economy). Get yourself an office, a café, or even a clear space of desk and get to writing. There is no skipping this step.

Step Two:

Find beta readers. These are people who will tell you what they think about the book’s contents. They will say that a character doesn’t seem real or that the language is kitsch. You are not allowed to hate them for it because are providing you an invaluable service: prevention from public humiliation when your book goes worldwide. Treat them like gold. Do not ask your mother or Aunt Mildred, nor your father if his thing is to be overly critical. Find a writing group, online or in person, join, and return the favor to receive good critiques.

Step Three:

Think through your publishing options carefully. Do you want to go the commercial route and wait a year or longer for an agent to show interest in you? Because that’s if all goes smoothly; the agent then needs to sell to an editor and conversely a publishing house on your behalf, first, and then your idea. If you don’t have the heart for form rejections or time to bite your nails as you wait for replies, consider self-publishing. Smashwords, Kindle, iBooks – the options seem to be multiplying by the day. Consider which meets your needs and what budget you have for publicity, marketing, etc. Even if you go commercial, you’ll still be expected to promote your book. The days of company led marketing campaigns are all but nil, and those only for the repeat best sellers.

Step Four:

Build a fan base, not by spamming everyone you know, but creating a good product and establishing connections with other people who are either interested in your story or in the same genre you’re in. I recently published a contemporary romance novel. It borderlines literary fiction but in order to establish a niche, I’m reaching out to the romance set. They are friendly, they want reviews, and they’re looking to exchange guest posts, Tweets, Facebook likes, you name it. Once you do agree how you’ll benefit each other, make sure you hold up your part of the bargain. The internet makes the social media sphere a small world and you don’t want to be that uppity writer who angered a book reviewer.

Step Five:

Persist, be patient, and helpful. Just like you did in the writing phase, marketing and publicity may get cumbersome. See you can get on your team. There are plenty of reasonably priced groups and individuals out there looking to support authors of all stripes. Find them, join them, become one of them. Many of these opportunities are free, like Goodreads or Facebook interest groups. Remember: you need to give before you can get, so give as much as you can and build up these relationships with people so that they will be excited about promoting you and your project.

The irony behind headlines that say someone was a ‘overnight success’ is that they rarely are. Jodi Picoult, who has been on more bestseller lists than most of have pairs of shoes, once said that her overnight success was nine years in the making.

Ask yourself if you are willing to put in that kind of dedication. If the answer is no, then maybe you’d rather do something else. Like learn how to play tennis. I hear the Brits are trying to find someone to make it to the finals next year.

Mohanalakshmi Rajakumar

Romantic ebook by Mohanalakshmi Rajakumar

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