Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Etsy Inspiration for World Domination

Seeking is close, but not close enough.
Hunt it..
Inexhaustible wings,
scanning the horizon.
Crave it.
There is no excuse for going hungry.
We are here to feast.
Danelle LaPorte

I know it's late in the day to be blogging (since I expect those who are following want to be cheered and incited much earlier in their day), but sometimes it takes me a while to recognize the significance of the events chasing me down all the time.

I'm an Etsy follower. Actually, I'm an Etsy-seller wannabe, but "follower" sounds better. That means, I get their newsletter. Anyone else who gets it will have seen the post I'm linking to and if so, Great! 

I stopped reading about halfway through because I was getting too excited to just sit and read.

First of all, it's about Brene Brown I first heard her on TEDTalks. Talking about being vulnerable.   Then there's the seductive idea of non-conformity as an art.  Where was that idea when I was a kid? And putting Fear where you want it to be instead of letting it drive you where it thinks you should be. That one's my favorite.  More from Danielle LaPorte:

This is Your Guarantee of Failure. Proceed anyway.

You will fail. At some point. More than once.

You will get hurt.
You’re going to get dumped, broken up with. Betrayed, even.
Heart broken. Heart.BROKEN.
You might get kicked out, rejected, canned. Denied entry.
Not invited.
You will be criticized.
You will be denied.
You’ll be too late.
You’ll give up too soon.
You’ll misread the fine print, sign a bad deal, and it’ll cost ya — dearly. You will miss opportunities, miss the mark, let some precious part of life pass you by. You won’t win. You will lose.
You will be wounded and you’ll have scars — that show.
You’ll have regrets.
And things you wish you could do over.
You’ll say things you wished you had never said.
There will be many, many things that you’ll wish you had said — fiercely loving and bravely tender things, righteously justice-rendering things that could change everything — but instead, you’ll fail to rise in the way you wanted to.
There’s no mystery, there’s no avoiding it, and no one born has ever, or will ever, be immune. Failing is as certain as sunsets and detours. So why exert energy avoiding the unavoidable? Shift your energy from protecting yourself from failure to squeezing the life out of life.
Let your guard down, take the brakes off, and tear up that insurance policy – it was a rip off anyway. The status quo has been feeding you factory-grade illusions. Sign up, speak up, get out, and get it on. You will fail. At some point. More than once. Guaranteed. Proceed anyway.

I'm breathless.  And wanting to read more, so I'll leave you with that. Much, much better than I could say, and more bravely.

Later all,

Monday, July 30, 2012

Savvy Authors Summer Symposium

I am a big believer in writer/author groups, and one of my favorite groups that I belong to is Savvy Authors. I've taken countless workshops and chats over the years, and I've also met my great and very supportive circle of writer friends. And every summer I get pumped for the Summer Symposium.

The 2012 Summer Symposium is a week jam-packed with workshops, chats and Q/A sessions and it's a week that I spend practically glued to my computer. It's a week of learning - and fun! This year is no exception, as it promises to another great week. The Symposium runs August 20-26th.

This year Savvy Author members and friends are in for a treat as 2012 RITA Winner, NY Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Darynda Jones about "Seducing the Reader into Turning the Page" in a chat that writers don't want to miss. Also learn from Leanna Renee Hieber as she teaches "How to Write Adult While Writing YA".

The online format features presenters sharing their craft, genre and writing secrets during workshops, chats or Q/A sessions. There will also be talk about publishing and promoting, offering editor and agent pitch opportunities to registrants with completed manuscripts. They are also raffling off tons of prizes from books on craft to novels, gift certificates, workshops, three-chapter critiques from editors and published authors and more. Also one lucky participant will win a Kindle Fire.

2012 Savvy Symposium Participants:
  • Leanna Renee Hieber
  • Robin Covington
  • Sandy James
  • Mary Wine
  • Beth Daniels
  • Deborah Riley-Magnus
  • Darynda Jones
  • Susan Meier
  • Dakota Cassidy
  • Margaret Riley
  • Kris Tualla
  • Suzanne Lazear
  • Stacey Kade
  • Liz Pelletier, Entangled Publishing
  • Gordon Warnock, Andrea Hurst & Associates
  • Mary Sue Seymour, The Seymour Agency
  • Cindy Brannam, Soul Mate
  • Char Chaffin, Soul Mate
  • Andrea Somberg, Harvey Klinger, Inc.
  • April Chapman, Ellora's Cave
  • Alicia Condon, Kensington
  • Alison Dasho, Carina Press
  • Mallory Braus, Carina Press
  • Jeff Seymour, Carina Press
  • Rhonda Helms, Carina Press
  • Deb Nemeth, Carina Press
  • Libby Murphy, Entangled
  • Margaret Riley, Changeling Press
  • And more to come!
Check out www.savvyauthors.com for more information.

Come spend a week with Savvy Authors and friends for craft and genre galore at the 2012 Summer Symposium. Hopefully I'll see you there!


Saturday, July 28, 2012

Bring Home the Gold!

The opening ceremonies of the 2012 Olympic Games took place Friday in London.  Did you watch?   I did. 
With great anticipation, I look forward to the story the host country will tell.  How they will portray themselves?  What kind of magic will happen that will light up the sky?   I still remember the opening ceremonies from past games that took place in France, US, and China.  They did not disappoint. 
Of course, every story needs a hero.  Only with the Olympics, there are hundreds of heroes and I’m swept up in their struggles, disappointments and triumphs.   I am always captivated by an athlete’s quest for perfection while a billion eyes watch every move they make.  Talk about pressure.   Whoa!

Till next time,

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Nature helps me create fantasy settings

While I have company this week, I’ve been taking in lots of local sites like a tourist. Some settings and views captured my mind and spun short fantasy scenes, which is usually how my storied begin. Here’s a short list of my favorites that can easily be explained with science, but also seem very magical.

Rainbows—We have a lot of summer rains here in Florida and get frequent rainbows, often in full arc and some even double. I can’t help but marvel at them and wonder what magical beings I might find at the end of a rainbow.

Rippled sand created by tidal flow—I could be convinced that water fairies, called sprites, were hard at work forming those patterns.

Large, old trees or gnarly, weather-beaten trees—What history those trees could tell if I could just unlock their language! Big trees always look like good homes for magical beings, in their wide trunks or sturdy limbs. 

Conch shells—Their spiraled shapes amaze me. It seems magical how those sea dwellers know to form those complex shaped shells. Since I have a degree in Biology, I can explain the process in terms of science, but I think that knowledge just leaves me even more awestruck.

Clouds—Incoming storm clouds take shapes from my imagination. I’m often inspired by them.

What features in nature make you think of fantasy settings?

~ ~ ~
Marsha A. Moore is a writer of fantasy romance. The magic of art and nature spark life into her writing. Read her ENCHANTED BOOKSTORE LEGENDS for adventurous epic fantasy romance: Book One, SEEKING A SCRIBE, and Book Two, HERITAGE AVENGED. She has also authored the Ciel's Legacy series, with fast action mermaid/pirate storylines: TEARS ON A TRANQUIL LAKE and TORTUGA TREASURE.  For a FREE ebook download, read her historic fantasy, LE CIRQUE DE MAGIE, available at Amazon and Smashwords.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

What's In a Name? by Meg Whitlock

A big Salon welcome to today's guest, author Meg Whitlock! Follow the links at the end of her post on naming characters to pick up a copy of her new urban fantasy novel, The Dark Man's Son.

What’s in a Name?

Juliet proposed that a rose by any other name would smell as sweet, but I wonder if it would. I spend literally hours choosing names for characters in my books, and every name, no matter how minor the character, means something. Names are especially important in speculative fiction, and there are various reasons why.

If you’re writing fantasy that involves world-building, characters’ names can set the tone for the entire book. Are the names in a language exclusive to your world, like Elvish in Lord of the Rings? Or are you doing more of an odd-spelling-and-character-traits trick like George RR Martin in A Song of Ice and Fire?

If you’re writing urban or contemporary fantasy, the names you choose can be equally important. Think of Sookie Stackhouse. It’s an unusual name, but not exotic, and it evokes the Deep South setting of Charlaine Harris’ books.

The Dark Man’s Son is a little unusual in that the heroine goes by several names within the course of the book. She’s eons old, and she’s adopted various names throughout the ages. The book is told partially through flashbacks to former eras, and in those time periods she’s called something else. Even in the present she’s called Alex by one character, Helene by another, and Heidr by yet another. So why the heck would I try so hard to confuse the hell out of my readers?

I’m not trying to confuse anyone. Really, I’m not. But it’s logical. If you’d existed since almost the beginning of time, would you have the same name the whole of your life? Probably not. She does have a name name, an original name, but it’s in a language that mortals can’t hear without their heads exploding. That would be messy and inconvenient. I also don’t know what it is or how to spell it.

Our hero, Jason, is named after his grandfather, Jameson O’Connor. His last name is Latimer, as he was adopted by his stepfather at a young age. So. In his name you have tradition and mystery. He was named after a man his mother hasn’t had contact with in almost thirty years—her father, Jason’s grandfather—and a man he isn’t technically related to. Who is Jason, really? That question, of course, is the main one of the book…and I don’t just mean his father’s identity.

The Dark Man of the title has quite a few names, too. He introduces himself to Jason as Luke, but since there’s another Luc in the book—and a Lucifer—I used that just as a sly wink to Alex and moved on. Throughout this book he’s called Cassius, a name he picked up in ancient Rome, but he reels off about half a dozen other names the first time he and Jason meet.

In the sequel to The Dark Man’s Son I’ll have to choose another name for Cassius. Chunks of it take place before Rome was anything more than a barbarian settlement on the Tiber. I’ve been doing research into names for him—that’s what inspired this article, in fact—and I’ve found a whole host of names for demons and angels and various and sundry others that I hadn’t even thought of before. New characters are being created inspired solely by names.

Oh, let’s talk about the demons for a minute. First there’s Lucifer. He’s not technically a demon, but he’s in charge of them. He’s also called the Morning Star and the Devil. And then there’s Satan, who’s not the same creature as Lucifer. He’s also not the Devil, though that bit is perhaps open for debate.

One thing I have to remind myself, dear readers: this is my world with my mythology. I choose the names. I choose the identities that go with them. As Cassius tells Jason at their first meeting, “So many years, so many names. We’re bound to overlap sometimes.” I suppose it can be confusing to anyone not inside my head, but here’s the thing: I do it for a reason. Names matter. Maybe the rose would smell as sweet, but I still think it would be different somehow, and not necessarily in a good way.

If it helps I provide a cheat sheet in the back. ;)

The Dark Man’s Son
By Meg Whitlock
Guardian Chronicles #1

 B&N Amazon Smashwords

Blurb/Book Description:

She claimed the muggers were demons, but of course Jason didn’t believe her. At first.

When a mysterious woman appears in a dirty alley to rescue Jason Latimer from a pair of muggers, he tries to write her off as a garden variety lunatic. But he can’t shake the memory of her intense green eyes that seemed to flash gold, or the glowing sword she’d worn on her hip.

She calls herself Alex (no last name) like she’d made it up on the spot, and she offers Jason her protection. From what, she can’t or won’t say. He refuses, and that night he dreams of a dark man with the same offer. His black eyes flash blood and garnet, and he smells of burning things. Jason refuses him, too.

A chance meeting brings Alex and Jason together again, and she tells him of the Guardians: two immortal beings created near the beginning of time with the express purpose of fighting for mortal-kind’s soul. She is Light, and the man from Jason’s dream is Dark. Jason must choose, because Lucifer, for reasons purely his own, has unleashed the armies of Hell to hunt Jason down.

But there are things about Jason that not even he knows, and he’ll face hard truths and bitter choices as he struggles to find his place in a world redefined. Will he rise to the challenge, or, when the time comes, will he falter?

From Renaissance Florence to the French Revolution, from World War II to the modern streets of New Orleans, The Dark Man’s Son is a riveting journey filled with unforgettable characters, wry humor, dark twists, and a touch of romance.

Author Bio:
Meg Whitlock has been writing nearly all her life, and she’s glad she finally got over her laziness and wrote the book she’s been dreaming about for years. She graduated from Queens University of Charlotte with a BA in Comparative Arts with an Art History specialization and an Ancient History minor…which is a mouthful no matter how you say it. She has four cats (including an invisible one), a car named Babar, and a vivid imagination.

In 2001 her one-act play, “The Shoebox,” was produced by Catawba College in Salisbury, NC and presented at the American College Theatre Festival. She was honored by Art:21 and the Mint Museum of Art for her essay “Kara Walker: Using Stereotypes to Provoke Thought,” and she’s won awards for both her fiction and non-fiction writing.

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/megwhitlock

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Rocking the Indie Movies at Midnight

I got to take a friend to see Rocky Horror Picture Show on the big screen for the first time in his 31 years.  There wasn't the live show with the movie that I remember when I saw it in New York years ago.  However, we did have water, toast, TP, and rice/confetti. He sang along through the entire thing and even reveled in being Dr. Scott.  He uses a wheel chair when he needs to get out and about so the part was perfect for him. 

I was not as jaded as I might have been. Love the movie as much now as I did when I first saw it.  However, the circumstances were much different. We were outside for one thing.  For another, we know what we are getting into, and the show around the movie was a delight. 

I arrived a little late but not so late to miss too much of Stingray Sam!  I'm in love with this movie.  Love a couple of the songs even more and this is my absolute favorite.  

Didn't know we had a Burlesque troupe in town, though.  That was a surprise.  Here's a much less risque peek at the ladies, the Sizzling Sirens.

Art, music, creativity gone wild.  I'll be doing my part to support the procedure.  Going to see the Sirens live at a local club (about four blocks from my flat, too!).  Looking forward to Movies on a Big Screen finding a new home so I can discover more cool and weird indie films. 

What is going on in your neighborhood that is wild and wonderful and takes you somewhere you have not been in a while?

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Make Everyday Count!

by EWGibson
I am shocked and saddened by the horrific act of violence against innocents that took place this past week in Aurora, Colorado.  I send prayers of love and healing to everyone for this horrendous tragedy affects all of us. 

Till next time,

Friday, July 20, 2012

TV Tropes

Every wanted to know if your favorite novels meets any tropes? Don’t know what tropes are? Then click no further than TV Tropes.  

Tropes are nothing more than recurring themes or motifs. For example, Bearer of Bad News is any character who delivers the message of doom to someone who doesn’t. How many novels out there have this? Probably more than you think and TV Tropes will let you know which novel, TV shows and movie have them.

But don’t worry about being spoiled as you must highlight the text to read any of them. The beautiful and the part where you lose hours is the Genre Tropes page. Genres tend to have their own tropes associated with them. Here is the list for the Speculative Fiction Tropes:

Speculative Fiction Tropes
Magic and Powers
Stock Superpowers
Otherness Tropes
Alien Tropes
Fantastic Sapient Species Tropes
Our Monsters Are Different
Otherworld Tropes
Metaphysical Place
Paranormal Tropes
Time Travel Tropes
By Genre:
Alternate History Tropes
Cyberpunk Tropes
Steampunk Tropes
Urban Fantasy Tropes

That pretty covers all the speculative fictions. Some of my favorite tropes are: Because Destiny Says So, Beethoven Was an Alien Spy, Conveniently Close Planet, Evil Weapon, Freak Lab Accident, Humanity Is Young, I Come in Peace, Immortality, No Sex Allowed, Only Fatal to Adults, Phantasy Spelling, Supernatural Aid, Teenage Mutant Samurai Wombats, Vampire Fiction and What We Now Know to Be True. I love how it is boiled down to what exactly it is. No gimmicks or fancy names for these tropes.

Go ahead and click on the links in the list and let us know your favorite trope. Then use it for your story or for endless hours of entertainment. 

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Why Readers Make the Best Writers by Alyson Burdette

We welcome today's guest blogger, author Alyson Burdette. Pick up her debut novel, Nightfire, today!

If there’s one guaranteed way to tell if someone will be a good writer, it’s to find out what (and how much) they read. People who read ‘get’ words. They understand them, how they should flow together and form the shape of a story, how they should work together to create a perfect image. Even if they don’t always realize it, they understand good writing.

Most people can pick up a book and say if they like or don’t like it fairly quickly, but the people who read a lot can usually give you a reason why. If the characters are strong and believable or the story has amazing descriptions or pacing, readers pick up on it. Books should make the reader fall in love-with the book, and with writing. Which is why people who read a lot have a natural tendency to be good writers.

There’s no better way to improve writing skills, then to pick up a book and check out what’s inside. So if you write, or want to start writing, the first step is to open that story sitting on the shelf. Sooner or later, if you’re a writer, the words bleed into you and back out on to the page.

Alyson Burdette currently lives in the small town of Wadsworth, Ohio. She graduated from The University of Akron, where she majored in Anthropology. She currently works at a pharmacy and loves animals and anything paranormal. When she’s not writing, she spends her time on reading, photography, hiking, and dancing. Here debut novel, Nightfire, is now available from Musa Publishing.

You can learn more about her at:


@AlysonBurdette on Twitter

Contact her at:


Blurb for Nightfire:

When a murder shakes the small town of Peninsula, all eyes are on Olivia Townsend. She may look eighteen, but the townspeople can sense there’s something darker hiding behind her pretty eyes. Olivia knows the smart thing to do is to get out of town. Suspicious neighbors can only mean trouble for a vampire. But leaving becomes much more difficult when William, a mysterious man from her past, arrives. Finding out what brought him back is a temptation Olivia just can’t resist. William’s kindness and interest in Olivia only makes leaving harder. As she starts to fall for him, she’s forced to decide if sticking around is really worth the risk of being discovered. Of course, her mystery man has a secret of his own-and he’s not talking.

Nightfire is available on Musapublishing.com, Amazon.com, and at other major e-book retailers.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

A Very Bewitching Magazine

We love featuring author posts and interviews here in the Salon, and one of the best resources to find potential guests is to be a blog tour host. One of our favorite online book tour organizers is the wonderful Bewitching Book Tours, and when I received the first issue of their new Reader Magazine, I just had to share it with everyone.

Inside you'll find some wonderful articles by authors, fantastic book excerpts, interviews, and more. Bewitching Tours covers a variety of genres and formats, so there's a little something for everyone. Check it out and let me know what you think:

Open publication - Free publishing - More authors

If you follow blog tours or host them on your site, what do you like about them? If you're an author who uses blog tour services, tell us about your experience.


Tuesday, July 17, 2012


OK, so did anyone else see the Discover channel show?  I saw the last ten minutes or so of it because the owner of the TV wanted to see what was going on.  It didn't take me long to realize that the scientists in the documentary were not real. OK if they are real scientists, then I apologize. But, I watch enough of that kind of show to be able to tell when someone is speaking from real experience.  They were just waaaaaay to earnest, to focused on the camera. 

Or maybe I just watch too much Lie To Me :-)

Meanwhile, the only reason I stopped on the show at all, instead of going to bed as I was supposed to, was because I had been to see the locally playing musical of Little Mermaid at the Sacramento Music Circus.  Whatever else I might say about the show I can say three things whole heartedly.  Ursula Rocks!  Unexpexted special effects gets me teary!  The Kiddo I was with was absolutely entranced.  That's all that matters. The show was for the kids, or rather for the girls.  The owner of the aforementioned TV plays cello and I got to hear her under one of Ariel's solos.  All in all it was a lovely way to spend an evening. 

Mermaids real or not, they bring mystery and beauty to our imaginations.  I'll be back to fill you in about the fortunes of Sailor Twain and his creator.  Cool stuff happened there!

Just keep swimming!

Monday, July 16, 2012

What MMOs Can Do For Your Writing

The sun was shinning and the temperatures in Ontario weren't too hot to enjoy the days of summer, but I found myself glued to my computer for an online summer camp fire that was put on by Marketing for Romance Writers (MFRW) http://marketingforromancewriters.org/

The online conference or "camp fire" featured 12-hours of author chats on marketing, how to use social medias like Twitter and Triberr,  how to create believable paranormal creatures, to how to conduct interviews among just a few of the great topics.

One specifically caught my eye - "Role Playing Your Way to Good Scenes: What Playing MMO Can Do For Your Writing" presented by Janet Elizabeth Jones.

Now before the presentation, I had no idea what a MMO was and my last shot as a "gamer" was back playing Sonic the Hedgehog on Sega Genesis. Truthfully, I had a little stint where I was obsessed Rock Band and the drums, but that didn't help my writing.

For those new to online role playing, MMORPG stands for Massive Multi-Player Online Role Playing Game, or MMO for short. These are virtual games that create characters and worlds. I did some research on my own to learn that "Guild Wars" is one of the more popular games, and apparently the second edition is coming out later this summer.

From Janet Elizabeth Jones' handout, "MMOs are immersive by nature, but immersive fiction like Guild Wars is especially helpful to writers. It has an enormous, beautiful world, an epic soundtrack, and a strong and unforgettable storyline, in which players are the long-awaited and much-hoped-for heroes and heroines who will save the world. There is an underlying ethic of honor, courage and tolerance, and a great deal of humor."

When the presentation began, I was wondering if there were a lot of writers that knew about MMOs and played them and there was a group that had been using Guild Wars specifically to help with get the creative juices flowing, while there was another group that were just like me - in the dark. I was shocked by how many writers/authors spend their free time playing MMOs, but they all stressed how it had benefits for their writing.

Jones outlined how MMOs can actually help writing with two major components:
1. World-building - every race has its own rich culture with ancient religions, history, deep lore that is "detailed and believable". This is the type of world-building that authors strive to create and present to our readers.

2. Characterization - each character has their own story arc, included with goals, motivation and conflict, which are the building blocks of writing good fiction. As you spend time with your character, apparently you come to build feelings for them - whether you like or hate them, or laugh and cry with them as the events of their game story unfold. 

After the presentation, I checked out YouTube and found some awesome videos and I can see what the buzz is all about. The animation is beautiful from the settings to the characters. I've included a YouTube Link and it looks amazing!
I have yet to play, but I have checked out how to play for the 14 day trial, but I'm going to wait until I finish my first pass of revisions just in case I get lost in the world. The link to the free trial page of Guild Wars: http://www.guildwars.com/freetrial/ The link to the Guild Wars main page: http://www.guildwars.com

Saturday, July 14, 2012

More Links To Help Or Distract You #2!

I thought I’d share some new links that I've found since the last time I posted a list.  Some of the links or resource lists have more links that will keep you going for awhile.  All of them, I think you will find them useful.  Either now or later.  I’ve accumulated some interesting sites with word lists.  Great if you’re a word hog or are trying to figure out that word tripping on your tongue.  Body language, writing, research and business of writing sites.   Have fun! 
An alternative to Webster or dictionary.com:  http://www.wordnik.com/words/ 

List of emotion and negative words: http://eqi.org/fw_neg.htm

Body Language for writers
This is an incredible list of body language clusters, core patterns and more:  http://www.changingminds.org/techniques/body/body_language.htm

On Writing
Holly Lisle’s manuscript revision from first draft to last in one cycle: http://hollylisle.com/one-pass-manuscript-revision-from-first-draft-to-last-in-one-cycle/
Awesome* C.S. Lakins list of resources includes First page checklist, articles, plus free ebook on Querying letters: http://www.livewritethrive.com/resources/
Resources and tips…not to be missed: http://iconoclasticwriter.com/category/resources/
Plan, write, edit and sell…not to be missed: http://blog.janicehardy.com/p/online-resources.html
Struggling with a synopsis: http://www.charlottedillon.com/synopsis.html  

Search America's historic newspapers pages from 1836-1922 or use the U.S. Newspaper Directory to find information about American newspapers published between 1690-present(From Joan Reeves blog):  http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/
Finding out about the location you’re writing about (From Joan Reeves blog ): http://www.waymarking.com/default.aspx

Business Side of Writing:
How to’s for doing FB timeline:http://www.copyblogger.com/timeline-cover-photo/
Score your title: http://www.lulu.com/titlescorer/index.php

For Inspiration

Many voices, one journey - Sounds True

Do you have a favorite link to share?
Till next time,

Friday, July 13, 2012

Similar Fears

Are you paralyzed by invisible chains? Cannot see where you are going? Blindly reaching out to find your way out? Afraid of what is coming next?

When you are reading a novel, the main character will experience one or all emotions. What the character’s fears will lead to their next action and the next and we love to read characters living by their fears and then overcoming it. The Lord of the Rings’ Aragorn is a perfect example. He fears he will become like his ancestor and runs away. We see him struggle with it and how he overcomes it.

Answer truthful.  What do you fear? What drives your every action? By chance, is it a similar fear to your favorite character?

My favorite fantasy character is Matrim Cauthon from the Wheel of Time series. I’m sure it’s been mention before. At the core, we both want to have fun and no responsibilities. We just want a good time doing what we love to do. I want to play video games, watch anime, movies and have fun with my friends. He wants to drink wine, gamble and enjoy the women. I shy away from taking on responsibilities because I don’t want to let anyone down. He runs away from them because he doesn’t want others to die under him.

While we take different actions, we are both avoiding the same thing. Even though we both know we can do it but we want to have a good time avoid any problems. I improved over the years and taking on more. Matrim has almost accepted his place and is no longer running.

Let me ask again, what do you fear and is it similar to your favorite character? Post if they are similar and if you want to say how they similar.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Creating Fantasy Storylines: Dream Interpretation with The Tarot

I recently found an interesting method to develop a spec fiction storyline, tapping into the rich symbolism of dreams. After I read an article by Karen Hollis on using The Tarot to interpret dreams, it quickly occurred to me that this could be a useful technique for fantasy writers. I’ll briefly explain her method and work through an example with one of my own dreams.

The procedure may be done with any Tarot deck that you feel comfortable with, but it’s important that you are familiar with the meaning of the cards. I’ll use my Mystic Dreamer deck, which I have connected to for a couple years. When used for dream interpretation (rather than divination), The Tarot cards are used like prompts for triggering connections that help you understand what you experienced in the dream state.

5 Steps for Dream Interpretation with The Tarot
  1. Write down the dream exactly as you remember it. Divide your dream into segments that make sense to you. You might call each segment a ‘scene.’ Be brief and simple. One or two sentences are all you need.
  2. Shuffle the Tarot deck that you prefer to use to inquire about the dream.
  3. Pull cards for each segment of the dream as shown in the vignette.
  4. Read the sentence aloud, and interpret the Tarot card as it relates to the sentence you wrote for each scene or segment.
  5. Piece together the meanings of the cards to form a story of what your dream may have meant.
My Sample Tarot Dream Interpretation Vignette

Before my mother passed and was staying at an assisted living facility, I had many dreams and nightmares that my counselor had me record and use for therapy. This was one.

In the dream, Mom passed away while I watched. Slowly, her lifeless body came back to live and started to move, with strength and agility. She sat on her bed and talked coherently, but not fully in connection to my presence. It was as though she knew I was there, but couldn’t hear me. Her mood shifted wildly from happy to violent. Her moodiness scared me and I edged toward the door. When she became upset, I left and she followed. An alarm started to go off as I left the locked memory unit of the facility. My mother easily opened the door, which she was unable to do when alive. Residents and staff were running everywhere and screaming. When I got outside, an aide called my mother’s name. I turned to see my mother turn into a wolf, snarling with teeth bared and looking directly at me. The aide screamed and ran back inside for help. I was left alone with my mother as a fierce wolf. She edged toward me, growling. In a panic, I did the only thing I could think of to save myself. While the wolf crouched to attack, I slowly reached down. I moved with caution to not upset the wolf’s spirit and rubbed the ears. Grudgingly, the wolf calmed…between intermittent growls. I was no longer in danger.

My Dream Segments & Tarot Interpretation

Scene 1.  I’m in my mother’s room in the assisted living facility as she passes away and comes back to life, experiencing violent mood swings.

Card Drawn: reversed King of Cups

Interpretation-   I deny problems or issues that my mother displays rather than addressing or accepting them and move away.
Scene 2.  I’m in the hallways of the assisted living facility, leaving the locked doors of the memory unit and my mother follows.

Card Drawn:  Temperance (major arcana)

Interpretation – On the card, a woman sits peacefully in the midst of rapids of a stream. Despite chaos around her, she remains calm and carefully pours water from one chalice to another. In my dream, I remain perfectly balanced and centered, even though residents and staff members are running in all directions and screaming while an alarm sounds.

Scene 3.  Outside of the assisted living facility, my mother transforms into a snarling wolf, ready to attack me.

Card Drawn:  Tarot Card – reversed King of Wands

Interpretation – I view my mother’s illness with dementia as a demanding and impatient tyrant, who is prone to emotional upheaval, with periods of pouting and jealousy as well as serious anger issues.

Scene 4. Panicked and working on gut instinct, I kneel and pet the angry wolf and it calms.

Card Drawn:  Tarot Card – Ten of Swords

Interpretation – On this card, a woman crouches on a stony beach, ten swords stabbed into her back all along her spine. She looks like she has been trying to get up or just unwilling to fall all the way to the ground. Sunlight shines through the clouds over a still and peaceful ocean, symbolizing calmness of emotions that seems at odds with the destruction on the beach. This card says, in no uncertain terms that, finally, it’s over. In my dream, I have fought through my frustrations in dealing with my mother’s ravaging illness and merely accept her life as it is, finally knowing that I cannot change her situation.

Analysis of the storyline

Although I’ve worked with the tarot deck I used (Mystic Dreamer) with uncanny insight for a couple years, I’m always amazed at the connections the cards draw for me. I was actually considering turning this dream into a paranormal short story, but I struggled with the internal conflict. After this tarot exercise it’s now clear to me! 

Obviously, this method is useful to work through personal issues, which my dream was filled to the brim with. On that note, I was further impressed how the tarot cards added the exact meanings my counselor posed when I worked with her. 

I know many writers work from dreams and keep a bedside notebook just for that purpose since dreams are easily forgotten once you’re fully awake. This method of dream interpretation seems like a fantastic way to connect the dots of the dream action to create a compelling emotional storyline. 

Do you get writing ideas from your dreams? Do you ever attempt to interpret your dreams?


Tarot by Arwen I took an extended workshop with her about helping writers read the tarot. I highly recommend her courses.

Karen Hollis http://readingsbykaren.com

Catharine Chapman – Decoding Your Dreams with Tarot

DeterminingDream Meaning with Tarot 

~ ~ ~
Marsha A. Moore is a writer of fantasy romance. The magic of art and nature spark life into her writing. Read her ENCHANTED BOOKSTORE LEGENDS for adventurous epic fantasy romance: Book One, SEEKING A SCRIBE, and Book Two, HERITAGE AVENGED. She has also authored the Ciel's Legacy series, with fast action mermaid/pirate storylines: TEARS ON A TRANQUIL LAKE and TORTUGA TREASURE.  For a FREE ebook download, read her historic fantasy, LE CIRQUE DE MAGIE, available at Amazon and Smashwords.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Urban Fantasy Is Not Doomed

For the last month or so, there's been a lot of negative predictions for the urban fantasy genre. The word is out that some agents and editors are so inundated with UF queries that they're turning them down left and right. The mood has pretty much gone down hill from there. I've heard everything from "don't bother writing urban fantasy anymore" to "we won't have any new UF series to read, so stock up on what's available now".

But I'm not worried. Let's face it, similar things have been said about various forms of genre fiction over the years, and things have turned out just fine. As long as there's still an audience (which there is), and as long as writers are still passionate about it (which they obviously are), urban fantasy is sticking around for a good long while.

However, that doesn't mean we should ignore some of the underlying problems I believe have led to this disparaging attitude toward my favorite genre. While an agent or editor can find over a hundred reasons to reject a book, they certainly won't take one look at the genre and throw it in the slush pile (unless they've never considered that genre, in which case you've contacted the wrong person, heh). What they are looking for, beyond just grammar and style, is something unique, something fresh, something that will get loyal UF readers to take notice. With publishers becoming pickier about what they choose, I think it will encourage writers to be more creative and produce more quality stories and world building.  

UF has been criticized as being too homogeneous, with the same gritty heroine striking the same impossible pose on every cover whose title must include either the word blood, dead, black, hell, dark, devil, etc. (Not that I haven't enjoyed many of these books, but you know what I mean). Many of my favorite new series from the past few years have been titles that distinguish themselves by breaking out of this mold: Nicole Peeler's Jane True, Kevin Hearne's Iron Druid, and a few others. Check any fantasy forum and you'll find readers asking for more variety in urban fantasy. That doesn't mean authors should base their work solely on public opinion, but it doesn't hurt to stay informed and make some changes to parts of a story where a different angle would be welcome.

Urban fantasy is a very broad genre, with most people grouping it with PNR and YA titles (which drives me kinda crazy, but that's for another post). Just because someone says they aren't buying UF, doesn't mean that goes for every branch of it. Maybe they're sick of vampire/werewolf YA love triangles (and who isn't?), but they still might jump at a new spin on angels, faeries, dark fantasy, etc. And don't forget the booming indie world happening right now. There are some truly fantastic self-pubbed UF authors out there, we've covered several here in the Salon, and they aren't letting up any time soon.

So, should we panic over the future of urban fantasy? Not at all. I predict what we'll see very soon is a market full of new voices, original characters, a variety of mythologies and fantastic creatures, and lots of awesome stories to enjoy.

What's your take on the state of urban fantasy? If you're a writer or a fan, let me know your predictions, or what you'd like to see coming up for the genre.


Monday, July 9, 2012

Whose Imagination Is It? ~guest post by Lynda K. Scott

Those of us at the Speculative Salon are very happy to welcome Lynda K. Scott as our guest today. She has a most unusual writing partner she's going to introduce to our readers!

Whose Imagination Is It?

Hi everyone! Thanks to Marsha for letting me visit today. It's always a treat to see new people and new places, isn't it?

That's one of the reasons I like speculative romance fiction. It's only limited by the author's imagination and the reader's willingness to go along for the ride.

For instance, my alien kitten, Wookie, is my muse and writing partner. When I'm writing a book or short story, she and I have entire conversations. Sure, my family gives me odd looks or thinks I'm goofing around with the kitten but our conversations help ground some of my more…far out ideas.

I love to read and I love all the speculative fiction sub-genres. My science fiction might drop a few scientific facts - and they are facts as far-fetched as they might seem - but the main gist of the story is about the relationship between the two protagonists. That's why I don’t write straight science fiction. You won't find a lot of 'nuts and bolts' technical jargon in my stories.

I particularly love science fiction/fantasy if there's a romance of some sort. It doesn't have to be a full blown romance. It can just show hints of a romance. But there has to be an emotional connection in the story or I just won't be interested in it. Take Star Wars…there's the Princess Leia and the romantic triangle of Han and Luke. It's only potential. There's never a kiss (in the first movie) and a spot of hand holding. But we all see Luke's puppy eyes as he gazes adoringly at Leia and we all know Han's and Leia's instant dislike is a cover for an instant attraction. It's the same for X-Men and Thor and Snow White and the Huntsman and the Hunger Games. It's the emotional connection or potential emotional connection that makes a good story a great story.

I've written short stories that involve shape-shifting dragons and rocker babes, bubble universes and dust bunnies, golems who fight evil magic, and planets orbiting binary stars. My novels have had shape-shifters with interstellar home worlds (HEARTSTONE), an alternate Earth with aliens, dragons and science based on magic (ALTERED DESTINY) and a space opera with an outlawed symbiotic life form (RIDER - currently seeking a publishing home). But the one thing they all have in common is that so very important element of romance.

Oh, Wookie reminds me that I'm offering a free pdf copy of Altered Destiny to one person who leaves a comment AND includes their email address. So make sure you say hi...or chrruup or meow, lol Wookie will pick the winner after midnight Tuesday, July 10 and I'll notify her/him on Wednesday.

Thanks again for having me here!


Where to find me on the web:

To join my newsletter, send a blank email to: LyndaKScott-Newsgroup-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

Star-Crossed Romance Blog http://star-crossedromance.blogspot.com/

By Lynda K. Scott
Mundania Press
Science Fantasy Romance

Eric d'Ebrur is out of time. He must find the legendary Heartstone and fulfill the ancient Gar'Ja bond he shares with the Stonebearer. But when he finds her, he discovers that love can be more dangerous than the Gawan threat. Eric can defeat the mind-controlling Gawan but will it cost him the woman he loves?

After terrifying episodes of hypersensitivity, Keriam Norton thinks she's losing her mind. When handsome shapeshifter Eric d'Ebrur saves her from the monstrous Gawan, she's sure of it. But insane or not, she'll find the Heartstone and, if she's lucky, a love to last a lifetime.

Available in print and ebook format
Buy Links: Mundania Press (use MP10 at checkout for 10% discount)

Altered Destiny
by Lynda K Scott
Science Fantasy Romance
Available in ebook formats

Stranded on an alternate Earth, architect and Jill-of-all-trades, Liane Gautier-MacGregor must find her way back to her homeworld before she's enslaved...or falls in love with a man who is the exact duplicate of her ex-husband.

Devyn MacGregor's alter ego as the Reiver Lord is the only way he can fight the Qui'arel and their nefarious Bride Bounty, a tax paid with human females...until he meets the oddly familiar woman who claims he is her husband. And who sets in motion the rebellion that will either free his countrymen or destroy them.

Buy Links:

Great Escapes – Valentine's Day (First in Series)
By Lynda K. Scott and Linda Wisdom
Interactive Adult Paranormal Fiction

The heartbroken and lovelorn come to Great Escapes B&B in search of a relaxing getaway, only to embark on a weekend of sexual self-discovery, courtesy of the inn's resident ghosts, who bring to life each guest's deepest desires.

Just as the ghosts transform to meet the needs of each guest, Great Escapes leverages the Kindle platform to deliver what each reader wants. Do you like your erotica steamy or romantic? Your hero to have blue or brown eyes? Anonymously fill out your preferences, and we'll deliver the best version of hundreds of combinations prepared by the authors.

In Great Escapes: Valentine's Day, Rose's best friend gives her a weekend stay, where an invisible lover helps her to rediscover her sexuality. But will she open her eyes enough to see who is right next door?

Buy Link

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Review of: Medusa A Love Story by Sasha Summers

 Today the Salon is participating in Virtual Book Tour for Medusa A Love Story by Sasha Summers presented by Bewitching Book Tours. Below you will find a review, a book trailer and an excerpt. Enjoy! 
Cover Art: Jeannie Reusch
 My Review:
Let me begin with the cover art, which I found haunting and full of hidden secrets.  The dead vines that grace the background look like barbwires.  They’re not, but it gave me that feeling of danger, keep out.  The grey to white background alludes to a veil between worlds or cloudy mist.  The other objects, snakes, pedestal and a muscular leg in stone keeps in line what we already know about Medusa.  At the top of the image, a plaque of a God stares out ever vigil to the unfolding of the story.  The beauty of the cover art is its simplicity and subtleness to foreshadow what is to come. 

Sasha Summers has weaved a story full of Greek and Roman mythology, historical events in keeping with that time and lush settings that I could almost touch. 

It’s a story of Medusa before snakes crowned her head.  A time before the Gods cursed her.  This story carves out a new twist to the old myth that belongs to Medusa.  It’s a story of pure love between Medusa and Ariston, the lust of Poseidon for Medusa and duty to the Gods and family.  The richness of the story belongs to the words chosen by Summers to push the emotions of the reader, to elicit a feeling of being there in her world.   There are moments where the pace slowed to describe the setting, but all in all it’s a enchanting read and drew me in.  If you love mythology and romance this is a book for you.  

Blurb:  Medusa A Love Story by Sasha Summers
It's said love can change a person. Medusa wasn't always a monster...
Medusa is ruled by duty, to her Titan father and the Goddess Athena. She's no room for the tenderness her warrior guard, Ariston, stirs. When Olympus frees her from service, her heart leads her into the arms of the guard she loves... and curses her as the creature with serpent locks.
Ariston goes to war with a full heart... and dreadful foreboding. He learns too late of the danger Medusa faces, alone, and a Persian blade sends him into the Underworld. But death, curses, nor the wrath of the Gods will keep him from returning to her.
Poseidon will use Greece's war to get what he wants: Medusa. He does not care that she belongs to another. He does not care that she will be damned. He is a God, an Olympian, and she will be his.
Format: Kindle and Paperback
Pages: 294
Publisher: Crescent Moon Press

“You asked for an audience, you have it. Now tell me, where do you belong?” Hades’ voice was deep, emotionless.
          Ariston swallowed. “Athens.” He met Hades’ gaze, but the God revealed nothing to him.
“Why? You died with honor and glory. Is that not what every soldier wants?” 
          “My wife…” His voice wavered.
Hades brow lifted slightly. “Lives. You do not.”
          “She is in danger.”
          “Earthly danger. She is no longer your concern, Ariston.”
          “The danger she faces is not earthly, but far from it…” Ariston’s voice was hoarse, his desperation mounting. He took a wavering breath before he began again. “She is everything to me. I am proud of my death, but it means nothing if she is in peril. I must know.” Ariston kneeled. “I beg you. I beg you to return me to Athens.”
          Ariston waited, willing himself to be strong.
          “Who is this wife?” Hades asked.
          “Medusa of Athens.” He paused. “Now of Rhodes.”
          Hades was silent, his dark blue eyes regarding him steadily.
          “When I die—” Ariston began.
          “You are dead,” Hades assured him.
“When I return…die again, I would serve as guardian to Tartarus. I am a skilled warrior, a skill I might offer you.” He spoke with confidence.
          “You vex me,” Hades muttered, the slightest crease appearing between his eyes. “You offer this to me for a woman?”
          Ariston nodded. “She is worthy.”
Hades was silent again, his eyes shifting to the blue-white flames in the massive fireplace.   
“My words do not…adequately express the love I have for this woman. But I cannot leave her. She is at risk. I must return.” The words came without thought. How could he justify such emotion to a God who reviled affection or companionship? “As Olympus has my arm and sword, she has my heart – a mortal, and perhaps weak, heart.”
The room was silent for too long. He would have to fight his way out…
          “It is a weakness not reserved for mortals alone, Ariston of Rhodes.” Hades’ words were so soft Ariston feared they’d not been spoken. But Hades continued, strong and clear. “I will return you to your ship so that you may lead your men to victory. Too many have fallen from this war and I would see it end. When that is done, you may go to your wife.” He paused then added, “When you return to my realm, I will have your fealty.”
          The God of the Underworld, Lord of Death, gave him mercy? Mayhap there was one God he might serve with honor. 
Ariston vowed, “You have it." 

Author Bio: 
Sasha Summers is part gypsy. Her passions have always been storytelling, history, and travel. It's no surprise that her books visit times past, set in places rich with legends and myth. Her first play, 'Greek Gods and Goddesses' (original title, right?), was written for her Girl Scout troupe.
She's been writing ever since. She loves getting lost in the worlds and characters she creates; even if she frequently forgets to run the dishwasher or wash socks when she's doing so.
Luckily, her four brilliant children and hero-inspiring hubby are super understanding and supportive.
Sasha is an active member of RWA and several Texas Chapters. A self-proclaimed movie-addict, she is full of all sorts of useless movie tidbits and trivia.
Twitter: @sashawrites

Do you have a favorite myth that you loved to see another side to it?

Till later,

WINNER to last week's giveaway of Sandy Hunter's Elanraigh - The Vow is Kayle Allen.  Congratulations Kayle.   
Please note Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a copy of Medusa A Love Story from the author. I did not receive any payment in exchange for this review nor was I obligated to write a positive one. All opinions expressed here are entirely my own and may not necessarily agree with those of the author, the book's publisher and publicist or the readers of this review. This disclosure is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255, Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising

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