A Prepublished Novel in the Process of Revisions and Rewrites

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Bestial Cravings attracting great reviews!

Good Morning!

I am very excited about the reviews Bestial Cravings is getting. This week its pulled in a 4.5 from LASR and a 4.0 from Ruthie's Book Reviews. Wow!

And though its dropped to the #5 spot at TWRP's main best seller list, it is still running at the #1 spot on both Paranormal and Black Rose lists. Yay!

Also, Bestial Cravings is up for Best book this week at LASR so please hop on over to the below link and vote for it if you have a moment. I would really appreciate it:)


In other news, my newsletter is just about ready to hit the mailboxes. If you'd like one, please sign up to the Dayana's Happenings on the right sidebar. It will be a fun read, I promise.

Also, "Let Freedom Ring" event is just about ready to go. I'm blogging over at the Pink Fuzzy Slipper Writers blog today about it, so why not hop on over and check it out.

I'd better get moving. So much to do, so little time! The errands and the garden await--not to mention a list of other things, LOL


Sunday, June 21, 2009


Here ye! Here ye! Read all about it!

Well, I'm knee deep into my first newsletter and wondering what it is besides who you are and what you do that might be interesting to the masses. Just figuring the formatting you want can be a challenge. I've done it two ways: one with preset formatting and on my own, however, I will not diclose which route I've taken:) I did like both but one seemed more useful than the other.

I do want to discuss what things those of you who have done your own newletters may have included and those of you who like to peruse them are interested in seeing included.

My thoughts are a brief bio, a catalog of available books, upcoming events, maybe short craft or off-topic discussions? Upcoming projects, WIPs, and links?

What do you think?

I look forward to your thoughts. Meanwhile, I'm going to get back at it. The newsletter, that is:)


Friday, June 19, 2009

Please welcome Donna Sundblad, Author of Fantasy and Nonfiction Craft Writing

The Why Behind Setting
By Donna Sundblad

Whether you write romance, mystery, fantasy, science fiction or a sub genre, all fiction requires a believable setting. I tend to write character driven fantasy and learning to establish the setting has been an adventure in creativity. In fact, it's the reason behind my creative writing book Pumping Your Muse. In it, I developed a series of exercises that spurred me to consider aspects of a secondary world that may otherwise be overlooked.

Establishing anchors from the real world to your fictional world is key to making your setting believable, whether it is vastly different from reality or just a little different. An anchor is an element readers can relate to that links the real world to your secondary reality. In Beyond the Fifth Gate I established a rural, pre-industrial setting where the people were divided over issues of faith. Amid the setting we learn about family ties, ancient prophecies, divided leadership, a simple life that is ripped apart when a large insectoid race invades and conquers. Young people are taken captive and carried off in a cage on the back of a cart. The anchor—family relationships torn apart; freedoms stripped; it creates a need that transcends from reality to fantasy. This is an emotional anchor. Humans lose their freedom and fight to get it back and the quest is on.

Geographically, the Beyond the Fifth Gate setting challenged me times five. The original setting is the pre-industrial world invaded by a sentient insectoid race. The quest requires the protagonist, Elita, to travel through five mystical gates to free her people. Each gate leads to a different world and Elita has to accomplish her quest during a planetary alignment. She has one week. If she doesn't make it, she'll be trapped in a strange world between gates--for the next 50 years.

In this story, not only did I have to provide anchors from this reality to the fictional reality, but additional anchors were needed to tie one fictional world to the next as the main character traveled through the gates. The setting put parameters in place for the quest. Planets line up in dawn's light and mark the beginning of the quest for freedom. Planets are something we can relate to on this side of reality, and these planets act as an anchor from one world to the next. As they fall out of alignment, they work like the sands in an hourglass to let the reader know time is running out. This aspect of setting is used to add tension, conflict, and keep it clear in the readers' minds that the five worlds are linked.

For readers to accept the stranger aspects of a secondary world you must establish believable physics--the science of matter and energy and their interactions. If something works differently than the real world, you have to make the science or magic clear—not only that it does happen but how it happens. It has to work in the reader's mind. For example, the powers of Kamali are established early on in Beyond the Fifth Gate. When Kamali is present physics change. The star beats brighter and brighter…the floor thrums and…well I better not say too much because I wouldn't want to be a spoiler. Readers know that this deity plays an instrumental part in the opening of the gates and that the gates do lead to other worlds. But they also grow to understand that each portal works differently. Setting continues to play an important role, too, when Elita must bring something along with her from each world if she hopes to defeat the isectoids.

Along with physics, other specifics readers relate to in regards to setting include things like:

*Legal systems

As you develop these aspects of your world stop and ask yourself "why". Why is this government in place? Why do the people react to it the way they do? When the insectoid race takes over Elita's world, they are the new government. The opening scene establishes not only the world's setting but the "why" behind the reason humans don't honor the government. Lines are drawn, readers take sides and they learn to watch for the light to appear in the eastern foothills. Effective setting works with the characters to move the story forward and answers the question why.

About Donna

Author and full-time freelance writer, Donna Sundblad, resides in Georgia with her husband, Rick, and a flock of pets including five cockatiels and her Blue-front Amazon, Neelix. Her books Pumping Your Muse (2005) and Windwalker (2006) are available in paper and ebook formats through Amazon and Fictonwise. Her most recent fantasy novel Beyond the Fifth Gate was released in September of 2008 and is also available in both formats.

Donna enjoys life as a wife, mother, and grandmother. She's the eldest of seven and the great-great granddaughter of a Native American named Little Beetle. Little Beetle's people were a blend of Chippewa and Mingo and lived in West Virginia. She decided to leave her culture and took on the name Ida M. Biddle. When she married a white fur trader named Marshall Prickett, their joining was not accepted by either culture, but they forged a new life together.

Donna's love of family, belief in God, interest in her Native American heritage and her love of fantasy and science fiction all influence her writing. In 2006, Donna left her day job as a vacation rental reservationist on a small island in Florida to pursue writing full time. Her freelancing credits span fiction and non-fiction short stories as well as good old days, inspirational, and how-tos for writers.

You can find Donna at these links:

Book Hookup
Anthology News and Reviews
Pumping Your Muse Prompts
Pumping Your Muse Fantasy Writer

Thursday, June 18, 2009


Remember that book I told you I'd pulled from the publisher and would be resubmitting to a more romance oriented venue? Namely, Dancing on the Edge? Well, I submitted a query two days ago. Fingers and toes crossed. Wish me luck:)

Donna Sundblad, nonfiction craft and fantasy author, will be dropping by to hang out tomorrow, so please put us on your calendar to check out. Donna will be talking about that thing called scene-setting.

Also, don't forget to sign up for Dayana's "Let Freedom Ring" guestblog celebration next month. It's a perfect way to promo upcoming books, events, and gab about writing in general.

See you tomorrow.


Sunday, June 14, 2009

Launching a new event for July!

First, I'd like to say Happy Flag Day! Are you flying the Red, White, and Blue?

A Bestial Cravings update.

Whoa! Friday the book dropped to #2 then further to #3 so I figured it was going to keep the downward spiral but NO! I signed on last night and damned if it wasn't back up at #1!

Wow! A great big hearty THANK YOU to my readers. Without you the book wouldn't continue to hold first place on the Best Sellers List at The Wild Rose Press.

Now for a great promo opportunity for all you authors out there. If you would like to participate in my "Let Freedom Ring" Fourth of July blog event please begin by signing up for Dayana's Happenings on the sidebar.

Note: The above and below information is for actual guestbloggers. If you would like to receive newsletters, events, contest information/winners, and just keep up with "Dayana's Happenings" but not participate in the July event, please feel free to sign up as well. Access to the calendar is specific so although you may view it you will not be able to edit it without permission from the group moderators.

Let me tell you a bit about this event.

It will be a month-long guest blog event. I will be offering all visitors a chance at a single grand price that can be a collective effort of all participants or not. Participants will decide before the end of June.

To enter for the grand prize, visitors will have to list sitings of the Liberty Bell graphic I've posted to the left. This graphic will be posted to random blog posts throughout the month. Also, I would like each guest blogger to offer a prize daily within their post. By signing up to my informational loop and if you have an yahoo email address all participants will have access to my loop calendar. All blog participants should access the calendar from the loop page and choose their blogging date, then you should create your blog complete with all links and artwork you would like included and email it to me as a separate document named JulyBlogEvent-Author-blogdate in the email subject line as soon as possible. If you do not have a Yahoo address, you can contact me with your choice of date but please access the calendar to be sure said date hasn't been taken.

More details will be posted to the loop as they become available. Drawing for the grand prize winner will be the first week of August. Visitors should not post their lists to the blog comments but email them to me directly at gothscribegirl@aol.com with "Liberty Bell graphic Sitings" listed in the subject line of their email. Anyone who posts their list to the blog will be disqualified.

Have I confused anyone? If you are interested and have questions you can contact me anytime through this blog or my email address: gothscribegirl@aol.com

Looking forward to lots of fun next month. And I will be sending out my very first newsletter, as well, which I am very excited about.

Promo, promo, promo...


Thursday, June 11, 2009

Updates and some thoughts on POV...

Bestial Cravings has dropped to #2 on the main Best Sellers List at TWRP as of yesterday, but hey! that's still good:)

The weather here is getting hot and humid. Dark Goddess that I am, I prefer the dreary, thundery, rainy weather *grin* And, of course, the Florida winter. This time of year we tend to stay in the old AC like the Northerners stay in during their cold months.

I've been pondering, plotting, and jotting ideas and events down for Book Two of the Roma Wolf Tales series. And for those who've read Curse of the Marhime , you know the book is in third person with only one POV character. The next book will be in multiple POV not really sure how many POVs but no more than four or five. I am really only considering three main this time around but we'll see how it goes:) I began the series this way because Pita was the main character as well, the catalyst for the story, and I wanted to challenge myself to keep at it. It was a test of wills to keep Niko's POV out of it, so for me as a writer, it was both a test and an exercise.

I am not a fan of many POVs in my writing. Nor do I like to read books with more than a handful of POV characters. I feel it confuses and convolutes the main characters who, in my humble opinion, are the most important. Also, as a reader it annoys me when I have to keep track of too many characters. So I guess we can say I write within the parameters I like to read.

In my experience, the editors I've worked with have been of the same mindset. Some are stricter than others but most prefer limited POV characters and headhopping within the story. Headhopping, as most know, is when the POV jumps back and forth between characters sentence to sentence or paragraph to paragraph. This is a strick no-no in my experience but there are bestselling authors that get away with it. They've earned the privilege, but us newbies need to stick to the basic rules, LOL.

I stick to one or two POVs per scene. If I do go into two POVs, I will transition as smoothly as possible from one to the other and split the scene between the two characters.

For a fast-paced scene, such as in a highly charged action scenes that are all happening at the same time with different characters, I've seen a spiraling POV used which does jump multiple POVs to anty up the fast pace. I've used it and read it in many action suspense-type books, and it really is an interesting concept. But again, I want to mention it still does not jump POV sentence to sentence or even paragraph to paragraph.

Whoa! Sorry...

I think I've gone a bit overboard and turned this into a discussion so I will move on with some more updates and then slink off to get some work done now.

Other things in the works are a newsletter I am working on putting together with all sorts of shares and information. As you may have noticed, I've set up a new Yahoo group as a venue to sign up for the newletter and share lots of other information such as new releases, events, guests announcements, recipes, craft articles, pictures, etc. Please take a moment to sign up. The loop is informational only. No need to worry about posting and keeping up with yet another loop:)

Look to the sidebar as well for upcoming guest bloggers. Next up is Donna Sundblad, author of Pumping Your Muse, a nonfiction, craft writing book used in current writing classes.

As always, thanks for dropping by.


Saturday, June 6, 2009

Whoa! Still Snoopy Dancing...

Bestial Cravings is still at #1 across the board at The Wild Rose Press. This is amazing and such a high:) I do know that it won't last forever and I see my dear friend Helen Hardt has a new release this week so...


It is actually a collection of hot western's called Lawmen and Outlaws. I know I can't wait to delve into that one.

Also, as you can see, I've finally gotten my internet back up. Wow! It is really quite frustrating not knowing what is going on in cyberworld:)

Finally, I wanted to mention, I was making my blog rounds this morning and discovered that Callie Lynn Wolfe, Senior Editor of the Black Rose line at TWRP is hosting Pink Fuzzy Slipper Writers today on their blog. She has posted some interesting pointers on what she looks for in submissions. Check her out.

Well, I'm off to do some weed pulling in the front gardens today. Is it me or do they really get out of control fast, nasty little weed critters.

Talk to all soon,


Tuesday, June 2, 2009

HOLY CRAP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Bestial Cravings is NUMBER 1, NUMBER 1, NUMBER 1 at The Wild Rose Press What a wonderful surprise! Thank you for pointing it out, Catherine!

My internet has been down and I had no clue!

Oh this is a great wake up call:)

A very happy, snoopy dancing,


Monday, June 1, 2009

Please welcome Eilidh MacKenzie, Black Rose Editor, TWRP

Hello, Eilidh!

As you may all know, Eilidh is an editor at The Wild Rose Press . Thank you so much for taking time out of your busy schedule to talk with us about the things you see in submissions that are either off kilter in this case with Scottish research and other taboos we authors tend to not notice that take a manuscript down into the slush pile of sudden death.

I for one am happy to sit back and listen to the things that both irritate you enough to reject a manuscript as well give you positive cause to accept a manuscript. So without further adieu take it, Eilidh.

Thank you, Dayana. I edit for the Wild Rose Press’s Black and Champagne Rose lines and I’m happy to talk about what I look for in a manuscript. I’ll be popping in all day to answer questions, so feel free to comment.

Factual and historical accuracy is very important to me. Thorough research makes your story ring true and your readers can experience a different world. As a Scot working in romance publishing, I sometimes cringe at the descriptions of Scottish people and history. Subs come over my desk asserting that all of Scotland’s strong young men were killed in the battles with the English. Well, that was true 260 years ago, but a generation later, there was a whole new crop of strong young men.

I’ve lost count of the historical or time travel stories, whose hero, seven hundred or a thousand years ago, is the stereotypical kilted Highlander, the noble underdog, struggling against oppression by the English. Actually, when the Scots weren’t cattle raiding and pillaging their own Highland and Lowland neighbors, they made outright invasions of English territory. The English perpetrated horrific retaliations, but if you bang on a beehive, you gotta expect to be stung.

And they didn’t wear kilts back then! In fact, when the modern kilt became popular in the nineteenth century, it was a fashion statement stimulated by Queen Victoria’s romance with the Highlands. By the time Highlanders fought in kilts, they were fighting for the English, in the British army.

Okay, I’ve calmed down a bit now. I must admit that, of course, Highlanders wore a form of the kilt centuries ago and yes, they fought against the English, but probably not as much as they fought amongst themselves. The original kilt—the belted plaid—showed up around 1600. It was a vast plaid blanket, maybe five feet wide and up to twenty feet long. The wearer scrunched it by handfuls up the middle of the length and belted the bundle around his waist. The plaid fell below the waist to about the knee, and the top half was draped and pinned about the torso.

Sounds awkward, but this was actually a practical garment in the gales, rain, and snow of the Highlands. The naturally dyed colors blended with the heather and gorse of the mountains, so your rival clansmen didn’t catch you stealing their cattle, and the layers of wool kept some warmth trapped against the body. Scratchy, yes, but a linen shirt under the plaid made it comfortable. At night, you could wrap the plaid around yourself, and a friend, if you were lucky, for a cosy sleeping bag.

What does all this have to do with romance novels? Those Highland warriors make superb alpha male heroes. I would dearly love to see manuscripts showing the realities of Highland life, instead of the softened, cartoonish, pretend Scots that never existed. Two excellent resources for learning about the Scotland that actually was are The Emperor’s New Kilt: The Two Secret Histories of Scotland, by Jan-Andrew Henderson, and How the Scots Invented the Modern World, by Arthur Herman.

Here’s tae us; wha’s like us?
Damn few, and they’re a’ deid.

(a Scottish toast)

Eilidh MacKenzie