Saturday, December 31, 2016

Five Practical Steps for a Promising New Year


It's the time for resolutions, for goal-setting in the new year.

I used to be an all-or-nothing kind of girl. I was either creative or not, fit or not, happy or not, kind or not ... you get the idea. If I tried real hard at something, but then failed, I figured that *something* was just not for me, just not in the cards.
For example, if I started a new workout routine, kept at it for two weeks, but then got off schedule and missed a day, I gave up completely! Yes, it was ridiculous. The same thing would happen with a diet, a goal to keep a daily journal or my goal to learn to speak another language.

Thank goodness over time, I gained wisdom, patience and endurance. I understand that I can have and keep a goal, and achieve it even as life and set backs intervene in the process.

Here’s what I’ve learned about accomplishing a goal.

1. Be very clear about your goal. Be sure to NAME it. For example: Run Marathon in November, 2017. VISUALIZE what you’ll feel like as you cross the finish line. Know WHY this goal is important to you. Some people create vision boards, some write the goal on a piece of paper and stick in on the refrigerator. Figure out a way to keep your goal fresh, joyful, alive and important.

2. Know that your goal will be achieved in BABY STEPS. Do one or more things every day or so that you will progress you toward your goal. Perhaps all you’ll do is take a walk around the block, create a schedule, read an article on a successful marathoner, shop for shoes, or research an affiliated fund-raiser.

3. You HAVE to do the work. Realize that it won’t be easy, but that’s okay. Make friends with discomfort. We set goals to make ourselves better, stronger, smarter, wiser, and kinder, and changing is a challenge. If you stick to #2 BABY STEPS, your hard and easy days will be interspersed as you move closer to the end results.

4. Don’t be obsessed with your goal. Keep it important but not urgent as you maintain BALANCE with all of the other events and activities that make up your days, weeks, months. This goal of yours is meant to enhance your life, give you a new purpose, expose you to enriching experiences and even add something to your social sphere.

5. I now come back to my opening comments about being all or nothing. Please hear this: If you miss a day, or two, or even a string of days, that doesn’t mean it’s over. Pick right back up where you left off and get back on track. Don’t wait until the following Monday or even after vacation. Start again tomorrow, or even today. Recall when you first set your goal, review the reasons and your vision. Remember that breakthroughs often happen just when things seem the toughest and you want to quit.

I practice all of these steps with all of the goals I have for this coming year, and also for long range. At the end of each day, I am thankful for the little things I managed to accomplish toward succeeding, am compassionate toward myself for where I “fell down” a bit, and reset my determination for what I can do tomorrow.

Happy New Year!



Thursday, December 29, 2016

Focus Your POV For More Powerful Writing


In the world of writers, a lot has been said about POV - Point of View. This refers to which character's "head we’re in”, whose thoughts we're privy to at any given moment.

My personal rule of thumb for novel writing is stay in one POV per scene, or better yet, per chapter. I even prefer this in what I also read.

I have enjoyed classic literature that fully embraces the omniscient POV in the same way I would enjoy hearing a narrator tell a great story. But other than that, I find “head-hopping” so distracting that I can’t concentrate on what I’m reading.

Many years ago I came across a scene in a book written by a famous author. It went something like this:

 

      Sara read the French wine list and held back a gasp when she saw the exorbitant prices. Over the top of his menu, Ben watched Sara, hoping he had impressed her with his choice of restaurant.

      The waiter arrived with the couple’s water, noting the expensive watch on the man’s wrist, and silk dress the woman wore. “I’ll give you two a few more moments before I take your order.” 

 

Three sentences, three points of view. Crazy, right?

The scene goes on like this for a while and then out of nowhere we no longer know what Ben is thinking. Apparently the author suddenly needed to withhold some info from us. It was a cheap trick, arbitrary and amateurish. I read no further.

I vowed to never head-hop. Yes, if I’m writing from the hero’s point of view, I can’t tell the reader right then what is also on the heroine’s mind. The hero gives us some clues as he observes her, but otherwise I, and the reader, will need to wait until the next scene or chapter to fully find out what the heroine is thinking.

Writing from one POV takes more time and patience, but it builds tension and gives impetus to the story

How important is POV to you as a writer? As a reader?

Bookfever Names My Heroes Among Her 2016 Book Boyfriends

Bookfever not only listed The Maiden Seer as one of her 10 best books of 2016, she named Slayde of Loveweaver, and Konnar of The Maiden Seer among her top ten 2016 book boyfriends.

Thank you, again Stephanie for being such a enthusiastic supporter of my books, and books in general!



Thursday, December 22, 2016

Witness Amber and Konnar's Heart-Warming Kiss

Buy The Maiden Seer

She rose quickly to meet his already descending mouth, and when her lips joined his, the floodgates of fear, longing and desire burst, and she poured herself into him. He received her, crushing her near with a groan, and she sensed in his kiss the weary journey that had brought him to this reunion. But his passion seemed rekindled with vigor as he supped upon her mouth, kissed her eyes and forehead, then pressed his cheek against hers. Dear God, he was so warm, so wanted, so needed.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Discover This Revealing Truth of Konnar's Heart

Amber stirred softly and Konnar pulled her closer, also adjusting his body to find comfort enough to let sleep overtake him on the hard floor. It would do no harm and much good allowing her to be so near, for her protection. And if he enjoyed holding Amber just a little for its own sweet sake, he could do so as she slept, and she would not know to use it against him.

Such moments of respite would be needed in the days and weeks to come, as they now entered Wessex, as Vikings on Saxon land. He would hold these moments in his memory long after he delivered her to King Alfred and returned to his life without her.


Thursday, December 8, 2016

The Maiden Seer - Konnar Debates Amber About Her Gift of Foretelling

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Konnar reached out and pulled off her veil. Her fillet remained, crowning her with the fine band of bright silver. “Unmarried women do not cover their heads. While you are in my keep, you will not wear a hustrulinet.” He seemed to study the thick strand of hair he held in his hand as he let his fingers slide along its length. Amber shivered, watched him contemplate the ribbon of hair as if he made plans. 
She batted his hand away, drawing back from him “You said I will not find the key to your undoing, but I already have. I see how you use your physical might to intimidate, but it has not always been enough, has it, to keep those you love safe?” Used to provoke him, she based a ploy on the brief reading of runes on the prow. She watched to see if he would take the bait, and was not surprised when he did.
Konnar grabbed her by the arm with a jerk. A muscle rippled along his jaw. “I have always taken care of my own!” The volume of his defensive tone incited his crew to look up from their various activities. His eyes narrowed at Amber and fell to the slight upturn at the corners of her mouth. Loosening his grip, Konnar sat back, looked more composed. “You think yourself too clever. Is this how you go about telling your prophecies? You observe someone for a time, then make a statement to draw them out? The world is full of false seers. Perhaps you are one.”
“Yet I struck a cord, I think. It frightens people to look inside themselves and you are no different.” She spoke boldly, but grimaced slightly, fearing his reaction.
Konnar scoffed and stood up, casting a dark shadow over Amber. “Perhaps those who seek your counsel on behalf of petty issues have much to fear. I have never assented to that sort of vanity.”
“Or perhaps it is as I have said, you would not bear to see your own black heart. Or worse, you would not even recognize the wrongs you have committed. Your counsel is the ax hewn between the shoulder blades or to separate a man’s rib from his breastbone while he yet lives. Raven wings you call it?” Amber’s eyes burned with unshed tears. “I have spent a lifetime listening to tales of your doing, Konnar. I have lived them in my, my ...” Dreams. She caught herself from self-betrayal.
“You accuse and condemn me for the acts of a hundred others. If I judged other nuns by your example, I should think them all seidhkonas with a bent for doing murder. Yet I doubt that is the case.”  



Monday, December 5, 2016

Loveweaver - LLyrica Has Woven a Lovespell into the Braid of Slayde's Tunic

“Hand it up,” Slayde said, suddenly towering over Llyrica. “You look to be through with the tunica. Now we will find you passage on through to East Anglia. Immediately upon landing, with any luck. Prepare to gather your things.”

Across Llyrica’s lap lay Slayde’s new garment, sewn on the four-hour journey along the inner coast of Sheppey. Found in her bundles, the piece of black was woven of imported Mediterranean yarn, spun finely from long wool fibers. This, combined with Soso’s talents, had rendered a cloth possessed of a dark sheen, smooth surface and soft hand. Llyrica added her knowledge of fit, small stitches and the braid, fresh from her tablet loom, to fashion a garment both elegant and enviable. No one would see, though, the song she wove within, a lovespell that would bind her to the StoneHeart. It had worked for Mother when she wove Father’s cloak of violet, indigo and harvest gold. Now Llyrica held her breath, wondering if her talents as Songweaver gave the power to direct her fate.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Loveweaver by Tracy Ann Miller - A Passionate Kiss Between Llyrica and Slayde

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“Goddamn it.” Slayde’s mouth slanted across hers possessively, his devouring kiss a remedy for unspoken words. He kept his heart aloof, let his body take the brunt of unexpressed emotion with blinding desire. No weak sentiment here, just hard lust and ownership. Llyrica had given herself freely to him, bound them together by her love spell. This soft form was his for the taking, every lush curve and ripe mound yielding against his body. If not for this cursed bad timing and unfit location, she would already be under him, receiving the searing brand of his claim on her.
He came up for air, and dove again into her mouth, roving, seeking a satisfaction that lay just beyond his reach. A harder press, a deeper plunge of his tongue availed him a fiercer need, one a kiss would not meet.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Loveweaver by Tracy Ann Miller - Llyrica Awakens New Emotions in Slayde

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He had never known before, the power of a woman’s loving caress. Llyrica’s caress. 
An exorcism of a thousand hurts, her touch burned him, threatened to reduce him to a crying child. The healing effects of her affections, unsought and undeserved were given in abundance, confirmed his need for them. But his starvation for them was daunting. Slayde felt like a man who had fasted for decades, whose body, accustomed to lack, could withstand only the barest sustenance. He was filled with her, gorged, and could endure no more of her doting lest he lose the last of his male dignity.
 

Slayde Continues to Deny His Attraction to Llyrica

       “I have learned that a woman will use her soft curves, tender touches and sweet voice to drive a man to do her bidding. Just as you think to do now.” Slayde flung her linen shroud aside, and caught her up in his arms to pull her against him. A black lock of his hair fell unto his brow. “And these silks you wear. Know it will not work on me, vixen.”
She drew a deep breath when he indicated no knowledge of her crimes. But her awareness that the sleepwalker dwelt beneath StoneHeart’s clothes and weapons quickened her pulse in the most tantalizing places. “A mishap brought me here for sure. But I have no notion to what you now refer. I merely sit here, in my everyday garments, in your house and weave. If I have insulted you again by teaching Elfric something other than what you and your father deem proper for a man to know, I pray your pardon.”
“I may grant it if the other boys do not bloody his nose when they find he has been at a female craft.” He crushed her closer until impulse dictated she slip her arms around his waist. The thick muscles of his back tightened under her splayed fingers.
“That is an odd fear of yours, I think, that you will appear as less than a man. But it is an unfounded fear given the size of your  ... when I see evidence of your  ...” Her face heated. “Your height and large hands and shadowed jaw and chin.”
His mouth twitched almost imperceptibly in one corner. “I was taught to be a man and so should Elfric. Our father is gone, so I am in his stead. Every boy needs a father to raise him thus, or a man to take the father’s place.”
On her brother’s behalf, Llyrica felt keenly this lack of father. If Haesten had been a different man, she would not be cast alone on foreign turf in search of him, or under an obligation to avenge her mother’s beatings at his hand. A rare tear glazed each eye.
“You will neither change our arrangement, nor try and be rid of me. I have Father Byrnstan’s vow and the asylum of his church.” In a short time, she would also have a braid imbued with a lovesong.
“You give a fine example of how a woman works. You say one thing, but by the soft molding of your body, the pout on your lips and tears in your eyes, you plead for another.”
“I sat at the loom with no intention of pleading anything from you. Until you came, hauled me against you, and said you would throw me out. You then reminded me that my brother and I have been without a father. If this is an example of how a man works, then I may not praise the job that Ceolmund did in raising you.”
He straightened with new intensity, his arms muscles flexed around her, his chest, abdomen and thighs turned to stone. His manpart pressed so hard against her that Llyrica felt it throb. “This is how a man works, vixen. This is how I work.”