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Guest Post – Character Building with JJ Sherwood … plus giveaway!

This post is presented as part of the Steps of Power Blog Tour, to celebrate the release of book 1 – Kings or Pawns. Below you’ll find some great tips on how to develop a character’s distinct voice, plus a giveaway to win a range of goodies, including signed copies of the book!


Character Building: Distinct Points of View

It’s not just how they think, it’s how they speak as well

 

The characters in a story are everything to me. When I’ve long forgotten everything else in a book, the images and “feelings” of my favorite characters remain with me for as long as I have yet lived!

There are various ways to bring characters to life on a page and give each character point of view a unique personality. For example, two characters can look at the exact same scene, but will notice and remark upon different things. This is the most common method for well-developed character point of views, but for me, there is an additional tool that is the icing on the cake for most characters and stories!

And that is character point of view flavor.

What is this flavor I speak of? I’m talking about more than a character’s history, what she knows, and what she notices while she describes the events taking place. I’m talking about the flavor that allows you to hear a character describe something as simple as a chandelier and know exactly who is speaking (even if no name is mentioned). This type of flavor is rarely seen in force outside of first person point of views (delightful ones such as Bartimaeus rush swiftly to mind!)

But this same flavor can be crafted into a third person point of view and it is this flavor that makes it an extra special key to character building!

Let me give an example with several awesome characters from The Kings all observing the same event: a chandelier crashes into ground. (Even better: there are pictures! It’s like a picture book!)

alvenaAlvena:

The chandelier was actually quite lovely. Perhaps not as lovely as those chandeliers she had seen in Nilanos’ home, but it did its best in the soft candlelight to sparkle and gleam from the many-faceted stones.

However, it was rocking rather oddly. She paused a moment, watching its rhythmic swaying. There was something so enchanting about its movements that she could almost envision herself, a rich lady in the highest courts, fawned over by many handsome princes.

There was a sudden creak and groan and Alvena leapt aside with a silent yelp. The chandelier snapped from its golden chain and smashed into the ground before her, scattering the tiles with crystal and broken metal.

Ah! They’re terribly unsafe!’ she thought as she quickly slid away from all other hanging objects. She would not be getting one of those.

Jikun:jikun

The chandelier was hideous. Yet another attempt at Sel’varian culture to string gold and jewels into every conceivable contraption. He was quite certain they’d have hung a dozen of the damn things up if they didn’t pose a threat to the integrity of the ceiling above.

It must weigh a god-damn ton,’ Jikun thought, eyeing its rocking cautiously. With all that gold-plated metal and crystal, a ton could not be that far off.

There was a sudden creak and groan and Jikun’s hand flew upward to form a wall of ice. He heard the chandelier smash into the marble floor, and as the wall dissolved to a puddle of water on the tiles, he could see that the hideous thing now lay in a thousand pieces.

‘At least the appearance of their ceiling has improved.’

jerahJerah:

The object was magnificent. Jerah had seen things like it before… of sorts. At least, of a similar color. Gold, like coins. But this item was polished to perfection and dangling with countless chunks of shiny glass. Jerah had not seen glass like that before, and he wanted desperately to have a piece.

But the object was much too high up, swinging about as though blown by some unfelt wind. At least, Jerah couldn’t feel any wind. He watched as it twisted about its golden chain, causing the links to tighten and twist.

And then there was a sudden creak and groan and Jerah dove to the side. The object snapped from its golden chain and smashed into the tiled floor, scattering the room with chunks of broken metal and glass.

Jerah was back on his feet in seconds. He could not waste this opportunity! He quickly identified an unbroken piece of glass and pocketed it.

 

Eldaeus:eldaeus

In the center of the room, and the center of the ceiling in the center of the room, directly over the middle of the marble tiles full of their unlucky cracks, there was a chandelier.

‘Chandelier, oh chandelier! Thine beauty is diviiiiine! …Oh look. A pot.’

Eldaeus spun his way to the far corner of the room where the radiant pot seemed to glow in the sunlight. He plucked it up and admired it. He lifted the lid. ‘I could fit a bushel of apples in here. Or a dead cat.’

There was a sudden crash behind him, like glass and metal shattering across the floor, making it difficult to hear the fervent rally of voices debating about what color the cat should be.

‘I’m the master. I decide!’ Eldaeus pointed out. ‘…And it will be black. Black cats are just bad luck.’

 

I think the best way to make this work is to imagine the character in first person. Sometimes, if I’m struggling, I will actually write the character in first person and then go back and change it to third person!

Readers: who are some of your favorite characters? What do you think it would be like with that extra flavor (if they don’t already have it!)?

Writers: Try it! 😀 It is actually quite fun! Sometimes, it’s even easier than third person!

How important is that extra flavor to you?


a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

You can also check out other blogs on the tour by going to http://www.stepsofpower.com/!

Jun 28, 2016 - Book Tour    1 Comment

Book Tour: Champagne and Lemonade by John Hickling

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Champagne & Lemonade is a delightful collection of eclectic short stories, taking readers on a journey to different times and places, meeting a sparkling cast of well-drawn characters.

Nibble the fish is desperate to escape his boring old pond.
A new breed of super hero has been born and his name is Bob Cheesecake.
Dumpton Hospital’s staff have a somewhat unconventional approach to looking after their patients.
Robert Hood is on a mission to save modern England.
And just who is the vampire terrorising the neighbourhood from his home at 113A Greenstone Street?
From the quixotic to the poignant, John A. D. Hickling’s wild and whimsical tales fizz with fun and are sure to entertain almost everyone!

I read the delightful Harry and… The Pirates of Rock Bay, which is a middle grade short story about Harry’s piratical adventure aboard his ship, the Mum and Dad. While very short, it took me about 10 mins to read, it has enough time to tell its story perfectly. This would make a great bedtime story for any child that enjoys adventure and excitement.

“Who on earth is that, Mr Mcgruff?” asked Captain Greed.“Why that’s Captain Harry Sparr, the bravest pirate there is by far,” Mr Mcgruff said to the angry looking Captain Greed.

About John Hickling

Proud father and grandfather, and jack of all trades John A.D. Hickling currently lives with his family in Nottingham. A lover of music, especially 60’s rock, John has previously recorded two independent albums, appeared in comedy band Space Cadets on Britain’s Got Talent and is an active member of Masque Productions amateur theatre group. His debut book, Champagne & Lemonade (published by Clink Street Publishing) is available to purchase from online retailers including amazon.co.uk and to order from all good bookstores. For more information please visit www.johnchewyhickling.com

Jun 3, 2016 - Book Tour    1 Comment

Book Tour: Smoke and Mirrors by Jess Haines

Smoke and Mirrors
Jess Haines
(Blackhollow Academy #1)
Publication date: May 1st 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult

A girl who uses her illusions to fool the world into thinking she’s just like all the other magi.

A dragon who sees through her lies.

Together they just might survive a world that wants to control or destroy them both.

Kimberly may wield ultimate cosmic power, but even a mage has to pay the rent. No one will hire her for her magic talents until she’s got the credentials, so she’s stuck in a crappy rent controlled apartment with her mother, yearning for treats she can’t afford at her part time job in a café, counting down the days until she graduates the secret Blackhollow Academy school for magi. Only then will she have the certificate she needs to land her dream job in a coven.

The problem? She needs a familiar to graduate.

As an illusionist, she doesn’t have the ability to summon or create a familiar of her own. Her only option is to convince a supernatural creature to let her bind it instead. Since having a powerful Other at her beck and call would guarantee her a place in a coven after she graduates—and legendary treasure hoards are an added bonus—she thinks binding a dragon as her familiar will solve all her problems…

Because sometimes a girl needs a dragon, not a knight.

 

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Kobo / All Romance Ebooks / Smashwords

EXCERPT:

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Dec 11, 2015 - Book Tour    No Comments

Book Tour: THE SEVENTH HOUR by Tracey Ward



The Seventh Hour
Tracey Ward
Publication date: January 6th 2016
Genres: Dystopia, Young Adult

When the Earth’s rotation slowed to a crawl mankind was plunged into a harsh world of burning hot days and endless, arctic nights. Some fled to the mountains for shelter. Others took to the seas, sailing forever in the perfect gold between the night and the day; a place known as the Seventh Hour.

Liv was raised aboard a ship chasing the Seventh. She’s never seen the night, never known true cold, and when a storm destroys her home she’s on land for the first time in her life. She’s alone, surrounded by strangers and perils she couldn’t have imagined in her worst nightmares. Her only chance at survival is Grayson.

He saved her. He’ll protect her. He hates her.

Old grudges run deeper than the sea, and Liv and Gray will have to overcome them together to make it to morning.

To survive the longest night.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble

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Dec 3, 2015 - Book Tour    No Comments

Book Tour: CRIMSON EARTH by Anna Soliveres


Crimson Earth
Anna Soliveres
(Modi #2)
Publication date: December 10th 2015
Genres: Science Fiction, Young Adult

Aeva Storm finally has the answers she’s been looking for since the night she was struck by lightning. She knows who she is—and more importantly, what she is. But her secret isn’t hers alone to keep, and some of those who know the truth will do anything to control her.

In the sequel to the acclaimed Violet Storm, Aeva must decide how far she’ll go to protect her identity and to find her missing sister in a world she hardly recognizes. She must embrace her new life—and her strange new body—if she hopes to save the only place she and her family have left to call home.

Filled with action, mystery, and heartbreak, Crimson Earth finds Aeva, Ruven, and Karth on opposing sides as the war between The False Alliance and the Monarchy draws near.

Can they band together to fight against the evil threatening the City? Or will they destroy each other before the war has even begun?

Sequel to:

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Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble

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Nov 30, 2015 - Book Tour    No Comments

Book Tour: STEAMBORN by Eric Asher

Steamborn
Eric Asher
(Steamborn,

#1)
Publication date: December 1st 2015
Genres: Steampunk, Young

Adult

Jacob, a tinker’s apprentice and sometime thief, has lived his entire life in the mountain city of Ancora, protected by the city walls. These towering barriers keep the Deadlands creatures at bay, but the monsters move higher into the peaks every year. More and more, they breach the defenses of the Lowlands while the Highlands rest easy.

A swarm overruns the walls and wreaks utter devastation on the Lowlands. Charles, the old tinker, suspects the attack may not be natural. With help from Jacob’s closest friend, Alice, and Samuel, one of the city’s elite spider knights, Jacob and Charles will uncover a terrible darkness at the heart of their city.

Add on Goodreads

Pre-order at iBooks – 99¢ for a limited time!

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May 28, 2015 - Book Tour, Giveaways    No Comments

Book Tour: ALIEN LOVE by Stan Schatt

In Stan Schatt’s latest Science Fiction novel, a dying astronaut reveals a secret that blows the lid on a government treaty with extraterrestrials while other alien races have come to Earth with their own agendas. Meanwhile an ancient alien race with a base on the Moon makes plans that could spell doom.

25 year- old EX-SEAL, Jack Starling, has plenty of his own problems, but he can’t help falling in love with the beautiful woman he rescues after she is brutally attacked. He learns how dangerous it can be to fall in love with someone who is not human who has her own plans for him.

Jack finds himself pitted against aliens far stronger and far more cunning than any human enemies. Once he learns what the aliens have planned for him and for Earth, he must race against time before it is too late.

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May 26, 2015 - Book Tour    No Comments

Cover Reveal: HAVOC RISING by Brian Leon

Today we have a cover reveal for Brian Leon’s urban fantasy novel, Havoc Rising!

Synopsis:

Eternal life. Eternal battle.

Steve—Diomedes Tydides to his Trojan War buddies—just had a bad day on his charter fishing boat in San Diego, but when the goddess Athena calls on her faithful warrior for another secret mission, he’s ready. The bomb that exploded inside the Metropolitan Museum of Art isn’t the crime American authorities think it is. Someone also stole the Cup of Jamshid, and Diomedes knows its fortune-telling abilities won’t be used for anything benign.

Though Diomedes recovers the Cup from a determined shaman holed up beneath Central Park, when he finds his allies slain and the Cup taken once more, he knows he’s up against a truly powerful enemy. Over a millennium has passed since Diomedes last contended with Medea of Colchis, deranged wife of Jason the Argonaut, but neither her madness nor her devotion to Hecate, goddess of witchcraft, has waned, and she intends to use the Cup of Jamshid to release across the world a dark brand of chaos unseen in human history.

Immortal since the Trojan War, Diomedes must once again fight for mortals he understands less and less, against a divine evil he may never truly defeat.

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May 21, 2015 - Book Tour    No Comments

Endless Possibilities Read-A-Thon

I have absolutely loved read-a-thons since I was a young pup. Growing up, a highlight of every year was participating in the MS Read-A-Thon, especially the year my mother pledged 50c for every book read, and I demolished 100 books. (Incidentally, that’s the last year she made a per-book pledge, choosing instead to make a fixed donation.)

So of course I’m really excited to be a part of Good Tales’ first read-a-thon! They’ve got heaps of great things planned for the weekend, including a facebook party, author Q&As and plenty of giveaways.

My TBR list for the event is quite short, but I’ve been hanging out to read all 3 books for a really long time. Presented in no particular order:

If you want to join in all the fun as well, clicky here and don’t forget to post your TBR list!

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