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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?


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

Dec 1, 2015 - Giveaways    No Comments

GIVEAWAY: CHOICES by Alexander Patterson

As part of the blitz for Choices by Alexander Patterson, you have the chance to WIN BIG with not one but two giveaways!

Our first giveaway is for a digital copy of Choices and runs from today until 15th December.

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The second giveaway is for a $25 Amazon gift card and signed poster of the book cover. This giveaway runs from today until 10th December.

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For more information about Choices and purchase links, click here for Alexander’s guest post.

Hosted by:

 

 

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Guest Post: On Norge by Alexander Patterson + Giveaway!

While the veracity of dragons and magic is still up for debate amongst the historical community, many common falsehoods about Scandinavian history have already been disproven.

The word Viking, for starters, which has become a catch all name for the Scandinavian and Minnesotan population was once reserved for the event of going on a sea-based raid. Leaving the base definition behind, we come across
more misconceptions. The term Viking brings to mind horned helmets and longships, but the simple truth is Scandinavia has so much more to offer than one History Channel show. While myths and tales of raids are exciting, the best facts and most interesting tidbits lay behind the glamour. The role of women in their society, for example, is fascinating. The powerful women were not all shield-maidens, as much as I love that depiction it is simply not completely accurate. Powerful women were traders, wealthy merchants, and yes occasionally fighters, but they could not be leaders. They could not attain the rank of jarl and most likely did not fight in the shield wall.

I tried to make Choices at least historically inclined. It is an alternate history after all. So, I set Choices in the year 672 CE. Why this date in particular? You ask. The answer has nothing to do with Scandinavia actually. I chose 672 CE because that is the year Greek Fire was invented by the Byzantines. I thought it was fitting since one of the main characters is a dragon. And while the time period I have for my alternate history is grounded in real history many of the details in Choices are false. My idea for Choices is that it is set in a world in which the Norse Gods not only existed, but one in which they also behaved as their Greek counterparts did.

This means many things in Choices are less than historically accurate. There are a few large picture things such as the main kingdoms Ager and Threkeld existed, but their interactions were not quite as depicted. There are also a few smaller details. The creation of marble walls did not happen. Instead, many Scandinavian people built ring forts and used wood or dirt as their primary building materials. Even the geography is not entirely accurate. I hope that will be a heads up to anyone who does not read my little **THIS IS A WORK OF FICTION** disclaimer.

I could go on for about nineteen pages on all of the things I wrote that are falsehoods, but there is not space here for
that. Instead, I hope you will read this –or Choices—and decide to look into  the rich heritage of Scandinavia for yourself. I promise there is so much more than our network television tells us. I highly recommend Viking Answer Lady, Hurstwic, or “A History of the Vikings” by: Gwyn Jones if you would like to know more. That recommendation is the only thing you should place one-hundred percent faith in as fact. The rest of my writings are only mostly accurate. I did not do nearly enough research to honestly call either myself a historian or this post a credible source.

Read more »

Oct 6, 2015 - Book News, Giveaways    No Comments

thereareinkspotsonmypage:

The ever-lovely Simon and Schuster AU and #AusYABloggers are teaming up to celebrate the release of Jenn Bennett’s Night Owls, and YOU can win PRIZES! How cool is that?!

First up, the Street Art: take a photo of street art, or create your own art and tweet your entry using the hashtag #NightOwls and #NightOwlsArt between now and Sunday 11th October and you’ll go in the running to win one of two book packs consisting of 8 (!!) books each.

Please note: if you don’t use twitter and you want to enter, please get in touch.

I’m quite useless at creating art, so my entry is a delightful (but sadly uncredited) piece of local art:

BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE!

In addition, the #AusYABloggers crowd are giving Aussies and Kiwis the chance to win one of EIGHT copies of Night Owls! Now, I haven’t read it myself, but Kristy at Book Nerd Reviews assures me that it’s “lovely” (and you can read her review here) and I trust her judgement.

To enter, click the link below to go to the rafflecopter widget and submit your entries before Sunday 11th October!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

What are you waiting for! Get clicking! Get creating! I can’t wait to see all of your entries!

Reposting for the other-side-of-the-clock crowd

Oct 5, 2015 - Book News, Giveaways    No Comments

The ever-lovely Simon and Schuster AU and #AusYABloggers are teaming up to celebrate the release of Jenn Bennett’s Night Owls, and YOU can win PRIZES! How cool is that?!

First up, the Street Art: take a photo of street art, or create your own art and tweet your entry using the hashtag #NightOwls and #NightOwlsArt between now and Sunday 11th October and you’ll go in the running to win one of two book packs consisting of 8 (!!) books each.

Please note: if you don’t use twitter and you want to enter, please get in touch.

I’m quite useless at creating art, so my entry is a delightful (but sadly uncredited) piece of local art:

BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE!

In addition, the #AusYABloggers crowd are giving Aussies and Kiwis the chance to win one of EIGHT copies of Night Owls! Now, I haven’t read it myself, but Kristy at Book Nerd Reviews assures me that it’s “lovely” (and you can read her review here) and I trust her judgement.

To enter, click the link below to go to the rafflecopter widget and submit your entries before Sunday 11th October!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

What are you waiting for! Get clicking! Get creating! I can’t wait to see all of your entries!

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 20, 2015 - Book Tour, Giveaways    No Comments

Book Tour: INSIGHT KINDLING by Chess Desalls

Title: Insight Kindling

Series: The Call to Search Everywhen #2

Publication Date: January 13, 2015

Publisher: Czidor Lore, LLC

Book Links: Goodreads

Purchase: Amazon || iTunes || Barnes & Nobles

Calla faces charges against her for changing the past. Her use of the Travel Glasses resulted in the creation of two writings that affected the lives of Edgar, the inventor of the Travel Glasses, and Valcas, their prior owner. Now Calla must explain her actions before the Time and Space Travel Agency.

The hearing does not end well. The travel commissioner finds Calla guilty as charged and forces her to choose between two harsh penalties. Despite the risk of becoming lost herself, Calla accepts a dangerous travel mission that may help her find her father. She teams up with a group of talented travelers. While working with them, she soon discovers that she has a special travel talent of her own.

Pursued by the sentient being of white light that’s been tracking her father’s bloodline, Calla fears her newfound talents may not be enough to protect her and her teammates before they complete their mission.

Insight Kindling is the second installment in The Call to Search Everywhen serial series.

 

Read more »

Apr 16, 2015 - Book Tour, Giveaways    No Comments

The Yellow Hoods Series:

As the Yellow Hoods series starts, we see a pastoral world on the brink of a great change. Steam-based and other technologies are emerging, hence the genre “Emergent Steam Punk”. But this is written in the tradition of hard science fiction– you will find no gratuitous gears here. In the series, Adam Dreece masterfully weaves together familiar elements from fairy tales with realistic characters, bringing them to life. Here we meet the Nikolas Klaus: a kind of fusion of Santa Claus and Nikola Tesla and his granddaughter, young Tee who evokes Little Red Riding Hood but with the force of personality of a Katniss (Hunger Games) or Buffy (aka the Vampire Slayer). You may laugh and you may cry, but I guarantee you will enjoy the ride.

 

 

Click through for more information, and a giveaway!

Title: Along Came a Wolf (Book 1)

Series: The Yellow Hoods

Author: Adam Dreece

Publication Date: April 14, 2014 

 Someone is on the hunt for the steam engine plans, and believes that master inventor, Nikolas Klaus, has them. Thought dead by most, and forgotten by many, the quiet grandfather has been living for years in the sleepy mountain town of Minette, keeping his inventions mostly to himself and watching his granddaughter grow up.

Twelve-year-old Tee, and her two best friends, Elly and Richy, come together as the heroic Yellow Hoods in the face of life threatening danger. Whose side are the Cochon brothers on, and will they tip the balance? Will Nikolas’ ties to one of the secret societies cost him Tee’s life?   

Title: Breadcrumb Trail (Book 2)

Series: The Yellow Hoods

Author: Adam Dreece

Publication Date: August 18, 2014 

 In an act of desperation, inventor Maxwell Watt sends his teenage son to Nikolas Klaus with the secret plans for his steam engine. The Fare, a nefarious secret society, learns of the game-changing invention and accelerate their timeline to neutralize Klaus and reclaim control over the kingdoms.

While wars spark to the south, children in Mineau have started to go missing–again. Captain Archambault suspects the return of the Ginger Lady. With the help of the Yellow Hoods and their friends, the search is on to find the missing children before it is too late.

What is the secret that ties the Yellow Hoods to the Ginger Lady? Who are the Red Hoods really?   

Title: All the King’s Men (Book 3)

Series: The Yellow Hoods

Author: Adam Dreece

Publication Date: April 15th 2015

More than a hundred years ago, a king declared that all geniuses, scientists and inventors were abominations, save for those willing to become his Conventioneers. His edict spread like wildfire through the kingdoms, and drove the hunted into the arms of the secret societies, the Tub and the Fare.

Decades later, having taken control of the remains of the crushed Fare, a young Marcus Pieman follows up on rumors of a homeless, teenage Abominator in his city. When the scared Nikolas Klaus looked up at Marcus for the first time, a tremendous bond was forged.

A betrayal leads Tee to a showdown with her greatest foe. Who breaks and who lays bleeding in the middle of nowhere?

And Mounira learns the truth about the once great inventor, Christophe Creangle.

YOU CAN FIND & PURCHASE ALL BOOKS IN THE SERIES HERE:

Goodreads | Amazon | The Yellow Hoods Store | Author Website

Book 1 – Along Came A Wolf: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon.ca | B&N
Book 2 – Breadcrumb Trail: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon.ca | B&N

Book 3 – All The King’s Men: Goodreads | Amazon

Author Bio:

Adam Dreece burst onto the young adult fiction scene in 2014. His debut novel, Along Came a Wolf, hit the shelves in April, launching what is now the bestselling series The Yellow Hoods. Book Two, Breadcrumb Trail, quickly followed in September, locking in Dreece’s status as a force to be reckoned with. Now Book Three, All the King’s-Men, is about to be released and is expected to take its place on the Amazon and Calgary Herald Best Seller Lists, alongside its predecessors.

For twenty-five years Adam had written stories and set them aside, including a memoir covering his battle with terrible scar pain and then being hit with severe asthma. He’d always given the priority and focus to his technical career. In January 2015, he became a full time author.

Adam’s a devoted husband and father of three great kids. Though driven, he ensures there is always time for his family, fans, and fellow authors. With his tween daughter as his muse and the first to hear the rough drafts, it’s no surprise that he’s a huge proponent of strong female characters, something very clear in The Yellow Hoods.

 

Author Links:

Twitter | Website | Facebook

GIVEAWAY

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This tour was organised by

Good Tales Book Tours.

Today I’m delighted to be part of a cover reveal AND giveaway blog tour organised by Good Tales Book Tours for D.B. Nielsen’s Seed, which is book 1 in the Keepers of Genesis series. 

The book:

A powerful, hidden artefact is unearthed in modern day Iraq and, with its discovery, an ancient conflict is reignited. Seventeen-year-old Sage Woods, the daughter of an eminent archaeologist working at the British Museum recently relocated from Australia, uncovers the artefact’s disturbing secret and is placed in terrible danger. Unwittingly, she has stumbled into an invisible war between two primordial dynasties of a supernatural order – a war in which she has a fateful role to play in a race to control the power of the SEED.
Embroiled in a quest that takes her from the British Museum to the Louvre to the Vatican Secret Archives, Sage realises that her blossoming romance with the mysterious, alluring St. John Rivers is inextricably tied to the artefact. Up until now, St. John has managed to keep his true identity hidden, but Sage is determined to delve deeper to uncover his dark secret and his connection to the SEED. It is a decision that will have a devastating effect on humankind…

The author:

db nielsen was born in British Hong Kong and immigrated to Australia in childhood. db likes to travel the world with family; dividing time between residing in Sydney and visits to the cathedrals, crypts and museums the world over, doing research for new projects. The author is a university lecturer in Linguistics and Semiotics, and continues to teach English Literature and Language whilst writing fiction.

And, most importantly, an excerpt and the giveaway! The giveaway closes at the end of the week, so get clicking!

I was fully awake now and frozen to the mattress. I could taste the fear in my mouth and even though I wanted to scream, no sound would come.
And then something slithered inside the room.
I knew it came from inside my room because the hotel prided itself on every room being soundproof. I began to tremble and wondered whether I was capable of moving my limbs to reach out and turn on the lights – and, if I did turn on the lights, would I really want to face what was out there.
Time seemed to stretch into eternity, mocking my capacity to think or react. There was a predator in my room and I was the prey.

For a chance to win a copy of Seed, click here for the Rafflecopter widget. The giveaway runs until the end of the week, and there are plenty of chances to win! 

Mar 17, 2015 - Giveaways, Uncategorized    No Comments

thereareinkspotsonmypage:

I am very excited to be hosting a giveaway for Wendy’s book, Serpent on a Cross! From goodreads:

Dennah Dubrovnika is a formidable hunter and talented healer. However, she cannot control her own powers, which have suddenly reawakened in the aftermath of her mother’s violent capture by a powerful warlord who destroyed their village in his wake. As she races to free her mother, Dennah is accompanied by Jeth, the man she loves. But she’s increasingly, inexorably drawn to the mysterious Skallon, who is allied with her greatest enemy.

One lucky winner will be receiving an ebook copy of Serpent on a Cross, and the giveaway will be running throughout March. 

Rules:

  1. While you don’t have to be following me, it will give you more opportunities to win.
  2. You must be over 13 to enter, a) for privacy reasons and b)…
  3. You must be prepared to give me your address. 
  4. No giveaway blogs, please.
  5. Only entries via rafflecopter will be accepted. 

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