Wednesday, September 19, 2018

How I Create My Characters by Jennifer Chase


I write in one hour or two hour increments during the day and evening. This allows me to be able to complete other things such as household chores, promotion, exercise, and errands. One of my favorite things is when I begin one of my new thriller projects, I love creating the bad guys. I work out my Big Three: Physical, Background, and Psychological.
When I outline the bad guys for my novels, it often reads like a police rap sheet and a psychological profile. I cannot overstate the effectiveness for research and outlining in fiction writing. There are those little pieces of nuggets that you can weave into the story that gives it the added realism and authenticity. These nuggets are like pieces of gold for me, and I love hunting for them.
Research into creating new characters works well for me because I love learning new things that I didn’t know yesterday, but it can be a daunting task if you don’t enjoy the process. I’ve managed to streamline my development a bit, so that I don’t get overwhelmed with too much information and avoid a major time void sucking the life out of me.
This is where I create the actual physical qualities of the character, what he/she looks like, mannerisms, specific characteristics, how he/she dresses, and even habits. I begin to get a real picture in my mind how this person looks, walks, and talks. It’s a writer’s character rap sheet with an added dimension.
Now it’s getting to be fun. This is where I begin to develop who they are with a history, life experiences, family, work environment, criminal activity, relationships, living conditions, education, and anything that wasn’t addressed with the physical area.
Now, I have an actual image of the character and some background information.  It’s endless in creating the mind of a bad guy, and you can have so much fun with this area of writing. This is no doubt my favorite step to creating a bad guy. I like to have these characters answer a few questions for me, like what they would do if confronted with certain situations. This also includes their internal and external conflicts. Many of my bad guys are serial killers, so they are skewed with distorted perceptions, beliefs, and lack of impulse control. How fun is that?

About the Author

Jennifer Chase is a multi award-winning and best-selling crime fiction author, as well as a consulting criminologist. Jennifer holds a bachelor degree in police forensics and a master's degree in criminology & criminal justice. These academic pursuits developed out of her curiosity about the criminal mind as well as from her own experience with a violent sociopath, providing Jennifer with deep personal investment in every story she tells. In addition, she holds certifications in serial crime and criminal profiling.  She is an affiliate member of the International Association of Forensic Criminologists, and member of the International Thriller Writers.



About the Book:

A calculating cold-blooded predator closes in…

When a community has barely recovered from a ruthless serial killer six months earlier; now two more horrifying murders hit the radar again. It leaves police burdened with two of the most shockingly contaminated crime scenes ever documented in California’s law enforcement history. The Slayer works behind the scenes as a sinister puppet master, precisely pulling the strings, taunting the

The sheriff and district attorney bring in the best investigators. Reunited again, Dr. Chip Palmer, a reclusive forensic expert, joins DA Inspector Kate Rawlins to sort through the crime scene aftermath in search of the truth—all without a probable suspect or a solid motive. Complicating the investigation—sparks reignite between the two.

Ratcheting up the suspense, Chip suffers a nasty fall hitting his head, impairing his perception and giving him a mind-blowing ability for specific detailed recall. Palmer and Rawlins assemble an unusual team including a rookie detective, a forensic supervisor, and an ex-military operative turned bodyguard. After one of their own is kidnapped and the investigation is taken over by the FBI, the now rogue team must pull together their own resources—alone—with a killer waiting to take each one of them out. Scene of the Crime takes no prisoners and leaves everyone fighting to stay alive.
police without leaving any viable evidence, and orchestrating his killer hit squads.



Monday, September 17, 2018

Guest Post: “The Dummy’s Guide to Writing Conferences” by Historical Mystery Author Marty Ambrose

I’ve long wished that there were a “Dummy’s Guide to Writing Conferences.”  Over most of my writing career, I’ve attended these conferences—both national and regional—and found that they can be both an amazing networking opportunity and a confusing maze of information. 

Let’s talk the “big” ones first.

The national conferences can be overwhelming.  Lots of editors and agents.  Tons of published authors.  Hordes of attendees.  So, here’s what I do:  the day that I arrive, I always go through the schedule and pick out the “latest news” editor and agent panels and, then, the published author workshops.  The good news:  I have found the agents and editors are VERY approachable and interested in talking with authors.  The bad news:  Their publishing houses may not be adding new authors.  Nevertheless, it’s worth scheduling a “pitch” session, both with an editor and an agent whose house publishes the type of book that you write.  It’s good practice to craft a five-minute speed pitch for your work.  And, most of the time, they will request to see a partial or full manuscript.  Talk to everyone.  Make friends.  Go to the cocktail parties—always fun.

But don’t overlook the regional conferences. 

There are fewer people.  You can meet the editors and agents at breakfast, chat with published authors at lunch, and make friends at dinner.  The workshops are also more closely-knit, giving you opportunities to pick the brains of authors who’ve “been there; done that.”  I’ve made life-long friends and met my agent at regional conferences (and they’re less expensive!).

Here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  • Be friendly and professional.
  • Attend lots and lots of workshops.
  • Hang out in the “common spaces” like the bar (tough job).
  • Don’t be afraid to talk to editors and agents in the elevator—I’ve had some of best conversations here.
  • Take notes for your own Dummy’s Guide.
  • Enjoy!


Born in St. Louis, Missouri, Marty Ambrose has been a writer most her life, consumed with the world of literature from the time she first read Agatha Christie mysteries and British Romantic poetry.  Marty pursued her undergraduate and graduate degrees in English, both in the U.S. and the U.K. so she could teach students at Florida Southwestern State College about the writers that she so admired.  Three decades later, she is still teaching and has enjoyed a writing career that has spanned almost fifteen years, with eight published novels for Avalon Books, Kensington Books, and Thomas & Mercer. Marty Ambrose lives in Florida with her husband, ex- news anchor Jim McLaughlin.  She plans to travel to Italy in the Fall to research A Shadowed Fate, the next book in the trilogy.

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Thursday, September 6, 2018

Book Feature: The Special and the Ordinary by David Clapham

Inside the Book:

Title: The Special and the Ordinary
Author: David Clapham
Publisher: iUniverse
Genre: Coming of Age
Format: Ebook
John Haworth, despite innate shyness, has floated upward in a comfortable English home environment under the influence of much older sisters and their friends. After he begins a new school in the early fifties, the seven-year-old is looking lost when a classmate, Martin Holford, decides to take him under his wing. And so begins a long friendship.

Ordinary rules of life apparently do not apply to the confident Martin except, perhaps, when he allows his mischievous humor excessive free rein against the self-important. While on separate coming-of-age journeys, Martin and John get on fine, despite John's occasional resentment about Martin's ability to bounce back after perpetrating 'wrong notes' against the wealthy while John slaves away attempting to make new music sound modern. John, who has no desire to be to be an apathetic musician like his viola teacher, unfortunately lacks the talent, personality, and love of limelight to match his glamorous piano teacher or Katherine, the singer he accompanies on the piano. Now all he has to do is somehow find his place amid an uncertain career as a ghost composer where chances come as infrequent as success.

The Special and the Ordinary shares the unique story of two young people as they come of age and step into the future, each with a different idea on what it means to be true to themselves.

iUniverse awarded The Special and the Ordinary the 'Editor's Choice' designation. Here are excerpts from the enthusiastic editorial reviews:

"Definitely a worthwhile read, I recommend The Special and the Ordinary to lovers of literary fiction." - Pacific Book Review

"...heartwarming and uplifting." - Kirkus Reviews

"The writing is clear and refreshing, with clean sentences that move the story along at a brisk pace." - Clarion Review

Meet the Author:

David Clapham grew up in in Sheffield, England and studied botany at Oxford. After working at the Welsh Plant Breeding Station in Aberystwyth, Wales, he moved to Uppsala, Sweden, where he still lives today. David and his Swedish wife Lena have two children. He has also published Odd Socks with iUniverse in 2013. 

The Allure of Colorado and the Front Range by Charlene Whitman

The Allure of Colorado and the Front Range
I've lived in many places around the US: Los Angeles, San Francisco, Washington state, Mississippi, New York City—to name a few. But I do have to say that my years in Colorado were very special.
Even as a child growing up in the heart of LA, I loved the mountains and nature. I would wander my suburban neighborhood of tightly packed houses and find footpaths that led up behind my neighbors' property to grassy quiet hills and would spend hours pretending I was alone in the wilderness.
I'd take a blank book and a pen or pencil and draw and write poetry, coveting the tiny bit of nature around me.
When I was a teen, I was so blessed to be able to go to a summer camp way off in the Sierra Mountains of northern California. I went to this camp every summer for eight years, staying from four to eight weeks. When I total up the time I spent in Taylorsville, it comes to almost a year of my life. One of my best "years."
It was a small camp on a river, and my days were spent horseback riding thought apple orchards and crossing creeks bareback and riding in the local Fourth of July parade. I hiked mountains and valleys, explored nature, and swam in rivers. I jumped off high rocks into cold pools in the Feather River, and I went on my first backpacking trip in the wilds of Lassen National Park.
For a city girl, this was like dying and going to heaven. I moved away from the city the moment I graduated high school and headed for the country.
I'd met my husband in northern California, near Eureka, and we lived many years on a cliff overlooking the beautiful Pacific ocean. But when he wanted to go to grad school and voiced his choices of locations, all it took was hearing "Colorado" to make up my mind where we should go.
We spent a few years in Colorado, and they were hard times. We were broke, both students, and we had a new baby. Our old VW's heater didn't work, and that meant freezing in the car during winter.
But despite all that, Colorado loomed large in its sublime beauty. The seasons there are magnificent. Fall is my favorite time of year, and there is nothing more wonderful than seeing and hearing the golden aspen leaves chiming in the wind.
So when I decide to start writing historical Western romance, I didn't hesitate a second to decide to set my stories in Colorado.
I believe setting and locale and so crucial in a novel. We are impacted by place. Where we are at any given moment affects our mood, our outlook on life. Places trigger powerful memories and emotions, and the best writers pay close attention to the sensory details of place.
I love to immerse my readers in my settings. I want them to feel as if they've been transported there. This is why I love books by authors like Zane Grey. So much detail is paid to bringing the place alive, and that's because the characters are grounded in their setting.
Especially in eras past, place was important. People, before all this advanced technology, lived close to the land. They were strongly affected by the seasons and the terrain that they had to deal with up close.
On occasion, a reviewer will complain that I spend too much time talking about place. They just want the romance. I'm glad, though, that so many of my readers comment how much they love the details I bring out about place, about Colorado. They say they love how my scenes transport them in way they can imagine being there, back in the 1870s.
While I can only do so much to convey a place, for I don't want to bore readers with thousands of pages of minute description, I do my best to bring alive the beauty and majesty of the Front Range. I found Colorado to be a spectacular and magical place.
Even though some of it has been built up and is full of malls and crowded housing, there is still plenty of wide-open space that, to me, seems just as how it might have looked to those living in the old West.
About the Author:
Charlene Whitman is the author of The Front Range Series of heart-thumping romance. Colorado Hope is the second book in the series, although the books can be read in any order. Get the thrilling prequel novella Wild Horses, Wild Hearts for free when you sign up HERE for Charlene’s mailing list. Learn all about the Front Range in the 1870s and get deep into Charlene’s characters and plot. You’ll be the first to hear of new books, as well as receive sneak peeks and insights into her riveting stores. Don’t miss her new release! Get Wyoming Tryst here!

The author of "heart-thumping" Western romance, Charlene Whitman spent many years living on Colorado's Front Range. She grew up riding and raising horses, and loves to read, write, and hike the mountains. She attended Colorado State University in Fort Collins as an English major. She has two daughters and is married to George "Dix" Whitman, her love of thirty years. 

Front Range series of sweet historical Western romance novels (set in the 1870s) includes Wild Horses, Wild Hearts, set in Laporte and Greeley. Colorado Promise, set in Greeley, Colorado; Colorado Hope, set in Fort Collins; Wild Secret, Wild Longing, which takes readers up into the Rockies, Colorado Dream (Greeley), and Wyoming Tryst, set in Laramie, WY.



About the Book:

Two ranching tycoons. A decades-old feud. A sheriff bent on ridding the town of lawlessness . . .
In the midst of the trouble brewing in Laramie City in 1878, Julia Carson yearns to be free of her parents’ smothering and wonders whether she’ll ever find a man worthy to love in such a violent
town rife with outlaws.
But when Robert Morrison sneaks onto her ranch the night of her sixteenth birthday party, Cupid shoots his arrows straight and true. Aware that their courtship would be anathema to their fathers, who are sworn enemies, Robert and Julia arrange a tryst.
Yet, their clandestine dalliance does not go unnoticed, and forces seek to destroy what little hope their romance has to bloom. The star-crossed lovers face heartache and danger as violence erupts. When all hope is lost, Joseph Tuttle, the new doctor at the penitentiary, is given a letter and a glass vial from Cheyenne medicine woman Sarah Banks.
The way of escape poses deadly dangers, but it is the only way for Robert and Julia to be together. It will take the greatest measure of faith and courage to come through unscathed, but love always conquers fear.



Thursday, August 30, 2018

Book Blast: Planetary Project by Aleksandr V. Bezgodov - Win a $25 Gift Card

Title: Planetary Project
Author: Alexsandr V. Bezgodov
Publisher: XLibrisUK
Genre: Political Science
Format: Ebook

This monograph discusses current global economic and social issues. It describes the essence of the Planetary Project, based on the critique of the Concept of Sustainable Development. A model is proposed for solving global problems through global human unification aimed at saving the planet Earth from future cataclysms and catastrophe for present and future generations. The Planetary Project is in essence a paradigm of the world’s harmonious development. It is based on an integrated economy and rent incomes from planetary and intellectual resources held in planetary ownership. The Planetary Project provides solutions to globalisation problems caused by unrestrained economic growth and one-sided development of some national economies. The Planetary Project proposes a just system of world income distribution including rent revenues from planetary resources. This distribution system will work in the interests of all countries, including Asian and African countries, some of which experience serious socio-economic problems. New planetary economic resources and mechanisms will be able to: save the Earth’s biosphere; improve its ecology; and free humanity from hunger, epidemic diseases, and the threat of a Third World War. They will help people unite in the name of universal values of life, the harmony between civilisation and nature, and the welfare of present and future generations. Developing Planetary Project ideas could lead to creating a serious research tradition and a wide life-affirming and peace-loving social movement.


The author of this research monograph is Dr Aleksandr V. Bezgodov, Corresponding Member of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences, who holds a Ph.D. in Political Science and a Doctorate in Economics. Born in Northern Russia in 1960, Aleksandr Bezgodov worked for companies specialising in innovation and high technology, as well as for organisations engaged in developing parliamentary democracy and civil society. Over the last 10 years, he has been involved in interdisciplinary research in macroeconomics and social issues at the world level using a systemic approach. He is not only a theoretician but also a practical researcher and research administrator. He is involved in both developing and implementing research-based technologies. Aleksandr Bezgodov is the author of over fifty scholarly publications proposing new original economic and sociological solutions to business administration. He is the founder and General Director of the Institute of Planetary Development in Dubai, UAE. In line with its logo “Serving humanity”, the Institute develops and disseminates the ideas spelt out in the monograph “Planetary Project: From Sustainable Development to Managed Harmony”. The Institute’s research activity is intended to provide solutions to the world’s pressing economic, social, environmental, political-legal, and cultural problems.



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  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive one $25 Gift Certificate to the e-retailer of your choice
  • This giveaway begins August 21 and ends on August 31.
  • Winners will be contacted via email on September 1.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.
Good luck everyone! 


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