Posts Tagged ‘paranormal romance author’

Thurs Thread book shelfs2Today we welcome

Elle Hill

author of

Hunted Dreams

20131212 HuntedDreamscover

Genre: Paranormal romance

Heat level: Sensual.

Hook: A woman trapped in an endless cycle of nightmares. A handsome hero committed to rescuing her. It’s just like Sleeping Beauty – except the dreaming damsel is the sword wielder and the hero is a psychic vampire feeding off her pain.


“The Leeches got their nickname from the way they eat.” Reed’s voice was even.

“They drink blood?” she breathed.

He shook his head. “A little less literal. The Broschi are empathic. They can feel and even evoke other people’s feelings, negative ones like fear, pain, horror.”

“Sun and stars,” she breathed. She got it.

She got it.

“They’re eating me,” she said, and laughed, but not humorously. “These superhuman, psychic Leech people are keeping me trapped in nightmares, eating my feelings.” Her chest felt heavy. She pressed her left hand against it and felt its gentle rise and fall.

None of this is real. All this drama, all this fear, all the pain and anger and malice. None of it exists except in the form of juicy brainwaves that these beings sip like mint juleps. No wonder she couldn’t die, couldn’t escape, couldn’t ever wake up.

Reed’s face was flushed, his nostrils wide. Her handsome hero. For a minute, she hated him, hated that he got to wake up, hated this situation, hated everything boxing her in this narrow world.

Katana glared at him for a moment. “I’m trapped in here,” she grated.

His face relaxed into compassion. Hers hardened.

“I know,” he said.

She stared at him for a moment longer. Finally, with a sigh, she leaned her head against the glass. “Who are you, Reed?”

“I’m a Leech, too, Katana.”


Blog: http://ellehillauthor.blogspot.com/

Website: http://www.ellehill.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Author-Elle-Hill/155409064486649?ref=hl

Purchasing the book: http://www.amazon.com/Hunted-Dreams-ebook/dp/B00CHUEIIG

Twitter: @ellehillauthor

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  1. Give them a quirk. This doesn’t have to be something big, just consistent and something that will set them apart from the other characters.
  2. Give them a flaw. No one is perfect. I know I’m not. It’s the flaws, big and little, that make us human.
  3. Give them a secret. As an actor, my drama coach always said to create a secret for our character to give them depth. No one needed to know what the secret was, but it would show in our performance.
  4. Give them a phobia. Everyone has fears. The most memorable characters will show those fears at some point, yet be able to conquer them.
  5. Make them true to themselves. Readers will be jarred out of the story if your character does something that’s out of character, without good reason. It’s the equivalent of a perfect child suddenly doing drugs.
  6. Give them something to care about. No one likes people who don’t care. If your characters, even the villains, are totally heartless they become stereotypical. Even bad guys care about something or love someone.
  7. Give them appropriate tags to show, not tell, the reader about them. I can’t say enough about show don’t tell. Appropriate tags that let the reader see the character rather than telling the reader what you want them to know makes characters, and stories, sparkle.
  8. Make them reveal emotions. Your characters emotions are the readers’ window to the heroes’, heroines’, and villains’ souls. Let the readers see, and figure out for themselves, what the characters are all about.
  9. Give them something they must do or achieve to gain happiness. This speaks to goal, motivation and conflict. If a character doesn’t have to stretch and grow, then you don’t have a full
  10. Provide only enough background to make you reader believe in him. Burying the reader under mounds of background that doesn’t matter to your story is like putting honey on top of jelly. It’s superfluous and unnecessary. Less is more. Just be sure you include the important stuff that speaks to the character’s motivation. Leave the rest on your character sheets where it belongs.

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The  Writer’s Alphabet

© C. D. Hersh

Photo from Wikimedia

Every writer should know their ABCs. If you’re like me you might have to sing them to remember what comes after L or Q. Here’s a fresh look at the ABCs as they apply to the writing life.

A ffirmation-As writers we get a lot of rejection.  It helps if we have some affirmation.  So, the next time you get a good comment from a critique partner, an editor, or even your child who says “You’re a good writer, Mommy,” tuck it away in a special file.  Then when you feel like chucking the computer out the window and giving up on writing, pull out those affirmations and tell yourself, “ I can do this.  I am a Writer!”

B rainstorming-Brainstorm without putting checks on your imagination.  Don’t be afraid to think of the most outrageous ideas when you’re brainstorming.  “What if” may be the best tool a writer has to stimulate his imagination.

C reativity-Never let anyone say you don’t have creativity.  The very fact that you want to write shows you have creativity.  Just keep thinking about your story, asking “What if”, and letting all your skills and thoughts take you into the world where your characters live.  Eventually, you’ll find, or create, what you need.

D iscipline-Every writer needs it; most of us do not have it.  The discipline to sit down in front of the computer every day, even when you don’t feel like it, will get you through the rough parts of your stories.

E dit-ISSAC B. SINGER said, “The wastepaper basket is the writer’s best friend.”

Think of yourself as a writer first and an editor second.  Write, rewrite and rewrite some more.  Never, ever, send that first draft to an editor.

F odder-Everything you see and hear and everyone you meet is fodder for a writer.  Writers have great excuses for eavesdropping on the world.  Ideas, character sketches, names, plot twists-you name it and you can find inspiration for it among your family, friends and the guy sitting next to you in McDonalds. Don’t let them know what you’re up to, however.  If they recognize themselves in your next story they may never speak again when you’re around.

G rammar-Webster defines grammar as “a study of what is to be preferred and what is to be avoided in inflection and in syntax.”  When you present your manuscript make sure the grammar is correct.  Don’t depend solely on your computer grammar check; its suggestions are not always right.  Instead, invest in a good English or grammar handbook and use it.  The Associated Press Stylebook and Libel Manual has a nice section on grammar and punctuation that I use all the time.  If you have trouble with grammar find a friend or an adult enrichment class that can help you brush up on your grammar.  You don’t have to be able to diagram a sentence, but you do have to be able to put it together correctly.  That goes for punctuation too.

H ope-Hope should spring eternal in the hearts of writers.  As long as you have something circulating among editors you should always have hope. Never give up, not even when you have enough rejection letters to wallpaper your office.

I deas-There are no bad ideas.  Even the worst idea can provide a springboard for something better.  Keep all your ideas in a file so you can pull them out whenever you have a dry spell.  You’ll be surprised what new, and better, ideas might spring from an idea you considered trashing.

J ournaling-Journaling is a great way to keep your writing flowing, especially on those days when you can’t, or don’t, get to the computer.  Write at night, in the morning, in the bathroom, or any place where you and your journal can go.  Put down your emotions, your thoughts, impressions, snatches of conversations, or visual images.  All these things can be story sparkers or sensory descriptions you might be able to use in some other writing.

K now How-Like every profession, writing is a job that takes skill.  You can’t be an electrician or a plumber without learning the ropes-the skills and the tricks of the trade.  That’s true in writing too.  To become a success as a writer you have to study your craft, learn the best way to write an article, a scene, a chapter, a book.  You have to know how to structure your plots and characters, and you have to become knowledgeable about the business.  Learn all you can about writing and the writing business so you can succeed.

L aughter-Keep a sense of humor about yourself and your writing.  There will be plenty of times that you will get your feelings hurt as a writer-someone won’t like your baby, a critique will rub you the wrong way, an editor might ask for umpteen revisions.  If you can face life, and writing, with humor you’ll be able to get through most anything-and even have some good story material in the process.

M arketing-If you want to sell, then know your market.  Don’t waste your time, and an editor’s time, by sending manuscripts that aren’t suitable for the publication.

N etworking-Do it!  Network with anyone in the writing business that you can.  Editors are besieged with unsolicited manuscripts.  Any time they can connect a face, organization, or conference to you, you are one step ahead of the game.  Take every opportunity to meet, talk with and mingle with editors.  Don’t forget networking with other writers too.  You can’t know all there is to know about the publishing world and what is going on.  Take advantage of any information other writers have to offer.  Getting published is not always about talent.  Sometimes it’s also about being in the right place, or submitting to the right place at the right time.

O rganization-If you can’t find the computer, your copious notes, or the paper and pencil under the clutter in your office, then you can’t write. The more organized you are the less time you’ll spend hunting and the more time you’ll have for writing.

P erspiration-Don’t wait for the Muse.  Writing is one-percent inspiration and 99-percent perspiration.  If you wait for inspiration, you might as well be taking a nap while you’re sitting in front of you computer.

Q uery Letter-Queries can be more intimidating and frustrating than writing the whole darn book.  I know plenty of writers who dread the “Query Letter.”  The query is an editor’s first glimpse of you and your story.  Consider it an important, but necessary, evil of your craft, and learn to conquer it.  The Writer’s Market has great examples of how to write a good query.

R eading-“A room without books is like a body without a soul.” Cicero

A writer who doesn’t read will soon find himself out of touch with the very world for which he is writing.  Read, read, and read everything that you can.  Fiction, non-fiction, newspapers, magazines, cookbooks, cereal boxes, dictionaries, children’s literature, and certainly read in whatever genre in which you want to write.

S olitude-The life of a writer is a solitary one. “Family, friends, and society are the natural enemies of a writer.  He must be alone, uninterrupted and slightly savage if he is to sustain and complete an undertaking.” LAWRENCE CLARK POWELL  Learn when, and how, to shut the door and lock out the world.  Find the time and the place that works best for you.

T enacity-“ A professional writer is an amateur who didn’t quit.” RICHARD BACH

Dr. Seuss had his first book rejected 64 times and was ready to toss it in the trash.  A friend convinced him to try just one more publisher-the rest is history.  Seuss could have remained an amateur if he had given up.  Don’t give up.  You might miss your chance at a bestseller.

U niversality-Want to sell?  Then make sure your stories and articles have a universal appeal. There is nothing new under the sun, just a different way to tell it.  Stories with universal appeal never go out of style.

Vi rgin Reader-Every writer needs one of these.  We get so close to our “babies” that we can’t see their flaws.  But, believe me, an editor will.  So, find someone you trust to give you fair, constructive criticism-someone with a fresh set of eyes to look at your writing-and let them be a Virgin.

W rite-“Planning to write is not writing.  Outlining a book is not writing.  Researching is not writing.  Talking to people about what you’re doing, none of that is writing.  Writing is writing.” E. L.  DOCTROW

‘Nuff said.

X ercise-(Yes, I know it’s not spelled that way) Writing takes a lot of mental power but doesn’t exercise the other body muscle groups (except the fingers).  So, to keep yourself healthy-and maybe even sneak in some writer avoidance time-take time to exercise.  You’ll come back to the keyboard refreshed and awake. A bonus-getting the endorphins revved can even kick your brain into gear and help you solve whatever writing problem you’ve been facing.

Ying and Yang—A writer needs balance, in his life and on the page. Too much time alone with the book isn’t a good thing. Neither are pages of narrative or back story with no dialogue or action. Find that happy medium in your life and your literary pursuits.

Z eal-“Writing is a dog’s life, but the only life worth living.” GUSTAVE FLAUBERT

If a writer’s “dog’s life” isn’t what you want, then you had just as well close your notebook, break your pencil in half, and find something else to do with your life.  Zeal, passion and a love of your work will keep your writing fresh and alive.  If you don’t like what you are doing you probably will not succeed at it.

Do you have a letter you’re particularly good at or one that you suck at?

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I learned a new word the other day—pareidolia (parr-i-DOH-lee-ə).

Pareidolia means to see meaning where there is none. It is also defined as the tendency to interpret a vague stimulus as something known to the observer. The Skeptic’s Dictionary defines it as a type of illusion or misperception involving a vague or obscure stimulus being perceived as something clear and distinct. In other words, we see something, hear something, or smell something where there really isn’t anything.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve been experiencing pareidolia all my life, in more ways than one. I’ve often inserted meaning into conversations with people who made absolutely innocent statements than I’ve taken umbrage to. I’ve interpreted vague stimuli as clear, distinct invitations to do something when the person I was talking to had no intention of going in that direction.

I have frequently been guilty of the more appropriate definition of the word whenever I see objects in the clouds,

Shark or Submarine

in the swirls in the linoleum

What do you see?
photo by C.D. Hersh


in shadows on the walls

spooky shadow face
photo by C.D. Hersh

I can clearly see the man in the moon face, the faces on the surface on Mars,

and the Horsehead Nebula in the NASA pictures

I hear the phone ringing in the shower, when it’s not ringing. I smell things on the air when no one else does, (and have on several occasions known what my mother was fixing for dinner because I smelled it a mile away) and yes, I’ve heard the hidden words in In A Gadda Da Vida played backwards.

Skeptics would say our brains are wired to see faces and that’s why we see them where none really exist—there’s really nothing there but random patterns. But I rather like the other, more mysterious approach to pareidolia—the one that leaves me with goosebumps, averting my eyes from the devil in the door, and whooping out a big OOOOHHH whenever I see something unexpected on my burned toast or staring at me from the electrical plug on the kitchen wall.

Skeptics believe the misty faces peering over the shoulders of people in dimly lit photos are just random shapes, not real faces—or maybe I should say dead, spooky faces people claim them to be. Because I can see them so clearly they might claim I have an overactive imagination, but that’s okay too. I revel in that imagination. It’s what makes me a writer. It keeps life interesting, and it gives me something to do when I’m staring for hours at watermarks in the ceiling at the doctors’ offices.

I’m never bored if there’s a random pattern somewhere in my sight line. I’m always searching for that illusive picture. And who knows … I might see something someday that inspires a new story. After all, what is writing but the sparking of a vague, obscure stimulus into something that’s clear and distinct?

Here’s a few pareidolia pictures you might enjoy. Do you have one of your own favorites?

photo (c) C.D. Hersh
Dragon attacking the Disney World Epcot World Ball

Apache head in rocks

Tree hugger

Screaming face

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Last week we blogged about our earliest writings. This week we’ll take a look at things that have led us into the paranormal genre.

Catherine’s mother loved good old-fashioned monster and horror movies. In fact, she got so scared watching a monster movie when she was pregnant with Catherine that she got goose bumps. Later, when Catherine developed what appeared to be permanent goose bumps on her arms, her mother said she had “marked” her by watching such a scary story during pregnancy. One could say, based on this story and the old wives’ tale her mother’s explanation came from, Catherine’s destiny to write about the paranormal developed in the womb. In reality, the steady diet of supernatural themed movies and television shows she viewed as a youngster had the biggest influence. Vampires, werewolves, things from outer space, Frankenstein, zombies and ghosts whetted her appetite for the paranormal and made her run like mad past the graveyard when she had to walk home in the dark, wear a cross at all times, and avoid going out alone on a full moon. Thanks Mom.

Her grandmother also contributed to Catherine’s taste for fantasy. Grandma’s favorite scary story, which she told to her grandchildren at nearly every visit, was about an old woman who accidentally dug up a monster’s big toe, while hoeing her potatoes, and ate it for dinner. (Why the toe was not attached to the monster is lost somewhere in Catherine’s memory, but the gist of the story remains.) The monster, naturally, was upset and haunted the woman every night, moaning, “I want my big toe.” The haunting drove the old lady crazy and the monster gobbled her up in revenge. Catherine also reread Mary Poppins and Grimms Fairytales, two of the books on Grandma’s shelves, every time she visited.

And of course, we can’t forget Walt Disney. His romanticized tales of fairy godmothers, men under curses who could only be released by true love’s kiss, and evil witches have primed children everywhere to love the paranormal. Catherine was no exception.

Aside from his science-fiction fantasy Tom Swift books, Donald’s other genre influences have been television shows like The Twilight Zone and comic books—a reading choice of many boys. His favorites included supernatural heroes like Superman, Flash Gordon, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, Aqua Man, and the Justice League of America.  Lois Lane, with her unrequited love for Superman and inability to see the value of Clark Kent’s love, influenced his taste for romance. Donald also attributes his foray into the paranormal to Catherine. Having spent two-thirds of his life with her makes it hard to ignore what she’s interested in … and makes him a smart man for paying attention.

Can you attribute your love of the genre you write in or read to a childhood influence? If not, is there another instance you can point to that started you down a particular genre path?

Photo by Evgeni Dinev from freedigitalphotos.net   http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/view_photog.php?photogid=1256

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