Crash course in script writing.

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Now that was an interesting journey. Writing a movie script from your own book,  I assumed it would be a piece of cake. I was wrong. Way wrong. I studied. Read articles. Watched videos day and night and believed it would be as easy as simply transferring the concept into a need little 130 page screenplay. It wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be.

Trouble I found was, as being a writer, I wanted to go into detail every little thing. Wanted to write what the characters were thinking. Just read that last sentence again. At the beginning, that was my biggest downfall. My brain was still in book mode. Like switching from my YA to adult romance mode, I needed to close the door sort of speak, and open the next to a different room of thought.

First, I needed to stop writing thoughts. Yes I know, should have been common sense knowing that viewers can’t read characters thoughts. Well, it can be done, but in terms of what I was writing, it’d come out messy. Anyway, I needed to train my mind to put those thoughts into words, and actions. Lexi thoughts of being mentally beat, and wanting nothing more to do with her life, needed to be brought forward with actions, and sometimes, words. In some cases, sections were not included because of it being all thought based. In other times, I needed a scene to be expanded.

That brings me to the next part, which, bleeds into the one above. Most of the time copying dialogue word for word didn’t work. Yes, there we’re times where I could, but for the most part, it didn’t. There were occasions that called upon me to change the dialogue to fit the before mentioned thought scenes. That is where the challenge laid. Once I managed to get comfortable in my mindset, I started to breeze through the last half of the script.

Finally, every author looks back on their first book and says to themselves, “I could’ve done that part so much better.” Come on, admit it, we’ve all said it. As I was reading through MORIUM, I found myself with those thoughts. This gave me the chance to correct some of what I believed, could have been done better. In the script, there is one particular scene, which I can’t divulge, that packs more emotional punch than the book and really shows the friendship between the characters.

That was my first journey into script writing. What started as a chore at first, turned into a fun and exciting learning experience. It is now in the hands of my producer, to ship off for interest. When / if it goes into pre-production, it will go through a script doctor to flesh out the final version.  In the meantime, I kept the script true to the book. I’m sure, or at least I’m hoping, my skills will sharpen as I adapt the other two books.

Thanks for reading, and in whatever your journey is, may the wind be at your back.

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A.M. Manay, She Marches Through Fire Book Tour

It’s my pleasure to be the first stop on A.M. Manay’s book tour to promote the third book in the November Snow Series. For those who have not had a chance to read these truly amazing books, do yourself a favor and pick them up. I was hooked after book one, which is on my list as one of the best indie books I read in 2016. A.M. is a gifted author and has taken the vampire genre and gave it a fresh new spin.

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Title: She Marches Through Fire (November Snow Book 3)

Series: November Snow

Author: A.M. Manay

Cover design: A.M. Manay

Release Date: March 28, 2017

Genre: Supernatural fantasy

Mini-blurb: Psychic vampire November Snow must battle grief, injury, and her own family as she fights evil on all sides. She seeks a cure for the poison sapping her strength and a fairy weapon as powerful as it is dangerous to wield. When it is time to save the innocent and gain justice for her maker, will she find the strength to march through the fire?

AVAILABLE FOR PRE-ORDER at most booksellers: books2read.com/u/4AgGAN

Trailer link: https://youtu.be/m9gxWk0Q1m8

She Marches Tablet

Excerpt

Hector was coming out of his skin, buzzing with rage.  “Do you honestly expect me to just sit here and let Luka sleep when I could be tearing his throat out?” he demanded.

“That is precisely what I expect you to do,” was Gul’s even-toned reply.  

“And shouldn’t we be calling the in the feds?  He committed a terrorist act against the human government,” Jaime insisted.  “At some point, he has to answer for that.  He could still have co-conspirators out there doing God knows what.  We’re harboring a fugitive at the top of the most wanted list.  Until a few days ago, I carried a badge.  I know I don’t have any authority here, but this whole scenario makes me seriously uncomfortable.”

“November’s been poisoned, we suspect with something William got from one of Luka’s people.  We need the antidote.  We may also need Luka’s blood.  For now, we need him alive and with us.  And there is no human jail that could hold him,” Gul explained patiently.

“He murdered everyone I ever cared about!” Hector growled.

“And a great many others besides,” Gul acknowledged.  “And I hope, one day, to help you get justice.  But today is not that day.  November’s life is worth more than vengeance.”  Gul paused before adding, “I intend to make Luka pay dearly for any mercy he gets today, I assure you.”

Hector took a deep breath and ran both hands through his shaggy hair.  Pine placed a hand on his love’s lower back.  “You’re right,” Hector finally sighed.  “But I don’t like it.  Just keep him the hell away from me.”  The werewolf then stalked out of the basement, taking out his anger on the stairs and rattling the whole house.

“He’s not going to be the last person you have to talk out of killing him tonight, I suspect, dear husband,” Raina pointed out sleepily.  The eldest vampire in the room, she had just woken, a bit ahead of the others.  She quickly disentangled herself from her still-slumbering siblings.

She gave Gul a peck on the cheek and crossed the room to a large suitcase from which she removed an ancient-looking leather case and a pair of black calfskin gloves.  “Maybe seeing him in this will cheer Hector up.”

Gul shook his head, amused.  “Woman, is there anywhere you don’t haul that along?”

“Well, this time it’s actually useful!” she retorted.  “We don’t want Luka slithering off before we’re done with him, do we?”

Gul nodded, and his wife quickly gloved her hands and locked her brother into a set of antique silver stocks.  She closed them first around his ankles, then reached for his hands and pulled his inert form forward, binding his wrists into the diabolical device.  She searched him for weapons and pulled out his fairy-forged dagger in its leather sheath.  “I remember this thing,” she sighed.  “Nasty bit of work.”  She hung the sheath on her belt, stood straight, removed the gloves, and looked down next at her sister.  

“Savita was in a bad way this morning.  I don’t imagine dusk will find her much better,” she reported to the others.

“Greg is sleeping in the van.  Hopefully he will be able to console her in her grief,” Gul answered.

“It isn’t just that, unfortunately,” Raina sighed.  “Apparently William did not just murder his own maker.  He also slew mine.  Savita knew and kept his secret, to her now-eternal regret.”

Pine whispered, “Holy shit.  William killed Queen Marisha?”

Gul’s eyebrow met his hairline, and he shook his head.  “What a tangled mess.”

“We excel at that in my family,” Raina replied.  “I can’t even manage to hate Savita properly for keeping her mouth shut.  William, on the other hand . . . William is in for a reckoning.”  Her normally cheerful eyes were hard and determined.

“As I told Hector, justice is unfortunately a job for another day,” Gul said gently.  He pulled his wife toward him, and she consented to rest her head briefly against his shoulder.

“Speaking of Hector, I’d better check on him,” Pine said worriedly. 

“Could you carry Savita out to the van while you’re at it?” Raina asked.  “And shake Greg awake.  She’s going to need him when she rises.”

Pine placed Savita over his shoulder and bounded up the stairs two at a time.  After the handoff to Greg, he found his boyfriend in the backyard, taking an ax to a tree stump.  Chips flew into the air.  The western sky was all pinks and oranges behind him.

“Hey,” Pine called.  He was careful to stay out of ax range.

Hector left the blade embedded in the wood and turned around to face Pine.  “Hey.”

Pine crossed the grass and embraced the larger man.  Hector buried his face in Pine’s neck before  whispering, “I can’t do this.  I can’t look at his smirking face and not bash it in.”

“Yeah.  I know.  I think we should split up.  You and I can go with Greg and Savita, take her to Eden to recover.  Let Gul and Raina deal with Luka and finding a cure for November.  We’ll be more nimble and attract less attention in smaller groups.”

“I don’t want November to think I abandoned her,” Hector replied, his voice stronger as he regained control of his emotions.  “She saved my life.”

“She won’t think that.  I’m pretty sure she’ll understand better than anyone.  She was there, after all.  She saw what Luka did to your people.”

Hector took a shuddering deep breath.  “Fair enough.”

“Raina has Luka clapped in silver.  Looks like some kind of a medieval torture device.  It’s kind of nice to see the tables turned on the smug bastard,” Pine offered tentatively.  “You could go throw rocks at him or something.  Knives from the kitchen.  Furniture.  Whatever comes to mind.”

“You fairies, always looking on the bright side,” Hector said, managing a weak smile.

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In addition to her work as an award-winning indie author of paranormal fantasy, A.M. Manay is a former inner-city chemistry teacher, a singer, a yoga enthusiast, a Clerk of Session in the Presbyterian Church (USA), and a mother through domestic open adoption.  She has a passion for increasing diversity in popular culture and for strong heroines who stand up for themselves, make their own decisions, and don’t depend on romance as their reason for being.

Be the first to know about the release of the upcoming sequel as well as bonus material about your favorite characters by 

Checking out her website: http://www.ammanay.net

Signing up for the fan email list: November’s News

Following the author on Facebook: facebook.com/ammanaywrites

Following the author on Twitter: @ammanay

Following the author on Instagram: instagram.com/a.m.manay

Following her Amazon author page: amazon.com/author/ammanay

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Interview with Martha Perez

Today’s interview is with the wonderful, Martha Perez.

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Could you tell my readers a little bit about yourself?

I was born in raised in Los Angeles, CA. and now live in West Covina, CA with my husband Sal Andalon and my dog Sugar Bear. I have a son, a daughter and two granddaughters. My hobbies include reading, writing exercise and long walks. Broken Pieces is my first book, and is an accomplishment of which I’m very proud.

How many books do you have out?

Broken Pieces

What inspired me to write such a dark and heart wrenching story was my journey of my own life Abby’s a part of me I will always love and treasure this story.  It was tough being a child no one wanted an alcoholic dad that I truly loved. It’s poignant he loved more his drinking than his daughters. I created Abby made this story fiction because I added plots to make the story flow so in the end it could come together.

 Abby lived in a dysfunctional family gets bullied in school she always felt she wasn’t loved or hugged or paid attention to. She grew up thinking she wasn’t worthy to be loved or give love. Abby’s dad gets married to a woman he didn’t love she becomes Abby’s nightmare a monster that hates her and tries to kill her because she was jealous of her. There are so many emotions in this story so many shredded tears. Abby is a fighter someone that could stand in her own two feet and show the world! She is really strong with a huge heart regardless what happened to her.

Broken Heart

What inspired me to write Broken Heart when my daughter read my book she told me what happens to the rest of the characters, immediately I stared to write Broken Heart I truly had so much fun writing this story about Rick Owen he’s gorgeous with a sex addiction an alcoholic he had so much pain in his heart only wanted someone to love him. Always wanted to write erotica story, very proud of this meaningful story of love, loss, romance, lust and drama and more turmoil you could handle. 

 What do you hope readers take away after reading your books?

I hope they relay to my stories there are so many dysfunctional families and abuse, that there not alone. All my books have a message 

Did you sit down and start writing it right away, or did you plot story the out?

Good question. I didn’t write the story right away this story has been with me for a while. I knew it would be tough so I took my time. I was certain how the story would begin and how it would end, writing your own story comes with lots of tears and emotions. I made it fictional because some characters and plots were fiction.

Did you find it difficult to write broken pieces since it is a part of you?

Writing this story was very difficult I wrote it with such emotion my heart was telling me to write such a dark story because truth is told I was carrying my story on my shoulder for so long, I just wanted to let go and be free. When I finished my story, I felt the freedom in my heart it may had been the hardest thing I ever done in all my life, it was worth the tears because it set me free.

Do you have future books in the works?

I do have my third book Broken Dreams coming soon!  It’s part of the series of Broken Pieces it will be the last of the series. I just started writing another book hopefully by next year it will be finished.

What will Broken Dreams be about?

Broken Dreams is about Josh and Emily. Josh has a dark side he hates Emily and yet he married her to torment her she loves him thinking she will change him. Josh has a best friend that is in love with Emily Trevor is scared to tell her he truly loves her.  Josh and Trevor start to share women drinking, drugs this story will be about domestic violence it will also be erotica.

What do you hope readers take away after reading your books?

I hope they could relate with my stories there more reality of life. There is so many dysfunctional families, so much abuse. I could only hope that they take these stories that there not alone there is lots of help just have to ask for it. Everyone has a story to tell all of my reviews have been positive feedback. All my books have a message in the end.

What do you like about being a self published author?

I like the freedom to control your own book. The creativity and the learning process and promotion it’s been an exciting journey.

And the worse part?

I think the promoting part is tough being a new author it’s been a very learning experience.

Have you always been a writer at heart?

I am going to say yes and no in the past I would say no, now I believe I’m a writer at heart.

Thank you Martha for taking the time to stop by. You can follow Martha on her social media sites.

www.marthaperez.info

www.brokenpieces.rocks

https://www.facebook.com/people/Martha-Perez/100011138110974

https://twitter.com/marthaperez0609

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15162126.Martha_Perez/blog

 

 

Interview with Ingrid Foster

Today I have the pleasure of talking to Ingrid Foster. I’ve known Ingrid since the beginning of my writing career and one of the nicest writers you’d ever want to meet. Along with being a wonderful author.

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Hello, my name is Ingrid Foster and I’m an Author of the Dark Desert Tales collection and the Esme Bohlin fantasy suspense series. 

Congratulations on winning the, Hot off my Kindle Award for best horror book.

Thank you, S.J., I am truly honored! It’s wonderful to know my readers appreciate my work. Like most authors, my stories are truly a part of me and it’s nice to be recognized. Actually, I think I’m still getting over the surprise. 

It’s a wonderful short story. How did Fresh Meat come to be?

Before we moved to the desert, my husband and I use to live in an apartment complex in a small town south of Tucson. While walking our dog late one afternoon, I noted a small flock of turkey vultures circling the grove of cottonwood trees next to the complex. As we walked closer, I realized the birds were roosting in the trees…and like most “what-if” writers, I thought, “What if they lived in those trees and what if someone were feeding them much like they do wild songbirds? And so, Fresh Meat was born. 🙂 

Did you start writing it right away?

Yes, actually, I was taking a course through Long Ridge Writers Group and used Fresh Meat as an assignment. The original word limit was 1500 words, that’s why the story seems short. I actually embellished and changed the original ending prior to publishing it. I didn’t make any other changes because to do so would take away from the original intent, I wanted to write a sort of Brothers Grimm does the desert with my collection. I’ve got three other stories in various writing stages that I’m currently working on.

Interested in telling us the original ending?

Well, in the original ending we don’t get to the part where Mary is eaten by her birds. Instead, the story cuts off to his teacher taking attendance at school the next morning and discovering that Timmy is not in his seat.The following scene has the Sheriff taking a statement from his distraught aunt and the Sheriff thinking about all the missing boys with no knowledge of what’s happening to them. 

Interesting. You stated that you have writings in various stages. Do you write more than one story at a time?

My imagination is always writing and sometimes a story will come to me that I have to write down. When I get to a point where the story seems blocked, I’ll set it aside for a while and work on another story.

You write every day?

Yes, I have to. Otherwise, I feel my creative muscles get rusty. As long as I keep writing everyday, even if only a couple sentences,, my writing continues to flow.

Your two short stories, Fresh Meat and A Home for Rose are not the only novels you have out. Could you tell us about your first full length book?

 My first full length book is a fantasy suspense entitled, My Father’s Magic. It’s about an inadequate sorceress who, while mourning her father’s death, finds a mysterious key and the directions to a family home she’s never heard of. There she meets an obnoxious stranger who claims to have been her childhood best friend and discovers a family she never knew she had…and then the adventure begins! 

Is fantasy your genre of choice?

Not necessarily, I’ve got a horror novel I’m dying to finish and a YA science fiction that is on the back-burner. I just love to write the “What ifs,” allowing my imagination to go wild while fingers type like crazy to catch up. 

Lol. The fingers are never quick enough to catch up to your brain when you’re a writer.

Exactly! And then there’s the interruptions at night. While editing My Father’s Magic, I can’t tell you how many nights that happened, but hey, I got some of my best plot corrections that way.

So many plus and minuses being a self-published author. What do you see as the pluses and minuses?

To me, the most important plus is that I call the shots. It’s my life and my businesses and as much as I’d love to turn this into a lucrative endeavor, the bottom line is I love to write and I write the type of stories I myself love to read. For an agent or publisher, it’s all about the financial bottom line. For me, it’s all about the story. On the flip-side, Self-Publishing and being an Independent Author is hard, really hard. We have to pay for everything up front out of our own pockets and hope someone will read, review and share their enjoyment of our stories with their friends. We must rely on word of mouth. This is not a career choice, this is a passion.When I was seventeen, I was full into writing, mostly poetry, but the story teller in me was finding her way through. Then, due to intense familial pressure, I put my writing aside. There’s more to this story and it’s too personal to share, but it took me 25 years to find my voice again and allow that wall that I put up between myself and my writing to be knocked down. And I must say, those were twenty-five of the worst years of my life. Without passion, what does anyone have?

What can readers expect from you in 2017?

Okay, first things first, I’ve got a new cover for My Father’s Magic and will be re-releasing the novel on Kindle eBook with plans to launch it into the Apple, Nook market and then make it available for print on demand. 

As for Dark Desert Tales, 2017 will see the release of the Dark Desert Tales Collection featuring three more stories, one of which is a novella I’ve been working on, as well Fresh Meat and A Home for Rose.

Before I let you go, it’s time for a rapid fire quiz. Keep the answers to under a sentence.

Okay, shoot.

To coffee or not to coffee. Do you need it when you write?

Oh Yes! and Yogi’s Raspberry Passion tea.

The latest you’ve been up writing?

I’m a morning person so the earliest has been 3:30 AM.

The number of times you’ve banged your head on the keyboard because you couldn’t think of that one word you need.

Countless! and I will never shave my head because of the scars.

Talk out loud to yourself as you write?

Does laughing count or crying…yes, absolutely!

Because of what you’re writing or just being crazy because of being over tired. Lol.

I love my characters, they truly keep me sane and I know that if I laugh, swoon or cry, I’m doing something right in my writing.

Favorite character from your books?

Honestly, don’t make me pick! They are all so unique, but if I had a favorite to “play” with, it would be Natasha in MY FATHER’S MAGIC. She’s my favorite bad girl.

Thank you so much Ingrid for taking the time tonight.

Thank you, SJ, I truly appreciate your time and the opportunity!

Wishing you the best for a successful 2017.

Thank you. You, too!

You can find Ingrid on her social media sites.

Amazonhttps://www.amazon.com/Ingrid-Foster/e/B01E5U69K0/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/ingridfoster

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/IngridFosterAuthor/

Website – http://ingridfostersworld.blogspot.com/

 

KJ Waters in Depth

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KJ Waters is the Amazon best-selling author of the short-story called Blow and #1 best-seller Stealing Time. The second book in the series, Shattering Time, is in development and is slated to be released in the spring of 2017.

In addition to her writing, she is the CEO of Blondie’s Custom Book Covers and the co-host of the popular podcast Blondie and the Brit.

She has a Master’s in Business and over 15 years of experience in the marketing field. Before quitting her job to raise a family and work on writing she was the Director of Marketing and communications for a national behavioral healthcare company.

 

Where to find KJ Online:

  1. Websites:http://www.kjwaters.com http://www.blondieandbrit.com/ http://www.blondiebooks.com/
    1. Twitter:@kamajowa @blondiebookcov @blondieandbrit @bbreaders
    2. Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/kjwaters2, Author site: https://www.facebook.com/KJ-Waters-206720056103502/, Podcast site: https://www.facebook.com/blondieandbrit/, Book cover site: https://www.facebook.com/BlondiesCustomBookCovers/,
    3. LinkedIn:https://www.linkedin.com/in/kj-waters-12098360
    4. Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kamajowa
    5. Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/kamajowa/
    6. Google Plus: https://plus.google.com/u/0/112103036688986846213
  2. Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/11164130.K_J_Waters 1,
  3. Blog:Blondie in the Water kjwatersauthor.blogspot.com

 

Books

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  1. STEALING TIME
  • Currently has 58 reviews on USA Amazon with an average of 4.5 out of 5 stars.
  • Reached #1 for Time Travel in August 2016 as a free book

Blurb:

Stealing Time is a “Breathtakingly original” time travel adventure that will keep you on the edge of your seat. As Hurricane Charley churns a path of destruction towards Orlando, Florida, Ronnie Andrews and her best friend, Stephanie McKay, scramble to prepare for the storm. Ronnie seeks shelter at her boyfriend’s weather lab while Steph heads back to her house. 
During the peak of the storm, Ronnie is hurtled back in time to eighteenth-century London where she is caught in a web of superstition, deception, and lies in a life and death struggle to return to her own time. 
Steph is thrust into the middle of the hurricane, but it quickly turns into a living nightmare as she is faced with losing everything. Stealing Time: Book 1 in the Stealing Time Series.

Book Linker: myBook.to/StealingTimebyKJWaters

Barnes and Noble: BN

iTunes: iTunes

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  1. Blow – A Short Story –
  • Currently has 20 reviews on US Amazon with an average rating of 4.8 out of 5.0 stars.
  • Reached #8 on Amazon shortly after its release in one subcategory. Top 100 in 3 categories. July 2016 reached #13 in Teen and Young Adult Short Reads.

 BLOW — A SHORT STORY

Caught between a hurricane and a deadly secret, Rick Harris struggles against a ticking clock when the wrong people show up at his door looking for shelter. As the storm closes in wreaking havoc on Pensacola, Florida, he has to make a choice between saving their lives and exposing a secret that could cost him everything.

Linker link: myBook.to/BlowbyKjWaters

Amazon links: http://www.amazon.com/Blow—-Short-Story-Waters-ebook/dp/B01DYDFO6Y/

Barnes and Noble:BN

iTunes: iTunes

 

Series Blurbs

Book 1 — Stealing Time – Released December 2014, paperback March 2015
Stealing Time, Ronnie Andrews moves to central Florida and three days later she is hit by Hurricane Charley. During the storm, she inexplicably goes back in time to 1752 London where she is accused of being a witch. She has the help of her sister-in-law’s cousin, Mathias, who does everything he can to help her escape the iron fist of the law.

 

Short Story 1 — Blow – Released April 2016

This book was published with the idea to bring my audience back before releasing Shattering Time. It was way more successful that I originally planned. It as a side story about Hurricane Ivan that also hit that summer but not in the same location at Ronnie and Jeffrey. Rick Harris, the character from Blow, is tied to Jeffrey in a way that is hinted at in the story. You will see more of Rick in Splintering Time.

Rick Harris is faced with a devastating choice between revealing a deep dark secret and saving the lives of his friends, one of them an undercover cop. As Hurricane Ivan ramps up, Rick watches his house sustain irreparable damage and memories of the Mexican dessert are jostled loose while he hides the illegal stash from his past.

 

Book 2 — Shattering Time—Spring 2017

The second book, Shattering Time, continues when Ronnie returns from 1752 London shell-shocked and left wondering if she really went back in time. Hurricane Francis is barreling towards Florida and is the size Texas, and her boyfriend, Jeffrey Brennan, manipulates her into staying in Orlando for the storm so he can continue the experimentation on the time travel device. With such a huge storm Jeffrey has an entire weekend to send Ronnie back in time facing sharks, the plague, the great fire of London, and a brush with the missing Roanoke Colony, one of our country’s first unsolved mysteries. A stunning conclusion brings Ronnie face to face with a dangerous ally who is somehow a part of her past.

Short Story 2 – Untitled – Spring 2017

This will be released in between books two and three to keep readers engaged and will continue where Blow left off with Hurricane Ivan devastating the Gulf Coast of Florida. Rick has a bag of cocaine in his pocket and two AK-47’s strapped across his back and the horror of the storm damage to fuel his will for survival.

Book 3 — Splintering Time (temporary title) – 80,000 words written in first draft The third book joins Ronnie just after Hurricane Francis where Ronnie is questioning her sanity. Adding to her angst her mother reveals that her father’s death five years ago was not from natural causes, but may be from a mental illness much like what Ronnie is experiencing with the episodes of time travel.

She escapes the never ending stream of storms in Florida to join her boss, Mike Walsh, on a business trip to Puerto Rico. She is running away from her time travel experiences and troubles with her boyfriend, Jeffrey, and straight into the eye of Hurricane Jeanne as it forms off the coast of Puerto Rico. Trapped on the island with mudslides, a severely damaged power grid, and Mike Walsh, who on the surface seems to be a nice guy but something Jeffrey has unearthed has left Ronnie fearful of her safety around Mike. With no one else to turn to she must rely on him to survive the storm and is forced to make a life and death choice forever changing her path.

Fractured Time – Concept

Book four finds Mike in a coma in Puerto Rico and lost in 1752 London. Ronnie heads back to the States where her sanity tested when circumstances brought about in Puerto Rico haunt her, literally. Strange things happen around her and mysterious clues connected to her father’s death materialize leading Ronnie to question everything she thought she knew about him. With Hurricane Jeanne poised to make landfall in the same location Hurricane Francis hit only a few weeks before, can Ronnie solve the mystery, prove her sanity, and rescue Mike before it is too late?

Listen to my interview with KJ and co-host MJ LaBeff

The day that changed how I look at Darth Vader.

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There is something that has been burned into my mind for the past few weeks and I’ve been meaning to write about it since. Why? I wanted to write about it and find out if there are other fans out there that felt the same way I did after watching what I did.

It’s been a few weeks since Rogue One: A Star Wars Story dropped in theaters so I want to write about something that happened in the movie that is still ringing in my brain. If you haven’t seen it, stop here if you don’t want to be spoiled with the probably, no, the best minute to minute and a half of cinema history of 2016, if not of all time. I’ll add that it’s the best scene ever in a Star Wars movie.

Before I get to that part, let me just say that Rogue One exceeded my expectations. I’m not going to go into a full movie review, but I’ll just say that it doesn’t eclipse Empire Strikes Back as the best Star Wars film. It’s choppy beginning prevents it from taking the top spot. It does however slide into third place behind A New Hope. Perhaps even eclipse it based on what I’m about to write.

Okay, now that that’s done, let’s move on to Mr. Vader himself, who is the focus of the what I have been talking about. Since the beginning of Star Wars back in 77, we’ve been told how much of a badass Darth Vader was. Ever since then, Star Wars fans have been waiting to see it. I’ve been waiting to see it, and Rogue One delivers in a big way.

I’ll admit, as a man some movie scenes choke me up if done probably. Mostly nostalgia. When Vader ignited his Lightsaber and went to work on those poor Rebel soldiers, I was literally on the edge of my seat, grinning from ear to ear. I don’t usually smile when people are getting cut in half, but watching this powerful scene unfold before my eyes brought a tear to my eye. From the beginning of the corridor scene, to where the soldier held the Death Star plans through a narrow opening before getting impaled, there has never been a movie scene impact me this much.

Silly? To some it may be. But for a series that that many hold dear to their hearts like I do, Darth Vader’s image has been forever changed. After decades of waiting, they finally gave us the Darth Vader we’ve longed to see.

In case you’re wondering.

1 – Empire Strikes Back

2 – A New Hope

3 – Rogue One

4 – The Force Awakens

5 – Revenge of the Sith

6 – Return of the Jedi

7 – Attack of the Clones

8 – Phantom Menace

When your characters become family

As I sprint to the finish line with the last chapters of the final Morium book, I came to the realization that the next novel will complete the story with the characters that have become like family to me. The teenagers who were born inside my head over a year ago are about to slide off into the final book of existence in my mind. Or will they?

It may seem strange, or even bizarre, that one can become attached to fictional characters. As an author of a trilogy, it can, or in my case, did become a reality. I became part of them, understood them, reasoned with them, and even in a few instances, argued with them as if they were real teenagers. Sound strange? It shouldn’t. I had imaginary conversations with these teens determining if they would really act like I wanted them to. I would say this, they responded with that. It was a tug of war that raged in my writing mind. In time they had become my family. They had become my kids.

 I became sad when they did and even shared a laugh or two. I related to their pain, their sorrow, and offered them guidance when I could, often wanting to hold them and let the rain of my love come down upon them. I wanted to cover my daughters arms in an attempt to stop her from cutting away her sorrows. To be there when my son came home from school, to have his full attention for him to talk about his problems. To let them know everything will be all right, and that even in life’s darkest times, there is always the glimmer of light known as hope.

Observing my teenagers take on unexpected responsibilities was painful as a father to watch. One used strong moral believes to carry her while battling uncontrollable emotions. The other, while understanding of his rage, became addicted to the drug of life, of souls.

Did I fail as a father? Only time will tell. There is one thing that is certain, these teenagers will always be a part of my life. They will always be on my mind long after I have let them loose.

Am I crazy? No, I’m a writer. A writer becomes their characters. A writer is an actor who uses words to fill many different roles.

Until next time, may the wind be at your backs wherever your journey may take you.

 

The Lasting effects of Bullying

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It was a walk I dreaded every day. The large intimidating brick walls caused me to slow my approach. My stomach would tighten, and my breathing quickened. I would tense up to the point where I felt like a board. My strides became shorter the closer I got; my nerves, already cracked, start to crumble a piece at a time. Others walk past, unaffected by what looms in front of them. They do not have the worries I have. They do not understand the dread this day could bring.

As I entered this chamber of horrors, the eyes of many peer at me, or so it seemed. I felt like an outcast, easy pickings due to my shy and quiet manner. My esteem, once bright in my younger years, have dimmed until they have become a faint distant glow. I hear laughter and wonder, and I know, that they are directed at me. I am afraid to look at who is snickering at my expense. Sometimes I believed that I was stronger than what I’ve become, that I was brave enough to stand up for myself. But as it always happens, I hear the words that shatter my illusions. I’m left to face these trials alone.

I get to my first destination of the day. I sit staring at paper, at times etching a drawing just to get my mind off what awaits. There are a few more giggles behind me, but I try to ignore them. You would think that after a year of this intense fear of being mocked, I would have become numb to it. You would be wrong. It gets worse as each day passes. I could tell my teachers, but that may bring more retaliation. I did not want that.

I made it through another day of verbal abuse and being laughed at behind my back. I thankfully enter the sanctuary of my room, the day repeating itself in my fragile mind. Maybe what they say is true… that I am ugly, my speech is not good. It must be true, since they repeat it every day. I have started to believe it. What’s the point of fighting it? It will never change. Those stinging words will stay with me for the rest of my life.

This is what it could be like for kids every day when they attend school. Bullying is a major problem and its emotional scars can run deep. It’s sad to think that in some situations, the bullying can become so damaging that it will lead to the unthinkable. It damages the emotional being of a fragile child, or teenager, who, at that age, words can do more damage than physical bullying. With social media, it can reach outside the confines of school walls.

Worthlessness, depression, thoughts of suicide are some of the results that can come from ruthless bullying. In some cases, these effects reach far into the adult life of the victims. Some are able to shut the door and lock away those traumatic days, while some carry it with them well into their adult lives.

Light of Hope

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The blanket of hopelessness covers me. My day is over, but the horrors of life remains. Every fiber of my being is being torn between what little hope I have and the malevolence of my darker half. The voices still call my name, but they don’t understand, nor can they ever. The further they drift, the further the last ounce of my energy drifts with them.

A voice so tender cuts through my disarray, separating itself from the others. Its soothing sound calms the blowing winds of lost hope. I feel a connection to this voice that words cannot describe. From the nothingness, a glimmer of light emerges; its radiance grows stronger as it approaches. It gives me life. It gives me new meaning.

An entity, whose exquisiteness is unmatched by any wonders of the universe, emerges with a blanket of love to wrap my distressed soul. There is nothing that can capture the awe it emanates. I spread my arms to draw this presence close; to pull the essence of passion that it expels to me. That shiny metal of death that once called for me dissolves into dust of love.  I need this being. I want it, but this gift of devotion seems to be an impossibility to grasp, for its transparent beauty shines so bright, that it appears to be an angel that the heavens have sent to guide me.

In this short time, my blood boils for this being. My conscious yearns for it; for its sweet voice to flow gracefully into my ears like the wind blowing through the meadows. My lust grows with every passing second it graces my inner conscious. I want to take hold of this beauty and feel the softness of its skin. It saddens my heart, and yet, this treasure that floats before me brings joy to my once vacant soul. To know that it is there, to love and to be loved is the best feeling that I could ever ask for.

The entity slowly begins to vanish before my once swollen, tear filled eyes. I whisper my love in its ear, and its tender voice whispers back, “I love you too.”

For the first time since my entry into the never ending darkness there is a sense of hope.

Hopeless Existence

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I slide on my deceitful mask of exultation before I start my day. My true nature lay hidden behind a façade of false emotions, for my insides tell a different story. The soul I hold so dear is being eaten away by an endless void. I stand here alone, in the darkness of my own personal hell. I hear voices of the ones who care calling for me, guiding me to safety, but they are only echoes that flow endlessly around me. I continue on in search for my own sanity, but it eludes me. I’m lost in life.

My meaning in this world has no clear direction. Weak is how I will be perceived, so I wrap my feelings in a veil of deception. I tie my mouth closed so the words that are stored in my mind do not escape and reveal the wrong meaning. There is no one who can help, or maybe, I do not wish to seek out help, but instead, go about my day in lies. Nothing matters; nothing is of concern, as I struggle to achieve the simplest chores. The energy that once drove me has been washed away into the sea of despair. All I do, all I attempt, is a failure, and at times, it’s a failure in a life that fades further away.  Is it that I don’t care, or is it that I have given up? My personal demons are beckoning me to journey to the other side; to blow away the emotional dandelion seeds of mental anguish and put my fragile soul to rest. The small glistening metal of death shines brilliantly in my fractured mind, gravitating towards the pulsating life line in my wrist.

 I check my watch, only to discover that only five minutes have passed. This day, like every other one, will continue for now. For I wait until the next unforeseen disaster in my chaotic life to send those echoing voices who are trying to guide me, into that void forever.

I lie in bed and remove my mask, causing the walls of sorrow to drift towards me. No one understands; no one can comprehend. I turn to the side and pull the sheets over my head in a desperate attempt to shield me from the world outside. I pray that one day this horrific spiral of doom I dwell in will someday reveal the ever so elusive light at the end of the tunnel. Just one day. Just one day of glimmering hope.