Guest Post - Getting To Know Your Heroes | Valerie-Anne Baglietto

14:25 Daniel Riding 0 Comments

Hello folks, today I am pleased to say that we have a wonderful guest post from talented author Valerie-Anne Baglietto. She has written a wonderful piece on how to get to know your heroes. 

GETTING TO KNOW YOUR HEROES

A while back, I asked the hero of my WIP a question. It was rather a personal question, but seeing as he was my invention, I fully expected him to answer. He refused – in a gruff manner totally characteristic of him, which was flattering to my writer’s ego. But (shock, horror!) he said no. To me. His creator. Then I realised, if I were the heroine, the love of his life, his soulmate, he would have answered. As a writer I may have breathed him into existence, but in the process I gave him a dangerous thing: I blessed him with free will. 

It was at this precise point that I realised he was one of the most ‘real’ characters I’d ever crafted. When he became like any other person in my life. Because who do you truly know, inside out, upside down, to the very last wrinkle and freckle? Your spouse? Your children? Your parents? Your best friend? You may think you do, but you don’t. And I’m not saying this in a creepy, disturbed way. I’m not talking about the big lies or the omissions. It’s usually the tiny, silly, inconsequential things that we don’t share. The things we think, and then instantly wonder straight afterwards: am I mad? No. (Probably) not mad. Just human. 

As writers, we’re given the advice to know our characters down to the very last detail, even if it doesn’t appear in the story. What they eat for breakfast, their first childhood memory, which idol was pinned to their bedroom wall during their teenage years, eye-colour, hair-colour, favourite colour… the list is extensive. And it’s not bad advice, it’s very important, in fact, and there are many devices to help us gather all that information. I won’t go into the methods here, that isn’t quite what this post is about. 

Sometimes, we start work on a new book with pages and pages in a notebook brimming with details about our protagonists. With other stories, they grow with us gradually as the tale unfolds. Maybe we don’t flesh them out until the second or third drafts. We need to remember one thing, though: the lists we make about them can’t be set in stone. Some things, like favourite food and colour, can change. Even hair-colour can change; it just takes a trip to the hairdressers or Boots. Other things, those from the past, are more fixed. They rely on the character’s memory, though. Not ours. Theirs. And in the same way our own memories can be sifted, and shift slightly in our minds to trick us, or transmute into something else entirely - they can do this for the characters, too.

For instance, two characters remembering the same event aren’t going to remember it exactly the same way, especially if it happened in the distant past. Don’t fall into this trap. Don’t get so hung up on nailing every last detail for the sake of consistency, if it means two characters are viewing something without even the slightest variation. 

The tiniest twist in the details and the individual filter through which we each view life – these are vital elements. A multi-viewpoint story won’t ring true without them.

It’s another one of the things that made the hero in my WIP suddenly real to me. He wasn’t seeing the narrative through my filter, as an author, he was viewing it fully from his own POV. That’s effectively what POV is, at least when it isn’t from the omniscient author stance. Seeing the world of the story through the filtering lens of a single character; perhaps just for that scene, maybe for the entire book. The point being, it’s no longer your story as the writer – it’s theirs, as the narrator. 

And the main thing to remember, if you’re doing your job right, then they’re not you. They have different hang-ups, prejudices, likes and dislikes. They might swear more, or less. They might be kinder, or meaner. Whatever. Your inhibitions won’t be theirs, which can be scary, but so much fun. You have to let go of yourself, and allow them to take over, even if they end up keeping secrets from you. 

So, with that in mind, I think I’ll go scoff a chocolate digestive and pretend it’s my current heroine who’s eating it. Maybe that way, the calories won’t count.*

[*Yeah. Right. Who am I kidding?]

By day, Valerie-Anne Baglietto writes modern, grown-up fairy-tales. By night, she clears up after her husband and three children. Occasionally she sleeps. During her career, she has written rom-coms for Hodder & Stoughton and won the Romantic Novelists’ Association New Writer’s Award. Aside from writing and household management, she takes perverse delight in bossing around the other members of Novelistas Ink, a writer’s collective founded by the bestselling author Trisha Ashley. You can also find her hanging out in the usual places on social media…


Her latest release is FOUR SIDES TO EVERY STORY

What happens when a spirited, young fairy godmother goes rogue?
Romance and magic in the sleepy Cheshire village of Fools Castle…

Available on Amazon worldwide.



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Blog Tour: Stay | Alexa Milne

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Blurb for Stay:

An act of kindness is never wasted.

Ben Harwood loves his grandmother. When he visits her in the hospital, another old lady, Ivy, expresses a longing for an orange, so Ben, who works in a supermarket, takes her oranges the next day.
Later, after attending his grandmother’s funeral, he discovers that Ivy has died too, and decides to pay his respects. There, he meets Ivy’s grandson, Martin Riley, and the attraction is instant. To his amazement, Ben finds he has become a bit of a hero to the Riley family, who have traveled over from America. For Martin, Ben breaks his three-date rule more than once. Is this simply a holiday romance with great sex, or can he and Martin build something more permanent?


Oranges are not the only Fruit - A piece by Alexa Milne

In Stay, Ben buys Ivy, an old lady in the same small hospital as his grandmother, some oranges after she expresses a longing for them. He later finds out that oranges hold a special place in her heart, and that she has told all her family about the kindness of his gift. Through this act of kindness, he meets Ivy’s grandson, Martin.

This event is based on something that happened for real over thirty years ago when I bought some oranges for an old lady in a similar hospital. I will never forget her smile. She remembered a time when oranges and other fruits were hard to come by, especially if you didn’t have much money.

I have to declare that I don’t like oranges, and they don’t like me, but I am very fond of bananas. If you’ve ever spoken to an older person who lived in Britain during World War II, you will know that fruit, especially bananas, was scarce. In fact, the import of bananas into the UK was banned by the Ministry of Food in November 1940. The ban was partially lifted on 18 September 1945.

Lemons were largely unobtainable for most of the war, but oranges continued to be sold. Greengrocers usually kept them for children and pregnant women, who could prove their status by producing their distinctive ration books. They did try to produce powdered orange in the same way as they produced powdered egg, but it didn’t catch on.

The first load of bananas arrived in December 1945. Each child was supposed to get one to try. Many had no idea they needed to be peeled and some bananas went off while people looked at them rather than eating them. My mother remembers her first banana. She was seven when the war ended. A neighbour brought the fruit to her street and she eagerly peeled and ate hers. She still loves banana and custard. As a child, I had lots of bananas because they were imported and my father unloaded them on the docks. He used to bring some home and tell tales of the tarantulas they found in the holds among the fruit. These days, it’s hard to imagine not having the huge variety of fruits available from all over the world, which simply weren’t available in shops when I was young.

Ivy loves her oranges in the story, and Ben loves making her happy with this small act of kindness. Is there a little thing someone you know loves? Maybe on the way home you could stop off and get one and give them a reason to smile. Believe me, it can make your day.

Excerpt from Stay:

Ivy opened the bag and peered inside. “Oranges, you brought me oranges!” she exclaimed excitedly. “I thought we’d have some in the store. Would you like me to peel one for you? I’ll find Mary and get a knife and plate.”
 When he returned, he watched from the doorway as Ivy rolled the fruit around in her bent fingers. She looked up at Ben’s gran. “He’s such a lovely, kind boy, Sarah. You must be so proud of him. Fancy him remembering about the oranges. I haven’t had one of these in ages.”
Ben smiled to himself then took the chair next to his gran once more. He peeled the orange then split it into segments then handed a piece to Ivy. She managed to hold it and bit through the flesh, sucking the juice. Prepared, he’d brought a napkin to wipe up the excess liquid.
Ivy moaned with enjoyment. Ben dabbed at her chin, making sure the juice didn’t drip onto her clothes. 
“Such a thoughtful young man,” she said when she’d finished the first segment. “Any woman will be lucky to get you.”
His gran chuckled.
“He doesn’t like girls, Ivy, he’s gay.”
Ben gazed at the ceiling, trying to hide the blush that had sent heat to his cheeks. “Gran. Do you have to?”
 “Well, you are, aren’t you? I may be getting old, but I’m not senile.” 
Ivy patted his arm and said, “Doesn’t bother me, lovey. So, some young man will be lucky to get you. It’s a pity my—”
One of the other ladies interrupted her to ask if she could have some of the orange. For the rest of the hour, Ben listened to them reminiscing about their childhoods and how good it had been when rationing ended a few years after the war. He’d never realized fruit had been so important. They talked about tasting their first bananas as if it were a religious experience. He supposed people took so much for granted these days. He listened and asked questions until he had to go. Ivy thanked him once again. He knew she would be leaving the next day and was glad he’d been able to do this small thing for her.


Like the sound of Stay? Buy it here.

About Alexa Milne:
Originally from South Wales, Alexa has lived for over thirty years in the North West of England. Now retired, after a long career in teaching, she devotes her time to her obsessions.
Alexa began writing when her favourite character was killed in her favourite show. After producing a lot of fanfiction she ventured into original writing.
She is currently owned by a mad cat and spends her time writing about the men in her head, watching her favourite television programmes and usually crying over her favourite football team.




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Release Week Blitz: Every Last Breath | Jennifer L. Armentrout

08:00 Daniel Riding 0 Comments

The Epic Finale in Jennifer L. Armentrout’s

Dark Elements Series...Who Will She Choose?

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Every choice has consequences—but seventeen-year-old Layla faces tougher choices than most. Light or darkness. Wickedly sexy demon prince Roth, or Zayne, the gorgeous, protective Warden she never thought could be hers. Hardest of all, Layla has to decide which side of herself to trust.

Don't miss the conclusion to this stunning Young Adult Paranormal series filled with danger and romance published by HarlequinTEEN.

Grab your copy today!

Amazon ** Barnes and Noble ** iBooks ** IndieBound ** Kobo ** BAM

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EVERY LAST BREATH Synopsis: Some loves will last ‘til your dying breath Every choice has consequences—but seventeen-year-old Layla faces tougher choices than most. Light or darkness. Wickedly sexy demon prince Roth, or Zayne, the gorgeous, protective Warden she never thought could be hers. Hardest of all, Layla has to decide which side of herself to trust. Layla has a new problem, too. A Lilin—the deadliest of demons—has been unleashed, wreaking havoc on those around her…including her best friend. To keep Sam from a fate much, much worse than death, Layla must strike a deal with the enemy while saving her city—and her race—from destruction. Torn between two worlds and two different boys, Layla has no certainties, least of all survival, especially when an old bargain comes back to haunt them all. But sometimes, when secrets are everywhere and the truth seems unknowable, you have to listen to your heart, pick a side—and then fight like hell…

Amazon ** Barnes and Noble ** iBooks ** IndieBound ** Kobo ** BAM

EVERY LAST BREATH Excerpt:

Roth cleared his throat. “Shortie, look…look at your hand.”
Look at my hand? Why in the world would he be asking me to do that in the midst of all the cray?
“Do it,” he said quietly and too gently.
The dread exploded in my gut like buckshot, and my gaze dropped to my left hand. I expected to see the weird marbling of black and gray, a mixture of the demon and Warden that existed inside of me and a combination I’d become almost familiar with by now. My nails had lengthened and sharpened, and I could tell they were hard enough to cut through steel, as hard as my skin, but my skin…it was still pink. Really pink.
“What the…?” My gaze traveled to my other hand. It was the same. Just pink. My wings twitched, reminding me that I had shifted.
Zayne swallowed. “Your…your wings…”
“What about my wings?” I almost screeched, reaching be‑ hind me. “Are they broken? Did they not come out—” The tips of my fingers came into contact with something as soft as silk. My hand jerked back. “What…”
Stacey’s watery eyes had doubled in size. “Um, Layla, there’s a mirror above the fireplace. I think you need to look in it.”
I met Roth’s gaze for a second before I spun around and all but ran to the fireplace I was sure Stacey’s mom had never used. Clutching the white mantel, I stared at my reflection.
I looked normal, like I did before I shifted…like I was going to class or something. My eyes were the palest shade of gray, a watered-down blue. My hair was so blond it was almost white, and a mess of waves that went in every direction like usual. I looked like a colorless china doll, which was nothing new, except for the two fangs jutting out of my mouth. I wouldn’t show them off at school, but that wasn’t what caught my attention and held it.
It was my wings.
They were large, not as massive as Zayne’s or Roth’s, and normally they were almost leathery in texture, but now they were black…black and feathered. Like legit feathered. That soft, silky thing I’d felt? It had been tiny feathers.
Feathers.
“Oh my God,” I whispered at my reflection. “I have feathers.”
“Those are definitely feathered wings,” Roth commented.
I whipped around, knocking over a lamp with my feathered right wing. “I have feathers on my wings!”
Roth cocked his head to the side. “Yeah, you do.”
He was absolutely no help, so I turned to Zayne. “Why do I have feathers on my wings?”
Zayne shook his head slowly. “I don’t know, Layla. I’ve never seen anything like this.”
“Liar,” hissed Roth, shooting him a dark look. “You’ve seen that before. So have I.”

 

“Armentrout is a major talent…I just can’t stop reading!”
--New York Times bestselling author Gena Showalter
“Armentrout works her magic with swoon-worthy guys and a twist you never see coming.”
--#1 New York Times bestselling author Abbi Glines on White Hot Kiss
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And don’t miss the first titles in the Dark Elements Series!
BITTER SWEET LOVE
WHITE HOT KISS
STONE COLD TOUCH
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About Jennifer L. Armentrout: # 1 New York Times and # 1 International Bestselling author Jennifer lives in Martinsburg, West Virginia. All the rumors you’ve heard about her state aren’t true. When she’s not hard at work writing, she spends her time reading, watching really bad zombie movies, pretending to write, and hanging out with her husband and her Jack Russell Loki. Her dreams of becoming an author started in algebra class, where she spent most of her time writing short stories….which explains her dismal grades in math. Jennifer writes young adult paranormal, science fiction, fantasy, and contemporary romance. She is published with Spencer Hill Press, Entangled Teen and Brazen, Disney/Hyperion and Harlequin Teen. Her book Obsidian has been optioned for a major motion picture and her Covenant Series has been optioned for TV. Her young adult romantic suspense novel DON’T LOOK BACK was a 2014 nominated Best in Young Adult Fiction by YALSA. She also writes Adult and New Adult contemporary and paranormal romance under the name J. Lynn. She is published by Entangled Brazen and HarperCollins.

Website ** Facebook ** Twitter ** Novel Goodreads ** Author Goodreads

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Book Blitz: Destroying Angel | Missy Wilkinson

17:37 Daniel Riding 0 Comments


Destroying Angel
Release Date: 07/09/15
187 pages

Summary from Goodreads:
Gates McFarland’s mother has just been proclaimed brain dead by a neurologist. But fifteen-year-old Gates doesn’t believe it’s true, because she hears her mother’s voice in her head. The command is simple: Find my heart. It’s the last thing Gates hears from her mother before the neurologist pulls the plug.

After contacting the Organ Procurement Agency, Gates learns there is no record of her mother’s organ donation. She meets Dr. Ascuitto, her mother’s neurologist. A menacing figure, he threatens to institutionalize Gates if she continues her inquiries.

Determined to find the truth, Gates gets help from John Ed, a street-smart, sixteen-year-old recovering addict. Together, they navigate an underworld of body theft, interstellar drug trafficking and doctors who double as dealers. She finds herself attracted to John Ed’s musical talents and emotional strength even as she is drawn ever-deeper into an alien world accessible only by use of a hallucinogenic spore. Hostile and governed by a sinister waif named Penny, the world holds secrets about Gates’ mother’s death…and the key to Gates’ survival.



EXCERPT


My heart speeds up. “You could get in a lot of trouble.”
John Ed shrugs as if he doesn’t care. I suppose he doesn’t. From what I’ve heard, he’s gotten into trouble before, trouble much worse than this.
“I could get in trouble,” I say.
“Forget I said anything.” John Ed releases the automatic locks and gives me a farewell salute. But I don’t want to leave. I don’t want this to be all—a favor, a polite goodbye. And as my heart beats ever faster, I think I hear my mother’s in it. Maybe this is what she wants for me. Maybe this is what she’s pulling me toward.
“There’s a land line inside,” I say. “That’s what we should use. Park in the cul de sac by the greenbelt.”
 


Buy Links:

The book release party is Tuesday, July 28 in New Orleans. Everyone is welcome to attend! The Facebook invitation is here: https://www.facebook.com/events/391976724334930/

About the Author
Hi all! I'm a book fiend turned professional wordsmith who tells stories both fictional and factual. My debut novel, DESTROYING ANGEL, was published this year by Torquere Press. I freelance for publications including xoJane.com, HelloGiggles.com, BRIDES and Country Living, and I have served as a local editor for Zagat and Fodor guides.

I work as a full-time journalist at Gambit Weekly, THE BEST source for news in New Orleans (I'm biased, obviously). 


Author Links:
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