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Sunday, April 18, 2021

I Don't Know How She Does It


 I am a spinster (unmarried and childless) but I am an aunt and a grand-aunt. Yesterday, my seven-year-old grand-nephew and two-year-old grand-niece stayed the night with me. I love spending time with them, hearing about their lives, interests, jokes, and seeing their personalities. It brings much joy to my life. 

But by the next day, my mind is numb and my body feels like nothing more than melted butter. I always wonder how my niece does it every day. 

The sibling bickering (I remember them from growing up with an older brother), the frantic play, and the noise. That doesn't include helping with school, bathing, feeding and doing all the other stuff mothers do. 

I must confess that I have always been in awe of mothers. From my own to others who make magic happen during difficult times, who work full-time then come home to be a mom. I am in awe of the mothers who become pregnant and lose the child they yearn to hold. The mothers who birth a child that never takes a breath or the mothers who lose a child after hours, days, weeks, months, and years of loving and only to have their hearts shredded and their souls diminished. 

Motherhood is a fearful yet brave act that the world treats as a normal occurrence but is truly a miracle. And not just because of the life that is carried. To give your life to the betterment of another. To sacrifice, to have moments of great worry, great happiness, and everything that happens in between those moments. I am not that brave. But to all the mothers out there, I don't know how you do it. But as a daughter who loves her mother more than anything, I am glad you do it and thankful that you do. 

So, be kinder to yourselves. And give yourself a pat on the back and take a moment to care for yourself. You deserve it. 

Saturday, March 27, 2021

The Eight-Act Story Structure by Janice Seagraves



Exposition: Setting the scene. As in the world of the story and its characters are established.

Inciting incident: Where something happens that spurs your hero/heroine on to step out of their comfort zone (contemporary) or they’re quite literally thrust out into a new world (think sci-fi or fantasy). When the event sets the main character or characters on the journey which will occupy them throughout the narrative. Typically, this incident will upset the balance within the main character’s world.

Meet cute (If you’re writing romance. It can also be in with the incident incident): When the two people who will form a future romantic couple meet for the first time, typically under unusual, humorous, or cute circumstances. This type of scene is a staple of romantic stories.

Dilemma:  The struggle occurring within the mind of a character. Therefore, it gives readers an insight into characters’ lives. There may be a single or multiple dilemmas in a story. However, the purpose is to create a tension and complexity in a narrative by adding confusing and conflicting ideas.

Rising action or Progressive Complications: Building the tension. Will they, or won’t they? Why not? Where a series of relevant incidents that create suspense, interest, and tension in a narrative. In literary works, a rising action includes all decisions, characters' flaws, and background circumstances that together create turns and twists leading to a climax.

Climax: The exciting bit, were everything happens at once. Highest point of tension. When the hero/heroine resolves the main conflict of the story and is the moment the main character(s) reaches—or fails to reach—their goal.

Falling action: Tidying up loose ends. The opposite of rising action is falling action, the phase of a story following the climax in which the main conflict is de-escalated, and tension is further dispelled.

Resolution: Ending the story. Also known as Denouement: When the final part of the story ties up the loose ends of the plot, or at least some of them. 

 

 

Year of the Cat is still free on Kindle unlimited

 

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Blurb:

Morgan isn’t expecting romance when she accompanies her friend for a week of skiing, but when she meets Jared all bets are off.
Haunted by the loss of his parents, werecat Jared Catterick earns his keep working for the Catclaw Clan. Jared has secrets that he doesn’t mind sharing with a special lady, and he hopes Morgan is that special someone. When his past and present collide it’s worse than he imagined, and he’s forced to fight for his life.

Excerpt:

Auntie walked into the middle of the hollow. “We the Catcall Clan are gathered here together to witness a challenge. Called by Munch son of Tiger, who challenges Jared Catterick son of nobody.”

“I am the son of somebody,” Jared yelled. The sudden flow of anger had his heart pounding hard against his ribs.

“Who? What are their names?” Auntie crossed her arm and leaned on one hip and tapped a toe.

“I donna remember. I was too young when they killed them and took me away,” Jared muttered. “And she knows that.”

“Is Catterick your real last name?” Killer asked him in the canine speech.

“Aye. I donna remember much about me old life, but I never forgot me name.”

“Just tell her Mr. and Mrs. Catterick,” Killer said.

“Me parents were Mr. and Mrs. Catterick,” Jared said in a loud clear voice.

A few people around the hollow snickered.

Auntie gave a quick nod. “Jared son of Mr. and Mrs. Catterick. Munch challenges you for the death of his da, Tiger.”

Munch marched to Auntie’s side. He was every bit as big as his father. Well-muscled and not just tall but wide. Where Tiger’s hair was gray and white, Munch was blond and black. Another man accompanied him, his second, a tall, lanky male named Boyd. Jared knew him well, even though he was younger.

“Och. Here we go,” Jared told Killer and walked out into the middle of the hollow.

“He’s big,” Killer said in the canine speech.

“And ugly. I wouldna want to ride him into battle.”

Killer stayed at his side. “Psst.”

“Eh?”

“You can fight, right?” Killer asked.

“Aye.”

“Good to know.”

Auntie looked at both males. “Jared, as the challenged, you may decide on weapons and forms.”

“Human and no weapons,” Jared said.

“Very well,” Auntie said. “You may use your feet, hands, elbows and knees. Even your head if you feel the need.”

“What aboot sticks and stones?” Munch asked, his voice youthful.

“Will break my bones,” Jared said under his breath.

Killer snickered.

“No weapons,” Auntie shook a finger at Munch. “That includes sticks and stones.”

“Well,” Munch crossed his arms, “since I canna change into cat form, I think I should be able to use whatever I find in the hollow.”

“This isn’t a free-for-all, Munch. There is discipline to a challenge. You must remain in your human form and fight like a human. With this match, we’ll have a square go.”

“Not very cat-like.” Munch sniffed.

Auntie fisted her hands and leaned toward Munch. “You’re not a cat. You are a shifter. You shift between three forms. Now stay with one for the duration of the fight.”

“Doesn’t he understand?” Killer asked.

“A bit daft that one,” Jared muttered back. Munch doesn’t seem have a lot of self-control. Unlike Tiger who would have done exactly what Auntie said to the letter.

“Seconds, to the side.” Auntie pointed. “You may view the fight only. Do not interfere unless your partner is hurt or someone breaks the rules.”

Both Boyd and Killer trotted to edge of the clearing.

Jared stood facing Munch. Several feet separated them. Jared shook out his arms, moved his head from side to side, and loosened his muscles.

Auntie raised her hand and did a karate chop between them. “Now fight.”

“I swear on me da’s grave, I will end you!” Munch roared and the skin on his face boiled. His hands burst out of his gloves and feet from his boots. The shift made Munch bigger, tearing his clothes. He stopped in the in-between state, like movie werewolves of old, but in this case half-cat and half-human. The only thing that remained of his clothes was his black overall snow pants and even that stretched taunt across him. Extending his claws, he snarled and reached for Jared. “I want to see you bleedin’.”

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

Thursday, March 18, 2021

Ain't My Thing


 Many people gush over audiobooks. My niece loves them because she spends a great deal of time in her car ferrying her son to school and back. Me, though, I have a few, mostly those narrated by Stephen Fry since I love listening to him. But other than that, audiobooks never fit into my life and the person I am. 


My first audiobook I received free from Amazon when they first purchased audible and were trying to hook people on them. For me, I listened to the historical fiction novel, The Other Queen by Philippa Gregory (in case you are wondering. ) I love history so I read mostly historical fiction, historical romance, and history books and have read plenty of Philippa Gregory before and enjoyed her books. 


So, I thought this is a good first audiobook to sink my teeth or maybe, press my ears into (shouldn’t it be something like that—anyway) I listened to it. In bits and pieces. Yet, I never found myself immersed in it like I usually am when reading. I should have been especially with this one. The Other Queen was everything that I love—history and Mary, Queen of Scots. But, I found my mind wondering about anything or sometimes nothing so the audiobook just became background noise to me. I can say that listened to the whole book but cannot remember anything about it. And when the audiobook ended, I remember sitting on the sofa with my earplugs in and no sound coming from them. After a few seconds or a minute or two (I’m not sure how long it was), I was shocked to discover the book ended. I pulled out my plugs and shrugged my shoulders. I was disappointed. I had wanted to be able to do dishes, clean, or just lay in bed in the dark, listening to a book. But it wasn’t for me—the reader. 


Now, as an author, I saw dozens of articles about turning my books into audiobooks. That was the new publishing format. But I refused to spend money on that endeavor since it cost at the time roughly a thousand dollars. For me, the return on investment just wasn’t there. 


I don’t know if I’m a dinosaur or not. I read e-books and still have old-fashion paper books and that is just fine for me. What about you? Do you love audiobooks? Why? Or are you indifferent to them?  

Saturday, February 27, 2021

How to Create Chemistry by Janice Seagraves

 

HOW TO CREATE CHEMISTRY BETWEEN YOUR COUPLE

Apparently, this list has been passed around from romance writer to romance writer for years. Funny this is the first I’ve heard of it. So, if you’ve never heard of this list either, here it is.

 

  1. Eyes to body; acknowledging that the other H/H is hot.
  2.  Eyes to eyes; making eye contact.  
  3.  Voice is hot. Nice deep. Laugh like little bells. That sort of thing.   
  4. Hand to hand; first touch is the hand. I add a tingle here or with the first kiss.
  5. Second touch: from wrist to shoulder.
  6. Hand to waist: maybe small of the back?
  7. First kiss. I’d add with a rush of heat or a tingle.
  8. Hand to head, while kissing or perhaps one of the H/H runs a hand down the other’s hair.
  9. Hand to body; first caress of the body. 
  10. Hand to breast; or mouth to breast a prelude to love making   
  11. Hand to private parts meant to arouse.
  12. The full love scene or fade to black.


    Now for a special announcement. My fourth book in my Matrix Crystal Series is now available on Barns & Noble for the Nook: 

     https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/matrix-crystal-rebels-janice-seagraves/1138790532


     Earth geologist Steen’s mission is to look and act like a Zeeman so he can locate matrix crystals. But when Steen’s deception fails, the beautiful Rain Namaste coaches him. He doesn’t realize he’s fallen in love with the lovely redhead until someone tries to claim her on Hymeneal Night.
    Steen will do anything to get Rain back, but is he willing to take her as a Hymeneal bride for himself?


9.       


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