So you can read my books

Sunday, March 31, 2013


{Public Domain painting by Antonio da Correggio}
(August 1489 – March 5, 1534)
Today is Easter.
Does anyone care?  Is faith still relevant in the modern world?
In the UK, 44% of those polled recently said they had no religious affiliation.

Another 14% of Britons asked three years ago said they did not know who Christ was.
One-fifth of U.S. adults say they are not part of a traditional religious denomination.
In this postmodern world nothing seems certain any more.

To hope for a better future seems unrealistic, maybe even irresponsible.

Is hope still possible and realistic in such a context? Is the Easter joy and hope still credible?

 In a world where violence abounds and people fight each other, one wonders whether the message and significance of Easter is still relevant.

Some say that Christian hope – not to be confused with optimism – is not only possible, but is what is required and called for from Christians.
Perhaps hope is not based on visible signs, but rather on the firm trust and conviction that God is part of human history and is bringing about a new reality, commonly called the Kingdom of God.
Can rational people believe this is happening here and now, even in the midst of discouraging signs?

Perhaps Easter is a time to remind us of the message of Jesus and the example of love, forgiveness, reconciliation and peace.

It provides us an occasion when Christians celebrate the message of hope for everyone.

 To remember in our daily lives to love one another and be peacemakers.

That command could well be seen as the embodiment of Christianity, for love is the fulfilment of God's law.

In a strange way, Christian hope is hope against hope. Does it make sense for Christians to hope for a better and transformed future?
Is the resurrection of Jesus a paradox or “mystery”?

Is it an event that contains meaning far more than the human mind can imagine or comprehend?

Is the empty tomb an indicator of the radical reality of the resurrection?

Does it stand as a historical witness to the fact of the resurrection and also ground the mystery to a particular event?

 Jesus, the one who was killed, no longer lies dead in the tomb?

Perhaps the only real proof to the resurrection is the life of believers –

But without the fact of the empty tomb it would be easy to reduce the resurrection to only a spiritual or psychological event.

Some would say that the resurrection is the source of Christian hope because believers no longer live in a world closed to the full extent of God’s grace and mercy.

They live under open heavens of divine communication. The resurrection is not a dim and distant future reality which will happen on “the last day”;

it is a reality already in the present.

What do you think? Is there any meaning to Easter anymore? Does it make any difference in today’s harsh world? 

Saturday, March 30, 2013


"At the age of fourteen

I discovered writing as an escape from a world of reality

in which I felt acutely uncomfortable."

- TENNESSEE WILLIAMS, Forward to Sweet Bird of Youth

*) Tennessee gives us the first clue:

Readers usually first discover the world of books for the same reason Tennessee found the realm of creating his own worlds:

Something was lacking in their daily lives.

Like the hunt for the mythical will-o-wisp, the hunt for the fulfillment of that lack drives them even today to read.

In childhood, we often feel different, feel outside the group, feel weak, and feel unloved.

Those same ghosts haunt many into their adult lives.

Give readers a protagonist that they can identify with,

whose goals and hurts echo their own,

and dangle the fulfillment of those aims in front of them being threatened

 -- well, you've certainly gotten their attention.

Which brings us to the real number one.

1.) Learn the lesson of Madonna:

Before you can get them to read your book, you have to get the reader to pick it up.

Your Title:

When Madonna chose her name it was controversial, attention-getting, and short.

Same for the title of your book.

It must be short, grab the eye from the endless titles on the book shelves, and be jarring:




Tell me you wouldn't at least pick up those books to flip a page or two.

Which leads to our second path to Best Read of the Year.

2.) Each page may be your reader's last.

Think channel surfing.

Have you ever surfed the TV, just listening for a second to each program you passed?

One would have a snippet of dialogue so jarring or funny or both that you just had to stay and watch.

Another would have a scene so riveting,

you leaned in close on the edge of your seat to see what would happen next,

hoping to be able to catch on to the story as it progressed.

Each page of your novel has to be like that.

You have to turn the browser into the buyer.

You have to keep the reader burning to turn the next page. Arthur Miller has a clue to how we can do that:

"One had the right to write because other people needed news of the inner world,

and if they went too long without such news they would go mad with the chaos of their lives."

- ARTHUR MILLER, "The Shadows of the Gods"

3.) Be like Megan Fox's plunging cleavage or minuscule hem line: eye magnets.

Suspense. You have to keep them guessing. How?

4.) Sow the dragon's teeth, water, then reap the deadly harvest:

a.) Show a ring of black mushrooms in the neighbor's yard in whose center lies your MC's dead cat.

b.) A little later have your neighbors invite your MC to dinner. They are eating those black mushrooms stewed. Your MC politely declines that item on the menu.

c.) A few chapters later, the rings of black mushroom are in everybody's yard but hers. And everybody has stopped talking to her.

d.) One evening as she's coming back from her nightly jog, she sees a mob of zombie-like neighbors trudging to her door, each carrying a tray of those black mushrooms.

You get the idea:
Suggest a puzzling problem. Let it blossom strangely. Have the harvest come out of the darkness to threaten your MC.

5.) "When a good writer is having fun,

the audience is almost always having fun too."

- STEPHEN KING, Entertainment Weekly, Aug. 17, 2007

Make the readers laugh.

The laughter will make the following harrowing adventures that much more intense.

Work to give your characters one-liners that the reader will repeat to her friends.

Making your readers chuckle along with your heroes will endear them to her. So when one cries or makes the ultimate sacrifice for the others, the reader will mourn as if for a real person.

Your novel will have the semblance of real life even if it is a fantasy or horror story.

Humor is the glue that holds the reader to the next page:

"As we understand it, the surest way to make a living by the pen is to raise pigs."

- ROBERT ELLIOTT GONZALES, Poems and Paragraphs

6.) Don't forget the music:

"To me the greatest pleasure of writing is not what it's about, but the music the words make."
- Truman Capote

Have each page contain a paragraph of prose that rolls like billowing fog in the awakening dawn, catching the heartstrings of the reader.

"I love writing. I love the swirl and swing of words as they tangle with human emotions."
- James Michener

"In conversation you can use timing, a look, an inflection.

But on the page all you have is commas, dashes, the amount of syllables in a word.

When I write, I read everything out loud to get the right rhythm."

- Fran Lebowitz {Which is great advice.}

7.) Love is not a four letter word in writing.

Most readers live loveless lives in this country. Sometimes the loneliest people in America are the married ones.

At least give them the dream that real love can exist between two intelligent people.

Give them love that survives the bed sheets and goes with the couple into their daily lives.

Give that loving couple struggles that draw them together not pry them apart.

A true, lasting love is like driving a car at night.

You can see only as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.
Say a prayer for Neil Gaiman.  He lost his beloved dog late last year.  Now, his beloved cat is dying.  I know how that can hurt:
to lose so many close to you in such a short time.


"Princess, my old, old old cat, is coming to the end of her life. She's somewhere over 20, but we do not know how much over 20 she is, as she was living wild in the woods for at least a year before she decided to live in our house instead. Right now she's in the bathroom in the attic, beside the space heater, sleeping most of the time.

This is her on my lap last night. (From

For D.G. who couldn't see my video:

Thursday, March 28, 2013


It's an odd truth:

Reality is a slippery thing.

We often expect one thing and get quite another.

We awaken to a dark moment, expecting death and get life instead.

That's one of the lessons of Easter.

Don't sigh.

You haven't stumbled upon a finite man pompously spouting delusions about the infinite.

I'm actually writing about the art of writing.

And like any art, it requires practice and diligence and correct technique.

I'm writing about something painful all we writers must learn to handle correctly:


Ouch. It hurts.

We all receive it. None of us is perfect. Well, there was that one.

But we crucified him.

I've received criticism. I'll probably receive it about this post.

But there is an Easter spin to the criticism we all receive:

There is life after the grave.

But only if you take the right path.

I know from experience that when you get rejected, all becomes dark for a moment that seems to stretch for infinity. And when all is darkness, it's easy to get turned around.

In my first incarnation of FRENCH QUARTER NOCTURNE,

Samuel McCord was a man of strong faith.

A very noted, respected agent was impressed enough with my partial to request my complete manuscript.

He was kind and giving enough to explain why he rejected it.

Bottom line:

I had pushed away a large segment of the reading audience who didn't believe.

And no publisher, especially in these harsh economic times, wants to buy a novel that will do that.

And after the initial "ouch," I thought about the wisdom of his words.

He was right. I remembered a novel, reading and enjoying it immensely, only to cringe when he superficialized and mocked people of faith.

They were Moslems, by the way.

I respect people of all faiths.

I laid the book down and never bought another by that author. I realized the respected agent had a point. He wasn't respected for nothing.

I didn't want to hurt or push any reader away. How could I tell my story without doing it?

I heard the voice of my best friend, Sandra, sigh,

"Just tell them the story, Roland. Don't tell them what to make of it. Leave it to them to decide: like you do with me."

Sandra is an agnostic. She is my best friend.

People marvel at the friendship of two people who believe so differently, including her husband, who is a proud atheist.

If you watch the very first Gregory Peck movie, THE KEYS TO THE KINGDOM, you will find the answer.

I saw that movie as a young boy late, late at night on one of those programs that show dusty old movies. It helped shape my view on how to be a man of God.

And yes, I look just like a young Gregory Peck.

Not fooling you, huh?


But thinking on what Sandra might say to me, dawn rose in my darkness. I would focus on those subjects, those questions we all have. An enthusiasm fired me.

I would present those things, showing the amiable bickering of two old undead friends:

One who didn't believe but longed for a better universe where a loving God did indeed exist

And the other a vampire priest who did believe ... most of the time.

I wouldn't clearly show which view, if either, was correct.

I mean, in an infinite world, how could any finite mind hold all the answers? I would leave it to the reader to decide.

We all hurt. We all question the hungry darkness within, the threatening darkness without. We all seek for the light.

I wrote FRENCH QUARTER NOCTURNE for all of us. And I pray that the Great Mystery grant you enough light for the next step on your path.


I mean ... really?  Read what you and I, unknowns, have to say?  C'mon.

In one 24 hour period, 900,000 blogs were created worldwide.  Are you and I any more than ripples in a world-ocean of grasping souls, shouting "Read me!"? 

Who will notice us?  How will they?

I've written of Google Panda and other Search Engine Tools like key words that will lead a wandering cyber-soul or two your way.

But once at your blog, why should they stay?

1) Is your topic interesting to more than your zombie dog?

Does what you write have substance, style, and humor on something that is interesting and arresting?  Does your article have a fun line that will be repeated at the water cooler across America?

The fact that no one understands you doesn't make you an artist -- nor does it persuade anyone to stay and read. 

They'll just wander away, muttering, "I don't know what her problem is, but I bet it's hard to pronounce."

And remember SHORT matches the tempers and attention spans these days.

2) Do you give more than you ask?

Nowadays, the waitress expects a tip for just showing up at your table.  People will not come to your blog just because you write one.  You must provide a service -- a service that is given with a warm welcome and a smile.

This is a WHAT'S IN IT FOR ME generation.  Truthfully, it always was.  Napoleon wrote that the best way to persuade anyone was to appeal to their self-interest.

This is a stressed-out generation as well.  If your blog regularly makes readers laugh, muse, or nod in satisfaction that they've found something that will help them --

guess who will be coming back?

3) Are you supporting like-minded bloggers?

I am not doing the A-Z CHALLENGE because I love going through the alphabet.  I am doing it because I like Alex. 

I write the Friday Romantic Challenge because I want to support Denise Covey and Donna Hole --

and some of you might consider it, too, for their numbers are few right now.

Have you read of a struggling fellow writer whose book(s) are doing poorly?  Write a review on your blog of one of her books that is funny and insightful.  Hey, Karma may just exist.  :-)

Wednesday, March 27, 2013


And bless you guys for making it!}
I love animated films. 
The limitless world of the imagination is a siren call to me.
One of the best things about animated movies is that there are simply no limits.

Creators of animated movies can have incredibly vast imaginations and that is reflected in the content of animated movies where anything can speak and live like humans.

Today was HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON day to take my mind off things that threaten to ruin my life -- and which I can do nothing about.

 I have bought both seasons of DRAGON riders of Berk -- a series based on the movie found on CARTOON NETWORK -- with all of the voice actors but Gerard Butler and animation on par with the movie.
Why is animation so popular?  I mean, even less than stellar animated films pull in large box office sales.
One  reason may be people are attracted to the art of animation no matter what age they are.
This is because animation provides a physical manifestation of the imagination. It allows people to escape their normal lives and to explore a world where anything and everything is possible.
Animated movies that are designed for kids are big earners.
Even lower budget animated films and animated features that are produced specifically for DVD releases, rake in huge profits. This is because parents spend money on these films because their kids love to watch them over and over.
While animated movies are generally made for kids, there are some animated films and franchises that are developed with an older audience in mind.

Many animation companies try to include elements that will entertain older viewers so that they can expand their market. Some, on the other hand, focus solely on audiences that are older than 13.

Animated movies that are attractive to older audiences are going to have specific characteristics.

First of all they can feature nostalgic cartoon characters, such as Scooby Doo, Transformers or Looney Tunes characters. Secondly they feature more adult themes, such as romance or hard core action.

I believe animation lets us become children in our hearts again.

The world can be so harsh that a little breeze of a more innocent time can be healing and liberating.

Why do you like animated films and TV series?  What are some of your favorites?  Which ones are you looking forward to?

Here is a short one I loved:


{Cover courtesy of the fabulous Leonora Roy.}
Which cover do you prefer?
This one or the one in the sidebar?
John Steinbeck wrote of photojournalist Robert Capa

in a quote that launches the well-written, exhaustively researched biography, BLOOD AND CHAMPAGNE:

"Like the pen, the camera is as good as the man who uses it. It can be the extension of his mind and heart."

Blood and Champagne.

The term could be used on the yin yang of that most bothersome of aspects to our writing: pacing.

A good friend emailed me on a bit of a bother she was having with pacing on her WIP. It occurred to me that if she, as good a writer as she is, was having troubles with pacing, some of you might be having similar problems with it as well.

Both THE LEGEND OF VICTOR STANDISH and its latest sequel, THREE SPIRIT KNIGHT, have a lot of action in them. But like with pepper, action must be used wisely. But too much introspection or description is dangerously bland.

Pacing is all-important.

Think of the best jokes:

there is always a prep time that leads to the punch line. Without it, the punch is muted.

Where are your transitions in your novel? How does your MC get from here to there?

Reflection along the road, whether it be a physical one or a metaphysical one, is always a good way to pace -- and sow seeds for appreciation of the action to come.

The best monsters, the scariest moments in horror films are always the glimpses not the full shots.

In your novel, you show a terrorist place a suitcase under a table. You give a close-up of the timer: 60 seconds.
Two lovers sit at the table the terrorist just left. They talk about things important for the reader to know to understand the action of what is to come. But despite the flow of backstory, the reader stays keyed-up because between every paragraph you put one line:

40 seconds.
30 seconds.
15 seconds.
7 seconds.

No action. Only suspense. Then, BOOM!
It is a matter of instinct. It is, after all, your novel. Tell it your way. If your instincts bother you about a scene, listen to them. Ask if the pacing is off in some way. Too much build up? Not enough?

Each chapter is a three act play all its own. But with a difference -- each must end with a hook to link to the chapter following.

Each chapter must breathe.

No one inhales all the time. You have to exhale. So does the reader -- give her and him a chance to reflect.

Reading without reflecting is like eating without digesting.

Give your characters a moment to savor their victories or cringe from their defeats. Blows leave bruises. Show them. Let the readers see your characters limp from life's impacts.

Actions have consequences -- perhaps your instincts are telling you to paint the consequences more fully with an extra paragraph or scene or two.

If you want to slow the pace, write longer sentences -- when you want the reader to consciously think about what you're showing him.

This is true for paragraphs -- it will slow down the speed of the reader. But don't over-do this. Long, blockly paragraphs tire the reader.

Pace is the tempo at which a scene moves. You are the conductor of your own orchestra, playing your own composition.

You know the overall story you want to tell. Slow down to build tension and hit the reader with short, active sentences and paragraphs to tug the reader along for a wild ride.

Use shorter sentences when you want the reader to react, not to think -- as if he's taking part in the whirlwind action.

Then, too, there are hard words and soft words, both in sound and meaning.

You can choose either or both. Hard words are those that contain hard consonants or create small explosions of breath when pronounced: b-d-t-v- x-z, for example.

Soft letters let the breath escape slowly or create the sound in your throat or mouth: j-l-m-r-,s to name a few.

Though we don't read aloud usually, we still "hear" the words in our heads. So use those hard and soft words artfully to subconsciously build the mood you want.

Some words themselves create feeling:

He drew her head back / He yanked her head back.

Both sentences paint different pictures and create different feelings about the action.

Having a character flex his fingers hints at strength more than his stretching his hands would.

The overall pace of a novel needs to escalate as the story moves forward in order to keep the reader interested.

It has peaks and valleys along the way. Each peak must be higher than the ones before it, and each valley not as deep.

This gives the reader less time to catch his breath and little or no inclination to put the book down.

A good way to learn more about pace is by paying special attention to how published authors control pace in the novels you enjoy.

When a scene makes you bite your fingernails or clutch the edge of the chair, insert a slip of paper to mark the place so you can study the scene after you finish the book.

Analyze the scene this time, notice things the writer did that caught you up in what was happening as the pace sped up. How did the author stir your emotion or evoke a physical response?

Mastery of the fine art of pace comes with experience. Start getting it now with these few tricks and add and refine your pacing skills as you grow in your writing career.

I hope these thoughts helped you in some small way.

*) A word about my ending to GHOST OF A CHANCE and about my novella in general:

My ending is an analogy of sorts :

We authors do go throuh Hell, bringing our Main Character through the tribulations that end in a satisfying conclusion.

And also, we authors face the temptation of staying too long at the end, reluctant to leave those characters we have come to know and perhaps to care for deeply.

Best to leave the readers with laughter, a lingering melody, and a glimpse of love rewarded ...

but only a glimpse, the readers' minds will fill in the details much better than we ever could.

See? My ending, in fact of all of GHOST OF A CHANCE, was a lesson on how to write a little better.

Some lessons in how to do it. Sometimes in how NOT to do it. I wrote some of those chapters dead exhauted. Hopefully, knowing that, re-reading will be even more fun for those of you who do it.

Happy EVE of A-Z CHALLENGE, Roland
The love that shaped Ernest Hemingway's life for both good and ill :

LA BELLE SANS MERCI_Fallen, the broken Angel

{Image of Fallen, the Broken Angel, courtesy of the genius of Leonora Roy}
The most memorable heroes or heroines you have ever met were archetypes.

Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung believed that these archetypes were the result of a collective unconscious.

This collective unconscious was not directly knowable and is a product of the shared experiences of our ancestors.

If we can tap into the collective unconscious with our heroine, then we will stir the hearts of our readers on the unconscious level, insuring that all important reader identification.

Fallen, the heroine of many of my short stories and novels is the archetype, "La Belle Dame sans Merci":

“... darkness yet in light, To live a life half dead, a living death, And buried; but O yet more miserable! My self, my Sepulcher.”- John Milton {“Samson Agonistes.”}


"Let me fall,

Let me climb,

There is a moment when fear

And dream must collide."

I am the last of my race. I am Tuatha de Danann. And, no, human, that does not mean elf, or fae, or damned. I take that last back. I am damned.

"Someone I am

Is waiting for courage,

The one I want,

The one I will become,

Will catch me."

I have no memories of my youth. Youth. The word is a mockery to me.

Though I look a young woman, I have lived centuries which I do remember. I remember when the sphinx had a nose,

when the pyramids were caressed by shimmering limestone,

and when courage and honor were not hollow words.

Yes, that long ago do I remember.

"Let me fall,

If I fall,

Though the phoenix

May or may not rise."

Then how do I even know I am Tuatha de Danann? The knowledge sings to me from the depths of my spirit in the night.

Its melody mocks with teasing glimpses of a time long gone, yet unborn.

"I will dance so freely,

Holding on to no one;

You can hold me only

If you, too, will fall

Away from all your

Useless fears and chains."

How do I know I am Sidhe? It is the face which mocks me from the mirror.

High cheekbones which seem intent on bursting up and out of flesh which shimmers as if coated with stardust.

A living waterfall of honey-wheat hair, looking more like a lion's mane than any other earthly term I could use.

Large, slanted fae eyes, chilling even me with their lack of warmth or mercy.

"So let me fall,

If I must fall,

There is no reason

To miss this one chance

This perfect moment;

Just let me fall."

But enough about me. What do you think about me? On second thought, do not tell me.

What care I what humans think of me? But I lie. I do care. At least about what one human thinks of me.

Roland Yeomans. DreamSinger. He is Lakota fairy tale come to life. He is the shaman who sings dreams to life. And he will tell me my beginnings or die.

"So let me fall,

If I must fall,

I won't heed your warnings;

I won't hear them."

My mind is churning with images humans could not comprehend as I sway up the steps of the Art Nouveau house,

that is just one of the doorways into Roland’s psyche.

Just its name alone is punishment to think, much less speak: Jugendstilhaus in der Ainmillerstrabe.

Once it had been the home of the infamous Countess Franziska zu Reventlow,

her erotic lifestyle and cosmic nonsense had inspired and broken the hearts of an entire generation in Munich.

Now it has to settle for being the most elite restaurant in the city.

No knocking on the door. This restaurant is much too elite for that. Only a rare electronic key will work … a key based on the silicon ingrams of Roland’s own brain.

I have mine in my longer than human fingers. Roland had sung this establishment into being along with most of Munich back when he used the pen name, The Brothers Grimm.

I slide the key through the black slot whose color matches my short-skirted version of a S.S. uniform.

True, I am some seventy years out of date. But what is seventy years to a Tuatha de Danann?

A mere hiccup in time.

I remember Wagner trying to teach me German ... among other things. I go cold inside. I remember too much, feel too little.

I enjoy the glares of the pompous patrons as I roll my hips to the back table reserved for DreamSinger alone.

The maitre d' nearly breaks his neck getting to me, but I am already seated, making sure my short skirt is hiked up suitably indecent to induce doomed desire.

He stands trembling over me as I take out my copy of The Spirit as Adversary of the Soul by old Ludwig Klages from my skirt pocket.

I am almost through with his nonsense. Seeing how close he can come to the truth, while stumbling right past it always makes me chuckle.

The maitre d' isn't close to chuckling. "Fraulein, you simply cannot wear that uniform in here!"

"Sure I can. What is the matter? Afraid those power brokers to our right will find out your grandfather wore this uniform for real?"

He spins around so fast he leaves an after-image. Roland clears his throat across the table from me.

“He cannot help his past.”

I study this strange man. His eyes. Damn, his eyes. They look as if they have seen all the pain in the world … and have felt most of it.

“I’m tired of this dancing, DreamSinger. Who am I?”

Roland looks truly surprised. “I thought you knew. You are La Belle Dame sans Merci .”

"Is that my name or my nature?"


I sit back in my chair. I had been right, after all. I am damned.


Tuesday, March 26, 2013


{Cover background to THE LEGEND OF VICTOR STANDISH by the lovely Leonora Roy}
What makes a good antagonist?

I didn't say "villian" you will notice.  Say villain and you have images of moustache-twirlers or evil geniuses.

For the most part, the best literary antagonists remind us that they, too, are human.

No matter how twisted or dark they might be, they are not so different than you or I.

The paths that separate the hero from the antagonist are complex, uncertain, and often frighteningly close.

Great writers are often able to accurately depict not only the evil done, but the humanity abandoned.

So what makes a great antagonist?

1) POWER -

Great antagonists are staggeringly powerful.

 In other words, they have a way of making things bend to their will whether it is by mystic might, enormous wealth, or by seductive beauty.


A truly great antagonist is always two steps ahead of the hero, and carefully considers every option.

This does not mean that they are above making mistakes. Otherwise they would be undefeatable.

But they certainly don’t make the obvious ones.

Great opponents pose a real challenge for the hero, and they do so by being on top of their game, moving on an agenda that usually remains shadowy.


A great antagonist's moral compass never points NORTH.  Not that he or she does not have a mental grid that guides him or her.  It is just one that skirts all boundaries of morality, clinging close to the jagged coastline of the antagonist's skewed world view.


A great antagonist is scarred by inflicted or self-inflicted wounds that twist the very fabric of his soul.

Having a wounded villain also prevents him or her from becoming a caricature. Villains who are driven by a lust for power is a fantasy cliché. Giving the character a reason for this lust makes it credible.


Imagine trying to reason with an on-coming tornado.  That is a great antagonist.  She or he has a path and that path will be followed no matter what.  The word "determined" pales compared to a great antagonist's drive.


A) "Oh," you say, "there is no villain in my novel except for the internal conflict within my hero."

Then, all you are going to have is a melodrama.  And soap operas are dying.

When there is no Core Story Crisis to motivate your hero, there is little way to ratchet the tension and keep the reader turning the pages.


Always remember that the bad guy is the good guy in his own story. One of the best examples of this is in the movie Law Abiding Citizen.

Your novel will be lent depth by having your hero harrowed by seeing himself in the person he is facing off against.


Each scene is colored by the antagonist's presence or threats he/she reflects.  It is the driving soundtrack of your novel.



What do you think makes for a great antagonist?  What do you do for your own antagonists in your novels?  What's is your latest antagonist like?

In this clip, Kingsley, in voiceover, uses his signature line, "You'll never see me coming," but this time he doesn't lead-foot the l's and r's.

Instead, he breaks up the sentence with dramatic pauses, so he sounds appropriately dangerous as opposed to dangerous and destined to be a recurring Saturday Night Live character.

Monday, March 25, 2013



{Image in the Public Domain}

PANDA ... beware it!

Google Panda, the latest Google’s search algorithm,
 aims to promote the high quality content site by dooming the rank of low quality content sites.

Since its release and updates, many sites have been shown to be terribly affected by the algorithm, but the worst news here is, they can do almost nothing to recover the ranking and traffic.


  Low value content can cause the algorithm to slap down your entire site even if a great deal of your content is unique and valuable.


Remove duplicate, overlapping, or redundant articles on the same or similar topics with slightly different keyword variations.

Make sure your articles are not short, unsubstantial, or otherwise lacking in helpful specifics, (So you A-Z posters stay alert!)

   Once our high quality posts could rank on page one of the Search Engine results even if we had some posts that weren’t content rich.

   Now, Google looks at your whole site.

Have any posts with less than 750 words?

Then you’ll want to open that post using Google Chrome with the SEOQuake extension installed and take a look at your html to text ratio.

Aim for at least 20% text.

If your percentage is rated lower, your options are increasing the length of your post or removing anything from the post, sidebar or your footer that’s adding html coding to the page. Think widgets and ad codes.


Your posts blur into indistinctness compared to other blogs writing on the same thing.


Be unique.  Your own take on a subject can be humorous even though the subject is grim, giving your readers a well-needed laugh in today's economy and harsh times.

Play Devil's Advocate:
Take an eye-brow raising approach to a subject. 

Take VR Barkowski's A-Z posts:
they will focus on a different aspect of Wicca and her own novel involving it.


   Follow the bouncing ball ... NOT!  I'm talking the Bounce Rate Effect.

Visitors from the search engine land on your blog to learn of whatever they searched for and then they leave.

This hurts your bounce rate and signals to Google that you may not deserve to rank, no matter how good you post is.  Ouch!!


   You just need to keep your visitors longer on your blog. 

   Most of us have more than one page on our blogs.  Work at making them inviting by speaking of them on your main page.  If Google sees readers going to our other pages, they will tend to rank us higher.

   Remember if you are not on the first 3 pages of a Google Search, YOU ARE INVISIBLE.

    HAVE ENTICING TITLES TO YOUR POSTS and to your other pages.


    HAVE A CAPTIVATING YOUTUBE VIDEO that will cause your visitors to stay longer at your cyber home.

Have any suggestions on ways to entice visitors to stay longer on your blog?
Please share in the comments section!
And speaking of captivating YouTube video's:
How about some Brad Pitt!


If reviews were dollars, I'd be out living on the street!  So when I get one it means a lot.

How do feel when your book is reviewed for the first time?  When someone gets what you tried to convey, isn't it great? 

And when someone seems to have read another book, doesn't it feel like watching a car accident unfold or being snarked for something you didn't even say?

Which kind of review of your book do you read more, the positives or the negatives?

Shelly Arkon did something I have never read before:

   She twittered and Goodread "pit-stop" reviews as she read my book.  Each stop contained something new she liked. I have never seen anything like that.  It made my unstable time at work easier. What a classy thing to do. Thanks, Shelly.

Oh, and what did Shelly write in her review of THREE SPIRIT KNIGHT?

"I loved this book. It was definitely unique. A little sci-fi-time travel- mixed with ghouls, demons, vampires, Gods and Godesses.

And I loved the main character, Victor Standish, a gypsy, and the son to the Mother of Death. His name is perfectly suited to him since he is always victorious when he stands against any evil. His snarky mouth and puns can get him out of anything. My most favorite line out of the book is, “Puck you.”

Not only is the main character a smart mouth, he’s also hopelessly in love with Alice the ghoul. I loved how he expressed his love for her, and how he could see through the barriers with loving such a being. There were times I thought she might eat him.

 I know this is going to sound rather quirky, but this book had a lot of heartfelt wisdom and universal truths that left me in deep thought—sometimes hysterically laughing.

I’m looking forward to reading more of his books."

What was your latest review?  What was the one that meant most to you?

Oh, Ann Best, yours was the very first review I ever received, and it has a special place in my heart ... and in Hibbs's!