Sunday, September 29, 2013

Links to Bad Fall - by Dellani Oakes

Frank Atherton left the military, thinking that he had put the stress behind him. Little did he know that he's exchanged one danger for another. His main worry, at the moment, is Ralph Penwarren, an annoying pimple of a man. Has Frank met his match with Penwarren? The older man seems full of bluster. What could he be after in his mother’s room?

Remember, Bad Fall has a new episode every Wednesday and Sunday on http://dellanioakes.wordpress.com/

Part One
Part Two
Part Three
Part Four
Part Five
Part Six 
Part Seven
Part Eight
Part Nine
Part Ten
Part Eleven
Part Twelve
Part Thirteen
Part Fourteen
Part Fifteen
Part Sixteen
Part Seventeen
Part Eighteen
Part Nineteen 
Part Twenty
Part Twenty-One
Part Twenty-Two
Part Twenty-Three
Part Twenty-Four
Part Twenty-Five
Part Twenty-Six
Part Twenty-Seven
Part Twenty-Eight
Part Twenty-Nine
Part Thirty 
Part Thirty-One
Part Thirty-Two
Part Thirty-Three
Part Thirty-Four
Part Thirty-Five
Part Thirty-Six
Part Thirty-Seven
Part Thirty-Eight
Part Thirty-Nine
Part Forty
Part Forty-One
Part Forty-Two
Part Forty-Three
Part Forty-Four
Part Forty-Five
Part Forty-Six
Part Forty-Seven
Part Forty-Eight
Part Forty-Nine
Part Fifty Caution, this one's kinda hot!
Part Fifty-One 
Part Fifty-Two
Part Fifty-Three
Part Fifty-Four
Part Fifty-Five
Part Fifty-Six
Part Fifty-Seven
Part Fifty-Eight Caution, HOT!
Part Fifty-Nine
Part Sixty 
Part Sixty-One
Part Sixty-Two 
Part Sixty-Three
Part Sixty-Four
Part Sixty-Five
Part Sixty-Six
Part Sixty-Seven 
Part Sixty-Eight
Part Sixty-Nine
Part Seventy
Part Seventy-One Caution, HOT!
Part Seventy-Two
Part Seventy-Three
Part Seventy-Four
Part Seventy-Five
Part Seventy-Six
Coming Soon! Every Wednesday and Sunday look for a new episode!
Part Seventy-Seven
Part Seventy-Eight
Part Seventy-Nine
Part Eighty


Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The Befuddled Apostrophe


Before I became a writer, I was an English teacher. I taught Advanced Placement (A.P.) English to ninth and eleventh graders. I did my best to hone their writing skills and teach them about literature, but the reality of it was that they retained very little of what I taught.
Let's be honest, most people ignore good grammar, not caring how they express themselves—especially now. These are dark days for the English language. Regardless of what teachers try to convey in school, on TV, in movies and at home, children hear people expressing themselves poorly. A well turned phrase is meaningless. If it's not typed in 140 characters or less, they won't read it. Something that takes more than 30 seconds to read, holds no interest. Don't get me started on texting.
Good spelling? It's gone by the way, as evidenced by the complete misunderstanding of how to use an apostrophe. I want to shake people until their teeth rattle. I understand the occasional typo, but consistently making such a simple minded error drives me crazy.
Despite the posts littering Facebook, folks don't know the difference between YOUR and YOU'RE. The first shows possession—you own it is is YOUR home, car, boat, hairbrush. The second is a contraction of YOU ARE.
Mixing up THEIR and THERE is another mistake I can't understand. The first spelling shows possession—this is THEIR home, car, boat, hairbrush. The second usage is location. Let's go THERE this Saturday. Set the plants over THERE. This becomes even more problematic when we add an S.
THEIRS – Still showing possession. That house is THEIRS. (no apostrophe needed)
THERE'S – This is another contraction. A contraction is where lazy people (like me) combine two words to make one. In this case, a noun IS and an adverb THERE. Since we are leaving out the I from IS, the apostrophe takes its spot, making THERE'S.
Another offender—ITS and IT'S. I see the confusion on this one, truly I do. So often, an apostrophe is used to show possession: Dellani's pen, Joe's car keys, Mike's phone. Those are all nouns.
IT isn't a noun, IT is a pronoun (something we use instead of a noun). Therefore, we don't use a possessive, we add an S.
One may point to IT'S and protest “But, Dellani, there is an apostrophe there! Surely that means IT'S is a possessive pronoun!”
No, dear. IT'S is a contraction, short for IT IS.
I think that's enough today. Even my mind is boggling and I know this stuff. I leave you with this helpful reminder of how to use these words:
YOU'RE going to YOUR house to get THEIR things that they left THERE. IT'S dark when you arrive at ITS location, but THERE'S a light on. You collect everything of THEIRS and take them home.

© Dellani Oakes


Saturday, September 21, 2013

It's Time to Decide!

VOTING IS NOW CLOSED. Thank you all who participated.

Yes, my friends, it’s that time of year again. It Takes a Thief is over and I need a new book to share with you. I’ve listed short synopses of several of my novels below. Please vote for the one you’re most interested in reading.

I have one that needs a title, so leave me your ideas below. If I choose your title, you get your pick of one of my e-books!

Bad Day – Reva Kelly is a wedding planner with the top firm in the city. On the worst day of her life, she falls & breaks her ankle while at work. In a way, it’s the best thing that could have happened because she meets Dr. Hal Perrine, nephew of her boss. His uncle asked him to look in on her while she was in the emergency room. She and Hal hit it off and start dating, only to have Hal’s alarming secret come between them.

Bad Fall – Frank Atherton was a military man, until his brother-in-law is killed in a mission gone horribly wrong. He leaves the Army & heads home to small town Ohio where he takes the job as assistant director at a large scale elder care facility. He thinks his worst problem is the fact that the son of one of the residents, Ralph Penwarren, is giving him major headaches. Marka Ventimiglia is a new psychologist hired to work with Alzheimer’s patients. Shortly after her arrival, someone throws Penwarren over a balcony and trashes Frank’s office. Not only that, his car is vandalized and someone broke into his house, only to end up at the bottom of a raven with a broken neck. Why has someone targeted Frank? Are all these things interconnected?

Big Sleep – Roger Findley isn’t sleeping well. He even got a sleeping pill from his doctor, but even that isn’t helping. When a woman named Amber calls, claiming they had a passionate night out (when he thought he’d been home asleep) he wonders about her sanity or his. His boss, and sometimes beneficial friend, Siobhan Richards invites him to a gala event, he is happy to go. He’s also happy to go home with her afterward and warm her bed. She tells him she wants a baby and asks him to be the father. Stress from work and lack of sleep, make Roger do some very strange things.

Crime Makes an Entrance – Deacon Stewart suffered a “psychotic episode” brought on by drugs and alcohol abuse. Clean and sober, he’s taking a break from his high stress set design job in New York, and has taken a job as the technical director for a small, regional theatre in a small Florida beachside town. Little does he know that the excitement is just beginning. Someone is trying to bully the theatre owner into selling out and will go to any extreme to get what he wants.

Deserted – Alyssa Kendrake is a laid off teacher who needs a job. When she gets a mysterious e-mail to audition for a new TV show, she’s astounded, but decides to go. Her performance blows them away and they immediately hire her for the lead in their new show. Barry Sebring is the producer of the new show, as well as owner of the small network. He and his partners have put together a unique new program. It’s partly reality, partly scripted, rather like a game show along the lines of Survivor, but with elements like Fantasy Island.The cast & crew fly to a small island Barry owns, only to uncover an alarming truth.

Full Measure – Someone is embezzling money from a well to do psychiatric practice and Daphne Winstead is hired to find out who and why. She is introduced in the office as an efficiency expert. What Daphne doesn’t know could get her killed. She embarks on a quest to discover one truth only to be embroiled in an even hotter situation. It’s up to handsome & mysterious Ralan Hendrix to protect her and bring the guilty to justice.

Love Comes Lately – Madelyn Hirsch is reeling from a horrendous divorce. Forced to sell her beautiful, beachside home, she moves into a tiny apartment on the mainland. The only spark of good news is an e-mail about her high school reunion. Dubious about whether she wants to go, she reconnects with a former crush – Kirk Jensen. They get to know one another via chat and e-mail and he invites her to join him at the reunion. Will Madelyn find love with the man she liked so many years ago? Or will this be another serious crash and burn?

Posed for Love – Ianna Eaton is an art student. She thinks of herself as short, plump and frumpy. Imagine her surprise when handsome, tall, lean Reed Owens takes an interest in her. Everything seems to be going well until Reed is arrested for attacking a girl in her neighborhood and Ianna finds out he has a history of violence. Unable to believe that such a gentle man could have perpetrated such a heinous act, Ianna stands by Reed. Together, they discover the truth.

Set for Love – Bern Cortland is a Southern boy displaced to the big city. He’s the new technical director, overseeing the set building for a small, local theatre. Things are going great until Paige Russo moves in across the hall. Chilly and hard edged, Paige makes Bern’s life hell until one night when she has too much to drink – then she can’t get enough of that sweet stuff. Unfortunately, the attraction is short lived and she goes back to making him miserable. What will it take for Paige to see that Bern’s really the man for her?

This is the one that needs a title:

Emerson Lake Palmer works in the college library. One day, he spots a gorgeous redhead as she struts toward him in her shorty shorts and crop top. Brooke Preston is the daughter of the new college president. They hit it off and start dating. Everything is going well until one night, when President Preston is out of town, someone breaks into Brooke’s house. She isn’t hurt, but it certainly scares her. Another break-in points to an intended kidnapping. Who could be after Brooke and why?

You’re welcome to leave more than one suggested title. ~ Dellani


Please leave your votes in comments OR visit the voting poll at http://dellanioakes.wordpress.com/2013/09/15/its-time-to-decide/

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Adventures in Writing

I write a lot about writing, but I rarely write about the skills involved in the writing process. How something is written is as important as what is said. Making the message clear is paramount. This in mind, I decided to write a short series of posts on grammar.

I suppose some would call me old fashioned. I like to hear people express themselves appropriately. I grew up in a household where my sentences were corrected as I spoke. Sometimes, I couldn't even complete a sentence, because of the corrections. I did the same to my children. Not saying that it's the best approach, but I learned early how to speak properly. I also learned how to write.
My father was an English professor. My mother was a teacher. I didn't have a snowball's chance of growing up without a working knowledge of English. As my father told me once, “You may not know the names for what's wrong, but you recognize the error and know how to fix it.” Then he handed me a manuscript, written by a college professor, that he was editing for publication. Pressing a blue editor's pencil in my hand, he told me to have at it. And I did.
We rewrote 95% of that book because it was so poorly written, it was indecipherable. That was my maiden voyage into the world of editing. I like to hope I did well.
After this trial by fire in editing, I knew the world of writing was my chosen course. I deviated somewhat, choosing theatre as a major, but after that, I went into English and became a teacher. From there, the natural progression was into writing. I've never regretted it. I love writing.
What I don't like is the blatant disregard for the written, and spoken, word. No one cares how they express themselves. It doesn't worry them that they sound stupid or ignorant. Calling something art does not allow the writer to ignore grammatical conventions. It's fine once in awhile. Many authors break the rules from time to time. However, breaking a rule with full knowledge of the inaccuracy is completely different from breaking it because you're too ignorant to know better.
If you want to write, learn how. Don't expect your “talent” to carry you, because it won't. There are a lot of wonderful stories out there that are so poorly written, no one will ever read them. People who read books know the difference between a grammatical sentence and garbage. Don't insult them and embarrass yourself by writing badly.
Not sure if something is correct? Ask someone. Show it to a teacher, another writer, a journalist—anyone who puts words on paper can be helpful. If you don't know any of the above, do you know a minister, rabbi or priest? They, too, make their living with words. Their venue is the spoken word, but there are still conventions of grammar and language that carry over.
Visit your local library and see if they have any writing groups you can join. Most of these are free, with volunteers teaching them. If they don't have one, start your own. You don't have to be an expert. You can invite others to join. Together, you can explore the amazing adventure of writing.


Dellani Oakes is an author with Second Wind Publishing, Tirgearr Publishing and The Publishing Syndicate. Her books are available here. As well as Barnes and Noble. Smashwords (Second Wing) or Smashwords (Tirgearr) and through the publishers' sites.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Meet the Organized and Amazing Jo Linsdell

Jo Linsdell is an author, blog tour organizer and busy mum. How she manages to find the time to do all she does, I don't know. Probably because she is organized and amazing.

Many authors, myself included, struggle with self-promotion. Most of us have no background in marketing and often have little to no budget to pay someone else for help. Jo's new book, Book Tours: Effective Online Promotion from the Comfort of Your Own Home, addresses this very problem.

Tell us a bit about your latest book Virtual Book Tours: Effective Online Book Promotion From the Comfort of Your Own Home

Virtual Book Tours are a great way to create a buzz for a new release or to put life back into an older publication. In this book I take you through everything you need to know to be able to set up and carry out a successful virtual book tour. The book is divided into 4 main sections for easy navigation: 1) What is a Virtual Book Tour? 2) How to organise your own tour 3) Promoting a tour 4) Useful resources You'll find it packed with links, tips, and advice to help make your tour a hit.

Why do authors need your book?

Marketing is part of being a writer. Regardless of how you're published (traditionally or self-published), you will, at some point, need to do some marketing. Virtual book tours are one of the most effective methods of creating a buzz about your book and have numerous benefits. In this book I cover everything you need to know to organise and carry out a virtual book tour. Even if you decide not to do a virtual book tour, you'll still find this book useful as it's packed full of marketing ideas and links to resources.

Why did you decide to write a book about virtual book tours?

I've done several successful virtual book tours for my own books and have worked with book tour companies and authors for years hosting them on my sites. Over the years I've therefore gained a lot of experience in doing virtual book tour both from the author and host point of view. As I often get asked for advice about doing them from other authors I decided to put all the information together and created Virtual Book Tours: Effective Online Book Promotion From the Comfort of Your Own Home

What is the first thing you recommend authors do when they decide to organise a virtual book tour?

Put together a media kit. In creating a media kit you have all the information regarding your book, you as an author, and your virtual book tour, all in the one place. This makes it a useful reference tool for you, but also a valuable tool you can use during preparations for your tour. It looks professional and creates a good impression. I also makes life easier for your hosts as they have all the information they might need for your post all in the one place.

You created the cover art for the book yourself. What was your inspiration for the design?

I wanted a cover that was thumbnail friendly as, more often than not, it gets seen online in that format. That meant the text needed to be easy to read and the whole look needed to be clutter free. Too many details or fancy fonts don't look good in thumbnails. I also wanted an image that quickly portrayed what the book was about. I choose the theme "sending your book around the world" and played around with some ideas based on this idea. I'm really pleased with how the cover came out.

Why did you choose to self publish using Amazon's KDP program?

I've always been very pro self publishing. For me, it's always been my plan A. I choose Amazon because it's the leader in its field. Everyone knows Amazon. Using the site is super easy and through KDP your book can be available to the public in just 12 hours from hitting the publish button.

I like that through KDP setting up a free day is easy. It's a great way to spread the word about your book and get readers to take notice. I like that you can update your book information as and when you please and have full control over pricing. They also have one of the best customer services I've come across. If that's not enough, they bought Goodreads earlier this year (one of the top sites for book lovers).

You're best know for your best selling children's picture books. Why the change in genre?

For me, it's not about thinking outside the box. The box simply doesn't exist. I like to experiment with my writing and although I've had most success as an author and illustrator of children's picture books, I'm always trying out new genres. When I get an idea that gets me excited, like this book about virtual book tours, I go with it.

You're a mum to a 5 year old and a 2 year old. How do you find the time for writing and marketing?

My kids definitely keep me busy but I've learnt to make the most of the time I get. I do most of my writing in the evenings once they've gone to bed. Sometimes my husband will take the kids out for the morning to give me a break and give me a few hours to work on bigger projects.

During the day I hop on and off my social media pages to network. I have the apps installed on my phone so I can visit and engage with my contacts even when I'm not near my computer.

I use sites like Social Oomph to program some content to post at scheduled times. I do the same for some posts to my Facebook pages. This gives me a constant online presence without needing to actually be online all the time. I also program my blogs ahead of time. When you have young kids anything can happen and so you need to prepare for the unexpected. By having some content programmed in advance I give myself a safety net and so don't need to stress about keeping up with things as much.

What's next?

I'm currently working on another children picture story book The Bedtime Book, a series of non-fiction books for writers and authors about using social media, and some new collaborations as an illustrator. I like to keep myself busy ;)

Where can people find out more about you and your books?

On my website www.JoLinsdell.com

Anything else you'd like to add?

Virtual Book Tours: Effective Online Book Promotion From the Comfort of Your Own Home is available to buy at the discounted price of $2.99 for the whole month of September to celebrate its release (normal price $4.99) http://bit.ly/VBTKindle

Author Bio:

Jo Linsdell is a best selling author and illustrator, award winning blogger and freelance writer. She is also the founder and organiser of the annual online event "Promo Day" (www.PromoDay.info). To find out more about Jo and her projects visit her website www.JoLinsdell.com.

Look for Jo on these Social Sites:

Twitter

Purchasing links:
Amazon - US (Kindle)
Amazon - UK (Kindle)
Goodreads

Facebook event page

Author website

Saturday, September 07, 2013

A Night Out With Friends - Fun in Writing September 14, 2008

Thank you, Aileen Aroma
The prompt here is used as the title. Here again, I couldn't use a memory. This was much more fun. 

Half a dozen people sat around a green, cloth covered table playing cards. Some were smoking, others drank light brown alcohol from short glasses tinkling with ice.
One of the women squinted past the smoke spiraling ceiling ward from the stub of a cigarette dangling from red painted lips.
"I'm thinking of killing her off," she tossed down a queen of hearts.
A bearded man picked it up, discarding a one eyed jack. "Why? Did she piss you off?"
The others chuckled lightly as the game progressed.
"No, it just has to happen for lives to move onward. She's an obstacle, a nuisance. No one likes her."
They nodded agreement, six heads bobbing in unison.
"So, how did you figure to do it?" A well dressed, handsome man next to her said quietly.
"Stabbing," the woman replied, grinding the cigarette out. "With and antique Scottish Dubh."
"Stabbing's messy," a younger woman with long red hair wrinkled her nose. She sat opposite the cigarette smoking woman.
"She's right," the well dressed man agreed.
"Is it premeditated or a crime of passion?" The bearded man wanted to know.
"Oh, it will be very well planned ahead of time."
"Knives are for crimes of passion," the well dressed man interjected. "I'd use something neater."
"Shoot her," the redhead contributed.
"Then I have to dispose of the weapon. And the powder residue is a dead giveaway."
"Do you want it to look like a murder?" A pretty blonde next to the redhead had been silent until now, waiting for her turn to play.
"What do you mean?" The smoking woman lit another cigarette with a blue lighter, inhaling deeply.
"Well, some contract killers use drugs to make it look like a heart attack. Much less messy. No one knows the difference. It's the same drug they give you when they work on you at the hospital, so it doesn't show up on a tox screen."
"Clever! I like that. What's the drug?"
The blonde looked puzzled. "You know, I don't quite remember. You can spray it on, though. I saw that on TV."
"Hmm, have to research that."
"Set her house on fire," the bearded man said calmly, resuming game play.
"That doesn't look accidental."
"It does if she smokes in bed."
"She quit twenty years ago."
"Drunk driver killed in fatal crash," a dark haired man said enthusiastically, holding up his hands as if announcing a newspaper headline. Everyone groaned.
"Dammit, Barry! I just saw your hand," the bearded man complained.
They tossed in the cards. The redhead shuffled and dealt as the well dressed man refreshed their drinks.
"You never answered me," Barry reminded the smoker as she lit another from the stub of the one dangling from her lips.
"Quit smoking and drinking when her dad died."
"Does she have any vices?" The redhead looked alarmed.
"None."
"The woman's a saint," the bearded man objected. "Why kill her off?"
"That's what bugs people. She's too damn nice!" the smoking woman complained.
"An old lover returns, stabs her in the back for jilting him." Barry said, taking a sip from his drink.
"It's not a crime of passion," the redhead reminded him. 
"Well, yes and no. It's metaphorical. She stabbed him, so to speak, so he's returning the favor."
"No, I don't think that would work, but it's an idea," the smoker conceded.
"So," the well dressed man laid down his cards, ticking off points on his fingers. "We've ruled out stabbing, shooting, poisoning, fires and car wrecks. That leaves us strangling, bludgeoning, drowning and what? Fatal fall? Does she frequent tall buildings?"
The smoker shook her head, wrinkling her nose. "Afraid of heights."
"Earthquake, cave in?" Barry added, tossing down a card.
"Oh, you control Mother Nature now?" The blonde asked sarcastically.
"She told us last week the woman is a caver. You know, a spelunker thingy. Lots of unstable caves around. Lure her in, trap her in a landslide."
"What if it backfired, killing the killer?"
"Tragic irony," he shrugged, spreading his hands.
Everyone groaned again.
"Dammit, Barry!" The blonde fussed, tossing her cards at him.
"He always does that when he's losing," the bearded man grunted as he leaned across the table for cards.
Barry took the cards, shuffling rapidly. "I still like the cave in idea."
"Awfully hard to orchestrate," the smoker countered. "But I haven't ruled it out. I'm still liking the poison heart attack."
"Lots of research involved," the bearded man shook his head. "How soon did you want to do it?"
"Sometime this week. I've got to put an end to it. It's been keeping me up at night. Over three hundred pages and no resolution."
"Once she's dead, won't you have to solve it?"
"I hadn't thought of that."
"Tragic suicide," Barry said, nibbling a pretzel. "Nice, succinct, everyone knows she did it, leaves a pathetic note about how unhappy she's been. Coroner's inquest to determine cause of death. Badabing, wrapped up nice and neat."
The cigarette smoking woman stared at him in wonder. "You know, that just might work! She isn't happy and she has some tragedy in her life."
"Old lover returns and threatens blackmail," the redhead said excitedly.
"All her ugly secrets will be revealed. Maybe she has a child no one knows about!" The blonde's eyes sparkled.
"Oh, better yet, a secret child and a husband. Her marriage to this guy was a fake."
"A string of fake husbands, phony divorces and a secret child," the cigarette smoker giggled. "That's exactly what I need! Thanks, all of you! I knew I could count on you."
The table and people faded as the woman set down her drink. She was alone in her office, computer screen flickering gently in the half light. With renewed vigor, she hammered at the keys, putting her new ideas down while they were fresh. She finished the chapter with a smile, patting the screen fondly.
"Thank you," she said to her characters. Thanks to all of you."

With a smile, she shut down her computer and went to bed.

Indian Summer
Lone Wolf
The Ninja Tattoo
Under the Western Sky
Shakazhan – Lone Wolf series book 2

Lone Wolf by Dellani Oakes

Lone Wolf - sci-fi adventure at its best! The year is 3032 and mankind has expanded far beyond Earth’s galaxy. Matilda Dulac is a member of...