Monday, February 25, 2013

Black Jack Bomber by T.C. Miller

I'm delighted to turn over my space to T.C. Miller, author of BlackJack Bomber. Welcome, T.C.!




T. C. Miller’s twenty-four year Air Force career gave him the opportunity to live from coast-to-coast. It was during his assignment at Mather Air Force Base, California that he formulated the basic plot for his debut novel, BlackJack Bomber.

T. C. is also an accomplished martial artist, and has studied Hakkoryu Jujitsu, since 1976. He owned and operated a school in Rancho Cordova, Ca., Harrah, Ok., and McLoud, Ok. He is also the author of self-defense classes for women and children, and has taught handcuffing and apprehension classes for law enforcement.

He started writing as a pre-teen, and has authored magazine articles, lesson plans, and advertising copy. BlackStar Bay, the sequel to BlackJack Bomber, is scheduled for release in mid-2013. Although not a native Oklahoman, he considers it his home state.



BlackJack Bomber A novel by T. C. Miller

Five average, middle-aged suburban guys call themselves the Thursday Night Mafia, and their weekly blackjack game appears to be an innocent pastime. But looks can be deceiving, as casual talk over cards leads to an ill-fated plot to scam Lake Tahoe casinos. Their lives are thrown into a downward spiral faster than you can shuffle the cards. Caught red-handed by mob goons, and facing certain death if they don’t repay a fortune they don’t have, they turn to Rick. He devises a plan to use their inside knowledge of Air Force operations to commandeer a plane with nuclear weapons on board and hold it for ransom.

But the BlackJack Bomber holds Cold War secrets bigger than Rick’s, and the BlackStar Ops Group races against the clock to hunt down Rick. His vengeful plan includes the destruction of Lake Tahoe, and the death of thousands of people, and that’s just for starters. Ultimately, he hopes to auction off nuclear weapons, including the ultra-secret BlackStar system, to the international terrorist community.

Friday, February 22, 2013

There Are Days When I Want to Give Up Writing



There are days when I want to chuck it all in and start over. I find myself wishing I had a different calling and that I wasn't hopelessly addicted to writing. I would like to do something – anything, to make the voices in my head talk to someone else.
But they won't be still and I know I can't give it up for anything. Even if I'm the worst writer in the world, I can't stop. I love what I do. Nothing pleases me like putting words down, creating order from chaos. I just wish I got paid better for doing what I do.
It gets discouraging to put in hour after hour and get pennies in return. If I were better at talking up my own work, I would probably make a lot more money. I am the world's worst at tooting my own horn.
Unfortunately, horns must be tooted loudly to draw attention to our work. If readers don't know that our books exist, they can't very well buy them. There are all kinds of clever marketing ploys – contests, drawings, and giveaways. However, because there is so much competition, everyone tries to "out swag" one another. There are authors giving Kindles, Amazon gift cards and jewelry galore.
Except for some discontinued Mary Kay products and a few copies of my books, I don't have "swag".
Finding creative ways to market isn't easy, but I'm open to suggestions. If you have a marketing method that works for you, post it here. Let's share our ideas and pool our resources. Together, we can make it work.

I am happy to participate in blog exchanges. If you'd like to host me, I will host for you. You can contact me here or through Facebook. ~ Dellani


For more of Dellani's books, check out Indian Summer, Lone Wolf and The Ninja Tattoo on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Smashwords.

© Dellani Oakes

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

What I Don't Like About Romance Novels


       Romance novels are all about falling in love – finding a soul mate and sometimes having great sex. That's what I love about writing romance. I can be, even for a short time, someone else. I am able to fall in love over and over again. That's also why readers love romance novels. For a short space fo time, they have the perfect lover.
What don't I love about romance novels? Formulaic plots, predictable events and the main conflict is between the couple. How is that romantic? I don't want to red page after page of fighting. That isn't what love is about. I've heard other romance authors tell me, "It's what sells." or "It's what readers want."
Is it? I'm a reader as well as a writer and I don't like it. I like an immediate attraction between my lovers. I believe in love at first sight – because it happened to me. I see the romance as the two of them getting to know one another, admitting they are attracted and, eventually, sating their lust in mutually satisfying sex.
Another thing I don't like – arrogant, misogynistic, self-centered heroes who act as if women are there for the taking. Romance novels thrive on this bestial behavior. The love scenes often include the hero – convinced the woman is attracted to him, and can't resist him, forcing his attentions on her. This is, in my opinion, tantamount to rape.
I'm sick of plots where the couple meets, find themselves attracted, may or may not have sex right away, have a falling out and squabble for the rest of the book. A little of that goes a very long way. Yes, couples argue, but they can learn to communicate. Try talking it out – quit throwing lamps at each other. True love isn't like that.
Sadly, these formulaic novels emphasize a lot of the wrong elements of a relationship. Love isn't simply lust. It isn't fighting and yelling and having makeup sex.
True love is liking the faults as well as the strengths of your soul mate. It's talking about what's on your mind – even if ti's simply what to have for dinner. It's patience, compromise, communication. True love is having the best sex ever – simply because it's with the person you love. It's attraction for one person – not many. It's working hard at building a relationship.
Let's talk conflict for a moment. Conflict is what pushes a story forward. It propels the couple toward the conclusion of their story. The best conflicts, I feel, are things the couple must face together and grow stronger as they unite against a common foe.
Good conflict is outside the relationship, not a part of it. If the main action of the story is the couple fighting and staying apart, I stop reading. I think that's why I love to write romantic suspense. I can honestly say that I don't use that type of conflict. I like my couples to ace danger, work as a team and overcome the villain together. I don't want the foe to be one another.
I have to wonder if readers really do want that type of novel or if they simply sell because that's what is available? I promise my readers this – I will not resort to formulaic writing. If that is truly what you want, I'm not your girl. If you want fresh, exciting, fast paced and often lusty stories, then you've come to the right place. I promise, you won't be disappointed.

© Dellani Oakes

Friday, February 15, 2013

Interview with Kameron Brook


I'm delighted that Kam took the time out of her busy schedule to answer my interview questions. Thank you for guest blogging, Kam! Good luck to you and Dirk and your family.

What is your story?

Kam and Dirk collaboration – “Sinfully Delicious” (M/F)

Book Summary:
Christine's been without a man too long, so she lets her BFF Jasmine talk her into speed-dating. Unfortunately, twenty-five of the men are romantic non-starters in the worst way. But all it takes is one...
Who are you?

Kameron’s personal bio: 

Kameron resides in a quiet neighborhood where the typical conversation centers on the weather and swapping recipes. While these chats might be entertaining to her neighbors, she finds her mind wandering quite often to naughtier topics. These hidden fantasies might not be the topic of choice within her circle of friends, but that doesn't stop her from unleashing her hidden desires with her readers.

(co-author’s info) Dirk’s personal bio:

Growing up, Dirk had aspirations of being an architect. He always had a passion to create things and watch them come to life. His path in life might've strayed, but in a way, it didn't. With his writing, he uses the same imagination to bring a story to life. With each stroke of the key, characters blossom and a tale forms. In his mind, buildings come and go, but a story lives forever. And in this, another dream is born, that of an erotica writer.

How do you see yourself?  How do your friends see you?
I hope my friends see me as I see myself: kind, considerate, honest, loyal, and easy going. Rarely am I angry. Life’s too short to dwell on the shit parts.

Do you have a goal?
One day I’d love to have a full-length story – print book.

What makes you happy?
My family makes me happy. Life is too quiet and boring when they aren’t around.

What are you afraid of?
Garden Gnomes. Something about them creeps me out.

What makes you angry?
Dishonest people. Why waste time on lies? What’s the point? Honesty might hurt but in the long run, I’d take it over deception anyday.

What do you regret?
Nothing except, maybe at times, eating too much popcorn on movie night.

What, if anything, haunts you?
The death of my dad when I was a child will always be a tender spot for me. It was unexpected and even decades later, I still tear up when I think of it.

Have you ever failed at anything?

Actually about ten years ago, I wanted to be a children’s book author. I sent in a manuscript to several houses. The book was a collection of poems to help teach toddlers and preschoolers their numbers and colors in a fun, repetitive format. The consensus was “The market at this time has no further need for literature of this nature.” I was disappointed but I continued to use the poems in my classroom so all was not lost.

Are you honorable?
I’d like to think so.

Do you have any distinguishing marks?
I have seven tattoos on my body. Most have a nature theme: butterflies, flowers, birds, and so forth.

What is the most important thing that ever happened to you? Why?

My life wouldn’t be complete without meeting my husband and having two wonderful kids. I can’t pick either event over the other because without one, I wouldn’t have the other.

Thank you to Pat Bertram for her list of character interview questions that she kindly shared with me several years ago.

Thank you so much for extending the interview invitation. I had a marvelous time and I hope others enjoyed reading my responses. 

Sinfully Delicious by Kameron and Dirk


I'm delighted today to have Kameron Brook and Dirk Tyler as guest bloggers. Their book, Sinfully Delicious, truly is!

Book Summary:
Christine's been without a man for far too long, so she lets her BFF Jasmine talk her into speed-dating. Unfortunately, far too many of her dates are romantic non-starters -- in the worst way. But all it takes is one... and when the right man comes along, he's Sinfully Delicious.


Excerpt from Sinfully Delicious:

Wednesday Evening

It’d been two years, six months, and fourteen days since Christine had felt the loving touch of anyone but herself -- not that she was keeping track. Which was the reason she’d allowed her best gal-pal, Jasmine, to talk her into heading out tonight and giving the speed-dating scene a try… again.

“Woo hoo, Christine. Come in. Are you with me?”

Christine studied her completed look in the glass door of the Midnight Rendezvous. She held the phone tucked between her ear and shoulder while she kept tugging at the hem of her dress, which barely covered her ass cheeks. “Jasmine, I can’t believe you talked me into this get-up. I’m literally popping out all over.”

“Babe, you look hot, so quit the bitching and stop tugging on it.”

Christine’s hands stalled and dropped to her sides. “How’d you know what I was doing? Are you lurking nearby?”

Jasmine’s voice rose an octave. “Hello, best friend here. I know you, and I know you’re freaking the hell out. Do me a favor and relax, because any man would be lucky to have you. Now, hang up and get your sexy ass inside.”

Christine gave herself a final once-over and took a deep breath, releasing it slowly. “Thanks, Jasmine. You always know how to calm me down. Love you.”

“I love you too. Now go.”

Christine nervously inched her way over to the sign-up table, paid the twenty-dollar fee, picked up a nametag, and found an unoccupied chair. As the announcer went over all the rules of the event, she eyed the prospects and found several who looked attractive. Hope began to blossom. It seemed simple enough. Every two minutes a new man would sit down across from her and engage in a brief conversation. If she believed a connection was made, she would place his name on a card. The men would do the same, and if there was a match between cards, both parties would be notified through an email. “I can do this,” she mumbled.

The announcer rang the bell.

The first eligible bachelor, Bradley, sat down, and it was two minutes of pure awkwardness. His hands shook uncontrollably, and he wouldn’t stop apologizing. He refused to make eye contact and finally excused himself to the restroom, leaving her alone.

Christine couldn’t believe how badly the night was starting off. She tried to embrace Jasmine’s glass half full attitude and hope the next guy would at least remain seated for the entire two minutes.

Ding. A very handsome man with perfect features slid into the chair across from Christine. She noticed right off the bat he had no wrinkle lines, crow’s feet, laugh lines -- nada. She found that odd until he spoke. Then it all became clear. Unlike Bradley, he didn’t say “Hi” or offer any other pleasantries. His gaze traveled from her face down to her chest, head tilting left to right, and then he spoke. “You have a beautiful face and body, from what I can see, for a woman of your age, but if you ever decide to fix your trouble spots, I’d be happy to give you a discount.”

Christine couldn’t believe her luck. She already doubted her looks, and now this man she didn’t know was judging her appearance? Great, just freaking great. If she were Jasmine, she would’ve been spewing words that would make a sailor blush; however, Christine hated public confrontations. Instead she put on a fake smile. “Don’t bother writing my name down.” Their remaining time couldn’t possibly end quickly enough for her liking.

Ding. “Thank God that’s over.” One look at the surgeon, and she realized she’d spoken aloud. She opened her mouth to apologize, but before she could get the chance, he turned and walked away.

Prospective dates three through twelve were nice enough, but she knew they’d be no more than friends, and not the kind with naughty benefits. Her shoulders slumped in depression and she wondered why she’d let Jasmine talk her into this. A dozen men had come and gone but none lit a fire in her belly. Eyes downcast, she waited to hear the sound of a chair scraping the floor.

Instead, she felt cool glass press against her palm and a warm breath against her ear. “I didn’t know what you normally drink, but I sensed you needed something strong.”

Christine looked up into the most gorgeous eyes she’d ever seen. They were almost hypnotic, and his voice was equally distracting, drawing her in. She was clueless about how long she stared at him like a lovesick puppy, but it was long enough that another bachelor took his position for the two-minute meet and greet.

Spell broken, she addressed dreamy eyes first because she had to know his name. “Umm, yes, thank you, Mr…”

“You may call me Sin.” Then he stood upright and kept all his attention on her but clearly directed his words to the gentleman across the table. “If you were a smart man, you’d start the conversation by telling her how gorgeous she looks tonight. Let her know no other woman has ever looked lovelier in your eyes. That from the moment you saw her, you wanted nothing more than to feel her lips against yours, to touch her and be touched by her.”

Christine grew more aroused with each word Sin uttered. She’d come out tonight looking for a spark, and damn if she hadn’t found a five-alarm fire. Did Sin realize the effect his words were having on her?
He winked, and her silent question was answered. Damn him, he knew exactly what he was doing to her.

The other bachelor cleared his throat. “Yeah, thanks for the advice, but I don’t need it. I’ve got this.”
Sin’s face tensed up. “Not yet, you don’t.”

Bio:


Kameron and Dirk, a passionate couple in and out of the bedroom, has decided to join forces and bring their erotic imagination to life with words. Their solo stories are electric; however, the works they create together will practically sizzle off the page. Yes, they might live in a quiet suburb neighborhood, but they’re anything but tame and unadventurous. A fact you shall read and learn about soon enough.

Contact info:
Blog: http://www.dirkandkam.com
Facebook Author page: https://www.facebook.com/DirkandKam
Goodreads' links:
http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5781386.Kameron_Brook
http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5120666.Dirk_Tyler

Amazon Author Pages:
http://amazon.com/author/kameronbrook
http://www.amazon.com/Dirk-Tyler/e/B00A8IDHMC/

Kam and Dirk collaboration – “Sinfully Delicious” (M/F)

(Purchase link)
http://www.changelingpress.com/product.php?&upt=book&ubid=1996

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

This THING Called Marketing


       So, you've written a book, managed to get it published and now you need to make people aware of the fact it's out there. How do you do that?
Seriously – I'm asking! I have three books – two are available in print as well as e-books the other is in e-book format only. They're great books, people would love them, but aside from a few sales a month, they aren't making me rich. No one is knocking down my door to make a movie and my bank account is still anemic.
I am not good at self-promotion. I've never been one to toot my own horn. I'm not going to wave a sign and say, “READ MY BOOKS!” I don't know how to write catchy copy, nor do I know clever marketing ploys. I am marketing inept, promotionaly illiterate and sales impaired.
I would love to know how books like “Twilight” and “50 Shades of Gray” became overnight sensations. What did those authors do and can I do it too? HOW did they get their books recognized by the masses? And why can't I?
It's frustrating knowing that I have amazing books that aren't selling. It's annoying to think that mediocre books can skyrocket to the top of the market when really good ones sit on the bottom rung.
I know there are websites devoted to this sort of thing. There are books and blogs and videos about how to make people more aware of your books. Sensory overload sets in and I am no better off than before I watched or read anything.
I see authors having giveaways, setting up contests and giving away all kinds of awesome products when people buy their books. They give away book bags, Amazon gift cards, jewelry, Kindles! I can't even afford a Kindle for myself, let alone buy it to give away. So what is a “poor” author supposed to do? I'm with two small publishers. They don't have promotional budgets either, which leaves it up to me. What little royalties I bring in go to buying food for my family or gas for the car. I can't put it toward a Kindle or Amazon card or some other kind of swag (a truly obnoxious word, in my opinion) to give away.
If someone has promotional ideas to share, I'd love to hear them. Meanwhile, I'm having a quiet cup of coffee while I wait for inspiration to strike. I have a feeling it's going to be a long wait.

© Dellani Oakes

Thursday, February 07, 2013

Capturing the Castle (How “Once Upon a Castle” was born)

My guest today is author Alan S. Blood. He's visiting here today to share how his story, Once Upon a Castle came to be. Alan, welcome to Writer's Sanctuary.



On a bitterly cold, November afternoon, I found myself stranded near Bamburgh Castle on the wild Northumberland coast whilst the local, old fashioned garage, with tall petrol pumps, repaired my broken-down car.

The delicate, somewhat bright, late autumn sunlight created an eerie, pastel coloured scene, albeit tempered by a biting breeze, yet quite magical, certainly ancient, and almost ethereal.

Vikings have landed here,’ I told myself scanning the unique white beaches below the hazy castle ramparts. It was one of those strange experiences that triggered the imagination and I could see a Scandinavian longship coming ashore, disgorging horned-helmeted warriors seizing the beach before storming inland to ravage the sparse Saxon populace. I could feel that there was a tale to be told.

With the genesis of a story in my mind, I conducted research into Northumbrian castles and was intrigued to discover there was another ruined castle along the coast. This gave me a plot basis involving two castles, one of which was real and the other a phantom! Ideas built as I thought this was an area to where children were evacuated during World War II.

Things shaped towards an exciting novel for young adolescents involving twelve-year-old twins, Tom and Mary (to appeal to both sexes) who dread being sent from southern England to Aunt Victoria’s Northumberland farm. Yet she proves to be young, and fun, until lessons are arranged with a terrible private tutor, Miss Urquart. Their London Uncle Toby had said: “There will be castles to explore with ghosts and things.”

Teenage rebelliousness ensues as the twins escape and riotous, scary adventures involving castles, Vikings and even the Royal Navy begin.

Once Upon a Castle is republished by USA publisher GMTA Publishing under their imprint, Mythos Press.




About: Once Upon a Castle

Uncle Toby had said that there would be castles to explore, with ghosts and things. This helps to cheer up the glum twelve-year old Lovell twins, Tom and Mary, leaving their schools and loving parents to be evacuated to wild Northumbria during World War II. Then the adventure begins.

They live with their Aunt Victoria and Uncle Leslie, meet the loveable ‘Mrs M’, a strange dog called ‘Scamp’ and, worst, the terrible private tutor, Miss Urquart, from whom they run away to find a mysterious castle seen through an old telescope.

Now they are drawn into bizarre supernatural events of a time-warp between the war itself and ancient warfare. They encounter dark forces, as the story twists and turns, and are even rescued by the Royal Navy. Yet, this is only the beginning of more unexpected tragedies before the twins begin to escape from it all.


ABOUT ALAN:

Alan S. Blood worked in the British Civil Service, Advertising and journalism (edited three publications) before qualifying as a Teacher from the University of Reading, England. He enjoyed a long, distinguished career in the Teaching Profession, in both Primary and Secondary levels of education, in several parts of the UK - which eventually led to Senior Management. His main subject area was English and, at one time, he was Head of English and Drama. Throughout, he gained considerable knowledge of literature that children and adolescents enjoy.

Alan now devotes his time to writing novels, plays, screenplays and poetry. He won top award in the ‘Hastings International Poetry Festival’ (2003) with his controversial ‘litter’ poem ‘CONTRITE CAN CANNOT’. The paranormal genre features in much of his prose work.

‘ONCE UPON A CASTLE’ is a ghost story written for young people (but also enjoyed by adults) set in World War 11. It concerns both a real and a phantom castle based upon Alan’s experience of strange castles on the wild Northumbrian coast of England on cold, dark wintry afternoon.

Alan Blood has widely traveled the world and undertook research in Chile where some of his supernatural crime thriller ‘CRY OF THE MACHI A Suffolk Murder Mystery’ is set. He was previously a Cotswold Morris Dancer and the novel is a conflict between the forces of good and evil linking a Chilean ‘Machi’ and ‘organised crime’ to murders in a Suffolk Morris Men side.

Alan enjoys wildlife photography in the Welsh countryside, painting and scraperboard engraving. He lives in a Victorian (1873) house below the Cambrian Mountains of Mid-Wales.

Connect With Alan

Website:  http://www.alansblood.co.uk/
Goodreads:  http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5068714.Alan_S_Blood
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/pages/Alan-S-Blood-AUTHOR/237585902938877
Facebook Like Page:  https://www.facebook.com/OnceUponACastle
Twitter:  https://twitter.com/AlanSBlood

Buy the Book: 
Amazon:  http://www.amazon.com/Once-Upon-Castle-Alan-Blood/dp/1478306750/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1357603197&sr=8-3&keywords=once+upon+a+castle
Barnes & Noble:  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/once-upon-a-castle-alan-s-blood/1112345687?ean=9781478306757
Createspace:  https://www.createspace.com/3947440
Kobo:  http://www.kobobooks.com/ebook/Once-Upon-a-Castle/book-540nsPe1AEGmScLmvz8ulg/page1.html?s=6IoRz8t4WECzM-9ZzI0wQQ&r=1

Undiscovered by Dellani Oakes

Kent Griswald is a high powered movie executive known for his micro-managing and aggressive supervision of a movie from beginning to end....