Monday, January 20, 2014

Hafsa Idrees - A New Voice

About Beginning After the End:
What can the fear of losing the ones we love push us to do? In Chrissie’s case, it pushed her to distance herself from Allan, the man she loves more than anything else in the world. She knows he will not marry her, that they don’t have a future together. But why does “out of sight” not mean “out of mind”? The wall that Chrissie has built around herself becomes a prison. As she fights for survival in the cold world she has created, she gets an unexpected call from Allan. This call changes her life forever. “Hafsa Idrees tells an extraordinary story that will make you think about life, death, love and faith like nothing before. The Beginning after the End is a book with a big big heart and a deep deep soul. You don’t enter its world – it enters yours.” Roy Eynhallow, Series: N/A Publisher: Amazon Genre: Contemporary Literary Fiction

Excerpt from Beginning After the End:

We all are fools to believe in happiness. This is the world’s greatest lie. There is no such thing in the world. No such thing ever existed. It is just the projection of the mind, an illustration of an illusion, a shade or a mirage and we all are bound to take it in our heads the other way. Such dorks we are, knowingly, I spoke to myself wryly. It is just like a Hollywood movie. Not the ordinary stuff, of course, but a good one. You enjoy watching it, engrossed in every line, action or scene, and the end has to come anyway. You have to return back rather sadly to your fucked up original practical life.
For me, the stupidest thing in the world is to make or gather memories. I do not know how someone can cherish a happy memory believing he once had it and enjoyed in some part of his life and how someone can be happy on a sad day, thinking about a memory. I have been at a loss to understand this complicated world and its ways and to keep up the pace with it. I was trying hard to put these thoughts aside, though. I was driving and I had to be careful.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Hafsa Idrees, is a multifaceted budding 21 years old writer who has contributed as a content writer for a number of websites and magazines. She holds "The 2010 Regional Ricoh (USA) Sustainable and Development Award" for her contribution to the joint Entomology research paper for INTEL ISEF 2010. She also wrote for GOI Peace Foundation Japan. She has numerous honors credited to her name including the Editor and Ambassador of Pakistan's First Youth Newspaper "Shascha", Assistant SEO Manager of Revolution Flame, Head of the Creative Department at Fortune Technologies and the Award for "Best Ten Paintings" on World Science Day For Peace Development (2006) by Pakistan Science Foundation. Having graduated from Punjab University, Lahore with roll of honor, currently she is pursuing her Masters in Anthropology from Quaid-e-Azam University, Islamabad. CONTACT DETAILS Facebook page: Twitter ID: @hafsaaidrees

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Charlene Martin - Expect the Unexpected

Meet Charlene

I am a small town girl, I currently reside in the same city that I was born and raised in. I love watching teen drama shows, reading, writing, and listening to music.

I have a loving family my mother who has taught me about love and lasting relationships. A father who pushes me to excel and succeed at anything I desire. My younger sister and I have become very close over the years and she is very supportive of everything I do.
I have been married for nine years to my best friend. I love my husband more than anything. He is so kind, loving and supportive. He likes to joke with his friends that, “My wife writes                                                                       porn.”
We have a eleven year old daughter who is so smart and talented. I can’t believe how fast they grow up. She is turning into quite the young lady. She aspires to be so many things and I encourage them all. She loves to write songs, and has even tried her hand at writing a book. Maybe one day she will follow my example.
Being that I am from a small town, I have made some long lasting relationships. I have two best friends that I have known for most of my life. We have continued to stick together over the years and we are always there for one another. I couldn’t imagine my life without them.
Animal lover I am not, but I have a headstrong dog that is the absolute best-behaved dog I have ever seen and a cat that drives me insane, but I love her nonetheless.
I have always aspired to be a neonatal nurse and I continue to work towards that goal. Maybe one day it will come true. However, writing has become my new favorite love.
I never would have dreamed that I would become a writer, but some really great people convinced me otherwise. Eventually I decided to give it a try and what do you know? I just finished writing my second book and I couldn’t be happier. I will continue to write in my spare time with hopes of it becoming a full time career at some point in my life.

So take note, I am just a small town girl trying to bring light to your darkness, anything is possible if you work hard at it. So hold your head high, get out there, and do what you love.

Excerpt from Unexpected Love

I am being pulled into this beautiful dream where I am being kissed by an extremely hot guy. He has the most beautiful green eyes that seem to dive into the depths of my soul. When I look at him, I feel nothing, but comfort and safety. As we lie on the beach, he slides his hands down my sides and it tickles me. I start to giggle as he looks into my eyes and smiles. I am aware that his hands are sliding south when my jeans slide down a little as his hand grips my butt through my jeans.
I dig my nails into his back while pulling him close to me. I begin to kiss him with heated passion. My shirt is lifted over my head and I gasp at the realization. He tosses my shirt to the sand and places his hand upon my breast. I get a cold chill as he seductively moves my bra aside. He gently squeezes my nipple between his fingertips while looking deep into my eyes. His gaze is so intense I have to break it, letting my head fall back and a little moan escapes my throat.
A exhilarating sensation is running through my body. I can feel his desire for me pour into each of his movements, if this is what love feels like I do not ever want to wake up. If only this man in my dreams was real, I would be so happy.

                                              Excerpt from Unexpected Destiny:

I really should meet her in her dream, but I finally get the chance to hold her while she sleeps and I can’t bear to let her go. I run my fingers through her soft waves, occasionally placing feathery kisses to her forehead. I have wished for this day a thousand times over and now that it’s here, I don’t ever want it to end. My heart swells with the love I feel for her. I have spent years watching her and loving her from afar, hoping, wishing and praying that one day I would get the chance to actually love her up close. I wasn’t supposed to fall in love with her, but I did and I will be damned if anything ever gets in the way of our love. I know she loves me too. I see it in the way she looks at me and I feel it when we kiss. This is all too new for us and I am not sure how to handle it all. What I do know is that I would give her the world if she asked for it and I will love her for an eternity, no time space or distance will ever end my love for her.

Friday, January 17, 2014

What About Conflict?

What About Conflict?

Before sitting down to write, an author has to have an idea. It might be just a germ of a speck of an grain of an idea, but there must be inspiration. Whether you choose to outline, storyboard, plot, plan or play it by ear—inspiration must strike.
You've got your idea, you've made your plan of attack or you have your starting sentence. Now what?

Something Goes Horribly Wrong

Conflict is what makes a story move forward. Even in the happily ever after tales of our childhood, there is Conflict. Snow White ends up with the seven dwarfs for a reason. Sleeping Beauty doesn't put herself to sleep and Cinderella isn't running from that party just because she didn't like the food.
When I taught school, we discussed Conflict in great detail. I'm going to share some of that with you. English teachers will debate the number of types of Conflict, but I go with six. Some limit it to three, with sub-categories. Well, if you're going to have sub-categories, why not just give them their own?

My use of Man means Humans, so please, ladies, don't squabble with me. I'm old fashioned. This is how I learned it and how I remember.

Man vs. Man
Man vs. Nature
Man vs. Himself
Man vs. Machine
Man vs. Society
Man vs. Destiny/ Fate


Man vs. Man – Any conflict involving one person against another. This is, understandably, one of the most common forms of conflict. Everybody loves a good villain. Any of the Die Hard movies are good examples of this conflict. There are so many others, I can't name them all. (This can include one race/ group against another)

Man vs. Nature – Any time the main character is pitted against Mother Nature. Lots of disaster movies fall into this category. A Perfect Storm is a great example.

Man vs. Himself – No, the hero doesn't have to be crazy to be in conflict with himself. He wants or desires something he can't have or denies himself he really wants. Of course, crazy often does factor in – Shutter Island and Fight Club are good examples.

Man vs. Machine – This one isn't always listed, or it's a sub-category under Man vs. Man. I like to separate it from that conflict. Given some of the movies in the last 20 years, this isn't a sub-category anymore. Think Matrix, Terminator, Eagle Eye.

Man vs. Society – Pretty obvious. A person who doesn't fit into society's “normal” pattern. For some reason, the hero is a misfit. Sometimes, he's hiding it, other times not. “1984” by George Orwell is a prime example. So is the movie“Equilibrium” and novel/ movie “Fahrenheit 451”.

Man vs. Destiny/ Fate – Many an epic fantasy is built upon this conflict. It is Bilbo's destiny to bring the Ring to the Shire. It is Frodo's destiny to return it. And therein hangs the tale.

You may not consciously pick your conflict. Quite often, it chooses you. As the story develops, the conflict arises and must be resolved. The characters make the journey to a resolution. How they get there, is the plot. (Which I will discuss in another article.)

© Dellani Oakes 2014

Friday, January 10, 2014

Creating Believable Aliens

Aliens don't have to be little green men from Mars. There's no need to make them freakish constructs with tentacles and brains on the outside. Aliens need not be evil, warlike beings intent upon conquering the Earth. They can be as like humans as we wish, or as different.
My alien beings vary throughout my sci-fi series. For the most part, they are animals took a different evolutionary path. The Fellicians, for example, are giant cats who pursued a warrior's life. At peace now, they are still warlike, so many of them became warriors for hire.
Another alien species are called Vandarans. These people are descended from the moose. They've shed their antlers, but retain retractable hooves. A very religious people, they have built their society around their god Wthra and his many aspects.
Probably the most diverse race are the Kindred. There are several groups, all serving different functions. First are the Shapers. These people live on the desolate, dangerous surface of Iyundo. They have honed their telekinetic and telepathic skills. Unable to speak, they can communicate telepathically for a great distance.
Kindred are bipedal and covered with fur. Their bodies have little demarcation between torso and head. They range in height from 3-4 feet, with the exception of the ship dwellers and techs, who are often over five feet tall. Their fur is glossy and soft, their eyes large and expressive. They are a silicon based life form, rather than carbon based.
These are the craftsmen, healers, artisans, telekinetic masters. They can use their powers to kill but mostly turn their strengths to healing and protection. Next, there are the ship dwellers. These Kindred devote their lives to caring for the vast sentient ships (another fascinating race). They are able to speak, but also have well honed telepathic powers in order to communicate with their ships.
There are technicians among the Kindred. An offshoot of the Shapers, they keep to themselves. They speak and are only moderately telepathic. They sometimes dwell on the ships, but are more often transported in cryo-sleep—by preference. They are friendly, though guarded, and have little to do with the other Kindred.
Finally, we have the Klash. There are the Kindred warriors who are born and trained for battle. They speak and are strong telepaths as well as having telekinetic powers rivaling the Shapers. They are dangerous and keep to themselves by choice, only venturing out when needed.
The sentient ships are an old race—older than Vandarans, Kindred or Fellicians. They can trace their beginnings to a race of Cloud Dwellers in an area of space that was destroyed by the Kahlea, countless centuries ago.
Selectively bred by the Timokuan people, they eventually grew larger and more aware. Some, like Hammer and Anvil, are the size of a moon. Others, like Styx are built for speed and maneuverability. In their resting state, they are teardrop shaped, but can alter their shape at will. They come in a variety of colors, covering the entire spectrum, though red ones are extremely rare.
These ships can do anything for their passengers, including the synthesizing of food, furniture, various atmospheres and secret rooms found only by those who want them.
The Kindred have cared for their for millennia, until the day when the Timokuan people return. Once more enlisted into service, they prove the saviors of the Shakazhan forces.
Aliens don't all speak English, as they so conveniently did in the old Star Trek series. My aliens have their native languages, but most of them also speak Galactix—the common tongue of the galaxy. Those who don't, generally have translation devices. If I make this believable, readers won't question. Generally, I have my characters at least passing conversant in Galactix.
Not all aliens are humanoid, as I've discussed. Some, like the Nav Guild, look like gargantuan slugs. Others are pulled from fantasy creatures. When creating aliens, have fun with them. Use your imagination. Flip through a few books on mythical creatures. Evil or good, chaotic or order seeking, the main thing is to make them believable.

© Dellani Oakes

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Monday, January 06, 2014

Brae Wyckoff Rides Again!

Brae Wyckoff is an award winning and internationally acclaimed author, born and raised in San Diego, CA. He has been married to his beautiful wife, Jill, for over 20 years, and they have three children. He has a beautiful grandson named Avery. Brae has been an avid RPG gamer since 1985. His passion for mysterious realms and the supernatural inspired him to write The Orb of Truth, the first in a series of fantasy action adventures.

In addition to writing the Horn King Series, Brae is the host of Broadcast Muse blog talk radio program, featuring interviews with authors such as William Paul Young of The Shack, artists—American Idol contestant MissLadybug and Christian Hip-Hop singer Nomis, and world changers, Bethel Healing Director Chris Gore and others. Brae and his wife, Jill, are the founders of the International ministry called The Greater News, where they report on miracles from around the world. He is also the CEO of LR Publishing, a one-stop publishing service provider geared specifically for the growing genre of Destiny Action-Adventure Fantasy, which brings life, purpose, and ultimately a message of hope.

The Orb of Truth won Best Christian Fantasy Award for 2013 and has been voted #1 in several categories, including Best Indie Fantasy Book, Epic Fantasy Worth Your Time, and Fantasy Book That Should Be Required Reading.

His sequel, The Dragon God, is making waves. It was voted "BEST New Epic Fantasy" and rated "TOP Fantasy Book" for a series.

Join Brae and other Amazing Authors for a Facebook event from January 8 - February 28, 2014


Radio Show Host of Broadcast Muse

Facebook Author Page

The Greater News

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Orb of Truth book #1 synopsis:

In the hundreds of years since the Holy City disappeared, darkness has fallen over the land. Human kingdoms have seized control of the realm, scattering the other races into hiding.

Bridazak, a skilled thief, and his friends, a Dwarf and a fellow Ordakian, have dared to remain within the human communities and live relatively quiet lives, until they discover a mysterious, magical artifact. The three friends are thrust into an adventure that will challenge their faith, their purpose, and their destiny as they chase a forgotten and lost prophecy across the realm of Ruauck-El, where they hope to discover the origins of the strange item and their place in its history.

An ancient, unknown enemy threatens the completion of their journey at every turn. Bridazak is about to face the biggest adventure of his life, one that may change the known realm, and answer the questions he has carried all his life. Will they unlock the truth?

The Orb of Truth is the first book of The Horn King Series.

The Dragon God book #2 synopsis:

As the heroes of Ruauck-El emerged triumphantly in The Orb of Truth, the first book in the Horn King series, they could not have imagined that an even greater evil still lay ahead of them. Raina has discovered a new threat to the realm, and teleported King El'Korr—against his wishes—to the West Horn King's capital city, Tuskabar, in hopes of thwarting an evil Mystic's plan to acquire the five dragon stones. Each relic harbors an ancient dragon spirit, and, if combined, would unleash a multi-headed deity beyond imagination, to begin a reign of terror upon Ruauck-El.

Meanwhile, Bridazak and friends are in search of Spilfer Teehle's missing family. Their quest leads them to visit old enemies, travel through beautiful but deadly locations, and will ultimately take them on an adventure of new discoveries of themselves. Each group is on their own mission, but as destiny would have it, their fates are more entwined than they could possibly know.

Internationally acclaimed author, Brae Wyckoff, brings a new depth to fantasy storytelling in The Dragon God.

Friday, January 03, 2014

Creating a Believable Setting

Creating a believable setting isn't as easy as you might think. Using a place you know as a backdrop, as I did in The Ninja Tattoo and Under the Western Sky is easier, but what if your action can't all be done at real locations? Time to get inventive.
By inventive, I don't mean digging out road maps to some city that fits your needs, why not make something up?
For Undercover Lover, among others, I wanted a big city, but didn't want to use NYC, Chicago or other metropolis. Why? Because I'm basically lazy and don't fancy the research. Also, if I get my facts wrong. Someone will call me on it. As I don't much like the idea of engaging internet trolls, I chose to make my own city.

This city has no name. I couldn't come up with a name that sounded credible. I hate the hokey names they give cities in soap operas (and Sunnyvale was taken) I didn't want more trolls crawling out of the woodwork telling me their city has that name and X was wrong with my tale. Therefore, it is a mysterious city somewhere near Canada and west of NYC, but east of Chicago.

I created some landmarks—a magnificent art deco hotel, a newspaper, a coffee shop, mall, art gallery, museums, aquarium and other sights to see. There is no map except the one in my mind, traffic is as busy or not as I choose. Some characters live in a ritzy development near the lake, others in less pricey and prestigious areas of the city.
An architectural firm does remodels of old, historic buildings—making exclusive condos from an old department store, for example.
There are spies, thieves, billionaires, wealthy old families, nouveau riche, doctors, lawyers and rock stars.
There are upscale suburbs, low class urban areas, sleepy small towns a few miles away from the craziness of the city—idyllic, quiet, crime free, there is a lake nearby and mountains. In short, any environment I want, is available. I have all flexibility I want with none of the real life hassles.
To keep it believable, I have traffic jams, crimes,emergencies, accidents—all the things we have in real life. They aren't the focus of my story, but the bustle of the city is always there.
My sci-fi settings are even more fun. Nothing takes place on Earth. I don't use our
solar system at all. Readers will not find comforting old standards like green men from Mars. Instead, meet the moose-like Vandarans, giant feline Fellicians, the stately insectoids that resemble praying mantises.
Here, there are planet names like Aolani, Saltulle, Iyundo and Shakazhan. Everything in the known universe is run from an asteroid base called Committee Home Base. Here, each sentient race is represented, overseen by a Vandaran, Chairman Aisulov.
Later in the series, I introduce another planet. This planet is home to every mythical creature our legends speak of—and many more. Sentient asteroid people—I've got them, Zarboni, another cat race, I've got them too. Cloud Dwellers who look like airborne whales, anyone? But I digress. I think that aliens may be the focus of another article.
Each of these races needs a specific environment. You can't put ice people in a dessert, nor can you have cloud dwellers in a vacuum. I haven't fully explored these races and their habitats, but I can. Perhaps, one day, I will.
The important message here is setting can be as important as action. If your plot takes place in the wrong setting, the story is unbelievable. Give your characters the space to run and let them.

© Dellani Oakes
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Emma, Dangerous by Dellani Oakes – Part 62

Sam gets cut in the fight with Hempe. A nurse in the lock down wing stitches him up, thanking Sam for taking the monster out. He shows Sam a...