Sunday, August 30, 2015

Who the f**k cares about f**cking swears?

Recently a friend shared with me a criticism of my work. Now, I'm not really going to go into all the details, but basically another author took offence to one of my Declan teasers and declared the book to be unworthy and not well written because the main character has a bit of a potty mouth. My first reaction to this was to laugh. How anyone can judge the quality of writing in a 100,000 word book based on a ten word teaser just because three of those ten words are swear words is beyond me, but people are able to form whatever judgments they like and I'm happy to respect them. I was going to leave it at that, and move on with my life because my value isn't defined by what one other person thinks.

However, as I've been editing the next book in the series though, the criticism has played in my head, not because I agree with it, nor because I value one person's opinion about the worth of my words over my own character's personality. No, it's  the assumption that one word is less worthy of being included in a story than another that bugs me. Because that's the thing, these are my character's words, not mine.

In the Daughter of Fire series, Evie barely says a "bad" word. When she does, it's because things are going so wrong that she has little other choice. Even still, for her words like freak hold more power and pain than the words fuck or shit.

In Son of Rain, Clay has a little bit more of a potty mouth because he was raised by a single father in a man's word doing work that requires stronger words than "Oh dear" or "Fiddlesticks."

Declan is by far the worst of any of my characters. There are whole sentences which are comprised almost entirely of swear words. Like this one: “Fucking shitter of a fucking bastard of a fucking car!”

Does he say it to shock and awe the reader? No, he says it because it's who he is. He's an Aussie male, raised in a lower/middle class family, and it's ingrained in him to swear. It's part of who he is, it's part of what makes him tick, just as much as Evie's phoenix qualities and heat make her who she is. And I won't ever apologize for that. More than that, his swearing is an extension of his psyche. When things are working for him, his swearing lessens. Not through any conscious decision he makes (except under certain circumstances which make sense when you read the books), but because the happier he is, the less frustrated he is and frustration (and sorrow) are what make him swear. The particular teaser in question is taken from a time when he has just found out the worst of the worst possible information. Some people would beg for ignorance when it came to facing the levels of pain he's dealing with, but he welcomes in the pain because he knows that the truth will lead him to the things he wants.

That said, maybe the word fuck offends you. If so, that's your prerogative and you have every right to your opinion and also to stay away from books that use the word. What you don't have a right to do is lessen someone else's value by saying that the inclusion of the words fuck, shit, dick, pussy, or even cunt (and I dislike that word so it's probably one of the few times you'll ever see me type it) makes their novel somehow irrelevant and unworthy because they use a word you don't personally agree with. Who doesn't like shouting a hearty FUCK! when they stub their little toe against a door jam (because seriously, that shit bloody hurts!)?

That probably came out a little more guns blazing in defense of Declan than I intended it to. It was meant to be a defense of all words. Words are power after all. Anyone who claims a superiority in writing should know that better than anyone. I say get offended by words that are offensive. Words that are used to hurt groups of people, not the words that you personally don't like.

More than that, don't use your words, your power, to belittle other authors or their readers. Because that's the thing that annoyed me the most about the insinuation that swear words somehow lessen the intelligence of a work of fiction. It isn't the fact that it's insulting me and my characters, but that it's insulting my readers.

And you know what, that's an insult I just won't bear.

Finally, just because I really do like the versatility of the word, let's have a grammar lesson, shall we?


Thursday, August 27, 2015

Decide is LIVE

DECIDE
Declan Reede: The Untold Story


Strap in, get ready to start your engines and see where it all began.

From an early age, Declan Reede’s only goal was to race in the ProV8 Championship Series. One thing he couldn’t anticipate was that a blistering kiss shared with his best friend, Alyssa Dawson, might derail his plans.

While he knows things between them will never be the same, it’s impossible to predict just where the road will take them, or how rocky it might get.

Will he decide to fight for love or follow his dreams?

Genre: New Adult Contemporary Romance
Release Date: 27th August 2015
Cover Artist: Soxsationalcoverart
Principal photography by: NSP Studios 
Cover models: Ashleigh Johnson and Jarah Armstrong.

Pre-order the introduction novella now for the special price of 99c 


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TEASERS


  




EXCERPT
Once we were alone on our way to school, she glanced down at our joined hands and then back up at me. Her wide smile and bright eyes told me she was feeling the same warm feelings I was.
“Hey, boyfriend,” she said as she gave my hand a squeeze.
The shit-eating grin lifted my cheeks again. “Hi yourself, girlfriend.”
“We probably shouldn’t play hooky today, should we?” Without releasing my hand, she sped up a little before turning to walk backwards so that she could meet my eyes.
I thought about the day we could have if we did and ached to say yes. “We probably shouldn’t. It’s probably a better idea to prove we’re going to be responsible even if we’re a couple.”
“Hmm, couple. I like the sound of it.” She turned around again, resting her head against my arm as we walked.
I dropped her hand and wrapped my arm around her shoulders.
“Maybe we can still be responsible if we’re a little late though?” she asked.
“Maybe. Why? What do you have in mind?”
She dragged me in the direction of the park where we’d played cards the day before—the park which had been “ours” for as long as I could remember and where everything had changed.
“Well, our first date was cut a little short, don’t you think?”
The ghost of her lips tracing over mine filled my mind, together with the memory of her tongue tangling with my own.
“Definitely,” I said, unable to keep the lust and desire from my voice.
We walked in silence until we arrived at our park. Without any verbal agreement, we made our way toward the table we’d claimed as our spot years earlier.
Alyssa sat on the bench and I took my usual place perched behind her on the table. I placed my legs on either side of her body and leaned my chin on the top of her head. It was a position we’d sat in hundreds of times before as we chatted about anything and everything. Only, this time it was different. Neither of us spoke, which had never really happened before. The silence around us was almost maddening; the only sound, our matching breaths.
“So—” we both said at the same time, before stopping at the same time.
“You go—” Again our voices were almost perfectly in sync.
I chuckled as she turned around and knelt on the bench to look at me. I helped her up onto the table beside me and just looked at her for a moment. Her lips called to me, and I wanted to kiss her, longed to with every part of me, but I didn’t know if I should. I didn’t want kissing to be the only thing we had. There was so much more that I liked about her and none of those things had changed. Yet it was still different. Everything was different.
“Don’t hate me for asking, but is this weird as hell for you too?” she asked.
My relief that I wasn’t the only one who was feeling the new, odd atmosphere surrounding us escaped in a quiet laugh. “So weird.”
“It shouldn’t be though, should it?”
“No. I mean, we’re still us, right?”
She practically leapt in place. “Right!”
“We’re still friends,” I added. “We always will be.”
“Exactly. We’re just friends that kiss now.”
As she said the words, my gaze was drawn to her bright pink lip gloss. I licked my lips. “Friends that kiss a lot?”
“If you’re lucky.”
I trailed my hands into her hair, drawing her face slowly closer to mine. “Am I?”
“I don’t know,” she whispered. Her lips were so close to mine that I could feel her breath on my skin. “I’m starting to think that maybe I’m the lucky one.”


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AUTHOR BIO


Michelle Irwin has been many things in her life: a hobbit taking a precious item to a fiery mountain; a young child stepping through the back of a wardrobe into another land; the last human stranded not-quite-alone in space three million years in the future; a young girl willing to fight for the love of a vampire; and a time-travelling madman in a box. She achieved all of these feats and many more through her voracious reading habit. Eventually, so much reading had to have an effect and the cast of characters inside her mind took over and spilled out onto the page.

Michelle lives in sunny Queensland in the land down under with her surprisingly patient husband and ever-intriguing daughter, carving out precious moments of writing and reading time around her accounts-based day job. A lover of love and overcoming the odds, she primarily writes paranormal and fantasy romance.


You can find Michelle here: 


Sunday, August 16, 2015

Decide Teasers and Excerpt

CHAPTER 1:

OUR KISS WAS soft and slow.
It was warm and welcoming.
Alyssa tasted absolutely divine as our lips dragged across one another’s in a perfect melding. The scent of the crushed grass around us provided the backdrop to our surprise first kiss in the hot December sun. I knew if I opened my eyes, I would see the unbelievable image of her body pinned beneath me while I kissed her until we were both breathless. No doubt her hair would be fanned out behind her, rich deep brown against the green ground. I didn’t want to open my eyes though, because it would only ruin the moment.
She hummed against me as one of my hands found its way to the base of her neck, twisting gently into her hair. She cupped my face before fisting her fingers into my hair and tugged slightly, pulling me closer to her. I opened my mouth in response, granting her tongue access to explore. Every swirl of her tongue or shift of her fingers was done in a way that I was certain was designed to drive me mad. Each touch drew a new sound from me, one I’d never made before, or had even known I could make.
The kiss was passionate and fuelled by desire. It was unlike anything I’d ever experienced before. In the instant it had started, I knew I’d never really kissed anyone before. Not properly. Not like this. I’d wanted to. Just three days earlier, I’d been half mad with desire for Darcy Kinsley. I’d been obsessed in the way only a fifteen-year-old boy could be. I’d imagined having my tongue in her mouth and her boobs in my palms.
All thoughts of her had been completely obliterated by one kiss.
The fact that I was sharing it with Alyssa was more than I could have ever imagined.
She’d been my best friend for years, but maybe not anymore.
I pulled away a fraction and met her honey-gold eyes. Her breath brushed across my mouth, and my tongue trailed forward to slick my lips in response. My gaze refused to move from hers despite the call of her lips. A quiver ran through my body and my heart pounded against my ribs. My voice held almost no volume, was just a breathless whisper as I uttered the only word running through my head. “Wow.”
“Yeah,” she breathed back.
Closing my eyes, I tipped forward and touched my lips to hers again. The instant we reconnected, a throaty groan escaped from her and she opened her lips for me once more. The action made my stomach clench and sent chain reactions echoing down my body. I was so completely lost in her—in us—that I didn’t hear anyone approaching. “Declan? Alyssa!”
I jolted at the sound of my name. Alyssa chuckled against my lips. The feel of her shifting beneath me sent a surge of whatever new emotion I was feeling through me. My heart clenched, my stomach fluttered, and my lips burned with the need to touch hers again. Unable to resist, I renewed my attack on her mouth.
“Seriously?” A tone of disgust rang in Josh’s voice.
Although I was tempted to ignore Alyssa’s older brother and just keep kissing her, she seemed less than comfortable with continuing our PDA in front of him. She placed her hands on my shoulders and gently pushed me away. Despite the movement, a dreamy smile lit her face and I could see she had no regrets—even after being caught in the act.
After pulling myself up into a seated position, I offered my hand to help her up too. We sat cross-legged, facing each other. My hands played with her long locks, twisting the dark ends around my fingers as I studied her gaze, looking for any signs of what might happen next. I refused to relinquish my hold on her completely though, or break the moment so soon, because I wasn’t sure I’d get the chance to do it ever again.
“What the hell are you two doing?” Josh asked.
I risked a quick glance at him, and then around the park we were in. Scattered around us was half a deck of cards. The other half had been blown across the park by the wind while we’d been otherwise occupied.
Totally worth it, I thought to myself as Alyssa’s tongue stroked her lip before she offered me a small, shy smile. The kiss was obviously playing through her mind again, just like it looped through mine.
“Strike that,” Josh said. “I really don’t want to know.”
In the moments before the kiss, we’d been playing snap with that deck of cards. I’d accused her of cheating, mostly because she always did. About four months earlier, she’d found ways to use her boobs to distract me when she had a match. My accusation had led to a tickle fight—as it usually did. Which had somehow led to that kiss—which had never happened before. Although I’d had growing desires for something similar for a while.
When I met Alyssa’s gaze again, the realisation that with one little kiss everything had changed struck with more ferocity. From that moment on, everything would be different. It had to be. There would always be the time before we’d kissed and the time after. I had no clue what that might mean for our friendship though. If things went badly, it could end nine years of being there for each other. Nine years of sharing everything with each other. Homework, dreams, desires.
Everything.
There wasn’t a single detail of our lives we’d kept hidden from each other. Well, aside from my growing affection for her. I’d kept that secret because I’d thought that any relationship between us was off-limits. Still, she’d told me all about her first kiss with Blake. “Disgusting and slobbery,” were the words she’d used to describe it. I only hoped I’d done a better job than he had.
In return, she knew about the many times I’d been rebuffed by Darcy Kinsley. Only days before, I’d spent half an hour whining to Alyssa about my continuing heartache over Darcy, and the fact that the blonde bombshell still didn’t know I existed. Even then, I’d cared less about Darcy than I let on. Instead, it was the desire that had been growing second-by-second for my best friend which had overtaken my mind. 

~ 0 ~

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~ 0 ~







What's in a name?

So yesterday, I threw out a little fun request for some inspiration for names for some characters in a newly conceived book idea. On that post, a self-confessed character-creation expert popped in to give some ideas on what needs to be done to come up with character names. His suggestions were mostly part of the process I use (albeit mostly intuitively) to land on a final name. While I didn't specifically need the things he was suggesting at that point, his statements were mostly valid (at least on the methods of settling on a name - but I'll get onto the rest in a minute). Long story short, the thread went on a little longer than I was initially involved in and one of my fans stepped in to basically tell him to back off. This all happened while I was sleeping. This morning, I woke up, saw what had happened and drafted up a reply. When I went to post, the thread was gone. However, reading back over my reply, I decided there were points that I wanted to make that might be interesting to people. Points about how I name characters and why I put the request out with deliberately very little information.

I want to add quickly before I go on, that I'm not coming down on the side of either party. On one hand, the advice given might have been very helpful to a new author. On the other, it was possible to read it as being condescending, especially with the same information stated in different ways, and it could be read as implying I don't care about my characters. That doesn't mean that's how it was intended to be read or that it wasn't intended to be completely helpful. If something can be read in a negative way though, it's not unreasonable for a liker on an author fan page to say something. That's the fun and frustrating thing about the internet, emails, and text messages, they can all be easily misinterpreted. Take away context, tone, and unspoken language cues and you're left with bare words open for misinterpretation. Always remember:


So naming characters, and why I put the request out with little information.

The thing is, I have a number of books already released. The release of Decide in a few weeks will mark my 6th stand alone piece, plus I have two pieces in anthologies. On top of that, and a large part of the reason I can publish so quickly, is that I have a stack more waiting in the wings to be edited. Specifically, I have six completed novels, waiting in the queue, plus five partial wips which range from 1/4 to 3/4 complete. That's on top of the myriad of ideas I've got jotted down all over the place for new stories. Some of these ideas have named characters, some don't.

Of those books that are either completed or significantly completed, every name of every main character has been researched and selected with care. Not only to ensure that it sound right to me (and the character agrees), but usually it has a textured hidden meaning or two. Note: there might be some slight spoilers below, but nothing that will give away the overall plot of any books.

Depending on where you go to look, Declan means troubled or full of goodness. That pretty much sums Declan up. Plus, it sounds like a cool enough name for a race car driver. Plus it has Irish callbacks that mimic the characters heritage. Morgan, one of the driver's Declan works with, is a bit of a surfer-looking Aussie dude, and Morgan means bright sea. Alyssa, Declan's heroine, means not-insane. That comes into play within the books.

Evie and Clay are a play on Adam and Eve, the first couple and the original sin, as well as a significance to their names separate from that. Evie's full name is Evelyn, which means wished-for child, which has significance to her father because although he didn't expect to have a daughter, she held him together during the hardest months of his life. Evie's nickname means Life. Pretty apt name for a phoenix. Evie's mother's name, Emily, means striving. She tried for a better life for herself and her husband. David, Evie's father's name, means beloved. He was Emily's beloved. Plus his character is based off David Tennant, so double plus there LOL.

Aiden has a name with Celtic roots because the fairy courts he lives in are based on Celtic legends of fae/fair folk. Kieran means black and has Irish roots. Even though he is only a minor character, that name has a deeper meaning in context of what he is and what he does.

That's just a fraction of my characters.

The reason I put the post out, is that the pool of names I've already used is quite substantial. At this point, I'm left with sitting in front of a random name generator, which I might do if nothing leaps out at me in the list on the post or ask for the help of my likers. I know which one I'd prefer. Plus, there's a thrill knowing that you helped name a character.

But that doesn't mean I don't use techniques similar to what was listed in the thread. I consider the name, the age, the background (e.g. US versuses Aussie are going to have different names).

Now as for the reason I deliberately put it out with little information (besides that it's a New Adult novel, therefore people ages 18-25). The are actually a couple. First, for some readers, they just want to suggest a name. They don't necessarily want to lift the curtain and find out how the process works.

If you do want the curtain lifted more than it already has been, sorry to say but there isn't always one hard and fast way that always works lol. One thing I learned a long time ago is that characters will do what they will. Some will come with a name and description fully in place. Others are a sketch, a particular catch-phrase or saying. The best way I can describe it is a jigsaw puzzle. Sometimes, it's easiest to start with the pieces on the outside and work inwards. Other times, there is a certain part of the picture that is easiest to put together and then the rest in filled in around that. And yet other times again, it's a combination of the two.

One thing is a fact though. To me, my characters are never merely a product of their background facts. They are living, breathing...complaining people in my head who each have their own chosen way to let me know their name.

Now to the one part of the conversation that I didn't agree with. In the comments, it was suggested that it was a naming competition. It's not, not really. To me, competition implies that there *must* be a winner, which is definitely not the case here. If I don't find a name that 'speaks' to me in the list, I'll keep searching for one that does. I've simply said in my post that if someone is to suggest the winning name, I'll gift them an ebook. Which I don't think is an unreasonable way of saying thank you for someone's assistance. I'm sorry if that disappoints anyone.


Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Liberated by Laura Miller Cover Reveal

Cover Reveal

Premades-012-Page-13

Cover Design Cover by Charlene Raddon of Cover-Ops http://cover-ops.blogspot.com

BLURB: 
 This book is a biography of a woman I have loved and admired for the whole of my life. In December 1944 a German family of seven were captured and convicted of war crimes for harbouring Jews. I have known this story for most of my life. In the twilight of her years, this lady has decided that it is time for her story to be told, so it will be recorded for future generations. The woman and her sister were interned in Bergen-Belsen Concentration Camp until Liberation on 13 April 1945. This is a true account of her experience.

EXCERPT:
Hanover, Lower Saxony GERMANY 1939 The house looked the same as every other dwelling in the street. Two story, attached, weathered stone. There were three bedrooms and a bathroom with indoor plumbing upstairs. An attic, where family treasures were hidden, could only be accessed through a removable panel in the ceiling of the main bedroom closet. Downstairs was a small but adequate dine in kitchen, a sitting room and a storeroom. Inside the storeroom was a staircase which led down to a basement. The house sat opposite the banks of the Leine River. It was home to Inga Albine and her family. She had one older sister, two older brothers and one younger brother. They loved summer when they could swim and play in the water. Inga’s father, Adaulfo, was a well-known and successful Banker. An unusual occupation for an Aryan as most Bankers were Jewish. Inga’s mother, Alisz, was a talented seamstress but with her husband being more than capable of providing for the family, sewing was a hobby rather than a chore. Although sewing gave her a great deal of joy, her first love was her family. She adored being with her children. Being only children, both Alisz and Adaulfo had always dreamed of having a large family. Their dream had come true. They had five healthy children, blonde haired, blue eyed. Perfect Aryans in Adolf Hitler’s eyes. Klaus, 18, Manfred 17, Elke 15, Inga 13 and Oskar 8. The girls and Oskar attended private school while the two older boys studied Engineering. They all played the violin and with the exception of Oskar, they played very well. Neighbours often praised Adaulfo and Alisz on how polite and well-mannered all five children were. The family were prominent in the local community. They never hesitated to help people who were less fortunate than themselves. That was to be their downfall….. GENRE: Non-Fiction, Historical, True Life

TEASERS
Liberated Meme 3

Liberated Meme 2

Liberated Meme

BIO:
Laura is a middle aged lady who was born in England. She has a compassionate nature, a great sense of humor and is a loyal friend. She also has an insatiable love of history. Growing up, Laura would spend hours with a member of her family who she loved dearly. Over the years she was told the story of how this amazing lady had suffered at the hands of the Gestapo and German SS. Laura had always had a strong desire to write. She felt a responsibility to record the story as a part of her family history. Links: Author Page: TBA Pre Order Links: Amazon US Amazon UK Amazon AU Amazon CA Email: millerlaura1955@gmail.com Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100010043828277 Twitter: https://twitter.com/Laura1955Miller

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

MORE Trilogy Boxed Set!

Release Blitz
For the first time, T.M. Franklin's action-packed MORE Trilogy is available as ONE combined volume. And for a limited time, you can grab ALL THREE books for only $.99!
MORE Trilogy Sale
Summary
Ava Michaels used to think she was special.
As a child, she fantasized about having magical powers . . . making things happen. But Ava grew up and eventually accepted the fact that her childish dreams were just that, and maybe a normal life wasn't so bad after all.
Now a young college student, Ava meets Caleb Foster, a brilliant and mysterious man who's supposed to help her pass physics, but in reality has another mission in mind. What he shows Ava challenges her view of the world, shaking it to its very core.
Because Caleb isn't quite what he seems. In fact, he's not entirely human, and he's not the only one.
Together, the duo faces a threat from an ancient race bound to protect humans, but only after protecting their own secrets--secrets they fear Ava may expose. Fighting to survive, Ava soon learns she's not actually normal . . . she's not even just special.
She's a little bit more.

The Complete Young Adult Fantasy Adventure - For One Low Price!
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Trailer
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The Author

T.M. FranklinT.M. Franklin writes stories of adventure, romance, & a little magic. A former TV news producer, she decided making stuff up was more fun than reporting the facts. Her first published novel, MORE, was born during National Novel Writing month, a challenge to write a novel in thirty days. MORE was well-received, being selected as a finalist in the 2013 Kindle Book Review Best Indie Book Awards, as well as winning the Suspense/Thriller division of the Blogger Book Fair Reader's Choice Awards. She's since written three additional novels and several best-selling short stories...and there's always more on the way.
Connect with T.M. Franklin
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