Thursday3Some: The Army Doctor's Forever Baby by Helen Scott Taylor

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I'm happy to welcome Helen Scott Taylor to SlingWords today. A few years ago, Helen and I were on a group blog together. That blog has gone to the big cyber graveyard, but Helen and I have stayed in touch.

About Helen Scott Taylor

USA Today bestselling author, Helen Scott Taylor, writes sweet contemporary romance set in the UK and Europe. Helen lives in South West England near Plymouth between the windswept expanse of Dartmoor and the rocky Atlantic coast. As well as her wonderful long-suffering husband, she shares her home with a Westie and an aristocratic Burmilla cat. She believes that deep within everyone there's a little magic.

Find Helen Online

Website * Facebook * Twitter * Amazon Author Page * Goodreads

About The Army Doctor's Forever Baby

Army doctor, Captain George Knight, is career focused and eager to see action. When he helps out a fellow doctor, Sandra Fisher, after an accident, he's not looking for romance. But this pretty, unassuming woman has secret hidden depths that fascinate him. When he's sent away to war, Sandra has her own challenges to face. Can their love survive the heartbreaking test that fate has in store for them?

When did you write The Army Doctor's Forever Baby?

I wrote this story in the spring of 2014, and it was published in May of that year.

What was the spark that gave you the story idea?

The general idea for this story had been floating around in my head for a while. I had already written a number of books in my Army Doctor's series and this is the story of the parent's of the hero from book #1. This story is very dear to my heart as I drew on personal experience for some aspects of the story.

Why do readers buy The Army Doctor's Forever Baby?

Readers who pick up my sweet romance Army Doctor's series buy this book as it is a prequel and reveals how everything started.

Buy The Army Doctor's Forever Baby by Helen Scott Taylor

Amazon Kindle * Kobo * iTunes * Nook

Takeaway Truth

If you're looking for sweet romance, look no further than a book by Helen Scott Taylor.

Meet John & James aka Forgature

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Today, I have something a bit different for you--a couple of young writers who have indie published their collaborative fiction, Darkquisition. You'll see the byline on the cover says Forgature.

About John & James aka Zürthüryx Qosdarlu &Thejyreq Ldeikone

John and James, writing as Zürthüryx Qosdarlu and Thejyreq Ldeikone, comprise Forgature. As you can see, they're adventurous and are playing around with various elements of novel writing and publishing.

They have taken some English classes--some college level--and written fiction for school and for fun. They've also taken a college level seminar on fiction writing.

Find Them Online

Website * LinkedIn * Twitter * Author's Den * Deviant Art

Welcome John and James

I've offered the guys some advice about writing, publishing, and marketing because they're excited about writing and really are interested in telling their stories. I like to encourage anyone who loves to write so I'm hoping you will do the same.

Comments Today

I'd like to do something a bit different today. John and James tell me they're serious about wanting to be authors so I'm asking you to leave a comment for them. If you're a reader, tell them what you like to read and what about a book attracts you when you're browsing for books.

If you're a writer, give them some good advice about writing, publishing, or marketing. Writers, be sure and leave the title of your most recent book with 1 buy link.

My Personal Questions To Them

What are your real names?

John and James are our real names. John’s pen name is Zürthüryx Hemtolig Qosdarlu. James’s pen name is Thejyreq Vazgothicus Ldeikone.

How do you pronounce that?

John’s would be pronounced as Zir (with ir as in sir) – thor (as in thorough) – ix (as in Trix), Hem (as in Hemingway) – tol (t as in t and ol as in saul) – ig (with the b as in big), and Qos (as is cozy) – dar (as in daria) – lu (as in lucy)

James’s would be pronounced as The (as in the) – jyr (j as in j and yr as in ire) – req (as in requiem), Vaz (v as in v and az as in jazz) – gothic (as in gothic) – us (as in us), and L (as in lucky) – deik (de as in d and ik as in icky) – one (as in one)

John and James Tackle the Dirty Dozen

1. In which genre do you write and why that particular genre?

We’ve dabbled in a couple genres over the years. They include action/adventure, fantasy, romance, comedy, drama, and suspense. Our most recent book is action/adventure with some fantasy elements in it. We like all these different genres because they each have their own unique flair. We especially like fantasy though because we get to be extra creative. We get to come up with things that don’t exist in the real world. Also, we can combine real things with the things we came up with ourselves.

2. What's your most recent book and what's it about?

Our most recent book is Adventure Arc the First: Entity of Ascendancy, and it’s the first in the Darkquisition series.

The city of Vallone is run by a hellish government. They have an artifact called the Tablet of Omainu. It’s a threat to the world, but they don't know how to use it yet. Meanwhile, a team of vagabonds known as Hex Immortal arrive in Vallone with the intention of liberating it even though this means taking out the government in order to acquire the tablet.

3. As an author, what can readers expect when they read one of your books?

In a nutshell, they can expect to see what we’re all about. Our writings reflect our interests. They can also expect something written to the best of our ability, an unapologetic attitude for what we put in them, lifelike characters, engrossing stories, contemporary issues, more adult themes, entertainment, and (gasp!) some education on various topics.

For the Darkquisition series, you can expect something along the lines of the United States of America Constitution mixed with heavy metal music (yes, we really do think this is the best description for it). You can also expect us to not shy away from any topic in it.

4. How did you "become" an author? For instance, was there a moment when you said: "I think I'll write a book."

We don’t remember the exact moment when we became authors. We’ve been writing for most of our lives. We like to think we always were authors; it was our fate. For this book, we decided to start writing it in May 2009. We wanted to prove something could be written that had graphic content in it, but also intelligence.

5. What's the best thing about being an author?

One thing is being able to use our imagination. There’s a big thrill for us in coming up with something from nothing. Another is we get to express ourselves. We can share our opinions about things with others. We also like to think that we can maybe educate or enlighten some people about real issues with the use of fictional characters, events, and settings. One more is that we get to have control over something. We can ultimately do things the way we want to do them. However, the best thing would have to be having somebody like something one of us has written. Knowing somebody appreciates your work is one of the best feelings there is.

6. What's the worst thing about being an author?

One thing is not getting respect from a lot of non-authors. We know what we do isn’t the most important thing in the world, but it has some merit. Another is it’s hard to get somebody interested in your book and then having him or her review it (at least for us it is). One more is having a lot of ideas for pieces, but not having enough time to write them all. We have to pick our battles. None of this is enough to deter us though.

7. Do you have editions of your books available other than ebook editions?

No, we don’t have any at this time.

8. Do you listen to audio books? If so, what device do you use?

No, we haven’t listened to any yet.

9. What device do you use to read ebooks?

We haven’t read any ebooks yet.

10. If you could give one piece of advice to an aspiring author, what would it be?

Go in with both guns blazing, or should we say both hands typing. You have to give it your all. You should also write want you want to write about. Don’t write about what’s popular at the time just because it’s popular. It won’t come off as authentic and it won’t necessarily make you more successful.

11. If you could tell readers one thing, what would it be?

Yes, we’re insane. But we’re still sane enough to know it though. We’d also like to say thank you to our readers. You guys and gals are the sheaths for our swords.

12. What is your big dream (or goal) as a writer?

One of our big dreams (or goals) is to someday tell all the naysayers out there they were wrong. We did make it as professional writers. Another is to create a lot of controversy. This is how we know we’ve done something special. One more is we’d like to inspire at least one of our readers to go on to do something great.

Buy Kindle Edition of Adventure Arc the First: Entity of Ascendancy (Darkquisition)

Buy Smashwords Edition

Buy Print Edition from Lulu

Takeaway Truth

Don't forget to leave a Comment for the guys. I'm sure they'd appreciate it if you pick up a copy of their book. (Only 99cents.)

Why Stories Begin With Change

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A story begins with change. You've heard that. Do you know why it begins with change? Because change flips the status quo end over end.

In the beginning, you may be troubled but surviving okay. Then, someone or some thing threatens you, and the status quo is over.

Change has an ongoing downstream effect on a person.

Ongoing Effect

You have a great job one day; you're successful and well paid. The next day, you're fired. This change is perceived as negative. It may change everything including the way you look at yourself.

Let the change of unemployment exist for a while, and your self-concept may start to change. The change—being unemployed—can force you to confront your true self because maybe you never believed in your success.

Change: Unexpected & Surprising

What happens when you face the truth? Maybe you felt as if you were a poser—fooling everyone. Change will force you to either admit you were a fake, and you become the loser you really felt you were. Or you change and become the person everyone else already thought you were. Or maybe you were a success but you hadn't realized that success requires ongoing hard work and commitment you never really put into your career. So you change in that direction.

Change can have unexpected and surprising effects on a person—on a character. Sometimes the result is good; sometimes it's bad. It's never indifferent.

Humans Resist Change

It seems inherently human to resist change. Psychologists say that change of any kind is threatening to the self-concept, and the self-concept is what you will cling to, fight for, and resist changing, regardless of whether the change is anticipated to be good or bad. That's why so many therapists now use cognitive therapy—bringing the conscious mind into the battle to change one's thinking.

Whether you're talking real people or characters, change means we are no longer in harmony with ourselves and the world around us. Change means we must change. Sometimes the change is external, but external changes will create internal changes. All the while, we will subconsciously struggle to maintain the status quo because of the built-in need to protect the self-concept.

Analyze Yourself to Inform Characterization

The self-concept or self-identity wants to maintain itself as it is. This is why changing a habit is so hard. Have you ever tried to change a habit? Was it easy? Probably not. If you succeeded, how did you do it? What kind of external changes have occurred in your life? Did they cause internal changes in how you thought or how you viewed someone or a situation? How did you feel about that?

Do you see how your own struggle, your own feelings, can be mined to create characters that grip the imagination?

Takeaway Truth

Jumping into a scene where change occurs is the literary narrative technique know as in media res, Latin for into the middle of things. This is how successful authors hook readers. Start where your character is involved in crucial action that's going to change the character's situation.

How To Fill the Creative Well

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I started to call this post How to Know When You Need to Get Out in the Real World, but that title was a bit long even though that's really what this post is about.

The Creative Well & Why It Depletes

When I was a little kid, my grandparents had a water pump. It was a heavy iron contraption that required muscle power to pump up water from an underground well.

All You Need? Muscles

Most of the time, water pumps just need muscle power to produce water. You crank and crank that iron handle and water flows. But, sometimes, you can pump until your arm feels as if it will fall off, but no water comes out of the spout.

What happened to all the water? It's still down there, but it wasn't used for a long time or it was used to much so it stopped working. To get it going again, the pump must be primed, by pouring fresh water down the well in order to get the flow going again.

Creative Well Needs Priming Too

Same thing with your creative well. If you draw from it continuously, without replenishing with fresh ideas, experiences, and thoughts, the well may seem to dry up. That's when you have to prime it to get it flowing again.

Priming The Creative Well

I recently committed to another novella project for a box set. That makes 2 novellas I need to write in the next few weeks. I'm also trying to get the next full-length book set up for pre-order, reviews, etc. Then there's the book to help you blog faster and easier that I want to finish compiling and the next short story in A Moment in Time.

Suffice it to say that I've been slinging words fast and furiously. Normally, I walk every day which keeps my imagination strong, but the weather has been so lousy that I've been cooped up inside. This morning, I couldn't string ten words together that had any life. I knew I needed a break.

Errands Spur Creativity

So hubby and I made a run to Dunkin Donuts for several pounds of coffee. We chose the newest location which seems to be trying to recreate the "Starbucks" experience, but the hordes of kids and teens from surrounding subdivisions were negating their best efforts. Definitely some character ideas there.

Next we went to the brew-it yourself supply store. We're putting in a small vineyard at our country property. Someone gave my hubby a brew-your-own beer kit so now he's interested in that too. He "cooked up" the batch of beer this past week. It's fermenting now so we needed 2 cases of beer bottles and bottle caps. He's waiting for his capper and hydrometer to arrive from Amazon then he'll be ready to bottle the California-style pale beer when the fermentation is complete. He's already planning his next batch which will be an Irish Red.

We bought bottles, caps, and some more Star San which is for sanitizing the items in brewing. while he shopped, I talked with the clerk and learned quite a bit. (I'd been too busy writing this month to read everything hubby had read about brewing beer.)

My Creative Well Is Bubbling

Now, my head is spinning with ideas about a character who brews his own beer. Why not? In Scents and Sensuality, Sean, the hero, owns a small vineyard in Texas, out near Junction. Sean had an experimental patch of Sangiovese grapes which we plan to plant in our little vineyard.

Next we stopped at a gun and ammo store. Yep. More supplies for the creative well because this year I'll be writing more about characters with guns.

In fact, everything we did helped fill my creative well. This is the fun part of research--getting out and talking with people and learning things first hand.

How about you? What have you done lately to keep your creative well filled?

Takeaway Truth

Never underestimate the importance of your creative well. Fill it often to keep the flow of creativity going.

Video: YouTube Updates Copyright Dispute Process

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I was excited to see a that YouTube is trying to make it easier to submit a Dispute of a Copyright Infringement Notice.

Be sure and check out the new Copyright Information from YouTube that offers:
  • Manage your content on YouTube
  • Copyright support and troubleshooting
  • Learn more about copyright
*** Special Offer: (1) Subscribe to my YouTube Channel -- JoanReevesAuthor -- (2) click to LIKE any of the videos (3) come back here to this post (4) leave a comment with your email address (written out, not as a hot link) on this post. I'll send you a special report about using video as a marketing tool. Offer good from now through 01/31/2015. ***

For those who upload videos or who are thinking about going the video route, this is heartening news because if you upload any video with music to YouTube, you get an immediate Copyright Infringement notice.

The first time I uploaded a video and immediately got a Copyright Strike, I almost had a heart attack because I'm a huge supporter of copyright and was incensed that someone accused me of violating a copyright.

Why This Happens

Of course, I learned that this is the default practice for YouTube and is not personally aimed at the user uploading the video. That's their automated process for enforcing copyright protection for music.
It's a good thing that YouTube is trying to protect the rights of musicians, composers, and performers.

Since just about everything I ever published has been pirated, I wish there were something similar to protect writers' content.

How To Dispute A Copyright Strike

1. About a minute or so after you upload a video, the music on the video will trigger an automated notice. Next to the video you'll see a notice of a Copyright Strike or infringement. In your Video Manager, you'll see Copyright Notices. Click on it.

2. A window will open with information about your music which explains why you got the notice. You'll see a button to remove the music or to Dispute the copyright strike. Click to DISPUTE the notice. Fill out the form giving the reason why you say you have the legal right to use the music.

Example, if you obtained the music as a Registered User on Animoto: "The music on this video was obtained from the Animoto Music Library and is licensed for use by Animoto Registered Users. I am an Animoto Registered User."

3. You'll have to "sign" your legal name to the claim form.

4. Submit the claim. You'll have to affirm a couple of times that you wish to dispute the claim. Hang in there and keep doing it. You'll feel as if they're trying to coerce you not to dispute the claim, but just follow the procedure.

5. You'll receive acknowledgement of your claim filed along with a date that the dispute will be resolved.

6. Check your Video Manager to make sure the claim has been resolved. Check frequently until you get the notice that it's resolved because they won't email you that it has been.

7. Periodically, check your Video Manager Dashboard to make sure you have no claims. I've had a couple of instances where the claim dispute I filed seemed to "take," but a week later, I noticed that the video was again flagged for copyright infringement.

*** Special Offer: (1) Subscribe to my YouTube Channel -- JoanReevesAuthor -- (2) click to LIKE any of my videos (3) come back here to this post (4) leave a comment with your email address (written out, not as a hot link) on this post. I'll send you a special report about using video as a marketing tool. Offer good from now through 01/31/2015. ***

Takeaway Truth

Video is another tool in your promotion/publicity tool box. Learn how to use it, and make sure you follow the rules when you use someone else's work. Don't be afraid to assert your rights when you're in the right.

Thursday3Some: The Detective's Dilemma by Karen McCullough

Please welcome Karen McCullough (Magic, Mystery, Romance) to the Thursday3Some Spotlight.

About Karen McCullough

Karen McCullough’s wide-ranging imagination makes her incapable of sticking to one genre for her storytelling. As a result, she’s the author of more than a dozen published novels and novellas, which span the mystery, fantasy, paranormal, and romantic suspense genres. A former computer programmer who made a career change into being an editor with an international trade publishing company for many years, she now runs her own web design business to support her writing habit.

She's won an Eppie Award for fantasy and has been a finalist for other Eppie Awards as well as Prism, Dream Realm, Rising Star, Lories, Scarlett Letter, and Vixen Awards, and an Honorable Mention in the Writers of the Future contest. Her short fiction has appeared in several anthologies and numerous small press publications in the fantasy, science fiction, and romance genres. She lives in Greensboro, NC, with her husband of many years.

Find Karen Online

Website * Blog * Facebook * Twitter * Pinterest

The Detective's Dilemma

Although Sarah Anne Martin admits to pulling the trigger, she swears someone forced her to kill her lover. Homicide detective Jay Christianson is skeptical, but enough ambiguous evidence exists to make her story plausible. If he gives her enough freedom, she’ll either incriminate herself or draw out the real killers. But, having been burned before, Jay doesn’t trust his own protective instincts…and his growing attraction to Sarah only complicates matters.

With desire burning between them, their relationship could ultimately be doomed since Sarah will be arrested for murder if they can’t find the real killer.

1. When did you write The Detective's Dilemma?

I wrote the first draft about eight years ago, but I knew it had some problems so I let it sit on my hard drive for a couple of years. In looking for another story, I found this one and realized I still liked the basic idea and plot very much, so I pulled it out again, rewrote it and submitted it.

2. What was the spark that gave you the story idea?

I can't remember exactly when it popped into my brain, but the vision of a young woman being forced (and I mean literally, physically forced) to shoot her much older lover came to me as a very vivid scenario that I had to write down. The scene was so compelling to me, I had to know the rest of it. Why was this woman alone? Why did someone want her lover dead? When Detective Jay Christianson walked into the story, I knew it was going to get interesting.

3. Why do readers buy The Detective's Dilemma?

A. I can only guess, of course, but reviewers seem to like my hero and heroine quite a bit, and particularly the heroine. She's a woman who has seen a lot of tragedy and had a lot of bad things happen to her. But she refuses to let them defeat or diminish her. When her world falls down around her, she sets about rebuilding it. She rarely slips into self-pity and refuses to let herself wallow in it when she does.

Buy The Detective's Dilemma by Karen McCullough

All Romance Ebooks * Amazon Kindle * B&N Paperback or Nook * Kobo * Kensington Publishing 

Takeaway Truth

A little vacation can always be found between the covers of a book. Plan your weekend "getaway" by buying a book today.

Jacquie Biggar Tackles the Dirty Dozen Interview

I'm happy to welcome a new friend to SlingWords this morning. Please enjoy this interview with Jacquie Biggar.

Jacquie is giving away an e-copy of Tidal Falls to one lucky commenter. To be eligible to win, just answer this question in Comments: Do you believe in second chances?

Jacquie Biggar: In Her Own Words

From the time I was twelve years old, I knew I wanted to be a writer. That year I wrote a short story called Count Daffodil after spending countless hours searching for ideas. The story garnered me an A and was read aloud through the school's loudspeaker system. Needless to say, after that I was hooked.

I grew up, got married, raised a family and left my writing urges to simmer in the background unattended.

After owning and operating a successful diner in my hometown for a number of wonderful years, I'm ready to take up the writing reins and see how far I can travel.

Find Jacquie Biggar Online

Website * Facebook * Twitter * Pinterest * Goodreads

About Tidal Falls

Nick Kelley spent the last few years of his life working as a dog handler in the U.S. Marine Corps. His sole focus was to keep his team alive in the midst of chaos. When he fails to notice an IED in time and loses most of his teammates, Nick shuts down. It takes meeting and falling in love with a woman in danger to make him realize life’s worth living.

1. In which genre do you write and why that particular genre?

I write romantic suspense because I like to read of strong heroes and heroines who overcome impossible odds to find their happy ever after.

2. What's your most recent book and what's it about?

Tidal Falls is the story of a woman who finds herself in a loveless marriage with a dangerous man. She takes her daughter and some incriminating documents and flees across country to Tidal Falls. Once there, they slowly begin to build a new life for themselves. When she meets the handyman next door, sparks fly. Can these two find a way to get over their pasts and give love a second chance, or will her ex find her and make her pay?

3. As an author, what can readers expect when they read one of your books?

An emotional connection to the characters, some humor, and a little spice.

4. How did you "become" an author? For instance, was there a moment when you said: "I think I'll write a book."

I always enjoyed making up stories, but the support I found from my parents and teachers cemented the dream for me.

5. What's the best thing about being an author?

Making up your own world.

6. What's the worst thing about being an author?

Insecurity, am I good enough? Will people like what I write?

7. Do you have editions of your books available other than ebook editions?

Yes, I have paperback copies available through Amazon.

8. Do you listen to audio books? If so, what device do you use?

No, but I’d like to start.

9. What device do you use to read ebooks?

My iPad has the Kindle app, also I own a Kindle Paperwhite which I love!

10. If you could give one piece of advice to an aspiring author, what would it be?

Take online courses, as many as you can.

11. If you could tell readers one thing, what would it be?

If you enjoy a book you’ve read, please leave a review. It’s a big help to authors and to other readers searching for new books.

12. What is your big dream (or goal) as a writer?

To be a NYT bestseller.

Excerpt, Tidal Falls

“How did you find me?” Sara fell back as Tom pushed his way inside, followed closely by Sam, and then she caught sight of Fiona being led in by two other men. Her friend was cuffed, her arms pulled taut behind her back. Her mouth, covered by a bright red handkerchief tied so tight it cut into her whitened cheeks, highlighted an obscene bruise. Her eyes, one of them black and blue, filled with tears, begging Sara to forgive her.

“GPS, my dear, you’ve heard of that I presume? I traced you from your own phone, that wasn’t very smart of you. So, this is where you’ve been hiding.” He waved the others into the room, locking the door behind them.

“What, no kiss for your Husband? You do recall you have one of those, don’t you?”

He looked the same, so tall and handsome standing there in his perfectly pressed suit and tie, not a hair out of place. A wolf in sheep’s clothing. It was so obvious to her now. The narrow, cold eyes, the supercilious attitude, the rigid stance, the not-so-well-hidden-anger, had he always been that way? She didn’t like to think so. How could she have been so wrong about him? He’d pulled the wool over her eyes from the beginning.

Buy Tidal Falls by Jacquie Biggar

Amazon Kindle U.S. * Amazon Kindle International

Takeaway Truth

Remember, Jacquie is giving away a free book. To be eligible to win the free e-copy of Tidal Falls, just answer this question in Comments: Do you believe in second chances?