Thursday, April 9, 2015

Future Picks—What would you like to read?

Source-http://36.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_m7ybapPwBu1r61emco1_1280.jpg
People who read my blog often know I’m always on the hunt for something new to read. I’m positively addicted to a good story. With that in mind, I’ve been studying the Twitter hash tag MSWL, manuscript wish list, and imagining which new tales I might devour.

At Twitter’s #MSWL, agents, editors, publishers and other literary professionals detail what they’d like to see.


Here are thirteen I’d love to read.

  1. Veronica Park @VeroniKaboom  Mar 18 I love awkwardness, wit, and barely-there romances I can ship. #MSWL
  2. Garrett Marco @garrett_marco · Feb 18
Steamy Fantasy Romance. The three best words. #MSWL 
  1. Jennifer Azantian @jenazantian · Mar 3
I'd love to see some fantasy that plays at the edges of our world. Think @neilhimself 's AMERICAN GODS or NEVERWHERE. #MSWL
  1. Susan Hawk: A MG mystery or detective novel, especially with a historical element. Think FROM THE MIXED UP FILES or CHASING VERMEER.  Fast-paced, with complex characters. 
  2. Erin Harris @ErinHarrisFolio · Mar 6
#MSWL I want a beautifully written YA fantasy with great world building, in the vein of Red Queen and The Darkest Part of the Forest!
  1. Brian Geffen @Brian_Geffen  Mar 27
#MSWL Dark, dangerous, gritty YA that pulls no punches. Thrillers and mysteries in particular. A bit of strangeness is also welcome.
  1. Talia Benamy @taliabenamy  Mar 27 Do you have any books with awesome girl protagonists who break gender stereotypes? Send them my way!
  2. Uwe Stender @UweStender  Apr 4 I found 4 truly funny YA/MG manuscripts in 3 years. But I want to laugh more. Humor, wit, and great writing is my dream team. #MSWL
  3. #MSWLLaura Zats @LZats  Apr 2
#MSWL lighthearted SF for adults
  1.  Angela James @angelajames · Feb 23
I am *incredibly* interested in acquiring, publishing & building a shifter-focused paranormal romance series. I still want PNR!!#MSWL
  1. Michelle Witte @michellewitte · Feb 18
Anything that can be described as: gothic, creepy, eerie, spooky, sinister, surreal. Related: weird, odd, strange, bizarre, quirky. #MSWL
  1. Kathleen Rushall @KatRushall · Feb 18
Got a diverse or multicultural YA fantasy w/ beautiful writing, strong world-building and a kickass voice? I'm your girl.#MSWL
  1. Stacey Friedberg @StaceyFriedberg  Apr 1
I am aching for a beautifully written, super creepy YA or MG. Serious cravings, you guys! #mswl

What do think? Do any of the ideas sound like novels you’d like to read? What would you like to see? Leave a comment and let me know. Thanks.


 Sources


Wednesday, April 8, 2015

In Defense of the Info Dump


By Elizabeth MS Flynn w/a Eilis Flynn

Info dumps are BAD. That’s what we’re always told. Certainly they can slow down the story and even confuse the reader, but let’s face it, sometimes you NEED info dumps. Info dumps are an unwelcome but necessary part of storytelling, you know? Certainly in a story that’s not contemporary; if it’s not the contemporary setting you see around you, you have to set the scene, and if you’re dealing with the historical past (or even the prehistorical past or even the posthistorical past), the futuristic future, and the fantastical futuristic past or alt-past or…well, anyway. If it’s not the in the here and now, some info dumping is necessary.

What kind of info dumping is necessary, you ask? Good question! (Well, it should be a good question, because I am in essence talking to myself, or arguing with myself. And if I lose an argument with myself, I should worry. But that’s neither here nor there.) An imparting of information that sets a scene that’s not necessarily the easiest to understand right off the bat isn’t a dumping of information; it’s the quickest and most effective method by which to set the scene. You just can’t overdo it.

What’s overdoing it? Some people will tell you that overdoing it is when you get a little too enthusiastic about your topic and start pontificating. You risk immediately losing your intended audience that way. Just because you’re fascinated by the button detail of your hero’s boots doesn’t mean that anyone else will be. Your audience may be impressed to a certain point, but after they wake up after being lulled into a doze after the information about the button detail, they may decide that some other activity not involving button detail may be a better use of their time.

And that, of course, is the key. Make sure that there IS no better use of their time. I don’t mean sabotaging everything within the reach of each and every single of your readers, but make sure that all those details, all those info dumps, matter to your overall story. How do you know what truly matters to the story? That’s up to you!

If you’re curious about when and how to deal with the info dump, check out Heather Hiestand’s and my online workshop for the Futuristic Fantasy and Paranormal chapter (romance-ffp.com/beware-the-info-dump-my-child) and join in the discussion as we look at what’s an unnecessary info dump and what’s a necessary one!

Elizabeth MS Flynn has written fiction in the form of comic book stories, romantic fantasies, urban fantasies, historical fantasies and short stories, a young adult novel, and a graphic novella (most published under the name of Eilis Flynn). She’s also a professional editor and has been for more than 35 years, working with academia, technology, and finance nonfiction, and romance fiction. If you’re looking for an editor, she can be found editing at emsflynn.com and reached at emsflynn@aol.com. If you’re curious about her books, check out eilisflynn.com. In any case, she can be reached at eilisflynn@aol.com.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Brainpower Boosters





No matter what your task, you’ll need to use your brain to complete it. And, if you’re like me, sometimes it seems the old noggin just isn't up to it. That’s when I wish I had a little help---something to reconnect and fire up all my synapses. 




Here are thirteen things a person could ingest to hopefully incite a brainstorm.

  1. Broccoli- has potassium, Vitamin C and K and a sluice of other nutrients and antioxidants that help the whole body. Bembu.com reports that, “research suggests that broccoli could help contribute to the brain healing itself in the case of injury.”
  2. Curry- More than one study indicates that the curcumin in curry helps memory, slows the progression of diseases such as Alzheimer’s and may even stimulate the creation of new brain cells. Don’t believe me? Check out this study. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2781139/
  3. Water-It’s hard to stay focused if you’re dehydrated.
  4. Whole grains-Because whole grains release glucose into your bloodstream slowly, they can help you stay mentally alert longer than a quick jot of a caffeinated beverage.
  5. Green Tea-Along with its antioxidants which help ward off heart disease and cancer, it may even help create new brain cells. Something neurologists had long believed impossible, but just may happen according to this study posted on Science Daily. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120905083852.htm
  6. Salmon and pretty much all fish really,
  7. Nuts,
  8. Seeds,
  9. Asparagus,
  10.  Other leafy green vegetables,
  11. Olives,
  12. Eggs,
  13. and sage, contain an essential fatty acid, Omega-3. Perhaps my explanation is oversimplified, but this nutrient is important because to think a person needs the electrical signals that make up thought to travel through the brain. These signals must pass from one cell to another through each cell’s membrane, which is made almost completely of fatty acid. Omega-3 helps the membrane stay elastic with enhances the flow of those electrical impulses.

Well, I’m off to the kitchen for water and a brain-stimulating snack, but before I go I’d like to hear from you. What else could I eat that would be beneficial to my brain? I look forward to your suggestions.


Thanks.

Sources




Thursday, March 5, 2015

To Spring Ahead Or Not? Thoughts on DST


At 2:00 am on Saturday, March 8, 2015, I’ll lose an hour of sleep and I won’t be alone. According to Time and Date.com, “DST aka Daylight Savings Time is now in use in over 70 countries worldwide and affects over a billion people every year. 



DST is an hour change in standard time that was ordinarily implemented to conserve energy. When it’s in effect, it creates the illusion that the sun rises and sets later. I like the sunlight-stretching effect, especially when I can drive home after work and still have some daylight hours to walk or garden, but I don’t like losing the hour of sleep and I’m not alone in having mixed feelings the time change.

There’s a lot of debate about whether DST actually saves energy now that people have replaced the old tungsten bulbs with CFL (compact fluorescent lights) and LED (light-emitting diode) bulbs, which are more energy-efficient. Also, DST doesn’t factor in all the other electronics people routinely use that require more electricity than lights.  So many argue that DST might actually be consuming more energy than it saves.

Other people complain about the confusion that DST causes because not all countries implement DST and each country sets its own date for this strange clock resetting.

Yet, every year, most of us buy into DST and dutifully spring forward and fall back. That said we don’t do it without voicing our opinions. Here are thirteen.

 
http://threesidesofcrazy.com/category/memes/thursday-13/


  1. Daylight Saving Time: Only the government would believe that you could cut a foot off the top of a blanket, sew it to the bottom, and have a longer blanket. ~ Anonymous
  2. I don't mind going back to daylight saving time. With inflation, the hour will be the only thing I've saved all year. ~ Victor Borge
  3. Daylight savings time is tonight and is one of the best excuses for not being on time, needs to happen more often. ~ Anonymous
  4. I don't really care how time is reckoned so long as there is some agreement about it, but I object to being told that I am saving daylight when my reason tells me that I am doing nothing of the kind. I even object to the implication that I am wasting something valuable if I stay in bed after the sun has risen. As an admirer of moonlight I resent the bossy insistence of those who want to reduce my time for enjoying it. At the back of the Daylight Saving scheme I detect the bony, blue-fingered hand of Puritanism, eager to push people into bed earlier, and get them up earlier, to make them healthy, wealthy and wise in spite of themselves. ~ Robertson Davies
  5. Daylight time, a monstrosity in timekeeping. ~ Harry S. Truman
  6. I wish daylight savings time worked the other way in the fall...We could fall forward. Sunrise about 10am. Sunset, 9pm. Cool with me. ~ Anonymous
  7. Don’t forget it’s daylight savings time. You spring forward, then you fall back. It’s like Robert Downey Jr. getting out of bed. ~ David Letterman
  8. I know when it’s daylight savings time because it is pitch black outside and my body refuses to leave the bed. ~ Anonymous
  9. I say it is impossible that so sensible a people [citizens of Paris], under such circumstances, should have lived so long by the smoky, unwholesome, and enormously expensive light of candles, if they had really known that they might have had as much pure light of the sun for nothing. ~ Benjamin Franklin
  10. Instead of daylight savings time, we just need to shorten the workday, so I don’t have to get up while it’s dark. ~ Anonymous
  11. An extra yawn one morning in the springtime, an extra snooze one night in the autumn is all that we ask in return for dazzling gifts. We borrow an hour one night in April; we pay it back with golden interest five months later. ~ Winston Churchill
  12. You will never find anybody who can give you a clear and compelling reason why we observe “Daylight Saving Time.” ~ Dave Barry
  13. It seems very strange ... that in the course of the world's history so obvious an improvement should never have been adopted. ... The next generation of Britishers would be the better for having had this extra hour of daylight in their childhood. ~ Sir Arthur Conan Doyle


What do you think? Are you for DST? Against it? Or still deciding? Please share.
Sources



Wednesday, March 4, 2015

A Message From The Beyond

by Eilis Flynn

Ideas are everywhere, but recognizing them when we see them is the challenge. Writers plumb every little thing they can to come up with workable ideas, and of course, sometimes it takes a long, long time for those ideas to blossom and come to fruition. Dreams, naturally, are a wonderful source to come up with some ideas, and it's not even a source that we can generally control. (I say "generally" because not everyone can do a lot of lucid dreaming. Not without practice, at least. Lucid dreaming. Fun idea!)

Like the other night. I woke up with the memory of a complete scene from a dream. It was a scene of nothing I'd written, with characters I didn't know, of a situation I knew nothing about. But it was complete, and so clear, even after I woke up and stayed awake, that I knew my subconscious, weird thing that it is, was telling me to write it down and work it in. Work it into something that I hadn't written yet and had no other information on. My subconscious has a sense of humor. Its name is Ralph, incidentally.

So I wrote it down and admired the details that had been provided to me, but it wasn't until I had another dream, with the same characters and even in the same setting, but from the POV of the second character, that I realized that my subconscious has an efficient sense of humor. Because I was getting the goal, motivation, and conflict of the second character from the same conversation. 

Interestingly, not the names of the characters. I was typing in placeholders as I transcribed the conversation both times. I can only guess that my subconscious was giving me choice about that. Nice of Ralph. 

The third dream I had continued the same characters and finished the immediate plot arc. And that was it. It's been a few weeks and as I put all the pieces together, I can thank Ralph with a little nudge for me to start a new story. I have a snippet of story to start with, but it's an intriguing snippet, and clearly it's something that Ralph thought was ready to be expelled from my treasure chest o' ideas and make use of!

Elizabeth MS Flynn has written fiction in the form of comic book stories, romantic fantasies, urban fantasies, historical fantasies and short stories, a young adult novel, and a graphic novella (most published under the name of Eilis Flynn). She’s also a professional editor and has been for almost 40 years, working with academia, technology, and finance nonfiction, and romance fiction. If you’re looking for an editor, she can be found editing at emsflynn.com and reached at emsflynn@aol.com. If you’re curious about her books, check out eilisflynn.com. In any case, she can be reached at eilisflynn@aol.com.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Can a man write romance?

Yes! Here’s an author who proves it!  First, because this is a Thursday Thirteen post I want to share the opening 13 lines from SON OF THUNDER, my favorite novel he’s written.

Header courtesy of samulli


What the heck was this thing?
The supple leather strap felt buttery smooth as Meghan Larson ran her hand over it. It appeared almost new. There were no cracks, no dry spots. She glanced back to the report she’d received about it that afternoon. The leather had been carbon-dated at over two thousand years old. It should have been dry, brittle and crumbling to dust. There had to be a mistake.
            The rectangular metal medallion attached to one end presented a whole new set of problems and contradictions. The Nordic runes on it were definitely Elder Futhark, dating them somewhere in the third to eighth century A. D., yet it appeared to be made of titanium, which hadn’t been discovered until the late eighteenth century.
            The whole thing looked like a belt of some sort, but the buckle, if that was what the medallion was, had no mechanism to latch on to the leather. There were just so many contradictions. Who imprinted a dead language on a new piece of metal, then attached it to a two thousand year old strap of perfectly preserved leather? It didn’t make any sense.


As intriguing as the cover was, these paragraphs pulled me in, and got me to give this author my attention. I liked the story and I’m betting you’ll enjoy his writing, too.

I’ll let Steve introduce himself and tell you a little about his novels.



What is a guy doing writing romance?
Yes, I am a guy. A guy who reads, writes and loves romance. We’re few, but we’re here. I love writing romantic tales set in fantastic worlds, and I’ve created a few of them.
I started out writing science fiction and fantasy, and I am still pursuing projects in those genres, but I found when I mixed in a romantic element, the story always got stronger and more satisfying.

I was an avid comic book collector as a kid, right up into my 20’s. From comics I discovered Robert E. Howard’s Conan series of books. It was only a short jump from there to Tolkien and other fantasy and science fiction authors, my all time favorite is Anne McCaffrey. I’ve spent many wonder filled days on Pern and her other fantastic worlds. It was my wife that introduced me to the romance genre with Nora Roberts book Enchanted. (You never forget your first romance.)

My first published work, Swiftly Beats the heart, is a romance novella about two superheroes, a direct tribute to my early years of neglecting my homework, lost in a comic book. There are a lot of fantasy and science fiction elements (magic, fantastic creatures, dimensional rifts) in my Demons Rising trilogy. And in my novel, Son of Thunder, I was able to blend in my love of Norse mythology as well.

In my latest series, I’ve given myself the whole galaxy to play in. Inspired by Star Wars/Star Trek/Guardians of the Galaxy, Hearts in Orbit is my interstellar playground for adventure and romance. The first book launched in December and is titled The Blarmling Dilemma.


I often have to remind myself that the heart of my story is the romance itself. The fantastic elements are really just window dressing. The real story is two people falling in love. The prize/triumph/payoff isn’t defeating the nasty villain. It’s the love the two discover along the journey. If I stay grounded in the love story, I can add in just about anything else.

Here’s the blurb from The Blarmling Dilemma (Hearts in Orbit-Volume 1) 

“They’re not animals. They’re people!”

Phoebe Callista’s pleas fall on deaf ears and she’s forced to rescue two helpless Blarmlings from certain death. Fleeing across a backwater sector of the galaxy, with Galactic Marshals in hot pursuit, Phoebe falls into the hands of a handsome but determined bounty hunter.

Rigel Antares has captured wanted criminals throughout the galaxy rim, but he’s never come across anything like Phoebe Callista. The gorgeous blonde is playing the innocent, and something deep inside wants to believe her, but Rigel has problems of his own—a ship that’s falling apart and an unscrupulous Galactic Marshal looking for any excuse to send him back to the prison planets of the Theiler System.

An intergalactic circus, vicious space pirates, and a planet full of backtechers cross their paths as two hearts go into orbit to save a pair of adorable Blarmlings.

Hearts in Orbit - Volume 1: The Blarmling Dilemma is a science fiction romance set in the far-flung space traveling future, and sets a new course across the galaxy that leads to love and adventure.


If you’d like to know more about Steve or his novels, here are some helpful links:
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B007D0Z1MW


If you'd like to read a sample of S.C. Mitchell's awesome storytelling for free. Follow this link--http://www.amazon.com/reGenesis-Awakening-S-C-Mitchell-ebook/dp/B00NRBFJXC



And as always, I look forward to your comments.


Thursday, February 5, 2015

Sweet Reads: Thirteen Plus Messages in my Valentine Sweethearts Box



If you’re looking for portents and secret messages in your candy hearts you probably won’t find them, but you will find many cute sayings.



This is what I found in mine.
  1. I love you
  2. Miss you
  3. BFF
  4. XOXO
  5. Je T’Aime
  6. Best Day
  7.  Pugs and Kittens
  8. Dream Big
  9. Yes
  10. Real Love
  11. Marry Me
  12. First Kiss
  13. My Love
  14. Live N Love
  15. Be Happy
  16. Real Love
  17. Cute
  18. Giggle

While I savored the hearts’ sugary goodness, I did some research. Every year Nesco, the company that has made candy hearts since 1902, updates the sayings it prints. Last year they held a contest where they allowed fans to submit their ideas for new messages. Over one hundred and fifty ideas came from thirty-two states and the winners were:  Girl Power, Pugs and Kittens and Love to Dance. In addition, this year, the company added these new sayings: Te Amo, Je T’Aime, BFF, and the emojis of a smiley face and a mustache.

What message would you like to see on a candy heart? Leave a comment and let me know. Thanks.


Works Cited

TUDER, STEFANIE. "The Story Behind the 8 New Messages On Your Candy Hearts This Year." ABC Good Morning America Yahoo! News. Good Morning America, 15 Feb. 2015. Web. 5 Feb. 2015. .


Zerello, Amy. "10 Years of Conversation Hearts." Reader's Digest. Reader's Digest, 22 Jan. 2010. Web. 5 Feb. 2015. .

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

To Have and Have Not: The Experiment


By Elizabeth MS Flynn w/a Eilis Flynn
We see classic movies from another period and see how they translate to the modern day. So far, it’s been a mixed bag (The Philadelphia Story? Nope. The Marx Brothers’ Day at the Races? Yes! As two examples). Unfortunately, this movie, famous more for the first movie that Humphrey Bogart and the very young Lauren Bacall ever did together (and actually how they met) than the movie’s quality, is good only as a historical note.

The timing of this movie’s production and release notes to what might have been in the minds of those who greenlighted this film into existence. Only a few years after the success of Casablanca, dealing with the same war but taking place across the Atlantic Ocean (in Martinique), we realized that it might as well have been written on the same template. It takes place around a bar, but not owned by Bogart’s character this time (called the Zombie Bar instead of Rick’s), with two hot blondes, because just one wasn’t enough (although the producers had intended for the actress not Lauren Bacall to be the breakout star, and that just didn’t happen). This is, of course, the movie that the 19-year-old Bacall fluttered her eyelashes and purred her famous line about whistling. It enraptured the audience and, it turned out, (the much older, married) Bogart. She was memorable, certainly, and if that’s what age 19 looked like back then, really, women really did mature a lot faster back then!

I have to confess that I drifted off for a few minutes about halfway through, only to wake up to see a few minutes that reminded me and my husband both very, very, very strongly of Casablanca. It didn’t have enough tension or enough twisty things happening to keep my attention (I’m spoiled, I admit it, when it comes to story) to keep me glued or awake. But you couldn’t fault the movie for the cast; it did have Walter Brennan, actors who resembled Sidney Longstreet and Peter Lorre (I did say that Casablanca was an inspiration), and Bacall. And with this movie, this time, Bogart got the girl (Bacall).

If I had had my druthers, the story would have veered away into the Zombie Bar and voodoo. I would have been a lot more interested, but then, they probably wouldn’t have had the cast they had, either. If you’re a movie buff, you might like this film, even without the history around it. But me? I saw it long ago and couldn’t remember much about it. I just saw it again and it wasn’t that memorable! So as far as I’m concerned, it didn’t age well. But to each to his own.

Elizabeth MS Flynn has written fiction in the form of comic book stories, romantic fantasies, urban fantasies, historical fantasies and short stories, a young adult novel, and a graphic novella (most published under the name of Eilis Flynn). She’s also a professional editor and has been for more than 35 years, working with academia, technology, and finance nonfiction, and romance fiction. If you’re looking for an editor, she can be found editing at emsflynn.com and reached at emsflynn@aol.com. If you’re curious about her books, check out eilisflynn.com. In any case, she can be reached at eilisflynn@aol.com.
 
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