Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Endless Cover Reveal

This week I'm spotlighting the cover for Misha Gerrick's new book, Endless, which will be released on April 30th.  If you like the cover, why don't you head on over to Misha's website and let her know.

About the Book

First, do no harm.” Blake Ryan swore that oath to become a doctor. Ironic, given that he spent most of his thousand year life sucking souls out of other immortals.

Things are different now. Using regular shots of morphine to keep his inner monster at bay, Ryan has led a quiet life since the Second World War. His thrills now come from saving lives, not taking them.

Until a plane crash brings Aleria into his hospital. Her life is vibrant. Crack to predators like him. She’s the exact sort of person they would hunt, and thanks to a severe case of amnesia, she’s all but defenseless.

Leaving Aleria vulnerable isn’t an option, but protecting her means unleashing his own inner monster. Which is a problem, because his inner monster wants her dead most of all.

About the Author

Misha Gerrick lives near Cape Town, South Africa, and can usually be found staring at her surroundings while figuring out her next book.

If you’d like to see what Misha’s up to at the moment, you can find her on these social networks:


This had to be what dying felt like. Floating outside my body, waiting for that final link to my life to be severed, only vaguely aware of indescribable pain. More screams than I could count rose up around me. Hundreds of footsteps beat against tiles. I couldn’t open my eyes if I wanted to. Not when it was easier to listen and wait. People shouted for a doctor or an IV, or a thousand other things that made no sense. I listened to all the chaos, trying to untangle it in my thoughts.

Soon, I could go. The peace around me was so relaxing, completely out of place in the clamor I heard. I wanted it. To rest forever in that peace. Why not? There was a very good reason, but I couldn’t call it to mind.

A numb buzz shot through my body and shattered my serenity.

It happened again. Only this time was more of a sharp pulse. The third time jolted like lightning. The fourth…Hell. Suddenly, the screams were coming from me. My heart’s relentless thundering added to my torment.



My chest burned like fire. It hurt to breathe. Cold air drove down my throat and into my lungs, amplifying the inferno in my chest. My skin felt scorched. It couldn’t be. It wasn’t right.

I had to see. I had to understand why pain dominated my existence like this. My eyes were fused shut. My breaths grew shallow, trying to draw air when there was none. I tried to clench my teeth. I bit hard plastic. A pipe. Cold air suddenly forced back into my lungs, out of time with my own breathing. This was wrong. It wasn’t safe. I had to see. The best I got was a little fluttering of my lashes.

A high-pitched beep shot through my head. It repeated again and again. I wanted to reach over and slam my fist into its source. My arm wouldn’t lift. Something kept it trapped. A scream rose up from the depths of my soul, but the pipe jammed inside my throat stifled the sound. I only managed a whimper, trying my best not to gag. More air blasted into my lungs against my will. What was going on? I was trapped in my own body, but why?

I needed to move. I had to move. Now. Before… Even… Even though… Panic gripped me. The beeps increased at a frenetic pace. I needed to move. To be gone. Didn’t matter where. Just not here. Not defenseless. Not trapped.

The air sucked out of my lungs. I gasped, choking on nothing, strangled by invisible fingers. I tried to convulse my body. To twist myself free of what’s holding me.


The air rushed back in a cold flood. Seconds later it left, only to return in the same amount of time.

There was a rhythm to the air. In… out... in… out… The breaths were slow—sleep-like. I concentrated on this rhythm, striving to clear my head. If I wanted out, I needed to think. Calmly. Clearly. Eventually, those irritating beeps slowed. I tried to focus past the sound.

Voices buzzed about me, adding to my need to see, to do something to protect myself. No one seemed to pay attention to me. Good. I could use that to my advantage.

I centered my every thought on moving my little finger. It finally jerked, but collided against something solid. So the thing trapping my arm was physical and too heavy for me to lift. It was better to be trapped than paralyzed. With luck I could escape my restraints. I tried my other hand, but it was cemented stuck as well. Right leg. Left leg. Damn it! Both trapped. I had to move!


No, I needed to stay calm. I tried to make larger movements, biting the pipe in my mouth against the urge to scream in pain. There was no wiggle room.

Fearing that I might be blindfolded, I focused on blinking. It worked. My eyes opened and the blur faded, revealing ceiling tiles. Why would there be tiles? Where was the canvas of hospital tents? The distant sounds of bombs dropping? The power of their explosions rushing through my blood?

No. That wasn’t right. I wasn’t there.

Where was I, then?

Friday, March 25, 2016

Seven Writing Links -- Volume 118

We're almost a quarter of the way through 2016. Have you accomplished 25% of your year's goals? I haven't. I thought I was doing pretty well until I did the math. Arg!!! Back to the grindstone for me.

Have a Happy Spring Equinox and enjoy the links.


The Pros and Cons of Using a Facebook Profile But Not an Official Page
I still haven't decided which is best, the profile or the page.  Any suggestions?

5 Things Your Book Description Says About You (And How You Can Improve It)

Seven Tips for Better Pitches

How to Write a Great (and Not Schmaltzy) Love Scene

35 Posts To Help Writers Elevate Their Craft And Marketing Skills

Using Scenes of Preparation and Aftermath to Reveal Character
Screenwriting advice, but still useful for novels

The What, Why, and How of Author Platforms

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

How Much Are Your Readers Willing To Forgive?

Many years ago, a friend of mine and I used to watch movies together, and after the movie was over we’d go somewhere to eat. Then, for the next hour or so, our conversation would center on all the plot holes that had occurred in the movie. Since our tastes tended more toward “action” movies, there were usually plenty of plot holes to discuss. 

In general, I can tolerate a fair number of plot holes—assuming the movie was reasonably entertaining, and I can forgive some pretty outrageous coincidences if it helps keep the movie moving along. I suspect most viewers feel the same way, although individual tolerances may vary. Besides, gaping plot holes are what keep sites like Cinema Sins so popular. What bothers me, though, is when writers force characters to do something illogical in order to drive the story in the direction they want it to go.

Take the final Hunger Games movie, for example. (If you haven’t seen it yet, be aware there are spoilers coming!) Even though the characters know that Peeta has been brainwashed to kill Katniss, the commander decides to send him out along with Katniss on a mission together. It makes so little sense, the writers didn’t even bother coming up with a semi-plausible reason. All the writers cared about was making sure the two of them were together on the screen for extended periods of time. 

What really bothered me, however, was how the writers’ desire to get the “games” back into The Hunger Games led to a groan-worthy plot device. When the Capitol is faced with an advancing army of rebels, President Snow announces that instead of devoting government resources into reinforcing his army with weapons appropriate for the situation, he decides that he will concentrate their remaining energies into building ridiculously complicated traps randomly placed throughout the city.

Now you don’t have to be a military genius to know this is a comically bad idea. Pouring all your resources into immovable, sophisticated traps that would only be effective against small groups of rebels (which Katniss just happens to be a part of) spread out over an area the size of a city is blatant stupidity. But the writers wanted Katniss and friends to have to fight through more traps (like in the earlier movies) and hoped we’d be so fascinated with the traps we wouldn’t notice the ridiculousness of the situation.

Why am I writing about this today? Because I recently finished a scene that I was pretty happy with, at least at first, but which now is bothering me since I realize the bad guys probably wouldn’t have acted the way I had them act. So now I’m caught in a quandary. I really like the way the scene plays out now, but I’m either going to have to make some significant changes or hope that my readers don’t notice the bad guy’s stupidity. Neither option appeals to me, so I’ve decided to put off the decision until my crit group reads the chapter. It’ll be interesting to see if they spot the problem.

What do you do when you realize you’ve got a plot hole in your WIP?


Friday, March 18, 2016

Seven Writing Links -- Volume 117

I suppose I should have mentioned last Friday that I wouldn't be returning from vacation in time for my usual Wednesday post. Sorry if you stopped by looking for it.

I never accomplish much writing when I visit family and this trip was no exception.  However, I'm staying home this weekend so I plan hope to get more writing done this time. I'd better. My next chapter is due to my critique group on Monday.

Have a great weekend and enjoy the links.


Deepen a Reader’s Emotional Connection to Your Story

Want a Page-Turner? You Need Deep POV

Nope, Not Buying It: How Do We Maintain Believability in Our Writing?

11 Reasons Indie Authors Need Social Media (And How to Get It Right!)

What Comes Before Part Two: Best Character, Basic Action, Weakness and Choice

Thoughts On Writing a Scene

Using Preparation in Opposition to Heighten Emotional Impact

Friday, March 11, 2016

Seven Writing Links -- Volume 116

Ever have one of those chapters where you bang away at it for a week (or more) until you finally think it's coming together, only to realize the chapter needs to be rewritten in a completely different way, then spend another week banging away on it again only to realize there's an EVEN BETTER WAY to write it?  Arg!!! I just want to get to the next chapter, please....

Other than that, I'll be visiting my family down in southwest Missouri for the next couple of days.  It'll be in the seventies down there, so I'm not complaining.

Enjoy the links and the weekend!


6 Reasons “Show Don't Tell” Can Be Terrible Advice For New Writers
I really enjoyed this post, even if some agents and editors don't.  Seems like I spent the first five years of my writing career learning all the rules of writing, and now I'm spending the next five trying to forget them. I always wondered why best selling authors seemed to break the rules all the time and no one complained.

Amazon Takes Aim At Scammers But Hits Authors

Self-publishing Part 4

9 Steps to Getting Your Self-Published Books into Libraries

Turning Points: The Most Effective Way to Build a Compelling Story

Does Your Website’s First Impression Sell Books?

Editing seminar snapshots: How much should you budget for editing your book? And how should you choose an editor?

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Having Your Character Sound Like An Idiot For The Sake Of Your Story

I’m due to turn in another chapter for one of my crit groups tomorrow, and once again I find myself scrambling to finish it on time. Sigh… To be honest, I’ve avoided this chapter for the last several months, keeping my crit partners at bay by handing them revised versions of earlier chapters, but they’ve made it clear I can no longer get away with that. They want new stuff.

The chapter in question is a sequel chapter. Things have calmed down after the frenetic events the protagonist has just been put through, and now it’s time for her (and the reader) to catch their breath and be given some explanation (from the protagonist’s new partner) about what the heck just happened.

So here’s the problem. There’s going to be a fair amount of explanation at this point, and based on what my crit partners have dinged me for in the past, I know they’re going to complain that:

1). I have too much dialogue, and 
2). I’m dumping too much information on them at once. 

So I’m struggling with deciding how much to say now and how much to save for later.

My natural inclination is to answer all the protagonist’s (and reader’s) questions as soon as possible (at least the obvious ones) because that’s how things tend to work in real life. But there are so many obvious questions I know my crit partners will complain if I answer them all.

The general rule is that you don’t hand information to the reader until they need it, but that’s not always the best strategy. If you wait until you absolutely HAVE to give the reader some information, it often turns into an infodump that kills the pacing, and the reader barely has a chance to digest this information before it becomes relevant and the action begins. I’ve gone back over some of my favorite fantasy books to see how those authors did it, and to my surprise, they rarely waited until the reader absolutely needed the information. Instead, they sprinkled it out over the course of the story, kind of like a trail of breadcrumbs to keep the reader reading along.

But back to my dilemma. How can I go about having my MC not ask all the obvious questions? How can I save some of them for later? As usual, I ran to the TV/movie theater to see how those writers do it, and the answer turns out to be quite simple. Pretend the character is an idiot (or at least is so flustered their mind isn’t working as it should). I’m serious. I can’t count the number of times I’ve railed at a TV/movie character for not asking a few direct questions that would immediately occur to anyone with an IQ over 1.

For example, if the character has just been rescued by a stranger with superhuman powers, instead of asking who the stranger is or how does he have superpowers or why he was attacked in the fist place, the character will ask something like: Are you an alien? Kind of an off-the-wall question if you ask me. A question that even once it's answered, still doesn’t tell the character or the reader much. And, even worse, when the stranger answers no, the character usually kind of stops asking questions. Arg!!!!!

But as I pointed out a couple of weeks ago, dialogue isn’t real. It’s written in a way that maximizes the entertainment value of the words. So who cares if a real person would have asked all these questions? If the author thinks it’s better to withhold the information, then they just don’t have the character ask those questions.

The trick for writers is to figure out how to do this without making the character sound like a moron or without pissing off your readers that have an IQ over 1.


Friday, March 4, 2016

Seven Writing Links -- Volume 115

The last couple of weekends, the family and I have been out of town, which means my weekend writing time has been mostly nonexistent.   I was either spending my time interacting with the family, or, after they'd all gone to bed, I was too tired to stay up and write. But we're staying put this weekend, so I have high hopes for getting some real writing accomplished.

We'll see how it goes. Even though the days are becoming longer, the nights are still cold, and I often find myself sitting in front of my computer late at night concentrating not on the story, but on how nice it would be to crawl into a nice warm bed. And caffeine doesn't help.

Wish me luck.

Have a great weekend and enjoy the links.


Business Musings: Bestselling Feet And Other Thoughts

Indie Publishing Paths: What’s Your Reader Retention Plan? Part One

Scene Structure: Endings—Inevitable or Unpredictable?

Rethinking the Mentor

Writers: Make it Cinematic

Liar, Liar! Pants on Fire! Writing the Unreliable Narrator

What You Might Not Know about Scene Middles

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

The Insecure Writer and Finding Time For Marketing

Today is March's contribution to Alex Cavanaugh's Insecure Writers Support Group.

Why am I an Insecure Writer this month?

Because I'm wondering where I’m going to find all the time for marketing.

These days, I dedicate every spare moment to writing (much to my wife’s displeasure, I suspect). I contemplate plot points during the drive to work, I stay up late writing on weekends and vacation days, I use my crit group meetings to set hard deadlines for my chapters. Long story short, I’m accomplishing more writing than ever before. Still rather slow compared to most writers, but I’m making progress and that’s what keeps me happy.

But what happens when the book is finally finished? Where will the time for marketing come from? Unless I plan on quitting my day job (which I’m not), something has to give. Either I’m going to dispense with marketing and hope readers magically find their way to my books by themselves, or my writing will once again grind to a halt while I let the world know about my book. Of course, the latter option will probably mean I only release one book a decade, which isn’t a great marketing strategy either. I’ll have to hope that people who enjoy the first book in my series will want to recommend the second book to their kids when it eventually comes out.

Then again, if Alex ever decides to start renting out his clones for marketing purposes, I’ll be all set.


BTW, who does YOUR marketing?