Lions and Tigers and Bears! Oh my!

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Have you ever heard of the term “deep point of view”? Neither had I until about a year ago. I was about as surprised of its existence as Dorothy was about not being in Kansas. (Even if she never really left.) Though, if we think about it really hard, this is probably what all of our English teachers meant when they said, “Show, don’t tell.” Like this terminology has always been in our vocabulary. Just like lions and tigers and bears.

So you can imagine how shocked I was to find out it has been around for at least 40 years. I mean holy shista!!! I’m an English major and with all we learned, I had never heard this term: Deep POV. Turns out, I’m not the only one who had never heard of this. I’ve been asked about it on Twitter and in my writing group. My response: 1st person POV + 3rd person limited omniscience = baby (Deep POV). I know this sounds weird, but I promise to make you understand as easily as possible.anton

Spring 2014 I took a senior seminar class with Allen Weir. He taught us four points of view (POV): 1st person, objective, limited omniscience and omniscience. Every book you have ever read using “I” or “we” is in 1st person POV. Objective, limited omniscience and omniscience are typically told in 3rd person (“he,” “she,” or “it”). With objective everything is told from an outside view. Kind of like the way we would describe people we watch through a one-way mirror. Limited omniscience tells the story from the view of one or two characters. Omniscience tells the story from every character you meet (two or more).

What then is Deep POV? Jill Elizabeth Nelson described it as remaining “firmly inside the POVC’s (point of view character’s) head, nothing in a scene can be presented for reader consideration that is outside that character’s head.” Is your mind blown? Mine was and still it made so much sense. Deep POV takes away all the telling and forces an author to show. Take for example the following two sentences. Which do you think is Deep POV?

  1. He had to think hard about what to do next.
  2. What should he do next?

If you guessed #2, you’re right. A lot more happens in Deep POV. Since I can’t cover it all, I’ll give you a couple more examples. In Jill’s book she includes a worksheet. I’m going to take one sentence from there and change it to Deep POV and I’ll take one from my own current project – Addicted (previously titled Destroyed).

  1. (Jill’s WS)
    1. Shallow: He wondered whether she would show up for his birthday party.
    2. Deep: Would she even bother to show up for his birthday party?
  2. (Mine)
    1. Shallow: He stared at Gervasio and wondered when they finished how much of his family would remain intact.
    2. Deep: He stared at Gervasio. What would be left of his family when everything was said and done?

Hopefully by now you get the general idea. If you’re a new author or trying to break into the business, Deep POV is what readers want. Challenge yourself and find all of those telling words and throw them out the window. Make your book strong. For more information check out Jill’s book Rivet Your Readers With Deep Point of View.

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“Seasons”

 

“Seasons”

Things have changed;

My life is no longer the same.

Once, I walked strong;

But now, those days are gone.

I don’t know how to let go;

 The smile I wear, is  all for show.

 A nightmare, I’d like to escape;

Hopefully it’s not too late.

DRSB1AddictedCover

Brand New Look

If you read my last blog, you know I’ve had a little bit of a journey to get here today. That is the reason I’m proud to share with you the new cover for my first novel.

DRSB1AddictedCoverEven the story has gotten a little bit of a makeover. The timeline has changed a bit, but the story remains the same. And I’ve love to share some of it with you. First, let me give you the new description for the back of the book. Then I’ll talk some about the changes and even give you a sneak peek. I don’t want to give too much away. Especially since the book will be available for purchase this coming October.

New description:

For two years, Bella Kynaston quietly walked through high school. All she had planned was to make it without any incidents. Junior year, everything changed. New responsibilities. Standing up to a bully. First love. And a rape victim.

Now, everybody knows who she is, including her attacker, who doesn’t stop going after her. Survival is more than a goal. It’s her life.

Will she find a way to climb out of the rabbit hole? Will someone offer her a helping hand? Or has she already fallen too deep?

Before I introduce the sneak peek, let me tell you the novel is full of suspense, romance, and a small amount of action. There are characters you’ll love, hate and some you’ll love to hate. And you get to see more of them and get more from the antagonist point of view. Several subplots that will play out in later novels. But I don’t want to tell you everything.

If you think you’re ready to check out the first chapter, click the link below.

Addicted Preview

This is the story of a… Writer.

writermemeBet you thought I was going to say girl. Ha! At least I know we’re on the same wavelength. In case you haven’t figured it out, I’m a writer. Yep, I slave away day after day at the computer. Doesn’t mean I’m always writing. That occurs about 20% of the time. Now, I’ve done enough to complete two novels and have started two others. One of those two is nearly completed. That is part of the series I started. It’s called “Dark Road.”

I published the first two. I’m not going to spend time talking about the books themselves. Instead, I’d like to share with you a little bit of my journey. Most first time writers don’t get the luxury of using a publisher. A lot of us self-publish. And sometimes independently publishing works. I’d tried this route on the first book and it hadn’t quite worked out the way I’d hoped. So I took my novel off the shelves. A few months later, I came across  a publisher. I’d tried some agents and they’d turned me down, so I didn’t think anything would happen with this small publisher. But sure enough, the publisher liked my work.

Now, this publisher wasn’t traditional. This publisher identified themselves as a partnership-publisher. I’d pay a set amount for the series and in turn, the publisher would work with me on getting my books produced and assist with marketing. I’d done my homework and researched what it would take cost wise for me to produce them myself. What had been offered, well, it seemed like a great deal. So, I signed the contract. contractmeme

The first two books in my series got published. Things started to go down hill a couple months after the second novel came out. I just hadn’t realized how bad things had gotten until this past March. That’s when I discovered neither of my books had been copyrighted. If you don’t know anything about a copyright, know this. Just because that cute little copyright symbol © is in the novel, it doesn’t mean your work is protected. If I hadn’t filed my works with the Copyright Office, that symbol wouldn’t mean shit. The moment I found out this little bit of pertinent information, I contacted the Copyright Office and started asking questions. If someone reproduced my work without my permission, there wouldn’t be much I could do.

I did two things. First, I filed a copyright for each novel with the Copyright Office. Second, I dropped my publisher due to breach of contract. Too bad, I hadn’t really read the whole thing. When I signed it, I thought everything in it had been standard in the industry. I didn’t bother to have anyone look over it. Like an Intellectual Property Rights lawyer. Which I absolutely should have done!

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Probably would’ve done me some good to have read the whole thing too. I certainly would’ve had some questions. Regardless, after I sent notice to my publisher, the lawyers got involved. So I sought out some assistance. Thankfully, I had someone who had my best interests at heart. They kindly pointed out that  there were a few key points that would survive termination. I did what any person in their right mind would do; I panicked. I had no intention of paying the publisher beyond what I’d already done. It didn’t seem right they would be able to collect money off of me if I reproduced my work.

Thankfully, this person helped me draft a reply to the lawyers. Needless to say, everything has resolved itself. I finally have my rights back. I won’t be paying the publisher any part of my future earnings. And I learned a rather valuable lesson.

Next time, I’ll definitely pay more attention before I sign on the dotted line.

“UnReal” Says It All

unreal-logo-1920x1080I don’t know how many of you are fans of “UnReal,” but after Monday night’s episode, I’d have say more people should be. I’ve always loved the storyline and Rachel’s crazy antics. This episode… well, it blew my mind.

Right now, it may not seem like it, but our country is at war… with itself. We are falling apart with various stands and arguing like children. #BlackLivesMatter #PoliceLivesMatter #AllLivesMatter

On Monday, episode 7 of “UnReal” approached this very delicate topic our country is dealing with. With everything going on, we’ve all seem to forgotten, we’re hearing from the people who speak the loudest. And it doesn’t always mean it’s the truth.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t find the whole clip of what happens. The below promo only gives you a glimpse of the story. It’s enough for you to get the idea of how it all blows up. But I want you to KNOW what occurs in the scene.

Romeo and Darius have gone joyriding with a couple of girls. Rachel calls the police to report the vehicle as stolen. Simple, right? Let me add a little bit of color to the situation. The men, Romeo and Darius, are black. The women, Tiffany and Yael, are white. Car gets pulled over. Two officers step out and approach the vehicle. Very quickly the situation escalates. Now mind you, the whole thing is being videotaped by Rachel and entourage. Realizing things are getting out of hand, Rachel tries to intervene, gets knocked down and Romeo gets shot.

Sound familiar? Feel like something’s missing? I mean, we know the key point. The police shot Romeo and in this show, the character could die. What else is there to know?

A lot.

UnReal S2E7

What if I told you Romeo was unarmed? What if I told you he was only trying to help a friend? (Darius has a back injury that he’s been hiding and his hands behind his back in handcuffs, well, it wasn’t helping the situation.) What if I told you the officer pulled his gun because Rachel came out from behind some trees? Somebody comes out of nowhere, you might feel like your life is being threatened. Especially if haven’t fully assessed the situation.

Does this added knowledge change your perception? Or is it still the police shot Romeo?

Review of “Echoes” by PJ Roscoe

Echoes

If you know anything about me as a critic, you know I’m harsh, but honest. I review the same way I live my life. I speak my mind, but I try be as constructive as possible. Now, with this particular novel, there were a couple things I tried to keep in mind. Number 1, the grammatical differences were bound to be there because the author and I write from different sides of the pond. Number 2, this was certainly outside of my normal genre, but I guaranteed a review, and I follow through on my word.

Here’s the book description first, then I’ll proceed with my review. Bronwen Mortimer moves to a secluded cottage on the outskirts of a lonely village near Shrewsbury, England, hoping to start a new life after suffering years of abuse; but the echoes of the land will not lie quietly and when she witnesses a murder, she must face her past and win, to have any hope of living in the present. A supernatural, historical thriller, moving between present day and the 15th century, when Henry Tudor claimed the throne of England. There were many casualties of war, but some refuse to be forgotten.

As always, your one and only SPOILER alert warning.

Bronwen Mortimer, a rather likeable character. Quiet at first, for obvious reasons based solely on the prologue. The girl clearly suffered years of sexual abuse, then after killing her father (in self-defense), she was shipped off to her only remaining relative, an aunt. Unfortunately she endured more abuse because the woman refused to believe her brother had been capable of something so awful. Then her aunt passes leaving Bronwen on her own. It’s new and foreign. She’s determined to find her way.

One of my favorite parts, I won’t tell you where it’s at, but the realtor who rented Bronwen the cottage is a HUGE douche-bag. Actually, there are several terms I’d use to describe him: dick-wad, asshole, butt-face, but I don’t want to give everything away. Anywho! So. He’s run into Bronwen in the city and has convinced himself that she wants to sleep with him. He’s been trying to get into her pants for a while now. Just when things seem bleak and he’s got her cornered, she nails him right in the nads. Bronwen 1 Dick-wad 0. And then who does she run into, but the guy whose cottage she has rented.

Despite my problems with the grammar and the point of view discrepancies, plus some of the other things I would’ve liked to have seen done with this novel, the story was what made the book worth the read. There was a lot of suspense, some great ghost stories, and f you’re a fan of historical fiction, then it’s definitely up your alley. I give “Echoes” by PJ Roscoe 3 stars.

American site – Purchase “Echoes”

UK Site – Purchase “Echoes”

Review of “The Other Man”

TOM_1 EB

Wow! Oh My God! Amazing! Shocking! Loved it!

Suffice it to say I was quite happy with this book. That doesn’t mean there weren’t problems or  no issues, but the story was just that good. Before I get ahead of myself, let me share the synopsis. Then, and only then, will I get into my review. And heed my warning now, there may be SPOILERS.

***Synopsis***

Sex is not ‘routine’ any more. There are sex shops decorating the high-street, free porn all over the internet and let’s not even get started on the new BDSM phenomenon. So when things get a little ‘stale’ in the bedroom, what would you do?

Carlie made a suggestion; a suggestion I wanted nothing to do with at first, but she was my wife and I’d have done anything to make her happy. I went along with her plan, even though I really didn’t want to.

It actually worked, for a while.

Until something changed.

Then I wasn’t doing it for her anymore.

Instead, it was all about secret liaisons, stolen moments and the thrill of getting caught.

My life changed overnight and there was nothing I could do to prevent it. Lust is an unstoppable emotion when it takes hold.

Rules are broken. Mistakes are made. Lives are destroyed.

Be careful what you wish for, because sometimes, that wish can come true.

Zachary Black was her wish.

…Until he became mine.
Before I dive into the good stuff, let me get my rants out of the way. There were a few grammatical errors: missing words, extra words, lack of commas, etc. You get the idea. Plus a change of shift too. Leaned vs leant. Drives me nuts. But if the story is good enough, I can momentarily overlook all this to keep on reading. Can you figure out what I did?
I kept on reading. The first few chapters weren’t much to get through. Initially I simply couldn’t figure out their purpose. Then I realized, back-story. The perfection of Blake and Carlie’s marriage has to be shown. Or at least the image. Obviously it wasn’t perfect. And this is quickly established. Blake would rather be at work than at home with his wife. Even when he gets a promotion. Are you sensing trouble in paradise yet? I was.
Now, I can’t say I had any love for Carlie. She wasn’t stupid. Chick learned a whole other language because it turned her husband on. In the beginning I gave her props. By the middle, I didn’t like her. Not one bit. I still didn’t care for her very much towards the end, but she does kind of get shafted. Too bad she can’t in some small way accept her own blame.
But she’s only part of the story. Truly, the story belongs to Blake and Zach.

Their story is more than just sex. It’s more than lust (even though it is initially portrayed that way). It’s more than love.

Their story addresses the old age question, “Do soulmates exist?”

First, do you believe in soulmates? I do. I believe there is one person meant for one other person. That we each have this pre-established link, where there is one unique person designed for each of us.

And Blake and Zach have it. Now, Blake is married, so this is obviously going to cause some trouble. Especially when Blake isn’t really prepared to admit to himself what is going on. It isn’t lust, but he can’t explain why he finds himself completely attracted to Zach. And why having him becomes so important.

TOMteaser6

After suffering a work-related injury, it made sense Blake might ask for some time. The problem was he already knew what he planned to do, he just wasn’t ready to face it. His claim, “I’m not gay,” kind of reminded me of another man couple I loved. I’m almost pretty certain Quinn (BDB) said those exact same words.

The  talk about marriage kind of had me chick-flick out a moment. Reminded me of another conversation between two guys in He’s Just Not That Into You. Also about marriage. I kind of disliked Blake a little after this conversation. But then I wondered, would he have come across Zack in another way? What if Blake hadn’t married Carlie and she  hadn’t invited Zach into their bedroom? Hmm, quite curious.

Here’s the thing, everything you think might happen in this book does. Then you get to the end and BOOM, shit explodes in the worst kind of way. You’re left wanting to turn another page because you have to know what happens! But it’s the end. And damn it all to hell. How are you supposed to find out what happens next? Do Zach and Blake get their HEA? Is Carlie… well, I can’t spoil everything. The good news? There will be a second book.

As for this one, I give it 4 stars. It’s a very seductive read. And I promise, it WON’T disappoint.

The Other Man by D. Breeze

The Other Man

TOM_1 EB

Sex is not ‘routine’ any more. There are sex shops decorating the high-street, free porn all over the internet and let’s not even get started on the new BDSM phenomenon. So when things get a little ‘stale’ in the bedroom, what would you do? Carlie made a suggestion; a suggestion I wanted nothing to do with at first, but she was my wife and I’d have done anything to make her happy. I went along with her plan, even though I really didn’t want to.

It actually worked, for a while.

Until something changed.

Then I wasn’t doing it for her anymore.

Instead, it was all about secret liaisons, stolen moments and the thrill of getting caught.

My life changed overnight and there was nothing I could do to prevent it. Lust is an unstoppable emotion when it takes hold.

Rules are broken. Mistakes are made. Lives are destroyed.

TOMteaser5

Be careful what you wish for, because sometimes, that wish can come true.

Zachary Black was her wish.

…Until he became mine.

Look for a review of the book later in the week. I’m excited! Are you?

TOMteaser6

 

Life After a Suicide Attempt

A little over a week ago, my sister and I got semi-matching tattoos. Two halves of the same butterfly with the semi-colon as the body. I chose the words “Love, Laugh, Dream” to remind me how to live.

Now, I have several tattoos, but this one brought tears to my eyes. It wasn’t physically painful, but it touched on a part of my life that for a long time I’ve hidden.

When I was around 19, I tried to take my own life. I was in a bad place and I felt as if I had nothing left to give to the world. I was completely drained. I thought my family would’ve been better off without me.

About a year and half ago, I disclosed this information to my family. I still didn’t go into detail, but I felt like I was ready to let go of the pain. To heal, I had to talk about what I’d done. Even if nearly 17 years had passed, that hadn’t mattered. They had to know.

I’m sure many of you have heard about the semi-colon project. The idea is that the semi-colon represents the continuation of your life. Instead of ending it, you, as the author, chose to keep going. It took a long time, but I did eventually realize I had something to live for. I had to go forward; even if it meant I took it one day at a time.

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Towards the end of 2015, my sister and I agreed to get the semi-colon. She’d heard about the project and I thought it would be a good representation of where I’d been. We’d gone to the tattoo parlor and it had slipped her mind. I hadn’t remembered until our artist was working on my tattoo. I got my semi-colon; a small one on the outside of my right wrist. Later, my sister tells me she wants to get the semi-colon as the butterfly.

Okay. We can do that. Two halves to make a whole. Each of us with one part on the inside of our wrist. That had been the plan. Mine was supposed to be on my right wrist because I have something on the inside of my left already. The design ended up being too big for the wrist. But we were alright with it being on the arm. It wasn’t until I went to get mine that I realized the significance.

The scar from where I’d cut myself is on the inside of my left forearm. It has never really been a huge scar, hardly noticeable, but I’ve always known it was there. And the reason why. I sat in the chair, stared at my arm, and looked at my sister.

I said, “It’ll cover the scar where I cut my wrist.”

“You did it wrong. That’s why it didn’t work,” my sister replied.

Leave it to my sister to point out the obvious. But it was the words that left my tattoo artist’s mouth that brought tears to my eyes. Two simple words. “Thank God.”

Yes, thank you God. Thank you I had no idea what I was doing. Thank you for the knock on the bathroom door that stopped me from trying to figure out the right way. Thank you for keeping me safe all these years. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to share my story.

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000039_00006]It was so important I included a suicide attempt in my second novel, Punished. The scene takes a realistic look on what happens when a person uses pills in an attempt to purposely overdose. After a failed attempt, Bella (the main character) buys some more pills because she intends to be successful. Her friends, unknowingly, stop her. Not everyone has that knock on the door.

I think back now on the me 17 years ago, locked in the bathroom, desperate to end the pain. And I think about all the people in that same position. Those who have someone to stop them and those who don’t. It saddens me because suicide has become such an epidemic and we continue to say nothing. We remain silent. We’re so afraid that if we talk about it, it’ll put ideas in people’s head.

What you don’t realize, it’s probably already there. They’ve already thought about it. What they aren’t thinking about is how much the people who love them will miss them. What it will REALLY be like without them. If we want to save lives, we have to stop being afraid to talk about suicide. We have to stop doing nothing. We have to stop being quiet.

Bullying Vs Bullying

A few days ago I saw this link in my Facebook feed questioning how best to respond to bullying. It’s a debate that has gone on for years. Typically, there are two options: flight or fight. This particular article showed a video of a kid who’d chosen to fight back.

See Video Here

The article questioned if he’d done the right thing. As I said, a debate that has gone on for years. But it got me to thinking about a review of my first book. It was plain and simple, “Slut-shaming. Blech.”

Now, initially I wondered exactly how far the reader had gone. I thought maybe they missed the entire point of the novel. There are two scenes where the reviewer may have gotten this idea from.

The first, Bella is once again being picked on by Heather. Instead of walking away, Bella finally stands up for herself. (Whole scene not included.)

They normally poked fun at her clothes, so this wasn’t unusual behavior. She hadn’t worn anything different today than she had the day before. A dark denim skirt, a short-sleeve turquoise button-up trimmed with lace, and brown flats. Like always her hair was braided and hung down her back. Bella dug around in her locker. What was she looking for?

“You know, with all these rags, I’m really curious what your brother sees in her.” Missy crossed her arms and popped a hip out.

Heather snickered. “That’s easy. He feels sorry for her.”

They could make fun of her clothes or call her names, but she would be damned if they insulted what someone may feel for her. Bella’s hand tightened around a book. She stared at the book and imagined smacking Heather upside the head with it. Unfortunately, the suspension from school that would surely follow would suck. Inhaling deeply, she slammed her locker shut and turned around. “Listen up and listen good. I don’t give a rat’s behind what you think of my clothes. I know why you pick on me. I have something you don’t.”

“Like I would want bad —”

“Shut up! I’m not finished. I have pride in who I am and I stand for something you can never get back. I still have the chance to give myself when I choose to because I love that person. You can’t. There are all kinds of rumors how freely you give it away. And now guys are losing interest, so you do and say whatever you need to, to make yourself feel better. Well, it ends here. I don’t care what a couple of sluts think of me because you can’t take away what I have.”

“Why you little —”

“Don’t even try it, Heather. You’re nothing but tainted sludge. I suggest you get used to the gutter. It’s where you belong.” Bella shoved the three girls aside as if they were annoying flies. She hadn’t even noticed that a small crowd of students had gathered nearby, who clapped as she broke through. Her cheeks flushed with heat. With another deep breath, she made her way through the assembled students.

I truly believe this was the scene that made the reviewer think of slut-shaming. There is one other scene, but it’s toward the end of the novel. And I’m not sure if I would really consider it slut-shaming. Then again, I wouldn’t think of this scene as slut-shaming either. However, I do think it takes an interesting view on bullying.

Obviously Heather has continuously made fun of Bella. But by Bella doing something, instead of standing around and taking it, does that now make Bella the bully? I saw a post yesterday in my Facebook feed that I feel gives a great explanation. And it certainly gives a great response to the whole question: if a victim of a bully fights back, are they in turn considered a bully?

bullying

Short answer, no. This means when Bella stands up to Heather, she is not a bully. But she isn’t responding the right way, either. It has simply gotten to the point where she can no longer stand by and do nothing. Don’t think she doesn’t get in trouble. She does. Because, just maybe, she could have stood up for herself and what she believes in without being mean.

Here’s the thing. This particular scene (although fiction) makes Bella human. People have a tendency to point out other people’s flaws, even when they refuse to recognize their own. I’m not perfect. None of us are.

Sadly, we also don’t always know the reason behind the bullying. Let me go back to Bella and Heather for example. Bella offers an explanation as to why Heather picks on her. But is it true? Does Bella have something Heather no longer has? Honestly, Bella has no clue. And what is known about Heather, it doesn’t offer an explanation… yet.

On the outside, it looks like Heather has a great life. She’s gorgeous, head cheerleader, popular, and has a hot boyfriend. So it seems like she has it all, right? How many people do you think you know like this? You’d love to have their life. Now ask yourself: what do I really know about their life?

If you read the opening of Destroyed (Instant Preview), Bella wants some of the things Heather has. Looks, popularity; too bad she has no idea what Heather’s life is really like. Believe it or not, Bella gets a glimpse into Heather’s world in Addicted. Take a glance now. It’s something even my editor hasn’t seen yet. Addicted Preview.

Truthfully, we have no idea what goes on in someone else’s life. Maybe they have abusive parents. Maybe they get ignored or they feel unloved. Maybe, just maybe, they don’t know any other way. So what if there is another response besides fight or flight?

That doesn’t mean either is wrong. Unfortunately, there will be times where you have to fight back. And there will be times it’s simply better to walk away. But there will also be an opportunity to ask ‘why’ and offer that person what they may really need. A friend.