Conflicts and consequences Guest Post by Author A.L. Awtrey

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Conflicts and consequences

One of the most import rules I learned about good storytelling is sustaining conflict and tension. No one wants to read a story about a character who gets everything they want without ever having to struggle. My first attempt at a novel died when I realized I was writing an endless stream of this happened and this happened and this happened without any real conflict. Things might have happened, but It was boring to read.

A trick I try to use in every scene is for each character, even the minor ones, to want something and be moving toward their respective goals. And my job as the author is to introduce conflicts that frustrate the characters into taking action. Letting Go features a cute cat and mouse game between the hero and heroine. Whenever desire warms between them in the story, I would make someone or something interrupt the moment.

Alex and Molly are both single parents and love their kids without question. I gave the kids an uncanny ability to detect parental desire to frustrate the budding couple. Anytime Alex or Molly attempt to embrace or kiss, one of their kids pops up doing the peepee dance.

The other side of conflicts are the inevitable consequences that follow. Sometimes even when you get what you want, you find it wasn’t all you’d hoped. I use those same rules in storytelling. Never give a character (or reader) what they expect. I love to set up a conflict, then change direction just when it appears to resolve just to crank the tension even higher.

In Letting Go, Alex is introduced in his opening chapter receiving a threatening phone call. His entire life at that point has been focused on the threat of something bad happening to him or his kids. Then when something bad actually happens to Alex in the story, no one notices or believes him. Worse, they think he is a nut for reacting the way he does. By keeping the situation unresolved, the tension mounts until the real threat is revealed.

One of the recurring themes in the reviews for Letting Go is how the tension and suspense keeps the readers going through to the end. Conflict is the winding spring of the story and powers the plot until it is finally resolved. And add spice by making sure that the consequences are never what the readers expect!

letting_go_2000x3000Despite his wealth, Alex Thompson has been living in fear since his wife died in childbirth. A frivolous wrongful death lawsuit, harassing phone calls, and anonymous threats drive him and his five-year-old twins away from their home in Houston and into the crosshairs of a sniper.

Molly McDill is a struggling single mom who lives next door to Alex and his twins. When she helps them adjust to their new life in the country, she exposes herself and her son to the same threat that followed Alex.

An attempt on his life throws their lives into chaos, inviting more threats, public scrutiny, and Molly’s ex-husband back into her life. The tension tests the attraction they feel toward each other as they struggle to keep life normal for their kids.

Alex still doesn’t know who wants him dead but suspects his former in-laws. As the threats become a visceral danger, Alex and Molly race to uncover the secret that died with his wife before it costs them everything.

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About A.L. Awtrey

After working more than twenty years as a technologist and scientist, Anthony started writing fiction again for the a_l_awtrey_authorfirst time since college. Developing white paper studies and proposals for years provided a foundation in technical writing, but telling a compelling story was much harder than it appeared.

Four years of practice where he wrote eight novels and dozens of short stories improved his dialog, description, tension, and pacing. With his latest novel, Letting Go, Anthony is ready to release it under his own name. He’s a member of the Central Florida Chapter of the Romance Writers of America and Florida Writers Association.

When he’s not writing, Anthony is the CTO of a technology consultancy and a professional singer.

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5 Tips for Character Development

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5 Tips for Character Development

As writers we are fascinated with people. Why? Our characters reflect real people. As such, they must act in realistic ways. We can’t have them do things that are “out of character.” We can dig deep inside ourselves and our experiences to create the people who fill our books or we can use other methods. After a while–book two or three, we may find that our own resources–the people we know– may run dry. Here are some tips for learning more about people in order to develop believable characters:

Tip #1: Observe everyone around you

When you see a parent and child interacting in the grocery store, don’t turn away. Lurk, listen and learn. The language the parent uses, the way the child responds are fodder for your characters. Wherever we go, we encounter people. Observe and learn from those observations.

Tip #2: Ask the experts

I am fortunate because I live with a psychiatrist. He carries a wealth of information in his head, and he has access to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders (DSM-IV). Most of the characters in my books are “normal,” but it’s fun to give them a few quirks. Maybe one is OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder). Another may be a bit narcissistic. These kinds of flaws give your characters depth and dimension.

Tip #3: Pay attention to the character when they want to do something

Often our subconscious will direct the character’s behavior. When we push against our subconscious, we are imposing what we’d do in a given situation–not what the character might do.

Tip #4: When you get to the editing phase of your book, always ask, “Does this behavior make sense for this character?”

 If a character is timid to the point of extreme shyness, would that character speak up in a dangerous situation? Put yourself in the shoes of your characters and see how the action feels.

Tip #5: Let your Beta readers help you

Often we are too close to our work and our characters. Even when we’ve struggled to make our characters believable, as soon as reader says, “I don’t believe Hank would do or say this,” pay attention. These readers are simply reading, absorbing. They are in a different place mentally than we are. Sometimes they can see the most important things that we miss.
MURDERMOONSHINE_LARGEWhen Jenna decides to go to this wedding, she expects to dredge up old secrets and old hurts and she expects to see people from her past, but she doesn’t expect to stumble on a dead body.

Jenna’s friend is arrested. The wedding is cancelled. And Jenna’s tendency to stick her nose where it shouldn’t be leads her into the path of the killer.

Set in the serene mountains of North Carolina Murder on Moonshine Hill is filled with suspense, humor, and a quirky cast of supporting characters.

 Amazon / Nook

Buy any one of Joan’s books this week and get a second
book of your choice free. For the deal they have to purchase
 from this link: MuseIt Publishing

CURTISDEAL

Pick up Book 1

e-Murderer copyOn this anything but typical Monday morning Jenna Scali, who works part-time for a shrink, opens an email that depicts the brutal death of a young girl. On that same day the police uncover a dead coed two blocks from Jenna’s house. The e-murderer’s description creepily echos the death described in the newspapers.

When Jenna receives other emails, she takes what she knows to the police and thus begins her journey in the path of the e-murderer. Her curious nature impels her from e-messages to dead coeds to a ring of prostitutes. With the help of her quirky friends, Jenna learns that she’s more than a conduit for the killer. She’s his target. New secrets unfold, and finally her love life takes a tumble when the true killer emerges.

THE E-MURDERER is a race to find a psychotic killer before he kills again.

This new mystery series with a young female sleuth promises to keep you glued to your seat until the last page.

Buy on Amazon / Barnes and Noble / Kobo Books / MuseItUp Publishing

Watch the Book Trailer for e-Murder


Joan is an award-winning writer who has published 6 books and numerous stories. Readers compare her to the great Southern writer, Fanny Flagg. “She writes characters and a story that will joancCurtisstay with you.”

Her debut mystery/suspense novel, The Clock Strikes Midnight, won the silver medal for fiction/suspense in the Global eBook Awards for 2015 and is a finalist for the Royal Palm Literary Award. The e-Murderer won first place in the Malice Domestic Grants competition for new writers.

Joan has been an avid reader for as long as she can remember. She reads all kinds of books, including women’s fiction, mysteries, biography, and nonfiction. Mystery/suspense with a psychological twist is exactly the kind of book Joan loves to read.

GEbA_Gold“I write about characters who remind me of myself at times and my sister at times, but never fully so. My stories are told from a woman’s point of view with a destiny. Characters drive my writing and my reading.”

Having grown up in the South with a mother from Westchester County New York, Joan has a unique take on blending the Southern traditions with the eye of a Northerner. She spent most of her childhood in North Carolina and now resides in Athens, Georgia.

Enter to win a copy of The Clock Strikes Midnight (award-winning book) and a $25 Amazon GC

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Goodnight Kisses Review , FREE eBook and Giveaway

GoodnightkissestourbannerJPEG cover for Goodnight KissesFearing she carries her mother’s curse of marriage, nineteen-year-old Eleanor Mackenna swore never to vow herself into matrimonial bondage. Nuptials aren’t needed where true love is concerned. A concept she is sure a man like McCrea Coldiron would agree with. The town gossip has him pegged as a heart breaker, but Eleanor knows a different side to McCrea. And years of loving him without seeing his affection returned has made her desperate enough to ask him for advice on seducing a man. ??

McCrea isn’t proud of his reputation as a brawler and a womanizer. As a teenager the rumors were funny, now they may cost him the land he has worked so hard for. Chatty little Eleanor Mackenna has been chasing his spurs for years and ignoring her was easy to do until she grew up. A beautiful face and curves in all the right places made her hard to resist, and when his granddad lays down an ultimatum to make her his wife, McCrea
offers her a first class lesson in seduction.?

Their date ending in more than good night kisses was everything McCrea promised it would be, but his sudden withdraw, and cold reaction to her confession of love reveal his true motives. A business arrangement with
benefits.

Get Goodnight Kisses FREE on AmazoniBooks / Smashwords / Kobo / Gumroad

Review –

Goodnight kisses is a short read, but sometimes I love shorts. You can sneak it in before bed or throughout the day when you have a little time.  I wasn’t sure what to expect when I started reading this book as this is not the type of book I normally read but I loved the cover so I said, what the heck.

I’m glad I did because Goodnight Kisses is well written and I enjoyed every minute of it! This is a prequel to a series that is coming out and after reading this I can’t wait to get my hands on it!

Bio

Author Head Shot for Wilhelmina StolenI’m a country girl, born in Tennessee and raised in Kentucky. I’m a roamer, but always come home because I love the small town atmosphere. It’s who I am. Life in my little corner of the world consists of long winter nights curled up by the fire, cheering on my favorite football teams in the fall, enduring March Madness in the spring and walking barefoot through my garden with a cold jar of sweet tea in the summer – fireflies at sunset accompanied by a serenade of crickets and frogs, and lazy summer nights in the porch swing with my beau.

When I’m not writing, I’m traveling, reading or finding a million other ways to express my creativity. My tastes in music range from classical to rock. I’m passionate about history, art and helping others find the courage to express themselves.

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Bad Boys After Dark: Mick by Melissa Foster Book Blast and Giveaway

BoysAfterDark Blast

bad boys after dark mickBad Boys After Dark: Mick

 

The Bad Boys are a series of stand-alone romances that may also be enjoyed as part of the larger Love in Bloom series.

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Indulge your inner vixen…
You asked for naughtier lovers, with the same fierce loyalty as The Bradens – Meet the Bad Boys… Four sinfully sexy, uber alpha brothers, about to fall head over heels for their leading ladies.
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Everything’s naughtier after dark…
Amanda Jenner is done being a boring-man magnet and has finally taken control of her love life. As any smart paralegal would, she’s researched the hell out of how to seduce a man. She’s waxed, primped, and ready to put her newfound skills into action–and a masquerade bar crawl is the perfect venue for her solo coming-out party.

Entertainment attorney Mick Bad lives by two hard and fast rules. He never mixes business with pleasure, and he doesn’t do relationships, which makes the anonymity of a masquerade bar crawl the perfect place for a onetime hookup.
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Amanda thinks she’s hit the jackpot when she bags a tall, dark, and sinfully delicious masked man–until she discovers the man she’s made out with is her off-limits boss. Mick’s already crossed a line he can never uncross, and one taste of sweet and sexy Amanda has only whet his appetite. When Mick offers to give Amanda a lesson in seduction–no strings, no regrets, and for goodness’ sake, come Monday, no quitting–the tables turn, and Mick’s totally unprepared for the lessons this sweet temptress provides.

Mick_NowAvailable3

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BAD BOYS AFTER DARK
Mick
Dylan (coming soon)
Carson (coming soon)
Brett (coming soon)

More After Dark books:
WILD BOYS AFTER DARK (Available Now!)
Logan
Heath
Jackson
Cooper

The AFTER DARK series are part of the LOVE IN BLOOM big family romance collection. Each book may be read as a stand-alone novel, or as part of the series.

Melissa Foster is a New York Times USA Today bestselling and award-winning author. She writes contemporary melissa fosterromance, new adult, contemporary women’s fiction, suspense, and historical fiction with emotionally compelling characters that stay with you long after you turn the last page. Her books have been recommended by USA Today’s book blog, Hagerstown MagazineThe Patriot, and several other print venues. She is the founder of the  World Literary Café and Fostering Success. When she’s not writing, Melissa helps authors navigate the publishing industry through her author training programs on  Fostering Success. Melissa has been published in Calgary’s Child Magazine, the Huffington Post, and Women Business Owners magazine. 

 

Melissa hosts an Aspiring Authors contest for children and has painted and donated several murals to The Hospital for Sick Children in Washington, DC. Melissa lives in Maryland with her family.

Visit Melissa on social media. Melissa enjoys discussing her books with book clubs and reader groups, and welcomes an invitation to your event. 

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Read, Write, Love (Love in Bloom: The Remingtons) ebook, 2 winners.  Book information here http://www.melissafoster.com/books/read-write-love-love-bloom-remingtons/

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