Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Talli Roland's THE HATING GAME

Help Talli Roland's debut novel THE HATING GAME hit the Kindle bestseller list at Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk by spreading the word today. Even a few sales in a short period of time on Amazon helps push the book up the rankings, making it more visible to other readers.

Amazon.co.uk: The Hating Game

Amazon.com: The Hating Game

No Kindle? Download a free app at Amazon for Mac, iPhone, PC, Android and more.

Coming soon in paperback. Keep up with the latest at http://www.talliroland.com/.


When man-eater Mattie Johns agrees to star on a dating game show to save her ailing recruitment business, she's confident she'll sail through to the end without letting down the perma-guard she's perfected from years of her love 'em and leave 'em dating strategy. After all, what can go wrong with dating a few losers and hanging out long enough to pick up a juicy £2000,000 prize? Plenty, Mattie discovers, when it's revealed that the contestants are four of her very unhappy exes. Can Mattie confront her past to get the prize money she so desperately needs, or will her exes finally wreak their long-awaited revenge? And what about the ambitious TV producer whose career depends on stopping her from making it to the end?

Family Reunion

All references to Thanksgiving aside, my story Family Reunion is posted today over at Hannah Kincade's site, Musings of a Palindrome. Beware...it's creepy.

Family Reunion

Go give it a read...you know you want to.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

To my friends who celebrate
I wish you much joy
With family and love
That surrounds you

To my friends who don't
I wish you the same
For we don't need
A holiday
To appreciate love

Have a wonderful weekend, no matter how you spend it!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Spaced Out - #FridayFlash

“Were you able to get us a room?” Ron eyed his friend expectantly, surmising the answer when David refused to meet his gaze.

“It’s only for three days,” David explained as they moved up the ramp to board the ferry to Alpha VII. “We’d never be in the room anyway. This leaves us with more money to party.”

“I don’t want to party, slum boy. I want to sleep. You know I get space sick. The only reason I agreed to come with you was because you told me your cousin could get us a room.” Ron thought about three days of dealing with the slow spin of the ship and began to weave.

“Hey, you’re turning a funny shade of green. It was my cousin’s friend and he couldn’t find a room for us but I promise you, you’ll have such a great time that you won’t even notice the star drive.”

“Why do you want to follow a girl clear over to Alpha VII anyway?” Ron grumbled. “Did our own planet suddenly run out of girls?”

David shook his head. “I told you. She’s special – and her dad’s loaded.”

A synthesized voice welcomed them aboard the Star Ranger as they slid their ID cards into the slot, directing them to E deck.

“You’d think they could at least have a human attendant to greet us, instead of a canned speech.” Ron continued to grumble as they made their way toward the crowded elevators. The dank odors of sweat and food in the confines of the overloaded car were enough to make anyone ill.

David didn’t seem to notice, blithely pushing past others to hit the button for E deck. A voice droned out of the speakers, wishing everyone a safe and pleasant voyage.

The deck they’d been assigned to held the dregs of society as far as Ron could tell. Other losers, like themselves, unable to pay for accommodations. Even David looked momentarily dismayed by the flotsam before reasserting his cheerful disposition.

“See? This won’t be so bad. We’ll just claim some chairs…”

They both could see that all chairs were taken. Fortunately, the flooring was of a spongy nature, used to absorb shock waves. They sat in a corner, away from foot traffic and listened to the departure proceedings.

The ship rolled as soon as the clamps were released. Ron grabbed his stomach, wondering how he would survive three days of this.

David stood up. “I’ll go find us some food and bring it back here, all right?”

Ron responded by throwing up on David’s shoes. Feeling grimly satisfied, he consented to having a glass of water and crackers brought back to him.

While David was gone, Ron had a chance to study the people around him. Most seemed unremarkable, but one stood out. A well-dressed woman sat at a corner table, speaking into a vidphone while fiddling with a necklace that she had strung out. It looked like she was disassembling the baubles.

Just as David came back the ship took a roll, scattering the woman’s jewels off the table. They quickly realized her baubles were flash charges when one detonated close to them, temporarily blinding the two men.

The loudspeakers blared a warning that the ship was under attack and all passengers must make their way to an escape pod. Ron and David crawled in a direction that they hoped would lead them to a pod.

Red emergency lights blinked in the corridor as their eyesight returned. The sounds of laser fire and screaming now joined the general bedlam of announcements still being issued.

“We’re being boarded.” David shouted to make himself heard. Ron didn’t waste a breath to respond to the obvious, instead running for his life in the direction of dubious safety.

They leapt into the nearest pod, anxiously waiting for other passengers to join them. Booted feet tramped down the corridor. David stuck his head out, quickly ducked back in and hit the eject button, fear etched on his face. Ron didn’t need to ask who the boots belonged to.

Once away, the two broke into hysterics as they studied each other. The heat from the flash charge had burnt away most of their hair and left their clothes in shreds.

“Won’t we be the fashion trend on Alpha VII,” David said between bouts of hiccups that he’d developed from laughing too hard.

“If we ever get there.” Ron punctuated his statement by puking again.

For three days they tumbled through space waiting to be rescued. When an in-system enforcement patrol ship clamped onto their pod, Ron opened a bleary eye and looked at David.

“Are we there yet?”

As the door circled open and a crewmember helped the bedraggled pair out, a synthesized voice came on in the pod.

“Thank you for choosing the Star Ranger. We hope you enjoyed your flight.”

©2010 Laura Eno

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Horn of Plenty - #FridayFlash

"What do you think of this cornucopia?" Chronos held it out for inspection.

Death stared at it dubiously. "It looks like Amalthea's horn. Does Zeus know you broke it off? He went to a lot of trouble to fix it."

Chronos clutched the horn to his chest and looked at Death in horror.

"It's not the real horn, only a representation. I wanted to present it as a gift to Lucien for his Thanksgiving Day celebration. What do you think?"

Death took it from Chronos and peered through the hole on the small end.

"Anything you put in here would leak through the hole. It's just the right size for dispensing peanuts though."

To prove his point, he stuck the horn into his eye socket like a funnel and poured a jar of peanuts into the large end. Chronos listened to the sound of nuts bouncing their way through Death's skeletal cavities, making him sound like a pinball machine.

"Very funny." He took it back and laid it on the counter. "It's symbolic. You fill it with food and remember to be thankful for the abundance of life."

"I get that. Do I have to be thankful that Jeeves will be there serving the food?"

Chronos laughed at his friend. "You can be thankful that Lucien will go out of his way to serve you himself."

"He'd better." Death snapped his mandible for emphasis. "It's a wonderful idea he had, hosting a dinner for all of us. I wonder why he's being so sentimental?"

Chronos shrugged and tied his woven belt over his robe, worn only for special occasions.

"I don't know but if we don't leave now, we'll be late. You know how punctual Evil is."

Death picked up the cornucopia and tossed it to Chronos. "Maybe you should instruct Jeeves not to serve the mashed potatoes in this. They'd be hard to scrape out, don't you think?"

Chronos shook his head. "I can see you're going to be the life of the party."

Death nodded and put his humerus around Chronos. "I try to be, my friend."

©2010 Laura Eno

Friday, November 5, 2010

Developing Characters with Stephen Tremp

I'd like to welcome Stephen Tremp, author of Breakthrough, on his virtual Blog Book Tour. Today is stop number five out of fifteen and he's discussing Developing Characters with Character.

Unless you’re writing a cozy mystery, I think sometimes it’s important to have a plethora of characters for a good story. I remember a new author once received a review from Stephen King. The famous writer of horror and terror wrote what he appreciated most was that there were over 60 characters that gave tremendous depth to the story.

Is Too Much Too Much: Although I do not have close to 60 characters, I took this to heart as I began writing Breakthrough two years ago. I was determined to take the time and commit to developing a rich array of personalities who not only complimented one another, but also caused internal and external conflict. Plus, this pool of individuals gives me more options to kill off figures (eleven murders in my book and many more in Opening and Escalation) without depleting the story of main and supporting characters.

Supporting characters can be almost important to a good story as the protagonist and antagonist. They add dimension and depth to the main character as well as the plot, allowing the author to weave personality traits important to the story line that is difficult to attribute to the main character. Sidekicks intimately know the main character and the author can elaborate by exposition personality traits of the protagonist to the reader. Dr. Watson (Sherlock Holmes), Tonto (The Lone Ranger), Robin (Batman), Festus (Matt Dillon), Mini-Me (Dr. Evil), Donkey (Shrek), and Ed McMahon (Johnny Carson) are all sidekicks who have significantly contributed to the development of the main character.

Sidekicks do all Kinds of Things, from royally screwing things up and getting the main character into danger, to redeeming themselves by saving the protagonist's life or offering that one piece of advice or information that saves the day. They are the yang to the protagonist's ying, but many times in an uncomplimentary manner. Think of Jerry Seinfeld and George Castanza.

Sometimes equal partners can be sidekicks to each other. We see this repeatedly in comedy. They have very differing characteristics that play well off each other. Think of the straight men and the funny guys like Abbot and Costello, George and Gracie, Lucy and Ricky Ricardo, or Laurel and Hardy. These characters have entertained audiences for generations because they both offer something so incredibly different than their partner. But together, the duo is inseparable, and writers can be creative and innovative with the polar opposite personalities and talents.

Do You Base Your Characters on Yourself or Anyone you Know: My protagonist, Chase Manhattan is loosely based on me, only he’s a little bit taller than I am, a little bit better looking, a little faster, stronger, smarter, and much richer. The rest of the good guys (and girls) and bad guys (and girls) are partially made up as well as based on people I’ve known. I sometimes use celebrities as inspiration to develop characters. I have to admit that there is quite a bit of me in the antagonist Nicholas Fischer Jr. But that’s another blog for another day.

Where to Find Inspiration for a Character’s Character? Other People, of Course
Last year we hosted two International Exchange Students from Japan for three days and hosted a student from Wuhan China for a semester. Although we were challenged by the expected language barrier, we had a great time sharing a cultural exchange with each other. We spent time at the beach, ate cheese burgers and pizza, and watched movies.

Ironically, the settings in the next two installments in the BREAKTHROUGH trilogy take place in China and Japan as well as the U.S. By hosting these students I have grown to more fully appreciate the people and cultures of these countries.

I'm now developing a few characters from China and Japan that will help balance the violent events that push the world on the brink of war. I think it’s vital to develop characters culturally different from yourself. All too often I read books where explosive events happen that are to engage and WOW! the reader. Lots of explosions and action, but little regarding how people are affected and the losses and pain they incur caused by the events.

Finally, I don’t want the characters to be perceived as merely the “good guys” or the “bad guys,” where the good guy wins in the end. I want the reader to care about and form an affinity with the characters, to relate to and identify with their trials and tribulations, and share in their successes.
Please join me Monday as I visit Alex Cavanaugh .

You can visit Stephen Tremp, author of the action thriller Breakthrough at Breakthrough Blogs .

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