Author: Michele Jones

My passions are writing, cooking, and family, and you’ll find a little bit of all of that—and maybe even more—on my pages.

October Specials

October Specials

       Look what’s happening in October at AIW Press

 

Love Set in Stone and Romance Under Wraps are only 99¢ for the month of October.

If you want suspense, thrillers, and sci-fi, you can download Macabre Sanctuary and Quantum Wanderlust, free. Simply select and download. Pour yourself a glass or mug of your favorite beverage and start reading.

Here’s a sneak peak at what’s inside:

Love Set in Stone

Perched above Pittsburgh, a gargoyle spends centuries as a protector of humanity while he waits for the one who will break his curse and free him from his stone prison. When he finally finds her, her life is in jeopardy, and he realizes he may face eternal damnation to save her life.

Romance Under Wraps

The Carnegie Museum of Natural History gets an Egyptian installation, and it seems to come with the ubiquitous mummy’s curse. Death and destruction abound. But the real curse is on the mummy’s advisor—he must teach the mummy how to pass forty-three judgments or find the reincarnated queen and win her love—or they are doomed to continue reawakening every century to try all over again.

Macabre Sanctuary

Thrills. Chills. Shadows and superstitions. Things that go bump in the night. Macabre Sanctuary boasts suspenseful fiction designed to elicit goosebumps and raise heart rates.

This collection from ten talented authors offers ghosts and demons, spirits and zombies, cannibals and killers… even a ferocious animal. Historical and contemporary tales of violence and fright keep readers on the edges of their seats. There’s something for everyone who loves spine-tingling, bone-chilling, blood-curdling stories.

Quantum Wanderlust

Thirteen authors answer that question with short stories about time travel. Go back in time to right a wrong, forward to see the future. No jump is too large, no method unfeasible, no lesson beyond learning.

Do the characters observe or interact? Is the outcome better or worse than the original timeline? Read these stories to learn how far they go, how they get there, and what happens when they return.

The scope is virtually limitless, definitely timeless.

The Role of the Minor Character

The Role of the Minor Character

A minor or supporting character is vital in developing a well-crafted novel. For example:

  1. Harry Potter and Mr. Filch
    Filch delights in the misery of the students and is still far from likable; however, he is devoted to Hogwarts.
  2. Office Space and Milton Waddams
    Milton is famous for his rant about the red Swingline stapler. He is a disgruntled employee who brings life to all the mistreated employees in all possible ways.
  3. Wonderful Wizard of Oz and the Munchkins
    They are there to further the plot, give Dorothy some insight into what she needs to get home, or to see the Wizard. Without them, there would be no one to fear the Wicked Witch of the West.

All supporting characters need to be memorable even though they appear in limited scenes. While having these minor characters in your novel, they should be used to further the plot by providing subtle insights and helping or hindering the hero.

Don’t just throw them into your novel. Take the time to develop them, enabling them to provide insight into your main character without using an info dump.These characters need to have a reason for being there. If they don’t advance the plot, they need to go. Remember it can be a small part, or an addition to the subplot, but they must serve a purpose.

Use your minor characters to ground the reader in a place, adding stability to your novel. You don’t want them to overshadow your hero, but rather give a depth to your hero. These characters make your world building feel real. And who knows—you just might create a character for your next book.

Tips to Crafting a Minor Character

  1. Propel your plot forward.
  2. Help the hero achieve his goal.
  3. Move the story forward, reveal information, and provide insight about major characters, including back-story, in an organic way.
  4. Enhance the mood and tone of the world you have created.
  5. Change your hero’s point of view by advising your hero in a positive or negative way.

How do you use your minor characters?
Do your minor characters become major characters in their own novel?
Let us know. We love hearing your thoughts.

Cover Reveal–Quantum Wanderlust

Cover Reveal–Quantum Wanderlust

AIW Press is proud to reveal the cover for Quantum Wanderlust.

Spring Forward, Fall Back

That reminds you of changing the clocks, right? When we talk about the passage of time, it’s usually in short bursts—seconds, minutes, hours—. Or slightly longer chunks—weeks, months, years.

What if it was limitless? What if you could go forward or back, in any size segment you wanted? Decades, centuries, eons? Would you go back and change your life? Go forward and see your future?

We are excited to share thirteen short stories crafted by very talented authors that will take you forward and back through time.

If you could travel through time, what would you do?

What’s In A Name?

What’s In A Name?

Blanche, Muffy, Winchester, Bruiser, Tiny. Each name and nickname evoke something in us. They imply something.

Each time you choose a name for a character in your work, that name determines how you want your reader to react to the character—the image you want the character to portray.A simple name will set the tone of your work and determine how the character will act. And, when you take the time to name a character, that tells the reader the character is important to you and to your story. He has meaning, and you want your reader to remember him. If the character isn’t a vital part of your story, don’t name him—simply refer to him as what he is (waiter, lawyer, lifeguard). These words let the reader know a bit about the person but keep them from becoming too prominent.

Not only will names aid in the description of your characters, they help set the time period. For example, Beulah, while popular in the late 1800s, isn’t a common name today. As a reader coming across this name, you most likely would imagine an old woman rather than a young girl.

How can you choose the perfect name?  Every author goes about it differently, but below are a few tips that can help.

  • Use an online name generator
  • Read phone books
  • Walk though a cemetery
  • Search the Internet
  • Ask your friends

There are things you should avoid when naming characters as well.

  • Names that don’t match the time period
  • Names that sound the same or start with the same letter
  • Names that are hard to pronounce

What tools do you use to name your characters? Share them with us. We’d love to know.

 

THE RIDE OF MY LIFE—COVER REVEAL

THE RIDE OF MY LIFE—COVER REVEAL

Coming in August
THE RIDE OF MY LIFE

A look inside:

Fear of financial ruin began when I discovered the coast-to-coast bicycle tour price was $10,000. How would I afford it? The cost was all inclusive, but not suitable for my budget. After all, I was retired and lived on a fixed income.

Then one day as I reviewed the tour company’s website for the hundredth time, I read that they were hiring ‘SAG drivers’ for the cross-country tour. SAG stands for Supply and Gear. They offered no salary, but they gave forty percent off the actual price of the tour. I applied at once and surprisingly got the job. Probably because of my many years of cycling experience. I had hoped and prayed this would happen. It was a go. The trip now cost $6,000 instead of $10,000 and started to take shape. The fear of financial ruin, self-doubt, and anxiety were gone—at least for the moment.

Days later, after getting the job, very specific instructions arrived in the mail from the tour company. It was like Christmas morning as I opened the mail. Hands shaking, palms sweaty, I anxiously ripped open the envelope with total disregard for its contents.

I hope you enjoyed this sneak peek into The Ride Of My Life.

Anteprima Press

Cover Reveal―Undefeated

Cover Reveal―Undefeated

Coming in August
UNDEFEATED
A War Widow’s Story of Faith and Survival

A look inside:

It was a Sunday—uneventful for the most part. Earlier that day, I was at a birthday party with my eleven-year-old son, Justin, and my six-year-old daughter, Meredith. Home from the festivities, I began to make dinner. I had just started making spaghetti in the kitchen. The children were playing together upstairs. Just as the sauce began to simmer, there was a knock at the door. I thought nothing of it. I put down the spoon I had just used to stir the sauce, wiped my hands, and started down the hallway.
I pressed my eye to the peephole.

A man in a military uniform stood there.

I opened the door and immediately felt my chest tighten—a chaplain stood behind the uniformed man. I couldn’t quite grasp what was happening. Why they were on my front porch?

 

I hope you enjoyed this sneak peek into Undefeated.
Undefeated will be available for purchase at most major online retailers.

RozzoCasa Press

 

 

 

Villains Add Depth To Your Story

Villains Add Depth To Your Story

All good stories have conflict. Something to keep you interested. What provides conflict? A well written villain. Someone who makes you root for the hero.

As you write your novel, if you simply concentrate on your hero/heroine, you are leaving out what makes your story great. Conflict. Something or someone for the good guy to defeat. A well written villainous plot will give your hero depth and keep your reader interested. Without a good villainess what would the heroine have to do?

Before you start writing consider what the villain will be doing. He must have a reason for his actions. He cannot be bad because you want him to be bad. Give him a reason. Something the reader can identify with. Make him easy to hate. Better yet, make him someone the reader sympathizes with. Someone the reader will pull for. Inherently, villains are not all bad. Each of them believes in what they are doing and has a reason for doing it And they each have some redeemable quality. A well written villain will give meaning and focus to the hero providing direction for him to grow as a person.

As a writer, how can you know what your hero is doing if you don’t know what your villain is doing. You cannot have one without the other. Make your villain multi-dimensional. Create some logical reason why he does what he does, then give him some redeeming quality that your reader can relate to or identify with. Characters are more believable if they appear to be real. Even good people have some bad in them. Villains and heroes both have strengths and weaknesses. If you create a perfect character with no flaws your story will be flat, unbelievable, and one dimensional.

Your villain will have backstory just like your hero. What made your villain what he is today? Now, weave that backstory into your novel and show where your villain has crossed that imaginary line. The point where he no long thinks about what he will do, but acts on it. This is the point where the stakes are at their highest. Create that tension the reader craves and keep the villain’s agenda clear.

A villain doesn’t necessarily need to be evil. Perhaps a series of events puts him in a position he doesn’t want to be in and now is forced to do something he doesn’t want. Heroes and villains have strong convictions that are in opposition to each other.

Great stories have memorable villains/villainesses.
Without Voldermort what purpose would Harry Potter have?
And one of my favorites—The Wicked Witch of the West from The Wizard of Oz.

Are you a fan of the hero or do you root for the villain? Do you have a favorite villain/villainess? We’d love to hear your thoughts.

 

 

Writing Tips To Improve Your Work – Part 2

Writing Tips To Improve Your Work – Part 2

Last week we discussed a few tips to help you create a good manuscript.
This week we have more tips to keep you going.

Keep it Simple
Long words, complicated sentences, and off the cuff tags only distract the reader. Don’t force your audience to stop to look up words you’ve written. If you continue to do this, your readers will lose interest, stop reading, and most likely will not pick up another of your works. Your audience wants to be entertained, not feel like they are in school.

Read Your Work Aloud
I cannot stress this enough—reading aloud enables you to check the cadence of your work. If you stumble over the sentence, your readers will as well. If rhyming poetry is what you write, this will enable you to check the rhyme of the poem.

Show Don’t Tell
This is a big one. The one everyone tells you about. What your critique partners will point out.
Often we glaze over how important it is to show something rather than tell the readers and not give them anything to imagine.
Don’t tell us it’s raining hard. Show us instead. The rain pelted off the window and bounced off the sidewalk. It came down so hard and fast, water flooded the streets.

Beta Readers
If you ask for Beta Readers, listen to their advice. If they all have a problem with a sentence or a scene, then you need to change it. Often they will have ideas or suggestions that will make your piece better. Remember, as Staci pointed out, you can have a critique partner that isn’t a writer. Often a reader will notice things a writer will miss. I use a reader as one of my beta readers and as a critique partner.

Don’t Panic
Several times while working on my current WIP, I worried it was utter crap. I stared at the screen and saw nothing good—only additions to my word count.
If you’re like me, don’t panic. Not everything you write will make the final cut. Take a deep breath, save what you have done, and step away. Take a moment to get a drink and compose yourself. Then go back and pick up where you left off. Remember, you will eliminate the unnecessary “crap” in the editing process.

 

All authors experience writing distractions, need help, and go through periods of self-doubt. This is not uncommon. The key is to find a way to get past what distracts you and keeps you from crafting your masterpiece.

What tips do you use to stay focused and make your work the best it can possibly be. Share with us in the comments. We’d love to hear from you.

Writing Tips To Improve Your Work – Part 1

Writing Tips To Improve Your Work – Part 1

Every writer experiences it. Distractions. Anxiety. Doubt. It can come from anywhere. And it always come at the worst time.

Honestly, writing success boils down to hard work, imagination and passion—and more hard work.

Give yourself every chance possible to be successful. Use these tips as guide—or better yet, print a copy to put on your desk, or wherever you can see them so you can be constantly reminded.

Read
To become a better writer, you must read. Pick up a book and see what’s been done. Does the book flow? Is it interesting? Does it keep your attention? Learn from what you are reading. Use this as a guide to more effective writing.

Schedule writing time
Writing time should be uninterrupted and free from distraction. Make sure you give yourself time to write every day. Make a schedule and stick to it. Don’t take phone calls, watch TV, or play on the computer. Write. When your time is done, then go about the rest of your day.

Introduce your main characters and themes in the first third of your novel.
If you are writing a plot-driven genre novel make sure all your major themes/plot elements are introduced in the first third, which you can call the introduction. Develop your themes and characters in your second third, the development. Resolve your themes, mysteries and so on in the final third, the resolution.

Plan
Make an outline. Create your character sketches. If you are creating a new world, craft your towns. Create a good description. Do your homework. Research.

Be Prepared to Take Notes
You never know when inspiration will hit you. Have the means to write down notes. Carry a notebook, use your phone. Don’t think you will remember it later. You don’t want to lose a good idea because you had no way of recording it.

 

Remember, you are not alone. Every author at some point struggles with focus. Don’t put off your writing

Even famous authors sometimes have a tough time with writing; they also go through periods of self-doubt. Despite this, they always manage to come up with the goods. So take a lesson from them and stop putting off your writing plans and get started on your publishing journey today.

Have a tip you would like to share? We would love for you to share. Leave your tips for us in the comments below.

 

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