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VINTAGE 1950s: Around the World in 80 Days

August 3, 2020 by in category Partners in Crime by Janet Elizabeth Lynn & Will Zeilinger tagged as ,

         The movie was based on an adventure novel  by Jules Verne written in 1873.  The movie had an all star cast with David Niven, Cantinflas, Shriley MacLaine, and Robert Newton, with cameo appearances of many others. It was released October 17. 1956 in the US.

         To win a bet, a British inventor, his Chinese valet and an aspiring French artist, leave on a trip to explore the world where they experience adventures and danger as they travel around the world in exactly eighty days.

         The movie was nominated  for eight  Academy Awards and won five, beating out critically and publicly praised films like Friendly Persuasion, The Ten Commandments, Giant and The King and I.

         Many of the balloon scenes with Niven and Cantinflas were filmed using a 160-foot (49 m) crane. Even that height bothered Niven, who was afraid of heights. Tom Burges, who was shorter than Niven, was used as a stand-in for scenes where the balloon is seen from a distance.

Added note:

In 2017 Mark Beaumont, a British cyclist inspired by Verne, set out to cycle across the world in 80 days. He departed from Paris on July 2 and completed the trip in 78 days, 14 hours and 40 minutes.

For a waltz down memory lane, Here is the trailer to the movie. Enjoy!

Published authors Will Zeilinger and Janet Lynn had been writing individually until they got together and wrote the Skylar Drake Mystery Series. These hard-boiled tales are based in old Hollywood of 1955. Janet has published seven mystery novels, and Will has three plus a couple of short stories. Their world travels have sparked several ideas for murder and crime stories. This creative couple is married and lives in Southern California.

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Dear Extra Squeeze Team, How Do I Keep My Narrative Voice Consistent?

July 31, 2020 by in category The Extra Squeeze by The Extra Squeeze Team tagged as , , , ,

Dear Extra Squeeze Team,

I have three MCs in my historical fiction novel; each one in a different country. A critique pointed out that the voice kept changing. How do I keep the voice constant while maintaining the three different cultures?

Rebecca Forster | Extra Squeeze

Rebecca Forster 

USA Today Bestselling author of 35 books, including the Witness series and the new Finn O’Brien series.

This sounds like an exciting and intricate project. It also sounds like you need to stop and assess your critique group’s input. Having not seen the work it’s hard to make a judgment regarding your question, but I think the changing voices would be necessary for a project of this scope. So ask yourself if, in this instance, is your author’s instinct appropriate or your critique group’s caution?

I wrote a book called Before Her Eyes that had first person and third person parallel stories. The voices had to be different and I wrote them as such. Readers had no problem with this.

What I do question, however, is the suggestion that you have three main characters. I will accept they are the MC’s of their separate sections of the book. However (again an assumption) they will all come together at some point. There will have to be a conclusion to this book and that means one character will have the star turn.

I would be curious to know if you really have three MCs or one MC and some very, very strong supporting characters. I will refer back to Before Her Eyes. While each track had a main character the climax of the book showcased one. His journey overrode hers. Good luck.

Jenny Jensen | A Slice of Orange

Jenny Jensen

Developmental editor who has worked for twenty plus years with new and established authors of both fiction and non-fiction, traditional and indie.

 

Whose voice? I’m going to assume you mean the narrative voice—1st PPOV or 3rd PPOV. It would be critical for the voices of the three separate MCs to be different from one another but consistent within each voice. I’m not so sure it would be so for an overall narrative voice unless it is 1st PPOV. That makes the narrator a character as well.

 

If we are talking 3rd person narrator be clear in your mind about the intent and purpose of the narrator—is it the omniscient 3rd person? Then you have the advantage of a voice that knows everything from the thoughts of a character to where in time all the characters are. Think of it as your writerly inner voice and stick with that for the omniscient narration.

 

If you are using a 1st person narrator then it is a character with it’s own strengths and weaknesses and agenda. As with any character the author needs to truly know who that character is. Tapping into that understanding will keep the narrative voice consistent through out.

The Extra Squeeze | A Slice of Orange

Ever wonder what industry professionals think about the issues that can really impact our careers? Each month The Extra Squeeze features a fresh topic related to books and publishing.

Amazon mover and shaker Rebecca Forster and her handpicked team of book professionals offer frank responses from the POV of each of their specialties — Writing, Editing, PR/Biz Development, and Cover Design.

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One Small Sign

July 30, 2020 by in category Quill and Moss by Dianna Sinovic tagged as , , ,

One Small Sign





The house was still—so quiet and somber after Gran’s passing—but Kiri refused to turn on the TV or crank up her earbuds just to fill the silence with trivial sounds. She wanted to catch the memory of Gran’s voice, to hear that mischievous laugh again. Within that nothingness, the faintest of snuffles echoed in the hallway outside Gran’s study, where Kiri was reviewing for a test.

            Putting her Econ book face down on the desk, she stepped close to the hall doorway and listened. 

            There it was again. Snuffle, snort

            Unnerved—she was alone in the house—Kiri poked her head cautiously around the door frame to look down the hall. Empty.

            With a small sigh of relief, she walked down the hall and into the dining room to check there. The room was cramped not only with the eight-foot dining table, but also a sideboard, a corner cabinet and a large breakfront. She’d eaten many a meal in this room, with her Gran and, in the years before his death, Gramps presiding. Now both were gone. Despite the bulky furniture, the room felt empty, lifeless.

Photo by Sam Balye on Unsplash

            Scanning the area, Kiri noticed a small figurine on the otherwise cleared table. She picked it up. About six inches long and four inches high: An antelope with its feet tucked neatly beneath it, two short, thin horns, and large deer-like ears. It seemed to gaze at her with dark glistening eyes. 

            “Where did you come from?” Kiri addressed the object, turning it over. 

            Oribi, a small African antelope, the label affixed to the bottom said.

            Kiri’s gaze wandered to the breakfront. In addition to Gran’s delicate china pieces with their faint blue cloud pattern, the shelves held a few other figurines: an impala and a gazelle, their horns much longer and more curved than the oribi’s.

            Gran had a thing for antelopes even though she’d never seen one outside of the Philadelphia Zoo. “To be able to run with that grace and speed,” she told Kiri. “It must be an incredible sight on the savanna.”

            Africa had been on Gran’s bucket list, but the Fates had another idea: cancer.

            Kiri put the oribi back in its place, with the others, and closed the breakfront section. It had been a month since the memorial service and her parents’ decision that Kiri could live at the house, but how she missed Gran. 

            As evening came on, she cooked herself dinner, washed up, and went back to studying. Her class final was in two days.

            Deep in thought on volume discount pricing theory, she was startled by another noise from the hallway. 

Snuffle, snort.

Once again, Kiri followed the noise to the dining room, and there sat the oribi figurine, back on the table.

            She picked it up, but this time, she carried it with her to the study. Clearing away a few papers and notebooks, she put the figurine under the desk lamp. How odd. Its head was turned now, instead of looking straight ahead. She ran her fingers along the antelope’s ceramic neck but could feel no place where it could swivel.

            Two hours later, Kiri yawned and stretched. She had finished her review. She closed her laptop and textbook, and reached to switch off the lamp. The figurine had vanished from the desktop.

This time, Kiri jumped to her feet. What the—?

In the pool of light from the lamp stood the quavering image of an oribi—at about two feet high, it was the size of a medium dog, but with thin legs, small hooves, and no horns. Ethereal, the doe nuzzled Kiri’s thigh. 

Then the realization hit her.

“Gran, is that you?” Kiri knelt and put her hands on either side of the creature’s face. It made no move to pull away, only looked at her with those same dark glistening eyes. Was that a hint of a smile? A moment later, Kiri was once again holding the figurine.

That night, she nestled the ceramic piece next to her pillow and dreamed of running fleet-foot across a sea of grasses under an equatorial sun.

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Setting the Stage by Kat Martin

July 28, 2020 by in category Guest Posts tagged as , , , ,
Kat Martin | A Slice of Orange
Photo by Juan Carlo, Ventura Country Star

Today’s Guest Author is Kat Martin. We hope you enjoy her post on Setting the Stage and the excerpt from her next romantic suspense novel, THE ULTIMATE BETRAYAL


New York Times bestselling author Kat Martin is a graduate of the University of California at Santa Barbara where she majored in Anthropology and also studied History. Currently residing in Missoula, Montana with her Western-author husband, L. J. Martin, Kat has written sixty-five Historical and Contemporary Romantic Suspense novels. More than sixteen million copies of her books are in print and she has been published in twenty foreign countries. Kat is currently at work on her next Romantic Suspense.


Setting the Stage

I love to read novels set in interesting places. Currently I’m reading an historical romance that takes place in Nazi-occupied Paris during WWII. I’ve always loved Paris, which makes the book even more fun to read. Being able recognize the settings where the action takes place, as well as the names of restaurants and streets I have visited.


As a writer, going to the place your book is set, or choosing a place you have actually been, is the best way to make your book seem real.


In THE ULTIMATE BETRAYAL, the novel takes place in Colorado, a state I love to visit. After I’d concluded my second Maximum Security novel, THE DECEPTION, which was set in Texas, I was looking for someplace different for book number three. Colorado, with its wide variety of landscapes and extreme climate conditions seemed perfect.


Having been to Denver a number of times, street names were familiar, parks and airports, locations of smaller towns and rural mountain communities.


Since this was a Maximum Security novel, a romantic thriller, I began by researching crime in the state. I had digging and digging and finally stumbled onto an article about the U.S. Army chemical weapons depot near Colorado Springs. As Brandon Garrett, the hero of my story, was a former army officer, I loved the idea of Bran interacting with his military past.


The idea of stealing chemical weapons from a storage depot gave me all sorts of plot ideas. In THE ULTIMATE BETRAYAL, when investigative journalist Jessie Kegan’s father, a colonel in the army, is accused of treason, she’s determined to clear his name. Afraid for her life, Jessie turns to former Special Ops soldier, Brandon Garrett. But time is running out and the game being played is deadly. Working together, Bran and Jessie risk everything to solve the riddle and stop the threat–before it’s too late.


Because of the military setting, this was one of the hardest books I’ve ever written. I think it turned out to be one of my best. I particularly love the interaction between Bran and Jessie and I hope readers will, too.


I hope you’ll watch for THE ULTIMATE BETRAYAL and that you enjoy Bran and Jessie’s story. Till next time, all best wishes and happy reading, Kat


The Ultimate Betrayal
by
Kat Martin
Excerpt

Too much downtime always made him nervous, kind of edgy as he waited for the other shoe to drop. It had been a week since his last client had headed back to Nashville, a week of peace and quiet he should have enjoyed.


Instead, he had this nagging feeling that something bad was coming down the line.


Lounging back in the chair behind his desk at Maximum Security, Brandon Garrett looked up at the sound of the front door swinging open. A gust of cool, late October winds swept in, along with a petite, whirlwind of a woman with the prettiest strawberry blond hair Bran had ever seen.
She had a sweet little body to match her fiery curls, he noticed, outlined by the dark blue stretch jeans curving over her sexy little ass and the peach knit top that hugged her breasts.


It wasn’t tough to read the anxiety in her big green eyes as she surveyed the room, but instead of heading for the receptionist’s desk, those big green eyes landed on Bran and as she started toward him, there was something about her that rang a distant bell. Interest piqued, he rose from his chair. “Can I help you?”

“You’re Brandon Garrett, right? You were a friend of my brother’s. Danny Kegan? I recognize you from the photos Danny sent home.”


The mention of his best friend’s name hit him like a blow, and the muscles across his stomach clenched. Daniel Kegan had been a member of his spec ops team, a brother, not just a friend. Danny had saved Bran’s life at the cost of his own. He was KIA in Afghanistan.


Bran stared down at the girl, who was maybe five-foot-four. “You’re Jessie,” he said, remembering the younger sister Daniel Kegan had talked so much about. “You look like him. Same color hair and eyes.”

She nervously wet her lips, which were plump and pink and fit her delicate features perfectly.


“My brother said if I ever needed help, I should come to you. He said you’d help me no matter what.” She glanced back toward the door and his mind shifted away from the physical jolt he felt as he looked at her to the worry in her eyes.


“I’ll help you. Danny was my closest friend. Whatever you need, I’ll help. Come on. Let’s go into the conference room and you can tell me what’s going on.” When her gaze shot back to the door, his senses went on alert.


“I didn’t mean I needed your help later,” Jessie said nervously. “I meant I need your help right now.”


Gunshots exploded through the windows. “Get down!” Bran shouted to the other guys in the office as he shoved Jessie down behind his desk and covered her with his body. Glass shattered and a stream of bullets sprayed across the room.


Jaxon Ryker popped up, gun drawn, and ran for the door. Hawk Maddox and Lissa Blayne were shuffling through their desks, arming themselves. Jonas Wolfe drew his ankle gun and ran for the rear entrance, ready for any threat that might come from there.


“Black SUV with tinted windows,” Ryker reported. Six feet of solid muscle, dark hair and eyes, Jax was a former Navy SEAL, currently a PI and occasional bounty hunter. “Couldn’t get a plate number.” Jax’s gaze swung to the front of the room. “Mindy, you okay?”


The little receptionist eased up from beneath her desk. “I-I’m okay. Should I call the police?” Around here, it was never good to jump to conclusions.

Bran hauled Jessie to her feet. He could feel her trembling. Her eyes looked even bigger and greener than they had before. “Are they coming back?” he asked.

“I-I don’t know. It could have just been a warning.”


Bran turned to Mindy. “Unless someone’s already phoned it in, let’s wait to call the cops till we know what’s going on.” His attention returned to Jessie. “We need to talk.”


She just nodded. Her face had gone pale, making a fine line of freckles stand out across her forehead and the bridge of her nose.

Bran took her arm and urged her toward the conference room. “Keep a sharp eye,” he said to The Max crew. “Just in case.”

Jessie sank unsteadily down in one of the rolling chairs around the long oak conference table. The man she had come to see, Brandon Garrett, sat down beside her.


“Okay, let’s hear it,” he said. “What’s going on?”

She thought of the men who had just shot up his office and her pulse started thumping again. “Danny said if I ever needed help–”


“Yeah, I get that. Your brother knew he could count on me. Like I said, I’ll help you any way I can, but I need to know what’s going on.”


Bran was taller than Danny, around six-three, with a soldier’s lean, hard body, vee-shaped, with broad shoulders and narrow hips. Powerful biceps bulged beneath the sleeve of his dark blue T-shirt. With his slightly too-long mink brown hair, straight nose and masculine features, he was ridiculously handsome, except for the hard line of his jaw and the darkness in his eyes that contrasted sharply with their beautiful shade of cobalt blue.


“Start at the beginning,” he demanded.


Since she wasn’t sure exactly where to begin, Jessie dragged in a shaky breath and slowly released it.


“I’m here because of my father–Colonel James Kegan, Commander U.S. Army Alamo Chemical Depot. Just before he died a little over two months ago, my father was removed from active duty. He was charged with larceny–specifically the theft of chemical weapons stored at the Depot. Because the Army believed he was selling the weapons to a foreign entity, he was also charged with espionage and treason. I need you to help me prove his innocence.”


THE UNTIMATE BETRAYAL IS AVAILABLE TODAY
FOLLOW THE BUY LINKS BELOW


THE ULTIMATE BETRAYAL
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Fences by Neetu

July 26, 2020 by in category Poet's Day by Neetu Malik tagged as , ,

Fences

 

now
as then

we draw lines
build and rebuild
fences
with new wire
cut of the same steel
forged in
new factories

still owned and run
by warped minds  

© Neetu Malik


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