Monday, January 27, 2014

Kelly Martin's Blog Tour Giveaway


Amazon Bestselling Author
Kelly Martin
Will help me kick off a month of Romance with her guest post on February 1st.


But you can enter Kelly's Giveaway now.





Friday, January 24, 2014

How to cast a Love Spell

With Valentine's Day rapidly approaching, my thoughts turn to romance and love spells. 



In my first book, Spell Check, Evie O'Reilly is desperate to prevent her best friend from casting a love spell directed at Evie's secret crush. As the Jefferson High gang quickly discovers, a love spell aimed at a specific person delivers terrible karmic repercussions. There is a better, safer way to attract love.




         A Safe, Simple, Powerful Love Spell:



Spells require focused intention. They are meditations. Think of the sort of love you desire while you follow these simple steps:
  
1.     Plan ahead so you can perform the love spell on a Friday, the day ruled by the Goddess Venus.
2.     Gather the following: 
A candle: Pink for love and friendship, or red for lustful love.
A small bowl filled with enough olive oil to coat the candle.
Petals from any of the following fresh garden-cut flowers (Do not use store-bought bouquets.): A pink or red rose, gardenia, hyacinth, pansy, jasmine, or orchid.
Ground cinnamon.


3.     Create a handwritten list of the qualities you most hope for in a new love.
4.     Mix together the flower petals, oil, and a pinch of cinnamon (optional).
5.     Have within reach some paper towels and the candle holder you plan to use. Using your hands (as opposed to a brush), coat the candle with the oil/flower/spice mixture. Begin at the bottom of the candle and work towards the middle. Then coat from the top to the middle. Infuse with positive thoughts of love as you work.
6.     Insert candle into the holder then place the holder atop your list.
7.     Burn candle completely in one day or one night, preferably a Friday.
8.     Do not leave the candle unattended. If you must leave, snuff (don’t blow) out the candle and relight it when you return.

Don’t

Aim a love spell at a particular person. A binding love spell will harm you and the person you entrap. Trust the Universe will find you the best possible match.

copyright 2014 by Ariella Moon
http://www.AriellaMoon.com

Photo credit for jasmine flowers on a branch: copyright Depositphotos.com/steho

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Writing Unforgettable Characters. Part 2: Saving Mr. Banks

Writing Unforgettable Characters
Part 2: Saving Mr. Banks

A hero or heroine’s strength or brilliance can be measured by the quality of their opponents. Would Sherlock Holmes seem so brilliant if he were up against a common thief instead of a criminal mastermind? Would Harry Potter be just another child wizard if Voldemort didn’t symbolize supreme evil?

It’s difficult to identify the true villain in the recently released movie, Saving Mr. Banks. Screenwriters Kelly Marcel and Sue Smith present two indomitable characters with opposing goals. Walt Disney wants to adapt P.L. Travers’s book, Mary Poppins, into a movie. P.L. Travers wants to protect her characters from Disney’s perceived frivolity. She refuses him for twenty years, and agrees to meet Disney only when faced with dire financial difficulties.

From the outset, Mrs. Travers is prickly and oppositional. Walt Disney is affable and determined. Travers blocks his every move to transform her book into a fluffy, animated musical. The author appears destined to become a cartoon foil to the more loveable Disney. The great surprise in Saving Mr. Banks is the use of backstory to slowly shift the viewer’s perception of the contentious Mrs. Travers.

Importance of Backstory

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines “backstory” as “a story that tells what led up to the main story or plot (as of a film).” Unforgettable characters have compelling backstories that drive their current goals. Walt Disney had promised his children he would make Mary Poppins into a movie. Late in the film we discover details about Disney’s father that provide further understanding of his motivation. But it is Travers’s Australian backstory —and what it reveals about her father and her relationship with him — that profoundly changes our understanding of her.

Shapeshifters

As Mrs. Travers’s backstory unfolds, Marcel and Smith slowly build her emotional foundation. The shapeshifter archetype comes to the fore. Spoiler Alert! Travers’s father shapeshifts from an imaginative, playful, doting father to a drunk who is unable to hold a job or grow up. As our perception of him changes, so does our empathy for, and our understanding of, his daughter.

Projection

On another level, the shapshifter archetype brings fresh comprehension to Travers’s assumptions about Disney. In The Writer’s Journey, Christopher Vogler states, “By nature we look for people who match our internal image of the opposite sex.” Subconsciously, Travers judges Disney’s whimsical, magical (pixie dust!) side through the filter of her past and projects her father onto him. She wants to save her beloved characters from Disney because she fears he is too much like her father. But a character’s greatest weakness can be his greatest strength. Without the destructive influence of alcoholism that killed Travers’s father, Disney transformed imagination, magic, and childhood wonder into a highly successive business.

Travers’s emotional journey from distrust to trust, from disempowerment to empowerment, makes her an unforgettable character.

copyright 2014 by Ariella Moon
http://www.AriellaMoon.com


Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Karen King's Perfect Summer


I'm happy to welcome back fellow Astraea Press author, Karen King, for the one-year anniversary bash of her first YA novel,  Perfect Summer. Karen has had over one hundred children’s books published. She’s written for many children's magazines too including Sindy, Barbie, Winnie the Pooh and Thomas the Tank Engine. She writes for all ages and in all genres; story books, picture books, plays, joke books and non-fiction. Perfect Summer was runner up in the Red Telephone books YA Novel 2011 competition.




Blurb for Perfect Summer

Growing up in a society so obsessed with perfection that the government gives people grants for plastic surgery, 15-year-old Morgan can't help being a bit envious of her best friend Summer. Summer is beautiful and rich, her father is a top plastic surgeon and her mother is a beauty consultant with a celebrity client list. Her life seems so effortlessly perfect. Whereas Morgan isn't so rich or beautiful and her little brother, Josh, has Down's syndrome - which, according to the Ministry and society in general, is a crime. Then Josh is kidnapped and the authorities aren't interested so Morgan and Summer decide to investigate. They, along with another teenager, Jamie, whose sister, Holly, has also been kidnapped, uncover a sinister plot involving the kidnapping of disabled children and find themselves in terrible danger. Can they find Josh and Holly before it's too late?

Extract

The street was deserted. I guessed everyone was at work and school. It was so quiet and peaceful. So normal. So hard to believe that anything as awful as a kidnapping could be about to take place.
      Maybe we are panicking, jumping to conclusions, I thought. After all, Mila vans were quite common.
       “The van could belong to a plumber or electrician going about their business,” I suggested. I hoped it was.
            “Could be. But I think it’s a bit too much of a coincidence for it to be parked in the same street that Emma lives on, don’t you?” Jamie asked.
I remembered how Josh was playing in the garden just before he was snatched. Emma could be doing the same thing, heartbreakingly unaware what fate was in store for her. We couldn’t take any chances.
“If this van does belong to the kidnapper, it means he’s on his way to get Emma right now. We’ve got to stop him. How about we split up? One of us goes to the front of the house and the other to the back?”
“I’ve a better idea. He’ll have to come back to the van so it might be best if I stay here and see if I can immobilize it while you go warn Emma’s parents? Then he won’t be able to get away.”

“Good idea.” I started to run off, anxious to get to Emma’s house before the kidnapper struck.
“Morgan?”
I paused and glanced over my shoulder. “What?”
“If you do see the kidnapper, no heroics. Okay?”
“Okay. Nor you.”
I didn’t like leaving Jamie by the van alone. The kidnapper could be armed. Or there could be two of them. A gang even. There’s no way Jamie would be a match for a couple of men, but I had no choice. Emma’s life could be at stake.
I raced along the street, looking for number fourteen, the address we had for Emma. I was at number thirty--four so I ran on.
As I passed a small pathway separating a block of houses, two people came running out--both dressed in dark leisure suits. I barely had time to notice that one was a man, the other a woman, before the man charged into me, knocking me to the ground.
“Ow!” I yelled as I hit the pavement, landing on my left shoulder. “What the heck…?”
Furious, I pulled myself up and rubbed my shoulder. It stung like mad, and I could already feel the throb of a bruise forming. I glared up at the man then sucked in my breath as I saw the young girl, flung face down over his shoulder. I noticed the
heavy boot on her left leg then the metal splint supporting it. She was wearing a calliper. She must be Emma. And they were kidnapping her!

Buy Links
Astraea Press
Amazon
Waterstones
Barnes and Noble

Ten Fun Facts About Karen King
1)   I have no sense of direction and am always getting lost.
2)   I had my first poem published when I was eleven.
3)   I love to sing but can never remember the words to songs and always sing out of tune.
4)   When I was a child me and my brother spent all afternoon trying to dig to Australia.
5)   I was about to start teacher training when I started getting my work published so I became a writer instead.
6)   Me and my two brothers started our own detective agency when we were young and once ran all the way home in terror because we thought we’d spotted a wanted criminal.
7)   I once tried to dye my hair blonde and it turned out bright pink.
8)   I love chocolate so much I often eat it for breakfast.
9)    I can’t ride a bike. When I was younger I tried to learn but fell off and landed upside down in a litter bin. I haven’t tried since!
10)       I once wrote a horoscope page for a magazine.

Connect with Karen King
Website: www.karenking.net
Author Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/?ref=tn_tnmn&__adt=7&__att=iframe#!/KarenKingAuthor
Good Reads page: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/74448.Karen_King