Author Archives: marymarvella

October is time to get back in gear before Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas!

We at Gilded Dragonfly Books have been so busy getting books edited and sent out that we have neglected our blog. NO MORE NEGLECTING! I should be editing now, since I have 2 wonderful books to finish editing! (HINT Vampires and dragon shifters and more!) If you haven’t bought Haunting Tales of Spirit Lake,maybe you need some incentive. Georgiana Fields has a story in it. Mary Marvella and Melba Moon have stories in it! Check the cover for the list of fabulous authors! I mentioned Georgiana because book 4 of her Crimson Series is on preorder!  More this week and a cover reveal and blurb! 2AmazonComment and get a free ebook from two of the authors. I am one and we’ll need to coerce the second author!

Craft articles will follow next week!

Have you met Carol Shaughnessey?

 

 

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Join Katie Hart Smith and Me this Saturday!

Our Georgian Fields!

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Join Katie Hart Smith and me at Braselton Gallery this Saturday, August 20, 2016, from 1 to 3 PM. We will be talking about and sign our latest books. Katie’s new book is Aspirations of the Heart. And I will be signing Crimson Hearts and Crimson Dreams. Come and13559058_1801047960127068_4377037462032170158_o help us celebrate Braselton Georgia’s 100th Birthday!

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Anatomy of a Front Cover

We take our covers seriously.

Nan Monroe

My second novel, Nightmare Lullaby, is very nearly ready to make its debut before the world — I’m reading the “home stretch” of the proof even now — and it has a front cover, courtesy of Gilded Dragonfly Books‘ artist Gina Dyer.

One of the things I love about working with GDB is their approach to covers. I’ve heard many writers complain about complete lack of input when it comes to the images meant to sell their books to the public. GDB, however, does nothing without checking with me first. The images you see on this cover are an integration of pictures I found on depositphotos.com, so in a sense I collaborated with Gina on this cover.

The vision of a white-skinned woman dominates, the closest I could find to a representation of Meliroc, my lead character. She lacks the blazing, angry green eyes I describe in…

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A Christmas Story To Touch Your Heart by C. C. Ansardi

From our new anthology, A Stone Mountain Christmas102decover-0x4_1870x2500-5

CHARLIE’S MIRACLE

 by
C. C. Ansardi

If this keeps up, you’ll be able to build a snow man, Charlie.”

His red curls sparked as he ducked back from the brightness of the window, leaving a smudge from where his face pressed against the glass. Charlie turned and threw me a quick grin. That grin of his could light up a room, and it certainly lit up my heart.

I dreaded the Christmas holidays. Charlie and I were facing them alone. His father was in Afghanistan, his mother on the run from an abusive man, so Charlie and I had only each other. But with the wonderland those tiny flakes promised hope surged from deep within, and I gratefully accepted it.

Snow was rare in the South, but a white Christmas had been predicted by all the weather stations. Folks celebrate snow in Georgia! They even name it—Snow jam! Snow Jam ends all traffic, all work, and all residents are expected to engage exclusively in activities such as sledding, snowball fights, and lumpy snowmen competitions. All of this must be followed by cups of foamy, hot chocolate.

Charlie’s fascination with the falling snow gave me hope. This sad little boy facing the holidays without his parents needed a distraction. Six years old and adorable with his fiery curls and brown eyes that could cut glass or turn a little girl starry-eyed, my grandson had become my Christmas project.

Craig, my son and Charlie’s father, was deployed with the U.S. Army. His letters had arrived from both Afghanistan and Iraq over the past two years. A month before Craig’s letters had stopped coming from anywhere, so in addition to Charlie, I had that to worry about.

But my immediate concern was Charlie’s attitude. Charlie didn’t believe in Santa Claus. Not to mention the Tooth Fairy or the Easter Bunny.

“They’re lies, Grandma!” he had screamed this at me, earlier in the month after I’d asked him what he wanted Santa to bring him for Christmas.

“Why do you say that?” His little tirade had shocked me. Didn’t every child look forward to Santa Claus and gifts? I had to get to the bottom of this. In spite of Charlie’s problems, and he had a lot of them for his tender age, I thought the Christmas season would bring him into a happier place.

“Because Jack said so, and last year he showed me the toys I was supposed to get from Santa Claus!” Charlie plopped down in the middle of the living room and glared at me. “Jack didn’t want to wrap them, said it was a waste of time and he wasn’t my daddy, so he didn’t have to pretend he was an old fat man in a red suit. Then

Mama cried and Jack called her bad names.”

Charlie’s parents divorced two years ago, and until this past September Charlie lived in Memphis with Delia, his mother, and her boyfriend Jack, a thin, wiry type with his eyes set too close, and who never looked clean. That’s a feature I’ve always considered untrustworthy, and Jack certainly couldn’t be trusted.

Trying to still my anger at Charlie’s revelation, I said, “Let’s have grilled cheese sandwiches for lunch, Charlie.” Cheese is a happy food.

While I prepared our lunch I sent all manner of silent curses on a beeline to Memphis and directly targeted to Jack and his weasel eyes. For a long time I’d suspected things were wrong in Charlie’s life, but my visits with him had been few. Because I was a sixty-three year old widow who worked part-time and had a modest income, I’d made very few trips from Stone Mountain, Georgia to Memphis to see him. Then one night in July a scared and tearful Delia knocked on my door. Tiny Charlie stood beside her, a frown on his face and an ugly, dark bruise on his right arm. Delia had a huge suitcase. The pitiful child dragged a bulging duffel bag.

I made a late dinner for them, and while we were having our dessert Charlie fell asleep in his chair. “He’s so tired,” Delia said. “He’s been so scared.” She twisted in her chair and stared directly into my eyes. “You have to take care of Charlie now,” she said. “Jack isn’t safe to be around anymore.” Delia had her own bruises, but she refused to talk about them.

She leaned down and wrapped her arms around her son, gently shaking him awake. “Baby, you have to stay with Grandma until we can live together again,” she told him. A tearful Charlie and I watched her get into a cab.

“I’m going to a shelter,” she told us. “and then wherever I’ll be safe.”

I was thrilled to have Charlie under my care. I’d spent restless nights worrying about that little boy and what he might be going through. Now that I had him I’d make his life so interesting and full of joy he would lose that frown and smile the beautiful smile I knew he owned.

Living with Jack had left its imprint on the little boy. While I looked forward to restoring a normal childhood to him, I had no clue of the obstacles I would face.

C. C. has a short story, ” End of the World Bar”,  in Haunting Tales of Spirit Lake,    http://Amzn.to/1oYOmF8

Shaman Woman, a novel by C. C. Ansardi, is available at Amazon.com  http://amzn.to/1yzk8K4

Shaman Woman

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Haunting Tales of Spirit Lake, our Halloween anthology/ Nan Monroe

From Haunting Tales of Spirit Lake

SYBILLA DISANTE AND THE SEPIA WORLD

By

Nan Monroe

The night before my parents were killed in a car accident I dreamed of a huge baby buggy smashing through a window of the twentieth floor of a high rise.
I am not, nor have I ever been, a great talker. My custom has always been to observe, listen, and hold my thoughts inside. People call me “unknowable,” and I can’t say they’re wrong. After the accident I hugged my silence more closely than ever, but in a strange moment when I felt my heart would turn inside out if I didn’t speak I told Ethan Chance about my dream. Ethan was my closest friend, because among all the kids my age, seventeen, only he shared my passion for black-and-white movies. Even when I don’t care to talk about my feelings or my views on society and politics, I can enjoy a good conversation about Casablanca or Metropolis.
He listened as I described the shattering window and the buggy disappearing over the ledge. Then he told me in an awed hush, “You’re psychic.”
I laughed him off but cringed inside. I might like to tell myself stories about ghosts and imagine that the wall separating past from present from future might be frayed in spots, but to suggest I might be psychic was to drag those gossamer daydreams into the bitter cold realm of reality. I didn’t want to be psychic. If I’d somehow prophesied my parents’ deaths, then the right word from me might have saved them. This I couldn’t bear to think. So I changed the subject very quickly to Dr. Strangelove.
Yet in the days that followed I started to wonder whether my sweet-natured cinephile friend had cursed me, or if my Creek grandmother had been right when she told me that gifts can be born from grief. My sense of sight began to play tricks. When I walked alone on the edge of the wood that bordered Spirit Lake I would spy a ripple in the air, such as we sometimes see in the thick heat of a summer day. It looked like a curtain moving, and I thought I could glimpse a shadow-scape beyond the lush trees and glassy lake, a scene with the sepia shade of a nineteenth-century photograph. People moved through it in the garb of long ago, going through the motions of working and chatting with each other and not paying me the slightest heed.

Check out Haunting Tales of Spirit Lake (kindle and paperback)
http://amzn.to/1oYOmF8″ title=”Haunting Tales of Spirit Lake”>

Melba Moon (Author), Mary Marvella (Author), Jackie Rod (Author), Jodi Vaughn (Author), Georgiana Fields (Author), C. C. Ansardi (Author), Nan Monroe (Author), Yasmin Bakhtiari (Author), John Robinson (Author)

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Love Me Some “ing” Verbs.

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Turning from the window, Mary faced her laptop to write her blog.

Love me some ing verbs!

I live in the Deep South, so what else is new? Many of us use ing verbs in our writing to add variety to our sentence structure. We use them in dialogue and in narrative. The problem is that MANY writers use ing verbs incorrectly. Yes, we do. Though I am a grammar teacher, I’ll try to make my explanations simple. (snort)

“I’m fixin’ to go to the store.” works in dialogue if your character speaks that way.

Writing fixing ruins the Southern part of that structure.

“I am going to the store.” works to show intent or in answer to a question about   where a character is going. (There is nothing wrong with using present progressive tenses.  We have a variety of tenses, just as we have a variety of tools in our writing tool boxes.)

Example A:

“Why are you wearing your coat?” Bill asked. ” You don’t need to go anywhere.”

“I am going to the store.” Jean grabbed her keys, glaring at him.

I could have said,

Jean glared at Bill as she grabbed her keys.

or

 Glaring at him, Jean grabbed her keys.

Example B:

“I am going to the store tomorrow.”

or

 “I will be going to the store tomorrow.”

might sound better as  “I’ll go to the store tomorrow.”

Some of the following sentences need fixin’.

I’d love your input! (hint, you might need to replace one sentence with two.)

Example C:

“But we speak that way,” you might object, slamming the door and putting your coat on.

Example D:

Sam heard the bear roaring as he was running into the forest and trampling the small plants in his way.

Example E:

Eating a good breakfast is good when one is dancing for exercise.

Example F:

Sue stared at Greg’s broad shoulders, wanting to run her hand through his shaggy hair and his chiseled cheekbones.

Example G:

 He saw a building walking around a corner.

Example H:

 Share a bad use of an –ing verb that made you sputter!

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Got a Bad Case of the Uglies!

Got a bad case of the Uglies! by Nancy Knight

 

Yeah, that last word technically isn’t a word. Uglies. Merriam-Webster doesn’t know what it means, but I’ll bet you do. It’s that feeling that writers get when everything in the world (including the kitchen sink) conspires to keep you from writing.

 

The kitchen sink: it’s stopped up. The plumber can’t come until tomorrow. You have your daily commitment of pages to write. (You do have a target number of words or pages as a goal every day, right? In a non-scientific survey a few years ago, I asked a group of writers (at a writers’ kind of meeting) whether they write every day or not. Every published writer (novelists) in the room raised their hands. Some unpublished writers did as well.  I asked those that were waving hands in the air if they had a specific number of pages to write every day. Nearly everyone did. If you don’t, think about it. Muses are flibbertigibbet kinds of folk. They show up on a whim—unless you train them. More about this some other time.) You hear gurgles and see bubbles, but the water in the sink refuses to go where sink water goes after you use it. You flush the toilet and get the same sort of gurgling sound, the water starts to rise. OMG.! Get a plumber in here fast. You spend the next hour trying to locate one that doesn’t have a booked schedule. Ah, but is he (or she) reliable? Okay. You’ve averted a genuine home emergency. You (1) flop into the recliner (2) with a soft drink (or insert adult beverage of your choice) and (3) turn on Oprah. (4) You refuse to move until your spousal unit (roommate, friend comes along with dinner from _________  (Insert favorite fast-food restaurant name here.)

 

One of your precious little darlings puts a pinto bean in his ear and you can’t get it out. A trip to the emergency room seems called for. Off you go. Three hours later, you trudge back into the house, locate aforesaid recliner and advance quickly to steps two, three and four as outlined above.

 

So what do you do? If you can edit on your I-Pad or E-Book . . . grab it and go. Skip the burger and eat baby carrots. They’re better for you anyway. If you don’t have that technical capability, print out your work. Keep a file of pages handy. When you’re called on to sit in the doctor’s office or hang out while your car is being repaired, pull out that file and start to edit. Distraction will occur, but after a while, you learn to block those out.

 

A friend of mine, years ago, had three small children. Her husband deserted her and the kids. She was non-fiction writer. She had to write and sell to feed her kids and provide shelter for them. But the kids kept dashing into her office with some imagined wrong perpetrated by one of the other kids. Finally one day at the bakery, she noticed the nice white chef’s hats. (They were fabric back then.) She asked about them, and the baker gave her one. When she got home, she told her children, “When Mommy is wearing the hat, you can’t bother her unless there’s blood or smoke.” The kids could understand the meaning of the hat. Years later, I saw her at a conference. Her children were either in college or married. I said something about how happy she must be not to have to wear that chef’s hat when she wrote. She laughed and shook her head. “Still have to wear it,” she said. “I can’t seem to be creative without it. It’s my muse’s signal that I’m ready to write, I guess.”

 

Life intrudes. It always will. Dedicated writers will find a way around those intrusions. Write every day . . . something. It’s harder to form habits than it is to break them. Don’t be easy on yourself. Don’t let yourself slack off even for one day. I know, it takes a lot of self-discipline. If you don’t have it—develop it.

 

Oh, the gurgling sink beckons. Gotta hunt down a plumber. Catch you again soon.

 

 

 

Nancy Knight

 

 

 

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