Tag Archives: short stories

Blog Tour – “Kissed By Literature” by Jordan Elizabeth

Today I’m participating in a blog tour for Jordan Elizabeth’s latest book, Kissed by Literature! 🙂

Read on…

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KISSED BY LITERATURE

A Collection of Short Stories

Kissed by Literature by Jordan Elizabeth - Blog Tour Book Cover

(Cover art by Rue Volley.)

Enter worlds of steampunk and terror, where you’ll meet ghosts that will raise the hairs along your arms. Among the tales, you’ll encounter a serial killer stalking a country road and a vacation destination riddled with evil. This collection of short stories explores the different writing styles and genres of Amazon bestselling author Jordan Elizabeth.

KISSED BY LITERATURE is on Amazon from CHBB.  Get it for 99 cents for a limited time.

Check out early reviews on GoodReads!

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Check out the start of the short story “Evil that Walks Tweed Road”:

I slid the manila folder into the cardboard box, careful to keep them alphabetized.  My brother might tease me to death over my organization habits, but not once had I fumbled during my presentations.  Each photograph, newspaper article, and information sheet had a home.

“Excuse me.  Annie?  I’m Patrick.”

I glanced up, the final folder in hand.  A man with gray eyes stood in front of the table.  I’d studied those gray eyes during my lecture while he sat in the back row of the library’s meeting room.

“Yes?”  I double-checked the words on the folder before placing it into the box.

“I’ve always been fascinated with Tweed Road.  I grew up near there, and as kids we always wanted to see the ghosts.  Swear we saw a couple of them.”

I nodded, my ponytail sliding over my shoulder.  “I’ve heard plenty of those ghost stories, but I don’t really believe in ghosts.  If a serial killer gets you, do you really want to hang around for all eternity?”

He chuckled.  His teeth had to have been professionally straightened and whitened to gleam like that.  “What got you into giving talks on Tweed Road?”

He couldn’t be flirting with me… but maybe he was.  “Well, I got my Masters in history and then I got a job as a professor here.  I started looking up local history, and this area is famous for the Tweed Road killings.   It was mostly all legends and kids daring each other to walk along the road at night, so I wanted to tell everyone about the truth.”  I smiled.  I sucked at flirting, but I could sure smile, even if my teeth didn’t look half as nice as his.

“Do you think telling everyone about this will help them finally catch the killer?”

“Life is never that simple.”

Patrick leaned toward me and lowered his voice.  “I know who the serial killer was.”

I lifted my eyebrows.  At every library or historical society where I gave my presentation, someone always had a theory.  My favorite suggestion had been Jack the Ripper.  “Who are you thinking of?”

“My grandfather.”

That was similar to “my ex-husband,” which I heard a lot from elderly women.  “Why do you say that?”

“He confessed to me before he died and he showed me the spot where he did the killings.”

The bodies had all been found dumped in the swamp, but no one had ever discovered where their hearts and livers had been gouged out.  I frowned.  “Who have you told?”

“I, um…just you.”  The young man wiped his hand across his face.  “I don’t know if I should go to the cops.  They might just laugh.  Do they even care about the case anymore?  It’s all more of a legend now.”

“A lot of families would have peace of mind.”

Patrick closed his eyes and sighed.  “Can I show you the spot?  I think I’d feel better going to the cops if you went with me.  You know all the facts about the killings and I just know what my grandfather told me.”

I shifted my stance.  “Don’t let me put words in your mouth.”  I had studied the Tweed Road serial killer for three years and it had all been paper, nothing I could walk on.

“Will you go with me?  I’ll drive.  It’s about fifteen minutes out of town.”

It might become my stupidest decision, but…  “Let me just put my box in the car so we don’t hold up the library from closing at nine.”  If the spot was fifteen minutes away, they wouldn’t make it back by then.

* * *

Jordan Elizabeth - Author Photo

Jordan Elizabeth is known for her odd sense of humor and her outrageous outfits.  Surrounded by bookshelves, she can often be found pounding away at her keyboard – she’s known for breaking keyboards, too.  Check out her website for bonus scenes and contests.


Jordan Elizabeth - Author Logo

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New Release – “Stone and String” is Now Available!

Remember that short story I was working on a couple weeks ago?  Well, “Stone and String” is now available! 😀

The Wishing Blade - Section Break - Magic Swirl

Stone and String Book Cover

 

Blurb

In the world of The Wishing Blade, everyone is born with two strings of magic. One strand is life, and the other is death. Very few can manipulate them.

Among the Cantingen Islanders, children are tested for this ability during their first rites of magic, a ceremony which determines what magic they have and their future as a mage. But when Edyli’s little sister, Akymi, dies in an accident before those rites can occur, Edyli does the unthinkable. She uses magic to return Akymi to the living. As a result, she finds herself in a land of web-like strings… the afterlife.

Edyli refuses to give up seeing her sister’s first rites. With the help of a mysterious immortal and sheer determination, she has every intention of seeing her sister once more, even if it means incurring the wrath of Madia, the goddess of the dead.

 

The Wishing Blade - Section Break - Magic Swirl

Buy Now on Amazon (US)

Buy Now on Amazon (UK)

Add "Stone and String" to Goodreads

The Wishing Blade - Section Break - Magic Swirl

“Stone and String” is a short story based in the universe of The Wishing Blade series. Though the stories are related (“Stone and String” takes place at the same time as the events of Magic’s Stealing), “Stone and String” stands alone. While Magic’s Stealing takes place in Cirena, and focuses on ribbon magic, “Stone and String” takes place on the Cantingen Islands and focuses on string magic and word magic, with a healthy dose of the Cantingen language.

I’m currently testing out KDP Select, so the ebook is only available from Amazon. But since it’s enrolled in Kindle Select, that means it can be borrowed if you have Kindle Unlimited.

Enjoy! 😀

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Thoughts on Writing – The Omniscient POV

For most of the stories I’ve written, I prefer a deep point of view. I like being right next to the character, getting their thoughts and feelings as they see it. Most of the time I choose either first person (Distant Horizon and Glitch), or close third (Magic’s Stealing and The Little One). While I might swap point of view characters between scenes, those scenes stay distinctly in one person’s head.

And then I started working on The Multiverse Chronicles.

The Multiverse Chronicles is pseudo-steampunk fantasy that consists of a series of short episodes (each around 1,000 to 2,000 words long) that will posted weekly on a blog dedicated to the series. My husband, Isaac, writes the rough draft, which I edit.

At first, editing an omniscient point of view drove me nuts. I wanted one person to follow, and I wanted to stay with that person. (This despite toying with the omniscient POV in The Little One, where one of the characters is a fourthwalling telepath). All of those rules about not head-hopping? They kept poking me while I tried to edit. But once I finished editing the first episode, I tentatively took it to the writing group we attend. To my surprise, they didn’t have a problem with the point of view.

Okay, cool. So I just need to keep up whatever we did with the first episode, right?

I started work on the next episode. I initially wrote with the expectation that I was writing from the bodyguard’s point of view, but then I realized she wouldn’t see the scene in the way we’d written it. In this particular episode, the bodyguard is grudgingly attending a ball in which the man she loves is about to be formally engaged to a snobby princess who looks down at her.

But what I’d embellished focused on the splendor of the ball… not the dark side of the festivities.

Let’s take a look at the current (rough) intro for this episode:

The grand hall of Britannia’s castle was adorned with ornate, stained-glass lanterns. Their yellow arc lights depicted the glorious reign of the Dragon Dynasty across the cream-colored wallpaper. Flickering images of gold and crimson dragons danced among pink-tinted clouds at sunrise. Further down the grand hall, these lanterns revealed the proud history of Britannia. The first Dragon Queen sent her dragons to battle an unkempt hoard of miscreants, and later, she stood with her proud chin high as she morphed into the form of a glistening dragon, uniting her subjects into an unshakable empire for the past two-and-a-half centuries.

 

Beneath the lanterns, diplomats from across the continent mingled, tipping crystal goblets at each other with brilliant smiles as they eagerly awaited the announcement from the current Dragon Queen, Queen Catherine V.

Not exactly the reaction I’d expect from a scorned bodyguard.

However, it did match the mood of the queen, who is pleased with the arrangement of her daughter to the prince.

Suddenly, it made sense. I needed to write part of this scene from the perspective of the queen. Because we’re writing this in omniscient, I could bring in her point of view, even in the same scene, allowing us to see the contrast between the two characters and sense the rising tension.

For example, compare the queen’s thoughts about the bodyguard with the bodyguard’s thoughts about the royalty:

The queen had to admit that the prince was bit relaxed, slacking on the formalities she’d worked so hard to instill into her daughter. But he would come around, just as her Ramón had.

 

Her telepaths had assured her that the prince was faithful, even if his doting bodyguard was something of a slob. She rapped her fingers on the armrest’s dragon head, exhaled in time with the methodical orchestra, and returned her attention to the guests.

Now, for the bodyguard:

“Indeed, this has been a marvelous party, fit for the First Queen, and now, for my daughter.” The queen cast a loving gaze to Princess Cassandra, who beamed with pride.

 

As if she was ever anything but prideful.

 

Alia kept her face blank, but her cheeks burned at the thought of that snooty, high-horsed princess being anywhere near Alfons.

 

Not that there was anything she could do about it.

 

“Over these past months,” the queen continued, “I have been thrilled with the courtliness of Prince Alfons, crown prince of the house of Egilhard, who has treated my daughter with the utmost respect that can be expected from a man of his station.”

 

Because anyone who isn’t raised like some prude isn’t expected to be respectful, right? Alia clenched and unclenched her fists, but Alfons was too busy fawning over his princess to notice the queen’s slight.

Neither queen nor bodyguard like each other. Since we’re in an omniscient point of view, we get to see inside the heads of both characters.

The question I pondered, then, was how to make sure the transition was smooth. The danger of omniscience is head-hopping, a disorienting feeling of being thrown from one person’s point of view to another.

In order to avoid that problem, I decided to make sure that whenever a transition occurs, that transition must be clear. Our focus subtly shifts to the new character with a few cues, such as naming the character and quickly getting into their thoughts with a thought that is clearly not the thought of the former character.

As I considered the topic, I realized we could model this concept after movies and TV shows. Different camera shots let us see what different characters are up to, even in the same scene. (Off the top of my head, I’m thinking of Agents of SHIELD and Once Upon A Time). Without leaving the scene, the camera subtly pans to a character with an ulterior motive. We see their reaction, whether it be a malicious smile or a sad lowering of the eyes. We don’t hop heads, but we do switch point of view.

Let’s take a look at the current draft of The Multiverse Chronicles, in which the point of view switches from the queen to the bodyguard.

The queen’s telepaths had assured her that the prince was faithful, even if his doting bodyguard was something of a slob. She rapped her fingers on the armrest’s dragon head, exhaled in time with the methodical orchestra, and returned her attention to the guests.

 

Amongst the rigid guards and the pristine diplomats, amongst the proper dukes and the swirling, bejeweled duchesses who danced at their side, stood a lone, blue-uniformed soldier.

 

Alia Behringer, the prince’s favorite bodyguard. She was tall, especially among this crowd, with wheat blond hair and a lean, muscled body.

 

Alia cast a furtive glance toward the Dragon Queen, caught her glower, and looked away. She remained stoic as the redcoats, but unlike her counterparts, her blue-eyed gaze returned to the prince.

 

He was her charge, and she would defend him with her life.

 

She avoided the queen’s heavy gaze and gave her attention to the prince. Months ago he would have been joking at her side, not perched on miss high-and-mighty’s ‘graceful, endearing, and oh-so-lovely’ arm.

This scene could still use some tightening in terms of point of view, but we can see the switch from the queen to the bodyguard. The queen focuses on the bodyguard, we get a bit of information about her, and then we start seeing her thoughts, things she would know but the queen wouldn’t. Calling the guards redcoats, for example, or noting that she would defend the prince with her life, or how she calls the princess ‘high-and-mighty.’

The queen would not think in these terms.

The Multiverse Chronicles is still very much a work in progress. But the beginnings of the omniscient point of view is there, slowly unraveling itself and making itself useful.

I’ve tried taking cues from other books that feature an omniscient point of view (Ray Bradbury’s Something Wicked This Way Comes, for example) but I’ll admit, I haven’t read many stories with an omniscient POV that I remember, though I know I’ve read them.

I hope you enjoyed this post. Have you had much experience in reading or writing omniscient points of view? 🙂

Further reading I found on the subject:

http://io9.com/5924661/how-to-write-an-omniscient-narrator-if-youre-not-actually-omniscient-yourself (A really nice explanation of omniscient narration, and how to make it work)

http://www.scribophile.com/academy/using-third-person-omniscient-pov (Explains the difference between subjective and objective narrators, and potential pitfalls with an omniscient point of view)

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A Burning Hope – Book Cover Reveal

This is another cover for Melange Books, for a fantasy short story.

SBibb - A Burning Hope - Book Cover

 

The author and I went through a few slight variations, debating how to get the swamp to look right and where the best place to put the fire was. I also tinkered with lighting to create the mood we wanted. One thing to keep in mind when doing covers is that lighting, and using strong color contrast, can help attract the eye to the image.  Another trick to keep in mind when looking for stock photos is that you might look for something that already has some photoshop done to it, then tweak it further to suit your purposes. In this case, I found the ‘monster’s’ eyes already partially edited. But, because the monsters are supposed to be blind, I did additional photoshop to create the final look.

Stock photos from: Dreamstime.

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-images-floating-fishing-village-image26604324
http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photography-boat-fog-image12261557
http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photo-fire-image16068630
http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-images-horror-blindness-image20380689

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Ashes – Short Story Now Available on Kindle

“Ashes,” my prequel short story to “Socks” (1000 Words project) is now available on Kindle. I’ve been meaning to upload it for some time, but never did. Until now! So, not only can you find it on Smashwords, you can also find it on Amazon for 99 cents. 🙂

A 7,500-word young adult, post-apocalyptic romance: When rebels attack the city, two teens race to save the last existing library before it is destroyed.

Find “Ashes” on Amazon

Find “Ashes” on Smashwords

 

SBibb - Ashes Cover - Blog

An Excerpt:

The sky is darker than I remember, and a shape forms above me, blurry. “Matthew?” I ask. My head smarts. I cough, tasting acrid smoke, and my fingers touch a sticky warmness on my forehead. There’s a cut there; I don’t remember why. The gray metal of a helicopter glints in the fire from the building a block away. The warning system is playing repeatedly, but for the life of me, I can’t tell what it says. A firm hand grips mine and then it’s Cory who yanks me to my feet, not Matthew. “Come on!” he says. “We’ve got to get inside.”

What else is there to do? He half drags me into the lobby of a restaurant. Traces of fresh pancakes and hot maple syrup and pungent coffee smells mix with the ashy gunpowder odor from outside. The place is astonishingly empty for the morning hour. We navigate past upturned chairs and coffee stains, broken mugs lying forgotten on the floor.

Then we’re in the kitchen, where thick ceramic tiles block out the sounds of chaos. Cory grabs the handle of the bunker and twists it, praying for it to turn. He pulls me to him, holding me tight as another explosion rattles the foundation. My head against his chest; his heart beat competes with the explosions like a drum.

“You okay, Serena?” he asks.

I’m not sure. “What happened?” I can’t seem to remember why Cory is here. All I know is that I trust him more than Matthew, and there’s a sickness in the pit of my stomach at the thought of the other.”

 

“Socks” is available on Smashwords for free

Enjoy. 🙂

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“Ashes,” Prequel to “Socks,” is now available on Smashwords

Wow, this past month has been busy. I have a couple new book covers I’ve been meaning to post for a while, and I have an exciting announcement: I finally got “Ashes,” the prequel to “Socks” uploaded to Smashwords! Yay 😀

So, first off, the book cover. In keeping with the tradition of “Socks,” I made the covers to resemble each other.

SBibb - Ashes Cover

Now, for a bit about “Ashes.” It takes place a bit before the events in “Socks.” As in, the rebels have just attacked the city, and now Cory and Serena are desperately racing to save the contents of the last existing library before it’s destroyed. The story is 7500 words long, quite a bit longer than the flash fiction, 1000 words of socks. Right now I only plan to place it on Smashwords as an ebook, since I’ve been having some technical difficulties with Kindle lately. But don’t worry, you can still get it for your kindle through Smashwords.  It’s currently available for 99 cents.

Find it here: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/249071

Meanwhile, a side note about my 1000 Words project. Socks has the most reviews out of the nine short stories available for free, but has the fewest downloads. (Find the short story here: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/154150)

Dreamkeeper has the highest amount of downloads, but no reviews. I wonder if it has to do with audience, the description, the cover, or some other factor.

Either way, just wanted to make the announcement. 🙂

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The Socks Project: Ashes Cover Reveal

As I get closer to self-publishing “Ashes,” I thought it might be nice to do a cover reveal. So here it is, the cover to “Ashes.” It’s got some similar treatment done to it to resemble “Socks,” but it has a different color scheme to match the themes in the story itself. As an interesting little side note, I believe this is actually the same picture I used in “Socks,” but done differently enough that it shouldn’t be noticable. (Except that I pointed out, but anyway).

As a side note, I was debating on whether or not to include a blurb on the cover mentioning that it was a short story or prequel. After some discussion on Absolute Write, I decided not to include it. Why? Because the same information will be mentioned on the web page where it can be bought/downloaded. Also, because hopefully it will resemble the cover of “Socks” close enough that a connection will be made. Granted, this is experimentation on my part, but that’s kind of the point of doing this. 🙂

Without further ado, the new cover!

SBibb - Ashes Cover - Blog

Also, as a quick note, I found this article and thought those of you interested in doing your own cover creation might like reading it. It’s about font choice. 🙂

http://clancytales.blogspot.co.uk/2012/07/how-to-font-your-cover.html

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