Pairings That Go Well Together

The right pairings of anything can make a spectacular combination. Mouth-watering combos that prove the point include pretzels and ice cream, peanut butter and chocolate, and apples and caramel. Duets that combine musical artists of different genres, such as country singer Kenny Chesney with rocker Pink (Setting the World on Fire), can create wonderful results as well. In writing, plot points are also paired, and the combinations can make or break a story.

Winning and Losing – A Game of High Stakes

Well-defined plot points, or plot elements, are what give a story depth and stir emotions in a reader. The most important element that a character needs is a goal or problem, which must be resolved by the story’s end. A goal cannot stand alone. It is paired with another element, consequence. Failure to attain that goal or solve a problem leads to the consequence. If a character is willing to do anything to avoid failure, a story will have high-stakes tension. Life and death situations are an example of a high-stakes goal/consequence.

A Good Rollercoaster Ride

Along the way to conquering a goal, a character must have smaller successes and failures. These plot points are called requirements and forewarnings. The combination of these is what gives a story the rollercoaster effect—humps to get over, picking up speed downhill, sharp turns—the fun stuff that leaves a rider (and reader) on the edge of their seat. Requirements give readers a sense of relief that the protagonist is well on his/her way. Forewarnings are setbacks that make a reader turn the pages to see if the protagonist is going to get out of another jam.

Pairings: Dog Quiz

Now for the fun stuff. Speaking of things that go well together, some pairings in the dog world can make adorable pooches. Take the following quiz to see if you can determine what these hybrid canines are. Answers are at the bottom of the blog. No cheating, and yes, there are duplicates.

On a side note, most of the pictured dogs were rescues. Rescued does not mean damaged—it just means a wonderful dog hasn’t met the right person. Consider a rescue when you are ready to adopt. I can personally give you five good reasons why, and four of them are pictured here.

Hybrid Dogs

A  Jack-A-Ranian (Jack Russell Terrier/Pomeranian)

B Aussiedor (Australian Shepherd/Labrador Retriever) looks like an Aussie

C Aussiedor (Australian Shepherd/Labrador Retriever) looks like a Lab

D Chiweenie (Chihuahua/Dachshund) Also known as the Taco Bell dog meets a Weiner Dog, no her ears aren’t Photoshopped!

E Morkie (Maltese/Yorkshire Terrier)

F Doxiepoo (Dachshund/Poodle)

G Goldendoodle (Golden Retriever/Poodle) A large, standard poodle and light golden mix

H Chiweenie (version 2) This one looks more like a dachshund

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What You Love Most art

What You Love Most Art combines a furry friend and the things you love the most into a watercolor painting. Visit my website for more information WhatYouLoveDixie pic n painting (2)Most.com. Dixie is pictured with Western boots and a cowboy hat, music, softballs, and a horseshoe. Each painting is unique. T-shirts are also available.

Not Vamps this time…

Dagger&Brimstone quotes5

Racer finds out what’s under the step. You can, too.

Dagger & Brimstone: Town from Hell. Amazon .99 SALE.

In Time for Halloween

Dagger&Brimstone99centsale

Town from Hell is the first book in the Dagger & Brimstone series. It is young adult, paranormal/horror and recommended for readers 17+.

The Pot

Flower PotWith the arrival of fall, the 110-degree temperatures have passed in Vegas. It is time for my annual ritual of planting fall flowers to liven up the outdoors. A dozen flowers are a cheap hobby, great therapy, and make the yard pretty. If you thought this was a blog about cannabis, it’s not.

A Thought Steamrolled into a Blog, #amwriting

As I prepared the soil in a large plastic pot, I had a thought—several thoughts actually, but I frequently can’t stay on task. I’m supposed to be working on my website right now, so don’t tell my husband I’m planting and writing a blog instead. Anyway, the pot of dirt didn’t serve any purpose. It was plain, boring, and didn’t do anything.

I chose to plant three different flowers in the pot. I could’ve put only one type of flower, and the pot would’ve been pretty; however, the chrysanthemum, morning glory, and geranium are very different in shape, size, and color, and mixed together, they made the pot more interesting and beautiful.

Flowers Are Cool

The flowers do their own thing in the pot, regardless of what the other flowers do. They have plenty of room to grow to maturity and will provide a great service while they thrive. They will grow just as well in a $5 pot as they would in a $100 pot. Pots may look different on the outside, but it’s what goes on the inside that makes the difference. The flowers are what make the pot beautiful, and not the other way around.

Bees and hummingbirds will stop by the pot for food. Ladybugs, mantis, and other bugs will probably visit for shade and protection, too. The flowers will give off oxygen to benefit everyone. Of course, my friends and family will enjoy the beauty of the flowers when they visit, and I’ll take pictures of the flowers to post on ViewBug.

Fun Tip, Ceramics Idea, #OffTopicAgain

If you don’t know what to do with all those little ceramic pieces your children or friends’ children made and gave you, they add a little something extra to flower pots. They are weatherproof, so they won’t get ruined, and it makes them functional.

When the sizzling 110 temps return, it’ll fry their leaves, and they’ll shrivel up. Sometimes, they leave seeds behind, and the seedlings take over the pot. Until then, the flowers will wave in the breeze, lift their heads to the sun, and dance in the rare Vegas showers. It doesn’t matter to the flowers if some people do not see their beauty or their contribution to nature. The flowers will continue to do their own thing in their own space and make the yard a better place while they’re in it.

If you liked reading about my flower pot, you may like to read one of my books. I’d really like that. If horror and paranormal is your preference, Dagger & Brimstone: Town from Hell will be on sale for .99 on Amazon from Oct. 5 – Oct. 9. That’s a bargain you shouldn’t pass up!

The Man Behind the Beard – Writing Tips and a Bearded Men Quiz

     Writing tips and bearded men in one blog—just go with it. To make a fictional story come alive, writers need to create meaningful and memorable characters. The best characters, bearded or otherwise, are the ones that make the readers feel emotion while they read. If a protagonist is well-written, readers will want them to overcome conflict. They will feel heartbreak at a character’s misfortune. Readers will turn pages in hopes their beloved protagonist wins in the end. Unless, or course, the reader doesn’t like the protagonist.

Yin Yang

     Characters need a variety of traits. A character who is courageous and humorous could also be obnoxious and selfish. Antagonists shouldn’t be perfect, just like everyone else. Tony Stark saves the world and is likable, but he is a bit egotistical, too. However, egotistical people may not see a big ego as a flaw. Creating characters with a mixture of different traits allows readers to decide for themselves if they like a character or not.

Hunk, Babe, Troll

     Creating a great character takes a lot more effort than describing what they look like. For example, “the older man with a beard” could describe many guys, including the band ZZ Top and Santa. To add a little fun to this informational blog, here’s a history lesson that involves older men with beards. The answers will be at the end of the blog.

Men with Beards

     See if you can name all the bearded men. Getting all of them correct would be amazing. A score of five, six, or seven is impressive. Two to four correct answers is probably average. One correct answer is bad.

 Men with Beards

     Writing that is done well takes a lot of hard work. Many people underestimate what a good writer can do to make a story come alive, sway opinions, or make a company look good. It is a craft. It takes time, effort, and multiple revisions for writers to get an article, essay, or story from an idea to a finished product. Yet, many writers get paid .01 per word for their effort. This article would be worth $4.29.

Answers:

A. President Rutherford B. Hayes

B. Edmund Gwenn (Santa from the original movie Miracle on 34th Street)

C. Bram Stoker, author of Dracula

D. President Ulysses S. Grant

E. John Harvey Kellogg inventor of Corn Flakes and other breakfast cereals

F. John C. Fremont, American explorer

G. Buffalo Bill Cody, American scout and showman

H. President James A. Garfield

 Credits for photos: Hayes – biography.com; Grant –  quotesgram.com;  the rest – Pinterest

 

A Writer’s Qualifications

Employers often compose job descriptions for a multitude of positions to include qualifications such as “You look forward to the challenge,” “You are a great communicator,” “You have strong organizational skills and attention to detail,” “You’re good at overcoming challenges,” “You are creative, self-motivated, and able to take constructive criticism.” After running those qualifications by the potential candidate, employers get to the nitty-gritty and list about a thousand things they need to be skilled in—along with several years of experience. Usually, typos are in many of the job ads. “Proficiency in using a spell checker” should be included as well as utilized.

Writers may not realize they have all these qualifications, but they do. It’s a given that successful writers self-motivate. Words won’t appear on the paper/screen unless a writer puts them there. They draw inspiration from many sources, and it’s imperative. A writer needs to find what inspires them to overcome writer’s block and procrastination. A writer’s skill set can easily match the above list.

Up for the Challenge—Ideas, Grammar, Content, Acceptance

Writing is a challenge. Coming up with ideas and finally finishing a poem, short story or novel is a challenge. Tweaking it until the writer feels it is perfect—challenging. Getting it published—greatest challenge of them all. Writers look forward to the challenge of creating something new, researching material to make their work complete and finding a new and creative way to get as well as hold a reader’s interest. They must overcome rejection of their work—tons of it, mostly in the form of agent rejection letters—or they will never succeed. Writers can’t give up if they want to become published authors one day. This is a driving force for many.

Communication—Persuade, Inform, Entertain

Whether to persuade, inform or entertain, writers need to communicate with readers. Material must be well-written to sway someone into taking a side or to teach them a concept. Even if material is purely for entertainment, a writer does their best to captivate the reader. The characters, setting and plot is communicated from the writer’s imagination to the reader through word choice and attention to detail. Writing isn’t easy, and not everyone can or wants to do it. That’s why companies hire writers.

Constructive Criticism

What exactly is constructive criticism? Definitions.net sums it up perfectly. “Constructive criticism is the process of offering valid and well-reasoned opinions about the work of others, usually involving both positive and negative comments, in a friendly manner rather than an oppositional one. The purpose of constructive criticism is to improve the outcome.” In other words, all writers need to be open to feedback to grow and improve. A first or tenth draft can be improved. Successful writers learn this. After presenting material for feedback from critique groups, agents and reviewers, writers toughen up if they want to remain writers.

Writing is an art. It takes creativity, time, patience and a lot of other skills. Writers are artists who enjoy their craft because it’s a creative release and good therapy. A side note: If someone makes an impression on a writer–good or bad–there’s a good chance they’ve just given them inspiration for more material.

 

Review: Call from Hell (Dagger & Brimstone Book 2), by T.W. Kirchner

Paranoramal Romance News and Reviews

5 out of 5 Stars

Available For Purchase On:

Amazon: http://a.co/1QXpD5s

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/31520248-call-from-hell?ac=1&from_search=true

Review:

This was a really good story, I really liked the story line I had not read anything like it. The three main characters were really well written and play off of each other and really make this story. I would love to see what happens next for these characters.

Reviewed by Brave One

Our Blog was given this book in exchange for an honest review.

Description:

Racer, Arloe, and Locke are back in this thrilling follow-up to Town from Hell. The trio may have left Winthrop far behind, but the demons aren’t about to set them free.

With demon blood still ruling Racer’s emotions, only time will tell if he can adapt after learning Arloe’s secret. As the couple try to return to their normal lives, they vow not to keep secrets from each other again…

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Piratemania

tommy-blue-pirates

If you’re a pirate fan like I am, you’re probably looking forward to the next installment of Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, which is set to be released in May 2017. Captain Jack Sparrow and the gang will undoubtedly bring more fun and adventure to the silver screen as they search for Poseidon’s trident.

In the meantime, landlubbers can get into the pirate mood by scouring free online pirate name generators and getting a moniker worthy of an old salt such a Peggy “Treasure Chest” Pigg or Scabby Syd Smythe. You can even name your imaginary pirate ship. All Things Boat has a list of real pirate ships from the Golden Age of Piracy, including Blackbeard’s Queen Anne’s Revenge, and a list of funny ship names to choose from. Maybe Peggy “Treasure Chest” Pigg captains the Hell and High-Water or the Howling Lusty Wench. Shiver me timbers!

If you are in the market for a website with a compilation of all things pirate, X marks the spot on author and historian Cindy Vallar’s Pirates and Privateers. The site is a treasure-trove of information with pirate articles and links. It also has an extensive Book Review section that covers picture books as well as fiction and non-fiction for children and adults.

Avast ye, settle down with a good read, such as Pirates Off the Deep End, and learn some pirate speak, matey. Rum is optional, but it may make ye pirate speak a bit more authentic.

 

 

Give Wolves a Voice

Wolves Don't Play Dress Up Cover

I love wolves. They are my favorite animal and are pretty amazing when you take the time to learn about them. Unfortunately, they have received a bad rap for centuries. Fairy tales, other literature, and movies portray them as bloodthirsty killers. The creation of werewolves didn’t help their cause either.

Years ago, I wrote a story that would make wolves the good guys for once and educate people on some wolf facts. The story is too long to be a picture book and too short to be a book, so it has stayed in my laptop. Target stores is hosting a short story contest through Wattpad, looking for modern-day stories that involve a fairy tale or myth. It is perfect for my story, so I submitted it.

Since my following on Wattpad is small and only votes will push the story to the next level, it doesn’t stand a chance right now. If you would like to help me give wolves the voice they deserve, check out Wolves Don’t Play Dress Up. If you think it’s deserving, give it a vote. Thanks so much!