Tag Archives: guest posts

Friends of Furkid Friday

Hi everyone. This is Lilie the Westie.

You know what? I love friends! My Cavapoo brother, Logan, and the squeaky things in cages do too. So… Are you a bird, cat, chinchilla, degu, dog, gerbil, guinea pig, hamster, rabbit, rat, or other non-human creature? Do you share your life with a human calling themselves a writer? Yes, blogging counts. If you answered, “Yes,” to both of those, would you like to become a friend of Furkid Friday? If the answer is still, “Yes,” here’s how to do it:

Send an email with the subject, “Friends Of Furkid Friday,” to keroberous2004@gmail.com asking to be interviewed (you have to do the subject thing, or Mummy might accidentally delete it). One of us will then send you the questions you need to answer for us to set up the post. Simply fill out the document, and send it back to us. Once we have all the information we need, we’ll set up and schedule your post, after which we’ll let you know the date it will

go live, and provide you with a direct link (which will only work once the post is live). Then it’s just a case of waiting for your post to go live, and sharing it around once it is. It would be great if you could comment on it, if possible, too. We love comments!

Interviews are posted on a first come first served basis. Also, we won’t chase you for your responses, because I’m too busy chasing balls, Logan’s too busy chasing his tail and anything else that moves, Mummy’s too busy chasing her next story idea, and the squeaky things in cages… Well, I’m not sure what kinds of things they chase. The point is, though we want you to come be a friend of Furkid Friday, if you want to have your interview show up on our blog, after we send you the questions, you have to remember to send us your answers yourself.

After each interview post goes live, they will be shared in all the places Mummy shares all our blog posts, and a link for the post will be added to the list at the bottom of the “Friends Of Furkid Friday” page too.

Do you want to see some examples of the posts? Check out the friends already featured on the “Friends Of Furkid Friday” page at https://ziglernews.blogspot.com/p/blog-page.html

Lots of licks,

Lilie

Indie Versus Traditional Publishing – A Guest Post By Author Stephen Morris

Thank you to author Stephen Morris for the below guest post:

Author: Stephen Morris
Website: http://www.stephenmorrisauthor.com
Amazon Author central: https://www.amazon.com/Stephen-Morris
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/StephenMorrisComeHell/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PragueFlood/

Title: “Why Should I Have to Pay For an Editor??”

“Why should I have to pay for an editor? Or a cover design? Or for advertising? If my book is published by a real publisher, then won’t they pay for all that?”

I wrote my first book over the course of a half-dozen or so years. I spent several months submitting it to agents. No response. This was in 2010. In 2010, self-publishing was still just another name for “vanity publishing,” printing your own book because it wasn’t good enough for a regular publisher to print. You would pay the vanity press a lot of money and end up with a garage full of books that you tried to sell but eventually couldn’t even give away. To publish your own book was a shameful declaration of failure.

That first novel of mine involved the very real flood that had devastated Prague in 2002. I wanted it out into readers’ hands in 2012 as one of the events to mark the 10th anniversary of that flood. If it wasn’t picked up by a traditional publisher by 2010, there wouldn’t be time for it to appear by 2012. But just about the time I was getting ready to throw in the towel and admit defeat, the New York Times ran a series of four articles about how this new phenomenon of “self-publishing” was changing the publishing world. A small handful of authors had self-published their novels and hit the bestseller lists. Some of these were even authors who had been successful with traditional publishers but had decided to self-publish their most recent books. Suddenly, self-publishing was no longer about vanity and failure. It was about writing books—making art—and getting them into the hands of readers who wanted them.

All at once, self-publishing was a viable option. My book still had a chance of appearing by 2012! I picked apart those stories in the New York Times with a fine-toothed comb. I wanted to know how these authors had done it so that I could do it as well.

Well, the first thing they had each done—after writing the book itself, of course—was to have an editor work with them on the manuscript. I had to admit, I had been looking forward to that experience as much as I had been looking forward to holding a published book in my hands with my name on it. I had heard—and read—time after time how editors and authors became the best of friends, how working with a good editor was like getting an MFA in writing, how editors could take lackluster drafts and spin them into gold. I wanted all that.

So I found an editor. I went to the Editorial Freelancers Association website (http://www.the-efa.org ) and posted a job there, indicating the number of words in my manuscript and a price-range for the project. Twenty-something freelance editors responded. I short-listed five of them, based on previous projects they had worked on that seemed similar to mine as far as genre and length. I gave each of them the same 5-10 pages of text and asked for a sample edit. Then I chose one. While my editor and I did not become the best of friends, I did learn more than I could ever have expected. Marta (http://tanmar.biz/about/ ) knew how to deliver what might seem devastating critiques but in a way that felt uplifting and supportive. (An editor who cannot communicate with the author in a way that the author is able, or willing, to hear may as well not be editing at all. These are the two most important attributes an editor can have: exquisite editorial skills and outstanding communication skills. Likewise, a good communicator who has nothing to say is not going to provide an author with the necessary guidance either.) The novel was infinitely better because of her input. The money it cost was more than well worth it. She deserved every penny; I got more than I paid for.

Some people might point out that authors get to work with an editor for free, if they go through a traditional publisher. Just like a publisher will provide the advertising and sales force for the finished product. (But a traditional publisher will not spend a single cent on advertising for a new, unknown author.) “Why should I have to pay for editing?” some new authors might ask. Well, you do pay for editing—and all those services—if you go through a traditional publisher. You pay for them up front when you self-publish and then you get 30-70% royalties when readers buy the book; you pay for editing, etc. with a traditional publisher by getting less than 10% royalties when readers buy the book. (And you’ll pay for all your own advertising and promotional work with a traditional publisher as well. They get you both coming and going!)

I think the realization that I’d pay for all these services, one way or the other, was the nail-in-the-coffin of my thoughts that traditional publishing was somehow better than self-publishing.

I also joined http://www.bibliocrunch.com and took all the classes and seminars that were available about self-publishing: how to get reviews, methods and places to advertise, suggestions for how to set up websites and Facebook pages—even how to use Twitter and hashtags! No matter how “introductory” the class was billed to be, I always learned something. (Now most of the workshops are done by webinar and I have mastered that skill as well!) Each class or workshop was about an hour long—not onerous and always illuminating!

I am lucky enough that my domestic partner is a professional book illustrator and designer so I did not have to go far to find someone to design my book’s cover. But it is—again!—worth the money to have a professional design your book’s cover since that will be the first thing about your book that a potential reader sees. The reader decides to “click” on the book’s image or not because of the cover design. Does it grab the reader by the lapels? Does it effectively communicate the genre of the book? Is it a striking, unforgettable image? The cover design and the title deserve all the attention that you can give them. (BiblioCrunch can help put you into contact with designers, editors, etc.)

I also bought a block of ISBNs from Bowker (http://www.bowker.com ) so that I could retain control of who owns my work. (If you let a self-publishing company assign you one of their own ISBNs, they often control where your work can appear.) (The ISBN is like a social security number for your book and is necessary to track sales and pay royalties.)

When the book and cover were ready, I chose to publish through CreateSpace and KDP (Kindle Direct). If you look at the bottom of the Amazon home page, you will see “Self-Publish with Us.” Click on it. Then just follow the directions, which are clearly written and easy-to-follow. (I tried some of the other self-publishing platforms as well but none sold anywhere near as many copies as Amazon and the other platforms all required the files to be uploaded to be just different enough from Amazon’s that it was a real pain-in-the-neck. The amount of work required to tailor the files (cover and manuscript) to fir the requirements of each platform were not worth the small number of sales that the various platforms produced.

Pre-orders? If you can set up pre-orders for your book, that helps push the sales ranking up. For example, if a reader can pre-order a book for a few days or a month or even longer before the book’s official release date, none of those sales are counted until the actual release date arrives. Then, rather than counting each individual sale dribbling in over the course of a month (for instance), all those sales are counted on ONE day and help push the book into “best seller” status. The other way to help achieve best-seller status is to select key words or genre categories that are as specific as possible because this limits your competition. For instance, your book may be #346,821 in the “general fiction” category but its #457 in “mystery, thriller, and suspense” and #108 in “mystery, thriller, and suspense/mystery” as well as then #57 in “mystery, thriller, and suspense/mystery/supernatural” and finally #18 in “mystery, thriller, and suspense/mystery/supernatural/vampires.” See how that happens? The more you can narrow down your genre, the higher your ranking goes and the higher your ranking goes, the more likely your book will show up in readers’ searches for books like that. The more readers see your book, the more likely they are to buy it and then read it. And then—hopefully—post a review about it.

Reviews are absolutely necessary to post on the book’s sale page(s). A few very well respected reviewers an author can pay for (https://www.kirkusreviews.com/indie-reviews ) but those can take time; the more reviews you can have on release day or shortly thereafter helps the book show up in readers’ searches as well. Give copies of your book or manuscript to people who agree to post a review. It doesn’t have to be long (a sentence or two in some cases) or even say good things; a few bad reviews prove that the reviews are all honest whereas reviews that are all star-struck can seem manufactured.

You can also enter your book in contests to get noticed. Reviews from judges—and bragging rights if you win or get Honorable Mention!—are always good to have. But some contests are better than others. Check out any contest you think of entering (http://selfpublishingadvice.org/allis-self-publishing-service-directory/award-and-contest-ratings-reviews/#listing-R ) to make sure it’s not a scam preying on authors.

Email list. Social media. Book signings and readings or other events. All these help get books noticed. Set up a newsletter on MailChimp, even if it’s only a handful of friends and family at first. Create a professional Facebook page for yourself as an author as well as an Amazon Author Central page. Make a website. (Websites and Facebook pages should be focused on you rather than your specific book; you don’t want to have to make a new page or site every time you publish a new book. I’ve also noticed that websites hosted by HostMonster provide a lot more behind-the-scenes information than some other platforms; HostMonster will tell you what search engines are bringing people to your site, what search terms they used, and what links they click once they are looking at your site. All this information can help you know what to emphasize in future posts in order to keep attracting online attention.)

But don’t just always tell people, “Buy my book!” Talk about lots of other stuff. Talk about writing. Review other people’s books. Talk about the weather. Talk about baking cookies. Only a tenth of your posts should be about your book(s); no reader likes to be hammered in the head with “Buy my book!” messages and all the other things you talk about in your posts helps people feel connected to you and that connection is more likely to keep and build a base of additional readers or fans.

The best advertisement for the book you’ve written is to write the next book. This one may not be noticed right away but the next one, or the one after that, might be the one that grabs everyone’s attention and then they go back and want to read everything else you’ve written before. Persevere! Keep at it! We write—and self-publish—because we write a book that we would want to read and dare to dream that someone else likes to read the same things we do.
We write—and self-publish—not to become wealthy but because we have stories to tell and we want to share those stories with others. We write—and self-publish—because we know the joy that comes with discovering a new, well-told story ourselves.

Would You Like To Guest Post On Newauthoronline?

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I welcome guest posts.

If you are interested in writing a guest post for newauthoronline.com, please read the following prior to contacting me:

https://newauthoronline.com/guest-post-submissions/.

Kevin

Are You Interested In Guest Posting On Newauthoronline?

I am very happy to consider guest posts. If you are interested in guest posting please visit the following link for details, http://newauthoronline.com/guest-post-submissions/.

Kevin

The Guest – A Guest Post By Victo Dolore

Many thanks to Victo Dolore for the below guest post. If you haven’t already checked out Victo’s blog please do so. She writes with humanity and humour about the medical world and so much more, (https://doctorly.wordpress.com/).

 

 

The Guest

 

The headmaster was standing at the back of the room in his brown suit and brown tie, his arms crossed somberly across his chest. He was a serious man who

never joked, never smiled.

 

I was nervous just looking at him.

 

It was my second grade class and it was the end of the school year. My teacher, Ms. White, held a sheaf of those wide ruled tan colored notebook papers

stapled together in her hands, turning each page slowly as she read from the podium at the front of the class.

 

They were my papers.

 

It was my story.

 

I stole another glance around the room. My classmates watched her with rapt attention, eyes growing wider. They were there in the story, I could see it!

 

There were dwarves and a wizard and a cave filled with treasure and scary monsters that clung to the dark shadows. I knew the secret, though. It was going

to end up with good winning out over evil. Just wait, I smiled to myself.

 

As she read the last words there was silence. More silence. My heart stood still as the seconds ticked by. Then… everyone clapped, even the somber, frightening

man at the back of the class.

 

He smiled at me!

 

I had never been recognized by anyone as being good at anything to that point. My handwriting was always awful. I read aloud too fast. My clothes were

old, worn hand-me-downs. Mathematics was a mystery to me. I was quiet as a mouse, never speaking, always invisible.

 

And so from that day forward I wrote every chance I could get.

 

I will never win any literary award. I will never have a huge audience. But when I put pen to paper I find my voice. The magic weaves its way through my

fingers, taking over…

 

Thus began my love affair with words.

Writing Tools – A Guest Post By Victoria (Tori) Zigler

Thank you to Victoria (Tori) Zigler for the below guest post. For Tori’s previous (related) article please visit (http://newauthoronline.com/2015/05/13/from-idea-to-ebook-a-guest-post-by-victoria-tori-zigler/). For Tori’s blog please see, (http://ziglernews.blogspot.co.uk/).

 

I’ve always loved writing, and it wasn’t unusual to see me as a little girl; pencil in hand, as I scribbled something on a piece of paper. I even held “lessons” for my dolls, where I would show them how to write poems and stories, with the occasional break to do some sums, since I also enjoyed mathematics.

 

As I grew, my sight decreased, so that I could no longer see pencil markings clearly without pressing so hard the pencil would all but go through the page, while the pleasure writing gave me increased, so that I formed the habit of carrying a notebook and pen with me everywhere; along with a book to read, of course, since I’ve always been a voracious reader.

 

I was ten years old when I was given a laptop for use for my schoolwork, since the teachers were starting to struggle to read my writing. Officially the laptop was only for schoolwork and homework, but I used to write stories on it too, though I still carried my trusty notebook and pen around with me everywhere I went; ready to take quick notes of any ideas that popped in to my head, which I would later type up.

 

I carried a notebook and pen around with me right up until the point where I could no longer see to use one. Then I destroyed every notebook I still had in my possession; a move which cost me a few story and poem ideas I no longer remember, and could have had someone read for me to make note of, butt which I felt – and still feel – was right, since my notebooks were journals as well as writer’s notebooks, so they contained some things I’d prefer not to allow others to read.

 

I can read and write Braille, and even have a shiny red brailler that I’ve had since just after I learned Braille while I was still at school, which I was given when my sight decreased enough that it was decided I should use Braille at school; the brailler was given to me to do my homework on. But I rarely use my brailler for writing. At home I use a computer, and the brailler is much too bulky and heavy to carry around for writing. So, now that it has no homework to help with, my brailler is used more to produce something in Braille that I need access to while I’m out, but will write at home; like a shopping list, or an address, or something like that.

 

There are some Braille frames that are a lot more portable, but they’re not very easy to use when you’re trying to focus on a thought that’s popped in to your head. I also find that voice recording devices aren’t very practical, since background noise makes it difficult for you to get a decent recording; unless you want to speak so loudly everyone will likely stop what they’re doing to look at you, which I don’t. As for using my Kindle’s notes function… Well, that may be an option later on, but right now using the touchscreen keyboard is proving to be a challenge I have yet to overcome. So, I have yet to find a suitable substitute for my trusty notebook and pen.

 

On the bright side, I have a computer at home, so can use that for writing. And, hey, if the electric goes out, I still have my brailler, which requires no electricity at all.

 

Guest Post: Secret Diary Of Porter Girl – How It All Began

Many thanks to the author of “Secret Diary Of Porter Girl” for the below guest post. If you haven’t visited her blog then you are missing out on much laughter and high jinks.

Kevin

realDHPSecret Diary Of a Porter Girl began life, believe it or not, as a secret diary. It didn’t stay secret for very long, I’ll grant you, but sometime ago on a website far, far away I took to my laptop to share with close friends and family my exciting new adventure into the world of British academia.

After serving with Her Majesty’s Constabulary for seven years I decided that I rather fancied a quieter life and when I saw a job advertised for Deputy Head Porter at one of the most famous colleges in Cambridge, it struck me as imperative that I apply. Becoming the first female Deputy Head Porter in the College’s illustrious history was something of surprise. With my own education ending abruptly at the tender age of 16, I had no experience of University, let alone one of the finest academic institutions in the world.

As it happens, I was as much as an anomaly to them as they were to me. It is surprising how many remarkable ways of expressing the phrase “Oh, you’re a woman” there actually are. Quite apart from that, the College seemed to have its own unique vernacular. It took me several weeks to get my head around what people were even talking about and even then I didn’t understand what was going on half of the time. The endless fascination with keys and obsessions over flags became apparent quite early on, however. Suddenly, a whole heap of things I had never even heard of had become more important than life itself. Well, more important than the life of a Porter, anyway.

These anachronisms raised smiles and eyebrows aplenty as I recounted my strange new experiences with friends and family both through conversation and social media. Every day seemed to throw up some new unlikely occurrence – from the adventures of the Master’s Cat to the grand epic events that were mealtimes – and I soon found that I had a clamouring audience awaiting the next update. Suddenly, emails and social media statuses seemed vastly insubstantial for really setting the scene of the bizarre ceremonies, ancient traditions and downright inexplicable customs of College life. I had to come up with something rather more creative.

A blog seemed a likely solution but all was not quite so straightforward as it might be. Obviously, I was quite keen to keep hold of this unusual new position and I was sure that The Fellowship of College would take a dim view of me rambling along online about their treasured institution. I adopted the name of Old College and decided to leave almost all of my characters nameless, being known as they are by their titles or job description, in an effort to cover my tracks.

This worked well for quite some time. I found a knack for expressing the quirkiness of College life in my writing and discovered that this was something I really enjoyed doing. I was a prolific writer as a small child, spending hours at a typewriter creating worlds and creatures (usually based in outer space, for some reason) but my early teens heralded a new age of rock bands and chasing unsuitable young men and the typewriter was soon forgotten. Now, though, I had an endless source of inspiration and a captive audience.

There was also something very therapeutic about writing about my adventures at Old College. Amongst the Wonderland-esque wide-eyed bafflement, there was something of a darker side to the world of academia. The backstabbing and in-fighting both within the ranks of College servants and those of The Fellowship were widespread and, it must be said, fairly pitiful. Despite spending the better part of a decade dealing with the underbelly of society, it was within these cloisters that I came across some of the most devious and duplicitous specimens that I have ever known. I found a great degree of satisfaction in expressing some of this to my chums.

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On the other hand, of course, I also met some of the most astounding and brilliant characters imaginable, the likes of which could surely never have existed outside of this eclectic environment. The ‘heroes’ of Old College have firm groundings in those astonishingly fabulous people who made my short time as Deputy Head Porter one of the most interesting and delightful periods of my life.

Indeed, it was but a short time. The blog was discovered (revealed to Head Porter by one such duplicitous individual) and was not met with quite the rapturous applause my small, but growing, online audience had expressed. By this point, I was far from Head Porter’s favourite person and I was hauled before the senior members of The Fellowship.

I was not sacked (although College folklore might like to tell you different) but was advised by the formidable Senior Bursar to ‘consider the wisdom of continuing with such an endeavour is quite so public a manner’. These stern words were balanced by a chuckling Junior Bursar, who had taken the time to highlight the bits he had enjoyed and to read back to me lines that had particularly amused him. But nonetheless, the Establishment was affronted. Needless to say, Secret Diary Of PorterGirl was swiftly deleted and abandoned. For now.

This revelation divided opinion within College and, despite my protestations that it was supposed to be an affectionate, wry take on the academic world, a collective sense of humour failure ensued. About six months later, I hung up my bowler hat for the last time and relieved Cambridge University of quite possibly the worst Deputy Head Porter it had ever seen.

I missed Old College and its colourful incumbents immensely and realised that I missed writing very much indeed. So I set up a new blog, began to repost my original pieces and resolved to continue with my little adventures. Unfortunately, I managed to upset the great and good of the University once more when several publications picked up on the blog and ran stories about it. The academic elite were particularly incensed by a headline claiming ‘Ex-Porter Reveals Sex And Drug Secrets Of Cambridge College’. Although, they were not half as annoyed as the many readers who headed over to the blog expecting salacious revelations in the style of the final days of Sodom and Gomorrah when, in reality, I had made only the briefest of references to a cannabis-smoking student and a packet of extra small condoms.

The Establishment well and truly riled, but my audience ever-growing and delighted, I decided that the only course of action was to come up with such ridiculous storylines that no one would ever consider them to be relevant to a real-life College. Inspired by my love of fictional detectives such as Hercule Poirot, Sherlock Holmes and Inspector Morse, I began cobbling together extravagant scenarios and posting them as a serial.

In an attempt to put further distance between Old College and the inspiration behind it, I embarked on a vicious cull of characters that were too closely based on real people. Some met a grisly end, whilst others simply disappeared. The only surviving Old College ‘original’ is The Dean, who is so well-loved by some readers that his survival was assured following a small but definite outcry. Also, he is my favourite. So there.

Problem solved? Well, not quite. Writing extravagant serials is complex and difficult. The storylines have so many holes you could go fishing with them. I think of interesting and intelligent themes but then get distracted by something else and tend to forget about them. The fates and fortunes of the characters are often subject to the whims of the readers, who usually come up with far better ideas than I do, sending the story off in unexpected directions.

The small matter of me not being a particularly proficient writer shall not deter me. The current storyline sees us embarking on a quest for the Holy Grail – an ambitious undertaking by anyone’s standards. How well it holds together, only time will tell. Next up is likely to be a tale of intrigue and conspiracy within the College choir. Possibly.

So then, Secret Diary Of PorterGirl isn’t really a secret any more and it isn’t quite a diary. What it is, I suppose, is an amateur attempt at an epic that appears to go down quite well with some people, whilst others consider it some kind of sacrilege. But whatever else it might be, it is certainly bloody good fun.

To get even MORE laughs, visit her at the blog: https://portergirl.wordpress.com/ 

Guest Post Submission Guidelines (New Page Added)

I have created a new page regarding guest post submissions which can be found here, http://newauthoronline.com/guest-post-submissions/).

I welcome guest posts, however please read the submission guidelines prior to getting in contact.

 

Many thanks,

 

Kevin

Last Christmas By Sophie Kat

Many thanks to Sophie Kat of Sophie Speaks up for the below short story which I very much enjoyed reading. I look forward to reading more of Sophie’s work. For Sophie’s blog please visit, https://sophiespeaksup.wordpress.com/.

 

 

Last Christmas

December 24, 2014. Christmas Eve.

It was unbelievably cold outside. I sat in a café, waiting for less activity outside the streets, and looked around at different people. What I found out were these…

Name: Julie Althea M. Richardson
Birth: September 20, 1987
Death: July 17, 2028
Cause of Death: Car crash

Name: Anthony L. Cohen
Birth: February 2, 1975
Death: August 3, 2037
Cause of Death: Heart Attack

Name: Taylor Elizabeth T. Morgan
Birth: March 14, 1995
Death: December 24, 2014
Cause of Death: Murder

I gasped and spilled hot coffee on the white table cloth. The couple sitting at the next table looked at me as if I was out of my mind.

Name: John Patrick H. West
Birth: April 28, 1990
Death: July 10, 2075
Cause of Death: Old age

Name: Amber Lily C. Collins
Birth: January 26, 1991
Death: January 27, 2052
Cause of Death: Brain cancer

They weren’t wrong. I was really out of my mind. How could I know these pieces of information by just looking at people? This had been happening for as long as I could remember. Before, I’d tried to tell people, to warn them about their deaths. But, of course, no one believed me. They would tell me that I was crazy or that I was the long lost child of Satan. Either way, they’d tried to take me to a psychiatric ward, claiming that I needed help. I didn’t. To me, it was a gift. But, I learned the hard way to just shut my mouth. No one wanted to know about their deaths, anyway. Not like that.

I sat up straight, hanging my head in apology, and pretended that nothing was happening with me—that I didn’t just find out that a girl would be killed!

I glanced at her again and saw the same information. Murder. Taylor would still be murdered. But, by whom?

She turned the page of the book she was reading and flipped her shiny red hair to her shoulder. She was one of the most beautiful girls I’d seen. With those huge round eyes, cute little button nose, and pasty white skin, she looked so innocent and fragile. Why would anyone want to kill her?

I looked around and searched for something, anything—some kind of a clue maybe. But nothing seemed suspicious. No one in here looked capable of killing. I didn’t know why but I was still wary. What if the murderer was here in this café? What would he look like? Why would he do such thing? How would he kill her? And, why did I care? I never intervened before. If I knew that someone was going to die in the same day, I never did anything to stop it—not that it happened before. But, if that was their fate, then so be it. I could never change it. They never believed me anyway.

The girl’s phone rang. She pulled it out, baffled, and put it near her ear. I couldn’t hear the conversation but she was looking outside the café through the glass windows—searching for something, maybe—while she talked. As she glanced back in, our eyes met. She froze and gave me a shy smile. I just stared at her, not knowing what to do.

The call ended and suddenly she stood up, walking to the double doors and out.

Shit.

Why didn’t I think that the murderer could be outside? She could be killed anywhere, any time of the day.

Leaving my cup of coffee half-full, I stood up immediately and followed her. The cold wind bit my skin as I went outside. I wrapped my coat tighter around me and went to the direction she was going. I didn’t know what I was getting with this but I kept following her. Was I really planning on intervening?

She turned around the corner and walked faster. I did, too, trying to keep her in my sight at the same time being discreet about it. I didn’t want to scare her if she knew that I was following her just because it was written that she was going to be killed. She wouldn’t believe me.

She crossed the streets and went right to the direction of a gasoline station. I stopped and watched her for a second, wondering what she’s up to. She went into the convenience store and talked to the lady in charge of the cashier.

Name: Jenny B. Carlson
Birth: October 6, 1983
Date: May 22, 2015
Cause of Death: Arson

The lady pointed to direction of the rest rooms. That’s where Taylor went to.

I went inside the store and waited outside the rest rooms. I counted the seconds, the minutes, until almost half an hour had passed. I forced the ladies’ room open and found it empty. What? Where did she go? I checked outside the store and saw that Taylor was running across the street.

What the hell? Why would she run? Did she know that someone was after her? Wait. Did she know that I was following her? Was she thinking that I was stalking her? I had to set this right. She would really get herself killed if I didn’t. I ran after her, ignoring the shouts of the cashier lady.

She ran faster, trying to dodge the people, and turned to a more secluded area. I followed her and found her in a dark, empty alleyway—a dead end. I sighed in relief. She turned around and saw me, making her gasp. She stepped back until her back touched the cement wall. Cautiously, I walked to her.

“Why are you following me?” She asked.

I halted. Why? Why was I following her? To save her? To stop the murderer? But how? I couldn’t tell her that. She wouldn’t believe me.

I started. “I don’t know. I just…I just wanted to—“

“I don’t have anything you need. Please, just let me go,” she said, her arms rose in front of her in a stop gesture, her eyes full of fear.

“I’m not going to hurt you. I just want to help,” I told her the truth, my voice calming and soothing. I really wanted to help her. I didn’t mean to frighten her.

“No. Please! D-don’t go near me.”

I didn’t. But, I had to tell her. “You have to believe me. I just want to help you. Someone’s going to kill you…today.”

“W-what? What are you talking about?”

“Someone’s out here to kill you.” I took another step and tried to approach her.

“Stop! Why are you saying this?”

“I just want to help you.”

“No!”

“Someone’s going to kill you. You have to believe me!” I gritted in frustration.

“Stop this! Stop! You’re scaring me. Why are you doing this?”

“I just want to help you. I’m telling the truth—“

“No, you’re not. Stop this! No one’s going to kill me. You’re crazy!”

“I’m not crazy!”

“Please, just let me go!”

Agh! I couldn’t do this anymore. I had to make her understand! I had to make her believe me. I’m telling the truth, damn it! I just wanted to help her. Warn her. Try to save her. But she didn’t believe me. No one believed me. I had to shake some sense out of her. I knew the truth. I had their fate. Finally, I took the last steps to her.

“Stop!”

“No,” I growled. “I’m telling the truth.”

All of a sudden, everything became a blur. The last thing I heard was a scream.

Taylor dropped to the ground, blood oozing from her head.

December 25, 2014. Christmas Day.

The woman on the TV looked professional and calm as she reported the biggest news of the season.

Name: Rose Isabel J. Smith
Birth: July 29, 1985
Death: November 2, 2048
Cause of Death: Breast Cancer

“A 19 year old girl identified as Taylor Elizabeth Morgan was found dead in an alley at Rosewood Street, this morning. Her head was bashed on the concrete wall by a still missing suspect. Witnesses claimed that they saw a man, who was identified as Jason Tyler McGuire, following her into a convenience store in a gasoline station at around 4:00 in the afternoon yesterday. The McGuire’s family filed a report to the police earlier that McGuire was missing for a week prior the incident, causing them to worry about him since the man was reported to be suffering from schizophrenia. The police are now looking for him with the help of his family. When he’s found, he will be admitted to a psychiatric hospital to check his mental condition, before taking any legal proceedings. Meanwhile, Morgan’s family is still seeking for justice. This is the first Christmas that they’ll be celebrating without their only daughter…”

 

Evolving A Supporting Character: A Guest Post By Charles E. Yallowitz

Many thanks to Charles E. Yallowitz for the below guest post. You can find Charles online at http://legendsofwindemere.com/author/slepsnor/.

 

Thank you to Kevin for giving me an opportunity to be a guest on his blog. My name is Charles E. Yallowitz and I’m the author behind the Legends of Windemere blog and fantasy adventure series. My latest book is the 7th of the series and is titled Sleeper of the Wildwood Fugue. That gets the hype out of the way, so now I can get the fun topic.

I write with an ensemble cast of central heroes and several recurring allies. One such character is Kira Grasdon, who has been around since the first book. She is the fiancée of Luke Callindor, the first hero to be introduced, and they have a whole love triangle going on that is not the point of this post. Let’s just say it’s messy and it puts Kira in a difficult situation with other characters and the readers. She is in an emotional storyline, created by her own hand, while not appearing in every book. Unlike Luke, she isn’t an adventurer or much of a warrior. She starts as a merchant’s daughter and evolves over the course of the series.

Sound easy? Well, here’s the problem. How do you evolve an important character who is absent for much of the books?

The simplest way is to have the absent character get mentioned in passing while they’re not around. For a love interest, they can come up in conversation in terms of being missed or simply wondering what they’re doing. New supporting characters can have some news too, which demonstrates that the absentee isn’t really in stasis. All of this is to prove that they’re living and changing off-screen, so they can be different when they return. So it isn’t a shock when Kira returns with a little more combat training or more confidence in negotiating trade deals. The reader knows that she has been working on these two areas while away from the main story. Luke talking about her retains the connection that they have and doesn’t make her an ‘out of sight, out of mind’ character.

Keep in mind that you can’t do the first method by itself because the character has to return at some point. With limited scenes, you need every one of them to count toward development and reminding the audience that the character is important. Powerful interactions and a true purpose help as well as making sure something in the plot affects the returning ally. To keep them growing, you need to hit the characters hard and have them hit back. If not hit back then put a few cracks that may fester during their next hiatus. Leaving a recurring character broken while the heroes move on may seem like a mean thing to do, but it can lead to an unexpected, enjoyable return. After all, many readers enjoy a spiral into insanity or a good guy turning evil or anything that is a step in dark direction.

This isn’t an easy development to accomplish because you have limited time and absence doesn’t always make the heart grow stronger. These recurring characters may have an impact on the plot, but aren’t around to defend the long term effects of their actions. Having them pop up solely to give an explanation can come off as contrived, so you need to get the information in another way. My favorite method is to have another character bluntly ask about the situation. After all, the readers might not be the only ones curious about the inner thoughts of an ally.

Developing characters over the course of a series is tough and those that aren’t constantly in the spotlight have a hard time growing. The key is to make sure they’re remembered and reappear with a purpose. You’d be surprised what happens. Might even have a spin-off book or a new plot on your hands.