Original Poetry: Sounds of Autumn

Windchimes announce The changing season.
The drop in temperature gives me a reason
To write a glorious rhyme
As gods natural music
Keeps perfect time.
And to Him, may my words be pleasing.

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Special book feature: Heart of A Warrior by Denna Holm

Today we have another Crimson Cloak book feature. Instead of a police procedural, we have a fantasy read. I hope you enjoy this book by our own CCP editor, Denna Holm!

Don’t forget, you can get 3 books priced at $3.99 or less for $5 until October 31. Visit
and click on the “bookstore” link to take advantage of these fabulous savings! Use Promo code 3FOR5 at check out.

And now, for our featured book of the week!

Book Title:
Heart of a Warrior

Written by
Denna Holm

Elena Murphy is devastated when Gabriel walks out of her life. When her granddaughter is abducted by aliens and left to die on a hostile world, Gabriel is part of the rescue party sent out by his Council to find her. From the start, they both know there is a strong connection between them, but Elena fears that Gabriel is embarrassed that she is only half vampire while he is a powerful Hunter who has lived for over three thousand years. But when two children under her care are abducted, Elena will do everything in her power to get them back, including swallowing her pride to beg Gabriel to take her with him to track them down.

Gabriel has spent thousands of years searching for his destined mate, his eillelé. When he finally finds her in Elena, it is to learn she is half human. He knows this makes their options as a couple limited. If he takes her back to his world, Laizahlia, his Council will force him to convert her fully to vampire, and he knows she might not survive with her mind intact. And it is forbidden for their kind to live on Earth. Rather than risk her life, he chooses to turn and walk away . . . until two children under her care are taken by Slavers, and it’s him who led them directly to her.

Author bio:

An expert horsewoman from Oregon, now retired from training and showing horses, Denna has now devoted her whole attention to her second passion, writing novels.

Connect with Denna at the following links:


Social media:

Until next time, Happy reading.

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7 Tips for writing Convincing Dialogue

Hello everyone in the blogosphere,
In Today’s post and podcast episode, I give seven tips for using dialogue to enhance your character and plot development in your story.
Listen to my podcast at the following link for a breakdown of each of the key points discussed here:

Why is dialogue important in the development of your story?

Dialogue gives each character his or her own voice. Readers can see the exchange between characters through their dialogue. If you write boring dialogue, your readers will put the book down.
Not only can dialogue help you develop your characters and their interactions with one another, but it can move the plot forward in ways that the story’s narrative cannot.
Remember the advice that many authors give: “show don’t tell”? Dialogue is a great way to show emotion rather than telling you how the character feels.

Writing dialogue: 7 examples of dialogues that work

Tip Number 1:
Avoid Info dumps.

The first thing we want to do when writing dialogue, is to avoid the info dump. An info dump is basically a way of stating what the characters already know.

How to avoid the info dump.

There are four ways you can rewrite the info dump scene to make it more interesting.
1. Turn your info dump into a conflict between two characters.
2. Rewrite your info dump in a way that shows your characters comparing the facts.
3. Make one of your characters oblivious to the confrontation.
4. Rewrite the scene as narration to move your story forward.

Your Words are Dead to Me: Infodumps through Dialogue
Finessing the Info Dump

Tip Number 2:
Use Subtext.

Subtext is the hidden theme within a conversation or a piece of narrative writing. Subtext is often used to signify a stressful situation in a character’s life. Your protagonist and her friend won’t necessarily say anything about the situation in their conversation. However, the hidden meaning is implied in the tone of the dialogue.

There are two ways you can Make Subtext Work
1. Build up to the revelation in your story’s plot
2. Reveal your Main Character’s emotions and preoccupations without making mention of the situation in your character conversations.

9 steps to writing dialogue with rich subtext

Tip Number 3:
Use Conflict to Develop Your Plot and Characters.

Adding conflict in your dialogue heightens tension and suspense in your story. Dialogue not only shows conflict between two characters, it also shows your readers how your protagonist reacts under pressure. However, the conflict is more complex than a simple argument.

Use dialogue to show conflicting character goals in the following four ways:
1. Conflicting dialogue deepens characterization
2. The dialogue shows the underlying cause of the conflict between your characters
3. Using conflict in your dialogue pushes your story toward a new event.
4. The action you use in conjunction with your dialogue, deepen the conflict. These actions can include, physical gestures or facial expressions that show, rather than tell the reader what emotions a given character feels during this conflict.

No matter what genre you write in, the following principals apply for adding conflict in your dialogue:
1. Use conflict to illustrate your characters’ personalities.
2. Use contradiction in your dialogue to show the differences in what your characters want, their values and goals, and how they conflict with each other.
3. Use conflict in your dialogue to move your story forward and heighten the steaks.
4. Deepen the conflict in your character conversations with gestures and expressions to show emotion.

5 Types of Dialogue Your Novel Needs
Writing Argument Scenes with Rayne Hall

Tip Number 4:
Use Dialogue to create character voice

It doesn’t matter whether your dialogue is full of conflict, or consists of a quiet conversation between a group of characters in a small setting, character voice is an important part of your story. The way your characters express themselves shows the reader each character’s unique traits. A Character’s voice may reveal the following:
1. His personality
2. His mood or mental state
3. Background
4. The differences between him and the other characters in your story.
7 dialogue rules for writing fantastic conversations

Tip Number 5:
Be careful when using accents and dialects.

There are a couple of important details to remember when using dialects and accents in your dialogue. Accents are tied to geography, so if you have a character with an accent different than those from the location of your story’s setting, then you need to have a viable explanation for this accent difference. Another problem writers face when using dialects is that using different accents in your character’s speech patterns can often be seen as stereotypical. This means that accents are often used to reduce your characters as tokens of a specific culture.

How can you avoid these pitfalls? You can give your characters distinct accents by researching the dialect and using the proper grammar and dialect in the way people from different countries and cultures actually use to make your characters’ accents and dialects more realistic, instead of adding letters and other caricatures that cause stereotypes in your story. When in doubt, hire a sensitivity reader to beta read your manuscript. A sensitivity reader can help you make the necessary edits to your dialogue to make it sound more realistic.

Writing Accents and Dialects: How to add character without offending
How to write accents and dialects: 6 tips

Tip Number 6:
Pace your dialogue to fit the pacing of your story.
Dialogue is much easier to read than long drawn out paragraphs or pages of solid narration. However, there are a few points to remember:
1. Dialogue isn’t an exact replica of day to day speech; therefore, unnecessary fluff can slow your story down.
2. For action scenes, quick bursts of speech, and having characters interrupt each other is better than long rambling monologues.
3. Cut out as many dialogue tags, such as “he said, she said” sentences at the end of what each character says. These tags slow the dialogue down. If you must use dialogue tags, use them sparingly at the beginning of conversations to know which character is speaking first, and in an exchange, when a third character walks into the conversation. If you can at all, use actions or gestures instead of dialogue tags. I also suggest that you refrain from using adverbs in your dialogue, because your readers can sense the character’s emotion, by not only what he says, but the subtext as well.
4. Use line breaks to put each person’s dialogue in a separate paragraph. Make sure your dialogue stays focused on the issue at hand, and allow your characters to interrupt each other once in a while. This shows urgency or the emotional tension between the characters.

Pacing Dialogue and Actions Scenes – Your Story at Your Speed
How to write fiction: DBC Pierre on convincing dialogue

Tip Number 7:
Anchor your dialogue with your story’s setting and narration.

Blending Dialogue with setting and narration makes your character conversations realistic, verses conversations that come from somewhere out in the void.
Setting is an important factor when creating dialogue for two reasons:
1. The setting may put constraints on what can be said.
2. Setting alters the way characters interact with each other.

How to Balance Action, Narrative and Dialogue in Your Novel
How to write dialogue that hooks readers: 10 tips

Until next time, happy writing.

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Special October Savings brought to you by Crimson cloke Publishing!

Crimson Cloak Publishing Proudly Presents: Special October Savings, 3 eBooks for $5!
That’s right, you get 3 eBooks, priced at $3.99 or less, for just $5. Be sure to get your favorite books at this fabulous discount, while the savings are hot! Offer ends October 31.
Visit http://www.crimsoncloakpublishing.com to get three eBooks by your favorite Crimson Cloak authors or fine some new great reads for one low price. Use Promo code 3FOR5 at checkout.

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Special Book Feature: Lyric Harper and the Harmonic Bridge by Jen Lowry

Today I have a special book feature foran author who is a dear friend, a sister in Christ, a big part of my writers circle and a fellow podcaster. The following book was published on Audible on September 28, 2019. I will promise you this, no matter what format you choose to read this book in, you will absolutely love it, especially if you love fantasy as much as I do. Continue reading to find out more.

Book Title:

Lyric Harper and the Harmonic Bridge

Author name:

Jen Lowry

Lyric Harper, musical genius, is about to embark on her senior year at the most prestigious arts school in the world nestled right in the pines of North Carolina. Harmonic Arts Center, this hidden gem of talent and artistry, has another mission than to equip talented young musicians with the heart for greatness but to test and develop their inner spirit to bring out their mythological nature. Seven youth are selected for an early admittance summer program under the guise of performing at the opening showcase in the fall. They are called for a greater purpose and shapeshift, train, and work as one flock to combine their gifts to defeat the creatures threatening to cross the Harmonic Bridge into our world. Birds of a feather fly and rock together in this new MG Contemporary Fantasy set in 1985.

Purchase link:

Listen to my book review:

author bio:

Jen Lowry is North Carolina born and raised, still holding on to that country slang that is unique to the small town of Maxton she loves so much in Robeson County. She is an avid enthusiast of all things horror and UFC. She finds herself comfier in a pair of pajamas and would make all public appearances in them if she could get away with it. When she isn’t literacy coaching, life coaching, or homeschooling her two fabulous boys, she can be found napping or singing loudly, probably napping. Jen has her doctorate degree in Christian Ministry and is a member of Raleigh First Assembly. Check out Jen’s official author sites all over the net from podcasts, YouTube, Instagram, and more by searching up Jen Lowry Writes or follow her on @jenlowrywrites. Contact Jen for special author appearances and teaching opportunities or stay up to date with her journey at http://www.jenlowrywrites.com.

Connect with Jen at the following links:




Official Author Merch (every author needs a cool t-shirt):

Daily Author Podcast to share my author journey and tips:

YouTube (Jen Lowry Writes – where I share publishing tips!):

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Inspirational Journeys Presents: The Three-act Story Structure

Hello everyone,
In today’s blog post and podcast episode, we’ll discuss the three-act story structure. Before we get started, I want to ask you a couple of important questions. You don’t have to answer them now, but I want you to think about them as you read and listen.

What is story structure? Why should you use it when writing fiction?

The story structure is a set of elements used to plot your novel, before you sit down to write. However, if you have written the first draft of your novel, you can use these same tools to revise your story during the editing process.
Depending on how little or how much pre planning you do before you write your short story or novel, your story structure can be as simple or as complex as you want. This plan gives you the basic plot points to use as a road map, while paving the way for creative storytelling.
If you’d like to listen to my explanation of each of the key points below, please listen to the latest episode of Inspirational Journeys:

The Three Act Story Structure

Act 1
This first act consists of the following three elements: The hook, The inciting incident, and the first plot point.

The hook is the opening sentence or paragraph that pulls your readers into the story and keeps them engaged to the end. This hook should do three things: Introduce the protagonist, establish her day to day life, and show her dealing with a normal conflict. Remember the post I did on Character development? You may want to learn more about your protagonist, before you write the opening hook. However, some writers develop their characters as they write. You can change your hook during edits, if you’re a true pantser or you write the bare bones of a plot like I do. Remember, the conflict you introduce in the hook is the element that moves your story forward. You won’t have a story if everything stays the same as it did when you started out.
For more resources on character development, visit the following links:
4 Tips for Creating Well-Rounded Characters blog post:
• Dynamic Character: How to write a compelling protagonist
Crafting Incredible Characters
My Favorite Method of Building Character Personalities
8 Character Development Exercises to Help You Nail Your Character
A Surefire Way to Craft Well-Developed Characters

The inciting incident is the situation that sets your story into motion. This beat gives your character a sense of adventure. For example, something must happen to make your character react in a way that moves the story forward. It is important to note that your protagonist may not grab the opportunity presenting itself in this beat, because it takes her out of her comfort zone. Some sort of internal fear or flaw holds her back.

What is the Narrative Arc? A Guide to Storytelling Through Story Structure
How to Craft Your Character’s “Lie”
Writing the Perfect Flaw
Your Character’s Greatest Fear

The first plot point, is the part of the story, where the character has become heavily involved in the point of conflict. In some cases, the inciting incident and the first plot point are the same beat. However, in other stories, there are extra scenes to build up to this point of no return, which leaves the character no choice, but to get into the action of the story. In this first plot point, the steaks are too high for your protagonist to refuse to take the opportunity presented to her. The first plot point should take place within the first fifteen to twenty-five percent of your story.

The First Act: Nailing Your Novel’s Opening Chapters
How to Determine Your Character’s Goal

Act 2

The second act is the middle build where your story escalates. It includes the following elements: the pre-midpoint action, the midpoint, and the post mid-point action.

The pre-midpoint is where the protagonist moves forward within the story, though she may not understand the reason for her actions. She tries her best to avoid meeting or coming into conflict with the villain. This is the beat that takes place before the big game changer brings a whole new plot twist into the story. However, your protagonist will face many trials during this plot point. Some of her conflict could be with her friends, her own internal conflict, or road blocks placed by the antagonist. For information about the pre midpoint action, click on the links below:
The Four Main Types of Epic Antagonists
How to Determine Your Character’s Story Goal

The midpoint, is where the protagonist gets a little too close to the truth and his or her efforts are discovered by the villain. At this point, your main character is unable to ignore the danger your villain and/or his cronies pose to her and her loved ones. Therefore, she must face the conflict head on and fight against the evil forces. This is the game changer, which heightens the steaks in your story. Click on these resources to learn more:
The Six Types of Conflict in Fiction: How to Identify Them and Make Them Work in Your Story
Breaking Down the Four Main Types of External Conflict
How to Raise the Stakes in Your Story

The post mid-point action, is the point at which the protagonist is ready to meet the villain head on, while striving to get what she wants. There are several plot points or scenes between the post mid-point and the third act that ramp up the action. These scenes may include unexpected twists and turns leading up to your story’s climax. Your Protagonist must face her enemy to protect supporting characters that are close to her. But watch out, for there will be a loss that throws a monkey wrench into her mission.

The Second Act: Is the Middle of Your Story Dragging?
The Second Half of the Second Act
The Pre-Write Project: Prep Your Masterful Story

Act 3

The third and final act includes the following key elements to finish the story: The dark night of the soul, The climax, and the resolution.

The Dark night of the soul is where the protagonist loses something or someone near and dear to her. This loss can almost derail your main character’s mission, but the journey isn’t over at this point, the only thing for her to do is keep moving forward and fight to the end. Here’s where her central fear or flaw will come back to bite her. This short but powerful beat is the point at which the steaks ramp up, you remind your reader of your protagonist’s power, and complete her development as the story’s hero.

How to Build Emotional Conflict by Utilizing Your Character’s Lie
Seeing Theme in the Dark Night of the Soul
What is the Theme of a Story? A Guide for Authors

The climax, is the point at which the protagonist confronts the villain. She also conquers her central flaw or fear.

How to Build a Powerful Theme for Your Story
How to Craft Riveting Internal Conflict
What is the Role of Theme in a Story’s Climax?

The resolution, is where all the loose ends of your story are tied up. If the conflict with your antagonist has not yet been resolved, this is one of several loose ends that are tied up. Your character faces her central fear or flaw, and finds a much more positive normality in her life. This norm is better than the one she started out with at the beginning of your story.

Please note, I am working on a mystery as I write this, therefore this genre is the one in which I give examples to explain the key elements of story structure in the podcast episode linked above. Each genre is different, therefore your structure will very from story to story, though the same principals apply.

Tell me, what kind of writer are you? Do you completely pants your stories, with no regard to story structure in the first draft? Do you heavily outline your story, with each beat or key element strategically outlined, or are you a pantser with a plan? Do you simply write the bare bones of your story and allow your characters and your muse to drive the story from these foundational points? How do you use the three act story structure in your own novel writing? Leave your answers in the comments below, or visit my contact page to send me an email at:

I hope this lesson on story structure has been helpful in either the planning stage of your novel or during the editing process. I’ve found the breakdown of each beat, within each act helpful in my own writing.
Until next time, happy writing and God bless.

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Special book feature: The Dark Web Murders by Brian O’Hare

Today I have a special book feature to share with you. My publisher has asked some of us authors to help promote each other’s books. Here’s my first Crimson Cloak Publishing book feature:
Enjoy the book and happy reading.

Book Title:
The Dark Web Murders

Author Name:
Brian O’Hare

I am Nemein I am not a murderer. I am emotionally detached from my killings. I am, therefore, an instrument of Nemesis, a punisher. This is a theme running through a number of blogs on the Dark Web, written by a serial killer. He is highly intelligent and employs philosophical argument to justify a series of gruesome murders. However, he describes the killings in lurid detail, and with such gloating relish, that he utterly negates his delusion of detachment and reveals himself to be a cold-blooded, narcissistic psychopath.

Sheehan and his team rush headlong down a series of blind alleys in the pursuit of the psychopath, who continues to murder his victims with impunity. He is fiendishly clever, utterly ruthless, and tests Sheehan’s famed intuition to the limit. Indeed, Sheehan only learns the truth during a horrific climax when some members of his team experience a most harrowing ‘laceration of the soul’ that they will never be able to forget. It is unlikely that the reader will either.

Purchase link:

Author bio:
Because of a debilitating illness, Dr.Brian O’Hare [B.A., ADCE(Hons.), M.A., Ph.D] took early retirement in 1998 from his post as Assistant Director of a large Regional College in Newry in Northern Ireland. It transpired that he had an irreversible liver disease (a childhood affliction) that required a liver transplant. Married with three children and ten grandchildren, he now enjoys full health, plays golf, and writes from time to time.

Brian O’Hare is the author of articles in several educational journals and a number of substantial reports published by the Dept. Education (NI) and the University of Ulster

Other books by Brian O’hare
Memoir/Biography: A Spiritual Odyssey [Published by Columba Press, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, 2005]

The Doom Murders
The 11:05 Murders
The Coven Murders
The Dark Web Murders

and the Short Stories:
Murder at Loftus House
Murder at the Roadside Cafe
Murder at the Care Home

Connect with Brian at the following links:

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