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Another Short Story

This week I had asked my daughter for some keywords. She didn’t make it easy. They were:

  • druid
  • frustration
  • Mount Everest
  • lampshade
  • mother

I postponed writing the story again and again until there was no time left. The story that appeared in my head is now titled ‘Contempt.’ You can find it in the Short Stories section of the menu. As always, it has a little twist at the end. Let me know what you think of it.

 

Header photo by Jan Kahánek on Unsplash

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Meet The Author…

I met Yenpri online last year, during a take over organized by the lovely Pletcha PJ Webb. Yenpri was a fun guy, actively participating in the quizzes and games, and afterward, we chatted a bit. I found out he lives in South-Africa and I once visited his hometown. If only I had known him then, I would have certainly popped in for a cuppa 🙂 . Please welcome Yenpri.

Meet Yenpri Laypil

Yenpri_Lapil

Author, photographer, and dreamer. Thank you for taking the time to learn more about my writing, and a little something about me.

Ok, before we begin, I have a couple of confessions to make. The first is that I used to watch Star Wars every single holiday during high school and college (yep, every single episode!). The second is, the first time I played Pokemon, I stayed up until 3 am trying to level up my Charmander! (I’m a big fan of the Fire-type!). The third is that I love writing and entertaining my readers with fascinating and intriguing stories.

A little bit about how it all started. Our journey begins with the writing the Outcast of the Dark Knight series in the year 2000. I can share an incredible story with you about Outcast. I had just published the first edition of the book: it was in July 2014 and I was very happy and excited and you know how it is, you keep on Googling yourself just to see what comes up for your book. Then, one day I googled the book’s name and low and behold, a Youtube link pops up for BookmanBookwoman (Larry and Saralee Woods) and my book was on their list. I WAS GOING NUTS! My folks were going nuts! I couldn’t believe that my book was picked up by these incredible fold, reviewed and appeared on their TV show. It was incredible! Then, it just got better because another book called ‘The Silkworm’ written by Robert Galbraith (more affectionately known as the great JK Rowling) was also on the list. That was a great honor for me to be alongside one of the greatest authors of our time.

I knew I loved writing from a very early age and I had this story bubbling within and I just had to get it out there. Today, with the fourth book in the Outcast of the Dark Knight series out, I’m proud to say that the journey has just begun!

 

I also write within the mystery/thriller genres and that’s where ‘Rhino Was Rhino Is’ comes into the picture.

Yenpris_Books

And of course, we all need some romance in our lives, so don’t forget to get your fix with ‘An Interview with Mr. Fountain.’ I loved writing this and honestly couldn’t stop laughing at times.

For me, the greatest honor I can receive is my fans enjoying reading my books. That makes me happy and it makes it all worth it!

Best wishes,

Yenpri Laypil

 

You can find all Yenpri’s book on Amazon.

 

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Header Photo by Juja Han on Unsplash

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Meet The Author…

I thought it might be a fun idea to introduce you to some other authors. Once a week I will pick out an author for you and direct you to their page.

Meet Gregg Savage

Gregg_Savage

This week, I felt the twang of nostalgia when I read Gregg Savage’s guest post on The Story Reading Ape’s blog. He tells his tale of how he became a writer after telling his (step)daughter Ruby a story every night. My mind was taken back to when I was prompted by my children to write. It is funny how life can take you in directions you never thought were possible 🙂

Click on the link below to read his journey to become an author.

Meet Guest Author, Gregg Savage…

You can find Gregg’s website full of children’s stories here.

Header Photo by Juja Han on Unsplash

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Happy New Year!

It’s 2018… and I’m back!

It’s been a while, over a month I’d say, and I’ve missed blogging. Did you miss me? I bet you’ve had many things to keep you busy over the festive season. I have so many things to tell you and I hardly know where to start. 2018 is going to be such an active year for me.

Killing A Vampire

My biggest accomplishment in 2017 was finishing Book 3 of the Suckers Trilogy. I was able to send it to the beta readers before Christmas, and I’m receiving their responses back now. The few grammatical errors (tenses keep being my bane), the odd remark on character statements, but overall a positive reaction. I even received a pat on the back for two suspenseful chapters by Kathy Lance, an ex-director of an international school of linguists and now book reviewer for One Stop Fiction. She’s a tough one, writing very honest reviews, and her comment made me very proud.

I must admit I was a bit wary of this book when I began writing it. I have planned this story for a long time, and writing it according to ‘plan’ felt different than writing the first two books, which were written ‘from the wrist.’ Writing the interactions between the characters still felt exciting as they were new on the page, but I worried about the storyline once I finished it.  I wanted a grand finale and felt my story lacking. I discussed the issue with my family and they helped me improve it. Now I have revised the ending, got rid of the grammatical errors, and changed the wording here and there, I feel this story is a great ending to the trilogy and am ready to promote it.

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Christmas Celebration

Over Christmas, we flew to Holland to spend time with the family. We visited almost all of our dearest family and slept in four different beds in the seven days we were there. The weather was great, we only had rain the last day. We were very lucky to get a Maastricht city tour from my uncle, who has been a tour guide in one of Holland’s oldest cities. We visited the tunnels as well, which was very different from what I expected. We spent two days in the Efteling, a fairytale theme park, which is always a big hit with the kids. It was great to see everyone again and we were sad to leave.  I was glad to sleep in my own bed again though 🙂

What is 2018 going to bring?

Promoting

First of all, the promotion of my trilogy. I never thought I would ever write a book, so finishing three has been a major accomplishment in my life. It gives me a real boost and I’m looking forward to promoting them. I love writing and will continue. There are so many new ideas already flying around in my head.

Improving health

The new year also brings a new year’s resolution for me as I have never been this unhealthy and overweight in my life. Writing has been my passion and I have put all things aside for it. This year, I need to take more care of my body, my family, and my house. I have started doing yoga exercises and will begin doing some physical exercises as well. I’ll have to take it slow, as I’m as flexible as a door. Next to this, I fell on my wrist during ice skating on our holiday and it is still painful. Fingers crossed it won’t be a chronic issue.

 

Soesjes

Family time

I also need to take out more time for my family as I feel like I have neglected them badly and want to spend more time with them. I’m going to cut our TV-watching dinners and eat at the dining table so we can have actual conversations. Cooking more interesting dinners and resolving the draft issues in the dining room will probably help promote this.

Renovations

2018 is also the year that we are going to have major renovations done to the house. We have decided that it takes too long to do everything ourselves. Sometimes you need to put a little water to your wine. The work doesn’t have to be perfect, as long as it functions and you can enjoy life instead of worrying about not having enough time. So, the kitchen and family bathroom are going to be done by someone else than ourselves. The kitchen project will cause some problems as last year, my husband decided to rip out the little kitchen in the basement ‘because it was ugly.’ We will now have to organize a makeshift kitchen in the dining room when we rip out the old kitchen. This will mean my previous resolution of having meals in the dining room will have to be postponed, but hopefully it won’t take a whole year (famous last words).

Reading

As I won’t be writing 24/7 anymore, I also hope to have more time to read so watch this space for some awesome book reviews!

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Do you have any new year’s resolutions or major plans for 2018? I’d love to hear what’s written down on your calendar 🙂

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Silence is golden

As I’m working very hard on finishing Book 3 of the Suckers Trilogy, I’m going into silent mode. I read the other day the handy tip of another writer to dedicate one month to writing, the next to promoting. That’s exactly what I need to do as I’m wasting too much time on promoting at the moment and not getting very far with my writing.

I promised my readers that my book would be ready by the end of this year. That’s not going to happen and I feel bad for letting my readers down. Going into silent mode will mean that the first draft will be finished before Christmas and that I can hopefully publish the book by Valentine’s Day. I thought that would be a great day to publish the final chapter of my paranormal romance 🙂

So no blog posts from me until I get that first draft finished. As I wrote Book 1 in two weeks, it shouldn’t take that long!

PS: Why does healthy cereal taste like cardboard?

Header photo by Kristina Flour from Unsplash

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It’s REALLY official now!

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Sorry, I couldn’t help it. I had to brag some more. Above is the logo awarded to the winners. So proud of myself 🙂

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And the winner is…

ME! Plus forty-nine others, of course…

You may remember my post regarding me being shortlisted for Twisted50 Vol.2. Well, today they finally announced the fifty winners whose stories will be entered in the Twisted50 Volume 2 anthology. It was a long wait, but it was worth it :). Check out all the winners here.

My winning story is called ‘Rumour has it…’ and is not for the faint at heart. It’s about a girl who stands trial for gruesome murders committed. You’ll have to buy the book to read the whole story, and, man, are there some twisted stories in there! At the moment they’re voting on the book cover, but I’ll let you know the link to the book as soon as I’ve got it.

Now, I’m off to dance around the house!

#Twisted50

 

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Sisterly Love

Sorry, this isn’t a true story! No drama in the family at the moment. Well, there is, but not sisterly love drama. It’s not my drama, so sorry to disappoint you again, can’t tell. Not to worry, though! I wrote a piece for the writers’ club and it was well received, so I’m going to share it with you. I will put it up in the Short Story section for later reference, but to make it easier for you, I’ll just paste it here. As it plays on the Isle of Skye, I’ve written it in UK English. Let me know what you think if it.

Sisterly Love

(Keywords: Spoon, Make-Up artist, Isle of Skye, Envy)

(987 Words)

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There they stood, all happy and shining. My sister and her groom. The wedding of the century they called it. Probably true. Who else was going to get married here, in the middle of fucking nowhere? The Isle of Fucking Skye; God’s place to torment innocent souls. Right now the rain lashed the town hall as if it wanted to break up the wedding reception inside. The wind was driving it on, howling along with it. It was probably crying with me on this worst day of my life.

My aunt, sitting next to me, had told me to suck it up, to get over my envy. She stopped my hand tapping the dessert spoon on the edge of the table. What did she know? Suck it up. My soulless sister had ruined it all, ruined my life, my happiness. Yet everybody was smiling at her, applauding her words as she gave her speech. I bet she didn’t mention how she stole my love away like the conniving bitch that she was. She flashed her pearly white teeth as the lies continued to pour from her mouth. She had always been the pretty one. From when we were toddlers, everybody had always been drawn to her. ‘She’s so cute,’ they’d say. ‘What a pretty smile you’ve got there,’ they’d croon. No one ever saw me standing there; Plane Jane with sleek, mousy-coloured hair and a face you would forget as soon as you blinked. Not her. Everybody remembered her. Was it her sky-blue eyes? The dimples in her cheeks as she smiled?  She was beautiful, I couldn’t deny it. Still, Mum had organised a make-up artist to make her pretty today. As if she needed a fucking make-up artist for her flawless skin. She could make men drool with her looks after she had been boozing all night and having a mother of a hangover. Whatever it was she had, it stole my love from me and she knew it.

It was two years ago that I met him. He was a cousin of the vicar and had come to Skye to help rebuild the church. How handsome he was and how handy with all the tools. We had flirted and teased for weeks. Then, one night after going to the movies, he had kissed me. Me! I had been in seventh heaven. Mum had noticed my happiness and made me spill the beans. I then had to bring him over for dinner of course. That’s when my sister got her evil claws into him.

From the moment he saw her, he could only pay attention to her. After all we had shared, the fun, the flirting, the kiss, I suddenly was nothing, an empty space. He listened to every word she said, commented on every move she made, came to visit her. They were always giggling and laughing, no doubt at the expense of me. Soon he was taking her to the movies, and kissing her.

My aunt looked annoyed at me as I had begun tapping the spoon on the table again. I ignored her. She should know better. She was an old spinster, older sister of my mother, and should know how it felt when your younger sister was getting married before you did. It just wasn’t done. My sister, like my mother, had ignored the old tradition. She had taken no head to my complaints for getting married so soon. And to him. She fucking ignored me. Period. So much for sisterly love. Love. It was all a bunch of lies. It only caused grief and pain. My sister hurt me, deeply, and yet she didn’t give a shit. She had to marry the only man who had looked my way, the only man who had kissed me. And only because she could. She could get a thousand others to fall in love with her, yet she had to have the one that I wanted. She stole him from me just so she could hurt me.

All of a sudden I heard her say, “…and all because of my dear sister.” The words were dripping with honey, oozing with feigned love. They made my blood curl and sent shivers down my spine. The people ooh-ed and aah-ed at her words and turned towards me. They didn’t know that all she had done was hate me from the moment she was born. Nobody knew she had used every single word, action, and thought to hurt me, to make me feel miserable, worthless, and to be pitied. My rage welled up in me like lava in a volcano. No more!

I turned to her, my eyes blazing a fire from hell. I pulled back my hand and threw the spoon in her direction. It hit the dog that my cousin was playing with in front of the happy couple’s table. It yapped in surprise, which made my cousin jump up and fall backwards. He tried to keep his balance by holding on to the table cloth. The wedding cake began shifting as the cloth moved down the table. My love hastened to keep it in place. In his sudden, forceful dive, he slammed down on the edge of the plate holding the cutting knife. The knife flicked up towards his face. He brushed it away with his arm just in time, making it do a somersault high in the air. Lightning reflected off the sharp edge of the blade before it went on its downward course. As if with a purpose, the knife buried itself deep into my sister’s heartless chest. The room went quiet. My sister looked at her chest, then at me. She dropped to the floor with only a swishing of her silk, white dress. My love let go of the wedding cake. His eyes were on me.

Finally, I had his attention again.

Copyrighted (c) by Jacky Dahlhaus

Header image by Peter Clarkson from Unsplash

Wedding image by Luis Tosta from Unsplash

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Book Review: Shifters Stand

Shifters_Stand_Cover

I read this book as I was intrigued by its blurb. Even though it is the third book of a trilogy, it was easy to follow. The backstory was slowly revealed the further I got into the book, yet from the first page onward, the story is engaging.

Characters are fleshed out, emotions are well described, and tensions are high to get mates back as their lives are at stake. The Shifters must defeat their enemy or all will be lost. Until the very end, you don’t know if this is going to happen or not as the threats are as real as it gets. Whether the Shifters make it or not… well, you’ll have to read the story. Take some time for reading as you will want to know the ending.

Mr. Griffith has produced a great ending to a great, and clean, YA adventure.

Get your copy on Amazon.

 

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Social Media Takeovers: An Unknown Phenomenon

Yesterday, Halloween 2017, I took part in the Dark Fantasy Books takeover and had a ball. ‘What’s a takeover?’ you may ask. That’s exactly the problem; most people don’t know what it is, let alone that they can participate. I’ll try and remedy this situation and hopefully help authors and readers alike. A win-win situation!

What is a Takeover?

According to the Collins English Dictionary, a takeover is the act of taking control of a country, political party, or movement by force. The takeover I’m talking about is less aggressive as it is a virtual party where various people take the reins and host the party for a limited time, usually half an hour. I have only done Facebook takeovers (two in total; I’m still a noob), but you can have them on any type of social media.

There should be guidelines to a takeover and the person organizing it usually lets all participants know what is expected. See it as a real party. First, you introduce yourself in a post. You talk a bit about where you’re from and what you do. Then you promote whatever you’re promoting in a couple of posts, including samples and links to your product. You usually end with a post on how people can contact you for more information.

Sounds like a boring sales talk? Wrong! Laced through this information are quizzes, games, funny anecdotes, unknown insights, and samples! People have to post funny GIFs, answer questions about topics of the takeover, and there are usually jokes. The crazier the questions, the crazier the answers, the more fun to be had!

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Gain for Readers

Takeovers are so lucrative for readers! I was, again, amazed that all participants in the takeover were only authors. Apart from being lots of fun with quizzes and games, there are lots of free books up for grabs. Most authors give away prequels for free and the prizes are usually their books. Next to this, you get to know the author. You get a connection with them and this makes reading their books so much more interesting.

So you get a fab time and free books. What more could you ask for?

Gain for Authors

When you do a book takeover, you usually do it with a group of authors that write in your genre. It’s a great way to connect with like-minded spirits, read samples of their work, and make new friends. It is amazing how small the world becomes in this virtual reality. Best of all, your work gets seen by more people who hopefully will share your work, spread the word about your book, and possibly write a review.

Promotion

I guess the key to a successful takeover is promotion. If you don’t promote the takeover well in advance, nobody will know about it and nobody will show up. You can use all social media available to spread the word. Do it clear and do it loud! The more attendees, the merrier 🙂

If you are a reader and you know an author, participate in a takeovers when they advertise one. Like I said, it’s a win-win situation!

Header image by Luiz Hanfilaque from Unsplash, edited by Jacky Dahlhaus

Party photo by Anthony DELANOIX from Unsplash.

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My BargainBooksy Promo Results

I bought two BargainBooksy deals for last weekend. One was to promote Book 1 on Saturday and the other to promote Book 2 on Sunday. They cost me $70 each. The results are not bad, even though I didn’t get my money back by a long shot. I sold thirty-eight copies of Book 1 (27 + 11) and twenty copies of Book 2 (5 + 15). A total of fifty-eight books! I’m hoping to see some new reviews soon. Fingers crossed!

What surprised me most was the effect it had on my sales and author ranking. Here are the two graphs of my book sales.

SalesRankB1_171030SalesRankB2_171030psd

 

The first thing that strikes me is that both books rose in ranks up to about #35,200. I find this strange as I sold nearly twice as many copies of Book 1 than Book 2. It may be explained when you look at what ranking they came from. Book 1 started at ranking #1,150,000 and Book 2 at ranking #600,000, a near two-fold difference.

AuthorRank171030

As you can see in the graph above, my author ranking shot up from #575,00 to just under #16,000. It looks even better when you look at my total ranking so far (from January 2016 when I published my first book):AuthorRank160112-171029

From this graph, you can see that my lowest point happened after the launch of my first book. I had no idea about promoting and my book ranking plummeted into the Amazon Abyss. It shot up again after I released my second book. From then on it has been going up and down with sporadic sales, but following the bottom line, it is in a slow but steady climb. Lately, it has been going up with a slightly steeper inclination as I re-released Book 2 a few months ago and am getting the hang of promotions. The latest spike happening due to my BargainBooksy sales. On this graph it looks like I’m almost hitting #1! Wishful thinking, LOL!

The overall picture of all these graphs tell me:

  • Writing and publishing more books makes you go up in rank
  • Paid promoting makes your books go up in rank
  • I’m on the right track
  • I shouldn’t give up

I better get to finishing Book 3 asap!

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How to begin writing a novel

Yesterday, I had a meeting with the local Writers Club again. One of our new members wants to start a book but doesn’t know where to begin. When I  myself decided to write, I just started. The first scene I wrote happened in the middle of the story (which I only discovered later), but this doesn’t work for everyone (and I wouldn’t suggest it either). Fortunately, I recently read about the snowflake method and could recommend it.

The Snowflake Method of Writing

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With this method, you start with one sentence which depicts the core of your story. In the next step, you expand that one sentence into a paragraph, outlining what happens in your story. Setup, major disasters, resolution. Next, you do this for each of your characters. If you don’t have a development for your characters during your story, your readers will find your characters flat and can’t connect with them which you don’t want. It also will give you more to write about as the direction of development for each character won’t always go along the same line, pace, direction. The fourth step is to expand each sentence into a whole paragraph. Next, you will be expanding what you’ve got even further. Once you’ve got the basic storyline, make a chart of the scenes. Each scene will have to depict a development. If there is no development in a scene (good turns bad, ideas change, emotions change), delete it as it is just page filler. You now put in more and more details, until you have a full story. An article in which it is explained in more detail can be found here.

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This is how I sort of began my third book, Killing A Vampire. I know the characters in it, I know what is going to happen, and how it’s going to end (I must admit this took me a while to figure out), but I didn’t know what was going to happen in between the major plot twists. I used Scrivener’s corkboard and note cards to layout the chapters/scenes.

I actually used the word count as a basis. Both my other books are about 72K words, so I wanted my third book to be at least this size. They both have about 60 chapters, so I created 60 note cards. It also meant that each chapter/note card needed to be about 1200 words. Then I started filling in on each card what would happen in that chapter. Sometimes I write more words, sometimes I write less. The good thing about Scrivener is that you can move the cards around as you please. Overal I want to stick to the 1200 words, so readers can read the short chapters while they have a little time to read and not have to cut off their reading while something major is happening.

It’s perhaps not as creative as some ‘on the fly’ writers write, but I’ve been thinking for a long time about this story and, even though I know in advance where the story is going, the how is still created only once I sit down and write. I just don’t have to think about the why and where anymore, which I feel is like a weight off my shoulders.

If you have a different way of starting a novel, let me know. I’m all ears 🙂

PS: Talking about ears, my hearing aids are working fine again after the swimming pool disaster last Monday!