Vlog: The Black Moment

The Black Moment

by Janice Seagraves

 

The black moment is near the end of your story, right before the climax. It can also be the moment you’ve been foreshadowing during the entire story.

 

It’s the darkest part of your story, where everything looks the worst so you reader will keep turning pages just to find out if . . . your couple will get back together. The hero or heroine will survive the encounter with the bad guy.  Or in the Movies: is Luke’s Father going back to the evil Empire’s side. The Mercenaries are going to kill Tree of Souls, and neither Jake nor the Na’vi can stop them.

 

Where it looks like all is lost.

 

So why do we write the black moments?

 

Because it make for a more compelling read and it makes the climax even more interesting, because that’s when you hero or heroine saves the day.

In my book Windswept Shores, my black moment involves pirates. Not the sexy pirates of the Caribbean, but modern day, nasty, thieving pirates of the Bahamas.

 

Excerpt, Windswept Shores:

Closer to camp, she heard voices. Oh, the self-styled-natives must be visiting again. Megan looked forward to their infrequent visits, and her Spanish was improving with use. They had also taken a second letter to her sons, if it ever made its way to the states, anyway. Maybe I can talk them into selling me some fuel?

With a lighter heart, she walked out of the bush, only to see suitcases and clothes flying out of her tent. Her wicker door had been cut off and tossed to the side. The deflated raft lay near it.

“Hey, what are you doing? Stop that.”

A dark head popped out of her tent. “Bueno dias, senorita,” he said with a gap-toothed leer, making Megan self-conscious in the bikini and sarong she wore.

A thump from the boat made her glance from the ugly man to the Dinki-Di. Someone was digging through the built-in tool box and setting things to the side. “Get out of the boat. It doesn’t belong to you.”

“Who might you be, little lady?” asked a man with dirty blond hair and a slight southern accent. He seemed to be supervising the men. He sucked on a cigar, blowing out a cloud of vile-smelling smoke.

“None of your business, that’s who. Tell your men to get out of my stuff,” she snapped. “You’re trespassing.”

“Trespassing is a matter of opinion, especially since your boat’s a derelict. We claim salvage rights.”

“The Dinki-Di is my home. It’s not a derelict.”

The man from the tent snatched her basket and stepped over to the blond man, stuffing fruit into his mouth. Juice dripped down his chin.

Startled by his hyena laugh, she took a step back. “Jerk. You guys are no better than thieves, you’re pirates.”

The blond tossed his cigar, took out a fruit, and shined it on his shirt before he bit into it. “Pirate is such an out of date word. I prefer the term entrepreneur, and these men are my employees.” He frowned at the plundered plum. “Ugh, it’s overripe.”

Madre de Dios,” exclaimed the one in the boat, standing up as he dropped one of Seth’s huge sandals.

“Who else is here with you?” demanded the blond man, pitching his fruit to the side and wiping his mouth with the back of his hand.

Megan glanced around at the strangers’ hard expressions. All at once, she realized what they saw; a short, unarmed, scantily clad female all alone on a deserted island. They even took my basket away. I could have thrown my produce at them and ran. God, there are no police! No people. Just us. They can do whatever they want, and who would stop them? Feeling like she had just swallowed a lump of ice, Megan took a deep breath and yelled, “Seth, help. I need you.”

That’s all I have for now. Before I go can you please like and subscribe. Thank you for watching.

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Trade paperback: https://www.createspace.com/4084680
Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00AS9NDNO

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/446101
Janice Seagraves’s website: http://janiceseagraves.org/

Vlog: Conflict in Writing by Janice Seagraves

Conflict in writing

By Janice Seagraves

 

Most writers know that to have an interesting story which draws the reader in, you must have conflict.

Conflict = story.

One way to have conflict is to make your main character an underdog.

Why an underdog?

Because people love to root for an underdog.

Example: Remember Charlie Brown, trying every year to kick that football? Didn’t you root for him, even though you knew Lucy would pull that ball away each and every time, he tried to kick it?

That’s conflict.

Let’s face it, no one wants to root for Ken and Barbie who live an idyllic life in suburbia.

In my book Windswept Shores, I have my heroine, Megan have a really bad day:

Windswept Shores Excerpt:

If she had to spend one more day on this godforsaken island, she’d go stark raving mad. The thought spurred Megan into rolling a large log with one foot then the other, until it was near the bonfire. “God, this thing is heavy.” With a grunt, she lifted one end until it teetered upright then gave it a shove. It landed in the fire, embers swirling in the air.

Breathing hard, she flicked a glance at the teal-colored sea. She’d thought a vacation to the Bahamas would be the perfect getaway, would be a solution to the problems she and Jonathan had faced. She’d been wrong—dead wrong. Tears of grief filled her eyes. The never-ending crash of the waves on the beach and the cries of the seagulls seemed to mock her with the reminder she was utterly alone.

***

Another way to have conflict in a romance is to have newly divorced Ken, (Barbie ran off with G.I. Joe), have a miserable day—conflict.

Example: Say Ken’s Porsche breaks down on the way to work and he has to have it towed. As he waits impatiently for the tow truck driver, he’s mentally marking off all the things that went wrong that week (conflict). Just after he’s comes to the fact that he is alone and unloved the tow truck driver arrives. But a pretty woman steps out. It’s P.J. The baggy coveralls can’t hide her full (Mattel) figure and the grease smudges on her (plastic) face can’t cover up her lovely face or her Malibu tan.  Maybe P.J.’s father or uncle owns the business, or maybe she owns it herself.  Or maybe she’s not a tow truck driver, but a pick-up service for a car rental agency.

So Ken thanks his lucky star that he’s spotted this beauty, but when he asks P.J. out she turns him down—flat.

Why? Conflict.

No conflict—no story.

In my book Windswept Shores, I have Megan alone on a deserted island, until Seth washes up on shore. The first thing he does is sniff her hair.

Why? Conflict.

Windswept Shores excerpt:

“Are you from England?”

“Naw,” he rubbed his eyes, “I hail from Sidney, but my port of call these days is Fort Lauderdale.” He blinked up at her. “You?”

Ah, he’s an Aussie. “I’m Megan Lorry, from Anaheim, California,” she said, barely loud enough to be heard above the sounds of the surf and the roar from the fire. “Are you a survivor of Air Bahamas flight 227, too?”

“G’day, Megz,” he answered, struggling to sit-up. “Sorry, I’m not from your plane.”

Megan slipped an arm around him lifting his back off the sand. Turning his head to her hair, he took in a couple of short breaths. Megan pulled back staring at him. “What the—did you just sniff me?”

“Ya smell too good not to.” He grinned, causing his cheeks to dimple.  “Name’s Seth Dawson.”

***

Whatever your conflict is, you’ve got to either keep it going or bring in some new conflict. New conflict is great, especially if you overlay it with the old conflict.

Example: Charlie Brown gets depressed about not kicking the football and visit Lucy at her psychiatrist’s help booth to tell her all his troubles. Then she basically calls him a loser.

Why? For additional conflict.

Lucy is the antagonist; her job is to cause conflict.

Back to Ken. He’s finally got P.J. to go on a date with him. Everything is great in Ken’s life right?  But what if her business partner doesn’t like Ken and tells him so right to his face?

Why? For additional conflict. That partner is the antagonist for Ken’s story. He’ll keep poor Ken on his toes for the rest of the story.

In Windswept Shores, I have the wild pigs that inhabit their island for additional conflict. They are the antagonist and keep my characters down or at least running for their lives. I have them in place way before things getting hot and heavy between my couple.

Windswept Shores excerpt:

“You can’t charge boars barehanded. They have long, sharp tusks.” She frowned. “The last time I ran across a wild pig, I had to climb a tree.”

He slammed his fist on the boat’s railing. “I should have taken the offal out last night and buried them.” Opening a chest, Seth took out a spear gun. “You know how to use one of these?”

“No, I’ve only seen them on TV.” She set the eggs on the swivel chair.

“It’s just like on the box. You point and pull the trigger.” Seth demonstrated, loading it with a long spear with a wicked looking barb.

“What are you going to do?” She took the spear-gun.

Seth pushed the sharp end away from him. “I’m gonna make a bullroarer.” He brought out some heavy duty fishing line, tying a pointed weight to the end of it. “If I get charged, shoot. But try not to hit me.”

“I’ll try,” she said softly.

“Try a little harder than that, luv.” He grinned as he climbed down the ladder.

 

 

 

7th Annual Authors in Bloom Blog Hop

7th Annual Authors in Bloom Blog Hop. The hop will run for 10 days from April 18th – April 27th.

7th Annual Authors in Bloom Blog Hop

Monday April 18th — Wednesday April 27th 2018

10 Days of Giveaways, Gardening Tips, Recipes and More!

Dianne Venetta_AIB Logo_2015

 Plus a GRAND PRIZE you’ll be digging to win!

All prizes are listed at the bottom of the post.

Hello, my name is Janice Seagraves and I love to garden.

DSC_2578

My garden tip today is not to trim your fruit trees too late in the season. Do it no later than December. We waited too late and ended up cutting off the blooms from our trees and had no fruit that year. In our defense this is our first house and it came with fruit trees and we’ve never had our own fruit trees before.

After that year of rest, we had lots of blooms.

DSC_2507

And if you’re interested in flowers, and livein a dry area, I suggest pansies and sweet Alyssum. I live in the Central Valley of California and they do well here. I had to sprinkle slug killer on my pansies as you can see in the above photo since they slugs were eating up my pansies but the sweet Alyssum did fine. I suggest using a slug killer that is nontoxic to children and pets like Iron phosphate – Completely disrupts their digestive system and adds iron into the soil while it’s at it.

Now on to my next favorite subject, writing…..

When writing a series, it is all about the what ifs…
When I decided to write Matrix Crystal Hunters I planned on a science fiction romance set on another planet. It would be a desert planet.
I also had to figure out the what ifs…
What if… a team from Earth had fought a wormhole and landed on a planet and they were sick from radiation poisoning and their fuel exhausted?
What if… their team’s geologist, (I decided on Maya), heard of a crystal that would multiply energy.
What if… harnessing the energy of these crystals was the only way to go back to Earth?
What if… a native of the planet fell madly in love with our heroine (I named him Vach) and decided to creep into her tent late one night…
And she brained him with a frying pan.

Okay, I know that sounds bad, but you’ll have to read the book to see why it works out.
After I finished, I kept revising the story.
That’s what writers do, they can’t leave their stories alone and have to keep fiddling with it.
I went over my finished manuscript until I feel it is polished within an inch of its life.

After the first story was published, the characters kept talking…
And I kept writing.
Book two came out, Matrix Crystal Christmas. It’s made up of two short stories. It wasn’t originally supposed to be about Christmas, but the Christmas season was coming up and I thought I’d add some Christmas elements to the last chapter of each story.

In Crystal Flower Christmas: Vach and Maya are on a mission to undam the Laonooco River for the drought stricken region. As heartache fractures their marriage, will the gift of a crystal flower mend their relationship or break it beyond repair?

In Crystal Clear Christmas: Plague has struck the village of Zama and the citizens blame the only human left on Zenevieva, Maya. Will Vach make the ultimate sacrifice to save his wife?
I actually thought I was done with Maya and Vach, but then their son wanted his own book and I wrote Matrix Crystal River.


It was the first time I wrote a shy character. Most of the women I write about don’t have a shy bone in their bodies. The stories theme is also a bit different.
What if… the humans came back after twenty years, and their greedy Earth government wanted the matrix crystals to exploit?
What if… their geologist though talented in finding and shaping crystals was painfully shy and sensitive?
What if… River Namaste wanted her and wouldn’t let anything, or anyone get in his way?
River’s story was published late in 2016.
Aha, I thought I am done.
And then, Vach and Maya’s daughter is poking me in the shoulder and told me it was her turn.
Okay, fine. I wrote the next book, Matrix Crystal Rebels, and it was just published 12-19-2017. So just a month ago.
Again, the ‘what ifs’ are a bit different.
What if…Earth geologist Steen’s mission is to look and act like a Zeeman, so he can locate matrix crystals.
What if… Steen’s deception fails, and the only one willing to help him is Rain Namaste? (Maya and Vach’s daughter?)
What if… Steen doesn’t realize he’s fallen in love with the lovely redhead until someone tries to claim her on Hymeneal Night?
What will he do then?
Ah, am I done now? We shall see…

Matrix Crystal Rebels

Excerpt:
“Mom.” Rain waved at Maya. “Someone is here to see you.”
“Oh?” With one last swat at her clothes, Maya marched over.
“He says he’s a merchant.” Rain gestured at Steen.
Maya scanned his attire and snorted. “Tell your commander, nice try.”
His stomach dropped. “Huh? What did I do wrong?”
“Whoever coached you was misguided. For one thing, your clothes are the wrong type. Merchants don’t wear rough weave.” Maya rubbed the fabric of his sleeve between her thumb and forefinger. “That’s for peasants. Too fine a weave would be clan, so you’d have to find something in-between.” She stared at his eyes a moment. “Are those contacts?”
He rubbed his eyelids. “Implants. I can tolerate the bright sun with them.”
She gave a nod. “You’ll need it here. Nice touch with the hair, by the way.”
He fingered a braid. “At least I did something right.”
“It’s a little long for so many braids. And the skin tone… Is that a skin dye?” She stared at his face.
“DNA treatments.”
“How about the Zeeman dual belly buttons?”
Steen pulled up his shirt.
“Wow. Which is fake?”
“The top.” He handed her his tote. “I brought a gift for you.”
She cocked her head to the side and sighed. Taking the tote, she nodded toward the house. “Will you come in for some tea?”
“Yes, thank you.” He bowed low, hiding a smile.
Maya led the way up on the porch. He did what she did, removing his shoes, washing his feet in the basin then pulling on a pair of house slippers she handed him.
“Nice. You invoked guest privilege,” Rain said in his ear. “Mother is human but practices the ways of the Zeeman.”
“I know.” He smirked at her.
With a reluctant expression, Maya held the door open for him. “Tea won’t be but a moment.”
“Goddess tea.” He bowed again.
“Of course.” Maya disappeared into the kitchen.
Rain showed him the dining table. “My father and brother probably won’t be as nice as my mom.”
He sat on the richly carved black ironwood chair next to Rain. “You’re an attractive young female. Maybe I should have said I came here to woo you?”
Interest lit her gaze. “And then you’d have to answer a lot of questions from both my parents. We take wooing very seriously here in Zama.”
~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~
Matrix Crystal Hunters: https://www.amazon.com/Matrix-Crystal-Hunters-Book-Crystals-ebook/dp/B00FJ10W26/
Matrix Crystal Christmas: https://www.amazon.com/Matrix-Crystal-Christmas-Crystals-Book-ebook/dp/B00GJCNBAY/
Matrix Crystal River: https://www.amazon.com/Matrix-Crystal-River-Crystals-Three-ebook/dp/B01MDOHI70/
Matrix Crystal Rebels: https://www.amazon.com/Matrix-Crystal-Rebels-Book-Four-ebook/dp/B078HL6113/
~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~
Find Janice Seagraves’s on:
Her website: https://janice-seagraves.org/
On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Janice-Seagraves-Author-117551164948239/
And on Twitter: https://twitter.com/janiceseagraves
Janice’s Amazon page, where you can see all her books: https://www.amazon.com/Janice-Seagraves/e/B0056D223Y/
Janice’s Smashwords page: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/Ladyjanice

 ——————————————————————————–

***Prize Alert***

———————————————————————————-

Grand Prize

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Click
here
to enter your link and view this Linky Tools list…

Only those visitors who visit EACH and EVERY stop are eligible
for the grand prize ereader and gift card.

Eligibility will be verified by hop’s end.

Winners will be posted on both the first (Dianne Venetta) and last
(BloominThyme) websites.

Janice’s Prize is a sighed paperback book, science fiction romance, Matrix Crystal River. The winner will be be chosen on where you live. Because of the high cost of shipping, the winner will have to live in the USA or Canada for me to be able to ship a book to them. Please leave a comment about where you live, your email, why you love to garden, and what is your favorite genre.

How to Advid Filter Words With Video

Hi, I’m Janice Seagraves and I’m posting about filter words.

Filter words get between you and your reader.

Words like: 

Thought
Realized
Decided
Felt
Touched
Wondered
Noticed
Sounded
Knew
Seemed

Allow the unfiltered words to carry the weight of the scene.

Example: He seemed like a large, ungangly man. She felt that he wasn’t refined enough for a true romantic relationship.

Without filter words: He was a large, ungangly man. He wasn’t refined enough for a true romantic relationship.

But here he was with a fist full of flowers.

_________________________________

MatrixCrystalRebels

Excerpt:
“Mom.” Rain waved at Maya. “Someone is here to see you.”
“Oh?” With one last swat at her clothes, Maya marched over.
“He says he’s a merchant.” Rain gestured at Steen.
Maya scanned his attire and snorted. “Tell your commander, nice try.”
His stomach dropped. “Huh? What did I do wrong?”
“Whoever coached you was misguided. For one thing, your clothes are the wrong type. Merchants don’t wear rough weave.” Maya rubbed the fabric of his sleeve between her thumb and forefinger. “That’s for peasants. Too fine a weave would be clan, so you’d have to find something in-between.” She stared at his eyes a moment. “Are those contacts?”
He rubbed his eyelids. “Implants. I can tolerate the bright sun with them.”
She gave a nod. “You’ll need it here. Nice touch with the hair, by the way.”
He fingered a braid. “At least I did something right.”
“It’s a little long for so many braids. And the skin tone… Is that a skin dye?” She stared at his face.
“DNA treatments.”
“How about the Zeeman dual belly buttons?”
Steen pulled up his shirt.
“Wow. Which is fake?”
“The top.” He handed her his tote. “I brought a gift for you.”
She cocked her head to the side and sighed. Taking the tote, she nodded toward the house. “Will you come in for some tea?”
“Yes, thank you.” He bowed low, hiding a smile.
Maya led the way up on the porch. He did what she did, removing his shoes, washing his feet in the basin then pulling on a pair of house slippers she handed him.
“Nice. You invoked guest privilege,” Rain said in his ear. “Mother is human but practices the ways of the Zeeman.”
“I know.” He smirked at her.
With a reluctant expression, Maya held the door open for him. “Tea won’t be but a moment.”
“Goddess tea.” He bowed again.
“Of course.” Maya disappeared into the kitchen.
Rain showed him the dining table. “My father and brother probably won’t be as nice as my mom.”
He sat on the richly carved black ironwood chair next to Rain. “You’re an attractive young female. Maybe I should have said I came here to woo you?”
Interest lit her gaze. “And then you’d have to answer a lot of questions from both my parents. We take wooing very seriously here in Zama.”
~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Matrix Crystal Rebels: https://www.amazon.com/Matrix-Crystal-Rebels-Book-Four-ebook/dp/B078HL6113/
~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~
Find Janice Seagraves’s on:
Her website: https://janice-seagraves.org/
On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Janice-Seagraves-Author-117551164948239/
And on Twitter: https://twitter.com/janiceseagraves
Janice’s Amazon page, where you can see all her books: https://www.amazon.com/Janice-Seagraves/e/B0056D223Y/
Janice’s Smashwords page: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/Ladyjanice