The Darkness of Light – 1st page teaser

CHAPTER ONE

 

The two-room hut was wrapped in darkness. Mara peered through a crack in the wooden board covering the window just as two armed guards marched by. She held her breath, watching when they paused on the road to scan the row of hovels. 

       Would they notice the boarded-up window of Helen’s cottage among the rest? Mara gripped the fire iron in her hand, ready if they came charging in. She almost expected them to. They dragged her mother away just days before, but they wouldn’t take Mara without a fight. If she had to, she would use more than the fire iron to fight them off. It was a definite risk. It could put her mother in even greater danger, and if Mara failed, the consequences would be fatal for them both.

     No. She couldn’t do it. She never had to fight before, and even her unnatural gift might be no match against men with swords. Besides, if they were looking for her, exposing herself would put Helen in danger as well. The poor widow was only trying to help by hiding Mara after they came for her mother. But the magistrate wouldn’t see it that way. Helen would get thrown in chains just as fast as the others. Mara couldn’t let that happen to Helen. She was their only friend.

     Even though there were almost 200 people living within the walls of Moorthrop, Mara and her mother were outsiders. They were poor, lived on the very outskirts of the village, and unlike the rest of the peasants, they had no kin that stretched back to the village’s inception. Mara’s mother had arrived in Moorthrop 19 years earlier, when Mara was only an infant. Most villagers claimed heritage to the time of the Romans. And after the fall of the empire, their ancestors were the ones who built the village, shielding themselves from the war and invasions that ravaged so much of the realm. The once great Roman Empire was still in ruins, but being just a two-day journey from the western sea, and under the protection of King Gerren in the east, Moorthrop managed to survive.

     Every new moon Moorthrop opened its gates to western merchants trading in spices, linens, and pottery. The newly-appointed magistrate and his sheriff kept order in Moorthrop, and their soldiers, when not drunk, or fighting amongst themselves, manned the walls. In a world of chaos and war, this should have been a blessed thing. But the magistrate was austere, and his Christian laws cast a dark shadow on a village with no God. Now it wasn’t what lie outside the walls of Moorthrop that threatened the people, but what they had let in.

The Darkness of Light teaser

Mara stared at Valenia. The veiled dwelling in the rock fascinated her now just as much as it had when she arrived months earlier. The true exterior, hidden from human eyes, was magnificent. It wasn’t simply a cavern, but rather a grand fortress molded from an imposing mass of rock.

     The summer months were moving quickly as Mara settled into her new home and became acquainted with the Dia living there. Mara spent much of her time with little Isa, wandering the golden beach and exploring the flat, wooded acres that bordered Valenia. She hadn’t gone any farther than that since they found the murdered family in the forest. The image of the young family, mangled and bloodied, still troubled her, along with the haunting memories of her mother’s own tragic end. Her nights had become a struggle to ignore the visions while her days were spent hoping they wouldn’t return with the darkness. But in spite of these tormenting dreams, Mara felt safe at Valenia, because at least there, she was never alone.

January 28th, 2014

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How to Format Your Novel for Beta-readers and Agents

Having your novel properly formatted when sending it out to beta-readers or agents is important. Not only does it look professional, but it keeps your readers from being distracted by huge blocks of text.

If you are an indie author and planning to publish through Amazon, Smashwords etc…I HIGHLY recommend paying for a professional to format your novel. There’s a lot more to this kind of formatting and a professional will ensure your novel looks just right.

Spacing

From the moment you open your word document, go to the PAGE LAYOUT tab. Go to SPACING and in the AFTER box, change the spacing to 0pt. This will remove the large spaces between paragraphs.

You may want to also click on the PARAGRAPH tab and change your spacing to double. Agents will want it this way, but for my own use, and for beta-readers, I prefer to leave it as single.

FONT

The standard font to use is TIMES NEW ROMAN. This is the best font to use when sending to an agent. But there are other options. I prefer to use BOOK ANTIQUA, or you can use COURIER, or GARAMOND. Don’t choose fancy fonts. Stick with simple.

INDENTS

This is where people get confused.

First of all, don’t use the tab key unless you’ve reset the indent. Always indent 5 spaces. I’ve gotten into the habit of hitting the space bar 5 times. If you can reset your tab length, do that. But 5 spaces will give you the perfect indent.

Indenting the first line of a paragraph indicates a pause. It was drilled in our heads in high school and college to indent every line. DON’T do that with your manuscript.

The start of a chapter should NOT be indented, because there is no need for a pause. Check any novel on your shelf and you’ll see what I mean. This is a page from Philippa Gregory’s, Changeling. You can see there is no space at the start of the chapter.

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The next indent is up for debate. When you use an asterisks (*) or symbol within a chapter to indicate a scene break, do you need to indent? Well…yes and no. I’ve seen many novels that do indent after a scene break. But I’ve also seen many more that don’t. Technically, the indent is not needed after an asterisks or symbol because the pause is already indicated.

This page has a long, elaborate symbol, but it serves the same purpose as an asterisks. And as you can see, there is no indent.

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That’s about it for formatting.

If you want, you can also start your chapters half way down the page. Don’t forget to number your pages and if you’re querying, make sure to add your name and the title of the novel in the header.

Grammar: You and I vs. You and Me

I’ve noticed a lot of people getting You and I and You and Me confused. So here’s a very simple rule to help you remember when to use each phrase.

You and I = We

e.g. “You and I are going to the store” (WE are going to the store)

You and me = Us

e.g. “Mom wants you and me to go to the store” (Mom wants US to go to the store)

Make sense?

If you still have trouble remembering, think of the Lifehouse song “You and me.” It’s a song about US.

Need help with your manuscript? For more information on my editing services and rates click here

Spotlight: Lillian Holmes and The Leaping Man by Ciar Cullen

Being an unmarried woman in the 1890’s is hard. Becoming a female detective is even harder. But for Lillian Holmes, that’s what she dreams about. The only problem is, in her search for the truth, her own buried secrets might tear her apart.

Defying the conventions of her time, Lillian is determined to become a detective like her favorite fictional character. But when she witnesses a man fleeing the scene of the most recent crime, she soon discovers that the murderer is something more than just a man – he’s something unnatural. And she will stop at nothing to prove it.

What starts as a game of cat and mouse, quickly turns into a deadly dance between Lillian and the suspect, George. But there’s a fine line between love and hate, and soon Lillian finds herself caught amid the storm of her own lies and George’s truth. And while she becomes obsessed with catching him, he might be the only one who can set her free.

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If you haven’t had a chance to check out Lillian Holmes and The Leaping Man yet, I highly recommend it. The historical detail is fascinating and the story is filled with mystery and intrigue. The antihero, George, is a villain you want to hate, but can’t. Like Lillian, he has his own crosses to bear, but despite his malevolence, even he can’t fight the shred of humanity that still lives inside of him.

CHECK IT OUT!

http://www.amazon.com/Lillian-Holmes-Leaping-Ciar-Cullen-ebook/dp/B00E8AGZTI

Follow the author on twitter: @Ciar_Cullen

And follow me too! @TamzWrite

January 28th, 2014 – Official Release Date for The Darkness of Light

We have an official release date!

January 28th, 2014

Available for purchase through Amazon, Barnes an Noble.com, and Kobo

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     At the dawn of the sixth century, in the aftermath of her mother’s brutal execution, Mara Black is forced to flee the only life she has ever known.

     Mara can tell she’s different, but isn’t sure why. After she encounters two mysterious strangers, she discovers her secret is but a drop in an ocean of many. She is a Dia, a descendant of ancient gods, and her mother sacrificed herself to protect Mara from their past.  

     Summoned by an uncle she didn’t know existed, Mara thinks she’s found the family she’s always wanted, and Corbin, a love she never thought possible. But not everything is as it seems. Her uncle has other motives for protecting her, and her mentor, Malcolm, becomes so jealous, he’ll do anything to get what he wants. When tragedy strikes, and the true darkness among them comes to light, Mara discovers that sometimes love can give you everything, and obsession can take it all away. With her powers gone, and destiny calling, she has to look deep within to find the courage to save herself. Mara, along with Corbin and her newfound family, must fight to get back what was taken, or die trying.

Spotlight: Because The Night by Kristen Strassel coming November 5th, 2013

SEX, BLOOD AND ROCK N’ ROLL

Recently I had the opportunity to read an advance copy of Kristen Strassel’s novel, Because The Night, and I was blown away!

Kristen is one half of the undead duo behind deadlyeverafter.com, a hilarious tweeter, and as I’ve recently discovered, one hell of a writer.

Because the Night is  set in the dark underworld of Las Vegas, where vampires play in rock bands, star in reality shows, and attract groupies crazier than Beliebers. But when Callie arrives to save her ex, Tristan, from himself, she becomes immersed in his world. And things become even more complicated when her new love interest, Blade, steals her heart. Callie quickly learns it’s not easy juggling two men, especially when one of them is dead. But these aren’t mere games of the heart. In Las Vegas, it’s dangerous to love someone when your soul belongs to another.

Because the Night is fast paced and full of surprises. Kristen leaves the reader no time to dwell on the last bombshell before another one hits, which makes this book virtually impossible to put down. And I promise, the ending is guaranteed to leave you speechless.

This book is like Queen of the Damned, meets True Blood, meets The Real World. Be sure to check it out on November 5th, 2013! And in the meantime, follow Kristen (@kristenstrassel) and her cohort Julie Hutchings (@HutchingsJulie) on twitter.

OH, and follow me too! @tamzwrite

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Release day countdown

As the countdown to release day approaches (3 months), I find myself incredibly excited and incredibly terrified all at the same time.

My cover reveal, and the final edits have made this dream start to feel more like a reality. I can say this is probably the most exciting time in the process of writing. You’ve worked exceptionally hard, put your blood, sweat, and tears into something and now it’s a finished product on its way to publication.

This is also the most exciting part because you’ve hiked up the mountain of writing, and now you’re standing on a cliff. You don’t know if you’ll fly or fall when you jump, but the hope of flying is enough to make you smile every hour of the day. The fear of falling creeps in there from time to time as well, but you never know…you might just fly.

It’s scary to think that many people you know, and many people you don’t, will be reading something you’ve written. They could love it or hate it and there’s no way to know which it’s going to be. That is TERRIFYING.

But the good news is, the dream is bigger than the doubt.

These next three months will probably feel like they drag on AND fly by. I still have a lot to do in preparation for release day, but I’m ready to jump, I just hope my wings are strong enough.

Here’s the cover again…Just cause it’s AWESOME!

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Follow me on twitter @tamzwrite

Official Cover Reveal: The Darkness of Light

I am SO excited to reveal the cover for my debut novel, The Darkness of Light. Thanks to the wonderfully talented dark artist, Nathalia Suellen, my beloved character has come to life!

Coming in January 2014…

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The world has long forgotten them, but their descendants live on, not wholly mortal or god, but something in between…

 At the dawn of the sixth century, in the aftermath of her mother’s brutal execution, Mara Black is forced to flee the only life she has ever known.

Mara can tell she’s different, but isn’t sure why. After she encounters two mysterious strangers, she discovers her secret is but a drop in an ocean of many. She is a Dia, a descendant of ancient gods, and her mother sacrificed herself to protect Mara from their past.  

Summoned by an uncle she didn’t know existed, Mara thinks she’s found the family she’s always wanted, and Corbin, a love she never thought possible. But not everything is as it seems. Her uncle has other motives for protecting her, and her mentor, Malcolm, becomes so jealous, he’ll do anything to get what he wants. When tragedy strikes, and the true darkness among them comes to light, Mara discovers that sometimes love can give you everything, and obsession can take it all away. With her powers gone, and destiny calling, she has to look deep within to find the courage to save herself. Mara, along with Corbin and her newfound family, must fight to get back what was taken, or die trying.