Ssshhh… Secret Passion Project |Following Dark Story-Squirrel Trails #CampNanowrimo

So, it’s been a while since I’ve taken part in a Nanowrimo (National Novel Writing Month) event. I had intentions of doing the official Nanowrimo in November last year but my schedule just didn’t allow for it. But this year I am taking part in Nanowrimo events. The first event, Camp Nanowrimo, starts 1 April. I have signed up. To make things even more fun, I’ve corralled my CP, Darcy, (Writing Critique Partner aka Story Sister aka Keeper of My Manuscript when I want to trash it) into joining in the writing madness with me this year. Actually we’ve decided to make the April Camp Nanowrimo (Camp Nanowrimo runs in April, July, September and Nanowrimo runs in November) an annual tradition for us. Our birthdays fall in the last week of March, they’re one day apart from each other, a few days before Camp Nanowrimo begins. So we thought it would actually be a lovely annual tradition to do the April Camp Nanowrimo together annually…

2019 April Camp Nanowrimo Project

This year I’m finally going to start drafting Book #1 of my new Secret WIP Series. I’m really excited to get started with this draft. This is a passion project. It is very different to my main WIP series The Tattooist. But it is still very much a ME project. It is deep, dark and deliciously twisted. But it is not a thriller nor is it crime. It fits into quite a few literary genres. But if I had to sum it up, it is a grimdark mythological dystopian fantasy. I did warm you, it’s not an easy story to peg into just one genre.

It is full of dark gods, monsters, creatures and humans. My main characters are all anti-heroes and villains. It is hard to tell the protagonists from the antagonists because in this story everyone is touched with a vein of darkness, only the degrees of darkness separate the characters.

I wanted to write a huge epic world-building story that just allows me to play on the page/screen. My favourite tv series, The Originals, ended its run and I wanted more of the same. I wanted to immerse myself in a world of ruthlessness and deep story threads set in a fantastical setting. In fact, my beloved Niklaus aka Klaus Mikaelson (main big bad in The Originals) and his ruthless siblings is very much an inspiration for many of my characters.

I wanted to have a project that I escape into, in breaks from rewrites/edits of The Tattooist. I had an epiphany that I work better when I am at work on two projects simultaneously. It is the way I read as well, I never have fewer than 4 books on the go simultaneously. Part of this is because I enjoy switching genres, whether it be in writing or in reading, often two or three completely different genres to match differing moods I might be in. I also find that in my writing, working on two wholly different projects set in two completely different genres feed off each other in inspiration and motivation.

This Passion Project has actually been germinating quietly for the last three years, ever since I got back from Europe. A seed was planted and I have been slowly watering it, waiting for the right time to work on it. I feel it is ready to be written now.

The working title for this series: The Dark Fairytales

That is not the real title, I’m keeping the actual title secret for now. This is a deliciously dark, decadent tale that I want to keep to myself for a while.

I’m going to blogging throughout April giving you snippets of my inspiration behind this series. So keep your eye posted for new posts.

Certain dark things are only meant to be loved in secret…..

I leave you with some visual aesthetics from my series inspiration board (it’s a private board) I’ve set up on Pinterest.

Writers: Tell me, are you taking part in Camp Nanowrimo?

Non-Writers: Tell me, what stories are you reading or watching that has you in their grip?

Related
Camp Nanowrimo
Nanowrimo
The Originals (Netflix)
What is GrimDark?

Kim’s Kaffeeklatsch | it was a dark and stormy winter… #amreading

A wintry welcome to the first post on Kim’s Kaffeeklatsch. Hope you have your books and your libation of choice. Mine is coffee and lots of it. Coffee is so important that I rate the books I read by the amount of coffee consumed in one sitting. Which is what those coffee mugs under each book on this post means. The higher the number of coffee mugs, the more riveting the read.
So pull up a chair and let’s talk books and what we are reading this week…

Coffee Recipes

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My coffee brand of choice this month is: Hummingbird Crave Fresh Beans

Winter has arrived with force in my corner at the bottom of the Southern Hemisphere, New Zealand. I read in all seasons and all moods but when it comes to winter reading, I tend to match my books to the weather outside my window. This winter I decided to make my imaginary way to the stories of suspense, crime and horror in the Scandinavian winters.

As I write up this blog post, the wind is howling outside and the trees are swaying like some crazed person desperately waving for rescue. With North-Easterly winds gusting up to 170km/hr, the night is dark and menacing. In other words, stories with a tinge of horror, suspense and fear set in the deep dark Northern winters of the Scandinavian countries are the perfect match this Winter.

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This week I have been reading The Hypnotist ( Lars Kepler) and tonight I just finished The Darkest Room (Johan Theorin).

The Hypnotist (Lars Kepler)
Goodreads & Amazon

Synopsis

Prepare for The Hypnotist to cast its spell

In the frigid clime of Tumba, Sweden, a gruesome triple homicide attracts the interest of Detective Inspector Joona Linna, who demands to investigate the murders. The killer is still at large, and there’s only one surviving witness—the boy whose family was killed before his eyes. Whoever committed the crimes wanted this boy to die: he’s suffered more than one hundred knife wounds and lapsed into a state of shock. Desperate for information, Linna sees only one option: hypnotism. He enlists Dr. Erik Maria Bark to mesmerize the boy, hoping to discover the killer through his eyes.

It’s the sort of work that Bark has sworn he would never do again—ethically dubious and psychically scarring. When he breaks his promise and hypnotizes the victim, a long and terrifying chain of events begins to unfurl.

An international sensation, The Hypnotist is set to appear in thirty-seven countries, and it has landed at the top of bestseller lists wherever it’s been published—in France, Holland, Germany, Spain, Italy, Denmark. Now it’s America’s turn. Combining the addictive power of the Stieg Larsson trilogy with the storytelling drive of The Silence of the Lambs, this adrenaline-drenched thriller is spellbinding from its very first page.

I am a sucker for an arresting cover and The Hypnotist wows me as possibly the creepiest cover I have seen.

Does the book live up to its cover? Yes.

The story is dark, twisted and disturbing. Throughout the story there is a sinister menace that lurks between the lines. The characters are deep and conflicted. Each of the main characters has a secret and it is these secrets that threaten to undo them and those around them.

This book is book 1 in the series and I cannot wait what Lars Kepler has done in book 2. I finished this story in one sitting, reading right through the night into the early hours of the morning.

This book is not for the faint of heart. It is gruesome and confronting but the story is solid and has more than one twist in the tale. The characters are compelling and finding out their hidden secrets makes this a page-turner.

Recommended Coffee

Espresso

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The Darkest Room (Johan Theorin)
Goodreads & Amazon

Synopsis

‘The dead are our neighbours everywhere on the island, and you have to get used to it.’

It is bitter mid-winter on the Swedish island of Oland, and Katrine and Joakim Westin have moved with their children to the boarded-up manor house at Eel Point. But their remote idyll is soon shattered when Katrine is found drowned off the rocks nearby. As Joakim struggles to keep his sanity in the wake of the tragedy, the old house begins to exert a strange hold over him.

Joakim has never been in the least superstitious, but from where are those whispering noises coming? To whom does his daughter call out in the night? And why is the barn door for ever ajar?

As the end of the year approaches, and the infamous winter storm moves in across Oland, Joakim begins to fear that the most spine-chilling story he’s heard about Eel Point might indeed be true: that every Christmas the dead return…

There is nothing that I love more than a good ghost story. I could easily have finished this story in one sitting but I really enjoyed the atmosphere and mood of this book so much that I read it in mouthfuls, savouring each delicious spooky mouthful.

The main characters in this story are an island and an old lighthouse-keepers house. The people in this story play out their parts but both in the past and the present, the island of Oland and the house direct and influence their paths.

I love stories that build in twists from the past and this story is really many stories within one binding. As you follow one family through this story, your heart is pulled with their joys and their tragedies in equal measure.

I was truly mesmerised by this story and know that it will remain in my memory for years to come. This is the second in a quartet of stories all set on the remote Swedish Island of Oland. I cannot wait to return to the literary landscape of this bleak and fascinating island.

Recommended Coffee

Espresso Con Panna / Vienna Coffee

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On my Kindle this week

The Man Who Left (Theresa Weir)
79 Park Avenue (Harold Robbins)
Strange True Stories of Louisiana (George Washington Cable)
World’s Worst Serial Killers / Sexual Psychopaths:British Serial Killers
(David Elio Malocco)

These are the books in my Scandinavian themed winter pile for this month. I cannot wait to tuck into them. Nor can I wait to tuck into the mugs of coffee as I indulge in these wintry tales.

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All of these Scandinavian stories I have picked are part of a series. I love reading series especially when the characters and/or the settings are so compelling. If you want to indulge in some wintry tales from up north, then click on the link below for all the skinny on delicious Scandinavian crime fiction.

Recommended links

The Skinny on all Scandinavian Crime Fiction

Now it’s your turn to klatsch…
Tell me what books are you reading this week/month?
Tell me what coffee are you drinking? If not coffee (clearly there is something missing from your life if you are not drinking coffee 😉 ) then what are you drinking while reading?
How do you prefer your coffee – instant/percolated/beans/ground?

“What on earth could be more luxurious than a sofa, a book, and a cup of coffee?…Was ever anything so civil?”
― Anthony Trollope

You can follow me on Goodreads

Kim’s Kaffeeklatsch | Books & Caffeine #amreading

I have 2 addictions which I have to indulge in daily:
1. Caffeine
2. Books

I start my morning with caffeine and end my night with books. I drink a lot of coffee. I drink so much that I invested in a top of the range Delonghi Magnifica Automatic Cappucino/Espresso Coffee Machine (Amazon) which has a permanent residence in my writing cave.

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I read a lot of books, of every genre and every persuasion. I have a well-used library card, piles of books next to my bed (because my 6 bedside drawers are already full of books), two full book shelves and a bursting digital bookshelf on my kindle.

I also read exceptionally fast, the advantages of having a photographic memory, but sometimes I read too fast: you know those times when a story is so delicious that you want to indulge every eyeful of words like eating a delicious chocolate cake with slow mouthfuls. So I read 4-6 books at the same time. This way I can jump in and out of stories, lengthen out each delicious story morsel but still fill that gnawing craving for story. It also means I always have a story on the go at any time of day or night.

So I have decided to start a new Wednesday feature (I might miss a week here and there depending on how busy my own story-writing mode is going) on the blog called: Kim’s Kaffeeklatsch.

kaf·fee·klatsch (kf-klch, -kläch, kôf-)
n.
Variant of coffee klatch.

kaf•fee•klatsch or kaf•fee klatsch (ˈkɑ fiˌklɑtʃ, -ˌklætʃ, ˈkɔ-) also coffee klatsch
n.
a social gathering for informal conversation at which coffee is served.
[1885–90; < German; see coffee, klatsch]

Don't you just love that word: kaffeeklatsch ?
Good conversation, books and coffee…this is a good afternoon.
I also chose this word in a nod to my maternal side. You might not know it, but I am half German (yes I am fluent in German) and really there is no better description for this new fortnightly feature.
You see…this feature is not just about me: what books are in my reading pile or what coffee flavour I am drinking but also about You, my reader, my follower and my friend.
Every 2nd Wednesday I am going to share with you what I am reading and what I am drinking, but I want to indulge in the "klatsch" of this feature: I want you to tell me what you are reading and what you are drinking each week.

So join me tomorrow for the debut of Kim’s Kaffeeklatsch to find out what I am reading and drinking this week…don’t forget to pour yourself some coffee and bring your books…let’s klatsch books and caffeine.

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Neil Gaiman’s All Hallows’ Read, A New Halloween Tradition?

I am completely up for this idea… Love it! More book giving holidays please! Nothing like a scary book to read under the duvet, where you are hiding from your own imagination, holding a torchlight and barely daring to breathe in case whatever you are hiding from hears just that one too-loud exhale…

Halloween Culture

.

Leave it to Neil Gaiman to try and make Halloween an even cooler holiday than it already is.

All Hallows’ Read is a new tradition of horror/scary book giving that Mr. Gaiman is hoping catches on.

“I propose that, on Hallowe’en or during the week of Hallowe’en, we give each other scary books. Give children scary books they’ll like and can handle. Give adults scary books they’ll enjoy. I propose that stories by authors like John Bellairs and Stephen King and Arthur Machen and Ramsey Campbell and M R James and Lisa Tuttle and Peter Straub and Daphne Du Maurier and Clive Barker and a hundred hundred others change hands — new books or old or second-hand, beloved books or unknown. Give someone a scary book for Hallowe’en. Make their flesh creep…” Neil Gaiman

In my humble opinion, it’s a great idea. In this age of ipads and electronic media it’s important not…

View original post 271 more words

Book Spotlight

AshBloodRush

My good friend, and fellow coffinhopper, Ash Krafton has a new release out

in her best-selling Demimonde Series. Book Two is now out for your enjoyment. 

*This book is on its way to me now and I for one cannot wait to dive into this story.*

Blood Rush 

The Books of the Demimonde, Book 2

Ash Krafton

Genre: urban fantasy
Publisher: Pink Narcissus
Date of Publication: May 14, 2103
ISBN: 9781939056016
Number of pages: 353 
Word Count: 94000
Cover Artist: Duncan Eagleson

Book Description:

 

Sophie doesn’t believe in happily ever after. 

These days, she’d settle for alive after sunrise. 

Advice columnist and newly-appointed oracle to the demivampire, Sophie Galen 

has more issues than a Cosmo collection: a new mentor with a mean streak, a 

werewolf stalker she can’t shake, and a relationship with her ex’s family that 

redefines the term complicated. And then there’s her ex himself, who is more

interested in playing leader of the vampire pack than in his own salvation. 

Becoming a better oracle is tough enough, but when Sophie encounters a deadly 

enemy – one she never dreamed of facing – it will take everything she’s ever 

learned in order to survive.

 

Excerpt: 

I don’t believe in happily ever after. These days, I’d settle for alive until sunrise.

I never thought I’d become a nine-to-fiver. Certainly never thought I’d be too pre-occupied to 

make fun of myself for being one. Sometimes the irony was too great to appreciate. 

While I waited for the elevator to arrive at The Mag’s foyer, I smoothed my scarf along the back

of my neck and hefted my tote bag a little higher on my shoulder. Every chime increased my

trepidation, tightening the fist of anxiety in my chest and the sensation of bees swarming in the

top of my stomach. I hated quitting time.

More underappreciated irony. Why not?

People chatted around me but I fidgeted with my zipper, keeping my gaze lowered and my 

mouth closed. Leaving at five in the afternoon meant more than crammed elevators and crowded

buses; it meant the light would fade soon and with it my peace of mind. The autumn wasn’t a 

happy golden foliage time of year for me anymore.

Although it was only early October, already the longer nights and shorter days made me

feel nervous and brittle. Bad enough I didn’t have a sweetheart to share the long nights but even

worse now that I knew what came out when the sun went down. Although I hadn’t had any 

problems with vampires over the last year, the threat never left my mind.

Vampires were out there. It was just a matter of time until I had to deal with them again.

Halfway during our descent, I felt a vibe. It was a mild one but, over the past year, my empathy 

had become sensitive to the point of being squirrely. The thin thread of power wound its way 

around each of the passengers as the DV who owned it checked out who else was in the car. 

When it reached me, it felt like a poke on the arm. I glanced over my shoulder, catching the eyes 

of an older dark-eyed woman near the back. She sent a tiny pulse of apology-ladened power and 

lowered her eyes. 

I smiled politely and concentrated on tugging my scarf loose. The DV didn’t approach me in 

public where any old human could see. We kept our dealings distant and private. That was the

way I preferred.

The door opened and I flowed out with the crowd, sunglasses on and scarf over my hair. I hoped 

everyone would more or less continue on together today so I could hide in the crowd a bit longer.

Without turning my head, I saw a rail-thin guy, his scruffy head and jeans out of place amongst

the exiting office employees. He leaned against the wall, scanning the people emerging from the 

other elevators. Seemed to have missed me—good. Taking shelter behind a taller woman and her 

chatty companion, I hustled out the front doors.

Outside, my luck ran out. My camouflaging crowd of co-workers suddenly scattered like roaches 

when the kitchen light is turned on. I hesitated, taking too long to pick a direction.

It was all he needed to spot me. I looked back through the glass into the foyer of The Mag’s 

building. He was on the move, eyes locked onto me.

I bolted.

Startled faces blurred past as I hurried through the five o’clock exodus, bumping into one man,

dodging another, and rounding the corner at a speed unfitting for heeled pumps. Steve Madden

would be horrified if he knew what I did in his shoes.

Well, Steve could kill me later. Right now, I was facing a much more immediate threat.

At the corner, a bus was loading and at this point I didn’t care if it was mine or not. An elderly lady

with a big shopping bag struggled on the steps and I danced behind her like a first grader 

with a full bladder. Once she cleared the last step I leapt up, slamming my token into the fare box.

The door closed behind me just as my pursuer caught up. For once I was glad for the driver’s

rude efficiency. The bus leveled and lurched forward. I grabbed the bar, almost swinging into the

laps of the front seat passengers. As we pulled away from the curb, I met the man’s stare through

the grimy glass of the door.

Rusted-orange eyes with wide pupils. 

Non-people eyes.

Werewolf eyes.

I sank onto an empty seat, heart thumping, gradually slowing. Glancing up at the sign over the 

driver’s seat, I realized I’d ended up on the round-about route. Close enough for me. I tugged my

necklace out of my shirt and kissed the pendant, my good luck charm, and offered a silent 

thankful thought to whatever divine powers had saved my behind, yet again.

Reaching into my bag, I pulled out a book of poetry and readied for a long ride home. Ironically, 

when I’d flipped to a random page, I opened to one of Dylan Thomas’s poems.

Do not go gentle into that good night. Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

I had no energy left for rage. All I could muster was a thankful thought because at least today’s 

escape had gone better than most.

About the Author:

Ash Krafton writes from the heart…of the Pennsylvania coal region, that is. 

She is the author of the Books of the Demimonde (Pink Narcissus Press). 

BLEEDING HEARTS (Demimonde #1) is a six-time RWA finalist and was voted 

“Reviewer Top Pick” by Gravetells.com. Ash continues the story of Sophie and 

her Demivampires in her latest release BLOOD RUSH (Demimonde #2). 

She’s hard at work (when she isn’t watching Doctor Who) writing the third book, 

WOLF’S BANE.

Ash Krafton’s poetry and short fiction has appeared in several journals, including 

Niteblade, Bete Noire, Abandoned Towers, and Silver Blade. She’s a member of 

Pennwriters, RWA, and Maryland Writers Association. She lurks near her blog 

and contributes to the QueryTracker blog.

Ash lives with her family and their German Shepherd dog deep in the Pennsylvania 

wilds, awaiting the day the TARDIS appears in the driveway (the dog most likely 

keeps the Doctor away. What a beast.) 

Until then, she writes.

Find Ash at:

The Demimonde blog

Facebook

Twitter

Goodreads

 

 


			

My book art gallery

I was browsing in a bookshop on Saturday which of course can have me lost for hours. People have been known to send out search parties for me or to send in survival packs of food and water. But it struck me how much my book buying habits have changed since I bought my Kindle. I have a library full of books in my house and those are just the ones that I could fit into my office. Books spill out of every drawer and on top every table in my house. I bought an extra bedside table just so that I could have one bedside table for my books that I am currently reading and another bedside table for bedroom things. There is not a place in my house where you will not find a pile of books.

On top of always being a book buyer I also have that most old-fashioned of things: a well used library card. So there is also a special place designated in each room just for the library books so that they don’t get confused with my own books. I love borrowing books from the library. There is something about the smell of the pages as I open the covers that is like an aphrodisiac to my senses. I love imagining who has read the book I am reading. Reading a library book is like a reading two stories: there is the story in the book and then there is the story of the book’s travels and whose hearts and minds it touched.

When the Kindle first came out I was determined that I was not going to get one. I could see the advantage of less packing space for books when traveling but I could not imagine curling up with an electronic device. But eventually I succumbed and bought a Kindle. I bought it mainly because I was doing a lot of traveling in my job and also as a confirmed travel-junkie I thought it would be an intelligent purchase.

I used it very sparingly in the beginning as my mind had to get used to reading on this device. But it did not take long and I was addicted. Now my Kindle has pride of place alongside my books on my bedside table. But owning this Kindle has changed my book buying habits. Before the Kindle I spent a lot of money on all books of all genres and styles, whether fiction or non-fiction. (Um…you did get the fact that I am book junkie from the beginning of this post, didn’t you?) But after the Kindle I am still buying books but the type of books I am buying on the Kindle and the type of books I am buying from bookshops has changed.

Now I am turning my library and bookshelves into my own personal art gallery. I am buying beautifully illustrated hardcover books. I am perusing second-hand book shops and hunting out leather-bound early editions. I am searching out books by my favourite authors and building collections of their published works. I am buying more art books and “coffee table” books. This is all thanks to my Kindle.

For the Kindle naysayers (I was one of them not too long ago) the Kindle has not stopped my book buying. The Kindle has refined and cultivated my book buying to book art now. I am hunting out expensive one of a kind editions and buying the more expensive hardcover books now. Before the Kindle I bought indiscriminately like a junkie would. Now I consider myself a connoisseur.

The books that are turning up on my book shelf now are no less artworks than a framed Picasso or Monet. But unlike those artworks, these artworks of mine are interactive and invite perusal. You have to pick them up and open the covers to appreciate them even further. The indiscriminate book buying is still there but it is now reserved for Kindle purchases. But those books that I can read over and over again and the ones I love looking at are still bought for my bookshelf. My personal library has now become my own art gallery. But in this art gallery you must touch the art, feel the art and explore the art.

Owning a Kindle or other ebook reading device does not need to mean you have to choose between ebooks and books. Instead buy a Kindle to refine your book buying tastes. Become a book connoisseur. Build up a treasure trove of limited editions and beautifully illustrated hardcover books. Buy illustrated leather-bound books. Turn your library into a book art gallery. You can have the best of both worlds when you own a Kindle. Owning a Kindle does not mean the death of printed and bound books. Now your books can become collectors items.

How has your book buying changed with the advent of ebooks?

All images (except the Kindle image) are borrowed courtesy of Fuck Yeah, Book Arts on tumblr…Do yourself a favour and visit this site for beautiful and unusual posts on Book Arts. 

Books…read them, write them, love them

Carol reading babys first book
Image via Wikipedia

My nickname as a child was Book-Worm. Now before you say it, it was not because I was wormlike. It was because I started a grand love affair with books when I was a toddler. The love affair still continues to this day. I grew up with a Disney annual broken up into the four seasons. Each night had a different story that my parents read to me. Soon though being read to was not enough. I wanted to lose myself in the words of the story, I wanted to wander through the pages of this fantastic world of imagination. Books were magical. I could start reading a story and soon I was lost in the paths that a writer had created. Books became my treasures, my adventures, my friends and my portals into different worlds and different times.

Before long, I was making up my own stories and telling them to my baby brother. I realised with that how powerful story-telling was. I also realised how much more powerful stories were when written down. My childhood crush with stories and books had grown into a love story.

I have always said that the worst punishment for me would be to take away my books, my pens and my paper. Some people live life through songs, others live life through activities. For me, words are a method of living. I have used books to learn and research. I have used books to escape from reality for a short moment in time.

In this digital world where so much time is spent immersed in technology or on the internet, books remain the one constant that ties the generations together. I love technology as much as the next person. Typing this post on a Macbook to post in a WordPress blog is a case in point. But sometimes I just need a detox from technology, as wonderful as it can be. Technology can also be draining. There are some times when I have been on the computer for large amounts of time and my eyes are burning with strain and fatigue. There are also times when I don’t want music playing or have flickering images from a television in my view. I have to switch off and walk away. I just want to relax. I want to take a breather…

Often I can go for a walk and the fresh air refreshes me. But the habit I turn to most often when I need a break is opening a book. There is something about opening a book and reading the first sentence in the first chapter that immediately releases all my tension and I find myself again. I become filled with wonder as much as I did when I was a child.

Lately there has been a lot of chatter online about books vs ebooks and which industry is going to ultimately win. The sad thing for me about this debate is that this has become a competition for survival on the books side of the debate. Today I read that someone said that books were dying and I actually caught my breath at that. I closed my eyes and tried to imagine a world without books and it horrified me.

I understand the convenience of ebooks but fail to see how this can be the death knell of paper-bound books. Suddenly I started getting quite a territorial feeling running through me. If ebooks mean the kiss of death for me being able to open a book and disappear into its pages then I have to take a stance.

But no; ebooks are not the kiss of death for books. E-books are convenient, cheap and relatively easy to obtain. As I am writing this I am waiting for my Kindle to arrive. But does my getting a Kindle mean that I am never going to buy a book again nor borrow books from the local library. No. I am getting a Kindle purely for the convenience when I am travelling. It would make my hand luggage much lighter. I always carry at least 3 books with me where ever I go.

I love libraries and book stores. Yes I still go to the Library as old-fashioned as that idea may seem. There is something about reading a book where the pages have been softened and worn by numerous fingers turning them. Then there is the smell. You know that smell – the well read book smell. There is no smell like it. I also love book shops. I don’t like shopping as a rule. But browsing in a book shop I can easily lose all sense of time and before I know it 3 hours has already passed. Bookshops and libraries are another way why the Kindle nor ebooks will become my primary form of reading material. There is no book shelf in Amazon. There is no tucked away armchair in the corner where you can get a preview of the book.

Another reason why e-books will not be my primary reading source is that books don’t need power points not rechargers. I can take my books with me anywhere and read. I have taken them on hiking and camping trips. Books are physical. You can hold them in your hands. You can feel the weight of the story in your hands. I don’t know about you, but I am a five senses type of gal, sometimes six senses. I need to touch something to know it is real. Books are a physical portal into new worlds of wonder and magic for me.

So yes, you may relegate books to the “old-fashioned” side of “trendy”. But then you better call me old-fashioned too. As long as there are readers there will be books. I believe I am not the only person, reader or writer, that will say that if books are dying then the world is going to become worse for wear. I can’t see parents teaching their children to read off a screen. Do you remember the first books your parents taught you to read from? One of my first was Mo the Monkey and El the Elephant.

So bring on e-books and kindles and the advance of technology. But don’t forget your first love of ink on paper just because some people are calling them “old-fashioned” or a dying industry. Go to your local book store and just spend an hour browsing through all the books. Take a seat in that corner and page through a few of your favourites. Go to your local library and take out a book. The best things in life are those that are sometimes relegated to “old-fashioned”. Don’t be scared to be called old-fashioned because you love books. Don’t be made to feel ashamed because you carry a bag full of books around. Cherish books. They have stayed faithful to you through all your growing pains. Stay faithful to books. Wear the title “Book Worm” with pride. I know I do. You can call me Book-Worm. Now I am going to tuck into the book I am reading…

© All Rights Reserved Kim Koning

Anchors Away!! Launching Travelicious Tuesdays!!

More Breaking News

Hello all my lovely followers. This week is a big week. Firstly I have the very exciting WARRIOR WEDNESDAYs kicking off tomorrow with my 100th post and my 101 post both in the same day. Secondly I am very appreciative to the 308 followers on twitter who have just got me over the “300” mark I had set myself…now I am hoping for 500 followers and readers in the next 5 months….POSSIBLE – Everything is POSSIBLE because as you know – that is my Word for 2011.

Come Travelling with me - I have packed your suitcase

So what have you lovely bloggers and tweeps been up to in the wonderful work of the web today? Let me tell you about my day. I started off in Auckland, New Zealand but at lunch time I took a side trip to Tuscany.

My View from my window at lunchtime today

It was Spring in Tuscany. Everything was green. The bees were buzzing and the birds were singing. I was exploring the Tuscan countryside. Amazed at every turn what I came across. My appetite was sated by delicious and generous helpings of pasta. The wind picked up a bit so I decided to leave Tuscany for a short while and made my way down south to Sicily. Where Tuscany was as warm and welcoming as a restored terracotta Villa amidst terraced vineyards and Olive groves, so was Sicily brisk and in your face. The traffic was horrendous. I decided to take taxi’s for the rest of the time in Sicily. I was concerned about running into the Mafioso but although I was served by a few waiters who looked determined enough to belong to this organisation I did not run into any nefarious Al Pacino look-alikes. But Alas, every vacation has to come to an end and before coming back to my world in Auckland, I took a stroll through my Tuscan paradise. The fields were covered in the violet hues of the incomparable Iris. I plucked fresh almonds to eat. The freshly grown asparagus was a perfect addition to the pasta I made my friends as we sat down and enjoyed the beautiful local wines of Poiliziano’s: Le Stanze, Elegia and Ambre. But unfortunately work called me back to Auckland and I came back reluctantly. The sweet tastes, sounds and experiences of Tuscany left behind but bottled in Memory – another lovely bottle of wine with a hint of sweet lemon and the bittersweet taste of Almonds and Olives.

Under the Tuscan sun in the sun-drenched and olive drizzled Bella Tuscany

Ah today’s journey was truly Bella Tuscany (The Sweet Life in Italy)  a day filled with warmth, life and love Under the Tuscan Sun. My thanks go to the generosity of my Tour Guide for the day: Frances Mayes. Looking forward to returning to your tours soon.

This launches my new weekly Tuesday blog called Travelicious Tuesday. On this day through this blog and your imagination I will take you on trips to wonderful places. For at least the time it takes you to read each Tuesday post, you can leave behind your ordinary lives and join me in the rich experience of Travelicious Tuesdays. Some of these are places I have been and some we will be guided by our Tour Guide of the day.

All you need is your mind....your body will follow...Come with me on Tours with Travelicious Tuesdays

See you next week. BonVoyage!

© All Rights Reserved Kim Koning.

Suspense: Rapid. Strained. Tense. Goosebumps.

Fear of the Dark
Image by stuant63 via Flickr

Da dum, Da dum…The drums start rolling in the background. The whine of a lone flute plays out its haunting notes.. All of a sudden the eery music stops and the deafening roar of silence fills your screen.

The night is dark. Not even a full moon lights up the gloom. A twig breaks. Someone is out there. Fear raises all the tiny hairs on my arms. I shiver with the adrenalin. Halting foot-steps are the only sound. I pray that my hiding place, in the hollow of the old tree stump, is not betrayed. My lungs are bursting with the trapped air. My heart beats are pounding enough to drown all hearing. The world has gone silent except for my pounding heart. Another twig snaps. I see a faint outline of a darkening just past the stump. A shadow? Fear takes over and every limb in my body fights my stillness. I want to run. I have become prey. The darkened shape moves. It grows. My heart threatens to leave my twitching body and fly into the darkness of escape. The darkened form takes shape. It becomes a large hand encased in black leather. The fingers are long and hypnotize me. I push myself as far back into the hollow as the dead wood will allow me. My eyes are locked on the hand. It moves forward, seeking, towards my throat…My breath now held tightly, the edges of my vision start blurring. The hand creeps closer and closer. Searching. Just as I can almost feel the long fingers close around my throat; my vision fades. The last thing I know is the cold smooth leather touching my throat. I pass out.

After reading the above, how do you feel? Do you feel tense? Did your heart beat increase? Did your breath become shallow? If you answered yes to any of these questions then the paragraph was a successful foray into suspense. To be fair, you have no idea who the main character is. You do not know their agenda nor do you have any answers as to why they are being hunted. All you know is the little that I have chosen to tell you. It is night. There is no moon. The scene takes place outdoors, where there are trees and fallen twigs on the ground. There are two characters in the scene. A person hiding in the hollow of an old tree stump and someone else following or searching for the hiding person. You do not know if the person that is hiding is a protagonist or an antagonist. All you do know is that you want the “hunter” to miss the hiding place. Then the scene changes and the “hunter” seems to have found the hiding place. A hand reaches into the hiding place. The only identifying marks are that the fingers are long and the “hunter” appears to be wearing a black leather glove. Do you hold your breath as the “hunted” one does? Are you sitting on the edge of your seat? You are left with questions. The “hunted” passes out. Do “they” pass out from strangulation or fainting from fear? Do you want to find out more? Are you filled with questions and frustrated to find out the answers?

This is SUSPENSE. This is what every chapter in your story arc should have. Suspense is the vital element in every story that locks your reader into wanting more. Suspense is not just about “being hunted” but it is about “holding back vital information”. You do not always need to clue a reader in on every part of the story. In fact by only giving them tiny amounts of a story, you are goading them into reading more. You have successfully captured their curiosity by intriguing them, even frustrating them by holding back. Very few readers will be able to resist the temptation to read on from this point. Now, you have their attention!

When developing plot-lines and story arcs, sometimes you can forget that at the heart of the story there has to be a burning reason for the reader to want to go on. This burning reason is the element of suspense. Script-writers and movie directors have the advantage of sound and music to add suspense and set a tense scene. As a writer, you also have tools at your disposal. You have the descriptive powers of words. You can paint a scene in a reader’s mind with words. Suspense is not painting too much of the picture so that the reader does not need to use imagination. As writers we have more power than a scriptwriter or a movie director. We have the power of imagination at our disposal. Not just our own imagination but the imaginations of our reader. Use this tool! Use the reader’s imagination to build suspense into your story arcs.

You can also build suspense into your character arcs by not revealing too much about the character’s backstory or agenda. Mystery is an irresistible temptation to everyone. You can build suspense into your character arc by giving away snippets of information. Hold back the key elements of your character’s agenda and personality until the reader is drawn so far into your story that there is now no chance of them turning back or halting the adventure. Thriller and suspense writers have this talent at building suspense and it seems to come across effortlessly as a tool in their respective genres. But just because you may not be writing a thriller or suspense, it does not mean that you cannot use those same tools to build suspense.

There is a reason that so many top-selling books and authors belong to the suspense and thriller genres. As macabre as it may be, everyone loves being “scared”. This does not mean that crime is thrilling. What exactly do people love about being “scared”? In my view, I think people love the feel of the adrenalin coursing through their bodies. Their senses seem to become keener. Their reflexes seem to become sharper. In short, whether you are scared or excited your body has the same physiological symptoms. That is why people think they love being “scared”. That is also why thriller and suspense novelists and script-writers, the world over, are so popular and so successful as a result of that popularity with the masses.

So, next time, before you start writing your next chapter or delving into your character’s agenda: remember that rush of adrenalin. Remember that mystery is the answer to hooking your reader. Use your reader’s imagination along with your skill with words and you will be building suspense that will enthrall you and your reader. Remember to hold elements back. Temptation is wanting to know more about the mysterious and the forbidden. Imagination is a powerful tool to build suspense: not your imagination but using your reader’s imagination to draw them into your scene.The vital information that every good suspense/thriller writer knows: withhold vital information and only give out tastes of a scene or a character. Your reader will thank you. More importantly, your reader will keep on coming back for more.


All rights reserved © Kim Koning.