About Once Upon a Word: We're a large group of multi-talented authors working together, to bring you the best romances.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

To Hull and Back by Linda Swift

I consider myself an author of historical and contemporary fiction, short stories, and poetry. So why in Hull am I about to have a non-fiction book released? And to compound the enigma, a book that is predominantly autobiographical. The answer can be found in Hull. Kingstson-upon-Hull, that is, which is located in a country my forebears sought to leave many years before my birth. (At times in my stay, I understood their reasons!)

England--a country of thatched cottages, medieval castles echoing the past glory of knights in shining armor, kings and queens,  lords and ladies . As you may suspect, I am a romantic who is enthralled with the pomp and pageantry of  yesteryear. Although I realized that life no longer existed, I longed to see the remnants of the place and time I had envisioned. Not just as a "walk-through" tourist; I wanted to live there. Imagine my elation when my husband's job enabled me to do so.

Did the experience live up to my expectations? In some ways, yes; in others, no. Was I inspired to write a novel while there? Regretfully, I was not. Since I have never kept a journal nor made notes (except in my head) to use in future stories, I realized I would not be able to record my life in Hull by that means. So I chose the only realistic mode of retention; I used my letters home to family and friends to describe our lives in Hull and kept copies. Now, when enough time has passed that I feel more objective about sharing my thoughts with casual acquaintances and strangers, I'm ready to publish my Letters from Hull. (Watch for the announcement of its release soon.)

The book has a number of pictures taken in Hull (including both interior and exterior of our flat) and on some of our adventures around the country. It was difficult to choose from the many we had available and I finally selected the ones most important to me and/or my husband. I won't spoil viewing them in context with the story by offering a preview of them in this post.

These letters are not a travelogue. I have not attempted to describe the beauty and majesty of every castle, abbey, and great hall visited. Nor have I sought to praise the people who were always accepting, gracious, and helpful.  First referred to in my letters as "Impressions of England" these are my honest reactions to my surroundings. They describe my efforts to adjust to a new culture, speak the English language, and learn as much about the country of my ancestors as time and opportunity would allow. Readers have found them humorous and enlightening, but those readers have known me. As the release date nears, I obsess about the reactions of others. I did not live in a vacuum and family and friends on both sides of the pond have walk-on roles in this narration. Will they be pleased? Or will they stop sending me Christmas greetings?  I hope this book will be taken in the way it was intended--a view of Hull from one who came from the other side and has since returned to tell about it.

P.S. I did eventually write two historical novels inspired by my stay in England. They can be found on Amazon. Here are the links:




Link: https://amzn.com/B009AHTXF2 

Thank you for visiting today. Do stop in again. And please check out the links above and below for more information about my books and me.


Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Writers, Authors, and Storytellers By Celia Yeary #celiayeary #rebeccajvickery

Celia Yeary…Romance, and a little bit of Texas
Are you a Writer, an Author, or a Storyteller?

The question might seem obvious, but a subtle distinction exists between the three. Of course, we are writers. Practically everyone is a writer--"a person who uses written words to communicate ideas." Another way to describe a writer is: "the word refers to the creation of human language."
Man has conveyed his thoughts and stories from the age of the Caveman.

We've grown up writing. At age three, we used crayons to draw a picture and add a crooked letter here and there, "writing a letter to Grandmother."As we grow up, we write notes to friends, essays for a class, or a love letter to someone we adore. We write something every day, some way. We might even keep a diary.

A professional writer uses words to produce creative pieces such as literary art, novels, short stories, poetry, plays, news articles, essays, or songs. Writers often write about how to write, or why they write, or write critical articles about someone else's writing. Often a professional writer gets paid when a piece is published.

An author is one who originates any written work. An author can claim responsibility for creating the writing.
A storyteller is one who conveys events in words, images, and sounds, often by embellishing and improvising the tale. The storyteller educates, preserves cultural phenomenon, instills moral values, and entertains. The narration, then, includes a plot and characters, complete with a point of view.

When I began writing, I did not refer to myself as anything other than "someone who wrote stories." Calling myself an author didn't sound right. All my stories were stored in files and folders in my computer. But with my first contract, I felt perfectly at ease referring to myself as an author. I became...Celia Yeary, Author.

With published stories came reviews. I will never forget the day when one reviewer called me a true "storyteller." Wow. That somehow made an impression, as though I had reached some pinnacle of success. I held that thought close and still do. For someone to refer to me as a storyteller still makes me proud.

Today, my local readers are very generous is telling me what they think of my newest book. Often the person will say something similar: "How do you think of all these stories? They're so good. I can almost see the people and landscape," I'm actually hearing, "You're such a good storyteller."

No one uses "author," and I take their words to mean, "storyteller."

I love lists, so I Googled “World’s Greatest Story Tellers.” As with any topic, lists varied except in the case of several unique names that always appeared. So, here is my list, compiled from several other lists:
William Shakespeare
Charles Dickens
Stephen King
Jane Austen
J. K. Rowling
Roal Dahl
Neil Gaiman.

I knew of all these except the last two—which I had to Google!
Okay, do you know—without looking—why these last two are on the list? What did they write that became so enduring?

To me, a real “storyteller” is one who creates images in the mind of the readers.
My short list of those I would add to the list are:

Louis L’Amour-wrote Western adventure/love stories.

Willa Cather—told of Frontier Life on the Great Plains.

What do you think about this idea? Which are you? Have you been called a storyteller? Is it really the best compliment?
I like all three terms--writer, author, storyteller. Me...You...all wrapped up in one package.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Summer Lull

I do sometimes detest August. There's heat, humidity, haze, and....exhaustion. As a working writer -aka a writer who must work outside the home in order to keep the roof over their heads, I have hit my time of the year, where I feel like I am behind the eight ball. I've released an anthology, a single, and sent another story back to the editor. Now, I sit and look at the calendar and wonder what's next.

Oh, I have a list. (Doesn't every writer?) I have it broken down in my planner... but life often interrupts at the most inopportune moments. Last week, it was husband's gout. This week its odd hours for the work schedule and unfortunately having the same day off as my husband. And we all know that means, "Honey, can you come help me?"

So I'm grabbing my calendar and studying my notes. I can do this. I can get a short done between now and the end of September, while plotting a holiday story. Yep, all is well.

Until next time.....


P.S. Don't forget to check out the summer anthology. Another short story from Rebel's Crossroads, Winning Her Heart and continue on with Random Acts of Kindness, and the full length novel, Playing With Fire.




Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Log lines, Blurbs and Excerpts as a Minimalist Thing

In the magical world of the internet, people want speed and ease when they’re looking for something to read. Like distracted kids at the state fair, we have to grab their attention and fast tract them into becoming interested in our books. So how the heck do we accomplish that?

It all starts with a good log line. That magical log line is the lure on the fishing line. It has to be short enough to be read in just seconds, and yet, snag the attention of the reader in a powerful statement about the story. I like to keep my log lines at 10 words. It’s not easy capturing immediate attention in 10 to 25 words, but if I don’t, my potential reader is going to sail away to the next book of interest. Log lines should taunt the reader’s curiosity.


1.  DARK ISLE, Book 1 Legends of Winatuke trilogy

The legend begins when love and evil collide.


The legend continues with a curse, a quest and undying love.


A quest for an enchanted light...a Gypsy’s love...and a warrior’s sacrifice to save Valmora.

Next comes the blurb. The blurb is used to reel that reader’s interest into caring about your story and wondering how in the world the hero and heroine are going to find happiness together. Once again, I like to keep mine short. I don’t like to go over 300 words. Time being a high premium these days and the internet feeding the desire for speed, I have to state my case with limited words, but still effectively entice my potential reader. I remember browsing in the library for a good book to read. I took my time, read that jacket blurb and then thumbed through a few pages here and there to check out the author’s voice and style and get a feel for the story line. Readers aren’t going to the library as much now—a sad, but unfortunate consequence of the internet. A blurb should include the names of the lead characters and state their dilemma.

Examples (all of the following blurbs are less than 100 words):

1. Pennytook/Myths, Legends, and Midnight Kisses anthology

Pennytook is a war weary Gypsy who longs for peace from the past and wants something meaningful in his life.
Esmeralda, a Gypsy trick rider, has harbored a deep affection for the chieftain, Pennytook, for many years. But her dark secret will never allow him into her life.
A mythological creature is about to unleash its horror and change the destinies of Esmeralda and Pennytook.

2.  Heart Song
Gideon thought he had the perfect life as a musician with a beautiful model as his girlfriend, until he was diagnosed with breast cancer.

Ashamed and afraid he may die, Gideon hits bottom when his girlfriend dumps him for a real man.

Hope comes in the form of his father’s ghost and a person he has just met. Can he beat the odds and survive? And if he does, can he ever find happiness again?

3. The Light of Valmora

To free his father from the witch-queen of the Dark Isle, Falcon must find the legendary Light of Valmora that lies hidden in the darkest place on earth—right under the witch’s feet.  To complicate things further, he is falling in love with Izabelle, the Gypsy woman who loves his brother, Peregrine.
Izabelle struggles with her feelings for her first love, Peregrine, and her growing affection for his brother, Falcon.
No one may survive the quest for the Light of Valmora or the wicked queen of the Dark Isle who intends to rule the world of Winatuke.

I like to keep my excerpts short, too. I keep them under 300 words. Celia Yeary wrote a blog about how to construct a good excerpt so I won’t go into any detail on that account. You do want to choose something that will peak the reader’s interest and then…quit while you’re ahead.


1. From Pennytook/Myths, Legends, and Midnight Kisses anthology

Where is Esmeralda? Surely, she could not have made it beyond this place. He choked down the dark thoughts that tried to take over his mind.
"Aye, my friend, this place is still foul. Light is always balanced by darkness. It is the way things work in the world of Winatuke." Sabo's expression grew solemn as he reigned in his horse beside Pennytook.
From the depth of the forest, Pennytook heard something. The sound had to be a horse screaming in pain, as if set upon by something huge. But a second sound sent a chill down his spine and urgency flashed through his body. Pennytook and Sabo glanced at one another in silent communication, and with agile speed, they dismounted their horses, and ran toward the sound they had heard.

2.  Heart Song

Something electric sparked in the air as silence ensued. He gazed into her eyes as if attempting to read her heart. The oxygen left her lungs and her heart flung itself against her ribs as he moved his lips closer to hers. The black irises in his eyes widened. His hand held the back of her neck and his fingers slid into her ponytail and loosed the clip that held it in place. The moment stilled. His voice sounded no more than a raw whisper when he spoke. “I’ve wanted to do this for so long. It feels like I’m in a dream.” Then his lips, firm and warm took hers in a kiss that started as gentle as a snowflake falling on a pine bough.


3.  Curse of the Amber Tomb/2012 Fall Collection
The sky cracked open and rain poured down as Kate and Edward ran. Thunder shook the earth.  Edward took Kate’s hand and pulled her after him.  They got to the gorge but the bridge hung damaged by the wind.  All that remained was a rope and a few dangling boards.  The river roared below in a sweeping surge of deadly white water.
        “Edward, we’re not going to make it,” Kate cried as fear snaked up her spine.  They were trapped.  Behind them death approached in the form of a hungry visage of ancient terror.  Before them was nature at its worst with nothing but a few shreds of rope to get them to the other side and safety.  It was impossible.
        He held her close an instant.  He had to raise his voice to be heard above the wind. “Yes we are, Kate.  I’m going to tighten the rope up and I’ll walk us over to the other side.”
        “I don’t think I can do this. Besides, you’re terrified of heights.  You could hardly get cross the bridge before it was damaged.  How will you do it now?”  She felt her voice pitch upward in hysteria.  “There’s no way we can make it, Edward.”

Let me just say right now Website excerpts do not need to be a minimalist thing. If someone takes the time to go to your website for a look-see, they’re already interested and looking for more, so I think you should feel free to post longer excerpts. I have seen famous authors put the first chapter of their books on their websites. Some of them even follow up with a chapter on an upcoming release in the book just preceding it. Linda Lael Miller does that when she has a new trilogy coming out. You can’t fault with success. I’ve never done that. I’ve never had my first chapter written on the next book when I have a new release so I’ve never tried this technique. I only know what has worked for me and that is the minimalist thing.

Sarah J. McNeal is a multi-published author of several genres including time travel, paranormal, western and historical fiction. She is a retired ER and Critical Care nurse who lives in North Carolina with her four-legged children, Lily, the Golden Retriever and Liberty, the cat. Besides her devotion to writing, she also has a great love of music and plays several instruments including violin, bagpipes, guitar and harmonica. Her books and short stories may be found at Prairie Rose Publications and its imprints Painted Pony Books, and Fire Star Press. Some of her fantasy and paranormal books may also be found at Publishing by Rebecca Vickery and Victory Tales Press. She welcomes you to her website and social media:

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Let's Time Travel by Karen Michelle Nutt @KMNbooks @RebeccaJVickery #timetravel

Is time travel possible?


In J. W. Dunne’s, An Experiment with Time, he theorizes that time is forever present—the past, the present and the future are going on all at the same time. He also believed that in our dreaming state we could roam free from different points in time. We exist in on two levels of existence, both inside and outside of time, giving the notion of what is meant to be immortal—that nothing dies. If this theory were true it may explain the religious aspects of eternity.


This is an interesting concept that has fascinated me on many levels. The Aboriginal people of Australia believe that dream-time exists at the same time as present, past and future. The Kabbalah Taoism believe the waking consciousness allows awareness of time, but is limited in understanding it completely. However, in the sleeping state, the mind can wander on many dimensions of time and space.


Perhaps Déjà vu could be thought of as form of time travel. It is a precognition, clairvoyance or an extra-sensory perception of what life could be, giving the person a choice and perhaps changing the future. It could also be thought of as a prophecy from a dream, also giving us a glimpse of the future.


Many science fiction stories touch on black holes as a possible way to time travel. In 1916 Einstein introduced the theory of relativity. Nathan Rosen collaborated with him and came to the conclusion that relativity formalism is a curved spaced structure. It can join space and time through a tunnel-like curve, giving a shortcut through space. The Einstein-Rosen Bridge is the prediction of black holes using Einstein’s equations and the possibility of time travel.


No one knows for sure, but authors have sent their heroes and heroines to the past and to the future with one stroke of a pen or with their fingers flying over a keyboard. The idea of time travel has always intrigued me with the question of “what if?” The possibilities are endless.


“Love vanquishes time. To lovers, a moment can be eternity, eternity can be the tick of a clock. Across the barriers of time and the ultimate destiny, love persists, for the home of the beloved, absent or present, is always in the mind and heart.” ~Mary Parrish~


Where would you time travel and why would you go? What would you use to get there? A magic stone, a mist, or maybe a storm. You tell me. 

About the Author
Karen Michelle Nutt resides in California with her husband, three fascinating children, and houseful of demanding pets. Jack, her Chorkie, is her writing buddy and sits long hours with her at the computer.
When she's not time traveling, fighting outlaws, or otherworldly creatures, she creates pre-made book covers to order at Gillian's Book Covers, "Judge Your Book By Its Cover". You can also check out her published cover art designs at Publishing by Rebecca J. Vickery and Highland Press.

Whether your reading fancy is paranormal, historical or time travel, all her stories capture the rich array of emotions that accompany the most fabulous human phenomena—falling in love.