Thursday, May 26, 2011



You can find David Baboulene at
and you can follow his tour at UK and Beyond Book Tours 

When I was asked to review THE STORY BOOK by David Baboulene, I was a bit leery. Reading books on the subject of writing can be iffy—is the book overloaded with information, will it tell me the rules, will it be a snoozer, or will I be left with a feeling of being overwhelmed? Then I read David’s credentials as a published author, scriptwriter, and PhD scholar in story theory and they impressed me enough to give it a go.

All of my fears were laid to rest. My first reaction was “Where was this treasure when I wrote my first story?” (You know the one; it’s now buried in the backyard.) THE STORY BOOK is the holy grail of writing books. It gives you the information using diagrams and examples from both movies and books that are easily identifiable. You are sure to walk away with an understanding of the foundation of what goes into a good story and the confidence to write something that is marketable.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Guest Post by David Baboulene on Subtext

David Baboulene is a published author of two humorous books, two children’s books and The Story Book - an academic work on story theory. He also has three film production deals, two in Hollywood and one in the UK.

He works as a story consultant with training and development organisations, aspiring and established writers and producers. He is also working at Brighton University on his Ph.D. on the critical importance of subtext to a story’s power. David writes extensively on his subject, including his monthly column in Writing Magazine and Writers' News.

Welcome David and thank you for being here today!

Subtext – The Most Critical Tool in the Story-Teller’s Box

What is subtext? Why is it important? Author and story consultant DAVID BABOULENE explains why subtext is fundamental to a story’s quality.

All writers are told that subtext is the ‘untold’ or ‘underlying’ story, and that stories must be delivered in subtext. Make no mistake - this is true. Without subtext, you literally have no story. However, what the great and the good fail to tell us is how in the world we are supposed to go about telling an ‘untold’ story? How do we bury our story, and still tell it, apparently without mentioning it?

So they give us examples. A character takes a girl by the hands, looks her in the eyes and says, ‘I love you.’ And the audience gasps, because they know that he’s about to leave her for another woman. This is all well and good, but still doesn’t help us understand how to deliver our stories ‘in subtext’.

What we need to know is what writers do to generate subtext.

Creating Subtext

Subtext results from what I call ‘knowledge gaps’. When you craft into your story a difference in the knowledge held by different participants, you introduce a knowledge gap – and simultaneously create intrigue and engagement. This is most easily expressed from the audience or reader perspective:

If the audience knows more or less than any character in the story,

you have story delivery in subtext.

So there are two basic forms of subtext, based on whether the audience knows more or less than a character:

Revelation Subtext

Take a mystery story. We follow the detective through all the events, we see all the clues, and we try to predict whodunit. Then the detective arrests the blonde, and we think, ‘Wha-what? The blonde? But she’s innocent! She’s the victim!’ and our minds go racing back through all that has gone before to try and establish what the detective spotted that we didn’t. The audience knows less than the detective, and revelation subtext is built into the story.

 1 - Revelation Subtext

Privilege Subtext

As the detective bravely climbs the dark staircase towards the attic, his candle blows out and a chill runs through us all, because we know that there is an axe-wielding maniac waiting for him behind the door at the top. Knowledge gaps whereby the audience knows more than a character generate Privilege Subtext.

   2 – Privilege Subtext

Within these two types there are at least ten mechanisms for introducing knowledge gaps. By introducing a mysterious character; by using a subplot to influence another plot; by raising questions in the mind of the audience (particularly ‘I know what the protagonist wants - how is he going to get it?’); by playing on audience pre-conceptions (just because he looks like a policeman doesn’t mean he’s not a criminal...); subterfuge (a character with a secret, an alter-ego, lies and deceit are all wonderful examples of subtext);

Other less common types of subtext exist, using implication and suggestion, metaphor and allegory, and a character’s subconscious aims, but we are best to leave these for another day.

The more the audience has to work to make up the story for themselves in the knowledge gaps, the finer the story is perceived to be, so make it your business to understand subtext. The quantity, depth and persistence of knowledge gaps in your story directly relate to how well your story engages an audience.

This is my specialist area and the subject of my PhD thesis. If you would like more information do please get in touch and I will send you the relevant chapter from The Story Book.


You can find David on Facebook
and his tour page with UK and Beyond Book Tours

Look for my review of THE STORY BOOK on the 26th. For more great story tips follow David's blog.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Yeti? The Abominable Snowman Expedition STARTS HERE

Welcome to the adventure, but beware of what lurks in the dark.

It all started with Rachael Harrie's Second Platform-Building Crusade. There were over 200 of us. Then it was further broken down into groups according to what genre you wrote in. Us Group 9 Crusaders consisted of horror, urban fantasy, and paranormal romance writers for young adults.This bloghop is a collaboration with those thirteen fabulous Group 9 Crusaders. We each wrote a snippet that will take you through an adventure, forcing you to make a choice that will send you around bloggerville. As you make your way through the adventure please follow and leave a comment for these fantastic writers.

Meet the fantastic Crusaders of Group Nine.

and me
Kerri Cuevas

I just want to thank Rachael and all the Crusaders for a great couple of months. You guys ROCK! I can't wait for the third Crusade from Monday, August 22, 2011 to October 31, 2011.

Maybe there will be another choose your own adventure, da da dum!

                                   YOUR ADVENTURE STARTS NOW

All evidence suggests that the cave before you is the home of the abominable snowman. The cold sting of snow whips at your face and you are relieved to enter the massive stone shelter. You hope that the creature has set out tea and biscuits for lunch, because you ran out of food hours ago.

The snow crunches beneath your boots. As you walk deeper into the darkness snow turns to frozen dirt. There are patches of matted fur frozen to the walls and the ground is littered with scat. This must be the right cave. You shudder with anticipation and walk forward, but the light from outside is fading.

You put your backpack on the frozen ground and open it. The cider in your thermos has gone frosty, but you drink it anyways. You double check that the battery in your camera is powered up. You take out your flashlight, click it on, and continue into the cave.

You are now in total darkness except for the round stream of light from your flashlight. You point it to the left and it reflects over the icy cavern. You run it along the edge of the wall to see how far back the cave goes, but the light catches movement. You gasp and drop the flashlight and see a dark shadow coming towards you. You bend down to pick up the flashlight and it fumbles out of your hands. You finally grip it and shine the light at the shadow. It is coming at you fast and the hairs on your neck prick up.

Click on your choice.
Do You:   RUN

Chomp Down the Candy Bar

                                                 Click here to go to the beginning

You eye the candy bar on the ground. It’s your favorite, Almond Joy. What can you say, sometimes you feel like a nut--and you must be to search for the Yeti. Your stomach grumbles in angry protest as you eye the open blue package on the ground. You can taste the rich chocolate in your mouth mixed with sweet coconut.

For a split second you forget the camera and reach down to pick up the bar, but you feel hot breath brush your cheek. You look up to see the Yeti staring at you with pleading eyes. His mouth is hanging open and drool dribbles out onto the ground.

He takes a step back. When you stand up he is sitting on a rock leaning into his hands crying. “Do you want some?” You ask holding out the Almond Joy.

Your hand is shaking as the Yeti looks up and meets your eyes.

“I would love some,” he sobs, “if you let me have it I'll give you food for your journey back home and do anything…except.”

“What?” You ask. Your voice shakes and you clear your throat afraid he wants to keep you his hostage.

“Just don’t tell anyone I’m here. I don’t want to be a lab rat and locked in a cage.”

You breathe a long sigh of relief; your breath comes out in a thick fog. “I can do that.”

You smile and hand the Yeti the last of your Almond Joy. Sometimes you don’t feel like a nut and just want to make the Yeti happy. Who knew?

The Yeti moans and licks his thick furry lips as he eats the candy bar. He stands up rubbing the thick white fur on his belly.

“Shall we take some pictures?” The Yeti asks.

You take out your camera and half smile and laugh nervously.

“Let’s do this!” He roars.


The Yeti was like a superstar and eager to pose for you. He leaned on a rock with his arms crossed over his chest. He made a silly face that made you laugh. He let you stand next to him as he draped an arm over your shoulder.

“Hey, same time next year?” The Yeti asked.

“Same time and I’ll bring plenty of chocolate. Later buddy.”

You walked out of his cave and would miss the big furry Yeti.

  Go Back: Run
  Go Back: Let the Yeti Talk
  Start Over

The Adventure Begins Tuesday

Come one and come all to the choose your own adventure bloghop. It will go live Tuesday, May 17th at 12:00am. Adventurers wanted, but beware of what lurks in the dark.

It all started with Rachael Harrie's Second Platform-Building Crusade. There were over 200 of us. Then it was further broken down into groups according to what genre you wrote in. Us Group 9 Crusaders consisted of horror, urban fantasy, and paranormal romance writers for young adults.This bloghop is a collaboration with those thirteen fabulous Group 9 Crusaders. We each wrote a snippet that will take you through an adventure, forcing you to make a choice that will send you around bloggerville. As you make your way through the adventure please follow and leave a comment for these fantastic writers. You are in for a treat!

The adventure starts here, but every choice you make has a consequence.

Meet the fantastic Crusaders of Group Nine.

and me
Kerri Cuevas

I just want to thank Rachael and all the Crusaders for a great couple of months. You guys ROCK! I can't wait for the third Crusade from Monday, August 22, 2011 to October 31, 2011.
Maybe there will be another choose your own adventure, da da dum!


Friday, May 13, 2011

Winner and Review of LONG MEMORY

LONG MEMORY (Weavers's Circle Book Two) will be released May 16th by Lyrical Press. So, mark your calenders.

From page one Charlotte draws you into the world of Beth and the residents of Weaver's Circle. For years Beth has lived with Nonie and has cared for the woman with Alzheimer's --but Nonie's memory is getting worse. When James, Nonie's grandson she can't remember, lands on her doorstep the sparks begin to fly between him and Beth. Will he stick around long enough to help his grandmother and Beth? Will his mother, who accuses Beth of stealing from Nonie, get in their way? No spoilers here!

Charlotte's story has it all from heartwarming characters, annoying mothers that spy, a strong heroine, a hunky man, and a sizzling book cover. LONG MEMORY is a charming, cozy, story and one I would recommend putting on your to read list. You don't need to read the first book to understand what is going on, but it will leave you wanting more!

You can find LONG MEMORY at Lyrical Press

               WINNER IS TRISHA! Give me an e-mail and I'll hook you up!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Interview with Author Charlotte McClain and Giveaway

Today author Charlotte McClain is rocking the house chatting about her upcoming book release by Lyrical Press on May 16th, Long Memory (Weavers's Circle Book 2). 

                                                  insert *claps and cheers* 

Welcome Charlotte and thanks for hanging out with us. My comments are (bold).

What inspired you to become a writer?

The Empire Strikes Back. I became a reader when I found The Hobbit in 5th grade, but when I saw Empire I really wanted to be in that world and I created a lot of fan fiction doing it. Then I wanted to start creating my own worlds.

What was your road to publication like?

Long and winding. I started out writing science fiction and fantasy, but I had a terrible time finishing anything. My stories were always ended up being more about the relationships between the characters than the technology or the magic and once I had to deal with that I lost interest. I have unfinished epics hidden in boxes and on old disks I can't even access anymore. So I shifted my focus to romance.

The first full length novel I completed was Three Alarm Tenant in 2001. Harlequin considered it for five agonizing months before they finally passed and by that time I'd written Spark of Desire and half of the upcoming Stuck By Lightning. The rejection took the wind out of my sails so I wrote The Rock Star's Retreat entirely for my own pleasure. I wrote several other things without ever thinking about publishing them and in about 2004 a friend challenged me to write a story using the name Kent Farrington for the hero. I was mulling that over when the whole idea of One Ring To Rule came to me. Which I wrote and mothballed with everything else because who was going to publish a novella length romance set at a comic book convention?

In 2007 I was in Korea when the Gather First Chapters Romance contest was announced. I decided to enter Three Alarm Tenant and got to work getting it ready. Then in July my laptop was stolen while on vacation in the Philippines and of course nothing was backed up. I started over using the notes I had managed to salvage and with help from my critique partners in time to enter and got into the semi-finals before I got too busy to campaign anymore. Not long after was the Amazon Breakthrough Novel contest which I also entered Three Alarm Tenant in and it made the semi-finals there as well, but I was on my way from Korea to Chile via the US during a March blizzard at the time so I had even less time to campaign.

During the summer of 2008 I was tightening up One Ring To Rule when I discovered the Romance Divas forum. I was hanging out there when Renee Rocco posted that Lyrical Press was accepting submissions down to, I don't know, 15,000 words? Being oblivious I said, hey I have something for that. Renee responded that she would be looking for my submission so I had to find out who she was. Yeah, the publisher. I'd opened my big mouth and now I had no choice. I submitted One Ring To Rule late on Wednesday July 2nd knowing that I was leaving town the next day and wouldn't be able to obessively check my email for the rejection I expected. Color me surprised the next morning when I had a contract. That weekend I started writing Long Memory. Since then I've published five titles with Lyrical with Struck By Lightning slated for November release and I've also worked with Freya's Bower, Liquid Silver and Wild Rose Press.

And I moved to Abu Dhabi.

(Your road to publication sounded more like an adventure and your diverse traveling must be great inspiration.)

I have previously worked with Alzheimer’s patients and you not only pegged Nonie in this book, but the effect it has on the people who love them. What made you use Alzheimer’s?

I based Nonie on my husband's grandfather who has not died, but left us years ago. He was a lovely man, very helpful and kind and now he's answering the television remote when the phone rings. Watching the dynamic between Bert and Maxine I started wondering how I would handle it, and then I started wondering about someone else handling it. I wrote most of the story while visiting their house for the weekend so I had Alzheimer's right in front of me.

Who was your favorite character to write?

All the characters are very dear to me, even tertiary characters. Many of them will eventually get their own stories. I think in this one Jean was my favorite. She's kind of a combination of my grandmother and my great aunt. When I was little I used to stay with my grandmother everyday while my mother was in college and then started working. I have vivid memories of long days spent with Gramma and Aunt Gert and the way the two of them interacted.

Can we expect a Weavers's Circle book three and can you tell us what character will be in the spotlight? (Crosses fingers it will be Jean)

Probably not Jean. After writing Secrets Everybody Knows I felt really guilty about the hero's sister's lot in life and I'm about halfway through that story. I also want to write Sheriff Daniel's story because he's got some history around why he came to town. That one was about half written on the laptop that was stolen in the Philippines so it's taken some getting back to. I also plan to write Lily and George's story. I'm going to be playing around in this town for a while.
If you were a superhero who would you be and why?
Now you realize that not only have I read comics, but I've written them. I'm still heartbroken that both times I was in the DC offices, Denny O'Neill (the editor of Batman) was out. I would love to be Batman. His quest for justice appeals to me. In particular I'd like to be Frank Miller's Batman. Failing that I'd love to be Marvel's Nomad. Or with Marvel's Nomad because he was hot.

(We have Batman in the house, lol. Love it!)

What was the last book you read?The last book I finished was City At World's End by Edmund Moore Hamilton. I'm currently reading Kim Harrison's Pale Demon which I borrowed electronically from my home library in the US to my iPad in Abu Dhabi. How cool is that?

(Oh my gosh, you can do that? Fantastical! The Hollows series sounds good and is on my to read list.)

Thanks so much for hanging out with us today. You were so much fun to interview!

You can visit Charlotte at Lyrical Press
                                          Her blog
                                          Liquid Silver
                                          Freya's Bower

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Upcoming Events

May is fantastic with many great things scheduled!

May 10th Interview with Author Charlotte McClain about her upcoming book release Long Memory (Lyrical Press, May 16th) and giveaway!

May 13th Review of Long Memory by Charlotte McClain

May 17th Be prepared for a bloghop of EPIC poportions. So EPIC it will leave you hanging off your seat. Da da dum...

Keep your eyes peeled because I would like to put another bloghop like this together in the next couple of months.

May 24th A guest post by David Baboulene author of The Story Book

May 27th A review of The Story Book by David Baboulene

                                                          COOL BEANS!