The Seven Rules of Great Storytelling

Humans are forever telling stories. For instance, effective advertising is essentially a story that convinces us that a) we have an unmet need, and b) the product in question meets that need. We also tell stories as ways to develop and sustain relationships. Stories help us to find common ground with strangers. If I tell you the story of how my nana’s dog used to try to herd jumbo jets and your nana’s dog used to do the same (highly unlikely, but still!) we’ll smile at one another and feel a kinship. Stories are bridges between who we are and who the person next to us might be. They connect us. Over the dinner table we tell our families the stories from our day so that they know how we’re travelling, what we’re struggling with, and to celebrate our small successes. And we listen to their stories to keep that bond between us tight. People change. Stories help us to change with each other and to understand some of the reasons for the changes.

Stories reveal us to each other. They’re also how we make sense of the world. People are rightly worried about fake news on the internet, but one of the important points to remember is that this fake news is composed of stories. Their facts are wrong. They may even be specifically designed to manipulate us. But they’re also fascinating for showing us issues that we as a society are grappling with. We want to understand our problems and our neighbours’ problems, and find a way to move forward, making a better life for everyone.

I’m particularly focused on storytelling because as a novelist it’s what I do. I write stories about who people are, what we strive for, and how we find joy. I tend to add magic to my books (since I write paranormal romance), but so do fairytales, and their magical trappings don’t change the essential truths revealed in those stories.

So, here’s my take on the seven rules of great storytelling:

  1. You must evoke emotion in your audience. A story works when people feel something on hearing/reading/seeing it. There are various strategies put forward on how to achieve this, from character development, to emotional topics, to high stakes.
  2. Tension has to build.
  3. The resolution must be credible. It can involve green flying monsters, but those monsters must tie back to something mentioned earlier in the story. A story makes certain promises to a reader, and those promises must be met.
  4. Know what promises you’re making with your story. If you’re a stand-up comedian telling a joke, your promise is that your story will amuse. Sometimes, as with stories over the dinner table, your promise is simply that your story won’t take long! Everyone wants their turn. Be attentive to your audience.
  5. Stories have a hero. This is the person who is changed by the story. In our personal stories, that’s generally us. Sometimes we’re our own catalyst for change, but more often, that catalyst is external.
  6. The most memorable, powerful stories change the people who hear them. It’s okay to tell a story with the purpose of changing someone’s mind. Doing so doesn’t make you an evil marketing genius. We do this unthinkingly when we try to improve someone’s mood with a story. In daily life, we select our stories for how they support the relationships we’re in, and for how they make us appear. All those selfies shared online are visual storytelling, affirmations that each of us is present.
  7. But never forget that a good storyteller is an even better listener – and by “listener” I mean someone who experiences other people’s stories. We spend more time as audience than as entertainer, and being an attentive audience alerts us to effective storytelling techniques. Listen for the gaps in the range of stories told, and you’ll also hear what people are searching for, but not finding. Tell those stories.

What have I missed? What does great storytelling demand?

.

 

phoenix blood, urban fantasy, kindle unlimited,

Free Books! So Many It’s Bewildering!

I didn’t expect to be chatting with you again before Easter, but wow! A big advertiser of free books accepted my paranormal romance novella, Demon Hunter, to feature in their newsletter on Saturday April 15, so I had to scramble to set it free for that day – and let you know about it. I also asked other authors for help in getting the word out, and you’ll find their books below – as a small thank you from me for their kindness. Plus, once I started chatting with other authors, I found out about other free book promos happening this weekend. So they’re in this newsletter, too. It’s a bonanza of great free reads, just for you!

free pnr Demon Hunter by Jenny Schwartz – free on Amazon, April 14-18.

Download: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00R1SJWNU

.

.

.

Welcome to the Club by Liz Gavin – free on Amazon, April 14-18

Download: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01FBE5GZ8

.

.

.

.

The Rock Star’s Email Order Bride by Demelza Carlton – free on Amazon, April 14-18

Download: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B012W82IC0/

.

.

.

Hunger by C.E. Black is new and free to read for Kindle Unlimited subscribers. Otherwise it’s at a cool 99c. I’ve got this on my kindle 🙂

Download: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06XS7DZDX

.

.

.

Alpha Wolf’s Pet by Eva Gordon is free!

Download: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00MT3H1VC 

.

.

.

.

The Vixen’s Bark by Laura Greenwood. Free today! (Saturday April 15)

Download: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01N6OJD74/

.

.

.

.

Romance is Better than Chocolate (Heresy!) Sale – April 14-17

 

April Free Books and a Giveaway – April 14-18

New Books, New Hobbies

Finding Time for Dream Hobbies

Just at the moment I am too busy to do anything other than write – trying to add another book to 2017’s publishing schedule is punishing – but I’m encouraging myself by dreaming of the hobbies I would take up if I had the time/money/courage enough for each of them.

The first is the simplest. I’d love to try glass-blowing. I adore Murano glass and there are local artists where I live, too, who do amazing work.

The second is the never-in-a-million-years-would-I-be-brave-enough-to-try-it, but gliding would be thrilling. I would love to soar like bird, no engine, just wind power. Swooping and diving and … yeah, I’d never dare, but these are dream hobbies.

Finally, I’d like to grow mushrooms, the really unique species. I imagine living somewhere in the country with a cave…

Do you have any unusual hobbies, or hobbies you’d like to try?

New Books, Special Prices

My latest release, Storm Road, is at 99c till Friday April 14. Please don’t miss grabbing it while it’s cheap!

Also, I’ve popped Fire Fall up for pre-order (again, at 99c) so if you want to nab it now, you can! It’ll release May 26.

paranormal romance, kindle unlimited,

Kindle Unlimited Discoveries

kindle unlimitedI love the Magic Bullet series by A. Blythe. A djinn without her powers as the heroine? Oh yeah!

The Rogue Prince, a spin-off from Lindsay Buroker’s Fallen Empire series is out tomorrow and I am so looking forward to it. Space opera with a touch of romance is fun.

 

 

 

Weekend Wishes

I hope you have a fantastic weekend – happy and peaceful. I’ll be writing (what else? 😉 ) and hopefully watching some football on TV. That is such a good excuse to sloth. I love slothing – maybe I should have added it as a dream hobby?

Happy weekend!

 

Release Day! “Storm Road” is out! And for Release Week it’s at the Special Price of 99c.

Storm Road is out! I am so excited. This was an intense book to write. Beulah has some serious history, but she’s a survivor. Dean is amazing. As tough as he is, he’s capable of heart-melting tenderness. Please grab Storm Road during its release week while it’s 99c (It’ll be $2.99 after April 14). For Kindle Unlimited subscribers, it’s free to read any time. Enjoy! The blurb and an excerpt are below.

Blurb

When a woman with secrets saves a man hunted by a ghoul, the choice is stark: salvation or damnation.

Major Dean Fortescue, JAG lawyer and former marine, enters the Southern Appalachian Mountains to find his aunt, who has gone missing. He discovers her house burned down, a ghoul in residence, and a mysterious woman who claims to control the weather.

Beulah Morgan is a weathermage, home after months away on a scientific research vessel in the Southern Ocean. When her mountain retreat is invaded by death magic, old memories resurface and with them a chilling terror.

Children will die unless Beulah trusts Dean, he trusts her magic, and together they face a ghoul that was bound during the Civil War, but recently freed by a reckless wizard mercenary.

Storm Road is exclusive to Amazon. Buy link:  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06Y2M2MR9/

paranormal romance, april 2017,

Excerpt – Meet Dean!

The man in front of her was a couple of inches over six feet. She’d switched the porch light on as she opened the door, and it shone on blond hair cut ruthlessly short, a powerful yet lean body, and a hand that clutched the doorframe hard.

“I need the police—or something.” The man shook his head, not in negation, but as if dazed.

Was he in shock? Beulah tried to assess her visitor and whatever problem had brought him to her door.

His blue eyes were narrowed against the sudden brightness of the light and his lips thin and lacking color; tight with pain or intense emotion.

“Are you alone?” she asked.

His eyes flared wide. “God. I hope so.” His head turned north east, back up the mountain. “I think I lost him…it.”

It? An eerie word. She tried to ignore the shiver that slid down her spine. There were bears in the mountains. Maybe the man had been chased by a bear? There was dirt on his face and hands, but she couldn’t see any blood. He’d fallen at some point.

He didn’t look like a man who’d panic at the sight of a bear.

kindle unlimited, paranormal romance, new release,

The Old School series

While Storm Road is a stand-alone novel, it is part of the my Old School series. Phoenix Blood and Fantastical Island are out now. Fire Fall will be out in May.

phoenix blood, urban fantasy, kindle unlimited,

kindle unlimited, pnr, paranormal romance,

 

No Fooling! Great Books & Funny Stories

Happy April Fools’ Day!

Did your coffee taste salty this morning? No one’s played that trick on me yet, but I’m still on my toes. Swapping salt and sugar is a silly but safe trick. I like the fun of April Fools’ Day, but not when people cross the line into emotional tricks. Back in my uni days, a friend once told us all she was leaving, had to leave uni. There was angst and oh no’s, and then, “April Fools!” That seemed unkind to me, and the memory lingers. I like fun tricks for April Fools’ Day, not ones that leave a sting.

Have you ever been caught by a great trick? or even better, pulled one off?

A Fool For Love

You can be a fool for love this April Fools’ Day with so many great 99c romances to choose from on Amazon. A Fool For Love promo.

Kindle Unlimited Discoveries

kindle unlimited, fantasy,I have a new (to me) dark fantasy series to try out. Andy Peloquin has just released the third book in The Last Bucellari series and I think the first book, Blade of the Destroyer, is currently free to celebrate – you’d best check before you one-click. A faceless, nameless assassin. A forgotten past. The Hunter of Voramis–a killer devoid of morals, or something else altogether?

kindle unlimited, paranormal romance,I’ve been binging on T S Joyce’s romances. So many shifters! These books are about as sexy as I’m comfortable reading, but if you don’t mind blushing a bit, the stories are lovely and emotional. For all their magic, the heart of the stories couldn’t be truer to life.

.

Cover Reveal! Fire Fall is out in May

paranormal romance, kindle unlimited, new release,
The cover is by the amazing Lou Harper. She captures the feel of the book brilliantly. The Rocky Mountains in summer, the hint of wildfire, the danger and the intense emotion.

Funny Stories

And here’s where I draw a blank. I would LOVE to be able to write jokes, but my mind doesn’t seem to work that way. I can’t even write a funny limerick!

So… Why did the chicken cross the road?

To buy a book, of course! Book, book-book-book boo-oooook!!

(LOL b-book is my attempt at chicken speak 😉 )

P.S. Don’t forget that STORM ROAD releases next week!

I’ll send a newsletter, tweet and post on Facebook with the news of Storm Road’s release. I didn’t set up a pre-order for it this time, and the only downside to that is that I don’t want you to miss grabbing it at the special 99c release price in the first week or so.

paranormal romance, april 2017,