Tropes as Elements in Fantasy and #Scifi @MelissaSnark #IAN1

Elemental Storytelling uses Tropes

Elemental Storytelling uses Tropes

Tropes are literary themes that recur across a genre. Think of tropes as the ‘brilliant detective’ of murder mysteries or ‘the virginal heroine’ in Regency romances. Tropes are more than character descriptions, however. They can relate to plot as well.

Films are often identified by their tropes: chick flick, shoot ’em up, RomCon, or the well known Whodunnit.

Tropes are similar to archetypes and clichés, although not necessarily negative in aspect. Tropes can abbreviate writing — and reading.

In the 1990 Arnold Schwarzennegar film Total Recall, the futuristic world had so many futuristic elements that it was hard to recognize roles. In one scene, a woman sitting at a desk casually changes the color of her nails by applying it with a special wand, while she answers a phone. Instantly, her secretarial role became recognizable. The shorthand of her actions told us what we needed to know, without spending time doing it. If a character walks in the room and he’s wearing a white coat and has a stethoscope hanging around his neck, we expect him to be a doctor. The props themselves are part of the tropes for these kinds of characters. It can become a cliche, yes. Even become part of a character archetype. Evil laugh for the villain? Check. But tropes are not necessarily a bad thing. There are thousands of tropes.

Tropes in Trailing Kaiwulf

Tropes in Trailing Kaiwulf

Tropes in Trailing Kaiwulf

To see where these colored boxes come from and to understand their concept, click HERE to open the Periodic Table of Storytelling in a new window.

Ind – Adventurer Archaelogist (Dr. Viva Post)

An older woman, Dr. Viva Post was confined to a hoverchair after a cave in at a ruins injured her spine. She uses a silver “strength suit” to walk or climb limited distances.

Ag – Action Girl (Jee Tonopah)

Jee is the personification of an Action Girl. She can go toe-to-toe with her male counterparts without breaking a sweat. The day she has to be rescued will never dawn. Although she is tiny in comparison to her beefy partner, she is the undisputed brawn to his brain.

Gb – Genius Bruiser (Dane Raphyel)

The Genius Bruiser is a big guy who is also a geek. Dane is far from being Dumb Muscle. He understands the significance of the MacGuffin being sought, as well as some of the history of the Gates Technology (Applied Phlebotinum).

Cal – The Call (TRAIL mission)

Trailing Kaiwulf

Trailing Kaiwulf

The first step in a hero’s journey is the point where our heroes learn they must abandon their well-earned vacations, saved for over a period of years, and go on a dire quest to retrieve a MacGuffin. A Living MacGuffin in this case.

Ob – Obstructive Bureaucrat (Jeff Thompson / Lt. Cmdr. Morrison / unnamed executive)

There are multiple Obstructive Bureacrats for the price of one in this story. Their machinations generally meet dire ends, as befits the annoying natures of the characters.

Phl – Applied Phlebotinum (Gates Technology)

As the tropes site explains, this is science, magic, and strange things unknown to science or magic. In Trailing Kaiwulf, there are various advanced technologies that are unexplained because they seem commonplace to the characters using them (intersteller flight, strength suits, communication devices, etc.). However, the defining “phlebotinum” of this book is the Gates technology. The ruins of twin steel arches over 200 feet high have been found on several previously thought uninhabited worlds. Scientists have puzzled over their intended use. On the planet Ust, they find a dying race that still uses the technology — or would have, if the key to turning on the Gates hadn’t been stolen. Finding and retrieving the person who stole the key is the crux of the story.

Mcg – MacGuffin (Kaiwulf)

Kaiwulf is a “Living MacGuffin” whose presence in the story serves to drive the plot. He’s an invisible man who can enter another dimension, and the heroes of the story must find and return him to this dimension.

Here’s a link to the original post on Melissa’s site for last year’s event.

Learn More About Tropes

A popular site for fans is TV Tropes. It started out as a small wiki for TV watchers, and has grown into millions of fans in every media. During the month of July, Author Melissa Snark is featuring a number of authors on her Snarkology site who will discuss tropes in their stories. The series is based on the Periodic Table of Storytelling, which is linked to the TV Tropes site. For this event, Melissa’s site and the TV Tropes site will be linked. Be sure to visit both. You won’t want to miss.

Each author in the Tropes event will have the opportunity to show off the varied tropes within one tale. Here is a list of appearances. I’m up first, on July 7th with The Last Vhalgenn.

July 7             Kayelle Allen
July 8             Jax Daniels
July 9             Nicole Zoltack
July 10           Houston Havens
July 11           Melissa Snark
July 13           Caroline Warfield
July 14           Jude Knight
July 15           Emily Walker
July 16           Mari Christie
July 17           Jami Brumfield

Click to tweet this: Tropes as Elements in Fantasy and #Scifi @MelissaSnark http://ctt.ec/wb18d+ #IAN1 

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Oh Mercy: Rewriting a #Scifi Favorite #IAN1

At the Mercy of Her Pleasure

At the Mercy of Her Pleasure

I’m editing a previously released scifi romance in preparation for re-release. It’s mainstream scifi (but was erotica). Taking out the graphic content means the story itself shines for a whole new audience.

The story deserves an all new cover as well. It’s had two previous ones. The first one was by Laura Givens, and the second by Anne Cain. The Author’s Secret did this one. Since I own the business, I have to brag. Our custom covers come with a month of ad space on The Romance Studio, and a month of DMCA Take Down service from Book About.

Oh Mercy

This is the first book I ever wrote, and it’s in need of some shaping. I’ve written other books since, and this is in the same universe as they are. I’ve fine tuned details since this came out. This is not the absolute final version, but it’s not likely to change much. I’ve even rewritten the blurb to better fit the story.

I’ll be sharing info on how and why I edited various scenes as I recreate the book. This is the first in a series and contains the new blurb, as well as the first two pages.

At the Mercy of Her Pleasure

Here are the blurb, and the first three paragraphs of At the Mercy of Her Pleasure. I hope you enjoy it.

If he touches her, he’ll be at the mercy of her pleasure.

Professional thief Senth Antonello is hired to retrieve a stolen prototype for which the imperial armada has already killed twice. When Senth’s brother is kidnapped to ensure the device is surrendered, Senth must rescue his brother, outsmart the armada, and keep the item out of imperial hands. All doable, except for one small problem. Senth must accomplish it in the company of a genetically altered woman whose pheromones could enhance the mission or crumble it into dust with a single siren kiss.

Excerpt

Once in the shadows, Senth Antonello shoved back the hood of his sensor-blocking cloak and fanned his face. The Thieves’ Guild tech let him hide from copbot scans, but it didn’t cool him. Using his fangs, he loosened first one glove, then the other, and peeled them off. He tucked them into one of dozens of hidden pockets in the cloak.

The faint sound of gang chant carried in the chilled night air. Gangs in the Crooktown District hunted mixed breeds like him. At first glance, Senth appeared human, but with his catlike eyes and fangs, no one could miss his Kin nature. In moonlight, his eyes glowed.

The chant grew louder, along with the sound of glass breaking. The deeper darkness that followed meant two things: another streetlight had met its end, and that gang was closer than Senth had thought.

You come down here I skin you. Senth flattened himself against the brick wall. I skin you, the Grand Master skins me. Let’s do each other a favor, huh, boys?

Worse, the Grand Master would inform Senth’s Sen’dai. His guild master. The crime lord all the other crime lords feared. The Man. The Harbinger. Luc Saint-Cyr.

The Guild didn’t accept non-humans, unless they were enslaved to a human member. No one could rise past level ten, unless related to a human member. Marriages and adoptions happened, regularly. So, to keep the Guild happy, Saint-Cyr was Senth’s lord and master and his adoptive father.

No way Senth wanted the Man angry with him. The last time he’d almost…

Don’t even go there. Senth shook off the thought, drew his hood forward again, and edged around the corner into a darker alley. “Ffffftt!” The Kin cuss word hissed past his fangs. Where are you? Come on, you have to be close. Senth’s HalfKin senses caught the scent of his quarry.

Pressed against the wall, Senth slipped around one last corner, and hunkered down. He melted into the concealing darkness behind a barrel, and narrowed night-sensitive eyes.

His human half brother leaned against the opposite wall of the trash-strewn alley. Khyffen Antonello’s blond hair shone in the muted light. A female pinned him, arms around his neck. She tore open Khyff’s shirt and ran her hands over his chest.

Senth folded himself into the tight space behind the barrel and settled in to wait. Protection of his brother went before any assignment, at least tonight. Family came first.

Senth’s mother had died after birthing him. Khyff, who’d been three, had been sold into slavery. Neither of them knew the other lived until a month ago. Neither had a clue about their biological fathers. Until Khyff had found him, Senth’s only “family” had consisted of the Man.

Pulling out Saint-Cyr’s note, Senth read it once more. Get your half brother and meet me at The Ghost. I have a job for you. Do it, and I’ll buy Khyffen and free him, but it’s going to cost you.

Of course it would. Senth slipped his gloves back on. The Man didn’t do anything for free. But if it got Khyff out of that hellhole, Senth would do it. Leaning out from behind the barrel, he spied Khyff.

For Women Only

For Women Only

His brother had clenched his fists, eyes squeezed shut, face lifted to the night sky, mouth open in a silent scream.

Senth’s master had raised him to believe that no one should have to sell himself to survive. Saint-Cyr owned one slave only, and that was Senth, and only so he could rise within the Guild. They might not agree on how but they did agree on what.

Khyff needed his freedom.

At the Mercy of Her Pleasure will be out by the end of July, along with its sequel, For Women Only (Khyff’s story). To get one email when one of my books is released, sign up on Author Alarms. You can also subscribe to the newletter and follow the blog. Both options are listed on the left.

 

Luc and Rah Go Dancing #scifi #mm

This is a Luc and Rah story, with Luc and Izzorah from Surrender Love, Forbid My Heart, and the upcoming Surrender Trust. (926 words)

Characters
Izzorah Ceeow is a Kin (feline humanoid) with claws beneath human-looking nails, catlike ears and eyes, and the ability to smell emotion.
Luc Saint-Cyr is an immortal who passes for human. He’s tall, dark-skinned, with solid black eyes and black curly hair. He’s the wealthiest man in the Tarthian Empire.

Luc and Rah Go Dancing

Luc Convincing Rah

Luc dancing with Rah

“I want to do something fun this evening.”

At Luc’s voice, Izzorah put down the tablet and paused the vid he’d been watching. “Like what?” He sat back on the bed and angled his ears toward Luc.

“We’ve never gone dancing.”

“Dancing?” Izzorah laid back his ears. “I thought you said you wanted to do something fun.”

“Dancing is fun.”

“Watching a vid, but thanks.” He picked up the tablet.

“Don’t tell me you’d rather watch vids than dance with me.”

“Okay, I won’t tell you.” Izzorah flicked one ear in Luc’s direction.

Folding his arms, Luc gave him a long look. “You don’t know how to dance. That’s the problem. Well, that’s an easy fix. I’ll teach you.”

“No, thanks. I don’t want to learn.”

The bed dipped as Luc sat beside him. “Because it’s human.”

“You never ask questions, you know that?”

“Most of the time, I already know the answer.” Luc leaned on one elbow, placing himself in front of Izzorah. “No need to ask when you know. And apparently, I was right. You think dancing is a human endeavor and you’re afraid you can’t learn.”

“I’m not afraid of anything.”

“You’re afraid of this.”

Izzorah started to answer, met Luc’s knowing gaze, and stopped himself. “I don’t like being made fun of.”

“You don’t think I’d make fun of you.”

“No, but…”

“So you think if you went out in public with me, people would make fun of you if we danced together.”

“Maybe.”

“Izzorah, if anyone dared pick on you they would face my wrath. It wouldn’t end well for them. But that’s beside the point. I think you’re embarrassed that you don’t know.”

After turning off the tablet, Izzorah set it down on a nearby table. “If I let you teach me will you let this go?”

“You think you won’t enjoy it.”

“Luc, I enjoy everything with you.”

“Then why argue with me?”

“It got you to ask me a question, didn’t it?”

With a smile, Luc leaned in closer and kissed him. “Let’s go start the music.” He held out a hand. “Come with me.” Luc led him to an open area of their suite’s living room. “Music. Play my favorite dance songs, track one.”

The computer system responded with a tone, and fast music kicked in.

“Watch me.” Luc faced Izzorah. “Do what I do.” Luc moved his feet to the rhythm, and Izzorah copied him. “Good! You’re a natural.” Luc kept up the motion, moving his hips. “Good. Keep going.”

The song changed tempo, and slowed.

Luc slid an arm around Izzorah’s waist, took one of his hands, and drew him close. Their bodies fit all along their length. Luc spread a hand across Izzorah’s lower back, pressing Izzorah up against him. He moved them forward a step, sideways a step, and then back, repeating the motion. The man’s heat radiated into Izzorah’s body, lulling him with calm.

“You like dancing.” Luc kissed Izzorah’s brow.

“With you.” Izzorah rested his head on Luc’s shoulder. “I was wrong. Dancing is fun.”

“It’s not so much that you were wrong but that I was right.”

Izzorah chuckled. “I’ll give you that one.”

“You like dancing with me.”

“Oh yes, Luc.”

“Good.” He turned them, and danced in another direction. “You feel wonderful in my arms.”

Izzorah lifted his head, and met Luc’s gaze. “I do?”

“Yes. You’re warm, masculine, strong. I love holding you.” Luc turned them in a circle. “Feeling your body against mine.”

“Why did I argue with you?”

“Because you like being chased.”

“No, I like being caught.” He swayed in Luc’s arms, holding his gaze. The heat in Luc’s smile drove a sweet yearning through Izzorah. “I’d rather be kissing you.”

“If I start kissing you we might not dance at all.”

Izzorah stood on tiptoe and wrapped his arms around Luc’s neck. “You’d rather dance than kiss me?”

“I’d rather kiss you than do anything.”

“Then why are we dancing? Why can’t we make love?”

Luc released him, and stepped back. “It’s not that we can’t. But we stay in every night, and I–” Luc slipped both hands in his pockets. The scent rising from Luc evoked a sense of hunger. “I need to be with people, Rah. I crave crowds. Not much, mind you, and not for long, but enough to appreciate the quiet again. We’re on a party planet and we haven’t set one foot outside our suite.”

“You need this?”

“I do.” Luc held his head erect, and lowered his hands to his sides.

“If it’s what you need, then I’ll give it to you.” Izzorah padded over to the closet and pulled out a pair of boots, sat down, and began putting them on. “Get ready.”

Luc gestured to his usual white shirt and dark pants. He rarely went barefoot and never dressed sloppy. “I am ready.”

“Oh. Okay.” Izzorah grabbed personal things for pockets. “Do we need to let our guards know we’re going out?”

“The moment we open the door they’ll be on the alert.” Luc gestured toward the door. “All we have to do is go.”

“Let’s go, then.” Izzorah headed for the door, but Luc caught Izzorah’s hand and pulled him back to himself. “What?”

“I’ll make this up to you. I know you prefer the quiet.”

Izzorah held the dark gaze of the man he loved, saying nothing. He let the silence build for a moment, and then rose on tiptoe and gave him a peck on the lips. “You better. I expect major kisses when we get back. And then some.”

Luc nuzzled against Izzorah’s cheek. “You’ll get it.” Luc’s breath warmed Izzorah’s ear. “I promise. I’ll give you anything you want.”

“Good. Then don’t plan on sleeping, because you’ll be busy all night.” He turned and tugged Luc after him. “Let’s go dancing.”

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Scifi Short Read: Human Perfect #giveaway 5/28 #scifi

Human Perfect by Kayelle Allen

Human Perfect by Kayelle Allen

In this science fiction short story, for as long as she can remember, Christa has hated androids. The texture of plastiflesh skin and the non-smell of the animate machines jars her senses. Don’t even get her started on robots, or worse — the andys that look human. Her job as a corporate spy for the android maker Innersoul puts her in touch with the creatures every day, but also lets her judge them. When she runs into Humancopy Progress Rep Tom Karellys, she can’t believe her luck. Using a cover identity, Christa shares dinner with him, and the two discuss andys. It soon becomes apparent Tom is not what he seems, and Christa must decide whether he’s a trustworthy human, or merely… Human Perfect.

On May 28th, the Romance Studio will offer Human Perfect as part of their Book A Day giveaway program. Signing up on the Romance Studio let’s you try for other books by more authors as well. Here’s where to sign up for the giveaway. http://theromancestudio.info/book-a-day-giveaway/

Afraid you won’t be picked? No worries. The book will soon be free for a limited time on Amazon. Sign up for my newsletter (link below or on the right) and you’ll get a heads up as soon as it does. Either way, you can’t lose.

Excerpt Human Perfect

Terran Crescent, Earth
Lunar Spaceport Earthside Shuttle Concourse D

Christa kicked her leather-bound suitcase. “I hate waiting in lines.”

“So do I.” The blond young man across from her in the other security check line looked her way. His eyes glowed with the same soft blue as Earth’s northern sky before the sun rose too high. “Huge waste of time.”

“I’ll say. And then if you’re traveling back here from outside the Crescent…? Ugh! They treat you like you’re diseased, or some horrible spy or terrorist.”

“Try going to Ylyptya after being on Earth.” He inched ahead, his robotic suitcase keeping pace beside him. “It takes two hours of waiting in medical quarantine while they process you. God forbid you should bring in a germ.” He held up his hands. “Oh, sorry. I hope I didn’t put you off if that’s where you’re headed.”

“No, New Earth for business.” Christa dragged her manual bag forward. “Are you vacationing?”

“On Ylyptya? Hardly.” His smile showed a flash of perfect teeth. “No. It’s home. I was on Earth for business.”

“What do you do?”

“Tom Karellys.” He offered her his hand. “Progress Rep for Humancopy. Ever heard of us?”

“No.” Christa released his hand at once, and rubbed hers against her jacket. Who hadn’t heard of them? Makers of the galaxy’s most ‘Human Perfect’ androids. Too perfect, some said. You couldn’t tell their plastiflesh from real flesh. Still, a rep for Humancopy… if she could get him talking… “What does Humancopy do?”

“We make andys.” Tom draped his coat over his suitcase. “Androids. The Human Perfect type. And you?”

The line moved another two steps and ground to a halt. “I’m a travel agent. Name’s Christa.”

“Nice to meet you.”

“So, Tom, what does a Progress Rep do?”

“I gauge how well the competition’s andys are keeping up with ours.” The line nudged forward a few steps. “My flight doesn’t leave for hours. What about yours?”

“Same.” With one foot, she nudged her bag to catch up with the line. She turned her shoulder to him and powered up the book she’d been reading, waiting to see if he’d pursue the conversation.

“I think they opened another lane.” Tom stood on his toes to peer at the line of people ahead of him. “If we get through this checkpoint sometime this year, would you like to have dinner?” A brilliant flash of smile melted any resistance. “It’d be nice not to wait alone.”

She put away her book. “Why not?”

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Moxie, Minions, Steampunk, Cthulu, and @OutlantaCon 2015 #SciFi

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What is OutlantaCon 2015?

OutlantaCon 2015 is a scifi convention for the gay geek, and contains panels, workshops, gaming, tournaments, and media guests. OutlantaCon began back in 2009. It’s a chance for LGBT geeks and their allies to get away and hang out and talk about the fandoms they love, in an environment where people are free to be who they really are. This is my favorite convention of the year. When it ends, I’m sad to leave. The people here are my friends, and I love seeing them again and making new friends.

She’s Got Moxie

Moxie Magnus is the Chief Cosmetologist on board the starship Enterprise, and always shows up in a classy Starfleet uniform. I nabbed two pictures this time of her in more casual gear, and as the Princess from another fandom. I love this queen and she is one of the people I look forward to seeing at OutlantaCon each year.

OutlantaCon 2015 Media Guest – David Yost

I shook hands with David Yost, who played the Blue Power Ranger in the original series, and thanked him for the positive influence he’d had on my three kids when they were growing up. He said to tell my kids thank you for watching. I said I would, and added that they were all grown up now and had kids of their own. As I walked away, I thought “Oh geez… I probably just made him feel really old.” Wasn’t my intention! He is a funny guy and a polite one as well. It was a privilege to meet him.

Panels Galore

Some of the panels I attended at OutlantaCon were DC Comics on TV (Darren Nowell and Vandy Beth Glenn), Dr Who / Torchwood (Ally Blue, TC Blue, Java Green, and Davey Beauchamp), Does Blogging make me an Author? (Kage Alan), The Whedonverse (Shae Connor), Writing as the Voice of the Opposite Sex (Ally Blue), Outland – an intro to the Australian LGBT comedy (Keith Castelan and Aimee McCarron from NerdFun).

I presented on three panels: Building an Audience Online (with Shae Connor), How to Handle Guests on Your Blog (with Kage Alan), and alone for Giveaways that Save Authors Money. The last one gave details on how to create several things that could be used for giveaways even if you are not a crafting-type person (no fingers were hot glued during the presentation — all work was done on the computer!). For a sample, click THIS LINK. This one is quite elaborate, but it’s for my new book and I spent a lot of time on it. I use these as giveaways for everyone when I do blog tours, and people seem to love them.

OutlantaCon 2015 Minions!

There were parties on Saturday night competing for a cool prize — their hotel room being paid for next year. At the first one, they served Twinkies (you know – the yellow ones you buy in box labeled Hostess?) made to look like Minions. I bit one’s head off and felt terribly guilty for all of 2 seconds. It was delicious. Had a bottle of great beer to wash it down. That party was to celebrate the birthday of con attendee Gerald Blackwell, who happens to edit for my company, The Author’s Secret. At the Princess Party there was pink champagne punch and lots of bows and pretty pink; the Underoos Party had well… gorgeous Underoo-clad gentleman. Jose Q hugged me — it was interesting explaining to my husband why I hugged a guy in his underwear. LOL But I see him every year and it was his party, so it’s all good. Then I went to Kiernan Kelly’s party for the new anthology release. Her husband Bud served as bartender (appropriate, no?) and poured up a shot that tasted like powdered donuts. It was delish! I slept like a freaking rock after all those parties. In fact, I fell over and crashed and totally missed Sock Puppet Theater (Rats!). This is where authors use sock puppets to act out parts of a story while reading a scene from his or her book. I’ve been wanting to go, and every year I promise myself I will. It starts at midnight, and I’m such an early riser that I usually can’t stay awake long enough. This year, I stayed in the hotel and thought for sure I would make it. *sigh* Next year!

The other minions I want to mention are the fabulous moderators who took care of guests and attendees. PR Chairman Lee Cox-Querry organized a crew of people to ensure everyone had facilities and logons, who made sure we got notices of how much time we had left, and that any issues in the rooms were dealt with. They brought us water, made sure the lights were on or off, and that generally — everything went smoothly. I’d love for you to know who they all are. Please visit the Outlantacon Facebook page to see. If I name names, I will forget someone, and I don’t want to do that. They were all kind and helpful. I hope each of them does it again next year.

Dealers, Steampunk, Cthulu, and Costumes

The dealer room was fantastic. I bought a key piece of jewelry to use as a special giveaway for an upcoming book, and a steampunk gun. I hope to work with the gun’s creator to design and build a weapon for the Praetorian Guard from my books. More about that later. Cthulu arrived as a soft, fuzzy, green familiar in the arms of Ally Blue. She let me hold him, and I found him affectionate and sweet. I stayed away from his tentacles, though! I didn’t get pictures of the costumes (except for the Moxie ones and one other), but this year they were amazing. There was an OutlantaCon 2015 Costume Contest and the winner dressed like Steampunk Belle from Beauty and the Beast. There was a rainbow angel, and so many more. Please visit the Outlantacon Facebook page and see pictures other guests took. I was impressed!

Fans and Friends

One of the best parts of any convention is seeing friends and meeting fans. OutlantaCon is small enough to spend quality one-on-one time with people. On Sunday, I sat with two guys who shared with me how to use Tumblr, and I told them about Pinterest. I got to show them my Luc and Rah board with pics of the heroes from Surrender Love and the places they will be going on their honeymoon (Surrender Trust). I had a chance to hang out with Angela and give her a huge poster I had made of the galaxy. I explained how the worlds came to be and why there is such a diversity of names. I explained about having a story for every one of the empires listed. She sat there for a moment and then said, “This is going to be an epic story.” Made my whole day to hear that. Nothing is better than being able to share a story with someone and see the lights come on as they get what you’re trying to do. Want to see a ginormous image of the map? Click here. It’s high resolution, so I wouldn’t suggest trying to view it on a small mobile device. You can find other large images on my Wallpaper page.

I want to offer a special shout out to several people. Lee Martindale for her excellent advice. Lee is a special person in my life and I appreciate her. Kage Alan, Kiernan Kelly, Ally Blue, TC Blue (no relation to Ally), Java Green, Shae Connor, Moxie Magnus, and Keith Bailey. It was great seeing you again. I want to thank the staff of OutlantaCon as well, Edward deGruy, Lee Cox-Querry, and so many more!

Outlantacon 2015 was the best ever. I’ve been going every year since it began, and last year, they presented me (along with Kiernan Kelly who originally told me about it) with an honorary lifetime membership. I love going, and plan to be there every year. I hope you’ll come to OutlantaCon next year, May 13-15, 2016.

How Writers Make the Most of Triberr #blog #RT

Figure Out Triberr

Imagine every time you created a new blog post, 10 friends would each share a link on social media leading to it. Consistently. Without being nagged. Would that make a difference in getting new views on your blog? You know it would! What if I told you that you could have 100 friends who did that? Triberr links you to friends (they’re called tribemates on Triberr) who will do that for you.

Books have been written about Triberr. Google it and you’ll get plenty of hits, but what is it and what does it do? Triberr is spelled with one B and two Rs (not Tribber) and it’s a way for bloggers to share their blog posts with likeminded bloggers, who then approve the posts to go out over Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, StumbleUpon, and Pinterest, all from one place.

Is Triberr Only for Writers?

No. If you have a blog and you are on social media, you can use Triberr. Many businesses are on Triberr, and so are book reviewers, mommybloggers, product reviewers, activists of all kinds, craft-oriented people, hobbyists… in fact, anyone who simply loves to share.

What Triberr is Not

Triberr is not social media. You don’t have to click like buttons, vote, or chat (although you can easily comment). You are on Triberr to gain readers with whom you can engage. You won’t have to find friends or create chains of followers. After you join the site and set up your blog and links, all you have to do is look for a tribe of bloggers who post material similar to yours, and begin sharing their posts while they share yours.

How Long Does Triberr Take?

After the initial set up and preparing of your profile and tribe, this program is the fastest thing online. You log on, share the posts you think your readers will like, and close the window. This takes about 5 minutes a day. You will find new bloggers whose work you like, and reading their posts may take more time, but the approval process within the system is fast and easy. This is not social media, where you have to spend long periods of time. It’s quick. In and out.

Yeah, But Does Triberr work?

It cranked my blog viewers from fifty a month to a thousand times that within a few months. It has remained consistently high. On my book blog Romance Lives Forever, the reach is now two million. If you want a way to get new eyes on your site, Triberr works.

How Do You Use Triberr?

You set up your WordPress blog with a Triberr plugin, or your Blogspot blog with an RSS feed. Follow the instructions on Triberr when you sign up. Once you’re a member, you join a tribe of fellow bloggers, adjust your blog settings to feed into the tribe(s) and begin blogging. I set my shares to release every 20 minutes, but you can make it be manual, once an hour, and many other settings.

Each day, your blog post comes into the Triberr stream, where your tribemates can share it. It then goes out to the social media they use, most often Twitter. Your blog post’s title becomes the text of the tweet, and a shortened URL is added. Your Twitter handle is added at the end of the tweet. They look like these samples from my blog:

Triberr Tweet Samples

Triberr Tweet Samples

All of that is done automatically when your tribemate clicks “share” or hovers over the approve button. One blog post can get you dozens (and upwards of hundreds plus) mentions a day, depending on your tribes.

How to Test Triberr

Be sure you have analytics installed (such as Google Analytics, or Statcounter). Check your stats for a week. Ideally, you have been watching your stats for some time. After you install the Triberr plug in (WordPress) or set up the RSS feed (Blogspot), watch the stats and see the difference.

What Tribes Do I Join?

The tribes you join should have members who write material similar to your own. You don’t want to join an erotic romance tribe if you write kidlit. For best results, follow the others in your tribe on Twitter and/or Facebook, wherever you’re going to be sharing posts. You can create one of your own, and join many more. I’m a member of 35. Since not everyone posts every day, it’s easy to keep up. On a free account, you can approve up to 100 messages per day. To join my Books and Book Reviews Tribe, click the image below.

Books and Book Reviews Tribe

Books and Book Reviews Tribe

What Does Triberr Cost?

Many people use the free version, which allows 30 people per tribe, and two tribes of your own. Prime Lite is $10 per month. It allows you to create up to 7 tribes, with 50 members per tribe, and to connect 4 blogs and 7 social media accounts. There’s a price break ($8.50) if you buy a year’s worth at a time. The top is $35 per month which allows significantly more connections, tribemates, and tribes. Some people use it for years without upgrading past the free version.

Tips for Using Triberr Effectively

Hashtag formatting tips

  • Because your blog titles become tweets once they are imported into Triberr, use hashtags sparingly and target them. Use more real words than hashtags.
  • You can edit your title in Triberr and add hashtags there if you don’t want to use them on your blog.
  • Don’t use punctuation in a hashtag. Once you add punctuation, the hashtag breaks (#scifi works but #sci-fi becomes #sci). Adding an exclamation point, question mark, or other punctuation at the end of a hashtag is ineffective. It’s lost because it becomes normal colored text against the colored text of the hashtag. #SciFi! (see?)
  • Make hashtag memes unique. One that goes around on a regular basis is the #AtoZchallenge. This gets people to write a post every day for 26 days, using the letters of the alphabet. That’s fine — as long as you make the post titles interesting. Please don’t bore people with grade school language (A is for Apple, B is for Baby, C is for Candy). This is not a chance to blog every day. It’s supposed to draw readers to your site. Show them how unique and special you are. Try post titles like these: The Wells of Hell by Graham Masterton #AtoZchallenge #bookreview; Unbridled Passion is her Undoing #AtoZchallenge; Reward Yourself for Productivity #AtoZchallenge.

Other Basics for Titles

  • Don’t write post titles in ALL CAPS. It’s SHOUTING. Which is RUDE.
  • Watch out for “I” messages. Remember that your post will go out over the tweet stream of your tribemates, who may not be excited about posting things that begin with or contain the words “I” or “me”. (I Review Book Title XYZ; I Will Never Do This Again; Watch Me Do an Amazing Trick, Why I Hate SomeSillyThing) Those are your declarations — not your tribemates’. Use neutral language to gain more retweets, or edit your post once it’s on Triberr.
  • Don’t use a meme as your sole title. Add details. “Thursday Throwback” tweeted for 20 tribemates makes it look like you’re spamming everyone. But “Thursday Throwback: The Ins and Outs of 80’s Music” has appeal and is likely to be shared.
  • Avoid ampersands (the & symbol). These break in Twitter, become multiple characters in code form, and will make your tweet less readable. Curly quotes can do the same thing. Check your apostrophes too.
  • Make your titles short, but not too short. How short is too short? Four words is about right for a minimum. Many people refuse to share fewer words because a host of these in your stream can look like spam.
  • How long is too long? Remember that your URL will be counted in the character length in Twitter, but it will be shortened in Triberr. If your current post URL and title together is about 120 characters, it will be a good length to gain retweets on Twitter. Longer than 140 characters means the last part of your post will be cut off and not shared. If that’s the URL, no one will be able to visit your site.
  • Beginning a post with “Day 30 of” anything is going to look as ho-hum as it looked on Days 2-29. Don’t fall into this trap. Be original. Why would anyone care that you do the same thing every day? They don’t. What they care about is anything you do that you make sound interesting. Grab readers with new information and make them curious. Be a good writer. Pull readers in with an exciting title, not one that announces you did the same thing again today.
  • For those who post updates on #NaNoWriMo and other such challenges — please see the above bullet point. You are a writer, so use those writing skills and excite people by sharing info about the awesome book you’re writing, not its statistics. Tell us the challenge you overcame in completing the 2147 words you wrote today, and how it made you feel. Don’t post an article that ony tells us you wrote them.
  • Share the posts of your tribemates. If you don’t share, don’t expect to be shared.
  • You don’t have to share everything. If you write erotic romance, no one expects you to share hashtags with #KidLit or #YA. Vice versa. You can avoid this by checking out tribes ahead of time to see what their members share.
  • Do read the posts of your tribemates and leave comments. You will be surprised how interesting they are, and what good writers you are following.
  • Comment in your tribe’s discussion page, and let tribemates know if you’ll be away for a vacation, and that you’ll share again once you get back. It’s not social media, but it doesn’t mean you can’t be social.

Summarizing Triberr

Triberr is a blogging tool that helps you amplify your reach. It connects you with readers you would not likely reach alone. It provides you with a network of likeminded bloggers who can help you reach your readers. And it’s one of the quickest, easiest sites out there. It’s effective, and it can be fun.

That’s it. Those are the basics for using Triberr. If you have tricks and tips of your own, please share them in the comments. If you have questions about Triberr, feel free to ask. I’ll do my best to answer, or send you to someone who knows.

Go to Triberr now: http://triberr.com (you can register here, and use Twitter to sign in)
Find Kayelle Allen on Triberr: http://triberr.com/kayelleallen
Follow or join the Books and Book Reviewers Tribe http://triberr.com/pages/tribe-overview.php?tid=38868

Come to @OutlantaCon May 8-10

Outlantacon icon

OutlantaCon in Atlanta GA

OutlantaCon

Outlantacon is an Atlanta-based event for the Queer Geek audience! Everyone is welcome, and even straight folks like me find a home there. You’ll find all the usual convention fare here–discussion panels, gaming, costuming, special events, etc. The difference is that it all has a queer ‘bent’ to it. Here you can enjoy all the convention trappings in an atmosphere where you’re free to be yourself! OutlantaCon also offers some pretty unique twists as well, like their own versions of the Match Game (a staple since 2007), Project Cosplay (2010), Nea’s Drag Race (2011), and the wildly popular Sock Puppet Theatre Presents.

Kayelle Allen and Moxie Magnus

Kayelle Allen and Moxie Magnus

OutlantaCon is my favorite con. It’s laid back, friendly, big enough to have plenty to do, but small enough to get a chance to speak to nearly everyone. The performers and other guests can mingle and get know each other as well as meet and talk to the fans. This con is unique. Where else can you pal around with the eight foot Queen of Outer Space, Moxie Magnus? You’d love her handbags!

And there are plenty of authors to hang out with too, including my friend Kiernan Kelly, who first told me about this convention. She and I have been there since the first year. In 2014, we were both awarded with lifetime honorary memberships for supporting them since the beginning. This year there is a full writers’ track, and a host of new authors.

The Con Suite, wherein all manner of snacks are served, has things like a Chocolate Party, and hosts book release parties. This spot is as much fun as the con itself, and is a nice place to get away, sit back, and chat — or run in, grab a bite to eat, and dash out the door to the next event. The hotel has a restaurant and bar, and is located near plenty of places to eat.

OutlantaCon Guest List

Here’s the list with a short blurb about each person.

  • Ally Blue is acknowledged by the world at large (or at least by her heroes, who tend to suffer a lot) as the Popess of Gay Angst
  • Brent D Seth has authored his first novel, a science fiction comedy Short Fuse, now available through Leo Publishing
  • Darren Nowell is the amazing host of the Match Game at OutlantaCon, and cohosts the Legion of Substitute Podcasters
  • David Yost is an American actor most notably known for his role as Billy, the Blue Ranger on the international television series The Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers, and is involved with several charitable organizations such as the AIDS Project LAProject Angel Food, and The Trevor Project
  • Don Teems has appeared in over 50 TV and movie projects, including The Vampire Diaries, The Originals, and more
  • Eden Winters has published a dozen novels, many of which have won Rainbow Awards or have gained finalist status in the Lambda Literary Awards
  • Ellie Collins is an actor (The Originals) as well as the author of an urban fantasy fiction series
  • James Crawford writes the Young Adult book series Leech
  • Java is best known for his long running stint as Dr. Frank N Furter with Atlanta’s own Rocky Horror Picture Show, Lips Down On Dixie
  • Kage Alan is the author of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to My Sexual Orientation, Andy Stevenson Vs. the Lord of the Loins, Gaylias: Operation Thunderspell, and other books (can you tell he writes humor?)
  • Kayelle Allen authors books about contemporary every day folk, role-playing immortal gamers, futuristic covert agents, and warriors who purr
  • Keith Bailey is an award winning photographer, makeup artist and film maker
  • Kiernan Kelly is the author of 13 books and over 80 short stories varying from paranormal to science fiction fantasy and contemporary romance
  • Lee Martindale has authored short stories which have appeared in numerous anthologies and magazines, including the Snows of Darkover anthology
  • Moxie Magnus is the eight foot tall queen of outer space, and serves as chief cosmetologist on the USS Enterprise. She performs throughout the US with her comedic styling and mad ukulele skills
  • Neon loves to entertain whether it be on the mic as an emcee or on the DJ decks spinning dance music that will get your blood pumping
  • Sarah Avraham resides in Atlanta where she operates her law practice that primarily serves alternative lifestyles
  • Shae Connor lives in Atlanta, where she’s a lackadaisical government worker for a living and writes sweet-hot romance under the cover of night
  • Vicktor “Vic” Alexander wrote his first story at the age of ten and hasn’t stopped writing since.

OutlantaCon 2015

Kayelle's Wall showing OutlantaCon guest badges

Kayelle’s Wall (click to see more)

This year, I decided to stay at the hotel (I’m a local) so I can take part in later events. If you’re coming to the convention, please look me up! You can follow the con on social media. There’s daily activity on Facebook and Twitter. The hotel is listed below. This isn’t the only con I attend, but it is the one I love most (eat your heart out, DragonCon).

The picture at the left shows some of the badges I’ve collected, and other goodies. Click to see a larger picture and more about what’s there.

Sign up for my newsletter on the right and you’ll get info and freebies when I release a new book. My latest is the Tarthian Empire Companion, a non-fiction guidebook about writing Science Fiction and creating a series bible.

Have you ever attended a scifi convention? How about one that’s geared toward the gay geek? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Social Media for Outlantacon

Website http://www.outlantacon.org/
Twitter https://twitter.com/outlantacon
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/outlantacon?ref=br_tf
Location 2015 Marriott Century Center Atlanta http://www.outlantacon.org/#!location/cp0k
Guests http://www.outlantacon.org/#!guests/c8li

A #gem of a #scifi book

A gem — and charming too

Companion Dustplugs for Cellphones

Companion Dustplugs for Cellphones

I got a sweet review: “This gem of a scifi book offers tips for scifi writers, and secrets for fans of Kayelle Allen’s Tarthian Empire series.”

This is more true than you’d think. I’ve partnered with EssenTiles on Etsy to create beautiful gem-like charms of the cover, and my friend Paige created handmade glass beads (also a gem) that match the planets on the cover. She put beads and charms together to create a unique dustplug you can use with your cellphone.

Companion dustplugs in use

Companion dustplugs in use

How do they work? (in the phone image, it’s shown at the bottom. Your phone will have this jack at the top.) Insert the plastic plug into your cellphone’s audio jack and it keeps the dust out. It also makes a pretty gem dangle of bright color. I’ll give away one of these to the first five (US address only, please) who ask. You don’t have to leave personal info here. You can email me your contact info at author@kayelleallen.com and I’ll get back with you. I’ll be giving away the rest at OutlantaCon in Atlanta GA (May 8-10). If you’re coming, please look me up!

Paige created the beads by melting the glass and adding “frit” — fused or partially fused materials used in making glass — to create the markings on the “planets”. This ensures each bead is unique. The charms are quality glass with the image embedded inside.

fused or partially fused materials used in making glassRead more: http://www.answers.com/

I loved creating this unique gem as a giveaway, and hope you’ll enjoy using it!

Places featuring the Tarthian Empire Companion

The Single Librarian
I Heart Reading
Cassidy Crimson’s Blog
Indy Book Fairy
I’m an Eclectic Reader
Editor Charlene’s Blog
100 Pages A Day
Bedazzled Reading
Hollow Readers
Nat’s Book Nook
Bookish Madness
KickAss Blogger Chicks
DJs Book Corner
Masquerade Crew
Elodie Parkes
A Romance Writer’s Blog

About the Tarthian Empire Companion

For the science fiction writer, this volume teaches you how to build believable worlds, track details of your story, organize your writing, and lay out your story bible. Novice or experienced, you will pick up tricks and tips here. This EPIC eBook Award winning writer shares organizational tips, links to marketing sites, groups supporting writers, science fiction groups, and more. Material from the author’s 90+ page website is included.
For the science fiction fan, the Companion reveals the worldbuilding magic that makes Kayelle Allen’s Tarthian Empire tick. She shares every character in every book, 10k years of future history, offers inside peeks at scenes and stories, lays out a quick tour of the Empire, and dishes up a surfeit of secrets, all in one illustrated volume. Original art by Jamin Allen and Kayelle Allen.

Purchase

Amazon http://bit.ly/companion-az
Smashwords http://bit.ly/companion-sm
Find this book on Goodreads http://bit.ly/1DtIrOR
Coming soon in print

Remember #reading the first book in a #series? #IAN1

Remember reading a series?

When you picked up the first book, it held such promise. There would be more to learn, more to see, more worlds for you to explore. When you finished it, you had a kind of “book hangover.” You were still so tied up in that book’s world that you weren’t sure you could handle another one. But the promise of seeing what happened to your new favorite characters was too strong. You succumbed and started reading the next book. And just like that — you were lost in the characters’ world again.

I am a series addict

I am a series addict

You can recapture the world you read about in Surrender Love, and Wulf. The Empire you explored in Alitus, Jawk, At the Mercy of Her Pleasure, and For Women Only is waiting to be found in the new Tarthian Empire Companion, an illustrated World-Building Bible and Guide to Writing a Science Fiction Series.

If you loved the universe in which those original stories were set, then you’ll be glad to know the Tarthian Empire is alive and well. This new book features all the characters, places, and things that made the other stories unique.

Before writing the first book in my Tarthian Empire science fiction romance series, I wrote 10,000 years of future history. The Tarthian Empire Companion features that history, plus Earth and its colonization of the galaxy. The companion focuses on the big picture. What events drove the wars? Who won them? What made the peace so short, and the centuries of fighting so dire? Did the immortal Sempervians evolve or were they created? What do they want from mankind? What characters, places, and incidents shape the Tarthian Empire today?

Tarthian Empire Companion - create believable aliens

Tarthian Empire Companion – create believable aliens

The Tarthian Empire Companion contains a full list of every character in every book, and peeks at books to come. This is the book I use to keep all the details straight. It’s written for readers as well as writers. If you write Scifi Romance and want to know how to keep a huge story world organized, this book is for you. I share all my details in this illustrated volume. If you love reading SF and loved my books, you’ll be able to look up details, go through the character lists, and learn inside secrets about the people and places. Always wondered what Peril, the game of the immortals, was all about? It’s in there.

The companion book is illustrated with original art and a few stock photos. My son, Jamin Allen, helped me create many of the images in this book. He’s a digital artist and began assisting me when he was in college at the Art Institute of Atlanta. In fact, he taught me how to use Photoshop. The work I’m able to do today is because of him.

Slang

I’m not a fan of changing basic terms for the sake of making them sound alien. For example, we “inch” along, not “millimeter” along, so I apply the same principle in my books. Diamonds are diamonds. Water is water.

Language, however, is malleable. Considering how far in the future my own stories are, there would be few (if any) words in English that we’d recognize. Being the practical sort, I kept many current terms.

What better way to describe rock music than to call it rock? Why call a flashlight a “mobile light source” or some other phrase for the sake of sounding different? It comes across silly and pretentious instead.

People shorthand words and phrases to things like OMG, LOL, BFF, deets, and probably one of the most famous shortcuts of all — the abbreviation for “more of the same” — “etc.” I prefer to use natural, understandable language whenever possible.

If you create a language, write down the words you use and keep a definition handy. This will keep you from later misspelling or contradicting yourself. You should also create a phonogram chart (list of sounds). This will help you create a richer language.

What terms do your characters use for slang? Define these and list them so you have a ready reference for future books. List how and why the words became slang. This not only helps you maintain consistency in creation, it also helps you with creating future slang you might need.

Here is a list of Kelthian Street Slang. It’s used in limited places, and there is far more listed here than I used in my actual books. However, I wanted a big list from which to choose a term.

Kelthian Street Slang

Cobber is Kelthian street cant (characteristic language) used on Kelthia by slaves and gangs. The slang was used by Senth and Khyff in the books At the Mercy of Her Pleasure, and For Women Only. The characters Trink and Yvan (who own Batchelors) sometimes use it too.

Boastin'; mess with, put on a front, tease, etc.
Clinkers; great, fine, no worries
Going all Kin; becoming feral, unruly, wild
Hawkin'; watching from the sidelines
Junk me; pay no attention to me
Leave me sly; forgive me, let me off
Lipped; said, explained, told
No new coins; same stuff different day, nothing new
Notta boasted you clean; shouldn’t have messed with you, or shouldn’t have put on a front with you, teased you, etc.
Ride my pocket; Follow me, stay on my tail
Right clinkers; perfectly fine, totally great
Royal; excellent, top notch
Scam-butt; cheater, scam artist
Scat these taggers; get out of these clothes, undress
Screech, the; sickness of any type
Seein’ you slip; noticing you’re not doing well
Smacked; happy, pleased
Smackers; general swear word with unspecified meaning. Dang, damn, hell, etc.
Sotted; drunk
Spacin’ me; In my space, close to me
Space me; give me some room, move away
Street freak or freaks; homeless person or people
Street; the street in general. Culture of the street.
Tawkin'; looking for action
What’s down; what’s up or what’s new
You skinnin'; you’re skin and bones
Shake out those taggers; what’s under those clothes
Taggers; clothes

Tarthian Empire Companion, an illustrated World-Building Bible and Guide to Writing a Science Fiction Series by Kayelle Allen. Illustrated by Jamin Allen and Kayelle Allen.

Tarthian Empire Companion, an illustrated World-Building Bible and Guide to Writing a Science Fiction Series by Kayelle Allen. Illustrated by Jamin Allen and Kayelle Allen.

All my books are being re-released in new formats. Surrender Love and its long-awaited sequel, Surrender Trust will come out at the same time. At the Mercy of Her Pleasure and For Women Only will be re-released with their sequel, Crystal Clear Truth, and will introduce a third Antonello brother, Darq. In the meantime, I’m sharing all the details of my world with fans.

If you not only read but also write science fiction romance, this book will guide you to build believable worlds, track details of your story, organize your writing, and lay out your story bible. My website has over 90 pages of material for my world. If you’re on a mobile platform, visit the limited version here: http://kayelleallen.mobi and if you’re accessing on a desktop, you can see the full sized version here: http://kayelleallen.com

Writer or reader, you’ll get a glimpse of the world building and complexity that is the Tarthian Empire.

Have questions about a character, or about writing? Leave me a comment and I’ll be glad to answer. Please sign up for my newsletter while you’re here.

Available now on Smashwords, and Amazon.

Amazon http://bit.ly/companion-az
Smashwords http://bit.ly/companion-sm
Coming soon to Barnes and Noble and CreateSpace

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