A dead horse with no name…

It has a name…

Semantic Satiation

Think of it as beating a dead horse… with a tire iron…throughout the entire book. It’s one of the basic peeves I have with any book, including my own. Every author has words they favor, and words they just like. One of mine is plethora. Pleth-or-a. I love that word.

What if I used plethora constantly in a book. You’d notice right? You’d be like, come on with the plethora already.

I am not just a writer. I’m an avid reader, and, much like doctors I imagine, I’m now the worst patient. This week, I read a book that shall not be named. Everything engulfed everyone; emotions, sensations, crowds, embraces. EVERYTHING, but, ironically, water in a book filled with surfers. The water never engulfed the surfers.

Things were ingrained that ought never be ingrained. Warily was replaced with wearingly ( Not a word in that context. Maybe not at all. Let me check.) TWICE. Twice, my friends. SIGH. He can’t look at you wearingly. I’m like ninety nine percent sure.

Wearingly: Causing fatigue; tiring: a wearing visit. 3. Causing wear; eroding: the wearing effects of wind on rock formations. 4. Subject to or showing indication of wear: lubrication applied to wearing points. 

My point is this; we gotta be more careful, people. This is rookie stuff, and, yeah, we all do it. It’s common, especially in first books. Don’t believe me? Take a look at mine. Take a look at anyone’s, but by the third? We should have some of this figured out.

Our words are the basics of the book. Punctuation is distracting with the mistakes. Yes, and formatting badly can make a book painful to focus on. I speak from experience here. Word choice is the book. It’s the whole enchilada and more than a distraction.

I know there is this new trend to write quickly, to churn out books like an engulfing tide (see what I did there). It may even pay off for some of us when we hit on the hot genre, pay for advertising like a fiend and get our name out there. It may sell, and some of us may be fine with that. I’m not.

When did this stop being a craft? When did writers get so engrossed in the success they were chasing that the writing stopped mattering? This is a big deal because as a reader, I’m not liking this trend. I don’t at all. I want books. I want books that I can love, that say something important, that let a little of the author touch a little bit of something in me.

I want to be led by the hand down a path, through a story and out the other side with something at the end that I can keep forever. When did it stop being about that for us?


Living in the mega city

Black and White Thriller eBook

The real fun in scifi lives in imagining the future. In Detective Thursday’s life story, future tech is everywhere. She’s fighting her own of comfort with technology around her.

Hayden Thursday isn’t a big fan of AI. She’s not computer illiterate. She’s uncomfortable with the amount of control people are giving up in their society, and she worries that there is a tipping point.

In Thursday’s child, she finds that tipping point could be far closer than she knew with clones, runaway smart cars, and super soldiers.  She’s in trouble again.

Must be Thursday.

There’s dignified fiction… And then there’s what I do.

Romance. Space Opera. Something furry.

CharlotteBronteYou just never know where I’ll end up, and I like it. This morning I was listening to a podcast while I day-jobbed, about writing. Of course. There’s this whole other world out there of writers, and podcasts, and talk radio, and theory and technique.

Then, there’s me. Over here. In the corner. Writing away.

Don’t get me wrong. I envy those authors just a bit because they have a handle on the whole thing. They get the respect, and no doubt about it. I’m sure they love what they do. Yet, so do I.

Sometimes, I don’t like trying to sell the books, but I love writing them. It makes me ridiculously happy, keeps me sane, has possibly saved a life or two along the way.

So I ask myself this afternoon, “Self, why do you consistently compare yourself to other writers?” My self answered, “Because you let me.”

I don’t actively discuss the symbolism of the cat in chapter three because there really isn’t one.  I like cats. You will probably see them periodically. Although it’s pretty clear to everyone who knows me that splosions coincide almost directly with mood. Every. Time. That is about the extent of my subtext.

And, that’s okay.  Because, this makes me happy:

“Aricka,” he said. “I heard you were docked here this week.”

She cleared her throat. “I can’t imagine that’s the talk of the town around Prime. We’re not here that long.”

He looked away a second. “You’d be surprised. You guys, give us a minute.”

His escorts strolled a few steps away.

“It’s been a long time, Ari.”

“You asked your team to leave to say that?”

“No, I asked them to leave so I can do this.” He grabbed her elbow, steering her quickly into an alley between buildings where he pushed her back to the smooth exterior wall and kissed her.

That’s my pay off.

It was Maya Angelou who said, “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”  I don’t know if her context there was writing, but it fits.

Our homework today, class, is to just accept what makes us happy. Dignity is overrated.

Can a child of war fight for peace?

Fantasy and young adult readers are in for a treat with this new franchise. Hexborn is Harry Potter meets Game of Thrones, but so much more than that. It brings thrills, epic fantasy and romance, and has been nominated for a scout campaign.

Hexborn. Abomination. Unclean. Young Shiloh knows exactly what she is. Her missing hand and the world at large are ever ready to remind her. Outcast she may be, but her broken body hides great magical power. The king’s servant Silas seeks to use that power to preserve the uneasy peace the kingdom has enjoyed since the end of the Siblings’ War. He’ll slit her throat if she threatens it instead. Will Shiloh prove her worth? Or will past sins rise to destroy Shiloh, Silas, and the kingdom of Bryn?

Have a look at it below, and vote on the cover at Kindle Scout.


Sneak Peek of Big Magic

“Focus, Adra!” That shout came from her instructor in the arcane, Finn Magnum. There was nothing in the world she wanted to do more, since the exercises resulted in her being drenched by an invisible spill of water from Evelyn Turner, the local soothsayer. Apparently, it was really special that she could command an element to do her will.

Yeah, special. Then, why did she seem to be enjoying this just a little too much?

They were out in a meadow near the Old Point Bridge, where no one would presumably see them because of some mojo Finn could work. It was all part of his, here but not here bullshit.

Maybe she was just too black and white, but you were either there, or you were not. There never seemed to be an in between before. However, there’d never been bear shifter boyfriends up until about two weeks ago.

In one crazy moment, she’d discovered there were people who could change into animals at will, her nameless father, wherever he may be, was actually a sorcerer, and her witch powers were pretty. That last was literally the only upside she could see.

As to Boyd, well, he was the only bright spot in all of this. They had decided to be engaged to appease the bears need for secrecy. In their world, she had to be part of the tribe, or she was part of the problem. But, if she brought Boyd home to Mamie and announced she was getting married after a week, her grandmother would pitch her tent on an epic campaign the likes of which has not been seen since Gettysburg.

Mamie made the term steel magnolia seem like an understatement. She had clearly defined expectations, especially for Adra.

“I’m trying, you lughead!” She shouted it back as a fall of water cascaded over her head, leaving her hair in sopping strings. “Language,” he mocked. “Again, Evie. Do it until she gets this.”

“You are a serious jerk, you know that,” she complained. Thankfully, they were hitting the warmest part of the year. If this had been Fall, she might have killed him.

For some reason, the woods to their south were silent. No bird song, no katydids. She had raised her hands to work the barrier spell Herr Finn was torturing her with today. Adra lowered them. “Why is it so quiet?”

Finn, dressed in his usual uniform of tight black jeans and black T, appeared at her elbow, making her jump. She gave a surprised sound and said, “Don’t do that.”

“Can’t help it. It is quiet.”

Evelyn wound her way carefully through the thick grass cautious of snakes. Her beaded braids clinked pleasantly as she moved. When she stood at Finn’s side, she said, “You think someone’s out there?”

Suddenly, a glowing flame of bright burning red and orange shot toward their group. Adra felt her heart try to start racing, but it didn’t really have that kind of time. Instinctively, she raised her hands at the oncoming flame. Green light danced delicately off her fingertips, then roared to life as the flames drew nearer.

Forming a large wall of vine like tendrils inside that green light, the barrier surrounded the three of them. As the flames died away, Adra had expected to be burning, but she wasn’t. She stood within a thinly transparent wall of vines with both Finn and Evie. It domed them all.

A thick laugh reverberated in the humid morning air, a woman’s laugh. “Ah, Finn. Another protege, I see.” The way she said every word was laced with sarcasm and mockery, but Adra couldn’t tell if it was because she meant it to be mockery or if she was just very Irish. Stereotypically so; red hair, thick accent, pale skin like porcelain.

“Amelia Soren, as I live and breathe.” Finn didn’t respond with like mockery, as would be Adra’s expectation of him. Instead, he was being careful, measured. That more than anything else put up her guard. “What brings you to the underworld?”

How to kill your darlings?

Decisions, decisions.

We all know they have to die. I mean, yeah, we love them, but the show must go on. You should never shy away from killing off a character. Sometimes, things have to happen, and here’s why?

Who do you love?night-dark-halloween-horror.jpg

The first thing I always consider is who is loved in my cast. Who is hated? Who wouldn’t be missed? THIS is why it’s necessary to kill darlings, and not the guy next door. If there isn’t a big enough pay off emotionally, they will have died in vain. It will have meant nothing.

Who serves the story? Who doesn’t? 

Some characters can only be developed so far, and we all know them when we see them. In Redemption Burning, Beezer is a very killable character because he creates a conflicted emotion in his death. He leaves behind grief that serves my story better than his life did. It was a valiant end.

Loss hurts sometimes. 

But, you can’t destroy your readers. You just want to damage them a little. For this reason, I don’t recommend going all LL Martin on everyone. Loss of characters can lead to emotional fatigue in readers. The primary character who is much beloved might be a dangerous choice.

How they die matters.

One of the things I’ve told my writer son, again and again. Don’t waste lives on nothing, and how someone dies says as much about their contribution to a story as their role did in life. Most of my books involve war, so there’s no shortage of ways to kill a man.

However, the way you pull that trigger can be pivotal. What kind of death do they have? Valiant, senseless, romantic, dramatic, gory, betrayed. All of these emotions can dominate that last moment of your characters existence and make them a pivot point for someone else. Their death can mark one or many.

Death is not the end.

Oh, no, it’s not.

A dead character becomes canon in a series. They become, dare I say it, a fixed point in space and time. That moment defines how other characters react, how plot points are devised, and it forever changes your story somehow. (Because we don’t kill darlings for no reason, right?) That’s how you give your reader the closure they need on a character death; you take that death and spin it into the tapestry.

Call me baby.


Call me love.

Call me baby.

It’s a drug that stays in the system; after the high, after the fall.

You wake up in the ER dazed and calling out for the thing that put you there. What’s that about?

Shoot me with a needle, swallow all the pills, and it won’t change anything. I will still want you.

Correction: I will still want the idea of you. Soft words in dirty sheets and pet names that should have meant something.

There’s a path of memory that only leads the one way, and, at its end, I can still hear a whisper at my neck.

Go again, love?

I’ll follow a trail of breadcrumbs straight to a witch’s pot at the memory of those soft lies.

Honey, I said I would, didn’t I?

You did. You said everything and nothing. Everything and nothing, punctuated with baby and edited into a seductive soundtrack.

It isn’t the lies I miss. Truly. It’s that illusion of safety in the words.

There, baby, right there. 

Today, I bought groceries, and I took the kids to school. I managed to slip out of a cold bed without hitting snooze. I went to work.

Nobody called me baby. I survived it.


Copyright 2018 Jolie Mason/ jmasonbooks.

Check out my Radish feature this morning

Francisco Carpenter.jpg

This is my #secondchance romance on #radish, and it’s on a feature this week. Full disclosure, this was the book that got me started on this publishing addiction.  There was this trilogy in my head that had to get out, starting with Ari.

So, give her a chance, and, while you’re at it, try out the app for free with my book. I’m really enjoying it. Okay, back to the grindstone. There are shifters waiting.

Starting over

That’s been the theme of this week, which is a little ironic. Ironic because, I hate new year’s resolutions. Hate them. They just seem so arbitrary. You can’t resolve more on January first than you can on December thirtieth. You have the same amount of resolved on both days.

But, I want to do this more as myself and less as “the author”. I’m at a complete loss when I’m just being “the author”. I don’t know what to talk about or what I want to say. Sometimes, if I do, I censor that because others might not like it.

No more of that. It’s time to do this strictly as myself. That might look a little bit country with a side of Starbucks, and that’s okay. I’m okay with that.

There will be more scifi at some point, but there will also be a bit more of my own world in there, beginning with my Southern Gothic series on Radish. To sign up to receive a very sparse newsletter for updates you can do that here:



Might I Suggest…

Brother Mine

Sometimes, love chooses you. In a future world where aliens are hated, loving one is the most dangerous thing a girl can do. Mal Renata was born with the proverbial silver spoon in her mouth, but it never stopped her from becoming the voice of the Braxian people. As an activist fighting off mankind’s inevitable slide into cruelty and prejudice, she wants to stop the Scourge bill from becoming law, but how can she do that, if the bill’s supporters keep dying? Public outcry wants someone to pay, so she intends to give them someone.

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The Carter Gazette

The first installment of my Southern Gothic stories is releasing on #radish_fiction now. As you will see, Adra discovers her town has secrets she never expected. Shifters and magic were always here, but she never saw it.

So what’s Carter really like then?

Well, it’s built on a section of land that’s home to Indian burial mounds, and old civil war battle site nearby and countless generations of love, work and tragedy. It’s the size of a postage stamp, but it’s got color. newmadrid_riverboat.jpg

A lot of the homes are more than a hundred years old, but nothing goes back past the Great New Madrid earthquake. These rumbles in 1811-12 pretty much wiped out the area. Entire towns just sank into the river. And, that was just for starters; flooding, quicksand, the river ran backwards til it washed back in and engulfed the delta land. This is the land the small town of Carter is built on, and the history that Adra herself was raised on. It’s exactly like every small southern town you ever saw, but more. It’s insulated, and all of this creates a perfect backdrop for a shifter clan trying to hide who they are from the world.

You can find Tiny Crosses, the first in the series, at this link: