FRIDAY FUN

Stipula_fountain_penAah, it’s Friday again. There’s nothing better than winding down after a long week and letting the creative side kick in. Today, I thought we’d have a bit of FRIDAY FUN by chatting about CHARACTERS.

For me, character development is the most fun part of writing a story. I’m not happy until my characters are living, breathing people with unique personalities, habits, and quirks…until they’re so real I can almost touch them. It stings to remember I’m probably the only one to see them that way, and can only hope my readers love (or hate) them as much as I do. If you are like me and feel the characters you’ve created deserve some recognition, here’s your chance to brag a little. Tell us something about ONE character in a book you’ve written.

  • What makes that person stand out?
  • In what ways are they similar to you?
  • In what ways are they unlike you?
  • Were they inspired by you/someone you know?

Add the book title and one link.

FRIDAY FIRSTS

First_Place_PNG_ClipartIt’s always fun to remember how our writing journey started, who inspired us, and how much we’ve improved since those early days. Today’s Blog is all about those FIRSTS. Take a couple of minutes to type your answers in the “Comments” section below.

  1. Opening sentence of the first book you wrote.
  2. Opening sentence of your WIP.
  3. Your age when you wrote your first book.
  4. The person who inspired you to write your first book.
  5. Please give one link to your latest release.

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Here’s something I thought would be fun to share. I’m not who came up with this, but it’s too interesting to not mention.

There’s a word in the English language that can be used as a noun, verb, adjective, adverb, or preposition. And the word is…

UP

This two-letter word in English has more meanings than any other two-letter word. It’s listed in the dictionary as an [adv.], [prep], [adj.], [n] or [v].

It’s easy to understand UP, meaning toward the sky or at the top of the list, but when we awaken in the morning, why do we wake UP?

At a meeting, why does a topic come UP? Why do we speak UP, and why are the officers UP for election (if there is a tie, it is a toss UP) and why is it UP to the secretary to write UP a report? We call UP our friends, brighten UP a room, polish UP the silver, warm UP the leftovers and clean UP the kitchen. We lock UP the house and fix UP the old car.

At other times, this little word has real special meaning. People stir UP trouble, line UP for tickets, work UP an appetite, and think UP excuses.

To be dressed is one thing but to be dressed UP is special.

And this UP is confusing: A drain must be opened UP because it is blocked UP.

We open UP a store in the morning but we close it UP at night. We seem to be pretty mixed UP about UP!

To be knowledgeable about the proper uses of UP, look UP the word UP in the dictionary. In a desk-sized dictionary, it takes UP almost 1/4 of the page and can add UP to about thirty definitions.

If you are UP to it, you might try building UP a list of the many ways UP is used.  It will take UP a lot of your time, but if you don’t give UP, you may wind UP with (UP to) a hundred or more.

When it threatens to rain, we say it is clouding UP. When the sun comes out, we say it is clearing UP. When it rains, it soaks UP the earth. When it does not rain for a while, things dry UP. One could go on and on, but I’ll wrap it UP, for now . . . My time is UP!

Did that crack you UP?

Now I’ll shut UP!

Yes, a lot of these examples are redundancies and can be omitted when polishing up a manuscript, but it’s still interesting that in each context, the word UP makes perfect sense!

It’s Out!!!

FINDING FREEDOM is a book that’s very close to my heart, so I’m very pleased to anFindingFreedom_1600x2400nounce that it’s finally available for purchase!

In a world that would rather turn a blind eye to the tragedy of human trafficking, I wanted to write something significant and meaningful and expose the unspeakable things that actually happen to millions of people every day. Finding Freedom is written in novel format, with realistic characters that most of us can relate to.

Here’s more info…

 

BLURB

Action, intrigue, and deception make up this intensely human story.

Naïve Emily Garrett discovers that her safe, secure upbringing has been a devastating lie. Snatched on the day she was born, apparently by the same people she calls her parents, she is forced to learn the reasons for their desperate actions.

Ifetayo Ayassou finally finds the courage to escape her hellish existence as a trafficking victim and, coupled with the difficult healing process, she begins a search for the child she was forced to give away eighteen years ago.

Two women plunged into the underworld of human trafficking, both in search of freedom and truth—and each other. But, will their paths collide?

 

EXCERPT

Her plan was set in motion. Lea would take her usual long walk to the market as if nothing was different. But then instead of returning to the house at the end of the day, she’d go in the opposite direction. Destination Togo—wherever that might be.

A wave of terrifying exhilaration washed over Lea as she stepped out of her mistress’s house for the last time. A collection of painful memories was contained under that roof, each room telling its own horrific story. The idea of living alone on the street was beyond frightening. She’d done the unthinkable, and while the idea made her panic she had a plan, up to a point.

But, she was free.

For the first time in her life she had a purpose—to find her mother and see for herself if the woman still remembered her or cared about her. Until then, Lea would have to watch her back and find a way to survive. She bit back tears, too afraid to let them fall. For now, the sweet taste of freedom would be her main concern, and it was more gratifying than she could ever have imagined.

The congested marketplace drew her in with its roadside bukas, each stall taunting her with its enticing smells of smoked fish and snacks sizzling in palm oil. Despite the comfort of the familiar surroundings, Lea felt unusually restless today, second-guessing her decision for the hundredth time. She was still in familiar territory and it wasn’t too late to turn back. She took comfort in the busyness of the jostling vendors and the colorful stalls, a sight she knew so well. It would be tempting to return to a life that was at least predictable, even if it was horrendous. No! She had made up her mind. Perhaps there was still a trace of the spirited girl she once was, after all.

The unforgiving Nigerian sun sliced through a thick, gray blanket of cloud, enveloping the village in a shroud of dreary smog. Lea made sure she’d sold about half her quota of loaves, before immersing herself in the crowd and taking her first steps of freedom. The sense of exhilaration mingled with pure terror, but she had to keep going. Freedom must be foremost in her mind. She tried to picture her mother’s face, even though the memory was hazy. Perhaps that would keep her calm and help her to press on. She thought of Mother’s arms around her and wondered if she’d ever see her again. Lea swatted away angry tears. This was no time for pipe dreams; she had to be strong.

Soon Lea was in unfamiliar territory. The crowds thinned and she was alone in a labyrinth of back streets with old, neglected buildings and overgrown gardens. Obeche trees drooped overhead, pinning her with dense overgrowth. She felt claustrophobic and trapped in this strange, lonely world. She kept going, the early stage of blisters searing her swollen feet. She rounded a corner and was thankful for the bustling activity up ahead. An elderly man buzzed past on a whining scooter and a pair of stray dogs chased each other across the street. A family of six sat on the side of the road sharing an afternoon meal. Lea had never been this far down the end of town and she started to panic. It was too late to turn back now. In a few hours it would be dark and Alina would know she wasn’t coming back. She determined in herself that she could not—would not—get caught.

As the crowds thickened, she clutched the baskets carrying the remaining loaves of bread. They were her only possessions, apart from the threadbare notebook wedged deep in her waistband. She kept checking to make sure it hadn’t fallen out along the way, and walked until her feet ached.

Before long, buildings cast elongated shadows across the narrow street and darkness wrapped its arms around her. Lea’s anxiety multiplied as her mind wandered to Auntie Alina. Did the woman know yet that she wasn’t coming back? The thought choked her with fear.

 

PRAISE FOR FINDING FREEDOM

  • As an avid reader of at least five books a week, this is the first time I felt compelled to write a review.
  • I highly recommend this book!
  • The story is well written and all the threads are woven together in the end — I thought the ending was wonderful!
  • Kudos to Sue Searles for taking the reader on a beautifully written roller coaster ride.
  • This author weaved these two parallel tales together seamlessly.
  • As one looking for my own birth mother I was able to feel the pain in this book.
  • I will never look at another working child the same after learning about child trafficking.
  • Be ready to have an emotional rollercoaster ride.
  • This is a story that I recommend everyone reads.
  • This story really makes me analyze and appreciate my own life.
  • Gives me some motivation to reach out and try to help others.
  • This is a book that is difficult if not impossible to put down!
  • This is one of those books I couldn’t put down and a book all should read.

 

AUTHOR’S SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS

www.suesearlesbooks.wordpress.com

https://www.facebook.com/Sue-Searles-Author-1505707636405524/

https://twitter.com/sue_searles

https://www.pinterest.com/searles0490/

Instagram – Sue Searles

 

BUY LINKS

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Finding-Freedom-Sue-Searles-ebook/dp/B01B6KGYMA/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1454176897&sr=8-2&keywords=sue+searles

Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/mobile/w/finding-freedom-sue-searles/1108817778?ean=2940157883904

Kobo Books: https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/finding-freedom-6

Smashwords: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/611198

Finding Freedom

IT’S FINALLY HAPPENING…TODAY’S THE DAY!!…Drum roll…This is sooo exciting…It’s launch day for my new book!!

FindingFreedom_500x750

 

Here’s what it’s about:

Action, intrigue, and deception make up this intensely human story.

Naïve Emily Garrett discovers that her safe, secure upbringing has been a devastating lie. Snatched on the day she was born, apparently by the same people she calls her parents, she is forced to learn the reasons for their desperate actions.

Ifetayo Ayassou finally finds the courage to escape her hellish existence as a trafficking victim and, coupled with the difficult healing process, she begins a search for the child she was forced to give away eighteen years ago.

Two women plunged into the underworld of human trafficking, both in search of freedom and truth—and each other. But, will their paths collide?

 

Some reviews received so far:

  • As an avid reader of at least five books a week, this is the first time I felt compelled to write a review.
  • I highly recommend this book!
  • The story is well written and all the threads are woven together in the end — I thought the ending was wonderful!
  • Kudos to Sue Searles for taking the reader on a beautifully written roller coaster ride.
  • This author weaved these two parallel tales together seamlessly.
  • As one looking for my own birth mother I was able to feel the pain in this book.
  • I will never look at another working child the same after learning about child trafficking.
  • Be ready to have an emotional rollercoaster ride.
  • This is a story that I recommend everyone reads.
  • This story really makes me analyze and appreciate my own life.
  • Gives me some motivation to reach out and try to help others.
  • This is a book that is difficult if not impossible to put down!
  • This is one of those books I couldn’t put down and a book all should read.

 

Buy links to follow…

 

 

Human Trafficking Month

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

I’m baaack! After a few weeks of withdrawal from social media, I’m excited to plunge back in and continue on this wonderful journey. I just love that warm & fuzzy feeling of interacting with my readers through this blog, sharing my thoughts about different things, and talking about the stuff I love to write about.

Well, I can hardly contain the excitement as I spill out my latest news! My new release, Finding Freedom, is launching January 28th! This story is very close to my heart.

Human trafficking is a topic not many know a whole lot about. Although human slavery has been around forever, most folk believe it stopped years ago when slavery was abolished. But, that’s not the case at all. It’s far more dangerous now because we can’t see it. There are more human slaves in captivity today than at any other time in history – to be specific, somewhere between 20-30 million people worldwide!

Makes you think, doesn’t it?

That is the theme of my latest book, Finding Freedom. When I started working on this book, the topic of human trafficking was extremely hush-hush. But, I felt drawn to it and compelled to expose it. I needed to scratch through the crusty surface and find out more. There were literally zero articles about the topic (at least, not where I was looking), like it simply didn’t exist.

Through the course of researching and writing the book (which took me 3 years, by the way), slowly but surely I noticed little snippets of information being released in the media. It was incredible to observe something so secretive and sinister, gradually being publicized and exposed.

Now we have Human Trafficking month (January), worldwide campaigns, and law enforcement units dedicated to fighting this evil. It’s been amazing to sit on the outskirts and watch it unfold at the same time my book was taking shape.

I’m just so thankful for all the organizations and individuals out there who are trying to make a difference. My hope is that Finding Freedom will further create awareness of this evil. Presented in novel format with realistic characters, I hope this book helps people grasp the intricacies of human trafficking in an easy-to-understand manner.

Can’t wait to read your comments!

Creative Constipation

WB 2Ah, I was hoping to find you here. A few weeks ago, I diagnosed myself with a solid dose of the disease every writer dreads…writer’s block.
I’ve had twinges of WB before, but nothing like this. I even doubt my usual genre and question whether I actually have what it takes. I float across several genres and struggle to find my fit, even though I’ve made it work so many times before.

They say the only cure for WB is to WRITE. Believe me, that’s what I’ve been trying to do. But, the more I write, the more I’m convinced I can’t do it. It’s not due to a lack of ideas or writing material. In fact, I’ve been working on three great story ideas, each at various stages of development. I’ve even gone as far as creating detailed outlines for all of them, doing character sketches, writing enticing beginnings, multi-faceted middles, and unpredictable endings with cool twists and turns, have come up with character names and clever titles (for the most part)…BUT when I sit down to flesh out my stories, I sit staring into space and struggle to make progress. I know what works for me, and I know what doesn’t. I understand the practicalities of pushing through and just writing. But it’s not as easy as that. (In case you think you’ve cured me, no, I’m not working on all three ideas at once. :] )

I’ve officially put aside (more like ripped to shreds and chucked into a blender) my latest WIP (Work in Progress). I heard once that there’s no such thing as writer’s block, and at one stage believed sufferers should just “get over it.” Hoo boy, how wrong I was.

Having said that, however long this takes there’s one thing I will never do. I will never give up.

I Googled this dread disease and here’s a cool article I found. (If you love the title of this blog, here’s where you get to see where it came from.) http://goinswriter.com/how-to-overcome-writers-block/

I’d love to hear from those of you who have vanquished this enemy and lived to tell the tale (literally).