Sunday, February 17, 2019

My Top Inspirational Photos For #Writing Where the Rain Is Made

Welcome to Keta's Keep! I'm so happy you dropped by.Today we're talking about photographs and how they can help your writing.

Some authors make extensive outlines when they begin writing a novel; some use sticky notes and tack them up around their writing space. I use photos as inspiration, images from scenes and/or characters in my book. Photos remind me to look visually at all aspects of my book and help cement those images in my mind.


"If you can visualize it, you can write it!"
Keta Diablo

I collected numerous photos when Where The Rain Is Made was nothing more than a seed sprouting roots in my brain. One image led to another (similar to how one scene leads to another) and before long a full-length novel played out in my mind. Below is a sampling of photos I used to inspire me for Where the Rain Is Made. I hope you enjoy them.

Where the Rain Is Made is first and foremost a romance but soon crossed over into several sub-genres: time travel, shapeshifting, mysticism and historical fiction. 

Recent review snippet that relates to the crossover:

"A love that transcends time — a compelling, time-traveling romance poised between modern day and the gut-wrenching conflict between the Cheyenne and the Blue Coats. Where The Rain is Made was a surprising blend of genres. While solidly building on a foundation of romance, it is so much more." 

Of course there's a hero (Ethan Gray/Meko) and a heroine (Francesca) but the heart of the book relates to the customs, beliefs and tragic history of the Cheyenne Dog Soldier

The dog soldiers were the elite military organizations in the Cheyenne tribe. They were the last line of defense for the people. ... In time of battle, the dog soldier would impale his shoulder sash to the ground and stand his ground to the death.  The most elite Dog Soldiers wore “Dog Ropes,” sashes made from buffalo skin and decorated with porcupine quills, feathers and beads.

 
There's #ghosts in my story:  The Sacred Council of Arrows
 
Seo'ộtse, Cheyenne word for dead spirits who ruled the Cheyenne in prior centuries. Not a time traveler among them but they are empowered to send wanderers through time to help the People in times of great trouble.

Members of the Sacred Counci: Vo'kaa'e, known in the white man's tongue as White Lances, Kâhamaxe, Cheyenne name means The Stick, Wolf That Speaks, a dignified, mystical guide, Stands-In-Light, High Priestess and the only woman on the Council, The Pacer, a soothsayer known for his wisdom and ability to see into the future, Man-Who-Paints-His-Shirt-Black, A Dog Soldier, a fierce opponent, Whirlwind, the father of all ghostly souls. 

Ethan Gray is a curator at The National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, DC in his present life. When he travels through time to help the People, he's knows as MEKO, leader of the most fierce military band on the plains, the Cheyenne Dog Soldier. The National Museum houses one of the world’s largest and most diverse collections of its kind. The museum’s sweeping architecture, its indigenous landscaping, and its exhibitions, are all designed in collaboration with tribes and communities from across the hemisphere. It is designed to give visitors from around the world the sense and spirit of Native America.

Typical Cheyenne village (recalled by member of an architectural dig).
This Cheyenne settlement was large. It stands on a flat, now bisected by a railroad embankment, slightly sloping toward the river, and the houses stood close together. Many of them were large, one at least being 60 feet in diameter. Besides the large houses there were a great number of smaller ones, probably occupied by small families, by old people living alone, or used as menstrual lodges. Including the area east and west of the embankment we counted more than 70 large house sites, taking no account of the small ones. The houses extended several hundred yards back from the river, toward the west, and 150 or 200 yards north and south. It is probable that when they were numerous, they may have extended a long way down to the river.

Meko's chant as he shapeshifts into a Raven

"I walk alone on the edge of time, traveling far and near. 
Born of the sun, kissed by the wind, the call of the raven screams in my ear." 

Scene of shift from the book: 
His vision blurred and pain tore through his head. The muscles of his back constricted, his tendons and ligaments stretched tighter than sinew on a tanning rack. His arms twisted into gnarled limbs and shiny, black wings took their place. He soared skyward, above the clouds, to where the rain is made. Through a great abyss he tumbled and then emerged on the other side. The raven dipped in the heavens and arched his massive extensions for descent. 

Nightwalker, Meko's horse.
Meko selected Nightwalker from a large herd of horses. When he travels back in time, the black stallion is waiting for him. What did Meko look for when choosing Nightwalker? Bravery, soundness, rideablity, trainability, a good work ethic, a forgiving nature, and a natural uphill balance make for a good horse. Most of all Nightwalker had a calm demeanor in battle, a willingness to please and the heart of a champion. 

I hope you liked the pictures and want to know more about WHERE THE RAIN IS MADE (still tops my favorite of all the books I've written).







 





Thursday, February 14, 2019

VALENTINE'S DAY #Bookblast #Rafflecopter

 photo BOOK BLAST_zpslw7xqh2e.png

WELCOME TO THE VALENTINE'S DAY BLAST! 

Click on any of the below book covers to be taken to the page that has more information on the novel as well as the Buy Links!

Before you leave, don't forget to enter the Giveaway!





RABT Book Tours & PR

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Top Inspirational Photos While Writing A GHOST TO DIE FOR

Hello, and welcome to my blog! 

Today we're going to talk a little about inspiration. Some authors listen to music when they write; others must have complete silence. Some writers hang pictures near their desk of their imagined hero and heroine, and others make a chapter-by-chapter, detailed outlines. All of these methods inspire us to keep writing.

When I wrote A Ghost To Die For, I knew two things: I wanted the story to take place in a contemporary setting and I wanted a ghost to walk onto the stage. Needless to day, I had to gather inspiration from somewhere. I flipped through magazine and browsed free stock photo sites for ideas that would fit nicely into my story.

Here are some of he images I printed out and pasted on the wall near my desk. These pictures gave me direction, inspiration and an incentive to keep writing until I finished the story.

I hope you enjoy them.


Rooney and her sister take a gig at a Hotel and Casino as psychic readers. The pay is good and they need the money to pay off their little sister's hospital bills. Rooney isn't psychic like her sister, but plays along while communing with the dead. Much to her dismay, a ghost shows up in Rooney's hotel room after the show, asking for her help.



He convinces Rooney to warn his brother (who's just returned from Afghanistan) before the same men kill him. Rooney agrees to accompany Stuart to the family farm to warn Stephan (the hero in the story). You can imagine what Stephan thinks when this crazy woman shows up to tell him he must leave immediately! He really thinks she's bonkers when Rooney tells him Stuart is standing right next to her. 


Stephan and Rooney (with the ghost) are on the run! Before Stephan had time to leave the farm, armed men showed up at the farm intent on killing him. Rooney and Stephan barely escape with their lives. And now they're on the run....the crazy woman ranting about ghosts and the man who has PTSD from the war. And...Stuart the ghost, of course. 


I love a HAPPY ENDING, don't you?? 

At the end, Rooney's little sister is released from the hospital and is in remission.

If you want to find out what happens to Stuart, the ghost, and whether or not Rooney and Stephan find happiness...you'll have to read the book! 

The reviews have been good, so what do you to lose?




Wednesday, January 23, 2019

#Voodoo, Tea Leaf Reading, #Gothic #Romance - #MFRWHooks


Welcome to #BookHooks, sponsored by Marketing For Romance Writers

No wonder I had so much fun writing this book!
Sojourn With a Stranger has it all!

Voodoo: A cultural form of the Afro-American religions developed by West and Central Africans populations of the state of Louisiana, though its practitioners are not exclusively of African-American descent. Voodoo tradition makes its own distinction between black and white magic, with sorcerers like the Bokor known for using magic and rituals of both.

Reading Tea Leaves: Known as tasseomancy it's the art of reading tea leaves. Although traditionally associated with gypsy fortune tellers, tasseomancy originated in the middle east in the medieval period, and versions of this divination method can be found right across the world.

Laying of Hands: The laying on of hands (Greek: cheirotonia – literally, "laying-on of hands") is both a symbolic and formal method of invoking the Holy Spirit primarily during baptisms and confirmations, healing services, and blessings.


About Sojourn With A Stranger
A Gothic Erotic Romance

Raine Brinsley is penniless after her parents drowned at sea. She's sent by the local minister to Stafford House to apply for a job as a servant. Despite the alarm bells going off in her head, she accepts the offer of employment. She has one goal in mind, to return to her beloved grandfather in Maine.

Lord of the Manor, Derek Stafford, has his own dilemmas to worry about. His wife committed suicide some time ago after delivering several stillbirths. Derek and his brother, Lyman, race to produce the first male heir of Stafford House. The winner will receive not only the title to the eloquent manor but also an enormous sum of money from their father. 

Derek decides the beautiful Raine will make the perfect surrogate. If only he can convince the young woman that signing a contract to bear his son will serve both their needs: She can return to her grandfather and he'll inherit a life of wealth and luxury.    

But dark stirrings are afoot at Stafford House. A ghost haunts the halls of the manor and the spirit is intent on exposing her killer to Raine. Steeped in murderous plots, Derek and Raine face insurmountable odds of achieving their dreams.

And fight the insatiable hunger between them. 


Characters:
Raine Brinsley, heroine
Derek Stafford, hero
A dead spirit – Lucinda, Derek's late wife
Lyman, Derek's brother
Elne Stafford, Derek's mother

Setup: Raine is awakened from sleep by an eerie scratching on the window and an ear-splitting wail. A ghost is trying to deliver a message. She wants to bring the dead spirit peace, but doesn't know how. One thing for certain—she can trust no one, especially the Lord of the Manor, Derek Stafford. 
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 
Raine bolted through the door of her bedchamber, walked briskly toward the pitcher on her bureau and filled the basin. Hoping to extinguish the hot flames in her cheeks, she splashed them with water. Pacing between the bed and the door and then back again, she relived the events of the evening.

Lyman's eccentric behavior unnerved her and despite Elne’s graciousness, the woman knew more than she let on. If only she had told Derek, "No, I won't play the piano," when he had asked her tonight. She didn’t want to mingle with his family; she was a servant and not one of their kind. But servants didn’t sleep on the upper level of a great house. Just how much had Derek told his parents about their arrangement?
    
Hugging her elbows, she willed her churning stomach to settle. She found it increasingly difficult to keep her tumultuous emotions at bay every time Derek entered a room or looked at her.

After removing her gray shift and shoes, she pulled a night shift over her head. Footsteps fell in the hallway outside her door..  and stopped. She held her breath. Long moments passed before the person moved on, and longer moments still before she drew breath again.

Fitful dreams disturbed what little sleep found her. A strange noise awoke her in the middle of the night, an eerie scrape of nails against glass. Pitiful wails fell from the ghost’s lips followed by shrill keening. Lucinda’s ghost! Good God, she had never heard such torment.
  
Raine bolted upright in bed and turned to the window, certain the sound originated there. A pale mist fogged the pane and the mind-numbing scratching droned on.

“Oh, dear distressed soul, I would help you if I only knew what befell you.”

An idea struck. Tomorrow, she would journey to the family plot, regardless of the snow. Perhaps a clue would find her, one tiny nubbin of information to help her solve the puzzle. Even without Lucinda’s body, Derek would have purchased a marker.

Her sleep-starved brain wandered to another dilemma—the letter she must write to her grandfather. Until she dealt with it, he wouldn't stop visiting her dreams, nor would the Scottish words he'd taught her so long ago cease to tumble through her head.

Cuimhnich air na da oine o'n d' thainig tha.
Remember the people from whom you came.

Yes, tomorrow she would walk through the Stafford family burial plot, scouring every tombstone for a sign, and then she would pen a letter to Grandfather. 

The scratching and wailing had ceased. A semblance of peace found her as she entered dream world again.


Praise for the book
"Sojourn with a Stranger is absolutely wonderful. I was captivated from the beginning to the end. This is not your typical love story but nonetheless spellbinding. Derek is a man who is struggling to make a place in a world where his family’s name is above reproach. Raine, on the other hand, is a very strong willed and prideful young lady. These characters blend together effortlessly while keeping with the normal love hate relationship they seem to share.
You will be immersed in the pages of this great romantic historical novel. Keta Diablo is a master when it comes to historical romance and has proven once again that she is a delightful storyteller who deserves to have all of her novels read."
  Black Rose Reviews, 5 Stars




Thanks so much for dropping by today. If you read Sojourn With A Stranger, please consider leaving a review on Amazon and Goodreads. 

Don't forget to visit all the wonderful authors on the #BookHooks blog hop below.  

My sincere thanks, 


Monday, January 21, 2019

The Story of the Formidable Cheyenne Dog Soldiers

Thanks for stopping by today. 

I'm fascinated by American history, especially history concerning the Native American tribes from days-gone-by. At one time, I did extensive research about the Cheyenne Dog Soldiers. My 12 year old son was especially intrigued by this tribe of Indians. We spent hours at the library (he loved visiting the library) learning about their customs and beliefs, their life on the Plains.
Before long, my son moved on to another area of interest (I think it was mobsters. lol) and here I was with notebooks of information about the Dog Soldiers. That's when I decided to write WHERE THE RAIN IS MADE. All the tribes knew rain, thunder and lightning came from the sky, but the Cheyenne believed their god, MATEO, lived in the place we call heaven, or where the rain is made. Thus, the title of my book.

Here are some fascinating facts about the tribe and the formidable Dog Soldiers. 
The dog soldiers were an elite group of military, the last line of defense for the People. The fierce warriors in this society were greatly esteemed and outfitted with a particular sash. Each member also carried a sacred arrow. When in battle, they impaled one end of the sash (outfitted with a stake) to the ground and slung the other end around their torso. Once they stake was driven into the dirt, that meant no surrender, they would fight to the death. They had a song (chant) that only the dog soldiers could sing. I imagine it went something like this: https://youtu.be/hk4WBnss7l0.

A journalist's depiction of the formidable Dog Soldiers:

"The awesome warriors (Cheyenne Dog Soldiers) were armed to the teeth with revolvers and bows ... proud, haughty, defiant as should become those who are to grant favors, not beg them."

Ohio reporter covering negotiations at Medicine Lodge, Kansas on October 27, 1867

They also believed in ghosts or spirits they called Seotses. The People feared dead spirits and would do anything to avoid the cemetery at night or lonely places outside the safety of their villages. Some said the Seotses lived in the burial ground or in villages the tribe had deserted when they moved on. Only the dog soldiers would return to the old campsites - they were not afraid of Seotses, or anything else that crossed their paths.

All this information gave me great fodder for Where the Rain is Made.  I imagined a Sacred Council of Arrows assembled by the dead elders of the tribe (Seotses). The Council looked out for the People and sent time travelers back to warn them of impending danger or bloody battles on the horizon. The time travelers had several rules: 1) Never change the course of history, but work as a mentor, advisor to the People, encourage them to move camps to avoid impending doom. 2) Never fall in love with anyone from the past. One day, the time traveler would return to his home and the life he once led. His/her survival was paramount so he could travel back in time again to help the People, albeit to another time and place.
  
In Where the Rain is Made, Ethan Gray is a museum curator in Washington, DC with deep ties to his Cheyenne people. But when he's sent back in time by the Council he transforms into MEKO a fierce warrior and the leader of the Dog Soldiers. 

I loved, loved writing Where the Rain Is Made and cherished every single piece of research I came across. If you like history about Native American tribes, or love passion, suspense and ghost stories, I hope you'll give the book a chance.

My most recent review 
"Highly Recommended. A love that transcends time — a compelling, time-traveling romance poised between modern day and the gut-wrenching conflict between the Cheyenne and the Blue Coats. Where The Rain is Made was a surprising blend of genres. While solidly building on a foundation of romance, it is so much more. The paranormal aspect of time travel and shamanism is painted realistically and establishes the authenticity of the story while allowing modern-day influences to be brought into a past time through the hero's modern perspective. 5 Stars" 
(Please leave a review)

Thanks so much for stopping by to read about the Dog Soldiers and Where the Rain is Made.



Friday, January 11, 2019

Soul mates and Everlasting Love in History #romance

Hi everyone,

Thank you so much for visiting Keta's Keep. Many of the blog posts I've read since January 1st are about the 'goals' and 'resolutions' people made for 2019. I try not to set too many goals and set myself up for failure. Many goals are not obtained no matter how hard we try. 

But...if you're still looking for a post about New Years' Resolutions, I'll share my one and only goal for 2019 with you. So...here it is: "Keep my feet above the grass." That's it. Life is complicated and I consider it a great success if I can stay healthy and alive this year. I think it's a great goal for everyone!

My blog post today is about something more palatable - "Soul Mates & Everlasting Love in History" (whether fictional or mythological). Who among us doesn't love to read about true love or soul mates? I hope you find some inspiring love stories below - ones that make you believe in finding love everlasting (or keeping love everlasting).

Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal
In 1612, a teenage girl, Arjumand Banu, married 15-year-old Shah Jahan, ruler of the Mughal Empire. Renamed Mumtaz Mahal, she bore Shah Jahan 14 children and became his favorite wife. After Mumtaz died in 1629, the grieving emperor resolved to create a fitting monument. It took 20,000 workers and 1,000 elephants nearly 20 years to complete this monument - the Taj Mahal. Shah Jahan was never able to complete a black marble mausoleum he planned for himself. Deposed by his son, Shah Jahan was imprisoned in the Red Fort of Agra, and spent lonely hours staring across the Jamuna River at the monument to his beloved queen. He was eventually buried beside her in the Taj Mahal.

Queen Victoria and Prince Albert 
This love story is about English royalty who mourned her husband's death for 40 years. Victoria was a lively, cheerful girl, fond of drawing and painting. She ascended the throne of England in 1837 after
the death of her uncle, King William IV. In 1840, she married her first cousin, Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha. While at first Prince Albert was unpopular in some circles because he was German, he came to be admired for his honesty, diligence, and his devotion to his family. The couple had nine children. Victoria loved her husband deeply. She relied on his advice in matters of state, especially in diplomacy. When Albert died in 1861, Victoria was devastated. She did not appear in public for three years. Her extended seclusion generated considerable public criticism. Several attempts were made on Victoria's life. However, under the influence of Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli, Victoria resumed public life, opening Parliament in 1866. But Victoria never stopped mourning her beloved prince, wearing black until her death in 1901. During her reign, the longest in English history, Britain became a world power on which "the sun never set."

Pocahontas and John Smith
This love story is a famous legend in the history of America. Pocahontas, an Indian Princess was the daughter of Powhatan. Powhatan was the powerful chief of the Algonquian Indians in the Tidewater region of Virginia. Pocahontas for the first time in her life saw Englishmen in May 1607. She found John Smith most attractive and developed a liking for him. Smith was taken to the official residence of Powhattan and he was tortured. It was Pocahontas who saved his life from the attack of the Indians. Pocahontas then helped Smith to stand on his feet and Powhattan adopted Smith as his son. This incident helped Pocahontas and Smith to become friends with each other. Pocahontas after this incident made frequent visits to the Jamestown and passed on to the Indians messages of her father. John Smith after getting badly injured due to gunpowder explosion, returned to England. When Pocahontas made a visit to the fort, she was informed that Smith was dead. Sometime after, Pocahontas was taken prisoner by Sir Samuel Argall. Argall hoped to use Pocahontas as abargaining chip with her father Powhatan in effort to get English prisoners returned. During her captivity, she decided to become a Christian, taking the name “Rebecca” when she was baptized. A year later, she married John Rolfe. She made a visit to London, where he met his friend John Smith after eight long years and it was their last meeting.

I hope you enjoyed reading about these famous lovers because that's what 'Romance" is all about...love.

I write romance in several genres
Historical Romance
Western Romance
Paranormal Romance
Contemporary Romance
Erotic Romance

As you can see, I'm all about Romance and love writing about characters who might go through many trials and tribulations but in the end, find true love. 

This month I'm featuring one of the books I loved writing - WHERE THE RAIN IS MADE

Recent Five-Star Review
"Where The Rain is Made was a surprising blend of genres. While solidly building on a foundation of romance, it is so much more. The paranormal aspect of time travel and shamanism is painted realistically and establishes the authenticity of the story while allowing modern-day influences to be brought into a past time through the hero's modern perspective. The reader is swept along with the emotions of the characters; fears of impending war, devotion to culture, love of family, horror at the necessary brutality of the Dog Soldier. The plot and characters are well developed and their ties to history and each other ebb and flow logically, but not predictably, securing the reader’s interest until the end."

Blurb:
* Nominated for Bookie Award by Authors After Dark.
* Nominated for Best Romance of the Year
* Time Travel/Shapeshifter
* Western Romance
* Over 35 - Five Star Reviews

A decadent-looking savage has captured Francesca DuVall and her brother Marsh. These days, she spends every waking moment planning escape from the brutal Dog Soldiers' village.

Ethan Gray is a curator at a national museum . . . until he travels through time to help his beloved People. In the Cheyenne world he's known as Meko, leader of the most revered and fearsome tribe of the plains.

Two cultures and two hearts battle. Violence and death haunt their troubled roads, but when kindred souls collide, love prevails against the greatest odds. From the windswept plains of Colorado to the placid life of a curator, their love is fueled by passion and kindled by destiny.