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Book Lovers Blog Hop - If a genie were to grant you 3 bookish wishes, what would you ask for and why

Posted by Brandy Potter on August 30, 2017 at 12:00 AM Comments comments ()

If a genie were to grant you 3 bookish wishes, what would you ask for and why?

Brandy Potter

  1. I will have to steal at least 1 answer. The salary. If I could stay home and write or read 8 hours a day that would be amazing! I have so many things going on in writerville, I can’t keep up.

  2. To go back to a time where corporations didn’t control what books came out on the market. I so hate when a genre floods the market and even my favorite authors are writing vampire stories just to have a “marketable” book.

  3. To go stay at the Inn at Boonesboro with Heather Graham and have lunch every day with Nora Roberts (she owns the inn…. And a lot of the town. Small town great place :) ) and just talk. Not necessarily about writing or processes, just talk. I think you learn more about and from a person when you just get to know them and how they think than you do grilling them about their processes.



Belinda Bekkers

It would have to be a house with a library, a never-ending credit with Bookdepository, and an all expenses trip to visit all the places mentioned in Eat, Pray, Love.

Leslie Conzatti

I would wish for:

  1. An unlimited library full of all the sorts of books I like, with armchairs tucked between the shelves in sunny alcoves full of windows for the perfect reading environment.

  2. Unlimited credit “wherever books are sold” so I can get the print editions of any book, even the self-published ones.

  3. An annual salary to cover the cost of living so I can just read and write and pursue any dream I like without having to worry about whether I can afford it or whether it can pay the bills.

V.L. Jennings

Genies always seem to mess up wishes… so I really hate trying to come up with them, knowing how they could go wrong. So, suppose we have a NICE book genie...

I would wish:

  1. To visit the Harry Potter world of the books- barring that, a visit to the Harry Potter Theme Park would suffice. Because I loved that world and I want to see it come to life!

  2. I’d have to second Leslie’s wish of an annual salary to cover the cost of living while I read and write without having to worry about bills. Barring that- maybe being able to afford a writing retreat once a year.

  3. Reading conventions (like comic conventions but for books- seriously why isn’t this already a thing?) We have book conventions where people sell books- why not book conventions where we celebrate books?! Come dressed as your favorite character!

Just B. Jordan

  1. To have a free audio book player with an unlimited library in my brain. Ok, that sounds creepy. But if it wasn’t creepy, I would love to be able to walk around at work with the ability to play/pause books without being attached to a device or having other people hear the book.

  2. To have my dream library. Three floor to ceiling walls of books, the fourth wall entirely made of windows overlooking a fantastic view. Rolling ladders to reach the top shelves. A mini tea/bistro counter to make drinks, a tall table at the window to write at, and a few comfy chairs for reading. <3

  3. ...To be completely crazy, a dress made out of books that’s water and tear proof. ;) Now that would be fun!

Skye Hegyes

This is a tough one, but here are the three bookish things I’d wish a genie for:

  1. A large blank book that contained the story I wanted to read whenever I opened its pages.

  2. The Library of Alexandria restored to its original purpose and beauty.

  3. A salary that would allow me to read and write whenever I wanted for however long I wanted without ever worrying about finances or self-care.

Jebraun Clifford

What a fun question! Let’s see…I’d want:

  1. A magic bookshelf that would anticipate my exact mood and produce the perfect story for me to savour.

  2. A magic mirror to converse with authors all over the world.

  3. A magic pen that would enable me to write fanciful stories that could capture the imagination of all who read them.

Jo Linsdell

  1. A huge home library. My little bookshelves just aren’t enough. I want a library like Belle in Beauty and the Beast… shelves and shelves packed with books. Heaven!

  2. The ability to magically enter the world of any book I’m reading (that I choose to… some would be far to scary). I love to be able to step inside the world of Hogwarts and take part in the lessons, or have tea and a gossip with the ladies from one of Jane Austen’s books… maybe even dance with Mr Darcy? Just think of the possibilities!

  3. Free books for life, and copies of all the special editions before anyone else. I will have a huge library to put them in after all ;)

Book Lovers Blog Hop - When Did You Get Into Reading

Posted by Brandy Potter on August 28, 2017 at 12:00 AM Comments comments ()

When Did You Get Into Reading

Brandy Potter

My mother is an avid reader. SInce I was a baby, she read to me every day (hence the picture I chose for today). My most vivid memory was when she was pregnant with my brother. She was very sick, but she made my father take me to the library every Saturday and I was allowed to get 3 picture books and 1 book with chapters and no pictures. Being 6, I read the picture books myself, but my memories are of the chapter books. My mother would read them and I became Laura Ingalls Wilder (nod to Jordan’s answer there) or Dorothy or Alice, but my favorite book was The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Anderson. The full 117 page version which for a 6 year old is LOOOOOOOONG . I was Kay and I loved the Reindeer girl (needless to say, I was disappointed in Frozen. Like the movie but the Snow Queen it is NOT)

Leslie Conzatti

Truly, I got into reading… before I could actually, you know, read.

It’s my earliest memory, and I can distinctly recall what it felt like to open a book and have no idea what the text said. It was the chapter book Sarah Witcher’s Story by Elizabeth Yates, and I picked it up, instantly fascinated by the illustrations. I made up my own story about what I saw in those pictures, telling and explaining to myself what was happening. Imagine how strange it felt to go back a couple years later to that same book, and discover that the story I “remembered” was a dozen times more exciting than the story that was actually there. I got into reading very quickly (like at the age of 5) because I enjoyed being swept away by story after story, even reading books several times over because I enjoyed the feelings they evoked.

Just B. Jordan

...For being a writer, I was an odd duck. I hated reading as a kid. I even tried to convince my mother that I didn’t need to know how to read. Ha. For several years I was determined that reading was boring. Then my mother made me read Little House. ...And I actually liked it. I spent several days trying to hide under furniture so she wouldn’t see me CHOOSING to read a book. Needless to say, my mother was thrilled. And I’ve never looked back.

Jo Linsdell

I’ve loved reading for as long as I can remember. There were always books in our house as I was growing up so reading was just natural. We’d often go to the library too. I’d get excited just window shopping the book displays when we were out in town. I was a huge Garfield fan and started collecting the series of paperbacks they did when I was about 8 years old. I had loads of them. Part of my pocket money would go to adding a new one to my collection on a regular basis. It wasn’t long before I got into Judy Blume books, and series like the Baby-Sitter’s club, Sweet Valley High, and Goosebumps. I’ve never looked back.

Belinda Bekkers

In my early teens, I was a vivid reader. I would read everything I could possibly get my hands on. In my late teens, I fell off the bandwagon and fell out of love with reading. I fell back in love with reading in my late-20s.


V.L. Jennings

I loved to read as soon as I was taught how (or at least that is how I remember it, my parents may have a different story). I remember carrying around the box of “early readers” - Jet Bed- Scat Cat- Jim Wins- (I actually still have a few of them!) I wanted more. I wanted to know what happened to these characters after the book was over. By the time I could gobble up chapter books the rest was history. I consumed as many books as the library would allow me to check out! I wish I had that much time to read now.

Skye Hegyes

My love for reading has grown since I was a child. My parents would read to my sisters and I until we learned to read on our own. I don’t remember what that exact age was, but it was young. I also remember that my favorite storybook was and still is: A Rose, a Bridge, and a Wild Black Horse by Charlotte Zolotow.

Jebraun Clifford

I distinctly remember reading Maurice Sendak’s ‘Little Bear’ series as a child and at first, only being able to read the first story. But I was entranced by Little Bear’s adventures, and the pictures spurred me on to attempt new and unfamiliar words until I read the whole book. The memory of how much I enjoyed figuring out the different words to create a vivid story has stayed with me for the better part of four decades.

Book Lovers Blog Hop - Where is your favorite reading spot/where do you do the most reading

Posted by Brandy Potter on August 7, 2017 at 12:00 AM Comments comments ()

Where is your favorite reading spot/where do you do the most reading

Brandy Potter

I was an only parent for 15 years. I do/did most of my reading in the bathtub. It was the only “me” time there was. In the summer pool or beachside as well, but mostly in the tub.

Jo Linsdell

I tend to do most of my reading in bed in the evening. As my husband works nights, once the kids are in bed, I finally have some time for myself. This is when I normally snuggle up with a book and relax.

Tabitha Caplinger

I have the most comfortable chair in the world in my living room. Seriously, it’s big and soft and cozy. I curl up in a blanket with a cup of coffee and a good book. It’s my happy place. If it’s raining outside all the better.

Leslie Conzatti

I like to read in a place that supports my elbows and if it has enough room to tuck in my feet, I am happy! I like to read with plenty of blankets and pillows. I have a big mamasan chair where I do most of my reading. That or a big leather armchair or couch are my go-to reading spaces.

Just B. Jordan

If it’s Summer I like to find a nice shaded spot outside. But I’m usually curled up on my bed or couch, a cup of tea nearby.

Skye Hegyes

I’m a bad person, so most of my reading time has occurred at work recently. My favorite place to read is my couch though, curled up with a good cup of cocoa.

Sade Rena -

My favorite reading spot is my bed. There is nothing like laying on my stomach across my bed, buried deep into a story. It’s the perfect position, because as soon as I get sleepy, I can just lay my head down and close my eyes.

Belinda Bekkers -

The place I get most of my reading done is in the carpark at school pickup time and in bed before going to sleep.

Katherine A. Pisana -

I do most of reading in bed, cozy with my blankets, right before I go to sleep.

V.L. Jennings-

On my couch, or in my bed. Anyplace comfy. Though honestly, the place I’ve been able to get the most reading done was audiobooks in my car- that was, until my cd player died.

Jebraun Clifford -

Anywhere and anytime! If I have a choice, I’ll read in bed with the cat on my lap, a cup of tea nearby, and a little snack like cinnamon toast or maybe something lemony.

Erica Watkins -

On the bed, with my cats lying above my head and my son lying on my lap

C. J. Brightley -

On the bed or on the back deck listening to the birds sing with a cup of coffee.

Book Lovers Blog Hop

Posted by Brandy Potter on August 1, 2017 at 12:35 AM Comments comments ()

Over the course of this month, myself and several authors and book lovers will be hosting each other and discussing various aspects of our passion for books! Stay tuned.

2015 Epiphany Stress and writing

Posted by Brandy Potter on January 7, 2016 at 1:20 PM Comments comments ()

This year has brought so many personal upswings and down swings that it has been so hard for me to focus on my writing. In fact the amount of stress that has come my way good or bad has basically made it nearly impossible for me to focus on any project that involves creativity. It has gotten so bad that I have often wondered how do authors handle stressful times where their creativity is stifled if not in fact entirely blocked. Even sitting here writing this blog is becoming a bit difficult.


I went to our good friend Google to see if I could in fact see if there were interviews form those of my favorites who were still with us for advice. Most of them say the same bloody thing… keep writing.


I too have shouted that particular moniker from the rafters for an entire year. But when everything you write turns to scheit and makes no sense or is nothing that you would even WANT to put your name to, how does that work? Are there little snippets of shining gold in the pile of manure that is generated when I do that? No.. it’s all crap.

So what does one do when one has life coming in and saying “Try meditating it away now fool”…..

I took a break. A sincere break, dropped my stories, dropped characters all of it…

Stop gasping and waggling your fingers at me…


For the sake of their development I had to. That is not to say I didn’t focus on writing, I did. I just focused more on techniques, networking and the business. The stuff NONE of us wants to deal with but that is inevitable… Nora Roberts summed all of our feelings up on this in an interview on Book Browse : “ all the extra stuff that isn’t actual writing – can be difficult simply because most of us who write prefer to sit down and do just that. Traveling can be stressful, inconvenient and tiring. The writing is a joy, even when it is not going particularly well. The simple fact that you are lucky enough to have a job you love can’t be beat. The days when you can’t wait to get to the keyboard are the best. You can sit there and work in your pajamas. It doesn’t get much better than that!” (


But I took the time to learn about these things; to explore different avenues; attend writing seminars; reading and reviewing books; research publishers I like etc. I did all of this to determine where I want my career to go and what I want from my writing. In this way, I was still cultivating my harvest of stories and characters and not leaving them flying in limbo without a rope… but I eliminated HUGE stress on Monday and so my perspective is changing……


….. and you know I have come to a conclusion…


All I want out of life is to make enough money writing that I don’t have to do anything else to provide for my daughter. I don’t need to be Nora or Stephen or J.R.R. or Jane. I just need to be able to have a career that is sustainable enough to put food on the table, a roof over our heads and clothes on our back. That eliminates the stress of perfection in my writing.. back to writing what I want to read not what I think will sell.

And finally, I need to stop caring about my “day job” cause it’s not my “real job” and get “a job” where I can leave it at the door and wrap my fictional creations around me and obtain the career that I really want.

so what epiphanies did you have this year?


The Big 4 Debate: Violence, Sex, Sexuality, and Cussing in writing

Posted by Brandy Potter on June 9, 2014 at 10:30 PM Comments comments ()


This is discussion is about technical points of writing. I am using biblical references. I do not profess to be or not to be Christian. I will not confirm my belief or disbelief in any of the religious text that follows. I am not here to offend anyone. I am not telling you what to believe. I will state a position and give biblical quotes and historical facts to defend it.

As you well know from the diversity of Christian faiths; The Bible can mean things to different people and therefore from a theological and scholarly point of view it is a subjective text that is up for interpretation. All quotes used are interpreted to my point of view and taken from a scholarly position.

The King James Version of The Bible is used for all quotes so they may not read exactly the same as how you know them. Keep in mind as you read.

This not a religious debate.

Should Violence, Sex, Sexuality and Cussing be used in Writing



Should these four concepts be included in writing and if they are how much?

The thing is there are 3 things that I feel a public figure should never discuss: sports, politics and religion. Unless of course they relate to the person’s public persona (i.e. an athlete, a senator or the Pope) So please understand that I am treading in waters that I am not comfortable being in. However, you can’t have this debate without choosing a religious trek. Without revealing too much of my lifestyle, political or religious preferences, I am going to attempt to tackle this debate. I am going to use arguments that I have heard so often between my fellow authors and reviewers alike.

However, against my better judgment,  I am going to approach this from a Christian perspective because that is the viewpoint I have heard from the most. I also happen to know my way around The Bible fairly well.

As a reader, I have nothing against books like 50 Shades of Grey, or the borderline erotica that occurs in many romance novels. I personally don’t like to read them. Further when reading a thriller a violent act that is just way over the top can seriously disturb me and I will stop reading.

Stereotypes make me angry too; like the Asian that is either brilliant or can’t speak English. The mindless militant German that marches everywhere you tell him to go. If there is an exorbitant amount of anything including long drawn out descriptions that have NOTHING to do with the character or story development I hate it; this includes the big 4.

However, as an author I often feel stifled. When I am writing a book like Venomous Lives which is about glam rock in the 80’s, a world populated by notorious and infamous drug addicts, sex fiends and tools it is hard to come to a “clean” version of the story. The type of people my characters represent are rockers. They played hard, fought hard and rocked hard and they had sex, drugs and rock and roll by the metric ton almost every day of their lives. I find that I will write a scene that flows freely and completely and then I censor it to appease others to the point where it loses its power.   

I feel that too many people get overly offended and really want to place too many restrictions on artists in general. Look do I think ratings for films are okay, absolutely. Authors have YA books. But don’t pick up a book about the mafia or Venomous Lives and expect it not to have some of these things. I don’t read typical romance novels. Sure I read Nora Roberts, I love her, and she can have some steamy scenes but nothing that makes me feel like I need a shower afterward.

And these are all creative differences. Not all of us are Christian, nor are all of us monotheistic. Some of us aren’t -istic at all (Brandyism sorry). Our religious and moral make up dictates the style we have. Therefore, not every book is written for everyone to read. Oh sure that is our dream but let’s get real shall we?

I recently read a blog that stated that all books with the big four in them in any form were “evil” and that we have had enough evil. The blog then called on “writers of goodness” to write only about truth, integrity and probity among many other things. All amiable traits that deserve literary representation.

However if there is not a villain or evil in the world how can integrity shine? I mean Captain America is GREAT, but how boring would life be if we were all Captain America. (Not to mention there wouldn’t be a Hulk and let’s face it Batman’s existence would be highly questionable) To quote Darkness from the movie Legend, “… What is light without dark? What are you without me? I am a part of you all... We are brothers eternal!”

Oh the cries of anger and pain I hear from many of you are echoing in my ears … hold steady… don’t panic... just breathe ;)

Theoretically in an ideal world evil and misfortune would not exist. Everyone would be happy and whole and complete. There wouldn’t be war or hunger or suffering. But would we be complete? Would we really be happy? Would we even know what happy meant? Without evil and misfortune to illustrate what makes us happy, how would we. How can the good survive that? Seriously, have you watched The Stepford Wives? How BORING would that existence be? In the Invention of Lying how free was Ricky Gervais’ character when he learned to lie? We are also going against our instincts and make up to “turn the other cheek” to submit and be “good” all of the time.
Does it not say in Ecclesiastes 3:1:

To everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under the heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

There is a time for EVERYTHING. There is more to life than black and white, there are shades of grey, brilliant reds, cool blues, deep purples etc. If we are all goodness and light all the time how would we see them? And hey just a comical argument all that light would make us all go bananas didn’t you see Insomnia?

Nothing is totally good, nor is anything totally evil. Jeffery Dahmer was a loving son and an activist. Bundy was a charmer, had relationships with many people and was highly intelligent. Ridgeway was a wonderful husband and a hard worker. And to quote Lord Darkness again, “We are all animals, my lady.”

Are violence, cussing, sex and sexuality appropriate in writing? I don’t know if I have the specific answer to that but I can present my point of view.


Some stories need violence or sex or what have you. I do not like gratuitous measures of any of it. I try to read them as I write and decide does this REALLY need to be here? Does the story make sense without it? If it does make sense without it then I take it out. If it doesn't but is too much I edit.

When I saw The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, the scene with her guardian and the rape was too much. I am reading to the book now though and I can tell you it is like a page. And it is needed because the character's internal struggle whilst it is happening is critical to understanding her.

The way I see it you are supposed to wait to "hear god" yes? If that is the case and your muse (I know odd to bring up the pagan concept in this discussion) sends you hurdling into a direction, is it not him speaking to or guiding you? And when you question the righteousness of what you are creating, do you question as the thought comes into your mind or after you write it and then read it with your personal values? As for the question at hand, surely God is against war and violence?

Yet we have wars. So when is it right to go to war... let me give you a few HISTORICAL examples of wars that were fought for religious, theological, social, political  or empirical reasons :

  1. The Reconquista
  2. The 1st - 7th Crusade
  3. The Wendish, Northern, German, Albigensian, & Aragonese Crusades
  4. The 30 years War
  5. French Revolution
  6. American Revolution
  7. Trail of Tears and Rebellions due the Indian Removal Act leading to the EXTINCTION of several tribes
  8. Cromwell's Wars in England and Irleand
  9. United States Civil war
  10. World War I & II
  11. Wounded knee
  12. Battle of little Big horn
  13. War of the Roses

The list goes on and on. Hitler was a mad man. But if Hitler was wrong for the attempted annihilation of several cultures then why wasn’t Andrew Jackson or the leaders of the French revolution?

It depends on the characters (person's) conviction and point of view...

Look at the Albino in The DaVinci code. He felt he was right. He felt he was protecting his god (religion). Any king, pope or monk that executed "heretics" felt they were protecting their religion (Henry VIII and Mary I, and it was over doctrine not religion). Jackson and Cromwell felt they were protecting their countries (and as a Cherokee , a Scott and an Iris woman, that took a LOT of pain to give them that I tell you).

In their eyes they were right. They felt justified. However,  in historical perception some were vilified and some were made heroes. Why?

It is HISTORICAL judgments that shape our view of these events. And HISTORY that decides the righteous not god. Make no mistake we have no idea WHAT judgments, if any exist, were placed upon any of those mentioned by a higher power we believe in if that exists. We can assume based upon our own faiths, but which one of us is right? Me? You? That guy reading this in Muskogee? Or the one in Cairo, or Kathmandu, or Bangladesh? Who knows...

The question you need to ask yourself is what creates or perpetuates violence? Passion, rage, crime, money, psychosis, zealotry (Religious or otherwise). Then you need to ask yourself which one of these would it take for your character to use violence? That is the question you need to look into. Motive.

So what can you as an author do to decide how much if any violence you put in your book? Here are some things to keep in mind.

)  What is the purpose of your story?

Is it a story of a child who triumphs over abuse? I am currently reading “Honest Illusions” by Nora Roberts. For the majority of the book you hear that the hero has been abused. You hear descriptions of scars. As a child he describes it to a point but using a child’s perspective. Things are missed, skipped, glossed over or simply alluded to. In a book like “Bastard Out of Carolina” or “The Burning Bed” you HAVE to hear the abuse as it is happening then. It is the driving force of the character and why they make the choices that they make. If the focus of the story is not on the abuse then the abuse doesn’t need to be detailed

Is it a serial killer story? I feel that for serial killer stories you have to have a certain amount of violence at least in the description of the crime. However, this can be tastefully done without the gore. I just finished a book called “The Bride Collector” by Ted Dekker. In this book a serial killer is collecting brides for god, drilling holes in their feet and draining their blood. However, the killer doe sit lovingly, which we see as one killing is told from his perspective. It doesn’t show you the actual act of drilling or the victim’s reaction to it until the end of the book when the hero/detective is there. Yet when the bodies are discovered the killer has cleaned up the gore so it’s not there. Tasteful. Things like Hostel or The Texas Chainsaw Massacre are just gore to be gore and that is not appealing to many.

Is it a rape or a murder story? Again, unless it is happening in the moment you can tell the story in flash backs. If you know anything about psychology then you know that a victim will only remember so much they will likely block out the actual rape. They will see a face or hear a voice. If they witnessed the murder (or are the ghost of the victim) they won’t remember the actual act. They might remember a metallic smell or someone standing over the body. It is selective memory and it is the brain’s way of coping with trauma. A perfect example of this is The General’s Daughter. You never ever see the whole “gang rape” that happened to the murder victim. You never see the murder until the murderer is talking about it. You see glimpses here and there and you piece it together and in that way you aren’t horrifying the audience. Last House on the Left is an example of overwhelming the audience. In fact in the latest incarnation the 1st moments of the movie so graphically and correctly done that I can’t watch it.

2)  Don’t have a gloom and doom character
No one and I do mean no one has such a terrible life that nothing good happens. They may see life that way but it’s not true. If nothing good ever happens to them in the story then when they are killed or kill themselves, the audience doesn’t find it horrific, they see it as the character’s release from suffering. The same is true for torture. You can’t have a victim tortured the whole book and expect the audience to be shocked and appalled when they die.

Look, I knew Kurt Cobain was going to kill himself, I listened to his lyrics anyone who truly listened knew. But he had good things in his life, Francis for one, and he talked about that and hoped for the future so that made his death tragic. Michael Starr or Jeff Conway on the other hand, had nothing but their habits. I hoped they’d come out of it but I was just sort of like meh saw that coming after they died. Think about real life. When someone with a terminal illness dies, we say that at least they aren’t suffering anymore. The same is true in a story. If your characters have nothing to live for then no one is going to care if they die. Now, they could have had nothing to live for to begin with and then find something in the story, but there has to be something positive in their lives, even your bad guys.

3)  You have to have positive to negate the negative.If you have a rape scene, you have to have a consensual loving sex scene. If you have a horrible abusive marriage, you have to have a positive one. Some great examples of this are “Heartbeat” or “Secrets” by Danielle Steel. The hero in the first is borderline suicidal and that teeters on his kids that he hardly sees until he meets the heroine. In Secrets, Jane is abused by her husband but then has a wonderful relationship with Zack. And even in my own book Venomous Lives, Juliet has a great relationship with one husband and a horrible one with the other

4)  Violence against women and children
Be careful with this one. Having strong females doesn’t negate the violence. You have to have justice for the violence. In Venomous Lives Juliet is faced with spousal abuse. She doesn’t take it lying down but she also gets justice. If the woman gets beaten and there is no justice or point to it; it is there for shock value and as a victim of domestic violence I would find that offensive. Children too. In Bastard Out of Carolina Bone gets away from her abuser and finds a good home, but never gets justice. The book has been deemed shocking and horrific and met with a lot of criticism. That isn’t to say everyone gets justice they don’t but you have to give the women and children something.

5)  Killing a character to save the book
I killed a character in my book. I did it not to save the book but because it was a catalyst for something else. I know that some live by the adage if the book is dragging kill a main character. That is stupid. Why would you kill a main character just to save the book? And please just once let me read a detective novel where the love interest doesn’t die in their arms and then the detective type person goes all Lethal Weapon on everyone.


Now let us address sexuality. Many feel that if you have an alternative life style you are depraved and horrible. The person who engages in BDSM in the novel is always the murderer or the murder victim. And some say that he or she had it coming.  Many make the hooker the victim; or the John the pathetic sinner beyond redemption.

Paul says in Romans several things:

  • "Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever!"
  • "Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things"
  • "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." 
  • “and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith."

Translation: Judge not lest ye be judged

If we believe that whatever god we believe in creates us all; if he creates someone who loves a member of the same sex than who are we to judge? If someone doesn’t identify with their own body so much that they want to become the opposite sex, what business is it of ours? And if the “sinner” accepts the “truth” at the end they will be forgiven no matter the sin. Yes? The only sin that is unforgivable to a god in a religion that believes in sin is non-belief, yes?

  • Matthew 26:28 states, “For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.”
  • Ephisians 1:7 states: “in whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;”
  • Acts 10:43 states: “All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”

Also you would think the way that some people behave that alternative lifestyles are the worse sin known to man. But even the so called “deadly sins” are forgiven. They are stated in Proverbs 6:16-19 as:

“There are six things the lord hates seven that are detestable to him:  haughty eyes, a lying tongue,  hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies, a man who stirs up dissension among brothers.”

Wait those aren’t the deadly sins. But they are, there is no passage that specifically states anything is a deadly sin. Did you know that? However according to Pope Gregory the Great in the 6th century, the seven deadly sins that at most people know are as follows: pride, envy, gluttony, lust, anger, greed, sloth.

I do not see alternative lifestyles in there. I don’t see homosexuality or BDSM or any of that. Lust is all inclusive and that means heterosexual extramarital relations as well. So that’s rather like the pot calling the kettle and thus not a valid argument to this discussion.

 So… No matter whether you are Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Pagan or even just a humanist we are supposed to live and let live. If you are uncomfortable, then put the book down, change the channel and let the appropriate authority judge them.

And absolutely do not stereotype them. This is a disgusting practice reminiscent of racism of old. Why not make the hooker the hero/detective. That would be original? Or the sadomasochist the helpful neighbor? Some people that are highly intelligent and successful engage in alternative sexuality.

f you are going to portray an alternative lifestyle in your writing you have to research it. If you can’t stomach that, then don’t write it. Period. Do you know the difference between a transgender and a transvestite? If you say who cares then don’t write about either. Gay men don’t always have a “wife and a husband” in other words one isn’t always more feminine or masculine than the other. I have known beautiful fashionable lesbian couples where both are clearly feminine. I know bi-sexual couples that have committed relationships with 1 outside member. I know people in open marriages that have definitive rules and violations are considered cheating. BDSM folks aren’t all leather and straps and they don’t all have tattoos and piercings. Not everyone with tattoos or other such body modifications has an alternative lifestyle beyond that. Not all drag queens are gay. I have a BDSM character in one of my books and I have a BDSM friend helping me along with questions and such. There isn’t much of that lifestyle in the book, but what there is will be accurate.

Unfortunately the alternative lifestyles have distinct stereotypes that are way over played. That’s not to say they can’t so for comic relief as is The Birdcage or To Wong Foo or that you can’t have eccentric characters because they do exist. But lesbians are often women who dress in flannel and look like men. Homosexual men are often so limp-wristed they may as well be Gumby. Practitioners of BDSM are either too subservient or too over bearing. People who have open relationships and multiple partners are loose and have no morality. Or worse that anything goes and the partners have no boundaries.  People who are transgender being freaks (think Buffalo Bill from Silence of the Lambs).  Drag Queens so over the top that the “Too Wong Foo” crowd would have disowned them and Ru Paul would have voted them off of Drag Race. Bi-Sexuals ostracized for having sex with the opposite sex.

Too often I see people with alternative stereotypes misrepresented by these stereotypes. Or worse, portrayed as sexual deviants and therefore are the killers, or justifiable victims. The truth is that they are regular people. They can be cops, housewives, CEOS. They could be your neighbor, your pastor, your family. You would never know unless they told you. You can’t identify them by sight.

Sexuality is not a trait. It’s not a personality flaw. Write a character; make them whole, then decide on their sexuality or alternative lifestyle. Don’t let the lifestyle dictate the person.


“Let’s talk about sex baby, Let’s talk about you and me, Let’s talk about all the good things and the bad things that may be.” Salt and Peppa had a catchy tune there don’t you think? But so many people treat this subject like it is the plague. Young Adult and children’s books aside…

Sex is good and to not engage in sex is a sin. It is a fact. The bible never ever says the act of sex itself is bad.

In the Old Testament it says that celibacy is a sin because man was not made to be celibate. Admittedly it says that you should be married first and many of us don’t marry first. If that is your position then don’t have extra marital sex in your story. The Bible says that sex is bad if you abuse it. It also says having sex is glorifying god if used for the reason for its creation. It does list lust among the seven deadly sins, but that can be interpreted to mean desire alone. With the exception of adultery it isn’t in the Ten Commandments. And hey, if you aren’t married you can’t commit adultery right? I know I am arguing a technicality.

Know what, the bible has some of the most titillating lines of erotica I have ever read. Song of Solomon ring a bell? Let me just list a few quotes, shall I?

  • Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth! For your love is better than wine; your anointing oils are fragrant; your name is oil poured out; therefore virgins love you. 
  • Draw me after you; let us run. The king has brought me into his chambers.
  • My beloved is to me a sachet of myrrh that lies between my breasts.
  • I compare you, my love, to a mare among Pharaoh's chariots (that one makes my blood boil and not in a good way)
  • While the king was on his couch, my nard gave forth its fragrance

We are all sexual beings. We have all had sex or seen sex. We know about it, talk about it, and think about it, do it. The majority of women compare notes and experiences, men do too. The manor that we compare is different. Some of us are blunt and honest, say it like it is. Some of us are subtle and shy. Still there are something’s about sex that makes us all go “ewwwww” like an elementary school kid. There are things we can do as authors that can curb the general ickiness of it.

1)  It’s all in the approach
There are basically three ways to write a sex scene. You can approach it as an action scene. You can make it a scene about how it feels or both. There is no in between. If you want to a more metaphorical, approach it from the feeling side. If you want it to be more technical approach from the physical side. Personally, I find that the hybrid model seems to work the best for allusions and fade to blacks which is my personal preference. Don’t get me wrong I have go all the way scenes when needed but that’s a different topic.

2)  Long flowery words for the primal urge
Ok the next two are going to seem contradictory and perhaps should be in the same category but I separated them for a reason. There are only so many ways to represent the human body parts. Big long SAT words are not the way to go. Once I actually read a novel that used the word eggplant to describe something that absolutely should not ever be remotely described that way.  And then there are the people who say things like
“His turgid tumescence pressed into the dewy folds of her efflorescent humectation.”  Ok he inserted tab a into slot b is hardly romantic but that wording just makes me go hmmmmmm (Now I am trying desperately not to break out in the C&C Music factory song but I think it’s inevitable)

3)  We are not OB/GYN’s (well most of us)
For as much as we don’t like tumescence, We don’t want to hear that the estrogen began to flow from her whatever gland releasing endorphins that made her body have small rhythmic convulsions while the testosterone in his system caused his semen to be simultaneously released into her uterus causing them both to … ok Shut the _____ up.. Just stop. That is horrible. Enough said… find the middle of the road.

4)  Sex is like a story or a song
Songs and stories have a progression. It has a beginning, middle containing conflict, climax and an end; or like a song.. Verse, chorus, bridge, end. You have to have a rhythm to it, a plot. It has to make sense and flow like a catchy tune or a well written story. Ironically, or perhaps not, fight scenes are like that too but I digress.

5)  Porn does not a romance make
Do I really have to illiterate on this? Yes? Ok then here goes. Porn, like Facebook, is not real life. Here is the synopsis of every porn film ever:  People say the dumbest things and then other people trust them to do disgusting things to them. No woman wants to hear or have done to her what is being in those movies. Men supposedly dream of a woman that will do all of those things. But I tell you she had better not do them before they get married or even after because he will just have instant whore vibe on. This is not always true of course, but even many of my alternative lifestyle friends are like ummm yeah no. So don’t look to porn, look to real life. Look to your characters. In Venomous Lives, one couple is insanely passionate. And while I had them make love in several PLACES it never was like a porn film. It was what their relationship was like (Furthermore my scenes are never ever that explicit).

6)  More than Sex
Sex in a book should read like the best night of sex you ever had in your life. The romance, the kissing, the foreplay, the cuddling the sleeping the morning after. You can’t just have them have sex and be done, that goes back to number 5. If you have a main character has a one night stand, allude to it. You never ever describe it. It makes it gratuitous and stupid. It is the motivation. It is the undercurrent. IT is the sub text. It shows the personality of not just the characters but the relationship between them.

 7)  Real sex reads like a sitcom
People laugh during sex. Funny things happen. People fall off of beds. They spill wine. Their kids walk in. Write that. Use that.

8.)  See no, hear no, write no
Treat it like it’s just another scene. Because it is. If you are a moral person, you will handle it with the care it needs. You can absolutely fade to black. You never have to say more than, “He kissed her gently, took her hand and lead her to the bedroom.” The audience will know what happened. But if you want to put the scene in and make it steamy then treat it like it is just another scene. Then there is no evil.

9)  Will they? Won’t they? No it’s SHOULD they?
Know what I hate. Authors who throw antagonists into the sack for sexual tension. That’s not sexual tension, that’s ridiculous. I have spent the larger part of 12 years arguing with someone, and despising their very name. I KNOW I will NEVER end up in bed with him… ever. And I know characters won’t either. That’s like Hermione and Malfoy having an affair at the end of the Harry Potter books. If you just throw the enemies in bed and then especially if you do that and then never have them sleep together again it’s like huh? And authors do that all the time. My generation is screaming Moonlighing. No, they built the characters affection up first. You saw it in their interactions away from each other. You knew the attraction was there. But even if two characters seem to have a desire for each other that doesn’t mean they should be together. Back to Moonlighting, how bad did that show suck after David and Maddy slept together?

10)  Too much like the Tudor Family or Too much like the Cleaver family for your story?
Think about your genre, your setting, your plot. Will the sex scene move the plot forward? Would subtlety better serve? Could you get away with suggestions? Are your characters being true to themselves? For example, you are writing a fast paced spy flick. You need a sex scene because that is what James Bond does damn it. Ok so in this instance you don’t want a long drawn out scene. On the other hand if you have spent the entire book building the sexual tension and the reader gets two sentences of the entire act with no fade to black, that’s it, done. They may hang you by your toes. On the other hand if you suddenly have a sex scene with no purpose you will fall prey to the joke my sister and I have during movies, “Welp there it is the pointless un needed sex scene time to get a drink and come back.”

Questionable Language

Cussing isn’t specifically addressed. Nowhere. It says don’t use perverted and angry words and not to curse people, but that’s the “may god strike you down if you don’t …” types of curses. Still I agree that cussing is rude regardless and iisn’t something that should riddle the story without purpose. Still if you are reading a crime novel and the criminal comes across like Ned Flanders you will lose your readers. Unless of course you are a YA writer I which case you can’t go much past damn and even that is questionable.

You have to write believable characters. Cops sailors and blue collar workers swear. When they don’t they are seen to be different. So having a dockworker who doesn’t swear might make him stand out. Venomous Lives has cuss words. Rockers cuss. I cuss so it’s natural to me. However, I try to use other words or even have them pause and use ellipses to cover their swear words when possible. Or I say she screamed a stream of expletives at him that would have made a sailor blush. There are ways around it. At the same time when every other word is an F-bomb then you sound juvenile. Just be prepared. It seems to me that an F-bomb is more offending to reviewers than every incestuous scene between the Lanister twins in the entire series of Game of Thrones books put together in one long scene.


So we have reached the end, our friend the end to steal from Jim Morrison. And what have we learned class?

So are cussing, sex, sexuality, and violence right. When done properly sure. Should you do it? I can’t answer that. The answer is meh ….. It’s subjective. It is subjective to your point of view, to your beliefs, to your story but most importantly to your characters.

I have 5 books 1 written never published, 3 in the works and Venomous Lives.

There is not only violence but Sex, drugs, alcoholism, cussing and spousal abuse in Venomous Lives. It is a book about rock and roll. One character is redeemed, one is tarnished beyond repair. It is the old can't judge a book by the cover lesson, I suppose, but it the book doesn’t work without them.

The unpublished book is fantasy, there are sword fights and yes a necromancer. It doesn't work without them.

One book in the works is a crime romance. One is a mafia themed romance and one is a semi-autobiographical work. Violence and such will appear in these books.

So in closing I feel that Obi Wan Kenobi bridges this topic well, "You will find that many of the truths we cling to depend greatly on our own point of view."


DISCLAIMER: Post discussion must remain strictly to the topic: The Big 4 in Writing. Everything else will be deleted.


Upcoming events

Posted by Brandy Potter on May 13, 2014 at 8:25 AM Comments comments ()

It is going to be an exciting month for me, for Written By, for Rude But Not GInger and most importantly for Venomous Lives and the book currently under the working title "The Ties that DIvide" (I loved it at first but I am beginning to hate it good thing a title is the LAST thing a book needs ;))

Right so what is going on you might ask... well I will tell you......

First and foremost I have been asked to present a Video for Authors presentation for Promo Day 2014 by Jo Linsdell She is an amazing mountain of knowledge for me and has been one of the three or four people who can jump start me when I am in a rut. I am incredibly honored to be asked.

Promo day has a WEALTH of knowledge and strengths available for you to tap into and get info from. There are many presenters, many different topics, it is going to be a hellova place to be that Saturday. I know I am going to be there. The link to the website is above and you can find links on all of the presenters pages as well. Or click below. I want to iterate again how incredibly honored I am to be participating!

She and I will be doing an interview together on Saturday, at 4pm EST to promote it. I was thinking about doing a Google+ hangout or Facebook wall chat on the day, but I will have to double check with Jo.

Written By..... is also going to launch it's 1st full issue around that day. We will include reviews of several books just to mention a few, Jo's new book The Box; Virginia Jennings' The Alien MInd; and a few new authors works.

I want to let everyone know that Liz and I disscussed it and, especially for new authors, if the review is not going to be favorable, we are going to let you know first. We want to give you honest feedback but we don't want to be the bad review on your record either.

Rude But Not Ginger, while a personal project is also going to launch. Each of us will publish a blog and at least 1 if not two top ten lists will be going up on YouTube.

The Ties That Divide, while in essentials will remain the same story, is getting a facelift. I wanted to try a 1st person narrative and I started it as such. However, it is not as funny as my work normally is with all of it's sarcasm, it was not flowing for me and I was forcing the book. I walked away from writing for the last 3 months because of personal issues, but mainly because both The Ties That Divide and And They Lived have been a forced staccato that was beginning to chafe a bit. I was passionate about the ideas, but something just wasn't working. For Ties it happens to be the 1st person. I tried it. I didn't like it. It is not for me. So.... Ties is back on the assembly line. I will get that finished before I touch And They Lived again. I havent quite figured out whether the block there is a personal loss I suffered this year or something in the story itself.

Most exciting................

After some long research and lots of listening hours I have decided to record the audio book of Venomous Lives myself. There are two paths to the process, I can read it myself and have a few BAD (or in two cases non-existant) accents (which is bothering me) OR I can have auditions and get some voice over folks in. In the spirit of Indyism that is me, I have found a site where actors go to build their resumes called The Voice Acting Alliance (I will tell you that as of the time of this post their website is having some issues so if you have trouble you can hit up their Facebook page too). I wanted to get some feedback on this.

I hope you are as exctited as I am. Last year was very trying personally and I hope that I can get back to my enthusiasm and my muses!

I hope you all have a GREAT day today and that you come out and see all of us on May 31!

Winter blues

Posted by Brandy Potter on February 26, 2014 at 11:55 PM Comments comments ()

So.. I wanted to update everyone on my projects......
The books are SLOWLY coming together. There have been so many personal, professional and family issues going on that I have just not felt the creative juices flowing as of late. Writer's block is not even the word for it.. but I keep tweaking and writing and things will eventually flow again.

Winter is not helping either. All of this snow is sucking the energy out of me. Come on Spring!

Another block has been Written BY...

It did not become the vision that we had hoped for, we wanted a platform that gave writers wings and had them stand out. Also, it put their names on another social media platform... YouTube.

However, we did not have many takers. While we are disappointed that the independent authors seem to still not understand what a huge leap this could have been for them, we are trying to figure out EXACTLY how we want to revamp it, but we know we want it to be a VBT stop for our fellow independent authors. So it is not going to die!

For now, we will be transforming that to a review/virtual book tour stop only.

We will each be reviewing 1 book a month and we are adding a generational element to this. My daughter Cheyenne, a budding author herself, will be reviewing books appropriate for teens/pre-teens/and children.... her first review will be this month for 'An Alien Mind' by Virgina Lori Jennings.

We will continue to review 1 book a month whether it is, as we hope a book from the Indy author market, or something we simply picked up to read. However, it is going to happen as it does not depend on people outside of the magazine and it will be video based (at least for reviews.... we have not worked out VBT stop stuff yet)

But on to happier things!

We are 37 days away from going to my happy place.. the most wonderful place in the world Walt Disney World and I am hoping it gets me back to what I love... writing...

Also, Liz, Chey and I are going to start a VLOG for top ten lists, music, art and event reviews... all things Disney (you know me) so I will le tyou know when that gets going.. should be a BLAST!!!!

However, I want to acknowledge the people behind the scenes that keep me as motivated as I can be:

My sister, Elizabeth and my daughter Cheyenne.. they are my muses, my laughter, my battle buddies an most importantly, my soul mates! We got each other so we got this!

Leon, Dan, Dezinald and Jenn you guys are keeping it real and keeping, Liz, Chey and I together!

Thank you for being there! Jo Linsdell- Feliciani and Virginia Lori Jennings... they post stuff to me and about me, they haven't lost faith in me a they light a fire under me when I think a spark has gone out. And they continue to support me in my abstention....


Please check out Lizzie Death, Jo Linsdell, and Virginia Lori Jennings, Author's pages and support them. They provide valuable insight in their blogs, not all writing, but still creative, and are an inspiration.

Please join us at Where Writers And Authors Meet for helpful people who like to keep writing alive.

If you are interested in our review services hit us Offical Page of Author Brandy Potter or the contact us page at

Oh and don't forget to check out

Until I find my muse again.... all my love and good thoughts,

be happy... be healthy and remember... to walk with out dreams is to walk blind!

~ Brandy

It's Christmas..... again!

Posted by Brandy Potter on December 19, 2013 at 9:15 AM Comments comments ()

So here we are... another year getting ready to exit. I have been absent from both Written By..... and Brandy Potter books, but we have had LOADS going on. Nothing exciting for you guys but keeping Chey, Liz (My sister and co-editor for Written By...) and I very busy! The biggest and best news is that Liz's cancer is in remission and she has made the move to Philly to start college so so proud of her.


I spent my 38th (ugg) birthday in Philly with Liz and the Muses have decided that And They Lived is going to be set there instead of NY. Nothing against NY but I just felt that having both Ties and that book set in the same city was too much.


During the holidays, it's very hard to find time to write. I try to write for at least 1 hour every day, but the muses for BOTH of my books are telling me I am headed in another direction than originally written so both Ties and And They Lived are getting face lifts.... wish I was.. well not really but


I asked Santa to bring me some peace in my life so that I can get on with it! This Writer's block is KILLING me, but for now I will revamp the books towards the muses' guidance and move forward. Well that and Norman Reedus or Tom Hardy, but I doubt that I am getting either of them hahahah.


Written By... got pushed to the back burner a bit and I think part of the problem was that we had a lot of Ideas and no time for it. I am going to revamp it a bit and strictly make it a video blog. I think trying to put a video mag together with Liz in one place and me in another is just way to hard. So look for those changes after the New Year.


Anyway this hoilday, I wish all of you happy tidings... but whether you celebrate Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanza, Festivus, Yule, WInter Solstice or I am going to eat all this stuff and buy gifts because I can ... remember we all have our own beliefs (or lack there of) and traditions and no one is wrong in them.


I hope you get everything you asked Santa for....


What does my story need????

Posted by Brandy Potter on July 9, 2013 at 12:55 AM Comments comments ()

Ok so you have begun to write……. great…. Or you maybe one of those people that want a written guide on what to write before you write.......... 

What are the most important things to any writing project? If you MUST have a list….. then…..


  1. Plot – Now I find that this is very closely linked to all of the elements that follow. However the plot is what is happening in your story. There has to be a conflict internal or external. Internal conflict can be something like a commitment phobe falls in love. Or grief etc…. External would be a mystery to solve, or a way to save a lover or to plan a crime. The list goes on and on. There should also be an end to the conflict one way or another at the end of the novel or series.

     A plot can be a simple or complex as you want it. However I find that when writing for an adult audience a simple plot requires complex characters to hold interest. However that is just my opinion and we all know about those

  2. Character – To me this is the meat and potatoes of the story. Characters drive many if not all of my stories (the Mafia work being the exception at this point). But if your plot is your meat and potatoes a simple bio and description may be enough. Back stories can complicate things but they make for interesting reading… again opinion….

  3. Setting – WHEN is something taking place? WHERE is it taking place? This is what is meant by setting. Where meaning what city, town, country not necessarily the settings of individual scenes. For example, if you want to have someone speaking or dressing in Victorian fashion, you probably don't want to have the story take place in Elizabethan times. I was going to use modern times in that sentence but my best friend Liz will say that Steam punk IS Victorian and IS modern. SO out of respect.. but I digress…..

    Ok so the time is right but where are they…. A story about the French revolution can hardly take place in China... Right now I know you are saying Brandy.. this is obvious but you would be surprised at how many people try to do these things… seriously. 

    Oh and one other thing that myself and other history nuts find INCREDIBLY annoying… if you are going to write historical fiction (defined as any fiction set in a specific time in the past, i.e. the 80's) DO YOUR RESEARCH! Read a story from someone asking for me to give an opinion and I couldn't get past the first three paragraphs…. Why? It was set in Scotland in the late 1600's with Charles I as king…. In fact during the time it was set Charles II was on the throne and since my great great grandmother's maiden name was HYDE (Charles' sister in law Anne Hyde married to James II of England (VII of Scotland) and yes we are very distant relatives) I was more than well aware of the historical faux pa… Another story by another author had a "King of Germany" who's family had been kings in Germany for centuries.. . oops digressing again.. you get the point….

  4. Writing style – Are you descriptive ie Steven King or dialog/action driven ie David Eddings….. Translation do you describe every little thing in extensive detail or do you allow the details to be filled in as the plot develops…. Are you going to write in 1st, 3rd or the almost impossible second person? What dialog are you going use? Are you going to write in prose or poetry? Is this going to be a screenplay, a script, a novel, a short story, a graphic novel, a comic book? Is this fiction or non fiction? Etc Etc

Now all of that being relayed; understand 1 thing…. As I said in my 1st blog post…. Write the story you want to read… write for yourself. All of these 'technicalities' will work themselves out as the story flows. If not then you can always edit later….. Just Write!


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