Thursday, April 25, 2013

"House of Mirrors" FREE downloads this WEEKEND on Amazon!

HOUSE OF MIRRORS will be available for free downloads on Amazon this weekend April 27 & 28 (Saturday & Sunday) Here's the link  for Saturday & Sunday!  #ebooks

HOUSE OF MIRRORS is a paranormal thriller about a woman who buys antique mirrors from an eccentric antique dealer; only to discover she has brought entities into the house attached to the mirrors. The uninvited guests cause a bit of a stir for the distraught woman who is mourning the loss of her little girl to a recent drowning. Her husband hires a psychiatrist and family friend to exorcise Eleanor’s personal demons, but Dr. Kelso discovers that the mysterious mirrors hold more secrets—a few that he isn’t comfortable having aired. 
“House of Mirrors” taps into the universal hope and desire we all have of contacting loved ones who have died, but sometimes it’s better to leave the dead at rest.

New book cover for "House of Mirrors" thanks to Jeanine Henning!

I've given HOUSE OF MIRRORS a book cover makeover.  I tried to make a homemade cover to begin with but decided it's better to go with a design professional like Jeanine Henning of J.H. Illustration.  If you're looking for a professional book cover artist, please check out Jeanine's work at J. H. Illustration or her website.
Here's my new book cover for HOUSE OF MIRRORS:

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Building Suspense One Delay at a Time



So many ways to build suspense …
The suspense genre is different from the mystery genre in that the reader already knows how the murder or heist went down in the beginning.  The rest of the story is the protagonist trying to solve the murder or run from the murder and eventually answer the question or defeat the enemy.  Suspense really is delaying the answer to a question posed at the beginning of the novel.  For instance, look at any Alfred Hitchcock movie and you’ll see perfect examples of suspense at work.  Hitchcock is the one who penned the famous quote about the “suspense bomb” and showing the difference between surprise and suspense.  If you haven’t heard about this quote, here it is:
Hitchcock said “There is a distinct difference between "suspense" and "surprise," and yet many pictures continually confuse the two. I'll explain what I mean.
          We are now having a very innocent little chat. Let's suppose that there is a bomb underneath this table between us. Nothing happens, and then all of a sudden, ‘Boom!’ There is an explosion. The public is
surprised, but prior to this surprise, it has seen an absolutely ordinary scene, of no special consequence. Now, let us take a suspense situation. The bomb is underneath the table and the public knows it, probably because they have seen the anarchist place it there. The public is aware the bomb is going to explode at one o'clock and there is a clock in the decor. The public can see that it is a quarter to one. In these conditions, the same innocuous conversation becomes fascinating because the public is participating in the scene.           The audience is longing to warn the characters on the screen: ‘You shouldn't be talking about such trivial matters. There is a bomb beneath you and it is about to explode!’
          In the first case we have given the public fifteen seconds of
surprise at the moment of the explosion. In the second we have provided them with fifteen minutes of suspense. The conclusion is that whenever possible the public must be informed. Except when the surprise is a twist, that is, when the unexpected ending is, in itself, the highlight of the story.”
          I’m sure most people have seen Rear Window starring Jimmy Stewart and Grace Kelly.  In the beginning we along with Jimmy Stewart watch as the neighbor/murderer does away with his wife---at least he leaves an awful lot of clues for us to believe that.  So the question then is will Jimmy Stewart gather enough evidence and the ear of the police department to arrest the murdering neighbor.  That answer is delayed throughout the movie.  The police don’t believe him.  His colleague from work makes him feel like he’s crazy.  Grace Kelly is pawing him and trying to avert his attention to herself and their relationship.  Finally he wins Grace and a nurse over to his side when they too notice something peculiar about the neighbor and his apartment whose window backs up their window.  You can see how it all ends if you haven’t already seen Rear Window, but of course I’ll tell you that the answer finally gets answered at the end.
          Novelists and screenwriters use several devices and techniques to stir up suspense.  Here are a few of the old tried and true ones…
          *Use story structure to build suspense—You can tell a story from two different points in time.  You can tell a story through different switching points of view.  Both of these techniques delay the answer to the problem and creates suspense, and maybe a little frustration, too.  Also, chapter endings are great places to plant cliff-hangers or new developments in a story.  Just don’t go over-kill with this because then a reader could tire of too many and now predictable cliff-hangers.  Remember, always use a little moderation with everything. 
          *Use threat to build suspense—If the protagonist isn’t in danger or something that means so much to them is not at stake, then what do they have to lose?  Where’s the suspense?  Make sure you have a perilous journey ahead for your protagonist.  Feel free to give us a bit of the antagonist’s POV, so we’ll know what the protagonist is up against.
          *Use the urgency of time to build suspense—You know how you feel if you’re running late for an important event—transfer that same anxiety into your readers throughout the story.  Remember Hitchcock’s aphorism about the two people eating breakfast while a bomb ticks beneath the table?  There’s an urgency of time in that scene he’s created.
          *Use worry to build suspense—For a suspense to be really good, the reader needs to be worried about the person and the outcome of the story.  They’re wondering how in the world will this work out for the protagonist?  They’re up against so many obstacles.  When the reader really wants something to happen and it’s not yet happening…that’s good suspense.  By making the reader worry, you’re keeping the reader engaged, curious, and invested in the outcome of the story.
          When I look for a new suspense book to read, I look for these things and most of the time they appear in the story, but when they don’t it proves to be an unsatisfying reading experience.  And that’s probably because the writer hasn’t taken the time to understand what makes suspense tick and what draws readers to this genre.  Instead of asking what do my readers want to happen, maybe ask what do my readers not want to happen…just yet. 


--Lisa M. Logan is author of HOUSE OF MIRRORS

Why should you use Goodreads?


I learned about Goodreads by looking for book recommendations on Twitter about a month ago.  Little did I know, I’d be hooked a month later.  I check my Goodreads account for updates now more often than I do Facebook, and that’s a lot. 
Basically, Goodreads.com is the essential go-to website for bookaholics, bibliophiles, book worms, book lovers, book addicts, whatever you’d like to call us. 
For those of you unfamiliar with Goodreads, here are some features that I love about this site:
It keeps a tally of the books you’ve read and reviewed as well as those of the friends you make on Goodreads.  It’s great for getting recommendations by people you’ve chosen to “friend” on Goodreads.  For instance, I could friend or follow a person who loves The Shining by Stephen King which I absolutely think is one of the best books of all time, and then I can look at that person’s profile and see what else they’ve read and liked.  Also, people recommend books to their friends and that’s helpful. 
One of the greatest features about this site is the groups section.  They have groups that are genre-focused like Paranormal mystery books, Horror books, Mystery aficionados, etc.  I love that I can peruse these forums for likeminded questions I have about the genre or books.  Some of these groups serve as online book clubs, so if you like assigned reading and sharing your thoughts with a group, this is an excellent place for you to check out.
If you’re an author, Goodreads is a wonderful opportunity for you to meet readers who enjoy the genre in which you write.  For instance, my author profile Lisa M. Logan on Goodreads can be found simply by typing in my name in the search field or my novel’s title “House ofMirrors.”  You’ll see a bio and they can even feature your Facebook and blog links on this profile page.  They also keep a tally of your reviews on Goodreads.  It’s not, however, a place where you should spam book lovers about your book.  But if you’re an author like me who also adores books and reading, you’ve found the right place at Goodreads.com.  Another note for authors who want to use Goodreads to help promote their book:  There are numerous groups of writers on goodreads.com which are specifically geared toward promoting and help one another.  I encourage both readers and writers to check out this site!

Monday, April 8, 2013

House of Mirrors now on Amazon!

House of Mirrors hits the Amazon Kindle store today.  I love a good ghost story, and that's what I set out to write when I started working on House of Mirrors years ago.  It was a project that I worked on during my lunch hour and evenings.  I hope you'll enjoy reading it, and please leave a review on Amazon if you have time.  I'd love to hear what you think.