Escaping from Hell was just the beginning of Phoebe’s problems




We're keeping you safe from demons this holiday season! Guess what's up for pre-order now? That's right, a snarky cat and his demon killing sidekick, Phoebe!!!

Protect yourself, snag that pre-order, and you can be first to read their adventures! Deleases December 15th.

Co-authored by J. E. Taylor and Katie Salidas

by JE Taylor and Katie Salidas

I told you I had news to share in this newest newsletter. I've been working alongside Jane for years. When she came to me with the idea of doing a trilogy about an escaped demon looking to earn redemption by fighting the seven deadly sins, I was all for it. This plan has been in the works since late 2018. As of now we have books one and two finished and are about to start work on the third and final installment of the trilogy. We're anticipating these books to have a rapid release in ebook. December 15 2019, January 15 2020, and February 15 2020. This will put the ASSET series back just a bit but don't worry. I haven't forgotten about Sage. Book 4 in the ASSET series is expected to come out early 2020. I'll be sure to keep you updated. But for now, I hope you get excited for this joint venture to come to fruition. 

 Beneath Demon Hunter Trilogy Book 1

An escaped demon and a snarky cat face off against the seven deadly sins.

Escaping from Hell was just the beginning of Phoebe’s problems. In Hell, she had a position of legend. A marquis of torture. But on the human plane, she is just another New York City destitute.

Before she has a chance to get her bearings on the unforgiving streets, Fate steps in and offers her a chance at redemption, but it doesn’t come cheap.

She must bring in the demons that escaped alongside her while making sure no humans are harmed in the process. In order to do that, she needs to learn to live in the human world with the help of another one of Fate’s parolees, a snarky cat named Smoke.

If it means never seeing the halls of Hell again, Phoebe will do anything, even battle the seven deadly sins single-handed.

***
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MomFail Moments that Might Make Their Way into a Book Someday.

September already? This year has really flown by. And now that the kids are back in school the days seem to be moving a record-breaking speeds. How many of you have kids in kindergarten? My littlest just started. There is a good ten years between my oldest and youngest girl children, and I have to say the stark contrast in education is noticeable. What used to be half days that included snack time and arts and crafts has turned into a full six-hour schedule of academics. And the homework! Don't even get me started with the homework. Three weeks into kindergarten and we're already crying over homework. Ahh the joys of a new school year. Gotta love it. So tell me, how is your new school year going? Kids enjoying it, good teachers, any funny stories to share?
I'll share one of my own that happened today.
Sitting around the table, oldest doing her homework (with headphones on), Boychild starting his, and youngest getting her first assignment (she had to write her name properly using correct capital and lowercase letters). Littlest attempts it and it needs a bit of work. I must have said something to set her off because instead of just erasing and trying again she flies into a rage, screaming about how she "just can't write an uppercase Z." (she can) and as I'm trying to get her to calm down and understand the difference between the capital and lowercase letter (between shrieks of "I can't do it"), my boy child is having issues with his math homework. He's in second grade now and they're deep into Common Core. His problem? 4+3. Find the answer. Simple right?
So while my youngest is screaming and my oldest is ignoring me with her headphones in, I'm telling boy-child just to add the two. I don't see what's so hard about that. He starts whining that he has to show his work and needs to use doubles. I'm not sure what exactly that's supposed to mean, and he has no math textbook to give examples of the work they're doing (just a worksheet), so I have to run to the computer to do a quick google.
Yes, you heard me right; I had to google my 2nd grader's math homework.
MomFail of the year, right?
I finally understand what they are looking for. They want him to double the 4 to make the problem easier to add. Because adding 4+3 is really super hard, right? But this is common core training, so it's not allowed to be simple. Keep in mind that this is all happening while I'm dealing with my screaming Kindergartner who refuses to write a capital letter Z.
Twenty minutes of pure hell later Boychild finishes his homework and by some miracle the littlest writes a capital Z. All is right with the world. Meanwhile, I'm rocking quietly in a corner, realizing this is only the first month of school.
Yay school!!!

Bitmoji Image

So that's my update for now. I know it's not book related, but I had nothing new to share yet. Next newsletter will hopefully have a sneak peek at the upcoming Agents of ASSET book 4 cover. I have my cover artist working on it right now, so it shouldn't be long.

Until then, why not check out the latest book deals for September. As always these book deals are hosted by StoryOrigin and books are provided by the authors as a way to introduce new readers to their work. Check each deal to see what is on offer: Sales, Freebies, and Kindle Unlimited ebooks!
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Understanding Plot and Story Structure

Stories (novels, movies, television shows, and plays) are comprised of three key elements: CharactersSetting, and Conflict.
All three elements work together to create the journey. That journey is the story your audience will  immerse themselves in.

Plot Structure info graphic by Katie Salidas


Setting and Characters with no Conflict is boring.
Characters cannot act out or experience their Conflict without a Setting to do it in.
All three elements must be developed fully.

Plot Structure info graphic by Katie Salidas

START BY BUILDING A BELIEVABLE WORLD FOR YOUR CHARACTERS TO LIVE IN.

You must have a sense of your world as a physical place if you want your characters to exist within it.
A character’s world plays a huge part in forming who they are. Characters are products of their environment.
Take inspiration from the world you live in, and decide how similar or different you want your fictional world to be.
  • Geography
  • Environment
  • Society
  • Religion
  • Politics
  • History


Plot Structure info graphic by Katie Salidas

CHARACTERS DO NOT HAVE TO BE LIKE-ABLE BUT THEY DO NEED TO BE REAL!

As their creator you must understand what makes your characters tick, so you know how they'll react to the conflict you throw at them.
Know your characters. Create a character bible or rule book to establish their individual personalities. Understand their likes and dislikes. What motivates them? What are their goals and aspirations? Know what role they are meant to fill within your story.
If you write a character who does terrible things without any reason, readers will not connect with those characters..
Get your reader to understand why your character is doing something —good or bad — and they'll be more likely to support and root for your character. (Even if that character is morally ambiguous.)

REAL CHARACTERS RELY ON READER EMPATHY
A character is endearing when they mirror us in some way. 
They have “Like Me” Qualities. 
Have Flaws / Quirks
Bad Days / React Poorly to Their Situation
Have Fears and Phobias
Have Dreams and Aspirations 



Plot Structure info graphic by Katie Salidas


CONFLICT IS THE KEY TO DEVELOPING CHARACTERS

▪Choose a conflict that matters to the characters.
A relationship between two people breaking down can be just as important as the fate of the entire universe. 
▪Employ internal and external conflict to create tension.
Tension is strongest when it attacks from within as well as outside of your character.
▪Create multiple sources of tension.
We all deal with conflict and tension from multiple sources, and your characters shouldn’t be different.
▪Keep raising the stakes.
Your characters need a challenge. They should try and fail a number of times. No easy wins.


SETTING + CHARACTERS + CONFLICT = PLOT

PLOT THEME
The combination of the three key elements with a primary theme (one large conflict) that sets the story in motion.

Plot Structure info graphic by Katie Salidas


Overcoming The Monster (rebellion)
Defeat an antagonistic force (often evil) which threatens the protagonist and/or protagonist's homeland.

Rags To Riches
The poor protagonist acquires power, wealth, and/or a mate, loses it all and gains it back, growing as a person as a result.

Hero’s Journey
The protagonist goes to a strange land and, after defeating the villain, returns with experience.

Rebirth
An event forces the main character to change their ways and become a better person.

Underdog (sports / heist / contest)
A loner or outcast with a special talent. Joins a group who needs their special talent. Group conflict threatens to break them up, but they come together in the end to win the day.
The Quest
The protagonist and companions set out to acquire an important object or to get to a location. They face temptations and other obstacles along the way.

Comedy
Light and humorous, conflict becoming more confusing and ridiculous until characters triumph over adverse circumstance, resulting in a successful or happy conclusion.

Tragedy
The protagonist's character flaw or great mistake leads to their undoing.



PLOT STRUCTURE
The order of plot elements as they play off each other during the course of the story.


Plot Structure info graphic by Katie Salidas


THREE-ACT STRUCTURE

ACT I
EXPOSITION
OPENING IMAGE
        Snapshot of the Main Characters Normal life.
STORY THEME REVEALED
        What is the theme of the story? What expectations can we set up?
        SET UP THE JOURNEY
        What will the Main Character need to do to reach the goal of the story?

RISING ACTION
DEBATE
        The journey will be scary. Will the Main Character go?
CATALYST
        Something forces the Main Character to go on the journey.

ACT 2
RISING ACTION (CONTINUED)
THE CHOICE
        The Main Character chooses to go on the journey.
PROMISE OF PREMISE
        The journey is not what was expected. Harder.  
B STORY
        Side quest or strength given to Main Character to continue on the journey through Secondary Character interaction or support. 

CLIMAX
       TWIST. KINK IN THE PLAN.
       False victory or early defeat.
       BAD GUYS CLOSE IN 
       Enemies are everywhere. Infighting happening with Main Character and Allies. 

ACT 3
FALLING ACTION
All seems lost. Huge Defeat. Rock Bottom. Can the MC recover and get back on track?
RESOLUTION
DIG DEEP 
        Find a new, better plan. Choose to continue fighting.
REASSEMBLE THE TROOPS
        Set up the final confrontation.
FINALE
        The big win! Reward. Celebration. Character reflection on what happened.






Does Your Character have a Resume?

Character Bio's are important.

Writing Tips and Tricks


You have to know your character before you can write them. If you don't you'll end up writing a flat, cookie-cutter, person.

You don't want that, do you?

Of course not!

So, how do we get to know these fictional characters we just pulled out of thin air?

We give them a life and history all their own.

The simplest way to do this is to give them a resume. Pretend they're sitting down in front of you, applying to be part of your story.

Start with the basics. (beyond the image stuff, which I assume you have already come up with; hair color, eye color, skin color, height, etc...)

What is their full name?
How old are they?
Where do they live?
How long have they lived there?
Did they ever attend school? If so, where? (I write vampires, so school could mean listening to the great Socrates, discuss philosophy back in the A.D. days)
Any specialized degrees or skills?
Previous work history? (the jobs we do help to shape us as much as our education. Did your character have to work some menial job they hated? Were they some high-powered executive? For fantasy stories, rulers of Kingdoms and peasants count as well)

Now, once you have the basics out of the way. Ask your "applicant", what qualifies them to be a character in your story?

Are they applying for a main character or a secondary character position?
What special powers and/or abilities do they have?
Ask them to list one good and one bad quality about themselves.

And finally, your character needs to provide references! What kind of friends do they have? What is their family like? Do they have any enemies that they wouldn't want listed on a resume? List a few of those people in their life, both good and bad.

If you (or your character) can answer all of these questions, you will be off to a great start. The goal is to have a character that not only feels real to you, but reads as a real person to your audience.

A background and history help to create that "real" feeling that can make your character jump off the page and become someone your readers will want to follow on their journey.

About The Author

Katie Salidas is a USA Today bestselling author and RONE award winner known for her unique genre-blending style.

Since 2010 she's penned five bestselling book series: the Immortalis, Olde Town Pack, Little Werewolf, Chronicles of the Uprising, and the all-new Agents of A.S.S.E.T. series. As her not-so-secret alter ego, Rozlyn Sparks, she is a USA Today bestselling author of romance with a naughty side.

In her spare time Katie also produces and hosts a YouTube talk show; Spilling Ink. She also has a regular column on First Comics News where she explores writing from a nerdy perspective.