Hi peeps, we have Brenda Murphy stopping by today with the tour for her new lesbian release Sum of the Whole, we have a brilliant guest post, a great excerpt and a fantastic giveaway, so check out the post and click that giveaway link! <3 ~Pixie~
Sum of the Whole
Jaya Pomroy falls desperately in love with Sarah while vacationing at an exclusive BDSM pleasure house. Unwilling to become Jaya’s possession, yearning for independence, Sarah refuses to leave with her and they part after a bitter fight.
Six years later they meet again. Fighting to leave her past behind, but unable to resist her attraction for Jaya, Sarah agrees to try again. Jaya has to cope with new rules and new roles. When a former client threatens to expose Sarah, Jaya risks everything to protect her.
Can their love survive in the real world filled with vengeful ex-lovers and deadly secrets?
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Research for Writers: Ten Tips for Location Research
by Brenda Murphy
Sum of the Whole opens on the isle of Skye, an incredibly beautiful island off the cost of Scotland. I was fortunate enough to visit the island and was able to use my travel journal and photographs as part of my research for the novel. Sometimes I don’t have a specific story in mind until I arrive at my location. If you are able to travel location research is one of the best parts of writing. Some writers do a large amount of research before they start a project, some do research as they go along, others of us may pick up bits and pieces like crazed crows gathering up every little shiny object, or fact that catches our eye, add a little ADHD to the mix and location research can become overwhelming.
I fall in to the crazed crow category. After coming home from several research trips with less than ideal results I made myself a list of things to remember when doing location research. Here are ten tips for productive location research for your non-fiction, creative non-fiction, novel, short story, screenplay or other creative writing project.
1. Location research does not have to be long distance. Google Earth has put much of the world just a mouse click or finger swipe away. If you are setting your story in a real place, even if the characters are fictional, readers will take you to task if you are mistaken in your geography.
2. Travel guides are your friends. If you are able to visit a location, take advantage of travel guidebooks. Most libraries carry travel guidebooks. Lonely Planet travel guides are my favorite and no they don’t pay me to say that. If you are not able to travel to the location, a guidebook is helpful for researching your setting. If your work is not contemporary, library sales are an excellent way to find out of print/ older guidebooks and old maps for getting the scenes right. Even if you have been to a place using a travel guide will help with correct spellings and directions.
3. If you are going to travel, plan before you go. Plan, plan, and plan again. I keep notes on what I need or want to use in my story if researching for a work in progress and use that to make a list of places to visit, things to experience, and people I would like to interview.
4. Borrowing from the film and photography industry make a shot list. For photographers and film makers a shot list is a list of photographs to take or scenes to film. I use photos for much of my research because I am a visual organizer. If you are not into taking photos, your list would be a list of places or events you want to visit or observe. Some writers sketch locations if photographs are inappropriate for the location or event.
5. Local guides can be invaluable if you have limited time. Members of historical societies, hiking groups, amateur photography clubs, and/or friends of friends can be more than willing to answer questions, point out the best places for photos, accompany you to events, or provide history and details that only locals know. Be respectful of their time, offer to pay for fuel or food or both if they take you on a tour that involves motorized transportation. A thank you card is always appreciated.
6. Be respectful of local culture. Dress appropriately, this is another instance where local guides can be helpful. People should never be treated like animals in the zoo. Always ask permission if you wish to photograph people, and respect their answer if it is no. Most people will answer polite questions. If they ask why you want to know, be truthful. Many people will be happy to answer respectfully presented questions, and if not, move on.
7. Journal your experiences, even if you don’t normally keep a journal. Find a way to record your impressions, feelings, tastes, sounds, and what you see. All of this can be used, if not for a current project for a later one.
8. Push your limits, try new things, but be safe. Pay attention to your surroundings. Leave an itinerary if you are traveling alone. Listen to your gut, if something does not feel right if most likely is not safe.
9. Travel light, keep your gear simple, and have a back up plan if the location/event you planned to visit is not available.
10. Keep your receipts! Research trips can be tax deductible but you must keep very good records.
Don’t be afraid of location research. Use these tips, make your trip productive, and most of all have fun.
Sum of the Whole, Brenda Murphy © 2017, All Rights Reserved
Jaya scrolled through the messages on her phone, rereading the instructions from the owner of the house. Her palms were sweaty in spite of the air conditioning. She shifted her hips, trying to find a comfortable spot on the broad leather seats.
“Do you wish to stop, Mistress? It’ll be at least an hour before we reach the house.” The driver’s husky voice matched her stocky build and ruddy face. Jaya appraised the thick hands wrapped around the wheel and the way the chauffeur’s livery draped her broad shoulders and considered it. The woman made eye contact with Jaya in the rearview mirror, one eyebrow raised and lips in a closed-mouth smile. Jaya imagined saying, “Yes, let us stop somewhere and I’ll flog you until we’re both satisfied,” but the instructions from Rowan House were explicit and interactions with the staff were not permitted outside the house.
“No.” Jaya kept her voice soft and let her gaze rest on the woman’s face in the mirror. “I’m tired of people staring at me.”
“You’re a sight, Ma’am, if you don’t mind me saying so.”
“You’d think they’d never seen a woman in a suit before.” Jaya left out the word “dark-skinned.”
“It’s your height, Ma’am. And you’re fetching in that suit. I imagine out of it as well.”
Jaya looked down. She had not flirted like this in years and it was wonderful, even if she knew it was not going to lead to anything more.
“Do you always flirt with your guests?” She relaxed her shoulders and sat back in the seat.
“Only the ones I find—” The driver looked at Jaya in the mirror. “Stunning.” She turned on the radio and went back to piloting the long, black town car through roundabouts as they left Armadale. As they traveled farther from the city, she was occupied dodging rough spots and the occasional mud-splattered sheep wandering along the edge of the single-track road.
Jaya sank into the soft leather seats, grateful for the distraction of the driver’s banter and the tinted windows, dark enough to hide her face from anyone who might try to catch a glimpse of the car’s passengers. On the ferry to Skye, she had caught more than one mother reminding her children not to stare. The curious faces of the children were better than the hard looks she got from the men on the ship. Half of them looked like they wanted to fuck her; the other half looked like they wanted to kill her. Some probably wanted to do both.
She had not anticipated how angry she would feel under the gaze of the other passengers. She had almost wished one of the rude men would start something so she could finish it. She had worn this suit to her father’s funeral, to her brother’s dismay. An orphan again at thirty-five. The high from the banter with the driver wore off and she slumped in her seat. She sifted through her memories of the last two years. Her father’s illness and slow death, her brother’s anger, and Deidre’s departure blended into an oppressing melancholy. What the hell was I thinking? Why am I looking for comfort here?
She could have chosen another venue for her adventure, but Jaya wanted to experience this house. The house Deidre spoke of as her home. She lied to herself, telling herself she chose this house because it was highly recommended as a discreet, old-school establishment dedicated to unique and personalized experiences.
Deidre. The woman of sorrows. Never was a woman more truly named. Jaya scrolled through the photos of Deidre on her phone. Brutal memories of their life together filled the emptiness of the ride. As they traveled farther into the country, the battery on her phone quietly expired. Jaya tucked it into her bag and let the rocking of the car soothe her as they drove past rough stone walls and rocky pastures.
Brenda Murphy writes both short stories and novels. She is a member of Romance Writers of America. Her non-fiction and fiction work has been published in various collections—most recently, “Whole Again” in First: Sensual Stories of New Beginnings (Ladylit Publishing, 2015).
When she is not writing or teaching cooking classes, she’s attempting to train an unrepentant parrot, much to her Ohioan family’s delight. She writes about life, books, and writing on her blog, writingwhiledistracted.com. She shares recipes and celebrates food on her blog, quinbykitchensideshow.com.
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