Monday, February 24, 2014

Guest Post: Of Fire and Roses by Danielle Belwater

Nathaniel West’s mother is dead, his father a lost cause. Anger has become a way of life, until he
meets and falls in love with Cora Ewell. Only Cora has a secret, one that could kill them both.

An age old dark magic resurfaces and it becomes a race against time for Cora and Nate to find the long buried secrets to saving everyone they love and each other.

After a near fatal accident leaves Nate in limbo, he must find a way to get through to Cora before time runs out and she is forced into life eternal with the evil wizard, Elias Stafford.

Author Bio:
Danielle Belwater adores the concept of true love and thoroughly believes everyone has their Prince Charming or Snow White out there somewhere, even if they have to fight demons, ghosts, and wizards to find it.

Danielle has been having a love affair with words since she was young and in primary school, writing some rather imaginative tales. This love has followed her into adulthood. 

She lives in rural South Australia with her husband, young daughters and way too many animals to mention. She spends most of her time dreaming up characters, stories, ghostly tales, and watching Firefly re-runs.  She also cooks the odd meal for her family to avoid them looking like skeletons at official author functions!
Danielle is passionate about reading and her interests include pretty much anything with words from rolling four volume epics to the daily newspaper.

PANTSING – Is not something to do with your underwear.

“Are you a plotter or a pantser? Well, which one? What are you?”  As if my entire writing career would be judged on this one answer.

“Huh?” Was my response when I first started moving in author circles. I protectively clutched my trousers, worried that any second someone would grab them from behind and I’d find them down around my ankles.

Much to my dignity’s relief, this was not the case and I got to keep my pants where they belonged.

It is, in fact, a term coined from the phrase “flying by the seat of your pants”; the art of writing a book with no clear direction or plot. Letting characters lead you where they will and see where you end up.

To me, the whole concept of ‘pantsing’ was enough to push my heart rate through the roof and reach for the paper bag. I like structure, a clear vision, direction. It’s the way I roll.

It came as a complete shock to me when my characters had very different ideas to mine and from what I discovered, they don’t take no for an answer.

Many times during writing “Of Fire & Roses”, I would be heading down a clear path. I knew exactly where I was going.  But if I took my eyes off Nate or Cora for a few seconds, all hell would break loose and I’ve got a great big plot twist staring back at me. I’m sure I heard them laughing at me from behind the page.

But overall, I think it has made it a better book. It keeps the reader guessing and the story fresh.

So I have learnt to embrace my inner pantser, even if I do have to put the reins on her from time to time! It can be very liberating and exciting to find out where your characters want to lead you.


I came to stand on the branch that I would jump from. Holding on to the branch above me, I edged my way out to the dangled rope. With one hand, I grabbed the rope and pulled it toward me. I inched back a few steps to give myself a decent amount of swing room. The rope was fraying, coarse, and rough in my hands. I could hear loud shouts and whoops of encouragement from below, but I blocked them out, shut my eyes…then jumped.

Free…Swinging out in the air, I forgot everything in that brief moment of peace. Letting go of the thick rope for that split second of suspension, I felt like I was flying. Then, I was no longer flying. I was slamming—slamming into the cold, glassy lake. The impact shattered every cell in my body as the pain of hitting a sheet of solid water turned me to jelly. Then I was under. I opened my eyes. Murky darkness surrounded me.

I don’t know how far I was submerged but I could see rays of sunlight piercing through the surface into the depths. I waited for the moment my feet would hit the bottom so I could push off and resurface. Feeling the sludgy sand between my toes, I closed my eyes again and prepared to launch myself skyward. I don’t know why, but my feet were stuck. Something cold and slimy had wrapped itself around my left leg, tendrils crawling like ants around my calf. All the air in my chest escaped in a single cloud of air bubbles making a frenzied dash for the surface.

 Kicking and flapping about, I tried to dislodge whatever had caught my foot. I needed air but every time I opened my mouth it filled with the ceaseless rush of muddy water.

Don’t panic, don’t panic, don’t panic! I crunched myself into a ball and stretched my arm down in a vain attempt to remove whatever it was that had the vice grip on my ankle. I wrapped my hand around the offending root that held me. Terror stopped my heart and froze my blood, and my eyes shot open. Clamped around my leg was a grizzly, white-knuckled hand extending out of the lake floor. I struggled and fought to pry the digits loose. It was no use, my ankle was locked fast, and I had nothing left.

Given the go-ahead, the murky liquid hungrily searched for any way to penetrate and take over my body. A thousand knives pierced through me as I battled for every last scrap of oxygen. My arms and legs spasmed once, then twice, then stopped fighting and went deathly still. An ethereal calmness took over. I knew right then I was dying. I thought of Cora, imagining her warmth and fire, and I found peace. I pictured her arms wrapped around me, holding me tight forever and never letting go.


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