Dynamic Writing Duo

Dynamic Writing Duo

Monday, October 21, 2013

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Haunted Retreat

As a writer sometimes you just need to get away and re-charge your brain cells.  The best way we light a fire under our dormant muse is to hang out with like-minded friends, brainstorming, eating chocolate and drinking wine.  We do this several times a year by going on a weekend retreat at a fun place in our state.  And nowhere is more fun to us than staying in a hotel that is supposedly haunted.  For us as writers the fun of delving into ghost lore comes from learning the story behind the haunting and then exaggerating it to another level.

We blogged about this retreat once before, but today we were reminded about how much fun we'd had and how we need to do it again.  maybe this post will bring back all the memories and get us motivated. 

In the spirit of Halloween, here's our ghost story.

One of our favorite places to visit is Jerome, AZ.  Jerome is an old mining town set on the side of a mile-high mountain.  The timeworn, crumbling buildings are now home to mostly artists who sell their work in the shops lining the main street.  Jerome is a wonderful little town to purchase gifts of sparkly jewelry, scented candles, lovely paintings and beautiful handmade clothing.  And when you get hungry you must stop in the Haunted Hamburger for lunch, but be sure to save room for dinner.  The Asylum, the dining room in the Jerome Grand Hotel features mouth-watering entrees and a great wine list.  Besides, you never know who might drop in to say ‘hello’ while you’re dining there.  Local legend tells the story of a lady who roams the building looking for her daughter who died at birth.

A couple of years ago during October a group from our local RWA chapter reserved the entire third floor of the Jerome Grand Hotel, which sits on top of the mountain.  This Spanish mission style building, constructed in 1926, started out as the United Verde Hospital.  In 1930, it was known as the most modern and well equipped hospital in Arizona and possibly the Western States.  In 1950 as the mine operation was being phased out, the hospital was closed and the building remained vacant for 44 years.  In 1994 the building was sold and the new owners turned it into the Jerome Grand Hotel.

When the hotel doors were opened in 1997, the haunting began.

“What makes the Jerome Grand Hotel a worthwhile place to stay, is the fact that this is probably one of the most active haunted locations in the world,” according to www.ghostlyfavorites.com.

As we checked into the hotel we were told stories of strange noises coming from empty rooms such as coughing, labored breathing, and even voices.  We were told not to be surprised if the lights or TV's turned on and off by themselves.  As we made our way toward our room, our spines tingled in anticipation of a ghostly encounter.  Several in our party felt cold spots in the hallway and there were reports of strange sensations. 

On Saturday night, the Jerome Grand took our group on a fun ghost hunt where we got some great orb pictures.  We didn’t see any ghosts while on the tour, but some creepy events happened to us after we went to bed.  Our room phone rang at midnight waking us up, but when answered, no one was there. The ringing phone was a bit spooky, but the scariest of all was the feeling of panic Bev aka/Dani had as unseen hands tugged on her body as if trying to scoot her off the mattress.  Since this hotel was once a hospital could it have been a nurse trying to move a patient?  Convincing ourselves this was only a dream we tried to go back to sleep, until Chris aka/Tia screamed that someone had yanked her hair.  After that happened neither of us slept until the sun came up.

Was all this real or just active imaginations of creative romance writers?   A personal experience can either change your mind or reinforce your belief in paranormal activity.  We believe there are things that can't be explained.  And, besides, who doesn’t love a good ghost story?

Our next story will have a ghost in it. We're finishing up the last chapter as we write this blog. Meanwhile check out our latest release, Time's Enduring Love. It's a time travel set in Kansas during 1866. We think you will enjoy reading it and we promise that you won't be scared.

Happy Halloween,
Tia Dani

Monday, September 23, 2013

$2.50! Death Unseen is on Sale.

Our paranormal mystery, Death Unseen, is on sale at The Wild Rose Pressduring their Fall Blowout!  Grab your copy for only $2.50.


Navajo Tribal Policeman Lance Logan discovers his cousin's body brutially mauled and senses there's more to the death than it appears.  His intuition leads him from Four Corners, New Mexico, to Phoenix, Arizona, where he finds himself embroiled in another muder case.

Carly Carlton could be considered an ordinary woman except for two traits she tries to keep hidden—clairvoyant powers and the ability to experience death in dreams. Her talent to see beyond the veil of reality, as she and Lance try to find a killer, helps to soothe his embittered heart and softens his revenge.

Unbeknownst to either, Lance carries the DNA key coveted by a maniac intent on creating a human with animalistic killing tendencies. But the madman’s plan doesn’t include Carly’s expanding talents or her unconditional love for Lance. She will do anything to save him…even if it means sacrificing her own life.
  (Pages 288) Hot
ISBN: 1-60154-842-7
Graphic Violence/Language    

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Time's Enduring Love is FREE today

We are so excited!

TIME'S ENDURING LOVE is free on Amazon for download today! This is a time travel romance and our first with Books We Love.

Bev and Chris writing as Tia Dani

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Time's Enduring Love by Tia Dani

Time's Enduring Love

Libby Strammon believed her life was on track. A young woman of the tumultuous 1960's, she worked hard to fulfill her dream of becoming a doctor so she could open a practice in the small Kansas farming community where she was raised. But when a perilous storm sweeps her back a hundred years into the past she is forced to rely on her instincts while navigating the changed world that a hundred years difference has wrought.

Kansas Volunteer, Lieutenant Matthew Dome's magnetic attraction to the slightly odd woman who appeared out of nowhere wars with past promises made—promises he'd failed to keep. He yearns to have the fascinating spitfire by his side, but can't let go of the past and his guilt long enough to convince himself she belongs in his life.

When circumstances send Libby and Matthew into danger, and a buried secret is revealed, Libby races against time to choose between returning to the 20th century she is familiar with or remain with Matthew who loves her but failed her once before?


We hope you enjoy reading our latest release.  As you know we write in various genres, but it seems like time travel/paranormal and fantasy is our favorite.
We've been thinking about promo ideas so if any of you readers have an idea about what you'd like to see from us, please let us know.  Tia (Chris) makes some lovely jewelry and greeting cards.  We will be having some contests very soon and we're happy to offer either as gifts.

Check back often because we are planning some fun events.

Have a great week,
Tia Dani

Tia Dani is a multi-published writing team made up of good friends, Christine E Jones (Tia) and Beverly (Dani) Petrone. Together they create endearing and realistic characters, humorous dialogue, and unusual settings, and, best of all…they’re having the time of their lives.

Find us at Amazon, The Wild Rose Press, Breathless Press, and Books We Love

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Books We've Found and Use When We Need A Refresher by Tia Dani

Every once in a while we need to give ourselves a refresher course on various writing techniques. Here's a short list of books we've found to be helpful. Check them out. If you have other books that you like, drop us a note, leave a comment and write the book title/author. We'd really love to expand our list.

All the best.
Tia Dani


1. Make Your Words Work by Gary Provost
2. Writer’s Mind Crafting Fiction by Richard Cohen
3. Characters and Viewpoint by Orson Scott Card
4. Creating Characters by Dwight V. Swain

Show Vs Tell

1. The 38 Most Common Fiction Writing Mistakes (And How To Avoid Them) by Jack M. Bickham
2. The 28 Biggest Writing Blunders (And How to Avoid Them) by William Nobel
3. Show, Don’t Tell by William Noble
4. Make Your Words Work by Gary Provost
5. How To Write a Damn Good Novel (Book 1 and 2) by James N. Frey
6. Building Fiction How to develop plot and structure by Jesse Lee Kercheval
7. Techniques Of The Selling Writer by Dwight V. Swain
8. Writer’s Mind Crafting Fiction by Richard Cohen
9. Description by Monica Wood 

1. Characters And Viewpoint by Orson Scott Card
2. Creating Characters by Dwight V. Swain
3. Techniques Of The Selling Writer by Dwight V. Swain
4. Beginnings, Middles And Ends by Nancy Kress
5. Make Your Words Work by Gary Provost
6. Writing To Sell by Scott Meredith

View Point

1. The Art & Craft of Novel Writing by Oakley Hall
2. Setting by Jack M. Bickham
3. Characters And Viewpoint by Orson Scott Card  
4. Show Don’t Tell by William Noble
5. Lessons From A Lifetime of Writing by David Morrell

Rounding Off A Chapter With A Hook

1. Crafting Scenes by Raymond Obstfeld

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Domino Theory, by Tia Dani

Self-editing is tricky. For example as the author you are so familiar with your story you could absentmindedly forget to include information along the way...say an important point you thought of but, without thinking, left out.

Keep this point in mind while editing, a reader knows only what you have actually told (or shown) them on paper.

When we go back through our stories during the editing process we try to remember this and work together to make sure that we haven’t left out important details and confused our readers.  Plus, we don’t want our writing to be choppy and sound like there are two writers. We have worked very hard to create the Tia Dani voice.

We call this particular part of our editing process the Domino Theory.

Imagine you have spent hours, aligning hundreds of dominos, narrow-end up, across a flat surface. You’ve placed the black, shiny tiles perfectly so they form an intricate and unusual pattern. Once finished, your finger is poised at the beginning. You tap the first key lightly. With pride you watch as the line tumbles gracefully, one clicking against another, until the formation comes to a glorious end.

Writing a well-designed story is very much like setting up the dominos. Each sentence, paragraph, scene, and chapter must be aligned in your intricate formation. The writing dominos you work with generally are combinations of showing vs. telling, description, view point, senses, mood, voice, plot, dialogue, characterization, humor, and motivation. If any of the writing dominos are off-centered or missing entirely, your beautiful story will fail.

Writers who understand the power of correct placement look upon their manuscript as an exciting challenge. They instinctively study a newly finished scene and ask themselves what needs changing, adding or deleting. Will they need a domino from their bag of writing tricks for a missing slot? Or will they have to carefully adjust an off-centered tile so that it aligns perfectly with the others?

For beginners (and for those who haven’t yet developed this gut instinct), condition yourself to recognize what a missing or an off-centered domino looks like. If time is available, put the work aside, return later and reread with fresh eyes. Or have a trusted friend read the scene and ask if anything seems unclear. Don't ask them to edit, just read for clarity. After while you will begin to see a pattern of how you misalign your work or leave something out entirely. The bottom line here:  Knowledge comes with practice, hard work, and common sense. It is also called pay-attention-to-what-the- reader-sees.

For examples, let’s look at some obvious missing dominos.

Problem:  Imagine paragraphs one through twelve has Katy in the house washing dishes and talking to her mother on the phone her lack of boyfriends. Suddenly in paragraph thirteen Katy is outside washing the car and talking to her dog about going for a walk.

Solution:  Transition Domino. Add a short paragraph between twelve and thirteen to show why Katy ended mom’s phone call and went outside with her dog. Voila! You’ve filled in the open slot.

Problem:  Veronica is home, alone, with only a dozing cat for company. She’s just finished reading a romantic love scene in one of her favorite books and is staring dreamily into the fire. Suddenly Veronica throws the book across the room and jumps to her feet, dislodging the sleepy animal from her lap. She mumbles something under her breath then walks slowly into her darkened bedroom to get ready for bed.

Solution:  Motivation Domino. Let’s say the author used the correct dominos needed to build a believable scene; such as the five senses, description, and mood. However why did the character suddenly throw her book? The author neglected to explain poor Veronica hasn’t had a date for over a year and she feels that her chances of meeting an interesting man are nil to none.

Problem:  A scene takes place outdoors. The day is sunny, horribly hot with no wind. The characters walk and engage in a captivating conversation which has drawn the reader in, yet something feels not quite right.

Solution:  Off-centered Domino. The characters appear to be totally unfazed by the high temperatures. This scene requires one of the five-senses realignment. With a few short sentences the author can adjust the scene to show perspiration dripping from HIS brow or SHE rapidly fans her face with her hand.

Problem:  Envision a scene where Charles is hiking and has stumbled across a rattler. The snake coiled, ready to strike. Yet paragraph after paragraph, the author goes to great detail in describing the beauty of the reptile, the sound of the animal’s ominous rattle and the texture of the sand surrounding it.

Solution:  A 'mis'-aligned domino. The detail, though well-written, is not pertinent to Charles view point. Charles would not be noting sand textures here. The snake is about to strike! Try going back over the scene and weave in some extra dominos so that the emotional dominos and descriptive dominos form a dance in time with each other. It might take some work but will be worth it when completed.

Here are some important points to remember

* A domino line can be fixed at any time by concentrating on one very important rule. For every action there must be a reaction. Use it as a mantra.

* Write down your important dominos and display them somewhere you can see the list. While editing, consider if any are missing. If you do, you'll soon keep your story flow moving smoothly to a glorious end.

* Read aloud. For us, one of the best ways we catch a missing domino is reading our scenes aloud. Tia seems to have a natural instinct for catching missing dominos. So, usually Dani reads the first round while Tia closes her eyes and listens. Then we alternate. Tia reads while Dani listens for missing words. (Dani can catch them in a heartbeat.)

* Print out your scene. When you're truly stumped with awkward domino line, try printing out the scene on paper. We generally do this when we feel something is still off with a particular scene. Sometimes it seems faster to catch a tricky misaligned domino that way.

The glorious end? Once we feel we've aligned our dominos the best we can, we give it a thumbs up send it off to our editor.