Marva Dasef's Blog, page 5

April 17, 2015

Many newbie writers have trouble maintaining a consistent point of view (POV). It's entirely possible to develop scenes and chapters in different POVs if you don't allow your mind to meander all over the place. Clean POV also requires a consistent use of person. First, second, third, etc.


Suppose you write in first person. That means you say, "I walked down the path." Third person means you say, "She walked down the path." Let's forget about verb tense for now. If you want to write in present tense, then go for it. However, you're not as likely to have me as a reader.


Second person is possible, but incredibly awkward. Speaking to the reader is sort of like breaking into their apartment and acting like a serial killer. "You are walking down the path." The poor reader might think, "No, I'm not! Wait! Am I supposed to be walking someplace? But I'm sitting here reading. I don't want to walk elsewhere. It's hard to read when I'm walking!"

So, let's just say that second person is out of the picture. I really couldn't advise you on how to do this with any grace or style. If you insist upon second person, then I commend you for your chutzpah.


Okay, 1st person and 3rd person are both fine, but what if you want to get into the head of another character, perhaps the villain? Can you do this when writing 1st person? If both your main character and your villain are talking aloud referring to themselves, it might be a tad confusing, but it's doable if you carefully divide scenes and chapters and make it entirely clear who the "I" is in each. Also, you'll need to be watchful of voice. Oh, right. Voice. Did you think everybody talks exactly the same way? Of course, your MC is nice, good, heroic, etc. and your antagonist is mean, awful, and villainous. Here's some first person examples if you decide to present both MC and villain in first person:

"I walked down the path, my heart yearning for any sign of my beloved, but I continued to be ever watchful of signs that Mr. Blackness had passed this way."

"I stood in the shadows, watching the poor, sad sucker meandering down the path without a clue that I've got his beloved stashed in a dungeon guarded by ogres."

These examples, of course, are exaggerated to make the point of voice incredibly important when you're writing with multiple points of view.


Easiest to do is third person. Everybody can have their say with little difficulty for the reader recognizing who's the star of a given scene.

Thing is, 3rd person is the writer's voice, the omnipotent story teller from on high (imagine your god-like presence hovering over the characters in your work).

Still, separation of points of view by scene or chapter is the best, easiest, cleanest way to keep the reader on track. You can change points of view between paragraphs, but expect your reader to have to backtrack to figure out who is out front in the story.

If you think you absolutely need to change POV without a scene or chapter break, then your last resort is a paragraph break and a time or place changing word to allow the reader a moment to switch gears.

Fred walked along the path, hoping to find some clue to Hilda's disappearance. MEANWHILE, Hilda pounded on the bars and screamed, desperately hoping to attract attention.

Here the time/place changing word is MEANWHILE. It signals the reader that the story is jumping elsewhere.


Stick to 1st or 3rd person. Change POVs only on a scene or chapter break. Keep the voice consistent to the character.

See? That's not so hard, is it?

Excerpt from "Missing, Assumed Dead" - Using Flashback

These scene fragments illustrated changing POV using a definite break between the first part which is in the 3rd person point of view of Ray. It's a flashback to a time when the main character isn't present. Rather than just having Ray TELL Kam what had happened, the point of view shifts to Ray in the past. Both the scene break (* * * *) and Kam asking Ray a question, returns the POV to the main character.

George glanced at the copy of  Riders of the Purple Sage on his desk. “Why don’t you go, Ray? You’re his friend.”

“Yep, but he’d think I was buttin’ into his bizness if he’s okay. If you go, you can say sumthin’ about looking for someone else or what not.”

“So, I should lie to him but really just be checkin’ on his welfare, eh?”

“Yep. That’s what I’m thinkin’.”

George swung his legs off his desk and thumped his boots on the floor. “Well, I s’pose that fits under the category of law enforcement.”

Ray suppressed a smirk. “That’s what I thought. Somebody official should do the checkin’, and that’d be you.”

“I’d be happy to do my duty, Ray. I’ll head out that way tomorrow morning. He prob’ly just got tired of your burnt burgers.” George leaned back in his chair and put his feet back up on the desk “When I get back with the good news he just didn’t want to come to town, I’ll sure as hell let you know.”

Ray nodded. He left George’s office and headed back to the café and his living quarters in the back.

* * * *

Kam leaned across the counter. “What did George tell you?”

“He didn’t tell me nothin’.” Ray shrugged. “I asked, but he just said the judge was takin’ care of it.”

Mitch’s heavy, black brows formed a V. “Ray, if you know something the sheriff should hear about, you need to say.”

The old man took Kam’s drained glass and refilled it from the pitcher. “I don’t know nothin’ for sure, so’s I’m not sayin’ no more.”

Prejudice, murder, insanity, suicide: Every small town has its secrets.

Smashwords $0.99 with Coupon AU73Z:
Kindle: $2.99
Audio: $1.99 when purchased with the ebook at Kindle.
Print: $8.99
When Kameron McBride receives notice she’s the last living relative of a missing man she’s never even heard of, the last thing she wants to do is head to some half-baked Oregon town to settle his affairs. But since she’s the only one available, she grudgingly agrees.

En route, she runs afoul of a couple of hillbillies and their pickup in an accident that doesn’t seem...accidental. Especially when they keep showing up wherever she goes. Lucky for her, gorgeous Deputy Mitch Caldwell lends her a hand, among other things. Her suspicions increase when the probate Judge tries a little too hard to buy the dead man’s worthless property.

Working on a hunch and trying to avoid the Judge’s henchmen, Kam probes deeper into the town’s secrets and finds almost no one she can trust. With Mitch’s help, she peels away the layers of prejudice, suicide, murder, and insanity. But someone in town doesn’t like her poking around, and when they show their intentions by shooting her through the police chief’s office window, the stakes are raised. Kam must find out what really happened to her dead relative before someone in this backward little town sends her to join him.

And she thought Oregon was going to be boring.The Cellophane Queen
Like  •  0 comments  •  flag
Published on April 17, 2015 08:00 • 2 views

April 15, 2015

*** I just heard from Dawn after years apart and decided to re-run this post in her honor. She didn't know she was a role model.***

In honor of my friend Dawn, I've lowered the price from $2.99 to $0.99 on
Amazon:  First Duty and Ultimate Duty 
Smashwords: First Duty and Ultimate Duty

Tall, redheaded heroines kick ass. Yes, they do. But mostly only in fantasy and science fiction. When I wrote a redheaded heroine in my books "First Duty" and "Ultimate Duty," I used as my model a real-life person I had known years ago. She was a natural redhead, close to 6' tall (and more in her Frye boots), and she kicked every single ass while barely moving a muscle.

I hung out with Dawn a few years of my college life. Her brother was a temporary boyfriend of mine (also a redhead and quite tall). When that relationship ended, I kept his sister. One excellent reason for doing so beyond her being a funny and witty woman, was her ability to attract men. They flocked to her, growling at each other like the wolves they thought themselves to be. Dawn would laugh.

She flat out told me she could get any guy (who was looking for a hook up, and some that weren't) just by standing up in a room. As that magnificent mane of red hair rose above the crowd, it was as if somebody threw a bucket of chum in the ocean. The sharks circled for a few moments then moved in for the kill.

Dawn would laugh. Place her ringed index finger gently on the chest of the closest and give the guy a tiny push. She had just kicked his ass...big time.

I miss Dawn. She went off to Alaska, then on to places unknown. She's still out there and, even at our age, she's probably still kicking ass even with a few gray hairs peeking through the red. She contacted me recently and is no longer a lost friend - YAY!

When I released "Ultimate Duty" after it ran for more than three years under the Eternal Press banner, I found another kick-ass redhead to adorn the cover. She looks a lot like Dawn. Dawn would laugh.

So all you other SF/F writers with your tall, redheaded kick-ass heroines, find yourself a real live one like my friend. I have the rights to her (whether she knows it or not), while you all are probably just thinking how cool a tall redheaded kick-ass heroine would be. Have you actually met one? I thought not. Dawn would laugh.

If you have modeled your tall redheaded kick-ass heroine after a real person, tell us about her in the comments. I'll give you a copy of both of my tall redheaded kick-ass heroine books.

The Cellophane Queen
Like  •  0 comments  •  flag
Published on April 15, 2015 08:00 • 3 views

April 13, 2015

I'm not sure how many of the writers I know manage to post a daily blog. I tend to forget about blogging entirely unless I have news to report. Now that I no longer have new works to report, I'll advise, review, or promo for friends' books from now on.

Cute KidI'm supposed to give tips on writing, encouragement to perservere, and funny things that happen in my writing life. Oh, and I absolutely must have a picture of my cute cat, dog, child, or whatever every couple of weeks. Here's one now to fulfill that obligation.

Every once in a great while, I'll post something like this, and I duck my head and wince. Nobody should care what I think about writing unless I have some credentials to prove I know what I'm talking about. Yes, I've published a bunch of stories and ten books of books, but that hardly makes me expert.

Still, it is expected, so here I go.

1. Use all the adverbs and adjectives you want. They are perfectly good words in the dictionary. Go ahead. Look them up. Nowhere does the dictionary mention that words are on a scale of 1 to 10 in worthiness.

2. If your book doesn't attract an agent, it's not your query or synopsis; it's because your book isn't the current hot thing in publishing. More teen angst, gorgeous vampires, loving werewolves, and (I don't get this) angels.

3. Money flows from the writer to the writing/publishing world. How many blogs tell you to take classes, go to conferences, join certain professional organizations. All of that costs money. In the long run and on the average you will spend more than you receive in royalties. Writing is NOT a money-making proposition.

4. Write if you must, but don't expect the world to give any notice to you.

5. Writing is a hobby. Treat it as such, and you'll be happier in the long run.

6. "Its" is the possessive form. "It's" is the contraction of "it is."

There. I've done my bloggerly duty and given you a bunch of stupid advice. Use it wisely, grasshopper.

The Cellophane Queen
Like  •  0 comments  •  flag
Published on April 13, 2015 08:00 • 6 views

April 10, 2015

I've seen plenty of discussions on prologues. Whether they're a good idea or not. Arguments may be made in either direction, but I'll come down firmly on the side of ... maybe.

For what it's worth, I think prologues can be useful, but I have some definite rules:
A prologue shouldn't run more than a couple of pages.If the prologue concerns events immediately before or simultaneous to the first chapter, then it's the first chapter. Realize that a prologue reeks of literary pretentiousness, especially in a genre novel. Prologues are good for background set way before the events of the book and, if possible, with completely different characters.Background information in the prologue should be difficult to deliver by a character without it sounding like a lecture.You can see I followed my own rules in this example excerpt, and this prologue works. It's set 400 years in the past. It has no cross-over characters. It quickly explains why the witches are living on a remote arctic island. In chapter one, I can move ahead with the specific problems facing my main character, and nobody is wondering why the heck she's living on an ice-bound island. 
Go ahead. Tell me why I'm not right. Or, give me an example of how a prologue can work when it breaks my (arbitrary) rules. Don't argue against my rules. They're mine, and I'm keeping them. What are your rules? If you don't have any rules, then you'd better do a bit of soul-searching. That's the premise of jazz. Know the rules, then you can break them.
Now to the prologue of Bad Spelling, Book 1 of the Witches of Galdorheim series.

Prologue from Bad Spelling, Witches of Galdorheim Book 1

November, 1490—Somewhere in Germany

“They took Helena,” Edyth whispered, grabbing John’s arm the moment he walked through the doorway.

Wide-eyed, John looked at Edyth. “But she has never–”
She shushed him. “I know, I know. They’ve cast a wide net. It shan’t be long before they suspect us.”John gazed around the one-room, thatched hut they called home. “I’m afraid ‘tis nothing else we can do. We must flee.”
Tears welled in Edyth’s eyes. “What they are doing to us, ‘tis hateful. Why cannot they just leave us be?”
He took Edyth’s shoulders, pulling her to his chest. “‘Tis not just us. The inquisitors condemn many not of the craft. They find black magic where it does not exist.”
His eyes darkened. “‘Tis the fault of that wretched Heinrich Institoris and his cursed Malleus Maleficarum. Even the Church has banned it, yet the so-called citizen courts use it to condemn any who disagree with them.”
Edyth shook her head, her face grim. “You speak the truth. ‘Tis shameful they accuse whoever dissents, be they witch or not!”
John nodded. “We shall have one last coven gathering. All true witches must leave this place soonest.”
“But where will we go, John?”
“North. So far north that no mundanes could live there. If we move away from their grasp, we can make our own way in the world.”
John dropped his hands from Edyth’s shoulders. “Come. We’ve messages to send. I do not think it wise to wait any longer.”
The witch and the warlock gathered foolscap and invisible ink. As they penned each word, it faded and disappeared from the paper. They wrote in the Old Runic language as an additional safeguard from prying eyes. Only a true witch could read it.
That very night, the ashes of the messages flew up the chimney, carried by incantation to the far corners of Europe, to all known witches and warlocks. Within the month, the trek northward began. The Wiccans reached the ends of the earth then went further. Finding a tiny island, completely removed from any other piece of land, they stopped and laid their claim. They named their island Galdorheim: Witches’ Home.
* * *

BAD SPELLING - Book 1 of The Witches of Galdorheim Series
A klutzy witch, a shaman's curse, a quest to save her family. Can Kat find her magic in time?
Kindle, Audio Book, and Print at Amazon
Audio at
B&N Nook
Smashwords (67% off coupon WF62U)

If you’re a witch living on a remote arctic island, and the entire island runs on magic, lacking magical skills is not just an inconvenience, it can be a matter of life and death–or, at least, a darn good reason to run away from home.  
Katrina’s spells don’t just fizzle; they backfire with spectacular results, oftentimes involving green goo.  A failure as a witch, Kat decides to run away and find her dead father’s non-magical family. But before she can, she stumbles onto why her magic is out of whack: a curse from a Siberian shaman.
The young witch, accompanied by her half-vampire brother, must travel to the Hall of the Mountain King and the farthest reaches of Siberia to regain her magic, dodging attacks by the shaman along the way.

The Cellophane Queen
Like  •  0 comments  •  flag
Published on April 10, 2015 08:00 • 3 views

April 8, 2015

Buy the print book and get the ebook for only $.99 on Amazon. If you EVER bought the print version, then the ebook is #99cents. If you bought a different version of the print book than the one currently advertised, let me know and I'll send you the ebook free.

Bad Spelling - Print
Midnight Oil - Print
Scotch Broom - Print
Faizah's Destiny  - Print
Setara's Genie  - Print

Eagle Quest - Print
Missing, Assumed Dead - Print
First Duty  - Print
Ultimate Duty - Print
Tales of a Texas Boy  - Large print
Mixed Bag - Print
Mixed Bag II: Supersized - Print
The Cellophane Queen
Like  •  0 comments  •  flag
Published on April 08, 2015 09:00 • 1 view

April 5, 2015

I have dozens of coupons available for anybody who would like to try out audiobooks without any obligation except to let me know if you used one. You'll only see the codes if you click through to read this post.

Since contests and rafflecopters are a waste of your time and mine, here's one bunch of coupons. If you use one, just make a comment indicating which one you used. Or two or three. Just note that once a code is used, since it can't be re-used.

Oh, yeah. I prefer you use the coupons to get my audio books, but you can use them for any book you want. Let's see how well this works. If it goes well, I'll dump another bunch of codes in a few days.

Here's the list of codes:


This is how you use them at

Go to any of my books' pages on You can get to them using this link (scroll down to see the books): Marva Dasef's Audio Books.Add the audiobook to your cart.Enter the promo code, and click "Redeem" on the cart page to change the price from full price to $0.00.Create a new account or log in (your Amazon login will work here).Complete checkout, and start listening to the free copy of the book.
Be sure to write a comment on this post saying which code you used. Since I get notifications when comments are left, I'll edit this post to remove those I know have been taken.

I won't know whether you used a code for my books or someone else's. I'd just appreciate if you leave a review on if you grab one of mine.

The Cellophane Queen
Like  •  0 comments  •  flag
Published on April 05, 2015 08:00 • 2 views

April 3, 2015

The only place to find these coupon codes is on this blog. $2.99 books are only $0.99 using the codes.

See this page on my blog for the links and coupon codes.

The latest addition to the list is "The Tales of Abu Nuwas 2 - Faizah's Destiny" which creates a two-book series of The Tales of Abu Nuwas along with "Setara's Genie."

The Cellophane Queen
Like  •  0 comments  •  flag
Published on April 03, 2015 10:00 • 2 views

April 1, 2015

'Cause you can look right through me, Walk right by me and never know I'm there... "Mr. Cellophane from the musical Chicago"

I have decided to stop writing for publication. I don't like doing things I don't do very well. Readers have let me know by their silence my work is mediocre at best. I don't like being mediocre, so I'll go find something I do better. Now where did I put that oboe?

Goodbye, Farewell, and Peace Be. The Cellophane Queen signing off.

The Cellophane Queen
Like  •  0 comments  •  flag
Published on April 01, 2015 05:00 • 5 views

March 30, 2015

Smashwords ebooks on sale for $1.00 each. Catch the bargains while you can. Prices will normalize on April 1st (that is, they'll become what they should be).

Witches of Galdorheim Series

   Bad Spelling
   Midnight Oil
   Scotch Broom

The Tales of Abu Nuwas

  Faizah's Destiny (free on Amazon Kindle March 30th-31st)
  Setara's Genie


  Missing, Assumed Dead

Kids' Adventure

  Eagle Quest

Science Fiction

  First Duty
  Ultimate Duty


  Tales of a Texas Boy
  Mixed Bag Short Story Collection
  Mixed Bag II: Supersized

Exclusively on Kindle and #free til the end of the month:

  Lemons and Other Kid Tales

  Fish Story: A Three Story SamplerThe Cellophane Queen
Like  •  0 comments  •  flag
Published on March 30, 2015 10:00 • 5 views

March 29, 2015

Since I have three ebooks still under the Kindle Select plan, I'll use up the free days for them all this month. Here are the freebies for the last days of March. When the KDP expires, these books will join my others on Smashwords for broad distribution:

March 29th-31st:

Faizah's Destiny - The Tales of Abu Nuwas 2

Lemons and Other Kid Tales

Fish Story - A Three Story Sampler

The Cellophane Queen
Like  •  0 comments  •  flag
Published on March 29, 2015 00:00 • 6 views