Is ‘Said’ Dead?: M.S. Kaye’s Quick Writing Tips Tour Stop #6

Today I host stop #6 on M.S. Kaye’s Quick Tips Blog Tour. She’s put together ten short, easy writing tips. Follow the tour to see them all. Tour stops are posted on her website: http://booksbymsk.com/?page_id=616

Quick Tip 6:

I recently saw a Facebook post that claimed “said is dead.” It went on to list all the other “better” options to use, along with the emotion that correlates to each word.

I do agree that sometimes yelled, demanded, or murmured are the best words for the job, showing how the dialogue is being said, especially if it’s difficult to show the emotion through the particular dialogue. However, most of the time, “said” is exactly what I want.

Said is dead, huh? Of course it is. That’s the whole point!

Readers barely even notice it. It serves its purpose of clarifying the speaker and then shuts up and stands in the corner like it’s supposed to. Dialogue tags remind the reader of the author’s presence, so when you have to use a tag, why not use the one that’s almost invisible?

Kindling the Past

by M.S. Kaye

Kindle is fighting to survive on her own, to break free from her possessive and violent ex-boyfriend, and trying not to let her best friend, Anna, know she’s in love with her husband. Most of all, she fights the visions she sees of the past—she doesn’t believe in that kind of stuff.

Then Anna is shot and killed.

In their grief, Kindle and Ty, Anna’s husband and Kindle’s Taekwondo instructor, grow closer. Although Kindle is careful never to let him too close, he helps her learn to accept that her visions are real. Eventually, the truth about Anna’s death breaks through into Kindle’s visions, and she must find a way not to let it destroy her.

Buy Links:

Excerpt:

Prologue

I fought the visions. My mother used to tell me my expression turned stupid when I had them, but I didn’t care about that so much anymore. I hated when the visions were true somehow, actual bits of the past. I didn’t believe in that kind of stuff.

Chapter 1: Fight

“She’s such a snob,” one of the young women whispered on the other side of the locker room.

I stayed faced away, trying not to hear their gossip. I tugged my jeans on and pulled my shirt over my head. When I glanced in the mirror to fix my hair, I barely saw the dark brown framing my fair skin—only the way the other girls looked at me. I bent over to pick up my shoes.

“The guys don’t even ask her out because she’s so stuck up.”

I didn’t understand why they thought like this about me, but I didn’t much care anyway. As soon as I had my shoes on, I threw my gear bag over my shoulder and walked out.

Master Trahem was on the workout floor sparring with Mr. Schmidt. Master Trahem’s uniform was starting to come open, and sweat glistened on his well-built chest.

I looked away.

“Bye, Kindle,” Mrs. Trahem said as I passed the front counter. “See you tomorrow.”

I smiled at her, one of the few people I reserved my genuine smile for. She was a big part of the reason I came in early to help every day, her and her atrocious typing skills. She always held her fingers above the keys like a fisherman wielding a spear, as if expecting them to squirm out from under her aim.

But honestly, helping with data entry was just an excuse—Mrs. Trahem was the best person I’d ever known, and I felt calmer when I was around her.

“You’ll be there early, right?” Mrs. Trahem added. She tucked her silky dark hair behind her ear. There was a grace to her movement. No wonder Master Trahem had married her so quickly. At twenty-nine, she was a few years older than me but looked just as young.

“Definitely.” Then I kept walking. Before I gave into the urge to turn and watch Master Trahem.

The girls from the locker room followed me out into the parking lot. I sat in my car and started the engine.

While I drove the forty-five minutes home, I fought to stay awake. At least traffic at nine-thirty at night was thin. I always missed rush hour. I left my apartment before six every morning and didn’t return until after ten. Being tired felt normal.

As I pulled up to my building, I examined each car. I knew to whom each of them belonged, as well as half my neighbors’ friends’ cars. The girl across the hall traded boyfriends every week. She drove me nuts.

I had no way of knowing what Chris was driving. I had to know which cars were supposed to be here in order to know if there was a new one. Most of my neighbors drove beaters like me, and Chris had always liked something flashy. But with him, I couldn’t depend on consistency. He was smart.

I recognized all the cars tonight. I parked under the streetlight and kept the door locked while I pulled my gear bag onto my lap and slipped the strap over my shoulder. Keys ready, I jumped out of the car and jogged up the steps. I hated apartment buildings in Florida. The halls were open, no security doors to block unwanted visitors from knocking on your front door, from lurking in shadowy corners.

Within about ten seconds, I was up the stairs, down the hall, and at my door. Just being able to move quickly without running out of breath was worth the cost of Taekwondo classes. I felt more confident, less scared.

My door unlocked, I glanced down the hall one more time then slipped inside. I closed the door, locked it, and flipped the lights.

I was not alone.

He was right there, tall, thick, and blond as always. I was seeing as clearly as if through acid. I blinked to make sure he was really there. I always did that. It was stupid.

Chris was always there.

Author Bio:

M.S. Kaye has several published books under her black belt. A transplant from Ohio, she resides with her husband, Corey, in Jacksonville, Florida, where she tries not to melt in the sun. Find suspense and the unusual at www.BooksByMSK.com.

 

What’s the answer? — Once by M.S. Kaye

Her first and also her Once.

Jonathan is studying to become a priest. He is three days from taking vows. He will not be a priest.

Rebecca’s major is pre-law. She is supposed to take over her father’s law firm. She will not be lawyer.

Their paths cross at exactly the right moment, when each most needs to hear what the other has to say. Jonathan’s structured life is turned sideways, but Rebecca also helps him learn how to forgive himself. It was self-defense, not murder.

Rebecca finds the strength to stand up to her father, to be the real her. If Jonathan likes her writing, it must be worth pursuing.

They must each struggle to forge a new path without each other’s comfort and strength, with only memories of the one day that changed everything.

Excerpt:

“What’s the answer?”

He paused. “A switchblade.”

With my fingertips, I reached out and traced the scar across his cheek. “Did you win?”

He removed my hand and closed his eyes. “Yes.”

I slid his Book back to him. “This says we can find forgiveness.”

His eyes still closed, his jaw clenched. He bowed his head. “It also says ‘Thou shalt not kill.’”

I took his hand in both of mine, petted his rough skin, and then brought it to my lips. He had a talent for guiding invisibly, but I didn’t know how to do that.

He watched me again. His eyes were intense, like the black of the night sky, and his forehead was furrowed, as if his emotions were scattered, as if he was shocked at my reaction, as if he had been sure his answer would drive me away. But I knew him. Already, I knew him.

“You’re still a good person,” I said.

His jaw clenched. “I’ve been trying to believe that.”

“I have faith in you.”

He continued to watch me. His forehead never smoothed, as if he was fighting for strength, but his eyes softened. He slid around the booth, closer to me.

I didn’t move, not sure what to do, what was right, what he wanted.

He leaned closer.

I only watched him.

He touched his lips to my cheek, the faintest pressure. I struggled to sit still, to keep my hands in my lap, not to grab hold of him. And then his lips were gone, such brief contact that I couldn’t be sure if he had actually kissed my cheek or if I wanted his contact so much that I imagined it.

He spoke in my ear. “You must be some kind of final test.”

My heart pounded into my ribs, against the point of the blade. “Are you going to pass?”

His lips brushed against my jaw. “I don’t know.”

He trailed to my neck, his mouth softly pressing. My hand curled into his hair, the other on his shoulder, holding, clutching. His mouth found mine, barely touching. His warmth invaded my head.

“God give me strength,” he murmured.

The door slid open, and the compartment filled with laughter.

He closed his eyes. Then he slid away from me.

Buy Links:

Author Bio

M. S. Kaye is a 4th degree black belt and certified instructor of Songahm Taekwondo. A transplant from Ohio, she resides with her husband Corey in Jacksonville, FL, where she does her best not to melt in the sun.

Contact M. S. Kaye at:

Also available from M.S. Kaye:

Fight Princess: Caught in an investigation of a mysterious murder, a female underground fighter from a high society family learns how to accept love.

I never meant to scare you… Fight Princess by M.S. Kaye

Today I welcome M.S. Kaye to talk about her book Fight Princess.

Blurb:

Things aren’t what they seem. Don’t get involved.

Celisse is too headstrong to listen. Her best friend’s boyfriend is dead, and she does not heed Cullen’s warning, slipped to her in a note as he’s being arrested for the murder.

Cullen tries to keep Celisse out of danger and also tries to avoid her, both unsuccessfully. He can’t deny his feelings for her anymore, but he knows he can’t have her. If she ever discovered the truth about his past, she’d surely hate him.

While struggling with her intense feelings for Cullen, Celisse uses her skills as an ex-prosecutor to investigate, all while continuing to fight for Ogden, the organizer of an underground fight ring. She eventually realizes things are connected—the ring, Ogden, Cullen, the murder, and herself. She races to uncover the truth before she’s arrested or becomes the next victim—or perhaps, the next culprit.

 Excerpt:

Through the peephole she saw Cullen staring her down, as if he could see through the door. “I know you’re in there, Celisse. Your car’s outside.”

Celisse grumbled under her breath. Then she spoke loud enough for him to hear. “How do you know where I live?”

“It’s not that hard to get a person’s address—as you damn well know.”

Crap. How did he know? “What are you talking about?”

“You made it downtown so quickly because you were already in my apartment.” His jaw flexed as he continued to glare at the door. She was almost impressed he was able to maintain that intense, pissed-off posture and expression when she saw in his eyes that he was barely hanging on through the exhaustion. Like riding a bike, if he stopped, he would probably fall down.

She turned the bolt and opened the door. “How would I have gotten in your apartment—and why would I want to?”

“You flashed a beautiful smile at Alfie. Don’t tell me you don’t know exactly what you’re doing.”

Celisse hesitated. Hearing him say that… She wasn’t sure how to react.

He pushed the door open a bit further and slid past her into the apartment. She didn’t think to stop him until he was already past her. She turned and looked at him standing in the middle of her little living room, like a storm cloud in her usually calm and cloudless space. This small, cheap apartment was the first place she had ever lived where she felt completely comfortable.

She realized he was looking at her, not at her eyes. She crossed her arms over her chest. “What do you want?”

His jaw tightened again, and he met her eyes like lightning flashing across the sky. “Don’t ask me why in the hell you’d want to be in my apartment.”

It took her a second to realize he was answering her previous question.

“What did you think you’d find?” he asked.

“Certainly not stacks of hundred-dollar bills.”

“It’s none of your goddamn concern how much money I have and why. Stay out of my business.”

“No.”

“Excuse me?”

“My best friend’s boyfriend was murdered, and then the accused slips me a note that says things aren’t what they seem. What did you think I was going to do?”

He paused, and the glare in his expression that had about blinded her a few seconds ago dulled to the glower of the moon in a clouded sky. He turned and looked around her apartment—her TV stand with a couple movies on top, the potted plant next to the sliding glass doors, her one pathetic attempt at gardening, and then over to the bookshelf where he started reading titles.

She stood next to him. “What do you think you’re doing?”

“Does it annoy you?” He took a book from the shelf and flipped through its pages. “Someone going through your things, invading your privacy?”

Celisse snatched the book out of his hand, before he realized what it was.

“Are you pissed yet?” he asked.

“I wonder how it would look to the court if the police were called on you the same day you posted bail.”

He took a step toward her, and she backed up with her hands in guard position.

He stopped, and his voice was inside out from what it had been. “I would never hurt you.”

“You were arrested for murder today.”

His expression sobered, like fog pulling across a jagged cliff face. “I’m sorry. I never meant to scare you.” He walked across her living room, out the door, and down the stairs.

Purchase at: www.LSBooks.com

Author Bio

M. S. Kaye has won several writing awards and has been published in literary journals. She is a 4th-degree black belt and certified instructor of Songahm Taekwondo. A transplant from Ohio, she resides in Jacksonville, FL with her husband, Corey, where she does her best not to melt in the sun.