Today Author Dakota Banks is stopping by Michelle's Book Blog with a guest post and a wonderful giveaway to help celebrate the release of Deliverance, the third book in her exciting Mortal Path series.
Thank you, Michelle, for the opportunity to appear on your blog. Hi, everyone!
I love to read. I’ve been a reader ever since I figured out how to hold books right-side-up so the words made sense. The words in early readers tended to be short and plain, without much thought to the beauty of the English language. I came across that part—the beauty—later, when the words had more than one syllable and a lot more variety! I developed favorite words that I loved to say or whisper to myself, just for the wonderful sounds of them. Later still, I learned that characteristic is called euphony: a pleasing effect to the ear. What makes a word euphonious? It’s usually a string of vowels, and you have to set aside the meaning of the word because it’s the sound only that’s involved. I’ve found it also helps if you whisper the words in a breathy voice. Here’s a sample of some of my favorite euphonic words, in no particular order.
And I could go on and on, because I love these words! They sound especially nice whispered into someone’s ear. Your basic handsome hunk gathers his lady in his arms, puts his mouth near her ear, and whispers, “Diaphanous willow.” Works for me.
What would beauty be without its opposite, ugliness? Cacophony describes words that are hard on the ears, regardless of their meaning. Here are some of my candidates. Remember, block out the meaning, focus on the sound.
So our hunk whispers in his lady’s ear, “Grotesque pustule.” He’ll be sent on his way, lucky if he doesn’t get a slap.
What does all of this have to do with writing? I make conscious use of euphony and cacophony throughout my books, and even in the titles. Dark Time, Sacrifice, and Deliverance are all euphonic. I want those titles rolling off the tongue sweetly, even if their meanings are not so sweet. My main character? Maliha Crayne. Whisper it. Ugly words definitely have a role, too: blood, treacherous, gash, scabbard, gut, inflicted, ragged, staggered, knife, torn, pain. Those are all from Chapter One of Deliverance. Action scenes can be filled with ugly words! Most authors make these word choices automatically, but if you’re a new writer, make sure you match the word to the type of scene. “What,” you say, “does it matter if the reader isn’t reading aloud? Whispered words, bah.” Trust me. It matters. The reader’s mind responds!
Here are some titles by other authors I find especially euphonic.
The Scent of Shadows by Vicki Pettersson
Kissed by Smoke by Shea Macleod
Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman
Silver Borne by Patricia Briggs
Kiss of Frost by Jennifer Estep
Eternal Rider by Larissa Ione
Sins of the Demon by Diana Rowland
What are some of your beautiful and ugly words?
I love this topic. Here are my answers:
Now for the giveaway. Dakota is offering a Mortal Path Swag Bag that contains a tote bag, 3 signed books, pens, bookmarks, magnets, and a calculator.
This giveaway is open internationally to all followers of this blog. Just leave a comment with a valid email addy and you are entered. Using random dot org, winner will be chosen and announced on 3-29-12.
A demon's assassin for centuries, Maliha Crayne has gone rogue, determined to save a life for every one she's destroyed in order to free herself from an eternity of enslavement, damnation, and excruciating torment. But as the powers that sustained her in the past fade, she is wary of trusting those closest to her--especially her lover, Jake. And her friends are beginning to disappear, one by one. Amid her anger, suspicion, and sorrow, her life is spiraling out of control.
Worse still, a beautiful Renaissance murderess is recruiting Maliha as her new assassin. Maliha is turning into a lethal puppet with Immortal pulling the strings, forced to kill innocents or see her missing friends die horribly. Suddenly trapped in a moral no-man's-land, Maliha is damned if she does and damned if she doesn't ... and time is rapidly running out.
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Harper Voyager (March 27, 2012)
You can find Dakota Banks in several areas on the web:
I'd like to thank Dakota for stopping by today and for the wonderful giveaway she's offering.
Good luck everyone and Happy Reading!