Just a note:

This blog isn't meant to teach you anything, but I hope you'll have some fun reading it; I think I'll have fun writing it. I'll be posting bits of writing, like short stories and articles. Maybe some help for aspiring writers, a few tips and such. Also there will be journal entries and clips of conversation from the various characters in my books. So if you like the characters in my book, Cherished Preserver, stop by to get the inside scoop on their lives. Above all, enjoy!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

A Great New Story!

Hi everyone, I was just recently lucky enough to be chosen as a beta group reader for Hazel West's new novel, On a Foreign Field.  In my humble opinion, Hazel West, an up and comming historical fiction author, has written another great story.

Here is the review that I posted on Good Reads and Amazon.

I recently finished reading On a Foreign Field by Hazel West.

The story opens with the main character, Reeve, an English knight, and his companions readying themselves for the infamous Battle at Sterling Bridge.  During the ensuing fight, Reeve is injured by, not only the Scottish warriors, but also by his own country's archers.  When the English army retreats, Reeve's own best friend leaves him behind to be captured by the Scottish army of the epic hero William Wallace.

As Reeve does the work of a slave in the Scottish camp, he comes to appreciate the true camaraderie and complete devotion of Wallace's men, and finds himself wondering if he is fighting for the right side.

On a Foreign Field is an exciting, coming-of-age story of fighting for freedom and family, and the comradeship of brotherly love.  And, yup, I cried just a little bit.  Okay, I cried a bunch, but it was quite touching in the end.

Hazel's book in now for sale!  You can find it on Amazon or go to Create Space at   https://www.createspace.com/3882345  and you'll find the book on sale for a limited time for only $12.00.

Or, if you would like to try your hand at winning a copy at Hazel's free giveaway.  Just visit Hazel's blog, Character Purgatory at http://hazelwest.blogspot.com/
where you can also go on her virtual book tour.  It just started yesterday.  Good, fun stuff!  So enjoy the tour and read this new great story by Hazel West!

Happy writing!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Formatting. . . Yeesh!

So, you've just completed your first novel, lovingly crafted and raised as carefully as you would your very own child.  You know all about the standard formatting that agents or publishers like, but you decide to self-publish first.

Well, get that pot of coffee brewing because you're in for a project.  Not an impossible project, but a time-consuming one.  Once that is finished. . . the book cover.

You might want an artist for this one.  Check your local high-school or college.  There might be a budding artist there who would love to help you out and have their work published on the cover of your book.

The thrill of receiving that first proof copy of your work is indescribable!

Now, even if you are a dyed in the wool "page flipper"(a term coined by my writing buddy, Hazel West) and would never, even under torture, dream of acquiring an e-reader of any ilk for yourself, you don't want to keep those avid e-reader users from your book.  So, you think downloading your perfectly formatted book to Kindle etc. will be a snap?

Not so!

Reformatting time!

More coffee!

More work!

Lot's more fun!!

Good luck to you, my fellow writers.  I hope your efforts are easier that mine were.  Haha!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Backstory, an Important Part of Your Character's Life

Our past is what makes us the people we are.  Some of us work hard to forget an unpleasant past.  Some think that our past is so great that we can't help blabbing it to anyone who will listen.  This is also true of the characters that we create.

As writers, we only tell the part of the story that the reader needs to know to understand what is going on in the story or in a particular character's life at the moment that they are reading.  Anything that happened to that character before the story begins is called backstory.

Backstory is so important to crafting a believable character.  Sure, Joe Hero may look great on paper, but why is he so tortured?  Our reader may never really know, but as the writer, you should!  The backstory of our characters should be ever-present in our minds as we craft them in our stories because their past makes them the people that they are, just like you or me.  They become more human.  More vital.  And above all, more believable.  They become friends that your reader will love, or enemies that your readers will love to hate.

Your character, or you as narrator, may add a bit of the backstory into your prose, but you don't have to.  As long as you know it, it will just come out in the living color through the actions and dialogue of your character on the page.  If you do decide to add a bit of backstory, only make it a bit at a time.  There's nothing worse than trudging through the first chapter of a book just to learn of people and places of a past time that have little or nothing to do with what is supposed to be happening right now with the person on the page.  Add this later as a flash-back. ( we'll talk about this in a future blog)

On a final note, don't explain too much.  Give your reader some credit.  They really can tell what is going on without you spelling it out to them like you would explain something to a five year old.  Remember, mystery is disarming.  Use it to your advantage to make your characters interesting.

Happy Writing!

P.S.  You can also use some of the wonderful backstory that you took hours to create to write a short story about your characters.  Readers who love your book always love to read more about a favorite character.  I did this with with one of my characters from Cherished Preserver.  Sarah Scott's Aunt Tilly and her pirate husband, Captain Nathaniel Tempest have their story revealed in my novella, Aunt's Story.  I just felt that their tale needed to be published so I had fun doing it.  You can too.  I also heard it is a great way to boost interest for your novels.  You can publish your short stories about your characters on e-books and sell them for 99 cents or give them away as freebies.  Your readers will just keep wanting more.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Getting To Know You

Having trouble getting to know one of your characters.  Don't worry, it happens sometimes.  Here are some tips that should work to bring your stubborn character to life.

Conduct an interview with the character.  Actually write down questions that you will ask the fellow and physically write down the answers.

  -What is your favorite color?
  -How do you like your eggs?  Your coffee?
  -Did you like your first grade teacher?
  -If you could choose any place in the world to live, where would it be?
  -Do you like "Joe Hero" from the story you are in?  Why?  Why not?
  -Would you get along with him if he wasn't your arch enemy?
  -etc.  We could all come up with a million questions.

Another way to get in touch with your character is to go on a shopping trip and buy an article of clothing that she would wear.  Or a piece of costume jewelry that your heroine would love, and make it something special to her.  Come up with a reason it is so special.  Did her best friend give her that bracelet before she moved away when she was ten?  Was the little silver-plated ring a gift from the first boy who was brave enough to kiss her on the cheek?

Or, pick out some music that your character would enjoy.  Maybe he plays the flute.  If so, listen to some flute music and pretend that it is your character playing the songs.  Maybe try it yourself.

These ideas should get you started.  Let me know if you have any other ideas to share that help you to get to know a new or troublesome character.

Happy writing!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Switching Gears Saves Loads of Aggravation

Can't seem to keep up the story idea you've been working so diligently on for the past several weeks?

Has your well planned goal for writing three chapters a week gone awry for lack of ideas?

Don't fret, It happens to all of us at some point.  But, In reality, does your work come out really exceptional when it is forced, or when it flows quickly and easily from a mind ready to work on that particular story.

Ask any writer and they will tell you that they have several story ideas swimming about in their head at any given time, and very often write scenes for any story that happens to be vying for attention in their creativity at the moment whether they have a goal to meet on another project or not.

Don't get me wrong.  I think setting goals is a perfectly good idea for any writer.  It keeps us working and on track.  But if you find that one project has just petered out for the moment, (whether you have run into a snag, or just need to research more) start working on another.  Preferably one that happens to be "speaking to you" at the time.

Don't think I'm crazy.  You know what I'm talking about.  That story.  Those characters.  The ones who won't be quiet and let you sleep at night until you've written pages of fantastic dialogue that just won't stop.  With flow like that, your writing can't help but be great.

So don't be afraid to set aside what you think you should work on for a project that your heart says you need to work on.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

How NOT To Gain Weight While Writing!

Ever brought a little, or not so little, snack to the computer and then, after writing a particularly exciting piece of narrative, you look down to take a bite and it's gone?  It happens to me all the time.  This is not a mysterious, unnatural occurance, nor have your vivacious characters popped out of the scene and eaten your goodies.  You have simply devoured them without realizing it.

Weight experts alway say to sit while you eat so as not to grab too many snacks on the run, but I would also offer the advice of not eating at all while sitting at the computer writing.  We simply don't realize how much we take in while in the middle of crafting a story.

After several episodes of wondering where my food disappeared while I was deeply imbedded typing, I try to pay more attention to what I'm putting into my mouth, so now I usually just keep a nice glass of ice water beside me to sip while I ruminate.  Or better still, a hot cup of coffee or tea does the job quite nicely.  However, if you are one of those who likes to chew while thinking, try gum or hard candy.

You can also burn a few calories by hopping out of your chair and pacing for a while as you think about what you'll write next.

Oh, one more thing.  Never, EVER buy the king-size candy bars.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Fun Stuff to go With Cherished Preserver

If you've read my book, Cherished Preserver, you know that the heroine, Sarah Scott, has an interesting time in tomb KV38 in the Valley of the Kings.  If you'd like to have a better look at her tomb, try this link to the Theban Mapping Project sight.http://www.thebanmappingproject.com/sites/browse_tomb_852.html