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!

Friday, September 30, 2011

Sarah's Journal: Nov. 16, 1910

I can't believe my luck!  Things certainly are changing for the better for me.  I just returned from a wonderful trip to the big city with Aunt and Professor Ross.  We shopped like crazy for our upcoming expedition to Egypt.  When he asked me to be his assistant this year on the dig I very nearly passed out straight away. I was so excited I almost kissed him!  I don't think that would have been such a bad thing, but I don't know how the  poor man would have taken it.  He looked shaken enough when I threw my arms around him.  I suppose I'll have to reign my emotions in, but I couldn't help it.  I would have popped had I not done something.  I had to leave before I did anything else that would have embarrassed Aunt, so I went to Gene's home to share the good news with him.  Enormous mistake!  I truly thought he would be happy for me to have such a wonderful opportunity placed into my hands, but alas, no.  He tried to make me stay by asking me to be his wife!  I just can't see it.  I don't think I could ever feel the proper emotions for him that a wife should.  Not what my own parents shared at any rate.  It wouldn't be fair to either of us. And having to live under the same roof with Gene's mother would be a daily misery for me.  She never liked me and has shown it in more ways than I can describe.  Gene's father, however, I could live with.  He's always been warm and kind, though I think he would have me practicing my cello from morn to eve.  I guess I wouldn't mind if that is all I loved to do. But i would never be allowed to be seen leaving his grand house in my grubby field study clothes.  I would never be allowed to re-enter it covered with mud with my arms full of all the beautiful things I've collected.  Nor would I be allowed to accidentally blow up a bit of the cellar with an experiment gone awry.  No, I could never marry Gene.  I hated to hurt him.  He is my old friend, and I love him.  I suppose I was cruel, but in the end, I would have injured him more had my answer caused us to have to live together for the rest of our lives. I surely would have killed him at some point.
     Anyway, I would have entered this interesting information into my journal sooner had I been home to do so.  After visiting Gene I was so angry and confused I had to speak to someone, so I found myself at Professor Ross's home.  What a lovely home it is.  Warm, inviting and mysterious.  There's even a secret passage!  Honestly, I don't know about my professor.  What sort of man actually has a secret passage in his study?  And I thought he was quite interesting enough before.  Not interesting in the way the silly girls at school think of him, but there is just something especially good and wonderful way down inside that he doesn't share with anyone.  I can tell.  I can see it in his eyes sometimes, more lately than before.  Not that he was not good or wonderful before.  He has always been so, though rather cranky.  One has to see past that sort of thing.  But I can see more in his eyes now.  Things that are hiding.
     He was very kind to me on our shopping trip.  Patient in the extreme.  I can't believe how many shops we had to visit to find work boot that actually fit my silly little feet.  I told him I would just wear Mother's old boots as I always do when working, but he didn't like the thin soles or the hole forming in the right toe.  "I won't have my assistant looking like a ragamuffin!" he said.  I know he just wanted me to have something nice.  It was an odd feeling to be taken care of like that.  I'm not saying that Aunt doesn't take care of me.  She never lets me go without anything that she knows I need, but I don't go about making her spent money on frivolous nonsense when she could put her money to better use in her charities.  She always tells me that my Uncle Tempest would have doted upon me and purchased ten times more than I let her buy for me.  I tell her that I don't need a lot and that I must get used to living on a limited budget so that when I go to make my own way I won't feel slighted.
     Here I am rattling on when I should be sleeping.  I need to stay on my toes with Professor Ross as my  superior.  Not only to be the best helper I can possibly be for him because he is my friend and mentor, but he said if I did well that I would have many more offers of work for next season.  Even better ones, he says.  I can't think of anything better than being able to work even for a little longer with Professor Ross.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Characters: Tip #2 The Villain

So, you think you're ready to write your new novel.  You've crafted the best of heros.  You've come up with the most spectacular man-vs-man conflict.  Your setting is in a local that everyone will love.  But what about the other "man" in the conflict?  What about your villain?

Sorry to burst your bubble, but your new great novel goes exactly nowhere without a well-crafted bad guy.  Just like your hero, the villain needs backstory.  Backstory, if you don't already know, is what has occurred in the life of your character before your novel's timeline takes place.  You may never even reveal any of these juicy tidbits to your reader, but all this info helps to sculpt and fashion the man.  It gives him reason for who and what he is.  Here's where it helps to know a little about psychology.  Bet you never thought you'd use anything you learned from that class, right?  But really, to craft a villain it helps. Because face it, to be so bad, this guy must have a physiological twitch.

Also, be prepared to pull from your dark side.  Poor yourself a cup of coffee, pull on your villain's boots and take a walk in them for a time.  You man not like what you see, but you'll take home some valuable information for your story.  It really is terrible when your bad guy is so bad that you have to close your eyes when you type out a scene. But if it really bothers you to have that awful of a fellow lurking inside you imagination, you can pretend that your villain is really a great guy playing the part of a wretched beast.  Like an actor.  Some of the worst characters in movies are played by the absolutely nicest people you ever met.

Truly frightening. . .  the female villain! To me, they are far more terrifying than a male villain. . .  I don't think I have the strength to say everything that needs to be said here.  What I do know is this, it goes against the natural make up of a woman to be a villain.  Women are natural to the art of nourishing, nurturing, comforting, patching up boo-boos, organizing.  All the things a villain is not!  Yes, a woman villain has something definitely wrong with her to be so bad.  Or perhaps something very bad has happened in her past. (again the backstory)

For more on villains, check out Hazel West's blog, Character Purgatory, listed in my favorite sights.  She'll probably have some posts soon on good craftsmanship of bad guys.

Thanks for reading.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Think Twice Before Axing a Good Bad Guy

Ah, villains, we all love them.  We all love to hate them.  The big question is: Do we kill them off at the end of the story or not???

Well, the answer is:  You can if you want to, but you don't exactly have to.  I know that is rather vague, but it's true.  According to many of the writing books and articles I've read, even certain genres, such as mystery, don't actually require the demise of the villain you so artfully crafted.  The rules of the mystery genre only state that their needs to be closure between your hero and your villain.  So you can have your main character do him or her in if it suits your story, or you can simply have the bad guy brought to justice. After all, there may be some redeeming quality in the fellow.

So, just write what comes naturally for your particular story and characters, and don't forget that sequel!!  You just spent oodles of time making up the best of villains, and if you off the guy how can he come back stronger than ever in your next book??

Monday, September 5, 2011

A Great New Book

Hello again!  Today I wanted to share a great new book on the market.  It's called Freedom Come All Ye: A Tale of William Wallace by the up and coming author, Hazel West. Hazel and I are in the same writer's support group so I've known her for a long time.  She really loves Scottish history and writing historical novels.  This one would be a good story for the middle-schooler up to adult.  It is set in a time of turmoil in Scotland when it was ruled by the tyrant, Edward Longshanks, king of England.

Now, while you may have heard of the freedom fighter, William Wallace, or have read books about his heroism, or even seen a movie or two, you have probably never read much about him as a teenager, or learned about what drove him to be the national hero he was.

This book is unique in that fact.  You get to meet Will as a young man with a heart full of love for his family, friends, and his country: Scotland.  We get to see him learn what it takes to be a leader, and what it costs.  It is a book you'll never forget.

Here is a preview link so you can take a look for yourself. www.createspace.com/Preview/3605405
Or, your own copy is now available at: www.createspace.com/3605405

Happy Reading!!  

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Characters: Tip #1

Don't you love coming up with a new idea for a story?  It can be sparked by anything: the ripples of water swirling from a small, trickling waterfall could bring on the beginnings of a great setting or interesting situation.  But what always surprises me is when I'm coming up with a new setting and,  BAM!  suddenly there is a character, or maybe two or three standing about just. . . becoming.  It usually happens without much thought at first, and this character seems to create itself.  It's especially interesting when this character gets in your face and tells you, the writer, in no uncertain terms what sort of person they are.

Character:  "I like it right here, so don't you dare move me from this spot!"
Writer:       "Whoa, take it easy, little lady, I'm your friend here."
Character:  "Don't call me that!  I hate that!"
Writer:       "Okay, but your adversary in this story will probably call you, little lady."
Character:  "Swell.  Whatever, just bring it on!"

Believe it or not, this sort of thing happens, usually in the middle of the night. So just get your paper and pencil and write it down because, if you're like me, when morning comes and the coffee starts flowing, you won't remember a thing about what you were coming up with the night before.

Happy writing!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

My New Book

If you're looking for a good old-fasioned adventure with a little romance to boot, then you will like my new novel, Cherished Preserver.

While the story begins in Sarah Scott's home town in New York, most of it is centered around her exciting experiences while she works as a geological assistant on an archaeological teaching expedition in Egypt's famous Valley of the Kings, circa 1910.

Now, you may ask how a young woman acquire such a position in the Edwardian period?  Luck, I suppose and an incredible, natural ability and quick mind.  You see, Sarah Scott is no uppity female pushing for a man's position, she simply wants to have a chance to do what she loves and is really good at.  This passion is realized by her mentor, friend and geology professor, Joseph T. Ross.  (Enter the handsome hero)  Ross offers Sarah the chance of a lifetime.  To be his assistant on a dig in Egypt where they will teach archaeological students about the geological aspects of archaeology and act a advisors to the dig.  Of course love will blossom between them.  It is a romance after all.

I chose this time period because it was an interesting time in the USA with many changes occuring, but it wasn't as crazy as the 20's.  Also, the clothes were better (this matters to we women, doesn't it?).  And the time between the mid to late 1800's and up to and including Howard Carter's discovery of King Tut's tomb was really the golden period of Egyptology.  I've always been drawn to the exciting aspect of those old expeditions in the deserts of Egypt. Beautiful vistas, mosquito netting, canvas tents, dust, water-shortage, the ever-present cliché of the deadly Egyptian cobra poised to strike, (honestly I couldn't help it.  How could I write an Egyptian adventure novel without a cobra?) evil tattooed villains attacking at every turn.  Well, at least this is what Sarah experiences.  Only, she brought the villains with her from New York and they are led by an enemy from Sarah's past, or rather her parents' past. A gold-hungry narcissist out to get Sarah for reasons of his own.

It really is a fun book that I enjoyed writing.  If it sounds like something you would enjoy reading, visit my e-store at  www.createspace.com/3467694  to order a copy of your own.

You can also get it on Amazon where you will pay the same price, only my royalty check will be much smaller because Amazon will take most of it.  So if you want to help out a self-published author, buy it from my e-store.

If you would like to preview it, you can go to www.createspace.com/Preview/3467694
Thanks and enjoy!