Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Wednesday's Writer's Tip - A Story Plan Check List Part 1 #MFRWauthor

When I was reading Karen Wiesner's From First Draft to Finished Novel and came upon this part, I nodded. When I first began writing I used a version of a story plan. Perhaps a different one than what she uses but the idea is the same. She calls hers a check list, mine was a plan. Different words for a similar plan. So let's look at what is involved.

Title - I must have a title before I can begin the story. Doesn't mean that will be the ending title. Thiw can change as the story grows or the title can be changed by a publisher. I remember a story I called Carpe Noctum for the entire time. The hero's name was Knight and this was a romance for older women. The publisher changed it. These days it doesn't happen often and now when I publish old stories I can change the titles back.

Genre or genres - That's the next thing I need to decide. Each type of story has a beat. A suspense story needs to have that beat of urgency beneath the prose. A fantasy, science fiction, mystery or romance has a special flow to the language. In these days of mixing genres, it's important to know if you're writing a romance with a touch of mystery or a mystery with a touch of romance.

Length - This is always an estimate and is something to shoot for. A novella has a different pace than a short story or a novel. I try to do this when writing. Doesn't always work but I try.

There's also POV who will be telling the story. Sometimes you can choose first person or third person are the most common. But how many heads are you going to enter when writing the story. And remember no matter how many you choose, you must remain true and if you're in Mary's head what she sees and observes if important but she can't read minds. She can read body language and make inferences.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Tuesday's Inspiration -- The Senses - Touch #MFRWauthor

Touch is the fourth of the senses and to me one of the easiest yet the hardest of the senses to incorporate into a story. To do this one has to really find words to describe a sensation that triggers a reader's memories. That's what one does or tries to do when using the senses to draw a reader into a story.

So what are some ways to use Touch in a story. Think about the times you're touched something or some one. Have you ever had a butterfly land on your hand. Probably not since you're not a flower. What you need to do is imagine. Think of the things that are soft. A baby's skin, a kitten's fur, the feel of silk against your skin. These are some of the ways to invoke touch into a storu.

But touches aren't always soft and gentle. They can be hard Like taut leather or rough like rough stone or cement. So hard or soft, rough or smooth try using touch on many pages of your story to evoke how the hero or heroine experiences the things they touch and what they touch.

In setting using all the senses makes a story come to life. The rough wood. the feel of brick beneath the fingers. If you can't remember how something you've touched find that object and touch it until you can find words to describe the sensation and give this sense in words for your reader.

When writing love scenes, remember how you felt to be touched and what you felt when you touched your lover. Bring touch to the palate and show the readers in words that will trigger their memories and draw them into the world you're creating.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Meandering On Monday with Janet Lane Walters #MFRWauthorMeandering On Monday, Janet Lane Walters

Meander 1 - Saw a local performance of the Nutcracker. Love the music and I often play it again and again while I'm writing. Most of the performers were amatures from second grade through high school. The male leads were all professional. I have seen performances by professional companies and this one was as good and for me even better since 2 of my grandchildren were performing. This was the grandson's first time and he's ready to do it next year. The oldest granddaughter was graceful and looked like she was having fun. Now there was another treat. Male ballet dancers have great bodies and they aren't bad looking either. Maybe I've found a hero for a book. One never knows.

Meander 2 - Been running like crazy and I'm plain exhausted.This will pass hopefully soon but I feel as if I'm running miles behind. I will catch myself one day soon.

Meander 3 - Writing. We'll I'm doing my 17 words every day though I've been doing a bit more. Maybe 500 words a day and that's a lot less than the 2000 plus usually. The new story is going well but is being written oddly. The first half of the book is into the second draft but the last half will be going into rough draft. That's because while doing the rough draft of the first 7 chapters many things popped in there I hadn't planned on and that made me need to re-think the last 6 chapters. But I'm on track though slower than I wanted to be. Once again I'm chasing myself.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Talking About My Books - Toth's Priest #MFRWauthor

Toth's Priest is the final book in the trilogy of Ancient Alternate Egypt. In the first book Namose the hero of this book is kidnapped by the evil priest of Aken Re. Since he has some slight knowledge of the ancient language of the Two Lands, the priest believes Namose can give him the powers possessed by some of the priests of Toth. Some of the priests are merely scribes but others have talents to use the elements. The evil priest has stolen scrolls that define these powers. Namose is under threat of death and he does give the man some of the powers. Some he has mistranslated not on purpose but because he doesn't know the words.

Amara is from out world and she must escape the nephew of the drug lord who murdered Tira sister and who would have killed Seth. Seth has given her the notice that will help her escape. Her abilities to use unarmed combat allows her to escape and meet the elderly women. She arrives in the Two Lands at the main temple of the priests of Toth and undergoes training. She has the ability to use some of the powers but only two, earth and water.

Her quest is to find Namose and to help him escape along with the scrolls. Their uniting allows they to return to the temple for more training but the adventure isn't over. All builds until they realize they must confront the evil priest. The book is filled with magic and action. This story was fun to write and brings the characters from the other two books together.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Saturday's Blurbs - Featuring books by Diane Bator #MFRWauthor

Book 1: The Bookstore Lady
Danny Walker is tracking Paulina Chourney who fell deep into the dark side of life and is lucky to get out before her boyfriend Maddox kills her. She escapes Maddox and arrives in a small town, which she sees as a blessing in disguise since the men she worked for would never think to look for her in a lazy, backwater place like Packham. She changes her name to Katie Mullins, makes a deal on a little bookstore and joins a local writing group then successfully fades into anonymity. Until Danny Walker shows up to visit family and figures out who she is.
When Paulina catches her 80-year-old landlady sneaking out in the middle of the night, the bad guys catch up to her and Danny disappears, she has to choose between spending her life on the run or standing up to face her past. Hopefully before the quirky townsfolk turn her death into a spectacle.

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Book 2: The Mystery Lady
Danny Walker used to enjoy chasing criminals, but after being kidnapped and nearly killed, he longs to close the Wild Blue Detective Agency and live a simpler life. Forced to take leave from the police force, he has a long way to go to convince the shrink he's even close to sane, especially when he helps his former partner solve a series of murders, which endangers the woman he's tailing.
Wanna-be writer Lucy Stephen never wrote about murder until her husband moved out and thinks some man in a blue car is stalking her. When her husband and his girlfriend take her kids on vacation, Lucy discovers a hidden package of jewelry her husband desperately wants. The more she learns about the assorted pieces, the more Lucy realizes she may never see her kids again and needs to fight back with the help of the man who stalks her.

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Book 3: The Bakery Lady
From the moment Leo Blue meets the tattoo artist's sister Christina, he's drawn into a web of bread dough and lies. Christina Davidson has returned to Packham with a duffle bag full of secrets. Leo soon discovers her biggest secret is Christina's alter ego and her husband who stands accused of murdering an up-and-coming artist. He promises to help set things straight and plans to bring husband and wife together for Christmas—even if it costs him his sanity and the love of his life.

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Thursday, December 11, 2014

Friday's Guest - Diane Bator Talking About Heroes, Heroines and Villains #MFRWauthor

Day 1
1. Do you write a single genre or do your fingers flow over the keys creating tales in many forms? Does your reading choices reflect your writing choices? Are there genres you wouldn’t attempt?  Right now I'm writing murder mysteries, but have also written some YA stories that I will have published one day. While I do enjoy a good mystery, I do enjoy a variety of novels and short stories. I've even started to read some romance novels written by friends. The one genre I can't see myself attempting is Erotica, it's just not something I'm interested in writing or reading.

2. Heroes, Heroines, Villains. Which are your favorite to write? Does one of these come easy and why?  I love a good hero! They seem to come to me far easier than heroines or even villains, of course that can vary from story to story. They are far from perfect, but are always there to try to save the day.

3. Heroes. How do you find them? Do pictures, real life or plain imagination create the man you want every reader to love? Do they come before the plot or after you have the idea for the story?
My heroes tend to blindside me. Just when I think I have a good story, a hero will appear out of the page and try to control the way I think the story should go. In my Wild Blue Mysteries, Leo Blue was a background character in The Bookstore Lady and by The Bakery Lady, he'd taken over as a leading man!

4. Heroines. How do you find them? Do pictures, real life or imagination create the woman you want the reader to root for? Do they appear before the plot or after you have the idea for the story?  My heroines are all around me. All my characters are composites of people I know, people I hear about in the news, and people I hear about from other people. I never base one character on any one person. I am blessed to have many strong women in my life who have had to overcome adversity. I love writing about both their strengths and weaknesses.

5. Villains or villainesses or an antagonist, since they don’t always have to be the bad guy or girl. They can be a person opposed to the hero’s or heroine’s obtaining their goal. How do you choose one? How do you make them human?  In writing mysteries, there can appear to be more than one antagonist. They are all people with their own agendas, but the one who ends up being the villain is usually the person who won't let anyone stand in their way without making them an obvious villain. Just as a protagonist isn't perfect, a good antagonist needs a blend of good and bad and can even win over a reader until their true colors shine through.

6. What is your latest release? Who is the hero, heroine and or the villain? My latest release from Books We Love Ltd. is called The Bakery Lady. The hero is Leo Blue who tries to win over the new bakery lady, Christina Davidson. I can't tell you who the villain is. You'll have to read the mystery!

7. What are you working on now?  Right now I am working on a fourth book in the Wild Blue Mysteries series called The Painted Lady for 2015 as well as a second book in another mystery series.
8. How can people find you?

            Amazon Author Page

Thursday's Heroine - Tira from Bast's Warrior #MFRWauthor

Tira wanted three things in life and she had little chance of gaining any of them. She wanted to be financially independent. She wanted to go to Egypt and study the ancient ruins. And she wanted her sister to stop using drugs.

The last desire brought memories of this morning’s quarrel.  The money squirreled away to see them through the rest of the month was gone. “Luci, why?”

“You don’t understand,” Luci screamed.

True. She didn’t understand why her sister needed to escape into a drugged stupor instead of studying and working to step onto the road leading from the slums. Tira’s hands stung with the memory of slapping her sister. And the words she’d shouted as she slammed out of the apartment echoed in her thoughts. “I hate you. I wish you were dead.” A shudder rumbled through her body. She hadn’t meant those words. As soon as she reached the apartment she would tell Luci.

With a sigh she turned back to the museum display. The Egyptian artifacts awed her. For a short time she allowed the beauty of the objects to carry her into dreams of pyramids and temples, of gods and pharaohs and of digging in the earth to uncover treasures of the past.

The dream hovered beyond her grasp. Her chances of gaining a position on a dig in Egypt were slim. Positions were avidly sought by students who had chosen the right colleges and the right professors. Those choices had been beyond her financially. She sucked in a breath. Instead of adventure, when the summer ended, she would take her place in front of a classroom teaching history at an inner city high school.

A glance at her watch said dreamtime was over. She had to reach the apartment in time to change for her evening shift at a restaurant several blocks from the cramped fifth floor efficiency she shared with her older sister. Once again, flash moments from the morning’s quarrel exploded in Tira’s thoughts. She’d been so upset she’d missed her morning martial arts session at the local center.

Tira cast her dreaming self aside and donned the role of practical sister. She hurried to the exit and stepped from the past into a steamy August day. Heat shimmered from the sidewalk. The air hung heavy and filled with the odors of the city and the noises of traffic. She strode along the crowded area taking advantage of every opening.

Ten days to dream. Ten days to walk the halls of the museum. Ten days to study the artifacts that had become her lodestones. She breathed the aromas of real time, spices of cooking foods, metallic scents of passing traffic and the odors of people, some pleasant and some not.

Several blocks from the apartment building the crowds thinned. In an alley she glimpsed furtive movements in the dark shadows. She hurried past. On the corner across the street a group of gang members gathered. She sucked in a breath and held her head high. For all her twenty three years she’d avoided the gangs. As she strode past she heard the usual crude remarks about her body and her attitude.

Get a life, she wanted to scream.

When she saw the ambulance and two cop cars in front of the building where she lived she halted so abruptly she stumbled. A hand caught her arm. Tira saw the gray-streaked beard of one of the winos who slept in the doorways or the alley. “Get your hands off me.”

“Don’t go home,” he whispered. “Lose yourself in the crowd and keep your head down.”

She saw a keen intelligence in the man’s dark eyes. Who was he? He wasn’t as old as she had imagined either. “Why?”

“Your sister’s dead. Cops’ll be looking for you. They heard about the fight.”

Tira’s stomach clenched. She blinked away a rush of tears. Though hearing about her sister’s death wasn’t unexpected another dream shattered. There would be no rehab for Luci. “Junkies O.D. every day,” she said.

“She was murdered.”

A chill slithered down Tira’s spine. A rush of acid burned her throat. What? Why? Who? Keeping her eyes on the ground she inched away from him.

“Murder. Murder.” The murmured word spread through the crowd gathered on the sidewalk and stung like attacking wasps.

The EMTs wheeled a gurney from the building. When Tira saw the body bag strapped to the frame her nails bit into her palms. Despite the heat of the day she felt chilled. A wave of guilt made her knees buckle. She stuffed her fist against her mouth to keep from crying aloud.

What now, she wondered. The apartment was a crime scene. Until the cops finished their investigation she wouldn’t be allowed inside. An officer stepped from the building. “More along, folks. There’s nothing to see here.” He stepped from the stoop. “Anyone seen her sister? We have some questions for her.”

“Most evenings you’ll find her waiting tables at Louie’s,” someone said.

Tira hunched her shoulders. As people dispersed she slunk away. All her life she’d avoided trouble. Even if she wasn’t a suspect she knew too much about Luci’s friends and suppliers to be safe. She needed to hide and think. Where could she go?’

As she retraced her steps she noticed the home boys had vanished from the corner. Show’s over or just about to begin, she thought. She feared she was destined to become the star in a life or death drama. She continued the slow amble away from the apartment building.

Every instinct urged her to run but that would attract the attention she didn’t want. As she passed the alley someone grabbed her arm and dragged her into the shadows. The man who held her arm and the other at his side were large and scary but not as menacing as the slender man who joined them.

Tira fought to control rising panic. She felt as though she would faint. Center. She had to escape. All she needed was an opening. Her muscles tensed in preparation. “What do you want?” Had her voice remained calm or had fear coated the edges?

“My drugs. My money.”

“I know nothing about either.”

The slender man laughed and the sound chilled her. “She was your sister. She told you everything.” His smile turned feral. “Her last words were, ‘Tira knows.’”

Anger flared and slashed the fear and grief holding her immobile. “And you believed her?”

“Why not?”

His silent companions edged closer. One held a knife. The other reached for her. She sucked in a breath. She whirled and kicked. The toe of her sneaker caught the knife holder’s arm. Her sudden movement pulled the second man off balance. She grabbed his arm and knocked him into the knife man. They landed in a tangle.

Tira ran. As she darted around the corner something whizzed past her. She didn’t stop to learn what. Where to go? Just ahead she saw the steps leading to the subway. She pulled her Metro card from her pocket and bounded down the steps. A shout sounded. She kept running. At the gate she swiped the card, ran onto the platform and into a waiting car. A bell dinged. The doors closed.

As she peered through the smudged glass she saw one of the thugs reach the platform. She breathed a sigh of relief. For the moment she had escaped. Where would the rattling car take her?

Was there a way to get the things she needed from the apartment? The drug dealer’s men would keep watch. Who could she ask? Not the cops, who either believed she had killed Luci, or wanted information she didn’t have. She barely knew the neighbors. She and Luci had moved into the building in June. Could she sneak into the building after the cops left? Doubtful. If she asked, her few friends from college wouldn’t be willing to enter the scene of a murder.

She sank on a seat. Once again tears threatened. Why had Luci lied? Tira swallowed convulsively. When she understood the reasons for the betrayal she could grieve. Now wasn’t the time.

For seconds or minutes Tira blocked the groping fingers of fear. At the moment she was safe but she couldn’t ride the subway forever. She considered her options. She had some change, her Metro card and the twenty she always kept for emergencies. Not enough to rent a room. Going to work at Louie’s was out. Until her first pay check from the teaching job arrived she was broke.

Think. Plan. Where was the nearest homeless shelter? Sure they could be dangerous but she could protect herself. She wiped her hands on her jeans. Even if she could hang out for ten days she couldn’t begin her first day as a teacher wearing dirty jeans and a sweat-stained tee shirt.

On the seat beside her she noticed a crumpled piece of paper. Curiosity stabbed. She smoothed the wrinkles and read the words twice.

Life got you down? Have unsolved problems?
Looking for escape? The answer is in your stars.
A counselor is available night and day.
Dial 1- 800 – 555 – ASTR

Tira frowned. She could answer yes to all the questions. Had the paper been left for her to find? She smiled at her magical thinking.

When the car stopped at the next station she grasped the paper and rose. She followed people to the street. Should she take a chance? Did she have a choice? Across the street she saw a coffee shop. She had to consider her options.

She jogged to the small restaurant and entered the dingy place with the paper clutched in her hand. A flutter of nervousness settled in her chest. What to do? Call or not call? Go to the cops? Find a shelter? She sat at the counter and ordered coffee. As she sipped the bitter brew her thoughts raced. The answer to the last two options was a definite no. She frowned. If the answer was in her stars they certainly hadn’t brought her a sliver of luck. Would making the call produce a change?

Tira swallowed the last of the coffee. She would make the call. If the paper was a hoax she would devise another plan. She stepped outside and opened her cell phone. In the fading light she read the number and dialed.

“Can I help you?” a woman asked.

“I can answer yes to all your questions.”

“Do you need help?”

“Yes.” She wasn’t sure what this woman could do. By accepting the offer she would be off the street and buy time to plan.