Monday, October 31, 2011

31 October = Week Behind and Week ahead - Peeve 3

Today's peeve is about those people who think it's their right to steal the intellectual property of others. Whether it's books, movies, songs or whatever the creator is entitled to reap the proceeds from the sale of these materials. I've heard all the excuses about this sharing but electronic material is unlike the paper books shared or re-sold. The electronic copies never wear out and never become antiques. I've read every excuse that could be invented for this kind of "borrowing" but none of them make sense. The one that gets to me most is "rich authors." If someone has had a phenomenal success does that mean they're fair game. No they were the one who sat at the computer and dreamed up the story and the author is the one who deserves the rewards of their creative endeavour. For someone who didn't create the work to reap profits from the "mind children" of others is rather akin to kidnapping. Enough said.

Week behind. 45% done with The Chosen of Horu. Much starting and stopping while doing this draft since I had to refer to the previous book in the series and also to do research both from books and online. Had to rein myself in when coming across something interesting to keep from settling in for a long read. That's the problem with research. Can suck you into a deep well and the work doesn't get done.

Week ahead - Will continue with the story and hopefully get further but the research outline is always the slow one. Starting to get ideas for the next in the Seduction series. Hero is Tony, lawyer and friend of the characters in the other stories.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

3 Blog visit Sunday Some seasonal trivia

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Saturday's Chapter - Destiny Carly Phillips

A Serendipity Novel
Book # 2

Chapter One

Nash Barron might be cynical about life and more recently about love, but even he normally enjoyed a good wedding. Today’s affair had been an exception. The invitation had requested the presence of close friends and family. Nash wondered if he was the only one in the group to notice the irony.

The groom’s two brothers, Nash included, were a step short of estranged and they’d only known the flower girl, their newly discovered half sister Tess, for six weeks. The bride’s father was in jail, which left her flamboyant decorator friend to give her away, while her mother spent the afternoon downing wine and bemoaning the loss of her beloved home, which just so happened to be the site of the wedding. The landmark house on the hill in their hometown of Serendipity was now owned by the groom, Nash’s brother, Ethan.

Come to think of it, the irony of the situation might be the only thing Nash had enjoyed about this day.

That and Kelly Moss, the woman sipping champagne across the lush green grass of the back yard.

Tess was Nash’s half-sister, a product of his father and Tess’s mother’s affair. Kelly, Tess’s half sister on her mother’s side, was a sexy woman who by turns frustrated him, intrigued him and turned him on. Complicated yet simple enough to be summed up in one sentence: Kelly Moss was a beautiful woman and they were in no way blood related.

Which didn’t make his desire for her any more acceptable. A simple acquaintance-like relationship seemed the safest route yet Nash had been unable to find comfortable ground with either Kelly or Tess in the time since they’d been in Serendipity. Nash had no idea why he couldn’t connect with his fourteen year old sister who seemed determined to freeze him out.

As for Kelly, at first Nash blamed his frustration with her on the fact that she’d unceremoniously dumped Tess, a sister the Barron brothers knew nothing about, on Ethan’s doorstep back in August. She’d demanded he parent the out of control teen. Nash hated to give Ethan credit for anything, but he had to admit his older brother had turned the wildly rebellious kid around in a short time. But Nash still had issues with Kelly’s methods. So when she’d resurfaced and moved to town, he’d been both understandably wary and shockingly attracted. And she’d been getting under his skin ever since.

Nash turned away and his gaze fell on Ethan, his brother whose luck seemed to have done a one-eighty since he’d abandoned his siblings ten years ago. He had chosen the perfect day for a wedding. Though early October, the temperature had hiked into the low seventies, enabling him to have the wedding outdoors. Ethan stood with his arm around his wife, Faith, talking to their youngest sibling, Dare. Even he had forgiven Ethan for the past.

Nash couldn’t bring himself to be so lenient.

He glanced at his watch and decided his time here was over. The bride and groom were married, cake served, bouquet thrown. He finished what remained of his Ketel One, placed the glass on a passing waitress’s tray and headed toward the house.

“Leaving so soon?” a familiar female voice asked.

“The festivities are over.” He turned to face the woman who’d hijacked his thoughts just moments before.

Kelly, her hair pulled loosely behind her head, soft waves escaping and grazing her shoulders, stood close beside him. Her warm, inviting lemony scent enveloped him in heat.

Nash was a man who valued his personal space. Kelly was a woman who pushed past boundaries. Yet for a reason he couldn’t fathom, he lacked his usual desire to find safer ground.

“The band is still playing,” she pointed out.

“No one will realize I’m gone.”

Or care. His leaving would probably ease any tension his presence created.

“I would.” She gazed at him with perceptive brown eyes.

Intelligent chocolate colred eyes that seemed to see beyond the indifferent façade he presented to the world. One he thought he’d perfected in his late teens, when his life had been turned upside down by his parents’ deaths followed quickly by Ethan’s abandonment of both Nash and their younger brother Dare.

“Why do you care?” he asked, even though he knew he’d be smarter to walk away.

She shrugged, a sexy lift of one shoulder that drew his attention to her soft looking skin.

“Because you seem as out of place here as I am.” She paused. “Except you’re not a stranger to town or to this family.”

Out of place. That one comment summed up his entire existence lately. How had she figured him out when no one else ever could?

“I need to leave,” he said, immediately uncomfortable.

“What you need is to relax,” she countered and stopped him with one hand on his shoulder. “Let’s dance.” She playfully tugged on his tie.

He glanced over to where the rest of the family gathered next to the dance floor. “I’m not really interested in making a spectacle.”

“Then we won’t.” She slipped her hand in his and led him to the far side of the house beneath an old Weeping Willow Tree.

He could still hear the slow music but he could no longer see the dance floor and whoever was out there couldn’t see them. She tightened her hold on his hand and he realized he’d better take control or she’d be leading him through this dance. He wrapped an arm around her waist, slid his other hand into hers and swayed to the sultry sound of the music coming from the band.

A slight breeze blew through the long dripping branches of the tree. She shivered and eased her body closer to his, obviously in need of warmth.
He inched his hand up her bare back. “Cold?” he asked in a gruff voice as her body heat and scent wrapped around him him.

“Not anymore.”

He looked into her eyes to discover an awareness that matched his own, glanced down and caught sight of her lush lips. As they moved together to the music, warning bells rang in his head but nothing could have stopped him from settling his mouth on hers. The first touch was electric, a heady combination of sparkling champagne and sensual, willing woman. Her lips were soft and giving and he wasn’t sure how long their mouths lingered in a chaste kiss they both knew was anything but.

His entire body came alive, reminding him of what he’d been missing in the two years since his divorce. That this woman could awaken him both surprised and unnerved him. It made him want to feel more. He trailed his hand up the soft skin of her back and cupped her head in one hand. With a sweet sigh, she opened for him, letting him really taste her for the first time. Warmth, heat and desire flooded through him.

“Oh, gross! Just shoot me now!” Tess exclaimed in a disgusted voice.

Nash jerked back at the unwanted interruption. “What the hell are you doing?” he asked, the annoyed words escaping before he could think it through.

“Looking for Kelly. What are you doing?” She perched her hands on her hips, demanding an answer.

Wasn’t it obvious? Nash shook his head and swallowed a groan. The kid was the biggest wise-ass he’d ever come across.

“You found me,” Kelly said, sounding calmer than he did.

Like that kiss hadn’t affected her at all. A look at her told him that unless she was one hell of an actress, it hadn’t. She appeared completely unflustered, while he was snapping at Tess because the hunger Kelly inspired continued to gnaw at him.

“Ethan and Faith want to talk to you,” Tess muttered in a sulking tone.
Obviously she didn’t like what she’d seen between him and her sister. Unlike Nash, who’d liked it a lot.

Too much, in fact.

From the pissed off look on Tess’s face, kissing Kelly and biting Tess’s head off had resulted in a huge setback in trying to create any kind of relationship with his new sister. And to think, if asked, he’d have said things between them couldn’t get any worse.

“Why don’t you go tell them I’ll be right there?” Kelly said patiently to Tess.

The teenager now folded her arms across her chest. “How about not?”

Kelly raised an eyebrow. “How about I’m the one in charge while Ethan’s on his honeymoon and if you don’t want to find yourself grounded and in your room for the next two weeks, you’ll start listening now.”

With a roll of her eyes and a deliberate stomp of her foot, which wasn’t impressive considering she was wearing a deep purple dress and mini-heels from her walk down the aisle, Tess stormed away.

“Well done,” he said to Kelly, admiring how she’d gotten Tess to listen without yelling or sniping back.

“Yeah, I did a better job than you.” She shot him an amused glance. “But I can’t take any credit. You saw what she was like before Ethan took over. This change is due to his influence not mine.” Her expression saddened at the fact that she’d been unable to accomplish helping Tess on her own.

He knew the feeling. “Don’t remind me about Saint Ethan.”

She raised her eyebrow. “There’s always tension between you and Ethan. Why is that?” she asked.

He definitely didn’t want to talk about his brother or his past. “Is asking about my life your way of avoiding discussing the kiss?” He deliberately threw a question back at her as a distraction.

An unexpected smile caught hold of her lips. “Why would I want to avoid discussing it when it was so much fun?” she asked and grabbed hold of his tie once more.

Her moist lips shimmered, beckoning to him as did her renewed interest and he shoved his hands into his pants pockets. Easier to keep them to himself that way.

“Kelly! We’re waiting!” Tess called impatiently, interrupting them again and reminding him of why he had to keep his distance from Kelly from now on.

“Coming!” Kelly called over her shoulder, before meeting Nash’s gaze. “Looks like you got a reprieve.” A mischievous twinkle lit her gaze.

A sparkle he found infectious. She had spunk, confidence and an independent spirit he admired. His ex-wife had been as opposite of Kelly as he could imagine, more sweet and in need of being taken care of. Kelly could obviously hold her own.

And Nash didn’t plan on giving her the upper hand. “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” he lied.

She patted his cheek. “Keep telling yourself that.”

He would. For as long as it took to convince himself this woman would only cause him and his need to have a relationship with Tess boatloads of trouble.


Kelly Moss stood at the bottom of the circular stairs in the house that was nothing short of a mansion and yelled up at her sister. “Tess, let’s go! If you want to have time for breakfast before school, get yourself downstairs now!” It was the third time she’d called up in the last five minutes.

“I said I’m coming!” came Tess’s grumpy reply.

Ethan and Faith had left yesterday morning for their honeymoon, one week on the beautiful, secluded island of Turks and Caicos, where they had their own villa complete with private butler. Talk about living the life, Kelly thought. Hers wasn’t so bad either, since she got to stay in this huge house with her own housekeeper while they were gone.

Tess’s door slammed loudly, startling Kelly back to reality as her sister came storming out of her room, then stomping down the stairs.

The old days, when Kelly had been raising Tess alone and doing a God awful job at it came rushing back and Kelly clenched her fists. “What’s wrong?” Kelly only hoped it was something easily fixable, not a problem that would lead Tess to turn back to running wild.

“This!” Tess gestured to the school uniform she wore, a navy pleated skirt, white collared shirt and high socks. “I hate it.”

Kelly knew better than to say it was better than the all black outfits the teenager used to wear, including the old Army surplus jacket and combat boots. “You’ll get used to it.”

Tess passed by Kelly and headed for the kitchen. “It’s been a month and I still hate it.”

The clothes or the school, Kelly wondered as she followed behind her sister. “Is it the skirt? Because you didn’t mind the dress you wore at the wedding.” In fact, she’d looked like a beautiful young lady.

“It’s the fact that I have to wear it. I hate being told what to do.”

“Tell me something I don’t know,” Kelly muttered, having been Tess’s primary caregiver for longer than she could remember.

“I heard that.”

Kelly grinned. Tess really had come a long way thanks to Ethan Barron. Kelly shuddered to think of what might have happened if she hadn’t taken drastic steps.

Both Tess and Kelly’s mother, Leah Moss, had been a weak woman, too dependent on men and incapable of raising Tess. She’d been different when Kelly was young or maybe that’s how she wanted to remember her. Or maybe it had been Kelly’s father’s influence that had made Leah different.

Kelly would never know because her father had died of a heart attack when she was twelve. And Leah had immediately gone in search of another man to take his place. Her choice was a poor one. Leah struck up an affair with her married boss, Mark Barron. Yet despite how wrong it was, for Kelly, her mother’s years as his mistress had been stable ones, including the period after Tess was born. But with Mark Barron’s passing ten years ago, Leah had spiraled and both Kelly and Tess suffered as a result.

She’d immediately packed up and moved them to a seedy part of New York City, far from their home in Tomlin’s Cove, the neighboring town to Serendipity. Leah said she wanted them to start over. In reality, their mother had wanted an easy place to search for another lover to take care of her. But Leah never found her next white knight, turning to alcohol and a never ending rotation of disgusting men instead.

Since Tess had only been four years old at the time, a sixteen year old Kelly had become the adult, juggling high school, then part time college with jobs and raising Tess. Fortunately, her mother had moved them into a boarding house with a kindly older woman who’d helped Kelly too.

But last year, their mother had run off with some guy, abandoning her youngest daughter and something in Tess had broken. Angry and hurt, she’d turned into a belligerent, rebellious teenager, hanging out with the wrong crowd, smoking, drinking and ultimately getting arrested. Desperate, Kelly had turned to the only person she remembered from their years in Tomlin’s Cove, Richard Kane, a lawyer in Serendipity who’d put her in touch with Ethan Barron.

Kelly’s heart shattered as she basically deposited her baby sister on a stranger’s doorstep and ordered him to step up as her brother. But it was that, Kelly sensed, or heaven knew where Tess would end up. So here she was months later, starting her life over but still rushing Tess out for school, she thought, grateful things were finally looking up.

She and Tess ate a quick breakfast, after which Kelly dropped off Tess and headed to work. Another thing for which she owed Richard Kane, her job, working for him as a paralegal, in downtown Serendipity.

She stopped, as she did daily, at Cuppa Café, the town’s version of Starbucks. Kelly had worked hard all her life and she’d learned early on to save, but her entire day hinged on that first cup of caffeine. It had to be strong and good.

Kelly stepped into the coffee shop and the delicious aroma surrounded her, instantly perking her up as if she were inhaling caffeine by osmosis.
She was pouring a touch of milk into her large cup of regular coffee when a familiar woman with long curly blonde hair joined her at the far counter.

“You’re as regular as my Grandma Emma wanted to be,” Annie Kane joked.

Kelly glanced at her and grinned. “I could say the same for you.”

“Good point.” Annie laughed and raised her cup in a mock toast.

Small town living offered both perks and drawbacks. Running into a familiar face fell in the latter category. Kelly and Annie frequented Cuppa Café at the same time each morning and they’d often linger and chat. If pressed, Kelly would say Annie was the closest she had to a real friend here, if she didn’t count Faith Harrington, Ethan’s wife.

Annie was Richard Kane’s daughter, though from the pictures on Richard’s desk, Kelly noticed Annie looked more like her mother than her dad. From the first day they’d met at her father’s office, Kelly had liked the other woman.

Kelly took a long, desperately needed sip of her drink.

“So what’s your excuse for being up so early every day?”

“Routine keeps me young,” Annie said.

Kelly rolled her eyes. “You are young.” She looked Annie over, from her slip on sneakers to her jeans and light cotton sweater. “I bet we’re probably close to the same age.”

“I’ll be twenty seven next month,” Annie said.

“And I’ll be twenty seven in December.”

Annie raised her cup to her lips and Kelly couldn’t help but notice her hand shook as she took a sip.

Kelly narrowed her gaze but didn’t comment on the tremor. Instead she dove into cementing her life here in Serendipity. “Listen, instead of quick hello’s standing over coffee, how about we meet for lunch one day?” She was ready for a real friend here, someone she could trust and confide in.
Kelly adored Tess but a fourteen year old hardly constituted adult company.

“I’d like that!” Annie said immediately. “Let me give you my phone number.” As she reached into her purse, her cell phone rang and she glanced at the number.

“Excuse me a second,” she said to Kelly. “Hello?” she spoke into the receiver.

Kelly glanced away to give Annie privacy but she couldn’t help but overhear her end of the conversation.

“I’m feeling better, thanks. Yeah. No you don’t need to stop by. I called the plumber and he said he’d make it to the house by the end of the day.” Annie grew quiet, then she spoke once more. “I can afford it and you don’t need to come by. You weren’t good with the pipes when we were married,” she said, amusement in her tone.

Some more silence, then Annie said, “If you insist, I’ll see you later,” she said, now sounding more annoyed than indulgent.

She hung up and put the phone back in her bag. “My ex-husband,” she explained to Kelly. “He thinks because I have M.S. I need his constant hovering.”

The admission caught Kelly off guard and she felt for Annie, being diagnosed so young. Richard liked to talk about everything and anything when he was in the office, but he’d never mentioned his daughter’s disease. Kelly didn’t blame him for omitting something so personal. In fact she was surprised Annie had mentioned it at all.

“I’m sure you noticed my hand shaking earlier and if we’re going to be friends, you might as well know,” Annie said as if reading Kelly’s mind.

Kelly met Annie’s somewhat serene gaze. Obviously she’d come to terms with her situation. “Thanks for telling me.”

“Hey if I go M.I.A. one day, at least you’ll know why.” She shrugged, as if the notion were no big deal.

Kelly didn’t take the other woman’s confidence or situation as lightly. “Well if you ever need anything, just let me know.”

Annie smiled. “Thanks. But I think my ex will always be around to handle things,” she said through lightly clenched jaw.

“That could be a good thing,” Kelly mused, having someone at your beck and call when you need something?

“Not when you’ve told them you want to be independent,” Annie muttered.

The frustration in the other woman’s voice was something Kelly understood.
Like Annie, Kelly didn’t need or want a man who felt the need to take care of her. She was determined to be smart and self-sufficient, the opposite of her mother in every way. No matter how many obstacles life threw in her way. And unfortunately, there were more to come. Utter humiliation loomed in the not so distant future courtesy of a man she’d once loved. The affair was long over. The fallout was not. Kelly could handle the mess. Her younger sister could not. And Kelly did not want Tess exposed to gossip and innuendo just as the teenager was doing well and making better choices. Kelly only hoped the distance between Manhattan and Serendipity would spare Tess when trouble hit.

“Men just don’t get us women, do they?” Annie asked, a welcome interruption from Kelly’s troubling thoughts.

Kelly shook her head and sighed. “No, they do not.”

“First hand experience?” Annie asked.

“Unfortunately, yes.” Kelly frowned, the memory of spending the last year getting over having her heart and trust betrayed, still fresh.

“I’m sorry.” Annie blew out a long breath. “I don’t know about yours but my ex means well. He just takes the word responsibility to the extreme.”

Kelly swallowed hard. “And my ex boyfriend took the word commitment way too lightly.”

“Excuse me,” an older man said, indicating he needed to get to the counter so he could pour milk into his coffee.

“Sorry.” Kelly stepped out of the way and with Annie, walked toward the exit.

“So how about I call you at my father’s office later today and we’ll exchange phone numbers and make lunch plans?” Annie asked.

Kelly nodded. “Sure. That’s fine.”

They parted ways and Kelly headed toward Richard’s office in the center of town. The buildings stretched along the road, stores on the main level, small apartments above, like hers over Joe’s Bar. The small town appealed to her coming from the overcrowded city with tall buildings and too many people.

Using her key, Kelly walked into the office of the man she credited for helping to save her sister and her family. “Richard?” she called out.
No answer.

The small office was empty. Obviously she’d beat him here which was unusual. Richard was an early to the office, late home kind of man, though his wife had been trying to get him to work fewer hours, maybe take in a partner to lighten his load.

Kelly settled in to her desk in a small room with a window that she appreciated. She already knew which case she had to work on and what she needed to do today but she pulled out her calendar anyway. As part of her work routine and a way to make sure she never forgot an assignment, Kelly glanced at today’s date and the list she’d made on Friday before leaving work for the weekend.

Seven P.M. – Parent Teacher Conference for Tess.

Which she was attending with Dare since Ethan was away. Better Dare than the other Barron brother. The one she’d she’d deliberately put out of her mind since the kiss on Saturday.

And what a kiss it had been.

Kelly prided herself on her poker face but she still wasn’t sure she’d pulled off being nonchalant after Tess interrupted them. Her sister had sulked all the way home, but hadn’t mentioned what she’d seen, nor had she brought it up the next day. If Tess wasn’t going discuss it, neither was Kelly.

And considering she hadn’t heard a word from Nash, neither was he. Which bothered her. A lot.

Sure, she’d been a little tipsy and a lot aggressive but she’d felt his body heat and obvious reaction first hand. He’d obviously liked the kiss, but he’d been hard to read afterwards.

She told herself she shouldn’t care what Nash thought or felt. She’d learned from her mother’s choices and her own past not to rely on anyone but herself. So though she might be attracted to Nash, his feelings on the subject didn’t matter. Even if he was equally interested, a brief affair would be disastrous because it would hurt Tess. And short term was all Kelly would let herself believe in from now on.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Friday - How she does it -- Stories - Carly Phillips

I'veknown Carly for many years. Won't say how long and have enjoyed watching her develop as a writer.

We all know there are six elements in writing fiction and often fact. Who, What, When, Where, Why and How. I believe the first five lead to the sixth which for me is the plot. What's your take on this?

I am embarrassed to say I didn't realize this and have never given it any real thought until now. But having answered all the below questions first, I think you are correct. My "who" always comes first; I often know the "where" and the characters (the "who") help me navigate the why. I think the why then leads to the how (the plot).

1. How do you create your characters? Do you have a specific process?

I create my characters before my story. My characters, who they are, what their history is, their past, etc. helps define what kind of story I want to tell. My process is to think first about whose story I want to tell and how I want to keep each story in a series connected. Do I want to write about three siblings? Male or female? How many of each? Happy family history or painful one to drive their present actions? A lot of my character building is a "what if" process that results in the first character in a story. AT that point, I think about the direction I'm going and what kind of hero/heroine would create sparks and conflict for this particular character. That's basically my process. It's pretty amorphous and kind of ugly but it works for me.

2. Do your characters come before the plot? Do you sketch out your plot or do you let the characters develop the route to the end?

As I said above, 100% my characters come before my plot. I have tried writing all ways - completely by the seat of my pants, completely outlining, or something in between. I've come to the conclusion that the middle process works best for me. I nail my characters and I know where I want them to go by the end. I like when how they get there is a surprise, since that means they are telling their own story - this usually creates fresher writing for me than a linear plan. That said, I need to know what's happening a scene or two ahead of where I am so that I don't sit and twiddle my thumbs, wasting time figuring out why I'm blocked.

3. Do you know how the story will end before you begin? In a general way or a specific one?

Every book is different. Sometimes I think I know the exact end and by the time I get there, the characters have taken me somewhere completely different and I'm surprised. I recently wrote a short story - Kismet - coming out in eBook in November - and I wrote the beginning, knew I was missing conflict, rewrote it 3x, finally trashed the whole thing and in the end - I used that first scene as the end of the entire book and it worked so much better.

4. Do you choose settings you know or do you have books of settings and plans of houses sitting around?

I really truly stink at description and setting. It's just not my strong suit. I'll use houses I've been in as a layout and work from there. I used to use floor plans and magazines. Now I just pray .

5. Where do you do your research? On line or from books?

I used to collect books for research and discover I rarely cracked them open. These days I say thank you GOOGLE!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Thursday's Interview - Chris Redding

1. What's your genre or do you write in more than one?

Romantic Suspense. It chose me. I tried writing straight romance and always ended up with some kind of crime.

2. Did you choose your genre or did it choose you?

3. Is there any genre you'd like to try?

Romantic comedy sounds fun. Or is there one you wouldn't? I don't think I could do historicals as I never read them and don't like history.

4. What fiction do you read for pleasure?

I actually read a lot of different stuff. Thrillers and suspense, mostly with some kind of literature for my book club.

5. Tell me a bit about yourself and how long you've been writing ,

I live in New Jersey, but was born and bred in the suburbs of Philadelphia. I've been writing since I was ten, but for publication only for the last 13 years. I went to Penn State and am a diehard Lions fan. I follow Eagles football.

6. Which of your characters is your favorite?

I think Trey McCrane my hero in Blonde Demolition which will be out next year. He's such a bad boy. So not like my husband. Trey know what a woman wants and he knows what he wants.

7. Are there villains in your books and how were they created?

There are always villains. I just think of people that have pissed me off in the past and voila they are villains.

8. What are you working on now?

I should begin editing Blonde Demoltion soon. Until then I'm working on a middle grade novel, but I'm not ready to talk about that yet.

9. What's your latest release and how did the idea arrive?

A View to a Kilt is the next book out. I wrote it awhile ago so I actually don't remember what inspired it.

10. Tell me about your latest book and how it came about. Enclose the opening of the book around 400 words.

Waking up next to a dead guy can ruin your whole day.

At least interior decorator Miriam Stokes’ thought so.

The Philadelphia Police Detective whose name she couldn’t remember talked soothingly to her, making her feel, not better, but at least calmer.
As calm as anyone could feel after finding a dead body. How did she get herself into these things?

Sipping coffee Miriam didn’t remember asking for, she eyed the cop as they sat in a flowered living room. Her friend Joe’s neighbor owned said living room. The friend she just found dead.

She tried to keep eye contact with Detective. . .Dasher, Dancer? Some reindeer name.

She could see him clearly now, her vision returning to normal.

“So you woke up and he was dead. Didn’t you hear a shot?”

After swallowing the scalding liquid, she answered him. “No detective. I do sleep very soundly, but I think I had help from this bump on the side of my head.”

To indicate the injury, she pulled away the bag of ice she held to her head. The ice had appeared sometime after the first patrolman. The lump began to throb, but Donner only glanced at her head. Instead, he scribbled some notes in a small pad.

How many murders does one have to see to get so matter-of-fact about them? Miriam shuddered.

“Could I at least get dressed? I feel a little vulnerable in my pajamas,” she told him.

Donner. The detective had introduced himself as Donner. He looked her over as if making a decision. He nodded, glancing around the apartment. “Do you have any clothes?”

She nodded towards Joe’s apartment.

“When they remove. . .” he murmured, then grimaced. She caught his meaning.
He turned his brown eyes back to her. “We’ll work things out. I just have a few more questions for you. Then we’ll go downtown.”

Miriam nodded. Who would do this to Joe?

“How long have you known the deceased?”

She let the hand holding the ice fall while the other hand rested her coffee on the table. She massaged her right temple. The hushed voices of cops in the hallway wafted past her. She wondered of she would ever get the blood smell out of her nose.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Wednesday - On Plot - Revelation and Secrets

Revelation is a technique that often holds stories that aren't plotted together but often occurs in most published stories. Revelation is about a secret one that when revealed gives the story a focus. In a story the focus character discovers something hidden or realizes a truth that has been there for ages. This can be a quest or a journey with each encounter revealing a bit of the secret. For the reader this brings enlightment. There are a number of important things to remember about the secret.

1. The secret must be something worth knowing. The revelation must matter.

2. There must be a build-up to the secret with clues sprinkled along the way.

3. The secret must be easily recognized without a lot of lengthy explanations about what the secret is and what it means.

4. The secret must be a single thing, not a choice between two different meanings.

So write the story and think about how you plan to use revelation and secrets clearly. Don't muddy the waters.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Tuesday's Inspiration - Using the past - recollections

Write the past. An interesting idea put forth in Discovering The Writer Within, Interested me because sometimes I use it unconsciously and sometimes consciously. When working on a story or just trying to prime the pump I often look to the past. Part of my past is remembered things. These remembered events and impressions can add a lot to a story. What parts of these remembrances does one need to recall.

First are the senses and memories of them can conjure ways to add depth to a story. Sight, sound, touch, taste and smell. To these add your own reactions to an event. We've all been afraid. We've all had the first kiss and many other first. Some times things occur again and again. When working on a scene with your characters remember those times when a similar act happened in your life. Doesn't mean you have to write this step by step but if that's what it takes to get it down on paper go with the flow. Much of what you free write to add your memories to the incident you're writing will be taken out but there will be passages that give you that "Oh Yes" feeling.

During this session of memory don't think about your story just go with the impressions of what happened to you during that time. I've often used a memory to evoke what I was feeling and put it into a scene. So when you're having a rough time with an event in your characters' lives, draw on your own memories and sit dow and just write what you recall. Don't stop to worry about the words you've chosen or the punctuation and grammar. Once you revise these words is the time to do that.

Monday, October 24, 2011

24 October - Week ahead and week behind

Once again I'll start with a peeve. On the many digests I follow people often post exerpts of their work. I would enjoy reading them but often they arrive so garbled there's no sense reading them. It's not hard to post excerpts if one remembers to put a space between each paragraph. One can't do much about missing quotes or strange punctuations that depends on the program being used to create the post. But garbled paragraphs don't pull people to read and also makes the writer look a bit silly.

Last week I reached the 45 percent mark on The Chosen of Horu. I do like the way the story is going but then I love quest stories. And I like exploring this world I've created.

This coming week I'll manage to do a few more chapters looking mainly at setting, but one cannot revise without bits for the plot and the characters creeping in. There are a number of chapters that need expansion since I didn't fill in a lot of details. Whole scenes have been encapsulated into a few words because I didn't want to stop and flesh them out at the time.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

3 Blog Visit Sunday Interesting anti-pirate site about lengths of different forms New blog with a contest

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Saturday's Chapter - Haven - Charmaine Gordon

Here's the first Chapter of Haven by Charmaine Gordon who "dream writes."

Chapter 1

“I need you, Jimmy Costigan.”

Words he’d heard since childhood chilled him. Not again. Oh please, not again.

Strong hands gripped the tall cowboy and spun him around and he wasn’t an easy man to spin. In high heels, Shelley Jackson faced him eye to eye.

“Just when I was makin’ a clean getaway,” he said. “Whatcha need now?”

“You. I’m with hostage survivors and no one to help me ‘til tomorrow morning.” She talked low and fast, no time to waste.


“Didn’t your sister tell you?” He shook his shaggy head, a frown forming. “Or maybe you weren’t listening.”

“Whoa,” he said, holding up a calloused hand.

“Sorry. One minute I’m sitting in my office downtown minding my own business. Then Kirk Richards called with the emergency. We all knew this day would come so I raced around locking up, grabbed my packed suitcase at home like an expectant mother, God forbid, and got here in record time.”

He stood there still not comprehending. “What happened? I just came by to deliver supplies and planned to hightail it back to the big city.” You sound like a hick after less than a day in Utah. Shut your country yap.

“Here’s a quick rundown. This morning, Lila Olsen called 911, said she and her kids were held hostage by a guy for maybe a week or more and now he slipped on spilled soup and hit his head. She found his cell phone and called for help. The mother is in my study and her three little kids are in the playroom. My job as psychiatric social worker is to get background for starters, then serve dinner and send them off to shower and bed.” She stopped, caught her breath and listened. Quiet so far. “How are you with small children?”

Profound pain hit him in the gut.

“The best,” he said.

“Well, great. See if they’ll confide in you.”

Jaw set, Jimmy loped down the hall, man on a mission ready to help whenever kids were involved.

Shelley re-entered her new study in the old house where she planned to find out what the hell happened to this family while they were held captive.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Friday's Tip How she does it - Charmaine Gordon

1. I’ve revealed this before but here goes. I sleep-write. A story comes unbidden in the night complete with beginning, middle, and end. In the morning, I write.

2. The characters crowd in on me and form a plot. With invaluable critique, I’m able to move them around to keep the story going in a good direction.

3. Yes. The end is predetermined more or less. Sometimes a glitch occurs-a twist of fate and the end is altered.

4. So far I’ve used settings I’m familiar with and Google for specifics. Décor comes from imagination.

5. Online mostly and question people who may be in the know.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Thursday's Interview - Carol Preflatish

. What's your genre or do you write in more than one?

I'm published in romantic suspense and have a two more under consideration with publishers right now. I'm also working on a contemporary mystery series and I'm hoping to have the first book released on Kindle this fall.

2. Did you choose your genre or did it choose you?

I've always like reading mysteries and then many years ago I started reading romances and the two just came together for me.

3. Is there any genre you'd like to try? Or is there one you wouldn't?

Both answers are the same. I'd love to try writing a romantic comedy. I think I have a great sense of humor, but when it comes to trying to write it, I'm pretty sure I would fail.

4. What fiction do you read for pleasure?

My favorite authors are all mystery writers. I love James Patterson's Women's Murder Club series. I also enjoy reading Lisa Gardner and the late Robert B. Parker.

5. Tell me a bit about yourself and how long you've been writing.

I'm married and live in rural southern Indiana. I work as a Human Services Consultant as my day job and spend a few hours at night and mostly on the weekends working on my manuscripts. I started writing in 2000 when my New Year's Resolution was to write and finish a manuscript. I succeeded in doing that and I was hooked.

6. Which of your characters is your favorite?

My favorite character is the one I am writing about in my mystery series. He's a police detective in a small fictional town in Massachusetts.

7. Are there villains in your books and how were they created?

Absolutely, I have villains. I love creating them. Sometimes I get ideas for them in news articles or the tv news, but mostly I just create them in my head.

8. What are you working on now?

I have two manuscripts that I jump around with. One is contemporary romance about a millionaire falling for a struggling culinary student working her way through school and the other is the mystery series I mentioned.

9. What's your latest release and how did the idea arrive?

As of the time I am being interviewed, I have a romantic suspense out called "Love, Lies & Deceit." It's about a female rookie CIA officer who falls in love with her training partner. Then, when he's arrested for treason, she risks everything to help him find out who set him up.

I've always been a sucker for spies. My first love was Illya Kuryakin from the Man from U.N.C.L.E. After that, I couldn't get enough of the television show Mission Impossible. Finally, I have all of the James Bond movies with Roger Moore or Sean Connery. However, my favorite spy was and still is my husband. In the Army, he was a counter-intelligence agent. I didn't know him back then, but he has been invaluable with the technical stuff in my books. I love writing about spies.

10. Tell me about your latest book and how it came about. Enclose the opening of the book around 400 words.

You can view the trailer for my book at:

"Love, Lies & Deceit" is a available as a Kindle download or in other formats from my publisher. You can find the purchase links on my website at

Late, Julie McBride thought Traffic on the Beltway around Washington, D.C. had crawled. She drove through the security gate and spotted a parking place. Just before she reached the spot, a black Jaguar cut her off.

She slapped the steering wheel. “Bastard!” She wished she had that heat vision like Superman. She’d like to heat up that guy’s six, as her fighter pilot ex-boyfriend called his derriere. Instead, she gave him a cold stare. Eyes squinted into tight slits.

The man, dressed in a black three-piece suit and wearing dark sunglasses, climbed out of his car. He looked right at her while pressing the security lock on his key chain and gave her a little wave before heading toward the main building of the complex.

After several trips up and down rows of cars she found an empty spot to park. Julie stepped out of her car, thankful that she had dressed in slacks and low heels. She started jogging to the main building.

As she neared the entrance, she noticed a few other people heading to the building and wondered if it could be their first day also. Not paying attention to her surroundings, she was startled when two men wearing security uniforms quickly grabbed her arms and escorted her to the sidewalk.

“What’s the rush, ma’am?” one officer asked.

“This is my first day at work here and I’m supposed to be at an orientation on the fourth floor at 9:00." She sighed, "I’m late, I'm really late.”

“Do you have some identification?” the other officer asked.

She fished her driver’s license from her bag and handed it to the officer who took it and stepped aside. She watched as he talked into a microphone attached to his shirt at the shoulder. People were beginning to stare as they hurried by and Julie could only imagine that her face had turned as red as her hair.

“Here’s your ID, Miss McBride. For future reference, there’s no running in the parking area. It makes us very nervous,” he said, with a smile.

“Thank you and I’m sorry. I’ll remember next time.”

“You can pick up your security badge at the front desk through those glass doors,” the officer said, motioning toward the front of the building. “Oh, and welcome to the CIA.”


Thanks so much for hosting me here today, Janet.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Wednesday - More on Plot Collage and Allegory

Coming to the winddown on Plot. Today Is about Allegory and Collage pieces of fiction. We all know Aesop's fables and these are a simple form of allegory. In this story there's a meaning beyond what is shown in the words of the story. Tortise and hare race. The plodder wins. Fables can be simple or complex where the inner meaning is gradually revealed. With the allergorical form of a story there are two dangers. One is the message can take over and the writer begins to preach. Readers don't like preaching because it is less than entertaining. The other danger is trying to connect symbols that really don't connect. But a looser form of allergory is often successful.

Collage in this kind of story the parts do not connect. It's more like a newsreel sort of bits and pieces that may or may not make a whole. Often the pairings are now connected. The hard thing with this form of fiction is managing to hold the fragments together. While not seeming to be related the fragments are but for many readers hard to find.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Tuesday's Inspiration Discovering Writer

Looking through the books I've read that helped me write and inspired me to go beyond just writing for myself, I came upon Discovering The Writer Within by Ballinter and Lane. There are some interesting things here that I remember from way back inthe dark ages when I began to write. Those were the days of typewriters and carbon paper and sending off whole manuscripts to an editor and having the manuscript returned needing to be re-typed. Now we have the computer which makes life easier for the writer. But some of the things contained in this book are good bits of advice.

One of the first things was to put aside 30 minutes a day and just write. Sort of like the sprint writes people do. This means turning the editor off and for some writers this is hard. The editor makes one look at every word and ask is this the right one? Is there a better one? What am I trying to say? If you're just writing without the editor the words may not make sense when you read them over but perhaps the idea comes through.

Another thing that made sense then and now is what they call the Watcher. This is the little voice that says you can only write on the computer or you can only write with pen in hand. Sometimes this creature dictates the time of day you write. You need to turn this whoever off and forget those habits. Chnge one of your writing rituals during your 30 minutes of free style writing time and see what happens.

Monday, October 17, 2011

17 October - Week behind and week ahead

Before the summary of the past week and the future week, comes the pet peeve. I belong to a number of groups and I receive them as digests. Why? To cut down on the number of emails I have to open and read. Being able to scribe down to the ones I want to read cuts down. Some groups have rules that state DO NOT COPY THE ENTIRE MESSAGE. A lot of people ignore this so when finding two messages in a row that I'm interested in reading and perhaps responding, I come to inches and inches of repeated material. Usually I just give up, get out of that digest. Why is something that's so easy to do hard for so many people? Pulling a short bit from the subject or even just having the subject in the line makes things easy to follow. If I want more information I can always go back and read the past posts.
Now for the weeks in review.

Last week I reached the 37% mark on The Chosen of Horu. All the plot points are falling into place and hopefully this week I'll finish getting those straight. This week that'swhat I'll be working on and on doing more promotion elsewhere. Trying to figure how to do this fairly. With so many books out it's hard. Thought I'd start with the publisher with the least books and go onto that. Am also gearing up for the Christmas contest for those who are members of my blog. All of December I'll be giving away a print copy of one of my books. I have nearly enough to last for the entire month. That's a good thing. That means a list. Do love lists.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

3 Blog Visit Sunday

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Saturday's Chapter - Love By Design - Liz Matis

Love By Design - Liz Matis

Chapter 1

Victoria tossed the head shot of Russ Rowland onto the conference room table. “Why him?”

Ava picked up the photo and waved it under her client’s nose. “Have you
gone blind? The man is smoking hot. You two are going to look great together.”

No, she hadn’t gone blind. When it came to gorgeous men her vision was twenty-twenty. Her inner sight, however, could use coke-bottle glasses. Victoria ignored the glossy print and turned away to look out the window of the towering skyscraper. Steam rose from the rain-soaked pavement of the hot New York City streets. Despite the air conditioning chilling her skin, she longed for the cool breezes of the family home in the Hamptons, even if her mother was currently in residence. “Design Intervention is not a reality dating show. You’re my friend. You’re supposed to do what’s best for me.”

“In this room I’m your agent. And I am doing what’s best for you.”

She turned from the window, rubbing her arms. “Have you seen his show in Australia? It’s one step away from porn.”

“But an important step. Besides, nothing wrong with a man using power tools while shirtless.” Ava tapped the picture. “Nothing at all.”

Victoria didn’t need the photo to remember the man was Playgirl material. Not that she read Playgirl. Well, not since college anyway. “It’s one thing to be on TV with a fabulous male gay designer, it’s another to be on with a half-naked, very straight man. The paparazzi will have a field day. Mother throws a fit every time I’m on Page Six.”

“Ratings are the name of the game. So if the pho-hogs take your picture, you smile nice. Besides, your mother doesn’t scare you. What are you really afraid of?”

“Nothing.” Everything. Would she be able to back up the first season’s success without Neil? And despite Ava saying so, Victoria was afraid that her mother was right about everything. From how she wore her hair to her career to the most contentious subject between them: marriage. “Couldn’t I just do the show solo until Neil gets back?”

“One, we don’t know when he’ll be back.” A long silence followed.

Victoria arched an eyebrow. “And two?”

“I hate to break it to you, but you can’t carry a show on your own. You need the back and forth interplay. And as beautiful as your designs are, the audience stays tuned to watch the antics between you and Neil.”

She hated that Ava was right. Viewers may love the big reveal at the end, but according to the fan letters, they were equally fascinated with the relationship between the two co-hosts. Some days it was like a damn soap opera. But Victoria needed Neil, not some surfer dude who decorated like a beach bum. This Russ probably didn’t know the difference between silk and satin, and thought stripping referred to him peeling off his shirt instead of refurbishing old furniture.

This was Neil’s fault. Victoria knew that was unfair. Dear sweet Neil, how could she be upset with him? While her co-host flew to his mother’s bedside in Arizona, she was whining about starring in a design show with a hunky, straight male, and an Aussie to boot. She must stop feeling sorry for herself. Stop depending on others for her happiness. She grinned at her agent. “You know what Neil would say?”

“Oh, this is going to be good,” encouraged Ava.

Victoria snapped her fingers and lowered her voice two octaves. “Honey, I wish he’d go all down-under on me.”

She and Ava shared a laugh. She needed Neil’s sense of humor. Needed him to be the co-star of this show, which he had conceptualized and named. Production should wait. Neil was fun, smart, cute, and gay. While Russ had predator written all over him. Her laugh faded. “He’s going to be difficult. He’ll try to take over.”

“He won’t be a problem.”

“He’s already a half an hour late. Keeping the network executives waiting is really impressive.” Victoria shook out the negative feelings swamping her. This was all wrong without Neil, but he’d assured her it was the right thing to do—the only thing to do.

Ava handed her Russ’s picture. “Come on, the ratings will go through the roof. You’ll get your design line for sure.”

That’s all Victoria ever wanted since she could put crayon to paper—her own design line. She’d created her logo at the age of fourteen. Designed her friends’ bedrooms even as her own mother refused Victoria free reign in her own room. All through high school her mother steered her towards law so she’d make the perfect politician’s wife. Victoria would nod and in secret she would dream and sketch. Now that she was so close to proving her mother wrong, would working with Russ hurt or help her cause?

She examined his image. Russ’s burnished blond hair fell in waves past his neck in such a way that begged for her fingers to dive in and explore its texture. His dazzling smile mocked her as if he knew she craved to kiss the photo like some thirteen-year-old. And to top it off, his light brown eyes colored like the hues of the outback at sunrise stared back, daring her to do so.

If a two-dimensional photo made her feel like a feline predator ready to pounce, what feelings would the 3D version churn out? She would just have to deal with it. Not that she had much choice, as they say, ‘The show must go on.’ “I can handle him.”

“I’ll look forward to it, luv.”

Both women flinched at the sound of the Aussie drawl. They looked up
sheepishly, embarrassed at being caught ogling his picture and speaking about him as if he were a side of beef ready to be devoured. Though he didn’t seem to mind, did he?

His long, lean body rested casually against the frame of the door leading into the conference room. He sported loafers, khaki pants, and a white dress shirt. Unbuttoned at the collar, the color enhanced his deep-bronzed tan. So did the puka beads around his neck. If it weren’t for the five o’clock shadow or the aviator sunglasses resting on the top of his tousled hair, he would look almost civilized. But there was nothing civilized about the gleam in his eye. He looked like an assassin zeroing in on a target.

How long had he’d been listening? By his smile she guessed it was since the down-under part. Heat flamed across Victoria’s face and she resisted the urge to press her cool hands upon her cheeks.

She handed the incriminating photo back to Ava and walked forward to
introduce herself.

He didn’t make it easy by continuing to lounge against the doorway. She put out her hand. “Mr. Rowland, nice to meet you. I’m Victoria Bryce.” Instead of shaking her hand as an equal business associate, he took it gently and raised it to his lips like they’ve just been introduced at a ball. A breath caught in her throat and she automatically tried to snatch her hand back but his grasp was firm. A tingling sensation skittered up her arm and her chest tightened as he tugged back. At any other time she would have thought she was having a heart attack. She instinctively knew he was just as dangerous as one, perhaps even more so. Maybe, her inner sight had sharpened a bit over time.

“Just nice?” He gave her a disapproving frown. He brushed a light kiss on top of her hand. His smile returned. “It’s certainly a pleasure to meet you.”

She willed herself not to outwardly respond, even as she internally melted into a pool of goo. Neither the photo nor the video clips did the man justice. After all, you couldn’t smell a picture, and now his ocean breeze scent assaulted her senses, making her wish they were kicking up some sand. Nor could you judge a man’s height. His bio read 6’2”, but it was 6’2” of pure maleness making her 5’2” female self want to climb all over him. His deep throaty Aussie accent washed over her like silk sliding across her naked body.

“And let me state for the record I only go down under on the opposite sex.”

Yeah, like anyone would question your sexual orientation. Regaining her ability to speak, she did manage to quip, “Neil will be so disappointed.”

“Just as long as I don’t disappoint you.” His lips curved into a wicked smile. “Do you still think you can handle me?”

She wasn’t going to back down. This was her and Neil’s show, not his. “No sweat.”

“Just so you know I come with a warning.”

I just bet you do, she thought. “Hmm, let me guess.” Probably something like ‘Ride At Your Own Risk’ but she couldn’t say that. A little too risqué even for her. “Don’t Feed the Animals?”

“I don’t bite. Much anyway. No, it’s Fragile. Handle With Care.”

Victoria couldn’t hold back the laugh that escaped. Fragile? There wasn’t a fragile bone in his body. He looked like the type that wouldn’t mind being thrown onto a bed and allowing a woman to have her way with him. Just the way she liked her men. Except Russ would expect to have his way back. She could feel it in every fluttering nerve of her body. And what did he mean by ‘I don’t bite. Much anyway’?

She would never be able to co-exist with this man. She had to put him in his place and do it fast. “Well, mine is No Trespassing.”

“Sorry, luv, all I saw was Danger, Curves Ahead,” Russ drawled.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Friday's Writing Style - From Liz Matis

1. How do you create your characters? Do you have a specific process?

I have a general sense of my main characters. I’ve tried character charts
but other than listing physical traits they end up blank. I learn about my
characters as the book progresses. For my heroes there is always some celebrity that I’m in love with at the moment that serves as my muse. Russ Rowland in Love By Design is based on Josh Holloway from the TV series, Lost. The hair, the build, the sexiness, and the attitude are inspired by the character Sawyer.

2. Do your characters come before the plot? Do you sketch out your plot or do you let the characters develop the route to the end?

I would say I have more of a premise than plot at the beginning. For
instance the premise Love By Design came from my love of HGTV(though you wouldn’t know it by the décor of my house). I immediately thought
Sex in the City meets Trading Spaces.

3. Do you know how the story will end before you begin? In a general way or a specific one?

In Love By Design it was very general as in they live happily ever
after. But in my November release Playing For Keeps I knew the ending. With both books I wrote the final chapter when writer’s block hit midway through and that inspired me write to the end.

4. Do you choose settings you know or do you have books of settings and plans of houses sitting around?

Both Love By Design and Playing For Keeps are set in New York. Not that my books are seeped in setting – it’s probably a weakness in my writing - though as a reader I tend to skip over descriptions of setting.

5. Where do you do your research? On line or from books?


Thursday, October 13, 2011

Thursday's Interview - Elaine Charton

1. What's your genre or do you write in more than one?

I write more than one genre but they sort of overlap. I started out to right Straight romance, a nice sweet Harlequin Presents type of romance. Just one problem. Dead bodies kept showing up. I listened to my muse and wrote a romantic suspense. Then I was asked to write a Paranormal that had elements of suspense. Now I am writing cozies but they have a touch of the paranormal in them. My tag line is Murder-Magic and Happy Endings because I always insist on Happy Endings.

2. Did you choose your genre or did it choose you?
I think it chose me, or at least made me see what was under my nose all the time.

3. Is there any genre you'd like to try? Or is there one you wouldn't?
I would like to try writing a historical romance. I've always been fascinated with history. I seriously doubt I would ever write horror.

4. What fiction do you read for pleasure?
I like mysteries, especially cozies and those set in small English villages. I also like historical mysteries and romances. If I want a change of pace it's Georgette Heyer and Jane Austin.

5. Tell me a bit about yourself and how long you've been writing,
Growing up if I didn't like the way a movie or story ended I would change it, at least in my mind. I've been writing since 1991, a few years before I had been taking a college English class, the professor showed me how to unleash all the stories and characters roaming around my brain. My husband encouraged me. He was a librarian at the time and came home one night to tell me an author was speaking at his library that night. She was the one who introduced me to RWA and it went from there.

6. Which of your characters is your favorite?
That's tough as I like them all. EZ McAllister who is the hero in EZ Lovin and Justin Andrews who is the hero in Pandora's Justice are probably tied for first place.I also like Reggie and Leticia Farnsworth from a series I am doing. They are ghosts who were killed back in 1926.

7. Are there villains in your books and how were they created?
Oh yes definitely. If you have murder you have to have villians. I grew up watching cop shows, war movies etc... As the only girl I was usually overruled by my 5 brothers when it came to watching tv. I think I get my characters from those old shows as well as what I read in the papers and see on TV. My husband and I are addicted to the tv show the First 48.

8. What are you working on now?
Another cozy series the title of the first book is DEAD MEN DO TELL TALES. The protagonist is a single mother who also happens to be a funeral director

9. What's your latest release and how did the idea arrive?
My latest release is actually part of my back list. THE MAN IN THE MIRROR. It is loosely based on the musical THE MUSIC MAN. Instead of band instruments our villian sells enchanted mirrors

10. Tell me about your latest book and how it came about.
As I said I was asked to do a paranormal romance based on the movie musical the Music Man. It's a story about good twin and bad twin they are both wizards and the bad twin imprisoned the good twin in a mirror over 200 years ago. My heroine is the witch who finds the spell that finally releases him.

Enclose the opening of the book around 400 words.
Mari Connell didn't usually eavesdrop on people. It was a little hard not to do so when the two women in front of her were speaking so loudly they could probably be heard in her bookstore down the street.

"What a gorgeous ring," one of them said.

"Isn't it?" The woman held her hand up so the stone reflected in the light. "I picked it up at New Treasures. I don't know where they get them but they have the neatest things there. That was where I found that
mirror I put in my bedroom."

Mari wouldn't exactly call the ring gorgeous. Big, gaudy, tacky, yes. However, it was not her idea of gorgeous. Although she did recognize the hum of enchantment that surrounded it. She wondered where the storeowner had found it. As far as she knew she was the only witch or wizard with in a hundred miles of this town.

They paid for their cake and left. Mari moved up to the counter. "Hi, I called an order in earlier today."

The woman behind the counter greeted her warmly. "Sure, Mari. Have it all ready. Can't have your Thursday girl's night without your chocolate can you?"

"No, Ma'am." As she paid for her purchase, Mari asked, "Do you know the store those ladies were talking about?"

"New Treasures? Sure do. You should check it out. See that mirror?" She pointed to the wall on the other side of the room; "I got that there as well as a few other things I have in my apartment upstairs."

"What sort of a place is it?" Mari asked.

"Looks like most places. The antiques are mostly good; some junk, though I'm sure you can tell the difference. Unlike those two who were just in here. They were the ones who told me about it. They used to be so quiet but since they discovered that store they've changed."
"Really?" Mari turned to look at the mirror once again; it didn't appear to be enchanted. She wondered just what sort of enchantment had been placed on the ring. "I can't imagine why." She took the box from the counter and turned to leave. "Thanks, Ellen. See you later."

A short time later she pulled into her friend Julie's driveway. Taking the cake and a bottle of wine out of the back seat, she hurried out of the cold night air and into the warm house.

Julie greeted her, and took the packages. Mari hung her coat on the rack in the hall. "That's new," she said, pointing to a mirror that hung next to the closet. Gold and silver trimmed; it had the definite hum of enchantment to it. "Where did you find it?"

"New Treasures, the new antique store over on Fifth. They have some neat things there. You should check it out." Julie watched her friend, "Something about that mirror bothers you, doesn't it?"

Elaine Charton

Magic Murder and a Happy Ending

Available now for Kindle and Nook The Man in the Mirror

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Wednesday, On Plot

More types of the mosaic kind of stories, those that don't follow the traditional plot line.

Slice-of life stories. A bit different from character sketches because the character or set of characters aren't the really important thing about this kind of story. The character of characters are used to show social content and situations. They look at economic and other like situations by pitting the characters against the social events of perhaps an era. The danger lies in not having a plot to drive the incidents from event to event. This can make the reader yawn.

Theme and Variation is another type of story that doesn't depend on plot to carry the story. Here a single concept is the focus of the various scenes in the story. Here, choosing scene, character and details are most important. Because these stories seem abstract, they are hard to pull off. I've only tried this once and fortunately there was a suspense plot underneath the action or I don't think I could have pulled it off. In this type of story, the incidents must be vivid and the meaning subtle. The stories are often shown by opposites. The opposites can be just a shade different from each other, not the good or the bad but the focus of the good or the bad.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Tuesday's Inspiration - Talent and Practice

Yeasr ago, I wrote poetry, some of it not bad and some not good. I wasn't writing poetry to set myself up as a poet but to hone my use of words. The other day when I was looking through the dozens of books I have on my shelf, I found the book that I read then and practiced some of the techniques. What I learned was about rhythm and developing my writer's voice. I'll use this book to glean some of the things that inspired me back then. The book is The Poet and the Poem by Judson Jerome. In looking over the first bit of the book several things struck me that apply to both writing fiction and poetry.

One is talent. Talent is a must. The forms can be learned so can the grammar and things like that but there must be a spark of talent somewhere to cause the words to have an effect on the writer.

The second is practice. If one is going to write a story one has to write and often re-write. The overnight success is rare and perhaps nonexistent.
A writer needs to write. Practice belongs with persistence.

Here's a quote. "The best prose is chaos threatening to become order."
And so often my stories start out chaotic and gradually become order. What aabout you? Do you enjoy making order out of chaos, searching for the form that best suits what you wantto say?

Monday, October 10, 2011

10 October Contest plus Week Behind - Week Ahead

Contest Name: 26th Annual Hook, Line & Sinker

Sponsor: Hudson Valley RWA

Fee: $10.00

Deadline: November 1, 2011

Eligibility: Published and unpublished authors

Entry: Hone your skills for hooking an editor or an agent.

Submit the first three pages of your manuscript. Electronic or paper entries accepted.

Judges: Experienced published and unpublished authors

Final Judge: Brenda Chin, Harlequin Editor

Top Prize: 1st Place: $50.00, 2nd Place: $25.00, 3rd Place: $10.00

FMI, entry form, rules and a sample of the scoresheet, please email, or visit

Hopefully this blog will call attention to the contest. Now for my usual round up. I'm now a third done with The Chosen of Horu and moving ahead with the plot and research draft. Caught bits of a program about the possibilities of new discoveries in ancient Egypt, perhaps a fabled city to be found. Busy learning about Twitter and other things.

Coming this week is more work on The Chosen and other interesting things. Still with Rollo May on Tuesdays and will continue with Plot on Wednesday, Elaine Charton is up on Thursday and Friday and Saturday are awaiting things from people. Have a few more to contact in group before I reach out to others. Sunday of course, three blogs visited.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

3 Blog Visit Sunday

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Saturday's Chapter - Moonglow - Jane Toombs

Here's the last of the quartet of novellas. This one is Jane's.

Jane Toombs

Chapter 1

Cynthia Overton, angrily determined to find Murr Raley, dragged the blond man she’d just been introduced to into the maze. What was his name again? Something beginning with Q? Oh, yes, Quentin. She’d been in no mood to pay attention to his last name. Especially since she was sure Lynn had deliberately introduced them so she could slip away to meet Murr.
“I told you I haven’t memorized the maze pattern,” he protested hanging back. “We should have stopped at the desk for a guide.”

“I know how,” she lied, forging on despite the fact the full moon had slipped behind a cloud. Surely it wasn’t all that complicated. She was determined to confront Murr and that would-be usurper Lynn, with a man by her side. Especially since Quentin was an attractive one.

What seemed like ages later, as they finally stumbled into the center, she saw no one else was there.

“Alone at last, ” Quentin said, reaching for her.

Cynthia shoved him away. Her hair a tangle from being caught by branches she knew she’d also torn her gown, and she was in no mood for being kissed by this stranger.

“Hey,” he protested. “I thought you dragged me in here so we could have a bit of privacy.”

“In your dreams,” she muttered. The two candles burning beside the little pool made her certain she was too late. The couple had been here and gone. All she wanted now was to find a quick way out of this miserable maze

The moon broke free, showing her Quentin’s scowl. “What the hell are we doing here then?”

Cynthia prided herself on always being in command, but his annoyance tipped her over an edge she hadn’t realized she was so close to. To her horror she burst into tears, sobbing uncontrollably. After a bit she came out of it enough to feel Quentin patting her shoulder and murmuring soothingly. He produced a handkerchief and she began mopping her face. Regaining control, she realized her outburst had nothing to do with him, or even this failed search. She’d thought her brother’s death had hardly affected her, but now she understood she’d wept because she’d loved him despite all and now he was gone forever. Like Murr was, in a different way.

Clearing her throat, she started to speak, but Quentin got there first.

“Whatever upset you, I’m sorry about that. But it’s obvious you hauled me in here for your own purposes, which I figure have something to do with those two candles and nothing at all to do with me. I’d heard of ruthless Princess Overton, but it took until now for the coin to drop into the right slot. You’re well named. I’m curious--when was the last time you did something for someone else without any benefit in it for you? Maybe never? I’m getting out of here, and I suggest you follow or you’ll stay lost.”

Taken aback, she could find nothing to say. Embarrassed and humiliated, she hurried after him, annoyed that he seemed to miraculously find the way out.

In the hotel lobby she couldn’t resist a parting shot. “You knew the right way all the time.”

He shook his head. “I’m an engineer. From the mistakes you made on the way in, I figured the way out.” He turned and headed for the elevator.

Cynthia glared after him, fervently hoping she never came face to face with Engineer Quentin ever again.

The next day, driving her own convertible, Cynthia left the Quinnesec Hotel, intending never to return. She eased into sparse traffic and, as soon as she had a chance, passed every vehicle in sight. Then swore, because in racing past the last car, she’d missed a curve and had somehow got off on a gravel road. As she searched for a place to turn around, a boy ran out from a parked car headed the other way and waved at her, obviously trying to flag her down. She swerved to miss him, finally finding a spot wide enough to maneuver the car around. On the way back past the parked car, she found the boy standing in the middle of the road, crying.

When was the last time you did something for someone else without any benefit in it for you? Quentin’s accusation rang in her ears.

No benefit to her to stop. Damn Quentin and the kid, too. Instead of swerving around him again, she put on the brakes, skidding to a stop, gravel flying. “What’s the problem here?” She could hear the irritability in her voice. Well, she didn’t have to like it, did she?

“My sister,” he sniveled. “Our car broke down and she’s having a baby.” Cynthia blinked at him, then turned to look at the parked car. “Please help me,” a girl’s voice begged, her face white and drawn in the car window.

Having a baby? Good grief! Cynthia backed up the convertible, parked behind the broken-down car and got out, ordering her thoughts. Always be organized was her mantra. No way could she deliver a baby, so she’d have to haul the girl to a hospital as fast as possible, along with her brother. Problem then solved.

“We need to get your sister into my convertible,” she told the boy.

Which was not as easy as it sounded. The two of them had to half-carry her and then struggle to maneuver the moaning pregnant girl into the back seat of the convertible.

Cynthia put up the top before taking off with a roar. “Which way?” she asked the boy who shared the front seat with her.

“Left here,” he said, snuffling. “The hospital’s in Quinnesec.”

Remembering how, when packing, she’d decided for some reason against tossing the handkerchief Quentin had lent her, she eased it out of the side pocket of her purse and shoved it at the boy. “Keep it.” .
The girl in the back seat gave a little cry, tensing Cynthia. All she could remember about having babies was from TV shows and movies where they always seemed to be saying, “Push.”

“Don’t push,” she advised the girl.

“What’s your name?” the boy asked.

Hell, she hadn’t even thought of finding out who they were. “I’m Cynthia Overton. Who’re you?”

“Josh--uh, Rivers. She’s Debbie.”

“Debbie Rivers?”


Deciding this time she had a good reason to break the speed limit, Cynthia accelerated. Even then it seemed to take forever to reach Quinnesec. “Where’s the hospital?” she asked Josh.

“Turn left at the first light. It’s about five blocks up.”

Once there, she skidded into the ambulance entrance and parked just outside the ER doors. Rushing in, she shouted, “There’s a girl having a baby in the back seat of my car!”

In a flurry of activity, Debbie was whisked off on a gurney. Cynthia, told by one of the guards to move her car, did so. As she and Josh walked back toward the emergency room she asked where he and Debbie lived.

“Uh, nowhere right now.”

When she looked at him, he didn’t meet her eyes. “Surely you must have been headed somewhere.”

“Yeah, for the hospital, till the car broke down. We, uh, that’s all we got--the car to live in.”

Appalled, she decided she could at least get the car running again. “As soon as we make sure your sister’s all right, I’ll call a tow truck to bring your car to a garage. Okay?”

“We don’t have money to fix it,” Josh muttered.

“What about the baby’s father?”

Josh flinched as through she’d struck him. “No!”

Okay, something wrong there. Scratch that. “Any insurance?” She asked the question, knowing ahead of time the answer would be no. Which it was. Apparently there was no end to this Good Samaritan business Engineer Quincy had stuck her with.

Inside, as they passed a desk, the woman behind it asked, “Are you the ones with the young woman just brought in?”

Fortunately Josh knew Debbie’s birth date, making Cynthia realize just how young the girl was. She found herself assuming responsibility for hospital expenses. And, she realized, Josh as well. She could hardly leave him on his own. “We’re traveling,” she told the admssions clerk. “Can you recommend a decent nearby motel?”

When the clerk was finished, Cynthia asked how to get to wherever Debbie had been taken.

As they made their way though corridors to the main hospital, Cynthia said. “Here’s what I think you and your sister were doing. Running away from wherever you were. Which is why you have no money, just the car. Want to tell me about it?”

He shook his head.

“Why not?”

“Promised her.”

Dead end. Is this what happened every time you tried to help people? An entanglement that got worse instead of better? But nineteen-year-old Debbie must been frightened out of her wits to take off so close to her delivery date. And bring along her brother, besides. Whatever she was afraid of, he was too, or he wouldn’t be with her. Damn, she was no social worker, trained in unraveling bad situations and finding solutions.

They reached the maternity ward where they were told Deborah Rivers was in a delivery room right now, and they were welcome to sit in the waiting area, Two men were there, talking while they waited. Cynthia had no desire to read any magazine she saw on the stand, and Josh sat slumped in a chair, shut inside himself, so whether she wanted to or not, she listened to the conversation of the men. The dark-haired man apparently was a realtor and was trying to interest the other in a Quinnesec property.

“It’s a great deal--a steal, I tell you,” he insisted. “With a seller eager to get rid of it. An old house, sure, but fixed up inside, with a separate two bedroom apartment attached. Rent that out and it’ll make the payments while you and your family live in rest of the house.” He named a price that Cynthia, who knew real estate, thought was too high for this area.

Before she realized what she meant to do, she blurted, “ At that price, it’s no steal. At three-quarters of what’s asked, maybe.”

The realtor stared at her, scowling. Then he switched to a smile. “You interested?”

Naturally she wasn’t, but to make up for having butted in, she took his card.

Shortly both men, one at a time, were summoned by different nurses and left the waiting room.

“Debbie won’t die, will she?” Josh’s voice reflected his fear.

“No.” Cynthia had no idea whether this was true or not, but the kid needed reassurance. “How old are you?”

“Be twelve in two days.”

So young. With only a nineteen-year-old sister to look after him. At the moment she felt even older than her thirty years. “Did you two have any plan in mind for after the baby was born?”

“Just to get away before it happened.”

No plans. Two kids and now a baby living in a car? Which reminded her. She eased her cell phone from her purse, took out her AAA card and made arrangements for the broken-down car to be towed to a local garage for repair.

“Thanks.” Josh reached into a pocket and pulled out a set of keys. “I took these ‘cause Debbie was hurting so bad I figured she might not remember.” He sniffled.

“Are you all right?” Cynthia asked as she took the keys.

“I miss Pogo. We had to get rid of him ’cause we ran out of money for dog food. We left him at a farmhouse way back somewhere on that road where we broke down. They said they’d take good care of him.”

“I’m sure they will.” She shook her head. A dog with them as well.

A nurse came in. “Are you with Deborah Rivers?”

They both nodded and followed her to a room.

Debbie lay in the bed, eyes closed, her face as white as the sheets. “Twin girls,” the nurse said in a low tone. “She was almost a month away from term, so they’re premies, but healthy. Deborah was anemic, so we gave her a blood transfusion and will keep her for a few days to be sure she’s okay. The babies will need to stay a bit longer.”

The dog was gone, but now two premature babies had been added to those living in the car.

Cynthia took a deep breath and let it out slowly as she reached a decision. . “Josh, stay with your sister. I’ll be back in an hour or so.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Friday's Writer's Tip with Jane Toombs

How I Create Stories

Janet and I approach writing so differently it’s a wonder we were able to co-author Becoming Your Own Critique Partner. But then, that was non-fiction. So maybe I should say our approach to writing fiction is quite different.

Janet writes multiple drafts of her stories, whereas I do an overall synopsis for the entire book or series. I may deviate from this synopsis as I go along, but usually not radically.

However, we both use the who, what. when, why, where and how method of creating.

1. How do you create your characters? Do you have a specific process?

I actually don’t know. All I can say is that they’re characters I feel will work with the plot.

2. Do your characters come before the plot? Do you sketch out your plot or do you let the characters develop the route to the end?

Plot and characters come together. As I write my synopsis, I somehow know what kind of characters will work well with this particular plot. However as I actually write the story , the characters take on life and voice, so I do deviate a bit from the synopsis, which can be as fluid as it needs to be.

3. Do you know how the story will end before you begin? In a general way or a specific one?

Pretty much--in a general way. The ending always depends on how much I deviate from the synopsis when writing the story.

4. Do you choose settings you know or do you have books of settings and plans of houses sitting around?

If I need to do research, once I settle on the setting , I do it before I start to write, because the research often leads to a change in the synopsis. Lately, though, I tend to use settings I’m familiar with or at least have visited.

5. Where do you do your research? On line or from books?

Both. If I can’t find what I need online, I know my library will have just the right book I need. Besides, I’ve been writing for so many years now that I have books about almost everything.

6. Give a short excerpt from the book you want to promote - 400 to 500 words.

I’ve just taken apart a very long historical California saga and converted it into a series of seven novellas that I had to title. As I was writing this blog, I just realized I used the five W’s and the H to come up with those titles.

Book 1 : The Bastard. And yes, he is, both literally and otherwise. But it’s because he’s illegitimate that he has created goals he needs to fulfill, which is why he does what he does. He founds a dynasty--but at what expense to both himself and others?

Book 2: The Interloper. A woman who enters the family as a companion for a daughter creates consequences that influence the following book due to what she wants as it impacts the others’ goals.

Book 3. The Dancer. This woman believes she’s reached her goal in life--but has she?

Book 4. The Rebel. A teenage daughter rebels with consequences she can’t foresee, causing others’ goals to shift and change.

Book 5. The Fixer. A problem solver for others, until he confronts his own.

Book 6. The Deceiver. The child of The Rebel, now grown. She has no real goals until life smacks her down and she learns what she needs.

Book 7. The Wild Card. A man created by consequences from the first book forces the entire family to face the past.

The first three books of Golden Chances are all out. They can be had at: for .99 cents each for a short period of time. They're also available on my website.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Thursday's Interview - Heather Cashman

Today's interview is with Heather Cashman who writes YA fantasy. She likes fantasy and so do I.

1. What's your genre or do you write in more than one?

My first trilogy is YA Fantasy loosely based on Science Fiction. I am also working on a YA Urban Fantasy set in the near future. I suppose Fantasy is what I prefer, though I have several outlines for books that are not Fantasy, so we’ll see what happens when I get to those.

2. Did you choose your genre or did it choose you?

I suppose it chose me. But my favorite books to read are Speculative Fiction, so I suppose it’s not a surprise that I like to write it as well.

3. Is there any genre you'd like to try? Or is there one you wouldn't?

I write the stories that play in my head. I have also written articles about things I’m interested in. I doubt I would ever attempt books on parenting or any type of advice, self-help, etc. I really don’t like reading those books, and am sure I would be terrible at writing them.

4. What fiction do you read for pleasure?

I read all kinds of YA fiction and classics.

5. Tell me a bit about yourself and how long you've been writing,

I have a difficult time remembering names and ages, including my own. My
favorite season is fall (especially in New York). I enjoy rainy days and lightening storms, and currently live in Kansas. I’ve always enjoyed writing, but didn’t begin anything serious until about five years ago when I found I had some free time to fill—a concept that seems incredible now.

6. Which of your characters is your favorite?

My characters are like my children—no favorites. But I do love certain characteristics that some of them possess, and other times they irritate me or make me downright angry. I love that Ardana is strong, can persevere through trials and come out on the other side stronger than before. She is also very rash and does things her own way, a trait that often complicates things.

Her brother Kade is rational, a planner, kind of the turtle mentality that gives him a distinct advantage. But he is also gullible and does stupid things for people to earn their love.

7. Are there villains in your books and how were they created?

Definitely villains. Some of my favorite shows are the melodramas where the damsel gets tied up and laid across the train tracks. You always see
the villain twitching his black mustache, rubbing his hands in anticipation for the train to smash the woman to bits when the muscled hero comes riding in on the horse. It’s cheesy, but I love it.

I know there are some excellent books out there without villains, but for me, there are people who have a moral code that dictates their actions. There are also people who would do anything to get what they want and often turn out to be villains without even knowing it, or if they know it, they just don’t care.

I think that’s how people are, and it carries through to all my characters.

8. What are you working on now?

I am currently refining the second novel of The Tigers’ Eye Trilogy, Deception. I also take breaks to clear my mind and work on my Urban Fantasy once in awhile.

9. What's your latest release and how did the idea arrive?

My only release to date is Perception ( The Tigers’ Eye Trilogy, Book 1). The idea arrived much like a dream: a compilation of all your experiences that your mind somehow works over as a remix. It has similar elements to books I’ve read, but also has my own unique touches.

10. Tell me about your latest book. Enclose the opening of the book around 400 words.

Perception is set in a post-apocalyptic future that seems more like the dark ages. When a deep-space meteor hits Mars, shards of the broken planet fly into Earth and its orbit. While most of mankind is destroyed, small pockets of survivors begin again. (This is the basis for the prequel, Resurrection.) The characters in Perception are the descendants of a group of those survivors—military experiments to create super-human soldiers. Five-hundred years later, those animals and humans have developed telepathic links with individual animals, called ingenium.

Jacketflap Description:

Your perception will sharpen once you see through a tiger’s eyes.
More than five hundred years after the apocalypse, the survivors of off-grid genetic experimentation have refined their mixed DNA to the point that humans and their animal counterparts share physical and mental links. Varying species have divided into districts, living in a tenuous peace under the President of Calem.

Ardana and her tiger ingenium Rijan leave their life of exile and abuse in the Outskirts, setting out with their twin brothers to redeem themselves and become citizens of the Center. But shedding their past isn’t as easy as they had hoped. When the system that shunned them becomes embroiled in political conflict and treachery, their unique abilities and experiences from the Outskirts make them invaluable to every faction. The runaways become pawns to friends as well as enemies, and with every step it becomes more difficult to tell which is which.

First 400 words:

Be careful. Rijan’s faint thought echoed from deep in the forest where she hunted with her brother, Adamas.

I will. My thought reached to Rijan, my ingenium. I watched, rapt with admiration for my great white tiger, the other half of my soul. Her vision momentarily clouded my mind: a large buck bounding through the forest ahead and Adamas, my brother Kade’s ingenium, concealed not far distant.
Hearing only the twittering and snapping sounds of the forest behind me, I peeked around the small wooden message board. The area was deserted. Small puffs of dust betrayed my steps as I crept, cat-like, behind the northern row of two-story shops with their owners’ apartments above.

A lifetime of cruelty had ingrained a correlation in our minds: going to see Kade would risk the loss of a few meals. I paused to reconsider and stared at the strange colors of dusk, a bright orange on the horizon that melted into a deep purple. Our mother Maran could no longer beat me, and we would be of age in little more than a ten-day. The news from the message board left me no other option. I blazed down the back of the buildings like fire in dry grass. My legs and chest tightened with the anticipation of seeing him and the fear of possible discovery.

An abrupt halt at the back door found me winded. I took a deep breath and held it, controlled it because I needed to control something. The door swung easily as I lifted the handle to silence the screeching hinges.
He was there, alone.

My heartbeat slowed, and I sighed with relief. His eighteen-year-old back hunched like an old man’s over the red-hot piece of steel he was hammering into a scythe. If only it were a sword, the head of a spear, or a lance. My anger and hatred yearned for a weapon, a weapon I could fight back with. A weapon might be the difference between living and dying if I left—when I left—now that I had a reason, a destination.

I slipped inside. The soot-covered walls of the forge remained dark while white-hot fire, like half a miniature sun, lit his small world from behind. Beads of sweat on his forehead caught the light. Brilliant eyes intently focused on their work. The muscles of his square jaw tightened before each blow of the hammer.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Wednesday -- Plot and Non-plot stories

There are a number of stories that don't follow the cause and effect pattern of the plot. Some of these are listed under the heading of Mosaic, Collage and Revelation. These stories portray being rather than action. Short stories or novels can be built on this sort of pattern or the patterns can be used by a writer to add a different flavor to their stoies. What are some of these almost poetic ways of writing a story.

Among the Mosaic kind of stories one comes across the Mood story. Here the atmosphere developed is what carries the story rather than the action/reaction events. Horror stories often create a darkness that carries the reader from one event to the next. Often in the mood piece the setting becomes a character. The looming Gothic house, the swamp, the desert. Writers often use pieces of this form within a longer work to pull the reader along. If you're trying for this kind of story remember the moon is a fragile thing. Letting a false element into the writing and the mood shatters like a glass ornament falling on the floor.

A second kind of Mosaic story is the Character sketch. I've often seen this in short stories. Here the character becomes the all. This kind of story focuses on bits and pieces from a single person and what happens focuses on the character rather than any other element of the story. So in this kind of story the nature of a single character is revealed piece by piece going from their outer nature to the inner character, bit by bit. Losing sight of the character and bringing another character into the sketch can explode what the writer is trying to show.

Next week I'll look as several more of the Non-plot kind of stories.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Tuesday's Inspiration - Creativity - Forms

Rollo May talks about form in The Courage To Create. Years ago when I was a poet I studied and experimented with form. Sometimes the idea I was trying to express fit into a particular form and sometimes it didn't. That didn't mean the form was wrong. Not all words flow into a sonet or a couplet or any other specific form. Sometimes the words gushed out and later the form was found. Then I turned to fiction and discovered there were forms there.

There's the beginning, the middle and the end. Most literary works fall into this pattern. What makes it creative is how the writer uses this general form. Lots of times writers experiment, and not all these experiments work. The discovery is what makes creating fun.

There is joy when the right form to express the words, meaning, feelings we want to show the world. While I had fun with poetry, and dabbled in creating music, played with short stories. Writing novels was the form I really gravitated to. So now I have fun finding the form to put my thoughts and meanings into.

What about you? Have you found that form aids your creativity?