Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Wednesday's Writer's Tip _Choosing Words #MFRWauthor #words #writing

Words are important you you as a writer. How do you choose the right ones? Let me count the ways. Actually I won't, just add a few things to be aware of.

Words are used in many ways by a writer and finding the ones that suit can be difficult. What the reader reads will be how he pictures your words, so you need to be selective. One thing you must consider is among your characters - Who is being viewed. You will need to know much about your character. What's his career? Choosing the right words to build a picture of a doctor, a lawyer or a car mechanic will be different.

Next you have to find the words to describe when he is. Different people react in many ways to the weather. Another is how old are they when your story takes place. A child reacts and needs different words from an adult.

Where do you find your characters. Are they at home, on the job or pursuing some other place. You need to find the right words to let the reacer know.

What are they doing? A sleeper is different from someone taking part in a sport. What are they feeling at this time? Emotions need the right words to make the reader believe.

What is the focus character noticing?  How is he or she reacting? This is important and the wrong words will either mislead the reader or turn the reader off.

Once you know these things you need to arrange them so they make sense. This may take time, particularly with your first story but should become easier with practice.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Tuesday's Inspiration - Words #MFRWauthor #aminspired #words

 In Techniques of the Selling Writer, Dwight Swain wrote "A story is words strung onto pages."

Absolutely true. To be a writer, you need to love words and to consume their origins and their meanings. The English language has words spelled the same but mean very different things. Would and wound. On meaning to harm and the other to wrap something tightly. The good thing is that if we're tuned into language we will pronounce those spelled the same words according to what the writer means.

Having a love of words means, not using unfamiliar words scattered through the mss. When a reader has to stop and find a dictionary to understand what the writer means, the reader will lose interest.

I really enjoy words and I know many I wouldn't use in my fiction since I would have to find a way to show the meaning so the reader would continue reading. Another thing I love about words is looking them up in an Entomology book I have and use very often. Another way of finding words is to find a dictionary that tells you when the word was first used and also what a word meant and changed its meaning over the years.

So study words. Have a love affair with them. You will find writing becomes easier. After all a story consists of words that paint a picture of the world you've created.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Meandering on Monday with Janet Lane Walters #MFRWauthor #Poetry #Punctuation

Meander 1 - Poem - Conflicts

I feel I am torn
Between the land and the sun
And don't know where to turn.
The son is bright
And fills me full of grace
And peace and gleaming dreams.
The land is rich and growing full
With security and safety.
Which way do I turn?
Where do I go?
The son calls me to the way
but the land has it's way, too.
Can they be reconciled?
I don't know.

Meander 2 - ? Marks - I've been getting edits back in rapid succession. I've found I don't use question marks when they should end a sentence. Is this carelessness? I'm not sure. I wonder if there are other authors who have the same failing. If I could put the question marks where they belong, the edits would be few and I would hardly ever have to face those lines on one side and comments on the other. Sometimes getting the things to erase is nearly impossible.

Meander 3 - Writing. I have begun the sixth Katherine Miller mystery, Murder and Sweet Tea. So far it's moving along. Of course this is the rough draft where sometimes what's written doesn't make sense. Being back to writing new material is wonderful. Of course there are still three mss to correct before sending them to the editor and four to edit when they each come back.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Sunday's Book - Murder and Tainted Tea #MFRWauthor #mystery #cozy

Murder and Tainted Tea (Mrs. Miller Mysteries Book 3)

Katherine heads to Santa Fe, New Mexico along with a Maine Coon Cat kitten to spend New Year’s Eve with Lars. Her guilty feelings over the organist’s death has her needing an escape. When she reaches Santa Fe, she discovers Lars is missing. She seeks and finds him and steps into another mystery. 

Lars’ daughter dislikes Katherine but when the young woman is kidnapped, they are puzzled. The murder of Lars’ daughter and one of his employees makes solving the mysteries necessary. Can she learn before Lars becomes a victim.

Editorial Review
With every book, I think the Katherine Miller Mysteries can't get any better. I'm always wrong, because they always do. ~ Writer Gail Roughton

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Saturday's Blurbs featuring Books by Renee Duke #MFRWauthor #YA #fantasy

SIDE TRIP BOOK 1: RING OF BEOM

Earth-born adolescents Meda Brent and Kirsty MacGregor are eager to explore the Zaidus system. They just don’t want to explore it as members of an organized tour group. The chaperone’s a harridan, and most of the places they’re forced to visit are really, really boring. Striking out on their own holds far more appeal, and despite limited funds and unexpected mishaps, they manage quite well – at first. But thanks to a bratty little brother, a dimension-travelling alien girl, a handsome alien prince, and assorted people who, for some unknown reason, seem to be following them, an independent tour of the Zaidus planets is not without its complications.




TIME ROSE BOOK 1: THE DISAPPEARING ROSE

No one knows what happened to the two little princes who vanished from the Tower of London in 1483. Leastways, that’s what Dane, Paige, and Jack are told when they start working on a medieval documentary for Dane and Paige’s filmmaker father. But then an ancient medallion transports them back to the 15th century and gives them a chance to discover the truth about the mysterious disappearance of young King Edward the Fifth and his brother Richard, Duke of York. But they’d better be careful. The princes are definitely in danger, and the person responsible for their disappearance just might decide that their new friends should disappear as well.




TIME ROSE BOOK 2: THE MUD ROSE

Another journey into the past takes Paige, Dane, and Jack to Victorian London, where they meet two young mudlarks named Hetty and Pip. Even though life is very hard for them, Hetty doesn’t want to seek help from Dr. Barnardo or other social reformers who might separate her from her little brother. The Time Rose Travellers have an idea for getting around that problem, but they’re about to have another. Jack the Ripper’s grisly attacks on women in the East End have the whole city on edge, and the blood- splattered man Hetty and Pip happened across late one night isn’t about to leave witnesses on the loose.





Friday, May 19, 2017

Friday's Guest - featuring Renee Duke Who She Was Before #MFRWauthor

1. What were you in your life before you became a writer? Did this influence your writing?

I’ve been writing stories ever since I first became capable of doing so (round about age seven) and ‘self-published’ several tales. (Translation: hand wrote them, drew pictures for them, and had my mother sew them into little ‘books’, which, regrettably, I no longer have, as I binned them during a fit of adolescent ‘What silly, baby stuff’’ pique.) I started part-time professional writing in the late1970s, early 80s, working as a stringer for a local newspaper and penning articles and short stories for magazines in the UK, Canada, and the U.S.A. I didn’t really start in on books until I retired from teaching. I was a preschool teacher for forty years, and also worked with older children in Out-Of-School Care programmes and on World Peace & Development projects. Having worked so long with children, it seemed only sensible to write for and about children, whose ideas and opinions I still seek out and use.

2 Are you genre specific or general? Why? I don't mean genres like romance, mystery, fantasy etc. There are many subgenres of the above.

Most of my short stories had contemporary settings and subjects, but my books are mostly set in the past or future, or in current times but with a fantasy aspect.

3. Did your reading choices have anything to do with your choice of a genre or genres?

My own reading choices also tend to mostly be set in the past, future, or current times with a fantasy aspect.

4. What's your latest release?

Time Rose Book 4: The Tangled Rose, which came out in October, 2016. It’s set in Pre-WW II / WW II Germany, and deals with Gypsies, mentally and physically challenged people, and other lesser known victims of the Holocaust.

5. What are you working on now?

Time Rose Book 5, tentatively entitled The Volcanic Rose. It’s set in Herculaneum in 79 AD, but the eruption of Vesuvius is secondary to my characters’ set-to with their sorcerer nemesis as this is the final book in the Time Rose series. I’m about halfway through the first draft, and once it’s finished and gone to press, I plan to write a sequel to my YA Sci-Fi book.

6. Where can we find you?

In addition to being on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/renee.duke.author/, I have a website http://www.reneeduke.ca/, and a blog Time Travelling With Kids: https://reneeduke.wordpress.com/author/irduke/, which suggests way to get young people turned on to history.


Thursday, May 18, 2017

Thursday's First and Second Scenes - Murder and Poisoned Tea #MFRWauthor #cozy mystery #music


Chapter 1

On Groundhog Day when Robespierre, my Maine Coon cat, jumped from his place on the window seat, one thought popped into my head. Company. Who? After following him to the kitchen, I watched him push his bulky, brown and black body through the hinged opening at the bottom of the door. Moments later I peered down the dimly lit stairwell. Robespierre had sprawled in the center of the third step and blocked my visitor’s progress.
“Good grief, Katherine, I hope he’s not planning to bite me again.” Edward Potter, pastor of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, glared at the cat. His voice had risen from tenor to soprano. “Whatever do you feed him? He’s ever so much bigger than Bitsy.”
The temptation to say my pet fed on pastors was strong. I refrained and fought to control a grin that threatened to blossom. Teasing Edward usually results in a lecture delivered in an indignant voice.
With an air of disdain, Robiesperre stretched. His back rippled in a way I envy. Then he slithered around my guest.
When Edward reached the top of the steps, he turned and peered at the cat. “He’s becoming more brazen.”
“Only toward selected guests. He ignores most people.” I turned my head and Edward brushed my cheek with his lips.
My pastor is a dapper little man with an ear for gossip and a penchant for turning even the slightest event into a fiesta or a disaster. He’s astute about church politics. The coffers at St. Stephen’s are filled through his ability to cosset and cajole the elderly population of the church, mainly wealthy women. I partially fit the category, being sixty-five, and while not rich, I’m at least comfortable.
When he entered the sunlit kitchen, the expression on his face announced a problem. He walked into the living room. Unlike most of my guests, he considered chats at the kitchen table for commoners. In the living room, he perched on the edge of a Queen Anne chair, purchased years ago before antiques became the rage. In the past twenty years, stores selling every manner of old things have spread plague-like in the business district of the Hudson River village where I live.
“You’re tense. How about a cup of mint tea?”
“Not all the tranquilizers in the world will calm me. It’s a disaster, a complete and utter tragedy.” His hands fluttered. The words rolled out like a sermon promising hell and damnation. “How will we maintain the quality of the services? Easter will be a disaster.”
My forehead wrinkled. What in the world had stirred him into this state? The last time had been when one of the altar boys had spilled the communion wine. Had there been a fire at the church? A flood? A plague? The strident fire whistles of town had been silent for days. What had occurred? Knowing a full and dramatic scene would develop, I wanted mint tea.
“I’ll heat the water. Then you can tell me about this tragedy.” The blend I chose is my all-purpose remedy, calming nerves and stimulating the mind, bringing alertness or sleep.
After a retreat to the kitchen, I filled the kettle and stuffed a silver ball with an assortment of dried mint leaves. While the water boiled, I assembled the pottery mugs, sugar and spoons on a wooden tray.
“Why will Easter be a problem?” I set the tray on a Duncan Phyfe table.
“We may have to cancel the season.” He patted his thinning light brown hair.
I swallowed a laugh. “How can we cancel one of the main reasons for St. Stephen’s existence?”
“Are you making fun of me?” His voice rose in pitch. “I’m absolutely serious.” He accepted a mug. “Mary’s husband has been transferred. It’s a disaster.”
I mentally sorted through all the Marys in the congregation and tried to decide which one’s leaving would cause Edward to fall apart. Who had triggered the word of the day? On another level, the need to giggle soared. Perched on the edge of the chair and holding a tea cup with both hands, Edward looked like a child.
“There are about twenty Marys at St. Stephen’s. Which one do you mean?”
“Mary Hobbs, our organist. What will our services be like without the organ and the choir? Katherine, you have to help us until we find a replacement.”
Twenty years ago I resigned my position as organist at St. Stephen’s. My husband’s sudden death had left me with a son to raise and enough money to cover three years of expenses. Once I finished my nursing course, my Sunday schedule had passed out of my control.
“Don’t you think I’m a bit old for the job?”
Edward sighed. “I knew you would say that. I have a list of people who are willing to play, but none of them want to direct the choir. Could you at least try?”
“What have you done about finding Mary’s replacement?”
“I’ve called the Organists’ Guild. They’ll list us in their newsletter. I’ve sent notices to several colleges within commuting distance, but I really don’t want a student. Our music program is something to be proud of and I dread losing our reputation.”
Pride, I thought. “Perhaps there’s a lesson to be learned from this.”
“Perhaps, perhaps, but we must have music.” He put the mug on the tray. “I’d like you to head the search committee. People respect your musical judgment.”
“And the other members?” I’ve reached an age where I don’t have to like everyone and avoiding those who annoy me has become a game. “A search committee is like a family. I won’t spend time with people I dislike.”
“Beth Logan. Judith and Martin Hanson. Ralph Greene. I believe that’s a good balance.”
Beth is a neighbor who is becoming a friend. For several years, we had worked together at the hospital. Last winter when I broke my leg, we had renewed our acquaintance. She volunteered to be my chauffeur on Sundays for church. I liked the young widow and found her six-year-old son charming.
The Hansons are also neighbors. There’s something strange about their relationship but their fifteen-year-old daughter, Marcie, had been my piano student until she’d grown beyond my ability to teach. With a sigh, I thought of Judith’s frenetic energy and wondered how much I could tolerate.
The fourth member, Ralph Greene, was a man with a superb baritone voice. Though he took music seriously, he wouldn’t cause any problems unless the committee decided on someone musically incompetent.
“Well?” Edward asked.
“You have a committee head.”
“Splendid. We shall rise from the ashes.”

* * *

On Thursday evening Beth arrived to drive me to choir practice. Though I drive during the day, at night the lights of the oncoming cars blur and moth-like, I head toward them.
“Ready?” Beth asked. “You’ve got guts.”
“What makes you say that?”
“Taking on the committee and the choir. Last Thursday, when Mary made her announcement, seven people expressed seven ideas of what the next Minister of Music should do.”
“Good thing I’m temporary.” I closed the door and followed her to a small green car.
Tonight a pair of cloisonnĂ© combs held her blonde hair from her face. Her jeans fit perfectly. Women in jeans that reveal more than they hide remind me of the past summer and my tenant’s murder. Rachel had nearly destroyed my friends and my family. My discovery of her body in the garden had triggered my protective instincts and had forced me to find the killer.
Beth’s blue ski jacket made her pastel coloring glow. I seldom wear blue. Earth tones compliment the autumn shades the beautician adds to my hair.
When we reached the church, Beth held the door for me. Judith Hanson popped out of the reception room. “Tell her about the meeting, Beth. I’ll head upstairs and catch a deep breath.”
In the choir room, I ran my fingers over the keys of the Steinway and listened to mellow tones as perfect as the day I donated the piano to the church. A music folder lay on the bench with my name pasted on the cover. None of the pieces seemed particularly complex. Mary had also listed the hymns for the rest of the year.
At eight the choir members drifted to seats set in a semi-circle in front of the piano. By eight fifteen they were ready to begin. We ran through Sunday’s offerings and several of the anthems for the weeks to follow.
Mary had chosen a group of Bach motets for the Passion Sunday Evensong, but since I’d no knowledge of the substitute organist’s ability, the music remained on the table at the back of the choir room. There was no reason to push a person beyond their ability.
When we left to go to the church, Ralph Greene pulled me aside. He scowled. “You didn’t start the Bach. We’ll never be ready if we don’t start the pieces soon.” His deep voice filled the stairwell and the sound bounced off the stone walls of the hall between the church and the addition that had been added long after the church had been built.
“I’m not prepared to attempt the Bach unless the organist is competent. In the morning, I’ll speak to Edward about hiring a group for Evensong.”
“That won’t do. The choir always does Passion Sunday. Our honor depends on keeping traditions.”
The demand in his voice amazed me. “There have been exceptions in the past.”
“It’s not right.”
“Then the committee has to act posthaste. Do you really think we can find a new organist in less than two months? Did Beth tell you about the meeting?”
“What’s the sense of meeting when there’s no one to discuss. Who needs to make a list of qualifications? We need an organist who can maintain the high standards of St. Stephen’s program. I can’t attend the meeting. It’s tax time and I don’t have room in my schedule.” He opened the door into the sanctuary.
“Then you’ll accept what we decide?” I ducked past him and slid into one of the pews while he headed down the side aisle to the choir loft.
The rest of the choir moved into place and the organist turned to wait for my signal. She played the opening notes for each part and the group hummed on cue. The blended voices filled the sanctuary and reverberated from the stone walls. The choir sounded strong; the organist tentative. She had no trouble with the hymns but fumbled through the anthems. Each wrong note she played caused me to grip the back of the pew. Could Edward be persuaded to hire another temporary accompanist?
After rehearsal we adjourned to the reception room for coffee and heart-shaped cookies in honor of St. Valentine, my temporary position, and the choir’s monthly refreshment night.
I moved from group to group to chat with old friends and new acquaintances. The choir had divided into several cliques who acted like rivals for my attention. The new choir director would need better than average skills in meshing the dissenting factions.
The largest and loudest of the groups clustered around Judith Hanson. She sat on one of the brocade-covered chairs near the front windows and looked like a queen on her throne. The majority of the group was male. No real surprise. At one time or another, every male in the congregation, married or not, had flirted with Judith. Each had held her attention until she decided to blow them off with cruel remarks.
Her brown eyes slant, giving her an almost Oriental look. Straight dark hair cut to shoulder length added to the image. As she spoke, her hands moved in exaggerated gestures. A constant flow of kinetic energy crackled as she stroked the new tenor’s arm. He smiled.
Martin ended the moment of seduction by handing her a cup of coffee. Bearded, balding and overweight, he appeared to be a weak man, but beneath the surface lay a nurturing kind of strength. Did he mother his daughter as well as he did his wife?
Judith looked up at him. From across the room, I saw resentment on her face and in her body language. Her shoulders stiffened. Her mouth pulled into a tight line. Martin whispered in her ear. She nodded.
“Beth, Beth, darling,” Judith called. “Are you coming to the Pub with us?” Her shouted invitation rose over the hum of conversation.
“I’m taking Mrs. Miller home,” Beth said.
Judith waved at me. “Come with us and get away from this stuffy crowd. I need a drink before I perish. The well’s been dry too long.” Brittle laughter followed her words.
“Another time.”
“Beth?” Judith asked.
“It’s late. Marcie has school tomorrow. Your daughter’s so conscientious she won’t nap while she’s watching Robby. I’ll send her home.”
Judith rose. “Spoilsport. Don’t worry about Marcie. She’d welcome an excuse to cut school. No music classes on Friday. If it weren’t for them, she’d be a drop-out.” She put a hand on Beth’s shoulders. “Take Mrs. Miller home and join us.”
Beth stiffened. “Maybe.”
“I’ll have a drink waiting for you. Maybe you’ll find a man.” She rubbed against Martin. “Three years since your husband’s death. I don’t know how you’ve survived. Men are so...so...”
Beth’s face flamed. She reached for her jacket. I put on my coat. Judith, Martin and several other people strolled from the room.
Beth shook her head. “I don’t know why I let her get to me.”
“She likes to watch people squirm. Don’t let her hurt you.”
“It’s not fair.” Beth grabbed her music folder. “She has a string of men. Maybe I hope some of her allure will rub off.”
“Have you ever watched a cat play with a mouse? That’s what she does. You don’t need her friendship.”
Beth sighed. “I’ve watched her drive people out of the choir with sneers and gossip. I couldn’t handle that.”
“You’re stronger than you think.”
“Not if I lose my sitter by making her angry. Marcie’s at my house as much as she’s at home. Judith’s wrong. Marcie’s making A’s and B’s in all her classes.”
Does even her own daughter bear the brunt of her vicious tongue? I pushed open the heavy oak door. I began to regret my decision to head the search committee. Who would be Judith’s next victim?
“Judith, are you coming?” Martin’s shout startled me.
“I’m feeding the cat. I want to catch him and bring him home.”
Beth and I paused at the head of the walk. Judith had crouched beside the privet hedge that surrounded the garden between the church and the parish house that once served as the manse. A gray cat hid in the bushes.
“You’re allergic,” Martin said. “Come on. Everyone’s waiting.”
Judith dangled something above the cat’s head. As he stretched, she raised her hand. “The party won’t start until I arrive.” The cat snatched the food and vanished. Judith rose.
“Your good deed.” Sarcasm tinged my voice.
“I’ve named him Shadow and I’m determined to catch him. Maybe a bit of catnip will do the trick.” She smiled. “Beth, I will see you at the Pub.” A note of command filled her voice.
During the ride home, I thought about Judith and the cat. If Beth and I hadn’t appeared, would she have teased the animal into a frenzy? Beth, Marcie, Martin, the cat. Who next? How was Marcie handling her mother’s behavior?
“Do me a favor.”
“Sure,” Beth said.
“Tell Marcie to stop by. I haven’t heard her play since Christmas.”
“I’ll tell her when I get home.”
“Thanks.” If Judith’s attitude had tainted her daughter, Martin should be told

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Wednesday's Writing Tips -- Other things that can go wrong. #MFRWauthor #Monotony #meaning #repetition

Now that you've discovered other ways to enhance your writing, you may believe you're set. Wrong! other things can go wrong.

Think about those Dick and Jane books. They were great for learning how to read but frankly if you were to read them today, you would be bored. Why? All of the sentences fall into a pattern. This can happen when you're writing and some how all your sentences are the same. There's a need to vary the length. Mix simple with complex. Throw in a phrase of a clause. Add some description. Make sure the sentences don't fall into a pattern that brings yawns.

Another thing is the repetition ow words and phrases. This is all right in a rough draft but as you continue to push your story forward make sure the same word doesn't occur with a pattern. This is something I must be on the look out for. I'm writing a story that has a church for the focus. The minister called for a hymn. The congregation rose. Their voices blended in singing the hymn. You can get the picture.

Make sure your words convey the meaning you meant the words to show. Don't muddy the prose unless it's done with a purpose. Perhaps a character's trait is never making themselves understood. Then this can work in small pieces. But you want the reader to grasp what you intend to say, not what they think you mean.

So know your words and use them with expertise.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Tuesday's Inspiration - Paint Bright Pictures #MFRWauthor #Aminspired

John D. MacDonald made this statement in an essay. "The writer must provide the materials with which the reader will construct bright pictures in his head."

When I thought about what this meant I realized those words meant the sights, sounds, taste, smell and touch of things. Describing those give the reader a way to associate with the story and build a picture of what the world you've created is all about. Think of writing about a house. Sure you can describe it as a rectangular box but then add the little details and you can make the house any house you wish. Let's give it a try.

The house next door is a Victorian. This does bring a hazy picture to the reader. But add something like this. The "Painted Lady" next door wore her coat of pale lavender with purple touches. Brings the house in clearer. Perhaps this house is different. The purple shutters on the Victorian house next door hung like limp fingers. Gives a different picture.

In other inspirations we'll look at the other senses. Sight is one used often by writers but the use is more like "She saw a tall man. Or she saw three children. Or he saw a car." I could go on forever but you get the picture. Without the little picture the reader will glaze over what the characters see and forget. He saw a sleek red convertible and envy filled his heart. She saw broad shoulders and wondered how his shirt remained intact. Of the three children, one caught her eye. The little girl's yellow curls resembled a dandelion making her wish to run her hand across the child's head.

Try sound for a change. The wind blew. The wind rustled the trees and moaned like someone in pain.

Play with the other senses and see how you can change your story and paint those bright pictures for the reader. Words are all a writer has.

Hopefully you get the picture. But using sight beyond the mundane helps the reader form a bright picture in his head.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Meandering On Monday with Janet Lane Walters #MFRWauthor #amwriting #time #Poem

 Meander 1 - Poem

What will I do when you're gone?
Who will I call to share my soul?
Like a cactus on the desert
I'll be surrounded by space.
Emptiness and papered lines
It's all I'll have left.

Meander 2 - Time.-- I've been wondering where all the time has gone and how to fit all the things i need to do into the time I have each day. Time to finish getting two mss ready to go to the publisher and one to head to an editor. Sometimes I feel as though i'm over-achieving and sometimes I'm a sluggard. I'll continue to plod along one thing at a time.

Meander 3 - Writing still on the editing, typing and formatting mss. Three of the 10 are done and out. Two are ready for me to proof the edits. That means there are five still to go. Then I can write again. Can't wait.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Sunday's Book - Murder and Poisoned Tea #MFRWauthor #Mystery #Katherine Miller mystery #churdh organist

Murder and Poisoned Tea (Mrs. Miller Mysteries Book 2)

The moment she hears his mastery of the organ, Katherine covets him as St. Stephen’s new Minister of Music. Handsome, charming and vastly talented, the women of the congregation adore him. Even Katherine is swayed by his manners and ability, But Roger not only brought beautiful music, he brings poisoned notes to the choir. Katherine seeks to find the secret of why he has changed churches yearly. She prays the discovery will be in time to prevent a tragedy.

Review
The Mrs. Miller Mysteries series is a sheer delight. Miss Marple and Jessica Fletcher would love Katherine Miller. I know I do. ~~ Writer Gail Roughton

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Saturday's Blurbs - features Books by Diane Parkinson #MFRWauthor #Historical #French Revolution

Rose’s Precarious Quest

Rose Gwynn is determined to study as a physician in 1796 in England, a time when women were barred from medical school. When she prevails in assisting the local doctor, Rose uncovers a shocking secret that will threaten Dr. Nelson’s livelihood. Servant Catern Tresidder returns to the Cornish village to confront the man who raped her and committed murder—who is now engaged to Rose’s sister. Three people who grapple for survival in the shocking ending.




The Apothecary’s Widow

Who murdered Lady Pentreath? In 1781, the war with the American colonies rages across the sea. In Truro, England squire Branek Pentreath has suffered for years in a miserable marriage. Now his wife has been poisoned with arsenic. Is this unhappy husband responsible? Or was it out of revenge? Branek owns the apothecary shop where widow Jenna Rosedew struggles to subsist. Jenna prepared the lady’s tinctures. Branek has threatened to sell her building and put her out on the street.




Escape the Revolution

Forced from France by her devious guardian during the French Revolution, Countess Bettina Jonquiere must deliver a package to further the royalist cause. In England, she discovers the package is full of blank papers, the address false and she’s penniless. Stranded in a Cornish village, Bettina toils in a tavern and falls in love with a man who may have murdered his wife. Tracked by ruthless revolutionaries, she must uncover the truth about her father’s murder—and her lover’s guilt—though it may cost Bettina her life.


Sequel, Hostage to the Revolution, coming soon!

Friday, May 12, 2017

Friday's Guest - Featuring Diane Parkinson - Who She Was Before #MFRWauthor #historicals #Navy


  1. What were you in your life before you became a writer? Did this influence your writing?


I worked for the US Navy, and traveled all over with my Navy husband. I’ve always loved to travel and visit foreign countries, so that has influenced my writing of historical fiction. I visited England twice and was fascinated by the history, the way people lived in the past. In England you can share an ale in a thirteenth century tavern—how thrilling.

2 Are you genre specific or general? Why? I don't mean genres like romance, mystery, fantasy etc. There are many subgenres of the above.

I prefer historical fiction with a touch of romance. But my ‘romance’ is serious, and hopefully, believable. The characters don’t instantly fall in love.

3. Did your reading choices have anything to do with your choice of a genre or genres?

Actually no. I used to read all over the spectrum. But now that I’m writing historicals, I’m reading much more of that genre, and of course, delving deep into research. I want my stories to be as authentic as possible.

4. What's your latest release?

A re-release of my very first novel. Originally titled The False Light, then Betrayed Countess. Now the title is: Escape the Revolution. The historical Novel Society called it “simply brilliant.” The novel follows a young Frenchwoman stranded in England during the French Revolution, trying to survive and find out the truth of her father’s death. Will she also find love with a man who may have murdered his wife?


5. What are you working on now?

I’m very excited to be included in the series, Canadian Historical Brides, to celebrate Canada’s 150th anniversary. My novel, On a Stormy Primeval Shore, set in 1784, shows the development of New Brunswick through the eyes of a young Englishwoman and an Acadian (French) man. People from different worlds- in a wilderness beset with problems-who form a forbidden attraction.

6. Where can we find you?

At my publisher’s Author Page and my website:




Thursday, May 11, 2017

Thursday's Second Scene - The Temple of Fyre #MFRWauthor #Fantasy #Sword and Sorcery

The whisper of sandals on the stones of the floor brought Ria to her feet. She stared at the doorway. Malera parted the beaded curtain. “Come. ‘Tis time.”

Ria’s hands tightened. She walked toward the older woman. “Are you sure I’m ready for the trial?”

Malera smiled. “I chose you from the slavers’ pens. For five years, I’ve nurtured and honed your abilities. You are the daughter I dared not birth.”

Ria took the chief priestess’ hand and brushed her lips across the back. She tasted anger roiling inside her mentor. A part of Ria recoiled from the strength of Malera’s emotions. Who had angered the chief priestess? Would the fermenting fury guide Malera’s choice for the test?

“When I call fire from the stones, how will I use it?”

Malera’s thin smile increased Ria’s inner quaking. A glint of smug satisfaction in the chief priestess’ dark eyes tinted Ria’s thoughts with uneasiness. What did Malera plan? Suddenly, Ria was afraid. She looked away to keep her mentor from reading these emotions.

“Do not fret. The task will be within your abilities.”

“When you joined the circle for the first time, what was your task?”

Malera pursed her lips. “A most enjoyable one. My mentor bade me cleanse the temple of the malcontents who tried to destroy the rights of the women who use the fyrestones. Though several of the women escaped, I succeeded in destroying most of the rebels, leaving only those who had fled years before for my mentor to purge.”

Ria frowned. “What did the malcontents do?”

“They gave fyrestones to men who were unfit to use the crystals, and to women who were untrained in the proper ways of this temple.”

“How could anyone not trained here use any crystal other than a white?”

“The rebel priestesses diluted their power. They joined with men. They permitted studs to use the stones. They were fools. A wise woman never cedes her power. She does not share control with anyone. As the only temple in the land, all must obey us.” She lifted Ria’s chin and gazed into her eyes.

Malera’s eyes narrowed. They compelled obedience. Something inside Ria made her resist the compulsion. Confusion filled her thoughts. Acid flowed in her gut. A need to rebel arose, but how could she act against the chief priestess’ guidance? The older woman rescued her from forced service in one of the pleasure houses. Malera had shown the kindness Ria’s mother had withheld. Ria’s hands clenched. Just because the old man chosen as her betrothed died under mysterious circumstances, she’d been declared cursed and sold to the slavers. No one had cared about her fate until Malera.
The chief priestess released Ria’s chin. “’Tis time for you to face the test, as all who are selected to serve the temple must.”

Ria nodded. “I am ready.” As the knowledge of how she wanted to use the crystal solidified, her stomach fluttered. Even if she must defy her mentor, she would use the stone to help, not harm.

Malera led Ria into the large rotunda where those who came to petition the priestesses waited for a summons. Tiles reflecting the colors of the fyrestones covered the floor. Benches lined the side walls. Tables where the petitioners placed gifts of food, cloth, spices, and gems, flanked the doorway to the inner chamber. Here also, the tithes from each hamlet were collected.

When Malera parted the curtain made from strings of white crystals like the one Ria had used to light the candles, her stomach clenched. She stepped inside and faced the circle. Three priestesses stood on the first tier and Ria studied the fyrestones in the depressions carved in the limestone of the circle. They glowed with power.

The chief priestess led Ria to the topmost tier where a single scarlet crystal glittered in the cup. With a flourish, the chief priestess handed Ria the scarlet stone. “This is the one you used in practice and have imprinted with your spirit. Use the crystal well.” She retreated to the base of the tiered circle. 
“Prepare for the testing.”

Ria drew a deep breath. She noticed a glint of scarlet in Malera’s hand and wondered why. Ria raised her crystal. The sun edged over the opening in the roof above the circle. “Let us begin.”

The three women holding yellow fyrestones called fire. Then two spires of orange appeared. Ria stared at the stone balanced on her palm. The sun centered in the opening. She basked in the warmth. Her crystal glowed and a flame rose. With care, she blended the yellow and orange tongues of flame with those from the scarlet.

“Seek the hamlet of Gydon,” Malera said.

Ria molded the fire into a sheet. A map of the land from the ocean shore in the south to the northern mountains appeared. Using a finger of fire, she sought the farming hamlet near the hills beyond both wastes and the grove. Houses appeared, then people, mostly women and children. Three elderly men and several youths led scraggly beasts to a pasture beyond the walls. Some of the buildings looked as though they’d been scorched by fire in the past. The gardens were ill tended. The people looked beaten. Ria smiled. She could help them.

“This is your task,” Malera said. “For years, the hamlet of Gydon has failed to send the tithe to the temple. You will destroy the fields, the flocks, the herds, and the orchards, to force the people to leave.”

“Where are the men?” Ria asked.

“Sold into slavery to pay the tithe. Twenty years ago, there were those living near Gydon who attempted to use the fyrestones in ways opposed to the chief priestess’ dictates. I cleansed the temple of their ilk, but three remained until my predecessor challenged them and won. Gydon must become a lesson for all the people of Fyre. They must see what happens to those who defy me.”

Ria held the flames steady. “How can those who remain pay the tithe? Don’t you see how poor the people are?”

“They have children to sell. Young girls for the temple. Older girls, women, and boys, to serve in the pleasure houses. Destroy the flocks, fields, herds, and orchards. Lay waste to all. Show the hamlets of Fyre what happens to those who refuse to pay the tithe.”

Defiance built within Ria. How could she use the flames to punish the innocent? “Do any of the rebel priestesses still live?”

Malera smiled. “They are dead and their studs with them. Do as I command.”

“Priestesses should use fire to help. I’ve visited the scriptorium and have read many scrolls. What you tell me to do is wrong.” Ria saw the thin line of scarlet flame flow from Malera’s hand. Ria felt the chief priestess’s attempt to use the fyrestone she’d been given. “No.” Ria braced and fought her mentor.

The gathered flames coalesced. The pictures faded. Spires of yellow, orange, and scarlet, shot higher and higher until they filled the opening in the roof. For an instant, Ria faltered. A blazing arrow of scarlet shot toward her. She felt a burn along her skin. With determination, she gathered her waning strength and held against the battering of Malera’s mental thrusts.

Ria staggered. Screams echoed in her head, as one by one, the priestesses fell from the link. When the flames died, she saw the fallen women. Were they alive, or had her defiance killed them? She held her breath until they stirred. She looked down. The crystals in the cups of the circle were blackened cinders.

Malera moved toward the circle. “Traitor. Even before the slavers brought you to Rosti, I chose you as my successor. When you were a child, I watched you in the flames. I saw you grow. I sent fire to kill the old man they wanted you to marry. And so, you came to me. I have nurtured and cherished you, and betrayal is how you repay my care.”

Ria left the top tier and made her way down the levels. “I cannot harm the innocent for any reason. You are evil.”

Malera fisted her hands on her hips. “You have betrayed not only me, but the temple. There are no stones to replace the ones you turned into cinders.”

Ria met the glare from the chief priestess’ dark eyes. “I did what I was meant to do.” She stepped through the beaded curtain and strode across the rotunda. The slap of sandals on the tiles came from behind her. Gooseflesh rose on her skin.

“We have been betrayed,” Malera cried. “Acolytes and priestesses, join me. Drive her from the temple. Stone her. As was done in the past, the temple must be cleansed of those who deny the proper ways.”

Terror gripped Ria’s shoulders in a vise. She heard the footsteps of those who followed. Though cries for flight beat steadily in her thoughts, she refused to show her fear. Ria reached the outer door and stepped into the lane. The first rock thudded against her back and drove the breath from her lungs. She staggered, but managed to stay on her feet.

As though the flames she’d sent skyward had triggered a solar flare, the sun brightened. Ahead of her, the wide lane leading to the temple was deserted. She glanced over her shoulder and knew she would never reach the market square before the women were upon her. Panic engulfed her. She ran. Rocks slammed into her body. One smacked her legs. She fell. The caftan tore. On hands and knees, she slid across the rough cobbles of the path.


Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Wednesday's Writer's Tip - Writing Vividly #MFRWauthor #Writing

When I finish a rough draft of a story and look over what's been written, I know the story needs to be re-written and beefed up. The rough draft is dull and boring. What I need to do is make the writing vivid.  How?

Using the senses in description, character development and plot involving. Sight. sound, touch, taste and smell are ways to bring vivid elements to the story. But this isn't enough.

Finding specific words also helps. You can say car, but the Mercedes, low slung convertible, hybrid, ordinary sedan, coupe are ways to bring the vehicle into view and may also say something about your character. Try this for other words. Not flowers but bold mums, white roses. All these things bring a vivid touch to your story.

Then there are verbs. Try for active ones, not the common ones. Take walk. He walked across the room. He strode across the room. He sidles across the room. All these can make the story come alive.

Forward movement. Lots of long passages of backstory slow the plot and may pull the reader from the story. Use flashbacks in short instances rather than long and the reader will gain information and not be pulled from the current story. At first this can be hard so when you start a flashback that is longer than perhaps a paragraph or two, make sure the reader will want to know this information, not the author. Sometimes we put in information we as writers need to know but the reader only needs this in brief moments.

Substitute action for adverbs. These are often ly ending words. So find a way to describe happily, sadly and angrily. Show the character reacting and the bit becomes vivid.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Tuesday - The Writer's Life - Creating a Back List #MFRWauthor #amwriting #Books


An important part of the writer's life is creating a back list. Every time you write a new book, the previous one or ones become a part of your important back list. Often when a reader likes the new book you've written, they will search for other books you've written.

A great thing to read in a review is "I'll read more books from this author." Hopefully they will and each sale boosts your numbers and your value as a writer.

How do you create a back list? By writing new books. This can be done by writing a sequel to the book you've just published. Another is to write a trilogy of time, place or characters. The third is to develop a series often using the same place and time. Characters from one book in the series can be viewed momentarily in the other books but don't let them take over. Your new characters must be the right ones.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Meandering on Monday with Janet Lane Walters #MFRWauthor #Poem #Writing

Meander 1 - Poem - People

People are like that.
Like waht?
Differemt yet the same.
Problem-filled.
Indifferent
Understanding.
The whole gamut.
They undergo
And forward
And backward
And standing still.
People are like that.

Meander 2 - Watching - My husband of many, many years is slowly disintegrating. While on the surface I seem calm and strong, inside there beats a bleeding heart.

Meander 3 - Writing is still on the revision road. I'm reading and catching problems in older books preparing them for publication. What surprises me is some of them are good and a few are great - in my eyes. I have completed four out of ten and will soon add a fifth. Then I will be half done. My printer dies and replacing the print heads cost more than a new printer. Shame since this one has given me a great mileage. Learning and installing a new one will be interesting but I will persevere.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Sunday's Book - The Temple of Fyre #MFRWauthor #Fantasy #Magic

Temple of Fyre (Island of Fyre Book 1)



Sold by her family to the priestesses of the Temple of Fyre, Ria soon masters using each of the four fyrestones, white, yellow, orange and scarlet. Her curiosity leads her to the archives and there, she learns things that disturb her. There are no men serving as priests but in the past there were. Men are kept in the harras where the priestesses visit. On the day of her testing she is ordered to perform a task she dislikes and refuses to destroy a town. Many of the priestesses fall into unconsciousness. Melera, the chief priestess, beats and banishes Ria for the carrion crows to consume.

Ari was abandoned as a child and found by two elderly firestone miners. He has pursued this and is the best of the finders. He goes to the temple to sell the stones he has gleaned. On leaving, Ria attempts to steal the fyrestone he has worn since the day he was found. He thinks she is a boy and a thief and he takes her to his room at the inn. On discovering her identity, he refuses to turn her over to the priestesses and they leave town. They are searching for the fabled blue fyrestones. They also learn to use them they must be bonded physically, emotionally and spiritually. Can they learn to master the blue stones and defeat Malera so they can rule the temple with love and understanding?

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Saturday's Blurbs - Featuring Books by Andrea Cooper #MFRWauthor #Paranormal


Renee Maxwell lands her dream job as assistant to archaeologist Damon Cubins in wondrous Turkey. However, she starts seeing strange things after finding a unique crystal. For one, hot Damon now looks like the sexy demi-god and underwear model of her dreams. Her feminist ideals are challenged with each bit of banter and seductive look he gives her, but she's not falling for his charm.

Time is of the essence for incubus, Damon Cubins, who must find a one-of-a-kind crystal or turn into a full-fledged demon. He has neither the time nor desire for love, but his new assistant tests his resolve. When he discovers she’s got the crystal he needs to save himself, he must make a decision to either romance it from her or walk away. But can he?



 She has seduced men everywhere…but never fallen in love. Until now.

Succubus Adeline lost her powers. The crystal that all her kind crave has attached itself to her and rendered her powerless. Unless she finds a way to remove it, she’ll transform into a human--a fate worse than death.

Soon the tables are turned on the succubus, and the succubus finds herself the one at the mercy of desire.

Jack is running from vamps and weres. They want his hidden doppelgänger talents to locate a stone that enables weres to transform at will, but he just wants to be left alone. Now he has a bounty hunter after him.

In a race against time, vampires, and weres, Adeline and Jack travel from Boston to Greece to New Orleans to stay ahead of the hunters.

When Jack confronts a dangerous voodoo queen alone, Adeline learns that love is sacrifice. But will they both survive the lesson?

No man can resist a siren’s song…
Cassie must convince a CEO to give her interior decorating company a chance at his offices in order to stay in the black. But even using her half-siren voice, he refuses. What can she do to change his mind?
Daniel Davis has a secret he’s paid hundreds of thousands to keep that way. Now when exotic Cassie marches into his office, he can’t stop thinking about her and makes her an offer. Be his date for a high-profile party and he’ll consider her company for his office redecorating project.
After an accident, Cassie gives Daniel her blood to heal him. Trouble is, if she can’t keep him alive, he’ll become a soulless ghoul.
Worse, someone is out to kill him. Can Cassie keep him alive…both in fighting her nature and from whoever is after him?

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