Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Tuesday's Writer's Tip - More on Exposition # Story comes first #BWLAuthor #MFRWAuthor #Exposition #Story

 What do you do when there is a lot of information you want to give to the reader? You could do pages of exposition. This might work but usually it doesn't. Often when you're writing, especially when dealing with the pastor the future, there are things you would like to share but you need to remember one point. The Story Comes First. Expositionneeds to be handled with care. Feed this in bit by bit and show with these bits of exposition what effect it has on the characters or the story. Use it in such a way that the reader wants to know this bit of information. Making a dump of lots of material isn't the way to go. The expositionneeds to be part of the action. And think of the ways it could be used. To develop the character is one way. Another is to advance the plot. To give a road into a character's thoughts. This can also be sued to foreshadow the coming action.

So use exposition in your storyes byt connect it to the plot or the setting or the characters. and keep it as active as you can.

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Monday, April 19, 2021

Meandering on Monday with Janet Lane Walters #BWLAuthor #MFRWAuthor #Reading #Writing #Thoughts - RWA - Stay or Leave

 Meander 1 - Reading - This back to Andre Norton's Witch World for some stories I'd read ages ago and haven't for several years. Some held notes of familiarity and others not so much. I enjoyed them all again. Next week I have a few new books to read and I'll have a good time with them.

Meander 2 - Thoughts - Leave RwA or not - I've been a member of Romnce Writers since 1985 give or take a year. Through the organization, I have learned much about publishing and also much about a group of women with their likes and dislikes. There have been contraversies - many of them - over theyears. Through them I stuck though there were other times when I considered quitting. Lately I've been looking at the flaks that occurred and I wondered if things had really changed.

First there was the big angry storm when people began maaking love scenes more than kisses and a step behind those closed bedroom doors. I recall all the commentsI heard during that time. Some of the members accused others of writing porn. Then there came a change because sex sold and there became room for both.

Next there was men can't write romance. The storm over this seemed foolish since there were successful men writing romance. That settled down.

Then came the one that involved me. Electronic publishing. I was among the first to have ebooks and the flak at one of the conferences was hurtful. When are you going to write a real book. But I had several hard back copies of books I'd written. What was wrong with expanding the market. Many members left the organization during this time.

Lately there has been the problem of ethnic writers. And writers who are published and those only aspiring. This seemed to be the final straw with many writers leaving the organization. I'm sure there will be another crisis.

There have been some things I don't like that have occurred recently that I don't like. First was when my membership number was changed but noone bothered to let me know this. Thus though I paid my National dues and my chapter dues through my credit card, I was never recognized as a chapter member. Learning this money paid to the national organization had never been sent to the Hudson Valley Chapter, I called RWA twice. Three hours of conversation billed ot my phone brought no resolution. So I sent my dues to my chapter Treasurer. Then I learned RWA had no idea about this and they wanted me to pay the chapter dues for a third time. This has brought me to the decision that I've been considering. Will I renew in June or not.

What has RWA given me? In the past five years little more than my local chapter. There have been conferences I haven't attended since so seldom do they have anything that interests me other than meeting old friends. Plus the expense is more than I like for nothing in return. There is the magazine I haven't read for eyars since the articles all seemed geared to the new writer. Boring. There have been many issues in publishing that have changed but the organization doesn't seem to have changed. The one thing I've seen is the organization has become a "girl's club." So what am I receiving for my near hundred dollars a year plus the chapter dues. As far as I know the chapter is the only benefit. Since I am no longer recognized as a chapter member, what do i get. I absolutely refuse to pay through a credit card ever again and if i write a check that must go to the National Group, I will write two.

So that's where I am and I do believe I'm ready for a divorce.

Meander 3 - Writing - Still in the final draft movde of Haunted Dreams and that means heavy typing chores. I've now completed 8 chapters and have four to go. Takes about three days to complete this retype and rewrite version so the end is in sight. Have begun Incal the fourth book of the moon Rising Series and am working on the first chapter. Love rough drafts.

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Sunday, April 18, 2021

Sunday's Book - Murder and Sweet Tea #BWLAuthor #MFRWAuthor #Cozy mystery, Robespierre #Hudson Valley


Lars is her new husband. He loves Katherine but doesn’t understand why she’s always trying to protect her near and dear. Even though she saved his life while visiting him in Santa Fe, he often questions her involvement in other people’ lives.

Into their lives arrives a new neighbor, Sabrina Gates. Sabrina bought the house next door. She has had a phenomenal success as a new author but moes from her past and present threaten her peace and ability to write. There is the blogger who posts snide and not so nice posts about other authors. Sabrina’s former agent wants a share of the huge amount of money Sabrina has received for a trilogy. And there is her ex-husband, a needy greedy coward who wants money.

Above all there is Robespierre who makes his presence known.

Saturday, April 17, 2021

Saturday's Blurbs feature Books by Reed Stirling #BWLAuthor #MFRWAuthor #Mysteries #Montreal #Literary #Crete


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Blurb for Séjour Saint-Louis

Brendan Young, a Calgary based businessman who travels more than he’d like, admits to having absolutely no patience for the intransigence of his music-obsessed, teenage son, Elliot. Ongoing domestic disputes have intensified over the years: antipathy now verges on hostile rejection. Elinore, an equally conflicted wife and mother, is threatening separation, a source of great anxiety for Brendan who turns to alcohol for the understanding that eludes him on the home front. His sojourn in Montreal, a city not unfamiliar to him, leads him incident by surreal incident, towards greater understanding through familiarity with the tragic story of Émile Nelligan, who, as a nineteen year-old, enjoyed a successful entry into the artistic community of Montreal in the last decade of the 19th century, and then fell victim to madness. Reconnecting with Emery St James Montesquieu, among old antagonists he encounters at a Yamaska College reunion, proves not only enlightening for Young in its mirroring effect — the troubles in his family are reflected dramatically in those of the young afflicted poet — but also redemptive. Elliot, the musician, will have his apotheosis.



Blurb for Shades of Persephone

Shades of Persephone is a literary mystery that will entertain those who delight in exotic settings, foreign intrigue, and the unmasking of mysterious characters. Crete in 1980-81, more specifically the old Venetian harbour of Chania, provides the background against which expat Canadian Steven Spire labours in pursuit of David Montgomery, his enigmatic and elusive mentor, who stands accused in absentia of treachery and betrayal. The plot has many seams through which characters slide, another of them being the poet Emma Leigh, widow of Montgomery’s imposing Cold War adversary, Heinrich Trüger. In that the setting is Crete, the source of light is manifold, but significant inspiration for Steven Spire comes from Magalee De Bellefeuille, his vision of Aphrodite and his muse. “Find Persephone,” she directs him, “and you’ll find David Montgomery.”  Her prompts motivate much of the narrative, including that of the Cretan underground during the Nazi occupation, 1941- 45.

                Shades of Persephone presents a story of love and sensuality, deception and war, spiritual quest and creative endeavour. The resolution takes an unanticipated turn but comes as no surprise to the discerning reader. Like Hamlet who must deal with his own character in following the injunctions of his ghostly father, Steven Spire discovers much about the city to which he has returned, but much more about himself and his capacity for love.



Blurb for Lighting The Lamp

Lighting The Lamp dramatizes the efforts of Terry Burke, a sympathetic, at times caustic and critical, but ordinary old guy, to come to grips with who he is and what his life has been. His struggle to accept retirement and to interpret the iterations of the voice in his head spreads to concern over the mysterious death of a wanderer. Terry’s obsession to solve the mystery fuses directly with his personal history and leads him in and out of fascinating, half-remembered mythological landscapes.

A restive Terry is enjoined to revisit the haunts of his youth. Family dynamics of the present, mirrored in Irish heritage of the past, come into play as do contrarian opinions encountered among cronies, distant friends, and lost loves. Motivated by his muse to tell all, what he seeks in addition to understanding is truthful voice and the purest possible point of view. Aware that remembrance of things past in not necessarily the remembrance of things as they were, this quixotic Everyman eventually reaches beyond self, beyond mystery, and beyond theodicy to a philosophical embrace of cosmic apotheosis. In Lighting The Lamp, Montreal provides more than a background for potential jihad-sponsored terrorism, or ghosts out of the past, or a romantic trip down memory lane; the many-layered city takes on the function of a defined and demanding character and declares in a voice Terry hears clearly: “Know me and know yourself!”





Friday, April 16, 2021

Friday - Reed Stirling is visiting and talking about Plot and other elements #Plot #Characters #Setting #BWLAuthor


On Who, What, When, Where & How leading to Plot:

An idea for a story takes root and then things evolve from there. That’s where How comes into play, which relates to structure, development, and point of view. What depends on character, the protagonist in particular, and type, and his or her moral outlook, ambition, fears, goals, relationships; in other words, Who he or she is as a representative human being, and this can determine where choices lead and how the narrative develops, thus Plot. When is a function of setting and might be suggestive of local colour or the mores of the era / epoch. Frequently enough a setting, Where, will fire up the imagination, and I’ll want to see something dramatic take place there, specifically an obstacle to achievement acknowledged by the protagonist and then overcome, or not. Plot determines the action, character can determine the outcome, but theme is never to be overlooked.


How my characters are created:

My main characters tend to be protagonist-narrators in pursuit of truth as they understand it or as plot and theme define it. Providing them with creditable personality, background, and motivation is not only challenging but also rewarding when things fall plausibly into place. Simple observation of real people in real life exchanges — a young couple in a hospital waiting room, a tête-à-tête in a bar or restaurant, someone behind the wheel of a luxury automobile noticed at an intersection — helps in the general conceptualization of characters. A particular scene will give birth to characters whose voices demand to be heard — that man wearing a Panama hat or that tiny woman wearing bright red shoes. Imagination informs them with a personal history, with particular traits, with relevant choices. The character I want the reader to identify with may not be lovable at all. As long as he or she is interesting, has a voice worth listening to, and is capable of reflecting authentic human instincts, naughty or nice.

An antagonists can be born out of the observation that people, a specific exemplar, for instance, lie repeatedly. I favour antagonists that arise from within main characters and shadow their every move. An idea or stated point of view might need a counterpoint, an opposing view, the right interpretation, the verifiable truth, or just plain obstruction — these factors will give rise to certain characters, main or supporting. Thus, antagonists come into being and help move the action along from crisis to crisis. Antagonist can be well-meaning in their contrariness or destructiveness. They can have malicious intent in their apparent goodness. A plausible personal history goes a long way towards giving them standing. Humanize them, like all characters, through voice, mannerism, idiosyncrasy, tic, flaw, aspiration, success, failure, mendacity, and size of shoe. A black hat might just be in vogue at the time of the story, and not symbolic of a really bad dude with a .45 in his hip pocket. A scar might be emblematic of love or a badge of honour. A penchant for odd-ball humour can lighten what appears to be nothing but dark. The antagonist can be a force-field of repudiation or disdain. A troublesome memory. A inveterate liar.


First scene:

Scene one is vitally important. It is something I labour over most intently and that includes the first sentence, sometimes the first word. 


Plot determination & how the story will end:

I need to have at least a general idea where my characters are going and how they get there. This applies especially to protagonists. What happens along the way, i.e., plot, may surprise me but ultimately lead to what was intended at the inception, to what is aesthetically, thematically, and intrinsically true.

Greek mythology plays a significant role in underpinning my plots. Knowing the myths helps readers grasp what is going on in the background. Allusions to art, literature, philosophy, and religion serve a similar function.



Theme and story determine my settings. Some settings are constant, except for individual scenes within them. I determine a particular house plan, should it be necessary, depending on considered purpose.



More recently I research things online. However, the reference books I consult (be they |mythological, philosophical, psychological, or historical) I find on my own shelves or on those of our local library. Most enjoyable is research done in situ, Greece for Shades Of Persephone, for example, and Montreal in large part for Lighting The Lamp and Séjour Saint-Louis, my most recently published novel. Reading other fiction can also be a source of helpful information. Simple observation of people can be very insightful, verisimilitude being the objective of the exercise no matter the setting. Bars and cafés are preferred places to pick up on relevant dialogue.


Drafts  and Revisions:    

All initial effort leads to producing a workable first draft. Revision is ongoing. The material produced one day is subject to close reading on the following day, and so on till that first draft is attained, which ultimately takes me back to page one. Changes along the way result if a statement is unintentionally ambiguous or if a passage seems to be leading the potential reader in the wrong direction. Sometimes sequencing can be off. Or dialogue. Or description. Or even one word. Getting it all down in a logical, coherent way takes determination, organization, and hard work. Revision at all stages, in whole or in part, is somehow more rewarding for me than the original writing. Several drafts produce a working MS ready for editing.


Find me at the following:






Amazon Author central: https://authorcentral.amazon.comgp/home


Thursday, April 15, 2021

Thursday's Opening scene from Murder and Herbal Tea #MFRWAuthor #BWLAuthor #Cozy mystery #Maine Coon Cat


During the second week of June, Lars arrived in the Hudson River village where I live and where he had a home. The houses in Santa Fe had sold quicker than he expected but he’d kept the ski lodge for his family and mine to use.

The time had come for our plans to marry to reach fruition. Though I suggested we elope, Lars wanted a wedding. I gave in to his desire. We set the date for a Wednesday in mid-August. While discussing where to live, a house I’d admired located just two blocks from my “Painted Lady” came on the market. Though one day, the sign vanished. I hadn’t realized Lars had put a binder on the house. When he told me I was delighted. With my attorney Richard’s help we completed the sale. Lars and I purchased the house jointly using my attorney for the deal. That’s when the problems began.

Lars called me on a warm June morning. “Katherine, are you free tomorrow?”

“I’ve nothing planned.”

He released a long breath. “Call Richard and have him meet us at Barnes and Jones.


“George is upset. He thinks we need some kind of prenuptial agreement.”

I sighed. While I’m no romantic, the thoughts of legal squabbling made me uneasy. “Must we?”

Lars laughed. “Wouldn’t want George to appear in the middle of the ceremony and protest.”

“I’ll call Richard. What time?”

“One o’clock.”

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Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Murder and Poisoned Tea #MFRWHooks #BWL Author #Mystery #Katherine Miller #Robespierre #Hudson Valley


Join the authors at #MFRWHooks here  http://mfrwbookhooks.blogspot.com  for some great excerpts Mine is book two of the Murder and Tea series


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.

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

Reviewed in the United States on July 8, 2017
Verified Purchase

Top reviews from other countries

Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on June 27, 2017


After they left, I returned to the church. A prayer filled my thoughts. I needed to be calm

 when I faced Roger. If he wasn’t at the church, I’d go to his apartment. The coals

 of anger had been fanned. I wouldn’t rest until he was on his way to jail.

When I opened the side door, the gray cat bolted through the opening and dashed

 into the bushes. Once my heart stopped pounding, I frowned. How had the stray gotten 

into the church?

I headed up to the choir room. Several pieces of music lay on the piano. Roger wasn’t

 in the music library or the room where the choir robes were kept. Since he would

 never leave the lights on and the door open, I knew he was somewhere in the

 building. The sanctuary? But I hadn’t heard the organ.

Downstairs, I strode down the hall and opened the door. The lights were on

 in the choir loft. Deep shadows filled the rest of the room. I turned to leave 

and remembered Marcie’s jacket. What had she said about the attack? He’d 

taken her downstairs to one of the pews. Her jacket had to be here somewhere.

As I moved down the aisle, I looked for the bright pink coat. Where was Roger?

 I stopped short and held in a gasp. I saw the jacket and Roger’s body half-sprawled

 on one of the pews.

Swallowing my scream, I knelt and touched his arm. “Roger.” My voice sounded 

tentative. Then I saw his head and the blood. I looked up at the balcony. Had

 he fallen or had he been pushed?

There was nothing I could do for him. I turned and ran from the sanctuary and 

through the garden to the parish house.

Mary looked up. “He’s not here.”

I’m sure she meant Edward. “I need to call the police.”

“An accident with your car?”

Since I’d already dialed the local station, a number I’ve memorized, I didn’t

 answer. No sense repeating my news. “Pete Duggan, please. Tell him it’s Katherine Miller.”

A few minutes later, I heard his voice. “Officer Duggan.”

“Pete, I need you.”

“Another body, Mrs. M?”

“How did you guess?”

“You’re kidding.”

“Not one iota. At St. Stephen’s. In the sanctuary.”

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Tuesday's Writer's Tip - Exposition - Enough or Too much #BWLAuthor #MFRWAuthor #Exposition #Enough #Too Much

Now we come to the writer and look at when it's enough or too much. You've developed this world and you're enamoured of what you've developed. So you begin gushing and putting every detail you've discovered. The prose goes on for pages and the reader begins to skip pages. I once had to judge an entry for a contest with the first chapter of the story. Thirty pages later I still hadn't found a bitof what the story was about. The first chapter told of a deive along the coast with every feature described. Needless to say I wasn't impressed.

Not only was the description of that ride tedious, the author jumped in to give her own viewpoint with small asides that still told me nothing about the story. Leaving out the personal comments would have cut the descriptive passages down. That would have helped but describing the route taken in detail and living color read more like an excerpt from a travel article. 

The trick is to for the author to keep out of the story. That's one thing. The other is to use the setting no matter how spectacular in having the characters react to the setting. Revealing the story with the impact of the research on the hcaracters is a plus and probably a must. So when writing passages of prose keep them short, related to the character's reactions and also enter the characters' heads and show rather than tell the impact on their lives.



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Monday, April 12, 2021

Meandering on Monday with Janet Lane Walters #BWLAuthor #MFRWAuthor #Reading #Writing #Thoughts - Patience

 Meander 1 - Reading - A mixed bag last week on the reading schedule. Read several Andre Norton Witch World stories. Haven't read them for ages so this was a nice exciting adventures to read. Read Burnt Evidence by Dean L. Hovey - As usual a great mystery with some twists and some great bits of humor. Have started a new book but more about that next week.

Meander 2 - Thoughts - Patience - I've decided I have little patience for waiting when there are things that will be held up waiting for a phone call to disrupt my day. Three calls in a row and not the one I wanted. Two hours later and I'm still waiting. Strange how I have patience when writing and doing amny things but never when I know I must go somewhere but don't know when. Strange about the difference but it's there. I am impatiently trying to be patient.

Meander 3 - Writing - Am busily typing in the many corrections to Haunted Dreams. 8 chapters to go and that will happen. I've begun the work in Incal that will be the fourth in the Moon Rising Series. A different kind of story but not really too different. Six focus characters but this time I'm clustering them so far as the three women and the three men with alternating chapters. It's interesting but fun to write this way. I do really like ensemble stories.








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Sunday, April 11, 2021

Sunday's Book Murder and Herbal Tea #BWLAuthor #MFRWAuthor #mystery #Cozy #Robespierre #Wedding #Honeymoon


Katherine’s wedding day has arrived and she and Lars make their vows. When she notices one of her best friends hasn’t arrived, she begins to worry. Her friend owns a shop where tea and accompaniments are sold. Her friend’s partner is a micromanager. Katherine’s friend has wanted to dissolve the partnership. A call to the New England town brings the dreadful news of a murder. Kate’s protectiveness factor takes hold and she leaves a note for Lars and heads to rescue her friend. Though she has promised to leave murders alone, she feels she has no choice. Lars follows to help her solve another murder.

Editorial Review
Long-time beau Lars has finally convinced Katherine Miller to become Katherine Claybourne. But fans won't be surprised that even on her honeymoon, Kate can't stop herself. She's a magnet for murder. ~ Writer Gail Roughton

Reviewed in the United States on July 15, 2017
Verified Purchase
Murder and Herbal Tea by Janet Lane Walters
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Publisher: Books We Love
First Sentence: During the second week of June, Lars arrived in the Hudson River village where I live and where he had a home.
Review: Katherine, aka Kate, Miller is finally marrying Lars Claybourne. They barely tie the knot and Kate’s off to clear her friend, Joyce, of any wrong doing…even though all fingers point at her. (Without giving up any spoilers)
It’s serious charges against Joyce, and Kate’s all into figuring out what the authorities seem to be missing. Following her process of elimination down a twisty path of possibilities kept me on my toes, enjoyably so.

I read Ms. Walters’ book out of sequence, (this is book 5) not that you should read the Mrs. Miller Mysteries books out of order, but I was able to follow along with the story and character relationships flawlessly.

A happy ending always makes me smile, and Ms. Walters delivers. I recommend this book to anyone who’s into cozy mysteries where the story-star sleuth comes packed with personality plus; )
Reviewed in the United States on August 7, 2017
Verified Purchase
Who leaves her groom on their wedding day to solve a murder? Mrs Miller-Claybourne, that's who! And her readers are all the better for it! A tolerant and helpful new husband, a friend in need, cooked books, suspects galore, lots of delicious food, tea, and Victorian homes and shops settings make this a welcome addition to this delightful cozy mystery series. And policemen? When are you going to learn that condescending: "Leave detecting to me" remarks are just NOT WISE in the presence of our super sleuth??