Showing posts from March, 2016

What Makes A Mystery?

I started writing children's stories about dogs and cats when our writers' group challenged its members to write mysteries. We came up with a neat short template for the creation of a "quick" mystery: At number one, write down who is going to misunderstand something. At number five, write down the dire consequence of the misunderstanding. At number seven, write down the resolution – all is calm, mystery solved, misunderstanding corrected. Back to number three: What did your protagonist misunderstand? What incorrect conclusion did they draw? Number four: How did they act on that conclusion and how did it cause the dire consequences at number five. Number two: How did they come to hear/see/learn the thing they misunderstood? Number six: How did they come to realize they’d got things wrong, and how did they fix it to land us at number 7. It works for a short story, maybe, but not for a novel. After all, novels need multiple peaks and troughs, problems that bui

Write What You Know?

A friend was told she shouldn't write for teenagers as she didn't live with any. But she was a mother of teens, now grown, and a teen herself, not so very long ago. Why shouldn't she set her tales in the teen-hoods she knew for today's teens to read? After all, we're not a different breed; we're not even history. We're just the same people growing in different worlds. That, of course, led to my wondering about historical fiction - not that my teen-hood is history yet. Some authors build on family records and letters; they know, or knew, the people of the time and words they used. Others write of distant lands, and ages only remembered in history. Do we have to read all those ancient documents to write? Do we have to carry certificates around to prove we've done our research? Or can a wary mathematician develop a love of history in later life, then write her tales of Bible times? Science fiction might need some scientific consistency of course. Histor

Bees, rattlesnakes, mountain lions and inspiration

Today I'm delighted to welcome some wonderfully pampered pets and their authors to my blog. The latest Pampered Pets book, Raiders of the Lost Bark , is being released as you read... so go buy it, or, if you'd prefer, peruse this post to learn where the inspiration comes from first - bees, rattlesnakes and mountain lions anyone ? Then buy the book. So, without more ado, welcome, dear authors, to my blog -- but do I call you Sparkle, Mary or Anita? Grab a coffee and a gluten-free cookie, then please tell us about your inspiration - and rattlesnakes! “All the effort in the world won’t matter if you’re not inspired.”―Chuck Palahniuk Inspiration is everywhere. As writers, we are always looking for ways to be stirred to greatness. Inspiration drives action…or in some cases, words on the blank page. When we’re on deadline, we don’t get to wait for inspiration to hit, we have to sit down and do the work. But that doesn’t mean we stop looking for ways to add joy or mean

Does Picture Perfect Help Children Read?

I've read and reviewed quite a lot of picture books recently. Long years ago - I'm not counting how many - I read them just for pleasure, not for review. And sometime in between I read those pictures for sons as well. Lots of pictures. Lots of books. I remember "reading" picture books with no words. Sons would help me tell the story - well, except for oldest son who determined it wasn't a story if it didn't have printed sets of letters in it. The books were hard work though. The boys would imagine all sorts of events that weren't quite intended on the page, then we'd turn to the next, miss the point, and start over again (or throw the book across the room - they were boys, of course). Then there were books where the pictures didn't quite fit the tale. "Mom, it said he played with elephants and giraffes, so why are there no elephants in the picture?" Perhaps they'd gone to the bathroom? "Mom, that's not right." Some

When a Sister Goes Missing... Read Last Vacation

Today I'm delighted to welcome author Sarah Elle Emm to my blog, as she tours the internet with b00kr3vi3w Tours. She's brought her latest book, Last Vacation, with her, and a fascinating interview with the protagonist, Megan - PLUS a great giveaway, so don't forget to read the whole post, down to the end! About the Book: Seven days have passed since Naples real estate agent Megan MacKenna has heard from her twin sister, Madeline, who was vacationing on the beautiful, Caribbean island of St. Croix. Though authorities are not convinced there is a case to solve, Megan knows with all of her heart something happened to Maddy. When Megan receives a direct warning to leave the island or end up like her sister, she turns to the only person who has taken her seriously since she arrived, Gabe, a breakfast cook at a local diner.  Undercover DEA agent, Gabriel Walker has been building his cover for months, waiting for the opportunity to work his way into the infamous Tor

What Makes The Author Write The Book?

Today I'm delighted to welcome Bruce Edlen, author of Jazz Mergirl, to my blog. He's the author of a Jazz Mergirl, the biography of a teen activist - a book I'd certainly love to read. And here he's volunteered there to answer the question he's asked most often - Why did he write the book? I love his answer. And I know I shall love the book... Titled Jazz Mergirl , this is the biography of Jazz Jennings , well-known teen activist and star of TLC’s I Am Jazz TV docuseries. In 2014, Jazz was chosen by TIME magazine as one of the world's "25 Most-Influential Teens,” an honor she shares with Malala Yousafzai. The book’s profits are being donated to support Jazz’s charitable foundation TransKids Purple Rainbow Foundation Purchase Jazz Mergirl at Amazon I'm certainly intrigued, and would love to read this. What about you? And I'm intrigued to learn what led to the author writing the book. So, pull up a

How do we recreate the real world in fiction?

Recreating ancient history can be fraught with interpretations. But recent history must surely be just as hard. They tell us we should "write what we know" but I'm always afraid what I know might be skewed by what I thought I knew. If I painted the world I grew up in, I know my brothers would disagree. My older brother has already complained about things I said as a young adult that I can't even imagine wanting to say. There again, in fiction, the world is seen through a character's eyes. So perhaps I can write what I thought I once knew through a stranger's eyes and make it real, even if it's not what was really there. Mesu Andrews recreated the ancient world of Israel in Egypt beautifully in Miriam . Her ancient history includes interpretation of Biblical events, scientific theory, historical record and more. It convinces me. Fill a suitably complex four-star cup with coffee and enjoy. War Brides by Helen Bryan is set (mostly) in England before a

How to Paint Rain

Today I'm delighted to feature Annette K. Larsen, author of Painting Rain, on my blog. It seems to have been raining for weeks, so the title seems kind of appropriate to the season. But what does rain mean to you? Is it just the sky crying? ABOUT PAINTING RAIN How do you heal your heart after tragedy leaves you broken? When the person you loved didn’t deserve it and they can’t earn your forgiveness because they’re already dead? How do you move on, and heal, and love? If you’re Princess Lorraina, you paint. A year ago Lorraina watched Tobias die, and she still doesn't know how she's supposed to heal—or forgive. How can she when she’s still running away? In an attempt to reinvent herself, she steps outside her comfortable life as princess and seeks the tutelage of a master painter—a man who is not at all impressed by her pedigree, and demands not just talent, but emotional honesty. Struggling to learn what’s being taught, she finds herself drawn to some

Can Faith, Science, History and Politics Co-exist in Fiction?

I've been trying to find a definition of fiction. Someone says it's the art of imagining the unreal then rendering it real enough with words for others to believe in it. I'd try "temporarily believe." I wouldn't want people permanently convinced that my fictional worlds were true. But the intended audience surely has something to do with it. Someone writing a fictional account of a saint's life, with the intent to inspire, will presumably write for an audience that can be inspired by saints. Someone eager to prove that capitalism leads to world domination will write for readers of similar political views. And someone trying to bring history to life presumably looks for readers who believe real history matters. This led to me wondering, what if your intended readership (say Christian women) includes readers of more than one political persuasion (says she as a European Christian, therefore almost by definition somewhat different from an American one)? Shou