Friday, August 30, 2013

Catching UP!

Books that went to press, or back to press this week:


WHERE THE JABIRU FLIES, by Romona Hilliger
    Kate, the English heiress arrives in Australia hellbent on making the outback her home. But when she runs into Brad, the reclusive, Australian naturalist; himself, hellbent on keeping society at bay, personalities clash. 

POWERS IN BALANCE: the Red Knight Chronicles, Vol. 6, by Ray Morand   
   There is a bloody war being waged between the mage-ruled Kingdom of Ludnikan led by the dark-elf armies of the Nameless King against the elven Kingdom of Nadezhda and her ally the Kingdom of Niadhardal.  

THE TIGER'S CUB,  by Debi Emmons

    Chase Benton was born lucky. Allorah Starbird swore she was the most unlucky
person ever.  When lucky meets unlucky, whose luck wins out?


BURIED TRUTH, by Gunter Kaesdorf
    Young Attorney Brooke Wheeler searches for a truth buried under the surface and suppressed by long held secrets. She has been in love with the wealthy heir, Jeremy Wright, who has long been suspected of killing his high school girlfriend, Lindsey. Years later, those suspicions deepen when his wife, Cassie, suddenly dies. 




Galleys that went out, or went out again, this week: 

LAINEY DELANEY BACK IN BUSINESS, by Frances Langley
    Lainee Delaney, social debutante turned private investigator wannabe, and substitute teacher gotta be to make ends meet, has just landed her first big case. Enter straight-laced and amazingly hot Cade Gainess, an acquaintance from Lainee's past who has done nothing but irritate her in their brief dealings with each other. 

WHILE I DANCED, by Lynn Slaughter
   A nerve-wracking audition for a summer ballet workshop reminds fifteen-year-old Cass how much she wishes her mom hadn’t died so young.



BLEEDING HEARTS: Killian Kendall Mystery Series, Vol. 1 by Josh Aterovis.
         Winner of the StoneWall Society Whodunit Award
   Killian Kendall is used to being overlooked, even in his own family. That’s about to change. With the arrival of a new kid at school, Killian’s whole world is about to be turned upside down.




Work began or continued on the following:  

A ROSE FOR A FOREVER LOVE: A Coverton Mills Romance, by Lynette Hall Hampton
   Seth Armstrong felt obligated to marry his college sweetheatt when she became pregnant. The marriage was never a happy one and they both wanted out, but when Eve learns he’s fallen in love with someone else, she threatens to run to her home in England and never let him see his children again.



SOLID OIL, by Russell Hunter
   The rainforest’s secret is known to a very few. But each is perfectly placed to profit from it. The secret is lithium—sometimes described as the oil of the 21st century—and the knowledge of it has spawned a crime cabal led by Viet
namese gangster-turned-investor Johnny Ho and including a diverse cast of fellow crooks.


LIVING THE CALL, by Barbara Garro
    By listening and answering God's call to serve...consider being a lifeboat and keeping people afloat. Hold out a ladder to raise people up. We are all God has to serve Him on our planet. Do you believe that? Or are you thinking God can do everything Himself?

TOBY MARTIN: Book 5, by Barbara Grengs
   Our favorite young adult detective is back to solve a serious mystery once again.  


REAP THE WHIRLWIND: Killian Kendall Mystery Seeries, Vol. 2,  by Josh Aterovis.
   Suicide, or murder? That's the question in the second Killian Kendall mystery. Will Smith suspects murder when an old childhood pal drowns, and asks his friend Killian for help in solving the mystery.

VENDETTA, by Ian Welch

   Ethan is alone and destitute on the other side of the world. His Dad is murdered, their business fails, his Mum unable to cope takes her own life. This is too much of a coincidence, rumors indicate one man is responsible. Ethan learns the truth, but what can he do? He is dealing with a powerful adversary, a man who will stop at nothing to achieve his goals.

A SNUG LIFE SOMEWHERE,  by Jan Shapin
   A Snug Life Somewhere is about Penny Joe Copper, daughter of a roustabout shingle weaver, who is caught up in a 1916 union tragedy known as the Everett Massacre. Her brother Horace is killed, as is the cousin of a radical organizer, Gabe. When her love affair with Marcel, a music student seven years her junior, is thwarted, Penny Jo is pulled into Gabe’s campaign to avenge the “Everett Martyrs.”

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Question from the e-mail--writing tip


Deputy Amy Donovan puts her life on the line every day as a law enforcement officer, then she realizes that the danger is coming from within the ranks.



Question: Which is more important to a publisher? To know good grammar? Or to tell a good story?

Answer:  Both are important. You're right that there are two sets of skills needed to be a good writer.

Story telling skills, like structure, plot, character building, narrative drive, pace, etc.

The second thing you need is good technical writing skills, grammar and language arts. 

A good storyteller may get published without the technical writing skills, but in this computer age, where “editors” run spell check and go straight to press, the technical writing skills have become more important than ever.

Here at Write Words Inc., we choose our books by a committee of published authors -- a kind of peer review. They all know how to do both and how to spot it when the skills are missing. They all know that we like to publish books and that ms. that will take too much "editing time" should get a firm, "NO."


Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Western Sage Barbecue -- recipe





Danielle Alexander's life has suddenly turned upside down. On a wagon train to California to join her fiance, her father falls terminally ill in Oklahoma. Add to that a motherless newborn half-breed baby boy dropped literally into her arms by a wise, ancient Indian chief, who wants her to be the baby's mother "just until" her fiance comes to rescue her.


Oklahoma Barbecue Ribs

Ingredients

  • 4 pounds pork spareribs
     
  • 1/2 recipe of the Western Sage Barbecue Sauce, below. 

  • 2 onion2, quartered
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Serves 6 regular people, or four hungry eaters.

Directions

  1. Place spareribs in a large stock pot with 1/2 the barbeque sauce, onion, salt, and pepper. Pour in enough water to cover. Bring to a low boil, and cook approximately 40 minutes.
  2. Preheat grill for high heat.
  3. Lightly oil grate. Remove spareribs from the stock pot, and place on the prepared grill. Use the remaining barbeque sauce to baste ribs while cooking. Grill ribs, basting and turning frequently, for 20 minutes, or until nicely browned.

    Western Cider & Sage Barbecue Sauce

    An earthy and robust sauce, especially delicious paired with pork and chicken.

    Ingredients

    2 cups ketchup
    1/2 cup apple cider
    1/2 cup molasses
    3 tbsp lemon juice
    2 tbsp ground sage
    1 Tbsp white vinegar
    1 tsp. garlic powder
    1 tsp Liquid Smoke
    3 Tbsp tomato paste

    Whisk ingredients together in a bowl until thoroughly mixed.
     

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Outline Question -- writing tip


Shadow Chronicles, Vol 1

by Sharon Jordan

Even though she's a scientist with a Ph.D., Jacqueline Devore is so desperate to escape her vivid dreams of holocaust horrors, she will even consult a psychic.

Question from the mail bag:   Not long ago, you said on your blog that you never outline. When I was your student you had a "How to Outline" handout. I remember it vividly. So if you never do it, how come you taught everyone to do it????


Answer:  Well the people who hired me to teach REQUIRED me to cover Outlines, as part of their planned curriculum, Sara, and the outline you recall was one I made up for students, using their information on the Triple-O Outline, the one that seemed easiest for newbie writers of the three methods we were given to chose from. I wrote the handout, though, condensed from their 9 page text.

      Handout for the Triple O Plot Outline

Every story is about someone who wants something and whether they get it or not.  Any story plot can easily be broken down into three parts: Objective; Obstacles; Outcome, sometimes referred to as the Triple-O Outline. There are hardly any new plots, so don’t be discouraged if “it’s been done.” The challenge for any writer is to make the characters and action so fresh and interesting that the reader forgets they have seen the plot before.

Plots for short stories should be short. If too much action is incorporated, the story will grow longer and longer and may become unwieldy. If too many obstacles occur, the reader could grow impatient and give up.

Be careful not to confuse “back story” (information needed to explain the characters personality and problems to the readers), with current plot action. Whatever has happened before the real action begins is “back story."  Be careful not to confuse explanatory action (back story), with a plot turning point. A plot turning point is always when something CHANGES.

To use a classic example, in the story "Cinderella," her mother’s death and her father’s remarriage are all “back story." The mean way the rest of the family treats Cindy is explanatory action used to set up the objective. Because the Objective for Cinderella, is that she wants to go to the ball. Until Cinderella decides she wants to go to the ball nothing has really happened, everything is going on as usual. Remember, plot happens when something changes. When the character knows what he or she wants, that is the objective and the objective is always  the beginning of the story, the beginning of the plot. Now the character has a problem to solve – how to get what s/he wants. Once there is a problem statement, it’s time to get on with the story.

If there is no problem statement, nothing is happening, and there is no story. Stories are about overcoming something. If there is nothing to  “overcome” then there is no satisfaction to the reader at the end.

      Here are The Triple-Os

Objective: The objective (some call it object, but I like objective better) is what the character wants. Once your character knows what s/he wants, s/he has an objective. Cinderella wants to go to the ball. Her sisters are going and she darned well wants to go, too!

Obstacles: Whatever stands in the character’s way of getting what s/he wants are plot obstacles. There's an old writer's axiom called the "rule of three" that tells us not to include more than three things in any one sentence. For hundreds of years three has been a magic number in our culture. Genies grant three wishes, Cinderella had two ugly sisters, there are usually three turning points or complications in a story plot, with the last one resulting in the crisis/bleak moment, just before the resolution. So it is unwise to plan more than three obstacles in any plot.

Cinderella’s obstacles are not the ugly step-sisters, or her father’s inability to see through his new wife.

These are her obstacles:
    1. She has nothing to wear.
    2. She has no way to get there.
    3. She has a fairy-godmother (who solves the first two), BUT she must be home by midnight or the magic wears off!


As with most story plots, obstacles one and two are overcome, but obstacle three leads to what I like to call the bleak moment. In every story there is (or should be) that moment when it looks as if all is lost. For Cinderella, that moment happens when she’s in the Prince’s arms and the clock strikes 12.  She runs, for she knows that when the clock finishes striking, she will be standing there dressed in rags. For Cindy, the party is over and it seems she’ll never see the prince again. (Bleak moment)

Outcome: The outcome is simply how your story ends. Every story has an outcome. Some are happy, some sad, but whatever the outcome the main character or his or her circumstances should change because of it. In our sample story, the Prince finds the slipper. Truly smitten, he searches for Cindy until he finds her. And the Outcome, of course, is they marry and live happily ever after.

Not every story has a happy ending, of course, but there must be a resolution and the story will be better received if that resolution is satisfactory to the reader. Take the movie version of Titanic. (Another Cinderella, story plot.) Unlike Cindy, Rose is rich, but she is also a victim of her family and of her abusive fiance.  Here, quoted from the movie, is Rose’s problem statement:

"I saw my whole life as if I'd already lived it...an endless parade of parties and cotillions, yachts and polo matches...always the same narrow people, the same mindless chatter. I felt like I was standing at a great precipice, with no one to pull me back, no one who cared...or even noticed."
   -- Rose DeWitt Bukater

Rose’s Objective:     Is to escape the life she lives and a loveless marriage so that she can find freedom.

Rose’s obstacles:     
1. Her family and fiancé who punish her when she doesn’t conform
2. Depression that leads her to consider suicide.
3. The ship sinking and Jack’s death (bleak moment)

Rose’s Outcome:    Though Jack dies, Rose is rescued and goes on.

Rose is Cindy in reverse. She’s a girl who has everything, money, position, and a millionaire fiancé. Yet Rose is severely depressed and feels confined by her life. Then she meets Jack, the free spirit. 

Instead of going to the palace ball, they dance with the peasants in steerage. Even though Jack dies when the ship sinks, Rose goes on to dump her fiancé, and to live out all the dreams she and Jack had planned together. This is evidenced by her photo collection, Rose as a pilot, on a roller-coaster, riding a horse, and treading the boards as an actress. 

Not a happy ending to the romance, but a satisfactory ending, because Rose has escaped from the narrow-minded people and her confined life, to find fulfillment for herself.
 

Even though the hero dies, Titanic is still a romance. The ending, while sad, resolves the issues, and is satisfying to the reader.




Monday, August 26, 2013

Beaucoup Thanks  to Susan Whitfield, for posting a blog about Arline Chase, today. Here it is in case you missed it.


Monday, August 26, 2013

Arline Chase's Killraven



Arline Chase is something of a late-bloomer. She lives in the marsh with the mosquitoes and the muskrats. She writes some of everything and became a publisher when her own publisher became too ill to continue.

“Having a book with my name on the cover was my longtime dream.  When my first publisher, the woman who helped me fulfill that dream, asked me, I was honored to help keep her project alive. Connie Foster’s dream stayed alive as Write Words Inc./ebooksonthe.net and now I get to help others achieve their dreams as well.  Life doesn’t get much better than that.”

Welcome, Arline!
Where do you live, and how has your environment affected your writing? 
I live on the Eastern Shore of Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay. My people were island people. My environment and family history has affected most of my books. My Collection, THE DROWNED LAND, won the Governor’s Award in Maryland and my Novel, KILLRAVEN, is set locally and remains the favorite of most of my readers. Although Killraven Island is a fictional environment, the characters who live there and their cultural heritage are depicted accurately.
How many books have you written?
A dozen Novellas; one Short Story Collection; 4 nonfiction books; and 5 novels: KILLRAVEN, GHOST DANCER, SPIRIT OF EARTH, SPIRIT OF FIRE, and SPIRIT OF WIND. The Spirit Series are mysteries and feature a Baltimore police detective and his psychic younger sister.
Give a short synop of your favorite book.
Since KILLRAVEN has proven the favorite, and is loosely based on family history, if I have to pick one to feature, I think it has to be that one.
Set in the 1890s, KILLRAVEN is the story of Hope Voeschell, a young woman brought up in a cult that believes in non-violence, and DeCoursey Rogers a man who has known violence first hand, and what happens when an isolated peaceful community is confronted with a murderer. Killraven is a fictional Chesapeake Bay island, an isolated place, rich in the traditions of its independent people. The novel is based in part on characters that originally appeared in the award-winning short story collection, THE DROWNED LAND.
How much of yourself is hidden in the characters in the book?
Well Hope (not her real name) goes back five generations in my family. She is a legend to all her descendents and was known all her life as a woman of strong character. People have also said that of me, though whether it is justified, I really can’t say.
Do your characters take on a life of their own?
Absolutely.  They go and do what pleases them and I am left to watch and wonder.
Which is your favorite?
I have a few fleeting memories of the real Hope Voeschell, who died when I was three or four.  I never knew her as an adult, except through the family stories handed down about her. But by the time I had written her book, she was very real to me.
What challenges did you face while writing this book?
I knew my story’s beginning, middle, and end. I knew my setting. But I didn’t know how to write well enough to bring off a work of that length. It took me seven years to achieve a novel length draft I felt came close to “the book in my head.” And ever after that I have had to explain it to relatives who remembered a “different version.” 
Critics complained that “there are too many widows” in the book. But island men worked the water, a dangerous occupation, and left many widows behind. So although folks suggested I combine those characters and have only one widow, all three remained and all have very different personalities, so I felt they couldn’t take on each other’s plot turns. Critics have also complained that the book is “more like a TV series” than a novel. And I suppose it is true that the island is a character in and of itself.
Do you travel to do research or for inspiration? Can you share some special places with us?
I have traveled some, but mostly I write about home. I did do a lot of research for GHOST DANCER, because it is set in Montana. I had never been to Montana, a fact I mentioned to my then-agent. “No one alive now has been to Montana in 1890, Arline,” she pointed out. “Just write the da---- book!” She had a hot new publisher and knew she could sell it if I could finish it in 90 days.  Well five year later, when I actually finished the book, the agent had forgotten my name and the Hot New Publisher had sunk without a trace. But I had learned a lot about Montana, the Piegan, and the Great Northern Railroad, so it wasn’t a total loss.
What do you think is the greatest lesson you’ve learned about writing so far? What advice can you give new writers?
Don’t pay any attention to all the people who think you can’t do it. There are plenty of folks who will always say, “You can’t.” My own mother’s reaction to the fact that I meant to write a book was, “People like us don’t write BOOKS!”
But I started with short stores and kept on writing them eventually the books came, too. I say, if you want to do something, do it!  Practice your craft and hone your skills. And do all you can to learn what you need to know.  Keep at it. Never let others trample on your dreams.
Where do you store ideas for later use: in your head, in a notebook, or on a spreadsheet?
I used to keep a notebook. Then I learned that the good ideas will come back and nag you until they get written, whether you keep an idea file or not.
We all know how important promoting our work has become. How do you get the word out both off and online?
I spend more time these days publishing other writer’s work than in writing and promoting my own. And thank you, Susan, for this opportunity to talk about my work.  I post about my own and other author’s books regularly on Facebook, and I, too, do have a blog at:
Can you tell us your future writing goals/projects?
I love historical/mysteries and probably will continue to write them.  There is at least one more installment of the Spirit Series to be completed.
Where can folks learn more about your books and events?    
On my company’s publisher web site:
and on my blog, mentioned above.
I am easy to find on Facebook, too, as I am the only Arline Chase in Cambridge, MD. I welcome all who love books among my friends.
Are your books available in print and ebook formats?
They are all on my own web site and also on amazon.com at the following links:
Paper:
www.amazon.com/Killraven-Arline-Chase/dp/1594311374/ref=sr_1_1_title_1_pap?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1369675147&sr=1-1&keywords=killraven+chase


e-book: http://www.amazon.com/Killraven-ebook/dp/B004SREB7O/ref=sr_1_9?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1369675057&sr=1-9&keywords=killraven

Friday, August 23, 2013

Catching UP!



 

Books that went to press, or back to press this week:

SEER, TYRO, FIEND, by Kathryn Flatt
   When a fledgling investigator comes to Stefanie Durant's Windsong Lake art studio to ask her to use her psychic ability to find a missing insurance beneficiary, she refuses. Yet she cannot stop thinking about Nadine Oberg, a teen who ran away from home and disappeared on the streets of Chicago ten years ago. 



Galleys that went out, or went out again this week:

THE TIGER'S CUB,  by Debi Emmons
  Chase Benton was born lucky. Allorah Starbird swore she was the most unlucky
person ever.  When lucky meets unlucky, whose luck wins out?

LAINEY DELANEY BACK IN BUSINESS, by Frances Langley
    Lainee Delaney, social debutante turned private investigator wannabe, and substitute teacher gotta be to make ends meet, has just landed her first big case. Enter straight-laced and amazingly hot Cade Gainess, an acquaintance from Lainee's past who has done nothing but irritate her in their brief dealings with each other. 

WHILE I DANCED, by Lynn Slaughter
   A nerve-wracking audition for a summer ballet workshop reminds fifteen-year-old Cass how much she wishes her mom hadn’t died so young.

SOLID OIL, by Russell Hunter
   The rainforest’s secret is known to a very few. But each is perfectly placed to profit from it. The secret is lithium—sometimes described as the oil of the 21st century—and the knowledge of it has spawned a crime cabal led by Vietnamese gangster-turned-investor Johnny Ho and including a diverse cast of fellow crooks.



Work began or continued on the following:

POWERS IN BALANCE: the Red Knight Chronicles, Vol. 6, by Ray Morand
 There is a bloody war being waged between the mage-ruled Kingdom of Ludnikan led by the dark-elf armies of the Nameless King against the elven Kingdom of Nadezhda and her ally the Kingdom of Niadhardal.


A ROSE FOR A FOREVER LOVE: A Coverton Mills Romance, by Lynette Hall Hampton

   Seth Armstrong felt obligated to marry his college sweetheatt when she became pregnant. The marriage was never a happy one and they both wanted out, but when Eve learns he’s fallen in love with someone else, she threatens to run to her home in England and never let him see his children again.

BLEEDING HEARTS: Killian Kendall Mystery Series, Vol. 1 by Josh Aterovis.
         Winner of the StoneWall Society Whodunit Award
   Killian Kendall is used to being overlooked, even in his own family. That’s about to change. With the arrival of a new kid at school, Killian’s whole world is about to be turned upside down.


LIVING THE CALL, by Barbara Garro
    By listening and answering God's call to serve...consider being a lifeboat and keeping people afloat. Hold out a ladder to raise people up. We are all God has to serve Him on our planet. Do you believe that? Or are you thinking God can do everything Himself?

Toby Martin: Book 5, by Barbara Grengs
   Our favorite young adult detective is back to solve a serious mystery once again. 


WHERE THE JABIRU FLIES, by Romona Hilliger
    Kate, the English heiress arrives in Australia hellbent on making the outback her home. But when she runs into Brad, the reclusive, Australian naturalist; himself, hellbent on keeping society at bay, personalities clash.

REAP THE WHIRLWIND: Killian Kendall Mystery Seeries, Vol. 2,  by Josh Aterovis.
   Suicide, or murder? That's the question in the second Killian Kendall mystery. Will Smith suspects murder when an old childhood pal drowns, and asks his friend Killian for help in solving the mystery.

VENDETTA, by Ian Welch

   Ethan is alone and destitute on the other side of the world. His Dad is murdered, their business fails, his Mum unable to cope takes her own life. This is too much of a coincidence, rumors indicate one man is responsible. Ethan learns the truth, but what can he do? He is dealing with a powerful adversary, a man who will stop at nothing to achieve his goals.

A SNUG LIFE SOMEWHERE,  by Jan Shapin
   A Snug Life Somewhere is about Penny Joe Copper, daughter of a roustabout shingle weaver, who is caught up in a 1916 union tragedy known as the Everett Massacre. Her brother Horace is killed, as is the cousin of a radical organizer, Gabe. When her love affair with Marcel, a music student seven years her junior, is thwarted, Penny Jo is pulled into Gabe’s campaign to avenge the “Everett Martyrs.”

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Homonyms

ANNALS OF A DANGEROUS HANDYMAN portrays the tale of Henri Chabron, Canadian, American, commercial mercenary for hire, in the business of personal salvage. The fast-moving story story tells how a child, becoming a man in a world of lies, deceit and betrayal, is still able to preserve his soul.

Question from my E-Mail: Okay, Arline. I went back to class. They did shut up about foreshadowing, but now they're yelling about homonyms. Just for the record, what's a homonym????

Answer:  Homonyms are words that sound just alike, but are spelled differently and have different meanings. I can't tell you how many self-published books I've found mistakes in and some were by very successful writers.

In my classes I used to hand out a list I found back in the day on the Mystery Writer's Forum. Have no idea who posted it, but he did everyone there a great favor.

Here's the list.

1. Homonyms and word confusion

Aisle, a walkway /isle, an island
Allude, refer to /elude, flee
Alright/all right - alright is a misspelling
Alter (v) change /altar (n) a place of worship
Ascent (n) upward pathway /assent (v) agree
Awhile - use a while unless you're William Faulkener
Bail money to get out of jail/bale bundled hay
Bare naked /bear n. an animal or v. withstand
Bazaar (n) market in the far east /bizarre (adj) strange
Blonde (n) a female with yellow hair/blond (adj)the male form of yellow
Brake pedal to stop the car/break a pause in activity, or when something is broken
Canvas material you paint on/canvass to question everyone
Cite refer to/sight see/site where a building is built
Coarse (adj)/course (n)
Complementary/complimentary
Criteria/criterion - criteria is plural of criterion
Desert Sahara.../dessert yummy
Discreet (tactful)/discrete (separate)
Emigrate (leave)/immigrate (enter)
Enter come in/inter bury
Exit/exist
Farther (distance)/further (more)
Formally (manner)/formerly (previous)
Fried/friend
Guess/guest
Hear with your ear/here this place
Heel on your foot/heal make healthy
Herd group of cattle/heard
Imminent (about to happen)/eminent (distinguished)
Mantel shelf above the file/mantle a wrap
Massage what a masseuse gives you/message when someone gives you information
Naïve (adj) unknowing/naivete (n) the
New unused/knew was aware of
Pane window glass/pain discoomfort
Pear n. /pair (two)
Peek (to Look)/peak (the top of a mountain) pique, (a fit of anger
Peel remove the skin of a f ruit /peal the sound a bell makes
Present n. a gift a. the opposite of absent /presence an imminence
Quite/quiet
Roll/role
Rouge face paint /rogue, a bad guy
Salvage, n. trash /savage, a. uncivilized
Strait/straight
Tale/tail
There/their/there're
Thorn/throne
To/too/two
Trial/trail
Vain/vane/vein
Woman/women
Won't/want
Your/you're

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Magical Wizard Cake





A story based on several Arthurian myths that state both Arthur and Merlin will return to save England in its greatest hour of need, Merlin's Return is the legend of King Arthur transported to modern times.

Merlin's Magical Wizard Cake


Ingredients

Original recipe makes 1 - 9x13 inch or 2 - 9 inch round pans Change Servings
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup strong brewed coffee
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour two 9 inch round cake pans or one 9x13 inch pan.
  2. In large bowl combine flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Make a well in the center.
  3. Add eggs, coffee, buttermilk, oil and vanilla. Beat for 2 minutes on medium speed. Batter will be thin. Pour into prepared pans.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 30 to 40 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into center of cake comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes, then remove from pans and finish cooling on a wire rack. Fill and frost as desired.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Foreshadowing Question

When money goes missing from his firm, stockbroker Mike Wolfe, despite his innocence, is convicted of embezzlement. When working as a volunteer firefighter gets him an early release from prison, Mike is determined to set the record straight. Then a man from Mike's old firm is brutally murdered and he finds himself, once again, suspect number one. A great read!


Question: Members of my writing class all agree that things happen "too suddenly" in my stories. Okay, so I used the word "suddenly" a lot. But they keep saying I need to do something called "foreshadowing" and I don't know what that IS. I don't want to give my whole plot away from the get-go. AND I'm tired of everyone laughing at me andso I am NOT going back there. But I thought I'd ask you -- no one in your classes ever laughed at anyone...

Answer: Don't let them get to you. Teachers have to learn how not to let students laugh at one another's efforts, while still showing them what, and what not, to do. Any serious effort to write deserves the serious attention of fellow-students. SOME teachers I have known even encouraged such behavior, hoping to get rid of students who are not "serious" enough to stick with it. But in reality to lessen the work load. A class of 5 students is easier to teach than 15...

Foreshadowing means giving them a hint of what's coming next, without giving too much away. It is one of the three key elements that keep readers turning pages. Foreshadowing, Tension and Suspense. 

Foreshadowing doesn't mean this:

    When Sally went to riding school that morning she had no idea that when old Norman threw her a dead body would suddenly appear the other side the the blind-jump gate.

That's a "had I but known" and a pretty clumsy one. Many newbie writers confuse "had I but knowns" with foreshadowing, which is to HINT that something will happen, without giving too much away.

For instance:

    "Nothing ever happens to me, (DENIAL)" Sally whispered as she drove toward her riding lesson. It wasn't that she disliked horses so much, it was that she didn't want to spend hours doing what her grandmother thought a young lady she should do. The only thing worse than riding lessons was dancing class.
   The school's training jumper, Norman, had suffered through innumerable novices and would jump flawlessly round the course whether she paid attention to the signals she gave him, or not. (AND STILL MORE DENIAL) 
  "Today, you try the blind jump," her instructor warned. "If you don't give the signals right, old Norman will refuse, because he can't see the other side. Pay attention, Sally! Remember, ANYTHING could be on the other side of that gate." (FORESHADOWING)
  Sure! Sally wheeled the horse around. A rabbit, a squirrel, maybe even a frog? With the sun hot on her shoulders, Sally trotted once around the circle, then headed for the blind gate and gave old Norman a half-hearted signal. Without pause, she found herself flying head first over the gate as Norman stopped in his tracks.  
  She landed curled into a ball, by now she surely knew how to fall, then shook her head and sat up, blinking, straight into the open eyes of the bloody corpse lying where old Norman should have landed. 

To a fiction writer Suspense has nothing to do with all those Girl-in-danger stories, what it means is keeping readers guessing what will happen next. The term suspense, denotes how involved the reader is in your plot.  If he or she already knows what is going to happen, there isn't any suspense (critics call it "predictable"), and will have little reason to continue reading. To avoid trite plots (like this one), make a list of 10 things that might happen next and pick the least likely. Or brainstorm with friends to come up with suggestions for unusual and exciting twists. Remember, keep the readers guessing and let the answer be a SURPRISE.

Foreshadowing is vital if the following action will be hard to swallow for some reason. If you're going to "Raise the Titanic" on page 367, you have to foreshadow the action in the first third of the book. Clive Cussler put in a scene where someone had invented a new underwater sealant and the hero used it to successfully raise barges off an oil rig early in his book. That action took place BEFORE any of the events that made raising the Titanic a plot necessity. Even though we all know the big T is still down there, foreshadowing made the reader believe it was possible, and Cussler made us SEE the action when she rose.

One way to convince a reader improbable action is possible, is to juxtapose it with everyday things. Barbara Michaels always has her characters discuss their ghosts, satanic possessions, and hauntings while eating hamburgers or pizza. The reader believes in the hamburgers and "swallows" the ghosts, too.

Another technique that will help readers believe in the impossible is denial. The more other characters, especially the least liked ones, tell the protagonist he can't succeed at whatever impossible task he's doing, the more convinced the reader becomes the hero can actually pull it off. Remember, the reader is on the hero or heroine's side and rooting for him or her to succeed.

So again and again, when Sally thinks nothing will ever happen, because of that denial, the reader is just waiting for something interesting to happen.

Be careful, too, not to foreshadow something and then not deliver. From that first "nothing ever happens to me" line, you have promised your reader that something will happepn, so they stick with Sally through a pretty boring morning.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Crab Cake Recipe


OWEN FIDDLER wants to tell you his story! (Everybody sing along to the tune of the Beatle's "Nowhere Man." Has a selfish point of view, why he's such a fool no clue, isn't he a bit like me and you? Owen, man, please listen. You don't know what you're missing.

 Crab Cake Recipe

Ingredients

Original recipe makes 6 servings Change Servings
  • 1 1/8 cups crushed Ritz crackers
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon prepared brown mustard
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 green pepper, finely chopped or grated
  • 1 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning TM
  • 1 pound crabmeat

Directions

  1. Preheat oven on broiler setting. Lightly grease a baking sheet.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix together crushed saltine crackers, mayonnaise, brown mustard, onion, celery, and Old Bay seasoning. Gently stir in the crabmeat. Shape into 6 patties. Place on prepared baking sheet.
  3. Broil crab cakes 8 to 10 minutes on each side, or until golden brown.

    If you live where crabs are plentiful and don't mind picking them out, this recipe freeze on those cookie sheets and then slide off into slider zip top freezer bags. . We used to put away a bushel or more every fall.  and freeze the cakes, ready to broil, or fry a few at a time.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Catching UP!




Books that went to press, or back to press this week:

WIFE: Lost and Found, by Ludima Gus Burton
   Can it be we’re fated to love only once? What if we have loved and lost? Can we find love again?
   Cassie Brown believes plastic surgery has restored her face with its original dimple in her cheek. Her amnesia is temporary. Then, as she begins to fall in love with her employer, memories of a phantom husband arise.

MINISTER'S SHOES, by Celine Rose Mariotti
  Gambling! Casino deals! Embezzlement! An extramarital affair! Murder! Town gossips!
  This all happens in Corning, Alabama, a small southern town where Rev. Castle, a Baptist Minister,
solves crimes.

TIME: A Seasonal Short Story Collection, by Gianni DeVincentis Hayes
   An eclectic collection of short stories that are like windows into the various stages of a life. They examine the various passages that affect us all, as the protagonists of the stories face various problems: fun events, medical issues, the tragic death of a friend...



Galleys that went out, or went out again, this week:

WHILE I DANCED, by Lynn Slaughter
   A nerve-wracking audition for a summer ballet workshop reminds fifteen-year-old Cass how much she wishes her mom hadn’t died so young.

LAINEY DELANEY BACK IN BUSINESS, by Frances Langley
    Lainee Delaney, social debutante turned private investigator wannabe, and substitute teacher gotta be to make ends meet, has just landed her first big case. Enter straight-laced and amazingly hot Cade Gainess, an acquaintance from Lainee's past who has done nothing but irritate her in their brief dealings with each other. 

WHERE THE JABIRU FLIES, by Romona Hilliger
    Kate, the English heiress arrives in Australia hellbent on making the outback her home. But when she runs into Brad, the reclusive, Australian naturalist; himself, hellbent on keeping society at bay, personalities clash.

POWERS IN BALANCE: the Red Knight Chronicles, Vol. 6, by Ray Morand
 There is a bloody war being waged between the mage-ruled Kingdom of Ludnikan led by the dark-elf armies of the Nameless King against the elven Kingdom of Nadezhda and her ally the Kingdom of Niadhardal.


A ROSE FOR A FOREVER LOVE: A Coverton Mills Romance, by Lynette Hall Hampton
   Seth Armstrong felt obligated to marry his college sweetheatt when she became pregnant. The marriage was never a happy one and they both wanted out, but when Eve learns he’s fallen in love with someone else, she threatens to run to her home in England and never let him see his children again.

BLEEDING HEARTS: Killian Kendall Mystery Series, Vol. 1 by Josh Aterovis.
         Winner of the StoneWall Society Whodunit Award
   Killian Kendall is used to being overlooked, even in his own family. That’s about to change. With the arrival of a new kid at school, Killian’s whole world is about to be turned upside down.



Work began or Continued on the following:

SEER, TYRO, FIEND, by Kathryn Flatt
   When a fledgling investigator comes to Stefanie Durant's Windsong Lake art studio to ask her to use her psychic ability to find a missing insurance beneficiary, she refuses. Yet she cannot stop thinking about Nadine Oberg, a teen who ran away from home and disappeared on the streets of Chicago ten years ago.

A SNUG LIFE SOMEWHERE,  by Jan Shapin
   A Snug Life Somewhere is about Penny Joe Copper, daughter of a roustabout shingle weaver, who is caught up in a 1916 union tragedy known as the Everett Massacre. Her brother Horace is killed, as is the cousin of a radical organizer, Gabe. When her love affair with Marcel, a music student seven years her junior, is thwarted, Penny Jo is pulled into Gabe’s campaign to avenge the “Everett Martyrs.”

LIVING THE CALL, by Barbara Garro
    By listening and answering God's call to serve...consider being a lifeboat and keeping people afloat. Hold out a ladder to raise people up. We are all God has to serve Him on our planet. Do you believe that? Or are you thinking God can do everything Himself?

Toby Martin: Book 5, by Barbara Grengs
   Our favorite young adult detective is back to solve a serious mystery once again. 

REAP THE WHIRLWIND: Killian Kendall Mystery Seeries, Vol. 2,  by Josh Aterovis.
   Suicide, or murder? That's the question in the second Killian Kendall mystery. Will Smith suspects murder when an old childhood pal drowns, and asks his friend Killian for help in solving the mystery.

VENDETTA, by Ian Welch
   Ethan is alone and destitute on the other side of the world. His Dad is murdered, their business fails, his Mum unable to cope takes her own life. This is too much of a coincidence, rumors indicate one man is responsible. Ethan learns the truth, but what can he do? He is dealing with a powerful adversary, a man who will stop at nothing to achieve his goals.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Viewpoint Question_writing tip






A Novel of New Zealand  by Barbara Adams

Marita made a wish that her mundane life would change. She lived above her hairdressing salon in a seaside village which she describes as "boring Beaconhead" because nothing out of the ordinary ever happens there.

Question from the e-mail: I'm told I MUST start a new scene every time someone else's thoughts are expressed.  They say all I have to do is throw in three stars every time someone else has a thought.  But I plan my scenes like small plays with  rising action in mind so each scene has structure, and it's own little climax. It's supposed to be a drama. Sometimes two people are in it and both are thinking. If I threw in change-of-scene asterisks every time someone else thought something, my carefully planned drama would fly out the window! Not to mention that one 6 or 8 page scene would have 16 scene breaks.  So tell me...IS this a hard and fast rule?

Answer: Depends on who you are asking.  If you ask any writing teacher, or reviewer, OR Book Critic, or English Professor, or lit major, they will all  say, yes, Yes, YES! It's a rule that no writer should ever break. 

If you ask a regular reader, one with no writing history, she'll say, "What d'ya mean, point-of-view?"

If you ask a publisher, you will be firmly told, there are only two rules:

1. NEVER confuse your reader.

2. NEVER make extra work for your editor **

   ** Thanks for this info goes to Alice Orr, who was an editor at the time she taught it to me.

Many new writers have no idea when they are getting into another character's thoughts/viewpoint (telling the reader things that only another character can know). Lord knows I didn't! Viewpoint was the single hardest lesson I ever learned. And if they read popular fiction widely, they will find many, many, examples of best-selling authors who slip viewpoint all the time. Scratch their heads and say, "If JR Rain does it, it MUST be okay."

It's quite simple to pick a viewpoint character for a scene: Just ask yourself,  Who's eyes are you looking thorugh? Who's mind are you thinking with? Whose body are you inside? So if you want the reader to know what she thinks, and not to know what the hero is plotting behind her back, then you choose her as your viewpoint character. But if it's essential for the reader to know about  HIS plots, then HE must  be the VP character so she can remain  unaware of her danger, but the reader will fear for her...

Here's the rub. MANY popular authors break this rule all the time! They just ignore it like it doesn't exist. So if you take your examples from what has been published, or even what is on the best-seller list, you will never understand this rule! 

Take the following sentence for example:

She thought he was the greatest-looking guy she had ever seen and he thought so, too!

Except for God, only she knows what she thinks. Same is true for Him. Only HE knows what HE thinks.  This simple sentence is a clear violation of the one viewpoint per scene rule.

Now that line is really not a terrible one. It is light, funny, and snarky, and gives a good clue to the self-centered guy's character, that may enrich the reader's enjoyment. BUT it changes viewpoint right in the middle of the sentence! It was also taken from the pages of a NY Times best-seller by a very well-known writer, back in1984.  (Trust me, things have not changed since then.)

If you read popular fiction, you will see the one-viewpoint-per-scene rule broken all the time.  As John Gardiner said, in his excellent book, The Art of Fiction, "First you learn the rules and then YOU decide when to break them."

Finally, if you want to convey another character's thoughts while remaining inside your original VP character, the best thing you can do is to use body language to SHOW that character's thoughts and have the VP character observe it. If your secondary character is angered by what your VP character said, you can easily show that if she crosses her arms firmly on her chest, shakes her head, turns away and swallows, while the two red spots on her cheeks grow larger and brighter. Well that's overkill, but you get the idea. She doesn't have to THINK anything, or even say a word.  Your viewpoint character can look through his own eyes and see all that.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Oysters ala Russe as served on the Titanic -recipe





by Elena Dorothy Bowman

In a small fictional town in the northeast corner of Massachusetts a mysterious package from out of the past had the residents buzzing. The original recipient had long since passed, and the sender of the package had died at sea in a tragedy that stunned the world.

Oysters ala Russe as served on the Titanic

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons vodka
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp. prepared horseradish (I added a little more)
  • Dash hot pepper sauce
  • Pinch salt
  • Pinch sugar
  • 1 plum tomato, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp. chives, finely chopped
  • 12 large oysters
  • Coarsely cracked black peppercorns
Method
  1. In bowl, stir together vodka, lemon juice, horseradish, hot pepper sauce, sugar, salt.
  2. Gently stir in tomato and chives.
  3. Wash oysters under running water to remove any loose barnacles or sand.
  4. Insert tip of oyster shucker between shell halves near hinges; twist upward to open shell. Discard top shell, Using blade of shucker, sever connective membrane that holds oyster to bottom shell. Place open oysters on bed of shaved or crushed ice.
  5. Spoon vodka relish over each oyster; dusting with cracked pepper.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Fiction anyone?

by Anne and Ivan Kronenfeld

In 1814, a woman of unknown origins graduated from Edinburgh Medical School disguised as a man.

Dr. James Miranda Barry has the distinction of being the first woman doctor in the Western world. She then served in the British Military disguised as a male surgeon for forty-five years.
Question from the e-mail:  Most of the people in my writers' group write nonfiction. I write fiction. Worse, I write romances. Some of them won't participate when it's my turn to read, because, "Nothing I write is real." Can you think of an answer to give them.


Answer:  Well, Gail, anyone who can understand a fact can write exposition. It only requires regurgitation of facts  give you you by others. As Kurt Vonnegut Jr. once said, "All fiction writers are liars, and the best ones tell the best lies."

But the fact is that fiction provokes more social change than any other form of writing. And if you doubt it, I have three words for you: Harriet Beecher Stowe. One little novel started the American Civil War and changed more than all the abolitionist editorials in the Boston Globe ever did.

Not to mention Charles Dickens. He's fallen out of favor with the academics now. Few college instructors take time to note the enormous social change his work inspired. He wrote movingingly of his horrible childhood and what it was like to be poor and was read widely by the upper classes, who then voted to change the deplorable social conditions he depicted so vividly. Non-fiction gives you information you may need, but fiction involves the reader's emotions and makes him or her care.

And if it's Romance they object to, I give you the following from the dictionary:

Romance: n. 1. A medieval tale based on legend; a tale if chivalric love. 2. A class of literature in that genre.  3. v. to entertain romantic thoughts or ideas.

I wonder if George R.R. Martin knows he writes romances. I'll bet he does...


Monday, August 12, 2013

Witch's Fingers--recipe


By Marie Prato

Nancy Krommer with her best friend Cindy goes to the fortune teller Ruth to see what the future holds for them. The "witch" tells the girls some disturbing things that she sees in their tea leaves that leaves Nancy's mind reeling.

Could this "witch" with the cat eyes really see the future, or was it all just a hoax?

Witch's Fingers -- Recipe

Ingredients

How to make it

  • mix together until it makes a ball.
  • put in fridge for 1 hour.
Working fast take about 1 tbls full and roll into a very lean finger (it doubles while cooking) pinch a knuckle at the half way mark and again at the one forth mark. put an almond at the end to simulate a fingernail, continue until all the dough is gone.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Catching UP!

Gambling! Casino deals! Embezzlement!An extramarital affair! Murder! Town gossips!

This all happens in Corning, Alabama, a small southern town where Rev. Castle, a Baptist Minister, solves crimes.

Books that went to press, or back to press this week:

MINISTER'S SHOES, by Celine Rose Mariotti.


Galleys that went out, or went out again this week:

BLEEDING HEARTS: Killian Kendall Mystery Series, Vol. 1
   Killian Kendall is used to being overlooked, even in his own family. That’s about to change. With the arrival of a new kid at school, Killian’s whole world is about to be turned upside down. The new guy is openly gay and, for reasons he can’t really understand, Killian finds himself drawn to him.


WHERE THE JABIRU FLIES, by Romona Hilliger.
   Kate, an English heiress arrives in Australia hell-bent on making the outback her home. But when she runs into Brad, a reclusive, Australian naturalist; himself, hellbent on keeping society at bay, personalities clash.

A ROSE FOR A FOREVER LOVE: A Coverton Mills Romance, by Lynette Hall Hampton
   Seth Armstrong felt obligated to marry his collage when she became pregnant. The marriage is never a happy one and they both want out, but when Eve learns he’s fallen in love with someone else, she threatens to run to her home in England and never let him see his children again.

POWERS IN BALANCE: the Red Knight Chronicles, Vol. 6, by Ray Morand
 There is a bloody war being waged between the mage-ruled Kingdom of Ludnikan led by the dark-elf armies of the Nameless King against the elven Kingdom of Nadezhda and her ally the Kingdom of Niadhardal. 

WIFE LOST AND FOUND, by Ludima Gus Burton
Can it be we’re fated to love only once? What if we have loved and lost? Can we find love again?
   Cassie Brown believes plastic surgery has restored her face with its original dimple in her cheek. Her amnesia is temporary. Then, she begins to fall in love.


Work began or Continued on the following:


MAREK'S GIFT: The Morretti Men Series, Vol. 2, by Anna Dynowski
   The second Moretti brother finds himself in need of a private nurse and heads to the family Ranch to heal and has no idea that either the nurse, OR the visit to his late father's home will be permanent.

LAINEY DELANEY BACK IN BUSINESS, by Fran Langley
    Lainee Delaney, social debutante turned private investigator wannabe, and substitute teacher gotta be to make ends meet, has just landed her first big case. Enter straight-laced and amazingly hot Cade Gainess, an acquaintance from Lainee's past who has done nothing but irritate her in their brief dealings with each other.

WHILE I DANCED, by Lynn Slaughter
   The only time 15-year-old Cass feels alive is when she’s dancing, her safe place and refuge from growing tensions on the home front. A lot is riding on the audition for a prestigious summer workshop in Boston. If she gets in, she’ll have a real shot at her dream of making it as a professional dancer.

SEER, TYRO, FIEND, by Kathryn Flatt
   When a fledgling investigator comes to Stefanie Durant's Windsong Lake art studio to ask her to use her psychic ability to find a missing insurance beneficiary, she refuses. Yet she cannot stop thinking about Nadine Oberg, a teen who ran away from home and disappeared on the streets of Chicago ten years ago.


VENDETTA, by Ian Welch

   Gold fever was sweeping the world. 1849, a gold strike in the Sacramento Valley triggered an influx of prospectors from all corners of the globe. They all had the one dream, instant wealth. By 1855 the Californian gold rush was over, but new discoveries were being made all around the world and word soon reached the Californian miners. The lure of the precious yellow metal was strong, many boarded sailing ships to seek their fortunes in far off countries.


A SNUG LIFE SOMEWHERE,  by Jan Shapin
   A Snug Life Somewhere is about Penny Joe Copper, daughter of a roustabout shingle weaver, who is caught up in a 1916 union tragedy known as the Everett Massacre. Her brother Horace is killed, as is the cousin of a radical organizer, Gabe. When her love affair with Marcel, a music student seven years her junior, is thwarted, Penny Jo is pulled into Gabe’s campaign to avenge the “Everett Martyrs.”

LIVING THE CALL, by Barbara Garro
    By listening and answering God's call to serve...consider being a lifeboat and keeping people afloat. Hold out a ladder to raise people up. We are all God has to serve Him on our planet. Do you believe that? Or are you thinking God can do everything Himself?