Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Do the Characters in a Novel Reveal the Inner Thoughts of a Writer? by Connie Vines

Topic: Your characters come from your mind, from other people you've witnessed, but can you create their lives without them revealing something about yourself? Have they ever taught you something?

I needed to ponder this question for a few minutes.

So, are my fictional characters my 'great reveal'? I asked myself.

 To a degree I believe this to be true.  Every story is filtered through an author's view of the world, emotions, and life experience--at least for my heroine.

However, there is also a curtain we all have firmly in place--revealing only what we wish to reveal to others.  The same is true of our characters.  My heroine will be more like 'me' in my rough draft than she will be by the time I've completed my novel.

In my soon to be released "Gumbo Ya Ya an anthology who like romance Cajun".  One of my heroines, Celeste, jumps overboard into a raging sea!

Not a plan of action in my 'non-fictional' life.

 Runaway horse?  Yep, I'd saddle up.Image result for woman riding a running horse

 Yoga on a mountain top?  Sure, with a soft yoga mat.

Dine on escargot, Rocky Mountain oysters, frog legs? I have, and I will in the future.

 Hold a 6 ft. python--yes, though someone else had a firm hold of upper portion of snake's body (no accidental snake-licks for me).

Jump into the sea?  Image result for stormy sea

No.  Never. . .ever.

 I seem to be be more removed--meaning more analytical in the development of my secondary characters.  This is especially true when I seeped myself in the secondary character's world, work, and point of view.  I become the secondary characters, like a method actor.

Now, my villains must have a motivation with a trigger rooted in a past event/or recent trauma.  Providing me with way I can explain (not justify) the villain's twisted reasoning/action.

Yes, some people are evil, truly evil.  However, I have yet write a novel requiring I delve into that degree darkness, and doubt I every will.

The second part of the topic:  Have my characters every taught me something?

My current release, "Tanayia" Whisper upon the Water, Book 1 Native American/First People Series, taught me to not only view life, but experience the hardships though the eyes of another person.

Opening Prologue 1868:

The Governor of New Mexico decreed that all Indian children over six be educated in the ways of the white man.

Indian Commissioner, Thomas Morgan, said:  It was cheaper to educate the Indians than to kill them.

1880, Apacheria, Season of Ripened Berries

Isolated bands of colored clay on white limestone remained where the sagebrush was stripped from Mother Earth by sudden storms and surface waters.  Desolate.  Bleak.  A land made of barren rocks and twisted paths that reached out into the silence.

A world of hunger and hardship.  This is my world.  I am Tanayia.  I was born thirteen winters ago.  My people and I call ourselves "Nde" this means "The People".  The white man calls us Apache.

I believe i have learned a great deal from my fictional characters.

When writing my novella, "Here Today, Zombie Tomorrow,"  I discovered my quirky sense of humor was becoming more developed--and this was actually a good thing :-).  My readers will also have a peek into the 'behind the screens' of Hollywood beauty and glam! in "Bell. Book, & Gargoyle".(My Sassy & Fun Fantasy Series are all set her in my own backyard--SoCal.)

What have you learned from the characters featured in the novels you read?  Novels you write?

What doesn't this reveal about you as a reader? or novelist.

Happy Reading,



Soon to be Released:


Tuesday, February 27, 2018

What's the scoop about chocolate? by Vijaya Schartz

The young heroine in these books loves chocolate. See all of Vijaya's BWL books HERE

I recently autographed my books at the Glendale Chocolate Affaire just before Valentine's day. It made me think about chocolate and its influence on our society. But more interestingly, is it a health food? or is it responsible for weight gain?
Vijaya Schartz holding her latest BWL release, ANGEL OF LUSIGNAN
Writers are addicted to it... so are most readers. We are all guilty of this indulgence. Chocolate is addictive... but did you know it's also a health food?

The pre-Columbian rulers of Central and South America drank it and called it the food of the gods. It was said to keep them young, healthy, and beautiful. 

When the conquistadores brought it back to Europe it quickly became a sensation.

It was a favorite drink at the court of the French king Louis XIV and a beverage reserved for the ruling class. It's only in the 20th century that it spread to the working classes and became a favorite winter drink for all.

There are many ways to drink or eat chocolate. Not all are healthy. My Tai-Chi teacher drinks it with a little Cayenne pepper. Excellent for the heart.

Is chocolate really a health food? Did you know that eating a small piece of 100% dark chocolate every single day will keep your hair from falling? But there is a catch. To be effective as a health food, chocolate should not be mixed with a lot of sugar or other carbohydrates. Sorry. No chocolate cake or candy will do the trick. Only pure dark chocolate will do. I love it. It's a little bitter... an acquired taste. But hey, it works for me.

Chocolate is also touted to be a mood enhancer and I tend to agree.

Wishing you all a wonderful end of winter, with lots of hot chocolate.

Vijaya Schartz
  Action, Romance, Mayhem
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Monday, February 26, 2018

What happened to Shrove Tuesday? Asks Tricia McGill

Visit my Author page at Books We Love for links to the many online stores where our books are available.
As I have mentioned before, I attended a small church school for the first 6 years of my school days. I loved that little school as we got to go to all the religious festivities, my favourites being what we called Pancake Day but I much later learnt was Shrove Tuesday, and the harvest festival held at our local church. We would have to take a basket of fruit or vegetables along which the priest assured us was then distributed to the local disadvantaged people. 

I also loved Sunday School as we got to hear all those amazing stories from the best story book of all time—the bible. Call me a sinner but the only time I visit church nowadays is for a wedding or funeral and even these are few and far between as either my younger relatives get married in their garden or go over to Bali or similar and marry on a beach, and most funeral wakes are held at the funeral parlour.

Anyway, the essence of this post is to find out why we (or should I say I?) don’t hear much about Pancake Tuesday any more. Perhaps this is due to me not living in the UK now as it still seems to be a tradition that is held up over there to this day.

While searching online I came across an informative post at:
My thanks go to its creator Ellen Castelow for the following facts and figures:

Shrove Tuesday is held before the start of Lent, which for Christians is the 40 days leading up to Easter (a traditional time of fasting) It always falls 47 days before Easter Sunday. The bell that would call people to confession was called the Pancake Bell and this apparently is still rung today. So that blows my theory of Pancake Day not existing any more out the window.

So, back to Pancake Tuesday which to me was a fantastic celebration. I’ve always loved them and we would have them at home with sugar and lemon or in good times with golden syrup atop. As most everyone knows they are made of batter and fried in a pan. The story goes that the tradition started as far back as 1439. Shrove Tuesday was the last chance the housewives had to use up the simple ingredients of eggs, flour, salt and milk before Lent. Even I, terrible cook that I am, can master such an easy recipe. I doubt I could manage the racing and tossing them as I go with much skill though.

A pancake race of some repute is held in Olney, Buckinghamshire each year and the original started some 600 years or more ago when a woman of this town heard the shriving bell calling them to confession while still in the process of cooking pancakes and headed off to church clutching her frying pan. Rule is that the women of the town must wear their apron and have either a hat of scarf on their heads. The pancake must be tossed three times during the race. 

Many towns and villages throughout England still carry on the tradition in some form. Also, some towns held a football match on the day, but a lot of these have died out.

Something I didn’t realise is that in some countries Shrove Tuesday is known as ‘Mardi Gras’, meaning Fat Tuesday in French. So, there is the connection with using up food before Lent. Mardi Gras celebrations are famously held in Rio de Janeiro, New Orleans, and Venice. And news to me, is that the Mardi Gras held in Sydney Australia each year is connected, although this year is to be held on 3rd March.

Acknowledgements also go to this site for more information garnered about Shrove Tuesday: 

Visit my webpage for reviews and excerpts from all my books.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

The Stages of Public Speaking

This month my blog will be in stages. The wooden kind, that is.
In 2007 the release of my first book included a large book launch event in downtown Edmonton. This was my first time public speaking. Yikes. I was very uncomfortable. Thankfully a good number of friends and family were present. This allowed me to make a brief (very brief) opening statement and humbly asked for questions. They were mostly softballs or kidding. I made it through that.

I was certainly nervous about the national book tour. How would I react to speaking/reading/media?
The radio / TV / signings were actually quite easy. For some reason the readings were iffy. Still, I got through them.

With our move to Toronto I decided to train in public speaking. I chose acting and impov classes. My first few visits I shook before performing on the stage. It took four months to get comfortable. Now, it's second-nature to get on "the boards". What a change.

Even in front of the camera doing short comedy skits for my Sawka TV youtube channel are more fun than work. Way more fun than work. The biggest surprise is the comfort with improvisation. When your mind is clear the reactions just appear. The few seconds it takes seem long, but I now see that it's just the way it works.

So much fun!

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Soren's Calling - A Dark Paranormal Short by S. Peters-Davis

Hello everyone – thanks for stopping: ) I belong to a short story writing group on GoodReads and I’d like to share one of my darker paranormal short stories – not the usual for me, my preference is a lighter form of paranormal or supernatural to read and to write. It’s a real shorty😊  Enjoy…

Soren’s Calling – word count 967

          The tree, miles inside the dense Michigan forest, billowed with majestic energy, same as it did fifteen years ago. I’d sensed its power even then, at ten years old. Something marked in my memory like a reoccurring dream called me back to this place.

          I touched the kaleidoscope of bark, reveling in its swirls of uneven texture, and swore it shivered. Or was I vibrating to its high frequency? Excitement and exhaustion sliced through me. “Hello, old friend,” I whispered.

          A sudden heaviness settled into my body and eyelids. I dropped my backpack and leaned against the tree, bending until I rested on the ground. The sketch book. I pulled it from the pack and thumbed through the pages of my drawings. There he was. I want to see you again.

          My eyes closed of their own volition, sending me into the darkness of deep sleep.

* * *

          Breaking branches, rustling leaves, and a thud on the ground next to me startled my mind to consciousness. I jumped to my feet, the sketch book landing with Soren’s page open. I glanced at it for a second before scanning the area and seeing nothing. Then…he stood in front of me.


          His violet-rimmed dark eyes studied me. He’d grown in stature, still long-limbed with clawed hands and feet. His shoulder-length silver hair was drawn away from his sculpted face by a couple slender braids. He sniffed the air and his mouth opened showing long incisors.

          “It’s me, Becca.” I reached my hand toward him and he jerked back, snarling, the talons on his fingers displayed in full. The hair across the nape of my neck snapped to attention, reminding me of the graphic way he’d stopped a wolf from attacking us years ago.

          Maybe this wasn’t Soren. I lowered my gaze to the drawing at my feet. He stepped closer backing me against the tree, his thin brows pinched together as he studied the drawing. He looked back at me, wide-eyed, and planted his hands on both sides of my head. Somehow, we fell inside the tree.

          We plummeted into a wind tunnel. His arms locked around me as he spun my body around until our heads were up and our feet were down.

What the heck just happened? I didn’t recall this part.

Warm shimmering light surrounded us, making the violet color of his eyes opalescent as we free-fell in this make-shift elevator of air.

“Becca,” he whispered and nuzzled my neck. “You came back.”

My eyes moistened. “Soren, I’ve missed you.”  His earthy cocoa-spice scent doused my olfactory in memories. The three days and nights we’d spent together, climbing the tree, finding mushrooms, swimming in an icy pond, enjoying campfires…until my parents found me wandering the forest alone.

We never went to that forest again for our spring mushroom hunts.

All this time I thought the tree and Soren were figments of a child’s wild imagination. I returned to the forest in hopes of finding the tree, where I’d first fallen asleep so long ago. I lifted my head away from Soren’s shoulder to study him closer. His face appeared more human. The fangs had receded. His ears lost their pointed tips and his nose wasn’t so snout-like.

The tunnel opened into a vast terrain of vegetation, thistle huts, pools, gardens; a whole underground civilization. Our descending slowed until our feet rested on solid ground.

“Where are we?” My focus went ballistic, attempting to take in everything at once.

Soren tapped my chin, closing my mouth.

I laughed. “We didn’t come here as kids. I would have remembered it, especially the trip down.”

“No. Our kind never brings humans here.” He grabbed my hand.

No humans? My stomach roiled and my knees shook then folded. The whole falling through a tree into another world of beings wasn’t connecting inside my brain. A living nightmare might work as not one human knew where I’d gone, too hard to explain a child’s quest.

“Becca, you must stand, now, or everyone will know.” He pulled me up and wrapped an arm around my waist. “We must hurry.”

I jerked to a stop. “I don’t understand. Why did you bring me here?”

“Shhh. No scene. Come now.” His nostrils flared and he eyed the gathering crowd. “Explain in a moment.”

A pack of wolves came to mind. My stomach flipped a couple more times at their red eyes, flaring nostrils, and growing fangs and claws.

Soren yanked me along a narrow grassy path, the others followed on our heels. Their snarls and growls closed in. Soren lifted me in his arms and ran toward a large round hut. He pushed through the fabric-like doorway into a cool dimly lit room. Not one of the creatures entered after us.

“They want to hurt me. Or eat me. Why did you bring me here?”

He set me on my feet and motioned for me to sit on the cot in the center of the room. Then he slid my sleeve above my wrist, his fingertips touched two small scars. “Those are what called you back. I marked you long ago, as you slept, with the intention of giving you another that bonds. It is why we were attacked. Spring is our season to bond, no matter what age, we bound our mate and when the age is ripe, like now, we mate for life.”

“Instinct brought me here? You told me humans aren’t allowed.” My heart beat into my ribs so hard my body moved to its pulse. A mix of emotions swept through me in a shiver.

“There are no humans here, only our mates and us.” His face morphed, fangs extended.

“No.” My voice a mere whisper as he pushed me back and his fangs sank into my neck.  

To see books by this author – check out author pages below:

DK Davis BWL Publishing Inc. Author Page:

S. Peters-Davis BWL Publishing Inc. Author Page –

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Friday, February 23, 2018

Creating Characters and Why Emmeline Devereux Drove Me Nuts by Victoria Chatham

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I’ve been lucky in that all my characters have come to me unbidden. I have their images, their names and I know their place in history. Just as people are not perfect, nor should our characters be. In building a character we need more than the color of their physical attributes. We need to know what their strengths and weaknesses are and how they build on the one and overcome the other. We need to know their greatest fears and what caused these fears in order for them to grow and change, challenge themselves to feats of extraordinary courage or deal with the realization of their failures. We have to uncover how their flaws have shaped them, find the humanity in them and then expand that on the page.

In the first of Marie Force’s Gansett Island series, it’s Mac and Maddie’s vulnerabilities that shape them and draw the reader in. In Georgette Heyer’s Regency romp Frederica, it’s her determination to find a suitable match for her sister that drives her to deal with several setbacks. Watching movies is also a great way to understand how to build your characters. You only have to look at the Star Wars movies, or Elle in Legally Blonde, or any of the characters in The Holiday. We see the changes in them with each beat of the movie. We feel for them, laugh or cry with them and hopefully, we can imbue our own characters with that same depth of realism.  

When Emmeline Devereux, my heroine in His Dark Enchantress, first came to me she was soaking wet. Her Empire line muslin dress clung to her body and her long, black hair was plastered to her head. Definitely not a picture of your typical Regency young lady of quality. For as clearly as I could see her, her story just would not follow, and I had several false starts before Emmeline, now dry and more appropriately dressed, gave me something to work with. Here’s a snippet from the book:

“What in hell’s name possessed you to imagine you could drive my horses?” he demanded. His voice cracked with anger.
“Imagination did not enter into it,” Emmaline returned.
Lucius was so furious he missed the tremor in her voice. “You could have overturned the barouche and injured my horses. You, Juliana and Noble, could all be dead. Did you think of that?”
“No, I did not.” Emmaline stood up on the box. “And don’t shout. I am not deaf.”
Lucius paid her no heed as she scrambled down from the driving seat. “What if you had been recognized? How would it look for my team to be driven by a woman?”
“Is it your horses, your people or your reputation for which you are concerned, my Lord?” Emmaline quivered from head to toe as she looked up at him.
His grey eyes glinted with fury under drawn brows and he lifted his hands, fingers outstretched. She took an involuntary step back from him, but he caught her shoulders in a firm grip and shook her until her teeth rattled.
“I take my responsibilities more seriously than apparently do you,” he shot back at her. He released her as quickly as he had held her, and she staggered back against the wheel of the barouche, felt the hard rim press between her shoulder blades. “I do not hide behind a borrowed tricorn nor pad my shoulders with a rolled sheepskin.”

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Why My Novel Is The Number One Squirrel Hors D’oeuvre

To purchase on Amazon
To Purchase On Amazon

To Purchase On Amazon

Why My Novel Is The Number One Squirrel Hors D’oeuvre

Who has ever read the classic ‘Winds of Change’ by Henry P. Samuels? The literary classic that has spanned the realm of the last century, won the Pulitzer prize, generated numerous spinoff series, made into movies and TV series, like ‘The Changing Winds,’ or ‘The Breeze Blows In Another Direction Today.’ The author wrote fifteen sequels, although none were as great as the original. That book alone has outsold all of the Harry Potter novels and made the author a net worth value of over four hundred million dollars. US or otherwise, doesn’t really matter in this universe or the alternate that Henry P. Samuels was published in.
            So you meekly ask; who the eff Is he talking about?
Well, in this world he gave up on himself and pitched that novel into the dumpster, took a job as an insurance agent, had three kids and liver failure at 58 due to drinking too much. His regrets in life: huge for giving up.

Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success
when they gave up.
Thomas Edison

Ask one of our great fiction writers, Stephen King. Those of you who regularly read this blog will already know this story, and with apologies to you for the repetition,  I am repeating myself because it is probably the best example of the word “perseverance” that I am aware of. The story goes that he gave up after “Carrie” came back from its umpteenth potential publisher with the usual standard letter that began “Thank you for your submission. However...” Thankfully his wife didn’t.  She took it out of the garbage can it had been unceremoniously pitched in and slammed it on his desk. “You tell me you’re a writer, now put it out there, again.” As you have probably guessed (or else this is not a very uplifting story) the very next publisher accepted it. That is why King fans everywhere now sleep with one eye open at night after reading one of his novels.  Thanks Stephen.
To be honest we’ll never know how many great literary classics have been pitched into rubbish bins, since they all became squirrel hors d’oeuvres or used as fuel to keep hands warm on the last camping trip of the summer (or maybe even toast the marshmallow for s’mores!).
So why do I continue to write?
Because it keeps firing the passion in my soul.
Just ask young nineteen year old Godwin’e M Luther living in Jinja Bugiri, Uganda.   He contacted me on Facebook, an orphan, no father, has nothing and asks for nothing, yet he continues to write, struggling to go to university. Has three novels written on notebooks, can’t afford a computer. His words evoke sheer eloquence. Ask him what fires his soul. And if so inclined, send him some money to support his authorship. Yes, this is a real person.
Some people are born storytellers.

I remember telling my son Rory bedtime stories. He’d give me two or three characters and off I’d go, usually leaving him in stitches laughing, instead of going to sleep. Maybe where some of my off the wall humour came from. 

“Come to the edge,” he said.
They said, “We are afraid.”
“Come to the edge,” he said.
They came.
He pushed them…
And they flew.
Guillaume Apollinaire

You gain strength, courage and confidence
By every experience
In which you really stop to look fear in the face.
“I lived through this horror.
I can take the next thing that comes along.”
You must do the thing you think you cannot do.
Eleanor Roosevelt

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