Sunday, June 26, 2022

How do you choose your character’s names—Tricia McGill

Find all my books here on my BWL Author page

We writers get asked many questions. Main one being, “Where do you get your ideas from?” Next on the list is, “Don’t you run out of ideas?” Then there’s, “How do you choose the names?”

Of course, we do not have trouble answering these queries as after years of writing the main one comes easily. Our ideas come from our imaginations. We all have one of these, just some use it more than others. Since I was knee high to a grass hopper I have dreamt, and can honestly say still do most nights. Sometimes I awake with the dream still there vividly and at other times it is just a thought that drifts into my sleep and slips out again as swiftly and can barely be recalled next morning.

My latest book is another Australian historical. I love writing about Australia’s vivid past so it seemed practical to begin another. As far as naming my characters goes, I rarely have trouble finding names for my main characters. I already more or less know the characteristics of the person, their age, their personalities, so their names seem to come naturally. As this book is set in 1860 Australia, I can’t give them modern names although of course some names are still as popular now as they were back then. When I take a look through the current popular names for boys I see that Jack, William, Thomas and Henry are still going strong. As far as girls go, Charlotte, Amelia, Grace and Chloe are still popular and will probably always live on. My mother’s name was Annie, so that will always remain one of my favourites and is timeless.

My hero’s name this time is Walter (Walt) as it suits him to a tee, and my heroine is Faith of the title which is, ‘For The Love of Faith’. Good solid old Walt is always there for Faith who deserves his devotion. I seem to have more trouble finding names for my secondary characters as we do not want them to outshine our main people. Often I will name one of the secondary characters and out of the blue decide to change it. Thank heaven for good old ‘find and replace’.

I do have a lot of characters who play a very small part in my stories so to me their names are often just as important. I always keep a running character chart as it wouldn’t be a good idea to start calling somebody Charlie and then on the next page rename him George. My characters are very important to me so must be named carefully. 

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Saturday, June 25, 2022

Adjectives - avoid or use?


When I was at school (a long time ago!), my English teachers insisted we used lots of adjectives to make our writing more descriptive.  In contrast, writers today are warned against the overuse of adjectives. 

Various reasons are given for this: too many adjectives give your novel a ‘purple prose’ tint, or clutter the text with unnecessary modifiers, or give the impression that the writer cannot quite find the right word.

Mark Twain said: "As to the adjective, when in doubt, strike it out."

The question is – which adjectives should you strike out?

First there are the redundant adjectives – the tiny kitten (aren’t all kittens tiny?), the large giant (ever seen a small giant?), the narrow alley (an alley IS a narrow passage), the cold snow (if snow wasn’t cold, it would be water!). Omit the adjective if the noun is self-explanatory.

Secondly, there are the adjectives which can be replaced with a much more descriptive word e.g. ‘a downpour flooded the streets’ instead of ‘heavy rain flooded the streets’, or ‘the witch cackled’ instead of ‘the witch gave an evil, sharp laugh’.

There are also some adjectives which have become almost meaningless and should be avoided (except occasionally in dialogue), including wonderful, lovely, gorgeous, stupid, foolish, horrid – and the obvious one, nice.

However, a story without any adjectives could end up as very clinical and dry. As with most things, moderation is the key. We are not advised to avoid adjectives altogether, but to avoid overusing them. Eliminating all adjectives would be as big a mistake as overusing them. Adjectives can clarify meaning and add colour to our writing, and can be used to convey the precise shade of meaning we want to achieve. We should save them for the moments when we really need them and then use them selectively – and sparsely. 

Adjectives should only be used to highlight something the noun can’t highlight. We’ve already seen that the ‘narrow alley’ has a redundant adjective, but what about the ‘dark alley’ or the ‘filthy alley’?  Not all alleys are dark or filthy so in these examples, the adjectives are adding something that is not already shown by the noun. This is the main reason for using an adjective.

And now I'm off to take my own advice and look through my ms. for redundant adjectives!

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Friday, June 24, 2022

Sayings by Joan Donaldson-Yarmey

Be Careful What You Wish For is an old saying with an ominous warning to it and Every Cloud Has A Silver Lining is also an old saying but it has an upbeat tone to it. Both of them apply to my story.

Be Careful What You Wish For

For years women who had had breast cancer surgery were told not to use their arms for any strenuous activity for fear of causing lymphedema, a build up of fluid in the arm. Don McKenzie, a Canadian sports medicine specialist at the University of British Columbia, opposed this idea. In 1996, he formed a dragon boat team composed of 24 women with a history of breast cancer in Vancouver, B.C. They called themselves Abreast in a Boat. And they proved that strenuous exercise was good for their arms and for their overall health.

A few years later, they entered in the Vancouver dragon boat festival and I saw them on the television news. I had never heard of dragon boating before and I said to my husband. "That looks like fun. I'd like to try it sometime."

In January of 2001, I was doing a breast self examination and found a small lump. My annual mammogram at the Breast Centre in Edmonton was scheduled for February but I called the centre and told them my news. They booked me an appointment in two days. Although no one said the C word, after the questions, the mammogram, and the ultrasound, I was pretty sure it was cancer. Then I was told that I needed a biopsy and that it could be scheduled for the next week. However, they added "We have an opening in the next hour and we can do it today." I knew for sure it was cancer.

At my pre-op session a woman came in to tell me about a group of women living with cancer or who had had breast cancer that met every month for coffee and to offer support. I asked her if she knew of a breast cancer survivor dragon boat team in the city. She found the contact information for Breast Friends and two weeks after my surgery I joined the team. I wasn't allowed to get in the boat until three months after my last radiation treatment so I didn't get to actually paddle until 2002. Each summer we practiced on the North Saskatchewan River and attended dragon boat festivals in Alberta and British Columbia.

When I moved to Vancouver Island in the fall of 2004, I joined Angels Abreast in Nanaimo. We practiced in Departure Bay (staying out of the way of the ferries) and on the narrow strait between Vancouver and Newcastle islands. We went to festivals up and down the island and in Vancouver.

Every Cloud Has A Silver Lining

In 2006, an international festival was held in Vancouver to celebrate the ten year anniversary of breast cancer dragon boating. Besides the teams from Canadian, teams came from the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Poland, Italy, and Asia. It was great to walk through the paddler's village and meet fellow survivors from around the world.

In Sept. 2007, another international breast cancer festival was held in Caloundra, Queensland, Australia, and Angels Abreast went to that. What a wonderful time we had. The residents of the city were friendly, the venue was excellent, and the hosts did a great job of organizing. The 100 teams of twenty-four paddlers, steersperson, and drummer paraded through the streets dressed in pink, and many people yelled "Canada" or honked their horns when they saw our Canadian flag hanging from our balconies. The festival lasted three days and again I met many special women. After the festival some of us toured around Queensland and New South Wales. We went out to the Great Coral Reef and even with my fear of heights I climbed the Sydney Harbour Bridge. From Sydney we flew to Fiji for a week.

The next international festival was held in Sarasota, Florida, on October 24, 25, 26, 2014, and the team decided to attend. The other members were going to fly down, tour around some of the sites and head home. I wanted more than that, so my husband, Mike, and I decided to do a three month tour of the U.S. Since I needed to be in Sarasota by October 22 to practice with the team, we picked September 23 as our leaving date and Dec. 16 as our return date. I applied for and was given three months off work.

We had such a great time touring through nineteen states. In Sarasota I stayed in the hotel with my team for the three day event. Again, such a wonderful venue, although at 6:00am it was dark and cool. Once the sun came up, we warmed up fast.

The last international festival was in Florence Italy in 2018. Again, rather than fly there for just the festival and maybe some local touring, I opted to spend nine weeks in Europe. I did two bus tours, travelled by train and stayed in hostels and hotels for eighteen days and then did a Baltic Sea cruise.

Since my diagnosis I have met so many strong, caring, fun-loving women plus I have visited some awesome places around the world. I am now back living in Edmonton and paddling with Breast Friends again. Only one woman is still with the team from when I paddled here years ago.

I am looking forward to paddling this year and many years to come, the silver lining to my cloud.

Thursday, June 23, 2022

With This Ring by Victoria Chatham




Here we are in June, the traditional month for weddings. Who doesn’t love a wedding?

As a romance writer, both historical and contemporary, my books invariably have a wedding in them, either actual or implied. But from where did the tradition of weddings and rings originate?

In ancient Rome, June 1st was a traditional date for a wedding because it was the day to celebrate Juno, the goddess of marriage, childbirth, and feminine vitality. The wife of the god Jupiter, she was also the protectress of Roman women. Wherever the Romans invaded, their gods and goddesses went with them, so it is unsurprising that June became a popular month for weddings throughout Europe and England.

The Goddess Juno

Back then, personal hygiene was next to non-existent, with bathing considered to cause disease rather than prevent it. The nobility might bathe two or three times a year, while the peasantry might only bathe once yearly to get rid of their winter grime, usually in May. It then made sense to marry in June when everyone smelled better. The scent of the flowers that bloomed in June could mask any lingering or beginning body odours, so brides carried bouquets of sweet-smelling flowers mixed with herbs.

Pregnancy in the first few months of marriage was also a serious consideration. It meant that a wife would still be fit enough to help with the harvest that year and would have had the baby and therefore be fit enough to work in the fields the following year and after that. No such thing as a welfare state or maternity leave in those days.

As for the wedding ring tradition, we apparently have our heavy-browed ancient ancestors, the Neanderthals, to thank for that. They wove twigs or reeds into rings to symbolize commitment. Later, the Ancient Egyptians made rings from bone, ivory, wood, leather, or hemp. Rings were worn on the fourth finger of the left hand as it was thought the vein in that finger connected to the heart. Today science has disproved that theory, but romantically wedding rings are still worn on that finger. Eventually, wedding rings were made from metal and were known as ‘ring money.’ By law, once a woman accepted such a ring, she would then have a claim on her husband’s possessions, a far cry from later times when a woman’s wealth went to her husband.

The Greeks adopted the tradition of giving rings after Alexander the Great conquered Egypt, and then the Romans adopted the custom after they conquered the Greeks. The Romans were a little more romantic as they often marked their rings with the symbol of a key. Like the Ancient Egyptians, a ring indicated the woman’s right to her husband’s possessions, but the key indicated that she had unlocked his heart.  

In Medieval England, getting married was often no more than an agreement between the bride and groom, with the groom giving his intended a ring with no clergy or witnesses involved. This meant that should a dispute arise, either party could dispute the agreement. In the 12th Century, the Christian Church declared marriage a holy sacrament and established the church ceremony.

St. Cyr's Church, Stonehouse, UK

During the Medieval period in England and Europe, the wealthy began to have rings made from gold, a token that showed a man’s promise was ‘as good as gold.’ To flaunt their wealth, prospective grooms offered their brides gold rings set with rubies representing passion, sapphires representing the heavens, and diamonds denoting steadfast strength. The earliest record of diamonds used in an engagement ring was in 1477.

Today rings for both bride and groom come in many different materials. Gold, white gold, and platinum bands can be embedded with precious stones or not, depending on the couples’ requirements. At one time, the groom gave his wife a ring. Men did not begin to wear wedding rings until WWII as a means of carrying their loved ones with them when they went off to war. Although weddings can and do take place during any month of the year, June is still a most popular month. Were you perhaps a June bride?




Victoria Chatham





St Cyr's from author's collection

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Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Small towns and big crimes

 My Pine County series is set in an area blessed with geography that makes it ideal for the mystery genre. As a former Pine County Sheriff said, "The county is half swamp. It's the perfect locale for the disposal of dead bodies." Pine County, in east central Minnesota, is 1,500 square miles of what used to be rocky farms, state forests, and swamps. The farms and farm buildings have fallen into disrepair as it became impossible to eke out a living on a 40-acre family farm tract. The small towns, especially those bypassed by I-35, have shriveled. What's a mystery author to do when most of the towns in the county have a population of less than 300 people?

Well, it is fiction, isn't it? Look at the wonderful British Midsomer Murders television series. They've done a dozen or more episodes a year, all set in fictional Midsomer County. Many episodes kill off 3-5 people. After 22 seasons, I expect the population of Midsomer is down to four cops and the undertaker!

I struggle a bit with the same issue in Pine County. After eight books, I've killed off someone in every large municipality in the county! So, I moved book 9 to the tiny town of Askov. In the early 1900s, it was a bustling community of Danish residents. It's now much smaller, and quieter than during its heyday. I'm not saying it's dead. Not at all. They still host an annual Rutabaga Days Festival on the 4th Saturday in August. A rutabaga queen is crowned, there is a venue selling rutabaga-flavored malted milks (there's always a line, so they must be tasty), and there's a parade. Last year's parade featured several floats, and the sheriff's mounted posse. Interestingly, they had the politicians walk behind the horse-mounted posse, which led to a (sort of) slalom around the horse droppings. Politicians, being focused on shaking hands and kissing babies, didn't always step around all the horse "apples" being deposited in the road. I was initially surprised, then saw the humor in the arrangement.

(7) Askov Rutabaga Festival | Facebook

Anyway, back to the setting: In choosing a very small town, I was forced to invent a business that doesn't exist. Aside from a fictional tire business, every small town has its own characters, rumors, pecking order, and murder motives. Without digging into the affairs of the Askov residents, I created a cast of fictional characters who have all the quirky personalities of any North American small town. There's a salt-of-the-earth farm couple who welcome the police surveillance team into their barn, then nearly blow the whole operation by bringing them coffee and meals. There's a business staffed by white-collar parolees from the local prison (suspects in every local crime). There's a family business with grown children who don't want to work in "dad's" miserable shop. And there are my favorite Pine County Deputies, who are dedicated, smart, a little sassy, and sometimes irreverent. One Arizona reader pointed out that his greatest appreciation of the Pine County Deputies is their ability to consume copious amount of coffee without making any bathroom stops. (I'll have to work on that.)

If you happen to be in Askov at noon on July 16, please stop off at the Pine County Historical Society. They've invited me for Askov's first-ever book reading. Afterwards, tour the exhibits, or drop into the Little Mermaid Cafe for a cup of coffee. 

Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Writing a Gothic with my Granddaughter, by Diane Scott Lewis


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I had a crazy idea, since the young adult market is so hot, and my granddaughter loves spooky stories, why don't we create a Gothic novel together? She was thrilled. 

At age twelve Jorja reads at a higher level, and enjoys Anima, and other wild Japanese-inspired cartoons.
She also warned that she tends toward the very macabre. So watch out, Grammie!
I might have to tone her down for the general young adult market, lol

So far we have a title, The Unfortunate Events at Lakelustre House. 

We have the names of the three children who will unveil, or attempt to, the mystery and murders. One child has a connection to the neglected house through a relative.
Jorja picked the state where the creepy mansion is located, Massachusetts. Near Salem, perhaps?
And the basic premise for the beginning of the story.
What will they discover, and what lessons will be learned? If it's for twelve years and up, there should be a lesson.

Now, what is required in a YA Gothic?
And can I rein in my modern granddaughter's macabre imagination?

According to an article by Amanda Pagan, Children's Librarian at the New York Public Library: "the overarching genre is generally defined by a focus on bleak, creepy, and unsettling settings and characters." and "Rooted in the traditions set forth by Edgar Allan Poe, Ann Radcliff and Bram Stoker, young adult gothic fiction features tales of terror and romance aimed at a teen audience."

I doubt my granddaughter will agree to the 'romance' part. (wink); and the main characters will only be twelve and thirteen.

The important thing, other than a riveting novel, is spending quality time with my oldest grandgirl. 

The only other Gothic-like novel I've written is A Savage Exile, vampires with Napoleon on St. Helena. And I enjoyed delving into the macabre.

Now to drag that girl away from her phone and get writing!

Diane lives in Western Pennsylvania with her husband and one naughty dachshund.

To find out more about her and her books:  DianeScottLewis

Monday, June 20, 2022

Blind Dates and June Brides by J.Q. Rose

Arranging a Dream: A Memoir
by J.Q. Rose

Arranging a Dream: a Memoir by J.Q. Rose

In 1975, Ted and Janet with their one-year-old baby girl move all their earthly belongings to Michigan to make their dream of owning a greenhouse operation come true. Through tears and laughter they cultivate their loving marriage, juggle parenting and dig deep to root a thriving floral and greenhouse business.

Click here to discover more books by J.Q. Rose 
on her BWL Publishing author page.  
💕 💕 💕

Hello and welcome to the BWL Publishing Authors Insider Blog! 

Yesterday was Father's Day, Sunday, June 19, in the US. We honor and remember all those fathers and men who are important in a child's life. 

Father's Day is right in the middle of a crazy week for us. Our anniversary was June 14 (and always Flag Day in the US), Father's Day, June 19, and my hubby's birthday, June 20.

Little did we know when we set the date for our wedding, we would have such a week of special days. I did not know June 14 was Flag Day until my maiden Aunt Elizabeth told me. She was a civics teacher, so when I said, "Ted and I have decided to get married on June 14." Instead of smiling and saying, "Congratulations," she said, "That's Flag Day." Yes, that would be typical of my dear Great Aunt Elizabeth. She liked Ted very much, but I think I flummoxed her when I told her we were getting married.

Wedding Cake Fun
Ted and I met on a blind date in 1963, the summer before our junior year in high school. 

My mom loved him from the moment she pulled back the curtain from the window and peeked out at the young man who was stepping up the stairs to our front porch. She turned back to me, her eyes twinkling, and whispered, "He's cute!"

I opened the front door, smiling as bright as I could while trying to keep the butterflies in my tummy in check. He stood tall and fidgeted a bit as his dark brown eyes caught mine. I had to agree with Mom. He was a cutie.

We had a great time at the Illinois State Fair with his older sister and her date and Freddie, who arranged the blind date, and his girlfriend. However, his sister's 1947 Chevy broke down in Springfield, IL as we started the hour's drive back to Atlanta, my hometown. Instead of getting home by midnight as my parents requested, we arrived at 3 a.m. Yes, we did find a phone to call home to let everyone know we were going to be late.

I remember writing in my diary the next day that if I never had another date in my life, it would be okay. I was in love with Ted.

Junior Prom

We went steady through our junior year, broke up, got back together, broke up after graduation so he could go to the Air Force, and I could experience college life. We got back together, broke up, and so it goes. Can you blame me when I told him to either marry me or get out of my life? 

By that time, I was teaching third grade in Galesburg, IL, and he was working for AT&T in Champaign, IL.  We were parked in a grassy area near the lake and in a deeply serious discussion about our future together when we heard branches rustling and voices in the bushes just behind the car. 

We twisted around to look through the car's back window to discover where the noise came from. As we swept our eyes over the green area, two little boys raced out of the woods and down the road. We laughed so hard at them eavesdropping on us that the intense discussion faded from our thoughts. We knew we loved each other and wanted to spend our lives laughing and crying together.

Looking back over the past fifty-two years, I know we made the right decision!

💕 💕 💕

Wishing June Brides a very Happy Anniversary this month!

Ted and J.Q.

Click here to connect online with J.Q.

Sunday, June 19, 2022

Heat Is Not For Me by Helen Henderson

Fire and Amulet by Helen Henderson
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The dog days of summer arrived before the solstice, which is considered by many as the official start of summer. Every weather report comes with the warning not to leave children or pets in a car.  Some stores have even placed signs at their entrances asking ,"Did you check your back seat?" Temperatures kissing 100 degrees Fahrenheit are bad enough. However, high humidity coming up from the Gulf of Mexico makes for a feel-like temperature of 125 degrees.

Some people may love lying on a beach in this weather and the heat and humidity doesn't bother them. I admit at this stage of my life, I prefer other activities. Since sitting beneath a tree watching boats go up and down the river is no longer feasible, you can find me hiding behind the insulated, thermal windows of my air-conditioned room and watching the cardinals fly from tree to tree.

Monmouth County NJ Sand Dunes

Conditions outside can translate into an author's work. My childhood on a farm provided many opportunities to work in the sun in the fields, but also to lie in the shade beneath an ancient willow tree. My experiences with the southwestern desert have been minimal, but I did technically visit a desert -- the Desert of Maine. And the miles of the Jersey Shore can present their own impediment to walking as you slog through the steep sand dunes. 

Since I will not give my characters the luxury of air-conditioning, they have to find other means of escaping the torrid temperatures. If I am feeling charitable, I might allow the characters to escape the heat in a cave. Here is one occurrence of how the weather outside translated to the world of Fire and Amulet that Deneas experienced.

Nighttime breezes accentuated the crisper air of harvest season that had accompanied the last few days of her travel. The cooler temperatures came with daytime storms that kept her huddled beneath her cloak for what little shelter it provided. Although the rain and lightning restricted her movement, it did little to stop her mind from roaming down untenable paths.

Worries about her future, whether Geren and his new bride were happy in Nawddmir, and if Drakus, Hiryur, and their herd had found safe pasture, mingled with memories.

The cool air recalled all the times she hid in Trelleir’s cave to escape the desert heat that scorched Darceth in the summer months. Not even the dark hours provided respite from the heat that burned your lungs and stole what little energy one could summon. In the few steps from the communal well to the garden, even without a single splash or spill, the full bucket emptied by half.

The last part of the excerpt came from the tending of the tomato, cucumber, and pepper plants outside my back door. 

Oh, as to why "dog days?" According to National Geographic, the Greeks and Romans named them for the period of time each summer when the dog star, Sirius appears to rise alongside the sun. "They believed the heat from the two stars combined is what made these days the hottest of the year, a period that could bring fever or even catastrophe."

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~ Until next month, stay safe and read.  

Find out more about me and my novels at Journey to Worlds of Imagination.
Follow me online at FacebookGoodreads or Twitter.

Helen Henderson lives in western Tennessee with her husband. While she doesn’t have any pets in residence at the moment, she often visits a husky who has adopted her as one the pack. 

Saturday, June 18, 2022

Working With An Editor by Nancy M Bell


To learn more about my upcoming release pictured above and my other books please click on the cover.

Do you need an editor? In a word ~ yes. Everyone needs an editor.


Why you need an editor.

As authors we know our story inside out, what may be blatantly obvious to us may not be so obvious to your reader.

We read what we ‘think’ we wrote not always what is actually on the page. It’s easy to skip over words like ‘the’, ‘a’ etc which may be missing from the text.


The difference between content edits and line/copy edits.

A content editor looks at the over- all structure of the story. Does it make sense; is it following the plot in the correct timeline; are facts correct; over use of words i.e. that, then, given names; passive voice vs active voice; does the plot move at a good pace or does it drag; does it make sense or are you confusing your reader; are the names of characters, places etc. consistent. The list goes on.

A copy/line editor looks at things on a more granular level. This is a check missing or reversed quotation marks, missing punctuation over all, formatting issues, grammar errors etc.


Choosing an editor.

If you are traditionally published the publishing house will assign you an editor, often two, one for contents and one for lines, this depends solely on the house and your experience. In this case you have little say in the choice of editor.

If you are self-publishing you will have to search out an editor for yourself. You can look at trade publications [like Quill and Quire in Canada or Writers Digest (US)] where you will find free-lance editors advertising for clients. If you are a member of your provincial guild there will be listings on their website- Writers Guild of Alberta. You can also look at The Writers Union of Canada site and there are numerous other places. You want to ask for references and titles of books they have edited, do your due diligence before committing yourself.


What if you hate your editor?

This is a two sided question as well. If you are with a traditional publisher your only recourse would be to contact the publisher and explain the problem. Depending on the house and the nature of your complaints, they may or may not be willing to mediate for you or assign a different editor.

If you are self-published and have entered into an agreement with a free-lance editor it may well depend on the agreement you signed or verbally agreed to. If there is no opt out clause, you can of course fire your editor but that may mean you have no way to get any monies already paid back. To protect myself when I free-lance I ask for half of the agreed fee up front with the remainder payable upon completion of the project to the author’s satisfaction.


Open Dialogue and Open Mind are key.

Your editor has your best interests at heart. They want to help you polish your work and show it in the best possible light. If you are a new unpublished author (and this has nothing to do with chronological age) be prepared to approach the experience with an open mind. You are not always going to like what the editor says. Remember, if you confuse your editor with aspects of your plot then you will also confuse your reader and the last thing you want is for them to put the book down and never buy anything else you’ve written.

Conversely, don’t be afraid to defend elements of the plot that may be essential to something that happens further on in the story, or in subsequent books if you’re writing a sequel. It is important to feel comfortable discussing things with your editor. At the end of the day it is your name on the cover.


Resolving Conflicts

This is hand and glove with what we just talked about. Keep a cool head and your temper under check. Flaming your editor is not conducive to a good working relationship. On the other hand, if you’ve not been careful with your choice you may find yourself with an editor who refuses to compromise.

In most cases the editor should explain why they think something should be different than what you’ve written. The editor should be familiar with the genre you’re working in and they will know the market much better than you, in most cases it will be in your best interest to listen to their advice. Very often compromises can be reached. If I encounter an empasse, I state my case and then let the author make the final call. There are always exceptions to the rule, of course.

The difference between a beta reader and an editor.

A beta reader is NOT an editor and should not be used as such. A beta reader is usually a friend or acquaintance who is willing to read your rough draft and offer comments or ask for clarifications in places where your plot may be weak or suffering from plot holes.


We’ve already discussed earlier what an editor is.


If you’re self-published ~ how much is too much dollar wise


This will depend on your budget of course, but be wary of paying thousands of dollars. The length of your work will help dictate the cost as well as the topic. Non-fiction will be more expensive as your editor will want to check your data and sources. 

Be sure you know what you’re paying for.

Know what you are agreeing to and set a mutually agreed upon timeframe for the completion of your project.

Until next month, stay well stay happy and keep writing.

Friday, June 17, 2022

What's In A Name by Janet Lane Walters #BWLAuthor #MFRWAuthor #Names #Characters

Click here to buy the Mrs. Miller Mysteries

I write in several genres. Lately I've been thinking about naming my characters. When I write contemporary stories, creating the names of the characters is easy. We all know the names of people we know and ones we heard on TV and in the news. The one problem here with naming contemporary characters is having two characters with names that sound similar. This can confuse the reader and sometimes the writer. I try not to have two characters' names begin with the same letter. I also seldom use names like Spike or Belle. I do use these as nicknames for a character. Also things like Liz instead of Elizabeth. A writer also needs to know where the character  lives or was born to find a name to match.

Historical novel names are different and call for research. I made a mistake in one historical novel by having the man named Drew, I should have used this as a nickname and named him Andrew. Also when writing historical novels and naming characters, there are names that aren't frequently used today, like Reginald. A perfectly good name in the Regency or other historical times. Some research is needed to find names that fit the period. Of course, many of the names we use today were common in historical times like George or Mary.

When it comes to fantasy or science fiction, I have a rule. The names must be readable. I remember reading science fiction many many years ago when the alien characters had names often many letters long that I never figured how to pronounce. I often skipped over those names. When writing fantasy, I look to make the names pronounceable and ones that might easily be read. I also try to give them names that almost sound like names we know. In one the character is Kylea. This was taking my granddaughter's name Kyla and changing it a bit. In my current book that's the fifth in the Moon rising series, here's some of the names - Ranal for a male and Amera for a female. Both are easily pronounced.

My Places



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 So naming names of your characters can and should take time and thought.

Thursday, June 16, 2022

Rah Rah SIS BOOM RAH! by J.C. Kavanagh


A few weeks ago, I was able to attend a Cheer (Cheerleading) competition in Ottawa, Canada. My granddaughter, Elise, has participated in this sport for about a year and this was my very first time to see her team, and other teams, in full-out action. And my-oh-my, was there action.

I sat on a bleacher close to the stage and watched in awe as the first cheer team came on stage. 'Came on stage' does not do justice to what transpired. These young girls lit up the stage with so much energy and verbal cheering that I nearly came to my feet to cheer them on. The joy and delight on their smiling faces and the incredible, immense energy that surrounded them, well - quite honestly - I was overwhelmed. I was no longer part of the audience. Instead, I felt myself transported and connected to their positive vibe in such a way that it brought tears to my eyes. Their uplifting enthusiasm evoked the sweetest emotion - they literally melted my heart. My tears were happy tears, a joy so deep I couldn't help but cry. This was team-work like nothing I've ever witnessed before. Their boundless joy and energy stirred me as only a spiritual awakening could.  


If I had known that Cheer was so intensely fun and so key on teamwork, I would have placed my daughter in Cheer classes when she was a little girl. But alas, Cheer in Canada was almost non-existent back then. It has risen in popularity and now there are multiple, accredited organizations across Canada.

Cheer squad, Pointe Levy ACE Senior High School

Cheer squad, Pointe Levy ACE Senior High

Pictures courtesy SmugMug, Canadian Cheer Big East Blast Event

My granddaughter's team:
Pyjama Sharks, U12, Level 1

My photo: me and my delightful granddaughter, Elise.

Air Force Mavericks Sergeants squad, U12, Level 2

Air Force Mavericks Sergeants squad, U12, Level 2

Pictures above sourced from SmugMug, 
official photographer of the Canadian Cheer Big East Blast Event, May 2022 

I love history so of course I had to research the origins of 'Cheer.' Way back in the day, about 1860, the British introduced 'yellers:' men who would 'yell' out words of encouragement to the sports teams. These 'yellers' were always men as it was unbecoming for ladies to be loud and boisterous. This form of cheering proved to be quite acceptable to the crowds and also the sports teams and soon, the ritual of cheering and chanting-in-unison came to the Americas. The idea of repeating what the 'yeller' yelled, was wholeheartedly embraced. 

Cheer squad Montreal high school, Canada, circa 1943 

Cheer squad University of Wisconsin - Madison, circa 1948

Universities in the U.S. introduced organized cheerleading in 1869 for intercollegiate football games. Why the term 'Cheer Leader?' Because the men were cheer-leaders. Get it? 

Female participation in cheer leading was poor until World War II, because many college-aged men were fighting overseas. Since then, the inclusion of girls has caused the sport to increase by, literally, leaps and bounds. Cheerleading became so popular that in the 1950s, some National Football League (NFL) teams in the U.S. introduced their own professional cheerleaders. In 1965, a former cheerleader by the name of Fred Gastoff, invented and patented the vinyl pom-pom. Even now, the pom-pom is widely used in competitions and sports arenas. With the advent of the pom-pom, skimpy outfits and daring gymnastic moves, cheerleading squads became even more popular, particularly after the 1976 Super Bowl game featuring the Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders. 

Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader squad

Today, Cheer competitions are held in countries across the globe. They are meticulously orchestrated, strenuously practiced and well known for not only the 'cheer' aspect, but for the high-calibre gymnastic routines. 

Here are a few Cheer terms you may not be familiar with: 
    Stunting - the formation of a human pyramid; 
    Flyer - the person at the top of the pyramid; 
    Base - the people at the bottom of the pyramid holding the flyer(s); 
    Spotters - those at the front and back of the pyramid ready to assist the flyer.

In Book 3 of The Twisted Climb series, to be published in November, it's up to the Reader to decide if they should cheer for Jayden, Connor and Max, or cheer for the villains, Patty and Dick. What? Is Dick still a bad guy? What's happening in the dream world. But wait - what is the 'un-world' and why are they in it?

Stay safe everyone!

J.C. Kavanagh, author of 
The Twisted Climb - Darkness Descends (Book 2) voted BEST Young Adult Book 2018, Critters Readers Poll and Best YA Book FINALIST at The Word Guild, Canada 
The Twisted Climb, 
voted BEST Young Adult Book 2016, P&E Readers Poll
Voted Best Local Author, Simcoe County, Ontario, 2022
Novels for teens, young adults and adults young at heart 
Twitter @JCKavanagh1 (Author J.C. Kavanagh)
Instagram @authorjckavanagh

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