Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Don't You Love Writing?



In my mind, I have an image of the perfect place to write. I’m in a cabin in the woods at a desk facing an open window with a view of snow covered mountains. Pots of hot tea magically appear with the occasional cookie. The strong wifi signal attaches me to a massive cable providing an instantaneous internet connection. My springer, Jazz, lies at my feet.

Do you have a favorite writing spot?

The image above is fantasy. In reality, I find I need to change up the game often. So you’ll find me in the den, or the back room of the house, in one of many Seattle coffee shops, on a plane or train with my trusty laptop. I like noise and silence, activity and stillness. 


I have a friend who writes in one particular coffee shop, drinking a specific caffeinated beverage while munching on chocolate. If the stars don’t align, the writing doesn’t flow. Others like to be surrounded with images and music connected to their current work in progress. 

When do you like to write?

For some authors, the decision about when to write has nothing to do with ‘like’. If you have a job, kids, other responsibilities, the writing happens when you make the time. I know one author who gets up around 4:30 to write for two hours before work. Another takes every Sunday and a few minutes on weekday evenings. I’ve made some choices so writing is my full time gig. Five days a week, I’m focused on my writing and the business of writing (which can take up more time than the writing if you’re not careful) for 5-6 hours. 

What technology do you use to write?

Does anyone use a pen and paper anymore?  I’ve got an Apple Air. Everything I do is digital. But recently I was mulling over a rather complicated plot line and found myself using a pad of paper and a fountain pen. Yes, a fountain pen. I needed to step back from the woods, see the forest, create a more visual image of the plot line.  There was something about those old tools without instant spell check or a delete button that slowed things down. As the ink flowed, I had time to ponder. As I revised I left a trail of lined out text, mind maps and doodles—the detritus of my creative process.  99.99% of my work is and will continue to be on the laptop, but it’s nice to change things up, get the energy to flow in new and old ways.


Don’t you love writing?

Richard Hacker is the author of

CHAIN REACTION
DIRTY WATER
TOXIC RELATIONSHIP
Available Now from Champagne Books or your favorite digital bookseller

Web & Blog: www.richardhacker.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/RWHacker
Twitter: @Richard_Hacker


Tuesday, April 22, 2014

A Coward By A Cyber Name is a Bully or a Troll




Anne R. Allen's recent blog post The 10 Commandments of Social Media Etiquette for Writers got me thinking about how the Internet is the quintessential double edge sword. For every brilliant, cool mind-boggling advance there's a foolish, nasty, or dishonest person waiting (and in my imaginings drooling and sweating profusely) in the wings to take advantage. 

For example, I love the ability to use my debit card instead of having to carry cash. I love spending minutes paying my bills electronically as opposed to the hours I spent reviewing my paper bank statements, writing checks and addressing envelopes. The amount of time I save, not to mention having up to date data about my bank and investment accounts (the sorry state of my investment accounts is another, and much more tragic, story),has created for my household, a much smoother and easier state of affairs. 


The problem is that every time I pay a bill online or use my debit card, I'm at risk of having my identity stolen, my bank accounts empties, my credit ruined, sending my husband and me homeless, penniless, and tragic onto the street, which is not a good look for me. 
 
Whoops, as usual I've weaved so far out off topic, my wheels are spinning. What I want to discuss is the bizarre abundance of neo-sadists, or would they be new age sadists? Who knows. I call them cowardice creeps among other names further down (or up depending on your viewpoint) the ratings scale.


What other term should we give to those who viciously attack a classmate, old boy/girlfriend or even a complete stranger while hiding under the veil of anonymity.  






I teach a technical writing class to college students and on the very first class day, I discuss the perils of the internet. I also give them three tenets I like to call Gabby's Guides to a Stress Free E-Existence. 

These are:

1. Your comments, pictures, reviews, posts last forever so think before you press the enter key. 
2. If you had to put your name after your post would you still write it? If not, erase and move on. 
3. Remember the golden rule - Do unto others as you wish to be done to you. 

We all need to remember these three simple rules. Please, before you post anything, remember there is a living, breathing, feeling human being on the other side of that comment and follow my simple tenets.



















Monday, April 21, 2014

Animal: Plan-it

Painstakingly named animals appear in almost every one of my books. They aren’t magical beasts, or bats in the belfry; these creatures of my creation evolved, doing what they do best: enhancing the story with attitude and body language.

Bilgewater in Kill Fee and its sequel Medium Rare is a pivotal player in the plot, a key to the conundrum. Meet Bilgie, my India Hill Mynah bird, the foul-mouthed fowl who helps solve the crimes. The steely eyed grackle was carefully chosen. No grey African parrot without a mind of his own is he. He has a back story befitting a reprobate, foil to ex-lovers and annoyer of cats like Cufflynx.

Ogden Nash once wrote in his short poem, “The Grackle.”

The grackle's voice is less than mellow,
His heart is black, his eye is yellow,
He bullies more attractive birds
With hoodlum deeds and vulgar words…

The cat in question is a cowardly gentleman, formally attired in his tuxedo, with a black dot on each of his white front paws. Cufflynx it the hero’s helper. The animal interaction is a spritely counterpoint to a few serious issues such as murder.

Not all cats are mischievous. Some reflect the hero or heroine’s emotions, hence a small gray tabby, Lilliput, in Daughters of the Sea. She listens with perked ears to all Laura’s troubles.

In my first book now out of print, Rolex, a golden retriever leads the pack to the mystery imbedded in a small Florida town. Rolex, the watch dog, knows where the bodies are buried.

To lighten the load in my only Gothic novel, The World, the Flash and the Devil, set in 1904-1929, the nuns in my heroine’s convent named their English Bull Mastiff Lucifer for a little bit of devilment.

Sherman is a less intense golden retriever. His body language plays an important role in Mortal Coil. my first cozy mystery. Those of you familiar with Labs and retrievers know they are non-threatening yet loyal. They are discerning in their personal friendships, but accepting of guests. When Ellen, our amateur sleuth begins to date Bill, the hero cop, Sherman, an Ohio transplant and DamnYankee dog demonstrates trust. And he’s right. Our hero is a keeper.

Excerpt:
Bill laughed softly under his breath. “Since you’re up for a challenge, I could go for a cup of coffee; it’s going to be a long night.” He glanced down at Sherman sleeping at his feet, chin over his instep. “Your watchdog seems to be a passive creature, but he has me glued to the floor.”

Sherman thumped his tail in approval and sniffed at Bills socks, checking out his scents.

“I was looking at the new K-9 puppies we just got for the Unit before I left work today, Sherman. Did you get a message from your ‘people’?”

Sherman sat up and put his chin on Bill’s knee. Then he slumped back to the floor, eyes closing.

Bill shook his head. “How old is this dog?”

“He’s eight. It’s no surprise that nothing has been disturbed with him on the job--though he seemed upset when we got home.”

“I noticed that.” Bill said. “You’ll have me for your watchdog tonight. We’ll share this job, right boy?” He ruffled the dog’s head.

Ellen pushed her French twist into place, absently winding a loose strand of glossy brown hair. “It’s unusual for him to be upset at anything. Sherman’s the kind of dog who’d show the burglars exactly where to look.”

In real life we name our pets as family members. In our marriage we’ve loved and respected Kitty-kitty, Raspy, Daisy, Goldie and Puppy. Maori was the only pet we could name ourselves. Bet you can think of more descriptive names for your fictional pets. Let yourself go.

Visit Julie’s Web site at www.books-jepainter.com
http://bit.ly/17GtxDh for Bewildering Stories, my bio

Blog for The Writers Vineyard, every fourth Monday
See books on http://voiceoftheowl.org/

http://cocktailsmagazine.wix.com/fictionandgossip
Link: http://issuu.com/romancealley/docs/cm-issue16_100bbd77b3282b





Sunday, April 20, 2014

Poets have it going on

Poets.
Choose.
Every.
Word.

As prose writers we carefully craft our characters, plots, settings, scenes, and our sentences. We can learn from poets about the importance of selecting each word, too, for its meaning and its sound, its resonance in our hearts and our ears.

I experienced a lovely lesson from some amazing poets at a recent celebratory reading, hosted by Everett Poetry Nite. Our occasion was the publication of the art and literature journal Randomly Accessed Poetics Issue Four (Heart Splatters Into Significance), the first to be released by publisher-editor-poet William Lindberg in hard copy. Thirteen of us, all contributors, gathered to read pieces to an appreciative audience of Everett Poetry Nite regulars.

Contributors to "Heart Splatters Into Significance" at our celebratory reading
at Cafe Zippy, home of Everett Poetry Nite.
Back row: Larry Crist, Purple Mark Wirth, Carla Blaschka, William Lindberg, Brandon Pitts, Andy Wilson, Duane Kirby Jensen
Middle row: Raul Sanchez, Christine Marie Clark, Chris Jarmick
Front row: Annette Kluth, me, Sharon Meixsell
As those thirteen contributors read their work, I couldn't help but be reminded of the time poets invest in making sure each word in a poem pulls its weight. Each word adds to the one before it, or jars the listener into a new image. When I'm writing a novel length work it's not easy to stay focused on the importance of each word. But listening to these word-artists read their work out loud inspired me to bring more attention to the imagery and rhythm of the words I choose for the most important moments in a story, at least.

Every time I read my own work to an audience, my writing gets better. An audience's reactions can tell me where to cut, what phrases work well, whether the humor or sadness or fear or other emotion I want to communicate is coming through. And, my ear picks up awkward elements such as word repetitions and sentences that go on too long.

So I'm grateful to be a contributor to William's journal, to hold company with such a great group of writers; and I'm grateful for the lessons their words taught me.

Do you ever consider poetry as inspiration for your writing? Do you read it out loud? I'd love to hear from you.

Elizabeth Fountain is the author of An Alien's Guide to World Domination, in e-book and paperback. Her next novel embraces the power of stories to create havoc and romance in You, Jane, due to be released in June. You can find more of her work at her blog, Point No Point, and her Amazon author page. 

Saturday, April 19, 2014

On Any Single Day or Numbers and Dates

Everyday is just another day until something happens, but it seems something meaningful happens every day only most people remain unaware of it.

Which leads me to admitting I've always been fascinated with numbers and symbols and how we attach meaning to them and the the links between everything. Whether these meanings have anything to do with reality is debatable, after all, the meaning is a mental connection even if the historical roots come from astrology, numerology, mythology, or folklore. If you're wondering how this applies to writing, these psychic meanings often run deep within humanity's soul, so a mention of a strategic symbol, number, or date, can give hidden depth to characters, settings, and drama for authors.

Consider today, April 19. Understand, dates are man-made systems tied to astronomical events, and that the calendar and other methods of time keeping time have changed through history. However, in numerology, the numbers make it a day of 1 (1+9=10=1), and this year it is the 109th day of the year, so also adds up to 1, or the number of creation, the creator, and man. It is a day of beginnings, and in Tarot, the card of the magician which represents power, expertise, and action. According to astrology, people with this birthday are born with an innate psychic ability. Which leads to my first serendipity coincidence concerning today. In 1943, Albert Hofman, a Swiss doctor, took the first psychedelic acid trip with the drug he developed, the now illegal LSD. Afterward he rode a bicycle home making today 'Bicycle Day.' And yes, I know psychic and psychedelic have two different connotations -- still a mind thing.

As for the power and action aspects of today's date, in 1775 the Revolutionary War began with shots being fired at Lexington and Concord. Men died there; they also died when the gun turret exploded on the USS Iowa in 1989. Women and children died at Ruby Ridge, and at the Waco Texas compound when the people inside the AFT-besieged compound set it on fire which all lead to the Oklahoma City Bombing in 1995. All these events happened on an April 19. Mentioning explosions and fires leads to rockets and lift-offs, and both the first black astronaut and the first woman astronaut were announced on this day in 1982.

Maine, Massachusetts, and Wisconsin celebrate Patriot's Day to remember Lexington and Concord's "Shot heard 'round the world." It is held the third Monday of April, which of course is the running of the Boston Marathon, which was first run on April 19, 1897.

Here's a connection between me deciding to write about this topic today and my birthday, which is basically just another summer day. Today the Revolutionary War started. A year later in 1776 on my birthday most of the delegates signed the Declaration of Independence, and it wasn't on July 4th.

So here we all are on just another ordinary day. Perhaps it's time to make it meaningful… and perhaps start a story involving numbers, symbols, and lore.

Rhobin

Friday, April 18, 2014

Out of phase









Michael W. Davis




I was talking to a young computer wizard about problems with my laptop other day when I used the term CPU. It was clear from her response that I was talking a foreign language. See, our language evolves. Terms, phases, slang is born, tossed into social chit chat for a decade or so, then dies out. Least for the new generations. Not for us old timers. We are accumulators of out of phase terms that latch onto our brain, travel with us for sixty or seventy years until we transfer to the next realm. Here’s a few examples. See how many you know, without cheating and using a web search. I’ll give you the answers later.

CPU, CRT, Peanut galley, Ah che wa wa, Gams, Pluck you magic pwanger froggy, real Mc Coy, I’ll be a monkey’s uncle, Juke joint, Gig, big brother, groovy, the man, tripping, Acid, Lucy in the sky with diamonds, get down, pump iron, a man’s guns, wicked, SWAK, hang tough, fuzz, diss, five finger discount, PDA, rinky dink, skirt, peeps, watching the submarine races, ape, zilch, paper shaker, fox, Chinese fire drill, moon, crash, take a whiz, boomer, rug rat, grubs,  Smokey, chalk time, church key, Crocked, deuce and a quarter, deb’s delight

Okay, had enough? Here’s what they mean. Sure, there can be many meanings for different areas, but these are what they meant from my memory:

CPU – Central Processing Unit, as in the computers active memory
CRT – Cathode Ray Tube, as in your TV or computer screen
Peanut galley – The kids seated in the audience of the buffalo Bob show
Ah che wa wa – Refers to a hot, I mean steamy hot woman
Gams – a ladies legs
Pluck you magic pwanger froggy – An old kids show of the 50’s had a bullfrog that would say it all the time, have no idea what it was supposed to mean
Real Mc coy – as in the real thing, not a fake
I’ll be a monkey’s uncle – Sign of disbelief
Juke joint – a place where you could go to socialize, drink and dance
Gig – a job
Big Brother – Someone of authority is watching you. Came from Orwell’s book 1984. Seems with our current government it’s come back in vogue (g)
Groovy – Hip, cool, excellent
The man – an authority figure
Tripping – Consuming drugs to get high
Acid – In the 60’s reference to LSD
Lucy in the sky with diamonds – Again a reference to LSD. From the Beatles song. Seems my generation did a lot of tripping
Get down – Dance
Pump iron – Lift weights
A man’s guns – reference to the muscles in a guy’s arms
Wicked – Excellent
SWAK – Sealed with a kiss
Hang tough – To endure
Fuzz - cops
Diss – show disrespect
Five finger discount – something stolen
PDA – Public display of affection
Rinky Dink – Something that’s trivia
Skirt – a girl
Peeps – friends
Watching the submarine races – Parking, as in making out
Ape – as in being hysterical
Zilch – zero, nothing
Paper shaker – Cheer leader
Fox – hot babe
Chinese fire drill – when you stop a car and everyone gets out to exchange seats
Moon – Driving down the road, sticking your butt out the window toward another car (yeah, I did this one)
Crash – sleep
Take a whiz – go to the bath room
Boomers – those born after the war (46-64)
Rug rats – little kids
Grubs – old comfortable clothes
Smokey – cops
Chalk time – lecture in school
Church Key – A device to old beer cans before pop tops
Crocked – drunk
Deuce and a quarter – A Buick Electra 225
Deb’s delight – Eligible bachelor

There’s hundreds more out there and I know you’re thinking, “what’s this got to do with writing.” Well, if your setting is in the 50’s, 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s,  then grab a few oldie out of phase terms , toss ‘em in, and add some realism. Oh, you want to know which generation they’re from? Oh no. You have to figure that out for yourself. However, I do go way back and was a hormone driver dude in the 60’s so most are from that era.


Thursday, April 17, 2014

New Directions and New Opportunities



What a difference a month makes!  Last month, I talked about Saturn Retrograde and its lessons.  I talked about letting go of one path, and being faced with having to let go of something else.

In the interim, I accepted a job that is a career path.  Oh, I’m still a full-time writer -- but now I’m also a part-time librarian (what better calling for a bibliophile?)  It’s something I’ve wanted to do for years and have actively pursued this type of job for months.  I landed one I really wanted, in a lovely local library with strong community support, and a terrific staff.  It’s a steep learning curve, but I love it.

The day after I started this new job, I also landed a script-writing job I really, really wanted, and am very excited about.  Two major jobs starting in one week -- during a Saturn retrograde and right before a lunar eclipse.  Intense, much?

A few days before those jobs came together, I was hired to write some magazine articles on gardening.  Due on May 1.

I have to wrap up a few commitments -- I have a couple of smaller freelance jobs I will see through and then not take on more until the end of June, although I’ll start pitching again mid-May for other freelance gigs in the summer.  I wound up a three-month workshop.  Other than guest-lecturing at a college at the end of the month, where they’re teaching one of my plays this semester, and teaching a workshop at a writers’ conference in early May, I don’t have any other teaching gigs on the agenda for the next few months, and I’m going to stick with that.  My new play opens next week (I even got a grant for it), and then I’ll be quiet on the local theatre front for awhile, focusing on the left coast script writing gig.

I have four releases coming out between April and August - -three novellas and a novel -- under a different name and with a different publisher, so I can’t talk about them here -- and the next manuscript I need to get to them is in July.  Another novel I’m working on, I’ve pushed back to an October deadline to finish a draft.

Somewhere in this, I have to buy a new computer -- my darling Macbook is limping along, doing the best it can, but pretty soon Apple will no longer support it and I can’t updgrade any more.

The next three weeks will be challenging and amazing and terrifying.  I believe I am up to the challenge.  Hopefully, I’ve understood Saturn this time around!  ;)

And to answer Big Mike’s question from last month, what do I do with the pumpkins?  Decorate!  There’s something wonderfully satisfying about carving a jack o’lantern you’ve grown!


--Annabel Aidan publishes under a half a dozen names in fiction and non-fiction.  Her paranormal romantic suspense release with Champagne is ASSUMPTION OF RIGHT.  Visit her on the web at http://www.devonellingtonwork.com/annabelaidan.html


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Your Life as a Writer: Is Failure an Option?


Over the years I’ve read many book on how to be a success, faithfully applied what I learned and kept on going until what I refer to as mega-disasters tossed so many boulders on the road I was traveling that I got stuck in potholes and took forever to climb out. I sometimes think as a basically cynical melancholic personality, I would have been better served by books on how to be a failure rather than the success books in the world. Thus I am rearranging my blog writing schedule to write about how to be a failure so we’ll all know what to look for and avoid.

As I began my list of things that induce failure, I came up with eight right away then added a few more. All of them have subcategories and of course I excel at most of them and must constantly guard against allowing them to drag me down.

My list begins with arrogance. More people are done in by conceit than this world dreams of. (Okay, I ended that on a preposition. Go figure. A famous man can do it but me?) The moment the ego reigns education ceases, experts are not consulted and the personality grows moldy. I have an aversion to mold and to people who want to tell me of their successes from thirty years ago when the point of their story is to hear themselves talk and bore me. What’s worse, I’m often arrogant and don’t deserve to be. So first trait on my how not to be a failure list that I must bash is arrogance.

The next item is beginning a project at an unfavorable time. This involves not only reading the market, but also physical, family and other obligation that may interfere at the time. “There’s no time like the present,” doesn’t always apply.

My next failure factor is being out of step with the times. The days of paper submissions and sludge piles are gone. Without some technologic skills, it’s difficult to succeed, not just as an author, but in any field. This is also one of my biggest problems because I would do better with vellum and quill.

Extravagant living can do anyone in. One shouldn’t live beyond their means at any time. In this day and age, it is considered criminal and can ruin a life, a family, a business or employees. I used to be angry when I did home health and would go into “front homes” or beautiful high-cost mansions with a couple of Mercedes in the garage. It was all for show. Once inside, there was little furniture and sheets covering windows because people couldn’t afford the house note. Then when a child got sick, they couldn’t afford medical care, but didn’t want colleagues to know. I got called in to provide home hospice care for children that would have had a chance if they had received treatment sooner.  This will happen more now that Obama Care is in place, but that’s not the point. Let’s make a point with Fritos. In 1976, I could buy a family bag for $0.78. Now I can buy one for$3.99. So based on Fritos the cost has gone up 311% in the last 40 years or so. Now the COL pay increases I received have varied from 1 to 3%; around 89% overall. So if I’m not tightening my budget, I can’t afford to keep buying Fritos. They have moved into the realm of extravagance for me. I must decrease my spending or increase my income. Debt is not an option. Debt is a quagmire that’s killing the American Dream. So take a close look at what you spend and what you can afford. If you want something to worry about, let it be how you’re going to snatch your next character from the jaws of death, and not how you’re going to pay the utility bill.

Reckless speculation and failure to plan come next. I am not saying not to speculate. Without it, we would rarely achieve any of our dreams. I am saying not to speculate so irresponsibly or uncontrollably. Study the market, take inventory of your assets, and proceed wisely. Plan your future and speculate on via a smart goal plan. Don’t bury your talents but do not cast them away with no thought to tomorrow. So you may want to write the great American novel. In this day and age, I don’t think it can be done. But you can make a living as a writer if you don’t mind the risk and plan wisely.

Over-expansion or over-taxing of resources, time and abilities has been the fall of many self-employed people. When I was twenty-four, I could work a double shift and double-back for another double shift, sleeping little and staying alert. At this point in my life, I doubt I’d make it through a single shift and I would probably need to a few days off to recover. My physical resources aren’t what they used to be. I have a habit of being well on the way to completing a novel when another story idea pops into my head. I write it down so I can go back to it later but before you know it, I’m writing two books at one time and not making sufficient progress on either due to the infraction I make against sound time management principles. And who can deny that Peter Lawrence didn’t hit the nail on the head when he said that in every organization leaders often rise to their level of incompetence (paraphrase)? Assess what you have to work with and work with it wisely.

Dishonest or unsatisfactory associates bear contemplation by us in all phases of our lives. Depending on what type of writing you do, certain associates can harm your career. If you write Christian or Inspirational works, it isn’t wise to hang out at a bar with the drug crowd. By the same token, if you surround yourself with people who belittle your talent or career choice or are negative about your future as an author, they can destroy you if you don’t put them aside or find a way to keep your perspective focused on your goals. There are also sharks swimming in the overcrowded publishing pool who will put your career in the slug to make theirs surf the high waves. I always heard it’s best to avoid shark infested waters, but if you can’t avoid the occasional one that swims by, it is said the a swift hard punch to the nose will let them know you mean to retaliate and they’ll usually leave you alone. But no matter what, if a shark is near, don’t bleed.

Without a lot of comment outside disasters beyond one’s control and acts of God made the list. I have a friend in NY state, bless her pea-pickin’ heart, whose laptop froze this past winter because she left it in her car while shopping. The data was irretrievable and her book was late. (And people say I’m crazy for writing my books by hand). Plan for disaster. Back up everything you write.

Lack of perseverance has killed more careers than any other item on the list. Writing is hard work. It can be lonely work and it can be frustrating at times. But plugging away at it will accomplish more than anything else you can do. When you’re frustrated just reread The Little Engine that Could and get back to plugging and chugging along.

And last but not least, I must include in a category all its own: failure to dream. Yes, we need measurable goals with target dates. But rather than a simple task of goal setting, start dream planning. Flex your imaginations and step by step your dreams will come true.

Until next time, happy reading and writing.

Mary

Mary McCall is a best-selling author of historical romance and writing instructor. Visit her at www.marymccall.net Her next Developing Dynamic Characters class is scheduled for May 2014.
 

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Husband and Wife - A Writing Team?

Husband and Wife, Writers in the Same House

It’s been thirty four years since we both decided we preferred writing to volleyball or hiking in the woods. Writing became our togetherness hobby.

We even received our first checks on the same day, his from Dog World, mine from Readers Digest. Through the years since, we’ve learned a few lessons.

  • 1.      The most important lesson of all: critiquing one another’s work is exactly that. In the beginning we had to be careful not to personalize our critiques; we had to focus solely on the written words. It wasn’t always easy. I’d write something I thought brilliant and he would suggest major changes. I took offense. Sometimes he would pout. In time we came to understand that the critiques helped our writing and by understanding they were not personal attacks, helped our relationship to grow.


  • 2.      It is still best to have separate writing spaces. I have always had my space close to the center of activity in whatever house we were in. At first we were in the same small office. I’d hear his keyboard clicking away while my mind was blank. Very annoying. Or I’d want to play a game while thinking but felt guilty if he worked assiduously on his story. Our next house gave me an office just off the living room, which worked well as that was our Bed and Breakfast era, so I had to be able to see people arriving at the front door. His office was on the opposite side of the house and then later moved upstairs to an unused bedroom. Now, he uses a spare bedroom and I am in the front room which used to be the dining room.


  • 3.       Because of what we learned in Number 1, we can now complete in the same contests, celebrating each other’s wins. Over the years our books and stories have won or placed well in many competitions. We both enter the Florida Writers annual anthology competition. His stories have been in every issue, mine in three.


Where are we now? We plan to put together a book of our short stories, continue writing our novels and continue to hope for one another’s huge success.

Veronica Helen Hart is an award winning author. Her humorous thriller, The Prince of Keegan Bay, is now part of a series about a group of senior citizens who call themselves The Blenders. Their next adventure, The Swimming Corpse, is scheduled for release in October, 2014. She is currently working on the third book, Safari Stew. These books are published by Champagne Books of Canada. Her publisher, Double Edge Press, Scenery Hill, PA, produces her more serious novels, also award winning, Elena – the Girl with the Piano, now available, and The Reluctant Daughters, being released May 2014. She makes her home in Ormond Beach, Florida with her writer husband, Robert Hart.


Saturday, April 12, 2014

Calling All Authors: Can You Relate?
…Here are a few questions to ponder when thinking of scenes for your novels that people can relate when reading your stories because we all know that even though we write fiction, our fake stories are based in some form of reality, or maybe we just wish our heroes in our stories were real. HmmmmmmmmJ
…Question 1: What is the least/most romantic thing that ever happened to you on any Valentine's Day?
…And since authors are supposed to write what they know, sad or happy as the event may be, you could put the experience into your story. I know my husband actually came to me on Valentine’s Day 2010 and told me he was leaving me for my best friend of thirteen years. Hmmmmm. In retrospect, it was the best thing that ever happened to me, but at the time we had a teenage daughter in high school, and I knew things would be both better and worse for her. And they have been. We read in our romance novels all the time about horror stories of romance gone wrong, and how people decided they never want to marry again, etc etc etc, and I have sworn off marriage, and it’s been four years, and I’m still swearing off marriage. It would take A LOT to make me change my mind, like the perfect man, and…well, let me know if you fine one, lolJ
…When I asked writer friends of mine to respond to Question 1, Allison Harris said, “My husband and I seldom celebrate Valentine's Day. We both feel it is commercialized. I have flower beds and roses, and when the first roses bud out, my hubby cuts them and has on them on the table in a vase waiting for me. He almost always says, ‘Here's your Valentine's Day roses. I'm sorry they're late.’”
…Now that’s cheap and romanticJ The best kind of romance, in my humble opinion. It means just as much as spending bunches of dollars on meaningless nothing.
…Writer Andrea Downing said, “It was both the least and the most romantic thing:  my husband and I aimed to get married on Valentine's Day.  Unfortunately, Valentine's Day that year was on a Monday and we had to opt for a Saturday so working friends and relations could attend.  Bit of a bummer.  Bad start so maybe I should have seen what was coming...”
…I can definitely relate to thatL
…Question 2: What is the most interesting thing that ever happened to you on St. Pat's Day, or how do you celebrate it? Writer Allison Harris said, “For years my kids (in high school band) marched in the St. Louis St. Pat's Day parade, and we went down to watch. Sometimes it would be snowing, and sometimes it would sunny and warm, but it was always a fun time seeing our small-town school marching and looking good in the parade. Now that my son is older, he usually signs up to run in the 5K race which is before the parade, so we go down to watch that, too.”
…When writing a sweet romance, this would be perfect for a scene of family outing and getting to know the family members of someone a hero is trying to become a part of the family unit. 
…Author Andrea Downing said, “I'm in NYC so St. Pat's Day is a big deal.  I've been to the parade--by accident really--traffic is snarled and buses re-routed so I'm not a big fan.”

…In Rolla, Mo, St. Pat’s is the biggest event in town, every year, because the University of Missouri, Rolla, MS&T, revolves their yearly events around this day, and even their school colors and shirts and such. So the day is crazy, and if you are writing as teacher or professor as your hero, or a business owner, or bar tender…you’ve got your settingJ

…Question 3: What is your sign, and if you are an author, do you think the characteristic of being that sign affect your writing style? Writer Allison Harris wrote, “I'm a Gemini (twins). I write erotic under one name as Allie Quinn and paranormal under Allie Harrison, almost as if I'm two different people!”

…I know several authors who write under multiple pen names for multiple genres for branding purposes. I’m one of them. I write under Rebecca Savage for Romantic Suspense, and I write under Rebecca Draco for dragon shifters. And you should hear my answering machine messageJ Multiple personalities galoreJ

…Author Andrea Downing said, “I'm Aries, known for dynamism, energy, charm and charisma, as well ramming (no pun intended) their ideas down people's throats.  So I doubt I'm a typical Aries--something about having a parallelogram in my stars---and the only pioneering spirit I have is that of writing about the West.”


…I’m a Taurus. Enough saidJ