You Should Probably Read This: Kin Types

Check out Luanne Castle, excellent poet and writer.

Yesterday and today: Merril's historical musings

So–this arrived last night. I left it on the kitchen table, and I just started reading it–you know, leafing through it the way one does–and I got sucked in. I had to force myself to put it down because I have work to do. It is a powerful, lyrical mixture of poetry and prose, tragic accounts of everyday life–stories from her family history. Well, at least that’s what I’ve read so far. I’ll return for more in a bit.

OK, back to work now!

Luanne Castle is an award-winning poet. You can read more about her here.

FullSizeRender 170

View original post

Whispers Under the Baobab

One of my favourite writers, Darlene Jones (yes, she’s the one on the camel) has just completed another book, “Whispers Under the Baobab.” It is a stand-alone sequel to her previous publication, “When the Sun was Mine.”  In this sequel,  the setting goes back and forth in time.  We are taken from the U.S. to Africa and back, to events that happened earlier in the life of award-winning journalist, Flo McAllister. When she died, Flo left a mystery behind. The story evolves as we try to decode her secret notes.

I’d like to share the author’s thoughts with you here. Welcome Darlene. What can you tell us about your new book, “Whispers Under the Baobab”?

Darlene Jones

It’s always exciting when “the book” is finally edited, formatted, and published. Holding the print copy in your hands never fails to make your heart beat a little faster. You’ve done it.

Whispers Under the Baobab, my seventh book, is as gratifying as my first. Perhaps even more so for not only have I honed the craft of writing in the process, but I’ve set much of this one in West Africa including Mali, a country that has been dear to my heart ever since I lived there many years ago.

Even more gratifying are the comments from my Nigerian friend, who graciously agreed to be a beta reader.

As an African currently living in Nigeria, my country, I could relate especially with the African setting. Aside from developing the plot, Jones doesn’t fail to present the reader with tidbits about the life and culture of Sidu’s people.

Some sequels tend to lose steam along the way, but not this one. This second installment is a book you can relax with, and finish in a day. If you are looking for a novel where good triumphs over evil, where love is mutual and undying, where new friendships are forged from the unlikeliest of situations, and above all, where the plot is driven by suspense and some bit of code-cracking, then Whispers Under the Baobab is the book for you.

Darlene Jones demonstrates exceptional talent as a wordsmith, and for plotting an intriguing story whose premise invites readers be to resolute in their quest for what is true and right.

See both books here: http://ow.ly/aKXh30bMH88

 

Passion is Her Middle Name

I’m pleased to host Emma Calin on my blog today. One of my favourite authors, Emma writes intriguing police novels laced with so much passion that you won’t be able to put the book down.

Today, Emma Calin announces the release of the third novel in her ‘Passion Patrol’ series: ‘LOVE BLEEDS BLUE’.

Firmly in the ‘suspense romance’ genre,  this story features another sassy female hero-cop who is as passionate about her job as she is about the love in her life. Each Passion Patrol novel can be read as a stand-alone story; characters from previous stories make cameo appearances across the series.

PP3 LBB 24 April large (1)

 

LOVE BLEEDS BLUE  by Emma Calin, is a stand-alone fast-moving action adventure with a love story at its core. The third novel in the Passion Patrol Series, featuring hot cops, hot crime and hot romance.

Emma

 

When single mother Sergeant Sophia Castellana stumbles into a terrorist shooting, things are not as they seem. Global forces beyond her grasp sweep her up into an audacious scheme to re-unite a world in chaos. The love of a far younger man, the infatuation of a charismatic woman leader seduce her into a blur of inappropriate love and infinite danger. Power and celebrity beckon, betrayal and violence threaten every move as events unfold in the city of Paris. Her brute courage and loving woman’s heart confront ruthless enemies who offer no second chances. She knows the streets, she knows her power as a lover. Can she, dare she, seize the prizes before her? Will the world offer her the choice?

Love Bleeds Blue, another stand-alone novel in the #1 Kindle Bestseller, Passion Patrol suspense romance series . Steamy Emma Calin holds nothing back to bring you her juicy mix of cops crime and passion.

REVIEWS FOR LOVE BLEEDS BLUE:

“Politics – Philosophy – Terrorism – Romance – Coup D’ Etats –  Assassinations – World Reordering – Steamy Hot Sex! An intriguing love story.” Charles Smith, USA.

“Between the criminal plots, assassination attempts, and cases of almost innocent subterfuge, Ms. Calin weaves in passionate sex scenes that threaten to set the pages on fire.” Anneli Purchase, Canada.

Staggering!! Wonderfully descriptive coupled with an outstanding story line makes this book a must read! The underlying satire provides some essential humor through out the book.” Evonne Hutton, South Africa.

*****

LOVE BLEEDS BLUE is out, worldwide, on Amazon for Kindle and digital e-readers, on the 3rd April 2017.  The print edition will be available by May 2017.

 

Universal Book Sales Link on Amazon:  http://www.smarturl.it/AmazonLBB

 

FREE BOOK FROM THE PASSION PATROL SERIES: Try one of the Passion Patrol novels for free  https://www.instafreebie.com/free/1LZ7p

Don’t miss out on this great novel. You’ll love it!

Ever Been at your Wit’s End?

lori-virelli

Lori Virelli says she’s just an ordinary woman, but don’t you believe it. In her writing she makes everyday life extraordinary, filled with dramas of people’s lives in fiction and nonfiction. You will relate to her characters and find inspiration in the outcomes of the stories.

Lori has been blogging for five years and we have “followed” each other for four and a half of those five years. Bloggers come and go, dropping in and out, but Lori and I continue to be buddies.

I’m honoured to host Lori Virelli here today. I’m grateful that fate brought us to each other’s blogs.

Now that she has published her first novel, I feel that I have something to crow about: Lori’s novel Whit’s End.

Lori says she has enjoyed my blog posts and my novels, but today I hope you will click on her amazon links and enjoy her novels. I did that some time ago and have not regretted it. When you read Whit’s End, you’ll find yourself thinking, “Oh, that character sounds just like ‘so-and-so,’” someone you may know in your own life.

Lori finds human behavior fascinating. She says:

“Two people can react differently to the same experience. Two people who grow up in the same household may come away with quite different perceptions of what they have experienced. Perhaps our genes are programmed to respond in our own unique ways, and that’s part of what makes us individuals. This is why I like writing from two perspectives, to show how each person responds to, and handles similar situations in different ways.”

wecover9title

In Whit’s End, Meg and Ava Whitaker are married to the dysfunctional Whitaker brothers and each handles their marital problems in a different way. Their efforts to cope in their marriages only seem to make matters worse, until, just when the women are at their “Whit’s End,” other men come into the picture. How will each of the women react to the temptation of another man? Where will their actions lead them? Will they “jump ship”? Will that solve their problems? Read Whit’s End to find out.

Lori is the author of short stories published in the magazine Angels on Earth – Dogs and the Women Who Love Them, and in her anthology, Home Avenue, about growing up in 70s in the suburbs of Chicago.

homeavecover3

And psst! If you want a treat, click the link to her book, Whit’s End.

For a peek into Lori’s view of life in Chicago in the 70s, click on her link to Home Avenue.

Home Avenue – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01LPJ9YDI

Whit’s End – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01N77QY32

Lori’s Lane – http://loreezlane.wordpress.com

Lori is currently working on her second novel. Please leave a comment and say hi.

Dialogue – He said, she said

Why do we use dialogue in novels when it could all be done with prose? The benefits of using dialogue:.

  • It brings an engaging immediacy to the scene. You feel you are right there with the characters, involved in their conversation.
  • The dialect, choice of vocabulary, and the tone can reveal a person’s characteristics in a more interesting way than a wordy description could.
  • Dialogue can be a tool for advancing the plot, especially if  inner conflict is woven into the spoken conversation.

Some tips about using dialogue:

  • Use short snappy dialogue when appropriate. It heightens the tension.
  • People don’t normally use long sentences in conversation. They more often speak in fragments and phrases.
  • Speakers don’t repeat what the other person just said.
  • Don’t use it as an all-too-obvious way to pass on information in a way that the person normally would not do. (E.g., “Don’t yell at Henry. He’s only two years old and he’s our only boy.” Painfully obvious information forced into the story.)

Dialogue tags:

  • These are the words that tell the reader who is speaking. They can be a distraction or even an annoyance if belaboured. The “he said/she said” part of the sentence should be like punctuation; it’s very important, but shouldn’t stand out or be noticed. Fancy dialogue tags like argued, insisted, responded, inquired, questioned, and replied are an unnecessary distraction. In most cases, said and asked are all you need.
  • Having said that, try to limit your use of dialogue tags. Often if you precede or follow the dialogue with an action by the speaker, we know who is speaking. (E.g., Sam pointed at the ball. “Go fetch.”)
  • If your speaker is grimacing or laughing, be sure that this is occurring in its own sentence, not as part of a dialogue tag.

Examples:

Wrong – “That’s so funny,” Sam laughed.

Right – “That’s so funny.” Sam laughed. The period, instead of the comma makes all the difference. In most cases, though, the action should come before the dialogue.

Combining actions with dialogue:

  • Be careful how you handle this one. I see this done very often. Here is the pattern: “How are you?’ she asked, gazing at his eyes. When I peruse a book that I’m considering reading, I look for use of gerunds behind dialogue tags. If I see more than the occasional one, I’m already turned off. This kind of pattern stands out in a novel and can become irritating when you know that each set of quotation marks will be followed by the gerund pattern.

Here are some examples: “Pleased to meet you,” George said, pumping my hand up and down. “I’ll be right back,” David said, running down the street. “Give those back,” he said, grabbing at the candies. “It already looks irritating to me,” Anneli said, going on to a different book.

Conclusion:

Dialogue can be an effective tool to make your novel more readable and engaging. It’s definitely a skill worth working on. Watch for examples of dialogue in novels. Do they work? What are the faults, if any, in the writing of the dialogue? Take some bad examples you find and see if you can make them more effective. When you know how to use dialogue to your advantage you’ll find that the quality of writing in your novel improves greatly.

 But best of all, writing dialogue can be fun, especially when your characters, saying what they would naturally say, steer the conversation in a direction you hadn’t intended it to go. So watch out for those characters with a mind of their own, but have fun chatting.

Anneli Purchase is a published author who works with writers to bring out their best. She is a freelance copy-editor providing services that include correcting spelling, punctuation, word usage, sentence structure and balance, and many other aspects of writing. To find out more about Anneli, go to her website at http://www.anneli-purchase.com/.

Find out more about Anneli:

Anneli’s Website

Twitter

Facebook

Blog

Anneli new footer c

Have you ever struggled with writing dialogue?

Has your dialogue ever sent your storyline off in a different direction from what you had planned?

Please feel free to leave a comment. We’d love to hear what you think.

Lie, Lady, Lie!

“Lay, Lady, Lay” is one of my favourite songs from the olden days, but it uses terrible grammar.  I can accept the bad grammar because it comes under the “poetic license” umbrella, but if the lyrics were part of a novel, they would make me shudder.

I once  came across a sentence in a novel that said, “Ruth is laying on the bed.” Ruth is a woman, not a chicken, so I wondered what she was laying. In another chapter, “George laid on the bed.” For sure, George is not a chicken, but the writer doesn’t tell us what he laid on the bed.

Now if the author had said “Ruth is laying out her clothes on the bed,” or “George laid his suitcase on the bed,” that would make more sense. Unfortunately, as I read on, I realized that the author meant to say, “Ruth is lying on the bed,” and “George lay on the bed.”

The misuse of the verbs “to lie” and “to lay” is one of the most common errors made by authors. A large percentage of books I have read contain this error. It could be avoided so easily, but when an author misuses these verbs, it can take the pleasure out of reading an otherwise well-written novel.

Why does the verb “to lie” give writers so much trouble? Why didn’t the authors have their work copy-edited before rushing out to publish it?

To be fair to the authors, I’ve noticed that in many cases, the novels were published by traditional publishing houses who employ their own copy-editors. Surely, they should have caught these mistakes. However, the errors could have been avoided if the writers had a better grasp on their use of English grammar and had not made these mistakes in the first place.

In my copy-editing work I often come across the misuse of the verbs “to lie” and “to lay,” so I know it’s a widespread problem. I also know that authors could avoid it with a little effort on their part.

My advice to authors is to find a chart online or in a grammar book, and copy it. Then pin it on your bulletin board or tape it to your desk. The conjugation of the verb “to lie” can be found easily enough on the Internet. One of many sites is http://conjugator.reverso.net/conjugation-english-verb-lie.html. On this page you can type any verb into the space at the top and click on “conjugate” and the whole page will be filled with the cases of the verb in question.

For a quick version of how “lie” and “lay” are used with the pronoun “I,” here are some examples:

To Lie (down)

I lie (present)

I lay (preterite)

I have lain (present perfect)

I am lying (present continuous)

To Lay (to set an object down)

I lay (present)

I laid (preterite)

I have laid (present perfect)

I am laying (present continuous)

To Lie (tell an untruth)

I lie (present)

I lied (preterite)

I have lied (present perfect)

I am lying (present continuous)

There is no need for a writer to misuse the verbs “to lie” and “to lay.” If you have trouble with these verbs, referring to your chart will save you from making mistakes that undermine your writing abilities.

I am not lying when I tell you that once you have studied these verbs and have a reference chart pinned up, you won’t have to lay down your pen and give up writing so you can “Lie, Lady, Lie,” lie across your big brass bed to rest your aching, verb-befuddled head.

anneli-new-footer-c-1024x652-1

Find out more about Anneli:

Anneli’s Website
Twitter

Facebook
Blog

That Vital First Page

You’ve written an amazing novel and are hoping to snag the interest of an agent or publisher, and of course you want to capture the interest of future readers. If you’ve ever gone to a writing conference and offered your manuscript to an agent for perusal, you’ll know that they only look at the first page—or part of it—to determine whether or not they want to read more. The first page can make or break you.

The first sentence should grab the reader’s attention and compel them to move on to the second sentence and more.

At a writing conference I attended, agents listed some of the most common mistakes writers make that are like dismissal flags to the agent. Here are some openings to be avoided:

  • “It was a dark and stormy night,” and any other clichéd openings
  • waking up to the alarm clock ringing
  • telling about a dream and then waking up
  • telephone ringing
  • describing a scene passing by while driving a car
  • looking into the mirror to give a description of the character.

In the first few lines you should already have introduced your main character, and have established the point of view. Don’t be tempted to introduce other characters unless they are necessary to the first scene. Readers need to know whom the story is about, but they don’t want to be confused by being introduced to the whole cast in the first five minutes.

Start your story in the middle of some action. You can work forward from there, providing backstory later on. Speaking of backstory, too much, too soon is not a good thing. Nuggets of information can be dropped into the story in bits and pieces later on, but not necessarily on the first page.

As you give the reader glimpses of the setting, you can be establishing the tone of the story. From the choice of language and how you use it, the reader will soon have a sense of time and place. You may convey this by the conservative language of the 1950s, the more archaeic language of the Middle Ages, the modern rap style of big-city youth, or whatever style suits your setting.

Your main character’s language, thoughts, or action should alert the reader to his short-term goal and hint at his long-term mission. You will want to establish the voice of the story. If you choose to use dialogue to give the reader a glimpse into the character’s personality type, make every word count. Make it meaningful. Is the voice serious, sombre narration, or is it more light-hearted? Does your character have an accent that hints at his background and social standing?

This is the page where you cleverly weave in bits of information necessary to the development of the story. Does your character have some heroic quality that the reader can anticipate coming into play? Is he vulnerable in some way? Perhaps our hero will experience some difficulties as he pursues his goal.

The first page is a good place to drop a hint of something mysterious that will come up again in future chapters. Then at the end of the first chapter this mystery may come into play when you craft a good hook for the ending of your first chapter.

With all of these elements in place, readers will be hard pressed not to turn the page and continue reading, and that is the goal of a writer.

I invite you to read the first page of any of my novels using the Amazon “Look Inside” feature, and see if you would like to read more.

To find out more about Anneli Purchase, follow these links:

Anneli’s Website

Twitter
Facebook
Blog

Anneli new footer c