Remote and Romantic

It sounds so romantic to visit remote and naturally beautiful islands. Even more exciting to contemplate living there. It’s a man’s world: a place where fishing and logging take place.

If you’re a woman, you know that fishermen and loggers are physically strong and capable, and to do these jobs in such remote places, they are probably mentally of strong character. They are working and have a paycheque. Hmm…. Might not one of these guys be a good catch for an adventurous single girl?

Marlie is a pretty strong character herself, to undertake a big change in her life while still in her twenties. She has just landed a teaching job in Masset, in the Queen Charlotte Islands. Maybe she hopes to land a different prize as well.

A friend takes her for a ride in his fish boat. She inhales the salty smell of the sea and notices that there isn’t a building or another person in sight. She has never experienced such solitude or felt so small against the elements. But she feels safe in the care of her friend. 

Eagles soar, deer and bears visit the beaches, killer whale fins slice the water. Humpback whales take care not to be near the killer whales, but put on a show of their own, leaping out of the water and landing on their sides, slapping the surface. Marlie can’t believe her good luck in coming to the islands.

Beachcombing and birdwatching are amazing.

But wait! Even this pure and distant place is not without its problems. In town, Marlie teaches her grade three class. She makes friends and gets to know people. But maybe she is too willing to overlook the danger signs in characters who are deception experts.

She befriends an artist who pursues her, and misses some signals she should have picked up on.

Warning!

*** When you read about Marlie’s new life on the Queen Charlottes, brace yourself for some violent scenes. She will have some serious mending to do.  A handsome fisherman is standing in the wings, but Marlie has learned to be careful, and, being new to the islands, has only herself to rely on.

Will she find the inner strength to deal with her problems, or will she run back to the city and the messy life she thought she had left behind?

Marlie is the third of three romantic suspense novels set on the British Columbia coast, but it also works well as a stand alone. If you would like to read the first two novels, you can download The Wind Weeps for free on Amazon and Smashwords.com, followed by Reckoning Tide and then Marlie. Reading Marlie first will not spoil the reading of The Wind Weeps and Reckoning Tide.

You can find Marlie on all the Amazon sites. Just go to amazon.com or amazon.ca, or amazon.co.uk and type in Marlie. If you have an e-reader other than Kindle, you can find Marlie on Smashwords.com. It is affordably priced so as not to break the bank.

For a great review of Marlie, please check it out here: https://wordsfromanneli.com/2018/09/26/a-great-review-for-marlie/

Special thanks to my friend Jan Brown, who has kindly permitted me to use her painting for the cover of Marlie.

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Soul Swallowers

Diana Peach has done it again! Her new novel, Soul Swallowers, is available now on Amazon.

 

Ms. Peach’s skill at world building is to be admired. It is like being drawn into a detailed painting as we enter the scene she sets for her new fantasy novel, “Soul Swallowers.” As the title suggests, the characters have the option of swallowing the soul of someone who dies. They are then influenced by the deceased’s morals, skills, and beliefs. This can be a good thing if the swallower chooses wisely. Unfortunately, swallowing the souls of evil people, or swallowing too many souls can have disastrous effects. The plotline sets up political power struggles while telling several parallel love stories. Emotions around love, hate, fear, and pleasure are the same no matter if we read fantasy or a reality-based story. Peach has a wonderful way of pulling the reader in to empathize with the emotions of the characters in her novel. It’s what kept me turning pages and had me reading until 3 in the morning. Soul Swallowers is a wonderful start to a new series.

You can find Soul Swallowers on amazon.com

Don’t miss out!

“People Watching”

Writers are never bored when they are left sitting in the car or in a room, waiting for a friend or an appointment. As long as we have a pen and paper we will be fine.

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Sometimes I play a “people watching” game using my notebook and this will help shape some of my characters when I have more time to write.

Whether you use a genuine “Moleskine” or an inexpensive scratch pad style notebook, this game is both fun and useful for adding colourful characters to a novel. You can play the game alone or take turns with another person. (For more about Moleskines, click here: https://annelisplace.wordpress.com/2018/02/11/moleskine-or-moleskin/)

When someone enters my line of vision, I think, “What is the thing I notice most about this person?” It might be some facial feature or other physical attribute, or it may be a piece of clothing or accessory, or the way the person moves. Whatever it is, the challenge is to jot down one or two keywords that stand out about this person, and to do it quickly, say within two or three seconds. If I take longer than that, I lose the spontaneity and it is no longer a valid first impression.

Examples of keywords for people who have passed by:

  1. huge leather purse
  2. crooked nose, missing teeth
  3. greasy hair
  4. tall, stooping
  5. wild hair, lots of jewelry
  6. looking over the shoulder, hunted look
  7. wiping nose with back of hand
  8. high heels clacking on cement
  9. business suit, pantlegs too short
  10. sloppy look, sweats

Later, when I look at my keywords, more of that person’s description will probably come back to me.

Sometimes I have agonized over  descriptions of  character in my novel, as I try hard not to have them all come out the same. It’s not enough to add details arbitrarily to a person’s outward appearance. These details have to suit the personality to make that person believable to the reader.

For example: I shouldn’t simply decide that Joan could wear a new red hat or should have red striped socks. Perhaps Joan is shy and  lacks self-confidence. In that case, she is unlikely to wear clothes or accessories that draw attention to herself. I might choose one of the examples in my notebook as a starting point and use the keywords to build a character in my mind. It may even be a combination of several examples. The more samples I have to choose from, the more interesting and accurately depicted my character will be. I can mix and match them if they suit the kind of person I need for my novel.

Once I have a collection of keywords for my people, I can juggle them around to build unique characters. For me, it is works best to put the new character’s attributes all on one page when I’m ready to create him or her. There are character profile sheets available on the Internet. I can easily fill in the keywords once my imaginary person is created. That way I can refer to the details later on and not give Joan blue eyes in Chapter 21 when she had brown eyes in Chapter 2. Believe me, I’ve done that.

Now, see how easy and fun building character can be?

Writing Ideas From Real Life

Where do we get our ideas for writing? We’ve all heard the advice to “write what you know,” but we don’t want to end up with a memoir either – not when we set out to write a novel.

Looking back at the five novels I’ve written, I realized that I often took a germ of an idea or an event or experience from my own life and built it into my books.

The trick is not to write the whole experience, but use it as a jumping off point.

Here is an example. In my book, Reckoning Tide (the sequel to The Wind Weeps), I needed to create an incident that had tension and danger and a resolution.

The characters, Jim and Andrea, are in a remote inlet on the coast of British Columbia. They have taken the skiff from their fishing troller and have gone partway up the river to explore.

Photo by Ken Johnston

Just as my husband (the Captain) and I did many years ago, Jim and Andrea tied the skiff to an upturned tree root and walked along the tidal flats.

I was terrified of grizzlies that might be coming to the river mouth to eat salmon. I should have worried more about getting separated from the skiff by the incoming tide.

photo by Ken Johnston

The setting in Khutz Inlet is such that all sorts of danger come with its beauty. Rather than tell my own story in the novel, I used what I knew about the place (the sights, the smells, the danger) to create the final chapters of my novel.

Have you used some of your own experiences as a jumping off point for a scene in your novel? If not, why not try it?

If you would like to find out what happened in the real life version, you can visit my blog post about it here. https://wordsfromanneli.com/2015/04/01/cut-off-2/

To see how I have used that experience in my novel, you can read Reckoning Tide. But first, you should read The Wind Weeps (which is free to download). Just click on the book cover images on the left sidebar to download.

Is Your Writing Feeble or Fabulous?

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As well as my first four novels, I have now written “Marlie,” a third novel of romantic suspense that takes place in the Queen Charlotte Islands. It follows “The Wind Weeps” (a free download), and “Reckoning Tide,” but is a stand-alone novel.

Lay or Lie

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Do you have trouble knowing the correct form of lay or lie to use in your writing?

Why not copy and paste this chart? Print it out either with your printer or by hand, onto a piece of paper that you can keep handy by your desk for a quick reference.

A quick version of how “lie” and “lay” are used with the pronoun “I.”

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)

For more about lay and lie, you can check out my post from a year ago:

https://annelisplace.wordpress.com/2016/12/16/lie-lady-lie/

Good work! Now have a cookie.

cinnamon stars

 

The Longest Nine Months

I first shied away from reading this book because I thought it was going to be all about having babies, not my favourite topic. Luckily for me, I did pick up the book, read it, and enjoyed it. It was not all about babies and pregnancies, although this was a significant factor in the novel. It was more about the relationship between Chand and Campbell.

Chand is of East Indian heritage and Campbell is Caucasian. They are devoted to each other; so much so, that Campbell wears the traditional sari to please her husband, even when other modern East Indian women at their office party are wearing western dress.

No children are planned in their as yet young marriage, so when Campbell finds herself pregnant, major changes loom. Chand is not as thrilled as Campbell had hoped he would be, and the final straw, a possibly flawed baby, threatens to destroy this happy marriage.

I was drawn into the story by Ms Balawyder’s skillful development of her characters. I cared about them. I felt their joys and frustrations,  and empathized with their problems.

Don’t miss reading this heartwarming novel by Carol Balawyder. You can find it here: Just click amazon.

You will also find that Ms. Balawyder has written several other very entertaining books. Although they are inter-connected, they can easily be read as stand-alones. I know you’ll enjoy them all.

Carol Balawyder