Ever Been at your Wit’s End?

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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.”

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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.

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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.

All Love is not Equal

Very often we see a pattern in novels that tell love stories. But besides the usual “boy meets girl, boy loses girl, and boy gets girl back,” there are other kinds of love stories and these are the ones I like to create in my novels.

Take a look and consider whether any of these kinds of love have happened to you or someone you know.

We read of unrequited love in the love triangle in Julia’s Violinist. Being “torn between two lovers” is as heartwrenching for the reader as it is for Julia. Add the setting of postwar Europe with events that will have you thinking about them long after you read the book, and you have the ingredients for a worthwhile read.

Another kind of love develops in The Wind Weeps and its sequel, Reckoning Tide. Here we have the misguided love between Andrea and the handsome Robert, whose attentions take an abnormal twist. You’ll find yourself wondering how Andrea ever could have thought this was love. But is love that turns into a manic obsession really love?

Then we have the love that happens by the slimmest of chances. Perhaps it came about because of the alignment of the stars in the sky and the grains of sand on the beach that day, as seems to be the case in Orion’s Gift when Sylvia meets Kevin in a Baja campground. Can such a love, that happens purely by chance, withstand the test of time? Can it survive when their former lovers are on a “search and destroy” mission?

What better time to load up on these love stories than on Valentine’s Day! You’ll be glad you did, once you lose yourself in the lives of Julia, Andrea, and Sylvia, and their significant others.

Anneli Purchase

You can find my novels on amazon.com (click on link) and other amazon outlets by typing in my name or the titles of my novels.

 Do you have recommendations of novels with unusual love stories? Why not leave a comment and share them?

One of my recommendations for more love stories is the Em and Yves Series by Darlene Jones. Click on the link to see her books on amazon.

The Seamless Web

My guest today is Joe Eliseon. He is looking at you over his glasses because he wants to make direct eye contact with you, dear readers, as he is about to share his interesting history with you.

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The well-seasoned old codger looked at me sideways, stroking his clean-shaven chin.  “You know, if we hire you, you’ll be the only lawyer in the firm with a beard.”

“What is it?” I asked. “Some sort of hormonal problem?”

Honest to God, I thought it was something in the water.

Times have changed since I was in law school, interviewing for jobs. I grew my beard back then, wanting to do something women couldn’t do, at least not well. Recruiters described a law firm as “casual” and “relaxed” if they allowed you to take off your suit coat on a hot day. The constant, staccato beat of secretaries’ typewriters told the partners they were making money. Big clients like insurance companies were pushing hourly billing as a cost-control measure.

Today, most law school graduates are women and scraggly beards pass unnoticed among the surviving but otherwise emasculated males. Suits and ties are reserved for court appearances, as if they were the wigs worn by British jurists. There are hardly any secretaries; lawyers do their own typing on keyboards that click quietly rather than clack loudly. Consultants and accountants tell you whether or not you’re making money. Big clients like insurance companies moan over the fact that hourly billing is bankrupting them.

And I don’t practice law any more. I write novels.

Why is that?

There’s no simple answer to the question. It’s like asking me why I became a lawyer in the first place. I’ve given simple answers to the latter question, but I find they change over time. The more I think about it, the more I remember little things that contributed to the decision. Some of them seem more important at one point, others at other points. They rattle around in my head and jostle for position. Figuring out your own motivations is damned difficult. It’s so much easier to figure out other people’s.

Maybe that’s why I write novels. Or I may just have stories to tell.

Let’s talk a little about my books.

I had written a number of short stories before I wrote my first novel, The Seamless Web: A Legal Comedy. In fact, SW started out as a short story about a young attorney who discovers how to manipulate the electronic records of legal cases and starts writing his own cases.  That’s the core of the novel, but the characters took over and ran off with the story. My protagonist, Pete Roselli, turned into the legal equivalent of Everyman, having to face the consequences of a little lie that keeps getting bigger and bigger. He finds that a lie, even a little one, leaves you at the mercy of all manner of liars.

My second novel is still a work-in-progress. It’s called D.P.W.: A Political Fantasy. It’s about politics as seen through the eyes of a low-level public employee, a snowplow driver in the Department of Public Works, who finds himself the target of a federal investigation into municipal corruption. Wondering why he has been singled out as a target for his pitiful nickel-and-dime graft, he consults his retired mentor in the Department. This mysterious character, who lives in a broken-down shack in the far reaches of the Department’s equipment yard, explains to him that he’s been targeted precisely because he is a small-timer. Our hero thereupon resolves to fight back by becoming the biggest crook he can be.

DPW’s almost done. I’m finishing up the third draft. I’ll need to do a fourth. But it will be ready for release by summer 2016. Of course, that’s what I said last year.

While you’re waiting, I really do recommend my short story collection: Five Minutes More and Other Stories,  in which I skip from haunted law firms to time-travel to ancient Sicilian legends to science fiction to gods new and old.

And visit my Google+ page, where you’ll find links to a baker’s dozen of free short stories that I ought to be charging for.

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Visit Joe’s website:

http://joeeliseon.com/

There you will find all his book information, and if you click on “Contact” on the menu at the top, you can find all the links to his wonderful sites and podcasts.

 

 

Love and Drama

Women love a love story.

Men?

I think men secretly love a love story but they don’t want to let their emotions go all to pieces, at least not so anyone could see. While they wouldn’t be caught dead holding a copy of some romantic novel, they wouldn’t mind watching a movie with drama and a relationship as long as it wasn’t too sappy.

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So authors of novels that involve relationships have some options. They can give up on men as readers and write “romance” novels for women. Or, they can write the kind of novel that both men and women can enjoy, with more happening in the novel than simply a love story.

The latter is the kind of novel I prefer to write. I always have relationships going on in my stories, but the background events and locations raise the interest level for all readers.

Let me give you four examples:

One

In my novel, The Wind Weeps, a woman becomes involved with two commercial fishermen. Of course she chooses the wrong man. After that, it’s a matter of her survival. I don’t take the fishermen out of their setting and focus only on the love affairs. The events that influence the development of the story are set in the real working lives of the fishermen. The characters run their trollers, they do some hunting, they do boat maintenance, go mushroom picking, and explore the fabulous coast of British Columbia from Vancouver to the Queen Charlotte Islands. But all this is written to appeal to men as well as women. Romantic attachments develop within this lifestyle. Exciting drama and tense situations keep you turning pages.

Two

My novel Reckoning Tide is the sequel to The Wind Weeps. It is a “must read,” if you enjoyed the free download of The Wind Weeps. I think you will find the continuing adventure and ending of Reckoning Tide very satisfying.

Three

Another love story in a practical, yet exotic setting is Orion’s Gift. Sylvia, a gorgeous California woman,  has received news that prompts her to flee her comfortable home. She goes on an extended trip down the Baja Peninsula. But for the men, who also enjoy real life situations and a love story sneaked in on the sly, I introduce Kevin, owner of an Alberta hardware store. Kevin is a handsome man who has let his wife steamroll over him for years. Events evolve that allow Kevin to escape, and Baja is his destination. When Kevin meets Sylvia, they should live happily ever after, judging by the sparks they send up to the heavens, but their two spouses are hunting them down. Trouble looms.

If you like a good love story with spicy sex, and  a real inside look at dry camping on the Baja Peninsula, Orion’s Gift is the book for you.

Four

And then there is Julia’s Violinist. Born of German heritage, in what was then Austria-Hungary, Julia is an innocent victim of the fallout of two world wars. Julia’s Violinist is not a war story, because, as its author, I dislike war stories. But what I have learned is that when there is major strife in the world, people still  try to continue living their usual lives. The war tears up the very foundations of Julia’s life. Widowed, having lost her home to the spoils of war, she and her two children are rebuilding their lives. Times are hard. Very hard. She remarries, but her husband is a difficult man.

Then one day a letter arrives from Canada. After twenty years, her first love has found her again after searching for her through the Red Cross. “Come to me,” he writes. “Thank God I’ve found you. I still love you after all these years.”

You will love Julia too. I guarantee it.

Anneli Purchase

All titles available at amazon outlets and at smashwords.com

More info at anneli-purchase.com

 

The Lovely Blog Hop

I’ve been challenged by Darlene Jones, author of five novels (www.emandyves.com), to join the Lovely Blog Hop to share some of the things that have helped shape my writing and my life. Thank you, Darlene.

The blog rules include telling a bit about myself and my interests. So here I am, Anneli Purchase, sharing my trivia with you.

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First Fond Memory

In the summer, going to the playground was always fun. My mother sat nearby on a bench while my brother and I played on the swings. I haven’t been able to figure out what it means that I was always the one who stood protectively (and in charge) on the swings to pump them ever higher with my brother tucked safely between my feet. Either I love my brother very much, or I’ve been a control freak since the age of five, or both.

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In the winter, my dad was the one who pulled the sled and had mock snowball fights with my brother and me. My mother was usually at home making sure the hot chocolate was ready for us on our return.

Books

I got in trouble for reading at school. Nancy Drew mysteries were such page turners. I had to learn that even though the object was to teach us to read, the teacher needed my attention on her at times, and I had to abandon Nancy for a while. Later when I became a teacher, I used to wish I had students who would rather read than anything else in school.

Libraries

Our small town had very little to offer in the way of library books or guidance for children who needed to be steered towards something more challenging but just as stimulating as Nancy Drew mysteries. A huge gap in reading followed those early elementary school years. I was a young adult before a bookish friend got me on track again. That’s a story for another time and place.

Passion

Anything outdoors was my passion. Learning about the animals, camping, fishing, exploring, gardening, mushroom picking, birdwatching; that was a perfect way to spend my time. But wait, that’s not all. I had indoor passions too. I loved painting, making music, creating artsy things, writing, making up stories and plays, and playing sports — basketball, tennis, badminton, volleyball, even scrub baseball in the vacant lot across the street.

Learning

My first teaching job was in one of the last one-room schoolhouses on Vancouver Island. I had no teacher in a classroom next door to go to for help, so I had to learn fast in order to survive. My big passions while teaching were to make sure every child learned to read (because if all else failed, a person could catch up on knowledge later on if they could read), and to show the students that each one of them had an artist hidden in them. They were often surprised at their results and always proud of their artwork. Just a little guidance, and magical things can happen.

For myself, learning has never stopped. If I don’t know something, it bugs me and bugs me until I find out. I’ve always been like that, and while it drives some of my family crazy, it works for me and I love learning something new every day.

Writing

Writing is an addiction. I’m not happy if I’m not writing. All I need is paper, pen, and some quiet time. A computer is better, but paper and pen still work for me, too. I’ve written three novels and am working on my fourth. I can’t see myself stopping any time soon.

If you want to know more, check out my web page and my other blogsite.

www.anneli-purchase.com

http:wordsfromanneli.wordpress.com

And now I nominate Barbara Beacham.  https://salmonfishingqueen.wordpress.com/

Sharing Writing Ideas – First Drafts

penToday’s topic is “Writing Methods.”

Readers, have you ever wondered how a story grew from someone’s imagination into a novel?

Writers, won’t you share your secrets with us? How did your novel take shape?

I know there are all kinds of odd writing habits that produce a novel. Why not share what you do? I’ll start by sharing an odd writing habit that worked for me.

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When I began to write the first draft of Julia’s Violinist, I happened to be in Mexico. I bought a couple of Mexican school exercise books – the kind we usually call scribblers, although that name always bothered me (my mother always told me to write neatly, not scribble). I took my beach mat and a pen and notebook to a quiet spot on the beach and, with the sound of the waves swishing in the background, I began to write. Heidi and Harry, an elderly German couple who rented a bungalow next to ours were also at the beach. When it got too hot to write, I went for a dip in the ocean. Treading water next to Heidi, I asked her all kinds of questions about what life was like for her in the days  before, during, and after WWII. Some of what she told me became part of my novel, Julia’s Violinist, and it’s because of her help that one of my characters is named Heidi.

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After writing a chapter or a scene in my notebook, I took my beach gear back to the bungalow and turned on my laptop. As I transferred the “scribblings” into my Word program, I was able to add, delete, and change the text to fatten up the story.

Day after day, I did this, and gradually the novel took shape.

Please share your thoughts in the comment section. No answer is wrong. All input is appreciated.

Don’t be shy. Tell us what you think and share your ideas.

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Sophie’s Encore – by Nicky Wells

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Nicky Wells

A novel need not be a comedy to have content that gives you a smile or a chuckle. So it is with the novels of UK author Nicky Wells. You may remember Nicky from her other novels in the series on Sophie as she takes us through the lives and loves of her rock star friends.

Excerpt from “Sophie’s Encore

“Mummy,” he started, “I learned something today.”

“Did you,” I responded on autopilot, shooting Dan a meaningful look. As he knew only too well, this kind of announcement was often the opening gambit in a roundabout negotiation for a new toy. Not so today, however.

“You know snails?”

Did I ever? I suppressed a snort as I recalled my erstwhile fiancé, Tim, exterminating slugs on a rainy summer’s night by the light of a miner’s lamp. The neighbors had called out the police, and recounting the interlude to Rachel had cemented her intense dislike for my then boyfriend. Evidently, I had shared the story with Dan, too, because he muttered “exterminator” under his breath. I kicked his shin under the table.

“Yes, Josh, I know snails.” I encouraged my son to continue.

“Well, Mummy, did you know their eyes aren’t in their heads like yours and mine?”

I had never given this much thought before, but I nodded my agreement.

“How did you find that out?” Dan was genuinely interested.

“On the telly,” Josh explained, keen to get back to the key piece of information he was itching to impart. “But do you know where they keep their eyes?”

“Where do they keep their eyes?” Dan and I asked as one.

“Snails,” Josh started, jiggling excitedly on his seat. “Snails keep their eyes at the end of their testicles.”

Dan spat his mouthful of wine across the table, but hastily disguised his amusement in a severe coughing fit. I could feel my mouth twitch with urgent laughter, but I couldn’t allow myself to explode. Josh would be crushed. Slapping Dan’s back to maintain the coughing charade, I addressed my adorable offspring.

“Do they really keep their eyes at the end of their tentacles?” I voiced.

“Yes, mummy, they do, they keep them at the end of their—”

Tentacles,” I prompted, and “tentacles” Josh repeated carefully.

“Ten-ta-cles” Emily chimed in, never keen to be left out, and Dan stroked her hair.

“That’s right, my sweet,” he praised her. He raised his glass to me. “To your very excellent parenting,” he proposed, and I giggled.

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About Nicky Wells: Romance that Rocks Your World! 

Ultimate rock chick author Nicky Wells writes romance with rock stars—because there’s no better romantic hero than a golden-voiced bad boy with a secret soft heart and a magical stage presence!

Nicky’s books offer glitzy, glamorous romance with rock stars—imagine Bridget Jones ROCKS Notting Hill! If you’ve ever had a crush on any kind of celebrity, you’ll connect with Nicky’s heroes and their leading ladies.

Born in Germany, Nicky moved to the United Kingdom in 1993 and currently lives in Lincoln with her husband and their two boys. Nicky loves listening to rock music, dancing, and eating lobsters. When she’s not writing, she’s a wife, mother, occasional knitter, and regular contributor at Siren 107.3 FM with her own monthly show. Rock on!

 

Nicky’s books: Sophie’s Turn | Sophie’s Run | Sophie’s Encore | Spirits of Christmas

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Join Nicky: Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Romantic Novelists’ Association | Sapphire Star Publishing | Amazon | Goodreads | Pinterest

Did you know? There’s a single out now by Nicky’s fictional rock band Tuscq come to life! “Love Me Better” is available for download from Amazon, iTunes and many other places.