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.

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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.

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Point of View

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When I first began to write seriously, I was surprised to find out that using the omniscient point of view as our great authors of 200 years ago did, just wasn’t done anymore!

“What the heck is point of view anyway?” I wondered. I thought all I had to do was pretend that as the author, I knew everything and I could see into every character’s head and tell what each one thought and felt.

That may have been all right in times of old, but apparently it is frowned upon in modern times, and aspiring authors certainly don’t want to be frowned upon before they even make their debut.

Point of view, usually called POV, is not, as some might at first think, someone’s opinion. It refers to the character through whom we are seeing the story unfold. As the writer, I can pretend that this main character has a camera mounted on his or her head and whatever this magic camera can see, hear, touch, smell, or feel, is allowed to be told. The camera cannot know what another character is thinking, unless the thoughts are spoken aloud in dialogue. So I am limited in what I can tell about another character’s emotions. I’ve had to become more skilled at letting the reader know what a secondary character might be feeling, through dialogue and by showing that character’s body language. Are his fists clenched? Is his jaw working? Are his eyes filling with tears? Are his eyes narrowing and his brow furrowing?

POV can be a problem if the character who has been the POV character is not present in a scene that needs to be told. For that particular scene, the main character may be someone else, and the camera can be in that person’s head for the duration of the scene. The writer needs to stick to one person’s POV for that scene and not go head hopping throughout the telling of the story.

Some of the most popular POVs used are first and third person (“I” and “he” or “she”), and can be in the past or present.

I would like to give you some short examples of some POV types.

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Here is an excerpt from Julia’s Violinist. We are in Karl’s head (with the camera) in third person POV:

“Where are you off to?” Julia asked.

“Where else? Town. Job hunting.”

“You smell like you’re going to the opera.”

“Good, huh? Give me a kiss.” He put his arms around Julia, kissed her head, her ear, her cheek.

“My God, you smell like a perfume factory.” She pushed him away gently.

“It’s the city boy in me. People I do business with respect a person who has city experience. It wouldn’t do to smell like an old turnip like some of the farmers around here.”

“There’s nothing wrong with being a farmer.”

“Sure, sure, but I’d rather not smell like one.”

Karl liked to dab on aftershave lotion before going to the weekly card games. His hard facial stubble was the antithesis of the fine silky blond hair on his head. He felt tough and refined at the same time.

*****

And here is an excerpt from The Wind Weeps, in first person POV with the camera in Andrea’s head:

The Wind Weeps [1]

I could see his face in the wheelhouse. His jaw was set in determination. When he pulled alongside he grinned.

“Hello, Andrea,” he said pleasantly. “What brings you out here on a day like this? A bit chilly for a joyride, isn’t it?”

I pulled on the oars desperately and as he reached down to grab the one closest to the boat I took it out of the oarlock and swung it at him, clipping him on the shoulder. He jumped back. I tried to row away from the Hawkeye but with one oar out of the oarlock I flailed uselessly.

Robert reached for the oar again, and again I swung it at him, but this time he caught it easily and kept a firm hold on it. I let it go and tried to row with my remaining oar, but I knew it was over. He held the skiff pinned down with the oar, reached down, and fished out the bow line. Then he let the skiff drift back and tied its line to the davit at the back of Hawkeye. He disappeared into the wheelhouse and gave the Hawkeye a burst of fuel, turning the boat back towards our isolated cabin in the bay. I sobbed and shivered in the skiff.

*****

Which POV you choose is often a personal preference, but if you’re not sure, just rewrite a chapter in both first and third person and then choose the one you like best. Happy writing!

My novels are available at all amazon outlets and at smashwords.com. Just click on the cover image at the left side of the blog.

Please visit my other blog at http://wordsfromanneli.wordpress.com

Books Matter

When I was little and we had just come to Canada from Germany, my mother read to me often from “The Golden Book of Fairytales,” one of the important items she packed to bring with us. Books were important to her, and she made sure that her children also learned to appreciate them.

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My two younger sisters were already Canadianized by the time they were old enough to be told fairytales, so maybe they didn’t have quite the same attachment as I did to this particular book. One day when they felt creative and there was no other paper handy, they drew their pictures in the fairytale book.

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I remember being upset about it and judging by her reaction, so was my mother (although I’m sure now that she was putting on the horrified face mostly to show my sisters that defacing books was a No-no). My sisters might have been somewhere between three and five years old.

After that, when my mother read us stories from the big book, she sometimes clucked at the scribblings and shook her head, and I’m sure my sisters felt guilty while I put on my most self-righteous “older sister” look.

One day at storytime, when my sisters were about eight or nine and they commented on the scribbling in the book, my mother decided that it might be a good time to talk about how important it was to take care of your books. My sisters were genuinely sorry and to make it better, my mother suggested that they write an apology in the book.

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Now, 51 years later, we chuckle about it. The book is one of my special treasures, but more special is the memory of my mother’s reverence for books and how she taught it to her children. I will always love her for that.

A Whale of a Tale

Three years ago when I began my other blog http://wordsfromanneli.wordpress.com this was my first post.

A Whale of a Tale

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Feeling sorry for myself, I slumped on an upturned white plastic pail at the back of the salmon troller. Here, I could easily hang my head over the side and wretch if necessary—and it often was. The sky was gray, the sea was gray, the boat was gray and everything, absolutely everything, was in motion. I was wishing my life away, wishing it was any time in the future. Anytime without this dreadful seasickness. Who knew it could be such misery?

Captain Gary, lounged in the wheelhouse, sipping coffee as he steered. He seemed quite at ease with the tossing of the boat. A bit of a break from work.  No need to check the gear. For the time being, it was too rough for fishing. The way we were pitching around, the lures we trolled were most likely doing a spastic underwater dance. Any salmon fooled into taking a bite would have the bait jerked right out of his mouth. I imagined the shiny spoons playing keep-away with the fish.

Anyone who has ever been seasick knows, except for sheer pain, there’s not much that feels worse than nausea. Dying would have felt good if it meant an end to this wretchedness. Is it coincidence that “nausea” begins like “nautical” and ends with “sea”? I wallowed in my misery.

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And then… a few hundred meters off our port side, a humpback whale jumped completely out of the ocean, turned on its side, and smacked down sending great splashes of water high into the air. I yelled for Gary and stammered excitedly, pointing at the place where the whale had been. He stared at the gray water for a few seconds, said, “That’s nice,” and went back in the wheelhouse.

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Photo courtesy of Ken Thorne

He had barely settled his butt into the captain’s chair when the whale leaped out again. I screamed for Gary, “Quick! Come and look!” He ran out of the wheelhouse and looked — too late — at the spot.

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Photo courtesy of Ken Thorne

“It only jumped out two-thirds of the way before splashing down,” I said, by way of consoling him. Back in the wheelhouse, he hadn’t even had time to sit down when I shrieked for him to come see the humpback who had jumped up for a third time.

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Photo courtesy of Ken Thorne

What are the chances? This time it only came out about halfway. I guess he was getting tired. Gary, also, came out of the wheelhouse only halfway before dismissing me with a wave of his hand. I guess he was getting tired too. I felt bad that Gary had missed the show, but for me, it was the highlight of the season. For a few magical moments, I had forgotten all about turning myself inside out with dry heaves.

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Photo courtesy of Ken Johnston

Goodbye!

Photo courtesy of Ken Johnston

The humpback seems to be waving to me. “Goodbye!”

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Note: The photos by Ken Thorne were taken in one of the Pacific Inlets, not out on the open waters, but I wanted to include them to show how humpbacks jump out of the water. Besides, I was too seasick and surprised to take photos of the real humpback in this story.

 

Timing is Everything

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Anneli Purchase

 Julia’s Violinist is a love story that is dear to my heart. I’d like to tell you a little bit about it in time for Valentine’s Day.

Photo courtesy of Victor Tribunsky

Nineteen-year-old Julia lives in the tiny hamlet of Neusattl. She is in love with Michael, a roguishly handsome young man who plays the violin beautifully.  He lives in Saaz,  a much larger town about 15 kms away.

town square

His long hours at work, and the early darkness of winter evenings make it almost impossible for them to see each other.  Julia wonders if he really loves her after all. They break up when an acquaintance of Michael’s turns on the charm and sweeps her off her feet.

1939. War is declared. Everything changes. The next years bring love and loss and love again, but not with Michael. He has disappeared without a trace.

Julia begins a new family, a new life, with a man she is still getting to know. He is not the gentle fun-loving fellow that Michael was, but he promises to look after her. In the desperate postwar times it has to be enough. Then one day a letter arrives from her first love of over twenty years ago:

Excerpt from Julia’s Violinist

April 30, 1952

Dear Julia,

I hope that I’ve found you at last and that you are well. I’ve been writing letters and looking for you since the war ended. I didn’t know if you were dead or alive. I was so happy when the Red Cross sent me this address for you. They told me you are listed as a widow, so I presume that Lukas did not survive the war. I’m sorry for your loss. He was a good man.

I’ve been in Canada since 1938 when Hitler’s enforcers came looking for anyone who had opposed him politically. I was lucky to escape. I couldn’t even say goodbye to Marlies. I heard later that she died in the Dresden bombing. She had relatives there and was visiting at that terrible time. Sadly, they all perished.

A group of us, who feared for our lives, went into hiding. We managed to slip out of the country and come to Canada via Britain. There are a lot of German people in the Dawson Creek area.

Would you and your daughters consider coming to Canada? It is a land of hope and opportunity, they say. I believe it. It has been good to me. I have a bakery here in Dawson Creek and it is doing well. Why don’t you come? There are hard times ahead for you in Germany. Life is better here. Say you’ll come.

Michael

*****

What would you do? Read Julia’s Violinist and find out what Julia did.

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Julia’s Violinist is available in paperback or e-book at amazon.com, amazon.co.uk (and other amazon outlets), and smashwords.com.

McReady – by Lorne Finlayson

Finn

You will remember Finn from previous posts. All grown up from his prairie town adventures, Finn’s fascination with the local characters who clashed with the “milk and cookies” lifestyle of this young farmboy, has inspired him to write about some of these rough guys. Here is a snippet from his work in progress, about the seedy sod, McReady. You must understand that once in a while the language slips up. We can’t expect a character like McReady  to use words like “Oops-a-daisy” when the F word is more on the mark. I apologize in advance on behalf of McReady, the lout!

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Excerpt:

Jesus, my head was pounding. I just had to get out of bed and get a drink of water and some aspirin or something. Maybe a shot of gin would do it. Oh, I hate Saturday mornings. I always have a hangover. Before I rolled out I looked over at the other side of the bed. No one there. Damn. Struck out again. And she was so friendly in the bar, too.

I got my feet on the floor and heaved myself upright. Major accomplishment. No clean shirt, but yesterday’s was all right, so I put it on, pulled on my pants and jacket and fumbled around for my shoes. There were socks in them. I gave them the sniff test. They weren’t too ripe so I put them back on again, stuffed my wallet into my pocket, and jammed a brown hat onto my throbbing head. “Off to the coffee shop, Pal,” I ordered myself.

The landlady was already up. I could hear her scuffling around upstairs. Then, all went quiet and I knew she was listening to see if I was home so she could come down and bug my sorry butt about the overdue rent. Christ, I’m only a couple of weeks late, not like it’s any big deal. The old bag needs to get laid, that’s what I think. I stopped and considered the possibility, but, no, not now. A man had to have some standards and porking a 200-pound granny is a bit much, even for me. So, I planned my getaway. First, I rattled my back door lock, like I’m undoing it and getting ready to leave. Then, I stood real quiet and listened. I knew she heard me, and I heard her open her back door and head down the stairs to cut me off. So, I scooted out the front door and I was on my way, quick as Bob’s your uncle. Hardy har har. We’d played this game for years and I always won.

The sky was all grey, low clouds and the sun was up there but I couldn’t quite tell where. A cold breeze was swirling down the street, picking up the chocolate bar wrappers, cigarette packages and pieces of yesterday’s local newsrag and piling them all together in heaps along the curb between the parked cars. I could feel sand and some farmer’s topsoil gritting under my shoes. Normal morning in a prairie town. Just needed a few tumbleweeds and a couple of six guns and we could shoot a western. I figured as soon as I could get a stake together I was getting the hell out of here. Take the bus to the Coast. Some of my pals told me there’s good pickings in Prince George.

The Do-Drop-Inn was a greaseball joint with a half dozen or so round tables, a counter and a surly Yugoslav to run it. The door squealed as I walked in, asshole being too cheap to oil the fucking thing. His coffee was obscene, but it did the job on a dead body like mine. So, I poured one and looked around.

Over in the corner this other rounder, Moose, was having a greasy breakfast of ham, eggs and some slimy mush that resembled hash browns. He was sitting real close to his daughter Allie, a delightful little thing that he was trying to protect from us horse players and card sharks. I walked over and sat down and he looked up, a bit of egg on his porky chin. The sweetie looked up at me shyly and smiled, but said nothing and went back to her toast and jam.

“Christ, Moose,” I said, “kid can’t make out on toast and jam. Feed her some real food.”

That got his attention and he growled, “Hey, watch your mouth.”

Allie just giggled.

*****

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Have you met any “seedy sod” characters? I’m sure they’re all around us but they seem to stand out more in the healthy prairie environment. They make wonderful resource material for writers.

Meet Carol Balawyder

My guest today is Canadian writer, Carol Balawyder. Welcome Carol. Please share some of your writing with us.

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I am first and foremost a writer of fiction: Crime (because of my background as a criminologist) and women’s fiction (because, well, I’m a woman).

But the first book which I self-published , Mourning Has Broken,  was on grief, after my sister, Diana, died from a long battle with cancer. If you go on my web site’s blog you can read excerpts from the book. Here’s one of them:

Excerpt From I’m Going To Miss You, Caramel:

My father’s garage was a special garage because he parked his French Fry truck in it. When I think of myself standing as a child of three or four next to his truck I am filled with the sentiments of awe and wonder which is pretty much, except for certain exceptions, how I saw my father throughout his life. Now that he has been dead for over six years this wonderment and pride seems to increase with time although I do not quite know how to explain it for the simple reason that I don’t understand how this happens or why or what to make of it all. It seems such a private thing, in one way. And in another way so universal.

I guess this is what grief is about. The ups and downs. The anger. The sorrow. The bringing up of old wounds and the creation of new ones. Grief is about honor: Of the dead. The living. And oneself. And grief, I have learnt can turn into wonderment. My father is now stronger than ever alive in my heart.

Of course, the past is unattainable but if we’re lucky we can use the past as our guides as Gail Caldwell in her Pulitzer Prize Winning memoir A Strong West Wind proposes. “You can’t go back: to unboarded trains, to pristine battlefields before the dawn, to love that ended yesterday in Texas. Instead we have this stupid, lovely chaos, this burden and blessing called experience, the high beam of the past that is supposed to throw light on the future.”

Mourning has broken

http://carolbalawyder.com/

My wish is that whoever may read Mourning Has Broken – in part or in full –  will find relevance and be able to draw comparisons with his or her own experience of grief so that in some significant way I may touch and help them heal.

About me:

I have dreamt of being a writer since the age of twelve. I was the girl who found reading more interesting than boys and still find characters in fiction a lot more interesting than a lot of people I meet.

I am now retired from teaching criminology in a college and devote most of my time to my writing.

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Also available on amazon.com is “Missi’s Dating Adventures” an extension of the novel “The Dating Club” in which Missi is one of the main characters.

Missi's Dating Adventures

Missi Morgan is looking for a boyfriend. Maybe she’s just unlucky but she seems to attract the most unsuitable men you can imagine. After so many disappointing dates, her friends in The Dating Club persuade her to write about her experiences. At least some use could come from all these disheartening dates.

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Currently, Carol is working on two crime novels: “The Protector” and “Cora’s Cry for Help.” Watch for them after you check out “The Dating Club” and “Mourning has Broken.”