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.

Apricot Nectar

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.

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Point of View

Anneli Purchase

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.

Humour in Writing – Anneli Purchase

Anneli Purchase

It is human nature to enjoy happiness, and although humour in books is not the enduring kind of happiness,   it can bring us snippets of it. Only the most serious of books would not benefit from a little humour woven into the text. My novel, “Julia’s Violinist” is a fairly serious story of a postwar love triangle. I’d like to share with you an excerpt from this novel to show that everything need not be dour at all times, even in a setting like that of Julia’s story, where love still thrives among the ruins of war.

Excerpt from Julia’s Violinist:

He stood in the doorway holding a bouquet of flowers in each hand. “For the lady of the house,” he said. A wave of his blondish hair fell forward as he inclined his head in a quick bow to Brigitte. Julia took a deep breath as Brigitte motioned for her to come closer.

“This is my sister, Julia Feldmann. Our new friend, Karl Werner.” Karl gave the second bouquet to Julia and shook her hand.

“So happy to meet you, Julia. I hope you like flowers too.”

“I love flowers. Very nice to meet you, Karl.” He was charming. No doubt about that.

“Mutti, Mutti!” Steffie ran into the house, gasping for breath. “I saw a man picking the neighbours’ flowers.”

“Psh-sh-t! Steffie!” Julia said.

“That’s him!” She pointed, mouth agape, and hid behind her mother.

“They were being wasted over there and I knew there were two lovely ladies in this house who needed them. Now, Steffie—is that your name? What a pretty name. You won’t tell on me, will you?”

“No.” Steffie peeked at Karl from behind Julia’s dress.

Julia watched the smile playing around Karl’s lips as he wooed Steffie into becoming an accomplice in his crime.

“Let’s get these lovely flowers into water so they haven’t been picked in vain,” Brigitte said. “Why don’t we sit in the living room? Steffie you can go on back out and play.”

“Don’t forget to keep our secret,” Karl called after her.

“I won’t,” she said, skipping out the door. “Sofie! Guess what!” they heard her call.

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Julia’s Violinist is available for only 99 cents from now to the end of July through amazon.com and smashwords.com.

 

Boys’ School, Berlin 1923

Karl, one of the characters in my novel Julia’s Violinist, appears as an adult character in the novel, but part of laying the groundwork for his personality involves letting the reader get to know him as a child.

In this excerpt, eleven-year-old Karl, has been sent to a foster home on a farm on the outskirts of Berlin. In the nearby boys’ school, he is determined to get revenge on the teacher who seems to have it in for him.

A Snippet from Julia’s Violinist:

Herr Solberg nagged him. “Karl! What’s this? Did one of those farm hens run across your page? Who is supposed to be able to read this? You’ll copy this work again after class.” Karl smirked and lapped up the attention he received.

The next day at recess, the boys, as always, paraded two abreast around the inner court of the schoolyard. Karl had what he needed—an elastic band and one of Frau Bauerman’s hairpins. In the middle of the yard, Herr Solberg stood, hands behind his back, ever watchful, his gleaming pate bobbing as he teetered back and forth from toe to heel. Karl kept his hands down and to one side as he loaded the hairpin and drew back on the elastic band between his thumb and pointer finger. He released the stretched elastic and immediately dropped it on the ground. Karl used Peter’s body as a screen to hide the laughter he couldn’t keep inside.

Herr Solberg’s hand flew to his temple, slapping himself. His bald head swivelled. Eagle eyes searched the line of boys. In seconds he had traced the path of the flying object and pointed to several of the boys around Karl.

“You four. Step out.” Karl, Peter, and two other boys stepped out of line. “Empty your pockets.” The boys all had various small items in their pockets, but Karl had nothing. “One of you did this.” Herr Solberg pointed at the red welt on his temple. “You will tell me who did it right now, or you will all be punished.”

Peter had a pained grimace on his face. Karl could see him struggling with his conscience. Although Peter mostly looked at the ground, his eyes constantly flicked over to look at Karl as if he was waiting for him to confess. Moments later Peter broke down and pointed at Karl.

Herr Solberg took Karl by the scruff of the neck and hauled him into the school, lifting him so that the tips of his toes were all that touched the ground as he walked. Karl tingled with excitement. At the end of the break, the class had to witness his punishment. Karl stood at the front of the classroom looking at the faces of his classmates. Some covered their mouths to hide their expressions of horror at the pain they knew was coming, while others beamed openly in gleeful anticipation.

Herr Solberg pointed. “Bend over the table.” He took his cane and smacked the table beside Karl. The knocking of knees on desks appeared to give Herr Solberg pleasure. His lips stretched back into a sadistic grin. He wiped a bit of drool from his mouth and proceeded to give Karl’s backside three hard whacks.

Karl winced but didn’t cry. When it was over, he sauntered back to his desk with a smirk.

“I’m really sorry, Karl,” Peter said on the way home, “but he was going to cane us all if someone didn’t speak up and I was the only one who knew you did it.”

“Don’t worry about it.” Karl threw back his shoulders and pulled himself up as tall as possible. He walked with a swagger.

“But it must have hurt like hell, getting your bottom hit like that.”

“It wasn’t too bad.” Karl stopped abruptly and reached down inside the back of his knickerbockers. He pulled out a huge handful of straw. “I expected to get caught.” The boys shrieked with laughter as they ran home.

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Julia’s Violinist is available in paperback and all e-book formats at Smashwords.com

and at all amazon sites, particularly

amazon.com

amazon.co.uk

amazon.de

Find out more about Anneli Purchase, her copy-editing skills, and her books at her website:http://www.anneli-purchase.com 

Timing is Everything

Anneli Purchase

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.

Christmas Interview – Kit Domino

“Winter Wonderland” by Kit DominoWinter Wonderland

Besides being an author and editor, Kit Domino is a superb painter. I would love to have her painting, “Winter Wonderland,” hanging on my wall at home.

Kit lives in the UK and is visiting my blog today to tell us her thoughts about Christmas. Welcome, Kit.

1. Do you celebrate Christmas?

We are not religious so Dave and I celebrate it in our own special way – not for us the stress and hassle a lot of people seem to create for themselves. No paper hats, no crackers, and we don’t send cards. For us, it’s a time for relaxation, a few treats that we wouldn’t indulge in during the rest of the year, and a time for spending with loved ones. Everything is very low key and laid back.

2. Have you ever spent Christmas alone?

Never, and I’d hate it if I heard that any of my family were alone on Christmas Day.

3. Have you ever had a non-traditional Christmas dinner? What did you have?

We don’t do traditional. Normally we have roast beef but we have on occasion enjoyed sausage, egg and chips – not that we couldn’t afford anything else but because my husband doesn’t like turkey and all the trimmings, apart from the sausages!

4. What are your thoughts on gift giving?

Christmas is a magical time for children and every child should have something to unwrap from Father Christmas. In our family we only give gifts to the children; watching their faces as they rip off the paper is the best part of Christmas. We treat the adults on their birthdays instead.

5. What was the most fun activity you’ve done at Christmas?

Many years ago when our daughter was aged about nine years, it snowed. We spent Christmas morning building a snowman in the garden, having a snowball fight and making snow angels. It was wonderful, and then coming in from the cold to a glass of warm mulled wine made the day. Simple pleasures that cost nothing and a memory we will never forget. Why can’t all Christmas mornings be like that? More recently, I enjoy watching Dave decorate the tree – for years he wouldn’t get involved, now it’s “his job,” as he tells me. Hmmm… he’s definitely mellowing as he gets older.

Mr and Mrs Snowman

6. Do you have stockings either at Christmas, or on St. Nicholas Day?

As children, we never had stockings but a Christmas Day tray each – a special fluted shallow dish made of paper maché that was filled with sweets, nuts, fruit and little toys and trinkets. As we grew older, the toys and trinkets turned into jewellery, perfumes, etc. I continue this tradition by doing the same for any guest who is with us over Christmas.

7. What was the best gift you ever received at Christmas?

I have two older sisters who are twins, and most of my clothes as a child were hand-me-downs (two of everything!) which I hated, but I remember one particular Christmas I came down to find a brand new dress. It was brown and white with a pleated skirted and cap sleeves. I loved it – because it was new and bought especially for me.

8. What was the worst gift you ever received at Christmas?

Believe it or not, a giant roll of clingfilm – plastic food wrap – from a niece; my sister-in-law received the same. Neither of us could believe it. It was that which decided Dave and I to stop the gift giving. Decried at the time, but now all the family followed our lead and has stopped giving gifts except to the young ones. They all tell us how much more enjoyable Christmas is now without the worry of what to buy everyone.

9. What was the best homemade gift you ever received?

A dear lady in Germany who purchased the very first bluebell painting I’d ever created for several years afterwards always sent me a home-made Stollen. Being of German stock myself and enjoying many of the German traditions, especially the food, this was wonderful. This year I decided I would go back to making my own as I used to do years ago, long before you could buy Stollen here in the UK.

10. Have you ever given a homemade gift? Tell about it.

I’m not very good at making craft things but I have given a few paintings as gifts – does that count?

11. What would you change about Christmas?

The length of time we are bombarded with TV adverts and stuff in the shops from the moment the kids go back to school after the summer holidays – especially mince pies! Christmas is one day (okay, two in the UK), not three months. Okay, that makes me sound a grouch, which I’m not. Can I have a magic cracker that turns my Dave into someone who loves all the traditional foods and carols and such?

12. What would you keep the same if you could?

Always having my mother here for the holiday. We lost my father fifteen years ago, since then Mum invariably comes to stay, always asking if she can come. She loves it with us because we don’t fuss and it’s so quiet and relaxed. It wouldn’t be the same without her.

13. What is your favourite Christmas music or song?

I have three: Silent Night, preferably sung in German and another German carol Suesser die Glocken nie klingen (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0sNICNl9Los#t=72) – sorry, that’s the German blood in me again), and White Christmas by Bing Crosby – all guaranteed to bring a lump to the throat and a tear to the eye. Actually, there’s more than three, now I think about it… I adore Fairytale in New York by the Pogues and Kirsty McColl, and Don’t Stop the Cavalry by Jona Lewie – two songs that always makes me feel that Christmas has arrived.

14. What do you like best about Christmas?

Being with my family.

15. Any additional thoughts about Christmas?

Whilst many of the traditions and food are well rooted in the past and the true Christian meaning has been lost by many, I do think we should endeavour to keep it alive. We value it and it is something enjoyable to look forward to during the middle of winter.

Kit-Domino-180x240

Kit Domino, artist and author of Every Step of the Way

9780957222106

Book link: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Every-Step-Way-Kit-Domino-ebook/dp/B007ST58CG

Website: http://www.kit-domino.com/

Blog: http://kitdomino.wordpress.com/