Getting to Know Characters

It would be easy to describe Edgar, the log salvage man, in a routine description, telling what he wore and how he talked, how he smelled, or how he behaved. But after a few sentences, would my readers still be with me, especially since Edgar was a secondary character? Why would a reader want to bother?

There are many ways to introduce characters and let the reader get to know them. Here is one method I used in my novel, The Wind Weeps. Edgar is important to the story, but he is a secondary character. Andrea, my main character, has a new job as a wharfinger’s assistant. She greets Edgar as he pulls in to dock at the wharf with his salvage boat and she goes to help him tie up.

Excerpt from “The Wind Weeps”

Edgar’s beat up log salvage boat, Prowler, sidled up to an empty dock space, the engine roaring and spewing blue smoke. Below the waterline, the exhaust sputtered and rumbled. A rainbow film of gasoline crept over the surface of the water. The floating wreck couldn’t have seen a coat of paint in years. Specks of white—all that was left of the original paint—stuck to dented, scarred aluminum. I assumed the jagged metal teeth attached to the bow like pieces of a huge, big-toothed saw, were for pushing logs. The open boat had a canopy over the bridge where the skipper and a deckhand might sit somewhat protected from the weather. But, exposed to the elements, the back was littered with coils of rope, peevee poles, power saws, axes, and piles of chains. Ugly, loud, and stinking of gas and oil, the Prowler’s arrival could not be ignored.

One of the older boat owners and a permanent resident of Lund, Edgar was probably in his seventies, but he hopped out onto the float with the spryness of a much younger man. He was shadowed by an invisible pong of oil and garbage. I wrinkled my nose and reached for the stern line to help him tie up.

“Hi, Edgar. I’m surprised to see you here. Don’t you usually tie up at the floats at Finn Bay?” I knew Bert wouldn’t be pleased to have him tie up here.

“Hey there, Andrea. Yah, that’s right. I won’t be long. Just have to run up to the general store to get some more tobacco. I run out in the middle of the job and it makes me right owly to be without it.”

“Course it does,” I said. He had the sallow, wrinkled skin of a seasoned smoker.

His grimy hand reached for the line I was about to tie. “Here, I’ll do that. These lines is kinda dirty and I don’t want ya gittin’ yer hands fulla grease ’n’ stuff.” I gladly gave the line over to him.


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If you enjoy reading The Wind Weeps, please check out the sequel, Reckoning Tide.


Dialect in Writing



If one or more of your characters have a dialect or accent that you feel is important to note in your novel, I would suggest that unless you are very familiar with those regional speech patterns or accents, use them sparsely so they  don’t distract from the story. The safer way to do it would be to choose a few instances of the dialect and use them in dialogue. Try as much as possible to have the rest of the writing in plain English.

Falling out of character by messing up the dialect is going to do damage to your credibility as a writer and to the credibility of the character.

I’d like to give you some examples of how I have used dialect of a character in my novels.

One of my secondary characters in The Wind Weeps is Monique, a French-Canadian girl. I wanted to show that she spoke with a French-Canadian accent, but I didn’t want the phonetic spelling of every word of her speech become a chore for the reader. My solution was to limit Monique’s dialect and accent to a few of the most obvious speech habits that were typical of French speakers of English.

Saying the soft sound of “th” (as in “they”) is often difficult for speakers of French origin,  so, for example, instead of saying “there,” Monique would say “dere.”  For the hard sound of “th,” she might say “somet’ing” instead of “something.”

In French the sound of “h” is not used, so in English, Monique would have a habit of dropping the sound of the letter “h.” I showed this by placing an apostrophe in its place.  If she were saying, “It’s time to have something to eat,” she would say, “It is time to ’ave somet’ing to eat.”

That reminds me of the last clue to Monique’s speech being different; she would not use contractions. Instead of “can’t,” she would say “cannot,”  or she would say “it is” instead of “it’s, and “I ’ave” instead of “I’ve.”

By using these three changes in the dialogue, the reader could instantly identify that it was Monique who was speaking.  Just to be sure, I gave Monique two more habits of her own. I added the odd case of her swearing by having her say, “Tabernac,” once in a while. I also had her use an expression that was all her own by having her conflate two common phrases she had heard used in English. When she wanted to say “For sure” or “Sure thing,” as she had heard others say, she ended up saying, “For sure t’ing.”  Whenever this came up in the book, we would always know it was Monique speaking.

If you’d like to check it out yourself, you can find The Wind Weeps and its sequel, Reckoning Tide, at all amazon   (click on amazon) outlets and at (Click on

My books are all marked down to 99 cents US so you can load your e-reader with bargain reading.

You can find a review of The Wind Weeps, by clicking on this blog post by Diana Wallace Peach,

P.S. For those who follow both my blogs, I have copied this post for both this one time. I don’t intend to make that a habit.



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.


*** 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, 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 or, or and type in Marlie. If you have an e-reader other than Kindle, you can find Marlie on It is affordably priced so as not to break the bank.

For a great review of Marlie, please check it out here:

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

Love and Drama

Women love a love story.


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:


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.


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.


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.


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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The Wind Weeps

Mad Song (excerpt)

by William Blake

The wild winds weep,

And the night is a-cold;

Come hither, Sleep,

And my griefs unfold.

How did Andrea’s life become so hopeless and full of grief that the crying of the wind sounded like it could be the theme music for the movie of her new lot in life?

In a remote cabin on the rugged coast of British Columbia, Andrea, a pretty and vibrant young woman, seeks escape from the man she has married. He was so handsome, persuasive, and charming. He promised to love her forever–and he will–“till death do us part.”

Her friends are far away in the town she and her husband left behind. They haven’t heard from her in a long while…. No Internet, no phone, no mail. They assume she’s happy.

How were they to know? It all seemed so idyllic at first.


But then, Andrea is too remote for contact with them. Almost forgotten.


And all the while, she is fighting for her survival against huge odds.

The Wind Weeps

From August 22 until September 4,  over the Labour Day weekend, all my books will be priced at $1.99. Click on the book cover images for Orion’s Gift and Julia’s Violinist for the amazon link.

The Wind Weeps is available at most amazon outlets, including:

If you have an e-reader other than Kindle, you can download The Wind Weeps through Kobo, or Barnes and Noble.

The Turning Points Series – Anneli Purchase

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Most novels have at least one scene that is a turning point in the story. Something changes.  It could be an outer turning point where something happens to change the way the story evolves or an inner turning point where the person’s inner resolve or attitude changes. Maybe this change affects a character so that after this point, nothing will ever be the same for him or her. Some turning points are dramatic; some are more subtle.

In my novel The Wind Weeps, Andrea is pursued by two charming fishermen. She is confused when one of them , Robert, pressures her to rush into marriage, especially when many of her friends try to warn her away from him. She goes to the beach to think and finally makes up her mind to take things more slowly. But just then, Robert appears at the beach with a bouquet of orchids. Here is an excerpt with a subtle turning point:

He was beaming happiness and I stammered as I stalled, dreading having to tell him the wedding was off. And now he’d bought these expensive flowers. I didn’t know how I’d find the courage to let him down gently. Oh, bloody hell! I’m so screwed up.

Jabs of panic churned at my insides. “You – you’ve been to Powell River already? T-today?”

“I had to take care of a few things.” He counted off the tasks on his fingers, like a to-do list. “Got the Justice of the Peace all lined up for us for tomorrow at 4:00 p.m., hotel booked, dinner reservation at the best restaurant in town, flowers for my girl.”

“You’ve already done it all?” No! No! No! I need more time. I need more time. Everything was happening too fast. I wished the gravel on the beach would open up and swallow me. My knees buckled as that sinking feeling became real and Robert was quick to catch me.

“Here. Lean on me.” He put his arm around my waist and pulled me close to him. His big, warm body, so strong, made me feel safe. Robert’s faint manly scent with a hint of lime aftershave drew me in. I reached up to touch his freshly shaved chin, meaning to push him away gently. I would take a moment, catch my breath, find a way to tell him I needed more time.

But Robert took my hand and placed a kiss on the inside of my palm. His lips continued to nibble feathery kisses up the inside of my wrist to my elbow.

“I … ah … Robert … I …” When his lips moved from inside my elbow to my neck, I knew I was in trouble. When he was this close to me, I wanted to believe in him and be his. If he had thrown me down on the beach right there, I would have helped him tear off my clothes.

“Come on down to the Hawkeye,” he said, his voice husky and urgent. He grasped my hand and walked briskly to the wharf. “You can’t imagine how good it is to see you. It’s been a long three months.”

Clutching the orchids in my free hand, and taking two steps for every one of his, I couldn’t manage more than mumbled replies.

Inside the Hawkeye’s wheelhouse, Robert closed the door behind us and latched it. He took the orchids from me and threw them into the sink. His hug almost crushed me, his kisses, as desperate as mine, engulfed me. He whipped my shorts off. His pants dropped and in a second we were in his bunk. He was hard and big. I was small and helpless. I was surprised to find myself so willing, and was ashamed at my weakness, wanting—no, needing—sex like that. I’ll tell him afterwards that I need more time. The logic was so ridiculous, I burst out laughing. Robert stopped cold. “What are you laughing at?” His tone was hard and accusing. He looked so stern it scared me.

“I was thinking we’re doing things backwards; first the honeymoon, then the wedding.” He smiled with relief, but his face was the only part of him that was relaxed. His lovemaking was urgent and insistent, like a man who’d been lost in the wilderness for too long. I tried to give him what he wanted, but with Robert intent on taking, I had to be satisfied with being taken from.

The Wind Weeps

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Christmas Interview – Sonja Forrester

My guest today is Sonja Forrester.

Some of you may remember Sonja from days gone by, but one thing hasn’t changed.Just as always, she can usually be seen with a cat around her feet.


Sonja will share her thoughts about Christmas and let us peek into her home as it was decorated for Christmas last year.

December 9th 002

Welcome, Sonja.

1. Do you celebrate Christmas?

Yes. Generally, on Dec 24th, Christmas Eve, but also occasionally Dec 25th.

 2. Have you ever spent Christmas alone?

No, I have not. I am fortunate that I have never experienced being completely alone.

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

Yes, we had steak and prawns.

4. What are your thoughts on gift giving?

I can take it or leave it. I admit it is fun to open a little surprise of some kind, but more fun to watch the people you are with open their gifts/stockings.

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

Watching the cat react to her new toys. Oh wait…that would be the most fun activity the cat had.  Mine would have been when I was a young child and my parents left little clues around the house until I found my parcel.

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

Yes, we generally only have stockings. Not too often do we buy “gifts.”

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

When I was about 4 or 5, I received an “ANNIE OAKLEY” doll. She was my idol in those days.

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

Handmade tablecloth, napkins and placemats. Homemade candles, bath bombs, baked goods. These things mean more to me than any purchased gift.

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

I used to spend hours making gifts for giving at Christmas. There were many lavender sachets for closets and drawers, beeswax candles, bath bombs, clothing that I had made, picture frames that were made from fabric, doll clothes. I once made my niece an entire wedding party’s ensemble for all her Cabbage Patch dolls. Also made her a dress, with another matching one for her Cabbage Patch doll.

12. What would you change about Christmas?

Less commercialism, perhaps more homemade or handmade gifts, more music, family and being thankful for what we have.

13. What is your favourite Christmas music or song?

Leise Rieselt der Schnee.

 14. What do you like best about Christmas?

Music and choirs singing.

15. Any additional thoughts about Christmas?

It seems to me that there are so many people out there that get themselves very stressed out trying to find “the perfect gift” for someone. Everyone should be happy just to have their loved ones near, food on the table, and a warm bed to crawl into.

Favourite Christmas album

My Favourite Christmas Album

Do you have pets that make your Christmas special? Leave a comment and tell us about it.

Why Does the Wind Weep?

Anneli Purchase

Hi! I’m Anneli. I’d like to talk to you about my novel The Wind Weeps, which is set on the west coast of British Columbia. The scenarios are all very real, and the story that I relate, although it is fiction and a bit bizarre, is one that has taken place  with variations, on this coast. If you’re wanting adventure and suspense, along with a good love story, maybe this is the book for you or for a friend.

Have you ever heard high winds roaring through the trees in a windstorm? On the coast of British Columbia what isn’t rock is trees. When the southeast winds scream across the water and then, making landfall, get hung up in the tall firs and cedars, the whooshing of the wind alternates between howling and whining. Unsettling sounds,  even when you have your life in order, but when you wish you were elsewhere and have absolutely no escape, the wind almost begs you to join it in its weeping.

Andrea is a happy young woman who leaves her boring city job back east and comes out west for a life of adventure. She is determined to learn to get by on her own in a world that is much more raw than the artificial city life she left behind.

She turns heads when she walks by, but remains unaware and humble about her good looks. Men are attracted to her, but she is apparently oblivious to the effect she has on them.

When she finds a job on the wharf in a small west coast town, she has her choice of men, but naively, she gets caught up in too much of a good thing. There’s a song by Glenn Frey that was made  just for her.

“Are you gonna stay with the one who loves you
Or are you goin’ back to the one you love?
Someone’s gonna cry when they know they’ve lost you
Someone’s gonna thank the stars above”

Poor Andrea makes the wrong choice and pays the price. When she ends up in a desperate situation, she often hears the wind and wants to weep with it.

But wait, she’s made of stronger stuff than that. She is determined to find a way out. As we follow Andrea in her dilemma, we travel the coast and experience it as if we were in the boat with her, in the forest with her, in the remote towns with her, in a life of hell with her, hanging onto a sliver of hope.

The Wind Weeps

You can order this book as a paperback or as an e-book at and all amazon outlets. Click on the links for more information.

Please visit my webpage at or my blog at

The perfect Christmas gift idea! Choose from three of my novels: The Wind Weeps, Orion’s Gift, or Julia’s Violinist.