Friday, July 3, 2020
Thursday, July 2, 2020
When asked most authors will say that each book stands alone and that they don't neccessarly need to be read in order. And, of course, that's the goal, right?
Whether it's the tenth book in the series or the first, the goal of the writer is always to create a story that can stand on it's own. A self-contained adventure that doesn't rely on the reader knowing something that's not on the page in the installment they're reading.
G.A. McKevett aka Sonja Massie, author of over seventy books, defty uses life changes and character growth to add richness to her plots. Her latest "And the Killer Is..." is on my bedside table right now.
And then there's yet another approach. The inimitable Laura Levine, simply tells you, the reader, in an aside what you need to know. "You'll have to read about when that happened in..." And though I was always taught that author intrusion is something to be avoided at all costs. I'll be darned if it doesn't work just fine when she does it.
You know, I have to say that I enjoy each of these different approaches to storytelling.
But I also have to admit that my preference is always to read a series in order. I like getting to know the people and the places as the series unfolds. Occasionally, I have started with a book that was in the middle of a series. Usually because a friend has shared it or it was part of a conference giveaway. But if I really enjoyed the story, I'm going to track down book one and start at the beginning. Otherwise, to me anyway, it would seem like starting with season three of Downton Abbey or any other great continuing television series. I want to be a part of the story from the beginning.
Is it just me?
How about you? Are you a reader that always wants to read a series in order or do you not care about reading the books strictly in order?
Mary Lee Ashford writes the Sugar & Spice mystery series for Kensington Books and also writes as half of the writing team of Sparkle Abbey, authors of the Pampered Pets series from Bell Bridge Books.
GAME OF SCONES is the first book in the Sugar & Spice series.
DESPERATE HOUSEDOGS is the first book in the Pampered Pets series.
Leave a comment to be entered in a drawing for both of these "first in the series" titles. Or if you already have them both, any book you're missing in either series!
Wednesday, July 1, 2020
Clicking Our Heels – Dreams
Today, members of the gang admit whether they think things through in your dreams or are you a concrete thinker?
Robin Hillyer-Miles - In my dreams I see vivid colors and words and numbers. I trained myself to lucid dream at age eight. I can go into a dream, tell myself I am dreaming, and direct the dream to create a better story, change the entire dream to my liking, and write entire stories while asleep.
Julie Mulhern - A little bit of both. Answers to plot problems frequently show up in my dreams.
Dru Ann Love - I’m probably a little bit of both.
Juliana Aragon Fatula - I dream while sleeping, while awake, while eating, while driving…
Debra Sennefelder - I like to plan but I know life is unpredictable, so I like to be flexible.
Kathryn Lane - Ideas for some of my short stories have come from dreams. One story, titled Behind the Murals, came from a dream about a painter who created murals on all the interior walls of his house. For my mystery novels, I tend to be a more concrete thinker since I plan out twists and turns, and surprises.
Debra H. Goldstein – I work out problems in my stories or novels in my dreams, but I rarely get a new story idea while sleeping though I regularly dream.
Shari Randall - That time upon waking, halfway between sleep and full consciousness, is a great time for dreaming a story.
Lynn McPherson - I'm a concrete thinker.
Paula Benson - I’m more of a concrete thinker. However, I don’t overlook insight that comes in dreams.
Mary Lee Ashford: I sure wish I could. That would be awesome! If I'm having a story problem I often have to talk it out. So, I'll call Anita or one the other people in our critique group and talk through the problem and potential solutions. But sorting it out in my dreams, not so much.
Anita Carter: If I’m thinking about my story before I fall asleep, I’ll dream about it or I’m able to work through a problem, but that’s not very often. I’m more of a take a shower, fold laundry, or take a walk kinda girl when I need to ponder an idea or problem.
T.K. Thorne- My dreams are often bizarre and rarely relate to what I am writing (that I can tell) but the best ideas come, like sleep, when I am daydreaming and not trying too hard.
Friday, June 26, 2020
dog-mom, horse servant and cat-slave,
Lover of solitude
and the company of good friends,
New places, new ideas
and old wisdom.
We are living History, a moment of angst and hope, of isolation and involvement, a time to look deep.
In the beginning of my novel, House of Rose, my police officer heroine shoots a man in the back. I deliberately placed Rose in that situation, because it put her in trauma, and that is how character is built. I wanted readers to experience that from her perspective, to be uncomfortable. Having to pull the trigger is not a comfortable place. I am a former police officer, and, like my fellows, I always dreaded having to make such a decision and having to live with it—right or wrong.
I am proud of those voices, but I understand they do not make black people feel safe.
I am not black and not trying to imply I understand what it feels like to be, but I am listening and trying to imagine that and to relate it to my own experiences. I am Jewish.
Recently, I watched a documentary on the growth of anti-Semitism in the world, including the U.S., and it awoke in me something that I try to ignore in my daily life, an underlying fear of being different and what might happen to me or those I love because of who I am and what I believe. The outpouring of sympathy and expressions of horror at the Tree of Life massacre did not make me feel safe either.
How are we not beyond this? I yearn for there to be no need for police to have to make awful decisions or even to be armed, only to perform their highest calling—solving problems, protecting and helping people. I yearn for soldiers to put down their weapons and say, “Ain’t gonna study war no more.”
I also research and write about history and know we have moved the needle significantly from the past, but we have not left the darkness behind. It is a chasm looming before us. I fear we are on a precipice as a country and world.
What can I do?
I am a writer, so I am doing what I do—writing about my pain, confusion, my passion for justice. Sometimes I do that through my characters, but sometimes I just have to struggle for the words in my own voice.
T.K. is a retired police captain who writes books, which, like this blog, roam wherever her interest and imagination take her. Want a heads up on news about her writing and adventures (and receive two free short stories)? Click on image below. Thanks for stopping by!
Thursday, June 25, 2020
This Land is My Land. Fifty-three percent estimate DNA Indigenous to Americas, Mexico, North America, Haiti and Dominican Republic, and Northern Africa. by Juliana Aragón Fatula
June 25, 2020
|Juliana in 1971|
Tuesday, June 23, 2020
Monday, June 22, 2020
I’m glad I got my reading mojo back, however, I’m struggling with it. Normally I would read two to three books in a week and now it takes me at least one week to finish a book. I think it’s the routine I miss.
No matter what, I continue to read and enjoy the stories being told for my reading pleasure.
How is everyone else doing with their reading?
So in between that, I've been trying out a few grocery delivery companies:
- Amazon Fresh: I get 98% of what I ordered delivered.
- Instacart: I get at least 85% of what I ordered delivered, so the shopping cart cost always fluctuate.
And home meal deliveries.
- HelloFresh: The program wouldn't let me pick my own meal for the first time, so I had to settle on their choice and of the three, the only one I like was the flatbread and that is if I didn't put the stuff they wanted me to put on it. Plus I had to do prep work. And the reason for cancellation, they did not deliver the box to my apartment door. They left it where the mailbox are and if I would not have said, hey where are they and went down there, someone could have walked away with the box.
- Now, I'm experimenting with Freshly now. The food is prepared and all I have to do is put it in the oven (it's meant for a microwave, which I don't have). In week one, I liked two of my choices. This week I picked something different and we'll see if I continue beyond that.
- The other delivery companies all involved prep - yes, I'm lazy like that.
So, have any of you tried grocery deliveries or home meal deliveries?
Friday, June 19, 2020
Thursday, June 18, 2020
Calling Our ReadersBy Cathy Perkins
The days leading up to a new release are always hectic for an author. Add in a nerve-wracking pandemic, wrenching racial and political crises, and life can feel downright overwhelming. Other members of our group have posted thoughtful discussions about this turmoil and I hope you will read through those posts and think about their words. Whatever your personal beliefs are, may you be a force for change, a positive note in the chaos.
Ready for an escape? Without further ado, I bring you Calling for the Money!