Saturday, September 24, 2016

Blind For A Season

A new story is in the making. It's about a doctor who is blinded while operating on a nefarious character. Was it really an accident? Or planned by an assasin aimed at revenge. But who was the real target?


Dr Shayne Stromberg deals with the realities of being a patient and being blind. How will he succeed with his new friend Mack, a seeing eye dog. Together they solve the mystery of what is happening to the OR staff, who one by one meet tragic circumstances. And, what happened to his operating partner, Gerry? An outspoken doctor determined to see Shayne recover.


I started the new story before I found out about the difficulty with my eyes. This makes the story much more intimate to me. I still have a long way to go to finish it, but will keep you posted.



Saturday, August 27, 2016

Conflict and Suspense In Literature

Creating conflict and suspense in your stories can be hard work. One author stated: "It takes 10% talent and 90% hard work to create conflict and suspense...". If that is the case, then we'd better role up our sleeves and get to work.


It begins with grammar. How we use our words. When writing a scene needing a fast pace, the sentences need to be short and clipped. If you write in lazy sentences that are long and flowing, the reader will relax and not feel the tension. For example:


He walked into the dark room and saw blood pooled on the floor.


-or-


The room was dark. He edged forward. Blood glistened in a pool in front of him.


Which do you prefer? One is plain and straightforward and rather bland. The other gives more tension and the character edges into the room.


It takes more effort and hard work to create tension. What I do is first write what I want to portray and then take it apart to re-create the best scene possible. How do you create tension and suspense? Please share your thoughts with us.

Monday, August 15, 2016

A Tech-Whiz Day

Being a writer, I do a lot of reading in my spare time. Because of this, I decided to do myself a favor and invest in a Kindle Fire to do my reading on. I've been able to carry a whole library around with me as I go about my day. Not only will I have my entertainment with me, but I have reference books and the internet where wireless is available.


But when I'm at home, I like to wrap my hands around the pages of a real book where I can dog-ear the pages or flip back and forth or even ( heaven forbid) underline passages. You can't do this  with an electronic device.


Which do you prefer? Book or electronic device? Are you a tech whiz or do you love the rough feel of paper pages?


I tried to put a picture here, but it was rejected! So much for MY technological ideas!

Friday, July 1, 2016

Sale at Smashwords!

ATTENTION:


Book lovers of all kinds! Smashwords is having a site wide sale during the month of July. You can get books for 50% or 25% or even FREE!


Included in this sale:


Call of the Dragon, Book 1, The Dragons of Mar Coupon: MZ57W Price: FREE


The Puzzle Box, Book 2, The Dragons of Mar Coupon: DC39V Price: FREE


Dragon's Fury, Book 3, The Dragon's of Mar Coupon: DT87N Price: $1.00


Galaxy Nomads, Chronicles of the MacKenzie Clan Coupon: SM46M Price: $1.00


To find these books at Smashwords, click on the title and it will take you straight to its page. To see other titles, click HERE.


Happy reading!

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

IWSG and Happy New Year!


 January 6th is a special Insecure Writer's Support Group with not only the celebration of the new year, but the announcement of the winners of the IWSG Anthology Contest. You can go to the home page HERE to find the winners. Congratulations to all!

The co-hosts for January are:
L.G. Keltner  http://lgkeltner.blogspot.com/
Denise Covey  http://dencovey.blogspot.com/
Sheri Larsen  http://www.salarsenbooks.com/
J.Q. Rose  http://www.jqrose.com/
Chemist Ken  http://hogwartssabbatical.blogspot.com/
Michelle Wallace http://www.writer-in-transit.co.za/




I want to wish a Happy New Year to all my readers, especially those that are here after my hiatus. I had difficulty doing any posting and finally discovered my computer was to blame. But I was given a new computer for Christmas (and my birthday) and here I am, ready to go.


I've discovered that after two months of not writing I'm pushing a boulder up a hill to get started again. One part of me wants to lay around and watch TV instead of work like I used to. But I am encouraged by my sister, Retta Stephenson, who entered an incredibly challenging feat where she is painting a painting each day for the thirty days of January. It puts me to shame. I've turned off the TV and started working on my story, Gemini, Chronicles of the MacKenzie Clan, Book 2. This WIP was stalled but now that I have my new computer I'm starting it up from where I left off - chapter 13. Thank you, Retta!




Wednesday, November 4, 2015

IWSG - Mundane Thoughts

This is the Insecure Writer's Support Group which meets the first Monday of each month and hosted by Alex J.  Cavanaugh. To visit other members at the website, click HERE.

The co-hosts for November are:
Denise Covey  http://dencovey.blogspot.com/  
Stephen Tremp   http://authorstephentremp.blogspot.com/

I've been working at a slow pace this month, unable to get my mind in gear. My latest story, Gemini, The MacKenzie Chronicles, Book 2 is at a standstill. Have you ever written yourself into a corner? Well, my corner has three sides, each with its own idea about the ending. I'm going back through the story to re-evaluate the story line and to re-create the plot line. Another few weeks of work, I suppose.

When I was on Twitter yesterday I saw a great tweet that said: Make yourself work. Write while you have the time or even if you don't. It encouraged me to keep working even when I'm discouraged or depressed.

"Read, read, read. Read everything- trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it. Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master. Read! You'll absorb it. Then write. If it's good, you'll find out. If it's not, throw it out of the window."
~~William Faulkner~~ 

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

IWSG- Interview With Retta Stephenson

This is the Insecure Writer's Support Group post with our host Alex J. Cavanaugh. Unfortunately, I'm not able to display our badge. There seems to be a foul up with my computer.


Our co-hosts for this month are:


Tamara Narayan  http://www.tamaranarayan.com/   
Eva E. Solar   http://lilicasplace.com/  
Shannon Lawrence   http://thewarriormuse.blogspot.com/  

I'd like to introduce an amazing artist who has shown me how important art is to the writing world. Retta Stephenson not only has done some of my book covers, she's also established her own site HERE. Here is me interview with her.




Questions For Retta
 
  1. Where did you grow up and how did this influence your art?
     
    I’m a Southern California girl, now transplanted to Oregon! When I was growing up, my family moved every year or two from the time I can remember and I know that had a huge impact on me.
     
    By the time I started to make new friends at the new place, we’d up and move again. I only really had one best friend in grade school; ditto for jr and senior high school. So I spent a lot of time in my room, drawing and painting.
     
    Maybe it was a blessing in disguise, allowing me quiet time needed to go inward and “see” things to draw. Back then, in the Dark Ages, we didn’t have tv’s and computers in our rooms. ;-)
     
  1. What brought you into the world of cover design?
     
    I was dragged kicking and screaming…. no no,  just kidding. Actually, My-Sister-the-Writer finished a book, and needed a cover! Oh, her name is… Karen Elizabeth Brown. Her book (still available HERE) is called Medieval Muse.
     
    I had a blast researching the different elements of the design for the cover art. Her writing is so descriptive, that I was able to “see” just the kind of cover I wanted to make. The challenge with art is to be able to translate the inner vision outward! But it was a lot of fun to do.
     
  1. Do you have a certain time of day you like to work? And do you like music, TV or silence while you work?
     
    I work when it’s quiet! When the pup and kitties and The Husband won’t bug me. I totally can’t “go elsewhere” in my imagination with others around and interrupting me, jerking me back to reality. So yes, I tend to end up painting in the middle of the night too often.
     
    If I am in the creating phase, it’s instrumental music ONLY. No words. Something about mixing left and right brain hemisperes, I’m told. Later on, I can listen to my favorite music or even a tv show that I can listen to more than watch. Though I must say, many times it all disappears and I’m not even hearing it anymore, cuz I’m “inside” the image I’m working on. Then I look up and realize 2 hours just went by!
     
  1. Pen and ink? Acrylic or oil? Are your book covers done by hand or digitally?
     
    Usually they start with many hand draw thumbnail sketches in pencil or black ink on scratch paper, done after reading the material from the author. They are rough, and I’m usually the only one that sees anything in them but chicken scratches.
     
    I’ll settle on one, try out a few color schemes, then run it by the author for approval. If it’s a go, then it’s my usual process: pencil, acrylics, scan it into computer, finish in Photoshop, in that order. I check with the author for any final adjustments, and voila! ha ha, makes it sound so easy.
     
  1. How much time do you spend on a book cover?
     
    Depends. I’m not a fast painter to start with, but sometimes it goes smoothly and I “see” it right from the start. So maybe a week.
     
    Other times… like pulling teeth. Yet invariably, towards the end when I’m convinced I’m a total fraud and how dare I think I could ever do this…. it comes together and I end up being surprised and loving it!
     
     
How do you create your basic idea for a book cover? 
  1. Basic rule of thumb: if I can’t “see” it first, I can’t paint it.
     
    So first thing is to get alone and quiet and get lost in the story. Or if I don’t have a finished story, read what the author gave me. Sometimes I ask specific questions once I get the seed of an idea, and the answers from the author can flesh it out.
     
    But let me warn you… it’s chancy putting in too much time before the story is finished. These authors have fertile imaginations, and have been known to change their minds! Then it’s EEK time, and I scramble to change my cover concept. Note to self: be patient, let the author finish first! ;-)
     
     
    7.  Are certain colors more important than others in creating a book cover?
     
     
    Color psychology, meaning of colors, science of color… oh my, there are SO many books on that topic! I’ve studied color for so long that it’s sort of intuitive for me now.
     
    But I will say, there are plenty of statistics that claim  warm colors combined with sparks of complementary color make a book cover that tends to attract people. So they say!
     
    While not discounting the experts, personally, I’d rather match the cover art to the needs of The Story. If The Story needs green, then let’s make it an exciting green!
     
    8.  When you read a synopsis, or part of a book, do you draw pictures while you’re reading (like an author takes notes)?
     
    Not usually pictures, since that takes too long and take me out of the story. But I do jot down notes, even if a word or two, to remind me of the image I saw in my minds eye. Since I don’t know yet which idea I’ll use, I save them all until the  concept is finalized.
     
     
    9.  Besides book covers, what other wonderful projects do you have in the works? Would you care to share a few with us?
     
    Right now I’m in the creation stage of a new series. Still making notes, drawing thumbnails to try out compositions, and bought some still life props.
     
    Let’s just say it involves flowers, a brass candle holder, an hourglass, many little animal figurines, and a human skull. No, nothing dark and foreboding. Rather, a time honored tradition in the art world: Vanitas still lifes. Mine will be full of color and hope and light. My candle will still be lit, my flowers alive, and my colors bright!
     
    10.  Some artists have favorite subjects to work with. Do you have any favorite subjects you like to paint?
     
    That changes often, I think. The one constant, though, is color and meaning. It has to mean something to me. To be worth exchanging my time, my LIFE, doing it. It can be serious, or light and fun. But ultimately, I would hope it adds something to someone elses life, too.
     
    It would be like writing a book that no one read, if no one saw the finished art. We create, and send it out into the world to be a blessing to others. And that’s my passion and my purpose.