Friday, October 21, 2022

Villainous Characters and Redemption. Yes or No? By Connie Vines #RoundRobin 100, #Writing Tips, #Villians, #RR100

 Have any of your villainous characters reached redemption for their actions? How would you go about it if you were going to do this?


Since I also write YA and MG stories, I try not to make any character 'purely evil' and beyond redemption.

That's not to say that there are no evil or self-serving people without a conscious residing in our world. However, such a story would be too dark and depressing for me to write.

My YA and MG novels explain how/ why this person changed over time. I do not justify evil actions/mistakes. I provide an avenue for the reader to assess and make decisions appropriate for his/her age/ability level.

Romance/Romantic Suspense/Historical Novels

I usually have a villain or two in all of my storylines.

I've yet to send any of my villains on the road to redemption. 
Why?

I have little sympathy for my villains.

I don't like my villains.

I don't want my villains to be happy.

I really wish for my villains to suffer.

My points of reference:

  • The Wizard of Oz  - the evil witch tried to kill Toto and Dorothy! ๐Ÿ‘  (yes, I know the house killed her sister, but still..)

  • Dracula (Bran Stoker's classic novel). This novel is a love story. Not your typical happily ever after, but a love story never-the-less. In this case, I could provide the original man (the count) redemption; however, the evil being he became would be beyond redemption here in the earthly realm. Profound sympathy on my part, perhaps.
As a reader, how do you feel about the 'bad guy' returning as a future novel hero?

Is a villain always a villain?

Or is a villain in the 'eye' of the reader?

Thank you for stopping by for our 100th Round Rhobin Blog Hop!

Please visit the talented authors of our group for their take on reforming the bad guys.


Happy Reading
Connie 

XOXO

Participating:

Diane Bator http://dbator.blogspot.ca/

Skye Taylor http://www.skye-writer.com/blogging_by_the_sea

Judith Copek http://lynx-sis.blogspot.com/

Connie Vines http://mizging.blogspot.com/

A.J. Maguire http://ajmaguire.wordpress.com/

Dr. Bob Rich https://wp.me/p3Xihq-2KA

Robin Courtright http://www.rhobincourtright.com


** All of my novels/novellas are on sale (50% off) at the

 Smashwords site through Halloween!


https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/vinesbwl






Friday, September 23, 2022

Characters, Reader's Intuition, and Deep-Dark Secrets By Connie Vines, #Round Robin99, #Writing Tips, RRBlog,

This Month's Round Robin Topic: What do you define in your writing about your characters and what do you leave to the reader’s intuition? Is there anything you never tell about a character?


This topic will require a bit of pondering...

๐Ÿ‘ฆ๐Ÿ‘ง๐Ÿ‘ช๐Ÿ“š

 When writing YA/MG fiction,/non-fiction I define my characters, my plotting, and characters' histories and backgrounds down to a "gnat's eyelash" so to speak. In historical fiction, there are many events, though historically accurate, a young reader is not equipped to process.  I address this in the note from the author, and the Q and A at the end of the novel.


๐Ÿค ๐Ÿ‘ข๐Ÿ‘ฉ๐Ÿ’

As for romantic fiction, I still research career backgrounds, (my setting are towns/states I'm familiar with (residing or numerous vacations in the area). In the past, I interviewed my characters and kept detailed notes about family histories, etc.  I no longer do this before writing my stories. Why because halfway through the book, my characters defined a different pathway--which led to revisions. I detest plot revisions three-quarters through a 60,000-word novel ๐Ÿ˜ญ.

So, now I've become what is defined as a Panster: W-plot outline, scribbled notes about my characters, a title, and away I go.

㊙๐Ÿ”Ž๐Ÿ˜ฎ๐Ÿ“‚

Secrets and mysterious background.

Don't you love secrets/hinted-at but not revealed mysterious background? I know I do.

Everyone has a chapter in his/her life they'd like to keep hidden. Or it may be a secret that would blow the socks off a person. Double O-7's life sounds romantic and exciting until you really think about what he does for a living.

A cowboy, rancher, or banker may see run-of-the-mill-boring until you discover a past event that defined him as a man of honor and courage; or an act of sacrifice and kindness that makes you weep.

Visit my Round Robin band of authors, they have great stories to share!


Happy Reading, everyone

Connie

XOXO


 Skye Taylor http://www.skye-writer.com/blogging_by_the_sea

Diane Bator http://dbator.blogspot.ca/

Connie Vines http://mizging.blogspot.com/

Dr. Bob: https://bobrich18.wordpress.com/?p=10492

A.J. Maguire http://ajmaguire.wordpress.com/

Robin Courtright https://www.rhobincourtright.com/


Tuesday, August 30, 2022

Connie's Tuesday Kitchen: It's Never too Early for Brownies! By Connie Vines #Brownies, Brownies for pennies, #Connie's Kitchen, #connievines-author.com, #BWL Publishing Inc, #BWLAutorInstider Blog


We are all budget conscious right now. With a box of brownie mix upwards of $4.00, it makes "cents" to keep a Ziploc storage bag containing your "homemade" dry mix in the pantry.


Dry ingredients::

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup flour

1/3 cup cocoa

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

Spoon into a large Ziplock bag /or other air-resistant containers

Store in your pantry until needed. 


What you will need to add to your dry mix before baking:

2 eggs

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1 teaspoon vanilla

Bake at 350 degrees for 20 - 25 minutes / 176 degrees Celsius

The temperature may vary depending on the type of pan (nonstick/glass/aluminum)







I always have a few candies/ marshmallows/ broken cookies/ or other items (like pretzels that can be broken into small pieces) and added to a dessert to provide a crust/crunch/or a decorative topping ๐Ÿ˜

Often asked questions:
  • How do you make brownies chewier?
Substituting melted unsalted butter for the oil recipe will make for a richer and chewier brownie as well. Just melt the butter and use it instead of the oil to get a rich and chewy brownie.

  • What happens when you add marshmallows to brownie batter?
The brownies are fudgy, and the marshmallows are gooey, and even more indulgent. If you like brownies and marshmallows, you'll be making this dessert every time you want something sweet. 

  • How do you make brownies better?
Use milk instead of water. Milk contains more fat and flavor than water so the brownies are even more moist, gooey, and delicious.

  • Can I add chocolate chips to my brownie batter?
Definitely! Add 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup of add-ins. Such as chopped nuts, chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, mint pieces, caramel bits, Reese's pieces, Toffee pieces, flaked coconut, etc.

  • Or Swirl in Some Good Stuff to make your brownies stand out
A dollop of cream cheese, fruit jam, pumpkin๐ŸŽƒ puree, peanut butter, or caramel over brownie batter. Spoon it into the pan, then cut through the batter to create this wow-worthy effect. Your dessert will be prettier and tastier for your effort.๐Ÿ˜‹


Let your imagination guide you.  Pinching pennies doesn't mean you can't make a healthy meal or a delicious dessert.



May your kitchen be filled with Gingerbread Hugs and Peppermint Kisses,

Connie
XOXO



Friday, August 26, 2022

How Do You Create Characters? Are you an Instinctive Writer or Not? By Connie Vines #RR, #Round Robin, #Creating Characters?

 

 

Round Robin August topic:   

How do you create your characters--their quirks, habits, values, and what part they will play in the story, etc.? Do you have a process, or do they come to you instinctively?


 Thank you, Rhobin, for this month's topic ๐Ÿ““๐Ÿ’ญ๐Ÿ‘ฉ


Over time, my writing process has evolved. When I first began writing, I published magazine articles, educational materials, and nonfiction. All relied heavily on research, hands-on, and often extensive on-site impressions (visiting a Reservation, historical archive, or site, speaking with those who lived the life, so to speak). This resulted in 3 - 5 years of research for my YA/MG novels.

I had also published in romantic fiction during this time. My first contemporary romance was published by Kensington/Zebra (under a pseudonym) ๐Ÿ’Ž Precious Gems imprint.

When I accepted a part-time position as an acquisitions editor ๐Ÿ‘ฉfor an e-book publisher (during the infancy of this market) and a part-time job in public education ๐Ÿ‘ฆ๐Ÿ‘ง๐Ÿซ๐ŸšŒ I realized my writing had become instinctive. I no longer interviewed my characters. I simply knew them and heard snippets of dialogue in my head. Of course, plot/pacing/goals/conflict were left-brain skills and can never be ignored :-)

Quirks! I adore character quirks.

Now habits are often defined by the position held in life, the physical environment in which one is raised, and personal likes/dislikes. 

A rodeo bull rider's habits ๐Ÿด๐Ÿฎ will differ significantly from a corporate executive's ๐Ÿ—ฝ✈. Of course, there may be someone who grew up on a spread in Montana who had a burning desire to work on Wall Street...but what are the odds? 

But quirks are so much fun to discover. So unexpected.

๐Ÿ’ญDo these quirks come from the writer? Or the character of the story?

Likes and dislikes, I believe, come subconsciously from the author.

Do I have research to substantiate this assumption? No.

I do not like mint ice cream. To me, it tastes like toothpaste ๐Ÿ˜ฌ . However, when I was expecting my first child, I ate mint ice cream daily as part of my lunch. ๐Ÿจ๐Ÿฆ So, if my heroine was expecting, she might eat mint ice cream. 

I love coffee; my characters seem to love coffee ☕ and animals, too.  

Personality Quirks

high levels of enthusiasm

likes to be the center of attention

makes assumptions about others’ motives

tendency to react emotionally

tendency to respond objectively

tendency to take things personally

tenderhearted nature

tends to be argumentative just for the sake of arguing

Behavioral Quirks

always wants to sit facing the door

bites lip when thinking or trying to remember something

uses air quotes when talking

very distinctive laugh noises

whistles the tune to songs

Quirks Related to Eating and Drinking

always orders the same food in a restaurant

brings snacks everywhere

counts the number of chews before swallowing

drinks coffee or tea very frequently

eats while driving the car

Well, you get the picture.

My (Daily) fan club members:






I'm a night owl forcing myself to crawl out of bed at sunrise:


I erased the typo!
๐ŸŽƒ๐Ÿ“๐ŸŒž⌚


Click on my book covers to make a purchase or on my website link to learn more about my novels!

Please visit these fabulous authors' websites. I'm confident they have delightful stories to share!     

 

Happy Reading,

 Connie

XOXO

Tuesday, August 23, 2022

Connie's Tuesday Kitchen: 5 Easy Crock Pot/ Instant Pot Dinners that are Easy on the Budget! By Connie Vines


What's the saying? "Winner, Winner. Chicken Dinner!"

Five Family pleasing meals that are easy on the budget  ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿฅฐ and the family will love!


Straight from Connie's Kitchen๐Ÿฝ


  BBQ Chicken :


3-4 Chicken breasts/tenders  (boneless, skinless).

16 oz bottle of BBQ Sauce (whatever I have in the fridge).

1/2 cup Zesty Italian Dressing

1/4 cup brown sugar

Put in the crock pot and chicken. Mix together ingredients. Cook low: 4-5 hours or on high for 2-3 hours.

Shred with a fork and serve on buns for yummy BBQ chicken sammies. Leave them whole and serve with some garlic mashed potatoes and veggies. For a twist during hot weather: serve as I did this week:  french bread that had been buttered and toasted under the broiler, shred the chicken and add a side of broccoli. ๐Ÿ˜‹   





2. Orange Chicken :

3-4 Chicken breasts

1 cup BBQ sauce

1 cup Orange Marmalade

1-2 tsp soy sauce (optional)

Cut chicken into cubes and put it in the crock pot./Instant Pot Mix ingredients together and pour over chicken. Cook low: 4-5 hours or on high for 2-3 hours. 

Serve this with a side of homemade fried rice and add a ton of veggies, or rice noodles/low-mein noodles and veggies! Beats takeout every time! ๐Ÿฝ


3. Creamy Ranch Chicken


3-4 Chicken breasts

1 can Cream of Chicken (I prefer low-sodium)

1 packet Ranch dressing mix

1 packet Italian seasoning packet

1/2 package of cream cheese (4 oz) 

Mix together the cream of chicken soup, ranch, and Italian seasoning. Place chicken in the crock pot and pour mixture over. Cook low: 4-5 hours or on high for 2-3 hours. 

Once done, shred with a fork and add the cream cheese to add thickness and make it creamy. Serve over egg noodles or rice.๐Ÿ˜‹


4. Salsa Chicken


3-4 Chicken breasts

1 jar of salsa

1 can of black beans

1 can corn (Usually do not have canned corn and substitute frozen)

Mix all ingredients together and put them in the crock pot. Cook low: 4-5 hours or on high for 2-3 hours. Shred with a fork. 

Serve over rice,๐Ÿš use as filling for burritos ๐ŸŒฏ๐ŸŒฏ, or toss on top of lettuce for a fun taco salad ๐Ÿฅ—.



5. Ranch Chicken Tacos


3-4 Chicken breasts

1 can of chicken broth (I prefer low-sodium)

1 packet ranch mix

1 packet of taco seasoning

Put everything in the crockpot/Instant Pot and let it do its magic! Cook low: 4-5 hours or on high for 2-3 hours. 

Shred with a fork when done; serve in a taco shell with your favorite toppings! Super fun and easy for Taco Tuesday! ๐ŸŒฎ๐ŸŒฎ๐ŸŒฎ๐ŸŒฎ


If there are leftovers, you will have a take-to-work lunch for tomorrow. ๐Ÿš—๐ŸšŒ


May your kitchen be filled with Gingerbread Hugs and Peppermint Kisses,

Connie

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