Saturday, October 17, 2020

What is your favorite book(s) of all time in your favorite genre(s)? By Connie Vines RR# 89

This month's Round Robin Topic:  What is your favorite book(s) of all time in your favorite genre(s)

This was a difficult topic for many books, so many enjoyable reads.

Right now I seem to be reaching for cozy mysteries and fantasy fiction.  

It understandable that I would enjoy cozy fiction (no dead bodies or murder-in-progress).  My fantasy/paranormal fiction is also the non-violent type. 

That said, my favorite Romance/Paranormal novel is "Dracula" by Braun Stoker.

The tension, plot-twists, sense of time and place, and development and internal conflict of each character never seems dated.  The book is also a love story.  Which may do not realize during the first read of the novel.

My post is also late (sorry) because for some reason I thought today was Friday.  I have found the Pandemic and 'stay-safe' life style clusters the days together.

Now, cozy mysteries often have a romantic interest, the mystery with it's twists and turns is the focus of the story.

Favorite mysteries?  

The "Nancy Drew" series as a child. 

Nancy Drew Quotes

"Do act mysterious. It always keeps them coming back for more."

"Romance and detective work won't mix tonight!"

"I just know that any time I undertake a case, I'm apt to run into some kind of a trap."

"Read, read, read. That's all I can say."

"I promise to be as careful as a pussycat walking up a slippery roof."

"I don't promise to forget the mystery, but I know I'll have a marvelous time."

" I just can't help it!"

As an adult, the Tony Hillerman novels. Having traveled throughout the southwest and being involved in Native American education in the urban areas, I found the stories true to life.

Hillerman's writing style is not flash, but he can paint a landscape or thunderstorm. His use of the four corners geographic and cultural backdrop, is woven into the characters and the plot of each of his stories.

“Like all dry-country people, Leaphorn enjoyed rain—that rare, longed for, refreshing blessing that made the desert bloom and life possible.”

― Tony Hillerman, A Thief of Time

“The sky lightened now. Far ahead, they could see where the Pacific half of the blizzard had reached the Chuska range. Its cold, wet air met the dry, warmer air on the New Mexico side at the ridgeline. The collision produced a towering wall of white fog, which poured down the slopes like a silent slow-motion Niagara.”

― Tony Hillerman, The Fallen Man

What genre calls to you?

Do you have a favorite author?

A favorite, setting?

I believe as we experience life, out search for answers/truths will lead us along new path ways.

So, pick up a new genre novel or a find an author whose voice you haven't heard--yet.

Enjoy life and enjoy a new novel, too!

Happy Autumn!


Visit the authors in our blog fest:

Participant's List:

Anne Stenhouse

Skye Taylor

Diane Bator

Connie Vines

Dr. Bob Rich

Fiona McGier

Victoria Chatham

Helena Fairfax

Beverley Bateman

Rhobin L Courtright

Monday, September 28, 2020

I'm At BWL Insider Author's Blog Today!

"What Do Bats Have to Do With Halloween?" 

**Remember only WILD ANIMAL RESCUE GROUPS or Wildlife Vets are trained to 
to rehab bats, or any wild creature.

These little guys are cute.  My favorite place to observe bats is at the San Diego Zoo. 
Or, Carlsbad's Caverns.

However, I do not touch them. Or get too close.

I'm also sharing my pumpkin soup recipe, too.

Saturday, September 19, 2020

Intuitive and Subtle Themes in My Novels by Connie Vines RR#88, @connievines-author

 Most novels have an easily understood point to make to the reader, do your stories ever have more subtle or intuitive themes? 

Thank you Robin for this month's topic.

An easily understood theme.  This statement caused to me chuckle.

When I complete my novel/short-story/article, etc. the theme is easily understood.  Not so when I first sit down at the keyboard.

Even though I write with only a very basic outline (I've evolved or devolved into a panster in my writing process).

And, this process, involves a great deal of fumbling during the process:

1. Look for Your Character’s Theme

Theme is always rooted in character. Your characters, specifically your protagonist, will tell you what your theme is about. Even if you try to tack on another theme, what your story is really about is whatever is at the heart of your character’s internal struggle.

This means you can’t just dream up some wild and unexpected thematic premise and squirt it onto your story like Dijon mustard onto a hot dog bun. You have to start with what you’ve already got. Look at your character—who she/he is and what she//he wants—and look at what she’s/he's doing in the plot.

Now look harder.

Let’s say you’re me and you’re writing a time-travel story (which, it so happens, I am). It’s novella 3 of my Sassy and Fun Fantasy Series about a professor of ancient civilizations and her not-historically-inclined fiancee. While she's the one who finds herself in ancient Egypt, he's the one tasked with bringing her home in time for their wedding.  No superpowers or cell phones in this plot-line.  

On its surface, that’s a story about good versus the unknown/evil, with true-love thrown in as a side dish. No superpowers, cell phones, or time-traveling map.  Our main characters are in huge trouble.

So we dig deeper. We look at what specific struggles this character is facing.

What does he want?

Why does he want it?

What is he willing to selflessly sacrifice to get it?

What is he willing to selfishly sacrifice?

What will he gain and what will he lose by the story’s end?

How will he have changed?

When asking yourself these questions about your character, the right answers probably won’t be immediately evident. You’ll have to think about them. You’ll have to recognize and reject most of the obvious answers. In the process, you may find your conception of the character and plot evolving into something deeper right alongside your theme. Since it's ancient Egypt, it will be an intuitive theme.

2. What’s a General Question You Feel You’re Always Asking About Life?

Don’t stop at the “little” life questions right there in front of your face. Look up and look out. What are the big questions that it seems like you’re always asking in one way or another? Obviously, a novella or short-story won't have a multi-layered plot or a wide-cast-of-characters but there's always a purpose.

3. What’s a Virtue You Feel Is Undervalued?

If you’re writing a story with a Positive Change Arc and a happy ending, then your theme will probably focus on affirming a virtue—love, courage, justice, mercy, kindness, self-sacrifice. If this so, don’t just pick the obvious one—love for romance and courage for action. Instead, choose one that is important to you and that you feel is either undervalued in the world or underrepresented in fiction.

4. I believe Universal Truths Can’t be Unique.

 It’s the way a character wrestles with truth that touches a chord of recognition in the reader. The story feels both thin and heavy-handed when the theme is obvious. Which is not to say that the theme should be deliberately obscured–but that the individual character’s struggle with the theme is what matters most.  I find I often rely on my writer's intuition resulting in a subtle secondary theme.

 5. Translating into my Stories.

"Lynx" Rodeo Romance deals with several themes, one of which is a personal one.  The same is true of "Tanayia--Whisper upon the Water". I believe this is why these novels have received awards and reviews.  Tapping into personal experiences and memories/trauma ring 'true' to others. 

The heart never lies.


On the lighter-side:

These two were banished from my office, for all of  ten minutes, for wrestling.

Chanel (background) Gavin (foreground)

Visit these talented writers to see what stories they are sharing this month: 

Judith Copek

Diane Bator

Fiona McGier

Dr. Bob Rich

Anne Stenhouse

Victoria Chatham

Helena Fairfax

Skye Taylor

Rhobin L Courtright

Happy Reading,


Friday, September 18, 2020

Please Bring Back Smokey the Bear by Connie Vines @California Forest Fires 2020 #SmokeytheBear

I reside in Southern California about 35 miles from both the El Dorado Fire and the Bobcat Fire.

Yesterday the El Dorado Fire claimed the life of a Firefighter.  

The wildfire continues to burn in the San Bernardino National Forest, forcing thousands of residents to flee their homes in mountain communities.

Please keep everyone in your thoughts and prayers.

Even if we are not in the evacuation area, the smoke, ash, and air quality is fearfully unhealthy.  Some are relying on medical grade-masks indoor their home.  Going outdoors is out of the question.

Here's what we know about the blaze so far today:


Acreage: 21,678

Containment: 66%

Structures destroyed: 4 homes, 6 other structures

Structures damaged: 2 homes, 4 other structures

Residences evacuated: 3,467

Structures threatened: 26,031

Personnel: 1,351 firefighters

Deaths: one firefighter killed

Injuries: 12

CNN: El Dorado Fire

The Bobcat Fire continues to grow in the Angeles National Forest as the firefight enters its 13th day.

The blaze has been rapidly spreading north, prompting new evacuation orders and warnings for communities in the Angeles National Forest and foothills near the High Desert.

Here's what we know about the fire so far today.


Acreage: 60,557 acres

Containment: 15%

Resources deployed: 1,300 firefighters

Bobcat Fire

Fires are also raging in Northern California, Oregon, and Washington.

Stay Safe.  

Please Remember: Fires become deadly in only a matter of moments!


Saturday, August 29, 2020

Joan Reeves: Review of Paradise Perfume! #Joan Reeves, #SlingWords

Joan Reeves: Review Paradise Perfume

Thanks Joan!

Please visit Joan's blog for FREE STUFF, Reviews, and more!  And, of course, to read her review!

Joan Reeves is a New York Times and a USA Today bestselling author of Contemporary Romance. Her novels--Keeping Romance Alive...One Sexy Book at a Time--have been published in a half dozen languages, and her ebooks are available at most ebook sellers with audio book and print editions also available.

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