Monday, July 24, 2017

"Classic Ginger" Life Behind Bars .

As I sit in the dank prison visitor's room, with a smudged pane of class between Carrie, my heroine from First Degree Innocence, and myself, I'm struck by the cold gray walls, the steel folding chairs on the visitor's side, and the lack of any hint of color to brighten the mood.  Nothing about this prison is inviting.  The smell of bleach mingles with food from past meals served, and instead of a sprig of parsley, I envision a individually-wrapped vitamin on each plate to keep the assorted germs at bay.  I wish I'd worn a plastic glove to handle the old black receiver I hold to my ear so I can hear Carrie's answers to my interview questions.  Lord knows who fondled the thing before me.

I turn my attention back to the wide eyes and cute face on the other side of the marred pane.  Under different circumstances, she'd be my next door neighbor's daughter.  Today, I decided to interview her in the early part of her story.  I'm not sure she knows I'm the author of First Degree Innocence or not.

Me:  "So, Carrie, what was your first thought when you arrived here?"

Carrie: "Holy shit, this isn't a nightmare.  It's real."

Me:  "You still claim your innocence?"

Carrie: "For what good it does.  No one believes me except..."

Me:  "Except who?"

Carrie:  "I'm not saying.  I don't want to get anyone into trouble, and I'm hoping that I'll get out of this hellhole pretty soon."

Me:  "I understand you were deemed guilty because there was an eye-witness who placed you at the bank the day it was robbed."

Carrie:  "That's the only reason they convicted me.  I didn't have an alibi.  They day they arrested me , I had called in sick from work, in fact, hadn't moved off the couch all day.  The detective didn't care what I had to say.  With the witness' ID of me supported by fuzzy bank surveillance, I suppose his word was stronger than mine, but trust me, I didn't have anything to do with the robbery.

Me:  "They identified your car, didn't they?"

Carrie:  "So, I have the same make and model car.  I'm sure I'm not the only one in the world.  My problem was I didn't have anyone to vouch for me.  Coincidence is a word for a reason and I got screwed by it."

Me:  "How has prison life been so far?"

Carrie:  *sits forward in her chair*  "How you do expect life is behind bars?  Take a look around.  It doesn't get any cheerier than this, and you're my first visitor."

Me:  "Have you made any friends on the inside."

Carrie: *chuckles*  "I guess you could call my cellmate a friend, although you can't ever be sure anyone in this place is being honest.  Suzanna sort of got railroaded too, and she's been a great comfort to me, but you always have doubts about everyone.  Jet especially."

Me:  "And who is Jet?"

Carrie:  "You know how you always hear about bullies in life?  Well, Jet is the bully that runs roughshod over everyone in here.  She seems to have found favor with the guards, and they look the other way where she's concerned.  For some reason, she's taken an interest in that makes me very nervous."

Me:  "I feel a little responsible for the predicament you're in. You probably know I wrote your story, if not, I'll fess up.  Although I wish I could tell you how things will end, I can't give away the books ending.  I just wanted to meet with you today to give the readers a glimpse of where you are and how you're feeling.  I can tell you there's a light at the end of the tunnel."

Carrie:  "With my luck, it'll be a train."  *She leans back and sighs.  "I don't hold you responsible.  You're just telling...oh, excuse me, showing my story to your readers, and I can't fault you for that.  You get your inspiration where you can.  Just tell me one Jet a lesbian?  I'm a little worried about know with this being all women..."

Me:  "That really the least of your worries as far as Jet's concerned.  Just stay strong."

Carrie:  "Gee, thanks for that bit of advice."

The sound of a buzzer echoes through the room and a voice booms over a loud-speaker, announcing that visiting hours are over.  Carrie rises, receiver in hand and looks at me with sad eyes.

"Just get me out of here,  please."

As I hang up the phone and scrub my hands down my pant legs, I feel a pang of guilt for the situation Carrie faces.  I know the ending to the book, but what happens between now and then isn't going to be easy for her.  I hope she can stay strong...and if you want to know more, too bad, you have to buy First Degree Innocence to find out.

The novel is published by Books We Love, and you can purchase it on Amazon for a ridiculously low price.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

What Do I Read?

What do I read?  This is the topic for this month's Round Robin discussion.

In my case, the questions should be, "What don't I read?

I read anything and everything within my line of sight.  If you show be a book, magazine article, odds are, I will ask if I can 'see' (meaning hold it so I can see the print).  If it is interesting, I will probably walk away absorbed.  Later, I will return the item.  I will apologize and offer you something  (pen, pencil, bookmark, perhaps a cookie).

However, this is not what Robin had in mind, I assume, when this topic was posted :-).

I never read a novel in the genre I'm currently writing.  This is because I read for enjoyment.  When I am working on a historical novel, I'm researching--therefore working.  This is way I do not read historical fiction during that time frame.

Right now I'm working on a contemporary novel and a fantasy novella.  So, I'll probably re-read Jane Eyre, or some historical time period via the Internet.  Victorian era, is likely or my personal fave, Ancient Egypt.

I enjoy print books and ebooks.  I can't quite get into the audio books.  I do have an old Kindle that does text-to-voice.  It is a robotic sound, but I do not find it distracting.  If I wish for sound effects, I'll turn in a movie or television show.  I do enjoy Podcasts--though this probably doesn't fall under the topic of reading :-).

I did peek at Dr. Bob's post and amended mine.  Dr. Bob doesn't write romance because of the 'romantic myth'.

I plot by the rules of "The Hero's Journey". (Dr. Joseph Campbell).  I can't say I believe in the Cinderella and the happily ever after, in a true sense, either.  What I do like is the 'magical' emotional world of a romance.  The need for emotional fulfillment is what a romance novel offers (though mine often deal with social issues).  When a woman works full-time while raising her family, married or unmarried, she is often emotionally worn-out.  Reading a romance or gentle fantasy novel (unlike an action/suspense/horror novel) will refill her emotional cup (fill and emotional void).  Providing her with the emotional re-charge to face the world the next day/ after a 30-lunch, etc.

Positive thoughts.

Sometimes we need to believe the world is/will be a kinder place, a simpler place, or a place with beautiful book covers (had to toss in my personal pet-peeve), to get us through a rough-spot, or give us a moment of inner piece.

I believe reading fiction provides a recharge.  Life can be so draining, physically and emotionally.

What harm is there in enjoying a happily-ever-after?  After all, you have spent several hours with your new-found friends, and you wish them well.

Happy Reading,


Please Blog Hop down the list and read what these wonderful authors have to say!

Skye Taylor
A.J. Maguire
Marci Baun
Anne de Gruchy
Heather Haven
Helena Fairfax 
Connie Vines
Rhobin Courtright
Heather Haven
Fiona Mcgier
Dr. Bob
Kay Sisk
Skay Taylor
Rachel Kosinki
Anne de gruchy

Friday, July 21, 2017

Lucky 7 and Me

Everyone I'm Baaaack!
Due to a crashed PC and no wifi or internet I've been out of touch for a bit.

I'm back online and I'm sharing today's event!  I'm being feature in a Lucky 7 interview.

Lucky 7.
What is it?
What does it mean?
Stop by and find out.  I'm here with USA Bestselling author, Joan Reeves!

Hope to see you there!


Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Enter the Smartphone

Okay! Here I am confessing: I must be one of the last people in the US to switch to a smartphone. On a trip to Atlanta to see a stellar grand-girl graduate High School, I was overwhelmed by family--both kids and grandkids--demanding that I get a better phone. So—I caved at last, regaled with all the storied delights that awaited me once I owned such a device. I returned home with said phone tucked inside a pair of socks. We had been too busy with visiting back and forth, hanging out, and attending various graduation festivities to go searching for a case through Atlanta’s daunting traffic.   I figured this would be a good time to make the big change, as I’d have two sons, two DILs and a grand girl to instruct me in at least some of the major arcana.

I was once considered a tech savvy person, but those days are loooong gone. There’s a certain inverted pride in still using a bona fide IBM keyboard from the 80’s, hitched to an early 2004’s computer. It is, however, getting to be more difficult to lag behind than to “get with the program,” as software, and hardware too, endlessly morph. IMHO, (as I learned to say on USENET) I suspect that all the “updating” is simply an excuse to wring more $$ from hapless consumers. One of my friends has a fantasy about MS65, a program geared to seniors, which would be guaranteed to run without chronic episodes of silicon insanity (could I perhaps be alluding to MS 10??) and also guaranteed not to change or alter in any way for a decade. That’s about the right amount of time for many of us cotton-tops to learn a software program these days, I fear. 

Of course, stability/continuity is not what software developers are into these days—the more things fail to work as promised, I guess, the better it is for business, or something. Anyway, while I’m griping, what’s with their penchant for hiding the most commonly used operations three or four—or five--pull downs deep? Is it so we have to humiliate ourselves and buy the latest copy of “…For Dummies”? And what’s with that “Search” that leads you into Alice in Wonderland conversations with   ?? Couldn’t "search" just continue to do what the word indicates that it does?

This morning, I awoke to the sound of chimes—my new phone, of course. I’d set the alarm, hitched it to the wall socket and left it wakeful. Now, I leapt out of bed, and attempted to turn the alarm off without first putting on my glasses. Next thing I knew, I’d taken four blurry pictures of myself. It took a few more minutes of struggle before I managed to figure out how to put the camera back to sleep and find the clock + alarm again. 

How did I, whose first and foremost mental image of “phone” remains the graceful black candlestick apparatus in my grandparent’s living room, enter a world where a small slim box in my hand can deposit checks, take pictures, tell time, and connect me to the internet and thence to untold wonders of consumption? As Charlie Brown so often said, "It boggles the mind."

~~Juliet Waldron

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Developing Characters in Your Stories by Connie Vines

How do you go about developing your characters for a story?  

How much time do you spend or does it just happen in the writing process ?  What inspires you?

Thank you Rhobin, once again, for a great writing topic.

I believe development of my characters has a great deal to do with the type of novel/story that I am writing at the time.  Obviously, my novellas, for lack of work count, are not superficial by any means, but my information is given via dialogue or internal thoughts with visual clues.  My romantic suspense will have a lesser degree of character development, unless it relates to  the 'suspense element' that say, my traditional romance novels.

However, I do write character sketches for all of my 'people'.  I may sprinkle the info in the story, or simply keep in in the back of my mind for character motivation.

  • I often use astrological signs to help develop my characters and create conflict.  Rodeo Romance, Book 1, (LYNX).  Lynx Maddox is a Leo and Rachel Scott is an Aquarius.  Opposites attract but they also create great romantic conflict.
  • Birth Order is another way to develop your character(s) actions and outlook on life. Pairing a 1st born woman with the 'baby' of the family or vise-a-versa, will create writing inspiration.  
  • Ethnic background is also to be considered.  If one character is from a large immigrate family is dating a person who is an only child (4th generation) with have all types of expected things popping into picture.
  • If I am writing a historical novel, I often make a composite of historical people/clues in diaries and letters (WHISPER UPON THE WATER)
  • At other times, with all of my careful planning, the writing process flips my character into a secondary character or he/she evolves and I go back and edit/change several scenes.
  • Also physical attributes/challenges.  We all have them.  Did those dimples work in her favor?  
What inspires me?  Life.  People's hopes and dream.  Honor. Justice.  And sometimes, just the need for a good laugh.

Happy Reading!

Connie Vines

Stop by and see what the rest of this months' Round Robin writers have to say.

Romance Reviews

The Romance Reviews

Manic Readers

Manic Readers

She Writes

Historical Fiction Books

Readers and Writers of Distinctive Fiction