Thursday, November 29, 2012

WRITERS MARKETING ESSENTIALS BY RITA KARNOPP


Give this some thought:
1.     Your books never really die—they live forever on the internet.
2.     An old book is a new book to anyone who has not read it before.
3.     If a book is good - no one really cares if it’s old.
     So what this mean is you can promote your book for as long as you want. There will always be new readers out there, and it’s just a matter of reaching them. Have a plan for success, and keep doing things that will eventually build your success.
     A website: It’s a simple thing, many are so easy to maintain, you can do it yourself. You can choose free sites or choose one for under ten dollars a month, like I do.  
     Giveaways: Word of mouth is your best advertisement’ is a cliché I will use. Giveaways are a great way to spread the word about an upcoming book release. Choose key people who would be good to spread your word to the right readers.
     A newsletter list: Many writers believe this is vital. Collecting email addresses is not an antiquated strategy. Proof - I collected oodles of MySpace friends, but then MySpace faded into obscurity and this would not have happened to me with email. So collect those addresses, and spread the word when your book is about to release. 
     Blogs: Blogs are a great way to engage with your readers. Another great strategy is ‘joint blogs’—blogging alongside other authors to expand your collective reach and narrow the work load.  Keep in mind that content is key – or you will lose your audience.  Variety is important since you don’t want to have five writers blogging together about the top five keys to choosing character names—blog about ideas and information that readers care about.
     Newsfeeds: Establish yourself as a go-to source on your topic. Set up a Google Alert (google.com/alerts) so that every time your topic is mentioned, Google will send you an email notification. Then, provide those on your blog. Before you know it, people will come to you for information and that will lead them to your books.
     Share your expertise: Write articles on different topics related to your novel. For instance, if your thriller takes place in Montana, pitch an article on something that hasn’t been written about it before—and, of course, at the end of the piece, include your byline with your name and book.
     Pinterest: If you haven’t found Pinterest yet – you must.  Pinterest is a social network based on visuals. People basically post images that they like, and then others repost them on their pages, disseminating the image. But authors can take it a step further and create a Pinterest board for one of your characters. When someone reposts your content, they’re spreading your authorial brand.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Welcome Gail Roughton to Dishin' It Out


Circumstantial Evidence?

You know, it’s occurred to me that we writers put ourselves in danger sometimes. What with modern technology and the plethora of information available online at our fingertips, we can visit anywhere – usually via revolving screen shots that tour everything from Vegas to the Vatican.  We can find information about anything.  From archaic alchemy formulas purporting to change metal into gold to precise instructions for saying the Rosary. 

And therein lies the problem.  Over the past years, how many trials have featured the defendant’s computer as one of the star witnesses?  Because face it, unless you’re a computer whiz yourself, you don’t know how to wipe your computer’s memory, now do you?  I don’t mean clear out the recent browsing history, occasionally I can actually do that.  I mean the “innards” of your computer.  Where, the experts tell us, our entire online life is recorded.  Forever.  Unless you’ve got one of those wiping devices from the CIA, of course, and I don’t know about you, but I just don’t have a lot of those high tech luxuries on my shelf.

So.  How easy a target would a writer be to set up for all manner of criminal shenanigans?  Me, for example.  Well, let’s see.  Over the past few years I’ve learned how to obtain a marriage license 24/7 in Vegas and where to go to use it.  I know where prostitution’s legal in Nevada and where it isn’t.  (And actually, it isn’t legal in Las Vegas). I’ve got a passing acquaintance with Voo-Doo and its hierarchy of spirits. I’ve checked out the quality and measurement of various controlled substances, the styles and types of different handguns and the damages each can inflict. I know the Temple of Isis at Pompeii was excavated in 1764. I know golems are creatures from Jewish mythology made of sand who do their makers bidding.

The problem is, somewhere in the inner workings of my laptop, it’s recorded for anyone who knows how to access it that I’ve researched all these things.  So theoretically, it wouldn’t be all that hard to build a circumstantial case against me that I’m planning to off my husband by means of a golem armed with a .357 Magnum, run away to Vegas, open a brothel, and practice black magic, now would it? 

Oh, wait!  I forgot!  Currently,  I’m touring Daytona Beach in preparation for Bikers’ Week, the setting of my work in progress, The Coven, the third in the War-N-Wit, Inc. series.  So they’d think I was running away with an Outlaw Biker.  Of course.  How remiss of me.  They wouldn’t look for me in Vegas, they’d look for me on Main Street in Daytona over at the Boot Hill Saloon.  Or maybe at the Bank & Blues Jazz Club. 

If you’d like to see the results of all this web-crawling, hop on over to my web-blog, http://gailroughton.blogspot.com where you can view the final results of all this incriminating research.  Because none of my books would have been possible without it.  And keep an eye out for The Coven, coming soon from Books We Love, Ltd. 

The Coven

Chad and Ariel Garrett are off to Bikers’ Week in Daytona!  Chad’s buddy Spike, bounty-hunter turned pediatrician, is coming out from Vegas to go with them.  And Ariel’s little sister Stacy’s riding, too. 
But you really didn’t think the Warlock and Witch private investigative team could get away with having a few days off, did you?  Of course not.  Chad got a call about an undercover agent riding with an OMG.  An Outlaw Motorcycle Gang.  The guys with the 1% patch on their jacket.  The agent’s MIA.  As in “Missing in Action”.  Any law enforcement agency looking around for somebody who can talk the talk and walk the walk – well, of course the first person they’re going to call is Chad Garrett.  The broomstick rides again.  Disguised as a Honda. (Bet you thought I was going to say Harley, didn’t you?  Sorry.  Chad’s a Honda man.) 

Note from Ginger:  You can't miss Gail's War-N-Wit series.  It's awesome.  I can't wait for the Coven.  *smile*

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

TEN WAYS TO BE A BETTER WRITER - by Rita Karnopp


“Always kill with lean writing,” Catherine Coulter once said. “Sloppy writing is not acceptable. … You don’t want to end up being a murder victim in your own book.”
I so believe that . . . and it's the little things that can make you a better writer.
     1. Ban the adjectives - “Treat adverbs like compliments. A few go a long way.  Listen to what you are writing and if you would not say it aloud, then don’t write it.  The trick is to read it aloud, and your ear will reveal the truth.  Remember the golden rule ‘nothing you write is set in stone—change it and change it until it sounds right.
     2. What is wrong with “said?   Avoid repetition- Cut out those “She encouraged.” “He snapped.” “Damn this God forsaken place, he yelled frantically.  Think about it, it’s like writing, “I’m sorry, he apologized.” You don’t need all the excess words. ‘Keep it simple’ applies here. Every time you use a substitute a word for “said,” the reader blinks—and you have pulled her/him out of the scene. Keep in mind you want constant forward motion. Trust your characters – they know what they are thinking and feeling.
     3. Erase exclamation marks – When I stared writing I was told you’re allowed three per book - so use them wisely.”
     4. Expunge euphemisms - Blue orbs for eyes? Really?  Don’t stall your reader into pausing – guessing - what are blue orbs?  Back to writing ‘simple.’
     5. Stereotypes – Characters should be unique and true to themselves—especially bad guys. Imagine them and make sure they ring ‘real.’  Are the people you know – our everyday family and friends – are they physically stunning knockouts? Then don’t create perfect people in your books – you know anyone perfect?  I surely don’t.   Make sure you have a very good reason for whatever you do. Consider giving your characters some sort of ‘tag,’ some quirk that will make them real.
      6. Use restraint in sex scenes – Again – ‘less is more.’  Be sensual, even make your reader squirm . . . but do it with taste.  You don’t have to explain every little detail. The reader will get more out of a scene with tasteful illusions.  Do not overwrite.  Remember humor can be sexy.
     7. Skip introspections – Introspection (self-examination or self-analysis) kills pacing and pacing is key to a good story.  If a character can say something aloud instead of think it, then choose to say it aloud.
     8. Use care with violence and language – If an intense violent scene doesn’t actually advance the plot of the story, don’t use it.  Never write scenes with shock value, it’s gratuitous and you don’t need it.”
     9. Never use cliché’s – We’re all sick of them – and they almost make us laugh at this point. ‘Pull an all-nighter.  See the writing on the wall. Fit as a fiddle. Moment of truth.’ Ugh, get rid of them or your reader might stop reading.
     10. And above all, enjoy writing your story – it will show - Don’t take yourself too seriously and don’t push yourself to the point writing is a chore instead of a pleasure. it will not be your best work and it will definitely show.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

More Lessons Learned from Ginger, plus an invitation!

One things about being an author, you never stop learning.  In every other job I've held, there came a point where I knew exactly what I was doing and I went through the motions every day--day in and day out.  Oh, once in a while I learned something new, but trust me, writing is a never-ending lesson.  Plus, it's more exciting because every book brings a new cast of characters and a story I've never heard.

I guess by now, I've mentioned I'm a pantser, so my stories come directly from my characters with no plotting by me.  The best part, in my opinion: putting together a manuscript is telling myself a story, and I'm usually anxious to get to the end to see how things work out.  The worst part...I'm experiencing at the moment.  Life has gotten in the way of my muse and either I'm too distracted to listen, or my character has gone mute in a polite and caring way, so as not to add more to my plate.  I'm having a tough time with the struggle between heeding my best advice and just putting the story aside until I can give it my very best effort or forging on because I can't wait to see "whodunit.

Yep...I'm writing outside my comfort zone of western historical and piecing together a tale entitled, A Novel Murder.  I've already gotten the cover and shared it here, but I'm sure you'll excuse me if I share it again because it gives me such delight.  So far, I'm loving the tension and tad bit of humor mixed with the grim crime scenes, but I fear I'm going to have to wait until my pending eye surgery is over and I'm fully healed.  I'm happy to say my medications are finally working well together and I can at least walk without holding onto someone or something.  *smile*  Hey, turning 67 was a big awakening, and I'm sitting here looking at brochures from two crematorium businesses because it's time I got my stuff in order.   Oh, I'm not planning on checking out anytime soon, but when I go, I would like my family to at least have a clue what to do with me.   Hey...this is the age when you do things like fall and break your hip or when boy scouts start helping you cross streets.  Luckily, I don't walk, so I don't have to face that insulting moment of life.  *lol*

Anyhow, I've strayed from the title of this post, and that because I wanted to share one more "problem area" I'm trying to avoid in the writing of my current story.

Do you have any idea how difficult it is to break old habits?  Well welcome to my world.  Now, after learning that if you are firmly in the POV of one person, where you should be, then you need not continue to use phrases like "she saw, she felt, she heard, or any similar phrasing that indicates what should already be apparent to the reader.  If you have "put the reader in the character's head," then the feelings, seeing, hearing and other senses are a given.  Makes sense, but watch and see how many writers haven't learned this yet.  I've been writing for over ten years and I'm just now learning this.

I think of of the hardest lessons learned for me has been omitting unnecessary instances of the word "that."  The rule of thumb...if you can read the sentence without the word and it still makes sense, then don't use it.  I'm still working on it.

A favorite for me is RUE = resist the urge to explain.  Leaving out some of the obvious is less insulting to the intelligence of the readers.  For example:  if two people are sharing a dialogue and you've put the dialogue in quotes, there is no need to add a tag beyond she said.  She said 'to him' is really not necessary.  I keep learning these things and always wonder if the readers even notice or care?  How about you?

Oh, I'd be terribly remiss if I didn't refer you all to the Books We Love page where you can see all the special editions available for the holidays.  They are ready for ereaders and you get three books for the outrageously inexpensive price of $5.99.  So, for those people whose gifts you've been puzzling over, there are genres for everyone...including mine.  If nothing else, while you're there, enter our contest.  Click on the snowglobe to go directly to the contest page.  Great prizes, and even greater reads.  :)

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Welcome Roseanne Dowell to Dishin' It Out

Note from Ginger:  I've read this book and found it truly refreshing to have an older hero and heroine to whom I could connect.  Roseanne has written a very interesting, humorous and humanistic story.  Here's her post:


The idea of this book first came to me when my father was in a nursing home. Unfortunately, he couldn’t get out of bed, and he did refuse to eat or take meds. After years of working as a tile setter, it had taken its toll and he suffered with arthritis in his knees and back, so much so that he wasn’t able to stand or walk. I noticed during several visits a little old lady walked past his room and always stopped and looked in. She never spoke, just looked at us for a minute and went on her way. Something about her reminded me of my mother. Maybe it was her curly, silver hair, or her slight build. Whatever it was, she stuck in my mind and years later when I decided to write this story, she naturally came to mind. This story actually had several different drafts. The original was a nonfiction assignment for a writing course I took. It was strictly about my father and his incapacity to get out of bed. From there it changed to fiction, and I brought Elsa into the story.  While Elsa is based on my mother – especially her love of playing jokes and her sense of humor, my mother predeceased my father by three years. And while Mike is based on my father, my dad didn’t have this sense of humor. While I could picture my mother doing this stuff, even in a nursing home, I honestly couldn’t picture my dad. He had a sense of humor, but not one as wild as my mom.
Where I came up with these ideas, I’m not quite sure. I think Mike and Elsa thought of them. The story just took off on its own and flowed. I love when a story does that.
Geriatric Rebels is the story of Mike and Elsa. Seventy-two year old, Mike, forced to stay in the nursing home for therapy. He refuses to take his medicine, refuses to get out of bed, and won’t cooperate with the nurses. At least not until he meets Elsa.  Seventy year old, Elsa is left in the home because her son took his family on a vacation. After an explosive meeting, she teams up with Mike and the nursing home is never the same. Later they discover deception and fraud. Can the two find happiness together?
Available from Books We Love Publishing, Ltd. http://bookswelove.net/dowell.php
Learn more about Roseanne Dowell’s books, check out her website: www.roseannedowell.com or her blog: http://roseannedowellblogspot.com


EXCERPT:

Peeking around the corner into the dimly lit halls, Mike watched the pretty silver-haired lady slip into a dark room. What was she up to? He looked up and down the hall to make sure no one was around and followed her. Next thing he knew, he ran smack into her.

“Whoa,” she whispered. “Who are you? What are you doing here?”

“Maybe I should ask you that question,” Mike answered. “This isn’t your room.” A tiny little thing, she barely came up to his shoulders. She put her hands behind her back, and Mike chuckled. What was she hiding? “I’m night security,” he lied. “What’s behind your back?”

She lowered her head and brought out a water pitcher. “It was only a joke.”

Mike took her arm. “You better come with me.” He led her to the hall after a quick check to make sure it was still empty. “So you’re the one stealing the pitchers.”

She shivered and for a moment he felt sorry for her. What a mean trick, but he couldn’t help himself. He pushed open the exit door.

“Where are we going?” Elsa stiffened and tried to pull away. “Where are you taking me?”

 Her timid tone melted Mike. Time to confess. Damn, too late.

“Wait just a dog-gone minute.” She pulled away from him. “How do I know who you are? Where’s your uniform?  Show me some identification.” Although she spoke in whispers, the tone of her voice showed Mike she wasn’t buying his act.

Surprised by her sudden change of attitude, he stopped, raised his hands in surrender, and grinned at her.
“Who are you? Where do you think you’re taking me?” She glared at him with the lightest, bluest eyes he’d ever seen. Eyes that right now, he swore pierced into his.

 “You’re a burglar, aren’t you?” She tapped her foot and crossed her arms over her chest. “If you think for one minute, I’m going out that door with you, think again, buddy.”

Mike stifled a laugh, finding her amusing, obviously she didn’t trust him. Not that he blamed her, he did lie to her, and she didn’t know him from Adam. What did he expect?

“What were you doing in that room, buster, and if you don’t tell me who you are, I’m going to scream for help.”

“Okay, okay, quiet down.”  Hell, she meant business. “I was following you.” He tried to sound serious, but he couldn’t. He found the whole situation humorous. “My name is Mike Powell, room 110, but I don’t belong in this home.” He held out his hand toward her.

“Yeah, none of us belong here,” she scoffed. “Why were you following me?”

Since she ignored his outstretched hand, Mike lowered it. “I was curious to see where you were going in the middle of the night.”

“Humph.” Elsa tapped her foot. “So why are you here?”

“I fell and there wasn’t anyone to take care of me. My wife passed away three years ago, and I don’t have any children. So they threw me in here for therapy.”

“I never see you in therapy.”

“That’s ’cause I don’t need it anymore.”

“Humph. So how come you’re still here?”

“Nothing to go home to. I have more fun here. They don’t know I can get out of bed.”

“And just how did you pull that off?” Elsa seemed surprised to hear he had fooled the nurses into thinking he couldn’t get out of bed.

 “Simple, I refuse to get out of bed. Of course….” He combed his fingers through his thinning white hair and laughed. “They don’t know about my night time escapades.

“Ah, I know who you are. You’re that difficult man. I hear them talking about. You don’t eat, refuse to take your medicine, or even get out of bed. They call you the ‘Geriatric Rebel’.”

Mike chuckled. He liked the sound of her voice, musical, not raspy or whiney like the other women here. “So why are you here?” he asked. “You don’t seem like the typical resident.”

“Humph, kids are on vacation and don’t want to bother with me. I’m Elsa Logan, by the way.” Elsa turned away. “I better get back. Maybe I’ll see you tomorrow.” She left him standing in the hall.

A quiver of something familiar went through him as she disappeared down the hall and into her room.
***
Mike sighed as Doris’s soft hands slid over his forehead and soothed him. He liked her voice, soft, sweet, almost sing-songy. But no amount of cooing was going to make him get out of this bed. You would think after a month of trying, she’d give up. The others had.

“Come on, Mike, you know it’s not good to lay here like this.”

 He squeezed his eyes closed ignoring her, wishing her away.

“Just leave me alone!”

“Okay, Mike, but you’re not doing yourself any good.” Doris left and closed the door.

Guilt gnawed at him the minute the words came out of his mouth. He shouldn’t have yelled at her like that, she was one of the few nurses in the home who bothered with him, and he savored the pampering. She’d been coaxing him to get up to socialize for a month. Sure, socialize, like half the residents here would even remember. Except Elsa.

Elsa with her curly silver hair, quick temper, beautiful smile and bright blue eyes, he closed his eyes, remembering the previous night.

 Mike smiled at the memory. He couldn’t wait to see her again. He napped off and on throughout the day to help pass the time. Finally, they dimmed the lights. Now was his chance. He sneaked into the hall, and there she was peeking out of her room. Was she looking for him? He hoped.

 “Hi, Elsa.” Strange, he felt shy with her. He’d never been shy a day in his life. Not with his wife, not with anyone. Never one to mind getting up in a crowd to speak, this shyness made him uncomfortable. “Want to go for a walk?”

She gestured for him to lead the way.

“Wait, how are we going to get back in?” Elsa stopped and pulled him back at the exit.

“Don’t worry, the door doesn’t lock. Look.” He went out, pulled the door closed and then pushed it open. “”Come on.” He led her out to the parking lot.

“How come the alarm didn’t go off?”

“I disabled it and jimmied the lock.”

She stumbled as she hurried to keep up with him. “Do you think you could slow down a little?”

He waited for her to catch up.  “Sorry, I forget old people can’t keep up with me.” He took her hand. Something about her brought out his playful side, a side long forgotten.

“Who are you calling old, you blustery old fool?” She pulled her hand away, planted it on her hip, and glared at him.

This was definitely a woman to reckon with “You’re really pretty when you’re mad.”

“Humph.” She furrowed her brow and stepped away from him.

Uh, oh he had pushed her too far, but he couldn’t help teasing her, he felt so alive.

 “I’ll show you mad.” Elsa swung her fist, just missing him.

“Hey, I was joking.” He grabbed her hand.  “Truce?”

She pulled her hand away but gave him an agreeable nod. They stepped out into the parking lot and to a clump of trees.

“This is my special place.” He led her beyond the trees to a small grassy area.  “It’s where I come when I want to get away from them.” He nodded toward the home.

Elsa sat on the grass next to him. “It’s like a million miles away from them isn’t it? It’s been a long time since I’ve been out in the evening. Thank you for bringing me here.”

 Mike stroked the back of her hand, enjoying the intimacy of the moment. “Why do you steal the water pitchers?” He couldn’t help being curious about the soft-spoken, petite woman with the quick temper, who invoked feelings he hadn’t felt since his wife died

“Just for the fun of it- I get bored. Besides, I can’t sleep at night.” She shrugged

“I took the nurses’ lunches a couple of times,” he said, “but usually I just come out here.”

“That was you?” Elsa giggled. “They talked about it for weeks. Boy, were they mad.”

 Mike liked the youthful sound of her laugh He suddenly felt young and mischievous. “Let’s go back and fill their coffeepot with ice.” He squeezed her hand as he helped her up.

Pushing the door open a crack, he looked down the hall. “Okay, coast is clear, come on.” He led Elsa to the break room, looked inside. Empty. He motioned her inside and followed her in.

“Stand guard, while I fill the coffee pot.” Mike couldn’t help but laugh as he dumped a couple of containers of ice into the pot. “That should do it.”

They laughed so hard, he was afraid they’d get caught. Elsa shushed Mike as they walked to her room. He hugged her goodnight. Warmth surged through him like a tidal wave when she hugged him back. He hurried back to his room, feeling more alive than he had in years.

 Maybe I’ll get up tomorrow, he thought. He chuckled, remembering their conversation, ‘Geriatric Rebel’ they have no idea. He sighed before he fell asleep.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING DAY - by Rita Karnopp


Thanksgiving Day is traditionally a day for families and friends to get together for a special meal. The meal often includes a turkey, stuffing, potatoes, cranberry sauce, gravy, pumpkin pie, and vegetables. Thanksgiving Day is a time for many people to give thanks for what they have.
In the United States, the modern Thanksgiving holiday tradition is commonly, but not universally, traced to a poorly documented 1621 celebration at Plymouth in present-day Massachusetts. The 1621 Plymouth feast and thanksgiving was prompted by a good harvest.
In later years, religious thanksgiving services were declared by civil leaders such as Governor Bradford who planned a thanksgiving celebration and fast in 1623. The practice of holding an annual harvest festival like this did not become a regular affair in New England until the late 1660s.
Pilgrims and Puritans who began emigrating from England in the 1620s and 1630s carried the tradition of Days of Fasting and Days of Thanksgiving with them to New England. Several days of Thanksgiving were held in early New England history that have been identified as the "First Thanksgiving", including Pilgrim holidays in Plymouth in 1621 and 1623, and a Puritan holiday in Boston in 1631.
Thanksgiving proclamations were made mostly by church leaders in New England up until 1682, and then by both state and church leaders until after the American Revolution. During the revolutionary period, political influences affected the issuance of Thanksgiving proclamations. Various proclamations were made by royal governors, John Hancock, General George Washington, and the Continental Congress, each giving thanks to God for events favorable to their causes. 
As President of the United States, George Washington proclaimed the first nation-wide thanksgiving celebration in America marking November 26, 1789, "as a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God."
According to historian Jeremy Bangs, director of the Leiden American Pilgrim Museum, the Pilgrims may have been influenced by watching the annual services of Thanksgiving for the relief of the siege of Leiden in 1574, while they were staying in Leiden.
Every year, the President of the United States will "pardon" a turkey, which spares the bird's life and ensures that it will spend the duration of its life roaming freely on farmland.
Thanksgiving Day it is one of the busiest periods for travel in the USA. This can cause congestion and overcrowding. Seasonal parades and busy football games can cause disruption to local traffic.
May I extend a Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. I have so much to be grateful for – your friendship is one of them.  If you are traveling (as we are) may you be safe. If you are joining family – may you enjoy the laughter and create happy memories. If you are by yourself – I hope you find a good movie to watch or discover a great book to read ~  and enjoy the relaxation.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!  Rita

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Welcome Margaret Tanner To Dishin' It Out


Note from Ginger:  Margaret is an award-winning Australian Author and a favorite author of mine.

A SYMBOL OF COWARDICE BY MARGARET TANNER 

For several hundred years the white feather was handed out as a symbol of cowardice. 

Who could forget the powerful movie, The Four Feathers, taken from a novel by A.E.W. Mason? It starred Heath Ledger and Kate Hudson? Set in 1884, against the background of the Sudan War. A British Officer, who resigned his post just before going into battle, is handed four white feathers. One is from his fiancée and the other three from his army friends.

In England, in August 1914, The Order of the White Feather was founded by Admiral Charles Fitzgerald, to shame men who would not enlist for the 1st World War. Women mainly handed out these feathers to young men who were not in uniform. Sometimes they would stick the white feather in the lapel of the man’s coat.  Of course, these women didn’t know or obviously care, that many men who may have volunteered for the army had been rejected because of health reasons, or perhaps they had a vital job to perform in munitions etc.

Many men were persecuted or shamed into joining the army, sometimes with deadly results, or if the army would not take them, they were driven to suicide. The stigma of having been handed a white feather stayed with some men for a lifetime.

Here is a short extract from my novel, Daring Masquerade, published by Books We Love. It shows how unfair and cruel the act of handing out a white feather could be.

Ross is the hero, Harry the heroine and Gil is her wounded soldier brother and the recipient of the white feather.
                                                ***
Harry stared into the shop windows as they sauntered along the street. Poor Gil had pushed his stump into his pocket so no one could see his missing hand. Her heart bled for him. She went to slip her arm through his. Remembering at the last moment that she was supposed to be a boy, she hastily drew back.
The verandah covered shops were made of the same yellow sandstone as the pretty little church they had passed coming into town. A small rotunda set amidst lawns and colorful flowerbeds, stood at the end of the main street.
“We need to support our soldiers after their valiant battle in the Dardenelles. They’re crying out for reinforcements,” a portly gentleman said. “What type of man would loaf around here while his fellow Australians are dying in the trenches?” 
“Here, here,” a well-dressed young woman cried out. “Conscript all the shirkers who won’t enlist.”
“What are you doing here, young man? Aren’t you ashamed to be so cowardly as to let other men fight for you?” A middle-aged matron shoved a white feather into Gil’s hand.
“You old bitch,” Harry yelled, knocking her hand away, while Gil stood pale and shaking. “How dare you accuse my brother of cowardice?”
“Why doesn’t the coward enlist?” someone else called out.
“You despicable creatures!” She screamed back. “You should be arrested.”
Back and forth, Harry and several of the women hurled insults as more people milled around listening to the argument. Harry became so inflamed she didn’t care what came out of her mouth. “You parasites, living comfortably here while forcing someone else to die.”
“Your brother is a coward, young man,” the portly gentleman said. “He should enlist and do his bit for the Empire.”
“Here, here, Mayor,” someone endorsed his views.
“He’s done his bit,” she shouted. “You pompous, overstuffed pig. Show them, Gil, show them your arm.”
From the corner of one eye she saw Ross striding toward them, but didn’t care. She dragged Gil’s arm from his pocket and raised it high. “He’s given one hand to the war, isn’t that enough?”
Silence reigned. Amidst the embarrassed muttering, Ross’s voice rang out loud, clear and deadly.
“What the hell are you up to, Harry?” He strode forward and grabbed her arm. “Are you mad?”
“They gave Gil a white feather for cowardice.” She fought him as he dragged her kicking and screaming from the dais. “They gave Gil a white feather.”
“Shut up,” he snarled, “before you get arrested. What happened, Gilbert?”
Gil tried to speak, but the words would not come out. He opened up his hand and a white feather fluttered to the ground.



Is research your excuse for not starting … or finishing your book? by Rita Karnopp



     There is so much information on the Internet – it’s like having a library at your fingertips. You just have to learn the tricks to finding the information you’re looking for.
     Find a search engine to do the work for you such as Google, Yahoo, AOL, Yahoo and Magellan.  Different search engines may look for different things. Some look for key words in the titles of documents, some search all links for key words, and some will search the entire text of documents. Check several out and decide which one you like best. The search engine I use most often is Google.
     When searching keep in mind:
1.   Be specific don’t use words too general or too common.
2.   Use singulars – never plural forms
3.   Write down in a notebook where you’ve been – saves so much time!
4.   Unsure of a key word –start with a wide search and find key words to find what you need
5.   Keep it simple – and don’t get bogged down
a.   Pace yourself
b.   Don’t read everything – skim through until you find what you’re looking for
c.    Don’t print every page – ‘copy and paste’ into a ‘note’ file and save it on your hard drive or a flash drive for future use
d.   Copy the URL if it’s interesting  - or save the site to your ‘favorites’ for future research
e.   Take notes if there are bits and pieces of information you wish to keep
f.     Don’t bog down – keep moving – if you find a site that is so interesting you can’t seem to stop reading; save it to your ‘favorites’ for later
g.   Keep moving – It’s so important to stick to the information you’re looking for.
     I love researching for my books – I learn so much . . . but sometimes I find myself absorbed in the information. You have to know how to say enough research is enough.  Get that book started. Remember, you can always go online and find that one or two things you specifically need at the time! 
     Don’t let research be your excuse for not starting … or finishing your book!

Monday, November 19, 2012

LIBBY'S® Pumpkin Roll - shared by Rita


Online is the Libby Pumpkin Roll recipe - If you haven't made it ... it's worth trying - it's moist and so very tasty.  Because of the upcoming holidays I thought I would share this recipe with you.

LIBBY'S® Pumpkin Roll
Ingredients
·         1/4 cup powdered sugar (to sprinkle on towel)
·         3/4 cup all-purpose flour
·         1/2 teaspoon baking powder
·         1/2 teaspoon baking soda
·         1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
·         1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
·         1/4 teaspoon salt
·         3 large eggs
·         1 cup granulated sugar
·         2/3 cup LIBBY'S® 100% Pure Pumpkin
·         1 cup walnuts, chopped (optional)
·         FILLING
·         1 pkg. (8 oz.) cream cheese, at room temperature
·         1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
·         6 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened
·         1 teaspoon vanilla extract
·         Powdered sugar (optional for decoration)
Directions
FOR CAKE:
PREHEAT
 oven to 375° F. Grease 15 x 10-inch jelly-roll pan; line with wax paper. Grease and flour paper. Sprinkle a thin, cotton kitchen towel with powdered sugar.

COMBINE flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves and salt in small bowl. Beat eggs and granulated sugar in large mixer bowl until thick. Beat in pumpkin. Stir in flour mixture. Spread evenly into prepared pan. Sprinkle with nuts.

BAKE for 13 to 15 minutes or until top of cake springs back when touched. (If using a dark-colored pan, begin checking for doneness at 11 minutes.) Immediately loosen and turn cake onto prepared towel. Carefully peel off paper. Roll up cake and towel together, starting with narrow end. Cool on wire rack.

FOR FILLING:
BEAT
 cream cheese, 1 cup powdered sugar, butter and vanilla extract in small mixer bowl until smooth. Carefully unroll cake. Spread cream cheese mixture over cake. Reroll cake. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least one hour. Sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving, if desired.

COOKING TIP:
Be sure to put enough powdered sugar on the towel when rolling up the cake so it will not stick. 

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