Tuesday, April 30, 2013


Today there’s an art to writing and an art to self-promotion.  When you start writing a book, it’s the time to start promoting it.

You start a book, develop it, and finally finish it.  Promoting your book should develop one day at a time, too.  Your platform should embrace all the means we make ourselves visible to readers. Do you need a platform?  YES.  It might seem overwhelming at first, but start by putting yourself out there with small steps.  Before you know it, you’ll have built a strong, solid platform for your work.
So, if you aspire to be read and well-known launch your platform into action.
1. Your readers - What kind of readers do you want to connect with?  Make a list of all the types of readers you want to connect with.  Also list those people who have bought your books and have been supportive in the past.  This will be the seed to a growing solid list you’ll build from. 
2. Google Alerts - (google.com/alerts) can help you become widespread in only a few clicks. Set up alerts to notify you when your name, articles, book(s), Twitter handle, site URL and/or specialty topics pop up online. When you’re alerted to people promoting your ‘platform,’ reach out and thank them.
3. Social network – Keep in touch with follow writers and friends in your field whom you admire.  Be aware of the shifty, clingy or people who aren’t concerned with content – they just love being online all the time. Don’t promote or forward the causes of anyone online who you wouldn’t in regular life.  Take the time to get to know people; it’s your reputation on the line.
4. Who is your competition?  Use search engine ‘keywords’ connected with what you write about.  Who pops up on the radar?  Study the competition. What are they doing better than you and what can you learn from them?
5. Your bio - Write a brief bio to ‘introduce you’ wherever your name appears online. Include your website, email address, publisher addy, professional experience, publications (online and off), self-published works and professional connections.
6. Pictures say it all - Display online photos of yourself doing what you do. Post shots of you writing in your office, at book signings, speaking at conferences, workshops, and even doing research. 
7. Invest in yourself – It does take money to build a platform.  Make the most of the resources and tools you already have.  Take time to post an ad or affiliate link on your website or blog.
8. Plan an event - Plan an event with a time limit (like one week only, or 30 days). Create an exciting environment surrounding the genre you write.  Draw in your readers and encourage them to interact with one another.  Be loyal to your fans and they will be loyal to you and keep coming back for more.
9. It’s free – Correlate an item that coincides with your book (genre) and give it away for free.  I write Indian historicals and did a giveaway drawing for a dream catcher I made. People love free.
10. Write-down your ideas – We get new ideas at the most unexpected times.  Reading will give us ideas, a movie, magazine, a conversation, or even in a dream.  You tell yourself you’re going to remember it – and then all you remember is thinking you’ll remember it!  You must get in the habit of writing your ideas down.  Carry a small notebook in your purse and make sure you keep a flashlight and pad and pencil by your bedside.  Spend time brain-storming ideas and jotting them down into your notebook.
11.  Don’t reinvent the wheel – Articles and blogs you’ve already written should be redistributed to new outlets.  There is always a ‘new’ place for old writing – make it work for you all over again.
12. Do reviews – If you take the time to read a book – take the time to do a review.  Post your review on sites like GoodReads, Amazon.com and Red Room. Singing the praises of your all-time favorites will get your name out there too.
13. Involve your readers – We all like a little fun and with a reward . . . how fun is that?   Get your reader to respond to a photo, clue or game, or create a fun riddle.  If they answer – enter them in a drawing for a free book, calendar, or signed postcard.  
14. Always respond - It only takes a couple of minutes to reply to those who took time to comment on your blog. Thank people who enter contests.  It’s worth your while to spend a little time with those who’ve gone out of their way to connect with you.  Bottom line – it’s great to make new friends.
15. Do you want a partnerships?  Is there someone out there you’d love to form a partnership with?  They won’t know unless you ask.  Like Ginger did when she asked if I’d like to partner-up her on Dishin’ it Out.  I was totally surprised, honored, and excited!   There should be no strings attached — but real partnerships should be equally beneficial with both participants gaining something specific.  Who would you like to be partner with?  Reach out to them.

Monday, April 29, 2013


The following blog by Rob Eagar (October 15, 2012) had such great information in it  – that I decided to share it with you.  Rita
Recently, I spoke at the inaugural Discoverability and Marketing Conference hosted by Digital Book World (www.DigitalBookWorld.com) in New York City. The theme of my presentation was “Discoverability starts with psychology, rather than technology.” My point was that you can get your book discovered, but if you fail to answer the reader’s ultimate question, “What’s in it for me?” then you still lose the book sale and potential word of mouth. The talk was well-received and during the conference and I learned several other interesting tidbits that were worth sharing with authors:
1. According to Kelly Gallagher from Bowker.com, a survey of 3,000 book buyers found that women, ages 30 – 44, (a coveted key demographic) discover new books in this order: a. In-person friend referral b. In-person retail store display c. Visit author website d. Review bestseller lists
What does this research mean to you? a. Create tools, such as free resources, that make it easy for people to tell friends about you. b. Get published with a traditional publisher who can get you shelf space in the major stores. c. Build a good author website, because it’s the 3rd most common way readers discover books.
2. According to Marshall Simmons of Define Media Group: a. Google has 67% of all search engine market share. b. Google is banking heavily on the success of their social media platform, Google Plus.
What does this mean to you? Setup a Google Plus account and link to it from your website and other platforms, because it gives you one more way to positively influence the Google search engine in your favor.
3. ShinDig is a startup company that is beta-testing a new video conferencing tool that lets authors setup live video chats with over 1,000 people. Try it out for free at: www.ShinDig.com
4. Several experts suggested that if you have a WordPress website, go to www.Yoast.com and get their great plug-ins for enhanced search engine optimization.
5. According to Jon Fine, the Director of Author and Publisher Relations at Amazon, the sky is not falling for traditional print books. Instead, sales of print books are going up, and sales of ebooks are going up. The digital revolution is causing everyone to read more – and that’s good news for all involved in publishing. In addition, Amazon will soon be adding Facebook to their popular Author Page feature. Stay tuned for an announcement in the next 30 days.
Reminder: Rob Eagar’s book from Writer’s Digest, Sell Your Book Like Wildfire, is available in print and e-book formats. This is the bible of book marketing for authors and publishers. Get 288 pages packed with advanced information, real-life examples, and tips to start selling more books immediately. There are specific chapters on social media, word-of-mouth tools, Amazon, and a chapter dedicated to best practices for marketing fiction. In addition, get over 30 pages of free bonus updates online. http://www.writersdigestshop.com/sell-your-book-like-wildfire or http://www.BookWildfire.com
About the Author:
Rob Eagar is the founder of WildFire Marketing, a consulting practice that helps authors and publishers sell more books and spread their message like wildfire. He has assisted numerous New York Times bestselling authors and is author of the new book, Sell Your Book Like Wildfire. Find out more about Rob’s advice, products, and coaching services for authors at: www.startawildfire.com

Sunday, April 28, 2013

If It Sounds Too Good To Be True...

Obtained from Bing images
Ever heard that saying I used to title this blog?  Funny, how we buy books, some judging by the cover, other's reading the blurb on the back, or even sampling the first chapter before we spend what comes to a measly amount compared to what our silence equates to when it comes to governmental decisions.  I don't mean to mix politics here, rather wonder why some blindly buy a book then give it a rotten review because it wasn't long enough, the wrong genre, didn't have the sex scenes they expected, etc.,--all because they didn't bother to read the descriptive blurb on Amazon or even peruse the clues offered on the book.  But it's not all about books, is it?

Rita and I urge you all to be informed before you make any judgements.  Don't let ignorance about something you believe in be a reason for your disappointment.  Since I'm using cliche sayings, don't be 'the blind following the blind' because someone has convinced you it's a good idea. Draw your own conclusions, and for a good reason. Know what you endorse before you endorse it.  Here's a great email that's passed along that really sums up what we're trying to convey:

I have no idea who originated this message so I cannot credit him/her.  It definitely is thought-provoking.

I was in my neighborhood restaurant this morning and was seated behind a group of jubilant individuals celebrating the coming implementation of the health care bill. I could not finish my breakfast. This is what ensued:

They were a diverse group of several races and both sexes. I heard a young man exclaim, “Isn’t Obama like Jesus Christ? I mean, after all, he is healing the sick.”

A young woman enthusiastically proclaimed, “Yeah, and he does it for free. I cannot believe anyone would think that a free market wouldn't work for health care.”

Another said, "The stupid Republicans want us all to starve to death so they can inherit all of the power. Obama should be made a Saint for what he did for those of us less fortunate.”

At this, I had more than enough. I arose from my seat, mustering all the restraint I could find, and approached their table. “Please excuse me; may I impose upon you for one moment?”

They smiled and welcomed me to the conversation. I stood at the end of their table, smiled as best I could and began an experiment.

“I would like to give one of you my house. It will cost you no money and I will pay all of the expenses and taxes for as long as you live there. Anyone interested?”

They looked at each other in astonishment. “Why would you do something like that?” asked a young man, “There isn’t anything for free in this world.”

They began to laugh at me, as they did not realize this man had just made my point.

“I am serious, I will give you my house for free, no money whatsoever. Anyone interested?”

In unison, a resounding “Yeah” fills the room.

“Since there are too many of you, I will have to make a choice as to who receives this money-free bargain.”

I noticed an elderly couple was paying attention to the spectacle unfolding before their eyes, the old man shaking his head in apparent disgust.

“I tell you what; I will give it to the one of you most willing to obey my rules.”

Again, they looked at one another, an expression of bewilderment on their faces.

The perky young woman asked, “What are the rules?”

I smiled and said, “I don’t know. I have not yet defined them. However, it is a free home that I offer you.”

They giggled amongst themselves, the youngest of which said, “What an old coot. He must be crazy to give away his home. Go take your meds, old man.”

I smiled and leaned into the table a bit further. “I am serious, this is a legitimate offer.”

They gaped at me for a moment.

“I’ll take it you old fool. Where are the keys?” boasted the youngest among them.

“Then I presume you accept ALL of my terms then?” I asked.

The elderly couple seemed amused and entertained as they watched from the privacy of their table. “Oh yeah! Where do I sign up?”

I took a napkin and wrote, “I give this man my home, without the burden of financial obligation, so long as he accepts and abides by the terms that I shall set forth upon consummation of this transaction.”

I signed it and handed it to the young man who eagerly scratched out his signature.

“Where are the keys to my new house?” he asked in a mocking tone of voice.

All eyes were upon us as I stepped back from the table, pulling the keys from pocket and dangling them before the excited new homeowner.

“Now that we have entered into this binding contract, witnessed by all of your friends, I have decided upon the conditions you are obligated to adhere to from this point forward. You may only live in the house for one hour a day. You will not use anything inside of the home. You will obey me without question or resistance. I expect complete loyalty and admiration for this gift I bestow upon you. You will accept my commands and wishes with enthusiasm, no matter the nature. Your morals and principles shall be as mine. You will vote as I do, think as I do and do it with blind faith. These are my terms. Here are your keys.”

I reached the keys forward and the young man looked at me dumbfounded.

“Are you out of your mind? Who would ever agree to those ridiculous terms?” the young man appeared irritated.

“You did when you signed this contract before reading it, understanding it and with the full knowledge that I would provide my conditions only after you committed to the agreement.”

The elderly man chuckled as his wife tried to restrain him. I was looking at a now silenced and bewildered group of people.

“You can shove that stupid deal up you’re a** old man. I want no part of it!” exclaimed the now infuriated young man.

'You have committed to the contract, as witnessed by all of your friends. You cannot get out of the deal unless I agree to it. I do not intend to let you free now that I have you ensnared. I am the power you agreed to. I am the one you blindly and without thought chose to enslave yourself to. In short, I am your Master.”

At this, the table of celebrating individuals became a unified group against the unfairness of the deal.

After a few moments of unrepeatable comments and slurs, I revealed my true intent.

“What I did to you is what this administration and congress did to you with the health care legislation. I easily suckered you in and then revealed the real cost of the bargain. Your folly was in the belief that you can have something you did not earn, and for that which you did not earn, you willingly allowed someone else to think for you. Your failure to research, study and inform yourself permitted reason to escape you. You have entered into a trap from which you cannot flee. Your only chance of freedom is if your new Master gives it to you. A freedom that is given can also be taken away. Therefore, it is not freedom at all.”

With that, I tore up the napkin and placed it before the astonished young man. “This is the nature of your new health care legislation.”

I turned away to leave these few in thought and contemplation -- and was surprised by applause.

The elderly gentleman, who was clearly entertained, shook my hand enthusiastically and said, “Thank you, Sir. These kids don’t understand Liberty.”

He refused to allow me to pay my bill as he said, “You earned this one. It is an honor to pick up the tab.”

I shook his hand in thanks, leaving the restaurant somewhat humbled and sensing a glimmer of hope for my beloved country.
Remember... Four boxes keep us free: the soap box, the ballot box, the jury box, and the cartridge box.

"Any man who thinks he can be happy and prosperous by letting the American Government take care of him;
better take a closer look at the American Indian."
Henry Ford

"It's amazing that people who think we cannot afford to pay for doctors, hospitals and medication somehow think that we can afford to pay for doctors, hospitals, medication and a huge government bureaucracy to administer it."
Thomas Sowell

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Learning is Never Ending by Ginger Simpson #critiques

Writing is always a learning experience. And a confusing one. I thought creating a novel would be the hard part, but I was wrong. It's deciding which helpful critiques of your work make the most sense.

It's a known fact, if you solicit an opinion, you'll get one...and you may not always like it or agree. This aptly describes being in a critique group. Although, it's often a task to glean the most helpful suggestions from the stack, I encourage every new author to find a group and join. You may receive some negative comments, but you get tons of positive ones that help keep you focused. You have to remember the reason you joined is to help hone your story into it's very best, and everyone has an opinion on how to do that. *lol* The secret is to select suggestions that don't change your voice or alter your story-telling ability, but improve the flow and correct the flaws.

Receiving critiques is like going through an editorial process. You must keep an open mind and consider each possibility. If I like a suggestion, I follow it, but if I don't, I hold firm to what I've written. Sometimes, it's my voice coming through, and what separates my story from any other. Every critique or editing provides an opportunity to learn something new.

Herein lies a problem. When I post excerpts, I always notice something I know now that I wish I'd known then. *lol* But, one of these days, I'm bound to write that award-winning novel with all these facts floating around in my head. At least, as I write now, I stop and remember to replace was with a more active word, or remove the could, would and should to keep my story in the present tense and remove the passive voice. I don't need all those necessary instances of that. I stop and re-read the sentence with and without it, and frequently hit the delete button.

I now look for and delete prepositional phrases (to him, at her) at the end of sentences. A reader is usually smart enough to know what is implied. And certainly, if there are only two people in the room, most tags aren't needed. Nothing is more annoying than every sentence identifying the speaker when I can figure it out on my own. Don't treat your readers like they're dummies. *lol*

I've been told that phrases like 'seemed to," "tried to," and "began to," actually weaken a sentence. It's better to stay in the active mode. Example: The aroma of apple pie seemed to fill the room. Why not say: The aroma of apple pie filled the room and made his stomach rumble.

And hardest of all for me to remember: Cause & Effect. Something has to happen BEFORE someone has a reaction. Example: She jumped when the door slammed might be considered okay, but it's better if The door slammed and she jumped. So much to remember!

See what I mean? If not for my critique friends and my wonderful editors, I'd still be just a story-teller. There is a distinct difference between that and being a novelist. The secret is in drawing the reader in, making them experience the smells, feel the emotions, and believe they can see and feel along with the characters. It's not an easy task, but the more I learn, the better I become.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Friday's Few Lines From...

By Sydell Voeller


"So you're a cop," she said, meeting his stunningly blue yes, noting the breeze ripple through his hair. He certainly fit the stereotype. Broad shouldered and strong. Opened black leather jacket with the collar turned up. An incredible heart-stopper with his sophisticated good looks. But cops were the worst choice for a husband, she reminded herself--even if she were looking for one, which she definitely was not. Cops lived in the fast track. With violence. And danger. Cops were gunned down every day.

Find out more about Sydell's books at: www.sydellvoeller.com

Make sure to visit again for a few lines from Ginger Simpson the week of May 3

Thursday, April 25, 2013

THE THRILLER By Rita Karnopp

When it came time to write, I believe the best advice I ever received was given to me my international best-selling author Kat Martin.  She said, “Write what you love to read.”  That has been the most solid, singular, best writing advice I’ve ever received.  I love reading Indian historicals and suspense/thrillers.

Think about it, we are passionate about what we enjoy. Right?  So, if you absolutely get carried away with a thriller . . . you will most likely write with drive, excitement, eagerness, anticipation, and enthusiasm.

It all boils down to - a good thriller is the result of good characters, a super plot with a few twisting sub-plots, and a chill down your back.  The key to a gripping thriller is when the characters that take you with them, each terrifying step, into a life-threatening situation with fear as your companion.  The reader doesn’t want to go – but can’t stop.

Conviction in your abilities is crucial. Know what drives you – and take the reader along with you.  Don’t make it easy for the reader, they’ll see right through you.  You want them to keep guessing – right down to the last sentence.  If they figure it out, why finish reading?

But with thrillers, the process is more like a puzzle, and you need to make sure you have the entire picture before you cut it into pieces – waiting for your reader to put it all together.  Never start a thriller thinking you’ll figure it out when you get there.  A good thriller has foreshadowing, vision, forewarning, and even revelation.

Be careful of trends, they come and go like dress styles.  So what do you write?  Back to the ‘write what you love to read . . . and what you know.’  Write what you’re passionate about.

One final bit of advice – don’t quit.  Keep at it and when you’ve finished your book, you will get the thrill 

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Ginger Reviews DeadBeat Dads by Roseanne Dowell

Roseanne Dowell always manages to add twists and turns in her stories that surprise me.  I've come to love her paraphrasing and redundant use of words, because that's how we as humans think.  We don't take time to consider we've just said a word and struggle to find another with the same meaning.  Our shared publisher let's us write our stories as we want them, and the editors respect that.  Ms. Dowell's books are truly "life-like" and Deadbeat Dads is no different.

In this story, the heroine, like so many other women, finds herself alone, raising children with a husband who grew bored with their life together.  Bitterness is a big part of the equation, and she fairly adds in a man who suffers through being deserted by his wife.  Through an organization called WEDD (Wives Enraged with Deadbeat Dads), she finds and provides solace in knowing there are others in the same boat.

If you want to know the surprise elements of the book, you'll have to read it for yourself, but suffice to say, you'll definitely not see them coming. Oh, the romance is a given, but the road taken to get there isn't quite the norm.

 This is a quick read, but a satisfying one that makes you stop and think...either you're better off without the jerk or you've married someone great who won't ever become one.

As a wife who married a man with children from a previous marriage, I don't know how a new wife could respect a person who didn't show responsibility for his offspring.  We paid child support until the children reached age eighteen, but regardless of their ages now, they still both know their dad is here for them and always will be.  Just for the record, I could have started a group called SSAAES, but I just bit my tongue until it bled.  Surprised I still have one.

Good job, Roseanne.  Yet another entertaining story.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013


 Have you considered writing a book series but the mere idea made you run in the other direction?  Book series are very popular – and there are good reasons.  The reader becomes invested in the characters and they don’t want the story to end.  Or, we are truly interested in finding out what happened to our characters years later.
When I came up with an idea to write about the Gypsies during WWII, I decided to name it Tango of Death (TANGO FUN TOYT).  When I proposed the book to my publisher, she asked if I could do a trilogy.  What?  Three books?  Uh, you always say ‘yes’ when asked such a question.  But now the plot I’d been tossing around in my mind for over ten years had to change.  Could I write a trilogy?  It sounded like a daunting task.
I created a story involving gypsies, partisans and Jews.  Hmmm . . . how would I connect them? It didn’t take me long to consider writing about three sisters and creating a separate story for each.  I came up with Gypsy Spirit, Partisan Heart, and Jewish Soul.  I loved the titles and the concept.  Since I’m visual I was thrilled my published gave me my covers – what an inspiration they were.
I approached the series like any other book; a combination of characters, settings and plots.
There were certain absolutes.  All three books would take place in Poland and Germany during 1943 and involve the holocaust.  I didn’t want it to be the ‘same-old’ . . . so I painstakingly researched for those bits of information that were new.  I watched documentaries and read exhaustively.  The dress, vehicles, music, food, and even slang had to be 1940s.
I knew I wanted to ‘sparingly’ use Polish, German, Roma, Yiddish, and of course English as the main language.  It would be tricky to give the flavor of all these languages and still make sure the reader knew what was being said.
A sense of place was vital and I wanted nothing to do with sensationalizing, I wanted everything to sound, smell, feel, taste, and look 1940s Poland and Germany.  City names and layout had to be authentic as did rivers and bridges.
Even more serious, I used infamous Nazi officers and partisans and had to be careful not to place them in my story where they couldn’t have been during the timeframe. They couldn’t have ten children in my book if they didn’t have ten children in history.  I wanted to kill one of the Nazi officers, then remembered he didn’t die for five more years. 
I had to account for the terrain and how long it would take to reach certain destinations.  Vehicles and roads were different than they are now, and horseback or wagon timeframes had to be taken into account.
In book #1, Gypsy Spirit, I set the scene and introduced the sisters.  I developed a way for them to be separated . . . and an agreed meeting place for after the war (if they survived). Then Zilka took the story away . . .
In book #2, Partisan Heart, I had to create a way for the sister who ran off with her love to join the partisans, struggle with her conscious, go back to her kumpania, only to find all her people dead.  Vanya became tightly involved with the partisans and the Nazi infiltration of the Polish underground.
By book #3, Jewish Soul, the reader can only hope the third sister, Mayla, has fared better, safe with their mother and grandmother in Switzerland, or is she.  Will they ever be to together again?  Book three must tie all the loose-ends and develop an ending that will satisfy the reader – and even keep them thinking about all three girls long after they close the cover.
Hints for a series:  Keep a separate three-by-five notebook for each book.  Jot down all information you want to address in each book.  Some information comes to you during book one, two or even planning in book three.  You might have to foreshadow in your earlier books . . . that is why planning . . . at least the skeleton of all three stories should happen before starting page one of book one.
Keep an ‘electronic’ file called ‘notes’ for each separate book.  I never take time to hand-write notes if I can copy and paste them into an electronic file.  I might jot a written reminder in my notebook to cross-reference my electronic notes, but I keep it all until the final words are written.
I work on my hard-drive.  Save your work several times a day.  But, at the end of the day – I always save the same work out to a flash drive.  If you’ve ever lost a day’s work … or more (which I have) . . .  you’ll never let it happen to you again!

Monday, April 22, 2013


Building a strong platform will help you build an audience, sell more books, and find success as an author.  There is one book I have found invaluable on creating your writer platform – CREATE YOUR WEITER PLATFORM by Chuck Sambuchino.  Since I’ve found it a ‘must have’ I decided to share it with you.  J  Rita
·         You want to grow your visibility
·         You're looking for new ways to become a successful author
·         You want to build an audience
·         You want to sell more books

Having an effective writer platform has never been more important than it is right now. A writer platform is one of the best tools you can use to combat publishing challenges. This guide by Chuck Sambuchino explores the process of gaining visibility in the literary marketplace and shows you how to market yourself and your work effectively & efficiently. Learn how to create a writer's platform, sell books, make more money, and launch a successful career as an author.
When you read this book, you'll explore "old-school" methods of platform building, such as public speaking and networking, as well as newer methods of platform building, such as blogs and social media; examine case studies of authors who developed successful platform, and formulate your own platform strategy that works best for you. 

In This Book You'll Learn:
·         What a platform means and why it’s important
·         How to build your platform via public speaking, social media, or creating a blog
·         About platform building through author interviews
·         Platform-building techniques
A Word From The Book About Crafting Your Niche:
Building a writer platform essentially means being known for something. So a natural question I’ll ask now is, “What do you want to be known for?” In other words, what do you want people to think of when they think of you? Some quick hypothetical examples of influential people you could be or something you could be part of:
·         The guy who knows everything about chocolate chip cookies and samples them all over the world
·         The girl who blogs all about indie heavy metal music/news
·         The instructional site (with multiple teachers) that’s all about how to get better at blackjack so you can win more money at the casino
Any one of these is a niche. It’s a specialty, an area of expertise. People don’t achieve recognition and popularity by being okay at something. No average basketball player ever made the NBA, let alone became famous. Your goal is to find a niche and own it—with excellent understanding of your content and market, and by providing great material that people can’t get elsewhere.

About the Author:
Chuck Sambuchino is an editor for Writer's Digest Books and edits the Guide to Literary Agents. He is the author of books such as Formatting and Submitting Your Manuscript, 3rd Edition, and How to Survive a Garden Gnome Attack.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Reality - Does it Matter?

Is It Just Me?

I'm recycling a post I did seven years ago because I'm struck by the "reality" readers demand in writing, but accept what is offered on TV and movies without question.  Oh, I know that no one really wants poop scenes in their love stories, but it's something we all do...it's real!  I'm always stunned by two lovers who roll over and face one another in the morning and engage in a kiss with morning breath.  I'm not kissing anyone who tastes like 100 troopers marched through manure and then invade their mouth...and mine, so on with my major question:

Is it just me or do some of you wonder about weird things. For example, those of you who watch soap operas... On All My Children,(sadly now a defunct show) Zach and Greenlee are trapped in an old bomb shelter. They were walking in the forest and fell through the roof. They've been there for days. There was mention that it was stocked with plenty of food, water, a flashlight (yeah, batteries don't corrode after thirty years), and a first-aid kit. Of course the bandaids were a lifesaver since Zach had just been hit by a car and was suffering major injuries. *lol*

For those of you who don't know the characters, Zach and Greenlee hate each other. She, a five-foot tall, petite-framed woman, was supporting this six-foot, hulking guy through a wooded area, to leave him on the doorstep of a cabin she saw in the distance. That's when they suffered the fall, and she hurt her leg. Of course, her limp has mysteriously disappeared. It's your typical run-of-the-mill drama, he's delerious, kisses her because he believes her to be his wife, recovers, throws hateful barbs at her, she pouts, sews up the gash on his forehead... but they never go to the bathroom!!!

Okay. So they're stuck in a 9 x 12 room, shelves on the walls, old mattresses on the floor, but neither one of them has had to pee or poop. These are the stupid things I wonder about. Do you?

I guess the writers COULDN'T very well add this dialogue:

Greenlee: "Boy, I feel like I'm going to explode if I don't pee."

Zach: *scanning the room*. "Just go squat behind that stack of crates of there. I won't look. I promise."

Greenlee: *reluctant look on her face, but urgency showing as well. She walks across the room, unbuttoning her pants.* "Remember, you promised. Stay where you are." *She sinks behind the wooden veil.*

*You hear the sound of water splatting against the ground. It seems to go on forever*

Zach: "Boy, you weren't kidding. You did need to go.*

Greenlee: "Zach!"

*A few minutes later, Greenlee rises behind the boxes. "Boy, do I feel better." *She walks back to the mattress and sits.

*Zach sniffs the air, wrinkles his nose and curls in lips in distaste.* "What's that smell?"

*Greenlee lowers her head.* "I had to poop, too."

Zach: "Great! We already have no air and now I have to contend with that stench."

ROFL...Okay, I guess that would be really crass, but don't you just find yourself wondering about bodily functions at times. These days I can't finish my visit at Walmart without using the bathroom, so I know I couldn't spend days in a bomb shelter without facilities. I just thought I'd share my weirdness with you and see if I'm alone. :)

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Boston Tragedy is over...or is it?

I feel compelled to write something in the light of the capture of suspect #2 in the Boston Marathon bombings.  I'm wondering just how effective our homeland security is as I just discovered an article on the Internet from a reliable source that makes me believe that so many things go on behind the scenes that we are not aware of, and we're kept in the dark purposely to hide the ineffectiveness of some of our governmental agencies.  In fact, we are like babies....spoonfed what someone deems we need to know.

The elder of the two brothers was reported by the Russian government to our Homeland Security as a possible risk because he had become radicalized during his time in Russia.  He was interviewed two years ago and deemed not to be a risk.  Certainly that father's opinion of his angels and the Uncle who lives in the US paint two very different pictures.  Accordingly, he was placed on a "watch" list, but because of the interview, neglected as the threat we now know him to be.

Remember Nidal Hasan, the Army physician who was responsible for the slaughter at Fort Hood some time back?  He was also interviewed and placed on a watch list.  Who's watching these people?  I suppose the government can't do anything until they explode...or we do. Just seems like there's a big hole somewhere that leaves the average citizen defenseless...especially if we have no guns.

If you'd like to read the article, here's the link: http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-201_162-57580534/fbi-interviewed-dead-boston-bombing-suspect-years-ago/   I'm sure it will raise your eyebrows, as it did mine.

I also mentioned on FB yesterday how some tragedies seem to be overlooked and downplayed by the media, as in the knife slashing and explosion in Texas which forever changed the lives of hundreds, if not more.  Where's the President's sympathy for those people?  Sorry, but I just was appalled to learn that when the first lady visited the hospital to check on the health and well-being of the Saudi National who was then a possible suspect, she didn't take time to visit the man who lost both of his legs and was instrumental in identifying the suspects.  The true heroes in this story are found on this site:


We tend to throw around the term "heroes" too loosely.  Yes, the police and rescue folks did their job, but does that make them heroes?  Imagine all the paid overtime.  True heroes do something they are not called upon to do when horrific circumstances happen and they are not required to act. Like the man in the Cowboy hat in the now-famous photo.  The man who owned the boat where suspect #2 hid noticed a broken strap on his cover and blood on the ground and notified the police.  They had already checked that neighborhood and obviously didn't bother with the boat.  I'm not badmouthing them, just saying, they had lots of help and in my opinion, there are others more worth of being called a "hero." No need to chastise me if you don't agree.  Despite the government's attempt to change the constitution, I still believe I still have a right to my opinion.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Friday's Few Lines From...

A few lines from SNATCHED

By Vijaya Schartz

There, in the bright light, walked a tall muscular man, young, his long blond hair framing a tan face with icy gray eyes... The visage of Adonis on Hercules’ body.

Zania’s gaze roamed over the regular lines of his jaw, the full, sensual lips, dimpled chin, down the expanse of his hairless pectorals, and stopped on the leather cod piece embossed with Tor’s hammer. That’s all he wore. So, he was a Viking.

Find out more about Vijaya’s books at:

Make sure to visit again for a few lines from Sydell Voeller, the week of April 26.

Thursday, April 18, 2013


Have you ever started reading a book and after a few pages asked yourself, “Where is this book taking place?”  That should never happen.  Setting is as important as the characters and the plot. It’s our job as the writer to develop the backdrop like we develop our characters. It gives us our sense of direction and it becomes the ambiance; the atmosphere, the environment, the mood, even the character of the world surrounding us.
Setting involves the senses.  Can you relate to the warmth of the sun or the ice cold water (sense of feel)?  What about the sweet juice of the peach or the soothing mint of the tea (sense of taste)?  Consider the click of a gun hammer or the snap of a twig (sense of hearing).  How about the burning smoke or sickening stench of a dead body (sense of smell)? Finally, there is the shadow moving across the wall or the flames of a campfire in the distance (sense of sight).  They all add to the setting of your book – they are the details that pull us in.
Writing is writing, whether it is suspense, historical, SiFi, thriller, or even contemporary.  Setting will be the prevailing forces of their world. These details bring your story alive.
Develop ways to uncover setting details that will fuel the world around your characters. 
Settings encompass more – You create setting when using authentic voice and idioms of the time period. Old maps, vanished villages, dead rivers, or historic plagues take on life as you unwrap clues and unfold the story. Use threads of character and sociological/political backdrops to tangle the lives of those you are developing.
Setting and character - Now, how do you infuse setting and character?  Again, the senses come to play.  Imagine yourself into a setting and make the character . . . feel it, smell it, hear it, taste it, and see it..  You do this and you have character and setting breathing together.

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