Thursday, April 28, 2011

Heros and Heroines

Vicky McDonough is being featured on Vicky Stockton's blog and answered the question, "How do you create the characters in your books?" It's very interesting reading! 

She mentions a book called, The Complete Writers Guide to Heroes and Heroines: Sixteen Master Archetypes by Tami D. Cowden. If you're looking for a good book on character development, this looks like a great choice. 

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Time for Nonfiction

I've had to put my fiction writing aside for awhile. I'm currently working on an article for Oklahoma Living Magazine, as well as updating my homeschool website and Oklahoma History curriculum. Between that, decorating my porch and visits to John Hopkins' Wilmar Eye Institute (for my husband's vision problems), I just haven't much time for writing fiction.

The idea came for redecorating my porch came from some purple, pink and white violets I bought at the grocery store. First, I bought purple napkins, pillows, and a candle for my bookshelf. I added another purple and green flower arrangement to the bookshelf, as well as white porcelain cats on two tables.

I already had green and white railroad plates from my mother, so I used those on top of  green place mats for the table. In the center, I placed purple grapes in a cut glass bowl.

Next, I found a green lounge chair that goes perfect with the greens in the accessories. Of course, my cat had to help Bill put it together!

Then I moved everything around for a more comfortable setting. That included getting rid of a desk I had in there. No more office look!

What do you think? Isn't this the perfect spot for writing! I'm totally inspired, so back to work!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Excellent story that doesn't stop 'til the end!

Promises to Keep by Ann Tatlock is a novel about dreams; dreams for a different tomorrow. It’s about a young girl, Roz, who is taken by her mom to hide from her dad. Her mother tells her that they will never see him again, but Roz knows different. Her dad is in town and some day, they will all be together again. Dreams do come true. He promised.

Meanwhile, Tillie Monroe lands on the porch of the Roz’s home and claims, “This is my house.” Tillie’s son, Johnny, sold this home to Janis, Roz’s mother, after he put Tillie in a nursing home. Tillie has no plans to die in a nursing home. This is her home and she plans to die in it.

Janis is hiding from an abusive ex-husband. Her dream is a safe place to raise her three children. But is she safe?

The story focuses on the relationships between the elderly Tillie, Janis, and Roz as they dream of something better and the plans of Roz’s dad to come home. He says he’s changed. He’s no longer the abusive man he once was. Or is he?

The tension increases chapter after chapter right up to the end. I read the last few chapters so fast that I had to go back and read them again to make sure I didn’t miss anything.

Set in the 60’s, Promises to Keep not only kept me entertained, but it also brought back many memories I had of growing up during the Vietnam War and Civil Rights era. I loved the book, and highly recommend it to anyway who likes a good story. 

The Girl in the Gatehouse is just what I wanted it to be!

Julie Klassen is one of my favorite authors, so I was delighted to get a review copy of The Girl in the Gatehouse.

This is a story for everyone who likes romance with a bit of suspense tucked in for fun. What secret is Mariah hiding that caused her to be sent away by her father to live in an abandoned gatehouse on the property of an aunt who ignores her? What’s in the mysterious box that Mariah’s aunt gives her before she dies? Who is the mysterious man that’s walks on the roof of the poorhouse that can be seen from the attic window or the gatehouse?

The heroine, 19-year-old Mariah Aubrey, writes under a pen name to provide for herself and her companion, Miss Dixon. Life becomes more difficult when the new heir of the manor house, Hugh Prin-Hallsey, raises her rent and demands that Mariah give back anything that the aunt had given her. Should she give him the box, which her aunt expressly forbade her to do?

On top of her problems with Hugh, her publisher is now pressuring her to write under her real name, which she absolutely cannot do and maintain her secrecy.

As she deals with these problems, Mariah befriends the residents of the poorhouse across the way and the new tenant of the manor house, Captain Byrant. Even though Captain Byrant has eyes only Miss Forsythe, could romance be in Mariah’s future? What if Captain Byrant finds out about her past?

The Girl in the Gatehouse is everything I wanted it to be: romantic, suspenseful, inspiring and an absolutely wonderful way to spend a lazy afternoon. Highly recommended!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Reading The Art of Romance is like eating chocolate candy with no calories!

I was drawn to The Art of Romance by Kaye Dacus because the Matchmakers are a group of Baby Boomers my age. “Sassy,” Trina, Lindy, “Perty,” and Maureen gather together each week at the Pfunky Griddle in Nashville, to discuss their “mission” to get their grandchildren married so that one of them can be the first in their senior adult group to have a grandchild. So typical for women my age!

In this story, the main objective is to match up Sassy’s granddaughter, Caylor, with Perty’s grandson, Dylan.

Caylor doesn’t date and has no plans to marry any time soon. She’s a tenured, English professor at James Robertson University and writes inspirational romance novels on the side. When her grandmother lost her license because of low vision, Caylor also became a companion and driver. Now, she has no time for romance and is not looking for one.

Dylan is an artist and has moved home to live in his grandmother’s carriage house until he can find a job. He lost his job as an art instructor in another town because of a scandal in which he was involved. He’s also recovering from a relationship that changed him as a person. All he wants to do now get a job to pay the bills and put his past behind him.

But Caylor and Dylan meet. They begin to fall in love, but other secrets from the past begin to threaten their romance. Early in her writing career, Caylor wrote steamy romance novels under a pen name; and, in order to pay for college, Dylan illustrated book covers for the same type of novels. What neither of them knows is that Dylan illustrated the steamy novels that Caylor wrote, using himself as a model. Both are convinced the relationship will end when the truth comes out.

I loved the ending of this book! It’s what a true romantic reads for – an ending to a story, set in another time and place, that not only takes your breath away, but, for just a moment, you really can imagine life as this simple and satisfying. It’s a treat – like eating chocolate that has no calories!

If you’re a romantic looking for clean, inspirational fiction, you’ll love The Art of Romance.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

No Place Like Holmes - Review

Griffin Sharpe is a genius. He notices everything, counts everything, and memorizes everything. And, he’s always right. But being right has one big problem: It doesn’t help him make friends.

No Place Like Holmes tells the story of a boy who goes to live with his “Uncle Snoops” in London whom he has never met. All he knows is that his uncle lives at 221 Baker Street. At first Griffin thinks his uncle is the Sherlock Holmes, but he soon discovers that his uncle is Rupert Snodgrass, a 2nd rate detective who lives next door to the famous Mr. Holmes.

Griffin quickly learns that his uncle doesn’t want him in London. He’s too focused on getting business from Sherlock and has no time for a kid. So, Griffin has to fend for himself and ends up in the middle of an adventure that involves a sinister plot to blow up London.

Both parents and kids will love this book. Griffin is a hero to which kids can relate. His adventure is mysterious and scary (but not too scary), complete with time bombs, hidden tunnels, a robot that acts as a butler, and even the Loch Ness Monster! No need for vampires and witches. There’s plenty of action in this book without them.

Parents will like the book because it’s wholesome and inspiring. The hero, Griffin, not only solves the crime using his own wit, but he also inspires those he interacts with by demonstrating his faith in God in actions, not by being preachy.

No Place Like Holmes is a wonderful book for kids. It’s recommended for ages 9-12, but younger kids will like it, too. It’s perfect for family reading for “kids” of all ages, and it may inspire you to read the original Sherlock Holmes series. 

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through NetGalley. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."