Monday, February 19, 2018

When Inspiration Strikes #OpenBook Blog Hop





I readily admit that I rely on inspiration when I'm writing my stories. It's not 100%, sometimes I do have a basic premise in mind. But it's those times that my characters like best to throw me for a loop.

Take this scene from The Baron's Cufflinks:


     By the time the library closed, I decided I needed a totally different approach. I found no mention of Annabelle in the newspaper's archives, but the address of her office was prominently displayed on her social media page. If she showed up for work in the morning, I'd follow her around. I was willing to bet she went to the same place for lunch every day, and maybe the same spot after work. I'd make a follow-up trip to those same places after she left and talk to the employees.
     Still mapping out my plans for the morning—where would I park? Did I need to buy a pair of binoculars first?—I pulled into the parking lot of the bar I'd chosen for a drink. Just one, to get the lay of the land. It looked like the kind of place where cheaters would go. A little on the trashy side, but not taken over by meth-heads. A place where a private eye might hang out to catch a straying spouse in the act.

     And there, holding court at the bar, was the last person I expected to see.


     Jake.

If you've read the Oak Grove Mysteries, you know Jake has had a major influence in Harmony's (the main character) life, for bad or for good. He was featured prominently in the second book, Her Ladyship's Ring. So most of you probably weren't surprised when he showed up in this scene. 

But I was. See, I was trying to write Jake out of this book, and maybe out of Harmony's life. I'd sent him off to Chicago at the beginning of the book. So what was  he doing in West Virginia? (I"m not going to answer that question. You'll have to read the book to find out, if you don't already know.)  Someone totally different was supposed to be at that bar. Until I got to the moment of Harmony seeing Jake, I thought it would be that other person. 

That scene changed the entire course of the book. Instead of being written out, Jake practically took over the story. I didn't plan for it to happen. Yet I know the book turned out better for the change.

For those of you who have read the series, would you be upset if I wrote Jake out of the next book? (Or tried to, anyway.) Let me know in the comments.

Now let's head over and find out about when inspiration struck the other authors.



Feb. 19, 2018 - Tell us a story about a time when a piece of inspiration hit you. We’ve all had them.

Rules:
1. Link your blog to this hop.
2. Notify your following that you are participating in this blog hop.
3. Promise to visit/leave a comment on all participants' blogs.
4. Tweet/or share each person's blog post. Use #OpenBook when tweeting.
5. Put a banner on your blog that you are participating.

Wordpress:






Custom Blog:




An InLinkz Link-up


get the InLinkz code

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Valentine's Day #OpenBook Blog Hop





I freely admit it. I wasn't one of the 'popular' kids in school. If there hadn't been a rule about giving every kid in the class a Valentine card, I would have received very few. As it was, I didn't get any of the really cool ones some of the other kids got. No, I got the generic, run of the mill cards that were left after the 'best' ones were picked for someone else. Heck, there were times I didn't even any of the candy hearts.



So I've never been a big fan of Valentine's Day.

But that's not the biggest reason I'm still not a fan of the holiday. (Does it count as a holiday if you don't get the day off work?) No, what bothers me is how contrived the whole thing is.

Evidence points to several different historical figures that could have been the basis for today's celebration. Perhaps it was a combination of legends of all three. Why there is a Roman Catholic (and several other Christian denominations) saint for romance is beyond me. Does it really take divine intervention for a relationship to work? And how does that translate into a day when we are all encouraged to spend money just to show that we care about someone. Shouldn't we be doing that every day we are with them? (Not the spend money part, the show we care part.)

After all, that's part of what makes a relationship work—taking time to let the other person know that you care. Doing things that don't cost anything, like listening when they talk.Watching a TV show with them. Giving them a hug before you leave for work. It doesn't take a saint to tell you these things make an impression.




I don't expect flowers or candy for Valentine's Day. If I get a nice card I'll be happy. An extra kiss or two will be great. A heartfelt "I love you" is always nice to hear.

And then there's the important question—if the day is supposed to be about romance, how comes we are 'training' our kids to take part? Kids as young as three or four are making cards for their parents. Why? Just why? (Besides the obvious—get them to spend money.)

So I'm not going to wish you a Happy Valentine's Day. I will thank you for taking the time to read my blog and (hopefully) my books. And may February 14th and every day be happy.

Now let's  hop on over and see what the other authors have to say.



Feb. 12, 2018 – Valentine’s is this week. Chat about the most irritating thing about this event.

Rules:
1. Link your blog to this hop.
2. Notify your following that you are participating in this blog hop.
3. Promise to visit/leave a comment on all participants' blogs.
4. Tweet/or share each person's blog post. Use #OpenBook when tweeting.
5. Put a banner on your blog that you are participating.

Wordpress:




Custom Blog:




An InLinkz Link-up

get the InLinkz code


InLinkz | view linkup

Monday, February 5, 2018

Character Development #OpenBook Blog Hop





Those of you who have hung out here for a while know that I'm a pantser, not a plotter. That means I start out with a general idea of my book, but I don't have all the details worked out for the story line. In fact, the romance in Wolves' Knight isn't at all what I planned for it to be.

The same is true for my characters. I start out with a general idea of who they are, but I don't know them intimately. As I write the story, I'm also discovering their likes and dislikes, their background, their personality. The information doesn't come to me all at once, the characters feed it to me in bits and pieces.

Harmony Duprie from the Oak Grove Mysteries is a great example of this. When I started writing her, I didn't know she was so tied to her daily routine, or that she names everything. She let me know about those quirks quickly. She's been great fun to write as her character develops through the book series. I'm always discovering something new about her. When I started writing The Marquesa's Necklace, there was a bit of me in the character. By the time we reached The Baron's Cufflinks, she was more like a good friend, and not me at all!

(If you haven't read Cufflinks yet, you should. Harmony finally reveals what's up with her and airplanes.)

How does that happen? It's really simple. I listen to my characters. Heck, sometimes I argue with them about the way the plot is going. I win a few of those discussions, but most of them I lose. After all, the stories belong to them.

I'm currently working on Wolves' Gambit, the third book in the Free Wolves' series, and it's been interesting. Lori, a minor character from Wolves' Pawn in the main character. (I'm willing to bet you don't remember her, that's how minor she was!) So I knew a bit about her, but she didn't take long to clue me in to who she really is underneath her bravado. This is yet another book that didn't go the way I planned but Lori's way is better! (Stay tuned...the book will be called Wolves' Gambit and I'm working on a mid-April release date.)


Now let's check out what the other authors have to say about character development.

Wait- you say you haven't read the my books yet? Then head over to my books page to see where to get yours first! My Books



February 5, 2018 – Character Development; How do you achieve quality character development?

Rules:
1. Link your blog to this hop.
2. Notify your following that you are participating in this blog hop.
3. Promise to visit/leave a comment on all participants' blogs.
4. Tweet/or share each person's blog post. Use #OpenBook when tweeting.
5. Put a banner on your blog that you are participating.

Wordpress:




Custom Blog:




An InLinkz Link-up

get the InLinkz code



Monday, January 29, 2018

And the Survey Says ... #OpenBook Blog Hop



Those of you that follow my blog know that I posted a survey last week. You also probably know that I got next to no responses. (Thanks, TKDanny, for being the exception!) So, I posted one of the questions on Facebook, and got a a few responses.



How do you like your villains?
1. Pure evil
2. Bad but redeemable
3. Fighting for a cause you don't believe in
4. Other

And the survey says ...!



A few people couldn't narrow down their choice to only one answer. I counted both of their responses, The final results surprised me.



Four people like their villains pure evil. Think Snidely Whiplash from the cartoon series Rocky and Bullwinkle. Granted, he wasn't a very smart  villain, but I don't remember him every doing anything nice.

Another four people chose bad but redeemable.  Think Dirty Dancing and Grease. Even Fonzie in Happy Days carried the bad boy vibe although he wasn't actually bad. (And Jessica Rabbit wasn't bad, she was just drawn that way.) Although I haven't read or watched the Fifty Shades series, I suspect Christian Grey fits in this category.

Last but not least. three people picked fighting for a cause. There are plenty of stories in history to look at for these characters. Abraham Lincoln was a hero to many and a villain to others. Same with George Washington and Che Guevara. It all depends upon which side you were on.

Feel free to tell me about your favorite villain in the comments. And now I'm off  to find out the results of the other authors' polls.







January 29, 2018 – Share your survey results.

Rules:
1. Link your blog to this hop.
2. Notify your following that you are participating in this blog hop.
3. Promise to visit/leave a comment on all participants' blogs.
4. Tweet/or share each person's blog post. Use #OpenBook when tweeting.
5. Put a banner on your blog that you are participating.

Wordpress:




Custom Blog:




An InLinkz Link-up

get the InLinkz code

"

Monday, January 22, 2018

Survey! #OpenBook Blog Hop








Trying something a bit different this week. I'd sure appreciate if you all would take a few minutes to answer a few questions. Thanks!



Well, guys, talk about the best made plans etc. As I was in the middle of setting this survey up, we lost power. So I'm going to put aside my plans and approach this in a different way.


Here's a couple of questions, please answer in the comments below! I'll even take one word answers, but if you want to explain yourself, feel free!



Which unlikely hero do you prefer?
1. Vampire
2. Werewolf
3. Pirate
4. Other



Do you prefer your villains ...
1. Pure evil
2. Bad but redeemable
3. Fighting for a cause you don't agree with
4. Other


Which do you prefer?
1. The Free Wolves series
2. The Oak Grove Mysteries


That's it! I'll be looking forward to your answers.


Now I'm off to answer the surveys from our other authors.



January 22, 2018 – Survey your audience about _______________.

Rules:
1. Link your blog to this hop.
2. Notify your following that you are participating in this blog hop.
3. Promise to visit/leave a comment on all participants' blogs.
4. Tweet/or share each person's blog post. Use #OpenBook when tweeting.
5. Put a banner on your blog that you are participating.

Wordpress:




Custom Blog:



An InLinkz Link-up

get the InLinkz code