Tuesday, December 24, 2019

"Twas the Night Before Christmas...."

Wishing you all the merriest of Christmasses.

How do you spend Christmas Eve?

Over the years, what we've done has changed. When the kids were little, they got to open one present before they went to bed. No one got much sleep. Once they were gone, often it was time to put some of the gifts together. I remember once, one of the kids got something so complicated, it too all night to have it ready.

Now, with our children all grown up, two of our grown children and their spouses join us, plus one of our son's son, wife,  and two of his kids, and our granddaughter and husband, and their three girls. We have dinner, then open presents. Nowadays, because our family has gotten so huge, we draw names.  Opening presents doesn't take so long, and everyone can go do other things if they are so inclined.

Do any of you writers continue with your writing chores during Christmas Eve and Christmas Day?

For me, it's celebrating the birth of Christ and enjoying family.

Soon we'll be beginning a brand new year, 2020! Hard to believe.

Have the best of whatever you  celebrate at this time of year.

And Happy New Year!

Friday, December 20, 2019

Christmas Again Already????

by Linda Thorne

Why does it seem Christmas gets here quicker every single year? There were a whole lot of years when my step children were children. Those were the greatest Christmases of all and I remember them well. We lived in Denver then, so those were often white Christmases. The last white Christmas we had in Nashville was in 2010. Our children are grown with children of their own and all live in different states. This year it will be just me and my husband. Our two dogs (featured in the picture), brother and sister border collies didn't make it to Christmas 2018. We miss them so, and keep them in our memories of Christmases past or what writers call backstory.

Speaking of that, my second book in the series is close to completion, but not yet ready to turn over to my publisher. Right now my biggest struggle is backstory. The main plot is built around a 30-year-old cold case with my lead character, at the age of 20, being the intended victim. Someone else was murdered in her stead. I love the story line, but weaving in an inciting incident that happened 30 years earlier is not only difficult, but a science. A friend of mine read much of the book and gave me suggestions and then warned me to tread carefully in finding the right places to drop in the backstory. I'm so thankful she's willing to look at it again once I've struggled through this process.

Does anyone else find Christmas is here before you know it? Anyone want to talk about the problems with backstory?

Either way, hope each and every one of you have a wonderful, happy holiday event.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all!

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Blame It On Santa

by Janis Patterson

Or maybe not. The old gent has enough to worry about this time of year.
No, the blame is totally on me. I have been so swamped with Christmas, a dear family member moving across the country, some other family issues, including some health issues, and the everlasting crush of approaching hard deadlines that I just plain pushed this blog to the back of my mind and there it stayed until my second mug of coffee this morning. Ooops.
All I can say is that I’m sorry and apologize profusely. Usually I love sharing things with all of you, but this month life just got away with me and I apologize. And make an early New Years resolution to be better.
I also promise the announcement of something wonderful in January. It’s taken a lot to keep my mouth shut about this, but I’ll tell all as soon as the news is officially released!
Still, I want to take this opportunity to wish you the Merriest of Christmases, the Happiest of Hanukkahs, the best of whatever you celebrate in this wonderful season, and the loveliest and most creative of New Years! Bless you all -

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

The Christmas Season is Upon Us

Are you rushing around trying to get your house decorated and buy and wrap Christmas gifts?

As an author, I would encourage you to buy books for some of the people on your Christmas list. you might try some of the books by the authors who write for this blog.

When I was a kid, my favorite gifts were books. My mom always gave me the latest Nancy Drew mysteries--and I'd usually read them through by the end of the day. Of course I read them again--and again. And believe me, as an adult, I've always loved receiving a book or a gift card where I could choose books for myself.

May I suggest any of my Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery series, and especially for those who enjoy books with Native American elements. And of course, there's my Rocky Bluff P.D. series, about a police department on the Pacific coast, the men and women and their families. I write that one as F. M. Meredith.

Though both are series, the mysteries in each book are finished, so they don't have to be read in order.
But for those who really like to start in the beginning, Deadly Omen is the first in the Tempe series, and Final Respects the first in the Rocky Bluff series.

Buy link for Deadly Omen:


Buy link for Final Respects:


Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Heroes and Villains

Make Mine Mystery

December 5, 2019

Linda Lee Kane

When I begin a story, I like to create the scenario, then the names of my heroes and my villains. These are some of the things I ponder when writing and I thought it might be helpful to some of you.

Most thrillers tell the story of a hero who leaves the comfortable, known world and ventures into the dangerous unknown, often at risk to his/her life, to bring benefit to humanity. As such, thrillers hearken back to myth is that span all cultures and epochs. Look at Wikipedia’s list of Heroes and World Cultures and Heroines in Folklore and mark those that appeal to you the most. Keep a list of ideas and heroes in a notebook to refer to later.

When creating motivations for heroes and villains, a fundamental principle to remember is that making a decision between good and evil is never really a choice. All humans will choose well as they see it. You must tell why your villain is picking his own right (which your reader will perceive as evil). This is where your moral gray area becomes essential.

In the Black Madonna, A Popes Deadly Obsession, the moral gray area is whether or not to bring the last written words by Jesus to light. An offshoot of the Catholic Church doesn’t want it to come to light, but Luci, in her naivety believes that by doing so it will bring truth to the bible and in doing so bring light to all mankind.

All stakes, no matter what kind of novel you’re writing, should involve death. This can happen physically (the hero's life is in danger, (psychologically) the hero stands to lose his identity or a vital aspect of his soul) or circumstantially (or at some point of the hero’s life will be lost forever-a career, a marriage, his family, etc.). When you’re designing your hero’s central conflict, ask yourself which kind of death your hero is going to confront.

Sometimes a moral gray area turns a hero into a villain. In fiction, this is known as an anti-hero. Check out these television shows as an example:

Tony Soprano of The Sopranos
Walter White of Breaking Bad
Lisbeth Salander in The Girl with the Dragon Tatoo

Watch Raiders of the Lost Ark and observe how the character of Indian Jones is revealed. Which personality traits are shown first? Which ones come later? What motivates Jones in his quest?

What aspects of your hero can be reflected through your villain?

What aspects of your villain’s personality and life could create relatable motivations for what they do in your novel?