I Made a Decision About My Blog by Marilyn Meredith

Despite folks saying blog are going out of fashion, I'm not giving mine up.

I will continue to host other authors, and post book and movie reviews.
My decision is that I'm not going to worry if I don't have a post up nearly every other day. That was my goal when I began, but I realize now that since I made the goal, I can certainly change it.
What I will do is post when I have something to say--which will probably be more often than anyone cares to  read. That really doesn't matter, since it's my blog.
One of the reasons I came to this decision is because I seem to have run out of time. I've been trying to get my latest Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery done, but have had so many interruptions: other writing projects--the kind that actually bring in money, family obligations that have mostly been great and life in general. 
Because I also like to give writing presentations, I've had some of those lately too. Fun, but if they are out of town it usually means two…

IMMINENT DANGER by Katherine Prairie

Imminent danger. We sense it when the sky fills with dark clouds and the wind picks up. We feel it in the pit of our stomach when our tires screech against the pavement. As a thriller writer, I set out to write a story that makes my readers feel that sense of imminent danger from the first page to the last. And I’m not one to start slow!
The fire in THIRST; the daring plan in BLUE FIRE; my novels open with deadly situations that push Alex Graham to the edge. It’s a strategy that leaves little time to convince readers to come along for the ride with my intrepid geologist, and so these first pages are often the ones that are the hardest to write. It also sets a high bar for the rest of the story, because like ominous black clouds, those opening scenes warn of a coming storm, a big one!
But Alex isn’t alone. Caught up in the swirl of danger that surrounds her in BLUE FIRE are Tanzanian miner, Mosi Ongeti, and Jorge Silva, the Brazilian ex-cop responsible for the Novoteras mine. Each faces…

Glorious, Glorious Reunion!

All our family reunions are great--but this one was extra special because a grandson, now in his forties, whom we hadn't seen since he was three joined us.

Many of us were in the lobby that first afternoon waiting on getting a room, when a car drove up in front. I watched a young woman get out and go to the front desk--she wore a shirt with NEBRASKA on the back. She turned and spotted me, and said, "Grandma." She introduced herself as my grandson's wife, Alicia. By this time a tall, dark-haired man had gotten out of the car. I ran outside and knew immediately, he was my Jeffrey.  (By the way, Alicia is wonderful.)
My heart swelled, the tears flowed and we hugged. He said, "Don't cry, Grandma." I told him I couldn't help it, they were tears of joy.  I smiled so much all weekend and cried too. How joyous! Believe me, I knew it was Jeff--he still looks like my little Jeff only all grown up. He has some attributes and his voice sounds so much like his n…

WHY DO WE WRITE? by Elaine Faber

Few of us pursue writing, expecting to get rich. We write because we must, like an itch that needs scratching. We write because we have a desire to share a message or a story. Maybe we write for the sheer joy of writing to fill a boring life.
My goal is to write books that help the reader forget her day-to-day troubles, spend a few hours in my world, where the good guy wins and the bad guy ‘gets his!’ and there are plenty of chuckles along the way.  Mrs. Odboddy-And Then There was a Tiger is such a book. When Mrs. Odboddy finds a rat-filled shoebox on her front porch and her house is trashed, she knows someone is out to give her grief. When she becomes a suspect in the Wilkey’s Market burglary, she knows she’s in trouble.
Our completely manuscripts may be accepted for publication by a traditional publisher, or we may choose to self-publish in print or Amazon e-book. Along the road to publication, be assured there will likely be discouraging days when it feels like it would make more se…

And It's Almost August!

August is a big month--it's my birthday month, and also my first born daughter's birthday, Her wedding anniversary is this month too.

We're having our family reunion this month, actually in just a few days,  and besides getting to spend time with loved ones, someone special is coming. My grandson, Jeffrey, whom I haven't seen since he was three and his mom spirited him away from his California family. He to in touch with us a couple of years ago much to my great amazement.
My daughter and her husband had the opportunity to see him in Kansas last year. And now, we'll all get to see him again. This is so exciting, and I have to admit, it brings tears to my eyes.
I have a cousin I grew up with who can't make it to the reunion this year, but I go to watch a video her sons and daughter made of her on her birthday. She's 11 months younger than I am, and every year she boogie boards in the ocean! And yes, she did it again! Wow! That ocean is so cold. Though I used…

More on Self-Editing, by Susan Tuttle

Monitor the pacing. Does the story lag, or go too fast in places?

Is there balanced variation in short and long sentences? Does the story flow easily? 
Who is the narrator/narrators? Is each narrator's voice consistent?
Check for unintentional changes  in POV. They can be subtle but pull the reader out of the flow.

Setting: Is it described vividly enough to be pictured clearly? Is it consistent throughout? How does it affect the characters?
Are all five senses included in each scene? Can the reader taste, smell, see, hear, and feel the setting, or are visuals only given?
Watch for info dumps--these are usually back story that may or mau not be important to the immediate story. At any point in the story are there other ways to weave back story in?
Watch for purple prose--overdone descriptions written for the sake of writing that don't move the story along. 
Watch for repeated ideas and images.
Is there enough suspense to keep the reader turning pages? Or is there too much?
Do t…

Self-Editing, PSWA Conference, Susan Tuttle, Part II

Writing Techniques:

Basic Structure--Is there a beginning, middle and end?
Does the plot make sense? Too simple? Or too convoluted?
Check of inconsistencies and weaknesses in the plot structure.
Is the ending strong and believable? Does is wrap things up in a satisfying way or is it unbelievable?
Are the main characters well-developed? Minor characters over-developed. All characters real and vivid?
Are the characterizations and the characters' voices consistent throughout?
Are characters' mannerisms repeated too often? 
Are character descriptions consistent?
Are the characters' motivations clear and consistent, or mysterious, confusing and unbelievable?
Make sure the dialogue is natural sounding, sincere and easy to follow. Check for cryptic comments that don't add to the forward momentum of the plot. Look also for too much/convoluted spelling that can confuse or distance the reader.
Check to make sure the dialogue matches each character's personality. Does the cha…