God’s Wonderful World, Scenes and Imagination

by Carole Brown

And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. –the Bible

As an author, I marvel at the sights of this beautiful planet. My imagination soars with the heights and floats with the breeze and waves. I imagine my established characters, and sometimes new ones, in these scenes.

Pictures and scenes are one of the greatest ways to foster ideas. I take LOTS of pictures in our travels. Some of them have made it into videos of my books. Others serve to keep my mind agile and brisk with ideas. 

Tell me, what kind of story ideas do these pictures give you?

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Do you see a young couple hiking in the northwest? What troubles do they stumble into? A dead body? A raging fire? Kidnapping? Finding themselves with new purpose? Do you imagine a family camping here and encountering wild creatures? Fishing? Hunting? Or can you see something entirely different?

For this one: I imagine one that I’ve begun and have yet to finish: 

Set in Mexico, in a missionary setting, a young girl meets two very different impressive men, but which one is the right one–for her? Then, she must also figure out which one is the drug lord… Can she do both–and survive?

 

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What do you imagine here happening?

An Amish story? an 1800s novel? A wagon train passing through? Or perhaps a country farm setting with a wife who dabbles in mystery problems in the nearby town?

To me, I can see another story,  I’ve begun and hope to finish soon, set during the late 1800s, Destiny and Michael riding their horses through one of the fields he owns, arguing, both strong people who must decipher whose father was the gold thief and find love in the midst of their suspicions.

 

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In this one, what does this scene depict in your mind?

A scary situation? Mystery? A lost child? Can you feel the terror? Do crazy thoughts of someone jumping out at you lurk in your imagination? Can you see children in an adventure book strolling this path?

To me, I can see in my Alex and Denton Davies series, the two of them walking this semi-dark woodland pathway, searching for clues or chasing after a suspect.

 

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And one last one to stir your creative juices…

Does this bring to mind a warm, cozy feeling? Can you see an abominable snowmen lurking close by? Or can you see a couple meeting on the ski slopes? A family adventure? A lonely older person meeting his soul mate? 

I see a mountain lodge where a female detective looks for a psycho suspect and runs smack dab into a love she hadn’t planned on. But can she find the bad person…and keep the love?

 

 

Can you see how we can use pictures and images to further our writing, to increase our creative juices, to spur us to keep writing, and to give us the encouragement we need when we’re stumped?

Take advantage of everything and all things that keep you writing.

Tell me, what do YOU see in these pictures? What do you use to sit down at your writing desk and add a few more pages to your document?

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A New Comedy Romance from Catherine Castle

by Carole BrownAGroomforMama2_200

A Groom for Mama

One date for every medical test—that’s the deal.There’s a new romantic comedy, by multi-award-winning author Catherine Castle, on the EBook shelves at Amazon, titled…

A Groom for Mama.

The book, which is full of plot twists, humor and drama, is loosely based on a play she and her author husband wrote as a contest entry for a local radio contest.

Readers are calling A Groom for Mama “simply delightful” and “an enjoyable read full of fun and wit and heart-felt emotion.”

Catherine’s going to give us a peek into the book today.

Enjoy!

A Groom for Mama

By Catherine Castle

Beverly Walters is dying, and before she goes she has one wish—to find a groom for her daughter. To get the deed done, Mama enlists the dating service of Jack Somerset, Allison’s former boyfriend.

The last thing corporate-climbing Allison wants is a husband. Furious with Mama’s meddling, and a bit more interested in Jack than she wants to admit, Allison agrees to the scheme as long as Mama promises to search for a cure for her terminal illness.

A cross-country trip from Nevada to Ohio ensues, with a string of disastrous dates along the way, as the trio hunts for treatment and A Groom For Mama.

Excerpt:

With a sweep of his hand, Jack spread the photos out on the table in front of Allison and Beverly. “Here’s a few I just grabbed from the database. Any of them interesting?” He studied Allison’s reaction. She didn’t bat an eyelash as she scanned the men’s pictures. Then, without warning, she scooped them up and shoved them at him.

“I told Mama I wasn’t going to do this. It’s a stupid idea.”

“I’ll admit it’s not the ‘some enchanted evening, see a stranger across the room’ romantic way to find a husband, but it’s not totally unacceptable. Several of the couples my company has brought together have married.”

“And lived happily ever after?” she retorted.

“It’s a new company, Allison. I don’t have the stats yet.” He pushed the photos across the table. “Just take a peek. What harm can it do?”

Beverly grabbed the photo of a particularly handsome man. “How about this one? His coloring complements yours. You’d have beautiful children.”

Mama!” Allison snatched the photo away. “We’re not going to discuss my possible, yet unlikely, progeny in front of Jack.”

A flash of Allison kissing this guy flew through his head. He grabbed the photo from her. “He’s not your type anyway.”

“And just how do you know?” she asked.

“I dated you, remember? You ditched me for some suave, corporate hotshot. At least it’s what you said.”

“Allison!” Beverly exclaimed. “You never told me that.”

Allison shot him a fierce scowl. “I’m not comfortable discussing my love life with you, Mama. Besides, what’s done and over with should be buried . . . in the past.” She picked up another photo. “What about him? Or him and him?” She pointed to two nerdy-looking fellows. “They seem corporate.”

Mama leaned over and checked out the pictures Allison had indicated. “Too ugly,” she said. “He’s got to be handsome. Like Jack. I want to know my grandbabies will be as beautiful as you two.”

He grinned. “Thanks for the compliment, but I know I’m not your daughter’s type.” He laid a sheet of paper on the counter. “Fill this out. Then I can get a better idea of what you want in a husband.”

“I don’t want—”

“I know,” he interjected. “But, for your mom’s sake, just pretend you do.”

Want to read more? You can find A Groom for Mama at:

http://www.amzn.com/B074SZSGB1

About the Author:
CT Bio 8x11

Catherine Castle, author of the multi-award-winning inspirational suspense romance, The Nun and the Narc, and the sweet romantic comedy, A Groom for Mama, loves writing, reading, traveling, singing, watching movies, and the theatre. In the winter she quilts and has a lot of UFOs (unfinished objects) in her sewing case. In the summer her favorite place is in her garden. She’s a passionate gardener who won a “Best Hillside Garden” award from the local gardening club.

 

Connect with Catherine here:

Website:  https://catherinecastle1.wordpress.com

Blog: http://catherinecastle1.wordpress.com/blog/

Amazon author page:  https://www.amazon.com/author/catherinecastle

Goodreads page:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7085414.Catherine_Castle

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/AuthorCCastle @AuthorCCastle

Facebook:  https://facebook.com/catherinecastleauthor

Google+ :  https://plus.google.com/109253925035989625956/posts

Stitches Thru Time:  http://stitchesthrutime.blogspot.com/

SMP authors blog site:  http://smpauthors.wordpress.com/

HAPPY READING!

Writing the Book Blurb

by Carole Brown

book, old writing free

 

A book blurb is one of the most important items of a marketing plan. Without it, you will find it harder to “sell” your book to agents, editors and readers. Here are a few thoughts of how to create an excellent one:

 

 

Introduce your main character(s). Use the names they’ll go by in your book. Keep it simple. Unless it’s absolutely necessary, you don’t need to go into detail about their personality.

character free

Reveal the genre. Again keep it brief. Set the tone or mood of the book. Mystery? Romance? Sci-fi? Thriller?

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Reveal the main conflict. Most books have subplots but they won’t need (usually) to be mentioned here. In one sentence show the problem. Will the detective be able to find the thief? Can the hero save the heroine’s life (or vise versa 🙂 ) etc. Many times this will begin with one of these words:  Until. But. However.

problem-free

Hook the reader’s curiosity.  Is all lost when another man shows up and does what the hero should have done? Is the detective a failure because his main suspect turns out to be innocent?

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Give the reader a hopeful possible. This “longshot” will give your reader hope that all is not lost and keep them reading.

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Book blurbs should not be too long nor too short. Fifty words at most; Twenty-five to thirty words is a perfect sized blurb. Keep to these main facts, edit and you should have a winner. 

Happy Writing!

 

$50 Amazon card or 30 books?

by Carole Brown

I am excited to be participating in a multi-author giveaway just for you! 

What’s more fun to celebrate summer than a $50 Amazon gift card or 30+ books?!

Don’t miss you chance to win!

 

Link to giveaway:

The Demons in Writing

by Carole Brown

We all have them. The times of dryness, weariness and pressure in our demon freewriting attempts. It’s up to each of us to put on all the armor we can to fight against those demons of writing warfare. In my own life, they vary from day to day, but they are there and very real. Keeping watch over these problems is a constant battle and it never gets easier. But that’s no reason for me to give up. If for no other reason, I’m a fighter (in certain things and ways), and I WANT to write. I WANT to produce more books, and I pray that God gives me the help and strength to finish my writing course! 

Here’s a short list of some writing demons in my own life:

 

Time:

clock freeIs there ever enough time for everything? Learn (again) that time waits on no one. Take those precious minutes, half hour, early morning, late evening–whatever you can fit in–and jot down those fifty or hundred or thousand words. 

Not enough words? Of course, it is. If you hadn’t written those words, you’d have been fifty, hundred, or thousand words less. Appreciate every minute of the day and take advantage of those minutes. Every one of them count for something. Don’t let it be for nothing.

 

Busyness:  

Too many items on my calendar. If that’s the case–and I’ve often found that to be so in my life–busy freethen it’s time to prioritize. We CAN NOT do everything, so pick those things that are the most important.

I suggest taking the time to make a list. You can have more than one: a personal, only you can see what’s on it, that goes into more detail, and a more general one. Here’s what my general one looks like, and there are times I have to rearrange, temporarily, some of them:

  • God, and his work
  • husband
  • family
  • writing
  • friends

Remember: these will rearrange occasionally, and some overlap (such as God and his work and friends, etc.). Also I haven’t mentioned personal interests, like hobbies, exercise, temporary demands, or sudden happenings that occur in each of our lives.

 

Laziness:

lazy cat freeI just don’t feel like it today (or tomorrow and probably the next day). Oh, my, how many times have I faced this one? 

 

 

 

 

 

Strength (Weariness):  

I’ve been sick, too tired, or life is wearing me down. I’m worn down from traveling to and frosick woman free helping out, or shopping for needed items, etc. Or I’ve not had enough sleep. Too much on my mind. I’ve had to deal with other issues and can’t think straight. An accident, injury, illness with which I need to contend. The list goes on and on. 

With this one, you will probably need to relax and recover. If you can’t write during this period either give your mind and body permission to take a break from writing. When you are up to it, jot notes, reread your work and mark spots that need edited. Go at a speed and with a mindset that lets you stay relaxed. Approach it as a reader and not with any pressure that you HAVE to get work done. 

Another suggestion that works well for me, is to talk with, get together with a writing friend, or friends, and socialize. Help them brainstorm, offer to read a chapter or two, encourage and mentor someone else and keep the focus off yourself. You may find you come away revitalized and strengthened to begin work again.

 

Discouragement: 

discouraged2 freeWhat am I doing? Do I really think I can be a writer? Who am I kidding? Ah, the hound of discouragement nips at many heels! It’s okay to wallow a little, but don’t let it get ahold of you. 

A few things that always brings hope and life back into me when that hound visits me:

  • If you have a supportive companion, talk with them. Many times they can talk you through this slough of despondency and encouragement you to keep on writing. 
  • Share with your true writing buddies, or if you prefer not to let them know, then at least fellowship with a few. Just being around mine encourages me to go home and write. Lately, I’ve struggled to make headway (because of some of the above) on a certain novel I’m trying to complete. But at a recent writing retreat, I was amazed as we all sat working, that I was able to see the manuscript with fresh eyes, and able to write again. 
  • If you’re published, reread some of your good reviews, whether one or twenty, they can give you the incentive to keep writing.
  • Remember who you write for. God? Yourself? Others? To make a difference? To share the gospel? For entertainment? Whatever your reason it, you’re the only one that can do it. Stay true to your purpose and write.
  • Talk with God. He’s always our best encourager. He’s always by our side. Listen. Then obey!

 

What demons to you encounter in your writing? How do you overcome them? 

Happy writing!

 

 

 

Mystery Lovers, Beware!

by Carole Brown

mobile-home free

We love to travel and have done so since we’ve been married. From Washington state to Texas, from Alabama to Maine, we’ve gone traveling for business and for fun.

If you ask the Dentons, who love to travel, their vacation spots always seem to land them in mysteries. Now that’s an interesting thought and experience, but the Dentons take it in stride. Considering their love of fishing, buying new shoes and reading mystery books, it’s easily understood how they can get involved in any mystery that pops up at their newest vacation spots.

So far they’ve solved the Mystery of the Dead Motorcyclist in Tennessee (Hog Insane) and in New Mexico (Bat Crazy), they eventually found who was behind the Vampire Bats supposedly inhabitiFrontng a new cave.

(By the way, someday I’ll explain how I came up with these crazy, insane titles. Lol)

Now in Colorado, they’re helping long time friends Jeremy Meadows, who owns and runs a ski resort with his Down’s Syndrome sister Daffodil, discover the people who are tricking her and ruining their well-laid plans for the resort. And what do ducks have to do with the story anyway?

Can they succeed in finding the evil doer? Readers can find out in the third book of this delightful series: Daffy’s Duck, coming late 2017.

 

Check out the first two books in this series here:

Hog Insane:  Amazon.

Bat Crazy:  Amazon

Happy Reading!!

What’s Your Genre?

37-1013-a0039by Tamera Lynn Kraft

Genres are fluid things. They change from time to time, and sometimes a novel fits in more than one genre. Sometimes your novel will not fit easily in any specific genre. It would be easier if authors could check other for what genre their novels belong in, but publishers require us to label the genre. The reason genre categories are so important is because this is how publishers and book sellers define and market fiction to their readers. Genre is also important because readers use genre to choose what books novels they enjoy reading.

Like it or not, as an author, you need to decide what genre your novel falls under. The following is a list of genres, but it is not meant to be a complete list. There are some genres I include in my blog, let alone read, because as I Christian, I won’t promote them. So what’s your genre?

Age Classifications: There are four age classifications.

Children – Ages Birth to Twelve

Young Adult – Ages Twelve to Eighteen

New Adult – Ages Eighteen to Thirty (Coming of Age)

Adult – Eighteen and Above

Genres:

Science Fiction: Stories often tell about science and technology. It is important to note that science fiction has a relationship with the principles of science—these stories involve partially true-partially fictitious laws or theories of science. It should not be completely unbelievable, because it then ventures into the genre fantasy.

Subcategories:

  • Hard science fiction: Classic science fiction, relies on science and technology
  • Other Worlds: Setting on other planets
  • First contact:  First meeting between aliens and humans
  • Space Exploration: Characters explore space.
  • Cyberpunk: A bleak future of technological advances and computers, hacker, and computer/human hybrids
  • Near-future science fiction: Takes place in the near future and include technology already here or in development
  • Time Travel: Characters travel to the past or future, or are visited by time travelers.
  • Military science fiction:  Futuristic combat, weapons, and battling aliens. Heroism and the carnage of warfare are emphasized.
  • Sociological science fiction: Future of the social sciences instead of the hard technology and focuses on individuals and social groups
  • Light/humorous science fiction: Spoof science fiction. “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” by Douglas Adams is the best known in this sub-genre.
  • Science fantasy/future fantasy: These stories have some elements of science but ignore the scientific principles involved
  • Cross-Genre: Mix science fiction with fantasy, romance, mystery, suspense and other genres
  • Space opera: Similar to Westerns where the good guys shoot them up with the bad guys – only the bad guys might be aliens or robots on another planet

Fantasy: Stories are often characterized by a departure from the accepted rules by which individuals perceive the world around them; it represents that which is impossible (unexplained) and outside the parameters of our known, reality. Make-believe is what this genre is all about.

Subcategories:

  • Fairy Tales and Mythology: Set in mythical lands with strange creatures
  • Epic Fantasy: A young person thrown unexpectedly into a massive “Good vs. Evil” struggle, where he must become a hero to save the day. Often includes a “grail-finding” quest. J.R.R. Tolkien is the creator of this sub-genre with the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy.
  • Heroic: Closely related to the epic fantasy and involves fantasy world, but heroes are not the young everyday characters. Magic is an accepted part of life in this sub-genre.
  • Modern Fantasy: Tales of magic and wonder set in modern times
  • Urban: Modern fantasy with a paranormal or supernatural element.
  • Wuxia: Oriental fantasy involving Martial Arts, similar to the American Western where the lone hero saves the day
  • Historic: Any fantasy set in historical times
  • Romantic: Involves any fantasy story that surrounds a romantic relationship between two people
  • Superhero: The heroes in these stories have super powers. Think comic books.
  • Arthurian: These fantasy have a King Arthur setting.
  • Dark Fantasy: Combines elements of fantasy with horror

Speculative: This is a catch-all term meant to inclusively span the breadth of fantastic literature, usually has a spiritual or supernatural element to it.

Subcategories not Included in Fantasy or Science Fiction:

  • Alternate History: Stories where history changes
  • Apocalypse/Holocaust: The end of the world as we know it
  • Coming of Age: The human race takes a big evolutionary leap
  • Dystopian: Dysfuntional utopias
  • Slipstream: Set in our world but distorts things in some way
  • Steampunk: Take a Victorian setting and give it modern technology, and you have steampunk.

Romance: Romantic Fiction has two strict criteria: The first is that the story must focus on the relationship and romantic love between two people. Secondly, the end of the story must be positive, leaving the reader believing that the protagonists’ love and relationship will endure for the rest of their lives. If those two criteria are not met, it’s not considered a romance. Romance may have any of the other genres as a subcategory.

Women’s Fiction: These stories generally appeal more to women than men. Usually the stories involve relationships, emotions, and a female main character. Sometimes women’s fiction has strong romantic elements, but the romance is not the main story.

Mystery: Intrigue, who-done-it’s, crime solving are major ingredients of the mystery genre. Basically the main character has a mystery or crime to solve. This mystery can involve murder, but it doesn’t have to.

Subcategories:

  • Whodunit: A detective works to discover hidden clues and solve the crime, usually murder. Written in one point of view, usually the  main character and almost always in first person.
  • Amateur Detective: The main character is not a police detective but is very invested in solving the crime.
  • Cozy Mystery: The amateur detective, usually a women who lives in a small town or village where she knows everyone, is a likable, nosy, and trustworthy person who people feel comfortable revealing their secrets to. All the suspects know everyone. Cozies never reveal gory or violent details, and sex is always behind closed doors.
  • Private Detective: The victim seeks the help of a private eye.
  • Medical Mystery: Usually takes place in a hospital or medical setting usually involves medical personnel.
  • Courtroom Drama: Usually a defense attorney representing a client he or she believes is innocent. The lawyer solves the crime to win the case.

Thriller/Suspense: This genre is characterized by a sudden rush of emotions and a sense of suspense, apprehension, and exhilaration that drive the narrative. In short, a thriller thrills. Skillful plotting is a major element of a thriller. Alfred Hitchcock movies fell into this genre. This is sometimes called men’s fiction because it’s believed to appeal more to men. Most of the time, it will have a male main character, but it can have a female main character.

Subcategories:

  • Action/Adventure: Race against the clock with lots of violence, and an obvious antagonist
  • Conspiracy: The hero discovers a conspiracy among a powerful group of enemies, but he can’t prove it, and nobody will believe him.
  • Crime: A crime or series of crimes is committed, but the perpetrator is identified immediately.
  • Disaster: The main conflict is due to an act of nature.
  • Horror: Main intent is to illicit fear in the reader.
  • Drama: These suspense stories are usually a little slower paced and rely on character development more than plot.
  • Eco-thriller: Involve environmental aspects where the antagonist is usually a corporation or government official whose actions cause havoc on the environment.
  • Legal: The hero is a lawyer, and some or most of the setting takes place in a courtroom.
  • Medical: Revolves around medical personnel.
  • Political: The hero or antagonist is an agent of the government.
  • Psychological: The conflict between the main characters is mental and emotional, rather than physical.
  • Spy: The good guy is usually a spy fighting against terrorists, plots to overthrow the government, or evil regimes.
  • Techno-thriller: These usually involve the military.

Historical: This includes any story that takes place more than twenty years ago.

  • Historical Saga: Covers a broad period of time and can deal with families over several generations
  • Historical Romance: A true historical romance is a romance that has the time period and setting as an important part of the story
  • Historical Adventure: Takes place in history and brings the characters along for an exciting adventure
  • Western: Set in the old West of the United States. Westerns typify the rugged individualism that built the nation. They are part history, part myth, and part American culture.
  • Cross-Genre: Historical novels can have any genre as it’s sub-category if the story is set in the past such as mystery, suspense, science fiction, and fantasy.
  • Historical Periods: Historicals are sometimes categorized according to time period such a regency, colonial, or World War II.

Contemporary: This is any fiction where the story takes place in the present that doesn’t fit in any other category.

Comedy: Any story that seeks to invoke laughter.

Leave a comment and let us know what your favorite genre is.