Monday, December 31, 2012

Goodbye, 2012

It’s that time of year when you can’t turn on a radio, or the television, without hearing a recap of what happened during the year, or predictions about what’s in store for us in the coming year.

My crystal ball is in the shop for some fine tuning, so I’ll stick to the past, and what were a few high points for me.

Writing. Let’s get this out of the way. I worked hard, formatted, reformatted, designed covers, marketed, reformatted again and then wrote some more. At the end of the year I topped out at sixteen books, five of which I wrote some time ago. But hey...they all count.

Ryder Hesjedal won the Giro d’Italia, and he did it without doping. Ryder is from Victoria, on Vancouver Island and all Canadians are proud of him.

Korean rapper Psy broke onto the music scene with “Gangnam Style”. The video, seen on YouTube, surpassed one billion views on 21 December. Chances are that by the end of 2013, we won’t be able to remember who he was, but it was fun while it lasted.

50 Shades of Grey took the world by storm. Copycats abound, many of them with tongues planted firmly in their cheeks. Does this herald a new acceptance for erotica? I have no idea, but it will be interesting to watch.

The Oreo cookie turned 100.

Magic Mike hit the big screen, raising the heart rate of women everywhere.

American singer/songwriter Sixto Rodriguez finally had his day, thanks to a documentary by Malik Bendjelloul, a Swedish filmmaker. I wish him well.

Phyllis Diller died in August. Her self-deprecating humour rarely failed to amuse.

I had a short holiday in San Francisco in early September and explored some delightful restaurants. I would definitely revisit State Bird Provisions, Cafe de la Presse in Chinatown, and Pier One, where next time I’d sit at a stool and eat Chinese noodles for breakfast.

As for 2013, who knows what will happen? I’ll still be writing, as long as it’s fun. I’ll keep you posted.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

So Many Books, So Little Time

There are lots of good things about being an independent author. Freedom to let the words flow, breaking free of constraining guidelines set by publishers, and the ability to explore new genres.

I tend to become self-absorbed when I write, and it's easy to forget that there are other authors out there writing compelling stories that have nothing to do with romance...thank goodness! Romance is great, but we all need a little variety in our lives.

I've opened a new page titled So Many Books, So Little Time. On that page, I thought I'd mention some of the books that have caught my eye in the past few months. Some I've read - some not. But they all look interesting.

Happy Reading,

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Win a Kindle Fire...and more!

This deal sounded great, so I became a sponsor with my book Then Came Love. Who wouldn't want to win a Kindle Fire, or one of two $100 Gift Certificates? Maybe I should enter myself...those Fires look great.

Here's the link to enter: 
Good luck to everyone!

Monday, December 17, 2012

On the Casting Couch with Sheila Claydon

Sheila Claydon is a multi-published author from Great Britain who I’ve come to know through an on-line group. Sheila writes stylish romances which I enjoy reading. Recently she offered to put  me On the Casting Couch. This is a series of interviews Sheila has done with authors where they tell about the characters in their books. This interview is re-printed with Sheila’s permission. Check out her website; it’s full of interesting information, and most importantly, links to her books.

Published December 17, 2012 | By Sheila Claydon

Over the next few months a number of writers have agreed to sit on my Casting Couch to discuss the different methods  they use in their search for the characters who populate their books. Their techniques give a fascinating insight into the writing process and the writers themselves
Today Canadian author Mona Ingram joins us on the Casting Couch to share the tricks of her trade and to tell why she likes the secondary characters in her books as well.
Thank you for agreeing to sit on the Casting Couch Mona. It’s always a treat to talk to a multi-published author and discover how she casts her characters. Assuming you are sitting comfortably, let’s begin.
* * *
Which characters are the hardest for you to develop? Is it the hero, the heroine, the villain, or the secondary characters?
I’d have to say the heroine. I think that’s because I usually identify with the heroine and although on a deep level I understand her motivation, I don’t like to talk about myself.
When an idea strikes, do you work through the plot first and then cast the characters, or is it characters first? Or does it vary? Perhaps you develop the plot and the characters together.
I wish I could say I’m that organized. Usually my stories start with a nugget of an idea and expand from there. I take quite a while to think about each book before I start. There’s a lot of ‘what if?’ going on in my mind while I’m putting the plot together.
Can you give an example from a published story?
Yes. Call me shallow, but I had an idea that I’d love to write a scene where the two main characters in a book make love without speaking. That was the genesis for my book Fallen Angel.
That sounds like a book I’d like to read Mona. It must have taken a lot of careful thought to come up with something like that.
When deciding how your characters should look, do pictures inspire you or do you think of someone you know? Or perhaps you just rely on an active imagination or another method entirely.
If there are multiple main characters, I’ll sometimes cut pictures out of magazines, stick them on a piece of card, and type captions for them. It isn’t so much hair colour or eye colour, but the look on their faces that attracts me. When my granddaughter comes to visit, she’s always dismayed when she finds magazines with holes in them.  I don’t feel it’s necessary to describe everything about each character, however. Not that long ago, authors would describe every detail about a character’s appearance. You don’t see that so much anymore, and I like that. I think readers want to create their own vision of what the character looks like. I never write about people I know; this is fantasy.
I so agree with you. I don’t enjoy books that are too prescriptive either. I would much rather develop my own picture of how the character looks based on just a few simple pointers such as hair colour or height for example. I am always disappointed when I watch a film of a book. The actor never looks like the character I envisaged in my head.
Do you have a system for developing their character traits? I know some people use Tarot or Astrology. Others produce detailed life histories. There are also writers who allow their characters to develop as they write. What’s your method?
I always know the character’s back story, but I usually let them develop as I write. I often have to go back and consider the reasons behind a character’s actions, and then I might have to ask myself why they did such-and-such, but generally I like to let it flow.
All characters have goals. Can your character’s goals usually be summed up in a word or two, or are they multi-layered? Do they change as you write the book? Could you give some examples?
My characters all have goals. I’m a big believer in GMC… Goal, Motivation and Conflict. Take apart almost any story and you’ll find those three elements. But to answer your question, the goals generally cannot be summed up in a few words. What’s that expression everyone is using these days? Multilayered? That’s how I see my main characters.
Motives drive a character. How do you discover your character’s specific goals? Are they based on back story or do other elements influence their motives?
In my mind, goals and motivations are generally tied together. But motivation gives the story that added dimension. I often like to keep the motivation secret, or use it as a twist near the end of the story. As long as it doesn’t drag on too long and annoy the reader, it’s a good plot device.
I like that idea. What a great way to keep the pages turning.
And last but not least, do you like your characters? Are they people you would want to spend time with? Assuming they are not just a paper exercise, which of your characters would you most like to meet, and why?
I can’t write about people I don’t like. Of course there are nasty characters in my books from time to time, but the main characters are always likeable. Some would accuse me of being too Canadian, but that’s just me.
As for the heroes, I always write about a hero I’d like to know. It makes them so much more believable. I confess, they’re almost always larger than life. I’ve tried to write about ‘ordinary’ men, but they usually morph into a high-powered type.
Who would I like to meet? Wow, good question. I have two. The first is Freddie, from Fixing Freddie.  He’s my kind of man. Quiet, unassuming, owns a highly successful business, and is comfortable in his own skin. I guess the other would have to be Agnes, from my book Then Came Love. She’s an older woman who speaks her mind and befriends the heroine as well as the hero. We all need someone like Agnes in our lives. That’s the fun part about secondary characters. We can have them say the things we’d like to say!
It’s been so nice to meet with you Mona. I’ve certainly learned a few extra tricks from talking to you. Watch out for an outspoken secondary character in my next book! Thank you so much for visiting my Casting Couch and talking about the characters in your books.
* * *
Like all the writers who visit my Casting Couch, there is another side to Mona.  When she’s not writing or reading, she likes to bird-watch. Quoting from a character in her book, Promise Me, she says it gets her out (in her case, away from the computer for a few hours), and keeps her aware of the environment. She also loves to travel…anywhere, anytime!
Mona is a multi-published author and you can find out more about her and her books a or go  over to her blog at where she talks about her writing as well as discussing some of the other things on her mind.
 You might also want to visit her Amazon page at  and look at some of the many books she has written

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Surprises Can Be Good

Imagine my surprise this morning when I turned on my computer to discover that all five of my former Avalon Books had been released by Montlake, a division of Amazon. I knew they were coming...just not when.  These books all have interesting storylines and I'm proud of every one.  Here they are:

The Shell Game
   Rebecca Lambert returns to her childhood home after the passing of her grandmother and comes face-to-face with her high-school sweetheart, Mitch Burton. Their encounter recalls the painful memory of Mitch s unexplained disappearance before the night of their final school dance.
   After Rebecca leaves for college and career, Mitch returns and begins living at Rebecca s grandmother s bed-and-breakfast, fixing boats for the guests. When Rebecca returns many years later and discovers her grandmother left half of her business to both Rebecca and Mitch, she is forced to come to terms with painful memories and struggle with re-awakened feelings for Mitch.
   Eventually, Rebecca discovers that much like the Shell Game at the local carnival the truth is rarely what it seems.

The Reluctant Rockstar
   An experienced television journalist, Skye Cameron needs a big interview to propel her from weather person back into investigative reporting at her new television station. She's determined to get there and will do anything to reach her goal.
   Jason Williams, a world-renowned paleontologist, rarely does television interviews. When Skye has a chance to attend a field expedition led by Jason, she jumps at the chance, hoping to gain his confidence before approaching him about an interview. But when the two come face to face she's torn between her desire to further her career and her growing attraction to the reclusive scientist.
   Join Skye and Jason in the Canadian badlands as they learn to be true to each other, but more importantly, to themselves.

But Not For Me
Erin Delaney, a skilled and respected chef, is in demand in her profession, but her personal life is in shambles. Determined to get away from it all and get a fresh start, she accepts a position as chef at an exclusive fishing lodge on the west coast of British Columbia. Traveling to her new job via supply boat, she enjoys the company of the other two passengers but clashes with Graydon, the young captain. When an electrical fire causes all the passengers to abandon ship, Erin does what she's always done--take care of everyone else. She quickly takes control of the situation, earning the admiration and respect of Gray. By the time Gray and Erin get to the lodge, their chemistry is palpable, though Gray's strained relationship with his father, the owner of the lodge, and Erin's issues with her sister threaten to jeopardize this fledgling relationship. When her rescue story is splashed about in the media, self-conscious Erin tries to retreat from the spotlight. However, with the help of her new friends, especially Gray, Erin discovers that perhaps she deserves to be the center of attention for once.

Brush With Destiny
Shattered by the death of her young daughter, Ashley Stewart moves to one of the many islands off the coast of British Columbia. Struggling to come to terms with the dramatic changes in her life, the renowned artist has lost the desire to paint but is hopeful that the tranquility of island life will renew her battered soul. Recently divorced, the last thing Ashley is looking for is another emotional attachment. But her good intentions are swept aside when she meets Matt, a widower with a lovely young daughter named Caitlin. Initially frightened at the thought of becoming too involved with Caitlin, she is slowly won over by the child. When Ashley returns to the mainland for an art show, she is surprised to find Matt. And the surprises don’t end there.

The Gift
   Julie Chapman is content with her life, thank you very much. As a single mother, she owns and runs a houseboat rental company in Sicamous, British Columbia.
   Quentin Callahan, a friend of Julie's brother, lives in Vancouver and has become a successful business consultant. Many years ago, on her graduation night, he rescued Julie when her date had too much to drink and now he's back. The attraction between Julie and Quentin is immediate, but his visit to his hometown is prompted by more than a longing to get away from the stress of business. His largest client has unsuccessfully tried to buy Julie's property. The ruthless company indicates to Quentin that if he does not talk her into selling, they’ll drive her out of business. The ultimatum is an overwhelming burden on Quentin.
   Can the growing affection between Julie and Quentin survive the pressures of a harsh outside world?

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Free E-book November 8, 9, 10

Grab this one while it's free. One of my favourites!

Stuck in an unhappy marriage, Amanda Reimer grabs the opportunity to go on a short holiday by herself. Jackson Galloway is an undercover cop. A member of the RCMP Green Team, he’s in the interior of British Columbia to find a marijuana grow-op and take it down. Jackson gives Amanda a lift to Loon Lake Resort and is intrigued by the gentle woman. The chemistry between the two is immediate and powerful, but Amanda is determined to stick to her marriage vows...besides, she’s afraid of her husband. Jackson is just as see Amanda again when the drug bust is over. But will the growing love between Amanda and Jackson survive the pressures of finding the grow-op? Join Amanda and Jackson in a journey of discovery, where the ultimate destination is love.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Then Came Love

  One of my favourite things about writing is that I get to design my own covers. I try to wait until I'm about two thirds of the way through before I search for the right image. It's my treat to myself, but sometimes I can't wait.
  I don't always get it right. This is the third cover for Then Came Love, but this time, to quote Henry Higgins, "I think she's got it!"
  I hope you agree.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Winter Has Arrived

I woke up yesterday morning to a fine dusting of snow creeping down the hills across the lake. Does this mean no more shorts? Jack would be bereft; he hated to put his shorts away for the season.
   For some reason, when winter comes adults tend to talk about times gone by. I'm no different. At the sight of the snow, I started thinking about winter on the small acreage in Ontario where our family lived until I was twelve.
   In those days farmers didn't mind if you went across their fields to get to the tobogganing hill. We had a long toboggan; eight feet if I recall correctly. It was Dad's job to pull it up the hill, and then sit in the front to steer, but his real role was snowcatcher. By the time we came to rest at the bottom of the hill, his face would be covered with snow.  Always goodnatured, he'd shake it off and trudge up again.
  Some years the creek would flood just before the temperature dipped. Those were great times for skating. The ice would freeze, and then the water level would go down a bit, creating shallow dishes of ice suspended from clumps of grasses. It was like skating in a fun-house where everything is distorted. The grasses gave us something to skate around.
  We lived in an old two-story farmhouse that Dad worked hard to modernize. A bathing tub upstairs! What luxury!
  As dinner hour approached, our mother would call us. Normally we could hear her clearly, but some days when we were having a particularly good time her voice didn't carry. She solved that by hanging a rug over the railing on the top floor, but sometimes we simply didn't see it.
  I suppose we got scolded for those times we were mysteriously struck deaf and blind. If so, it was worth it. Those winter days are some of my most treasured memories.

I still miss hockey

Having said that, I hear there are rumblings that something might be happening to get hockey back on before the season passes us by completely.

Blogging From The Heart is free October 24, 25, 26. it's a light romance that combines the issue of violence in hockey with blogging.

It's a short read, so if you if you like a gentle romance, try this one. The price is right for three days... FREE!  Only at


Sunday, October 7, 2012

It's Thanksgiving weekend here in Canada

  I went for a drive this morning. I often grab a breakfast item from McDonald’s and go down to one of the many provincial parks along the shore of Okanagan Lake.
  It was still this morning. No breeze at all. Temperature in the low 20s. (That’s low 70s for my American friends). The only disturbance on the water was the occasional duck, or seagull. As I sat there enjoying my coffee and reading my Kindle a few more people came to sit down. A family settled nearby and I couldn’t help but wonder if they were celebrating Thanksgiving by having the last picnic of the season.
  On the way back home I noticed several men in their gardens, cleaning up the last of this year’s growth. They weren’t working hard. After all, it’s Sunday, but in spite of the balmy weather we all know there could be a cold snap any day now, and that it will stay cold. My neighbour is getting his snow tires put on this week.
  Seeing those men in the gardens reminded me of the gardens that occupied the space around our family home in Ontario. Dad laughingly referred to the property out back as “the back forty”. Later on I learned that this expression wasn’t unique to him, but it always delighted me when he said it.
  We had an amazing variety of food, but my memories are mainly of:
Raspberries:   We had red raspberries and black raspberries. I liked the black ones best. They were hard to find until my father showed me how they hid under the leaves.
Strawberries:   I remember these well. My sister and I were required to weed the rows, but we were also allowed to pick and sell strawberries to earn money for camp.
Potatoes:    Dad made a game out of digging potatoes. “How many in this shovelful?” he’d ask and we’d all guess. I don’t remember if we picked them out of the soil, but if we didn’t, he missed out on six eager hands. The potatoes would go down in the basement on a raised platform. It was dark down there in the corner, and by the time spring came around the roots on the potatoes were longer than what was left of them.
Cantaloupe:    Muskmelon, actually. We always had far too many. Like today’s zucchinis, they were hard to give away; everyone grew their own.
Corn:   Fresh and sweet. One year my sister had a corn roast. That must have been shortly before we came out to British Columbia, because in my memory it was an adult occasion. I still love corn.
Asparagus:   I’m not sure if Mom sold it on the side of the road or not. There was so much.
And lastly: Wild strawberries. Somewhere out in the ‘back forty’ was my secret patch of wild strawberries. The rest of the family pretended that they didn’t know where it was...or maybe they didn’t, but I always felt special when I brought a handful to my mother, who made a fuss over them. Even now, the taste lingers in my mouth.

We didn’t have the latest Nikes, cell phones, or computer games back then, but we had lots to eat; we had family. Life was good...and it still is. Happy Thanksgiving.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Thank You, FKBT

One thing that has surprised me since publishing my books with Amazon is the number of people willing to help each other with information and support. Free Kindle Books and Tips is one of these and this weekend they have assisted me by featuring Full Circle on their site, and posting it to over 375,000 active readers of their blog.
   They offer an ongoing selection of free books. Check them out at

Thanks again!

Laura MacLeod doesn’t need an intervention to know she’s in trouble. A paediatric nurse on an oncology ward, she has seen her share of suffering. But when tragedy touches her personally, she falls apart and accepts help in the form of pain killers. She becomes rapidly addicted, and her downward spiral is humiliating as well as life-changing. Fresh from rehab, she travels to the Okanagan Valley, where she has agreed to perform menial work at a winery for several months. F-18 fighter pilot Bradley Jamieson has witnessed the horrors of war in Afghanistan, resulting in the loss of his ability to speak. Weary from the aftermath of war, he accepts his friend’s invitation to visit his winery. Unable to understand how a beautiful woman like Laura could throw away her life by taking drugs, he is determined to avoid her. But the more he sees of this gentle woman, the more he’s attracted to her. The summer sun isn’t the only thing generating heat in the valley. Laura and Bradley battle their their growing attraction for one another while fighting their inner demons. Can these two troubled souls find the peace they desire, or will reality bring them crashing back down to earth?

Friday, September 21, 2012

Can You Remember?

My granddaughter turns 28 this month. Okay, I’ll say it...where has the time gone? I can remember the first time I saw her, but I can’t remember much else from that year. So I started digging...

In 1984...
Brian Mulroney became Canada’s Prime Minister on 17 September.
In the US, the average cost of a new house was $86,730 and, also in the US,
a gallon of gas was $1.10.
The UK and China agreed that Hong Kong would revert to China in 1997.
Virgin Atlantic held its inaugural flight.
Famine began in Ethiopia.
The first Apple Macintosh went on sale.
The Space Shuttle Discovery had its maiden voyage.

In 1984, we went to the movies and saw:
Beverly Hills Cop
Star Trek III: The Search for Spock
The Terminator

For the trivia buffs:
In Canada, Mike Riley of Manitoba won the Labatt’s Brier.
At the Olympics in Los Angeles, Canadian speed skater Gaetan Boucher won three medals...a record at that time.
Ronald Reagan was re-elected to the Presidency of the United States
In 1984, Kenny Loggins was Footloose and The Boss was Dancing In The Dark.

In television:
there were no reality shows, so we made do with the classics:
Magnum P.I., Dynasty, Hill Street Blues, and Cheers.

We were reading (according to the NYT Bestseller list)
Iacocca, an autobiography of Lee Iacocca
The Aquitaine Progression by Robert Ludlum
The Talisman by Stephen King

But most importantly, my granddaughter was born. My granddaughter, my sometime conscience, and my friend. Happy Birthday Jessie!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

New Book Out Today

My new book, Gift Wrapped for Christmas, is at today. For the first week or so, it will be offered at the introductory price of .99c, then it will revert to its normal price of $2.99. I enjoyed writing this book, which takes place in Calgary. I think of it as warm and fuzzy meets edgy. Hope you enjoy!
Here's the link:

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Coming Soon

I've finally finished my Christmas novel. It's a gentle, delightful story of a young woman in Calgary who loses her job shortly before Christmas and decides to become her own boss. I won't give away the plot but there's a heartwarming romance with a few surprises along the way.
Gift Wrapped for Christmas should be available around September 21st. I'll post about it here, as well as on my website and my facebook page.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Free Read September 13 - 16

Back by popular demand, Full Circle is available today through Sunday for free on Amazon.

Bella Thompson has news: she’s pregnant. But before she can tell her boyfriend Jeffrey, he shatters her with the news that he’s going to marry someone else.  Bella is given a choice: Go to Atlanta and give up her child for adoption, or leave town and raise her child on her own. The choice is clear, and she travels to California, where she settles in Santa Monica. Determined to make her own way in the world and return to Willow Bend on her own terms, Bella puts all her energies into building a successful business with her partner Rafael Vargas. But at what cost? Follow Bella as she struggles to balance her passion for business with the ultimate

A big shout-out and thank you to Free Kindle Books for their assistance in promoting this free offering. Other authors might want to check 'em out at

Sunday, August 26, 2012

You Gotta Read This

A friend of mine set up a new facebook page today. As authors, we’re always trying to steer people toward our books, but I suspect that some people are becoming tired of the constant pleas to “buy my book”. Do we want you to buy our books? Of course, but as authors we read constantly and every once in a while we come across something outstanding. Thus the name of the facebook page: You Gotta Read This.
  My first posting on the page is a book that was recommended to me by my granddaughter. The young woman has eclectic tastes, I’ll say that for her. The page is brand new, but I recommend you keep an eye on it. Chances are you’ll discover a gem.

I You Gotta Read....SHANTARAM
There’s something about this book that erases the boundaries between genres, and between the sexes. I’ve recommended this book to something like ten people now...adventure readers, romance readers, men and women, and every single one has enjoyed it.
  No, that’s not right. They didn’t just enjoy it, they raved about it. Several have mentioned to me that it’s difficult to get into, and I can understand that. I found it difficult to get started on it as well, but once I was into it, I was hooked, and I rode the story right to the end.
  Before I became engrossed in this story I knew nothing about India, and very little about her people. Am I now an expert from reading this book? No, but the knowledge I gleaned has afforded me a small amount of insight, and brought into focus some things I’ve seen on television, or read about in other books.
  It’s an adventure story, a love story and a story of compassion. The author, Gregory David Roberts doesn’t hide the fact that he has an unsavory past. He shows us who he is, faults and all, and we end up liking and respecting him for his honesty.
  I’ve read this book twice and recommended it to many of my friends and family. Now I’m recommending it to you. Come back when you’ve finished and let me know what you think. You'll find it on Amazon.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

In the good old summertime...

Summer has finally caught up with me - to the extent that I won't be posting a blog this week or next.
  It's about slowing down and enjoying the weather, enjoying visiting with friends and family, and next week I'll be taking a bit of a holiday to San Francisco.
  I've had a novel percolating around in my head for quite some time now...a historical romance, set in San Francisco. I've visited there before, but I wasn't a scribbler then, so I'll be keeping my eye open for historical sites, and I understand there are plenty.
  Next week, commencing August 16th, I'll be offering Moonlight Dancer  free on It's a contemporary romance with a touch of paranormal. It's a delightful book...give it a try.
  And just to show you what the weather was like this morning in the Okanagan valley, here's a picture I took at breakfast.
  See you in 3 weeks!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Writing The Dreaded Blurb

I think it would be accurate to say that writing the all-important blurb is something most authors approach with trepidation. I should be able to articulate the reasons; I’m a writer after all, but I honestly don’t know why we freeze up when the time comes.

I frequent a few message boards and at any one time there are likely to be several of us posting our blurbs, asking for an opinion from our fellow writers.

A great topic for a it’s an excuse to put off writing for a bit longer, so here are my thoughts about writing the blurb for e-fiction.

I would say that too many of us treat our blurb as a mini-synopsis. While I would agree that we should establish the time, the location, and mention at least two main characters, I don’t think we need to give away the entire story line. We rarely need backstory.

Let’s face it, we’re in the business of selling books, and assuming the cover has attracted the potential reader's  attention, the blurb will be the first contact he has with the content of our book. It’s up to us to make it count.

When the book has been purchased, read, and you get that five-star review from a total stranger, what did the reader like about your book?

In virtually all cases, the reader connected with your main character. They liked the action, whether it was solving the mystery, watching the heroine being swept away by the hero, or cheering as the good guys repelled the aliens. But mainly, they identified with the hero of your story. Perhaps in some small way they became him.

If that’s what the reader liked enough to write a review (and we all know how few and far between those are), then why not use the blurb to draw them into your story with a few words showing your hero’s charm, determination, vulnerability, or whatever makes him/her appealing.

There’s always conflict, right? It comes in many forms, but it’s always there. Throw out a hint of the conflict, and your reader should at least read the sample. After that, it’s up to you to have written a compelling beginning.

One last thing: ask a question. Can Jack and Jill scale the insurmountable hill? If you feel your blurb lacks punch, add a question. It’s a frequently used device, but that’s because it works. By asking a question, you invite the reader to become involved in the story and that’s what you wanted from the beginning, right?

I’ve read opinions stating that a blurb should be no longer than two sentences. I disagree. Your blurb should be concise, but it should also be as long as it takes to interest the reader in your story.

These days, readers can scan a hundred books an hour on the internet. That’s a lot of competition. We all need to write better blurbs, myself included.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Those were the days

One of the things I enjoy about story telling is rounding out the characters. For my current WIP, I was pondering a job for one of the characters, and started to think about the jobs I had when I was young.

My first experience at earning money was one summer when my sister and I were going to camp, and we were allowed to pick strawberries. We lived along a minor highway in Ontario, and sold them at the edge of the road. Twenty-five cents for a big basket of strawberries. We had lots of money to spend at the tuck shop that summer.

I worked in an ice cream factory for a while. We filled quart boxes with ice cream, but mostly we worked making single serving ice cream sundaes. One of us would put in the filling and the other would place the cup under the constantly flowing ice cream. Surprisingly enough, I still like ice cream.

One of my part-time jobs was working in a ladies’ wear store. Looking back, I can’t imagine I was much help to the customers, all of whom were women my mother’s age. The only real work I did was unpacking the new dresses and hanging them to be steamed free of wrinkles. I suspect the woman who owned the shop was just being generous, because I don’t think I contributed much.

Christmas season at the Hudson’s Bay should have been a jolly time, but I got stuck in the hardware department. I recall the look of horror on one man’s face when I said I would mix his paint. I wish I could remember how that turned about being miscast!

I worked in an insurance office one summer. The agent was out of the office a lot, and my job was mainly to answer the phones. It was the first and only time I had a giggling fit. I had answered the phone and for some reason (nerves perhaps) I couldn’t stop laughing. The person on the other end of the line was very kind, as was the man in charge of the office.

The major difference in getting a job those days was that we didn’t worry about getting a job, it was a matter of which job we would take. How times have changed.

What was your most memorable job?

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

"Mind your Ps and Qs"

I'm like most writers - always wondering where words or terms came from. A relative in Ontario sent me the following and I thought I'd share...

The first couple to be shown in bed together on prime time TV was Fred and Wilma Flintstone

In the 1400's a law was set forth in England that a man was allowed to beat his wife with a stick no thicker than his thumb.  Hence we have 'the rule of thumb'

Many years ago in Scotland , a new game was invented.
It was ruled 'Gentlemen Only....Ladies Forbidden'.. .
And thus, the word GOLF entered into the English language.

Coca-Cola was originally green.

It is impossible to lick your elbow.

The first novel ever written on a typewriter: Tom Sawyer.

Each king in a deck of playing cards represents a great king from history:
Spades - King David
Hearts - Charlemagne
Clubs -Alexander, the Great
Diamonds - Julius Caesar

111,111,111 x
111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987, 654,321


Q. What is the only food that doesn't spoil?
A. Honey

If a statue in the park of a person on a horse has both front legs in the air, the person died in battle.
If the horse has one front leg in the air, the person died because of wounds received in battle.
If the horse has all four legs on the ground, the person died of natural causes.

In English pubs, ale is ordered by pints and quarts....
So in old England , when customers got unruly, the bartender would yell at them 'Mind your pints and quarts, and settle
down. It's where we get the phrase:  'mind your P's and Q's'
Many years ago in England , pub frequenters had a whistle baked into the rim, or handle, of their ceramic cups. When they needed a refill, they used the whistle to get some service.    ...'Wet your whistle' is the phrase inspired by this practice.

Q. If you were to spell out numbers, how far would you have to go until you would find the letter 'A'?
A. One thousand

Q. What do bulletproof vests, fire escapes, windshield wipers and laser printers have in common?
A. All were invented by women.

In Shakespeare's time, mattresses were secured on bed frames by ropes.
When you pulled on the ropes, the mattress tightened, making the bed firmer to sleep on.
Hence the phrase...'Goodnight , sleep tight'

It was the accepted practice in Babylon 4,000 years ago that for a month after the wedding, the bride's father would supply his son-in-law with all the mead he could drink. Mead is a honey beer and because their calendar was lunar based, this period was called the honey month, which we know today as the honeymoon.

Hope you enjoyed...and stop trying to lick your elbow!!