The Stories We Tell

Picture the family gathered around the radio on Friday night to hear the latest episode of “The Lone Ranger” or “Fibber McGee and Molly”.  Today’s radio show is the podcast or books on Audible. Combine them both and you have The Stories We Tell.

Check it out from the beginning on April 23rd! The podcast will feature short stories by a diverse group of writers, including yours truly! Join us for something new with a tinge of nostalgia.

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Mom’s Favorite Reads – New March Issue of Our Magazine Available!

The March issue of our Amazon #1 magazine!

In this issue…

• An exclusive interview with Terry Deary, bestselling author of the ‘Horrible Histories’

• Our new series of travel features, Off the Beaten Track

• How to start your own small business

• How to learn a new language

• The difference between psychology and

psychiatry, and so much more…

Read FREE here https://issuu.com/momsfavoritereads/docs/vol-2_iss-3_march2019_momsfavoriter?e=0

What in the World is Kate Doing?

Oh, yeah, I’ve been off the grid quite a lot lately.  I have my reasons, and I think they are pretty valid.

I’m a Baby Boomer and my husband and I have toyed with the idea of retiring somewhere different. Our 165-year-old home requires a lot of care and maintenance. As we get older, we won’t be able to give it the justice it deserves.  So, we started researching, traveling and sometimes making lists of the pros and cons of living in different places. We considered spots in the Midwest, living on an island, moving to Ireland and several other possible destinations.

We had a list of what we wanted in our final home and commuIMG_1953nity.  We wanted a newer home to reduce maintenance. A small town with plenty of safe areas for walking, easy access to a grocer, pharmacy, a few restaurants and a golf course that was close to our home. We wanted that small town feel that we love in our tiny village along the Mississippi River with small-town festivals and friendly neighbors.  But we decided after this past winter, we also needed warmth.

We’d lived along the Gulf Coast (Texas and Florida) as well as in Sicily, Italy.  Two years before my hubs retired from the military, we started looking at where we wanted to raise our sons. Growing up in the Midwest, we determined we wanted to return. Now, after twenty-three years in Wisconsin, we think it would be nice to be back in a warmer climate, so we headed to Arizona.

We found a community that meets all of the requirements we determined were important to us.  We are building a new home where I can walk the miles I need for my health and creativity.  We can play golf anytime.  It’s close to a larger community so we don’t have to drive hours for certain services like an airport, for example.

We are fortunate to have this opportunity, and one of the things that I like about the town where we are moving is that they offer a variety of housing options in several different pricing levels.  We will be in a community that values diversity with different age groups, socio-economic levels, cultures, religions, and backgrounds. Isn’t that what America is all about?  We believe so.

Stay tuned as we begin our new adventure.

 

Eliciting Emotions from Your Readers

Every writer I’ve ever communicated with over the past few years will tell me that they want people to like what they’ve written. I do as well, but I also want them to feel something beyond “liking” my story.

I want the reader to feel a multitude of emotions when they read my books — fear, sorrow, anger, indignation, love and happiness. In essence, I want them to feel what the main character is feeling at that time. My goal is to have them step into the story become a part of what is happening by playing it out in their minds.

I read somewhere recently that when we listen to a story various areas in our brain are stimulated. If a passage talks about how something feels or sounds, the sensory cortex becomes active. If we are reading about some type of physical activity, our brain’s motor cortex responds. As storytellers, we can affect our readers deeply.

My characters aren’t perfect, and I don’t want them to be. Real people cannot be assigned labels like “good” or “bad”. People are too complex to be deemed one thing or another.  I want my readers to react to the fictional characters inhabiting my story’s world. Whether it’s a negative or positive emotion, I want them to feel something.

Clare Thibodeaux is the main character in my suspense series. Clare can be distant, stubborn, and can make some very bad decisions. She can also be a loyal friend; and at times, she cares about people many readers dislike.  gallery clare seriesClare resists being told what to do, being overprotected or treated like she’s weak. Throughout the series, she struggles with letting someone else help her.  Some of the other characters are overbearing and too protective to the point of being dismissive at times.

Because of these unflattering character traits, some of my readers won’t care for my books. That’s okay, I don’t like every book I read.  No matter what, I have elicited an emotion, and that is what art is all about!

 

The Role of Environment in Creativity

I never thought of myself as being particularly fond of winter, but I have noticed as I’ve gotten older I do like many aspects of this frosty season.

I’m not really a snow bunny; although, I waimg_1367 1s born with large ears to my sincere regret. My favorite Lab isn’t really bunny material, either.  Except, I seem to remember watching him hop, hop, hop through the deep snow from time to time.

During the winter, his nose turns from black to pink, a condition aptly called “snow nose”, because he is always sniffing the ground and coming up with a coating of snow on his nose.  He loves winter!

I liked cross-country skiing when I was younger, but recently, I discovered I really enjoyed snowshoeing. It is a great workout and gets me outside. Unfortunately, we have snow but the temps are in the double-digit negatives, so being outdoors for extended 470440dd-b225-4365-a130-d7c8065f719cperiods isn’t necessarily a good thing.

This leaves me no other alternative except to turn to another favorite activity — writing. Winter days are perfect for sitting down with my laptop and pounding the keys as I peel back the layers of my characters and create something worth reading. By my side is a piping hot cup of coffee, tea or cocoa assisting in the efforts to keep me warm.

Most of my writing over the past three years has occurred during the winter and springtime and have published most of my work during the summer or fall time frame. Could that be why the winter season figures prominently in the books?  The second book in the Clare Thibodeaux Series is aptly named Winter’s Icy Caress.

What impact does environment have on a writer’s creativity? Princeton English Professor Diana Fuss explored the habitats where her favorite writers penned their literary works in her study, “The Sense of an Interior:  Four Writers and the Rooms that Shaped Them.”

Professor Fuss researched for eight years and visited the very rooms where the subjects of her study wrote their books. It seems each environment was as different as the subject from Freud’s antiquity-filled Victorian office to the surprise of finding Emily Dickinson’s light and airy cupola with views over the countryside. Dickinson’s writing space was unexpected, because she was widely portrayed as being a helpless agoraphobic, and many envisioned her shut up in a tiny, dark room in her father’s home.

I like to write in my library surrounded by5df8dc15-6c5a-4be2-a825-8dc4c4c9b1ab hundreds of books and mementos from past travels. Three large multipaned windows allow the space to be flooded with the morning light, and I can look out and see the snow swirl down or watch the birds play in the fountain outside.

I know my environment plays a fundamental role in my writing. I’m happier on sunny days, morose on rainy ones, and energized by the cold snap of fall and winter weather. I get my best ideas after periods of physical activity particularly those activities that occur outdoors. My mood and my muse tend to go to the dark side after too many days when I’m stuck inside.

Unfortunately, I’m not a snow bunny, but the winter weather does influence my mood and my writing. I like to think I’m attuned to the changing environment around me whether that involves the change of the seasons or a swing in the mood of a room full of people. I strive to put my observations down on paper using them to create the imaginary worlds my characters inhabit.

What influences your writing, your art, and your moods? Does it matter what desk you write on? Do you like to shut out sensory stimuli like Professor Fuss found during her research on Proust? Or doesn’t it matter to you?

It is an interesting subject and I’d love to hear whether your environment affects your creativity.

Mom’s Favorite Reads

I’m happy to be a member of this fast growing group, and wanted to introduce to the organization and one of its founders, Hannah Howe.


Hannah Howe writes psychological and historical mysteries. Her books can be found at over 300 outlets worldwide. Her novels have reached number one numerous times on the Amazon charts and her book, Saving Grace, a Victorian mystery was a bestseller in Australia this summer. With all of this activity, Howe found time to co-found the new magazine — Mom’s Favorite Reads.

What is Mom’s Favorite Reads? It’s a community of book lovers which produces a quarterly book catalogue, featuring over 400 books, and a monthly magazine. The magazines, available as eBooks, in print and audiobooks, have topped the Amazon Contemporary Women charts, the Seasonal charts and the Graphic Novel charts in America, Australia, Britain and Canada. Alongside leading independent authors our magazines also feature contributions from high profile mainstream authors. For example, in the new year the magazine will feature exclusive interviews with a Dr Who screenwriter, an expert on Sherlock Holmes and Terry Deary, author of Horrible Histories, one of the most popular series in the history of publishing.

Also, in 2019, the plan is to develop the community to support literacy amongst adults and children. One of the ways we will do this is by offering schools, societies and literacy projects bundles of free books.

If you are an author, you are welcome to join Mom’s Favorite Reads. If you are a reader, please visit our website and check out our video, book catalogue and magazines https://moms-favorite-reads.com

If you would like us to support a literacy project, please email Hannah Howe at momsfavoritereads@outlook.com and we will explore the possibility of supporting your project.

Never Show Your Hand is Available!

I know, I know. It has been a year and a half since Winter’s Icy Caress was published, but the good news is (Drum Roll, followed by Pregnant Pause)… Never Show Your Hand (Clare Thibodeaux Series, Book 3) is available to purchase on Amazon!!!!

I also updated the covers of all three books to celebrate!! Exodus is a variation on the original cover which was done in a watercolor painting effect. For Winter’s Icy Caress, I wanted a dramatic cover which reflected the eerie suspense of the story.

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I hope you like the new covers!

Stay tuned for special pricing on all three books in the coming weeks!

Interesting Fun Fact! The Jeep pictured on the new cover of Exodus is actually MY Jeep!

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“Grammar, What Big Teeth You Have” ~~ by Mark Huntley-James

Another enjoyable post from writer/blogger Mark Huntley-James as he tackles Grammar. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

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Grammar rules, OK.

Breakages will be reported, criticised and condemned.

I never learned much in the way of English grammar.  Plenty of French, Latin and Greek, but very little English.  I’ve largely forgotten the former three, and now I just struggle with my native tongue and frankly the natives can get pretty damned restless if not outright hostile.  For some reason, there are two things which bring out the tyrants, the complainers, the rabid proselytisers – grammar and spelling.

When I was a kid I was frequently told that there was no such word as ‘can’t’.  Not even finding a suitably recent and liberal dictionary containing the fabulous ‘can’t’ could put an end to the assertion.  There simply was no such word, no matter how many people used it, in speech and print.  Now roll on a few years, to my teens, and those immortal words: to boldly go where…

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“Don’t Leave Me Here Like This” ~~ by Michele Potter

This is a difficult topic for many people in my age group who are dealing with a parent requiring physical care later in life. Pull the box of tissues close, it brought tears to my eyes.

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The people sitting opposite him in the small room were his people. He knew that and wished he could say it. For a minute, he struggled with trying to form the words. In his mind, he heard them: I’m so glad you’re here. I love you. The garbled vocalizing that came out of his mouth, however, frustrated him to no end.

He could see the sadness and pity on their faces. Faces that he once knew so well, now unrecognizable. He only knew that they were his people. They belonged with him and he with them.

“Do you want to go for a walk, Dad?”

He understood what the woman was asking but couldn’t phrase what he really wanted. Instead, he nodded and smiled in a grimace. His facial gestures no longer worked the way they should.

She helped him up, gently, as if helping an invalid. Suddenly, he had an image, a flash of a memory. A…

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The Importance of Dialogue in Plot Development ~~ by Kate McGinn

My recent blog for the One Million Project.

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Dialogue — can you picture a story without it? Most stories have chapters or scenes without dialogue, and an example of a book without any dialogue from the main characters is the animal story, An Incredible Journey.

So, yes, it can be done and successfully, but dialogue plays an important role in a story. Humans communicate with more than dialogue. Their actions, tone of voice, what they say and how they say it as well as what they don’t say all communicate something about the message they want to convey or perhaps what they are reluctant to say.

One important role of dialogue in a story is that wherever it occurs it should move the story forward. The following excerpt is from my book, Winter’s Icy Caress, and I’ve used it to show an example of how dialogue moves a story forward.

“What are you reading?” Wyatt asked…

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Stories that thrill with a kiss and chill with the promise of danger

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