Tag Archives: #creativity

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.

There’s only ONE genre in fiction…

There’s only ONE genre in fiction…

There’s only ONE genre in fiction… 
— Read on raynotbradbury.com/2018/11/08/theres-only-one-genre-in-fiction/

This blog expresses how I feel about my books. I don’t seem to fit the standard definition of a genre. Reviews sometimes refer to my work as cross-genre. What do you think about this blog?

Dog Days

Dog Lover. I like to think I am.

Today I’m not so sure. My grandpuppy (a full-grown 100 lb. Lab) arrived yesterday for a long visit, and by long, I mean a two-month visit.  My house was almost a dog hair-free zone prior to the visit.  Once in a great while, I will find a little memento of his last visit.  Please don’t judge my housekeeping skills, LOL!  Remember, I’m a writer.

IMG_1528To give you a little background info, this beautiful pooch had lived with us for the first two years of his life. During those two years, my life revolved around my Labbie and my writing.  My husband needed to understand, I had my priorities. The poor guy…

But the last two years have been pretty much pet-free except for periodic visits by my son and his dog. I’d gotten used to being on my own each day.  My focus was on my agenda, so my To-Do List for today included advertising for my books and the continued promotion of my latest published book, Never Show Your Hand. Also, NaNoWriMo is happening and I need to write!

What my schedule has been thus far?????

  • Wake up at 7 am
  • Quickly dress, wash my face and brush my teeth
  • Walk dog on slippery sidewalks and in circles around every interesting scent trail he can find
  • Breakfast as the dog sits by my side hoping I drop something
  • Playtime
  • A five-minute phone call to my mom as the dog barks and whines nearby
  • Snack time for “Fido”
  • A few quick Facebook posts and Instagram posts (Yay!)
  • Letting the dog out as I try to sweep the kitchen floor and clean up after breakfast
  • Proceed to untangle the dog’s lead from a tree in the yard
  • Return inside to finish sweeping the kitchen floor
  • Have to return outside to untangle the dog’s lead from a different tree in the yard

Needless to say, we are still getting used to being IMG_1744around each other. It will settle down in a few days as he adjusts to his new environment.  As I gaze at my furbaby sleeping peacefully in an armchair across from me, my smile is so big it almost makes my face hurt.

Time to get my writing done! TTYL, everyone!

 

 

#One Million Project’s October Blogs

I am honored to be able to assist the One Million Project in uploading blogs to their website. We have a talented group of writers who contribute to the blog and October was a prime example of why so many readers are following it.

The blog offers a unique mix featuring the charities we support with our short story anthologies (Cancer Research UK and EMMAUS Homeless Programs) and blogs concerning writing, the creative process, marketing and a host of other related topics.

If you haven’t read this month’s offerings, I have provided the links below:

“Courage” by Michele Potter

“What Comes Around” by Mark Huntley-James

“Home from Home??” by Christine Larsen

“The Confession” by John Nedwill

and this week’s blog – “Deep Waters” by Melissa Volker

November’s blogs will feature the writings of Raymond St. Elmo, Moinak Das, Nera Hart, and Michele Potter.

Editing…oops?

I guess I should have realized that writing involves the process of editing what you write. And, if truth be told I did, but I didn’t understand the total extent the process would involve. Yeah, I could’ve hired someone to edit but in reality, the writer needs to edit their work throughout the writing process, even if an editor is employed to help refine the manuscript.

When you are new to the business of self-publishing, you don’t know who to trust with your manuscript — I mean this is YOUR baby! Will they do a good job? Will they charge you an exorbitant amount with questionable results for the money spent?

I would advise new writers to ask other authors that you trust, who they have used to edit their books. Find out what the fees are upfront, and what exactly will they be reviewing in your finished work.  Will they be acting as a proofreader — doing only punctuation, spelling and grammar? Or will they be looking to improve your book by identifying plot holes, timeline issues, and manuscript flow problems?

The writer should understand they are responsible for doing the revisions that may be suggested by the editor. They are suggestions, and you have the right to reject their ideas, BUT… You paid for their input, and I would suggest you wait a day or two to allow the emotional response to dull before making a decision on any presented ideas that may have been upsetting for you.

Go back, read the areas in question, look at your work with your professional eyes and weigh out the options. Get your creative juices flowing and ask yourself, “If I make this change, how would I go about it?”

Maybe you would have a dynamite idea that would propel your novel to a different level altogether?

We are invested in our work, and ultimately, we decide what the final outcome will be. Be true to who you are as a writer. What is your goal? There are many ideas out there about what sells books, but will making a decision to follow them destroy the essence of your vision or will it be the answer to your very dreams?

Only you can answer this. I, myself, am sitting down and editing the crap out of my story with the hopes I will meet the expectations that I have for myself. I write to please my muse and pray some will find the result worthy, enjoyable, suspenseful, romantic and totally awesome!

“Start your day right — eat well, stretch your legs, kiss your loved ones, read a good book…” ~~ Kate

Miss Lydia and the Magnolia County Bake-Off Debacle

Miss Lydia watched the woman running down her sidewalk from her kitchen window. If Miss Lydia remembered correctly Clarice was quite the track star in her days at Sinippi Cove High. In fact, Miss Lydia was certain the other woman had run all the way from the library where the fleet-of-foot Ms. Travers worked part-time. A frantic tapping increased in strength until it reached the level of a pounding knock before the octogenarian ambled to the back door. Miss Lydia could have arrived faster, but she liked to frustrate her younger neighbor.

As soon as she started to open her kitchen door, Clarice appeared body part by body part sliding in with the skill of a spelunker through the crevice in a cave. Her friend had a serious case of head-sweating as evidenced by her wet locks and the sodden collar of her dress. Miss Lydia handed her a dish towel which the librarian accepted with a nod mopping with unprecedented enthusiasm at her damp face and neck. It took her guest a few moments to slow her panting enough to speak.

“You will never guess what I just heard at the library,” Clarice crowed throwing the dish towel down on the counter for emphasis.

“No, I don’t suppose I will guess the news. Since I’m in my 80’s and my days are numbered why don’t you tell me, Clarice,” Miss Lydia stated with a wry tone. Unfortunately, her sarcasm was lost on her young friend.

“Well…” Clarice provided a long pause to build suspense (too bad it only built irritation), “You wouldn’t believe who walked into the library this morning.” Feeling another pause in the ready, Miss Lydia made a repetitive circular movement with her hand to get her friend to hurry up.

“Spit it out, Clarice,” Miss Lydia said, her words staccato and harsher than her usual clipped manner of speech.

“Enid Floss,” Clarice whispered the words. The whites of her eyes were clearly visible around her irises.

Miss Lydia opened her mouth slightly with shock for a fraction of a second before snapping it shut hard enough for her dentures to clack together. Miss Lydia never wanted to appear shocked in front of others.

“What did she want?” the older miss hissed like a snake as she uttered the pronoun representing her arch nemesis — the Jezebel of Sinippi Cove.

Trembling like a leaf in a hurricane, Clarice divulged the ultimate betrayal, “Enid Floss is entering the Magnolia County Bake-Off. And if that isn’t enough, she is planning on baking Snickerdoodles.”

Miss Lydia’s signature cookie. She gently tapped her closed lips with the index finger of her right hand as she ruminated on this debacle. Enid was her best friend until they reached the age of seventeen. Miss Lydia had met a nice, young man and had fallen in love. His name was Roy Floss. The rest of the story would have to wait. Let’s just say — although 69 years had passed — Miss Lydia never forgave Enid. Pushing Clarice out the door didn’t prove too difficult, she knew when it was time to leave Miss Lydia be.

It took all of three days and dozens upon dozens of batches of Snickerdoodles before Miss Lydia was satisfied she had the winning entry for the Magnolia County Bake-Off. The day of the big event Miss Lydia dressed in her best church clothes, submitted her entry, and walked past Enid Floss with a triumphant smile. Later, as Miss Lydia accepted the Blue Ribbon for her Caramel Chai Snickerdoodle cookies, she felt like a champion. (On a side note — Enid didn’t even receive an honorable mention for her Snickerdoodles.)


Check out the #OneMillionProject blog post by Raymond St. Elmo entitled On the Borderlands of Fantasy.  It’s a great read by a writer whose humor and storytelling I truly enjoy!

https://theonemillionprojectcom.wordpress.com/2018/07/16/on-the-borderlands-of-fantasy-by-raymond-st-elmo/

What Kate’s Reading…

This week’s One Million Project Blog post is written by John Nedwill and is entitled The Problems with History

John Nedwill is a fabulous short story writer, and I have enjoyed reading his stories for the past two years. In this week’s blog he discusses the problems with writing historical fiction. I’m looking forward to reading his new story dealing with gunrunning in Ireland in 1914.

Check it out!