Join me this weekend, July 29 – 30, at Valley West Mall in West Des Moines, IA. I will have a table at the Book Expo where I will have my books for sale and will be signing books. With over 30 authors, this should be a fun event.
I wish I could read more often than I do, but Need to Know by Karen Cleveland was a super quick read because it was sooo good! I love reading thrillers and suspense stories, and this novel was one of the better ones I’ve read in a while.
Cleveland weaves you through the intricacies of being a CIA analyst and having a family while trying to uncover Russian sleeper cells embedded in the US. Things get more complicated when she uncovers evidence that implicates someone close to her.
The rollercoaster ride is only beginning. When I reached the end, I closed the book firmly saying, “Brilliant ending” out loud. I don’t do that every day. I’d give this book 5 stars.
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. Clare 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!
I want to take the time to thank all of the people who have downloaded my books over the past three months, read my books on Kindle Unlimited and left reviews. I hope you were entertained by my tales about Clare Thibodeaux and her friends.
I promise you there will be more action, drama, romance, and suspense to come. Mark your calendars for February 5th and 12th. I will be offering special deals on books in the Clare Thibodeaux Series on those dates. Watch for more info on my Facebook Author’s Page
I was invited by our village library to do a book reading and signing this past week. Despite the nasty weather earlier in the day, I was pleased to have some brave souls navigate the snowy roadways to attend. I am so blessed to have so much support from so many nice people.
Now, I need to start writing again… TTYL!
My local book club selected the novel Hotel at the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford for January’s meeting. I had two days to read it and let me tell you, I couldn’t put it down.
The story is set in Seattle’s Chinatown area, and the story’s protagonist, Henry, is in his mid-fifties at the story’s beginning. Henry is passing by an old hotel in what was once the Japanese section of their community. It has been recently purchased for restoration, and the new owner has called a press conference after making an unbelievable discovery. After 40 plus years, she has found the stored belongings of Japanese residents of the area who were taken to internment camps after the attack on Pearl Harbor.
The news has Henry thinking back to those days when he was eleven years old and struggling with his place in this wartime world where the slant of your eyes and the color of your skin could make you a target.
The author does an insightful job of weaving his WWII tale of growing up in a strict Chinese family. Henry faces conflicts with his father, children at the “white” school and his former classmates at the Chinese school. His life seems dismal, and then he meets Keiko, a fellow scholarship student at the school.
The only problem is that Keiko is Japanese, and his father hates all the Japanese people because of their invasion of China. Henry’s father makes him wear a button that states “I am Chinese” on it, Whether it was for his protection so he wouldn’t be labeled as Japanese or because of his father’s hatred for the Japanese people or not, Henry detested wearing it.
The story painted a raw, detailed portrait of life for immigrants in this country; and especially for Japanese-Americans as they were forced to leave everything behind and were taken hundreds of miles away from their homes until after the war ended. The conditions they lived under at the internment camps is a terrible stain on the history of the United States.
The story jumps back and forth between the 1980s and the 1940s as Henry tries to mend his relationship with his son as he searches for a treasure from his past.
This is a story of families, of different cultures, of generational conflict, of love, of loss and of prejudice. I would recommend it to readers who like historical fiction, romance, and stories set in the WWII era.
It is those quirky differences which make humans so interesting. Jane Austen had a knack at finding the humorous in her interactions with her neighbors and acquaintances that she later immortalized in print. The outrageous, bizarre and laugh-out-loud hilarious moments are the stuff of writers’ dreams.
I’m an odd duck. Always a bit nerdy, I loved school, reading and history. In elementary school, I read every biography of the founding fathers of the United States. They were my heroes. I loved playing “Landslide” — a board game about U.S. Presidential Elections where you collected Electoral College votes to win the Presidency. How many ten to eleven-year-old girls today would find that game captivating?
I asked for a globe for Christmas one year and on my bedroom wall, I had a poster of the universe. I would force my younger sisters to sit through my rendition of the Catholic mass or would drill them as their teacher using old school books of my mother’s from her youth. (I wonder what happened to them?)
I had a rock collection when I was young and kept it in an empty cardboard egg carton. Way before Indiana Jones had youngsters wanting to be an archeologist, I wanted to explore ancient ruins for artifacts. I also wanted to be a pop singer, Peace Corps volunteer and a nun. I ended up being a nurse, an Army Reserve officer, a bed & breakfast owner, and an indie writer, go figure.
We all have our stories about our youthful fascinations and dreams. They are the very things which mold us into the individuals we are today. What were yours? Did you follow through on your dreams?
I once could waltz around the dance floor light as a feather for hours with a glowing smile on my face. My skin was smooth and my eyes sparkled with joy and enthusiasm. I was young and vital — once.
Years later, the morning sunshine awakens me but I don’t pop up out of bed full of energy. My joints are stiff and painful. It takes me a considerable amount of time to sit on the side of the bed. Please don’t be impatient with me, I’m moving as fast as I can. Simple things like washing my face and brushing my hair make me short of breath as I struggle to raise my arms. Even feeding myself takes too much out of me some days.
If my clothes don’t match or I put them on inside-out, please don’t laugh at me. I’d appreciate your help. My eyesight is poor despite the bifocal glasses perched on my nose. It isn’t because I don’t care, I still want to look nice. The days of throwing something on and looking great are over. Now, I struggle with buttons and zippers. I prefer velcro to shoelaces because my knuckles are swollen with arthritis.
If I don’t seem to be following the conversation, please remember to speak slowly and clearly. Don’t yell at me just because I’m elderly it doesn’t necessarily mean I’m deaf.
Thank you for treating me with respect — like the adult I am and not like a child. I have lived for decades, and I have seen this world during times of peace and war. I’ve struggled with finances, raised children, and cuddled grandchildren. I’ve sacrificed and celebrated. I’ve laughed and cried. I’ve sat at the side of my parents’ hospital beds and held their hands in their last moments on this earth.
Now that I am facing my twilight years I don’t want to be forgotten while I am still alive. Come to visit me. Take me out to lunch. Your presence means the world to me.
If you see me sitting alone, stop to chat a moment. And if I repeat myself, please understand and don’t remind me that my memory isn’t as good as it once was. Just a few minutes of feeling relevant in the eyes of another human will make my entire day.
I am tomorrow. I am lost youth. I will be you.
OMG! Will this woman ever stay on a topic — like writing? Or living in a small town?
Nope. Sorry to disappoint you, but I am a flitter. I flit from one topic to another in conversation, linking thoughts in my head which no one else sees as being at all related to the discussion at hand. It is also not so out of the norm for me to write about inanimate equipment that I love (remember my love affair with my kitchen faucet or my romance with my commercial-grade floor buffer?) That being said, it does make sense for me to write about my Fitbit, because it has become a part of my daily routine which includes writing tales of mystery, suspense and on occasion — romance.
So, what do I love about my Fitbit? Well, the first thing is that it wakes me up every morning at 6:30 am with its vibrating buzz on my arm. Without it, I would sleep too long and wake up grumpy because I overslept. It gets my butt up out of the chair while I’m writing, so I can take a stroll outside or around the house to keep my blood flowing.
Some of my best story ideas come to me while I’m exercising. It’s a form of meditation for me, and my Fitbit helps keep me on target each day. When I find writing to be difficult, the band on my wrist provides me with the solace of knowing I have accomplished something today, even if it’s only a specific number of steps and active minutes.
It is strange to think how a watch has become such an essential part of my day. In fact, I resisted purchasing one while others were singing praises about theirs. I thought I didn’t really need to count steps because I was already using an application on my phone to track my workouts. Strange to think that something I felt I didn’t need has become such a part of who I am in the past year.
What I love most about this little black band is that it has kept me goal-oriented throughout the year. Exercise helps to keep my mood light so I can smile in all those selfies I post online. LOL! It has helped me drop another size in clothing, and boy, do I love that!
So to celebrate I have ordered some different colored wristbands for my little motivator. I’ve stuck with basic utilitarian black since I got it Christmas of 2017. In 2019, we are going to be styling.
What a beautiful day it is today! The sun is shining brightly, and the wind has died down enough to keep the temperatures above teeth-chattering cold. (Yes, it is a meteorological term for a certain type of temperature, kind of like “colder than a witch’s — oops! Sorry, I digress.)
I have so much to do at home but the thought of being outside, stretching my legs as I walk with my yellow mascot, had me donning my coat and scarf and hitting the road. No worries, I didn’t fall this time. LOL!
The sky is that color blue so common on a winter day – a paler blue than the deep blue of a summer day. The sun glints off of the river’s surface and I have to squint my eyes as my gaze passes over its brilliance. Ice floats lazily down the river today. Yesterday, you could hear the low groaning sound of ice flows colliding with each other as they progressed down the river.
More people are out walking today. I even saw a few bicycling around the town. I wave at a couple out for a morning stroll, and they stop to give my sidekick a pat on the head and they receive in return his eternal gratitude. The signature dark brown UPS truck is making its way down the road, and I wonder if a package will be waiting for me when I get home.
As we saunter towards the big gray house on the corner with those bright red rocking chairs, I’m a bit disappointed to see there isn’t a big cardboard box waiting. Heading inside, my furry security system begins to bark. Could it be? I hurry to the door and sure enough, I find a package! Oh yes, it is a glorious day to be alive. Am I the only one who loves holiday packages? That would be a big “NO”!