tagged with: fiction

I will be participating in a book club reading and discussion of my book Coming Out of Egypt at the South Regional Broward College Library in Pembroke Pines on Saturday Sept. 28th at 2.00 p.m. If you live in this area, I would love to see you there.

In case you haven’t yet read Coming Out of Egypt, it is the first book in a series that features two sisters, sexual abuse survivors, and their heroic journey out of that horrible experience. I wrote this book to inspire victims of sexual abuse and to show them that just as the children of Israel came out of Egypt with God’s help, in the same way they too can come out of their Egypt and live a new and fulfilling life.

While the book is written from a Christian viewpoint, it is also entertaining and crosses genres of detective work, women’s fiction and YA. If you can’t make it on Saturday, please invite someone who may be able to attend and check out the book from your library. Also, right now , you can obtain the sequel In the Wilderness at the discounted price of .99c when you join this promo:
https://books.bookfunnel.com/fallforfiction/gdpabmdx53

It’s been a long time coming, but here it is at last – the brand new cover for In the Promised Land, the third and final book in the Egypt trilogy. What do you think?

While this cover features the same silhouette image as the others, she is now enveloped in a golden glow, which, I think, gives an insight into what this story is about. The sun has risen on the lives of these two young girls who had experienced so much turbulence in their journey out of Egypt.

Here’s the tagline and blurb to whet your appetite even more.

Finding love in the midst of tragedy

As a young nun at the Corpus Christi Home for Girls, Marva Garcia has always leaned on the Everlasting Arms for wisdom and strength to meet the day-to-day challenges of mentoring delinquent girls. But then the challenges multiply, and Marva sees her orderly world crumbling around her. As she tries to make sense of all this, Marva is increasingly drawn to another pair of arms that had been there for her all along. Can she love a man and still love God?
Fans of the perennial favorite The Sound of Music will love this Caribbean story of a nun’s struggle to balance her passion for God with her growing love for her childhood sweetheart.

There you have it. In the Promised Land will soon be on preorder. More details to follow.

Meanwhile, if you still haven’t got your copy of the first book Coming Out of Egypt or it’s sequel In the Wilderness, just click on the links and they will take you straight to them. You want to be sure and read them before reading In the Promised Land.

Still don’t know what the series is about? It’s the story of two sisters struggling to put their lives back together after Marva, the older, kills their father as a result of sexual abuse. Their former teacher, Cicely, steps in, points the girls to Christ and helps them turn their lives around. But she has her own ghosts to deal with as she tries to hide the fact from her fiancé that she too was sexually abused.
These books have received four and five-star ratings and I am sure you will enjoy them tremendously.

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Are you still thinking of a Mother’s Day gift for your mother or that special woman in your life? Why not give her a gift that never fades, goes out of style or loses his sparkle? Give her the gift of a book that is guaranteed to bless her heart and remind her of the power of God’s love. Give her a printed copy of Coming Out of Egypt, complete with swag – tote bag, bookmark, bandana and pen. She will love you even more.

Coming Out of Egypt

Joyce Carol Oates at USF

Joyce Carol Oates at USF (Photo credit: shawncalhoun)

If you are a fiction writer, one of your major challenges is creating memorable characters. Think of your characters as the pillars of a structure.  If they are not strong, or don’t have the necessary qualities to support that plot, it’s likely to collapse. If your readers don’t care for your characters, especially the major ones, chances are they won’t care for your story either. Think of  a movie you saw that you really enjoyed. Why did you enjoy it? What do you remember about it? Of course, great acting may be one of the reasons you enjoyed the movie, but if the main character was weak, then the acting couldn’t do much to improve on it.

In my critique group, I get a lot of praise for my characters, even the lesser ones. I think it’s because I try to get to know them – their likes, dislikes, what makes them tick, what is likely to set them off – that sort of thing. When I began my first book in the Egypt series, I searched faces on the street and in magazines looking for the right faces to match my characters. I found that people in public gave me what I wanted more than magazine photos, for the simple reason that I could commit to memory their build, their gait, facial expression, mannerisms etc. Nothing gives me more pleasure than when my critiquing friends say, “I just love Marva,” or, “I just love David.”

In the video below, popular writer Joyce Carol Oates discusses how to create outstanding characters. Enjoy!

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Last year I decided to unofficially participate in NaNoWriMo, not because I wanted to write my novel in a month, but because I hoped to feed off the energy and motivation generated among writers during this month. There are live events near where I live, and I hope to attend at least one. This year my novel is almost complete. I’d hoped to have it completed by now, the first draft, that is, but my plot took an unexpected twist and I’m really enjoying it. So far, I have topped 102, 000 words, way more than I originally intended. However, I know I’ll be doing some slashing in the earlier chapters once I begin to edit. Anything that doesn’t advance the plot has to go. By the time I’m done, I expect to be under 100K.

So what about you? What does your NaNoWriMo look like? Are you attending any live events? What goal(s) have you set for yourself? Leave a comment below and let me know what you’re up to.

 

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While on my walk this morning, I came across a couple staring at something on a tree branch. As I drew nearer, the woman pointed to the tree and said, “Isn’t it amazing how God puts so much detail into everything?” I peered at the tree to see what she was talking about, and there was a huge spider caught in a big web. I agreed with her that God is a God of details. Then I saw she had her phone out. “Did you get him?” I asked. “I sure did,” she replied. So I got out my phone and took two shots. See one of them here.

As I walked away, the word “details” kept popping into my mind. I immediately thought of my writing. As fiction writers, it can be very easy for us to focus on getting our plot just right; working out the conflicts, all the little twists and turns and surprises, while ignoring the details. But its these little details that make the story come alive and make the reader feel she is in the story, not looking in from the outside.  Let’s look at the paragraph below from The Memoirs of Cleopatra by Margaret George:

Warmth. Wind. Dancing blue waters and the sound of waves. I see, hear, feel them all still. I even taste the sting of the salt on my lips, where the fine, misty spray coats them. And closer even than that, the lulling, drowsy smell of my mother’s skin by my nose, where she holds me against her bosom …

Do you see, hear, feel and taste the details? That’s the kind of sensory experience you want to give your readers. This is not the same as clutter, which adds nothing to the story. If it feels cumbersome, it must go. But if everything fits into place, like the markings on a spider’s leg, then you are on to something. Like any craft, it takes practice, but eventually, you should get it just right.

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I will be taking my book Women For All Seasons on a virtual book tour from October 7 – 18.  I will also be giving away a copy of the book and downloadable excerpts to readers who visit the blogs and leave a comment. I will post all the details as the time draws nearer. Meanwhile, if you wish to jump ahead you can purchase a copy on Amazon from the link on your right, or from Smashwords at https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/34069

 

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Well, we are down to the second-to-last letter. I never thought I would be able to get this far. It just shows what a little challenge plus determination can accomplish. I can’t wait to see what my fellow bloggers have come up with for the letter Y. For this post I decided to feature the blog of my friend and critique partner, Yvonne Anderson. Yvonne’s blog is called Ys Words, and as you will see from the entry below, she does give some Ys words on writing in particular and on life in general. Yvonne is the author of Story In The Stars, the first in a series of speculative fiction about life on the planet Gannah. In this entry, Yvonne’s main characters, Dassa – protagonist – and Pik, Dassa’s husband argue about who should be the protagonist. Let’s listen in:

Author: All right, then, ladies first. Dassa, why do you believe the term protagonist applies to you?

Dassa: Since the book opens with a scene in my point of view, it stands to reason that my character is the one upon whom the whole book hinges. Isn’t that some sort of a writing rule? That the protagonist is introduced first?

Author: I don’t know if it’s a rule, but—

Pik: There is no such rule. I’ve checked with a number of industry professionals, and they tell me—

Dassa: Industry professionals? Name one. Probably a guy who drives a forklift in the Book Bargains warehouse. No—more likely, some agent’s dermatologist.

Pik: Not true! I—

Author: We needn’t name names and draw innocents into this. But I’ve raised this question at conferences and such, and from what I’ve been told, there is no hard-and-fast rule. Generally speaking, the reader meets the protagonist first, but there are legitimate exceptions. So I’ll give a point to Dassa for this while conceding that her argument isn’t definitive. And now, let’s move on. Dr. Pik, why do you think you’re really the protagonist?

Pik: First, and most obviously, readers love me best. You said yourself, when you were submitting your chapters to critiquers for feedback, everyone commented on how much they loved my character. And if you hadn’t submitted anything for a while, it was me they asked about. “What’s Pik doing these days?” No one inquired about Dassa.

Author: Well, that’s true, but—

Pik: But more objectively, I think everyone here will agree that my character is the one that shows the most growth. Don’t several reviewers comment on the impressive character development in this book? Which character are they’re talking about? Certainly not Dassa, who remains a cold fish throughout the entire story. My character gives the story its depth and adds a lively humor. It’s my words in the last line that put a smile on the reader’s face as she closes the book with satisfaction. Dassa is merely the straight man, so to speak, around which my character revolves.

Author: “Cold fish” hardly describes Dassa. It’s true that she never gets carried away by her emotions, but she does clearly feel them. And her role is far more vital than that of a mere straight man. Nevertheless, you raise a good point about the character development. Your character shows amazing growth between his introduction in chapter 2 and that last line of the book that you mention.

So what do you have to say about this, Dassa? Pik seems to have scored two points to your one so far. Can you offer another reason why you should keep your protagonist status?

Dassa: Absolutely. It’s true that the doctor shows the most character growth, but plainly, the reason for that is because he had more growing to do. I may be younger than he, but I was more mature at the beginning of the book than he is by the end. No, don’t argue, Pik, it’s true and you know it. However, all that aside, I believe the biggest reason why I should remain the protag is because it’s my character who has the most to gain or lose. You had a life—a career, a family, and a future—before I came on the scene, and if I had never made an appearance, you’d have gone along your merry way without a care in the galaxy. I, on the other hand, lost everything. The story is more about my struggle than it is about your character growth. Clearly, that gives me every right and reason to be the protagonist.

Author: This is quite the dilemma. All your arguments are valid. I think we should put it to the vote. Readers? Who do you consider the protagonist of The Story in the Stars? I’m asking that question on my own blog today, too, so if you don’t mind, would you go to YsWords.com and cast your vote?

Intriguing, isn’t she? To learn more about Yvonne and her writing, you may visit her blog at www.YsWords.com.

Still on the A – Z challenge, the letter for today is O for occupation. If you are a fiction writer, your protagonist will most likely have a job. I’ve never met one who didn’t. However, the job you select for your character(s) should have some bearing on your plot. Think of the detective stories you’ve enjoyed and the way the author used the character’s occupation to drive the plot. This also adds depth to your story and creates a more memorable character.

Dan Brown’s protagonist Robert Langdon, whose job as a Harvard symbologist lands him some hair-raising assignments, make Dan Brown’s books page turners. And page turners sell. Choose your character’s occupation with this in mind and you may achieve the same result.

Every writer needs to have some kind of networking support in order to grow and become more proficient in his craft. One form of support is the critique group, which means just that – members critique each other’s work and provide helpful feedback on different areas of the work. If it is non-fiction, the critique may focus on grammar, sentence structure, content, relevance and development of the subject matter. If it is fiction, members may focus on theme, point of view, character development, setting, dialog and narrative in addition to grammar and sentence structure. (more…)