Posted in blogs, Craft, Family life, John Howell, author, Links, Reading, Short stories, traditional, writers, Writing and Poetry, YA

How Much Character Do You Put On? By Traci Kenworth


How Much Character Do You Put On?

Traci Kenworth

In the world of beauty, we’re always concerned about what we are or aren’t putting on our faces. The goal is to improve on them, of course. Just like, if you think about it, our characters in our stories. So, how much character do you put on when it comes to your stories? By which, I mean, how true or authentic to themselves do you work to make each character?

Take an old lady. Easy character, right? Pruned skin. Cane to bend to her will. Ah, but how many other disabled these days carry canes? I do. And I’m fifty-five going on fifty-six. Mine is for my progressive neuropathy but also my fall risk. Sometimes my legs just want to buckle under me.

Not exactly the old lady you had in mind, huh? What would make her so for you? Gray hair? Blue-rinsed, white hair? Knobby knees? A pack of cats? A granny sweater? Eyeglasses on a chain? Add up the little details that make the whole. And each character is different. No two of us see the same old lady.

That’s how characters and people are. The truth comes in who we make them. What we pull into their makeup. We can make them rigid, aggravated, or complete bores. Think of a bully in high school. Most would think of guys. I knew some of those but mostly, my high school world was made up of female bullies.

I think that’s why I have a bit of hesitancy relating to my peers. Because so many of them were just ghastly to me. I had overweight girls try and keep me locked out of the school doors in the morning. And skinny ones spitting wads of paper at me in class. I’ve had senior girls tell me that I couldn’t use a certain door, or else. I’ve had girls younger than me harass me with ex guys that used to like me. Like I said, the role of bully is in the eye of the beholder.

Just like a mother. Some of us grew up with mothers who didn’t work outside the home. Some of us didn’t. I’d bet that on both sides of those coins, neither mom looked nor acted alike. Take their manner of clothing. They could’ve wore mostly skirts and dresses. Or pants. And there’s loads of combos in either of those sets. Some liked cotton. Some silk. Different patterns. Thickness. Accessories. The list goes on.

And fathers are more than just the standard ties that are advertised on TV sets. My dad never wore a tie. Even to funerals. He drove trucks. Worked in factories. Plastered ceilings of houses and buildings such as churches like the Mormon Church down in Kirtland, OH. He went fishing and hunting. Other dads did that too but not all. I’m sure there are more differences between our dads.

The point is: all characters come in different shapes and sizes. No two are alike. Pick any two books. No protagonist is like another. No matter the genre, no matter the similarity in the story. There is always something, some detail, that makes each unique to themselves. Katniss and Aelin. Two strong fighters in their different worlds. Each has their strengths and weaknesses. Their heart and their truths. Their sins and their mistakes.

The cost of each character’s life is their own. But on the battlefield, they’re formidable. They know their opponents well and use every advantage they have against them. It’s never just a game to them. That’s how you create a story. You put a character on the field an audience can cheer for despite the odds. They make be just another serial killer but it’s the mold of that killer that makes him/her spring to life.

Know your character. The details that go into them. Their background. Their struggles. Triumphs. Everything blends together into the mix. They are the whole of that being. Do your homework. So, how much character do you put on?

Happenings: Happy 2023! The last year ended with a fizzle for us but hopefully, it jump-boarded us into a new opportunity for my family. Prayers and fingers crossed. Our electricity ended up going out the night before Christmas Eve with the big blizzard rolling in. We didn’t get a lot of snow, thank God. Because I still had to get my kids back and forth to work those days. We were out of electricity until the afternoon of the next day. We lost our water as well. That was out until a few days before the new year. Yes, I kid you not. And the place where I live, the landlords blamed the tenants for it being off. They said we didn’t replace the heat tape like we were told. We bought our new home and the heat tape they put in was good for three years. So them blaming us was just, there are no words. They claimed the tenants pulled the park employees away from their families and holidays and ruined them for them. You couldn’t find an employee in this park even this week. You know how they fixed the water situation? They let the water pipes thaw. Yeah. Real effort on their part. So, we heard about a nice piece of land and we’re hoping to buy and get out of here in 2024 when our contract to keep this house here expires in Sept. I have never liked landlords. They are devious in my opinion. At least, the ones I’ve run across. That being said, I know people who are landlords and I believe they treat their tenants better. Life is hard. Why make it harder by being an a**hole to people?

Here are some links around the web you might like:

  1. Writers Helping Writers https://writershelpingwriters.net/2023/01/force-your-character-to-make-hard-choices/ One of the best things about conflict is that it pushes your characters to act. In every scene, your characters are making choices—big ones and small ones, and thereby steering their fate. Some decisions will be obvious and require little to no thought, but others will be muddier, with no clear “better” option, generating inner conflict. These choices, provided the characters feel personally invested in the decision, act as a test, revealing who they are. Finding ways to naturally characterize our characters is gold in storytelling, so making the most of a character’s decisions is a wise move. But when we make choices a bit more complex, they go beyond black-and-white options, which creates tension and potentially painful consequences. Hm. Working with two fears or two needs. Sounds delightful.
  2. Marcia Meara Writes https://marciamearawrites.com/2023/01/03/forgottenwords-doyouremember/ Interesting series!
  3. Syl’s 65 blog https://syl65.wordpress.com/2023/01/03/surging-forward/
  4. Writers Helping Writers https://writershelpingwriters.net/2023/01/5-reasons-why-its-still-a-good-idea-for-writers-to-have-a-blog/ It’s 2023. Should writers have a blog? It’s been the subject of debate for several years now. There was a time when, if you intended to publish and sell books, you were expected to write a blog too. But it’s not so clear-cut today. There are a lot of ways to communicate with your potential readers, and blogging is only one of them. Here are five reasons why I think it’s still one of the best. I think a blog is an important outreach to your readers. It helps you to get to know them and they, to know you. I’m finding more confidence in my writing nowadays and I believe part of that comes from this blog. I know I can express myself and get my point across to others. I feel at home here, like I’m talking to old friends.
  5. Life in the Realm of Fantasy https://conniejjasperson.com/2023/01/04/the-business-side-of-the-business-finding-places-to-submit-your-work-amwriting/ Today, we’re going to explore the various forms of short fiction publishers are looking for and how the market drives what they will buy. Each publication only buys work they think will appeal to their readers, and each serves a different segment of the reading public. We are looking for markets that will pay you for your work. They are difficult to get into, but once you are in, you will be offered more opportunities. If you are writing science fiction, you most likely dream of having your work published in Analog Science Fiction and Fact. They are seeking work that is strictly science-based, because that is what their readers expect. You might also want to submit to Uncanny, as they publish both sci-fi and fantasy. Their readers are more eclectic. Apex Magazine publishes work that pushes the limits, and that is what their readers expect. I’ve been working to break into these markets for a year and a half now. Frustrating but definitely builds your confidence and teaches you to revise, revise, revise with every resubmission.
  6. Angel Messages https://annetterochelleaben.wordpress.com/2023/01/05/angel-messages-jan-5-2023/
  7. Syl’s 65 blog https://syl65.wordpress.com/2023/01/05/thoughtfulthursday-dr-seuss/ No one could say it better than Dr. Suess!
  8. The Smorgasbord Magazine https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2023/01/05/smorgasbord-health-column-2023-the-body-our-greatest-asset-the-brain-introduction-and-anatomy-by-sally-cronin/ I have featured this series over the last ten years on a regular basis for new readers who might have joined the blog. Our bodies are are greatest asset. It has a long road ahead of if from birth, through the teen years, work life, parenthood, middle age and then into our 70s and beyond. At every stage of our life healthy nutrition is essential to help the body develop and remain as disease free as possible. I appreciate that many of you may have read this series before three years ago, but I hope it will be a reminder of how amazing our bodies are, and simply eating the right foods, exercising moderately and not doing anything too reckless…will go a long way to enjoying later life to the full. Losing who I’ve become is one of my biggest fears. Up there with losing certain loved ones. I don’t know how I would cope with either situation and I’m not eager to find out.
  9. Staci Trilio https://stacitroilo.wordpress.com/2023/01/05/review-colettas-unnatural-mayhem/ With the fate of the Natural World at stake, can Shawnee and Mayhem stop trophy hunters before it’s too late? Explosive news of a crow hunt rings out in the White Mountain Region of New Hampshire, and one hundred crows gather to put an end to it. With so many lives at stake—including Poe’s—Shawnee and Mayhem must work together to stop the trophy hunters before they obliterate the local murder. Taking on twenty-five experienced hunters armed with shotguns is no small feat. If they fail, Poe may lead his brethren to their death. No matter what it takes, this group must be stopped. But what if Shawnee and Mayhem aren’t seeing the full picture? What if these men have secrets worth killing over? Sounds exciting to me!
  10. Writers in the Storm https://writersinthestormblog.com/2023/01/get-booked-on-a-podcast-by-answering-one-question/ A critical way to build awareness of your work and credibility as a writer is by sharing your ideas, writing, and opinions with people in your niche. Podcasts are an excellent marketplace for ideas — according to PodcastHosting.org, there are two million podcasts out there, so surely there are a few shows that can help you grow your brand by booking you as a guest. The secret to getting booked comes down to answering one question. While likely not a traditional media organization, a podcast still deserves the same level of professionalism. If the show does regular guest interviews, assume the producers or host gets numerous pitches for guests every week (I know my shows do!). This means you are in competition to get placed, and you need to put your best foot forward by answering this question:
  11. Books and Such https://teripolen.com/2023/01/05/lumara-by-melissa-landers-bookreview-ya-magic-fantasy/ Boarding school student Talia Morris has no idea her boyfriend, Nathaniel, is a Mystic, let alone second in line to the throne of a secretive, aspirational magical community―one no mortal has ever been allowed to step inside. Until now. Nathanial’s cousin is about to be married in the biggest wedding the magical world has ever seen, and Nathaniel is allowed to bring a date. Talia is the lucky recipient of the golden ticket every Mystic wannabe in the world would kill for―only she doesn’t want it. Talia thinks Mystic worship unnecessarily aggrandizes people for being born a certain way. When she finds out Nathaniel is “one of them,” she almost jumps ship. But Nathaniel loves her, and she loves him. So when he begs her to give his family and their community a shot, she reluctantly agrees.Enter the most fantastical world any mortal has ever seen, and a magical wedding straight out of a dream. After a few days of bonding with Nathaniel’s family on the island, of seeing how beautiful their magic is and how peaceful their community, Talia’s about to be won over―until the entire wedding party suddenly falls into an unexplainable coma and the community goes on lockdown. Talia, the outsider, is pegged as the culprit and has to do everything in her meager non-power to prove her innocence. As she embarks on a journey to find the truth, Talia soon discovers reality is not all it seems, and her past may put her in more danger than she ever imagined. Love to find reviews like this!
  12. Chris the Story Reading Ape https://thestoryreadingapeblog.com/2023/01/06/what-i-learned-from-90-queries-by-eva-langston/ Don’t be fooled by the title. I’ve actually sent hundreds of queries for four different novels over the past decade. Without going into detail, I queried a novel and eventually got an agent, parted ways with that agent, queried some more, collected rejections, wrote three more novels, queried more, revised a lot, had some babies, and then got back to querying. My summary: traditional publishing is a long game, so get yourself some gumption. Now, when I say 90 queries, I’m talking about the queries I sent for my most recent novel. The novel that, after a year and a half in the query trenches, got me an agent. I’m now happily represented by the brilliant Ali Lake of Janklow & Nesbit. In the fall of 2020, I started querying with what I thought was my best novel yet: a YA paranormal suspense. At first I was getting nothing but form rejections. So I sought advice from my writing group and revised the query letter and opening pages. But still, crickets. Finally I paid for a one-on-one Manuscript Academy meeting with agent Fiona Kenshole. And she laid a finger on why I wasn’t getting any requests. Sometimes it’s hard to figure out the right details to put into a query. She gives good advice and insight.
  13. Fiction Favorites https://johnwhowell.com/2023/01/04/the-last-drive-blog-tour-with-chris-graham-the-story-reading-ape/ I doubt there is anyone in the blogging world who does not know about Chris Graham. Chris has spent the last ten years providing an avenue for authors to meet each other and to have a reliable source of all things writing. I am honored to be a guest of Chris’. So here is the link to the stop with Chris today. https://thestoryreadingapeblog.com/2023/01/04/reserved-for-john-howell-2/ The purpose of his blog, according to Chris, is fourfold. (In Chris’ words) 1. To introduce YOU to new (to me) authors I’ve come across in my wanderings through books and the cyberforest. 2. To provide a platform (battered old homemade soapbox) for authors to introduce themselves to you. (See my Contact Me Section for Guest Author article Guidelines) 3. As an informal information service to authors, poets, or anyone else who is thinking of becoming a published person of that ilk. 4. To promote FUN and an OASIS OF CALM and Font of useful Knowledge andTips for Indies (please do NOT feed my naughty chimps, or they may follow you home) from the woes and stresses of the real world. If you are not part of The Story Reading Ape’s team, you are missing an opportunity to learn, see, be seen, and be entertained. Thank you so much for helping spread the word on my latest, Chris. Follow John Howell as he guest over at Chris the Story Reading Ape’s blog for his new story, “The Long Drive.”
  14. Entertaining Stories https://coldhandboyack.wordpress.com/2023/01/04/my-2023-business-plan/ I have to confess, Craig’s business plans started me doing my own about three to four years ago now. They help immensely as they point you toward your goals for the year.
Posted in a bit of seriousness, blogs, Craft, Family life, humor & fun, John Howell, author, Links, Links, Reading, writers, Writing and Poetry, YA

Genre Sorts What We Write by Traci Kenworth


Genre Sorts What We Write

Traci Kenworth

Do you have a struggle to figure out what you’re writing? Let genre sort that out. What I mean is, instead of tearing at a piece to get the feel of it, mind what genre/s you have chosen to write in. Mystery? How about a cozy? Or a more traditional who-dun-it? Either one will shorten the time it takes to come up with a great idea to run with for the story.

Now, I hear you. That didn’t exactly tell you what to write. Well, I can’t give you a bare-bones-fits-all outline, but I can shave time off finding a story to run with in the days ahead. What do you like to read? That usually brings up a few promises. Narrow them down. Are you more sci-fi or fantasy? Get that outline ready to go with again, either more traditional or something new hatched up for the occasion.

Once you know what genre/s you prefer, you can outfit your story. I write in the YA category so there are endless possibilities to choose from there. You can have romance in your story. Mystery. A shade of horror. Or more if you want. Blending genres is also fun. I often write fantasy-horror or even sci-fi-horror. You can do this somewhat with the adult audience as well.

Want a romance? Historical or contemporary might intrigue you. You can weave in time travel if you like. Or bring on the pomp of the gilded ages. You see, coming up with the genre usually falls into something you like to read. Because if you don’t read that genre, you won’t know the structure and details of such a world.

Knowing what to expect in a genre doesn’t make the formula hard and fast. You won’t get bored from the staleness. Instead, you’ll find new boundaries to stretch and bring in something new and exciting with each. It’s not just a group of campers on Crystal Lake that intrigues us. It’s the story of each and how they survive or fall.

It’s the characters that do the hard work in a story. They have to make an impression, good or bad. If we’re willing to follow them down that hall, evade the killer, and win the day, that’s what makes a character grow on a reader. It instills fear of what might happen to that mother and child all the way out in an abandoned part of town when a dog goes mad.

Now, I’m not saying if you ever hit on a story outside your regular writing, you shouldn’t stretch your writing muscles. I’m just saying that when you’re starting out, getting to hit those marks, you want to consider what type of genre you like. Sticking close to home will teach you the basics. It will improve your skills before you move on. After all, Agatha Christie wasn’t famous for her characters sunny dispositions.

Happenings:

The Topiary meds they prescribed me have been doing a good job to take away a majority of the pain most of the time, thankfully. I feel better than in a long time and I’ve been able to do more. I’ve started walking a bit again. I’m almost ready for Christmas. I have a few more presents to buy. I’ll pick a day or two to do the wrapping of all that I have. How are you all doing on your plans? Enjoy your holidays!

Some links around the web you might like:

  1. Entertaining Stories https://coldhandboyack.wordpress.com/2022/12/16/fairies-myths-magic-ii/ Let’s welcome a special guest to Entertaining Stories today. Coleen is a long-time friend and she has something to share with us today. This is her newest book baby, so feel free to use those sharing buttons. She also shares one heck of a great story hook. She also has a prize to be drawn from those who leave comments along her tour. *** Thank you, Craig for the opportunity to share the news of my new book, just in time for the winter solstice and Yule. Every Halloween, Craig joins me to celebrate the holiday. I think we’ve done this for eight years now, so I couldn’t think of anyone better to share my spooky Halloween tale with from Fairies, Myths, & Magic II, called The Changeling. In this second book in the series, I start with late autumn and work forward into winter and Yule. What do you know about the scary fairies? Celtic traditions share with us the fey, or Good Neighbors, are nothing to mess around with. During the darkness of autumn and into winter, the Unseelie Court of fairies makes its appearance. The darkness and lack of sunlight during this time of year spawned many a myth and tale. Here’s a short excerpt from The Changeling, in Fairies, Myths, & Magic II: “Alyssa, it’s time to come inside. Daddy’s home.” I read a book like this by Mary Downing Hahn. I don’t think they were called dark fairies though. Changelings, yes and it had to do with a witch. The book was twisty and turny just like I like.
  2. Marcia Meara Writes https://marciamearawrites.com/2022/12/16/booksforchristmas-boldblatantselfpromo-theemissary-review/ Looking for something different to read over the holidays? Check out my Emissary series of novellas. Available for download for just $1.99 each, or free with Kindle Unlimited. BLURB for TE1: An angel’s work is never done—that’s part of the gig. But angels hadn’t been created to deal with such a vastly over-populated planet, rife with misery, suffering, and general chaos. Helping souls in peril has become a nearly impossible job, and even angelic tempers are frayed.
  3. Syl’s 65 blog https://syl65.wordpress.com/2022/12/16/friday-inspiration-ryan-stevenson-ft-gabriel-real-eye-of-the-storm/ Such powerful poems!
  4. Writers Helping Writers https://writershelpingwriters.net/2022/12/fear-thesaurus-entry-being-physically-touched/ While many people are sensitive to physical contact, an actual fear of being touched can lead to a host of difficulties. It can come about from a past trauma, learned experiences (through growing up in a family where touch was discouraged or punished), a physical sensitivity, or a mental health condition, to name just a few possible causes. What It Looks Like Backing away from handshakes, kisses, or other cultural greetings Sticking to the fringes of crowds Avoiding romantic relationships Not eating certain foods due to their texture Not participating in contact sports, dancing, and other activities that require touch Difficulty making new friends Only being able to wear certain kinds of clothing that don’t chafe or irritate the skin The character keeping their hands in their pockets I can’t imagine this fear. It must be so overwhelming to live with throughout your day.
  5. Annette Rochelle Aben https://annetterochelleaben.wordpress.com/2022/12/17/angel-messages-dec-17-2022/
  6. John Howell.com https://johnwhowell.com/2022/12/16/friday-johnku-aka-tgif-fri-yay-good-news-29/ End-of-year bonuses are always a welcomed sight, but these smiles bear witness to an extraordinary act of corporate generosity. Ruppert Landscaping gave bonuses of between $7,000 to $200,000 to all employees with a tenure of over one year “as a thanks for the role they’ve played in the company’s growth and development.” A total of 1,200 workers, excluding those in top leadership positions, received the enormous thank you presents which added up to be $28 million. The company says normal end-of-year bonuses were not deducted or altered by the gifts, which were announced at staff meetings, nor were any of the other benefits, which include 401(K) matching, health insurance, paid time off, and holidays. “Everyone receiving this bonus was instrumental in helping create the value that we’ve been able to realize,” said CEO Craig Ruppert. “This bonus is money that is well-deserved and a way for us to acknowledge the value of our teams’ contributions and the essential role that they will play in our company’s future.”
  7. This is Horror https://www.thisishorror.co.uk/news-round-up-week-ending-16-december-2022/ Monsters and monster-killers come in all shapes and sizes in this collection of three horror novellas by Glenn Rolfe, Tom Deady, and Nick Kolakowski. In ‘It Came From The Lake’ by Glenn Rolfe, Owens Lake is protected by a reclusive war vet by the name of Francis Owens, but this man is not the only threat around. In ‘In The Glastenbury Woods’ by Tom Deady, It was supposed to be the road trip to end all road trips. The summer of 1986, a few weeks before Dave and his two friends went their separate ways to college and the military. One last hurrah to Toronto to see Hulk Hogan and the rest of the WWF in The Big Event. It all goes wrong when they take a detour through Vermont’s notorious Glastenbury Woods. In ‘Groundhog Slay’ by Nick Kolakowski, It’s the summer of 1987. Around Lake Legionnaire, locals whisper tales of an unstoppable monster rampaging through the night, killing everyone in its way. But what if the monster’s just trying to stop something far worse—a threat that could destroy all existence? Available now in paperback and eBook editions, you can grab your copy here.
  8. AC Flory https://acflory.wordpress.com/2022/12/18/theres-no-such-thing-as-them-theres-only-us/ If you watch only one video today, please, make it this one:
  9. Smorgasbord Magzine https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2022/12/18/smorgasbord-christmas-book-fair-new-book-on-the-shelves-memoir-fifteen-first-times-beginnings-a-collection-of-indelible-firsts-by-d-g-kaye/ This book is a collection of stories about some of Kaye’s first-time experiences with life’s most natural events. Told through the intimate conversational writing we’ve come to know from this author, poignant personal steppingstones to learning moments are revealed. She encompasses the heart of each matter with sincerity and sprinkled inflections of humor. From first kiss to first car to walking in the desert with four-inch heels, Kaye’s short coming-of-age stories take us through her awakenings and important moments of growth, often without warning. Some good and some not, life lessons are learned through trial and error, winging it and navigating by the seat of her pants. Editorial Review: D.G. Kaye writes with heartfelt regard and unabashed honesty. The life experiences she shares in Fifteen First Times evoke tears as well as laughter. Kaye’s candor and compassion will no doubt appeal to and help many seeking to grow and come into their own. I highly recommend this book and all others by this forthright author. The reader will be left with an ardent desire for more. ~ Author, Tina Frisco
  10. Chris the Story Reading Ape https://thestoryreadingapeblog.com/2022/12/18/3-action-reaction-misfires-that-flatten-your-writing-by-lisa-poisso/ Cause and effect. Stimulus and response. Action and reaction. Everything in a story depends on what the characters do about whatever the story pushes them up against. Stiff, disconnected, or missing character reactions snap the chain of cause and effect that constitutes your story. When readers can no longer see how and why the characters are doing what they’re doing, they lose the thread. She’s got good points here.
  11. Writers in the Storm https://writersinthestormblog.com/2022/12/welcome-to-the-future-part-3/ Story is core to the human experience and is a fundamental part of how we communicate. People who are unhappy in their day-to-day existence like to escape into a world of story, and that trend has not gone away. While sales trends show a decline in print, the digital reading trends show readers want to be even more immersed in a story than ever before. Readers love it when their favorite authors allow the story to grow and bring them into it. How we Interact with Story is Changing Have you noticed “dark mode” on your devices? I read a fascinating article about holographic technology. In some ways, dark mode is a gateway to preparing our technology for holographic displays. Important Geek note: WordPress and other websites are using “blocks” in their design so they can control the way different types of words — think headings, paragraphs, pull quotes — display, preparing for this transition. You want to be using the latest technology in your website designs and in your writing. You want your writing to be stored in such a way that readers can use it in this future technology. TBH, not sure how I feel about this. Yes, I know. The future is advancing. I like to play around with ideas on my own. But then, new tech is harder for me to learn these days. I suppose it always will be and one day I just won’t be able to anymore. I’ll rant against the AI wall when I’m ready, I suppose.
  12. Smorgasbord Magazine https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2022/12/19/smorgasbord-christmas-book-fair-new-book-on-the-shelves-supernatural-adventure-the-last-drive-by-john-w-howell/ In the sequel to Eternal Road – The final stop, Sam and James are reunited to look for two souls, Ryan and Eddie. Ryan was killed in Afghanistan, trying to avoid a schoolyard with his crippled plane. Eddie Rickenbacker, Ryan’s hero, is to guide Ryan to his Eternal Home, and now both are missing. The higher-ups believe that there has been some interference in Ryan and Eddie’s journey by Lucifer, so Sam and James have the task of finding Ryan and Eddie to get them back on the road despite the evil interference. Unfortunately, the machinations designed to prevent Ryan and Eddy from completing their journey takes the pair to horrifying testing grounds. The places visited represent the best work of the Devil. They are the trenches of World War I in France, gladiators at the Roman Coliseum, the sinking Titanic in 1912, Hiroshima 45 minutes before the bomb, and the Auschwitz concentration camp in 1943. This book is for you if you like plenty of action, strong characters, time travel, and a touch of spiritual and historical fiction. So, join Sam and James as they try to find the missing souls while staying one step ahead of the Prince of Darkness, who is determined to destroy all that is good. I’m trying not to read this as I haven’t been able to read the first one yet and don’t want spoiled.
  13. Rosie Amber https://rosieamber.wordpress.com/2022/12/19/%f0%9f%8e%84two-historicalromance-christmas-novellas-rosies-bookreview-of-under-the-mistletoe-by-margueritekaye-and-bronwynscott/ Under The Mistletoe is a book containing two historical Christmas romance novellas written by Marguerite Kaye and Bronwyn Scott. Each novella can be read as a stand-alone, but they are also connected to series by the authors, individually.
  14. Story Empire https://storyempire.com/2022/12/19/mktg-22-wrap-up/ Greetings, SE’ers. It’s Jan again. Since July 2021, I have explored a variety of different avenues of book marketing opportunities, and I’ve come to the end of that journey. This is my last Story Empire post for 2022 and my last book marketing post. That’s not to say I won’t pop back in with something new if it comes to my attention, but for now, I’m leaving the subject of marketing behind.
Posted in blogs, Craft, Family life, John Howell, author, Links, Reading, writers, Writing and Poetry

Beauty, It’s All in the Lash by Traci Kenworth


Beauty: It’s All in the Lash

Traci Kenworth

What makes the eyes so central to the makeup? I would suggest, that’s it’s all in the lashes. Such tiny, exquisite hairs that frame the eye. They can be muted with no makeup at all, or they can shine like the lenses they are to the eye. It’s like your main character. They can be less than stellar in their existence, or they can pack a punch. You want the later when it comes to fiction.

You want someone who will be noticed. Who can hold the world’s attention. Someone who draws us in. That makes us read on page after page. No shrinking violets, no overblown dragons. The trick is to get the reader to like the character or at least, be interested in what they have to say and do. Once they care, they’ll read on and judge the story through the protagonist’s gaze.

How do we do that? Time and effort. I used to think writing was easy. That it just came to you. And it does. But you have to work to make that little puff of magic into a story. You have to dig deeper and deeper to bring those characters to life. At first, they may look just fine. Fine doesn’t win readers though, they want superstar.

How do you manage when you don’t know the first thing about being the center of attention? You draw on the moments you were and make them bigger for the character. You make them the homecoming queen, the star quarterback. Or you bring the ordinary into the spotlight. What makes a character shine? Their connection to the reader.

Without a reader, there’d be no life brought to the story. The reader brings the actor to life on the page much like an actor brings the character to life on the stage or movie set. We need both to interact with the story, to find a foothold into that reality. It’s like an invisible projector springs to life inside us and plays what’s happening on that page before us.

Connecting with one another is hard a lot of times. We each have our own share of burdens. Our own, different loved ones. We may wish it were otherwise. That we all had more in common. The truth is, we’re never going to all be alike. But what we can do is to each find something within those characters to like, to find decent, or curious and so discover a way to tag along on their journey.

Yes, beauty is all in the lash. Like the focal point of the story is the character. He or she sees everything, hears everything, and embraces everything in their own way. No two of us are alike. It shouldn’t be that way for characters either if we want authenticity. We are who we are until we become something more. But that’s a character arc, something down the road maybe. Have a great week all and God bless!

Happenings:

Monday, I go see the neurolgist. It seems like it’s taken forever to get here. In other news, I’m continuing to submit short stories to markets. Mostly, set in my book’s world. I’m getting good feedback but so far, no acceptance. I’ve been drawing in the new details of my world and finalizing some bits. It’s been helpful to see some confusing things that didn’t add up in the other versions.

Some links around the webs you might find interesting:

  1. Charles French https://jenniefitzkee.com/2022/11/27/my-teacher-lightbulb-moment-part-2/ Once I had my Lightbulb Moment, my teaching world turned upside down.  Children came first.  What they were interested in, who they were as children/people mattered most.  I needed to get to know them better.I started to use a tape recorder to “interview” children, as this not only helped me to get to know them, but also was a good tool for language development (and it was fun).  Our curriculum at that time was France and learning about the old masters in art.  Young children love to paint, and they were practicing being artists with real palettes.  I was learning so much about them, why not have the children do an autobiography to accompany their work of art?  And, why not have the children name their work of art, and call it a ‘masterpiece’?  The result was so profound that we had an art show at school, and then moved the art show to our local post office for the community to enjoy.  What a success, and what a wonderful experience for the children.  Our art show has since become a yearly event in the community. I think this goes a long way to show what special teachers mean to our children.
  2. Smorgasboard Magazine https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2022/12/03/smorgasbord-christmas-book-fair-2022-new-book-on-the-shelves-childrens-the-christmas-bird-by-robbie-cheadle/ About the story. The Deanne family is having a difficult time financially. Mr. Deanne’s business has failed and there is no money for Christmas presents and other luxuries. The family’s undernourished dogs discover a bird’s nest on Christmas Day and attack and kill the chicks. All except one tiny ball of fluff with luminous bright eyes like drops of oil. The baby bird is in shock, but the four Deanne girls try to save it. Will the Christmas Bird survive? One of the early reviews for the book D.L. Finn 4.0 out of 5 stars I love how the family took in this tiny chick. Reviewed in the United States on November 21, 2022 The Deanne family was short on funds at Christmas time. They made the best of it until their hungry dogs found a bird’s nest and ate all but one baby chick. The family rescued the baby chick and set out to save it. I love the family’s selflessness as they put the bird’s needs above theirs. It was a good lesson that giving of yourself is much more important than material possessions. This heartwarming story is perfect for sharing with a child or for beginning readers 
  3. Annette Rochelle Aben https://annetterochelleaben.wordpress.com/2022/12/04/angel-messages-dec-4-2022/#like-22673 Love these angel messages!
  4. Writers in the Storm https://writersinthestormblog.com/2022/12/creating-bonus-content-to-double-your-reader-engagement/ Book marketing and promotion can feel like a full-time job, and not one that’s always easy to excel at. That’s because effective promotion takes consistency and creativity, and it’s challenging to not only stay on schedule, but to continually come up with new ideas. So that’s why I’m a huge proponent of tapping into what you already know, which is your work, by creating bonus content and using it to bolster your book marketing efforts. Especially when you’re trying to be mindful of your budget if you’re taking the DIY route. Or when you’re looking for ways to support the work you hired a marketing team to do. Creating and using bonus content is a fabulous way to contribute to the success of a professional marketing campaign! And the reason I recommend bonus content so enthusiastically is because in many cases, authors already have everything they need to make this strategy work. So let’s dig into some ideas for promoting a book and enhancing reader engagement using bonus content!
  5. Roberta Writes https://roberta-writes.com/2022/12/06/roberta-writes-book-review-letting-go-the-defiant-sisters-duet-book-1-by-jacquie-biggar-bookreview-readingcommunity/ A coming-of-age novel about the pain of misconceptions and learning from them. When life gives you lemons… Izzy Mom is barely in the grave and the prodigal child is here to pick the bones clean. I don’t want her here. My sister’s defection is a wound that won’t heal, and her return simply rubs at the scabs covering my heart. I’ve managed just fine without her. She can go back to her fancy college and forget about us- that’s what she does best anyway. If only I didn’t need her help. Or miss her so much. Renee The day my dad committed suicide I ran. I’ve been running ever since. Going home is supposed to be the answer. Instead, it makes me question every thoughtless decision I’ve made.
  6. Myths of the Mirror https://mythsofthemirror.com/2022/12/06/november-book-reviews-part-two/ Wishing you all a wonderful winter as we head toward the solstice and the return of the light. I’m finishing off autumn with more books and reviews from November! I hope you find a few to enjoy over the holidays. To all my blogger friends in the southern hemisphere… have a wonderful start to your summer, and I hope you find some beach reads! November’s reviews (part two) include my 4 and 5-star reads of a romance/thriller mash-up, paranormal short stories, fantasy, and a children’s book.
  7. ACFlory https://acflory.wordpress.com/2022/12/07/i-hate-december/ I was going to say “I hate Christmas!” but that’s not completely true. It’s not so much that I hate Christmas, it’s that I hate the lead up to Christmas, especially this year. December in Australia is the first month of summer, and summer means bushfires and snakes [we’ve seen two already]. In normal years I would have spent most of spring mowing a little bit every day. We’re on 1.6 hectares, and that equates to a lot of grass. The alpacas do their best, but in spring they can’t eat the new grass fast enough, and once the grass sets seed they won’t touch it. So that’s in a normal year – a little bit of mowing spread out over a couple of months. This year has been different though. Australia is experiencing its third La Nina event in a row which has meant rain, rain and more rain. All that rain has triggered unprecedented floods all along the eastern seaboard with lives lost, crops lost and whole towns inundated. We don’t have to worry about floods here in Warrandyte as we’re on a ridge, but all that rain means the grass grows an inch over night. And it’s too wet to mow during the day, especially with a small, cordless lawnmower. In desperation, I paid for a guy to come in and whipper snipper1 the worst of it, but that’s left sheaths of grass drying on the ground. Exhibit A:
  8. Connie J Jasperson https://conniejjasperson.com/2022/12/07/pinning-down-the-themes-when-your-characters-have-agency-amwriting/ My writing mind has temporarily lost momentum in my current work. At this point, I’m unsure how to proceed with a pivotal chapter. This has me momentarily stalled on that book. Fortunately, Irene is editing the final draft of a book I finished during lockdown. She sends me one or two chapters with notes for final revisions each evening. That makes me happy—it’s been a while since I published a book. When I am stalled on a first draft, it helps to stop and consider the central themes. Theme is one of the elements that drive a plot. This novel’s central theme is redemption, which hasn’t changed. But this novel is in the first draft stage, and things have already shifted from what was initially plotted. And now I find that some of my characters aren’t as well-planned as I thought they were. This happens at some point in every first draft. I don’t know the themes of three important characters. I was under the impression that I was the only writer who took longer than a year to get my story together and then go back in for edits.
  9. Annette Rochelle Aben https://annetterochelleaben.wordpress.com/2022/12/08/angel-messages-dec-8-2022/
  10. Smorgasboard Blog Magazine https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2022/12/08/smorgasbord-christmas-book-fair-2022-childrensbooks-fantasy-jemima-pett-ya-travel-darlene-foster-bathtime-sue-wickstead/ About the book In north-west Mull, three guinea pig friends live in a remote castle. Tale no.1: Dylan’s life is in danger when he discovers something brewing in the hillside. Tale 2: Deirdre uses her initiative to find Dylan when he is washed into the sea. Tale 3: Dougall gets into trouble when he makes friends with a reindeer. Tale 4: Dylan is tempted by some mysterious lights. Fantasy adventures for age 8+ A review for the book Chris Graham5.0 out of 5 stars Delightful easy to read short stories. Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 8 May 2021 Having read the Princelings of the East Series, it was a delight to read about the earlier adventures of Dylan, Dougall and Deirdre on their Scottish Island. I wish there were more such tales to be had.  
  11. Writers in the Storm https://writersinthestormblog.com/2022/12/writing-spies-honeypots-and-the-honey-trap/ Honeypots are spies trained to use sex for the purpose of wheedling information out of targets, luring targets to specific locations, and/or enticing targets into behavior that can be used to blackmail them. These professionals are highly skilled in the arts of seduction and pleasure, and they will perform literally any act the target desires. While many of them work directly for governments, like Holmes’s dates did during the Cold War, they are sometimes prostitutes working with a pimp who uses them to gather information in order to sell it to the highest bidder, or several bidders. Whether they are official government agents or freelancers, honeypots are one of the most effective tools of the espionage profession. Honeypot Myths One of the most common myths about honeypots in fiction is that of the Honeypot Assassin—the seductress who murders her mark in the name of espionage. It’s not that it never happens in real life, but it pretty much doesn’t happen on purpose. This goes back to the fact that most people aren’t black widow spiders. As a general rule, we humans like to keep our killing and our sex compartmentalized far away from each other. The seductive love-kitten personality and the assassin personality are fundamentally different from each other—a rather universal fact that even the Soviets recognized. For example, the assassin will likely balk at the simple act of surrendering their hair to a barber for a trim. Honeypots, on the other hand, must freely surrender their entire bodies to total strangers.
  12. Rosie Amber https://rosieamber.wordpress.com/2022/12/09/%f0%9f%93%9afeaturing-a-very-talented-witch-rosies-bookreview-of-paranormalromance-entwined-within-the-darkness-by-charley-black/ Patience is a talented witch who knows very little about her past. She shares a flat with her best friend Michael, a half-demon, and she works in a wonderful magical bookshop. On a night out, Patience and Michael go to a Vampire club. Passion and death threats result; Michael bonds with his vampire lover but locks the duo in a dangerous coma. Meanwhile, Patience and Lucius, an infamous witch-hunter, must join forces to save Michael and his mate. What I liked: I liked Patience’s witch skills and particularly the bookshop where she worked. I enjoyed the worlds created and the general plot. There were several secondary characters who were also well written and likeable. The first third of the story was very enjoyable. What I didn’t like so much: After the first third the story felt a little rushed, a lot more characters were introduced, but they weren’t as rounded as the initial ones. As the story progressed, I felt that Patience lost some of her original finesse as a talented witch while the sexual tug-of-war between her and Lucius became predictable. The ending was odd; I felt that the plot twist did not quite gel with the rest of the storyline.
  13. Chris the Story Reading Ape https://thestoryreadingapeblog.com/2022/12/09/a-quick-tip-for-getting-to-know-your-characters-and-your-plot-by-janice-hardy/ Several years ago I sat in on an RWA workshop on character building, led by romance author Susan Elizabeth Philips. I’ve attended her workshops before and she’s always been entertaining and informative. She gave a tip (and did an exercise) that I’ve tried before: This has never worked for me since my fantasy characters don’t usually have purses, but she added the phrase “or their backpack or pockets” to it. That broadened it some, and I realized that ultimately, what she was saying was:
  14. John Howell https://johnwhowell.com/2022/12/08/thursday-a-little-personal-twiggy-and-lucy-in-the-warm-again/ “What do you suppose happened out here?” “Looks like the trees have finally let go of their leaves.”
Posted in a bit of seriousness, blogs, Craft, John Howell, author, Links, Muse, writers, Writing and Poetry

A Little Bit of Rouge There… by Traci Kenworth


A Little Bit of Rouge There, A Little Bit of Shade to Our Characters

Traci Kenworth

Foreshadowing has never been my strong suit. I see authors such as J.K. Rowling that have snuck items in books that the reader wouldn’t have even noticed in the beginning. And then you just look back in awe. How did they think that far ahead? I know mystery writers do it all the time. Sneaking things in that the reader might see as a diversion but are the absolute truth.

How do they know when to do that? I have a hard time figuring out when to add things as you can see. I know I have to slip it in somewhere but where is the question? Do you find yourself in the same boat or do you totally get those details in just where they need to be? Of course, I know the majority of writers go back through in drafts and add what they need. My problem is knowing how much to put in and where exactly.

I’ve read that some writers know the significance of every detail in the scene including the green curtains in the background. Elsewhere, a butterfly could symbolize rebirth. I’m not that meticulous when it comes to framing things. I would love to be. As I’ve said before, adding something in the second book that shows back up in the sixth is just phenomenal talent for some writers.

I know that in school, stories are examined by teachers and students to determine just what that antique doll sitting on the shelf means. What did the author mean by focusing on that sled in the movie? Theories are sought and discussed over and over. I’ve never been a fan of pulling things apart like that. I like to be more subtle. What does the story mean to me? What are the relevant details and how did they fit in that spot? Would I have done something different? It’s hard to say.

In college, further studies of the classics happened. If Beale Street Could Talk. The Catcher and the Rye. Both books to make you think. Especially as a younger person. It broadened your world. Made you see that everyone has their own suckish life but once you work through things, you discovered life is what life is. You make the best of it. It helps to put your own in perspective. Maybe you didn’t have it as bad as you think.

That’s what books do. They help us explore options. What could be versus what is. It’s only in the learning and exploring that we understand what the story is about. Foreshadowing is a tool writers use to set up a scene further in the future. Discovering when and how to add the clue is done differently by every writer. And let’s face it, some of the clues readers discover ended up there by accident.

I know it’s popular nowadays to think that a writer might have broken down every scene with objects that meant something to the story. The chair in the middle of the floor might showcase a kidnapping. A chest might lead a character on to a quest. Sometimes however, a detail in the story is just there. A character needs a place to rest. To discuss options with his or her friends.

I suppose I’d understand the ways writers insert shade into their stories more if I did the breakdowns of stories. Somehow though, that feels like almost an intrusion into them. I like a bit of mystery, a bit of wonder as to where the writer pulled that out of their page. Mystery writer I may never be, but from what I’ve learned while reading and absorbing the story, I can see the value in adding the clues.

It’ll be something I need to observe more in my reading so that I can apply it to my writing in the years to come. How about you? Do you like to tear stories apart and put them back together? Are you like me and don’t like to study every detail down to the author’s name? I just know what I like when I read it. It’s in the pages that we uncover the magic, the talent of each writer before us and how they came to weave their genius into the story.

  1. Beetles Nail Tips and Glue Gel Nail Set https://amzn.to/3IInHH0
  2. The Honest Mama Bump Love Bundle https://amzn.to/3u7fAQ7
  3. Boom! By Cindy Joseph Cosmetics Boomstick Color https://amzn.to/3o7sZUC

Below are some links you might like to view:

  1. Pitch Wars https://pitchwars.org/upcoming-release-red-thread-of-fate-by-lyn-liao-butler/ Two days before Tam and Tony Kwan receive their letter of acceptance for the son they are adopting from China, Tony and his estranged cousin Mia are killed unexpectedly in an accident. A shell-shocked Tam learns she is named the guardian to Mia’s five-year-old daughter, Angela. With no other family around, Tam has no choice but to agree to take in the girl she hasn’t seen since the child was an infant. Overwhelmed by her life suddenly being upended, Tam must also decide if she will complete the adoption on her own and bring home the son waiting for her in a Chinese orphanage. But when a long-concealed secret comes to light just as she and Angela start to bond, their fragile family is threatened. As Tam begins to unravel the events of Tony and Mia’s past in China, she discovers the true meaning of love and the threads that bind her to the family she is fated to have.
  2. Writers in the Storm https://writersinthestormblog.com/2022/01/how-to-use-touch-in-writing/

Touch is a basic human need. It’s the first sense we develop and our first social interaction at birth.

The Power of Touch.

Imagine walking barefoot through a forest. The softness of moss between your toes, the cool slime of mud, the pokes and scratches of pine needles, sticks, and stones.

Think of the kitchen and the intense heat of the oven. Remember kneading and punching bread dough, making deep indentations in the mixture, releasing stored aggression on the dough. (Good therapy.)

Touch has two different systems, factual (location, movement, and pressure) and emotional. Both types are used in writing.

3. Story Empire Blog https://storyempirecom.wordpress.com/2022/01/28/what-can-be-done-if-the-desire-to-write-is-missing/

Hi SEers, John is with you today. I hope you are looking forward to a great weekend. I know I am. Today’s post is all about providing some perspective on those times when no matter how much a writer knows they should get to their writing, they just dread it. I have had those moments. It’s that awful time where writing sounds like it will be a miserable experience.

These times may not last long, but while they are there, they become a cause for unreasonable concern about the future as a writer. I mention unreasonable since, like most things that go bump in the night, these concerns under the white-hot light of reality tend to fall away.

So, what kind of white-hot light can be switched on to expose these feelings of not wanting to write to a reality check. The title of this post gives a hint. Some things can be said out loud that will chase the specter of doubt to St Louis. I am suggesting some things can be said when faced with a lack of desire to write. Once any of these are expressed, writing will take on a revitalized characteristic. Some of these are meant to be humorous to show how laughable it is not wanting to write.

4. Robbie’s Inspiration https://robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com/2022/01/27/robbies-inspiration-my-word-for-the-year-patience/

Several people in the blogosphere had selected a word to inspire them for 2022. One of the best such words I’ve encountered is curator shared by Marsh Ingrao of Always Write blog. You can read her post here: https://alwayswrite.blog/2022/01/26/wqw-4-word-of-the-year-or-writers-choice/

Seeing as the bloggers have collective colluded to twist my rubber arm with regards to a wordy inspiration, I have chosen ‘Patience’. I shared my choice with my long suffering husband and, after he’d picked himself up off the floor after laughing himself silly, I composed this poem to keep me on the path of patient virtuousness:

5. Books and Such https://teripolen.com/2022/01/27/light-years-from-home-by-mike-chen-blogtour-bookreview-scifi-family/

Every family has issues. Most can’t blame them on extraterrestrials.

Evie Shao and her sister, Kass, aren’t on speaking terms. Fifteen years ago on a family camping trip, their father and brother vanished. Their dad turned up days later, dehydrated and confused—and convinced he’d been abducted by aliens. Their brother, Jakob, remained missing. The women dealt with it very differently. Kass, suspecting her college-dropout twin simply ran off, became the rock of the family. Evie traded academics to pursue alien conspiracy theories, always looking for Jakob.

When Evie’s UFO network uncovers a new event, she goes to investigate. And discovers Jakob is back. He’s different—older, stranger, and talking of an intergalactic war—but the tensions between the siblings haven’t changed at all. If the family is going to come together to help Jakob, then Kass and Evie are going to have to fix their issues, and fast. Because the FBI is after Jakob, and if their brother is telling the truth, possibly an entire space armada, too.

Posted in blackmail, foreign conspiracy, Gwen Plano, Indie, John Howell, author, Mysteries/Thrillers/Suspense, Romance

Book Talk…6/8/18


cover, The Contract
The Contract between heaven and earth John W. Howell and Gwen M. Plano

Book Talk 6/8/18

Traci Kenworth

 

The Contract by John Howell and Gwen Plano. 2018. Indie. I was given an arc for review.

 

Authors’ blurb: The earth is under the threat of a catastrophic political event which could result in international warfare and destroy all life on the planet. In heaven, a divine council decides that extraordinary measures are essential. They call for an intervention that involves two souls returning to earth. The chosen two sign a contract that they will work to avert the disaster.

 

Brad Channing, a Navy SEAL, and Sarah O’Brien, a teacher, become heaven’s representatives on earth. The story follows them as they individually and then together face overwhelming obstacles and eventually end up on a strategic Air Force base in California. It is there that they discover a conspiracy to assassinate the President of the United States. The terrorists have a plan for global dominance, and they are determined to complete their mission. Although military leadership appears to have the President’s best interests at heart, it is not clear who can be trusted and who should be feared. The action is rough and tumble as Brad and Sarah try to figure out the culprits of the plot that will turn into a worldwide conflagration unless stopped.

 

If you enjoy thrillers, this is one with enough twists and adventure to keep you riveted and guessing. If you like your thriller along with a good romance, Brad and Sarah’s initial attraction and eventual love will sustain you as they live out their heavenly and earthly desires

 

My review: Peter and Theresa are angels when a dire plot that could destroy Earth happens. They are sent below to try to avert it, but their memories will be removed of Heaven and why their there. They pick up the lives of the deceased host’s moments after they die and begin to sort through their new lives. Theresa discovers that Sarah is an abused woman with a husband who has ties to terrorists. While trying to start a new life away from her ex, she decides to write a book and goes to a conference where she meets Peter as Brad. The two start a romance but danger threatens them at every turn. They think it’s her ex, but could it be something more? Who do they trust when their own government could be against them?

 

I LOVED it! Brad and Sarah are very appealing characters and the whole story is a rush of excitement!

Posted in blackmail, Family life, foreign conspiracy, John Howell, author, Paranormal, Uncategorized

Welcome, John Howell


Circumstances of Childhood.

By John W. Howell

Click for Amazon Kindle

Shipping on October 1st. Priced at $0.99 for the introduction.

This is a different story for John. It is in the Family Life genre and tells the story of brotherly love, riches to rags, redemption and a little paranormal thrown in. Normally John writes thrillers but this time he has stepped into a different place. This book was written with love for the story and the hope it will be an enjoyable read.

Here is the blurb:

When a former pro football star and broadcaster, now a Wall Street maven is accused of insider trading, will he be able to prove his innocence and expose those who are guilty?

Greg and his boyhood pal dreamed of big success in professional football and then later in business. Greg was the only one to live the dream. Now the founder of an investment fund Greg is faced with a routine audit finding by the SEC. The audit points to irregularities and all the tracks lead to Greg. The justice department hits him with an indictment of 23 counts of fraud, money laundering, and insider trading. His firm goes bust, and Greg is on his own.

His best friend knows he is innocent but has been ordered under penalty of eternal damnation not to help.

If you enjoy stories of inspiration, riches to rags, redemption, brotherly love, and a little of the paranormal, Circumstance of Childhood will keep you riveted.

Here is an excerpt.

I look down at my drink and wonder what will happen tomorrow. My daughter Constance wants to come and visit. She lives in New York, and before all hell broke loose, we didn’t see each other often. I missed her so much, and it seemed as if I had to beg her even to talk on the phone. Now, it’s like she wants to be here every weekend. It’s only an hour’s flight by the shuttle or three by train, so she can come when she wants. I just can’t figure out why she got so clingy. I have my troubles, but it doesn’t have anything to do with her. No use in asking her husband either. Though a nice enough guy, I always wonder if he has someplace important to go when I visit. He never sits still and stays busy on the phone or at the computer. He makes a good living, but it seems a person could take an hour to sit and talk. I’d looked forward to some kind of relationship when he and Constance got married. It’ll never happen with him.

When I take another pull at my drink, I notice the burn feels less. It happens every time. First sip initiation, I call it. It’s like the first puff of a cigarette, hits hard then, after, nothing. I decide to let Constance pretty much have the agenda tomorrow. She and I have not had a chance to talk about anything deep for a while. It could just be that she blames me for her mother running off with that guy with the house on the Hudson. He has a title, and the old gal couldn’t resist, but I think the daughter always felt I should have done something. Her mother’s sleeping with another guy and what the hell can I do about that?

I’ll just go with the flow. If she wants to go out, we will. If she wants to stay in, we can do that too. I better think about getting some food in the house. Of course, we can always order take out. I need to move on to my drink and let this go. Tomorrow will be what it is. I remember the day she was born. I looked down at her in my arms and promised I would do anything for her. I love her more than life itself, and I hope we can somehow get to the root of whatever’s wrong. She sounded strange on the phone this morning, and I feel helpless to do anything about it. I hope she opens up when she gets here.

For some reason, I feel tired. Perhaps I’ll go ahead and finish my drink. Maybe I’ll just go home and forget the burger. First, though, I’ll just shut my eyes for a minute. My hands feel good when I put my head down.

“Hey, Greg,” Jerry says. I barely hear him. “What’s the matter? You taking a nap? Greg?” I can feel him shake me, but I have no interest in waking up. His voice gets further away, and I think he says, “Oh, my God, Sophie, call 911, quick.” Now the room goes silent.

Author Bio.

John's Bio

John began his writing as a full-time occupation after an extensive business career. His specialty is thriller fiction novels, but John also writes poetry and short stories. His first book, My GRL, introduces the exciting adventures of the book’s central character, John J. Cannon. The second Cannon novel, His Revenge, continues the adventure, while the final book in the trilogy, Our Justice, launched in September 2016. The latest Circumstances of Childhood a family life story is available as of October 1st, 2017. All books are available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle editions.

John lives in Port Aransas, Texas with his wife and their spoiled rescue pets.

John’s other books.

My Girl front His Revenge Our Justice

Available on Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/author/johnwhowell