Friday, December 28, 2018

Howard Fogg

Yesterday I ran across this video about my late father-in-law, Howard Fogg.  It was so lovely to hear Foo's voice, and see him at his desk and in the studio.

Thank you, Trainman Glenn.  Nicely done.

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

The Forgotten Dialect Of The Heart, a poem by Jack Gilbert

How astonishing it is that language can almost mean,
and frightening that it does not quite. Love, we say,
God, we say, Rome and Michiko, we write, and the words
get it all wrong. We say bread and it means according
to which nation. French has no word for home,
and we have no word for strict pleasure. A people
in northern India is dying out because their ancient
tongue has no words for endearment. I dream of lost
vocabularies that might express some of what
we no longer can. Maybe the Etruscan texts would
finally explain why the couples on their tombs
are smiling. And maybe not. When the thousands
of mysterious Sumerian tablets were translated,
they seemed to be business records. But what if they
are poems or psalms? My joy is the same as twelve
Ethiopian goats standing silent in the morning light.
O Lord, thou art slabs of salt and ingots of copper,
as grand as ripe barley lithe under the wind’s labor.
Her breasts are six white oxen loaded with bolts
of long-fibered Egyptian cotton. My love is a hundred
pitchers of honey. Shiploads of thuya are what
my body wants to say to your body. Giraffes are this
desire in the dark. Perhaps the spiral Minoan script
is not language but a map. What we feel most has
no name but amber, archers, cinnamon, horses, and birds.
~ Jack Gilbert.

Photo by Richard Fogg

Friday, December 21, 2018

Don’t Circle the Wagons

…and don’t beat around the bush.  (Okay, maybe I should also mention not using clichés, but that’s not what this is about.)

Here’s what it IS about, a sentence I read last week in a book that shall remain nameless.

“He started to light the fire.” 

He started?  Did he scrape a match on sandpaper?  Did he flick his Bic?  Did he rub two sticks together?  Is he amorous?  I had no clue. Yes, of course I understood what the author was saying and given the context of the sentence within the paragraph and chapter I even knew there was kindling and a fire pit involved, but the opportunity to be specific about the main character’s action was completely lost, so whatever the author envisioned for that moment was also lost.

Was it important?  Turns out, it was.  His lighting the fire was a precursor for things to come. 

Don’t circle around what you want to say; come out and say it directly. Help your reader move through the story effortlessly and without "starting" distractions.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Clumpy rides again!

If you've been curious about my cartoon header, Clumpy is the rascal of a pup portrayed in the cartoon, created in the 1940s by Howard Fogg, my mischievous father-in-law.  Clumpy often visited the drawing board for family events, when Howard took time off from his railroad art to create a special gift for Margot, my darling mother-in-law.  

With the blessings of my husband, I edited the doorway text of this February 14, 1947 cartoon.  Dick said it would have pleased his father to no end that I'm sharing Clumpy with you!

Friday, December 14, 2018

Rejection angst? Try my Rule of Ten!

Years ago, after struggling with repeated rejection angst, I developed my Rule of Ten (Minutes). At first it was a Rule of One (Day). But as my skin thickened and I started to believe the agents I spoke with at conferences, when they explained that they repeatedly reject worthy books because that book “just wasn’t right for them,” I shortened that day to one hour, and ultimately, to ten minutes.

Here’s the rule: If I receive a rejection, I can wallow in self pity, pull my hair, wail, rip the rejection to shreds, burn it, whatever soothes my soul, but only for ten minutes. Then I’m done. Fini. Minute eleven finds me pressing the “send” button on a new query.

This does require some preparation. I have to know who is next on my list. (Heh!) I have to be certain they’re currently accepting queries and passionate about my genre. I have to keep my query letter fresh. Plus, if I’m away from my “home” computer, I have to have the discipline to not open an email from an agent or editor until I’m poised for action and ready to react at minute eleven.

While this might sound like a game, and perhaps it is, the Rule of Ten works. On minute eleven, optimism reigns yet again. My new query is off and this new agent or editor might love my work. I might receive a great offer!

But let’s get back to coping with a potential rejection. Yes, when a writer offers their beloved novel to an agent or editor, we are handing them part of our soul and rejection is painful. But remind yourself, a query is a business letter, as is the dreaded rejection letter. Sure, a standard “form” rejection that’s been used thousands of times might feel more like a kick in the gut than business as usual, but if we had to read and respond to 500 queries a week, every week, it might seem more logical and less hurtful.

With the Rule of Ten firmly in place, and after numerous rejections, what ultimately evolved was that I no longer needed even ten minutes to wallow and mope. Yes, I often experienced a pang or two, but my Rule of Ten kept me positive and enthusiastic about getting published. And it worked!

While I’m not blasé about receiving rejection letters, by sending another query at minute eleven, I know I’ll have new hope. I then type happily onward rather than beating my breast for weeks and vowing never to send another query. Or worse yet, vowing to abandon all hope and never write again. In the next few weeks, when I again begin to send out queries, I shall apply my Rule of Ten. Who’s with me?

Friday, December 7, 2018

A Serenade to Die For

Four and five star reviews from NetGalley readers for A Serenade to Die For.  Thank you all, so much!

5 Stars:  Right from the first page I was sucked in. It was impossible to put down. Loads of twists and turns right to the end to keep the reader intrigued and turning pages! Definitely recommend this book. ~ Brid C Reviewer

Friday, November 30, 2018

Height of Deception!

Available now!

In a modern world of corporate greed, rabid activists, and murder, ancient Hopi spirits might have the final say.
Everything Nora Abbott has struggled to achieve is now within her grasp. After a divisive four-year court battle she’s been granted the right to make snow at her beloved mountain resort, guaranteeing financial prosperity and hopefully saving her failing marriage. But when her husband is found murdered on the mountain, suspicion turns to Nora.

After failing to save her husband and desperate to protect her mother and a Hopi teen, Nora throws herself into the deadly crossfire between environmentalists, Native Americans, and big business.

Allies become enemies and friends are suspect. Even the spirits of the mountain seem pitted against her. Can Nora save herself, the mountain, and the people she loves?

Height of Deception is the first in the Nora Abbott mysteries, all dealing with the mystic Hopi, environmental issues, and murder. If you like Tony Hillerman, William Kent Krueger, and Margaret Coel, you’ll love this series.  Pick up Height of Deception today and start the adventure!

“Baker’s series debut brings Native American culture and big business together into a clash that can be heard across the mountains.”  Library Journal

This book was originally titled Tainted Mountain.


But wait, there's more!

Book 2, Skies of Fire, launches December 4th!

"A thoroughly satisfying mystery!  Nora Abbott is a fiery and tenacious sleuth."  ~  Margaret Coel, New York Times bestselling author of the Wind River mystery series


And on December 11th, Canyon of Lies will be available to round out the trio!  Pre-order Books 2 and 3 now!

"Shannon Baker offers readers a deft mix of both important contemporary issues and the timeless spiritual traditions of the Hopi."  ~  William Kent Krueger, New York Times bestselling author of Ordinary Grace

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

How do I love three? Let me count the ways.

I love three to the depth and breadth and… maybe not that much.

But there is a lot of love for three. The Three Stooges. The Three Little Pigs. Musketeers. Kings. Bears. Billy Goats. Wicked Stepsisters. Mice. Three, three, three. I could go on and on.

Let’s start with the Rule of Three. It goes way back. Think about storytelling from Aristotle’s Poetics. A beginning, middle, and end. A progression that creates tension, escalates tension, and then offers a satisfying release. Whew!

Syd Field suggests a three-act structure for screenwriting that’s a simple outline for any storytelling. Setup, confrontation, and resolution punctuated by two plot points or reversals. The first reversal is an event that sends the protagonist on a new pathway. The second is a major event that makes everything look impossible. Works for me.

Giving a speech? Max Atkinson offers examples on the use of three-part phrases, or “claptraps,” to evoke a response in the audience, in his book Our Masters’ Voices. Ah, claptraps, when your speech or story makes an audience applaud.

Tell me a name three times and I’ll likely remember it. Tell me once, maybe not. So if you need to emphasize an idea, tell me three times or use three adjectives.

Then there are all sorts of slogans. “Location, location, location.” “Go, fight, win!” “Veni, vidi, vici.”

Aren’t descriptions more effective in threes? Think of a “three dog night.” On cold nights indigenous Australians would sleep in a hole in the ground embracing a dingo. On colder nights they’d sleep with two dingoes, and if the night was raw and freezing it was a “three dog night.” (Or a 1965 band.) But pause for a moment and picture your hero shivering in that deep, cold hole you’ve dug. You want your readers to shiver with him, exhale frosty breath. What's going to best describe that bone-aching cold? One dingo or three?

Now let me think, how many times does Jack climb the beanstalk? On the count of three, let’s all say it together. One. Two. THREE!

Friday, November 23, 2018

Fogg in the Cockpit 4-star review

Thank you so much, for your Amazon review of Fogg in the Cockpit, entitled "Up Close and Personal," Erl!

"Howard Fogg wrote a diary during his time in the Army Air Corps in 1943-1944. It began in the US during training and progressed until near the time of the completion of his combat flying in the fall of 1944. Although predictably boring in one regard, it’s fascinating in so many ways. Insight into the ordinary of a guy first flying P-47’s and then P-51’s naturally includes the extraordinary. Fogg was not an ace (I don’t remember him getting any kills) but he was a trusted flight leader, good at keeping his element or section in formation, good at bombing and good at strafing. He lost many friends but protected himself for the most part by being matter of fact about the losses. How hard that must have been. The air war unfolds in these pages slowly, punctuated by bad weather, visits to London and painting. 

 "Fogg’s an outstanding painter and we’re fortunate that some of his wartime works are included in the book so well put together by his son Richard and Richard’s wife Janet. More than that, at the end of the book, they include a couple dozen paintings from his long career painting locomotives and trains. Most are quite stunning. 

 "The book narrative is well illustrated with excellent photographs of his squadron mates. It’s a pleasure to see who he has mentioned in his diary. Also, interspersed with the diary entries and photos are Headquarters 359th Group monthly historical summaries. While they are interesting, they’re not “that” interesting. Probably because I have a fairly good knowledge of the 8th air force’s activities during Fogg’s period flying with them, I found these chapters tedious. For many, I’m certain, they’ll provide worthwhile context to what Fogg and his buddies were doing. 

"All in all, thank you Captain Fogg."

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

I Cut My Finger on the Mashed Potatoes!

To be honest, I didn’t cut my finger on the mashed potatoes, but my cousin Susan did, and she graciously gave me permission to share her turn of phrase when she posted the comment a few years ago.

Turns of phrase that capture our attention might resonate for decades within our hearts. I’ll often read a sentence or quote that immediately triggers a response, one where I might be thrust through time, travel to a different world, envision the lives of characters in books, or remember a vivid conversation.

My cousin’s phrase is distinctive, and if I used it in a novel I might then explain that she really did cut her finger. She’d allowed the potatoes to dry in the pan and the crusted edge of potato sliced her finger, made it bleed. Would I go into that much detail in a book? Probably. Would I need to? It depends.

Larry Schafer wrote, “She’s learning to breathe thru her feet.” Reading that, I paused for a long moment to consider what he meant. How in the heck do you breathe through your feet? I still don’t know, yet that phrase has stayed with me, as has his name.

Then there’s one that I can’t attach a name to, though I wish I could. “She looked like a hen in a fit.” Can’t you hear the fuss, envision the flapping as a cloud of dust filters through the air?

“Regular old cough drop she is, too,” from Georgette Rougier. No further description is needed. I can see the old woman quite well, hear her querulous voice.

“His brain is as large as a pimple on a flea.” A gentleman named Sam made me laugh out loud when he said that. I don’t know if it those are his words, an old saying, or a phrase he borrowed, but I remember it to this day.

Simple words, quilted together in a multitude of patterns. Joy, agony, desire. Hope. Culmination of a story that pierces your heart.

What phrases echo and rebound within your soul?

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

A few inspirational quotes for writers

"This is for writers yet to be published who think the uphill climb will never end. Keep believing. This is also for published writers grown jaded by the process. Remember how lucky you are." - Terry Brooks

"You must keep sending work out; you must never let a manuscript do nothing but eat its head off in a drawer. You send that work out again and again, while you're working on another one. If you have talent, you will receive some measure of success - but only if you persist." - Isaac Asimov

"Keep away from people who try to belittle your dreams. Small people always do that, but the really great ones make you feel that you too, can become great." - Mark Twain
“Books aren't written -- they're rewritten. Including your own.  It is one of the hardest things to accept, especially after the seventh rewrite hasn't quite done it. - Michael Crichton

"The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt." - Sylvia Plath

"Never give up, never surrender." - Jason Nesmith (Commander Peter Quincy Taggart), Galaxy Quest

(I simply had to sneak that last one in.)

Friday, November 9, 2018


Pending, pending, pending!  I now leave things pending or am left pending far too often.  Especially when dealing with anything in this crazy world of writing books.  Marketing materials are pending.  Blogs are pending.  Research is pending.

Now it might sound as if I’m complaining and I’m not, not really.  Every single pending action has its own power and potential glory.  But it’s sometimes difficult to push anxiety regarding those pending items into the deep end of the lake.  Then there’s the frequently consuming habit of actually writing.  Isn’t that what we should spend the bulk of our time doing?  Who knew that in addition to actually writing books, we would also need to be business professionals and marketers and accountants and readers and mentors and researchers.  So some days writing is left pending.  And that’s not right.  But then again, tomorrow will be today before too long.  So even if I spend the entire day writing, my newest story will always be pending.  As it should be!

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Heroes make me cry

Heroes make me cry. Whether I'm reading, watching a movie, or watching dramas unfold on the news, heroic actions grab my heart. Certainly a poignant love scene might do the same, but the sorrow is different when a hero gives or risks all.  I often start sobbing.  

I've cried many times for the men of the 359th Fighter Group—men I've never met, men who were killed in action during World War II.  The loss of  Capt. Wayne N. Bolefahr on 10 June 1944 is one such man. 

Capt. Bolefahr completed 61 combat missions between April 1943 and 10 June 1944 when he was KIA.

"On this early 10 June mission, the only claims were an electric loco and several goods wagons strafed by Fogg and his flight. But this was the opening of an eventful day. The only mission actively resented by the pilots as “a suicide job” came up next: escort on the deck of four PRU (Photographic Reconnaissance Unit) P-38s to the Antwerp area. The PRU pilots said they had not been able to get any planes back from the heavily defended Lowlands. The 368th was ordered to take them in. Colonel Tyrrell, briefing, warned of the flak and told the pilots they could do little good attempting to intervene: keep the enemy off the PRU and let them brave the flak.

"But the compulsion of the West Pointer’s code of duty, honor, country led Captain Wayne Norbert Bolefahr, beau ideal of the 368th, to do more than that. As the squadron swept in over the Scheldt with the four P-38s they came under a staggering barrage: there were automatic weapons emplaced everywhere along the winding coasts and the railroads, the heavy guns were in motion at extreme slant ranges. Bolefahr, slim, dark, kindly, courteous, a soldier in whom the sense of duty replaced the killer instinct he totally lacked, felt compelled to intervene. He was there. The Air Force wanted the pictures. So all along that blazing route he flew in the van, firing at every emplacement, drawing the enemy flak while the camera-Lightnings went off to the side, making their low obliques. It was magnificent; it was also death. “Bo” survived until 1410, four miles N of Antwerp, when his aircraft flamed under a hail of hits and augured in from 100 feet. On the way back, four locos were destroyed and another damaged, but it was a saddened group of pilots who sat numbly in the lounge at Wretham Hall that night, and the impact of Bo’s loss fell heavily on every man and officer on the ground side who had known him." ~ Excerpt from the June 1944 359th Fighter Group History report

Bo gave his life for us, for freedom, for the world.  Yet that costliest of lessons has faded as so many people run faster (from home to coffee shop to work to the gym or school and back), talk or text constantly, and rarely pause to appreciate life and its blessings.  I could rant forever about the evil that seems to promulgate itself in this world of ours, but instead I'll shed a few more tears for the heroes and hope that the reminder of Lt. Bolefahr's death on that day, so many years ago, makes a few of you cry, too.  After you've shed a few tears, I hope you'll get off the computer so you can hug those you love or lend a hand to someone in need.  Then, before you pick up your phone, take a moment to step outside, to look at the high, blue sky and send a word of thanks to Bo.

Friday, November 2, 2018

Tales of the 359th Fighter Group

It feels as if "The End" is finally within reach, when I print an entire manuscript draft! 

This is a draft of the new military history we're working on about the 359th Fighter Group.  It's been in progress for several years, as we've slowly gathered bar stories, reports, including a few on escape & evasion, letters, and stories from the 359th Association's two newsletters published over the decades. 

A different tone and take on the 359th than our previous two efforts.  Watch for Tales from the 359th Fighter Group, coming in the next few months!

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Hundreds form human chain to move their local bookstore

This is about community.

This is about books.

Love it!

This photo is from an article by Gianluca Mezzofiore, CNN.

(Click on the photo to be directed to Gianluca's article on CNN's website.)

Friday, October 26, 2018

Flying High at our Writing Retreat

It's not just words that fly at our Casa Caliente writing retreats!

Thank you again, Dave, for sharing your passion for flying with me. Even though it might be somewhat cliche, my imagination soared.

Until next time.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

What happens at writing retreat is eaten at writing retreat!

Writing retreat with Shannon Baker at Casa Caliente!

Editing current manuscript?  Check.
Facebook ads course?  Check.
Brainstorming marketing?  Check.
Flash flood warning?  Check.
Samples of one of today's efforts:

Chapter 1

Chapter 2 

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

The end!

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

HOW many inches? (Of books!)

I had the very great pleasure of attending World Fantasy Con a few years ago, and fortunately my friend Laura warned me about the bag of books given to attendees.  How wonderful!  Of course I also purchased a few books.  Oh, my aching shoulders—what a heavy carry-on bag and suitcase for my return home.

While in the midst of unpacking I realized yet again that our bedroom bookcase was absolutely stuffed, and my bedside table already groaned beneath two piles of books stacked to the edge of the lampshade.  I put away my suitcase and wandered into our office.  Nope, that bookcase was also full, as was the one in the hallway, and there were three unread books on the coffee table in the living room.  I shrugged and headed back to the bedroom, where I stacked the new books on the floor between my dresser and reading chair.

How many inches waited for me?

For a true picture I would need to include the unread books on my ereader as well as the ten or twelve books tucked here and there on the bookcases.  Oh, and then there’s the thirty-some odd books I have noted on various lists; books I know I want to read but haven’t yet purchased.  Should I count those?  Perhaps not.

Hmmm.  Forty-four inches beside the dresser, approximately twelve inches on the bookcase, seventeen inches on the bedside table, three on the coffee table, and on my ereader I'd guess somewhere in the neighborhood of twenty-five inches.

Books, books, BOOKS! How many inches do you have?

Friday, October 12, 2018

A few Soliloquy reviews and HOLT Medallion Award of Merit

"Soliloquy is a haunting story of love in the past and the present and the question is: Which influences the other? The characters are well-written and precise, and the tension and danger acutely defined... One might say there are two endings to this story, one bittersweet and one triumphant; both are guaranteed to tug at your heart." ~ Toni Sweeney, Author 

"You'll be hooked from page one of this mesmerizing tale, which uses a beguiling method of transport to the past. The prose is smooth and satisfying, and the characters come alive.  Passion and promise fill the pages, as well as fear and deception." ~ D. M. Brown, RT Book Reviews

"Soliloquy, a time travel romance by Janet Fogg is a tightly woven story of a love that transcends time. When concert pianist and composer, Erin Lockhart Meyer, is transported to WW II occupied France, she is thrust into a world of danger beyond imagining. She alone has a slim chance to save not only a houseful of good people but the eternal love of her life, British fighter pilot, Arick Ambrose.
"Fogg has written a romance for lovers of history, story and characters. The plot reaches far beyond the hero/heroine conflict, taking readers to a different time and place, immersing us in a world of heart-stopping threat and soul-wrenching devotion. In Erin and Arick, we see noble and brave characters we admire and care for deeply.

"Fogg is a master at drawing scenes so vivid we smell campfire and feel the burn in our eyes, hear the swell of music to stir the soul and thrill to the first touch of skin on skin. Because I needed to know if and how Erin could defy the Nazis and what would happen to those she cared about and especially if she and Arick could survive the horrific situation, and how they would manage the insurmountable obstacle of living in different times, I sped through this book faster than I would have wanted. I was rewarded with unexpected twists and a romance that rang true. The way Fogg puts her words together and sets the tone and mood should be savored more than my patience could withstand. This is a book I will read again." ~ Shannon Baker, Author

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

A Prelude to A Serenade to Die For

     “Seems like old times, doesn’t it?” Isabella said. “But you know, Hurricane, just like your nickname, every time you show up there’s a huge mess.”
     “It’s not my nickname,” Cane growled.


Meet Isabella and Cane, a sultry singer and her hunky boyfriend. In this free "Prelude" we offer a brief glimpse of their passion and the events that drive them apart.

Reunited ten years later in A Serenade to Die For, will a stolen hot rod, a kidnapped father, an ancient Aztec sword, and a deadly chase rekindle their love?

I hope you enjoy their story!

A Prelude to A Serenade to Die For

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Read it again, Sam!

“Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened.” 
― Dr. Seuss

I might add, then read it again! 

I have books on my shelf that I've read so many times the covers are soft from handling.  Books I open when I'm exhausted, as I'm able to fall easily into a familiar world with familiar friends.  Books I love and respect.  Books I relish.  Books by Dorothy Sayers, Zenna Henderson, David Brin, Nathan Lowell, Larry Niven, Lois McMaster Bujold, Tolkein, Lewis, Julian May, Anne McCaffrey, Mary Stewart, and so many more.

Yes, I adore discovering new authors, especially those writing series.  I'm especially pleased when I'm able to place those new discoveries on my "Read it again"  bookshelf.  Do you have favorites you re-read?  I'll find room on that shelf!

Monday, October 1, 2018

Forever is a Really Long Word

“Wish we could hold these moments in our hands forever.... “

I wrote this phrase in an email to a friend. We were discussing the reaction of her partner to a joyous event, but as I sent the email it occurred to me that in my books, I have the opportunity to create moments that might endure forever. Forever. That’s a really long word. But I take the lives of my characters quite seriously, analyzing every reaction, considering character strengths and flaws, carefully allocating each word they speak. If I’m then able to capture the joy and pain and hidden emotion in their lives, well, I will have succeeded, forever.

Every writer I know spends hours, days, probably weeks, delving into the backgrounds of their characters, to create a true reaction to every obstacle while trimming the cadence of their voice to match an upbringing that is only imagined, yet so very real. So our characters live and breathe. Their goals are ours; their beliefs and love and family, all of it, forever.

And then there’s world building. Whether based on reality or fantasy, that world we create has its own rules, bureaucracy, construction, inhabitants, flora, and physical reality. Our characters live there. For them, that world is as real as it is for me, forever.

I have always yearned for the moments I create in my books to be memorable, to make my readers laugh and cry, to reach their hearts. Now I’m feeling intimidated. I’ve never worried about whether my book will be pulled off a dusty shelf 40 or 50 years from now to be read or re-read. But it might be, and while 40 years isn’t forever, having my words impact someone’s life 40 years from now feels like forever, to me. So now I've been reminded, I do hold these moments in my hands, forever.

Saturday, September 29, 2018

5 Star Review for Misfortune Annie and the Locomotive Reaper!

"Loved it. Felt like a kid watching a Saturday morning western. Annie, Annie, Annie, what other "misfortunes" are headed your way? Waiting for the next adventure!" ~ 5 Star Review on Amazon

Thank you for taking the time to write a review!  They're invaluable to writers!

Friday, September 28, 2018

BookBub ad: A Serenade to Die For

Though I've only recently joined BookBub, I thoroughly enjoy their site, its ease of use, and their recommendations.  Thought I would try an ad with them, which started today, for A Serenade to Die For.  It'll be fun and interesting to review the stats at the end of the week.  Fingers are crossed! 

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Such is the Power of Books

I adore this quote from Connis Willis, and I equally adore Dorothy Sayers' Peter Wimsey series.  

I was on a walking tour of Oxford colleges once with a group of bored and unimpressable tourists. They yawned at Balliol's quad, T.E. Lawrence's and Churchill's portraits, and the blackboard Einstein wrote his E=mc2 on. Then the tour guide said, 'And this is the Bridge of Sighs, where Lord Peter proposed (in Latin) to Harriet,' and everyone suddenly came to life and began snapping pictures. Such is the power of books.”  ― Connie Willis, winner of both the Nebula Award and the Hugo Award for best SF novel.

Character development is critical for me as a reader.  If I don't like your character in the first chapter, I'm going to stop reading!  Make me care!

"Placetne, magistra?" 

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

A Serenade to Die For - Gripping and Fast Paced Thriller

"A Serenade to Die For starts out with a bang and continues from there. The story sucks you in and doesn't let go. There are so many twists and turns, alliances and betrayals you don't know who to trust." ~ Christi Amazon review

Monday, September 24, 2018

The Lost Hours

I recently spent the day fighting a computer virus on one of our computers, and remained fairly calm most of the morning, but by afternoon, when I realized this virus would likely defeat my somewhat limited abilities, I became quite angry. First, I was heated over the time I lost, but then, I became enraged for the lost potential of whoever engineered this particular worm. 

As a thunderstorm grumbled through, I fear my (somewhat colorful) language provided a poignant counter-tempo to the growling overhead. Then, after a particularly virulent crash from on high, I laughed.

The jerk-savant who created the malware or virus, whatever the heck it was, wanted my rage. Well, I hate to break it to you sweetheart, but if you happen to read this, my anger was short lived. Instead, as the growling storm swept past our home and a rainbow crested over the eastern plains, I found myself pitying you. Someday, when you look back on your life, and your child gazes at you with adoring eyes, what story will you relate? How can you ever explain this part of your life? Worse yet, what happens much later, when the end of your life is near?

Let me explain a few things. First of all, you are not Neo, saving mankind from evil. I know that’s hard to accept, but trust me, you’re not a hero, and soon I hope you realize how you can fruitfully spend your time, efforts, and your undoubted brilliance. There’s so much to be accomplished in this world, and instead you choose to lurk in the sewer. I hope the stench soon drives you out and you find not only a new life, but some way to make amends, to ask forgiveness. I realize that is optimistic, but you see, writers have to be optimistic. We work in an incredibly tough profession, where rejection is the norm.

Ah, but those hours I lost playing your game, that does hurt. I’d planned on editing a manuscript, and instead, accomplished nothing. But here is my gift to you, along with this blog. I give you those hours I lost, to claim as your own. That way, since I give them to you freely, you cannot take any pleasure in thinking that you took them from me.

I’ve already delivered the computer to a geek to have your thumbprint removed. Poof! It shall be gone. Now, I’ll edit and spend time outside, enjoying the kiss of fall weather and high skies. I’ll consider my next chapter and that brings me great joy. Oh, and I might spend another moment or two pitying you. But I should caution you about that pity. You see, over the decades speculative fiction writers have predicted the future with an amazing rate of success, and I don’t foresee joy in your future, or any true satisfaction. Alas for you. Alas.