Sunday, February 11, 2018

Valentine's Day #OpenBook Blog Hop





I freely admit it. I wasn't one of the 'popular' kids in school. If there hadn't been a rule about giving every kid in the class a Valentine card, I would have received very few. As it was, I didn't get any of the really cool ones some of the other kids got. No, I got the generic, run of the mill cards that were left after the 'best' ones were picked for someone else. Heck, there were times I didn't even any of the candy hearts.



So I've never been a big fan of Valentine's Day.

But that's not the biggest reason I'm still not a fan of the holiday. (Does it count as a holiday if you don't get the day off work?) No, what bothers me is how contrived the whole thing is.

Evidence points to several different historical figures that could have been the basis for today's celebration. Perhaps it was a combination of legends of all three. Why there is a Roman Catholic (and several other Christian denominations) saint for romance is beyond me. Does it really take divine intervention for a relationship to work? And how does that translate into a day when we are all encouraged to spend money just to show that we care about someone. Shouldn't we be doing that every day we are with them? (Not the spend money part, the show we care part.)

After all, that's part of what makes a relationship work—taking time to let the other person know that you care. Doing things that don't cost anything, like listening when they talk.Watching a TV show with them. Giving them a hug before you leave for work. It doesn't take a saint to tell you these things make an impression.




I don't expect flowers or candy for Valentine's Day. If I get a nice card I'll be happy. An extra kiss or two will be great. A heartfelt "I love you" is always nice to hear.

And then there's the important question—if the day is supposed to be about romance, how comes we are 'training' our kids to take part? Kids as young as three or four are making cards for their parents. Why? Just why? (Besides the obvious—get them to spend money.)

So I'm not going to wish you a Happy Valentine's Day. I will thank you for taking the time to read my blog and (hopefully) my books. And may February 14th and every day be happy.

Now let's  hop on over and see what the other authors have to say.



Feb. 12, 2018 – Valentine’s is this week. Chat about the most irritating thing about this event.

Rules:
1. Link your blog to this hop.
2. Notify your following that you are participating in this blog hop.
3. Promise to visit/leave a comment on all participants' blogs.
4. Tweet/or share each person's blog post. Use #OpenBook when tweeting.
5. Put a banner on your blog that you are participating.

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Monday, February 5, 2018

Character Development #OpenBook Blog Hop





Those of you who have hung out here for a while know that I'm a pantser, not a plotter. That means I start out with a general idea of my book, but I don't have all the details worked out for the story line. In fact, the romance in Wolves' Knight isn't at all what I planned for it to be.

The same is true for my characters. I start out with a general idea of who they are, but I don't know them intimately. As I write the story, I'm also discovering their likes and dislikes, their background, their personality. The information doesn't come to me all at once, the characters feed it to me in bits and pieces.

Harmony Duprie from the Oak Grove Mysteries is a great example of this. When I started writing her, I didn't know she was so tied to her daily routine, or that she names everything. She let me know about those quirks quickly. She's been great fun to write as her character develops through the book series. I'm always discovering something new about her. When I started writing The Marquesa's Necklace, there was a bit of me in the character. By the time we reached The Baron's Cufflinks, she was more like a good friend, and not me at all!

(If you haven't read Cufflinks yet, you should. Harmony finally reveals what's up with her and airplanes.)

How does that happen? It's really simple. I listen to my characters. Heck, sometimes I argue with them about the way the plot is going. I win a few of those discussions, but most of them I lose. After all, the stories belong to them.

I'm currently working on Wolves' Gambit, the third book in the Free Wolves' series, and it's been interesting. Lori, a minor character from Wolves' Pawn in the main character. (I'm willing to bet you don't remember her, that's how minor she was!) So I knew a bit about her, but she didn't take long to clue me in to who she really is underneath her bravado. This is yet another book that didn't go the way I planned but Lori's way is better! (Stay tuned...the book will be called Wolves' Gambit and I'm working on a mid-April release date.)


Now let's check out what the other authors have to say about character development.

Wait- you say you haven't read the my books yet? Then head over to my books page to see where to get yours first! My Books



February 5, 2018 – Character Development; How do you achieve quality character development?

Rules:
1. Link your blog to this hop.
2. Notify your following that you are participating in this blog hop.
3. Promise to visit/leave a comment on all participants' blogs.
4. Tweet/or share each person's blog post. Use #OpenBook when tweeting.
5. Put a banner on your blog that you are participating.

Wordpress:




Custom Blog:




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Monday, January 29, 2018

And the Survey Says ... #OpenBook Blog Hop



Those of you that follow my blog know that I posted a survey last week. You also probably know that I got next to no responses. (Thanks, TKDanny, for being the exception!) So, I posted one of the questions on Facebook, and got a a few responses.



How do you like your villains?
1. Pure evil
2. Bad but redeemable
3. Fighting for a cause you don't believe in
4. Other

And the survey says ...!



A few people couldn't narrow down their choice to only one answer. I counted both of their responses, The final results surprised me.



Four people like their villains pure evil. Think Snidely Whiplash from the cartoon series Rocky and Bullwinkle. Granted, he wasn't a very smart  villain, but I don't remember him every doing anything nice.

Another four people chose bad but redeemable.  Think Dirty Dancing and Grease. Even Fonzie in Happy Days carried the bad boy vibe although he wasn't actually bad. (And Jessica Rabbit wasn't bad, she was just drawn that way.) Although I haven't read or watched the Fifty Shades series, I suspect Christian Grey fits in this category.

Last but not least. three people picked fighting for a cause. There are plenty of stories in history to look at for these characters. Abraham Lincoln was a hero to many and a villain to others. Same with George Washington and Che Guevara. It all depends upon which side you were on.

Feel free to tell me about your favorite villain in the comments. And now I'm off  to find out the results of the other authors' polls.







January 29, 2018 – Share your survey results.

Rules:
1. Link your blog to this hop.
2. Notify your following that you are participating in this blog hop.
3. Promise to visit/leave a comment on all participants' blogs.
4. Tweet/or share each person's blog post. Use #OpenBook when tweeting.
5. Put a banner on your blog that you are participating.

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Monday, January 22, 2018

Survey! #OpenBook Blog Hop








Trying something a bit different this week. I'd sure appreciate if you all would take a few minutes to answer a few questions. Thanks!



Well, guys, talk about the best made plans etc. As I was in the middle of setting this survey up, we lost power. So I'm going to put aside my plans and approach this in a different way.


Here's a couple of questions, please answer in the comments below! I'll even take one word answers, but if you want to explain yourself, feel free!



Which unlikely hero do you prefer?
1. Vampire
2. Werewolf
3. Pirate
4. Other



Do you prefer your villains ...
1. Pure evil
2. Bad but redeemable
3. Fighting for a cause you don't agree with
4. Other


Which do you prefer?
1. The Free Wolves series
2. The Oak Grove Mysteries


That's it! I'll be looking forward to your answers.


Now I'm off to answer the surveys from our other authors.



January 22, 2018 – Survey your audience about _______________.

Rules:
1. Link your blog to this hop.
2. Notify your following that you are participating in this blog hop.
3. Promise to visit/leave a comment on all participants' blogs.
4. Tweet/or share each person's blog post. Use #OpenBook when tweeting.
5. Put a banner on your blog that you are participating.

Wordpress:




Custom Blog:



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Monday, January 15, 2018

Travelling #OpenBook Blog Hop



I've been everywhere, man
I've been everywhere, man
Crossed the deserts bare, man
I've breatherd the mountain air, man
Travel, I've had my share, man
I've been everywhere
                             Geoff Mack


In a previous life, I used to travel for work. I'd hope on a plane at 6 in the morning, head to somewhere in the United States,  spend one or two night and fly home. In between I'd spend my time shuffling computers and wires and switches and routers. So although I got to be lots of places, I didn't get to see those towns. In fact, I doubt I could list all the places I've been. I don't remember all of them. I don't have pictures to remind me of them.

So, in no particular orders, here's a list of places I'd like to go back to and spend time exploring.

Sacramento, Ca. I actually made two trips there. Never left the town. I'd love to go back and visit wine country. Not that I'm a big wine drinker, but it looks beautiful. at least it did before the fires.

Connecticut—after all, it's a small state compared to where I live now! And no one city in particular, but I'm a bit of a history buff, and so much history was made there. Sure, Massachusetts is more famous, but that's what makes Connecticut more attractive to me. I got to go two different cities in Connecticut, and I'd love to explore more of the state.

Seattle, WA. I'm not a big city girl. But there was something about the quirkiness of Seattle that fascinated me. But that was over a decade ago, and who knows what I might find now.

Tennessee. I've been in the state for both business and pleasure. But there's lots of it I never got to. (mostly the western part.)  I'd like to see more of it. Maybe drive through it going east to west instead of north to south.

One last one. I spent a lot of time in airplanes flying from the East Coast to the West Coast. And although none of my trips ever took me close, I flew over the Grand Canyon several times. Flying over it doesn't count, however. I'd like to see it all, from the rim to the village at the bottom.




Now let's go find out where the other authors are headed!




January 15, 2018 – Share a recent travel experience or anticdote.

Rules:
1. Link your blog to this hop.
2. Notify your following that you are participating in this blog hop.
3. Promise to visit/leave a comment on all participants' blogs.
4. Tweet/or share each person's blog post. Use #OpenBook when tweeting.
5. Put a banner on your blog that you are participating.

Wordpress:




Custom Blog:




An InLinkz Link-up

get the InLinkz code

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