Saturday, March 18, 2017

Does Your Writing Move You to Tears?

What a good topic with which to March into spring! Please excuse the poor pun, but that’s where my head is at this morning as I’m already a little freaked with how fast this year is already moving.

Our March Round Robin topic is: Are you ever emotionally drained by writing certain scenes, and how real are your characters to you?

The simple answer to that, for me, is yes, and very real. To elaborate, I truly believe that if an author is not moved by the characters they create, then how can that author expect his or her readers to fully engage with those characters and finish reading the book?

I’m blessed, I think, by the fact that my characters come to me quite easily. I will have an image of them and usually their names, too. What happens to them after that depends on what they tell me, and that’s a statement that I believe only another author can truly appreciate.

In my very first western contemporary romance, my heroine’s grandmother had been active in the French underground movement during World War II. Please don’t ask me how I went from a ranch in southern Alberta to a damp basement in Paris where resistance fighters were making Molotov cocktails. It was all Charmaine St. Claire’s fault. As that was my first attempt at a contemporary novel, to say I was confused is putting it mildly, which is probably the reason that has become ‘the book under the bed’. If it ever sees the light of day, it will probably be a trilogy as, if I write Charmaine’s story, then I have to write her husband Robert’s story, too, before I ever get back on track with the contemporary story which started it all.

I didn’t set out to write trilogies or a linked series, but my characters became so real to me I didn’t want to let them go. Why waste a perfectly good character? I cried when I wrote the reason Lord Randolph Buxton didn’t want to father children in Cold Gold, the first book of The Buxton Chronicles. I ached for Pinkerton agent Stuart Montgomery’s unrequited love in the second book and cried again in the third book when Lady Serena Buxton, after shouldering so many worries during World War I then has to contend with Randolph’s shell shock when he returns from the front.

I don’t remember actually crying when writing either His Dark Enchantress or His Ocean Vixen, my
two Regency romances. Both books see the heroines in some quite dire situations and I felt their pain when writing some of those scenes. I’m not sure if I imbued my characters with my own emotions, or if they influenced me. I only know I wrote several scenes for both books with clenched teeth and sweating palms as I put my heroines through paces I would never choose for myself.

And to help restore my shattered nerves after writing an emotional scene I might, just might, resort to a glass of Writers Tears Irish whiskey!

Visit these authors and see how they deal with emotional scenes and what they might use as a pick-me-up.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Books by Mahrie G. Reid

About the Author

Mahrie wrote her first mystery book at age eight and the handwritten copy of Mystery on Tancook Island still exists. Pursuing an education, a husband and kids and a busy career overtook her writing for many years. During that time, she read copiously, studied writing craft and shared her learning in workshops, conferences and courses. She always kept writing, publishing non-fiction, short stories and poetry as Mahrie Glab. She has now come full circle, returning to writing mystery novels, this time with a touch of romance. Her first Caleb Cove Mystery was released in February 2014. Mahrie is a member of Alberta Romance Writers’ Association and a graduate of Calgary’s Citizen’s Police Academy and Private Investigation 101. She lives north of Calgary, Alberta with her hubby and a cat called Kotah.

Came Home Dead #1

When a corpse surfaces in the aftermath of a hurricane, the storm has only begun for Devon Ritcey. Friends and family in Caleb’s Cove offer up an excess of secrets and suspects. With ex-cop, ex-lover, Greg Cunningham, suspecting everyone, can Devon trust him to help her unravel the tangled truths in time to stop a desperate killer?

Came Home to a Killing #2

When Kelsey Maxwell learns her life is lie, she's determined to uncover the reason for the deception. She doesn't expect her quest to lead to fraud, murder, and Sam Logan, a security consultant and the only man willing to tell her the truth. And she's not the only one looking for her estranged, biological father. He's made off with key evidence, and the criminals want it back as much as Sam does. Caught in a race for the prize, Kelsey doesn't know if the truth will set her free, or get them all killed.


Came Home Too Late #3

When revenge explodes into violence, both the guilty and the innocent can be caught in the fallout. Growing up on-the-run with her criminal father, Emily Martin knows only two truths; her safety depends on hiding in plain sight, and that the police are not her friends. But when the sins of her father's past catch up with her present, who in Caleb’s Cove can she trust to help her fight for her life. Caleb Cove holds both answers and danger. In a race for the truth, will trust be the obstacle that destroys them all?

A Caleb Cove Mystery #4: CAME HOME FROM THE GRAVE.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Who Is My Guest This Month?

The old proverb says 'birds of a feather stick together' and has been in use since at least the mid 16th century. In 1545 William Turner used a version of it in his papist satire The Rescuing of Romish Fox: 'Byrdes of on kynde and color flok and flye allwayes together'. 

So it is with writers and this month I'm pleased to welcome independent author, Mahrie G. Reid.

I'd actually known of Mahrie for a while, recognizing the name long before I met her. After reading her answers to my questions I now know her a lot better

1.   When and why did you start writing? What is it about writing that satisfies you the most?
I started telling stories when I was seven or eight and by the time I was fourteen had been writing them down for a few years. My plots were quite fantastic. In one book, the twins inherit an island and old house from a great-aunt. Words were stock and trade in our house. Mom was a writer and Dad a preacher. The dictionary lived on the radiator beside the kitchen table. “Look it up,” Mom would say. It is like music. People with music in their souls play music, write music and listen to music. Word people write, read and tell stories. It is to me like air or food. I thrive when I write. I turn grumpy when I don’t.

2.     What is one subject or genre you would never write about and why?
          I’d never write horror stories. They frighten me and give me nightmares.

3.     What was the best writing advice you ever had, and did it work?
          Keep writing, no matter what. And yes, it did. I used writing in my work and for pleasure. Now I have three books published.

4.     How did you feel when you held your first book in your hands?
          I opened the package and gazed at it. With my one hand I stroked the cover. Then I laughed and hugged it. Excitement and satisfaction were what I felt.

5.     Do you read your reviews? If so, how do you celebrate the good and get over the bad?
          I don’t usually read my reviews. People either like my book or they don’t. I can’t control their tastes. I’ve received enough positive comments about my writing to know that there are people who like my stories. That’s good enough for me.

6.     Have you ever judged any writing competitions? If you have, what about the process surprised you the most?
          It has been years since I judged contests. However, what I remember is the lack of research people did before writing and submitting. Not the subject of the story, but the formats, the lengths of scenes and chapters, the use of various craft skills and those details that are so readily available.

1.     What have you always wanted? Did you ever get it?
I always wanted a Jaguar car but never did get one and now think it impractical. But I still like them.
2.     What keys on a keyboard do you not use? There is one called Alt Gr – I have no idea what it’s for so I never use it.
3.     What is the most memorable class you’ve ever taken? I took the Dale Carnegie courses and later worked for the organization. The skills I learned have helped me in all areas of my life. The courses are not about public speaking. That is simply the tool they use to teach other life skills. Some of those skills saved my sanity more than once.
4.     What is your idea of perfect happiness? Any day that I remember to choose happiness is a perfectly happy day. That contented feeling inside and a giggle just waiting to happen make moments perfect. 

SPEED QUESTIONS:  Have you ever:
1.     Lied about your age? Yes
2.     Danced naked in the rain? Yes
3.     Called in sick to work when you weren’t sick? Yes- when my kids were sick.
4.     Won a contest? Once
5.     Eaten ice cream straight from the carton? Of course
6.     Locked yourself out of your house? Oh yes.*sigh*
7.     Ridden a motorcycle? Oh, baby – I sure did.
8.     Taken an enormous risk? Yes
9.     Gotten lost in a strange city? Yes
10.  Eaten a whole packet of cookies? Does an entire pan of Rice Crispy squares count?
11.  Watched the stars at night? Yes
12.  Worn odd socks? Yes

Thanks much, Mahrie! Loved to hear that someone else has danced naked in the rain. In my world, a pan of Rice Crispy squares definitely equals a whole packet of cookies. My DDH once made a batch of chocolate chip cookies - except instead of individual cookies he made one huge one in our cast iron frying pan. Need I say more? Tomorrow I'll have details of some of Mahrie's books.