WALLACE STEGNER – Angle of Repose – A Review

Reminder: This blog is meant to support authors and their work. It is and will remain apolitical. I reserve the right to edit out comments of a political nature. Thanks to all of you who make this a place to share and review work.
A while back, I mentioned that I would start keeping a few Thursdays open for my posts and a few book reviews. Well, today, I’m starting with Wallace Stegner.

Stegner’s Angle of Repose is a 1972 Pulitzer Prize winner and a fine example of many facets of excellent writing craft. However, I found a “sameness” that permeated the work. Throughout, Oliver Ward struggles to satisfy his wife, Susan Burling Ward. He never quite convinces himself that he is worthy enough for her. His melancholy haunts the reader at every turn. Susan’s feeling of desolation and desire for a more genteel and literary life, expressed in her thoughts and letters, adds to the deep sense of sorrow. This sameness made it challenging for me to read more than one chapter at a time. That said, Stegner’s expert artisanship is evident throughout the novel. His craft is so powerful, so apparent that he can break “the rules” of writing at will with no harm to the story.

Stegner develops his characters so artfully that they become living, breathing people whose attributes and flaws make them into human beings we know and understand. He does not overload the reader with long and exhaustive descriptions. Instead, over many chapters, he reveals small details so that our view of the characters develops as the story unfolds. He gives the reader no more than what is essential.

When the Ward family is separated at the Cheyenne train station, the reader sees and feels hopelessness as a young man runs along the train. The emotion is palpable; one can feel the sorrow. The behavior of another is so vivid one can almost feel the glass he leans against. The family’s estrangement never ends.

Exposition is another tool used well by Stegner. Often writers use exposition to give the reader large doses of information that slows the pacing and can be a distraction. Stegner overcomes that with his exposition in the correspondence between Susan and a lifelong friend. Early on, he uses it to raise the possibility of a lesbian relationship between the two women.

In one of her longer letters, Susan speaks of a trip to San Francisco where she visits several other women from the East who have followed their husbands west. She and the women are alike in their shared feelings of loss.

Wallace Stegner’s Angle of Repose gives the reader many fine examples of his craft. It is not a novel that I enjoyed, nor is it something I would recommend as light reading. However, this is a must-read for writers, students of the craft, and history buffs.

Stegner, Wallace. Angle of Repose. New York: Vintage Books, 2014. Print


1 Comment

  1. Michael A. Black

    Your review is thoughtful and well written. It reminds me of how book reviews used to be back in the day. Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us.


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LIS ANGUS – A Visit From Canada

Lis Angus is Canadian; she grew up in Alberta but moved to Ontario for university and has lived there ever since. Early in her career, she worked with children and families in crisis, switching later to work as a policy advisor, business writer, and editor while raising two daughters. As a child and teenager, she loved writing stories; she didn’t come back to writing fiction until she’d retired. 2022 is her breakout year, with her first short story published in February and her first novel, NOT YOUR CHILD, released in April.

NOT YOUR CHILD A strange man insists Susan’s twelve-year-old daughter Maddy is his granddaughter, abducted as a baby—then Maddy disappears, but he has an alibi.

Excuse my blogger intrusion but here is a review by Jim Napier in The Ottawa Review of Books. I just had to share this with our readers.

Although she has published short stories previously Not Your Child is the author’s debut novel, and it is among the strongest such works I’ve seen. It is original and polished, with believable dialogue and a strong sense of atmosphere. The characters are engaging and nuanced; the author is particularly effective in portraying the obsessed grandfather in a partly sympathetic light. Add to that a crisp pace that keeps readers engaged until the very end and you have a sure winner. Highly recommended.

To read the entire review, I’ve included the link: https://www.ottawareviewofbooks.com/single-post/not-your-child-by-lis-angus?fbclid=IwAR1hpczBZI4fAU6uX6rvZDlf8oHLni7NSFhX6HOS77NpyuUbJSOwOFSvowk

If anyone had told me as a teenager—when I was reading Writer’s Digest and sending stories off to Redbook and Ladies Home Journal—that it would be decades before any of my fiction would be published, I likely wouldn’t have believed it.

My high school teachers praised my writing (though they saw only my assigned essays, not my fiction.) I fully expected that writing would be my life.

And so, it proved to be, though not in the way I would have expected. I have indeed spent my life writing, though I didn’t return to fiction until a few years ago.

Raised on a farm in rural Alberta, I was a practical girl. Freelance writing did not appeal to me. If I were to be a writer, I’d need a job that paid me to write. So, I enrolled in a journalism program at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada.

That’s when the plan got sidetracked. At that time, Carleton required first-year Arts students to take a variety of courses; journalism courses were not offered until the second year. And my attention was grabbed by the social sciences: psychology and sociology. I ended up not taking any journalism courses—instead, after graduating, I accepted a position at a treatment centre for children and adolescents with behavioral and mental health issues.

Skip ahead a few decades, through years that included working with children and families in crisis, earning two graduate degrees, switching into a business career, and raising two daughters while working full-time. I did a lot of writing in those years, reports, articles, and policy papers. I learned how to write clearly and persuasively, structure an argument, and self-edit.

It was satisfying, and I was good at it, but it was all business-related, non-fiction writing.

In the back of my mind, I always thought I’d come back to fiction. I enrolled in some online fiction writing classes. Those classes were useful, but I didn’t pursue my fiction writing dream any at that time.

Skip ahead a few years again, to 2017. Suddenly my agenda was clear. Around then, I bumped into National Novel Writing Month. November each year—thousands of people around the world take on the challenge of writing 50,000 words in thirty days.

The idea intrigued me, and I thought, “If not now, when?” I had no idea if I could write 50,000 words in a month, but I plunged into the task.

I had a basic idea for the novel, an image that had flashed into my mind: what if someone showed up claiming that your child wasn’t yours? I wanted to flesh out that concept. What kind of characters would be involved? What could lead to that point? How would the story unfold?

I mapped out an initial outline and went to work. And I succeeded! I wrote 50,000 words that November.

I set that draft aside for a month, then had another look at it. I realized that it wasn’t a novel yet: it was a beginner’s effort. I wasn’t even sure what it needed or what I needed to learn, but I didn’t want to give up on it.

At that point, I made a smart decision. I joined Sisters in Crime; an organization founded to support the professional development of women crime writers (though it now has many male members as well.)  I also joined one of its sub-chapters, the “Guppies.” Through the Guppies, I took many excellent fiction writing classes, learning about novel structure, pacing, character development, plotting, voice, suspense, and other topics. I also connected with other writers, some at my own level and some published and award-winning authors.

All the while, I was working on my novel. I revised and rewrote, adding and subtracting characters and storylines. I moved scenes and chapters around. I engaged a professional editor to review my drafts and give advice, and I also got feedback from a small group of early readers (friends and writing colleagues).

I’d heard that agents would look more favorably on writers who show they are serious, including setting up a web page. Looking at other authors’ web pages, I realized their purpose is to promote the author’s books and writing careers. I had no fiction credits to my name. But decided to set up a website anyway. Around then, Black Cat Mystery Magazine announced it was looking for story submissions. In a fit of optimism, I submitted a story I’d written a dozen years previously but had mothballed. I thought that if they accepted it, I’d have something to feature on my website. And in March 2020, they did accept it!

Meanwhile, I sent queries to about twenty agents. A few asked to see my manuscript, but ultimately, they all rejected it. I figured the novel needed more work, so I paused my queries while rewriting it. A few months later, I tried again with a revised draft and another set of agents, but the result was similar: some expressed interest, but none offered to represent me.

During this time, I’d been exchanging manuscripts with other writers and absorbing their critiques. By my sixth draft, I concluded I needed a completely different ending, so I threw out the final 25% of the novel and wrote a new one.

In early 2021, I began my third round of queries. This time I decided not to limit my queries to agents but to also approach a layer of smaller publishers who were willing to consider un-agented submissions,

And I started to get some encouraging signs. The new agents were no more enthusiastic than those I’d approached in the earlier rounds. Still, several small publishers gave me detailed suggestions for improving the novel and said they’d be willing to take another look if I revised it. (At that point, I was already working on a seventh draft, based on input from a second professional editor.)

I also was selected as a finalist in the 2021 Daphne du Maurier contest for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense, in a division for unpublished authors—and I ended up placing second among the six finalists.

And—in a final breakthrough—in July 2021The Wild Rose Press offered me a contract for my novel, NOT YOUR CHILD.

At that point, I still didn’t know when issue #11 of Black Cat Mystery Magazine was going to be published; that was the one that would feature my short story. I joked that it was a race between BCMM and Wild Rose Press as to which of them would be the first to publish my fiction. As it turned out, BCMM won the race by a whisker: the issue came out in February 2022.

NOT YOUR CHILD was released two months later, on April 18, 2022— four and a half years after I decided to plunge into National Novel Writing Month. So much happened during that time, yet in another way, it seems like it’s been like the blink of an eye.

It’s been an amazing time for me, learning new skills and becoming part of a wonderful community of writers. I’m grateful for all the help and support I’ve received.

Now I hope readers will enjoy the novel. I hope they’ll love my characters and that they’ll be caught up in suspense as they turn the pages to see how the book ends.

 Website: https://lisangus.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lisangusauthor/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/lisangus1

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/lisangus459/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/59436824-not-your-child

Purchase links: https://books2read.com/notyourchild



  1. Alfred J. Garrotto

    Seeing you open your first box of books, brought back a memory of my doing the same thing when I opened the box and saw my first novel, A Love Forbidden. I confess I broke down and cried (truth… I sobbed).

  2. Michael A. Black

    Your story of tenacity and believing in yourself is very inspiring. Congratulations on your success and best of luck in your writing. i’m sure many more books are in your future. Keep writing.

  3. Madeline Gornell

    Great meeting you, Lis, an hearing about your writing journey! Your accomplishments so far are to be admired, and much success with your debut novel!

  4. Lis Angus

    George, thank you so much for hosting me! It was great to visit your blog.

    • George Cramer

      Glad you could make it and share your experiences.


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ANNE HAMILTON FOWLER – Memoir Author With an Inspiring Story

Anne Fowler, only child of Audrey and Stewart Hamilton, was raised in Toronto, where she attended Leaside High School and Toronto Western Hospital School of Nursing. In 1962 American Airlines beckoned her to Dallas, Texas, and life in the sky as a flight attendant. Twice divorced, Anne first married a young minister from Louisiana and then long-time best friend Dr. Bob Fowler of Toronto. They raised a daughter and son who later produced one grandchild each… a grandson and granddaughter. In 2001, Anne retired, closed her company Hamilton Enterprises and left behind a thirty-year career in Human Resources. She relocated to El Progreso, Honduras, to volunteer at a clinic where ophthalmic and dental care are provided for patients who lack the funds to be treated elsewhere. During this time, Anne developed the Visiting Doctor program for international ophthalmologists, started the Healthy Living Education project in local elementary schools, and helped with a variety of clinic and community activities. In 2005, after purchasing property in the small north coast village of El Porvenir, she built Hamilton Benest House, a home that provides accommodation for visiting dentists, doctors, teachers, and other volunteers. Her major program in 2021 is Phase Two of the Healthy Living Program. This annual dental program, conducted by two Canadian dental teams, provides dental care for over 1,000 elementary school students. Anne’s programs continue to thrive, and she is still developing community initiatives designed to improve the lives of Hondurans. Anne divides her year between El Porvenir and her Haliburton cottage north of Toronto

I began writing my memoir I’ve Worn Many Hats the summer of 2019 when two of my best friends moved out to British Columbia. I knew there would be a big hole in my summer at the cottage, so on a dare, I started writing. The process turned out to not only alleviate boredom during Covid lockdown but provided a benefit I couldn’t have foreseen; it forced me to look at some “incidents” in my life. Incidents which I had never really faced and a process that would have given me true closure. A blurb about the “plot,” which covers 81 years of my life, appears on the book’s cover.

Is there another book in my future? Probably not. Although it’s been suggested by readers that I develop a storyline “spin off” from one of “my adventures,” not sure that I have the stamina! I am still pretty busy half the year managing and developing new projects in Honduras, the current one being a community mobile library. The other half, I am acting like a true retiree sitting on the dock at my cottage or murdering the game of golf!

One of your questions that I WILL answer is whether or not an association membership helped me or my writing and the answer is yes. A little bit of back story here… up until last Spring, I always told everyone that “I would join Facebook over my dead body.” My family said I had to do it for marketing purposes, so I did. But where to find “friends”!!? I scoured FB lists and friended hundreds of writers/authors because I believed that they “might” be a help in my finishing the book and could give me advice. The resulting support proved to be a really interesting experience; surprising and somewhat overwhelming! I heard so many stories about other authors’ experiences trying to write during Covid I entertained the possibility of writing another book titled “Writing in The Time of Covid.” I have joined many authors groups on Facebook. I have been invited through these memberships to participate in a number of things, such as author takeover days, interviews, and numerous blogs. Feedback has been positive with many questions asked (especially about my work in Honduras) and has undoubtedly increased book sales. Although frankly, making money was not the primary purpose of writing, any profit will go towards my Honduran projects. The book was self-published on Amazon this past October. Here is the publishing info

My contact information:

Web site: https://anne.honduranhope.net

Email: anne.fowler@xplornet.ca

Facebook: Anne Hamilton Fowler

Link to a video interview that I made in Oct/21: https://youtu.be/Zs-SZXzH6Lg

For Canadian readers:  Paperback – https://www.amazon.ca/dp/1778350321
eBook – https://www.amazon.ca/dp/BO9HDN55FV
For US readers:  Paperback – https://www.amazon.com/dp/1778350321
eBook – https://www.amazon.com/dp/BO9HDN55FV



  1. Anne Fowler

    Thank you Michael. who knows, after I settle back into cottage life for the summer, I may regain my inspiration!!!

  2. Anne Fowler

    Thank you Gail! I appreciate your support and comments.

  3. Gail

    I’ve Worn Many Hats is a fascinating story about a fascinating person who continues to make the world a better place!

    My hat off to you Anne Fowler!

  4. Michael A. Black

    you are a truly humanitarian person and personify the best in us. God bless you for your work and best of luck to you in your writing. I hope you do decide to write that next book based on one of your adventures.


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LINDSEY KINSELLA -Scottish Writer and Author of Science Fiction

While a qualified and experienced naval architect and an avid car enthusiast, he always reserved space in his life for a deep fascination with paleontology. This drove his writing process as he strove to write tales of the rich and complex history of life on Earth.”



My current book is The Lazarus Taxa—a tense, science fiction thriller.

“67 million years in the past. Deep time—the true final frontier. But all is not as it seems. Which should be feared most—the dinosaurs… or the people? The Lazarus Taxa follows the first scientific expedition through time to the Late Cretaceous.”

The Lazarus Taxa is available now, having only been released at the start of the year. It can be found on Amazon here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1739750012/ref=cm_sw_r_apan_glt_i_RXG3N1BFQ5FMC8F1E7Q6

Do you write in more than one genre? Yes! While I only have the one book published, my works in progress span sci-fi, fantasy, and horror. I tend to write a story and then worry about what genre it might fit into later, resulting in some “genre-hopping.” I like to experiment with different styles, audiences, and tones; I don’t think any of my current works bare much resemblance to one another.

What is the most challenging part of your writing process? Simply finding the time! Between looking after two children, working full time as a naval architect, and restoring classic cars, it gets a little tricky to get the chance to just sit down and write. Fortunately, I’m somewhat of a night-owl, so late nights are often my writing hours.

How long did it take you to write your first book? From writing the first line to publication took me almost two years. Being my first novel, there was a steep learning curve and many, many re-writes. I think I have my process dialed in now, so I’m hopeful that future projects can be turned around somewhat quicker!

How do you come up with character names? I draw a lot of inspiration from real people. For example, one character in The Lazarus Taxa, Dian, is named after Dian Fossey—I felt both the real life and fictional Dian stood for very similar ethics.

Strong-willed characters. Do yours behave, or do they run the show? They most certainly run the show. One of the most important aspects in character writing, I find, is that characters should make mistakes and bad decisions because that’s exactly what real people do. Sometimes they’ll act rashly, or even cowardly—sometimes they’re just plain stupid. These are core parts of what makes them believable.

Do you ever kill a popular character? If so, what happens to your story? Call me a sadist, but I’m probably more likely to kill off a popular character! Sometimes a death is simply a way to demonstrate danger or to cleanly clean up a character who has served their storytelling purpose. Often, however, a death is used to drive the plot as a motivation to the main characters. The reader has to feel that motivation, too, so the reader should care about that character as much as the main character does.

Do you base any of your characters on real people? I do, but never an entire character. I’ll take the characteristics of certain people and blend them together. It helps to create believable characters; it’s far easier to imagine how a real person might react to the situation you have placed them in.

Do you outline, or are you a pantser? I definitely outline; in fact, I tend to do that long before beginning to write a book in earnest. My phone is filled with skeletal outlines of novels which I note down as they come to me. By the time I sit down to write a new project, I already have a pretty good outline.

What kind of research do you do? It depends on the story, but certainly, there was a lot of paleontological research involved in The Lazarus Taxa. It was important to me to present up to date representations of dinosaurs and not just Hollywood monsters. Hence, months of research went into these animals. Of course, being somewhat of a natural history geek, I had years of pre-existing research to build on.

Where do you place your settings—real or fictional locations? I tend to prefer fictional settings. Perhaps it’s just laziness, but I find researching whether a real life village has, for example, a train station or a hospital in order to fit the story rather tedious. If it’s a place I’m not personally familiar with, it becomes an easy way for plot holes and inaccuracies to creep in. If it doesn’t add to the plot, I’ll avoid real places where possible.

Of course, much of my work in progress is set in the real town of Lyme Regis, but that’s a rare exception.

Looking to the future, what’s in store for you? I have more book ideas than I know what to do with, so I think I will continue to write for some time. My current work in progress is a quirky, family-friendly fantasy novel that I hope to release early next year.

After that, I’ll have to choose between a sequel to The Lazarus Taxa and one of my many scribbled outlines!

 Do you have any advice for new writers? I’d say I have two pieces of advice. Firstly, if you have an idea, just write it! It sounds so simple, but for years I sat on what I thought were some great ideas for a story. I convinced myself that putting them in a book was unrealistic, and it took the sheer boredom of lockdown for me to pull the trigger.

Secondly, a professional editor is priceless. Not actually priceless, they’ll definitely put a price on it, but a good editor can be the difference between a good and a bad book. There are so many norms and conventions within novel writing that, as a first time writer, you simply won’t be aware of (I certainly wasn’t).

How do our readers contact you? Facebook is my primary method of communicating with my readers. You can follow me at the link below



  1. Madeline Gornell

    Great meeting you, Lindsey! Sorry I’m so late reading your interview, but glad I did. And yes, if you have an idea, write it! Good advice, but hard to do sometimes. Much success!

  2. Michael A. Black

    It sounds like you’ve got a lot of good ideas and a lot of drive, Lindsey. Those are certainly two things that make a good writer. Love that tag line about which to fear more, the dinosaurs or the people. Good luck to you.


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CARL VONDERAU – Award Winning Author

Carl Vonderau is the author of MURDERABILIA, which won The Left Coast Crime Award for Best Debut Mystery and the San Diego Book Award for Best Mystery/Suspense. Like the protagonist, he has been a private banker and was raised in a Christian Science family. On the other hand, his father was never a serial killer whose photos launched the “murderabilia” market. Carl has worked in the U.S., Canada, Latin America, and North Africa. He is now a full-time writer. He has another book in submission with publishers.

Carl is the president of Partners in Crime, San Diego, a chapter of Sisters in Crime. He is also a partner at San Diego Social Venture Partners. This organization mentors other nonprofits to reach the next level. Carl lives with his wife in San Diego, and they have two grown sons.

WHERE ARE YOU IN YOUR WRITING CAREER? I have been writing for thirty years. I guess it takes some time to become competent. My money-making career was as a banker. That’s why the characters in my books are in the financial industry.

My debut novel, MURDERABILIA, is a thriller. Unfortunately, the publisher, Midnight Ink, closed its doors. I’ve reissued it with Amazon with a new cover, so it is readily available again. A number of publishers are considering my second book. It’s a nervous time until someone decides to buy it.

I’m currently working on a third novel which is stand-alone domestic suspense.

WHAT IS YOUR WRITING PROCESS? I begin with a premise and then try to outline 30-40 scenes. I usually structure around an inciting incident and 3 acts. Then I start to write by hand. I do this on a legal pad and like to work at coffee houses. The objective is to write as fast as possible. When I have at least 3-4 pages, I’m relieved because I know I’ve got something that can be a scene. When I’ve finished the scene by hand, I try to type it into my computer within 24 hours. In that process, I will add parts like gestures or settings, or senses. I’ll also take out writing that doesn’t work. Sometimes while I’m typing, I see that the scene doesn’t really begin until the middle, so I leave out the first part.

I’m continually trying to improve my process. For the latest book I’m working on, I used Plottr to map out the scenes. Then I tried NaNoWriMo for the first time and wrote like a madman to get down 57k words. I’ve never written even close to that much so quickly. This process has enabled me to get a very rough draft faster than I have ever gotten one before. Just don’t ask about the quality. Now I’m going back to each scene to make sure it deserves to be in the book. If it does, I revise it.

I write a few hours every day, taking breaks throughout. One of the most creatively productive things is to finish working on a  scene and then do something else like exercise or the dishes. This gives me distance and allows the scene to reverberate in my subconscious. I usually get a good idea while I’m away from my laptop. The shower is great.

HOW LONG DID IT TAKE YOU TO GET PUBLISHED? A lifetime. My kids are in their thirties, and I began writing when they were very young. I was also working, so writing became any snatch of time I could steal from the day. We moved from Chicago to Montreal, and I had to work and learn French. But I always made some time to write. The lesson I got from these years is that, even if you only have 15 minutes, you can scratch out some words. You just write as fast as you can. That’s part of the reason it took me so long to write my first book.

That first unpublished novel took 15 years. I didn’t have a writer’s group or mentor, so I just stumbled around. The novel was set in Colombia. It didn’t all go into the drawer. I used some of it years later for a short story that went into the San Diego Sisters/Partners in Crime anthology, CROSSING BORDERS. I started on another novel after we moved to San Diego. That took about five years. It was also unpublished. But by then, I had discovered writing conferences and writing coaches, so I got better.

MURDERABILIA took about four years to write. There were more than 20 revisions. But this time, I got to work with Jacquelyn Mitchard as a content editor and learned a lot. Then I had to find an agent. I took a course on crafting elevator pitches. I used what I came up with to land an agent at the San Francisco Writers Conference. It took more than a year for the book to finally come out in print. It won a Lefty and a San Diego book award. Not exactly an overnight success.

There are a couple of big things I’ve learned over all this time. The first is that tenacity is more important than talent. The other thing is: Get feedback from a writer’s group, courses, conferences, or a writing coach. The book never works as well as I think it does.

HOW IMPORTANT IS SETTING TO YOU? I think setting is extremely important. It is not only the physical details and sensory feel of where the book takes place. It is also the culture that surrounds the characters. I like to go to the cities where my books are set. In my first book, I went to Colombia and walked the streets of Bogota. I wrote down impressions in a notebook. Most of it I didn’t use. But some of those details really helped create a sense of place. For MURDERABILIA, I used details from Colombia, Algeria (where I’d traveled on business), San Diego, and banking. I got help from friends in Tijuana for the book currently in submission. They took me to places where I could set scenes. Then I combined what I’d seen into some fictional locations. I also used notes and pictures. I want the setting to evince who my characters are and how they feel.


  • carlvonderau.com
  • Facebook: 1)Carl Vonderau, 2) AuthorCarlVonderau
  • Twitter: CarlVonderau
  • Instagram:Carlvonderau



  1. Michael A. Black

    What an inspiring account of the tenacity of being a writer. My congratulations on finishing the 57000 words in NoRhyMo. That’s quite an accomplishment in itself. Best of luck to you. Keep writing.

    • Carl Vonderau

      Thank you, Micheal. The most important things are to put in the hours and to get feedback. Thanks also to you George for giving me some space on your blog.


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VICKI BATMAN – This Author is Suffering a Case of the FITS

Hi, everyone! George invited me to return to his blog and write about… I was clueless. My most recent mystery came out last February. Since then, I’ve been working on three short stories that give me fits. I’ve written a lot of shorts; however, I’ve never had the troubles I’m having now. George said, “Write about the fits.”


I like to write romantic comedy; in fact, most everything I’ve done has been in the romantic comedy genre. Short ones. Long ones. Mysteries. Now, I’m working on three shorts to combine into my Sommerville days 2 collection. I don’t remember the other stories giving me fits like these.

Pixie Trixie-Is a twist on the Cinderella story trope. When our heroine’s best friend gifts her a beauty package with stylist Pixie Trixie, our heroine is extremely wary about trying something new but is persuaded. “Everyone raves about this place.”

Our heroine is moving forward, trying new things, and even falling in love. So, what’s the problem, the fit?

What does one do when the story isn’t funny like the others I’ve written? My romantic comedy reputation is at stake. OR is it? Can I let one story not be as funny? Or find a way to punch it up?

What are your thoughts?

Blogger Intrusion: Use the comment box to share your thoughts!!!

Kissing School-There’s no problem here with funny. The story’s first line is “Skip told me I’m a terrible kisser.” What kind of guy says that to his sweetie? (BTW, an untold fact: a date did say that to me. In my defense, I’d only been kissed twice. LOL.) This despicable boyfriend isn’t popular with the heroine’s BFF. He regifts his girlfriend a twinset, the color of smashed moldy peas, one his mother wore. Goes to Paris with his mother.

The solution? The BFF suggests Kissing School with online lessons and a meet-up with the “facilitator,” the BFF’s hunky cousin. Oh boy.

My fit with this story is just the other day; I thought everything was perfect, and then, I found a timeline error. Easily fixed, but my head is saying, “what else is back there?”

What are your thoughts?

Remember Me? I need to hit the ending so I can get this story finished. But so far, nothing spectacular is coming in.

Our heroine overhears her boyfriend’s phone conversation with his buddy, saying he wants to “hook up” with her before dumping her. She is pissed and is prepared to bolt four miles in cowboy boots at midnight. As she slips on her boots, she sees his BMW car keys and “appropriates” his treasured ride.

With the help of her old friend contractor, she arms herself with a “toolbox” to deal with the jerk. Naturally, our heroine will utilize her “toolbox” after confronting the ex and ride off into the sunset with the contractor.

I’m a pantser, meaning I write from the seat of my pants. Usually, divine inspiration explodes in my brain, and voila! The ending. Only this time, yeah, I have nothing.

My fit? This is my toughest story. I might have to write anything and revise, revise, and revise more to shape it into something worthwhile.

What are your thoughts?

 About Vicki Batman: Funny, sweet, and quirky, Vicki Batman’s stories are filled with hallmark humor, fun, and possibilities. She has sold many award-winning and bestselling romantic comedy works to magazines and, most recently, three humorous romantic mysteries. An avid Jazzerciser. Handbag lover. Mahjong player. Yoga practitioner. Movie fan. Book devourer. Cat fancier. Best Mom Ever. And adores Handsome Hubby.

About Temporarily Out of Luck: Great job. What man? And murder. Newly employed at Wedding Wonderland, Hattie Cooks is learning the industry from a woman she greatly admires. When her former brother-in-law is found dead in his luxury SUV, all fingers point to Hattie’s sister, who is planning her own I Dos.

Detective Allan Wellborn is caught between a rock and a hard place—Hattie’s family and investigating the murder of a well-connected Sommerville resident. The same loser was once married to Hattie’s sister. Determining who’s the bad guy—or gal—isn’t going to be easy and sure to piss off someone.

Can Hattie beat the clock to find out who murdered Tracey’s ex before she is charged with the crime and her wedding is ruined?


In my Book of Debts, I didn’t owe him one iota. However, I could hear my mother in my ear, trotting out a page from the “Right Thing to Do” lecture. What Stuart’s mom did broke all wedding protocol, and Allan doing his saintly thing, told her he would help, which translated meant he desperately needed somebody else’s help.

“Fine. I’m in, but you owe me more, like a date to the”—I grasped on the first thing that popped in my head—“opera.”

“Opera? Since when do you like opera?”

I held back a giggle. “Since yesterday.”

Allan blew a huge sigh. “Done.” He paused. “Opera?”

Find books by Vicki Batman at: https://www.amazon.com/author/vickibatman/

And: https://www.vickibatman.blogspot.com


  1. Michael A. Black

    It sounds like you’ve got three winners there, Vicki. Just take some time to figure them out. (Every pantser’s dilemma.) I’ll offer my two cents, since you asked.
    Pixie Trixie– I’d have the place actually be terrible. Everybody raves about it because, like the Emperor’s New Clothes, they’re afraid to admit what they really think for fear of being labeled dumb or having someone say, “You just don’t get it.”
    Kissing School– Any guy who’d say that to a girl has to be an idiot, and a cruel idiot at that. She should present him with a gift that has a mirror on one side and a picture of someone’s posterior on the other and say, “Take your choice.”
    Remember Me?–How about having your heroine take the car only to subsequently find out that the BMW is about to be repossessed and she arranges to “return” the car just as her ex shows up so he can be confronted by a big bruiser of a repossessor?
    Anyway, best of luck to you.

    • Vicki Batman

      Hi, Michael. Your “three winners” comment is much appreciated. I am considering your advice for Pixie Trixie. Kissing School lessons force the heroine to stop thinking of the jerk as her beloved and look at someone knew. I just worried I’d overlooked something. And it is sooo funny. As for Remember me? I will look at the repossessor idea. Thanks so much for your insight! VB

  2. Marsha R. West

    Hey, Vicki. Yikes! You seem to be writing all three shorts at the same time. That would make me nuts. You are a clever writer and while you are known for romantic comedy, your fans will forgive you one that’s not as hysterical as your others.

    • Vicki Batman

      Thx so much Marsha for the advice. Im using read aloud feature in word and thats helping. Hugs. Vb

  3. Vicki Batman

    Thank you for hosting me today, George. I hope I find some answers for my fits!


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