Mother Nature and Her Influence on My Writing
Though I’ve experienced several hurricanes, I’ve yet to use one in one my books and there’s a good reason. Both my mystery series are set in California and we don’t have hurricanes here.
The Rocky Bluff P.D. series is set in a small beach community in Southern California. I lived in the area for many years, and yes, we did have some winter rain storms and flooding. Living on the coast though, fog is so frequent that it plays a big part in nearly all of my RBPD mysteries.
Though new writers are often warned not to begin a book with the weather, using it to up the tension and to add another layer to the action works well.
There is one more natural phenomenon that happens in California without warning and yes, it plays a part in Murder in the Worst Degree.
If you live in California, you can probably guess what that is, if not, you can read the book and find out what happens and how it affects the story.
Blurb for the lasts RBPD mystery, Murder in the Worst Degree: The body that washes up on the beach leads Detectives Milligan and Zachary on a murder investigation that includes the victim’s family members, his housekeeper, three long-time friends, and a mystery woman.
Bio: F. M. Meredith aka Marilyn Meredith is the author of over 35 published books. She enjoys writing about police officers and their families and how what happens on the job affects the family and vice versa. Having several members of her own family involved in law enforcement, as well as many friends, she’s witnessed some of this first-hand.
Once again I am offering the opportunity to have your name used as a character in a book if you are the person who comments on the most blogs during this tour for Murder in the Worst Degree.
Tomorrow I’ll be visiting Evelyn Cullet at http://evelycullet.com/blog/
I told you about Jordan Bernal and her not yet published novel back in June. Now this multi-talented woman has published The Keepers of Eire, a fantasy fiction full of dragons and suspense.
For centuries dragons have protected Ireland, their existence kept secret with the help of earth magic and their human riders. That secret is threatened now that the bodies of four riders have been found at sacred Irish sites.
Haunted by dreams of each murder, Christian Riley, is a man with secrets of his own. As the dreams become increasing vivid, he wonders if he is the killer.
When a beautiful American, Devan Fraser, searching for her Irish roots, stumbles into the mystery of the murders while exploring the secrets behind her inherited heirloom dragon ring, sparks aren’t the only things flying.
Devan carries her grandmother’s ring. Christian wears a pendant given him by the mother he never knew. When they learn the jewelry bears the same dragon emblem, they discover the truth of dragons, their destinies, and the depths of honor and loyalty they must sustain to protect the ones they love.
Journey with Christian and Devan as they discover a shared destiny and rush to stop a dragon slayer.
Order your copy now at Amazon.
Jordan is currently working on:
•Book 2 of The Keepers series: The Keepers of Caledonia
Jordan Bernal earned her BS in Business Entrepreneurship. She spent most of her first career in the high-tech industry as a Product Coordinator / Technical Writer. Her enduring love of fantasy, especially dragons, inspired her to write her debut novel, The Keepers of Éire. She is a member of California Writers Club Tri-Valley Branch and credits her growth as a writer to her critique group, open mic nights, and various writing classes she has attended.
Jordan lives in the Tri-Valley region of Northern California. When she isn’t writing, or helping aspiring writers, Jordan enjoys reading, landscape photography, and spending time with Roarke, her Pomeranian.
Other published works:
•Mission Works 2 (Mission College, Santa Clara) 1997 –
Impressing a Dragon – Short Story
Goodbye My Friend – Non-fiction
•San Ramon Valley Times 2008 –
Mother’s Day flash prose for “Smiles and Tears”
•Voices of the Valley: First Press 2011 –
The Keepers of Éire – a synopsis in poem format
Revelations – excerpt from novel The Keepers of Éire
•All That Remains – Las Positas College Anthology 2013 –
Dreams – Poem
Get Off The Road – Poem
•Voices of the Valley: Encore 2013 —
Sunny Spells, Scattered Showers and Guinness Galore – Short story/travel
Writing at Zero Dark Thirty – Poem
Winter’s Grip – Poem
To learn more about Jordan Bernal, or to contact her:
It’s been almost a month since I last posted. Then I spoke of the inspiration for my NaNoWriMo novel, The Mona Lisa Sisters.
In case you’ve forgotten, National Novel Writing Month, NaNoWriMo, is an annual event in which participants attempt to complete a 50,000-word novel in the month of November.
As I finalized my research prior to the start of NaNoWriMo, I began filling out Character, Minor Character, and Scene Cards. Introduced to these by Deborah “Jordan” Bernal, I find them invaluable.
Before I started at one minute after midnight, Friday, November 1, 2013, I had three characters, two minor characters, and ten scene cards arrayed in my work folder. When I finished at 5:00 p.m. November 21, 2013, I had twenty-four cards and 51156 words.
As a winner, I’m eligible for a happy face sticker, like this one:
I try to write two-thousand words a day, every day. Generally, I fail. NaNoWriMo forced me to meet or exceed that goal. Taking two days off, I still managed to average 2400 words a day.
Never having written a “Chick-Flic” story, I struggled with the lack of violence and expletives.
Back in October I gave my readers a hint, “There might even be a mysterious stranger lurking in the background.” I kept him hidden so far back that he could have been an afterthought. That is until I hit 30,000 words. In danger of running out of story line, I took a day off and pondered how to get another 20,000. Inspiration struck, as it often does, at 3:00 a.m.
I went back to Chapter 7, re-read it and inserted a new Chapter 8. The mysterious stranger now delivers in this and six additional chapters. I believe the changes enhance the story and help with character development.
It’s time to set The Mona Lisa Sisters aside and get back to A Tale of Robbers and Cops and Liberty.
A Tale of Robbers and Cops is the story of two illiterate Georgia teenage brothers. Brutalized on a chain gang, they commit a revenge murder locking them into a life of crime.
It’s been almost five months since I pitched Robbers to a publisher, and three since the publisher asked me to submit it for reading. I’m assuming the worst, so I will be rewriting once again.
Liberty is story about people, people who happen to be cops, gang bangers, civilians, and innocent by-standers. The gangs are violent and commit both random and orchestrated murders. The cops have flaws. The gang bangers, a few at least, have a good trait or two.
If you can get by the murders that occur in just about every chapter, it’s a fun read.
Not long ago I asked for help in developing an idea for the 50,000-word project I intend to complete in November for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). http://www.nanowrimo.org
Help has not been forthcoming.
Monday at Julaina Kleist’s Polish Your Writing class, Julaina gave us an in-class assignment. She passed out copies of different photographs to groups of two or three. Emily and I were handed the below picture.
Our assignment, write an elevator pitch of twenty-five words or less. We came up with several pitches, none destined for fame.
While other students read theirs aloud, my mind began sketching out my entry for NaNoWriMo. After class, I went home and spent six or seven hours researching the story line. I DID NOT WRITE. I hope I didn‘t violate the rules.
Before I left class, I knew my story would be unlike anything I have ever attempted. Set in 1894, it is from the point of view of a twenty-eight year old widow. I will change the girls’ dresses into the appropriate design for the time.
I found a half dozen or so photographs and drawings. With the collection of samples, I can see the two girls, and my protagonist, Lura Grisham Myer. My problem is I can’t for the life of me describe women’s clothing. I could use some help. (Hint, Hint).
The story begins in New York several months before Lura comes across Mary Margaret and Ada Mae Dean viewing the Mona Lisa at The Louvre in Paris.
Cabs will play an important role in New York City.
Lura will travel to France on the SS La Touraine as a First Class Passenger. It is an entirely different ship when she is forced to return to New York as a Second Class Passenger with two young girls in tow.
I have several photographs and drawings that play various roles in the developing story line. I won’t share them with you now. It would give away the story line that will undoubtedly change as my characters journey from New York to Paris, and back. Look for an interesting trip for Lura and the girls. There might even be a mysterious stranger lurking in the background.
Saturday, October 19, 2013 the Tri-Valley Branch of the California Writer’s Club was privileged to have Jim Averbeck as our guest speaker. Jim studied engineering at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio.
Looking for an opportunity to serve and grow, he joined the Peace Corps. He spent almost four years living and working in the western Africa country of Cameroon.
It was in Cameroon where he got the inspiration for his first children’s book.
Jim has a fun and interesting blog, Jim Averbeck * Words and Pictures. Visit him at http://www.jimaverbeckbooks.com/
His story, from idea to publication, took several turns, along with ups, downs, and bumps. If you ever get a chance to hear him speak, take it. Although his genre has been children’s books, his journey is one all aspiring writer’s should hear. It wasn’t an easy one. Talent he has plenty of, but talent isn’t everything. He needed perseverance and the ability to roll with the punches to succeed. He has plenty of both.
Jim’s description of the path to publication is one of the best I’ve heard. More than a few of the audience, myself included, left wondering, do I have what it takes? Can I accomplish what Averbeck has managed?
Jim writes Picture Books, Middle Grade, and Young Adult. He is currently working on his first novel for the middle grade audience, a mystery set in San Francisco. From his description of the characters and plot, I know one seasoned citizen reader who looks forward to reading about “Hitch”.
Picture Books by Jim Averbeck: