Sunday, May 17, 2015


The question of the day! And the one my followers have been asking me of late.

My last post was March 13th. Ten days later, March 24th, my husband and I headed to Kamloops to the hospital where he was scheduled to have a stress test. That was the day that changed our lives. He had been having some issues. Mostly as an avid walker, he found himself with a tightness in his chest, no pain, no shortness of breath, just a tightness that forced him to slow his walking and distance capability.

We were forced to walk two blocks uphill to the hospital due to parking, or lack of, which caused him some distress. Once in the facility, they did an ECG, refused to do the stress test, and admitted him into emergency. One day later he was transported to Kelowna General Hospital and we found ourselves in ICU, scheduled for quadruple bypass surgery. 

I can't say enough about the nurses and doctors in the cardio general ward and ICU. They are a wonderfully knowledgeable, caring, and efficient team who not only looked after my husband, but took care of my needs, putting me up at the Cancer lodge beside the hospital with three meals a day for my two week stay, and access to my husband's room 24/7.

On April 8th he was discharged and we returned home He is recuperating as well as can be expected and if our story ended there, I would have had a lot of time to get back to my writing and my blog. 

Uh-uh! We've had our home up for sale for three years, not an unusual length of time for this remote area. Wouldn't you know it. Three days after we returned home from Kelowna, someone wanted to buy our house. Normally I would have asked for at least sixty days, but under the circumstances, I asked for ninety. However, closure depended on the buyer having access in forty-four days. Six weeks! 

After waiting three years to sell, we weren't going to pass up the opportunity and signed the papers. 

So where have I been, dear readers? Home, nursing my husband who can't do a thing to help with the move, decluttering, packing, and cleaning. And, making trips to the Island to find a new home which has exhausted my husband. Another worry in itself, since rest is an important component to his recovery.

Meanwhile, my editor sent me the final proof for Chasing Georgia, Book 2 of the Georgia Series a month ago. I have worked on it a little but cannot find the time to fit it into my chaotic life at the moment and when I do, focusing on it has been elusive. 

Overwhelmed! That's the word of the day! My life is not my own at the moment but this is only an explanation not a complaint. In two weeks we will have relocated to the BC west coast from the BC interior and life will fall into place.

My husband has been given a new lease on life. One that we don't take lightly and we have a new place to live; a cottage on the ocean with a view to inspire my writing world. 

We have a lot to be thankful for and a lot to look forward to. 

I'll be back.

Keep on keeping on writing!

Visit me HERE on my FB Author Page

Friday, March 13, 2015


Today, I have the pleasure of hosting fellow author, Sharon C. Williams, and her COVER RELEASE FOR, Squirrel Mafia. Welcome, Sharon. This post is now yours.

Sharon C. Williams:

We tend to think of squirrels as cute furry creatures that scamper around playing while looking for nuts. Yet I’ve a different outlook on these rodents from Hades.

As an animal lover, one who’s owned by eight birds, I’ve had
the opportunity to observe a group of squirrels around my home here in the suburbs for the past year. The experience I’ve gained gives a whole new meaning to the words ‘little darlings’.

I offer you a unique perspective of the furry friends entangled within our everyday lives. Their antics and shenanigans have earned them the name of the Squirrel Mafia. This book chronicles my ongoing battle with these pesky little critters.

Squirrels are furry and adorable animals that come from Hell. They give us the illusion they’re cuddly, and full of sugar and spice and all that is nice. Well, if you want that kind of story you might want to put this one down.

Growing up in Northern Maine, I honestly don’t recall seeing squirrels around me. My life could have been preoccupied with things that mattered more, like being a kid and spending time with family. Granted, the weather in Maine is harsh during the winter months, which can last a good portion of the year,

Wildlife, though, is plentiful in this region with moose, bear, and deer. Between the different hunting seasons, one would think people would notice squirrels running around. As numerous and hardy as they are, one would logically think that even a region
as cold as Maine would be full of them.

Perhaps they didn’t bother me back then. I still would have been under the misconception that they were cute. Perhaps my memory is just lapsing, or I’m just in denial.

Yeah, that’s it, denial!

Lesson learned—squirrels can make you forget.

Sharon is a native of New England, raised in Northern Maine.
She lives in North Carolina with her husband and son. She is also owned by a flock of eight birds.

She has a B.S. degree in Chemistry, but is currently disabled, so writing keeps her busy. She tends to lose all track of time. The world could be coming to an end, and she would be oblivious to it. When writing, she envisions the scenes in her head, and tries
to imagine the reality of what is written down on paper. Different options, scenes, and problems are noted on the side in case she can use them later.

Sharon tends to write by long hand as the flow works better for her this way. Her bookshelf consists of works written by Stephen King, Agatha Christie, Bentley Little, and James Patterson. The best advice she has ever received about writing was to write about what you know. Her first thought was, “Yeah right,” but it really is that easy. A writer just needs to know a little tidbit to turn it into a short story, and soon enough, there’s a book.

Sharon loves to read, sketch, take pictures, walk, exercise, go to the movies, and listen to music. She is a budding bird watcher, and knits on the side. She is a huge sports fan of baseball, basketball, hockey, and football.

Two of her short stories were published in the anthology, Cassandra’s Roadhouse. Her children’s book, Jasper, Amazon Parrot: A Rainforest Adventure, has been published by  Fountain Blue Publishing. Several of her short stories are also featured in the recently released anthology, Dragons In The Attic.


Thank you, Sharon, for guest hosting today and telling us about your new release, Squirrel Mafia.  You've piqued my interest. Good luck with your new book.

To learn more about Sharon and her books, visit her at the following sites:

Social Media Links:


Thursday, March 12, 2015

ABC ... EASY AS ... 123, THE LETTER 'D'

Today is 'D' day. The word of the day is 'Dialogue'.
(My continued journey of novel writing tips from A-Z)


1   A written composition in which two or more characters are represented as conversing
2   a:  a conversation between two or more persons
     b:  an exchange of ideas and opinions 
     c:  a discussion between representatives of parties to a conflict that is aimed at resolution 
3   The conversational element of literary or dramatic composition 

Dialogue is an integral part of any story. It is a multi-purpose tool that should do some or all of the following:
1        Reveal something about the character and the relationships between characters.
2        Help to move the story forward.
3        Increase the tension between characters or of the story line.

A key element to writing good dialogue is to break it up with action. The reader needs direction in order to visualize a scene. Otherwise, the dialogue would be boring. In Winter’s Captive, Georgia confronts her cheating ex-husband. The sample below reveals elements of each character but doesn’t move the story forward.

 “Have we moved on? Have you?”
“How can you ask if we moved on? I presumed you did that a year ago. Now you’re asking me? I don’t think Julie would be too happy to hear this conversation.”
“This has nothing to do with Julie. It’s about you and me.”
 “You really are something. There is no you and me. There hasn’t been for a long time. And I’ll tell you something else too. It’s about you and only you,”
“How can you say that? I’m trying to communicate with you about how we feel. I want to know what you’re thinking.”
“Where was the communication when you left me? Where were you when I tried to figure it all out? When I doubted myself as a wife and a woman? I’ll tell you where, with Julie, right where you wanted to be. You never gave me an explanation or showed any concern for my feelings then. You shut me out and even refused to talk to me. It’s your feelings we’re really talking about here, because you’re confused. You never even asked to see your baby until I pushed it on you. You haven’t even asked me her name. I’ll tell you what I’m thinking, Colin. You’re a whiffle bird.”  
“A what-bird?”
“A whiffle bird ... he flies in ever decreasing concentric circles, faster and faster, the circles getting smaller and smaller, until finally--he flies up his own ass.”
 “I guess I deserved that, didn’t I? I know I’ve been a shit to you. I couldn’t talk to you because I didn’t know how. And then there was Julie, telling me I had to make a clean break. She was so jealous and insecure. I felt like I was being pulled in opposite directions. I’m sorry I hurt you.”
“That's my point. Again, it’s about how you felt,”
“You’ve changed. You were never this ... aggressive before.”

Here's the same sample with action and thought:

Colin stared at me for a long moment. “Have we moved on? Have you?”
“How can you ask if we moved on? I presumed you did that a year ago. Now you’re asking me? I don’t think Julie would be too happy to hear this conversation.”
“This has nothing to do with Julie. It’s about you and me.”
My mouth dropped open. “You really are something. There is no you and me. There hasn’t been for a long time. And I’ll tell you something else too. It’s about you and only you,” I said, my anger rising.
“How can you say that? I’m trying to communicate with you about how we feel. I want to know what you’re thinking.”
“Where was the communication when you left me? Where were you when I tried to figure it all out? When I doubted myself as a wife and a woman? I’ll tell you where, with Julie, right where you wanted to be. You never gave me an explanation or showed any concern for my feelings then. You shut me out and even refused to talk to me. It’s your feelings we’re really talking about here, because you’re confused.” I was wound tight. All my pent-up anger released. I stood up and leaned towards him. “You never even asked to see your baby until I pushed it on you. You haven’t even asked me her name. I’ll tell you what I’m thinking, Colin. You’re a whiffle bird.”  
“A what-bird?”
“A whiffle bird ... he flies in ever decreasing concentric circles, faster and faster, the circles getting smaller and smaller, until finally--he flies up his own ass.”
Colin stared at me, a look of shock on his face, and I stared back defiantly, hands on my hips. After a long silence, he started to smile.
“I guess I deserved that, didn’t I? I know I’ve been a shit to you. I couldn’t talk to you because I didn’t know how. And then there was Julie, telling me I had to make a clean break. She was so jealous and insecure. I felt like I was being pulled in opposite directions. I’m sorry I hurt you.” Colin took my hand in his.
“That's my point. Again, it’s about how you felt,” I said, shaking my hand from his.
“You’ve changed. You were never this ... aggressive before.”
I gave my shoulders a shake and turned towards the water. “Let’s walk.”

Big difference, right? By adding action, we’ve moved the story along and added tension to their encounter by showing body language and thought.

The most important thing to remember when depicting dialect in dialogue is to be consistent. This is a very tricky element to express. If you have a character with a southern states drawl or a Native American dialect, etc., it is extremely difficult to carry their dialogue with the right inflection throughout the entire story. It was suggested to me by my editor to choose some key words that reflect their dialect and use them consistently throughout the story. The dialogue will ring true to the reader and they will buy into it. But only if you are CONSISTENT.

In Winter’s Captive, Book 1 and Chasing Georgia, Book 2 (to be released in April), two words I chose to indicate that Nonnock was an indigenous native, were references to her Peoples and when she talked of nature as the Mother or Mother Earth.

For all of you writers out there:
Keep on Keeping on Writing!

Visit me at:

Saturday, March 7, 2015


To end my two week tribute to women in recognition of International Women's Day tomorrow, March 8th, Winter's Captive, The Georgia Series, Book 1 E-BOOK IS FREE today and tomorrow.

What better way to recognize women than to read a story about one woman's struggle to survive in a harsh, northern, winter wilderness and her journey to empowerment.

Click HERE to get your copy in Kindle, Nook, or PDF formats. Just follow the instructions once you get there.

Thank you for your support and recognition of women in our society.

Visit me HERE on my Facebook Author Page

Thursday, March 5, 2015


For the past ten days, I've been posting on my Facebook Author page, tributes to different women who have made contributions to our world  or lives that made a difference. 

Here are the highlights:

1. MARTHA MUNGER BLACK (1866-1957)

Adventurer, Member of Parliament
First woman Member of Parliament from the North

A pioneer during the gold rush years in the Yukon, she was the inspiration for Georgia Charles in my novel, Winter's Captive. Georgia fashioned a doll named Martha as her focal point during childbirth. If you wish to read more about this amazing woman follow the link below for a bio of Martha Munger Black.

Died at the age of 98

Irena Sandler got permission to work in the Warsaw Ghetto as a plumber. She courageously smuggled babies in her tool box and carried larger children in her sack. She also trained her dog to bark when the Nazi soldiers were near, which muffled the sounds of the crying children. She helped save more than 2,500 children & was eventually caught & tortured. Sandler was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize but was not selected. She kept the name of all 2500 children and tried to match them to their families after the war. Most of the children's families had been killed.

American physician, b. England; sister of Henry Brown Blackwell. She was the first woman in the United States to receive a medical degree, which was granted (1849) to her by Geneva Medical College (then part of Geneva College, early name of Hobart). With her sister, Emily Blackwell (1826–1910) who was also a doctor, and Marie Zackrzewska, she founded (1857) the New York Infirmary for Women and Children, which was expanded in 1868 to include a Women's College for the training of doctors, the first of its kind. In 1869, Dr. Blackwell settled in England, where she became (1875) professor of gynecology at the London School of Medicine for Women, which she had helped to establish. She wrote Pioneer Work in Opening the Medical Profession to Women (1895) and many other books and papers on health and education.

4.  Michaëlle Jean
The Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean (2005-2010)

Social Activist, journalist, documentary filmmaker, governor general and secretary general of the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie (presently in a 4-year term).
Michaëlle Jean was born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. She immigrated to Canada with her family in 1968, fleeing the dictatorial regime of the time.
After studying comparative literature at the Université de Montréal, she taught Italian in the Université’s Department of Literature and Modern Languages. During her studies, Ms. Jean worked for eight years with Quebec shelters for battered women, while actively contributing to the establishment of a network of emergency shelters throughout Quebec and elsewhere in Canada. She later ventured into journalism and became a highly regarded journalist and anchor of information programs at Radio-Canada television and CBC Newsworld. She is married to Jean-Daniel Lafond and they have a daughter, Marie-Éden.
Michaëlle Jean was the 27th governor general of Canada, from September 27, 2005, to September 30, 2010.


INT'L WOMEN'S DAY FINAL TRIBUTE: is to a woman who’s not famous or infamous. She isn’t a scientist, a political or religious leader, mountain climber, or a survivalist of abuse or physical trauma. But she has the job of heroine in my books. She didn’t ask for this role. It came to her by default, only because she was the only sibling out of four who lived close by and was there to be caregiver to first my father, and then my mother. She’s my sister, Norma Thompson. The rest of us siblings can rest easy, knowing she’s there to handle the financial affairs of our 92-year-old mother, her needs outside of the care home, and the emotional issues when our mother just needs someone to hold her hand and assure her all is well. With health issues of her own, which have at times made it difficult for my sister, Norma has never shirked this huge responsibility. She has weathered the upsets, the bitterness, the whining, the crying, and dealt with the arguments she had no answer for that come with our mother's Dementia, and has at times been quite exhausted. I’ve experienced my sister’s feelings of guilt when she wanted to run away and forget it all. But she didn’t. For her dedication as our mother’s caregiver, not out of duty but out of love, I honor her on Int’l Women’s Day. She is my heroine.


Tuesday, January 6, 2015


Hello everyone. Welcome to the new year. I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season. Sending you all wishes for a healthy, happy, and prosperous 2015.

I just read an article about the Tahltan Nation. This indigenous band lives in north-western British Columbia in an area known as the last frontier. This land is rich for hydroelectric projects. On December 12th, 2014, he BC government released $500,000 in funding for the Tahltan Nation to invest in the AltaGas Volcano Creek renewable energy project.

It was a great day for the Tahltan people as it is the first time they've been able to take a large stake in a new development in their territory. This project is one of three in the Tahltan lands.

I have always felt a connection to native culture and spirituality. This area in BC is where I chose to write my first novel, Winter's Captive, The Georgia Series, Book 1. The native spirit in my story is Tahltan and I chose to weave some Tahltan lore and cultural beliefs into the novel. 

Quote from the article: 
As well as allowing for investment, the IBAs provide jobs and
training opportunities for our people while also making sure Tahltan people are involved in enviornmental protection and monitoring. 

I'm happy to see that the Tahltan people are progressive and business-minded in regards to their land development, but will not abandon their traditional beliefs of protecting mother earth, the creator. The Tahltan's have found a way to help their people, satisfy big business, and protect their lands. I, for one, would hate to see the balance of nature compromised for big money.

In my story, my reference to the Tahltan people is to the old ways of life which are no longer sustainable. I don't want to read future fiction stories like mine, that refer to mother nature as she once was, but no more. 

My belief is that the only way to close the gap between indigenous people and big business is to respect their culture, and even if one doesn't agree with their way of thinking, at least understand it from an organic perspective. The Tahltan Band is not the first band to work with business and as time passes, we are seeing more amalgamations between first nations and municipalities, provincial and federal governments, mining companies, hydro projects, and community forests. It's very encouraging for the future of all our youth.  

Perhaps all businesses wishing to develop the rich lands of British Columbia should have indigenous people on staff to keep them environmentally accountable, whether on first nations land or not. It has to be about more than just money. We can all take a lesson from indigenous people on that score.

We are all citizens of mother earth, and it is the responsibility of all of us, not just indigenous people, to protect her.

What's your opinion on this controversial issue?

Here's a link to the article if you wish to read it: Click HERE.

Winter's Captive is available in paperback and e-book formats. 

Click HERE for listing.

If you wish to subscribe to my email list, please see side bar.

For all you writer's out there, keep on keeping on writing.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014


Hi everyone.

Today is 'C' day. The word of the day is 'Characters'.

char ac ter
plural noun: characters

1. the mental moral qualities distinctive to an individual
    synonyms: personality, nature, disposition, temperament, temper, 
    mentality, makeup

2. a person in a novel, play, or movie
    synonyms: persona, role, part

Recently, my publisher, Melanie Fountain, of Fountain Blue Publishing, ran an article for her authors about the importance of characters to the story. I didn't believe I could present a post to you that would outdo her words. I asked Melanie to guest host today and share her article with all of you.

Welcome, Melanie.

Melanie Fountain:
Whether you are a plotter (spend hours refining the outline for your novel) or a pantser (sit down and write your novel by the seat of your pants), your characters believability and relatability make all the difference.

I use visualization for my character development. I imagine that I am at a gathering, party, lunch, etc., with one, some, or all of my characters. I pay attention to how each one behaves, talks, and interacts with the others. No two of my friends or family members use the same word choices or phrases. No two have the same beliefs or views. No two have the same body language, so why would my characters? Each person has their own ‘voice’.

There are many components that go into giving each character their individual voice and I would like give you a helpful list that you can use to help you define a characters voice.

Male or Female
Education level
Outgoing or Shy
Snarky or Sweet
Naïve or Street Smart
Manipulative or Giving
Inflection (regional accent)
Idioms (one might say; “He passed away.” and another may say, “He kicked the bucket.”

Divulge your character to your reader in a natural way. Let your reader learn about your character’s quirks and personality in a similar way that you learn about people you meet. We learn about people in bits and pieces through dialog, interaction, and observation. If you spend three pages of your novel giving your reader every detail about your character, your reader will get board and the introduction will feel awkward and forced.

Your character needs to have a goal, a quest, a dilemma, a question that he or she must answer. The reader needs to be drawn into your character’s journey. The reader must feel for your character, either routing for them or hating them and wanting to witness their demise. Without creating an emotional attachment between your character and your reader, why would the reader read on?

Character development is not a simple process and is always subject to change as your book develops. Create characters who are believable and who your reader must know more about.

Below is an excerpt of an article written by C.S. Lakin. This article explains through examples how important character voice is in your novel.

**Narrative Must Be Shaped by Voice**
Think about writing a scene in the POV of a six-year-old girl who is a spoiled, rich only child. Let’s say the scene takes place at the dinner table, and while she is eating, her parents get in an argument about money, and the father says she will not be allowed to take ballet anymore, and then smacks her precious puppy when it tries to get a piece of meat from off the table.

That narrative must sound like a six-year-old rich spoiled girl’s voice. She is going to notice, react, and think her age. She isn’t going to comment on the details of her parents’ argument. She’s going to be confused and upset as to why she can’t take ballet, and she’s going to be mad and scared when her father hits her dog. She will not use an adult vocabulary or think obtusely, abstractly, or using metaphor. The reader should feel and wholly believe she is experiencing and reacting to all that happens in the scene (and there should be a good reason to use her as a POV character too).

All too often I find, in the novels I edit and critique, scenes in a character’s POV that does not have the appropriate voice. Children sound like adults. Old women sound like young men. So much goes into voice: education, background, past pain, fears, likes and dislikes, opinions, personality traits, ethnicity, and so on. Just like dialog. In fact, if you can think of voice as just an extension of dialog—as the POV character speaking through the entire narrative of the scene—it may help you to get a handle on voice.

**Getting into Character**
One thing that helps me with voice is to pretend I’m the character. I try to immerse myself so much into the role as I’m writing the scene that I am that character. This is what actors do—they get into character. Some actors say that when they’re shooting a movie, they stay in character all the time—even when they leave the set and go home for the night.

Which makes me think of a funny bit on one of the CDs for The Lord of the Rings, that showed director Peter Jackson’s amazement when he heard actor Brad Dourif (Wormtongue) speak in an American Southern drawl, thinking the actor was just joking around (he wasn’t; that was his “real” voice). In the films, Dourif’s character has a kind of rich British accent. Clearly, Dourif stayed “in character” while not filming, which no doubt helped him do such a terrific job in creating the voice of Wormtongue. And here, too, I’m not just talking about his accent. That voice went deep into character, shown through his inflection, mannerisms, facial expressions, and tone. All this relates to voice.

**Voice is all about characters—not about you!**
There, I said it. It’s so simple, really. Every character in your novel has his or her own voice, whether a child, a man or woman, a dog, or a robot. Every POV character in your novel has a unique voice—both internally, in the way they think, as well as in their audible speech.

**Voice Isn’t Just Speech**
In addition, any character that speaks out loud (not a POV character) has a voice as well. I don’t mean literally here—for of course they have a voice if they can speak (and if they use sign language, that’s speech too). But what we’re talking about pertains to the manner, style, and presentation of that speech. With these characters, their voice comes out only in the words they actually say and how they’re said—since the writer is not going into their heads.

With POV characters, voice embodies more than spoken words or direct thoughts in their heads. The narrative should as well. When you craft a scene in a character’s POV, every line in that scene has to feel as though it is being processed, chewed, and spit out by that character. Everything that happens in that scene is witnessed, experienced, felt, and reacted to by that character. And so, even the narrative must have “voice.”

**Voice Isn’t Just How Someone Sounds**
So as you richly develop all the characters in your novel—and we’ve looked at many ways in many posts on how to do this with both your protagonist and your secondary characters—be sure to spend a good amount of time on voice. Not just thinking about how the character sounds when she talks out loud but how who she is shapes and determines her mind-set—what and how she thinks about things.

In order to construct a strong novel, those character pillars must be made of unique, believable characters. By spending time giving those characters a rich past and a core need, greatest fear, a lie they believe, you will have characters that jump off the page. But . . . if you do not give them the appropriate voice, those pillars will crumble.

As I mentioned in the example above of the six-year-old girl—if you, the author, intrude in the scene by narrating or showing a character thinking in a style that does not fit who she is, the reader will notice. Yes, it’s a challenge to write every word in every scene in POV, but that’s required with either a first-, second-, or third-person POV. And this is one of the biggest flaws I see in novels.

**What about an Omniscient POV?**
If you are going to use an omniscient voice to tell the story, you can slip in and out of voices as you portray the different characters, and in addition, you have the narrator’s omniscient storytelling voice over all (which must be developed in the same way as any other character’s voice). Not many writers can pull off an omniscient voice well, and the downside and challenge to using such a voice is its tendency to distance the reader and tell the story rather than show it. And as most of us have been taught, readers these days don’t want to be told stories; they want to see them happening before their eyes, through the eyes of the POV characters.

So think of voice as each character’s voice: unique and specific for each one. The writing style of a scene will be influenced and shaped by that voice.

Visit C.S. Lakin at

And visit me at

Keep writing and stay creative!

Melanie Fountain
Editor in Chief/Owner
Fountain Blue Publishing

Thank-you, Melanie for hosting today. I hope you all benefited as much as I have from this informative post.

Keep on keeping on writing!

Visit me on my Facebook Author Page HERE.