My Kind of Character #Open Book Blog Hop

This week, blogger Stevie Turner asks us writers what types of characters we like to read and create. I prefer characters who are down to earth and easy to understand. I also try to develop my characters as the book progresses.

Take, for example, Eve, the main character in my latest, The Red Dress. She’s a best-selling author with a husband and three kids. As the book opens, she’s spending more time with her writing and not always paying attention to her family. Laundry often falls by the wayside, and most of the meals she prepares are ready-made.

As the book progresses, Eve is forced to face her past after receiving a Facebook friend request from her old college roommate and meeting her former best friend from high school by chance. She then realizes that her family is just as important as her work and that she needs to create more of a balance. In the following excerpt, she explains to her old friend how she is evolving.

***

“What’s this? Miss Independence let you make her lunch!” said Adele with a smirk after the teens  had departed.

Eve laughed. “I beat her to it. Greg and I got up and went for a run together, something we hadn’t  done in what seems like a long time. When we got back, while Greg was frying eggs, I made the  sandwiches and put them in the fridge so they’d be all ready to go. I half expected Julie to be  mad, but she surprised me by giving me a hug and thanking me.”

“That’s great.”

“I’m planning to make Jan’s meatloaf recipe tonight. Everyone loved it when I made it before. Jan  gave me a couple of other recipes I’m going to try.”

“You’re becoming quite the chef, aren’t you?”

Eve sighed. “Lately, I’ve been too busy writing and marketing my books, and I haven’t been paying a  lot of attention to my family. That’s about to change.”

“You just finished a book. Won’t that be a problem when you start your next one?”

“Not if I don’t make it one,” said Eve. “I just need to establish some priorities. My agent and  publisher aren’t too demanding. As long as I can produce a book a year, they’re happy.”

***

So, where does this conversation take place? Who are the departing teens, and where are they going? Is Adelle the former best friend from high school, and what ruined their friendship? Why would Julie be mad at her mother for making her a peanut butter sandwich? Who’s Jan? Read The Red Dress and find out.

By the way, for those of you who use the National Library Services for the Blind and Print Disabled, my latest book, The Red Dress, is available for download from their site here. Thank you for reading.

New! The Red Dress

Copyright July 2019 by DLD Books

Front cover contains: young, dark-haired woman in red dress holding flowers

When Eve went to her high school senior prom, she wore a red dress that her mother had made for her. That night, after dancing with the boy of her dreams, she caught him in the act with her best friend. Months later, Eve, a freshman in college, is bullied into giving the dress to her roommate. After her mother finds out, their relationship is never the same again.

Twenty-five years later, Eve, a bestselling author, is happily married with three children. Although her mother suffers from dementia, she still remembers, and Eve still harbors the guilt for giving the dress away. When she receives a Facebook friend request from her old college roommate and an invitation to her twenty-five-year high school class reunion, then meets her former best friend by chance, she must confront the past in order to face the future.

***

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An Italian Meal Without Wine #Poetry

The following poem comes from my collection, How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver. If you click on the title, you’ll hear me recite it, then sing a Dean Martin classic about how Italians perceive love as it relates to food. I performed this combination last week during a virtual poetry event sponsored by Behind Our Eyes, and since that was such a success, I thought I’d post it here. Enjoy!

 

An Italian Meal Without Wine

I love to eat seafood fettuccini Alfredo,
taste the shrimp, crab, scallops
in a rich, creamy sauce
on a bed of fettuccini noodles,
slurp the noodles into my mouth,
savor the flavor,
garnish it with garlic bread,
chase it down with water.

 

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By the way, for the next month, My Ideal Partner and The Red Dress are available on Smashwords as part of its sale to support those isolated by the coronavirus. This sale will run until the end of May. Please click here to visit my Smashwords author page and download these books. As always, thank you for reading.

 

New! The Red Dress

Copyright July 2019 by DLD Books

Front cover contains: young, dark-haired woman in red dress holding flowers

When Eve went to her high school senior prom, she wore a red dress that her mother had made for her. That night, after dancing with the boy of her dreams, she caught him in the act with her best friend. Months later, Eve, a freshman in college, is bullied into giving the dress to her roommate. After her mother finds out, their relationship is never the same again.

Twenty-five years later, Eve, a bestselling author, is happily married with three children. Although her mother suffers from dementia, she still remembers, and Eve still harbors the guilt for giving the dress away. When she receives a Facebook friend request from her old college roommate and an invitation to her twenty-five-year high school class reunion, then meets her former best friend by chance, she must confront the past in order to face the future.

***

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WebsiteImage contains: Abbie, smiling.

 

 

 

Tips for Working at Home #Re-Blog #Essay #Writing

As a writer, I’ve been working from home for over ten years. But I imagine this period of social isolation due to the coronavirus threat can be stressful for those used to going to an office or other place of employment each day. Blogger D.E. Haggerty offers some tips to make this easier.

I’m already following some of these suggestions. How about you? Please feel free to share, either here or on D.E. Haggerty’s blog.

 

Via Tips for Working at Home

 

By the way, for the next month, My Ideal Partner and The Red Dress are available on Smashwords as part of its sale to support those isolated as a result of the coronavirus situation. Please click here to visit my Smashwords author page and download these books. As always, thank you for reading.

 

New! The Red Dress

Copyright July 2019 by DLD Books

Front cover contains: young, dark-haired woman in red dress holding flowers

When Eve went to her high school senior prom, she wore a red dress that her mother had made for her. That night, after dancing with the boy of her dreams, she caught him in the act with her best friend. Months later, Eve, a freshman in college, is bullied into giving the dress to her roommate. After her mother finds out, their relationship is never the same again.

Twenty-five years later, Eve, a bestselling author, is happily married with three children. Although her mother suffers from dementia, she still remembers, and Eve still harbors the guilt for giving the dress away. When she receives a Facebook friend request from her old college roommate and an invitation to her twenty-five-year high school class reunion, then meets her former best friend by chance, she must confront the past in order to face the future.

***

My Books

My Amazon Author Page

Facebook

WebsiteImage contains: Abbie, smiling.

 

 

Organizing Characters and Plots #Writing

When I write short stories or novels, I’m what’s called a pantser. I don’t do outlines. I make up the story as I go along. I don’t worry too much about character traits until I’ve finished the story and am ready to edit.

I submit chapters of my work to a weekly critique group. When other participants make suggestions about my characters and plot that I like, I make a note of them at the beginning of the chapter. That way, when I go back and edit, I know what needs to be done in that chapter.

When I’m ready to publish a book, I try to find a cover that matches my main character. With The Red Dress, I had to do it a little differently as far as the cover was concerned. Originally, my main character, Eve, had blond hair. But when Leonore Dvorkin, my editor at DLD Books, found a picture of a lovely young woman with black hair, I decided to change Eve’s hair from blond to black.

They say you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but I believe my cover got more rave reviews than the book itself. By the way, The Red Dress, along with My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds, are available this week absolutely free as part of Smashwords Read an eBook Week sale. Click here to download the books.

How about you writers out there? Do you outline your stories ahead of time, or do you fly by the seat of your pants? Thanks to Stevie Turner for inspiring this, and thanks to you, of course, for reading.

 

New! The Red Dress

Copyright July 2019 by DLD Books

Front cover contains: young, dark-haired woman in red dress holding flowers

When Eve went to her high school senior prom, she wore a red dress that her mother had made for her. That night, after dancing with the boy of her dreams, she caught him in the act with her best friend. Months later, Eve, a freshman in college, is bullied into giving the dress to her roommate. After her mother finds out, their relationship is never the same again.

Twenty-five years later, Eve, a bestselling author, is happily married with three children. Although her mother suffers from dementia, she still remembers, and Eve still harbors the guilt for giving the dress away. When she receives a Facebook friend request from her old college roommate and an invitation to her twenty-five-year high school class reunion, then meets her former best friend by chance, she must confront the past in order to face the future.

***

My Books

My Amazon Author Page

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WebsiteImage contains: Abbie, smiling.

Benefits of Writing Groups #Essay

You may think that writing is a solitary endeavor, but it doesn’t have to be. I belong to several writing groups that meet regularly to write, share, and critique our work. Today, I’d like to talk about two of them that have been beneficial to me over the years.

The first is called Third Thursday Poets. This started in 2006 as a nine-week class taught by an instructor who was, herself, a published poet. After the class ended, we agreed to meet once a month, and the instructor offered to continue facilitating our meetings. This went on for about two years until our instructor felt she needed to leave the group. We’ve been meeting monthly ever since and take turns facilitating our meetings.

We usually meet for about two hours. Our facilitator provides a prompt that we write on for about twenty minutes. We then each share what we’ve written. After that, the facilitator gives us another prompt as a homework assignment that we can bring to the next meeting. During the second half of the meeting, we critique each other’s homework assignments. Of course, participants don’t have to follow any of the prompts. We can write poetry about anything we want in any form and share it.

When this group started as a class, my late husband had just been discharged from the nursing home after suffering his first stroke, and I’d started caring for him. Most of the poems I wrote for this group were inspired by my caregiving experiences, and many of them ended up in my collection, How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver. I’ll always be grateful for the feedback I received from participants of this group.

The other group that has been helpful to me over the years is called Explorations in Creative Writing. I discovered it in 2009 when someone mentioned the group in a comment on my blog. This is mostly a fiction critique group, and we’re laid-back and close-knit. We meet once a week via phone conference to critique each other’s work, which we send to our email list before each meeting. Our participants are scattered across the country and are mostly blind or visually impaired.

Although most of this group’s participants write fiction, I felt comfortable submitting an occasional poem for critique. But I got the most help with my memoir, My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds and my novel, The Red Dress. I’m working on another novel, with which they’ve also been helpful. I’ll always be thankful for the feedback and support this group has given me.

I belong to other writers’ organizations. But because the two groups I’ve discussed are small, we can be more intimate and provide participants with a better experience.

Thanks to blogger Lynda McKinney Lambert for inspiring this post. How about you? Do you belong to any writing groups? How have they helped you? I look forward to reading your responses, either in the comment field below or on your own blog with a link to this post. Thank you for coming today.

 

New! The Red Dress

Copyright July 2019 by DLD Books

Front cover contains: young, dark-haired woman in red dress holding flowers

When Eve went to her high school senior prom, she wore a red dress that her mother had made for her. That night, after dancing with the boy of her dreams, she caught him in the act with her best friend. Months later, Eve, a freshman in college, is bullied into giving the dress to her roommate. After her mother finds out, their relationship is never the same again.

Twenty-five years later, Eve, a bestselling author, is happily married with three children. Although her mother suffers from dementia, she still remembers, and Eve still harbors the guilt for giving the dress away. When she receives a Facebook friend request from her old college roommate and an invitation to her twenty-five-year high school class reunion, then meets her former best friend by chance, she must confront the past in order to face the future.

***

My Books

My Amazon Author Page

Facebook

WebsiteImage contains: Abbie, smiling.