A Writer or a Storyteller?

Are you a writer or a storyteller? Since I write two different genres, this question came up into my mind. There does seem to be a difference. When I’m writing a mystery, I feel like a writer. I have to know the beginning and the end. I have to know ‘who done it’ right at the start. As the plot unfolds, there has to be red herrings thrown in – but not helter-skelter. It has to all go by plan. There has to be several suspects; after all, it wouldn’t be much of a read if you figured out the mystery after the first chapter. In other words, you can’t just sit down at your computer and tell a story.

Historical fiction, on the other hand, is told by a storyteller. It’s true that you do need to know where you’re going with it but if you’re following a time in history, much is done for you. It  takes research on your part but then you can fit your characters into their life. There might be a mystery involved or a romance but your main emphasis is on life during that time period. Everything else adds interest and spice to your story. Your readers take themselves back in time and become those people. They feel the hardships, joys, endurance, and struggles. Unlike reading a mystery, where you wait with great anticipation until the end to find out who the culprit is, in historical fiction, you live the story from beginning to end.

Which do I prefer writing? I guess it depends on my mood. Right now, I’m writing a historical fiction that is a sequel to Sarah’s Valley. This one will be the next generation so I will be checking out what life was like during the 1930s and 1940s in southern Saskatchewan, Canada. I have the plan in my head but there will be no mysteries or romance – just a story about a young man  who faced hardships but is helped by a ten year old boy. I’m planning on telling a feel-good story!

When that is finished and published, I will think of what murder I can plot for either Beryl or Mabel to solve.

The Illusive Review

Once again I’m ranting my frustrations out to the world. The forever thorn in my flesh – my illusive book reviews!

This would not be such a concern except for the fact that I would really love to hear how readers are reacting to my work. It isn’t that I expect every person to love every book I’ve ever written and to deluge me with five star reviews.

Okay, well, maybe I wouldn’t mind being deluged with that but it doesn’t seem to be realistic, does it? Even John Grisham gets some nasty ones. Rogue Lawyer: A Novel Paperback 4.0 out of 5 stars. If you’re talking over 9,000 reviews, it means there are over 2,000 negatives ones.

Now here’s my take on it – if Mr. Grisham can handle over 2000 negative reviews and keep on pumping out amazing novels, I can handle a few negative ones too. The ratio is probably about the same.

Do you think John spends his evenings reading over all his reviews and moaning about all the ones that say they wasted two days reading his book and wished they would have spent the time more productively? I doubt that very much. I would wager a guess that he doesn’t even look at the great reviews. He probably goes right on with his next work, never looking back.

So why does it bring such anxiety to the average little author like me? It’s because we still need to be reassured that what we’re doing isn’t a complete waste of time and that somewhere hidden deep within us is that great novel just waiting to come out. Perhaps Mr. Grisham feels the same way. How do we know? He might feel that his best is still to come. Although I’m sure that his bank account lessens the worry.

Obviously, if a book is not selling, there will be no reviews. However, what if the book is selling? What holds readers back from writing a review?

A personal question: Do YOU write a review for every book you read? Honestly, do you? I have to say that I don’t. Why? Sometimes it’s just a matter of time. I plan on writing one but somehow before I know it, I’m on to my next book and I lose my focus. When I read, I read for the moment. Ask me a week later what I read and I have no idea. I do remember if I liked the book or if I didn’t but don’t ask me about the characters or the plot – my mind is already on the next book. That, of course, is no excuse for not writing a review. It only takes a few minutes to go online and write a few words.

I also believe that many readers feel they have to be a writer to write a review. No one is asking for that. All I need is a ‘Loved the book.’ Along with five stars, of course! No, just kidding – I’m quite happy with four.

So now, as a reader, you understand how desperate and lacking in confidence we writers really are. As we always say, If you loved our story, tell your friends and write a review; if you hated it, tell your enemies. 

What She Writes and Why She Writes…

Meet Rebekah Lee Jenkins!

 

The quote goes something like this “Here’s to strong women. May we know them, may we be them, may we raise them.” I would like to add… may we write about them to inspire this generation. The Night They Came For Til, is a book about strong women who follow their passion in life despite the roles society tried to stifle them into.

Twenty two years standing behind a cutting chair as a hairdresser, I know a lot about women and I love watching women succeed. Love it. So, Shannon’s story is about a young woman with a strong aunt Til who champions her. Til instills in her that she can lead an unconventional life; she can defy the role she has been assigned, and soldier forth on her own terms. She can choose her career, and then marriage and children. Til wanted the best for Shannon. I can relate, I feel the same way about my girls.

I wrote this book for my nieces, all of them, Sophia, Olivia and Meika but due to her age, specifically Azelin Rose. I hope they find their true passion in life and pursue it with every confidence. I hope the men they find love them as equals and propel them forward in life. I hope we raise them with the self worth to demand it.

The Night They Came For Til explores the relationship between Aunt and Niece, between men and women, in the progressive era where women demanded equal rights and some men complied. Issues we still grapple with today.

The Night They Came for Til is coming soon to Kindle. I hope you enjoy it!

 

Coming soon to kindle:

The Night They Came For Til, they took me too.”

In the tenements of London England, 1904 is dangerous time to be suffragettes on crusade.

Shannon’s aunt Matilda “Til” Stone, gynecologist, suffragette, and all around tyrant, believes women should have the right to birth control and self determination. After ten years spent at Til’s side, Shannon was trained as a midwife to be her right hand.

“It’s not enough to be on the front line of this battle Shannon; you must hold the line and advance it forward.” Til reminded Shannon at every opportunity.

After a brutal attack that was meant to destroy their work, Shannon is shipped off to Canada to avoid the scandal around Til’s arrest.

In Oakland Manitoba, Shannon landed in women’s rights battle that shook the community and threatened the new hospital.

Busy working as a midwife Shannon helped the women of the community find their voice while she found her own.

Faced with a choice to live a normal life as a wife and mother or go back to England and crusade with her aunt,  this book explores her choices and how they affected an entire community.

The Night They Came for Til is a historical fiction novel based on true events.

Reading it over…for the first time!

Good morning, everyone.

First of all, let’s talk about the weather. No, seriously… we are having a heatwave in central Canada! I keep advertising my books and telling readers they should stalk up for the fall/winter weather reading. I don’t think anyone is even reading my posts, they are all outside walking around in shorts. Aww, good for them. When the cold does hit us, we will be in shock for the first few weeks and really complaining. Especially here in Canada. That is our national pastime – we may be polite but we are also big time complainers when it comes to the weather. No one is complaining at the moment though.

Were any of you wondering about my subject line? How can you read something over again … for the first time? I discovered that you can. Perhaps some of you have noticed that my Parson’s Cove mystery series is no longer available. There is a reason; I am reading them over again for the first time. In doing so, I have discovered something about myself. I am not the horrible writer that I thought I was. My first book, Slip and Go Die, is actually quite a good read.

I don’t know if other authors are like me but once a book was published, I never went back to read it. I moved on. In the back of my mind, I was afraid I would see too many mistakes and I would see what readers didn’t like about it. By that time, I felt it was too late to do anything about it anyway, so why torture myself. However, once it was unpublished, I could read it with an open mind and make all those changes I was dreading that I would find.

Guess what? There were very few changes that I had to make. I did remove about a hundred commas, semi-colons, and colons, but other than that, I was quite pleased with my writing.

The moral of this story is not to tell writers to republish all their books, it is simply to say, you are probably a better writer than you think you are. Don’t be afraid to go back and reread your old books. It will boost your confidence and give you the incentive to encourage readers to buy your books. Then when you are promoting your work, you will do it like you mean it … and you will mean it!

(On the other hand, you might read it, hate it, and stop writing altogether. That, of course, is a discussion for another day!)

 

https://www.amazon.com/Sharon-Rose/e/B00BL8HTZY/ref=dp_byline_cont_pop_ebooks_1

 

BOOKS of the month!

Hi Everyone!

Well, autumn is here in full force. There’s a bit of a nip to the air in the morning – unless you live closer to the equator, that is. Where I live, it is COLD in the mornings now. Most of the leaves are starting to turn color except for those that started out slow in the spring. It seems our Ash tree is the last to leaf out in the spring but the last to also lose its leaves in the fall. We do have green all year in our yard because we have cedars and evergreens. I’m sorry to say, we have no palm trees.

Another sign of fall is the crockpot. Out is comes because suddenly you have a yearning for soups and stews. Warm days can bring barbequing but somehow, it isn’t as thrilling as it was during the hot months. Let’s face it, we are tired of hot dogs and hamburgers. Of course, we never tire of steaks but that’s something entirely different. I would barbeque steaks outside if it were thirty below. It’s sad that a couple of pounds of beef now costs about as much as the down payment on a small vehicle.

Oh yes, my subject was BOOKS of the month. Yes, you saw it correctly. ALL the Parson’s Cove Cozy Mysteries are 99 cents for the month of September. After September, you will have to wait a while for them to reappear on Amazon. They are going in for a lube job and overhaul. Meanwhile,  you can become acquainted with Beryl Swallows, my new investigator. She’s not quite as old as Mabel and much better looking. She doesn’t have a friend like Flori but she does have a neighbor named Sam. Book One is called Virtual Enemies and Book Two is Case Closed…not.  It will be available in a few weeks. In it, Beryl delves into her mother’s past. It’s a bit frightening to think that your mother may have committed murder.

Until I talk to you again, as a Canadian, I say, ‘Take care, eh!’

 

 

 

The Second Thursday of the Month

Well, here it is, the day you have all been waiting for – the second Thursday of the month. My day to blog.

What has been happening since the second Thursday of last month? Well, we won’t go into world politics or reality television shows. Or the weather.

Let’s just go into writing…

I must admit that I find it hard to write in warm sunny weather. My mind and eyes wander to the outdoors. I keep thinking about all the work I have to do in the yard and in my garden. The birds fly in front of the window and I watch to see in which tree they’ve built their nest. Rabbits hop across the yard and I can’t help but look to see if they’re going to sneak into my carrot patch.

Besides these distractions, the closer we get to summer, the less organized I am. Not that I was all that organized to begin with. I suddenly feel in vacation mode even when we are not going on vacation. Since we love taking our vacations in winter, this means that it’s pretty much vacation time year round and that gives me a guilty conscience! (and a messy house.)

I definitely feel the need to have a set schedule for writing so that I not only accomplish something but I can say in all honesty that I am a writer. My job is writing.

BUT what if you don’t feel like writing during the time that you’ve set aside? What if your mind is blank and you have no desire whatsoever to put anything down on paper? In fact, you stare at your computer screen and you feel like giving it a good punch? What then?

There are so many cute sayings that writers (at least, I surmise they are writers)  come up with and these quips all sound so wise, profound, and sometimes very witty.

e.g:  “Start small. Write a few words every day.”  “Write what you know.” “If you hit a writer’s block, stop and take a break.” “Have a muse.” “If you are not writing, writing, writing, you should be reading, reading, reading.” “Writers are weird and insane.”

Okay, I made that last one up  myself. I have no idea what motivates writers to write. All I know is that with all my procrastinating, daydreaming, and laziness, I manage to polish off a book at least once a year. It’s true; I will never be the organized writer that I dream to be. I will never sit at a desk with my computer and sheets of white paper with outlines spread neatly in front of me. My incentive for writing will continue to be sheer panic. The story in my head will plague me until I can’t stand it anymore and I will hole up in my bedroom in my pajamas with a mug of coffee on my nightstand and I will write until the insanity is gone!

Don’t forget my BOOK of the MONTH for June is Frozen Identity and it’s 99 cents!

http://www.sharonrosemierke.weebly.com

 

 

Attitude – real and fictional

Have you even encountered a person with an ‘attitude’ problem? You know how you feel afterwards. Frankly, they exhaust me. Sometimes we like to find a common ground so there will be less tension but many times that fails.

Some people have a negative attitude about everything. You say, ‘Isn’t it a lovely day?’ They say, ‘Too hot for me. We’re gonna get a hurricane for sure.’ You say, ‘Isn’t this food delicious?’ They screw up their face and say, ‘I wish I’d ordered something else. This is too salty. I’ll probably get sick from it.’ You say, ‘Isn’t this a beautiful rose?’ They say, ‘If you like roses. They tend to make me sneeze.’ You say, ‘Don’t you love this song?’ They say, ‘It’s tinny sounding to me. Gives me a headache.’ You say, ‘Isn’t it a great day to be alive?’ They shrug and say, ‘Maybe for you. My ulcer is acting up.’

Then there are the ones with the uppity attitude. Even when they are looking right into your eyes, you feel as if they were looking down at you. Usually no matter what you say, this person will correct it. You say, ‘The sky is so blue today.’ (You tend to use simple sentences when you feel intimidated) And the superior mind says, ‘Actually, it’s more like the soft color of the lazuli stone.’ You say, ‘This wine is tasty.’ (Never use that word to describe wine unless you’re with another lesser mind.) The hoity-toity person says, ‘It should be. It’s a Verdicchio wine made from the finest grapes in Italy.’ You ask, ‘So what cozy mystery are you reading now?’ They look down their long nose and say, ‘I don’t read cozy mysteries. I prefer 19th century literature.’ Personally, I walk away with an empty feeling in the pit of my stomach. The only retribution I have is if that person trips as he or she walks away and lands on his or her nose.

However, there does happen to be a proper place for those with pessimistic or superior attitudes where we happen to love them! Don’t they make marvelous characters in a book? Don’t you love reading about these irritating miserable people in stories? If a reader feels the urge to drive a spike through a character’s brow, it adds spice to the story. It makes that reader feel so relieved that they don’t have to associate with someone like that in real life. Unfortunately, we do meet up with these characters along life’s highway sometimes and how should we react? My advice is not to drive any spikes into anyone’s brow but rather to treat them as characters in your next book!

 

 

http://www.amazon.com/Sharon-Rose/e/B00BL8HTZY/ref=dp_byline_cont_pop_ebooks_1

Love me as I am…

I was thinking today about all the wonderful friends I have right now and those I’ve had throughout the years. It’s quite amazing how people become good friends. Who chooses whom? Do you know what I mean? I have met women that within minutes, I knew we would be friends. There is this certain chemistry which is hard to explain. It goes beyond what we have in common because I have absolutely nothing in common with some of my best friends. I enjoy their differences and for some unknown reason, they enjoy mine. Go figure!

I have friends who suffer from depression but we are able to laugh together. One friend happens to be a big-time hypochondriac and when we get together, we share our aches and pains. She knows the name of every brand of medication from the cure for headaches to the diet for diverticulosis. If I’m not feeling well, she is the one who shows the most empathy.

Four years ago, I met up with my first roommate after many years of not seeing each other or keeping in touch. We shared the attic suite in an old house back in 1963! What did we do when we got together? We laughed and acted like we were twenty again. It was so easy to pick up where we left off.

IMG1279

 

Ah, but what is the connection to writing? It is wonderful to write about friends. The two main characters in my Parson Cove mystery series are best friends – lifelong friends. And, they are as opposite as chalk and cheese.

As lovely as it would be to write solely about the fun and enjoyment best friends share, there is always a need for conflict. Believe it or not, a book gets quite boring if everything is always hunky-dory. So, we need to create a character that stirs our emotions in other ways. If we’re writing a mystery, we obviously don’t want to end up loving the killer and feeling disappointed when he or she gets caught. We might love them at the beginning of a story but as the story unfolds, we have to see some characteristics that we don’t particularly like. We also have to see the imperfections in the good characters; otherwise it would be too easy to pick out who ‘did it.’

No matter how wonderful we think people are, we know we all have our shortcomings. For example, Mabel Wickles, my protagonist in my cozy mystery series, even irritates me sometimes. Why is she so snoopy? Why does she get herself into such dangerous situations? And then, there’s Flori Flanders – why does she cry over every little thing?

And my wonderful friends? They are also imperfect – just like me! I am forever grateful that they overlook my shortcomings and love me as I am.

http://authorsdb.com/breaking-news/21110-the-widow-s-walk

Dead Lines… and Stuff

As you can tell by the subject, we are going to discuss something that mystery writers talk about all the time. After all, we solve murders, right? This usually involves a dead body. Of course, there are other ‘dead’ names for dead bodies. For example, dead duck.
We usually are not referring to a literal duck when we say that, we are talking about someone who just breathed his last. Perhaps, your protagonist witnesses a man trying to escape out of a twenty-first floor balcony; he falls to his death, and she says, “Boy, he’s gotta be a dead duck!”
Because he is dead, the cop at the scene says, with a deadpan face, ‘Someone help me pick him up; he’s a dead weight.” Well, of course, he is because he is a dead body. As soon as he ran onto the balcony, he knew it was a dead end and there was nowhere else to go – only down, falling through dead air.
However, your sleuth has some solving to do. How did the killer get into the room in the first place when the door was locked with … you guessed it – a deadbolt? Do you think his ex-wife coerced him to come there because he was a deadbeat dad? When he opened the door and walked in, she aimed dead center at his heart; however, it was a dead heat and he aimed and hit and she aimed and missed.
The irony of this whole story is that the deadbeat dad sent his twin brother to knock off his ex-wife and since they were dead ringers of each other, she shot at the wrong man. The deadbeat dad then bolted the dead lock so his brother couldn’t escape. The deadbeat dad, however, could escape. He fled to Deadwood, South Dakota, and from there caught a plane to the Mediterranean where he is now relaxing beside the Dead Sea.
As you see, we use the word ‘dead’ quite often in our English language. (I refuse to say that’s because it’s not a dead language). In fact, I wasn’t even going to talk about all the words that include ‘that’ word. All I originally wanted to do was talk about deadlines! And the reason I wanted to was because I knew my turn was coming up to write my blog and I couldn’t think of a thing to say. Well, I still can’t but it seems I’ve filled up the page anyway. That’s what a deadline will do. It makes you panic and write.

I’m pleased to say that my second Historical Fiction book, The Widow’s Walk, is now available on Kindle. Please check out my other books – six Parson’s Cove Cozy Mysteries, Virtual Enemies, and Sarah’s Valley.
My website is http://www.sharonrosemierke.weebly.com
I am also on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

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