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. 

My Conflicts of Interest

It has been quite some time since I sat down and tapped out a blog. I would like to list my reasons for not doing so sooner, but sadly, I have none. Unless you count laziness and lack of imagination as reasons. In my case, they seem to be.

Spring is here. At least, it says so on my calendar. I actually believed it one day because the temperature, the bits of green grass poking out of the ground, and the birds singing proved it. Then suddenly the warm temperature disappeared and a cold north wind took its place. It was discouraging but this was April in Canada.

You would think with all the fluctuating temperatures, it would be an ideal time to curl up inside with your laptop and write a book. My agenda for the year includes writing three new books. My Mabel Wickles series is in need of a new book because there is now a new sheriff who needs Mabel’s help. Retired Reg Smee has started up a taxi service and I’m sure he’s going to find a dead body in one of his taxis any day now. Beryl Swallows has moved to Arizona but how much will she miss her neighbor, Sam Galloway? Perhaps finding a body at the bottom of her apartment’s garbage chute will keep her mind off her homesickness. Then there’s my historical fiction novel, Sarah’s Valley – too many readers have said they want to learn more about the young man, Patrick.  Obviously, I must write My Return to Sarah’s Valley.

However, I have one more hurdle (besides the lack of imagination and laziness) to overcome. Even though the weather is yucky, I have a conflict of interest. Every spring, my mind turns to spring cleaning. I know, it’s an old fashioned concept. Once it’s been ingrained in you, it’s hard to let it go. No, I don’t wash all the walls and windows in my house like I once did but I suddenly get the urge to empty out all my closets and then neatly replace everything. Well, maybe I do wash most of the windows but I draw the line at wall washing. Now it consists of wiping around all the light switches.

This is also the time of year that I get the urge to paint. I think this is my way of getting out of washing walls. So far, I’ve decided on a lighter gray for the hallway, a darker color for the main bathroom, and perhaps a brighter shade for one wall in the kitchen.

After spring cleaning is over, it’s gardening time. Already my husband is getting ready to start plants in the house. I’m wondering what flowers to plant this year and how I can rearrange my pots. Should I buy new ones or just use some of the leftover paint from the kitchen to spruce them up a bit?

Now you understand my conflicts of interest. I have no concept of writers who sit down every day, at the same desk, in the same spot, and write, spellbound, for hours at a time. If I’m going to write three books, it will be done while I’m sitting on the floor in my closet surrounded by my junk, while waiting for paint to dry, or while I’m sitting on the ground, waiting for my husband to finish tilling the garden.

Well, I have to get those books written before fall because that’s when fall cleaning begins.

Where I’m at…

After being in Texas for a while, you begin to pick up some of the jargon. Obviously, I find myself saying ‘y’all’ instead of ‘all of you,’ as if three words were too difficult to say. And instead of saying, ‘where are you?’ for some reason, ‘Where’re you at?’ pops out of my mouth. I do realize that after returning to Canada, I have to let go of my Texas talk. Not that anyone would say anything; folks are much too polite but they might secretly roll their eyes. Canadians are proud of their British roots, which means finishing each word properly and not leaving anything off – like the ‘g’ in words that end with ‘ing.’ It also means speaking slowly and pronouncing each syllable. To Texans, this is a foreign language.

However, I digress. I really do want to tell you where I’m at.

Where I’m at with my writing, that is.

A couple of months ago, I was not pleased with how my writing was going. Basically,  that is because it was going nowhere. It wasn’t that I wanted or had the desire to become a well known author or even make tons of money. I wanted to enjoy what I was doing but I was not. That’s where I was at then.

I decided to change my whole outlook about writing. Writing should be fun. I did not want it to be stressful in any way. When I’m not writing, there is something missing in my life. It’s good for my brain. It forces me to widen my vocabulary. In other words, it’s healthy. Especially as we age.

I was never satisfied with two of my books and I always thought that if someone read one of those books first, they would never want to read another. It feels terrible not liking your own books. However, they were there for anyone to buy. Overnight, I made the decision to republish all my books. It was as if a weight lifted off my shoulders. When you decide to do this without any premeditation, it is like plunging into a pool of cold water!

While family members worked on covers, I edited one book at a time. After publishing my books the first time, I never picked one up to read. I was too afraid they might be as bad as some reviewers wrote. Well, guess what? I read, I edited, I did some rewriting, and in the end, I thoroughly enjoyed every book! Creating covers was a bit of a challenge but I have a very talented daughter, and together with her dad’s finishing touches, I was very pleased with the end result. They were ‘me.’

I now have all my books on Kindle for 99 cents and they will stay that price. These I write for friends and family and for anyone else who would enjoy reading them. Every few weeks, I will pick one book and do a free promotion. I feel happy doing this.

And, that is where I’m at.

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!’

 

 

 

Having fun with words!

Good morning, everyone! Well, it is the second Thursday of the month and even though we don’t have a set schedule anymore, I’m still on a schedule. I thought I would share some cute plays with words. See how many you can come up with.

“Lexophile” is a word used to describe those that have a love for words, such as “you can tune a piano, but you can’t tuna fish”, or “To write with a broken pencil is pointless.” A competition to see who can come up with the best lexophiles is held every year in an undisclosed location.

..No matter how much you push the envelope, it’ll still be stationery.

..If you don’t pay your exorcist you can get repossessed.

..I’m reading a book about anti-gravity. I just can’t put it down.

..I didn’t like my beard at first. Then it grew on me.

..Did you hear about the crossed-eyed teacher who lost her job because she couldn’t control her pupils?

..When you get a bladder infection, urine trouble.

..When chemists die, they barium.

..I stayed up all night to see where the sun went, and then it dawned on me.

..I changed my iPod’s name to Titanic. It’s syncing now.

..England has no kidney bank, but it does have a Liverpool.

..Haunted French pancakes give me the crepes.

..This girl today said she recognized me from the Vegetarians Club, but I’d swear I’ve never met herbivore

..I know a guy who’s addicted to brake fluid, but he says he can stop any time.

..A thief who stole a calendar got twelve months.

..When the smog lifts in Los Angeles U.C.L.A.

..The batteries were given out free of charge.

..A dentist and a manicurist married. They fought tooth and nail.

..A will is a dead giveaway.

..With her marriage, she got a new name and a dress.

..A boiled egg is hard to beat.

..When you’ve seen one shopping center you’ve seen a mall.

..Police were summoned to a daycare center where a three-year-old was resisting a rest.

..Did you hear about the fellow whose entire left side was cut off? He’s all right now.

..A bicycle can’t stand alone; it’s just two tired.

..The guy who fell onto an upholstery machine is now fully recovered.

..He had a photographic memory which was never developed.

..When she saw her first strands of grey hair she thought she’d dye.

..Acupuncture is a jab well done. That’s the point of it.

..Those who get too big for their pants will be totally exposed in the end.

 

 

https://www.amazon.com/Sharon-Rose/e/B00BL8HTZY/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

Book of the Month

Hi everyone!

Where did August go and why did the temperature change overnight? Suddenly, I’m sleeping longer in the morning and feeling chilled even when it’s still warm outside. That’s what autumn does to a person. For many, this is the best time of year. It isn’t mine but then I tend to be a bit of a killjoy. As each day gets cooler and each leaf flutters to the ground, my mind suddenly fills with pictures of blowing snow and icy roads. Sorry about that!

There is, however, something to look forward to every month of the year – whether it’s 35*Celsius (very hot) or -25*Celsius (very cold) – and that is my Book of the Month!

September’s book on Kindle for 99 cents is calamity@thecarwash.

A marital spat at a car wash turns deadly – and Mabel Wickles, Parson’s Cove’s amateur sleuth, isn’t buying the claim that the victim’s wife bashed him over the head with a brick. However, when the woman confesses to the murder, Mabel decides to investigate the crime herself – along with help from her best friend Flori, her cat Sammy, and a busload of senior citizens.

Not Great!

And I know I have your attention because there are so many things in life that are ‘not great.’ For example, it could be the weather. Right now, my husband is in bed with  heat exhaustion. We live in a part of the world where it’s so cold in the winter that by March, you are starting to dream about heat. At that point, you doubt you could ever get warm and you would be thrilled to just sit and sweat. Well, guess what? You get heat for three months and you are longing to get cooled down again. Of course, there are other aspects of the weather that are not great either – like tornadoes and flooding.

I’m thinking of something else though and that’s getting older. Now, I know it’s inescapable so there’s no point in moaning about all our aches and pains. Today, I’m dealing with one depressing truth about aging and that’s your memory. Where the heck does it go?? Friends tell me that I have an amazing memory. And it’s true, I can remember when I was a very small child. Many memories are so fresh, it seems like yesterday and not seventy years ago. So, you ask, what’s your problem, lady?

I’ll tell you my problem: Why can’t I remember things that I did a couple of days ago? Or even yesterday when I told my husband that I’d put his phone in a certain place? Why was it somewhere else where I was sure it wasn’t? Now, you know my problem.

What is bringing all this to my mind? As I started to check some of my past blogs, I noticed something. In May, my book Perplexity on P 1/2 was on for 99 cents. No, that can’t be! It is August’s Book of the Month. Surely, I couldn’t have put the same book on only a few months apart. I do have six Parson’s Cove mysteries so why would I keep repeating one book? I’ll tell you why – I am over seventy and have a lousy memory!

On the other hand, I might be able to get away with a few things. Who can get upset with a senior who sports a blank look on her face when she’s in trouble? I wouldn’t try it with a big tough traffic cop though – you might end up having to forfeit your driver’s license.

So, as far as I can remember, my two books on sale this month for 99 cents are Perplexity on P 1/2 (which I’m sure you remember was for that price in May) and Sarah’s Valley. If you didn’t get them then, you’d better get them now because who knows when I’ll remember to put them on special again!

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

Made it by the skin of my teeth!

Since the beginning of August, I have been thinking about posting a blog the second Thursday of the month. That used to be my day on the schedule. We now have no schedule so we can post whenever we like. That really throws a person off. I happen to be a person of habit.

So, this is what I’d like to talk about – habits!

There are good and bad habits as everyone knows. People struggle to overcome bad ones and struggle to start new ones. Habits are a bit like New Year’s resolutions – we try to break old habits too quickly or try to develop too many new ones all at once and get frustrated.

Let’s say we smoke, have poor eating habits, and don’t exercise at all. One morning, we wake up with a horrible cough, believe we might have lung cancer, so decide to stop smoking that very day. Since the other two habits tend to cause health problems too, we decide to not only stop smoking but eat properly and exercise.   Our goal is to exercise an hour a day and go vegetarian. We plan to begin immediately.

How long do you think our grand transformation will last? Maybe until noon if we’re lucky. Why? Because we’ve bitten off more than we can chew. Breaking or changing a habit has to be a slow process. You have to be able to visualize the end result and keep it always in your mind. Perhaps, you will be able to break the smoking habit after three months. If that is your goal, it will seem more achievable. If you want to start exercising, why not start with fifteen minutes a day or a half hour three times a week? And you want to become a vegetarian?  After a week, you might cave in, eat a huge double bacon cheeseburger, and give up. Maybe try eating a meatless meal once or twice a week to start out.

And what about writing habits? Do you have a certain routine you have to go through? I do. I have a certain place where I always write. It’s like my brain doesn’t function anywhere else. Do I start writing immediately? No, I have a habit of checking out certain websites before I can begin. And when my mind is going too fast for my fingers to type, I stop and play Mahjong Tiles! Those are my writing habits. They are actually kind of silly but they seem to work for me and I believe they are quite harmless.

Well, this wasn’t a profound blog but it did get published on the second Thursday of the month. I will now make it a habit to mark it on my calendar.

Happy writing everyone!

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