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.

Advertisements

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.

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.

Goodbye, Mabel and Sharon Rose

Most times it is quite sad saying goodbye. Especially if it is to someone or something we’re going to miss. Some of us like to say, ‘see you later.’ Of course, if we are planning to see them the next day or week, that makes sense. If it is someone we do not expect to see again, it is sad but we have to use the ‘real’ word – goodbye. For example, I was underlining a paragraph in a book on my computer and did not realize that the highlight had spread to every paragraph. While I thought I was deleting the highlights in one paragraph, I was in fact deleting all of them! It was a sad goodbye because it meant starting all over again.

Sadly, now it is time to say ‘so long’ to Mabel Wickles. Mabel is the protagonist in my Parson’s Cove cozy mystery series. I must say that I have enjoyed writing about her adventures. She and Flori Flanders make a great twosome. As the English say, they are as different as chalk and cheese. Flori is married to Jake and has a large family; Mabel is single and has a houseful of cats. Missed by a Hair was the first Parson’s Cove mystery and it was published in 2004. When my contract was up, instead of renewing, Mabel disappeared from the scene. I did not feel my writing did her justice.

After writing two more Mabel books, I decided to look for a publisher again. In 2012, I joined Cozy Cat Press. CCP was brand new to the publishing scene. At that time, there were four authors: Patricia Rockwell(our publisher and author), Diane (one of Patricia’s close friends), Al, and me. I am sure it was a learning process for all of us. This was the first time I had used the internet for publishing and had no idea what I was doing most of the time. Patricia was very patient. During the following four years, I wrote four Parson’s Cove books and came to know and appreciate other CCP authors.

So, you might wonder, why is the Parson’s Cove mystery series disappearing again? Once again, I am looking through my books and realizing I need to make some changes. This time I need to work at it at a slower pace.

Many years ago, I removed another book – it was called Who Needs Enemies?. The main character was Beryl Swallows, an ex-cop and now private investigator. Since then, she has reappeared in Virtual Enemies and now in a new book, Case Closed. not.

My hope is that while I am taking my time with Mabel, I can also work on another Historical Fiction book. As you can see, I have much work ahead of me.

Oh, did I say ‘goodbye to Sharon Rose’ too? That’s right, I will publish all my books from now on using my name Sharon Mierke. The world of books seems quite filled with Sharon Roses so in order for readers not to be confused, I will use my last name – even though most do not know how to pronounce it! For those of you who are curious, it is pronounced Merkee.

Well, I refuse to say ‘goodbye.’ Perhaps, ‘see you later,’ is more appropriate. Best wishes to everyone and happy writing.

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!’

 

 

 

Two Cozy Cat Press authors nominated

 

AURORA, Ill.Sept. 3, 2016 — Independent publisher of mystery books, Cozy Cat Press, today announced that two of its authors––Alice K. Boatwright and Vicki Vass––have been announced as finalists in Chanticleer’s Murder and Mayhem Novel Writing Contest for 2016. Boatwright’s mystery Under an English Heaven and Vass’s Murder by the Spoonful are the books being honored.

According to Cozy Cat Press publisher, Patricia Rockwell, “We are extremely proud of Alice and Vicki.  The Murder and Mayhem contest is one that is quite meaningful to us because it honors cozy mysteries specifically.  The fact that two of our authors have been selected as finalists for this prize, is especially gratifying.”

Alice K. Boatwright’s book, Under an English Heaven, is her first Ellie Kent mystery and her first book with Cozy Cat Press. She is also the author of Collateral Damage, three novellas about the long-term impact of the Vietnam War, which won the 2013 Bronze Award for Literary Fiction from the Independent Publisher Book Awards. She formerly lived in the Cotswolds for several years, and now divides her time between the U.S. and Paris.

Vicki Vass has written more than 1,400 articles for The Chicago Tribune as well as Women’s World, The Daily Herald and Home & Away. Her science fiction novel, The Lexicon, was inspired by her journeys in the jungle of Sudan, Africa, while writing about the ongoing civil war for World Relief. She has also authored Killer Finds, Pickin’ Murder, and Key to a Murder in her Antique Hunters Mystery series with Cozy Cat, as well as a new series Gem Hunter. She lives outside Chicago, with her writer, musician, husband Brian, their 20-year old son Tony, kittens Pixel and Terra, Australian shepherd Bandit, seven koi and Gary the turtle.

For more information about these and other cozy mystery authors, and about Cozy Cat Press, readers may visit the company’s website:  www.cozycatpress.com. For more information about Chanticleer’s Murder and Mayhem contest: http://www.chantireviews.com/2016/08/18/the-mms-chanticle….

 

 

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

Self-Induced Solitary Confinement

out of charge

By Julie Seedorf

I had my week planned. I was cat sitting my grandkitties, and I would be alone the entire week. My plan was to write, write and write some more and finish my next book.

I arrived at my daughter’s house on Sunday after coming back from my son’s house and his wedding in Iowa. That meant we had traveled for hours. I left my husband at home so he could get ready for a few days fishing up north and then I proceeded north myself to cat sit.

I was ready. After my daughter and her husband left for the airport at 5:30 a.m. I went back to bed intending to get a few more hours sleep. I did wake up again at 8 o’clock and had no energy to pursue anything but laying on the couch, reading and watching television and taking a nap. The only thing I did that day was feed the cats, change the litter box and scrounge in the fridge for food, being too lazy to go to the grocery store. I was tired. I was detailed out.

The next morning I woke up somewhat more energized. I made it to the grocery store and stocked up on food for a few days. When I got back to my grandkitties, I again sat on the couch and read a book. I would write later in the day. Their couch is very comfy and again I took a nap.

By Wednesday I figured out I needed the time to rest. I needed a week away from noise, looking at all the repairs and housework that was needed at my house, and away from the noise of social media and the all the details of my life.

We don’t think of all the details we take care of on a daily basis that exhaust us emotionally and physically. For me that means interacting on social media, writing, cleaning, taking care of my outside plants, washing dishes, cleaning toilets and sending cards to those who have died and have birthdays and are sick. It means cleaning litter boxes and feeding cats and buying groceries. It means remembering all my grandchildren’s birthdays and kid’s birthdays and finding the appropriate presents. It means paying bills, figuring my meager checkbook and keeping track of schedules.

My social media schedule includes everyday interacting with my readers and other authors via Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and other sites. It means promoting my books, scheduling interviews, doing interviews, writing guest blog posts, writing my own blog, keeping up with my website and doing promotion for another business and keeping my Amazon author page up to date. It also means reading books by other authors whose books aren’t out yet. We read our friends work to make sure it makes sense before it is published or if it needs a short blurb for the cover. We all share our work so we can make it the very best.

Details rule my life, and because there are so many my old head spins round and round. You might tell me that is my own choosing, and it is. It is now my career and all that comes with it, and I do love my career. It is my dream job. But I realized I was tired and needed to rest instead of write so my brain could churn out creativity again.

My planned writing retreat became a solitary time to rest, reflect and rejuvenate. I saw a quote on the day I was to begin my solitary week and it said: “If you want to be strong learn to enjoy being alone.”

As an only child, I didn’t like being alone. I always surrounded myself with friends. As an adult, I didn’t like going anywhere alone and I always made sure I had someone with me. Alone by myself was not a place I liked to be. As I grow older, I find that I like being with myself from time to time. As a young adult, I think my fear of being alone was because alone I might have to contemplate my life — who I was and whether I liked myself. It was easier to be in the noise than to look at myself and the qualities I didn’t like or look at what was happening in my life that I didn’t want to face. And I felt weak alone.

Last summer I spent three weeks cat sitting with my grandcats, and I learned many things about myself. I don’t mind spending time with me or taking a retreat by myself. I can shed off the details and rest and reflect. I can eat when I want to eat, sleep when I want to sleep and write, paint or go out and learn a new craft. I can wallow in reading or television or take a solitary walk and enjoy nature. I become in touch with me again because I get lost in the details of life during the year. I knew it was something I had to do again and was excited when given the chance to do it this year again.

On my “me” fweek this year, I did manage to write but it was late at night. When the urge hit I could pick up my computer and pound away and not disturb anyone. I could sleep in and know no one would be coming to the door and I wouldn’t be disturbed by the phone or others in the house. I could drink a glass of wine in the morning on the porch and have a cup of coffee in the evening and stay up late watching the strawberry moon. I was free to do what I wanted to do when I wanted to do it.

Now I am ready to be back in the real world with others and hopefully I will be a better person to be around because I have again become in touch with me.

If you get a chance I would recommend a solitary retreat to everyone. It might change your life.

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: