Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween and Villains

Happy Halloween!!!

Seems like today would be a great day to talk about villains.

Who are the villains who have given you nightmares?

Ring Wraiths?

I loved Lord of the Rings, so the Ring Wraiths haunted me for a while. I don't think I'm alone. I remember when I saw the very first movie in the trilogy at the theater, there was a woman who stood up in the audience and screamed when a Ring Wraith appeared, though as the movie progressed she settled down. I'm sure they gave her nightmares.

When I was a little girl the ultimate scary guy was Captain Hook.

He seems very mild in comparison to other villains. But for a five-year-old who was nearly caught in his hook in Disneyland, he was terrifying. Obviously that was a long time ago.

I think one of the most scary villains I've seen lately was George Harvey in The Lovely Bones.

I had nightmares after seeing that film. Couldn't watch Stanley Tucci, who played that character, for a while either.

So how about you? Who have been the scariest villains you've seen in a movie or have read in a book?

We'll continue our discussion about villains Wednesday with a writing tip on how to write a scary villain.


Friday, October 28, 2011

Halloween Favorite . . .

I have my grandsons today, and all they can think about is Halloween. So I thought I'd keep this short and scary with a Feel-Good clip from one of my favorite Halloween movies.

Have a great weekend!!!


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Hidden Benefits of Keeping a Journal


A friend asked if I would contribute a true-life story to a book he has been asked to write. I thought about incidents in my life that might add to what he is trying to do. I remembered something that happened a long, long time ago, but I couldn't recall with clarity names and dates, so I pulled out one of my journals. 

First let me tell you, I'm not a consistent journal writer. I'd rather write a fictional story. And I probably wouldn't keep a journal at all, but my church encourages members to keep one, so over the years I have on occasion written about special events in my life. 

Monday I turned to the page where I'd written about this certain event and started to read. I ended up spending most of Monday and part of Tuesday reading my journals and learning something about myself as a writer and most importantly as a person. 

As a writer . . . 
Lo those many years ago, I yearned to have a book published. And as I read what I'd written way back then, I could see that my writing lacked structure and needed editing. I must say, however, that my penmanship was much better when I was younger. I read through the years and found where I'd received encouraging letters from agents and editors. And then, finally, I read about the day my first book was accepted for publication. All those years of work and waiting paid off. Lesson learned as a writer . . . keep working on your craft, keep setting goals, believe in yourself, and you'll make it.

As a person . . .
As I read about the young mother I was back then, I could see my world was very small. Reading through one experience after another, I remembered some of life's hard knocks and how many times I struggled as a mother and wife. I worried as my children grew through their trying teenage years and felt sorrow when they were hurt. I noticed my tone changed as well. No longer was I an innocent young mother full of hope. I was a worried parent wanting my children to make good choices. I read about my daughter's wedding, and when my other daughter went on her mission. I read about my son graduating from college the day after my mother passed away and how I was filled with great sorrow from losing her, but also great happiness and pride in my son. I could see where I'd made mistakes, where I wished I'd made better choices, and how much I missed people who are no longer in my life. Lesson learned as a person . . . I've been through some tough times, but I've also been through good times as well.

Writing in a journal has hidden benefits because it not only records history and hones your writing, but it's also a reminder of how far you've traveled as a writer and a person. You know what? I wish I had written more.

What about you? Do you keep a journal? What are the benefits you have found from writing in a journal?


Monday, October 24, 2011

Flour and Story Premise

Another busy weekend of canning apple butter, applesauce, and apple-pie filling. But I'm finally done. When I finished, I realized one of the quarts of apple-pie filling didn't seal properly, so I decided to make an apple pie. For me, the best part of making pie is pie-crust cookies. 

Thank you, Photobucket for the picture.

Yummo! However, as we ate them while watching a movie, I noticed a strange taste. Couldn't quite put my finger on what it was, but for the first time not all the cookies were eaten. Later in the evening we decided to eat a piece of pie. I couldn't wait. 

Another wonderful Photobucket photo.
The pie looked great, however, I hadn't cook it long enough and the apples were too crunchy. And there was that strange taste in the crust. I was so disappointed. So all wasn't lost, Hubby decided to make his wonderful, mouthwatering cookies.

Again, Photobucket to the rescue.
Because I was too full after eating pie-crust cookies and pie, I didn't have one until I got up in the middle of the night. 

Who doesn't like a late night cookie? But as I ate there was that strange taste again, and I realized what the problem had been with the pie-crust cookies, the pie crust, and now the cookies. It was old flour. 

Friday I had found an old sack of flour in our storage and decided to use it. Now everything we made with it left a bad taste in my mouth.

This made me think about old stories I've written. In the past, I couldn't tell why those wonderful ideas never developed into workable stories. Now, I know. The flour was bad. 

I suppose in this scenario flour is the premise of the story. And if the premise doesn't work, well the story is going to leave a bad taste in your mouth. So . . . today I'm throwing away the flour, the cookies, the pie, and bad story premises. Yep, out they go!!!

How was your weekend? Did you can apples? Make pie? Or work on story ideas? If so make sure you use new flour and a good story premise. ;)


Thursday, October 20, 2011

Autumn Leaves

 I love autumn!!! This picture reminds me of my parents' cabin on the lake in autumn. When my parents were alive, we used to go to their cabin in October to visit with them and see the leaves. It looked like a magical land with trees that nearly glowed as though lit from within with colors of gold, orange, and red. I loved visiting my parents. Upstairs in their cabin was a pool table. My father could play a mean game of pool. I could never beat him. Even in his eighties, he kept his title as King of the Table. While we would play a friendly game, he would oft times put a cassette tape in the player. We'd listen to music from the forties and fifties everything from Glen Miller's band to Nat King Cole. 

Autumn makes me think of my parents, their cabin, and how much I miss them. 

What do  you like about autumn? The weather? The leaves? The shorter days? Or the falling leaves?



Wednesday, October 19, 2011

How Strong is Your Main Character?

The strength of your story rests on the shoulders of your main character. Have you ever read a story where the main character was mildly likable, but nothing really happened because all was perfect in her/his world? 

OR . . . have you read a book where the main character blamed all his/her problems on everyone else and whined throughout the story? I personally think this one is worse than the first one.

The problems with both scenarios has to do with the strength of the main character. Either there was no major conflict or the character showed no signs of growth. Both reveal weakness and can kill your story. 


How can you stop this from happening? I have several suggestions that might help you.

  • Don't be afraid to give your character pain. In other words, take something or someone away from your protagonist who he leans on and see how he reacts and overcomes adversity. 
  • Make an unexpected move in the storyline that will truly test your main character. 
  • Destroy your main character's ordinary world by sending him/her on a journey of discovery. 
  • Put your main character in the impossible situation of making a choice that will impact his/her life and others. 
  • Give your main character a very strong adversary who could easily beat her/him.
Overcoming even one of the above problems will give your character strength and likability. I wouldn't recommend doing them all within one story. Pick one or two and go with it. The strength of your main character depends on how well he/she handles conflict, overcomes adversity, and grows.

So I'm sure you can add to my list. 
How strong is your main character? 
What does he/she overcome? 
And how do you show it?


Monday, October 17, 2011

The Winner and Apples

You've heard people say, "I need a vacation to rest from my vacation" haven't you? Well, that's how I feel about the weekend. I need a weekend to rest from my weekend. 

Seriously. Our apple tree in our backyard had grundles and grundles of apples this year. Hubby and Son picked all those they could reach from the tallest ladders. I'm afraid of heights, so I was in the house canning apple butter and apple pie filling. I found this awesome apple butter recipe at Simply Canning and it was the best I've ever tasted. Because I have three more buckets filled with apples I'm going to make more. So if you have an apple tree that has given you an abundant crop, check out that site for the recipe and other things you can make with apples. I think I'll make applesauce as well.

Do you have an apple recipe you recommend? Like I said, I have a lot of apples.

Okay now for what you've all been waiting for . . . the winner of the book Pocket of Guilt by Dora Lee Thompson

is Em Fawcett!!!

Em please email me at kathiorampeterson(at)yahoo(dot)com.

And so ends the book drawings. It's been fun, and I hope all those who won a book has enjoyed them.

 Oh and don't forget to share an idea of what I can do with the rest of my apples. :)


Friday, October 14, 2011

Opportunities to Do Good


Because it's Feel Good Friday I wanted to give you a rainbow and a smile, plus this very inspiring video clip. Opportunities to do good are all around us. We just need to listen, watch, and act.

Have a great weekend!


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Affect or Effect?

You say effect, 
I say affect . . . 

Wait a minute. 

There are rules. 

And yes, I know them. 

Affect is most generally used as a verb.

Effect is usually used as a noun.

But then there's those other times. 

You know . . .  where the rules dive into gray matter and you pull out the dictionary to read what it says and end up scratching your head as you try to understand. 

I do this more times than I want to admit. 

So I thought if I struggle sometimes, I'll bet you do as well. 

Here's a wonderful clip that explains it very well.

I hope this helps. 

Do you have an easy rule that helps you keep affect and effect straight in your mind? If so, please share. What works for me might not work for you. The more tips we share the more writers we can help.


Monday, October 10, 2011

Last Week's Winner, This Week's Book to Give Away

The winner of The Doctor's Lady by Jody Hedlund 

is Carolyn V. 
Congratulations, Carolyn!!!
I'll be in touch. 

The book I'm giving away this week is a very touching story about WWII, titled Pocket of Guilt written by Dora Lee Thompson.

Here is part of the back cover blurb:
...The Schulz family, all members of the Mormon church, is trying to survive in Germany, during and after WWII. when Hitler invades Poland and the war officially begins, the family is quickly feeling its strain, as they have less and less food to eat. Anna Schulz often stands in line for hours, only to find the market shelves empty. This becomes the least of her worries though, when one by one, the men of the Schulz family head off to defend their country.

I really enjoyed this book and think you will, too. This is an ARC and it's signed by the author.

Please leave a comment sometime this week on my blog, become a follower, and your name will go in the drawing.

Have an awesome Monday!!! 


Friday, October 7, 2011

Exciting News This Christmas!

I'm writing this on Thursday, and you'll never guess what the weather is doing outside my window. It's snowing!!! And not just a little. I mean it's seriously coming down. 

Since I'm in a pre-holiday mood, I might as well tell you some exciting news. 

See that book cover up there and the list of authors on the front? Count down six lines . . . yep that's my name!!! 

This wonderful Christmas book comes out any day. What an honor it is to have my story included! This is a collection of true, inspirational Christmas stories. I can't wait for you to read it!

Now to put you in the mood, here's an old Christmas song I love by Kenny and Dolly.


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

My Pondering Process

A little over a week ago, I turned a book into my editor. There's nothing more satisfying than turning a manuscript in on time. I've had a hectic schedule this year trying to finish several novels, but now all at once I find I have finished the books I'd planned, and I'm in the pondering stage. 

Pondering is an important step in the writing process. You need to think about characters, plot points, and if the idea you've come up with is really a story you want to be married to for the duration.

Characters . . .
What's a story without three-dimensional, believable characters? You want a main character who will learn and grow as the story develops. And you want secondary characters who will balance with your main character. I'm going to work on another romantic suspense, so I also want a hero who will challenge my heroine. For my next novel, I'm leaning towards a reserved main character who is a picture book writer and illustrator. She's had tragedy in her life and suffered a breakdown. But as the book opens she's putting her life back together when another tragedy occurs that makes her doubt her sanity once again. And for the hero, I think I'll have another rancher. This time he'll be a widower who has a little girl. And I think his cantankerous mother will live with him. The villain? I know who it is, but I don't want to give anything away. I'm still fleshing out characters, but this is feeling good so far.

Plot points . . .
I used to think if I had the beginning and ending of my story I was good to go, but I have come to appreciate outlining more and more. Plus, with suspense, I like to map out where I want to add red-herrings and where and when I need them. I love suspense that makes you feel as though the bad guy has been caught and then out of the blue the real villain appears. For this new novel, I'm going to work the story around seven plot points that will build to the climax with each one feeding into the next. Think of it as a seven-step staircase. 

Is this the story I want to be married to?
To be truthful, I don't know right now. I'm going to write my plot points on my white board, toy around with the characters I think will help convey the theme I want for this novel, and if everything falls into place, I think it will be. But I'm not quite ready to say "I do."

See I'm still in the pondering process. Should be here for another week or so.

What do you do while pondering a story idea? Do you think of plot first or characters? Do you have plot points? Do you work with a theme? Please feel free to give me and other writers some pondering guidance.


Monday, October 3, 2011

This Week's Winner, Next Week's Giveaway Book

This week's winner of The Hidden Branch by GG Vandagriff 

is Michelle Teacress!!! 
Congrats! I'll be in touch. 

The book I'm giving away this week is 
The Doctor's Lady by Jody Hedlund. I reviewed this wonderful historical romance last week. And here's the deal, Jody is going to sign it and mail it to you. Only one catch, you must live in the Continental U.S..

So leave a comment sometime this week on my blog, make sure you're a follower (of my blog), and your name will go into the drawing to win this recent release. 

Have a great day!



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