It's about adventure! Life, Scouting, Family, writing what else is there?
UPDATED INTRO 4 JULY 2019:
Just a little about me. I've been married for 27 years and currently live in Southern California, but I grew up in New Hampshire.
I've got 2 kids, a 17 yrs old and a 12 yr old. Both are boys. Nuff said.
I work as a 911 dispatcher for LAPD. I enjoy my job a lot.
I love to write, but since I've been so involved with the Boy Scouts program since 2015 (now Scouts BSA since girls were invited to come on board) I haven't written much. I hope to get back to more writing soon, as I'm scaling back my BSA commitment.
I like to get out in nature, take walks around Castaic Lake, drink coffee and watch football.
Here's a little bi about my zodiac.
GEMINI: Gemini, the sign of the Twins, is dual-natured, elusive, complex and contradictory. On the one hand it produces the virtue of versatility, and on the other the vices of two-facedness and flightiness. The sign is linked with Mercury, the planet of childhood and youth, and its subjects tend to have the graces and faults of the young. When they are good, they are very attractive; when they are bad they are more the worse for being the charmers they are. Like children they are lively, and happy, if circumstances are right for them, or egocentric, imaginative and restless.
Their good qualities are attractive and come easily to them. They are affectionate, courteous, kind, generous, and thoughtful towards the poor and suffering - provided none of the activities resulting from expressing these traits interferes too greatly with their own lives and comforts.
Geminians can be successful in many walks of life though their general characteristics tend to make them unreliable. They are often skilled manipulators of language, in speech and writing, and may be: debaters, diplomats (though in politics they are more interested in theory than practice), orators, preachers (brilliant rather than profound), teachers, authors, poets, journalists, or lawyers.
This is me. I am a Gemini. Pure, Raw, passionate.
The NEW focus of this blog is to share my adventures, scouting adventures, book reviews, thoughts, opinions, and writing adventures from actual writing, writing/editing tips, marketing, research. I'll get there.
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Previous GRATITIOUS Warning, that I decided to keep in case I post about something that might offend.
I intend to be open, honest, and forthright. No topic is off limits from religion to you name it, I'm going there. If you think you might be offended...back up now - this blog isn't for you. For those who "dare" check out the "Gemini Rising..."
|A look at Romantic Suspense
Romantic suspense is a very popular sub-genre of romance. It is also used to transition from romance to more mainstream genres. In order to have a good, solid, romantic suspense, the story must blend suspense and romance in equal proportions and do two things in equal proportions – 1) solve the mystery/suspense 2) have the hero/heroine fall in love.
The Nature of Suspense
What does suspense bring to the table, you ask? It gives the story instant attention. Something dire has happened. Solving the dilemma is a must for our hero/heroine. Keep in mind with suspense that the hero/heroine finds out early on in the story who the villain is. Just how much damage will the villain do before he/she is stopped is the heart of the suspense. Suspense is different from mystery in that in a mystery the hero/heroine take the entire story to find out "whodunit." In suspense, it’s a matter of stopping the villain. Remember to use the setting to help create an element of suspense. Weather, also, can heighten suspense.
The villain isn't just plain nuts anymore. Readers are more savvy these days and can appreciate a complex villain. Don't be afraid to show the villain's motivation, which can include: ambition, blackmail, thrill, fear, jealousy and even self-defense. A good villain heightens the suspense.
The Nature of Romance
The nature of romantic suspense really necessitates a short time line. You don't have weeks or months to allow feelings to grow – you have days if that, so the chemistry between the hero/heroine needs to be immediate. Don't forget your internal conflict and those niggly little issues in the back of the hero/heroine's mind that makes them hesitant to jump into romance. Just remember you won't have a lot of time for long narratives or character introspection. Phobias work well, too. Think of what scares your hero/heroine and put them in that situation.
Your end has to accomplish two things –the villain is brought to justice and the hero/heroine commit to working things out. Remember a "high" commitment of marriage might seem out of place since the story takes place in a short period of time, but knowing the couple is on the right track will work for the reader.
|Located on the northern shore of Monterey Bay, the Santa Cruz lighthouse was originally built in 1868.
I've always enjoyed visiting the ocean, and while I've never seen too many lighthouses, I find them fascinating. They capture the ambience of the romance of the seas. Each lighthouse has it's own unique story which I hope to share with you during these series on California Lighthouses.
The Santa Cruz lighthouse has a rich, sentimental history. It was a wooden structure with a tower modeled after the light at Ediz Hook, WA. Originally, the light was white, but soon was changed to red, so it could be distinguished from the various residential lights in the area.
Interestingly only ten years after it was built, the lighthouse faced destruction from erosion. It was moved 300 feet to firmer ground by several horses. The mover was paid $750.00 for the job! (in 1879)
What gives a lighthouse its personality are the people who care for it though. Every lighthouse has a story.
The Santa Cruz lighthouse's first caretaker was Adna Hecox. He moved into the lighthouse with his family in 1870. He provided for his family by growing a garden and keeping chicken. He passed away in 1883 and his daughter, Laura, become the next caretaker.
Laura was paralyzed on one side of her body, but she didn't let that slow her down. She became an avid amateur marine biologist, well respected by her peers and professors around the country. She retired in 1916.
Arthur Anderson became the caretaker after Laura. Electricity made his job easier. He retired in November 1940 and in 1941, the Coast Guard assumed responsibility for the light. With World War II, the Coast Guard turned the lighthouse into a lookout and the 54th Coast Artillery Regiment, an all-African-American unit, was assigned to the lighthouse with the mission to protect the coastline.
In 1948, the lighthouse, was dismantled, and it's lumber was used for other projects. In 1965, a family tragedy would give Santa Cruz a new lighthouse.
Mark Abott was 18 and drowned while body surfing off the waters 3 miles east of Santa Cruz, Mark's family, knowing his love for the ocean and lighthouses, built the Mark Abbott Memorial Lighthouse on the land the old lighthouse had stood on.
Since then, the lighthouse has been home to the Santa Cruz surfing museum. Currently the Santa Cruz Surfing Club Preservation Society runs the lighthouse museum. Bits of Laura's collection of shells can still be found today at the Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History.
Do you have a favorite lighthouse you like to visit?
|STEPH: Welcome to to my ebook reader series, Dani. Can you tell us a little about yourself?
DANIELLE: Hi, Steph. I've been working online for over twelve years in various capacities. Besides reviewing and editing, I'm the author of five published books. Most of my free time is spent reading when I'm not outside or volunteering for school and church.
STEPH: What ebook reader to you have? How long have you had it?
DANIELLE: I received the Sony eReader (PRS-600) for Christmas in 2009. It also came with a black leather cover and a reading light.
STEPH: What do you like the most about it?
DANIELLE: The two things I like best are first, the cover, which makes it look like a small, leather bound notebook. It's easy to carry around. As far as the features, I like the ability to turn pages by tapping the screen. There are very few buttons to the Sony.
STEPH: What do you like the least about it?
DANIELLE: I do wish the Sony was backlit, but most readers don't have this capability that I've seen. The biggest downside for me, is that it isn't Wi-Fi capable. I have to download books to my computer then transport them from the computer to the reader with the accessory cord.
The only problem I have had is on occasion, it doesn't charge. I'm never sure if it's me or the Reader, but I've read a couple places online that others have this problem. It may be the charger, I don't have details on that. However, whenever I reset it and recharge it, everything is fine.
STEPH: What features are unique to your Sony?
DANIELLE: Because I have an "older" model, I think most of today's readers have the same features such as enlarging the text, making bookmarks and notes, and a dictionary. This reader also comes with a stylus so handwritten notes are possible if you need to make some in a pinch. You can also load photos.
STEPH: Is loading books onto the Sony easy?
DANIELLE: Loading is easy once you are familiar with the "Sony Library" software, but it is time-consuming compared to the Wi-Fi click and buy process.
STEPH What are some of the pros to your book reader?
DANIELLE: I definitely feel it's a quality product. I also like that it doesn't tie me down to any particular bookstore like the Kindle does with Amazon. I can even download doc.'s to my Sony, so that's a nice perk. It opens several types of files. I prefer to use PDF's.
STEPH: Was price a factor when you bought it?
DANIELLE: Not at the time, but it would be for a future purchase if I replaced it.
STEPH: Anything else you'd like to tell us about the Sony?
DANIELLE: I'm still on the fence for which brand to buy for my next reader, but if Sony came out with a Wi-fi version like the Kindle, I'd buy it in a heartbeat.
STEPH: Thanks for popping in and sharing, Dani!
|STEPH: Welcome to to my ebook reader series, Gail. Can you tell us a little about yourself?
GAIL: Gail R. Delaney has been actively writing 'for publication' since 1996. The first novel she ever wrote is still sitting on her computer, waiting for the major rewrite that will make it acceptable. She says she has learned a great deal since writing that book, and it shows when she looks back at that rough draft.
Gail has had several novels published in the genres of contemporary romance, romantic suspense and futuristic romance. Her novels have received several nominations and awards since she was first published in 2005.
Gail and her family recently moved from the cold and blustry east coast to Southern California, and is loving every moment of sunshine she can soak in.
STEPH: What ebook reader to you have? How long have you had it?
GAIL: I have the first generation Nook from Barnes & Noble. It was a pre-order, and I received it as soon as they were ready to ship! ☺ So, I've had it about a year now.
STEPH: What do you like the most about it?
GAIL: I love that I have 67 books in my purse. ☺ I love that I can finish a book at work, and start another one. I love that I can read sitting in the sun wearing sunglasses. I love I can download samples of books before I purchase them. I love the selections I have. I love I can change my font -- make it larger or smaller -- or completely different. I love... okay, maybe that's enough.
STEPH: What do you like the least about it?
GAIL: Hmmmm... I suppose the only 'Kindle Envy' I have is the text-to-voice option that a Nook doesn't have. My Nook can work as an mp3 player if I buy an audiobook, but I love hearing how Kindle users can choose to either read or listen to a book.
STEPH: What features are unique to your Nook?
GAIL: Well, until recently, the whole 'sharing' option was unique, but now you can do that with Kindles. However, to the best of my knowledge, the Nook is the only reader with a fully expandable memory so you can hold a gagillion books rather than just a gazillion. ☺
Also, the Nook has a color/lcd touchpad for navigation, and I can turn the page with a slide of my thumb. ☺
STEPH: Is loading books onto the Nook easy?
GAIL: Exceptionally easy, whether I buy from BN.com or not. If I buy at BN.com, the next time I turn on my Nook... there they are. ☺ And I can also easily load epub files to my library, and read them as easily and efficiently as if they were bought from BN.com. I use Calibre, a free ebook library software program, and love it.
STEPH: What are some of the pros to your book reader?
GAIL: I think I rambled on about that in answer #3. LOL
STEPH: Was price a factor when you bought it?
GAIL: For me? In truth... no. It was given to me as a gift. I was asked "So, what do you want... a Kindle or a Nook." I loved the idea of the color touch screen, so I said Nook.
STEPH: Anything else you'd like to tell us about the Nook?
GAIL: Only that I love it, and if you're a 'reader', you deserve one of these.
|Characters are the heart and soul of your story, but what makes them cross the line from two-dimensional to three-dimensional? What makes them compelling?
Author David Corbett offers four elements that you can add to your characterization and I think they're spot on.
To cross the line, keep your character's internal compass consistent, yet ensure they can still surprise you.
First, a character has to have a driving need, desire, or goal. What makes a character interesting is what that character wants, and the stronger the desire, the more compelling the drama. Desire helps to create conflict, and how your character manages conflict makes the story interesting.
Second, secrets make interesting characters. If there's a trait or an incident the character wants hidden, but is revealed, it might make that character lose standing with family and friends. What makes secrets delicious is that they tell readers what characters have to lose and why.
Third, contradictions bring to light what readers can't predict and thus shows surprise. For example: a character can be desperate, yet proud, and decide to take a job that might not be up their alley, just so they can earn a living.
Lastly, nothing draws a reader to a character than vulnerability. When people need help or are wounded, we're drawn to help or feel sympathetic to that character. Secrets play into this trait. If the character is afraid of the secret getting out, it gives the character a vulnerability they might not have had.
What can you do to help deepen characterization? Flesh your characters out. Cast the character. Write character bios. What do they like? Dislike? Write a flash fiction or short story to get to know them. Draw on real life inspiration such as friends, family members, and co-workers. You can also make a list of your emotional triggers. For example: What's your greatest fear? When did you show true courage? By drawing on your triggers, you can bring added dimension to your character's desires, wants, needs, secrets, contradictions, and vulnerabilities.
Reference: "Hooked on a Feeling," by David Corbett, page 32-36, Writer's Digest, Jan 2011.
|There's snow in Southern California. No, really, there is. You just have to know where to look.
My son's cub scout troop sent out an email saying they were going snow tubing in Wrightwood. I raised an eyebrow. Being a non-native I was skeptical. Where was Wrightwood?
My husband knew all about it. He went to Dick's Sporting Goods and had a field day buying us boots, bibs, hats, and gloves. I went to Google maps.
Then again, I should have known better. Southern California does get snow. It snowed at my house on New Year's Day in Castaic. Andrew & Joe had a blast making snowballs. It was the first time in my 13 years living in SoCal I saw snow falling in my back yard, but I digress.
Wrightwood, CA is in the Angles National Forest which is just northeast of LA. It's a very high elevation – 6,000 foot, hence the snow. And it's only 1 ½ hours from my house. 13 years and I totally missed it. Someone buy me clue.
We looked like New England snow bunnies after my husband was done at Dick's, but we were ready for the snow. Thankfully, we didn't need chains going up the hill. (Hubby bought them, too!)
We arrived at the Mountain High Resort around 9:30 am. After a long wait it was time to tube! (Because, let's face it, it's not easy organizing a troop event with all the kids and parents and you know some people – they are professionally late.)
Snow tubing is fun. You ride an inner tube down a long slope. My 4 year old, Joe, had a blast. He could have tubed all day non-stop, but Mom had to hold his tube and I got pooped! Andrew went down the slopes with his cub scout buddies.
Rumor was Adam Sandler was on the slope. I didn't see him. Adam and I went to the same high school, but he was 2 grades ahead of me. We had the same "evil" assistant principal – Mrs. Pellerin. You know that "evil" look, the one that makes you run down the hall the other away? Again, I digress.
I didn't see Adam Sandler, but a lot of people were checking out my really cool New England Patriots Starter jacket.
We tubed for two hours and on the way home we stopped by the Grizzly Café in Wrightwood for lunch. The food was tasty and there was a lot ambience (something that's missing in the restaurants around where I live.)
Hubby is planning another trip this coming Sunday. I think it's going to be a blast, but I'm going to keep an eye out for Mrs. Pellerin. You never know…
|Can you believe how the time goes? Sigh... I can't keep up.
In August, I went out on a blog tour for my children's book, "The Giving Meadow." I visited 15 different blogs, the most on a blog tour for me. It was fun, hectic, tiring, but very rewarding. The Giving Meadow is about a caterpillar who travels through a meadow making friends before turning into a butterfly.
September, I tried to settle down, but the month went by too fast. I finally finished my Steampunk, Victorian Scoundrel. Now I just have to type up the last two chapters.
Yes - I'm going to NaNoWriMo this month!! I'll be doing a "rewrite" of my novel, "The Wolf's Torment." It's going to be released with Desert Breeze Publishing in May and I want to polish it off. I'm looking forward to it.
Some upcoming projects:
Christmas in Bayeux. This is a short story to be included in the Victory Press Christmas Anthology. I'm looking forward to it. A young man seeks out a young woman who was a foreign exchange student 9 years ago in Bayeux, France.
The Scorpion Temple. This is a horror short story due out with the Etheral Gazette in Decemeber as well. It's Lovecraftian inspired.
Shadows and Light is a sci-fi romance short story due out in the Borealis II Anthology in November with Desert Breeze Publishing. Here's a link to the video trailer if you want to check it out:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YV2moYlgwCA
Working on my official monthly newsletter tomorrow.
Some of my favorite authors have books coming out this month:
Shana Galen, The Making of a Gentleman
Keena Kincaid, Enthralled
Maggie Toussaint, Muddy Waters.
|Hi everyone! I'm kicking off a month long blog tour for my children's book, 'The Giving Meadow." Join me at Regina Andrew's blog for a great Q&A and meet me, caterpillar, & illustrator Stephen Macquignon who brought caterpillar to life. Goodie include autographed postcards of the cover an autographed book. Sign in and say "Hi." Here's a link:http://reginaandrews.wordpress.com./
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