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Please note: MWW is a diverse community of authors. We strive to maintain a professional and quality blog of interest both to readers and fellow writers. The authors are varied, write books on many topics, and come from many backgrounds. While we support and respect each others’ work and opinions, the statements expressed by individual bloggers on this site do not necessarily represent the group as a whole.

With that in mind, read on!

Montana Women Writers 009

Back row, L to R: Christine Carbo, Patti Dean, Marie Martin, Ann Minnett, Jeannie Tallman, Anne B. Howard, and Constance See

Front row: Gail Ranstrom, Kathy Dunnehoff, P.A. Moore, Marlette Bess, Leslie Budewitz, Nan McKenzie, and Betty Kuffel

Camera shy: Deborah Epperson, Angela Miller, Ina Albert, Karen Wills, and Lise McClendon

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Hope & Joy in a Classic Tale

By Janice McCaffrey      a christmas carol

While pondering the upcoming holidays my stream of consciousness meandered over past memories and future dreams. A few quiet moments of reflection led of course to Dickens’ ghosts.  My favorite version is The Muppet Christmas Carol with Michael Caine.

I love the little mice bookkeepers working dutifully and diligently in the cold office under the supervision of the kind-hearted Bob Cratchit performed by Kermit. Best of all though is the interplay between Rizzo the Rat acting as sidekick to Gonzo while he narrates the story as Charles Dickens himself.

My thoughts bumped over the moral of the story and what it means in today’s world. I got stuck on ‘don’t be stingy’ but wanted more. So what else is Dickens telling us?

On enotes.com’s website where they proclaim “We’re the Literature Experts” I found an article by Christian Themes (literary essentials: Christian fiction and nonfiction) titled     A Christmas Carol Themes. Let me paraphrase:

Scrooge’s initial penny-pinching reflects the values taking hold during the Industrial Revolution. Dickens illustrates what happens when individuals view relationships and other people through their financial worth. The author exposes the tremendous gap between the rich and the poor.

Then he illustrates a solution, individual redemption. The world becomes a better place almost immediately after Scrooge changes his outlook. The story implies that a renewed connection to humanity is, in fact, the very essence of redemption. His change is not introspective and personal; it is outward-looking and social.

While the results of Scrooge’s change didn’t alter the social structure itself, the compassion he showed to individual people did change the social relationships they shared. Despair turned to hope. isolation to belonging, and unhappiness to joy.

Wow! And I thought it was just fun to watch.

Yes, it’s a Christian based tale, but certainly can be applied to all of us no matter our beliefs. Let’s follow Scrooge’s example, enhance our relationships, and join Tiny Tim in his prayer.

tiny tim 2

 

“God bless us, every one!”

 

December Book News

december holidays 2018

 

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Flathead Valley Go Find Book Tour Fall 2018

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In case you want to catch a lecture from Susan or attend a book signing, here is her December schedule:

Whitefish Library, Montana. Dec 3rd. Avalanche awareness discussion and book signing. 7 pm.

Kalispell Rotary, December 6th at noon. Discussion and book signing. Hilton Garden Inn. 

Imagine Library, Kalispell, Montana December 18, 2018, 6 pm. Avalanche awareness discussion and book signing. 

Questions? Call Susan Purvis 970-596-2999 or email at susan@susanpurvis.com

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Cookie CrumblesLESLIE BUDEWITZ:  ‘Tis the season for a good book! Join me during the Kalispell Holiday Art Stroll on Friday, December 7, from 5-8 pm. I’ll be signing books at Montana Marie on Main Street, formerly Think Local, a terrific emporium of Montana-made art, cards, candles, lotions, books and much more. Shops and galleries throughout downtown Kalispell will be open late with food, drink, music, and more.

And if you can’t make it that evening, you can find signed copies of my books on the shelves of these Flathead Valley shops: in Whitefish, BookWorks. In Kalispell, Montana Marie and the BookShelf on Main Street, and Montana Art & Gift in the airport. And in Bigfork, Roma’s Kitchen Shop, Nancy O’s Interiors, and the Bigfork Art and Cultural Center. (E-books and audio books available in the usual online sources.)

Wishing you and yours a joy-filled season of love and friendship, regardless of what and how you celebrate. 

ACTION PACKED SCENES

911DR - 2BAll of us are risk-takers. Just getting out of bed in the morning sets us on the road to making hundreds of decisions each day. What a character eats and wears aren’t very interesting unless they’re enjoying exotic foods in faraway places. No one really cares if the character brushes her teeth, we just assume she has. A reader wants to experience life by living vicariously through the activities of others.

Choices have consequences. Our characters get themselves into terrible predicaments. It’s those crises readers like. They experience being stalked by a madman or chased by zombies from the comfort of a Barcalounger. Driving too fast, mountain hiking without bear spray, driving while drunk, aerobatic flying, firing someone and getting pregnant are all potentially dangerous common experiences from choices made and sometimes regretted. When characters get themselves into dangerous situations the events must be realistic.

We like to read exciting books about complex characters who keep us awake long after the lights should be out. How do we write action scenes about risks and make them compelling? Conflict drives a story. The character is often in deep trouble because of poor choices that carry risk to lives, safety, lovers, finances, family or world. If you are writing an action scene, reading how other great authors do it can save you time and angst.

The event must be appropriate to your genre and characters. Accuracy is also important. If you are writing a gun scene and have never fired a weapon, research online and handling the type of weapon used in the scene along with interviewing a reliable shooter will make your scene more accurate and believable. If, on the other hand, you’re writing a memoir, you have the emotion, circumstances and scene embedded in your brain forever, but can you write it effectively?

Be sure the scene reveals your character accurately? Having someone critique your work is important to assure validity and readability. Being factually correct is essential in nonfiction. In fiction, we just make it up, but this doesn’t mean you don’t have to be accurate. Each of us has expertise in varied areas and when scenes are factually incorrect, readers will notice, and reviews may be negative.

If you have questions about specific aspects of your scene, ask another writer with expertise in the area, or interview someone in that field. My history of flying, marksmanship, and practicing ER medicine frequently generates questions from authors who are writing related scenes. A law enforcement crime scene evaluation course I took has proven valuable when writing about investigation processes.

Here are a few thoughts on constructing action scenes:

  • Remember, each scene has a beginning, middle and end.
  • Building tension with conflict begins with simmering emotion that accelerates and foreshadows the event. Include mood and setting.
  • Action verbs are key to sweeping a reader into the scene. Example: He ran quickly… is not nearly as effective as: He bolted through….
  • Clarify the characters’ needs and emotions. What is at stake? What if she/he loses?
  • Use time-lapse to intensify the scene. Is time running out?
  • Be sure actions are shown and dialogue is short. Intensify a visual of emotion by few words and a descriptive action. Examples: He yelled, “You can’t go. Please stay. I love you so much.” More effective: He pulled her back in an embrace. “Marry me.”

 Take some risks in your writing, join a critique group. Contact Authors of the Flathead.org to join a group of writers helping writers.

Be safe and enjoy life.

Happy Thanksgiving from my yard to yours.

6027.cropped Turkey

Betty Kuffel

Dr. Kuffel’s books on Amazon

Montana Leaves

By Marie F Martin

The Montana Maples are in full glory along my street in Kalispell. Three of my great-grandsons showed to clean my yard. What a fun beautiful time it was. After the leaves were all cleaned up I sent them home with a container of my beef barley soup and brownies filled with canned cherry pie filling and frosted with chocolate. Just a fun slice of Montana life.

Pile’em high.

I wouldn’t want to try this move.

Buried alive.

November Book News

                                                                November Light

november light 2018

              Photo by                Ed Gillenwater

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Flathead Valley Go Find Book Tour Fall 2018

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In case you want to catch a lecture from Susan or attend a book signing, here is her November and December Schedule. Mark your calendar now.

November 15th

Flathead Valley Community College LibraryKalispell, MT. November 15th, 6:30pm. Trivia Contest (with Prizes) Search and Rescue K-9 Power Point, Q &A, and book signing. Learning Resource Center FVCC Library #102. 

December

Whitefish Library, Montana. Dec 3rd. Avalanche awareness discussion and book signing. 7 pm.

Kalispell Rotary, December 6th at noon. Discussion and book signing. Hilton Garden Inn. 

Imagine Library, Kalispell, Montana December 18, 2018, 6 pm. Avalanche awareness discussion and book signing. 

Questions? Call Susan Purvis 970-596-2999 or email at susan@susanpurvis.com

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Cookie CrumblesLESLIE BUDEWITZ: Delighted to be starting November in Dillon, attending the Murder Mystery dinner on Friday, November 2, and teaching at the Mystery Writers’ Workshop on Saturday, November 3, both sponsored by the Dillon Public Library and held on campus at University of Montana-Western. But you know I’ll sneak over to the library — one of the classic Carnegie buildings — for a poke around!

Later in the month, I’ll be joining the holiday fun at the Bigfork Art and Cultural Center during the annual Christmas Art Walk on Saturday, November 17, from 4-7 p.m. It’s the perfect setting for me, since AS THE CHRISTMAS COOKIE CRUMBLES is set in my version of Bigfork — I call it Jewel Bay, but you won’t be fooled! — and starts on Decorating Day and ends on Christmas Eve! Shop a while, grab a bite, and stay for the tree lighting as Montana’s Christmas Village lights up for the holidays.

And on Saturday, November 24, from 1-4, I’ll be chatting with shoppers and signing books at one of my favorite shops, Nancy O Interiors, on Hwy 35 north of the village. Soup will be on, and you’ll find all kinds of fun gifts for your home and the people on your Christmas list!

Remember, books fit in almost every Christmas stocking — and make great hostess gifts, too!