Our Blog

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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Shout Out to Book Clubs

Ricci Wolman, founder and CEO of Written Word Media, blogged about Top Ten Publishing Trends Every Author Needs to Know in 2018. Four predictions appeared most relevant to a recent discussion among Montana Women Writers:

  • Authors will continue to grow ebook share
  • More Indie authors will achieve success
  • Marketing will become more expensive
  • Authors must go ‘direct to reader’
brooke-cagle-195777

Photo: Brook Cagle via Unsplash

Each published author in our group goes directly to readers in one form or another:

  • Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest
  • Blogs
  • Email newsletters and promotions
  • Book signings and readings
  • Speaking with book clubs

Obviously, social media is a godsend for authors like us who live in remote parts of the country. We do our best to connect in person with local book clubs and special interest groups, but we live in northwest Montana in a county the land size of Connecticut with a population of 100,000.

Our book club exposure is limited. Or so we thought.

Photo: Mike Coleman

We propose connecting with book club readers directly through social media. Skype and FaceTime will allow even those of us living in Montana to participate in discussions all over the world. Read one of our books, and then invite the author to your book club meeting.

Some of us have added book club discussion questions and personal contact information in the backs of our books. You can also find our individual author information on Montanawomenwriters.com, our individual author websites, or simply email me, and I’ll forward your request to the author you wish to contact.

Get to know us, and happy reading!

Ann Minnett MWW photo

Ann Minnett

My Sisters

By Marie F. Martin

My younger sister, Doris, has dabbled with oil painting off and on for years, but never developed her craft until now. At age almost seventy she is going great guns with it. She has had a showing in Seattle and sold some of her work. It is so exciting. She is now planning to travel to Montana where we were raised and show paintings in July at Art in the Park in Kalispell. I no longer hear her complaining about age. The miracle of an active mind doing something that you love and get excited about  is what the age specialist tell us to do. She has found her passion.

I was close to the same age when I published my first book. It has become a driving force in me and I have grown so much with new friendships and people willing to help me with my stories. It all has to do with us Connor girls facing older age and needing to kick start our creative talents.

My latest book will be published sometime this summer or early fall. The cover is already made. The blurb is a work in progress but here is what it says as of now: The red Corvette speeds into the night up a lonely stretch of curvy mountain road. Corinne Cooper figures they’re lost, but isn’t concerned about it. A few unexpected words with the man driving rekindles yearnings she thought were buried with her husband three years ago. Shocked by her thoughts, she is relieved to reach home safely. The next day, Corinne is still unable to set aside the desire to find a new love and seeks the help of her unpredictable sidekick. Edgy Brewster is delighted to assist in the search for a perfect companion, dragging her into questionable adventures. Troubles begin at a local honkytonk, multiply at a hilltop mega church, and reach critical mass at a secluded bingo parlor. Now a friend is dead, a nosey neighbor is found dead, and Corinne is the chief suspect in their murders. Every step she takes to prove her innocence digs her deeper, until. . . .

 

However my older sister, Norma, is now complaining that she hasn’t sold anything of a creative nature. She only spent her entire working career as a RN. Her talent or passion was used helping the sick and the aged, and besides I don’t feel sorry for a sister who looked like this. 

I am relaying our experiences as encouragement to everyone who thinks they’re too old to start a new adventure. Just do it.

 

 

www.mariefmartin.com

February Book News

candy conversations

 

Once in a Blue Moon news!

Once in a blue moon means it’s a rare occurrence. How about once in a blue blood moon? January 31, 2018 not only brought us a lunar eclipse during a blue moon, it was during a blood moon when the moon is closest to the earth. As of Jan 31, my three new e-books became available on Amazon. It’s my once in a blue blood moon event.

The books were brought to completion with the help of my dedicated critique group, my husband Tom who formatted and uploaded the books, my sister Bev for cover design, and a wonderful professional editor, Kathy McKay. Her last name is the same as the protagonist, Kelly McKay, who lives in my medical thriller series. It must have been destiny for them to meet.

A romantic medical thriller set in Alaska and two books in my medical thriller series are now available.

 

 

 

A fourth book, Fatal Feast, will be submitted to Kindle Scout publishing contest later this month.

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B007BI6SW8

I thank Montana Women Writers and Authors of the Flathead for their support.

Betty

Is it writers’ block??

NOT WRITING

I haven’t been writing on my two on-going books lately—just seem to have lost the energy to make them go.  This has happened before, and I always come out of it, but so far, nothing seems to interest me enough to sit down and write.  Ennui has been my companion for a couple months.

I assume that most authors hit a brick wall at times, and I also assume that this feeling will go away, but it’s frustrating.  When I’m in the throes of creating a book or story, it follows me around and bangs in my head until I can get to the computer and get it out.  When the muse returns, I find myself creating plot lines and characters in the shower, in bed, while driving.  It’s like living with someone who nags me all the time to write!  Write!  Write!

That nag is not there right now, but she will be back, exhorting me to tell my stories, to make a difference.  I look forward with a little trepidation to her presence in my head, pushing me to create, Right Now!

Probably other authors reading this can relate, maybe not, but that’s my story, or rather, my experience.  For now.

Thanks for listening.

Nan McKenzie, January 29, 2018.

Author of Bigfoot and Bigfoot Returns 

What’s in a name?

By Janice McCaffrey

According to Orson Scott Card’s Characters and Viewpoint (2010) characters’ names have “many associations” for readers. Surnames signify ethnicity and family connections. Given names can identify where and when a character was born. A name can help with the character’s physical description or hint at their personality. (pgs. 54-55)

So how do authors choose names for their characters?

Dickens is probably the most famous for creating names that convey a character’s looks, personality, or place in society. In Bleak House Mr. Nemo is an unkempt looking man who owes six-weeks rent, has no friends and is found dead from an opium overdose. Accident or suicide? No one knows for sure. When readers are told that nemo is Latin for ‘no one’ they understand that people did not acknowledge him. And learning it was not his legal name tells them how he felt about himself.

Icelandic storytellers refer to historical figures that same way. A prime example is a woman in one of the sagas whose name is Aud the Deep Minded. Then from other sagas there’s men known as Helgi the Lean and Bork the Stout.

Card advises that authors vary the first letter, number of syllables and sounds of characters’ names in a manuscript. The example he gives is how “monosyllables like Bill, Bob, Tom, Jeff, Pete lead to boredom and confusions.” But he also cautions against using “a lot of flamboyant, bizarre names unless that’s an important part of the story.” (pg. 56) Of course, when writing historical novels authors can and should use full names of real people. However, that does get confusing when families have used the same given name for two or more generations.

Anyone who has read a Russian novel will understand another of Card’s points. Simplify characters’ names and use only one name per character. I find stories easier to read and identify with their characters when I can pronounce their names. Easily knowing and remembering who’s who also helps. Not like Anna Karenina where her husband is Alexei Alexandrovitch Karenina and her lover is Alexei Kirillovich Vronsky. I’ve wondered why Tolstoy used the same given name.

Then I read the Introduction in a Barnes & Noble edition (2013) written by Amy Mandelker. She says that one of the themes throughout the novel is mirror images. Besides Anna’s two men having the same names Anna itself is a mirror since it is spelled the same frontwards and backwards. Her maid is Annushka which is a nickname for Anna. The daughter’s name is Annie and Anna adopts a protégée by the name of Hannah which is the Hebrew form of Anna. Tolstoy knew how to get the most out of a name!

Another suggestion from Card is not to have all the characters in a story have names that “mean something” . . . unless it’s an “allegory and [you, the author] deliberately want them tagged with symbolic names.” (pg. 56) My comment to that is if the meaning  of the name is important to the characters’ back story or description be sure to include the meaning some way or other to inform your reader.

As we search for creative names for our characters we should remember that over the years, for better or worse, characters’ names have become part of our cultures’ mindset. Thanks to Dickens we know that a person who is selfish and/or doesn’t like the Christmas Spirit is a Scrooge. Hearing the phrase “Double Oh Seven” conjures up a picture perfect version of Ian Fleming’s James Bond. (For me that will always be Sean Connery). How about Norman Bates, Jo March, Darth Vader, Lolita or Mr. Darcy? Novelists have given us characters whose personalities and deeds will never be forgotten. A challenge to every fiction writer.

What’s in a name? Evidently a lot!!