April Book News

spring in nw montana

LESLIE BUDEWITZ: Oh, April! Such a tease of a month in Northwest Montana. Days can be wintry or warm, snowy or sunny, often all within a few minutes!

April is also home to National Library Week, April 8-15. The Montana Library Association is hosting its annual meeting in Bozeman, April 11-14, and I’m delighted to be the Author Brunch Speaker on Saturday, April 14. I’ll be talking about the cozy mystery — the light-hearted side of the genre — what it is, a few trends, and some author recommendations.

IMary Fields‘m also pleased to say that my historical short story, All God’s Sparrows, will appear in the May-June issue of Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine, available mid April, by subscription and in bookstores and newstands. Set in 1885 in Montana Territory, the story features Mary Fields, also known as Stagecoach Mary and Black Mary, who was born in slavery in Tennessee in 1832 and later worked for the Ursuline Sisters at St. Peter’s Mission near Cascade. On a trip to the mill to pick up lumber for the girls’ school, Mary encounters a young family in trouble, and uses all her wits—as well as the skills of young Sister Louisine—to save a child and mete out justice, or as much justice as can be had in this fallible world. Look for another Mary Fields short mystery next year.

Happy reading!

Last Lines that Linger

By Karen Wills

 

This morning I read another list of memorable opening lines in literature. For one example, Melville’s first words in Moby Dick made the list with the famous, “Call me Ishmael.”

But shouldn’t there also be a list of novelists’ great last sentences? And if such a list could be compiled, what would make the lines memorable? I immediately think of Norman MacLean’s brief conclusion in A River Runs through It, “I am haunted by waters.”  The words are simple, elegant, and strongly connotative. They resonate as good poetry does, and they suit and conclude the story of a brother lost.

Another fine last sentence ends March by Geraldine Brooks. Brooks won a Pulitzer for her story of what happens to the father of Little Women’s Meg, Jo, Beth, Amy, and the husband of their mother, Marmee, when he volunteers to serve as a Union Army chaplain in the Civil War. By the novel’s end, he’s been seared, scarred, and sickened by the carnage of war and the loss of loved ones. On his first night home, grief for those he’s lost, mostly freed blacks, nearly overwhelms him. But at twilight his wife enters the room where he sits reunited with his daughters. Marmee does the peaceful domestic act of lighting a lamp. lamplightBrooks ends her novel with the words, “For an instant, everything was bathed in radiance.” Whatever the future may hold, with this elemental imagery there is the arrival of healing and redemption. And there is the strongly connotative “radiance.”

Finally, let’s look at the late Susan Vreeland’s, The Forest Lover. It’s a novel based on the life of the artist, Emily Carr, an intensely creative painter who dared to venture into the turn of the century Canadian wilderness to find her subjects. mary carrShe showed absolute courage in her life and originality in her stunning art. The last line reads, “She would drink the forest liquids and drench herself in possibility.” Don’t Vreeland’s words epitomize a brave woman in love with creativity? The image has mystery. The word “drench” suggests energy or passion. The sentence holds such promise. 

These are my favorite lingering lines. What are yours?

 

 

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

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!!

December Book News

dec holidays

LESLIE BUDEWITZ:  ‘Tis the season for sharing books we love with people we love, right? I’ll be sharing mine at the annual Kalispell Art Walk Holiday Stroll, signing books at Montana Marie, a delightful shop on Main Street carrying work by dozens of local artists. (You may remember it as Think Local.) The Stroll is Friday, December 1, from 5-8 p.m. Come by and try a sip and bite of something delicious, and browse everything from candles to terrariums (terraria?), all locally made. And take home signed copies of my Food Lovers’ Village Mysteries and Seattle Spice Shop books, all made for you in a little house in the big woods outside Bigfork!

Happy Holidays!

DEBORAH EPPERSON: The home of a Texas friend flooded during Hurricane Harvey. Debby lost almost everything, including her beloved books. After months of hard work work and many tears, Debby recently was able to move back home. But I think the Montana Women Writers would agree that a home without books is unthinkable. So several MWW authors stepped up and Debby will be getting two boxes of new books for Christmas. Thank you Betty, Marie, and Leslie!

In this time of giving, I am giving away Kindle eBook copies of  Shadows of Home from Dec. 22-26. Also, Breaking TWIG will be on sale for $0.99 Dec. 22-26, 2017.

Wishing you and yours a blessed holiday season.     ~ Deborah

SOH ad teaser banner #1BT Banner Author Shout#1

 

December Book news from Betty Kuffel 

I am excited to report Amazon Scout accepted my medical thriller Deadly Pyre submission to the contest for publication. Their acceptance came in yesterday!

<Approved!

Hello Betty Kuffel,

Your Kindle Scout submission has been approved for launch! Your campaign for Deadly Pyre will launch on December 8, 2017 12:00 AM EST and last for 30 days.

This will be the URL for my Kindle Scout campaign once it launches:
https://kindlescout.amazon.com/p/UP3KDBM7PVVU

The Kindle Scout campaign for Deadly Pyre will launch on December 8, 2017 12:00 AM EST and end on January 7, 2018 12:00 AM EST!>

Please click on the link when it goes live, read the excerpt from my book and vote! This is sort of a Dancing with the Stars for authors. Votes for the book count in the final determination of a winner.

If you’re interested in the Scout contest, here’s a link to a blog post written by Debbie Burke, long time member of Authors of the Flathead whose thriller won a Scout publishing contract and is now available on Amazon.  Deb’s website: http://wp.me/p7O7QO-6A

JOIN MONTANA WOMEN WRITERS

& INVITE YOUR FRIENDS

to the

Holiday Tea and Book Sale

Downtown Columbia Falls at Business Locations

Saturday December 9th 1-3 P.M.

Montana Women Writers will be participating in a community event in Columbia Falls on Saturday December 9th. Authors will be at numerous businesses greeting shoppers. They will be selling books and serving tea with cookies.

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STATION 8

Phyllis Quatman

WALLFLOWER

Betty Kuffel and Patti Dean

TEA KETTLE CAFÉ

Nan Garrett

NORTH FORK PIZZA

Dina Woods

COLUMBIA FALLS LIBRARY

Marie Martin and Becky Palmquist

ODD FELLOWS COFFEE SHOP

Ina Albert

VAQUEROS (formerly Los Caporales)

Open- Need another author

BAD ROCK BOOKS

Karen Wills

FOR MORE INFORMATION CALL NAN MCKENZIE 406-892-0055