WRITING WITH FEELING

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Author: Betty Kuffel

Through the Lens of a Writer

Writers have a special way of looking at things. Envisioned scenes are painted with feelings, smells, sounds and touch. Delving into a character’s thoughts with interior dialogue adds depth, revealing desires and motivation.

Smells are a strong part of memory storage. A recalled odor conjures up acute memories of time and place. If the wind blows from the wrong direction across a Montana landscape, the smell of a nearby feedlot might drift to a beautiful outdoor wedding and overwhelm the sweet smell of flowers carried by the bride. When her marriage turns bad, she may recall the smell of manure on that fateful day. Or the sweet smell of pipe tobacco may instantly bring to mind the image of your loving grandfather.

Using comparisons and stark contrasts enhance description:

+My pet rat’s sandpaper tail wrapped beneath my chin as her silky body snuggled against my neck like a miniature kitty.

+Moonrise inched over the Rocky Mountains slashing the black slate of Flathead Lake.

Coloring your writing:

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Cinnamon hair

fiery sunrise.med (2)

A fiery sunrise

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Pomegranate jewels

Unique colors descriptions produce immediate images in the reader’s mind.

Using background music when you write adds to setting and feeling:

Many writers use music to set mood when writing scenes. Free internet sites allow you to choose specific songs, genres and themes to write by (Pandora, Spotify). Novels set in a certain era bring popular songs to mind and can be used to solidify and enhance a setting. Playing the songs can get you in the mood to write about the period in your novel.

“Without music and dance, life is a journey through a desert.” ― Pat Conroy

Additional quotes from Beach Music written by Pat Conroy, one of my favorite authors:

Touch and feelings:

“The water was pure and cold and came out of the Apennines tasting like snow melted in the hands of a pretty girl.” ― Pat Conroy

“My own tears seemed landlocked and frozen in a glacier I could not reach or touch within me.” ― Pat Conroy

 

Write scenes as if painting a picture. Happy reading and writing.

Thanks for stopping by.

Betty

Amazon Author Page  

 

September Book News

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LESLIE BUDEWITZ: September is a month of mixed feelings in these parts. A signal of a fresh start almost as palpable as January, as the weather begins to change and the kids head back to school (we all feel it, don’t we, no matter what our age), mingled with a sense of loss, as another glorious Rocky Mountain summer slips behind us.

In Book News, Christine Carbo and I will be on a panel together, along with mystery writers Gwen Florio and Mark Stevens, at the Montana Book Festival in Missoula, Sept 29-30. (We don’t know the date or time yet, so check in with the Festival or one of us, if you plan to go.) We’ll be talking about modern mysteries set in the west, how place influences character, and much more. I hope to see you there!

Meanwhile, delighted to say that Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine will publish a short story of mine next year titled “All God’s Sparrows,” featuring the real-life—and larger than life—character, Mary Fields. I’ll share the pub date and ordering info as the date approaches.

Enjoy these last glorious days of summer, and thank you for spending them with us.

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LISE McCLENDON Okay, it’s not quite slippers-by-the-fire weather yet but in case you’re stocking up for chilly weather, my new mystery, The Frenchman, is coming out very soon. This is the fifth installment in the Bennett Sisters Mystery series and we’re back in France this time. Merle Bennett is writing her own novel while taking a leave of absence in the Dordogne, so, yes, this is a story-inside-a-story. When that Frenchman, Pascal, runs into an old nemesis and goes missing, Merle must rally the troops to find him.  After an exclusive run I’m back on all e-book platforms (yay!) Amazon Nook KOBO iBooks  Also available in paperback. Happy autumn reading 🍁

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Book Signing by Karen Wills author of River with No Bridge  Saturday, September 16, 2017, 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at Montana Book and Toy Company, 331 North Last Chance Gulch, Helena, Montana.                  

river with no bridgeThis month’s issue of Cowgirl calls the novel a “compelling and touching story.” Booklist’s review of the novel called it “a gripping, sometimes heartbreaking story of immigrant survival in the West.” The August Historical Novel Society Reviews sums up with,   “I love pioneering stories and gritty women, and Ms. Wills’ engrossing tale provides both.”

Sunday, September 17th at 2:00 p.m. the Lewis and Clark Library at 120 South Last Chance Gulch will present Questions and Answers on Writing a Historical Novel with Karen Wills.

Karen looks forward, as always, to a visit with friends in Helena.

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Artists and the Marketplace

By Karen Wills                                    

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Gypsy Woman Holding Baby

“Works of art are the product of a complicated system of social interaction between artists, patrons, critics, and a public that is as broad as possible, all influencing each other in their assessments and behavior.”  Doris Krystof

Krystof wrote this in her book about the life and work of the painter Modigliani. It may hold true for writers as well. Most of us don’t write in a vacuum. Patrons might appear in the form of scholarships, academic writing programs, or advances from publishers. Our critics may begin with family members, critique groups, agents and editors who listen to our pitches, publishers, and eventually a publishing house’s developmental and copy editors.

Most important is that broad-as-possible public. Once a book is released, as authors we’re to make our book, and ourselves, well known. Our efforts may come in the forms of advertising. I ran an ad in Montana: The Magazine of Western History since River with No Bridge is a historical novel set in Montana. I sent out a press release that resulted in an interview. I’ll be signing books at the Montana Book and Toy Company in Helena on September 16, and making a presentation at Helena’s Lewis and Clark Library the following day. I’ve placed the book with local booksellers. And I try to contact book clubs like my own. Book clubs tend to be democratic. They’re the broadest possible public because members often choose from varied genres. I love book clubs.

All that said, once a book is released into the world, it takes on a life of its own, like a grown child. Critics influence the public. The public influences modern day patrons, and an author begins the next book, mindful of results of the assessments and behaviors of all involved in the last novel’s reception. Of course, some of the greatest writers (think Emily Dickinson)  and artists like Modigliani worked according to a brilliant inner vision, connecting to a divine mystery that didn’t bring them fame and wealth, but made their work immortal. And us, the broad public, the richer for it.         

htts://karenwills.com                                                 river with no bridge

Face Book: Karen Wills Author

 

August Book News

august on the flathead

August on the Flathead

Fifteen Years of Lies FINAL EBOOK COVER

ANN MINNETT: I’m happy to announce the publication of my third novel of Domestic Suspense, Fifteen Years of Lies.

From the back cover:

Beautiful Whitefish, Montana serves as the setting for Fifteen Years of Lies, yet the story could occur anywhere people go to escape and in any family struggling to keep secrets. Parents of teenagers will relate to a mother’s fears for her son as his rebellion leads to violence.

Fifteen Years of Lies goes beyond the timely issue of sexual assault on campus to lay bare the aftermath of rape and its effects on the survivor, the child, loved ones, and even the rapist. Experience the raw emotions of past injustice and imminent threat when a suspected rapist believes he has found his victim and his son.

How far will the three women go to protect Zane from the truth?

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Book Reading and Signing with Marlette Bess Saturday, August 19, 2017 5pm – 7pm Casey’s, Downtown Whitefish 

MARLETTE BESS: WAYNE DINGO WAY (37) an attorney from Seattle took a leave of absence from his firm to care for his dying father in Whitefish, Montana. He was having a conversation with WAYNE WAY, his father, about where his life was headed when his father’s eyes rolled back into his head, he took his last breath and he died. Dingo was stunned – they had just been talking a moment before and now he was gone. Dingo gently closed his father’s eyes and kissed his forehead, stood up, grabbed his ski parka and headed for the front door. Dingo was in shock as he pulled his beanie down over his blond curly locks. He opened the door to a slap of bitter cold as he hustled his 6 foot 2 frame down the path.

The snow and ice on the sidewalk reminded him to take it easy as he walked toward downtown. Feeling the need to drown his sorrows, he found himself outside of Casey’s bar. He opened the door and entered the bar and walked to the only seat open at the bar that was next to a beautiful brunette with the most striking blackish/blue eyes, BERNADETTE LUCAS. Bernadette (35) was a free-lance physical therapist who had finished with a patient at the hospital and didn’t want to go be alone at home.

Dingo asked Bernadette if she would toast his father who just died. She introduced herself and seeing the pain in his eyes she agreed to the drink. He looked at her and could see her lonely beauty. After a couple of beers and three shots of tequila, she walked him home with her dog Hairy tagging along behind. On the cold walk home, Dingo kissed her – a kiss that not only curled her toes but made her body explode with heat.

When Dingo and Bernadette got to Dingo’s dad’s quaint, little house, Dingo passed out on the couch. Bernadette wandered around the house to find a blanket for Dingo and found his father dead in one of the bedrooms. Not exactly knowing what to do, she called her long-time friend at the police department Detective SAM MCDONALD to help with the body. Sam had the body picked up and they helped Dingo into bed.

Bernadette stayed with Dingo that night and even slept in his bed between the sheet and comforter to keep her distance. In the morning, being more himself, Dingo looked at Bernadette and wanted her immediately. The chemistry of longing, loneliness and desire lead them to each other discovering both themselves and the each. Once they had sex the only thing they wanted was more of each other.

Dingo and Bernadette were engaged shortly after they met. While still riding on the high of the engagement, they returned home to find more Dingo’s sister took her own life causing much pain and heartache. Tragedy did not end there for the couple, they soon discovered Dingo sister’s husband had killed himself and their children. The budding relationship grew with the highs of sex, lust and love and the depths of hell with the mounting pain of loss.

Dingo and Bernadette had two wedding ceremonies –  one for themselves in Las Vegas and a second time for friends and family in Whitefish. Bernadette’s terminally ill father attended the wedding and died that night leaving her with money and a whole lot of undiscovered secrets.

The two lovers honeymooned in Australia where Bernadette was forced to face her own demons straining the trip. After having a nightmare reliving when she was raped in Central Park, she woke flailing, catching Dingo’s cheek with her fingernail, sending him to the hospital. When he went into surgery, she went into a tailspin not returning to the hospital for hours. She was lost in her confusion and when Dingo awoke, he thought she left him. When he healed they went back to honeymooning and they talked through her trauma regaining the closeness they lost from her nightmare.

The unthinkable happened in the third month of their honeymoon.  Sam, Bernadette’s best friend back in Whitefish, was shot in the line of duty. Bernadette and Dingo took a marathon of flights to get back to the United States only to find Sam sitting up in the ICU after having his ventilator removed. Bernadette doted on Sam to the exclusion of everyone else, especially Dingo. But once again, Bernadette pulled herself together to be with Dingo and returning to their new home in Seattle shortly after.

Dingo and Bernadette went on a trip of discovery to her father’s hunting lodge is Krakow, Poland. She discovered that he was a deeply complicated man who lived his life collecting erotic art and engineering bridges around the world. After they left to go skiing in Davos, Switzerland with Sam and Dingo’s aunt, Bernadette had to decide out what she want to do with her father’s lodge, his erotic art collection. She also had to decide how she was going to build a new life in Seattle with the handsomest lawyer in all of the city? Dingo had to figure out how to stop being a workaholic and fit in time to love Bernadette down to her very soul.

Dingo wanted this new relationship with Bernadette to thrive but he wondered if he could overcome his bone breaking pain. With his family gone, Bernadette understood loss and pain from her most recent tragedies. Could she comfort and love him through this ordeal while trying to handle her own terrifying calamity?

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LESLIE BUDEWITZ: Congratulations to Ann and Marlette! Sending a new book into the world is such a wonderful and terrifying thing!

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Join me at the Bigfork Festival of the Arts, in the village aka downtown Bigfork, on Sat and Sun, August 4-5, between 9 am and 4:30 pm. I’ll be one of more than 150 artists with

 

booths, talking and signing mysteries, including TREBLE AT THE JAM FEST, my newest Food Lovers’ Village Mystery. (I call my village “Jewel Bay,” but you aren’t fooled, are you?) Food and drink vendors will join us, and musicians will play open air — including Don Beans, aka my Mr. Right. See you there!

           

Getting Lost in the Reseach

By Janice McCaffrey

Last year during a tour of France my daughter, Bonnie, and I made a quick stop in Marseille; a jumping-off point to Monaco. Our focus was on Princess Grace Kelly; the palace and a drive up the famous, winding, cliff-hugging road.

Our train from Paris arrived in Marseille late afternoon. We picked up a rental car and headed to our Airbnb lodging in the old part of the city. In a blink of an eye we found ourselves on narrow streets filled with cars racing around curves, merging into already clogged streets, with drivers who had seemingly no regard for others.  Very loud motor cycles whipped in and out around moving vehicles, driving not in the lanes, but on the lines that divide them. And Bonnie kept up the pace.

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Yikes!! I held on tight!

 

 

Flying past ancient-looking pastel stone buildings, I caught a glimpse of a Moroccan man standing in front of a shop laughing with a couple of other men.

The GPS system directed us to public parking close to the apartment and we walked from there. After climbing 107 steps of a circular staircase with broken tiles under foot, yes, with our luggage, we settled into the apartment which was definitely worth the climb. Then we walked down the steps (much easier than climbing up) to the old port soaking up the area’s history and atmosphere.

We were greeted by bright sunshine, clear blue skies with a warm breeze off the sparkling Mediterranean Sea’s varied hues of blues and greens. My kind of perfect day.

marseille w bonnie

                           I fell in love.                          And the story began.

Back home committing my imagination to paper I needed the name of the Moroccan man’s attire. Yea for Google!! After finding info and photos of the jabador more Googling got me a suitable name for him, place of birth, and back story.

 I have to admit that I can get lost in the research. I have spent hours on internet searches and studying the results. And Google maps is indispensable for settings and determining distances. Their street views are wonderful and were invaluable as I orchestrated a chase scene around Marseille.

Besides giving me many enjoyable hours investigating and learning, one thing always leads to another. The history of Morocco pointed the way to the Phoenician peoples where their history gave me the item of antiquity the story would center around.

An article entitled Research for Fiction Writing in Cornell Research by Alexander Chang explains how J. Robert Lennon, author of See You in Paradise (Greywolf, 2014) and teacher of English at Cornell University uses the internet searches to find details for his stories. Here’s a quote:

In doing research as a fiction writer, Lennon embraces a term his wife once called [him and his friends] them: professional dilettantes. “I like that as a description for writers,” he says. “I love going to parties with writers—they always have super shallow knowledge of a zillion different things.”

I had to Google the definition, but it made me laugh out loud!

                                  diləˈtänt,diləˈtäntē/ noun 1. a person who cultivates 

                                  an area of interest without real commitment or knowledge.

That’s me! Due to my love of research I know a multitude of unrelated facts. Like:

Did you know the Phoenicians were the first known people to establish an alphabet? They were industrious and successful merchants who needed a method of keeping their accounts. This was back between 1500 and 1050 B.C. They devised 22 letters, only consonants, to represent the sound of their language. Over time the Greeks and Romans adjusted the original symbols which eventually gave us our 26 letters that represent the sound of our language. This chart shows the changes.

alphabet changes

                                                                       

 

 

And now . . .  we’re hooked on phonics!

 

 

 

These people also invented ink and paper. And when they bound pages together for the first time in the city of Bylos its name led to two of our modern-day words—book and bible.

I can tell you the history of sweet potatoes. Indigenous of South America Columbus took them back to Spain and Portugal. From there Portuguese sailors introduced them to Nigeria where their main crop was another tuber they called yams (not to be confused with our yams, theirs is white and round and belongs to a different plant family). Eventually the slave trade ships brought seedlings to North Carolina which is now our main growing area for the delicious tuber.

Oh, yes. And then there’s Queen Anne’s nephew Edward Hyde Lord Cornbury who held the office of Governor in both New York and New Jersey from 1701-1708. To open the New Jersey General Assembly he dressed as a woman of fashion. His rational was that since he represented a woman, Queen Anne, he should look like one.

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lord cornbury explained

And if you ever want to know the particulars of the early Pennsylvania-German’s Groundhog traditions, just ask.

For some writers research may be a drudgery to avoid at all costs, but for me it opens the world of ideas, events, characters, and settings.

I love getting lost in the research!