You've entered Melodyland, where perception is slightly skewed, potential is limitless and imaginary people live happily ever after

Saturday, October 19, 2013

My blog for 10/19/2013 Rolando

Rolando is Guatamalan, and somewhere along the line he was assigned to be Emily’s bodyguard. He could have done this himself. He could have been hired by Emily, but he also could have been assigned by Mason Walker.  For that matter, Anthony Lionetta could have supplied Emily with Rolando, but that would entail merging over to the good side instead of the dark side, to leave the badguys to their own ways.  He is adept at disappearing and has a plethora of assets.  He cooks, body guards, drives, solves any problem in front of him in a most peculiar way.  He loves duct tape and Emily, and that pretty well is all.  Rolando is short, stocky, brown, carries several weapons: nobody knows what or how many.  Since he doesn’t talk, nobody knows what language he speaks, or if he speaks.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

My blog for 10/16/2013 Characterization of Maria Sebastian

Maria Sebastian thinks she hates her cousin Emily.  Maria actually has the same genetic wow look as Emily, and doesn’t envy her cousin when Emily gets the attention and Maria gets people’s backs.  It’s about the way Emily does it.  Any way she can. If she has a choice of risky or normal, Emily simply cannot choose normal.

And then there is Maria’s reputation at stake--or at least she thinks there is.  She’s been selling properties to and for clients who admire her stability and , and she’s become quite attached to them¸ will turn over rocks to see that they are satisfied with their purchases.  Maria’s whole life is built around that instant that she knows a buyer is excited about a property.  It’s a “gotcha” moment that she lives for.  Which of course is why she could never be in any other profession.
Maria left Phoenix for good eighteen years ago when her husband had knocked her into a wall and promised more.  She didn’t marry this man, she married a loving person who had issues with showing his affection, but inside of him, he was mush. Or so she thought, That lasted less than five years before the real Norman Sebastian showed his true colors.  She had prepared in advance for her escape, knowing he would not stop looking for her, maybe ever.  She was his possession, after all.

She moved to Atlanta--a place with no affiliations, no baggage, no family, no problems.

She became a new woman.

Shocked by the trees that covered all the land east of the Mississippi River, she was awed

by the abundance of woods, by the leaves on the ground that had been there for hundreds of years, by the tiny colorful mushrooms growing randomly, by the tree canopy that lifted its face to the sun and provided her with shade--like some great hands protecting her.  Her breath fell out of her when she came upon a spring in the woods.  It bubbled right out of the ground, and she rethought Mother Nature.  She fell in love with the trees.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

My blog for 10/13/2013 Emily Louise Tandy-Maria Sebastian Series

Characterization from my Maria Sebastian Mystery Series.
Emily Louise Tandy is a taker.  She thinks taking advantage of anybody she can reach is fair game.  Problem is, her mother and Maria Sebastian’s mother are sisters and the bond they’ve got is altruistic.  She tried changing their ways.  She tried changing her sisters’ ways as well, but everybody looked at her like she was nuts.  The fifth of six girls, she basically raised herself.  You can get lost in a crowd and she didn’t want to be related to them anyway as they were a bunch of dorks.
Her father was a real live roper.  He spent months in South America with horses and cows.  Cows!  Then he came home with various ponies, wild horses and an array of other wild animals tucked into his horse trailer.  The best one ever was a Paso Fino colt.  Emily  learned to ride when she was two years old.
Her cousin Maria lived three doors down from her in the outback of Phoenix, Arizona
Since Maria was an only child, she spent all her time with her cousins and their animals.
The gimmick Emily used to ride anything her dad dragged home, was an ancient rough-out saddle and some stolen chaps (from her sister).  Nothing could make her come off a horse.  Soon she had Maria doing the same thing so they could race each other over the hills.
Maria, Emily and her sisters thought about joining a circus when they were children.  Riding by that time was in their blood.  But Emily was the only one who actually did it. 

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

My blog for 10/9/2013 More Elmore Leonard

Here are two more of Elmore Leonard's recommendations for writing.

3.  Never use a verb other than "said" to carry dialogue.  The line of dialogue belongs to the character; the verb is the writer sticking his nose in.  But said is far less intrusive than grumbled, gasped, cautioned, lied.  I once noticed Mary McCarthy ending a line of dialogue with "she asseverated" and had to stop reading to get the dictionary.  (Asservate means to declare positively)

It took me a while to learn this.  And I'm sure I've made some verb errors since I did know it.
But that's pretty black and white.  Leonard says "don't do it" then it's a pretty good idea to follow.

4.  Never use an adverb to modify the verb "said" ...he admonished gravely.  To use an adverb this way (or almost any way) is a mortal sin.  The writer is now exposing himself in earnest using a word that distracts and can interrupt the rhythm of the exchange.  I have a character in one of my books tell how she used to write historical romances "full of rape and adverbs."

They have a nasty way of sneaking into a sentence.  Ex:  "She reluctantly said.   He quietly said.  She very delicately mentioned."  Eek.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

My blog for 10/5/2013 Rules of Writing

Due to his recent death, a lot has been on line regarding Elmore Leonard, who wrote crazy books set in Florida.  He was an excellent writer and will be missed by those like my husband who thought of him as wonderful entertainment and very knowledgeable at the same time.  I came across his rules of writing I thought I'd share with you:

1.  Never open a book with weather.  If it's only to create atmosphere, and not a character's reaction to the weather, you don't want to go on too long.  The reader is apt to leaf ahead looking for people.  There are exceptions.  If you happen to be Barry Lopez, who has more ways to describe ice and snow than an Eskimo, you can do all the weather reporting you want.

How do you feel about this?  I understand that the weather helps the reader understand the time and place where the story starts, and being not nearly the writer as Elmore Leonard, I've been known to throw a lot of weather into many of my scenes.  As a starting though, not so much.  But it was just dumb luck on my part.  A mistake I easily could have taken.  Now I can see that it won't.

2.  Avoid prologues.  They can be annoying, especially a prologue following an introduction that comes after a foreword.  A prologue in a novel is backstory, and you can drop it in anywhere you want.

I am guilty of doing this.  I like to put my murder in the first scene, and it's not always an appropriate start.  I've been told publishers do not like prologues in general--maybe because they feel it's too much information too early so the mystery is not as mysterious as it could have been.  Of course, I don't do forwards because of my genre.  I think non fiction would be more likely to have them.
I don't want the reader to know what the whole story is about, nor do I want them to know too much about one or more characters that may be in a forward.  I believe in backstory however.  A hint at the motive of the murder, or a reaction of the players is something I do want.  So because of his fame, perhaps Elmore Leonard's suggestion is something I should try more often.  What do you think?

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

My blog for 10/1/2013 BREAKFAST AFTER ALL

Yes, we found a good breakfast restaurant in Dahlonega!  They serve breakfast from 8 a.m. to
11 a.m.  The name of the place is Don Pollo Southern Cooking, if you can believe that.  The address is 125 Main Street, Dahlonega, GA  706 857-0233.

I can't really explain the name except they also serve Mexican dishes and there is a huge plaster rooster right in the middle of the restaurant.  But breakfast is either ethnic version and both are on the menu.

The eggs were cooked right when ordered at "medium,"  the hashbrowns were very good and crispy, the pancakes are wonderful, the sourdough toast is the best we've tasted in at least a year.  We did not try any meat.  They've just re-opened so the menu is not accurate and one must just ask the waitresses for what they want and they put it into a meal version for you.

We will be checking out the other places we think might have a breakfast and I'll let you know what we find.