Texture: It’s the Details

My brain has always focused on the details of a scene. The minutia. I remember the wallpaper of my bedroom when I was two. It was tan with cowboys and lassos on it. My grandmother wore my favorite apron the day my parents brought my baby sister home from the hospital: white, with blue tea kettles on it. The kitchen was yellow, and the bassinette was next to the stove.

I think putting the details into a book adds texture. The details reveal character. Susan Elizabeth Phillips is a genius at doing this. What I Did for Love is full of texture, and that’s why it’s one of my favorite books. Jennifer Crusie does it in Bite Me.  The books I go back to and re-read  all the time have the little details that appeal to me.

I need to remember to add these things in my own writing.


#UpbeatAuthors: Earning Respect

Earning respect mustn’t be confused with demanding respect. Respect that is demanded usually isn’t truly respect; it’s either fear or obedience. Anyone who thinks respect can be ordered–“Show me the respect I deserve or else!”–is a bully. Bullies deserve only contempt.

Be sincere. Be genuine. Listen and learn. Compliment others. Be kind.

Accept differences. This is especially important when in the  religious and cultural areas. Make an attempt to understand what is different from your own background and beliefs. Don’t mock what you don’t comprehend.

Behave with honor. That’s an old-fashioned word that has gone out of fashion, but the concept is just as important in today’s world as it ever was. Honesty. Integrity. Ethical behavior. Doing the right thing.

Female Quest Stories

Many years ago, when I first got on the Internet and was hanging out on AOL, a discussion came up about quest stories for children where the searcher was a girl. We came up with two: The Wizard of Oz and Alice in Wonderland/Through the Looking Glass.

Since that time, I’ve come up with another:  A Wrinkle in Time.

One of my writer friends says the Narnia series also has a female protagonist. I never read the books. I tried to get my children to read them, but they didn’t care for them.. If she says there was a girl protagonist, I believe her.

Can you add to this list?

#UpbeatAuthors: Respect Me/Respect You

Respect seems a rare commodity these days. In many ways, our interactions with others often seem to smack of who’s in control rather than honoring each other for what we are.

Here are a few ways we can bring respect back to our everyday interactions:

  1. Listen attentively to the person speaking to you.
  2. Keep the agreements you make with others–that includes being on time.
  3. Comment on what seems to be important to the other person.
  4. Allow other people their privacy.
  5. Use the other person’s name–first name if given or title if not:MJ or Ms. Compton
  6. Don’t interrupt.
  7. Don’t dominate a conversation.
  8. Be kind.
  9. Value other opinions.
  10. Apologize when warranted–and be sincere about it.

When Writing Comes Together

I’m in the throes of starting a new book. The working title is Night Shift. I’m learning about the characters, both of whom have been in previous books–the hero in three, the heroine in one.  The hero was a minor a character in the first two books. He played a larger role in the third (the fourth Toke Lobo & Pack book, which is pending, TBA). I kept seeing him as Seth Rogen.

Even though one part of my brain kept seeing this, I knew it was wrong. My hero is not a funny guy.

I caught part of the Espy Awards, thought maybe Jake Wood could be the visual.

I thought wrong.

For giggles, I wondered about the guy who plays Jon Snow in A Game of Thrones. Now, for the record, I do not watch this show. I know nothing about this show except some memes I’ve seen on Facebook. So I went to Pinterest and typed in JON SNOW. This is what came up.

Well, if that wasn’t a sign I was on the right track for the hero of Night Shift, I don’t know what was. So I typed in the actor’s name: Kit Harrington.

OMG, this is my character. Jean jacket. T-shirt. Jeans. So that was settled.

I decided to do some reading about the character in the show, just to see what was what–if he was a good guy or a bad guy and so on. Good guy. That works. But he’s called the white wolf? He has a white direwolf as a pet? I was flabbergasted.

But yeah, I think I’m on the right track for the hero of Night Shift.