If She Loves a Rag Doll, Is She Still Evil?

In My Soul to Keep, there is a character who is a murderous psychopath. She’s been purposely programmed to be that kind of person.  So how do you go about creating a story villain who’s truly evil but has some redeeming qualities? If she loves a rag doll, is she still evil? HOW Fortunately I had a mentor who knew how. How did he know? First, he’s smart. Second, he’s studied successful fiction and movies for a long time. What did he say to me that gave me a clue? He reminded me that a great story villain isn’t all villain all the time.. He also reminded me to look at the villains in books I’ve loved. For example, in Dean Koontz’s The Watchers there is a creature who had been created to be a destroyer, a murderer. He’s loathsome in appearance in and in deed. However, there’s a scene where the investigator-character discovers the monster’s lair. In the lair, the monstrous villain has treasured objects that include a collection of Disney branded toys and movies. It made this reader’s heart soften a touch toward the monster. And it made the monster more real, less one dimensional. WHAT I DID I […]

How to Keep Your Writing Alive in a Family Crisis

Whether it’s an accident, a health problem, a financial problem, or a mental health issue–the upheaval of a crisis can cause chaos. There are things you can do to keep your writing alive in a family crisis. Ways you can lessen the chaos. Things you can do to care for yourself, your loved ones, and to keep your writing alive in a family crisis. These things are applicable to any job or goals that get interrupted. Recognize that there is a crisis. We all tend to deny the scary stuff in our personal lives. Stop and look at your situation. Sometimes the crisis is long term, sometimes it’s short term. The crucial thing is to recognize it’s a crisis. Your emotional response is normal. No matter what you are feeling, your feelings are a normal reaction to stress and grief. Yes, even if there’s no death involved there will be grief. Allow yourself to feel all the feelings but don’t allow them to rule you. (I am living proof that this is not always easy.) Remember that other family members are having emotional reactions as well. Give each other the time and space you need to feel the feelings. Talk […]

How I Found My Cover Artist

Finding my cover artist was relatively a straightforward process that took a lot of time. I’m married to an artist who had an award-winning career as an art director. You’d think I would have found the process easy. Not so much. Not that my artist of choice, Elizabeth Leggett, made it difficult. She made it easy for me. I’ve never been a visual person. I love the sight of a dewy rose, the smile on a toddler’s face, the sleek lines of a sexy sports car. But, sounds make a bigger impact on me—babbling brooks, wind shushing through pine trees, and voices—from emotion to word choice to timber and volume and pace. I’m an emotion magnet—the ‘feel’ of a place, an event, or a person speaks to me. Heck, I write. Words are important. But discussing a book cover—words failed me. WHAT TO LOOK FOR When you choose a cover artist you should think about two or three skills that you’d want to see in their work. Perhaps you want great images of stars in space, or a cartoon-style character, or realistic animals. Do you want photo-realism or something more impressionistic? It’s all up to you. The artist should have […]