My Characters Speak

Seen from afar on a windy beach or along the edge of a cliff, Bianca Ferguson, nee beach crescentBrendani, resembles a fairy-tale creature, perhaps a wood sprite or a pixie. If you look a little closer, though, you’ll see that the wild blond vision is holding a sketchbook in her hand.

Bianca’s role in my story revolves around her art and her role as a loving aunt. Painting has always been part of her life. Her art flows from her brush as easily as words spill from her mouth. She’s been at… Continue reading

The Dreaded Query Letter

What is it about query letters that causes heart rates to soar, pupils to widen, and usually articulate people to stutter? It isn’t as though a query letter is very long, certainly nothing like a synopsis, so it shouldn’t take much time to create. It isn’t as though the information requested is difficult to find; it’s all about your work and your life. In fact, query letters from authors are actively sought by agents and editors. What’s the big deal about writing query letters?… Continue reading

I Challenge You: Do You Know These Books?

Stack-Of-Books-BigThis week I thought I might take a slightly different angle to the question of what my favorite first lines are from books I’ve read and loved. Instead, let’s see how many first lines you can remember from some of my favorite books. Two hints: I taught American literature in high school classes and have always loved the classics. Here are fifteen first lines. How many do you know? I’ll put the answers at the end, but no peeking.

1. “Christmas won’t be Christmas without any presents,” grumbled Jo, lying on… Continue reading

First Among Firsts

Writers are always being asked — or told  — about first lines.  Get a good hook. Make those critical beginning words count.

Like most people, I’ve reacted to hundreds and hundreds of first words with sheer boredom, barely passing glances, humour, distaste, revelation, revulsion, hatred, pleasure, wonder and sadness. Sometimes even buoyancy and hope, those being, in my experience, the rarest.  I know that something about the many volumes I’ve read had to draw me in beyond a grabby cover, an interesting sounding author, a compelling plot description on the dust jacket.  Something had to make me want to… Continue reading

The senses …

The senses are a wonderful thing that help us interact with the world around us — it is easy to relay some of them in writing … what we see and hear.  However some are just a bit more challenging yet when we capture that image the writing is that much more vibrant.

I love Joss Whedon’s “Firefly” TV series.  There is one episode when Kayley eats a fresh strawberry and the look on her face when she eats that strawberry is almost indecent.  Here is a woman who has lived on a space ship and eaten protein rations… Continue reading


swear word  What is your favorite curse word?  For anyone who has watched Inside the Actor’s Studio, you know this is one of the 10 questions James Lipton asks each actor.  The host was inspired by Bernard Pivot, who hosted the French broadcast Apostrophes, and used the Proust Questionnaire as an opportunity for a writer to reveal his/her personality at that same time as aspects of his/her work.

Swearing and cursing exist in all human languages.  As writers, it’s a tool that can be used to convey a personality trait Continue reading