Posted in A Stone's Throw, Between a Rock and a Hard Place, Books, Characters

Introducing Cobble Cove Character Chat

I have some exciting news to share, but first, I want to thank all those great authors who helped me and my characters host our Cobble Cove mysteries birthday party on Facebook this past week. The guest hosts did a wonderful job, and we had a great turn out of readers.

ccchatedited

Now for the big news. My brilliant 7th-grade daughter came up with a great idea which includes all the characters from the Cobble Cove mysteries hosting a monthly event called Cobble Cove Character Chat on the first Wednesday of each month. There will be a different character each month. That character will “chat” with anyone who visits the page that day. The character will post some information about themselves, maybe share an excerpt from a book in which they appear, and also offer a contest, freebie, or something else of interest to readers. Those who visit the CCCC event page may ask any question(s) they want of the character of that month. Doesn’t that sound like a lot of fun? Why not drop by and check out the first chat on Wednesday, December 7?

The event page is located here: https://www.facebook.com/events/1826399190969939/

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Posted in A Stone's Throw, Anthology, Between a Rock and a Hard Place, Characters, Solstice Publishing

Pre-Orders Open for Solstice Publishing’s A Winter Holiday 2016 Anthology

a-winter-holiday-2016-001The end of year holidays are filled with joy as decorations go up worldwide. Parades give everyone a chance to join with others in happiness. Families make plans to gather for meals and celebrations.

A season for joy…

A season for celebration…

A season for family…

Solstice Publishing presents eleven talented authors with a dozen stories that portray the winter holiday season in many ways. Each tale will fill you with wonder, joy, and a sense of earned togetherness.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zm8GCXvEYik&feature=youtu.be

solstice-publishing-logo-2016Celebrate with K.C. Sprayberry, Donna Alice Patton, Johnny Gunn, Susan Lynn Solomon, Debbie De Louise, Elle Marlow, Leah Hamrick, Eden S. Clark, E.B. Sullivan, M.A. Cortez, and Rebecca L. Frencl this winter holiday season.

http://bookgoodies.com/a/B01N41UOYH

My story, Christmas with My Characters, is included in this anthology. Here is the blurb:

The characters from Debbie De Louise’s Cobble Cove cozy mysteries gather in the Cobble Cove library to celebrate the holidays. Each character receives a gift from the author; and Alicia, the main character, reads some excerpts from the first book, A Stone’s Throw, and the new release, Between a Rock and a Hard Place.

Posted in A Stone's Throw, Authors, blog challenge, Books, Characters, Cloudy Rainbow

#LifeBooksWriting Blog Challenge: How I Create Characters

blogchallengegraphicupdatedThis week’s blog challenge is called character inspiration. Sophia Valentine of Lifestyle and Literature created this challenge (see graphic for topics and dates if you have a blog and would like to participate. If you’re a reader, I’m sure you’ll enjoy the posts from the great participating authors).

interviewblogpostThe characters I feature in my books are fictionalized composites of people I know or have known. The main character usually shares some of my personality or background. For instance, in “A Stone’s Throw,” Alicia Fairmont is a librarian like I am. Although my husband is still alive, thank God, Alicia is a widow. Her marriage was quite different from mine, as her husband kept his past secret. When she searches for his family that she has never met, she ends up meeting and falling in love with John McKinney, the publisher of a small town newspaper. John’s character is mostly imaginary. His occupation and interest in journalism and novel writing is another aspect of my personal experience. I worked as Features editor on my college newspaper and also edited and published my library school newsletter before writing articles, short stories and novels.

What's the Secret Ingredient in the McKinney's PB&J Recipe-John’s father, 80-year old Mac, is another central character in my book. He is a librarian and previous library director at the Cobble Cove Library in upstate New York. One memorable characteristic of Mac is his love of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. When I worked part-time in the special collections department of my college library, I worked with an older gentleman who ate peanut butter and jelly sandwiches every day. I gave Mac this similar quirk and also his propensity for creative quotes. The tagline of the book, which comes from one of Mac’s sayings is, “Things happen for a reason.”

Sheila, the current library director and a close friend of Mac and John is not based on anyone I’ve worked for. She’s a complex character who is difficult to know initially. As the story unfolds, we learn her hard exterior was built after the tragic loss of her young husband to a brain aneurysm that left her to raise her daughter alone.

There are many other characters in the book including Alicia’s best friend, Abigail Nostran, known as Gilly, who worked with her part-time as a clerk at their library on Long Island. Gilly has three sons and is a very down-to-earth person who likes to wear sweatshirts and casual clothing. She loves to bake and, despite a messy divorce, is a positive person who enjoys talking about the opposite sex. I based Gilly on several women I’ve known throughout my life. I also had a friend at my library who worked as a clerk.

Dora, the innkeeper, who Alicia first meets when coming to Cobble Cove, shares some similarities with Gilly. She has never married and, during the course of the book, develops a love interest in someone. An older woman who runs a bed and breakfast in a small town, she’s a bit wary about new guests. As she gets to know Alicia, she becomes friendlier. Her interests also include baking as well as gardening and making the inn’s bath soaps and lotions.

teaser6teaser5dogTwo other characters that play important roles in my book, although they aren’t human, are the library Siamese cat, Sneaky, and Mac and John’s golden retriever, Fido. The cat is based on my own Siamese cat, Oliver, who is older than Sneaky. The dog is also based on some dogs I grew up with and those I’ve read about in books.

For more information about my characters, you can read  “Interview with My Characters” and/or  “Celebrating Christmas with My Characters” both on this blog.

The sequel to “A Stone’s Throw” will feature several new characters. Without giving the story away, some will be college-age and others children. I base the kids on my own daughter when she was the age of the characters. One young girl who plays a big role in the book, Angelina,  suffers from leukemia. Her character is based on my niece who underwent a bone marrow transplant ten years ago at the age of 12 and is now completely recovered with a baby daughter.

The new book that I am currently writing with totally different characters, features themes of alcoholism. mental illness, and infertility. The main character, Sarah Lloyd, is a children’s book illustrator this time instead of a librarian. She is having problems conceiving which causes stress on her marriage. I have a familiarity with this topic because it took me many years and some fertility treatments to conceive my daughter. Sarah’s mother, Jennifer Brewster, is the alcoholic in the book. While my experience with this topic is limited, I used my knowledge of alcoholic characters I’ve read about and seen portrayed on television. Without revealing the plot or other characters because the book is only in a draft stage, I will say my characters are different from those of “A Stone’s Throw” and my first self-published novel, “Cloudy Rainbow,” although there are some similarities.

I believe most authors put some of themselves in their main characters as well as other aspects of their personalities in non-leading characters. I’ve also found that, once you name a character and begin to feature that person in your book, they start taking on characteristics and motivations that often surprise you.

In case the descriptions of my characters have interested you, you might consider joining my mailing list for updates on my books and monthly contests for prizes at https://debbiedelouise.wordpress.com (just complete the pop-up newsletter form and confirm through the email you are sent). The next newsletter will be out on June 1st where I’ll be announcing the June contest and awarding the May prize.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in A Stone's Throw, Books, Characters, Limitless Publishing, Writing

The Do’s and Don’ts of Writing a Sequel

sequelWhen I first came up with the idea for A STONE’S THROW (November 2015 Limitless Publishing), I did not plan for it to be the first in a series. However, after I finished it, I realized that my characters were asking for at least one more book. How do characters ask this? Well, sometimes an author feels that their characters can be further developed in a sequel or a series. There might be storylines that were not completely tied up in the first, or there might be room for new characters and new storylines. That seemed to be the case for me.

Without giving away any details about the next in what may be one more book or a series of Cobble Cove novels, I would just like to share with readers and other fellow authors some DO’S AND DON’TS  I learned from writing a follow-up to my romantic suspense novel.

dosdontsDO’S

  1. DO feature backstory from the first book in flashbacks sprinkled throughout the second.
  2. DO introduce new characters and show how they interact with the old.
  3. DO continue developing old characters. Remember, they age physically and also mature with their experiences.
  4. DO write in the same point of view as the original.
  5. DO make sure the timeline and dates are accurate from one book to the other.
  6. DO make sure that previous characters continue to have the same habits and mannerisms. Also recheck their appearance. If the time you are writing about from one book to the other is a wide gap, remember to age all characters accordingly.
  7. DO fill in info about occurrences/events that happened between books. i.e. Have any characters died? Gotten married? Moved?
  8. DO leave the ending open for a third book if you intend on continuing the series. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t tie up the plot completely, but leave room for the characters to grow and change.
  9. DO inform your readers and fans of the upcoming book. It’s also a nice idea to offer the first one at a discount or for free for those who haven’t yet read it.
  10. DO write in the same genre. If the first book is a mystery, it would be strange to have your characters appear in a science fiction in the second book. Also, try to keep the books approximately the same length if possible.

DON’TS

  1. DON’T write a follow-up book that is too similar to the first. It’s okay to have similarities, but you want something that generates new interest.
  2. DON’T write a follow-up book that is drastically different from the first. The tone, atmosphere, and genre should be the same.
  3. DON’T forget to include any characters. If you have a lot of characters in the first book, make sure you feature the main ones or explain what happened to them between books.
  4. DON’T introduce new characters without giving them a role. Adding new characters for the sake of having more characters won’t sit well with readers. However, if you develop the new characters well and plan to use them in an upcoming book, that could be useful.
  5. DON’T seek out a new publisher. If you published your book traditionally, it only makes sense to try to sell the second book to the first publisher.
  6. DON’T refer to something that happened in the first book without providing a reference to it.
  7. DON’T set the book on a stage that doesn’t suit it. If your first book took place in a small town, don’t move it to the big city (although it’s always possible to have the characters take a trip there).
  8. DON’T change any character drastically unless you explain the change. For instance, if someone loses weight, explain that they were on a diet. If someone’s personality changes, explain what the cause might be.
  9. DON’T sweat the small stuff. You needn’t go into major detail about all the happenings from the first book, but it’s nice to include some of the major stuff when you can work it into the story.
  10. DON’T choose a title that has little significance with the previous book. It’s nice to be able to identify a series by its title. This can be done in various ways. You can keep one word in every title the same or you can use related words or themes. You can bet my follow up title to A STONE’S THROW will have something to do with rocks and, perhaps, a common quote or phrase.

Looking forward to sharing more information about my sequel soon. I hope these tips help other authors. Both readers and authors should feel free to comment any other ideas/thoughts about series writing.

 

Posted in A Stone's Throw, Characters

Only Children and Siblings in Novels

siblingsforblog I read an article about birth order recently for an online Gale Course I am taking on adolescents to help me understand the changes my tween daughter is going through. It got me thinking about the characters in my novels and other books I’ve read and what roles their siblings played. In my upcoming romantic suspense, “A Stone’s Throw,” both the main character, Alicia Fairmont, and her new romantic interest, John McKinney, are raised as only children. Alicia’s dead husband, Peter, has a sister, Pamela, who is seven years older. As only children, Alicia and John share some traits. They both tend to be perfectionists and can be stubborn in their beliefs.  Through flashbacks and additional information learned later in my book, we see that Peter Fairmont, a youngest child, is extremely self-centered. His older sister enjoys running the show.

What about other sibling characters in popular books  such as sisters Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy in Louisa May Alcott’s “Little Women,” and Jane, Elizabeth, Mary, Kitty, and Lydia in Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice?” What about Cinderella and her stepsisters? Hansel and Gretel? Cain and Abel? Feel free to post other famous literary siblings, their birth order and personalities. (and even your own if you’d like). I’m a last born or youngest, but there are 11-15 years between me and my two brothers and sister. My daughter is an only. My husband is second oldest.

Here is the link to the birth order article from my class.

Posted in A Stone's Throw, Cats, Characters, Dogs

Interview with My Characters

interviewblogpostI decided to interview six characters from my upcoming novel, “A Stone’s Throw.” I conducted the interviews at the Cobble Cove Library, the main setting of the book. The people interviewed were:

Alicia Fairmont – Protagonist of “A Stone’s Throw.” She is forty-two, a librarian, and the widow of Peter Fairmont.

John McKinney – The newspaper publisher of the Cobble Cove Courier. He is forty-five, a widower, and Alicia’s new love interest in the novel.

Sheila Whitehead – The fifty-two year old director of the Cobble Cove library.

Jonathan McKinney, Sr. (Mac) – The eighty-year old founder of the Cobble Cove library who is semi-retired. He is John’s father.

Sneaky Cat – The Siamese library cat at Cobble Cove Library.

Fido – John and Mac’s old Golden retriever.

I asked all six the following three questions:

Without giving away any spoilers, what was your favorite and least favorite part of the book?

Why do you think Debbie chose you as a character in “A Stone’s Throw?”

What other characters did you like and dislike in the book?

The four humans sat around a table in the reading room of the Cobble Cove Library. Sneaky, the library cat, was in his cat bed by the Local History section, and Fido was at Mac’s side.

As the lead character, Alicia answered first. She shook her long, chestnut hair away from her face and paused as she considered my questions. “It’s hard not to give away spoilers, but I would say one of my favorite parts of the book was when John took me up to Cobble Point and showed me the view of the town and the cove. I think I started falling in love with him then.  As far as my least favorite part of the book, I think it was when I discovered something that implicated John in my husband’s murder, but I can’t elaborate on that without giving away too much of the plot.”

“I think Debbie chose me because I’m a librarian like she is, and I know authors prefer to write about what they know. I liked most of the townspeople in “A Stone’s Throw,” although it was hard to get to know Dora, the innkeeper, and Casey, the diner owner, at first. I also had mixed feelings about Sheila. The character I think I disliked the most was Detective Ramsay. He took the definition of ‘Bad’ cop a bit too far.”

Next up was John. He smiled, showing the dimple in his left cheek. “I really loved showing Alicia the town and walking around Dora’s garden at the inn. It was really fun to paint with her, too. I hated it when I had to admit my relationship with Tina, and it really hurt me when Alicia stopped trusting me.”

“Debbie probably chose me because I’m so good looking. Just joking. She needed a love interest for Alicia, and I filled the bill. It also helped that I was a newspaper publisher and was also dabbling at writing a mystery. I guess I was Debbie’s other half. Alicia was the librarian, and I was the writer.”

“I try to get along with most people, but Detective Ramsay really tried my patience.”

Sheila answered after John. She tossed her flaming red hair over her shoulder and kicked her boots out from under the table. “I liked showing my strength when I shoveled my walk with John after the snowstorm. I also really enjoyed having tea and chatting with Alicia when we were snowbound at the library. I didn’t like when I realized some of the stupid mistakes I’d made.”

“Debbie probably picked me because I was such a strong character, and I was close to John in a platonic way. I also didn’t like Detective Ramsay, and I almost told him where to shove it (excuse my language). I found Betty, the homebound, a bit exasperating, too, but I felt sorry for her.”

Sneaky meowed when it was his turn to “talk.” He jumped out of his cat bed and joined the group. “I liked the part where I got to sleep with Alicia and helped her find one of the big clues in the book. I didn’t like it when Alicia and John left me alone, and Mac forgot to feed me.”

“My cat sixth-sense tells me Debbie picked me for her book because I’m Siamese like her cat, Oliver. She also loves to write about cats and is even a member of the Cat Writer’s Association.”

“I didn’t like Sheila that much because she never wanted to clean my litter box and always left it up to Mac or John and even had Alicia do it.”

Fido barked for his turn. “I loved when John put me on the mission that was the pivotal point in the plot, but I can’t give that away. I didn’t like it when Alicia and Sheila doubted I was dog enough to help them because of my age.”

“I liked John and Mac the best because they were my owners. I didn’t like Detective Ramsay. He smelled bad literally.”

“I’d wager a bone that Debbie chose me because she had to consider the dog loving readers out there, but I also know that she likes all animals, even though she is partial to cats.”

Mac tapped his cane. “Don’t forget about me.  I loved the part where I told Alicia that things happen for a reason. That was the best line in the book. I didn’t like when John confronted me about issues in my past that forced me to reveal some things I’d done when I was young.”

“I would figure Debbie gave me a role in her book because I had the most experience and, if I wasn’t the smartest, at least I was the one who had the most sense.”

“The character I liked the most was John because he was my only son. I also grew to like Alicia a bunch. Sheila and I sometimes rubbed one another the wrong way, but I respected her. Ramsay was a rude guy, but he was only trying to do his job. Faraday was a lot nicer if you like cops.”

As the interview wrapped up, I thanked all the characters and told them I’d try being gentle when I edited their parts.

 

 

 

Posted in A Stone's Throw, Characters, Location

It’s all in the Location

mappic Have you ever read a book where you felt like you were transported to the place where it was set? Some people enjoy reading about certain areas before they travel there themselves. Others, are armchair travelers, who enjoy reading about faraway places they will never see in person. In my book, “A Stone’s Throw,” I have created a fictional, small upstate New York town called Cobble Cove populated by mostly middle aged and older residents. Alicia Fairmont, the book’s librarian protagonist, is only in her early forites, and her love interest, John McKinney, is forty-five. The library’s director, Sheila Whitehead, is a young grandmother in her early fifties. Mac, John’s father, is a spry but forgetful eighty-year old.

The town, built around a green, features shops owned and run by Cobble Cove residents – Irene, the gift shop owner; Duncan, the grocer; Camille, the bank teller; Ed, the postmaster; Wilma, the hairdresser; Claire, the baker; Dora the innkeeper, and Casey, the diner owner. There is also a special spot in town known as Cove Point that looks down upon the green on one side and the waters of the cove on the other.  It’s where John and Alicia have their first innocent romantic encounter.

Of course, one must not forget the library that was built over a century ago when the town was founded. The library is the focal point of the book.

As I am beginning the pre-edits of the novel, I am suggesting that a map of Cobble Cove be included. Would this make things easier to visualize? Thank you for any comments you’d like to post about this idea on the blog.