Posted in Authors, blog challenge

#LifeBooksWriting Blog Challenge: A Day in My Life

blogchallengegraphicupdatedThis week’s blog challenge is about A Day in My Life. 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 learning about some of the great participating authors).

My day usually begins at 5 a.m. when I wake up, feed my cats, and make coffee for my husband in that order. Then I check my computer for emails, Facebook messages, and my handy Google calendar, so I know what else is on the agenda for that day. I spend the next hour writing and eating breakfast which is usually a high fiber cereal with bananas or blueberries and coffee with skim milk. At 6 a.m., after my husband is out of the shower, I wake up my 6th-grade daughter who takes an hour dressing and using the bathroom. While she is getting ready, I put one of my Leslie Sansone walk-at-home DVD’s into my computer and exercise for a half hour. I then make breakfast for my daughter who, like my husband, grabs something quick because they are both running late all the time.

hicksvillelibraryWhen everyone is gone, I shower and dress for work. I like to get there at 8:30 even though I start at 9. I work at my local library as a librarian. The best part of my job is ordering the new fiction and mystery books, but it’s also the hardest because I want to read them all and don’t have the time. I also enjoy helping people find new books and authors. I’ve been writing and editing the library’s monthly staff picks newsletter for the last three years.

2016-05-09 20.39.46I work at the library from 9 to 5 four days a week and from 1 to 9 once a week. I also work two Saturdays a month. When I work a Saturday, I usually get a Friday off. On my days off and on weekends, I try to catch up on household chores and social media/writing. But if my daughter is home, too, I try to spend time with her. She’s at the age where she’d rather be with her friends than her mother, so I usually take her out somewhere with a friend. Last weekend, we went to Old Westbury Gardens, a place she particularly likes, as she’s into nature. However, it was so hot that both she and her friend wanted to leave before we were there long. A week ago, my daughter unexpectedly asked me to read a book with her. We used to read together all the time when she was younger but, as she started getting more homework and I became involved in writing, there was less time for us to do so. The book she chose, The Bad Unicorn, is one of those pre-teen dramatic works with a mysterious ancient codex and a seventh-grade hero. I had to admit I found some of the parts funny, and she laughed through a lot of it, too. Despite its crazy plot, the book was written on a level that would help increase a middle-schooler’s vocabulary, and I was glad it was something we could share.

maseThis weekend, I’m headed to Foxwoods Casino in Connecticut for MASE (Mystic Author Signing Event) where I’ll be meeting authors and readers and signing both of my books, A Stone’s Throw and Cloudy Rainbow. My husband is coming along, so we’ll also try to fit in some much-needed together time. Most of the time we’re both too busy with our jobs and daughter. The single exception is the one night a week, usually on a weekend I’m not working, that we watch a movie or TV show together on Netflix while our daughter plays virtual games on her computer with her friends.

There’s not much more to know about my days except that I try to fit in reading and some time with my cats.2016-02-24 10.18.29

 

 

 

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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.