Thursday, July 19, 2012

Driving the Oregon Trail

NIGHT FIRE (Set on the Oregon Trail, which I drove)

Now in Kindle's Lending Library for a limited time.

You'll notice the draft horses pulling the wagons. Oxen were the norm, but Arielle Browning is determined to take her draft horses to Oregon. As a single woman, she has a Big problem.

Here's the story:

St. Louis.1847. Determined businesswoman/spinster, Arielle sets out to take a full cargo of not-so-sweet brides West on the Oregon Trail. Her secret mission is to marry her childhood friend; however marriage to a dying stranger is just the widow-requirement Arielle needs to join the train.

The dying stranger who only wants the D'Arcy name to remain after him? Lucien Navaronne D'Arcy, a dangerous man known as the Dark Avenger, is set to find and kill his sisters' murderers.

On the trail, Arielle's husband, westerner Luc Navaronne turns up, alive, disturbingly attractive, and nettled that his bride wants a divorce. As the required male-helper the women must have, dashing Luc wants his wife, who fascinates and frustrates him.

Danger lurks throughout for the "Widow Train", but the end of the trail is even more dangerous, an evil wanting to kill and destroy...
I truly enjoyed researching, and driving the entire Oregon Trail, loaded with disasters and trials. It's quite the feeling to drive a vehicle up a steep grade where once oxen struggled to pull wagons. Or to see the different marking points, the vistas that the pioneers must make by a certain calendar date, such as Independence Rock.

Some of this trail is not accessible, but we did try our best.

As a writer, one of the most difficult tasks was in keeping the timeline mentioned above, i.e. one of the women is pregnant, so how far along is she at which marking point on the trail? Or. How long does it take to move from one point to another? 

I also enjoyed Arielle, a determined, independent businesswoman, notorious for her left-hand, which was responsible for her "left-handed thinking", and her red hair, two points against her in that time period.

I hope you enjoy this western romance and look for more of my historicals and other romance books.

Thursday, July 05, 2012

Fiction Checklist Handout

Return to Fairy Cove

  Recently, I gave an impromptu workshop concerning a Writer’s Checklist. Please visit my basic handout, which we worked through. It is not self-explanatory, rather notes on editing your fiction work. I ran through the list briefly at the workshop, complete with Q&As.

Q&As are the best when presenting any instructional program. This is where the experienced writer may find holes in their program. Or skip over tidbits they’ve forgotten.

But on to my Checklist. And I hope you’ll visit my other articles at my website, such as Plotting. This blog is stuffed with writerly posts. See Writers Stuff and especially Writers Survival Guide.

In editing/revamping my early material, I’m finding errors so common to writers, such as writing he/she/he/she, etc. He/She need to be broken occasionally by real names.
You’ll get the idea from the Checklist.

But today’s writer, especially those formatting their own work, needs to be aware of the length of sentences, compared to the width of a small screen. For example: if you have a long word, joined by an em dash, then another long word, that may take up the whole line on a small screen.

Factoid: Writers are inventive. See my photo on a cover, The Wedding Gamble, which is only 2.99 for a limited time.

The em dash and ellipses, etc. can present problems when viewed on a small screen. Deep thought, huh? But complicate that word-em dash-word with one or two words on either side and you could have an extremely short line and a whole line required for the em dash, i.e.:
If you take a
problem, it could be involved.

My point: Visual is a consideration in small screen presentation that has to be reckoned with—or not. Depending on the individual.

Meanwhile, paper print basic puncuation remains the same. So, two standards, maybe?

Even major publishers, with professional formatters, have a problem with adjusting to what is what and changing standards. One publisher has some ebooks that the left margin starts in the middle of my Kindle. Only a few words are allowed in the sentence, before the right side return.

In my workshop, I added body positions. !If you can get a book or a class on reading body language, it will help infuse your characters with telling postures.

Please do visit my Checklist handout? Of course, it's only an outline, but worth considering....