Thursday, September 29, 2016

A New Inspirational Series From Sue Searles

Today's spotlight is on: 



SUE SEARLES

Dream Catcher












BLURB
Just when Dana thinks she has found true love, her mother drops a bombshell that turns her world upside down. Now she must find a way to quench a love that was never supposed to happen.
After twenty-five years, Lorraine finds her missing son—just not in the way she’d expected—and is forced to reveal the plethora of family secrets that has remained hidden for decades.

Dana delves into her grandfather’s past to uncover the story of this one man’s destructive lifestyle, and how it ultimately led to the unraveling of the entire family line. At the same time, she must piece together the mystery surrounding herself and her brother—two siblings deliberately kept apart so they would never find each other.

With three generations of women affected, will Dana get to meet the man responsible and solve the mystery?

EXCERPT
Dana sat stiffly in the passenger seat while Shaun drove them the short distance to Umdloti Beach on Saturday afternoon. She couldn’t stop her hands from shaking and her palms were sweaty. Umdloti Beach seemed like the perfect place to break the news—their special place to get away from the pressures of life and kindle their growing love.
But today would be different. They wouldn’t be leaving the confines of the parking lot this time, but could only watch other happy couples from a distance, laughing, playing, and frolicking in the waves or along the shore. Dana feared the process was going to be more heart-wrenching than she’d expected. More than anything else, it was the physical attraction that scared her, not knowing whether she’d just be able to turn it off. Was there something wrong with her that she still wrestled with those sorts of feelings? Her whole world had suddenly gone crazy.
Shaun knew her well enough to give her space when she needed it, but today she could see his trepidation as they drove the route in silence. They turned into the parking lot and pulled up alongside a wooden railing, the sound of seagulls squawking overhead and children playing on the beach. It was one-thirty, but already the sky was becoming overcast and turning an eerie gray, and a hint of thunder rumbled in the distance. Shaun started to open the door on his side and she touched his arm.
“We can’t . . . We have to talk here.”
The apprehension on his face broke her heart. “Honey, just tell me what’s going on. You’re starting to freak me out.”
“There’s something I have to tell you.” Her voice cracked. Lord help me, this is so hard. She drew a steadying breath and eased it out slowly, blinking back angry tears.
He took her hand and started weaving his fingers through hers. She pulled back.
“No, we can’t do that; it’s wrong.” How had she been able to hold back the flood of tears until now?
“Okay, honey, you’re worrying me. Whatever it is, we can work through it together.” His tone was tender but commanding. “It’s obviously about your mom because this all started last night.”
Dana gave a slow nod, desperate to stall him, wanting so badly to prolong the inevitable.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sue Searles has written several books, ranging from women’s fiction and short stories to poetry and children’s books. Having worked on various forms of storytelling since childhood, writing has been a lifelong passion.

Now somewhat older and wiser, she is passionate about thinking outside the conventional box, and conveys messages that are thought-provoking and life-changing.
Her inspiration comes mainly from studying people, reading, and daily life.
Sue is happily married and lives in sunny South Africa with her husband and son.


AUTHOR’S SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS
Email: sue-mic@mighty.co.za
Instagram: Sue Searles


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Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Writing Tips and a New Young Adult Novel From Brigid Amos


Author Brigid Amos talks about choosing the best point of view for her protagonist, Ruthie, in A Fence Around Her, a Young Adult Historical novel.  

One of the biggest decisions a writer makes when she begins a new story is choosing a point of view (POV). There are many ways to define POV, but I like to think of it as the means by which the writer guides the reader through the story and what she allows the reader to see, hear, and know. It is as if the reader arrives at a theater to watch a performance, and the writer is the usher who shows the reader to his seat. But the seat isn’t necessarily in the audience. Sometimes, it’s inside the head of one of the characters, sometimes, it is even inside the writer’s head. Where the reader sits will completely affect how he experiences the story. The usher can move the reader around during the performance, but must do so in such a way that he does not get confused and lose track of the story.

When I first started writing, I gravitated toward an omniscient point of view, or so I thought. I wanted to tell the reader what everyone was thinking and feeling, as if I were a camera floating about a scene, but one that could also dive in and out of characters’ heads at will and somehow record their thoughts. I think this tendency to the omniscient POV is very common among beginning writers. For me, it was probably an effect of being steeped in classic literature. But the problem was that I was not writing in a true omniscient POV. Instead, I was “head hopping,” that is, changing POV from one character to another and completely confusing the reader. I learned early on that if I were going to write in third person, I had to stick to one character for an entire chapter or at least an entire section. In this way, I could write in a close third person POV without getting into too much literary mischief.


When I started writing A Fence Around Her, I so strongly identified with my protagonist Ruthie Conoboy, that I naturally switched my usual close third person POV to first person POV. Ruthie tells her story directly to the reader, and when the reader comes to my theater, I seat her right there in Ruthie’s head so that she can look through Ruthie’s eyes and hear with Ruthie’s ears. When I was writing, I felt that I was Ruthie writing the story as if in a journal or diary. People always ask me if I journal. When I was studying for my Master's degree years ago, I bought myself one of those cute little fabric covered blank books and dutifully filled the pages every day. Then I stopped, because frankly, journaling wasn’t as fun for me as it is for others. The strange thing is that when I write in first person, it feels as if I am journaling, but I’m doing it in character. And when I’m journaling from the point of view of one of my characters, it is most certainly fun!

A Fence Around Her
By Brigid Amos

Can a girl break free from her mother’s past?

About the book:
Having a mother with a past is never easy. For Ruthie Conoboy it becomes the struggle of a lifetime in 1900, the year Tobias Mortlock arrives in the gold mining town of Bodie, California. Ruthie is suspicious of this stranger, but her trusting father gives him a job in the stamp mill. Soon, Ruthie suspects that her mother and Mortlock have become more than friends. Can Ruthie stop this man from destroying her family?

Excerpt:
When I left the house that day to go to the Sawdust Corner Saloon to fetch my father, the day we met Tobias Mortlock, my mother was still lying in bed moaning as if from a mortal wound and threatening to do herself harm. While I was gone, she had gotten up and tried to console herself by working on her latest landscape. But something had gone wrong, for when we came through the front door into the parlor, we found my mother slumped on the floor. Her silk dressing gown lay in folds around her and her blond curls stuck to her head in a multicolored array. Little pots of oil paint were scattered across the floor dribbling the last of sky blue, forest green, and yellow ochre onto the Persian rug.
“Lilly, what have you done?” My father reached down and lifted her to her feet, then walked over to where the easel lay collapsed on the floor and righted it also. He peeled the wet canvas from the rug and set it on the easel, then stepped back to have a look at it.
Somewhat distracted by the bits of red fuzz from the carpet embedded in the wet paint, I fixed my eyes on the canvas, trying to sort out the swirls of color into a cohesive image. My mother waited silently for our verdict. She seemed, in that moment, as fragile as a sparrow. I was relieved when my father broke the silence with his jovial critique.
“Why Lilly, it is the spitting image of Mono Lake. Yes, here are the islands in the center, and here the mountains rising up in the background. It is quite an impressive site, just as we saw it that day.” Two summers before, my father had taken us on a trip to the lake on the narrow gauge railroad that brought us firewood from the lumber mill on its southern shore. I remember how much my mother enjoyed that rare outing, saying over and over that the lake reminded her of the San Francisco Bay.
“It’s a fine painting, Mother,” I said. She moaned.
“What was that, Lilly?”
“No, Father, she didn’t say anything. She only made a sound.”
“Not good enough!” Mother wailed. Her sticky, colorful curls quivered like bunting in a light breeze.
“That’s not true, dear,” my father said. “You are a fine artist. It’s these fools in this town who don’t appreciate it. Look around at all the beauty in this parlor! Every day, I come home and think, who else has so many beautiful works of art on their walls? Maybe just Leland Stanford, Randal Hearst, and me.” He reached out to brush back her sticky hair. She slapped his arm away, smearing paint on the cuff of his sleeve.
“I’m not talking about the stupid painting," she said. “It’s me. I’ll never be good enough, not in Bodie.”
“Of course you are. I married you, didn’t I?”
At this she let out a wild scream and shook her head as if fending off a swarm of bees. Oil droplets sprayed in all directions, and I looked out the window to see if anyone could have heard. Mortlock had long moved on, and the street was deserted.
My mother stopped shaking and screaming, but she was still furious. “I am so sick of hearing about how you did me this grand favor by marrying me. If you’d wanted to do something for me, you would have taken me away from this awful place. You would have taken me somewhere people didn’t know me, where I could have been a regular woman.”
My father looked at the paint-spattered rug. “Ruthie, why don’t you go in the kitchen and start boiling water. I think your mother needs a bath.”
As I lit the stove and poured water into pots, I could hear their voices in the parlor, still going back and forth as they always did. Hers was like a mournful violin, his like a jolly French horn hopelessly out of step with the violin. Together they made a dissonant sound like musicians trying to play a duet, but each playing a different piece of music. And it never mattered what they were playing since it was always a variation on the same theme.

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About Brigid Amos:

Brigid Amos’ young adult historical fiction has appeared in The MacGuffin, The Storyteller, Wilderness House Literary Review, and Words of Wisdom. A produced playwright, she co-founded the Angels Playwriting Collective and serves on the board of the Angels Theatre Company. She is also an active member of Women Writing the West and the Nebraska Writers Guild. Although Brigid left a nugget of her heart behind in the California Gold Country, most of it is in Lincoln, Nebraska where she currently lives with her husband.

Connecting with Brigid:
Follow Brigid on Twitter:  https://twitter.com/Brigid_Amos
Visit Brigid’s website:       http://www.brigidamos.com/