Saturday, March 18, 2017

Emotional Involvement in a Story by Connie Vines

Since I am still dealing with power outages, I can only hope this blog posts and doesn't disappear.

What a wonderful topic for this month's Round Robin Blog.  Thank you Dr. Bob!

Are you ever emotionally drained by writing certain scenes, and how real are your characters to you?

For romance novelist the emotional involvement is the 💖 of the story.  Whereas fear would be the emotional of a horror story, etc.

So, like so many other romance novelists of my era, I have one key movie and one key television series which spelled out emotion in capital letters.

  • The opening of the movie Romancing the Stone, where author Joan Wilder (played by Kathleen Turner) is bawling because she has finished her book with a very emotional scene in her book. 
  • The television series,  Beauty and the Beast, starring Linda Hamilton and Ron Pearlman (as Vincent, the beast).  The opening music was enough to make my throat thick and my eyes teary.

 I've read meany books that brought me to tears (Jane Eyre, to name my favorite), and I must admit, I still cry when I re-read scenes in my own novels, too.  Talk that dark moment in Lynx, Rodeo Romance, Book 1, when Rachel turns down Lynx's proposal.  Or in Brede, Rodeo Romance, Book 2 when my heroine is willing to sacrifice her life to save Brede and his daughter.  Well, you get the picture , ,  

I plot my novels and short stories, however, I emotionally live my scenes.  Since my settings are places I have lived or visited, I have memories and sensory reactions. In real life, since  I can feel other people's emotions, which is difficult at times, and it helps for me to write it out through my characters.

Emotional draining? Yes.
Rewarding?  Of course.

Please stop by and see what these wonderful authors have to say by clicking on the links below.

Happy Reading!


Victoria Chatham 
Marci Baun 
Margaret Fieland 
Judith Copek 
A.J. Maguire 
Rachael Kosinski 
Dr. Bob Rich 
Heather Haven 
Beverley Bateman 
Kay Sisk 
Diane Bator
Skye Taylor 
Helena Fairfax
Rhobin Courtwright

Friday, March 17, 2017

Blogging in the Dark by Connie Vines

This was not the topic I'd planned for Thursday, but as you can see, my neighborhood is still without electricity and I'm writing by the light of one,very dim candle.

**i intended to insert a photo of me by candle light, except the camera feature will not launch :(. **

Yes, I've been without services before.  I've been camping and stayed for a week in a tipi (complete with overseeing the operation of a smoke flap) and participated in meal prep were several salmon were cooked over a pit fire.  I'm not even afraid of wild animals (except for opossums, squirrels, and an occasional raccoon) few venture into the quirky suburbs of Southern California; nor am I fearful of the dark.  I simply find it extremely I convenient, today & tomorrow, to have my carefully laid plans disrupted.

I have a Geek Squad tech scheduled to service and back-up by iPhone, iPad, and PC.  This will not happen if I do not have electricity. I also have a 7 a.m. service appointment the service my car.

So what? You are thinking.

 What if I oversleep?  5:30 a.m. Is not an easy time for me to be functional, I'm a night owl, remember.  What if my cell phone and my iPad have zero battery life?  

I had planned on working on my office tonight.  I have stacks everywhere because I'm setting up my files and purging my bookcases.  Not an activity to be attempted by flashlight or candle light.  I had also planned on writing my blog (I have accomplished one item on my list. If it posts).

It's 77 degrees, no rain.  I have the neighbor's solar lights which cast a faint shimmer on the cement side walk, so no one should trip and fall into the street if they venture out into the darkness.

I'm going to see if I can locate an unsented candle to light, because the floral fragrance is a bit over powering.  It's 8:11 by the light of my Fitbit tracker. . . Have a good evening everyone!

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Not For Sissies

Years ago I first saw “Getting Old Is Not For Sissies” posted on the wall at my mother’s nursing home. It’s proved truer--and truer sooner--than I could have ever imagined. Here I am, suddenly (who knows how?!) into my seventies, telling a disease of the week kind of surgery story, just like my grandmother's friends used to. 

A decade back, I had life-changing surgery which ended five years of suffering from Ulcerative Colitis. That’s one of those “down there” diseases, like colon cancer, recently out of the closet of unmentionable ailments.  One of the worst things about UC—besides the relentless belly-aching (!) was being virtually housebound whenever the disease was active, which became progressively more and more of the time. I spent most of one year in and out of bed, fatigued, sick, and in all over pain. (At least, if you are having a tough pregnancy, you may, at the end of the trail, have something nice to show for it.) 

Finally, when I'd gone in for yet another scope, I came to in a hospital bed, with a kind Asian Gastroenterologist explaining that the look-see had been impossible because my gut was about to rupture. It was decision time. Either take a chemo-type infusion treatment that would reoccur every six weeks for the rest of my life, or big, cut-and-paste surgery. 

Being an old fashioned girl, I took "the knife." It's an awful phrase that smacks of melodrama, but there is a certain truth to it as well, because there are some glaring body-concept changes to face.  

"Why?" I'd wondered to the surgeon. My husband was only three years past a colon cancer operation. The female surgeon just shrugged her white-coated shoulders and said we'd been hit by diseases common to people with our history. We'd lived for a decade in farmland Connecticut, drinking from a well. The old run-down house in which we lived sat amid fields of corn, tobacco, and potatoes, all of which require a lot of Ag-Chem. Cancer and immune diseases go with the territory.

Surgery left me with an ostomy, but freed me from the burden of all those ruined body parts. Once again, with a bit of strategy, I could travel, go out to eat, go to the movies, or even just out to the mall. I could ride my bike to the farmer’s market and load the bags with vegetables, or hop up onto the back of my husband’s motorcycle and go out to admire the rural Pennsylvania countryside for hours, a pastime we both enjoy.

For three years I felt better. I could lug sacks of mulch around the yard, yank weeds that were hoping to settle in my garden. I was attending Silver classes at the gym and generally enjoying life again.

Unfortunately, post-surgical patients of my kind are digestive Rube Goldberg machines.
Lots of things can (and do) go wrong. I'd considered myself well-educated about possible problems this drastic re-engineering might create, but it turned out that post-op adhesions are a common occurrence. I'd probably read that somewhere before I made my choice, but now it was in my face--or remains of my gut, I guess is better--another blockage. 

So, once more, there was hospitalization followed by a dreary, kick-the-drugs convalescence. I was crestfallen, scarred, and physically weak.  It was far harder after that to imagine a nice seamless future.

So once again, I sucked it up, and bravely head “Onward, into the fog.”* which, I think is a pretty good description of the future.  Once again, I'm alive and well some years past surgery.

The beauty of the right-now-moment--hearing the voice of a grandchild or an old friend, seeing the blood red just-bloomed Christmas amaryllis, or enjoying the pleasant sensation of a lean-against-my-leg-please-pat-me from a fluffy cat—must take precedence over all those middle of the night "what if's?"  

Whatever it took to get to today, I’m thankful to have been given a little more time in which to celebrate the small shiny bits of life, those marvelous happenings of every day.

*R. Crumb's Mr. Natural

~~Juliet Waldron    Historical Novels by JW at Amazon  A Master Passion   ISBN: 1771456744
(Alexander Hamilton and his Eliza, their story) Angel’s Flight  ISBN: B0098CSH5Q
Adventure and romance during the American Revolution

Sunday, February 5, 2017

The Indispensable Man

Angel’s Flight  
A Revolutionary War Adventure

 I happened into the world on George Washington’s birthday. For many years I took real pride from sharing the day with the great man. After all, back in the ‘50’s Washington's birthday was still celebrated on the day on which it fell, which meant that I always had my birthday off from school. 

Pretty sweet—even if February in upstate NY meant we were buried in snow. It was fun to have a party on a school holiday. Friends came to sledding parties and for snow-fort-buildings, but, by the time I was eight or nine, costume parties were my favorite.   To have a costume party in the dead of winter was a little outre—remember, this is the ‘50’s in upstate farm country—but everyone got into the spirit, even if it just meant digging out last autumn’s Halloween costume again.

George Washington and Blue Skin, his favorite horse

But to return to Washington --Father of Our Country. Think about what it means. It’s pretty heavy stuff to lay on anybody who put his pants on one leg at a time. Still, when you take a look at his track record here’s a thumbnail of what you'll find:

Washington was Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army upon whose victory the thirteen colonies depended to secure their separate and equal station among the powers of the earth. In the summer of 1787, he presided over America's Constitutional Convention. His presence lent decisive significance to the document drafted there, which continues in force in the twenty-first century as the oldest written constitution in the world. From 1789-1796, he held the highest office in the land as the first president of the United States of America under this constitution.”  
 * The Claremont Institute via PBS website

Washington was “the man who would not be King.” Unlike almost every other popular Revolution since, our military hero did not become a tyrant imperfectly hidden beneath a variety of pious designations as did so many others:  Augustus Caesar, Hitler, Napoleon, Pol Pot, Stalin, Oliver Cromwell and Mao Zedong. 

After the Revolutionary War was over, he said farewell to his officers and went back to Mt. Vernon. Later, when his two terms as president were done, he quietly returned home again. George Washington was truly the “Cincinnatus” his contemporaries called him. Like that legendary Roman farmer, he left plowing his fields to assume a generalship in time of war; after his country's need was over, he went back to his cabbages, corn, and tobacco.

Historian James Flexner’s biography of Washington is called The Indispensable Man, for the excellent reason that the general did not use his overwhelming personal popularity to set himself up as a despot. 

"Guard against the impostures of pretended patriotism..."

He wasn't a demagogue, stirring up division in a nation which, after a long, brutal war, badly needed healing. He did not make promises he didn't intend to keep. He did not set himself up as King or attempt to found a dynasty. He didn't use the power of his office to enrich himself or his friends; and he certainly operated within the rules laid down by the US Constitution--after all, he'd presided over the room, during that hot Philadelphia summer, where this pattern for modern democracy was conceived. 

~~Juliet Waldron    historical novels at Amazon  A Master Passion, the story of Alexander Hamilton and Betsy Schuyler, from childhood, to the duel, and beyond.  ISBN: 1771456744

Monday, January 30, 2017

What Did You Call Me?

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for…oh, let’s say the last three months…you’ve probably noticed that social media isn’t so social any more. It’s full of anger. And vitriol. And mud-slinging. Yeah, I don’t even want to sign onto Facebook some days. But, if you think that it’s only been in the last campaign that the mud-slinging and name calling started, yeah…no. I went on the Internet to find some of the best political insults out there. You may not want to be drinking anything while you read this. If you are—I am not responsible for any coffee, tea, soda, juice, or any other beverage spewed onto the monitor.

"Reader, suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself." Mark Twain

"I want you to know that also I will not make age an issue of this campaign. I am not going to exploit, for political purposes, my opponent's youth and inexperience." Ronald Reagan, during a 1984 presidential debate with Walter Mondale. (Reagan and Mondale were two of the oldest candidates running for the office of president, with Reagan being the elder by a few years.)

"He can't help it. He was born with a silver foot in his mouth." Former Texas Gov. Ann Richards on misstatements made by George Bush, Sr.

"I don't want to be invited to the family hunting party." President Barack Obama, on revelations that he and Dick Cheney are eighth cousins

"I stand by this man because he stands for things. Not only for things, he stands on things. Things like aircraft carriers, and rubble, and recently flooded city squares. And that sends a strong message that no matter what happens to America she will always rebound with the most powerfully staged photo-ops in the world." Stephen Colbert, mocking President George W. Bush to his face at the 2005 White House Correspondents' Dinner

"If ignorance goes to forty dollars a barrel, I want drilling rights to George Bush's head." Jim Hightower, former Texas Commissioner of Agriculture, referring to the elder Bush

"There they are. See no evil, hear no evil, and...evil." Bob Dole, watching former presidents Carter, Ford and Nixon standing by each other at a White House event

"People would say, 'We need a man on the ticket." Rep. Pat Schroeder, on why George Bush was unlikely to choose a woman as his running mate in 1988

"In a recent fire Bob Dole's library burned down. Both books were lost. And he hadn't even finished coloring one of them." Jack Kemp

"As Americans, we must ask ourselves: Are we really so different? Must we stereotype those who disagree with us? Do we truly believe that ALL red-state residents are ignorant racist fascist knuckle-dragging NASCAR-obsessed cousin-marrying roadkill-eating tobacco juice-dribbling gun-fondling religious fanatic rednecks; or that ALL blue-state residents are godless unpatriotic pierced-nose Volvo-driving France-loving left-wing communist latte-sucking tofu-chomping holistic-wacko neurotic vegan weenie perverts?" Dave Barry

"All that Hubert needs over there is a gal to answer the phone and a pencil with an eraser on it." —Lyndon Johnson on Hubert Humphrey, his vice president

"A conservative is a man with two perfectly good legs who, however, has never learned how to walk forward." President Franklin Roosevelt

"He can compress the most words into the smallest ideas better than any man I ever met." Abraham Lincoln, referring to a lawyer

"He is a modest man with much to be modest about." Winston Churchill describing U.K. Prime Minister Clement Attlee

"He [McKinley] has no more backbone than a chocolate éclair." Teddy Roosevelt

 "His argument is as thin as the homeopathic soup that was made by boiling the shadow of a pigeon that had been starved to death." Abraham Lincoln in pointing out the flaws in the logic of Stephen Douglas

 "“...the kind of politician who would cut down a redwood tree and then mount the stump to make a speech for conservation." Adlai Stevenson in referring to Richard Nixon

 "Garfield has shown that he is not possessed of the backbone on an angleworm." Ulysses S. Grant on James A. Garfield

"Filthy Story-Teller, Despot, Liar, Thief, Braggart, Buffoon, Usurper, Monster, Ignoramus Abe, Old Scoundrel, Perjurer, Robber, Swindler, Tyrant, Field-Butcher, Land-Pirate." Harper's Weekly on Abraham Lincoln (and this was printed by a Northern paper at the height of the American Civil War. Harper’s Weekly was in favor of George McClelland as President)

"A rageful, lying, warmongering fellow; a repulsive pedant and gross hypocrite who behaves neither like a man nor like a woman but instead possesses a hideous hermaphroditical character."  Thomas Jefferson in regards to John Adams

"A blind, bald, crippled, toothless man who is a hideous hermaphrodite character with neither the force and fitness of a man, nor the gentleness and sensibility of a woman." Thomas Jefferson on President John Adams, 1800 (as if Jefferson hadn’t been clear enough on what he felt for Adams by labeling him a “hermaphroditical character.”)

"Electing Jefferson would create a nation where murder, robbery, rape, adultery and incest will openly be taught and practiced." John Adams assessment of a possible Jefferson presidency

"General Jackson's mother was a COMMON PROSTITUTE, brought to this country by the British soldiers! She afterward married a MULATTO MAN, with whom she had several children, of which number General JACKSON IS ONE!!!" Charles Hammond, editor of the Cincinnati Gazette, on Andrew Jackson (And, here most of us thought the “birther controversy” was something limited only to questions about former President Obama)

"Never ask me to support a twaddler and trimmer for office." Pennsylvania Congressman Thaddeus Stevens on Ulysses S. Grant

"Grant is as brainless as his saddle." activist Wendell Phillips on Grant

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