World Building

It’s obvious that if you are writing a fantasy or sci-fi, you have to actually build the world your character lives in. But what a lot of people, especially non-writers don’t know is that with every book, you have to build a world.

Even if you use a real city, your characters need to interact with other characters, and that means creating places where they live, work, socialize, and/or get educated.

If I wrote a novel about a cop (and I have), or an FBI agent (and I have), I had to give them friends who lived in houses, apartments, etc., who had jobs, and families and all the things real people have in their lives. I actually created the town, the sheriff’s dept, the night club, the local donut shop, even the park. I drew a map with street names and stop signs. I created county and city buildings, two casinos and a bayou. I used a real river and two real cities as land marks so readers could get the general idea of the town’s location, but was not specific enough for them to find it on a map.

This is a fun part of writing for me. To decide what the population is, what the crime rate is, and whether the people are generally well educated and upper class, or if the inhabitants represent a cross-section of class, affluency, and race. This is what makes the place real.

In Ultimate Justice, A Trey Fontaine Mystery, there is a stain on the antique wall paper in the office/living room of Trey’s mother. I created that stain, but Trey made it.

In the sheriff’s dept bullpen where the detectives congregate and have desks, there are two desks that are touching, so the two detectives face each other. Is that a good thing? Is that how you would do it?

Writing is about creating. And writers need to remember to create the whole picture. Not just the character, but the setting, is vital to the suspension of disbelief.

Punctuality Is It Necessary Or Overrated?

Today’s post is in conjunction with the Blog-A-Licious Blog Tour 10 a fantastic blog hop that brings together bloggers of all genres, backgrounds and locations. In tomorrow’s hop, the blog featured before Ryder Islington is . The blog featured after Ryder Islington  is . Do stop by and say hello, plus some of us are having giveaways and contests. Enjoy! 

And now, for my article on Punctuality: Is It Necessary, Or Overrated?

I think life is hard enough without having people expect you to share your time, and then not being punctual. That especially goes for doctors and other professionals whose lives are scheduled and then patents/clients suffer the consequences of their poor time management by having to wait. My time is as valuable as anyone else’s and I expect common courtesy, including keeping your appointments.

A lot of people are laid back and don’t like schedules, and that’s fine. But whether you tend to be laid back or wound-up, you still have to realize that if you say you’re going to be somewhere at a particular time, it’s rude and obnoxious, not to mention a reflection of your integrity, to be late. I know that sounds harsh to some people and all I can say to them is, if you don’t want people to be insulted by your actions, then show them respect and maintain your integrity.

In the movies and TV shows, any woman going on a date is late. That says a lot about what the public thinks of women. There are even songs written about women being late for dates. It’s a said commentary on us. No matter how hard I try to make this article balanced, and flowing, I can’t. Because there aren’t really excuses for disrespectful behavior. I understand emergencies. Sometimes things happen. So call and let the person who’s waiting for you know you will be late, or can’t show.

I mean, really, folks. It’s not that hard.

I hope everyone takes the time to stop by the following blogs to read more about Punctuality.

1. Debbie –
2. Shelley –
3. Janu –
4. Ryder –
5. Dora –
6. Lorhainne –
7. Shaeeza –
8. Corinne –
9. Dora –

Ryder’s Journal–Tuesday, Sept 20, 2011

It’s not enough that writers are expected to write. We also have to promote. And then there’s everyday life. You know–dishes, sweeping, dusting, feeding the dog, all that stuff. And then there’s all the shows on TV that continue to tell me I’m gonna die a miserable death if I don’t change my ways. I mean, really. Exercise. Eat right. Reduce stress. Get good sleep. Have sex more often.

So, I’m going to try something new. I hate exercise. By the time I was twelve, my activity level dropped to almost nothing. I never really enjoyed sports, or any kind of activity, except maybe eating, and horseback riding. But having no horse, nor money to rent one, puts a damper on the one really enjoyable calorie burning thing.

In my life I have done Yoga, Tai Chi, Pilates, Karate, jogging, grappling, weight lifting and bike riding. I enjoyed the Tai Chi because a friend was my teacher, but I rarely did it without her. Yoga helped a lot of painful issues, but I never learned to love it, or to do it out of a class setting. Karate requires continued training and that costs money. Jogging? Bad knees. Grappling? Requires another person willing to not kill me. Weight lifting? Boring and painful. Bike? arthritis in my spine. I have an excuse for everything.

But I have to do something or I’ll soon be bedridden. So, I’m going to start. Somehow. I’m trying to walk on the treadmill for a few minutes three times a week. And maybe five minutes of stretching or Yoga twice a week. Anyone out there want to join me?

Favorite First Lines

This article is part of the Rolling Mystery Blog Tour Ink group for the Monday roll. For other articles on this subject, please visit the other members listed below.

And now on to my take on Favorite First Lines:

There was just no way to choose only one favorite first line. I’ve read hundreds of books and have hundreds to go. But I did narrow my favorites down to five. So here they are:

From Cane River by Lalita Tademy: On the morning of her ninth birthday, the day after Madame Francoise Derbanne slapped her, Suzette peed on the rosebushes.

How could you not love that first line! This is a great historical set in the South beginning in the early 1800’s and following several generations of women in one family of slaves.

Next: From The Eye of The World by Robert Jordan: The Wheel of Time Turns, and Ages come and pass, leaving memories that become legend.

This is my all time favorite fantasy, the first in a series.

Next: From One For The Money by Janet Evanovich: There are some men who enter a woman’s life and screw it up forever.

A great cozy with a myriad of characters, including Stephanie Plum, the most inept Bond Enforcement agent ever.

Next: From Stones From The River by Ursula Hegi: As a child Trudi Montag thought everyone knew what went on inside others.

Ms. Hegi is a genius. This book follows the life of a little person from her childhood before WWI, through WWII in Germany.  I’ve read it twice and it was even better the second time.

And finally: From Gilead by Marilynne Robinson: I told you last night that I might be gone sometime, and you said, Where, and I said, To be with the Good Lord, and you said, Why, and I said, Because I’m old, and you said I don’t think you’re old.

Another great historical set in America, if I remember correctly, sometime in the 1940’s. It’s been a while since I read it, but never fear. It stays on the shelf for another run through.

I don’t keep a lot of books after I’ve read them, but these five books are keepers, to be read and savored forever. I know I’ll run across other great first lines, and in fact, I didn’t even look through a good portion of what I have on the shelves throughout my home. But these books are ones that stuck with me. When I need a good laugh, or to be reminded of how good I have it, or I just need to live in a fantasy world for a while, these books have been my favorites, and their first lines are some of the best hooks in American writing.

For more articles on this subject, see the blogs listed below:

Kathleen Kaska —

Nancy Lauzon —

Ryder’s Journal–Friday, Sept 16, 2011

The theme of this journal is the dilemma that authors face after we are published. Another facet is added to our daily lives as we try to balance our relationships and write, with all encompasses, and also promote.

The new TV schedule could cause me some major time issues. I love cop and lawyer shows, and there are several new ones. I often DVR them, and then speed through the commercials. I hate it when there are three things on at the same time. That means I have to choose one to watch when the season ends and reruns start.

I managed to get a few more words written and am feeling good about the story. I just wish I was able to get more words written. It seems like an impossible task. I really love to write, but I can only do what I can do.

My son made us a beautiful spaghetti and meatball dinner, with French garlic toast. His first foray into the Italian cooking. He could be a chef. He is as concerned about the taste as the presentation of the meal, and he does both really well.  No doubt my hubby and I would be in rest homes without him.

Hope everyone has a great week-end.


For Women Only–Ovarian Cancer Questions

I watched an episode of the new season of Dr. Oz and decided I must share this information. For years doctors have said there are no symptoms to ovarian cancer. Now, finally, they realize there are symptoms, that seem unrelated but do indeed point in that direction. Please read the paragraph below, and then visit the website, download a copy of the questionaire, and answer the questions. Ovarian cancer doesn’t have to be a killer. This can save your life. Please pass it around to mothers, daughters, sisters, aunts and friends.

Ovarian Cancer One-Sheet

Too many lives are lost because early warning signs are missed or misdiagnosed. This stops now. Dr. Oz teamed up with the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition to create this vital one-sheet. Print and fill it out, then take it with you to your physician to start the discussion on ovarian cancer. For more information on how to reduce your risk for this silent killer, copy and paste the following address:

Favorite Settings In My Writing

This is the last article in a roll of the Rolling Mystery Blog Tours Ink writers. A list of the other participants in this roll can be found at the end of this article. 

And now, for my article on Favorites Settings:

This may sound a little childish, or maybe conceited, but I like to create my own settings and take the reader somewhere she or he has never been. I create towns, houses, countrysides, parks, you name it, and then try to make them familiar, but with a bit of something unusual.

The hard part in this is not being too descriptive. I learned from some great authors that readers like to participate in the experience of the characters. And they like to use their imaginations. In my first book, I described a hotel all the way down to the flowers in the wallpaper. Every single thing was mentioned. The author who took many hours out of her own time to critique it, taught me how to draw the outline and fill in a few colors, and then let the reader finish it off.

I enjoy outdoor settings, long two lane country roads, murky bayous, and jungles. But then, I also like to create my own towns, with their own quirks. I have a WIP that’s been sitting on the shelf for a while. I created a complete town, including characters to fill in all the stores and shops, complete with a dog that likes to lay in the road around the square. And the main characters are descendents of the town’s founder, as well as the person after whom it was named. I had a great time with it. If I ever get to finish the book, I’ll have to filter through all I have and use enough to satisfy the reader, without being overwhelming and boring.

What’s important is that the setting is appropriate for the theme, pace and genre. I always write too much and then have to trim, but then I really enjoy the trip I take in the creating, no matter where the setting is.

KT Wagner–                                                                                                                Kathleen Kaska–                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Maggie Toussaint–                                                                                                                                                                                                       

Please take the time to visit the other mystery writers listed above, and join us again next Monday when we will start a new roll entitled Favorite First Lines, led by Kathleen Kaska at http://kathleenkaskawrites.blogspot. com. 

Ryder’s Journal–Thursday, Sept 8, 2011

The theme of this journal is the dilemma that authors face after we are published. Another facet is added to our daily lives as we try to balance our relationships and write, with all that encompasses, and also promote.

I had planned to join in the writing of an article on Writing Rituals for Wednesday. The topic was even my idea. But health issues got in the way and I was unable to do anything for a couple of days. Not sure I should even be doing this now. Though my hands weren’t working, my mind came up with a plot for book 4 of what was to be at least a trilogy, maybe a series. If I can come up with a couple more, then I will go ahead and plan a series. If not, I may well stop after the third book and go on to a couple of other projects waiting in the wings, including a literary love story that I think could be a very good seller. My current publisher doesn’t handle that kind of book, so I have to finish the trilogy first.

I bet you wonder how I get anything done, when I can’t even put up a short article on a regular basis. Well, it’s because I’ve learned to work when I can, and not to stress over it when I can’t. I’ve learned my limitations. But I’ll get there, just maybe slower than others in my position. At least I won’t regret the time I was away from the writing, because I’m taking care of things that need taking care of. We don’t get a do over at the end of this life, so I try to remember that, while I am passionate about writing, I’m also passionate about my  family, and my own health.

Ryder’s Journal–Monday, Sept 5, 2011

The theme of this journal is the dilemma that authors face after we are published. Another facet is added to our daily lives as we try to balance our relationships and write, with all that encompasses, and also promote.

Even with metal reinforced wrist braces my wrists are swollen. So this will be short. I think I may have to get a voice recognition program and talk my way through this novel. In the meantime, I have an article overdue at the local newspaper and must concentrate on that.

I’m hanging in, but barely. Blogs will probably be short, and maybe fewer, for a while. Hope you guys stick with me.

Ryder’s Journal–Sunday, Sept 4, 2011

The theme of this journal is the dilemma that authors face after we are published. Another facet is added to our daily lives as we try to balance our relationships and write, with all that that emcompasses, and also promote.

I kicked out some words today. It just seemed like my fingers were flying. I had planned to produce 2500 words by this coming Tueday, but I’m almost there already, so I’ll have to set a new goal. I love days like this, when I spend a few minutes at a time with my laptop, my brain coming up with just the right scene.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go have an affair with my ice pack.