An Introduction to With Music In Their Hearts A World War II Spy Novel

With Music in Their HeartsI loved With Music in Their Hearts and am so honored Author Carole Brown agreed to an interview. She will be sitting down with me next month to share about the creation of this novel and her writing journey. I am so excited I thought I’d share a few things to wet your reading appetite. Hopefully, get you as excited as I am about the interview. So I am sharing the review I post on Amazon, the back cover copy and an excerpt from the first chapter (Carole gave me permission) to generate some interest in this fascinating novel.

My review

I opened to chapter one in my Kindle and heard the music coming from the piano at the boarding house. I felt a part of the intrigue and saw the characters as they interacted with one another. Carole Brown’s World War II spy novel With Music in Their Hearts is a fascinating read. The realistic dialogue, setting and characters dress drew me into this 1940’s mystery. Americans spying on Americans during a turbulent time in history perked my interest. Make that spy a pastor and add some romance and I was fully engaged. The character’s reminded me of an old black and white movie from the period especially the way the men and women flirty and behaved. Carole is a gifted writer and meticulous researcher. Both talents show through in this page turner. Some may refer to it as cozy because there isn’t a lot of graphic violence. But the suspense still rings true. Lovers of World War II historicals aren’t the only ones who will enjoy this novel. If this time period is not your normal fare give With Music In their Hearts a look you won’t be disappointed.

The Blurb

Angry at being rejected for military service, Minister Tyrell Walker accepts the call to serve as a civilian spy within his own country. Across the river from Cincinnati, Ohio, a spy working for a foreign country is stealing secret plans for newly developed ammunition to be used in the war. According to his FBI cousin, this spy favors pink stationery giving strong indications that a woman is involved.

He’s instructed to obtain a room in the Rayner Boarding House run by the lovely, spunky red-haired Emma Jaine Rayner. Sparks of jealousy and love fly between them immediately even as they battle suspicions that one or the other is not on the up and up.

While Tyrell searches for the murdering spy who reaches even into the boarding home, Emma Jaine struggles with an annoying renter, a worried father (who could be involved in this spy thing), and two younger sisters who are very different but just as strong willed as she is.

As Tyrell works to keep his double life a secret and locate the traitor, he refuses to believe that Emma Jaine could be involved even when he sees a red-haired woman in the arms of another man. Could the handsome and svelte banker who’s also determined to win Emma Jaine’s hand for marriage, be the dangerous man he’s looking for? Is the trouble-making renter who hassles Emma Jaine serving as a flunky? Worse, is Papa Rayner so worried about his finances and keeping his girls in the style they’re used to, that he’ll stoop to espionage?

Will their love survive the danger and personal issues that arise to hinder the path of true love?

Excerpt from Chapter 1

A vehicle’s tires spinning gravel behind him warned him he’d not lost the black

car. Slowing. Creeping. Engine purring. Only a few feet separated him from the car and

making a sudden decision, he jogged around the corner and hugged the building trying to

put distance between it. The car’s tires squealed as the car sped up. The driver took the

corner, gravel crunching and spinning into the air.

They must have spotted him for the driver braked, throwing the passenger

forward. Tyrell flung himself at the car and grabbed for the door handle.

The window slid down.

Something tugged at his arm.

And the handle tore from his grasp as the car accelerated.

The seemingly belated, reverberating crack of a gun vibrated the air around him.

The car spun around a far corner, and Tyrell reached up to rub his stinging arm.

The sticky wetness drew his attention.

Blood. He saw the tear in his coat sleeve, the minute traces of blood oozing.

He’d been shot?

Why would they—whoever they were—want to shoot at him? It was a scratch,

and they’d been close enough to kill him if they’d wanted to.

They didn’t want to. What were they after? A scare tactic? To warn him away?

From what? Perhaps all this was a coincidence, a figment of his active imagination.

No sign of the car. Satisfied he was rid of them, he entered the hotel. At the

reception desk, he filled out the necessary papers, climbed the stairs, and headed down

the hallway.

At the far end, a red-haired woman inserted a key into the lock.

Was she the same woman who’d been in the recruitment office? That hat . . . He

called out, “Hey, lady.”

She glanced his way, her luxurious hat tilted at just the right angle to hide one

side of her face. With a flip of her plaid skirt, she shoved open her door and disappeared

inside.

Tyrell hesitated at his own door, next to her’s, but inserted his key and entered.

Inside, he switched on a light then as quickly flicked it off. He stepped to the window.

And drew in a breath as if he’d been sucker-punched.

Down below, across from the hotel, the streetlight reflected off a long, black

Oldsmobile. Standing beside the car staring up at the hotel, stood Ben Hardy.

His cousin and best friend.

 

With Music in Their Heart

Kindle Link:   http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00OVFWA5S?pldnSite=1

Print Link:    http://www.amazon.com/Music-Their-Hearts-Spies-World/dp/1941622038/ref=sr_1_1_twi_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1415113865&sr=1-1&keywords=With+Music+in+Their+Hearts

If you’re curious enough to add this to your reading list I hope you will stop by on Monday, December 1st to see the interview with this wonderful writer. By the way it is available in e-book format as well.

Don’t forget to subscribe to this blog so you don’t miss this upcoming interview as well as interviews with other authors who have agreed to share with me. There will be giveaways :)

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Devotionals for Tweens that Make Exploring God’s Word Fun

Carol McAdams Moore has written two delightful devotionals for tweens. That’s 8-12 year olds if you want to know. This is the age where drawing, coloring and lots of glitter are the best ways to express feelings and tell tales. These books would be great for Sunday School teachers to gift their class to encourage person devotions. Oh, where were these kinds of books back when my children were young.

Cute cover don't you think.

Cute cover don’t you think.

Parents with sons who hate to read or don’t seat still for long devotional reading will find a fun place to explore God’s Word in Dare U To Open This Book. The title of Carol McAdams Moore’s devotional for tween boys takes that dare to fun places. Ninety days of scripture and what if questions to spark boys imaginations. Chances to doodle and expand the concepts creatively, no essay writing involved. Lessons are short allowing the reader to take as much or as little time as he feels inspired to with each lesson.

Just Sayin'

If you are looking for a fun devotional for your daughter that challenges their thinking without a lot of boring fill in the blank questions have I got the book for you. Just Sayin’ is Carol McAdams Moore’s devotional for tween girls. It’s jam packed with 90 fun activity pages. Every page has a verse and spectacular ideas to ponder. Laid out like a scrap book it has short, sweet and creative daily devotional pages. Lots of markers, glitter and gel pens are needed to doodle and create answers to the questions for each day. Perfect for girls to visualize the truths of God’s Word without using a lot of words.

Carol McAdams Moore_Author Photo

I‘ll be interviewing Carol soon about all things devotional. If you have any questions I’ll pass them along for you. She’s also having a drawing to giveaway these books to some lucky commenters.

Don’t forget to click the subscribe button to follow me.

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Blood for Blood’s Creator-An Interview with Ben Wolf

Ben Wolf  is his own hero and villian.

Ben Wolf is his own hero and villian.

Today I welcome Ben Wolf, owner and founder of Splickety Publishing Group, to my blog. I met Ben Wolf at a writer’s conference a few years ago and have watched his career grow from there. After reading his debut novel Blood for Blood I wanted to invite him to take a seat in my very cluttered office to share a little about how he decided on his theme. For those of you who have not read my book review let me give you the one second recap: A vampire gets saved. Kind of weird yet intriguing at the same time. Hey, that kind of describes you, Ben. Let me clear off that chair over there and we can get started.

Tell my readers a little bit about yourself. The normal along with the weird.

Hi, Cindy. I’m both the hero and the villain in my own story, which makes for some interesting sword-fighting duels in my sleep. As you said, I’m the founder/owner/Executive Editor of Splickety Publishing Group, your source for the best flash fiction in the world. When I’m not working on Splickety stuff, people pay me small fortunes (emphasis on small) to freelance edit their writing, whether it’s nonfiction, fiction, or just about anything else.

I’m also the author of Blood for Blood, as you said in your delightful introduction. And yes, a vampire does get saved. The story focuses on what happens to him after that experience, specifically on how he tries to stop becoming a vampire and how other Christians treat him.

It’s obvious to anyone who meets you and follows you on Facebook that you write and love speculative fiction. How does this genre fit in the Christian market?

For readers who don’t know what spec fiction is, it’s anything weird: super heroes, vampires, aliens, fantasy, sci-fi, Steampunk, paranormal, supernatural and much, much more. As to its place in the Christian market…most of us are still trying to figure out exactly what that is. Right now the Christian market is dominated by romance and other inspirational genres (including historical). Suspense/thriller/crime/mystery stories are also up there, probably ahead of speculative fiction.

But that’s rapidly changing. Very, very rapidly. We’re poised to take over, and it’s going to be amazing. Within the next 10 years, I anticipate that you’ll see more and more Christian spec fiction (or just spec fic in general) on your bookshelves, and more on Amazon.com and other online retailers as well. The younger generation doesn’t go in for romance stories like previous generations have—they grew up with spec fic in pop culture, so that’s what they love. That’s what they write, that’s what they read, and that’s what they’ll be buying.

Blood for Blood Cover

Blood for Blood centers around a vampire. Why vampires?

Vampires, in their traditional form as set down primarily by Bram Stoker in Dracula, are diametrically opposed to everything that Christianity stands for. My friend Matt Sheehy, also an author, suggested to me that a vampire getting saved would be hilarious because of all the various vampire taboos he’d have to face as a result. I did a 10-part blog series on the particulars of what my main character Raven endures after he becomes a Christian and why vampires are vexed by Christian principles.

Beyond that, I wanted to explore the question of whether or not a vampire even could be saved. Traditionally, vampires don’t have souls. Therefore a vampire can’t be saved. However, we serve a God who is capable of doing the impossible. He raised Jesus, Lazarus, and others from the dead, and in Psalm 23 King David talks about God “restoring his soul,” so add a bit of fiction to it and hey, maybe this could actually work out.

An Italian evangelist was a surprise to me. Not your stereotypical minister. Talk a little bit about him and his goals.

Luco Zambini is the Italian evangelist in the story. He sort of takes Raven under his wing and tries to help him walk in his new faith. It’s unusual for an Italian in this time period to be non-Catholic, but not impossible, so Luco is an example of an exception. The fact that he’s Italian comes into play when Raven accidentally eats pasta sauce at Luco’s house that contains garlic.

Long story short, Luco’s intention is to prove to his congregation and his family that Raven is capable of genuine change because God is capable of inspiring that change. It’s his hope that Raven’s soul will be fully restored and that he’ll be able to walk in daylight again, just like normal humans do, and just like raven used to do when he was a human.

I found your theme compelling. This coming from a non-vampire reader. Psalms 23:5 is your focus scripture. The restoration of a soul is a wonderful thing. But taking it to the extreme of a soulless man was genius. Now that I’ve totally stroked your ego tell us what this verse means to you personally.

Thanks. My ego and I will sleep well tonight. For me, Psalm 23 (the entire chapter) was something my parents recited with me every night before bedtime when I was a kid. On some level, it must have stuck with me. The imagery of King David’s poetry is powerful and loaded with meaning beyond just the beautiful prose when you understand the context of some of the things he’s saying.

Suffice it to say that we all venture into that valley of the shadow of death at times, and we all need the Lord to guide us, me included. Psalm 23 is a great reminder of that.

This book is written with the new adult audience (young people in their 20s) in mind yet I haven’t seen that decade in a while and I enjoyed it. Pretend you’re speaking to a room full of people my age and share with us why we would find value in reading this story.

I’ve got two things to say to you on this matter: Blood for Blood may be geared for the “new adult” age range, but the principles of a good story are all there: a solid plot with believable characters, compelling conflict and tense interactions, and twists that you’ll never see coming. Tosca Lee, a New York Times bestselling author, said it best: “Action, humor, romance… Ben Wolf goes for the jugular and dares to ask: is anyone beyond the grace of God?”

As for reason number two, it is beneficial to know what folks of all ages are reading. If you’re not in that new adult range and you’re a YA reader, this book will still appeal to you. If you’re older than that new adult range, then you probably know some younger folks who would get a kick out of this book and other books like it. If you’re a parent or a grandparent to someone in the new adult or young adult range, then read this book to screen it for your loved ones, or just get it for them because it’s bound to be right up their alley.

It’s been great visiting with you and before you go can you share with my readers about Splickety’s magazines and how they can subscribe. Don’t forget to mention the anthology. And please feel free to promote yourself shamelessly.

Ben's Pic 2

Splickety always has some sort of deal going on, and right now so do I. Subscribing to Splickety’s magazines is as easy as visiting our website, clicking a few subscribe buttons, giving us your info, and then paying via PayPal. But there’s a better deal going on that isn’t currently on the website.

Right now, you can get a digital copy of my novel Blood for Blood AND a one-year digital subscription to Splickety’s magazines for $19.95 if you email me with the code B4B1995 at 1BenWolf@gmail.com. I’ll then provide instructions on where to mail the payment (or we can do PayPal) and we’ll make sure we get you signed up.

Normally the subscription alone costs $24.95, and Blood for Blood sells on Amazon for $4.99, so you’re saving about ten bucks with this deal. As Cindy said, our first-ever Splickety anthology is coming out soon as well, and that’ll be available for purchase soon after the new year rolls in.

If you’re looking for an editor, for consulting, or for a great public speaker, check out my website at www.benwolf.com, contact me, and we can talk about those things at your leisure.

I want to add how much I enjoy Splickety magazines. Great flash fiction coming to your email or mail box every month.  As Ben suggested check it out.

If you have any questions for Ben about his writing process, writerly things or vampires leave a comment.

To subscribe to my blog click the button on your right.

 

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Blood For Blood A Surprisingly Satisfying Read

Blood for Blood CoverBlood for Blood the debut novel of Ben Wolf is not the sort of book I would normally read. But its unusual premise intrigued me. Psalms 23:3 He restoreth my soul is the theme verse for this new adult novel. (Adults in their 20s). This novel set in the 1800s isn’t focusing on any old body’s soul but a vampire. That part gave me pause I don’t read horror and never followed Twilight or any of the TV shows available today that feature vampires. But in the pages of Blood for Blood I found so many wonderful examples of the redemptive work of Christ. Reminders of how Christians judge the validity of someone’s salvation based on the level of sin in their former life.

Evangelist Zambini believes God can restore anyone’s soul and when he draws the soulless vampire Raven Worth toward the truth of God’s word interesting things happen. This author researched the folklore of vampirism and used his findings as a great foundation for the struggles of his protagonist. Those struggles parallel our very human Christian walk as Raven grows in faith and out of his vampire life.

There were surprise plot twists and the villain was not who I expected. Well-written and captivating. If you enjoy D L Koontz and Ted Dekker you will enjoy Blood for Blood. Even if you are an anti -horror reader like me you will find this story compelling and entertaining. If you are paying attention you’ll probably find a few choice nuggets of truth to meditate on as well.

Ben's Pic 2

Author Ben Wolf

Coming soon

Because this is so out of my wheelhouse when it comes to reading preference I wanted to pick the brain of this debut author regarding the creation of this story. Look for an indepth interview with Ben next week.

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Food, Food Glorious Food- How Much Should You Have In Your Novel

did you know Green Bean Casserole was created in 1955 by the Campbell Soup Company? Be sure you do before you place in on the table in your 1800s historical novel.

Did you know Green Bean Casserole was created in 1955 by the Campbell Soup Company? Be sure you do before you place it on the table in your 1800s historical novel.

There were no hamburgers in the 1870s.

I start this blog with that statement to make a point. Do your research. Otherwise you’ll be branded an amatuer by readers who know.  Googling the origin of the hamburger clearly shows it was served in the 20th century. My novel takes place on a ranch in 1870’s Texas. A ranch has cattle (duh!) But a modern American hamburger was not on the menu. Food in your novel may or may not be a central part of your plot but it can speak to setting. It is important whatever is served is authentic to the time period.

Although I don’t focus a lot on the food in my WIP, many scenes take place at the kitchen table. The housekeeper is Mexican and she often serves beans and tortillas as well as steak, eggs and biscuits. Evangeline, our heroine, although she has little interest in cooking owns a few cookbooks. In them you will find detailed instructions on how to prepare a roast in your fireplace, making all manner of baked goods from breads to cakes from scratch. Being of Irish and Swedish parents her taste in food is definitely not going to include chili peppers.

Food and setting

Because the setting is a ranch, beef is going to be served often. Although we can choose at the supermarket what cuts we prefer. These ranchers ate all parts of the bovine from the tongue to tail. Steaks for breakfast verses porridge. Cowhands need a stick to their ribs kind of meal for the hard work ahead.

This ranch has a chicken coop and a large garden so a greater variety of food is available. An orchard and berry patches are nearby as well. So, jams, jellies, preserves and pies would appear on the table.

There is also a dry goods store in a nearby town. One could purchase salt pork, dried beans, flour, sugar, crackers and possibly eggs, milk and fresh produce brought in from neighboring farms. This would be a good way to supplement their diet with things they can’t produce themselves.

Lots of Bread

Biscuits and bread take on different forms in historical. Baking powder biscuits as well as sourdough biscuits might be served. Sourdough is made with a starter. Bacteria in the air causes it to rise. The starter is scooped out and mixed with flour, salt and water an allowed to rise before cooking. It can be baked or fried. (I made some right from a Little House on the Prairie cookbook with my kids years ago. It is much heavier than yeast bread and very filling.) Yeast bread was a luxury. Sourdough starter could be easily taken on the trail traveling west rather than yeast which needs special care. The sourdough would rise even in a jostling wagon. Yeast bread referred to as light bread might be purchased from bakeries rather than made at home.

On the trail

On a cattle drive the trail cook may create stews, soups and pies from dried meat, vegetables and fruit. These take up less room in the wagon. Lots of fried potatoes, salt pork and beans. And coffee, coffee, coffee. If there were towns along the trail supplies could be replenished. Even so lots of flour and other staples filled the chuck wagon.

Food and characters

Recently I read a novel set in the Yukon during the Alaskan Gold rush. The Christmas meal in the far north was quite different. Salmon was the main course. Red beans and rice fixed Cajun style was also served. One of the characters had learned to make it while in Louisiana. That explained why a lady from Massachusetts would serve such a dish. It reminded the reader she was well-traveled. Food can give a lot of backstory without actually revealing backstory.

Food equals emotions

Unless, there is a reason to go into detail about what’s being served I avoid planning those menus. Food can be used to create mood or show emotion. My reluctant bride, Evangeline is not a great cook but she loves to bake cakes. Jake is surprised to find his new bride and not the housekeeper had made the delicious cake. The cake represented another change in Evangeline’s attitude toward marriage. The new bride Marty in Love Comes Softly by Jeanette Oke is determined to prepare something besides pancakes for her new husband. A hilarious chase scene occurs in the chicken coop resulting in the rooster getting his beak hacked off with her ax. Clark rescues her and presents the bird plucked and pot ready suggesting it might be better boiled with dumplings rather than fried. We learn how to prepare a tough old chicken while experiencing Marty and Clark’s budding relationship.

Menus

Know why you are sharing the menu and what purpose it serves in creating your scene. If the main character is a chef or a foodie then meal preparation and even recipes in the back of novels are important elements to keep the readers attention. A historical novel restaurant menu is going to be different from a modern one. No fast food and limited daily selection. Often the waitress told the customer the few items available. And others only had one choice for the day. It all depends on the setting.

Even homesteads consisted of simple menus often the same thing every day.

Food and Culture

Contemporary novels set in America can focus on the culture of the area, latest trends in food or ethnicity of the characters. Her in Aurora Illinois we have a large Hispanic population and many foods common to that culture are available in most grocery stories. I have eaten cactus and chicken mola (chicken in chocolate sauce). I have a daughter-in-law from Mexico and many Hispanic friends so my culinary experience has grown beyond American style tacos. My other daughter-in-law is from the Philippines and I have friends from Sri Lanka. There are several grocery stores that carry items to prepare their dishes. Red rice is a treat for my Sri Lankan friends and my daughter-in-law is very particular about the rice she buys. I had no idea there was something called sweet rice. Sushi is becoming popular almost everywhere. And now southern sweet tea (you know the kind that reminds you of Kool-Aid) is now a common selection at all restaurants even fast food. The Midwest she is a changing.

Get it right

My final thought on food in a novel. In true life settings get the menus for the restaurants and fast food places right. If the eatery is fictious be sure the menu is typical for the setting or serves a purpose in moving the story along. Comfort food like mac and cheese can set the mood to de-stress. While prime rib is definitely a date night.

As a writer how much detail do you put into scenes with food?

As a reader how does food in a story effect you?

Please share, I love comments and learning from my readers.

 

 

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Writing Believable Bilingual Characters

Today and over the next few weeks I thought I might take you behind the scenes in the fiction writng process. Sharing some things I’ve learned along the way.

Casa-Bernal_-452How can you create bilingual characters in dialog? How do you write in a language you don’t know? Let me share how I did it and what not to do. And the fine line to clarity.

When I discovered a few of my secondary characters either did not speak English or it was their second language, I wanted to help my readers understand them and appreciate their ethnic differences. Adding portions of another language to my manuscript could make things interesting. The trick is not to add too much. I’d learned from other writes not to write my dialog exactly as I hear others around me speak. That goes double when writing dialog spoken by bilingual speakers. Trust me—don’t. It is difficult enough to decipher some pieces of conversation where the syntax is different or words are mispronounced. Put that in writing and your reader will be confused enough to stop reading. I recall years ago when my son was required to read Shiloh for his English class. He asked me to read it out loud to him. The author had put thick accents into his southern dialog, and there were times I had to stop and explain what the words meant.

The trick is sprinkling dialog with an accent rather than recreating the accent syllable by syllable. Although the Irish speak English, it sounds different. As my heroine Evangeline reflects on her late friend an Irish woman. She recalls her brogue. Using the word brogue lets the reader hear the accent. Adding words like lassie and ye into the conversation nails it without overdoing the speech pattern.

“I saw ye in a new place with large mountains and wide plains, and the wind was blowing your hair. Your face be more serene than I had ever seen it afore. Ye seemed younger, and love glowed from your eyes, the love a woman has for a man.”

Sprinkle in the second language

In my current novel a few of my minor characters are Mexican. I wanted to add a line here and there to flavor the scenes in Spanish. I went to a language translator on the internet to quickly add what I needed. Once my rough draft was finish, I showed those lines to my Mexican daughter-in-law and her family. They explained the need to change the wording because it wasn’t Mexican. And based on few scenarios, a more informal exchange was needed. Spanish has several dialects, and what I found on the internet was a more formal European Spanish.

Balance is the key. My Mexican housekeeper character mixes her languages.

“Mija, you’re going to break the chair. Stop sitting like a boy; try to sit like a lady.”

Listen carefully to those bilingual speakers around you, and then modify your dialogue to touch on it

Why did I make sure the translation was accurate?

Because readers who know Spanish would be taken out of the story if the language is wrong. Rather than have a lot of Spanish, I have the Mexican characters say a line in Spanish and another character react in English so the reader can follow the conversation. In this snippet our heroine practices her Spanish on her neighbor’s maid. We can tell by the neighbor’s remark what she said.

“Su pastel seve delicioso, muchas gracias.” Evangeline smiled as she spoke to Maria.

“I see you have picked up Spanish. That is a good way to keep these people on their toes. But there is no need to thank Maria; she is only doing what she is paid to do.” Thomas remarked.

Implied language

When it came to my Chinese characters, I opted for a more implied scenario. Wong Mae greets Evangeline as she enters her dry goods store. Here is a portion of their conversation.

On hearing Selena’s name, she turned to the older man, speaking in what Evangeline assumed was Chinese. The exchange between the two had a melodic quality.

“I am Wong Mae, and this is my father, Wong Chow. We hold Miss Selena in high regard. She is kind and brings us much business from the households of the white ranchers. If she is your friend, you are ours. My father did not know Mr. Marcum married. He says to give you the best price on anything in the store.”

Notice how the translation is all we read. That way I didn’t have to worry about incorrect translation. If these were main characters, I would probably have added Chinese dialog. I wanted to establish their nationality and their position in the community rather than a deeper characterization.

Introduction through dialog

Even without describing your character you can introduce their ethnicity. Selena the housekeeper is introduce through dialog.

“Good Morning, Selena.”

“Buenas Dias, Senor.”

Later more details are given regarding her character, but for a brief moment the reader can visualize a Spanish woman in the kitchen preparing breakfast.

 red dragon

Introducing language through setting

Describing setting can also give the writers a feel for the language. Evangeline visits a dry goods store run by the Wong family. As Evangeline enters town, she observes the distinctive Chinese flavor of the store fronts in one area of town. The dragon bedecked door sets the Wong’s store apart from any other shop. Instantly, the reader expects to enter the store and be greeted in Chinese.

Remember only touch on the accent

Decide what part of an accent flavors it without creating confusion. My other daughter-in-law is Filipina. (Yes we are an international family.) The syntax of the English language comes out different from her and all my other Filipino friends. Let’s create a short dialog to see how it might sound.

“Madam, see this sale. A buy one take one.” Ana held up her two pair of sandals.

“Nice. But what will your husband say? You already have a lot of shoes.”

Sharon’s question deflated the Filipino girl’s joy.

Ana did not look at her friend for a moment. A smile formed on her lips. “She knows I love shoes.” Her eyes anxious. “It’s okay, ma’am. Don’t worry.” Ana reached inside another bag, her smile regaining its sparkle.

“Look at the watches. I got three pieces for twenty dollars. See, beautiful.”

Sharon determined not to quench her friend’s one real joy by further rebuke.

Immediately it appears there is a typo. Shouldn’t she be he? The term husband usually refers to men. However, the Tagalog language and all the dialects of the Philippines have no pronouns. So often when my daughter-in-law is referring to a man she may slip and say she or her. Pronouns are a confusing part of the English language even after speaking it since grade school. So I would opt not to use this quirk unless the confusion aided in the plot. And it would have to be well-established early on for readers.

But the use of less common English words would give the same feel. Filipinos refer to buy one get one free as buy one take one. Rather than say there are six, its six pieces. Part of the culture is to refer to women as madam and men as sir. Yes ma’am is very common. So we capture her speech pattern in a way not to confuse the reader.

Lastly, let me recommend some great books from experts. For a more in-depth look at dialog check out James Scott Bell’s book How to Write Dazzling Dialogue: the Fastest Way to Improve Your Manuscript. DiAnn Mills The Dance of Character and Plot is another great reference.

How do you capture the essence of your characters?

I would love to have you join me on my writing journey. Follow my blog by clicking a link on the right. You can follow me on FB and Twitter as well.

 

Posted in character description, writing tips | 2 Comments

Writers/Bloggers World Tour continues with John Turney

Whew, John Turney grabbed the last rung of the railing on the caboose to stay on the writers bloggers tour. He got derailed by an internet shutdown on his end but managed to get reroute and a little delayed. Check out his post at www.facebook.com/InnocentBloodEquinoxOfReckoning.

Author John Turney

Author John Turney

John is not only an author but an exceptional artist as well. His books are edgy and his answers to our four questions are insightful.

His latest novel Whiskey Sunrise is available for preorder.

Take time to peruse the pinterest board for the writer blog tour.

http://www.pinterest.com/cmcadamsmoore/writerblogger-world-tour/

There’s some great books available or coming soon to add to your must-read list. They cover a variety of genres and non-fiction niches.

Posted in Interview, Uncategorized, Writers/Bloggers Tour, writing tips | 1 Comment