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HAVE A BOOK TO PROMOTE? Lyrical Pens welcomes guest posts. Answer a questionnaire or create your own post. FYI, up front: This site is a definite PG-13. For details, contact cjpetterson@gmail.com cj

Sunday, May 15, 2022

My dreaded synopsis

 cj Sez: Because I’ve been toiling on the dreaded synopsis for an unnamed work-in-progress, I was looking for examples to send me in the right direction and found the following archived Lyrical Pens post from 2018. With a little editing to specific times, the post is perfect for today…pay special attention to the questions.

*Brimley Kitty

 What is a synopsis, you may ask. The successful publishing consultant Jane Friedman defines the synopsis this way:

“The synopsis conveys the narrative arc of your novel; it shows what happens and who changes, from beginning to end.” (“Back to Basics: Writing a Novel Synopsis” )

  Basically, the starting sentence of my synopsis is my elevator pitchthe twenty-five or so words I'll have time to say that might pique the interest of an agent in the few seconds we’re caught on an elevator together. 
  
  A synopsis should also reflect the same voice/tone as the manuscript. The document will be chronological in terms of where things happen in the manuscript and to whom. All the story threads will be neatly tied up, but it will include only major characters and major scenes. Beginning, middle, and end which means even if it’s a mystery, it will (must) reveal the ending. This is, after all, going to an agent or publisher.

  When I’m finished with the whole thing, I’ll ask another writer if s/he can make sense of what the story is about and if are there questions that need answering. Of course, that means I’ll need to get into edit cycle four, five, ad infinitum.

  I usually wait until the manuscript is complete to do a synopsis, but a friend of mine suggested doing a synopsis for each chapter as it’s completed. That does sound easier since everything is really fresh in my mind.
 
  The interesting thing for me about writing the synopsis is that it helps me identify the plot holes; hopefully, all of them.
_ _ _ _ _
*I call the feral, ginger cat that dines on my patio “Brimley” because he has such big whiskers. . . and here he's trying to cool off by stretching out where the concrete is shadowed.

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Three questions: (Remember this is a repeat of a 2018 post)

  Ques 1: We’re slightly over a month out from the first day of summer so I’m asking…why are we already seeing hellacious heat and humidity on the Gulf Coast?


    Ans: Okay, I know the answer to that one. It’s because Mother Nature doesn’t pay attention to humankind’s calendar.

  Ques 2: Two weeks from now is Memorial Day weekend…anyone care to guess how high the national average for gas prices will be? They’re climbing fast.

    Ans: And your guess is:    

  Ques 3: When do you write your synopsis…when the manuscript is complete or when each chapter is complete?
 
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Just because it’s pretty:

Seize the Day



   Shrimp Boat 
       Harbor

   Bayou La Batre, 
         Alabama


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  That’s it for today’s post. You-all guys keep on keeping on, and I’ll try to do the same. Prayers going up for your health and safety.

cj

P.S.  The Haunted Bookshop has signed paperback copies of my books in stock. TO ORDER my author-graphed books or any book of your choice on-line and support an indie bookstore, contact The Haunted Bookshop here: https://www.thehauntedbookshopmobile.com/contact-us   
P.P.S. Pre-signed copies of THE BIG FANG are not available at The Haunted Bookshop, but when you order a book from them and want it author-graphed, let them know, and I'll pop down there and sign it for you. Thanks!

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Sunday, May 8, 2022

I remember Mama . . .

cj Sez: I read someplace that love is the deepest emotion we share with one another, that love is immortal and transcends all. So, to all the Moms out there. . . I pray your Mother’s Day is filled to overflowing with love.


   When we lived many miles apart, I sent flowers to my two sons on Mother’s Day, because they have always been a source of pride and joy (plus I loved the idea they’d have to explain why someone was sending them flowers at work). Besides, I wouldn’t be a mother without them.

   This year, as youngest son Jeff and I mourn the loss of our beloved Mark, Jeff brought me three beautiful bouquets which I arranged in one vase to protect them from the cats. He could have given me a dandelion blossom, slightly crushed and moist from a sweaty little palm, as he did when he was little, and I could not have felt more loved. 

Precious memories, indeed.

   I can’t end this post without remembering my Mom, as I do most every day. I’m constantly wishing I could share special moment with her. I’m eternally grateful the Lord blessed me with a mother who lovingly soothed my fears and dried my tears. No matter what mistakes I made, she was a non-judgmental, sweet, sweet soul who believed in me and thought I could do anything, even write a book. Thank you, Mama. I miss you dearly.


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cj’s Tip:
   Here’s a tip to help you out for Mothers’ Day gifts…a book must be the perfect gift. It’s always the right size; it’s non-fat, non-carb, gluten- and sugar-free; plus it doesn’t need watering yet doesn’t turn brown and wilt too soon. And it’s reusable!

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   That’s it for today’s post. You-all guys keep on keeping on, and I’ll try to do the same. Prayers going up for your health and safety.

cj

P.S.  The Haunted Bookshop has signed paperback copies of my books in stock. TO ORDER my author-graphed books or any book of your choice on-line from an indie bookstore, contact The Haunted Bookshop here: https://www.thehauntedbookshopmobile.com/contact-us 

P.P.S. Pre-signed copies of THE BIG FANG are not available at The Haunted Bookshop, but if you order a book from them and want it author-graphed, let them know, and I'll pop down there and sign it for you. Thanks!
 
➜ Follow me . . .     
➜ on Amazon:    Amazon Central Author Page
➜ on Goodreads: https://bit.ly/3fcN3h6

 


Sunday, May 1, 2022

If you're in the Mobile area, save the date . . .

cj Sez: Readers and Writers, after a two-year absence, the Mobile Literary Festival returns to the Ben May Library on May 14.  

   Readers: Purchase the books of local authors at the Pop-Up Bookshop. Bring your bag lunch and listen to poetry readings by Negative Capability Press poets. Later in the afternoon, Alabama Poet Laureate Ashley M. Jones will also read from her works and answer questions from the audience.

   Writers: Join Mobile’s top literary talent for free creative writing workshops. Enjoy panel discussions on research and editing. Participate in a Pitch War,

   Mark your calendars for May 14, 2022, 9 am - 4:00 pm, and come on down to the Ben May Main Library at 701 Government Street in Mobile. This FREE festival is sponsored by the Mobile Public Library, the Mobile Writers' Guild, and The Haunted Book Shop. 

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cj’s Writerly Tip:
   Back in 2020, the Writers in the Storm blog posted an article on the use of white space in publications. I take that to mean in indie-published works, because, with few exception, authors have little or no control over what a publishing house does with the format.

   Here’s an excerpt from that article with which I totally agree:

“Like a pause in a song, white space can help create drama, emotion, a bit of quiet before a storm of words.

White space is the canvas where we paint our words.”

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THE BIG FANG charity anthology (proceeds benefiting the Harbor Humane Society) is getting some wonderful 5-star reviews on Amazon. For example:

“Animal lovers unite!! This book not only had several great stories but it also supports the Harbor Humane Society. I particularly love A Hare-Raising Haunting by C.K. Fyfe. It had that element of mystery mixed with humor. I also happen to own a bunny so I know how smart and mischievous they can be. A definite two thumbs up!!!”
BUY IT NOW AT: 

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  That’s it for today’s post. You-all guys keep on keeping on, and I’ll try to do the same.

cj

P.S.  The Haunted Bookshop has signed paperback copies of my books in stock. TO ORDER my author-graphed books or any book of your choice on-line from an indie bookstore, contact The Haunted Bookshop here: https://www.thehauntedbookshopmobile.com/contact-us  

P.P.S. Pre-signed copies of THE BIG FANG are not available at The Haunted Bookshop, but if you order a book from them and want it author-graphed, let them know, and I'll pop down there and sign it for you. Thanks!

➜ Follow me . . .     
➜ on Amazon:    Amazon Central Author Page
➜ on Goodreads: https://bit.ly/3fcN3h6

 

Sunday, April 24, 2022

On writing a mystery

cj Sez: On the writing front, I’m trying to think up another challenge for the protagonist detective/sleuth in my mystery work-in-progress.


   Writing a mystery presents a challenge and learning curve to me. Thriller and romantic suspense genres I have managed to accomplish to some degree (i.e., traditionally published), but a mystery is a whole ’nother story. Here’s what I know so far:

   What is the same among those genres is that my protagonist detective/sleuth should be likeable, have some personality quirks, and a bit of backstory baggage to be dropped intermittently into the story (no info dumps, please).

   My sleuth has a confidant, which is another recommended device. There’s a blossoming love interest to add a little jazz. Each of the major characters, including the bad guy, will have a piece of history or secret that affects how they speak and react and which, I hope, generates mixed feelings—reader dislike tinged with a degree of sympathy.

Jeffery Deaver: “I like the way words go together and I like the gamesmanship of poetry. It is such a challenge.”  

(cj Sez: It’s why I love to write haiku, and it works the same way for me with novels.)

 

   The clues and red herrings are my biggest struggles. What do they read like, really? Where and how do I place them to invite the reader to try to solve the mystery but not reveal so much that they know the answer too soon? 

   I don’t plot. I’m a pantser or, more accurately, a pathfinder. Once I know how the story starts and should end, I find my way through the manuscript by throwing roadblocks in the paths of my characters and figuring out how to have them logically escape. But for a mystery, I’ll have to do some ::gasp:: plotting.

cj Sez My method exactly.
   I once read that many mystery writers, including New York Times best-selling author Hallie Ephron, struggle with these same issues . . .  that makes me feel better. I do know that, like all first drafts (second, third, et al.), my characters, clues, and red herrings will change with each future edit cycle, and also the denouement.

   What I really like about this writing-a-mystery-challenge is that I’m learning new things. My personal goal has long been to learn something new every day, and this project is certainly helping me reach my goal. How about you? Do you have a personal goal?

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Mark your calendars … There’s going to be A Facebook PARTY, and you’re invited!

SATURDAY, APRIL 30, 2022 AT 9 AM CDT

Harbor Humane Society’s 
"The Big Fang" all-day virtual event

 

   A whole day of author posts, questions, answers, give-aways, and prizes. I’m on tap from 5 to 6 p.m. and will have a give-away, so stop by and put your name in the virtual hat for a drawing.

   And, if you happen to be in the Holland, Michigan, area, there will be an in-person book signing (complete with coffee and donuts) from 10 a.m. to 12 noon at the Harbor Humane Resale Store.

THE BIG FANG benefit anthology from Harbor Humane Society includes cozies, capers, and humorous crime and mystery stories from 22 authors. 


BUY IT NOW AT: 
 

Ebook link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09WLZHSMK

 
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   That’s it for today’s post. You-all guys keep on keeping on, and I’ll try to do the same. Let me know if you found a nugget in here you can use or can improve upon.

cj

P.S.  The Haunted Bookshop has signed paperback copies of my books in stock. TO ORDER my author-graphed books or any book of your choice on-line from an indie bookstore, contact The Haunted Bookshop here: https://www.thehauntedbookshopmobile.com/contact-us  

P.P.S. Re THE BIG FANG: If you order from The Haunted Bookshop and want your book author-graphed, let them know, and I'll pop down there and sign it for you. Thanks!

➜ Follow me . . .     
➜ on Amazon:    Amazon Central Author Page
➜ on Goodreads: https://bit.ly/3fcN3h6

  

Sunday, April 17, 2022

On Easter and Passover

 cj Sez: There is hope . . . 



May this Easter Day bring you 
peace and happiness.
 
May you be comforted by the assurance
 
There is hope in the risen Christ.

 

 

Wishing you the Gift of Faith

The Blessing of Hope

And a Life filled with Love . . .

 

 


§§

And for those celebrating Passover …

חג פסח

SHALOM
שלום





§§




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on Goodreads: https://bit.ly/3fcN3h6




Sunday, April 10, 2022

A constant learning process

 cj Sez: You know how, after filling a three-ring binder with rejections (as one writer I know did), we writers worry if our writing will ever be “good enough” to get published?

   Feelings of inadequacy can overwhelm any confidence we have in our ability and send us running for a big spoon and the nearest half-gallon of chocolate ice cream for comfort. (Oh, okay, that’s my solution.)
 
   But think about this: Professional writers do not, cannot, rest on their laurels. That’s a cliché, but truly, authors continually work to improve and perfect their skills. Pro golfers take lessons; powerhouse baseball hitters work with coaches and trainers as do Olympic athletes of every stripe.

   Every time Donald Maass, author of the famous WRITING THE BREAKOUT NOVEL, leads a workshop on writing, I’d venture to guess he shares some knowledge he’s learned since his last workshop. I know he keeps producing how-to books that incorporate new slants on writing. He’s a professional who keeps on analyzing the craft and learning fresh ways to produce a well-written novel that appeals to the whims of an ever-changing audience.

   Achieving some modicum of brand-name recognition in a market bursting at the seams with authors is more than a little difficult. The way serious authors can achieve a favored niche among readers is to practice their craft. They read in their chosen genre(s), study and analyze the work of best-selling authors, read how-to books, attend workshops, and network. And those tasks never cease.

   I know I can learn something new most every day, some nugget that I can incorporate into a work-in-progress (as I did today) or add to my growing list of helpful hints. I wish all writers the same success.

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  No fooling: THE BIG FANG charity anthology launched April 1 and is available on Amazon.  

  The anthology is cover-to-cover with 22 fun mystery and crime short stories from 22 amazing authors, each featuring a rescue or adopted animal. This benefit anthology from Harbor Humane Society (West Olive, MI) includes cozies, capers, and humorous crime and mystery stories.

BUY IT NOW AT: 

Ebook link:  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09WLZHSMK

Paperback link:  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09WW5S1VL

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That’s it for today’s post. You-all guys keep on keeping on, and I’ll try to do the same. Let me know if you found a nugget in here you can use or can improve upon.

cj

P.S.  The Haunted Bookshop has signed paperback copies of my books in stock. TO ORDER my author-graphed books or any book of your choice on-line from a favorite, indie bookstore, contact The Haunted Bookshop here: https://www.thehauntedbookshopmobile.com/contact-us 

P.P.S. I have yet to get paperbacks of THE BIG FANG, but if you order from The Haunted Bookshop and want your book author-graphed, let them know, and I'll pop down there and sign it for you. Thanks!

➜ Follow me . . .     
➜ on Amazon:    Amazon Central Author Page
➜ on Goodreads: https://bit.ly/3fcN3h6

Sunday, April 3, 2022

A few points about historical fiction

cj Sez: I was in a deep research dive for a historical fiction short story I wanted to write and came across this in my archives. I think it’s worth sharing again with the Lyrical Pens audience—readers, writers, and editors, too.

Mostly true

Some things to remember when writing historical fiction manuscripts:

  First, as with all stories, a well-developed conflict drives the plot.

  I have seen historical manuscripts defined as those set in a time that predates the end of World War II.
    That makes a lot of writers I know personally historical figures, so I don’t buy into that definition. Historical to me predates the end of World War I, but for your story, you go ahead and be safe. Use the World War II definition.

  Historical characters and their dialogues have to be appropriate to the time and setting.
    Believe it or not, sailors in the 17th and 18th centuries pioneered the wearing of trousers (“slops”) made of a denim fabric called “jean.” but the plural term “jeans” wasn’t used in the United States until 1843.1 

  Historical manuscripts require long hours of research (notice my footnotes just in this post).

  The things that fill the scenes have to belong there. For example:
    Incandescent lights didn’t exist before the late 1800s.2 Prior to 1947, the number of U.S. homes with television sets could be measured in the thousands3—some of the very wealthy people may have had one.

  Avoid the dreaded info dump. Don’t beat your reader over the head with all the historical details you’ve discovered.
    Historical elements are essential, but they should be blended into the plot. You want these details to draw the reader deeper into your story, not bore them.

  From personal experience I can verify that all of the above point directly to long hours of exacting research to write a historical fiction story.

 Caveat Scriptor: If a history buff reading your novel spots an error s/he considers egregious, your Amazon review will not only reflect that reader’s disappointment but can deter potential buyers as well.

2 https://www.energy.gov/articles/history-light-bulb  
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No fooling: THE BIG FANG charity anthology launched April 1 and is now available on Amazon.  

  The anthology is filled cover-to-cover with 22 fun mystery and crime short stories, each featuring a rescue or adopted animal. This benefit anthology published by Harbor Humane Society (West Olive, MI) includes cozies, capers, and humorous crime and mystery stories.

  Authors include: Catrine Kyster, Shari Held, Steve Shrott, Gabriel Valjan. Tracy Falenwolfe. Michele Bazan Reed, Kate Fellowes, Cathy Wiley, Melissa H. Blaine, Tammy Euliano, Michael Allan Mallory, Jayne Ormerod, Lesley A. Diehl, D.L. Rosa, Sandra Murphy, cj petterson, Allison Deters, Wendy Harrison, Mary Adler, C.K. Fyfe, Adam Sales, Joseph S. Walker

BUY IT NOW AT: 

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Etcetera.
Something I discovered when I was on a 1200 calorie diet   

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That’s it for today’s post. You-all guys keep on keeping on, and I’ll try to do the same. Let me know if you found a nugget in here you can use or can improve upon.

cj

P.S. The Haunted Bookshop has signed paperback copies of my books in stock. TO ORDER my author-graphed books or any book of your choice on-line from a favorite, indie bookstore, contact The Haunted Bookshop here: https://www.thehauntedbookshopmobile.com/contact-us 

P.P.S. I have yet to get paperbacks of THE BIG FANG, but if you order from The Haunted Bookshop and want your book author-graphed, let them know, and I'll pop down there and sign it for you. Thanks!
 
Follow me . . .      
on Amazon:    Amazon Central Author Page 
on BookBub:   https://www.bookbub.com/authors/cj-petterson 
on Goodreads: https://bit.ly/3fcN3h6