Guest Post

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, November 18, 2018

Did you know . . . ?

cj Sez: In the Did You Know department: Did you know that the first official Thanksgiving Day occurred in 1789?

And since we won’t be together on the holiday . . .

//
   Once I spot a cliché in a book, it seems to multiply like rabbits. Clichés are taboo things that writers are advised to avoid like the plague, but perhaps there are uses for them. In case you’ve forgotten or regularly dismiss their value, the following is excerpted from a 2015 Lyrical Pens post.

   Caveat:  A cliché is, by definition, a trite and overused expression ... a figure of speech that has become tiresome and uninteresting.

   Several experts advise against the use of any clichés in the narrative. Author and editor Sol Stein is one of those and has this advice: “Cut every cliché you come across. Say it new and say it straight” (Stein on Writing, 1995).      IMO, that’s not necessarily an iron-clad rule. I believe there are instances where an author might find a cliché useful.

   I think we can agree that novels need a theme, a premise on which to hang the action and plot points. An overall theme continues as a thread through the novel. It lets a writer connect the dots of subplots to the main plot. One way to get a handle on finding your theme/premise might be to describe your novel in one sentence, as with a cliché. The neat thing is once you’ve discovered that one true sentence, you can polish it into a marketing blurb.

   If you’d like one of your characters to use clichés, I say, okay. Use them, but judiciously and in only that character’s dialogue. Remember, though, even phrases voiced new and straight as Stein advises will become distracting clichés when used too often, but time-worn examples can be good fodder for a theme. Think about it.

   Consider this theme/premise/cliché for a romance story: “Love will find a way.” Then every time you put an obstacle in a character’s path on the way to happily ever after, that obstacle can be overcome with some kind of act of love . . . even self-love (conceit, egotism) is fair game. 

   In the premise/cliché, “All’s fair in love and war,” the character is free to do whatever s/he can in order to capture the heart of a lover

   For a love story, that beautiful, angst-filled drama which doesn’t always end happily ever after, a perfect cliché might be, “Always a bridesmaid, never a bride.” 

   Or this tired, old saw for a YA or memoir: “A coming of age story.” That keeps the threads of the story tied to some agonizing affliction and growth of young people over a longer time span. 

   Find your cliché and tape it to your desk. It’ll keep you focused on the theme of your story, despite all those wonderful obstacles you throw in the way of the protagonist.

   If you have a different way of coming up with themes/premises, let me know how you do it. I love, love, love learning new methodologies. (This post is so full of clichés it's hard to read without grimacing.) 


Books are always great suggestions for Christmas gifts. I have stories in several anthologies with Christmas as the theme. Here are two to put on your shopping list. (Click on the name or cover to buy it now)

Hometown Heroes, a Christmas Anthology. It’s a dual purpose book: Entertaining contemporary romance stories for you and/or gifts, and the proceeds to benefit the Cajun Navy. My story is titled “Hobbes House Noel.”  …
This would be the year Merrill Cowper learns that the best Christmas gifts don’t always arrive wrapped in pretty paper and tied with a bow. Sometimes they don’t even fit under the Christmas tree.


The book has 70 stories written by adults recounting their extraordinary childhood Christmas memories. My story, written under my maiden name of Marilyn Olsein, is titled “Dancing with Daddy,” and relates how six-year-old me reconnected with my Swedish father after a major upheaval in our lives.

The anthology is still available on Kindle.  

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

cj
A few more Christmas gift ideas:
Choosing Carter    https://amzn.to/2CJxs8Z
Deadly Star   https://amzn.to/2O8NFGZ
The Posse, a Western anthology   https://amzn.to/2EKUA9B
Pieces, a Mobile Writers Guild Anthology   https://amzn.to/2Dk84Yr

GIVEAWAY CHALLENGE withdrawn.  I haven’t had a single taker. If you have any ideas about how to generate interest, let me know.  

Qrtly newsletter sign-up:  cjpetterson@gmail.com
Simon&Schuster Author Page = https://bit.ly/2uo1M0Z

Sunday, November 4, 2018

The War to End All Wars


cj Sez: One hundred years ago today, on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, the “war to end all wars” officially came to an end.

   Today Veterans Day, also called Poppy Day, commemorates the centennial of the end of WWI while honoring the sacrifices of all who lost their lives in wars.

   For those unfamiliar with Poppy Day, this memo from the American Legion explains:
    “Even in the darkest of times, flowers still find their way to the surface to bloom. Poppy seeds can lay fallow for years, yet bloom brilliantly when the soil is disturbed or when the soil is freshly dug. After the battles were fought in World War I, the blood red poppy flourished in France and Belgium when battlefields became burial grounds. The red flowers suddenly bloomed among the newly dug gravesites of fallen service members, turning the new graveyards into fields of red.
   "Surviving soldiers came to see the poppy as more than a flower—–it became a symbol of their sacrifice; a tribute to the price of freedom. Although all WWI veterans have since passed, 100 years later, the poppy has become a universal display of the sacrifices made by Americans and allied service members around the world.”
https://www.alaforveterans.org/National-Poppy-Day-Honors-Veterans-Sacrifice-for-Freedom/ 
//


   I thank God for the sacrifice of Jesus Christ for my soul, and I thank the thousands of service people and their families for their sacrifices which ensured the singularly rare freedoms that I, as an American, enjoy.
//

   
Books are always great suggestions for gifts. 

BSP: I have stories in several anthologies with Christmas as the theme. Here are two to put on your shopping list:



Hometown Heroes, A Christmas Anthology
Pre-Order available now.   https://amzn.to/2PkI4Tb
     
   It’s a multi-purpose book: Entertaining contemporary romance short stories for you or as gifts for your friends, and the proceeds will benefit the Cajun Navy. 

(My story is titled “Hobbes House Noel.” Blurb: This would be the year Merrill Cowper learns that the best Christmas gifts don't always arrive wrapped in pretty paper and tied with a bow. Sometimes they don't even fit under the Christmas tree.)


Christmas Through a Child’s Eyes

   This book has 70 short memoirs written by adults recounting their extraordinary childhood Christmas memories.

   My story, written under my maiden name of Marilyn Olsein, is titled “Dancing with Daddy,” and relates how six-year-old me reconnected with my Swedish father after a major upheaval in our lives.

   The anthology is still available on Kindle.

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

cj
A few more Christmas gift ideas:
Choosing Carter    https://amzn.to/2CJxs8Z
Deadly Star   https://amzn.to/2O8NFGZ
The Posse, a Western anthology   https://amzn.to/2EKUA9B
Pieces, a Mobile Writers Guild Anthology   https://amzn.to/2Dk84Yr

GIVEAWAY CHALLENGE . . .
   If you’ve read any of my works, let me know you left a review at Goodreads, Amazon, wherever—good, bad, or simply “I read it.”—and I’ll put your name in the raffle hat to thank you. It doesn’t have to be a new review. The random name I draw on December 6 will receive a nice gift bag of goodies. I’ll post the winner’s name on my Facebook page, so be sure to stop by.

Qrtly newsletter sign-up:  cjpetterson@gmail.com