Monday, January 30, 2017
What makes a terrific crime fiction heroine? By that, I mean a woman of honor seeking justice. I've been told my tough-guy heroes are men of valor and nobility (in the classical sense). And that makes me happy.
However, in the various venues I frequent (critique groups, social media groups, and so forth), authors have said they're getting comments that their strong-minded heroine isn't sympathetic. These authors go on to state everyone loves their rough-and-ready hero, but can't warm up to the very capable heroine. Ya know what? I've had similar comments and have labored to get my heroines likeable.
Are female sleuths and detectives judged differently than their male counter parts? The evidence shows this might very well be. A hero can be blunt, caustic, assertive to the point he's nearly aggressive and everyone loves him. Let a heroine toss off one barbed remark and half the readers begin cooling to her.
Quite frankly, this seems to be the reality and we crime fiction writers who love a tough heroine are going have to deal with it. It may be that if you're going to write a snarky heroine, you're going to have to work overtime to make her sympathetic. Many women complain that in life, in the workplace, even in the home, a man can get away with things a woman can't. (I'm sure the reverse is true, but we're not talking about that.)
It seems in crime fiction the hero can definitely get away with things a heroine can't. In a thriller, he can shoot five bad guys dead and step right over their bodies. He can put a bullet straight through one of the thug's eyeballs and still come off with high praise from readers. Let the heroine do that, in the same back-against-the-wall scenario, and readers might suggest she'd been excessively violent.
Strictly, between you and me, I'm not crazy about sappy heroines who seem to catch the killer almost by accident. A female sleuth blithely walking through a crime scene in stilettos, totally unaware she's destroying evidence, will not thrill me at all. Then again, I'm unhappy if the hero makes stupid mistakes in police work. I'm equal opportunity on that one. I expect all detective main characters, regardless of gender, to have adequate knowledge of what's expected of a law enforcement officers in the field.
That said, is it just me, or is there a tendency on the part of readers (and let's not forget writing contest judges) not to give the heroine a break? And is that doubly true if she's rip-roaring strong? I think so.
Amazon Purchase Link: https://www.amazon.com/Blood-Speaks-Veronica-Authorized-Operations-ebook/dp/B01N97ZVWR/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1479951328&sr=1-1&keywords=Blood+Speaks%2C+Nike+Chillemi
Like so many writers, Nike Chillemi started at a very young age. Her first major work was a Crayola, fully illustrated book she penned as a little girl (colored might be more accurate) about her then off-the-chart love of horses. Today, you might call her a crime fictionista. Her passion is crime fiction. She likes her bad guys really bad and her good guys smarter and better.
Nike is the founding board member of the Grace Awards and its Chair, a reader's choice awards for excellence in Christian fiction. She has been a judge in the 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014 Carol Awards in the suspense, mystery, and romantic suspense categories; and an Inspy Awards 2010 judge in the Suspense/Thriller/Mystery category. Her four novel Sanctuary Point series (out of print), set in the mid-1940s has finaled, won an award, and garnered critical acclaim. The first novel in the Veronica "Ronnie" Ingels/Dawson Hughes series HARMRUL INTENT won in the Grace Awards 2014 Mystery/Romantic Suspense/Thriller/Historical Suspense category. She has written book reviews for The Christian Pulse online magazine. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and John 3:16 Marketing Network. http://nikechillemi.wordpress.com/
Sunday, January 29, 2017
Today we welcome Katie Vorreiter to my blog. Katie is offering a giveaway of her book, No Turning Back, to one commenter. Please be sure to leave contact information!
Researching Behind Bars
They say to write what you know. But where’s the fun in that? How would writers ever push the envelope and bravely go where no one has gone before?
I prefer the saying that you should write what you want to read. And I wanted to read what would happen when a beautiful young Christian woman became caughtup in a riot in a notorious male prison. And of course there had to be a love interest. Or two.
Now, they do have a point—I think what they truly mean is that you must know what you write. In order to take readers on a fun ride, a writer has to help them suspend any disbelief. And in order to do that, we’ve got to make our setting, plot, and characters credible. Sure, we make stuff up, but we get away with more fiction when we are grounded in facts.
So—there my character is, in lockdown at San Quentin. Cheese whiz, I had to go and pick a setting that I couldn’t visit.
In order to bring the Q alive, at least to me, I had some research to do. Enter the Internet. (As if it were ever far away.)
I took aerial shots from Google Earth to get the layout of the prison. Then I did lots of searching—I even looked in books!*—finding the best help on sites like Flickr.
There I found a wealth of personal photos regular folks had taken. These were people who’d gone inside the walls for whatever reason: staging of a Shakespeare play got me inside the chapel; a walking tour for the then mayor of
San Francisco helped me understand how my
characters would get from the chapel to their next hiding place. And what was
that medieval-looking door, crying out to be a novel setting?
Piece by piece I put my puzzle together. I feel a curious mix of confidence and humility in my research. I daresay it holds together pretty well. I daresay I’ve missed things.
I’ve been very gratified to hear from readers who have actually been to the prison (to play softball, which was what brought in some of my characters) who found the ride convincing. Granted, they only saw parts of what I describe.
My publicist, aka Street Team Maven, aka BFF suggests that I send some books to the prison library. I’m not sure I’m brave enough to have residents and correctional officers vet the setting. Course, I did send my protagonist in and then trigger a major riot. I suppose I could suck it up and mail a few books.
*Insert gasp here.
During a riot at San Quentin, it’s every man for himself. And then there’s the soprano.
Livvy Fischer’s life has been derailed. Suffering panic attacks, the classically trained soprano works a dead-end job. Due partly to a mix-up, partly to her crush on Pastor Lucas, Livvy joins a worship team bound for the chapel at San Quentin. When a full-scale riot breaks out, she is separated from Lucas and the rest of her group.
Snatched from the San Quentin chapel by an inmate, Livvy doesn’t know who to trust. Tobin says he’s protecting her, but she’s been blindsided before. She struggles to put her trust in God, while all too aware that free will can wreak horrible consequences. Tobin wants her to hide and ride out the storm, but Livvy becomes the obsession of a serial killer. Will God protect her? Will Tobin? And it’s one thing if Tobin is turning his life around behind bars. It’s quite another to fall for him.
Award-winning writer Katie Vorreiter is also a freelance copy editor. She makes her home in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband, two children rapidly morphing into young adults, and an incomparably adorable cockapoo. No Turning Back is her debut novel.
com/No-Turning-Back-Katie- Vorreiter-ebook/dp/B01NAMJT56/ ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid= 1485634884&sr=8-1&keywords= vorreiter
Also available on iBooks
FB author page: https://www.facebook.
FB author page: https://www.facebook.
Saturday, January 28, 2017
Today we welcome back Jean Williams. Jean is very graciously giving away a copy of Just Claire. Include contact information.
Jean, thanks for coming back to visit us. Where do you get your inspiration for your books?
Jean, thanks for coming back to visit us. Where do you get your inspiration for your books?
From people past and present. I study character traits and with Just Claire, I drew from my past when my mother almost died in childbirth. Afterward she suffered depression the rest of her life.
What's your key environment that helps you get to writing? Do you have a writer’s nook, corner, getaway? Where do you do your most productive writing?
I learned a trick for first draft creative process. I use pencil and yellow ledger paper and the color yellow releases my creativity. Using this trick, I’ve written in the car while in the passenger’s seat and on my sofa at home by a warm fire in our wood stove. I can be most productive anywhere, but I must admit, I have to consciously tell myself to get to work when I’m at the stages of entering the words in a document on my computer. This includes the many edits which seem to go on forever!
What are you saying in your book(s) that will encourage Christians today?
God loves you and cares about you. He’s our mighty Father and without Him life is a hollow shell. Nothing is impossible when we’re within His strength and when we put aside trudging forward on our own might.
How do you pick names for your characters?
I pick my characters from people watching. I like to choose bits from people I know and are interesting to me and expand on this. If someone has a bit of spunk and sass, I flesh out these traits and inflate them.
How important are reviews to you?
They are important, not as much as the ratings, which I do enjoy the five stars, but in gathering the many which will help bring awareness to my books. And I learn from the reviews which point out problems in my work. I decipher the negative comments which are subjective or in error on their part (something they have missed which was obvious to other readers) from the comments which truly help.
Who are some of your favorite authors? What genre is your favorite? What books have you enjoyed lately?
Tracie Peterson, Kim Vogel Sawyer, Bonnie Leon, Jane Kirkpatrick, and more recently I’ve discovered Sydney Tooman Betts, who is a top-notch storyteller and writer. I read these authors’ books in my favorite genre Christian Historical Fiction (my favorite are Alaskan life stories). Right now I’m reading Kim Vogel Sawyer’s ten book Prairie Series. For contemporary young adult reading, I enjoy the up and coming author, Cynthia T Toney and her Bird Face Series. She writes honest, heartwarming stories.
One mother damaged. One family tested. One daughter determined to find her place.
ClaireLee’s life changes when she must take charge of her siblings after her mother becomes depressed from a difficult childbirth. Frightened by the way Mama sleeps too much and her crying spells during waking hours, ClaireLee just knows she’ll catch her illness like a cold or flu which hangs on through winter. ClaireLee finds comfort in the lies she tells herself and others in order to hide the truth about her erratic mother. Deciding she needs to re-invent herself, she sets out to impress a group of popular girls.
With her deception, ClaireLee weaves her way into the Lavender Girls Club, the most sophisticated girls in school. Though, her best friend Belinda will not be caught with the likes of such shallow puddles, ClaireLee ignores Belinda’s warnings the Lavenders cannot be trusted. ClaireLee drifts further from honesty, her friend, and a broken mother’s love, until one very public night at the yearly school awards ceremony. The spotlight is on her, and she finds her courage and faces the truth and then ClaireLee saves her mother’s life.
Downloads available at Amazon: http://ow.ly/XmCJ5
See the trailer: https://youtu.be/s8x5lJKZFHU
Jean Ann’s Site: http://jeanannwilliamsauthor.com/
Author Jean Ann Williams, the eldest in a large family, enjoys digging into her fascinating childhood to create stories for children. Having written over one hundred articles for children and adults, Just Claire is her first book http://ow.ly/XmCJ5. She’s a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, and she writes regularly on her blog. Jean Ann and her husband live on one acre in
Southern Oregon where they
raise a garden, goats, and chickens. Her favorite hobbies are hiking through
the woods and practicing archery with her bow.
Monday, January 23, 2017
My thoughts: First, the disclaimer. "I was provided a free copy of this book. All opinions are my own." That done, A MOONBOW NIGHT is only the second book I read by Ms. Frantz. and I loved them. So when this book became available, I was excited for the opportunity to read it.
The story is full of description. Rich, vivid descriptions that enable the reader to see what the characters see, and almost smell the buttery crusty cornbread and feel the spray of the waterfall.
Unfortunately, the story itself dragged. Sion was a strong, Daniel Boone type man, leading a group of surveyors through the wilderness. Tempe is a strong pioneer woman who is used to the wilderness, but torn between the settlers and keeping peace with the Indians--ones who butchered her fiance in cold blood the eve of their wedding. I really liked Tempe's brother, Russell, Sion's friend, Nate, Sion and even Tempe.
As a romance, it was a fail. There were zero romantic tension between the characters, but they did come together as a couple in a very slow, kind of secondary to the story sort of way. The writing itself is beautiful. Ms. Frantz is a very talented story teller and can definitely put words together. My attention was caught--a little--by River, when he was caught in a snare, but the author solved that flair of interest quickly by revealing what happened. The only other draw to the story was whether the characters would survive--or not--the impending Indian attack, but given the genre of the book, that was a given.
Not an altogether unpleasant read. Fans of Ms. Frantz or historical pioneer stories might be enthralled.
Sunday, January 22, 2017
Adventure in firefighting
I’m often asked how I come up with ideas for my books. My latest one is called Rescue Me about a firefighter and a gal on the rescue squad. That one was easy since my hubby served over four years on a volunteer fire department. He was also the head of emergency services for a while. We were both very involved in the department. The women’s auxiliary was active in helping the firefighters on long calls by bringing coffee and sandwiches.
There was a lot of fun stuff too. We competed in water ball (two teams shooting water through fire hoses at a keg strung on a heavy wire. Sort of like tug of war in the opposite), there were open house festivals to support the department, the women always threw a Christmas party for the children of the firefighters, and we loved to celebrate with holiday parties.
One particular party was going along so well and we were all having so much fun, when the call signal came over all the pagers strapped to the belts of the volunteers. All talk in the room ceased as the emergency tone echoed around the room, the dispatcher announced the location and the incident, then the entire room cleared out so fast leaving the spouses sitting there. It was quite a sight.
There were so many fire and rescue calls to draw upon for ideas for the book. And personalities. In the story, there’s a character named Troy who tends to be overzealous in his actions. True stuff. I did have to imagine the calls taking place in Colorado rather than in Minnesota where we lived at the time. But with all the exploring we did in the state once we moved there, it wasn’t hard.
The department also had practice burns. Someone would basically donate an old house to be burned down so the volunteers could learn the techniques first hand. It was amazing to watch how fire can eat away at a house so fast.
One particular fire call, a real one, had my hubby on the nozzle of the hose, first man in. His team on the balcony of the home and were hitting the fire from that side. One of the many dangers is a flashover where the fire blasts out an opening so hard and fast that it literally can knock you over. Which it did to my hubby. Thankfully, the next firefighter on the line, a female by the way, held him fast and they were not thrown off the balcony and were able to help get that fire out.
So writing Rescue Me involved a lot of discussions and walks down memory lane with my hubby. We had so much fun brainstorming different scenarios of what could happen with Steve and Ronnie. Throw in some romance, a personal struggle deep in a heart and you have for a great story.
Firefighters and rescue personnel go through a lot. If you see one, thank them!
Sandy Nadeau loves to go on adventures, photograph them and equally loves to write about them. She and her husband did a lot of four-wheeling in the back country of Colorado and shared those experiences with others by taking them up in the mountains. Her writing experience includes a community news column in a small newspaper for twelve years, magazine articles and two novels with adventure, mystery, romance, but most importantly sharing God’s love. She is currently a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers and has two books out. Married for a whopping 40 years, she and her husband are loving life as grandparents to their three grandchildren after the big move to Texas. Travel is their favorite thing to do and they don’t get to do it as often as they’d like. Adventure awaits around every corner, over every hill and mountain.
Me-Sandy-Nadeau-ebook/dp/ B015BWE5OI/ref=pd_rhf_se_p_ img_1?ie=UTF8&refRID= CRVYCWBYAJEFP7R2GYKT
First Responder Ronnie Spencer has a no-dating firefighters rule. She lost her father to a fire, and won't risk the heartbreak of losing someone else. But when Steve McNeal returns, Ronnie's heart is tested. How can she swear-off dating a firefighter when she has to work with the one man she used to love?
When the unthinkable happens, Ronnie has doubts. How can a loving God allow tragedy to stalk her life again? As her faith wavers, Ronnie must decide. Will their blossoming relationship be quickly extinguished by the very thing she feared, or will Ronnie trust God and allow her heart to be rescued—even if that means giving it to a firefighter?
Risking her life to save him is easy. Risking her heart to give him a second chance is impossible.