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 Although I have a thriving blog on blogspot, (http://ekaiserwritesablog.blogspot.com/) I wanted to make sure the posts were archived here as well. So, in February '13 I backed up all the posts from E. Kaiser Writes-A-Blog onto this one... And I will try to keep them as "in tandem" as I can!

 Thanks for stopping by, and it you think of anything to say, please do! I love comments, and hearing from folks is the reason that I blog!
 Thanks again....

 E.

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Cover Art Poll Results & Giveaway Winner!

Posted by E. Kaiser on April 14, 2013 at 11:50 PM Comments comments (0)

Well, here we are again!

  First off, we want to take a moment and give a heartfelt thank-you to Everyone who stopped by and weighed in on these hard questions. Your input was invaluable! And we greatly appreciate it.


 Secondly, the barrel has been stirred, the wheel has been spun, (so to speak,) in other words the random generator has randomly generated a winner and the winner is...


 Brian Crouse!

 Thank-you, Brian, for joining the many kindly folks who helped us out with these decisions!

                    (I have emailed Brian with the notification of his winning vote!)


 You may all be interested to know that the entry by which he was selected winner was number 49; in which he answered question Number One by choosing Red as his preferred background color. This proved to be a popular choice; outweighing the other options by a large margin.

 

 In fact, why don't be just break down the numbers right here?

                                             (You all love numbers, don't you? Smile )

 We'll go there right after this message.


  As a second prize/giveaway/thing, an additonal copy of Jeweler's Apprentice goes to...

 Kim at Of The Earth Artisan Works. (I've notified Kim of her available copy as well.) Have fun with the read, Kim, and I'd love to see more of your jewelery work!


 Okay... down to the nitty-gritty details:


[Because this was running on Homeschool Authors blog as well as E. Kaiser Writes, I have laboriously compiled the two, separate results sheets to reveal the true Popular Winning Choices!]



   So....

                Viola! You see before you... Le Results!


[Numbers in parentheses were split votes.]


 For the Question of  - - Background Color? - -


HomeSchoolAuthors polled   ~  Red1:  7 (1)  Green2:  3  Teal3:   4 (1)  Blue4: 2 (2)

and E. Kaiser Writes polled  ~              6                      3               4                    1       

                                                          =13 (1)             =6              =8 (1)           =3(2)        


        The overall winner for the Background Color category was unmistakably RED!       

                   (With Teal coming in as Runner Up.)              

                                                                                            


   For the Question of  - - Which shine is best? - -


HsA~ Red1:   3   Green2: 5    Teal3:   5      Blue4: 3

E.KW~           2                 4(1)             6(1)             1                                  

                     =5               =9 (1)        =11(1)          =4       



 The overall winner for the Which Shine category was undeniably Teal #3!       

   (With Green #2 in as Runner Up.) 

                                  


  For the Question of  - - Title Arrange? - -


HsA~ Red1:   4   Green2:    5(1)  Teal3:   6 (2)  Blue4: 2 (1)

EKW~            2                    4                    8                    1     

                     =6                  =9 (1)          =14 (2)            =3 (1)             

  


   The overall winner for the Title Arrangement category was clearly Teal #3!       

      (With Green #2 coming in as Second Most Popular.)

       

             {Wow! Looks like everybody felt Teal #3 had a whole lot going for it! 

                                                        But it just couldn't top the crimson hue.}

                                                                                                         

  For the Question of  - - Author Position? - -


HsA~ Red1: 0     Green2: 0    Teal3: 0       Blue4: 0            Top:    9        Bottom: 10

EKW~          4 {T}           1{B}         6{T}            4{B}               ~5                    ~10

                                                                                            =14                     =20     



     The winner for the Author Position category was definitely Bottom!      

                                                            

                                (With almost nobody liking the heavier, blacker text of #2)



    

  For the Question of  - - Author Color? - -


                                   HsA~ S:  12              Dark: 6                                

                                  EKW~     6(1)                      3(1)               

* Red1: 0 Green2: 0   Teal3:    2(2) {S}    Blue4: 1(1){D}                         

                                               =20 (3)                =10 (2)        



  The definite answer is Silver; with approximately 60% of respondents weighing in on the metallic side of the scale! 

      Only 1 out of 3 were in favor of the darker look.

   (Which doesn't mean it's a bad idea; and therefore might prove a valid choice in another application. We shall keep this in mind!)


   And, as stated, only one out of all 34 votes went for the author text on Green #2.


    Very Interesting!

 


Red 1

Green 2

Teal 3

Blue 4



 Thanks very much everybody for participating! You have given us some very definite thoughts to think about!

 I am not sure when we will be able to rework the cover to include the new insight we have gained from this interactive poll and giveaway, but I'm really looking forward to seeing how it comes out!


(Personally, I'm thinking it's going to be stunning. Smile )




So in parting just let me say; Muchas Gracias! 

Y Buenas Noches!




Cover Art poll and Give Away!

Posted by E. Kaiser on February 4, 2013 at 8:40 PM Comments comments (0)

Hello there everybody!

 Here we are again in the grand tradition of all things... new and scary, to ask your help in determining a matter most urgent, most perplexing, most... well, we can't make up our minds, so we want to have you help us out with yours.

 (Help, please? Nicely?)

 

 The team has labored long and hard over the momentous decisions necessary to craft the prospective Cover Art for the sequel to Jeweler's Apprentice; and now their brains are basically frazzled. So, we need to poll the audience for a few key points, and as a bonus somebody wins an e-copy of the first book in the series, the lovely and talented Jeweler's Apprentice!

 

                                                        *Drum roll, applause*  

 

 Thank-you, thank-you. Thank-you all.

 

                       *Master of ceremonies bows nicely*

 

 

   Back to business.

 

 Okay, folks here's the deal. We have four mock-ups, and we now need to know...

 

 Which Background Color is the BEST of the four?

 

 Which "slanting shine of light" is the most effective?

 

                       Red 1                                           Green 2                                               Teal 3                                               Blue 4

 Which Dagger/Title arrangement is best?

 

 Which Author position is best? (Top or bottom.)

 

 Which Author color is best? (It's in silver and also dark. )


 

  We're so frazzled our thinkers can't think, and you know that's a dangerous place to be when creativity is a must!

 So, give us all the opinions your little heart can muster, and enter them into the raffle-copter widget below.  Even if you only have the strength for one opinion, sock that critter into the widget! We need you!

 

  And also, with every answered question, you are entered again into the ultimate drawing to win a copy of Jeweler's Apprentice! Remember, I've been known to throw in an extra copy-prize or something else unpredictable, so be sure to get your little email address into the widget by hook or by crook. You never know WHAT might happen.

 

 P.S. If you have already read Jeweler's Apprentice and don't wish to receive another copy, should you be selected as winner we will substitute a different prize. (A Mystery Prize!) Just let us know.


Reader Interview: Mary Ruth P.

Posted by E. Kaiser on January 22, 2013 at 8:35 PM Comments comments (0)

Reader interview: Mary Ruth P., from southwest Missouri!

 

 Thanks so much for joining us here on E. Kaiser Writes-A-Blog!

 

M.R.: Thanks so much for having me again! I had so much fun with the writer interview, and I'm looking forward to this one too!

 

E. Kaiser: As a reader, I know there are a lot of personal opinions involved in what you enjoy, and what you hate, and I do love a good, established opinion. (Especially if it's personal. ;-) )

 So, tell us yours!

 

M.R.: Wow, that's a loaded question! Let me start off by saying that I have very eclectic tastes in what I read, and (contrary to a fairly common misconception) I'm actually very easy to please. For me, it's very easy to tell when a book was written simply because the author had something they couldn't keep inside, something they just had to say because they loved it and believed in it. I have a wild aversion to reading books where I can tell that the author had some ulterior motive, or that they were writing just to appeal to a certain audience. If a writer has written a story just because they had to tell that story, I can pick that up in the writing, and if the story is exciting chances are I'll like it regardless of genre.

 

E. Kaiser: That's a very good point.

What's your range of favorite genres? Can you introduce us to the why's of that?

 

M.R.: Historical fiction is my first love - my mom introduced me to that at age eight, with the Dear America series and later, the Royal Diaries series (both of which I love to this day). I think the reason I love the genre so much is that, even though human nature doesn't change, you get to see it in so many interesting applications in the different situations of history. Plus I love reading a well-researched historical novel and getting to see a faraway place in a long-lost time through a characters eyes.

 I also love fantasy. I read The Chronicles of Narnia when I was ten, but didn't really get into the genre until I became friends with author H.A. Titus as a teenager. She was already a fantasy nut, and it didn't take long for her to recruit me to the cause! I love the opportunities fantasy offers to go all the cool directions history didn't go. I love swords and amazing architecture and long, gorgeous dresses and armor and the challenges (and blessings) of a world where technology doesn't do everything for you.

 The only other genre that I think I can consider a favorite is science fiction. I'll admit, though, I'm a little harder to please in the science fiction department than in other genres. A lot of the same things about fantasy that appeal to me are present in science fiction - the room for imagination, the opportunities to see human nature in unique applications - but a lot of science fiction stories focus too much on the science and technology itself and let the plot drift to the sidelines. That I dislike. I like science fiction as long as the science part is merely a factor of the plot - not the other way around.

 

E: Among all the basic threads that just about all stories borrow from, what're your favorite story lines?

M.R.: Hmm... I like stories where the hero is reluctant to get involved in whatever the conflict of the story is, has to come to the realization that it's the right thing to do, and then throws himself into it with all he has. I also like stories in which a central character struggles to know or decide which side he or she is on. And of course, any story in which an ordinary little person gets pulled into something far bigger than themselves and becomes a hero is great, too.

 

E: How about your worst pet peeves? Let us have 'em!

 

M.R.: Book teasers that give away the story. Romance novels of all kinds, Amish and vampire romance in particular. Melodrama - i.e., shrieking, wailing, gnashing of teeth, weeping, and vomiting over things that really aren't that big of a deal. Over-the-top cliche-ness - "Can Kate and Jason overcome their mutual dislike for each other long enough to solve the murder... and find love along the way?" - seriously, just put me out of my misery!

 

E:  Ha! I'm totally on that page with you, there!

Okay, how about that Thing-You-Can't-Stand-Above-Anything-Else.

 

M.R.: Sappiness. I review books for several publishing houses, and one time I accidentally got my name on a list to review this Christian historical romance novel. I almost gagged multiple times. I mean, I've been around guys that I've thought were handsome, but I've never felt "overwhelmed by his masculinity". And although I've never kissed a guy, I find it rather difficult to believe that doing so would make a girl "worried that her bones had turned to dust". I'm very much an action-oriented, keep-it-real kind of girl, and all the pining and wistfulness and mush and gushing emotions in sappy novels just really disgust me.

 

E: Glancing quickly backward over your reading history, what stands out as the moment that melted your heart, all warm and puddle-y?

 

M.R.: Well... in spite of how emotional I can get over books, I'm really not a 'warm and puddle-y' kind of person. It's just not the way I'm wired. So I'm afraid I can't think of a single moment that made me feel that way. : )

 

E: Same thing, what's the first-to-mind scene that fired your emotions?

 

M.R.: The first thing that comes to mind is the end of the Dear America book Voyage on the Great Titanic. I was... oh, maybe eleven or twelve when I read it, and it's the first book that I remember crying over. The main character had become really good friends with one of the cabin boys, and she got off safely but he chose to go down with the ship and his fellow crewmen. At the time I was pretty sure I would never ever get over it as long as I lived, but I've managed to piece together a normal life since then... barely. ; P

 

E: ...Made you so mad you couldn't see straight?

 

M.R.: I was reading The Sword and the Flame, the third book in Stephen R. Lawhead's 'Dragon King' trilogy. The main character (who I had loved in both of the previous books) watched one of his best friends be murdered, so he murdered his friend's killer (who had dropped his weapon and surrendered already) and sort of went mad for the rest of the book and just sulked in his quarters while everyone else was running around trying to save the kingdom. And then all of a sudden, 'poof!' he gets over it and everything goes back to normal after everyone else has been running themselves ragged trying to keep it all together through the whole book. It made me so mad at him that I actually put the book aside for a few months right in the middle. The only thing that brought me back to it was the fact that I cared about the rest of the characters too much not to find out what happened to them.

 

E: What is your favorite trait in a character, and why do you love them?

M.R.: I absolutely love it when a character expects to fail in a task or quest, but does it anyway simply because it's the right thing to do. I love self-sacrifice, protectiveness, and loyalty.   Protectiveness and loyalty in a character appeal to me because they're so central to the way I was raised. From the time my siblings and I were tiny our parents taught us that you look out for the people you love, you look out for people who can't look out for themselves, and you stand with your friends and family no matter what. If they're in the wrong, you correct them, but you don't stop being loyal to them. Self-sacrifice is a part of that too, in a lot of ways, as well as being part of doing the right thing even if and when it costs you. That's a trait I want to possess myself - being able and willing to do the right thing no matter what it costs, and to know that the cost is worth it - so I like seeing it portrayed well in fictional characters.

 

E: Good one! I like the way you explained that. Very true.

  So, what most makes you  most hate the villain?

 

M.R.: That's kind of a tricky question, since there are only so many villain-making traits and they're pretty close to universal (e.g. cruelty, self-centeredness, lust for power, corrupt desires, etc.). I guess the thing that makes me hate a villain most depends on how well he's written. Writing a truly evil villain requires a deep understanding of evil itself, and I think a lot of writers either don't have that or are uncomfortable with delving into the understanding they do have. In cases like that, you usually end up with the cliche 'kicks-kittens-and-tortures-servants-for-enjoyment' kind of villain, which bugs me to death. True evil is, quite often, far more subtle than that.

 So I guess, in order for me to really loathe a villain, he has to be realistically evil. The exact details of how that evil manifests itself don't matter nearly so much to me as being able to believe that the villain is truly evil. And of course, the more I love the protagonist, the more I'll hate the villain for hurting him or her. ; )

E:  What was your favorite "switch" that caught you completely off guard, but you loved the result!

 

M.R.: The first thing that comes to mind is the revelation towards the end of Angela Elwell Hunt's novel The Immortal. There's a moment when the main character and the readers all realize that 'Oh... Asher's immortality wasn't a curse... it was a gift! And I've been missing that for the last 200 pages of the book, but he's been missing it for the last 2,000 years!!!' That moment is a total game changer in the book, but the result is heartrendingly beautiful. In fact I'm getting goosebumps just thinking about it! : )

 

E:  What small things do you especially like to see included?

 

M.R.: I love it when books talk about the food the characters eat. The Secret Garden and the Redwall books are particular instances that come to mind. The food in those books always sounds so delicious! Of course, I always end up having to put the book down and go find something to eat because just reading them makes me hungry, but it's a really nice detail to include. I think more authors should write about food in their stories. There's a special kind of happiness that really good food makes people feel, and weaving that into the happiness of loveable characters and exciting adventure just adds another layer of delight to a good book. : )

 

Thanks for joining us, Mary Ruth!

 

You're so very welcome, Elizabeth. This has been a lot of fun and I've really enjoyed it. Happy reading, everyone!

~Mary


Comments:


Hannah Scheele said...Hi Mary Ruth!

I laughed out loud when you complained about that trashy romance novel with the " bones turning to dust". Oh dear, that is AWFUL. :P

I remember reading the Titanic Dear America book! Sure was interesting seeing someone else mention it online.

I totally agree with you about cheap, overdone villains. Real villainy is subtle. :D

January 23, 2013 at 5:27 PM

Kelsey Bryant said...This was so interesting! I loved what you had to say about your favorite genres.

I remember well being choked up by that Dear America book about the Titanic, too. I absolutely loved the Royal Diaries and they were also a part of inspiring me to love history and write historical fiction.

I like the mention of food in books. I can recall The Secret Garden and the Redwall books' tasty meals. Your explanation for why it's so special makes a lot of sense. Taste is one of the five senses, so writers need to remember to include it!

This was a fun and informative read!

January 23, 2013 at 5:47 PM

Mary Ruth Pursselley said...Thanks, ladies!

That's so cool that both of you have read the Titanic Dear America book - most people I talk to aren't familiar with the series.

I'm so glad you both enjoyed the interview. : ) Elizabeth and I had a lot of fun doing it.

Thanks again!

January 24, 2013 at 12:09 PM

Sarah Scheele said...Hannah has heard of this Titanic book and I haven't? That's weird. . . we're sisters. We live in the SAME HOUSE. lol

 

With you on bad romance writing, vampires, and anyone vomiting as a special effect. I downloaded a book that my mother read part of (I haven't read it yet) which reportedly contains a boy whose magic power is throwing up. lol . . .not good.

 

 


Q&A: What else are you working on?

Posted by E. Kaiser on January 15, 2013 at 8:30 PM Comments comments (0)

 Q: Do you have any other books you're working on?

 

  A: And the answer is, Yes!

 I'm working on the sequel to Jeweler's Apprentice.

 

 In it the action heats up, and even more things are brought together. I think that readers of Jeweler's Apprentice will enjoy delving straight back into Fia's story, and getting to spend more time with the characters from Book 1. The plot line becomes deeper, and the whole feel of the book, while staying true to the first, just ups the tension a little. So I'm hoping fans of JA will be really pleased with the sequel.

 

  As I am a "messy writer" I have many books in the process of creativity. (I try to save most things I write, and then when I come back around, (even if it's years later) I can build a little more on it.)

 

  As for works in the "Serious Construction phase" there's JA's sequel; when spring and spies makes everything more dangerous,

 

   & The One with the "straw haired" heroine; where a smart, secluded girl must leap into a troublesome journey through varied dangers and adventures; with a boy who never knew she existed, and a guide she never thought could be real. (It's been super fun so far!)

 

...And runners up:

 

    ...a contemporary mystery doing with San Antonio what Charade did with Paris; murder, long lost artifact, and who in the world can you actually TRUST these days?!


 

    ...a historical romance, (and I once said I wouldn't write romance! *Due partially all those ones with racy covers, I confess.* Also the fact that a good romance leaves my "hero-less" heart feeling dispirited...) (But! It's not really THAT sort of romance. The girl is like someone you care about, but wouldn't want to be. I hope.)

  Anyway, it's set in first century Judea; Jerusalem under Roman rule, the twisted power of the Pharisee/Sadducee sects, and a people who have nearly all lost hope.

  Except her mother. (Mother's can be maddeningly optimistic sometimes.)

  She makes bad choices, (like really bad choices) and it seems to be working for her, but when it all folds up, she finds she falls about as far as possible.

  A Stranger on the road can lift her from the pit; but she's the one that will have to beat her way back on the path from where she came.

  It's sort of turmoil-ish, so I'm not sure if the inspirational "market" would like it. I'm still thinking on it's target, but the thing wouldn't leave me alone so I had to write it.


 

...and there's a sci/fi thriller that's edging around in the back of my brain and comes out every so often to demand I add a scene. Super-hero-in-strange-places, intergalactically finding a real life, redemption and, beyond all hope - true love.

 It's a blast to write, but again, not sure of a target audience.

 

 What do you like the sounds of? Any votes on what should get the most attention?

 

 Have a great day!

 Elizabeth


Comments:


Kelsey Bryant said...Oh my! How fun! You are just brimming with stories! You've got one in every genre. All of them sound amazing -- I hope you get to write every one.

Since you asked, I'll admit that my eyes sparkled the most when I read about the mystery in San Antonio (mysteries are awesome, and I think San Antonio is the most fascinating city in Texas -- maybe in the whole U.S. Have you been there?) and when I read about the Judean romance (biblical periods are one of my favorite historical periods). Hmm ... it seems like the more turmoil in a book, the more publishers and readers will go for it, so maybe you'll have a wider audience than you think. At least, don't let that stop you!

But really, write whatever you feel lead to! The one about the straw-haired heroine is tantalizing, and since it's in the "Serious Construction phase," that makes it a good candidate. The sci/fi thriller has got to be exciting, too! It's so fun when you've got choices like this, isn't it?

I love the JA sequel's tagline: "When spring and spies make everything more dangerous."

;-)

The pictures you picked for this post are delightful!

January 16, 2013 at 7:19 AM

Hannah Scheele said...I like them all. It's amazing how many ideas you get at one time! :D I particularly like the sound of the Jerusalem romance and the San Antonio suspense ones-- I have to agree with Kelsey about San Antonio. As a Texan I just love it. :D

My little sister that I told you about says she likes the sci-fi one best. :D

January 16, 2013 at 5:18 PM

Elizabeth K. said... Aww! Thanks for the comments, girls!

Kelsey: no, I have not been to San Antonio, but in my researching have been bitten with the strong desire to visit! For at least a week, right? ;-) Now all I have to do is find out how, when, and who I can stay with while I brainstorm and write feverishly. (This is such a enthralling image that I hope desperately it might come true! :-) What over-the-top fun that would be!!)

And the Judean one piques your interest too. Well, I'm encouraged by your remarks, so who knows what the market might turn out for it! Like you said, I do plan to keep at it when inspiration strikes.

And the Straw Haired heroine is definitely in the works. It's so rewarding to write, 'cause I can just let off authorial steam on it and it thrives. (72k, and it's not even half done! Yow! Where will this monster end?!)

And yes, the sci-fi is very fun, and slightly more tame in it's growth.

Glad you liked the sequel's tagline!

I really enjoyed picking those pictures... so many fun shots!

 

January 18, 2013 at 9:16 AM

Elizabeth K. said...Thanks Hannah! Your money's on the Jerusalem and San Antonio ones too, eh? ;-) Well, I guess that shows a definite trend! This encourages me to spend time on both of these... once I get a little breathing room from the sequel! ;-) I really have enjoyed writing both of those tales, and like I said in reply to Kelsey, I totally need to spend some time in San Antonio now. (Just gotta. ;-) ) I wanna see the Mission San Jose!! :-(

KNow anybody who lives in San Antonio? ;-)

And thank your little sister for me for her vote towards the sci-fi one! I'm glad she thought it was interesting enough to catch her attention! I've had a couple people bemoan the state of Sci-fi in general these days, so I'm definitely wanting to get it finished up sometime. (But it may be a long process. Fair warning! ;-) )

And yes, I definitely suffer from Idea Overload at times. It's a malady that has it's uses when writing, though, you know. :-)

Thanks for stopping by!

January 18, 2013 at 9:22 AM

Sarah Scheele said...The sci-fi story sounds interesting--in part because the picture you put in the post is sooo beautiful--but I'd have to see you make the "love beyond all hope" thing really work. I'm skeptical of that particular plotline. But superheroes having adventures in strange places . . . now that I like. :D

 

January 18, 2013 at 4:29 PM

Hannah Scheele said...We used to go see the Zoo in San Antonio-- so I guess you might say I have some friends there, of the animal variety! :D

January 19, 2013 at 4:48 PM

Kelsey Bryant said...Girl, you have got to visit San Antonio! I would love to visit it again. This June I went there and saw Mission San Jose and Mission Concepcion for the first time! The whole Mission Trail would be a great setting for a story. (There are five old missions; the Alamo is the farthest north, and the others go south in a line for maybe 9 miles, or something like that.) They are so old, so beautiful, so evocative and mysterious. My favorite was Mission Concepcion, actually, but San Jose was extraordinary because it still has its outer wall and all the little rooms where the Indians lived.

 


Writer Interview: Rhonda Hall

Posted by E. Kaiser on January 8, 2013 at 8:25 PM Comments comments (0)

 

 

 Writer Interview: Rhonda Hall, from Omaha, Nebraska!

 

 Thanks so much for joining us, Rhonda! We're so glad to have you here this time, and we hope to get you back for a reader interview sometime later. I know you're a member of the Nebraska Writer's Guild... but tell us a little more about yourself and what you've written.

 

         Rhonda: I have four completed novels, two screenplays & numerous plays. The first novel is a cozy mystery. It is coming out sometime in November as an e-book. It's called Aunt Two Lips Takes a Powder. I wrote it not long after my father passed away. I really used it as an escape for what I was feeling. It's actually been 20 years, since he passed. Often times, when I am angry, or frustrated everything comes out funny. I had an uncle who was a handful! He is my antagonist in the book. I hope I'm not making this sound sad because it isn't. It balances that tightrope walk that we all have when someone, particularly a family member, is hard to deal with. I try to give it a spin. What's interesting to me, is how many people love my antagonists. I think it's because I make them real. They are not bad people, just difficult.

         The second book I wrote is called, The Nose Picking Boy. (Name is subject to change!) It follows a young boy and a childhood friend through adulthood. They get married & she has a baby by another man. Mom then abandons them. My protagonist raises the child as his own. What I hope to show in that book is the power of forgiveness. For balance, I show people who don't forgive & how it eats them alive.    

       I have a Christian novel that I wrote. Marbles in the Ashtray.   That book came to me because I worked with a guy who came to work one day & told me this tragic story about a friend of his son. The boy's mother was dying of cancer and the father couldn't take it. He went out and laid down on the railroad tracks & was killed. Afterwards, I kept asking about the boy. How's the mom, how's the boy. Anyway, the mom never died. I wondered, what happened?  In the book, I try to answer that question.  To me, the answer was clear. To me, God intervened.

        My fourth novel, The Mermaid Queen is about a young pregnant woman whose boyfriend wants her to rob a Pancake house.  She chickens out and hides out in the bathroom. The restaurant patrons kind of adopt her & she lives on an island with some crazy women. Her boyfriend continues on his crime spree.  

       I have two screenplays, one is titled My Sister the Alien. It's about a boy who finds out his sister is an alien, and if that's not bad enough... so are his parents. Another screenplay I wrote is called The Sandstones. Although, I need a new name for that one, cause I don't think the title cuts it.  It's about a spoiled well to do family. The dad loses his job, then they lose their cars, their homes, their cell phones you name it. They have to move in with an Aunt, whose a taxidermist. She lives in a trailer park, where goats wonder freely!

 E: So, let's get started. What's your favorite genre/genres, and what do you think really draws you to that/them the most?

 

R: I don't know that I have a favorite. I like to read all different types of stuff. I do like a good literary novel. I love getting into the psyche of people. I also like to read mysteries & or books with lots of humor. Christopher Moore comes to mind. So does Carl Hiaason, or Jennifer Weiner, though sometimes they get pretty foul & I honestly don't care for that. 

 

 

E: Now, I hear that you wrote a mermaid story. What got you started on that one? (I know you live far, far away from any large bodies of water!)

  R:  My family and I went to a family reunion in Seattle. Our motel was near a strip mall. We had breakfast at this place that served these fabulous Buckwheat Pancakes. (That used to be the title, Buckwheat Pancake Haven.) It was such a neat place I wanted to go back. The restaurant, next door, had a $1.99 breakfast & my family all wanted to go eat there!   I begged them to go back for Buckwheat Pancakes, but NO................. The novel starts in that Pancake place. She ends up living on an island & is terrified of water. While on our trip up there, we took lots of ferry rides & I loved every minute of it. So, I incorporated it into the book. I got the idea for Mermaids, kind of from the book the Mermaid Chair. You had these crazy women  on an island. I twisted it cause I loved the idea of an island of women who all think they are Mermaids. The women are a bit crazy, but not weird crazy as in the Mermaid Chair.

 

E: What's your most favorite writing related advice?

 

R: I don't think I have ever read this bit of advice, but I think you've got to live your life. You have to go for this or that experience, cause that's how you meet people. That's where ideas come to you. I think you've got to go for a walk or ride a bike. That's when things become clearer. I hate to be shut in, & I know a lot of writers who do that. They just lock themselves away & write. I think it's great for them, but I want to experience life as well. Who knows, when it can all be taken away. This is going to sound weird, but when I was a kid, I watched a Marcus Welby episode where this woman had a disease. She couldn't feel the wind on her face or it triggered a seizure. I remember thinking how horrible it was. So, I always feel like I have to feel the wind on my face. Which could be why I'm obsessed with bike riding, or physical fitness.

 

E:  What is your favorite type of character to write? Why do you think that especially appeals to you?

 

R: I like to write about changing characters, or characters who were meak & mild & then found independence. In other words, a good character arch! In my fourth book, my protagonist, Michaela, is a wall flower. She has to come into her own, she has to be independent & yet she knows, at times she has to accept help. I'm sure the reason it appeals to me, is because it is me. I was never like Michaela, 20+, single & unmarried, but I had a difficult childhood. I was bullied, and tormented. Even the teachers could be terrible. It's nice to be away from that, and I like it when my characters can finally stand on their own. 

 

E: Where do you like to get your characters? Do you like to draw off of people you know, other books, or just pull them put of the blue?

R: I do draw from people I know. Like I said earlier, In Aunt Two Lips, the antagonist is my uncle. He was a very challenging person! I write him exactly the way he was, with the exception of murdering his wife & framing his niece... But other times, I kind of make people up. In the Mermaid Queen, my antagonist is a figment of my imagination.

E: Some writers talk about their characters getting out of control and things happening that they didn't intended to happen; have you ever had this happen?

 

R: No, I'm a control freak. I say what goes & my characters can like it or lump it. I hate it when writers say, "I just let Bob tell me what he wanted to do..."  Oh, pish posh... be a man/woman & stand up to them.  

E: How do you write, is it 'start with page one, scene one' and go through it in order; or just "whatever scene pops into your head"

(and that might mean that you have the entire middle of your book written before you even start on the beginning)?

 

R: I'm a pantser, which is weird cause I'm also a control freak. 0 I usually have an idea where I'm going, but I may not have it all worked out. Sometimes, I get stuck & that's because I don't outline... so that can be a problem. The middle is always a problem. Usually, I have plot points in my head & I write towards those points.

 

E: How do you plan your stories' "bones", or do you?

 

R: Usually, I just have an idea. Sometimes, I have the end. In the book I'm writing now, The Flip Flop Murders, I know the ending & I can't wait to write it! But sometimes working on the parts in between make it hard to continue.

 

E: Have you tried any plotting, outlining, methods; and what works best to your way of thinking?

 

R: I went to Lew Hunter's Screenwriting Colony. He's a big believer in outlining. You really have to outline for screenplays. That helped me finish the 3rd book I wrote, but I'm afraid I am a creature of habit & haven't outlined in a while.

 

E: What is your worst writing trouble?

 

R: It's funny, because my worst writing trouble has always been the same. At times, I can't move forward. How I got over it was, I started attending the Nebraska Writers Workshop. I used Wednesday nights as a deadline, so I always made sure I kept moving. Unfortunately,  my schedule has changed at work & I can't attend... I no longer have the deadline...so consequently I have been moving very slow on the book. Before, I was working like gang busters, but nothing lately.

 

E: What is your worst writing fault? How do you identify and rectify it's effects?

 

R: Keeping a schedule. I usually get up and work out, then come home & get ready for work. While eating my breakfast, I write for a little while. Only, sometimes, I don't write... I fall asleep, or I look at Facebook, or anything else...I try to make it a rule not to get on the internet, while I'm working...but sometimes... I need to research something....and then it's a deep dark black hole. Once you start, you're trapped like a caged animal. Stay away from all time sucking devices! The other fault is falling asleep... that's a little harder... I try to get plenty of rest & take away the plump pillow. I'm real good about turning off the T.V.... just lots of noise in the morning. Unfortunately, before I know it, it's time to go to work...ugh.

 

E: Hey! It's been great having you here! We've so enjoyed learning more about another writer's mental workings! Thanks for participating.

 

R: Thank you for the invitation!


Comments:


Hannah Scheele said...Hi, Rhonda-it's nice meeting you. :D I like your idea about the boy who finds out his sister is an alien. Sounds very promising and like it could be hilarious. :D

I also like you using real people you met in your work. I think really good writers are always inspired by real people, even if they don't necessarily copy a specific character from a specific person. A book should have real life in it. :D

January 11, 2013 at 10:13 AM

Kelsey Bryant said...Great to hear from you, Rhonda! What a fun interview. I like your favorite writing-related advice, about living your life. I've often found that to be the best inspiration and teacher, too, so it's good to hear that from a more seasoned writer! As writers, we should never be afraid of new experiences! (That's what often reconciles me to a less-than-comfortable situation.)

 

January 11, 2013 at 1:09 PM

Elizabeth K. said... Thanks for stopping by, girls! Rhonda is a great person (and a busy one!) who I very much enjoyed meeting at a Nebraska writer's conference. It's so much fun to make new connections with other writers!

Thanks for being our guest here, Rhonda!

 



Run Away Research... Is This A Problem?

Posted by E. Kaiser on December 18, 2012 at 8:20 PM Comments comments (0)

  Research is so important!


 I've found that getting something right really isn't as hard as we would at first believe; with the internet all the info you need is out there, you just have to go get it.

 And laziness is no trait for an author to have!

 

 But sometimes Research wants to run away on me.

 

 I previously posted a bunch of links related to all the things you need to know when sailing the Seven Seas.

 I put them here to share them with others, and also to keep them where I can find them when I need them next!

 I keep many tales on the same stove, and when a scene Ruthlessly ATTACKS me, I can run right over to that tale and get it hammered down. It's the only way I know to make it let go of my brain!

 Seriously, it's a problem.

 (But not something I can't handle! )

 

 

So I let myself revel in all the seafaring things I needed to complete that particular scene,... then I ruthlessly shut the muchly inspiring websites down, (neatly saving the urls for the future.) I have to maintain control over what I feed my imagination.

 And yes, I really enjoyed my stint in the sea air. I'm looking forward to returning to that scene and getting more shippy-ness done!

 I had to drag myself away from my research to keep it from running off with my imagination... Getting too wrapped up in research for a "back burner" story can kill me for any other story. And that's no good!

 

 Right now, I have to maintain a "mountain-y" atmosphere in order to complete my current "Focus Project".

 

 How do you handle research? Do you have a problem with it galloping off in unproductive (or counter productive) directions?

 

 We need to hear!


Comments:


Kelsey Bryant said...I completely understand about research galloping off ... I've recently made it a goal of mine to learn how to keep the reins tighter by being more organized and focused. The problem is, there are so many interesting things to learn, and I think, "I may not remember to look this up in the future! And I want to know it NOW! It may be useful later on ...." That's a good tip about saving the URLs. (I remember the ones for seafaring you posted.)

December 20, 2012 at 12:38 PM

Hannah Scheele said...Yeah, when I get fired up about some new topic or time period it's really hard to discipline my imagination. My imagination is a fickle lady and flirts with many admirers, you might say. :D Just hearing a new piece of music or seeing some costumes or finding an interesting historical fact makes me lose my focus completely.

One thing that helps me is keeping things in an imaginary world-- that way I can integrate interesting foreign customs and suchlike in any combination I want. :D

December 22, 2012 at 12:57 PM

Elizabeth K. said...Kelsey; I know! It's soo hard!

Let me know if you come up with any amazing tricks that work, will you? ;-)

 

Hannah: Good thinking! I do the EXACT same thing. ;-) It's so much fun! :-)

 




Writer Interview: Sarah Scheele!

Posted by E. Kaiser on December 11, 2012 at 8:15 PM Comments comments (0)

 

 

For this week's Writer Interview, we have with us Sarah Scheele, from Texas!


 Thanks so much for answering the call, Sarah! We're so glad to have you here this time, and we hope to get you back for a reader interview sometime later.

 

Sarah S: You’re welcome, Elizabeth! It’s my pleasure to be here.

 

 

E: So, let's get started.  Tell us a little about yourself andwhat you've written.

S: Well, I grew uphomeschooled, surrounded by great books, so I fell in love with literatureearly. When I was tiny, I would listen as my mom read poetry aloud, and I started writing as soon as I could use a pen. Three years ago, I published a collection of sci-fi/fantasy novellas, Facets of Fantasy.  One of those stories,“Millhaven Castle,” has grown into a full novel—with the potential for sequels—and I’m hoping to expand on the others as well.

E. What's your favorite genre/genres, and what do youthink really draws you to that/them the most?

 

S: My favorites are sci-fi/fantasy and comedy, no doubt about it. Withspeculative fiction, I can set up imaginary societies that explore how peopleinteract in our real one. Putting the story in an invented culture like our own enables people to look at our world objectively from the outside. And comedy adds an additional layer of insight about the absurd or faulty within situations.

E: What's your most favorite writing related advice?

 

S: Strive to write what mirrors life. The difference between a great book and just another novel is that it becomes more than a story. It starts to mean something to people. It leaves theprinted page and touches something that readers are dealing with in their reallives. You make that happen by putting in extra effort to observe the world around you.

E:  What is your favorite type of character towrite? Why do you think that especially appeals to you?

 

S: Funny characters! It’s harder to be funny, for one thing—a real challengefor the writing mind. Comedy provides a moral purpose as well. If selfishness,arrogance, and poor reasoning are shown as ridiculous, people will be lesslikely to do these things. And I simply love making people laugh.

 

E: Where do you like to get your characters? Do you liketo draw off of people you know, other books, or just pull them put of the blue?

 

S: All three, really. Sometimes I stumble across a stock character (forexample, a rich old geezer who thinks he is still attractive) and I think, “Ah,that could be really good in my story!” I also analyze real people quite a bit.But once I’ve assembled a few characters and started writing, new people pop in and these are often my best. :D

E: Some writers talk about their characters getting outof control and things happening that they didn't intend to happen; have youever had this happen?

 

S: All the time. A notable example is a character named George Longdogo. He began as a minor comic guest at a ball, but eventually grew into a foreign royal with a role in the plot! You know your characters are getting good when they stop doing what you want. After all, it’s easy to tell a paper doll what to do. It’s much harder to tell your sister or your co-worker. :P

 

E: How do you write, is it 'start with page one, sceneone' and go through it in order; or just "whatever scene pops into yourhead"

(and that might mean that you have the entire middle of your book written before you even start on the beginning)?

 

S: Generally I start writing from the beginning. Then I stop without finishing it because a new, unrelated scene has popped into my head. After a while, I return to my first story and realize it could neatly join with the new ideas I’ve been working on. So I’d say I write stories in chunks of about 1/3 at a time and gradually sew them together.

E: How do you plan your stories' "bones", or do you?

 S: I listen to music.  Images like movie trailers flash through my mind. I’ll watch this “trailer” over and over as I listen to the song, even if I don’t quite know how this story will be written.Trailers have to pinpoint the pivotal moments, so they help me form abstracti mages of what’s central to the work.

E: Have you tried any plotting, outlining, methods; and what works best to your way of thinking?

 

S: When drafting, I often write by talking rather than by forming an outline. I present a scene to my sisters and as they interact the scene grows and grows. Once I’m very far along in the story, I organize it a bit and calculate how long it will be and how much more I need to write. That’s the only time when outlining comes in.

E: What is your worst writing trouble?

 

S: Perfectionism. From my early teens on, I wanted to be the best. I read the classics and compared myself to them, constantly trying to improve. I didn’t want to be a complacent, mediocre author. But I was aiming way too high. Even the greats started small and their early work wasn’t that good. I’m trying to let go and accept that there’s no work without faults. That’s an impossible standard.

E:  Good point! It's so hard to hit the balance point of "good enough". But everybody has to start somewhere!

 What is your worst writing fault? How do you identifyand rectify its effects?

 S: Character growth is hard for me. I’m much more an observer than a reformer,so I’m not really into sending my characters on life-changing experiences. I’ve noticed longer works quickly get stale when characters seem to learn nothing after many pages, so I try to make sure my people aren’t so elemental that they can’t develop.

E: Hey! It's been great having you here! We've so enjoyed learning more about another writer's mental workings! Thanks for participating. 

 S: I’ve enjoyed it so much. Thanks for having me. :)

 

 And folks, Sarah can be kept up with and contacted at these links:

  Her blog, Stardust and Gravel

  ...on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/pages/Sarah-Scheele/149702974804" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Sarah Scheele

   ...and on https://twitter.com/sarahscheele" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Twitter!

 


Comments:


Kelsey Bryant said...This was fascinating! Your view on comedy and comedic characters sounds like Jane Austen's perspective. I like what you said about characters -- "it's easy to tell a paper doll what to do. It's much harder to tell your sister or your co-worker." A very good barometer for measuring characters!

You certainly have a unique way of working. I wish I could see inside your mind as the movie trailer plays. : ) Interesting way of outlining, too. I can see how your sisters would be very helpful. That'd be great if those of us who use notebooks would get that kind of interaction from the notebooks!

December 12, 2012 at 7:46 PM

Hannah Scheele said...Hi Sarah! ( WAVES) :D :D :D

December 13, 2012 at 7:36 AM

Sarah Scheele said...I wish people could see the trailers too, Kelsey! They are more vivid than the covers I've been able to make for my books thus far. If I ever have the resources to do a book trailer, then people could have a little idea of what I see in my mind. :)

 

lol, notebooks sadly aren't very helpful for comic feedback in particular. They tend not to know the difference between what's funny and what's not.

 

Hi Hannah! Thanks for reading. :D

December 14, 2012 at 3:48 PM

Joseph said...Hello!

 

"You know your characters are getting good when they stop doing what you want."

 

I like this comment. You have a gift of character creation, which starts at the level of observation and takes off during the writing process.

 

Ever get caught staring at someone because your were observing them so intently?

December 15, 2012 at 8:28 AM

Sarah Scheele said...Thanks for commenting, Joseph! Characters are always at the front of my mind when I create a story, and I do pay a lot of attention to people around me. I don't think I've ever been caught staring at someone. (Hopefully not, anyway!) I tend to listen very closely to the way people are speaking to each other--I only stare at them if they're on TV. :P

 

 

December 17, 2012 at 3:50 PM

Elizabeth K. said... Great comments, guys! Thanks for stopping by!

And yes, I like when Sarah said about putting humor in. That is such an effective way to show a truth, (perhaps and unpleasant one!) and at the same time heighten the reader's enjoyment of the story.

Great interview, Sarah!

December 19, 2012 at 12:47 PM

Sarah Scheele said...It was so fun Elizabeth! I hope your followers enjoy the reader interview too. :D

 

Ah, glad that rang true! I feel humor is underused as a tool, considering its effectiveness. But then, it's hard to get it just right. It's very easy to be rude--funny, not so much. ;)

 


 

Q&A: Is jewelery making something you have an interest in?

Posted by E. Kaiser on December 4, 2012 at 8:05 PM Comments comments (0)

 From a recent question and answer time about Jeweler's Apprentice, I was asked...

Broach from ancient Greece

 

Q: Is jewelery making something you have an interest in?

 

 A:  Yes, it is! I have done quite a lot of wire-wrapped jewelry. (Where you use strands of precious metal to create jewelry. Designs can range from simple to amazingly demanding, and I enjoyed pushing the limits of my skill and creativity!)

I didn't have access to the high heat equipment needed for casting, but it's something I always swooned over; so I've studied it quite a bit.

 

I've been privileged enough to see the works of some artists whose expertise was literally overwhelming. One man did a lot of wildlife in his designs, as lifelike as photos, and all in precious metal bas relief ranging in size from a scene a few inches across, (three tiny, perfect ducks flew across a green-stone pond in my favorite pendant of his,) to smaller than your little fingertip. (A man's ring showcasing an ivory elk tooth; with half of the bezel (the part that holds the stone in) being a bugling elk's head with the antlers sweeping back out onto the shank. (the part that goes around your finger.) The whole head was letter perfect, and less than the size of the tooth. ) The artistry took my breath away!

 

  His pieces were out of my price range, and justifiably so... but I'll always carry the image of them with me where ever I go!

 

 And, who knows? Maybe if I end up rich some day, I'll find him and buy something for me!

 

 In the meantime, I'll keep working on my own skills, and enjoy writing about the things I haven't quite gotten yet!

 

 What's your favorite piece of jewelry? (Real or otherwise!)


A Quarter horse logo pendant I did several years ago. Sterling silver.


Comments:


Mary Ruth Pursselley said...My favorite piece of jewelry by far is my compass rose pendant. I bough it a couple of years ago, put it on a nice chain, and have worn it literally almost every single day since then. It needs a new chain, since the finish wore off (leaving me with a very attractive black smudged line around the back of my neck that would NOT wash off), but I absolutely love it!

December 4, 2012 at 11:16 AM

Elizabeth K. said... Compass rose pendant? Wow. i just had to look that up. :-)

Boy, those are neat! I'd never seen them before. Now I want one! :-( Oh, dear.

;-)

I can see why you wear it all the time.

Yes, definitely time to get a new chain. :-)

thanks for chiming in! I loved this new jewelry idea!

(Did you know that we once made a Compass Star for the middle of a friendship quilt? I fell in love with the compass design right then, I think.)

December 4, 2012 at 4:39 PM

Kelsey Bryant said...I had to look the compass rose pendant up too - it is soo pretty!

Hmm ... I don't know if I can pick a favorite piece of mine ... well, I do love this necklace whose pendant is a fan that opens and closes; it's painted with a bird!

I'd love to get my hands on a reproduction of Arwen's Evenstar necklace in LOTR. That's my favorite fictional piece (though I don't remember it from the book).

Your jewelry sounds lovely! I loved that aspect of your book, as well.

December 7, 2012 at 7:06 AM

Elizabeth K. said... Aww, thanks Kelsey!

And your pendant sounds very cute! My sister and i love those old painted fans that open and close like that. It's make a cute pendant!

 

As for your necklace, Mary Ruth, it just occurred to me that you might want to replace that chain sooner rather than later, because some of the base metal that is making the black mark on your neck is quite possibly lead. (Yes, like the lead-poisoning lead. Ick!!)

The jewelry industry is still hiding many sources of dangerous lead in the baser products, and thinly plated stuff is suspect. American made is safer, but so many things are made overseas where these safety issues are completely ignored, and it can be highly dangerous. There was an article in a jewelry magazine I used to subscribe to about a little girl who became brain damaged from playing and sucking on a little pendant her parents bought her. It had high percentage of lead, and she'll never again be the bright child she used to be.

 

I don't mean to lecture here, but this isn't something that is even thought of these days; we're used to makers using safe materials. But that is no longer the case, and consumers need to become aware of it.

I once picked up a cute jewelry st for my sister, but afterward couldn't find out the metal content. So I took it back, 'cause it's not worth risking that!

 

I'd hate to see anyone suffer the ill effects of lead overexposure.

December 7, 2012 at 11:02 AM

Hannah Scheele said...Probably my most remarkable piece of jewelry is a large, elaborate fish pedant. It is so fancy I'm not comfortable wearing it on just ordinary occasions! It's a family heirloom.

My favorite fictional piece of jewelry would be that butterfly that was in the lady's hair in Jeweller's Apprentice-- gorgeous! :D

I also love creative earrings. And the classic heart shape always works for me. :D

 


Reader Interview: Kelsey Bryant!

Posted by E. Kaiser on November 27, 2012 at 8:00 PM Comments comments (0)

Reader interview: Kelsey Bryant, from Texas!

 

 

 

E. Kaiser: Thanks so much for joining us here on E. Kaiser Writes-A-Blog! As a reader, I know there are a lot of personal opinions involved in what you enjoy, and what you hate, and I do love a good opinion. (Especially if it's personal. ;-) )

So, tell us yours!

 

Kelsey: Thank you so much for putting out the call for interviews! I've never been interviewed before ... it makes me feel ... *special*. ;-)

Oh, good, permission to be opinionated! Sometimes I try to soften my opinions, but it is terribly unfair to expect people to suppress their opinions about the books they read. It's such a personal experience!

 

E: What's your range of favorite genres? Can you introduce us to the why's of that?

 

K: My favorite would have to be the classics, followed by non-modernized historical fiction. (You know, where the author writes in a respectful, authentic historical style.) A close third is fantasy that has a real, historical feel. I love history. There's something about leaving behind your day-to-day existence and "traveling" to learn more about the world and what's been important for centuries. It elevates you and teaches you far more about living life than you can learn just by limiting yourself to the present. I enjoy books where I learn information and facts. And, I really like a great escape. : )

Two quotes come to mind: "The heroes of Thermopylae have been an inspiration to humanity for centuries. What squabble around a ballot-box will ever be that?" - L. M. Montgomery, Emily of New Moon

(This one I heard from you!) “Fantasy is escapist, and that is its glory. If a soldier is imprisoned by the enemy, don't we consider it his duty to escape?. . .If we value the freedom of mind and soul, if we're partisans of liberty, then it's our plain duty to escape, and to take as many people with us as we can!” - J. R. R. Tolkien

 

E: Always glad to help pass along great lines! Glad you liked it too.

Among all the basic threads that just about all stories borrow from, what're your favorite story lines?

 

K: I looked up a list of basic plots to help me pick out my favorites. I would have to say my favorites are a quest; a riddle or mystery; an underdog who triumphs; a young person who matures in an admirable way; someone who rises in life; and someone who sacrifices him- or herself for a person or a cause. Combine those in various ways, and I would really like that book! Oh, and I enjoy a sweet and honorable romance. Most of all, though, I enjoy the "plot thread" where a person who doesn't seem special - particularly to himself - grows into an incredible individual within the book. He still isn't aware of how he's grown, but everyone else around him is! I love having someone like that to root for!

 

E: How about your worst pet peeves? Let us have 'em!

 

K: Ooh, a chance to be really opinionated! If we're talking about storylines, I'd say stories that have a pessimistic worldview - the ones that keep spiraling downward and end worse than they began. Sometimes I want to shake the author and say, "Wake up! Life doesn't have to be like that. Those who are God's children don't have to dwell on unhappy endings!" I also dislike it when a romance is thrown into a story that doesn't need it. I think our culture dwells on romances too much - especially the forbidden ones.

 If we're talking about smaller chunks within any given book, please can I bring these culprits to the bar: mean children, cruelty to animals, and the death of a child, young adult, or animal. Okay, those are things that authors sometimes have to include, because, let's face it, they're real life. I can make myself stand them if they contribute to the story.

 

E: Okay, how about that Thing-You-Can't-Stand-Above-Anything-Else.

 

K: Ohhh ... the Thing that makes me skip part of the book or close it altogether?! Too much information within a love scene or a pseudo-love scene. Ick. I don't need that.

 

E: Glancing quickly backward over your reading history, what stands out as the moment that melted your heart, all warm and puddle-y?

 

K: When, in the first book of the Boxcar Children series, the children set up house in their boxcar! I didn't always love practical things like playing house with my dolls, (I was 50% adventurous tomboy and 50% domestic doll-player) but I really enjoyed reading about people doing it for real. That vicarious enjoyment, like I was doing it myself, was definitely an early-on heart-warming moment!

 

E: Same thing, what's the first-to-mind scene that fired your emotions?

 

K: Um, the scene that made me cry so much that I think my eyes were puffy the next morning? Masouda's death in The Brethren by Henry Rider Haggard. I loved that heroic, fiery girl so much, and she was in love with the wise, gentle Godwin D'Arcy, and she sacrificed herself for him, and he didn't realize he loved her, too, until he held her lifeless body in his arms ....

 

E: ...Made you so mad you couldn't see straight?

 

K: Grrr ... it was at the end of The Hunchback of Notre Dame and Archdeacon Claude Frollo had just succeeded in betraying Esmeralda to the gallows. After all she had been through, after almost escaping, after starting to finally hope again ... Frollo's fate, on the other hand, was satisfying.

 

E: What is your favorite trait in a character, and why do you love them?

 

K: I love talking favorite characters! Wait a moment while I bring to mind all my favorite characters and think of why I loved them ... hmm, above all, I probably love intelligence, humility, and un-self-consciousness. Elinor Dashwood (Sense and Sensibility), Anne Elliot (Persuasion), and Molly Gibson (Wives and Daughters) really stand out to me. There are lots of other loveable traits, but I think those three traits are necessary for me to latch on to a favorite.

 

E: What makes you most hate the villain?

 

K: I find it easier to hate a villain whom I don’t understand, when his motives aren't logical - he just hates, loves to be cruel, and/or doesn't understand the protagonist. (Enter Claude Frollo.)

 

E: What was your favorite "switch" that caught you completely off guard, but you loved the result!

 

K: Oh, fun question, but that's a hard one ... I love mysteries, so there are a lot of marvelous switches in those kinds of books, but I don't want to go into any of those in case I give something away - you know, there might just be somebody out there who was just about to read that one mystery I might mention and poof! there goes the suspense. Oh, I know! This can't be dangerous because surely everyone's familiar with this one. The Scarlet Pimpernel - (SPOILER ALERT - if you haven't read this book, don't read the rest of my answer!)

when Sir Percy Blakeney, the Scarlet Pimpernel, whom the bad guys were looking all over for, turned out to be the "Jew" who had supposedly been leading them to the Scarlet Pimpernel. After the bad guys were gone, he revealed himself to Marguerite his wife with, "Zounds! but I'm as weak as a rat!" That surprise still has me tingle sometimes!

 

E: What small things do you especially like to see included?

 

K: Mmm ... that sets my mind off in all sorts of cozy, comfort-food directions - I like it when there are big families in a story, and all the children's unique personalities are described; when special houses are described; when children play imaginative games; when smells and taste and food are described; and when the protagonist has times of quiet reflection. There may be others ... but those are obviously important ones because they came to mind first!

 

E: Thanks for joining us, Kelsey! 

 

K: Thanks for having me! This was so much fun. It makes me want to grab something else off my shelf - say, The Three Musketeers? Middlemarch? Cranford?


Comments:


Sarah H. said...What a fun interview! I enjoyed getting to meet you Kelsey! I am from Texas as well.

November 28, 2012 at 7:22 AM

Hannah Scheele said...Wow, it was so interesting seeing what your answers were! :D Those are some awesome quotes.

I totally agree about the last plot twist at the end of The Scarlet Pimpernel. I was shocked when I read it the first time! lol

And lol about the " pessimistic attitude" books. They are so lame! :D

November 28, 2012 at 4:21 PM

Elinor Ferrars said...Sarah - Yay, a fellow Texan! Glad you enjoyed it. It was so much fun to do (I wonder how many times I mentioned that??) : )

Hannah - I'm glad I wasn't the only one to be shocked about the Scarlet Pimpernel. I read it with a book club and got the impression that I was the only one who hadn't seen it coming!

November 29, 2012 at 7:58 AM

Elinor Ferrars said...Oops - I forgot I was in my "elinor ferrars" account. I'm Kelsey Bryant, too. : )

November 29, 2012 at 7:59 AM

Sarah Scheele said...Great interview! You're very well-read. :D

November 30, 2012 at 5:46 PM

Elizabeth K. said... Yes, Kelsey, great interview!

I'm glad you enjoyed it, because so did I; and I can tell our readers did too! Thanks for stopping by and commenting folks. It makes the world go 'round!

I loved Kelsey's pet peeves. Spot on!

 


The Last-Part-Of-The-Middle-Is- SOOO Hard!

Posted by E. Kaiser on November 20, 2012 at 7:55 PM Comments comments (0)

Red Line= Writing Ideal ~ Green Line= Reality


 Okay. I think we have a bunch of writers out there, so I'm asking this question of you.

 Yes, you.

 

 Don't think I'm talking to the person behind you.

 (Not that there is anyone, since you're on the computer... but, you know, figuratively.)

 

 What do you do when you've got the lion's share of the plot worked out, you've got most of the scenes written down. You even have the ending done.

 And you've got all those pesky links to link up... and you've been working on this project for SO Long, sweating over it to make it perfect.

 

 Your brain revolts and your interest plunges to unchartedly deep places in the black ocean...

 

 And now you just want to chuck the thing and take a long walk off a short pier?

 

 

 All you want to do is yell "HELLLLPPPPP!" at the top of your lungs and have some celestial being sweep in on golden wings, slap the manuscript together and say, "There. Done."

 

 I'm hitting the hard, gravel grade that comes before cresting the summit on mountain roads. Have you ever climbed a mountain road?  (Agony!)

 I have, and believe me, the stretch right before the top is when you're murderously thinking "Who's dumb idea was this? It's not worth it! I can't believe I let anybody talk me into this." And "....why don't I turn around and go home....?"

 

 That is also what happens in novel writing. But it is of course your own idea, and so you can't blame anyone else.

 

 So, here we are.

  We're past the halfway mark, and not yet to the finish, and that is always the hardest part!

 

  The very last gasp!

      (But it takes so loooong!)

 

 

 How do you handle that "last part of the middle is soo hard!" feeling? Do you have ways of combating?

 Tell me!

 

 I need HELLPPP.


Comments:


Kelsey Bryant said...Oh, Elizabeth, I know what you're going through! I feel your frustration. I went through this very thing just a few weeks ago. I don't have surefire methods, but what helped me finish was plunging ahead and writing all that I knew at the moment needed to be included (I might have missed something and that particular part might feel rushed) and sink back with relief. I think going back over the whole book now I've gotten that troublesome part written will help me better see what more is needed to tie everything together. A second draft is a good thing!

That may or may not be helpful to you. I mainly wanted to let you know you're not alone. I'm proud of you for getting to this point of your book! It's practically finished! What are a few pages?

I'd be interested to hear someone else's ideas, too, because I always have the same kind of trouble.

November 20, 2012 at 2:25 PM

Elizabeth K. said... Aww, Kelsey! Thank-you! You're method seems similar to the one my sister keeps advocating... I'm struggling to implement it, but for my "messy writing style" it's hard to keep that imaginative spark alive when I know *exactly* what must happen in this scene. There's so little room for surprise, and that's on of the things that really gets me on a roll... when I'm able to discover small things as I write along.

I am trying to pull out any little "stop" that I can as i finish these Must-Needs scenes, but it's kind of like pulling teeth.

Thanks for being proud of me, though! That's sweet of you! :-)

And, yes! I hope a few folks will share there "last ditch strategies" with us.

E.

November 20, 2012 at 8:32 PM

Sarah Scheele said...I've had oodles of times when I'm suddenly not able to work on the story anymore. It's usually because there is something wrong with the plot. I can't see it yet, but the story knows it and won't let me go on. If I leave it alone for awhile, it usually rights itself. Besides, in the middle of every project, there's a point where it gets overwhelming. It's good to take a rest.

 

In the past, I've tended to scream, despair, rant, hate my book, hate myself, and hate writing. But that was awful, so now I just give up and relax. There's nothing more frustrating than ALMOST having it--just a few chapters--and then it dies on you. But if the story really wants to be written, it won't let itself be abandoned for long.

November 23, 2012 at 5:01 PM

Joseph said...Elizabeth,

 

I empathize completely. The struggle belongs to us all, but like Solomon once wrote, "This too, shall pass."

 

Give yourself a pause and a pat on the head, then once more, into the fray. Besides, if it was easy, anyone could do it. Okay, I've used up all my cliches.

 

 

 

 

November 23, 2012 at 9:30 PM

Elizabeth K. said...Awww... Joseph, I like all your cliches! There's a reason they're still around...

And strangely enough, they've made me feel better. :-) Thanks!

 

Sarah: to tell you the truth, I'm too tired to scream or rant at this point. But, yes, that feeling is an old acquaintance.

Okay, what you guys are saying is, there is no easy fix. :-(

I guess I should have guessed that. ;-)

Thanks for chiming in and making me feel less alone!! I shall soldier on after I let my head clear a bit.

Best wishes to you all on your projects!

November 24, 2012 at 11:27 AM

Hannah Scheele said...I have never yet finished anything. Maybe someday I'll manage it. I totally know that feeling you have... writer's block stinks!

November 24, 2012 at 1:18 PM

Anonymous said...I put the manuscript on the table by my bed, and forget about it, until, the subject or chapter speaks back to me. Usually within a week, I know what I want to write next.

 



Writer Interview: Glenda Fralin

Posted by E. Kaiser on November 13, 2012 at 7:35 PM Comments comments (0)

 Second in our Writer Interview series is Glenda Fralin, from Wymore, Nebraska! 

 

 Thanks so much for joining us, Glenda! We're so glad to have you herethis time, and we hope to get you back for a reader interview sometimelater. I know you're a member of the Nebraska Writer's Guild, but tell us a little more about yourself and what you've written.

 

Glenda: I grew up in Kansas, not far south of where we live now in Wymore.We had the Flint Hills on the West and the Big Blue River on the East within afew acres of each other.  There was ahill in a pasture where we could go to the top on a clear night and see thelights of Marysville, Blue Rapids, and Waterville by turning in a circle. Thatpart of the Blue Valley is probably one of the most beautiful landscapes thereis. I fully intend to write a lot of stories using my Kansas home as a backdrop. We lived within miles of Alcove Springs which is a privately owned parkopen to the public. It's got some springs that come right out of the limestoneinto a pool. The water is as cold as if it's taken from the refrigerator andtaste fresher than anything from a tap.


Alcove Springs, near Marysville, Kansas

 My parents still live on that farm.  They are in their eighties and veryindependent. They are devout Christian and belong to the First Baptist Churchin Blue Rapids. Growing up in that church with all the activities andfellowship, I became a Christian at the age of 9. I'm still Baptist, but I'vevisited other churches and enjoyed the experience. I haven't visited a Catholic church yet, but I may in the future.Those experiences affect my writing immensely. My poetry is often about family and our place in the world, the valley I grewup in and places we've been. Some are humorous and just for fun. I usually like to do readings of those at functions, but will read others as well. My first novella is a Christian fantasy.  It's set in Nebraska. I've lived here since1975 so I've learned a lot about the limestone we have in many of our states in this part of the world. The limestone, often close to the surface is easily quarried and a lot of houses are built from it. The smells of farms such as alfalfa, animals and their odors and such all became a part of The Search by their very absence from the story. I hope that tweaks a little intrigue. The Search is set in a small town and its surrounding lands.  Some is a take-off from Psalms 23. Some of it is very dark and frightening in the canyon where evil creatures dwell and a death shadow hovers. There are also a lot of light and uplifting parts such as the meadow. We have both dark and light in life, and even some areas that can be confusingly gray. So my book is an exploration that Sheridan my protagonist guided me through. In my book Six Strange Short Stories (my daughter wrinkled her nose a bit at the tongue twister title.) contains more psychological thrillers, and at least one I reserved as a tribute to my cornier side. Don't let that make you think it's all sweetness and light. I included that story to lighten the darkness of some of the other stories. One called TheTunnel was inspired by a deep depression I went through back in 1996. A family enters a tunnel thinking it may be fun, and find themselves deeper and deeper into darkness and torment along the way. In their sense it's both psychological and physical. All in all, I consider myself a mishmash of river rat, farm girl, wife, mother, nurse and I don't care how much education I've had, I do reserve the right to say ain't. I write about things that nag at me to be written. I'm no exception, the elements of my life past and present are included for backdrop and character building. I told my family nobody is safe.  

E: Okay, before we get started, I've got a few un-writerly questions for you. I know you grew up onthe plains and in an era a lot of our younger readers haven't experienced. Whatis your most vivid memory from childhood that really illustrates the dramatic changes that have taken place between your childhood days and now?

 G: For one thing we were a large family by today's standards. Most of the people we associated with had large families of their own. I'm one of 6 children in the number 2 spot. I have an older brother who tormented me when I wasn't tormenting him. Many of the families from a generation before had upwards of 10 to 15 children. It's anagricultural community so families were larger to help with the farms. Parentsdidn't only give their children chores, they trained them in etiquette,respecting elders, and it wasn't unusual to do Bible memory for rewards.  We argued and fought, but we never in all the history of my family from the Holmes, to Wheats, to Millers neglect gathering together every couple of years. Then there is my mother's family. She had two siblings and she's the last one which bothers her as she is the oldest. Her mother was one of 9 children and the Stansberry's have large reunions but we never went. My mom does keep in touch with them, and my parents have been to one or two of the reunions. Family was much more nuclear and drew strength from one another back then. Even those who were states away would make the journey home at intervals and we'd all get together for a huge dinner. Christmas is still a large affair for the Millers, which isgrowing constantly. We now meet in a gymnasium because numbers are getting upwards of seventy or eighty. Not all make it ever year, but a great number do.We continue to be close and so our children are still a large part. I think in our family it will continue in some way for many more generations. Family, with that particular sense of closeness, I believe is something being lost in this day and age.

 Oh, lest I forget, one thing that we had a lot of fun with was touch football. Half of us didn't know the rules, but we'd be out in our grandparent's yard running around and having a ball. I think my grandparents may have handed down some old 8mm films of ourantics. In fact, my aunt, if I remember, had them converted to VHS, which is now outdated too. Family is great. I wish the children of today could experience that type of support from generations.

 E: Yes, family is great! I know of a lot of homeschooling families that are fortunate enough to be having these same types of experiences as they grow up right now. They're very lucky! because you're right... the family bond is getting pretty loosened in society as a whole out there! How about this for aquick writing challenge. Using a short paragraph, how would you paint adescription of the setting/your world/the plains as you saw it then?   


Flint Hills of Kansas

G: Hiking through the flint hills or fishing from the river bank, the atmosphere of the farm transformed to magic. The colors of limestone and sometimes red rock, sandstone, evergreen cedars and plants of all colors grow wild.  I'd ride my horse up those hills and jumpsmall chasms. Then when mom wanted gooseberries for pies we were in the wildgooseberry bushes pricking our fingers to get the small berries by the bucketsful. We had a spring fed pond stocked full of bluegill, sun perch and even widemouthed bass and catfish. The picnic grounds as we call one part of the pasture has a beautiful brook fed by a spring that in one spot takes a short waterfall over variegated colors of rock. Magic lives in the plains and it's full of stories to be told.

E: Wow! This makes me want to visit your old home area! I love that kind of place. So, let's get started on the writing things! What's your favorite genre/genres, and what do you think really draws you to that/them the most?

 

G: I love to write pastoral poetry. When it comes to stories, I love adventures, psychological dilemmas, mystery, suspense, intrigue, and all those genres. Genre is a little bit limiting because in one story there can be many elements. Such as when I write a Christian book or story, I don't like to throw it in the readers face. I allude to it through events and ideas. I include many of the genres in the one story. I hope that is a satisfactory answer. I'm not a historical writer per se. I don't write erotica or romance. I'm lousy at writing strictly romantic stories, but I do include romance in most of my stories even if not always a love story between a man and woman. Romance is a broad element in life, just like love. It appears in many forms.

 

E: What's your most favorite writing related advice?

 

G: I love research. We're told to write what we know. The more I research and learn the more things I know about, the more I can include in my writing. Research can be fun, even if it's trivia or word games. I highly recommend finding some premise somewhere on Facebook or some other site by taking a situation someone tells the world about and make a story out of it, especially if you need to research some of it. After all, we've been researching since the day we were born and will to the day we die through experience and learning.

 

E:   Good point! What is your favorite type of character to write? Why do you think that especially appeals to you?

 

G: Flawed. I hate characters that have it all together all the time like James Bond. I want strength and vulnerability in my protagonist. That's where internal conflict can enter. It can even outwardly become apparent through a companion or child. Flawed is what we are and the possibilities are endless.

 

E: Where do you like to get your characters? Do you like to draw off ofpeople you know, other books, or just pull them out of the blue?

 

G: Mostly from myself and people I know, but some are put in my path such as the man who probably built our house in the 1920s. He most certainly built the huge garage in the back that was his gambling and hooch parlor at the time. He did most of the gambling and his brother supplied the booze.  During prohibition it makes for quite the story. That takes a lot of research. I'm influenced by other books. Edgar Alan Poe probably helped with my interest in the flawed character and internal battles that come with it. It's hard for me to pull something out of the blue, but I do find things all over to make into a premise.

 

E: Some writers talk about their characters getting out of control andthings happening that they didn't intended to happen; have you ever had this happen?

 

G: Oh certainly. Sheridan wrote most of The Search after chapter three, and some before that. I'd been introduced to her during a prequel, unpublished, I wrote about her and her husband in Egypt as archeologist and anthropologist.

 

E: Sounds interesting! I'm a sucker for archeology/adventure type tales of intrigue. How do you write, is it 'start with page one, scene one' and gothrough it in order; or just "whatever scene pops into your head"

(and that might mean that you have the entire middle of your book writtenbefore you even start on the beginning)? 

 

G: I refer to my method as a kind of layer cake. I start with a premise, do a focused free write, make a rough draft of a shorter version that is a foundation for the beginning, middle and end, the rough draft (when the characters take over), and so forth. Finally it's polished through proofing,revising, editing and on to publish. The publishing is the icing on top of the cake.

 

E: How do you plan your stories' "bones", or do you?

 

G: Oh, I build from some kind of skeleton. But like any living creature, a skeleton needs connective tissue. I won't give an anatomy lesson as that's not your question. I've tried outlines, but they're like a grocery list. I forget them and leave them behind most of the time. They can serve as bones, but my layer cake method is kind of my process.

 

E: Have you tried any plotting, outlining, methods; and what works bestto your way of thinking?

 

G: All of those methods are good. I do plot, with suspense, psychologicalthrillers, mystery and all that, plotting is a must. I try to get to know mycharacters, but they know me better I think. I've studied and taken a classfrom Sally Walker on the 36 point character outline. I think I'll likely usethat to keep my characters somewhat under control.

 

E: What is your worst writing trouble?

 

G: My worst writing trouble is procrastination. It's easy to procrastinate whenother things enter your life, such as fear of not being received well, makingtoo many mistakes, self-doubt. Those are my most persistent thieves of time.When I get going, such as this interview, I can't seem to stop.

 

E: What is your worst writing fault? How do you identify and rectifyit's effects?

 

G: My punctuation is terrible. I get in more trouble with that. I use Word's built in functions a lot and proof, proof, have my husband and a critique partner or two proof. Then I can get through it so it makes some sense.

 

E: Hey! It's been great having you here! We've so enjoyed learning moreabout another writer's mental workings! Thanks for participating.

 

G: I've enjoyed it. I haven't thought about how important some of my history is for a long time. I know I use it, but when you asked those first questions, my family dynamics struck me as one of the things that supports me as a person and built me through the years. It's not something I think of on a daily basis.Thank you for having me and giving me such thoughtful questions. I hope I can do more of these. I do interview a lot of other writers, but now I know how fun it is to be interviewed. Thanks Elizabeth.

E: I'm so glad to have you! And you're so right... our personal histories, family histories, these are so important to who we are, and yet we tend to forget about them in the hustle and rush of the every day.

 

 

 Wow! What do you think about Glenda's childhood? Sounds pretty idyllic to me. I know I'd love to go back in time and spend a couple of years there! ;-)

 

 

 

 ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Have something to say? 

Shoot me an email, ekaiserwrites-at-hotmailand

we'd love to get an interview with you on here!


Comments:


Joseph said...Hi!

 

Thanks for the informative interview. The bond between author and landscape can be powerful, one reason why I'm drawn to the West and those authors inspired by the rivers and the mountains.

November 14, 2012 at 7:11 PM

Elizabeth K. said... Thanks for commenting, Joseph! I agree, I love the way landscape influences who we are, and also the kind of story it tells. I loved getting to know more about the area of Kansas where Glenda grew up, and it sure looks beautiful! If I get a chance to go through there some time, I will look at it with new eyes.

I love that!

Thanks for joining the conversation!

Elizabeth

November 14, 2012 at 8:28 PM

Kelsey Bryant said...This was a fascinating read. I like the sound of Glenda Fralin's childhood, too. I can see how what she knows inspired some of her writing. Lovely photos!

November 18, 2012 at 4:33 PM

Elizabeth K. said...Thanks, Kelsey! Yes, that looks like a beautiful part of the country.

November 20, 2012 at 9:56 PM

Hannah Scheele said...Wow, I love the description of her childhood and the rural life she lives. I need to check out her stuff. :D

 


Q&A: How do you get your ideas?

Posted by E. Kaiser on November 6, 2012 at 7:35 PM Comments comments (0)

  Okay, this has to be a question most creative types are used to being asked, but it seems like it's a perennially popular one in the bargain. In fact, it's a question I, myself  love to "listen in" on when it's being answered; so it will probably be around for a long time yet!

 

 

 Q:  How do you come up with your stories? Do they just pop into your head, or do you search for them?

 

 A:  For me, stories definitely pop into my head; sometimes they'll be sparked by another thought, sometimes not!

  Sometimes they won't leave me alone... for months. When that happens I usually give in; even if I have another project I'm in the middle of.

 I have lots of stories in various stages at any particular time, so I'm definitely a "messy writer" in that respect. ;-)

 

 What about you?


Comments:


Kelsey Bryant said...I, too, get enough story ideas popping in to see me without me having to go out and look for them! Sometimes the number of them is overwhelming, and other times I feel like, "What story could I possibly write next? None of these are enough for a whole story!" But I think I just have to get started on whichever one and it'll flesh itself out. I like it when I can combine two or more ideas into a fuller story.

I don't like having more than two stories going on at once, but if an idea is particularly exciting to me, I may write out the plot and maybe the first paragraph or so. That usually doesn't tide me over, though, so I'm always excited when it's time to start something new!

November 8, 2012 at 1:54 PM

Anonymous said...History and famous personalities are mostly what inspire me. I am also a very messy writer, though, and sometimes I get story ideas from totally random stuff-- like music, nature, buildings, clothes etc. Whenever I see an interesting cultural custom, like folk dance styles, or traditional costumes, I feel excited and like maybe I should use something like that in my story.

Really hope this comment came through! So far I've had so much trouble getting my thoughts in! :(

November 10, 2012 at 11:51 AM

Elizabeth K. said...Aww, Anonymous! I'm so sorry to hear that you're having trouble getting your comments to register! I'm so glad that this one came through though! :-)

And yes, i love folk costumes and dance styles, lots of fertile ground for story material there! ;-)

 

And Kelsey, I can sypmathize with the "size-versus-requirement" problem. My biggest issue used to be that an idea was too big, (like MUCH Too Big!) for my skills, or confidence level. (Multi-book epics were just a little daunting to stare at! ;-) )

But, I as I have been stretching my abilities and growing as a writer over the years, I am now beginning to think about revisiting some of the best ones and maybe take them on in the future.

Thanks for joining the conversation you two! :-)

 

Elizabeth

November 10, 2012 at 12:13 PM

Hannah said...So glad it came through!!!!!!!!! :D :D :D This is Hannah--- for some reason the only way I can get comments on here is as " Anonymous" Still working on mastering this! I love following your blog, but I can almost never manage to comment. Hopefully I am close to overcoming that difficulty. :D

November 10, 2012 at 12:43 PM

Elizabeth K. said... Oh! Sorry to hear that it's giving you a bad time... Maybe just sign your comments so we know who is talking?

We don't care how it gets done so long as we get to have your input on the subject! ;-)

November 11, 2012 at 8:55 AM

 



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