I posted this newest teaching video a couple weeks ago, but it had a problem, and I had to take it offline for repair. That problem is now fixed, and hopefully, the video will be up to stay this time.
I posted this newest teaching video a couple weeks ago, but it had a problem, and I had to take it offline for repair. That problem is now fixed, and hopefully, the video will be up to stay this time.
My newest teaching video is available on line for viewing now.
Thanks to Eclectic Ali for hosting the weekend coffee shares.
I’m so glad I have some time to share coffee with you guys this week — because I am really excited to share with you about my newest venture. I have recently created a brand new poetic form. At least, I think I have. With all the searching I’ve done, I’m fairly certain no other poets have this form out there. I’m excited, not only because I loved the challenge of creating a unique form, but also because there is only one poetic form that is generally recognized as being ‘American’ by the poetry world. So this new form that I’ve created — being American myself — will be the second.
And to make it even more truly American, I borrowed from my own Cherokee culture to give the form a name. I’ve called it Tso’i. That word is pronounced “cho-ee,” and it is the Cherokee word for the number ‘three,’ and I chose it because the syllable count for the 5 lines of the poem are in multiples of three. I’ve posted about the form — along with examples of poems that follow it — in more than one post on my author’s site and my poetry site. So I don’t want to be too repetitious here. But I know there are a few people who read the “Coffee Share” posts who don’t read my others.
That being the case, I want to tell you the details of my new form so that any of you out there who enjoy writing poetry can try it if you’d like. So here’s the scoop:
A Tso’i poem must meet the following guidelines:
It must have 5 lines
Lines 1, 3, and 5 must have end rhyme.
Line 1 has 3 syllables.
Line 2 has 6 syllables.
Line 3 has 12 syllables.
Line 4 has 6 syllables.
Line 5 has 3 syllables.
Lines 1 and 5 follow a dactyl meter.
Lines 2, 3, and 4 follow an iambic meter.
Subject matter and theme are open to the poet’s imagination and preference.
Here’s one example from my own work:
Oh, what a wondrous thing
To comprehend such pure love; I’m completely awed,
Learning I am priceless
To my God.
If any of you poets out there would like to try this form yourself, please do and leave a copy of it — or a link to it — in the “Comments” section below. And have a great weekend!
Just wanted to let readers know that the inspirational novel The Professor’s Education is now selling on Amazon in paperback and digital. Many of you read the novel free right here on this site a few months ago. And many of you expressed your enjoyment of it as well. Thank you again.
Now, here’s my pitch. If you did read it for free here and enjoyed it, how about purchasing a copy for a friend or loved one who enjoys inspirational romance?
And, by the way, did you know that a lot of men enjoy inspirational romance novels? It isn’t just us gals. I’ve had a number of gentlemen tell me how much they appreciate reading a good Christian love story. Sooooo, girls, why not buy one for your boyfriend or hubby?
And thanks in advance.
It’s just a little love story. But, then again, it’s a whole lot more than a love story. It’s about finding out who you really are and learning to like that person – and discovering that liking who you are opens the door for the best relationships with other people. It’s about family – and friends who are just like family. It’s about letting God’s way of loving take control of your heart.
Meet Mariah Jacoby. She’s happiest working under the hood of a car, but she’s convinced that grimy hands and greasy smudges on her face aren’t exactly what guys are looking for in a girlfriend. Unfortunately, though, she’s having trouble holding down a job in any other field, despite college degrees and an upbeat personality. Desperate to change her unemployed status, she finally admits it’s time to face the fact that she’s really a “grease monkey” at heart, but dare she hope there’s a guy in her future who’s dreaming of a girl who smells like engine oil?
SLATE — On Sale This Week Only
See the book trailer below. And find the books at this link:
It’s February, the month of love. Wouldn’t you like to read some satisfying love stories that give you a whole lot more than just hugs and kisses? I’d like to introduce you to four men who want very much to love and be loved, but who are facing some serious challenges to love that only God and His Word can overcome.
Private Detective Maddison Holt, who is so bound by grief, guilt ,and self-incrimination that he feels he has no right to have real love in his life. Pastor Cameron McDaniels, who has finally found the woman who is the answer to his prayers for a helpmate but discovers that, since losing a fiance, she is now afraid of loving anyone else at all. Lionel Butler has caused many a girl’s heart to flutter, but he never even notices because he’s convinced he’s destined to be a bad husband and father. His future looks bleak and empty. And violinist, conductor Jonah McDaniels, now in his 40’s, finally recognizes the one woman who can fill his heart and life, but is fearful that the age difference between them makes his situation hopeless.
When these four leading men in the “Smoky Mountain Series” novels put their faith and the Word of God to the test, they find the God of miracles is a master in the subject of true romance. There are plenty of hugs and kisses, to be sure, but sooooo much more in the “Smoky Mountain Series.”
Paperback or Digital at Amazon.
Find this series and more inspirational reading at this link:
You’ll need to go HERE to read Chapter 1 first.
Campus Crimes Series: Book 1 – Featuring Darcy Knight, Coed Detective
The professor was in the chair behind his desk, but he wasn’t sitting there the way he normally did. He looked more like he had fallen down into the chair, and it was rolled far enough back that his head, which had dropped backwards, was actually touching the whiteboard behind him.
But that wasn’t what made my stomach revolt. It was the massive amount of blood pouring from his chest and soaking his blue tie and light blue shirt. I don’t know for sure how long I stood there with my mouth open, not able to move a muscle or even make a sound. I hope is wasn’t more than a couple seconds. I couldn’t bear to think that perhaps my lack of quicker action might have made a difference in his outcome.
But, finally, I came back to life and screamed – something. I think it was, “Noooooo!” But then I turned and stuck my head back out the door and yelled, “Help! Someone Help! A man’s been shot! … Help!”
At least it was words to that effect. I didn’t hear any response, so I ran a few feet out into the hallway and tried again. In a few seconds, I heard pounding footsteps coming down the hallway on the main floor, and then a voice. “I’m coming! I’m coming!”
Then feet pounded up the steps, and suddenly the janitor loomed in the hallway, struggling to run as fast as his overweight body would carry him. I pointed to Professor Sommer’s office and said, “The Professor – he’s – he’s –” I just kept pointing frantically toward the office, and the janitor finally got even with me and looked into the doorway.
“Good God!” he cried and hurried over to the desk. “Call 911! Quick!” he instructed me, and whipping out my phone, I started punching numbers. My hands were shaking so badly I punched the ‘9’ three times and had to start a second time. By that time the janitor had checked for any signs of breathing or a pulse.
“I think he’s dead,” he was just saying when the 911 operator answered. I relayed everything to her the best I could, but it was all a jumbled mess. I guess she was used to those kind of messes, because she seemed to stay pretty calm and collected. But then she wasn’t staring at a dead body with blood pouring out if it.
I’ve already told you about my conversation with her, but, finally, after what seemed like an hour — but I’m sure it wasn’t more than ten minutes — I heard what sounded like a hoard of people coming through the front door of the building, and a voice shouted, “Police. Stay where you are.”
Yep, that sounded like the cops all right, but who were they yelling at? They’d either captured some other unsuspecting student who just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, or the killer had sneaked back in to get rid of me too. Well, either way, I was really glad they’d arrived.
I stepped out into the hallway just as the first two officers were making the top of the stairs. “In here, officers,” I said, trying to sound in control, but with my voice still vibrating from shock.
I recognized both of the men. Sergeant Harris has been on the force at least a couple decades. When we see him off-duty, he’s always friendly and interactive with the people in town. But on duty, he is all police sergeant, and no letting down on the protocol. The younger man with him, Lucas Duran, is newer to the force. And he is a hunk. I know that doesn’t say much about his police procedure, but the simple truth is that several of the girls on campus have admitted that it makes their hearts pick up speed and sends signals to all the appropriate places in their bodies when Lucas comes on the scene.
His dad is Hispanic, and that heritage is evident in his dark skin and his luscious black, curly hair. He has to keep it short for police work, but it’s gorgeous all the same. He’s tall and has shoulders that could move a boulder with one good shove. Now, you’re probably assuming that I have a ‘thing’ for Lucas myself, but you’d be wrong. I do freely admit that he’s an eyeful and a prime catch in our county, but it’s my friend Nadia who is really stuck on him. And evidently, he likes her pretty well too, because he asked her to go with him to the charity dance our police force sponsors every year to raise money for a local orphanage. When she talks to me about him she calls him Lucas, of course, and I guess that’s why I think of him that way instead of as ‘Officer Duran.’
Well, I’m off topic again, so back to the murder scene: Both officers entered the room, and Sergeant Harris went immediately to the Professor’s body to check that out. Officer Duran started for the window to see what evidence he might find there, and by that time, the paramedics were coming through the door of the room as well. It didn’t take long to decide that the Professor was beyond help, but nothing could be done about taking him out of the room until the coroner, Mason Wells, had done his job and pronounced his findings.
One of the paramedics asked about the coroner, and Sergeant Harris answered: “He’s on his way, but he was at a restaurant in Hanover County, so he’ll still be a little while. Just stand by while we question the two witnesses, and as soon as Mason gets here, we’ll get back to your procedure.” With that statement, he turned his attention to me and the janitor.
To be continued …
Deanna Forbes sat straight in the uncomfortable wooden chair. She kept her shoulders back and her right leg crossed over her left knee, making sure to hold her foot perfectly still. That effort, along with the pleasant expression on her face, cost her considerable energy, but she was a strong-willed woman and had had a lot of practice at maintaining proper demeanor.
Her ash blond hair, blunt cut to just below her jawline, was shiny smooth and added to her cool, collected composure. Only her gray eyes darted from place to place, taking in all the details of her surroundings and keeping up with her rapidly shifting thoughts.
“Now, Ms Forbes,” Detective Simon Stone addressed her from the opposite side of the table where they sat in the interrogation room. Her eyes focused totally on him as he continued. “I have here your earlier statement that you were with friends at a private party the evening Peter Crandell was shot, but so far, our office hasn’t been able to make contact with any of these – uh – friends.” As he said the last word, his left eyebrow lifted in a question, and his blue eyes pinned her.
The implication that real friendship was somewhat lacking here wasn’t lost on Deanna, but she couldn’t seem to keep herself from focusing on those eyes – well – on his whole appearance, which was commandingly attractive: dark complexion, black, wavy hair, and strong brows – all accented by the most brilliantly blue eyes she’d ever seen on a man. This meeting was the second time she’d sat with Simon Stone for questioning, and both times his extravagant good looks and his virile, no-nonsense manner, coupled with a surprisingly melodious voice, had interfered with her efforts to concentrate. That wasn’t good — not good at all. She needed all her wits about her for this one.
“Well, Detective Stone, as I explained in my original statement, it was a bon voyage party, and two of the couples were sailing that night. The other two couples live in Montrose, some 100 miles from here, so God only knows where they may be by this week. Besides – as I also said previously – you won’t find anyone who honestly thinks I had a motive for killing Peter Crandell. Why on earth would I want poor Peter dead?”
“I don’t know that you did want him dead, Ms Forbes. But right now we can’t rule out anyone who knew him, and an alibi for your whereabouts at the time of death is crucial.” There was a knock at the door of the interrogation room, and Stone got up to answer it. After the briefest whispered conversation, he turned to Deanna. “Excuse me a moment, Ms Forbes. I’ll be right back with you.” He then stepped out into the hall to continue the conversation.
After a good five minutes, he returned with a smile on his face. “Well, good news: “ he said, closing the door and returning to his seat at the table, “our men have finally made contact with one of the couples from the bon voyage party. They have corroborated your alibi completely, so it looks as though you’re free to go. I’m sorry we had to detain you so long.”
Deanna smiled widely. “That is good news, Detective. And I’m glad to know you think so too. I’d hate to have you believe I was guilty of such a terrible act as shooting someone.”
“Just because we question a person doesn’t necessarily mean we believe they committed the crime, Ms Forbes. But in cases like this, there are usually a number of people who are possible suspects until we can find good reason to eliminate them from the list.”
“I understand, Detective Stone. But I want to make sure I have the facts right: You are saying that your department no longer consider me a suspect in the shooting of Peter Crandell. Is that correct?”
Stone smiled. “You are correct, Ms Forbes,” he said and rose from his chair.
Deanna rose as well, and on a sudden impulse, she said, “Well … now that we’ve got all that matter cleared up, I wonder if you might consider having dinner with me tomorrow evening, Detective Stone. I feel I’d like to get to know you better.”
Stone’s first response was one of surprise, but it registered only momentarily. His easy smile replaced it, a smile that reached his eyes, and Deanna suddenly realized that it was that smile that came from deep inside of him that made him particularly attractive.
“I should be free tomorrow evening ─ barring some unexpected homicide, that is,” he said with a grin. “Do you have a particular place in mind?”
“I like dining at The Captain’s Table in the restored lighthouse a little south of the city. Do you know it?”
“Yes, I’m familiar with it. I enjoy it myself. Shall I pick you up?”
“It’s probably better if I meet you there. Say 7:00?”
“Fine. I’ll look forward to it, Ms Forbes.”
Deanna smiled widely again. “Why don’t you just call me Dee? All my friends do, and I think we could become friends now that this nasty murder business is behind us.”
“Well, then, Dee,” he said moving to the door and holding it open for her, “I’ll see you at The Captain’s Table at 7:00 tomorrow evening.”
“Good bye Detective Stone.” She smiled again and gave him a questioning look. “Perhaps you’ll give me permission to call you Simon when we meet for dinner.”
“Perhaps I shall,” he answered with a teasing grin. Deanna turned and walked out of the office and exited the police station without looking back. Keeping her back straight and her head up was second nature to her; smiling at everyone she passed didn’t come quite so naturally. However, she was determined not to let that smile slip until she was well out of sight of any law enforcement officers.
Simon Stone returned to his own desk and filled out his report on the interrogation – but he didn’t sign off on it. Instead, he entered Deanna Forbes’ name into a data base he used only when the normal sites failed to give him satisfactory information. He waited, holding his breath.
In the meantime, Deanna Forbes sat behind the wheel of her Lexus. Driving back to her home, she questioned her own sanity. Why on earth had she invited Simon Stone to dinner? Well, she knew the answer on the surface, of course: he was stunning, sexy, and captivating. He was also dangerous, but she had lived with danger most of her life.
Having been raised by a drunken father who came home to beat up on his wife and two kids on a regular basis ─ and then living with a grandmother who ran a gambling casino, with all the attending crime element casinos attracted ─ she was no stranger to dealing with danger and its threats to her own peace and security. In fact, sometimes she wondered if she had become too comfortable with danger. Maybe that’s why she’d never stuck with any relationships in the past that didn’t carry with them any kind of threat.
She shrugged her shoulders now. Oh well, her die was cast. She was having dinner with a man who, up until an hour ago, had considered her a possible murderer. Come to think of it, he hadn’t told her which couple had corroborated her alibi for that night. Of course, all six of the other guests had been so drunk that they couldn’t have been sure about who was there and who wasn’t.
One thing about most of her friends: they were so irresponsible in their own lives that they didn’t think twice about checking up on anyone else to make sure they weren’t doing something they shouldn’t be doing. It would never occur to them that one of their guests might have slipped away from the group long enough to put old Peter away and slipped right back into the crowd as if nothing had transpired except a trip to the bathroom.
The mystery continues in book #1 of the Simon Stone Detective Series.
Read all of INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY. Available in paperback and digital at Amazon.
photo courtesy of pixel 12013 @ pixabay
I recently discovered some great coffee pictures, and now I can’t seem to stop myself from coming up with fitting slogans for all of them. So I decided I’d just turn them into my own ‘Coffee Calendar.’ 🙂 Then I figured that while I’m accumulating my pics and creating my quotes, I might as well share them with my readers here. I need at least 12 for a full year’s calendar, but I may have more than 12 to work with. So when I’m to the end of my collection, maybe all of you readers can help me choose the 12 to use for the printed calendar.
Well, I can’t get done until I’ve begun, so today’s the day. Enjoy!
Photo courtesy of Stocksnap at pixabay.com
For other lessons, click on “Creative Writing Class” in the navigation bar and scroll through to find the lessons you need.
LESSON 9: INTRODUCTIONS – FIRST LINES, FIRST PARAGRAPHS, FIRST PAGES
Without a doubt, the first and primary job of your introduction to your story is to GRAB the reader’s attention and interest – and HOLD them securely. People sometimes consider attention and interest to be the same things. They are not. You must get the reader’s attention first. He has to pay enough attention to what your words are saying to read through more than the first few sentences. From that point on, you must have him interested enough to keep turning pages.
Once you have written a story, always go back to the first chapter and ask yourself, “Is there anything in this first chapter that is holding up the presentation of the really important characters or their action?” If so, delete it and get right into the “story” part of the story. If there is necessary information in the material you deleted, work it into the story later – perhaps through dialogue or even a character’s meditation.
Try your best to avoid prologues. In general, readers do not like prologues because they feel the material in that section of the book is keeping them from actually getting into the story itself. Occasionally, a prologue may be necessary, but the all-important operative words here are “occasionally” and “necessary.” In almost every novel, any material presented in the prologue can be worked into the first chapter of the book through dialogue and/or character meditation as the chapter flows along.
There are almost unlimited possibilities for great introductions – as many possibilities as there are writers. But most of them will fall into 4 main categories.
Intros beginning with ACTION.
This type of intro is almost always sure to get attention, and assuming the reader has picked up the book because he already has some degree of interest in the subject it covers, this plan is successful most of the time. However, be aware that if you begin action that is part of the main plot of the story, you may have to work your reader back to a place of beginning somewhere along the way, and you don’t want too much use of flashbacks, since they don’t move the story forward. Plan carefully so that most of the time you can avoid the need for flashbacks or the need to stop and give backstory information.
Intros beginning with DIALOGUE.
This type of intro is almost always a winner, as long as you can make clear who is speaking – and as long as the conversation is an important element in the story as a whole.
Intros beginning with SETTING.
These introductions are the hardest to use successfully because many readers are anxious to get to characters and action. However, settings that provide really strong appeal to the senses or emotions can work very well. Settings that immediately start building suspense or romance are often successful as well.
Intros beginning with a CHARACTER SKETCH.
Beginning with a strong character and presenting him/her in terms that immediately capture the senses and/or emotions will usually work well – mainly in character-driven stories, of course.
And remember: always double-check your first chapter after the story is complete. That’s the time when you’ll know for sure whether you have the very best beginning possible.
More than once, I’ve changed my first chapter — particularly the first three paragraphs — in order to get the reader right into the important issues of the story, rather than just stuffing him with information.
I remember well the day I realized that the third chapter of my novel Quenton’s Honor should actually be Chapter 1 instead. I was sitting, thinking about offering Chapter 1 for a free reading on a couple different Internet sites. I caught myself thinking that I wished I could offer Chapter 3 instead because that’s where the real action of the story starts. Suddenly, I had this “light bulb” moment and realized “DUH! If that’s where the action starts, then that should be Chapter 1 instead of Chapter 3.”
And so — I made it Chapter 1. However, it was not nearly as easy to do it as it was to decide. I was working with a change in location throughout the story — from St. Louis, USA, to Karachi, Pakistan. As I went back and forth with the plot, I had to keep reminding myself and making allowances for the time change — particularly since a good deal of the conversation in some chapters took place on computers between two people who were located literally a half a world away from each other.
Beginning the book with Chapter 3 — and allowing for all the time differences — put me in the position of actually losing 12 days of activity in the story that were important to the plot — but not attention-grabbing enough to start the story with. So I had to find a way to let the reader know about everything that happened in those 12 days. I finally decided to use a very short flashback. As I mentioned above, it’s important not to use flashbacks often or for any long sections of the story. They don’t move the story forward, and that’s what readers want to do — keep going forward to the climax and conclusion. But once in a while a short flashback can come in handy, and if it means a much more compelling beginning chapter, then it’s worth the risk of using it later in the story.
This lesson will be the final lesson in this series. I will try to post a few more later in the year. Also, when I get the online creative writing course set up — so that students can read the lessons and do an assignment which they turn in via e-mail — I’ll be letting my readers know about the details. It’s been fun sharing with you the same kinds of things I share with my students in the college classes. I hope they’ve been beneficial. Whatever you do, keep writing and keep having fun doing it!
* Releasing the Creative Writer in You, © 2013 by Sandra Pavloff Conner
Good morning, all you coffee lovers. Here we are at another “Coffee Thursday.” I do love these posts — mainly because I love coffee. Today I decided to focus on some interesting material I came across for iced coffee lovers. I’m inserting links to two other sites with information you’ll enjoy.
First is a site that focuses on coffee ice cubes. I have to be honest and say I never thought of that. I do drink iced coffee occasionally, but even when I drink it hot, sometimes when I first pour it from the pot it’s too hot to drink immediately, and I’ll grab a small ice cube to throw in and cool it off just a dab. But, of course, it does weaken it. If I made coffee ice cubes, that would be perfect. Also, I agree with what the author of this article says about the last couple inches of iced coffee left in a glass. It’s sooooo watery. Now, with coffee ice cubes — problem solved.
HERE’S THE LINK TO ‘COFFEE ICE CUBES.’
Now the other interesting treat I came across this week is coffee popsicles. Wow! Do they look good!!! Here’s the article that gives a great recipe. There are other recipes out there, of course — some made with cream and some not. (These are made with a little cream, by the way.) I think I’m definitely going to try these soon. Hope you enjoy reading about these 21st-century coffee adventures.
LINK TO ‘ICED COFFEE POPSICLES’
If you try either of these suggestions, let me know. And, as always feel free to share your own coffee post on your blog and hop over here with your link.
Enjoy your coffee today. Bottoms up!
The scent of you —
When first I wake to greet the day —
The warm, intoxicating pleasure of your fragrance touch:
It triggers tiny conflagrations deep inside of me
That spark a thousand more responses and then rush
To touch my mind. And then my senses come alive —
Each one: to taste, to hear, to touch, to see, to smell.
It is your smell that lingers, captivating all of me —
Throughout the day, constantly reminding me —
The sweet scent of the only one I’ll ever love so well.
♥ ♥ ♥