Showing posts from 2013

Me Being Rotten

The worst spanking I ever got, I was four. We lived in married student housing in Cambridge, Massachusetts while my father attended Harvard. Being an internationally recognized institution, Harvard attracted students from all over the world. Occasionally, my parents would invite someone over for dinner. Of course, we girls were supposed to be on our best behavior. Our guest on this occasion, was a young Chinese man named Dam Wong. Being four, I found great humor in his name. I ran around the house saying, "Dam Wong. Dam Wong," in a singsong voice, giggling happily. "Stop that right now," my father said sharply. "You're being rude." I didn't. "I said to stop that!" I continued. Daddy sent me to my room before dinner. I calmed down a little, but started up again over our meal. I was sent to my room again. Instead of staying there, I sat at the top of the stairs saying, "Dam Wong! Dam Wong". "I—have—had—enough!" My fat…

The Lemon Chicken Tale

When my eldest son was a teenager, he and his friends would make a circuit of their homes and have Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter and New Years dinners at one another's homes. They often came over for dinner, depending upon what was on the menu. One year, I had a bumper crop of lemons on my tree, so I decided to make lemon chicken. I searched the internet for recipes, finally deciding to combine two to make the ultimate meal. I cooked the chicken and made a delicious, creamy lemon sauce to go over it. I served it with mashed potatoes and green beans as well as fresh bread. It was a feast! We sat there eating and I noticed that one of my son's friends had walked to the refrigerator and had come back looking guilty. Trying hard to hide something from me, he sat back down. When he thought I wasn't looking, he opened the bottle of ketchup and was about to squirt it on his plate when I caught him. “Well, the chicken is kind of dry.” “There's lemon sauce on the stove. Right the…

Show vs. Tell

As some of you know, I have a writing group that I started a few months ago. We meet every other Friday and have a wonderful time sharing our work, talking about how to improve it, and just having fun.

Today, one of the members, a girl in her early 20s, said she had a problem not covering every moment of every day. She realized it was boring, but she didn't know how to get around it. We didn't have a lot of time to talk about it, as we'd talked about so much already, but it gave me a great idea for a post. Now, I simply need to organize my thinking so I can discuss it.

After hearing her read something she'd written, I realized she had two problems. First, the one she mentioned – telling every action. The other was that she didn't write dialogue, she told about it. Fortunately, she realized that lack herself, but said it was taking her out of the story to do dialogue. Instead, she wrote about it with the intention of going back later to fix it. For me, that would be a…

Music to Write By

We're all about good books, good music and good fun at Dellani's Tea Time and What's Write for Me. Because we love music so much, and often find ourselves talking about it (even though we're writers) I decided to hijack Dellani's Tea Time for a special show on music to write by. We didn't have a chance to answer all the questions on the show, so I asked the guests and my co-hosts to answer the questions on their blogs. Here's the link. My co-hosts are Christina Giguere & Karen Vaughan. Our guests were Kemberlee Shortland, C. Margery Kempe and Troy Lambert.

What kind of music do you listen to when you write? 
I listen to a lot of classic rock and blues. I love guitarists and will listen to Jimi Hendrix, Joe Satriani, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Joe Bonamassa, Dave Gilmour and Carlos Santana almost non-stop.

Is there any type of music you won't listen to?
I'm not a fan of most rap, though there are a couple of songs I like. I'm also not a fan of twang…

Taming the Helping Verb

Keep your verbs in the simplest form possible and try to avoid helping verbs. Sometimes, it's unavoidable, but as much as possible, keep your writing in simple past and don't add a bunch of other verbs to the lineup.
In case you don't know your Helpers, here's a list: am, are, is, was, were, be, being, been (To Be verbs) have, has, had (To Have verbs) can, could do, does, did (To Do verbs) may, must, might shall, should, will, would
Using helping verbs weakens the narrative and should be used sparingly. Why? This one, I can answer. Keep your writing as active as possible. Sometimes, you can't help it. A Helper is unavoidable in some cases. Avoiding the use of was entirely, as some misinformed authors try to do, is impossible. Was is the past tense of To Be – I am (present) I was (past). Some verbs must have a helper to be clear. Example: I was elected president of the student body. I elected president of the student body. Not only is the second sentence not really gramma…

Authors Are Sadists

(Previously posted on Write Minds Authors)

All authors are sadists. It's a fact, we have to be. It's really not our fault. Stories need action, they need conflict, how better to provide that than to hurl our characters into some difficult situation and watch them claw their way back out? Hardly seems sporting, does it?
I suppose we could blame our readers, right? I mean, if the book hasn't got at least one good argument or a brawl, they feel cheated. If they feel cheated, they won't buy our books. If they don't buy, we don't make money – so, conflict, drama, hardship, pain, anguish, suffering – ensue. Yes, blame it on the readers.
It seems really mean to create these characters only to watch them suffer. We make them fall in love with the wrong person who breaks their hearts. We kill off their loved ones and chase off their dogs. We leave them hanging from cliffs, flip over their cars and have them attacked by psycho killers, rabid dogs or murderous biker gangs.…

Don't Think and Drive

Admit it – you've done it too – let your mind wander when you're driving. One day, I let it wander a little too far.... I was working on a romantic suspense novel and had gotten myself painted into a corner. All the evidence pointed in one direction, but I knew that character wasn't the guilty party. Well, who was? I didn't know. The story, like many of mine, is set here in Florida. In fact, I was driving past one of the major locations when inspiration struck. It struck so hard and so fast, I almost had a car accident! Fortunately, my destination was nearby. I did my shopping, still thinking about my story, and got back in my car to head home. Inspiration struck again and I nearly had another accident. Less than a block away, another near miss! After the fourth almost accident, I realized I'd better concentrate on the road, not my story, but the details were flying fast and furious. Unfortunately, I was nearly 20 minutes from home and couldn't stop to write it do…

We're Goin' to a Party Party!

A few months ago, some fellow authors and I embarked on an ambitious project to help one another promote our work. And so The Fantastic Blog Hop was born!
Now, we're having a party! A two day event on Facebook and we want all our friends to attend.
We're playing games, having contests, drawings and giveaways. Fun, Freebies, Fantastic! Join us on Friday, November 22 and Saturday, November 23 on Facebook!
Party goers include:
Dellani Oakes
Rachel Rueben
Karen Vaughan
Ruth Davis Hays
Kristen Duvall
Kevin Saito
Juli Morgan

Joan P. Lane
Stephanie Hussy
Dominica Malcolm
Chris Dunbar
Troy Lambert
Karina Gioertz

Stephanie Osborn
We're going to have some fun, so join us!

I Don't Follow the Industry

I admit. I don't follow the industry. I have no idea what's hot or what's not. I don't care about vampires, werewolves or bondage. I couldn't tell you any title that's on the New York Times Best Seller List – except my books aren't there yet. Maybe I should. Maybe I should spend my precious time reading all about writing and marketing and what's hot. Maybe I should write to what the industry says sells. But I can't. It's not in me to write to what sells. I have to write the stories that come to me. If I get a story that is about vampires, fine! If I get one that's sick and twisted bondage, okay. Honestly, I don't see my mind going that way.
I write romance, romantic suspense, historical romance and futuristic romance. Are we noticing a repetition of the “R” word here? I like love and lovers. I like love scenes and first meetings. I like the excitement I feel when the new lovers share their first kiss.
Yes, my stories sometimes get explicit, …

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

I love the holidays, starting with Thanksgiving, moving on through Hanukkah and Christmas. For the last couple of years, I've loaned out my blog space to allow my author friends a chance to share their buy links with readers. With Hanukkah so early this year, I'm starting this now. Below, you'll find a short blurb about my books with buy links. Leave your links in the comments section below.

I invite my author/ illustrator friends to post a short blurb and buy link as well. Musicians, if you have albums for sale, please feel free to link that as well. I don't want merchandise other than books, art or music, please. This is NOT a spot for craft items. Thank you.

Art, Books and Music make great gifts for everyone. They are the things that keep giving and feeding the soul.

~ Dellani

Indian Summer - Daughter of Florida's Spanish Governor, Gabriella Deza stands on the verge of womanhood. On her fifteenth birthday, Manuel Enriques, her father's confidential aid, declares…

Let's Talk Trivia with Dellani Oakes

As some of you may know, some author friends and I started something a few months ago, known as the Fantastic Blog Hop. The first was five days of posts and fun. The second became nine days. This time, we decided to do something different -- a two day Facebook event.

We're going to be playing games, chatting with readers and giving away prizes. One of our games will be author trivia. The answers to our questions will come from our blogs. So take a moment and read my short answers and you'll be ready for my trivia.

The event starts next weekend. Join us!

How long have you been writing?
I've been making up stories since I could talk. I began as a child telling stories about my imaginary friend, Snowy Green, and our adventures are Rainbow School. I was four – so, way longer than I like to think about.
Which of your main characters is your favorite? Do you have more than one?
I do have more than one favorite character. Over a…

An Author's Memory Bank

Authors look at life from a unique angle. What seems like a regular day to anyone else, presents opportunities to an author. Each event stays in our memory banks, waiting to be used for a short story, novel or poem. We withdraw from the bank as needed, adding to the balance of our stories. I find myself going through my day, listening and watching, always thinking if something will eventually make it into a book. I don't consciously remember them, nor do I plan to add things, they just sort of show up. It amazes my husband that every time I go out, I come back with a story. Whether it be a conversation that took place in the store, a near-miss accident on the road, or crazy people in the parking lot at the mall, I always have something. Do these things happen to other people? Seriously. Does everyone have a crazy, drunk lady walk up to them in the mall parking lot and ask if her hair looks all right? She's obviously wearing a cheap wig, okay? It looks horrible. Do I say that? Oh,…