Wednesday, March 21, 2018

CRAFT Show vs Tell

Sorry about the above blank space. No idea how it got there, and not idea how to get rid of it. 

Hi, nice to see you all here. This is a wonderful article on the craft of writing---the Show vs.Tell by Author Jan Sikes  

Show vs. Tell #RRBC #RWISA

It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything related to the craft of writing and this is a subject that we all can use a refresher on. So, if it’s redundant, I apologize. I still see this over and over again, especially with Indie writers. So, for what it’s worth, here we go.
Don't Tell me

If you wonder how can I show something, ask yourself; how do I notice she is quick, he is happy, it is big?

  • Don’t tell me the story…show me, using your words.
  • Place the reader INTO the story. This is especially important in first person POV—but also equally important in third.
  • Use the senses to bring the reader along for the ride. Sight, Sound, Touch, Taste, Smell.
  • Be specific and creative.
For example…One might describe a love interest this way. This is Telling:
  • I watched Jack walk into the room. He was hot; maybe the best looking boy I’d ever seen.
Rewriting the scene by using specificity and the senses, here’s showing:
  • Jack didn’t walk into the cafeteria. He swaggered like the Mayor of Westfield High School, as he shook hands and slapped shoulders. If there had been a baby somewhere, he would have kissed it. Normally, that sort of attitude makes my stomach turn, but not today. I couldn’t take my eyes off him. He even nodded at the lunch ladies. When he got to my table, our eyes met for the briefest of moments, and I felt like the only girl in the world.
You can add character detail, voice, and setting at the same time. This is showing.
  1. USE DETAILS (NO – It was a spooky house. YES – The house had dark windows, a doorway covered in cobwebs and an overgrown path leading up to it.)
  2. SIGNS YOU ARE TELLING – Adjectives – big, old, high  etc. and any form of the words “to be.” (She was happy. He was impatient. )
  3. USE NOUNS AND VERBS – Nouns and Verbs FORCE you to describe. (NO – He was a grumpy man. (Adjective) YES – He rarely talked and when he saw kids playing, he let out a grunt.)
  4. USE SENSES – (NO – It was a lush garden. YES – The garden bloomed with wild red and orange flowers that filled the air with a thick sweet fragrance.)
  5. DIALOGUE LINES ARE ALWAYS SHOWING – It’s the character talking, not the author.
  6. BE CAREFUL WITH DIALOGUE TAGS; THEY OFTEN TELL – It’s better to express the way the character is talking with body language. (NO – …she said jokingly. YES – …she laughed and slapped his arm.)
You don’t need to show absolutely everything, especially if it’s not important to move the plot forward. You risk the danger of being too lengthy or detailed. For example, NO three-page descriptions of the woods.
“Telling” is often used to move the action along quickly or relate necessary backstory.
However, you run the risk of “info dump” if you tell all the backstory this way.
When you “show,” you put the reader in the driver’s seat and let them “feel” the scene, emotion or action.
Use a combination of the two, to amp up your storytelling!
  1. Imagine a movie scene in your head. Write all the detail that you see. No “floating” heads of dialogue—be sure to describe where people are standing, what their hands are doing, noises in the room, where they are. Activate ALL the senses.
  2. Use Action Verbs to “show” what’s happening.
  3. Avoid using “was,” “is,” “are,” – All “To Be” words. This is Passive Voice.
  4. Consider investing in “The Emotion Thesaurus” by Angela Ackerman, AND “Emotional Beats – How to Convert Your Writing into Palpable Feelings,” by Nicholas Rossis to get a sense of how physical movement conveys emotion.
You can write your first draft by telling if that’s what you need to do to get the story down, but ramp up all the feels in your story by showing through your subsequent drafts.
Happy Writing! Happy SHOWING!
show vs tell_Mark_Twain

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Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Hi all, 

Had to come to my blog and mess around. 

I'm busy editing MATT'S MURDER and looking for a BETA reader. It's done, but still needs tweating for he lst 15 chapters of so. 

I've been busy promoting RRBC authors on Twitter. I've been so busy doing that, I've forgotten to promote my own books. Sigh. I'm really going to have to do something about that. 

I'm working on THE ART OF THE SHORT STORY. I'll be presenting this topic later in the year (come to the RRBC Book and Expo Convention) and, I'd like to get into writing short stories of a while. 

What else? Reviewing books for RRBC authors. You ought to try some, they're VERY creative.

Oh yeah, and for all of you who spring clean, I've been throwing out mounds of papers, reorganizing and getting around to cull out books I no longer want. (that'll be the day.)

So: Today, I promoted. Tonight I promote myself. Tonight a read a book and write a review. 
If, I don't fall asleep first. 

Monday, February 26, 2018


"It's Support Day! Congrats 2 Member ! Chk out her book, JUNE THE PRUNE AND LADY BIRD. "

A young girl's account of her life and her encounter with a brain tumor. Her fight with her mother and her disease. Highly recommended, but needs some editing. See full review on

Tuesday, January 30, 2018


Good Morning.

Not too much of a blog here, but thought I'd update you.

I'm in the editing stages of MATTS MURDER, a murder mystery set in horse country.
I'm taking a chapter a day, working with Grammarly (have to be careful, sometimes it
doesn't always understand what I'm trying to achieve.) 

So far I have two BETA readers (people who read the book and give you their opinion. What they liked what they didn't like, characters, etc. Whatever they want to share. If anyone wants to participate, please let me know.

I'm reading THE FALL OF LILITH by Vashti Q. Very interesting take on the fall of the angels.

Ever become so overwhelmed with a mountain of books that your head is literally spinning??
Mine is.

Vashti has another book launching tomorrow. Go visit her on Twitter or Facebook.

Until tomorrow.


Monday, January 22, 2018

OUTSHINE: An Ovarian Cancer Memoir
Karen Ingalls

            Karen Ingalls writes a touching, yet suspenseful memoir as a cancer victim,  then as a  survivor.
She takes us through her diagnosis and the fear she felt, the chemotherapy treatments and how they weren’t as bad as she thought, but she lost her hair, anyway. She talks about her friends who helped her pick out cute hats, wigs and turbans to hide her baldness, then decided to go bald, instead. At first, she was embarrassed, then came to adjust to it. 
Karen also takes us through her spiritual growth where she leaves everything in God’s hands. Well, God, spiritual guides and her doctors.
It was amazing how the trilogy of recovery (God, spiritual guides and doctors) all came together to wipe out Karen’s cancer. Except, I forgot one thing. Karen’s attitude herself. Built with regard for her own health and well-being, she refused to let Ovarian Cancer beat her. Instead, she fought and conquered it.
This memoir can and should be read by everyone, not only by cancer victims and cancer survivors but everyone.  It’s not clinical, but deeply human.
I gave this five stars, partly for the information and how well she wrote her story, and partly because I couldn’t put it down

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Good evening,

I'd like to recommend a few books that have hooked me. I seem to be moving back and forth when reading them. 

First off,   “WHOBEDA’S GUIDE TO BASIC ASTROLOGY” by Author, Marcha Fox  (@StarTrailsIV)

This tells you all you want to know about your sign and how your sign interacts with your place in the zodiac. I'm finding it fascinating. 

Second "THE FALL OF LILITH" by Vashti Q a book that explores an alternative start to the care and feeding of the angels and why Lilith and Lucifer fell. (Haven't gotten to that part yet) 

MILLE SAFARI by Jan Hawke is a tense mystery and suspense about one day in the life of a tour in Africa that is constantly plagued by revolutionaries and terrorists. 

In addition, I like to point out a new mystery that I'm editing. I hope you'll take this adventure as Julie and Tom try to uncover a murderer. Won't be ready for a while, though.

Not for a while though.  

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Three Books I'm Reading--take a look

Has anyone figured out how to market their blog? Have you gotten any comments on your blog? Are blogs worth it? No, I don't know the answer. I'm asking YOU!

I imagine blog marketing might be the same as book marketing, but a tad different.
Like books, for blogs, you need a topic that will whet the appetite of your reader base. Probably the same readers who like to read your genre. Maybe.

How do you get your readers to leave comments? Once again, I don't know. I request. I get air for an answer.

Maybe you (we) should check out the top blogs on the Internet. Is that a good idea? Yes? No? Well, maybe. But, remember each blogger has their own intentions and goals. Yours might not be the same as the top ten.

What about some of the marketing genius websites out there: Book Bub, Indie Writers Support, Goodreads, Linked In, Book Daily, Publicity Tips. Others? Maybe or maybe not. Many of these offer a "free" subscription for their (non-useful generally) basic plan. For anything really useful, like sending hundreds and thousands of potential readers to you---that gets a bit expensive. If you went with each one, you'd go bankrupt. Still, some of their freebies might be useful. But, if you're asking me, remember, I'm asking YOU.

Anyway, did I mention Rave Reviews Book Club? It's a club where authors promote other authors.
Try them. You might find the answer to your (my) blogging questions. You might like them. You might even sell some books, and I think that is your (our) primary goal.



Friday, January 12, 2018

          We've reached part 3. How to defeat the enemy: Writer's Block.
          If you can't write you're either stuck in your work in progress, or out of new story ideas. If you empty your mind and watch a few good news shows, you probably can fill that hole up pretty quickly. But real writer's block comes from several places, and most are deeper rooted. 
          Trying for perfection: Ugh. If you're a perfectionist and want your characters to have a perfect life, a perfect crime, a perfect solution, a perfect relationship you're doomed. There are few faultless books, and those probably exist in the mind of readers rather than their authors.  I can think of hundreds of reasons each and every chapter of my books don't work. Sometimes I'm even right. Perfectionism is a pest and a blight on the creative mind. Write that "shitty" first draft and correct what doesn't work later.  Some writers have worked on drafts multiple times--ten, twelve, I've heard thirty-five and, I think that was Stephen King.  Or, so I heard. Outlining and working on character sketches help too.
            I think fear is another. Fear of learning the awful truth--that you're really a lousy writer/author.  Your story idea is lame, overdone, boring, uninteresting to the multitude of would-be fans.  Question: Is it interesting to you? My guess is, if it's not, you're not likely to get through the first chapter.
            The internal grammar police strike, "I can't construct a readable sentence."  You use too many ly adverbs (there, I said it) You have misplaced point of views, or some other character got their thoughts in the way, your grammar sucks, your editor, mother, father, best friend, husband and would-be agent or publisher will hate it. In other words, fear of disapproval and failure.       
            Or worse, fear of success. "Oh my God, what happens if I am published? I know nothing about the writing business.  I'm a marketing failure.” Then there’s "what's marketing?" Selling my book? Speak in front of groups? Network my book? Gasp! I don't have the money for a “publicist!”  How do I know all this? Just ask me. I don't have money for a publicist either.
            Another biggie, I don't have the time. My job gets in the way (mine did).  My kids and/or husband, mother, father, siblings won't leave me in peace. Or "I'd write if I could, but I can't, so I won't." So, we procrastinate another day. Of course, we must make up our mind to just do it now, or structure time to write.
           How do we overcome writer's block?  Let's get to the root of the blockage. I think my two most obstinate blockers are fear and the perfectionist syndrome.  That's strange because I'm more of a generalist by nature.  Here are a few ideas I’ve heard or read about (or thought about).
            Write. That's right, write. Anything. Maybe keep an alarm clock handy and time five minutes of writing garbage. Even one word over and over, what you did that day, what your dog did that day, what your kids want to do that day. Or write a blog. Why do you think I'm writing this blog? Sigh. I'm trying to get over my own writer’s block.
           If possible, set a scheduled time to write. I think it's a good idea, but often life gets in the way. Perhaps if I did--maybe...
            Read a good book. Many authors fear another writer's voice will wrap around the creative part of their brain. Probably not so much. Not if you read many authors. Your own writing style is still in the cobwebs of your mind.  
            I have a few craft books that inspire me. Bird by Bird by Ann Lamott and Ernest Hemmingway's On Writing are excellent motivators. I need to re-read both of them.  Get our your favorites. Mine are: Synopsis by McCutcheon, GMC, Goal, Motivation, and Conflict by Dixon, Finding Your Voice by Edgerton, Writing the Breakout Novel by Maas (yes, the agent) The Writer's Journey by Vogler, On Writing by Stephen King and How I Write by Janet Evanovich. The list goes on and on. Who knows? Maybe after reading several of these, you'll get so tired of reading, you'll have to write. 
            What about reviewing another author's book, perhaps in another genre? That entails writing, not to mention, getting your name known in the Amazon and writing community. 
            Watch a DVD in your genre. I watch Agatha Christie, Midsomer Murders, Ellery Queen, Nero Wolf, horse videos, HRTV and old Dracula movies and find ideas from them all the time. I got my initial idea for Legacy of Danger from Dracula and Transylvania, but the story changed so much, the only bloodsuckers you'll find are drug dealer-terrorists.  (and no, I'm not giving away the plot. They're introduced pretty close to the beginning.)
            Jeff Goins, in his blog about writer’s block, wrote a play as a distraction and a way to clear the mind. I disregarded that idea until I realized I play computer solitaire and Yahtzee games all the time. They help relax and stimulate my mind. Really, they do.
            Other ideas might be to brainstorm ideas with a critique group or friends. You don't have to use their ideas, but it helps to build momentum. (And, I don’t mean plagiarism. DON’T DO THAT!) The only downside is you have to listen to their story ideas too. If you keep an open mind, some of them may be pretty interesting.
            Do other activities. But watch how long you do that. My other activities took me four years of writing downtime. Here's one. Clean your house. My house never looks better than when I'm writing. Type a sentence, do the dishes. Type an outline, make the bed. Do a character study, clean out the pantry. You get the idea.
            But, mainly write. (see a recurring theme here?)  Write freestyle about anything that comes to mind. If nothing else, write about your writer’s block, a short story, an outline, your grocery list, your goals for the day. Like talking it out, writing can be cathartic. Don't worry about what you write. Turn off that internal editor that worries you about every word you write.
           Worry will come after you've submitted (your edited, polished final copy) and waited for a reply. Then, take away the anxiety and write the next book. (at least that’s what several self-respecting ‘how to’ books suggest.) Oh dear, where’s the whiskey? (Well, they say some very famous writers were/are alcoholics.) Or, maybe you just need a break to smell the roses. 

Worried about how to begin? Read a good book. Good luck.

Patricia A. Guthrie 

Friday, January 5, 2018

A tidbit of useful information about The League of the Silver Cross found in LEGACY OF DANGER. Hope you enjoy this, and if so moved, will you please leave a comment on this post, and if you want to, if this book is a genre you like, please leave a short review on

Thank you.


So, what is the symbol of the silver cross in Legacy of Danger?

This story dates back from the 14th century when Vlad Tepes ruled Walachia and most of Transylvania. (remember Bram Stoker's Dracula?) At least, he alternated that rule with the Turks. The Turks had the cross and during the wars in the 1300's the Boyard Princes stole it back. The silver cross was encrusted with rubies, diamonds, emeralds and sapphires-jewels of the most precious kind. The rubies came from Burma, where the most highly prized gems came from. The Boyards called themselves "The League of the Silver Cross."  In the beginning, Prince Vlad was popular among the people, but he became so cruel and later insane they had to do something. It is rumored he was killed by his own men in one of the Romanian-Turk wars in the 1400's. The silver cross remained in the Dkany Castle until an earthquake in the 1500's destroyed it-- a rumor. 

You'll find out about that and more while reading LEGACY OF DANGER.  

Is this true? Much of it is. The League of the Silver Cross is Elena and her family's history. That is fiction based on truth. Vlad Tepes' history is pretty much true. 

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Good morning. I'm sharing this article by Marla Madison from "Book Daily." Very interesting. "It's all about entertainment." Sometimes I overlook that fact, trying to get the "perfect" plot or "perfect characters" or perfect relevant theme. I hope you enjoy this article. That is what Cottage of Blog is all about. Promoting others (see the book trailers from RRBC writers), book reviews, promoting myself (see my books) and articles about writing. There will be other stuff, too. Keep tuned. 

What Authors Can Learn From American Idol, Dancing With The Stars, And The Voice

Does the best singer win American Idol or the Voice? Is the most accomplished dancer the winner of the Mirror Ball Trophy on Dancing With the stars?
Anyone who is a regular viewer of talent reality shows knows this uncontestable fact: the most talented doesn’t always win. In fact, the most well executed dance or song, seldom wins.
What does win?
The winner is the performer who is most popular, the one who captures the hearts of the viewers with both performance and personality.
How does this relate to our writing?
It’s all about entertainment!!!
A few ways to keep your work entertaining:
1. Know your genre. Read, read, read. To entertain requires originality. If you’re afraid your plot is hackneyed, be sure to have a new twist on it. If you don’t keep in touch with others’ work, you’ll have no idea what readers are tiring of.
2. Make your characters original. We’ve all met the perfect protagonist, the one with the super face, toned and buffed body, and excellent skills. Readers want characters that they can identify with—make then real.
3. Make the first chapter exciting. I’ve deleted dozens of books I’ve downloadedbecause the beginning failed to be interesting. Make your first chapters pull the reader into your book and want to read the entire thing.
4. Series books - Take time to learn how to make each book worthy of standing alone. Check for either too much or not enough back story.
5. Be accessible to your readers. Have a presence on popular networking sites, broadcast your blog, and have a mailing list. Answer every personal message you get.
6. Read reviews of books in your genre. Reviews will put you on the fast track to discovering what entertains your readers.
🐦CLICK TO TWEET🐦Today's #AuthorTip from @BookDailycom: What #Authors Can Learn From #AmericanIdol, #DWTS, And #TheVoice by @MarlaAMadison #amwriting #authorchat
Marla Madison is a retired Federal Mediator, now working as an Arbitrator for the state of Iowa and the Federal Mediation Service. She's Not There is her debut suspense novel, and Relative Malice, her second. Marla is working on a third suspense story, that while not a sequel to She's Not There, does have some of the same characters.
Marla lives on Prairie Lake in Northwestern Wisconsin with her significant other, Terry, a beloved shelter-dog, Skygge, and Poncho, an opinionated feline from the same shelter.
Also an avid reader of suspense, some of her favorite authors are Tana French, Lisa Gardner, Jeffrey Deaver, Jonathan Kellerman, James Patterson, Tess Gerritson, and Tami Hoag.
When not reading or writing, Marla enjoys playing duplicate bridge, golfing, and going on long walks with her dog.
You can catch her on her website and TwitAdd element

Thursday, December 28, 2017

...And the Whippoorwill Sang

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                           A REVIEW:     THE RECTOR: A Christian Murder Mystery, The Solo series
Michael Hicks Thompson  

Reading THE RECTOR was an adventure, no a suspenseful and delightful adventure, despite the multiple bodies flowing throughout the book.
THE RECTOR is a Christian murder mystery with many religious or spiritual themes threading throughout the plot. Biblical names attach themselves to the characters. Martha (heroine) runs a boarding house, a newspaper and solves murders when she has the time. There’s also a Mary, who has many experiences like Mary (but which Mary? Both?) David (rector and victim number one) Christian (rector number three) and Father Thomas Cain aka Sartain, rector number two. Each one carries traits that can relate to a biblical figure.
The main character, Martha, is an observer with a probing mind. She wants to know, “How could that have happened?” throughout most of the book and its three murders. (or is it four?) Her insatiable curiosity gets her and half the town in trouble, trying to find out “who dun it?”
The first murder happens to the new pastor. It’s a heart attack, so proclaims the coroner and doctor, but, as Martha wonders, “was it?” So begins several years of investigations and grilling suspects, poisonings, one hanging, and some other ingenious ways of disposing of someone’s life. Each time Martha finds a valid suspect for the local sheriff, and he’s either convicted (or not) another pops up in his place.
A terrific mystery, spiritual and biblical overtones, a good account of the 1950’s town and people, who are flawed, but fun.
Good work, Michael Hicks Thompson. I’m looking forward to your second novel about Solo, which can be purchased on Amazon. 

Review by: Patricia A. Guthrie 
Good morning on this 28th day of December.
I've been collecting trailers from the Rave Reviews HOLIDAY TRAIN 'BOOK TRAILER' AND BLOCK PARTY.  If you don't see yours, you might check in "archives."  The pages only hold twenty posts.
I will save these, but eventually, you'll have to go to archives.
These trailers are inspirational and show great imagination and creativity. I've never done a book trailer before, but I might start exploring the techniques.
Now, I have to figure out how to get readers to sign up or subscribe.

Good luck to all.