2018 is just around the corner! 2017 has flown by!
Wishing You a Wonderful 2018!
Today I’ve put two of my Storyteller Academy courses on sale until January 5!
Click on the images below to claim your discount, and have a wonderful 2018!
I’ve been working on my own storytelling during the last 2 months. I’m in the process of writing a new novel (my 35th) filled with the things I love: family, the ocean, island living, and the complexities and hidden mysteries of life, love, storytelling and human relationships.
Oh, and I mustn’t forget my wonderful Siberian Husky Winter, who earned herself a role in this story. My working title for this (35th novel) is Petroglyph Island.
My plans for the next 3 months are:
January: Complete the 1st draft of Petroglyph Island (I’m 2/3 finished now).
February: Create 1 or 2 new online courses for storytellers.
March: Revise Petroglyph Island (and revise, and revise, and revise again.).
For me, 2017 has been a year filled with changes, new goals, growth and learning for me. Productive, challenging, and fulfilling.
For the New Year, I’d like to offer you …
Brilliant Beginnings: SALE
~ 70% OFF until Jan 5, 2018
Discover the Craft of Brilliant Beginnings in Storytelling
Learn the powerful techniques great storytellers use to craft brilliant beginnings.
Discover the power of body language, dialogue, and narration in building intriguing characters.
Learn storytelling elements that stimulate reader anticipation and suspense, and invite your readers into your story world.
Understand techniques and elements for worldbuilding, whether your story world is modern, historical, mystery, romance, science-fiction, fantasy, or magic
In this course, you’ll discover how to use pacing techniques to build tension, emphasize important story events, and keep your readers wanting MORE.
SECTION 1 In Section 1 we’ll explore story pacing with its three different timing clocks, and a formula that can help you control the relationship between time, speed, viewpoint depth, and emotional intensity.
Introduction – the Confusion of Pacing
The 3 Clocks of Storytelling
The Storyteller’s Pacing Formula
SECTION 2 In Section 2 we’ll look at the way a reader’s perception of time fluctuates with the level of excitement, and study techniques you can use to fine-tune pacing and control your readers’ level of excitement.
Scenes, Sequels, and Pacing
Reader’s Perception of Time and Sequels
Pacing, Emotional Intensity, and Viewpoint
SECTION 3 In Section 3 we’ll study the effect different writing modes have on pacing, and how you can control pacing using these modes.
How to Control Pacing with Fiction Delivery Modes: Dramatic Summary, Dramatic Action, Dialogue, Narration, Description, and Exposition. (Dramatic )
SECTION 4 In Section 4 we’ll explore the structure of Scenes and Sequels more deeply, examining the relationship between Fiction Delivery Modes and Scene and Sequel.
Scene and Sequel: the Building Blocks of Fiction
Scene and Sequel meets Fiction Delivery Modes
Practice Exercise: Analyzing Pacing using Fiction Delivery Modes
I designed this course for writers who want to improve their control over pacing to keep readers wanting more. The only requirement for enrolment is a willingness to learn.
The original spark for DANCE OF SEDUCTION came from a secondary character I wrote in CATALINA’S LOVER, a novel set in the Andes mountains where the ghosts of the Inca still whisper. After finishing CATALINA, I’d intended my next book to be the story of the archaeologist in charge of the dig site my heroine Cathy was working on, Ricardo Swan.
Ricardo was Cathy’s long term colleague and potential love interest, and I was fascinated by the story possibilities of his origins as the son of a turbulent multi-cultural marriage, and his career as an archeologist.
But when I started searching for a hero for my archeologist, I soon ran into a roadblock, and it wasn’t until a surprise birthday party with other writers that I realized what the problem was.
I dedicated the book to my writer friends at Lynn O’Brian’s fabulous party, where Maria – Ricardo’s heroine – was born.
My novels are often sparked by my own experiences, my research, and interviews with interesting people I meet. Today I’m sharing the spark that prompted my romance novel Catalina’s Lover.
Catalina's Lover - IDEAS, from SPARK to FICTION
I’d written eighteen romance novels for my publisher, Mills and Boon Limited when my editor suggested I write a book set in South America. My husband and I had recently returned from a two-year sailing trip to Mexico, and scraps of Mexican scenery, culture, and characters had crept into my romance novels during that trip.
That’s the closest I’d ever come to South America. I didn’t have a story idea, and I didn’t know anyone I could interview about South America. The year was 1990 and although Tim Berners-Lee had invented the World Wide Web in 1989, the first Internet product wasn’t introduced for homes until 1994. My research would have to be done with books and magazines checked out from the local library.
At that time we were still living aboard the sailboat we’d traveled to Mexico in, moored at a Vancouver Island marina on Canada’s West Coast. I recall our boat’s salon being littered with piles of library books about South America. In the beginning, I considered using Brazil as a setting, but I had zero knowledge of Portuguese and I lost my enthusiasm when I stumbled across several accounts of Brazilian street children being killed.
Peru, however, fascinated me. I loved the research, and my husband Brian got interested as well. Soon we were reading and discussing historic accounts of the legendary Inca and the network of stone roads they’d built in the Andes mountains. I was fascinated by the mythology of Lake Titicaca, Machu Picchu, and the history of the Spanish conquistadors.
I’ve been fascinated with archeology ever since my college archeology course, and so much of Peru’s history could still be seen in a rich deposit of archeological sites, and the written records from the Spanish who flooded to the country.
If I set a book here, I’d stay away from the Pacific coast, and cities, and the politics I read about in the news. I would set my story in the mountainous areas that hadn’t been taken over by urban life.
When my friend, author Naomi Horton, showed me a National Geographic picture of a hand-crafted Inca rope bridge spanning the gorge over a roaring river in the Peruvian Andes, my mind filled with the story possibilities in that bridge.
However, before I could write the story, I needed to understand today’s Peru. In what ways were modern Peruvian descendants of the Spanish similar to, and different from, the descendants of Spanish explorersBrian and I had met during our two-years in Mexico? How much of the legends, language, and culture of the Inca remained after their nation was largely decimated by Spanish conquistadores?
My local library didn’t have the answers, but I finally found what I needed in a small Vancouver bookstore, in the form of two amazing books.
Most importantly, I stumbled across archeologist Ronald Wright’s Cut Stones and Crossroads. I can’t do better describing this amazing book than this paragraph from the description I found on Amazon.ca
Travelling through Peru, tracing the history of the Incas from their royal cities of Cusco and Machu Picchu to their mythical origin in Lake Titicaca, Ronald Wright explores a country of contrasts–between Spanish and Indian, past and present, coastal desert and mountainous interior.
In his highly entertaining and perceptive account, Wright brings to life a complex culture, a land of ancient traditions seeking its place in the modern world. Embracing history, politics, anthropology, and literature, Cut Stones and Crossroads is both a fascinating travel memoir and the study of a civilization.
Thanks to this book, I had confidence that I could make my fictional Peru true to the spirit of an expert whose vision I trusted.
The second book I found that day was an extremely useful traveler’ guide to body language, customs and taboos around the world. This book proved to be a fantastic resource for writing dialogue and describing my Peruvian characters’ body language.
I decided that my heroine had grown up traveling with her archeologist father, and went on to become an expert in the artifacts of indigenous North American coastal peoples. My hero, a Peruvian archeologist of Spanish descent, was caught between the culture of his ancestral home in the Andes, and the influences of the international education he’d received as a young Peruvian of Spanish descent.
I loved researching and writing CATALINA’S LOVER and when the book was published, I was thrilled that the publisher’s art department used the Incan rope bridge as the basis for the cover art.
Where do I get my ideas? The idea for this story came as a result of following an editor’s suggestion, was fertilized by Peruvian research and a picture of a frighteningly fragile looking rope bridge.And finally, I couldn’t have written it with confidence if I hadn’t read Ronald Wright’s amazing CUT STONES AND CROSSROADS.
Where do I get my story ideas? Most writers have probably heard that question numerous times, and sometimes it’s difficult to answer. Some of my ideas seem to come out of nowhere, fully-formed, and other times the birth of a story is made up of several factors that are only clear in retrospect.
The creative spark that eventually became Taking Chances was born during an afternoon walk with my friend Jan, while describing a novel I’d been reading. Although the book was well-written, I was on a rant because I would not believe in the romantic premise …
Click on the video to listen to how Taking Chances was born…