I was recently invited over to Wendy Van Camp’s writing blog- Nowastedink, to share an article on writing. As I have been comtemplating writing my next book (now in very rough draft) in Epistolary writing style, I thought that would be the perfect topic to write about.
Hi Wendy, thanks so much for inviting me over again to your blog. Today I want to talk about writing in Epistolary style. What is epistolary writing? As a nonfiction/memoir writer I’ve been exploring this form of writing for a book I’ve been drafting about grief. I am seriously considering presenting the book in this form.
Epistolary writing is a style that addresses the reader through a diary format (think Bridget Jones’ Diary) or in journal or letter format. In this era of digital life, epistolary writing can also include email and blog post entries, police reports, newspaper articles and transcripts. This style involves the writer speaking directly to another person, expressing the bond in a particular relationship through the content being written, which gives the reader an intimate peek into the writer’s private self and thoughts regarding the person she is writing to, and an inside scoop into that relationship between the writer and the character being spoken to. Journal and diary entries are more contemplative writings, but there is also the method of writing strictly in dialogue. Epistolary writing is in essence writing dialogue from one’s self. It is important that the writer let the reader know to whom they are writing to. Epistolary stories can involve one or more characters the writing conversation is being directed toward.
Often, in this form of writing, the focus is more on evoking emotion, more so than a dialogue driven story. Epistolary writing is also classified as a sort of confessional-like writing, also known as monophonic point of view, letters to one specific character. It is referred as ‘dialogic’ if two people are writing letters, or, ‘polyphonic’ with three or more characters writing and receiving the letters. It is ultimately, a first-person point of view that allows the reader to get inside the writer’s thoughts. It’s a correspondence between characters or to a character. This form is a different take from third person POV where the usual plots and characters are the driving force of the storyline. Instead, the reader gets to understand the character’s interactions through what is implied by the writer.
The word -Epistolary, is derived from the noun – Epistle, which is the Greek word meaning ‘letter’. This is an actual literary genre that pertains to letters written for delivering story through personal messages from the writer to her subject(s). This format can be used as context for a relationship, friendship or even a business relationship between the writer and receiver.
Because this method of writing is a person telling, it can be written in multiple tenses. For example, the writer might go back in time with an entry and bring it up to present to invite in some tension. In most stories in other points of view writing, they are written in the classic, ‘show more, tell less’. This could be challenging to write in epistolary form because there is no narrator building a scene. But description that paints a picture to the reader can still be done. The more ‘real’ a story feels to the reader, the more they will engage in the emotion. Epistolary stories can be written in both fiction or nonfiction. . . Please continue reading at Nowastedink
Welcome to my Sunday Book Review. Today I’m reviewing Terry Tyler’s addictive psychological thriller – Where There’s Doubt. This book has been getting a lot of attention around our reading circles, and once I began reading it, I found out why. The protagonist Kate invites into her cozy world of happy seaside living in a small town in Norfolk, England, until her world turns crazy after meeting a new boyfriend on the internet – who turns out to be a sociopathic narcissist whose roots of deceit run deep.
‘I can be anything you want me to be. Even if you don’t know you want it. Especially if you don’t know you want it.’
Café owner Kate is mentally drained after a tough two years; all she wants from her online chess partner is entertainment on lonely evenings, and maybe a little virtual flirtation.
She is unaware that Nico Lewis is a highly intelligent con artist who, with an intricately spun web of lies about their emotional connection, will soon convince her that he is The One.
Neither does Kate know that his schemes involve women who seek love on dating sites, as well as his small publishing business. A host of excited authors believe Nico is about to make their dreams come true.
Terry Tyler’s twenty-fourth publication is a sinister psychological drama that highlights the dark side of internet dating—and the danger of ignoring the doubts of your subconscious.
My 5 Star Review:
Tyler takes us on a psychological ride into the dark side of internet dating. Sweet Kate thinks she’s met her perfect match through meeting Nico while playing chess on ‘Lifeshare’ a social media site. Kate owns a successful cafe by surfside in a Shipden, Norfolk, village and had recently broke up with a cheating boyfriend, Jackson. Nico was a collector of woman, who used the guise of being a vanity publisher for Indie books because it gave him a boatload of excuses to be unavailable to the many women he seemed to be in relationships with. Think ‘Tinder Swindler’ when envisioning Nico. The story pulls us in because yet again, another internet scammer on the prowl for women seems to be a topic of interest these days.
The author brings in richly crafted characters to drive the story, and gives us a peek into Nico’s psyche to let us in on what makes this conman tick. We get to know the ‘other’ women he’s ensnared with his wiley charms, knowing how to play each one – Polly the low self-esteemed girl who dreams of a fairytale life, Heather, the young grieving widow, Minerva, the lonely, older more secure widow, and the pretty, carefree and fun Kate. And of course we can’t leave out ‘Em’ Nico’s ‘apparent’ ‘real’ girlfriend who assists him to ensnare these other women by doing all the social media profiling for him to make sure his tracks are covered, leading us to think he is doing all this cyber stalking and dating to extort money for ‘them’ both. He cleverly uses Em as his default decoy when with these women, telling them she’s his sister.
Polly is busily planning her wedding with Nico, unaware that his intentions are to get her to spend some of her lottery winnings on a house he wants to buy – for himself. Heather is a young widow living in isolation in the home she shared with the love of her life who has passed on. Wealthy Minerva is smart and realizes handsome Nico is fun to be with, though realizing two decades younger than her, that one day this relationship will probably end, but surely, investing in his publishing business could be a lucrative business adventure. Kate is his favorite he spends most time with, and he’s snagged her heart and trust and goes to deceitful ends to take her to the house he’s pining after, lying to Kate by telling her the house was left to him and his sister in his aunt’s will, adding, the problem is that the house was left to two other cousins and he’d love to buy them out, giving Kate the idea she should buy in so they can live there together. What could go wrong? Plenty!
As the plots thicken and Nico gets sloppy covering his tracks, things begin to happen. Heather begins to feel Nico is pushing a little to hard for her to sell her house to buy into ‘the Grove’ house he supposedly wants to buy his ‘cousins’ out of, and she decides to do some internet surfing and discovers that Nico is a conman. And this is where part two of the book opens up a whole new insidious plot with characters we never would have suspected are part of Nico’s evil ploy.
As the story unfolds, little pieces of his lies are slipping through the cracks and Nico finds himself having to come up with quick coverups. And when the shyte hits the fan, a whole lot of evil is unveiled to us. Don’t even think I’ve given away any spoilers here because the fun begins in this book once Nico is exposed.
Lots of twists and a great conman caper, which sadly, is not so uncommon in today’s world. And a book that was literally hard to put down!
Earlier this week I posted my guest feature over at Valentina Cirasola’s blog about Spring Beauty and Books. Once the series was completed, Valentina kindly, made this beautiful short video, incorporating all the books from the authors she hosted. It’s a lovely video, and it was so nice to have my book be part of the video along with books by many of my writing friends. I’m reblogging Valentina’s ‘thank you post’ here, along with the video.
Note: Click on the Youtube link as the video will not show here.
Spring Beauty and Book Series has ended:
This Spring flew by, between winds of war, fake news, new diseases, corrupted politicians, investigations, and protests around the world to gain the lost freedom, we have arrived almost at Summer. What will it bring us? My hope is always that humanity will mend itself and be infused with so much love, compassion and empathy, as without these elements, life cannot be called life.
With the arrival of Spring, my goal was to instill beauty. Beauty multiplies as it is an entity that everyone wants and everyone recognizes for their wellbeing. I also wanted to spread kind thoughts. Who better than authors can do that? Authors are good with words, they know how to craft them to let the readers live a fantasy, see places and experience new emotions.
Please continue reading at Valentina’s blog and see a complete list of authors who were included in this series.
Welcome to my May edition of Q & A. Today I’m happy to be featuring friend and fellow author, Jan Sikes. Jan is a multi-talented, multi-genre author and dabbles in tarot, runes and gemstones articles on her blog too, besides the blog tours she hosts and the books she reviews. So today we’re going to get to know a little bit more about Jan and her latest release – Jagged Feathers, Book 2 from her White Runes series.
Jan Sikes writes compelling and creative stories from the heart. She openly admits that she never set out in life to be an author. But she had a story to tell. Not just any story, but a true story that rivals any fiction creation. The entertaining true story comes to life through fictitious characters in an intricately woven tale that encompasses four books. And now, this author can’t find a way to put down the pen. She continues to write fiction and has published numerous award-winning short stories. She published her debut paranormal romance novel, Ghostly Interference, Book 1 in The White Rune Series, in 2020, which won a bronze medal award from Reader’s Favorite. Jagged Feathers released on January 31, 2022, as Book 2 of that series, and Saddled Hearts will release later in 2022. She is an active blogger, an avid fan of Texas music, and a grandmother of five. She resides in North Texas.
Vann Noble did his duty. He served his country and returned a shell of a man, wounded inside and out. With a missing limb and battling PTSD, he seeks healing in an isolated cabin outside a small Texas town with a stray dog that sees beyond his master’s scars. If only the white rune’s magic can bring a happily ever after to a man as broken as Vann. On the run from hired killers and struggling to make sense of her unexplained deadly mission, Nakina Bird seeks refuge in Vann’s cabin. She has secrets. Secrets that can get them all killed. A ticking clock and long odds of living or dying, create jarring risks. Will these two not only survive but find unexpected love along the way? Or, will evil forces win and destroy them both?
Jan shares some wonderful quotes from her book:
“Wow! One of the top books I’ve read in a while. I’d give it more sparklers if I could. The author had me from page one and didn’t let me go until the end. She starts off hard and fast, then things kind of work out and the book goes into a “safe” lull, which is where most romantic suspense stories would end. But no. She doesn’t let you rest as the danger ramps up again before our hero and heroine are really safe and have a satisfying ending that leaves you happy for them.” V. Burkholder
“What an amazing and phenomenal book. Jagged Feathers has become my favorite suspense book I’ve read in 2022. Jan Sikes has a talent that mirrors the authors, that’s on top of the Best Sellers List.” T. Lucas
“Wow! Few books grab and hold me as quickly as Jagged Feathers. I can’t say enough good things about this story that’s brimming with heart. It has everything- -an ex-soldier dealing with trying to heal from wounds and trauma left by the war, a woman confused and scared by her psychic gift and running for her life, and a dog that’s suffered horribly but hasn’t lost his ability to love.” L. Broday
“This is a high octane thriller and romance, with some intriguing paranormal elements which draws the reader in, and sweeps them along with the action and developing love affair. And then there is also an adorable dog who despite his own past mistreatment gives love in abundance.” S. Cronin
So, let’s get to know a little more about Jan!
Thank you, Debby, for inviting me to visit with you today. It is truly an honor!
D.G. – Thrilled to be featuring you here today Jan. Thanks for coming!
How has writing changed your life?
That is a great question. After my husband passed away, I was still working full-time. But honestly, I was lost. I didn’t want to stay in the home we’d built together. Too many memories and too much property to take care of. So, I transferred my job to another town where one of my daughters lived. I withdrew from the world and hid behind my children and grandchildren. That was my safe place. Then, when I realized I was the one that would have to write the story of our life together, it forced me to step out and reinvent myself. It took several years before I could comfortably call myself an author. It wasn’t until after my second book won an award that it felt right. Writing not only changed my life completely but gave me a therapeutic way to rejoin the land of the living. It has given me a whole new career and I have met some of the most wonderful people— authors and readers!
D.G. – Do I ever hear you Jan. I know well what you mean about ‘hiding away’ after such a great loss. And no doubts writing was your therapy. 🙂
Do some of your own character traits or personal experiences spill into your book’s characters?
Oh, for sure! Of course, the first four books I wrote were biographical so that was me all the way. But when I started writing fiction, I drew from a lot of my personal experiences, philosophies, and beliefs and instilled them in some of my characters. I think the biggest example was Jag Peters’ mother, Charlotte, in Ghostly Interference. There is a lot of me in Charlotte. She is a smart but gentle lady who is a vegetarian and teaches yoga. She also instills in her son a lot of the same beliefs I have about Karma and the afterlife. The love of Charlotte’s life is a musician. So, I put a lot of me into her. Someday I want to tell her backstory.
D.G. – Only makes sense that we as writers will instill some of ourselves or other people we know when it comes to creating characters. 🙂
If you weren’t a writer what else do you think you would do?
That is a question I ask myself often. I work really hard at not only continuing to learn and grow in the craft of writing but in marketing as well. There are times when I stop and ask myself if this is what I really want to be doing. All the hard work results in little to no monetary rewards. But, so far, the answer is the same every time. As long as story ideas and inspirations keep coming, I am duty-bound to keep writing them. And, if I wasn’t writing, I don’t know how I would be filling my time. For now, this is what I want to do. It’s a chapter in life I am enjoying letting unfold.
D.G. – Once again, I couldn’t agree more! 🙂
I know you have a very active blog. What can you tell us you’ve gained from blogging as an author?
Blogging has created a whole new online family for me. I am connected to people all around the world. That is how I met you, Debby. So, I’ve gained a network of supportive and uplifting people as well as made what I consider to be friends. Even though we may never meet in person, through reading others’ blogs, I feel as if I know them. Besides this incredible network, blogging gives me a great platform to talk about my stories, accomplishments, failures, and everything in between. But my greatest joy is featuring others on my blog. I do lots of book reviews and have guest posts often. Another way my blogging platform has enriched my life is through sharing metaphysical things such as Tarot cards and Rune readings, uplifting meditations, and my passion, Gemstones and their healing properties. It’s a way of sharing something that is a huge part of my daily life. It helps keep me grounded and focused while hopefully helping others at the same time. We are all on this journey together. So anything we can do to uplift each other is wonderful! While blogging takes time away from writing, it is worthwhile all the way around. I can’t imagine stepping away from blogging, although it’s healthy to take a short break now and then.
D.G. – We share the same philosophy on blogging, once again. And of course we share a mutual interesting in the spiritual and metaphysical. 🙂
Share with us a book that moved you so much it stays with you.
This is probably the hardest question of all to answer. I’ve been an avid reader since I could decipher words. As a child, I devoured fairy tales and believed life would have a fairy tale ending for me. As a young adult, I read books by Harold Robbins that taught me so much about relationships between men and women. “The Grapes of Wrath” is a book I have read multiple times. I think it has stayed with me because of stories my parents shared about the Great Depression. But a powerful book that changed the way I view worldwide governments is “The Captains and The Kings.” Taylor Caldwell depicted corruption among the leaders in such a way that I’ve never forgotten it. It’s a book I highly recommend to everyone. A book I’ve read within the past couple of years that has stayed with me is “Where The Crawdads Sing.” And now I see that it has been made into a movie and will be showing in July. You can bet I’ll be at the theater to see it. And I want to add one more to my list of lingering stories. “If The Darkness Takes Us,” is such a chilling and realistic tale of what happens when the grid collapses and people are left to figure out how to survive on their own without any resources. Unfortunately, I feel that it may be more realistic than imagined. But there are lots of good survival tips shared in the book. I’ll stop there with an apology. You only asked for one book. 🙂
D.G. – Had to laugh as the only books I could find around my house (in my mother’s room) were Harold Robbins’ books, lol. That was an education. And I loved Where the Crawdad’s Sing! I will now be checking out those other books you mentioned too. Thank you!
Welcome to my May Writer’s Tips. I have collected some fantastic helpful articles in this past month. So as not to overwhelm, I’m going to break up this post under two different umbrellas. In this edition I’ve tailored this month’s discoveries to tips that specifically pertain to book writing and potential legal snags – how to find your writing voice, what constitutes plagiarism, penalties for using song lyrics in our writing, what to put in front matter of our books, and the importance of designating a social media executor.
The BookDesigner takes us through the definition and meaning of Voice in writing:
Janice Wald of Mostlyblogging.com talks about the 4 types of Plagiarism and the consequences in 2022
As many of you know, I lost my husband just over a year ago. For me and my grief, it may as well be yesterday because the excrutiating pain of missing the love of your life doesn’t go away. I thought I’d just post this reminder because it’s truly astounding that predators lurk everywhere seeking out vulnerable people.
Since my husband’s passing, and much of it spent in Covid seclusion at the worst time of one’s life, I had turned to joining some online grief groups. I felt it may be a place I can be with like-minded people and those who’ve walked the walk, those who know how painful grief is, and that they may be places of comfortable harbor for me sometimes. But sadly, the amount of men who wangle their way into these groups hoping to seek out the vulnerable, seems to be ever-growing.
Personally speaking, these groups do not help me at all, yet, I continue to pop in for some words of solace. But because I consider myself a great Facebook ‘FBI’ profiler, I always click on the pages of those stalkers who continually message or leave messages in replies to my comments. Almost all of them seem to have lonely pages with barely a post, as though they specifically joined FB to lurk and lure.
I get many requests, compliments, and sweet nothings from plenty of lunatics on FB, but these grief pages top the charts with lurkers. These places are like a magnet for loveless losers to prey. How many times on the news are we warned about scammers, yet, so many still get caught in this web. It’s up to us all to do our due diligence and check out first, who we think we are friending and allowing into our personal circles. And I might add, the people who run these delicate group pages should also be more diligent when screening applicants who join these groups. It only takes me a moment to figure out many profiles are bogus, bots or that they have ill intentions. Why can’t a moderator do the same?
I’m a moderator in four different FB groups, and every time I get a request from someone who wants to join one of my groups, I take the time to visit the applicant’s page and schmooze around to see what they post, what they do, their ‘about’ page, and decide if they fit into my group. If all the prerequisites aren’t met, I don’t admit them.
It’s not hard to figure out how these lurkers find us. They join groups with vulnerable people and try to befriend them with sweet words. If you’re like me, and have all your posts on your FB page, only visible to ‘friends only’ (and you should), this is your first barrier of defense. They cannot roam on your page or see personal posts, but they can still message you, and these messages predominantly go to FB spam messages and sit there until we delete or accept if we don’t reply to their scammy comments on a post we left comment on. I think I have hundreds in mine over the years, I don’t even look anymore, other than when someone approaches me on a group page and then checking my spam messages to find them there too.
When people start leaving you messages in comments to a statement you made in a group that have no relevance to the comment you made, be suspicious. When you poured your grieving heart out in a statement and get a reply from a guy telling you how beautiful you are and asking you to please accept his friendship so he can message you privately, that’s just wrong. And just don’t allow these types of lurkers into your private space.
I may be grieving. I may be sentimental. But I’m no dummy. As many writers spend most of their waking life on the internet mingling in social media, we know well about lurkers, losers, hackers and scammers. But for the many who are not internet savvy. Pay attention to how you allow people into your digital life.
Welcome to my first post of the year of my collaborated Writer’s Tips. I’ve collected and saved a few of these posts as I came across them while I was away, and I know many of you will find something helpful here for writing, publishing, and/or marketing. From advice on writing the blurb, through some wonderful Canva tutorials to publshing updates and more, there’s something helpful for all writers here.
D.L. Finn at the Story Empire on Writing the Blurb Source:
The #Bloganuary prompt challenges come in daily. I chose a few more to respond to below:
The first thing that came to my mind when I saw the prompt – What is your favorite photo you’ve ever taken? – My wedding picture.
I am my own worst critic when it comes to looking at myself in photos – old habits die hard. But my wedding pictures are with my husband, and we were both crazy about each other. Love never dies.
Next – If you could, what year would you time travel to and why?
Back to the 80s when life was carefree. When the only worries were where we we’re going to have fun, no digital apparatus, just real connections, relationships, breakups, parties – living, enjoying, and experiencing.
Also, What is your favorite quote and why?
‘What goes ’round comes back.’ – I have been saying this phrase for as long as I can remember. I relate it to Karma – what you give you get back, bad or good, so may as well make it good.