The Synopsis: Why Love Hurts & Pain Can Be Good for Our Writing – Written By Kristen Lamb

Kristen Lamb provides us with an excellent blog post about ‘The Synopsis’. There is still a lot I have to learn and I’m grateful for Kristen’s advice. Thank you!


There is one word known to strike fear into the hearts of most writers. Synopsis. Most of us would rather perform brain surgery from space using a lemon zester and a squirrel than be forced to boil down our entire novel into one page.

Yes one.

But alas we need to embrace the synopsis for numerous reasons. First and foremost, if we want to land an agent, it works in our favor to already have an AWESOME synopsis handy because the odds are, at some point, the agent will request one.

Sigh. I know. Sorry.

A Quick Aside

When it comes to synopses, I lean toward the, ‘Better to beg forgiveness than to ask permission’ camp. Which is where already having a seriously spiffy synopsis helps.

Think of it this way. E-mail sucks. Getting lots of emails and having to juggle it all sucks. Agents get a lot of emails.

Since I am also a person who gets a ridiculous amount of email, I can tell you with conviction that I LOVE people who save me work. They do this by saving me steps.

Continue Reading Here

 


 

Series Additions

After I had published ‘Soul Taker,’ I was told there were a few questions left open in my book, for example – what would happen to that angel Katie met with Raphael, Sundance?

The second book, ‘Sundance,’ answered those questions, but then I was asked if there was more to be read about the warriors in that book… it can’t be that they… and so on.

I admit I was a bit surprised at first. I know tons of books where we have, as usually, protagonists, antagonists, sub-characters, and tons of ‘small’ characters that don’t have too much of a purpose, except being there for one or two scenes and then disappear. We all know ‘the maid’ or ‘the butler’ or ‘the mailman’ in many movies. The person enters a scene, does or even says something and leaves… but in my case, I got questioned about the future of some of the supporting characters. I first was confused but then finally decided to take it as a compliment. It seems, even my supporting characters are important enough to my readers that they’re interested in what happens to them!

But let’s get back to the additions to a book series.

See, ‘The Council Of Twelve’ series is quite well planned. A book ‘in-between’ is basically impossible. But what I could do is write some ‘extra stories.’  The first word that came to my mind was: Sequel. From what I learned in the meantime, that is not exactly what these additions to an existing series would be.

According to Jim Henry, on his homepage jimhenry.conlang.org, the definition of a sequel would be:

“Sequel” (from Latin “sequela”) originally seems to have meant “what happens next”; later it took on the additional meaning of “a story whose events take place later in the same imagined history as a certain other story” — usually with reference to novels, but also short stories, epic poems, and films.

He did mention different definitions of additional stories as well. According to Jim Henry, Wikipedia defines “interquel” as a story taking place between two previously published ones. Jeffrey Henning has a different definition of “interquel,” basically the same as Jim Henry’s coinage “paraquel” (see below).

paraquel
a story that takes place simultaneously with a certain other story
circumquel
a story that takes place partly before, partly after a certain other story
inquel
a story that takes place during a gap in some other story’s narrative

Now, armed with all that information about the different ‘extra-stories,’ will I be writing anything then? And if yes, why? I’ll tell you:

I was asked about these character’s stories – and I think, if these ‘supporting characters’ are so very important to my readers, I will tell their story too.

However, I decided to ‘collect’ the additional stories in an extra book. To tell you the truth, I’m not that much into finding out whether they are inquels, interquels or ‘whatever’-quels, as long as my readers love the characters and stories, but I promise, they will be extraordinary and they will make my supporting characters the center of their own story’s universe. They might not be novels or novellas, they might be novelettes – but they will introduce you to a wonderful personality which tells you how the character is linked to ‘The Council Of Twelve,’ and I’m convinced you will love them.

Thank you to those who asked me to tell their tale as well. I’m very honored!

 

 

The Oscars 2020 – Fashion post


It’s February 9, 2020 – ‘Oscar’ Sunday. For hours everyone with a name in Hollywood is walking the red carpet. I enjoyed the event enormously. Since I’m not an expert, I will definitely not criticize any of the academy’s decision. I don’t have the right to do that… many excellent actors and actresses, film artists, and Academy members have done their best in these decisions.

But what I’m sure going to do, is saying a word or two to the wardrobe some of the famous Hollywood Elite wore today. Of course, I cannot show every single participant and wardrobe here. But I picked the ones that triggered the most reaction in me. I promise one thing I’ll do my best. All these comments are strictly my personal opinion and my own taste. I hope you’ll enjoy the pictures, the comments, and if you agree or disagree with me, let me know in the comments.


We have a few nice, impressive and safe dresses here with some of our beloved Hollywood actresses, Renee Zellweger, Natalie Portman, Salma Hayek, and Scarlet Johansson

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We also have a nicely and safely dressed Mindy Kaling, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Kelly Ripa, and America Ferrera, who is glowing, thanks to her pregnancy. Congratulations, America.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


I hope very much you’ll forgive me for interrupting the ‘Ladie’s Oscar Night’ for a few pictures of very well dressed  (and other) gentlemen. We have, of course, the very well classically dressed tuxedo participants: Brad Pitt, Keanu Reeves (here with his date: his Mom), Taika Waititi, Tom Hanks, Leo DiCaprio, and Rami Malek.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Of course, we have two more gentlemen that need to be mentioned, our all-time-favorites, Robert DeNiro and Al Pacino, one of them in a classic tux while Al Pacino looks his typical self, a bit ragged, a bit disheveled, just as we all love him.

And then, of course, two to mention whose choice of wardrobe (or stylist), I, unfortunately, cannot understand:  Timothée Chalamet and Billy Porter. It is one thing to be yourself, it’s another thing to look completely out of place and out of space. To me, that’s a no-go, sorry.

 

 

 

 

 


We have breathtaking dress picks, like Laura Dern, Sigourney Weaver, Sandra Oh, and Cynthia Erivo. I know, I read in some places, Sandra Oh belonged to the worst dressed actresses, but I don’t agree. I think she looks fresh and beautiful in her golden ruffled Ellie Saab dress. Also, I heard comments that Laura Dern’s dress is horrible, I don’t think so. I’m quoting my sister here: ‘Normally I don’t like black and pink mixed, but that is not classic pink, it’s more a discreet powder tone which makes her look classic and gorgeous.’. To me, Sigourney Weaver’s forest green dress is a timeless classic, simple but elegant, and makes her look beautiful. And of course, Cynthia’s dress, even as unusual it is, it’s still elegant and makes her look regal.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


We have a few memorable, classically beautiful, even breathtaking wardrobe choices, for example, Regina King, Beanie Feldstein, Margot Robbie, Charlize Theron, Penelope Cruz, and Rebel Wilson. In my opinion, well chosen, well done.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Now, let’s get to those participants, who I think, were a bit unlucky in their choice of wardrobe (or stylist). I’m very much into staying true to oneself, but that doesn’t mean, that ‘oneself’ is the center of the universe, and no adaption whatsoever is necessary. Not everything classic is bad or simply old-fashioned. Sometimes it’s beautiful and breathtaking! ‘Taking risks’ in my book, doesn’t mean looking like you got lost and should actually be at another event.

Zazie Beetz, I’m sorry, but for the most important award of the year, this is just insufficient. It’s beautiful, no doubt, but it’s not enough. Next time, please, upgrade!

Saoirse Ronan, I know it’s Gucci, but I’m afraid, even though the top looks amazing, the frills in the middle and the entire bottom don’t. That dress looks like you’re wearing two or three unfinished dresses hastily sewn together. I’m sure, next time, your choice will be much better.

Kristen Wiig… I’m sorry, but no… This looks a bit like the curtain in the bathroom of an old German castle… In an emergency, it also can serve as a table cloth on Christmas with these frills on the side, or – it may also be a tomato ravioli… depending on how hungry one is while looking at it.  You have this absolutely breathtaking body – deciding on this sausage peel wasn’t necessary!

Olivia Coleman – far better than the Golden Globe dress, but not good enough for you. Three colors weren’t necessary – a nice simple black and white dress would have been beautiful on you – and that awkward sleeve-do on the dress once again adds width and weight to your frame. Still, room for improvement.

Little Julia Butters… my-oh-my. Young girls can look so cute on the red carpet. Some stylists manage to display the presentiment of future beauty and talent by dressing their young clients. This stylist – didn’t. Julia Butters looks like she’s wearing the dress in which Miss Piggy exploded. I hope from the bottom of my heart, next time someone keeps an eye on that girl!

 

Blac Chyna… I’m not sure what exactly your contribution to the Hollywood acting community is. I’m just wondering why you are showing up on the red carpet of the most important Award of the year, looking like you actually planned to go to the porn awards. Got lost? If not, maybe you should…

Billie Eilish – really? Sorry, Chanel or not – I think nothing on this look is the least bit positive. You have such a gorgeous face – that hair color is completely blocking your entire look, no matter if it’s fluorescent. The hawk-like claws aren’t helping. They look cheap. The entire oversized outfit makes you look like a meth bong. No-no…


On A Personal Note:

In a post like this one, I would normally not adding any kind of statement. It should just show my opinion about the fashion, it should make people look at the pictures, giggle a bit about my descriptions, agree or disagree with me and have fun. But today I was a bit surprised – and also a bit sad.

In today’s Oscar Memoriam Tribute, one actor, who was even featured in one of the shown pictures, “Once Upon A Time In Hollywood”, was left out: Luke Perry.

Luke Perry, our favorite ‘Beverly Hills 90210’ star, passed away on March 4, 2019, after suffering a stroke at the age of 52. His passing came one week after the 2019 Academy Awards, so it would actually be ‘logical’ to have him mentioned in the 2019 tribute. But he was famously missing.

That’s why I mentioned him here once again. R. I. P. Luke Perry.

Picture courtesy of USmagazine.com

All pictures courtesy of Google.com unless mentioned differently.

A Little Bit Of Sarcasm – And Weddings

Lately, I heard about the wedding of one of my former boyfriends. Well, it took him quite long to decide, even though his new fiance/wife was not exactly innocent… considering she got pregnant just before his famous ‘level 4’.

Well… the groom and I were… once… you know… quite close. We liked each other – just at one point, he needed distance. After about two years, the distance was that big, we decided not to continue the relationship. It didn’t make sense.

Now… what are some weddings nowadays? 150 guests. Like a mass-wedding, I am indeed glad I’m not part of. However, once invited you can barely stay away since, of course, the newlyweds expect many presents… or presents in monetary-form, of course. Even though once I read on a wedding announcement, “Money presents are uninspired, particularly small ones.”

Why not just giving the account number where we can transfer the money to? Then the guests can do that… for the closest family member, a few breadsticks and a glass of cheap bubble water – and then the couple can take the money and go to their honeymoon.

But no… it always has to be something like a  Hollywood wedding but a wedding somewhere out in the countryside, where the utmost symbol of ‘good taste’ is the several thousand dollar-bridal gown which, according to the bride ALWAYS is very modest! While it’s created with Wite-out colored hundreds of yards of tulle and a huge bow on the bride’s ass, which makes her look like a mix of a Barbie doll and a Bavarian beer tent.

Courtesy of Google.com

Of course, there are a few other things that cannot go missing like white doves, flower girls with lace dresses, bows in the front, and frills in the back… and I’m asking myself why the entire effort? In five years, they’ll be divorced anyway.

But however… one has to go – which makes me happy I now live too far away to participate in that feast of waste. I know the woman… she’s a living nightmare in bows – but he doesn’t need my help – one day he’ll find it out anyway.

I can’t stand this kind of wedding. Whenever I went to one in the past few years, there were always this handful of old aunts and their second and third cousins around, elbowing me in the ribs and winking at me “You’re the next – you’ll be the next.” That behavior only stopped when I started doing the same thing at funerals.

Now, I found out that there are things on Earth that are simply a ‘fairy tale.’ Downright lies. Like the big and only love… A made-up story by Hollywood to make sure we true believers in true love are running to the movie theater to watch Pretty Woman or Titanic…

You know… maybe there is this true love – but it’s rare – very, very rare. There might be the one or other couple that loves each other and rarely ever argues or discusses something. – Lately, I saw an interview with a couple that had celebrated their 50th anniversary! That is quite an achievement! They asked the husband if he never ever considered a divorce – and he said: “A divorce? No – but murder – yes.”

That’s reality – and not three-story wedding cakes and chubby-cheeked flower kids. One day, the bride wakes up and realizes, the wedding cake is gone, the chubby-cheeked flower kids have turned into a bunch of snotty junkies, and since the wedding, the husband has never given her flowers – or compliments anymore and what they now laugh about most are his burbs… or other body functions, and she asks herself if that is going on like that for the next thirty years.

A smart woman once said: “A good man knows to die on time to make sure his wife has at least a few years she still can enjoy. The advantage of a widow is that she always knows where her husband lies.”

Oh well… I figure at times I’m glad I never was a bride. Maybe I just got my expectations too high and my imagination of a wedding too low. LOL

However – after writing this very sarcastic blog post – I might consider going around the corner to that Italian restaurant I discovered, with the singing guitar player… about 106 years old – but still smiling (or at least trying to smile). The waiter is not the sexy Italian dark-eyed romantic girl everyone expects, but a Neapolitan former docker, about as wide as high with so much chest hair that you have to send a search party for his gold chain…

Just one more thing… don’t take it all too seriously, have a good laugh and an amazing day.

How Authors Can Grow a Large Audience and Connect With More Readers – Written By Jenn Hanson-DePaula

I read Jenn Hanson-DePaula’s recommendation on how authors can grow a large audience and found the advice quite helpful. I’m sure, I’m not the only one. Thank you, Jenn.


Have you ever looked at your social media outlets or your blog and realize that your friends and family are the only ones liking or commenting on your posts or reading your blog?

It’s a frustrating place to be – especially if you’re trying to grow your audience and reach more people.

I recently received an email from a woman named Lydia and she’s facing this exact situation. This is a question I’ve gotten before and I thought it would be helpful to everyone if I addressed it.

Continue Reading Here

Looking For A Character Name

As the author of ‘The Council Of Twelve’ series, I admit, I’m a bit proud of twelve quite impressive characters, if I may say so. Of course, even though, so far, only two books in the series have been published, there are many more to come. A series of books usually holds many more characters than a mere dozen.

During the progress of the series, things are changing, known characters stay, others leave, some have to go, and new ones are introducing themselves to us. And these characters not only need to look (which this one I’m writing about now, already does)… he also needs a name.

Usually, I don’t have problems finding names. I wrote in an earlier post, ‘Character Names – Worth A Research,’ how I usually pick names for my characters.

This time it’s different, I’m afraid. I picked many names – but only can have one… and I cannot decide. Would you please help me?

My character is a tall, muscular man with bronze-colored skin and long, straight black hair that reaches down to his waist, and dark eyes. He’s got a good, strong heart, is loyal, a little bit stubborn, and holds great dignity. He likes to smile, but he takes his calling seriously.

Name                 Meaning                                                             Origin

Admiel              Land of God, a  variant form of Adam           Hebrew

Asariel              God is my aid                                                    Hebrew

Ethanael           God has given me strength                    English/American

Sariel                 Prince of God                                                    Hebrew

Immanuel        God is with us                                                   Hebrew

Indraneel         Sapphire                                                             Arabic

Jaromiel          Strong, fierce, favor, grace                               Slavic

Jeremiel          God lifts me up                                                  Hebrew

Kadmiel           God is my East                                                  Hebrew

Nahuel              Jaguar                                                                Mapuche

 

I’d really appreciate it if you could let me know what do you think. Which name would match the character I described? What name would you pick if you had that character in your book? Or what name would you like to read in one of the following books in the series?

 

I’m curious about what name you will decide on, and I can barely wait to see the results. Thank you for your help.

 

 

My Favorite 10 Books Of All Times III

Picture courtesy of unsplash.com

Continued…

I once owned many, many books – shelves full of books. But lately, things have changed for me. I moved – and if I had taken everything with me, only my loads and loads of books would probably have filled an entire shipping container. I, therefore, decided on a handful of my favorites, and I donated the rest of them. (that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re lost, after all, I have most of them electronically on my e-reader).
But a few books had to travel with me – books that are antiques – books that would have been lost if I hadn’t taken them… favorite books – MY favorite books, to be precise. Let me tell you what books I’m talking about – and why…

Death on the Nile – Agatha Christie

Blurb

Beloved detective Hercule Poirot embarks on a journey to Egypt in one of Agatha Christies most famous mysteries, Death on the Nile. The tranquility of a cruise along the Nile was shattered by the discovery that Linnet Ridgeway had been shot through the head. She was young, stylish, and beautiful. A girl who had everything . . . until she lost her life. Hercule Poirot recalled an earlier outburst by a fellow passenger: I’d like to put my dear little pistol against her head and just press the trigger. Yet in this exotic setting, nothing is ever quite what it seems.

My opinion

I admit I cut a little bit away from the blurb because I thought it doesn’t belong into a book blurb, to mention that it will be turned in a movie, following the ‘Orient-Express’ movie that was so successful, ect. etc. etc. If I think about Hercule Poirot, there is only one actor I always see right in front of my eyes: The great Peter Ustinov! But that isn’t what I wanted to say. To me, Death On The Nile is a wonderful example of many surprising and amazing detective stories Agatha Christie wrote. And still, this single adventure is apart, unique and maybe to me, it’s the tropical places in the story, the obvious killer who isn’t the murderer and the possibilities because, theoretically everybody on the ship could have done it – and had a reason… I’m usually convinced Agatha Christie is such a beloved author that the entire world knows who the murderer actually is – but I’ll be nice and won’t tell it here – just in case…


The Name of the Rose – Umberto Eco

Blurb

The year is 1327. Benedictines in a wealthy Italian abbey are suspected of heresy, and Brother William of Baskerville arrives to investigate. When his delicate mission is suddenly overshadowed by seven bizarre deaths, Brother William turns detective. His tools are the logic of Aristotle, the theology of Aquinas, the empirical insights of Roger Bacon—all sharpened to a glistening edge by wry humor and a ferocious curiosity. He collects evidence, deciphers secret symbols and coded manuscripts, and digs into the eerie labyrinth of the abbey, where “the most interesting things happen at night.”

My opinion

I had difficulties to read the book, even though I heard so much about it and was fascinated by the place and time of the book. It took me about three or four times until I finally got into the story. But then, once really starting, I fell in love with the little vanities of William of Baskerville, and of course, the dark secrets, the political intrigues, and of course, the past of some of the monks. How did they get there? What made them their calling? And I realized, back then, it wasn’t a calling to become a monk and a priest… it often was the family’s decision – or just the necessity to have a roof over the head and something to eat. Also, some of them liked the respect they earned as a man of God. And still, these men were not free of sin – as can be read in that book. The darkness of and secrets in the monastery is intimidating and, at times, unsettling. The author uses clear words and doesn’t spare us with blood and murder. William of Baskerville seems a strong and calm pillar within the sinful world of these monks… and then came the inquisition… The name of the Rose is a phenomenal book written by a great author.


Cheaper By The Dozen And Bells On their Toes – Frank B. Gilbreth Jr. & Ernestine Gilbreth-Carey

Blurb

Cheaper by the Dozen: Made into two classic movies—one starring Clifton Webb and the other starring Steve Martin—and translated into more than fifty languages, Cheaper by the Dozen is an amusing, endearing, and unforgettable memoir of the Gilbreth clan as told by siblings Frank Jr. and Ernestine Gilbreth.

Mother and Dad are world-renowned efficiency experts, helping factories fine-tune their assembly lines for maximum output at minimum cost. At home, the Gilbreths themselves have cranked out twelve kids, and Dad is out to prove that efficiency principles can apply to family as well as the workplace—with riotous results.

“A touching family portrait that also happens to be very, very funny.” —Jonathan Yardley, The Washington Post

Belles on Their Toes: With twelve kids, life at the Gilbreth house has always been a big project. But after their father passes away, there are more challenges than ever. As their resourceful mother works to keep the family business running, the kids tackle the adventures of raising themselves and running a household.

With the irrepressible blend of humor and good cheer characteristic of one of the most beloved families in America, the Gilbreths rise to every occasion and find a way to keep it all together. Belles on Their Toes was also made into a movie with Myrna Loy and Jeanne Crain reprising their roles.

“There is a sincere and heartwarming atmosphere in this second volume that makes it almost better reading, if possible, than the first.” —Library Journal

My opinion

I got this book as a birthday present when I was about twelve years old. I started reading – and was immediately hooked. The book made me laugh, cry, and feel! I was connected to that family, like probably thousands of readers before me. Ernestine Gilbreth Carey and Frank B. Gilbreth Jr. touched millions of hearts by telling their childhood stories touchingly and humorously.

Lilian Moller Gilbreth and Frank Gilbreth sr. Planned an extended family, right after they got married – six boys and six girls. After seventeen years, they finally reached their goal. The two family members describe their life within the family so entertaining and humorous, it’s fun to read the book. I keep reading it about once a year, and it never gets boring.

However, there are a few little things I had to query. I realized that Mary, the second child, after Anne, was only mentioned one single time and never again in the entire book. What happened to her? The first boy, Frank B. (one of the authors), was born as the fifth child, after Anne, Mary, Ernestine, and Martha, but we don’t read anything else about Mary after that information. I had to do intense research to find out more. (Jane Lancaster who wrote a biography about the career woman Lilian Moller-Gilbreth) According to Jane Lancaster, Mary died from diphtheria. I wondered why the authors of the family books never mentioned it. I can only guess that they didn’t want to add too much sadness to this very humorous and cheerful family story. Also, they concealed another fact: apparently, their mother conceived another child but lost it. It appears that the family could not, as described in the book, stay together after the passing of the father, Frank B. Gilbreth sr. According to Jane Lancaster, at least one of the children was sent to the grandparents to California to grow up.

Maybe I shouldn’t be so very fussy about these details… maybe including these facts, the book would not have become what it did. It is a bewitching classic book, full of life, emotions, and laughter, something everyone needs once in a while!