On writing (or not) religion

Hi, peeps!

I heard that George Michael song the other day during a throwback radio show. You know the one. “Faith.”

And I got to thinking about that. There are many kinds of “faith.” Faith in yourself. Faith in your friends. Faith in your family. Faith that you’ll get that big promotion. Faith that things will work out. And, of course, the kind of faith that too often gets grafted onto religion.

I say this because a few days back, someone asked me if I go to church. I immediately froze, because I’m not comfortable with questions like that. The person proceeded to tell me that I’d probably feel better if I prayed. Which only made me even more uncomfortable.

Why? Because it’s presumptuous to think that everybody thinks like you do. And it’s presumptuous to think that your way of coping with something (i.e. religion) is for everybody. I try to be mellow about statements like this, because I’m sure the statements come from good intent. But nonetheless, it comes off as patronizing and, honestly, proselytizing. And yes, I have an uneasy relationship with organized religion, given my current go ’round on this planet as a woman and as someone who identifies as not straight.

And before you ask, I’m one of THOSE people who tends not to discuss religion publicly. I will occasionally discuss politics, but when it comes to religion, I just don’t go there. Why? Well, because I consider religious and spiritual beliefs to be a personal matter, so I don’t ever ask people what theirs are nor do I offer anything about mine. If someone asks, we can discuss it privately. Otherwise, it’s not something I address and it’s never something I ask people.

Why am I thinking about this?

Go see!

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Tips on writing stronger characters

Hi, all–

Usually on Sundays I provide some reading material or share with you a title of an article or book I’m reading. But since I am a writer, I also like to share tips for those of you who, for whatever reason, thought being a writer was a good idea. Welcome to my circus! I thought it was a good idea, too! LOL

Anyway, since we’re on this journey together, here are a couple of articles from Writer’s Digest that might help you create stronger, more nuanced characters. Plus, there’s another link to a blog that fellow writer Clifford Henderson did on it. And readers, if you ever read something and the writer makes it look easy, I hope you can appreciate the amount of work that went into that tract. Because it’s when everything’s working properly and smoothly that you know it’s the best kind of writing. Most writers work hard to achieve that — I don’t know if I have, yet, but dang it, I keep trying.

Want some more?

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Fun reading

Hey, folks. If you get a chance, start reading Janet Evanovich‘s Stephanie Plum series.

Plum’s in Trenton, NJ (so get ready for a slew of Jersey references and jokes). She’s half-Italian, half-eastern European (not sure which country), and she’s one big lovable screw-up who ends up working as a bail bondsman for her cousin, Vinnie. With an uproarious cast of secondary characters like Lula, the prostitute-turned sober file clerk at Vinnie’s to Stephanie’s completely off-the-wall Grandma Mazur whose regular hobby is attending viewings, you will laugh out loud through every single one of these books.

From the second book, Two for the Dough (1996):

“They had a closed casket all right for Moogey Bues,” my grandmother said to my mother. “I got to see him anyway on account of the accident.”
My mother’s eyes opened wide in alarm. “Accident?”
I shrugged out of my jacket. “Grandma caught her sleeve on the lid, and the lid accidentally flew open.”
My mother raised her arms in appalled supplication. “All day I’ve had people calling and telling me about the gladioli. Now tomorrow I’ll have to hear about the lid.”
“He didn’t look so hot,” Grandma Mazur said. “I told Spiro that he did a good job, but it was pretty much a fib.”
Morelli was wearing a blazer over a black knit shirt. He took a seat, and his jacket swung wide, exposing the gun at his hip.”
“Nice piece!” Grandma said. “What is it? Is that a forty-five?”
“It’s a nine-millimeter.”
“Don’t suppose you’d let me see it,” Grandma said. “I’d sure like to get the feel of a gun like that.”
“NO!” everyone shouted in unison.
“I shot a chicken once,” Grandma explained to Morelli.
I could see Morelli searching for a reply. “Where did you shoot it?” he finally asked.
“In the gumpy. Shot it clear off.”
(pp. 63-64)

If you’re a writer of fiction, Evanovich’s characters and characterization often carry a lot of her narratives. Want to get a taste of what great characterization is? Read the Stephanie Plum series.

All rightie, happy reading and happy writing!

Fun (I hope) stuff: some interviews with my characters

Hey, folks. I’m working a few different writing projects at once, so I’m running around like a freak at the moment. For those of you who are not familiar with my work, you can check the “books” section of my site here and the “stories” section to get a taste of it. I offer excerpts from my novels and a few freebie short stories. Sort of a “try before you buy” thing.

And, at the blogsite Women and Words, where I spend a lot of time (this month, we’re blogging the alphabet and tomorrow I’ll be posting the entry for S), I talk about the publishing business and about my work and some other things. So, with that in mind, I’d like to introduce you to a couple of my characters, who I had the good fortune of sitting down and chatting with. One, K.C. Fontero, is the main character in the first and third books of my New Mexico mystery series. The first is Land of Entrapment and the third is The Ties that Bind. Sage Crandall is K.C.’s love interest, but she has a rep as being a force unto herself. In a good way. 🙂

So here are the links to those interviews, for funsies.

K.C. Fontero

Sage Crandall

I do chats with my characters because it helps me work some stuff out with regard to that aspect of writing. So, for writers, give it a try and for readers, hope you find it at least interesting.

Happy writing, happy reading!