Saturday, November 26, 2016

News and Reminders

Officer Election is Coming Up


Time for a changing of the guard. You up for it? Ready to hold an office, or at least have someone in mind to nominate? Be in prayer about officers for 2017-2019.

Don't Miss the Christmas Party!




Our annual Christmas Party is again at Linda Kozar's house on Saturday, December 3rd , 11:00-2:00. If you need directions, you can DM her on Facebook or shoot an email to zarcom1@aol.com. The White Elephant Book Exchange is always a hoot. Bring a book with an unusual title or odd subject and prepare to swap it out for something even more unusual. Get ready to giggle!


An invitation from Sharon Connell:


Writers and Authors…and Readers is a group forum for Christian writers, authors and readers.  It’s is a place where you can ask questions, get answers, try your hand at daily writing prompts, read reviews on books that our reader members have read, learn about and post your own book launches, receive information on writing, and so much more.

Our friendly membership is comprised of not only readers and writers, but editors, proofreaders, and others connected with the world of books. We’d like to invite you to check us out. The more, the merrier. We love to have fun, so you never know what some of us will say or post, but it’s all in good clean fun.

No foul language, obscene comments, or adult-rated anything is allowed. This is a family friendly group devoted to learning about good writing and good reads. Join us.

News and Reminders

Officer Election is Coming Up


Time for a changing of the guard. You up for it? Ready to hold an office, or at least have someone in mind to nominate? Be in prayer about officers for 2017-2019.

Don't Miss the Christmas Party!




Our annual Christmas Party is again at Linda Kozar's house on Saturday, December 3rd. If you need directions, you can DM her on Facebook or shoot an email to zarcom1@aol.com. The White Elephant Book Exchange is always a hoot. Bring a book with an unusual title or odd subject and prepare to swap it out for something even more unusual. Get ready to giggle!

Watch your email for the invitation!


An invitation from Sharon Connell:


Writers and Authors…and Readers is a group forum for Christian writers, authors and readers.  It’s is a place where you can ask questions, get answers, try your hand at daily writing prompts, read reviews on books that our reader members have read, learn about and post your own book launches, receive information on writing, and so much more.

Our friendly membership is comprised of not only readers and writers, but editors, proofreaders, and others connected with the world of books. We’d like to invite you to check us out. The more, the merrier. We love to have fun, so you never know what some of us will say or post, but it’s all in good clean fun.

No foul language, obscene comments, or adult-rated anything is allowed. This is a family friendly group devoted to learning about good writing and good reads. Join us.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Deep Characterization: The Antagonist

I got pulled aside at a recent conference by someone who was agonizing over her story idea. We talked about it---she had a great idea, just didn't quite know how to execute it. We discussed plot, ending, characters. The way she discussed her antagonist prompted this post. He's a bad guy. Evil. Horrible. Awful.

She forgot that he's a hero.



Everyone has a back story. Everyone. Even the antagonist. And you not only have to know the back story, you have to be able to climb under his skin and justify his actions based on his back story. To present a convincing bad guy, you have to be the bad guy for awhile.

How bad of a bad guy is he?


  • He's not really bad, he just doesn't agree with the protagonist.
  • He's definitely a bad guy, and he's deranged.
  • He's a bad guy retrospectively, like in the story I discussed with the young author.


In the historical plot we discussed, the bad guy captained a slave ship. I'm not sure there are too many things worse than that. We discussed who this guy was, though, and humanized him:


  • He's a guy with a ship and a crew, doing a job in an era when slavery was controversial, but not illegal. In the South at the time, it was a way of life, and no one thought anything of it.
  • He did his job at a time when slaves were chattel, and the commonly held opinion was that they were inferior. Evil idea to us now, but just a way of life then.
  • He probably had a wife and family at home to whom he was very loving. Probably had friends all over the world with whom he hoisted a pint when he was in port. He probably tithed to his church.

Because, after all, he was just a regular guy with a distasteful job. The only thing making our antagonist a bad guy is his job, a job that financially supported his crew and family.

When things are "just a way of life," no one looks at them as evil---few give the status quo a second thought. Eventually, more people came to their senses and fought a war to bring the South in line and end slavery, but in the era of the story we're discussing, there might have been a few folks shaking their heads, a few denouncing the practice, but it was still "just a way of life."

So, you can present your antagonist as just a regular guy with a despicable job. Or, if you want to make him really bad, you can also illustrate how he treats his "cargo," which is also how you turn him from a bad guy to a good guy, because now we're talking about motive and integrity. If he's the protagonist, he finds his job revolting.

But, keeping him a bad guy and to illustrate him as being totally despicable, we'd have to alter him a bit. With my scenario above---loving wife and kids, friends, church attendance---we'd have a fairly likeable guy that shocks readers once they discover his job. That would be fine if we wanted to turn a good guy with a bad job into a good guy activist trying to abolish that job. But it's not fine if we want to keep him bad.

So, how do you round him out? Make the monster human? You don't want to have him too sympathetic, so what do you do?

Here's where the "save the cat" idea comes in. Give him one thing he loves, one act of kindness, one moral tenet he adheres to, and you've changed him from a 1920's silent movie villain to an interesting antagonist.


  • While they're loading the "cargo" onto the ship, he can let a little boy play at the wheel.
  • He can carry his scruffy dog because it's afraid to go down the ramp to the dock.
  • He can tip his cap respectfully at older ladies because they remind him of his precious ma.

Or, you can illustrate why he believes what he's doing is right. It'll be warped, to our minds, but it'll fit the era:

  • There aren't enough workers in the South to harvest the cotton necessary for clothing.
  • The slave trade is legal, and it feeds my family and crew.
  • My children deserve a better lifestyle, and my income guarantees they'll have one.

Who is your bad guy? How well do you know him? Is he a bad just for the sake of being bad? How does he justify himself? How does his situation/setting/era help justify him? How bad to you want him to be? How sympathetic?

It's okay to make him bad, but you also have to make him human. Obvious, mustache-twirlin' villains are for the '20s.


(Linda Yezak  © 2016)






Saturday, November 12, 2016

Traci Hilton is Our Next Guest!


How can you not love Traci? She plays the spoons! Of course, if that's not talent enough, she's also an award winning author of cozy mysteries and mystery suspense.

And she's going to be featured at our next meeting, Nov. 19th!

Traci will be speaking about making and marketing audio books. Wherever you are in the publication process, from just writing to getting your rights back, this is something all of us need to know and consider. The more products you have to author---print, digital, and audio books---the more you can sell and the better your bottom line will be.

Now that audio books are offered on a variety of devices, their popularity has grown. Join us to learn how to get in on a hot deal!


















Saturday, November 5, 2016

October-November 2016 Releases

New Releases from WOTS members!


Unseen Love: She has an uncertain future. He has a hidden past. Can a forbidden romance set them free? In the shadows of pagan Rome, Laelia Ricarri’s recent blindness destroys her hopes of a betrothal to escape her abusive father. For Drusus, his new mistress is more capable, and beautiful, than she knows. Still tormented by the sins of his past, the only thing he fears more than falling in love with his mistress is failing her in his task. But his newfound faith has made him an enemy of Rome, and the reemergence of an old feud with a calculating rival threatens to ensnare Laelia within its dark grasp. As Drusus reawakens Laelia’s inner strength, his patient encouragement is awakening her heart. She’s learning to trust, as Drusus must also learn to trust in his God. When the indiscriminate tide of tragedy sweeps through Rome, Drusus and Laelia will have to put their faith in each other to survive. Even if that means being parted forever.




Southbound Birds:  Continuing the saga in this Early Birds sequel. This Christian comedy has Rose and Larry Wilford hitting the highway on their next RV adventure. Ben and Betsy Stevenson are right behind them in their 5th wheel. Filled with fun, fellowship and a few fiascoes!




The Bucket List Dare: a Christian Romance Novella Collection: Four best friends—Texas A&M grads—challenge each other to revisit the bucket lists they made in college and tackle one daring item before they turn thirty. Living in different parts of the country and with birthdays on the horizon, the Aggie girls choose their adventure and work toward making it happen . . . with wonderful, unexpected results. Her Impossible Dream, by Angela Breidenbach, Save the Groom, by Jessica Ferguson, What Lies Ahead, by Pamela S. Meyers, and Skydiving to Love,by Linda W. Yezak


ACFW November 2016 New Releases


Biblical:

Slender Reeds: Jochebed's Hope by Texie Susan Gregory -- In a deadly race to save her son, a young slave woman dares defy the most powerful man in the world. (Biblical from Barbour Publishing)


Contemporary Romance:


Crazy Woman Christmas by Renee Blare -- A quiet cowboy whisks Bianca to his ranch to ride out the Christmas blizzard where she discovers life is cold but also beautiful in the “Cowboy” state. (Contemporary Romance from Inspired [Prism Book Group])

Other Than a Halo by Valerie Comer -- Even though she’s a new woman in Christ, single mom Bren Haddock was no angel as a teen. Now managing the Hiller Farm for a CSA, life is good until a friend offers to enter her daughter into the Little Miss Snowflake Pageant. Old insecurities flare when she meets the intriguing head of marketing the pageant. Rob Santoro isn’t so sure about handling the pageant portfolio until he meets Bren. Soon he’s fallen for her and her two kids. When a Thanksgiving adventure goes awry, he’s left wondering how to love a woman who refuses to be loved. What will it take for Bren to retire her tarnished halo and move into the future God has for her? (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

Do You Know What I Know? by Becky Melby -- What if a phone call from the obstetrician’s office went to the wrong person? Elizabeth Schmidt can’t figure out why her husband doesn’t seem excited about the news she’s sure he heard. Is he unhappy? Or is James cheating on her? Pastor Jay Davidson is in shock. Bethany Schmidt, the woman he’s in love with, is pregnant. Should he walk away, or is God asking him to play the part of Joseph in real life and not just in the church Christmas program? Bethany can’t figure out why Jay is acting so weird. Has he figured out one of the two secrets she’s keeping until after Christmas? Can a ponytailed itinerant carpenter with a pet chicken help unravel the confusion? (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

How to Charm a Beekeeper's Heart by Candice Sue Patterson -- Weddings are the last thing beekeeper Huck Anderson wants to be associated with, considering his past. So when he inherits a building occupied by a bridal boutique, he aims to evict the failing business and open a sporting goods store. That is until his tenant ends up being Arianne Winters, a woman he’s indebted to from a mistake made years ago. When a life-threatening injury derails Huck entirely, Arianne offers to aid in his lengthy recovery if he’ll allow her to remain in his building. But nursing her adversary proves challenging when her adolescent crush resurfaces. (Contemporary Romance from White Rose Publishing [Pelican])

A Portrait of Emily Price by Katherine Reay -- After a whirlwind romance and marriage, Emily Price returns home to Italy with her new husband and learns that life at its richest is only found when she accepts its chaotic beauty. (Contemporary Romance from HarperCollins Christian Publishing [Thomas Nelson and Zondervan])


Contemporary Women's Fiction:

Forgiveness by Marianne Evans -- Country music bad boy, Chase Bradington is on the comeback trail. Fresh from rehab for alcohol addiction and transformed by the power of Christ, Chase is battling to rediscover the music he loves and a career he nearly ruined. Then he meets up-and-comer, Pyper Brock and instantly sparks ignite. Despite her rampant attraction to the handsome and talented icon, Pyper knows of Chase’s reputation and soundly dismisses his romantic overtures. No way will Pyper repeat the mistake of trusting a man whose done battle with the bottle. Can a sin-damaged past be released in favor of forgiveness? (Women’s Fiction from Harbourlight Books [Pelican])



Historical:

Beneath a Golden Veil by Melanie Dobson -- As elegant as the Sacramento residence she operates, Isabelle Labrie keeps her past concealed, like the treasure she hides under the Golden Hotel. Then, unexpected guests—fugitive slaves seeking safe passage to the North—force her to confront her past and reconsider her path. (Historical from Waterfall Press)

Forest Child by Heather Day Gilbert -- Historically based on the Icelandic Sagas, Forest Child brings the memorable, conflicted persona of Freydis Eiriksdottir to life. (Historical from Elk Lake Publishing Inc.)

The Lost Generation by Erica Marie Hogan -- On August 5th 1914, the world changed forever. For John and Beth Young, it meant the happiness they finally achieved was snatched out from under them. For Emma Cote, it meant that her husband Jared would do his duty, despite her feelings. For Christy Simmons it meant an uncertain future with the boy she loved. The lives of six people, spread across the British Empire to America were changed forever. (Historical from Elk Lake Publishing Inc.)


Historical Romance:

The Blue Ribbon Brides Collection by Jennifer AlLee, Angela Breidenbach, Darlene Franklin, Cynthia Hickey, Carrie Fancett Pagels, Amber Stockton, Niki Turner, Gina Welborn, and Becca Whitham -- Meet nine men and women whose competitive goals take them to state and county fairs between 1889 and 1930. From baking pie to polishing pigs, from sculpting butter to stitching quilts, everyone has something to prove to themselves and their communities. But in going for the blue ribbon, will nine women miss the greatest prize of all—the devoted heart of a godly man? (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)

Left at the Altar by Margaret Brownley -- In the wild and untamed West, time is set by the local jeweler...but Two-Time Texas has two: two feuding jewelers and two wildly conflicting time zones. Meg Lockwood's marriage was supposed to unite the families and finally bring peace until she's left at the altar by her no-good fiancé. Hired to defend the groom against a breach of promise lawsuit, Grant Garrison quickly realizes that the only thing worse than small-town trouble is falling for the jilted bride. But there's something about Meg's sweet smile and determined grit that draws him in...even as the whole crazy town seems set on keeping them apart. (Historical Romance from Sourcebooks)

Mail Order Mommy by Christine Johnson -- Nursing a broken heart, Amanda Porter had answered a frontier mail-order bride ad placed by Garrett Decker's children—only to find the groom-to-be didn't want a wife. But his adorable children are determined she'll be their mother by Christmas… His wife's betrayal and tragic death demolished Garrett's life. Now he can't even look at another woman, let alone marry Amanda, who resembles his first love. But with his daughter convinced Amanda is the perfect mother, will Garrett realize she's also his perfect match? (Historical Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Hope's Design by Dawn Kinzer -- An independent city girl aspiring to be a fashion designer falls for a stubborn artist from the country who wants to keep his talent a secret. (Historical Romance, Independently Published)

Brides of Wyoming by S. Dionne Moore -- Roam the Wyoming range alongside three couples who meet under danger from bands of outlaws. Renee escapes a gang of outlaws and lands in the arms of a sheepherder. Olivia’s sleuthing upturns secrets key to solving the murder of a reluctant rancher’s father. Maira is trying to keep her ranch running alone when a drifting cowboy offers a hand. Can love develop where suspicion and greed roam the range? (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)

The Negotiated Marriage by Christina Rich -- When the railroad pushes to buy her land, orphaned Cameron Sims will do anything to keep the only home she and her sisters have ever known. Even if she must marry a stranger. Duncan Murray doesn’t want a wife. He wants Sims Creek, a sanctuary that can help him forget a troubled childhood. But his reluctant, and captivating, bride-to-be is key to making his dreams a reality. And despite their business arrangement, Camy and Duncan might be signing on the dotted line for true love… (Historical Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Love in the Seams by Jodie Wolfe -- A little girl on a quest for a new mama has the local seamstress in her sights. (Historical Romance, Independently Published)


Romantic Suspense:

His Perfect Love by Sharon K. Connell -- On the run from a hit man, Patricia Campbell is unaware of the FBI’s search for her to learn what information she might hold, so she continues to hide out. Then she meets a persistent computer technician, a charming philanthropist, and a handsome, wealthy businessman who wants to marry her. But her fears resurface, and she wonders if she can trust any of them. Can she survive long enough to find peace…and perfect love? (Romantic Suspense, Independently Published)

Counter Point by Marji Laine -- Her dad's gone, her diner's closing, and her car's in the lake. Cat McPherson has nothing left to lose ... except her life. And a madman, bent on revenge, is determined to take that, as well. Her former boyfriend, Ray Alexander, returns as a hero from his foreign mission, bringing back souvenirs in the form of death-threats. When several attempts are made on Cat’s life, she must find a way to trust Ray, the man who broke her heart. (Romantic Suspense from Write Integrity Press)


Speculative:

The Flaming Sword by Heather L.L. FitzGerald -- When evil joins forces in the Tethered World, Sadie Larcen must risk all to protect the Flaming Sword and her family...even if it takes her life. (Speculative Young Adult from Mountain Brook Ink)

More in-depth descriptions of these books can be found on the ACFW Fiction Finder website.