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Love Month is Knocking!


May your February be filled with love... ~ Bette A. Stevens

May your February be filled with love… ~ Bette A. Stevens http://www.4writersandreaders.com

February is knocking and it’s time to get up and answer the door. That means lots of edits and rewrites for my debut novel, featuring Shawn Daniels, protagonist from PURE TRASH—the short story prequel to the upcoming novel. Since I plan to release the novel this spring, February is the perfect month for me to get out those colored pens (editing) and get that first draft tuned up and ready to share with my first outside-of-the-house editors. Our darling kitty—Midnight—is on high alert to help at every turn. She loves pens, eye glasses, paper clips and everything that glimmers or moves. And, of course, she has to make sure that there’s nothing for her in my tea mug. Midnight was busy playing with her catnip mouse (photos) earlier today— giving a glorious partridge time to munch on some of our delectable crab apples—before she went out for her morning stroll.

I’ll have a Valentine’s Books Giveaway to share with you soon. Meanwhile, stay warm and enjoy the wonderful Month of Love.  ~ Bette A. Stevens

Don’t Forget to Backup your Novel!!


November 2013 is my first NaNoWriMo and I’m working to complete the draft of my first novel. ~ Bette A. Stevens http://www.4writersandreaders.com

Do you have a story to tell? Come join us.

How to Keep Your Reader Turning Those Pages


Bette A. Stevens:

Writing Kitty

Writing Tips: Another great post from Lorrie Porter! ~ Bette A. Stevens

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Originally posted on This Craft Called Writing:

I was fortunate to be asked to assist with a lecture at Salford University earlier this year, with the wonderful Gill James, and was very impressed with the standard of writing craft being taught. I’m sure Gill won’t mind if I share a little of what we all learned on the subject of Pace; or, How to Keep Your Reader Turning those Pages.

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Aside

School Vacations and the kids get bored?


English: tangram

English: tangram (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Help them out of that slump!

For hours of creative learning & fun, visit
‘THE TANGRAM ZOO and WORD PUZZLES TOO!’

A children’s activity book written and illustrated by Bette A. Stevens.

Math, Science, Riddles, Project Ideas and more…

Kids learn how to make their own tangrams:

  • Solve tangram puzzles
  • Solve rhyming riddles
  • Create their own animals and riddles to add to The Tangram Zoo!

Find out more at The Tangram Zoo and Word Puzzles Too! | Book Club Reading List.

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Meet the Authors on Tour!


Five of my favorite authors are On Tour  this week!

BE SURE TO MARK YOUR CALENDAR. THEN, GO CLICK ON THE LINKS. You are cordially invited to visit— Thursday, December 19,2012:

SNEAK PEEK:

Find out what these five awesome authors are working on right now!

In case you missed the Sneak Preview of the latest book I’m working on, here’s the link:

On the Bookshelf

BOOKS: The gifts that keep right on giving!

Still looking for some last minute gifts for the kids? You can find my childen’s books at

http://www.Amazon.com/author/betteastevens

Storytelling At Its Best!


Meet the Author:

Susan Speranza

Susan Speranza, author of The Tale of Lucia Grandi, The Early Years.

Amazon reviewers acclaim Speranza’s debut novel as
“great storytelling…[prose] flows with such beauty you are holding your breath to eagerly read each word!”

Hello, Susan. It’s great to have you with me today. Tell me a little about yourself and about your life in Vermont.

I was born in New York City and grew up on suburban Long Island. This became the setting of my novel, The Tale of Lucia Grandi, the Early Years.

Because Long Island is surrounded by water, all the things associated with water such as the ocean, the beaches, boating, fishing and swimming are an important part of the culture there. But that seemed to have so little influence on me; from the time I was a child, I always longed for mountains. The setting of many of the books I read was always rural — full of pastures, highlands, valleys, farms. It took many years – and a divorce – to help me achieve my dream. Eleven years ago I left Long Island, moved to Vermont and never looked back. Now, every day when I look out at my meadow and the mountain beyond, I know this is where I belong. I don’t miss the water or the ocean at all. And if on occasion I want to experience it again, I just travel three hours east to the coast of Maine and I’m good!

 Well, Susan, when you’re hankering for a taste of the coast, give me a call; it would be great to share a cup of lobster stew with a fellow author.

I never refuse invitations, so be careful…that’s how I wound up in Vermont. My friend kept inviting me up, so after several years of visiting Vermont, I moved there permanently – and I bought the house next door to her!

The invitation’s an open one, Susan… Tell us a little about your family life.

Well, after a very unfriendly divorce, I took an eight-year hiatus, at which point I met a wonderful man (a fellow New Yorker transplanted to Vermont) and we are now engaged. There is definitely life after divorce.

I have many children but they are of the four-legged variety… years ago I took up the hobby of dog showing and breeding and have produced many Pekingese champions. The dogs I have now are the great-great-grandchildren of my original (or foundation) dogs. They sometimes seem to cost as much as human children — I think I have singlehandedly put all of my Vet’s offspring through college. Unfortunately, I can’t claim them as dependents at tax time…

How long have you been writing? What type of writing do you normally do?

I’ve been writing all my life. Even as a child I found communicating through writing easier than speaking. If I needed to say something important or explain something, I found I could do it better through writing, where I could measure my words and tame my thoughts. As a child I would write books and stories — imitating the books I loved. Some of them I’m sure involved copyright infringement as they were imitation to the point of plagiarism, but it was good practice and eventually, I learned to be original. When I was an adolescent, full of drama and raw emotion as most adolescents are, I found writing poetry was more fulfilling. I never really wrote for anyone but myself. The first work I wrote for public viewing was The City of Light — a fantasy or allegory — about the end of the world. That book has recently been reissued as an eBook. The Tale of Lucia Grandi is my first novel.

Can you give us a brief synopsis of your new book?

In this novel, a dying old woman is asked to tell the story of her life and so she tells about growing up in a troubled, warring suburban family in the 1950s and ’60s. It’s written as a memoir, where Lucia is the silent observer recording incidents in her family and illustrating the conflicts between them. Her conflict with her family grows as she grows, leading to the final crisis.

What prompted you to write Lucia Grandi?

I had so many stories I wanted to tell, but I’m not really a short story writer. A few years ago, while I was waiting to have my car repaired, an 83-year-old woman came into the waiting room where I sat by myself. She began talking to me — and before I knew it, she was telling me the story of her life. I thought of that afternoon when I searched for a framework in which to set the stories I wanted to tell. It seemed very compelling – an old woman looking back on a life she claims was not very interesting; yet, as the novel progresses, the stories she is telling are very interesting indeed.

Do you have a favorite line from the book?

There is actually a line Lucia (the narrator) says several times throughout the book in slightly different ways: “It was simple, really, all I needed was a kind word, a human touch – which never came…”

Who is your favorite character and why?

This is a difficult question in the same way that I find it difficult to answer people who ask me if I have a favorite dog. I always say no — I love them all (and I do!); but I am closer to some than to others. The same with my characters. I love them all, but some I had more fun with, and some were more challenging, harder to get right. With the mother, Ruth, it was difficult to find that balance; it’s easy to characterize someone as evil or selfish, but even such people as these occasionally have some redeeming qualities. Ruth was characterized as hard, cold, domineering; but there are many moments when her vulnerability slips through. I had to make sure that I didn’t make her one-dimensional. I had a lot of fun with Lucia’s sister, Lynn – the eternal drama queen. Again, I had to work hard at preventing her from becoming a one-dimensional character.

What was the hardest part about writing your book?

The hardest part about writing this book was finding the time to write it in the midst of an overwhelming, demanding life. I tried to get up at 4 a.m. to write, but I’m not a morning person. I can’t think straight that early. So I had to settle for writing on weekends, holidays and summer vacations. That’s why it took me six years to write my first novel.

Do you do anything besides write?

Most writers have day jobs — and mine is a high school librarian. The advantage is that I get a summer vacation when I can write every day. Writing a book seemed a natural extension of being a librarian; after all those years of being the keeper-of-the-books, I finally wrote one.

How can my readers get a copy of LUCIA GRANDI, The Early Years?

It’s available in print and as an eBook from Amazon and Barnes&Noble. It’s also available from the publisher, Brook House Press: www.brookhousepress.org. It can also be special-ordered through local bookstores.

What’s next for you, Susan?

The ending of the book requires a sequel. I’m not overly fond of sequels, but it was either that or writing an 800 page book, which I really didn’t think the public would go for. Hopefully, it won’t take me another six years to write that one!

Thank you, Susan Speranza, for sharing your  story with me today. It was great to find out more about you and about your superb novel. I highly recommend Susan’s book to fiction lovers everywhere. Susan Speranza’s tale will hold your attention from the first word to the last:. This story of the human yearning to be loved, to be safe, cared for and understood, is told in words that will tug at your heart. My copy of THE TALE OF LUCIA GRANDI, The Early Years arrived at my doorstep last Tuesday. Don’t miss out… Order yours today!

Some links:

www.susansperanza.com

www.facebook.com/susansperanzaauthor

www.twitter.com/susansperanza

Author Interview by Bette A. Stevens
http://www.4writersandreaders.wordpress.com

The Tangram Zoo and Word Puzzles Too! | Book Club Reading List


 

English: tangram

English: tangram (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

 

The Tangram Zoo and Word Puzzles Too! | Book Club Reading List.

 

 

 

 


Bette A. Stevens:

An essay on getting started!

Originally posted on Melissa I. Hassard:

First, get a cow.

Why a cow, you ask?  Well, it could be a chicken, I suppose, or even a dog.  A few deer could wander through.  But a poem, especially a first poem, can definitely use the sturdy architecture and sweet domesticity of a cow to build itself around.  You can lean against a cow.  She won’t run away unexpectedly.

Cows never mock and are utterly sincere.  They will either listen to your poem with soft brown eyes, or they will eat grass and ignore you.  Consider this freedom to keep going.

You don’t have to be your most clever with cows.  You need neither witty dinner party banter nor tony restaurant.  Cows appreciate simplicity.

Melodic lowing makes for beautiful score.

As an aside, cows seem to understand birds.  This becomes important later on down the road in other poems.

You need something for her to eat.  A first…

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Writing Tips & Tricks


Bette A. Stevens:

CATegorization: How am I ever going to edit my book?

Writing tips: How to’s :SHOW, don’t tell!

Originally posted on This Craft Called Writing:

It takes courage to write. Facing that blank page can be difficult enough in itself. Finding the words to express your scene goal, mix more conflict into a line of dialogue, or add a perfect detail of description is no easy task. But fiction is more than plot, character and setting. Great fiction has emotion and that emotion comes from the heart and soul of the writer.

But it isn’t a simple matter of ‘telling’ the reader about the emotions a character is experiencing, instead we are told to ‘show’ them. It is a phrase often used, but not always easy to put into practice. So I thought I’d share a few techniques I’ve developed to help me ‘show’ the emotions in my stories, rather than ‘tell’ them.

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Grammar Tips!


Bette A. Stevens:

Writing Tips: When and when not to use the passive voice!

Originally posted on Elijah Cain:

There is plenty to draw from when it comes to using Active Voice (i.e. AV). It’s use is preferred over its evil step brother, Passive Voice, and therefore affords plenty of instruction on when and how to use it. Whether we like it or not, once in a while the Passive Voice (i.e. PV) enters our writing in such a way that it seems appropriate. Almost as if it belongs there. Sometimes it does! Now, before the rule writers roll over in their graves and begin clawing at coffin lids to escape and haunt me, let me explain:

In most cases, it would be better to write in the AV. Why? Because with AV, the subject rather than the object is the focus of the sentence. In fact, in many cases, PV allows you to omit the subject all together. And because AV is almost always more concise, vigorous, and…

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