Friday, November 17, 2017

Round Robin Blog Fest November 18, 2017





It's been a very busy Fall for me so I apologize for not keeping up with the blog! Between work and finishing my latest novel, there hasn't been much time for sanity, but I'm back for another Round Robin Blog Fest.
         This month's topic is:
What stories have your written or read where a holiday takes place. To what purpose was the inclusion of the holiday? How do you celebrate holidays or events? Does this ever make it into one of your stories?

Definitely! Christmas is one of my favorite holidays and my novel The Bakery Lady takes place during the Christmas season. I included the holiday for a few reason:

  • to use a version of the Twelve Days of Christmas where someone showers my leading lady Christina Davidson with gifts
  • to magnify the family issues Christina faces
  • to include her frustration with building a gingerbread house
  • to show a small town type of Christmas that I've come to love including a gigantic Christmas tree at town hall, hot chocolate from local vendors, and wandering the streets to gaze at the lights.
In our home, one of the things I used to do with my own kids is create homemade gingerbread houses. Eventually, we pared them down to gingerbread cookies which friends and family look forward to every year along with sugar cookies, my infamous pink peppermint cookies and some very addictive caramel popcorn.

This year, I need to modify things. My kids are mostly grown and won't be home for Christmas this year. For the first time in over twenty years, I'll be on my own for Christmas. Time for some new traditions! I'll still do some baking, but will have to ship it out to them all. I'm looking forward to the light display in a local park, as well as along our main street which never fails to make me smile.

I do hope you'll check out my novel. Simply click on the link to purchase!




An Excerpt from The Bakery Lady:

 The backdoor flew open. Clancy stomped the snow off his shoes then looked up. “Oh, you have a visitor, I see.”
Christina rolled her eyes. “Actually, I kidnapped her so I wouldn’t be lonely until you showed up.”
Lucy’s face reddened. “It’s okay, I was just leaving.”
“No, you’re not. I haven’t finished icing your cake yet.” She set aside the carrot cake and grabbed two of the chocolate layers. “The kids like chocolate with caramel and custard, right?”
“You’re getting a cake? What’s the occasion?” Clancy peered over Christina’s shoulder.
Lucy’s eyes widened. “Um, I...”
“It’ll be about ten minutes. Clancy, why don’t you take Lucy up to Java Jo’s and grab me a cup of tea.” She all but pushed them out the front door.
“Um, okay.” Clancy glanced from Christina to Lucy. “Is everything okay?”
“Yup.” Christina nudged him with her elbow since her hands were full of buttercream. “Take Lucy with you. She wanted to grab a cup of coffee while she waited anyway.”
“Yeah, I did.” Lucy narrowed her eyes, then whispered, “You’re sneaky.”
“Getting rid of both of us? How convenient.” Clancy scowled. “Where are my calzones?”
Christina smiled. “You bring me tea, then I’ll feed you.”
“Shall we?” Her brother stood in front of Lucy and held out his arm. “You didn’t really order a cake, did you? My sister’s up to something, isn’t she? Is Leo hiding back here somewhere?”
“You are so dense some days.” Lucy shook her head. When he opened the front door, she left the bakery ahead of him.
Warmth spread through Christina’s stomach. She liked Lucy Stephen already.
By the time Leo returned in the early afternoon, she had three walls of the gingerbread house erected with a bowl in the center to hold them up. He smiled his approval then sat on the stool to watch. She ignored him and attached the fourth wall. After she put on the roof pieces, she stepped back to admire her handiwork.
“Bravo.” He applauded. “You’ve successfully incarcerated a defenseless bowl.”
“What are you talking about?” Her eyes widened.
He grinned. “You left your bowl inside.”
“I did?” Christina’s shoulders sagged as one side of the roof slid off and revealed the yellow bowl inside. The other side of the roof slid and dragged off a wall. Her eyes widened as the remaining three walls toppled. When she swore, Leo covered his mouth and convulsed with laughter.
Christina couldn’t stop the tears, nor did she bother, she was too frustrated. “I can’t do this. I’ll just go buy a stupid gingerbread house. There’s no way I can make one by tomorrow.”
Leo grasped her arms and pulled her close, pressing her against his chest.
She poured out every ounce of frustration in her tears then looked at the ruins. “Why can’t I do this? It’s not that difficult, is it?”
His arms remained firm around her. “What would your mom tell you?”
She laid her head on his chest, the thumps of his heart calming her as she gazed as the mess of icing and cookie. “She’d say I was too impatient and need to let the walls set before I put on the roof. That and the icing’s too thin.”
“Problem solved.” Leo nodded. “Oh, and you should stop giving away your bowls.”
“How else am I supposed to get three walls to stay up while I put on the fourth?”
He gazed into her eyes. “Ask a friend for help.”
Christina looked up. She’d never thought of that. “I don’t have any friends. Well, except Clancy, but he doesn’t count.”
“I could be your friend.” Leo touched her chin.
She hesitated and licked her lips. “Can you hold up the walls of a gingerbread house?”
“I can manage that.” He closed the gap between them. “Can we call a truce?”
“For now.” Her heart hammered against his leather jacket. The heat that emanated off his body made her want to kiss him. To rip his coat off and...
Not one of her better ideas. Instead, she pulled away from him and scrubbed her hands at the sink. She thickened the icing while Leo scraped icing off the pieces of the house. Together, they stood the walls to make a solid base for the roof.
When his hands brushed hers, her knees nearly buckled. “Why are you helping me?”
“Because you asked.” Leo shrugged. “Clancy’s worried about you and, between you and me, I think you’re kind of interesting.”
Her face warmed. “Gee, thanks.”
With help, the gingerbread house took no time at all to finish. This time when Christina stood back to admire her work, the roof and walls stayed in place.

I hope you'll hop around to visit some of my fellow authors.
Have a wonderful time and I hope to see you next month!

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Round Robin Blog Post Sept 23 2017

Hi ho! Welcome back to another Round Robin Blog Fest! This month's topic:

This month's topic: What characters in other author's books have not left your mind? Have written a character who wouldn't leave you? Why do you think this happens?

Earlier this year I was introduced to a novel called "House of Leaves" by Mark Z. Danielewski. A bizarre book that takes a reader on several different story line all in one compact 705 page novel. Of all the characters in that book one has haunted me for months afterward. The character of Johnny Tremaine. While the structure of the book is unconventional, there are varying fonts, page layouts, and images, it is the footnotes of the book that unravel Johnny's story. An apprentice in a tattoo shop, he starts off a relatable, just another kid with problems. He goes from an everyday assuming punk kid who follows a descent to madness.

Of my own characters, Leo Blue is the one who hangs around the most. He started off as a sidekick to Danny Walker in my Wild Blue Mysteries and gradually took over his own role as a leading man in The Bakery Lady and will appear once more in my latest work in progress, The Painted Lady.

Leo emerged from the wild side of me that longed to say what was on my mind no matter the consequences. He is also the kind of person who does as he pleases. No family. No one to worry about but himself. He is free to work as he chooses and run off to other parts of the world when life gets him down. A loner, just like Johnny Tremaine, Leo does his best without giving up anything to anyone.
Until he meets Christina Davidson, that is...

Buy your copy of The Bakery Lady

http://bwlpublishing.ca/authors/bator-diane-mystery-canada/




Anne Stenhouse  http://annestenhousenovelist.wordpress.com/
Heidi M. Thomas http://heidiwriter.wordpress.com/
Victoria Chatham http://www.victoriachatham.com
Diane Bator http://dbator.blogspot.ca/
A.J. Maguire  http://ajmaguire.wordpress.com/
Judith Copek http://lynx-sis.blogspot.com/
Beverley Bateman http://beverleybateman.blogspot.ca/
Fiona McGier http://www.fionamcgier.com/
Skye Taylor http://www.skye-writer.com/blogging_by_the_sea
Rachael Kosinski http://rachaelkosinski.weebly.com/
Rhobin Courtright http://www.rhobinleecourtright.com

Saturday, August 19, 2017

August Round Robin Blogfest

Today's topic is NOT for the faint of heart! Reader be warned.

When you are stumped on moving a plot line forward, what do you do to reinvigorate your imagination and get your characters moving?

The term Writer's Block gets tossed around a lot. I find that by writing every day and keeping my characters in the back of my mind, my stories and plot usually move along well.

Usually.

When I'm stumped one of the first things I need to do to get my characters and story moving, is to get myself moving. I take a walk or weed the garden. Clear my head and either mull over the story or just set it aside and watch the birds fly and the grass sway. Seriously. Sometimes procrastination can help. So can a piece of chocolate or a cup of coffee.

Inspiration can strike in the oddest of ways:  meeting someone on the street who says something I can work with or just having a sudden "lightening strike" aha moment. Actually, I had one of those today while surfing the Internet trying to solve a problem in my latest novel "All That Sparkles." Today I saw an image of a necklace on a website and suddenly inspiration struck. I made notes to develop my story with later this week.

I find my writing and stories flow well when I am able to focus on my work and not be completely distracted by everyday life. Sometimes, however, things from my everyday life can seep into my story and take things in a whole new direction. Always for the better and never at anyone's expense.


One of the biggest reasons for Writer's Block is that authors try to write the best stuff they can. Honestly, sometimes in order to get a story moving, you just have to spill a little ink and write the worst crap you could ever write. Somewhere in the editing phase, you find the gemstones you'd like to keep and build on. Getting rid of bad lines is easy. I usually get rid of a lot of extraneous words and phrases to tighten things up for the finished product. The first draft is always full of stuff I threw in just to write.

A great way to get through the hurdle is to write with friends. Joining a writing group and having time set aside just for writing from a prompt is an amazing spark to rekindle your imagination.

In The Artist's Way, Julia Cameron suggests we write morning pages. Sit down every morning and blurt out at least 3 pages of everything on your mind into a journal. Be done with the chatter then move on to the good stuff. Your writing. 

Stop by and check out my books on Amazon!

Want to learn how other authors deal with moving plot lines and characters along? Stop by and visit our illustrious list of amazing wordsmiths:

A.J. Maguire  http://ajmaguire.wordpress.com/
Anne de Gruchy https://annedegruchy.co.uk/category/blog/
Skye Taylor http://www.skye-writer.com/blogging_by_the_sea
Victoria Chatham http://www.victoriachatham.com
Marie Laval http://marielaval.blogspot.co.uk/
Judith Copek http://lynx-sis.blogspot.com/
Dr. Bob Rich http://wp.me/p3Xihq-137
Helena Fairfax http://www.helenafairfax.com/blog
Fiona McGier http://www.fionamcgier.com/
Heather Haven http://heatherhavenstories.com/blog/
Beverley Bateman http://beverleybateman.blogspot.ca/
Rhobin Courtright http://www.rhobinleecourtright.com








Monday, August 14, 2017

Full Speed Ahead!

I had a great phone call today. This Saturday, I'm going in to a local radio station to be interviewed for a segment for a weekly show dedicated to local authors. Phil Taylor actually approached our lovely little writing group. What a boost to be able to tell people about my books and about me. You can check the station out at www.erinradio.org and also take a listen to my wonderful friend Harry Posner's interview. He's a true star!!

Exciting. Scary. Nerve-wracking. You get the picture!
Once the interview is posted on the Erin Radio website, I'll be sure to post the link here.

What else is happening in my little world?

Lots that I don't want to jinx just yet, but one cool thing is that my agent moved up my deadline for All That Sparkles. EEP! Yup. Moved it up by a month so here I am doing a blog and procrastinating and also doing a blog for Saturday about Writer's Block. (See a trend here?) Here's a sneak preview of my upcoming blog for the weekend:



Have to cut this short, I'm expected back over on another page to actually get some writing done!

Fill you in on more great news later!!

Diane


Saturday, June 24, 2017

May 2017 Round Robin Blog Fest


Welcome back to the Round Robin Blog Fest!


After a brief hiatus for some family events and crazy work schedule, I'm back and ready to blog!

This month's topic is:

How do you go about developing your characters for a story?
How much time do you spend or does it just happen in the writing process?
What inspires it?

I'm a pantser. For the uninitiated, I write from the top of my head, flying by the seat of my pants so to speak. My words and my characters flow from my head and heart through my hand and pen.

Aside from the romanticism of creating my own characters, I observe people. I glean mannerisms from customers I serve, people I know, and from people watching in general. Once I have a basic character, I begin to work on backstory and finer details. For the most part, all of the bits and pieces fall into place during the writing process.

Anything can inspire a new character - a dream, someone on television, a voice on the radio, even just a "what if."  What if a woman met the man of her dreams and he was far from dreamy? What if the homeless man on the corner had a dark secret? What if the beauty queen wanted to win so bad she killed her competition one by one?

By asking the what ifs, I created a character from either the inside-out or the outside-in. Sometimes the heart and soul are more apparent than the outer shell at first. But there are also times a character just appears. Larger than life and in so much detail that I can't write fast enough to capture them.

Leo Blue from my Wild Blue Mysteries series was one of these. He pushed his way into the story without prompting - or being invited for that matter! He will be making a reappearance in the fourth book in the series called The Painted Lady.

As an example of one of my characters, this is what I wrote for his brief description:

Leo Blue: One of Danny’s partners at the Wild Blue Detective Agency. Leo’s background as a boxer and martial artist made it impossible for anyone to get the jump on him. He is also a veteran severely wounded in Afghanistan.
He has muscular arms, broad chest and scars everywhere. He has long copper hair and cat-like gold eyes. He looks like he could bench press a bus. Leo is “two-parts Rambo and one-part Einstein.” He would never turn his back when his friends needed his help.




While Leo first appears in The Bookstore Lady, he takes the spotlight in The Bakery Lady with the lovely Christina Davidson who takes over Daisy's Bakery and turns the confirmed bachelor's head.

You can buy any or all of my books on Amazon at Diane Bator.


I hope you all enjoy the rest of the blog fest! Stop by to check out how my fellow authors develop their characters!

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Happy Father's Day!




Happy Father's Day!

To celebrate my grandma's 90th birthday this fall, one of my wonderful cousins decided to open up a Facebook page where family members could share photos and memories that we may not have all had access to before. What a gift! The one thing this page has done is bring us all together. My dad's siblings are all in Western Canada, but the rest of us are scattered all over.
At last count, my grandparents have:
17 children
44 grandchildren
56 great grandchildren
7 great-grandchildren

If my grandpa could see this bunch now! Unfortunately, we lost him to a heart attack when I was just a kid. My dad broke the news to us the next morning by telling us "you have no more Grandpa Rondeau." That's the way serious matters were treated in my house. Nonchalance.

My grandpa Roland Rondeau during basic training in 1944.

One of my favorite memories of my grandpa was hopping in the back of his big red pick up to go to the dump. My grandma always cringed but grandpa would always come back with all of us kids - and usually some sort of treasure he found. One of my aunts even found an entire set of beautiful dishes she'd dreamed about the night before!

My cousins and I were always Grandpa's girl or Grandpa's boy. No favorites. He loved us all to pieces and whisker rubs were the price you paid for a huge bear hug!

He was a lumberjack who built and ran his own sawmills with his sons. While I didn't get to spend time at his sawmills, I certainly spent a lot of time shoveling sawdust and piling lumber once my dad had his own sawmill!
Me and my dad. about 1970.
 My dad and I were close while I was growing up. He'd work away from home all week and come home on weekends. I was devastated when he'd leave, but a happy camper once he'd come home on a Friday night! Once my brother was born, my mom looked after both of us alone all week in a tiny cabin in the woods. No phone, no electricity, no neighbors for about a mile. I don't know how she did it without going completely around the bend some days. We got into all sorts of mischief!
Especially with forest all around us, a rambling old "haunted" house across the yard, and a swamp not far behind the trees.

My dad longed to be his own boss and eventually built a steel sawmill that he set up on the property. As we grew older, we became big enough to help. The best memories I have of life at the sawmill was when I'd wander off to pick berries for a snack and when we'd roast marshmallows the days Dad burned the slabs (the parts of the tree he couldn't harvest for lumber).

The absolute worst memory was the day I stepped on a wasp nest. I can still feel the burn from over 50 stings while I sat in the cab of the pick up truck and dabbed them with water.

I've become resilient thanks to my role models.
My childhood was filled with love and I learned to live simply.
My grandma still repeats the same mantra today as she did back then:  "It is what it is."

Today is a special gift. The present. It is what it is.
You can choose to complain or you can make it better.
Your choice.



Saturday, March 18, 2017

March Round Robin

Top o' the mornin' to ye!
Welcome to a wee bit of the blarney post-Irish Whiskey, to be sure.
Pour a cup of Irish Breakfast and put your feet up for a wee bit of readin'....

Today's topic was suggested by gent named Dr. Bob who knows a lovely lass named Anna Jacobs, a bestselling author who has 77 books to her credit! She was complainin' of being emotionally drained by writing a scene and asked him, "Are you sure our characters aren't real?"

That leads us to today's topic:  Are you ever a wee bit drained writin' certain scenes and how real are your characters to you?

I have always been told I have an overactive imagination. Storytelling and writing have always come as naturally to me as breathing and my characters have always been my constant companions. In fact, the more I write, the more real my characters feel to me. I described it to someone lately like having a song in your head that just won't leave. For me, a lot of the time, it's a character or two.

I become absorbed in scenes and either feel drained or elated when I write certain scenes. Working through the climax of a novel certainly keeps me on edge and I ride the waves of emotion along with my heroes and sometimes even my antagonist.

My characters always tend to feel real to me. They become my constant sidekicks wherever I go and whatever I do. In fact, I often think "what would _____ do?" I find it difficult to turn off that creative part of my brain, especially when I'm working on a new novel. As I live with my characters, they develop around me. More often than not, they tend to take over my stories and create all new plot twists without much effort at all.

Other times, as with my character Leo Blue in The Bookstores Lady, the sidekicks can become such strong characters on their own that they demand their own books. For anyone who has read The Bakery Lady, Leo will have one more book so readers can find out what happens to him next.

My newest work in progress is a great deal grittier than my past cozy mysteries. I find I need to dig even deeper to create the background stories and understand what makes a psychopathic killer tick. I kind of hope he doesn't become one of those characters who consumes me, but the detective who has to track him down just might! Stay tuned!!

Now take a little trip to visit the lovely Helena Fairfax and find out what antics her characters have pulled...


Participants:
Victoria Chatham http://victoriachatham.blogspot.ca
Marci Baun  http://www.marcibaun.com/blog/
Margaret Fieland http://margaretfieland.wordpress.com
Judith Copek http://lynx-sis.blogspot.com/
A.J. Maguire  http://ajmaguire.wordpress.com/
Connie Vines http://mizging.blogspot.com/
Rachael Kosinski http://rachaelkosinski.weebly.com/
Dr. Bob Rich htt  http://wp.me/p3Xihq-Wo 
Heather Haven http://heatherhavenstories.com/blog/
Beverley Bateman http://beverleybateman.blogspot.ca/
Kay Sisk http://www.kaysisk.com/blog
Diane Bator http://dbator.blogspot.ca/
Helena Fairfax http://www.helenafairfax.com
Skye Taylor http://www.skye-writer.com/blogging_by_the_sea
Rhobin Courtright http://www.rhobinleecourtright.com