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.