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Tammy Setzer Denton - Writer
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More on Creating Believable Characters

Yesterday, I wrote about creating believable characters only touching on the tip of the iceberg. Today, I read a post by Russell Blake describing his latest character that does such an excellent job of it that I wanted to share it with my readers.
Click on the link below to go to his website and check it out. Artemis Gunner is a character that I want to know. He's flawed, but still has endearing qualities.
I especially like the part where his cat doesn't like him and it hurts his feelings a bit. Makes him human and just a little bit loveable.

What is Magic Realism?

Yesterday I blogged about a short story I'm writing that contains elements of Magic Realism. Since then, I've been bombarded by questions such as "Magic Realism? What do you mean by  that?"

Wikipedia defines Magic Realism as "a genre where magic elements are a natural part in an otherwise mundane, realistic environment." provides a more in-depth definition. "Magical realism is not speculative and does not conduct thought experiments. Instead, it tells its stories from the perspective of people who live in our world and experience a different reality from the one we call objective. If there is a ghost in a story of magical realism, the ghost is not a fantasy element but a manifestation of the reality of people who believe in and have "real" experiences of ghosts. Magical realist fiction depicts the real world of people whose reality is different from ours. It's not a thought experiment. It's not speculation. Magical realism endeavors to show us the world through other eyes."

In my (as yet untitled) short story, one aspect of Magic Realism that is used is the physical manifestation of broken dreams. That's all I can tell you for now, but hope the above definitions will enlighten and intrigue you enough to continue following my blog so you'll be ready to read this short story when it's finished.

Believable Characters

Been working on short stories today. One in particular is coming along really well. It contains elements of magic realism in an apocalyptic future. It comes complete with broken dreams and flawed characters with a few redeeming qualities.

It's important to make flawed characters. No one is perfect in real life so why would someone be perfect in fiction? Perhaps in fairy tales, but not in believable fiction.

In believable fiction, characters cannot be all good or all bad. Every good guy needs to have a little bad, and every bad guy needs to have a little good. Each needs a quirk or flaw to make him three dimensional.

Birthday and Writing

Just a quick update. I'm 90 pages into my current WIP. I've done a basic edit of what I had written nearly a year ago, added a couple of scenes, and have mapped out the majority of one of the three storylines.

I've decided this work will be a braided storyline. My first work was a dovetail storyline. It seems like each novel requires different things. I'm hoping that will keep my fan base growing as they will never know what to expect except that the writing will be good!

On another front, I've been Tweeting and building my following. Unfortunately, I've been blocked from following more people for awhile. I've reached my limit until I recruit some more followers. Any interested parties can follow me on Twitter at: TamSetDen

I celebrated a magnificent birthday with family and friends on the 25th. I love my birthday and tend to revert back to a five-year-old for most of the week leading up to that day!

I've also started practicing my piece for the Writers/Storytellers Event at Urban Eats in St. Louis on February 22nd. I can't read anything. It must be told.  Wish me luck!

On a final note, my friend's band, A Big Sad Whale, won at the Battle of the Bands on January 27th at Cicero's on the Loop in St. Louis. A Big Sad Whale will go to the finals. I'll update with more information when I get it.

Now, back to writing!

Media Kit

I'm working on my Media Kit using advice and guidelines from The Frugal Book Promoter by Carolyn Howard-Johnson. There is much more work involved than what I expected. No wonder it's a good idea to have it done before you actually need it. Trying to create a Media Kit when someone needs it yesterday is unnecessary torture.

Between working on the Media Kit and going over an old manuscript, I'm doing a lot of writing.

The old manuscript is from my second novel and WIP, Spared Parts, the story of an adopted boy who needs a kidney transplant and wants to find his biological identity.

The well-worn storyline would be that he finds his biological mother and gets her kidney, but that's not how my story works. It does involve transplant tourism, multi-culturalism, and exposing the truth about people who would rather keep it buried.

Does that sound interesting enough? I don't want to give out too much info as I'm only one third of the way through and there are a lot of twists and turns to come before that final page.

The Query Process

A long overdue update:

My first novel, Man of the House, is currently being reviewed by three agents. Two have requested full manuscripts and one has requested a partial.

You can read an excerpt of this novel on my website. Please do. I'd love to hear from any readers. Give me feedback-good, bad or ugly-give it to me. I can take it.

Laura Bradford's Newest Release

Laura Bradford Book Signing
Main Street Books, St. Charles, MO

Every time Laura Bradford aka Elizabeth Lynn Casey releases a new book, I become sleep deprived. I can't put it down! Her latest release is the first in a new series. It's an Amish mystery entitled Hearse and Buggy.

Laura's following continues to grow by leaps and bounds and I'm sure Harlan Coben's endorsement of
Hearse and Buggy will only add to her reader count.

"The Best Cozy Mystery Debut I've read all year."
Harlan Coben

He thinks quite highly of her talent as do I, but I don't have quite the same clout he does. Apparently, many many others enjoy her work as well as Hearse and Buggy is already in its second printing run in only 4 days!

Laura also writes the Southern Sewing Circle Mystery Series under the name of Elizabeth Lynn Casey.

Reap What You Sew is the 6th book in the series and came out last month.

Laura also writes stand-alone romances for Harlequin American Romance under the name of Laura Bradford.  Her 4th book with Harlequin will be available in October 2012.

Laura's earliest publications were a mystery trilogy featuring the crime-fighting duo of Jenkins and Burns.

Many of her books are available in paperback and e-book formats.

Needless to say, Laura is one busy person. However, she always makes a point to visit with her St. Charles friends.  This time she spoke and did a book signing  at both the Kirkwood Public Library in Kirkwood and the McClay Library Branch in St. Charles on Thursday, June 7.

On Friday, June 8, Laura met with readers, friends, and fans at Main Street Books where she signed books from all her series.

Laura is always encouraging to us beginning writers. I'm so glad I got to know her.

Her fan base continues to grow and her readers get younger and younger.

Author, Lynn Cahoon, accompanied Laura to her book signings and talks. Lynn's 1st novel, The Bull Rider's Brother, is published by Crimson Romance and is available at all fine e-book stores everywhere (or at least Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and i-tunes.)

Of course, many thanks go out to Vicki Erwin of Main Street Books for promoting Laura's books and giving us a place to meet.

Vicki is the author of 24 published books. The most recent of these is ST CHARLES THEN AND NOW by Vicki Berger Erwin and Jessica Dreyer.

Be sure to sign up for Main Street Books newsletter. You don't want to miss any events. There's always something going on at Main Street.

Laura finished off her weekend in Chicago, Saturday June 9, attending and speaking at thePrinter's Row Lit Fest.

Critique Tips

Had a great brainstorming session last night with critique buddies, MaryAnn and Dana. Each of us brought a work-in-progress, read a portion, and gave feedback.
Part of the writing process is to put your work in front of other eyes before it’s polished. Sometimes, that’s difficult because it’s not your best work and you know it’s going to receive negative feedback which is critical to making it better. Necessary, but not any easier to take. Fortunately, I don’t have too much of an issue with that.
That’s not to say that all feedback for WsIP is negative. It’s important to have a critique group that recognizes the good, questions the questionable, and isn’t afraid to say, “I don’t get it.” Fear is the mind killer and being fearful to give or receive criticism will ultimately weaken your work and that of others in your group.
I remind myself when giving feedback to include the good with the bad. A rule of thumb I like to use is:
1.      What is good about this?
2.      What’s something else that’s good?
3.      What would make it better?
Another method is the “sandwich”.
1.      Name one thing that good.
2.      One thing that needs work.
3.      Another thing that’s good.
Remember that the work you’re critiquing is someone else’s baby. Treat it with care.

Key West Story by Rick Skwiot

Key West Story by Rick Skwiot
If the adage, write what you know, holds true for Key West Story then author, Rick Skwiot, leads a life of sun, surf, and sex in the Florida Keys. Yet, it’s more than that. It’s the story of a man trying to find what makes him happy. It’s also a story of creativity and the writing process.
Writer, Con Marten, made it big in the world of books by letting go of his integrity in order to reach for the cash. To get the contract, to make the sale, to rise on the New York Times Bestseller List, he compromised his talent by writing a “soulless page-turner” full of gimmicky commercial crap—crap that sold, and sold well. Now, the money’s gone, the bills are unpaid, the women in his life are out-of-control, and he has writer’s block.
Faced with being shot by one lover or marrying another for pay, Con chooses for a third option when an Ernest Hemingway look-a-like going by the name of Nick Adams appears with an offer to make five grand in a few days. Con meets Nick’s claims to be Hemingway with a healthy dose of skepticism, but as they head to Cuba on a clandestine adventure, the lines between reality and reincarnation blur.
Between women, guns, alcohol, sunken treasure, hurricanes, writing, and the ever-present question of Nick Adam’s true identity, Key West Story is a page-turner for which Rick Skwiot did not have to compromise.

Six Word Sunday - Man of the House

“Kids without parents are orphans, but what do you call parents who have lost a child? Is there a name for them?”
An awkward pause filled the air before Cooper answered, “I think they’re called tortured.”
“Yeah,” replied Burton, “that’s what I thought.”
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