Book Review – The Devil Will Come

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Cooper mixes historical times (early Rome and 1500 England) with current actions in Rome and involving the Vatican.

Elisabetta now a nun, whose fiancé was killed years earlier by unknown assailants, causing her to make the choice of entering the convent is called back to her field of Archeology. The present pope is ill and dying and a conspiracy by a mysterious group called the Lemures is undermining the sanctity of the church. A graduate in archeology Elisabetta is devastated as a graduate student when her proposal to examine the catacombs of St. Callixtus is rejected.

Now her professor has called her back to come back an investigate the St. Callixtus catacombs which has been the site she was investigating as a student,

Now they’ve found remains a group of men, women and children all with tails and it seems they were victims of a fire in pre-Christian times, Who are they? What are they? Before she can look into them she is again dismissed from the project. Then the professor is killed and a young priest who comes with her with more information is also killed and the Sister and her sister are kidnapped,

Set against the background of the Vatican and the election of a new pope, The story takes more twists and turns as a bomb goes off at the start of the Conclave and only the intervention of a young Gendarme who is Elisbetta’s brother prevents the death of all the cardinals but the story ends with mystery as to the outcome of the new pope’s elections.

Fans of Dan Brown’s De Vince Code, or maybe more in comparison to his Angels and Demons,will like this book.

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Does Your Writing Group Have Purpose

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Last week I asked if your writing group was daring this week I want to ask if your group has  purpose, Purpose is something a group needs otherwise you’re spinning your wheels, your writing wheels at least.

A group can have a singular purpose or one that encompasses all areas of writing. Including writing, editing, critiquing, publishing and marketing.  Our group Write On The Edge is one that encompasses all.

We meet every week and our two hours are spent in responding to a prompt, a presentation in some area or writing and critique of a member’s material if someone has a short piece they want to submit.  We use a variety of material for our prompt; this week we did a Pick Six which is actually a three part prompt with six choices to each part. A throw of the dice and one of the six choices is set with the set up given for each choice and after two more throws the time starts. Normally it’s a ten minute time limit this week we did fifteen.  One of the things we do in our group is take a close look at Writer’s Digest. We appreciate the magazine for the great material for writers of all levels. This in depth look and discussion helps clarify some material for us, as well as questions about the validity of the information in the articles.

In the fall we gear up for NaNoWriMo. It is one of purposes to encourage members to take on its challenge, In the past three years several members have taken up the challenge and meant it and went on to publish. So in September and October we look at all the components of a story: plot, character, world building, etc. We may talk about organizing do you outline, do a story board, use a program like Scrivner, make notecards, and do a story line.

Critique is an important part of our group’s purpose. We will critique any writing: poetry, personal essay, fiction and non-fiction. I know many groups are exclusive but it is my contention even if you never read science-fiction or mystery or no nothing about poetry helping someone make better sounding sentences or finding the just right word is something any writer can do.

Dong a prompt each week is something that we elected to be a purpose and on many days the results astound us. I said I was going to post some prompt results on this site I haven’t been doing that but this week I am going to share my response to the prompt with you. It was from an exercise called a Pick Six. I’m not going to explain it here, but if you want to know what it entails check out some of past ones at writeontheedgeyuma.com

Here’s my result from this weeks prompt.

 

A To I Salesman

Morrie was having a good day. He’d made three sales calls and all three had purchased the new super-duper automated toaster. He’d also got several leads from these customers he’d sold the Genie Pop-up Automated Two, too.

His company A to I appliances had just come out with this new model and were having a special contests for their entire sales staff. The grand prize was an all-expense paid seven day – eight night trip to Hawaii for two.

Morrie had always dreamed of going to Hawaii, but as a salesman he had a difficult time selling enough product to afford his modest home and the only vacations he had were he and the wife’s road trips to her parents every summer. They had a place on a lake and it wasn’t grand but nice and always a change from their tiny bungalow in the city. The in-laws place was in no way Hawaii. Besides for once it would be nice to have a week where his mother-in-law was reminding him what a poor provider he was and how her daughter had married down.

“Josie,” he said to the small stuffed horse he carried in the pocket of his plaid sport coat, “you must be my good luck charm because having you with today seems to have increased my sales volume. I’m up 300 percent from last week.”

Morrie thought he heard a quiet neigh. He shook his head. “No way that’s possible. Unless?” He looked around maybe there was a horse in the vicinity. While he was searching the area who should he see coming down the street but Mrs. Cora Harper. Wow, he thought, Mrs. Harper my favorite grade school teacher. She had been his fifth grade teacher and was always kind to him. She never treated him like the poor kid form the wrong side on the tracks like he was.

“Mrs. Harper, Hi, it’s me Morrie James. Remember me?”

The elderly woman lifted her head which seemed too heavy for her spindly neck and stared at him for a long minute. Then she smiled. “Of course, I remember you Morrie. You were a sweet boy always bringing me apples from your family orchard. What are you doing way out here?”

“I’m selling toasters for the A to I Appliance Company. They have a great new model. I’ve sold three today.”

“How wonderful, Morrie, you must be a great salesman.”

Morrie felt the heat rising up his neck and into his cheeks. “Well, I think the difference today is I’ve got my good luck piece with me. With that he pulled the small stuffed horse out of his pocket dropping change all over the ground when he did.  He held it out. “See.”

“Artificial Intelligence in a toaster definitely not a good idea,” came a voice from deep inside the tiny equine toy.

Christine Howard

 

Kiss of the Bees – Jance

Continues the story of Sheriff Brandon Walker and Diana Ladd. It’s many years later and Walker and Ladd are married. Yet out of prison Andrew Carlisle reaches out to spread his evil intent over the family. Set in Pima County Arizona Indian lore plays a significant part in the story.

It’s a tight and taut story well told from several points of view.

If you’re a lover of mystery and haven’t read J.A.Jance then give her a try. She tells good stories with characters you love or hate. They are set in two different parts of the country Arizona and Washington State. If you like being involved in place hers are great. Also she gives us a look at Indian Lore.

You’ll wonder about Fat Crack. Meet Forever Spinning and be taken with how these characters imbue the stories with a special touch.

Jance creates strong male characters, but it is her smart,  intense and powerful women characters which stand out.

Is Your Writing Group Daring

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I have neglected this site for sometime and as I contemplated what subject matter I could address that would be new I took a look at what our group has done and decided they are daring.

By this I mean they are willing to put their work out for the world to read or not. I know how much work it is to get your book edited and formatted for publication. Since most of our group has undertaken to do this and then used Createspace for their print books and KDP or D2D for their e-books.

Doing the book all on your own with the help of metareaders and your group for editing is time consuming. However, if you are patient and willing to spend the time you can self-publish without spending a penny. Only when you are ready to order print copies to sell must you expend money. Then the cost is reasonable and you can make a nice profit for yourself. Even if you sell on Amazon you get a return better than most authors with major publishers and for E-books the return is even better.

The major thing here is that the writer’s in my group who have self-published are brave, daring, creative and wish to share their stories with the world.

Write On The Edge – Period Spaces

In my last post I promised to tell you what my group was doing Here you go . . .

This week we went back to a summer practice and did a Pick 6. A Pick 6 prompt involves three sets of six. I have three members shake the dice to get a pick. This week these our choices after the dice rolls. My group finds this a fun way to respond to a prompt and I include a response from one of our members. After we share our responses one or more are selected to be posted on our website: writeonetheedgeyuma.com. Go there for more from this prompt.

You are tending to your own business when a

Dice roll one- was 4, the Loch Ness monster

it stops you. This unproven being asks

Dice roll two – was 5, if you can help it find a lost glorg

You have no clue what the being wants, so you counter with:

Dice roll three – was 6, leading it to the nearest police officer

Now show the encounter”

A thunderous roar pierced the

air. The earth opened up in a

yawning chasm. Shuddering into

my ear. the noise exploded:

“DOM! GLORG! SOCORRO!”

A slimy, fur encrusted paw

grasped my arm. Terrified,

I tugged on the creature,

crawling toward the surprisingly

comforting blue light of a police cruiser

By Jeannie Browning

 

After the prompt we went to the latest Writer’s Digest issue: March/April 2015 for a closer look and discussion on some of the articles in it. We appreciated the short article “Story Booster :Know Your Antagonist”. It showed a great list of nasty antagonists from books we recognized.

We then had lively give and take about the article “Straight up Nonfiction With a Twist” a big focus was the one about using scene and dialogue. I addressed one of our members who is writing a nonfiction book and asked if it was his intention to use some stories from his years as a purchasing agent. We plans too and having read some of his anecdotes I know they will bring smiles, chuckles and even guffaws as he relates his with humor.

We ended our session with a critique of something a member is working on. He felt happy with the suggestions. The most heated area came about when the two spaces after a period came up. Some are still fighting it.

I Love my Writing Group

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I am happy with my writing group. I think, especially for the new writer and aspiring author it is a necessity. Of course, like any group sometimes finding the right one, takes some investigating. It also is tied to a writer’s need.

Some writing groups are specialized they may want only writers of a certain genre maybe mystery or romance, some want only published authors, some just do critique or there are those like our group who are generalized. We welcome those new to writing or published authors.

Being generalized means no matter what one is writing from poetry to paranormal romance they may join us.

Our meetings have a process. We share any news about our writing or publishing and the writing and publishing industry. We then spend ten minutes writing from a prompt then share what we’ve written. Following that we have a presentation about something in the writing or publishing industry or maybe a technology segment if we need help with our writing programs or how to use Facebook or other social media sites. We reserve the last thirty minutes for critique. Any one person may submit two to three pages for critique by the entire group.

We do offer critique and editing on a wider basis. Within the group any writer may ask other members to critique all or part of a piece they have written. I have critiqued poems, magazine articles and entire books for those in my group.

I am contemplating a slight change in my blog. I feel I’ve emphasized the importance of having a writing group, how to find or start one and what a group can do for you. Going forward I plan on reporting what my group Write On The Edge does each week. What individual members have accomplished what our prompt of the week was and I will include my favorite in the blog.