Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Meet the Psychic

In my upcoming Extreme Travel books (ones not published yet), I have a psychic.  I'm not going to give away plot details, but I had to do a lot of research into psychic abilities for these stories.

During my research, I found that psychics aren't like you see on television or movies.  But I had to keep up the illusion or people wouldn't think my character was really psychic. From what I've read and seen, most of the psychic abilities are feelings more than actual concrete information.  In real life, I'm a bit of a doubter, but it makes for great fiction.

Here's a list of the different types of psychics, taken from List of Psychic Abilities and How They Work

There are four major intuitive abilities:

  • Clairvoyance (able to see events)
  • Clairsentience (feel what others feel; empathy)
  • Clairaudience (able to hear something that's not there)
  • Claircognizance (knowing something without logic or facts)

So for the psychic, they'd have one of these main abilities.

In my books, though, I was in that person's head.  How did they feel about all of this?  My character didn't want it.  She wanted rid of it, and even begged people to help her get rid of it.  The other characters did research, but they only came up with ideas of how to tune into those abilities.  What did I, as an author do?  I made her know things that no one else could know.  She was part of the CIA, so she had to share her information, or people would die.  But how could they cover up how they got the information?  They had to get creative.

Thus, when you write about a psychic ability, go to the opposite of what most people would think--that the character is all knowing, all powerful, and make them vulnerable.  It makes for fantastic conflict.  Also, giving them more than one of these abilities while making them want rid of all of it really makes for a fun story.

Have a great day!
SweetTale Books

Monday, September 26, 2016

Research: Tornadoes

Even though tornado season is winding down for the year (it's not over quite yet, though), I thought I'd share some of the research I did for one of my Christian romances.  For the book, 'Faith in the Darkest of Nights,' a tornado hits the main character's home.  Most of the family members hide in a center closet, while much of the home falls around them.

I've experienced some of this, myself, from when we lived in Kansas.  Once, a huge funnel cloud passed by our neighborhood, probably a mile or so away.  The thing was at least a mile wide and sounded like a freight train while everything else seemed so silent.  I watched it moving, and our kids hid in the basement.  The neighbors, having dealt with this before, weren't impressed.  They cooked out and ignored the funnel cloud.  I even called one of them and they didn't seem to care.  But being newcomers to the Midwest, we were scared. However, it never did touch down, thankfully.

After it passed, we had a hailstorm.  The bits were bigger than a quarter and many cars that were outside were damaged, along with roofs, etc.  The people across the street were from CA.  Their kids went out to catch the hail, getting hit on the head a bunch of times in the process.

So tornadoes are nothing to mess with.  Thus, to find information about what it's like to be inside a tornado is amazing.

Since I was writing about what it was like inside the tornado, here's what I found in my research:

  • Before it hits, it can be eerily silent.
  • It's very loud, even from miles away.
  • It sounds like a freight train.
  • The air pressure drops and your ears pop.
  • It gets very dark.
  • Everything is thrown around or destroyed.
  • They smell like cut grass or wood, like nature.

When we drove from KS up to Omaha once, we hit a very very dark section in Iowa.  The sky was so dark at the very top, but under the darkness was a rim of bright blue.  I've never seen anything like it, but I'd like to think this was pre-tornado weather.  It was kind of like the picture on this page: 123 HD Wallpapers or this page:  Threatening Black Sky During a Severe Thunderstorm, Edmonton AB, July 18/09.  Here's another one (it's a video but in French):  Le ciel precedent la Tornade de Toulouse le 29 avril 2012 . The sky just before Tornado .Very scary.  that's what we saw.

If you're going to write about a tornado, put yourself in the place of the people who would be in the middle of it.  They'd be scared like anything.  It would definitely put their faith to the test.

Have a great day!
SweetTale Books

What It Feels Like to Be Inside a Tornado (PHOTOS)
This is what it's like to be inside a tornado
Church Security Camera Captures What It’s Like to Be Inside a Tornado
Incredible video: what it’s like inside a violent tornado

Friday, September 23, 2016

Affect vs. Effect

I don't know about you, but I mess these two words up more often than I should.  So when do you use affect and when do you use effect?

To the Internet I went and found this:

From:  Spelling: Common Words that Sound Alike, I found:

Affect, Effect
  • affect = verb meaning to influence:
Will lack of sleep affect your game?
  • effect = noun meaning result or consequence:
Will lack of sleep have an effect on your game?
  • effect = verb meaning to bring about, to accomplish:
Our efforts have effected a major change in university policy.
A memory-aid for affect and effect is RAVENRemember, Affect is a Verb and Effect is a Noun.

So here's what works (from Affect/Effect Spelling Exercise

Correct answers are in bold.
1. Wars affect everybody, and their destructive effects last for generations.
2. Television has a strong effect on public opinion.
3. My mood can affect my thinking, too.
4. I see that you're trying to affect apathy, but I know that you really do care.
5. Falling on my head had a bad effect on my memory.
6. His years of smoking have negatively affected his health.
7. This plan will surely effect significant improvements in our productivity.
8. The patient shows normal affect and appears to be psychologically stable.
9. The principal's new rules affected the school.
10. Supply and demand have a direct effect on the prices of commodities.
11. The effect of the speech was visible on the faces of the sleeping audience.
12. He's just trying to seem cool; his indifference is completely affected.
13. We may never know the full effect of the radiation leak.
14. The early frost will affect the crops.
15. What kind of effect can this quiz have on your dinner tonight?

Fantastic to know!  Now I just have to remember it.  :)

Have a great day!
SweetTale Books

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Possessives -- two people owning one or two items

I came across an interesting dilemma this week in reworking one of my books.  I wanted to write the following sentences:

Mark's the minister of Will's church and Eloise's church. (Will and Eloise go to the same church--they're married.)

Rebecca took Jenny's hand and Emily's hand.

But I didn't want to write them that way.  What should I have done?

Well, I looked it up and they're different types of possessions.  From Possessives, I found:

4.  A less-often faced decision involves the use of apostrophes where multiple owners are named. Where two or more people own one item together, place an apostrophe before an "s" only after the second-named person. For example:

However, when two or more people own two or more items separately, each individual's name should take the possessive form. For example:
Incorrect: Bill's and Mary's car was a lemon, leading them to seek rescission of their contract under the state's lemon law.
Correct: Bill and Mary's car was a lemon, leading them to seek rescission of their contract under the state's lemon law.
Incorrect: Joanne and Todd's cars were bought from the same dealer; both proved useless, even though Joanne's car was an import and Todd's was a domestic model.

Correct: Joanne's and Todd's cars were bought from the same dealer; both proved useless, even though Joanne's car was an import and Todd's was a domestic model. 

So, for my two examples, I should write:

Mark’s the minister at Will and Eloise’s church.   (Will and Eloise go to the same church.)

Rebecca took Jenny's and Emily's hands.

I never knew that before.  Interesting!

Have a great day!
SweetTale Books

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

20 Ways to Make Your Character: Love Life

This one wasn't easy.  Loving life is tough, because for most, it's fleeting at best.  But what if you had a character that loved life all the time?  What would make them cherish each moment?  I came up with 20 reasons for your character to love life.  I even have some of them in a few of my books.

Here goes:

  1. Facing a disease--live each moment like it's their last
  2. Realizing that life is short
  3. A new enjoyable job
  4. Finding love for the first time
  5. Getting a second chance after an illness
  6. Being able to see or hear for the first time
  7. Getting out of jail
  8. Redefining one's life
  9. Losing weight and loving the feeling
  10. Finding a person can be themselves for once
  11. Being cured of a disease or a sickness
  12. Being surrounded by beautiful things or cleanliness
  13. A new place to live
  14. All cares and worries are gone
  15. The birth of a child
  16. Being alone after an abusing relationship is over
  17. Feeling free
  18. New adventures, new memories
  19. Love after loss
  20. The ability and need to plan for the future with happiness

There are 20 reasons for a character to love life.  Have any more to add?

Have a great day!
SweetTale Books

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Meet the Man With the It Factor

When I first starting writing romance, I had a mentor in my writing circles who taught me invaluable lessons.  One of the things she taught me was to make my male heroes have the 'it factor.'  I'd never heard this before, but I now understand it.

For a hero to have the 'it factor,' he has to have a type of compassion that appeals to women.  He has to actually listen and be a great communicator.  He has to have a type of charisma and confidence yet be fun-loving and caring.  It's not something that's easy to pull off, and it's tough to learn.

Here are a few things that I found in my research that make sense for the guy with the 'it factor' that women love:

  • confident, but not cocky
  • focused on others, not on themselves
  • great storytellers and public speakers
  • interesting and interested in others
  • authentic and engaging
  • optimistic, assertive, and yet caring

It's all about attitude and caring about others.  Some jobs lend themselves more toward this type of attitude, where the person's job is to care about others.  Some of these jobs include doctors, police officers, ministers, counselors, psychologists, teachers, and so on.  If you notice, many romance novels include these professions for the hero, because it gives the heroine a warm feeling about the hero. 

Have a great day!
SweetTale Books


Defining the IT-Factor
In Search of the ‘IT’ Factor
The It Factor and How to Get It: Becoming a Master Communicator

Monday, September 19, 2016

Research: Laos

In one of my unpublished books for the Extreme Travel series, I take my characters to Laos.  Wow.  When I did research for this country, I realized that it really has issues.

Here's what I found:

(from Google Maps):

Laos is in Asia, sandwiched between Vietnam to the east, Cambodia to the south, Thailand to the west, and China and Myanmar (Burma) to the north.

This country was instrumental to the United States during the Vietnam War.  The Hmong people helped the U.S. military and many were thus, forced to leave as refugees.  I know that many of those refugees relocated in Wisconsin.

In my research, I found that the country is rather backward.  In the countryside, people live in huts and eat the huge rats for sustenance.  Also, electricity is a luxury, since many people can only get it sometimes at their homes.

They grow rice and have herds of water buffalo, much like we have cows in the United States.  There are also nasty animals in that country such as tigers, huge spiders, and scorpions.  Of course, my people had to get into the worst places to show what the country was really like.

Anyway, Laos is beautiful, from what I read.  Even though the rural areas are poor, the cities are more cosmopolitan.  It's a slower lifestyle, with more of a rugged feel for the entire country.

Some day, I'd love to visit!

Have a great day!
SweetTale Books

Google Maps
Nye Noona (about Water Buffalo)