Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Winter's First Light

Quick...when you think of winter, what do you think of?  Snow?  A fireplace?  Hot chocolate?  A Christmas tree?

Or do you think of a small town, where everyone knows everyone else, a community that cares, and the warmth of a smile?  Most of them seem to be in the mountains, too, for some odd reason.

Have you ever noticed how all these winter stories (movies, books, etc) all seem to involve a small town community that cares?  Why is it those same communities aren't as highlighted in the summertime?  Then, the stories are more about the beach, hanging out poolside, and traveling.

If you want to write something different for a winter tale, consider the setting for summer and make it snow.  That'd be a different winter's first light.

Have a great day!
SweetTale Books

Tuesday, November 29, 2016


How do you give your characters personality when writing a book?

I've been watching lots of movies on television, to find out 'what makes a personality.'  Most characters are rather bland.  They follow a boring script and have no quirks.

So I figured that a real character's personality should have something like the following:

  • quirks
  • spontaneity
  • ability to think outside the box
  • shows emotions
  • can think on their feet
  • good at solving problems
  • knows how to laugh

I wish Hollywood would train some of their actors and teach them how to be real.  Maybe if they hung out with normal people, they'd learn.

Have a great day!
SweetTale Books

Monday, November 28, 2016

Cyber Monday is Here Already?

Are you getting innundated with emails about all the Cyber Monday deals?  Feeling more stressed out than ever?

Take a deep breath.


Make a cup of hot chocolate.

Read a book.  Might I suggest something from

Now you're ready to shop.  Here's one way to do it.  Make a list of the URLs of what you want to buy.  Put all Amazon things together, so you can get free shipping.  Do the same for other sites.  Then click on the URLs for one site and just buy them all at once.  That way, you'll bundle the things at one time.  Don't forget any gift cards and deals the sites offer, like a coupon.

When you're done, read another book, drink another cup of hot chocolate, relax, and take a deep breath.  You're all done for Christmas!

Good luck!

Have a great day!
SweetTale Books

Friday, November 25, 2016

Black Friday Panic!

You've been waiting for this day for a whole year.  It's that one-day event when things are out for Christmas and usually on sale.  You're stressed out because you got up at 3 AM to get ready for the stores to open.

You get to the store, along with what seems like a million other people, all cramming to get inside.  Then it hits you. Your list for what to buy is at home.

Now what?

How about plying those little darling friends and family members with a book?  Ebooks are great--they're cheaper than the hard cover and you don't have to dust them!

Need ideas?  The books at SweetTale Books are all rather family friendly, so you can't go wrong.  Most of them are funny and romance is always in the background.

So take it easy this Black Friday.  Grab your hot chocolate, put your feet up, go to and find all your shopping in one easy trip online.  Then you can act like you braved the Black Friday crowds when actually, you just finished off the pumpkin pie from the day before while reading over the website.

See how easy that is to do?

Have a great day!
SweetTale Books

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

A Time for Family

I recently had a conversation with an empty nester friend of mine.  She was upset that no one's coming to her house for Thanksgiving--her kids all have their own lives.

My kids are all coming home and I'm dreading the thought.  They're all at that early independence phase where their way is the right way (don't they know MY way is always the right way?  LOL!)  Thus, angry things are said and someone always gets hurt.

So, for Thanksgiving this year, it's a time for family to be nice and not fight.  No more rolls flying over the dinner table to take someone's eye out.

For us, we'll take care of this problem by going to Golden Corral for lunch.  I don't have to bake all day long, for all the different things they're all craving (it's like five meals in one for what they all want).  I can sit down, and when they start to fight, I can conveniently get up and fix another plate.  Do you think ten plates are too many?  Watch me.  LOL!

So enjoy your holiday tomorrow and think of me in my referee outfit.  I seem to wear it every year.

Have a great day!
SweetTale Books

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Wordpress Versus Blogger

I might have a second job updating a company's website.  I have a part-time job doing website maintenance for a company in California, using a product called Your Membership.  It wasn't easy to figure out at first, but eventually, I got the hang of it and now, it's a piece of cake.

This second job uses Wordpress for their site.  I'd never done anything on Wordpress before, so I set up a free dummy account for SweetTale Books (not really worth seeing yet) to play around with it.  The weird thing is that it reminds me a LOT of Your Membership's interface.

I use Blogger for all my blogs--always have.  So what do I think of the difference between the two?  This is strictly from a user's standpoint, from someone who only blogs and doesn't use the blog as a website.  So take it for what it is.  Just don't beat me up for my opinion.  :)

Here's what I found:

Blogger plusses:

  • Allows me to put in more than 3 megabites of pictures for a free account
  • Is easy to update
  • Can find the posts easily
  • The 'dashboard' is simple to use and includes everything
  • I can update the template easily without having to know CSS
  • Easy to write any blog posting as well as play with the HTML
WordPress plusses:
  • Great for making a website fast
  • Can bring in store items easily
For a blog, I'd recommend blogger, hands down.  It's great for non-programmers and has some really nice templates to start with that are easily personalized.  I tried with Wordpress, but the template had a few restrictions that made it difficult to manipulate.

For a website, Wordpress is a great and fast way to make something sleek and trendy.  There are lots of templates to choose from, but if you have a lot of pictures to upload, it can be expensive.  Creating a child theme has its issues, too, when updating the regular theme.

So it all depends on what you want to do.  For me, I already have a website(s) that I maintain, that I coded myself.  So using Wordpress didn't seem like a good idea.  However, if I had a business, that might be an ideal place to go because the plugins are compatible with Wordpress.

Both fantastic products!

Have a great day!
SweetTale Books

Monday, November 21, 2016

I Updated My Website!

It was time.  The trends were changing online.  I had to do it.

So I did!  I redid my SweetTale Books website!  What used to look like this:

And now, it looks like this, with the sections either white or tan, alternating on the page:

I also put a 'divider' (a heart for now) between the sections.  Here's a minimized view:

This is done in HTML coding and isn't in Wordpress or anything else.  I have my websites all at Bluehost (great company, by the way).

Cool, huh?  I think so!  The cool part is that I can change that heart divider to anything else really fast.  So stay tuned for the Christmas season!

Have a great day!
SweetTale Books

Friday, November 18, 2016

Showing a Character's Loss

Loss can devastate anyone.  When writing about a character's loss, even if it's just losing some material object, the words have to bring out emotion of some type.

The worst type of loss is the loss of a close family member or friend.

So how do you show loss?

  • shock
  • depression
  • crying/sobbing
  • anger
  • pain
  • denial
  • silence
Loss can bring out the character's worst and best qualities.  Make sure you take the time and space to show how the character really feels and don't just gloss it over.  Your readers will thank you, because you'll have connected with them on an emotional level.

Have a great day!
SweetTale Books

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Writing Help: Multiple Adjectives

What do you do when you want to describe a noun with multiple adjectives?  For example, I want to write:

He was an old red-faced balding man.

Where do I put the commas?

Before adding commas, it's important to note that there's an order to the adjectives.  I never knew that before.  But according to ORDERING MULTIPLE ADJECTIVES, here's the order (depending on the function of the adjective):

Quantity (like a few, six, several)
Value/opinion (like lovely, charming, beautiful)
Size (like tall, small, big)
Temperature (like hot, warm, cold)
Age (like old, young, 35-year-old, new)
Shape (like square, hexagonal, round)
Color (like blue, red, white)
Origin (like Chinese, Greek, Victorian)
Material (like marble, wooden, silver)

As for commas, (see Commas with Adjectives) adding them depends on what kind of adjectives they are.  

If they're coordinate adjectives (they describe the noun, and you can put an 'and' in between the adjectives and it makes sense), then you need a comma. Also, the adjectives can be rearranged and it'll still make sense.

If the 'and' doesn't make sense (the adjectives describe each other instead of just the noun), then don't put the comma.  These are called cumulative adjectives.

Also, never put a comma after the last adjective in the group.


He was a tall, blond man.  (coordinate adjective--tall and blond could be switched around).
She wore a white wool sweater.  (cumulative adjective--white and wool can't be switched around to make sense.)
So, for my sentence above, there should be commas, since I can move the adjectives around to still make sense.

He was an old, red-faced, balding man.
Good luck!

Have a great day!
SweetTale Books


Commas with Adjectives
Extended Rules for Using Commas

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

20 Ways to Make Your Character: Scared

Your character is under pressure of some type.  How do you like to make your character sweat?  Here are 20 ideas to increase the conflict and harass your characters--you know you want to.

  1. Have a cop follow their car
  2. Have gang members notice the character
  3. The IRS is after them
  4. Their secret at work is about to be exposed
  5. They get caught with another girlfriend/boyfriend (for a romance)
  6. Natural disaster is about to strike (tornado/hurricane/fire, etc.)
  7. A serial killer is after the character
  8. They come face-to-face with a dangerous animal
  9. Someone is stalking them...and is hiding
  10. The boss calls them into their office--the anticipation is horrible
  11. A lawsuit threatens their way of life
  12. Bullies have targeted the character
  13. Someone close is about to die
  14. They have a job interview that isn't going well
  15. An impending car accident
  16. Screaming and yelling for no reason from another character
  17. Threats from another character
  18. Getting caught in a celebration or riot when on the opposing team/side
  19. Not having enough money to pay for a meal
  20. Hearing someone break into their home

Characters can rise to the occasion when scared or can fold.  It's a fight or flight situation where they can show their true colors.  It's very fun to write!

Have a great day!
SweetTale Books

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Meet the Military Man

When I wrote Faith in the Darkest of Nights, I had to figure out what a military man would be like.  I studied different movies and watched people in stores, to figure out who had been in the military and what they were like.  It wasn't an easy thing to do, because not all military people behave in the same way.  For example, my own father had been in the Army.  But he didn't behave like he'd done any time at all, like some military personnel do.

So what's the stereotype of a military member?  In general, from what I've observed, they stand tall, are disciplined, and extremely tough.  Emotions don't seem to be a part of their lives.  They have a job to do and that's their goal.

Think about the people you know who've served.  Here are a few people who have served, and you can see that self-discipline in the way they hold themselves, even though sometimes, they try to hide it:
  • Chuck Norris (US Air Force)
  • Morgan Freeman (US Air Force)
  • Mr. T (US Army)
  • Clint Eastwood (US Army)
  • Elvis Presley (US Army)

Many of the members of the government have also served in the military and it shows.  They've been trained to be leaders, so it makes sense.

My daughter wanted to learn to have that military self-discipline.  She tried to become more like a military person, but it was tough to do.  She had to give up a lot do to that and she wasn't willing to change anything.  It takes dedication.

I found the article, How to Adopt a Military Attitude, which shows the following if someone wants to develop a military attitude:

  • Appearance:  always wear clean and orderly clothes that match
  • Home:  keep it sparkling clean with memoirs from the military
  • Lifestyle:  be on time for everything and keep a schedule.  Walk briskly when walking.  Stand straight when standing, with hands locked at the back and gaze straight ahead.  It shows solid determination.  Also, give the aura of being tough.  Exercise regularly to stay in shape.
  • Dealing with people: use full names and surnames when addressing someone, not pet names.  Use Sir/Ma'am.
  • Laws:  follow all laws and keep promises to show strong character.

When writing about a military member, even if they're now out of the military, that tough self-discipline has to show.

Have a great day!
SweetTale Books


Top 10 Celebrity Veterans
How to Adopt a Military Attitude

Monday, November 14, 2016

Writing about Setting

There's a type of 'character' in every book that's rarely discussed.  Even though it's often ignored, it can be a big part of the plot and has to be shown.  This 'character'?  The setting.

What would the setting include?

  • Five senses
  • Time
  • General or specific place
  • Geography
  • Inhabitants
  • Socioeconomics
  • Names of places/buildings
  • Exact location
  • Role in story
  • What the character sees
  • Other sensations
  • Personality of place

When writing about setting, there has to be a balance in what's shown.  Discussing setting can slow the pace of the story, yet set the scene at the same time.  But giving a bit of the place where the story is set can help the characters react more.  Many readers want to imagine what the setting looks like, so discussing it at length isn't necessary.

For example, if you read this:

Melody drove down the street in her open cherry red convertible with black interior, the cerulean sky bright above her.  The humid breeze tossed her hair to the side, while the smell of someone's nearby steak on the grill filled the air.  She grasped the wheel, rubbing her fingers against the cool leather. Melody licked her lips, the saltiness touching her taste buds.  She needed to get something to drink and fast.  Palm trees lined the street, and even they looked a bit parched.  Someone honked and she looked into the rear view mirror.  The guy in the car behind hers waved and made a motion like he was drinking.  He looked safe, driving a new black Mercedes.  Was he reading her mind or was he asking her out for a date?

Would it be better to read than this:

Melody drove down the street, the hot summer sun beating down into her open convertible.  A honking sound made her look into the rear view mirror.  The guy in the car behind hers made a motion like he was drinking.  Was he reading her mind or was he flirting?
I've covered all the senses in the first paragraph, but notice how wordy it is?  That slows the pace and gives more information than is really necessary.  Would Melody really notice all of that, or would she not even give it a thought?  Is the story about setting or is it about plot, of what happens to the character and what they think?

I have the same plot points in the second paragraph, but don't hit all the senses.  It's up to the reader to let their mind imagine the other things that might be happening.  It's more about plot than setting.

So when you're writing, I'd advise not overdoing the setting.  Yes, it's necessary, but it can bog down the story.

Have a great day!
SweetTale Books

Discover The Basic Elements of Setting In a Story
Four Ways to Bring Settings to Life
Tamari Guide for Writers: Setting

Friday, November 11, 2016

Showing a Character's Revenge

"The best revenge is massive success." ~ Frank Sinatra

"Revenge is a dish best served cold."  ~ Pierre Choderlos de Laclos's epistolary novel Les Liaisons Dangereuses, 1782

Revenge.  What a fun thing to put in a book.  First, there's the initial problem, where someone is wronged in some way.  To get the person back, the person seeking revenge has to 'get ahead,' to make sure the wrong has been avenged.

What's the best revenge?   Is it to be successful like Frank Sinatra said, or is it to wait until the person least suspects it (like the 'dish served best cold')?

Just know that with every revenge comes more revenge from the original person who wronged the second.  There is really no way to win at revenge, whether being 'gotten back' again, or from the guilt associated with the avenger.

Here are some ways to show a character is working on revenge:

  • show they're angry (tightenend jaw, reddened face, frown, etc.)
  • they should be thinking of ways to avenge the wrong
  • the character has to consider the consequences before acting.  If they don't, the guilt of their actions weigh on them even more.
  • their every thought is possessed by the revenge they have in their heart
  • the initial action hurts them more than they can fathom
  • they have to hide their form of revenge from the bad guy until the time is right

Just a few revenge thoughts.  And no, this isn't from personal  

Have a great day!
Sweet Tale Books

The 10 Best Revenge Plots In TV Shows
The Smarter Way to Seek Revenge

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Writing help: Pronoun References

What is a pronoun?

According to, a pronoun is:


any member of a small class of words found in many languages that are used as
replacements or substitutes for nouns and noun phrases, and that have very 
general reference, as I, you, he, this, who, what. 

Pronouns are sometimes formally distinguished from nouns, as in English by the 
existence of special objective forms, as him for he orme for I, and by 
nonoccurrence with an article or adjective.

When I wrote my first book, (which was a disaster and to this day hasn't been published,) I used he and she everywhere. Years later, when I went back to read it, I had no idea who was talking, especially if there was a group of more than two people.

If you re-read your entry, your pronoun should clearly indicate the reference to the character.  If there's any doubt, use the person's name.

For example, in the following paragraph, I'm talking about one 'she' while another one is thinking.  The last reference to the name isn't the 'she' being referenced, so I have to replace it with a name.  (This is from the Lingerie Castle, by Markee Anderson):

Alex missed Camden and wished him well in her mind while she worried about him.  But he was with Desiree now and she was nothing compared to her.

I've underlined the 'she' that I'm referencing.  That's supposed to be Alex (short for Alexis).  Which ever name used last, that's the male/female pronoun that will be referenced.  In this second sentence, Desiree is mentioned as the last name, so 'she' would refer to Desiree in most reader's mind.  But I wanted that 'she' to refer to Alex, thus, it should be:

Alex missed Camden and wished him well in her mind while she worried about him.  But he was with Desiree now and Alex was nothing compared to her.
Just make sure the pronouns refer to the right person and it's very clear.

Have a great day!
Sweet Tale Books

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

20 Ways to Make Your Character: Celebrate

We all love a great party, in some respects.  I'm not one to go to parties with crowds, myself, because I feel out of place.  But I do like to celebrate.  It could be a celebration for a birthday, a big promotion, or even just winning a game.

So how does your character celebrate?  Here are 20 ideas that can also be used for a hero to surprise a heroine.  Some are simple ideas, and some are grandiose.  In all, it's the attitude for the celebration more than the event, that matters.

  1. Enjoy your breakfast outside, with friends and laughter
  2. Do something out of the ordinary, like a weekend getaway
  3. Enjoy a luxury--at a wonderful restaurant, or at a spa
  4. Thank someone for doing something nice for you--throw them a celebration
  5. Enjoy a party with friends and family--a surprise party is even more fun
  6. Go to a costume party, designed to celebrate some success
  7. Have an ice cream social
  8. Create a scrapbook of the event
  9. Have a dance party with balloons
  10. Give goals a one-day break
  11. Rewards for the accomplishment, like a favorite movie, popcorn, and friends.
  12. Cross it off the bucket list
  13. Take a day off work and enjoy yourself
  14. Share the success in a newsletter or email to others
  15. Go on vacation
  16. Create your next goal, knowing that first hurdle worked
  17. Buy something new
  18. Learn a new skill
  19. Believe in yourself and be proud
  20. Throw a big party at a local restaurant--maybe a theme party or a dinner party

Reaching a goal is huge, so celebrate right after it happens!  Your characters should do the same in your books.

Have a great day!
Sweet Tale Books

5 Simple Ways to Celebrate The Everyday
Ways to Celebrate
30 Ways to Celebrate Your Success
5 Ways to Celebrate Your Victories

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Meet the Secret Agent

I have a series of books about a group of secret agents who work for a special division of the CIA. It's called the Extreme Travel Series.

When I first started this series, I did some research on the life of a secret agent--but there's not much out there.  To get a feel for it, I watched some movies and television shows, because I don't think many secret agents would publish what it's like to go to a foreign country and throw over a dictator, for example.

When I put myself in the place of that agent, I understood why it's so secretive.  One would think that once they retired, they'd tell of their experience, but to do so would put them in grave danger at home.
Even so, I once knew a secret agent.  The guy was dating a neighbor of mine when I lived in D.C.  He worked for the FBI and would travel overseas.  I always thought spies (or spooks as they're known in the 'trade,') would look and dress like James Bond.  Not so.  This guy was your typical Southerner with a pot gut.  No kidding.  Why?  Because he could blend in as a tourist and no one would ever suspect.

The FBI sends their agents overseas, even though that's usually the job of the CIA.  Why, I have no idea, and didn't ask.  The less I knew, the better.

What was the goal of that man I knew? He wanted to retire and work at his uncle's garage, fixing cars.  He said that even though he did all this work for the government, he could never tell any of it and it wasn't allowed to go on his résumé.  Poor guy.

So make your secret agents 'average' and see what happens.  They might be able to infiltrate even the biggest crimes in the world that way.

Have a great day!
Sweet Tale Books

Monday, November 7, 2016

Writing about San Antonio, TX

About five years ago, our family took a trip to San Antonio, TX, for our 20th anniversary.  We took the train from Milwaukee to Chicago, then took another train to San Antonio, TX.  We had sleeper 'roomettes'--one for my husband and me, one for our daughters, and one for our son. Each roomette has two bunkbeds.

The train trip, alone, is an amazing trip for a plot.  I have more stories from that 34 hour one-way trip (it might have been longer...not sure) than you can imagine.  It was incredible.  Falling asleep while the train is rounding corners makes you hold on tight.  We were on the second floor of the thing both ways.  The views of rural America is astounding, as well.  Fantastic trip, and one I'd recommend for a lifetime of memories.  Even though I enjoyed it, my family didn't.  The rooms are very very tiny, which can be claustrophobic, and the food is the same thing, day after day (you're on the thing for two days each way).  But I loved it!

Once in San Antonio, I realized that it's more of a sprawling city rather than including high rises, etc.  The Alamo is one of the key elements, and it's smack-dab in the middle of the city, right beside a shopping area and across from Ripley's Believe it or Not.

We didn't rent a car this time, but depended on the trolleys, public transportation, and cabs for our trip.  That was kind of fun, because we wanted to teach the kids how to use public transportation.

We also visited Seaworld, a museum, and the Tower of the Americas (much like Seattle's Space Needle).  But my favorite, by far, was the Riverwalk.

The Riverwalk one of the most romantic places I've ever been. A river runs through San Antonio, so they built up the sides with sidewalks and little shops, with amazing landscaping.  We walked the entire distance from downtown to the mall more than once, even in 105 degree temps.  It didn't seem that hot to me, for some reason.

My husband had gone to San Antonio for a work trip, right around the time we were married.  Here's the funniest part...I bought a product called PrintShop years later, which includes pictures for use on websites, etc.  There's one picture on there of the Riverwalk, and the back of my husband is IN the picture.  He's sitting with a woman who was also on the trip (there was a group of them), discussing work.  Here's the picture.  He's the one with the striped shirt:

Of course, when I saw this picture, years later on this product, we HAD to make sure it was him.  It definitely is him.  And I HAD to ask about the woman.  I even knew her and she's happily married and my husband was only working.  I know that for a fact.  But it's hilarious!  Talk about a plot in the making there!

Anyway, San Antonio is a fantastic place for a plot, especially one for romance.  I'd return in a heartbeat, or even move there.  LOVE that town.

If you're writing about San Antonio, realize it's more than just a city.  It includes the Alamo, which is major heritage for all of Texas, museums, things to do for fun, and even the Riverwalk.

Have a great day!
Sweet Tale Books

Friday, November 4, 2016

Showing a Character's Admiration

Admiration and respect go hand-in-hand.  When writing romances, it's imperative that the hero and heroine eventually show that they admire and respect the other partner.  It's different for how to respect the different genders, so I'm going to focus on the man here.  That's not to say that women don't need respect, but the man demands it if the romance is going to work.

So what is admiration?  According to

And respect (as a verb):

Both of these words refer to holding someone in esteem, to appreciate someone, to approve of the person.  Admiration, to me, indicates more of an emotional response.  Respect, to me, is more of a way to appreciate someone's character.  

So how do you show admiration for someone?

Here are a few ideas:

  • put the person on a pedestal--they become like a hero
  • compliment/praise the person
  • ask for the person's advice and opinions
  • draw attention to their positive qualities
  • nonverbal ways--facial expressions and body movement of happiness and praise

I like these quotes, from How do you show admiration and praise?:

Appreciation can make a day, even change a life. Your willingness to put it into words is all that is necessary. ~ Margaret Cousins
As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. ~ John F. Kennedy
Praise is like sunlight to the human spirit: we cannot flower and grow without it. ~ Jess Lair

And, from How Men Feel Love, Your Admiration and Respect Is Key To His Happiness:

Men cannot thrive in a deep passionate type of relationship unless they feel they have a woman’s admiration and respect.

Have a great day!
Sweet Tale Books



Practical Ways a Wife Can Show Admiration to Her Husband
How do you show admiration and praise?
How Men Feel Love, Your Admiration and Respect Is Key To His Happiness

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Writing help: Sentence Variety

When I first started to write books, I had no idea what sentence variety was.  I wrote subject-verb sentences.  I wrote the first Extreme Travel book and showed it to a friend of mine.  She scoffed at my writing, telling me to mix up the sentence structure.  HUH?

Thus, I began to study what the 'experts' did.  I found that the rhythm of the sentences is very important.  Short sentences should be mixed with longer sentences.  The sentences should vary according to how they begin, as well.

So, instead of the following:

Jim went to the store.  He bought milk and bread.  He saw a woman he knew in the dairy aisle.  She was blonde.  He'd dated her in high school.  He left the store with her.


How about:

Jim went to the store to buy milk and bread.  While he strolled into the dairy aisle, he noticed a blonde woman he knew in high school.  They spoke.  The temperature seemed to rise, so Jim left with her, to rekindle a love that once was.

A little bit better?

The start and structure of each sentence will give the varied rhythm to make it more of an interesting story to the reader.  Here are some different starts to the sentence:

Using one-word modifiers:
-- start with an adjective (Blue tears covered the lake.)
-- start with an adverb (Fortunately, the rain stopped.)
-- start with a participle (Crying, she closed her eyes.)  NOTE:  Not my favorite.

Using phrases:
-- start with a prepositional phrase (At halftime, the quarterback cheered.)
-- start with a participial phrase (Sitting near a tree, she looked upward.)
-- start with an infinitive phrase (To be honest, I had no idea he was interested.)

Using clauses:
-- use subordinate clauses (Until I get my license, I won't drive much.)

I also learned to use short sentences when you want to up the drama/tension.  Compound sentences are great, but make sure they're not run-on sentences.

Rhythm of the passage is important.  Read it out loud and see how it sounds.  It should be interesting, varying in length and style, and make the reader want to keep going.

When writing:

  • vary the length of the sentence
  • vary the start of the sentence (use adjectives, adverbs, phrases, and participles)
  • figure out the rhythm of the passages by saying them out loud.

Have a great day!
Sweet Tale Books

 'English Grammar and Composition' by John Warriner, Mary Whitten, and Francis Griffith.  Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, New York, 1973.

Strategies for Variation
Sentence Variety (
Sentence variety (grammerly)
Sentence Variety II
Sentence variety (English club)
sentence variety (composition)

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

20 Ways to Make Your Character: Be Stubborn

I have a family full of stubborn people.  Other family members might see a clear path to get out of a stressful situation, but they're so stubborn, they have to do it their way, even if it's more difficult.  It makes for great plot conflict.

Here are 20 ways for your character to be stubborn:

  1. Avoids person who's giving advice
  2. Does the opposite of the advice
  3. Would rather lose money than to take advice
  4. Not willing to follow morals or rules
  5. Gives in to impulse
  6. Refuses to admit a mistake
  7. Doesn't learn from other's mistakes
  8. Obstinate
  9. Angry
  10. They're right, and that's it
  11. Will not negotiate
  12. Refuses to explain reason for resistance
  13. Can be thought of as spoiled
  14. Doesn't listen to reason
  15. Difficult to teach right and wrong
  16. Refuses to change his/her mind once it's set
  17. Doesn't listen to others' opinions
  18. Humiliates others when they do succeed
  19. Poor losers and poor winners
  20. Throws temper tantrums and bullheaded

Have a great day!
Sweet Tale Books

How to deal with a stubborn person and how to spot him before he even speaks

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Meet the Doctor

The doctor makes a great hero in a romance novel.  Why?  He has power, compassion, brains, and money.  He's able to take on any problem and solve it, through all his qualities.  He can also heal people, even the most vulnerable.

Heroines can also be a doctor, but if your reader is a woman, my guess is the male being a doctor is more touching to the reader (in most cases).  Here's why--women are normally more compassionate (now don't beat me up, because there are exceptions to this rule) and are usually more in touch with their emotions.  So for a man to show these qualities are usually (and not always) more difficult than for a woman to show compassion.

Writing about a doctor is kind of fun, because of the research involved in whatever they're working on.  Also, if the man is the doctor, then the writer is missing the mark if they don't include some sort of medical emergency.

What does a doctor go through?  I have a friend who's married to a doctor.  The stress on their life is intense.  Every decision can be a life-and-death emergency.  They're also on call many days of the week, even when they're having other life issues.  They have to keep their medical licenses updated (and take tests for every specialty), and take courses to stay current.

Sometimes, their patients can be a pain (trust me...I have a feeling I'm one of those types).  If they do anything wrong, they can and will be sued.  Any bad treatment (sometimes, they're split second decisions) can end a life.

Their schooling lasts at least eight years, many times more, dealing with specialties.  They might make decent money when out in a practice, but their college bills and malpractice insurance can take their tolls on salaries.

So when writing about the doctor, realize they're not just healers.  They're compassionate people who are dealing with stress that most of us can't even imagine.

Have a great day!
Sweet Tale Books