Thursday, May 31, 2012

Moving Forward, I Think! by DL Larson

Last fall my website crashed and the time since has been a maze of dead ends regaining my domain name.  For some crazy reason I do not comprehend, I have my domain name but can not retrieve it until August of this year.  Since being notified of that information, I've received a notice through snail mail that my domain name will expire October 2012.  The letter suggests I act today to preserve that name.  Yet I still can't get to it. 

This is where I want to throw my head back and bellow!  I'm usually a lady, key word being usually, but how is this remotely sane?  I've paid for over six months of use with no use of any kind.  My dear daughter has come to the rescue yet again and found a temporary domain name to use.  So the good news in all of this craziness is I'd like to share my temporary website with you. 

Please visit and leave me a message!  I'd love to hear from you and re-establish a connecion with other writers and those who love the written word.  I have yet to update some of the information, so please be patient with me, getting a site has been my primary concern and my daughter used  material she had in her records. 

Another goal of mine is to get my books in e-format so I can relay that information on my website.  Now that I'm back in business, or toddling toward being in business, hopefully soon I will be able to offer my work in e-books. 

Life is a challenge, and as as Roseanne Roseannadanna used to said, "It's always something!"

Til next time ~

DL Larson

Sunday, May 27, 2012


Well, it's here...with Memorial Weekend upon us, the official beginning of summer is upon us. Pools and beaches open, there's just a few days left of school, and the weather is definitely warm...make that hot.

I can't wait for summer this year. It's been a long year and last summer didn't turn out quite like I planned. This year I'm looking forward to vacations and concerts, but I'm also looking forward to doing a lot of reading (Last summer I read over 40 books, I'm hoping to top that this year!) and a lot of writing (I need to finish revisions on a full-length, and I have ideas for two novellas spinning in my head.) My laptop should get a great workout over the next couple of months.

I'm also looking foward to evenings on the porch with my hubby with country music playing in the background and time spent with friends.

I have a few projects I'd like to accomplish around the house...most revolve around organizing, and I need to catch up (as usual) on some scrapbooking.

What about you...any special plans on the horizon?

Until next time,

Happy Reading!


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Sharing the Load by Morgan Mandel

We authors are often loners, delving deep into our brains to pull out enough words to create books. We're happy when those efforts are acknowledged.

Sometimes, though, sharing the load may resulting in greater glory. The BBT Cafe e-group, at the suggestion of its owner, Dani Greer, has taken on a project called The Corner Cafe: A Tasty Collection of Short Stories. Many of us belonging to that e-group have made contributions. My two are: The Closing of the Corner Cafe and What Nice Blessings.

It was fun to share the load for the greater glory. I'm curious to see how this experiment pans out. More to come on this very soon.

See for Excerpts and Buy Links to My Four Full Length Novels.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Take a Break from Writing.... Peek into a bird nest...

Writers work too hard. Here's a neat little diversion - check out the progress of the baby Peregrine Falcons in their nest on top of a Wisconsin power plant.... See webcam.

The correlation to writing? Of course there is one! In one week, these birds have doubled in size. Hopefully we see that same kind of progress as we work on our latest project - seeing it improve, grow and move towards perfection!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Perfecting Your Synopsis! by DL Larson

Attending a writers conference is good for my writer's soul.  It rekindles my interest in perfecting my skills.  While at the RWA Spring Fling last month, I attended a session by Laurie Brown, "7 Steps To  A Perfect  Synopsis."  I don't know of anyone who really enjoys the task of creating a synopsis, but Laurie's method seemed pretty straight forward.  Even though I had heard and practiced similar steps before, absorbing her fresh approach inspired me. 

Remember a synopsis is a "selling tool," much like the backcover blurb of a book.  Subplots are not needed, the shorter and most direct works great.  Use present tense and try to avoid the characters names. As for length, one page for 10,000 words is a good marker to use.  Now for Laurie's 7 steps in a Romance Synopsis:

1.  GMC of the Heroine. 
2.  GMC of the Hero.

okay, I bet you're wondering what is GMC.  Think about the basics of the story.  Decide what is your heroine/hero's Goal, Motivation and Conflict.  List them, get them clearly established in your head and on your paper, keeping in mind Internal Conflict as well as External Conflict.

3.  The Meet: when/how the two main characters meet; the conflict they find in each other; the change it will take to overcome the obstacles before/between them in a meaningful manner; the resolution must be worthy of the conflict.

4.  Stuff Happens:  Be brief, using phrases "as a result of ..."  Explain internal feelings and how they have found common ground to allow their relationship to grow or further their problems in reaching their goal.

5.  Things Change: Briefly explain the action that takes place.  "Because of .... (action) this happens.

6.  The Dark Moment:  What happens to convince one or both of them they can not be together.

7.  Resolution:  What action brought them together?  What have they learned?  How have they grown in their relationship together? 

Other techniques I have used in the past, especially with a lenghty book with multiple subplots:
- follow the main characters, let the others go unless it is elemental to the storyline.
- highlight each chapter to find the main thread of a story.  I've gone so far as to write out the main theme in each chapter and from there create one or two sentences that moves the story along.
- Not using names feels awkward, but by keeping minor character nameless creates a smoother read. 
- Always follow the development of the realtionship, and/or the conflict to reach the resolution.
- Keep a list of external conflicts to be sure the major ones end up in your synopsis.

Remember a synopsis is the bridge to having someone read your manuscript.  Make it exciting and emotional in order to gain interest in the book.

Good Luck and Thank You Laurie for sharing your expertise at SpringFling!

Til next time ~

DL Larson

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Perspective by Morgan Mandel

Morgan Mandel Too Many Years Ago
 As a child, everything and everyone looked big to me. Then I grew older, and the world appeared normal-sized.

When I was growing up, I used to live next to a park. It seemed like an ideal location, because I could play on the monkey bars and making pretend cakes in the sand. Now, I'm glad the park in our neighborhood is a few blocks away, so I don't have to worry about the noise, or the older kids who hang around there at night.

Then there's the matter of age. Wow, 30 used to be awfully old, and 70 was ancient. Now I'm twice 30, so 70 is getting closer and not as old as before.

When it's winter and I'm freezing, 60 degrees seems warm. During summer, 60 degrees feels cool.

I used to work in Downtown Chicago, and thought nothing of joining the herds of commuters who got on the train, then off to march down the street to offices and other places of employment.
Now I'm retired, and going Downtown seems a big deal. Not only that, I wonder how I could have put up with all those people all over the place, getting in my way.

There are countless other examples I could give, but you get the picture. When crafting your characters, take into consideration such factors as age, physical characteristics, background, environment, and family.The more layers you can add  to round out your characters, the more their perspectives will make sense to the reader.

Morgan Mandel writes romances, thrillers and mysteries. Her current release is the romantic thriller, Forever Young: Blessing or Curse on kindle at and Print at

For Excerpts and Buy Links to Morgan's 4 books, available on all electronic medica, go to

Sunday, May 13, 2012


Yesterday, even though it was drizzly for part of the day, we worked in the yard. We trimmed bushes, cut lower limbs from trees, and made plans to move a few perennials to new locations. I also planted my annuals in their pots. (Hopefully it wasn't too early to do this, but I'm out of town next weekend and wanted to get it done.) Now, over the course of the spring and summer, I'll need to nuture those little plants to make sure they bloom and grow and stay healthy.

Of course I made the inevitable comparison to writing.

You start with the germ of an idea: the seedling. You plant it by making an outline (if you're one of those kind of writers) or simply putting your fingers to the keys and beginning. As your idea grows, your story begins to bloom and take shape. Given the right amount of nurturing, and over time, it turns into a full-fledged novella or novella. When it's 'finished', the pruning begins. Cutting out the things that don't work. Perhaps moving scenes from one part of the story to another.

I'm looking forward to a productive summer of watching my plants and my stories grow.

Until next time,

Happy Writing!


P.S. In regards to those goals from last week, I'm giving myself a two and a half out of four. I mailed off my query and synopsis to Harlequin, and sent the prize books on their way as well. I'm pretty well organized to jump into actual revisions on my novel, but I only wrote about three paragraphs for my novella revisions.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Learning Is Never Easy! by DL Larson

Recently I attended a "Beginners Band Concert."  The players consisted of fourth grade students eager to perform publicly for the first time.  Parents, grandparents and friends sat in the bleachers waiting for the performance to begin.  The children were all dressed in clean, neat clothes, hair combed with faces scrubbed.  In other words they looked adorable if not a little nervous.  Miss E, the band director, seemed calm, smiling to her students and the audience alike.  She greeted the audience and began to explain the grueling process of learning to play an instrument.  Miss E reminded her audience about developing breathing techniques, keeping a good rhythm and learning to focus on the music as well as on her.  She then reminded us how the students needed to adjust to the added burden of holding the instrument in small hands and learning to manipulate their mouths correctly in order to make the proper sounds. 

Miss E is a very enthusiastic teacher and she shared with us how much her students had learned in one school year.  She then said they were going to play the first thing they learned.  She turned to her students, nodded to them to be ready and she stepped up on her podium.  Her arms came up and with quick precision as her hands came together, a giant squawk came from the students and when she used her down motion to complete the beat, the squawk stopped. 

The kids were smiling, Miss E. was smiling and the audience laughed.  The students held up their mouth pieces and Miss E. told us what progress it was for kids to learn to make a sound through their mouth pieces.  One squawk, in unison, held for the correct amount of time, with an abrupt stop just as the instructor had motioned.  She then progressed to the first note, then to the first set of three notes, and so on.  After that I thought the concert would begin, but Miss E. invited, or rather challenged the parents to come down and try playing their children's instruments.  They were to play "Mary Had A Little Lamb."

A nervous laughed resounded through the crowd but the parents were good sports and descended on the students.  Each child showed a parent how to hold the instrument, how to manipulate the few notes and to read the music.  After a few moments Miss E. decided they had learned enough and tapped her stand to gain everyone's attention.  Once again she looked over her band, now full of adults with children standing by their sides.  She stepped up on her podium, brought her arms up and kept up a wonderfully smooth beat to the squeaking and bleating that followed.  Cheeks puffed out, faces grew red from exertion and Miss E. kept directing the beat as the kids earnestly helped their parents keep track of where they were on the page.  The audience doubled over laughing.

A wonderful concert  by the children followed the mayhem.  The kids performed with enthusiasm and everyone left the gmn a little wiser.  

So you may wonder what this has to do with writers.  Well, everything, besides sharing a story with you, it's a reminder that learning a craft is never easy.  And instead of getting crumpy at the process, relax and enjoy the progress you have made.  Whatever level your writing is at right now, take a moment to look back and enjoy those bumbling moments for what they were ~ learning to create! 

Til next time ~

DL Larson 

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

You Can Make An Impact

When you least expect it, you can make an impact. Last week, when I stood on my back stoop, I noticed a June bug. They always seem to appear in the wrong month, but I digress.

The stoop was wet. The bug lay on its backside, with its tiny legs flailing. I could have ignored its plight. Maybe it would have righted itself. Maybe it wouldn't have. It might have been just another bug trying to have a life and not succeeding.

I thought for a moment, then went back inside. I tore off a small piece of typing paper and went back out. Ever so gently I placed the paper under the bug, taking care not to get any of its tiny legs squashed in the process. Then I slowly lifted the bug up, turned the paper over and placed it on top of a nearby piece of vegetation. It didn't move. Well, I'd done all I could to help its survival, so I went back into the house.

Half an hour later, when I went out to walk my dog, Rascal, I looked for the bug to see if it was still there. It was gone!

The June bug is only one example, but writing is another. Through your efforts, you have the awesome power to transport readers from their everyday world, with its cares and troubles, into another place where they can live for a while.

Yes, you can make an impact!

Find Excerpts & Buy Links to Morgan Mandel's Books at

Monday, May 7, 2012

Truth really is stranger than fiction....

Sometimes you read something and wonder how the author thought that up, then you'll see something in real life which that makes that writer's creation pale in comparison. I had to add some thoughts today on a headline I just saw and which I find rather shocking. Yes, truth is stranger than fiction. And Soylent Green apparently is very real. My thoughts today on this at my Candid Canine blog. Warning: this may be a bit disturbing to some and contains strong viewpoints.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Writerly Goals for the Week

It seems like it's a busy time of year...then again, what time of year isn't busy? There always seems to be so much to do, and never enough time to do it. When that happens, I tend to put my goals in writing instead of just thinking about what needs to be done. There is much satisfaction to be gained from crossing things off of a list as they are accomplished.

For now I'm not going to think about things in other aspects of my life that need to get done. Instead, I'll focus on the things I need to do in my writer's life:

*Polish synopsis and cover letter for "Family Secrets" and send to the American editor at Harlequin. (This also involves a trip to the post office for international postage.)

*Finish revisions on "An Unexpected Blessing", give it a read through, and send it off to my editor at Wild Rose.

*Get organized so I can really put fingers to keys and make some progress on rewrites/revisions for "This Feels Like Home". (I've done some preliminary legwork, but now it's time to get serious.)

*Autograph and send copies of my books for a collective basket prize another blog is putting together for a June contest. (To be efficient, I'll do both post office things at once.)

And since 'real life' will also need to be accounted for over the next week, I think I'll leave it at that.

Until next time,

Happy Reading!


Saturday, May 5, 2012

An Incredible Talent by Margot Justes

Renaissance in a literal translation means rebirth. I'm specifically writing about the later Renaissance period that started in the 14th Century in Florence, Italy.  The massive movement affected, politics, literature, industry and of course art; and that is just gliding over the surface.

The impact on art was profound, a new realistic approach to painting where perspective became important-more specifically something called linear perspective-where parallel lines converge so as to give the painting an illusion of depth and distance. That is the accepted definition.

When we look at a painting, we don't say 'ah, I see the linear perspective', we just see a painting and recognize distances and depth and sometimes an added dimension.

There is a recent BBC article written by Robin Banerji about the quintessential Renaissance man, Leonardo da Vinci, despite being dead for centuries.

The latest article states that his anatomy drawings were quite accurate and better than the 19th Century Gray's Anatomy, and according to the article his anatomy studies were "hundreds of years ahead of its time." A series of drawings of the skull were anatomically correct and  perfect. The article goes on to say that the drawings were as good as what can be drawn today.  Leonardo died in 1519, that puts things in perspective.

Among his many talents, Leonardo da Vinci could paint what he saw perfectly.  That is not as easy as it sounds. I imagine it as he photographed it in his head and later developed it on paper.  A perfect visual image rendered in pigment.

 Till next time,

Margot  Justes

Hearts & Daggers

A Hotel in Paris

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Do You Stand Out From the Crowd?

I saw this great example of branding yesterday on my way to Fitness Class.

Why is it so great? Look at the colors, the shape, the design, the logo. It also contains contact a phone number and QR Code as contact information.

This sign serves the dual purpose of warning people off the grass, as well as promoting the brand. My eyes were immediately drawn to it, and I wanted to read what it was about.

Those looking for a lawn care company or thinking of changing theirs would most likely consider this company. Why? Because their signage is very professional.

The conclusion from an observer would be the company's work is is also professional.

That's the kind of branding I'm striving to achieve. Now I just need to find a gimmick like they have.

What about you? Do you have a great gimmick going? Or, maybe you've seen someone else's that strikes you -- that of an author, or perhaps someone in a different profession. Please share.

Excerpts & Buy Links to All 4 of these books are at