Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Building Characters & Giving Them Life

Creating characters that are full of life, personality, well-rounded and real is far harder to do then you might think. It’s more then describing them, more then giving them names, history and physicality. It takes more then rich colorful language and a strong handle of how to use it.

And honestly, characterization is one thing that I have often struggled with. Creating diverse settings that pulse with a life of their own – that I’m generally good with, it doesn’t faze me. But doing the same for my characters… simply not the same.

One trick I have learned is to not sweat those descriptions during my first draft. (Simply put: during that first draft it’s perfectly fine to simply say “she has green eyes” or “he has dark brown hair.”) If you’re like me and struggle with your characters, in the first draft just focus on getting the story down first. Once you’ve got that done then you can go back and add more. 

With story down on the page you can go back and focus on the characters – describe their looks; give color and depth to their personalities. (“His rich brown hair was so dark, in moments of fantasy it sparked images of having dipped him in lush dark chocolate.”) Give them quirks. (“I discovered that she had this annoying habit of lifting her dark brows and opening her brilliantly green eyes wide, making them appear even more like highly faceted emeralds set into the fine setting of her face.”)

Once you do that you’ll discover that suddenly they’re alive and you’ll better connect with them. Then you build them emotionally – give them strengths, weaknesses, fears and dreams. And that’s when you find that now they have that pulsing life that you need from them. 

That’s when they become real.

It takes time. Patience.

But the more you write, the more often you’ll find that without even focusing effort on creating real, life-like characters that you’re writing that spark into them thoughtlessly. Some characters will grow easily, organically on the page and some are frustratingly more difficult.

The bottom line is to find a method that works for you, whatever that may be. But also remember that sometimes your method will change, with certain stories or characters you may go about their creation differently. And that’s okay.

So what are some methods you use for creating, building and bringing your characters to life?

Monday, September 5, 2016

Summer's Over - Back to Normal?

Hey There Everybody!

It’s been a long summer… Okay, truth, some parts of the summer seemed to fly by in the blink of an eye, while other parts did seem to drag on. However, truly accurate descriptions of this summer would be – active, busy, fun.

July passed in a blink and was full to the brim, scratch that – overflowing with family activities, kid activities, friends, trips, and more. August, always an eventful month for the Corner Table Family, was also busy though I’m happy to say we were able to find a couple days here and there when we simply had nothing to do and could kick back and relax. But summer holidays are (as of tomorrow morning) officially over and we’re all going to be back to a regular schedule and able to focus on things, work or otherwise.

Photo Credit: LD Ferris, 2016

There will be a few feature changes on Ups, Downs, Ins & Outs – nothing major; a few simple changes in schedule or additions. Inside My Mind should see more regular postings – I’m hoping to start with weekly and then bump it up to twice weekly in a month or so. On both of these blogs I will also be trying to look for folks interested in doing guest posts.

A Corner Table in My World will also start to see more regular postings. Honestly I’m not sure what the final goal will be there besides simply more. There a lot of things that happen in our daily lives that I could talk and write about but I’ve always shied from simply regurgitating everything I do everyday. So I guess one goal will be to figure that shit out.

So that’s what I wanted to let you know today. If you take nothing else from this post make sure you catch this: Hi everyone, we’re back!!!

Thursday, June 2, 2016

When I Partied... Day 2

So as you know the Another Year of Books Celebration Event is happening right now on Facebook. The event includes takeovers, daily giveaways, guest bloggers and a grand prize contest. It's all simply set up to be a fun chance for folks to interact with favorite authors, meet new ones and etc. 

I spent some time hanging out on the event page yesterday, talking a bit about my own writing and what I'm working on. While there I mentioned there that I've got half a dozen projects at various stages of progress right now with a contemporary romance as the one that I'm hoping and planning to release this summer - sooner rather than later. And I shared some details specifically about that forerunner.

This contemporary romance blindsided me earlier this year, after all I almost always write with a paranormal or fantasy background, and though I have mentioned the book on my Facebook page, I don't think I've really talked about it here at all. So now that the cat is out of the bag, I'm here today to tell  you about it.

HERE IS HOME is at it's heart a second chances story. The story revolves around Annabelle Carlisle and Aidan Hennessey, high school sweethearts that everyone believed would end up married young and together forever. At least, everyone thought that until Annabelle left town, disappearing just days before the couple were to head off to university together. More then a decade later Annabelle returns to her hometown and has to face the man she left behind, the friends she's hidden from, and the family who still don't know why she left, alone, in the first place.

While settling back in to daily life in their picturesque town, rebuilding old friendships and securing her position as the new high school science teacher at her old alma mater, Annabelle continues to hold her secrets and many details of her life from the decade she was away, to herself. 

But an accident changes everything and Annabelle is forced to explain why she left years earlier. She's forced to tell her loved ones about the secrets she's been keeping from them and mistakes she's made.

And then all she can do is hope that they will be able to forgive her.

Before I wrapped up my time yesterday at the event I decided to give everybody a sneak peek at the story and ended up sharing a rather long excerpt from the unedited version of the story... For your pleasure (and maybe some input) here it is... 

“Hey Belle!” The call came from the house and she jerked around to see Heather coming toward her. “Your phone has been ringing almost non-stop for the last five minutes.” She explained as she tossed the device gently to her from about 6 feet away and Belle fumbled to catch it one handed.

“What?” Annabelle muttered and set her beer between her feet on the ground before examining the screen, scrolling quick through the list of missed calls, messages and texts. Jer. Jer. Mom. Steve. Dad. Mom. Unknown. Unknown. Jer. Jer. Steve. Jer. Jer. Unknown, unknown, unknown, unknown... 

“What the hell?” she exclaimed and then nearly dropped the phone when it rang again. Steve, again.

“Hello?” She answered.

“Thank God!” He answered and then rushed on. “I really hope you’re at the house where your car is parked because I couldn’t hold him back anymore and I really can’t deal with a mob of insane teenagers tonight.”


“Annabelle,” he started to say but she quit paying attention when she heard her name again, coming from behind her and in another man’s voice. “Anna.”

“Christ,” she squeaked, jumping up from her seat and turning so quickly she tipped the chair over. Then she froze as she watched Jeremy stalk towards her from the corner of the house.

From the phone she heard, “I guess we found you.” But her attention was focused on the man in front of her. He stopped on the other side of the fallen chair and looked at the phone in her hand, glanced quickly around the fire at the crowd of people, then met her eyes.

“I’ve been trying to get a hold of you all night.” Jeremy informed her in his deep voice.

Annabelle shook her head and swallowed against sudden anxiety. “I left my phone here earlier when we went out. We had dinner and then there was a football game.” She said with a gesture towards the group around the fire.

He pressed his lips together and stared hard at her but she couldn’t tell whether it was frustration or something else. Finally, he reached down and pulled the chair out of his way and stepped closer to her, placing his hands on her arms and holding tight.

“Annabelle,” he said and she vaguely noticed that Steve was now standing a few feet behind him looking at her solemnly.

“What?” she asked through lips that were suddenly going numb.

“There’s been an accident, Anna.” He began to tell her.


“When they couldn’t get a hold of you on your cell phone they called me. I guess you still have my number listed as a secondary contact.” He explained and Annabelle felt the blood rushing away from her head because she knew where she’d listed him as a secondary contact. “When I couldn’t get a hold of you either, Steve and I got on a plane.”

“Where were you?” She asked faintly, dumbly, as if it mattered.

“Boise, Idaho.” Steve answered softly over Jeremy’s shoulder.

She met Jeremy’s eyes and saw the grave expression, the serious set of the planes of his face. Mostly she saw something that she didn’t want to acknowledge, something she knew he wouldn’t let her dodge. And staring in his eyes she began to tremble.

“Anna, its Andrew and Shawn.” He finally said.

“No.” Annabelle whispered.

“They were driving to a football game or something. There were a few cars involved and a semi-truck and trailer. They were both taken to the U of A Hospital, Shawn by ambulance, while Andrew was air-lifted.” The more he said the quieter it got around the fire, as everyone seemed to understand the gravity of the situation. His hands tightened on her arms. “They’re not sure that Andrew will make it Annabelle.”

Her eyelids slid shut, two tears slipping loose and sliding slowly down her face. All she heard was the roaring in her ears and the pounding of her heart. She felt numb and she knew that if he hadn’t been holding her arms she probably would have slipped to the ground in a puddle. The sound of Sarah’s laughter flitted through her mind and then Shawn’s beautiful, innocent face flashed behind her closed eyelids jolting her from the chaos in her head.

“What about Shawn?” Her voice, loud in the silence, sounded strange to her ears. “Jer, what about Shawn?”

When Jeremy hesitated to answer she grabbed on to the front of his sweater and demanded again. “What about Shawn?”

“He’s unconscious.” He finally told her and she sucked in a breath. “The guy I talked to said that they ruled out skull fractures and they didn’t see any bleeds when they did an MRI, but it’s a head injury so they’re being cautious. Beyond that he has a broken arm. They told me it was a clean break about three inches below his wrist.”

“But his head?” She cried and everyone heard the panic building in her tone.

Jeremy shook his head. “They’re cautious but optimistic Anna. That’s what they said. They’re pretty sure he’ll be okay.” Annabelle released a shaky breath and dropped her forehead to his chest. They all waited while she took several deep breaths pulling the shreds of her composure together.

Finally she raised her head and stepped back and out of his hold. “I need to get there.” She announced it resolutely. “I need to be there.” He nodded.

“We charted a flight Annabelle.” Steve told her quietly. “It’ll be about a 30-minute flight from here. The pilot is just waiting for us to get there.”

Belle nodded and knelt down to pick up the phone she’d dropped at some point in the last couple minutes. She took a couple steps away from the fire and then turned back to face her friends and family. They were all standing, all looking at her with pity and compassion in their eyes.

“I have to go.” She said to no one in particular.

“We know.” Kara said and when Annabelle looked close she saw that both Kara and Lindsay had tears in their eyes.

She looked at Aidan and swallowed. “I’m not sure when I’ll be back. I don’t –“

“Go, Bella.” He answered with a nod. “And call if you need anything.”

Annabelle bit back a sob and nodded as she turned and rushed out of the yard with Jeremy and Steve.
*Excerpt from HERE IS HOME by LD Ferris, 2016*

So there you go. I'll be back on the event page this evening, along with authors Tom Fallwell and Selena Rivera between 7PM-11:59PM MST - pop in and join us... It's not to late to join in

And if you're an author or blogger and would like to join us and do a last minute takeover time tonight please contact me at or PM on my Facebook page... There are still times open and available, just give me a shout!

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

The Another Year of Books Celebration Event begins tonight!

Friends, followers and fans...

It has been a very trying month (a trying year so far to be completely honest), between natural disasters, family losses, heartbreaking personal news and the resulting dramatic increase of daily chaos in our lives (here at home), quite a few things have fallen to the way side - pushed off and essentially forgotten, if benignly forgotten, for the greater part of the last three weeks. We've spent the last couple days immersed in family (the entire Farm Family that is) and for us all that was a very good thing.

However as I checked my phone yesterday evening I saw a FB notification that, like a sledgehammer, slammed anxiety, panic and a dragging sense of disappointment into me. It was a notification alerting me that someone had tagged my Facebook page and shared the Another Year of Books Celebration Event... And I realized that I'd forgotten. In and around everything else that was going on in life, amongst all the changes that have taken place over the last several weeks (and are still taking place), the event and all the planning, promoting and pomp I wanted to give it had completely slipped my mind. And now I am stuck in this moment where I have to decide what to do - postpone, cancel or simply forge on with it as it is.

I don't honestly know which is the best course to take. So after thinking about it, sleeping on it and discussing with Heli Dad today, here is what I will be doing...

The grand prize giveaway contest will be extended for 2 additional weeks - to close on June 16th to allow for more people to enter. I will continue to accept donations until June 13th!!

Fast prize giveaways will beginning May 31st and I will do 1 game/contest giveaway a day until all donated fast prizes have been awarded. If you are interested you can still donate fast giveaway prizes.

Guest blog posts will go up as soon as can be arranged with those who signed up to do them. If you are interested in doing a blog post (between now and June 15th you can still sign up.

Registered participants who signed up for takeover times will go forward as scheduled - with a few changes. There are still quite a few time slots available each of the days of the event and you can still sign up for one of the times.

And finally, though obviously incredibly later than originally intended, all donating, takeover and guest blog authors will be featured in one way or another on the blogs and social media. 

So while this event won't be precisely as I envisioned it, it will go on. 

In just a little bit things will kick off.  Tonight we'll have the chance to visit and chat with Rebekah Raymond - author of the Life series: LIFE'S DEFEAT and LIFE'S HOPE, at 8:00pm MST, and I'll also be posting a giveaway contest tonight as well - for your chance to win a Kindle copy of THE DEEPEST BLACK by Rainy Kaye.

So please, join us tonight on the Facebook event page for the Another Year of Books Celebration Event...