Today I am homoured to have a guest post from an Author that I love. I have read many of his books, and given them all brilliant reviews. (I will link the reviews and book links below).
DJ Swykert is a talented Author who writes gritty novels involving criminals, drugs, prostitutes and gripping plots. His characters are always fully explored so I feel like I knew them properly. DJ Swykert’s books are page turning brilliant. So, as I started off saying, I am pleased to bring you today a guest post from this Author, where he describes how he writes his books.
One Way to Write a Novel
I’m pretty straight forward as a person and a writer. I’m a former 911 operator, and in 911 you don’t have the luxury of a lot of pondering, you need to get to the essence of a problem in a hurry.
It was good training for resolving conflict in a story. I also use a tip a literature teacher gave me:
“Never use a ten dollar word when a ten cent one will do.”
I’ve tried to do that, keep my writing direct, succinct, and understandable. Too many writers try to impress readers with their massive vocabulary, but few readers, including me, want to read a book with a dictionary on their lap. If I have to look up definitions to understand a sentence, it closes my interest in the story, and the book.
I don’t use detailed outlines to write a story. I have the character, conflict, and the ending in my head before I begin. I put the character into conflict, and since I know how it will be resolved, the chapters always move forward to that ending.
My idea for a first draft always begins with the characters. My protagonist Ray in Children of the Enemy was a man I saw who ran a salvage yard, which could also be described more simply as a junkyard. He was sitting on a chair outside of a house trailer, smoking a cigarette, with virtual mountains of scrap metal pieces and junk appliances surrounding him. I imagined in real life he was perhaps a cross between Dirty Harry and James Earl Jones. It was just how he impressed me. Once I have a few characters I like I put them into a situation,this is the conflict.The next step is I frame in my mind how I intend to resolve the conflict. The rest of the book consists of chapters that point toward the resolution.
I’ve had a lot of conversations about the best way to write a book. I have long believed there is no one system that works for everyone. It’s whatever process works for you; whether it’s outlines, daily word requirements, black boards, however you frame your story and get a draft onto paper. I write a story like you’d watch a movie, chapters being scenes, the end result being me as adirector, assembling the chapter-scenes into a coherent story consisting of characters, conflict and resolution. Then I edit it. Someone asked me once how do you write a poem? I told them I write it down and then I edit it for the next thirty years. This is a slight exaggeration, but there’s an elementary truth in it, good writing requires good editing. Your imagination creates the story draft, editing is where you shape it into a book. Working with a good editor is a real plus.
DJ Swykert is a former 911 operator writing and living in North Carolina. His work has appeared in The Tampa Review, Detroit News, Coe Review, Monarch Review, the Newer York, Lunch Ticket, Gravel, Zodiac Review, Barbaric Yawp and Bull. His books include Children of the Enemy, Sweat Street, Alpha Wolves, The Pool Boy’s Beatitude and Maggie Elizabeth Harrington, The Death of Anyone, Three-fingered Jack Davis and Nude Swimming.
Thank you very much DJ for that guest post. I think any insight into how Authors write their books is really interesting, and I quite agree that if you need a dictionary to read a book, then the enjoyment is taken out of it. I love the idea that the books are written as a film might be.
Here are the books I can recommend with my reviews and links to each book
Thank you to Author K M Ecke for inviting me onto this book tour for his new book Moral Panic. I am delighted today to be able to share with you details of the new book, a playlist and a giveaway!
If anything can be hacked, nothing can be trusted.
Tanner Moore is at the top of his game in the high stakes world of Big Technology. As Chief Technology Officer of Paragon, the largest corporation in the world, he is about to release the greatest convenience innovation in the history of commerce: Drone delivery service to every inch of the globe.
But when a series of off-the-record comments are published by the click-bait media, Tanner’s fall from grace is swift and brutal.
Kidnapped by a mysterious vigilante secret police with unknown intentions, Tanner must navigate an underground world of violent zealots and mental manipulation to find the truth within a cage of distortion.
This Author has included a spotify playlist with his book, which is a great idea. Here is the link so you can see the songs. However, we are offering a free digitaldownload for this album and an ebook of Moral Panic to one lucky winner. See details further down.
After years of artistic exploration and experimentation, Change of Mind is Ecke’s lyrical statement of defiance against cultural insanity.
After producing four albums under various pseudonyms, and working with several Denver based groups to help them produce albums, this is the first he has released under his own name.
You could win a digital download of this to listen to along with his book.
For the one lucky winner, you will recieve an ebook of Moral Panic and a digitaldownload of K M Ecke’s music. All you have to do to enter is retweet the pinnedtweet on my Twitter account (@chocolate_pages). One random winner will be chosen on Saturday 24th March 2018. Open Internationally.
Welcome my fellow chocolate and books lovers, today I have a treat for you!
I have Andrea Lochen on ChocolatePages with a deliciously inspired guest post. Andrea is going to share with us some tempting deserts which have been inspired by books. Welcome Andrea, and lets get our sweet teeth tempted.
Ten Most Delicious Desserts Inspired by Novels
by Andrea Lochen
As an avid reader with a major sweet tooth, I love when authors include the recipes for the yummy desserts they’ve made me drool over throughout their book. It’s a marriage of two of my favourite activities—reading and baking! And if you’re a book club member, what better treat to bring to your meeting than a dessert straight out of the novel? Here are ten of my favourite book-inspired desserts!
1) Southern Caramel Cake from The Help by Kathryn Stockett
Who hasn’t wanted to try a bite of the scrumptious-sounding caramel cake that Minny makes in The Help? (Maybe not so much her chocolate pie, however!) Though Stockett didn’t include the recipe in the back of her book, this food blog has the The Junior League of Memphis Cookbook recipe that supposedly inspired her.
2) Coconut Cake from Amy E. Reichert’s The Coincidence of Coconut Cake
The titular coconut cake in Reichert’s The Coincidence of Coconut Cake earned its place on the cover of this heartwarming book. To the main character, Lou, baking her grandmother’s cake is the ultimate expression of love. In the book, those who get to eat it earned their slice, which certainly made me crave a piece all the more!
3) Crème Caramel Flan from Anita Hughes’ Island in the Sea: A Majorca Love Story
In Hughes’ newest novel set in Spain, she describes how Majorca’s restaurants serve a mouthwatering variety of delicious fresh fish and locally grown vegetables and how many diners like to end the meal with a dessert that satisfies any sweet tooth while not being heavy or cloying. This creme caramel flan recipe certainly does the trick!
4) Lemon Cream Cake from Juliette Fay’s Shelter Me
Fay introduces the concept of “pology cake” in her first novel, Shelter Me, as something you bake for someone you’ve wronged in the hopes of that person forgiving you. Though according to Fay, it doesn’t need to be a particular kind of cake, her recipe for lemon cream cake in the back of the book and on her author website sounds fabulous!
5) Peanut butter bars from Kitchens of the Great Midwest by J. Ryan Stradal
Though there are several delicious dishes described in Stradal’s debut novel about Midwestern foodie culture, it was the blue-prize winning peanut butter bars recipe from Lutheran church lady, Pat, that caught my eye. I made this for my book club and these chocolate-frosted bars are just as decadent as they sound
6) Thumbprint Cookies with Jam from Kelly Simmons’ One More Day
Baking figures prominently in Kelly Simmons’ book because in One More Day, the main character, Carrie Morgan, bakes with her grandmother, as she did when she was a little girl. However, it’s not clear whether her grandmother is dead or alive! These thumbprint jam cookies look like just the thing to bake when you’re in a nostalgic mood (or simply in the mood for something buttery and sweet)!
7) Mantecadas from Tina Ann Forkner’s Ruby Among Us
In Ruby Among Us by Tina Ann Forkner, Kitty and her granddaughter Lucy spend a lot of time together talking over cookies and tea. Lucy even has a special tea cup that she drinks out of with her grandmother Kitty who is keeping a lot of secrets about Lucy’s past. Below is a link to Kitty’s secret recipe for Lucy’s favorite cookie, Mantecadas. Yum!
8) Nanaimo Bars from Miracle Beach by Erin Celello
Nanaimo Bars are served in the cafeterias of the ferry boats between Vancouver Island and mainland Canada. In Miracle Beach, when main characters Magda and Jack come to the Island, they fall in love with the sinfully sweet bars. Author Erin Celello testifies that they’re amazing!
9) Damascus’ Pumpkin Spice Pound Cake from TheRiver Witch by Kimberly Brock
In The River Witch, a family feast brings an estranged southern family together. When ten-year-old Damascus Trezevant’s summer ends with a bounty of pumpkins, she sets out to heal deep wounds with a sweet, old recipe for Pumpkin Spice Pound Cake and faith in the magic of a mother’s love. You won’t be sorry you tried this recipe!
10) The Best Chocolate Cake Ever from The Repeat Year by Andrea Lochen
What dessert list is complete without a delectable chocolate cake? In The Repeat Year, main character Olive is named after her maternal grandmother who passed away the week before she was born. In addition to her grandma’s name, Olive also inherited her recipe for the “best chocolate cake ever” which her mom bakes as a peace offering for their family in a time of major transition.
Andrea Lochen is the author of two novels, Imaginary Things and The Repeat Year. She earned her MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Michigan and her BA in English at the University of Wisconsin. Since 2008, she has taught undergraduate writing at the University of Wisconsin-Waukesha. When she isn’t teaching, reading, or baking, she is hard at work on her third novel. To learn more about her, visit her website:www.andrealochen.com.
Thank you very much Andrea for that delicious post. We have the books, the cake, all that is left is the cup of tea. Andrea and myself would love to hear what books you have found divine deserts or any kind of food love in? Let us know below.
‘Sand in My Pants’ was released on 10th April, 2015. I read this book and really enjoyed it. Before I post my review up tomorrow, I have a guest post from the lovely author Sue Webb for you.
Sue tells us all about her creation of Sand in My Pants, and why she chose Scuba Diving!
Thank you Sue, and here goes:
The Creation of Sand in My Pants By Sue Webb.
People have asked me, “Sue, what is your book about?
It’s a great question…with no easy answer. Ostensibly, it’s a book about travelling the world, scuba diving. But,really it is more than just that….
I’m sitting on the patio feeling the warm embrace of the sun. The fountain softly gurgles; the mellifluous water compliments the melodic call of a meadowlark, atop an old oak. The faint flittering of a hummingbirds iridescent wings announces its arrival. It suspends itself in air, then dives to-and-fro extracting sweet nectar from its feeder.
The air is freshly scented with the fragrance of spring blooms, most distinctly, hyacinths. This is my world now; the world in my book is a different world.
It’s a world that most can’t relate to. It’s a bigger world- more exotic,lusher, more dangerous, and intriguing. It’s about parts of the planet – most will never travel to or be privy to. Having been fortunate enough to privilege the unexplored and underwater portions of our globe, I felt an obligation to share the beauty, the excitement, the discoveries and a bit of the knowledge I gained along the way.
My husband and I, spent over twenty years, exploring the globe. It enriched our lives in many ways. The places we visited, the people we met, the experiences we shared — all melded together — to provide me with an understanding of life, that otherwise I might have only dreamed of.
Comparing different countries, traditions and cultures proved insightful. Although distinct differences were apparent in people; overall people seemed to be pretty much the same. I saw people laugh and cry; express jubilance and sadness. I witnessed a variety of emotions among people, however their kindness impressed the most.
I can recall many examples, I will share only a few for now. One rainy day on Tonga, out on a mountain bike ride —or push bikes, as the locals referred to them—we got stuck in mud about a foot deep.
Walking toward us, came a thin woman with two young children in tow. She motioned to them, saying something in Tongan; off the youngsters scampered. They soon returned, each with a stick in their hands. The frail female issued more instructions in Tongan. The young boy and girl, proceeded to use their sticks in an attempt to poke mud out from between the spokes.
As I stood there watching them, I thought, what can I possibly give them in return? I recalled I had stashed an orange pop in my backpack. As I pulled it out, the lean woman’s face lit up. “Never had a bottled soda.” I knew it would be shared.
I learned although we share many similarities as people—we are all individuals. Probably no two people who read my book will come away with the same impression. I wrote about what I found funny, intriguing, or of interest to me. The great thing about a book is, when you open it, you fall into it…and it becomes your world.
So then, I welcome you. Open the cover, and become members of our family. For what I discovered, and you might also after reading my book, we’re all members of the same family- the family of man.
Sue’s- Why Scuba Dive?
1. 70% of the earth’s surface is water-covered.
2. Diving allows you to meet nice, like-minded people.
3. Gives you an opportunity to travel (to exotic locales).
4. Have a chance to enjoy various types of fresh seafood.
5. Have an opportunity to try unusual foods and experience new cuisines.
6. Provides you with a reason to spend a day outdoors, afloat, working on your tan.
7. Makes for fun-filled vacations with a good-time activity.
8. Allows the chance to observe a silent world of natural beauty, the only sound being the soft gurgle of a regulator.
9. It’s fun- being weightless in the water.
# 10. Schlepping your gear around helps create great muscles!!
Sue Webb. (Author).
Thank you very much to Sue for writing this guest post and explaining to us the thoughts behind her book and her travels.
My book review of ‘Sand in My Pants’ will be up on my blog tomorrow, so keep your eyes out for my thoughts on this marvellous book.