Sometimes, it’s more than just the outstanding works of famous writers that make us talk about them. It’s also their strange habits that capture people’s attention.
Infographic courtesy of custom-writing.org.
Welcome to another Author Spotlight. Today, the spotlight is on Lindsay Berry.
Faber Academy Alumna, Lindsay Berry published a suspense novel, Silencio (Matador) in 2016 as L. A. Berry. She is currently writing two novels, one set in 1961 York and the other a present-day thriller set in the south of the UK.
An ex-nurse and midwife, Lindsay is interested in human dynamics and relationships, and explores how unusual events affect a character’s behaviour in her writing. In addition to novels, she writes short stories, flash fiction, and poetry. For 15 years, she has resided in Spain during the winter months and in Dorset for the rest of the year. Her hobbies include travelling, dancing, reading, and attending local theatres.
Here’s her book, Silencio
Mercedes returns home empty: with empty arms, empty womb, and empty of emotion. There is nothing left. The tears are spent.
The midwife carries 16 year-old Mercedes’ son from a delivery room and that is the last time that she sees him alive. His first cries haunt her but her family refuse to acknowledge the possibility that her child still lives. Their silence represses her young spirit.
Ten years later, a woman named Carmen contacts Mercedes, now a journalist, with stories of newborns who have disappeared in mysterious circumstances similar to her own. When Mercedes embarks on an investigation into baby trafficking, she must fight powerful enemies to reveal the truth – so powerful, in fact, that her own life is at risk.
Using her expertise, she unmasks a baby-trafficking network that has spanned decades and moved thousands of children out of Spain. She antagonises key figures when she unearths conspiracies arising from the bloody periods of Spain’s modern history, exposing a criminal underworld hiding in the government, health services and church.
Mercedes becomes their target as they seek to silence her exposé – and her life, and the lives of her loved ones, come under perilous threat…
“Go ahead and make big mistakes. Use up lots of paper. Messes are the artist’s true friend…we need to make messes in order to find out who we are and why we are here, and by extension, what we’re supposed to be writing.” – Anne Lamott
This sounds about right.
“Writing is hard work, not magic. It begins with deciding why you are writing and whom you are writing for. What is your intent? What do you want the reader to get out of it? What do you want to get out of it? It’s also about making a serious time commitment and getting the project done.”― Suze Orman
I’ve spent five of the last seven days in various training sessions, workshops, and conferences. Some were about writing, some were education related. A few covered both topics simultaneously. One such workshop was presented by Jeff Anderson, Middle Grade novelist and author of 10 Things Every Writer Needs to Know.
Here’s a basic overview of the ten things he feels every writer needs to know.
- Motion. Writing is not magic. It’s hard work. But it can’t happen without motion. Put your pen to paper or tap your fingers at the keyboard.
- Models. Writers need models – mentors who offer a vision of what writing is and can be. Get inspired by writers you love and learn from them. Every encounter with text is a writing lesson. Learn to read like a writer.
- Focus. Writers are called upon to control their ideas – the writing is neither too large or too small. It’s just the right size. Writing must be clear and build upon the scope of the topic or genre.
- Detail. Details should be plentiful without being flowery or overdone. Choose well-selected details and use sensory images that explain without boring the reader to death.
- Form. Writers arrange and rearrange words in surprising ways. This creates the perfect structure that makes your writing easy to follow. Everything you write reflects your purpose and your audience.
- Frames. Beginnings and endings frame our writing. Lead with enticing introductions that take the reader on a journey then put on the finishing touches that, in the end, leave the reader satisfied.
- Cohesion. Cohesion holds writing together. It brings unity to our writing and eases transitions from one point to another. The progression from point A to point B is effortless and clear.
- Energy. Good writing is all about style. It sizzles and gets straight to the point. The words move in rhythm and come alive. Every page flows, and the entire manuscript provides variety to the eyes and ears.
- Words. The words we choose to combine offer crisp language. They bring our thoughts to the page and allow the reader to visualize. Good writers use fresh metaphors and provide enough vivid nouns and verbs to carry the message clearly and cleanly.
- Clutter. Remove clutter from writing so the message shines through. Delete redundant words and phrases or any passages and paragraphs that don’t move the writing forward.
That pretty much sums up Jeff’s take on writing. For more detailed information, get his book.
“Write as much as you can, as fast as you can, as well as you can.” ―Leif Fearn
Had no idea it was National Grammar Day. Didn’t even know that was a thing.
To celebrate National Grammar Day, we have an infographic on what some folks feel are advanced grammar mistakes. These grammar tips go beyond the basics because even the most seasoned writer can make a mistake. Highlights include the misuse of number and numeral and split infinitives. The English language has many obscure grammar rules that…
“Get it down. Write. You have to write badly to write well. Inspiration comes from the chair and that part of the anatomy that belongs there.” –Anonymous
Welcome back to another Author Spotlight! This week, I’d like to introduce you to Mary A. Clark.
Mary A. Clark was born in New Brunswick, New Jersey, to parents who lived on the Rutgers University campus. Her family moved to Florida, where she spent her formative years, and was infused with awe and respect for the natural world. She was also aware of the lives of migrant workers, segregation, and the beginning of the Civil Rights Movement. Upon moving back to New Jersey, she attended a county college and graduated from Rutgers-Newark College of Arts and Sciences with a B.A. in psychology. She had a strong sense of being a misfit, which propelled her to find her own place and occupation. She moved to New York City, and worked at the Poetry Festival at St. Clement’s Church, in the then outcast wilds of the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood. For many years she worked for community organizations, assisting people with housing, education, and other issues. Later she relocated to Florida, and then moved to Virginia where she lives with her mother and three rescue cats.
Let’s take a look at her book, Racing the Sun
What do you do when everything and everyone around you – the man you love, your best friends, your co-workers – are changing, and you are also changing? This is the dilemma Leila Payson faces as she charts her own path. Will her new lover, Mark, make the journey with her, or will he be seduced by another love? Her friend Dov is on the wing, seeking love in forbidden places. Another friend, Maria, makes some unusual choices. Leila must decide whether to stay in her job as a teacher or run her new group bringing together disabled and non-disabled people. Then there are those stones with mysterious symbols in the local park’s garden, a DNA surprise, a cult, rumors, and a renegade guidance counselor. Being a trusting, caring person in the modern world, Leila finds, comes with its challenges.
“Mary Clark is out with her second book of this series. Well-developed, diverse range of characters you may easily recognize. Smooth reading with striking metaphors. You may easily start the series with this book first, if you like. A fiction of exploration for your mind. I highly recommend this book! Mary is a poet, a true thinker.” — Sally Young-eslinger, artist and avid reader
“Racing the Sun follows on from Miami Morning as a novel with a conscience, its protagonist, Leila, living professionally and personally with a sense of urgency, yet not adverse to pausing here and there in appreciation of simpler moments. This engaging narrative is full of conversations of purpose and planning, framed by a sense of place and belonging, but, also, exploration, drawing the reader into a diverse community of friends, colleagues, and new and unexpected acquaintances who support and challenge each other and, ultimately, discover collaboration is the way to make positive things happen.” — D. M. Denton, author of Without The Veil Between, Anne Bronte: A Fine and Subtle Spirit