Tag Archives: How to write a novel

Book review Hemphill Towers by Leona Pence

 Kevin Hobson created this video promoting ‘Hemphill Towers’. You can find him on his Youtube channel. or you can send him an email  kevnessky@gmail.com

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Hemphill Towers shows us how a glass of wine flows through its pages with romantic love, family, and scammers with self-indulgent intentions.

Leona Pence is an author the author of ‘Hemphill Towers’, an intriguing romance novel. Hemphill Towers is filled with beautiful career oriented women and handsome, entrepreneur men, who will fight to keep those women safe. A sly villain, one who drags along a past of blackmail and lies, with a morally reprehensible control over anyone who comes to too close, and another who uses a business that is not his, which pulls in the Russian mafia and endangers everyone.

This novel starts running, right from the prologue. We follow along, reading how power and money in the hands of a deceitful man can destroy lives. At the same time, we watch reputable men use their power with an opposite strength. That strength turns them into kittens when they meet the heroines of this novel.

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Thirty-five chapters with multiple characters that are rich and intelligent. I noticed they don’t jump in the sack when called. They choose what they want to do and what they don’t.   This novel takes us around the world. We see the Russian mafia, vineyards, museums, painters, pretty clothes, food … Mmmm! Food.

Here’s a slice from chapter 8: Rosetta placed a steaming cup of espresso in front of Birdie along with a plate filled with pastries that she called brioche.” ~Pence, Leona

Leona had me on the edge of my seat. Each chapter moves at a fast pace. I find myself hungry, sad, happy then thrilled. I love the Italian family. I wish I could sit and talk to the artist, and walk around JB’s home and peek into closets. Then relax and read by his pool.

Leona Pence answered a few of my  questions.

  1. Why did you choose the locale: Italy- Chicago- California-Spain?

I needed my Italian character near wineries, both in Italy and the US. A little research helped choose Italy, California, and Spain.

  1. How did you come up with the names in your book?

The three main women were based on me, and two online friends. We chose and described our own love interest. The rest of my characters were twisted names of family and friends.

For example, my brother, Lawrence Harmston, became Judge Lawrence Harmstrong. My bro-in-law, James Otts, became Dr. James Ottsman. I had people vying for me to use their names. It was fun, and they all had a laugh at finding their twisted names.

Thank you for this  Leona.  I bet a number of our readers will use your ideas when naming their characters.

  1. How did you keep your characters straight?

I did not set out to write a novel, just a short spoof for my friends. So, I wrote installments and sent them to a few people. They became hooked on the story, and for me, the words just kept coming. I ended up with fifteen installments going out to about fifty people.

I wrote character descriptions in an email format. I had fifteen emails at my fingertip, so when I needed to check out anything about my characters I would pull up those emails. Keeping them straight wasn’t a problem, but getting everybody’s names in the story wasn’t easy.

  1. What keeps you writing?

I’ve always been a voracious reader but being able to write actually came as a shock. But once I finished Hemphill Towers, I had the itch to write more. Discovering F2K and WVU made such a change in my life. All my friends there along with my large extended family inspire me to keep writing.

  1. Who edited your novel?

I joined the Novel group in WVU where we critiqued each others work one chapter at a time. After that, Mar and I exchanged chapters. Linda helped us also. Then, my publisher at MuseItUp, Lea Schizas, did the final edit.

  1. I noticed that some chapters have more than one scene. Each scene is separated by and asterisk *.   How did you decide to separate the chapters? There are more scenes in the later chapters. What was your idea to making that length, and detail instead of separating them?

Hummm! Good question.

In the novel group, we were limited to 3000 words per chapter for critique. So I combined some short chapters by using * and created scenes. After the group finished, I couldn’t remember how I had divided the chapters, so it took a while to figure it out. I know I started out with a lot more chapters than I ended up with.

  1. Where did you get your ideas for the JBs home? It is beautiful, wooded area fishing pond, an alcove off the kitchen three sides of glass “panoramic view of the grounds”.

I shut my eyes and used my imagination as to what I thought the home of a rich bachelor with a teen daughter might look like.

  1. How do you write; do you use an outline?

I’ve never ben able to use an outline.  Whatever flows through my mind is what I type.

Leona’s  favorite genre to write is Romance or Romantic Suspense; she had written some flash stories and plans to expand them into a novella.

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The author, Leona Pence is a mother of four, a grandmother to twelve and great-grandmother to seven. She started writing later in life, after the death of her husband of forty-four years. Hemphill Towers was written when she was sixty-five.

Leona is a woman that I look up to; she is the spirit that never stops looking forward. Never gives up her dreams and never ever stops living, creating and learning. She is a romantic at heart. After dating her husband for three months, she married him on her nineteen birthday.

Leona has a crippling disease: Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease, a neurological disorder. There is no cure for CMT. It has weakened Leona’s lower arms, hands, lower legs and feet. The disease took her hearing, when she was in her mid-20s. Leona types out her stories on her computer using at first the eraser end of a pencil and now a stylus pen.

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Leona is the author of Hemphill Towers.  you can buy this novel at itunes: http://tinyurl.com/mclslgs

Leona’s stories are also featured  in,  Bump off Your Enemies Anthologyhttp://goo.gl/T97WNW

And in The Darwin Murders Anthology:  http://amzn.to/2cL5fmu

And in Tasteful Murdershttp://amzn.to/2dIJyEk

Leona is a  Blogger and an active member in Writers Village University.

You can connect with Leona Pence on Twitter and Facebook and at her Blog. I listed all her links below:

Leona Pence is also found here:

 

 

 

Writer’s Village University an online community of writers helping writers

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I belong to an online community of writers that hail from all over the world.   Some are just beginning to come into who they are. Many are published authors or soon will be.     We are all learning.

Why did I join this site? I wanted to find my muse; she wandered off as my life got in the way. I wanted to interact with writers, authors, bloggers, and poets. I wanted to learn. Most of all I wanted to become a published author. I had taken a few classes from a local online college. Each class came with a cost around one hundred dollars. For eight weeks I was allowed to access the class, participate in the lessons, then after that, I lost the connection.

I joined James Patterson’s Masterclass.com. Luckily, I will never lose access to that class and its twenty-two video lessons and information.  I can watch them over and over. If I wanted to take a different class, I would need to pay again.

 

I wanted more…

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Then, I found Writer’s Village University. I could sign up for a one-month trial membership, a one-year, a three-year or a lifetime membership, all dependent on my budget. Check out prices HERE and see some of the upcoming classes.

The creator of Writer’s Village University is RJ Hembree .

“I’ve developed many courses since 1995, covering both conventional and artistic approaches to writing fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. My joy is research and discovery, and even more, watching our members grow into fine writers. Many have published, won awards and write professionally. We have a wide variety of experience levels in our membership. My job is to explore ways of bringing out the best in them.”

Click on the links at the top of, Writer’s Village University’s page  and you will find information on their MFA program. They have a short story MFA and a Creative Writing Certificate program, plus a lot more.

Click on WRITING COURSES, you will see a list of features courses. Click on the screenwriting course and it will open up to give you details and a list of classes.

How does this site work? When I first joined, I was confused, elated and a little nervous. I pulled up a class and read the instructions, did the readings and wrote a paper then posted it. Well, that class wasn’t activated. I did know that. I was testing the waters, sticking in my big toe to see if anyone would bite it off. They didn’t. I got a ‘like’ for my efforts. It felt good. No haters allowed here.

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I found another class. This one had a moderator, a teacher running it. I signed up by clicking the front-page link and when the class opened. I walked in, read the instructions and said, Hello.

If you missed the start date of a class, don’t fret; you can try again when the class opens again. Or you can politely ask if you can join.

If you are like me and you are wondering how this community came into being, it started in the mind of Bob Hembree he tells us his..

“initial motivation was to connect with others interested in postmodern literature, authors like Italo Calvino, Jorge Luis Borges, John Barth, Salman Rushdie and Gabriel Garcia Marquez” He said, “what I found were like-minded writer’s, so began to share what I was learning about writing.”

Bob will decide when to schedule a class. You can see open classes on the Calendar link at the top of the page. A moderator posts the lessons; you are given instructions on how to post your assignment: with a tile that includes your name, lesson # (WC 350).

You will learn how to comment on your classmate’s lessons. Commenting on your fellow student’s posts will help you learn even more. How is that possible? You will read the lesson and post your assignments. Then, as you read your classmate’s postings you will see things from a different point of view. You will learn and see the written word in a way you never thought possible. You will have many ‘Ah-ha’ moments that will help in your own writing.

This site has an unbelievable selection of online classes. So far I have taken thirty-two classes. At this moment, I am working in a class titled, Writing for Online and Print Markets. We are using a book by Naveed Saleh, called, The Complete Guide to Article Writing. Some classes have reading material available. On other’s you will need to buy the book. Don’t stop reading, this gets even easier. You can look to the Book Exchange in the Forums.  I have gotten great prices on Ebay and Amazon. Your local library may even be able to find the books you need. Don’t disregard coupons for places like Barnes & Noble

I just finished a class, where were discussing  Loren Eiseley’s ‘The Immense Journey’. I love this line from Eiseley’s essay, Little Men, and Flying Saucers.

“In a universe whose size is beyond human imagining, where our worlds floats like a dust mote in the void of night, men have grown inconceivably lonely.”

Writers don’t have to float like a dust mote; we have a place at Writer’s Village University

Hurry on over. F2K is starting on September 7th, 2016.

F2K

Bob tells us: “F2K is a beginning creative writing course, though experienced writers often repeat the course as a refresher and for inspiration. The classes are facilitated by experienced volunteers from Writers’ Village University.”

If you sign up and I hope you do, you can take classes that are aimed at beginners to published authors. Once you sign up look around. Check out the forums. Yes, there is even on more on the site, more than just classes.

Writer’s Village University is an online community of writers helping writers. Come by and take a look.

Memberships

Lesson 17 James Patterson Masterclass.com Getting Published

James Patterson Masterclass Lesson 17 Getting Published

James Patterson's Masterclass.com Lesson 17
James Patterson’s Masterclass.com Lesson 17

James Patterson starts this lesson saying,

“I’ve been through the -pain of trying to get an agent. Trying to get a publisher. Trying to get a good editor. So I know what you’re going through. And the best thing I can tell you, it’s one word- it’s persistence. Just be prepared and don’t take it personally. My first book turned down my 31 publishers. You’re going to get a lot of rejection here, and a lot of it may have nothing to do with your book.”

 

Okay, Okay! Hold the presses! Here James said, ’31 publishers’ I found a YouTube video where he said, ‘37’.   Is this a big deal? No…not really, I just thought I would mention it.  🙂

 

James Patterson tells us, you need to get your book noticed by an agent or publisher first. And that starts with the query letter. Here are a few sites to check out on how to write a query letter. I found these through a Google search.

Agentquery.com has a very simple easy to read an explanation of a query letter.

PoeWar.com check out the very end of their article, a nice, neat list of what not to put in a query letter.

WritersDigest.com has an example of a qouery letter showing eight steps in its creation.

Back to James Patterson at Masterclass.com 🙂

James Patterson’s  first novel was the ‘Thomas Berryman Novel’. James tells us how he kept sending  out query letters, and for the most part, no one responded.  He didn’t even get an obligatory letter saying, ‘Thank You, No Thank You’. Now you know, it isn’t just you.

Well, maybe it is, but not here.

Finally, James tells us that the publisher asked for editing changes. So he had to get an editor. James Patterson talks about finding an agent. A publisher. He tells us to network. Talk to other writers, and hope they will toss you a bone or a publisher that-may-just-might-want-to read your book.

The peak of this lesson, For Me! Was when Mr. Patterson said to “Enjoy the victories.” Even the small ones where your spouse tells you your writing is fantastic. The point is,  take those compliments and eat them up. Writing is hard work!

I love this quote. I want it on a coffee mug 🙂

Cup of joy
Cup of joy

“Take the cup of joy! Enjoy it!”~ James Patterson

 

Lesson 12 Building a chapter James Patterson’s Masterclass

Lesson 12- Building A Chapter

Lesson 12 Building A Chapter
Lesson 12 Building A Chapter

Friday with James Patterson’s MasterClass

James Patterson starts this lesson saying:

“Mike Connelly said, What Jim does, is, every single chapter moves the characterization and the action forward. -Every chapter. And turns on the movie projector in our heads.”

Then James continued.

“That movie projector in our heads means, that I can see the scene. I can hear the scene. I can smell the scene. I taste the scene. Something about it, I was getting enough information that sets me in that scene. So I can be there ‘with’ that character. And that’s really, really useful.”

He tells us to hear, smell, and see the scene- be there with the character. My take on this is –get in close– and personal. Chapters can be one scene or a few scenes. It all depends on what you have in mind for your story, your novel.

Choose a View Point

James Patterson likes to write in 1st person and 3rd person limited

Then he tells us, ‘It is your creation you can do whatever you want to do if it works.’ There are no rules that’s says you can’t use 1st and 3rd in the same story.

He likes to follow the villains and some secondary characters – you can switch off and write from a different character’s point of view. Who makes it more interesting? Which point of view feels right? The victim? The Detective, or the Killer? What is the best point of view you need to make the chapter come alive?

Other points of view emotionally how do you want your reader to feel? What is going to make it sad, happy, scary or sexy – then write in that point of view or rewrite it?

In ‘1st To Die’ all the main character are introduced in that first chapter. 1st to Die (Women’s Murder Club #1) by James Patterson

Starts with a murder of a couple, in a hotel, while on their honeymoon. We are introduced to Lindsay Boxer who is a police officer. The medical examiner, Claire Washburn. We meet Jill Bernhardt an assistant D.A. We see their connection. In this first chapter, we met three key characters. Then we meet a young reporter, Cindy Thomas, the fourth member, and she doesn’t belong there. She lies her way in. By the end of the book they are a unit – James Patterson says, “good shit”

This lesson has a PDF, a comments section, and an assignment.

 

Tenth Video Lesson James Patterson’s Masterclass First Lines

Friday with James Patterson

Lesson 10 First Lines
Lesson 10 First Lines

Listening to James Patterson as he teaches this class, has given me a look into the way his words play out in his books. I can hear his voice, his sound is a sort of eastern- Mid-Atlantic accent with a pinch of New England. I could be hearing things,- which wouldn’t be the first time- Well, maybe I should think up an idea for a story just out of a person’s dialect.

Here’s my attempt at that first line: “How long you gonna take stare’n at da map, Jimmy?” “Shda-up , Doris, we can’t just drive up wit old Benny in da trunk”

Okay, my accents need a lot of work. Still, I posted it in the comments section. Along with this: “Fourteen ways into the town, Jimmy had them all pointed out on the map all he needed was one, one that will let him drive into town hoping one would notice blood leaking out of his trunk.”

James Patterson tells us, that first lines, “Can give you an advantage. You are reaching out from that book, grabbing ahold of that reader and sucking them right into your book…or not. …. If you pull them right in you got em! “ The he said, “You’ve got that agent that editor, that reader. ”

FAVORITE FIRST LINES

James Patterson’s favorite first lines:

‘Along Came A Spider’ the first Alex cross book starts like this:

“Early on the morning of December 21, 1992, I was the picture of contentment on the sun porch of our house on 5th Street in Washington, D.C.”

This first line gives you a lot of information.  What it tells me is the feeling, –  “the picture of contentment” then I have the time, “early on the morning” the date, “December 21, 1992” and where it all takes place, “sun porch of our house on 5th Street in Washington, D.C.”

Here is the first sentence for ‘You’ve Been Warned’ by James Patterson a horror book, “Its way to early in the morning for dead people”

If you want to contact James Patterson you can send him a letter at this address from his website

James Patterson  c/o Author Mail  Hachette Book Group USA 1290 Avenue of the Americas New York, NY 10104,

or connect  with James Patterson on Facebook,  Twitter,  and Pinterest

Or sign up with MasterClass. That link is at the top of the black, left sidebar.

Third video lesson Raw Ideas James Patterson’s MasterClass

 

03 raw ideas

Video 3 lesson 3 RAW IDEAS

These are just a few points that stood out. There is a class video along  with a workbook and comments section.

“The more you know about, the more likely you are to combine things into an idea that is striking.”~ James Patterson

  1. What I got from this lesson.
  2. Men see things differently than woman do.
  3. Make an idea notebook
  4. Ask yourself: Can I write a whole book about this? Will people care?
  5. Write for yourself, then
  6. Write for your reader.
  7. Keep learning new things

James Patterson is frequently asked, “Where do you come up with your stories?”

He will come up with a title or some little thing will catch his eye. He explains he has a big folder of ideas, and that he can write a story about anything.

Anything?

James Patterson tells us, that he can get an idea from something he might spot on the street.

Let me think about this one. Gum, or doggy-do? Hmmm, maybe a bit of trash can lead your readers to a mystery.   I can see this.

Jimmy weaved up to his apartment door. The sun would be rising in a few minutes. Dizzy and exhausted he dropped his keys just as the wind picked up, blowing an empty bag of chips across his bloody Rockport’s.   He scooped up his keys as the empty chip bag skipped across a patch of grass and lodged under his neighbor’s car. …Maybe the chip bag had the blood, not his shoes, even better. 

He goes on to say that you need to find an idea that ‘you’ find interesting. Patterson states, “I don’t write realism.”

One of his favorite books is Honeymoon. Which just so happens to be the book used as an example through this class. If you haven’t read it, you can get a copy by clicking that link/app over to left side page. I am reading this book, it flows quickly, I am hooked. * I plan on picking the book apart in a different post.

When you take this class. Listen and listen well. That Ah-ha moment you are looking for may not hit you right away.

“You hope the book you are writing is spectacular.”~ James Patterson