Monday, October 30, 2017

KA Servian & Accents

Please welcome KA Servian back to the blog today!
I love your accent
Writing a character with an accent is one of those situations where research and careful thought are required. If you overdo it, you risk your character coming off like a caricature but if you don’t identify their unique speech patterns clearly enough the fact that they have an accent will be lost along with some of their personality.
Using accents as a device is not new. It appears in many classic stories. Bram Stoker used it in Dracula as did Robert Louis Stevenson in Treasure Island. The poet Robert Burns was famous for it.
Irvine Welsh’s characters’ strong Glaswegian accents in Trainspotting add authenticity. "Ah'll huv tae stoap sayin' 'ken' sae much. These dudes might think ah'm a sortay pleb." (Welsh, 1993). Welsh not only spells the words out phonetically, he also laces his writing liberally with colloquialisms. This is a very effective device and gives his work a unique ‘voice’. However, unless you are able to handle this device with as much skill as Welsh, it is probably a good idea to avoid it.
In my first book, Peak Hill, one of my characters grew up in Texas so I listened to  online recordings of native speakers until I felt I had the hang of the accent. However, my developmental editor explained that a ‘less is more’ approach is best with accents and I’ve stuck to that principle ever since. Her recommendation was to identify that a character has an accent as soon as they are introduced to allow the reader to ‘hear’ the voice in their mind. This can be easily achieved by having another character notice and/or comment on it. Once that element of the character has been established, all that is required is to sprinkle their dialogue with a few clues to their manner of speech.
In The Moral Compass, the hero, Jack, is Scottish. I identify this by having Florence, the heroine, notice it when he first speaks to her. Then he uses certain words such as ‘canna’ instead of ‘can’t’ and ‘didna’ instead of ‘didn’t’. The reader is always aware of his accent but doesn’t have to decipher what he is saying.
However, there is one place in the novel where I decided to follow Welsh’s example and spell out a minor character’s dialogue phonetically. I did this because the character not only had a strong accent; she also had a speech impediment. I wanted to give the reader a taste of the difficulty Florence was having understanding the woman as she placed an order for groceries. After rattling off her shopping list and seeing that Florence did not comprehend her, the character stated: “Hornastly, yeew’d thunk Oi wes sparking Chionoise ew soimtheng.” My editor felt (and I agreed) that in this situation phonetic treatment of the dialogue was appropriate and necessary.
What experiences/advice do you have for dealing with characters with accents in your writing?
An overwhelming urge to create led Kathy to pursue qualifications in both fashion design and applied design to fabric which were followed by a twenty year career in the fashion and applied arts industries and a crafting habit Martha Stewart would be proud of. 

Kathy then discovered a love of teaching and began passing on the skills she'd accumulated over the years—design, pattern-making, sewing, Art Clay Silver, screen-printing and machine embroidery to name a few.  
Creative writing started as a self-dare to see if she had the chops to write a manuscript. Kathy’s first novel, Peak Hill, which was developed from that manuscript, was a finalist in the Romance Writers of New Zealand Pacific Hearts Full Manuscript contest in 2016. 
Her second novel, Throwing Light was published in February 2017 and her third novel, The Moral Compass is due out in late 2017.
Kathy now squeezes full time study for an advanced diploma in creative writing around writing the sequel to The Moral Compass, teaching sewing and being a wife and mother.
K. A. Servian on the web:
Website       Facebook     Twitter     Instagram    Author Page  

The Moral Compass (Shaking the Tree Book 1)
Florence lives like a Princess attending dinner parties and balls away from the gritty reality, filth and poverty of Victorian London.
However, her world comes crashing around her when her father suffers a spectacular fall from grace. She must abandon her life of luxury, leave behind the man she loves and sail to the far side of the world where compromise and suffering beyond anything she can imagine await her.
When she is offered the opportunity to regain some of what she has lost, she takes it, but soon discovers that not everything is as it seems. The choice she has made has a high price attached and she must live with the heart-breaking consequences of her decision.

This novel is part one in the 'Shaking the Tree' series.
Buy on:
Amazon Kindle               Amazon Paperback

Amazon Aus                   Amazon UK 
Thanks for dropping by, KA!
You're so right! Too often accents are overdone and exhausting to read. I like the way you've worked with your Scottish characters.
How about you? Have you worked with accents in any of your novels yet? I haven't been brave enough yet!

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

The Emotional Wound Thesaurus & The Strength of Writers

Today I am happy to be part of Writers Persevere!, an event that authors Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi are running for the next few days to celebrate their release of their newest book, The Emotional Wound Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Psychological Trauma. This book looks at the difficult experiences embedded in our character’s backstory which will shape their motivation and behavior afterward.

Because Angela and Becca have spent the last year exploring painful human struggles, they wanted to highlight a very important aspect of overcoming difficult circumstances: it can make us stronger. I promised to let Angela hijack my blog today, so please read on!
Hi everyone! When you set out to find examples of inner strength, you don’t have to go very far. Right here in the writing community we see it every day. Writers more than anyone understand the swirl of emotions as we work toward publication. We dream of making it and seeing our books in the hands of readers…yet doubt and frustration can be a constant companion. For us, there is a lot to learn, much to steel our nerves for, and unfortunately, a host of real-world problems that can try to derail us. And, even as we slowly move forward and grow, we can sometimes feel like impostors. This is a tough road.

But the fact that writers face this battle, day after day, and KEEP GOING…this should be celebrated! We need to be reminded that we are much stronger than we sometimes believe. We dream, create, and force ourselves to keep striving. Through the ups and downs, we persevere!

Have you encountered something on the writing road that made you question yourself? Have you faced an obstacle that required a force of will to get past?

If so, we want to hear about it! Join Becca and me at Writers Helping Writers from October 25-27th, where we are celebrating writers and their stories of perseverance. Stop in, and tell us about a challenge or struggle your faced, or if you like, join this event by writing a post on your own blog and share it using the hashtag #writerspersevere.  Let’s fill social media with your strength and let other writers know that it’s okay to question and have doubts but we shouldn’t let that stop us. 


We also have a prize vault filled with items that can give your writing career a boost, so stop by Writers Helping Writers. I would love for one of you to win something that will help you get closer to your goal!
If you struggle, remember to reach out to others. We are in this together, and by supporting one another, we cross the finish line together (and then keep going!). 

Happy writing!

Angela & Becca

Thanks ladies!! Perseverance is a necessary trait for writers. My life (like many other folks) is more than a bit chaotic and I need to dig deep to find the perseverance to keep at this gig. My progress is slow because I tend to write in chunks of 15 or 30 minutes. But that's all okay. I'm moving forward and gaining confidence and skills. I'm learning to jump hurdles. I'll be ready when the time is right.

How about you? Is perseverance important to you? Let us know - and remember to use the hashtag #writerspersevere to help spread the word!

Monday, October 16, 2017

Carol Kilgore & Gracie are HERE!!!

Please welcome my friend and fellow author Carol Kilgore to the blog today!

A Hot and Spicy Taste of Murder – and Beyond

Law enforcement consultant Gracie Hofner is assigned to a trendy San Antonio pastry shop to watch for a delivery. In addition to the intoxicating aromas of sugar and chocolate, she also has to fight her own attraction to the man working beside her, Donovan Beck. He’s a hunk and a half and perfect for a spring fling.

If she had more time, Donovan would rank higher on her to-do list. But the number one spot is occupied by her search for a missing little girl, the target of a killer. Gracie needs to find her pronto, and the odd super-instinct quirk that’s started plaguing her may help. If not, she can always see what happens if it tells her to buy a lottery ticket.

Jalapeno Cupcake Wench is the first book in The Amazing Gracie Trilogy, a story so big, it takes three books to tell it.

Brief Excerpt:

Chapter 1

Cold! Cold! Gracie Hofner looked down. I can’t believe I did that. While reaching for her buzzing phone, she’d poured the remains of her water bottle, intended for her impatiens, over her bare feet. She pressed the button. “Hi, Nicky.”
“Morning. I’ve got something you may want to see.” The voice on Gracie’s phone belonged to Nick Rivera, her partner.
Former partner. Their paths had been the same—patrol, homicide detectives, and then detectives in the San Antonio Regional Intelligence Center—SARIC. San Antonio Police Department all the way. Except unlike her, Nick had found his niche there.
In addition, they were friends. “Fun or work?”
“Nothing fun about murder, Gracie.”
She went inside for a pad and pencil, greeted by the aroma of the coffee that had brewed while
she jogged. “Are we cleared?”
“Negative. Double homicide. Missing family.”
“If the family’s missing, who’s dead?”
“Hector and Therese Cantu. You ever heard of Cantu Electric?”  
“Don’t think so.”
“Good reputation on the West Side. They’ve been around since my dad was a kid—started by Hector Cantu’s father back in the fifties. The old commercial was like Cantu can do. Hector’s son runs the business now. Mr. Cantu’s retired. Rephrase—now he’s good and retired. He and his wife are the deceased.”
She moved to the table and put her phone on speaker so she could take notes. “Who’s missing?”
 “The Cantus have three kids, two daughters and the son, all grown. Besides the electrician business, the son owns an upscale retail lighting store. High end only. Kim and I went in there after we bought our house. I couldn’t afford a switchplate, much less a lamp or fixture. The son and his family are missing.”
“How many?”
“Three. Husband, wife, daughter.”

Visit the “Look Inside” feature here to read more: 

About the Author:

In addition to Jalapeno Cupcake Wench, Carol Kilgore is the author of three romantic suspense novels: In Name Only, Solomon’s Compass, and Secrets of Honor. She’s married, guardian to two quirky dogs, and lives in San Antonio, the setting for the trilogy.
Thanks Carol! Can't wait to read more from Gracie!!

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

IWSG & Me!

The Insecure Writer's Support Group is the brainchild of Alex J. Cavanaugh. He, his clones, minions, friends, and fellow authors make it an amazing event every month.

Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

And we’re revving up IWSG Day to make it more fun and interactive! Every month, we'll announce a question that members can answer in their IWSG Day post. These questions may prompt you to share advice, insight, a personal experience or story. Include your answer to the question in your IWSG post or let it inspire your post if you are struggling with something to say.

October 4 question - Have you ever slipped any of your personal information into your characters, either by accident or on purpose?

Not on purpose, no, but I think I have without realizing it until later.

Most of my MCs tend to have some element of me. Shyness. Awkwardness. Low self-confidence. Resiliency. Perseverance. Love of sports. Love of music. Compassion. Empathy.

Have to say, I was relieved when I realized I wasn't only passing along the traits I'm working on, but the ones I'm proud of as well!

How about you? Do you see echoes of you in your stories or in the stories you read?