Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Laura Grace's Spring Garden

My MC, Laura Grace Chandler is known for her award-winning baking, but she has another talent--gardening. Setting can be used to create insight into characters. That's the nature of Laura Grace's garden. As a careful nurturer, she has, along with her deceased husband Tom, created a palette of perennials that bloom from late winter into late autumn.

Here's examples of what you would see in her garden from early to mid-spring.

(All of the photos below are the copyright of Zan Marie Steadham 2013.)

Cherry Hill, GA, Laura Grace's hometown, is know for its many namesake cherry trees.

Spring bulbs and flowering shrubs are also some of Laura Grace's favorites choices for her garden.

Dianthus may be small, but their large,
spicy scent makes them a presence.

I hope you've enjoyed a tour of a southern garden in full bloom. ; )

How do you use setting to show your characters' traits?

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Show and Tell

Nearly every writer has heard the dictum--"Show, don't tell." (Do you want a $1 for every time you've heard it? I sure do!) The challenge is learning how to show. But there's a caveat with it--sometimes you need to tell. Narrative has its place for bridging and transition. In two recent exercises on the B&W Forum, we've worked on learning how to show and when to tell.

Here's an example from my March exercise. I needed to get from Friday night to Monday morning while conveying my MC's feelings, but not showing every move she made.

I had to wait until Monday to talk to Connie. It would be the first time the Samantha and Madison would be at school. And Terrence would be at the bank. I didn’t think I could stand to look at him. Not yet. Not with the image Samantha’s fears had put in my head.
It was all I could do to hold my breath and count to ten. Or somewhere in the vicinity of ten million.
            Connie’s flippant comment at church kept playing in my head accompanied by her smirking look—“The sleepover sure turned out to be more exciting than I had expected.”
            Exciting? How dare she allow children to see a sacred act made profane! I was ready to wipe her smug face clean after my daughter’s three crying jags and the monster of all nightmares last night.
            Samantha’s face had fallen when I sent her to school this morning. But I couldn’t pack her away in cotton batting—even if I wanted to. She had to deal with the real world. And I hated it to the core of my being.
Here's some links you might want to explore:
Diana Gabaldon  Just click on the link "DianaShowTell.rtf
Joanna Bourne Just click on the link "JoBourneShowTell.rtf
And a few links to Jo's blog: Here, Here, and Here
*What has helped you learn how to show?
*When do you use telling to advance the story?
The kitchen is about halfway done, and I'm still cooking in the dining room. What a peek? ; )

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Mini-Reviews VI

Here's my latest crop of mini-reviews. Enjoy!

Beggars in Spain Nancy Kress (science fiction)
BEGGARS IN SPAIN is a classic SF novel with high concepts and an exploration of what it means to be human. Good read.

Calling Me Home Julie Kibler (literary women's fiction)
CALLING ME HOME is a deep, enriching story that shows racism in all its facets, but also tells how love can heal. The lovely characters live and will steal your heart. Must Read!

Every Last One Anna Quindlen (literary)
This is a must read! It's brilliantly written deep internal voice and a novel about the lies we tell ourselves.    

I'll Take What She Has Samantha Wilde (women's fiction)
I'LL TAKE WHAT SHE HAS is a lovely book that takes lifelong friends Annie and Nora on a trip of growth and learning that allows them to look wisely at their own lives. Good read

The Unfinished Garden Barbara Claypool White (literary romance)
This is a lovely romance with two damaged characters finding the road a bit bumpy, but worth the trip. Good read

BTW, my hubby started on the kitchen remodel today. Let's just say, life is interesting. ; )
Hopefully I'll have Kristen Callihan's interview for you next week.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Guess What's Stopping Me Now?

Zan Marie Steadham 2013

Zan Marie Steadham 2013
Believe me. I've been rocking along at a good pace since the first of the year, filling in holes in FRIENDLY FIRE, jotting down ideas for the rest of the Cherry Hill books.


Last week I've come to a screeching halt. Why, you ask.

Well, the total house renovation has revved up again with the warming spring air. The good from this is that the house needed a face lift terribly. The bad is, I've been crammed back into a corner of the dining room while the study gets painted and sleeping on a double bed with a six foot four husband and two toy poodles while the paint fumes air in the master bedroom.

Now I can at least reveal the new colors the heart of my home--my study. The curtains were there already and the new green walls are perfect. On the other hand, the books are still stacked in boxed like cord wood and on every spare surface of the dining room. ; )

Hopefully, next week will be better...Of course, I will still have to sort through and reshelf tons of books.

Update! The study is all back in place. There are three boxes to deliver to the library for resell, and I have four series of books I'm going to try to sell on ebay...but as of now, I'm back in business. That is if I'll get started again. Cross your fingers.

Announcement of another Author Interview
If I get myself back to work, I'll introduce you to one of my favorite romance authors--Kristen Callihan, a double RITA nominee for this year.

So, back to work... ; )

Tuesday, April 2, 2013


Aside from all the news that Amazon purchased Goodreads last week (see HERE) and whether that's a good or bad thing, I need help navigating all the options at Goodreads.

I joined recently and I know how to post books, make bookshelves, and rate books. Other than that, I'm still trying to figure it out. So, I thought I'd ask for you for help.

Do you use the following?
The widgets for blogs come in a lot of varieties:
  • custom
  • update
  • grid
  • My Books
  • shelf badge
  • email footer, etc.
Do you have any suggestions about the settings, emails, or feeds?
What is Listopia?

As you can see, I'm a novice when it comes to Goodreads. ; )

What's your favorite thing about Goodreads?

I'm Zan Marie Steadham on Goodreads...and I love new friends. Let me know if you are a member of Goodreads and we'll share a few recommendations. ; )