Thursday, August 28, 2014

Weekends Are For Texture Gathering

Three days off from work at your day-job! Now for the delightful research for the job that defines you – Author. Suggestion: keep a few three-by-five cards in your pocket and a pen. As you sit around the fire-pit, sharing barbeque with friends and family, take it all in, then jot down a few words worth keeping.

See – all of the colorful sights and save some useful descriptions for later use in your writing projects. Were the trees a special color? Have the flowers given over to later blooms? Is the sky a special hue worth remembering? Are your friends and family participating in interesting activities with the possibility of vivid descriptions?

Hear – does a dog bark distinctively in the distance? Is the sound of your loved one’s words especially poignant or humorous? Does someone tell a delightful story worth re-telling?

Touch – are the rose petals a unique texture? Does your daughter’s new sundress have a special feel? Is the hamburger as hot as . . .?

Smell – is the Vidalia onion especially mellow? Do the deviled eggs have a tangy yet sweet taste? Are the s’mores packed full of chocolaty sweetness mixed with crunchy graham cracker crumbles that crackle in your mouth?

Emotional feelings – does the presence of your grandfather conjure up feelings of . . . perhaps the melodic melancholy of summers past in the face of warm breezes without the deep base of his voice.
Descriptions – does someone answer with a familiar response in a colorful way?
Whatever your experience, mine the word-gifts in your backyard like golden treasures for the rich color they can add to your next story.  Happy gathering!

Doris Gaines Rapp
"God gives us stories that testify to His love. Let me tell you mine.”

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

It's Time to Pow Wow

Tons of fun for everyone! Saturday and Sunday, August 30 and 31, I will be meeting readers and signing books at the Pow Wow, Fair Grounds, Tipton, Indiana. Come on out and chat. If you decide to buy a couple of my books, I'll be glad to sign them for you! Signing: Smoke from Distant Fires  and  Hiawassee - Child of the Meadow.
"God gives us stories that testify to His love. Let me tell you mine."
Copyright 2014 Doris Gaines Rapp

Friday, August 22, 2014

The Great Ellipsis Mystery

Does anyone speak, ellipsis language? I just faced down a rough debate with a handout that "explained" what an ellipsis is and how and when to use it. Oh, sorry, an ellipsis is that dot dot dot at the end of an unfinished sentence. One cluster is an ellipsis and several of them are ellipses.

Why do you need to know that? As a reader . . . no reason I can think of. If you write, editors have this funny need to have things done correctly. So, just to help you out, I'll leave this dot interpretation.

1.  "Mary had a little lamb, its fleece were white. . . . Everywhere that Mary went, the lamb was sure to go."  
no space   dot (for the first dot would be the period that would have been at the end of the sentence if the sentence were complete) then, dot   space   dot   space   dot   space
2.  "Old Mother Hubbard, went to the cupboard, to get . . . a bone." 
space   dot   space   dot   space   dot   space  
3.  "The north wind doth blow and we shall have snow. What will poor robin do then. . . . Sit in barn and keep himself warm and hide his head under his wing. "
no space dot   space   dot   space   dot   space   dot   space   Capitol first word of next part regardless if it was the beginning of the original sentence.4.  What did you say? . . .
punctuation   space   dot   space   dot   space   dot
5.  "What do you think about . . .?"
space   dot   space   dot   space   dot   no space punctuation
6.  “Baa baa black sheep, have your any wool? Yes, sir, yes sir . . .”
space   dot   space   dot   space   dot   no space, then quote mark
7.  “Where, oh where, has my little dog . . .?”
space  dot   space   dot   space   dot no space quote
8.  “But . . .” James said, shook his head, and stepped away from her.s
space   dot   space   dot   space   dot   no space  quote mark
There you have it. If you can explain it more clearly or more correctly, PLEASE post a correction. A good writer always wants to learn correct ways of executing their craft.
Doris Gaines Rapp




Thursday, August 21, 2014

Life Beyond the Boxes

The box of books came today! That's better than finding the red bicycle under the tree you had been writing Santa about! The brown cardboard box looks innocent enough, not at all like a treasure chest full of the dreams and promises you had worked hard to attain. The shipment was a stack of my two new historical novels, Hiawassee - Child of the Meadow and Smoke from Distant Fires that I will be signing at the Pow Wow in Tipton, IN on Labor Day weekend.

I had signed Smoke from Distant Fires in Louisville, KY in April, just days after its release date. Now, Hiawassee - Child of the Meadow is equally new. They arrived just in time for the Pow Wow! What a thrill!

Even more amazing is that, while I get excited about interacting with readers with these two books, I am also working on two other pieces. I'm putting the final edits on Christmas Feathers which will be out soon as a short story, then will be combined with seven other authors' short stories to create the book, Christmases Past. 

I had to pull up my pant legs today and keep running. So many wonderful projects. I spent all day yesterday, selecting several years of posts from my blog, to create a Devotional Book based on Prayer Therapy, a Lent Book, Advent Booklet, and then update Prayer Therapy Primer for a re-release.

No, I am not in a manic phase. I'm also a psychologist and I would know. The Lord just continues to bless me with writing opportunities and has introduced me to a new publisher, HHP.

One of my expressions is, "What you do not naturally do you must deliberately do." So, while the creative ideas flow, I must make a list of the projects and enter details into my daily planner. I also post to a worksheet that reminds me of all the steps necessary in order to finish a major writing project. I describe a character or a scene in detail in my books, but the mundane knit-picky of everyday life is profoundly annoying to me. I must deliberately do the detail work and chart my progress.

I get to live in the past in my writing, enjoy the people I meet in the present and plan writing projects for the future. Live your life to the fullest and enjoy every moment of it. Don't let one hour in time go un-lived. Life is for living!

Doris Gaines Rapp

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Know Your Characters

Any good fiction includes great characters. To develop those unique individuals, you need to know them. The easiest way to know them is to base the character's traits on the ones you admire, or dislike, in people you know.

When you have a character that is the personification of Great-Aunt Maud, think about phrases she has used, ways she used body language, how she sounded, and favorite smells - like Mrs. Violet (Jones), a third teacher in the primary school I attended, who always wore a cluster of violets and smelled of lavender cologne. Also, think of what might have frightened her or motivated her for good. What were her favorite foods, music, books and movies? How did she sound when she spoke and laughed? How would her touch have felt? If you describe all of these, your readers will know her too.

In Smoke from Distant Fires, I know how Millie thought and acted because she is based on the traits of my mother. I simply introduced her to my readers. In my short story, Christmas Feathers, which will be out in the middle of October, James and Rachel Bryson are very dear to me because they were my g-g-g grandparents. Naturally, I never met them. Although, at the end of a very long day, it feels like I may be old enough to have known them personally. I read about the time in which they lived, the County History, and have heard enough family stories and observed family traits, to "know" my characters. If you know them well and describe them equally well, your readers will know them too. Introduce a friend to others in your next book.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

A Recommended Read

Let me recommend an unexpected book - Out of the Darkness: My Journey Through Foster Care by Kailamai Hansen. I say unexpected, not because I would not have expected a beautiful young woman like Kailamai to write such a book, but because I never took the time to think about what happens to kids when they age-out of foster care.
As a woman in a loving home, with three birth children and three adopted children, maturing into adulthood is an exciting step. Yet, just because one is eighteen, it does not make them an adult. And, as a psychologist, I know that children who have gone through trauma in their young lives, do not mature "evenly." They may be very "street smart" and have no idea how to write a check or how to shop for groceries.
When eighteen-year-olds age-out of foster care they have nothing, no bedding, no dishes, no cooking utencile. You get the idea. Kailamai's book helps us understand the unique situation these kids are in. On there own - with no place to go - with no means of getting there - and with no mentoring to help them grow into their freedom. We would all benefit from reading, Out of the Darkness.

Copyright 2014 Doris Gaines Rapp, Ph.D.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Amazon Author Page

Your Amazon Author Page is important! All you do is about your writing - creating the story or manuscript, promotion/marketing and distribution!  "But, I don't want to take the time to set up profile pages, blogs, social media sites - all that stuff," you may whine. I know  did. 
Then, someone asked if I had written some books I wouldn't even read. The books had appeared on the Amazon Author Page I had only taken the time to give my name to but not set up! Thank goodness the friend found the errors on my page. I was able to go to Amazon Central and finally do it right. Did it take a little time? Sure, but if I hadn't, the readers I would want to attract to my books may have been turned off by the inclusion of the not-mine books. Take a little time and do it right or you may not find readers for the books you have poured months into. Put on your Big-Girl/Boy's author-beret and schedule the work that goes with the wonderful novels or non-fiction you have written. Remember, "What you do not naturally do, you must deliberately do," quoth me.
Doris Gaines Rapp
Copyright 2014 Doris Gaines Rapp

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Good Morning Ukraine!!

It's is morning here in Indiana. The sun is shinning and God is with us because He never sleeps nor looks away. His eyes are fixed on you with His love and presence. I see from my blog stats that several readers from Ukraine are online today. Perhaps you were interested in the previous post about November being Native American month here in the U.S. Perhaps you have an opportunity to go online and "think of other things."

Hiawassee had very difficult days too. She was stalked by bounty hunters all of her life and shunned by her husband's family, his community and his church, but she never held a grudge. She provided balance and love for her husband and their sixteen children.

I thank all of my readers, from every country. You are precious to me and I pray for your well being each day. God has blessed me with words to write and readers to read. May the Lord God bless your day!

Doris Gaines Rapp
Hiawassee - Child of the Meadow
Smoke from Distant Fires
Escape from the Belfry
Length of Days - The Age of Silence

Friday, August 8, 2014

Native American Month - November

November is Native American month. I created a board on Pinterest to post books, art, activities and even Geocaching (tracking practice) to have fun during the month while learning about the Native Americans who lived here and still do. Check it out at: