How can I write the first chapter of my fantasy novel as a scene that happened 8 years previously?

 There are two ways and either way works well:
  1. Write the scene as a prologue instead of as a chapter. It’s done all the time and it works great. The only thing to remember if you use this technique is not to make the prologue too long because, for some reason, readers are turned off by a really long prologue and will simply skip it and get to the book itself. Even if the prologue is essential to the story and you do your best to make sure the reader understands that fact, they still tend to skip it if it’s too long.
  2. Write the first chapter as a ‘flashback.’ This is usually done by using the first paragraph to set the scene that the present/real action is in and to kick-start the flashback. Then the last paragraph in the chapter brings the reader back to the present.

Still above water

2018 5 12

Venice, Italy, is a floating city. It is comprised of 112 separate islands that are near each other in a bay of the Adriatic Sea. 

You’d think the city would gradually fall into the sea as its foundation decays. But the foundation doesn’t decay. At least it hasn’t yet and it looks like there are many more years before that happens.

Venice has a special, unique foundation. Under the houses, churches, and bridge supports, are 10 million tree trunks buried deep in the earth that provide that special foundation for the city. Tree trunks! Wood, the stuff that rots when it gets wet and all that wood is in the ocean. And many of those tree trunks have been there for hundreds of years. The secret to keeping Venice safe is the fact that they are protected from decay by the underground clay. The clay keeps them dry and they keep the city safe.

Some day I’d like to visit and take a gondola ride down the canals and under the ancient bridges. Those gondolas are gorgeous, colorful, and romantic. And I write romances so what could be better than visiting Venice some day and calling it ‘research?’

Why sailors like cats. (And why I like them, too.)

Cats are sailors’ best friends. Have been for hundreds of years.

Not only were cats welcome aboard British vessels to hunt mice, but sailors generally thought  a black cat in particular would bring good luck and ensure a safe return home.

A few of these kitties have been enshrined in maritime history. Tiddles traveled more than 30,000 miles during his time with the Royal Navy. His favorite pastime was playing with the capstan’s bell-rope.

I’m not surprised at these facts. My partially black cat, Smoky, who has some white and is called a ‘tuxedo’ cat because the white makes  him resemble a cat wearing a tuxedo, is a fairly normal cat. (Except that he’s a total coward, but that’s another story.)

He’s a welcome addition to the family. He’s my first cat ever and he’s taught me a lot about cats in general. Like the fact that they know exactly what they want and also know that they deserve whatever that is. That they like laps. And windows. And naps. And sometimes other cats and dogs and household pets in general. And that they don’t age like dogs. They don’t go gray and the only sign of old age — Smoky is 11 years old — is that they don’t jump quite so high as they used to.

Just like Little Guy, the cat hero of my latest clean small-town romance, who not only knows what he wants, he goes after it in the most polite but dogged manner possible. Of course he does. He’s a cat.

Check it out. A Very Black Cat is available now on Amazon.

Black Cats. Gotta love ’em.

There’s a lot to love about these black, fur-balls as evidenced by holidays in their honor. What, you say? Holidays just for a specific color cat?


The ASPCA celebrates Black Cat Appreciation Day annually on August 17.

In England, October 27 is National Black Cat Day.

I mention these because my latest clean small-town romance features a black cat. In fact the title is A Very Black Cat. I didn’t know when I sat down to write the book just how the cat would play against the other, human, characters but it worked out just fine.

Of course. Because Little Guy is a cat. Need I say more?

Check it out:



“It’s the best thing since sliced bread.”

Everyone knows that the standard of greatness against which all great things are measured is sliced bread.

What you probably didn’t know (unless you live in Northwest Missouri) is that Missouri is the home of sliced bread. I’m not making this up! Of course, people have been cutting bread into slices forever, but the first time you could buy a loaf of bread that was already sliced was 90 years ago, in a small town called Chillicothe, just thirty minutes down the road from Hamilton. That’s where Otto Frederick Rohwedder invented the first commercial bread slicing machine.

I really am grateful to Otto’s bread-slicing machine for making our lives a little easier. It allows for doing all sorts of other things besides slicing bread. Like writing clean, small-town, chick-lit romances, which is a fun thing to do and are fun books to read. No ‘big problems’ that will ruin lives unless they are solved. No horrid, dark monsters waiting in the wings to wreck everything unless they are defeated. Just nice people falling in love in wonderful, beautiful places and living happily ever after.

At least I hope they live happily ever after.

I write their stories so that they can do so.

I assume they do.

Meet Brandi Boddie


Okay, I admit it. They are all my favorite authors. But Brandi Boddi has some pretty impressive credentials in more than one area of expertise. So, though I love showcasing all kinds of authors, Brandi Boddie is one of the easiest ever because she’s so talented in so many areas.

She writes historical and contemporary romance. She holds a juris doctorate from Howard University School of Law and a bachelor’s degree in political science from Youngstown State University. She lives in Texas with her husband and two rambunctious canines who aspire to be food critics. When she’s not writing or playing dress up in Victorian/steampunk/1940s garb, you can find her swing dancing or getting her daily fill of antioxidants through coffee and dark chocolate.

Check out these Forget Me Not Romances. If you like historical romance I doubt you’ll be able to resist reading them. I couldn’t, and I freely admit that I loved, loved, loved Across the Miles.


Brandi Boddie

Deadwood, Dakota Territory, 1879 — Phoebe Riley is an agent with the Orphan’s Aid Society in New York. When an assignment takes her to Dakota Territory, she discovers that Micah, one of the children, has gone missing. She searches for him in Deadwood, a gold rush town with a reputation for debauchery. More problems arise when the railroad shuts down. Now stranded, she must find a way to provide for herself and Micah until they can safely travel back East.

When general store owner Blane Desmond comes to Phoebe’s aid, he quickly learns just how determined she is. But she doesn’t see the dangers facing her, including a notorious outlaw gang on the loose. Can Blane put aside his desire for revenge in order to protect her, and find peace and love at last? AMAZON

A dying town populated by miners eager to settle down. . .but not a single marriageable woman lives in Angel Vale, Wyoming. The women of Merville, Maine, have lost too many men to the Civil War and to the sea. When the Ladies Aid Society receives the request for mail order brides, eleven matches are made. Enjoy the first six novellas in the collection by Darlene Franklin, Susan Page Davis, Cynthia Hickey, Brandi Boddie, Jennifer AlLee, and Teresa Ives Lilly. BUY NOW


Can we change the order of writing the sections?

Writers can and do write in any order they feel like writing.

Most writers who choose to skip around and write sections out of sequence make sure that they first outline the complete work so they won’t be writing scenes that later must be eliminated or changed because they don’t fit.

They are more likely to be changed (instead of eliminated) because of changes in the story that the author didn’t anticipate when making the outline.

I once story-doctored a wonderful science fiction book that had sections that were moved all over the place even after the entire book was written and it worked for that book because they could be moved without affecting the story itself.

So go for it. Just make sure you don’t spin your wheels unnecessarily.

Back cover blurb for ‘A Very Black Cat’

Here it is, a different kind of back cover blurb that focuses on the town first and only gets to the main characters and the story halfway through.


Welcome to Johns Falls, the small town in the northern Minnesota wilderness where everyone knows everything about everybody, often before they know it themselves.

So it’s not surprising that the two people busily falling in love are the last to know, even when they are the very lovers everyone’s talking about and asking for the lurid, juicy details. (Of which there aren’t any because this is a clean, fun romance.)

But for the lovers to deny they are in love when they are told straight out? That’s a tad far-fetched, even for Johns Falls.

So meet Becky, dedicated small-town career gal following her pre-determined course to be the best bookkeeper in the area and now, with the blessings of her boss and all-around nice guy Tobias Whittaker, a genuine business consultant with a framed diploma on the wall as soon as she finishes an online course that she’ll fail without help from someone who understands the nuances of the people side of small town businesses.

Also meet Jackson, the hunky, former football jock and newish, charismatic owner of the lumberyard in town whose charm can convince the must obstinate customer to buy something, whether that customer knew he wanted it or not, and whose boyish smile can subdue even the most stubborn heart but who can’t keep his books straight no matter how hard he tries.

Add one small, black cat with a mind of its own into the mix that’s not content to watch his two favorite people live without each other one second longer than necessary.

Put them all together and watch what happens, along with the entire town of Johns Falls, Minnesota


So what do you think? Will it fly? Should I make it official? Or do you suggest any changes or eliminating it altogether and replacing it with a more traditional type blurb? Let me know, I’m flying blind here!

Finding Eden by C Beavers

Finding Eden

Review of Finding Eden by Camilla Beavers

This is the perfect example of a young adult urban fantasy story so I thought I’d review it here. And, by the way, I liked it. Most of all, I loved the cover.

It’s the story of Eden, a high school student close to graduation, who has always known she was ‘different’ because she could read the colors around people. That’s auras to those of you conversant with psychic stuff. I’ve known a couple people who said they could read auras. I don’t know if I believe them or not. Maybe I do, a little.

Anyway, Eden is informed by a really hunky new student that she’s the granddaughter of the king of the Fae world and is needed back home because her grandfather was murdered and someone has to take charge of the kingdom. Her father informs her that, yes, her mother (deceased) was the king’s daughter so yes, she’s about to become a queen. She agrees and goes with the hunky new student who turns out to be her personal security detail in this world sent when her grandfather was murdered to make sure she was safe.

From there the plot is predictable. She overcomes the bad guys, saves the throne, becomes a decent if not great queen and marries the hunky security guy. Like I said, it’s all predictable stuff.

But what’s wrong with predictable? I read romances because I know there’s a happily-ever-after ending. I dislike grim, depressing, horrific endings. I hate the feeling they leave with me. I like the feeling I get after reading a book with a happy ending. And if the way to get to that predictable happily-ever-after ending and the feeling it engenders is through a predictable story line, then I’m all for it.

And, yes, the grammar and typos and spelling, etc, were well vetted and nothing took me from the story. So, all in all, it was a decent read, even more so since it was free, at least for now.

I’m not sure I’d have chosen it if it cost money because I knew it would be predictable and that there are a lot of decent predictable books out there for free. But the cover was great, so maybe I would have paid something for it after all and I’d have been glad I did.


Last post, I said I was ready to start marketing Wolf Legend, my next contemporary romance novel with a supernatural theme.  Maybe the truth should be that I’m almost ready to start marketing Wolf Legend.

I’ve still got to do one more run-through for editing, typos, etc.  Most of all, I must justify the margins. When I first started e-publishing, I tried writing first drafts with justified margins so I wouldn’t have to go back and do it later.  It didn’t work. It drove me crazy.  All those letters jumping all over the place whenever I made a change.  (If you don’t know what I’m talking about, try it.  You’ll go blind very quickly.  Or insane.  Or both.)  And I changed at least a few things in every chapter.  Even if I was on rewrite number ten.

So I quit creating with justified margins and must go back and redo the entire book now that I’m finally, finally truly done with it. Actually I justified it twice already and then un-justified it so I could make changes without going blind.  But this time I’m sure I’m done.

Really sure.

Pretty sure.

Almost sure…

Okay, I’m a writer and that means I’m never done.  I just reach a point in the creative process where I send it off whether I’m satisfied or not.  My husband often threatens to tear my latest manuscript from my clutching, ink-stained fingers because that’s the only way it’ll ever go out into the world.