Dialogue That Delights

Janet Burroway’s Writing Fiction lists many great tips on writing dialogue. I’m sharing some of them on the Wisconsin Romance Writer’s blog at this link.

Minimum Wage Magic-A Goodreads Review

Opal Yong-ae, a graduate-mage whose spells backfire more often than work, owes the wrong people. She has to find money fast, so she becomes a cleaner, a person who bids on and then empties out foreclosed apartments. The job’s like Storage Wars with magic in the mix. In the past, Opal’s landed lucrative digs; however, in recent months her luck has changed. It’s like she’s cursed. Her most recent bid lands her a sub-basement apartment along with its last tenant—a dead wizard. The mysterious spell-working he’s left behind is different, and possibly priceless. Trouble is the esoteric magic caused his death and will likely take Opal’s life as well. Not that it will explode or anything, but a bunch of bad corporations-slash-villains want it. She should turn it over to city authorities, but she needs the money, so Opal teams up with a spunky AI, and Nickola Kos, a rival cleaner working off his own troubled past. Together, they dodge bullets, cyber-enhanced mercenaries, crackpot wizards, and over-controlling dragons in the Detroit Free Zone, which readers can think of a cyberpunk Wild West with magic, spirits and fantastic creatures.

I loved how complex the characters were, and the crazy twists the plot took, but my favorite part of this story was the world building. I bought this book on through an Audible sale and it was so good, I paid full price for the sequel.

If you like urban fantasy, I’m betting you’ll like this book as much as I did.

WisRwa’s Second Annual Afternoon Tea

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so instead of telling you how fun it was to talk writing with friends, I’llb just share a few photos.

Kristin Bayer, Joanna Jelen and Linda Olson
Carla Luna Cullen and Jennifer Rupp
Carla and all the awesome treats
Vicki Hinshaw, Laura Vietmeyer and Jennifer Rupp
Kristin Bayer
Tricia Penske Quinnes
Laura Vietmeyer, Brenda Davis, Jennifer Rupp and Cathleen DeLong

Other Than @ Red Carpet Fiction

I’m pleased to say Other Than will be part of the Red Carpet Fiction’s August Event. You can take part by following this link–

Writing Tip: Make Dialogue Active

photo by Dustin Lee on unsplash

Currently, I’m attending university in pursuit of M.A. in English, but even before I started the program, I’ve studied writing craft book in hopes of becoming a better writer. And because Facebook is a place where people post events, opinions and things that interest them, I thought I’d share writing tips I come across in my studies in hopes you’ll find them helpful.

Most readers want a story that moves, that has action, so one of the keys to crafting effective dialogue is to make sure it isn’t stagnant, that it has the possibility of affecting the characters and the plot.

“Dialogue is action when it contains the possibility of change…
If in doubt, ask yourself: Can this conversation between characters really change anything? There needs to be an opportunity for change” (Burroway 47).

Works Cited
Burroway, Janet, et al. Writing Fiction: A Guide to Narrative Craft. University of Chicago Press, 2019.

CampNanowrimo Winner

I always get a kick out of crossing the finish line! I’m a Camp Nanowrimo winner, and I’d like to thank family and friends for their tolerance and support.

Bloodstone-A Goodreads Review


Bloodstone by Helen C. Johannes
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

In debt with the local lord, Mirianna and her father must locate bloodstones. To do so, they seek the only known source, the Shadow Man, who dwells in the Wehrland, a mountainous waste filled with cursed beasts. Even before they set out, she suspects it’d be dangerous, but once in the Wehrland, things turn deadly. She and her father are betrayed, lost in the wastes, and reliant on a man shrouded in darkness, a man under an impossible curse, but he’s also the man she’s dreamed about. He and the ruined castle he takes her to set up what could be a classic Gothic romance until the author switches things up with innovative and imaginative twists.
I love it when stories surprise me!
And this story which is as intricately put together as a Russian nesting doll has a lot of wonderful surprises–the castle ruins, the cave pool, the blind boy, the green-eyed lioness, and the meek heroine are more than what they seem. Mirianna’s inner steel is inspiring and how cleverly she manages to kick some villain butt and save all including her father and the hero inspired me to buy the kindle version of this story, so I could read along with the narration. Also, I loved the author’s take on the dragon—it’s unique and well done. I’d tell you more, but I don’t want to spoil the very reveals that delighted me. If you like dragons, this is a novel not to be missed.
I received an audio version of this story for review, but in my humble opinion, it’s worth multiple reads, especially for readers, who enjoy fantasies about dragons, and classic Gothic romances where the sweet introvert awakens her inner heroine.
My final rating 4.5 stars, which I’m rounding up to 5 because of well-plotted surprises!

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Fireworks Facts

Photo by Yuiizaa September on Unsplash

Hope you have a happy Fourth of July. If you’re like me, you will probably see a ton of fireworks. There’s something fascinating about those splatters of light in the sky –something that tugs at the emotions and captures the imagination.

Everyone in my family has a favorite. A nephew especially enjoys the salutes. My aunt likes the ones that twinkle as they fall.

Ever wonder how these displays came about? Here’s what my research turned up:

Photo by kazuend on Unsplash

1. Most people trace the invention of fireworks/gunpowder to an unfortunate Chinese alchemist who unintentionally heated sulfur and salt peter (potassium nitrate). It was an explosive discovery.

2. The Chinese call gunpowder “huo yao,” which means fire chemical.

3. Early fireworks gave off more bang than light. As they exploded, people saw only a brief golden light.

4. Apparently the Chinese made the first fireworks by shoving gunpowder into bamboo reeds. They exploded them during their New Year’s celebration in hopes of frightening away evil spirits.

5. It’s believed that Marco Polo introduced gunpowder to Europe.

6. Around 1830, Italians began to add trace amounts of metal into the gunpowder, which “colored the explosions.”

7. Copper, for example, creates blue tinted light.

8. Aluminum and magnesium make a golden light.

9. Not surprisingly, other metals make other effects. Zinc creates clouds of smoke and titanium causes sparks.

10. Although onlookers have always enjoyed fireworks, they continue to be dangerous. May 16, 1770, is the date of one of the biggest fireworks tragedies. A fireworks display celebrating the marriage of King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette went awry and caused a stampede, which killed some 800 people. Not eight or eighty but 800!

11. Even in recent years, the danger element hasn’t disappeared. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that “fireworks devices were involved in an estimated 8,800 injuries treated in the U.S. hospital emergency departments during the calendar year 2002.”

12. Here’s an interesting statistic. Three times as many males are hurt in fireworks-related incidents than females, according to data from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

13. Although I enjoy watching fireworks, I don’t encourage people to set off their own. My suggestion: Consider attending fireworks displays put on by professionals in local parks or on lakefronts.

Correctly handled, fireworks can be a stunning way to celebrate special events. In the United States, we’ve used fireworks to celebrate Independence Day since 1776. 

That’s when John Adams declared, “The day (Independence Day) will be the most memorable in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. … It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade…bonfires and illuminations (fireworks) from one end of this continent to the other, from this day forward forevermore.”

But I’d like to hear about your holiday. Are you planning to see the fireworks? Which ones impress you most?


Checking Out the Local Geese-13 Facts

Lately, I’ve had fun watching geese parade goslings around our local park. Perhaps you have some geese near you, and you might be interested in the facts I’ve gleaned about them.

  1. In 2015, the geese population in North America 2015 was between 4.2 and 5.6 million.
  2. Geese like to eat grass, but they’ll also wolf down seeds, berries, skunk cabbage, and eel grass.
  3. Believe it or not, but more than one site reported that geese really enjoy blueberries.
  4. Many experts believe Canadian Geese mate for life.
  5. After they hook up, they like to build nests on the ground in a slightly elated area that is near water.
  6. Many times, they make their nests on lawns. You might see them on golf courses. They prefer short grass heights because it gives them an unobstructed view so it’s easy for them to spot predators.
  7. Their nests are bowls of weeds, grass, and sticks that they line in down.
  8. Goose moms lay about 2-8 creamy white eggs.
  9. Mom incubates these eggs for 42-50 days, while Dad guards her.
  10. Hatchlings are born with their eyes open and covered in yellowish down.
  11. After only a day or two, they can toddle out of the nest.
  12. At about four weeks old, the gosling’s wing and tail feathers sprout. They’re black, but the gosling hasn’t lost the fluffy yellow down on his back.
  13. A baby goose won’t be about to fly until they are seven to nine weeks old. At which time, he’s lost his yellow feathers, and grown. He resembles his parents. Even though he looks like mom and dad, he will likely remain with them until he’s around a year old.

Do you like to watch geese? Or do you find them annoying? I know several of my neighbors do. They ask me not to feed them. Don’t worry. I don’t, but I will confess to photographing them. Here a few of my favorite shots.


The Safest Lies–A Goodreads Review

The Safest LiesThe Safest Lies by Megan Miranda
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Safest Lies
Although Kelsey goes to high school and has a part-time job, she knows her life is the farthest thing from normal. She lives in a gated fortress that her mom hasn’t left since Kelsey’s birth. Apparently, Kelsey’s mom is afraid the bad people who kidnapped her so many years ago are still searching for her, so she trains Kelsey in survival techniques including bomb-making. Kelsey’s mom has only one friend, her therapist, who studies Kelsey and her mom to gain data on whether fear can be inherited.

My favorite part of this book is the beginning when, after swerving off the road to avoid another vehicle, Kelsey and her car are dangling over a cliff. Ryan, the guy from her trigonometry class, tries to calm her from the backseat. This worries her because he wasn’t in the car earlier. He explains. He’s a volunteer firefighter and he repelled into her car to save her from plummeting to her death. This also worries her because he’s likely flunking math and her rescue would be a practical application of the very subject he struggles to comprehend. I’m not going to tell you what happens but this whole scene sets the bad guys on Kelsey’s trail. Soon they attack the fortress, and Kelsey’s mom disappears, leaving Kelsey and Ryan to fight off or evade the villains while piecing together what happened to Kelsey’s mom.

I loved All the Missing Girls and this tale is similar in that the characters must unravel the what happened in the past to save themselves and those they love in the present. Lots of danger and action occur as the characters put clues together.

My least favorite part of this story was the end as parts of the wrap up disappointed me. Still, I enjoyed the action and intrigue at the heart of the story and would recommend The Safest Lies to readers, who like carefully planned mysteries and page-turning suspense.

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