The Write Word with Wareeze

Creating Worlds Revisited

Hello Friends and Readers,

If this is your first visit to the Soul Mate Publishing Blog, thank you for taking time to read my post. I write mostly historical romance twisted with suspense under the pen name Wareeze Woodson. I have five novels up on Amazon: After She Became a Lady with characters continuing into Conduct Unbecoming of a Gentleman, An Enduring Love, A Lady’s Vanishing Choices, Captured by the Viscount, and my historical western, Bittersweep. My latest book The Earl’s Scandalous Wager should be available on Amazon something in March or April. I chose a cover but I do not have the final copy yet. I do have the blurb:

Won with the last roll of the dice, can  Emily escape her destiny? Will she find love in the arms of the earl as his wife or his mistress? Either way, her life is now in jeopardy.

Having been the recent recipient of the earl’s interest, could the lovely Annalise be the culprit or was someone else responsible for the attempts to snuff out Emily’s life?

I chose this cover, but it is not the final copy.

I cheated today. This is a repeat of another post I made last year. I hope the subject of creating worlds still has something to offer to all, even those who read the first blog I posted on the subject. I wrote a piece for Soul Mate Publishing blog on scene construction which is a big part of world creation as well. I’d like to share part of it with you. I decided to bring the heroine of the story I offered to life. This was my work in progress: ISABEL renamed Captured by the Viscount now available on Amazon.

Creating Worlds

Are readers interested in the workings behind the scene? Some say readers are curious about what it takes to write a book. Here is a small glimpse behind the scene of writing. When I write my historical novels, I must create my own worlds. The Regency/Victorian era is a historical fact, but make-believe, for all that because the time in the 1800s no longer exists. With each story, the scene must be created—when in time, day or night, where-location and what is happening. What the character sees, feels, and wants—all must be imagined and displayed for the reader.

Although the author has many historical facts to draw from, the story must exist in the world created by the writer. The colors, the sounds, the tastes and the smells add flavor to the story. The reader wants to visit these places through the character’s point of view and safely absorb the emotions as well without harm to the reader. All rather a lot to provide for the reader and the bar is set high with expectations.

ENTER A SCENE CREATED FOR YOU, THE READER:

The flame of the candle flickered and glinted off the in-laid sliver on the barrel of the pistol pointed directly at Isabel. Fear griped her by the throat. She caught her breath, unable to move or even swallow.

The drapes billowed into the room on a sharp breeze before settling back to the floor with a barely discernable swoosh. The smell of London after a downpour, drifted into the open window, cleansed but still dominated by the odor of horses, foot traffic, and a tavern down the way. She shivered when her drenched cloak swung against the layers of her petticoats with a chilling heaviness. The damp cloth clung to her ankles while moisture trickled down her features into her eyes. She scarce blinked, her gaze captured by the gun. 

The longcase clock in the hall chimed once echoing down the empty passageway. Even at this hour, the sound of a carriage rumbling over the cobbled-stones in front of the mansion reached the upper level.

I hope I’ve raised several questions in your mind with these few sentences. Is the man with the pistol the hero or the villain? Is this Isabel’s house, or did she enter the building for some nefarious purpose? What happens next?

I created a small glimpse of this world of danger, building tension yet the reader is safe. This is the world of my imagination where velvet and fine jaconet muslins were worn to the Assemblies at Almack’s, where danger lurks before and after the ball, and where the slightest deviation from the rules of conduct adhered to in polite society can make or break a person. The lives of the characters also dwell in this created world. What will happen to her, to him in this tale? Only the author of this created world knows and I’m not telling. After all, this is only make-believe, created in the imagination. I decided to take up the tale. ISABEL

I do have a cover and a blurb:

Captured by the Viscount Blurb

Under cover of night and with the best of intentions, Lady Isabel Carlyle breaks into the viscount’s residence to restore his stolen property and retrieve her own. She understood the viscount was out of town for at least a sennight. When she entered the mansion, she never once considered facing a pistol aimed directly at her heart.

The Viscount Matthew Paul Rutherford has need of a bride before the month’s end. Previously, he had selected two different damsels from the marriage mart—Almack’s. However, both ladies met with a fatal accident before the wedding. Now, presented with an unexpected solution to his problem in the form of the lovely thief, he gives Isabel a choice, marriage or gaol.

The blurb answers some of the questions raised by the scene, however there is much to discover in the book; what does actually happen to Lady Isabel, to the Viscount? Is she rescued? Is he vanquished?

Thanks for visiting with me.

Respectfully,

Wareeze Woodson

Website: http://www.wareezewoodson.com

face book: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Wareeze-Woodson/523727757689755

goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/wareeze

twitter:  http://twitter.com/@wareeze

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A Few of My Favorite Things – The Forced Proximity Trope

Long before I started writing romance, I was (and still am) an avid romance reader.  I’d like to share some of my favorite elements from romance novels and the reasons why I think they work so well.

For this post, I thought I’d start with my two absolute favorite versions of the forced proximity trope: the closet scene and there’s only one bed.

I like forced proximity in general because while I do believe in love (or at least a sense of intimacy and lustful-attraction) at first sight, I much prefer a couple who have strong feelings for each other and find those feelings keep growing stronger as they get to know one another.

Maybe it’s because my own relationships have always been of the slower developing type.  A dear friend of mine once told me that I was “the type of girl that a guy falls in love with over coffee, without even realizing it at first.”  I’ve often thought of that statement.  In real life, love occurs with a combination of appearance and personality.  There can be explosive chemistry and overwhelming attraction, but it can’t become a happily ever after without compatibility.  And sometimes it takes awhile to figure out that there really is a deeper compatibility with another person.

This is why I love closet scenes so much.  Telling me there’s a scene where the couple will be trapped in an elevator, a car, a balcony or any equivalent is the fastest way to get me to one-click a book.  Especially if the characters are already resisting their feelings for one another.

The closet gives the characters time together where there’s no out (or at least, not an easy out).  They invariably end up talking and sharing parts of themselves that the other character didn’t expect.  It’s a way to short cut the path to intimacy and transformation that is often necessary for the relationship to develop.  Studies have shown that it is easier to share difficult truths or memories when we don’t have to directly face the person we’re talking to.  That’s why it’s easier to get your kids to talk while you’re all in the car and why the therapist’s office often has an option for clients to sit or lie down where they don’t have to look at the therapist. 

The closet (or car, or elevator, etc) serves as an equivalent in a romance story.  There’s an illusion of privacy, because we can’t see or hear other people around us.  There’s the effect of prolonged time, which increases a sense of intimacy (even if one spends most of the time trying to ignore the other person).  And finally, there is the emotional reaction, which can override a person’s intellectual protective barriers, leading them to say things they might not have otherwise been prepared to share.

Add in the fun of a private make-out session or the thrill of an almost-kiss and it’s easy to see why closet scenes are my favorite kind of forced proximity.  But “there’s only one bed” is a close second.

There’s a vulnerability in sleeping with another person (by which I mean actual slumber as opposed to sex).  It’s a sign of trust.

It’s also an opportunity to let unconscious desires have a chance to make themselves known.  I’m not a fan of foreplay during sleep (consent is too important!) but I am a sucker for the hand on the shoulder or stomach as two people who are falling in love cuddle close to each other while sleeping.  I especially love those scenes when it is obvious that the just-waking up character is struggling to control their feelings and actions.  Give me a clenched fist or a bitten lip and I am a happy, happy audience.  I will smugly smile and crow “told you that you like” the other character.  It’s a satisfying preview of what will ultimately happen.

In a romance novel, the reader doesn’t have to worry about the main characters being revealed as unworthy or as villains.  There’s no risk of a threat in forced proximity, which makes it a satisfying fantasy.

Love plus a closet plus feelings can equal a perfect HEA.

I write paranormal romance full of suspense, action, and adventure.  My first book with Soul Mate is Deadly Potential (Federal agent Ben will do anything to protect songwriter Katie from a supernatural stalker who can hide in plain sight), available on Kindle Unlimited.  Or there’s my original series about a secret society of superheroes living among us.  Begin with Revelations for 99 cents!

Or you can join me on my own journey through divorce and back into hope and happiness through my Reclaiming My HEA posts on my own blog.

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Must Love Chocolate

In one of those funky “national days” today is officially Dark Chocolate Day.

Any excuse is a good excuse for more chocolate, so this is certainly a holiday I can get behind. I love chocolate, the darker the better. I considered buying dark chocolate truffles or some decadent fudge. Yum!!!

Then I thought a special day like this is a great excuse to mess around in the kitchen. I’m not much of a cook, but I do love to bake–especially sweet treats.

I looked up some favorite chocolate recipes. We recently had devil’s food cake for my husband’s birthday, so I didn’t want to repeat that. Mint brownies are another old standby, and always a favorite. Then I decided today I would experiment with something new, something extra chocolaty.

I enjoy lava cakes and haven’t had one in years. Since it will be awhile before we’re eating out again, I decided to try this restaurant favorite at home.

My plan is to try this recipe using muffin tins, so I can make an even half dozen little cakes. Since the recipe calls for egg yolks, I’m going to make a small batch of meringue frosting to go with them. I hate to see egg whites go to waste. I’ll have to let you know how they turn out!

How about you? Do you have any favorite chocolate recipes? Do you like to try new things or stick with old favorites when cooking?


Jaycee Jarvis has been an avid romance reader since devouring all the Sweet Dreams books her middle school library had to offer. Also a fantasy fan from an early age, she often wished those wondrous stories had just a bit more kissing. Now she writes stories with a romantic heart set against a magical backdrop, creating the kind of book she most likes to read.

When not lost in worlds of her own creation, she resides in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, three children and a menagerie of pets.

Jaycee is a Golden Heart® finalist and author of the Hands of Destin series. The award winning first book in that series, Taxing Courtship, released in June 2018.

Learn more about her around the web:

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YORKIES AND FORGETFULNESS By DeAnn Smallwood

Have you ever heard the saying that goes something like: of all the things I’ve lost its my mind I miss the most? Uh huh. Well, the Yorkies are worried about Mom. I forgot to do my blog for today and I look forward to it each month.

I have several reasons for this and no, age isn’t one of them. I had three post-it notes on my calendar. Monday: DO THE BLOG, Wednesday: DO THE BLOG, Thursday: BLOG. But I managed to read and ignore each one of them.

Tuesday, Eli hurt his foot. Now Eli is Mom’s boy and I swear that little man can speak to me telepathically. So we put on our best Woo-woo faces and thought his foot healed. And it is. Voila. Truly, it is working just fine, no limping. Well, that blew me through Tuesday.

Wednesday, I had to put my grocery order in. I’m still doing pick-up at our local Walmart. I usually put it in Tuesday for pick-up Wednesday but……..I forgot. I also forgot to blog. Well, I was a day behind.

Thursday, I had to have a mammogram. I haven’t had one for seven years. Happily the result was negative. Then when I got home, after picking up my day late groceries, I went into the room where we keep our hot tub. And waded through two inches of water. The sweet thing was leaking. I have to admit, I have NO mechanical ability. My husband does all that but he’s not well so it was up to me. “Just put the little submersible pump in it and connect it to the garden hose.” Oh sure. The garden hose, nicely coiled on a peg was frozen. Yea winter! I won’t go into more detail, it’s not pretty but let me tell you the Yorkies were worried. Finally, the tub emptied–all that nice hot water in the snow, and using the dry-wet vacuum, I got up the two inches. By that time, the temperature has dropped and so did I. And, you guessed it, I forgot the blog.

Therefore, I’m doing my blog late, very late. It’s 4:00pm here and I usually have it out 5:00am. Better late than never I guess. The Yorkies are embarrassed but I promised them I’d leave more post-it notes next month. I won’t forget. Now all I have to do is figure out why I have that string on my finger.

Posted in Soul Mate Publishing | 2 Comments

Writing Through Stress & The Long Dark of Winter

And here we are in the “long dark”. Yeah, the days are slowly getting longer, but some days there’s no sun at all. It’s cold. The weather does what it wants, and vitamin D is in short supply.

I know we’re all tired – tired of mask wearing, tired of politics, tired of people being mean to each other, tired of being cold, tired of constantly sanitizing stuff, and grocery shortages. And heck…just about everything. It’s hard enough going through winter, but with covid, and politics on top of it. Well…

But we will get through it! Hey, January is almost over! Already!

Who knows what this year will be like. I have a few things on my calendar. Not nearly as much as I normally do. Only a few are writing related. The rest are trips with the husband-just the two of us. We’ve been trying to “get away” at least every other month. Sometimes we go to a friends cabin for the weekend, other times we’ll take our camper and roam, but it’s nice to escape.

Speaking of escape…

I went on my first writing retreat in five years recently. It was amazing! It was me and three of my closest friends. We rented a house in the woods and had a most excellent time. We talked (a lot – we haven’t seen each other face to face in over a year), plotted, worked on story problems, and brainstormed titles and character names.

I hope you are managing your “long dark” and that your days get brighter soon. We will get through this.

Behave!

Posted in Soul Mate Publishing, The Heart of Victoria Smith | 2 Comments

Selected Insights from Julia Quinn

I write historical romance and Regencies have long been one of my favorite genres. Over the years, I’ve sat through several presentations at in-person conventions, learning different perspectives from some of my favorite authors. Here are a few I recently came across from Julia Quinn, the author of the Bridgerton series. She made them during a panel discussion in 2016.

Plot or characters, which comes first? For Julia it’s a character, usually taken from one of her previous books, although she admitted she once got a plot idea from a song. “It can go either way.”

She went on to say that when you create a set of characters, you’re taking a risk. You might have a character who makes bad decisions for good reasons. Or you have a character who is young in the first book, but will eventually have her own. An example is Hyacinth in It’s in His Kiss. “I had to ‘grow her up’ in my head. It was annoying. I had to make her sympathetic. I made her Mrs. Danbury’s friend.”

When concentrating on a character, you still have to make them fit in the world you’ve created. This requires research. Sometimes you have to stop and research how certain problems might have been solved in the time period you are writing in, but often you learn as you go. Accuracy is important, she said, and that includes names. Characters should have names in use in their time.

Which of her characters do readers seem to identify with? “Penelope Bridgerton. Most readers see themselves in her.”

What stalls her when she’s writing? Transitions. She overcomes the problem by going on to the next scene and working out the transitions later. “Writing is my job. I have to go on.”

These comments were made during a panel discussion about historical characters at the RT Booklovers Convention in Las Vegas. Other panelists included Tessa Dare and Eloisa James who also had interesting insights into character development and writing process. Alas, I haven’t space. Maybe next time.

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I’m Doing An Author Takeover by Susan Hanniford Crowley

Today (January, 22nd), I will be doing an Author Takeover in the I LOVE romance books group on Facebook. To attend, you do have to join: https://www.facebook.com/groups/262774088092512 It costs nothing.

Afterward, you can leave the group, but many choose to stay. Why? It’s a lovely group with fun activities.

What happens on Author Takeover Friday? Chatting mostly! Some games! Always contests! It’s a great way to get to know an author and have fun! I have some ebooks to give away!

Join me from 10 am to 6 pm, and let’s have some fun. See you there!

Susan
Susan Hanniford Crowley, Author of Vampire Princess of New York
Amazon Kindle Bestselling Author of Vampire Romance
https://www.amazon.com/Vampire-Princess-York-Arnhem-Knights-ebook/dp/B01LWXYX1G
https://www.susanhannifordcrowley.com

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Loving My Chatty Matty Coffee

“Light and mellow…nutty with a caramel finish.”

This delightful blend of lightly roasted and dark roasted beans is one of many options at Planet Bean, a Guelph roastery that carries certified fair trade and organic gourmet coffees.

Like many Guelphites, I’m impressed and inspired by Planet Bean’s vision and mission to create the best-tasting coffee. Their innovative business model measures success in financial terms and in their ability to advance organic production and improve the planet’s health.

While I don’t consider myself a heavy coffee drinker, I enjoy two to three cups each morning, well within Health Canada’s recommendation of no more than 400 milligrams of caffeine each day. (An average eight-ounce cup has 95 milligrams.)

Here are seven ways that coffee can positively impact our health. (Source: John Hopkins)

  1. Researchers found that coffee drinkers—decaf or regular—were 26 percent less likely to develop colorectal cancer.
  1. The caffeine in two cups of coffee may provide significant protection against developing Alzheimer’s disease.
  1. Caffeine has been linked to a lower chance of developing Parkinson’s disease. It may also help those with the condition better control their movements.
  1. Drinking one to two cups of coffee a day may help ward off heart failure.
  1. Coffee drinkers are more likely to have liver enzyme levels within a healthy range than people who don’t drink coffee.
  1. Dark roast coffee decreases breakage in DNA strands. While this breakage occurs naturally, it can lead to tumors if not repaired by your cells.
  1. Drinking at least one cup of coffee a day is associated with lowered stroke risk, the fourth leading cause of female deaths.

Note: Too much caffeinated coffee can increase heart rate, raise blood pressure, and cause insomnia.

Do you have a favorite coffee blend?

Buy Links

 Amazon (Canada) | Amazon (US) | Amazon (UK) | Amazon (Australia)

Posted in Soul Mate Publishing, What's Up With Joanne! | Tagged | 2 Comments

Patriotism, Dissent, and Mob Mentality

Patriotism, Dissent, and Mob Mentality:

            Like many in the United States, my husband and I watched with a combination of horror, incredulity, and amusement as armed thugs (instigated by a sitting president) tried to overturn a lawful election.  We felt horror because these actions resembled those of a Third World country, not a democracy where we’ve experienced a peaceful transition of power for over one hundred years. We were incredulous that a bunch of Americans could behave like blind sheep, and we felt amusement (mixed with pity) that this ragtag bunch of “revolutionaries” thought their “movement” would work. 

            Throughout the week, my amazement and anger grew.  (The anger came much later). I’ve seen much in this country. As a very young person, I saw marches against the Vietnam War.  I remember the death of Martin Luther King. As a native of Louisiana, I’ve known, supported, or disliked many colorful governors.  Even when I hadn’t voted for some politician, I accepted that he or she was the legally elected representative for the district, state, or country.  Even at the height of Vietnam protests, Americans accepted the new leader.  Not to do so was simply to give into the Sore Loser Syndrome, a state of selfishness our kindergarten teachers chastised.  

            What truly distressed me was that too many brave members of our service have died so that we could have safe, peaceful elections and a smooth transition to power. Throughout my historical fiction, I’ve written about men and women who have died for that right. They sacrificed themselves for democracy and a system they believed would protect freedom.  In Love at War, my characters face the trauma of battle and participate in espionage to protect freedom from tyranny.  In From Ice Wagon to Club House, Jude Mooney and his family protect democracy in Europe and at home, fighting against tyrants while living the dream of success. In The Progeny, Jude’s sons and relatives continue that fight, willingly joining in the fray to free oppressed people while also wearing a uniform to protect against bullies. 

            I’m not sure what these thugs in the Capitol hoped to accomplish. Had they simply protested and displayed support for what they thought was an injustice, I would totally support their right. Peaceful protest is guaranteed to all Americans. I feel the same about the protests we saw in the summer of 2020. Protesting an injustice is our right.  Destroying property and assaulting others is not.  This nation has never been so divided—not in over one hundred years.  I mourn for my fictional characters and the values they espoused. 

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Booklover Science

On January 6 after watching events with horror and being fixated on television and social media for five hours, it was difficult to settle down. I turned to what I knew best to settle my nerves, a good book. Last August I posted here that reading is my drug of choice. It has always provided me with a way to sooth my nerves and recharge my batteries. Sometimes, when words are flowing, writing is also an escape. Imagine my surprise when I discovered my experience has been verified by science.

The World Literacy Foundation has reported that reading has been found to reduce blood pressure, lower heart rate, and reduce stress. In 2009, Minelab International at the University of Sussex conducted tests in techniques that reduce heart rate and stress. The percent to which levels were reduced by various techniques were:

  • Playing video games 21%
  • Taking a walk by 42%.
  • Having a cup of tea or coffee 54%
  • Listening to music 61%
  • Reading 68%

How does it work? One article suggests, “Reading has been shown to put our brains into a pleasurable trance-like state, similar to meditation, and it brings the same health benefits of deep relaxation and inner calm.’’

It is unclear to me what role cortisol, endorphins, and dopamine play in all this. I’ve read video cames cause in increase in dopamine, but look where that comes in for stress relief. If that interests you, the blog, Words and Other Things spells some of that out.

Interestingly, research at University of Sussex has also found that writing helps relieve symptoms of asthma, so reading and writing are both helpful.

Will all this fix the problems around us? Of course not; we are all seeking ways to do as much good as we can out there. But if we allow our emotions and stress to cripple us, we can do nothing.

Perhaps the key is just that mini vacation from the things that are causing our stress. Turn off your phone; read a book. Julia Quinn said in a recent interview that she knew her books wouldn’t change the world, she just hoped they improved our afternoon. That isn’t a bad way for an author—or reader—to look at it.

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