Tag Archives: books

Summer in a Bowl

Chrissy, the manager of Hickman Crossroads Library invited me to read Summer in a Bowl at a

img_2570 lunch meeting with soup (the soup from the book). I did and also explained about he making of the book and all about the real Aunt Mary.

They also were interested in Rosa and the Red Apron and my other work–what a lovely day!

Friends of the library made treats and more than twenty –in fact, almost thirty, area folks came to hear about the books. Thank you everyone!!!

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What a Day!

It’s not even ten am yet and already I have been hard at work on the computer, but am not yet dressed!

First thing–saw that Silver Birch has posted my poem What we took with us when we moved, as a part of their moving day series–warning, this one is sad.

Then, I opened my gmail account and there were the page proofs for Summer in a Bowl!!!!
Amazing work by the artist Rebecca Zeissler.
Countdown to publication day of September 30!!!!!!
You can order the book now , pre-order on THEAQLLC, Amazon and BN
Those who pre-order before the launch date of September 30 can email me a copy of the receipt and be in a drawing to win a copy (signed) of the first book in the series, WHOOSH!
There is a recipe in the back of this one and gardening tips
Excitement!!!!!!!

C. Hope Clark Shares a Secret

C. Hope Clark’s newest series is set in one of my favorite places in all the world–Edisto Island, SC. We spent many happy holidays there as a family and Joe and I welcomed the new Year there for several years running. The place is magical. And if we are to believe Hope there is mystery lurking in every corner as well.

Never fear, Hope’s heroine solves all the mysteries and the miscreants are punished. Of course, what happens when a good mystery is solved? Celebration! And there is no better way to celebrate than with a meal of Edisto shrimp. Hope has shared heroine Callie’s fave recipe with us in this post–you may not be able to buy Edisto shrimp where you live, but do look for the freshest, wild caught domestic shrimp you can find.

 

Displaying Echoes of Edisto.jpgDisplaying Echoes of Edisto.jpg

Callie Jean Morgan’s Favorite Lowcountry Meal

By C. Hope Clark

Writing a mystery series set at a beach I am often enticed to visit the coast and as many seafood restaurants that my stomach can bear. In South Carolina, we do mainly shrimp and crab with a wide assortment of fish easily caught off our shore. While I could eat my weight in crab, one of my absolute favorite coastal recipes is shrimp and grits.

Non-Southerners often turn up their noses at grits, but just let them taste them in this concoction, and man-oh-man, their tongues will slap their faces silly wanting more. Every dignified South Carolina eatery has a shrimp and grits recipe on the menu, each with a spin or twist of its own, some almost too rich to finish.

In my newest release, Echoes of Edisto, (released August 5, 2016), with all that I throw at Callie Jean Morgan, she needs this sort of comfort food. Something to coat her belly, relying on the harvest caught in her beloved Edisto waters. Food from her home territory she loves so dang much.

Echoes is the third in the Edisto Island Mysteries, and the South Carolina coast is learning to love the stories. Information about the books greets every Edisto tourist in their rental, a local magazine keeps a feature ongoing about the series, and every single visitor’s center in South Carolina contains an Edisto Beach Tourist Guide which flaunts the Edisto Island Mysteries.

So let me introduce you to shrimp and grits, to entice you to visit . . . and pick up the books. This recipe is one I learned on Edisto Island, which I’ve adjusted a bit for my own taste so that you never fail to lick the bowl clean.

CALLIE’S SHRIMP AND GRITS

Serves four.

 

FOR SHRIMP ROUX:

1 pound raw shrimp, peeled and whole

3-4 tablespoons lemon juice

Salt (by taste)

Black pepper (by taste and optional)

Cayenne pepper (by taste)

6 tablespoons bacon drippings (or half bacon droppings / half olive oil)

½ cup diced onion

½ cup diced pepper, sweet banana or bell

4 tablespoons flour

2 cups chicken broth or chicken bouillon

Crumbled bacon

 

FOR GRITS:

2/3 cup grits (regular, not quick 5-minute grits)

2 cups water

½ cup cream (preferably the heavy stuff)

No salt

 

Peel the shrimp, careful with removing all shell and legs, and place meat in bowl. Drizzle with lemon juice. Salt, pepper and cayenne to taste. (NOTE: the saltiness in the shrimp and roux is the reason you avoid the salt normally cooked into grits.) Let set so flavors mingle.

 

In a skillet, cook enough bacon to make 6 tablespoons of drippings, 6-10 slices depending on the fattiness of the bacon. Remove bacon. Sauté onion and banana and/or bell peppers in the grease, medium heat, until translucent. No more than 10 minutes.

 

Gradually sprinkle flour over vegetables, stirring in one tablespoon at a time to avoid lumpiness. Stir constantly. Stir all for 2-3 minutes until browned.

 

Add shrimp, liquid and all, to skillet. Add 1 ½ cup broth gradually, stirring constantly, letting liquid mix well with the browned flour. You’ll see the soft brown gravy start to happen. The shrimp should turn opaque and pink after 2-3 minutes. Add remainder of broth, if needed, to thin the gravy and avoid lumping.

 

Either start grits halfway through this process, or complete roux and set aside to remain warm, but do not fix grits in advance of the roux. You want the grits to be fresh, hot and creamy. Bring water to a boil then add grits. Lower to medium-high and cook for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally to avoid sticking. Once completed, add the cream and stir for another 2 minutes. Remove from burner.

 

Put grits in a bowl. Ladle roux in the center. Sprinkle with crumbled bacon.

 

Oh good gracious, a meal to die for . . . oh wait, I don’t want to give away the story!

 

BIO

  1. Hope Clark is the creator of The Edisto Island Mysteries as well as the Carolina Slade Mysteries. She is also an avid presenter, speaker, and teacher about writing and earning a living as a writer, in much demand at writers’ conferences and libraries. Her latest project, beside yet another Edisto book, is honoring a request to read her own Edisto stories for the Books for the Blind program. www.chopeclark.com / www.fundsforwriters.com

 

 

Red Face

I made a book club appearance in Raleigh yesterday. I put it on Facebook, I notified my book club by email–but I forgot to note it on my blog–oh dear!!!

Wonderland book club in Raleigh hosted me yesterday! Thanks to Alice Osborn and all who attended. Tho the photo is of short story book, we discussed Secrets of the Heart.
Thanks again, everyone!

Alice Osborn's photo.

Learn from a Master!

I follow several people who are masters of my two crafts (writing and story performing). From time to time, I am particularly blessed by advice they offer and I want to share it with you, my followers, as well as introducing you to these Masters of the craft. Often what they say is useful for both writing and performing! Not so strange that those would be the posts that resonate most deeply with me. This one comes just as I am struggling with the structure for my fourth book in the Legacy of Honor series.

Enjoy these words of advice today from Doug Lipman whose website is full of good things. He is a major talent and  exceedingly generous in sharing them on his website and in allowing me to share this with you today. Thank you, Doug.

I encourage all of  you to sign up for his newsletter and follow him where you can–two links are right here

 

I copied the material (with his permission) directly from the newsletter with all of his links intact, I hope . Please notice the copyright on his newsletter and do not repost without his permission.

                                                                                

Plot Confusion?

As a long-time professional storyteller, I have led workshops in many elements of storytelling, including character and place. But I have never led a workshop in plot.

Why not plot? The simple truth is that I’ve never been able to make sense of it. In particular, the various theories of plot have seemed interesting—but neither convincing nor especially useful.

Aristotle’s idea of “beginning, middle and end,” for example, makes a kind of intuitive sense, but it also seems to apply equally well to a doctor’s appointment and to washing a load of laundry.

Well, In Theory…

Then there are the theories like “the hero’s journey” and Freytag’s “exposition, rising action, climax, falling action and denouement.” These seem closer to my sense of the word “plot,” but also seem specific to certain kinds of stories.

For example, it’s hard to apply this kind of theory to any very brief stories. But doesn’t a 3-minute story have a plot, too? Yes, you can force the brief story into the theory, but that doesn’t mean the theory can help you shape the story.

As a result, in my absence of a general understanding of “plot,” I have mostly kept silent about it. Until recently.

Now I have had a flash of insight that shone through the mists of my plot confusion. Perhaps it will help you, too.

What Do You Mean By Plot?

The flash of insight came after a coaching client, Sharon Livingston, recommended a particular book on plot. A short way into the book, I discovered that the author’s concept of “plot” was broader than mine.

Suddenly, I saw part of my problem with plot: there are, in fact, three main meanings—or levels—referred to by the word “plot.” Separating them, at last, has opened the gates to increased clarity. (In this article, I’ll focus on these three levels of plot. Elswehere, I’ll talk more about how the three levels relate—and how to build and shape each level.)

Plot Level #1: Chronology

The first level of plot can be called “chronology”: what happens, in what order. This is something like what novelist E.M. Forster calls “story.” In a simple story, the chronology might include something like this:

  1. The queen announces to the world that she seeks a husband.
  2. Numerous suitors apply.
  3. The queen chooses a suitor.
  4. The suitor marries the queen, becoming king.

The Chronology doesn’t include why things happen or what they mean to the characters or to the storyteller. It doesn’t allow for flashbacks and the like. It consists of only two kinds of information:

  • The events;
  • The order in which the events happen.

Simply said, the Chronology is a list of events, put into chronological order.

Obvious—Or Not?

In most stories, the list of what happens is evident to all, as is the order in which things happen. In such cases, there is no controversy about a story’s chronology. In fact, multiple versions of a story—each with a sharply different central meaning—might even share a common chronology.

Still, the choice of which events you include in your story is always an artistic choice. It’s probably true that the queen chose a herald to carry her announcement from town to town on horseback, for example, but the storyteller must make an artistic decision about whether her choice of herald—or the herald’s method of transportation—matters.

Plot Level #2: Causality

The second level of plot adds the element of causal connections: what causes the events to happen? How does one event lead to the next? More broadly, once the causal relationships between events are agreed on, what is the significance of the sequence of events? In other words, what do these events mean?

This is the level that E.M. Forster calls “plot,” as in his famous dictum:

“The king died and the queen died” is story. “The king died and the queen died of grief” is plot.

So Forster calls my Chronology level “story” and my Causality level “plot.” Elizabeth Ellis, on the other hand, in her excellent book From Plot to Narrative, calls the Chronology level “plot” and the Causality level “narrative.” Confused yet?

Causes and Meanings

In the case of an actual king and queen, for instance, historians (not to mention historical novelists) might not all agree about why the queen died. Was it because she was consumed with guilt for killing the king? Or was she subtly poisoned by the same third party who had poisoned the king? Or was she so relieved to be free from the king’s harsh domination that she went on a binge of eating and merry-making that led directly to her death?

Until the storyteller has come to a personal understanding of the causal connections between the story’s events, it’s not possible to create meaning for the story. Is the story about the effects of grief? About guilt? About possible responses to liberation from constraints?

The meaning assigned to events, therefore, builds on the teller’s understanding of the chain of causation. Further, if you change your understanding of the chain of causation, the meaning will likely also change. For this reason, I include both “causal connections” and “meaning” in this second level of plot.

Plot Level #3: Presentation

The third level of plot adds the order in which the story is told. No matter which events you include in your story and what causal connections and meaning you give to those events, you still have many options for the order in which you will tell them.

For instance, you could tell the queen’s story beginning with her decision to seek a suitor, then continue to proceed in chronological order. Alternatively, you could start with the queen’s death and then fill in the previous events. Almost every mystery story holds back at least some of the key events until late in the presentation of the story.

This third level, which also includes important devices like point of view, sensory descrptions and much more, is what Ronald B. Tobias calls “plot”. Forster doesn’t seem to have a name for this. Others just lump this with the second level.

Plot Finally Stops Thickening

Once we can clarify which of these three levels we mean when we say “plot,” then we can finally begin clear and helpful discussions about each level.

To aid in those ongoing discussions, I suggest that we not redefine, yet again, the familiar terms “plot,” “narrative,” and “story.”

Instead, let’s just divide “plot” into three strands, give those strands helpful terms (I nominate “Chronology,” “Causality” and “Presentation” but welcome other suggestions), and then begin to ask the important, practical questions we need answered:

  • What matters about each level?
  • How can the work at each level be improved?
  • How do decisions at one level affect decisions at another?
  • How can the levels work together to engage our listeners in any desired way?

Those are questions for later articles—questions that can only be answered well when our basic “plot confusion” has been cleared up.

Yours in storytelling,

Doug

 

                                                                                                                    

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Story Dynamics: One Story Lights Another

CONTACT DOUG LIPMAN


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Marshfield, MA  02050

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ABOUT THE STORYTELLING COACH


Storytelling coach Doug Lipman is the creator of the acclaimed Storytelling Workshop in a Box — the one-of-a-kind, 37-lesson, comprehensive, audio-plus-print storytelling workshop that comes to you!

If you liked this newsletter, you’ll love this step-by-step course, guaranteed to be the most complete and enjoyable guide to telling meaningful, commanding stories. Read more and hear an audio sample.

Doug also offers free articles and other resources to help you master storytelling, become a transformative artist, and integrate storytelling into your work life – including how to market your telling by creating a supportive community around you. Learn more now .

ABOUT THIS NEWSLETTER


The Library of Congress has assigned ISSN 1945-0656 to this newsletter.

For permission to reprint this or any article from “eTips,” please email this address or use my contact form.

                                                                                                                

Secrets of the Brain–apply in raising children

Read an article today that said scientists studying the brain of Einstein have concluded that the two hemispheres of his brain were very well connected. I think this means thoughts flowed easily between his creative side and his logical side. This makes sense. Great discoveries come from prepared minds seasoned by and sparked by imagination. Maybe we cannot raise Einsteins but don’t forget to give your children a good dose of activities that feed the imagination–art, creative , music, dance, theater, and sports.

Don’t forget to add unstructured quiet time where they have no activities but plenty of books, and plain paper and art supplies. Take time for walks in the woods, the park, even the city where they see others, see trees and flowers and beauty there. Make time for volunteer activities where they learn to give. Musical instruments are good for these times as well. They can learn to sing and play for others

Getting those right and left brains together might not make them outstanding thinkers but it will help them to be better people, to understand others, to be compassionate, and maybe even to appreciate the creative work of God.

Bolg-Hop–Previewing New Work!

Ok, fellow bloggers, here is my part of the Alice Osborn Blog Hop–I’ve tagge fellow blogger and writer JoAnn Matthews and will be hosting her on this site next week as a guest blogger.
1) What is the working title of your next book?

Letters from Korea

2) Where did the idea come from for the book?

It’s a continuation of the series, Legacy of Honor. Book One came out in July 2012 (Giulia Goes to War)

Letters from Korea deals with the love and adventures of Giulia’s little sister, Gina and her love interest, Sal who is off to Korea

3) What genre does your book fall under?

Historical, Sweet, Romance–also suitable as YA

4) What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?

Hmm, hard to think of modern actors for this one–I am going old school for the woman–Maureen O’Hara or Rosalind Russsell for Gina and new school for the man David Boreanz

5) What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Girl wonders if boy loves her or thinks of her as a sister, while they are separated by war, her work and his injuries.

6) Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

It’s already under contract to Desert Breeze Publishing an ebook publisher

7) How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

6 months and it is taking  longer to work the kinks out with my editor–a wonderful, helpful woman.

8) What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

More like a Hallmark Channel story–I see things in action sequences. Consequence of being a performer.

 

9) Who or what inspired you to write this book?My own family.

10) What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?

Set in Pittsburgh during the 1950s, discusses the development of Salk vaccine.

Two real Korean vets provided information that is used to develop the storyline in Korea, complete with Red Chinese “raiders”.

11) When you find yourself feeling lazy or ‘blocked’, how do you force yourself to get past it?
Settle down and work, give myself a deadline
12) Where do you find your inspiration? How do you overcome writer’s block?
Get up and walk
13) What’s the one piece of advice you would give a new writer?
Write and don’t stop. Challenge yourself. Work for excellence.
14) 1. Which author inspired you to become a writer? 2. How do you choose the subjects of your books? Varied interests. I write non-fiction, poetry, crime, short stories and memoir as well

15) Here’s one: What is your daily writing schedule? 2-3 hours daily

16) How did you find the courage to let people see your personal inner thoughts?

Poetry is that and performing personal tales. Need to share, hoping to make their lives better by doing so–a desire to serve and well, I just don’t worry about being foolish

17) How frequently do you write (hours per day or whatever)? How many drafts do you work through before you are satisfied?  Number of drafts differs with each item

What is most difficult to write about, and why?  Our son who died

Do women writers face any different challenges than men writers?

I don’t think so any more–sometimes we are not accepted in certain genres

Be sure to check out Alice’s blog –now. I’ll give you the link to JoAnn’s blog next week! blog:
http://aliceosborn.com/blog