Wednesday, October 14, 2015

5 Items(from tables to bras) infused with memories...

Melody Harris in her recent blog, Sentimental Shirts Reveal Relationships, talks about the shirts in her life that come with memories. Her excellent stories got me thinking about what triggers my memories. My memory-attached items are not shirts, but parts of my decor.

Memories are important. 

In a recent workshop I talked about items and small events that pepper the lives of our characters. It is, in part, these human prompts and memories that make our characters memorable and loved.

1) This bookcase (and its matching partner) was built by my father over 35 years ago. It is just the right size for paper back books and a few hard covered ones as well. Every time I go to it, a flash memory of my Dad occurs.

2) This Duncan Phyfe side table had a place in our homes and memories of my mother waft from it like soft clouds. She often kept a heart shaped dish of peppermints on it.
The congregation of St. Paul's Presbyterian Church in Winchester, Ontario gave to Mom and Dad when they left there. My older sister Lena helped the committee pick the table. So I remember not only Mom but also my sister when I look at this table.It occupied every living room we had after that...five different ones.

3) From time to time my Hubby works away from home - anywhere from 2 days to 10 days. His guitar, which he plays numerous times a day when home, lays on the sofa and gives me the illusion that he is only steps away.

4) Over a decade ago, I spent several months making weekly trips to the cancer treatment enter with my long time friend, Odette. She had the same bag in blues - but gave hers away when she was once again healthy so it did not remind her of the treatments. For me, I still use mine and my memories are connected to our friendship.

5) No picture for this last one. It has to do with bras. When my BFF of 50 years and I were teens, her mother took her to a professional bra fitter. She was told to bend over from the waist and tuck her bosoms into the cups and settle them there for the right fit. She shared that information with me (and rightly so for a BFF). I think of her often when I'm getting dressed. I smile and it helps my day get off to a good start.

What items in you life prompt memories for you. If you are a writer, do you give your characters similar items? If you are a reader, do memories like these endear the character to you? 

Please share with us in the comments.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Can you confess your biggest lie?

Author interviews can run the gambit from the mundane to the extraordinary. One question that is not asked often is:

 What is the biggest lie you've ever told?

The lie I remember telling came when I was in nurses training at the Ottawa Civic Hospital. As student nurses we lived in a residence with curfews, sign ins and restricted guests. And the starched, restricting uniforms as shown.
Student Nurse Uniform

At the time, I was timid and shy. I had limited experience with boys or dating. However, one Friday night two of the gals had dates and the boys brought along a third. I think their options were limited or they probably wouldn't have chosen me. But there I was, out on a group date with two of the wildest girls in the building.

How I survived the evening, I'm not sure. I don't even remember what we did. I do know we reached the restaurant for a late snack just as curfew struck . A call needed to be made to the night clerk, or we'd all be grounded for an extended period of time. As the innocent, I was nominated. Looking back, I suspect the other two had already had more than one over-curfew event.

The phone was in the hall outside the kitchen. (This was before cell phones.) I called and told the clerk that the car had broken down, that we'd found an all night garage and they were fixing it. I held the phone toward the clash and clatter in the kitchen and promised we would be back as soon as possible. Whether the clerk actually believed me or not, I never knew. But when we returned a good ninety minutes past curfew, none of us were grounded.

Phew - there now. I've confessed one of my biggest lies. Not so terrible in the over all scheme of life, but at the time, a big deal.

Now, as a writer,

 I wonder what lie a character might be hiding that would give me a springboard for a story.

What's your biggest lie? Care to share? Please add your comments.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Can intuition solve crimes?

This week's' blog presents thriller writer, Makenzi Fisk  

She writes the fast paced Intuition series that takes us from Minnesota to Canada's mid west city of Winnipeg and on a crazy crime spree across states. Three elements make this story memorable: a smart police office, an intuitive girlfriend and a deliciously dastardly criminal. All that plus quirky, helpful animals.


Makenzi Fisk grew up in a small town in Northwestern Ontario. She spent much of her youth outdoors, surrounded by the rugged landscape of the Canadian Shield. Moving west, she became a police officer with patrol, communications and forensic experience before transitioning to graphic design. She now works for herself.

Her first novel, Just Intuition, earned her the award for Debut Author in the 2015 Golden Crown Literary Society Awards. Just Intuition was also a Mystery/Thriller Finalist in the 2015 Golden Crown Literary Awards and the 2014 Rainbow Awards. She is a Canadian Lesfic author, a member of ARWA and the GCLS.

Q & A with Makenzi

Is this your first book? How many books have you written prior 
Fatal Intuition is my fourth book, and the third in my current Intuition Series. My first book, Siren, was a rookie police story that my publisher tried to turn into a lesbian romance. It was awkward, to say the least. I finally self-published, but it is currently out of print. I don’t regret it because I learned so much, and I think the whole experience made me a better writer.

Is there a certain type of scene that's harder for you to write than others? Love? Action? Racy?
As I learned when working with an editor on my first book, romances are hardest for me. When I write anything beyond a kiss or hug, I squirm. Not so much because I’m shying away, but because what I’ve written sounds so absolutely ridiculous that I can’t take it seriously. Have you ever honestly listened to what people say during intimate moments? It sounds bizarre and kind of hysterical out of context. Hysterical love scenes are not hot, as far as I’m concerned.

What secret talents do you have?
I never realized before recently that I am not just a good speller, I am a constant speller. Sometimes I spell what I hear as someone is speaking. If I catch a brand new juicy word, I have to stop and spell that sucker in my head so I can file it away for later. I can spell entire sentences in rapid-fire sequence and thought everyone else could too. Apparently not, but at least one of my sisters also does this, so I have company in spelling heaven.

What is your biggest fear?
Especially with all the media hysteria these days, I am truly afraid of U.S. politics. Really. Little hairs prickling on the back of my neck kind of scared. Terrified of what the future might bring if human rights and common sense continue to be trampled. And ghosts. I am afraid of ghosts.

Makenzi's First two Intuition Books 

Just Intuition - May 2014 


Burning Intuition - January 2015

Learn more about Makenzi Fisk and her stories at: