Michaeline: Planes, Trains, Automobiles, and Ships and Bicycles, Too

A history of transportation from reindeer through trains to the motorcar.

People may remain fundamentally the same, but as their technology changes, so does the form of their stories. (Image via Wikimedia Commons)

There’s an old writing adage that says every story is either about someone coming to town (the mysterious stranger!) or someone leaving town (a quest! a quest!). But sometimes, the story isn’t about the arrival or the departure, but the journey itself.

Summer is the perfect time to write a travel story! You could set your story on a plane, a train or an automobile. Being trapped in a small space for a period of time promotes a sense of desperation . . . but by virtue of being in a MOVING space, you know the story is going to end with a release (let’s hope, though, that release isn’t a fiery crash! Although, it’s summer! It certainly could be. Disaster stories are popular. Look at the Titanic, or books about people who survived a plane crash in the Andes.)

Let’s take a quick look at five common modes of transportation, and what they could bring to your story.

First, the plane. You’ve got planes of all shapes and sizes to choose from, and more than 100 years of aviation. But they all fly above the common worries and fears of ground-bound folks. They get there fast, and there really is no escape (except by parachute, death or magic) until the plane lands.

The Dream Bible says to dream of airplanes is to dream about Continue reading

Michaeline: Twittering Tropes for New Book Promotion

There’s a new Twitter marketing strategy that caught my eye recently. List a bunch of tropes that describe your book, and then add the links for purchase or preorder.

Jackie Lau's Ice Cream Lover offers: 1) opposites attract, 2) paint-your-own unicorn party, 3) unicorn onesie, 4) dumplings, 5) foodie six-year-old and 6) grandmother who discovers texting.

Jackie Lau caught my attention with the ice cream, and the foodie six-year-old was a joy, and not just a plot moppet.

I haven’t seen this before, but then again, I don’t get around much, so maybe it’s a thing. Maybe everyone is doing it, and I just haven’t seen it before. But . . . it looks like a really good idea, and I’m going to pretend that you are as in the dark as I was.

I first noticed when Jackie Lau did it for Ice Cream Lover. Jackie just showed up suddenly on my phone Twitter feed, and I was in the mood for ice cream and romance . . . and that’s how I ended up following her. She had me at ice cream; add in an #AsianRomCom, and I bought her book. And boy, it was good! Ice cream, sexy scenes of the like I’ve never seen in romance before (do note: I don’t get around much), a bi-cultural heroine and Continue reading

Michaeline: Caturday and Puzzle Answers

Well, last week was a bust as far as my priming experiment. I provided a word search Saturday with special words meant to prompt my subconscious into a writing mood . . . but, you know. It was busy. I was tired. I don’t have a story that urgently needs to get written down. And, on the happy side, my daughter and son-in-law are visiting! I’d rather have a nice dinner and chat with them instead of holing away and writing.

So, today, I give you the answers Continue reading

Michaeline: Writing Word Puzzle for Priming the Pump

 

Image via Wikimedia Commons

Some days, you just need a little psychological boost to get started. I’ve talked before on this blog about the power of priming at least twice, and here is a puzzle with words I associate with good writing. Give it a try and see if you like it!

Or, if you’d like to try your own hand at making a personal puzzle with words that are meaningful to you, visit Discovery Education to create your own game.

Happy Saturday!

 

Continue reading

Michaeline: Fictional Mothers who Kept a Sense of Self

A Japanese woman with an open kimono sits with her small son behind her. They are both looking into a mirror.

Motherhood in fiction: can the mother still see herself after she has children? (Image via Wikimedia Commons)

In genre fiction, many heroines and heroes have lost their mothers. Before medical advances, moms died. A lot. Childbirth, exhaustion, diseases that we can fix with a round of antibiotics . . . people in the 19th century knew about motherless children and orphans. Everyone had a cousin or a friend who had lost a mother (or had lost one themselves), so as a literature plot point, it packed a lot of punch and came with built-in baggage.

When mothers do appear, they are rarely the main character.

This is somewhat understandable. As a mom myself, I didn’t have the energy or the time to be a hero, unless it was the Hero of the Gastroenteritis of 1997 (when the child was exploding out of both ends), or the more everyday adventures of Dinner on the Table. Nobody wants to read a 75,000 word novel about that.

However, moms often have great reasons to go beyond and above the call of duty. After all, these “mama bear” chestnuts don’t get thrown around for no reason. If you mess with a woman’s kids, you can’t predict the results. Moms get proactive, creative and, to be honest, sometimes irrational when their children are in danger. They’ll push their kids out of the way of cars, donate a kidney, fight a pouncing cougar or rush into a burning building to rescue their children.

Two fictional mothers stick in my mind. One was the fiercely independent Stella Johnson (played by Barbara Eden) of the Harper Valley PTA. I was only nine or ten when I saw the movie, but I still remember how this mom kept her humor and was true to herself. Being a mom wasn’t integral to the plot (except, perhaps, that she needed a reason to be part of the Parent Teacher Association), but it was an essential part of her identity. She was a make-up saleswoman with style and flair, and she bested all the fuddy-duddy conservatives in town with the help of her free-spirited neighbors who were also sick of the oppression.

The other mom I admire greatly is Continue reading

Michaeline: Wasted Time? Or Not?

 

Lady taking notes in 1920s Manicure advertisement originally so lovely hands

I should take better notes as I go along. (Image via Wikimedia Commons)

I just had a long, lovely holiday at home, thanks to the Emperor’s Birthday, but you know how when you were a kid, and you spent the whole weekend doing nothing, and then suddenly the Sunday Afternoon Boredom hit? After In Search Of (a TV program devoted to exploring mysteries of history and fiction, like Atlantis or Bigfoot), there was NOTHING to do until Lawrence Welk. And that is a measure of how dull and deadly the afternoon was, when Lawrence Welk and his Champagne Music was something to look forward to. (I’m not dissing LW; I’m just saying that the show was no American Bandstand.)

OK, back to this century. What with the internet and DVDs and everything, the blahs didn’t really hit until Friday afternoon, when I realized that I’d WASTED an entire week. This was going to be my chance (one chance in a lifetime, I believe I said in last week’s blog) to try out a new lifestyle. Continue reading

Michaeline: Reiwa is Coming (A New Era in Japan)

This Wednesday, on May 1, Japan will see the old emperor abdicate in favor of his son, ushering in a new era called Reiwa.

令和

“It’s a new era” is more than a turn of phrase. The Japanese use the Gregorian calendar (we’re currently in 2019 as I write this), but they also have their own method of counting the years. Right now, we’re in the Heisei Era, and my first visit to Japan coincided with the change from Showa to Heisei.

Emperor and Empress dressed in traditional wedding clothes 1959

The future Emperor Akihito with his bride, the future Empress Michiko, dressed in traditionally for their wedding in 1959. (Image via Wikimedia Commons)

The old emperor didn’t abdicate on January 7, 1989; he died. The nation was in mourning, and the New Year’s festivities were muted. I didn’t understand everything that was going on, but Continue reading