Category Archives: Uncategorized

Santa Claus Needs You!


This year the kids who believe in Santa Claus need answers to their letters more than ever. The Post Office has a plan for making sure the letters you answer will be safe both coming in and going out. Please, so many boys and girls need to know Santa Claus is still there, ready to listen.

Hopes & Dreams: My Writing and My Sons

by Lillian Csernica on December 5, 2016

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The letters to Santa Claus have begun to arrive. Right after Thanksgiving, I let the local post offices know that once again I’d be ready, willing, and able to join the network of Volunteer Elves all over the U.S.  We answer the letters children write to Santa Claus. We help keep the magic of childhood bright and sparkling.

If you believed in Santa Claus when you were little, please consider lending a hand this holiday season. There are always more letters than there are volunteers available to answer them. Would you like to know how much joy a letter from Santa Claus can bring? Let me share with you some moments from the more than ten years I’ve been answering these letters.

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One young lady asked for a gift certificate to a local bookstore. I called the bookstore, explained myself as a volunteer…

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Laurie R. King Q&A!


by Lillian Csernica on November 18, 2020

sistersincrime.org

Here’s the latest news on how to participate in the Q&A this coming Saturday!

Hi, everyone. We’re doing something a little different for our meeting on 11/21/20, 10:30 AM, with Laurie R. King. We’re taking questions in advance so that we can be well-organized and make the best use of our time. You can not only submit your own question, but you can vote on those already submitted. The Pigeonhole system automatically puts the most popular question(s) at the top of the list. To submit your question, just go to www.pigeonhole.at and enter pass code COASTAL1121.
If you haven’t pre-registered, now’s a great time to sign up at https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZEvc-moqj8uH9SKJKktykhtlTayjm_xa5hx
I look forward to seeing all dog you on Saturday!

Sharon E. Cathcart
Award-Winning Historical Fiction Author
Member, Historical Novel Society & Sisters in Crime

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#nanowrimo Come Listen to Laurie R. King!


by Lillian Csernica on November 2, 2020

booksinc.net

A new sponsor for NaNoWriMo 2020 is Sisters in Crime. Are you writing a mystery? Are you interested in the techniques of good storytelling and the insight from a master of suspense? This event is for you!

Date: Saturday NOVEMBER 21

Time: 10:30 – 12:00

Topic: In Conversation with Laurie R. King. An informal Q&A session.

Laurie R. King is the New York Times bestselling author of 27 novels and other works, including the Mary Russell-Sherlock Holmes stories. She is probably the only writer to have both an Edgar and an honorary doctorate in theology. 
She spent her childhood reading her way through libraries up and down the West Coast; her middle years raising children, renovating houses, traveling the world, and doing a BA and MA in theology.  King now lives a genteel life of crime, on California’s central coast, and is a founding member of Coastal Cruisers.

Please contact chapter social media liaison Victoria Kazarian, vkazarian@gmail.com, to register. Zoom information will be sent out prior to the meeting.

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Time for #NaNoPrep!


September 28, 2020

October is right around the corner. That means pulling together our notes, ideas, research, and munchies! Whether you’re a planner or a pantser, it’s time to do all those little things that will put us just where we need to be on November 1st.

I am one of the municipal liaisons for my region. All over the world, MLs are gearing up to provide crucial support during #NaNoWriMo to writers both experienced and brand new. Wherever you may be, I hope you will find these highlights from previous years useful as you get ready for this year’s writing marathon.

Plot

Character

Worldbuilding

Horror

Historical writing

For NaNoWriMo 2020, I plan to write another novel set in my Kyoto Steampunk universe. If you’d like to know more about Dr. William Harrington, a British physician who finds himself facing the gods and monsters of Kyoto, Japan, please click here.

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I’m Still Standing


by Lillian Csernica on March 12, 2020

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Hello again. Here I am, back from my extended absence.

I can’t recall the last time I was so happy to see a year end. 2019 was hell with a side of chaos. Lots of people were saying that, and I don’t blame them a bit.

Unfortunately, 2020 isn’t turning out to be all that wonderful, either.

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For those of you who are just joining us, a quick recap:

Last June I lost my mother.

November saw me having emergency surgery to remove my gall bladder.

The holidays were profoundly depressing.

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I’m still here, still fighting the good fight for my own sake and the health and well-being of my sons. Michael is medically fragile. This means he’s in serious danger if the coronavirus gets to him. John is picking up on all the stress and having his own struggles.

I apologize for this being rather bare bones. I wanted to get something up so you’d know I haven’t vanished off the face of the earth.

The A to Z Blog Challenge is coming in April, so I hope to resume regular posting then.

Thanks for hanging in there with me.

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5 Ways to Improve the Action in Your Story


Here’s a blast from the past. More ideas for firing up your imagination as we count down to November 1!

Hopes & Dreams: My Writing and My Sons

by Lillian Csernica on August 13, 2016

daffydil-figure-layouts-action-sketches_newspaper-art-word-text_picture23 http://www.drawinghowtodraw.com

Writers tend to be visually oriented. We see our stories playing out much like movies inside our minds. Whatever we can do to enhance the clarity of the images and information we want to convey to the reader will improve the strength of our stories. That clarity begins with making sure we can see exactly what’s going on.

Map out the key locations.  Start with just the distances between the major settings. If you want to get into topography, go for it. Bear in mind there’s a difference between miles on land and nautical miles.

Draw the important action. Draw one scene between two characters on a stage. You could also look down on the action, using an aerial view to keep track of items or characters outside of the protagonist’s sight lines. Split the page into four sections…

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Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – #PotLuck – Are Blogging Friends Real Friends? by Darlene Foster


I firmly believe that blogging friends are real friends. Shout outs to @Jazzfeathers, Bernie, Mary Lou, Pat, and all the new friends I’ve made during the A to Z Blog Challenge!

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Welcome to the series of Posts from Your Archives, where bloggers put their trust in me. In this series, I dive into a blogger’s archives and select four posts to share here to my audience.

If you would like to know how it works here is the original post:https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/04/28/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-newseries-pot-luck-and-do-you-trust-me/

Children’s author and travel writer Darlene Foster is a regular visitor to the blog and has shared some amazing posts.  She gave me permission to explore her archives in search of more treasure. This week the pleasure in meeting blogging friends face to face.

©Darlene Foster.

Are Blogging Friends Real Friends? by Darlene Foster

You may have read on a previous post that one of the items on my personal “bucket list” was to meet my blogging friends in person. I am excited to say that I have met three recently.

During my last trip to Canada, a blogging…

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#atozchallenge Q is for Questions


by Lillian Csernica on April 19, 2019

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What makes an interview exciting? Great questions. I have the pleasure of answering some wonderful questions put to me by Deborah J. Ross, editor of Citadels of Darkover.

Read the interview here.

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#atozchallenge P is for Pain


by Lillian Csernica on April 18, 2019

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When it comes to writing fiction or nonfiction, pain is your best friend.

Does that sound strange? The truth of human nature is we respond with more sympathy to another person’s suffering than we do to good news.

Physical pain can be quite dramatic and effective on the page.  Lasting damage, such as blindness, loss of a limb, or even death takes sympathy farther into actual pity. That has its uses as well, but what we really want our readers to feel is empathy.

From Dictionary.com:

The differences between the most commonly used meanings of these two terms is:

  • sympathy is feeling compassion, sorrow, or pity for the hardships that another person encounters

  • empathy is putting yourself in the shoes of another, which is why actors often talk about it.

The emotional pain associated with such injury and loss is the key to engaging reader sympathy.

Inciting incidents in famous novels:

The Hunger Games — Katniss must volunteer to be a tribute in order to save Prim’s life.

The King of Elfland’s Daughter — For love of a mortal king, the title character abandons Elfland for the king’s human realm.

Misery — Bestselling author Paul Sheldon lies injured due to a car accident and is rescued by his biggest fan Annie Wilkes.

The Maltese Falcon — When Sam Spade’s partner Miles Archer dies while on the job with their new client Brigid O’ Shaughnessy, Spade must investigate.

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Good stories come from bad decisions. People who are experiencing intense pain, whether physical or emotional, are not in the best state of mind to make intelligent, well-reasoned decisions. The more pressure we put on our characters, the harder we make their struggles, the more our readers will empathize, become involved, and experience the story.

 

 

 

 

 

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I is for Instinct


by Lillian Csernica on April 10, 2019

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Today let’s talk about our creative instincts.

A lot of the creative process takes place on the intuitive level. I sit there in the creative trance, groping for the right word, waiting for my mind to zoom through all the possibilities until the word that feels right arrives. That one I grab and write down. There are times when I have to go look something up, especially if I want the foreign language equivalent of that right word.

Sometimes we come to a fork in the road. Which project do I pursue now? There are several business factors that will influence that decision such as contractual obligations, marketing, and agent advice. Many times it will all boil down to that intuitive push.

I once stood at that creative crossroads, torn between a medieval romance and a contemporary romantic suspense. I chose the latter, which prompted me to track down a martial arts star purely for the purpose of finding out where to get some of his promotional photos. (I like to work from photos of real people who resemble my heroes and heroines.) That led to a phone conversation that resulted in two screenplays.

It’s essential to feed the mind a strong and varied diet. If you’re going to have a compost heap in your imagination, you have to build it up, aerate it, turn it over, and let the natural processes achieve the decomposition. Only then will you get the transformed substance that will help you grow those prize roses or melons.

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My latest short story release is The Badger Epidemic in Next Stop on the #13. The key elements in the story are badgers, cholera, and steam trains. What could badgers and cholera have in common that could possibly bring them together in the context of Japan’s Industrial Revolution? Steam trains and telegraph lines.

Because I read so much, because I feed my mind so much history and folklore and strange news items, all of those ideas came together in a single short story.
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