Guest Author: Velda Brotherton

I’d like to introduce you to some outstanding friends and writers that I know you will enjoy meeting. This week, meet Velda Brotherton.


Her latest title is BEYOND THE MOON A veteran broken by years of torture. A woman destroyed by the death of her husband. Two souls bond and learn to love and trust again.

What are you working on now?: Two books. One is the third in A Twist of Poe mystery series titled The Pit and the Penance and the other is the third in my western historical romance series, The Victorians titled Tyra’s Gambler.

Who is the author/artist that inspires you the most, and why?
James Lee Burke because he takes the reader by the hand and leads her through his stories. She feels the heat off the Louisiana swamps, experiences his pain and joy. In other words, he knows deep POV. Every writer should read his books if for no other reason than to know how to write Point of View perfectly.

What are you reading right now?  The Mephisto Club by Tess Gerritsen

Reveal one thing about yourself that few people know: I hate cooked turnips. Joking, I’ve revealed so much in my blogs there’s probably not much left that’s a secret, but I don’t think I’ve ever told anyone how awful cooked turnips taste to me.

Describe your ideal work space…and then tell us about your actual one: Ideally, a cabana on the beach beside a beautiful white beach where I could take a break and frolic in the sun and water, then come back to work again. There would be nothing in my office but a desk, computer, printer and scanner.

My actual workspace is second on my list. I live in the country, am surrounded by the Ozark mountains, a creek in a valley below, lots of trees, birds, a few wild animals. However, the office is a mess all the time. Books piled everywhere, Bank boxes with research materials like old newspaper articles, magazines, etc., and sometimes I have to be careful not to trip over something I’ve left around me. Messy. If I clean it up I can’t work.

What advice do you have for other writers/artists?
Do what you love, and if you don’t love it, go find something else. It’s not money or fame, but the love of the craft that will sustain you through thick and thin. After 30 years I’m sort of an expert on that.

Where can readers find you online? for all my books.


I is for Illustrator

The April Blogging from A to Z Challenge continues!


cardboard tile letter i

(Photo credit: Leo Reynolds)




Illustrations bring an author’s words to life. Nowadays, people seem to link illustrations with children’s books – pictures that help tell a story to young readers-in-training.  But once upon  a time, artists’ works decorated the pages of stories for adults.  Just think of the beautiful maps and line drawings in the works of J.R.R. Tolkien. 




Whether you love the sweet watercolor renderings of Beatrix Potter’s Peter Rabbit, or the magic of Andrew Lang’s colorful series of world stories, many of us fell in love with the visual representations of what a writer inscribed on our imaginations.

What are your favorite illustrators?  Here’s a few names to get you started:

Maurice Sendak, Shel Silverstein, Jules Pfeiffer, Dr. Seuss, Howard Pyle, N.C. Wyeth, Norman Rockwell…

Check out some modern famous illustrators HERE.


Leave a comment for me, if you please.  Writing is a lonely business.


Also, visit some of the other few thousand bloggers participating in the A to Z challenge by clicking below:



Narrators & Characters – or Who’s Telling This Story, Anyway?

Dr. Tim is speaking today about the differing types of narration – primarily 1st and 3rd person.  Personally, I avoid books with a 1st person point of view (POV), largely because so many writers do it so poorly.  Edgar Allan Poe was a master at sucking the reader in to the insanity of his main characters through a 1st person perspective, but not many others manage it (for me, anyway.  I realize I’m in the minority.)

Third person narration is the he said, she said of writing.  We can inhabit multiple characters through a bit of a distance, and have that comfortable omniscient feeling, the bird’s eye view.  I prefer this style of writing because of the distance I get from the story (can you tell mysteries are my favorite?), and the almost assurance I get that the tale will be neatly tied up by the end.  First person characters almost never give you the whole picture.

Of course, there are other narrative tricks – 2nd person (remember Choose Your Own Adventure books?), and free indirect discourse (borrowing language from other characters), but they are not as common as the first two mentioned.

When it comes to characters, Tim asks, “Why do we have to read about these terrible people with their terrible lives?”  Well, the simple answer is that good people are boring.  When we get a nice guy or a decent lady that has a little bump in the road before everything is righted in the end, we have a warm, fuzzy feeling…but we tire of it quickly.  Read three serial romances in a row and you’ll see what I mean.  You see the pattern, recognize the formula, predict the ending – and you’re only on page four.

We get a little insight into Mrs. Tim, too, this time.  She’s a librarian (I love her already), and maintains that different rules apply to different books.  What works for the hero of a Western, doesn’t work for the hero of a Mystery.

  Character Conclusions

1)  A character doesn’t have to be likable or admirable to be interesting.

2)  An unlikable character can change and grow (even if we don’t like them at the beginning, remember that they may not be around by the end of the story…physically or essentially).

3)  Change and growth do not necessarily ensure a character’s happiness.

Also, some of the best writing involves us growing right along with the characters.  Neither of us should be the same by the end of the book.

Reader Tip:  Get in the habit of monitoring your responses to characters.  What is your first impression?  Do your feelings about them change, and what contributes to that change?  When and how does the story ask us to change our views?

Enjoy this and other educational series from Great Courses.

Read examples of interesting narrations and characterization from Edgar Allan Poe, Anton Chekhov, and E.M. Forster.

References: Aspects of the Novel, by E. M. Forster

Related Articles:

The Art of Reading

A Word About Authors

Narrators & Characters, or Who’s Telling This Story, Anyway?