Time to Write Now By Julaina Kleist-Corwin

About Writing Plus

Look For The Promise In A Story

Promise keep itIn my writing class today, we talked about the story’s promise. A few members brought in novels and read the promise on the first page, often in the first paragraph. I asked if the author followed up with the promise to the end. They assured me the authors did. The examples were across genres, a mystery, a family in danger, an historical novel, and another  historical novel mixed with fantasy.

Yesterday I wrote that the Tri-Valley Branch of the California Writers Club will have a book launch for their anthology tomorrow. I searched for the promise in some of the stories in Voices of the Valley: Word for Word. 

Jordan Bernal’s A Faerie in the Glen, has this first sentence: “The Faerie Glen on Scotland’s Isle of Skye was reputed to hold secrets…and more.”

Gary Lea’s promise in “Too Small” is in the third paragraph, “Why the shirt, I wondered, why just this one shirt? There were a lot of things that would have reminded me of Dad.”

Anne Koch’s “Christmas Lost and Found” has the promise in the title as well in the first paragraph, first line: “I lost Christmas. How in the world did that happen? I knew it wasn’t all at once. It was more like the slow fading of a black and white photograph.”

My essay titled “Life Support” starts with “My visit to Shelly in the hospital became a routine before I entered her ward.”

The above examples give story promises of secrets, a specific shirt, a lost Christmas, and a hospital visit.

The promises were kept.

TVW Word for Word AnthologyPromise clouds you










Julaina Kleist-Corwin

Editor of Written Across the Genres

Author of Hada’s Fog

Book Reading Event Continued

Small The Keepers of EireSince I often put my blog posts on Facebook, one of my FB friends, Una King, requested I tell more about the book reading event I attended yesterday at Bay Books in San Ramon.

Paula Chinick introduced herself and the other three authors who would be reading.  Jordan Bernal explained how she became interested in dragons when she received a dragon statue from her mother for a gift. The white dragon sat on the table along with a dragon egg and Grayson, the wingless dragon (my favorite) in Jordan’s book, The Keepers of Eire. Set in present day Ireland, Christian Riley, one of the protagonists, is haunted by vivid dreams of four dragon riders’ deaths. The other main character is Devan Fraser who stumbles into the mystery of the murders. She joins Christian in journeying to learn about secrets, truth, honor, and loyalty.


Jordan Bernal in Ireland

Jordan Bernal in Ireland

Elaine SchmitzElaine Schmitz entertained us with her tales of Yaya Despina from her book, Recipes & Recollections of My Greek-American Family. Elaine offered a  printout  recipe for “Angela’s Fig Jam” and showed some of the artful photos in the book that her husband took of the cooked food.

Red AsscherPaula Chinick read the first chapter in her book Red Asscher, Living in Fear. The novel is set in 1943. The protagonist is Anya Pavlovitch, a Russian Expatriate who works for the U.S. War Department. She and Mac, a Naval Intelligence officer, are sent to Japanese occupied Shanghai. The head of Shanghai’s opium trade kidnaps Mac, and Anya must find the courage to rescue him. Paula’s book is the first in a three book series, the second novel will be available in 2016.

Mary E. Heaton read a chapter in her book, Rambling Through the Emerald Isle. The memoir is about Mary and her daughter traveling through Ireland for twelve days.  The humor in Mary’s experience driving on the left side of the road brought laughter several times from the attendees. The search for their ancestors led them to a sixth-century monastery.


Rambling Through the Emerald Isle

Author Mary E. Heaton



Mary E. Heaton

Mary E. Heaton


Paula Chinick Red Asscher

3 Days 3 Quotes Challenge – Day 1

Ericka Kind blogger

Erika Kind



Thanks to author Erika Kind from Liechtenstein, I’ve accepted her invitation to the 3 Day 3 Quotes Challenge. Here’s my quote for Day 1 followed by the challenge information for nominees to participate.

“We had the experience but missed the meaning.” by John Steinbeck

I discovered this quote in Anne Ayers Koch’s book, Look Both Ways At the Intersection of Yesterday and tomorrow. 


The rules for the 3 Days 3 Quotes Challenge:

  • Thank the blogger, who nominated you.
  • Post one of your favorite quotes (different quote on each day) on three consecutive days. The quote can be from your favorite book, author, or your own. Don’t forget to acknowledge the source.
  • Nominate three bloggers to challenge them using their blog links.

My nominees:




Flash Fiction Dragon Needs a Name

green dragonI’m writing a flash fiction story with a dragon in it. He’s a good dragon and the protagonist will be a dragon rider. I imagine him to be similar to this picture. I’d like to get some ideas on what to call him. Any thoughts for a name?

Thanks to Jordan Bernal, author of The Keepers of Eire, (on amazon) for the inspiration.

Ai Weiwei’s Art at Alcatraz

Lani LongshoreMy guest blogger today is Lani Longshore, a member of the California Writers Club, Tri-Valley Branch, author of Death By Chenille and Eve’s Requiem, and blogger at www.lanilongshore.wordpress.com

Art at Alcatraz

My children played with Legos, building forts, trucks, and hazardous swords when they thought I wasn’t looking. After Jordan Bernal, author of The Keepers of Eire, and I experienced Ai Weiwei’s exhibit @Large on Alcatraz Island, I wish I had taught them to see those little bricks the way he does.

Ai earned his international reputation as an artist with his photography, but his creativity includes all aspects of art. He created five very different collections specifically for the old buildings of Alcatraz. As an artist under house arrest in his native China, and the son of a poet who spent years in China’s re-education camps, Ai wanted to create a tension for the viewer by embedding his art in the notorious American prison. He explored the themes of liberty, repression, confinement, hope and despair with a variety of media. As part of the exhibit, he made portraits of other famous prisoners (some convicted of political crimes, some convicted of criminal charges stemming from their political work). In order to keep the Chinese government from confiscating his materials before he could finish, he used Legos.

The portraits were flat, laid on the floor of the New Industries building (one that is not usually open to the public) like carpets, or a huge scrapbook page. Visitors were allowed to walk around the installation and also see them from the gun walk above the room.

Jordan and I came in at ground level. As we walked around each grouping of portraits, we discovered some of them were so pixilated as to be abstracts. Jordan was impressed with the powerful lines and color combinations of one particular portrait. She took a photo with her cell phone and discovered that the image on her phone wasn’t abstract at all – it was a concrete and identifiable photograph.

Now we saw another level to this art – the perceptional bias of the viewer. From up close, we couldn’t detect the person behind the portrait. Put some distance between the viewer and the art – with a cell phone photo, or from up above, on the gun walk – and more of the person became obvious. Amazingly, we could shift between these points of view. Although we now knew that the arrangement of Lego bricks on the floor represented a real person, we could still see an abstract design. The photo on the cell phone couldn’t change into an abstract, but our brains could simultaneously accept two radically different experiences of the work.

I write science fiction, so I must create characters that the reader will accept as alien but understand in human terms. I must create a resonance in the reader’s brain that will let them hold two radically different views of the characters, yet shift between those views. Reading excellent writing helps me improve my skills, and so does experiencing excellent art. Ai Weiwei reminded me to look at everything with the eyes of a child, an inventor, an outsider. He taught me to layer meaning upon meaning, trusting that my reader will see more than the surface. He also taught me to value what my reader brings to my work, even if I never know what that is.

Lani Longshore’s Blog – www.lanilongshore.wordpress.com
Death By Chenille
Smashwords – http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/55823
When Chenille Is Not Enough
Amazon.com – http://www.amazon.com/When-Chenille-Is-Not-Enough/dp/1595944915
Barnes&Noble.com – http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/when-chenille-is-not-enough-ana-anastasio/1115086340
Smashwords – http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/306399
Eve’s Requiem – http://www.amazon.com/Eves-Requiem-Tales-Mystery-Horror/dp/0991417615