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Anne R. Allen's Blog

...WITH RUTH HARRIS

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Anne writes funny mysteries and how-to-books for writers. She also writes poetry and short stories on occasion. Oh, yes, and she blogs. She's a contributor to Writer's Digest and the Novel and Short Story Writer's Market for 2016. 

Her bestselling Camilla Randall Mystery Series features perennially down-on-her-luck former socialite Camilla Randall—who is a magnet for murder, mayhem and Mr. Wrong, but always solves the mystery in her quirky, but oh-so-polite way.

Anne lives on the Central Coast of California, near San Luis Obispo, the town Oprah called "The Happiest City in America."


Anne blogs at Anne R. Allen's Blog...with Ruth Harris 
and at Anne R. Allen's Books

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Building Atmosphere! The "Queen of Comedy" Dishes the Dirt on Creating Mood for your Masterpiece

by Melodie Campbell 



was tickled when the big city (Toronto) library sought me out to do a workshop for aspiring writers on "Building Atmosphere".

“Sure!” I said. “Are you paying me?” I said. (Although not necessarily in that order.)

They were, thankfully. And then the anxiety set in. (Cue the strident violins.)

Was I the best person to talk about this topic? My novels are primarily comedies. I usually aim for the funny bone, not the jugular. But then I recalled: most of my published short fiction is dark noir. And in short fiction, regardless of genres, you have to set the mood quickly.

Like many writers, I go from Comedy to Romance to Thriller to darkest Noir, happily skipping from genre to genre.

Genre-hopping authors like me (and there are many – you may be one yourself) set the mood cues quickly and dig in for the writing. Let’s look at how we do it.

Let’s start at the Beginning: What is Fiction?


The type of mood you wish to create begins with the type (or subgenre) of story you want to tell. So bear with me as we revisit the basics here:

In FICTION, we are telling a STORY.

A story has a beginning, a middle and an end.

Short stories, novellas and novels all have this in common:

  • A Protagonist
  • A problem or goal
  • Obstacles (this forms your conflict)

A resolution to the problem or goal (meaning an ending that will satisfy the reader)

Put another way:

  • First comes character…
  • Your character WANTS something. Real bad.
  • There are OBSTACLES to her getting what she wants.

THAT CREATES YOUR PLOT

Just as PLOT determines genre, genre will point you to the atmosphere you want to create in your stories.

But just what is that pesky thing called atmosphere, and why do we want it?

Atmosphere is about Emotion


In all the fiction we write, we are trying to create an emotion in the reader. Over and over, writers mess with the emotions of readers! That’s what we do.

Creating atmosphere is about setting the stage for your reader to feel something.

In fact, we want…

…your reader to imagine they can SEE the story happening

…maybe even that they are IN the story.

We want readers to feel they are right there, alongside your protagonist, experiencing the action themselves.

And wallowing in the emotion that you, as the writer, have planted.

Okay, get on with the details…


We create atmosphere through:

  • The Opening
  • Setting
  • Weather
  • Time of day
  • Description (using all five senses)

In each of these mini-sections, I’ll pick on a genre to illustrate the point.


1. Your Opening sets the Mood


Never fool the reader! The way your book opens tells them the sort of book they will expect to read.

  • If your book is a comedy, your opening should have some fun in it.
  • If your book is a mystery, show us that right from the start. 

Let’s look at some examples from the Masters:

Rebecca, by Daphne DuMaurier (psychological suspense)

Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again. It seemed to me I stood by the iron gate leading to the drive, and for a while I could not enter, for the way was barred to me. There was a padlock and chain upon the gate.

From the opening paragraph, we feel the mood. Locked out! No Entry! You are not welcome here…

Now let’s look at Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, by Douglas Adams (comedy: my fave)

Far out in the uncharted backwaters of the unfashionable end of the Western Spiral arm of the Galaxy lies a small unregarded yellow sun.

Orbiting this at a distance of roughly ninety-two million miles is an utterly insignificant little blue green planet whose ape-descended life forms are so amazingly primitive that they still think digital watches are a pretty neat idea.


No question here that we’re looking at something light and irreverent, maybe even satirical and silly. And, I personally think, brilliant (I agree!...Anne.) In any case, the mood is clear from the opening.

2. Setting


For this example, let’s go to the opposite end of Douglas Adams: Horror

In a horror story, I would want the atmosphere to be spine-tingling. I want you, the reader to feel apprehension, as you wait, wait, wait for something terrifying to happen.

Probably, I wouldn’t set this in a crowded cocktail party. Instead, I would look for a setting that makes one feel ‘alone’.

  • An abandoned building
  • A house at the end of a road, isolated
  • A dark forest
  • A ghost town

Couple this with weather, and you’ve created a mood without your characters even saying a word.

So let’s look at that other part of setting: weather.

3. Weather


In real life, weather affects my emotion, as it does for several people. Make that sun bright, and it’s easy for me to be cheerful. Cloud me over in grey, and the world changes.

Sun or no sun?

A bright sunny day…this signals hope.

Maybe your story starts out that way. And then maybe the weather changes…thunderclouds start to build.

Does rain falls lightly or does Thor show his wrath by increasing the wind and releasing torrents of rain?

This effectively changes the mood of your story.

It increases the tension.

In my time-travel fantasy, Rowena and the Viking Warlord, I used thunderclouds to signal the impending battle.

Time of Day

We can see well in daylight.

At night, our vision is compromised.

This is an excellent way to create an atmosphere of unease…of fear or threat. Just the sort of emotion you want in a suspense story.

Humans are naturally daylight creatures. We hide in caves or houses when it is dark because predators roam at night.

One easy trick: when you move to the scary part of your story, move it to night. Make it moonless. Bring in the fog.

Mix it up

Sometimes, you might want to be an evil writer person, and fool the reader. Make something absolutely horrendous happen in bright daylight. Sucker the reader’s natural inclination to think they and their beloved protagonist are safe, and then pull the rug out from under both.

Make them feel shock. Because remember, that’s what we fiction writers do. We mess with the emotions of readers.

4. Description


Using ALL your senses is important for creating atmosphere. We do pretty well with sight. Don’t forget the others.

Smell – ever walk into a seedy motel room? Give me that smell (musty, mildew, stuffy, smelling of sweat and stale liquor) and I’ll be there again in my mind.

Touch – A sticky menu tells us so much about the establishment. Ditto a spot on the floor that acts like glue to the sole of your heroine’s shoe. She continues to walk, and with every step, the shoe sticks to the floor…

Who hasn’t had that happen. What did you feel? Annoyance? Anger? Helplessness? Embarrassment? Maybe even the feeling of being trapped?

Yes, we can use ALL the senses to create atmosphere:

Sound –I am always surprised by how often writers forget to use sound to their advantage. Humans are predators, so it is natural for us to describe a setting with photographic detail, in that we are hard-wired to notice movement against it. But we are also instinctively alert to sounds.

Don’t forget this valuable tool.

  • The irritating sound of an unbalanced fan. 
  • Unrelenting traffic or a commuter train roaring by an apartment window. 

These are stressful. They also signal class strata. Think of the brilliant movie Twelve Angry Men, and how they use the thundering sound of the El-Train (or is it L-Train?) to quickly place the murder in a tenement.

  • The ticking of a clock.
  • Absolute quiet. Then the sound of footsteps.
  • Classical music playing innocuously in the background. Or is it country music? Pounding heavy metal?

Grab these cues to build mood.

Taste –The bitter taste of cheap, over-brewed coffee. The sweet aroma of freshly brewed Kenyan AA. Sweet, sour…

Example: you could signal a wonderful date going sour by your protagonist’s reaction to the food she tastes.

  • The place looks wonderful. The food tastes unappetizing.
  • The man looks perfect…you get the picture.

One final example: Writing Noir and thrillers

Many of my short stories are noir.

Emotions wanted: uneasiness, fear, heart-in-throat

How to set atmosphere quickly, in Noir and thrillers:

  • I’d stage the opening at night.
  • It won’t be a clear night, unless it is very, very cold.
  • Probably, there will be some fog. 
  • Or sweltering humidity.
  • Something to make your characters uncomfortable, and your reader feeling it along with them.

Example: The opening from my flash fiction story, "July is Hell" (from Thirteen, An Anthology of Crime Stories)

I came back to the squad car with two coffees, both black.

Bill was fanning himself with yesterday’s newspaper. “It’s frigging middle of the night, for Crissake. How can it still be so hot?”

I shrugged. “July is hell. Always will be.” I passed him the cup of java.

“This job is hell,” Bill muttered, leaning back in the seat.



Everything in these opening sentences leads the reader to an atmosphere that is uncomfortable. The characters don’t just tell you that. The author SHOWS you. Bill is fanning himself. It’s night. Even the coffee is black. July is hell, and so is the job. This is not going to be a happy story, and you know it, after just a few lines.

Okay, not the final example. I also write comedy. Can’t help but end on a light note:

Example: The opening from my short story, "Cover Girl" (from World Enough and Crime Anthology)

The door opened, and a big man who was all chest and no hair strode in, barking orders.

“I’m looking for Mel Ramone.”

“You found her,” I said. I find missing persons for a living. But I didn’t think he’d pay me for this one.



Totally different atmosphere created this time. Hopefully, by the end of this very short opening, the reader is smiling.

And hopefully, this scrivener has left you smiling, too.

Bio:

Dubbed Canada’s “Queen of Comedy" by the Toronto Sun (Jan. 5, 2014), Melodie Campbell achieved a personal best when Library Digest compared her to Janet Evanovich.

Winner of 9 awards, including the 2014 Derringer and the 2014 Arthur Ellis (Canada) for
The Goddaughter’s Revenge (Orca Books), Melodie has over 200 publications, including 100 comedy credits, 40 short stories, and seven novels. 


She teaches "Crafting a Novel" at Sheridan College, and is the Executive Director of Crime Writers of Canada. You can find her at her website and on Facebook. Her Twitter handle is @MelodieCampbell

What about you, Scriveners? What's your favorite way to build atmosphere in your work? How do you feel when you read a book that has an atmosphere that seems to signal one genre and turns out to be another? Are you now trying to plot a horror story that starts at a crowded cocktail party? 


BOOK OF THE WEEK




Mob Goddaughter Gina Gallo stands to inherit two million bucks from Uncle Seb, a master forger. But there’s a catch: Seb wants Gina to make things right and return a valuable painting to the city art gallery. Reluctantly, Gina comes up with a plan for a reverse heist, but things never go as planned when her family is involved.




THE ARTFUL GODDAUGHTER is the third novel in the hilarious Derringer and Arthur Ellis award-winning series featuring Gina Gallo, who is having a hard time leaving the family business.

It's available at All the Amazons, KOBO and NOOK

OPPORTUNITY ALERTS


The Elizabeth Jolley Short Story Prize, Managed by Australian Book Review. Entry fee $20 (AUS). First prize of $5000 and supplementary prizes of $2000 and $1000. Stories must be 2000-5000 words. Deadline May 1st.

Writer's Digest Writing Compeition. This is their biggie. First prize is $5000 plus your photo on the cover of Writer's Digest. Entry fees are a little pricey at $25 for a story, $15 for a poem but there are lots of big prizes. Categories for many genres of fiction, Creative nonfic, essays, screenplays, and poetry. Early Bird deadline May 4th.

The Vestal Review is looking for FLASH FICTION. Submissions are accepted February-May for the Vestal Review, the oldest journal devoted exclusively to flash fiction. 500 words or less. Humor is a plus. Pays $$ plus copies.

Chronicle Books Great Tumblr Book Search Do you have a Tumblr blog you think would make a good book? Here's the contest for you! Categories are ART, FOOD & DRINK and HUMOR. Deadline March 2nd. 

VIGNETTE WRITERShere's a contest for you! The Vine Leaves Vignette Collection Contest. The prize is for a collection of vignettes and poetry up to 20,000 words. Fee $25.  Prize is $500, publication by Vine Leaves Press (paperback and eBook), 20 copies of the paperback, worldwide distribution, and promotion through the Vine Leaves and staff websites. It will be judged by an editor from Simon and Schuster. Deadline February 28, 2015.

Ruminate VanderMey Creative Nonfiction Prize Entry Fee: $20. A prize of $1,500 and publication in Ruminate is given annually for a work of creative nonfiction. Using the online submission system, submit an essay or short memoir of up to 5,500 words with an $20 entry fee, which includes a copy of the prize issue. Deadline: February 20, 2015 

The Playboy College Fiction Contest Prize is $3000 plus publication in Playboy Magazine. You must be enrolled in college to be eligible. Stories up to 5000 words. Deadline February13th. $5 entry fee for non-subscribers.

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55 Comments:

Blogger Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

She outlined it really well. I had to really force myself to use all of my senses in the beginning. And use the weather to set mood. (A good portion of my stories take place on space ships, so I have to remember to use weather whenever I can.)
Thanks for the checklist and examples, Melodie!

February 8, 2015 at 10:05 AM  
Blogger Ruth Harris said...

Melodie, Thanks for the fabulous short and sweet checklist. Great reference and super helpful!

February 8, 2015 at 10:17 AM  
Blogger Melodie Campbell said...

Thank you so much for this comment, Alex! Would you believe I have just finished a novella (crime comedy) that takes place on a space station? I was thinking about that very thing, when writing this blog. We have something in common.

February 8, 2015 at 10:19 AM  
Blogger Wm. L. Hahn said...

Great to have this checklist and reminder, thanks Melodie. I learned a lot from trying to describe scenes for players, and was amazed how often describing sounds, smells and textures worked better than anything I could do with sights. And of course, since everyone relies on sight so much, taking it away (with darkness, especially suddenly) is guaranteed to garner their undivided attention.

February 8, 2015 at 10:27 AM  
Blogger Joan O'Callaghan said...

Wonderful blog post, Mel!!!! Should be a "must-read" for all aspiring authors - also a great refresher for more experienced ones!

February 8, 2015 at 10:35 AM  
Blogger Catherine Astolfo said...

What a great list! Love the examples too. Thanks, Mel, this is extremely useful.

February 8, 2015 at 10:35 AM  
Blogger Donna Carrick said...

Great post, Mel. I think the most important tool the writer has is the ability to "be there" behind the eyes. To be the character, to move in the fictional world with ease. Touching, tasting, hearing, smelling.

February 8, 2015 at 10:41 AM  
Blogger Christine Ahern said...

Wonderful read! Melodie, you and Anne sound like very similar writers. Funny and dark at the same time. I am always reminded by my wonderful critique group to include all of the senses and it always enriches my story. Thank you, Anne for another wonderful guest post.

February 8, 2015 at 10:50 AM  
Blogger Gretchen Archer said...

Loved this post.

February 8, 2015 at 11:18 AM  
Blogger Sasha A. Palmer said...

Thank you for the blueprint, Melodie!
A fun post.

February 8, 2015 at 11:21 AM  
Blogger Melodie Campbell said...

So true, William! That would be a great exercise for a writing class, I"m thinking.

February 8, 2015 at 11:27 AM  
Blogger Melodie Campbell said...

Joan, Cathy, Donna, Gretchen - thank you! So appreciate your comments.

February 8, 2015 at 11:28 AM  
Blogger Melodie Campbell said...

Christine, thank you for commenting! And yes, it was a delightful day when Anne and I found each other. We both love quirky, hearty humour, and yes, our comedy appeals to the same audience. Including each other ;)

February 8, 2015 at 11:31 AM  
Blogger Melodie Campbell said...

Never thought of this as a blueprint, but I am stealing that word right now! Thanks you Sasha! I'll give you credit in my writing class.

February 8, 2015 at 11:31 AM  
Blogger Sasha A. Palmer said...

Woo-hoo! :-)

February 8, 2015 at 11:41 AM  
Blogger CS Perryess said...

Big applause for your examples of story beginnings. and as to "We want readers to feel they are right there, alongside your protagonist, experiencing the action themselves," no truer words were spoke.

February 8, 2015 at 12:06 PM  
Blogger Melodie Campbell said...

Thank you, CS! I guess I am an arm-chair adventurer. I write the characters I want to be.

February 8, 2015 at 12:33 PM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Here's a comment that came via email from Donald Graves

Melodie Campbell is a fine example of a teacher who does…write awarding novellas, short stories, comedy tinged mysteries containing out right laughter. Read one Gina tale and you’re hooked. An author who can teach and a teacher who can do.

I’ve reviewed several of Campbell’s books: all share the gift of story telling, a gift and skill that has common shares in most art forms, theatre, music painting, and writing. She seamlessly blends the gift with the craft, making it look easy. Author, Campbell is one of the top 5 authors I’ve reviewed in terms of reader feedback and believe me it takes a very happy or otherwise for a review reader to actually email. “When is the next one out?” “Are her stories going to be televised?” and the list goes on…

Hope she enjoys her day on your blog. Your readers are in for a treat from someone who tells it like it is.

don graves. Canadian Mystery reviews.

February 8, 2015 at 12:45 PM  
Blogger Viktor Steiner said...

Thanks, Melodie, for these valuable tips, succinctly worded.

February 8, 2015 at 1:08 PM  
Blogger Viktor Steiner said...

Thanks, Melodie, for these valuable tips, succinctly worded.

February 8, 2015 at 1:08 PM  
Blogger Leanne Dyck said...

Thank you for this article, Melodie.
The more you can get into your story -- using the tools you've outlined -- the easier the story will be write and the more it will come alive for your reader.

February 8, 2015 at 1:29 PM  
Blogger Alison E. Bruce said...

I've bookmarked this article to go back to again. This is a keeper.

February 8, 2015 at 1:49 PM  
Blogger Melodie Campbell said...

Thank you for commenting, Viktor, Leanne and Alison! Appreciate it.

February 8, 2015 at 2:28 PM  
Blogger Southpaw HR Sinclair said...

Really great tips today. And OMG! I love the term "Literary Slut".

I also really enjoyed the opened for the comedy - it made me giggle.

February 8, 2015 at 3:57 PM  
Blogger Julie Musil said...

What great examples! You're great at setting mood right away. Thanks for the tips.

I'm working on draft three of my manuscript, and yesterday I gave myself chills. Hopefully it'll do the same for the readers. Sensory details are such a huge part of feeling "there."

February 8, 2015 at 4:42 PM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Southpaw--I had to remove that word. I thought I'd removed all the mentions, but there was one "s" word lurking that you caught. Thanks! (I thought it was funny too.)

But apparently we fell afoul of the ultra-politically-correct police, who think that controlling other people's vocabulary is the path to peaceful coexistence. Melodie and I are both feminists who have fought for women's equality. But we don't think you achieve it by censorship and controlling others, but by empowering yourself.

On the other hand we didn't want this blog to become a forum for other peoples' agendas so we had to comply.Grrrr.

I'm so glad you enjoy our humor! We think more power and change comes from humor than from whining or bullying.

February 8, 2015 at 4:58 PM  
Blogger Barry Knister said...

Melodie--Everything in your post makes sense to me, but I have to add the following related to setting and weather.
The examples you suggest for the setting of a horror story have all been used so often that they've become cliché shorthand. True, this is the way to signal to your reader that a horror story is beginning--but if she reads much horror, she may be already getting ready to be bored. Same with weather courtesy of Bulwer Lytton's Snoopy's "It was a dark and stormy night." The trick is to find a way to set the mood that doesn't rely on what's worked too often to still work.

February 8, 2015 at 5:17 PM  
Blogger Jan Christensen said...

This was a great round-up of tips for writers. It's always good to be reminded of the basics, and Melodie covered them with good humor and good sense. As for Anne's comment at the end, "Are you now trying to plot a horror story that starts at a crowded cocktail party?" Yes. But it's a costume cocktail party. Is that a fang peeking through that Cinderella face mask? A hint of wolf-fur I see when the sleeve rides up on Robin Hood? I hear a wicked cackle. And the smell of brimstone is driving me home early.

February 8, 2015 at 7:46 PM  
Blogger Melodie Campbell said...

Good points, Barry. Horror is the one thing I don't have in my repertoire. I would be a fan of the 'mix it up' school, which - if people were used to my sort of writing - would really shock them. I definitely bow to those with more experience reading and writing that genre.

February 8, 2015 at 8:01 PM  
Blogger Melodie Campbell said...

Jan, even your blog comments are wonderfully entertaining! You must write this story - fang and wolf fur, truly naughty.

February 8, 2015 at 8:05 PM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Jan--I have to tell you that in my comic mystery Sherwood Ltd, a werewolf Robin Hood--and a vampire Maid Marian--appear in a bestseller called "The Fangs of Sherwood Forest"

You have to write this!

February 8, 2015 at 8:17 PM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Julie--Cherish those chills! That's when you know you're "there". That's what we live for, isn't it?

February 8, 2015 at 8:19 PM  
Blogger Melodie Campbell said...

Anne, I haven't read this one! Looking for it now...

February 8, 2015 at 8:37 PM  
Blogger Melodie Campbell said...

Just bought Sherwood Ltd.! Oh my goodness, why didn't I think of that set of characters.

February 8, 2015 at 8:46 PM  
Blogger mindprinter said...

Terrific post, Melodie. Lots of great ideas on atmosphere. I write novellas mainly and you've given me some wonderful ways to get into the story. The Rebecca quote is one of my favorites, too. Thank you. Paul

February 8, 2015 at 9:21 PM  
Blogger Rosi said...

Great stuff here. Thanks for the post. I'll be posting the link on my blog.

February 8, 2015 at 9:33 PM  
Blogger Melodie Campbell said...

Thank you Paul! I'm also a novella writer - my favorite length.

February 9, 2015 at 5:35 AM  
Blogger Melodie Campbell said...

Thank you Rosi!

February 9, 2015 at 5:35 AM  
Blogger Denise Willson said...

Great advice, Melodie! One can never forget the basics, even if you want to throw the reader for a loop. Thanks!

February 9, 2015 at 8:49 AM  
Blogger Jan Christensen said...

Anne, what am amazing coincidence. I swear I didn't steal Robin Hood the werewolf from you! Now, like Melody, I'm going to have to read your book so if I do write this story, I don't use the exact same characters you do and because it sounds like a hoot to read. Both you and Melodie have pumped me up to write this story. Thanks to both of you.

February 9, 2015 at 9:17 AM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Melodie--I hope you enjoy it! There are lots of "insider" writer jokes in that book. It's set at a publishing house.

February 9, 2015 at 9:27 AM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Jan--It's just an example of great minds thinking alike :-) I hope you enjoy Sherwood!

February 9, 2015 at 9:29 AM  
Blogger Bev Spicer said...

Thanks for this post, especially the excerpts - nice to see what great writing looks like. So kind of you to include competition opportunities, too. Glad I added your blog to my favourites.

February 10, 2015 at 2:59 AM  
Blogger Bev Spicer said...

Thanks for this post, especially the excerpts - nice to see what great writing looks like. So kind of you to include competition opportunities, too. Glad I added your blog to my favourites.

February 10, 2015 at 3:00 AM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Bev--I see Blogger was being annoying and posted your comment twice. I have no idea why the Blogger elves do what they do. I'm glad to hear my "opportunity alerts" are appreciated. Glad to have you as a blogpeep!

February 10, 2015 at 9:28 AM  
Blogger Anna Read said...

Thanks for the tips, Melodie! I've already started going back and adding in some of the details you mention, especially the bit about the weather! I always worried it would be seen as too "unrealistic" to have the weather match the mood of the character/scene, but you're right that it can work the other way around: the weather affecting your mood.
Thanks!

February 10, 2015 at 11:00 AM  
Blogger Lexa Cain said...

Thanks, Melodie, for this amazingly detailed post about building atmosphere. I completely agree with everything, and especially liked the point that the genre should be apparent in the first few paragraphs of a novel. Great post! :)

February 12, 2015 at 5:55 AM  
Blogger LD Masterson said...

A lot of good information in a nice tidy package. I'm bookmarking this post. Thanks, Melodie. *waves to Anne*

February 12, 2015 at 9:29 AM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Denise--Throwing the reader for a loop can be fun, though. LOL. Thanks for commenting!

February 13, 2015 at 9:46 AM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Anna--Melodie is on vacation and her hotel wifi isn't letting her onto the blog, but she much appreciates the comments. I think you're right that weather can influence mood--and action--so it's fine to have them "match up."

February 13, 2015 at 9:47 AM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Lexa--That's so true about genre. People get so annoyed when a book that seems like one thing turns out to be another.

February 13, 2015 at 9:49 AM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

*Waving back*. Melodie is on vacation and can't access the blog but we hope she'll be able to soon. Thanks much for your comment!

February 13, 2015 at 9:50 AM  
Blogger Melodie Campbell said...

Lexa, thank you! I've been away from my main computer and the little one didn't have my password to get on here (note to self...)

February 18, 2015 at 2:37 PM  
Blogger Melodie Campbell said...

Thank you, LD! Waving back from Canada, in mits.

February 18, 2015 at 2:38 PM  
Blogger Alana Kirk said...

Just love this! Smart sassy and focused.

February 21, 2015 at 6:13 AM  

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