Brown River Queen cover art

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Wild Things


No, not the bourbon. I mean the actual wild turkey, Meleagris gallopavo, or as I call him, Mr. Gobbles.

Mr. Gobbles wandered in front of my trail camera yesterday, and had his portrait made. He's a striking bird, and yes that is an almost metallic green you see on his plumage. That means he's a male. If his lady friend was around she was clever enough to avoid having her picture snapped.

We see big flocks of wild turkey in the distance all the time. Seeing this guy up close is a treat. Most of the time they're long gone before you can approach them.

That derelict structure in the background is an old deer stand, long abandoned. 

The image above is Mr. Gobbles. He appears to be inspecting the camera. He's probably wondering if he can use it as a Wifi hotspot.

As long as I'm posting critter pics, here's one of Lou Ann, posing triumphantly at the peak of Two Thousand Millimeter Mountain:

And here's another Lou pic, as she enjoys her obligatory dip in the pond.

I've heard no repeats of the call I recorded (The Wild Man of Yocona Bottom), so either Bigfoot has rented a condo closer to town or he's learned to do his yelling in a bucket so the neighbors don't raise a fuss.


I'm giving away a free signed copy of All the Paths of Shadow this week! To win it, all you have to do is email me (franktuttle at franktuttle dot com) with the CORRECT COUNT of the gargoyles in the picture above. The first person to offer a correct summation of the gargoyles contained in the image wins. 

I'll sign the book however you want and mail it out free of charge. Just get the number right.

Good luck!


Look in any writing how-to book and you'll find pages and pages of advice on how to best handle point of view. 

Point of view takes many forms. First person. Second person. Third person omniscient.  The Unreliable Narrator.  Third Person Objective. 

Your choices are many. 

I'm not going to list each and every possible POV and the advantages and disadvantages thereof.  I tend to stick with first person in my Markhat stories, and third person omniscient in most of my other titles. But here's one thing I will tell you about point of view -- pick one, and stick with it. 

One of the dangers in shifting a POV is called 'head-hopping.' It's jarring and distracting. 

Here's an example, to show you what I mean. Assume that Mary is our heroine, and this passage takes place somewhere in the middle of the story: 

Mary frowned. "I don't know if I can get all this done before Saturday, Mr. Smith." Mary fought to keep her voice from shaking. Of course I can't get all this work done before Saturday, she thought.  No one could, and he knows it, and he's just being cruel. 

"I have perfect faith in you," said Mr. Smith. He allowed himself a triumphant smile. You'll work all night every night because you have no choice, he mused, watching Mary fight back tears. You'll do what I say, because I'm the boss. 
That's an example of head-hopping. It's perfectly fine to show the reader what Mary is thinking, because she's the heroine, and we get to see what's going on inside her. 

But her boss, Mr. Smith, is off limits. Jumping into his head reveals things Mary simply cannot know. And since Mary's character is our point of view character, we need to stay in her head and her head alone, especially if this is a short story. 

Let's amend that exchange above to avoid head-hopping. 

Mary frowned. "I don't know if I can get all this done before Saturday, Mr. Smith." Mary fought to keep her voice from shaking. Of course I can't get all this work done before Saturday, she thought.  No one could, and he knows it, and he's just being cruel. 

"I have perfect faith in you," said Mr. Smith.  He smiled a thin little smile and leaned forward, putting his face close to Mary's.  His eyes met hers. "You won't disappoint me, will you, Mary? Because you like this job, don't you? You need this job, isn't that right?" 

Mary blinked and looked away. "Yes sir," she said. "Yes sir." 

We see Mary's thoughts. But what goes on in Mr. Smith's head is as much a mystery to us as it is to Mary, although he makes it clear from his words and his actions that he's a bully, and he enjoys being a bully. 

You'll be pleased to learn that Mr. Smith is later set upon by raging giant weasels, and Mary inherits his job and gives herself a raise. Hopefully you also learned the basics of avoiding head-hopping. It's a bad practice. Avoid it with as much vigor as you would avoid raging weasels of giant stature.   


First round edits on The Five Faces are back with the publisher. I am more than 70% done with the new Markhat book, The Darker Carnival, assuming I wind up with a manuscript fairly close to the projected word count. 

Since I'm meeting or exceeding my 1500 word per day target, I could finish the first draft this month. My very first Word file entitled The Darker Carnival is dated mid-October, so if I make my January deadline that will mean I started and finished a rough draft in around three months.

If you look at the math, writing a book in 90 days isn't impossible. At 1500 words per day that's 135,000 words, after cutting a quarter of those away you're left with around 100K. 

It's not necessary to be a verb-slingin' superman to write a book quickly -- A steady pace and commitment to daily goals is all you really need. 

I've never managed to pull it off before. I hope I can do it again!

Oh, and not that I'm plugging a book, but here's a book I'm plugging:

And here's the link to the book I'm not plugging:

If you've read the book already and liked it and haven't had a chance to leave a review, there's a link, wink wink nudge nudge...

Okay, back to work for me! Take care, and see you next week!


  1. When will you post the answer to the number of gargoyles in the pic? I'm dying to know. ;)

    I'm so excited for the new book.

  2. Hi Clarissa! I'll post the number as soon as I have a winning email, which I don't yet. My email is give it a try!

  3. Well, Frank, it depends on whether or not you count the gargoyle shadows. Because in that case there are 3.5 gargoyles. Also there could be one behind the skirts.

    Headhopping is a common and acceptable style in some romances. A scene with a woman/man might go back and forth between those two POV and ONLY those two POV--everyone else is seen from the eyes of one or the other and *never the two POV shall never espouse in the same paragraph!*

    Sometimes the hero and heroine get a chapter each, kicking back and forth at the beginning and then lean pretty much with the heroine. I should also mention it's an older style of writing even for romances.

    It's less accepted in other genres and I can't think of any other genre where it is common. Doesn't mean it doesn't exist, but there you have it.

    Nice shot of the turkey. I hope it found a good internet connection...

  4. Hey Maria! I never thought of that, for romances, but I can see where that would not only work, but be a valuable tool. I'll share this with my next class!

    Oh, and the gargoyle count isn't tricky. How many green gargoyle figurines are there? Forget patterns in the cloth...I'm slick, but I ain't mean.

  5. Ha! Those shadows...could come alive...

    If you picked up old harlequins in a dusty old bookshop or goodwill, there should be examples:

    She eyed him carefully, admiring his muscles when he wasn't looking. She wondered what he might say if she approached and asked him for coffee. This was the nineties...nothing wrong with asking a guy out these days. Right??

    He noticed the cute brunette with the gorgeous smile standing by the magazines. Who could miss those lips? He spared a moment to wonder what someone like her was doing here all alone. He felt a twinge of wishful thinking as he noticed the cooking magazine in her hand. No doubt she was planning a great meal for some lucky man. Before his thoughts could wander to what might happen after dinner, he abruptly turned and paid for his purchase. Too bad he didn't have time for dalliances. There was the business to run and a criminal to catch.

    And so on. I honestly don't pick up romances enough these days to see how common it is, but I well remember that back and forth from my younger days of reading. You might look online and see if you can find the guidelines for submitting to some of those lines--they supposedly were written pretty tight--heroine and hero must be introduced to each other by page A and interact by page x. For such and such line, they must share a kiss by page y. Happy endings were a must for all of them, of course. 70s, 80s romances were rarely, rarely series. These days series are much more common--the first two, then maybe a book for a brother to get his girl or the sister...on down even to the kids growing up and meeting their match.

    Whereas in Fantasy, series was the norm--ye old trilogy. I think by and large it was easier to get a loooong fantasy published a few years ago. These days...I think shorter in the norm. With the popularity of ebooks, I suspect that long will become fashionable again. Or more fashionable...

    You know I've read it, but I don't have a signed copy. I'm going to guess...2!!!!! It's a great book.