Posts Tagged ‘writing’

5 years. 4 Goodreads Giveaways.

February 22nd, 2016 • by Karen A. Chase • No Comments

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Bonjour 40 by Karen A. Chase

Bonjour 40

by Karen A. Chase

Giveaway ends March 04, 2016.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

Mon dieu! How has it been 5 years since my BONJOUR 40 trip to Paris? Five years since I met Dorothée and Bandit. Sixty months since I wandered those streets delighting in the joy of getting lost… Since then, the book has reached thousands, resulting in some amazing new relationships, and some lovely comments from readers both complimentary and inspiring.

As a thanks, I’m running a Goodreads Giveaway now through March 4th. Sign up for a chance to win one of 4 copies of BONJOUR 40: A PARIS TRAVEL LOG. It’s a world-wide giveaway (so share far and wide). And to Worth, Greg, Brenda, Jackie, and all my sweet readers and supporters… You have inspired me, too. The pen is still in my hand, and travel still moves my feet. Hugs and merci to all of you have come along on this delightful journey.

“This reads with the same pleasing, conversational, witty, engaging lope of Bill Bryson and Paul Theroux.”

“I literally cried while I wandered, with you, through Shakespeare and Company and sat, just behind you at the Mad Hatter’s Party. It is without a doubt, and I’ve many years on you lass, one of the finest pieces of travel writing I’ve enjoyed.”

“For my 60th, 8 women and I rented a chateau in Provence… Met so many people who are now lifelong friends. The magic of travel is awesome. Keep writing you owe it to your soul……”

“You helped me through a very lonely Christmas Eve. I have the flu and pneuma and could not be at my family’s Christmas Eve dinner. I fixed a pot of tea and read your book Bonjour 40. I felt like I was on vacation with you. Thank you for getting me through a difficult holiday experience.”



Supporting Characters

February 19th, 2016 • by Karen A. Chase • No Comments


This week legendary character actor George Gaynes passed away. Despite his handsome looks and rumbling voice, despite dozens of plays and films, he was never really considered leading man material. Instead he was most known for supporting roles, like that of the photographer/building manager on Punky Brewster.

But I see high value in such roles. Like Samwise in Lord of the Rings, secondary characters sometimes give us a glimpse into what the main character, who is often wallowing around in the quagmire of becoming, might actually become. We needed the kind, wise mentor of Gaynes’ Henry, to believe that Punky Brewster might also grow up to be kind after being orphaned.

Writer’s Digest has a great article on how to write sizzling secondary characters. Primarily though, it comes down to writing supporting characters who, through their own journeys, help us and our protagonists reach a believable end.

I suspect Dustin Hoffman would not have been as convincing as a woman in Tootsie, had it not be for George Gaynes’ character so believably coming on to him as a “her.”

So thanks for the great character work, George. Thanks for the memories, and the laughs. You can see George Gaynes in this Tootsie original trailer around :40.

Research & Writer’s Block

February 5th, 2016 • by Karen A. Chase • 1 Comment
Writers block means going back to the books. (Public Domain Image: Ivan Kramskoy. Reading woman.)

Writers block means going back to the books. (Public Domain Image: Ivan Kramskoy. Reading woman.)

Writers often dread the idea of becoming stuck, and Writer’s Digest (WD) has a great post this week about 5 Tips for Overcoming Writer’s Block.

I’ll admit that I’m not a big believer in writer’s block as this staring-at-a-blank-page, drink-in-hand, woe-to-the-tortured-Hemingway-like-writer syndrome. Much like the WD article author, Molly Cochran, I think the reasons for why writers might stall are pretty straightforward. And Molly’s tips are a great help for overcoming those problems.

But I will add to her list a sixth reason, and it’s primarily for all the historical novelists out there. Lack of preparation or research.

I write what I call “Factual Fiction,” whereby my plot, story and characters are not loosely set in history but intrinsically tied to real events, people and places. So if I am having difficulty with my plot, or what my characters are doing or saying, it’s because I simply don’t know enough about the event, person or place with which they must interact.

To overcome those moments when words come to a screeching halt, I read (or sometimes reread) about an event. I take out pictures of the locations I’m featuring, or I read second-hand accounts or bios about the person they’re speaking to. Once, I had to request a historian’s dissertation from a California university to overcome a lack of information.

Usually within an hour, or in that one case a couple weeks, I’m humming along with ideas again. No more writer’s block. Then my only problem becomes whether or not I’ve blocked off enough time to write.