Archive for March, 2017

I am revising my novel, Cato Watts, loosely based on the life of Cato Watts. Little is known about him, but according to legend, he was the first slave, the first musician, and first person hanged during the founding of Louisville, Kentucky in the eighteenth century. I am calling this a literary work, but some may call it a historical novel.

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April Louisville SCBWI Chit Chatters Social:

Anyone from Kentucky, Tennessee, and surrounding states is welcome.

Monday, April 3, 6 to 8 pm. No RSVP required.
The first hour will be for socializing, the second hour for optional critiques. Writers can read for three minutes. Illustrators are always welcome.

Barnes & Noble’s Café, 801 South Hurstbourne Parkway, one mile north of I-64, on the right. This is NOT the Paddock Shopping Center B&N.
You do not need to be an SCBWI member to attend. For more information, contact Charles Suddeth csuddeth@iglou.com  502-339-9349, c 502-649-9944.


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Civil War!

Some scientists are rebelling against the International Astronomical Union’s classification of Pluto as a Dwarf Planet. They are demanding that its planethood be restored. Who will win? Will Pluto regain its dignity? (I hate to be involved in civil wars, but I don’t think Pluto is a planet)

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I have almost finished my YA urban fantasy, Lupus Rex: Blood on the Moon. Seventeen-year-old Will discovers that he is unique and has two werewolf genes, Double Alpha, which makes him Lupus Rex. He is not sure he wants the title or the werewolf life, and someone is stalking him to prevent him from becoming Lupus Rex.

I have taken the Arthurian myths, added Lupines (werewolves), and transported them to the present in the real world.

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Today (Monday, March 20, 2017) is the Spring (Vernal) Equinox, the first day of spring. (thank God, winter is over) It is also known as Ostara, Old Easter.

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BOOK: Louisville author plots ‘Murder on the Cherokee Reservation’

Jun 10 2015


By T. E. Lyons

Eighth Mask by Charles Suddeth
(Library Tales Publishing (Library Tales Publishing; 317 pgs., $18.99)

This Louisville author has already delivered a variety of tales: historical suspense novella “Halloween Kentucky Style,” YA tech thriller “Experiment 38” and now a novel subtitled “Murder on the Cherokee Reservation.”

The story is launched with an apparent (though not certain) murder that becomes a mystery due to its time and location — at the climax of a bawdy-but-spiritual Cherokee tradition called a Booger Dance. The eponymous dancers are masked — so the discovery of a body afterwards leads to questions such as who might have been posing as a dancer merely to have an excuse for a disguise. These questions are asked by the local sheriff’s office, but walls of silence (and what may be worse — surly half-truths and omissions) are what greet the interviewers when the dancers and potential witnesses claim they have the right to keep this matter private within the tribe. Gradually the interactions of the expanding cast of characters resolve into a form that’s familiar to fans of Hitchcock films: the innocent man sent on the run by a false accusation.

Best considered as a quick read with some slow buildup, this is a mystery-adventure that both offers and requires a certain, steady focus. Suddeth establishes his style early on: short chapters that gradually accumulate character and backstory, but are filled with point-of-view detail. The dynamic that’s most typical of today’s thrillers — with splashy sections of exposition that show off the author’s research on the background topic — is here muted, as the past and present of Cherokee customs and beliefs is given out a thimbleful at a time.

Suddeth understands the stars that guide this type of rural and natural mystery-thriller that’s infused with Native American lore and culture clashes: Tony Hillerman was a Mt. Rushmore-quality figure who wrote just this kind of novel. In recent years, Nevada Barr has been a go-to figure of very strong consistency (but with an emphasis on landscape/environment description that verges on travel-writing). Suddeth seems to be a more cautious writer than either of these, as he conveys his plot largely through the methodology of a procedural — albeit with some twists based on personal and cultural conflicts.

It’s surprising that with Suddeth’s experience he feels the need to confirm that the reader is sure of where suspicions are still open. His plot is tight enough that he doesn’t give away too much prematurely — yet he seems very cautious about confirming attributions and roles in accusations and personal clashes. The tight paragraphs are perpetually working to make sure the reader is in a very certain place with the heroes and villains. This is the deal Suddeth seems to make with the reader: I’ll get you involved with the characters at a steady pace — any smoke and mirrors will be in the plot, not the writing style. So the voices of Deputy Sheriff Charlie Yuchalla and murder suspect Lyle Gibbons aren’t as far apart as you might suspect, even as one claims to be merely the catalyst for the actions of a supernatural soul-stealer of Cherokee legend. When action scenes crop up, they move well and convincingly. If you can handle an especially-careful pace as the story proceeds, there’s entertainment here.



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Write that paragraph!

Paragraph basics

A paragraph is a series of linked sentences of no more than 200 words. One idea per paragraph.

Especially in non-fiction, the start of a paragraph should link with the preceding paragraph and introduce the paragraph’s idea.


Change paragraphs:

With a new character

When the setting shifts

For a new event

For a new idea

When a different character speaks

Frequent time shifts

The camera shifts (the POV goes deeper or shallower)


Especially in non-fiction, the end of a paragraph should refer to the paragraph’s opening sentence and contain a transition to the next paragraph so that your writing flows.


3 types of paragraphs:

Narrative: Tells about a specific scene of event

Descriptive: Provides a detailed description of one subject

Expository: Provides information

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