I have the pleasure of sharing a guest post by author p.m. terrell, who shares the impact authors can make.
Writing to Make a Difference
An author’s work can live far beyond the writer’s natural lifetime. It is easy to confirm that statement by merely taking stock of the books you own. How many of those authors have been deceased by decades or even centuries? Yet their words live on, inspiring readers and offering countless hours of insight and enjoyment.
Many writers have used their talents to help change the world. A perfect example is Charles Dickens, who witnessed injustices among the poorest and most helpless among us and sought to change it. Through fiction, he conjured images of slums, orphans and misfortune and yet he often portrayed the characters taking victorious paths, often against the odds.
In writing to make a difference, the author needs to consider their passions and causes. Rather than become preachy or judgemental, we can impart knowledge and empathy through a variety of means, including the following.
Characters should exist outside the box. Develop characters whose actions, beliefs or circumstances allow the reader to see the world through distinctly different eyes. Consider physical, mental, or emotional handicaps they must overcome or situations they must conquer. Antagonists can provide seemingly insurmountable challenges, attempting to thwart their progress at every turn.
In geography lies our destinies. A character living in war-torn Syria will have a distinctly different journey than one living in Australia’s Outback, Calcutta, London, or Main Street America. Consider the opportunities that geography provides, as well as the challenges. There are significant differences between those living in metropolitan areas versus those in more rural towns, hamlets, farms, or villages.
History is always in the making, and it always repeats itself. We may believe we live in unique times regarding war, conflict, disease, economic challenges, natural disasters or political unrest. A closer look at history, however, tells us our ancestors have fought amazingly similar trials and tribulations. Our current times always exist within a bubble of uncertainty, for it is only through the lens of hindsight that we can trace paths to victory or defeat. By selecting similar historical circumstances, we can provide that lens to the reader, providing faith and hope that we will make it through current events.
We are all in this together. We might be tempted to believe that our situations are unique, or that we are the only beings that feel the way we do. A closer look, however, shows us that thousands, often millions of people, share our obstacles and our triumphs. At any given time, readers will be experiencing losses of loved ones through death or separation. They may lose their homes, their cultures, their routines, or the comforts they once knew. By incorporating some of life’s significant stressors into our plotlines, we can touch the hearts, minds, and souls of those facing similar situations.
Writing to make a difference is the mindset that our words have the power to provide hope, comfort, insight, serenity, or stimulation, not only in our lifetime but for centuries to come. It is looking beyond the immediate gratification of seeing our names in print or collecting royalties. It is ultimately the realization that with every story we tell, we can change someone’s life.
GENRE: Historical novel
Sometimes a woman comes to the realization that she has built the perfect life but with the wrong man.
It is 1916 Ireland, and Independence Mather has settled into a tedious routine in an arranged marriage when she meets an architect hired to add a wing onto her husband’s vast estate. She soon falls in love with the charming, attentive Nicky Bowers, but he has secrets to hide. When she discovers he is an Irish rebel, events propel her into the middle of the Easter Rising. Now she must decide whether to remain the wife of a British loyalist or risk everything to join the rebellion and be with the man she loves.
The flames danced and pirouetted like so many ballet members assembled on a stage, their movements mesmerizing, even hypnotic. The warmth, however, was wanting, with a single peat brick trying its hardest to do its job but failing like a tiny child not meant to go it alone. I felt sorry for it falling short of the success it strove so hard to achieve, and then I grew discouraged as the cold pervaded.
I lay on a bed of straw faintly scented with what must have been last year’s lavender blooms, as it was too early in the current season for them to make their appearance. The straw packed under my weight until I felt the pricks from shoulder to knee, and as I turned from one position to another, I eventually felt the hard dirt floor upon which the bed was laid. The blankets meant to cushion and warm me were worn so thin, I could see the outline of my clothes underneath them, and despite wearing several layers, I could not get warm.
Nicky’s breathing had been measured, but now I could no longer hear him, and I struggled to see him through the gloom. He lay facing me—that I was sure of—but the shadows prevented me from seeing the details my heart desired. We’d talked until he’d fallen asleep, seemingly unaffected by the cold, and now I longed to hear his voice again. Despite his height and his brawn, his voice was gentle and reassuring, so very different from Stratford’s brusque and impatient tenor.
Shivering, I stood and gathered the blankets about me as best I could and made my way to Nicky’s side. I dropped to my knees upon his straw, which was a great deal thinner than the bed I’d been given. I was surprised to find his eyes open and watching me.
“It will be warmer for both of us if…” my voice trailed off as I felt the heat rising in my cheeks.
He opened his blanket as if inviting me in. I crawled in beside him, my back to his front. Unlike myself, who was wearing every stitch of clothing I’d brought in an attempt to stave off the chill, he was wearing only a gray shirt and trousers. My cold stockinged feet found him, and he covered us with both our blankets and then wrapped his arm around me. I placed my hand upon his and snuggled more deeply against him.
“Are you warmer?” His breath tickled my hair as he whispered, his lips close to my ear.
“Yes,” I said. “Much warmer.” I knew he could feel the beating of my heart; it was thumping wildly in both my chest and my neck, and I felt as though I could not catch my breath.
He settled in behind me, and I tried to listen to the rhythmic breathing I’d heard when he first slipped into slumber, but it did not come. His arm grew heavy across me like a weighty coat determined to protect me from the chill. Then he shifted, his head moving down to my neck where his lips brushed against my skin.
I turned in his arms, and he came upon one elbow to peer into my face. The darkness enveloped us, and I found myself searching out his eyes with a longing to see into his soul. I placed a hand upon his face, running my fingers along his jawline, feeling the stubble that had formed there since his last shave. And then my fingers found his hair and intertwined around the thick locks.
“You don’t have to do this,” he said hoarsely. “I gave you my word.”
“I know. But I did not give you mine.” I pressed upward to find his lips, my own whispering across his, savoring the fullness and the sweetness before his lips parted, and he returned my kiss with a passionate one of his own. I became lost in his kisses, my body burning for his, the longing mounting within me. “You don’t have to do this,” I whispered when we pulled back for a brief moment. “Or do you want to?”
“Desperately,” he answered as his hands followed the lines of my body as if memorizing the bend in my back, the flare of my hips.
“I love your curves,” he whispered.
“I am a bit hefty,” I answered, suddenly self-conscious.
“Oh, I beg to differ,” he said, his voice becoming serious. “I love every curve. Your body might not be perfect, but it is certainly perfect for me.”
I felt as though a thousand pounds had been lifted from my shoulders, and suddenly I felt like the most beautiful woman in the entire world. As if to drive home his point, he set about exploring each curve, and in the process, he set my body on fire. Mountains of clothing and blankets peeled away, and somehow, the peat grew warmer until the room was awash in our moans and our heat, our limbs intertwined, our skin glistening, and I knew with all the assuredness in my soul that I was precisely where I was meant to be.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
p.m.terrell is the pen name for Patricia McClelland Terrell, the award-winning, internationally acclaimed author of more than 24 books in multiple genres, including contemporary suspense, historical suspense, computer instructional, non-fiction and children’s books.
Prior to writing full-time, she founded two computer companies in the Washington, DC Metropolitan Area: McClelland Enterprises, Inc. and Continental Software Development Corporation. Among her clients were the Central Intelligence Agency, United States Secret Service, U.S. Information Agency, and Department of Defense. Her specialties were in the detection of white collar computer crimes and computer intelligence.
A full-time author since 2002, Black Swamp Mysteries was her first series, inspired by the success of Exit 22, released in 2008. Vicki’s Key was a top five finalist in the 2012 International Book Awards and 2012 USA Book Awards nominee, and The Pendulum Files was a national finalist for the Best Cover of the Year in 2014. Her second series, Ryan O’Clery Suspense, is also award-winning. The Tempest Murders (Book 1) was one of four finalists in the 2013 International Book Awards, cross-genre category. Her historical suspense, River Passage, was a 2010 Best Fiction and Drama Winner. It was determined to be so historically accurate that a copy of the book resides at the Nashville Government Metropolitan Archives in Nashville, Tennessee. Songbirds are Free is her bestselling book to date; it is inspired by the true story of Mary Neely, who was captured in 1780 by Shawnee warriors near Fort Nashborough (now Nashville, TN).
She was the co-founder of The Book ‘Em Foundation, an organization committed to raising public awareness of the correlation between high crime rates and high illiteracy rates. She was the founder of Book ‘Em North Carolina, an annual event held in the town of Lumberton, North Carolina, to raise funds to increase literacy and reduce crime and served as its chairperson and organizer for its first four years. She also served on the boards of the Friends of the Robeson County (NC) Public Library, the Robeson County (NC) Arts Council, Virginia Crime Stoppers and became the first female president of the Chesterfield County-Colonial Heights Crime Solvers in Virginia.
For more information, book trailers, excerpts and more, visit the author’s website.
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The tour dates can be found here