Why is there a baobab tree on the cover of my book?

 

 

Why is there a baobab tree on the cover of my book?

See a baobab tree and you’re instantly intrigued. How can something grow and survive with its roots in the air? Not only do they survive, they are instrumental in the survival of humans providing food, medicine, shelter, and material to make cloth, ropes, baskets….

The baobabs in Mali fascinated me and it was logical to have a boabab play a role in the parts of the story set in West Africa.

Searching for a picture to use on the cover led me to: the fony baobab tree in Madagascar estimated to be over 1000 years old. (photo by David Thyberg)

Why is there a baobab tree on the cover of my book?

and this: A hollow 3000 year-old baobab in Zimbabwe (photo Christophe Poudras) which can house up to 40 people.

Why is there a baobab tree on the cover of my book?

and this: Avenue of the Baobabs – western Madagascar (photo Dani-Jeske)

Why is there a baobab tree on the cover of my book?

and my favorite: In Mali.

Why is there a baobab tree on the cover of my book?

To learn more about these amazing survivors in the harshest of conditions click here. 

And to see what happens under that baobab on the cover of my book go to my website.

 

 

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Evolution of language drives me crazy.

Evolution of language drives me crazy.

 

Me as a kid: “Me and David are going to play hide and seek.”

My mom: “David and I….”

My students: “Me and Tanya are going to the mall on the weekend.”

Me: “Tanya and I….”

My neighbor: “Me and Tom are going on a cruise.”

Me, suppressing a sigh: “Oh, that sounds lovely.”

My students: “I’m gonna get a puppy for my birthday.”

Me: “I’m going to get….”

Sports announcer: “He’s gettin’ to be a really good quarterback.”

Me: “Getting! Getting!”

Elderly lady at the gym: Do you wanna hear sumin interesting?”

Me: Cringing and biting my tongue. “Hm?”

Language evolving or just sloppy grammar? Maybe I’m old fashioned, but this cavalier usage of language feels like a dumbing down of our universal intelligence. Voilà becomes walla. Is walla even a word? How does the song go? “Ooh, ee, ooh ah ah. Ting, tang, walla walla bing bang

Our written language is just as bad. Punctuation and capitalization have fallen by the way side. We’ve gone back to a sort of hieroglyphic with letters and emojis instead of words–real words.

And writers, please, please, please stop using the word “would” for habitual action in the past.

“Every weekend when I was a kid, my dad would take me to the corner store for a treat.” NOOOOOOOOOOOO. Just say: “Every weekend when I was a kid, my dad took me to the corner store for a treat.”

Okay, I’ve had my rant. Your turn. What are your pet peeves with this evolution of language we are experiencing?

 

http://www.darlenejonesauthor.com

 

 

 

By Darlene Jones Posted in Writing
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I’ve been through this before. The flurry of publishing a novel, announcing the launch, marketing….

It’s not writer’s block, it’s writer’s blackout.It’s not writer’s block, it’s writer’s blackout.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And then? The crash. You’re done, burned out, ready for a break. This stage lasts about two days and you’re antsy to start on another story. But what if you have no ideas at the moment? You fret and worry and the more you reach for an idea, the more elusive it becomes.

That’s when you launch into major cleaning, declutter the house, become obsessed with social media and spend many too many hours on the Internet.

And suddenly, when you least expect it your brain clicks on “an old lady in a nursing home and a young girl just out of high school, who desperately wants to go to university, but can’t afford it. What if the two…?”

Where did that germ of an idea come from?

For the life of me, I can’t remember, but it grew into a two-novel-set of mystery, adventure, and romance—Alzheimer’s, a reporter fleeing across the Sahara, a son and daughter-in-law trying to decode a mother’s notes, a man waiting  to be caught and tried, and the young girl trying to save him….

I’m ready to write, but again I’m wallowing in writer blackout—no ideas, none, zilch.  What to do? Clean, declutter the house, spend many too many hours on the Internet, go to Mexico for Christmas and wait. Something will pop up. Of that I am certain. Meanwhile, I have time to relax and read, read, read.

P.S. Currently I’m reading the amazing, brilliantly written Welcome to Lagos by Chibunda Onuzo.

It’s not writer’s block, it’s writer’s blackout.

http://www.darlenejonesauthor.com

 

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Proofreading is an art

From the first draft to the second last, my writing partner and I send chapters back and forth. We ask questions, make suggestions, point out errors in time lines, holes in plot lines, identify discrepancies in character development, and highlight the great bits.

Finally, we come to the second last draft—the one that requires the scrutiny for details. Our goal is always to have a “clean” manuscript.

My writing partner puts the chapters into one document, sends it to me, and I send it to my Kindle.

Why?

I’ve learned that reading on the Kindle puts me in “book” mode and I see the things I miss on the big screen. Note that this draft is already formatted for ereaders so I’m seeing what the buyer will see. Periods in the wrong place, a word that just doesn’t work, “is” when it should be “it,” and a couple of times I spot a missing word that needs to be added, or an extra word to be deleted.

I find a few “that” where I think it should be “who.” I make note of them and my writing partner emails back.

Just now I was looking up when to use who and that. It’s okay to use that for a person, animal, or thing. The criterion has more to do with whether it’s a restrictive clause or not (whether the antecedent is named and whether the sentence can stand without the whole clause). 

As far as I can tell from that, it’s okay to use “that” in those cases where I have used it. It’s a complicated thing though.

I see this sentence, Dad had moved to Regina to teach high school there. I comment,

I think at some other point, her dad was teaching in a college not high school.

I bookmark each page that needs attention on my Kindle and then go back to the computer copy to add my notes with Track Changes. No, I don’t scroll through pages and pages to find the one I need. I pick an unusual word on the page I’ve bookmarked and then use Find to get to the right page on the computer.  

I send the file back to my writing partner. She writes, I went through your suggestions. I had found some of them but missed others, so thank you!” 

I offer to read it one more time, but she declines. I know she’ll go through it one or two more times. Our goal is to have an error free document and we get it right most of the time. After all, two heads are better than one.

 

http://www.darlenejonesauthor.com

 

Blurbs are still tough to write. What do you think of these?

 

Blurbs are still tough to write - what do you think of these?

 

Her dream was to go to university. Instead she’s working in a nursing home hunting a killer.

When high school graduate, Bittany Wright, gets a job cleaning at Happy Hearts nursing home, she is terrified of old lady Flo and desperately wishes she could be in college instead.

An unlikely friendship develops between the two. Brittany discovers that Flo, who may or may not have Alzheimer’s, is in grave danger. But, from whom and why?

As Flo’s condition worsens, Brittany scrambles to save her. But, ironically, it may be Flo who saves Brittany.

When the Sun was Mine: If you like suspenseful mysteries with complex and strong characters you’ll love this adult read, hopeful and humorous in spite of the ugliness of Alzheimer’s.

Buy When the Sun was Mine to experience a unique friendship steeped in intrigue and surprising twists.

 

Blurbs are still tough to write - what do you think of these?

The old lady is dead, but she could still destroy him.

When rebel leader, Sidu Diagho, learns that reporter Flo Mc Allister has died, he knows that her power to destroy him is still very much alive.

Flo was with him during the coup attempts. She saw everything, yet has remained silent all these years. But Sidu could still be tried at The Hague for his crimes with her notes the testimony needed to convict him.

Sidu is not the only one seeking to unravel the truth through Flo’s records. How much does Flo’s young friend Brit know? And Flo’s son and his wife? What did Flo tell them?

Sidu will do what he must to find and destroy the evidence against him.

Whispers Under the Baobab: A thrilling mystery—notes in code, unsent love letters—the  story weaving from past to present as the characters race to solve Flo’s puzzles.

Buy Whispers Under the Baobab to join the hunt and perhaps shed a tear or two.

 

http://www.darlenejonesauthor.com

Blurbs are tough to write – what do you think of these?

Blurbs are tough to write - what do you think of these?

 

~~~~ EMBATTLED ~~~~

Gifted with superpowers she can’t refuse, her life spirals out of control.

Bounced from a jungle battle, to an Islamist stronghold, to a corrupt Columbian trial, Em Roberts, your average school principal, knows that something is dreadfully wrong.

Now she must challenge “the voice” in her head— the voice that transports her around the world, forces her to face unbelievable danger, and insists she can stop wars.

Will she outwit that voice and end the nightmare, or will she die trying?

EMBATTLED is book one of the Em and Yves series. If you like “soft” science fiction with a touch of romance, then you’ll love the harsh reality and magic of Darlene Jones’s series.

Buy EMBATTLED today to join Em as she “saves” the world.

 

~~~~EMPOWERED~~~~

She’s crazy to build her life on childhood visions, but …

Jasmine Wade, rich man’s eye-candy, trusts in visions she experienced as a child. In them she “traveled” with a woman facing incredible danger and vanquishing evil. Driven by this ideal,

Jasmine is determined to change the world—at least her little corner of it.

Kidnapped, not for ransom, but to be eliminated, Jasmine must depend on her wits to survive.

But where, in this mix, are the aliens who are using her as their tool? Will they be the ones to save Jasmine? And, if not …?

EMPOWERED, book two of the Em and Yves sci-fi series –action, suspense, and human relationships woven into a story you won’t want to put down.

Buy EMPOWERED to enjoy grand adventure as aliens try to “fix” Earth.

 

~~~~EMBRACED~~~~

Controlled by an Alien, Abby must decide if he’s real before she loses her sanity.

When school principal, Abby Davies, hears clickings in the fillings of her teeth she doesn’t understand why she believes they are messages from aliens.

Changing the world was never part of her career plan … but, letters she didn’t send bearing her signature are showing up in newspapers around the world. The things asked for in the letters are coming true.

To complicate matters even more, the alien controlling Abby has fallen in love with her. Is this her one chance for true love?

EMBRACED – Book three of the Em and Yves sci-fi series brings the alien down to Earth.

Buy EMBRACED to see if Abby survives alien intervention in her life and finds love.

 

~~~~EMBROILED~~~~

Inexplicably drawn to the man stalking her, she knows she needs help.

School principal, Emily Roberts, can’t shake her attraction to the man following her. Scared, she turns to the wonderful Dr. David, but even he can’t help her.  Real fear sets in when the stalker claims to be an alien who has loved her in other lives.

Now, trapped in his perfect heavenly world, she is the only one who sees the danger threatening him.

Does she love him enough to give up her life on Earth and stay with him forever … if she can save him, that is?

EMBROILED – From a reviewer “Em/Jaz/Abby/Emily – how are all related? What has Jones done to bring these heroines full circle? To answer that question would be a spoiler. Better to say that some of the story line in this book which concludes the series made me very angry. Involving the reader so strongly in the characters’ lives is surely the sign of a powerful author. All I will say is that the ending is satisfying in every way.”

Buy EMBROILED now and travel with Emily to experience a world “up there somewhere.”

 

http://www.darlenejonesauthor.com

 

 

 

 

 

Between Books aka Wallowing in Author Limbo

Latest novel published – sigh of relief.

Holiday in Mexico – brain reduced to mush in the heat.

Back home – routines restored.

Time to think of starting a new book, ie procrastinate.

And procrastination leads to sorting through old photos which leads to this blog.

Much of Whispers Under the Baobab is set in West Africa in 1970, and among my pictures I found a few I had taken back then that will give you a glimpse of what Flo saw and experienced as she fled across the Sahara to safety in Bamako.  Between Books aka Wallowing in Author Limbo                                                                    Click here for more information.

Here is the only picture I still have of the 14th century mosque in Tombouctou, destroyed by Islamists in 2012.

Between Books aka Wallowing in Author Limbo

From Tombouctou, Flo and Josef traveled by boat – the General Sumaré – down the Niger River. Flo was on the second level and was able to go up on the top deck to view the surroundings. Josef, on the main deck would not have had that luxury.

Between Books aka Wallowing in Author Limbo

When the General Sumaré beached on a sand bar, the women and children were taken to shore in these pirogues. They are propelled by pushing poles into the river bed and walking along the side of the boat. Back in 1970, goods were transported hundreds of kilometers from Guinea to Mali in these (heavily loaded) pirogues powered by man.

Between Books aka Wallowing in Author Limbo

Nearing Bamako, this is what the terrain looked like with calabashes growing in the fields.

Between Books aka Wallowing in Author Limbo

The Tuareg ring that Flo bought on her journey and wore on a leather thong.

Between Books aka Wallowing in Author Limbo

 

http://www.darlenejonesauthor.com

Stories that won’t quit

Okay, here’s the thing. Ever since you were a kid you wanted to write a book.

You write that book and publish it.

BUT, the story just won’t quit and suddenly (or not so suddenly as you don’t write that fast) the one book morphs into four—never had you dreamed of writing a series, a sci-fi one at that.

Okay, that’s done. What next? A compilation of short, mostly humorous, bits.

And then?  Another story, of course. Never had you dreamed of writing a mystery, but here it is.

BUT, this too, does not want to quit and a few months later you have a sequel.

You don’t think these two will become a trilogy or a series, but you never know for you’ve learned that it’s the story that has the control, not the author.

http://www.darlenejonesauthor.com

 

 

Stories behind the door challenge

The challenge, should you choose to accept, is to write one of the stories holding its secrets behind this door (300 words maximum).

I’ll post your stories here and send you copies of my newest books — When the Sun was Mine and Whispers Under the Baobab (neither of which were found behind this door) — as a token of appreciation for your writing .

Please send your entries to darlene@darlenejonesauthor.com

http://www.darlenejonesauthor.com

What does Uzo have to say about my new book?

Always exciting when “the book” is finally edited, formatted, and published. Holding the print copy in your hands never fails to make your heart beat a little faster. You’ve done it.

 

Whispers Under the Baobab, my seventh book, is as gratifying as my first. Perhaps even more so for not only have I honed the craft of writing in the process, I’ve set much of this one in West Africa including Mali, a country that has been dear to my heart ever since I lived there many years ago.

Even more gratifying are the comments from my Nigerian friend, who graciously agreed to be a beta reader.

As an African currently living in Nigeria, my country, I could relate especially with the African setting. Aside from developing the plot, Jones doesn’t fail to present the reader with tidbits about the life and culture of Sidu’s people.

Some sequels tend to lose steam along the way, but not this one. This second installment is a book you can relax to, and finish in a day. If you are looking for a novel where good triumphs over evil, where love is mutual and undying, where new friendships are forged from the unlikeliest of situations, and above all, where the plot is driven by suspense and some bit of code-cracking, then Whispers Under the Baobab is the book for you.

Darlene Jones demonstrates exceptional talent as a wordsmith, and for plotting an intriguing story whose premise invites readers be to resolute in their quest for what is true and right.

See both books here: http://ow.ly/aKXh30bMH88