Saturday, April 16, 2016


By Mary Adair

To begin writing without an idea of the ending of my story is like driving on a deserted road at night in a car with no headlights. Knowing how my novel will end helps me remain focused throughout the writing process. Now, my ending doesn’t have to be etched in stone, but I should have some idea of the ending. However, using an ending for an ending’s sake would undermine my process as well.


Ambiguous endings are just as detrimental to the writing process as not having an ending at all. An example of an ambiguous ending would be something like: Vanessa knew what she had to do: let go, and allow Rick to love her. That’s not a clear ending. The solution is to end on an event or physical action that expresses that idea.
Emotionally, end on a note that expresses the fact that she has let go. Something as simple as an embrace between Vanessa and Rick with her crying is both a physical and emotional ending that could work, especially if Vanessa has refrained from having any physical or emotional contact with Rick throughout the story. Of course I can build up to that moment throughout the story. But that’s the point. I have something tangible that I can build towards while writing my story. Now I could create all kinds of physical and emotional tension as I build towards that ending.


A good rule of thumb in trying to come up with an ending before I write is to start with a premise and end on a conclusion that opposes that premise. For example, if I want to do a story about a bright, beautiful recent med school grad who has never had a boyfriend (something she’s sworn off since she witnessed her father cheating on her mother years ago with her grade school teacher), then my premise could be something like: Love will never find a place in Amy’s heart. That is a premise, and the end will ideally confirm or refute that theory or premise. So, a simple ending could be Amy marries Mark. Notice how the ending is tangible: marriage.

Simple enough, right?

Here are some other examples of endings: Chloe and Bill make love, Jason proposes to Erin, Lisa arrives in Paris where Blake is waiting for her, Nicky introduces Rob to her parents, Marley and Eric take a vacation to the Caribbean after she’s informed that she no longer has cancer.

Those of course can be fleshed out in more detail, but those are concrete events that can signal a story’s ending. Notice how they can guide the writer from the beginning.

How I might look writing my novels, coffee in hand.

Writing a novel without the guide of an ending is very difficult. Inspiration will only get the writer so far; writing without an ending in mind will get me to page 20 or maybe 30, however I won’t really know where my characters are headed. Knowing where I’m headed can take the pressure off while writing. As one published writer put it: “send your characters to hell and back, as long as you know where back is.”

Thursday, March 10, 2016

AMANDA'S RANCHER by Caroline Clemmons

Montana Sky: Amanda's Rancher (Kindle Worlds)Montana Sky: Amanda's Rancher by Caroline Clemmons
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

REVIEW By Mary A. Adair
AMANDA'S RANCHER by Caroline Clemmons

This story begins in a small Georgia town in 1887.
Mara O’Sullivan is awakened from sleep by a barely discernible rustling sound. Her life is about to change.

Mara was raised by her mother, a town prostitute. The fact that Mara’s mother had sheltered her daughter and that Mara herself had never taken up the trade made no difference to the town folk. Though she faced the disdain of the “proper” people, she, as her mother had been, was a kind and generous person who valued right over wrong. When she witnessed a bank robbery she did the right thing, she identified the outlaws to the sheriff. This act put her life in danger and threw her into a desperate flight to find safety.

On this fearful journey she encounters a half-sister and a niece she never knew she had. She learns about her father that was devoid of fatherly love toward any child not born a boy. It was easy for her to love her half-sister, Amanda Eppes, and her own sweet and intelligent niece, Iris Grace.
Mara learns Amanda is on her way to Montana Territory to become a mail-order bride. Mara takes no time at all to make up her mind about what she wants to do. She is faced with a chance to have a real family. Changing her own destination, Mara is thrilled with the notion they can live close to one another and be a help to each other.

The two sisters make plans for the future and look forward to a family neither had ever known. Sadly, their plans are interrupted when Amanda, the sister Mara had only begun to know, dies suddenly. On her sister’s deathbed, Mara promises she will take Amanda’s place. She will pretend to be Amanda and Iris will become her daughter. She prays the plan is solid and the men who want her dead will never find them.
Her plans become salvation not only for herself but for her niece, now daughter, as well. She determines she will marry this unknown rancher. She will be the best wife and mother she can be. Most of all, she will keep Iris close and provide for her a safe and happy home.

Mara and her new daughter continue on the journey to Montana Territory where she will meet Preston Kincaid for the first time. She marries this man she does not know and soon realizes the deception she thought would keep herself and her daughter safe has become a threat to all she holds dear.

I just couldn’t put this story down. I love the way Ms Clemmons weaves a story together. These characters will wiggle their way into your heart, especially little Iris. If you are a sweet romantic at heart, with a bit of daredevil and adventurer mixed in, you will love this story.

View all my reviews

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

My Review of “Tarnished Remains”, second book in Pat Jager’s “Shandra Higheagle Mysteries"

I just finished “Tarnished Remains”, second book in Paty Jager’s “Shandra Higheagle Mysteries”. A Big 5 Stars!
This story is a murder mystery set in Idaho on Shandra Higheagle’s farm. Shandra grew up with little memory of her father who died in an accident when she was a small child. Thanks to her grandmother she grew up understanding her Native American heritage. This is a part of the story I really liked, after her grandmother’s death, her grandmother still visited Shandra in her dreams. Shandra accepted that she dreamed of her grandmother and the visits seem to help her through the rough patches in her life, which includes solving murder mysteries, but she still feels the visits are actually her mind‘s own way of working through the issues.

Well, it seems Shandra has a knack for finding dead bodies. In Tarnished Remains Shandra unearths a body while digging on her own property to retrieve the clay needed to fashion her pottery. Can you imagine just digging away in your garden and unearthing an old boot with the foot still in it?! 

Detective Ryan Greer is the first person to come to her mind as the person to call. If you haven’t read book one in the series, she and the detective worked together before. Shandra was his main suspect in book one. This is mentioned in book two and flows with the story. Tarnished Remains is a complete story and stands on its own. So don’t worry if you haven’t read book one, it is not necessary to understand the second book.

Tarnished Remains kept me on my toes. Just when I thought I knew who the murderer was, I changed my mind. I just loved the small town atmosphere and all the corky people living there. I reminded me of the small town I grew up near and went to school in. I swear, everyone in this book looked at least a little guilty at some part of the story. It had me guessing till the very end and when the true culprit was revealed it made perfect sense.

I give Tarnished Remains 5 stars. It is a small town murder mystery with a hint of budding true love. There is also the dream visiting grandmother, I always love a touch of super natural, a big, lovable, and a scared of his own shadow dog, I have one of those and I Love her, Love her, Love her! A mysterious Crazy Lil, and there are corky, cranky townsfolk. What else could you ask for? I loved it.

It is a stand alone story so you don’t have to read them in sequence, but if you haven’t read book one it would be great fun to read it first.

Pick up your copy here!