Tag Archives: Elaine Schmitz

Value of Researching your Novel

researchResearch isn’t only for writers of historical fiction or non-fiction. All writing can benefit from research. Non-fiction writers usually rely on finding facts, but if one thinks that fiction stories don’t need research since the story is made up, misses an opportunity to enhance the story. Doing the research earlier than later in the writing process is recommended to prevent rewriting sections that might prove to be inaccurate.

The writer who embeds researched details leads the story into deepened characterization, setting, and plot points. The authenticity hooks the reader and expands the reader’s experience. The internet makes research quick and easy, but additional methods create more true-to-life feelings.  When possible travel to the sites where the story takes place. Interview people who know more about the subject and locations than you do. Talk to a librarian who can help you find additional interesting information. Elaine's research at church

Elaine Schmitz, author of  Recipes & Recollections of My Greek-American Family, is writing a novel that takes place in San Francisco. Last weekend she and her friend, Lani Longshore, author of When Chenille is Not Enough, had an entertaining day looking for sites where the protagonist, Sarah, goes in San Francisco. This photo is Lani in Sarah’s favorite church, St. Francis of Assisi, in North Beach.

Sarah’s apartment: 2nd floor studio, over Tom’s Grocery, corner of Greenwich and Powell, North Beach. Elaine's sarah's apt.

Elaines company bldg
Front Street: the model for InterCorp Headquarters, the company building where the protagonist, Sarah Korsky, works and where the murder takes place
Elaines donuts

To find suspects: Sarah plies them with Happy Donuts: give me your name and contact info and grab one

How do you research for your stories and novels?

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Blog Hop Continues with Elaine Schmitz

In my  participation in the blog hop during the last couple weeks, I tagged Elaine Schmitz whose post about her work in progress, Price of Independence, follows. You can visit her at http://www.elaineschmitz-writer.com

Her previously published book, Recipes & Recollections of My Greek-American Family, is available on Amazon


Elaine Schmitz

I’m on a blog hop! Sort of a combination of a chain letter and a Literary Review, but this one has a twist. I don’t tell you about my heroine and her plight – my other characters do.

First a word about my blog hop sponsor: Julaina Kleist-Corwin:

Julaina Kleist-Corwin is editor for her anthology, Written Across the Genres. She teaches creative writing for the City of Dublin, California. She has won several first place awards in short story contests. Her work has been published in The California Writers Club Literary Review and Harlequin’s 2012 and 2013 Christmas anthologies and other collections. Find her at her blog at www.timetowritenow.com, on Twitter at https://twitter.com/JulainaC, or on Pinterest at http://www.pinterest.com/jkleistc.
 In Julaina’s multidimensional novel, Norman in the Painting, the protagonist, Jill, has a long time friend named Evelyn who owns an antique store. Jill freaked when Norman appeared out of the painting at the back of her shop. She wanted Evelyn to see the phenomenon, but Norman had disappeared again. Since then, Evelyn’s tone of voice sounds placating, as if Jill is mentally fragile regardless of the topic Jill initiates. Ed, the knife sharpener at Evelyn’s, often gives Jill a look of total confusion and annoyance. He has seen her fainting, shouting, arguing, and causing chaos, which Evelyn says he doesn’t like. Jill wants to have conversations with him but he ignores her attempts. The antagonist plays on Jill’s fears to control her but as she grows in the character arc, the limited assumption about Jill will prove wrong.

About My Novel – Price of Independence:Elaine's blog hop photo  Photo is Eugenia in a Turkish Harem, circa 1824 (right side of photo)

Let me introduce you to  Eugenia YannopappasShe is fifteen at the beginning of her story, living on the Greek island of Chios, seven miles off the coast of Turkey. It is 1822, just before the infamous Chios Massacre.  We follow Eugenia as she survives capture and kidnapping during this horrendous epoch of Greek history. Her world is rocked, torn asunder, and somehow made whole again.

After Eugenia was captured and kidnapped by Turkish marauders, she was taken from the hold of a Turkish warship by her captor to face unknown dangers as a slave in Istanbul, the capital of the Ottoman Empire.

Eugenia was sold as a concubine to Pasha Rifat Polat, in his haremlik in Istanbul. There she met the love of her life, a fellow Greek slave, Dimitri.  How did they hide their love when the Pasha returned from a long sea voyage on official business for the Sultan? When and how would she escape? Do Eugenia and Dimitri live happily ever after?

Here are a few of Eugenia’s fellow characters and what they have to say:

What does her Mama think of Eugenia? “She’s my youngest child and the apple of her father’s eye. She is beautiful and independent, sometimes too much so. Though she tries hard to obey, her free spirit will get her into trouble one day.”

What does her Turkish keeper, Fatma say? “My son kidnapped her to sell her and make our fortune. She is indeed beautiful and desirable. But she might be the death of me or my son. He can barely keep his eyes from her. Though she is quick to pick up Turkish, she knows so little of our world and customs. I can’t trust that she will act like a proper concubine.”

What does her master, Pasha Rifat Polat think? “I think too much about her. She lives in my dreams and drives me crazy with desire when I am awake. I cannot bear to leave her, but the Sultan insists on my services. I long for the day she will replace my only son, who recently died, with several more to continue my name and dynasty.”

And what does Dimitri, her forbidden lover, say? “I would do anything, even risk my life, to see her free of the Pasha and returned to her family. She is heart of my heart, my soul reawakened, my reason for living.

Stay tuned for next week’s featured blog hop authors:

In order to take part, I solicited for other authors/bloggers to join me in this ongoing chain. Here are two of my talented friends who responded and plan to post about their books next week:

Author, healer, all-around kook, Jenna Newell Hiott boasts of having a limitless imagination, unless it’s nap time. While many of us had an imaginary friend as children, Jenna had an entire imaginary family—complete with a second set of parents and three siblings and all of whom lived in a make-believe world of Jenna’s own creation. One could say she’s been writing fantasy fiction since she was old enough to use words. And she never outgrew it.

Out of this hyperactive imagination, Jenna created the land of Todor: a world of magic, intrigue, and power plays. The first book, Revelation, was published in December 2013 and the second book is in production now. Follow her at:http://www.jennanewellhiott.com/blog.html

After years of writing poetry, books, nonfiction, and legal documents, it was author Ray Bradbury’s friendship and encouragement that inspired Dale E. Manolakas to pursue writing as a career. He taught her the characters wrote the book–she didn’t. But she also had to make a living, therefore:

Dale earned a BA from UCLA, and MA, MS, PhD and JD from USC. Member of the California Bar, she has clerked for The Honorable Arthur L. Alarcón, US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, and been a Court of Appeals senior appellate attorney and an Administrative Law Judge.

She has also taught at high school and university levels, and  acted on stage, in films, and television. Dale lives with her husband, a retired attorney, in an otherwise animal-free environment in California.

Look up Dale’s two books on Amazon: Lethal Lawyers and and Hollywood Plays for Keeps.  Find out more about Dale and her writing at http://www.dalemanolakas.com/home.html



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Introducing Jill Steele in Norman in the Painting: Character Blog hop 2014

It’s time for a character-centric blog hop. Here you will meet Jill Steele, the protagonist of my multidimensional novel, Norman in the Painting. First, I will introduce the writer who tagged me in this blog hop, Justine Manzano. I connected with her on LinkedIn and she patiently walked me through the steps.

Justine ManzanoBio: Justine Manzano is a multi-genre writer living in Bronx, NY with her husband, son, and a cacophony of cats. Her short fiction has appeared in the anthology Things You Can Create, Sliver of Stone Magazine, and The Greenwich Village Literary Review. She maintains a semi-monthly blog at JustineManzano.com and a twitter account where she discusses her adventures in juggling aspects of her life such as motherhood, writing, and the very serious businesses of fangirling and multiple forms of geekery. She works as a fiction reader for Sucker Literary Magazine and is currently searching for a publishing home for her YA Urban Fantasy series, Keys and Guardians.


Jacklyn Madison has a thing for heroes. She reads about them, watches them on TV, and would very much like to become one. When a monster makes an attempt on her life she discovers she is one – the long lost member of The Order of the Key, a group that protects humanity from creatures that come through interdimensional rifts. It’s all fun and games until training for her duties reveals the Order’s out of touch views – Keys, like Jacklyn, are protected while Guardians, like the rest of her family, are expendable. As she rails against their value system, she finds herself in the centre of a power struggle between the group’s leader, Lavinia, and her idealistic son, Kyp – the boy Jacklyn likes. Worse, Kyp’s attempts to protect her only entangle her in a mire of deceit. Viewed as a target on one side and a weapon on the other, Jacklyn must find a way to protect the people she loves and decide what kind of hero she’s willing to become. Filled with action, romance, and paranoia, The Order of the Key is an edgy Young Adult Contemporary Fantasy novel that is currently searching for a home with an agent.

Thanks, Justine Manzano for this opportunity to blog hop.


Here is an interview with my character, Jill Steele in Norman in the Painting:

What is your name? Are you fictional or historical? My name is Jill Steele. I suppose most people would say I’m fictional, but I think I’m real. I tell Julaina my story so that makes me real, doesn’t it?

When and where is your story set? My story takes place right now, present day, in a small California town near San Francisco. I’m a CPA and I work out of my home. I don’t like to travel much so I’ve only been to San Francisco a couple times. It’s about forty miles from my hometown. With all the action in my life, I don’t have time for San Francisco.

What should we know about you? I don’t like to tell my age but I’m older than thirty and younger than forty. I have an impossible older sister named Vivian who is my nemesis. Our family is the wealthiest in our town. Our parents died in an auto accident, and Viv wants to maintain our social status. She’s on my back about that all the time. I’m the so-called blight on the family. I own my own home and I have a Siamese cat named Rocky. I collect Foo dogs for protection. I really need all the protection I can get but you’ll have to read my story to find out why.

What is screwing up your life? My ex-husband who is in prison, a strange man in a Homberg hat who seems to be following me, and a man I love who lives in a painting…literally. He comes through now and then.

What is your goal? To prevent Norman from disappearing into the painting, to keep him in my 3D world so we can have a real relationship.

What is the title of your book? Norman in the Painting.

When will the book be published? Julaina says she would like to have it published by February 2015 but it might be a few months longer than that. She has other projects like an anthology and two other novels in the works. I’m looking forward to meeting my readers on the pages. Bye now.


Here are the writers I have tagged. Watch for their posts on September 22nd.

G. Karl KumfertG. Karl Kumfert seeks representation for his debut novel, The Tavern Priestess. It’s a epic fantasy for young adults he frames as “Joan-of-Arc defends Merlin from Nikita”. When he isn’t pitching his manuscript to agents, Karl is either developing mobile apps, or trying to be a decent father and husband. He blogs about teen ethics, multi-racial families, and social media at http://www.gkarlkumfert.com.

He’s surprisingly personable for a former government scientist with a Ph.D. in computer science. He and his wife lead the high school youth program at their church where he also plays 5-string bass. You can visit him on https://Twitter.com/KarlKumfert


d-jordan-bernalJordan Bernal is the author of The Keepers of Éire, a dragon fantasy that encourages adult readers to let their imaginations take flight. Jordan’s enduring love of dragons and her pursuit of her Celtic heritage inspired her to write and publish her debut novel in her “Keeper” series through her independent press, Dragon Wing Publishing. She currently serves as president of California Writers Club Tri-Valley Branch. Jordan lives in the Tri-Valley region of Northern California. She enjoys reading, traveling, photography, and spending time with Roarke, her Pomeranian. For more information on Jordan’s current projects, visit http://www.jordanbernal.com or http://www.1dragonwriter.wordpress.com.

VioletCarrMoore-DSCViolet Carr Moore achieved her dream of becoming a published author with her first book, In the Right Place: A Gallery of Treasured Moments. She followed that memoir of mystic vignettes, with Moments of Meditation, a collection of devotionals. Violet’s short stories have been published in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Devotional Stories for Mothers, Christmas Miracles and other anthologies. Her winning themed haiku appeared in San Francisco Bay Area newspapers. She is a freelance copy editor and mentors aspiring writers in independent publishing workshops. Violet blogs humorous writing tips at http://violetsvibes.wordpress.com. Visit her website http://www.carrtwins.com. Follow her on Twitter @violetsvibes. Contact her at info@carrtwins.com.

sharonsvitak2-19-11Sharon Svitak writes under the pen name Sharon Burgess. The author of Simply Irresistible: A Spruce Creek Romance, she is working on the second book in the series. She is a member of the San Francisco Area Chapter of the Romance Writers of America. In addition she is an officer on the corporate board of the California Writers Club. She credits her membership in both organizations for pushing her to finish her first book and get it published. Like all writers should be, she is an avid reader, especially romance novels which is the genre she writes. Visit her at http://www.sharonsvitak.com  http://www.sharonburgess.com



Elaine SchmitzElaine Schmitz’s life has had many chapters, set in many locales. She graduated from USC with a B.A. in English, and planned to become an editor. However, life intervened; ten years later, she became a business manager at AT & T for twenty years. Now she has reinvented herself as a freelance and fiction writer and editor. She writes about what is important to her. She successfully published her first book “Recipes & Recollections of my Greek American Family,” soon in its second printing, and seven fiction and memoir pieces in anthologies. She is currently working on her third novel. She finds writing a fulfilling career, full of learning, adventures, and many wonderful people. Visit her on http://www.elaineschmitz-writer.com.

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Harlequin Anthology Reading


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Harlequin’s 2014 Christmas Anthology, A Kiss Under the Mistletoe

My story, “The Crumpled Card” has been published in Harlequin’s 2014 Christmas Anthology called, A Kiss Under the Mistletoe.  I will have a book reading in Pleasanton Tuesday night. Neva Hodges also will be there to read her story, “The Christmas Tree”. Jordan Bernal will read from her newly published fantasy novel, The Keepers of Eire and Elaine Schmitz will read from her Recipes and Recollections of My Greek-American Family. Refreshments include cookies made from a recipe in Elaine’s book.


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