Friday, March 24, 2017


When it comes to creating the worlds used in my stories, my favorite go-to webpage to remind me about the details is Patricia Wrede's Fantasy Worldbuilding Questions. It makes me think about the economy, religion, geography, swear words, and a whole host of background details needed to make a world believable - but also don't have to be spelled out in numbing detail to bore the reader.

Recently I came across another useful list "Five Worldbuilding Mistakes Even Enthusiasts Make" and a new blog that I can delve into (the related Mythcreants - check out the links there!) for even more ideas.

Some of those mistakes listed were definitely part of lazy thinking and general assumption-making. Why should traditions in current culture and society turn up in another time and location? Even as a kid I was bothered by the Flintstones celebrating Christmas when they were supposedly in the Stone Age (B.C. does mean Before Christ). How many times is the Santa Claus story transposed into cartoon universes? Even though Santa Claus may be considered "secular" nowadays (enough so that penguins and lions and hippos can help him), there is still a religious beginning to the myth.

Traditions change when they are transplanted out of the area where they first began. Palm trees originally decorated during the Christmas season look festive enough that some leave the lights up year-round, thus losing the meaning behind the decoration (if it wasn't already lost by changing trees - there was a symbolism behind chosing evergreens as a tree that stayed green when all others 'died' during the winter). Halloween in the U.S. would look a lot different if people had stuck with the Irish tradition of carving turnips rather than switching to the larger and more visible pumpkins.

Traditions can also be lost the further away a generation is from leaving the land of their ancestors. My born-in-England-of-Irish-immigrants grandfather didn't pass along any traditions to my father that he passed along to his children, other than wearing green on St. Patrick's Day and eating corned beef and cabbage, both of which are Irish-American developments and not pure Irish (and the corned beef and cabbage custom died quickly when my siblings and I all hated it). My older siblings don't remember any customs my American-born-of-German-immigrants grandmother might have passed along to my father. So assuming customs and traditions will be carried on the same in the far future are they are in the present is not a sure thing. Each family will be different, of course.

Mythcreants has a very useful "Creating Realistic Cultures" blog that covers similar elements as Patricia Wrede's Questions site. History, weather, communications, and health are all useful factors to think about when creating your world. Manners and fashion are trendy lately, and I've enjoyed stories like K.B. Wagers' The Indranan War series, CJ Cherryh's Foreigner series and Sharon Lee and Steve Miller's Liaden Universe series where you can really see the differences in how those are depicted in those science fiction societies.

Wildlife vs domesticated animals, crops versus plants city folk might have in their dwellings versus wild plant life - is a planet hostile to an alien colony? Has a culture evolved in sync with the rest of its world or does a society exist in danger of killing off all life that it doesn't find 'useful'?

Does your world depend on magic or technology? Are there any limits on your magic? What is the level of technology? Does it fit with your transportation and communication systems?

Every writer has their own way of worldbuilding. Some plot out their world before they start writing; others dive in and add details later. There's no one right or wrong way. I have found Patricia Wrede's list great both for helping me think out details and for inspiring a story in the first place.

What are some resources you use for worldbuilding?

Wednesday, February 22, 2017


Welcome Wednesday. I hope good things are happening in your life. Today, I'd like to share some thoughts with you. We'll start with this lovely quote.

You may  like this too, or not, but most everyone that knows me is aware of how much I love butterflies.  The Children's Literary Classics Awards designed a meme for me using my quote. See it below. Isn't it neat.
If you've read my YA novel Under a Purple Moon, you'll recognize the meme. The CLC also spotlighted me. If you need a laugh today, this ought to do it.

When I was teaching fifth-grade, we read Newbery honor books. Seeing how much my students enjoyed the stories, what great reports they did, sometimes even dressing like the main character, I started wondering what it would be like to write stories young people loved. So, I took a writing course and discovered that writing a novel was even better than reading one. That was almost 20 years ago, and I'm still writing.
A ballerina or an opera singer.
One day, a girl (I hear voices a lot) whispered in my ear that her mother criticized everything she did and all she wanted was her mother and father to love her. So, Eden's story was born, the story of a broken family and their struggles to find that elusive word: love.
You can read the rest of the spotlight here.
Watch for more news about UNDER A PURPLE MOON soon.
Happy Reading.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Amazing Animals and Where to Find Out About Them

The Earth has many amazing animals. I usually mention this during my "Human, Alien or Monster" sessions at young writer conferences when the 'Where do you come up with that?" question surfaces. Among the many books I bring to show as a resource is Prehistoric Life so I can display examples (via doc cam) of what lived on Earth billions of years ago.

When you know what once existed (or still exists), you have a point to start from when designing your own fantasy creature or alien lifeform.

In the days before computers I used to rely heavily on books to learn about various birds and animals. Magazines and journals like National Geographic, Science and Discover were also useful for information and photographs. I used to be able to count on nature programs on PBS and the Science Channel for additional inspiration, but now there's only the few shows like Nature and Earth (BBC).

The internet has provided quite a few new resources, ranging from formerly book-based guides like online encyclopedias and identification guides like The Cornell Lab of Ornithology All About Birds to general science websites like IFL Science. But usually all those are good if you already know what you are looking for. Sometimes you are instead looking for that flash of inspiration, that moment of serendipity when you see something new and can say, "Oh! I can use that! Well, maybe not that, but something like that...."

I have several friends on Facebook who share marvelous videos such as Marching Dinosaurs (which, at five minutes long might be too long to share at a young writers session, but I really want to!) and the latest scientific discovery or dinosaur dig. (I love #13 of the "Top Thirteen Fossil Stories of 2016".)

There are Facebook pages as well, such as Earth Archives, The Raptor Center, and News From Science.

I'm not on Twitter, so I just discovered two Twitter sources that I wanted to share. I'll definitely be looking more at them for inspiration. Bird per Hour and Strange Animals.

What are some resources you use, either for inspiration or to learn more?

Wednesday, January 25, 2017


I'm posting this from my other blog, because I'm so excited I want to tell everyone my good news.

It's here. The audio book for UNDER A PURPLE MOON. Thank you, L. Diane Wolfe, my publisher, for the audio edition of the novel. This is my first audio book, and I want to share my happiness with you, dear friends, so I'm giving away two audio copies.

Silver Award Winner in the 2016 Children's Literary Classics, teen category
Under a Purple Moon is a book about friendship, and in particular, about one young girl who comes to accept her own self-worth. Author Beverly Stowe McClure has done a splendid job depicting the wide and varied range of emotions experienced by Eden and her friends. Under a Purple Moon is a book which young readers will find to be very relatable.
CLC Reviews
Here's how the giveaway will work

 1.  Leave a comment on this blog saying whether you like audio books or not.

2.  Follow me on twitter.

3.  Follow me on my Amazon Page.

You earn one point for each thing you do. You can do one or two or three or none. Tell me in your comment how many points you've earned, and that's it. I'm giving away two audio copies. The giveaway will run through Jan. 31. Winners will be announced a few days later.

I'll write everyone's name that enters on strips of paper, one strip for each entry, put them in a basket, and my cat Patches will draw the winners. Don't laugh she's done it before.  If she's too tired, I'll use a random drawing.
Good luck.

It's winter where I live! Cold wind! Snow! Ice! Wait a second!
Right now, as I'm typing this, the temperature is 70 degrees.
A few rays of sunlight are breaking through the clouds.
Also a few drops of rain are falling from time to time.
This is winter? I'm not complaining, I love it.
The birds do too. Here are some recent visitors to my yard.
One afternoon, I looked outside and saw four cardinals in the yard. Knowing me, you can guess what I did. Yep, I got my camera and slipped quietly out the door. Three of the birds flew away. This little guy stayed so I could take his picture. Some people say that seeing a cardinal at a particular time in their life is a comforting signal from a deceased loved one. Whether this is factual or not, there is no doubt of the blessing received with a glimpse of a creature's beauty. Seven states have named the Cardinal their official bird.
Cardinals do not migrate. If you provide them cover and food, they will remain permanent residents. Their favorite food is black oil sunflower seeds.
I'm not sure what kind of woodpecker this is, but he was outside my writing room window one day. A second bird was in the tree too, but they were moving so fast, eating insects in the tree, that I couldn't keep up with them. Was lucky to get this shot. It's dark because the day was cloudy, and if the flash comes on through the window, there's just a blur.

Have any birds visited  you lately?

Don't forget to leave a comment for the giveaway.
Have a great week. Hope your weather is nice.
Happy Reading!

Friday, January 13, 2017

Food and Towels!

Morning, all!

Two of the most fun things about Disney Cruises are the food and towels!

Food is a given. Not only does it taste good, but they make pretty too. And every night when you return to your stateroom, a neat towel figure has been placed on your bed to amuse.

Mmmm yummy creme brulee!


A crab?

A bunny! So adorable!

Couldn't you just frame this one? :)

A frog!

I think it's a monkey or orangutan. What do you think?

A lovely elephant!

One night at dinner, they did the napkins like little suits. Adorable!

A ghostly pirate, perhaps? Or creature from the deep?

Funky, isn't it?

Pluto relaxing while his master's away?

Aren't they all just adorable? Which is your favorite? I can't choose!

Have a great Friday!

Friday, December 30, 2016

Wrapping Up the Old Year, Planning for the New Year

The week in between Christmas and New Years is often a mixture of events, last minute things, and utter chaos.

For some of us, the excitement of the Doctor Who Christmas Special is starting to die down while the expectation of the Sherlock New Years Special is starting to rev up. For others, it's a time to travel, visiting family and friends plus a dash of anxiety about the weather and traffic.

It can also be a good time for introspection.

I've posted in the past that the day after New Years is usually my time to get my records in order for income tax time. It's also my time to update my webpage for what conventions and other appearances (young writers conferences, signings, and such) that I have scheduled so far in the next year, as well as think about what conventions I usually attend that maybe I should skip.

It's probably not news that conventions to small press authors are a means of promotion. (There are posts in this blog about it as well as book signings and other means.) Authors with traditional publishers have many ways of getting the word out about their books, established long ago by those publishing houses. Small presses have their own ways as well, and one of them is counting on their authors to promote themselves. Interviews in local newspapers, in blog posts, on podcasts are all good ways of getting the word about about yourself and your books. So are appearances at conventions. Participating on panels and having your book for sale at a dealer or an author table or a book signing is a plus on your promotion side. But when sales are down at a convention or the programming committee makes odd scheduling decisions, it's time to re-evaluate that convention.

And it's also time to consider which convention would work for a possible book launch party. Yes, the good news is that I've signed contracts with Zumaya Publications to re-release The Crystal Throne, Talking to Trees and a new expanded version of Agents & Adepts (now tentatively Agents, Adepts & Apprentices) with 22 stories (previously 16). Gloria Oliver and Christine Norris are also Zumaya authors so I know I'll be in good company. Expect to see blog posts about the new covers and publication release dates in 2017.

And now back to sorting receipts and rewatching the Sherlock trailer. And preparing for a young writers conference next week.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016


I'm cross posting this from my other blog at

Now that Thanksgiving is over and we survived the crazy shoppers and we've had our naps, it's time to start thinking about, yes, you got it, Christmas.

How about a hatful of books for the young readers you know.
Or maybe a stocking full for those cold snowy days to keep the kids entertained.
For more
 Visit me at AMAZON  BARNES  & NOBLE
and see what you like. Books make great gifts for older readers too.
Or, if you'd like a signed paperback of any of my books email me at Beverlysmcclure (at) aol (dot) com. Free shipping too, my gift to you.
Now I'll stop advertising. I think all the ads I read this past weekend have gone to my head.
It's taken awhile to write this because Tiger keeps interrupting me to play ball. Then Patches gets jealous and gives him her look that says she's gonna get him when he's not looking. Cats are so sweet.
Tiger wants to know who that kitty in the mirror is.
Doesn't Patches look like a terror? She does pick on Tiger.
She pretends like she just wants to sleep.
Happy Reading to You All!