Wednesday, October 29, 2014

White Lies New Cover Reveal on Nov 2

Alex Storer has created a wonderful new cover for
White Lies.
Stop by here on the 2nd of November to see it!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

My TBR Keeps Growing

When I started writing, I found an article by an agent that had the comment, "Don't tell me you started writing because there's nothing you want to read." But I did.

There was a time when my library and local bookstore did not cater to my tastes. This was before the internet and Amazon. I had trouble finding the fantasy and lite science fiction books that I wanted to read. I didn't realize that it was the fault of local gatekeepers. Or maybe the publishers just weren't interested in the type of story I was looking for.

I would go to the library and read through the science fiction section in alphabetical order. I tried a lot of writers that way. I enjoyed some, but not all of them. Of the few I loved, even fewer books were available.

Now I am hip deep. Not only do I have all my trad pub authors to keep track of, I have found a handful of self pub authors that I love reading. If I hadn't joined Goodreads I would have had to start making spreadsheets.

I get emails from Amazon and Goodreads whenever my favorite authors have published new books. I immediately put them on my Wish List. That means I can get rid of all those little stickys on my desk and calendar reminding me when a new book comes out. And I put them in my TBR list on Goodreads.

Now I'm at the other end of the spectrum - too many books to read. And I couldn't be happier.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Dark Deeds Update and a New Cover for White Lies

I am still working on the second draft of Dark Deeds. That puts me a little behind schedule on my self-appointed deadlines. I'm making progress, but life got in the way. All those pesky little things like working for a living and grocery shopping. They eat away at my time for writing.

Sigh. If only I was rich and famous already. Well, maybe just the rich part. (Don't really care about being famous.) Or maybe win the lottery so I can just write all day...

I think I should still be able to get the book out in January. I'm filling in the bones and should be ready for my next round of readers by the end of next week...fingers crossed.

White Lies is getting a new cover!

Since I was going to hire Alex Storer to do the cover for Dark Deeds, I figured that White Lies could use a professional's touch. He did such a fabulous job with Lethal Seasons. And now both of the books in the Asher Blaine Mystery series will have a similar look to them.

The new cover for White Lies will be revealed at the kick off of a 99cent sale, for the ebook, starting November 2nd. A cover reveal for Dark Deeds will be coming in December, I think.

The Lethal Seasons ebook will be going on sale for 99cents for the week of Oct 26 - Nov 1. Get 'em while you can!

And honest reviews are always welcome!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Say It Three Times and It's Yours

I had a Spanish teacher in high school who used to say that. Unfortunately, it didn't work for me. My Spanish is horrendous. However, it does work in writing.

Recently I learned, again, that you need to reiterate things for the reader to absorb them. I described my character twice and still got complaints that readers didn't know what he looked like. So obviously I didn't do it well enough, or often enough for it to stick in the reader's brain.

Tagging the description of an attribute to a character seems to help.

His dark hair was tousled from sleep.
His blue eyes flashed with anger.
He lifted a beefy shoulder in a casual shrug.

My unusual looking character didn't get the same complaint. I mention the color of his eyes - pale blue - and his hair - white - repeatedly. Mostly out of the other characters' reactions to him, because he is an unknown quantity in the story.

It's hard to remember to describe characters because I know what they look like. And when I am laying down the bones of the story, plot takes priority. When I go back to fill in description, tone and world-building sometimes take priority. Then I forget to describe the characters.

Being a list-maker, I have a checklist for editing. Character description is on there. As is anything else that's important to the story. In Lethal Seasons the weather is important, so I made sure to mention it regularly.

Guess I need to pay better attention to my checklists.

Lethal Seasons will be going on sale later this month. Sign up for my newsletter to hear about sale dates and news of upcoming books.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Write Faster!

A lot of marketing advice suggests publishing books every three months, or several at the same time. I wish I could put out work that fast.

I am writing faster now than I ever have, but I can't produce a book every three months. Maybe every 6 months. I'm trying.

When I first started writing seriously, I didn't have a plan. I sat down and wrote whatever came to me. Then I tried to stitch it together in some sort of sequence. Most of the time I wasn't even sure of the ending. Needless to say, I did not produce anything publishable.

Then I started learning about the structure of a story. I  studied screenplays for awhile. Then I studied the basic formula for a mystery. The next book I attempted was charted and diagramed to pieces. Still didn't work for me.

I took a story that I really wanted to tell and tossed all the previous versions that had been tweaked into proper formulas. Then I wrote a new, fresh story with those characters. It worked.

It is surprising how much of what I learned stayed in my head. As I wrote, I could see what needed to come next - a twist here, a reversal there, climax, slow down, and voila! A publishable story was done.

My latest lesson is about timelines. I made a list of things to do prior to publication, starting with writing the book. I gave myself word count deadlines - 20,000 words by such a time, 30,000, 40,000 and then bones to the first reader. While the book is in the hands of the first reader (I give my readers 2 weeks) I start the next book. That gets me out of the story completely and helps to make it feel fresh when I come back to it with the first reader's feedback.

One of my books was rewritten so many times that I had to force myself through the final edits. I was so sick of that story, I couldn't wait to send it on it's way. This new system helps me avoid that.

I like to use 3 rounds of reading with several readers on rounds 2 and 3. The first round is to make sure the story works and where the holes are. I flesh it out and send it off to the second round of readers to see if I filled all the holes. Then I go back to the new Work In Progress again. Two weeks later I have more feedback and more rewriting.

The third round is again for content, continuity and pacing. With that feedback, I can usually call the book done and hand it off for a line edit (punctuation, grammar, etc.)

This feels like a good method for me to write quickly. What sorts of systems are you using?

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Too Much Fragrance! A Rant

A different kind of air pollution.

Do you know that you can become desensitized to a smell? It is very common to become desensitized to a perfume you wear regularly. That's how people end up walking around smelling like a perfume factory. They can't smell it anymore and have no idea how much they put on. Therefore we have to just deal with it.

My bank smells like cookies baking. A whiff might be nice on occasion, but they obviously can't smell it any more. When I walked in there the other day it made my eyes water and my sinuses flinch. When I left, I could taste it. My clothes smelled like it for hours. It put me in an especially foul mood.

A client of mine uses air fresheners. All of the papers I take from that office reek of it. And I end up smelling like it for awhile after our meetings. Enforced perfume-ation.

I was at a restaurant the other day when a waitress walked by in a cloud of fragrance I call "dryer sheets". I don't think it's a perfume. The smell was strong enough to make me sneeze. Luckily, she wasn't my waitress. However, every time she walked past my table, I was drowned in fragrance. It made for a very unpleasant dining experience.

Is this just an American fixation with smell? What are we masking? Body odor, pet odor, cooking aromas? I would rather put up with an honest smell than the artificial scents that people are constantly spritzing into the air. It fires up my allergies and makes me light-headed. I can avoid a perfume counter in a department store. It's a whole 'nuther problem when I have to wade through smells to get my errands run.

What kind of "air pollution" bugs you?

Thursday, September 11, 2014


I'm off to Boston tomorrow for my nephew's wedding. Not sure how it is possible that he is old enough to get married, but apparently he is. I felt the same way when he graduated college. That's the amazing thing about kids - they keep getting older. I don't.

After the wedding, I am driving to Kingston, NY with my sister. We will reconnect with a few living relatives while I do some genealogy research. Oddly enough, all of my Irish relatives settled there after they came over. And so did a few German relatives through marriage.

My great-great-grandfather came over from County Roscommon in Ireland. His name was James Fitzgerald. And there is my "brick wall" relative, as we hobbyists like to call them. No middle name that I can find and no town of birth. I narrowed it down to 46 families in the county. I may have to wait till I can afford a trip over there to continue that research. Or spend a lot of money, which I don't have right now.

I am hoping to find a few clues in Kingston. The relatives who still live there might have pictures or documents tucked away somewhere. I've got my fingers crossed.

Dark Deeds is resting while the 1st reader is working through it. I've started outlining the 2nd book in the Changed World series. The working title for now will be Scattered Seeds. I've got a lot of ideas for it. And I think I may need to do some research for a couple parts. However, I don't think I will be doing much writing over the next week. I worked hard to get Dark Deeds done on time, so I feel that I deserve this little break. Yay! (Besides, it was on the schedule)

How is your September shaping up? Is it as busy as mine is turning out to be? School, weddings, writings, new books?