Thursday, November 20, 2014

Thursday, November 13, 2014

The Thing About Writing a Series

This is my first series. As I get underway with book 2, I am learning a lot about planning. I do keep a "bible" of information about the world, the characters, etc. But there are things that I didn't foresee.

In thinking through a scene for book 2, I realized I already set the seeds in the first book. The published one. Which means that although it isn't set in stone, it's already out there. So I should stick with the initial hint. When I went back through book 1, I found that the seeds were vague enough that I could tweak my new scene in the direction I had hoped to go. Whew!

There are a lot of things that I blithely threw out in book 1 that now restricts what I can do in book 2.

I had a vague overview of how the series would proceed. I see now that I need to get a better handle on that before I write myself into the proverbial corner.

Over the past week I have been doing more world building, off the page. I had to do a lot  of research and translate that into my world. You can find the strangest things on the internet. I've been looking into the structure of government and food production factories and how satellites work. A lot of miscellaneous information that may never get on the page. But I need to know it to make educated extrapolations for the story.

I thought I was stuck. The scenes were rambling along aimlessly. Then I did my research. Now I have a whole new arsenal of ideas for shaping this story. I think my reader will appreciate the time spent away from writing.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

5 Tips on Improving Dialog

 Everyone has a strength - description, tension, humor. I've been told that my dialog is done well. It's something that comes more easily for me than other parts of the story. So I think I am a bit more sensitive to bad dialog.

"Because, Jim, bad dialog is sure to be the death of a story."
"What would you say that, Mary?"
"I have been around the world learning new skills and I know that although I have been gone for 10 years that you have waited for me to return and tell you my story."
"Yes, Mary. It has been a long, sad time here."

Ack, cough, blak, bak gak.

1. No one speaks in full sentences. Which sounds more realistic?

"Mike, will you be going out sometime today?"
"I am not sure, Tom. I think I might go out later."

"You going out?" Tom asked.
"Maybe," Mike said with a shrug.

2. Don't leave the emotion out. You can shape a sentence into a tirade or a seduction depending on the person.

"Take a hike," she grumbled, pushing past him.
"Take a hike," she purred, lifting the hem of her skirt.
"Take. A. Hike!" she spat, red faced and panting.

3. Don't repeat the character's name. We don't address people by their names in every sentence.

"Tom, are you seeing Susie today?"
"Nope, Mike, I saw her yesterday."
"I think she's expecting you, Tom."
"Well, I can't make it today, Mike."

4. Let the reader connect the dots. You don't have to lay out the entire scene in dialog.

"He hit me very hard with a baseball bat and broke my elbow," Tom said angrily.

"He had a baseball bat," Tom growled. He was white with pain, but his eyes burned with anger. "Broke my damn elbow."

5. A little accent goes a long way. And if it's an alien, watch the inverted structure.

"Too backwards as the form is, can be confusing reader it is."

Too much accent makes it hard to read. Bizarre sentence structure slows the pace of the story as the reader has to sort out what's being said. I gave up on a series I was enjoying because the sentence structure of one of the aliens was so odd that I couldn't figure out what it was saying. If that's important to the story, make sure someone is around to interpret.

And most important of all - have fun!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

New Cover for White Lies

A brand new cover for book 1 in the Asher Blaine Mystery series. Book 2 will be out in January 2015. To get ready for the 2nd book, the price for White Lies will drop to .99 through January.

Check here for a cover reveal for book 2 in December.

I would love to hear how people feel about the new cover in comparison to the old cover. I love it!

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!