Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Weekly Deets -- 7.15.15

Tweet, tweet! And twitter tweet some more :-) It's what I am doing today with another *sigh* contest. I truly believe writers are addicted and these fav stars are our crack candy! I collect them, for sure. 

Thank Yous: Anyway, I wanted to check in and extend a warm thank you to all those who help the starving, struggling writers, (count me in) with supporting comments, wonderful promos, and just being all around nice. Kudos and cheers to you! 

Business: Last Saturday I spent the afternoon at the Learned Owl Book Shop. No, I wasn't shopping or browsing for books, though I love doing that. I was there for a book signing. It was fun, met a few really nice folks, chatted up a storm (I do it well) and sold ... well, who cares about that? lol It's the socializing and stuff that I enjoy most. Next up? The Wadsworth Library on Tuesday evening July 28th.

Reflection: It's been twenty-three years this month since my mom passed away. She was a grand lady, spectacular cook and baker, and always overflowing with love. Never one to ask for something in return, she gave and gave even more of whatever she had. I'd like to think she's my special guardian angel. I can't imagine a more appropriate one. After these many years I am able to remember her without crying, or at least most times I can. When I write characters into my stories and need one to be that person, you know, the one who guides others, offers sound advice, and isn't afraid to tell the truth, like it or not, I think of her. She was funny, too. Loved to gab with strangers. And never showed a dark side, at least not to me. She loved nature, the color yellow and long rides in the country. She grooved to soul music more than anyone her age I know. Play some Brooke Benton or Sam Cooke tunes, and maybe throw in a little rockin' blues by Elvis and she was happy. She'd sacrifice her all to save you. And never complain. She was my rock, but taught me how to stand on my own two feet. It doesn't get better than that, folks. 

I think I will leave this post, now. Before those tears start! Besides, I have to get back to all the tweet, tweet twitter feed going on! It's booming. 

Cheers! And enjoy your day!

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Weekly Deets -- 7.8.15

Yes, yes. Late again. Yet, here I am. I wanted to wait until after my author visit to post, but another day passed and then another. Before the week is entirely gone, I am writing a new post. Part of my excuse deals with the True Blood series. I finished watching the final episodes today with my daughter -- the one who caused all this madness in the first place by suggesting I watch! 

I loved it. I truly loved it. And now I'm heartbroken because it's done. After three weeks of binge TV and seven seasons, i.e. 110 episodes, and I refuse to add up the total minutes, I am experiencing withdrawal symptoms. Sad, yes, I know. But true. Next comes the books. I've only read the first, and there are thirteen Sookie Stackhouse novels. I want to compare the author's writing to the show, how they differ, because I'm assured they do differ. Will post later on that.

Monday evening I made another author visit to my hometown library. It's always fun going back. I don't live that far away now, but I love to reminisce. There were a few visitors, my sister and brother-in-law included. I also got a wonderful surprise to see a high school classmate. I love him for that. We hadn't seen each other since graduation, and I won't admit how many years ago that's been! I sold a few books, but it's the talk that I love the most. Such a great time.

Next up, the Learned Owl Bookshop on Saturday. Signing at bookstores is so different. Engaging in a more intimate way, one on one most of the time, talking with customers. I'm looking forward to browsing the store for goodies! Independent bookstores are full of them. 

Writing is coming along. Sort of. One of my guests Monday evening asked what kind of mood writing puts me in, if I experience times when I somehow connect with the story on a much deeper level. Or maybe have an "ah hah!" moment. I told him I have plenty of angst! It can be shear torture at any given point when each word on the page is a struggle, especially with descriptive details. And when it's done ... like a labor of love, painful but worth the effort, it will shine, and I do enjoy that. 

Wrapping it up, I will quote Stephen King (from his book On Writing) on descriptive writing -- "Description begins in the writer's imagination but should finish in the reader's." In other words, when putting descriptive details into your work ... "The trick is to find a happy medium."

And by the way, you may find it interesting that one of King's pet peeves about description is when writers include the tiniest details about what a character is wearing or how he/she looks. Unless, for example, Martha wearing a blue polka dot dress is significant to the plot, you don't need such detail. In his words, "If I want to read a description of clothes, I can always get a J. Crew catalogue." Of course, this is just his opinion. But he is friggin' Stephen King!

P.S. A Deadly Deed Grows now has 15 reviews on Amazon! Chug, chug along. 

Happy reading and writing, everybody!

Monday, June 29, 2015

Weekly Deets -- 6.29.15

Did I skip a week? Yes, I think I did ... oh boy. How time gets away from me. I spent a lot of it rethinking new projects and old. I've decided to change my most current MS from 3rd POV to 1st. Why? It's the only way I seem to be able to get inside her head and give her a fuller voice. It's going to take a lot of work, but I have to believe it will be worth it. Next up, I start with this idea from the MSWL, aka agent manuscript wish list on Twitter and tweak it a bit. Take a Veronica Mars like character and plunk her down in Louisiana, then create a mystery full of voodoo and murder. We'll see what happens. But I'm definitely liking it so far! And .... next! Still working to finish writing my romance dashed with a bit of mystery. I'm maybe a third of the way through. It's a seat-of-my-pants approach where I really have no idea how it will end! How do writers do this? Oh, I use to, but it's scary after all my recent work done from planning and outlining.

And on Friday I got pulled into another Twitter contest -- #writepit. Yes, I'm addicted. It's fun and like fishing, I sometimes get a nibble or two. This time my catch included two publishers and one agent. I'm slow, but I'm beginning to think this is me just wanting positive strokes. Tell me you like me enough to want my work and I'll be proud as a peacock! Geesh! The real problem with Twitter pitches is just that. It's a 140 character pitch. How can anybody tell what the writing is going to look like based on a skimpy pitch? I'd guess their acceptance rate is about a gazillion to one. Still, it's lots of fun to do and you can make great Twitter friends. In the meantime, never know when you'll be that one in a gazillion!

Okay, enough about me and all this writing stuff. Well, sort of. This is more like a footnote. Do you folks who write ever need some kind of outlet? You know, a hobby, recreation, or whatever that distracts you from writing and helps you stay sane? I bought a needlepoint kit. Sad, right? I'm thinking I can needlepoint while plotting in my head. Yeah, that's not really a distraction from writing, but at least I will have a needlepoint creation :-) 

One more thing ... I said I would update about my True Blood/Sookie Stackhouse observations. I am on season 5 and just started reading book 1. The show is so creepy and disgusting with all the blood and gore, but that makes me want to watch it even more! The book is, well, I can't really say too much yet. The writing is simple, but in that way probably appeals to a wider audience of readers. I will have more on that later. 

Alrighty then. That's it for the week. I will try to do better next time and be on time. Happy Fourth of July! Enjoy your freedom, your family, your friends. 

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Weekly Deets -- 6.16.15

                                                      It's been a busy week ... but not with writing :-( I spent time with my hubby up at the family cabin in Pennsylvania this past weekend. It was relaxing and fun. Nice to see the surrounding sites and have them remind me of years gone by, AND picturing them as scenes in my WIP. That's an interesting experience, thinking of the characters as they act out a particular scene in a place I'm visiting. Over all, it was a relief to unplug and not worry or stress about writing or getting work published. Always wise to put that into the equation once every so often!

New experience -- I have never really liked vampire stories, aka, NOT a Twilight fan, and don't agree to recommendations of said topic. However, my daughter suggested I might enjoy the Sookie Stackhouse series by Charlaine Harris. And this is how she peeked my interest: interesting, entertaining characters. Yep. One comment on how these reminded her of my story characters, or at least some of them, and the MC's bold, independent, sassy ways led me to check it out. Well, sort of. I took a sneak preview of the HBO series, True Blood ... and I love it! Although it's sometimes a bloody, gory vampire mess, the characters are engaging, warm, and entertaining. AND it takes place in Louisiana! BAM! Bonus points! Seriously, I will start reading the series -- always like to compare book to tv, movie versions. And I'll get back to you with comments later on. 

All of this reminds me of how important characters are when writing. I like to create ones that are unique in at least one or two ways, I mean extremely unique. Like Louise Picault in my Dying to Dream who's a spry eighty-year-old loaded and ready to zap you with her voodoo and Cajun powers. Or Kooky Colonel Crockett in Lilly M's Whips, Cuffs, and Little Brown Boxes, an eccentric, somewhat crazy neighbor who thinks he's Davy Crockett protecting the frontier with his gun, Betsy. They are secondary characters, but they are what make the story colorful and pull you into their world and keep you there until the last page! 

Sure, the plot drives the story but it's the characters who make it interesting enough to stick with it and set it apart from the million other stories out there. Anyway, it was nice to be reminded of that. Thank you, Charlaine and Sookie! 

That's about it for this week. On professional notes: 1) I sent out Grave Maker Blues to Carina Press. Another 12 week wait, I'd guess. But it's doing something, and I'm all about that!; 2) The Lilly M cozy series is making waves on Amazon. I priced #2 for free in Kindle and it's pushing sales for the other two. Weee!; 3) A Deadly Deed Grows is moving slowly, but it's being checked out at local libraries which means gathering new readers! Always a plus and I love sharing what I write. Next book signing -- July 6th. 

Take care and happy reading!

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Weekly Deets -- 6.9.15

A little behind, I know. However it's for a very good reason ... maybe :-) I had my first book event for A Deadly Deed Grows Monday evening. I thought it would be nice to wait until afterward to post my weekly comments. So of course, it's two days after! Procrastination strikes again. All in all, it was a fun and entertaining time. For those authors who wonder what exactly should they do and talk about during a book signing/author visit ... I'm still searching for ideas, and I've done this a few dozen times already! 

This one went pretty much the same. It's basic stuff, not so creative. (I'll leave that up to the more experienced.) Regardless, this is my take on it. Give a little bio -- don't ramble on too long about it because it will bore them. Trust me. Then talk a bit about your current book -- again, don't drone on and on. Give your guests a chance to ask questions. And obviously you want to save some time to sell books if your host will let you. (Libraries can get quite picky about such things. I've always been lucky enough to have permission to sell.) But that's not all I did or do during my visits. It must be the teacher in me never wanting to die despite retirement. This time I gave them a fun quiz. Yep. How cruel is that?! Actually, it was fun. Seven facts about my story's setting -- those beautiful spots along the Florida Panhandle: Cape San Blas, Port Saint Joe, Apalachicola. Some true and others false. (Hey, if nothing else it's a way to switch up the activity so people aren't anxious to bolt out the door! Yeah, it's another teacher thing to change activities frequently) 

Like I said, everyone enjoyed it. Or at least that's the way I'll remember the evening. Bonus? I sold a few books and gained a few reader fans. 

In the meantime I'm slugging along with my WIP. And when I'm not doing that, I'm watching the NBA playoffs with our home team, the Cavaliers. Go Lebron! Go Delly! Go Cavs! #ALLinCLE !!!

Have a great week and happy reading and writing!

Monday, June 1, 2015

Weekly Deets -- 6.1.15

It's Monday, the first day of June and dismally cloudy to start. I feel sorry for the kiddos on having such a cold and dreary day, their first day of summer break. Hopefully we'll snap out of it. 

I had a revelation of thought about my recently finished mystery -- Grave Maker Blues. I decided revising it into first person POV might make a difference. AND IT DOES! Not to mention that this way I will find it easier to add more internal thought. First person does that, at least in my experience. Anyway, it's worth a shot. I'll wait and finish the revisions this way, and then start querying again.

Meantime, I'm slugging along with my WIP. I keep wanting to turn it into primarily a mystery rather than the intended romance. My brain. My habit. *sigh* I should take time, now, to make an outline, but I'm so determined to let my emotions carry me along, develop as I go, let the characters lead the way. Crazy? Maybe. Trudging onward! 

Only a week before my first author/book event for A Deadly Deed Grows. Nervous? Excited? Anxious? I should be all of those, but I'm not. Worried? Oh, yes. That I am. I always worry that no one will show. I'll be talking to chairs rather than people. (haha) Seriously, I believe the first one will be fine. And the second -- that one is in my hometown -- because people will want to come right away. After that ... maybe not so much. That's why I decided not to over-do. I've only scheduled six for the next several months. Four libraries, one bookstore, and one multi-author book fair at a college.

I'm working on an idea for a future project. It is a cozy mystery series about a group of women who belong to a film club. In book one a murder occurs and as details are revealed they find the killing is a copycat of a movie plot they've seen. They begin to suspect one another as the possible murderer. That's what I have so far. Interesting, or no? Tell me what you think. 

That's it for the week. Not very newsy, but who knows what next week will bring! 

Happy reading ... and writing, all!

A Deadly Deed Grows

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Weekly Deets -- 5.24.15

Thought I'd try something different, something fresh, something that may flop ... or not :-) I'd considered a daily one, but I will be lucky to make it once a week! So, here goes ...

#1. This week I've been doing my agent query thing -- does this make everybody anxious, insecure, and all the troublesome bother that comes along the way to make you want to cry uncle? -- and sent out a half dozen more, a half dozen hopeful requests. This will be a total of 52, I believe. Not sure if that's good or bad. My goal is 100 and then if I get no takers, I'll pick a few indie publishers to query. (Some days I feel my decision-making is like I'm in a thick fog, not finding a true path, wandering aimlessly.)

Even though my experience with twitter pitching and contests gave me a fantastic high, nothing came of it. I remained agentless. I still believe in such venues, because it's a success for many, just not me. Yet. (And yes, those eight or so agents are included in my query total, along with all those cold queries.)

#2. Writing has taken me in another direction as of late. About a month ago I started a romance novel -- I'm usually all about mystery -- and it's coming along. But darn if some mystery elements didn't start creeping into the story! Can't help myself. I have a feeling it will turn into another mystery with romantic elements before long. And yes, I didn't outline this time. Again, a departure for me. Oh, I used to dive into stories without an outline. All the time. Then when I'd reach around page 50 or so, it would click and I'd take a break to develop a chapter by chapter summary of the WIP. And you know what? I see why I finally began creating outlines beforehand! Painting myself into those writer corners is not a pleasant thing. :-(

#3. Planning my first author visit for A Deadly Deed Grows. It's in two weeks. Yikes! My procrastinating self will most likely take charge and it will be two days before the event when I start to panic and work like the devil to get everything ready. Online sales have been slow as a slug. Hopefully with a little more exposure and time it will do better. I'm thinking of a follow-up to this one. Series do tend to sell better than stand-alones. We'll see. A lot on my plate right now. 

Okay. Enough for now. Until next week! Have a great one!

A Deadly Deed Grows