Thursday, November 21, 2019

Murder Gets Even and Death in the Dune – by John Molino

Similar to my experience – someone who never planned to write and publish a book, one of my neighbors, John Molino, has done just that. He develops the most interesting plot lines and characters. His first book, Murder Gets Even, published in 2018, is a fascinating story set at Cameron Station Military Installation in Alexandria, Virginia in the Summer of 1970. Colonel Fleming Andrews is the kind of character that you love to hate. Mr. Molino crafts this character, as well as the others in the book, so that the reader is drawn into them, and the story line. The story grips the reader and won’t let go until the last word is read. 

When John finished Murder Gets Even, he said that was it. One and done. But a year later he comes out with another cleverly crafted story, Death in the Dune. The story begins in 1617 Virginia Settlement with an unfortunate incident, but by the second chapter it is present time and the Dune, located along the Chesapeake Bay is up to it’s old tricks. The dune is located as a barrier between the bay and a condo complex where retired Commodore Bob keeps a watchful eye from his “lanai.” It is he who notices the change in the dune, and warns his neighbors. They, along with the authorities, listen to Bob with much skepticism and wonder about his mental faculties.

John Molino is a gifted storyteller, and I await his next book – next year, John?

Saturday, November 9, 2019


The National Novel Writing Month officially began on November 1, but it is not to late to get started on the book you always wanted to write. 

The goal of NANWRIMO is to get authors in the habit of writing every day. Write a little; write a lot, but just write. Work on your story. 

I'm part of the NANOWRIMO Rebel group. I found that on most days I can't make the 1,167 word limit that would get me over the finish line of 50,000 words for the month. Life interrupts. NANOWRIMO Rebels still write every day, but the goals are much more attainable. We all need that feeling of success.

I'm working on a suspense story now. I am also in a memoir (life stories) group at the library. I have other things I'm involved with. And, I want at the end of each week to not only meet my goal, but exceed it. 

This year for NANOWRIMO I set my weekly word count at a conservative 3,000 words. I barely made it this week. But I did and more. Another goal is to compose a new life story piece, which I have not done. Yet. Maybe I can squeeze that in at the end of the day. 

Good luck with whatever you are writing. And remember, it is important that you get into the habit of writing, get into your project, and in time, finish it.

Thursday, November 7, 2019

The Death of Cassie White news

Now in Large Print

Several readers have asked, "Are your books in large print?" The answer, unfortunately, was, "no."

I hated seeing the disappointment on readers' faces, so I asked Kindle Direct Publishing. The response came right back, "Yes. There is a little box in the set-up page that you have to check." The book has to be reentered and assigned a new ISBN number. 

I was so excited. I immediately reformatted the text and my cover designer offered to redo the spine width and not charge me any more. 

So The Death of Cassie White, the newest Caitlyn Jamison Mystery is now in Large Print!

Why I Don't Use Goodreads

This is a frustration post, so feel free to disregard. I just don't understand why the Goodreads website has to be so darn difficult. 

On my marketing schedule today was to add my new book, The Death of Cassie White to the Sisters in Crime website bookshelf. I got that done in no time. Next on the list was to add the book to my author page on Goodreads. I can't say how long it took to figure out how to add the book, but I finally clicked through enough (over and over again) to find the new title page. Unfortunately, when I did that, I missed the very small print at the top right that said upload image. I filled out all the required boxes and checked the box - I am not a robot. 

The entry appeared but with a plain cover. I tried over and over to find where I could upload the cover. No obvious place. Again, I just circled around. Went to YouTube, and that is where I learned about the small print wording. Went back in, but can't get to that unless I upload the book, but can't do that since it is already uploaded - sound like a Catch 22?

I went to their question section. Again, no help. Most advice had to deal with how you CAN'T change cover photos. 

If anyone has the secret answer - please let me know. 

Thursday, October 17, 2019

The Third Caitlyn Jamison Mystery is Published

I've been so busy (explained in previous post) that I've neglected to share the fact that I published the third Caitlyn Jamison Mystery on October 4. I've been holding off on formally announcing the publication until I receive my shipment of books - just to make sure. I'm not especially happy that it is taking two weeks for my books to arrive. In the past, book shipments always arrived a day or two or more ahead of the stated shipping date. And, with CreateSpace, they also honored my small orders and not bundling them, which then moves the arrival date ahead by several days.

And so I wait. The time is not wasted. I'm now able to focus on setting up the timeline, plot line, and characters for the suspense story I've started. I attended a workshop at the library last Saturday where I learned about taking each major character and listing their strengths, weaknesses, misbelief, and personal goals. I started this on Sunday morning and realized how difficult that is. It is forcing me to dig deep into each character's thoughts, feelings, and beliefs that drives them, and the story will be richer because of this. I'm concentrating on finishing this part of the project, as well as finishing my draft outline so that on November 1 I can start NANOWRIMO and accomplish my personal writing goals for each week.

Speaking of NANOWRIMO, I am a National Novel Writing Month "rebel." Instead of setting myself up for certain failure by adhering to their 1,167 words a day to get 50,000 words in the month of November, I'm setting my writing goal to 430 words a day, which is more reasonable for me. Another goal is to write one new memoir piece per week. I'm setting my goals low so hopefully I will exceed them and feel success. We have to do whatever works. The important message of NANOWRIMO is to get in the habit of writing. And that I applaud. 

The Death of Cassie White

Table set up for Chancellor's Village presentation
I published The Death of Cassie White on October 4, 2019. If I thought my summer was busy, it was nothing compared to the last two months. Finishing final edits (realizing editing is never finished), and getting transcription jobs coming in, and preparing the first seven chapters of my suspense story for the Old Town Sleuth critique group meeting on October 1 . . . well, needless to say, I’ve been a little stressed out.

I am still waiting for my first shipment of books to arrive – hopefully tomorrow. Although extremely pleased with the quality of the covers of Kindle Direct Publishing (Amazon), I am not so happy about their bundling my first two small orders (in order to get the books faster), into one big order, shifting the arrival day by three days. Consequently, I missed having my new books for my first author talk yesterday.
I arrived early to make sure I had plenty of time for set-up.
Getting over that, my talk to the residents of Chancellor’s Village Independent and Assisted Living facility in Fredericksburg, VA was extremely delightful. There was a good turnout and a fun loving group. We had a lot of laughs as I shared stories of my writing life. How it began in 2008, why, and how plot lines are developed and characters who change the story.

The recreation director and I ended the talk by encouraging the residents to write, especially memoir writing. They each have a wonderful story to tell, to share with family. I left there energized and feeling that maybe in some small way I enriched their lives as much as they did mine.

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Savannah Suspense

This is the first book where I haven’t had a title pop into my head before the book was started. Having said that, each of the other three book titles changed by the end of the book, so I should count myself lucky.

This new project is fun and very different from what I’ve written in the past. I’m learning a new sub-genre, and have developed characters that I’m giving free rein to on the story. I have no idea where the plot is going, and I’m not concerned. When I get in the groove with the characters, each chapter writes itself. So I’m taking it just one chapter at a time.

In talking with one of my beta readers and mentioning how difficult it was to manage a large manuscript, he suggested I keep the chapters as separate documents. I’m trying that with the Savannah suspense, and so far I like it. When I think of something to add to a chapter, I don’t have to scroll until I find it. I just pop into that chapter and add what I want.

Each chapter has a short description title so I know exactly what it is about. I am also keeping a timeline document with a short synopsis of each chapter to keep careful track of what day it is and what happened. To add another level of tension, the story is set around a holiday, so to get things to work out, I’ve already had to back up the dates. Easy to do with individual chapters and a timeline.

I’m on Chapter Seven, where protagonist Alaina Carter and her former CDC partner Denton Parker are part of a team to help the city as it faces a potential crisis. They are meeting with the city’s emergency team to put plans in place should the possible scenario play out. Stay tuned.