Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Website Development

I had put off developing a website thinking a blog would be good enough—until the November 11 CRRL Writer’s Conference. As I listened to the speakers, and participated on the panel on publishing and marketing, I realized it was time to develop a website presence.

We had purchased website software several years ago, so I had the tools at hand. And I’ve found that I enjoy creating websites and Keynote presentations. I worked on my pages, took a break, came back and added more information, took a break, and that was how my day went last Thursday as I put together the information I felt readers might enjoy.

I had a bit of a time getting the site published. That is not a seamless task and after many failed attempts, a live chat finally gave me the critical information I needed for success. But the site is up now, hosted by A2 Hosting, a reputable company – another goal.

In the process of getting the site hosted, I read a great article on Jane Friedman’s blog about what a website should cover. From that article I went back in and made adjustments to my site. Once published, I asked my daughter-in-law to review. She made some good suggestions, like putting my contact information next to where the books can be purchased if someone wants to purchase directly from me for a signed edition.

I will be posting tidbits about how the next Caitlyn Jamison mystery is progressing, and other writing and publishing things I have learned along the way.

Please visit my new website at:

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

NaNoWriMo Rebels

I recently learned about a group that calls itself NaNoWriMo Rebels. These are folks that don’t fit into the 50,000 words a month criteria. They are poets, bloggers, plotters, and … The Rebels suggest participants set their own goals, like I did this past week. They also suggest that if you meet your particular goal, then log in the 1,167 words for the day. Because you met your goal. However you decide to participate, make it a successful event. The real goal is to have participants form the habit of sitting in their seat and writing every day.

In my last blog I mentioned things were going well for me until about the 20,000 word mark. It was then I had to stop and rework the first chapters. I needed a strong base from which to continue the story, and I hadn’t accomplished that. I have worked the last few days in figuring out what exactly the story is about. I had too many things going on, and the flow was interrupted by switching characters and switching settings. I had to remove several chapters at the beginning because they didn’t feel right. I pasted them at the end, because I still want the characters, but they will come in later and I will be able to show rather than tell.

My day is made when I read a blog that says everything I feel and wish I had said better! Today is that day. One of the blogs I follow is TheKill Zone, and the entry from November 20 by Clare Langley-Hawthorne was why NaNoWriMo wasn’t working for her—for all the same reasons it isn’t working for me.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

NaNoWriMo – So How’s it Going?

I would answer that question with “good!” Though I would have to clarify –does it mean I am keeping up with the 1,167 words a day, or has the story progressed as I would like? Then the answer is no and yes.

The word count progressed well until about mid-month. It was at that time I realized this isn’t how I write. I can’t just throw words down to meet a daily number. I was getting lost in the story, and as the characters developed, they, too, didn’t like the way things were going.

At that point I decided my NaNoWriMo goal would be 25,000 (instead of 50,000). I was sure I could meet that. Over the last couple of days I rewrote Chapter One. Moved what was Chapter One to the end of the document with the hope I can salvage some of it later. I tweaked the next few chapters for better flow and moved chapters around. I now have a document that flows much better and I can move forward.

And, I wrote the last two chapters. That will help to keep me headed in the right direction.

Although I can’t write in the traditional NaNoWriMo style, I do appreciate their mission to get writers to write and/or work on their writing every day. That is a great habit to form.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Killer Crafts and Crafty Killers

Today I have the honor of being featured on the Anastasia Pollack’s blog, Killer Crafts and Crafty Killers. I was asked to write about my protagonist, Caitlyn Jamison’s craft, or in her case, Caitlyn’s career in graphic design.

Writing that guest blog was a great exercise. I hadn’t thought about how Caitlyn’s skills in graphic design would assist her in solving crimes. But in fact, they do.

When I started to create my characters, I decided that if I wanted my female sleuth to be out and about solving crimes, she couldn’t be tied to a desk, with a controlling boss looking over her shoulder. My protagonist needed a job that would allow her to move about while she earned a living. Being a self-employed (though struggling financially) graphic artist allowed her that freedom – have laptop will travel.

Being computer literate and with laptop close at hand, also helps her with investigations. She’s at ease with Internet research and with the ability to connect with others to get the information she needs.

Read the full blog here.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Preparing for NANOWRIMO

I decided to sign up for NANOWRIMO this year. National November Writing Month is when writers are challenged to write 50,000 words in one month. That comes out to 1,667 words a day. A daunting task!

With two books under my belt I have a better feel for how I write. I am not one to blast through just typing anything to get to the 1,667 words a day. I am thoughtful, I edit as I go, and as the characters develop, sometimes they take the story in a different direction, which means I have to go back and adjust the previous writing to fit the new plot line.

With all that in mind, I have been planning my NANOWRIMO experience. Before writing anything, I sketched out my book into three acts. Within those acts I developed scenes that will guide me as the story unfolds.

Character bios are written and it was fun to develop new characters that protagonist Caitlyn Jamison will meet and have to figure out—who done it!

The setting has moved from Upstate New York to the Chesapeake Bay area of Virginia. My Virginia readers will appreciate that.

Although I may not make the 1,667 words a day, I am sure going to try to make good progress. It will be fun to be part of this worldwide community of writers.

I continue to wonder . . .why November? With the holidays looming, it is one of the busiest months of the year, especially for women. Why not NAJAWRIMO? Wouldn’t having the writing month in January make more sense?

Stay tuned for reports on how I’m doing. Only 8 more days to plan.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

It’s not too late – to register for the CRRL Writers Conference

The Central Rappahannock Regional Library will host its first Writers Conference on Saturday, November 11, 2017 9:15 – 5:00 at the Porter Branch, 2001 Parkway Boulevard, Stafford, Virginia.

The sessions offered are: 9:45 – 10:45 – When Fiction Goes to War: Creating Characters in and after Combat; Writing Believable Characters; Writing a Pitch. The sessions in the 11:00 – 12:00 hour are: Beating the Odds. Using Graphic Novels to Help You Overcome Adversity; Market Your Book Like a Pro! Tips, tools and strategies for selling your book (and have fun doing it!), or Review of first 500 words: Bring 500 words and receive feedback.

The lunch break is 12:00 to 1:30, followed by a Panel Discussion 1:30 – 3:00. This panel will discuss traditional publishing versus self-publishing. I will be on this panel, and look forward to sharing my views on self-publishing.

There will be a local author reception from 3:00 – 5:00.

Call the Porter Branch Research Desk to register for this fun and informative event – 540 659 4909. It’s free!!!!

Friday, October 20, 2017

Caitlyn Jamison Mysteries featured in the Ithaca Journal

Thanks to Ithaca Journal columnist, Gay Huddle, another great article about the Caitlyn Jamison mystery books appeared in that Upstate New York newspaper. Gay wrote:

“Congratulations to Mary Nunn Maki, formerly of Newfield and currently living in Virginia, on the recent publication of her second book, “Fatal Dose,” a mystery featuring Caitlyn Jamison. 
This book, and Mary’s first book, “An Unexpected Death,” are set in the Finger Lakes area, as Mary says her deepest roots are here. She grew up near Taughannock Falls, as her parents and grandparents, Merritt and Maude Agard, operated Taughannock Farms Inn. 
Mary attended the two-room Willow Creek schoolhouse until third grade and finished up at Trumansburg Central School. After graduating from Corning Community College, Mary married Ray Maki, from Newfield, and settled on VanBuskirk Gulf Road with her family for almost 25 years. She worked at Cornell University for Carl Sagan, and then went to the other hill to serve as secretary to Ithaca College President James Whalen
“Through this process, I have learned that what I love about writing is developing the different characters, describing the setting and then bringing it all to life,” Mary says.
Please visit to learn more. Mary’s books are published under the name M.E. Maki. 
Joe Scaglione, of Ithaca, took a great picture of Grove Cemetery in Trumansburg, and Mary received permission from him to use it as the book cover for Fatal Dose.”