Saturday, November 28, 2015

Death in a Family Business

I am honored to be a friend of published author Wally Wood. He has written three novels, not to mention the number of books he has co-authored and ghost written.

Wally’s latest novel, Death in a Family Business, is his first Tommy Lovell mystery. Tommy is betwixt and between at the start of the book. His business had failed as did his marriage. Tommy’s self esteem is at its lowest when he has to move back home. He grudgingly travels with his father to a small town nestled in the Berkshires to help save a friend’s business.

Wally captures the reader with his vivid descriptions while pulling us further into the story as Tommy discovers more about the family “business.”

Check this book out on Wally’s Amazon author page:

Friday, November 27, 2015

“… it’s always what you do with it.”

The latest issue of Writers Digest features an article, “Write Your Novel in 2016,” and that is exactly what I plan to do. One of the quotes within that issue by Neil Gaiman, “But the truth is, it’s not the idea, it’s never the idea, it’s always what you do with it,” caught my attention.

I have been searching for a unique plot line that I can sink my teeth into and feel passionate about. But maybe I don’t need to work so hard on those plot lines, but instead work at giving them a different twist.

My protagonist, Caitlyn Jamison, is about to get involved in another mystery. This was not in her game plan. She has been quite happy working in DC, though continues to be unsettled about her love life. Her fall trip to the winery for a photo shoot is interrupted by Ethan when he asks her to help solve another murder. And then there’s the cold case. What will she do?

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Books and Flowers

This beautiful bouquet was from our daughter as a way of saying "Congrats" on a job well done. This gesture is so appreciated, and the flowers will be enjoyed by family members over the Thanksgiving holiday.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

An Unexpected Death - Cover and early reports

Some of my neighbors have received their copy of my book,* read it, and commented that they couldn't put it down. That is a great compliment. It means the book's pace worked, and for a first time author, that is a great relief.  Though one husband complained that his wife "couldn't put it down" and therefore he was afraid his Thanksgiving was in jeopardy.  She was able to finish, wrote me a note and added that her husband would be fed!

* In the meantime I still await the twenty copies I ordered :) and keep hoping the UPS truck will stop at our door soon. 

Thursday, November 19, 2015

An Unexpected Death; A Caitlyn Jamison Mystery – Published!

This is the photo used for the cover
This day didn’t seem attainable a year ago when I began this novel. The key to success was plot lines I felt passionate about and a writing partner who encouraged me every step of the way. She even provided me with the virtual head slap when I was having second thoughts about publishing at all.

It took two proofs before I felt comfortable to publish. The first one was marked up with all sorts of edits. In the second, I found a couple misspellings, missing end quotes, missing words. Nothing major, but every detail counts when you face careful readers.

Am I a nervous wreck? Absolutely, and I wonder if every first time author feels this way.

It is now up to my protagonist Caitlyn Jamison and Sheriff Ethan Ewing to strut their stuff, solve the crimes and bring justice to Upstate New York. They run into a number of obstacles along the way, but I have every confidence that they will be successful.

My only wish is that readers enjoy the story.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Finding my Voice

As I begin the second Caitlyn Jamison mystery I started to think more about voice. What is it exactly? What should it be? Is it something I have to learn, practice, develop? In a September 2013 Writer’s Digest article, Cris Freese states:

“To set your voice free, set your words free. Set your characters free. Most important, set your heart free. It is from the unknowable shadows of your subconscious that your stories will find their drive and from which they will draw their meaning. No one can loan that or teach you that. Your voice is your self in the story.”

The article confirmed what I believed, which is that my writing voice is mine alone, my personality coming through, and in that sense unique. It only alters when I get so “in the groove” that the characters take over, and that’s okay.

So where does writing style come in? Style is your particular use of sentence structure - long, short, complex, simple, imagery, conversational, etc. And that is what I need to work on in this next book. Developing a style that fits my voice, my personality, and is in a way uniquely me.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Will this book ever be published?

The road to publishing is often bumpy. I take some pride in the fact that my manuscript was accepted with no adjustments needed. It’s the cover that has been giving us angst. We thought we had provided enough space for the bar code, but alas, it took three tries to get it right. I have ordered another proof and am keeping fingers crossed there won’t be any major mishaps.

What I forgot … this is a first time novel, so there is a certain level (read: high) of stress associated. I am now thinking of things I forgot to put in – like the statement: any mistakes are mine! I also should have included a little more about myself as a person and as an author.  

Writing, publishing, and marketing are new and wonderful experiences for me.  I know I am growing in the craft and although there are some sleepless nights, I think it will all be worth it.

The bottom line is, I hope readers will enjoy the story and overlook the mistakes they find.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Why a Proof Copy is Necessary

CreateSpace strongly advises its authors to order a proof copy before they publish.  I strongly advise this as well.

Although I had been over my manuscript many times either on screen or with hard copy, reading it in real book form is a very different experience. I won’t try to describe it, because I can’t. Just take my word. The photo above is just the beginning of items I found that I wanted to change, tweak, say better, say differently, add, delete, checking for extra spaces, etc.

It is hard tedious work. But work that will make the book better as a result. I am painstakingly going through each page, noting changes with yellow stickies, and then after twenty or thirty pages, I make the edits in the document. I have about a hundred pages yet to go, so excuse me while I get back to editing the proof copy.