Category Archives: My books

When characters fight back

 

      She’s insisting she will not become romantically involved with her coworker.  Every time I try to write a bit of a love scene, she stalks off and won’t talk to me. 

    The sexual tension is there and she refuses to play with it.  I’ve tried bribery (If you play along I’ll write you a fabulous chase scene), coaxing (Oh, come on you know you like him), and threats (If you don’t let me write the scene I’ll wound or kill you in the next scene).  No good.  She won’t be moved. 

     I have a feeling she intends to hold herself aloof for her debut and then maybe she’ll loosen up in the second book.

     At least she’s talking to me and that’s a start.  My other characters have gone into hiding.

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Back it up…I should tattoo that on my hands.

     So I’m sort of getting used to the new lap top.  I do love the wireless feature.  Being able to take the computer to my bedroom, my chair, or even the kitchen has its perks. 

     I do hope my computer gets fixed sometime this week.  I also hope that I didn’t lose the couple batches of pictures and some writing I’d done and hadn’t gotten around to backing  up.  Nasty little F*tards who send out viruses and make us average people suffer are worthless pieces of crap.   Normally, I made regular back ups, but since the heart attack, I’ve neglected several things and that was one of them. 

     Oh well, you live and learn–sometimes.  You think I would’ve learned since my hard drive crashed a couple of years ago, but NOOOOOO, I forgot for a few months.  Yes, Dave I lost a lot of the book if my computer guru doesn’t recover everything.

     You all have a good one and don’t forget to BACK IT UP!

Writing exercise

     Take a line from one of your books and improve on it, exaggerate it, go over the top!    

     Curiosity got the better of me; I tugged the gate open and slipped into the run. 

     Curiosity grabbed me by the scruff of the neck, threw me through the open gate, and into the run.

     I blushed for the second time. 

     I felt the heat of blood infuse my face and knew it looked like a red neon sign for the second time.  I could almost picture the cartoon arrow flashing above my head ‘look here, look here!’ 

Time to whip myself back into shape

 

     I find that my muse has completely jumped ship.  She’d better get her butt back here soon.  It’s as though my brain caught a computer virus and shut down.  Not a good thing.

     I’m thinking that I probably need to jump start my creativity with a good infusion of  writing exercises.  In other words, my brain needs to get some exercise.  Come to think of it so does my body, the no smoking has added a few pounds.

     Oh, how exciting, me a lazy person, has not only quit smoking, but I am now going to exercise both brain and body. 

     You, my dear readers, might be subjected to some writerly exercises for a while until my brain gets the idea that it is NOT on vacation and MUST work.  You will also be subjected to me bitching about exercising my body.

     Be prepared, it’s going to be a bumpy ride.  This isn’t going to be pretty.

I said I’d think about it

 

     “Aw, please oh please oh please!”  My muse pleadingly raised her hands in the air.

     “You have to be kidding.  You really want me to drag that old book out and work on it?”

     “Why not?  It’s been years since you’ve even looked at it.  I bet you can do a quick rewrite and have it in top form in no time.”  She hopped up from the chair she’d sprawled in and patted my shoulder.

     “But why?”

     “I think people will like your heroine.  They’re ready for her now.  She’s no angel, she’s tough, her language isn’t very pretty but she has something.”

     “I dunno, all those rejections later, I don’t know if I’m ready for more, at least not on that book.”

     My muse flopped back into the chair and swung her legs over the arm.  “Will you at least think about it?”

     “I’ll think about it.”

A woman’s prerogative

This what my Kindle looks like

 

     As a woman, I have the right to change my mind.  As a writer, I owed it to myself to learn all I could about E-books and E-readers.  At least that’s what an agent told me recently. 

     “You should really know everything you possibly can about E-books and E-readers.  After all they aren’t going away, they are getting better.”  She said.

     I whined, “But what about book signings and the feel of a real book in your hands?”

     “Don’t worry there will always be real books.  However, E-books and E-readers will get your books out there to more people, younger people.”

     The discussion went on for quite some time and by the end, I was still whining, but I figured that I’d better take her advice and look into the whole business.

     I checked out all sorts of E-readers and then I bought a Kindle.  It arrived yesterday around noon.  I spent the rest of the day learning about it, playing with it, dressing it in a skin, and even downloaded two free books and a game.

     I hate to admit it, staunch book fan that I am, but…I like it. 

On writing

 

     I know many of you have read books in which the characters, plots, dialogue, and scenery are so compelling, that they draw you into new worlds or familiar ones.  They grab you.  Then they hold you there, breathless, waiting for the next scene and the next, all the way to the end of the book.

     Like all writers, I admire anyone who can do that.  I often hope and pray that my books will do the same for the people who will read them.

     New writers will often ask how does so and so do it?  How do they become a wizard at creating scenery, dialogue, and building believable characters? 

     In my experience, it is through hard work and so many rewrites that the average person would quail at the sight of the stacks of printed manuscripts sent to the recycling bin.

     Although some writers are prolific and quick in their writing, it doesn’t mean that they don’t work hard as well.  It probably means they have time to write without many interruptions.

     Then there are those of us who plod along putting in a few hours here and there as often as we can.  We work hard. 

     I soon hope to type ‘the end’ on one of my manuscripts.  It is my dream that when my books do hit the shelves they will grab you.

If it’s Thursday I’m not home

 

     Two Thursdays a month, I go to my local Borders and meet with other writers for a critiquing group.  Well, it used to be writers it’s not that now.  The group has shrunk down to only two of us.  One writer, after self-publishing, decided she didn’t need a critiquing group and left.  Another member became too ill to attend.  The third member lost interest and stopped writing. 

     Now we are two, two very determined writers, passionate in our craft.  We push each other forward and hone our writing techniques to a fine edge. 

     Yes, it would be better to have more people in our group.  However, finding writers willing to meet at one o’clock on a Thursday afternoon isn’t easy.

     We both have other people who review our work.  Dave, G, Jackie, and Elena read mine.  I read Dave’s manuscripts.  I can’t imagine not having them tear into my books.  They are valuable assets.

Maybe one of these nights I’ll get some non-stop writing in

 

     Finding a quiet time to write isn’t easy around here.  If I sit down to write when DH is taking his afternoon nap invariably both dogs decide it’s time to go out.  It’d be nice if I could open the door and let them go out on their own but around here, it isn’t a wise thing to do. 

     Then there are phone calls and people dropping by.  Therefore, I write late at night when the phone is quiet, no one drops by, and the dogs and DH are sound asleep…well, most of time they are.  For quite a while, DH was having trouble sleeping and would wander down about an hour after I’d get started on whatever writing I planned to do.  There’s no writing when DH wants to talk.  It looks as though a new mattress has that problem solved for now.

     However, Gavin has decided that he needs an extra out in the wee hours of the morning.  Patty, hearing that he has gone out, wants a turn too.  Out I schlep with the dogs. 

Some days other things take priority over writing

 

     I try to write every day.  Some days I do more writing than other days.  Today was one of those other days.  The garden was screaming for a weeding and the weather was cool enough to do it comfortably.  I couldn’t wait another day because we are expecting more humid and hot weather tomorrow that will last another week.

     Then G came over and we roasted the Ancho and poblano peppers on the grill.  We popped them into a plastic bag for fifteen minutes and all but two peeled easily.  G went home with half the peppers for her freezer.

     Yesterday, I picked two of the heirloom tomatoes and decided to make BLTs for dinner again.  I’m so glad I did.  Those tomatoes may be ugly looking but the flavor is marvelous.  It was so good that as soon as I finished my dinner I ran the second tomato over to G.  She had to taste it. 

     I got there in time for her to serve it with their dinner.  Later she phoned to rave about it.  I will plant them again next year.  There are quite a few on the plant but they aren’t ripe yet.  The Big Boy and Beefsteak tomatoes are also beginning to come in I picked two today.  DH asked me if there were any plum tomatoes, he could take over to his mother.  I brought in a whole basket full for him to choose from and took the rest to G.

Horror writers scare the crap out of me

 

     One would think that since I write murder mysteries, horror wouldn’t bother me.  One would be very wrong.  I’ve only read a couple Stephen King books (and had to turn all the lights on in the house), I have one old autographed Jack Ketchum (Dallas, you are a dear but your writing terrifies me), and now I own several autographed Jonathan Maberry books. 

     The minds of horror writers scare the living crap out of me.  I can describe a gory murder scene and stalk or be stalked by a killer through page after page.  However, things that go bump in the night, complete psychos, zombies, and werewolves intent on brutal, mindless massacre make my skin crawl. 

     Yet, I am reading Jonathan Maberry’s books because he so graciously autographed all of them for me when I won his basket.  (Thanks Jonathan, did I mention that live next to a cemetery?)

     The cemetery doesn’t normally bother me since those neighbors are very quiet.  We only worry about the live ones…or so I thought.  Then I read Jonathan’s books and he completely creeped me out more than once.  It may take a while before I’m comfortable again.

Keep the readers satisfied

 

     A story needs a beginning, middle, and an end.  Without all three, it isn’t a story. 

     Beginnings flow like a river with easy to navigate deep pools and rapids that make the pulse pound.  Beginnings can introduce your characters to your readers.  They can give your readers a time and place.  Most of all, beginnings hook them.

     Middles are a writer’s bane.  Screw up the middle of the story and you lose your audience.  You will often hear writers complain about a sagging middle.  That dull, lifeless section comes between the brilliant opening and the smashing end.  Middles need to move the story forward, excite the readers enough to keep them turning pages, and they add tension.  Middles must sparkle as bright as the beginning and drive onward to the end.  This is not easy.

     An ending wraps things up with a nice bow.  Whether it is the solving of a crime, the saving of the world or the success of a relationship, it satisfies the reader.  Keep the readers satisfied and they will keep coming back.