Posts

Reading the Reviews of Your Book(s)

Some writers avoid reading their reviews--other obsess over them.

Believe me, I'm happy that a reader has taken the time to read one of my books. However, sometimes I'm kind of amazed by some of the reviews.
Right now I'm in the process of re-editing the books in my Rocky Bluff P.D. crime series for a new publisher. I began with the first book in the series and I"m now working on #7--Angel Lost. It has the most reviews of any of my books which makes me think I must've had some kind or promotion going on though I can't remember what.
I've been sending snippets of reviews to be put on the covers of each book, and while reading the reviews of this one, some of them surprised me.
Most of the reviews were 4 or 5 stars, but there were a few others.
In this particular book there is no upfront murder--the plot focuses on other things going on in the characters' lives--a wedding is being planned, a police officer is suffering PTSD--though it's not called th…

All Things Cats by Elaine Faber

Image
This group of short stories is for all of you cat lovers and others who enjoy great short stories.

This group of twenty-one stories are a great mix of humorous and sometimes quite poignant tales. Sometimes the story is about a cat--and sometimes it's the cat who is telling the story. All Things Cat contains a great variety that should please every reader.
"Dead Bush Poker" is set back in time a bit, and the story teller is during a time and place when a cat is a treasure and worth gambling for.
"Bubbles and Baubles" is a mystery with a surprise ending.
"Does God Love Cats?" is all about healing.
"Esme, the Ship's Cat" is told by Esme, and if you love a rousing tale about pirates, this one will delight you.
"Moonlight Madness" is an unusual Halloween story--with an unexpected twist. Another Halloween story follows--Halloween and the Leger Hotel.
I could go on and on describing each delightful tale, but suffice it to say, this i…

LOCATION AS A CHARACTER IN A NOVEL by J.L.Greger

Image
Location as a Character in a Novel
Murderers and thieves aren’t born bad. Their environment shapes their basic inherent characteristics (genetically derived) into criminals. We are all products of both nature and nurture. Accordingly, locations are characters in all of our lives.
I wanted to show how sloppy practices can morph into criminal activities (embezzlement, abuse of animals, perjury), and these “small” crimes can escalate into murder in the right permissive environment. In She Didn’t Know Her Place, State U provides the right environment for nurturing wrong-doing. This red-brick state university was a sleepy place in the 1950s. Then the ambitions of a few to make it more competitive led to shortcuts. The result is this college looks in good shape on the surface, but the foundations of most building are badly cracked. The buildings are often drafty because of poor maintenance. In other words, the state college is a character in this mystery. It’s deceiving pretty front hides ma…

What Sue Grafton Taught Me

Image
We lost one of the most popular mystery writers recently, Sue Grafton, the author of the alphabet series. Her daughter put the end of her series this way, "The alphabet ends with Y."
I was fortunate to have met Sue several times over the years at various conferences, and she was always friendly and acted as though she remembered me.
In the series, her heroine, Kinsey, lives in a town with an uncanny resemblance to Santa Barbara though it has a different name. When asked why she did that, the answer was that too many changes in the real place happen over the years. 
I took that to heart when I wrote my own series, and I'm so glad I did.
In my Deputy Tempe Crabtree series, the main location is similar to the town I live in, a small foothill community. In the series I changed the name to Bear Creek and moved it into the mountains, 1000 feet higher in elevation.
However, many of the landmarks are the same, but because the town is fictional, I've changed things around a …

TRUTH STRANGER THAN FICTION by Sharon Ervin

Image
“No one who reads romance novels will believe a 28-year-old virgin.”             My critique partners were definite and unanimous. I needed to check my information.             A friend Jan has her doctorate in psychology. Her practice is mostly adult women. I called her.             “Have you ever heard of a 28-year-old virgin?” I asked.             Jan laughed, coughed a couple of times, then disclaimed. She could not talk about specific clients but, yes, she knew, not only one, but many women who were still virgins beyond age 28.             “Right now I have at least a dozen women clients between twenty-five and thirty years old, seeing me because of that very thing.”             “Because they are still virgins?”             “Yes.”             “That many?”             “I’ve had dozens since I began practicing. Their situations vary, of course. All the ones I’m seeing right now have some college. Most of them have degrees. I promise you, there is not a dog in the bunch. I mean t…

I was Attacked When I First Mentioned E-books

Yep, that actually happened.

I was one of the first authors to embrace e-publishing. My first Rocky Bluff P.D. mystery was published by a pioneer e-publisher. Unfortunately, at the time the only way to read an e-book was on a computer. Also, there was no easy way to purchase much of anything from the Internet.
The Rocket E-Rader became available and was a great way to read e-books. It was back-lit and shut off when you fell asleep. They were bought out by a company that created another e-reader that was slicker looking but not nearly as good.
During this time I was promoting e-books at all sorts of writers' conferences. At a large conference I mentioned that e-books were coming and was booed. The main speaker made fun of me. He said people would never read e-book, they loved the small of paper books.
At another conference, a writer poo-pooed the whole idea of e-books. Guess what, her books are all available on Kindle now.
There were many such instances, but I kept telling people e…

Fires in My Books

Image
Over the years, I've included fires in many of my mysteries.

A fire is part of the main plot in Seldom Traveled, the latest in the Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery. This was written and published long before the latest rash of fires. But fire is always a threat in California, for several reasons. Chaparral covers the hillsides and houses have been built all over the hills. Chaparral must burn to reseed. Logging has been restricted and the trees have become way too dense, many trees have died, so when there is a forest fire there is way too much fuel.
We are fortunate to have so many brave firefighters willing to risk their lives to fight the fires, and we saw much of that bravery during the last few months. 
Fires lend themselves to all sorts of interesting plot twists.
If you read through the Tempe Crabtree mystery series, you'll come across various fires. I'd much rather write about a fire than be as close to one as I was this past year. But I was far more fortunate than ma…