Showing posts from September, 2014

More About River Spirits

When I began writing River Spirits I wasn't sure exactly where I was going with it. The only thing I really knew was that I had to have a character named Kate Eileen Shannon. If the name sounds familiar to you it's because it belongs to an author. She won my last contest to have a character in a book named after her.

I only know Kate Eileen Shannon from the Internet and her books. However, isn't that a great name? It conjured up a great person. I immediately imagined a young and in some ways, naive person, with red bouncy curls. 
My Kate Eileen has a job that might've been fun under different circumstances as she's the personal assistant to a fading movie star. Unfortunately, her boss is a shrew. She treats Kate Eileen as a servant.
The only reason Kate Eileen doesn't quit is because her beau is the star's driver. If she quits she won't be able to see him.
Once I knew this character, the plot began unfolding.
Of course there is a murder--and because it …

Countdown for River Spirits

It won't be long now until you can purchase River Spirits in just about any format you want.

This is always an exciting time for an author, knowing that the time is getting close when the book you've written, read to your critique group, edited, edited again, checked the galley proofs, is actually going to be a book.

The book will be available from Mundania Press in all formats, and of course from all the usual places.
One of the things I did which I hope will also encourage sales of this book and others in Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery series is that one of the earlier books, Bears With Us, the Kindle version will be offered for .99 cents from October 13-17. You'll be hearing more about when the time comes.
In preparation for the advent of River Spirits I organized a blog tour which is a lot of work. It won't happen until November, but watch for it, as I'll be having a contest again. This time, the winner can choose to be a character in the next book or choose an …

Part III of Promotion--In Person

When you are dreaming about being an author, thoughts seem to go to doing book store signings. Many authors still do them and quite successfully.

In my case, bookstores have disappeared from our local areas. I still have a few favorites that I like to visit for a signing. However, I've found if I am going to draw people to the store for the event--it needs to be just that--an event. Give a talk and have refreshments. Even pick a theme to build the event around.
Libraries are among my favorites to visit. I like to do any kind of event in a library. Giving a talk of some sort is a must. Being part of a panel on a subject of interest is always fun. I just participated in one on cozies--and I'm going to be part of one soon on the E-Publishing Age.
But there are many other venues where authors have had successful events: restaurants, coffee shops, wineries, grocery stores, to name just a few. Think outside the box,  as they say.
If you have the right kind of book, schools can be an…

Mark S. Bacon, author of Death in Nostalgia City, Interview

Mark S. Bacon began his career as a newspaper reporter covering, among other beats, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department and the Glendale (Calif.) Police Department.After writing news and features at two newspapers, he moved to ad copywriting when he joined the advertising department of Knott's Berry Farm in Buena Park, Calif.Bacon wrote commercials and ads for the Orange County theme park and he directed special events.
Later his career moved into other forms of communication but his early background covering a daily police beat and working for a theme park was part of the inspiration for his theme park mystery. Bacon later wrote TV commercials for an advertising agency, was public relations manager for a financial trade association, marketing director for a southern California financial institution, and later managed his own marketing consulting firm. For nearly 20 years Bacon had a parallel career as an adjunct college professor teaching business writing and journal…

More Marketing Stuff, Part II

I know that most authors think, "When am I supposed to write if I have to do all this promotion?"

What it boils down to, is you sure better be doing something. Figure out what you like to do, or better yet, what seems to result in sales, and be consistent. Believe me, it needs to be more than one thing.
Some of the online promotion venues I didn't mention yesterday (and there are many more, but I can't possible write about all of them) are:  This is a great place to post your book covers--and a lot more. I must confess I don't do as much on it as I could.
Your author page on Amazon. This is something that if you don't have, you should create right away. Be sure to keep it up to date.
Check out the reviews of your books on Amazon, and I think it's fun to thank those people who've written good reviews in the comment space below the review. However--don't argue with anyone who has given you a bad review--just ignore it.
With the b…

Promotion for Books Today, Part I

Question? "What is the publisher going to do for my book?"
Answer: Publish it and all that entails. Formatting, Cover, ISBN number, Getting it on All the Internet Book Sites, Have it On Their Website, Perhaps some Promotion
Question? What do I need to do to promote my book?
#1 You need to let people know you have a book.
How do you do that?
Through everything that is available to you.
A personal website. Easy to do today--it can be set up on your blog. I choose to have a separate website.  The first chapters of all my books are on my website.
It is not enough to just have the website, you have to keep it up-to-date. It should have information about you and your books.
A blog. This is my blog, of course. It's important that content change on your blog often. Once a week at the least. The more followers on your blog the better.
Make comments on other people's blogs. Follow blogs you like. Be a regular guest on other blogs.
I'm a regular bl…

More Writing Tips

Here are a few more tips I've passed on to contestants about their manuscripts.
Though it seems most authors should know the best ways for formatting a manuscript, not all do.
Time New Roman 12 point (not bold) is what most publishers want. (You should always check the guidelines.)
Double space.
Indent for paragraphs, no space between paragraphs.
Always a ragged right hand margin.
When writing dialogue, it needs to sound realistic—but not as we actually say it. Leave out all the "Hello, how are you?" "I'm fine. What's new?" 
Dialogue needs to move the plot along and reveal character. 
Leave out fancy dialogue tags like responded and adverbs to describe it. The dialogue should do that for itself. Either just use said and asked, or better, use the character’s action. 
Be careful of talking heads—when people are talking, even during interviews—they move, scratch their heads, look off into space, adjust their position in their chair, etc.
Whoever the main character i…

Robert Hemphill, an Interview

·What inspired you to write this particular book?
This book is a collection of letters.  I started writing to my father about my international business experience because I thought I was doing such interesting things in exotic places and having such funny and peculiar experiences.  Dad was a smart man, but a fighter pilot in WWII and a career Air Force officer who knew nothing about business.  This was a way of explaining what I was doing, and, I suppose, justifying the fact that I hadn’t decided to become an Air Force officer myself.
·When did you first know you wanted to be a writer?
I had an English teacher my sophomore year in high school who liked the stories that I wrote so much that she said to me, “Bob, you just sit in the back of the class and write.”  Actually it’s a wonder that I ever wrote anything again.  I was already singled out as one of the “smart kids” and this further level of acknowledgement was enough to make me want to crawl under my desk.  I suppose I knew I wan…

A Few Writing Tips

I've served as a judge for many writing contests and some want the judges to leave comments about the manuscript on the judging sheet.

One thing I've seen far too often is wrong formatting in a manuscript. Most editors want the manuscript double spaced and an indent for the beginning of a paragraph, not a space between paragraphs. Before sending off to a publisher, check the guidelines and do what is asked for.

Active voice works so much better than passive. For an example:

Passive: Mary was strolling along the pier.
Active: Mary strolled along the pier.

When ever possible get rid of sentences with the was combinations.

Use strong verbs instead of adverbs to describe the verb.

Start a new paragraph when someone new does or says something.

Break up some of the long descriptions with action and/or dialogue.
Be sure something exciting or some conflict happens in each chapter—end a chapter with a reason to go on to the next chapter.
Use a person’s action or a description for…

A Day in the Life of This Author

My day always begins between 4:15 and 4:30 because that's when I automatically wake up. I think it's because I had to get up at that time during the years I lived in and was the administrator of a licensed care home (mine) and I've never been able to break the habit.

Though I was gone from two days and got little sleep the night I was away (lumpy bed and people trying to get into our hotel room twice in the night), it was no different yesterday morning.
After showering and dressing, making a cup of Chai latte, I always do my Bible study first. Helps me get a positive start on the day.
I went through the email and answered the important ones. And yes, I admit it, I did take a peek on Facebook. 
My major task for the day was to go through the galley proof for River Spirits, the latest in the Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery.
It's always interesting to see what mistakes and typos are still there.
Now, you should know that this has been gone over twice by the editor assigned …

Penny Warner Visited SJ SinC

Penny Warner writes cozies for adults and a great series for children. She came to visit the San Joaquin Chapter of Sisters in Crime and talked about her books and also gave us some promotion  tips.
She's always a fun speaker. 
Her children's books are all about codes and decoding, and she said sometimes the kids write to her in code and she has a tough time deciphering them.
This is the latest in the code buster series. I bought all three of the books for one of my great-granddaughters who likes to read.

This is her latest mystery series which she is writing under the name of Penny Pike. I've started reading this one and it's delightful.
What Penny said about marketing:
An author in the audience complained about the time taken from his writing to promote.
Her answer, everyone has to do it.
She does something special to give out for every book--made toe tags for one book, sign language cookies for her books with the deaf newspaper heroine.
She speaks at many places ab…

Headed to the Buena Vista Library

Yep, tomorrow I'll be going to Burbank to appear on a panel with L.A. Sisters in Crime.

Time: 7 p.m.
Place: Buena Vista Branch of the Burbank Library
Topic: Cozies
As most of you know, I write two series, both police procedurals. So how did I get on a cozy panel?
With the Deputy Tempe Crabtree series, though she is in law enforcement, she serves and protects in a small town. Most, not all, cozies take place in small towns. The Rocky Bluff P.D. series also takes place in a small town--though there are different characters who play important parts.
Yes, there is usually a murder, one that always gets solved by the end of the book.
There is no bad language in either series, though I'm sure my characters may let loose with a swear word now and then, I don't quote them. I figure my readers have heard enough bad words to supply them if they want.
I always close the bedroom door.
Well, at least I do now. In the earlier Rocky Bluff P.D. mysteries, the reader did get a sneak peek i…

Sisters in Crime SinC-Up

To belong to a chapter of Sisters in Crime, you also need to belong to the International organization.  They have a newsletter and in this one was the suggestion to join their Blog Hop.

I also belong to three chapters of SinC--The Los Angeles Chapter, the San Joaquin Chapter (the one I attend the most), and the Central Coast Chapter (the one I do the  most events with.)
We were given some questions to answer and I've chose a few, so here goes:
Which authors have inspired you?
In the beginning, Mary Higgins Clark, not just her mysteries, but herself as a person. I met her years ago at a small mystery conference at a rather campy retreat. She was gracious, helpful and friendly. Still a long time ago, but with many years in-between, I met her again at the agents and editors cocktail party during an Edgar week. When I reintroduced myself, she acted like she remembered me. Like an old friends, she brought me up to date on what she'd been doing and intr…

Happy Birthday to my Hubby!

Happy Birthday to my hubby!

This is how my handsome hubby looked when I first met him on our blind date. We actually met on the sidewalk between my house and my girlfriend's house in Eagle Rock--probably a distance of 3 miles. He was so handsome, I had an immediate crush on him.

At the time he was stationed at Port Hueneme Seabee Base going to school. He managed to get back to our house most weekends, and it wasn't long before he proposed.

We've now been married nearly 62 years, raised 5 children, have 18 grandkids, helped raise 2 of them, have had other grandkids live with us at different time, and now have 14 great grands with another on the way.

I don't know that we'll do anything special for his 84th birthday, but I'll give him a big kiss and hug and thank God once again that I've had such a great husband all these many years.


Today is my Sister's Birthday!

My sister, Marjorie, who has always been called Margie was born when I was five years old.
She was the cutest baby, little girl, and young woman and she really hasn't changed all that much.
When we were growing up, she was often a pain. We always shared a room and she was messy and I wasn't. Now I'm messier than she is.
As adults, we only lived close to each other for a few short years.Even when we didn't, for many years as adults our families spent Thanksgiving and Christmas together. Then both of our families got way too big. 
We moved to Springville first, then she and her husband built a house here. All of her adult children soon moved nearby. 
When the economy took a big dive, she and her boys all lost their jobs. One by one, they moved to Las Vegas, and of course the grandchildren went along too. My sis couldn't take the separation and soon moved to Vegas too--where she is today.
We get to see her about twice a year. We go to her house for a visit at least o…

Kurt Kamm, An Interview

After reading an review Kurt Kamm's latest thriller, Tunnel Vision, which is available from Amazon today, I decided to find out more about him. He kindly answered the following questions:
When did you first realize you were a writer?
When I was at Brown, I took a career aptitude test and the first recommendation was that I become a novelist. I decided I would rather earn a living and went to work on Wall Street. Now that I am retired, I’ve had the opportunity to write, and I really enjoy it. Me? A writer? I’m still trying to find out.
Since you are such an expert about fires, firefighting and emergency services, tell us something about how all that came about?
I moved from Los Angeles to Malibu several years ago. Soon after I moved in, the Sheriff’s Department came at 4:00 A.M. and told us we had 15 minutes to evacuate. On the way out, I watched my neighbor’s house burn to the ground, along with a church and several other homes. The fire department was literally at my gate when I le…