Showing posts from October, 2015

Do You Like to be Scared?

I used to love horror movies--but when they became full of slash and gore, I didn't enjoy them anymore.

I still like to read scary books--and I've written quite a few myself.
I think the scariest is one I labeled psychological horror: Wishing Makes it So.

It's about a really bad little girl. 
The hair color of the girl on the cover isn't right--but the face works.
I drew on some real life happenings for the story--some I"ll never reveal in a public forum.
Some of the mean things the child does came from grandkids that I asked, "Tell me some mean things other kids did to you."
Over the years as a residential service provider I've had lots of dealings with the regional center--and had fun including snippets about them. In real life they do a lot of good--but like any other such organization, they make a mistake now and then.
So, if you want to be scared right away, check out the book on Kindle.
Oh, and for a further incentive, this book received first …

Planning for a Thanksgiving Surprise by Marilyn Meredith

Lingering Spirit won an Epic E-book award winner in 2012 in the Supernatural Romance Category.

Published by Oak Tree Press, the publisher says it's her favorite book and has read it numerous times.

Book blurb: After, Steve, her police officer husband is killed in the line of duty, Nicole Ainsworth struggles with the changes forced on her life. Her efforts to focus on her daughter an cope with her grief are kept off-balance by Steve’s ghostly visitations who seems to be trying to communicate with her. Eventually, Nicole finds that Steve isn’t the only one watching over her, and discovers a second chance for love.
Review Snippets:
“…Meredith is a master of characterization. She fully rounds out the facets of her protagonists’ personalities and richly develops the details of the supporting cast. She does not hit any false notes with her dialogue and builds strong relationships among her characters. She realistically describes what a young widow would go through following the tragic d…

WHERE DO i GET MY IDEAS? by Cheryl Hollon

Where do I get my ideas?

This is the single most popular question for authors and for me is the most difficult to answer. There are two difficulties with this question. First, it feels very personal and second, I’m afraid the source might disappear if I talk about it. Unreasonable, perhaps, but there it is.
Frankly, I'm not sure where they start. I absolutely know when they arrive. My keyboard recognizes the speed and ease of the words that flow onto the page. My ideas for stories cannot be separated from my life as a girl, a woman, a wife, a mother, an engineer and an author. As far as I can tell, everything that has contributed to make me who I am is swirled into a massive reservoir of waiting ideas.
Almost anything will spark the origin for a story. A song – a chat with a friend – a walk in our neighborhood – a great meal – a new vacation spot – a conversation overheard – a perfect location to hide a body. The real difficulty is not coming up with ideas. The trouble is to choo…

More on the Great Valley Bookfest



There's an old saying about the best writers are avid readers, and I believe that to be true. It was none more true than the days I spent at Bouchercon 2015. Bouchercon is the world's largest mystery writer and reader convention on the planet. Probably Mars, too, but that hasn't been proven. Yet.
This was my first Bouchercon. To say it was a little overwhelming is an understatement. Yes, I went as a writer. I have three published books, two with decent sized publishers and my last book, Wink of an Eye, with one of the big guns, so I had attained “author status.” 
Wink of an Eye won the 2013 St. Martin's Press/Private Eye Writer's of America Best 1st P.I. Novel competition, and this year was a finalist for the Shamus Award.  As a finalist and nominee, I was invited to the Shamus Awards Banquet and rubbed elbows with the likes of Steve Hamilton, Brad Parks, Bill Crider and Lawrence Block. I forgot I was a writer. I forgot my work was even nominated in a category some…

My Thoughts on the Big Mystery Cons

While I'm writing this, Bouchercon is going on in Raleigh, North Carolina and I've been following all the photos and comments as they've appeared on Facebook.

I've also been reading some blog posts and comments from some who think that these big mystery cons are a waste of time and money for mid-list authors. Here's my take on the matter.
My first Bouchercon was in Monterey CA and I had a great time. I didn't sell any books, because I didn't have any, however I was on a panel--my first. I had friends who were there and made lots of new ones.
Hubby and I attended many more Bouchercons and Left Coast Crimes all over the United States and had fun. I got to meet many favorite authors and lots of fans. Did it do anything for my mystery writing career? Probably not a whole lot. I never sold many books, after all some of the most famous mystery writer are always in attendance. Going with the thought of selling lots of books will probably end up in disappointment. …

White Space is Good/A Few Writing Tips

Believe me, I don't know it all and my typos etc. slip by me and my editors in my published books. And yes, when someone points them out, I cringe.

I read a lot of books, books by friends and books by bestselling authors (a few of my friends are best selling authors--more are not) and I find typos and errors in all of them. 
One tip that helps readers, I'm going to share.
When a paragraph is long and fills up the whole page without any indents, it can be off-putting.
One way to remedy this is to always start a new paragraph when someone new does or says something. 
Another tip is to keep a person's dialogue short. Unless someone is giving a speech, others will interrupt. 
Remember dialogue should always do one of two things: move the story along or reveal a phase of the person's character. 
Rather than use any dialogue tag (and if you do, said or asked is preferred) have the character who is speaking do something, or describe something about them, the action or descrip…

Two More Book Fairs

This has been a busy time for in-person events. Last weekend it was the Big Valley Bookfest in Manteca CA.

This is always a great event. Only problem was it was very, very hot--though fortunately we were in the shade the majority of the time. I enjoyed this event.
This is my publisher's booth (Oak Tree Press) at the Taste of the Arts in Visalia yesterday. Again, it was very hot. In the photo is my display and of course, the publisher, Billie Johnson. I always have a good time with her, though my sales weren't wonderful.  And we had some excitement when a big wind blew through and picked up the tent like a parachute and started to carry it off. That's when we decided it was probably time to pack it up.
Next up is the Holiday Boutique November 6 and 7 at the Porterville Art Gallery.
Ah, the exiting life of an author. 

My Love Affair with Mystery Writing by Nancy Boyarsky

About twelve years ago I finished my third attempt at a novel. The Swap: A Mystery was good. I sent it to an agent who called me the day she received it and told me it was wonderful. Unfortunately—and what I didn’t know at the time—she had a very short attention span when it came to representing her clients. Three publishers’ rejections later, she handed the book back to me and told me I should hire an outside editor to help me rewrite it.
Rewriting didn’t help. Even then, the publishers’ appetite for new novelists was shrinking, and while I got some nibbles—editors who were interested until it was rejected by their editorial boards—I couldn’t sell that book. Rejection letters don’t hurt my feelings. I’m used to them. But it was too daunting to begin a new book, knowing I’d eventually have to face the misery of marketing it. As far as I was concerned, my writing career was over. I put the book in storage on my computer and took up oil painting.
Two years ago, I decided to reread The …

Richard Paolinelli's Journey

Sometimes the journey follows a different path than originally planned but that only makes arriving at the destination all the more sweeter.
That pretty much sums up how I feel today. For the first time I can same I am a traditionally published novelist with the release of my mystery-thriller, Reservations
( by Oak Tree Press.
I have self-published two books and two novelettes over the past two years, and I was the lead story writer for a graphic novel series, but somehow the feeling this morning was so much different when I was able to go to Amazon’s website and see Reservations there for the first time.
Of course, I had thought it was going to happen a very long time ago. Back in 1985 when I was hired as the story writer for Seadragon, a graphic novel series by Elite Comics, I was sure my fiction writing career was well and truly underway with nothing but an abundance of blue skies and green dollar bills ahead.

Strange and true: What Anthropology, Detective Fiction and Fantasy Have in Common

by M. Blackwell
"What is the meaning of it? What is the object of this circle of misery and violence and fear? It must have a purpose, or our universe has no meaning and that is unthinkable. But what purpose? That is humanity's great problem, for which reason so far has no answer." Thus the Great Detective himself posed the quest for truth, and for the meaning behind the truth. This search, the red thread of murder, is what connects the seemingly disparate worlds of anthropology, detective fiction and fantasy. Or perhaps this belief is only an outcome of my own idiosyncratic biography, seeing connections in my imagination where none exist in fact? 
A brief explanation is in order here: as an anthropologist studying political violence, and addicted to detective stories, I've just self-published my first fantasy novel.  Seawind is on the the surface a lighthearted mock-Gothic, with grim underlying themes of greed, violence and justice. It is set in the 'real'…

Central Coast Author and Book Fair

This awesome event was held on the hottest day of summer in Pismo. My table was inside, where it was still too warm, but some poor souls were in the parking lot--a few with umbrellas, but some not. However, there was a great turn out of authors and many different kinds of books.

Though sales weren't what I hoped they'd be, I had an absolutely fantastic time.
It was wonderful to see my Central Coast Sisters in Crime friends.
I also chatted with another Oak Tree Press author, and got to meet the new editor of the Oak Tree Press blog. 
One fun thing was meeting one of my Facebook friends who is an author also. 
Daughter Lisa helped me a lot, talking about my books and handing out cards.
I was also on a panel called Strong Characters that was held on the rooftop of the nearby hotel--it was really hot there despite umbrellas overhead. Best part was sharing the space with author Mara Purl.

She's a lovely and most talented young woman. We exchanged books, looking forward to read…

The Right Wrong Thing by Ellen Kirschman

These are hard times to be a cop. There are days when it seems like the actions of a few have tainted the entire law enforcement profession.  When I began writing the Right Wrong Thing I was simply trying to write a good story about what happens when a cop shoots an innocent person. I never anticipated the headline-making shootings of unarmed citizens or the groundswell of protest that would follow.
Some of you know that I'm a police psychologist as well as a writer. I switched from non-fiction to writing mysteries in 2013 when I foolishly thought it would be easier to make things up. I use fiction to explore contemporary issues in law enforcement such as police suicide, post-traumatic stress and, in my current work-in-progress, the strain investigating internet crimes against children has on the investigator.
My protagonist is psychologist, Dr. Dot Meyerhoff. Dot was my mother's name and Meyerhoff was my maternal grandmother's surname. Neither lived to read my mysteries.…

Final Report on My Blog Tour for Not as it Seems

I probably should have titled this blog post, "And the Winner is..."

Amy Bennett.
Amy managed to comment on the most blogs. This wasn't easy because some of the posts didn't show up until later in the day. One blog wouldn't accept comments. I didn't know that ahead of time.
I've notified her. Two others came in at a close second.
33 people in all left comments on various posts.
Will I do another? Probably, but I might change some things.
I'll never ask who'd like to host me on Facebook again. 
It's important that a blog accepts comments if the contest on the tour is about counting who comments the most.
The blogger needs to know that the post can be set up for a certain date and time and how to do it.
Perhaps I'll search for bloggers who have a lot of followers.
However, I do have some favorite blogs I enjoy visiting--and I'll probably continue doing that.
I do know that people who didn't comment visited and read my posts because th…

Arms and Related Business in Taiwan

by Brent Ayscough
The Taiwanese are a lovely lot of people.  They have a military defense, but they are fully aware that if the Mainland Chinese ever decide to take the country, the only thing they can do is to try to hold them off a short while until the US and others come to their rescue.   Would the US do that?   You might ask yourself, would our president actually declare war on Mainland China, or would he just talk tough with his “sanctions” idea.
Dealing with the military in Taiwan over defense items is in part the subject of my story The Visitor.   The arms merchant Baron Von Limbach has his office there.  He sells to the Taiwan military, and to others. 
Money is very much the lingua franca. Deals for military equipment, aircraft, boats, and military related items are done with bribes of one kind or another.
Apart from the bribes, the method of the dealings is also interesting.  In the negotiations for something military, the parties, that is, the government or the military offi…

It's Puzzling by Lala Corriere

Imagine you have a colossal jigsaw puzzle. Now imagine you don’t know how many pieces it contains, but somewhere between 75,000 and 90,000. A best guess. It’s not labeled on the box. That’s what I have in front of me. A new manuscript. Pieces of rough outlines, scores of sticky notes and hundreds of untamed ideas. They'll need to be moved around and sorted, because I always start with the flat-edged pieces that I know will make up the border.             For me, the border represents the foundation of my manuscript. It encases my growing cast of characters to include the protagonist, the nefarious, along with a slate of voices important to the story. Settings become clear. At the very least, a vague plot is formed. Whether I write as a plotter or a panster, I have to start somewhere. Some of the pieces don't fit quite right. I try to jam them into place to make them work. Some of the pieces go in smoothly and I can begin to see the storyboard that is my book. I’m missing some puzz…