Meet Judy Moore

I need to be up front with this post: I’m biased! Judy Moore is a friend of mine and a fellow Sister In Crime member. We have spent hours chatting about books and writing. Even better, we live close to each other, so grabbing a cup of coffee and talking books is super easy.

61Eq65XWpRL._US230_   Meet Judy…

Judy writes wonderful thriller and suspense novels, but I’ve been trying to convince her how great the world of cozies can be. I’m tickled to death that she has written her first cozy mystery. I’ve read it, of course, and Judy nailed it! Her books are on Amazon and part of KU. You can also find her books on Goodreads.

Judy has a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Florida and worked as a newspaper reporter, magazine feature writer, and publications editor for several years. A former tennis pro, Ms. Moore’s writing background also includes sports writing, and athletes from various sports are sprinkled throughout some of her novels. A lifelong resident of Florida, she currently resides in Vero Beach.

51FEqXzaumL   A Book Signing To Die For

When did you start writing?
As a child, I read all the time and was obsessed with fairy tales, the Dana Girls, and later Agatha Christie. But I was a math major and never thought seriously about writing until I took journalism my junior year in college and then changed my major from math. Once I started writing news and features, it came very naturally, and I knew it was the job for me. I became a newspaper reporter, a magazine feature writer, and a publications editor. When I took an early retirement from my full-time editing job, I decided it was time to start writing mysteries myself. I’m glad I’m at the point in my life that I can afford to write what I really want to write. I love coming up with oddball characters and writing books where the unexpected happens. I can’t stand formula stories. Sometimes, the bad guy might get away with it.

What is your approach to writing?
I write in a simple journalistic style. Grab the reader’s attention and hold on to it. The first page is essential. If readers aren’t drawn in immediately, they’ll probably put down the book. It’s important to use quotes effectively and succinctly. They have to be natural. I put myself in the character’s head and ask myself, “What would this person really say?” The quotes have to reflect the character’s personality. Above all, don’t let the reader get bored. Keep the story interesting and keep it moving! The biggest challenge in writing mysteries is to give the readers enough clues without giving away the killer.

Have you ever been on any sports teams? If so, what sport?
I grew up playing competitive tennis in Miami, played college tennis at Florida State University, and played on the European circuit. I later became a teaching pro and high school coach. I also played paddle tennis competitively, and my partner and I won the national beach paddle tennis championships three times. Won some table tennis tournaments as well. Because of my tennis background, I also wrote a tennis column for the newspaper for several years and covered many major events.

How long, on average, does it take you to write a book?
Having been a journalist, I write quickly. I can write a book in six weeks, and a novella in two weeks. I don’t have a set writing schedule, but just go at it until I’m finished. I might write two hours a day, or I might write ten hours. I can’t really rest until I’ve finished the book. Then, I might take a few weeks, or a few months break, depending on what else is going on in my life at the time.

Who is your favorite character?
I have two favorite characters. One is Scratchoff McLean, a homeless man with a big heart who is obsessed with scratch-off lottery tickets. He appears in two of my novels, Somebody in the Neighborhood and my new cozy mystery A Book Signing To Die For. The other is 11-year-old Lily, a manic matchmaker in my Christmas novella Airport Christmas. I truly love oddball characters and try to include at least one in every book I write.

8125h6jH90L.SR160,240_BG243,243,243   Somebody in the Neighborhood 

I hope you have enjoying meeting Judy. She’s a wonderful person as well as a excellent writer. I’m lucky to have her as a friend.  In my next post, look for an sneak-peek at my newest Book Mist Across The Waves, launching on June 3rd. Have a wonderful Memorial Weekend. And say a pray of thanks for all who have given something precious for our freedoms.

 

Meet Joan Wright Mularz

I’m thrilled to introduce Joan Wright Mularz. I know Joan personally; we are both members of our local Sister’s In Crime chapter. I hope you will enjoy getting to know Joan as much as I have.

joan  Meet Joan…

Joan writes Middle Grade/YA Mysteries and has also written and illustrated 5 children’s picture books. Her mysteries are in Kindle Unlimited and her other eBooks and paperbacks are in KDP.

“Joan Wright Mularz lives in Florida and summers in Maine. She is the author of the E.T. Madigan YA mystery series. The third book in the series, Maine Roots Run Deep, was a Finalist for BEST YA BOOK at the 2018 Independent Publishers of New England Book Awards. Her short story, “The Souk,” was awarded an Honorable Mention by the Bethlehem Writers’ Roundtable, 2017. Another short story, “Barbara Screechie.” was published in the anthology “Whittier Than Thou: Wit and Whimsy inspired by the Life and Works of John Greenleaf Whittier,” 2019.”

Main Roots Run Deep                   White Flutters In Munich

When did you start writing?
The first writing I recall other than school assignments was entering a slogan contest for M&Ms when I was nine or ten. Around that same age, I entered a national photo contest and I think the title I wrote for it helped me clinch the prize. In high school, I won a national essay contest writing about the Irish Potato Famine of the 1800s. In college, I wrote poems about my inner emotional life, scribbled down memories of personal traumatic events and kept my first travel diary.

How do you research for your books?
The three books in the E.T. Madigan series are set in places I’ve lived—Italy, Germany and Maine. The book I’m working on now is set in New York City where I was born. In addition to that firsthand knowledge from experience, I always read books related to the places I’m writing about to learn their histories. I also do a lot of online research which, depending on the story can take me in strange and diverse directions.  Lately it’s included: The sound of spit, mango water, the breakfast burrito song, locker smells, the New York subway map, Landshark beer history, effects of eating crayons and ways to flirt with strangers without being creepy.

What do you hope your readers take away from your books?
I hope my readers feel a connection to my characters and enjoy learning about the settings, histories and cultures. I also hope Ellen Madigan, the teen in my first series, is a positive role model for showing girls they can be assertive, active, curious, adventurous and still feminine. She loves science and nature, is energetic and fit, solves mysteries and gets crushes on boys.

How many bookshelves are in your house?
When I moved from Massachusetts to Florida two years ago, I donated over 300 books to charity but I still have plenty. In Florida, I have three full bookcases, plus a few baskets full of books. In Maine, I have four full bookcases and some books piled on the sides of a staircase. My laptop Kindle app has lots of e-books too.

How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?
I’m almost done with the first draft of a new YA mystery with a male teen protagonist. In it, he deals with dangers generated by the celebrity of his parents. The working title is the main character’s name, “Slate.” I’m planning for it to be the first in a new series and each story will focus on one of his friends. I have also written some early ideas for a new E.T. Madigan mystery. One unpublished manuscript I have is a craft book for preschool teachers, “Building Blocks for Block Buildings.”

Here’s how to find Joan and her books!
Amazon Author Page
Web site
Facebook
Twitter

I hope you enjoyed reading about Joan and her writing. Connections are so important between the reader and the author, and I always feel more involved with a book when I know something about the author. Please stay healthy and happy; I’ll be back soon to introduce you do our next author. (Isn’t this fun!)

Victoria LK Williams

Meet Susan Schwartz

Today we meet another wonderful author friend of mine. I hope you will enjoy getting to know a bit more about her, as I have. All of the authors are providing links to both purchase their books and follow them on social media. Take a moment and explore  by signing up on their sites.

LU   meet Susan…

Susan writes in the horror, paranormal, suspense, medical genres. Her books are available in Amazon, Amazon KU and many other sites.
Here are her links:
Website, Schiffer Books, Amazon, Goodreads & Pinterest.

When did you start writing?
I began writing freelance articles for blogs and other websites in 2006. More interested in fiction writing, I started working on two novels – a paranormal romance and a medical thriller.
As to why I began writing, I started journaling after being diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue and Fibromyalgia. My writing led me to the Virginia Writers Club, where I found many mentors and help along the way. I have been a member since 2006 and currently serve as 1st Vice President of the State organization.

Does one of the main characters hold a special place in your heart?
I love all the nurses in my stories. Being an OR nurse myself, I love to use my experiences in the medical field to twist into something they never saw it coming. The nursing profession is one of honor, and this is my way of giving recognition back to those awesome nurses who work tirelessly each and every day.
I must admit some of my nurse peers, who have read my stories, think I am putting on a good front for being a normal person. They had no idea of my twisted imagination and told me they now know not to upset me in the future. Mw ha ha ha!

What were the key challenges you faced when writing this book?
For Haunted Charlottesville and Surrounding Counties, my current book, the biggest challenge was getting to all of the sites and getting enough research to make an entry. Some didn’t have a lot of backstory, and some didn’t want to participate in the book. This was fine, I used pieces that were already public knowledge so I didn’t step on any toes.
Another challenge was to compile all the information into one book. It took me a while to figure out how to write, denote different chapter headers, caption photographs, assemble an index, and keep track of a large bibliography page. I learned many of these for the first time writing Haunted Charlottesville.
I feel much better having had the experience going forward than not. It has made writing the second book of this genre much easier.

What do you hope readers take away from your books?
For my fiction stories, I hope they share that shock at the end when I twist everything they thought they knew. Maybe they will also get feelings of familiarity with some of them.
For my non-fiction, I want readers to experience my love of travel and seeing new places. I toured Virginia extensively for Haunted Charlottesville and my upcoming book to visit haunted places and learn their history. In two other books, Handbook for the Dead and Paranormal Encounters, I make mention of trips to other counties in Virginia and even other countries. Even if you don’t visit any of the places named, take a ghost tour in whatever city you find yourself visiting. I love learning the history behind the locations and what caused them to be troubled today.

How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?
Awesome question.  I have many short stories that are not published with several in the works.
One paranormal romance novel – ½ done
One medical thriller novel – ½ done
One haunted location book – 1 chapter to go as well as compiling all the material and photographs.
I tend to work on several things at once because I get bored quite easily. Hence, this why I have so many still in progress. I will be finished with the haunted book by the end of this month, and that will free me up to work on other projects that are pending. I really want to finish the paranormal romance that has a witch, wizard, and maybe even a vampire that showed up – I am not sure from where yet. He is a charming fellow though.

Is anything in your book based on real-life experiences or purely all imagination?
Fiction stories –
The Sparkling Floor is based somewhat in reality. What nurse hasn’t dreamed of revenge on a disrespectful surgeon? I just fictionalized it up a bit.
I Thought You Did is based upon all those Rush week antics colleges put the students through to join a fraternity. My son was in college at the time going through rush week, and this story popped into my head thinking about the different ways to initiate a pledge.
Blurred Line is something we have all faced as writers: Writer’s Block. I didn’t plan this one at all, I just wrote as it came out and the story is as you see it. It was nominated for a Bran Stoker Award in 2016. Fun fact: It was the only story I ever wrote that I really didn’t like. Everyone loves this story, but me. Isn’t that weird?
Non-fiction books –These are all real and full of the experiences I had at each location. Through investigating and interviewing, I learned a lot of history and the back story on each place. Some of it was quite fascinating, while some was downright heart-breaking.

Favorite Quote –This one has to be from the great and awesome Yoda:
Do or Do Not. There is no Try.
I do follow this advice daily. I am also convinced of a statement from Jim Rohn:
If you really want to do something, you’ll find a way. If you don’t, you find an excuse.
What this says to me is people who have a goal will not let anything interfere with reaching that accomplishment. Those who don’t will make an excuse as to why they can’t reach it.
CAN’T is the one four letter word that is not in my vocabulary. I will find a way around all obstacles, if necessary.
I want to be a doer, not a tryer. How about you?

A final word from Susan…
Thanks to everyone, especially the readers and to Victoria for the opportunity to share my thoughts with you. I hope you are staying safe during these trying times. What better way is there to pass the time than selecting a great story to lose touch with reality, if only for a while. Enjoy the adventure and getaway, you can go explore new places and meet new people from the comfort of your own favorite reading spot.
Please feel free to contact me  if you have any questions or concerns. I love to hear from my readers. Please take good care in the meantime and Be Well!

I hope you are finding these interviews as much fun as I am. I love finding out more about the authors I read. There are many more great writers to be included in this series, so stick around. And watch for a special treat…A free short story from me about the legend behind my new series that starts April 25th!

Victoria LK Williams

Meet Diane Bator

Blessed Easter Sunday!

Today we meet another wonderful author friend of mine. I hope you will enjoy getting to know a bit more about her, as I have. All of the authors are providing links to both purchase their books and follow them on social media. Take a moment and explore  by signing up on their sites.

pose in blue   meet Diane…

A born writer and storyteller, once Diane Bator started writing, she’s never looked back and is the author of several mystery novels. When she’s not writing, she works in a theater which may be subjected to immortality in a whole new series. She might even try writing a play. Diane has written assorted short stories, murder mysteries, and YA novellas.
The best place for links to her books is through her publisher: which has links for every online shop.
Website, Blog, Goodreads, Twitter, Linkedin, Smashwords, Facebook

 

Bator-DeadWithoutShame  Bator-AllThatSparkles (1)

Featured books:

Dead Without Shame (Book 4 Gilda Wright Mysteries)
Once more, Gilda considers leaving the karate school to work for her friend Happy (no one has ever called him Harvey). When three men rob Happy Harvey’s Hangover Hut killing the woman at the front counter, Gilda is stunned to think that could have been her. Was this a mere robbery, or does someone have a vendetta against Happy, including his good friend Gary del Garda? The evidence keeps piling up while both her mother and another karate instructor come to town bearing secrets that may cost Gilda the life she loves in Sandstone Cove.

All That Sparkles (Book 1 Glitter Bay Mysteries)
What do a trunk full of vintage clothes, a handsome land developer, and a fifty year old diamond heist have in common? Laken Miller receives a trunk full of expensive vintage clothing and a stack of newspaper clippings about a fifty-year old diamond heist. Now all she has to do is figure out who murdered Tilly San Vicente before the killer silences her as well.

Questions and Answers:

Do you have a library membership?
I do for sure, but I find I meet so many writers and end up buying so many books, I rarely use the library except for resources. One of the other things I do at my local library is attend writing group meetings twice a month. To support our library, our group has also started to host annual Open Mic nights and author events as well as workshops anyone can attend. We welcome writers of all levels and try to be a support for whoever wants to join us. It was by attending this group that I developed the confidence to submit my first novel for publication.

What did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be a guest on the Oprah Winfrey Show. Seriously! I planned back then to either be an actress or a writer. Here I am many years later a writer who works at a theater! While I’m working from home for a few weeks, I’ve finished my tenth novel, Drop Dead Cowboy, that will be published in September 2020. My next project, thanks to coaching from an acting teacher, is a play.

Do you base your characters on real people?
Sometimes loosely but I have actually based one character on a friend who just happened to win a contest I held for a reader to win a “guest spot” as a character in my novel Dead Without Shame. She received her free copy when the book came out and said she enjoyed it! In previous novels, characters may have been combinations of people I’ve met or know, but I’ll never say.

Would you rather have an endless summer or an endless winter?
Neither! Growing up and living in Canada my whole life, I love having four seasons. The fresh new growth of spring after a long, cold winter. Heat and humidity of summer then the cool, colorful fall. It’s nice to travel to warmer places in the winter and see other parts of the world, but the weather here is never boring!

A Final Word From Diane…
I’ve been a writer my entire life so when people tell me they want to write a book and ask where they should start, I need to stop and think. Writing for me comes as naturally as breathing. I don’t struggle to find a new project since I have file folders and binders full of ideas! I also rarely have writer’s block. Working with a writing group has honed my ability to write to a prompt for up to half an hour. I encourage all writers to practice, practice, practice… And not to give up!

Thanks to Diane! And I wish all of you the very best. It’s a difficult world we find ourselves in, but today, of all days, have faith that all will work out according to God’s plans. Stay healthy and safe, and Happy Easter.

Victoria LK Williams

Meet Heather Weidner

As promised, I am sharing some great writers, and friends, with you. Not all write cozy mystery, but that’s okay. Lets broaden our minds. Each author was given a list of questions that they could choose from. Some of the answers are very interesting. I’m enjoying finding out about these authors and I hope you will too.

Heather sq.png  About Heather…

Glitter, Glam, and Contraband is Heather Weidner’s third novel in the Delanie Fitzgerald series. Her short stories appear in the Virginia is for Mysteries series, 50 Shades of Cabernet, and Deadly Southern Charm. Her novellas appear in The Mutt Mysteries series. She is a member of Sisters in Crime – Central Virginia, Guppies, International Thriller Writers, and James River Writers.

Originally from Virginia Beach, Heather has been a mystery fan since Scooby-Doo and Nancy Drew. She lives in Central Virginia with her husband and a pair of Jack Russell terriers.

Heather earned her BA in English from Virginia Wesleyan University and her MA in American literature from the University of Richmond. Through the years, she has been a cop’s kid, technical writer, editor, college professor, software tester, and IT manager.

Heather’s choice of questions and her answers…

When did you start writing? I have been writing since elementary school. I didn’t have any fiction published until I was in my 40’s. I did have some non-fiction credits, and I was a technical writer for many years.

Describe your writing space. I usually write at my desk in my home office. It’s in front of a big window that looks out at the tops of the trees in the woods behind our house. My desk is cluttered, and there are lots of sticky notes about plot ideas, cool character names, and ways to knock off people (in fiction).

What is your work schedule like when you are writing? My day gig is in IT, so I get up early to write. I also try to write at lunch and at night and on weekends.

How do you do research for your books? I’m a “CK” (cop’s kid). I thought everyone grew up talking about murder and mayhem at the dinner table. It wasn’t until college that I realized murder wasn’t always a good dinner topic. I do a lot of research online. My dad is retired now from the force, but he’s a great resource for a lot of questions. I am also part of a wonderful organization, Sisters in Crime, and our local chapter has programs with writers, agents, and law enforcement. Social media is also a great way to find out information. I’ve always been able to find an expert who was willing to answer my questions. For my latest Delanie Fitzgerald mystery, Glitter, Glam, and Contraband, I had to do some research on drag shows, contraband reptiles, Poe, and historic time capsules. I love the research part. My writer friend, Rosemary Shomaker, got a group of us together to go to the dragshow in Richmond at Godfrey’s. I had so much fun, and the gals were so helpful when they found out we were writers. The snake research was a little creepy. It still gives me the heebee jeebies.

On a typical day, how much time do you spend writing? I’m a binge writer. I try to write every day, but sometimes life gets in the way. Typically, I write in the mornings and evenings. I try to write during my lunch hour too. I tend to write more on the weekends.

Do you write while listening to music? If so, what music inspired or accompanied this current book? I always have some kind of music playing when I write or edit. I have playlists for all my books. I like all kinds of music, but I’m an 80’s girl, so I always have a special place in my heart for that decade. I usually listen to loud music when I’m writing and classical or jazz when I’m editing.

What are you reading now? Right now, I’m reading K. L. Murphy’s A Guilty Mind. I love her Detective Cancini mysteries.

How many bookshelves are in your house? Way too many. My TBR (to be read pile) is a bookshelf. There are at least three bookcases in the den, living room, office, and bedrooms. 

How long, on average, does it take you to write a book? My first book took five years to write, and then it was another year for editing/revising before the book was published. I’m getting faster. Last year, I wrote a novella, two short stories, a nonfiction article, and two novels. This year, I’ve written two short stories and a novella. I’m working on a cozy novel that I hope to finish by summer.

Sign up for Heather’s Newsletter

Connect with Heather at any of these sites: Website and Blog , Twitter  , Facebook   instagram  , Goodreads  , Amazon Authors  , Pinterest  , LinkedInBookBub  , AllAuthor  YouTube

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Well, I hope you enjoyed meeting Heather!

Victoria LK Williams

 

It’s Time for a Change

Hello, readers and writers, I hope this post finds you well and staying hopeful in our changing world.

Just because more and more of us are for staying home to practice social distancing, that doesn’t need to mean that we can’t meet new people and make new friends.

With the help of some of my writing friends, I’m going to start a series of blog posts that will introduce you to not only great people but new books and a little bit about what goes on in the authoring process.

I count each and every one of these authors as my friends,  even though many I have never met in person. Some I’ve shared a laugh or two with, others exciting news in the author community. Many have been instrumental in my growth as a writer. One thing I can say with confidence is we have each other’s backs.

Each post will include a new author, highlighting 1   or 2 of their books along with answers and questions about their writing process and a little bit about themselves. I will be sure to include contact information for you to find them on social media or purchase their books.

So I hope you’ll make some new friends and find some great books to read.

I’ll start the series with some information about myself…

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I was born in upstate New York, the Niagara Falls area. After I got married, we moved to  South Florida and have been happy here for 35 years. We raised our son here (a real Florida Native!), and he is now married and finishing up his college degree. So in our household consist of me, the hubby, and two very demanding cats.

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I primarily write in the cozy mystery genre, although I have started to expand into cozy paranormal mysteries. I have a new series coming out in May that I’m excited about.  You can find out about all my books from my website .

That’s enough about me. I hope you’re as excited as I am to meet these new authors and find out more about their books and what makes them the author that they are. Watch for the next post and be surprised at who you will discover!

Victoria LK Williams

Write What You Know-Right?

Write what you know – right?

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For years I heard that advice; write what you know. And to some extent, it was good advice. After all, if you know the subject, you are going to be more involved in it. You will know the ins and outs and consequently be more passionate. But it’s also very limiting. How many times can you write about the same thing before you start boring your readers?

My advice is to write what you want to write.
Write what you dream about, what excites you.

There’s no excuse for saying, “I don’t know about that subject.”  With today’s vast sources of information, you can find out about things in ways we never could have before, even 10 years ago. You don’t need to haul around a thick, heavy encyclopedia anymore! All you have to do is click a button and ask your computer, Seri, Alexa, or Google, and the answer is spoken to you like magic.

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And the ever-increasing number of videos now available on YouTube is another excellent source of information. Pick a video and let yourself explore far-away-places you would never have thought of going, or had the financial means to do so.

Have a question about something? It’s easy enough to ask; just get on a social media outlet and find someone knowledgeable in the area. If they don’t know they may be able to point you in the right direction.

And even if you want a hands-on experience, travel is so easy nowadays. Hop on a plane, rent a vehicle, take a cruise, or go for a train ride. These are all possible now, and many trips can be made on a short weekend jaunt.

Use your writing as an outlet for learning new things. Learn about a trade you never knew about, learn about a culture you’ve never been exposed to. Discover the native flora and animals that live in the area you want to write about. Find out about an unsolved crime, a fantastic discovery…the list goes on!

But don’t over helm your reader with facts. Most of what you find in your research should stay in your notes, not in the pages of your book. Pick two or three really interesting or unusual fact that relates to your storyline and use only those. Keep strictly to the facts, or embellish them to fit your story, it’s up to you. But do not make things up. Your readers will know, and may even call you out on it.

 

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Knowledge has never been so easily accessible. Which means if your book isn’t filled with points of interest for your readers to grab hold of and keep their attention, then shame on you. Boring books should be a thing of the past! We have so many avenues of information to draw from to make our books enjoyable.

Now, go, find the facts that will help you create a great book, and have fun learning some new things.

Victoria LK Williams

 

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Currently Available in e-reader and print formats

 

 

 

Series or Stand-alone?

Why do I write in series rather than standalone books?

 First off let me say I love to read standalone books. They draw you in and they complete all of your questions in one sitting, but my true love is book series. It is much as I like to read series, I love to write them as well.

 

 Let me give you some of the reasons why I love to write and series.

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 I love my characters. They become friends to me, and I don’t want to see them leave at the end of the book. I can think of so many other things that they can get into, so many new mysteries for them to solve. When I’m reading, I don’t like to see a ton of characters in book one. Which is great, because when you’re writing the series, you can add characters as you go along. I’m not talking about the main characters, they should be consistent from book to book, but it’s the back story; the characters that live in the town with your main character and interacts with them daily. The characters that come and go could be the villains or just townsfolk that are only needed for one story.

 When I do my character casting, I have MAIN CHARACTERS, usually three or four; and one is always an animal. Then I have SECONDARY MAIN CHARACTERS. These are the glue to the story. These characters are the ones that help move the main character in the direction they need to go or point out things they may miss; they add interest. There’s nothing more annoying than reading a book where the main character has all the action. Having a sidekick, a doting relative, or even a love interest will add more interest and meat to the story.

 The next group of characters I have used are the RETURNING CHARACTERS. These are the characters that I build on as the series grows. They can be shop owners, friends, and family, townsfolk, or resources for the main character. These are the characters that add to the back story, making your book feel more in-depth and realistic. Here’s where you can have some fun. You can let one of your returning characters be an oddball that people shy away from or the opposite; somebody that everybody graduates gravitates to because he is so loving. They’re not main characters, but they play an essential role. And you want to bring them back, book after book.

 Then I have a fourth set of characters, and they are the characters it will only appear in the book I’m currently writing. I call these my THROW-AWAY CHARACTERS. These will usually that involves a villain, his minions, and a couple throwaways that are added just for interest or to move the story along without the help of a major character.

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 But writing a series is not just about the characters. For me, it’s also getting to know the SETTING of the story. My settings are all tropical. I live in the tropics, and I love it. After living up north in the Buffalo area in my youth, I have no desire to ever be cold again, and that includes writing about being cold.

 My settings are built on from book to book, just like the characters are. One book may future a specific setting and it may not be mentioned again for one or two books, but it’s always there, and it’s often referred to by the characters. By creating my settings in detail, I can give the reader a sense of the community my main character is revolving around.

 Another reason I like to write a series is to develop RELATIONSHIPS. Whether it be of a love interest that starts out as the first meeting in book 1 and ends up in marriage in book 10, or “frein-enemies” that end up helping each other at the end of a series.

 I could go on and on. But I’m giving you three reasons why I enjoy writing in a series; the Characters, the Settings, and the Relationships. That, to me, is a solid base to start and continue my series.

 I currently have for series written, adding new books to the series as time goes on. I’m also working on two other series and will release them at a later date. For more information about my series, check out my website.

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Victoria LK Williams

 

A few of my favorite tools

 

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There’s a term out in our society right now called shiny object syndrome. I prefer to call it the law of the new toys to me this means you’re jumping from one new product to the next before you really tried them out with the hopes of finding gold and key to success.
I’m guilty of this as well I have tried so many different things. But I have to be honest nothing works without hard work and hard work is the easiest with systems that work for you, not whoever’s promoting it but for you. And for each person that is going to be different.
When I look at my computer, I find apps and programs that I hadn’t used in a long time because I always tend to fall back on the tried-and-true that I know to work for me. There’s nothing wrong with the apps that I downloaded and paid for. some of them were very good, but they just didn’t fit my mode of writing.
I’m staring at the computer screen thinking, “I really need to clean this up and get rid of some of the stuff I don’t use.” Instead, I will share the programs that work the best for me. The ones that I use day in and day out and have made my life as a writer so much easier there are half a dozen or so that I use and I’ll start them off in order of appointment importance for me.

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1. Scrivener. I don’t know how I ever wrote before I found the Scrivener program. And every time I open it up, I seem to find another little tidbit that helps me be a better writer I’m not going into all the pros and cons of it I’m just going to say I love it and I’d be lost without it.
2. Scapple. This is a great mind mapping app. And it can be used alongside of Scrivener. I use this to remind myself how the characters connect to each other, major plot points and descriptions of locations and characters (I “cast” my characters by adding a picture of what I think they’ll resemble and do the same with settings.)
3. Dropbox. Dropbox is my insurance for keeping my files from being lost. I have a few other ones that I use like Carbonite and Google Docs, but I rely on Dropbox, and I use it to organize all of my files according to books, work, and play.
4. Dragon/ Dragon Anywhere The next to are primarily because I love to dictate with my work schedule it is easier to dictate on my lunch hours when I can just stop and polish off five or 600 words or that having an exceptional day couple thousand. The first one is Dragon Anywhere. If you’ve ever used the Dragon app on your computer, you’ll love this. It works with your cell phone, and even though most cell phones do have the ability to take dictation, it still doesn’t compare to Dragon.
5. Evernote. The second app that I use along with Dragon is Evernote. From Dragon, I can drop my dictation directly into Evernote organizes and files according to books and be assured that I have a backup. Then I take my file from Evernote cleaned it up a little bit and drop it into Scrivener. It may sound like a lot of extra steps, but I’m paranoid, and with each of these steps, I create a backup. I don’t ever want to have to lose an entire book because I didn’t back up or save things as I went along.
6. Word / Google Docs. And how can we fund forget Microsoft Word or Google Docs whichever one you use because these are essential yes you can write your entire manuscript in Scrivener and you can even format it, but there’s something comfortable about Microsoft Word, at least for me there is. Maybe it’s because I’m so used to it I been using it forever.
7. ProWriting Aid / Grammarly. These two I used together. ProWriting Aid is an intensive grammar program, and sometimes it’s intimidating, at least for me. But I start with a run-through in Grammarly and ProWriting Aid. And then just before I send my work off to the editor, I run it through a second program called grammar only. I figure what one doesn’t catch the other one might.
8. Natural Reader. And finally, after everything is ready and just before I send it off to the editor, I use an app called Natural Reader, which reads my book back to me. You’d be surprised how many errors I didn’t see, but I can hear. Besides, it’s kind of fun listening to your words being spoken back to you, proving you really are a writer.

Writer.

There are other apps that I use; different thesauruses and word documents, search engines, and Google for research. My husband bought me an Alexa, and I’m using that for research too. It’s also perfect for entertaining the cats because it’ll play videos designed for cats and that will keep them away from my writing. I bet Amazon didn’t think about one!
So, these are just a few of the things I use when I’m writing. They’re tools, and that’s all they are; only tools. You have to come up with the words, and you have to come up with the ideas and most of all you have to put in the work.

What do you use to aid your writing process?

Please note this is how I do my writing and the programs I use. You may find something else works better for you. There is no right or wrong answer. I have not been asked or reimbursed by any of these companies to promote them.

Have a safe and Happy 4th of July Holiday!

Victoria LK Williams

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Watch out for the Riptides!

If you live anywhere along the coast, you know riptides can be a dangerous problem for the unexpected swimmer. Lifeguards will post warnings, and there are signs along all the beaches that show what to do if you get caught in a riptide.

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But there are other types of riptide’s it affects our lives. And being an indie author, we seem to be swallowed up and rip tides constantly.
When I first started writing, I was dumbfounded when another writer said that writing the rough draft is the easiest part of the process. Little did I know she was probably right.
For me, writing that first draft is pure joy. It’s all about letting my imagination go and letting my words take hold of the page. But once it’s done, the riptide begins to appear; the riptide of all the other things that get in the way of writing the next book.
Just a few of the things that will pull you wonder if you’re not aware and prepared are the editing, publication, and promotion. The hardest parts of being an indie writer. Here are just a few things that can “suck” you under.

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The cover; it helps sell your book. It takes time and work to find the right illustrator. Then you need to convey your thoughts so that she or he can create the cover that will sell your book.
Once you open the book, it’s critical that you’ve taken the time to make the inside just as enticing as that cover. This is where that rough draft becomes a polished piece. Multiple editing drafts might be necessary to get your work to a salable point. Then once the words are right, you need to get it formatted for your readers to enjoy.
Now you’ve got the book ready to go. The next step is to get it out there where the readers can find it. You must determine how you’re going to publish your book. Are you going directly with Amazon or any of the other large distributors or are you going to use an aggregate publisher who will distribute for you?
Okay, step two is done. You’ve written the book, polished it, and published where readers can get it.
But now how do they find your book in among the thousands published every month? The promotional process can sometimes be as aggravating as the writing process itself.
Everything changes so fast, what you did yesterday may not work today. There’s no sitting back on your laurels waiting for the things to happen. You need to stand top of the industry and figure out what the next steps are going to be. You need to learn how to anticipate market trends so that you don’t find yourself falling behind.
Is it easy? No.
Is it necessary? Yes.
I’ve been doing this for almost 6 years, with 15 books published 3 more in that dreaded editing stage. Do I have it all figured out? Course not. Because it’s always changing.
When I first started, it was easy to put a book up on Amazon and help hundreds of downloads and thousands of pages read with very little advertising. But that’s not the way it works anymore. Now, you must be creative, you must find the right advertisers, and most of all you must have faith in yourself that your book will be read.
You need to stay on top of the industry, but more importantly, you need to be working on that next book; because nothing sells a new book than the book before it.

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So, prepare yourself as you walk along the shores of a writer and don’t get caught in the riptides.

Victoria LK Williams