Meet Morgan Best

I’m so pleased to introduce you to another writer who has a fondness for holiday writing…

Morgan Best writes several series (The Kitchen Witch, Witches and Wine, Australian Amateur Sleuth, Sea Witch Cozy Mysteries Witch Woods Funeral Home, His Ghoul Friday, Cocoa Narel Chocolate Shop Mysteries and the Prime Time Crime series) all in the cozy genre and her books can be found on all the major outlets. Her books are also available in print, large print and audio. Wow, I’m exhausted just naming her series, let alone all the fantastic books (43)!

Morgan Best

It’s obvious Morgan is a busy woman, so let’s get right into her interview!

Available at; Amazon, Apple, Nook, Kobo, Google Play

 Why did you write a holiday theme mystery? 
I write a Halloween story every year for The Kitchen Witch series. Amelia’s ancestor promised that her descendants would do a Halloween spell for another woman’s ancestors, so the lucky woman is Jasmine. Every year, Jasmine comes to Amelia’s small Aussie town, and Amelia is honor-bound to do a spell for her. Something always goes wrong with hilarious results. This year, Jasmine asks her to do a truth spell.

Is writing your full-time career? Or would you like it to be? 
I started writing years ago. Random House solicited a book of mine, but a comedy of errors followed. In 2003, I paid out my literary agent and decided to go Indie. Back then, it was only print. I’ve been a full-time author since late 2010.

What is your favorite childhood book? 
Enid Blyton’s The Magic Faraway Tree.
When I was a kid, I also loved reading books about animals, but most animals came to a horrible end. I have no idea why authors thought children would want to read about animals being harmed. I think that’s why I write cozy mysteries, where animals are perfectly safe and only people are harmed. 😉

What do you do when you are not writing? 
I pretty much write every waking minute, but when I’m not writing, I go to football (AFL- Aussie football) games (or watch them on TV), read, do something with the garden, take the dogs for walks, and run or ride the bike.

What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why? 
Amelia Spelled is a terrible baker. I based her cooking abilities on mine, so I enjoy writing about her baking disasters. In an earlier book, Amelia is making a no-bake cake. She has to soak cookies in sherry overnight. She doesn’t have sherry, so she soaks the cookies in Scotch whisky instead. All the guests get drunk.
This actually happened to me. I had a dinner party for my work colleagues back in the day. I didn’t have any sherry, but I found an old bottle of Scotch whisky in a cupboard—my ex-husband had left it there. I served everyone the no-bake cake filled with Scotch whisky-soaked cookies. Everyone ended up extremely drunk, and the next morning I had the most terrible hangover.

Here are 2 more books by Morgan, be sure to visit her website and signup for her newsletter to keep up with the next book.

Halloween decorations are going up and the nights are getting cooler. Now is the perfect time to download a holiday tale, curl up with a cup of hot cider and get in a Halloween mood.

Meet Kathy Manos Penn

In my last post, I presented a number of books with a Halloween Theme and next month I will do the same for books with a Christmas Theme. I hope you’ve had the opportunity to down load a couple and start reading. But now I want you to get the know the authors behind the stories. A few of these wonderfully talented wordsmiths have written books for both holidays! Are you ready to meet our first author?

Kathy Manos Penn with Banjo

Kathy is a long-time columnist and award-winning author. Her books are in the KU (kindle unlimited) program. You can find all her books on her Amazon Author Page, connect with her on her Facebook Author Page and find out even more from her Website!

I asked each of our authors to select questions from a list to answer (you’ll find out more below) and ask all to answer this…

Why did you write a holiday theme mystery?
The Halloween book simply grew out of the fact that book one was set in September and had ended with a costume party at my main character’s cottage. That was so much fun, I wanted to continue the costume theme with the characters dressing in costume for a Fall Fete in their Cotswolds village.
I LOVE Christmas, and like my main character, I decorate our home to the hilt! Given that Leta has been a widow for 18 mos, her emotional growth and how she deals with the holidays seemed a natural next step.

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How long have you been writing?
I’ve been writing cozies only since late 2019 and released Book One in my series in February 2020. For almost my entire corporate career, I was called upon to write. Funny that my fellow bankers, whom I thought brilliant at analysis and numbers, seemed to think the same about my ability to craft a complete sentence, a speech, a how-to guide, or a training course. Long before my official job was communications, I was the go-to person for writing.
As a side job, while still a banker, I began writing weekly columns for a local paper and enjoyed it so much, I also started writing a blog. When I retired, I published a book of my columns, and then my dog Banjo got in on the act. He got all fired up when I had his DNA done and we discovered he’s part Great Pyrenees.  Did you know that Louis XIV declared those majestic animals the Royal Dogs of France? Once Banjo heard that news, he demanded I take dictation and produce a small book in his voice about a year in his life.  He says Lord Banjo the Royal Pooch is NOT fiction, but we have a difficult time convincing readers of that.
It was only after I’d appeased the boy that I could think about what I might want to write.

What is the significance of the title?
Since Dickens & Christie, the dog and cat in my books, are important characters, I find myself wanting to include a pet-oriented word in each title.  Hence, the first book was Bells, Tails & Murder and this Halloween themed book is Pumpkins, Paws & Murder with a fall fête central to the plot.

What book is currently on your bedside table?
Love Saves the Day by Gwen Cooper. A friend recommended I read it because a cat tells the story. She wasn’t quite sure she was going to enjoy reading my books where Dickens & Christie converse with their pet parent, but after one book, she was hooked. She went in search of other books where the animals talk or at least write and found Love Saves the Day!
And on my Kindle, next up is The Silent Woman by Terry Lynn Thomas. I’m an Anglophile through and through, so you can almost always find me reading a book set in England. This one is set just before WWII.

What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why?
As an avid reader, I love writing the book club scenes included in each of my books.  The chosen book is always in some way connected to the plot and is always a book I’ve read. I enjoy mentioning books throughout my stories, though I must admit I haven’t read every single book I mention—most of them, but not all. Leta, my main character, was an English major and briefly an English teacher before moving on to corporate America, and her best friend Wendy taught high school English for thirty years. It’s only natural that they talk books.  And guess what, I too briefly taught English, and I’m forever talking books with my friends.

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Is writing your full-time career? Or would you like it to be?
My friends would tell you it is, that writing has become my full-time second career and that I never really retired. I call it my passion. I find myself going into withdrawal when I don’t write every day.  Fortunately, I continue to write weekly newspaper columns, so when I’m not deep into writing the next book, I can get my fix with a column.

What do you like to do when you are not writing?
Read!  I must read every night and now that I’m retired I stay up way too late doing that.  When I worked, I made myself turn out the bedside light by ten. Much as I say about Leta in my books, I turn into a pumpkin by that time. And so you know I’m not a complete couch potato, I work out several times a week and walk with my sister too. Times were I rode bicycles with my husband, but his health has taken that activity off the table, and I don’t much enjoy cycling by myself. You’ll notice in my books that Leta rides a bicycle.

Where do you draw inspiration from?
I followed the adage to write what you know, so my pets are the inspiration for the personalities of Dickens & Christie. Banjo and Puddin’ hang out with me in my office—Banjo snoozes at my feet and Puddin’ is either demanding treats by leaping on the desk or she’s snoozing in my desk drawer. As does Dickens, Banjo loves belly rubs and is always scarfing his feline sister’s wet food. Puddin’? She’s a demanding little thing who rules the roost and thinks she “owns” both me and my husband.
Leta, my main character, is a transplanted Atlantan and is Greek. I only wish I were a transplanted Atlantan!  I doubt I’d ever have the gumption to leave friends and family behind and move to England, but I AM Greek. Leta is known among her new British friends for her Greek salad, as I am here among my Atlanta friends. You can find her salad recipe in Book One and two additional Greek recipes in Books Two and Three.
Beyond that, my bucket list trip to England in 2018 inspired the Cotswolds village setting and much of the literary plot for the first book in the series. In book two, the ladies take a trip to Dartmouth and Agatha Christie’s summer home because I’d visited both. One thing leads to another as I research ideas on the internet, and things move along from there.
Because I took yoga for years, there’s a yoga studio in Astonbury and Leta takes a class several times a week. I’ve long had it in the back of my mind to include a yoga retreat in one of my books. I only need to figure out who gets murdered and why! This idea could show up in book five. You never know.

Well, I hope you’ve enjoyed our first “Holiday Author”! I know I have. And I’m now in the mood to start reading holiday books.

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Don’t forget, you can get my books at a discount when you buy direct from my website. And to help you start start preparing for the holidays, check out the cute designs below!

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Meet Paul Austin Ardoin

Paul is the first of the Brozy Authors you are going to meet. If you missed the last post, Brozy Authors write light, entertaining whodunit cozy mysteries that appeal to more traditional male interest. Either by the chief character being male or the story line taking a more masculine turn (think book store owner vs biker). If you haven’t tried a brozy, then you’re in for a whole new adventure!

Meet Paul Austin Ardoin

Why do you write “Brozy”?
I’ve loved mystery stories ever since I was a little kid—Encyclopedia Brown, the Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew. When I was in junior high, I burned through most of Agatha Christie’s Poirot novels.
As an adult, I’ve absolutely loved the Kinsey Milhone and Stephanie Plum books. Sue Grafton and Janet Evanovich don’t write cozies, but neither do they write blood-and-gore thrillers. Their protagonists are smart, savvy professionals who are highly competent but don’t take themselves too seriously. Their books hint at darker themes without being disturbing, and their books have a lot of humor without being silly or absurd.
I majored in creative writing in college, and spent years trying to write literary fiction. In my forties, I realized I needed to change gears to write the books like the ones I love reading… and that’s why I find myself writing in this genre. I’ve often heard it called “soft-boiled” or “traditional,” but so often “traditional” means “British,” and my mysteries are set in California.
What inspired you to start writing?
I’ve wanted to be a novelist ever since I can remember. I majored in creative writing in college and published a few short stories, but I was never able to finish a novel. When I turned 45, I realized that if I wanted to call myself a novelist, I actually had to finish a novel.I re-started writing The Reluctant Coroner for National Novel Writing Month in 2017, and I promised myself that no matter what, I’d finish the book—even if I thought it was horrible or unsalvageable. And about two-thirds of the way through, I realized it needed to be written in third person, not first person. Before, that would have been enough for me to abandon the book, but I remembered the promise I’d made to myself. So I finished the book. It was a painful process to rewrite the whole thing in third person, but at the end, I’d finished what eventually became my debut novel.
What advice would you give a new writer, someone just starting?
I’ve gotten some valuable advice over the years. The most valuable thing is to finish what you start. Many writers have a few half-finished novels—some have dozens! Promising yourself you’re going to finish and then actually finishing is the most valuable thing I’ve ever learned. As Jodi Picoult says, “You can’t edit a blank page.” But editing a bad novel and making it good is possible, and usually way less painful than starting over.
One more piece of advice: write 200 words every day. NaNoWriMo was great to get my first book going, but it’s 1,600-plus words a day is daunting. 200 words, though, is usually fifteen or twenty minutes, and it’s something you can do even at the end of a busy day or at the end of your lunch break. Sometimes I find that I don’t want to write at all, but then I force myself to write those 200 words—and I get into a groove before those 200 words are up. Suddenly, three hours will have passed in an instant and I’ll have written 4,000 words.
How do you develop your plot and characters?
My wife was looking into becoming a nursing student, and she began to research careers in the field. In California where we live (and in several other U.S. states), an MD isn’t required to be a coroner. I started thinking about what would lead a nurse to become a coroner, and came up with Fenway Stevenson. A lot of the personality of Fenway and her father came from the simple idea that a father would insist on naming his daughter after his favorite team’s home stadium (for those of you who aren’t baseball fans, the Boston Red Sox play in Fenway Park).
When I started writing The Reluctant Coroner, all I had was the character of Fenway, the character of her father, and the identity of the murderer. I didn’t even know who the victim was when I began the first chapter! But as I wrote, both the plot and characters began to take shape. Many times, something would happen in the plot that surprised me—not as I was writing it, but just before it took shape. Quite often, these plot threads would take the story in an entirely different direction, or would turn an extremely minor character into a strong secondary character.
What time of the day do you usually write?
Before the pandemic, I used to travel a lot for work, and would often find myself with 20 minutes waiting for my flight to board, or back in my hotel room after a business dinner, and I’d take that spare time to write. I listen to “The Bestseller Experiment” podcast, and bestselling author Shannon Mayer discussed how working authors don’t have time to “wait” for their Muse—they have to grab their Muse by the horns and wrestle it to the ground and insist that inspiration come immediately. So I don’t wait for a time of day to write or a seat at my favorite coffee place to open up. I can write anywhere at any time.
Most often, I’m in my home office at my desk, but I’ll take fifteen minutes at lunch, grab an hour before work, or wake up early on a weekend to write.
What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?
Unlike 85% to 90% of the population, I don’t have an internal monologue. I don’t think in complete sentences—my thoughts are more nebulous, and it’s like they unspool when they transform into words that come out of my mouth or off my fingertips onto the keyboard. As a result, my first three novels had early drafts that were littered with “filtering words” or “distancing words,” instead of the free direct narration that most readers prefer—and that give books a sense of immediacy. (These are phrases like “she saw the car drive away,” “she decided to get up,” or “she realized she needed to tell him the truth,” instead of the much more direct “the car drove away,” “she got up,” or “she told him the truth.”) I used these filtering words because it’s the way I experience the world, and the direct narration felt fake to me. My editor is the one who made me realize that I’m the odd duck—that free and direct narration is much more effective. This last novel, number six, was the first in which I didn’t overuse filtering words—and as a result, it had the least amount of red ink coming back from the editor.
Writing can be an emotionally draining and stressful pursuit. Any tips for aspiring writers?
Many writers I know couldn’t write anything when the pandemic first started and the world closed down. For me, writing was the only thing that took my mind off everything horrible that was happening in the world. Because I don’t have an internal monologue, I could unspool the thoughts that made me write my book instead of unspooling the thoughts that led me into anxiety and depression. Unfortunately, I don’t have any tips because my brain is weird like that.
How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?
I’ve written six novels in this series and a novella of one of the secondary characters 25 years before the start of the first book. I always feel like the last book I’ve written is my favorite. Often, it’s because I’ve challenged myself to do something I wasn’t sure I could do—for instance, Book 5, The Courtroom Coroner, is what TV people call a “bottle episode”: it all happens in a single room without people coming or going. Currently, my new release, The Watchful Coroner, is my favorite because I can see the progress my characters have made along their arcs, and it’s very satisfying to see it.
When writing a series, how do you keep things fresh for both your readers and also you?
Fenway Stevenson’s character arc is the thing that keeps me fresh. She’s at a different point in her relationship with 1) her father, 2) her main love interest, and 3) her job as coroner in every single book. It feels natural to me that she’d progress (and sometimes regress) in the way she has.
Where do you get your inspiration?
Rarely have I ever been inspired by a true-crime headline, but I have taken ideas from situations I’ve experienced in the past—with a murder overlaid. For example, I was in a Shakespeare troupe in college, very similar to the North American Shakespeare Guild in Book 4, The Upstaged Coroner. While none of the characters (except the director) were based on real people, the intensity of the rehearsals, the camaraderie of the company, and the emotions that the play brought to light are the things I hope I translated to the pages of the book.
Are there any secrets from the book (that aren’t in the blurb), you can share with your readers?
Not many readers have noticed this, but Fenway—who has a difficult and strained relationship with her father—never calls him “Dad” except to his face. When talking about him, she always says “my father.” This changes at some point in the series… and for readers of the books, it’s probably obvious where it is and what the catalyst of the change is.
What is the future for the characters? Will there be a sequel?
I’ve started on Book 7, The Accused Coroner, and it will wrap up some of the longer arcs in the series. I plan to go on to write at least two more Fenway Stevenson novels after this and maybe more.
How many plot ideas are just waiting to be written? Can you tell us about one?
I have ideas for three other book series. One is about a private investigator who’s at the center of a 12-book series of interconnected crimes called Murders of Substance. One follows a secondary character from Fenway Stevenson Book 2, The Incumbent Coroner, and the investigations she spearheads. And one has another estranged father/daughter duo as the main characters, on the run from federal agents after being set up for a crime they didn’t commit. I hope to start one of those series after writing book 7 in the Fenway series.
What’s the most challenging thing about writing characters from the opposite sex?
Even in my late teens and early twenties, most of my protagonists were women, and I’ve always been told I have a good sense of narrative voice when my main character is female. I’m not sure why, but I did take one of those Marcus Buckingham “First Discover Your Strengths” tests, and I’m high in empathy. Perhaps I find it easier than most people to put myself in another person’s shoes? The one thing that DOES get me, though, is giving Fenway believable reactions in certain situations. For example, Fenway had a tough conversation with a co-worker, and walked home in the twilight from her co-worker’s apartment to hers—about two miles, with her headphones in listening to music. My critique group POUNCED on that—there’s no way, no matter how safe the neighborhood, that a woman walking by herself at night would do it with headphones in. Fenway is half-Black, too, and there were a bunch of things about basic day-to-day stuff like hair care that I had to be told to go research because I was getting it wrong.
What was your hardest scene to write?
In an early scene The Reluctant Coroner, Fenway’s assistant gets a little tipsy and then confesses that the murder victim sexually assaulted her two days before his death. The scene in which she talks about what he did was by far the hardest scene I ever had to write. Part of it was because of the disturbing subject matter (although it’s relatively tame compared to many thrillers), but part of it was also because I hadn’t ever written anything like that before. I hadn’t plotted that scene out, either—it was a complete surprise to me that she confessed it to Fenway. I couldn’t write another word in the book for three days afterward, and probably only started again because it was during NaNoWriMo and I was getting behind on my words.

The first book in the Fenway Stevenson Mystery series, The Reluctant Coroner, is free (at least until October 1) on all major e-book retailers: www.books2read.com/fenway1

Book 6 in the series, The Watchful Coroner, is available September 22: www.books2read.com/fenway6

The easiest place to find Paul’s books: www.books2read.com/rl/fenway
You can also locate all of them at www.paulaustinardoin.com


Meet Rachel Rivers

It’s a beautiful Sunday morning and I’m watching the birds and squirrels from my window trying to outsmart each other in their attempts to get to the peanuts I put out on the table for them. So far, the Blue Jays are winning. I’m excited for you to meet our next author, so let’s get right to it!

Rachel Rivers Meet Rachel Rivers…

Rachel writes light-hearted cozy mysteries with a paranormal twist. Her books are on Kindle and in Kindle Unlimited. You can find out all about her series, Hex Falls Paranormal Cozy Mysteries on her Amazon Author Page.

Where do you draw inspiration from?
Life, friends, family, my father.

Plotter or Pantser?
Plotter for sure.

Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?
Write what you love… but make sure it has an audience if you expect to make any money. If you don’t care about money…write what you love and be happy.

How long have you been writing?
Seriously, for about 12 years. But I’ve actually been writing since I was eight, hoping to get serious.

How do you handle writer’s block?
People are going to hate this, but I don’t get writer’s block. I always have ideas. I’m always able to write. Living long enough to write all of my ideas is my biggest concern.

How do you come up with the titles to your books?
A lot of brainstorming! LOL And help from my nineteen-year-old.

Describe a typical writing day.
I’m up at 6:15, let the dogs out, shower, typically make tea, and sit down at my desk by no later than 6:45. I then write non-stop until about 11:30, when I usually break to eat, talk to a writing friend, then head back into my second session of writing from around 1:00 to 3:30ish pm. Then it’s dinner and marketing, marketing, marketing from 7:00 to 9:30 pm as I watch TV, and that’s it! Writing-wise. Phew! Enough, right?

Is writing your full-time career? Or would you like it to be?
Full-time. As you can tell by my schedule above.

What was your favorite part, and your least favorite part of the writing journey?
My favorite part is hearing from fans. People who have enjoyed or being moved, in some positive way, by my stories. That’s what makes me happiest. My least favorite part is composing Chapter Ones. Chapter One is always the hardest for me to get right. It always feels like it’s being dragged out of me.

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rachel rivers2   Be sure to visit Rachel’s website!

 

Have you ever heard of a Brozy Mystery? Be sure to watch for my next post, and you can find out all about them!

Victoria LK Williams

Want to connect?  Click on this link to find your favorite social site…
https://linktr.ee/VictoriaLKWilliams

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

So, Now I Understand!

Respect and understanding

I guess it was about five or six years ago I had the pleasure of having client who is also a pretty famous writer. Vero Beach seems to be a hotbed for authors and this one was no exception- started Miami and worked his way up and I not to name drop, but his initials are C.H.

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At the time I was not writing myself although I had aspirations to begin. I can remember being impressed and a little bit awestruck by this man. He had a set schedule that he stuck to, and had his family stick to as well. He had an office set off in the house and when he went into his office during normal hours that he had set aside he was not to be disturbed under any circumstances. He stuck to the schedule just like in any other work environments and he made family stick to it as well. At the time I didn’t quite understand the need for this type of environment, but now that I’m writing I truly do.

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Now that I’m writing myself I understand why there is a need for your own special space. It may not be in office, it could just be a quiet little corner of your porch or in your bedroom with the bedroom door closed. But you do need to have a location where you can write and not have any interruptions in your thought flow.

Without an exclusive environment to write in, it’s easy to get distracted. I found that out myself; it’s easy to get up to run to get a drink and next thing you know you’re throwing a load of laundry in the washer or playing with the cats.

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You pick up the phone and the next thing you know, you’re answering emails. The distractions are boundless enough without anybody in the house, and add in family and friends? They see you at your desk and unless that door is closed you are soon caught up in family demands. Or, maybe you write outside and soon it is the neighbors who want to chit chat because they see you out on the porch. Before you know what you’ve lost hours of writing time.

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And then there’s the internal interruptions; the need to check your emails, to go on your favorite blogs or forums to just check out what’s going on. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Instagram, Tumbler; are all great things, but you need to set aside a time to do them away from your writing time. These are important things, because for many of us that is the way that we provide a social platform to make our name recognizable. But you need to set aside separate times to write and separate times to promote. It’s up to you to decide what order and the length of time that you need for each of these items

So, as I’m working on my third book, I understand and admire this author that I spoke of earlier with even more respect. He was able to stick to his regimen and pour out books, very good books by the way, and he still was able to do everything else in his life that he wanted to.
I’m taking my lessons from him. I’m going to start setting my own writing time and stick to it even if it’s only an hour at night from 10 to 11 when I have time to myself and can’t be interrupted. I will follow his example and build from it.

What steps are you going to take to make your writing career more successful and more productive?

Experience The Words

Not my usual cup of tea…

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This weekend I took the opportunity to do something different, something that I’ve never thought I would do in a million years. I went to a gun show, and I have to admit it was interesting. There’s a completely different group of people that attend a function like this. Those attending are enthusiastic; they’re honest, open, and forthright. They are honestly are more than willing to help answer your questions. But I went as a writer, NOT with the intent to purchase a gun, but with the intent to learn and to get the feeling for what it would be like to hold one. As a mystery writer, (and most mysteries include murder) I took the opportunity to get the feel for “the tool of the trade”. I have to admit it was a completely different feeling then what I imagined. And what an education!  There are so many guns; handguns, pistols, rifles, automatic weapons-it was over whelming, and I walked away probably more confused that when I walked in. But, on the other hand I did get a clear understanding of what it is to hold a gun and what it is to own a gun. An added bonus was there were people there that had kits for making panic rooms and secret compartments for holding weapons within your furniture. It was very interesting, and set the wheels in motion for twist and turns within my plots.

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I think as a writer, part of your job is to learn as much as you can about what you’re writing about. I took the opportunity to learn a little bit about guns. Somebody who’s writing a medical thriller should actually go and get soak up the feeling of the medical field; walk in and sit in an emergency room just pay attention to what goes on. If you’re writing about animals you should spend time with an animal and be around it to see what it does and how it interacts with the people and animals around it.

What I’m trying to say is it takes more than the right words to write a good book. You need to communicate an experience and the reactions with those words. And isn’t that what a good writer is trying to do; communicate the experience to our readers so that they can feel like you’re there with you, holding that gun?

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So I encourage old and new writers try something different. Get some experience of what you’re writing about, even in the smallest possible way, and see what actually happens to your writing.

I think you’ll be looking at it from a whole new viewpoint.

Big Words, Little Words

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Writers have a job to do, and words are our tools.  Words that can create a world away from our day-to-day life, words that can teach us, words that will make us laugh or cry, words that will make us wonder.

As a writer it is not just about stringing random words together.  We have a story to tell and we need to understand our reader to insure that they enjoy what we are creating with our pen (or keyboard).  Personally, when I am reading a cozy mystery (like the ones I write), a romantic comedy or “Chick Lit” I do not want to be bombarded with scientific mumbo-jumbo while I’m trying to enjoy the author’s words.  I want the words of the story to match the mood of the book, and so do most readers.

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On the other had, there are times when details and technical terms are a necessary part of the story.  Would you believe in a medical drama that used the words boo-boo?  Of course not.  The words need to not only tell the story, but build the suspense and the back story and these details make the difference.  Research or life experiences will give the author the confidence to weave a story that will keep you interested from the opening page to the ending page.

No matter what type of book you read, the type of words will set the mood for your enjoyment.  From the mother reading  her child’s favorite book, to the adult catching some private time out in the garden with the newest block buster; the words matter.6d563d64f75ad087e4fe43e1957876c2

So big words (medical suspense) to little words (children’s books) just read….

Remember Dr. Seuss has sold millions of books all based on rhyming little words!