Saturday, September 29, 2012
Tuesday, September 25, 2012
Monday, September 24, 2012
THE HUNTER FILES
When my husband got tired of trying to kill himself in racing cars, light aircraft, helicopters and all the other stuff men turn to in a futile attempt to offset the inevitable mid-life crisis, he suggested that we try boating. We were at home in Andorra, up to our ears in snow and the heating was on the blink, so pretty pictures of sleek motor cruisers cutting through the calm, crystal clear waters of the Mediterranean seemed rather appealing.
We fell for the hype and before we knew it, we were the owners of an ancient boat in need of a considerable amount of tlc. For Andre, that was the start of an on-going love affair with the sea and all things nautical. For me it was more a hate-love-hate thing. When the sea is actually as calm as they make it out to be in those glossy ads then boating is a dream. But those days are few and far between. Most of the time you’re tossed about like a loose coin in a washing machine, feeling sick and wondering what the hell you think you’re doing.
Please welcome Wendy Soliman to Make Mine Mystery by leaving a comment.
Sunday, September 23, 2012
Or they access security cameras from every street corner in the city and spot the getaway car.
Saturday, September 22, 2012
Friday, September 21, 2012
Betty, you’ve received some great reviews for your latest release, Desert Wind, including a starred review from Publisher’s Weekly.Why did you decide to write about the uranium mining which led to the deaths of John Wayne, Susan Hayward and many others?
Why did you decide to write a light-hearted series about zoo animals?
You can visit Betty Webb at: her website www.bettywebb-mystery.com
and bettywebb-zoomystery.com Her blog site and writing tips: http://blogglingwebb.blogspot.com
Wednesday, September 19, 2012
Tuesday, September 18, 2012
When I first started doing them, I hired a company to plan and do everything for me. I used them several times and realized that they didn't always pick the best blogs for me to visit. Other things happened and now I'll share some of what I've learned--bet I'll learn more by the time this our for Raging Water is over.
You need to pick people for you tour who have blogs that you've actually visited or know some other way in the Net. It helps if they like the genre that you write. Hopefully you can find some sites that have followers who are readers, not just writers (though some of my biggest fans are writers so don't rule them out.)
You should check to see if the blog you're going to ask to visit has a good number of followers. Doesn't have to be a huge amount, but a good number means there are people actually reading the blog and a regular basis.
I'd love it if everyone got rid of the captcha code. I just got rid of it on mine, I didn't even know it was there. When you leave a comment on someone's site and you can't get past the captcha code after several tires, you probably aren't going to keep trying. I once tried 8 times before succeeding. I would've quit sooner but it was a place I had a guest blog and I was leaving a reply to a comment.
And that brings me to another subject. When you're a guest on someone's blog, for goodness sake go back and check once in awhile and respond to the comments that have been written. I've had several guests on my blog who never came back at all, not even to thank me.
Be sure and promote you post the day that you're a guest. Promote on Facebook, Twitter and every list that you're on. (Yes, I've had guests who never promoted at all. Why bother then?)
Make sure to have something new on every blog. Even if the host asks for the same topic as another, make each one different. We are writers after all, how hard is it to come up with something new.
A contest will keep people following you. If you plan to give away a book, give a different one than the one you are promoting. The idea of a blog tour is to interest someone enough that they'll buy a copy of your new book--if you're offering it as a prize everyone will wait to see if they won and then probably forget about it all together.
A few days before a blog post will appear, send an email to the host reminding them. I've only had one that had completely forgotten. Some wait to put up everything the day before. It's much, much easier when someone puts everything up right away and dates and times the post.
And finally, put up different photos of yourself. I couldn't remember what pictures I'd used and it's been a surprise to me too when I visit the host blog for the first time the day I'm a guest.
The book I'm promoting now is the latest in the Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery series, Raging Water.
Marilyn's Musings and scroll down until you come to one of the places where I've posted the week's schedule.
Monday, September 17, 2012
1. Writing is a process. So is marketing. I continue to learn how to hone my craft, and try to keep up with new ways of reaching readers.
2. The internet is a writer’s best friend. We can communicate with readers and our fellow writers without leaving home or spending postage. But beware of overselling yourself. No one wants “buy my book, buy my book” shoved constantly in one's face.
3. Writing is still a lonely pursuit. The words must be gotten down—typed or written, the plot must be worked out. But help is only an email away because your fellow writers are friendly and willing to help. Join writing organizations and Facebook writing groups. I’ve met some of my best friends this way.
4. Being an author takes you all sorts of places--like bookstores and conferences, classrooms and libraries--and has you doing things you've never done before. Like giving a half-hour TV interview, fielding questions while monitoring a panel, starting a chapter of Sisters in Crime, guest blogging when a new book comes out. We're offered many opportunities to grow as writers and people. The trick is to be open to them, and more opportunities will come your way.
Wednesday, September 12, 2012
Tuesday, September 11, 2012
|Lynn and her son -And Orange Counter Tops.|
Days and questions shape our lives. I remember the day the Challenger exploded. And the day Elvis died. I even remember seeing Bobby Kennedy's funeral procession on our black and white television.
So where were you when the world changed?
Or at least the world for Americans?
I still lived in Idaho, but I'd been tentatively offered a lucrative contract to train on a child support system install in North Carolina. Two years, going from office to office, teaching people how to use the new system. Sweet gig. And I was totally looking forward to my new digs as well as the new job.
My husband to be had a construction business and the guys all met at our house at the beginning of the day for coffee and assignments. When I went through the living room, I saw the television was on and the guys watching a movie.
It wasn't a movie.
I've thought a lot about the personal effects that day had. Even on someone who lived across the country from where the attacks occurred. My contract was cancelled as the state pulled back from buying the new system. My son started being a double security check at airports when he flew home from college - mostly due to the fact we didn't buy his ticket until last minute and the kid looks dark and grungy--what else can you expect, he lives in Seattle. :)
A couple years ago, my friend married one of the first responders from the New York police department. As we walked through Times Square, she saw the danger, I still saw the beauty.
I wonder, if the world hadn't changed, and I'd gone to North Carolina for that career, would I be writing now?
So where were you?
Monday, September 10, 2012
I want all that information now. Then again, I don't. There's something fun about being kept in suspense. The longer the suspense, the more the curiosity grows.
The same can be said for a good book, be it a mystery or other genre. I and other readers are dying to know the answers to burning questions, but once learned, the book is for all intents and purposes over.
The lesson to be learned is not to give away the store. When writing a novel of whatever type, only explain what needs to be explained, and nothing more. Instead, throw in hints in strategic spots to build suspense. Get the readers agitated and wanting to know the answers, but string them along as far into the book as possible. Then, spill the beans as near to the end as you can.
Morgan Mandel - For Fast Paced, Poignant Mysteries and Romances
Latest Release: Her Handyman
See all of Morgan's books at http://morgansbooklinks.blogspot.com
Sunday, September 9, 2012
Saturday, September 8, 2012
Friday, September 7, 2012
I read a magazine article titled, “Action, the Heartbeat of Fiction” by Jordan E. Rosenfeld that I thought was worth noting. Rosenfeld said, “Action is a dynamic word that calls to mind a director hooting into a megaphone at his actors. It's also the heartbeat of good fiction that keeps readers riveted to the page. Action is comprised of all the elements a reader can 'witness' taking place. From physical movement to spoken dialogue, action transports your readers into your writing and brings your writing to life. Despite all this, many writers have a tendency to shuffle important action ‘offstage,’ relying on pace-dragging narrative summaries and recaps instead.”
The solution to preventing pace-dragging scenes is to write them within a framework. By presenting scenes as though they were happening on a theater stage, all the drama takes place as it happens, not offstage and something for the characters to discuss. Readers remember what happens on stage and can make their own deductions. They needn’t wait for the characters to endlessly discuss what has just taken place.
The scene’s momentum keeps the reader reading and her heart pounding as the action accelerates if the plot situation seems real, particularly when the character is in danger. Instead of characters talking about a past experience, replay the scene in flashback action. By reliving it in living color, the reader can experience it for himself.
Another good way to involve your reader in a scene is to reveal information in dialogue. A good plot reveals new information in each chapter and one of the best ways to deliver the news is to have the characters act it out. Give the narrator a rest. It’s much more powerful to have events happen now than to hear about it later, secondhand.
Character movement is essential in a good scene, whether the protagonist throws a chair through a window in anger, or flicks ashes from a cigarette into his cup. Don’t leave your characters standing around without something to do. Body language is a giveaway when a character’s motives are in question. If a man drops his head when asked if he killed someone, it usually means he’s guilty or knows who committed the crime. If a woman lifts a palm to her chest while denying something, changes are she’s telling the truth.
If your character comes to an important decision or suddenly realizes that he has the answer to a problem, avoid internal monologue as much as possible. The realization will have more impact if it happens in someone else’s presence because it raises the emotional stakes for all concerned, as well as your storyline.
And finally, turn your back story into front story whenever possible or delete it from the plot. Back story is your character’s past, which you feel needs to be included. It’s usually spooned in as narrative summary instead of dialogue and lacks the elements of scene writing. Because it doesn’t take place in the present, there’s no dialogue or scene setting or action taking place. When that happens, the best part of back story is casually written off without the slightest hint of emotion. And as I've said before, emotion drives the plot.
Thursday, September 6, 2012
From August 23rd through the 26th, I was ensconced in the Hutton Hotel in Nashville, Tennessee as a conferee at Killer Nashville. I used to do lots of conferences, but slowed down my attendance when they became inseparable in their offerings. However, the need for publicity being what it is, I decided I had to get back on the circuit. Boy, am I glad I started with Killer Nashville.
I had the opportunity to meet and hear many other talented people. In fact, far too many to try and name here.
Tuesday, September 4, 2012
Drove to Sedona AZ for a writing friend's 90th birthday party. While there, did a talk at the Well Red Coyote bookstore.
I attended a book luncheon, great food and each table was decorated for a particular book and the hostess of each table spoke about the book. (One year one of my books was featured--this year I sold a book to one of my tablemates.)
I went to two Bunco parties put on by the ladies from church. If you've never been to a Bunco party you haven't lived. (It's one of the silliest games I've ever played but it's a good break from sitting in front of the computer. The proceeds go to the youth activities at church.)
My cousin and her husband came to visit for a day.
Hubby and I drove over to Morro Bay where we stayed in our favorite hotel. I spoke about writing mysteries at the Los Osos Public Library. The next night, the Central Coast Sisters in Crime hosted us at a lovely dinner party.
In July, I gave my presentation about "How to Write a Mystery" to the San Joaquin Sisters in Crime group.
We also drove over to Las Vegas and visited my sister and while there went on to the Orleans Hotel for the Public Safety Writers Conference. I'm the program chair for this conference, so I'm always busy. I love this conference, the most interesting people attend from all different public safety fields as well as mystery writers who want to learn from the experts. (Everyone comes for writing and promoting tips.)
In August we headed back to the coast but this time we stayed at the Santa Maria Inn. We went to dinner with a writer friend and her husband. The next day I had a booth at the Nipomo Librrary Book and Craft Fair.
Drove up to the mountains and had lunch with a group of writers and gave them my how to write a mystery presentation in a more informal setting--and sold a few books.
This whole time I was doing Facebook and Twitter promo for No Bells, the latest in my Rocky Bluff P.D. series and planning my blog tour for my next Deputy Tempe Crabtree series, Raging Water.
http://pat-writersforum.blogspot.com/ with the post "I See Mystery Everywhere."
For the whole tour schedule visit my blog Marilyn's Musings
Believe me, finding people to host, figuring out what to write, writing it and juggling the calendar is a lot of work.
I also read books and wrote reviews for them.
And of course there was the usual stuff, cooking, laundry, grocery shopping, doctor visits, visiting friends in the hospital, teaching Sunday School (I have 3rd through 7th grade--the 7th grader doesn't want to move on, etc)
And how did you spend your summer vacation?
Monday, September 3, 2012
I'm delighted to welcome my friend and fellow writer, Peg Cochran, as my first guest to Make Mine Mystery. I’m in awe of Peg’s unbound energy and prodigious output. While working full time, she writes two cozy mystery series for Berkley Prime Crime. The Sweet Nothings Vintage Lingerie series, written as Meg London, is set in Paris, Tennessee. The Gourmet De-Lite series, written under her own name, is set in Connecticut.
Marilyn: What did you study in college? How do you think that affected or influenced your writing?
Peg: I was a Journalism major at Ohio University. I loved to write and was considered “good at it” and that was the only major that I knew of at the time that involved writing. I ended up doing a lot of freelance non-fiction writing for magazines and web sites, but what I really wanted to write was fiction.
Marilyn: How do you think the little Westie in one of your series adds to the dimension of your cozies?
Peg: Reg is quite a character—both the fictionalized one and the real one who lives with me! I think he allows for some playfulness in the series and helps show my protagonist’s nurturing side. There is a French bulldog named Pierre Louis Auguste in my Sweet Nothings series. The first book in that series, Murder Unmentionable, debuts on September 4.
Marilyn: What part do you think romance plays in your cozies?
Peg: I think romance is important because it’s a part of real life for most people, and it helps lend some spice to a book. In Allergic to Death, first in my Gourmet De-Lite series, Gigi is pursued by two men. She’s just come away from a divorce, and is leery about getting involved and is in no hurry to make a decision. In Murder Unmentionable, Emma Taylor reconnects with her best friend’s older brother—and he suddenly realizes she’s not a kid anymore. Meanwhile, her Aunt Arabella is juggling two different gentlemen herself!
Marilyn: How do you pick your characters’ names?
Peg: Sometimes they just “come” to me. I wanted Gigi to be half Irish and half Italian so I gave her the surname of Fitzgerald and decided on Giovanna as a first name (my grandmother’s name!) and nicknamed her Gigi for short. The detective, Bill Mertz, is rather stiff and not terribly sophisticated, and I thought his name conveyed that. I often look in the phone book for last names, and I have two baby name books that I consult. My husband still gets nervous when he sees me thumbing through them, despite the fact that we are now grandparents.
Marilyn: When you create the settings for your cozies, do you have a real location in mind or do you create a new scenario?
Peg: I’ve done both. The Gourmet series is set in a fictional town in Connecticut which I’ve populated with all the things I love about small towns on the East coast. The Sweet Nothings series is set in Paris, Tennessee, but I’ve added a lot of fictional buildings to their charming downtown area, including Sweet Nothings, Arabella’s vintage lingerie shop.
Marilyn: What would you like your readers to come away with after reading one of your cozies?
Peg: A warm, cozy feeling of course! And that they’ve met some fun characters they’d like to meet again. And that justice was served.
Marilyn: What is it about mysteries that appeals to so many readers?
Peg: I think it’s partly the puzzle and the chance to ferret out clues, motives and red herrings along with the protagonist. Also, that you generally have a wide variety of characters and that things happen. There’s rarely a dull moment in a mystery!
Bio: Peg grew up in a New Jersey suburb, about 25 miles outside of New York City. After her husband died, Peg remarried and her new husband took a job in Grand Rapids, Michigan where they now live . Besides her two debut cozy mystery series, Peg has two e-books on Amazon--a mystery, Confession Is Murder and a young adult book, Oh, Brother! Visit her at www.pegcochran.com and www.meglondon.com.