Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Halloween is Coming and So is BONES IN THE ATTIC!

Yep, I wrote a Halloween book! Bones in the Attic.

Of course it's much more than a Halloween book, though the main mystery is focused on the skeleton found in the attic by the high school art club while they were decorating an abandoned house to be used as a money maker.

I had a lot of fun writing this book as I wove in all the things that were happening in the lives of the major characters as well as the Rocky Bluff P.D. detectives trying to find out who the skeleton belonged to.

I write this series as F. M. Meredith, something I started long ago when I thought men would be more apt to buy a book with just my initials. First publisher, put my photo on the back, so that didn't work.

This series has been through a lot--first book came out as an e-book before there were e-readers, long before Kindle. No one really wanted to read a whole book on their computer. Second publisher didn't send royalties even though books were sold. Found a new publisher, after two books, she closed shop. Next publisher was wonderful and a friend, she published several books in the series, but then she had a stroke, than another, and passed a way.

Now I'm happy to say, I'm with Aakenbaken and Kent.

I'm hoping to get more speaking engagements set up before Halloween. My daughter gave me a skeleton and some skulls to decorate my book table. Should be fun.

Hope some of you will try Bones in the Attic.


Friday, September 20, 2019

Fun Time at Killer Nashville's 2019 International Writers' Conference

by Linda Thorne

What a fun time I had last month at Killer Nashville's Writers' Conference. This year the guests were Alexandra Ivy, David Morrell, and Joyce Carol Oates. 

The first authors' panel I participated in covered one of my favorite subjects: How To Master Setting held Friday 8-24. 

From left to right: Debra Gaskill, Randy Overbeck, me, John Carenen, Baron Birtcher, and lead panelist, Jim Nesbitt.

Baron Birtcher (above with long hair) won three Silver Falchion awards this year for Book of the Year, Best Action Adventure, and Best Attending Author. John Carenen, who sat beside me, tied with Joseph Simurdiak for the KN Claymore Award.

Saturday, I had two author panels. Curl of by the Fire: Writing the Cozy: 
From left to right: Debra Goldstein, me, J.C. Kenney, lead panelist Maggie Toussaint, Phyllis Gobbell, and Alexia Gordan. 

Two of these panelist won Silver Falchion Awards. Phyllis Gobbell won for Best Cozy (subject of our panel), and Maggie Toussaint for Best Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Horror.

Saralyn Richard, who shares the same publisher I have, Black Opal Books, won the Killer Nashville Reader's Choice Award.   

I was the lead for my final author panel Saturday on a favorite topic, Writing Without an Outline. Below are the other panel members.

Amy Rivers & Rich Zahradnik                                                                                            R.G. (Dick) Belsky
PD Halt                                                                                                                   Kerry Peresta

Great conference. Lots to do and learn, and a great deal of fun year after year.


Amazon Author's Page

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Dependence and Other Woes

by Janis Patterson

Hello - my name is Janis and I am a computer dependent.

One of the glories of being a writer is that you can work anywhere.

One of the horrors of being a writer is that you can work anywhere.

My Mac laptop (my writing computer) has become my security object. I take it everywhere. Almost everywhere. I have so far resisted carrying it along when I go to the grocery store or the dry cleaners, but fatalistically I know it's coming.

I mean, what happens when I have this marvelous idea for a scene for my work-in-progress which has a deadline approaching as quickly as a speeding freight train? What happens if I have a superb idea for the next book in my somewhat stalled series? It's nothing to pull over to the side of the road or park in a handy lot and type away for a few minutes and I feel virtuous, satisfied and relieved.

But what about a notebook and pen, you ask, or a voice recorder? Surely those would be easier?

For some. Not for me. My dad taught me to type the summer before I entered the fourth grade, and from that first night's lesson I was entranced. How much easier, how much more legible, how much better typing was than handwriting. I vowed to use it all the time - which caused me no end of trouble. Do you have any idea of how difficult it was to get typed homework accepted in the early 50s? I remember having to prove my ability by typing in front of the principal - which I aced - but they still refused to allow me to type my assignments. For what it's worth I still hate and try my best to avoid handwriting anything to this day. At first it was just personal preference, but lately my increasingly arthritic hands have excitedly seconded that choice.

As for using a recording device, I worked too long as a voice talent to make that a viable option. When the recorder clicks on I immediately begin to think of my breathing, the pitch, tenor and resonance of my voice, my phrasing... everything except what I am talking about and - POOF! - the idea is gone, sacrificed on the altar of professionalism.

Now you see why my laptop is my security object. My last computer - a huge old (one of the first) 17 inch screen laptop - was great on the eyes, hard on the fingers and about as portable as a concrete block. Still, I carried it on every trip The Husband and I took, including tucking it into my backpack for several weeks traveling in Egypt. Believe me, my shoulder muscles prospered with the exercise - the rest of me, not so much.

When The Husband gifted me with my choice of Mac computers two years ago, weight was a decided consideration; so was battery life, as my previous one had a battery life of about 35 minutes. I settled on a medium-priced one, a 13 inch MacBook Pro - which still cost about the same as my first new car. I kind of worried that after a big 17 inch a 13 inch would be too small, too difficult to type on, and I'd have to get an external ergonomic keyboard, but I was wrong. I don't how they worked this magic, but the 13 incher's keyboard is so much easier to type on than the 17 incher's. My wrists don't hurt, I don't get stiff (in the arms and shoulders - back and legs are different) and after the first day or two on Mac (my singularly unimaginative name for the new computer) all thoughts of an external ergonomic keyboard just faded away. Like I said, magic.

However - such ease of use and light weight have their downside. I've had to buy new, larger purses which will accommodate Mac when I leave the house for anything longer than a quick grocery run - just in case. My calendar and my address book are on Mac, which means I don't have to write anything down by hand (yea!) and ideas and whatever which were once inscribed on unfortunately easily losable scraps of paper can be safely relegated to pixels. The only downside to this is that larger purses tend to accumulate larger amounts of stuff, and unless I watch my pack-rat self with care, I'll be weighted down with unimaginable amounts of (un)necessary things, a tendency which my uncertain back vociferously deplores. And sadly the problem only gets worse when The Husband hands me something and says, "Honey, stick this in your purse, will you?" Now we know why men's clothing only has a few meagre pockets - it's because their wives carry shoulder-strap suitcases! But we have to - how else could we carry our security-computers?

Yes, I am Janis and I am most definitely a computer dependent.

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Ooops, I Missed My Day!

Tuesday was the day I should've had a new post up, but I got so busy I forgot.

Of course, I have reasons for forgetting. The big one being I was doing other jobs that actually bring in money. Yes, I do get royalties and sell my books at events, but that money mostly takes care of costs of promotion.

Also, hubby and I are at an age where it seems we have a lot doctor appointments. And to be honest, everything take longer to accomplish these days.

I should be busy working on my next Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery--I've written on page. I have a title and have lots of plot ideas, but other chores have taken my time.

Last Saturday I gave a presentation to the San Joaquin chapter of Sisters in Crime (my chapter) on "The Book That Almost Wasn't." Most of those who attended are readers--a good thing. I told about losing my publisher for Spirit Wind  after the manuscript was edited and the cover done. How I'd thought about trying to find a new publisher--and then a friend offering to put it on Amazon for me.

I must've been a hit, because many books were purchased.

Also, King's River Life magazine did a podcast of the first chapter of Spirit Wind. It turned out really great. King’s River Life Magazine, did a terrific job on this podcast of the first chapter of Spirit Wind.


And the book was featured here Southern Writers Magazine

I also have spent time organizing and writing new posts for an upcoming blog tour for my next Rocky Bluff P.D. mystery, Bones in the Attic. Just waiting on a pub date, so I can get started with other promotion for that book. 

What is going on in your lives?


Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Making my Passion a Habit

Make Mine Mystery

L Lee Kane
September 5, 2019

Last month I wrote about my difficuty with my computer. Next it was my mouse on the computer, but finally, I finished my novel and sent it off to the publisher. At the same time I sent off an article that I wrote regarding 'Making Your Passion a Habit,' to be featured in the newest Nina Amir books on writing.

It wasn't difficult for me to write about that subject because I'm naturally a habitual person. I have difficulty understanding why others can't get into a set pattern. It makes life simpler. Every day I do almost the same thing. I have seven horses and two dog that I feed, water, brush, and care for and that I love. For me this is a must! At noon I'm home and after lunch I begin to write, it could be for my blog on important women in history, a journal, or it could also be for a magazine I write for. It could even be for my next novel, or heaven forbid editing what my publisher sends back to me. Writing is not only my passion but it's my job, and it's important for me to do what I love to do. I write to share my life, my experience, to educate, or to inspire readers. I also write so that readers gain a greater understanding, skill, or excpertise in something I might have knowledge in.

But I forgot that when you have kids, or have a job, everything goes out the door. As an example, I picked up my grandkids for an over nighter, no big deal, right? Wrong. Parents couldn't pick them up so I took the kids out to the barn, but it wasn't easy. I was running all over the place so they didn't get in trouble with the pig, or stepped on or run over by a horse, or jumped on by a dog, and also trying to keep them away from the chickens and peacocks. I babysat so my son and wife could work extra shifts, When they called, they sounded exhausted so of course I babysat one more day. I counted the hours down so I could get back to more ritual of writing.

I do believe one should write everyday. I also believe things come up in one's life that make it difficult to do that, but if writing is what you want to do, need to do, make it your passion and write.

What an amazing thing to do to put into words, thousands of words, with phrases linked together by only one unique thread of commonality, that is of me as a writer sharing my craft, my love with others.