Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Well, I've Gone and Done it Now!

Not sure what I should use as an excuse--not paying enough attention to my calendar, I suppose.

But here's what's happening:

On March 18th a blog tour I planned for Bones in the Attic began. It is a bit shorter than usual, thank goodness, but on the 2nd day of the tour, I'm heading to Visalia, leaving at 7, to take part in Taste of the Arts to be in a booth with several other writers.

For those of you who have ever done a blog tour know how vital it is to promote each day and respond to any comments people make on each blog. I'll have to promote really early, and when I come home, respond to comments.

The day this post appears I wrote about A Little Help From a Friend for John Lindermuth: https://jrlindermuth.blogspot.com/

And because I suppose I wasn't thinking clearly, I planed a free e-book promotion for October 27 through 31 for Calling the Dead one of my earlier Deputy Tempe Crabtree mysteries.I suppose you can figure out that I am doing all this to ride in on the coattails of Halloween.

And yes, that means plenty of promotion to make sure people take advantage of the offer.

Hope some of you will take advantage of it too.

After this is done, I am spending two days with my books at the Porterville Art Gallery for their holiday boutique--November 1 and 2, 10 to 5.


Friday, October 18, 2019

Writing Without an Outline

by Linda Thorne

 A couple of months ago, I moderated an author’s panel on this subject at the 14th Annual Killer Nashville International Writer's Conference. The topic is one that’s applicable to many writers. I found it interesting that all the authors on this panel, like me, write without an outline. I thought this either a huge coincidence since there were six of us in total or else it's evidence that most writers do not use outlines.

Authors are divided into two factions: those who outline and those who do not or more loosely, plotters and pantsers. I’ve heard the two camps discuss the topic in person and in blog debates, each side harboring strong opinions. Arguments can become intense with no one willing to budge from their position.

What I learned from the authors on this panel last August is although they claimed to be pantsers, none were. They may not outline, but they have other tools that guide them and keep them on target. I use copies of calendar months I print off from Outlook. I’ll scribble them down initially and when it gets too messy, I’ll type the list in Word in small font, print and cut and tape the typed wording onto each day in each month of my book's time frame. Sometimes there’s a transition and I’ll line through a week or so. I don’t need too many words to describe anything. Only a couple of words to trigger a scene or to state a new character is “on stage,” which means their first appearance. Others use different methods to look at the whole picture, or chunks of it.

Toward the end of this panel, I told the panelists and those who attended the session about my favorite article of all time on this topic. I found it by accident a few years ago, and I’ve kept it, reread it from time to time to keep myself focused. "Go Organic" by Steven James – Writer's Digest March/April 2013. I’ve copied the first part of this article below:

“I have a confession to make.
When I was in school and a teacher would assign us to write an outline for a story, I’d finish the story first, then go back and write the outline so I’d have something to turn in. Even as a teenager I thought outlining was counterintuitive to the writing process.”

6 Secrets of Writing Without an Outline
Above is the link for his republished version of Go Organic that he put on the blogpost, The Writer’s Dig, on October 15, 2013.

I honestly believe the old outline we were taught to use in high school and college is outdated. I’ve read that if you don’t use an outline, you’ll spend the same amount of time, if not more, by writing without it. I agree with that, but like Steven James, I can’t outline. I’ve tried and it doesn’t work for me. I know it takes me at least the same amount of time writing an outline would to find the controls to get the story in proper prospective, but I need to use what works for me.

What about you? Do you outline or do you simply start writing to see where it will lead you or, do you go organic with a plan that works for you?

Amazon – Hyperlink to Your Amazon

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

The Joys of One's Own Tribe

I'm late, I'm late, and I apologize. I've been deep in the throes of negotiating a Very Big Contract and time just vanished. Rest assured I'll tell you all about it when it finalizes. Now back to your scheduled blog...

by Janis Patterson

Writing is intrinsically a lonely profession. The image of a novelist is often of a lionized celebrity, attending cocktail parties and book signings while surrounded by adoring fans, living life to the fullest in a haze of continual publicity - and, of course, being fabulously wealthy. Mention this to any working novelist and they will probably burst into semi-hysterical laughter.

The reality is not nearly so glamorous. Getting up or staying up at odd hours to fit your writing around your real life schedule of family, job, etc. Working all alone in a room filled with your imaginary friends. Your working clothes are often either sweats or t-shirt and shorts and sometimes your hair isn't even washed. For days on end the only person you see besides your family is the postman.

I believe that's why writers' conferences are so popular and so necessary, especially when the writer can't attend or doesn't have a nearby writers' group. The Husband (who moonlights as my assistant) and I just returned from the NINC conference in Florida. NINC is Novelists, Inc., an association of working professional writers in all genres and their annual conference is a benchmark of both professionalism and pleasure. For four days working writers can get together and share experiences and hopes and problems with people who actually understand.

Don't get me wrong - I think that today's published authors should help those unpublisheds coming behind them, but not to the extent that far too many of some unpublisheds think they should. Working professionals deserve a time to themselves, where they can talk of things important to them and not have to explain or define.

When you talk with someone about the capriciousness of Amazon's algorithms or the sudden disappearance of the also-boughts, the pain and ethics of shedding an unproductive agent or the heartening discovery of a new editor it's inclusive to be able to do so with someone who realizes and appreciates what you're talking about. There are also the inevitable in-jokes and recalled histories of past conferences, renewed conversations with old friends seen only at this conference, the making of new friends, and let us not forget the enjoyable meeting of someone whom you admire and who just might become a friend. (This happened to me - at the very first NINC conference I attended I was fortunate enough to meet a lady whose writing I had admired for years. We have become fast friends, which is something I never would have dreamed might happen!)

And don't forget the workshops. In addition to the joy of being with your own kind and the fun such gatherings engender, never forget that a conference is a working occasion. NINC is a particularly intensive conference, with (at the last one) three workshop tracks running together, beginning at 9 in the morning, breaking for lunch and then resuming again until 5:30. There is then a dinner break, and the Night Owls, specialized chat sessions which start at 7:15 and end up around 10. There are industry-sponsored nightclub gatherings and drinks parties, banquets and... well, you get the idea. Sleep rapidly becomes optional. In spite of the conference being held at the luxurious TradeWinds Resort right on the water's edge in St. Pete's Beach The Husband and I only got to walk on the beach once, on the day the conference ended. Beaches are everywhere, we rationalized; we came to NINC to learn and interact with others of our kind.

Yes, it is nice to have a tribe of your own. I recommend it heartily.

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

October is a Month of Change

At least it is around my neck of the woods which is the foothills of Central California. Right now, the weather can't make up it's mind if it's fall or summer. We've had a week of really chilly weather and then it pops back up into the 80s and 90s.

When my kids were young and still went trick or treating, you could always count on it being cold by Halloween. Dressing them warm enough under their costumes was always a challenge.

How the weather will be for up and coming outdoor events is always a mystery. First up, I'm headed to Manteca on October 12th for the Great Valley Bookfest. In the past, this has always been a rather warm venue. No telling what it will be like this year. And the same can be said for the following weekend when on October 15th, I'll be at the Taste of the Arts in Visalia--also an event that has always been a bit too warm. We'll see what happens this year.

Sadly, I lost two friends in September, and will be attending their celebrations of life. A big change for their loved ones. I am at the time in my life, when losing friends happens way too often.

Though October is a month of change, good things and bad, we need to be thankful for the days we have and to spend time with friends and family. Keep on enjoying life and doing what makes you happy. I'm blessed to have a big family and that I get to see most of them often.

I'm also thankful that I still enjoy writing and talking about writing. I'm working on a new Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery and of course promoting the latest Rocky Bluff P.D. mystery, Bones in the Attic.

If you haven't yet, be sure to try Bones in the Attic. 

Blurb: The discovery of a skeleton, a welfare check on a senior citizen, and a wildfire challenge the Rocky Bluff P.D.

Sunday, October 6, 2019

Being Present

Make Mine Mystery

Oct. 6, 2019
Linda Lee Kane

I’ve been having a difficult time writing lately, possibly why I missed writing this post yesterday. 
What I’ve discovered is that my mind has been wondering, or I’m bored, or depressed, or way to busy to write. What I’m lacking is being present. The ‘being’ in the moment. I’ve been so concerned over results, that I’m stuck.

I know how important it is to stay in the present, when I ride my horses, I know if I break my concentration, look at a car passing, another horse, I may fall, get hurt, or get my horse injured.

As a writer, if I’m not present, I am unproductive. My mind wanders, and I end up thinking instead of writing. I worry that my novel won’t be good enough, I worry about the ‘reviews’ instead of enjoying the process of writing.

If I’m at a book signing, ignore what people are saying or asking, I lose that opportunity to connect with another person. Which is a great opportunity, and yet, I worry about it.

 The more present I am in any given situation, the better the results I achieve, in every aspect of my life.