Tuesday, September 16, 2014

WPA and Lost Legacy

It’s been a roller coaster couple of weeks.

As I was pounding toward the deadline for my third Zoe Chambers mystery, my mom, who has been having some health issues, had to be admitted to the hospital. Familiar (to me) terms like atrial tachycardia and atrial fibrillation floated around along with a new one: orthostatic hypotension. Basically this means her heartbeat was fast and irregular…and her blood pressure plummeted when she stood up.

In the midst of runs to the hospital and conferences with doctors, I completed and turned in the manuscript—ON TIME. But then there was this little matter of the Writer’s Police Academy, something I’d been looking forward to for a year and had paid for months ago. I seriously contemplated staying home. But my darling hubby earned a boatload of brownie points by cancelling his own “guys’ weekend” and staying home to make sure Mom had a ride home when they discharged her and to keep an eye on her once she was home. My brother stepped up big time, too. So I left Mom in the care of “the boys” and headed to North Carolina.

I didn't take a lot of photos. Was too busy being immersed in the classes. But here are some shots of a mock rescue they set up--multiple casualty rescue drill. 

Besieged by guilt, I managed to have a great time. And I learned a lot, which will find its way into the next Zoe Chambers mystery.

Another high point from the weekend was the fabulous ad Henery Press placed in the program.

Mom was STILL in the hospital by the time I returned home. A week ago, she was finally discharged. Yay! And a big sigh of relief. She’s still not back to where she was, but we’re working on it thanks to a terrific team of visiting nurses, physical therapists and occupational therapists.

Sunday was my launch party for Lost Legacy at Mystery Lovers Bookshop. We had a wonderful time and a good crowd.

Mystery Lovers still has signed copies if you want one. Order here.

And today is Lost Legacy’s official book birthday! I have to stop every so often and remind myself this is REAL. Two books in print. One more in the pipeline. Ideas for more banging around inside my head waiting to be put on paper.

I love my life! 

Monday, August 25, 2014

Deadlines, Countdowns, and a BIG Reveal

I have a string of countdowns to keep track of. Seven days until my deadline to turn in book #3 of the Zoe Chambers mystery series to my editor. Eight days until three of my local Sisters in Crime and I hit the road for North Carolina and the Writer’s Police Academy. Yes, next week is going to be very busy.

Twenty-two days until the official release of Lost Legacy. Twenty days until my launch party at Mystery Lovers Bookshop. You’re all invited. Bring a friend. I always fear no one will show up at these things.

With so much on my horizon, I decided there's one thing I no longer wish put off. My reveal of the title for book #3. Are you ready? Drum roll please!

Bridges Burned.

A big shout out and thank you to my critique buddy Jeff Boarts for coming up with it. While I haven’t see a copy of Lost Legacy (other than the advanced copies), I believe there will be a sample chapter of Bridges Burned at the end of Lost Legacy. Yes, I’m a tease! 

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Photos from Coffee with the Author--ME!

I had a great time yesterday at The Gathering Place for Coffee with the Author. Great crowd. Great questions. And I discovered one of the hazards of doing a well-publicized event on your home turf. An old friend from high school, John Cherok, came and brought our senior yearbook. I don't know about you, but I really want the whole world to see my senior photo.


He also brought photo copies of my "first published work," a really bad four-line poem that was printed (without my consent) in our senior literary journal. The story about our adviser secretly taking that silly little ditty from my notebook is one for another day. Suffice it to say,  my byline was included even though I'd prefer not taking credit for the poem in question.

Again, not something I ever wanted anyone to see.

Embarrassment (mine) aside, we had some great laughs about "the old days" at school and on the ambulance service.

Speaking of which... By way of payback, check out the ancient photograph on my website, here. That's John on the far left.

In addition to reminiscing with an old friend, I met a number of new ones as I chatted about Circle of Influence, Lost Legacy, and assorted other writing/publishing related topics.

Thanks to my friend and Sister in Crime, Laurie Kassim, for coming and snapping some photos.

Now, it's back to work on book #3.

And 26 days until the release of Lost Legacy!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Countdown to launch

Twenty-eight days until the official release of Lost Legacy. I've posted another Goodreads giveaway. Enter for a chance to win one of five signed ARCs.

I'm gearing up for some travel and adventures along with planning my second launch party. And in the meantime, I have my nose to the proverbial grindstone trying to whip book #3 into shape. Deadline for turning the manuscript into my agent is September 2. Where has the year gone?

Tomorrow, I'm the featured "guest" at Coffee with the Author at The Gathering Place, a cute little coffee house attached to the Paris Presbyterian Church (Burgettstown PA) at noon.

I'll be talking about Circle of Influence and Lost Legacy, writing, and anything else that anyone wants to talk about. And I'll have copies there to sell and sign. If you're in the southwestern Pennsylvania, eastern Ohio, or West Virginia panhandle regions, I'd love to have you stop in!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Remembering James Garner

As we mourn the passing of one of my favorite actors, James Garner, I find myself remembering the time I ALMOST met the man.

He and Joanne Woodward were filming a movie for Hallmark—Breathing Lessons—in our area.

And by “in our area” I mean if front of my house. We spent an entire afternoon sitting on our front porch watching them “drive” up and down our road. Actually they were in a mock car being towed and filmed by a camera car.

At one point, the producers stopped at my mom and dad’s house and asked my dad if they could use their home as one of the locations. My dad said NO.

WHY? I have no idea. In hindsight, I think the early stages of dementia may have been at play, and he simply didn’t understand what they wanted. He LOVED James Garner! If I’d been there, things would have been different, I guarantee it.

As is, much of the landscape through which the car is driving is from our stretch of road. In one scene, if you look fast, you can see one corner of my property.

I think it’s time for another viewing.

R.I.P. Mr. Garner. You will be missed.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The Dark Pit of Despair

I’m on the verge of typing “The End” on book #3. Of course, it isn’t really the end. I still have a number of drafts to go. But somehow finishing the FIRST draft is the sweetest.

In the meantime, however, there’s nothing sweet about the final pages. I’ve thrown Zoe into a deep pit of despair. She’s on the brink of losing everything she holds dear. And I do mean everything.

The problem is I also hold some of these things quite dear, and I don’t know yet how it’s all going to turn out. Not entirely happily-ever-after, for sure. There will be loss. But how much?

Even I don’t know until I write it.

One of the first lessons I learned when I started writing seriously was “torture your characters.” Emotionally. Physically. This time I’m doing both. And I’ve put her smack in the middle of one of my darkest nightmares. She’s there right now, as I write this post. She’ll be stuck there, frozen in time, until I get back to her tomorrow.

I admit, I might have been able to pound out a few more pages and pulled her out of this mess today, but I needed a break. Me. The writer. So I have stepped away to let my blood pressure come down.

Since this is my phobia that I’m playing out on the page with Zoe as my proxy, I’ll probably have some bona fide nightmares tonight as my subconscious works through my fears.

My writing muse is also my psychotherapist. 

Practicing without a license.

One thing I do know: Zoe will be a changed woman by the time I type “The End.” Maybe I will be, too.  

Friday, July 11, 2014

Obstacles Ahead

On Monday, I wrote like a crazy, possessed woman. It was glorious! I love being in the zone, sort of knowing what I need to write, but not exactly. It was one of those days when my characters take over and I’m along for the ride, waiting to see what happens next.

Tuesday, I woke up and realized I had a serious flaw in what I'd written. I’d missed an obvious and easy way out of my character’s predicament. Not good when you’re trying to build suspense. Clearly I needed a few more obstacles in her path.  

So I spent the next few days un-doing and RE-doing what I'd joyously pounded out on Monday. It’s a wonder my delete key isn’t worn out yet. Cut this, add that. Reword something else. I chopped large chunks. My page count went in reverse. I added some new stuff back in. For three days I worked like crazy, but my page count ended up right where it was on Monday.

Today, I'm happy to report I'm back on track and barreling forward once again. I had hoped to be done with the first draft by Sunday. Doesn’t look like I’ll make it, but it’s CLOSE. Oh, so close.  

At least until I discover another fatal flaw.