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.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

The Villain's Side of the Story

Some days, writing murder mysteries takes you to a different reality. As I’m pounding through the final pages of my current manuscript (Zoe Chambers book #3…which still needs a title, but that’s a blog for another day), I need to crawl into the dark and disturbed mind of my villain. He’s made some huge mistakes and knows it. The police are getting closer, and he’s feeling the pressure. This makes him desperate and very very dangerous.

While the scenes I need to construct regarding how he reacts to his current situation will never end up on the page, they’re the scenes that drive the story. What my villain does determines what Pete and Zoe find and therefore what does end up in the book. I may be telling their story through their eyes, but it’s the villain who controls the circumstances.
It’s kind of like playing both sides of a chess game. Move. Counter move.
So today, I’m in Devious Mode. Look out.

Monday, June 23, 2014

The Shipping Department

This morning I'm working in the "shipping department" of my one-woman business, packaging the five Lost Legacy ARCs (Advanced Reader Copies) for the winners of my Goodreads Giveaway. Congratulations to Kristen Slater, Missy Nelson, Beverley Albright, Sussan Navabi, and Judie Dooley! Your signed copies are on their way!

Friday, June 06, 2014

Summertime and the living is easy

After a whirlwind couple of months, life is finally slowing down to a tolerable level. And it's June.

I love early June. Provided it isn’t storming. Some of the worst storms we’ve ever had in this area hit on May 31 or June 1. This year, we’ve been lucky. A bit of rain during the week, but gorgeous weekends. I guess this is our reward for suffering through last winter.

Everything is so green it makes your eyes hurt. 

My rhododendron was splendid this year after not blooming at all last year.
 I've already started dining from our garden. Lettuce, radishes, and green onion salads. YUM!

 And topping things off, my advanced copies of LOST LEGACY arrived! Kensi approves!
Or maybe Kensi just wants me to unpack the books so she can have the box to play in!

So enjoy the sunshine. Take a nap. Read a book. Happy June!