Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Friday, April 7, 2017

The One, Two, Three Punch

My thanks to friend and reader, Pat Easter, who got my head wrapped around this.

You're in the crime fiction section of your favorite bookstore (physical or cyber), and are trying to find something to read for the weekend. Whether you're on the beach in warm sunshine or in front of a blazing fire, you're looking for a book that can transport you (and make you forget the client who is demanding a full report first thing Monday morning).

FIRST, it's the cover. You should be able to tell if it's a cozy or something darker. If you see pinks and teals and are looking for a thriller, it's a good bet this won't fill your needs. Cover designers are savvy, but some (even professionals) miss the boat. Still, this is the first punch.  Either a book cover wins by ducking it, or the game is over.

But let's pretend you spot a cover that looks promising. What's the SECOND thing you do? If you're me, you flip the book over and check out the BACK COVER COPY. The Blurb. The few words (100-150) that spotlight the novel without giving it away. Whether an author is self-published (responsible for everything) or traditionally published (shared blame) the author often writes these words.

I suck at this part. I've even received a review from a reader who said she enjoyed the book much more than she thought she would based on the description. Yep. I wrote both.

So that's the second punch. Let's get really crazy and pretend the back cover copy didn't totally turn you off. In fact, it sort of intrigued you.

What's the THIRD thing you do? You flip to the first page.

This is where it gets especially dicey. I mean, the cover got you to the back cover. Wow. And the back cover was good enough to get you to thumb to the first page. Sometimes, if you're feeling generous, you read the whole page. But often you read the first few lines. That's all.

Are you gonna like this story? Are you gonna like the way the author writes it?

You decide. That quick. 

What do you think? Is this fairly accurate?

It's all better with friends.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Random Thoughts

In no particular order, here are some thoughts I have tonight about writing, reading, and especially about my newest story:

The moments when the words pour out perfectly describing the character, the scene, the energy, the emotion, the force, the whatever, are rare. They're also the drug that keeps me going back for more.

I've fallen in love with the three young girls in my book. They're too big and real and wonderful not to at least be mentioned in the next story from Mex and Cade and crew. Knowing that I'll find out what happens to them next makes it easier for me to let them go for now.

It can be incredibly hard to take what's in your mind (that movie screen we all have), and what's in your gut, and put it on the page.

One of the markers for me that I'm reading a great story? I'm compelled to stop everything else in my life and find a quiet place to just read. OR (and this is a little weird) keep reading while I'm watching a "must-see" on television. I'll mute the TV during the commercials and read.

If an editor is doing his or her job, I'm being pushed to perform. The lazy bit I didn't write? Well, it's time to address it.

I can come up with the most amazing excuses to procrastinate when the drug mentioned above wears off and my editor is pushing. Cleaning out the fridge or pantry? Done that. Clean bird feeders? Yep. Play one more game of Spider or Free Cell? Oh, yeah.

I'm close to sending my revisions back to my editor so tomorrow I think I'll switch my summer/winter closets. Oh, and go to Jazzercise and get a mani-pedi. Sometimes rewards get all mixed up with excuses.

There's something to reading in large time increments. It helps me feel the story better.  I don't have to constantly "find" it.

What about you? Do you have something to add?

It's all better with friends.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Edits and the Lottery

A little over a week ago I sent my manuscript off to my editor. She told me she'd have notes for me in about a week and I looked at my calendar.

A trip to Tucson to visit my sister.

Did I really want to be angsting over her notes while I was supposed to be sharing memories and making a few new ones? Relaxing ones where I'm in the moment?

My brilliant editor has things going on in her own life right now so I decided to be generous (ahem) and tell her she could wait. She could relax along with me. There was no hurry.

Has it stopped the angstiness? Pffft!

But as long as I don't actually have her notes, there's this teensy little piece of my heart that thinks maybe I'll have won the lottery with this one. It'll blow her away. She'll be sharing it with Big Names in the Publishing Biz.

Yeah, right.

Still, I have a few more days to hold onto that lottery ticket and dream.


Trust me, I'll be checking my inbox daily looking for those notes. Sometimes it's easier to deal with reality than to keep dreaming.

It's all better with friends.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Inching Toward Publication

Two days ago I finished a detailed revision thanks to a beautifully picky beta reader. Today I completed the word search project for thirteen words that reader caught which I tend to overuse.


To be completely transparent, she actually found twelve in this manuscript. One she found in my last story. Apparently I didn't learn.

The new pages are printed out for yet another reading. Once that is done I'll put everything through yet one more wringer before finally sending it off to my editor. Who will, no doubt, find additional troubling aspects I need to work on.

The process, at least mine, is a long one. Hopefully in the end, it will be worth it.

Thanks for bearing with me!

It's all better with friends.

Thursday, November 17, 2016


So I finished my first read-through late-late last night.

While I still love this story, I'm no longer in the honeymoon phase. Dang. I really thought that would last longer. My perfect story is showing some cracks. My perfect story is requiring me to stand by it even though, since it's not perfect, I'm suddenly filled with doubt. It's pushing my buttons. You know which ones... those Uncomfortable Buttons.

Today I made it to about the half-way mark to incorporate those revisions, reject them, and find more.  Finally I had to stop. There's only so much badgering a writer can take, even when it's coming from the writer.

For me, while there is some structure, writing is an inherently messy process. I put the words down and then need to figure out how to fix them. Make them come close to what I meant. It doesn't matter how well I've planned them in advance, in some cases they're wrong.

Like a visual artist who does her best to transfer her vision to canvass, I try to transfer mine to the page. There are bound to be disconnects. The editing and revision process is designed to try and find as many new "connections" as possible.

I keep telling myself that it's okay. I've been here before. That between now and x-number of revisions later, the story will pull itself out of my ineptitude. That finally, when readers get to decide for themselves, they'll find something worthy.

It's all better with friends.

Friday, November 11, 2016


Wow, it's been a while.

Tonight I wrote the final words for the first draft of my new book.

It created a crazy confluence of emotions: relief, victory, excitement, fear, responsibility (really?), you name it, I'm feeling it.

Suddenly I'm committed. Suddenly I have this entity to mold and massage and make into something readers will enjoy.  Maybe that's where the responsibility piece comes in.

Thank goodness for beta readers and editors. It's not all on me.


It's all better with friends.