Friday, June 28, 2013

Summer Reads

I was surprised the first time I heard that book sales dropped in the summer.


I remembered that as a kid, I'd spend long afternoons transported to other places, introduced to other ideas, all summer long through library books. Summer, to me, was prime time for reading.

As an adult, it all kind of seemed the same. Who in the world would stop reading just because it was summer?

The rationale is that people spend more time doing other things in the summer. Gardening, golf, pool, beach, hiking, whatever. Really? Enough to make that big of a difference?

So I'm asking, what are you hoping to read this summer?

Opening my Kindle (which doesn't come close to completing the books on my TBR list) I find these intriguing titles:

THE BONE POLISHER by Timothy Hallinan ( I can't believe there's a Hallinan out there I haven't read);

A few Michael Connelly's (ditto what I said about Hallinan);

THE SHOP and ICON by J Carson Black;

WHOSE HAND? by Judith Yates Borger (I enjoyed WHERE'S BILLIE? so much I can't believe I haven't read this one yet);

Something from J.D. Rhoades, who I've truly enjoyed;

And OMG… just found a Lisa Gardner in my cloud!!!

Then there's the new Alafair Burke and Zoe Sharp and oh-so-many more.

So really, what's on your list for this summer? Are you reading less?

It's all better with friends.

Friday, June 21, 2013

The Sacrifice by Peg Brantley

Where better to share my new cover and bit about the book? 

Mex Anderson is a former lawman from Mexico whose family was brutally gunned down by the local drug cartel when Mex refused their bribes. After chasing the two men directly responsible for the horrific murders to Honduras where the two ended up getting killed by their peers, Mex settles in Aspen Falls, Colorado where he tries to forget. 

But when Mex is approached by a man from the cartel responsible for the loss of his family asking for help to find his own missing daughter, Mex wonders what the man could possibly have to offer. As it turns out, it’s something as simple as more information on why his own family had to die. Who conspired to have them killed? Who gave the order? When Mex’s own sister—his last surviving family—is kidnapped for insurance, the stakes are even higher.

Now Mex must find a way to keep a cartel member’s family whole while his is gone; to save the life of an innocent little girl even as the depression resulting from the loss of his own family wants to claim him. To save his sister.

The Sacrifice is a novel of guilt and redemption, forgiveness and family, proving that with love, there is always hope for tomorrow even in the midst of evil. 

Coming Fall 2013

It's all better with friends.

Friday, June 7, 2013


I finished the first draft of my new story, The Sacrifice, Thursday night. Writing a satisfying ending is almost as fun as writing a great first scene.

There's a reason why it's important to let a recently completed manuscript sit for a few days before beginning the first round of revisions.


Yes, part of it is to allow for enough time to revisit the story and characters with fresh eyes but it's also to take care of all of those little details of life you've let slide while writing.

So today, I'll be cleaning my house. Probably tomorrow and the next day too. The physical activity will feel good. Accomplishing a project in hours rather than the months it takes to create a manuscript.

With my house all sparkly, I'll sit down with the printed mansucript, a red pen, and a pile of sticky notes. Scissors and tape will be on hand for those scenes that need to be cut and spliced and moved around, and for the next few days the little details of life will once again be put on hold.

I love this process.

It's all better with friends.

Monday, June 3, 2013

For Writers - Feeling Your Way Through Emotions

I'm not going to tell you to show, don't tell. You already know that following that bit of advice more often than not will help your writing come alive and engage your reader on a more intimate level.

It isn't easy. You need to think more, find the right visible detail, and figure out how to translate it to the page.

I read something the other day that really got my attention. One way to make your reader sit up and take note is to have your POV character experience an unexpected emotion. A surprise. Obviously, what that helps do is add depth and fullness to the person your reader is getting to know.

One more thing: imagine that both you and your character are sporting a tight piece of duct tape over your mouths. You cannot tell what that emotion is. Instead, your character must express it visually.

And now I have a great resource for you. Of course you can get this book anywhere, but here's the Amazon link for The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer's Guide to Character Expression by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi is a fabulous, well-organized reference tool. The Bookshelf Muse is a connected blog and one you should consider subscribing too.

A random selection from the book:


DEFINITION: the state of feeling unsettled and being easily agitated

…Rapid blinking
Rubbing the back of the neck
(and many more)

…Dry mouth
(and many more)

The desire to flee
…Overreacting to noise
(and many more)

(and many more)

MAY ESCALATE TO: (emotions and reference pages are listed)

A pasted on smile
…Not meeting anyone's gaze

WRITER'S TIP: Body movement and external reactions alone will not create an emotional experience for the reader. Pairing action with a light use of internal sensations and/or thoughts creates a depper emotional pull.

Do you have a resource you like for showing emotions? Do you have a resource for developing an emotional experience for your readers?

It's all better with friends.