Category Archives: Books

Writing Process Blog Tour – My Part!

Many thanks to my friend and fellow fictioneer, Jerilyn Dufresne, author of the charming and funny Sam Darling mystery series. She tagged me in her recent blog post (Read it here). Thanks, Jer! I enjoyed the challenge.

What are you working on now?

Lately, I’ve been emulating a scattergun – I’m working on four books. In addition to researching and writing the sequel and prequel to Memory’s Child, I’m also updating and revamping a mystery/suspense novel (Dying to Meet You) and a romance/adventure novel (Trial Run). Both of the latter are set in Florida.

How does my work differ from others in its genre?Memory's Child

Well, how many books do you know of that were generated by a can of tuna? Seriously, I found myself in a small, neighborhood grocery store one day, staring at an entire shelf section packed with cans of tuna. I thought about all the grocery stores in my city and all the cans of tuna they stocked, then all the stores in the country and so on. The idea of all those dead fish was staggering, and I wondered how long the ocean could continue to pro
duce so much fish if the population keeps growing.  You see where that kind of thinking is likely to go.

Memory’s Child is more than a cautionary or post-apocalyptic tale about humanity outgrowing the resources of this planet, though. The idea of prejudice as a fundamental part of humans’ makeup is another of the book’s premises, and it’s an important one, I think. In Memory’s Child, the circumstances of the past have changed the focus of prejudice. As Shelana, the protagonist says, humans no longer have “distinctions of color or collar or cash,” but have replaced that with another kind of prejudice – against intellect. “Hate what you do not comprehend, wage war on what you fear, and destroy what you cannot have. Prejudice is as old as mankind,” she says. I thought that idea was unique enough to explore.

Why do I write what I do?

Good question, and I have no idea. Much of the story in Memory’s Child simply erupted shortly after the tuna incident. I was not planning a novel, had not thought about this story, and had no idea it lurked in my pen, waiting to attach itself to paper. I wrote the word “aberration” on a blank page in my notebook, and from that point forward, I just went along for the ride. If you can imagine trying to write, longhand, every word of a book as it is read to you, that’s what it was like getting Memory’s Child on paper. I wrote as fast as the pen would move, terrified that I would miss something important, eager to read what would happen next.

Over the cpen_nib_with_reflectionourse of about four days, I learned the story as it appeared on the page. I only stopped writing when I fell asleep, pen in hand. I still have the original manuscript with odd little squiggles marking the page. My husband, Randy, brought me food and made sure nobody bothered me with visits or phone calls.

Those were among the very best days of my life. Later, typing the manuscript from those handwritten pages, I added descriptions and other details that weren’t in the original narrative. The story came first, the details later.

How does my writing process work?

Sadly, no other stories have flowed from my pen the way Memory’s Child did. Writing would be so much easier if they did! Instead, I write more than I should, adding and subtracting scenes as I go, until I find what works. I still write longhand and I do not outline as many authors do. Once I tell the story, I’m done, and an outline is, to my odd brain, the same as telling the story. The book would never get past the outlining stage. Instead, I start at the beginning and just keep going to the end. When the story is written, I add in transitions and descriptions (I prefer dialogue and action to writing description). This is my first edit. The whole thing is put away for at least a month to let the story steep. Then I pull it out and edit, edit, edit until I’m happy with it, which can take months. I still itch to edit Memory’s Child as ideas continue to occur to me.

What are my writing plans for the future?

Once the prequel and sequel are finished, I plan to complete the rewrite of Dying to Meet You, then Trial Run. I have a couple more novels in the very-rough-draft stage: Fair Warning and Katie Enigma. My goal is to finish at least the first four this year, if recent health issues allow. After that, I’d like to take my time on Fair Warning, especially, since the plot of that one is quite intricate.

I haven’t warned them, but I’d like to tag Allyson K. Abbott, author of the Mack’s Bar mysteries, a unique new series, and Lauren Clark, author of Dancing Naked in Dixie, Stay Tuned and Stardust Summer.

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Writing Process Blog Tour

Writing Process Blog Tour

My friend, Jerilyn Dufresne, author of the wonderful new mysteries featuring the inimitable Sam Darling, posted an interesting description of her writing process. Check it out, and check back here tomorrow morning when I’ll be posting my own experience in response to Jer’s tagging me. Enjoy.

Murder on the Rocks by Allyson K. Abbott

Murder on the Rocks by Allyson K. Abbott. #Kindle #Amazon #murder #mystery http://ow.ly/nG1z4

Freebie for Memory’s Child readers

mc sequel cover 017aPart one of the sequel to Memory’s Child is free to download at Amazon today and tomorrow, March 5-6.

Phoenix Rising: The Battle Begins is a very short, quick read that carries you through the first battle with the Myths.

Part two will be available soon.

Royalties from Memory’s Child sales to be donated

Royalties from all February sales of Memory’s Child go to All About Animals. Read a book, save a life. Priceless! Plz RT http://ow.ly/hWmVR

Make your work better

Jan Verbist of  Belgium via stock.xchng

For the first time since entering the world of the self-published on Amazon and becoming familiar with hundreds of books through various free e-book announcement websites, I deleted a Facebook share about a free e-book.

I am happy to help other authors whenever I can through reviews, sharing links to their books, giving their Facebook pages a “like,” tweeting and posting links to their blogs on this page.

Unless we’re on the bestseller lists, we can all use as much help as we can get, right?

Normally, I don’t share books, even free ones, without checking out the “Look Inside” feature and reading the synopsis on their product page. I should have held to that standard the other day, when I lazily clicked the “share” button on a Facebook post by one of the free e-book announcement sites.

By the time I moseyed on over to Amazon to check out this particular novel, hours had passed. By the time I gave up on slogging through the “Look Inside” feature, I was horrified.

Yes, it was that bad. No, it was worse. Terrible writing, inept editing – assuming any editing was done at all – and an author that displayed a lack of professionalism by arguing with a reviewer over a low rating.

While I have read numerous complaints on the web about poor writing being rampant on Amazon due to the ease of self-publishing, I honestly hadn’t seen much evidence of that.

Maybe it’s luck, or maybe friends and fellow writers who recommend books are more trustworthy – I don’t know. I have about a hundred books on my Kindle, and while they aren’t all Pulitzer material by any stretch, so far, I have read several new authors’ work and enjoyed it.

Thanks to Kindle and book recommendations, I’ve been able to stretch my reading experience to embrace YA, paranormal mysteries and romances, historical fiction and Christian fiction. Even those books that weren’t exactly my favorites appeared carefully edited and the authors displayed excellent writing, plotting and pacing skills.

Not this one. My Internet connection is always slow, but I did my best to race back to my Facebook page and delete that ill-considered “share.” I hope no one saw it.

If you are going to publish an e-book and hope to make some money off of your work, please be considerate of your readers. Do the scut work that goes hand-in-hand with all types of writing and don’t publish until you’re sure the work is as good as you can make it.

  • Edit
  • Find some beta readers and listen to them when they tell you about a problem or make a suggestion for improving the book. Make the changes you agree with.
  • Look for redundancies, misused homonyms and other bugaboos spell checkers can’t see and then eliminate them with extreme prejudice.
  • Edit
  • Check for overused punctuation and adjectives; too many semicolons in a work of fiction can be distracting! Likewise, exclamation points.
  • Edit
  • Is there a word or phrase you can never type properly? Do a search for it. My little gremlin is “does not,” which turns out “doe snot” every. single. time.
  • Read the whole blasted manuscript aloud and be prepared to make notes, because you will hear plenty of mistakes in grammar, flow, plot, etc. 
  • Edit
  • There is nothing wrong with said in dialogue. You can use it a million times in a row and your reader will not notice. Said is virtually invisible to most readers. But if your characters yell, scream, scoff, pant, ejaculate, reiterate,demand, observe, etc. all through the book, your readers will notice.
  • Edit

Writing is fun for those often strange folk who have something to say and want to say it to the world.

Editing is only fun for those even stranger folk who, for reasons I don’t quite fathom, decided to become grammar, punctuation and language experts. 

Fun or not, if you aren’t going to edit your work to infinity and back, consider hiring someone who will attack that manuscript like a buzzard discovering fresh roadkill. In the long run, you will find the money well spent.

Photo courtesy of Jan Verbist of Belgium via stock.xchng

It’s publication day!

The Plan is on schedule, more or less. I’m not in love with the cover I made, but it’s not too bad for my first time. It won’t be the cover on the final, full edition of the sequel to Memory’s Child, so I’m at peace with that.

Once all three parts are finished, I will get the amazing Digital Donna to make a professional cover like she did for Memory’s Child.

Knocking on wood that the work I have left to do will go smoothly. If so…Phoenix Rising: The Battle Begins, a novella, part one of the sequel to Memory’s Child, will go live on Amazon sometime tonight. I’m not sure if I have to attach a minimum price to start with. My plan is to offer it free for a couple of days, but I haven’t gotten that far in the publication process.

Wish me luck!

This is the latest draft of the cover I made. I doubt it will be the final, but you get the idea.

This is the latest draft of the cover I made. I doubt it will be the final, but you get the idea.