Tag Archives: blogs

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.


The Introverted Writer

LimebirdVanessa has a great blog post about writers who may be shy in real life but blossom online.  Take a look! The Introverted Writer.


Last night, I was thinking about jargon – specifically, newspaper jargon. So much has changed just since I started in the newsroom 30 years ago. Goodness, 30 years ago? My, how time flies!

Well, that’s roughly a generation, isn’t it? I suppose the changes aren’t spectacular when you look at it that way. Still, I don’t like change.

The newspaper where I cut my teeth was using the term “library” when I got there, so I don’t know if they ever called it a morgue. My father, also a journalist, called it that. When I first started at the newspaper, I fully expected to make use of its morgue. But, no, they had a library. I’m still miffed.

Back then, we didn’t have “captions.” Captions were for the slicks (magazines). We wrote cutlines and skel lines to explain what a photo was about. Nobody seems to know what a skel line is anymore, and you rarely hear anyone speak of cutlines. It’s all captions, now. I’m miffed about that, too.

In addition to jargon, other changes in the newspaper world distress me no end. People actually have to pay to have an obituary run in the newspaper. Pardon my French, but what the hell? Obits are news and nobody pays for other types of news in the newspaper. Imagine readers having to pay for a reporter to write up the local city council meeting or take photos of a car crash. I realize the industry is flopping along on the road, trying to catch up with the Internet and avoid total collapse, but I never thought I’d see the day when you had to pay for a regular obit in the newspaper. That’s shameful, if you ask me. You didn’t ask, but there it is. Take it or leave it.

Newspaper jargon is colorful and unique. Or at least, it was. I do see writers still use the word “lede,” though I never much liked that one. I mentioned a “double truck” to an editor a few years ago and she didn’t know what I was talking about.

I’ve already waxed nostalgic over the clacking of typewriters, clatter of the teletypes, thunder of presses and the scent of ink. The latter hasn’t changed, at least. Newspapers still use ink – those that print their own stuff, at least. Some smaller papers farm out the printing rather than buy their own press. That makes good economic sense, but still….

Nope, I don’t like change. Not in most areas, anyway. I have to admit, though, that the ability to blog freely, research broadly, become immersed in social networking sites and get involved in indie publishing is exquisitely exciting.

The Internet has wrought colossal changes in the way freelance and independent writers work and opened up an entire universe of great opportunities. That’s the kind of change I can live with.


This is the first Wednesday in some time that I have nothing on my must-do list. With nothing that I must do, I can spend my day on something that I want to do. But…which something should I choose?

I want to work on scanning all of my photographs and old family documents to make a permanent, easily transportable record. I plan to copy all of these to a DVD, a thumb drive and a portable hard drive for safekeeping. Should disaster strike and we need to flee, I can grab one of those and take my memories with me.

I also want to go through the zillion scraps of paper currently lurking in the back bedroom – mostly receipts – and get rid of any that are too old for anyone to care about. Especially me. Maybe while doing that, I’ll find some of the documents I put away “in a safe place” that I absolutely cannot find now.

We have new laws governing the paperwork we need to get driver’s licenses and to vote, and all of my documents are in that mystical “safe place.” I have five copies of my birth certificate, and can’t find a blessed one.

There’s also laundry to do, floors to sweep and dust to banish. Oh, and let’s not forget, dogs to bathe. I actually want to do these things, too.

I have several books I want to read, and I want to work on the edits of one of my own books and one of a friend’s.

Still, with all these great choices facing me today, I think I’ll just…write.

Writing pen

Weekend Freebie Stats

Click on the book cover to go to Amazon.com and download your copy of Memory's Child.

“Wow,” is all I can think of to say. Memory’s Child is closing in on 500 downloads since the free weekend began Friday.

I’m thrilled to know so many people will be reading MC, and utterly terrified that some won’t like it. That is a “heart” thing. My brain knows perfectly well that you can’t enthrall all the readers all the time, of course. My heart just keeps saying, “Why not?” Stupid heart.

Making Memory’s Child free for the whole weekend was a good idea, I think, though many indie authors will disagree. I want more than anything to tell a story, and why write a story if nobody is going to read it? So I’m happy to know that many pairs of eyes will read the story.

I also anticipate that at least a few of those new readers will take the time to rate and post a review of MC on Amazon. All good reviews, I hope!

Personally, I think Memory’s Child would make a wonderful movie….

Marathon Writing Challenge

No, I’m not challenging anyone to a “write-off” this weekend. I’m planning my own marathon – of writing – this weekend.

I plan to begin at 8 a.m. Saturday and end at 8 a.m. Monday  – with time off for sleep and meals, bathroom breaks and possibly a conversation with my husband.

The plan is to eschew Facebook, Twitter, e-mail, blogs and web surfing for 48 hours and concentrate solely on writing.

I will allow myself to make notes of things I need to look up on the Internet, like genetics and climate, etc., but I won’t look them up until Monday.

Luckily for my decidedly addicted self, I connect via a Cricket broadband modem that plugs into a USB port on my laptop. All I have to do is pull the modem out and toss it into a drawer.

My goal for this weekend is a minimum of 5,000 good words on the sequel to Memory’s Child. Secretly, I’m hoping for double that. I need to get into the groove, and an exhausting, sweaty 10K marathon will give me a sense of accomplishment and some needed momentum.

If you want to join me, just post a comment with your achievement. Otherwise, just wish me luck. After two decades of writing mainly nonfiction, my creative side is a tad rusty.

Not to mention that I am as addicted to the Internet as most people I know, and I have the self-control of a starving rat in a cheese factory.

If you happen to see me sneaking onto the Internet, feel free to yell at me to log off and get back to work.

Hark! Yonder Echoes the Cry of the Wild Noob!

I spent five long, intense days working on publishing MEMORY’S CHILD as an e-book. I did a final edit, formatted the manuscript and – at long last – uploaded to Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Smashwords.
The editing wasn’t that bad. After all, I’ve been editing MC for about 20 years, now. The formatting, however, was a nightmare. I understand why so many formatting businesses are available on the Internet. I may yet hire one to format the prequel to MC when it’s ready.
As a learning experience, getting the manuscript finalized, dedication and acknowledgements written, plus the copyright and disclaimer information done was invaluable.
Now I know how the process works and I know how long it takes for a book to go from upload to “on sale.”
Since Sunday or Monday (the whole thing is a blur, now), when I uploaded MEMORY’S CHILD to Smashwords, my final goal, I’ve been exploring the realm of networking.
I started a new Twitter account, an author’s page on Facebook, posted links everywhere I could think of to Kindle, Nook and Smashwords, worked in a couple of reviews of other authors’ books and still had to get my animal rescue articles and videos done for Examiner and a local TV station website.
In doing that, I repeatedly ran across blogs, Tweets, Facebook posts and various and sundry other tidbits written by some of the authors I know. I’m exhausted!
Now, the only question I have (and I ask it with a high-pitched, quavering wail) is: how do they find time to write books?