The Hook of a Book: It’s a Mystery

Do you recognize these famous first lines from novels?

“It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.”

“It was a pleasure to burn.”P and P

“All children, except one, grow up.”

“Call me Ishmael.”

If you guessed Pride and Prejudice, Fahrenheit 451, Peter Pan, and Moby-Dick, then you are the fish that these authors hooked.  The hardest part of starting a book is the first line.

In fact, Mystery Scene magazine devotes a page in each… Continue reading

Make a Fun Goal Your Deadline

Which One?

Which One?

How do you get your manuscript from page one to THE END? Do you plod all the way through to the finish to get the whole thing down on paper? After you’re finished with the first draft, do you take a break and turn your sights to a different story? Or do you stay with your original manuscript? Are you able to work back and forth between more than one piece at a time?

Right now, I have two finished manuscripts. I wrote… Continue reading

How Do You Write?

I love learning about how each writer’s process is different.  Plotters have their method – and then among plotters there are all different processes.  Pantsers have a different method – and again, within that group, each has their own process.  Mine?  I’m a bit of a plotter and a pantser.  I usually have a beginning (which changes) and where I think the story ends (which can also change).  A few of the points in between might also be there but I know the story will shape itself as I work through it and learn more about my characters… Continue reading

The Importance of Editors and Beta Readers

As a reader years ago, I often thought that authors simply sat down and wrote their books from beginning to end. Sure, they did some editing, but otherwise it was a chronological process with an occasional bumpy, but mostly smooth, road. Now that I write books, I see how naïve I was.

ThreeMayKeepASecretFront My first novel, Three May Keep a Secret, comes out in November. Before I began looking for a publisher, I hired an excellent freelance editor to give the manuscript a once over. Not only was it the best… Continue reading

Writing Spaces – Ideals, Dreams, and Reality

I have a very vivid picture in my head of a specific writing space, a space I want to inhabit. I suppose you could call it my dream writing space. The room has dark wood beams and white walls. The walls are not drywall painted white, but appear to be plastered. My desk is dark wood and placed against a wall of bookcases. If I turn to my right there is an ocean view out of the window. The room is not at ground level, but is on the second – or third floor – of a house.

That’s… Continue reading

Happy Fourth of July!

Our actual independence from Great Britain occurred on July 2, 1776 when the Second Continental Congress approved a resolution declaring the United States to be independent from Great Britain.

The Congress then looked at the wording of their statement, whose principal author was Thomas Jefferson. After much debate, the final version was approved on July 4, 1776. That document, entitled “The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America”, became our Declaration of Independence.

National Archives -1823 Engrossed Copy facsimile

National Archives -1823 Engrossed Copy facsimile

Mystery, Murder and Merlot – A Promotional Idea

Molon Lave VineyardI’ve read the twitter posts and yahoo group postings recently about what authors are doing for promotional ideas.  There are lots of different approaches.  One route my critique group partner, Lane Stone, has recently taken was collaborating with two other authors for an evening at the Molon Lave Vineyards in Warrenton, Virginia, an event which was co-sponsored by Bell Bridge Books.  

When I asked Lane how this evening came about, she said, “In 2013 the host of a local TV show asked me for… Continue reading