Springtime in Endurance

As I sit in my office looking out at the rain and wind in our Illinois spring, I am reminded that the little town in my mysteries, Endurance, is based on the spot where I live. Right now the ornamental trees and shrubs are in full bloom, and the gingko tree in my 009 (320x249)front yard is just starting to grow its interesting triangular-shaped leaves. Mother Nature is definitely changing courses and revving up the green colors to move into summer. Nature is something we can’t hurry.

In recent weeks… Continue reading

Grab a Group

lonelyWriting is such a solitary occupation, that I’ve often felt at a loss as to my literary abilities. I can look at a piece of writing and think it’s award material, or I can look at the same piece of writing and think it’s garbage. I’ve noticed that most of my insecurities attack me right after I’ve finished reading a riveting book.

I know. I know. One of the Golden Rules–Don’t compare.

That’s why input during the creative process from other writers is so important. Without help from someone… Continue reading

The Fat Lady Sings (Again) – to Beat Sheets

CORRECTION: The wonderful Jami Gold has made a correction to this post. Although a number of “Beat Sheets” below are attributed to different authors, they were actually created by Jami herself. She’s drawn from the teachings of Larry Brooks, Michael Hauge, etc. to assemble them, hence their names. The Blake Snyder Beat Sheet was created by Elizabeth Davis. Confused yet?  Don’t worry. All will become clear as you read further.
Two other suggestions from Jami: first, she recommends this link for her Scrivener Beat Sheet: jamigold.com/2013/12/can-we-use-beat-sheets-with-scrivener . And second, she provides a “clearinghouse” link for all Beat Sheets

Talking Books, Films and Garage Sales with Author Suzi Weinert

Today I am thrilled to be talking with Suzi Weinert who is the author of the Garage Sale mysteries series. First a bit of history:  Moving regularly as an Air Force brat, after college Suzi married an Army officer and in the succeeding 21 years, moved 11 more times across the US, Germany and the Philippines. Transforming each new house into a home, she discovered on-post thrift shops where military families consign for sale whatever they can’t take on a move and later supplement their belongings from their new destination’s thrift shop.

The Business of Writing: Budgets

As a small business owner, every decision I have made to date for my business is based on the anticipated return on investment (ROI). The main goal of my business is to make enough money to pay my business expenses and have enough left over to pay myself so that I can contribute positively to my household and my future.   My business has been in a state of flux since I started it over three years ago. I always knew I wanted to be my own boss but this business was not planned, it was a knee-jerk response to a… Continue reading

Writing Humor – With Lane Stone

Today we are fortunate to have author Lane Stone join us to talk a bit about the inspiration for her novels, her process and how she uses humor in her mysteries.  Lane is the author of Current Affairs:  A Tiara Investigations Mystery, Domestic Affairs and Maltipoos Are Murder.Lane photo

Thanks for being here today.  How did you come up with the ideas for your book – i.e., main character?

I had the idea of a Southern beauty queen – in her later years – solving crimes, but I also… Continue reading

After “The End”

My masterpiece is finished. I’ve gone over and over it, and received many critiques. Am I ready to publish? Not quite. It’s now time to send it to a real editor, and the state of my budget is very much on my mind. I know editing is a vital aspect of creating a successful book, but it isn’t cheap. Even though I’ve pored over the words until I’m cross-eyed, and writing peers have given me wonderful suggestions, an editor will look at the manuscript with fresh, professional eyes that can spot not only punctuation and grammar mistakes but also plot holes, pacing problems, and other potentially fatal flaws in my… Continue reading

Join or Start a Critique Group

Every critique group I have been in has taught me something, not only about my writing, but about myself.  Some critique groups I’ve been in have worked well, some worked okay, and some didn’t work at all.

My current critique group has been active for nearly a year, and it all started with my response to a request for a critique partner on one of the groups I belong to. It’s one of the most productive and interesting critique groups I’ve belonged to – thanks to my critique partners Lane and Carolyn

Making Up History

I’m busily writing a series of cozy mysteries called The Endurance Mysteries. The first book, Three May Keep a Secret [2014], introduced Grace Kimball, her friends and their small Midwest town of Endurance. In the second book, which will be out next year, one of Grace’s friends buys a Victorian home that is falling apart. This friend wants to restore it to its 1880’s splendor. Because of this plot decision, I had to create a history for this house. Grace researches its history for newspaper articles in the Endurance Register. I had a lot of fun creating a background for… Continue reading

Internet Resources, Take 2

Last month, I wrote about some of the more interesting places I’ve recently visited for research purposes. Well, I’ve been at it again, this time starting with “Self-Editing for Fiction Writers, Second Edition: How to Edit Yourself into Print” by Renni Browne and Dave King. This gem of a book was hiding in full sight among the1200 or so volumes currently eating my Kindle alive. (Note to Self: Serious Housecleaning Needed ASAP.)

self-editing book coverOnce I started the Browne/King book, I literally couldn’t put it down. The advice is so well… Continue reading