Archive for the Category » ‘the Art of Writing’ «

Did you Know?

The entire collection of World of Murder is now available in AUDIO books. Listen to these true crime thrillers fromWorking successfully with an illustrator
book 1 to book 7. 

Art of Murder 
Dance of Murder
Act of Murder
Angel of Murder
Taste of Murder
Bridge of Murder
Video of Murder 

Coming Soon! Shadow of Murder

Audio Samples of Bridge of Murder & Video of Murder 
Narrator: Daniel Dorse

Available on Audible.com, Amazon.com, & iTunes.com

Interview with author, Jayne Ann Krentz (aka Amanda Quick)

TS. I have been buying and reading Jayne Ann Krentz and Amanda Quick (pseudonym  for her period pieces) for more than three decades and am one of her biggest fans. Since 2013 I have been requesting an interview from this author and finally the stars aligned and Santa granted my wish. Wink. It is my honor to share with my fans, writers and readers this fascinating look into Jayne Ann’s writing processes and down time. 

Q:  Where do you write? Do you have a special room, shed, barn, special space for your writing?   Or tell us about your ‘dream’ work space.

JAK: I like to write in my office.  It’s my refuge, retreat and comfort zone.  That said, I can—and do—write just about anywhere—on a plane, on vacation, etc.  Writing is an addiction for me.  No matter where I am or what I’m doing there’s a story going on in my head.  I can make notes, work through plot issues, and jot down ideas with a pen and a yellow notepad but I do my most creative writing on a computer because I’m fast with a keyboard.  That means my fingers can keep up with my thoughts.  Every morning when I sit down to write I send up a personal “thank you” to the teacher who taught that touch typing class back in high school!

Q:  Do you have any special rituals when you sit down to write? (a neat work space, sharpened #2 pencils, legal pad, cup of tea, glass of brandy, favorite pajamas, etc.)

JAK:  No special rituals, well, except coffee.   I just need my computer and a keyboard and a cup of coffee.  I also need solitude.  I know a lot of authors write to music but I can’t do that.  My brain starts going in two different directions, one part following the music, the other trying to focus on the writing.  Guess I can’t walk and chew gum at the same time.

Q:  Could you tell us something about yourself that we might not already know?

JAK:  Nope.  Okay, I love to shop at Nordstroms (Seattle, Washington) and I love to cook vegetarian/low carb but those two passions are not exactly secrets. Everyone who follows me on Facebook or Instagram knows that much about me. (and apparently also loves to crawl around in Lava craters.)

Q. Do you have a set time each day (or night) to write?

JAK:  I’m definitely a morning person. I get up around five am. My husband and I love our breakfast routine which includes coffee, cottage cheese, peanut butter on rye crisp and three different newspapers.  After the papers, I take my last cup of coffee to my office.  I’m usually at my computer by six-thirty at the latest.  I write fairly steadily until noon with a one hour break at some point for working out.  Afternoons are for the other things that go with writing—untangling plot problems, figuring out motives, checking research, and, oh, yeah, real life.


Fun Fact
: Is there any fan out there that doesn’t know that Jayne Ann Krentz and Amanda Quick are one in the same??

 

Join us for Part 2 on December 21st

Untouchable will be on sale January 8, 2019

Coming Soon!  My Review of Untouchable

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MY BLOG features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!   October: Alretha Thomas. November: Joe English. December:  Jayne Ann Krentz (Amanda Quick)  January: Molly Gloss and February:  Patrick Canning.
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Motivational Moments…for Writers #41

Be certain you tie up all your loose ends.  I am writing another true crime mystery. I was knee-deep in blood in the lobby and elevator car of my detectives’ latest case.  The tiny dog had survived the barrage of bullets but his owner did not. Bodies are loaded up for transport to the ME’s morgue, CSI is working the scene and….okay…what do I do with the dog?  

While you’re writing (and rewriting), be aware of your loose ends. Have you resolved all of them?

 

“All good books are alike in that they are truer than if they had really happened and after you are finished reading one you will feel that all that happened to you and afterwards it all belongs to you: the good and the bad, the ecstasy, the remorse and sorrow, the people and the places and how the weather was. If you can get so that you can give that to people,  then you are a writer.” ― Ernest Hemingway

 

“A good novel tells us the truth about its hero; but a bad novel tells us the truth about its author.”  ― G.K. Chesterton

“I’ve got the key to my castle in the air, but whether I can unlock the door remains to be seen.” ― Louisa May Alcott

 

 the entire Collection of  Motivational Moments for Writers can be found in one book, How To Write Creatively

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MY BLOG features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!   October: Alretha Thomas. November: Joe English. December:  Jayne Ann Krentz (Amanda Quick)  January: Molly Gloss and in early 2019  Patrick Canning.
To receive my posts sign up for my   On the home page, enter your email address.  Thanks! 

 

To Purchase

 

 

Book Review ~ Schugara by Joe English

 

reviews, authors, writing

reviews, authors, writingreviews, authors, writingreviews, authors, writingreviews, authors, writing

5 out of 5 quills.  Book Review  

 

If you like words as much as I do (and you know how much I do) you will love this book. Words chosen and arranged so masterfully. English’s use of language is superb. No surprise, maybe, as the author took thirty years to complete the book. And he was still editing when he sent me the advanced reader’s copy. That’s dedication…but it also shows in the final product. 

I don’t writer spoilers…that is, I don’t include the whole story (as so many reviewers do) in any of my book reviews. I review the writing and the story. Is the writing good? Is the story entertaining and complex? Are the characters believable and do I care about them?  In the case of Schugara the answers are a resounding ‘YES’!

We’ve all wanted to run away and reinvent ourselves at some point in our lives. I certainly have…upon reflection I have actually done it! And that’s what this story is about. Several characters run away and they end up on the same remote island in the Caribbean. This book will require your full attention. It is not ‘light reading’ as the multiple characters are rich and the story complex. 

My only negative critique is with the publisher. The back cover of the book does not give a synopsis of the story to lure a reader into buying it. Reviews are fine but they should be taglines on the back cover and full reviews saved for inside the book.   The format is very distracting. (Maybe the issues were only in my advanced copy. Let’s hope so.) Unjustified spaces. Indents too deep. All these issues, including line spacing, contribute to the final number of pages, 500+, and may be a negative when a reader considers buying the book. Believe it or not, buyers check to see how many pages there are. No effort was made to create an author’s page on Amazon.com and other outlets, which is basic marketing. The readers want to know more about the book and its author. 

Having said my piece about the production of the book, it’s a fine piece of writing and I congratulate the author. Waiting anxiously for his next book. I think there’s a book in Joe Rogers, Zero and the bookstore, The Yellow Harp. 

Did you catch my interview with this author?

To purchase Schugara
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MY BLOG features INTERVIEWS with  other AUTHORS!   August: Mega best selling author, Susan Mallery. September: Jonathan Rabb.  October: Alretha Thomas. November: Joe English. December:  Jayne Ann Krentz (Amanda Quick)  January: Molly Gloss and in early 2019  Patrick Canning.
To receive my posts sign up for my   On the home page, enter your email address.  Thanks! 

 

To PurchaseTo Purchase

 

Latest books in the series, World of Murder, Now in Audio Books!

Beneath the Bridge of MurderGood news!  With the recent recording of Bridge of Murder and Video of Murder, all of the true crime series are now available on audio books. Just added: 

 In Book #6 of this true crime series, someone is knocking off the homeless of NYC. There don’t appear to be any motives; what could a bum have that anyone would want? Their life style affords the killer plenty of opportunity. Nobody cares what happened to these shadow people?  Detectives O’Roarke and Garcia quickly realize that they have another serial killer on their hands as more bodies are found at an alarming rate. 

Available soon on audible.com, amazon.com and itunes.com for purchase

Sample of Bridge of Murder 

Sample of Video of Murder 

A murder occurs every day in the Big Apple. It follows that homicide detectives carry a case load of three to seven cases, at all times. In this new thriller, Video of Murder, NYPD Homicide Detectives O’Roarke and Garcia investigate seven killings. Every case has one witness who is never mistaken, can’t remember, or tells a lie. The video camera. They must enter the unknown world of the Tongs, the Chinese Mafia, when one of its members is beaten to death, sparking a string of retaliation-type homicides. At the same time they investigate the random murder of a cross country trucker only to be interrupted by a domestic disturbance case gone horribly wrong. A normal day in the life of a murder cop.

 

Coming soon! Shadow of Murder in Audio!

Now available on audible.com, amazon.com and itunes.com for purchase

 

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MY BLOG features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!   August: Mega best selling author, Susan Mallery. September: Jonathan Rabb.  October: Alretha Thomas. November: Joe English. December:  Jayne Ann Krentz (Amanda Quick)  January: Molly Gloss and in early 2019  Patrick Canning.
To receive my posts sign up for my   On the home page, enter your email address.  Thanks! 

New Journal Just For You

I have created several journals for my readers, fans, and friends to write in. But, I am most proud of this one. Unique in that it is a true journal. No instruction, no pages used up with samples of playwriting, poetry, fiction writing. A pure journal. 

Each page has a quote to inspire you to journal and write your deepest thoughts, dreams, and goals. And yes, your heartbreak, frustrations and angst has room in this book too. 

If you’re an aspiring writer my other journals are instructional and available at all books stores. 

My Journal is available for sale now!  

Why? ©

Why does the sunrise fill you with hope and light a candle in your soul?

Why does a fast moving river fill you with courage as it rushes to the sea?

Why does puppy breath fill you with contentment?

Why does a star winking in the velvet sky make you want to wink back?

Why does the smell of a baby’s head fill you with joy?

Why do you believe there are secrets in the blink-less stare of a cat?

Why do we run from the rain? Why not dance in it?

~T.S.

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MY BLOG features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!   August: Mega best selling author, Susan Mallery. September: Jonathan Rabb.  October: Alretha Thomas. November: Joe English. December:  Jayne Ann Krentz (Amanda Quick)  January: Molly Gloss and in early 2019  Patrick Canning.
To receive my posts sign up for my   On the home page, enter your email address.  Thanks! 

 To Purchase

Interview with author, Joe English (part 2)

Q.  Do you ‘get lost’ in your writing?   

JE.   Definitely.   The rest of the world goes on, I am told and occasionally realize, while I am puzzling over a phrase, a sentence.   Should I add a poem to the beginning of a given  chapter to foreshadow  the chapter’s worth?   Should I use the word large or big?  Is the simile in the sentence “The sky was as blue as the bluest  eye. . .” apt?   [Answer:  no.  Why not?  Well, the sky is vast; the eye, small]. How about “The sky was as blue as the bluest eye and the jungle as green as gold”?  The second half not as bothersome, but still not quite there yet.  So, after hours and hours (literally) of tinkering, thinking, playing, rewriting:   throw the sky overboard.  Go with just the jungle:  “The rising sun stoked greens—emerald and jade, myrtle and moss—into glistening gold.”   There! 

Q. You have a new book coming out soon? If so tell us about it.  

JE.   I am working on a short story.   What has kept me going all these years is that many, many readers have praised SCHUGARA.    Gratifying.   But the bills must be paid.  I am not sure I want to  put myself through the torture, abuse, neglect, duplicity, that an unestablished  novelist must endure.   Tell me:  is posthumous  recognition appealing?  I think frequently of Gray’s “Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard”:  

Full many a gem of purest ray serene, 
The dark unfathom’d caves of ocean bear: 
Full many a 
flow’r is born to blush unseen, 
And waste its sweetness on the desert air.
  

Q.  When did you begin to write seriously?    

JE.  Since I was a child, ten years of age of thereabouts.  I have always been fascinated with words.   Elegance has all but disappeared from writing.   From our use of language.   From our culture.   From the ways we interact with others. 

Q. How long after that were you published? 

JE.   High school.  Literary publication. 

Q. What makes a writer great? 

JE.   Having something to say and saying it well.  

Q.  (Note to Self: a life lesson you’ve learned.) 

JE.   I quote Lily Tomlin in SCHUGARA:  “No matter how cynical you become, it’s never enough to keep up.”  I don’t like saying so, or recognizing this, but I have come to the conclusion that, for the most part, people simply don’t care, don’t give a damn, pay lip service to the concerns of others, and live inside solipsistic bubbles.  My advice to aspiring writers:  get off the beaten path.   If you are in a city, move into one of the many “ghetto” areas the United States cultivates, dumping grounds for people without money, for the most part people of color.  Do not get sucked into the television world of lies and happy faces:  YOU DESERVE A BREAK TODAY!  HAVE IT YOUR WAY!   Those who are idealists in their teenage years and twenties sell out by age thirty without ever realizing so.     Do we need more stories about suburban angst?

 Q. and the all-important:  What does the process of going from “no book” to “finished book” look like for you?   

JE.   A book is NEVER finished.  The writer must force himself/herself to stop.   Now that I have been forced to stop, I suffer the slings and arrows of trying to get attention paid.   The literary gatekeepers keep a close-knit mutually praising society, frightened, so it seems, at anyone or anything that goes against the grain.

Ours is a close minded culture, wherein those who know know they know better.   They are the tastemakers.   Do you think a novel published by a struggling tiny press located in Louisville, Kentucky, clearly the hayseed  capital of the nation, has a chance of being reviewed by the New York Times?

Did you miss part 1: Click here 
To purchase Schugara
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MY BLOG features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!   August: Mega best selling author, Susan Mallery. September: Jonathan Rabb.  October: Alretha Thomas. November: Joe English. December:  Jayne Ann Krentz (Amanda Quick)  January: Molly Gloss and in early 2019  Patrick Canning.
To receive my posts sign up for my   On the home page, enter your email address.  Thanks! 

 

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Interview with Author, Joe English

I admire a writer who, for his first  novel, writes a saga of 500+ pages. A Place Called Schugara is such a book and took Joe thirty years to write. (Review coming later.)  I love Joe’s answer:  What can one do?  Submit! “  That’s what all of us writers have to do, willingly or not.  I think my readers will really enjoy this unique interview. 

 

Q.  Where do you write? Do you have a special room, shed, barn, special space for your writing?   Or tell us about your ‘dream’ work space.  

 JE.   I write at my desk, on my laptop.  Nothing sexy.  I have my desk positioned so that it faces a wall, not a window.    

Q.  Do you have any special rituals or quirks when you sit down to write? (a neat work space, sharpened #2 pencils, legal pad, cup of tea, glass of brandy, favorite pajamas, etc.)  

JE.   Other than the manacles I place on my wrists and the chains I lash on my feet, nothing. 

Q.  Could you tell us something about yourself that we might not already know? 

JE.   I worked on A PLACE CALLED SCHUGARA for 30 years, rewriting, rewriting, rewriting.   People kept reading—to the last word, so I kept at it.  After 1,100 + rejections from agents and publishers, a courageous woman, Amanda Rotach Lamkin, owner of Line by Lion Publishing (Louisville, Kentucky), a small, independent (not vanity/subsidy/participation) press sent me a contract. 

 Q.  Do you have a set time each day (or night) to write? 

JE.   Preferably mornings.   The first draft—30 years ago—took a year and a half.  With incredibly few exceptions, I woke at 3 a.m. and wrote to 6 a.m., spending the rest of the day in a daze as my mind was not on my job but on the goings-on in my story, the characters, the  dilemmas. 

Q. What’s your best advice to other writers for overcoming procrastination?

JE.  Force yourself to sit at your desk, your laptop, your writing surface.  Stare at the page.   Scribble some words.   Erase.  Scribble others.   Sooner or later, generally later, the pump will be primed.   When you are not at your desk, carry a small notebook to write down inspirations/thoughts/observations/ideas/phrases.  

Q.  Where/when do you first discover your characters?  

 JE  For the most part (Luigi Pirandello), they discover me.  “Here I am,” each says.  “You must tell my story.”  At the onset of A PLACE CALLED SCHUGARA, I had no idea that a character by the name of Albert Sidney McNab, would insist on being so prominent.   What can one do?  Submit! 

Q. What first inspired you to write?    

JE.  The most important rule of writing is having something to say.  I have felt for many years that our overstressed, capitalistic, materialist culture is life-deadening.  What would it be like to chuck it all?   To disappear?  To start over?  So I came up with an “everyman” figure, Travers Landeman (name intended to suggest his trapped life), who is trapped in a loveless marriage, is harassed by government bureaucrats, whose business is failing, who fakes his own death on “Mabouhey,” an unknown Caribbean island.   Will he get away with it? 

Q. Being a new fiction writer, how did it happen that your first effort was an ambitious 500+ saga?  
 
A.  The story is all.  The writer becomes captive to his/her characters, who rule.  I had no idea whatsoever that SCHUGARA would turn into such a saga.  But there you have it and here it is.  I have read and reread SCHUGARA, at least 75 times in the past two years, with a view towards paring it down.   Here and there I was able to jettison a word, phrase, or paragraph.   But, for better, I hope, the story is what the story is.  To amputate solely for the sake of brevity would be as sinful as fluffing for the sake of heft. 

Q. What came first to you?  The Characters or the Situation?   

JE.   The situation.   Then, one by one, the characters arrived. 

Don’t Miss Part Two of this Interview November 16th
To purchase A Place Called Schugara
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MY BLOG features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!   August: Mega best selling author, Susan Mallery. September: Jonathan Rabb.  October: Alretha Thomas. November: Joe English. December:  Jayne Ann Krentz (Amanda Quick)  January: Molly Gloss and in early 2019  Patrick Canning.
To receive my posts sign up for my   On the home page, enter your email address.  Thanks! 

 

To PurchaseTo Purchase

 

Motivational Moments #40– Dust off a book you’ve written…

…and put out a new ‘edition’. I wrote Book #1 of my true crime series, Art of Murder, back in 2011.  Circumstances (I fired my publisher) led me to review and rewrite this book. Adding a new dynamic cover, new title  (Brush with Murder) and added 6000 new words. A love interest walked into Ben’s life and I pulled that thread. 

Most indie publishing platforms allow you to change the ‘interior files’ post-publish and change the cover when you’ve rewritten the book. In my case, since I was also changing the title, I issued the book as a new ‘revised’ edition. The new cover, by my illustrator, David White, is sexy and hot! He does such terrific work for me.

I recommend to all writers to review things you’ve written and even published. Only good things can happen! 

Now available!  Brush with Murder and Shadow of Murder 

Coming Soon!  Book #9, Triad of Murder

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 Coming Soon in Audio-Books:
(Beneath the) Bridge of Murder
Video of Murder
Shadow of Murder 

 

 MY BLOG features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!   August: Mega best selling author, Susan Mallery. September: Jonathan Rabb.  October: Alretha Thomas. November: Joe English. December: Molly Gloss. Coming this winter: Jayne Ann Krentz (Amanda Quick) and Patrick Canning.
To receive my posts sign up for my   On the home page, enter your email address.  Thanks! 

 

To PurchaseTo Purchase

 

Interview with Author, Playwright, Alretha Thomas (part 2)

Part 2: 

Q. What comes first? The situation or the characters.

AT. The situation comes first.

Q. Do you ‘get lost’ in your writing?

AT. I become completely immersed in my writing. I get so lost in the world I’ve created, I forget where I am, and hours fly by. It’s really a high!

Q. Do you have a new book coming out soon? If so tell us about it.

AT.My latest work was released August 7, 2018. It’s the first book in my new Dancing Hills Mystery Series. It’s called “The Women on Retford Drive.” It’s about a mother and stepdaughter who have endured abuse at the hands of their husband and father respectively. The day they shape plans to leave him, he goes missing. The women, afraid the police are going to name them as suspects, try to find out what happened to him. Did one of them kill him or is there another agenda at play unbeknownst to the women and the police far more sinister?

Q. When did you begin to write seriously?

AT. I began my first serious work in 1999. I wrote a novel loosely based on my dysfunctional childhood called “Daughter Denied.” I had no idea what I was doing. However, readers fell in love with the ten-year-old protagonist Renee.

Q. How long after that were you published?

AT. It was fifteen years later before I received a publishing deal. Thank goodness we can’t see the future. If I had known it would have taken over a decade, I might have given up. Lol!

Q. Do you think we will see, in our lifetime, the total demise of paper books?

AT. Yes!!!! There was a time when I couldn’t imagine reading a book on a computer, but now my Kindle library is filled with books. I do, however, still enjoy reading a paper book. I like seeing them on the bookshelves in my library. However, electronic books are so easy to manage, especially at the gym.

Q. What makes a writer great?

AT. Someone who has studied their craft and that has a passion for storytelling. You must be open and free to write what you know and what’s in your heart, not the latest trend.

Q. and the all-important: What does the process of going from “no book” to “finished book” look like for you?

AT. It starts with an idea. I turn that idea into an outline. I determine the end of the story. I decide what my plot twists will be. Then I get into the characters. I create bios for all my characters. I determine what the main characters want, what their obstacles will be. I complete a first draft. I have beta readers go over my work. I complete more drafts. Then when I have the final draft, I send it to my developmental editor. After she goes through it, and I address all her concerns, I complete another draft. Once that is final, I send it to my editor who also proofs the book. Then I’m good to go! It’s about a six-month process.

Q. How has your life experiences influenced your writing?

AT. I’ve had an interesting life. My childhood at times was harrowing. I lost my mother when I was 14 and she was only 36. God got me through. My twenties were crazy, due to my childhood and my own bad choices. I began to grow up in my thirties and from there, my life has been fabulous. Not perfect, but amazing. Nineteen years ago, I met the love of my life. We had a beautiful wedding. In 2000 we went to Africa together. In 2001 we bought a home. In 2012 my husband retired and in 2016 I retired and am writing and acting full time. Because of all my experiences, I feel deeply. I’m passionate. I can relate to pain, disappointment, hurt, exhilaration, joy, all the things you’ll find in a good book. I believe my life enables me to write books that move and inspire readers.

Q. Have you or do you want to write in another genre`?

AT. I started writing women’s fiction. In my Cass and Nick series, it dawned on me that in all four books someone dies and that there is an element of suspense in each book. In 2015, I made a foray into writing murder mysteries and I’ve never looked back.

Q. Note to Self: (a life lesson you’ve learned.)

AT. Don’t ever cry too hard over the person, job or material object you wanted and couldn’t have, because God has something so much better in store for you.

Did you miss Part I of this wonderful Interview? Click here
To see more of Alretha’s books: click here
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