List Post, avril 2017 (April)

It’s the last week of April, and I just realized I forgot to do a List Post this month!

I’ve been a little busy writing…and appearing at bookstores, festivals and markets, signing copies of my books. Back in late March, I went to Asheville, NC for a few days, and to Savannah the next weekend. The first weekend of April, I went to Texas with my husband to visit family. Here’s a rundown of this month, through the end of it, this Sunday:

  • My appearance at Tall Tales Books had to be rescheduled from March 26 to April 8. It was lots of fun mingling with readers in a great bookstore!
  • Alas, I had to cancel as a Regional Writer for the Dahlonega Literary Festival last month. I hope to be back next year, though.
  • On April 9, I headed to Wilbur & Rudy’s Farmtable and Market in Milton, GA for a book signing.
  • Then on April 15, I appeared as a panelist with authors Gelia Dolcimascolo, Nancy Stephan and James Huskins at the Atlanta Writers Club meeting in Dunwoody, GA. Our panel was the 3rd speaker slot beginning at 3pm. Lots of interesting questions and discussion!
  • On April 22, I was one of several authors signing books at “Lemonade Days” in Dunwoody, a festival held at an area park. It was a gorgeous day and we met lots of cool readers. We appeared again the next day but had to close up shop early because of heavy rain.
  • And on Sunday April 30 (rain or shine), I’ll sign books at an Author Signing at the Donaldson-Bannister House in Dunwoody! Please stop by.

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That’s me on the left, with two other authors and a reader who grabbed copies of our books at Lemonade Days! 

List Post, septembre 2016

Better late than never!

  • Activities this month (so far):
    • AJC Decatur Book Festival:
      • Atlanta Writers Club Thriller Panel
      • Signed books at Eagle Eye Book Shop tent, the Atlanta Writers Club booth and Sisters in Crime booth

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  • Sisters in Crime, Atlanta Chapter meeting:
    • “Marketing and Publicity Secrets and Tips” Panel with 4 other Sisters

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  • Bouchercon World Mystery Convention in NOLA (New Orleans):
    • “Watch that Man – Thriller” Panel, signed books afterward
    • Happy Hour at the House of Blues Voodoo Garden, hosted by my publisher Thomas & Mercer
    • Drinking, dining and fun connecting with other authors and wandering around the French Quarter

With my pal author Emily Drake Carpenter at the Happy Hour party

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  • CURE Childhood Cancer’s Quiet Heroes Luncheon:
    • Wonderful silent auction and program given by CURE for moms and dads of cancer patients, survivors, and children who lost their battle with cancer
    • Met some incredible women who help raise money for cancer research and find a cure (two of whom I am with, below)

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  • Activities coming up: 
    • 2016 Cooper O’Brien Memorial Golf Tournament, Dinner and Silent Auction: I was invited and will attend this event on Sept. 27
    • Preview for October: Author Appreciation Reception hosted by the Georgia Libraries Association in Athens, Ga; Book signing at Eagle Eye Book Shop; and LOOK FOR AN INTERVIEW ARTICLE on me by Kathy Cioffi in the GOOD BOOKS section of the OCTOBER issue of NORTHSIDE WOMAN MAGAZINE!

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P.S. Latest “Wine with Wendy on Wednesdays” Post coming up soon, too!

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A dozen things I’ve learned from my writers group

Instead of “Pizza and a Movie” (we’re skipping it, today), this post is about another one of my (sometime) Friday activities. For several years, I’ve participated in a writers’ critique group (called the Writers Circle) connected with the Atlanta Writers Group.

It’s facilitated by my friend Gelia Dolcimascolo and meets twice a month at Georgia Perimeter College, now known as Georgia State University Perimeter College (I think). On alternate Fridays, some members meet at area businesses that welcome us, like coffee shops, bakeries and restaurants.

This is a multi-genre group–kind of appropriate for me, as a multi-genre author (something I didn’t plan to be, but there it is). Members are poets, short story and flash fiction writers, nonfiction writers, screenplay writers, and novelists. Genres include fantasy, science fiction, thrillers, literary fiction, women’s fiction, children’s and middle grade, young adult, and others. We read several pages of our work in progress (WIP) aloud to the group, and then discuss, sharing comments and reactions. The idea is to help each other improve, and over the years, I certainly have.

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Members at a meeting discussing someone’s work (guess which one is me)

Here are 12 things I have learned (just a partial list, undoubtedly):

  1. How to construct a story arc, and where elements like plot twists belong (thank you, screenplay writers!)
  2. How to tighten my writing (wordy = bad)
  3. How to write believable (and good) dialogue, and that if you don’t need a tag (“he said”), remove it
  4. What to do when I am stuck (write something – anything!)
  5. How to take suggestions and criticism, and use it to improve my story (thick skin = good)
  6. How to dig deep when writing about my own emotions (see ALL THE ABOVE: My son’s battle with brain cancer)
  7. That others can see the problems and issues in my writing (everything from typos to story and character inconsistencies) when I can’t
  8. What genre I am writing in, in a particular work (sounds weird, I know, but when I was working on my novel UNDERWATER–originally titled THE PROJECT–and wondered aloud, “What the heck kind of story is this?”, another member immediately responded, “Suspense, of course!”)
  9. That I can learn something from writers of other genres, even if writing in that genre is not something I could ever do
  10. To take out anything that doesn’t move the story forward, and write only what does (“if you don’t need it, take it out”)
  11. That’s it’s okay to write what you know, and use elements from your own experiences in your work
  12. How to “show, don’t tell” (paraphrasing Mark Twain: “Don’t tell me that the fat lady sings–bring her out, and let her sing!”)

Sometimes, in the midst of all this learning and discussing, things get animated. So, when she needs to, facilitator Gelia rings a bell, to get things back on track (kind of like in the servants’ area downstairs, in Downton Abbey). Recently, she added a plaque next to the bell, in the center of our table:

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Are you part of a writers’ critique group, and if so, what have you learned and how have you benefited?

It’s about time: an (author) challenge, and two invitations

For my 200th blog post (?!?!!!) – 

  1. I’m sharing author Linda Sands’ 10 for 10 Author Challenge  who is hosting me on her blog today! Linda is my friend and fellow Atlanta “Sister in Crime.” Click to read her take on me, and my answers to her 10 funky questions that you won’t find anywhere else! Here’s an example: “Your book is going to be a movie. Hooray. You get to cast the lead characters.” (What author hasn’t dreamed of that one?)
  2. And – in honor of another friend and “Sister in Crime,” author Anne Marie Stoddard‘s presentation at our last “SinC” meeting – I’ve just (finally) created my personal profile Facebook page! Please visit it and “friend” me (and when you do, I’ll invite you to “Like” my Facebook author (fan) page). And – connect with me on Twitter and Instagram!  
  3. AND…you’re invited to a Virtual Village Book Festival Facebook Event tomorrow and Friday, Jan. 14 and 15, where I’ll be hosted by author Rona Simmons, an Atlanta Writers Club pal and historical fiction author! As a BONUS, a 5 minute audio excerpt of my book ALL THE ABOVE: My son’s battle with brain cancer recorded by audiobook narrator, actor and singer Janet Metzger will be available, too. Visit her website to hear the excerpt today! Janet and I would love to chat with you during this two-day online book festival! 

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Well – if not exactly “flakes,” they’re writers, artists, and social media mavens!

 

 

List Post: Nouvelle Année – janvier 2016

  • Read my author interview by fellow Sister in Crime author Linda Sands on Wednesday, January 13 on her blog. I’ll be answering Linda’s funky questions about my book ALL THE ABOVE.
  • Then on Thursday and Friday, January 14 and 15, fellow Atlanta Writers Club member and author Rona Simmons will host me on the Virtual Village Book Festival on Facebook. From 10 am on 1/14 to 5 pm on 1/15, you can ask me questions on this interactive event!
  • Book 4 is ready! (See word count details below.) I’ll be revealing the TITLE soon. Estimated release date: late February or early March 2016.

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AND — 

Since this is my second “Nouvelle Année” Post, I thought I would look back to a year ago and add comments and updates. Here is what I wrote in January 2015. Comments are in blue.

  • Almost finished UN-decorating the house for the holiday season (This year, I got it done on the last day of 2015. Because I spent Christmas in France, there was less to take down.)
  • Writing back on schedule, after more than two weeks when I couldn’t remember what day of the week it was (Hmm..getting back on track TODAY!)
  • Several signed copies of UNDERWATER are available for purchase at Dunwoody Bakery, open Wednesdays through Saturdays (Alas, the bakery closed last year. If you would like a signed copy of UNDERWATER or ALL THE ABOVE, contact me, or order via PayPal on my Home page). 
  • Looking forward to my “Member Minute” talk at the Atlanta Writers Club meeting on January 17, 2015 at 1:30 pm, at Georgia Perimeter College (This year, I’ll be doing two virtual events in January – see above.)
  • On the horizon: My appearance at the Augusta Literary Festival on March 6-7. Looking forward to attending, meeting readers and signing books (No festivals coming up as of yet in 2016, but I’ll keep you posted.)
  • Planning the release of my work of creative nonfiction, titled ALL THE ABOVE this spring (It came out on March 24, 2015!)
  • Resolving to step up my exercise routine this year (Ditto.)
  • Cheering for the Cowboys and the Seahawks during the NFL playoffs (Not sure about this yet – Still celebrating Falcons victory over the Panthers!)
  • Happy that I’m traveling to Chapel Hill, NC in April and in May (I’ll be in the area this year in May again, and may be before.)
  • Glad to share family news with close friends and family. (Last year began with that good news.)

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Finally – a postscript for all you “Pizza and a Movie” post followers:

My Top 5 Movies of 2015:

  1. Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens
  2. Bridge of Spies
  3. The Gift
  4. Brooklyn
  5. Inside Out

And – here are 5 Movies I missed seeing, and want to see:

  1. Mad Max: Fury Road
  2. The Martian
  3. Creed
  4. Steve Jobs
  5. The Big Short *

*Actually, I saw this just after Christmas in France, but it was dubbed in French. I understood it 😀  – but still want to see the English language version soon.

 

Pizza and a Movie: No Escape

This weekend’s Pizza Toppings at Corner Pizza:

  • Green Peppers
  • Pepperoni
  • Pineapple

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Movie:

No Escape

Owen Wilson, who stars in this film, is one of my favorite actors.

It’s partly because of the way he talks, and partly because of his imperfect nose. He’s not a pretty boy. And whether the movie is decent, good, or great, I usually like his acting. This was the first one I’ve seen him in that wasn’t a comedy, and the first one where he played a dad. I was drawn into the story, and I liked the movie well enough; for most of it, I was on the edge of my seat. I didn’t even mind the slow motion parts, though I’d heard that some people did.

There was one dialogue scene between Owen Wilson’s character and the one played by Pierce Brosnan that I thought was unnecessary, or at least, badly done. At best, it was distracting, and it didn’t explain that much to me. If you see the film, you’ll know what I’m talking about, so let me know if you agree.

Now for the pizza. As Bill (of Corner Pizza) guessed, we I had decided on the toppings before we arrived. I was in the mood for pepperoni, and the other toppings are two of my favorites. My husband agreed, and everything melanged together nicely.

It was the perfect prelude to a fun weekend * – some of which I already wish I could replay, in slow motion.

* I appeared on the Thriller panel at the 10th annual Decatur Book Festival (my first time there as an author), and I moderated the Urban Fantasy panel, just after. I also signed books at the Atlanta Writers Club Booth, attended two presentations at the Romance Pavilion, and attended an interview with YA (Young Adult) author Sarah Dessen. I had hoped to meet her and talk about writing, books, UNC, and many other things, but before I got an opportunity, she had gone back home to Chapel Hill, NC. 

 

 

 

List Post, août 2015 (August)

Zut! August is almost over, and I haven’t done a list post for it yet!

Things have been cooking this month, so…

Voilà: 

  • Signing copies of UNDERWATER and ALL THE ABOVE at this year’s Decatur Book Festival on Saturday, Sept. 5 from 4:00 to 5:00 at the Atlanta Writers Club booth!
  • Looking forward to serving on the Atlanta Writers Club Thriller Panel the next day, Sunday, Sept. 6 from 12:00 to 12:45 at the CITY HALL STAGE, then signing books again.
  • Enfin, moderating the AWC Urban Fantasy Panel the same day from 2:30 to 3:15 at the MARRIOTT CONFERENCE CENTER AUDITORIUM.

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  • Speaking about my books on a panel at the Atlanta Sisters in Crime meeting on Saturday Sept. 12 from 10:30 to 12:30 with sister authors Sharon Marchisello, Lane Stone, Mary Anne Edwards, and Fran Stewart.
  • Going to Bouchercon 2015 world mystery convention in Raleigh, North Carolina from Oct. 8 – 11 (more on this later)!

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  • Looking forward to meeting readers and signing books at the Book & Art Fair in Griffin, Georgia from Oct. 16 – 18.
  • Appearing at FoxTale Book Shoppe on Oct. 21 in Woodstock, Georgia with bestselling author Hank Phillippi Ryan and some other Sisters in Crime authors!

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List Post, février 2015 (already?!)

  • Writing back on schedule, after I had la grippe in January (despite getting my 1st flu shot in October)
  • Enjoyed meeting authors and signing books, after my “Member Minute” talk at the Atlanta Writers Club meeting on January 17
  • Excited that the Atlanta Chapter of Sisters in Crime (SinC) has nominated UNDERWATER for the Georgia Author of the Year Award (GAYA) in the Detective/Mystery category (which includes psychological thrillers) – winners will be announced June 6
  • Looking forward to Augusta in March and Chapel Hill in April (but don’t have to go back to NC in May anymore)
  • Can’t wait for the Feb. 24 release of UNTER WASSER, the German translation of UNDERWATER by AmazonCrossing
  • Ecstatic that someone I recently interviewed for research on my current work in progress (WIP) is currently reading UNDERWATER, and said he thinks I’m “a really good writer.” And, his assistant read it in a day, and loved it
  • Thankful to him and to a mutual friend of ours who also met with me, to help me fine tune some story details and make sure specifics are accurate and plausible
  • Very, very happy to find a new critique partner in my genre for my WIP…We’ve already exchanged several chapters and sent each other our feedback
  • Resolved to write more (non-list) posts on my blog this month as the days lengthen and springtime beckons

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List Post, nouvelle année (2015)

  • Almost finished UN-decorating the house for the holiday season
  • Writing back on schedule, after more than two weeks when I couldn’t remember what day of the week it was
  • Several signed copies of UNDERWATER are available for purchase at Dunwoody Bakery, open Wednesdays through Saturdays
  • Looking forward to my “Member Minute” talk at the Atlanta Writers Club meeting on January 17, 2015 at 1:30 pm, at Georgia Perimeter College
  • On the horizon: My appearance at the Augusta Literary Festival on March 6-7. Looking forward to attending, meeting readers and signing books
  • Planning the release of my work of creative nonfiction, titled ALL THE ABOVE this spring
  • Resolving to step up my exercise routine this year
  • Cheering for the Cowboys and the Seahawks during the NFL playoffs
  • Happy that I’m traveling to Chapel Hill, NC in April and in May
  • Glad to share family news with close friends and family

ee605e7f-224b-44f4-a1a5-f0184e945720Photo courtesy of Alliance Française d’Atlanta

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