List Post: octobre 2015

It’s only October 2nd, but I’m going to be so busy this month that if I don’t get this done now, it won’t happen.

  • It’s Promotion month for UNDERWATER: Yesterday through October 31st, you can download my Suspense novel set in my home town of Atlanta for only $1.99! UNDERWATER is an Amazon HALLOWEEN KINDLE BOOK DEAL. Look for it under Mysteries/Suspense — Suspense — Psychological!

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  • My trip to Raleigh is fast approaching! I’ll be a “Dark Romance and Dark Smiles” Panelist at Bouchercon next Friday at 10:00 a.m, and the next day I’ll be at the New Author Breakfast bright and early at 7:00 a.m.!
  • Note: even though I’m a graduate of UNC Chapel Hill, I once worked in Durham, have visited Duke, and have flown in and out of RDU several times, this will be my very first trip to the state capital of Raleigh. I hear it’s nice. And I feel pretty comfortable in that neck of the woods, anyway.
  • My other appearances this month include the Book and Art Fair in Griffin GA Oct 16-18; book signing with fellow Sister in Crime Hank Phillippi Ryan at FoxTale Book Shoppe in Woodstock GA Oct 21; and book signing at the Marietta Queen of Hearts Antiques & Interiors Oct 24 with authors Valerie Connors & Mike Buchanan. (See News and Events for times and details.)
  • At the end of the month, I’ll be at the Killer Nashville International Writers Conference with some Atlanta Sisters in Crime! My first time at this conference, and my third time ever (I think) in Nashville!
  • November Preview: in between 2 quick trips to Florida (I hope) I’ll appear yet again with some Sisters at the Ansley Book Club Meeting in Atlanta! Details to come.
  • Quoi d’autre? What else? Watching football, of course!

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, mai 2015 (May)

It’s May! What? How did that happen?!?

  • Must Quote my latest 5 star review of  ALL THE ABOVE: My son’s battle with brain cancer“This book shows what Amazon should be all about – really well-written, personal story with depth and insight. This family is so likable. Very engaging prose, and thankfully, as it is a true account, a happy outcome. Thanks to the author for sharing her work. An absolute privilege to read it. Best of luck.” 
  • Writing WIP now has a TITLE*! and is almost DONE!
  • Counting the responses to join my STREET TEAM! THANKS, Y’ALL! ….Surprises coming….!
  • Hopeful that I will hear back from a local bookstore about a signing coming up on a Saturday afternoon. Will keep you posted.
  • Making plans to join some of my Atlanta Sisters in Crime fellow authors sisters at Fayette County Public Library on July 25!
  • Great to see ratings/reviews on Goodreads of ALL THE ABOVE, and the quote listed below…
  • Very, very happy to receive a handwritten note from AmazonCrossing in Munich, Germany about UNTER WASSER! Warm wishes! Scroll down…
  • Getting book ideas from a new member of my French conversation class, happy to know she had heard of me and my books at her Atlanta country club, and just as happy she wants signed copies of UNDERWATER & ALL THE ABOVE at next week’s class!

* Title to be revealed at a later date…

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List Post, mars 2015 (March)

  • Writing steadily…more on that later.
  • Enjoyed meeting authors and signing books at the 2015 Augusta Literary Festival! Thanks, y’all! Google the Augusta Chronicle for photos in its Sunday edition of March 8, 2015.
  • Looking forward to a research trip to Dallas this month.
  • Can’t wait to see the proof I ordered of ALL THE ABOVE, approve it, and release it on Amazon in paperback and Kindle!
  • Happy that UNDERWATER now has 60 customer reviews! If you enjoyed it, please add yours! Germany, you too!
  • In touch with the American Cancer Society to promote what they do and to publicize ALL THE ABOVE, the story of my son’s journey with brain cancer.
  • AND – grateful to UGA Relay for Life and UNC Relay for Life for posting info and photos about ALL THE ABOVE ahead of its release on March 31! Both events take place on April 17, 2015 – I will be at one, but wish I could be at both. More birthdays!!!
  • Waiting to hear from the German Cultural Center in Atlanta about a possible book signing – I have several copies of UNTER WASSER (UNDERWATER in German) that I’d love to sign. They have a book club, too!
  • Noticed it? My website TABS have changed. Check out ALL THE ABOVE – FAQ and BOOK CLUBS, with a “Contact me” form!

Mission Mode, as mode de vie

At a recent Atlanta Sisters in Crime meeting, the invited speaker, a former FBI Special Agent, described how she kept emotion in check for over two decades when she worked on heartrending, tragic cases: She went into “mission mode.”

Being writers, we pushed her to elaborate. “How did you feel?” asked one member. “What was going on inside of you?” The agent responded that she drew on her professional training and experience to compartmentalize* her feelings.

“I just went into ‘mission mode,'” she said. “You’re on a mission, so you stay in mission mode until you get the job done.” As she described an example to us, tears came to her eyes.

Afterward, another ‘sister’ and I discussed the Agent’s talk, and the term “mission mode.”

“I can use that in my current work in progress,” said my sister, whose book has Secret Service Agent characters. “I’d been looking for the terminology they use for that, and now I can use it in dialogue and elsewhere.” **

I can’t use the term in the book I’m writing. But in a different way, it described my attitude–my mode de vie, or way of life–when my son Jack battled cancer almost five years ago. I went into mission mode trying to protect and support him. I lived on hope. And I refused to take No for an answer. Last year, I wrote the story of our journey together. Titled ALL THE ABOVE, it will be released this spring.

Jack, weeks after his diagnosis and his first surgery (and first scar):IMG_0022

 

 

 

 

 

 I can’t fathom what’s it like to work in law enforcement, where mission mode is normale, if not obligatoire. As an author, I imagine*** stories–make them up–and though I also have to “get the job done,” it seems a much easier job. But for 6 months in 2010, I had a lot going on inside of me that I shared with no one but my husband.

Until I wrote ALL THE ABOVE.

 * my word, not hers

**paraphrasing

*** fiction, that is; ALL THE ABOVE is a true story

 

 

 

 

 

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, Numéro Quatre (de décembre)

  • Finished decorating the house for the holiday season (but trimming the tree next weekend)
  • Starting my Christmas shopping next week
  • Writing in between everything, including on the weekends; hope to meet my WIP word count goal for 2014
  • Nostalgic about past Christmases, when my kids found bikes and toys under the tree
  • Delivered 10 signed copies of UNDERWATER to Dunwoody Bakery, open Wednesdays through Saturdays…If you live in the Atlanta area, pick up your copy there!
  • Looking forward to a writerly holiday gathering next Saturday, where I’ll sign more copies and will have audio versions, too
  • Thinking about what I’ll talk about for 15 minutes for the “Member Minute” at the Atlanta Writers Club meeting on January 17, 2015
  • Happy that lots of UK readers have downloaded UNDERWATER during the last week! (and even more USA readers)
  • Excited (and thrilled) that the Falcons won last Sunday!
  • Recently tried “Abs” class, and going again tomorrow
  • Favorite Christmas candy (but must avoid): peppermint bark

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Getting it done, sans doute

“Begin at the beginning,” the King said, very gravely, “and go on til you come to the end; then stop.”
– Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland
 

“Best advice I’ve ever received: Finish.”
– Peter Mayle
 

Sounds easy, right?

I doubt “the King” was talking about writing a novel (I never read Alice in Wonderland), but I think A Year in Provence* author Peter Mayle was.

When I wrote UNDERWATER, I did begin at (what I thought was) the beginning. But it didn’t turn out to be. To guess what I mean, click here and “Look Inside” to read the first few pages.

Now I’m working on Book 4, another thriller with tie-ins to UNDERWATER, and I’m at that part between the beginning and the end, where I must “go on.” (I’ve written about un tiers – a third – so far.) While I’m behind on my goal of 50,000 words** by Thanksgiving (looks like it will be Noel), at least I’m hitting my plot points. And when I’m finished, I’ll stop.

(Then I’ll begin revisions, editing, etc…but that’s another post.)

“Going on” right now is work, and it can be hard to focus sometimes. Doubt creeps in…and I push it away.

This book, like UNDERWATER, is set in Atlanta, and scenes take place in fictional neighborhoods here, with a few (real) landmarks as anchors. And, like in UNDERWATER, characters are not based on people I know, and events are made up. Drawn from my own experiences, observations, and imagination, they interweave and eventually turn into a novel.

“Focus more on your desire than on your doubt, and the dream will take care of itself.”
– Mark Twain
 
* Which I have read, as well as many of his other books
** Which is well over the mid-point of the story 
 
 
 
 

 

What Readers Want

What I heard: Jackie K. Cooper’s entertaining interview of authors Karin Slaughter and Chelsea Cain

Where I was: Decatur, Georgia, at the Decatur Book Festival’s presentation “Internal Affairs,” part of its Mystery/Thriller Track, with my friend, author James Huskins

What I learned  heard, but was happy to be reminded of: 

1. Characters need to have secrets

2. Characters need to be damaged in some way

3. Violence and sex* are to be included if they move the story forward

4. Writing dialogue is a good way to get over “Writer’s Block”

5. Short words, short sentences, and short paragraphs create fast pace in action scenes

(Okay, I didn’t hear #5 there; I saw that on Twitter. But this week I read Cop Town by Slaughter and noticed it)

What I did: Listened intently, laughed, clapped, was inspired – then got drenched in a rainstorm walking to my car, but was in such a good mood that I  we laughed some more

What I did next: Downloaded Cop Town, read it (couldn’t put it down), and worked on my next Suspense (Book 4), paying attention to #s 1-5 and focusing on what readers want: 

suspense, surprises, a well crafted plot, good pacing, well developed characters, vivid descriptions, realistic dialogue…

* To my “beau-frère:”  I’m doing my best on this in Book 4!

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