Friday music – to an author’s ears

While checking email over my morning coffee today, I was thrilled to discover that a reader had just posted a 5 star review of my first novel, MAKE THAT DEUX! 

“GREAT BOOK!! I LOVE IT!” she said. “I really enjoyed reading this book. I liked all of the different characters and reading about their adventures. It never got boring. It kept me wanting to keep reading and reading. Great story!!!”

She had already read my third book, ALL THE ABOVE, which is nonfiction (a true story), and a very different type of book. Here’s what she said about that:

“I read this book in two days! I felt so many different emotions while reading it. I felt so sorry for the family to have to deal with this horrible and scary situation. Poor Jack having to go through cancer treatments while in the beginning of his college career. The book was very well written and an honest story of how the family coped during this time of tragedy. It showed how the McDermott family relied on their strong faith while so many obstacles were being thrown their way. I loved this book and had a hard time putting it down.”

I thanked her on Goodreads (she’d posted her reviews there, and on Amazon), and asked if she might consider reading my 2nd book, suspense novel UNDERWATER. She replied, “You’re welcome 🙂 I actually already read Underwater last year and loved it as well! I can’t wait to read your next one!”

All of that got my Friday (and my weekend, and month) off to a wonderful start! So, to celebrate, I thought I would share some (very old) photos from my year in Montpellier, France, the experience on which my novel MAKE THAT DEUX is based. (And it’s NOT a true story! Novel = Fiction!)

The handwritten words are grâce à one of my girlfriends, with whom I shared an apartment in Palavas* that year, and the photos come from a collage she made for me:

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Me (left), another girlfriend (right), and the teenage son of our program’s directrice, on a visit to Carcassonne…

 

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Like Jenny in MAKE THAT DEUX, sometimes I actually studied!

Our apartment building is still there…

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I’m on the right, with 2 girlfriends and the French boyfriend of one!

*Palavas-les-flots, a beach town 20 minutes away, where we livedFullSizeRender

Words, my friends

Somehow, July came and went – in a word, that was fast!

Independence Day, The World Cup, Bastille Day, the Tour de France, the milestone birthday fête of a friend (a few weeks late)…there was so much going on!

14-juillet-feu-artifice-Tour-Eiffel-tricolore-|-630x405-|-©-Groupe-F-Thierry-Nava_block_media_very_big

[VIDEO of fireworks (feu d’artifice) at the Eiffel Tower in Paris, July 14, 2014]

But during juillet, I was chez moi – I wasn’t en vacances. I was working, and I didn’t write a single blog post…

Cependant, I wrote fiction.*

I’m approaching the 10k (words) mark on Book 4, a suspense novel which is not a sequel to UNDERWATER, but which does tie into it…how, I won’t reveal yet.

I’ve also been working with the team at Thomas & Mercer to get UNDERWATER ready for its rerelease in November! It will be available not only in print and on Kindle, but as an audio book too.

While working on both of those projects, I’ve been steeped in words – coming up with them, changing them, cutting them, rewriting them, considering them, looking them up – and even using them when I play Words With Friends on my phone with, well, friends.

As I said to a friend (but not a WWF friend) at the birthday fête, I’ve learned a lot since writing my first novel, MAKE THAT DEUX. Just like anyone – including him, il y a longtemps – in any new job  trade  endeavor  métier  career  occupation  well, job, you don’t know everything when you start. It takes time, and commitment.

De toute façon, while working to revise what I write, I’ve noticed a few things:

1. I tend to use these words too much (and so they get cut a lot):

just 
yet
at least
down
now
right now
okay
huge 
well

 

2. I really try not to use these words:

really
truly
finally
suddenly
and anything -ly (adverbs)
 

3. I try to do the following (with the help of my writers’ group):

minimize -ing words (put in action, instead; i.e. -ed if in past tense)
put action BEFORE dialogue, minimizing tags
insert narrative in dialogue scenes, but don’t overdo
alternate narrative scenes with dialogue-driven scenes
paint pictures with descriptions, and try to be vivid
avoid clichés (should be obvious, but I have to remember it)
minimize the use of italics – only use when necessary
 

For me, it’s fun to work with words…after beaucoup de travail, eventuellement, they turn into BOOKS!

• My 3rd book, ALL THE ABOVE, is creative nonfiction (a true story) and is finished! I’ll be choosing its cover this fall and planning its release for early 2015!

 
 
 
 
 

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