List Post, Numéro deux:

Because “the more things change, the more they stay the same,” here is my updated List for this week October:

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  • Two more (print) books purchased, to read this month: a memoir and a work of literary fiction. Both signed by the author, and both authors are new friends
  • On track (?): WIP at 15k words…If I write 1,000 words a (work)day between now and Thanksgiving (and allow for my trip to Bouchercon in November), I’ll meet my goal of 50k by then. If. 
  • Work on Cover for ALL THE ABOVE has begun. Thanks, Michael!
  • Atlanta area bookstores: Some will stock a few copies of UNDERWATER upon its release by Thomas & Mercer on November 25, 2014. Lesquelles? Books for Less in Buford, GA; Avid Bookshop in Athens, GA; Charis Books in Atlanta, GA; and possibly Bound to be Read Books, also in Atlanta! (If it’s not in your bookstore, ask them to carry it)
  • Keeping up with travel updates from friends in the Czech Republic and in France maintenant!
  • Trying out a new Atlanta restaurant with mon mari later this month to celebrate mon anniversaire
  • Preparing my presentation at my Author Focus panel at Bouchercon 2014; looking ahead, même chose, plus ou moins, at the Atlanta Writers Club January 2015 meeting (“Member Minute”)
  • Taking heed of some advice of un ami, un auteur bien connu, en ce qui concerne my (unnamed) WIP and its writing, editing and development
  • Following and watching football: the Atlanta Falcons, the Georgia Bulldogs (Dawgs!), and the UNC Tar Heels!

UNDERWATER New Cover Reveal!

After months of anticipation, voici the brand new cover for my suspense novel UNDERWATER, to be rereleased on November 25, 2014!

You can pre-order the novel on Kindle here.

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Thomas & Mercer cover artist Scott Barrie created an updated, powerful, more menacing cover, n’est-ce pas? Merci beaucoup, Scott! And – wait until you see the back cover! Here is the updated description there:

After years of guilt over a long-ago tragedy, Candace Morgan is finally poised for success. The CEO of her own women’s shapewear company, she’s about to launch a new swimsuit line—and make a fortune. When she is guilted into loaning her brother a huge sum of money for real estate, she believes she’s simply fulfilling a family promise. In reality, she’s enabling a devious sociopath…and now, she’s roped into the renovation from hell.

For years, Monty Carawan has envied his sister’s wealth. Spiteful and self-centered, he’s convinced that her success came at the expense of his own future. But when the housing market plunges and Candace attempts to disentangle herself from Monty’s mess, her brother’s malicious streak brings the family tension to a dangerous boiling point.

Kindle, Print and audio versions of the book will be released on November 25, 2014, just in time for Thanksgiving and the holiday shopping season!

Who to hang out with?

If you want to be smart, hang out with smart people.
– Anonymous
 

Okay, it’s probably not that easy. But maybe it helps..and it can’t hurt, I don’t think.

And – it translates into some of my other objectives, when I substitute any of the following words for “smart:”

  • creative
  • productive
  • a writer (or, an author)
  • a French speaker
  • or even, a person with a good sense of humor 

I work alone, but I like to connect with others, especially fun people, and those with whom I have something aspirational in common. (Is it really all about the 5 people you spend the most time with? Perhaps…)

Anyway –

  1. Creativity: People who like to imagine, design, and brainstorm (en français, un remue-méninges). These are fun people, and open to inspiration. They like music, dancing, art, and the challenge of coming up with something out of nothing (like a blank canvas or a blank computer screen).
  2. Productivity: People who work to achieve their goals, who are persistent and who don’t give in to discouragement, writer’s block, procrastination, or the idea that everything will just somehow happen. (Okay, I procrastinate, but I try not to, and always keep in mind how much better I’ll feel when I don’t procrastinate.) *
  3. Writing: Those who write, whether it’s fiction, poetry, songs, or non-fiction. Those whose books are published and those whose aren’t yet. Those who can’t not write. Those who want to have their work read/heard. I’ve learned a ton being around these people about how to write, what makes a good story, and how to make what I’ve written better.
  4. French: I knew my first novel would be set in France, and there was going to be a little bit of France/French in all of them. Donc (therefore), a few years ago, I set out to reattain my (youthful) fluency in the language, and I’ve gone from making un effort to succès.  I’ve been surprised at how many French speakers I’ve met in Atlanta. Hanging out with them is toujours une bonne idée. 
  5. Humor: Okay, this is an easy one. My husband can (still) make me laugh, and so can my dearest friends! Because without humor, life is, well, a life without humor, and that’s impossible.

* Now, to stop procrastinating and get back to writing that pesky WIP (work-in-progress), Book 4!

Ceci et cela (This and That): List Post

  • Recently received: 2 handwritten thank-you notes in the mail. One from France, one from Dunwoody, GA
  • The one from France written en anglais, avec une photo; the other, from une amie de longue date (old friend)
  • Writing research: Found (long) paragraph in THE BONFIRE OF THE VANITIES describing how Sherman McCoy is “going broke on a million dollars a year!” (Chapter 6, p 137)
  • Missed her: mom’s neighbor, “Z” (with whom I practice français de temps en temps) home from France where she was for the summer, but already on her way back there for a week
  • Stacking up: Books to read, on my nightstand (see my Goodreads “to read” list)
  • Falling: Temperatures…and time to enjoy the patio le soir
  • Tried it: Zumba! Toning. A break from spinning class…Fun! but hard on knees.
  • Writing: between now and Thanksgiving: 50K words in WIP? (that’s just 5K a week)
  • Planning: My (solo) 20 minute Author Focus panel at Bouchercon 2014 in Long Beach, CA, le 15 novembre à midi
  • sprechen Sie Deutsch? Amazon Crossing of Amazon Publishing is translating UNDERWATER into German! Release date sometime next spring.
  • Organisez! My notes for Book 4 (WIP) and my French notes!
  • Traveling: Not me (until November), but those I know, to the Bahamas, Rosemary Beach (FL), Folly Beach (SC), Turks & Caicos, Martinique, Las Vegas, Australia, Fiji, Prague, The Dordogne (France), Paris…Of those, I’ve only been to Vegas and Paris
  • Preparing: Book 3, ALL THE ABOVE, a true story, for publication in early 2015 (probably February). It’s been edited, but needs a cover. Can keep some quotes of song titles in it, but not song lyrics 😦
  • Finally….watching: Football! UGA Bulldogs, UNC Tar Heels and Atlanta Falcons!

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Author Focus Panel!

I’ve been asked to participate in an Author Focus panel at this year’s Murder at the Beach: Bouchercon 2014  in Long Beach, California!

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The annual World Mystery Convention of readers, writers, publishers, editors and others who love crime fiction, thrillers and suspense is being held there over November 13-16, 2014.

My Author Focus panel will be at 12 noon on Saturday, November 15! Check out the programming schedule here !

I will be speaking and answering questions about my suspense novel UNDERWATER, to be released in November by Thomas & Mercer of Seattle, Washington. I will also be attending various other panels and activities at the convention, my first Bouchercon!

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!

Flash d’information (News flash): Award Nominee!

UNDERWATER was chosen as one of the Nominees for the coveted

2014 Killer Nashville Silver Falchion Award™ in the Best Novel Category!

According to the Killer Nashville event, which established and holds the Silver Falchion Award™ annually,

“The purpose of the Killer Nashville Silver Falchion Award™ is to honor the best books readily available to a North American audience in any format within the past year. The categories include both fiction and nonfiction.”

Click HERE and scroll down…the nominees are listed alphabetically, and you’ll find UNDERWATER listed right above UNSEEN by (Atlanta author) Karin Slaughter!

Killer Nashville is a Writer’s Conference being held this weekend in Nashville, Tennessee. 

Writing what you know, and eschewing surplusage

“Use the right word, not its second cousin.”
– Mark Twain

 

Making the right word choice is one of the tenets of my writers’ group. At a recent meeting, we discussed the whether the words basic and ubiquitous mean (basically) the same thing–at least, in the sentence we were considering. So I looked them up in my iPad dictionary app. As you might guess, they don’t. 

But in that context, were they so close that one of them should go? The person whose work it was would decide. At our weekly meetings, we offer feedback, make suggestions, encourage one another, and talk about writerly things. We have a few sayings, too, some stemming from the below Mark Twain quotes:

1. “Write what you know.”
We say this one a lot–it may be ubiquitous. Note that it doesn’t mean, tell a true story (unless you’re writing non-fiction). “What you know” includes the places you’ve been, the emotions you’ve felt, etc.
2. “As to the adjective: when in doubt, strike it out.”
We often say the second part of this (“when in doubt, strike it out”). Also, see above (basic and ubiquitous).
3. “Substitute ‘damn’ every time you’re inclined to write ‘very;’ your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be.”
See #2.
4. “Writing is easy. All you have to do is cross out the wrong words.”
See #2.
5. “Don’t say the old lady screamed. Bring her on and let her scream.”
(Show, don’t tell.)
6. “One should never use exclamation points in writing. It is like laughing at your own joke.”
(I’m guilty of this one, but I’ve gotten a lot better. Haha.)
7. “Write without pay until someone offers pay.”
I mean, what choice do we have, if we want to write?
8. “If the writer doesn’t sweat, the reader will.”
(Work hard.)
9. “I’ve lived through some terrible things in my life, some of which actually happened.”
(Conflict! And, see #1.)
10. “Eschew surplusage.”
(Don’t be wordy!) I’m working on this one, too. Just to be sure I understood it, I looked both words up, since it looks and sounds a little like “Chew sausage.”
 

And those are the basics.

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