Fans, friends, and anyone else can use the following address to send me email:

Whether it's a comment you don't wish to post in front of everyone or a request for information, I will monitor this address and try to follow up to those indicating they wish a reply. (Please, no spam. I just want to make it easy to communicate.)

IMPORTANT - email addresses are ONLY used to respond to messages, and are NOT sold or used for any other purpose.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Catching Up

Work on "The Changeling Kill", sequel to "The Dreamer Gambit" is proceeding. In my usual haphazard fashion, I have made fundamental changes to the plot before the first draft is even complete. I decided that one key component might be too implausible for even fiction and changing it required editing all the way back to the beginning. At some point, I'm going to have to go through the exercise of outlining what each POV character knows at each step along the way as a continuity check. It might be better to save it for when I get a whole draft done.

"Two Faces, Two Faced" seems to be getting a lot of interest. The self-service ad on Goodreads has gotten quite a few "clicks", i.e., people wanting to see more and clicking on the ad. Hope some of those clicks are translating into sales!

Looking forward to the Love Is Murder conference in early February. I've made arrangements with Write Words to send me paperback copies of "The Dreamer Gambit" to sell on consignment in the bookseller's room at the event. I am also planning to do chapbooks for "Faces" to distribute there. The planned workshops for how to do publicity will certainly be on my list of musts for the conference. How great it feels to be attending as an author this time!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Two Faces, Two Faced - The Locations

I've been chatting with a few people who have started reading "Faces" and have asked me if I ever lived in Florida. To anyone else wondering, the answer is no, although I've been there on vacation a number of times. Between that and a fondness for the "Miami Vice" TV show from the 80s, Miami and surrounding areas seemed like the perfect setting for the story of mistaken identity which is "Two Faces, Two Faced."

A lot of the locales in the book are pure fiction, each one made up to suit a particular purpose for the plot. Some of them are real. Just for grins, I thought I'd sort it out.

The Fiction
Metro Centro Convention Center - I needed a place for Tracy to work which presented problems for her to solve as part of her job.

Club Raoul - Let's face it: there's just too few really glamorous places like this (or at least that I know about). I created the type of place I would really like to go.

Golden Years Retirement Village - I suppose I could have found a real place that met the needed requirements, but it's more fun to make it up.

Frankie's Shrimp Boat - I needed a rough sleazy dive sort of place.

Rosen's Deli - Fake, but modeled after Wolfie's which is real.

Green Tea Restaurant - A dark, forbidden rendezvous spot.

Cedrik's and Fernando's - I needed more nice dining spots.

Tugboats and Captain Steve's Diner - More rough-sounding places where criminals might hang out.

The Fact
The Rusty Pelican on Key Biscayne is quite real and represented as closely as I could remember my visits there.

The News Cafe on Ocean Drive is, or at least was once, exactly as described. My husband and I sat there one sunny morning in '94 listening to a man with a metal briefcase discuss movie ideas with a couple of bikers--way cool!

Lummus Park and Beach, including the welcome center, are across from the also-real Art Deco hotel district on Ocean Drive. I remember Ocean Drive as the bustling strip of outdoor bars and restaurants with people cruising up and down the route.

The Mayfair Hotel which is in Coconut Grove. It only gets a mention, but it's a very nice hotel which made an appearance in a "Miami Vice" episode.

I wouldn't be a writer if I didn't like making stuff up, but I also wanted this book to be an homage to a place I truly enjoyed visiting.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Two Faces, Two Faced - Casting

In an earlier post for "The Dreamer Gambit," I listed who I thought would play each character if the book were made into a movie. Now I'll do the same for "Two Faces, Two Faced." Since this is all imaginary, I can choose anyone I want, although I try to stick with actors who could potentially actually play the part today, not someone in his/her younger days or someone from the past.

I have a friend who says she does not want to know who I would cast until after she has read the book. If this applies to you, CONSIDER THIS A SPOILER ALERT. Read on if you're curious.

Tracy Wiley/Elena Griegos The early image of the character was inspired by Stephanie Zimbalist in the "Remington Steele" TV series back in the 80s. From the current roster of Hollywood talent, I would choose Michelle Monaghan.

Alex Laughlin There was never any doubt on this one--Simon Baker.

Sean McGivern Had this one pegged early on too. Matt Damon - mainly based on his ability to look so different for varying roles. He played a nerdy-type in "Oceans 11" and does the action-hero in the Bourne series. Read "Faces" and you'll see the connection.

Kevin Fox This one was tough. Originally inspired by Pierce Brosnan in "Remington Steele" but the character in the book is around 30 years old. He's supposed to be younger than Tracy, but still very worldly and suave. A search through the IMDB for recent movies with younger actors turned up Kellan Lutz from "Twilight". I've never seen the movie, but he's got the look.

Josette LeBeau Easy choice - Audrey Tautou

Robert Killian Another easy pick which came to me almost as soon as the character developed - Daniel Craig

While there are a lot more secondary characters that would have to be cast, these are the main ones.

I'd be happy to hear from a reader who had a different sort of image  for any of the characters.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

More on "Two Faces, Two Faced"

A coworker who purchased "Faces" dropped by to tell me how much she is enjoying it and how entertaining it is. It absolutely made my day. She also said she will be putting a review on Amazon when she's done. I'm so glad to know that the jokes in it work and that the story is engaging. It's what I'm doing it for, right?

For a computer professional, I am surprisingly slow when it comes to the latest technology. I got a demo from said coworker of her Kindle and how it can be set to read aloud. Hearing the words I put together come out of that little box was truly awesome.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Catching Up

I know for a fact that someone has purchased "Two Faces, Two Faced" already. While it's gratifying to know that, such knowledge is really a rarity. I'm also waiting for the book to be available on more websites, since right now, it's just Write Words and Amazon.

The Goodreads ad for "Faces" started this week and it has garnered three clicks so far. Not a bad start. I've also been seeing a lot of new followers on Twitter. That venue is a new concept to me, and maybe I haven't made as much of it as I should. It's always been my problem though when it comes to the world of computing. I get into the newest thing long after everyone else has gotten used to it, and by then, it's hard to learn the basics because everyone thinks everyone else already knows the basics. I've been in the information technology field for 30 years, too. Laugh if you want to, but after I spend all day in front of a computer screen, using my free time to explore the latest in software and services is not a thrilling idea. Of course, to spend free time in front of a computer screen writing is a whole 'nuther thing.

I've hit a "stuck place" in writing "The Changeling Kill." This often happens to me as the manuscript gets closer to the big climactic scene. I know what happens next, but I don't want to get there too quickly or too slowly. I'm also still working out the final confrontation of good guy versus bad guy which could be tricky. My baddie has remained somewhat mysterious thus far, and his true nature must be revealed quickly and dramatically yet thoroughly and satisfactorily. Waiting now for the burst of inspiration to break the logjam.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

"Two Faces, Two Faced" - How It Came To Be

With "Faces" now available for sale, I thought I would do a background bit on it. For Part 1, I'll talk about the inspirations.

I started writing "Faces" with a desire to do something lighter, since all my previous stories were a little on the dark side. I also had in mind a character: youngish woman, independent, with a smart-alecky mouth. As mentioned in an earlier post, one of my favorite books is John D. McDonald's "The Girl, The Gold Watch, and Everything." While his book also takes place in Miami and involves danger mixed with humor, that's where the similarities end.

Miami Beach seemed like a good setting. I've been there a number of times and always relished the flavor of it: like a European beach resort but with a hint of danger lurking beneath it's sun-and-fun veneer. This was back in the late 80's to early 90's, at the height of the "Miami Vice" TV show's popularity, and I'll admit to being a fan of the show and to having been influenced by it. I've also been to Jamaica and on a cruise, so those elements got added to the mix.

The first person point of view was the best way to showcase my character's sense of humor. Then I decided her natural irreverence would be part of what gets her into trouble. The story started coming together as I built on the character, and I could probably go on for days about how the entire plot developed. As usual with my creative process, scenes come into my mind that somehow seem to fit or can be made to fit. And so it goes...

Unlike "Dreamer," "Faces" never suffered from multiple rewrites because the story is straightforward and the single POV makes it a lot less complex. When you've got more POVs, it can be a struggle to keep track of who knows what and when and who said what to whom and when etc. (I'm in that position now with "Changeling" and I'm not even through a first draft yet!)

Next time, I'll talk about casting actors for the movie, should that ever come to be. Usually, I have an idea of my characters' general appearance as I begin and then serendipitously see a TV show or movie with an actor who fits the description of one of my people. While "Faces" was in progress, my husband and I decided to go back and watch all the episodes of "Remington Steele," a show we had missed during its first TV run because we were both going to college while working full time. Pierce Brosnan and Stephanie Zimbalist in that series quickly were cast as two of my characters. I won't say which--I'll let you figure it out. Of course, for a movie made today, I'd have to select other actors, which I have. But that's for next time.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

"Two Faces, Two Faced" - New Source

Just found the new book on! The link is on the left beside the cover.

It is an awesome feeling.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Two Faces, Two Faced - It's Here!

I have just finished downloading the final files for "Two Faces, Two Faced" and will be adding "gadgets" for it right after I post this. I visited the Write Words website -- -- and there it is! I'm quite proud of the cover which took me quite a while to get right.

My second novel published, and it's every bit as thrilling as the first one. This time, however, I think I have a better footing in the publicity department. I'll be updating Authorsden and Goodreads, adding a Facebook page, tweeting on Twitter. When I attend the Love Is Murder conference, I plan on taking chapbooks with me, in addition to having "The Drreamer Gambit" for sale in the conference book store.

Still working on "The Changeling Kill," sequel to "Dreamer." I find myself back-tracking a lot in order to set up for the climatic chapter. Very soon, I will have to go through a sort of storyboarding excercise I sometimes find necessary. I'll go back through what I've written and make a chart of what each POV character knows when. This is mainly a continuity check but also serves to make sure Jack has enough pieces of information to figure it out at the crucial moment.

I'm on vacation from my regular day job this week, and the timing couldn't have worked out better with "Faces" coming out. I'm really hoping that its Miami locale will be appealing during the winter months ahead.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Two Faces, Two Faced - Underway!

Just received e-mail from my editor at Write Words with the cover art for Two Faces Two Faced. I provided the artwork, and she adds the lettering. Result looks fantastic! I can hardly believe the book will get published in about a week.

On a personal note, I have much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving Day. While much has changed over the last year, some for good and some not so good, I choose to focus on the best. I have my wonderful husband and two adorable kitties in our great new house. We have great friends and good health and so much more. My second novel will be out soon and my first has gone into print; for the start of my writing career, I have to thank the great people at Write Words.

Gotta go make turkey!

Peace and joy!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

New Book One Step Closer

Just sent corrections for "Two Faces Two Faced" to the editor at Write Words. I proofed that galley three times, so I hope I caught everything. I was lucky that "Faces" did not see any rewrites, where "Dreamer" had at least three. All those rewrites open up the opportunity for continuity errors and those can be tough to find without reading it straight through in a single sitting. Scheduled release date to the site is December 1. Soon as I get the thumbs-up that everything is ready, I'll jump into the publicity role. Press releases, Twitter, this blog, Facebook, Goodreads, Authors Den, etc.

And in between, there's the sequel to "Dreamer" to work on, and I'm eager to get back to it. I've been going back to the manuscript at odd moments when I have ideas and sticking notes in where I want to add something, like extending a scene or what's coming up next. Ah, what a luxury it would be to have all my time to devote to writing projects! Still got the day job, though.

There was also a short story I started for the Writers of the Future contest which I suppose I could try to complete and get it entered by the December 31 deadline. But given any free time at all, I'd probably opt for working on "Changeling" instead. That one too will not require any rewriting, but proofing, proofing, proofing! Hopefully, I'll have that one done by spring and then maybe dust off one my older manuscripts for polishing.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Love Is Murder

I just signed up for the 2012 Love Is Murder conference in Chicago, and as an author! The first time I went, in 2009, I was still an unpublished writer, looking to make the most of the Pitch-A-Palooza event at the conference--a chance to pitch my novel to literary agents. Oddly enough, I pitched the "The Dreamer Gambit" in one of its earlier incarnations, and three agents asked me to send them a sample. None of them took the project on as an agent, but one did offer some advice which led me to restructure the work to the form that finally got published. The original had too much backstory and introduced the character of Jack much later-- in Chapter 4! Lesson learned: get into the story fast!

Another feature of the conference, which I hope to avail myself of this year, is they have a room set up where they sell books. Since "Dreamer" will be available in print, I plan to have a stack of my books for sale. Since by then "Two Faces Two Faced" should be available as an ebook, I might also take along some chap books of it to pass around. I have a few more ideas for promoting both books in months to come.

Love Is Murder is a great event for writers and readers of mystery and crime fiction. They offer workshops of interest to anyone. In 2009, for instance, I attended a talk by a real-life private detective who discussed what the job is really like and the methods he uses. Another had two self-defense instructors talking about fight-scenes, reality versus fiction. These were absolutely fascinating, and I hope the 2012 conference offers similarly instructive and entertaining sessions.  I strongly encourage anyone who wants to break into the genre to attend this conference. It's great fun, too!

Sunday, November 6, 2011


Finally! The cover art for "Two Faces Two Faced" is done! I finally figured out how to (1) draw a particularly-shaped curved line on the computer and (2) how to lay it over the background already done. The design begs for a treatment of the title, but the lettering is up to my editor at Write Words.

I also hit upon a title for the "Dreamer" sequel. I wanted to follow the same construction, i.e., The Something Something. And now I've found it. And the title is: "The Changeling Kill."

For anyone who has read "Dreamer," here's a sneak preview. Jack Watson is hired by his ex-wife, and more of their history is explored. Tabitha Solo is back, and a big event in her career is becoming the focal point of Jack's case. They will struggle with how their disparate careers conflict with their relationship. And at the heart of it, a clever killer whose description and method of assassination change with every kill.

Here's another impassioned plea to hear from people who have read "Dreamer." I'd love to hear from you, either here on my blog or via Twitter or Goodreads or Authors' Den.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Shifting Gears

Or more like changing directions. Work halts on the "Dreamer" sequel (still not sure of the title) to proofread galley for "Two Faces, Two Faced." The sequel has reached a turning point anyway, and perhaps the break to work on "Faces" will give me additional perspective.

I did, however, resolve some issues mentioned in my last post. A character who I originally planned to die when I started may now survive. I feel comfortable with the decision, got a sense of relief when I made it, and that tells me it's the right one.

But I'm on a deadline now to get "Two Faces, Two Faced" ready to e-publish. I learned a lot from the process on "Dreamer" and intend to apply that to "Faces," giving it the fine-toothed-comb treatment. The cover art is almost done, although I'm still struggling with the final element. I can draw it, but just can't seem to get it into the computer. Trying out a new method this weekend. Once it all comes together, it should be an arresting cover.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The God Game

Writing the sequel to "The Dreamer Gambit," I am now rapidly approaching the point where certain decisions have to be made regarding my characters' lives. There are good people and bad people and every shade in between in the story. There will be a denouement, a climax, and I must decide who will survive and who will not.

Sometimes, good people don't make it; if only the bad guys were killed, it would seem kind of fairytale-ish. There are two characters in particular whose fate I am wrestling with, one of them because I've grown to like him, and the other because killing might be too much justice, deserved but over the top and therefore unrealistic. (Can too much realism be a bad thing? Would a deserved fate provide a catharctic satisfaction?)

An important question to consider also is if I feel there is yet another interesting episode in the lives of these people I have invented. Is this the birth of a series? I don't know yet. At the end of  "Dreamer," I felt strongly that Jack's story deserved deeper exploration, and that became the basis for the sequel. I left enough bits of "unfinished business" in the first book, mainly inserted during the repetitive editing phase, to sow the seeds for another book without leaving the original story hanging in any way. The case must be resolved, but the set-up of a private detective almost begs for more cases to solve.

Stay tuned...

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

A Little Lift

Sometimes it's funny how just when you're feeling down or discouraged, out of the blue comes something that picks you up.

I was in that very position a week or so ago, and then I received an e-mail from the contest administrator for Writers of the Future. The message mentioned my semi-finalist standing in the first quarter and then indicated they had not seen any further submissions from me and asked if I was still writing. Then the kicker, and I quote, "You are too talented to give up! I hope that is not the case."

Of course I haven't given up, and I responded as such. My most recent contest entry just came from a different e-mail address is all.

Work is progressing on the sequel to "Dreamer," but I'm reaching a point where I have to go back and make a chart of what happened when and who knew what when. Since my writing opportunities come in fits and starts, it's easy to lose track. When I find myself scanning through more than a hundred pages of text, looking for past references of a name or event, it's time to make a chart.

Someone asked me recently if I storyboard my novels. The answer? Not really. While working on one novel, I actually did sketches of a scene to figure out how the room should be laid out and where all the people would have to be positioned for the denoument to work out. Usually, I kind of work it out as I go, developing, going back and revising when I think of something that makes me say to myself, "Ooooh, that's good!" That method sometimes gets me into trouble, though, because the revising opens up all sorts of opportunities for inconsistencies to be introduced. I guess that's what proofreading is for.

I don't know that I would have the patience to outline an entire novel before starting on page one. What would happen to all the great ideas for bits of conversation or the perfect words to describe something? I think I also secretly fear that if I put the whole story down in an outline, I'll feel the story  has been told and lose interest in it. The general story is in my head, the urge to put it into print is irresistable, the doing of it a satisfying labor of love.  

Friday, October 21, 2011

The Joy of Really Creating

Other than short stories, I've been trying to remember the last time I started a brand new novel. It must have been the medical thriller (as yet to be finished) back in 2010.

The set-up for for the sequel to "The Dreamer Gambit" began taking shape some time ago, and I kept some notes as well as made a stab at the beginning. Now the ideas come barrelling in almost faster than I can get them down. I'm currently at 109 pages and loving the creative process.

Of course, the main characters of Jack and Tabitha are back, but this time Jack is more central to the story. He should be, considering his client this time is his ex-wife. Tabitha is deeply concerned about his working for her and she also manages to get involved in his investigation of Victoria's mysterious new boyfriend. I'm trying to make it readable by those who did not read the first book while not rehashing too much history for those who have.

I keep hoping to get more feedback from people on "The Dreamer Gambit." It would be nice to know how more people view the novel, how they like the characters, were they able to figure it out before the penultimate chapter.

Once again, I close with "time will tell."

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Two Faces, Two Faced - Coming Soon

As alluded to in an earlier post, my next novel soon to be published is a mystery/thriller set in and around Miami, Florida. Here is a blurb I wrote for it:
            Tracy Wiley lives by two simple rules: take things as they come and levity lightens the load. She’s content in her job as concierge in a Miami convention center solving other people’s problems. She keeps her relationships minimal, including only her beloved father and steady guy Alex Laughlin. All is well until Alex tries to talk about their future and becomes angry when she responds with sarcastic quips. Both petrified by the idea of commitment and devastated by the split, she takes off on a cruise and runs straight into trouble when enigmatic Robert befriends her.
            Their brief friendship draws the attention of a government taskforce that recruits Tracy to help catch Robert’s boss, Elena Griegos, head of a smuggling empire and a near perfect twin for Tracy. Masquerading as Elena to help trap her cohorts, Tracy plunges into a dangerous world where everyone has two faces, including the sexy C.I.A. agent assigned to protect her, a duplicitous Interpol agent, and a legendary assassin. Even Elena is not what she seems. To regain control of her life, Tracy must swallow her pride and ask Alex for help, only to discover that he too has a few surprises in store.

I've been to Miami a number of times and have also been on a cruise and visited Jamaica, although many years ago. Coupled with some research (gotta love map software and satellite images!), some of the places are real but many of the businesses exist only in my imagination.

One big inspiration for this novel was John D. MacDonald's "The Girl, The Gold Watch, and Everything." It's a favorite of mine for incorporating a puzzle to solve along with some humor. While I don't purport to match Mr. MacDonald's sharp wit, hopefully people will find Tracy's wry sarcasms humorous.

Time will tell.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Corruption Problem - Solved!

In an earlier post, I commented on having problems with corrupted files, which I concluded were due to (a) a trojan which infected my computer last winter and possibly infected my Word 2007 templates, or (b) my own fault due to editing a document on a flash drive (which is bad because the drive gets all screwed up as the file continues to expand).

Well, it happened again today. The row of little black boxes showed up as I typed into the "Dreamer" sequel manuscript. I'm now into chapter 4 and I sure did not want to go back and create another new document. So I did some web searching. First I found a number of places that will let you buy software to correct the problem. THESE MAY BE A SCAM BASED ON WHAT I FOUND OUT NEXT!

What actually was happening is something that is built into Microsoft Word. When you type three or more hyphens, underscores, hash signs, asterisks, and then press Enter, unless you change a default setting, Word applies an automatic border to the paragraph before it. My publisher, and I assume others, requests using three asterisks centered in a line to indicate a scene break because many of the programs used to publish ebooks will drop the break if it is only white space. By resetting the Autoformat as you Type defaults, you can prevent this from happening entirely; there is a setting for creating bottom borders. To get rid of the boxes, just select the paragraph above and below where the boxes appear and then select "no borders." Voila! Boxes gone! And it didn't cost a thing.

Similar conditions apply to earlier versions of Word. Here is the website where I found this so you can find the details:

I wanted to spread the word to all other writers using Word to not jump in and buy some "solution" which will most likely simply copy your file to a format which does not retain formatting and then have you copy it back and manually reset your lost formats. By all means, try this solution first!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Writing Updates

"The Dreamer Gambit" is off to the presses! While Barnes and Noble is already taking advanced orders on the paperback edition, the expected release is early 2012.

Up to Chapter 4 in the sequel now. As much as I thought I had the story pretty well outlined, I'd almost forgotten how challenging it can be to actually get it down on paper while making sure: the pacing works, the scenes are balanced, the clues are disseminated equitably but without giving away too much, the characters are fully developed, the interactions are believable, the time line is neither too compressed nor too extended. Whew! Granted, once the first draft is complete (or sometimes even before), I can always go back and adjust things back in Chapter 2 when I need to support a great idea in Chapter 10. Whatever did writers do before the age of computers and word processors?

My next ebook is going to be "Two Faces Two Faced" as previously noted. No estimate yet on when it will be available, but most likely in late 2011. December, maybe? I'm trying to put together some cover art, but while I have great visions in my head, executing them is also a challenge. I bought some graphics software which I need to learn how to use to combine the different elements. Good thing Write Words handles the lettering. I don't know if I'd ever be able to get that right.

Really looking forward to the Love is Murder conference in 2012. The last time I went, I was still unpublished and agent-less. I'm still without an agent, but now I am an Author. (It's my blog so I'm going with a capital "A".) This time, I'll be out there promoting my work in any way I can. Maybe even autographing paperbacks of "Dreamer."

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Busy Times

Just received acceptance from Write Words for my second novel titled "Two Faces Two Faced." It was my eighth book written, but it was much lighter than the ones before it. It's a little less complicated because I wrote it in first person POV, so it was easier to polish based on what I've learned in my experiences with the world of publishing. I'm giving it a final once over before sending it off.

I'm also working on the sequel to "Dreamer," which is coming along well when I get the chance to work on it.

My short story entry for Writers of the Future 4th quarter has been sent, but it will be several months before I learn its fate. Perhaps someday, I'll put together all the entries as a sci-fi anthology.

Ah, so much material and never enough time to devote to it.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Catching Up

Okay, so the sequel to "The Dreamer Gambit" is underway. I reviewed and revised the old manuscript and began forging ahead when, lo and behold, the file showed signs of corruption. I'd seen it before: suddenly a line of text is replaced by a row of little black boxes and they cannot be deleted. Oh, they look like they're gone, but they always come back.

So I started retyping, using the custom Word template I set up ages ago for manuscripts. Twenty-four pages in, more black boxes. The light dawns: it's the template! I had to copy the retyped part and paste it into Wordpad as text only, ditto the part that I had not retyped. Then start a new document--no template!--and pasted all the text into it. I lost all the formatting, but it was better than retyping yet again!

Yesterday, I sent off my entry to Writers of the Future for the fourth quarter. Now comes the long wait for the results.

I received the corrected galleys for the "Dreamer" print edition, and I'll review those against the changes I had sent before.

Then I can get back to writing new stuff.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Decisions, Decisions

Well, I'm finally into writing the sequel to "The Dreamer Gambit." I've been revising the first couple of chapters that I originally started a couple of years ago. (Two years? Damn, how time flies!)

The opening chapter, more of a prologue really, is in the point of view of one of the bad guys. I did that in "Dreamer" to start the story at where the trouble begins. The question becomes, how much further point of view does this character get? Tabitha and Jack are the protagonist POVs, of course, but they are the investigators, and much of what they will discover is occurring throughout the story as opposed to some criminal behavior that is over and done before they start. But since the plot is still developing, I need that additional point of view to tell what's happening that Jack and Tabitha have not yet discovered, which also serves to put the reader in the action instead of having to learn about things through some character's later exposition.

Here's the tricky part: not to give the secret away too early. I think I've got it covered, though. My third POV guy doesn't know everything yet; he is also discerning the truth as things progress.

I seem to have set myself on a difficult path, but the story in my head now needs to get out, must be told. The challenge is in telling it well.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

The Sequel, Continued

Working out the plot for the sequel to The Dreamer Gambit. Of course, there is a murder in the making, but how to do it? In this day and age, I feel a little uncomfortable doing research on the web for how to kill someone. If I start web searching on murder methods, will some government agency come a-knocking on my door?

So the Internet is out as a resource. Instead, I turned to my resident resource on all things scientific--my husband. I bounced my idea off him and he provided some great guidance that wound up solidifying the mechanism. The man's a genius, actually; the most intelligent person I have ever known.

With so many pieces of the sequel plot coming together, I'm getting that writer's itch very strongly. I know if I open a Word document and start writing, I'll soon be churning out ideas faster than I can type. And I type really fast. What on earth did authors do before computers?

Friday, September 9, 2011

The "Dreamer" Sequel

A long time ago (so it seems), I started on a sequel to "The Dreamer Gambit," before I had even found a publisher. Then I stopped that effort  to work on some other projects. (See an earlier post wherein I list all my writing projects.) I barely made it through chapter one.

Now that a new novel has been submitted for possible publication and my short story contest entry is done, I am getting my head into the sequel. I've started to realize how much time has passed since I actually worked on a brand new novel. I actually experienced a few minutes of trepidation, wondering if I still knew how. But, lo and behold, as I began thinking about the plot and the characters, the old imagination machine kicked in. Scenes began developing in my head, ideas for plot twists pop into my head, scenes and dialog build like magic.

The main problem in the near term is to grab onto all those ideas long enough to keep notes of them and not forget them. Unfortunately, my brain tends to start churning them out at times ill suited to writing anything down, like while driving and trying to get to sleep at night. Time to put that pad of paper on the night table again.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

And On To the Next Thing

The galley corrections for the paperback edition of The Dreamer Gambit have been sent.

Next comes the short story entry for Writers of the Future.

Then a new novel to submit for possible publication. It's sort of a mystery/chick-lit adventure with a heavy dose of humor. Final polishing to be done, but then, off it goes!

And THEN, work can start on the sequel to Dreamer. It will delve deeper into Jack Watson's past and his relationship with his ex-wife. Tabitha is in there too, having heavy decisions to make about her future and balancing personal life with celebrity status. At the center of it all is a mystery to solve (of course!) and I hope to make a really tough puzzle out of this one.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Publishing Updates

Almost ready to send galley corrections to publisher for print edition of "The Dreamer Gambit". Barnes & Noble is already offering preorders on the paperbacks. Release is scheduled for January, 2012.

Thanks to a tip found on the blog of Arline Chase from Write Words, I have added an author page to my book on Amazon. Will it drive more people to this blog and the other sites? I hope so.

The short story for Writers of the Future contest is pretty much ready, but I'm going to have my hubby read it. He's been a very good judge so far on my other stories as to which ones were the best. I also need a second set of eyes on it to make sure everything is as clear on the page as it is in my head. He doesn't mind reading short stories, but novels are a whole nuther thang.

My ad has been getting clicks, which is most gratifying. Don't know if those clicks actually relate to hard sales, but when it comes to self-promoting a novel, you take any avenue you can. Also got the first edition of the "Kiss Kiss Bang Bang" newsletter from Love Is Murder on which I am in the Author Spotlight section. Both of these ads are of the paid-for variety, so I really hope they create some sales. That's what the book business is all about, eh?

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Directionless No More

A previous post titled The Writer Between Projects summarized a dilemma about what to work on next. Now it's good to have worked that out and to have a plan.

  1. Finish proofing galley for the print edition of The Dreamer Gambit.
  2. Final touches on short story entry for Writers of the Future
  3. Submit new novel to publisher after a last going-over on the manuscript.
  4. Start work on sequel to The Dreamer Gambit.
On a personal note, another earlier post was a tribute to our dear cat Lizzie who passed away a couple of months ago. At the end of the piece, I wrote that we would be visiting another animal shelter to adopt another kitty or two. Well, we did it. Misty and Mira became our newest family members on August 19. They are sisters, litter mates, and they needed to go as a bonded pair. They are awesome! Full of energy and joy and loving affection. They took over the house the night we brought them home, and they captured our hearts. Misty is mostly gray with a cute white moustache and white tips on her paws; she's the shy one but learning to lose that shyness in a hurry. Mira is pitch black, our "stealth kitty," the bold explorer. They're 17 months old and quite a handful. Misty is fascinated by the computer; wants to sit in my lap and watch the little arrow move around the screen. Mira likes TV. A friend gave us a clock which has two cats painted on it and the legend "Happiness Is A Home With Cats." How utterly true.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Making Strides

It's been a pretty good day on the writing front.

Finished the first draft of my next Writers of the Future Contest entry. Can I wow the judges and get to the Finalist category this time? I think this one has a chance as its premise is something I've never seen done before. Of course, I don't read everything.

This afternoon, I received the signed contract for the print edition of  "The Dreamer Gambit". More details as they become available.

I also received an e-mail response from the organizers of the Love Is Murder 2012 Mystery Conference. I am going to have an ad for my book appear in the Kiss Kiss Bang Bang newsletter for the next few months. I still need to get more details about how I can market my book while at the conference. This'll be so much more fun than pitching to agents (although their Pitch-A-Palooza is a great way to get the ear of literary agents who are usually swamped with submissions).

Now, the question becomes will I sell enough copies of "The Dreamer Gambit" to disqualify myself from the contest? Or will I get free PR from any sort of standing in the contest to help sell more books?

Or am I getting a little too big for my britches here? To paraphrase a famous quote, gotta remember to keep both feet on the ground when events get your head in the clouds.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Goodreads, continued

I'm now officially an author on I'm still fleshing things out a bit, but slowly to make sure I do it right. It has the potential to drive some more visitors here as this page will be linked to it as well. Soon (hopefully) I'll be advertising there too.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Check Out Goodreads

Just signed up for I'm on there as a Reader for now but have started the wheels turning to be one of their authors too. Part of joining Goodreads is creating your book list, and so far I have added 10 of my favorites with more to come.

Once I acquire Author status, other members will be able to review my book. This is important because my publisher has asked me to start getting some reviews together for when "The Dreamer Gambit" goes into print. That's right: real hold-it-in-your-hands books. Can't wait to get started.

Still working on an entry for Writers of the Future contest, fourth quarter. As posted earlier, I had two stories in the works and have been flip-flopping between them. Now I think I've homed in on just one because the idea seems more unique and fresh. Then again, there are really only three plots in fiction, right?

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Not All Hearts and Flowers

Yeah, I know. "The Dreamer Gambit" is sold on a couple of romance-heavy e-book websites. But there's more going on than a love story.

Car chase? Got one. Shootouts? A couple.

And a few more things: the FBI, a ruthless criminal, wannabe terrorists, computer geeks, feuding business moguls, a big explosion, conniving women, fight scenes, a dream sequence, comic relief (I hope) and of course, a love scene or two.

At the core is the puzzle, and as I believe I have posted earlier, I try to play fair. The clues are there in the early chapters, and while I hope readers don't figure it out before my detective does, what I do hope for is that when all is revealed at the end, a reader will smack his or her forehead with a "Duh! I should've seen it!"

I also hope this might encourage the non-romance readers out there to give "The Dreamer Gambit" another look.

Friday, July 22, 2011

The Writer Between Projects

Well, "The Dreamer Gambit" is out there. It's even sold a couple of copies. Problem: what's next?

The between projects stage is always a tough one, especially now since I must still juggle a full-time job and organizing a new house. Even without the extra demands on my time, I still need to write, but the problem comes in deciding what to write.

I have been polishing an older manuscript--sort of a chick-lit adventure with a dose of humor--but it's at a "resting" point now. I find that I need to step back from a work for a time so I can look at it with fresh eyes.

Although I've published a book, I'm still eligible for the Writers of the Future Contest and have two ideas for that. I started one but wasn't sure where I wanted it to go. Then I started a second one which might go better.

A friend who was reading "The Dreamer Gambit" asked about a sequel. I actually have plans for a sequel, have had them for some time, but I wanted to wait to see if anyone out there might actually be interested in one. (Issue of writer's angst, always wondering if anyone will actually like what I write.)

I have also have a number of other older manuscripts in need of polishing to various degrees:

My first book, science fiction, in need of serious rewrite to incorporate all I have learned from my publishing experiences.

Book 2, a thriller with sci-fi overtones, sort of in the Dean Koontz vein.

Book 3 was "The Dreamer Gambit."

Book 4, a mystery-thriller with political themes which has seen more rewrites already than I care to remember, but perhaps it is gradually coming into its own. It made the rounds through any number of agent queries and even got into the hands of some publishers, but alas, no deal.

Book 5, a sort of cozy mystery wrapped up in earth-based religion.

Book 6, a sequel to Book 4, never completed. Why work on a sequel when you can't sell the original?

Book 7, sequel to "The Dreamer Gambit." See note above on Book 6.

Book 8, currently "on vacation" as mentioned in the third paragraph.

Book 9, thriller about an epidemic with a bit of a snipe at the insurance and drug industries.

So I have no shortage of material, just a problem deciding which one to work on.

Of course, the final overriding factor is which story "needs to get out." When the tale suddenly falls into place in my head, it demands being put into print (electronically speaking). Does that amount to following my muse? I never saw myself as having a muse.

The fact that I can choose whatever I want does not make the decision any easier. Maybe I could actually use a muse.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

About Lizzie - A Tribute

My husband and I adopted our cat, Lizzie, from a shelter more than 15 years ago. She recently lost her battle with cancer. This is her story....

               “If you’re looking for a lap cat, how about Lizzie?”
 That simple question changed three lives.
               After years of pursuing college degrees by night and building careers by day, Steve (my husband) and I had reached a point where we were ready and able to add a pet to our family of two. Because both of us had grown up under circumstances that often left us feeling isolated and lonely, we knew we would be adopting a pet from a shelter, and we decided on a cat rather than a kitten thinking an older cat might have a tougher time finding a home.
               At the local humane society, we filled out an application and went to see the cats ready for adoption. I really wanted to take them all home, but we were a little nervous about what sort of parents we would make. Many of the kitties were very forward and exuberant, reaching paws through their cages to get our attention. One of us (I don’t remember which) remarked that some of these characters seemed a little too rambunctious for us, which prompted the volunteer to ask the question at the beginning of this piece.
               And there, in a cage partially hidden by the door, was Lizzie. Curled in her fuzzy pink bed, she looked up at us with eyes at once fearful and hopeful. Later, Steve and I discovered we had the exact same thought at that moment: she needs us. Her name seemed to fit her so perfectly, we decided not to change it.
Our family of two became a family of three.
               But not without a period of adjustment. Lizzie emerged from her carrier and immediately hid under the bed in the spare bedroom we had set up for her introduction to our house. Eventually, she came out and followed her natural curiosity to explore. At first, we questioned if she would ever make any sound, but after a couple of days, she eked out a shyly tentative meow.
               The folks at the shelter had guessed her age at nine or ten months, but we will never know for certain. Lizzie had been rescued as a stray and came to the shelter with a host of health problems--ear mites, a urinary tract infection, worms, a respiratory infection. She had been in foster care from time to time, and I believe that contributed to her shyness. On a check-up visit to the vet, we also learned Lizzie was a rare occurrence, a female orange tabby. Most orange tabbies are males, the odds of a female only one in five.
               She also proved rare in another way: her intelligence. Not long after she started coming out of her shell, I was sitting on the floor of the bedroom with her and watched her work her claws into the carpet a couple of feet away from her brand new scratching post. I wondered how I could persuade her to use that device instead, knowing mere words would not suffice. Finally, I sat on my haunches before it and imitated the desired activity. Lizzie simply sat watching until I stopped, and then she walked right over to the post and followed my example.
               The shy kitty we brought home bloomed into a playful youngster as befitted her age, the cat equivalent of a human teenager. She loved to play both with purchased toys and anything else she could bat about and chase, like plastic balls, her brush, and even a pecan in its shell. When she was up for some playtime, she would call attention to her wishes by lying belly-up in the middle of the floor, positioned so we could not miss seeing her.
Another of her favorite games was “Jump Mom.” A double doorway separated our dining room from a finished breezeway-turned-study, the doors left open most of the time. I would go to the study for something and catch sight of Lizzie slinking behind one of the doors to watch me through the crack between door and frame. Then, as I emerged into the dining room, she would dart out from behind the door and raise her forepaws in the air, lacking only the ability to yell, “Surprise!”
               Contrary to her early designation as a “lap cat,” after some weeks went by, we began to wonder if Lizzie ever would sit in our laps. Gentle urgings in that direction usually resulted in her making herself scarce for a bit, and we knew she would have to take her own time. Her first big step was to settle in between us on the sofa, followed by accepting an invitation into a lap with a pillow on it. Finally, on a chilly evening, Steve and I were watching television in our customary position: on the sofa, me sitting with my feet on an ottoman, Steve reclining with his legs across my lap, a blanket covering us. Lizzie suddenly jumped up on the sofa, walked over Steve, and planted her forepaws on the peak formed by his knees. She raised her head, let out a hearty meow, and then settled into the blanket-lined “bowl” formed by our legs. It was as if she was declaring her dominion over both us and the house: she had found her home.
Her behavior was never less than exemplary, so we allowed her free run of the house. She did not climb the drapes or claw the furniture or break from her litter box training. She showed no interest in going outside (open a door and she would scamper deeper into the house), but she loved to relax at a sunny window and watch the birds and squirrels beyond it.
In the first two or three years, she had some additional health issues such as a bladder infection and the final stubborn remnants of her worm problem. The worst was the discovery of a polyp in her ear, and although the surgery to remove it proved simple and routine, we were terrified at the thought of our baby undergoing anesthesia. Lizzie came through that without a hitch, however. In succeeding years, we would hold our breath when we took her to the vet for her annual checkup and vaccinations, but each time the doctor gave her a clean bill of health, we heaved a sigh of relief. Her health issues seemed a thing of the past.
Pampered with the best, most luxurious cat food, she put on weight and her coat grew thick, glossy, and silken soft. Dad insisted she be offered a sniff and/or taste of anything we had to eat which might interest her. And she loved Pounce cat treats. She would sit on an ottoman and gently touch a hand with her paw to indicate she wanted some. When she had had her fill, she would wait patiently until we assumed our customary TV-watching position and then settle into our laps for a nap. At bedtime, Lizzie preferred a spot on Mom and Dad’s bed to her own. Far from being silent, she vocalized often and joyfully, and we loved petting her and hearing her purr. A leisurely combing by Mom became a nightly ritual. She pretty much took over both the house and her hapless parents, knowing exactly how to manipulate us to her every whim.
Years passed, fifteen in all, with our family happy and devoted to one another, through ups and downs, thick and thin, hard times and good times. Careers went through changes, we moved to a new house, we did the things people do. Throughout, Lizzie was a constant. When we came home, she greeted us, sometimes even watching out the window for us. Whatever sort of day we had, she was there, glad to see us, ready to offer comfort and support through her calm and adoring demeanor. We adored her in return, lavishing attention on her, talking to her, catering to her needs and wants. We thought it would always be that way.
Spring, 2011. Lizzie began scratching liberally at her left ear. On closer examination, it also had an unpleasant odor, and Steve took her to the vet who said she had an infection. Eardrops were provided, and we dutifully applied them although Lizzie did not accept the treatments with enthusiasm. A follow-up appointment produced a new diagnosis: ear polyp. Surgery was recommended, and although she had come through the earlier surgery with flying colors, we were all too aware that she was now around sixteen years old. On May 13th, a Friday of all days, we took her to one of the country’s finest veterinary hospitals to have the polyp removed. She came through anesthesia and surgery remarkably well for a cat her age, and we nervously awaited the results of a biopsy of the mass the surgeon removed.  
A few days later, we got them: cancer. A second surgery was needed to ensure removal of all the cancer, and chemotherapy would give her the chance at one or two more years of quality life. Once again, Lizzie got through the operation, and she patiently endured the additional drug regimens and wearing her “cone” collar.
Then she stopped eating. We did research on how to get a cat to eat and tried anything which offered a fragment of hope. The doctors provided advice and a drug to stimulate her appetite, but nothing worked. More frantic phone calls and trips to the hospital where one of the emergency center doctors found a mass in her abdomen. She was battling a second cancer, lymphoma. He suggested the steroid drugs she had to take to prepare her for chemotherapy would also improve her appetite, and we continued to try anything we found to tempt her to eat but to no avail.
Monday, June 6: While Lizzie had grown weaker, we held out hope that her first chemotherapy session really would turn things around. But in the exam room with the oncologist, Lizzie collapsed to the floor, barely able to breathe. Back to the ICU where they put her on oxygen and admitted her for observation and insertion of a feeding tube. Later that night, they had to put a “tap” in her chest to remove three ounces of fluid from around her lungs.
June 7: We learned Lizzie had a tough night, and we went to see her, hearts heavy with dread. Machines were keeping her alive, and two blood transfusions had failed to improve her condition. She lay on a heated cot, struggling for each breath, her misery heartbreakingly obvious. She could no longer get up and could scarcely raise her head. Even if she could rally enough to get through chemo and then radiation treatments, her chances at beating two kinds of cancer were slim. We would have done anything, given anything, spent anything to save her, but we were forced to acknowledge that our baby was not going to recover, would never be coming home. We made the hardest decision of our entire lives, and she died humanely through euthanasia while we stroked her and told her we loved her over and over. Arrangements for her cremation were made; the urn with her ashes would be returned in about three weeks. We went home with our grief to wait for the call.
Our family of three was a family of two once again.
We put Lizzie’s things away in a closet and later moved them to a cedar chest. All the medicines and syringes and other evidence of her decline went in the trash. We looked at the photographs we had taken of her over the years, hoping those images could replace memories of how she looked at the end. We took comfort from the words of condolence from the doctors who tried to help her and from our friends. As I put away her cat climber, I found some of her fur, a whisker, and a claw sheath shed years ago. These I placed in a ceramic dish with a cat hand-painted on its lid, which assumed a place of honor next to framed pictures of her on the fireplace mantel. 
Two weeks after her passing, on a Wednesday night, we came home during a strong summer storm and suddenly could not find Steve’s cell phone. We called its number repeatedly in hopes of hearing it play its tune while retracing every step we had taken.
The next morning, I was awakened from a sound sleep by a meow, and I opened my eyes utterly certain I would see Lizzie striding through the door. Of course, I quickly realized that could not be and assumed I had been coming out of a dream of which the meow had been part.
Friday morning, Steve reported that he thought he had heard two meows early in the morning, but he knew they had not been part of a dream. Yet the windows had been closed overnight, and the fan we usually leave on to mask outside noise should have made hearing a neighborhood cat meowing impossible. Again, we chalked it up to wishful thinking or part of the grieving process.
Saturday morning, Steve played back the messages on his cell phone which a neighbor had found and returned. He expected them to be from our repeated attempts to find the phone on Wednesday night, but one of them turned out to be from the vet hospital telling us Lizzie’s ashes were available to be picked up. We dashed over there, and Lizzie made her final homecoming. Her urn on the mantel bears a picture of her as she once was, happy and healthy and beautiful. She is that way again, now and forever.
But what about those mysterious meows we both heard? Some people will say that our grief invented the voice of our beloved little cat. We like to think it really was Lizzie trying to tell us to come get her and take her home. 
Someday soon, we will visit another shelter to find Lizzie a little sister (or two!). No one will ever replace her or completely fill the void of her absence. She was a true member of our family and always will be. But we still have love to give to another abandoned soul who deserves the same chance at the good life Lizzie had with us, and we look forward to a new homecoming.
We know in our hearts that Lizzie approves.

Monday, June 20, 2011

A Bad Month

I can't believe it's been a month since my last post!

May and the first half of June were not very good. In the middle of buying a new house, my beloved kitty, Lizzie, was diagnosed with two types of cancer. After two surgeries and several hospital admissions, she passed away a handful of days after the move, and my husband and I have been dealing with deep grief. I have been working on writing a tribute to her, but it has been emotionally difficult.

Since then, we have been having problems getting internet access at the new place, a matter which will hopefully be resolved soon.

In one of my rare moments of access to the web, I did my usual search on the title of my book, "The Dreamer Gambit," and was amused to get a hit on the name of one of the characters from a social networking website where one can find "all information about Scot Cunningham." LOL. I also came across another link to "The Dreamer Gambit", which I will post with the others on this page.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Back on Amazon!

At long last! "The Dreamer Gambit" first appeared on back in March, shortly after it was published. Then, according to my editor at Write Words, Inc., Amazon made changes to their software, and my book became unavailable. At first, it would show up in a search, but attempts to access it produced broken link messages.

Now it's back on. I've included the direct link at the left.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

I Know You're Out There Somewhere . . .

The book is out there for sale. The stories are available for free reading at Authors Den. I've been doing my level best to get the word out. I started a Twitter account. What's missing?


I can see by the statistics that people are visiting this site as well as Authors Den, but I long for feedback and communication. While two readers have offered reviews of my short stories on my "den," I would love to hear from someone about "The Dreamer Gambit"; that they bought it and read it and to learn what they think. And I would like to hear from other writers, whether big names, or first timers like me, or those who strive to become published. Let's share!

Writing has always been a solitary sort of occupation, but in the age of the Internet, it needn't be. So, please, if you're visiting here, I want to hear what you have to say. Tweet me at @KathrynFlatt, or e-mail me at Comment about this blog or my writing or just say "hi". I'll do my best to keep up with correspondence and the lines of communication open.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Fear Not

Someone I work with at my day job recently asked if she would recognize people from the company in the characters in my book. I thought I would take this opportunity to answer that question by listing what you will not find in my writing.

  1. You will not find yourself directly represented in one of my characters. The people in my novels/stories are partly inspiration and partly machination as I shape the story and the people through whom I will tell it. If anyone thinks one of my characters is a thinly-disguised version of themselves, I would have to say they are wrong or that it's pure happenstance. My creative process just doesn't work that way.
  2. You will not find much foul language. People who know me well would quickly testify to the fact that not only am I not offended by profanity, I've been known to use the same freely and often in the right settings and when properly provoked. But not in my novels or short stories. An occasional no-no word will slip in because, let's face it, people sometimes talk that way. Or sometimes I'll use it for emphasis, an exclamatory remark that expresses a character's surprise or anger or whatever. Usually though, I would much rather find more creative ways of showing emotion or getting a point across.
  3. You will not find explicit sex. I've read too many books where an author has tried--and failed--to adroitly straddle the line between pornographic trash and blush-evoking titillation. A lot of times, it just comes out either disgusting or full of corny euphemisms. I choose not to go there at all. My writing is strictly in the to-the-bedroom-door mode because I'd rather let a reader use his/her imagination about what happens when two characters get into a romantic way. Generally, what's important is that they "did the deed" and not the intimate details of what that entailed.
  4. You will not find graphic violence. Oh, yes, there will be violence at times, but I don't dwell on the gory details. Stephen King wrote in his book, Danse Macabre, (a must-read for anyone interested in the horror genre), that revulsion is the lowest level of horror, the gross-out kind that gets you in the gut and makes you want to vomit. I'm not out to make anybody sick. At the highest level is complete surprise, something you did not expect at all. Now that takes some doing. Will I put in fight scenes? Yes. Will a character occasionally expire in a messy fashion? Yes. But don't expect a detailed depiction of the resulting carnage. I don't find that interesting and I'm sure many readers don't either. I'll put in what's necessary to move the plot or to provide a piece of information that points to the conclusion in the interest of playing fair.
I guess all of those will nots put me in a PG rating category, but I will always try to surprise and intrigue my readers and give them something to think about. The fun is figuring out the puzzle, solving the mystery. I want a reader to say at the denouement, "I should have seen that! The clues were there! Why didn't I see that coming?"

Sunday, May 1, 2011

And Now For Something a Little Different

Back in 2009, the Chicago Tribune held a contest to find Chicago's Scariest Ghost Stories. Entries were required to be 700 words or less and had to reference a Chicago-area landmark or historical event.

I entered three stories, and one of them was selected for posting on the Tribune's website. While it did not win the contest, the selection of it by Tribune columnist Julia Keller marked my first writing success.

I have combined all three of my entries into one document and posted them on Authors Den. Enjoy.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Short Story - Tourist Season

Just added another short story to my Authors Den page. It received an Honorable Mention in the Writers of the Future contest last year.

Follow the link at the left to Authors Den and you can probably find it either by searching on my name or its title.

Happy reading.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Broken Link to "The Dreamer Gambit"

I have noticed in several places that the website address of Write Words, Inc., shows up misspelled. Unfortuantely, the misseplling began with the article in the Naperville Sun a few weeks ago. I am hoping that another post here will help lead people to the correct information.

The website for Write Words, Inc. is (The broken link has

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Now Available at Fictionwise

The Dreamer Gambit is now available at Fictionwise. Here is the link and it is also at the left.


Saturday, April 9, 2011

Short Story - Second Coming

Please visit Authors Den to read my short story that just won semifinalist standing the the L.. Ron Hubbard's Writers of the Future Contest.

Here is a link. Authors Den Stories.

Should this link fail, click on the link to the left on this page for Authors Den, change the category to Science Fiction, and then click on the Stories tab. You should be able to find it by my name or by its title.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

A New Writing Credit!

Just received an email today from the Writers of the Future Contest. My latest entry was selected as a Semi-Finalist, one of 10 stories in that category. (Above that is the Finalist category from which the prize winners are chosen.)

I will be receiving a critique of the story from one of the judges. Got a great idea for another entry for the next quarter, too.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Tools for Writers

I've been working on polishing another manuscript before trying to get it published, and as I near the end of a first read-through, I thought I would post information about a great tool I found for editing. At one time, I considered how I would write a program to do this, but then I found a website which offered exactly what I wanted for free!

It's from the site of Roger J. Carlson where in his TechTips section, he offers tools for editing. My favorite is the Word Frequency Counter. You can list words in your manuscript you do NOT want to count, but then the program runs through the whole book and counts how many times each word is used and how close together they appear. For example, if you used the word "seriously" fifteen times and the closest they appear is six words apart, you might want to take a look at that word (using the find function of your word processor). Editors, publishers, and agents jump all over repetition of words.

And speaking of editing, there's a book I found some time ago called "Write In Style" by Bobbie Christmas of Zebra Communications. It's a small book with a lot of information about editing. Her free download articles have a lot of value too. Here's the link:  Bobbie Christmas at Zebra Editor.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

New Link - Author's Den

I just set up a page at, a site where authors can showcase their works and readers can search, browse, and interact with them. It's free to set up with a minimum level of services (a bio, a photo, a book listing); increased services available at a price. Hoping to see new visitors here on my page as a result. I have also added the address in the Links section here.

Friday, March 25, 2011

We Are Experiencing Technical Difficulties...

After some investigating, I've learned that there is a problem with the link to Amazon for the most recent books from Write Words Inc. Amazon changed their Kindle-loading software, and the newest releases must now be reloaded by the publisher. Hopefully, it will be fixed soon. In the meantime, the other links here remain functional.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

If My Book Became a Movie, Part II...Casting

When I'm writing a novel, I usually have a vague idea of what my characters look like in the early stages. Somewhere in the process, I may see an actor in a movie and I'll think "There's (fill in the blank)!" From then on, that actor will be the image I see in my head for the character. Sometimes, as the book nears completion, I'll try to hunt up other actors to fill in the rest of the cast. I don't always succeed in finding an actor for every role, but if all my choices were cast in a movie, the budget would be gi-normous!

So for "The Dreamer Gambit," here are my ideas about who should play whom and why. Click on an actor's name to go to for more about him or her.

Anne Hathaway as Tabitha Solo. Saw her in "The Devil Wears Prada" and she became Tabitha.

Eric Mabius as Jack Watson. Yeah, he's most often associated with "Ugly Betty" on TV, but his role in "Resident Evil" showed me he could be Jack.

Kate Winslet as Carren Bixby. During an earlier version of the novel, Carren was "on stage" more. Ms. Winslet's role in "Titanic" epitomized Carren.

George Clooney as F.B.I. Agent Tom Quentin. Mr. Clooney is always so cool and in complete command of the situation. He'd be perfect.

Kathy Bates as Becca Ferry. Another perfect fit for Jack's wise and kind assistant, although not a huge role for someone so famous.

I'm going to cut it off there. To cast some of the bad guys might spoil things for anyone who has not read the book.

Finally, another plug for the IMDB. This is a fantastic site for anyone who loves movies or TV. It's informative, easy to maneuver in, and has a wealth of information.

Friday, March 11, 2011

News Story in Naperville Sun

Pulse: Lysacek, Flatt, Spatz, Jungels

You’re not dreaming

Former city employee turns author

Former city of Naperville employee Kathryn Flatt can add author to her resume. The ex-programmer/analyst’s most recent novel, “The Dreamer Gambit,” was just released by Write Words Inc.

“I’m absolutely thrilled to have this published,” said Flatt, 56. “I have loved writing stories for as long as I can remember, but doing so has taken a back seat to a career in information technology for many years. Now to have my work recognized and published is a dream come true.”

Writing has always been Flatt’s passion, but she didn’t “seriously pursue it” until 2002. “The Dreamer Gambit” is her third novel, but her first to be published.

The contemporary mystery surrounds a pop star who lands in the “middle of a dangerous conspiracy” when she casually explains the inspiration for her first hit song. Flatt said readers will get a taste of Chicago throughout “The Dreamer Gambit.”

“Millennium Park, the Magnificent Mile, Macy’s, White Castle, Chicago’s Gold Coast and North Avenue Beach are some of the local references,” she said.

Flatt didn’t comment on whether any people in Naperville served as inspiration for the novel — that will remain a mystery — unless you buy the book, of course.

It is available at or

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Read An Ebook Week

March 6-12 is Read An Ebook Week. Check out the links on the left side of this page.

More ebook websites can be found at the following link:

Friday, March 4, 2011

About That Title ...

Several people have asked me about the title and cover for "The Dreamer Gambit". Webster's Dictionary defines the word "gambit" as follows:

"A chess opening in which a player risks one or more pawns or a minor piece to gain an advantage in position."

My main character is the "dreamer," and the chess game refers to the plots and maneuverings of several powerful players.

Incidentally, the cover was my own design. The folks at Write Words asked me for ideas. I wanted the chess theme with dream-like overtones, and I fiddled around with some clip art I found on the web. Shelley, my editor, added the lettering.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

If My Book Became a Movie . . . The Soundtrack

Since "The Dreamer Gambit" is about a singer, naturally there are a lot of musical references in the story, and here they are:

  • "Fly Me to the Moon (In Other Words)" - Frank Sinatra made it famous
  • "You've Got a Friend"
  • "The Man I Love" - a Billie Holiday song
  • "Tearing Us Apart" - the Eric Clapton/Tina Turner duet
  • "Cover Me" - a Bruce Springsteen offering; has significant meaning to the story
As for the song "Dreamer" written by the main character, I never even had any idea of what the tune or the lyrics are. Somebody would have to write that one for a movie soundtrack.

In a future post, I'll talk about casting.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The Road to Publishing

Getting to this point -- having an e-book published -- has been a long road. Here are some facts and statistics:

  • The Dreamer Gambit was started in 2005.
  • It has been rewritten three times, and that doesn't count numerous goings-over to edit it in between.
  • In its various forms, it was rejected (which includes agents/publishers who never responded at all) by 25 agents, and 4 publishers contacted without an agent.
  • Three agents were pitched face-to-face at a writers' convention in 2009. (I had to pay for attendance.)
  • Waiting times for rejections could be anywhere from a week to several months.
  • Prior to agents/publishers getting hip to on-line submissions, a paper submission consisting of cover letter, synopsis, first three chapters, and an SASE could cost $3 to $4 each.
I found Write Words, Inc. on a website called "Preditors and Editors" (see Favorite links, left). P&E has a TON of information about agents, publishers, contests, etc. They often provide recommendations--both for and against--to indicate where problems might arise. I strongly suggest this site for anyone looking to publish a novel.

Working with Write Words has been great. The process moved along pretty fast by my experience, and everyone on the staff has been professional, helpful, and friendly.

Monday, February 28, 2011

"The Dreamer Gambit" Is Available for Purchase!

And a day early at that! Three sites are already displaying it: (of course--they published it),, and

Sunday, February 27, 2011

A Tip About E-Books

This advice came from Shelley, my editor at Write Words:

"PDF files can be read by anyone with a computer (yes, even a MAC) ... RTF files can be read by any device that will read ascii.txt. Some ebook owners have devices that will not read a PDF. Almost any e-book reader will read an .RTF file, if you call it a "file", and not a book. Each manufacturer puts restrictions on the "book" definition so that customers will have to order from THEM. But most e-book owners know they can read an .rtf file just fine."

Come Tuesday, "The Dreamer Gambit" should be available at as well as some other sites like and some others. I'll post them when I find out what they are. As for Fictionwise, it might be another two weeks before they have it available.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Welcome to My Writing Blog

With the release of my first novel as an e-book on March 1, 2011, I am launching my writing career. I am still a computer programmer-analyst as I have been for more years than I wish to count, and I hope my second career as a novelist will be as long and rewarding. Perhaps rewarding enough to be my full-time job!

I look forward to hearing from other writers as well as readers in the years to come. On this blog, I will include information about my novels that will not be available elsewhere: music which inspired parts of a story or were on my mind while writing it, who I would cast in the roles of characters if the book were made into a movie, sneak peeks at what I'm working on next, and some of my experiences on the road from unpublished writer to published author.