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Sunday, December 30, 2012


The holidays always present obstacles to good, heads-down writing. That being said, I do believe I have reached a "stuck place" in "Seer Tyro Fiend".

First, there is a timing issue. An investigation has begun, but it should not proceed too rapidly. Although the investigator here is a certified genius, he doesn't have all the facts yet, and his pursuit of them must follow very logical paths based on what he does know.

Second, I'm getting that nagging sense of not enough conflict. Stefanie has her husband and her friends, the Greenleaf family, and if there is conflict between her and any of them, it will be more of a benign situation, a difference of opinion.

Third, also under the heading of timing, where I left off, it is Saturday afternoon in fiction land. What happens on Sunday? Stefanie's husband, Paul, is not working, but if he concentrates on the mystery over the weekend, he may get too far too fast, bringing back the first timing issue.

I suppose there are some writers who would smugly smile and think, "That's what she gets for not doing an outline." Perhaps that's true. For me, though, writing an outline is almost like writing the story, or worse, telling someone the entire story. If I tell the whole thing, the spark is gone and I lose interest in constructing it in a manuscript. It's happened before. Also, once I get going on creating the story in my head, sheer eagerness to get it underway prevents me from planning too much. I fear I'll lose the heat of inspiration and perhaps some of the ideas in my head as well. Oh, how many times I had a good idea about how to say something and then lost it before I got the chance to write it down.

Oddly, I may have come up with a cure for my "stuck place." In the book, I've already mentioned that Paul is under stress due to his promotion to Lead Investigator. Maybe I need to embellish the effects of that stress, which might also lead to more conflict. It might also lead Stefanie to try to shield him from more stress due to her current situation.

By Jove, I think I've got it!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Avoiding Little Anachronisms

The holiday break from my day job has not provided as much time to write as I had hoped, but I'm getting some in today before the long weekend and returning to work on Wednesday. 

Some of the most recent scenes I wrote demanded a few tweaks here and there, including a change in sequence that just made more sense from the standpoint of what a logical man like Paul would do. The changes required some editing for continuity purposes as well to avoid anachronisms. Arline Chase from Write Words has had a number of posts on her blog about this topic based on questions from writers. While the word anachronism might at first suggest things like current slang in an historical setting or the mention of an event that should not have happened yet, there are smaller anachronisms that can creep into a manuscript. Since my creative process is all over the place, not progressing in a straight line from beginning to end before changes get made, I have to be watchful of them. 

As an example, the scenes I switched around were quite emotional for Stefanie who received comforting support from Paul. One patch of dialog originally delivered in his office was changed to happening in a hotel room. Only a quick reread after cutting and pasting the sections in their new order showed Paul standing up when he was already standing! It also had Stefanie emerging from the shower and noticing him collecting some evidence in the bathroom. The shift of order had him hugging her shortly after her questioning him about what he was doing, but that meant he hugged her while she was still drying off. While that is not impossible, it did seem awkward once I realized how it "sounded." 

Both of these anachronisms might have been caught during the editing phase, after the entire manuscript got written in a first pass, but a perfectionist tendency in my wants each scene as complete and correct as it can be before I can move on. I know there will always be more tweaking as I edit, but I always fear that if I don't get it right in the first draft, I might just forget to check for it later or, worse, lose the thread of the inspiration altogether.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Back On It

Well, Christmas is now in the rear view mirror, and for personal reasons, I won't be glancing back at it very much or fondly.

Did not make much progress on "Seer Tyro Fiend" of the words-on-pages variety, but I did some thinking and made some decisions.

  • Changing the name of one of the antagonists and tweaked his personality a bit.
  • Invented a coming scene and embroidered on it.
  • Made headway on figuring out who did what among the antagonists
  • Came up with an image for the cover art and how to execute it.
Don't have to go back to work until Jan. 2, so I hope to get more writing done in the next few days.

Visitors to this blog were up Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, so I hope that means people were exploring my books as possible purchases for their new ereader devices received as presents.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

More On Plotting

A few days ago, I posted about the "recipe" for plotting I usually follow. Since then, I've been thinking about the plot of "Seer Tyro Fiend," and I realized that the same steps for the main POV character development and basic story line also apply to the secondary characters who are the antagonists. For each of my "suspects," i.e., the instigator(s) of the trouble, I have to figure out who they are, what goal they were trying to further with their actions, and why it's important to them. So each antagonist develops something of a subplot of his/her own.

So as it now stands, I have a victim (of sorts), and four possible antagonists. These will all get chained together. I have made the first link in the chain between a victim and one of the "baddies" and have an idea of who the next link in the chain is. Now I have to figure out that character's motives for getting involved, what he/she seeks from that involvement.

Also on the agenda is some aspect of the paranormal angle of the story, and as mentioned in an earlier post, I need to find roles for the other characters on the "good guys" side. The character of Adam, Amy's husband, only came on the scene at the end of "Dabblers," but I want to give him something to do. I've been toying with the idea of making him suspect of something, but I don't know that I can justify the other characters seeing him that way. That area of conflict might be too tangential to the main story line anyway. I've read novels with little side plots like this in the past, and I was always disappointed when it turned out they did not really tie into the main source of conflict. I don't like loose ends. I suspect readers would accuse me of throwing out red herrings if I did this, and while a mystery can incorporate such foolers, I don't like using them. It makes for loose ends and a sloppy effect. Okay, so real life isn't neat and has side stories and all the loose ends don't always tie together. But this is fiction, and expectations for fiction are usually that it does not mirror real life. The satisfaction from a good story is that it does provide neatness and explanations and resolution.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Realistic Fiction?

Christmas Vacation! Yay! "We're so glad it's Christmas Vacation!" - from my favorite holiday song, the theme of the National Lampoon movie. Listen to the words some time--a nice sentiment.

Got through a pivotal scene in "Seer Tyro Fiend" yesterday, where the puzzle to be solved looms large and a bit dangerous. So now, Stefanie and Paul must unravel that puzzle, and I'm not even sure exactly where it leads yet! I will probably let the characters have their way with it and see where it goes. As things begin to happen and the antagonists (i.e., candidates for "fiend") become more active, their behavior must be both rationally motivated and fitting with the characteristics I've assigned to them. These are people, as close to reality as I can make them, and they must act in believable ways. I know I have, in the past, tried reading a book only to pitch it aside when a character does something out of character. This is a problem I liken to "slasher" horror movies where the terrorized female runs from the maniacal killer straight into his lair, or to someplace not safe where she will be cornered. I mean, any rational person knows that if something odd is happening in the house, or it looks like someone has broken in, the thing to do is leave, not walk around looking in dark closets or - gasp - the basement!

 I've also become increasingly aware that this book does not neatly fit into the Mystery genre. Whereas "Dabblers" began with a murder (sort of), this one does not. Maybe it's not all that important. I think people just want to read a good story, and if "Dabblers" got them somewhat invested in the character of my amateur and unorthodox sleuth, they may want to read more. "Seer" delves into Stefanie's past a bit more, and it's a dark place indeed. I also see her developing her unique talent to a new level, but I'm just not sure of the particulars yet. Will she discover a new ability? A new facet of the one she knows about? And what about the participation of the supporting characters? I'd like to give Paul, Amy, Adam, and maybe Hannah something special to do. I'll have to see what they want their roles to be.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The Good Part

"Seer Tyro Fiend" coming right along. Yesterday, I was busy writing the part which includes some of my initial inspiration for the story. As I've pointed out before, my novels usually begin with scenes developing in my head that aren't necessarily at the beginning of the story. Such scenes keep flowing around in my imagination until I actually get them into the framework of the story (and sometimes even after that). That means part of how the book starts getting written is constructing the set up for the inspired events, leading back to the formula for plotting I learned from a book on fiction writing long, long ago.
  1. Who is this character? (Of course, in a sequel, I already know this.)
  2. What does he/she want? Or more specifically, what problem is presented.
  3. What does this character do about it?
  4. What conflict arises from this action?
  5. How does the character address the conflict?
  6. What showdown does this lead to?
  7. How is the problem resolved?
While this is a "recipe" for creating the plot, it is not necessarily the outline for the book, and yeah, I do some tinkering with the steps above. In essence, something happens to someone and the story is what they do about it. This is character-driven plotting, to be sure. If it were plot-driven, question 1 above would deal with the person who instigated the "something that happened" which is usually not the protagonist/investigator. (Think Sherlock Holmes or Miss Marple.)

So yesterday's scene was where some smaller events culminated in a crisis situation. My amateur sleuth, artist Stefanie Durant, is not a logical thinker, so it takes a crisis to get her thinking and making the proper connections. This scene is where her investigator husband Paul gets more into the act.

Then there will be the "big scene," the climactic moment which leads to resolution. Oddly, I don't know what this will be yet. In fact, I'm still playing with the roles of the various antagonists involved. Now that I have them in mind, that they've become "real" to me, I'll sit back and let their personalities take them where they have to go.

Monday, December 17, 2012

The Plot Thickens

On the heels of realizing I needed a new villain for "Seer Tyro Fiend," I have invented not one but two villains. All the candidates will have been introduced by Chapter 5 which should really muddy the waters of who the real bad guy is and what the goal is. I love playing with the intricacies of motive and personality. It's not enough to just have a villain defined as such because he does bad things. There has to be a reason why he does it, one that is understandable. Perhaps reprehensible, but understandable. If the villain does horrible things for no apparent motive, then no one is safe, the malevolent acts become random, and there is no puzzle to solve, other than how the good guys are going to get away and stop the villain for good. That's also slipping into the horror genre, because what is more horrible than an unstoppable (maybe) villain who kills without reason, without discrimination?

I don't write horror, and maybe that's because I do love the puzzle, building it, making it tough to figure out but not impossible. And these days, the horror genre seems to demand the big gross-out. Whether it's a nasty murder or the villain's deserved end, gruesomeness seems to be an accepted standard. I'm not a fan of assaults on my digestive tract. While I have read a few novels that succeeded in a sense of horror without anything gross, it's a tough thing to achieve I think. An example would by "Lady" by Thomas Tryon. He sweeps the reader into the time and place of his story about a beautiful but lonely widow as seen through the eyes of the young man entranced by her. When he finds out her secret, something that might be seen as mundane in today's world, it was shocking for me because I was following him in his time where it would have been deeply shocking. No blood, no carnage, no yucky stuff, but a nasty slap upside the head all the same.

The horror I see around these days--mainly vampires and zombies--is just that: abundant opportunities for yucky stuff. Both types of monster kill dispassionately for hunger and that's all. Talk about an easy character development for the bad guy! The writer doesn't even have to explain anything. Just put the appropriate monster category on the page and you have all the characterization you need. Vampire? Sucks blood to survive, can't go out in sunlight, etc., etc. Zombie? No brain, but an animated and hungry body, usually in advance stages of decay and/or damage, no reason, no motive but hunger. Not to malign anyone's pet genre, but to me it seems like the cheap way out. If I were going to do real horror, I'd want to come up with my own monster, defined out of my imagination and not someone else's legend.

Sunday, December 16, 2012


The events of Friday in Newtown, Connecticut leave me deeply saddened. I have no friends or relatives there, but the tragedy touches us all because it is an example of the failures of our society.

But I wish to say something positive here.

Let's Spread the Word:

L o v e  instead of hate
P e a c e  instead of turmoil
S e r e n i t y  instead of fear
A c c e p t a n c e  instead of rejection
J o y  instead of despair
C o m f o r t  instead of pain

We're all in this together.

Friday, December 14, 2012

The Muse Smiles

The magic of inspiration! While going over my ms. for "Seer Tyro Fiend," it occurred to me that a particular plot device I was using had been used in more than one other of my novels. I knew I had to take a different approach, and voila! A new approach popped into my head with an inspired twist. More revisions required, but the more I tinkered with the setup in earlier chapters, the better the new approach looked. This story is now a juggernaut, moving forward and bringing me along with it. It's as if the story already exists and I am discovering it as I write it.

In this novel, Stefanie finds herself confronting the events in her childhood surrounding her discovery of her unique abilities. I wrote a very emotional scene yesterday and was surprised at how it affected me. The feelings I sought to create stayed with me even after I finished up writing for the day. I hope that's a sign of success in having conveyed that emotion. It still resonated when I reread it this morning in preparation to continue the current chapter.

I've also been doing some reading of other people's fiction, mainly with the idea that if I review other's work, they'll reciprocate. I could really use some reviews of "Two Faces, Two Faced" for the print edition due out in February, 2013. The third book in the series, "Stranger Faces," is also scheduled for that date, as is Love Is Murder 2013 conference. This happy coincidence seems to suggest some marketing opportunities, but the specifics remain hazy. Will have to think on this more.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

I'm Looking Out for a Villain

Thinking about "Seer, Tyro, Fiend" this morning, I realized that I had not considered the plot in very much depth. This is my usual pattern though. I have a basic idea of somebody doing something bad, but at some point I must flesh out exactly who, what, how, and why. As I began to do that, I realized something else: I need another bad-guy candidate. After all, I don't want to make it too easy to figure out what's going on! I pondered this while driving to work and believe I have come up with an answer, but I must go back over my manuscript thus far and plant the seeds for it. Oddly enough, I still don't know how the story will end up, but I seldom do at this early phase.

My other thought since shutting down writing yesterday evening was that "Seer, Tyro, Fiend" strays from the classic format of the mystery genre. Whereas "Dabblers" began with a murder, the sequel does not. Sometimes, the whole genre thing gets in the way of a good tale. I have a situation in my head which stirs me, excites me, and I think it will excite other people the same way. (At least, I hope so.) Earlier in my writing career, I rewrote a book to fit a specific genre because a publisher only took that genre of book and were mildly interested. That novel was not published. Lesson learned: Stick with your inspiration and don't try too hard to twist it just to sell it.

I read an article yesterday, recommended by someone from Chicago Writers Association, regarding the use of first person point of view versus third person. He wrote very negatively about first person, saying it would be impossible for a person to remember details at the level required to tell the story that way. But I believe people are familiar enough with first person narratives that it doesn't really jar anyone, and I think it has some advantages. First, I get to take the reader into the protagonist's head, hear her thoughts, feel what she feels. Second, it better supports a straight-line plot where everything known happens to or in view of one person. I wrote the Jack Watson novels in third person for a reason. My detective was not trying to solve a murder, as I believe that is a task which belongs to law enforcement. He comes at the mystery sideways and must piece it together from clues he has. By writing in third person, I can switch viewpoints to put the reader in the action as some events happen and have Jack discover them later without having someone someone tell him about them in detail.

On another subject, my activities on Twitter seem to be generating a lot of action. One new follower complimented me on my website (whether it was this one or the Google site, I'm not sure). It's very rewarding to know that visitors enjoy this site, and I always welcome either comments here or sent to my email address shown at the top of the page.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

A Day to Write

Made a lot of progress on "Seer Tyro Fiend" today, and what a great way to spend my birthday. Unfortunately, it's back to work tomorrow.

I'm still trying to get the hang of Twitter. I see messages go by, some of them about books that catch my attention, but I scarcely get to read it when more tweets start coming through. Maybe I need a new approach to looking at Twitter. On the up side, my count of followers has gone well beyond 500. I hope this equates to more exposure out there, as some followers have re-tweeted my tweets.

"Seer Tyro Fiend" is up to Chapter 3. Similar to "Dabblers," I'm not doing chapter titles as I have in my other series. I guess I feel sort of locked into using them in the Jack Watson and Faces series in order to maintain consistency, but I've heard from a few people that they don't really pay any attention to chapter titles anyway. Not that it's a big effort to think them up. Having them or not is neither here nor there.

I need to do a little research for Chapter 4, hitting on my "Wicca Handbook" for information about a topic. That book was both inspiration and source book for knowledge about metaphysical subjects, and had I not received it as a gift years ago, "Dabblers" probably would not have come to be. The newest novel explores some of Stefanie's past and follows her efforts to not just accept her psychic talents, but to use them in a positive way. Of course, there's going to be some conflict involved as well as a mystery to solve.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Short Announcement

I may have arrived at a title for the "Dabblers" sequel -- "Seer, Tyro, Fiend." That's seer as in clairvoyant, tyro is another name for apprentice or novice, and fiend is sort of obvious. Note that the three words do not necessarily all describe the same person, and in that way, the title follows the format of the original, i.e., a word that denotes what one or more characters is/are.

Going forward, then, posts about the sequel will have a label matching the title, unless of course I think of another title I like better.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

The Joy of a Series

Haven't blogged for a couple of days. Friday--company holiday party and then preparing for company at home. Saturday--more prep, company stayed until late, but we had a great time. Now I'm looking forward to Monday and Tuesday off to do some series writing.

"Stranger Faces" is slated for release February 1! Still have to proof galley when it becomes available. Feb. 1 is also the date for release of "Two Faces, Two Faced" print edition. And all of this just in time for Love is Murder.

Sequel to "Dabblers" is progressing well, socializing notwithstanding. I had a couple more ideas for the title, but I want to do a search and make sure there are no other books published recently with the same title. Don't want to cause confusion out there.

In regard to the subject for this post, there's a lot of good to say about writing a sequel. It means I get to explore the character more deeply. In "The Changeling Kill," sequel to "The Dreamer Gambit," I got the chance to delve into Jack Watson's past, specifically his hellish marriage. In the sequel to "Dabblers," it's digging into some of Stefanie's unhappy childhood, her early days of dealing with her psychic gift. In both cases, the past is reawakened by current events, so the retrospective angle becomes important and necessary. Applying more history to the character is fun creatively and turns him or her into a more real person, even to me. I get to meet them during their first novel and then we become closer friends, sharing our dark pasts and deep secrets, in the sequel.

Tracy Wiley, on the other hand, did not work out the same way, but that's because her personality flaw, i.e., her withdrawal from people when her mother and brother died, has left some aspects of socialization underdeveloped. Her naivety in that regard is part of what gets her into trouble. Ah, well, if people were all the same, what a dull world it would be.

Thursday, December 6, 2012


In writing the sequel to "Dabblers," I find myself faced with a familiar dilemma, i.e., how much recapping is necessary or desirable. The great thing about writing a sequel is that the characters have already been developed for the reader, but then, there are things to consider about this. Someone may pick up the sequel without realizing there was another book ahead of it. Fortunately, Write Words will indicate on the cover of a sequel that it is "Vol. 2" or whatever number. This might drive a potential reader to get the preceding books as well, but it might just turn him/her off as well. With that in mind, I would like to provide enough references in the sequel so that actually reading the other book first is not necessary, yet not so much information that the telling bogs down for those who did read the earlier entries in the series. Some recap is also good for them if a fair amount of time (and reading of other books) comes between the volumes.

It's a delicate balancing act. I'm currently trying to insert information provided in "Dabblers" into the sequel as it becomes necessary to explain the position of certain characters, especially Stefanie, the POV character. The new novel brings back someone from the most troubled period of her childhood in the opening chapter, so some description of who he is and what his presence means to her was required. Then I found myself working in descriptions about Paul, Stefanie's husband and soul mate. I guess I'll have to wait until the editing phase to determine if I've done too much or too little.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Guilty Pleasure

Well, I did it. After yesterday's post, I started thinking more about a sequel to "Dabblers" and writing down some notes about the plot. The exercise served to increase the excitement, and the next thing I knew, I was writing it.

So perhaps I've embarked upon writing two novels at once, possibly switching back and forth with the political thriller I mentioned starting a rewrite on. I've never done it this way before, but who knows? It might work out for the better. The down side is I could wind up distracted and not completing anything, and if that seems to be happening, I can always shelve one book until the other gets done.

I've also been trying to find more time to read books by other authors, with the intention of writing reviews and maybe generating a little reciprocity. I know a lot of readers are skeptical of hype by the producers of a book and place more credence with reviews from other readers. When I'm selecting a book to read, I actually don't look at reviews. Really. I read the blurb to see if the story line piques my interest. Depending on the book format, I'll read a bit of the first chapter. At times, writing style will sour my interest. I picked up a science fiction novel, one of a box full of books given to me by a friend, because it was the first of a series and I thought I would give it a try. After a couple of pages, I quit. Intriguing premise, yes, but the style was meant to take the POV of a "redneck," a young man of low education and questionable socialization. The sentences were all over the place, changing subjects, inserting unrelated details. Or maybe they would be related later, but the disorganization put me off.

Another thing that will make me put a book down within the first chapter is a failure to see the story emerging. It's a rule of writing that I cannot ignore. Something has to happen right quick or I lose interest. I realize I may have stretched this rule in the first chapter of "Stranger Faces," but the first passage is a setup for something that comes along later. With that being said, by the end of Chapter 1, Tracy has an injured spy sleeping on her couch, and I think that takes care of getting the story started "right quick."

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

In A Quandary

"Stranger Faces" has gone off to Write Words to become an ebook, so now it's back to a next novel. I had started rewriting a political-thriller type of mystery and I have reached Chapter 5. As I talked with my husband about my day last evening, I called "Stranger Faces" my "number 6." He sometimes has trouble keeping up with my writing pace, so I reminded him that the Jack Watson series has two books, the Faces series has three books with the addition of "Stranger Faces," and "Dabblers" is its own story line.

Which led me to think about what I am now working on, yet another story line. The fact is, rewriting an older book is not as exciting as creating a new one even if the rewrite is quite significant. I started doing it because . . . I don't know. I like the story and the characters I guess.

I also have ideas for a third Jack Watson book. The biggest hurdle for that one is the POV characters. In "The Changeling Kill," I introduced the character of Angel Ortiz who would become Jack's new employee. The plot lines (two things going on at once) I have in mind almost demand Angel be a POV and maybe no POV from Tabitha. The trouble is that I don't know enough about Angel yet, about who she is and how her mind works, what drives her. But I've been thinking about her more, developing the character, and at some point, I think I'll have a breakthrough.

The other hot prospect is a sequel for "Dabblers." I get very excited about working on this one because I already have one of the pivotal scenes playing out in my head. It's been in there for months, actually, and that begs to be written. I don't know exactly where it all will lead, and that's exciting too.

So I suspect I will be shifting gears -- again! -- and will make a decision soon. Maybe two novels at once?

Sunday, December 2, 2012

It's Soup

Well, I think I am ready to send "Stranger Faces" to Write Words. As part of a series, it goes straight to prep for publication. As previously stated, I can look at my manuscript every day and always find something else to tinker with, quite possibly undoing it another day and reverting back to the original. I guess I get to the point where I realize that all the additional polishing is not adding much to the work itself but is just a matter of details and phrasing. While recent perusals have found some actual errors--homonym uses, misspellings--those can also be corrected during the galley process.

Having gone back to reading books by other authors, I begin to wonder if I am being too much of a perfectionist, but then again, I don't want to experience that shameful feeling when I find a BIG mistake after the book is published. (There was such an instance in "The Dreamer Gambit" but I'm not going to publicize what it is because some people might not even notice it unless they're looking for it.) While I am writing, I try to make sure that every scene serves to move the story forward in some manner. I can branch out and be creative in setting the scene, embroidering it with details, but it must do something. I am finding that not all authors follow the same structure rules that I do.

I've settled on a cover for "Stranger Faces," and I've written the blurb. I'll do another check of each of those, and maybe run MS Word spell check one more time.

"Where Power Lies" (gotta come up with a real title) is progressing quite well, I think. I'm into Chapter 5 already. Some of the scenes are/will be the same as in the older version, but there's been enough of a change of concept to revise and rewrite the actual text. Of course, the dreaded "stuck place" still lies ahead around Chapter 7, so we'll see.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Gators Subdued

Making LOTS of progress on new novel. Ideas flow faster than I can get them down.I sometimes jot down brief notes about what's coming up next at the end of the actual text so I don't forget any inspired ideas. As a result of all the creative outlet, I'm sleeping better at night with fewer strange dreams intruding. Got those subconscious gators under control.

I'm still struggling with the title, as well as how to refer to a concept in the story, sort of a secret society. I've tried Googling a couple of ideas, but all searches seem to turn up another book or a movie or a TV show, and I really want something fresh and different but which immediately conveys the idea. While writing the book has the most pull right now, the problem of title and naming the concept continually nags at me.

The other challenge, besides not being able to type fast enough, is to make sure my POV character, written in first person, has her own voice and doesn't sound like any of the characters in either "Faces" or "Dabblers." Stefanie in "Dabblers" had an almost literary tone because the character is intelligent in surprising ways (don't want to spoil anything for those who wish to read the book!) Tracy in the "Faces" series is a smart ass, given to quips and sarcasm.

For the new book, the lead character, Dee, is also smart, but not in a streetwise way. She knows technology and has the analytic sort of mind that goes with it, but she has other characteristics. She had a tough childhood and fought her way out and up in the world, but hard lessons about right and wrong and a timidity about causing trouble continue to channel her decisions and actions. She wants to do something important and believes she has taken a first step in that direction in her job working for a U.S. senator. Since the story at hand introduces her to a different way of seeing the world, she will have to choose between closing her mind and staying on the slow, sure path or making huge adjustments, growing into a different sort of role, and pursuing her goals in a way she never imagined. Either choice will require sacrifices.

"Stranger Faces" should be ready to send off to Write Words, but I still hesitate. At odd moments, I'll think of something to check in the manuscript and maybe read through some passages, and those moments have led to a change or two, either to correct something (in one case, I found the word "steam" instead of "stream") or to remove something such as an unnecessary bit of conversation. I found a segment of dialog which concluded with Tracy saying, "Thanks. I'll need it," to someone wishing her luck on talking to the police. The line added nothing at all, whereas the other character's wish of good luck had some snap to it and makes a better break. At some point, I'll simply decide that I've tinkered enough and then just send it off, which means an official end to tinkering.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Those Darn Gators

Still editing "Stranger Faces," but I think I'm close to being done. Having said that, I recall all the other times I thought I was "done." And wasn't. How I feel about a phrase or passage or scene depends on my mood on any given day. What seemed perfect yesterday might scream for tweaking today. Yet, the key indicator of being "done" editing is usually when I try to change something only to realize that it was perfect the way it was before, whether because a change would effect more changes around it or later or because or for some other reason.

Also still toying with the cover art. I tried another concept, one which more closely resembled the previous two covers in the series, but my hubby thought it too close and that I was repeating myself. So I went back to my first design which depicts (sort of) the strange nightclub Tracy goes to in Chicago for a meeting with her current client. The passage represented is a pivotal one, and there are faces involved, very strange ones, so I think it works. I also wrote a "blurb" for the book.

Am I done? Should I send it off? I guess if I have to ask, the answer must be "no." I will contemplate this further and trust intuition. .

In the meantime, the gators (i.e., my subconscious and imagination) have not been fed enough lately. Actually, it's more like letting them out to create a story in words that keeps them quiet. When I'm not actively creating a novel, I am plagued by weird dreams at night and an unsettled, antsy feeling during the day. Yesterday, I picked up again with the next novel, the one I started rewriting, and it helped a bit even though I did not get to the point of typing anything new on it.

On the promotional front, I have increased contacts on Twitter and Goodreads, and I have set up boards on Pinterest as well. Looking for any way I can to get my name and books in front of the public.

Monday, November 26, 2012

If My Book Became a Movie - Dabblers

My traditional post of the dream cast for the movie version of the novel. There are no real spoilers here, but I  do have a friend who does not want to read my picks before she reads the book.

There are a lot of characters in Dabblers, many of them of only modest impact, but I've concentrated on the major players.

Stefanie Durant - Neve Campbell.. She has a kind of vulnerable look that suits Stefanie.

Paul Durant - Brendan Fraser. He's a big guy, just like Paul, and he has a huge capacity for playing men capable of tenderness.

Amy Greenleaf - Nicole Kidman. Perfect.

Officer Sam Wentworth - Adrien Brody. Having seen him in a few movies playing an action hero sealed the deal.

Melinda Van Zant - Indina Menzel. Something about her looks matches up with Melinda.

In other news, as they say, I have a second cover design for "Stranger Faces" that I'm a bit more comfortable with in terms of its style meshing with the other two books in the series. May be getting close to sending it off to be published, although I still have to write a blurb.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

The Writing Life

"Stranger Faces" is in a somewhat tiresome editing phase, I am still prevaricating on the cover, and I have accomplished very little the last couple of days on the writing front. Now I see my week of vacation drawing to a close, and I get the sinking feeling I could have made better use of it. Oh, how I long for the life of a real author, to be that person who makes a living from writing. Sometimes, I fantasize about how I would structure my day for writing if I did not have a day job. A balance of "business" with accomplishing the other necessities of life, a chance to indulge in other activities I never seem to have the time for, like exercising or playing the piano. As I look back on the first three days of the week just past, I am disappointed in my performance in that regard. Too much time squandered on unproductive things. Even so, I'd like to believe that the main cause of this is a pent-up need for "me time." Sometimes, you have to occupy the middle space between doing what others want and doing what you want, which is, unfortunately, doing nothing.

Need to get over this hurdle of completing "Stranger Faces." I think I'd feel better if the cover were solid. After that, proofing and editing is somewhat tedious but finite. Or at least as finite as I can make it. For every book that I've published, I've always been able to go back and find something I missed or something I would have changed. Perhaps I should just not look, but sometimes I have to go back and see what I said in an earlier book in a series in the writing of a new one. But once "Stranger Faces" is done, I can move on to my latest novel, working title "Where Power Lies."

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Ah, the Holidays

Happy Thanksgiving to one and all. I plan to enjoy the day with my hubby and two cats, putter around the house, have a non-traditional Thanksgiving feast (Polish cooking since we're not big turkey fans) and bask in the comforts of home. No, I don't intend to go shopping either today or tomorrow. No desired to face the lunacy. And nobody in this house likes football.

"Stranger Faces" is very near completion, but I am still unsettled about the cover art. While what I've come up with is striking and has elements of the story in it, I fear it is too different from the other two covers in the series. My publisher has said that there must be some design continuity. I've toyed with some other ideas, but they remain vaguely defined, and as usual, easy to envision yet difficult to execute.

Thanks to all who have found this blog and have followed me on Twitter. My list of followers grows by leaps and bounds. I keep learning more about all these social sites. It's tough when you get into them long after their introduction because by then, everyone else knows how to use them and there's not much to foster the newbie.

Keeping it short today because I have a lot of cooking to do. I wish everyone peace, safety, and the comforts of home.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Work Work Work

But it's fun work! Greatly enjoying some time off from my day job and accomplishing a lot on the writing and publicity front.

  • Reading/editing the final two chapters of "Stranger Faces" and considering an alternate cover concept.
  • Increasing Twitter followers and sending daily tweets about my books.
  • Updated my Google site,Kathryn Flatt, Writer to contain PDF files of my short stories.
  • Invited Twitter followers to be friends on Goodreads, where I also found out how to do general update messages. 
  • Doing other updates to web materials.
  • Checking out websites of people I follow on Twitter.

I also jump into "Where Power Lies" from time to time when I have a good idea to get down, but I'm trying to focus on completing "Stranger Faces"

At odd moments, I've been reading "...Or Perish," a mystery novel I mentioned in an earlier post, and I'm enjoying it. I know I need to do more reading, but it's often difficult to find a book that really grabs my attention. While people are quick to suggest the hot novels/series that are going around, most of them don't interest me much. "50 Shades of Gray"? No interest in "mommy porn." Summaries I've read suggest the female lead is naive and weak enough to be ensnared by a slightly depraved sort of seducer, and weak females don't interest me. I took a pass on the Harry Potter series because I'm not interested in reading stories for kids. Ditto the whole "Twilight" thing because overt paranormal doesn't ring my chimes either. Vampires and werewolves are the stuff of very old legends, and borrowing from and embroidering around those legends may be imaginative, but to me, not interesting. While I'm not sure about the gross-out level in these stories, I don't actively seek out anything that deals with lots of blood or people being killed in vicious ways. Not my cup of tea. While I do kill of characters in my own books, I try to keep the instances and descriptive details to a minimum. Those things are for dramatic impact only.

Okay, enough ranting.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Two Worlds

Interleaving "Stranger Faces" and "Where Power Lies" has been keeping me busy, along with increasing my presence on Twitter. I've tried to do daily tweets about one or more of my books so that new followers will see them. Hopefully, this will lead to more exposure and more sales.

"Stranger Faces" is in editing stage, going back over manuscript and verifying that what I have said is clear enough, detailed enough, yet not overworked. "Where Power Lies" is in a difficult passage where things are both revealed and kept hidden.

Looking forward to having an entire week off from my day job, but unfortunately, I can't spend all of it writing. My to-do list keeps growing, especially in preparation for Thanksgiving on Thursday. Just my own little family, but I try to make it a special meal. We're not fond of turkey, so I'll be making some different favorites although they wouldn't be considered traditional Thanksgiving food.

On the promotional front, I've been trying to find information on area libraries about who to contact for potential personal appearances. While talking to crowds as a lecturer is not exactly my forte, I don't mind chatting with small groups, perhaps readers of the genres I write or aspiring writers. While all the Internet stuff is nice, inexpensive, and safe for the ego, the personal touch cannot be ignored.

Friday, November 16, 2012


I have had it with MS Word's grammar and spell check tool!

This morning, I left off my new manuscript and set about proofing "Stranger Faces." Silly me, I used Microsoft's tool which presented me with the following correction flags that make no sense:

  • Repeatedly stops to change "it's" to "its" when the text of the sentence clearly means the contraction of  "it is" and not the possessive of "it." This is a quirky rule of English that is not all that intuitive, but Word always gets it wrong! Beware, authors! If you are using this tool to check your manuscript, remember that "it's" is a combination of "it" plus "is" and "its" indicates something that belongs to "it." 
  • My sentence reads, in part: "that he turned to Alex and me for help." Word suggests changing it to "Alex and I." Back in school, I was taught that if in doubt whether to use "me" or "I" in this way, take out the other person or people and the conjunctions. In this case, "that he turned to me for help" sounds better than "that he turned to I for help." 
  • In dialog, Word often wants to insert commas in odd places. Example: "Who is he?" Zak asked.Word suggest a comma after the name Zak. Huh? Shortly after that, it hit on "A friend," Alex answered. It wanted a comma after Alex. ???????
  • It stopped at the words "crock pot" and suggested hyphenating them. I did that. When the tool resumed, it hit on the correction I just made to "crock-pot" and suggested removing the hyphen. 

I may change the settings on Spell Check to do only spelling. Thank heavens that once I ignore the ridiculous suggestions above, it won't hit on them again unless I tell it to recheck the entire document.

On a different subject, I was watching one of my favorite TV shows last night, "The Big Bang Theory" and I spotted the perfect actor to play Kevin Fox if any of the "Faces" books was made into a movie. His name is Ryan Cartwright, and he looks so much like Pierce Brosnan did in "Remington Steele." Ryan Cartwright is about the same age as Fox, too! Here's a link to the IMDB photo of him, for anyone who wants a look-see:
Ryan Cartwright Photo on IMDB

In other news, as they say, I submitted "Dabblers" for consideration in the Love Is Murder convention "Lovey Awards." Do I really expect to win? Nah. But the value is in that attendees and readers of the newsletter and blog might buy and read the book. It's (note--it's for it is) all about reaching readers.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Pounding Out Pages

New novel, working title "Where Power Lies," is now into Chapter 3 and a crucial meeting of my POV character and the hero/love interest. It's very interesting doing this rewrite because it's like having an outline from the old manuscript and yet not knowing with total assurance where the story is going. Well, I know where it's going, but how it gets there has changed from its previous incarnations.

Usually around Chapter 7, I hit a sticking point, which I believe I've commented on in earlier posts. Lots of things can happen at such a point--revamping earlier chapters, rethinking plot and subplot. Once I reach that point, it may be time to get back to proofing/editing "Stranger Faces." I also have a fair amount of vacation and holiday time away from my day job in the next two months, and while there's a lot of other things on my to-do list, I think I'll be able to press onward.

NOTE: In my post announcing I was starting work on "Power," I erroneously referred to it as my sixth novel. "Stranger Faces" is actually number six, and I have updated said earlier post to correct this. I have now assuaged my anal-retentive tendencies.

On a side note, I started reading (gasp!) a novel. I met the author, Joel Quam, at a book fair during the summer where we shared a table to meet, greet, and sell books. As we were packing up to leave, he offered to exchange "a mystery for a mystery." All these months later, I started reading his "...Or Perish" as noted on Goodreads, where I will provide a review when I'm done. Having been immersed solely in writing my own novels, it's interesting to read something by someone else who has a different style. That's not necessarily a bad thing. I might disagree with the style in some aspects, i.e., I would not have written something the same way, but the story has pulled me in by creating a host of interesting characters, an intriguing premise, and a totally believable small-college-town setting. I've already been tempted to turn to the back and find out if two particular characters get together at the end of the story, proving that I care about these fictional people. That is perhaps the first and greatest hurdle of writing fiction: readers have to care about someone in the story.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Back In The Saddle

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of you out there who have begun following me on Twitter and also become Goodreads friends. For someone who is still very new to this electronic social world, it's good to hear from total strangers who are interested in my writing. I keep trying to find more ways to interact with book lovers and spread the word about my novels. Anyone should feel free to comment on my blog or send me an email at the address given above. I get so excited when I have contact.

How great it feels to be writing a new novel. About 2400 words so far. I've been having some thoughts on the title, "Where Power Lies," mainly because there's another book out by that name, although it isn't fiction. The word that popped into my head today was "interstices" which is defined as empty space or gap between spaces full of matter. Problem--will readers recognize it for its meaning or will it just be an unfamiliar word. It has application to the story, but it might be too vague. I don't think a book title should send people running for a dictionary rather than compelling them to buy the novel on the spot. (Okay, that's a little over stated, but I can dream, can't I?)

I know that the question of a title for the latest book is going to nag at me until I figure it out, but then again, most of the novels I've started writing did not have a final title until well into the process. Perhaps it's best not to try too hard to think about it and let it come to me.

Monday, November 12, 2012

So It Begins

After a few days of thrashing around, I have begun my seventh novel. That is, I started rewriting "Where Power Lies" (perhaps not the final title as there is already a book out by that name). While the book has been rewritten several times in the past, a few examinations of the version put on the shelf some years ago made me decide to just start from scratch. Not that what I had was all that bad. I may go back and copy and paste some parts into the new manuscript. One thing I did have to do, however, was apply one of the major lessons I've learned about writing for publication: begin where the story starts. That might seem very elementary, but even after several rewrites, the old ms. did not do that. The story starts when my character, Deanna, finds a body in the office of her boss, a senator. Instead of opening with a scene with Dee and some friends having drinks in a bar across the street from the murder scene and finding the body on page ten, I start with her looking at the body.

Figuring out how to start a novel has always been a tough job for  me. Not just where to start, but what that first sentence should be. In search for the perfect opening, I can find myself putting off committing words to bits and bytes for days even though the story is begging me to tell it. Such was the case with this new novel, e.g., the thrashing around mentioned above. But now it is started and a touch of relief settles in. Perhaps this is the literary equivalent of stage fright. Once a performer gets onto the stage and sings or plays that first note or speaks that first line, suddenly it's okay, they've begun, they can do it. That's how it is opening a story. In no time at all, I've written three pages.

I'm always somewhat perplexed by writers who say they must force themselves to write one page a day. When I get going, I can do ten, twenty, or even more in a single sitting. It often becomes hard to stop even in the face of other obligations. Even when I'm not actively at the keyboard, I'll keep thinking about the next scene or some mechanics of the plot. Of course, it's a bit different in a story that already has a basic structure and a fully developed plot, but I feel the excitement again of starting a new book, and the creative juices are flowing which ensures I haven't lost the touch.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Publicity and Feeding the Gators

In the name of publicizing my work, I've been exploring options available on the Internet sites I'm already set up with: Facebook, Google, Goodreads, Twitter, Authors Den, and this blog site. Really leaning on the Twitter aspects. The more people I follow on Twitter, the more they follow me back, and I've started putting out a daily Tweet about "Dabblers" with a quote from the story. Perhaps that will lead people to buy the book, but in any case, the exposure is free.

I once again find myself in that between-books state: editing the latest and planning the next, but with not a lot of real creation going on. What usually happens during this time is a lot of very odd dreams in the night. It's as though my imagination is still running but without an outlet. There was a passage from Stephen King's "Danse Macabre" (Berkely, 1983) in which the imagination is likened to a pit full of alligators. Sometimes you have to feed the gators to keep them from escaping. The analogy always conjures up the memory of a bit from the movie, "Romancing the Stone" in which the bad guy DID have a pit full of gators (or maybe it was crocodiles).

For me, writing is "feeding the gators" and when they ain't getting fed, the imagination machine dumps its product into my subconscious to create dreams of astounding clarity and seriously freaky imagery. There have been times when I wake from one of these subconscious creations and think, damn, that would be great in a book. A few have actually wound up in books, to wit, the dream sequence in "The Dreamer Gambit" and the cave dream in "Dabblers." While I don't generally read stories or watch movies about vampires, they tend to show up in my dreams on a regular basis, and I'll bet there's some deeply Freudian explanation for that. But since this has been going on as long as I can remember, I have not been troubled by the meaning of my dreams for a long time and don't invest much time worrying about whether they indicate I'm abnormal in some way. I know I'm not normal. I just need to keep the gators fed.

I have been doing some editing on "Stranger Faces," mainly in the realm of ensuring that I have conveyed what I intended, details are relayed in a timely manner, and no unintended contradictions have been introduced.

The length of this post seems to underscore my writing status just now--not doing it enough. Gonna  have to get down to really creating again, and soon.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Something to Share

Added a new page (see list at left) with an article I wrote about things I have learned on the road to becoming a published author. As I've often admitted in this blog, I embarked on that road thinking I already knew everything. I was wrong. The article contains what I've picked up from experience, advice from agents, authors, publishers, and books on writing. All of it has improved my writing, I think, and I thought I should share it with the "pre-published" authors out there.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Dabblers - The Soundtrack

In keeping with my established tradition (does 22 months constitute a tradition?), here is the "soundtrack" for "Dabblers."

These are songs that inspired ideas or underscored existing ones with their mood or feeling.

Lady In Black - Uriah Heep
One of the first songs for "Dabblers." There's a folk-song feel to it and the lyric describes the title entity who is "the mother of all men." It goes with the pagan female-centered aspects of the story.

Sorcerer - Marilyn Martin
From the movie, "Streets of Fire," a song by Stevie Nicks (who also sings backup). Sorcerers and magic just go together.

La Luna - Belinda Carlisle
From her "Runaway Horses" album. (Are they still called albums in the age of CDs and MP3s?") This one goes with how Stefanie met her husband in Paris, although the scene was long written before the song came out.

King and Queen - The Moody Blues
An old favorite of mine, with lyrics that reflect uncertainty about the dividing line between reality and dreams. The song was originally released long, long ago, then released on a live collection, and then again on a couple of compilation CDs. "It's like awaking from a dream. All I remember is the lullaby . . ."

He Doesn't See Me - Sarah Brightman
This one also qualifies because of the sort of fairy tale feel about it. I'm a huge Sarah Brightman fan anyway.

I'm still thinking about casting, although I have my picks for the three main characters. I might try to research some of the secondary characters before I post that.

Last but certainly not least, I want to mention that I received a very nice comment on this blog from Denise, and I am always thrilled to get real feedback from people, especially the positive kind. I love talking about writing and writing about it too, and to know that readers are interested in what I have to say is even better than getting paid for it.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Decision Made?

While thrashing about over what my next project should be, I came across a dark-horse contender that might just win the race.

Back in 2006 or 2007, a query letter caught the attention of a literary agent, and she had some suggestions for my manuscript about political intrigue and a murder. It was mainly a question of style, and I did a quick rewrite. Then she tried to sell it, and the main interest came from a publisher of romances with a line of romantic suspense novels. They said it wasn't "romance" enough. I had never set out to write a romance, i.e., a story where the relationship is the primary plot, but in the interest of getting published, I did my best to bring out the romantic aspects. It never quite worked out, and I moved on, both to new novels and finding a new approach to getting published.

Over the last few months, I've toyed with some new twists on the original novel, and I think I may have hit upon something. The plot line remains mainly the same--the protagonist is certain the death if a coworker was not suicide but murder--but my protagonist has changed a bit. I've given her some quirks, like an occasional problem dividing her flights of imagination from reality. That's where the twist comes in. I'm thinking that the reader should not be quite certain, at least early on, of whether my character has lost herself in her imaginary life or if what she is experiencing is real. If it is real, then the world she (and all of us) live in is quite different than we think.

A quick look at the original manuscript indicates that even without the changes noted here, a good deal of polishing would be required, reminding me again of how much I have learned about writing and publishing since then.

While "Stranger Faces" is on hiatus, waiting for me to go back to it with fresh eyes, I'll be making notes and planning for "Where Power Lies" as my next project. I already have an idea about an early pivotal scene that's been churning around in my head for a few months now. The fact that I have that gives this novel a huge leg-up on being chosen above all the other possibilities.

Unless, of course, I change my mind again . . .

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Updates and Decisions

More vendors are picking up more of my ebooks, which is great. All five are now on OmniLit.I've got ads running on Facebook and Google and Authors Den.

I've been working on "Stranger Faces," editing and adjusting, but I think it may have reached its time for a rest, where I put it aside for a while and then come back to it with fresh eyes.

Decision: what's next?

I had some ideas for a third entry in the Jack Watson series, and I could work on developing that more. As previously mentioned, there's a new character introduced in "Changeling" who could be a new POV. The next story should branch out in a direction where Tabitha having a major viewpoint is no longer feasible, but to do that, the new character needs to be developed more. I need to get into her head, find out where she's coming from, what kind of person she is inside in order to know how she will respond to things and what actions she would take.

I also started looking over some of my older unpublished manuscripts, looking for inspiration. Here's an update of the states of this old stuff that could be revamped and whipped into shape:

  • "Meds" - a medical thriller not quite completed. Needs a wrap up in addition to revisions of style. Good potential. Very complex because of all the points of view in it--four!
  • "Edge Factors" - sci-fi/thriller. Completed, but wa-a-a-y too long at almost 100,000 words. Also needs more conflict in some areas, and I have some ideas.
  • "Mond" - sci-fi. My first novel. Needs a WHOLE LOT OF REWRITING, but still a viable story.
I also have ideas for a sequel to "Dabblers," still in the formative stage, but with some really good scenes in my head.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Dabblers Now On Amazon

Just checked it this morning! Now I need to do some advertising, the paid variety.

Still hoping to get "Game Faces" on there as well.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Cover Art, Etc.

I do believe I have a cover design for "Stranger Faces." A crucial scene in the story occurs at a freaky sort of nightclub in Chicago where things happen that are important to resolving the puzzle later on. That is what I've tried to capture in the cover. It has faces on it, strange ones of course, in keeping with the visual theme of the rest of the books in the series, and also has a sort of sunset sky motif. It's a combination of free photographs, some digital drawing, and lots of cutting, pasting, cropping, and touching up. I'm getting better with my graphics tools, though. Mainly, I use MS Paint for selecting stuff from public-domain art work. I found if I zoom in extremely close, I can use the eyedropper tool to fill in transient white spots where I've pasted something in.

Here's what I've got:

There's still a lot of work to be done on the text, of course, but I think I'm very close to having a finished product.

"Dabblers" FB page went up, but I'm holding back on making an ad for it until more vendors are available for people to buy it. Right now, it's still just Write Words. I hope it shows up on Amazon. "Game Faces" never has, although I don't know why. If "Dabblers" makes it there, I'll investigate further about it.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

"Dabblers" Published!

"Dabblers" has launched! Yesterday, I created a Facebook page, added it to Authors Den and Goodreads, updated my Google site, added a publication credit to Linked In, and sent out tweets on Twitter. Next comes the paid advertising. I sent off an ad for the Love Is Murder Author Spotlight which appears on their website and newsletter. Other choices: FB, Goodreads, Google, or a combination of them? I also started thinking about doing some print advertising if I can find some appropriate publications.

I did some brochures for Author Fair last month, but now I need to update them to include "Dabblers."  The tri-fold ones will be tricky, and considering how much effort went into producing them, I hate to waste the ones I have left. If I can print a summary of "Dabblers" sized like the ones for the other books and then attach it to one edge of the sheet, it might work. Need something for the other side of the addition, though.

With the first draft of "Stranger Faces" done, I'm working through the editing process. The first phase is to check for discontinuities, add details to make sure I convey what I intended, and to provide proper setup for later scenes. This process also comes with some hazards, like repetition of both words and ideas, or referencing something at Point A which doesn't actually happen until later at Point B. Sometimes, it also leads to a massive change, an idea that comes into my head to make the story better. I guess the rule of thumb is, the bigger the change, the bigger the chance to introduce errors or problems.

Cover art. I can visualize the ideas but can't quite execute them. And searching the web for images to use can be hazardous as well, in the shape of viruses.

Once I get through the second pass on "Stranger Faces," I might let it rest for a while and play with some short stories. I'm still considering putting a collection together at some point, but there's one story still unfinished in my files and the idea for another knocking around in my head. The most recent one I finished, "Mr. Fixit," has gotten a couple of nice comments after posting on Authors Den. Should I post the other two when I finish them, or put them into a collection as "brand new"? Not sure at this point which would be best.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Gone and Done It

First draft of "Stranger Faces" complete! Now there's the editing, the "layering" of details, proofing, etc.

I've also been hunting for a cover concept. A few ideas have occurred to me, but I'm not sure what I want to do with it. While it must follow the theme of the first two covers, my early attempts have come out looking like a rehash. And according to my own rules, the cover should be constructed out of elements that set up the story and pull the reader in without jumping too far into it. In fact, the cover should catch the eye first. Then the blurb hits on the same elements as the cover and gives an idea of how the story starts. This is a lot of requirements to have to pull together.

In the background, I've been thinking about a sequel to "Dabblers" (and it's not even out yet!) as well as a third entry to the Jack Watson series. I have a plot concept for the latter, but I'm thinking of introducing a new POV character, introduced as a secondary character in "The Changeling Kill," but I don't know this person well enough yet. In one of my writing reference books, there's a list of questions designed to foster building a sketchy idea into a real person. I may hit on that. Mostly, it's a matter of dividing my time and inspiration.

I am also concerned for my friends at Write Words out in Cambridge, Maryland, where Hurricane Sandy is bearing down. I hope they and everyone else in the storm's path is prepared and comes through the ordeal unscathed.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Inspiration Versus Imagination - Dabblers

I picked up the final files for "Dabblers" prior to publication on November 1 (as long as Frankenstorm on the east coast doesn't bring any delays). With the release date so near, I thought I might reflect on the inspirations for the story.

NO SPOILERS. I'm not going to give away anything critical here. These are just some of the bits and pieces   which wound up woven into the story.

Uncle Hank's House: In my mind, it looks like a 1950s brick ranch I used to live in some years ago, although it was not near a lake. Even the interior layout, which Stefanie describes, matches that house.

The Pool: An important element late in the book. Another house I lived in, the one where "Dabblers" first became a notion, had a pool just like it.

The Altar: Another important place that kinda sorta exists. At the same house as the pool, there are some stone slabs embedded in the middle of the back lawn, somewhat distant from the house. Never did figure out what they were doing there, other than perhaps to provide a solid foundation for a picnic table. Of course, the rest of its appearance in the book is quite different.

Windsong Lake: Inspired by a neighborhood we looked at when shopping for the house with the pool. It had  houses surrounding a small lake and had the feel of a summer getaway place. The real-life place does not actually constitute a full town, just a neighborhood, but it still exists out in the Northern Illinois countryside, same as Windsong Lake. I later embellished Windsong Lake with details drawn from Lake Zurich, Illinois, not far away.

Pagan Religions: Not part of the initial story line, but it became so when a couple of friends became deeply interested in Wicca. They gave me a book as a gift, the title of which appears in "Dabblers", and it served as a valuable resource for writing it.

Stefanie's Dream: Not the one that begins the book, but one she relates deeper into the story. It's a permutation of a dream I had as a girl, one that shook me up because the "me" in the dream was a different person from my waking self. Didn't even look the same. I adapted the threatening aspects to Stefanie's dream and embroidered around it with imagination.

Someone at the Joliet Author Fair stopped at my table to chat and asked me if my characters are based on people I have known or met. The answer is a resounding "no." Story comes first, the hint of a plot, a puzzle to unravel, a mood to be captured. Naturally, my characters--at least the one(s) telling the story--must be part of me because I imagined them. I have never yet had a situation where I was inspired to create a story around a "character" from real life. Once I have the idea for the heart of the story, the characters develop alongside it to provide what is needed to shape the tale. At some point, characters take on a life of their own, become more independent of me in a way, and in so doing, they can alter the path of the story. While re-editing "Dabblers" this last time around, going over the manuscript I wrote four or five years ago, I decided I did not like Stefanie very much the way I first wrote her. She seemed weak, helpless, and having those traits in my POV character offended me. So I changed things around, made her path of discovery into one of acceptance instead. I don't see how I could have done that with a character drawn from life whose nature would resist changing to suit my story. Heaven forbid I should be limited in the story because it had to adhere to the traits of a real person and then find out I did not like the story!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Struggling Along

Still on the last chapter of "Stranger Faces" although I continue to backtrack through the manuscript to check things, adjust things, etc. I was starting to worry that the story was coming up short in length, since most of my novels finish up around 80k or so. But even with the last chapter not quite complete, I'm approaching 71k and with additional edits, the length should come out about right.

The cover art . . . I've tried a few ideas out, but they appear dull to me. I've had one more design occur to me, but it will require me to DRAW something. (She gasps in awe.) I want to do some outlines of weird faces, to go with the title. For this one, though, I'm not sure what sort of background to use. Someone suggested something with Chicago because a trip there for Tracy becomes a very important event. It would be great to get a picture of the city skyline on a clear day with a road running to it straight out of the camera viewpoint. Then my drawn faces could overlay it at the edges. Not sure how that would look, but first I'll have to find the photo.

"Dabblers" comes out in one more week. I was trying to use Twitter, as I think I mentioned last time, but ideas of what to tweet each day have dried up. I continue to worry about the balance between my attempts to advertise not being seen or being seen so often they become annoying. I did put something on the Facebook group page for CWA which I hope will reach a wider audience.

A friend is reading "Game Faces" now. Can't wait to hear some feedback. I do wish it would become available on Amazon, but I've never gotten anywhere trying to find out why it isn't already.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Catching Up

Into the final chapter of "Stranger Faces" and the final scene. Then it will be time to go back and fill things out and do editing. Lots of editing. I have become aware of an underlying theme for the novel as well. Because Tracy put her life on hold after her mother and brother were killed long before the first book took place, she can be a little bit backward in her relationships with people. Each book, along with a mess for her to extricate herself from, adds a new layer to her personal development, learning how to deal with different types of relationships. With the third book nearing completion, I see what her lesson is, and part of the editing process will be to refine passages that support it. I don't want to be more specific as I never want to produce "spoilers" in my posts.

Then there's the cover art. I have some ideas, but I must try to continue the imagery used in the first two books. The main element is the outline of one more more faces, but I have yet to figure out what the background should look like. Considering the title, which I certainly want to depict on the cover in some fashion, I have been looking at images of, well, strange-looking faces. I also thought I might try to fiddle with the face outline from "Game Faces" to try to create an expression of surprise. As for the background, there are a number of possiblities. There are scenes in Chicago which could provide some imagery, and there are some explosions later in the book which suggest flames in the background. At this point, I guess I'll keep searching for the right elements.

I've been using Twitter to try to pump up interest in "Dabblers" ahead of its release. Each day, I put a sort of teaser line out there in a tweet, but it's getting tougher to come up with something new that might pique people's interest and not give away anything. Thus far, each day I've started thinking about what else to say and wondering if I can come up with anything, and each day I do. Nine more tweets to go until the release.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Another Book to Go Paper

"The Changeling Kill" paperback edition is getting underway, as noted on my publisher's blog page. That will be three out of four published books in hard copy. Very exciting stuff. I should be able to get copies of "Two Faces, Two Faced" to sell at Love Is Murder in February, but I don't know about "Changeling" yet. Guess I'll be updating my promotional materials again.

I started thinking about cover art for "Stranger Faces" which is in the final wrap-up chapter. While that does not mean the book is "done" by any stretch, I figure I need to start on the cover now in order to have it all done at the same time to send off to Write Words.

And for my next project? I've been working on ideas for the next Jack Watson book. I have more ideas for a sequel to "Dabblers." I've also toyed with doing a short-story collection. Another Faces entry? "Stranger Faces" will leave the door open for more. There are also five other older manuscripts that could be whipped into shape for publication. Some of them require more whipping than others, and some were never even finished in the first place. The decision may balance on how "Dabblers" is received. Perhaps the interest in things paranormal will continue with readers for a while more.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Getting Ready for "Dabblers"

I figured out how to get an image file of the "Dabblers" cover out of the galley PDF file, so I'm updating a couple of websites early. The page on this blog now shows the cover, as does my Google site, Kathryn Flatt, Writer. Shelley at Write Words has remarked how much she likes the cover art on this. It's my own combination of an image found on the web, overlaid to look like it's outside a window. The sketches on the bottom part are mine except for the one of trees in the center which is supposed to look more like a real artist did them instead of Stefanie's very crude "sleep drawings." I arranged the sketchpad, drawings, and pencil on a black surface and took a digital photo of it which I then transferred to my computer. The blood spots were clipped from web images and placed on top of that. (Tried making fake blood, but it didn't look right, and I was not about to try to get any of my own!)

Once the book comes out, anyone reading it will reach descriptions of the "sleep drawings" and be able to find those drawings on the cover. I have high hopes for "Dabblers," mainly because of the popularity of paranormal subjects. Ideas for a sequel are swimming around in the back of my head.

I have also made some progress on "Stranger Faces," having gotten through the Big Scene which pits good guys against bad in a final showdown that concludes the mystery. The last chapter is for wrap up of where everybody is after that. Of course, there will be many more passes before I even get to proofing it.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

And A Splendid Time Was Had By All...

Joliet Author Fair is now a done deal, and I had a great time. The organization and planning put into the event was abundantly obvious from the time I arrived right down to the last detail. The table spaces were excellent, advertising first rate, lunch was provided as well as goodie bags for the authors, and it was free! I sold a copy of "The Dreamer Gambit" and passed out information on all my books while talking to a number of people who attended and other authors who attended.

I probably would not have even known about the fair if I had not joined the Chicago Writers Association. The annual dues of $15 is probably the best money I've spent so far in my little writing business. The exposure and inside track to opportunities like the one in Joliet is more than worth it.

"Dabblers" has now been put to bed, the corrections to the galley in the hands of Write Words now. I'm eagerly awaiting the final files, especially the cover art in various sizes and formats so I can ramp up advertising for it. I think "Dabblers" has a lot of potential because of its paranormal themes. I hope there are adult readers out there who enjoy subjects such as clairvoyance, reincarnation, magic, and witches all wrapped up with a murder mystery AND who are somewhat weary of all the protagonists being teenagers. Almost all the characters in "Dabblers" are 40 years old or more, with one notable exception. I also hope people will empathize with Stefanie, my reluctant psychic, who must learn to accept her unique talent in order to solve the mystery.

Now, it's back to "Stranger Faces." While I have been thinking a bit about what comes next after that, it just so happens that while sitting at my table at the Author Fair yesterday, I began jotting down notes for the next entry in the Jack Watson series. I also have some ideas about a sequel to "Dabblers" somewhere down the road.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Updates, Etc.

Two proofreadings of "Dabblers" galley are done, and a list of corrections compiled. Once again, I debate whether to call it done or do one more pass. I still have a couple of weeks before I need to have corrections turned in, but I'm eager to get on with other things.

Preparation for Author Fest this coming weekend is foremost in my mind now. The weather forecast for Saturday is for rain and cool temperatures, which I hope will drive more people to the library. Almost everything I'm taking along is ready, except for attaching my signs to a project board. I have hopes of reusing the board for other events, so the plan is to tape the current signs to it as late as possible to prevent the tape from becoming too attached to the cardboard.

The short story that I posted recently, "Mr. Fixit," received a couple of nice comments on and has 63 hits on it so far. The story would be added to a short-story collection I've been toying with for a while, another sort of project to mix things up a bit. I don't want to be categorized as only a mystery novelist because I do like to write other genres too.

I also need to start thinking about "extras" to post here about "Dabblers" when it comes out, like the casting and music that I've done for other books. I have a few ideas in that regard, but there are more characters to cast. Can't wait to get image files for the final cover, as it looks really great.

Three novels in one year. Not bad for someone who also holds down a full-time job.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Ready, Set, Go

BIG progress this weekend. Printed galley for Dabblers to proofread. I've found it easier to read off paper copy and mark the corrections rather than reading from the computer screen. The file comes in PDF format and as I use "page down" to move through it, the computer does not follow a smooth progression through the document. At the bottom of what will be a printed page, scrolling down will jump to the bottom of the next page before going back to its top. Hard to keep track. And since my correction document is actually a table with the page, paragraph, line number, before image and after image, counting the paragraph and line can be tricky on the screen.

My little basement print shop was busy this weekend, too. I created my own business cards, eight signs to be attached to a project board, and an additional page about my latest books to append to an earlier flyer. Also made up a price sign for selling copies of "The Dreamer Gambit" at next week's Joliet Author Fair. Really excited about that event.

So once I proof the "Dabblers" galley, I'll return to "Stranger Faces" which is almost at the big climactic scene where "good" goes up against "evil." Then will come the editing, filling in, fact checking, and so on that completes the novel. Still haven't come up with a solid cover concept, but perhaps something will come to me as the story nears completion.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Dabblers Scheduled Release Date November 1

Picked up the galley for "Dabblers" this morning and will begin proofreading. I have three weeks to do the proofing and send back any corrections. The cover looks sensational.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Gearing Up

With various medical problems now behind me (I hope), I am gearing up for the Joliet Public Library Author Fair on October 13. This weekend will be for preparing signs and handouts.

After considerable debate and wringing of hands, I am adding an email address to my blog. You'll find it down at the bottom of the page under CONTACT ME. I seriously hope I don't wind up with a ton of spam, but I do plan to watch for emails and reply to any that request a reply.

Nothing sent to this email address will be used on this blog without the consent of the sender, so please don't be shy.

I've also made a bit of progress on "Stranger Faces" and started thinking a little bit about the cover art. While the notion of making up my own artwork was daunting at first, I've grown to like it a lot as a creative outlet. And since I've gotten more familiar with and adept at using different graphics facilities, I think the covers are getting better and better.

Still, "Stranger Faces" requires a good deal more writing on the first draft and then the addition of enriching layers. Soon (I hope), galleys for "Dabblers" will arrive and I will have to work on that. My publisher also mentioned a paper edition for "The Changeling Kill" which means another round of proofreading. I'll add the search for my next project to the list as well.

And having outlined all that work to be done, I feel invigorated, excited, because this is what I love to do.

Monday, October 1, 2012

An Annoying Interruption

Been under the weather for the last few days. The doctor said it's called torticollis, a spasm of the big muscle that goes across the shoulder and up into the neck. Very painful. I am on the mend now, but not quite 100% better. Over the last weekend, I did little or nothing in the way of writing. I didn't think anything could disable me enough to do that, but it did. Between the pain and the sleepy effects of the muscle relaxant, I could barely stay awake most of the time.

There are a few updates, however. My publisher asked about doing a print edition of "The Changeling Kill," and I noticed that the cover art for "The Dreamer Gambit" on the Amazon site has been changed to reflect the fact that it is part of a series. Since stuff is getting loaded to Amazon, maybe "Game Faces" will show up there soon, too.

Back to work on "Stranger Faces" until the galleys for "Dabblers" make the scene. I'm really hoping that one gets out for Christmas. The quarterly payout for book sales will be coming in the next couple of weeks. It is the only indicate I ever have of how many books I have sold. Unless . . .

Anyone reading this page who has read one or more of my books, please feel free to tell me so via a comment. 

Don't know what I'll get out of that, but you never can tell.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

A Change of Pace

As alluded to in a previous post, I had some ideas in mind for some more short stories. I finally decided to go ahead an write one of them. The inspiration came after I spent way too much time cleaning a virus from my computer and wishing there was some way to make people who create them pay for the irritation and aggravation. "Mr. Fixit" was born.

Click on the page at the left to read the story. It's not very long. Leave a comment if you like.

Sunday, September 23, 2012


A link from the Joliet Public Library on its Author Fair coming up in October contributed to 25 hits on this blog yesterday. People who click on my name come here. For a writer with a small publisher, this is how the game is played. I am going to put a link on this page (although not inside this particular post) to lead people from here to there. What goes around comes around.

Not a lot of writing got done since my previous post. Sometimes, life and work intrude. I did start writing one of those short stories I mentioned earlier, and have added a bit to "Stranger Faces" as well, mostly inserting bits in earlier parts of the novel to set up for coming events.

Pretty soon, the Chicago Writers Association will be publishing the next issue of "The Write City Mag" and it should contain an article I wrote for them which discusses some of the things I have learned about editing and  getting published. I hope it helps some new pre-published writers along their way. I'm going to add a link to CWA as well. For a writer in the Chicago area, it's a great resource.

With "Two Faces, Two Faced" print edition completed, I'm eagerly awaiting galleys for "Dabblers" which I  really hope will be available before the holiday shopping season. As soon as I get a projected release date, I'd like to buy an ad on the Love Is Murder site. Really looking forward to the conference in February.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012


More progress being made on "Stranger Faces," heading up to the point where it's kind of a free-for-all with every player involved. I really want to go for the humor here but with a dangerous edge, sort of like the denouement of "Two Faces, Two Faced."

I've also been giving more thought to what my next project should be, and the short story compilation holds ever greater appeal. Many of the stories have appeared on Authors Den and Writers Cafe already, but many could stand a touch of editing, which I discovered after reading a couple of them in the last week. So here's the list:

  • River of Ghosts (ghost story)
  • Night Vision (ghost story)
  • In Memory Of (ghost story)
  • Squatters (science fiction)
  • Tourist Season (science fiction)
  • Second Coming (science fiction)
  • Pets (science fiction)

There are a few more--one previously written, one mostly written, and two still just ideas--that would be included. Quite a collection now that I see it all listed.

Thinking about the finished stories, I really wish I was more of an artist. I have ideas for illustrations that could go with them. Alas, while I can squeak by in designing covers for my novels out of bits and pieces, I just don't have the talent or time or patience to draw from scratch. Especially people. I was never good a drawing people. Landscapes? Maybe.

This is an invitation to any visitors to leave a comment if this sounds like an interesting project.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

In the Name of Progress

Sometimes I miss the times of heads-down writing, whether pounding out brand new material or refining a draft. There's a lot of satisfaction in the process (of course, or I wouldn't do it). But those purely creative stages are also mixed with an urge, a desire, to get things going and see signs of success in this endeavor.

Flip side: creating publicity materials, monitoring websites and creating content for them, checking statistics, keeping records. These tasks provide a sense of action, moving forward, and yet make me long for the pure creative process. It's a balancing act, to be sure, especially when I factor in a day job, a house to manage and care for, a family which I want to have quality time with, and then the simple human requirements of eating, sleeping, and just relaxing sometimes.

I did cadge some time yesterday to print up brochures for the up-coming Author Fest in October. Doing 30 tri-folded brochures took less time than I would have expected. I have some more stuff to print--business cards, extensions to another handout about my books, signs. I'm holding back on the signs in case I get a release date for "Dabblers" which I could include on them.

On "Stranger Faces," I'm still thrashing around with the final chapters. It's tricky because there are so many characters involved and they all must be brought to a resolution point somehow. Occasionally, I think I should just start writing it and see what happens. I can always go back and revise as necessary. In the past, doing so has sometimes succeeded in breaking the logjam and getting things moving again.

The idea of creating an anthology of my short stories has become increasingly appealing. I have an idea for another story to add to the collection, too. I envision prefacing each story with a few notes about it, like its standing in the Writers of the Future contest or something about the inspiration for it. For the time being, I have the print edition of "Two Faces, Two Faced" and the ebook of "Dabblers" in the pipeline, plus "Stranger Faces" to finish. Guess I've got my own pipeline of projects.

Friday, September 14, 2012

It's a Labor of Love

"Stranger Faces" final sequence proving to be a major planning endeavor. There are so many people involved, each with his or her own motive for doing what they do, and it all has to come out in the end, preferably not in the form of a big chunk of exposition by any character in the wrap-up chapter. It's a tall order.

I've gone through the exercise of writing a sort of synopsis of what happens that Tracy doesn't get to know about until later. The tricky thing is that she is coming at the puzzle sideways, long after the action originally starts offstage. Each person involved takes actions that move the story forward but they must also have a motive for what they do. And it must be a believable one. As I work out those motivations and figure out who did what along the way, sometimes it changes passages I have already written in fundamental ways. For example, I had in mind two characters in a conspiracy but they have since merged into one. (Less complicated always helps!) Then I had to go back and make sure all the references were in order, did not contradict the actual facts but did not relay too much too soon to the reader. Arrrrgh! Sometimes creating the puzzle can be harder than unraveling one.

I've also been sidetracked a little by planning for the Joliet Author Fest. I have designed some new signage as well as a tri-fold brochure for my books. That took some fiddling around, but I think I've got something. It's not as fancy as the full-color fliers I put together for the Glen Ellyn BookFest back in June, but it does the job and may be easier for people to grab and look at. It might also lend itself to being placed in public places for the casual passerby.

Already I'm thinking ahead to my next project after "Stranger Faces." I've been toying with the idea of a collection of my science fiction short stories, an anthology type thing. Beyond that, there are a lot of choices among my older manuscripts, any of which could be revised and massaged into shape.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

You Learn Something New Every Day

I have been remiss. For someone who has spent much of her adult life writing computer programs, I am apparently woefully behind the times when it comes to the Internet, blogging, etc. (Hangs head in shame.)

I have gotten some emails recently indicating that people have commented on my blog, and I wondered why I could never see the comments displayed on the posts. After some searching, I learned what to do to activate the comments even for anonymous visitors.

Voila! I have read the comments I could not see before, now that I know where to look for them and to make sure they are not treated as spam just because they're anonymous. I welcome all comments from anyone, and I was overjoyed with the nice things people had to say. I do apologize for my ignorance which caused my appreciation to be expressed so long afterwards.

For any visitors who are newly published or still striving to be published, I thoroughly recommend my publisher's blog. She is a publisher, an author, and taught writing for many years. Her blog frequently provides important insights about publishing, editing, and writing fiction. I have learned a great deal from it and I visit her posts daily. Here is a link:

So please keep the comments coming, folks, and know that they will be displayed as part of the conversation. And for those who left links to their blogs, I will most certainly check them out.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Joliet Library Author Fest

Saturday, October 13, I will be at the Joliet Public Library's Black Road branch selling my books--ebooks as well as signed paperbacks of "The Dreamer Gambit." I look forward to meeting people there and talking about my books. "Dreamer" will be sold a special reduced price, and purchasers will receive a free chapbook for "The Changeling Kill", i.e., the first three chapters.

I'm going to try my hand at printing business cards myself. The forms were readily available at WalMart. I have the ink jet printer. Printing my own has the advantage that I can print a small number at a time and then be ready to update the content as needed. Can't do that very easily with business cards from an office store, where you have to buy hundreds of them at a time.

Finished second proof of "Two Faces, Two Faced" for the print edition. Only 12 changes, and they are very minor--some lost italics, a couple of misspelled words, a couple of word changes to prevent confusion to the reader. I've gone over the cover art several times. I think I'm done.

Hope "Game Faces" shows up on Amazon soon. Work on "Stranger Faces" has temporarily taken a back seat to other stuff, like promotional activities and proofreading. "Dabblers" galley should be ready in a few weeks, and I'll get to work on that.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Updates and News

After the Glen Ellyn Bookfest in June, I joined the Chicago Writers Association, and my membership may have just paid for itself. I received an email from them with an invitation to participate in another event held by the Joliet Public Library. They are hold an Author Fest in mid October, and I will be attending. I still have copies of "The Dreamer Gambit" to sell--at greatly reduced prices--as well as an abundance of information for the rest of my books. And participation is FREE! (I like free. Anything that furthers the sale of books that costs me little or nothing is like a gift.) I've already started updating promotional materials to include "Game Faces." I'll have a table where I can sell my books and talk to people. Very exciting.

Still proofing galley for "Two Faces, Two Faced" print edition, but the second reading has not unearthed any more changes so far, and I'm up to Chapter 5.

Looks like "Dabblers" will get into the next phase in a few weeks. I sent the cover art to go with the manuscript. Sounds like it will be released in 2012. Three books in one year!

"Game Faces" is starting to show up on other vendor sites, which is great. I also revamped and funded my Google ad.

"Stranger Faces" is progressing, but I'm still struggling/tinkering with that final big scene. I want to try to lighten things up a bit since I just finished a very dark passage. Tracy has reached her turning point, where it's time for her to fight back. I thinking to bring all the different factions together for one final chaotic showdown, and I'd like to do it with a touch of humor.

What comes after "Stranger Faces"? So many possibilities. A third entry for the Jack Watson series? A sequel to "Dabblers"? One of my old manuscripts resuscitated? There are a fair number of those to tap into. Ah, if only I could spend all my time writing . . .

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Tuesday, September 4, 2012


First pass on proofing galley for "Two Faces Two Faced" is done. Only one page of corrections so far. I might mention that corrections are provided in a table format with the page, paragraph, line numbers plus before and after images of the line being changed. There are 11 changes right now. I'll give it a rest for a day or so and then read it again.

A friend and fellow writer made a post on Facebook about editing her novel and how she's sick of the story already. I hear that. An odd thing happened while proofing "Faces" this weekend. I printed the entire file, but my old HP printer has issues with printing massive files all in one swoop, so I break it up into batches of 50 pages each. Because of the way PDF files show page numbers, I had some instances of missed pages. Anyway, I took a break from reading to go grocery shopping, and although I knew what part of the book I had stopped off at, I could not recall actually proofing the section that came before it even though I actually had. This comes from knowing the story so well by this time, through pre-submission editing to proofing e-book galleys, and now the print edition galley. Even so, I'm glad to say I still like my story and my characters.

On a side note, last night, my hubby and I were winding down in front of the TV, and we happened upon "Remington Steele." I have a special fondness for that TV show, which I did not see when it first aired but caught on DVD years later. When we borrowed it from the library, "Faces" was already underway, but I had yet to define a metal image of Tracy. Then, suddenly, I'm watching "Remington Steele" and Stephanie Zimbalist seemed like the perfect Tracy. Added to that, Pierce Brosnan made the perfect Kevin Fox. Later, I saw a commercial for "The Mentalist" and, voila!, Alex Laughlin had an image in Simon Baker.

Going to be doing some juggling for a while. Between getting the "Faces" print edition going and then the "Dabblers" ebook, plus updating all my publicity endeavors, progress on "Stranger Faces" will be a bit spotty. The final scene I talked about in a previous post is taking shape, but I had the idea that it might be fun to add some humor to it, not make it so heavy and dark. There's been plenty of darkness thus far in the book, and part of what makes Tracy, Tracy is her humor. The final scene will be somewhat chaotic with just about everybody involved, so it will be a challenge to write. But that's the fun part.