Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Teaser Tuesday Turned Tuesday Pimpage - Fangirl Style

I don't know if all y'all are familiar with Lynn Viehl's work.  If you're a writer, you might be more familiar with her as the brains and brawn behind the Paperback Writer (or PBW) blog - where she gives sterling advice sprinkled with humor and a little grit.  I know I first encountered Ms. Viehl there.  Then I read one of her books.  It was an offshoot from the StarDoc series she publishes under the name 'S.L. Viehl': After Burn.  I had no idea it was the second in that spinoff series - it was just the most recently published novel she had out at the time.

I inhaled it.  Then I went back and started either buying her backlist or getting it from the library.  I love her for those SciFi novels.  I thought it couldn't get any better...

Until she started publishing the Darkyn series under Lynn Viehl.  Oh my freakin' god.  That first one rocked me back on my heels.  It's totally different from her StarDoc series, but in a good way.  It's paranormal romance and it rocks.  She took the whole vampire mythology, turned it on its ear and kicked its ass.

And she's been doing it ever since.  First the Darkyn books, then the Kyndred books, and now with the Lords of the Darkyn series.  They've got suspense and mystery served with a heaping helping of spicy romance.  It's all just one big rolling wave of awesome. 

On the 7th, the third book in the Lords of the Darkyn - Nightbound - will hit the shelves and e-readers everywhere.  SQUEE!  Here's what Amazon has as the blurb for this...

New York Times bestselling author Lynn Viehl continues her captivating Lords of the Darkyn saga, as a warrior of hidden legacy is finally allowed to enter the fray….

Beaumaris of York has many secrets. No human can know that he’s an immortal Darkyn assigned to Knight’s Realm, the Kyn stronghold disguised as a medieval theme park. And none of his brethren can discover that he’s a half-breed, rescued from slavery as a child. Lately Beau has been yearning for action—and he’s about to find it with his new mission.

Brilliant archaeologist Dr. Alys Stuart is infamous for her extraordinary theories—especially those concerning the mysterious Knights Templar—and she is unaware that her research is funded by the Kyn coffers. When the Kyn sends a vexingly good-looking man to assist—and protect—her, she doesn’t expect the surge of attraction she feels for him.

When a powerful Templar artifact surfaces, Alys and Beau must trust each other enough to stop mankind’s greed for immortality from sparking a war between mortals and Kyn that will destroy the world.

If that doesn't reel you in, I don't know what will.

So, if you're in the mood, check out Lynn's books.  I doubt you'll be disappointed.

And hey, if you're interested in seeing what kind of awesome advice Lynn has for other writers, stop by one of my other blogs - The Unpublished Writers' Guide to Survival - tomorrow morning.  She's written a most excellent guest post about Finding Balance.  And if anyone knows how to do that, it's Lynn Viehl.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Well, Don't That Cork Your Tomaters

Hi All!  Sorry I'm late.  Thought I wrote the post for today.  Turns out the post I wrote was for tomorrow's Teaser Tuesday.  D'oh!  Stop by tomorrow and watch me pony up with the pimpage for a most awesome fellow author.

As for today?  I thought I'd take a quick second to ponder the use of quaint phrases in our writing.  Take, for instance, the title of this post.  I'm not even all that sure what it means, but I seem to remember someone telling me that one of my grandparents used to say that - long before I was born.  At any rate, it does add a certain color and flavor to the world, doesn't it?

Great grandma used to say "whatever blows your skirt up" - a phrase I adopted and use today.  As in 'hey, that house really wasn't blowing my skirt up, but this one is'.

I'm not sure if phrases like those have any place in today's writing.  Lord knows, unless you're specifically writing dialogue for someone who would speak that way (which includes first person POV), you really shouldn't use them at all.

A Manhattan socialite would not say 'whatever floats your boat' - unless she's lived for 8 decades without aging.  She's not only had to adapt to several different times and locations, she's seen too much of the world to fit into any kind of mold.

I guess what I'm saying is use folksy phrases at your own discretion.

What's one good folksy phrase you've heard?  Do you know what it means?  Would you use it in your writing?  If you're not a writer, what do you think about authors using antiquated phrases like that?

Friday, April 26, 2013

The cat crazies

If you've ever owned a cat, you've probably witnessed the phenomenon I call 'the cat crazies'.

My middle cat goes through this on a regular basis*. Usually in the evening when the rest of the house is quiet, he'll come barreling out of somewhere like he's being chased by the fires of hell. He'll come to a screeching halt in the middle of the room and pounce on something invisible, then pivot and race away once again as if something horrifying is in hot pursuit.

Usually by the time the dust has cleared and I'm trying to figure out where he went, he's back, repeating the same cycle - run, stop, pounce, pivot, run. Oftentimes there's a slide on the kitchen floor, a bump into a wall or a mash-up with another cat who just happens to be meandering by. This goes on for several minutes, then it stops and he's perfectly fine. If you look at him questioningly, you get that slow cat blink that says, "What? Is there an issue? Because I'm not aware of one."

The reason I mention the cat crazies is because lately I feel like I've got them myself. Not that I'm racing around the house, pouncing on things that aren't there, but with regards to writing, I feel like I do a lot of running, screeching to a halt, changing direction and running again, headed somewhere I'm sure will be the right direction only to find myself back where I started, chasing some intangible thing - the perfect plot, the perfect ending, the perfect scene.

I'm trying to curb the crazy and stay on one, slow and steady track to finish the books in my series, but it seems like each time I feel like I'm getting somewhere, I look up and realize I've just bumped into a wall and it's time to change direction again.

I suppose, like the cat, eventually I will wear myself out and everything will be fine, but until then I find having the ‘writer crazies’ is quite exhausting. Have you ever had them? How did you slow yourself down and get back to normal?

*That is not him in the picture, he declined to be photographed for this article.


FYI, - if you are following my Spring River Valley Series, you can get a jump on everyone - Book 5 - MATCHED UP IN MAY is now Available if you just can't wait until May 1st - and I hope you can't.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

We Writers Love Our Snacks, Don't We?

In honor of National Pretzel Day, which is tomorrow, we want to know what your favorite snacks are. Salty? Sweet? Crunchy? Creamy?

CLARICE: Snacks are my favorite snacks. I like everything, that's my problem. If I had to choose the best, I'd probably pick smoked almonds and after that, anything vaguely chocolate. I like pretzels dipped in peanut butter, grapes dipped in Nutella, strawberries dipped in sugar, chips dipped in...well dip - are you noticing a pattern here?

JB: Is coffee a snack? It's what I reach for most often while writing. Followed closely by cheese and peanut butter.

B.E.:  I'd live on snacks, if I could.  But I don't snack while I write.  (Maybe if I wrote more often, like I should, I'd lose weight just from the lack of snacking.)  And what I snack on depends on the mood.  Sometimes I want sweet stuff.  A bag of M&Ms - preferably peanut, but any will do.  A package of cookies.  Clover Valley makes these fudgy-peanut butter cookies that are almost exactly like the Girl Scouts put out - at half the price.   Other times, I'm hankering for a bit of salt.  Then it's crunchy Cheetos or Doritos or nachos with cheesy salsa dip.

And now, I'm hungry...

Tell us Killer Friends: What do YOU snack on?

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Cover reveal: The Hitwoman and the Family Jewels

I had SUCH a good time writing THE HITWOMAN AND THE FAMILY JEWELS (book 4 in the Confessions of a Slightly Neurotic Hitwoman series) which will be out in May.

This story is all about family. The family we're born into and the family we choose.

How do you say “no” to a mob boss?

When bumbling hitwoman Maggie Lee is asked by her mob boss employer to kill a cop, she wants to say no.

When her sexy murder mentor, Patrick Mulligan tells her the cop in question is a guy she once dated, she REALLY wants to refuse.

But when her former date, Paul Kowalski tries to kill her, she changes her tune to “Hell, yes!”

Maggie and Patrick grow closer as they scramble to figure out what it is that Kowalski is looking for and what it has to do with her prison escapee father.

Maggie’s search is hampered by the presence of US Marshals hunting her father and her crazier-than-usual family.

Along with her snarky talking lizard, grammatically-challenged Doberman, and a pissy cat, she races to solve the mystery and protect her family. But nothing in Maggie’s life ever goes as planned….

If you missed it yesterday, just scroll down and you can read a snippet from THE HITWOMAN AND THE FAMILY JEWELS. More information about the rest of the series can be found here.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013


Here's a teaser from my next release: THE HITWOMAN AND THE FAMILY JEWELS  which will be out in May!

You know it’s going to be a bad day when your worst nightmare is coming true, Doomsday is excited, and God is lecturing you about silver linings or some such crap.

I dumped the contents of a dresser drawer into a garbage bag.

If you’d asked me a couple of months ago what my worst nightmare was, I would have told you it was the possibility of having to move back in with my meddling aunts, and that’s exactly what I found myself doing.

“You’re doing the right thing,” God told me, as though he could read my thoughts. 

I glanced over at the anole lizard, stretched out in the terrarium perched precariously in the middle of my bed.  His full name is Godzilla, but he preferred to go by “God.”  And yes, I can talk to him. This is a relatively new skill…just one of many I’ve developed since a car accident earlier this year.

“I know I’m doing the right thing. That doesn’t mean I’m happy about it.”

“Happy DeeDee!” The seventy-pound Doberman Pinscher sprawled in the doorway, whose real name is Doomsday, was excited because I’d told her we were moving to a place that had grass. I’d also told her it was hell on earth, but that particular detail hadn’t registered in her tiny canine brain.

Ignoring her, God said, “You don’t have to like it. You just have to remember that you’re doing this for Katie.”

Katie was the only person I’d do this for.  The lawyer I’d hired to help me fight for custody of my niece had made the suggestion I move back in with my aunts. She said it would help to illustrate I could provide a stable family environment for the little girl once she was released from the premium care facility. The car accident had left her with a traumatic brain injury, resulted in the death of her parents, and made me Katie’s legal guardian. It also left me able to converse with animals, but I don’t like to think about that.

Just like I don’t like to think about the fact I’m a hitwoman.

“Are you adopting a homeless motif?” God asked.


“Most people treat their belongings with respect when they’re packing for a move. You’re putting all of your worldly possessions into a trash bag. Are you trying out a bag lady look?”

“I’m only moving my clothes, not all my worldly possessions. Everything else is staying here. If you piss me off you can stay here too.”

“God take! God take!” Doomsday panted.

“You’ve upset the imbecile with your threats,” God drawled smugly. “Don’t—“

Before I could finish berating the lizard for being mean to the dog (yes, my life is that pathetic) my alarm clock buzzed. “Crap!”

“You’re going to be late,” God said.

I dropped the half-filled garbage bag on the floor. “Where are my keys?”

“Kitchen table,” he replied. “Don’t forget to turn on the television before you leave.”

Snatching up the remote, I turned on the set and ran from the room.

“True crime!” God shouted. “You forgot to set it to the true crime station!”

Turning around I did his bidding. When I’d first brought him home, the lizard had been fanatical about watching Wheel of Fortune, but now, since he’s my wingman whenever I go off to kill someone, he’s obsessed with true crime shows.

Tell me Killer Friends: What's YOUR definition of a bad day? (Mine is a day without coffee.)

THE HITWOMAN GETS LUCKY is free now on iBookstore, Amazon and Kobo. Download a copy and drop me a note to let me know what you think of it!

Monday, April 22, 2013

So, Let's Talk Writing

By now, everyone I know is probably pretty sick of hearing about my move, my new house... yada yada yada.  (I know I am.)  So, let's talk writing instead.  After all, it's what we Killer Chicks do.  We write.  Everything else that goes on in our lives might take precedence at any given moment, but what it all boils down to is this...

We are writers.

I know JB over there is working her ass off to get her writing done, despite what life throws at her.  And Clarice, she's got books launching and getting ready to launch - plus a job and kids.

Me?  I'm the unpub of the group, so I don't really have deadlines to speak of.  But I'm still a writer.  When I have downtime, that's what I should be doing.  I should have pen in hand, or keyboard in front of me, getting words onto paper. 

This means work.  Regardless of life stuff, this is my job.  My job is not to watch baseball, to catch a movie (because we have movie channels for the first couple months of satellite), or to play WordForge.  My job is to write.  Period.

And if I can't miss the Yankees game, then I should be writing during commercials.  Right now, I'm first drafting in a notebook, so it's not like I can't sit over there in my new cushy recliner, jotting down the next few paragraphs.  Or plotting what the next scene is going to look like.  Or deciding what Anne's going to look like when I finally introduce her formally later in the book - during the 7th inning stretch, of course.

So, that's what I'm going to do.  I'm going to write.  And maybe if I work hard enough this year, I'll finally get an agent and/or a contract.  Keep your fingers crossed.

What's your job?  And are you working at it?

Friday, April 19, 2013


So last weekend my husband and I took a mini-vacation to Newport, Rhode Island, trusting my two teenagers and three cats could look after my house and my mother while we were gone or vice versa. My main concern was that the kids would be able to activate and de-activate the alarm system, which they tend to forget exists, so I held an impromptu class before we left to go over alarm system protocol, pass codes and code words, etc.

The alarm system was fine, but nevertheless, at about 11:30 PM on Saturday night my husband's cell phone went off and we blearily answered my daughter's 'distress' call.

"There's a mouse in the house," she told us.
Me: Seriously? How do you know?
Her: I saw it. The cats [as you know, we have three] were trying to drown it.
Me: You're kidding.
Her: No, it was in their water bowl and they were taking turns smacking it on the head. [Sort of like Whack-A-Mole, I presumed.]
Me: Oooh, poor mouse.
Her: Then it ran into the vent in the kitchen.
Me: Oh, joy. [Assuming it went there to die, I had to look forward to the aroma of mouse carcass.]
Her: What should I do?
Me: We have three cats. It's their job to deal with it.
Her: Okay, should I stay up until they catch it.
Me: No, I'm sure they'll leave it for you somewhere where you will be sure to step in it when they're done. Don't walk barefoot in the dark and if you find the remains, just gather them in a bag and throw it away - OUTSIDE, please.
Her: Okay. Good night.

After this conversation I let out a long, slow breath and realized of all the reasons we could have gotten a call from home in the middle of the night, this was one of the least worrisome. I decided I wouldn't let the fact that there was a MOUSE in my HOUSE bother me. At least until I got home.

About an hour later, the phone rang again. Now a text from my daughter rather than a call.

She writes: Solved the mouse problem.
We respond: That's great. How?
She writes: Balls. Got a box, trapped the b!tch, went outside and released the beast into the wild. The cats are mad at me.
We respond: Not suprised. You ruined all their fun. At least you can go to sleep now.

It's been five days and there have been no more signs of any critters lurking, we had a nice time, saw some gorgeous views and got to unwind for a couple of days. On the down side, I think I liked being unplugged just a little too much. It's been much harder to get back into the swing of things this week than I thought it would be. I had envisioned coming home energized and raring to get back to current WIP and in reality I returned with a case of the lazies. Maybe I need a good mouse hunt to get my energy level back up.

Or maybe not.

How was YOUR weekend?

Thursday, April 18, 2013

How do YOU alleviate stress?

Tuesday was National Stress Awareness Day....we're not sure why EVERY day isn't Stress Awareness Day, so we're wondering. What do YOU do to relieve stress?

CLARICE: Stress can be relieved? No way. Really? I do things to unwind - how much stress I actually relieve is debatable. Usually I paint or draw - any kind of artistic pursuit [except writing of course] tends to relax me. Finding time to pursue artistic pursuits actually causes me a lot of stress. Can't win. Oh, eating chocolate de-stresses me too. Feeling guilty about eating too much chocolate causes me stress. Can't win.

B.E.: I've found he best way to alleviate stress is to identify whatever is stressing you out and then kick the crap out of it.  But I'm not always that self-aware.  And sometimes even when I know what's causing the stress, there's not a darn thing I can do about it.  In those cases, I eat.  Or I read.  Or I find a nice place where I can scream without terrifying the neighbors (like pressing my face into a pillow).  I used to drink, but drinking to get rid of stress is its own naughty monkey, so I stopped.

J.B.:  Exercise can be a great stress reliever. It doesn't have to be strenuous, just movement. It's almost as if the act of moving helps to get my reaction (or more likely, my overreaction) to whatever's bothering me unstuck.

Singing silly songs (like from ANNIE, MARY POPPINS or THE SOUND OF MUSIC) helps a lot.

I'm a big fan of venting to friends...if only so they confirm that yes, a situation sucks, so that I know I'm not nuts.  Recently a friend gave me a squishy "stress cupcake" (instead of a stress ball). I must admit that squeezing it and throwing it against the wall HAS helped.  ;-)

Tell us Killer Friends: What do you do to relieve stress?

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Losing Focus -- How do you get it back?

I've literally lost focus this week. No, really. I've got this awful eye sty that got so big it interfered with my vision. So now I have a medication and am spending half my day with warm compress covering half my face...so NOT a productive way to spend one's day. Note: Applying medication to the inside of one's eyelid is just as uncomfortable as you're now imagining.

Anyway, now that I've grossed you out, as I was saying: I lost focus. Literally.

I also lost focus emotionally. I was utterly wrecked by what happened at the Boston Marathon as I know so many others were.

So how do you regain focus?

For some people taking a break. Just walking away and refilling the creative well, helps.

Others fall back on their writing rituals. A certain pen, a cup of coffee, a particular playlist.

Still others throw up their hands, put their work-in-progress away, and work on whatever idea is distracting them.

I've used all three. Hell, I used all three YESTERDAY.

None of them worked particularly well.

Tell me Killer Friends: How do you regain focus when life throws you a curveball?

I'm going back to my warm compresses and this disgusting salve....but before I do, I have to share the following.

Yesterday was an amazing day. THE HITWOMAN GETS LUCKY stayed in the number one spots on Amazon's Top 100 Free HUMOR and CRIME books. I'm so excited that so many people are getting the chance to meet Maggie Lee.

My favorite shot of the day (because I'm a Harlan Coben fan)

Also, THE HITWOMAN GETS LUCKY is now available (and free!) for all you Apple readers.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Teaser Tuesday - Matched up in May

Coming very soon...

“You did it for Audrey, I want you to do it for me too,” Bailey whispered as she helped Cassandra Hall set up a spread of cupcakes and pastries in the Herald’s cafeteria. Maybe now wasn’t the best time to beg the caterer for matchmaking services, but she was desperate. Audrey Desmond and Cassie’s cousin Max Shannon had just celebrated their three-month anniversary thanks to Cassie’s matchmaking efforts, and with the one-year anniversary of the date she’d kicked her lying, cheating boyfriend Dan to the curb looming, she’d decided it was time to meet someone who could make her as happy as Audrey and Max made each other.
Cassie finished lining up a gorgeous array of red velvet cupcakes decorated with little sugar flowers in honor of the newspaper’s spring company picnic. She wiped her hands on her flowered apron and turned a serious gaze on Bailey. “I’m trying to cut down.”
Bailey eyed the cupcakes, cookies, and mini-cheesecakes that would fuel an afternoon of fun and games in the newspaper’s sprawling parking lot. “On what?”
“Matchmaking. I need to stop meddling in other people’s love lives.”
“Oh, no. You definitely shouldn’t stop. I mean, look at Audrey and Max. They’re so happy.”
Cassie rolled her eyes and nudged a couple of cupcakes in an already perfectly neat row.
“What was that? Are Max and Audrey not happy?”
“No, they’re great…really perfect for each other, and that’s the problem. I didn’t actually match them up. Everyone just thinks I did.”
“But Audrey told me…”
“It’s a long story. Let’s just say, my mojo isn’t what it used to be. Max and Audrey got where they are all on their own.”
Bailey sighed. This was just not fair. After nearly a year of strictly enforced avoidance of dating, she needed to try out her new attitude, her new hairdo, and her new lingerie. She’d clawed her way out of the shell of depression Dan’s infidelity had sent her into, made peace with the fact that she’d deliberately remained oblivious to so many of the signs that he was cheating on her, and made the decision that her next relationship was going to mark a new era in her life.
The moment she’d found out Cassie would be catering the desserts for the newspaper picnic, she’d volunteered as one of the kitchen helpers so she could nonchalantly hit the girl up for some of her famous love magic since none of the other attempts she’d made at wading back into the dating pool had produced any results.
“Please? This could be your swan song. I just need…a little help.”
Cassie gave Bailey an appraising once-over. “Honey, you’re gorgeous. What kind of help could you need?”
Coming from the pretty blonde with perfect bone structure, the compliment was worth something. Bailey grinned. “Thanks, but this is all new…I just had a makeover, and I’m not really comfortable…flirting or anything. I’ve been off the market for a while, and I don’t want to look like a fool, throwing myself at some guy I know nothing about.”
“So throw yourself at a guy you do know something about. This place is crawling with attractive men.”
“I don’t know any guys I want to throw myself at. I—” Bailey waved a hand in front of her. “I don’t want to throw myself at anyone. I just want to meet a nice guy I can talk to, who’s honest and trustworthy. A ‘what you see is what you get’ kind of guy.” She thought of Dan whose polished good looks hid the heart of a snake. Any guy with super white teeth and slicked back hair and a spray-on tan was out, out, out.
The expression on Cassie’s face told Bailey the woman was battling with herself. Finally, she pulled Bailey aside, toward the corner of the cafeteria and away from the other volunteers. “All right. One last time, and only because I know a guy who might be just what you’re looking for.”
Relief washed over Bailey. She resisted the urge to hug Cassie. “Thank you! I really appreciate it. I just…need to get back out there…”
“Let me give him a call and see what I can work out. Give me your number, and I’ll call you before the weekend.”
Bailey slipped Cassie one of her business cards. “I owe you, big time! What can I do for you?”
“You don’t owe me yet. If everything works out for you, let me cater the wedding.” Cassie winked.
“Deal. Thank you.”
“Don’t thank me yet. I’ll call you.” Cassie slipped Bailey’s card into her apron pocket and began collecting the empty cupcake trays. One of the other volunteers helped her carry them out to her van, and Bailey drifted over to where her friend Evie Prentice was helping stack plastic cups and paper plates.
“It’s done,” she whispered in a conspiratorial tone to the reporter.
Evie grinned. “She’s going to get you a guy?”
“She said she knows someone. I’m so nervous already.”
“Don’t be. You’ll be fine. I’m still sorry things didn’t work out between you and Taylor.” Bailey knew Evie still felt bad that there hadn’t been any sparks between Bailey and Taylor Croft. She’d set Bailey up with her boyfriend Tanner’s identical twin brother last month, but while the veterinarian was handsome and considerate and very sweet, there just hadn’t been any fire between them. She liked Taylor a lot, and they’d even taken in a movie on their own without Evie and Tanner, but all they’d managed to do was forge a nice friendship, nothing more serious. Evie thought the whole situation had damaged Bailey’s confidence, but that wasn’t the case at all. All Bailey wanted at the moment was someone to test the waters with, and Taylor was looking for a serious, no-holds-barred, lifelong commitment. Bailey was sure he’d find it eventually, but she just wasn’t the girl he was looking for.
“It’s fine. Taylor’s great, but he’s not the guy for me. I’m okay with that.”
“Who did Cassie fix you up with?”
“She said she’d call me by the end of the week. The suspense may kill me by then.”
Evie laughed. “Don’t worry. I’ve got an EMT on my speed dial.”


If you're not caught up on the happenings in Spring River Valley so far, you can find Jilted in January, Fixed up in February, Mixed up in March and An Affair in April at Amazon.com and now at Smashwords!

Monday, April 15, 2013

The Ebb and Flow

I don't know how it goes for every writer, but I know, for me, writing has an ebb and flow to it.  Sustained effort keeps it flowing.  When I have to stop for some reason, it totally ebbs and then it's hard to get it flowing again. 

"You can't wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club." - Jack London

Which is where I'm at.  Club in hand, going after inspiration.  I did write last night.  I jotted down what are probably 3 of the crappiest hand written pages ever.  But I did it.  I hunted the muse down and jumped her in the underbrush, beating those few pages out of her.  (So no wonder they suck.)

If I keep at her, though, she'll start ponying up with the goods, and I'll start being nicer to her.  Until the next major life event that derails me - like having all the furniture delivered and focusing on all that.  That's the way the ebb and flow work in this crazy brain of mine.

Do you have an ebb and flow in your life?  Are you waiting for inspiration or are you stalking it with a club?

Friday, April 12, 2013

Pausing to recharge

I'm going on a mini-vacation this weekend and I can't wait - but in addition to worrying about what to pack (I always forget something) and how the kids will do while my husband and I are gone (they're 18 and 15 and my mom will be home with them) and how the cats will handle mommy and daddy being gone (they're spoiled felines who will probably be insulted by our absense) and spending money (I always feel guilty about indulging myself) I'm also agonizing about unplugging for 2 1/2 days.

I'm so used to checking e-mail, surfing web news, visiting my forums, perusing Twitter and having a document open in front of me, that I find it hard to make the decision to let go and actually leave the laptop at home. (I'll take my Kindle with me.)

I know I'll go through withdrawal symptoms. Some people have coffee with their breakfast, I have the Internet. I know I'll feel disconnected. Even when I'm out in the world, I feel like this little glowing box in front of me is my window to the world. I know I won't regret it either, but making the break is still tough.

Do you have a hard time unplugging from the cypber world? How do you do it and how often?

Thursday, April 11, 2013

What would you name yourself?

Many of us struggle with naming our characters, but if you had the chance, what would you name yourself? (We're asking because the 9th was Name Yourself Day.)

CLARICE: Naming characters used to be a lot easier back when I only had a couple of published works, but nearing 50 novels, novellas and short stories, I'm really running out of names I like. I've always loved the name Kate - [way too popular and seriously overused] - so if I had to name myself [again] that would be a serious contender.

JB: I love names that are good for male or female characters so I tend to gravitate toward Sam, or Pat, or Chris. (I would have loved to have been a Sam....so that's our Senegal parrot's name, lol.) I love the name of a character in one of my WIPs -- Ivan Vogler.

B.E.:  As I child, I had a massive pretend life, and in it, I was either Cassandra or Alexandra.  My real name is so short, I wanted something exotic, I guess.  

Tell us Killer Friends: Are there any character names you despise? Any you love? Have you ever given a character a name you'd rather have?

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Writing a Novella

I just published a novella (THE HITWOMAN GETS LUCKY) and I’m currently writing another one (Coffee and Crime Scenes) so I guess you can say I’ve got novellas on the brain.

I can’t speak for other authors, but I think that a novella is its own, strange animal. Someone said, “It’s just like writing a short book, isn’t it?”

Yes…and no. (Definitely “no”.)

Here are some things I keep in mind while working on a novella:

Keep It Simple Stupid 

This means I can’t have a lot of characters and I can’t include all the little extra sub-plots I’ve got swirling around in my brain. 

Have a single, central question.

In THE HITWOMAN GETS LUCKY that question is: Will Maggie successfully pull off a theft?

Plot tightly

There’s no room in a novella for meandering tangents…no matter how amusing they might be.

      Keep the stakes/ticking clock front and center 
      While this is true for all of my books, I think this becomes even more important in a novella since I’m not including as many storylines to keep the action moving. 

      Have fun

There’s something energizing about writing a novella. Maybe it’s the fact that not as many strings have to be tied together. It’s okay to have fun. It’s so short that even if you make a mistake, it won’t take forever to fix it.

Just an FYI that THE HITWOMAN GETS LUCKY is currently free on Kindle and Kobo (and only 99cents on B&N). Why not download a copy and enter my contest?

Tell me Killer Friends: Do you read novellas? Which would you recommend? Have you tried to write one? What tips would YOU share?