Thursday, October 6, 2011


Edit-Edit-Edit what can I say? Wow, the process is so tedious. But maybe it wouldn’t be for someone who doesn’t use words such as just in just about every sentence. I just don’t seem to be able to stop using the word.

I found out some tips in this edit process. Most of you probable already know but on the outside chance you are as computer illiterate as I, I thought I'd share my findings.

1) Watch for point of view (POV) problems. If you start a scene in one person's POV, you need to stay there. Don't head hop.

2) Knew or know

See or saw

Thought or think

Notice or noticed

These are all "telling" words. Don't tell us someone "sees" something when you can just have them see it. Don't tell us someone "feels" something. Show us what they feel. There are times "thought or think" can be used but make sure you can't show us better by just having them think it. If we are in their POV we know they are thinking. Don't tell us they notice something. Just show us they noticed it.

3) Try, trying, tried

Attempt, attempted

Again, telling words for the most part. Instead of having him try something, have him do it, etc.

4)Just - overused word you can get rid of 90% of the time

5) Was - it's a passive word but not to say don't use it. Look at the sentence and if you can see a more active way to word it, then do.

6) at him, to her, for him, etc.
These can usually be deleted altogether.

7) A word on tags. If we know who is speaking, there is no need to tell us. And if the dialogue is good, you don't need to tag with words like - he emphatically stated or he rebuked, etc. I suppose occasionally you might add some of that but by and large "said" will do it or nothing at all if we know who is talking.

If you are like most author’s you have some repetitious words. Mine are just and quickly.
What I found out that saved hours and hours of searching, if you go to the top of your page look for the Edit options, and then find. Put in the word you overuse and it runs you through your entire manuscript page after page to find that word. I was just amazed at how many times I used the word just.
Hope this helps at least one of you; otherwise I’m the only one who needs to go back and take English lit 101. Ha-Ha.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Becoming a successful writer

The best piece of advice I have ever heard about becoming a successful writer: "If anything can stop you from becoming a writer, let it. If nothing can stop you, do it and you'll make it."

Don't let anything, fear, fame or fortune stop you. The ultimate secret of becoming a successful author is making a total lifetime commitment.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Scariest Moment

Okay first time writing something that has nothing to do with writing. Last night at my youth group (I being a leader) I was asked “What was the scariest thing you ever did?” Anyone who knows me knows there isn’t much that scares me (beyond grasshoppers and cockroaches, okay there I said it,) so I couldn’t come up with any good answer. On the way home however I found my answer. I was wreck diving in Florida, the waters were extremely turbulent and I was having equipment malfunctions. I knew with all my training (I'm a Dive Master)I should have aborted the dive as soon as I reached the bottom, but my stubbornness overpowered my common sense and I continued the dive. Once I reached the other side of the ship at ninety-six feet I found I was almost out of air and didn’t have enough to get back. The ocean was entirely too turbulent to surface so I had no choice I had to try and get back to the safety line. I looked for my dive buddy (my brother) he was to far away to signal but another diver was close by and asked (with hand signal) if I was okay. I signaled I was almost out of air. He looked at my gage, grabbed my hand and the two of us swam as fast as we could back to the safety line. Once we reached the line I ran out of air completely and we buddy breathed all the way back up including our safety stop.

That guy was my hero, turns out he was a Jag officer, very cool under pressure.

Moral to my story: often our scariest moments are because of bad decisions and bad judgment calls.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Perfect Pitch: Condensed query letter

What will get you noticed? What will it take to get an agent to even read your book? I understand that most agents are overwhelmed by want-to-be authors. So how does one stand out above the rest?
I am going to try a different approach. I will let anyone interested follow my approach to see if it works. I’ll update my progress.

I read an article by Jillian Manus on The Perfect Pitch, Ms. Manus starts by saying, “The pitch is one of the most integral parts of the selling process. It is the key that opens the door from you to an agent when you’re looking for representation.”

In the past I always tried to give as much information as I could in a few short paragraphs, trying to tempt an agent to read the book, even though what I was sending was a poor representation of what the book was really about.

After reading, The Perfect Pitch, I decided to condense my query letter into that perfect pitch as Ms. Manus suggested. You should be able to sell your idea in a few short sentences so try this; condense your query into teaser-pitch-hook and resolution.

My book, After the Mist, has already been accepted by publisher and will be on the market February 2012, so I will pitch another book, a Psychological Thriller; When the Dam Breaks, to agents one at a time.

My first draft query letter read like this:

Kelly Martin knows something is horribly wrong as her world is hurled into complete chaos. She is plagued by disturbing thoughts, and evil glimpses, but can find no escape from the nightmares. She feels her sanity slipping away bit by bit leaving helplessness, despair and madness in its wake.

She desperately needs to escape the most dangerous man she’s ever known. As the wife of a Homicide Detective she should feel safe, comforted in the protecting arms of her husband, unless of course her husband is the very one she needs protection from.

When a rash of horrifying murders tears through the city, things take a blind turn as Kelly’s husband Detective Bob Martin starts to pursue the killer.

A long lost passion is once again introduced into their marriage. It soon becomes clear to Kelly that the passion which ignites Bob’s sexuality into a raging force is the passion for the kill itself.

Her world spirals even further out of control as she realizes that the murders are not the work of an amateur, but of a calculating, well-organized, and lethal mastermind, for killer Bob pursues is none other then Bob himself.

 . . . And it went on and on and on until you lost interest or went to sleep.

The condensed version:

(The Teaser)

Have you ever had one of those dreams where you want to run, need to run, your very life depends on you running but you can’t make your feet move?

(The Pitch)

Kelly Martin’s life mirrors one of those dreams. She needs to escape the most dangerous man she could ever imagine, her husband.

(The Hook)

When Kelly’s husband, Homicide Detective Bob Martin starts to pursue a serial killer it soon becomes clear that his new found passion, the one which ignites his sexuality into a raging force is his passion for the kill itself.

(The Resolution)

Her world spirals out of control as she realizes the murders are not the work of an amateur, but of a manipulative, well-organized, and lethal mastermind, for the killer Bob pursues is none other then Bob, himself.
What Kelly doesn’t realize, is that Bob is only the tip of the iceberg, for what lies beneath the surface, is more sinister then anything she could have ever envisioned.


Someday I fully expect, not hope but expect to be a best selling author, so I will continue to shoot for the top.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Aren’t all fiction writers a bit touched?

I asked some fellow Authors the following question:
Do you ever just get so involved with writing, become so obsessed, that your every thought is plotting for that story line? Be it driving in the car or watching television, you mind is just elsewhere. Then when you finally take a breath, decide to check e-mails you find there are over seven hundred, and over three hundred in the spam folder. Well that's where I am today.

Here are some of their fun answers:

Cathy I can SOOO relate--as I'm sure ALL writers can.
I've been struggling to wring blood from a I mean write more than 200 words a day on my manuscript. Yesterday, I'm not sure what happened but the dam broke. I began writing and was so lost that I didn't realize my dad was standing outside my front door. Apparently the dog had been barking for about15 or 20 minutes, dad had been knocking, calling me through screened windows, etc.
He finally walked in the house and said "Hey!"

Scared the hell out of me! I grabbed the nearest weapon and came up swinging... LOL He says "where were you?"
I grinned. "Milwaukee, having dinner with the most HOTTIE on the planet!"

He just shook his head, asked for the garage door opener and walked away.

Embarrassed us both a bit because I was dressed in a nightgown--hadn't gotten dressed yet and it was already 7 pm...I figure why bother at that point, you know? BWAHAHAHAH
But hey! Final written word tally for yesterday? 3552 words (18 pages! Hot diggity dawg! YEEEHAW!)


Eek! That's where I've been for the last bit. Just writing and writing! And if I'm not writing, I'm plotting! I love it! I feel so full of life! Which is funny since I did go about three days without eating. My excuse? I forgot! You'd think I'd be feeling weak or brain-dead...

My problem is nighttime. I'm in bed, eyes closed waiting for sleep and a 'damned' character says, "Hey, you forget ..... " So, I'm outta bed, into my office, at the computer looking for the section the character was complaining about. The dialogue that goes on in my head at 11 or 12 at night is evil. Sleep just won't come until I get up and fix the problem.

Okay, I've tried a pencil and paper beside the bed. Won't work. I can't read my own writing in the morning, and I live with a light sleeper. I tried the light one night! Was told to turn out the light and go to my office. So now I do. I sure would like a good night's sleep for a change.

I have tried pen and notepad--I had a mini flashlight clipped to the spiral binding of the notebook--didn’t work for me either. If it wasn't my handwriting being illegible it was other minor irritations--the dog got excited when the light came on and thought it was time to freaked out and attacked us...etc. etc.
I now keep a micro cassette tape recorder in my nightstand and when those dang voices come shouting, I pull covers over my head and whisper into mike. Well used to whisper. Since DH doesn't live here full time I can pretty much come and go without bothering anyone else...LOL
What I like about the recorder thing is that I can do it with my eyes closed, in the dark and can fall back to sleep with minimal problems.
Last couple weeks I haven't had such problems. When you wash a couple of sleeping pills down with a glass (or three of wine) you tend to sleep pretty hard...What? Did I say that out loud??? BWAHAHAHAH

(For those who don't know me well-- I WAS joking! hehehehe :-*)


Oh boy, have I ever? In fact, was advised this a.m. that my "medical condition" was caused by low blood pressure AND low blood sugar -- the result of skipping meals and getting dehydrated (forgetting to drink water. It's evidently really important to remember stuff like water in this high desert. lol)


I have to drug my characters with Benadryl every night or else they will keep me up until 3 a.m.

Moral to the story, if you’re a fiction writer and are nagged by voices, you’re not necessarily crazy and you’re not alone. I for one have learned to pay attention to those voices. Often it’s one of my, let’s call them my invisible friends, screaming at me to change something, something I made them say without their approval.

Okay so maybe I am crazy. But, aren’t all fiction writers a bit touched?

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

E-Book vs. Print Book:

When I was first offered a publishing contract it was to an exclusive e-book publisher, I promptly declined as I was not familiar with the e-book market. I have since done a lot of research on the subject, and found like everything that was introduced to the market as something new, computer, cell phone etc. I am one of the last to get on board. After all I bought a beta VCR, when its price dropped dramatically after the VHS came into focus. The Beta soon became a dinosaur and dropped off the market completely, leaving me with a useless Beta machine. Most of you reading this will ask "You bought a what?" Doesn’t matter live and learn. I find with books that though I have yet come on board with the e-book technology it is slowly but surely advancing with or without me.

Ease of transmission. Each printed book must be physically printed using a variety of materials, and this costs considerable money and takes considerable time even with modern technology. Save for bestsellers, books sell slowly and many writers never see royalties beyond their advance. These books are often out of sight, out of mind: without aggressive promotion, most bookstores will never carry your title and most readers will never be aware it exists. This puts a low ceiling on book sales and makes it likely your book will be forgotten over time.

However, the only materials an e-book takes up are hard drive space and bandwidth. If a person has a computer or an e-book reader, picking up your book is as simple as downloading it. And marketing is far easier on the internet, where parties interested in your writing or your subject matter can find you with as little as an internet search.

Over time, the lower overhead could mean lower prices, making it more attractive for consumers to buy your work, and a bigger percentage return for the writer for each sale. Any contract advance may be lower, but the likelihood that a writer makes royalties on such work could increase.

The great debate among published and non-published writers alike is whether or not E-books are going to push the printed word off the market. There are great arguments for both sides of the debate.
Analysts have faulted Borders for being late to understand bookselling was changing for good.

It was a latecomer to the e-book market, a rare source of growth in the publishing world. The company started its e-book store last July, eight months after Barnes & Noble and nearly three years after In what has turned out to be a catastrophic mistake.
Analysts say that Borders' struggles may only have a modest benefit for Barnes & Noble, which needs to focus on its efforts, through its Nook e-reader, to win more of the growing e-books market.
Many publishers who saw this coming and started to put their focus on e-books were frowned upon at first. They weren’t considered real publishers. Now they’re seen as the ones with a vision. Technology is changing, just as it did for the music industry. We die-hards simply have to keep up or get out of the way!

And lastly the web address I told you I’d find was in my favorites the whole time.

It is there you can find help with a publisher looking for just your type of book.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Don't just Dream it, Become it

After writing 'After the Mist' with my son Duaine we set out to find an agent. Any of you who have ever done that knows that can be a pretty discouraging task.

We knew we had an amazing story to tell. The characters in our book were real people to us, we knew them intimately. They were to us invisible friends we very much wanted to share with the rest of the world.

We finally decided to have our book edited by a professional. We chose Michael Garrett, we were impressed by his credentials and his 'no bull' attitude. Michael helped turn our great story into a great novel. After he finished we felt more equip to tackle the market.

We decided to switch directions and go toward finding a publisher, heck with those darn agents. When our book is topping the charts they’ll find us.
Another one of my sons, Deric, told me of a site where you put in your info and they send back publishers interested in the genre you are offering.

Within minutes we had the name of a publisher looking for just such a book as ours. They requested the first three chapters. I quickly sent them off, walked away and came back only an hour later to find a response. I figured it was some sort of a generated mail thing, but to my great surprise it was their Acquisitions Editor, Judy Gill saying she liked the book thus far and wanted me to send her the rest. I don’t have to tell you, my heart leaped right out of my chest. Or at least it felt like it did.

After what seemed like forever Judy finally got back with me. She requested I do some re-writes before they would consider a contract. Knowing there are a lot of hardheaded authors out there that do not want to make any changes to their novels, she approached it in this manner.

“If you have questions, don't hesitate to ask. I'm here to help. If you choose not to make the changes I'm asking, I wish you all the best and encourage you to place your novel elsewhere.”

I chose to except her advice and make the revisions; after all she was the pro. After three weeks of intense re-writes I sent my revised novel back to Judy, again with the anxious waiting period. Then finally it came, the e-mail I had longed for, she loved the book and had attached to her e-mail our contract. Wow, what a high. I soon found that it takes a full year to get a book out on the market after you sign the contract. Unless of course you're Stephen King, I’m sure his gets the express line. But, I also found out there is a lot to do in that year.

I write these blogs to help others. The advice I give has all come from professionals. I started out just wanting to write about my book. Me-me-me. Then the more I found out the more I wanted to share. I will continue to help as I can, share info I receive. If you choose please follow this blog, it kind of encourages me to continue. Though I feel I must continue even if no one reads it. Someone out there is looking for the info I have to offer. So I will continue to give it.

By the way I will give that website where I found my publisher; I just need to locate it again.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Devil's Triangle

There hasn't been anything in my past post or even my back of book blurb that lets people know our first book 'After the Mist' centers in the Devil's Triangle.

It is there you’ll discover the answers sought after for centuries. You will find the place where evil awaits, if you dare.

Join seven others in their adventure of a lifetime. An adventure you will never forget and will long for more.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Back of the book blurb

After the Mist

Coming in February 2012

Mike Reynolds always prided himself on being in complete control, and then his world toppled into the unfamiliar. Disturbing dreams plagued him, leaving helplessness in its wake and his control slipping away.

Though adventurous and fearless the young and petite Maggie O'Reilly doesn't recognize the devastating consequences of staring unswervingly into the black piercing eyes of absolute malevolence.

Together, the two, team with five others to forge ahead on a perilous mission that becomes a dire adventure beyond anything they could have foreseen or imagined.

They find themselves in direct confrontation between life and death, love and something else, an unlikely place for evil to be hiding or should we say, to be waiting.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Published: After the Mist

I just mailed off my signed contract today with Champagne Books. I'd like to say a little bit here about this publishing company. They are amazingly supportive of their authors. The moment I verbally told them I was accepting their contract I started getting an overwhelming amount of e-mails from other authors welcoming me. They set me up with a two person team of mentors (the greatest two people) for any questions I have, and I have had many. My questions are always quickly answered.

My book is set to release in February 2012. When I first got the paper stating the release date I was sure it was wrong. Surly they meant 2011 a little over a month away.I was hoping for best seller by the week-end, ha-ha. Now that I'm in their loop I can clearly see why it takes over a year to release a book. There is just so much to do. It takes a lot to promote it so when it hits the market people are already aware of it.

For those of you who have already been to this blog you will notice I eliminated the part that had the beginning of my book. Many of you commented on this favorably. You should be happy to learn that with re-writes and editing it has been improved. And, with still more editing to come it will only get better. I plan to add some excerpts in my blog soon, but not today. Today I'm done.

To bad there's not a life editing person. You know what I mean, I did this wrong or that wrong so let's edit it. Wait a minute there is, He's called God.