Monday, November 26, 2012

Outlining Your Novel may just map your way to success

Book/Product Review
Outlining Your Novel, Map Your Way to Success by K.M. Weiland
ISBN 978-097-892-462-1
186 pages ©2011 $9.95

"Outlining is the dry erase board where we unveil our ideas and see how they line up on the page."

According to K.M. Weiland, outlining has many benefits and encourages wide open throttle creativity once it's in place. 

After reading this book, I'm convinced outlining, of some sort, is the work, the preparatory work, of a good novel or non-fiction worked.

With an outline, Weiland informs, cajoles and encourages, you ensure balance and cohesion, prevent dead end ideas form ever getting half written to flounder and die. You see places to foreshadow novel events with an outline. The writer can smooth out the pacing, maintain consistent character voice throughout so readers come to know and like your character, if not trust them.

Character motivation drives the story toward a satisfying conclusion. Seeing the whole picture in outline form allows you to tweak and adjust and show character motivation, as necessary and encouraged.
Each chapter of this book has a check list the writer/reader can use to keep tabs on her progress. Interviews with best-selling authors, how they outline, and why separate the chapters and give the book an added sense of authority.

Whether you are writing your first book or your fiftieth book, you will find tips to make your next book the best yet. The ugly duckling of outlining will change your mind as you see the swan emerge from the dark dust of your right and left brain battle to write the next best seller.

I highly recommend "Outlining Your Novel", for anyone with dreams of writing. Especially, perfect if you're gearing up for the annual National Novel Writing Month in November or any or the other challenges that writers face, like deadlines.

Monday, October 22, 2012

So Many Books--So Little Time

So many books—so little time or so it seems when I look at the stack growing on my desk. Some deserve immediate attention though. For instance:

Ellen Hopkins' books for the Young Adult audience are written in verse. [Tilt, Perfect, Collateral, Fallout – to name but a few ] A very unique and interesting style, to say the least.  Some pages the occasional words, still part of the verse, but running down one side or the other almost as a side bar, are a sentence themselves when read alone; but, they add meaning when you read the full version in verse including those words. So unique, edgy, but wonderful. She has many books, you'll think --so little time, how can I read them all.  Thank you Autumn for introducing her to our Amberg Writers Group. If you haven't seen her books yet, so a search on Amazon and be prepared to be impressed and pleased, even if you aren't a young adult. These books are good! [Amazon link ]

Ellery Queen—Did you know---I'm embarrassed to say, I didn't—he is not real, he's the pseudonym of two men, Frederick Dannay and Manfred Lee. I picked up a copy of The Finishing Stroke, copyright 1958. It was recommended reading by my instructor, Carolyn Wheat, at The Long Ridge Writers Group School, because my work in progress is about twins who were separated from their brother at birth. It means they were actually triplets—strange premise I thought, perhaps, but—Ms. Wheat's suggestion to read The Finishing Stroke proves, at least to me, there are no new ideas, only new ways authors look at and choose to show them.

Novels in verse, Ellen Hopkins unique perspective, two men writing as one whom we've known forever as Ellery Queen, or even Angela Lansbury's novels written by her Murder She Wrote character, Jessica Fletcher. Creativity-- not trickery, it's uniqueness that counts.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

P Is For Poison, Problem, Protagonist and ...

P is for poison. Always a good murder weapon. The problem it creates for the protagonist, especially, if he or she is not a forensic expert, is daunting or could be.

In Cauldron our protagonist worries about vampires and mind control and…fact of ruse?  Could there really be vampires? What happened to her friend so off the wall terrorized one minute and zombie like calm a day later. An institution that hides her away or was she murdered? 

Before the end of the book the Cauldron of poison, problems and protagonist is stirred, boiled, and solved as any good mystery/suspense would be. The journey is yours for the taking--if you dare. {insert sinister laugh here "broohahaha!"}
Would you care to begin your exploration today? Read the first chapter here –be sure your doors and windows are locked and shades drawn first, just in case….

Cauldron’s name seemed apt. True to the boiling turmoil that increased daily in the small town. “Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men --The Shadow Knows,” Tiffany knew. But who was that illusive shadow man? With the creaking of that door from the old radio program, shudders ran the length of her spine as if on icy fingers. What had Cauldron become, that thought made that same trek op her spine now.

Excerpt From Chapter One
Tiffany drove over to the library where they had an extensive historical archive in the basement of the new building. It fascinated Tiffany from the minute she had arrived in town. Surely, she would find information about the Chase family there.
The stodgy librarian looked over her half glasses and showed a who-do-you-think-you-are attitude. “I have a project to restore the Chase Mansion. I’m an interior designer. I figured it would be easier if I could find some history of the family, perhaps some photos of what the house looked like before the Moores took it over.”
Mrs. Sartorus stood up; her scowl deepened. She pointed to her watch, “We close in two hours. None of the archive files can be removed from the premises.” Her starched, abrupt manner didn’t disappear.
“That isn’t a problem.” Tiffany felt like a student being reprimanded for breathing or anything else deemed inappropriate by this particular adult.
The woman acted like she owned the files or the building or both and that any intrusion was more than a bother to her. She unlocked the door and turned on the lights as they went down the creaky stairs. In a newer building you would think the stairs would be silent, especially in a library. Chills ran the length of Tiffany’s body. The librarian turned on the green desk lamp at one of the high podium-type desks. The atmosphere seemed to suggest a Dickens Christmas Carol rather than a newer library basement.
“This is the best place to read.” She nearly ordered Tiffany to use the spot she chose for her. “What files would you like to start with?”
“When did the last Chase family member die?” Tiffany’s voice cracked because of the dank mustiness of the earthy basement smell.
Mrs. Sartorus waddled over to a tall file shelf and removed a stack of newspapers. “These should get you started.” She plopped them on the podium desk and headed toward the stairs. “I’ll be upstairs if you need anything. You have...” She looked at her watch again. “About forty five minutes.”
The Archives closed ahead of the main floor of the library, which only allowed her forty five minutes to try to discover what she wanted to know. The librarian turned on her heel and marched back across the room and up the stairs. Tiffany jumped when the door slammed shut. She didn’t know she would be locked in the room, but it wouldn’t surprise her if the woman had locked the door. A stereotypical librarian from an old, old movie. She began to peruse the papers. A draft circulated the musky smell of the room. Tiffany wished she could take the papers to a more comfortable spot to read them. The room felt like it was closing in on her. She looked down at the paper, and the face of Sadie Chase Moore, pale and frail, stared back at her. Sadie stood over a coffin. The woman in the coffin looked like a carbon copy of Sadie but with wrinkles saddening her face. Something brushed by Tiffany’s face. She turned to see what the intrusion was. No one was there.
Suddenly, she had had enough of the library. Maybe another day she’d research the Chase family tree. She hurriedly put the papers back where the librarian had pulled them and practically flew up the stairs. She could swear she heard laughter as she opened the door at the top of the stairs. The woman at the desk grinned. The grin wasn’t a smile; it was a sneer. It was as if the woman knew what Tiffany would encounter in the basement room with the Chase’s past safely tucked between the walls of its cellar. “I’ll be back another time,” Tiffany offered. The woman didn’t bother with an answer, just the sneer, which stuck in Tiffany’s mind and followed her out the door.

P. S.  You will find Cauldron anywhere you normally buy your books or go to Wings Press where the price is always the best anywhere and all the formats you could possibly want are available right there. Sign up for my newsletter The Mystery Readers Connection to stay up to date on new authors, news and other tidbits you won't find anywhere else.

Friday, August 10, 2012

O Is For Opportunity and...

O is for opportunity and Orchestrated Murders. Presented with an opportunity, Leona Augustine is ready to travel to America. She had no choice but to accept. Her mother had sold her into servitude as an indentured servant, a seamstress, to Kevin Kratz the owner of, what she would discover, a hoarder's museum. The House On Rime Falls was like none other she had ever seen. She was to repair and refresh the clothing of the animated mannequins in every exhibit.

Leona's real mission was to find her sister, Alka, who had been indentured under the same family in order to provide money for the heart surgery Leona so desperately needed to save her life. Leona was to repay that debt and bring Alka home to Poland before their mother succumbed to the Black Lung disease that took their coal miner father's life years before.

What Leona discovers is she is a prisoner. All the exhibits and her quarters are locked. She is locked into her rooms let out only to work on the exhibits which are also under lock and key. She is allowed to go by chauffeured limousine, to a fabric shop to get the yard goods she needs to do her job with the exhibits.
When she finds her sister, the mystery of her disappearance is an opportunity ad a horror Leona could never have anticipated in her wildest nightmare.

All is not as it seems at The House On Rime Falls in Orchestrated Murders. Release date, November 1, 2012.

If you can't wait to read more, sign up for my newsletter, The Mystery Reader Connection, to begin reading Leona Augustine's story. It will be serialized in the newsletter beginning with the August issue.  This is the eighth novel in the stand alone novels of the Zodiac Series. The novels are connected only by the sequence of the accidental sleuth's Zodiac signs. In the final story of the series all the accidental sleuths will come together for one major venture and the final mystery it takes all their collective talents to solve.

Friday, August 3, 2012

N is For Nuisance, Notorious or...

N is for notorious, nuisance or not-what-it-seems as things rarely are in a mystery. Ancient Secrets is no exception. A necklace, not particularly stunning, just something a tourist might pick up as a trip memento, but is it just a piece of costume jewelry? Was the Maltese Falcon a statue of a black bird and nothing more?

Hidden beneath the layers of common, every day, lays a secret. It always does in mystery and in life. It may not be a skeleton in a closet, Small Town Secret style. It may be undercover in plain sight, Ancient Secret style.

As our hero, Daringer Smith, discovers a deadly secret, his journey to status quo is laced with twists, turns and trepidation and has only just begun. The necklace has already left a trail of bodies behind it, or was it something else that murdered, or was it really just natural causes all along? Do you believe in ancient curses? Would you take a chance that they are so much hyper boil and fantasy, or paranormal gibberish?

Professor of Archeology, Daringer Smith,  and Professor of Anthropology, Abigail Stonehenge, don't dare discount the curse or believe its hog wash. They have seen, and believe in the beads' power. The power stones of the goddess Ebony are cursed, or are they? What about you? What do you believe?

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

M Is For Murder, Mayhem and ...

M is for Murder, Mayhem and Money Isn't Everything

Money isn't CNA, Mary March's main concern. Like everyone else, she wants fair pay for a day's work. She is content to be part of the Certified Nursing Assistants team as its leader, but arrogant, rich Doctor Tanner Irish thinks he is the answer to every woman's dream, or so it seems to Mary. She refuses to be another notch on his four poster bed. "Money isn't everything," is her mantra when it comes to the dear doctor and his attempts to date her.

But, the story isn't only about these two butting heads. Something is amiss at Idle-A-While Nursing home. It has become a dangerous place for employees and residents. Whatever it takes to get what she wants, Jayde Blarney means to make heads roll. Elder abuse is like open season for murder and only part of that mix. Is it either jealous rivalry, or something way more sinister?  Mary is desperate to turn things around before it's too late for her or the residents of Idle-A-While can she?

Money Isn't Everything a mystery suspense taking you into a seemingly quiet venue and turning it into a spiraling nightmare of abuse and danger for Mary March and her staff.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

L is for Lady Slipper, Love, Loss and...

L is for Lady Slipper, Love, Loss and…The Pink Lady Slipper mystery suspense. 

This bed and breakfast goes by the name of ThePink Lady Slipper. The pink lady slipper is a beautiful but deadly plant. The roots are poison to human and animal. 

The story unfolds as Tina Moncha is called home to the property her mother left her when she died. Her mother wanted to turn the sprawling log cabin with a sordid past into a bed and breakfast. It had been a brothel, a stage coach depot, a mafia vacation resort and a saloon, in its long history. It even shepherded runaway slaves through the Underground Railroad and bootleg liquor during prohibition. That is the real story of the sprawling log- building—the fictional story uses all these interesting facts to create the atmosphere, the intrigue and mystery and the murders that are haunting everyone trying to renovate the structure, especially Tina. 

She is trying to sort through why did her mother die and how? Every turn shows her something else and she is hard put to make sense of it all. See if you can figure it out before something happens to Tina or the other players in this Northern Michigan setting.