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Friday, December 18, 2015

I Can't Believe She Said That! The Art of Writing Dialog

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I am honored to be able to tell you that I'm appearing as a guest columnist at the Murder By 4 blog for writers this week. My article is about writing dialog, apparently one of my strong suits. At least my writers' group keeps telling me that!

Murder By 4 was selected as being in the 101 best blogs for writers by Writer's Digest in 2013.

Click through to read I Can't Believe She Said That! The Art of Writing Dialog.

Don't forget to sign up for the email newsletter (above), as I'll be sending a new one soon.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Picking up the Quest

It's always a challenge to pick up a project that's been laid aside numerous times. Today was certainly no exception to that.

After a long, long absence from working on it, I started to think again about finishing North Country Quest. This is the sequel to North Country Cache. It will complete the tales of my hikes on the North Country Trail.

There are four chapters done, and a few more partially done. That's a long way from completion. And yet... if I get busy, these chapters are not difficult to write. I just need to refresh my memory.

Today, I assembled all the chapters and partial chapters into one file. I listened to the tape journal for the hike that will be the first story in this volume, and went through the pictures for that hike, all to refresh my memories. Chapter one had been partially written, and I like how I began it, so now, I just need to build on that foundation.

Oh, and I looked up how to transfer all my tape journals to digital. Not difficult... just need to do it.

No cases were assigned to me this week for the insurance job, so I'm determined to use the time to focus on writing again. One day out of one is 100% so far this week!


Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Chapter 21- Dead Mule Swamp Druggist

Dead Mule Swamp Druggist
Writing continues at way too slow of a pace, but at least it's happening at some speed rather than not at all. Chapter 21 done, and the next few are planned out.

And, you can see that I've improved the cover quite a lot as well. Maybe a few more tweaks yet.

Thanks to the new subscribers to the email letter.

Enjoy a piece of Chapter 21:

   "Right. And I don't recall that Ham was known for disappearing for long stretches of time," Jerry added.
   "Do you see this money as a motive for murder?" Cora asked. "It couldn't have been a huge amount."
   "We don't know that," Jerry said. "How many times have you read about people living in dumps who died with thousands of dollars hidden in the walls."
   "If he didn't have it really well hidden, it's gone now... into the hands of the dognapper Manny or Myron or whatever his name is. And I searched pretty much everywhere except a couple of outbuildings," I pointed out. "Of course, I didn't take the walls apart."

You can find the first four Anastasia Raven Stories at Smashwords or Amazon


Monday, November 9, 2015

Chapter 20 - Dead Mule Swamp Druggist

Dead Mule Swamp Druggist

It's been way too long since I've been posting here. However, I'm still writing. Trying to keep a lot of balls in the air. That said, I just finished Chapter 20 of the next Anastasia Raven book, called Dead Mule Swamp Druggist. It is the longest and most complex book of the series.

Here's an excerpt from Chapter 20

   The woods, and the clearing surrounding Ham's trailer, didn't seem menacing at all in the daylight, just depressing. The trailer was old and wasn't quite level. The factory paint job was faded and scratched. Of course, no one had cleared any of the junk from the yard. The front door wasn't latched and it repeatedly opened a few inches and then closed again, as a light wind moved through the clearing. Every time the door hit the jamb I heard a soft thud. I was amazed that someone could live in such a dump. Yet, I'd never heard that Ham was a complainer. Maybe he just liked his privacy and didn't care about other amenities. I recalled that Adele had said he tried to keep the location of the place a secret. Now, I wondered what secrets he might have had that were worth hiding. Did he have secrets so big they got him killed?
   The small deck on the front was the newest thing on the property. It was solidly built of treated lumber and seemed completely out of character with everything else. I mounted the steps and opened the door. The first thing I noticed was the smell. Mold and decay. Decaying flesh. The second shock, as I stepped from the deck to the inside, was that the flooring was soft. Probably water damaged from rain coming in the open door. I wondered if I'd break through. It was a good thing the floor was only about three feet above the ground, but who knew what was underneath the trailer?
   With a quick look around the cramped interior, I located the origin of the foul smell. A dead raccoon was liquefying in the back bedroom. There was no apparent reason it had died there. As much as I didn't want to get anywhere near it, I was determined to search the trailer, so I returned to the yard and found a shovel with a badly weathered handle. I held my breath as I entered the bedroom, scooped up the body and headed for the woods. Giving a ninja yell to boost my strength and buck up my courage, I flung the remains as far into the brush as I was able. "That should help," I told myself. Out loud. Then I pulled a sliver from the palm of my hand.


You can find the first four Anastasia Raven Stories at Smashwords or Amazon

Friday, December 5, 2014

"Toby and Harry" in Thirteen Stories by Us

Thirteen Stories by Us cover
A group of authors, most of whom became acquainted through the Accentuate Writers' Forum, banded together to create an anthology of suspense/horror stories for Halloween. All stories were donated, with all the proceeds going to help two author friends who are having some really difficult financial times.

The idea was conceived by Melissa Dawn Ingham, and the volume edited by Catherine A. MacKenzie. It's entitled Thirteen Stories By Us. Not surprisingly, it contains thirteen stories! Twelve are meant to send a shiver or two down your spine, and the other is a quirky love story.

My story, "Toby and Harry," is included. I'm really happy to see it in this grouping. I intended it to be a subtle horror story, but perhaps it was too subtle to stand on its own. Some people have mistaken the genre and ended up really confused about what I was trying to say. All I was trying to do was be a little scary! So this is a perfect fit.

For a longer review of the stories in the volume, see Review of Thirteen Stories by Us.

The book is available in paperback or e-book, at Smashwords or Amazon.


Saturday, October 4, 2014

Paperback Versions of Anastasia Raven Mysteries

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All four Anastasia Raven mysteries are now available in three volumes as paperbacks! I gave in to the Amazon giant and did this through CreateSpace which was quite easy to use, actually.

Although I've had good sales with the e-books it all seems more real with physical copies in my hands!

For a limited time you can get all three for only $30, plus $4 media mail shipping to US addresses. This is a savings of $3 off the cover price, and if you are in Michigan, I'm even paying your tax for you (an additional $1.80 savings). These will be signed copies. This offer will be good until November 1, 2014.

Email me, or tell me in a comment that you are interested.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Would You Dare?

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In 1986, I wrote a book of short biographies of twelve outstanding Christians, targeted for young people. Most recently, I'd been printing these on my computer and fastening them with a comb binding.

Thanks to Print On Demand, I'm working on formatting these into a paperback, which will look much better, and still be very reasonably priced. It's taking quite a bit of work to get the format correct, but I should have these books ready in time for Authorpalooza in Big Rapids on November 8.