"There is more treasure in books than in all the pirate's loot on Treasure Island." - Walt Disney

Monday, October 16, 2017

Trying Something New: Black Cat

While I enjoy the works of Agatha Christie and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, I must confess mystery has never been my most prolific genre. Don't get me wrong, I love a good thriller. I just usually prefer something a little lighter when reading for pleasure (yes, I'm a huge fan of the romance genre. I love Happily Ever Afters).

I have, however, enjoyed more than a few issues of the mystery magazines such as Alfred Hitchcock Mystery and Ellery Queen. Oddly enough, I've not once read an issue of Sherlock Holmes mystery magazine. None of the stores in my area carry it, so...

I've often wondered over the reason these mystery magazines are still so successful, yet others have floundered by the wayside. Most genres no longer have print magazines dedicated solely to their market. Not only do these suspense magazines continue, a new contender has just been introduced.

Black Cat Mystery Magazine just launched its inaugural issue this past month. A production of Wildside Press, this magazine is slated to issue quarterly. I just received my copy of issue one, and hope to delve in soon. I've already recognized several author names (if you follow the SleuthSayers blog you will recognize them as well). If you're interested in learning more, you can read an interview with the editor, here.

Have you checked out this new publication yet? Are you a mystery magazine reader? Who is your favorite mystery writer?

Friday, October 13, 2017

Friday the 13th!

Welcome, foolish mortals... 

It's Friday the 13th! Are you superstitious? Does this day mean anything to you?

I love when the 13th falls on a Friday in the month of October - a time already filled with dress-up, horror, fantasy, thrillers, and ghost stories! Whether you believe in them, or not, it can be great fun to gather together to share those spooktacular traditions.

Do you write thrillers? If you're interested, don't forget to check out the submission call for the Insecure Writers Suppot Group Anthology Contest which is due November 1st. For more information, click here:  http://www.insecurewriterssupportgroup.com/2017/09/insecure-writers-support-group-and.html

Also available this month, Dancing Lemur Press is running a special - buy one audio book and get one FREE. Buy any of the eleven Dancing Lemur Press, L.L.C. audio books in October 2017 from either iTunes, Amazon, or Audible, including my five audio books, and get another one of their titles for free. 

What rituals are you partaking in today? Are you submitting to the IWSG Anthology?


Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Crafting the Villain

It's confession time. I've been guilty of ignoring the bad guy.

A few years ago I realized why I wasn't happy with my fiction. I had been guilty of creating flat villains. They were simply in the story so the hero/heroine had an enemy. However, there wasn't a whole lot to them. They were boring, cardboard creations for my protagonists to react to. That's it.

There's an old saying that actors would much rather play the bad guy than the good. Why? Because they can be just as, if not more, interesting and in depth than the hero. The same can certainly be said of writing stories as well.

I began reading specifically to study villains. I soon realized there were three types of antagonists I found the most interesting.

1) The villain as the complete opposite of the hero - this could be in looks, experiences, preferences, or abilities.
2) A villain who is just like the hero except with one major difference. This shows how easily the protagonist could have become the villain, or how close the antagonist came to being the hero.
3) The hero and villain is one character. "Every villain is a hero of his or her own story" - Christopher Vogler in The Writer's Journey.

I tried to keep all of this in mind when I created my short story "Broken Angel." I was so pleased with the outcome that I've dedicated myself to crafting better villains. I'm revisiting old manuscripts that I felt were weak so that I can flesh out the villains side of the tale.

I have a few ideas for new stories as well, and it's difficult to focus on one at a time. However, I'm too excited about the possibilities now to give up. So, I'm diving into villainy to save my manuscripts.

How about you? Have you been guilty of ignoring your villain? Who are some of your favorite villains?

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

IWSG: Personalized Characters

It’s time for another group posting of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group! founded by Alex J. Cavanaugh. Time to release our fears to the world – or offer encouragement to those who are feeling neurotic. If you’d like to join us, click on the tab above and sign up. We post the first Wednesday of every month. Your words might be the encouragement someone needs. You can also join us on twitter using the hashtag #IWSG, or on the Facebook page.

Now, IWSG hosts have changed up the format in an effort to make it more fun and interactive.Every month, they will announce a question that members can answer in their IWSG Day post. These questions may prompt you to share advice, insight, a personal experience or story. Include your answer to the question in your IWSG post or let it inspire your post if you are struggling with something to say. 

Don’t forget to visit others that day to see their answers. Want to join, or learn more? Visit our - Sign-up List.

OCTOBER QUESTION: Have you ever slipped any of your personal information into your characters, either by accident or on purpose?

My Answer - Yes, there is a little of me in every heroine I create, a little of my husband in every hero, and a little of anyone who aggravates me in my villains ;-)

How about you? Do you ever include personal details in your character creation?

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Fall Reads

Fall has finally arrived, although temperatures in our area haven't dropped much and usually still feel like summer. Orange decor, and pumpkin everything seems to be surrounding us amidst continued clean-up after Hurricane Harvey. 

If you prefer to stay home cuddled up with a good book instead of heading out to crowds celebrating seasonal festivals, try one of my suggestions from 10 Scary Reads to Terrify Your Inner Child.

Interested in FREE scary books? Try one of these!

Need a last minute costume idea? Try one of these 10-Minute Lliterary Halloween Costumes and dress like your favorite characters.

How are you celebrating this season?

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

IWSG Updates

The next #IWSGPit  is Thursday, January 18, 2018!
There is already a list of over three hundred agents and publishers and administrators will continue to add to that list through the end of the year.
October 4 is the next IWSG post day and it’s also the Show Your Writer Insecurity contest. Prepare your photos and post them on your blog that day. Cool prizes for the winners!

And the deadline for the next IWSG Anthology Contest is November 1. The genre is mystery/crime/thriller and the theme is Tick Tock. 
This is a great opportunity to see your work in a royalty-paying anthology. 

See the IWSG site for full details.

Will you be participating in any of these events?

Friday, September 22, 2017

Hopeful After Harvey

Hello all!

I hate that I haven't been around to visit much lately, but I know anyone keeping up with us will understand. My parents lost pretty much everything due to Hurricane Harvey. Dozens of friends and family members are in the same situation. The recovery process will be long and painful for many.

Insurance and construction companies are saying it may be as much as four or five years before some are back in a home. Meanwhile, many have lost their homes, vehicles, and jobs. Some are simply moving as far away from the coast as possible to start over. Others have chosen a more gruesome approach. The suicide rate is up - some of them in a very public way.

Many are struggling. Many are depressed and angry. Many are still offering as much help and hope as possible.

While my writing has taken another dive lately, I'm still reading some excellent books. I wanted to share three helpful and hopeful reads with you.

Carey Scott, author, speaker, and certified Biblical Life Coach, invites you to journey alongside her as she introduces you to women from the Word who chose to live uncommon lives even in the toughest circumstances. From stepping into scandalous situations to breaking cultural norms to risking the departure of a comfortable life, you will discover hope and motivation to live God’s way in a world that screams, “Tuck your faith away! Just be normal like everyone else!”

Now more than ever, it's time to step into something new. . .something life-changing and life-giving. God is asking you to shine Him into a world that needs to know there is a better way to live. And when you say yes to becoming uncommon, it's a radical act of obedience to the One who created you to be extraordinary.  Uncommon offers personal stories, insights, life lessons, questions for further reflection, and biblical support written especially for women.

With authenticity, vulnerability, humor, refreshing boldness and anchored in the Beatitudes, Uncommon will empower you to rise up. . .to reject the common. . .to embrace your calling. . . and to live in a way that points others to God. Buckle up, friend. It's time to be uncommon.

I absolutely LOVED this book and have revisited several sections already. A definite must read for anyone struggling with ANY situation!

Journey now to Ruby City, Idaho of 1866 where...
A Marriage Mishap Creates an Awkward Love Triangle in this Silver Mining Town
Looking forward to a quiet life and a full stomach, mail-order bride Rebecca Rice is pleased to marry her shopkeeper intended, Mr. Fordham, until the justice of the peace calls him Thaddeus, not Theodore—proceeded by the title Deputy.

Is it possible to marry the wrong man?

When the newlyweds realize they’ve married the wrong partners with similar names, an annulment seems in order—and fast, since Rebecca’s true intended is impatient to claim her as his own, not to mention Rebecca would never marry a lawman like her father. But when the legalities take longer than expected, Rebecca wonders if Tad wasn’t the right husband for her all along. . . .

This quick and simple read may be slightly predictable, but it's still highly enjoyable. 

Life is a journey of joyful moments and painful moments, including twists and turns that threaten to undo us. But if we allow God to work through the joy and the pain, that journey can lead to the life-sustaining richness of His Grace and an intimate relationship with Him. That truth is the core of international speaker and teacher Darlene Sala’s new women’s devotional, Journey into Grace. With Darlene’s heartfelt voice alongside two coauthors, including her daughter, Bonnie, the 150 readings explore themes such as fear, forgiveness, learning, loving, prayer, and relationships.

This book offers women quiet moments with God as they bring their real life challenges to His feet.

While I have not yet read all of these devotions, what I have read so far has held nuggets of truth and true meaning. I look forward to reading more.

I received a complimentary copy of these books from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.

What reads would you recommend to down trodden souls seeking hope and/or a great book to disappear into?