Thursday, November 3, 2016

November Is For Writing


November is all about writing for me—partly because of NaNoWriMo (that’s National Novel Writing Month, in case you’re unfamiliar). I normally don’t join, because writing 50,000 words in one month is a bit much for me, especially since November includes Thanksgiving.
This year, I decided to unofficially quasi-join: I’m aiming to finish the first draft of a crime novel for adults I’ve been working on, plus a few chapters of a middle-grade, and maybe a short story or two. So not quite following the rules, but then I rarely do. I think I’ll get about half of that 50k in words—not bad for this writer.

Also, this November I’m hoping to start a new format for the blog. I considered packing up for a little while; blogging is sort of on the way out, and I sometimes feel like I’ve said everything I wanted to say.
But for now, I still like blogging. So I thought I might try posting the first Thursday (or so) of each month, and talk about more about mysteries in general—books, TV, movies—and about writing and other stuff. And maybe I’ll share a recipe or two. I hope you’ll stick around, guys!

Mystery books and TV

This month, TV and books intersect for me. I’m reading Michael Connelly’s latest novel, The Wrong Side Of Goodbye, and I’m also watching Bosch, the series based on his books. I’m a big fan of the books, so I was reluctant to watch the series. The old cliché is usually true: the books are always better than the movie.
But in this case, I was pleasantly surprised. The Bosch series is doing the character and the books justice, with a solid mystery and good attention given to police procedure accuracy (most of the time anyway).
I’m just starting season two; I’ll keep you posted.

One of my favorite crime writers, Greg Bardsley, has a new book out this month called The Bob Watson.
He told me about the concept of it a few years ago, and I've been awaiting the publication of this novel ever since. Go buy this book now!
Greg Bardsley is a brilliant writer; if you haven't read his first novel, Cash Out, you can start there if you like. Funny, sharp, and great. One of those writers whose books should all be made into movies...


For writers

I picked up a copy of Matt Bird The Secrets of Story, just in time for November’s go-go writing activities. So far, I’m loving it: he focuses on character, and gives lots of clear, practical and down-to earth advice.

I recommend you get yourself a copy if you’re looking for inspiration. 

On the web

I’ve been off the grid a little bit, since we’re remodeling the house and I’m still trying to keep the writing going. But I did find some newsworthy tidbits to share:

For you writer folk attempting NaNoWriMo, here are ten tips over at International Business Times. Hang in there…
Favorite kid author R.L. Stine is writing the story for a Marvel comic; get the story here at GalleyCat
Jessica Haight and Stephanie Robinson, the authors of the great middle-grade mystery The Secret Files of Ms. Fairday Morrow, ran a drawing contest where kids sent in some amazing artwork. Check out these drawings and their great blog over here; they always have something fun going on.
And for you artistic types, Dan Blank of WeGrowMedia has a brilliant post on creating the best environment to be creative, right here. Some great advice for darn near everything in life, I think.

Tip from me this November: unsubscribe from all unwanted emails, especially ones trying to get you to buy stuff (especially as the holiday season nears...). I did that just this week, and my inbox is already much quieter. Less (stuff) is more (time to write).
In the meantime, I hope you have a great November, full of writing, hot cocoa, and a little fall weather!

What are you up to this month..?

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Summer Projects

It's hotter than July here in Colorado, and it's not even July yet... I'm not such a fan of heat. But I will say that summer is good for writing for me, not sure why. Maybe it's the longer days, or that the sun kicks me out of bed earlier? In any case, I'm on a roll with writing, which is nice. 2016 is my year for holing up and writing some manuscripts, so let the words stack up, please.

One of my projects has me delving into music history a little, blues history in particular. So I'm listening to all kinds of oldies to get in the mood. And I also have some new music on the playlist-- this up-and-coming band Kaleo came across my radar. I was sure they hailed from the deep south, from some town in the Alabama or Mississippi mud, because that's the sound. Turns out Kaleo is from Iceland. I kid you not. Check it out:


I like being surprised, and I like it when the universe reminds me that not everything is so predictable. I try to use that little trick in my writing, too, when I think I can get away with it.

I'm not easily surprised anymore when it comes to books. I tried to think of an example, but can't think of a single book where a plot twist blew me off my socks.

Help me out, guys: any books that threw you for a loop?

Monday, March 21, 2016

March Madness

And my March Madness has nothing to do with basketball, just the crazy business that 2016 has brought.

So far, we had to dig our way out of a blizzard, had some family emergencies (now mostly resolved), and the whole house had a bonafide, nasty, more than two-week long flu. Get your flu shot, people, and don't be like me.

In any case, this year (and the end of last year, since I have some catching up to do...) did bring me some pretty cool books, so I thought I'd share.

First, I highly recommend The Secret Files of Fairday Morrow by Jessica Haight and Stephanie Robinson. It's such a cool, fun, classic MG mystery, my kids have already snatched it up and passed it to their friends. And I hear there's a sequel in the works... Go read this one, buy it for one of the kiddos in your life (or just for you :-)

In YA, I have to shout-out to great Alabama friend Carrie Dalby Cox, whose YA novel Fortitude came out recently. I've just started reading it, and it's really good...

One of the coolest parts about being an author is all the books I discover just by making friends. I also try to read beyond my friend book list (it's big!), and I try to keep up with what's written for adults too, so I don't completely stay out of touch...

In the for grown-ups department, I recently read The Wicked Girls by Alex Marwood. The cover was so-so, made me think it was a cozy, or maybe not...? But the book is one of the best crime novels I've read in a long time. Check it out, you won't be disappointed.



In the writing department, I'm working on crime novel for adults, as well as brainstorming something new for the younger crowd. 2016 will be the year I curl up in a corner and write, which is very nice. I kind of feel like my cat Chloe in this picture; she's hiding in a paper bag, which is sort of the same thing. We're both observing the world from a safe spot.

How about you? What has been happening in 2016 so far for you?

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Back, Sort Of

Happy 2016, all! I know, the year is long underway--I'm a bit late to the party. And I didn't die, or go on a sabbatical or anything like that, in case you're wondering why I've been absent on the blog for so long. I just spent some time unplugging, enjoying life, books, family and cats for a few months. Good for the soul.

But I'm back for the new year, with a few changes to the blog. For one, I'll probably post just once a month here--a bit more like a newsletter. I kind of like being slightly less present on the internet, and a bit more present offline. Expect the first of these post early February. I'll share interesting stuff I've come across, what I've been up to, the usual. I'll tell you about mysteries I've found, both in the kid and YA department, plus mysteries for grownups (since I am one), and maybe I'll tell you what I'm writing and where I'll be doing authorly things. Or I'll share a cool soup recipe (I like soup).

So good plans for the new year! Do you have any?


Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Happy paperback bookbirthday to Linc!

I've been so busy writing, this kind of snuck up on me: Double Vision: The Alias Men is out in paperback today!

I'm a big fan of paperbacks, as you may know: perfect for the reader on a budget, and now you can buy all three for around twenty bucks. Pretty cool.

Have some virtual cake, all!

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Back to school

I'm back from summer break! Not that summer is entirely over: here in Colorado, it's still a balmy eighty-something degrees, with no end in sight... I'm kind of looking forward to fall, to tell you the truth.

But it's back to school time, which means I'm back to work. I'm writing a crime novel for adults (work-in-progress, stay tuned), and generally getting caught up with what's happening in mystery, YA, MG and for us grown-ups.

And back-to-work also means I'm stocking up on school supplies while they're on the shelves, including a good stack of spiral notebooks. They're my tool of choice when outlining, brainstorming, pretty much anything to do with writing. I should plant a tree for all the paper I go through...

How about you?? What are you up to? Read anything good lately?

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Summer Break

School's out here in Colorado, and the weather is nice--I hope it is in your part of the world also. And Summer means I take a little blogging break, to catch up on some reading, writing, and playtime with the kids.

I hope to see you back here in August, with fresh pencils and notebooks!