Category Archives: Plans

#MondayBlogs and Spring Fever!

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Our weather in the Midwest US has been so lovely this week! I’ve struggled to stay inside and work but gave up on everything last Saturday. My husband and I spent the day running around town. I even took off a lot of Sunday. I’ve not taken off that much time in a row for weeks.

I needed the break. After going over The Very Best Man for its rerelease, Surplus, the fourth book in the Nova Scotia Murder Mysteries needed me. I’m almost done with chapter three and while that doesn’t sound like enough, there are only twelve chapters plotted. My only hang up is the murder is a stabbing, exactly what happened in Pleasures. Does it bother anyone else when a murder mystery series has too many of the same kind of deaths? Appearances is going to have a unique murder, Rage is a bit predictable but not a stabbing, and Honeymoon? I don’t know how I’m killing that random character.

Creepy, isn’t it? Such fun, though! Being a writer is the best job I’ve ever had. The boss, me, is a bit of a hard ass, however. Never letting me goof off outside or anywhere else, really.

We have a winner!

Ruth won my contest! She was randomly chosen by Rafflecopter, thank goodness. Otherwise, I’d want to be Oprah and give everyone a $50 gift card. Don’t tell my husband or he’ll pass out. 😉 He has this thing called a “budget” that he won’t let me ignore. I plan on doing more of these contests in 2017 so keep an eye open.

In other news, writing The Very Poor Man (sexy!), giving The Very Best Man a serious rewrite, 15281831_10154114959577338_501215846_n-pngediting Pleasures: a Nova Scotia Murder Mystery, and plotting Surplus from the same series has kept me busy. November got away from me and December is all about helping Christmas Veterans. Our unit adopted three families, so there’s a lot of shopping and coordinating!

Stay tuned for later contests and thank you so much for being a part of my 2016. I hope you’ll hang out with me in 2017.

I’ve been a bad little blogger.

My goal with every blog post is to at least entertain readers when I can’t inform them. So why has it been so dusty around here? Because I’ve ramped up my production schedule and all my entertaining has gone into novels instead of posts. Facebook has been getting some of my love, of course. I have to keep up with friends, family, and potential readers. It’s a must.

What exactly have I been doing? A lot. The first of the year found me wrapping up Uncivilized, a historical western series about the Oregon Trail. What I’d planned on being a 350 page novel ended up as 400 pages. While my editor was cutting through it like a jungle native, I was writing The Very Rich Man, number three in the Very Manly Series. I was Love's Prisonervastly honored by being asked to participate in a box set of historical romances and it gave me the chance to rewrite a story I’d called Love’s Prisoner way back in ’92. My villain’s name was Dirk and little did I know I’d meet a real life Dirk who’s still my hero today. The menus above, the photos, the new Java enabled website I’m migrating to are all due to him. He’s the George to my Liberache, the Theo to my Vincent. I could have done it on my own, but not as fast nor as easy as he’s made it.

I did happen to reedit Love’s Prisoner when I should have rewritten it entirely. Lesson learned, I’ve improved in the past twenty or so years. This story is out today everywhere and is a short read at almost a hundred pages.  Find it here.

Will it be a historical serial with new excitement every quarter or so, or a full on epic series? I haven’t decided, but the next installment is set for November, so I’d better get started.But not yet. Why? ::insert drumroll sound:: Because, AUGUST! Starting August 17th and the next two weeks after that, I’m publishing the first three books in the Nova Scotia Murder Mysteries. What started in Imposter and Holidays continues on in Betrayal, Impatience, and Pleasures. Surplus is slated for November with Rage, Appearances, and Honeymoon following in every quarter after that. This series has been so much fun to write. I love the characters, the setting, the research, it’s all been a blast. Check out the new covers! They’re so pretty!

Escape

Imposter was featured in Thrill of the Hunt, and for Thrill of the Hunt 2? Escape, the first short story for an unnamed science fiction series. I have seven books planned for it with the first five plotted. Escape is written and I think its publication is in October sometime. I know I said never again to the short stories, so this will be both in TOTH2 and as the prologue to Awake, the first sci fi book.

Is that all for 2016? No, afraid not! The Very Poor Man is set TVPM_smfor publication in November as well. It’ll complete that series and while I love all my Men and have a few others who do too, I’m probably going to leave that genre alone for a while. I won’t say never, but it doesn’t get the love my historicals do.

Do I have 2017 plans? Not only yes, but I have 2018-2019 plans as well. Nothing is in stone, yet I have an American West series, the Love’s Travels series, finishing out the science fiction series, and of course continuing the Nova Scotia Murder Mysteries. There’s more, but those ideas are still in the nebulous stage.

If you’ve made it this far, thank you! You’re probably why I publish my work. I can think of no better reason than for you.

#MondayBlogs and Introducing a New Series

Writer’s Block. Nope. Not around here. This post is all about what’s been going on around here. It’s been really fun. The photos below are scenes from the stories, too.

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I’ve spent the past month writing like a fiend. Actually, it’s been the past two months. The whole process has been super exciting for me and I hope the readers catch that when they begin reading. What’s all the fuss? Here are the first three stories in order and where to find them.

Imposter- A Vancouver, BC doctor learns someone is admitting patients using his credentials. It’s fraud and if someone dies? A homicide. The short story is a thriller and part of the Thrill of the Hunt anthology. You need this anthology and not just for my story but for the other six. They’re super exciting and each one is by different authors. I had a blast writing my part of it and the awesome Miranda Nading edited. See my prior post to read her wonderful writing.

Holidays-I backed off the death and dismemberment for Thanksgiving, Halloween, Christmas, and New Year’s Day. The characters are in Halifax, Nova Scotia, now, and it’s where the rest of the series is set. This short story is out everywhere, and sets up everything for the reader. The romance, the family, and beginning to heal are all the focus of this story. I loved writing the holiday scenes between the Hays family. A little bit of my own family is in their dialogue. DSCN0253

Betrayal-The first novel in the Nova Scotia Murder Mysteries! Yes, Virginia, there is a death, and while it’s gruesome, I try to keep things on the cozy side. No insect details, or in this case, shrimp and other bottom feeder details. Our characters from Holidays and Imposter link up to figure out what really happened to their friend. This has been one of the most surprising books I’ve ever written. I plot these things out, bit by bit, but Betrayal took detours I didn’t see, but enriched the story. I’ve had so much fun writing this book that I didn’t stop and went on into….

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Impatience-The second novel in the series picked up in the same scene and time Betrayal left us in. When an elderly lady is wheeled into the ER and later dies, it’s easy for everyone to blame old age. Until, one of our characters finds out, this wasn’t due to natural causes. I’m around two hundred words into the story, less than this blog post, so anything could happen.

There you have it! Why my fingers have been keeping the keyboard on fire and why I’ve been MIA just about everywhere except Facebook.

Too ADD for #MondayBlogs! #RT15 bound!

Hi everyone! I’m going to be at the Romantic Times Booklovers Convention in Dallas starting tomorrow. There are so so many Facebook friends who are amazing writer and superstars. It’s going to be tough to not be shy and all shucks when anywhere near them.

But, I’ve promised to be my usual outgoing self, so, ok!

What value added substance can I give you on a day where I’m too excited to think straight? Easy!

My daughter turned me on to sleep helping tunes and hypnosis. Sounds freaky and new agey, but it’s totally not. I love to go to Ipnos Soft for my fall asleep to tunes. While the binaural beats sound interesting, I’m not sure they’re effective. Hypnosis to fall asleep to or just listen to on a sleepy afternoon? Glenn Harrold and Amy Applebaum have wonderful and free apps. The additional sessions are super reasonable too. Sadly, you can’t learn by osmosis when asleep, but these do knock me out when I can’t take hours to fall asleep.

Why the Ipnos? Because you can mix and match sounds. Like in my case, when I want to daydream about wagon trains and the old west, they have an app for that. I can add in song birds and flowing rivers to wagon wheels and get the perfect background noise for my novels.

Why Glenn and or Amy? Because every writer has an insecurity about their work. You’re creating something from your imagination. How much more nebulous and personal can you get? Then to put it out there for people to hopefully love, but probably laugh at? Yeah, it’s hard! I love their confidence hypnosis. I don’t know how much it helps, but it certainly doesn’t hurt. Then for the readers, there’s all sorts of sports performance, healthy body attitudes, stop procrastination, and a host of other affirming hypnosis scripts.

I’d want to warn anyone who tries these out to NOT and NEVER do so while driving or operating heavy machinery. I’m a person who has a really tough time falling asleep and yet these products knock me out cold. It really is a never do. So go, try them out while not driving anything and see what you think.

I don’t mention Mike Mandel, THE greatest hypnotist, because he’s more of a teacher and serious therapist. He’s who you see when needing serious mental help and a general script can’t help you. He and Chris Thompson have a Brain Software podcast that is serious, silly, and always entertaining. I also don’t mention Joseph Clough because while I love his podcasts, I personally can’t listen to his hypnosis. He whistles his s’s and x’s, and I can’t take it. But that’s me. You’re mileage may vary and probably does.

Not Going There On The Oregon Trail for #MondayBlogs

I’m currently elbows deep in the third and final novel of my Oregon Trail series. A lot of writers feel sad when a series ends, but not me. There’s three more series hanging out in my idea folder at the moment and I’m wanting to start all of them right this minute. What are they? A three book set on the American West, a three to six book set on historical romances from around the world, and a six book minimum murder mystery series. I really can’t wait, all of them are going to be fun.

But, let’s get back to the salacious.

Like television most times, none of my books go into the bathroom details of live along the Trail. And you know, I don’t even want to think about it. They didn’t pack toilet paper and finding water was a treat. There’s nothing romantic about chafing due to unclean.

Food. My books has a little of the bland diet, but really? They only had what they could find, carry, or trade for along the way. No refrigeration or even an ice chest. I don’t know about you, but I LOVE my fridge. Ours died a few years ago and it wasn’t pretty. Of course this happened in summer, winter would have been too convenient in the cold department.

Speaking of camping…what if every time you wanted a hot meal you had to build a fire from scratch. Even better? In a place like this:

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Just waiting for that buffalo to poop. Then it’s a wait until the poop dries. It might be a while. Hope you’re not starved. Speaking of buffalo, he’s looking mighty tasty….

 

 

 

 

Water that’s free of bugs, dirt, and amoebas. Cholera and typhoid free too, please. Add dysentery to the mix and it was an ugly death. Specifically death by diarrhea. I left that out, because, romance and all. Nothing kills the mood faster than, well, lots of poop.

Sleeping on the ground is in my books along with the getting the bedding out and putting it away every day. In the beginning, my husband asked about a romance (sex) in the wagon. I said no, too squeaky. Then he said, “Not on the ground!” as if aghast at the idea. I laughed at him, not knowing I’d married such a 5 star hotel kind of guy. But yeah, on the ground, against a tree, behind that bush, and hopefully quiet because who wants to get caught with their pants down or their skirt up?

It’s been somewhat nice for my characters that they’re in a very arid region. Wind and dust are huge problems, but rain isn’t. I’ve put in a skim-the-surface description of the cold at night. Which was fun because my southern editor called me on it. Water doesn’t freeze in August, right? Up in the high desert, it does! Maybe not solid, but it does get that cold. Especially in the 1850’s at the end of the Little Ice Age.

I’m positive there are other gritty details I’m leaving out that were also not included in my series. What do you find that writers tend to leave out of historical romances that would crack you up if they included?  Comment and tell me!

Why Don’t Writers Have Screenplays Ready Already?

Here’s some Friday fun!

You’ve read a novel, loved it, and heard there’s a movie in the works. There’s some cheering you do before circling the film’s release date on the calendar. As the credits roll you notice there’s a screenwriter AND the novel’s writer.  Two different people? What gives? Why didn’t the novelist write the screenplay? Why pay extra for another version when one writer is as good as any another?

In a word, specialization. Like a mason doesn’t install windows, a brain surgeon doesn’t do gastric bypasses, and a software programmer doesn’t assemble computers, novelists don’t often write screenplays. Sure, there can be some crossover and salsa dancers could learn how to tap dance while a baker barbecues your brisket. People can do anything.

For me, I “see” my books as I write them. They’re already movies in my mind and that’s why scriptwriting comes easy to me. It’s actually my format of choice.

But how are the two forms different? I’ll show you! Here’s an excerpt from what I’m working on at the moment. I’m literally switching from  Safari to Word to get this, that’s how fresh it is.

Uncivilized-novelized

“I do. Now, if you can stand, we need to get going.” He went to his horse, opening a saddlebag for the blankets.

She tried standing, unable to get her legs to cooperate. After a little bit of struggle, Ellen rolled to her side, then stomach. She did a push up from there, to on her knees. Bracing herself and with a little grunt, she pushed herself to stand. The sound of Del snickering caught her attention. She faced him, grimacing. “I suppose you think this is funny?”

“I’m trying not to, but…” He shrugged. “Can I help that you are so adorable?”

Ellen stared up at the sky. “If I could walk, I’d go over and show you how lovely I don’t feel this morning.”

Uncivilized-script ready (I’m rusty on exact format)

EXT IDAHO MOUNTAIN FOOTHILLS-MORNING

The landscape is blue from the east sun being above the horizon but behind the mountains. Pomme the horse is saddled and ready. ELLEN is on her bed as DEL opens the saddlebag.

DEL

I do. Now, if you can stand, we need to get going.

ELLEN struggles to her feet as DEL snickers.

ELLEN

I suppose you think this is funny?

DEL

I’m trying not to, but…. Can I help that you are so adorable?

ELLEN

If I could walk, I’d go over and show you how lovely I don’t feel this morning.

 

In reading the two, you can see how the novel writes out everything for the reader. I could probably add in more sensory information like the morning chill, Pomme’s snort, maybe the smell of dew in the air. Not a good idea to add all that in the second example. Only when a new character is introduced or a current character is changed in a script is there some description of their looks. It’s handled like the description of the setting. Not long, but enough to give the casting person some direction of who could play the part. The script must be far more sparse with words and rely on the director and his film crew to fill in the blanks.

A screenplay shows everything with action and dialogue. It tells as little as possible to the people that need to know. A script’s paragraphs need to be concise, descriptive but not overly so, and must be vital to the story in some way. A novelist gets to wallow around in examining feelings, smelling the flowers, feeling the touch of sandpaper along with other sounds and sights. Sure, a screenplay can show all the senses with audio and visuals, but a novel can use as many words as necessary. And that’s the crux of it all. For a lot of writers, leaving out all that sensory information is tough. Tough enough that Hollywood would rather hire it out to tried and true screenwriters than risk a flop with a first time novelist turned screenwriter.

Not many writers can take their own work and cut it down into 120-145 minutes of screen time and not every writer wants to. Who better to adapt a book into a movie than someone who hasn’t poured their heart into their words? Bottom line is your favorite writer could transfer their work to the big screen, if they have the skills and thick skin to cut deep into their work.