Saturday, December 31, 2011

Meet CA Kunz and their Favorite Things

Today you get two for one, as CA Kunz is the writing team of Carol & Adam Kunz. Enjoy

Hi, I'm Adam Kunz of the mom and son author duo C.A. Kunz and these are a few of my favorite things.

 ON MY iPoD: Florence and The Machine, Metric, The Sounds, Paramore, Cee-Lo Green, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and  much, much  more.
CURRENTLY READING: Carrier of the Mark
COLOR: Orange

CITY: Auckland, New Zealand

DREAM VACATION: Spending a few months traveling around Europe or Asia.
ACTIVITY: Writing, reading, watching movies, and playing videogames.
BOOK: Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire
BOOK ON WRITING: I’ve read many of them, haha! Can’t really remember any of their titles though.
PLACE TO READ: On the couch and wrapped up in a blanket with a cup of hot cocoa on the table next to me.
TV SHOW: Mike and Molly (The Walking Dead is a close second)
MOVIE: Halloween
SONG: Thriller (Love the music video as well!)
SINGER: Michael Jackson
BAND: Aerosmith
ACTOR: Johnny Depp
ACTRESS: Helena Bonham Carter
PET PEEVE: People who chew food with their mouth open.
MOST LIKE TO MEET: Maya Angelou
My website: http://www.cakunz.blogspot.com
My Twitter handle: @AuthorCAKunz


Hi, I'm Carol Kunz of the mom and son author duo C.A. Kunz and these are a few of my favorite things.
 ON MY iPoD: I don't have one 
CURRENTLY READING:  Mortal Obligation by Nichole Chase
COLOR:  Red
CITY:  Chester, England
DREAM VACATION:  Spend a few months touring the places I lived as a child in England
ACTIVITY:  Writing and Reading
BOOK:  The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe
BOOK ON WRITING:  Too many to mention
PLACE TO READ:  In bed before I go to sleep
TV SHOW:  The Walking Dead
MOVIE:   Halloween
SONG:   Imagine by John Lennon
SINGER:  Nat King Cole
BAND:  The Temptations
ACTOR:  Sean Connery
ACTRESS:  Sandra Bullock
PET PEEVE: Mean and Hateful People
MOST LIKE TO MEET:  Mother Theresa, hopefully in my afterlife :)
My website:  cakunz.blogspot.com
My Twitter handle: @AuthorCAKunz

Friday, December 23, 2011

Meet Misty Evans and her Favorite Things



Hi, I'm Misty Evans and these are a few of my favorite things.
ON MY iPOD: Shinedown, Creed, Doughtery
CURRENTLY READING: Hard Bitten by Chloe Neill
CITY: San Diego
DREAM VACATION: Italy
ACTIVITY: beach combing
BOOK: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
BOOK ON WRITING: On Writing by Stephen King
PLACE TO READ: in bed
TV SHOW: Buffy
MOVIE: Alice In Wonderland
SONG: depends on my mood!
SINGER: Jon Bon Jovi
BAND: Bon Jovi
ACTOR: Johnny Depp
ACTRESS: Ann Hathaway
PET PEEVE: annoying neighbors
MOST LIKE TO MEET: the cast of Supernatural

Link to novel: http://amzn.to/tdK2VQ
Twitter handle: @readmistyevans

Monday, December 19, 2011

Monday Motivation - Looking Back

My very first writing assignment was for Falcon Publishing, way back in the day. I answered an ad in a writing digest of some kind, and next thing I know, I have my first editor.

Hiking Iowa required me to hike 75 trails in the state of Iowa, and map them. I was also to track the distances and highlights at certain points on the trails. Yup, this was before GPS was on everyone's phone, or even available to the public.

I distinctly remember hiking a trail on the west side of Iowa in Loess Hills State Park. It was a nasty day out, but I'd driven the 3 hours to get there, so I was going to hike, dammit! Half way through the trail, a major storm hit, thunder, lightening, and a downpour. With the wash of rain also came a wash of mud. And as I was hiking I came across a fawn that had drowned. At that point I started crying. Bawling actually. I'd had it with the storm, being scared, the rain, and I just wanted out of there. But the thing was, no one was coming to rescue me, as no one knew I was there. So after a short pity party, I pulled on my big girl panties and hiked my ass back to my pickup.

There were so many more wonderful hikes, and wonderful people I met along the way. I learned things about my state that surprised me. I also learned things about myself that surprised me too.

Through the year of hiking and writing the manuscript, the publishing company was sold to another company, and I went through no less than 3 editors. Of course each editor had their own vision. And in the end it was nice to see my first book in the Spring catalogs, even if it wouldn't stay there for long. The local bookstore, where I bought my coffee every morning was excited to carry the book.

Then, a year later, someone else wrote an updated version of Hiking Iowa, and my version was out. But I got the money, and the book under my belt. Even if the book hadn't gotten published, I learned a lot about the state I live in, and the beautiful parks and trails.

Now I look forward, writing almost daily, and knowing I get to choose my editor. Having been published makes it much easier to get published again, and better the chances someone will take you seriously. In my next post, I'll explain why I chose to go the indie route with my mystery series instead of traditional, and if I'd do it again.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Meet Sandra McGregor and Her Favorite Things


Hi, I'm Sandra McGregor and these are a few of my favorite things.

ON MY iPoD: Beatles, Inya
CURRENTLY READING: A Knight in Cowboy Boots by Suzie Quint
COLOR: Royal Blue
CITY: Savannah, GA
DREAM VACATION: A snowbound cabin, plenty of firewood and my honey by my side
ACTIVITY: Writing, reading and cruising....or traveling w/i the U.S.
BOOK: How in the world do I choose?  The Bible
BOOK ON WRITING: GMC - Goals, Motivation & Conflict by Deb Dixon
PLACE TO READ: On the deck or on the beach.
TV SHOW: Numbers
MOVIE: Another difficult choice.  Sleepless In Seattle
SONG: Unchained Melody
SINGER: Whitney Houston
BAND: Beatles
ACTOR: Richard Gere
ACTRESS: Julia Roberts
PET PEEVE: Inconsiderate drivers



Sandra McGregor
SandraMcGregor.blogspot.com

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Editing With Your Kindle

As I've been listening to eBooks on my Kindle this week, I had an epiphany. When the Kindle voice reads to me, she reads every word, and therefore she catches every editing mistake. I must admit, these errors are jarring, because I think maybe she read it wrong. I mean she does have issues with the pronunciation of some words, but the errors are glaring, and tend to jolt me out of the story.
This week I've already listened to 7 novels, and noticed numerous errors in each one. (I'm "reading" both traditionally published and indie published books). These errors got me thinking, this Kindle text-to-speech device should be a part of every writer's editing process. I even include screenwriters in this.
After all of the editing, copy editing and critiques, have your Kindle "read" your novel/script to you. When you hear a mistake, stop the reading and type the sentence into the FIND feature of your word processing software. (it'll be too difficult to try to figure out the page from the Kindle to the document) When you find the sentence, you can fix it. Or you can just track all of the errors and fix the manuscript all at once.
To put your manuscript on the Kindle, save it as a .doc and email it to your Kindle email. Once the document is uploaded, listen to it via the text-to-speech function under the font button.
Try it, and see how many errors your Kindle catches for you. Hopefully it's zero, because it's edited perfectly already.
I wonder, has anyone thought of this as an editing tool before?

Friday, December 9, 2011

Meet Loucinda McGary and her Favorite Things

 Hi, I'm Loucinda McGary (aka Aunty Cindy of the Romance Bandits) and these are a few of my favorite things.

ON MY iPOD: I don't own an iPod, or an iAnything! I know, I know, get into the 21st century.

CURRENTLY READING: My critique partner, Jo Robertson's third manuscript in her Bigler County trilogy, The Traitor.  

CITY: Rome, the Eternal City, followed closely by Paris, the City of Lights

DREAM VACATION: The one I haven't taken yet. I am scheduled for a two week cruise to Hawaii shortly after the New Year and I'm really looking forward to it.

ACTIVITY: reading, writing, and travel (I'll pass on the arithmetic)

BOOK: Outlander by Diana Gabaldon (this is the book that made me want to write romance)

BOOK ON WRITING: The Wild Mind by Nathalie Goldberg

PLACE TO READ: on a plane, in the airport, or on a cruise ship (Do you notice a trend here?)

TV SHOW: Globe Trekker

MOVIE: Ladyhawke (Rutger Hauer was so YUM!)

SONG: Beethoven's 6th Symphony (The Pastoral)

SINGER: Barbra Streisand

BAND: The Chieftans

ACTOR: Samuel L. Jackson

ACTRESS: Meryl Streep

PET PEEVE: People who talk on cell phones while driving -- Hello? It is ILLEGAL here in California!

MOST LIKE TO MEET: William Shakespeare

www.LoucindaMcGary.com

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Building your Fans on Facebook

As writers, we need to get our name out there. Whether you are published traditionally, or indie pub, the "build it and they will come" is a pipedream. You have to write a good book, then shout from the hilltops and let everyone know it's available.
I found this great post: 9 Tips for Building a Facebook Fan Base.
Check it out!

Monday, December 5, 2011

What's in a Tweet (or many Tweets) Monday Motivation

Don't get me wrong, I love Twitter! I've met some of the most wonderful people there. And I've met a few crazies too, like the guy who called me really bad names because I chopped the head off of a snake my dog was "playing" with. But I digress...
This is about writing and time. What's in a tweet? 140 characters, that's what. Now, I'm going to use my own tweets as an example, and I'm a prolific tweeter because I love the community, and because I co-moderate two screenwriting chats. (check them out #scriptchat & #tvwriterchat)
Well, I thought about the time I spend on the 'net, socializing, marketing, etc, and I started crunching numbers. I'm not a numbers kinda girl, but these numbers related to writing. So class is in session, pay attention:
Avg. Tweet = 140 characters
Avg Manuscript Page = 250 words
Avg # of characters per word = 5
Now for the public info on me. I've tweeted 38,300 times (not including the many, many I've deleted)
Now it's time for the math:
38,300x140=5,362,000 characters/5 characters per word=1,072,400 words/250 words per page= 4289.6 manuscript pages. Let's just say my average novel length is 400 pages: THAT'S nearly 11 novels (or, I don't know how many screenplays) I could have written in the time I've spent on Twitter!
 Would I take any of that time back? Sure a few hours here and there, but I think most of the time has been fun, and enlightening. And the support I get from other writers and readers on Twitter is worth the manuscript pages that didn't get typed. Besides, would I really have spent that time writing anyway?

Food for thought for your Monday

Friday, December 2, 2011

Meet Barbara Phinney and her Favorite Things


Hi, I'm Barbara Phinney and these are a few of my favorite things.

ON MY iPoD: I'm listening to an RT workshop called Indie publishing, How to sell 100,000 copies of your book, by H.P Mallory
CURRENTLY READING: Shattered by Kate Kelly, a new author. Very good!
COLOR: Green. I find it relaxing.
CITY: Cochabamba, Bolivia. I left a part of my heart there during two mission trip.
DREAM VACATION: Any tropical island with a beach, a chaise and an all-inclusive resort. Another cocktail, por favor!
ACTIVITY: Writing, creating and dreaming up danger for my characters.
BOOK: The Admiral's Wife by Suzanne Brockmann
BOOK ON WRITING: The Writer's Journey. So easy to read!!
PLACE TO READ: In a comfy chair in my living room.
TV SHOW: Right now, it's Castle, but I do love Stargate Universe.
MOVIE: Casablanca. It's a classic.
SONG: Viva la Vida by Cold Play.
SINGER: Julio Inglesias
BAND: No particular band. It's the songs that speak to me.
ACTOR: I have several, including Russell Crowe, Michael Dorn, and Sean Bean
ACTRESS: Sandra Bullock
PET PEEVE: People making assumptions about me, or who jump all over me for something they are misinterpreting. That's just bad manners.
MOST LIKE TO MEET: Any  great Biblical character. Moses, David, Ruth, Paul. So much has been speculated about them.

My website: www.barbaraphinney.com
My Twitter handle:@BarbaraPhinney

Monday, November 28, 2011

The Little Engine That Could - Monday Motivation

You've heard it said, "If you think you can, or you think you can't, either way you're right."
This is so true. The last two mornings I went running in 20 degree temps with a headwind on the way home. This may not seem like a big deal, but I've been doing all of my training thus far on a treadmill. Sure, an incline here or there, but mostly just miles. When I set out yesterday morning, I knew there'd be a 16 mph headwind on the way back. I told myself, "Oh please, I've been in worse. Besides, with the running, it won't even feel like the real windchill." And I was right. The gusts were a bit much, but I did it. And boy did that cup of coffee that was waiting for me feel good going down.
Whether it's exercise, and pushing yourself to a new limit, or flexing your fingers on the keyboard and getting that project closer to finished, you can do it.
Your mind is extremely powerful, like a locomotive, and when it sets itself to getting the job done, you'd better believe it'll be done. But give it a second of doubt and you're doomed.
So scrap the "I think I can, I think I can," and replace it with "I know I can, I know I can." You are already half way there.
What have you overcome by the power of "I know I can"?

Friday, November 25, 2011

Black Friday - Friday Favorites

Normally there is a wonderful author in this space on a Friday, but since it's Black Friday I thought too many people would be either shopping or recovering from the day with family. So no author today.
  But If you feel inclined, you can tell me what you do on this day, and if you think the best shopping deals really are on Black Friday.
  I'll get us started, I NEVER go shopping on this day! People are nutty enough on other days, but the sheer terror of shopping with someone who either stayed up all night, or stood in line for hours waiting for the store to open keeps me home, relaxing and knowing I can shop for great deals on a less frenzied day.

Let the holidays begin!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Writing Sprint

I must confess, I love #writingsprints. And I type it here with the hashtag from Twitter, because that's where I first got involved in these crazed group sprints.
The wonderful TV writer Jane Espenson - see her writing portfolio here http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0260870/ - started offering up short sprints, "at the top of the hour" on Twitter. All who participated would check back at the end of the time period and share our writing results. These sprints can be for amount of time, 15 minutes, 30 minute, an hour.
I like the hour sprints best. I find that I'm completely concentrating on my story, and I refuse to be interrupted. No Twitter, Facebook, checking email, just 1 hour of unadulterated writing. I've been more productive during these sprints than when just writing on my own. I'm not sure why, but maybe because I'm accountable.
Yesterday, I announced I was doing a one hour sprint. Now mind you Jane and I aren't the only ones announcing sprints. But yesterday, I was just making a statement that I was doing a sprint for myself, "in 3 minutes." I was thrilled when several other Twitter peeps joined in on such short notice.
And we were productive. I had 5 pages, someone else had 3, another had edited 2 chapters. See? It's great to know you're not alone in the is writing world. And to be honest, it's a good way to get my own butt in the seat and start typing.
Have you joined a #writingsprint? And was it useful to you?
Be sure to join one next time you see it on Twitter and see what it does for your production rate.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Monday Motivation - The Red String

You see the red string on the left wrist of many celebrities, and it's a symbol related to Kabbalah, but it's not just about Kabbalah.
The red string is tied around one's wrist to ward off the evil eye. But in reality you bring about your own evil eye. It's worn on the wrist as a reminder to "to no evil." By this, the string reminds us to think twice before speaking negatively, or harming another.
For people who study Kabbalah, such as Demi Moore, Ashton Kutcher, Madonna, and many more, the red string is their reminder of their faith, (Kabbalah is not a religion, it's a belief) and to ward off the evil eye by doing no evil.
But it doesn't have to be a red string. It can be a ring, any ring, or even a bracelet for which the only meaning of wearing it is for the purpose of reminding you to, take one less bit of food, say something nice, do no evil.
A bracelet or ring, or even a string tied in a visible place, where you can see it everyday, to remind you of a habit you want to start, and make it a regular habit, as you have a constant reminder in place.
What could be your red string? What kind of reminder would help you to achieve your goals, or start/change a habit?

Friday, November 18, 2011

Meet Nina Pierce and her Favorite Things



Hi, I'm NINA PIERCE and these are a few of my favorite things.

CURRENTLY ON IPOD: Ugh! That would mean music piped directly into my ears
... nooooo!
CURRENTLY READING: Kiss and Hell by Dakota Cassidy
COLOR: Green
CITY: Sedona, AZ (*sigh*)
DREAM VACATION: I'd LOVE to visit Italy and stay in the wine country
ACTIVITY: Playing cards with friends
BOOK: The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough
BOOK ON WRITING: On Writing by Stephen King
PLACE TO READ: In bed with my feet propped up
TV SHOW: Oh, tough one. It's a toss up between "Survivor" (don't judge me)
and "Big Bang Theory"
MOVIE: Grease
SONG: Old Time Rock and Roll by Bob Seger
SINGER: Kenny Chesney
BAND: Lady Antebellum (sensing a country theme here?)
ACTOR: So many to choose from, so little time ...
ACTRESS: Sandra Bullock
PET PEEVE: People who say they're going to do something, but don't (Say "no"
people!)
MOST LIKE TO MEET: Ellen Degeneres

My website: http://www.NinaPierce.com
My Twitter handle:  http://www.twitter.com/NinaPierce

Monday, November 14, 2011

Monday Motivation - Lighting the Spark

Spark People
I've tried every "fad" program out there. Do they work? Absolutely. Can you stay on them for more than a week? For me, not so much. And I'm not going to pay to lose weight. I already pay enough money to do everything else. I sometimes think, "Well, if I had money invested, I'd be more likely to stick with it." NOT! Money is not a motivator for me.
So I found this great site, which is very Weight Watchers like. And it's FREE. They cater to every type of dieter. And most important, they have jazzy little phone apps.
They also offer up a terrific blog The Daily Spark which is chalk full of great info. If Mimi from the Gotcha Detective series knew about this...
Now for Monday's Goals: Last week I was bad, bad, bad! It was my birthday week, which is no excuse. I was great about almost everything, and instead of cutting off 2 bites, I tended to cut my food in half and share with my employees. They loved it, FREE FOOD. lol
I'm starting over with last weeks goals again. Not adding any this week, as my life is on a different schedule for the next 3 months.
What are your goals this week? And what do you think of the Spark People website?

Friday, November 11, 2011

Meet Jennifer Lynne and her Favorite Things



Hi, I'm romance author Jennifer Lynne, and these are a few of my favorite things:

ON MY iPoD: Nothing right now as my daughter commandeered it!
CURRENTLY READING:  Industrial Magic by Kelley Armstrong and The Crystal Warrior by Maree Anderson
COLOR: Green
CITY: The wonderful city where I live – Melbourne, Australia
DREAM VACATION: The Maldives – far too expensive, but a woman can dream, right?
ACTIVITY: Writing and reading, especially when combined with sitting in front of a log fire on a cold winter’s day
BOOK: Anything by Ilona Andrews or Lisa Shearin. Love those authors – they create kick-ass heroines!
BOOK ON WRITING:  Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne and Dave King
PLACE TO READ: By the log fire, on the beach, or in bed late at night
TV SHOW: Escape to the Country and The Amazing RaceMOVIE: Lord of the Rings trilogy, especially the first one
SONG: Katie Melua’s Blame it on the Moon
SINGER: Katie Melua and Norah Jones
BAND: The Beatles
ACTOR: I have far too many favorites – but a few are Al Pacino, Alan Rickman, Sean Penn and Geoffrey Rush
ACTRESS: Top three are Hilary Swank, Cate Blanchett and Helen Mirren
PET PEEVE: People who talk so much they never stop to just...listen!
MOST LIKE TO MEET: David Tennant (yep, I have a little crush!), Stephen Fry and Miriam Margolyes – that way I could have quirky, intelligent conversation with loads of laughter!

My website: http://www.jenniferlynne.com.au
My Twitter handle: JenniLynnAuthor  http://twitter.com/#!/JenniLynnAuthor

Thursday, November 10, 2011

It's not a Competition


When Jeanne, Kim, Mina, Zac and I first started ScriptChat, the motto was "It's a community, not a competition." And from that day, it's always been that way. We cheer for each other, support people in a slump, and generally try to be there for people across the globe. www.scriptchat.com

And when Vivi, Gray, Zac and I went on to develop TVWriterChat, we used what we learned from starting ScriptChat. www.tvwriterchat.com

It really isn't a competition. The only person you're competing with is yourself. How can you make yourself better? What can you do to improve your odds of succeeding? Being a part of a community really helps you beat the odds.

I'm noticing the same camaraderie among authors. Everyone supports one another. Check out this wonderful blog post by Beth Revis. http://networkedblogs.com/pJsel

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Go With the Flow - Taking a Story/Writing Detour

Originally I didn't have a blog post for Writer Wednesday. But after a one hour writing sprint, and reading a review that said the reader would like to have seen more twists, I'm on a roll.
I thought I knew exactly where I was going with my story. I won't say which one, but it was nearly set in stone. Then I'm writing and one of my characters says, "Did you see that? There, in the background of the picture." And wham! I was hit up beside the head with a new and twisted twist.
I fear this story is a bit darker than I'd originally planned, but tonight it just got a bit darker. I'll have to through in some humor to lighten the mood.
So what I'm trying to say, is I outlined this story. I knew exactly where I was going. I know who the killer is. I've set all the red herrings in place. Yup, I did all of that before I ever wrote a word of this work in progress, and now it's fresher and more twisted than I'd originally planned.
So go with the flow. Deviate from your outline if it's going to make your story better. Just remember, when you do this, be sure it still flows with the rest of your story.
Now, back to our regularly scheduled writing...

Monday, November 7, 2011

Monday Motivation - Getting Healthier in Small Steps

Nothing will motivate you to take a better look at what you put in your mouth than a bad test result from the doctor. Or will it? Nearly a year ago, I got my blood tests back from the doctor, high bad cholesterol, and nearly diabetic levels of blood sugar. I thought, "Oh God, I'm going to die. I can't die, I'm only (insert number here)."

I went online and read all the articles on eating to lower cholesterol. I changed my overall diet. I wanted to live!

Apparently I didn't want to live that bad, because within a week I was back to eating the same old crap. And not just some of it. Apparently the trigger in my brain that says, "One package of HoHos is enough," wasn't triggering. Somehow I decided that I knew my body better than the doctors. NOT!

What was going on here was that my brain couldn't accept the changes. And to this day, almost a year later, I go up and down with my eating habits. I've lost 15 pounds, but I seriously need to lose more. (I'm not obese, but I'm not skinny either).

So I was reading a book called,One Small Step Can Change Your Life: The Kaizen Way about a month ago. The point is to change things in very small increments. So I started. Garlic is supposed to be a great food to help with cholesterol levels, and olives have heart healthy fat, so I started eating just one garlic stuffed olive each morning. After a few weeks, I added a multivitamin (I know, I should have been taking it all along). And most recently I started throwing away the first bite of food. (I take the bite and spit it in the garbage, or I cut it off with a knife and toss in the garbage immediately).

There's so much more I can do, in small steps, that will eventually become such habit I won't remember when I started doing things this way. But I'm committed to adding one more small step each week.

There is plenty more I can do. I'll talk about adding exercise to you life next week.

I'm cutting out one more bite of my food with each meal, and I'm adding flax seed to at least one meal.

This is about my life, I need to get serious! I want at least as many more years as I've already had.

If you are interested in changing a habit, I'd love for you to join me here each week and we can check in and add a new small habit that's good.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Sample Sunday - LET US PREY (portion of Ch. 2)

Chapter 2

Sitting in the middle of the dining room table was Esme. Not all of Esme, just her head, eyes wide open, staring from the crystal bowl. Her hair had been cut into a short spiky chopped mess, and blood had pooled in the bottom of the bowl. Her body had been positioned in a chair next to an antique cabinet with her hands cupped in her lap, collecting pools of blood that had seeped from her neck. Her legs were twisted in the same twist tie I’d seen in my office that day.
I looked around the room. Everything looked the same as it had when I’d been there in the afternoon. The table was set with a series of white Nortaki china, crystal goblets, and a table runner across the middle. The runner was under the crystal bowl containing Esme’s head. The last time I’d seen the bowl it had been empty. I avoided looking at the head and tried to concentrate on the details of the room. I’d never been to a crime scene so I didn’t really know what I was looking for, but there didn’t seem to be signs of a struggle. I looked behind Esme’s body and saw a slight darkening of the brown walls where blood from Esme’s neck had sprayed the surface. Other than the blood, the room looked pristine. Pristine if you didn’t consider the trail of blood from the body to the head on the table. It looked like a set up for a horror flick or a bad joke. Only the acrid smell of expelled body fluids made the scene real.
Lauren wrapped her arms around her middle and bent forward, the remains of her fast food dinner spewing forth onto the floor. Holding her hair back with one hand, she spit vomit onto the hardwood floor. Her mouth hung open and spit dribbled from her lips. It seemed she couldn’t catch her breath as she dropped to her hands and knees. She didn’t seem to notice the chunks of her dinner under her hands.
“Oh my god, oh my god,” she said. Sucking in a deep breath, she vomited again. This time she didn’t try to pull her hair from her face.
I stood silent, stunned. I followed cheating spouses, did skip traces, took photographs of people committing insurance fraud, and I stood guard to protect people, but I wasn’t a cop, and I’d never seen anything like this. Between Lauren’s barfing, and Esme’s decapitated head I didn’t know how to keep myself from fainting. Finally, I looked up, which helped me swallow the bile building in the back of my throat, and concentrated on the ceiling for a moment.
Watching Lauren, and smelling the regurgitated fish filet, was too much. But I couldn’t vomit. I had to get my head together. Call the police. But I couldn’t move. I was the professional here, right? Oh, I so didn’t want to be the professional. I wanted to go back to the car and have a do-over. Lauren started to stand up, and I regained my composure, trying to be the consummate professional.
“Don’t touch anything. I’ll call the police,” I said.
She barely got herself into a sitting position on the floor rocking back and forth, whispering. I couldn’t hear what she said. I leaned closer, and choked back my vomit when I smelled hers.
“What?” I said.
“Henry. Where is Henry?” She wiped the vomit from her hands onto her skirt.
I pulled my cell phone from my hip holster and dialed 911. I put the phone to my ear and listened. It seemed like an hour before the dispatcher answered.
“911, what’s your emergency?”
“There’s been a murder.”
“Ma’am, are you okay?”
“Yes,” I lied. “A woman was murdered, and we just got home and found her.”
“Ma’am. What’s your name?”
“Mimi Capurro. I’m here with the owner of the house. She isn’t doing so well.”
“Has she been injured?”
“No. She found the body. She’s not handling it very well.” I looked back at Lauren who was still rocking and mumbling.
 “What’s your location, ma’am?”
Why do they always ask that, when they know where you are? Then I remembered I was calling from my cell phone. I gave her the home’s address.
“Okay, I have a car on the way. Is anyone else in the house with you?”
“I don’t know. I’ll go check.”
I crept down the hallway, switching from the handset to my Bluetooth headset. I heard the dispatcher snap at me. “No, ma’am, don’t go anywhere. The police will be there any minute. They’ll look for anyone else in the house.”
Knowing full well the killer could still be in the house, I didn’t even know if we were safe, so I pulled my nine millimeter from my shoulder holster and climbed the stairs.
“Ma’am, are you there?” The dispatcher sounded more concerned and less confident now.
I didn’t answer. I was trying to climb the stairs quietly, and I wasn’t really listening to her.
“Ma’am. Stay put. The police will be there any minute. Ma’am?”
She sounded distraught now, so I felt compelled to say something. I whispered, “Call me Mimi, please. I can’t stay put, I have to see if the husband is alive. I may be able to help him, if he’s still alive. I’m okay, I have a gun.”
Now that was the wrong thing to say. The dispatcher went on alert.
“Mimi, did you say you have a gun?”
“Don’t worry. I’m a private detective. I’m licensed.” Not that I’d ever had to shoot anyone before. But I could if I had to, I was sure of it.
“Please Mimi, stop where you are. I need you to stay put until the police arrive.” I’m pretty sure she was screaming at me, but I’d blocked her out.
I climbed the rest of the stairs and plastered my back against the wall, creeping along until I reached what I hoped was the bathroom door. Reaching across the door and turning the handle, I pushed the door open and flipped on the light, pointing my gun in front of me. The room was empty. I breathed deep, grabbed a hand towel from the counter and headed to the next room.

Friday, November 4, 2011

HORSES STOLEN - Empty trailer found in Idabel Oklahoma

Last night someone stole a Featherlite gooseneck 22 ft. stock combo trailer Georgia plates (TL7W102)with 5 horses, saddles, and bits from the college barn in Magnolia, AR! One was Ashley Mills good black horse with a rocking M brand on left hip. Shaun Smiths sorrel blaze face horse with a rocking V on his left shoulder, right hip had backward L with a K. There was also a grey mare with no markings, a buckskin mare with a star on her head, and a black mare with star and circle M brand. Mollies tod sloan, bayou west pads, Joe's team roping saddle and many of their headstalls are also gone...please get the word out


‎**ATTENTION** Stolen Horses Update! Last night the trailer was found empty in Idabel, Oklahoma but all 5 horses are still missing. Please keep passing this information to all your horse friends & alert your local horse sales. The above picture is a more clear faceshot the black gelding, "Badger". The 4 other horses stolen are: Sorrel blaze face horse with a rocking V on his left shoulder, right hip has backward L with a K. Grey mare with no markings, a Buckskin mare with a star on her head, and a Black mare. Call Ashley Mills with any information (386) 209-0469 & your local Sheriff's Department.

Thank you facebook friends for helping spread the word to get these horses back to their owners!

Facebook link: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Stolen-Help-FIND/211056102298127



Email OK horse auctions to be on the lookout. 
http://www.noble.org/ag/Livestock/OKAuctions/byCity.html

Meet Stephanie Queen and her Favorite Things



Hi, I'm Stephanie Queen and these are a few of my favorite things.

ON MY iPoD:
CURRENTLY READING:  Nelson DeMille's Plum Island - love his macho cop John Corey 
COLOR:  Electric Blue
CITY:  Boston
DREAM VACATION:  Varies, but inexplicably, it's between Paris and Hawaii right now.
ACTIVITY:  Does snuggling count as an activity?
BOOK:  You're kidding, right?
BOOK ON WRITING:  On Being a Writer, a Writer's Digest compilation of essays circa 1989, includes Hemingway & Faulkner interviews. 
PLACE TO READ:  Bed
TV SHOW:  The Closer
ACTOR:  Russell Crowe
ACTRESS:  Kyra Sedgewick
MOST LIKE TO MEET: Harlan Coben - had a close encounter last summer in NYC at the RWA Conference, but not quite

My website:  www.StephanieQueen.com
My Twitter handle: @StephanieQueen

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Outlining Isn't Just for Novels

I can't tell you how often I hear writers lament about the dreaded outline. "It kills creativity," "I just don't want to box myself in," and so many more complaints. Well, I'm here to tell you, outlining is just as important in writing a TV or feature script.
For every script I write, I first beat out the beginning, the end, and turning points/act breaks. Then I fill in the scenes to get to those points. And believe me, this requires lots of creativity.
Coming up with a story, the beginning, end, and a few points along the way is usually how I spring an idea. It's getting past those few points that really make me dig down and get creative.
What can I do to keep the reader (remember, someone is reading our script, not watching a film reel) turning the pages? What hooks, cliffhangers, characters can I present to keep the reader involved?
This is a blueprint for the spine of your story, the DNA if you will. From there it's nature vs. nurture. Things will change as you write, just as life doesn't always go as planned. But believe me when I tell you that this original imprint will go a long way to making your story stronger, and you won't "hit the wall" at midpoint, wondering where the hell your story is going. Or what you were writing about to begin with.
I find that if I hit the wall in my outlining, it's easier to see where things went wrong, and I don't have so many words and pages to go back over to find a fix.
If you write by "the seat of your pants," you'll also get the story written, but I do believe it takes much longer to get there.
As for killing creativity, where do you think the outline came from? You created it. Just because you figured out the road to travel before the trip began, doesn't mean you can't take detours, or visit interesting places along the way.
Tired of the cliche analogies? Sorry, but I'm sincere in my clicheness. hahaha
What do you do that helps you map out your story?

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Conflict: Who Needs It?

Who needs it? If you are a writer, you do!

Without conflict, you don't have a compelling story. And you need a compelling story to sell your novel or screenplay.

Look at the successful sitcoms on TV. Yes, I said sitcoms, not dramas. Every story revolves around conflict of some kind, and the silliness that ensues during the pursuit of controlling it. So, if you write comedy or drama, you need to consider conflict.

Starting TODAY, there is a great workshop on CONFLICT being conducted for the month of November. Check out the details: Creating Conflict for Your Story.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Yesterday's Glasses

Don’t approach today wearing yesterday’s glasses.


Yesterday is gone. There is nothing we can do to change what we did or didn't do. It's a waste of time to worry about it. And we should never approach today with yesterday's glasses. Wear today's glasses. Be in the present and think only forward.


If you let the worries, thoughts and actions of yesterday get in the way of today, you again lose precious time dwelling in the past. Our time here is short, approach it from today, and enjoy it.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Meet P.R. Mason and her Favorite Things




Hi, I'm P.R. Mason (aka Patricia Mason)and these are a few of my favorite things.

ON MY iPoD:  Florence + The Machine, Lungs.
CURRENTLY READING: Medusa by Michael Dibdin (Aurelio Zen Mystery).
COLOR: Lavender.
CITY: Savannah (in the U.S.) and Venice (in Europe).
DREAM VACATION: A month in Venice.
ACTIVITY: Reading
BOOK: Pride and Prejudice
BOOK ON WRITING: Save the Cat
PLACE TO READ: My sofa with my two cats curled up next to me.
TV SHOW: Justified.
MOVIE: North & South (The 2005 British version with my favorite actor)
SONG: Cosmic Love
SINGER:  Lady Gaga
BAND:  Florence + the Machine
ACTOR:  Richard Armitage (Ahhh so dreamy)
ACTRESS: Kate Winslet
PET PEEVE:  Traffic gridlock
MOST LIKE TO MEET: Richard Armitage - of course. He is my go-to muse when I'm writing a romantic scene.

My website: www.prmason.net

My Twitter handle: @prmason

Monday, October 24, 2011

The Three C's

The 3 C's in Life: Choice, Chance and Change

First you must make the CHOICE, to take the CHANCE, if you want anything in life to CHANGE.

What a great quote. So often we sit around and complain, or contemplate (oh, no, 2 BAD Cs) but never do anything about our circumstances. And it is a CHOICE to make more out of your life.

Are there choices you've made? Are you willing to take a chance?

Friday, October 21, 2011

Meet Cynthia Woolf and her Favorite Things


Hi, I'm Cynthia Woolf and these are a few of my favorite things.

ON MY iPoD: sorry don't have an iPoD...YET
CURRENTLY READING: Motor Mouth by Janet Evanovich
COLOR:  Purple
CITY:  Honolulu
DREAM VACATION:  Hawaii
ACTIVITY:  Writing
BOOK: Gentle Warrior by Julie Garwood
BOOK ON WRITING: How I write by Janet Evanovich
PLACE TO READ: Bed
TV SHOW: NCIS
MOVIE: Practical Magic
SONG: Color My World by Chicago
SINGER:  Katy Perry
BAND:  Beatles
ACTOR:  Robert Downey Jr
ACTRESS: Sandra Bullock
PET PEEVE: using loose when you mean lose
MOST LIKE TO MEET:  My father who died when I was five.

My website: http://www.cynthiawoolf.com
My Twitter handle: @cynthiawoolf

Monday, October 17, 2011

Knock Out Punch

See the person you are and see the person you can be when you punch your doubts’ lights out. 


Doubt paralyzes us. It keeps us from following our dreams, writing that book or screenplay, asking for that raise, or applying for yet another job. But doubt is really the devil inside you keeping you from those dreams. 


When self-doubt raises it's ugly head, give the the jab, cross, hook combo, then finish it off with an uppercut. Literally. When you feel the poison of doubt creeping up, put your arms up and punch. I use the  jab cross, hook motions, and if I don't feel like I've knocked self-doubt to the floor, I finish with an uppercut. And if that's not enough, I do it again. In a public place, I do it mentally. But there have been many times I've been sitting at my computer, I've written 2-3 pages, and then I think, "What the hell? I have no idea what I'm doing. Why am I wasting my time?" When I'm writing, I know it's time to take a break and do some shadow boxing with my ego (which I believe is the home of self-doubt). When I'm done, I've usually worked through my issues and I'm ready to tackle the world.


What about you? What do you do to punch doubt's lights out?

Friday, October 14, 2011

Meet MJ Fredrick and her Favorite Things

Hi, I'm MJ Fredrick and these are a few of my favorite things.

ON MY iPoD: Hayes Carll
CURRENTLY READING: The Girl Who Was on Fire (essays about The Hunger Games)
COLOR: pink
CITY: San Antonio
DREAM VACATION: a trip to the Grand Canyon and staying at the El Tovar on the rim
ACTIVITY: These days it's sewing!
BOOK: Winter Roses by Anita Mills, the first book I ever read where the hero wasn't quite sure of his place
BOOK ON WRITING: On Writing by Stephen King
PLACE TO READ: bed!
TV SHOW: Justified. I love me some Raylan Givens.
MOVIE: The Mummy, with Brendan Fraser. I can watch that a thousand times!
SONG: Very hard! I'm going to say "In Your Eyes," because it's the first time my husband said, "I heard this song and thought about you."
SINGER: Right now this minute, a tie between Jason Aldean and Hayes Carll
BAND: Arcade Fire! I know, so different from my favorite singer, right? But they have such great energy.
ACTOR: Timothy Olyphant
ACTRESS: Sandra Bullock
PET PEEVE: Apostrophe abuse!
MOST LIKE TO MEET: Jon Stewart

My website: www.mjfredrick.com
My Twitter handle: @MJFredrick

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Social Media for the Author

I just read a book on social media for the author. Okay, honestly, I listened as my Kindle read it to me. I was stunned that there were so many references to John Locke's book HOW I SOLD 1 MILLION EBOOKS IN 5 MONTHS ( http://donovancreed.com/ ). I'd already read John's book, so nothing was new information, but this (very short) eBook seemed as if was trying to capitalize on John Locke's author status. Or something. There was a reference to John's book, with a long passage, then a short page and a half or so elaborating. Not that there weren't some good nuggets, but I'm glad I didn't pay more than 99 cents for it. I'm not going to name the eBook, because it's not worth mentioning.
I did learn a lot from John's book, and I've also learned some great information from Kristen Lamb's book (http://warriorwriters.wordpress.com/). As an author we need to separate ourselves from the masses, and let me tell you, it's a full time job.
I love social media, and I was on Twitter, Facebook, and Blogger long before I was trying to market a book. This made the transition easier, but I have to try really hard not to run off my regular followers/friends with sales pitches. So I only put on the salesman/marketer hat a few days a week. I'd much rather enjoy the media to stay in touch with the "friends" I've made around the world. I just hope those friends my feel compelled to purchase my novel.

Jamie

Get Your ZZZZs without the Z (or how to prevent snoring)


Attach a Ball to the Back of Your Shirt to Prevent Snoring


There are so many remedies for snoring, with medications, therapeutic techniques, and crazy contraptions. But an easy way to prevent snoring is to attach a ball to your night shirt, t-shirt, or pajamas (whatever your wear, and I don't want to know that you don't wear anything, thanks). 
A tennis ball, or a rubber squishy ball is best because it isn't extremely hard like a baseball. You can tape or stitch it into your sleepwear, and the lump will prevent you from sleeping on your back. 
When you sleep on your stomach or side, your airways are less obstructed, and therefore you can breath with little or no snoring.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Attitude

I love this quote from Thomas Jefferson:
Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude.

When I was transplanted to the Midwest, I had a great idea that moving half-way across the country would change my life for the better. But when I got here, I had a bad experience. Instead of letting that experience move me to be a better person, I held a grudge. And believe me, I'm good at holding a grudge.

For more than 10 years I kept myself from being happy. And even now I find myself slipping back into the negative attitude I harbored for years. I had that "someday" attitude, instead of realizing my some day was today. I was my own worst enemy. My thoughts were keeping me from being happy. Of course it took years for me to realize this, and sometimes I still try to blame others. But on the days I remember, my mental attitude will reflect my happiness and success, I'm so much happier.

What about you? Do you have to put your mental attitude in check?



Sunday, October 2, 2011

Looking Forward


Every day is a fresh start: it doesn’t matter what happened yesterday or the day before. When you wake up in the morning and take that first breath, it’s a new day, a new lifetime.

It’s all about who are you going to be today and tomorrow, not who you have been yesterday.
The above quote is from my Daily Kabbalah Tune Up. It’s a wonderful spiritual email I get every day.
Waste no more energy on yesterday. You can’t change what has already happened, and dwelling on yesterday is energy wasted, that can be used for today and tomorrow.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

You Have to Do the Work

Last I checked, writing was hard work. You do the work, you write the best screenplay you can, or novel, or article, then you go out there and network to get it sold.
Believe me, I've learned, networking is as important as the writing. Because the hard part starts after the writing is finished. Networking and meeting people takes time, effort, and money. I don't care who you are. And if you want to make a living as a writer you pay your dues first.
If you want to be a surgeon, you pay the money to go to medical school, no one just opens a hospital door for you because you requested to be a surgeon, you work at it, you spend the money to learn how to be a surgeon, you go to school, and then you sell yourself like a hooker on Soledad Street to get a job in the best hospital.
The same is true for writing, you work hard to learn your craft/art/whateveryouwanttocallit and you learn the business you want to work in, then you do the solitary work of writing that book, script, article, etc., and polish until it shines. Hahaha, and you thought that part was tough.
No excuses, you have to get out there and meet the right people, attend conferences, find out where the right people hang out and try to meet them.
There is a gentleman who thinks he's being discriminated against in this the movie industry, but is he really? Or does he just need to work harder and get better at both the writing and the networking? Here is a candid interview with him (by Jim Vines), and you can decide.
http://theworkingscreenwriter.blogspot.com/2011/08/interview-withjustin-samuels.html

Friday, August 19, 2011

It's Not the Fall, It's How You Rise to the Occasion

Life is filled with obstacles and tests that sometimes knock us off our feet. When we do lose our balance and fall flat on our faces, it’s important to stand up again rather than to sink into doubt and depression...and dust ourselves off.

Getting up again generates greater spiritual Light in the world than if we had never fallen in the first place. The fact that we fell is not what’s important. True greatness is in the act of rising again. (via Yehuda Berg)

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Friday, August 12, 2011

My Bucket List

I never really had a bucket list. The only thing I ever wanted to do was rodeo, and maybe one day qualify for the National Finals Rodeo. Well, owning a restaurant put an end to that dream, since I'd never be able to be on the road all year. This year, one of my biggies was accomplished, I got a covered arena to ride my horses in the winter. But things I'd like to do? I'm going to start my bucket list today.
1. Visit Italy
2. ...to be continued.

What's one (or more) things on your bucket list?

Monday, August 8, 2011

Meet Lola the Doberman and her Favorite Things

Hi, I’m Lola (Mimi’s Doberman) and these are a few of my favorite things.
ON MY iPOD: What’s an iPod?
CURRENTLY READING: There’s a book on the coffee table with a bowl of soup on it.
CITY: Salinas, I hate traveling
DREAM VACATION: A day in the backyard, no car rides, no people, just sleeping and playing with toys.

ACTIVITY: Sleeping
BOOK:I guess it’s the dog treats book Mimi uses when she actually tries to cook special treats
BOOK ON WRITING: Writing, what’s that?

PLACE TO READ: Place to sleep? My bed.
TV SHOW: That’s easy, COPS
MOVIE: Beverly Hills Chihuahua
SONG: Stronger by Kanye West
SINGER:Snoop Dog
BAND:
ACTOR: Benji

ACTRESS: That Taco Bell Dog
PET PEEVE: Being woken up, at anytime, anywhere. Sleep is sacred.
MOST LIKE TO MEET: The maker of Kong dog toys, so I can say thanks.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

#Sample Sunday - The Murder Scene

Here is a sample of what poor Mimi goes through in LET US PREY:

  Sitting in the middle of the dining room table was Esme. Not all of Esme, just her head, eyes wide open, staring from the crystal bowl. Her hair had been cut into a short spiky chopped mess, and blood had pooled in the bottom of the bowl. Her body had been positioned in a chair next to an antique cabinet with her hands cupped in her lap, collecting pools of blood that had seeped from her neck. Her legs were twisted in the same twist tie I’d seen in my office that day.
  I looked around the room. Everything looked the same as it had when I’d been there in the afternoon. The table was set with a series of white Nortaki china, crystal goblets, and a table runner across the middle. The runner was under the crystal bowl containing Esme’s head. The last time I’d seen the bowl it had been empty. I avoided looking at the head and tried to concentrate on the details of the room. I’d never been to a crime scene so I didn’t really know what I was looking for, but there didn’t seem to be signs of a struggle. I looked behind Esme’s body and saw a slight darkening of the brown walls where blood from Esme’s neck had sprayed the surface. Other than the blood, the room looked pristine. Pristine if you didn’t consider the trail of blood from the body to the head on the table. It looked like a set up for a horror flick or a bad joke. Only the acrid smell of expelled body fluids made the scene real.
  Lauren wrapped her arms around her middle and bent forward, the remains of her fast food dinner spewing forth onto the floor. Holding her hair back with one hand, she spit vomit onto the hardwood floor. Her mouth hung open and spit dribbled from her lips. It seemed she couldn’t catch her breath as she dropped to her hands and knees. She didn’t seem to notice the chunks of her dinner under her hands.
  “Oh my god, oh my god,” she said. Sucking in a deep breath, she vomited again. This time she didn’t try to pull her hair from her face.
  I stood silent, stunned. I followed cheating spouses, did skip traces, took photographs of people committing insurance fraud, and I stood guard to protect people, but I wasn’t a cop, and I’d never seen anything like this. Between Lauren’s barfing, and Esme’s decapitated head I didn’t know how to keep myself from fainting. Finally, I looked up, which helped me swallow the bile building in the back of my throat, and concentrated on the ceiling for a moment.
  Watching Lauren, and smelling the regurgitated fish filet, was too much. But I couldn’t vomit. I had to get my head together. Call the police. But I couldn’t move. I was the professional here, right? Oh, I so didn’t want to be the professional. I wanted to go back to the car and have a do-over. Lauren started to stand up, and I regained my composure, trying to be the consummate professional.
  “Don’t touch anything. I’ll call the police,” I said.
  She barely got herself into a sitting position on the floor rocking back and forth, whispering. I couldn’t hear what she said. I leaned closer, and choked back my vomit when I smelled hers.
  “What?” I said.
  “Henry. Where is Henry?” She wiped the vomit from her hands onto her skirt.
  I pulled my cell phone from my hip holster and dialed 911. I put the phone to my ear and listened. It seemed like an hour before the dispatcher answered.
  “911, what’s your emergency?”
  “There’s been a murder.”
  “Ma’am, are you okay?”
  “Yes,” I lied. “A woman was murdered, and we just got home and found her.”
  “Ma’am. What’s your name?”
  “Mimi Capurro. I’m here with the owner of the house. She isn’t doing so well.”
“Has she been injured?”
  “No. She found the body. She’s not handling it very well.” I looked back at Lauren who was still rocking and mumbling.
   “What’s your location, ma’am?”

Friday, July 29, 2011

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Rules of Writing


I'm a co-founder of a couple of Twitter chats for screenwriting, and I was checking out the chat schedules today and came upon a revelation.
Ryne Douglas Pearson who you met in a blog last month with his favorite things, wrote the screenplay for my husband's favorite movie. KNOWING - The Movie

I was looking at his website because he's a guest on next week's Twitter chat called Scriptchat, and I saw this great post on the rules of writing, I wanted to share it with you. Check it out, you WILL learn something.

Ryne Douglas Pearson's Writing Rules

Writing Rules


I'm a co-founder of a couple of Twitter chats for screenwriting, and I was checking out the chat schedules today and came upon a revelation.
Ryne Douglas Pearson who you met in a blog last month with his favorite things, wrote the screenplay for my husband's favorite movie. KNOWING - The Movie

I was looking at his website because he's a guest on next week's Twitter chat called Scriptchat, and I saw this great post on the rules of writing, I wanted to share it with you. Check it out, you WILL learn something.

Ryne Douglas Pearson's Writing Rules