A VERY BLACK CAT

 

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 A Very Black Cat!

It’s done, sent to the publishers, and is now on Amazon!

I’m talking about my latest novel, of course, A Very Black Cat, and you can see the black cat on the fence if you look between the hero and heroine on the book cover. (Nice cover,  Cynthia! Thanks!)

A Very Black Cat (Johns Falls Book 2)

Here’s the link to Amazon to check it out for yourself.

So what’s it about? It’s the second in the Johns Falls series of clean, wholesome romances and here’s the back cover blurb:

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Welcome to Johns Falls, Minnesota, where everyone knows everything about everybody, often before they know it themselves.

So it’s not surprising that two people who are falling in love are the last to know, even though everyone’s talking about their romance and asking them personally for the lurid, juicy details. (Of which there aren’t any because this is a clean, fun romance.)

But for the lovers to deny there’s a romance even after being told straight out that they are in love? That’s beyond belief.

Meet Becky, dedicated small-town career girl following her pre-determined course to be the best bookkeeper in the area and now, with the blessings of her boss and all-around nice guy Tobias Whittaker, she’ll also be a genuine business consultant with a framed diploma on the wall as soon as she finishes an online course that she’ll fail without help from someone who understands the nuances of the people side of small town businesses.

Enter Jackson, hunky, former football jock and newish, charismatic owner of the lumberyard in town whose charm can convince the must obstinate customer to buy something, whether that customer knew he wanted it or not, and whose boyish smile can subdue even the most stubborn heart but who can’t keep his books straight no matter how hard he tries.

Add one small, black cat with a mind of its own into the mix that’s not about to watch his two favorite people live without each other one second longer than necessary.

Then, along with the entire town of Johns Falls, Minnesota, sit back and enjoy the action.


Sound like something you’d like to read? Again, here’s the link to Amazon. And reviews are always appreciated!

 

When Nothing Goes Right

You plotted correctly and it the story is wonderful. You drew from deep within and created the perfect characters to carry your story to conclusion. You kicked everyone out of the house or went to your special hiding place to write. And you put the seat of your pants to the seat of your chair and get started.

And nothing comes out as it should. What’s worse, you can’t figure out why not so you don’t know how to do things differently in order to get it right. What to do?

Don’t sweat it. Write a few words or sentences to remind yourself later where you are in the story and what’s happening and then go on to the next part. Or to the end. Or to whatever scene in the story you can wrap your mind around at the moment. And write.

Don’t worry about the part you couldn’t do. Come back to it later when you’re in a better mood. It’ll most likely go right then because you’ll have filled in what happened before and after that particular scene.

Hint:  when this happens to me, I highlight the scene that didn’t work so I can find it easily later. For some reason I can’t figure out, just passing over those highlighted words when I’m on my way to the scene I’m working on at the moment does something. It gets the creative part of my subconscious mind working so when I do return, I find that I know exactly what to do.

Writer/Procrastinator

Last post, I said I was ready to start marketing Wolf Legend, my next contemporary romance novel with a supernatural theme.  Maybe the truth should be that I’m almost ready to start marketing Wolf Legend.

I’ve still got to do one more run-through for editing, typos, etc.  Most of all, I must justify the margins. When I first started e-publishing, I tried writing first drafts with justified margins so I wouldn’t have to go back and do it later.  It didn’t work. It drove me crazy.  All those letters jumping all over the place whenever I made a change.  (If you don’t know what I’m talking about, try it.  You’ll go blind very quickly.  Or insane.  Or both.)  And I changed at least a few things in every chapter.  Even if I was on rewrite number ten.

So I quit creating with justified margins and must go back and redo the entire book now that I’m finally, finally truly done with it. Actually I justified it twice already and then un-justified it so I could make changes without going blind.  But this time I’m sure I’m done.

Really sure.

Pretty sure.

Almost sure…

Okay, I’m a writer and that means I’m never done.  I just reach a point in the creative process where I send it off whether I’m satisfied or not.  My husband often threatens to tear my latest manuscript from my clutching, ink-stained fingers because that’s the only way it’ll ever go out into the world.

Snowed by Pamela Burford

Snowed   http://www.amazon.com/dp/B003VYC776

Review:  Snowed by Pamela Burford

Judging from the original publication date for this book, I’m guessing that it’s from Ms Burford’s backlist.  It reads like a backlist book.  I liked it but there were things about it suggestive of a writer who hasn’t hit her full stride yet.

It’s the story of a poor Arkansas girl who is the product of rape who makes good and goes to New York City to confront her father.  He has died but his son is sexy and nice and she falls for him.  The rest of the story follows the various twists and turns during which they figure out that they aren’t blood relatives after all so it’s all right for them to fall in love and marry.

I thought the twists and turns were a bit clumsy, and that’s what I meant by being suggestive of a newbie writer, but they worked and, to be honest, Ms. Burford did manage a plot that most writers wouldn’t even tackle, let alone do so successfully.  And I loved the characters.  Loved them.  Ms. Burford’s characters jump from the page. I especially loved the ‘don’t-call-me-a-southern-hillbilly-one-more-time-or-I’ll-belt-you’ heroine as she makes her way through the big city.

It was well edited and I didn’t notice any typos.  Yeah!!!  This was free, the second of two free books I downloaded recently.  I’m glad I did and, after reading excerpts of Ms. Burford’s newer books, I just might buy one or two.

First Visions by H.T. Wood

First Visions (Second Sight, #1)  Book Review:  First Visions by H.T. Wood

I’m a sucker for stories about people with psychic abilities but I have a caveat.  That psychic should be otherwise normal.  The heroine in this book was perfectly normal until an accident left her with second sight.

It’s a fairly common theme for stories and one that Ms. Wood handles well.  She also does a good job of another rather common theme in novels and that’s the fact that the heroine wishes she didn’t have the gift of second sight.  And she wishes she’d shut her mouth years ago when her gift helped the police find a missing child because the publicity sent her running into hiding where she’s been ever since.  And she definitely doesn’t want to help them again when another child goes missing, even though the detective in charge of the case is a great guy she can’t help falling for.  All elements of this story ring true both in real life and in this story and they are handled in a competent manner so I enjoyed reading this book.

Whether or not I’ll read another in the series will depend on my mood at the moment.  The element of surprise is missing and sometimes I like surprises.  But surprise isn’t what this writer is aiming for so some day in the future if I’m looking for a book that I know will turn out the way I want it to, I just might choose another book by this author.

Now for the rating.  I should mention that I hate using stars to rate books.  Hate!  Hate!  Hate!  In fact I hate rating books in any way at all.  I’d much rather just tell what I think and let the reader take away from my review what they wish.  But most reviewers do give stars so I’ll so the same, with the caveat that I’ll never give only 1 or 2 stars because I don’t finish books I don’t like so there’d be nothing to review.  I’ll also almost never give 5 stars because I have really, really, really high standards.  Shakespeare would make it and a few others.  Most won’t.  So we’re talking 3 or 4 stars here for the books I read on a daily basis, a range that I suspect most readers look for, a range that provides enjoyable reads without knocking a reader’s socks off.

I’m also going to start reviewing for English usage and grammar and for typos and for lazy editing and anything else in the writing itself that has the potential to take the reader away from the story.  This rating will be separate from the rating for the book as a whole.  Don’t know exactly how this part will work but I think it should be included because some people want to pass on books that are poorly edited while others wish rating systems wouldn’t give a poor rating to a wonderful story just because of poor editing.  This rating will use the full range of 1 to 5 stars because good stories can come in all kinds of packages.

So I’m giving this book a solid 3 stars for the story and a very, very solid 4 stars for good English, grammar and typos.  It’s nice to read a book that was written by a professional author who did her homework, told a decent story and spent the time to make sure her book was edited before putting it online.

Why Loglines?

There’s a spot on the wall above my computer where the paint has worn off.  Because there have been so many loglines stuck there over the years.  I pulled the paper with the logline off the wall when the manuscript was finished and often some of the paint came off too.

For those of you who don’t know what loglines are, they are those one-sentence descriptions of your story that are used to pitch your book or that become the beginning of the blurb on the back cover.

But there’s another reason for writing down a logline.  A reason that has to do with the process of writing.  You seldom see this reason listed but it should be.

Because …  a one-sentence description of your story taped to the wall above your computer reminds you what you’re supposed to be writing.  It keeps you from getting lost in the details.  It tells you how to slant a scene if you don’t quite know how to write it because it keeps you focused on the bare essentials.  In short, it tells you where you’re going and how to get there.

Most importantly to you as a writer, the process of writing the logline makes sure that you know what you’re writing.  Because if you don’t know … and know well enough to put it into one sentence … no one else will either.  And if your readers don’t know what you’re saying, they won’t bother finishing your book.

Maybe one of these days I’ll paint that wall.  Or maybe not.  I’m kind of fond of that bare plaster.  It reminds me that I’m doing my job.

Minor Characters

Minor characters are sneaky.  They are necessary to the story but they aren’t supposed to take over.  The problem comes when one or more of them do exactly that.  So what to do?

Depends.  There are two kinds of minor characters.  You need to know which category your minor character belongs to before you can decide what to do about it.

The first category is that in which the minor characters flesh out the story, make it deeper, stronger and better. But if that character could be written out of the story without changing the story itself, then that particular character isn’t essential.  Rein them in, keep them under control.  Do it!

The second category is that in which the minor character is essential but isn’t the character that the story is about.  Same question applies.  Could you write that character out without changing the story?  If the answer is ‘no’ then you should think long and hard before you rein in that character.

Because your story just might be better for enlarging that character’s place and letting him or her take over a larger chunk of the action.

I’m thinking about this because, in my book Spirit Legend that’s going to be featured in a Book Blast starting the 8th of April (drum roll, please) a minor character took over and became a major player.  I didn’t know it was happening until after the book was finished.  It was the reviews that made it very clear that the character of the spirit in the lake was pivotal and important.  Reviewers used words like  ‘charming.’  ‘interesting.’  and ‘endearing.’  And the spirit only came into existence as a device to hang a story on.  Until it took over and I let it run riot because I couldn’t figure out how to rein it in.

Now that I’m deep into Wolf Legend, the same thing is happening to the character of the psychic wolf pup Snowball.  She was supposed to be an afterthought.  She now has a starring role and I’m glad to say that this time around I’m smart enough to recognize what’s happening and run with it.

So expect to see a lot of Snowball in Wolf Legend.  And I’m looking forward to seeing whichever of your minor characters take over and run with your story when you publish your next piece.

Eco-fiction

I recently joined a new group on Goodreads.  I don’t belong to many groups and I’m very picky about the ones I do join.  But this one sounded interesting when I ran across the name.  So I took a look.  What’s eco-fiction?

As it turns out, eco-fiction is what I write.  Okay, it’s one genre my work fits into, along with several others.  Because, like many writers, I don’t worry about fitting my story into any one box.  The result, honesty forces me to add, is that when it’s time to market what I’ve written, I’m truly frustrated because… surprise, surprise… it doesn’t neatly fit into any one genre.  Thus it’s difficult to market.

Anyway,to return to the subject of this post, it seems that eco-fiction is fiction of any kind that celebrates, describes, or promotes the natural world.  Dune is eco-fiction.

Really?  Well, if Dune fits the genre of eco-fiction, my books do too, as well as those other genres my books have been assigned to.  Fantasy.  Sci-fi.  Contemporary.  Paranormal.  Romance.  And so on. And  I’m sure other writers have books that fit this genre and aren’t being marketed as such because they don’t know the genre exists.  Just like I’d never heard of it until I ran across that group on Goodreads.

But I have a special feel for this new label.  Eco-fiction.  I love it! I plan on using the term as often as possible.  Who knows?  Maybe it’ll become mainstream.