Radio & BIAW

So, I’m super excited to report on two writing activities.

Let’s talk Radio Interview first in case you don’t keep reading. LOL So, I’m a member of Texas Authors and one of the perks of belonging is you can have two interviews a year. I did one a couple of years or so ago, and it was fun. Now, however, Texas Authors has set up a YouTube channel and the interview goes out on I Heart Radio and Indie Beacon Radio. I hope you’ll take a few moments to look at least a bit of it and maybe share it on your social media. Here’s the link:

I left out two important things in the interview. One was this blog site ☹ Boo on me. More importantly, I left out the statistic that one in four women have been physically and/or psychologically abused. That’s the focus of the 4th book in the Second Chances Series, ACT OF SURVIVAL.

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Now the other thing that was going on last week was BIAW. Some of my fellow sisters here on the blog will recognize those initials. They stand for Book In A Week. We are members of the Kiss of Death, online chapter of RWA for writers of romantic suspense & mystery. Four times a year, the chapter sponsors BIAW. I’ve never participated before, but when I saw the emails, the timing seemed perfect.

I’d been saying I needed to start the next book, especially if I expected to publish it in 2020. But life just kept happening and something always got in the way. BIAW was a good kick in the pants. Before I could begin writing on Monday, September 16, I had a lot of prep work to do. Like figuring out who my characters were. I had the location. Red River, New Mexico.

I use charts to describe my characters, give them a back story, and figure out GMC. So, for several weeks before Monday a week ago, I did my planning. Those charts may change, but they form a basis from which I begin.

Well, as life would have it. BIAW fell during a week when I had lots of other things going on. The radio interview was only one small part. I committed to writing 2 hours a day as opposed to 4 hours. Thank goodness! But I’m also committed to walking 10 K steps a day, and that takes a good 1 ½ hours to pull off on top of just regular walking. Then there were church meetings and grandkids stuff. I also began working with NOOM, it’s my latest weight loss project. (I’m sure I’ll write more about that later.)

My stress levels have been high with all the deadlines, timelines, steps, and word counts, calorie counts to achieve. Yesterday afternoon, I totally crashed and slept soundly for two hours.

Here are my results. I did in fact write for at least 2 hours every day but Saturday. We were having company for supper, and it took longer to get ready or that than anticipated. But even that day I wrote almost 600 words. Most days I wrote more than 2000 words. Sometimes only a bit more, ending up for the week of more than 14000 words.

So, I’ve learned a few things from the experience:

* The accountability worked for me. Knowing I had to turn in my words at the end of the day, and that I was helping a team.

*I don’t have to have a whole day or whole afternoon of a weekend blocked off to crank out a decent number of words.

*I’ve learned that setting the timer (at least figuratively) works for me.

I’m not committing to continue to write two hours a day. Before I do that, I need to work on some time-line issues in the story that I saw but didn’t want to stop to fix. But when that’s fixed, I think I’ll set between 1-2 hours and see how that goes.

Have you been on radio or TV? Do you have your own YouTube channel? If you’re in KOD, have you done BIAW before? How did it work out for you? This is the first book I’ve started from scratch in over four years. I’d forgotten how hard that is. While I did the pre-planning, I seem to be mostly pantsing this book. Kind of magically scary for this person, who’s gone from being a plotter to a plotser. Love to hear from you.

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Texas Brags

Most of you know I live in Texas. My books for the most part take place in Texas, and my characters are mostly Texan. Texans are known for bragging. We have the biggest & best of everything: hair, tall tales, honky tonks, roads (these really do surpass most other states and not just because we have more of them LOL), and football (well, all sports). We have the scariest springs with hail, damaging winds and tornadoes. We also have the most beautiful springs.

This past weekend, Bob and I went with friends to the Texas Hill Country and got to observe another of the state’s great brags: our wild flowers! Not just bluebonnets which were the best I’ve seen in several years. They are the first talisman of spring.

But when they begin to fade, we are blessed with all kinds and colors of wild flowers. Vast fields rolling out as far as the eye can see. Our highways and byways are anchored with lovely splashes of color that look like an artist took a paint brush to the fields. So today, I’m sharing pictures of Texas wild flowers. I don’t even know all their names; I just know they are pretty, and they make me smile. I hope they do you, too. If you’re interested in where we went, my Thursday blog will tell all. It was gorgeously restful. Do you have wonderful wildflowers along your highways? Love to hear from you.

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IMG_1115  IMG_1112My pictures don’t do these flowers justice. You just gotta plan to come see them next year. 🙂

Book 4 in The Second Chances Series, ACT OF BETRAYAL released this month it’s available at all the sites and in print from Amazon.  And today you can find a post all about the book on NN Light’s blog https://www.nnlightsbookheaven.com/book-promos I’ll try to add the actual link Tuesday.

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Book News!!

I’m excited to announce that ACT OF SURVIVAL, Book 4 The Second Chances Series releases April 16, and right now it’s available for Pre-Order at Barnes and Noble, iTunes, and KOBO. Unfortunately, you can’t get a Pre-Order at Amazon for this book.

Here are the links:

B & N https://bit.ly/2WiINmV

KOBO https://bit.ly/2TVasOi

iTunes https://apple.co/2HQFSxZ

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This is the first book I’ve done entirely through Draft 2 Digital. Aside from the Amazon Pre-Order glitch, I’ve been happy with them. They’ve been quick to respond to my questions. (And you know I’ve had some.) LOL

Previously, I put up ACT OF BETRAYAL, Book 3 The Second Chances Series and my first published book, VERMONT ESCAPE. I did those specifically to get my books up on iTunes. One of my very good friends reads books that way. Not sure why VERMONT ESCAPE wasn’t on iTunes, because I think I used a formatter who did that. At least that was the case for all the books after that.

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Now, I use D 2 D for formatting, and as I said, they’ve put the book up everywhere. Please stop for a minute and imagine how much nicer this is for me. Yes, I did upload to all the venues individually for the books before BETRAYAL (except iTunes), but oh my goodness, it was sooooo stressful!!! So many moving parts and opportunities to mess up. LOL This is soooo much easier for me. Now I know some of you format your own books. Well, good for you. I’m impressed, but that’s not something I want to learn to do. This would not be a good use of  my time.

I’ve only had two problems with formatting with D 2 D, and they were both pilot errors. 😊 On ACT OF BETRAYAL, I’d apparently added extra spaces to the ends of lines and when I uploaded the document, the result was odd spacing and gaps between lines. This was one of those times when the staff was great and helped me fix it. Act of Betrayal

The second problem was with the center **** dividing markers being in odd places rather than the center. That I fixed myself when I used a different formatting option. (I would tell you exactly what that is, but I’m afraid if I go into that section to check the wording, I’ll somehow unpublish the book!) It is the last option under the basic heading. There is an option to pay something, but I don’t do that.

I learned about D 2 D from a fellow writer at an NTRWA meeting. Writers helping other writers is cool. 😊

This is book is over six months later than I originally planned, but life happens. For me, that has involved taking on some very time consuming (but needed) leadership roles at my church. I kept pushing off the book. When I took on the jobs, I knew that was going to happen and just accepted the consequences. We all make choices.

Needless to say, I’m thrilled to have reached this point. I hope many of you will Pre-Order and when the book releases, you’ll read and write a review. Thanks in advance for those.

If you’re a writer and you’re the publisher, how do you publish your works? How do you do that? Do you handle the formatting?

I hope Spring is close to arriving wherever you live. In Texas, we’re right on the cusp of seeing huge fields of bluebonnets. 🙂

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Overused Words

I think I’ve written about this issue with editing before, but it bears repeating, and it is how I’m spending  all my time now except for celebrating Thanksgiving, of course.  photo (2)

From Margie Lawson, I’ve learned the value of checking my manuscript for overused words. Margie’s original list of about 40 words and phrases has grown to over 70. Some words I’ve learned to eliminate when I’m rough drafting. Others despite my best intentions creep in. Each book has it’s own special words I  add to the list.

One thing I like about this tedious process is it makes me read read each sentences as a stand-alone and not  get caught up in the story. In making changes, if I don’t delete the word, I use more specific words, growing the word count.

Examples and how I changed words follow.

Going to 73 down to 2 (Seems like a lot, but it’s fewer than in previous works.)

“So, Kim, what are you going to do over this waiting period?”

“So, Kim what are your plans for this waiting period.”

Well, I can take care of that. I’m going to come pick you up, and we’ll go shopping and eat dinner out.”

“I can take care of your problem. I’ll pick you up, and we’ll shop till we drop before eating dinner at a restaurant.”

“No, I mean after. What are you going to do after?”

“No, I mean after. What will you do with your life after the divorce?”

“One of the things I’m going to help Kim with is recognizing what her skills are.”

“I will help Kim recognize her skills.”

That from 335 to 53

She pulled into a garage that went with the condo, not that she needed all that space.

She pulled into a garage connected to the condo, though she didn’t need all the space.

Most remaining “that”s are pointing to something and not the connection (that) we use that is grammatically correct but unnecessary.

Began 14 to 3 (A word I used to use all the time but have mostly eliminated.)

Cooper set his sacks on the table and began to remove the items.

Cooper set his sacks on the table and removed the items from the bags, setting them on the counter.

They all exchanged hugs and exclamations and began chattering like they had only seen each other last week.

They all exchanged hugs and exclamations and chatted like they had only seen each other last week.

Darkness began to crowd the outer edges of her vision.

Darkness crowded the outer edges of her vision.

This change especially makes the action more immediate.

What I find with this editing process is my writing becomes tighter and more specific.

Really went from 80 to 7. Some went from 88 to 7. Watch went from 7 to 2. I seldom use watch or see anymore. Again, there’s an immediacy to the writing you lose when you say, “Jane watched the band.” As opposed to “The drums reverberated in Jane’s chest as the band marched down the street in perfect step.”

A few phrases from the list I don’t use are: in order to, by means of, for the most part, as a matter of fact, and so forth and so on.

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I’m fortunate to have four Beta Readers for the last book in The Second Chances Series, ACT OF SURVIVAL. When I’ve completed this word check, I’ll send it off to them. Then I’ll contact my cover artist Charlie Volnek. She’s done all my covers, and I love her work. Following that I’ll get the book edited. Shooting for not later than March. Had hoped to get the book out in late January or February, but I keep pushing the date. Life happens. 😊

If you’d like to have a copy of my list of words, I’d be happy to send it to you. Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving. It was one of our best, despite one daughter being sick and one grand sharing her germs with me.

I’m running a $.99 cent sale through Nov. 29 on all sites for my first book.Vermont Escape 300dpi (1)

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Disasters, 2, 3, & 4…

Wow! What’s Mother Nature so angry about? The last post I wrote on Aug. 30 was about Hurricane Harvey hitting the Gulf Coast of Texas.  Now here we are not quite two weeks later and Hurricane Irma has torn up the Caribbean and the entire state of Florida, followed close on its heels by Jose and then Katia. That doesn’t even mention the category 8 earthquake in Mexico, or the never ending horrific fires engulfing our friends in Western Canada and the US. Whew! 2017 will be in the record books for sure, but not in a good way.

Can we just go back to watching Disaster Movies instead of experiencing them?

I do realize this is hurricane season, and it’s common to have a number of them hurling themselves around, but WOW! This is bizarre and scary.

(And yesterday was September 11 and the 16th anniversary of that disaster. Here’s a link to offer support for the museum site. info@911memorial.org   You can also  listen to podcasts of people’s memories of that day., Our City, Our Story.)

Amongst the horror are all the wonderful stories of heroism and people helping others regardless of who they are, the color of their skin, or their religion. Those behaviors are the only thing that make these disasters at all bearable.

Plus, as I said on Aug. 30—a good romance book to take you away and to give you hope in a happily ever after.

So into all this mess, on Sept. 21, I’m releasing my sixth book, ACT OF BETRAYAL, Book 3 in the Second Chances Series. Right now, you can pre-order it for $1.99 before it goes live for its regular price of $4.99. It’s on three major sites, Amazon, B & N, and KOBO.  The print will be available soon thereafter. ACT OF BETRAYAL Pre-Sale

Here are direct links:

Amazon  http://amzn.to/2wuqPFc  

B & N        http://bit.ly/2wAWqnT

KOBO    http://bit.ly/2wkBfGW

The setting for this book is Dallas, but my characters are much nicer than those in the TV show named for the city. Oh, I’ve got a really bad guy, of course, and my usual generational thing going. I did not grow up in that kind of situation, but as an adult that’s the life I’ve experienced. So, family is important to me and that shows up in my stories. When I began writing, I didn’t realize I’d write about older characters or that families would play such a strong place in my stories.

Do you like stories about families or do you prefer reading a story just about the guy and the girl? Do you read or write disaster stories? Have you or your family and friends been impacted by this rash of recent  disasters? I hope you take advantage of all the opportunities to give support, and I hope and pray all your family and friends are okay.

Don’t forget our fall Giveaway.

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