Book Birthday & Author Event

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Last Friday, July 17 was not only the birthday of my SIL, but also the 6th birthday for my first book, VERMONT ESCAPE. I’ve been running a 99 Cent sale on most of the venues. (Something happened and it didn’t get changed on KOBO.) Today is the last day of the sale. Well, it may lop over a bit more because I have to take it off Amazon and iTunes, and I won’t start that process until Wednesday. 😊 B & N very nicely let’s you set a start and stop date. I love that. So much easier. Here are the links:

B & N https://bit.ly/2k340mD

Amazon https://amzn.to/2ShLapq

ITunes https://apple.co/2GrJGUW

If you haven’t read this book, yet, this is a great opportunity. Like all my books, this is about second chances, and my heroine turns 50 about ¾ of the way through the story, so it’s legitimately called a “Seasoned Romance.”  Here’s the short blurb:

After the murders of Jill Barlow’s husband and then her father, she flees to Vermont, but the Texas gambling syndicate believes she’s hiding damning evidence against them. To get it, they’ll kill again.

There’s no mention of the hero in this shot blurb, but he’s a Vermont lawyer and state assemblyman. Jill really doesn’t want any more involvement with a politician. Politics got her husband and father killed.

If you follow my newsletter you know that I attended a Sunday Afternoon with Authors event at an independent bookstore. (We really need to support Indie bookstores.) Leaves Book & Tea Shop (Isn’t that a clever name?) is just south of downtown Fort Worth and has been opened for just under a year.

Tina Howard, the  owner, was very organized. Before hand she let us know how it would go, and she sent us questions around the subject of “change.” All of us write different genres, and yet our answers were remarkably similar.

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Left to Right.

Claudette Esmerelda has written a children’s book, Leah is Seen. She’s trying to help kids develop a good self-concept.

I, of course have 7 books out.

Richard Gonzalez is a former newspaper columnist and refers to himself as an old hippy. Raza Rizing is about the increase of Hispanics in Texas. Deer Dancer is a fantasy set in Sonora.

Jane Alvey Harris’ book, Riven (a dark YA) has been optioned for film. How cool is that! It’s part of a trilogy. The second book is out, too. They are about finding yourself again after abuse.

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Besides asking us questions, we also got to read from one of our books. I read from Book 2 of The Second Chances Series, ACT OF TRUST. The heroine lost her husband on 9/11 and because my younger daughter and her husband had just moved to NYC, this book really touches home for me and is one of my favorites, right behind VERMONT ESCAPE.

I was surprised how many people showed up to listen to us—approximately twenty. Each of the authors had  3 or so  friends attend, and then there were just random folks there. I was grateful to have the MIL of one of my daughters, a good friend from NTRWA, and another friend.  This was the first event like this for the bookstore, and the owner has one scheduled for the next several months. I will attend to see how the others work out. Tina is also willing to carry our books for a 70/30 split. I’m going to try that with three of mine and see how it works out. I’m also going to talk to one of the other Indie bookstores to see if they will consider doing something like this.

Lastly, I want to go by and take a flyer to all three Indie Bookstores with information about the first ever Independent Bookstore Celebrate Bookstore Romance Day, Saturday, August 17. I learned about this from the Kiss of Death chapter of RWA. What a great idea. Here’s the link https://bookstoreromanceday.org/ Share with your local bookstores.

Writers, do you like events where you get to (or are expected to speak) more than where you’re just sitting there signing?

Readers, what do you think of this kind of event? Love to hear from you all.

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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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Writing Rules

When I began writing people told me to follow the rules. I’m a rule follower, so that should’ve been easy, right? Tell me the rules, and I promise to follow them. Problem is, I can always find folks who are very successful (like award-winning) who don’t follow the rules.

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One of the rules I worked hard to learn and to follow is “no head-hopping.” You know what that is. When you’re in one character’s head (POV) and within the same sentence or paragraph you hop over to another character’s head. In the old days, authors wrote this way. It was called the omniscient author. Nobody thought anything of it.

Well, at some point between “the old days” and when I began writing eleven or so years ago (wow, can it be that long?), the rules changed, and head-hopping fell into disfavor. So I took on line-classes, attended conferences, I practiced, I submitted to contests, worked with critique partners, and eventually I cut out the head-hopping. (Oh, occasionally a hop will slip in now, but I catch it on edits and rewrites. 😊 ) IMG_0248

So, why you wonder am I writing about this particular rule? I recently bought a book by a well-known, award-winning author, whose name I don’t remember right now. OMG! The author head-hopped all over the place. Not just having paragraphs switch back and forth. No within paragraphs. The process threw me out of the story, which was pretty good. I had to stop to see if the author had really head-hopped. And the author had.

Here’s my question for readers: Are you aware of POV when you’re reading a book? If so, does it bother you if the author bounces around between characters’ POVs? Does it bother you to have more than tow POV characters?

And for you writers out there: Has the rule changed, and I haven’t kept up? I confess to not attending a conference in a while. When you’re reading, are you aware of head-hopping? If so, does it bother you?

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The reason you have fall pictures scattered throughout this blog is because I couldn’t think of a graphic for this topic. These pictures from my recent trip to  Belfast, Maine, which I did promise you last month. Hope you enjoy. them 😊 Love to hear from you.

Two of my books are set in New England: VERMONT ESCAPE,  and ACT OF BETRAYAL, Book 3, The Second Chances Series, which is set in Maine.

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September & Fall

Technically, Fall began on September 21. I’m saying “technically” because in Texas we are still experiencing days in the 90s. Some years, we’ve even hit the 100s. That’s not fun in July, and I really hate it during the fall. But so far this year we’re experiencing a rather mild and wet fall. All the rain is welcome because we had fire scares back in the summer. Nothing like the poor folks in the western part of the country and Canada. Still, scary.

No leaves turning yet. We don’t get color change until late November, sometimes even in December. But oh, I love to see the leaves change. I’m a sucker for all those FB posts that show the glorious colors. You know I’m a fan of New England, but one year we went to the northwest, Washington and Oregon, and they have great color, too.

Do you decorate for the seasons? I do, at least for fall. Love pumpkins, and I set them out all over. And of course, leaves. I’m not one of those folks who is happy to see Christmas decorations out already in the stores. That makes me nuts, but yeah, can’t bring out the fall stuff too early. So, I decided to show you some of my favorite fall pictures. I have a lot of these and will get some more next month when we go to Maine, so I may show more for my October post, if we’re lucky and find good color.

MRW iPhone Oct 2104 511 White Mountain Resort in New Hampshire, the first place we stayed when visiting New England.

MRW iPhone Oct 2011 080Stowe, VT. It was a warmer fall than usual and we had to drive all the way north to find color.

MRW iPhone Oct 2011 095 Deerfied, MA has a huge number of old homes with people still living in them. I used this house as a prototype for the heroin’s rental in VERMONT ESCAPE

RGW phone Oct 2011 126 The entry of the Woodstock Inn, Woodstock, VT also used in VERMONT ESCAPE. Whenever my family decides to go to Hawaii for Christmas, I’m going to stay in this lovely inn. 

MRW iPhone Oct 2104 513 This gorgeous color makes me smile. It’s also Vermont.

 MRW iPhone Oct 2013 060 The Library in Boothbay Harobr, Maine was a prototype for one  in ACT OF TRUST. 

Are you nuts about Fall or does some other season make you crazy happy? Don’t these pictures make you want to schedule a fall vacation to New England as soon as possible? Love to hear from you.

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Word Search 2

Last month I posted on my own blog about Overused Words, finding those buzzards, and whacking them out.  I think it was Kathryn Jane who suggested perhaps this would make a good topic for our SOS blog. So, here we go with some repetition, but also new material.

As I worked on the last parts of editing for ACT OF BETRAYAL, Book 3 The Second Chances Series (which will be my 6th published book has now gone to my editor. WhooHoo!), I bore down on searching out overused words.

My original list of 45 words came from Margie Lawson, an awesome writing teacher. She’s the first person who suggested to me perhaps we overuse certain words in our writing. My list has grown to approximately 75 words and phrases. As I used Margie’s list, I stumbled on new words I overused in different books.

I don’t remember which book, but, Sounds good… or Sounds like…became my favorites and I used those words 150 times. In my recent search of ACT OF BETRAYAL, I didn’t use the phrase at all. 0 Times. Rewarding, I’m telling you.

img_4901There is, There are, There’s are commonly over used phrases. I had a total of 25 combined and reduced them to 5. Why don’t we want to use those words? Because this phrasing “There are sweet smelling flowers in the garden.” isn’t as active as saying “Flowers fill the garden with their sweet scent.”

Here are other commonly overused words:

well, somewhat, mused, a bit/a little, in order to, by means of, for the most part, as a matter of fact, and so on and so forth, watch, see, gave, although, almost, some, however, and somewhat.

I didn’t use any of these words in ACT OF BETRAYAL, though I used to generously sprinkle them throughout my books. After checking the word search, I take great pride in writing a zero by the word on my list. Do you wonder why I leave them on the list if I’ve stopped using them? Partly because of the good feeling I get when the zero pops up and partly because I don’t want to fall back into bad habits.

What about words while I’m writing get by me?

So went from 180 to 37

That went from 340 to 69. In previous books, I had improved on the overuse of this word but for some reason, I went back to using the word in grammatically correct phrases, but where the word isn’t needed. Here’s an example from the third paragraph above: She’s the first person who suggested perhaps we overuse certain words in our writing. I originally wrote the sentence this way:  She’s the first person who suggested that perhaps we overuse certain words in our writing. As I typed, I backed up and removed “that.” One of those grammatically correct usages, but not necessary for a reader to get the content.

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I’ve improved on many overused words.

Really only showed up 27 times. I got it down to 9. I wrote very 27 times and got it to 1. My most favorite word is just. I think, breath and speak this word. Even consciously working to keep it out, it showed up 155 times. I reduced just to 9 times. “Sometimes” you “just” “really” need to use “just.” LOL

Headed and pushed were both 27 and went to 5 & 4. I’ve cut back significantly on these words. I use “headed” for a car or a person moving.

How do I do the switch. I delete the word, but more often I find a substitute or a totally different way of saying what I mean.  Here are examples from ACT OF BETRAYAL:

Do you want to come by?” Would you like to come by?

So, what is it you don’t want me to know, Mom?” What are you afraid for me to find out, Mom? (I’d used want 154 times in the ms! Got it down to 53.)

She told Liz to hold all her calls, set the fifty-page document on her desk, and slid on her reading glasses. She told Liz to hold all her calls, set the fifty-page document on her desk, and popped on her reading glasses. Slid went from 32 to 6.

A tear slipped out of one eye and slid down her cheek. A tear slipped out of one eye and trickled down her cheek. (Slid and slipped are almost interchangeable. One of the issues to watch for is changing one overused word for another.)

We’ll be eating in a few minutes. We’ll be eating in less than five minutes. Few went from 32 to 11.

She grabbed her purse… She slung her purse over her shoulder.

She grabbed hold of the back of the nearest chair… She reached for the back of the nearest chair, missed…

Devon let go of Brett’s arm, making an attempt to stand on her own, but the room tilted and she grabbed hold again. Devon let go of Brett’s arm, attempting to stand on her own, but the room tilted and she clutched his arm again.

I’m getting my ID. I’m reaching for my ID.

Are we getting close? How close are we?

No getting out of this. No avoiding this.

I love the word “getting.”! LOL

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Why do we fall into the habit of using these words? When we begin, we’re writing the story, “getting” it on the screen. Then we rewrite and fix story line issues. Using, just, very, few…these are all ways we talk in everyday life, but reading these words slow down the story. As writers, it’s important to keep readers turning those pages.

Do you have favorite words you use a lot? Have any of you used, “you know,” the great filler from the 70s. If you’re an author do you do a word search like this? As a reader, are these things you notice when reading? If you’d like a copy of my 75 words and phrases, let me know and I’ll send you one. Love to hear from you.

4 Years ago on July 29 my first book released. In honor of that anniversary, I’m running a 99 Cent Sale for both VERMONT ESCAPE and TRUTH BE TOLD. Appreciate your sharing the news. 

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#SummerReads