Tuesday, January 27, 2015

a great source of writing hints

A few years back, before I found my own just-the-right-size critique group, I used to take part in a sprawling and inconsistent Meet-up group called KITSAP WRITERS.  My first attempt to get any critique out of it was inauspicious:  I sat  in a rather claustrophobic meeting room in a Naval community facility for three hours ~ yes, you read that right: three hours ~  listening to to people maunder on about whatever personal concerns were suggested to them by elements of the story being critiqued: their vacations, their pets, things that happened to them the previous week, or year, or decade.  By the time we got to my story, there were six people left of the original three dozen, two of whom had read my story.

I did eventually get some helpful critique, most of it from the group's founder (now founder emeritus), Randy Henderson.

Randy, who refers to himself as a relapsed sarcasm addict, writes, as you might guess, darkly humorous fiction.  His novel Finn Fancy Necromancy, coming this year from the major fantasy publisher TOR, won the Writers of the Future 2014 Golden Pen Grand Prize.

He also writes incredibly useful articles about the profession of writing, such as this one on setting goals.  Here is an excerpt from an article on why we need scientist heroes again, as pointed as it is entertaining:


Just as an indication of how badly America is in need of a science image makeover, consider that the US was ranked 29th in Science and Math education behind countries like the Czech Republic, Croatia, and Liechtenstein. And before you ask, yes, Liechtenstein is a real nation, it is not a Marvel Universe invention.
And adult scientific literacy isn’t doing so well either. A recent study found, for example, that one in five American adults think that the Sun revolves around the Earth.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Exciting New Project

My fictional small town of Oakville ~ where people still know their neighbors, friendships last a lifetime, and gossip is a force of nature ~ continues to grow....

Not in population, I hope, because it's a nice size right now, but in the number of stories told about its friends and lovers, its shopkeepers and their customers.

Four wonderful authors, Carol Ann Kauffman & Giulietta Maria Spudich & JW Stacks  & Samna Ghanihave joined me in developing an anthology of five linked stories about the members of a  reading group, 

The Monday Mystery Society is born out of some fast and creative thinking on the part of Rob Gordon, co-owner of Oakville's independent bookstore Acorns.  He's attracted to customer Marissa Cullen, and he's about to ask her out when he sees her face closing up in refusal.  So instead of suggesting she have dinner with him, he invites her to sign up for the new book group just forming: a group that coincidentally meets on Mondays (her day off) and begins with a book she has just purchased.

We're looking at the first story, A Mystery For Marissa, coming out sometime in March from Books To Go Now, with the other four following at 2 to 3 week intervals.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

blog visiting :-)

Romance writer Samna Ghani has featured me on her blog today. Drop by and say hello!

Here's the link.

Samna and I have a lot in common, from being fans of Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer, to being published by Books To Go Now .

Her own stories have a lovely sparkle and lightness to them.  If you haven't tried one, I highly recommend you do  :-)

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

my new Christmas story -- and Book Two in the Oakville series

Comfort and Joy, my new Christmas story, begins with a wedding and ends with an engagement.

In the middle?  

Yoga, Christmas carols, panic attacks, a newly-divorced, middle-aged orange-haired yogini with a fondness for magenta, a 40-year-old yoga instructor with a lot of women in his past but no marriages--and a very large puppy.

You can buy it here.

The story also appears in the Books To Go Now anthology  Christmas Treasures

new story coming for Valentine's Day

Heart of Stone, my next Oakville story, will be coming out soon, in time for Valentine's Day, through my delightful independent publisher  Books To Go Now .  I don't know quite yet what the cover will look like, but I can tell you a little about the story.

Downtown Public Library, Muncie, Indiana

It begins, as so many happy moments of my life have begun, in a fine old Carnegie Library.  Sharon Hall, mentioned in Comfort and Joy as Sid Meade's former squeeze, is the evening librarian in Oakville's Downtown Public Library.  Policeman Jack Kennett has taken to dropping  by on his break to visit.

Sharon is definitely attracted to him--and her biological clock is ticking--but she wishes he were not so judgmental about the little group of well-behaved homeless people who hang out in the library on winter evenings.  She wants a warm-hearted man in her dream of home and family.

Meanwhile, Jack isn't Sharon's only suitor.  A pale, lank-haired young man who lives in a fantasy world inspired by anime comics, and rejects his birth name Kyle Higgins in favor of his Night Elf name Ydrelion Owlblade.  He brings Sharon gifts from the Pagan Festival and writes poetry in her honor. But as he slides farther and further into fantasy, his attentions start to creep Sharon out....

Officer Jack Kennett sees Sharon's homeless buddies as a potential source of trouble...  But he could be very wrong.