Category Archives: Writing

Why It’s Okay to Take a Break from Writing

Marilyn Meredith is my guest today and as always, it is great to have her join us. Marilyn will share her thoughts on why we might be justified in taking a break from writing.

Marilyn will also share a few thoughts about her new book, River Spirits. She is the author of over thirty-five published novels, including the award winning Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery series.

Marilyn is a member of Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime and is on the board of the Public Safety Writers of America. She lives in a community very similar to that of her protagonist, Deputy Tempe Crabtree.

You can visit her at http://fictionforyou.com</ul or read her blog at http://marilynmeredith.blogspot.com/.

Marilyn_Meredith2

George asked me to address this issue. To be honest, I wish I didn’t have to take as many breaks as I do. The reasons I take breaks are:

1. I have non-writing chores to do away from the computer–I do have a regular life. You know like doing errands, grocery shopping, planning and cooking meals.
2. I have a paying writing job. These come every so often and they have nothing to do with the “fiction writing” life.
3. Promotion has taken me away from home.
4. I’m planning/working on promotion.
5. Going on a trip. While I write this, I’m away from home, visiting family. I have a big family and when I get the chance, I love spending time with time with them.
6. But once in a while I do go on a trip just for fun.

However, I think what George really wanted me to talk about is refilling the well.

What I mean is sometimes when we’ve been doing a lot of writing or finished a book, we need to take time off and do something else. Focusing on something different for a while, can renew our energy.

When it’s time to start another writing project, we will be ready.

Because I write two different series, when I’ve sent the latest book in one series off to the publisher, I step away from the place and people I’ve been spending so much time with. It’s like shutting the door on them.

Though I don’t usually take too much time, I start thinking about the next project long before I’m ready to open the door and step into the other setting and greet the characters who live there.

Breaks can refresh you as a writer–whether you take long ones or shorts ones is up to you.

Marilyn

River Spirits

River Spirits

While filming a movie on the Bear Creek Indian Reservation, the film crew trespasses on sacred ground, threats are made against the female stars, a missing woman is found by the Hairy Man, an actor is murdered and Deputy Tempe Crabtree has no idea who is guilty. Once again, the elusive and legendary Hairy Man plays an important role in this newest Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery.

Biography

Marilyn Meredith is the author of over thirty-five published novels, including the award winning Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery series, the latest River Spirits from Mundania Press. Marilyn is a member of three chapters of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, and on the board of the Public Safety Writers of America. She lives in the foothills of the Sierra. Visit her at http://fictionforyou.com and her blog at http://marilymeredith.blogspot.com/

Contest: The winner will be the person who comments on the most blog posts during the tour. He or she can either have a character in my next book named after them, or choose an earlier book in the Deputy Tempe Crabtree series—either a paper book or e-book.

Tomorrow you’ll find me visiting with Mary Welk.

My topic: The Supportive Writers’ Community

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A Visit From Mystery Writer Marilyn Meredith

Mother Nature and Her Influence on My Writing

Murder in the Worst Degree

Though I’ve experienced several hurricanes, I’ve yet to use one in one my books and there’s a good reason. Both my mystery series are set in California and we don’t have hurricanes here.

The Rocky Bluff P.D. series is set in a small beach community in Southern California. I lived in the area for many years, and yes, we did have some winter rain storms and flooding. Living on the coast though, fog is so frequent that it plays a big part in nearly all of my RBPD mysteries.

Though new writers are often warned not to begin a book with the weather, using it to up the tension and to add another layer to the action works well.

waves 1
Murder in the Worst Degree does have its share of fog. It also has unusual surf which brings in a body—and that’s how it begins.

There is one more natural phenomenon that happens in California without warning and yes, it plays a part in Murder in the Worst Degree.

If you live in California, you can probably guess what that is, if not, you can read the book and find out what happens and how it affects the story.

Blurb for the lasts RBPD mystery, Murder in the Worst Degree: The body that washes up on the beach leads Detectives Milligan and Zachary on a murder investigation that includes the victim’s family members, his housekeeper, three long-time friends, and a mystery woman.

Meredith in patio

Bio: F. M. Meredith aka Marilyn Meredith is the author of over 35 published books. She enjoys writing about police officers and their families and how what happens on the job affects the family and vice versa. Having several members of her own family involved in law enforcement, as well as many friends, she’s witnessed some of this first-hand.

Webpage: http://fictionforyou.com/
Blog: http://marilynmeredith.blogspot.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/marilyn.meredith/

Contest:
Once again I am offering the opportunity to have your name used as a character in a book if you are the person who comments on the most blogs during this tour for Murder in the Worst Degree.

Tomorrow I’ll be visiting Evelyn Cullet at http://evelycullet.com/blog/

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The Keepers of Eire

I told you about Jordan Bernal and her not yet published novel back in June. Now this multi-talented woman has published The Keepers of Eire, a fantasy fiction full of dragons and suspense.

The Keepers of Eire

For centuries dragons have protected Ireland, their existence kept secret with the help of earth magic and their human riders. That secret is threatened now that the bodies of four riders have been found at sacred Irish sites.

Haunted by dreams of each murder, Christian Riley, is a man with secrets of his own. As the dreams become increasing vivid, he wonders if he is the killer.

When a beautiful American, Devan Fraser, searching for her Irish roots, stumbles into the mystery of the murders while exploring the secrets behind her inherited heirloom dragon ring, sparks aren’t the only things flying.

Devan carries her grandmother’s ring. Christian wears a pendant given him by the mother he never knew. When they learn the jewelry bears the same dragon emblem, they discover the truth of dragons, their destinies, and the depths of honor and loyalty they must sustain to protect the ones they love.

Journey with Christian and Devan as they discover a shared destiny and rush to stop a dragon slayer.

Order your copy now at Amazon.

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=keepers%20of%20eire

Jordan is currently working on:

•Book 2 of The Keepers series: The Keepers of Caledonia

D. Jordan Bernal

Jordan Bernal earned her BS in Business Entrepreneurship. She spent most of her first career in the high-tech industry as a Product Coordinator / Technical Writer. Her enduring love of fantasy, especially dragons, inspired her to write her debut novel, The Keepers of Éire. She is a member of California Writers Club Tri-Valley Branch and credits her growth as a writer to her critique group, open mic nights, and various writing classes she has attended.

Jordan lives in the Tri-Valley region of Northern California. When she isn’t writing, or helping aspiring writers, Jordan enjoys reading, landscape photography, and spending time with Roarke, her Pomeranian.

Other published works:
•Mission Works 2 (Mission College, Santa Clara) 1997 –
Impressing a Dragon – Short Story
Goodbye My Friend – Non-fiction
•San Ramon Valley Times 2008 –
Mother’s Day flash prose for “Smiles and Tears
•Voices of the Valley: First Press 2011 –
The Keepers of Éire – a synopsis in poem format
Revelations – excerpt from novel The Keepers of Éire
•All That Remains – Las Positas College Anthology 2013 –
Dreams – Poem
Get Off The Road – Poem
•Voices of the Valley: Encore 2013 —
Sunny Spells, Scattered Showers and Guinness Galore – Short story/travel
Writing at Zero Dark Thirty – Poem
Winter’s Grip – Poem

To learn more about Jordan Bernal, or to contact her:

Website: www.jordanbernal.com
Blog: www.1dragonwriter.wordpress.com
Email: jordan@jordanbernal.com
Facebook: Jordan-Bernal/1401265753438582

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THE MONA LISA SISTERS

NaNoWriMo

It’s been almost a month since I last posted. Then I spoke of the inspiration for my NaNoWriMo novel, The Mona Lisa Sisters.

In case you’ve forgotten, National Novel Writing Month, NaNoWriMo, is an annual event in which participants attempt to complete a 50,000-word novel in the month of November.

As I finalized my research prior to the start of NaNoWriMo, I began filling out Character, Minor Character, and Scene Cards. Introduced to these by Deborah “Jordan” Bernal, I find them invaluable.

Before I started at one minute after midnight, Friday, November 1, 2013, I had three characters, two minor characters, and ten scene cards arrayed in my work folder. When I finished at 5:00 p.m. November 21, 2013, I had twenty-four cards and 51156 words.

As a winner, I’m eligible for a happy face sticker, like this one:

Happy Writer

I try to write two-thousand words a day, every day. Generally, I fail. NaNoWriMo forced me to meet or exceed that goal. Taking two days off, I still managed to average 2400 words a day.

Never having written a “Chick-Flic” story, I struggled with the lack of violence and expletives.

Back in October I gave my readers a hint, “There might even be a mysterious stranger lurking in the background.” I kept him hidden so far back that he could have been an afterthought. That is until I hit 30,000 words. In danger of running out of story line, I took a day off and pondered how to get another 20,000. Inspiration struck, as it often does, at 3:00 a.m.

I went back to Chapter 7, re-read it and inserted a new Chapter 8. The mysterious stranger now delivers in this and six additional chapters. I believe the changes enhance the story and help with character development.

It’s time to set The Mona Lisa Sisters aside and get back to A Tale of Robbers and Cops and Liberty.

underwood-typewriter-009

A Tale of Robbers and Cops is the story of two illiterate Georgia teenage brothers. Brutalized on a chain gang, they commit a revenge murder locking them into a life of crime.

It’s been almost five months since I pitched Robbers to a publisher, and three since the publisher asked me to submit it for reading. I’m assuming the worst, so I will be rewriting once again.

Liberty is story about people, people who happen to be cops, gang bangers, civilians, and innocent by-standers. The gangs are violent and commit both random and orchestrated murders. The cops have flaws. The gang bangers, a few at least, have a good trait or two.

If you can get by the murders that occur in just about every chapter, it’s a fun read.

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NaNoWriMo – The Mona Lisa Sisters

Not long ago I asked for help in developing an idea for the 50,000-word project I intend to complete in November for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). http://www.nanowrimo.org

Help has not been forthcoming.

Monday at Julaina Kleist’s Polish Your Writing class, Julaina gave us an in-class assignment. She passed out copies of different photographs to groups of two or three. Emily and I were handed the below picture.

Mona Lisa Girls

Our assignment, write an elevator pitch of twenty-five words or less. We came up with several pitches, none destined for fame.

While other students read theirs aloud, my mind began sketching out my entry for NaNoWriMo. After class, I went home and spent six or seven hours researching the story line. I DID NOT WRITE. I hope I didn‘t violate the rules.

Before I left class, I knew my story would be unlike anything I have ever attempted. Set in 1894, it is from the point of view of a twenty-eight year old widow. I will change the girls’ dresses into the appropriate design for the time.

Walking Suites 1894

I found a half dozen or so photographs and drawings. With the collection of samples, I can see the two girls, and my protagonist, Lura Grisham Myer. My problem is I can’t for the life of me describe women’s clothing. I could use some help. (Hint, Hint).

The story begins in New York several months before Lura comes across Mary Margaret and Ada Mae Dean viewing the Mona Lisa at The Louvre in Paris.

New York Cabs 1890

Cabs will play an important role in New York City.

SS La Touraine

Lura will travel to France on the SS La Touraine as a First Class Passenger. It is an entirely different ship when she is forced to return to New York as a Second Class Passenger with two young girls in tow.

I have several photographs and drawings that play various roles in the developing story line. I won’t share them with you now. It would give away the story line that will undoubtedly change as my characters journey from New York to Paris, and back. Look for an interesting trip for Lura and the girls. There might even be a mysterious stranger lurking in the background.

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JIM AVERBECK – WRITER & ILLUSTRATOR

Jim Avereck - Cropped
Photo by Sonya Sones

Saturday, October 19, 2013 the Tri-Valley Branch of the California Writer’s Club was privileged to have Jim Averbeck as our guest speaker. Jim studied engineering at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio.

Looking for an opportunity to serve and grow, he joined the Peace Corps. He spent almost four years living and working in the western Africa country of Cameroon.

It was in Cameroon where he got the inspiration for his first children’s book.

Jim has a fun and interesting blog, Jim Averbeck * Words and Pictures. Visit him at http://www.jimaverbeckbooks.com/

His story, from idea to publication, took several turns, along with ups, downs, and bumps. If you ever get a chance to hear him speak, take it. Although his genre has been children’s books, his journey is one all aspiring writer’s should hear. It wasn’t an easy one. Talent he has plenty of, but talent isn’t everything. He needed perseverance and the ability to roll with the punches to succeed. He has plenty of both.

Jim’s description of the path to publication is one of the best I’ve heard. More than a few of the audience, myself included, left wondering, do I have what it takes? Can I accomplish what Averbeck has managed?

Jim writes Picture Books, Middle Grade, and Young Adult. He is currently working on his first novel for the middle grade audience, a mystery set in San Francisco. From his description of the characters and plot, I know one seasoned citizen reader who looks forward to reading about “Hitch”.

Picture Books by Jim Averbeck:

The Market Bowl (2013)
Oh, No, Little Dragon (2012)
except if (2011)
In a Blue Room (2008)

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WRITING-SCHOOL-VOLUNTEERISM

After over forty years of investigative experience, I’ve officially changed career paths. While most people my age retire, I’m much too active for that. Besides, I can only watch so much television, and I’m a terrible golfer. I’m devoting my time to writing, school, and volunteerism.

If you didn’t know, I’ve written one novel, A Tale of Robbers and Cops. I enjoyed the project and learned a great deal about writing.

My second novel, Liberty, set in the fictional city of Liberty, Arizona, is a story about people. That’s right; it’s a story about people, not cops. However, among these people are cops, the leaders of a Black Prison/Street Gang, as well as a Latino Street Gang. I’ve been researching for a year. In that time, I’ve met some interesting gang experts who have been more than generous with their time.

In addition to the novels, I’m amassing a collection of short stories. Several are set for publication by year’s end.

My educational goal is to complete an AA Degree in English at Las Positas College and then enter a Master of Fine Arts program. My alma mater, California State University – East Bay has a joint campus program that should meet my needs.

For the last eighteen months, I’ve spent 2 ½ hours most Mondays in Polish Your Writing, a class taught by acclaimed author and educator Julaina Kleist. I intend to continue studying under Julaina indefinitely.

As for volunteerism, I’ve returned to the San Leandro Police Department as a Volunteer in Police (VIP). Forty-five years ago, as a rookie police officer, I shuttled cars to and from the corporation yard, to the car wash, swept the police station, emptied trash, and handled a myriad of other un-cop like tasks. As a VIP, I’m doing much the same thing, only for free.

I’m excited about this turn in the road I’ve made and am looking forward to new adventures. If you would like to read samples of my writing or hear more about my journey, feel free to check out my blog.

MERGING THE HEART OF A WRITER WITH THE SOUL OF A BIKER

Blog : http://gdcramer.com
Email : gdcramer@msn.com
FaceBook : http://www.facebook.com/george.cramer.56211
LinkedIn : http://www.linkedin.com/in/gdcramerpi/
Twitter : @WriterBiker

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