Posts Tagged ‘publishing books’

Throwback Thursday: the book wherein I changed my hat

 

Killer Cargo Cover

 

This throwback Thursday I’m casting my memory back so far I might hit a dinosaur! WAAAAAAAY back in 2008, I wrote my very first book for Harlequin’s Love Inspired Suspense. Here’s the blurb for this ancient tome.

Blurb for Killer Cargo: Transporting pet supplies–and the occasional bunny–is routine for pilot Maria de Silva. Discovering drugs amidst her shipments of kitty litter is not. Out of fuel in the Oregon wilderness, Maria barely escapes with her life when dealers meet her on the runway. She finds refuge at Cy Sheridan’s idyllic animal sanctuary–a whole new world for this girl. But Maria fears that her drug-smuggling client will take revenge against the man–and animals–she’s come to love. Is there a wolf in sheep’s clothing lurking in the woods?

The writer’s problem: This was the first time I switched from writing mystery to suspense. Sure they both involve following clues and yes, there is a mystery to be solved in each one, but the genres are different. In mystery, the focus is on solving a puzzle. In suspense, the protag is running for his/her life while solving the mystery. It’s tricky to get the hang of the pacing for a suspense vs. a mystery. No time to be cogitating on those clues and sipping tea, people! Suspense is a breakneck speed business, and it was a challenge for me in the first book to get into the swing of it.

Do you prefer mystery or suspense? Why? Giving away a signed book, an Amazon card and a fall surprise this month.

 

How do you choose a book?

 

2010 01 24_2286

 

With a bazillion titles screaming for your attention, how is one supposed to select a book? I’ve asked folks before how they choose their reading material and here are some of the responses I’ve gotten.

1.  A friend’s recommendation.

2. I choose books from authors I already know and like.

3. I go to the library and take whatever is there that looks interesting.

4. Garage sales are great for books, and oh by the way, I got all the Mentink titles for 25 cents! Ha!

5. I hop onto Goodreads or Amazon and take a look at top selling fiction and read the reviews.

Personally, I tend to do all of these (except purchase all my own titles as I already know how they end!)

With my reading time so limited, it’s important to go right to the books that I’m going to enjoy. Got any tips for me? How do you choose which books you will read? Giving away a Barnes and Noble gift card (redeemable online or in stores) and signed book in May. Comments welcome!

When good writers fall victim to bad leprechauns…

shamrockIt’s happened to me. While I have not ever actually witnessed the stinker in action, I have experienced the oddest writing failures that can only be attributed to the work of a malicious leprechuan whom I have named Sprinkles O’Nutty. How else can one explain the following three oddball writing mishaps?

1. My first book, my baby, my magnum opus. I open th shipping container breathlessly to discover….the title is misspelled on the spine. Wha…??? This tome  has been through a gazillion test readers, editors, the art department and assorted passers-by. The only explanation is that Sprinkles has had his naughty wee fingers all over this project.

2. I receive a lovely note from a reader. She enjoyed the romantic suspense novel, but what, by the way, happens in chapter eleven? It seems to be missing from the book. Huh? Who could be responsible for the theft of chapter eleven? Yep. It’s O’Nutty at work.

3. And finally, there is my business post office box. This is the nerve center from which I send out rafts of complimentary books, promotions and assorted mailers. How can one explain that in this official postal vessel I receive Mr. J.’s mail order meat catalogues, Mr. R.’s flyers for casino adventures and the cleaning service bills for Ms. Y? Nutty, your leprechaun fingerprints are all over this!

Have you have any inexplicable minor misfortunes recently? Do you suppose it could be the work of a leprechaun in your neighborhood? Please share. All comments get you entered in the Starbuck’s card drawing in a few weeks.

P.S. Did you notice the  typo???  Darn  leprechaun!

The power of ‘STET’…use it wisely!

So you’ve written that heart wrenching, lyrical tome and packed it off to your editor. Whew! What a relief…until you get it back, covered with notes and editorial comments. Sigh. Now we’ve got some choices to make. Do we accept the changes to our exquisite manuscript? Or do we scribble STET, a word which literally means ‘let it stand’? In other words, STET is a way of saying to the editor, “No. I don’t accept your suggestions. Leave the silly thing the way I typed it!” Naturally, we writers feel as though our writing was fine the way we typed it, no? The temptation is to scribble STET all over the place, so our genius will not be diluted in any way. In reality, good editors will suggest changes not to alter the author’s message or vision, but to make that message and vision more impactful. Yes, I grumble all the way through my editing phase, but you know what? Most of the time, the editors comments are right. I eat humble pie, and I incorporate their changes. Infrequently, I disagree with an edit that alters my voice or changes an important aspect of what I wanted to say. Then I employ the powerful STET, but only in special cases. So respect the mighty power of the STET and use it wisely, young grasshopper! Heroes

Do you have a job or hobby where folks offer helpful criticism? How do you handle that? Giving away an Amazon gift card this month. All comments are welcome!

Best gadgets for writers

imageI used to have this romantic idea when I was a kid that writers were mysterious people who sat in cabins nestled in rustic woods and scribbled madly on yellow notepads. Perhaps some do, but not this writer. I bang away on a computer keyboard from the comfort of Mentink Manor. What’s more, I have to admit I have a few neato gadgets that make my life even easier.

Neato gadget #1: my Tipsy LED light. I know, I know! It’s so CUTE isn’t it? That’s only part of its charm. I am the kind of person who turns off the light and thirty minutes later BAMMO! I’m struck by the greatest idea ever or possibly, the solution to the corner I have recently painted myself into in chapter three of my recent work in progress. I tap this little baby on the bedside table and it gives of a soft glow while I scribble madly on a post it note. Then another little tap and the Tipsy light is off and I’m free to slip into slumberland.  I got this super duper writer’s light at Brookstone, if you find yourself needing one.

Do you have any gadgets that make your life easier? Would love to hear your thoughts.

Cool writer gadget #3

Best way to develop as a writer? Read great books. But where’s a person to find enough time to work through the finest books ever written? It’s time for gadget #3, a wee little MP3 player programmed with 100 of the world’s greatest classics. It’s perfect for listening to on the tread mill and especially in the car. This faboo gizmo delivers writing excellence for me to enjoy and learn from. I have just finished A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens and started Ibsen’s A Dollhouse. image Am I inspired? You bet!

Do you listen to audio books? What do you enjoy about them?

My three fave things about being a writer…

1. People never believe me when I tell them I write books. I am highly amused by this. When I mention I’ve got fifteen or so books on the shelves, they nod, smile uncertainly and change the subject. I think people have a glamorous view of what a writer should look like (fancy car, nice duds, personal attendant.) That’s an ‘A’ list author. Me? I’m just a regular working gal who writes three books a year and clips grocery coupons.  I find it funny when they return to me later and say, “I googled you. You really are a writer!”

2.  I get to hang out in imagination land for much of the time. Really, it’s like being a professional daydreamer. What other job can you find doing that?

3. Writing the dedication page. Really. That’s one of my favorite parts, because I can thank people who mean the world to me. It’s not much, offering up a few words on a page, but it comes straight from the heart.

Christmas gift