Apr 12, 2022 3:44 am
April may have only started, but between doing final edits on two upcoming releases, Time in Between for the Liberty Valley Love series, Ghost of the Past for the Baker City series plus writing the next two books in both series, it’s been a busy month. Add in working on the young adult series soon to be re-released by Fire & Ice YA, there are times when my days feel long and overwhelming – something that many writers face as they juggle writing and that “day job” Stephen King tells us not to quit!
I’m glad to be here to talk about what I do to keep writing.
When I attended Washington State University eons ago, I joined a local critique group called Writer’s Bloc. We were expected to read our work from the previous week aloud, getting not only written critiques but verbal ones as well. The expectation of regular submissions to critique along with the assignments due for my English and History courses since I was doing a “double major” meant there wasn’t time for me to opt-out. I had to write every day either for class or for critique. As more experienced members told me, it’d be easier to listen to their advice if I brought in the “raw material” or “rough drafts.” After all, I’d be revising and polishing that work anyway.
It was a smart choice and one I follow to this day more than thirty years later. Yes, I am older than dirt, but I admit it. Instead of carrying in the hard copies fresh from my typewriter, I email my rough draft chapters to my critique group which has been meeting via Zoom due to the pandemic. Because we’re all busy writers and still have those “day jobs”, I owe big thanks to the Evergreen Writer’s Group. They happily bounce back and forth between my paranormal romances to the YA books, and I don’t know what I’d do without them.
What adjustments have you made in the past two years?
I’m glad we meet via Zoom now although it was difficult to learn how to do all the “techy” stuff in the beginning. I can come in from the barn and not have to rush out the door to drive to a group. Instead, I make dinner for my senior mom, feed the dogs, and head for the computer in my office. At first, I was really apprehensive because I thought I might have to clean up the unending mess – but thankfully my camera doesn’t show the clutter.
Hmm, maybe I’ll do what my grandmother said and try tidying up a bit. However, I’ll hold off on following all her advice – “When in doubt, throw it out!” I never know when I might need something I’ve saved for years – especially old manuscripts.
This month, we have something new – more authors and their books to share. I hope you enjoy them. Watch for Time In Between – it’ll be out soon! You’ll have to wait until June for Ghost of the Past. Remember to check out the blog tour offered by Book Buzz this month.
Blind Date by Brenda Chapman
True crime podcaster Ella Tate is shaken to her core by the horrific assault and murder of Josie Wheatly, a teacher she has never met … because not only had Josie moved into Ella’s vacated apartment three months earlier, but her Facebook photos reveal a striking resemblance between the two women. Within days, two people close to Ella are harmed, and she fears that she’s become the target of twisted revenge from her crime-reporting days. Reluctantly teaming up with her neighbor Tony, a hairdresser who loves the finer things in life, and Liam Hunter, the persistent detective assigned to the cases, Ella struggles to stay one step ahead before she becomes the target of the final kill.
Brenda Chapman is a Canadian crime fiction author with over twenty published novels. In addition to short stories and standalone, she has written the lauded Stonechild and Rouleau police procedural series, the Anna Sweet mystery novellas for adult literacy, and the Jennifer Bannon mysteries for middle grade. Brenda’s latest release is Blind Date: A Hunter and Tate Mystery is the first in a new series. Her work has been shortlisted for several awards including four Crime Writers of Canada Awards of Excellence. Brenda studied English literature at Lakehead and Carleton universities and earned a Bachelor of Education from Queen’s University. She taught for fifteen years in the field of special education followed by a Communications career in the federal government. She currently writes full-time and makes her home in Ottawa.
Reaching For Forever by Tara Eldana
Flora Hargrove is a school teacher, a normal kind of gal who is all about family and friends. So when her best friend needs undercover help to save a teen that’s gone missing, she’s all in — stripper pole and all. Mandy wasn’t totally straight with Flora, so when she donned her outfit, or ‘took off her clothes’, she was more embarrassed until it let loose something inside of her she never knew she had. Then one thing led to another and now she’s pregnant.
Rex Reddington is struggling with his new life. He’s literally a jack-of-all-trades and now finds himself helping his PI friend moonlight on a kidnapping case that’s about to come down. Problem? The criminals were onto them and they needed to take cover — so they each took one of the dancers for a lap dance in one of the private rooms. And it should have stopped there. But it didn’t…it went too far. But no regrets. Even when they met months later and he found out he was a soon-to-be dad.
I am a very recently retired, multi-award-winning staff writer for a weekly community newspaper chain in metro Detroit. I became hooked on romance fiction when my 11th grade English teacher rejected the book report I wrote, saying the book was much too easy for me and insisted I read and report on Daphne du Maurier’s “Rebecca.” I read Margaret Mitchell’s “Gone With the Wind” that previous summer. After some life-changing health issues, and covering over a dozen murder and criminal sexual conduct trials, I decided to write the kind of stories I like to read, stories with happy endings. I love the romance genre and love letting my characters take control of their stories. I am a member of the Greater Detroit Romance Writers.
The steamy standalone novels in Tara Eldana’s Kinklink series are best read in order:
TAKING THE LEAD
MAKING A SWITCH
GETTING TO FOREVER
REACHING FOR FOREVER
KinkLink Series: Amazon
Reaching for Forever: Amazon
The Bug Diary by Amber Fraley
Set mostly on the KU campus and around Lawrence, The Bug Diary is a coming-of-age novel about freshman Kymer Charvat’s struggles and triumphs in learning to break away from home and adjust to campus life in a new state. Kymer hopes to be an entomologist someday, and luckily, her dad’s alma mater, the University of Kansas, has a great insect collection and entomology program. With her new best friends Siren and Mattie—and occasionally a little harmless experimentation—Kymer explores the iconic University of Kansas campus. But when the ghost of Carrie Watson, first librarian, and namesake of KU’s Watson Library, hands Kymer an old insect field journal created by KU’s first female graduate in 1873, Kymer must figure out why she’s been gifted the bug diary.
Amber Fraley is your typical Gen Xer suburban Kansas wife and mom of one who grew up a book nerd in a dysfunctional family and now writes about those experiences as hilarious therapy. She’s the author of the darkly humorous essay collection From Kansas, Not Dorothy, and the viral essay Gen X Will Not Go Quietly, as well as numerous human interest articles in regional magazines.
The Bug Diary is her first new adult novel.
MURDER AT THE MENGER By Kathleen Kaska
Pub Date: June 26, 2022. Available for pre-sale now.
It’s 1953, and detective Sydney Lockhart finds herself solving another murder in another famous hotel. The victim is a slick bookie named Johnny Pine who had his dirty fingers in pies from Texas to Florida. Sydney tracks Pine to the Menger Hotel in San Antonio where she discovers he’s been murdered in the room next to hers. And as usual, Sydney is a suspect. With her partner, Ralph Dixon, handling the case from Austin; or so she believes, Sydney is working alone in unfamiliar territory. A string of illicit deeds that trail from San Antonio to New Orleans, leads to more murder. Uncertain of whom she can trust, Sydney’s only choice is to find the killer before the killer finds her.
Kathleen Kaska is the author of the awarding-winning mystery series: the Sydney Lockhart Mystery Series set in the 1950s and the Kate Caraway Animal-Rights Mystery Series. She also writes mystery trivia. The Sherlock Holmes Quiz Book was published by Rowman & Littlefield. Her Holmes short story; “The Adventure at Old Basingstoke,” appears in Sherlock Holmes of Baking Street; a Belanger Books anthology. She is the founder of The Dogs in the Nighttime, the Sherlock Holmes Society of Anacortes; Washington, a scion of The Baker Street Irregulars.
Educating Aviva by Rebecca Marks
Beautiful Aviva Stern never dreamed she would leave her strong Hasidic community, nor does she ever imagine meeting and falling in love with a stranger from a completely different background. Nevertheless, a frightening incident in her life makes her feel she has no choice but to escape, although she has no real place to go. But her chance meeting of handsome, kind David Delgado, a Colombian musician, enables her to make the difficult transition and to have confidence that she can be loved and succeed in a very different world from the one in which she grew up.
Educating Aviva is Rebecca Marks’ eighth novel. She has also written the four-volume Dana Cohen Mystery series, as well as two time-travel historical romances, Time Out and About Time, and the coming-of-age family saga, Paint it Black. In addition to writing, she is a harp-playing musician and singer, and trains and shows Belgian Tervuren dogs.
Bad Blood Sisters by Saralyn Richard
Quinn McFarland has grown up around dead bodies…
Quinn’s always joked about death, but this summer, death stops being funny. For one thing, her brother finally undergoes transplant surgery. For another, Quinn’s estranged BFF, her “blood” sister, is brought into the family mortuary, bludgeoned to death. Quinn’s haunted by the past, her friendship gone awry, and the blood oath she’s sworn to keep secret. The police consider her a person of interest, and someone threatens her not to talk. Quinn is the only one who knows enough to bring the killer to justice, but what she’s buried puts her in extreme danger.
Fans of Lisa Jewell, Shari Lapena, and “Six Feet Under” will stay up late reading BAD BLOOD SISTERS.
Saralyn Richard’s award-winning humor- and romance-tinged mysteries and children's book pull back the curtain on people in settings as diverse as elite country manor houses and disadvantaged urban high schools. Saralyn’s most recent release is Bad Blood Sisters. A member of International Thriller Writers and Mystery Writers of America, Saralyn teaches creative writing and literature at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute and continues to write mysteries. Her favorite thing about being an author is interacting with readers like you.
Visit Saralyn: http://saralynrichard.com
The Mind Spins by Geza Tatrallyay is an exploration of the creative process, of the mind as it plots a narrative and builds characters. The thirteen stories included in the collection are divided into two parts, Awake and Dreaming. The six that make up Part I, Awake, explore how the human mind creates a story in its waking state. Several of the tales in this section take off from the author’s own experiences—walking in the woods in Vermont, a phone message from his brother, a stray item of lingerie—while others are based on critical social issues—the fate of refugees in the US, human trafficking, the plight of homeless veterans. The stories in Part II, Dreaming, are based on dreams the author had and managed to capture upon waking. These fully reflect the zany manner in which dreams can spin off in new directions, often bringing in new seemingly unrelated characters, some of which are sometimes non-human, others clearly from a non-contemporaneous past or future. Yet it is also evident that these stories, too--the first “draft” of which were “spun” by the mind in its dreaming state--are based on the author’s experiences. A fascinating collection!
Geza Tatrallyay escaped from Hungary with his family during the Revolution in 1956, immigrating to Canada. He grew up in Toronto, where he attended the University of Toronto Schools, and has degrees from Harvard and Oxford Universities (this as a Rhodes Scholar) and the London School of Economics. He worked in the Ontario Pavilion at the world’s fair, Expo 70, in Osaka, Japan, and represented Canada as an epée fencer in the 1976 Olympic Games in Montreal.
Geza has worked in government, international organizations, finance, and environmental entrepreneurship. Since retiring in 2004, he has devoted himself to writing and now has fourteen books published (five thrillers, three memoirs, four poetry collections, one short story collection, and one children's picture storybook).
Geza is married with two children and four grandchildren, and when not traveling, divides his time between Barnard, Vermont, and San Francisco.
Grant's Crossing Series - Death of the Alder by Jamie Tremain
Twenty-eight-year-old Alysha Grant has inherited a large, rural family property - Leven Lodge. A converted farmhouse is now home to a small, but eccentric group of retirees. She feels overwhelmed and totally unprepared for this responsibility but dives in. Her arrival coincides with a body found floating in the Alder River. The suspicious death brings attention to some of the home’s residents and may be connected to a proposed casino. Opinion is divided on whether the development, to be built on a former sawmill location once belonging to Alysha’s family, will be a good thing for Grant’s Crossing.
Alysha and her life partner, Jeff Iverson, settle into their new duties, learning about the home’s residents and what makes them tick, when another body is retrieved from the river. Coincidence? Alysha and new friends, voice their suspicions regarding the town’s shady naturopath—Dr. Reid Harrison—and vow to keep him away from those who live at the lodge.
Despite their best intentions, Alysha finds her own life threatened, when true motives around the casino are revealed.
Jamie Tremain was “born” in the summer of 2007. A collaborative effort brought about by two fledgling authors Liz Lindsay and Pam Blance. Pam and Liz met at their place of work and once a mutual interest in reading (and writing!) was discovered, there was no stopping them! To date Jamie Tremain has published the Dorothy Dennehy Mystery Series, and Grant’s Crossing series. Five books in total – more in progress! Originally traditionally published, Jamie Tremain is now full-on indie.
Even before their first book, The Silk Shroud, was published, they had been actively building their brand. One of their fortes was, and still is, interviews on their blog with other authors – and readers. Networking within the supportive writing community continues to be a priority. A recent “Author Survival Network” group was established on Facebook, to offer fellow authors a place to meet, share experiences and offer encouragement to each other.
Jamie Tremain belongs to Crime Writers of Canada, International Thriller Writers, and are proud to be part of the Genre5 Writers group in Guelph, Ontario.
Stitch, Bake, Die! An Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery, Book 10 by Lois Winston
With massive debt, a communist mother-in-law, a Shakespeare-quoting parrot, and a photojournalist boyfriend who may or may not be a spy, crafts editor Anastasia Pollack already juggles too much in her life. So she’s not thrilled when her magazine volunteers her to present workshops and judge a needlework contest at the inaugural conference of the New Jersey chapter of the Stitch and Bake Society, a national organization of retired professional women. At least her best friend and cooking editor Cloris McWerther has also been roped into similar duties for the culinary side of the 3-day event taking place on the grounds of the exclusive Beckwith Chateau Country Club.
The sweet little old ladies Anastasia is expecting to meet are definitely old, and some of them are little, but all are anything but sweet. She’s stepped into a vipers’ den that starts with bribery and ends with murder. When an ice storm forces Anastasia and Cloris to spend the night at the Chateau, Anastasia discovers evidence of insurance scams, medical fraud, an opioid ring, long-buried family secrets, and a bevy of suspects.
Can she piece together the various clues before she becomes the killer’s next target?
Crafting tips included.
USA Today and Amazon bestselling author Lois Winston began her award-winning writing career in 2006 with the humorous novel Talk Gertie to Me. Her bestselling Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery Series came about after an editor mentioned she was looking for crafting-themed cozies. The series now includes ten novels and three novellas. Lois is currently working on the eleventh novel in the series. To date, she’s published nineteen novels, five novellas, several short stories, one children’s chapter book, and one nonfiction book on writing, inspired by the twelve years she worked as an associate at a literary agency. Learn more about her and her books at her website where you’ll find links to sign up for her newsletter and follow her on social Buy Links
Happy April – Enjoy the sunshine & no, I don’t know why it’s snowing here in western Washington State in April!
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