Left Coast Crime

I had a great time at LCC and reconnected with many people I’ve grown fond of. I also met new writers as well as some Facebook and Twitter friends (Holly West, Marlyn Beebe) for the first time too. I know I gained a few readers because they told me so in person. Love that! I got to know Teresa Burrell and Rachel Brady better, both terrific women. And I had dinner with a group that included Meg Gardiner, who is friendly and fun. Read more

Tip: Book Club Discussion Questions

Writing book club discussion questions is something writers put off and sometimes never get around to. But readers like them, so you might as well get it done. I’ve recently written some, and it’s not as tough as it seems. Here are some guidelines to help you get started.

Ambiguity. If your novel leaves anything up in the air as to what really happened, this makes for a great question. Readers love to determine the how and why of ambiguous events. Read more

New Editing Rates

keyboard-smallAn editing job I completed recently for a satisfied client (and a layoff ☺) made me rethink my approach. Essentially, I’ve cut my rate in half with the idea that most writers can’t afford an extensive service—they simply want to catch all the typos, misused words, and inconsistencies before they submit anywhere.

Read more

Tip: Personal Calendar Printout

keyboard-smallTips for Busy Writers: What better way to start every Monday than by learning a great tip for managing a busy life?

I use the monthly calendar function in my Entourage e-mail program to track my personal schedule, and I print out a few months at a time and carry the pages with me. This neat trick serves two functions: Read more

New Day, New Direction

I’m a free agent again. In other words, I’ve been laid off my part-time newspaper job. The weirdest thing? I received an unemployment debit card from the state last week. I laughed and twittered: “Do they know something I don’t?” I guess they did. The hardest thing? Walking away from a terrific group of people I’ve come to really enjoy and count on for emotional and intellectual interaction. Read more

Detectives Around the World

babyshark1In April, about 30 bloggers will each host a detective, and readers will learn about cops, agents, and PIs from all corners of the earth. My blog will feature Kristin Van Dijk, aka Baby Shark, a fascinating and kickass young woman. The series is written by the talented and charming Robert Fate who has lived a most interesting life. Read more

More Self-Editing Tips

I’m still working through the rewrite on my forth novel and finding self-editing tips to share.

1. Get rid of the word that. In my last post, I wrote a sentence like this: If a guy in a driveway points at tires, readers will assume that you mean on the car. I went back and took out that. The sentence reads better without it. Sometimes the word will be needed for clarity but not often. Read more

Easy Editing Tips

I’m fine-tuning the novel I just finished, and these are some of the edits I’m making. They can help you as you write or edit your own novel.
1. Get rid of unnecessary prepositional phrases. When you read back through your manuscript, watch for phrases like on the table, toward the door, near the wall. These phrases bog down your writing and often add little to a description. Readers can make a lot of assumptions. If two guys are standing in the driveway talking and one points at the tires, readers Read more

Character Name Winners

Thanks everyone for suggesting such intriguing characters names for my futuristic thriller. My husband now has a crush on one of the winners because her suggestions are so creatively awesome! After much consideration, the winning selections are:
Male, bureaucrat: Sherman Dogg, submitted by Rose
Female paramedic: DeTerra Celeste Stibbins submitted by C. Lyncia Wright-Harris. Ms. Harris also submitted Adulan Dominic Masters, but Read more

Character Naming Contest

secretstodiefor_small2I’ve had so much great feedback on SECRETS TO DIE FOR I’ve decided to give away a few more copies. This time you have to earn it by coming up with a great name for one of the characters in my next novel, which I’ve just started outlining. Here’s what I know about the characters so far: Read more