Mystery Author Nancy G. West

Nancy G. WestA Secondary Character Appears Mid-Stream and Demands Her Own Story: Nancy G. West Interviews Her Series Protagonist, The Inimitable Aggie Mundeen                     

NGW: I was writing a serious suspense novel, NINE DAYS TO EVIL, about Meredith Laughlin, a graduate student facing a life-threatening dilemma. Why did you pick that time to pop into my head, Aggie?

Aggie: Meredith needed a friend.

NGW: Somebody with whom she could share problems? Somebody to help her?

Aggie: Somebody with a sense of humor. Meredith’s too serious.

NGW: Of course, she’s serious. Her world disintegrates. Her life’s in danger. And you showed up in the middle of my writing Meredith’s novel to be funny?

Aggie: To lighten things up.

NGW: So you appeared in my head making wisecracks about Meredith’s problems, about her outlook, about her husband, even about her professors . . .

Aggie: Yep. I was right there with Meredith in those classes at University of the Holy Trinity.

NGW: You showed up in class wearing a warm-up and sneakers. With hair like a Brillo pad. Giving the professor a ‘show-me-something’ look.

Aggie: The kids needed a role model.

NGW: You made me chuckle, sitting there like you owned the place.

Aggie: You needed to loosen up.

NGW: You made it hard for me to keep ratcheting up suspense in Meredith’s story.

Aggie: You needed contrast. Dark moments versus light. Scary versus comic . . . stuff like that.

NGW: Wait a minute. I’m the writer here.

Aggie: I got in your head, didn’t I? You needed me.

NGW: You made it hard for me to focus on Meredith’s problems. I’d be concentrating on how she could get out of her predicament, agonizing over it, and you’d do something to make me laugh.

Aggie: Yeah. I enjoyed that.  Fit to be Dead

NGW: My husband thought I was crazy.

Aggie: You share an office with your husband? That’s really crazy.

NGW: I’d be chuckling in front of the computer screen, and he’d ask me what was so funny. I’d say, “Aggie just did something hilarious.”

Aggie: That’s one way to get him out of the office.

NGW: I got tickled at you so often, it was difficult for me to stay serious long enough to even finish NINE DAYS TO EVIL.

Aggie: You made it.

NGW: Yes.

Aggie: And it’s a better book, thanks to me.

NGW: By the time I finished NINE DAYS TO EVIL, Meredith’s story, you’d taken over my consciousness to the point where I knew I had to write about you.

Aggie: And you knew that one book from my point of view wouldn’t be enough.

NGW: I figured you would demand your own series.

Aggie: If you hadn’t promised me that, I’d never have let you finish NINE DAYS TO EVIL.

NGW: I realized that. So your first mystery caper, FIT TO BE DEAD is out now. Your second mystery caper, DANG NEAR DEAD comes out December 1st.

Aggie: I like those books. You’re getting to know me, and I’m getting to know Detective Sam Vanderhoven better and better. I really like that part.

NGW: Meredith’s still your friend. She’s in both your books.   Dang Near Dead

Aggie: Yes. You and I appreciate her more. Thanks to me.

©Nancy G. West 2012

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Nancy G. West is the author of an artist’s biography, the suspense novel NINE DAYS TO EVIL, numerous magazine articles and two books in her new Aggie Mundeen mystery series, Fit to Be Dead and Dang Near Dead.

FIT TO BE DEAD (Aggie Mundeen Mystery #1)
Aggie, single, pushing forty and terrified of becoming decrepit, tries to get in shape before anybody discovers she secretly writes the column, “Stay Young with Aggie.” At the health club, she deals with killer machines, muscle maniacs and disgustingly-fit fillies until a girl turns up dead. So curious it makes her feet itch, Aggie is determined to flush out the killer, despite warnings from the SAPD detective appalled by her sleuthing methods. When the killer comes after Aggie, and the club evacuates members in less-than-dignified attire, Aggie really has to get creative . . . while she tries to stay alive.

DANG NEAR DEAD (Aggie Mundeen Mystery #2, coming December 1, 2012)
Aggie vacations with friends at a Texas dude ranch. She’ll advise column readers how to stay young and fresh in summer. Except for heat, snakes and poison ivy, what could go wrong?

When the assistant ranch manager, an expert rider, is thrown from her horse and lies in a coma, Aggie thinks somebody caused her to fall. Determined to expose the girl’s assailant, Aggie concocts ingenious sleuthing methods that strain her dicey relationship with the handsome detective traveling incognito. When Aggie scatters a hornet’s nest of cowboys, more than one hombre in the bunch would like to slit her throat.

Follow Nancy:

Website: http://www.nancygwest.com/

Amazon: http://tinyurl.com/nancywest

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6442929.Nancy_G_West#

Writing Effective Dialogue

You’ve finished writing your book and are ready to start self-edits. What should you be examining in each conversation? Here are 14 tips to help you write more effective dialogue.

conversation

All conversations should have a purpose.
Dialogue is a great way to start a story and provide an opening hook. You’ll want to keep the pace moving forward. Besides backstory and flashbacks, there’s nothing that kills pacing more than meandering dialogue. Conversations should reveal information, advance the plot, deepen characterization, create conflict, offer comic relief, or present new insights. Long passages of dialogue where nothing happens will make your reader wonder when the story will move ahead.

Vary your techniques.
Information exchanges don’t have to be straightforward. Revelations can be tricked, teased, or threatened out of a character. Have your heroine blurt out something in the heat of the moment. Or have two characters discuss a situation and reach a new conclusion together. What you want to avoid is an info dump. Even at the end of a thriller or mystery where you have to reveal the How-Done-It about the crime, don’t just have the killer stand there pointing a gun at your hero while rattling off his confession. Save some of this info for the final wrap scene, where your hero reflects on events with another character and comes to an insight that brings growth and change.

Cut the fillers that people use in real conversations.
“Excuse me, um, did you—I mean, did I—tell you, like, what this topic, you know, will be about?” In this instance, we don’t want to write realistic dialogue. Our fictional sentences must be more concise and to the point. Some mannerisms are allowed for character development, like the person who says “you know” all the time, but leave out the rest of the fluff.

Watch those cuss words.
You may have a gutter mouth, or think your character should talk that way, but be wary of alienating your readers. Who’s your target audience? Do you want a wider readership? If so, sprinkle in the use of bad language judiciously or substitute a word like “frak” in Battlestar Galactica.

Don’t be too clinical.
When writing sex scenes, certain language is permissible if your genre is erotica but not if you want to appeal to a more general audience. Again, consider your readership. You may want to look at the emotional ramifications of a love scene rather than focusing on the sex act itself.
Avoiding certain terminology also applies to your character’s point of view. Occasionally, I will slip in some medical terms into my story. This comes from my own background as a nurse, not my hairdresser sleuth’s. My critique group always catches me on this error. So be careful of using jargon your character might not know but that you do.

Use dialect sparingly.
It can be enough to say your character has a heavy southern accent rather than changing every word, as in “Ah have to git me a new dress for the party Ah am hankerin’ to attend.” This is okay in small doses but can get annoying throughout an entire book. Ditto for foreign languages. Sprinkle in a few select phrases to give the reader the flavor of the character’s speech without making us stumble over sentences that are hard to pronounce, let alone comprehend.

Favorite phrases can enhance character.
What does your protagonist say when surprised? When he’s annoyed? Make up some favorite phrases for him to use as a speech tag, keeping his background in mind. For example, a hairstylist might say, “Holy highlights!”, or a space pilot: “By the stars!”

Avoid unnecessary speech tags and adverbs.
Leave off the “she cackled merrily,” “he ranted angrily,” or “she snickered devilishly.” You don’t need descriptive adverbs. Let the dialogue speak for itself. Use “he said” or “she said.” Better yet, show through action who is speaking.

Consider the technique of oblique dialogue.
This is where one speaker asks a question. The respondent either counters with another question or answers with an unrelated comment. Nonverbal cues can supply the subtext or clues as to what’s really going on in this conversation.

Don’t repeat info the characters already know.
This kind of info exchange, where two people talk about something they both already know, serves merely to fill the reader in on background info. Find another less obvious way to slide this knowledge into the conversation. Dialogue is a great way to add backstory but only if done in an unobtrusive manner and if it’s related to the current situation.

Separate single lines of dialogue from expository passages.
If you have a single line in quotes and the rest of the paragraph is introspection or action from the same character, put the line of dialogue in its own paragraph.

Reveal character through conversation.
Does your character always end a sentence in a question? Talk in a confrontational manner? Show his wishy-washy attitude in phrases like “I think,” “I guess,” “Well, maybe…,” or “I suppose?” These are ways to reveal personality through dialogue. Also, have your protagonist use metaphors, similes, and slang within his unique frame of reference.

Avoid talking heads.
Intersperse your lines of dialogue with action and emotional reactions. Conversation that’s not meaningful to your character isn’t going to grip the reader. We want to feel his gut responses. Even when the conversation itself sparkles with emotion, it helps to have the viewpoint character throw in a thought or two about it or perform some action that shows his emotional state. Then we as readers will empathize more strongly with him.

Review your work.
Reread your conversations looking for stilted dialogue, formal speech, out of character responses, and repetitions. This should be part of your editing process.

Dialogue is an important tool in our writer’s toolbox. Use it wisely and your readers will keep coming back for more.

Make Your Characters Stronger

How can you make your characters sound stronger when they speak? Think of the ways authoritative people talk in terms of their word choices and tone of voice.

Choose one of each:

1.A. “I think we should hit the beach at dawn. That way, we’ll probably be able to avoid the patrol boats.”

B. “We’ll hit the beach at dawn so we can avoid the patrol boats.”

2.A. “It is my belief that it would be best if we took the right-hand path.”

B. “Let’s make a right-hand turn.”

3.A. “I suppose I could agree.”

B. “I agree.”

4.A. “Oh, dear, perhaps this yellow dress would be more suitable. It brings out the highlights in my hair, and I do want Butler to notice me.”

B. “The yellow dress complements my hair, so I’ll wear that one. Butler has to notice me tonight.”

5.A. “I guess it would be all right if you borrowed my bracelet, but if you don’t mind, please see if you can return it tomorrow.”

B. “You can borrow the bracelet, but I’d like it returned tomorrow.”

If you chose any “A” answers, you’re making your character sound weak. To strengthen your heroine, have her sound positive and determined. Characters should focus on their goals, not on their appearance or performance. Avoid phrases such as I think, I guess, I suppose, dear me, maybe we should, It is my belief that, I don’t know.

Of course, exceptions to the rule do exist. Just make certain your character doesn’t sound wimpy when he speaks or has an introspection. Cutting extra verbiage can help. Aim for precision of speech, but avoid curtness. Remember that dialog should further your plot or reveal character. Phrases that reveal hesitation or self-doubt may indicate places that need revision unless you purposefully want your character to act this way.

Strong heroes appeal to readers, so take out your pen and get to work. Good luck!

Character Names

clip_image002How does a writer devise a name for a character? First, we can’t choose a name similar to the other main characters or you’ll run into people named Maria, Marilyn, and Merle. It gets confusing for the reader. So that eliminates certain sounds and letters. The character’s ethnic heritage or her role in the story may influence your choice. For example, I can’t proceed with plotting my next romance without obtaining a name for my heroine, but so far, nothing has struck my fancy. The story is based on Norse mythology so that gives me a place to start. I looked in The Writer’s Digest Character Naming Sourcebook by Sherrilyn Kenyon, an excellent resource that lists names by nationality and gives their meanings. Then I drew up a list of Norwegian female names that caught my interest. I narrowed these down to selections with a certain sound I wanted.

To visualize my characters, I cut out pix from magazines like TV Guide and Entertainment Weekly. So here is my heroine. She’s the perfect counterpart to my serious, brooding hero, Lord Magnor.

clip_image004

My female name choices:

Dagny (joy of the Danes)

Kelci (from the ship’s island) Kelsey

Mildri (mild and lovely)

Randi (lovely, goddess) Ragnfrid, Ragni

Brief character sketch: Heroine sculpts mythical figures of trolls and fairies out of natural materials and sells them online. Owns a pottery studio, wants to open a gift shop, and maybe teach children arts and crafts.

Other Women in the series: Nira, Jennifer, Lianne, Algie

Men: Zohar, Paz, Magnor, Dal, Kaj, Yaron

If I name her Dagny, I can’t call her Dag for short because one of the established heroes is Dal. So I have to keep in mind these other people when I choose her name. Mildri is cute but maybe too mild for her. Kelsey is too ordinary, although Kelci is a different spelling that might work. Ragni? Call her Rage for short? Hey, that might do. She looks kinda angry at the world, doesn’t she? I can’t nickname her Rag with a soft “g” because it would sound too much like Kaj.

What do you think? Who does she look like to you? Any other suggestions? What means do you, the writer, use to determine your character names?

Job Skills

A recent news article said that more than one million people in Florida need a job, but many positions are not being filled because applicants don’t have the proper skills. Employers want enthusiastic people who have a broad knowledge base along with cutting edge skills. Technology keeps changing. Applicants need to keep up with the times to be competitive.

How does this apply to the writer? Most communications today take place via email between editors, agents, and authors. We’re expected to format our manuscripts according to publisher guidelines and know how to follow track changes in Microsoft Word. We’re asked by publishers if we have a webpage, blog, Facebook fan page, and Twitter. It’s great that we can save money by not having to copy and mail manuscripts anymore, but do we save time? Not when we have to keep up with the rapidly changing technology.

A writer can’t get by without these skills nowadays. Never mind that all an author wants to do is write the next book. Too much involvement in these business activities can lead to burnout. One doesn’t get tired of writing the story. One gets tired of the racing train that keeps going in circles, round and round the promotional track. The pressure to stay on top can build to a momentum that forces our creativity to derail. This wasn’t the train we wanted when we got on board, but we’re stuck with it now.

I’m about to get my first eReader device. After much consideration, I’ve decided to get a Kindle. Now I read that the next generation may have E-Ink Color, as opposed to LCD color. As for touch screens, there’s two different types and one is supposed to be better than the other. Dedicated eReader, Tablet, or Smart Phone? Eventually all of these devices may be rolled into one of ideal size and technology to perform multiple functions with clarity and readability under all lighting conditions. But until then, we have to choose which device will serve the purposes we need. We have too many choices, when we should be focusing on word choice instead.

This blog appeared originally at the Kill Zone.

The Great Void

I finished the second book in my paranormal trilogy at 444 pages. This comes as a great relief but with one downside. It leaves me mentally floating in a void. I want to take a break and catch up on all the household chores left by the wayside the last few months, but my mind needs an anchor. That’s usually a WIP. It’s what I wake up eager to work on every day, a purpose, a calling if you will. But before I begin writing again, I need to develop the characters and the plot for the next story. Sometimes, this takes a while, because the characters have to brew in my head and the plot needs time to gel. I can tackle these stacks of papers in my office in the meantime, free of a daily writing schedule.

With vacant time, I can also turn to my final backlist book that needs conversion to digital format. It needs quite a bit of revision, not only sentence tightening, but adding a glossary and fixing paragraphs where I jump POVs. This task is likely to take me several months. Keeper of the Rings is 521 pages, a long book. But those characters are haunting me. A new generation of readers are waiting to discover Leena and Taurin’s story. And I’d like to bring it to them. So I am working on this revision, while also spending time cleaning the office. It’s a good time for a break with the holidays approaching, vacations coming, and relatives soon to visit.

Or I may zero in on a target book depending on my agent’s advice. Part of me wants to lounge around for a few months and part of me doesn’t. Can a writer ever be happy? We’re damned if we do and we’re damned if we don’t. We can’t wait to finish a book and have time to relax but then our mind stretches for a new challenge.

Writing for Worldwide Distribution

“Brainstorming on the Beach” Conference with Novelists, Inc.

 Here are my notes, keeping in mind this is what I heard and my interpretation.  This panel was geared toward Harlequin Enterprises.

Writing for Worldwide Distribution with Marsha Zinberg, Executive Editor, Harlequin Enterprises and Author Vicki Lewis Thompson

 Marsha:  A breakdown on what’s popular with readers shows that cowboys, weddings, babies, and Texas remain favorite themes. The Presents line features the power dynamics between a hero and heroine.  A new line is coming, HQ Heartwarming with wholesome stories.

 Mini-series and connected series are always hits.

Direct to Consumer: No paranormals. Heroines should be focused on home not career.

Overseas: Fantasy and romance are welcome but not paranormal. Ugly Duckling, Cinderella, forbidden love, millionaires, and secret babies are themes that work.  The romance should be the focus of the story.

When you, the author, are doing your fact sheet, keep in mind that overseas editors read them so make your universal theme evident right away.  The synopsis shouldn’t be overly long or complicated since English may not be their first language.

Topics to avoid: Casinos and gambling, ballroom dancing, post-war traumatic stress disorder.

Medical sells well overseas but not in North America.

Be prolific to create your author franchise.

Time sensitive issues and brand names may date a book so be wary of using these.  Ditto for technology and politically correct terms.

Vicki:  Know what is selling but don’t always follow trends.  Focus what you do well and write often.  Be a pro regarding deadlines.  Challenge yourself as a writer and take a chance on special projects.

Refilling the creative well implies that you drain your energy when you write. Instead, think of writing as recharging your batteries.  The more you write, the more you want to write. 

Coming Next: Sharing Concerns with Carolyn Pittis, Senior VP, Global Author Services, HarperCollins

PROMOTIONAL TEAMWORK

THE FUTURE OF PUBLISHING at Brainstorming on the Beach, Novelists, Inc. conference

Thursday, October 7, 2010

This day was entirely devoted to The Future of Publishing and was open to all writers. Impressive speakers spoke to us about what’s new and what’s coming in the publishing industry. The first panel’s topic was Promotional Teamwork. Here are my notes, keeping in mind this is what I heard and my interpretation.

 PANEL ON PROMOTIONAL TEAMWORK

Speakers:

Eileen Fallon, Literary Agent

Brian O’Leary, Magellan Media Partners

Joan Schulhafer, Publishing and Media Consulting

Shannon Aviles, More Than Publicity

Kay Hooper, NYT Bestselling Author

Carolyn Pittis, Senior VP, Global Author Services, HarperCollins

Linda Parks, Co-Owner, Fireside Books

Loriana Sacilotto, Executive VP, Editorial & Global Strategy, Harlequin Enterprises

Joan: “The train has left the station,” meaning we’re all published authors and we have the choice of many destinations. We cannot let uncertainty about the future paralyze us in terms of what to do for promo. Determine who is your target audience and what you will send them in terms of printed materials. Communicate your plans to your publisher but be careful not to create more work for them. “Every time you have a request or idea, it creates work.” So be realistic in your expectations.

Loriana: Harlequin believes in building authors into their own brand. They hold weekly sessions regarding digital media and social networking. “Write consistently what you write best” to build your brand.  Print and ebook sales should be looked at together. Publishers should ask, how is this book selling in each format?  Bestseller lists still influence readers, distribution and discounts.  Is there an alternate way to measure success other than the bestseller lists?  How about total sales and the value of the backlist? 

Carolyn: Review copies still sell books today but we need more book recommendation tools.  Word of mouth hasn’t met technology yet.  Think about who your promo activities are geared toward. Also consider the cost of your various promo efforts, i.e. “For this dollar, I get less or more.”  Everything online is measurable.  Co-op used to be the major marketing expense for publishers, but things are shifting.  Independent booksellers still have tremendous influence.  A big shift is coming in retailing.  Google will allow indies to sell eBooks competitively with Amazon, etc.  As consumers use more eReader devices, indies can leverage their connections with readers.

The market is booming overseas for English language genre fiction, i.e. vampire romance, thrillers. There’s a huge demand in India and Muslim countries in particular. Growing and developing technology in eBook formats, metadata, etc. will increase among pubs.  “You can connect with your readers around the world.  That’s where the growth is.”  This growth surge will help combat book piracy.

Shannon: “Eastern Europe is in an upswing as are China, Scandinavia, Central/South America” re demand for English language books. Driving it is the eBook biz, apps, handheld tech, integrated marketing, widgets, and enriched content.  Publishers have to recognize measurable numbers for eBook sales.

Linda: Send your book to the indie bookseller, not just a bookmark.  Make a connection with your local independent bookstore.  This will benefit both of you. 

Brian: Ads in PW and newspapers don’t sell books.  You want your brand to extend beyond what your publisher does for you.  Social media provide an on-going effort to build your reputation.  “Be visible and be searchable from the moment your book is published.” 

Kay: Consider the cost of social networking to your creativity. “You have to find your comfort level because the future is now.” 

Ninc has just begun a new newsletter, NINC BLAST, which includes information about our authors’ new and upcoming releases, as well as a “Did you know?” feature with tantalizing, little-known factoids about some of your favorite authors.  To subscribe to NINC BLAST, please go to our Website: <http://ninc.com/>   Then scroll down to the middle of the screen, where it says, “Let NINC BLAST you. ”  Simply click on the pale blue envelope, then follow the protocols.

THE PLOTTING BRAIN

You’ve put aside the first draft you have just finished so you can gain some distance on the work before tackling revisions. It’s a great time to clean your office, sort your files, and write a few blogs. But your mind starts seguing into the next story. 

 Here’s what floated into my mind, even when I’m trying to take a break:

 My next hero is a Tsuran swordsman who has been disgraced on his home world and shunned by his people. What dastardly deed did he commit? He protected a family member by taking the blame for a murder that she’d committed under duress. Thus close family ties mean a lot to him. Now bring in a heroine who is trying to escape from her family obligations. Conflict! 

Add another element. Say our hero, Lord Magnor, is protecting his sister who killed her abusive husband. After he was incarcerated, he learned that she’d been cheating on the man. Betrayal!

Now he’s a sullen, mysterious loner forced to join a team of warriors because they’re the only ones who will accept him. How will the heroine differ? She has to be a people person, outgoing, gregarious, generously reaching out to others. Maybe she gives of herself too much and has overextended her limits. Perhaps her last boyfriend left when she put her dedication to various causes before their relationship. She doesn’t want another man who’ll be so selfish and who lacks compassion. So why does this fierce warrior appeal to her?

Before I delve further into their GMC, what is the hero’s main mission for this story? He has to find the secret weapon that will destroy the evil Trolleks who’ve invaded Earth (it’s a paranormal romance). How will he proceed? Even though I have a list of plot threads from previous installments that have to be tied up in this volume, I’m stumped.

I give up and start cleaning out my files. Oh cool, here’s an article on archetypes. You know what I mean: marriage of convenience, rags to riches, twins, secret baby, prince in disguise, etc. Hey, what if I mix one of these into my story? Imagine the sparks if these two characters had to wed. What if (yes, we plotters use What If? a lot) the heroine enlists Magnor as her fake fiancé? Nah, that’s been done to death already. So how to put a modern twist on the old marriage of convenience tale in a way that would suit my story?

   ideaGenius strikes. My bad guys are using theme parks to recruit humans as their mind slaves. Magnor goes to Las Vegas to follow a lead.  What else is Vegas if not one huge theme park for adults?

I’m getting excited.  I can envision my hero striding down the Strip in his cloak and sword. He encounters a woman who drunkenly boasts to her friends that she can snag any man who walks through the door. Guess who it is?  Yep, our hapless hero.  But he doesn’t fall for her allure right away. Nope, he recognizes the watch she wears as being significant to his mission. And when they end up in a wedding chapel, our warrior from outer space has no idea what it means. They wake up the next morning together in a hotel room, and…you get the picture. Cool set up, huh?

Now I have to figure out why the Norse goddess Hel releases her “Dead Walkers” so the hero has to brave the underworld to stop her. It could be another ploy for dominance by the evil demon, Loki. He’s manipulating the Trolleks, and… well, I don’t want to give too many spoilers. In case you haven’t guessed, this series is based on Norse mythology.

As each idea comes to me, I jot it down. It’s all jumbled right now. Next I’ll sit down and do my Character Development and Romantic Conflict charts, figure out the plot progression, and write the synopsis. It just has to brew upstairs a while longer.

What do you think of my story idea so far?  Any suggestions?  When you finish a book, how long of a break do you take and how do you approach the next story to get started?

So You Think You’ve Finished Your Book?

Writing The End on the last page of your manuscript brings with it a wonderful feeling of accomplishment.  Take a deep breath, let it out, and then scream your joy to the heavens.  Drink champagne, buy yourself a gift, do whatever you wish to reward yourself. 

If you’re like me, you are brain numb and need a break from writing.  Set a date to start on revisions and then relax.  Well, not totally.  You can always work on the Tedious Tasks for Writers that I talked about last month on this blog.  Why, this very morning I spent an hour organizing my Favorites on the Internet.  A waste of time, you say?  I beg to differ.  I’ll actually save time in the future when I need to go to a site and can find it in my bookmarks more easily.

I also spent time cleaning out my Word files for book number one in my paranormal series.  Mind you, I just finished book two, but I am hoping number one sells first.  I’ve got my story blurbs for this title ready to go, plus bonus features for my website, a reader discussion guide, and text for a book trailer.  So what else can my brain brew on during this interval from writing, which we all know is part of the creative process? 

Here’s what is next on my writer’s To Do list: Write the text for book number two trailer.  Since I have six heroes and heroines altogether in this series, I should match them up.  Scan in the photos I’ve cut out of magazines, match the guys to the gals, give the girls names and occupations. Then narrow the focus to book number three. Develop the backstory for the hero and heroine. Determine what this guy’s particular mission will be within the core story. How will I weave in the different plot threads from previous installments, and how will these loose ends be resolved at the series’end? Make a chart or a spreadsheet of the magical elements in this paranormal fantasy along with who possesses them and what they do.  Write the plot for book number three. By now, I’ll be chomping at the bit to write this story. But wait, first I have to revise Book Two.

You know what?  That sounds like a lot of work, and I deserve a break.  Think I’ll go on vacation instead.  See ya in a few weeks.

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