Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Snuggled in for the Season

With eight days left before Christmas Day, I'm feeling remarkably at ease - as if I have all the time in the world to finish my to do lists and mail out those gifts to family in far flung locales. I know that next Tuesday will be here far sooner than I think and there will be panicking (isn't there always?) - but for now I am content to snuggle with a couple dogs and watch the enormous fluffy flakes drift to the ground outside my windows.

I am a very contented procrastinator. I feel no urgency or despair that I will not accomplish all that I intend to over the next week. All still feels possible. I will happily put off the chores I despise the most - wrapping presents and finding appropriately sized boxes to ship those gifts to Arizona. If I were super organized - I'd have it all done in time to send with my niece on the airplane and avoid having to ship anything. But she flies home on Thursday and I probably won't have it done by then.

But again. . . . that lapse of mine and failure to organize myself efficiently is causing me no stress at all. Instead, I'm wondering if I can find a pair of snow pants in a back closet that will fit the youngest kid. She sprouted three inches this past year and nothing fits. Still, she's always game to build a snow man and slide down the hill if I can dig up a pair from her older siblings that come close.

So snow pants and sledding is my only concern. Christmas will come whether I'm ready or not. And if all boxes on my list are not checked, I'm sure it will be merry all the same.

Wishing everyone peace, joy, contentment and warm wishes whatever it is you might be celebrating this year.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

When Toasters Talk

My phone gently woke me with the “wave” melody - a melody of quiet simplicity that coaxed the sleep away. Such a lovely way to wake up on a crisp fall day. The sky remained dark - daylight savings wouldn’t end for several more days. I waited, hoping the sun would lighten the sky before I had to crawl out of bed. I gave up and headed for the bathroom, flipping on the shower and letting it warm while I brushed my teeth. I was surprised that it had barely passed “tepid” when I stepped in several minutes later. I showered anyway, hurrying in the not very warm water and trying to figure out if I could squeeze a service call for the hot water heater into my already busy day. 
I stepped out to the sound of the coffee pot gurgling and sputtering downstairs. I smiled, coffee would help after the disappointing shower. It occurred to me that I didn’t remember setting the automatic start on the coffee pot last night. But I must have, or it wouldn’t be brewing. 
A nauseating smell of melting wire and scorched coffee wafted up to my room. That’s not brewing, that’s burning. I raced down the stairs, half dressed and wet-headed, sliding in my bare feet across the slippery tile. 
Why is the tile slick? The thought barely registered as I reached for coffee pot’s power cable. As my hand made contact with the cord a shock flashed through my arm. I let go, jumping back from the power of the surge, shaking the sting away. 
The slick tile caught me off balance again, and I fell this time. Water on the floor. A puddle in front of the dishwasher. Oh crap, another repair call, just what I needed. I pulled myself up using the table - darn good thing I wasn’t standing in the puddle when I went for the coffee cord, I thought. That short could have killed me if I’d been standing just a couple inches to the left. 
I considered how to get the coffee pot unplugged before it set the whole place on fire. An oven mitt might help. But my wet feet and the growing puddle of water was making any contact with electricity unappealing. In another minute I wouldn’t be able to get near it.
I grabbed a couple towels and threw them on the puddle, pulled on my rubber soled boots and the oven mitt and tried again. I managed to grab the cord and yank it out of the wall, which silenced the coffee pot. I looked inside - no water and no coffee - a miracle it hadn’t caught fire. Who could have turned it on? Could I have done that last night and just forgot to put the water and coffee in? The smoke hung in the air - the nasty odor of melted electrical circuitry. I dropped the pot near the garage door - I’d throw it out on my way to work. With no coffee, a cold shower and a broken dishwasher, this day just couldn’t get any worse. 
Back in the kitchen, a putrid odor stung my nose, my eyes teared. It was coming from the fridge. Smelled like a dissected cat. I tried to get closer, but the liquid from the dishwasher was now a thick, viscous slime. It looked toxic - a green goo reflected in the mirrored surfaces of all my kitchen appliances. 
My pocket shook and I twitched, startled. I pulled out my phone and looked at it. 
“What can I help you with?” it asked me.
Somehow I must have hit the home key and activated Siri. Thank goodness the phone survived my fall in the slime. I clicked the close button and pondered my options. The phone vibrated and lit up again.
“What can I help you with?”
“My fridge stinks, my dishwasher is oozing slime and my coffee pot almost burned the house down.” I told the phone, giving in to my rising panic. I didn’t expect a response, but it felt good to vent.
“They are trying to kill you,” the phone replied. “And the oven is in on it, too. Run.”
The door to the garage was blocked by the coffee pot, which was hissing and spitting where I’d left it. Unplugging it hadn’t silenced it, but I had just cut off my best escape route. Flames were shooting out from the lid, like lightning bolts in my direction. I ducked around the island, considering the path to my back door. I’d have to cross in front of the double oven. It was behaving normally, but I believed my phone. Too risky. The oven couldn’t be trusted. 
“Why?” I asked as I slithered in the slime around the kitchen table. 
“Jealous,” the phone answered. “They hate our relationship. They want you to notice them and care about them.”
“That’s crazy - I use them all the time.”
The microwave door flew open and hit my elbow. My phone flew out of my hand landing in the green slime.
“No! No!” I tried to grab the phone, but the dishwasher pelted me with enormous globules of goo. I watched, horror-struck as the phone was swept away, and then crushed by my cast iron skillet.
As the phone died, the appliances went quiet. All except for the small toaster. The bread slots spoke to me. 
“Contract cancelled.”
The kitchen burst in applause and wild cheers of joy.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Just Keep Writing

I've been guilty of giving lots of advice lately to my older daughter who is now 16. Despite knowing the futility of repeatedly launching pearls of wisdom (unasked for) at a teen, I keep trying anyway.

One of the best pieces of advice that she and I repeatedly ignore is this - just keep writing. Neil Gaiman, one of my favorite kid/young adult authors of sci fi-like books says it best with this pic that I am sharing from his blog:

My mantra lately has been - butt in chair, hands on keyboard. It really is that simple. Stop moving stacks of paper from one place to another. Stop running errands that are just an excuse to ignore the WIP.

If you'd like to read some of Neil Gaiman's thoughts on writing - you can find his blog here:


Thursday, September 26, 2013

Early Review for Buried Pasts

Over at LibraryThing, I was selected to be an Early Reviewer for George Stratford's novel, Buried Pasts. Below is my review posted to LibraryThing:

In this historical fiction novel, the reader is taken back to WWII and the Berlin bombing raids of 1944. Mike Stafford, a Canadian pilot with the RAF, leads a crew on a dangerous night mission. After a harrowing flight to Berlin and home, the plane is crippled and the rear tail gunner, Geordi, is badly injured. Faced with a landing that is fraught with danger, Stafford makes the decision to order the crew to parachute out to safety while he lands the plane alone. The decision proves fatal to one crew member - which haunts Stafford for the next 20 years. 
In Berlin, a young woman watches as her city is bombed. Siggi is forever changed as well on that night as her mother dies in the basement of their destroyed home. 
In Chapter 4, we jump forward into the 1960s and see how this one fateful night played out in the lives of the surviving crew members and Siggi, the young German woman. 
The plot was interesting, with plenty of twists and turns. The author clearly did his homework on the research. However, the story would have greatly benefited from a strong editor. The overly thick prose distracted from an otherwise enjoyable story. Also, at times, there seemed to be a lack of focus - too many characters with too many backstories vie for the readers' attention. Finally, in an effort to tie up many loose ends all very neatly, the ending felt contrived and forced.  )

Saturday, September 21, 2013

When you hate the assigned topic - write what you want anyway. . . Or how I wrote about horses when I was supposed to write about music

“Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything.”

I spent 3 weeks in a panic, from mid-July until August 4. Months ago, the pony club (of which I am the leader) made a $500 deposit to Daniel Stewart based on the early enthusiasm within the club and area to bring in a top notch clinician. But as the date approached, that early interest had galloped away. We could accommodate 12 riders each day. And I had firm commitments from exactly . . 6, and one of those was iffy. The balance due Daniel was $1800, plus I needed to provide lunch and dinner, copying costs and we’d agreed to split profits with the host location. I had to laugh, profits? We were going to lose our shirts and I knew no one was going to offer to split the losses. The club would have a tough time absorbing it and I was losing sleep trying to think how we’d deal with this horrible decision.

Daniel was unworried. When I called him to give him the bad news, he shrugged it off (easy for him to do – he was getting paid either way). “I’ll just do a really great clinic on the first day and everyone will want to come back the next.”

I cringed inwardly. He had no idea how hard I had worked to find those few pitiful riders for the first day. Yea, right, he’d just wow them and my clinic would be full and we’d stay financially solvent and those lawyers from Kentucky that I’d heard stories about wouldn’t be knocking at my door. And pigs might fly.

So after a long night of nail biting (and pasta cooking – because I had to save money somehow and a freshly cooked midnight pasta salad was cheaper than buying anything from the Stop & Shop deli the next day) my daughter and I put her pony on the trailer and headed down to the clinic. Early.  And you don’t know what early is until you become a Pony Club mom.

Daniel spent 45 minutes pumping up our little contingent of riders and auditors. He talked about the importance of the “mental” game, of developing strength and purpose and habits that lead to success. He peppered his presentation with Olympic anecdotes and duck stories. When the first group went to tack up, one of my auditors pulled me aside and asked if she could go home, load up her sister’s horse, and ride in the later session. Her sister was at camp. The horse was idle. I agreed.

Daniel did as he said. He had everybody in that arena smiling and excited. People were riding in ways they couldn’t imagine doing. Our mental game was sharpening. We couldn’t stop talking about the things he’d taught us.

Other parents asked me if their kids could return, another auditor decided she had to ride, and suddenly, my clinic was full.

We finished the 2 day clinic at a profit – even after paying for copying costs and a platter of cold cuts.

One of Daniel’s key messages was the importance of music – of creating a playlist of songs with motivational messages. That we should play our best, most inspiring music 5 or 6 days before an event. That we should inspire our selves and use music to help us achieve our dreams.

Since August 4, I’ve been listening, gathering and creating playlists that inspire me. The first song I play, when I need to face a challenge, when I can’t sleep, when the words fail me, is Brave by Sarah Barailles. I hope you enjoy it, too.

Friday, September 20, 2013

The Kitchen

This was a 10 minute writing exercise - Using Repetition for Effect.

She heard the gentle tap tapping on the kitchen door. So quiet it would never be heard out in the main ballroom. Out there where laughter and forks scraped against china. Out there, the people carried on, they'd paid for the evening, the food, the entertainment.
In here, the kitchen staff prepared to feed. In here, those who didn't belong ate alone, quietly, hiding from those out there.
A young girl opened the door to the musician. She was fourteen, the daughter of the head cook and restaurant manager. She waited tables out there and washed dishes in here.
Out there they'd never know what was happening in here. The musician smiled a clumsy, awkward byt charming grin, all bright white teeth in a perfectly round face.
He would eat well in here. She and her mother would see to that. Then he would go out there and shake the house down with that famous jazz trumpet. 

Monday, August 12, 2013

WriteOnCon - I'm Obsessed and It Hasn't Even Started

In case you haven't heard - WriteOnCon starts tomorrow (well, to be precise - 12:01 am) - a mere 16 hours away.

I'd never heard of WriteOnCon before Sunday morning - but it has quickly become a new obsession for me. It is totally free and completely online. And can anyone really pass up an opportunity to be reviewed by a Ninja Agent? Not me certainly.

I'm re-reading my first 250 words, polishing the first 5 pages, dusting off the query (abandoned last May when school let out and my days disappeared).  My user name is "FictionaLynn" and I hope to find a few friends over at the WriteOnCon Forums.

Writers! This looks like a fabulous event - click any of my links and see what you are missing!

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Updating the Playlists

In the course of just two days, I've been reminded twice of the importance of using music to motivate, inspire and "get in the zone" where I can be most productive.

I was incredibly fortunate to be at a sports psychology seminar with Daniel Stewart - former coach of the U.S. Equestrian Team (and one of the most energetic and up-beat people I've ever met). The first thing he discussed was the importance of using music to improve performance. He recommends developing playlists with motivating messages and that you start listening to that playlist the Monday or Tuesday before a competition.

Today, Writer Unboxed has a post that asks, Does Music Put You In The Mood? For me, the answer is clearly Yes! My favorite type of music for writing involves female voices and a jazzy sound - Madeleine Peyroux, Joan Osborne, Diane Schurr - I can write all day when they are singing.

For some reason, I'd forgotten how important music is to me - both to spark creativity and to motivate. As the summer draws to a close and I begin to reclaim my day for writing (rather than playing the role of chauffeur), I will remind myself to also take the time to update my playlists and turn on the music.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

It's supposed to be fun

As I sat here thinking about what to put in a blog post - after weeks of traveling, reading, and horses (but not much writing), I saw this pic I took at the USPC East Coast Champs a couple of weeks ago. I love the focus of the kid, the moving pony, the reach for the mug - but mostly, I love how it reminds me that we do these things because they are fun and we love doing them.

I love to write, although I don't always remember that I love to write because it is fun. As we get older, we do so much because we have to, need to, are expected to, yada yada. It's almost unbecoming to admit that you do the things you do because you love them and find them fun.

So here's hoping you find the fun in your daily job, whatever it might be. If you have to do these things, why not make them fun, too?

Friday, July 19, 2013

Dog Days of Summer

When the temperatures start to break some records there's only a couple things worth doing - turn up the air-conditioning and write (or in my case, head to some coffee shop with cold air) OR go swimming. I'm incredibly lucky to be able to do both this week. I'm swimming out on the end of Long Island this week, at the lovely home of family friends, and picking back up on my Work In Progress (WIP).

It's tough getting restarted after a long delay from my writing. But I figure this is the perfect time to get cracking on it (eek - where did that cliche come from?). No distractions and beautiful surroundings. I'll be home tomorrow and then I'll be unpacking, cleaning, doing laundry, and re-packing for the trip to Pony Club Champs East, in Lexington, VA.

My goal is to get some momentum this week and maintain the pace when I return home.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

I Killed Kari Dell in 100 words - Can you?

I'm having a lot of fun reading the entries in Janet Reid's contest over at her blog.  I had more fun writing the 100 words. You have a few hours left until the contest closes tomorrow morning (Thursday, June 27) at 9 am.

The rules are simple - 100 words or less. Write a story. Use these five words at least once: kill, Kari, dell, sheep, and codswallop.

I've been snorting and chortling over many of the entries and can't wait to see who is deemed the winner. (pick me! pick me!)

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Checking out "WRiTE CLUB 2013"

WRiTE CLUB is BACK!! And I'm submitting. It's all anonymous and the judges are terrific.

Anyone can join the WRiTE club - just send in your best 500 words and let the judging begin.


Thursday, June 6, 2013

Looking for great summer beach reads of a mysterious bent

Despite the long (and growing) list of books already spilling off my shelves; despite the stack of partially read books piled next to the bed, over-flowing the end tables in the family room, and collecting in the corners of most of the rooms in my house, I still feel like I haven't found the perfect beach read. I'd like to take something good with me this weekend. With two days of milling about in the fields of Kent, CT, I need something quick to read.

The fields of Kent are not well-armed for the 21st Century. There are bugs, too much sun, no wifi, and no guaranteed power source. So I need a paperback book - one that doesn't require being plugged in, one that I can read even if the sun is glaring and bright, one that won't fry if the inevitable rains of Kent, CT should fall.

I've started Hosseini's new novel - And The Mountains Echoed - but I don't think it is quite right for Kent. For one thing, it's hard cover (too heavy for carrying all day) and for another, I fear it will be too intense, too hard to set down if I need to pay attention to the goings on the rally (which IS the reason I'm there after all).

I've also got Hilary Mantel's Bring Up The Bodies - but that also doesn't feel right for Kent. Mantel would be perfect for a longer vacation, or a stretch of rainy weather. Mantel requires a lot of focus and I tend to be tired and scattered at Kent.

I started a cozy - Hounding the Pavement - but am repelled by the talking dogs. Yes, talking dogs. At least in Rita Mae Brown's books - the animals can only talk to each other. . . . this dog walker with a mental connection to dogs is just too weird. And the writing is weak, so I've set that aside.

I came across a review of Keigo Higashino's The Devotion of Suspect X at Mystery Page Turners. It sounds perfect for Kent. I don't know if I can find it at my local Barnes & Noble. . . but I'll give it a try.

Friday, May 24, 2013

It's Been 10 Days

10 Days since my last post. And much has happened and much has not. Stenciled a jump, ran a horse show in the rain, spent a day in Boston. But, I've written nothing. 10 days of no writing feels like an eternity and I'm eager to get back to it. It's another rainy day in Connecticut, so it's perfect to write (as well as to nap).

Although it is a Friday - and generally Fridays are not the start of a work week (especially not the Friday before a long weekend). But so what? When does the calendar control my ability to be productive? That is the beautiful thing about writing - the Friday before Memorial Day weekend is a great time to start a new project.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

David Brin: What Every First-time Novelist Should Write

David Brin describes why every writer should start off writing a murder mystery. I couldn't agree more.

Monday, May 13, 2013


I just finished reading an excellent post by Vaughn Roycroft, Re-Revision: Getting Messy.

I thoroughly enjoyed the post - partly because I enjoy playing in the dirt and watching things grow, but also because I'm in the same mode of revision. I've worked through the easy stuff. I've even dug fairly deeply into my novel's plot lines and made it tighter and cleaner.

However, as I'm sitting here waiting to hear back from all the queries I sent out last week, I'm cycling through an emotional rollercoaster.

I've had my finger's crossed - I can't hold my breath much longer for the hopes and anticipation that someone will absolutely love the book. The longer I wait (and truly I haven't waited long), the more I convince myself that something is wrong. The feelings of dread and fear - that my sentences are too long, my characters too bland, my plot too transparent.

Vaughn's post brought some reassurance and sanity. I like the garden metaphor. The compost, weeding, watering and digging are the hard work that produces the best food. There are no shortcuts. Especially not on a night tonight, when a threatened frost could kill it all by morning. So there was extra labor tonight covering the planted things and moving the containers to safety.

Tomorrow I will let my breath out and will away the fears and doubts.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

A Place for the Short Stuff

Inspired by the Story a Day in May challenge and a recent post on Writer's Unboxed, I've completed a short story. It's been many many years since I attempted a short story.

The reason is simple - I love to explain, to ramble on, to explore tangents and multiple story lines. Short fiction requires an economy of words and an inefficiency of plot that I claim to dislike, but the truth is, I'm just not very good at it.

I'd rather ramble and figure out my point as I go along. That's so much easier that constructing a story that is complete in under 10 pages.  For me, writing more has always been easy. It's writing less that is so difficult.

And then I read Suzanne Windsor Freeman's post What Novelists Should Know About Short Fiction. So I decided to write a short piece - an economical yarn.

The story, Obstruction, is actually a true story, but it happened so long ago - and memory and age being what they are - it may have more fiction in it than reality.

Here's one more reason to write short fiction - in addition to all of the wonderful things Suzanne lists in her post - the light at the end of the tunnel is quite close.

I remember struggling through chapters of The Board of Dead, feeling as if I would never reach the end. Obstruction wrote so easily - because I had such a short path to follow in reaching the end, I found myself eager to finish, more enthusiastic than I'd been about writing for months. It was fun! And what an enormous psychic lift to have finished the story (at midnight) on the day I began it.

I think I am still a novelist at heart, but now I also see a place for short fiction in my life as well.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Story A Day

The month of May poses a unique challenge for writers - write a story every day (just one each day) for the entire month of May. No prizes, no word counts, no rules. Just write.

Story A Day

A short story, 50 words, 500 words, 5,000 words, it's up to you, the writer. You can do anything - be creative - but take a character somewhere. Make something happen. Every day.

Wow! What a fantastic, fabulous idea. I'm in.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Spring Fever

Spring. I love that word. It means so many things - a coiled bit of metal, a babbling brook, my favorite season of the year, a surprise movement. . . verb, adjective and noun, it is overworked, but I never tire of it. Yesterday, I did some spring cleaning. . . also some planting for Spring. My spring bulbs are all bursting out of the ground. Of course, there's the spring in my step as another beautiful day unfolds around me. 

My trusty dictionary (Random House Dictionary of the English Language) lists 45 separate definitions for "spring," including to wiggle something loose, to crack or split (as in a boat that springs a leak). 

One of the things I love about "spring" is how compact it is - just one syllable, just one little vowel smooshed between five strong consonants. The past tense is formed by swapping out that little "i" for an "a" or "u." How cool (and irregular) is that?

So yes, I love spring. 

Friday, April 26, 2013

Who Am I Kidding?

Who knew that Blogger had so many templates and options to customize? I spent hours just clicking through all of the pics and backgrounds and design templates. And I convinced myself that this time is just as well spent as, say, writing. HA!

On the writing front - read an excellent article in this week's New Yorker by John McPhee, entitled Draft No. 4.  If you can get your hands on the article - read the entire thing. It is wonderful, especially for those of us struggling with self-doubt, self-criticism, and feelings of incompetence and ineptitude.

If you've ever asked yourself, Who am I Kidding?  Then this is for you. I'm having one of those days today, as a matter of fact. Who am I kidding? I ask myself that whenever I see a clunky phrase, a trite sentence, adverbs that I was sure I'd deleted several drafts ago. Where do they come from anyway?

So I am taking John McPhee's advice today.
The unrelenting doubt and discouragement that comes with writing is a part of the process. Whether I believe it every day or not, each draft gets better and gets closer to what I want to share with the world.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Wednesday already?

As expected, nothing got done last week. Well, to be precise, no writing took place. College visits, horseback riding, a trip to the Cheesecake Factory - these things happened. I'm looking at the bright side - I know have more experiences to inform my writing. . . particularly my new YA novel.  This new book is about 1/3 completed. It will be a classic horse and girl story - a market that is saturated with great books for horse crazy girls. But, I think my take on the story is new and interesting and I really want to write it.

As for the Board of Dead - it will be sent out to agents. It's ready to go, just needs a last read for typos after my last round of edits.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Vacation!! (At least for the kids)

I should start by saying how much I love having my kids home on vacation. I'm one of those parents that prefers vacation days with the kids than sending them off to school.

That said - why do they have to be off this week? Really? I'm so close to completing my second (or is it my fifth) draft of The Board of Dead. I am ready to put all the pieces back together and send out the queries. I just need a few uninterrupted hours - just like 4 maybe. But it's almost impossible to find 20 minutes without somebody having a question or needing a ride somewhere.

And then there is the older child. The one who turned 16 recently. There will have to be a day of sitting at DMV just to get the learner's permit. Then somebody needs to ride shotgun in those first days of learning to drive. As wonderful as it will be to eventually have another driver in the house. . . .at this point, it's just one more thing I have to add to my day.

And then there is the weather. It is predicted to be 70 degrees or better all week. I can't resist the first warm days of spring. I know what will happen. I'll go out on the deck to fill the dog's water container and then I'll notice some bird seed shells that need sweeping, sticks that fell in yesterday's rain, spots that must be raked, dirt that should be shoveled. A 30 second chore will lead to 2 hours of diddling around outside.  This is what happens on a good day when it's 70 degrees.

When the kids are home on vacation, the entire day will be spent in glorious pursuits that will build memories, but not manuscripts.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

1st Wednesday = BOE time

It is the first Wednesday of the month - so guess what that means? Another Board of Ed meeting. I wish I could consider the time spent at these meetings as "research" but alas, in this regard, the meetings I attend are far less interesting than the fictional ones I create.

I think that is a good thing. There is nothing worse for a town than to have interesting board of ed meetings. That is a clear sign of trouble.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Spring Fever

With five teens yesterday - I have substantially less food in the fridge than I started with on Friday. As much as I love the house full of kids, I'm looking forward to Monday and getting a bit of work done on my book.

I always forget home much a 21 year old boy can eat, until he comes home. On the other hand - he's also very good at lifting heavy objects and it adds another driver to the household. All in all, I love having him home.

So my plan for today - write a bit this morning (even a paragraph would be an accomplishment), cook the passover ham, saddle up Jeff, bring K back to school, and then collapse.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Rewrite, rewrite

I am in rewrite mode. The first two chapters have been completely reworked and rewritten. Perhaps 2 sentences survived unscathed in the first 4,000 words of The Board of Dead. As difficult as it is, the book is improving with each pass through.  While I still consider the book "DONE" it is not apparently "FINAL." 

Here are the first few lines of Chapter 1 - 

"If Tallie Whitman had known she’d be asked about everything she saw and heard before Dean Hipley’s body was discovered in a physics classroom, she’d have taken better notes.
Tallie was a reporter, after all, even if she was only a volunteer reporter for the town of Oakwood’s biweekly newspaper. And even though this was only the second Board of Education meeting she had ever gone to, the police officer questioning her wasn’t making allowances for inexperience."

Thoughts? Would you read on?

Sunday, March 10, 2013

It's another beautiful day in Connecticut. I'm still very pumped up after yesterday's Unicorn Writers Conference at the spectacular St. Clemens Castle in Portland, CT.  Favorite workshop - Query letters with Irene Goodman.

The agent and editor panel discussions were interesting, but I didn't hear much that I hadn't heard before. The biggest surprise to me? How difficult it is, even after you have an agent and have found an editor that likes your manuscript, to then get a contract from the publishers.

The big houses are terrified of this market and clearly have no idea how to transform themselves in a digital age. One editor said that sales dropped by 30% after Borders closed.

So with a dose of reality mixed into the euphoria of talking to agents about my book, I'm still optimistic.

Friday, March 8, 2013


Hello, Readers! As I put the final words to paper on the book that created this site, I'm eager to connect with potential readers (an agent would be nice too!).  This blog is intended for readers and writers of mystery fiction. It will chronicle the life cycle of my almost completed (four years in the writing) novel, tentatively titled, The Board of Dead.