The Girl With The Silver Eyes

Working on my third novel and having a blast. Not sure this will be the final title or just a working title, but like it so far.

Thought I would use Tumblr as my storyboard. Check it out: http://thegirlwiththesilvereyes.tumblr.com/

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Writer Interviews: Susan Boyer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I love this interview and getting to know my fellow Mysteristas gal, Susan Boyer, even more. We would totally have a blast hanging out together. And the lovely and talented Susan has offered to give away one of her books to a reader who posts a comment on this post by Wednesday, Sept. 26th. Thanks, Susan!

Here are Susan’s words of wisdom:

1. Describe your writing routine and/or schedule?

I typically try to be at my computer by nine in the morning with my second cup of coffee. Because I can’t seem to help myself, I check email, just in case something treś important requires my attention, which is almost never, but still. I log into and quickly out of Facebook and Twitter, again, just in case someone has posted something I need to see before I begin my day, like a really funny YouTube video.

By ten I’m putting words on the page or editing them. On a good day, I’m so engrossed in what’s going on in my alternate reality I forget to eat. When my stomach starts growling, I go to the kitchen and forage for anything to make the noise stop so I can get back to my characters. I’ve eaten some really odd food combinations because I couldn’t be bothered to go to the grocery store, or even a drive-thru window.

After lunch, I repeat the process until either my stomach growls again or it’s time to go to Jazzercise—or the exercise room if I’m out of town. When I’m traveling with my husband on business trips, I stop working when he does and we exercise then have dinner together.

2. What do you do if you get writer’s block?

I don’t allow myself to believe in writer’s block. If I don’t believe in it, it can’t hurt me. I show up for work at my computer. Some days the words come to me easier than others, of course. But on days when I struggle, I simply start typing. I give myself permission to write really badly as long as I write—I can fix it later.

3. Who do you read, or recommend other writer’s read, in regards to craft?

A few of my favorites are On Writing, by Steven King, Plot & Structure, by James Scott Bell, and Self-Editing for Fiction Writers, by Renni Browne and Dave King. For style, I like Elements of Style by Strunk & White, and the Chicago Manual of Style.

4. Who do you read for fun?

Oh, wow. I’m such an eclectic reader, and I have many favorites. Off the top of my head, Charlaine Harris, Robert B. Parker, Dean Koontz, Carl Hiaasen, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Sue Grafton—among many others. Most of my favorite writers hang out in the Mystery/Thriller or Romance genres. A notable exception is Joshilyn Jackson, who writes fabulous Southern novels.

5. When did you first know you wanted to be a writer? Tell us about it.

In fourth grade. We had to write a story about pioneers going west on a wagon train, and I fell in love with bringing characters to life. But at the time I wasn’t really thinking in terms of a career. My first of many college majors was English, but I was persuaded that a steady pay check would be a good thing. I wasn’t interested in journalism—I liked making things up too much for that. Somehow, I ended up in computer science and took a long detour through corporate America.

6. What advice would you give an aspiring writer?

I honestly don’t think I’m qualified to offer advice to other writers. I’m still learning the ropes myself. But here are a few things I’ve advised myself to do, if you will. Read widely. Don’t get caught up in what folks are saying on the Internet about the publishing industry—just write. After you’ve written the best book you can and have edited it yourself, get other eyes on it—beta readers, critique partners, and/or a freelance editor. Take from these readers what resonates with you, but don’t rewrite your novel based on the advice of others unless several people you trust are telling you the same things. When you are satisfied your manuscript is ready, send it out into the world. Then start the next book.

Oh, and hang out with other writers when you can. Join writers’ organizations and take advantage of local meetings, regional and national conferences, and workshops.

7. What do you think is the most important skill to have to succeed as a writer?

Perseverance.

8. What is your favorite food and/or drink?

I love pasta—any kind of pasta—with a glass of pinot noir.

9. Do you have a favorite book or movie?

Choosing a favorite book would be way too hard—too may favorites. I have many favorite movies, too. But one that stands out is Sweet Home Alabama.

10. Is there anything I didn’t ask you that you’d like to share?

I love connecting with fellow book-lovers or anyone with a funny YouTube video to share. I hang out in all the usual places (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Good Reads). Y’all come see me when you can!

Here is my website and where you can find my book: Barnes and Noble and Amazon.

Also, I’d love it if you’d join me and the rest of the Mysteristas on Tuesdays at 1:00 pm Eastern for our mystery themed Twitter chats. (Hashtag #Mysteristas)

On Wednesdays, come hang out with me and some of my writer friends and chat about books at Little Read Hens Facebook page and littlereadhens.com.


Born and raised in Faith, North Carolina, Susan M. Boyer was blessed with a quintessential small-town childhood. She’s had a life-long love affair with books, and is grateful to have been gifted with an over-active imagination. Susan was one of those children whose teachers were always telling her mamma that her talents needed to be “channeled.” She’s been making things up and writing them down her whole life.

Susan took a sampler’s approach to education. She attended N.C. State University, Catawba College, and College of Charleston. She has a long list of majors, one of which was English. Unfortunately, none of the above institutions could be convinced that her hodgepodge of credits–though impressive in number–merited awarding Susan a degree.

Because computer programming offered a steady paycheck, Susan practiced that art for a while, then segued into systems analysis, and later project management.

But her day job interfered with her writing habit, so in 2004, Susan had to give up rush hour, project plans, and staff meetings. She declared herself unemployable by any other means and has spent her days writing and daydreaming too much in her pajamas ever since.

Susan is the recipient of Relief Journal’s editor’s choice award in fiction and has been recognized by the Carrie McCrary Memorial Literary Awards program.

She served on the board of directors for the South Carolina Writers’ Workshop 2006 – 2009, and was chairperson for the organization’s annual conference 2007 – 2008. She is a member of Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and Romance Writers of America® (Kiss of Death, Palmetto Romance Writers, and Golden Network chapters).

Susan loves to hear from readers. Y’all come visit with her on the web anytime!

 

NOTE: In a random number generator, Stephanie won a copy of Susan’s book. Thanks for commenting and thanks Susan for the giveaway!

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Winner of Hank Phillippi Ryan’s New Book!

 

Sarah,

The random generator chose you to win a copy of The Other Woman. Enjoy!

Kristi

For the rest of us, you can find the book here on Amazon.

Synopsis:

Jane Ryland was a rising star in television news—until she refused to reveal a source and lost everything. Now a disgraced newspaper reporter, Jane isn’t content to work on her assigned puff pieces, and finds herself tracking down a candidate’s secret mistress just days before a pivotal Senate election.

Detective Jake Brogan is investigating a possible serial killer. Twice, bodies of unidentified women have been found by a bridge, and Jake is plagued by a media swarm beginning to buzz about a “bridge killer” hurting the young women of Boston.

As the body count rises and election day looms, it becomes clear to Jane and Jake that their investigations are connected…and that they may be facing a ruthless killer who will stop at nothing to silence a sandal.

With its dirty politics, dirty tricks, and a barrage of final twists, THE OTHER WOMAN is the first in an explosive new series. Seduction, betrayal and murder—it’ll take a lot more than votes to win this election!

As one character warns: You can choose you sin, but you cannot choose your consequences.

And you can check out the book video here:

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Writer Interviews: Terry Ambrose

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One of the best parts of being a writer and the advent of social media is meeting writers “online” and Terry Ambrose is one such example. These writer interviews are so much fun for me. I love reading more words of wisdom from a fellow writer. Today you will meet Terry, a true gentleman. I love his bio at the end. He has obviously seen some fascinating things in life. Here is Terry, in his own words:

1. Describe your writing routine and/or schedule?

Before I start writing, I like to clear out all of the other detritus that interferes with my creativity.  I’ll create a defined break in my routine, something that forces a deliberate shift in my thinking. I recently realized that I’d become a slave to email and social media and now turn those off when it’s time to write. That simple change is helping me to regain my focus, so that I can stick to a train of thought.

2. What do you do if you get writer’s block?

I recently read your interview with Hank Phillippi Ryan in which she said, “Can you imagine—if I said to the producer of the six o’clock news:  ‘May I be on at ten after 6, instead of 6? I’m just not feeling the muse…’” I laughed a lot when I read that quote because it’s true. In addition to my columns for Examiner.com, I write a blog, a novel, and another blog for our web design business. With so many different projects going on, I’m not allowed to not have ideas. My biggest problem is not having enough time in a day to deal with those conflicting demands. When I lose my focus and start getting off track, it’s quotes like the one from Hank that remind me that I’m not the only one in this boat.

3. Who do you read, or recommend other writer’s read, in regards to craft?

The best book I’ve read about the craft of writing is Jack M. Bickham’s “Scene and Structure.” For any writer, whether seasoned or newbie, this book diagnoses the building blocks of good fiction and offers a solid, defined methodology that can be used to build a great story.

4. Who do you read for fun?

It’s been a long time since I’ve had the time to read something for fun. However, I love Sue Grafton. I’m also a big fan of Deborah Coonts. Unfortunately, I’m behind on both of those authors, so if and when I get time to read for fun, that’s where I’m headed.

5. When did you first know you wanted to be a writer? Tell us about it.

I didn’t know I wanted to be a writer until after I’d finished my first novel. My first, really, really bad novel. Weak plot, cardboard characters, bad dialog, passive voice, lack of scene structure, and, did I mention bad dialog? You name the flaw, I’m sure it was there. But, the process of writing the book put me in touch with the joy I’d felt as a kid when I wrote my first short story. I was fortunate enough to get into an excellent critique group and began to learn what I’d been doing wrong. The more I learned, the more I enjoyed the process.

6. What advice would you give an aspiring writer?

I was recently asked this question when I was doing a presentation at a local service club. My response to the aspiring writer was, “Don’t.” The look of shock on her face got the desired reaction. We talked about the sheer volume of books being published, the tremendous commitment it takes to navigate the business, and the amount of rejection she might face. The only goal she’d ever set was to finish her book. She still wants to write, but now she’s starting to think beyond that goal.

7. What do you think is the most important skill to have to succeed as a writer?

The most important skill may well be perseverance. With perseverance, someone can learn to improve their craft, deal with the inevitable rejections that will come, and sit down in front of their keyboard every day and be creative.

8. What is your favorite food and/or drink?

I hate coffee. But, if you add enough chocolate and sugar to it, I’m good. In fact, I’m in heaven. My favorite drink is now a cafe mocha and my favorite food is coffee ice cream with chocolate chips in it. Yes, I admit it, I’m a chocoholic. The funny thing is that a long time ago I swore off caffeine and sugar and went without either for years. Don’t listen to anyone who tries to tell you otherwise, chocolate is one of the basic food groups.

9. Do you have a favorite book or movie?

I can’t really pinpoint a favorite in either category. I love mysteries that don’t have a lot of graphic violence, but do have complex characters and humor. In movies, I’m a sucker for old westerns. Of course, being your basic chicken, I’m not sure that I’d ever have wanted to be racing across the prairie on horseback while bad guys and indians chased me with guns blazing.

10. Is there anything I didn’t ask you that you’d like to share?

I’d like to thank Ed Stackler, an excellent editor, for helping me to learn the fundamentals of good fiction. He’s the one who made me realize I had potential, but still had a lot to learn. Readers now consistently compliment me on my dialog and the credit for that goes back to something Ed said to me many years ago, “Characters talk at each other, not to each other.” It’s such a subtlety, but it makes all the difference in how dialog comes across. If dialog sounds like real people talking, it’s boring. But, good dialog isn’t boring, it generates tension and conflict. That one little statement was such a profound lesson. My job is to keep learning those little things so I’m continually improving and producing a product that’s better than the one before.

 

Terry Ambrose started out skip tracing and collecting money from deadbeats and quickly learned that liars come from all walks of life. He never actually stole a car, but sometimes hired big guys with tow trucks and a penchant for working in the dark to “help” when negotiations failed.

A resident of Southern California, he loves spending time in Hawaii, especially on the Garden Island of Kauai, where he invents lies for others to read. His years of chasing deadbeats taught him many valuable life lessons such as—always keep your car in the garage

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This Writer’s Life: On My Nighstand

BACK TO SCHOOL WEEK

The first thing I did after putting the kids on the bus was head to the coffee shop and then to Half-Price books. The third (last) photo shows my loot from that trip.

The second photo shows some books that have been on my nightstand this past month. One of them — Summer of Storms — was from the free lending library in my ‘hood. (the first photo — to the left —  is the LittleFreeLibrary in the Uptown area of Minneapolis) Have you seen them? They look like big birdhouses and contain books to borrow. LOVE the idea.

Back to School Loot

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