Winter Project: Part Five

The Holiday Season Is Here
It’s December. Time really soars! If I’m not careful, this winter project of mine will turn into a spring project. It’s fine with me if it does. Nobody wants to rush creativity, unless you are the type of writer who is determined to push quantity over quality. Yes, those people do exist.
The meat of the story is well underway now. There are multiple threads weaving through the book, and I’m hoping they don’t end up a tangled mess! The outline has so far kept me on track, which is a real blessing.
Some of the more difficult scenes that occur in the book have now been written. Somehow, I gritted my teeth through the pain and put the words on the page. As some of you know, my father passed away this year. Writing about crime, and in particular the subject of death in my mysteries, can be trying at times. I’m pushing through, however, and hope that I’m producing a book that all of you will enjoy, no matter how painful some of it has been to write.
Right now, I’m working on chapter twenty-two.  Selena and Jameson have been working two different sides of the case independently, and that’s been different.  Now, however, they are working together to uncover some corrupt folks.  Behind that corruption, a killer is hiding.  (Dun, Dun, DUUUNN!)
Time to get back to it.

Advertisements

Winter Project 2015 – Part Four

Atmosphere
There’s a howling wind outside. A storm is splashing rain against the windows. This kind of weather is perfect for writing, at least for me. Not sure if it’s a genre thing or not, but the gloomier the better. I’ll often accompany my session with music. Something calming, like George Winston. Solo piano music isn’t just relaxing for me, it really stirs my thoughts, and sets my creative brain into motion. What sort of atmosphere do you try to maintain while writing?
The First Forty-Eight
Today, I’m working on chapters nineteen and twenty. At this point in the story, local search parties have gathered late in the evening. Flashlights dart about in fields and wooded areas. When someone is missing, the first forty-eight hours are vitally important. Piecing together the clues in that time frame, figuring out what was happening in the person’s life in the days before, could very well be telling of what happened to them. Investigators are working on several leads in the case, and the story is beginning to branch out into a wider scope.
Character Sheets
One of the things I need to do that I’ve completely forgotten is the character sheets. You know what they are, right? Basically, just a profile of the characters. Everything from eye color, to height, to personal hobbies and interests are listed here. It’s very useful, because I cannot count how many times I have to skim back through the pages of a story trying to remember what color someone’s hair was. Sometimes, I’ll even include pictures, making it look like an official police profile, which is fun. Maybe I’ll work on that after today’s writing session.
Words On The Page
You ever hear other writers explaining how easy writing is? You know what I mean. Just keep writing until it’s finished, put those words on the page, put one word after another, etc. It makes the process sound so simple. Just sit down and hammer aimlessly on the keyboard. It’s never perfect the first time, you just need to get the story out. Don’t edit as you go. Finish writing the book first. Whatever you have to do to finish, just finish. This is really good advice, but not all authors are the same. Take me, for instance. As I’ve stated above, atmosphere is imperative to my process. Music. Quiet. I’ll usually write early in the mornings, and again in the afternoon. A tactic that coincides with my daughter’s sleeping habits, but one I wouldn’t have thought of without the monthers (more on that here).
If any of these things aren’t present during my typical writing session, chances are good that I simply won’t write. Sure, I might end up making notes, tweaking my outline, etc. But any actual writing might not happen at all.
Now, some authors may be suffering from the First Draft Blues (Here and Here), but for the most part, atmosphere is a major contributing factor to my word count success. Not that word count is the most important thing. Your session could have been only 300 words, but you wrote and that’s what’s important. They could be the best 300 words you’ve ever written! Every little success should be celebrated.
Speaking of putting words on the page, it’s time for me to get back to it!

Need a word count calculator?  Here You Go!

IF YOU WANT EXCLUSIVE CONTENT AND ALL KINDS OF OTHER AWESOMENESS, YOU HAVE TO SIGN UP FOR MY NEWSLETTER! IT’S NOT HARD. JUST A LITTLE FORM, AN EMAIL ADDRESS EXCHANGE. NO BLOOD SPILLING NECESSARY. TRUST ME. YOU TRUST ME, RIGHT? GOOD.

newsletter

2 Kindle Deals That Won’t Last Long!

Today, you can get the first two Montana Marrenger books starting at .99 cents!
AlexConcept_FinalMW.inddMonsoonCoverFinal.indd

This is the best time for you to get into the series, and the Countdown Deals aren’t going to last forever! This means that every day, the cost will gradually return to it’s original list price.

Sure, I may be short changing myself by listing Monsoon Morning, a full length novel, at .99 cents, but you know what? That’s not the point. The point is that I want to share my work with all of you. I want you to fall in love with these characters and feel the intensity of the cases. YOU are the reason I write these stories!
Grab them while the sale lasts!
Click Here For Book 1
Click Here For Book 2

Winter Project 2015 – Part Three

Visualize
What is it that makes us writers? Where does it come from? The same can be asked of a painter, who visualizes scenes onto a canvas from his mind. It’s an interpretation, the original conception is always much different than the end result. It takes practice, trial and error, and repetition to get to the point where the physical creation adequately represents the artists original vision.
Throughout the planning process for my new novel, there was a strong scene that played out in my mind repeatedly. Anytime I thought about the project, this scene would jump into my head. It was a quiet one. Sunny, on an old country road. The only sounds were of wind rustling the autumn leaves, and the crunch of bicycle tires on gravel. The rider was smiling, carefree, so lost in thought that she didn’t even notice the car approaching from behind.
Interpret
That’s the way it was. When I sat down to make some notes, or even to write, I could hear the crunch of those tires, feel the crispness in the air. This scene did actually occur in the novel a couple of chapters ago. The end result wasn’t exactly what I had originally planned, mainly because the time of day was wrong for it. In fact, it wasn’t daytime at all.
It didn’t feel like the scene was totally lost in translation, though. As a matter of fact, I think it turned out better than what I visualized. It was darker, more tense than before. That’s a good thing.
Wherever that scene came from in my head, as with any scene, all I can do is try my best to interpret it with words and hope that I create a moment that you as the reader can see, or feel. For me, making the reader feel is worth every word. It’s worth celebrating. That’s why I do what I do.
The Words
Today, I’m going to be writing chapter fourteen. I’ve been sticking to my new writing routine (more on that here) and things have been going really well, word count wise. It’s nothing like the what the Monthers push out on a daily basis, but it is more than what it used to be.
Selena and Jameson have their hands full today, not only with the investigation but with the TBI and local authorities as well.
The coffee is hot. Scrivener is open. George Winston’s Midnight is playing on the radio. The weekend was long, and I’ve been feeling pretty sick. I can’t stop the words, though.
It’s time to get back to it.

Behind The Character: Maggie Sue Maguire

UnknownWhen I first envisioned Maggie Sue Maguire, it was while working on Monsoon Morning. The concept of incorporating a private investigator into a story was intriguing, but I wanted to develop the character into something I hadn’t quite seen before in my genre. Most of the PI’s I came across in books were cynical, not unlike the main character depiction in the television series House.
Not all of the PI’s I discovered were male, either. If it happened to be a woman, then she had to be sexy, sultry, and mysterious. Not all investigators look like super models, and I didn’t want mine to fall into that label.
I set out from the start to make Maggie quirky. In an original draft, there was even a nod to the great Spencer that came in the form of Maggie’s feline pet she keeps around the office. Sometimes the days are long in between assignments, and she considers her cat to be quite a good listener when there’s no one else around.
Maggie is smart and witty. Messy, but very much in control when she takes on animages assignment. She has a warm heart, and could very much be the girl next door if you didn’t know any better.
Much like Selena Marrenger, Maggie Maguire isn’t without her faults. She doesn’t claim to be perfect. She’s not one of those super cops you find on CSI. She tends to think with her heart, but isn’t afraid to follow her gut.

You can catch up with Maggie Sue Maguire in my upcoming novella, TANGLEWOOD!

IF YOU WANT EXCLUSIVE CONTENT AND ALL KINDS OF OTHER AWESOMENESS, YOU HAVE TO SIGN UP FOR MY NEWSLETTER! IT’S NOT HARD. JUST A LITTLE FORM, AN EMAIL ADDRESS EXCHANGE. NO BLOOD SPILLING NECESSARY. TRUST ME. YOU TRUST ME, RIGHT? GOOD.

newsletter

Support Indie Authors!

indie2

I am an indie author. The decision wasn’t made because of failure in the traditional marketplace, or because of some sort of disdain for the Big Five. It had more to do with being in complete control of my work throughout the publishing process. Being able to choose my editor, pricing, and book length are all sound reasons that led me onto the indie path.
Marketing is a challenge. It’s also difficult when published through a publishing house. As far as they are concerned, if you aren’t Stephen King, then they aren’t likely to spend any money marketing your book.indie This may be the reason why you always see advertisements or books from the same authors all the time. If one didn’t know any better, one would assume that New York Times Bestselling authors are the only ones out there writing books.
That’s the beauty of indie authors. There are a lot of bestselling indie books on the market right now, and finding a new author can be quite exciting. I urge you to find an indie author and see what he/she has to offer. You never know. You may uncover a new favorite.
When you do, don’t forget to show your support by leaving a review.  Authors with big names and multi-million dollar contracts don’t have much of a problem getting reviews from their massive fanbase.  Indie authors, however, need all the help they can get.  I can tell you from personal experience that for every 100 sales, I might get one or two reviews.  That statistic is pretty sad, so don’t forget to show your love!

Living Without You

Cold-SkyI haven’t written since my father passed away some months back. There’s some sort of mental block pushing me away. Today, I’m going to make every effort to chip away at that obstacle. Before he died, I was five chapters into a new novel tentatively titled ‘Slow The Rain’. To the best of my knowledge, this blockage is due to the subject matter of the book. After having so recently experienced the death of a loved one, it’s proving difficult to write about a murderer and the impact he makes on the victims lives. My dad wasn’t murdered by anyone, but he was killed. By cancer, an unstoppable and malicious entity. My lead investigator, Selena Marrenger, says that there’s no such thing as closure, and I believe that. The loss of a loved one is something that you learn to deal with, but it’s a wound that doesn’t heal. Not ever.
Every once in a while, you’ll come across something that will remind you of what you lost. It could be a song, a particular joke or statement, or an old television program that you shared together. All I have left is memory. Sure, there’s photographs and other things that have been left behind, but it’s the memory that has the largest impact, a lasting one.
Well, enough of my babbling. Time to dive back into the book.
Wish me luck.

The Coming Rain Part 5: Released At Last!!!!

monsoongirl_FotorMonsoon Morning has officially been released! To celebrate my release event, I’m offering the book at a discounted price on Amazon! I’m really excited to find out what all of you think of Selena’s new adventure!
Want a little bit of insight into the books creation? Sure you do. Here you go!
Even though this book takes place after the events of Runaway Train and The Truth About Alex, it was written before either of those were even thought of. This is an unusual step for me, but there was a method to my madness.
You see, about five years ago I made the decision to stop writing science fiction and focus my literary efforts on a different genre. My wife recommended mystery, so I went with it. As the story developed, I took countless notes and began researching. I even befriended a medical examiner who helped me with some of the technical details. MonsoonCoverFinal.inddAfter it was completely written, I had another idea.
I should introduce Selena Marrenger to audiences in a separate story, a short novella. The Runaway Train was released, and was pretty successful as far as novellas go. Sure, some folks out there considered the short length to be a fault of the book, but I knew that it’s length was completely intentional. What followed almost immediately after was another novella, a story close to my heart, The Truth About Alex. With it, I wanted to tell a larger story within the restraints of novella form, and have the emotional impact that I tried to achieve with Monsoon Morning. Both novellas were separate stories, different cases, but gave you insight into Selena’s growth as a character.
Now that Monsoon Morning is finally released, I hope that all of you will now have a more rounded experience with Montana Marrenger, and will continue to follow her, case by case, as she pieces together the puzzle of her past.

Grab Your Copy Of Monsoon Morning Today!

amazon-buy

The Coming Rain Part 4: Pre-order Monsoon Morning Today!!

I’m very happy to announce that you can now pre-order your copy of Monsoon Morning!  The pre-order went up yesterday after several complications with compiling from Scrivener, but I finally got it sorted.  Thank all of you for your patience!

MonsoonCoverFinal.indd

preorder_amazon_button

Monsoon Morning

Not even time can erase the darkest secrets…

In 1997, Selena Marrenger’s sister disappeared. It was her job to watch little Tabitha, to keep her safe. All that remained were questions, and guilt for leaving her sister alone. She was too young to unravel the mystery back then. Too young to find closure.

Fourteen years later, another girl has vanished, and one is dead. When Special Agent Selena Marrenger is assigned to the case, she discovers the two were best friends. Inseparable. As close as sisters.

This time, Selena won’t leave until the missing girl is found. Only then can she find peace. Only then can she hope for redemption.

No matter the cost.