Who are the mystery authors donating books to DESCENT’s Facebook launch party?

This is all part of the publishing cycle – host a launch party. To energize the party and make it exciting for virtual visitors, I asked other authors to donate one or two of their novels as prizes.

So not to keep you in suspense, in alphabetical order, the contributors are…

But what books will they donate? That’s a mystery to be solved on another blog. Stay tuned…

When is the Facebook launch party? July 25th, 3-6 PM EST. You are invited and most welcome to join us to help celebrate. Come and win a book from one of the amazing authors!

DESCENT is now available for pre-order in eBook format. The paperback will follow shortly.

If you haven’t read my blog before, I’ve signed on with Imajin Books and will blog about my publishing adventure. I’ll share what I learn and hope it helps someone out there get their novel published.

Please feel free to share this post and help me get the word out.

Thanks for reading…


Scrivener and Scene Summaries

Do you keep track of your scenes? Do you summarize what’s in a scene. I used to use a spreadsheet exclusively to do this until I discovered I can use Scrivener. (I still use a spreadsheet for a more complete list that I can sort.)

In Scrivener, for each scene I note:

  • Chapter Number
  • Name of Scene
  • Point of View
  • Point of Scene
  • Tension
  • Revelation
  • Hook – ask yourself: why would a reader keep reading?
  • Character introduction and description
  • Date and Time of Day
  • Scene Description
  • Scene Dependency
  • Other – anything I want to remember. This could be a scene I want to add later. A description that needs updating. Just little reminders I still have word to do.

How does this relate to Scrivener, you ask?

I created a template in Scrivener by copying the relevant cells from and Excel spreadsheet and pasting them into a newly created template in Scrivener.

Then for each scene I insert the template underneath and to the right of the scene so I have the template linked to each scene. As I review each scene, I fill out the template. If I can’t fill out a line then I know I have work to do.

You can choose to compile the scene template with your novel or leave it out. If I’m printing a draft version, I might print the scene template so I can work on paper for a while. If I’m compiling and I only want the novel, I unclick the Include-In-Compile button.

It’s fun to discover new techniques to work with. Always, always learning . . .

Do you have information you keep track of for each scene that helps you make the scene better?

Thanks for reading . . .

I wrote a blog with my review of the Scrivener software that might help…

Writing a Series

Keeping track of details in one novel can be an overwhelming task. My handy-dandy spreadsheet does the job for me.

But what happens when one novel becomes two and then two become three? And then you make a change in one . . . and it has to be updated in two and then three.

This is enough to drive a person crazy or at least keep them entertained or maybe keep them from sleeping. Who knows?

My solution. As always my spreadsheet. I have now added a new spreadsheet to my collection. I keep one spreadsheet per novel and have found an extra one for details that need to be remembered from one book to the next helps.

I can remember the big details, but what about the ones like an address, a description of a room, a character’s sibling.

Without a spreadsheet I am lost.

Any tips that might help me?

Thanks for reading . . .

Does a routine help you write or . . .

Do you write anytime or anywhere?

I find I write best if I have a routine, but life doesn’t alway cooperate. I’m able to write during random times during the day or when I have a free half hour here or there, but what really gets me is too much external input.

I find can’t write while on a long distance drive, but I can write while on a plane. Could be because there is too much to see in the passing landscape along the highway, but really, on a plane? What’s to see.

I can write while I’m alone on a walk (digital recorder is much easier and safer than a pen while walking). But if someone is with me, it’s pretty rude to work on a novel instead of socializing with a walking partner, so no writing during social times.

I can write while we are sailing, assuming my husband is at the helm and the water is flat. Rough water = no writing.

I can write if a TV is on in another room. But I can’t write if music is on. TV – boring. Music – interesting.

I can write in very short periods of time but not if there are too many interesting things going on around me.

When do you write best? Do you get frustrated when you can’t get enough writing time?

Thanks for reading . . .

Can a Ruler Help You Proofread?

I’m fascinated by how difficult it is to proofread my work. Why can’t my eye see if on the page instead of reading of – that’s not really there?

What does a ruler have to do with proofreading? Let’s call it the new tool in my toolbox.

When I think my work is ready to send to my agent, I print the final copy and read it, line by line, very slowly.

I place the ruler underneath each line as I read it. This forces my eye not to stray forward to the next line. The ruler stays in place until I’ve read every word.

Out of 80,000 words, I found five typos. They were:

–       a missing quote

–       a missing word (had)

–       a missing period at the end of a sentence

–       you’re instead of your

–       color instead of colour

I don’t think I would have found the mistakes without the ruler. This may seem like a lot of work for just 5 errors, but I believe in sending my best work out. If I don’t take is seriously, why would anyone else?

Do you have any proofreading tips you’d like to share?

Thanks for reading . . .

Novel Titles – What’s in a name?

It’s always exciting receiving feedback from my agent. This time it was about the title of my  2nd novel.

The working title for my second Kalin Thompson Mystery novel was The Final Gate. I loved it. My agent’s editor had a different view.

I thought I’d share the very politely worded comment regarding the title. Here it is . . .

It might, however, need a new title because the present one could be confused with “The Western Gate,” or the aboriginal term for the entrance to the afterlife…

I’d put a lot of thought into the title, ran it by my readers, friends and family, and still there is more to learn.  But . . . I’d rather know now that the title might be the wrong one.

Where am I going with this? You may have noticed I updated my site with a new title for The Final Gate. The new title is:


I’m excited about the new title and also excited to get feedback to make my novel better before it gets sent to a publisher.

Isn’t the saying something like, SO much to learn . . . SO little time.

Thanks to my agent, Margaret Hart, and her team for helping me through this process.

Renewed Enthusiasm

Do you ever take a break from writing?

Sometimes a little break can refresh the imagination. Usually I write everyday, but this month I made a change to my routine. I’ve spent four weeks traveling with family, including 3 kids and 3 dogs. This consumed my time. I decided at the beginning of the trip that I was going to take them time off just to enjoy the moments.

Now that I’m close to getting home, I can’t wait to get writing again. I can feel my fingers typing and the story building. I think a break once in a while is good for the creative process.

Public Versus Private Writing


To write well, you must experiment. There might be those who can write genius without practice, but who really believes that?

I get nervous when I present new work for the first time to readers. The advanced readers copy is a special piece of work. It means the first comments from someone who doesn’t live in my head. The work becomes public.

So I started thinking about public versus private writing. Private writing stays hidden in the basement of my computer. A room where only I have the key. Okay so it’s a password, but what the hey.

This is the place where I can write whatever I want without worrying about whether someone else will like it. I love this place. It’s a fun place to be where the imagination can soar.

Without private writing, I don’t think I would ever have finished a novel.

Do you have secret writing?

Where do Characters Come From?

Do you plot or do you let the characters do the plotting?

Each writer is unique in how they create a story. I don’t like to plot the entire story before I write. I find it boring. Once I’ve plotted it, I’m no longer interested in writing the novel.

I don’t want to give the wrong idea about how I write. I’m very organized. I keep track of everything in a spreadsheet. At the end of a day of writing, I make myself update the spreadsheet. It’s not the most exciting thing to do, but since I haven’t plotted the story, it’s important for me to keep track of it.

Sometimes when I update the spreadsheet, the next scene magically announces itself to me. Then I jot a few notes, leave it for the night and have a starting point the next morning.

I have a general idea of what the story is, sometimes I even know the climax, but I never know when or where new characters are going to appear. I don’t base characters on people I know. I find this hard to do as it is restrictive, and again, not that interesting. I like to make them up from scratch.
For me new characters usually appear when I take my protagonist to a new location. Somehow that stimulates my brain.  Mostly, it’s the nastier characters that appear out of nowhere, so I don’t know what that says about me.
Where do your characters come from?

Interruptions While Writing


When you write at home do you get interrupted? I’ve heard it said that you wouldn’t get interrupted if you worked in an office. Well, I’ve worked in an office, and I did get interrupted, just not from my family. I think we all get interrupted.

They key for me is to not let it happen at critical moments. At work I could shut my office door. At home, maybe there isn’t an office door.

Here’s what did the trick for me. I explained why a 10 second interruption hurt my writing.

When I’m writing, I hold 2, 3 sometimes 4 ideas in my head at a time. If someone says “Do you know where the (blank – and you can fill in whatever blank is) is?,  the ideas in my head crash to the ground and shatter. I then spend the next idea picking them up and putting them back together again.

This description seemed to work and now I’m left alone unless there is a true emergency.

Now all you need to do is define a true emergency.