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Showing posts from April, 2015

I Love Dialogue from Full Measure

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Daphne Winstead is a young, struggling accountant who specializes in forensic accounting. When she's hired to track and catch and embezzler at a local mental health facility, she jumps at the chance, little knowing that's she's stumbled into something far bigger than she anticipated. Not only has she made several people in the office hate her, she's apparently being followed.
Daphne didn't see it follow her to the Super WalMart a few blocks from her home. She'd decided as soon as she walked outside, she needed some warmer clothing. What she had was good for cold in Mississippi. For this far north, not far from the Canadian border, it wasn't sufficient. She didn't have a lot to spend, but could afford a few things. Most important was a heavy coat and a pair of boots. Snow was forecast for the coming week. After selecting her clothing, she did her grocery shopping. She was low on milk and coffee, among other things. She picked up a deli friend chicken meal …

ABC Challenge Z: April 26, 2015 Zenobia from Driving Blind

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I thought of this story when I was driving down State Road 44 into New Smyrna. The traffic is horrible at certain times of day, particularly in the summer. I can't remember now why I was there, rather than taking I-95. There had to have been a good reason for it, because it's usually a drive I avoid. In any case, this story, Driving Blind, was born as I languished in traffic.
It had been an indescribably horrible day. Zenobia drove with the top down, listening to Battle Without Honor or Humanity at full volume. Her red VW Beetle zipped along Interstate 95, her sun-streaked blonde hair billowing behind her like a standard. She pulled off at the New Smyrna, eastbound exit, slowing way down for the sharp curve. Checking traffic, she eased her VW into the flow heading toward town. At the stoplight on the east side of I-95, she slowed as the light changed to yellow. She could have driven through, but there was a motorcycle cop three cars behind her on the left. She turned down her mu…

ABC Challenge Y: April 25, 2015 Y Do I Bother?

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There's an invisible spot beside my sink where dirty dishes go to hide. Really clever dishes can hang out there 3 or 4 days without being detected. It's a great hiding place for greasy pots and tomato sauce encrusted spoons, dirty plates and disgusting forks. The most interesting thing about this invisible spot is that I'm the only one in the house who can see into it. The dirty dishes cannot hide from me. The men in my family—well, that's an entirely different ballgame. It's completely hidden from them. Anything to the left of the sink—at the edge of the metal lip, can't be seen by male eyes. Something about that Y chromosome, I'm sure. I've found that the Y chromosome also seems to make them incapable of changing out toilet paper rolls, voluntarily emptying trash cans or putting new bags in when they're done. It makes them deaf to the sound of my voice too. That Y chromosome's a pesky bugger who really likes to get under my skin. It makes my you…

ABC Challenge X: April 24, 2015 X Factor

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I'm always looking for ways to expand my vocabulary and this X Challenge gave me a good reason to go looking for new words. I don't know a lot of X words, apart from Xylophone, X-Ray and Xanadu. Xenon and Xenophobic also are ensconced in my vocabulary. However, I wanted to expand upon that, so I went to Collins Dictionary and did a little excavating. I recently watched a silly show on Netflix. One of the characters was named Xanthippe. I found it interesting to read that Xanthippe was the name of Socrates' sharp tongued, spiteful, harping wife. They writers had obviously chosen this name for a reason, because the character was all of that and more. I discovered, in my explorations, that xylophagous is an adjective pertaining to certain insects, crustaceans, etc feeding on or living within wood. With xylo as the root of the word, I wasn't particularly surprised to find that xylobalsamum is the name of the dried, fragrant wood of the Balsamodendron gileadense that produces…

ABC Challenge W: April 23, 2015 What Happened to the Cat?

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My husband is a detail oriented person. As a medical professional, he has to be. It amazes me, however, what details his analytical, scientific mind will latch onto when he reads my novels. He'll read the entire story and start demanding clarification. Some of it I've thought of, other things I make up, glad of my improv experience, because I honestly hadn't thought of it. It's not unusual for me to make up some BS answer out of thin air just to get him to quit asking. Sometimes, if the subject really interests him, he'll expand on it to the point where I'd pay real money just to get him to shut up. Often, these sessions are helpful, clarifying those nebulous ideas that I hadn't fully considered. A typical exchange:
"Have you thought about insert random weird concept?" he asks me. "The readers don't need to know that," I reply, somewhat miffed. "But it's interesting. You could...." "Yes, maybe, but why? It's not the …

ABC Challenge V: April 22, 2015 Velda, Vivica, Victoria, Viktor

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I like unusual names for my characters. Yes, I have typical things like Jack, Jason, Jeffrey or James, but I like interesting names like Velda, Vivica Victoria and Viktor. I've noticed over the years, I tend to favor certain letters for character names. The numbers below only include the main characters, or strong support characters, not the entire cast and crew of each story. It would take too much time to go through the lists, and I'm not quite that OCD.
A – 16 (2 Amanda) B – 13 (2 Barry, 2 Ben) C – 25 (2 Cynthia, 2 Clay) D – 19 (2 Deacon) E – 11 (2 Emma) F – 5 (2 Fritz, 2 Frank. The only holdout on the repeat is also the only girl.) G – 8 (2 Greg) H – 8 (2 Hal) I – 2 J – 17 (2 Jasper, 2 Jason, 2 Jeffrey) K – 12 (2 Kirk) L – 8 M – 29 (2 Madelyn) N – 4 O – 0 P – 5 (2 Paige) Q – 1 R – 19 S – 16 T – 14 (4 Tom) U – 0 V – 4 W – 4 X, Y – 0 Z – 4 I found these numbers a little surprising (Except for M, I knew I had a lot of those) What I find really interesting is that of 5 P names, I have 2 Paige. Of the F …

ABC Challenge U: April 21, 2015 Under the Western Sky & Undiscovered

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I have two books that begin with the letter U and I couldn't choose between them, so I'm going to talk briefly about them both. The only thing that these books have in common is that they are both romantic suspense, and they both begin with U. Other than that, there are no similarities at all. Under the Western Sky is what I call a retro-romantic suspense, set in 1976 in Western Nebraska. Set in an uncertain time, shortly after a major FBI snafu at Wounded Knee, South Dakota, racial tensions are high. Libby Marshall and Bobby Menendez have just started dating. Her friend, Toni, is seeing Bobby's cousin Ramon. One night on his way home, Ramon is caught and beaten by a bunch of white boys. Though he lives through the beating, he is seriously injured. Unfortunately, Bobby runs afoul of the same group, only this time they're armed with guns, not baseball bats. With the skills his father taught him, Bobby is able to fight back, but now he and his family are marked for death. …

ABC Challenge T: April 20, 2015 That's So Cliché

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There are “conventions” in writing. No, I don't mean the great big gatherings of authors & their fans, though these are also conventions. What I mean are the things you MUST NOT DO if you want to be an author. I'd love to know who decides these things. Who set the rules in the first damn place? My theory is that a bunch of frustrated, would-be writers got together and decided that they would set standards in order to hamper the creativity of others. Level the field by making it harder for the competition. Well played. Grant you, there are some conventions that are valid. (I can't think of any right now, but give me a little while. I'm sure there are some.) One standard that has some validity is the use of clichés. Not familiar with the word? I could give you a big, long dictionary definition, but why bother? A cliché is a phrase that's over used. Tried and true. True blue. Nervous as a long tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs. You get the idea. As a gener…

ABC Challenge S: April 19, 2015 Shakazhan

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Shakazhan is book 2 in my Lone Wolf Series. Having traveled out of the known galaxy into another that doesn't even remotely resemble their own, the crews of Hannibal and Flotilla are orbiting the mystical and legendary planet Iyundo, when it something goes horribly wrong.
Hannibal 1350 GMT
Ben sat in his ready room, feet on the desk, cap over his eyes. Something woke him and he stood quickly, fully alert, listening. Had someone called his name? Suddenly, he grew dizzy. The walls swirled together, the floor gaped threatening to drag him under and he felt a great sweep of fear as if a million voices had suddenly cried out in terror! Vertigo overcame him and he dropped to the floor on his hands and knees, gagging and vomiting. His vision cleared and his ears stopped ringing. Small cleaning bots scuttled around him, vacuuming up the mess. His door buzzed insistently. Calling feebly, he allowed entry. His eyes flickered open and he saw the worried and bewildered face of Ray Schmidt. "…

ABC Challenge R: April 18, 2015 Road Trip!

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When I was a child, we traveled a lot. Sometimes, we were moving, other times we were taking road trips. Since my family consistently lived far away from everyone else, we were the ones who hit the road every summer for our family vacation. My father didn't enjoy making the extended trip, so my mother, sister and I went. Since we lived in western Nebraska and the family units lived in Tennessee and Ohio, we'd head east. We were able to save money on accommodations by staying with friends along the way. My mother was a sensational planner and would plot out our trip carefully. My sister and I, when we got old enough, acted as navigators—a job I eventually took over, because it was apparent fairly early on that my sister couldn't read a road map to save all our lives. Mom liked to try new routes and was always looking for back roads and shortcuts. She had a strong sense of adventure and wasn't averse to going new places, enjoying the challenge of finding the way. Unfortuna…

ABC Challenge Q: April 17, 2015 Questions for Authors (Like Me)

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Why do you write? I dunno. Why do you breathe?
There are a lot of questions authors don't like being asked. Why? Because we don't always have a satisfactory answer. At least, it's not satisfactory for the person asking the question. To us, it makes perfect sense. I've been asked the above question and, at the time, couldn't really see giving the answer I first thought of (my response, also above). It didn't seem quite the thing. So I came up with something a little better. Next time I'm asked, I'll use it. Why do I write? Because I can't imagine myself not writing. I can't even think of giving it up. It's as much a part of me as breathing. If you can stop breathing and survive, I'll stop writing.
Where do your ideas come from? Everything.
Here's another hard one. I can get an idea from a TV commercial, a movie, a song, a random conversation in the grocery store. I've even been inspired by a mud puddle. Sometimes, I get inspiration from…