The November news is: my favorite time of the year has arrived! As I ready for the silly season with lists of things to do for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year, I celebrate the year coming to a close and hold hope for the one approaching. Three cheers for peace as one door eases closed and another opens. 🍾🥂 So, what’s in this newsletter?
- Sour Cream Pumpkin Pie Recipe
- Fatal Vow is in the top 100 of the allauthor Mystery Thrillers Cover Contest
- An interview I did a month or so ago
- What’s Happening in Creekwood
- The view from my writing room window
If you’re looking for a different take on the tried and true Libby’s Pumpkin Pie recipe, here’s a link to a recipe for Sour Cream Pumpkin sure to rival tradition. Let me know if you try it!
allauthors November 2023 Mystery Thriller Cover of the Month—Fatal Vow in the Top 100
Fatal Vow’s cover made it into the top 100!🍾
Thanks to everyone who voted for Fatal Vow: A Marnie Reilly Mysteries in allauthor’s Mystery Thriller Cover of the Month contest – November 2023. We made the cut! Woo! Hoo!
So, if you will show us your love again, please (please, please, please) vote in the next round at the following link:
Here’s what’s next:
✅Second, 100 top-voted covers will compete to enter the third round. (Duration November 8th – 14th)
✅Third, top 50 book covers from the previous round. (Duration 15th – 21st)
✅Fourth, top 24 book covers will play the last round in the chase. (Duration 22nd – Month end)
Thank you so much for your support!
I was lucky enough to have a conversation with Shellah Inman of Revision Muse—she interviewed me for her November Newsletter. Shellah is a developmental fiction editor who loves spreadsheets, Legos, and books. She edits suspense, thriller, post-apocalyptic, and dystopian genres. Here’s what we talked about:
What is your favorite writing tip or technique, and how has it helped your process?
Write down everything! If an idea pops into my head, I jot it in my notebook, scratch it on a napkin, or the palm of my hand. When I am at my computer, I always have a Word doc titled Brain Dump open so that I can jump to it if I have an idea that is not relevant to what I am working on. It’s a great place to capture random ideas.
Can I have two favorite tips, please? Here’s the second: When beginning a new book, I write my last paragraph first. It sets the tone for the current WIP, and it also sets me up for the next in the series.
What do you do to get over writer’s block?
Now that depends on the weather. If it’s a beautiful day, I’ll take the dogs for a walk or putter around my garden. On a foul-weathered day, I’ll read a book, clean out a closet, or cook/bake.
What is one thing you wish you had known about self-publishing before going through it yourself?
It can be bloody hard if you don’t have the right people and professional contacts. Even with the right network, it’s a difficult journey because there is a laundry list of tasks to be done: character development, plotting, research, proofreading, editing, formatting, ISBNs, cover design, launch, procuring reviews… I’m a marketer by trade, so some of this is easier for me, but there is so much that goes into publishing a book. Readers would never complain about a $16.99 paperback if they knew.
Are you a plotter or a pantser?
A bit of both. I know where the story is headed because I write the last paragraph first, but when I sit down to type, I let my characters take over. If I try too hard, the words don’t flow.
What’s your drafting process like?
Drafting? Doodles in my notebook and bits I take from my Brain Dump doc often become my next story. I sit down, write and revise until I feel comfortable with someone else reading the story. A new version is saved every day I write or revise, and the file is backed up to three locations. Why three? Three is my favorite number. My timeline board helps me keep everything in order so that I don’t miss something important. I break this down by chapter, bullet-pointing important events, Easter eggs for the series, red herrings, and other clues I may have dropped for my readers.
How do you find time to write while managing other responsibilities?
That’s funny! I’m a writer. Daydreaming and procrastination are part of the job. I write early in the morning, between 4:30 and 7:30 before the workday begins. If my brain is still kicking out ideas after dinner, I’ll write then too. Weekends are usually jam-packed with household errands, friends, family, and chores, but sometimes, there are a few hours when I can take a trip to Creekwood and hang out with Marnie Reilly and the rest of my crew.
What is one “rule” or writing advice you purposefully break?
Elmore Leonard said it best, “If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it. Or, if proper usage gets in the way, it may have to go. I can’t allow what we learned in English composition to disrupt the sound and rhythm of the narrative.”
Sending thanks out to Shellah for spending time with me. I appreciate you!
What’s Happening in Creekwood
The good news is, the first and last paragraphs have been written for Marnie Reilly Mysteries Book 4. It will be fun to visit Creekwood for Halloween. 🎃👻 I have finalized the title and the cover design is in concept stage—I can’t share either until much closer to the release next October. It will give away my dastardly plans. The bad news? Hmm … I don’t think there is any. Marnie is speaking with me again, and she has the rest of the team on board with where I’m taking their story. But we haven’t heard from Tom.🤷♀️🤨
A Writing Room with a View
We’ve had unseasonably warm weather this week but the weekend promises to be autumnal. I can’t wait to light a fire, snuggle up with my laptop and write. Here’s a view from my writing room window.
As always, thank you for indulging my ramblings. See you soon!