Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Fragments of a Writer's Life

So these past few months I haven't gotten much writing done. Mainly because I have novels finished that need revision, and I have a novel to revise and resubmit. One of my novels is supposed to have a September release date, but nothing's finalized.

That said, I also have a cozy mystery, a thriller, and a screenplay to plot. I've got notes on plots and characters; it's just a matter of piecing them together into a cohesive narrative. I'd taken a mini course on writing the cozy mystery and another on writing thrillers recently, which led to some plot ideas.

I've been focusing on marketing, too, more than I had in the past. I took courses on Facebook Ads and Amazon ads, plus a webinar on marketing. Hope to put what I've learned into action in the next couple of months. Then there's getting ready for the upcoming Indie Gathering International Film Festival and Imaginarium. Hoping to add more cons in 2019 or 2020.

Speaking of IG, I'm excited to announce two of my screenplays won third place in their respective categories: horror short script and crime drama feature length script. The short horror script also made it to the first round at the Action on Film Festival. Next year, I'm hoping to submit a short documentary. That said, awards aren't won without continually striving to improve one's writing skills and knowledge. But that's another post.

Action on Film Screenplay Laurel
Indie Gathering Screenplay Laurel

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Requiem for the "Plain Brown Rapper" (Cross-posted)

The Law and Martial Arts by Carl Brown
This past month, friend and fellow author Carl Brown passed away. Although we’d lost touch over the years, he’s someone I’ll always remember, and I wanted to share these memories.
I first met Carl shortly after moving to Louisville, Kentucky from Wisconsin. A then-mutual friend asked if I wanted to go to a party Carl was hosting. I said why not, and we went to a house in the Highlands I would later learn Carl called Sanctuary. I don’t remember if I was nervous about attending a party where I didn’t know anyone, but Carl made me feel welcome.
For Carl, Sanctuary was more than a name. He was bipolar and open about his diagnosis. His living room/office walls were covered with charts depicting his mood swings. Depression seemed the most prevalent, and he would take to bed, spending the time sleeping and reading.
He didn’t let that stop him from seeing I suffered from depression and urging me to get help. I’m much better, and while I probably resented him initially, I see where he was coming from and am grateful he cared.
Carl had two loves: judo and chess. A judo instructor, he achieved the title Shihan (Master Instructor). He was also a master at chess. I think we came to a draw one time in the few times I played the game with him.
He obtained a law degree from Vanderbilt University and was a Jefferson County Commissioner.  Carl used his experience as a lawyer and martial artist to pen articles in Black Belt Magazine and write The Law and Martial Arts. His fiction included Bethlehem Baby and Blackstone: The Antichrist (which included Bethlehem Baby), both religious fantasies. While not a church-going Christian when I first met him, Carl would eventually find his way to Highland Baptist Church in the Highlands. Before then, his Sundays were filled listening to the soundtrack for Jesus Christ, Superstar. I wonder if he saw the John Legend version this past Easter Sunday.
He also wrote a column as “The Plain Brown Rapper” for LEO Weekly, Louisville’s alternative newspaper, and hosted The Plain Brown Rapper interview show on then-cable station TKR’s public access channel. About ten years later, Carl was back on local TV, this time with Carl Brown’s Reality, a show we worked on together.  It aired on then TV station WYCS. He interviewed local politicians, artists, advocates, among other members of the Louisville community, and I videotaped and edited each episode. We even worked on a short film, “The Art Thief,” that would later be compiled on a DVD of short films included in the book $30.00 Film School (2nd edition) by independent filmmaker Michael Dean.
Carl Brown in "The Art Thief"
Carl’s friendship has meant a lot to me over the years. He was even instrumental in my meeting my husband, James. Carl was a witness, along with James’s son, at our wedding at the Hall of Justice. (We were married in a judge’s chambers.)
I can’t speak for other people’s experiences, but for me, Carl Brown was one of the nicest, most helpful people I’ve ever met. His loss is a tragic one. Requiescat in Pace.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

8th Annual Kentuckiana Authors Fair

This past Saturday I attended the 8th Annual Kentucky Authors Fair in LaGrange. The Authors Fair originated in Madison, Indiana, and was an outdoor festival before the change of venue. Approximately 80 authors sold books ranging from YA to mystery to romance. It was good to see old friends and meet new ones. I'm looking forward to next year, and will hopefully have one or two new books to sell.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

The Judas Dilemma Receives a Contract!

Excited to announce my paranormal suspense novel, The Judas Dilemma, will be published by MuseItUp Publishing. No release date yet. This will be my second publication with Muse, the other being a short dark fiction story, "Family Tradition," that was a finalist in the EPIC EBook Awards 2014.

Judas Dilemma is one of my angel paranormal suspense (not romance) novels that also includes Cathedral Girl (currently a revise/resubmit with another publisher), the Raguel series, and the Malake Habbalah (the angels of punishment) series, along with a couple of others in the works. While Judas Dilemma is currently the only contracted book, my hope is to release the aforementioned in the next few years.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Writing a New Genre

Photo by TrisMarie at MorgueFile.com
For the past few months, I'd been trying to come up with a plot. I had two homicide detective characters, but no crime. A scroll down my Facebook page advertised a mini video course in writing a cozy mysteries. Why not? I'd been wanting to write a cozy for a while, having written a police procedural crime drama screenplay. I enjoyed reading cozies, as well as other subgenres of the mystery/thriller/suspense genres. Only problem? While I had a title in mind, I still had no plot. But I downloaded the three short videos and gave them a view.

First, although the videos were an introduction to a more detailed course, they were informative and well-done. And, not only that, they inspired a story idea. Soon after finishing the third video, I was jotting down my plot, the main characters, and notes I needed for research. The story is inspired by silent films and by an actress who grew up in the same area as my mother. (They didn't know each other, this actress being eighteen years older and already having moved to Hollywood.)

Of course, I won't be using the actress's name or description, as the story is not about her, but only inspired. Most of this month will be spent doing research. Hoping to write it in April during the bi-annual writing challenge I participate in, the other being in October.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Monthly Review: February 2018

On 1 February, I went in for surgery.

Since then I've been at home recovering, so February is pretty much a write-off. However, it's been very cold while I've been off, so it's not been a bad time to be stuck indoors. And by the time I go back to work, which I hope will be next week (pending doctor approval) it will be daylight when I leave the house.

That said, there are a few things to report this month.


I'm pleased to announce that my story 'Morgan's Father' is included in the Women in Horror edition of the SIREN'S CALL e-zine. This issue is completely free to download as a PDF and is chock full of horror stories by women, so download your copy now.

In other news, we don't yet have a release date for OUTPOST H311, but the onus is on me at the moment since I've had the edits back and I'm working through them. And it's taking rather longer than I was expecting. Partly that's due to being on sick leave. For the first two weeks following surgery I couldn't really do much except lie about reading or watching TV. No concentration for anything else. However, this week I've been making progress with the edits, so hopefully there'll be more news on this next month.


I contributed to Mark West's Stephen King mixtape, which appeared on his blog on 26 February. This was a post including a long list of writers talking briefly about their favourite King story. I chose 'The Breathing Method'.


I haven't worked on any WIPs for a while, what with surgery getting in the way and all. So the current status is unchanged. There are two current works in progress:

A WHITER SHADE OF PAIN: a crime thriller set in 1967 which is a collaboration with my husband. We plotted the book together, then I wrote Draft 1 and he started on Draft 2. The latter isn't finished yet, but I've taken it back to make further changes to the amended chapters. So I suppose it's currently on Draft 2.5.

DEADLY SUMMER is the fourth Shara Summers novel, which takes my intrepid sleuth to New York City when she gets a job in a US soap opera. I am about a third of the way through the first draft. I halted work on this when I started writing OUTPOST H311, and I haven't got back to it yet.

That's all to report this month. I anticipate that by the end of next month, spring will have sprung. But you can never tell, with British weather.