Thursday, November 26, 2015

Monthly Round-Up: November 2015

Here we are in the penultimate month of the year, when the days are too short and the nights are too cold. Winter is not my favourite time of the year. So it should mean I have the perfect excuse to stay in and write, yes?


Nothing new to report, but there's plenty of my stuff out there from earlier this year. I'm in the anthology of women horror writers, FEMME FATALE. I've got a story in the FORMER HEROES anthology. And of course THE WHISPERING DEATH is available in both paperback and Kindle formats. So that should be plenty to take you through the holiday season!

And just a reminder that if you read any of my work and enjoy it - or if you don't, for that matter - reviews are always appreciated, as it's the best way for a writer to get her name Out There.


This month I did a blog swap with US mystery writers JQ Rose. On hers I was talking about making time to write, something I seem to forever be juggling.


Work continues on both of my WIPs. I have almost completed the first draft of the third Shara Summers novel, SPOTLIGHT ON DEATH. I'm not very happy with it at present, though. It needs some major rewriting before I am willing to send it out into the world.

Progress has also been made on the new horror WIP, though this one still doesn't have a name. I'm referring to it as the 'urban explorers horror WIP'.

By the time of the next monthly review, the presents will have been opened, the crackers will have been pulled and I'll still be stuffing my face with mince pies and Christmas chocolate and getting ready to say goodbye to 2015. So a review of my writing year will be timely.

See you then!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

50,000 Words and Beyond

Every November, for the past several years, I join thousands of writers around the world for that 30-day frenzy known as NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month. The goal is to write 50,000 words during that time. Not a novel, per se, but a pretty darn good start.

A couple of my short novels were even published: Death Sword and The Ripper's Daughter. (I have the rights back to the latter, which I will be putting up on Amazon, B&N, and Kobo, hopefully before the end of the year. But that's another story.)

Anyway, last year, I wrote a 65,000-word political  thriller in 21 days. This year, I wrote 68,000 words in the same length of time. And I'm still writing. Today, I should reach 72,000 with my paranormal suspense, the overall goal being 75,000-80,000 words. And I plan to finish this new novel by November 30.

Why push myself? I don't know. Guess I take it as a challenge. I wanted to get the 50,000 words written as early as possible, and 5,000 words a day seemed reasonable. After that, I dropped the writing down to 2,000 words daily. All that, while revising another book and working on another project (not writing related).

Although NaNoWriMo is almost over, you can check out the site year round. So if you've always wanted to write a novel, and needed a boost, NaNoWriMo might very well be worth checking into.

Happy Writing!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Conquering NaNoWriMo a Word at a Time

I just hit the 50k mark on my NaNoWriMo novel, The Memitim. No, I'm not kidding: 5,000 words in 10 days. My hands hurt, I'm exhausted, and I will probably take tomorrow, maybe even Thursday, off.

But I'm not done. The projected length is estimated between 75,000 and 80,000 words. And I plan to write all that this month. Last year, I wrote 65,000 words in 21 days, so I know it can be done.

Writing novels that long is in itself a milestone for me. Only a couple of years ago, I would've balked at writing something that length. Let's just say I had to retrain my brain.

How did I do it? Plotting. Not only did I use Dramatic Pro to help develop the story, I used a program called WriteWay Pro. It's like Scrivener, in that you can break your story down into scenes and write in a non-linear fashion, then import the document into Word. I used WWP with my novel, The Judas Dilemma, currently sitting on a publisher's desk. (Fingers are crossed.)

What I like about WriteWay Pro is I can make notes about character, setting, dialogue, conflict, even notes on revisions for that particular scene. I think using it has helped me write faster. Not saying my first draft doesn't suck. I mean, we have to be realistic here. *grin*

But really, writing a book, whether during NaNoWriMo, or any other time of the year, is simply putting one word after the other.

Happy Writing!

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Malice and Mayhem Receives Recognition

This was a nice surprise. My dark fiction short story collection, Malice and Mayhem: Tales of the Macabre, was one of twelve winners for's Spooktacular Halloween Theme Contest.

I pitch the stories as reminiscent of Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Night Gallery, Thriller, and shows of that ilk. Yes, I'm old school, but it's nice that people still remember those shows. A friend's dad read it, and he said it was just as I described, which is a nice validation.

This collection was also a return to my writing roots. While in school, I devoured anthologies by Alfred Hitchcock, mysteries by various authors, and tales of the macabre. Many of the anthologies I read in elementary school were edited by Roger Elwood. But probably the biggest influence during my formative horror writing years was a collection called Tales of Terror, by Ida Chittum. It inspired me to write my own collection of spooky tales in the sixth grade. They were hand-written on notebook paper, three stories stapled together. My classmates liked them. Ironically, most were also bullying me. Go figure.

Fast forward to the present. Although I'm writing novels, I still haven't forgotten the short story, and have published seven stories in anthologies, including one I co-edited.
I hope that one day, I will influence an aspiring horror/dark fiction suspense author, too.

Stay scary!