Category Archives: Writing Process/WIPs

Introducing My New Writing Project: A Psycho Thriller

My head has really opened up since I gave up tobacco, started vaping, and cut out the caffeine and diet cokes that dominated my life. My doc has cut my psych meds in half and my creativity is just where I need it to be.  My writing has taken off and I’m having fun with it. The rocket scientist has to write me notes telling me to come to bed at four or five in the morning.

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I’ve posted a bit in comments about this project, but not much on my blog. There’s something about putting it up on my blog that increases the pressure to perform and I want to take this slow and do it right. But, I’m so excited; I just have to share a little. It’s a psycho thriller/suspense novel.

I wrote a couple of sentences…not really a log-line, but a sentence explaining the conflict:

“Jillian wants to be free from the torment of her nightmares, but she may have to give up someone important to her to get there.”

Let me tell you about Jillian. She’s an adult, but for a year in her childhood she suffered clairvoyant nightmares. Now divorced, with an eighteen year old son and a twelve year old daughter, a love interest has come out of her past, a dog goes missing, and the nightmares have started again.

Her first nightmare is a repeat of the first one she experienced as a child, and she sees through the eyes of the victim.

In the subsequent nightmares, she is seeing through the eyes of a killer. Right now, he’s only an enigma, but quickly becomes all too real.

There is a G.B.I. Liaison, a therapist, and a psychic medium/paranormal psychologist involved in the story. The Liaison and the psychic medium have their own thing going on.

I am writing the nightmares in first person. This is a new experience for me. I thought it would be challenging, but it’s so much fun. I can get deeply inside the head of my serial killer and examine motives. I like the first person parts better than the third person parts, but it’s all good.

I don’t have a working title for this novel yet. I’m open to suggestions. It takes place in and around Atlanta, Georgia. Places I know well. It needed a big, spread-out metro area.

I’m an avid reader of the psycho thriller, where my husband reads mostly regional Florida crime fiction/adventure. My last novel was written on a challenge by him, but this is my baby. I’m letting him read and advise me on some parts, but for the most, it’s up to me. My writing style is more like my original style and it’s working well. But the chapters are short 1200-1400 words.

One of my most favorite authors of all times in Thomas Harris of Hannibal. I also read some true crime. Having worked seven years in psychiatry, with a few in forensics, has really helped in developing my characters.

I’m following a solid, well-established story structure for my outline in Scrivener. It has helped me keep the pace fast and steady.

I wonder if being inside of a serial killer’s head while he performs his nasty deeds will be off-putting to readers. It certainly heightens the suspense and intrigue…at least for me.

Detoxing a Writer’s Brain and Opening Up New Worlds

I am feeling better than I have in a very long time. No cigarettes. Minimal caffeine. Sparkling water all day. Delicious fresh salads for lunch. Minimal carbs. Feel as if I have detoxed my system.

Most significantly, my head has really opened up. My writing has taken off. I may not get thousands of words a day, but what I am writing is really, really good. Yes, I’m impressed with myself.

Clearing the fog and the crashes has allowed my creativity to blossom. My thoughts are better organized. I have focus, clarity, alertness that simply didn’t exist before.

I’m giving my attention to a suspenseful psycho thriller. My main character, Jillian, has clairvoyant nightmares. There’s a serial killer in her past and another in her present. The dreams from the past are in the victims’ POV. I know, I know, it can be hard to be inside a victim’s head, but it’s working…at least for me, now. I may rethink that later.

It’s limited omniscient POV. There’s a therapist and a Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) liaison. Jillian has an eighteen year old son and a twelve year old daughter. My psych and forensics background makes this writing relatively easy once things gel in my mind.

The dream sequences are written in first person, but the storyline is third. A bit unconventional, but it’s working out so much better than when I had it in all third person. I had to rewrite two chapters.

It’s fast paced and much happens to her that brings everything close to home. I’m excited about how things are coming along.

I still don’t have a title for this new book and it’s killing me!!!

I owe a great big “Thank You” to Sue Coletta, who has posted some very helpful info in the past couple of months. I find myself bookmarking her pages frequently. Pay her a visit, especially if you are looking at mystery/thriller/crime fiction. She’s an awesome thinker and has some really cool contacts who contribute.

I don’t have an outline yet, beyond a fish bones skeleton. I tend to get about half way through, and then need the outline fleshed out to proceed.

I’m also reading and researching much material. So, I’ve had little time online beyond my e-cig forum support group and a bit of FB.

Just thought I should pop in and let you know I am alive and well. I do skim blogs but honestly haven’t done much commenting. I wish I had more time. Don’t know how you folk who work eight hours a day do it. My hat is off to you!

Hoping you all are doing well.

Do you get as excited as I do when you get deep into a new project?

What do you think about first person victims?

As the World Churns

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I’m emotionally churning today. It’s my husband’s birthday and my daughter is due to deliver my third grand baby any day. That’s a big hunk of happiness. So glad to have this man in my life. So proud of the mama my daughter has become.

Losing my dad really bites. There’s also some unanticipated fall-out associated with that, and I’m hoping it can strengthen bonds not rip them apart. So there’s that looming.

Recently I tried to find an old friend who was a Behavior Specialist in a psych hospital. We used to work together on the forensic unit and had an awesome relationship. I expected he would be a great resource for a psycho thriller I have in the works. When I googled his name, I pulled up his obituary. Ouch!

(My apologies if that comes across as selfish, but I’m resentful that his wife [whom he met after I left GA] was jealous, and wouldn’t allow us to maintain our friendship. Five hundred miles apart and a great professional relationship, but heaven help, I’m female.)

I have four writing projects in the works and all have been at a complete standstill for over a month. I don’t know where I’m going with any of them.

I’m reading a lot, but writing much of nothing.

I’ve been stopping by blogs when I can and reading, but my comments…I can hardly manage them. I end up whining like I am in this post. Bear with me. This, too, shall pass.

As for my own blog, this is about the best I can do today.

Not exactly exuding confidence.

Discouraged. Frustrated. Sad. Happy. Excited. Churning.

Did I mention y’all mean the world to me? Yep, it’s true. Being a homebody, my blogging buddies are the best friends in my world. So sorry to be tossing my personal problems at you.

SOMEBODY MAKE ME LAUGH!!!

I need a good laugh.

You want to laugh? Here’s something funny: I accidentally put Clorox on my husband’s jeans, so he got to go to work looking like a tie-dyed hippie today. I’m sure his associates at Lockheed-Martin will give him hell.

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I’m  feeling as if I have fallen off the edge of the earth.  

Works in Progress Blog Hop: and a Look Inside

I’ve been nominated by two very lovely bloggers, Marie Bailey and Barb Taub, to participate in this W.I.P. blog hop and have been so busy with my local writers’ group and spring break and my grandchildren (as anyone who follows me on Facebook knows) that I have not given much time to blogging for two weeks.

So, just what have I been up to?

I completed a crime novel. It’s been beta read, edited and proofed and is waiting on me to complete two more novels in the same genre. I have other works in progress and one of these is a sort of sequel to Red Clay and Roses. Also set in Georgia, it is in the same time period, 1950s-60s, and involves two sisters, one of which is the mother of Hannah, the nurse/narrator from Red Clay and Roses.

In Part Two of Red Clay and Roses, there is a relationship involving my cousin, Sybil, (the only real name in the book—she’s an eighty-three year old woman now in real life) she was a high-spirited, fiercely independent, white woman and an entrepreneur in those times.

She became infatuated with Nathan, a black man, and Nathan was enamored with her. Nathan was a medical student and active in the Civil Rights Movement.

When I finished the book, I sent it off for editorial reviews. Kirkus and Reader’s Favorite were very kind to me. Another set of professional editors weren’t. Their primary complaint was that Nathan and Sybil got only a chapter or two of getting to know each other before they were throwing down for fast sex in the middle of a pine forest.

Now, I was telling the story as Sybil had told it to me.

And quite frankly, though a jolly old married woman now, in my single years I was a bit of a slut. So I had no problems with Sybil’s story. But these editors were critical and felt I should have built up to Nathan and Sybil’s interlude with more romance.

Romance has just never been my thing. Some people love it. But I’m out of my comfort zone.

In my sequel, my work in progress, one of the sisters gets deeply involved with a man. A romance develops. And I have to write it. To hone my craft and develop my skills, I’ve been practicing by writing little romantic short stories. I had opportunity to read one of these to an audience of about 60 people last week. What fun!!!

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They laughed at the funny parts, wept at the emotionally moving parts and came up to me afterwards with wonderful compliments and expressions of appreciation, so I must have done something right.

This spurred me to get back to my W.I.P. The TENTATIVE Title is “Surviving Sister” and I must tell you that every word you read here is subject to change at this point. The two sisters personalities are night and day, but they share a mental illness that manifests itself differently, and each has their own way of coping.

Here’s what I have:

Chapter One:

Time had a way of taking a perfectly good moment and turning it into something terrible. Not that all moments in time were bad ones. Many were wonderful. But in an instant, all that seemed beautiful could change. It happened so quickly, like lightning hitting a tree, splitting its trunk and splaying its branches. Sometimes it was insidious, the unpleasantness creeping up and then, unexpectedly, there was a pinnacle moment of certainty that life was never going to be the same. It happened all too often for Barber sisters, Claudette and Carol.

Chapter Two:

No police arrived on the scene. No neighbors came calling. Mama woke up lying in the floor with her head propped on several pillows, disoriented and confused, an hour after the incident. Claudette and Carol had already changed her clothes as she had soiled herself. This was not the first time Claudette had seen her mother in this condition, but it had been a very long time. Mama had not had such a fit since she was married to her last husband. The medicines had been effective, up until now. It did not take Laura Belle long to get up, reorient herself, and recall what had occurred. The first thing she asked, “Did anyone get hurt?”

Chapter Three:

It was early yet and moonlight glistened across the damp lawn. The shadow of the great Victorian house loomed over the driveway in front of the carriage house that had been converted into a garage. Uncle Durham parked the car. Laura Belle and Claudette had drifted off to sleep and did not immediately stir. Carol leapt from the car the second it stopped, spying Miss Josephine sweeping the back porch steps.

“Lawdy chil’, how you have grown,” Miss Josephine said, halting her chore and holding still the broom. “You’re taller now than your mama!”

“Five foot two, but I’ll never be as tall as Claudette.” Carol shrugged, ran to the porch and gave Miss Josephine a warm hug.

“I know’d y’all was a comin’ today, but I had no idea y’all would be here afore the rooster crowed. I best put on another pan of biscuits!”

The next part of this blog hop is to nominate three more people to tell about their works in progress. A few lines about the first few chapters.

I’m looking at Craig Boyack at Entertaining Stories, who always has something interesting going on.

K. Leigh Michaels, a Y.A. writer with a house full of inspiration.

and Tim Baker, of Blindoggbooks, who has a set of awesome crime novels with iconic character, Ike, and is currently working on something he describes as quite different concerning Karma.

Rules are simple:

  • Link back to the person who nominated you.
  • Write a little about and give the first few lines of your first three chapters from your WIP.
  • Nominate some other writers to do the same.

I’ve done my part, won’t you join me and let us into your storytelling process?

What’s at the Core of Character Development?

Some posts I make are informative and useful and some are just the rambling inside my head type posts that may or may not be of interest to anyone else. This is one of the latter.

 

Luckily, I managed to breeze through my CEUs and finished them up over the weekend. That surprised me after seeing the material I had to cover. I only missed one question out of six test modules. It was one on domestic violence concerning House Bill 1099. It was a trick question.

 

Admittedly, it made me feel pretty good to ace these tests. It affirmed my professional expertise.

 

Monday, I took up some research for a project that’s still in the planning stages. I’ve been re-reading Stephen King, Dean Koontz and Thomas Harris, and a barrage of scientific journal articles on paranormal psychology.

 

Although I am a scientist, I’ve always been interested in parapsychology. For several years of my career, I worked in psychiatric nursing in both crisis stabilization and in a forensics unit that managed the criminally insane and the incarcerated. I’ve seen some really weird things occur in the spiritual realm (not scientifically explainable). I’ve also had personal experience with clairvoyant dreams/nightmares.

 

With the medical model of psychiatry, so much has been scientifically explained through the understanding of neurotransmitters. These are endogenous chemicals that transmit signals across a synapse from one neuron (nerve cell) to another ‘target’ neuron. Their exact numbers are unknown but more than 100 chemical messengers have been identified.

 

Pharmacology and chemistry have worked hand-in-hand to learn the mechanisms of action and create drugs, primarily those that affect monoamines like: dopamine, norepinephrine, epinephrine, histamine and serotonin, which have profound effects on the brain, mood, personality and behavior.

 

Millions of people who would have otherwise been crippled by brain anomalies have received treatment that resulted in them being able to live productive lives. The organic component of human behavior can be changed with mind altering drugs. This organic, or biological, aspect is just one component of who we are. In nursing, my training program was a biopsychosocial model that considers three dimensions. The brain and the mind are considered separately.

 

In considering the mind, one dimension is spirit. Humans are spiritual by nature. Apart from all theological considerations the human spiritual capacity is wondrous indeed. As elusive as its definition, the human spirit includes our intellect, emotions, fears, passions, and creativity.

 

In the two most widely accepted contemporary definitions, human spirit and psyche are considered to be the mental functions of awareness, insight, understanding, judgment and other reasoning powers, entities of emotion, images, memory and personality.

The soul is the self, the “I” that inhabits the body and acts through it.

The soul can be the essence or embodiment of a specified quality, like the soul of a piece of composed music. It is also an immaterial part of a human being, regarded as immortal.

I didn’t set out to write a dissertation on the human spirit and soul, but was seriously considering character development. So often, I read in reviews that characters are one dimensional or not fully developed, and I was pondering over what exactly makes a character well-rounded, fully developed. The ones who stay with us, that we remember forever, that never die, are the ones who have soul. The author has managed to make them immortal. They have awareness, insight, understanding, judgment and other reasoning powers, entities of emotion, images, memory and personality. They will live on long after their authors are gone.

It takes time and words to create spirit and soul in a character. In this day of fast food, fast everything, readers want both. They want fast action and character development. I’ve read tons of character development posts advising people on how to draw up their character profiles, and while there are hundreds that speak to character traits and appearances, few speak to the soul of the character.

The “I” that inhabits the body and acts through it is the most important feature of character development, whether endearing or wicked. This “I” is at the core of character development.

In metaphysics, the “I” is the ego, a conscious, thinking subject, the part of the mind that mediates between the conscious and the unconscious and is responsible for reality testing and a sense of personal identity, self-awareness.

I thought of Scarlett, Hannibal, Merlin, Lastat and Louise, Pennywise, Rowan Mayfair, Odd Thomas, Jane Eyre, Chablis, Jack Torrance, James and Catskinner, Ryan Lemmon, Bilbo Baggins, Catherine and Heathcliff…I could go on and on, but the point is that these characters all have soul, good or bad. They have been richly developed so as to be unforgettable. They think and they act. They aren’t characters that I particularly relate to, but they have an admirable depth. They aren’t simply entertaining, but embody complex psyche that penetrates deeply making them memorable.

When you read, do you get invested into the spirit of your characters?

When you write to tell your stories do you consider spirit of the characters?

Can you name some unforgettable characters that had soul?

Match the Genre Answers

Yesterday I posted a Match the Genre task. I have heard that your first sentence should scream genre. The object was to match the first sentence of some Best Seller Top Ten novels to their respective genre.

My conclusion is that this might be more myth than rule. It may be true for certain genre, but not all.

Here is the key:

  1. Paranormal Romance, B. “Women have always been the property of men.” Given to the Pack, Abby Weeks
  2. Fantasy, D. “It wasn’t a very likely place for disappearances, at least at first glance.” Outlander, Diana Gabaldon
  3. Horror, F. “In one way, at least, our lives really are like movies.” Revival, Stephen King
  4. Mystery, H. “Midnight fell at The First Bank of Cleveland with the lonely clang of the great clock in the lobby.” The Dead Key, D.M. Pulley
  5. Science Fiction, E. “Karl Selig steadied himself on the ship’s rail and peered through the binoculars at the massive iceberg.” The Atlantis Gene, A.G. Riddle
  6. Historical Fiction, A. “I believe in ghosts.” Orphan Train, Christina Baker Kline
  7. Crime Fiction, G. “Zoe recoiled from the nightmare only to find it still existed in the waking world.” The One That Got Away, Simon Wood
  8. Romance, C. “That fucking prick.” Prick: A Step-Brother Romance, Sabrina Paige

Certainly you could have switched the Historical Fiction and Science Fiction around. I could see the Crime Fiction one as Horror. I might have made the Mystery one as Historical Fiction (After all who hears a grand clock chime in contemporary times?).  Paranormal Romance and Fantasy I might have expected, but “That fucking prick,” doesn’t sound very Romantic. Nothing much Horrific about Stephen King’s opening line.

I went back online to see some more Crime Fiction, because Crime Fiction, Horror and Mystery can be so close. Here’s what I found in some other novels in the Top Ten:

“Lori Kimball had three rules for the death race home.”

“There is a pile of clothing on the side of the train tracks.”

“Five figures formed a pentagram around a freshly dug mound.”

“In April 2008, Neal Lagiudice finally subpoenaed me to appear before the grand jury.”

“After his arrest at Galaxy’s casino, Billy was handcuffed and transported to the Clark County Detention Center, where he sat chained to a chair while a knuckle-dragging deputy two-finger-typed the charges against him into a desktop.”

“Six years ago, my band’s bassist was shot dead in a New York night club.”

 “Patrick sat alone.”

“’You just got out of jail?’”

“Arnie Milhouse never considered himself much of a hero.”

Running through most of these I could see Crime Fiction, but I don’t think but one or two actually screamed to me. Not like the Odd Thomas book screams paranormal suspense:

“Alone in the vastness of the Mojave, at two o’clock in the morning, racing along at seventy miles per hour, I felt safe and believed that whatever terror might await me was yet many miles ahead.”

Do you struggle with your first sentence?

Just write it until you get it right!

Let’s Play the Genre Match Game!

I have heard it said that your first sentence in a novel should scream genre. Anyone should be able to pick up the book, read the first sentence and know exactly what genre they have picked up.

GenreI’m not so sure about that. Seems like a lead-in is oftentimes a pretty wise thing. Maybe with certain genres is mandatory, but others not so.

A few months ago I found a box of my old writing from twenty-thirty years ago in a closet. There is some pretty decent stuff in there. I found the beginning of a story, about one-third of a novel’s worth. I’ve reread it and now I’m recalling where I was going with this thing, so I’ve been thinking about rewriting. Obviously, this has been rattling around in my brain for quite some time and was recently refreshed.

It’s a story with paranormal elements, probably because I was experiencing some paranormal phenomena at the time, but it also has some criminal-minded suspense. It needs to be written

I’ve been mulling over how to get the rewrite started, so I took to some paranormal suspense book’s Look Insides to check out some first sentences. I learn well by example.

This is what I found in the Top Ten Amazon Best Sellers:

Paranormal suspense:

#1

“Alone in the vastness of the Mojave, at two o’clock in the morning, racing along at seventy miles per hour, I felt safe and believed that whatever terror  might await me was yet many miles ahead.”  Saint Odd: An Odd Thomas Novel, Dean Koontz—Paranormal suspense

I was blown away. I thought this sentence really nailed it. You read it and just know “Mystery, Horror, Paranormal, Suspense, Thriller” is in front of you. I’m just waiting on the edge of my seat for something paranormal to jump out of the desert at Thomas. That first sentence made me want to buy this book.

So I looked down the list in the top ten and here are the next three:

“Plunging her hands into a wad of pizza dough, Edie Holbrook came to realize she had forgotten to turn on the radio two seconds too late.” The Bird Eater, Ania Ahlborn—Paranormal suspense

“Ghosts didn’t have much substance.” The Book of Life, Deborah Harkness—Paranormal suspense

“’All right, you handsome devils, if y’all are here for this evening’s Liar’s Tour of Savannah, then you are at the right place,’ I said, surveying the group of men who had found their way to the Waving Girl Statue.” The Line, J.D. Horn—Paranormal Suspense

I thought the Odd Thomas sentence was awesome, but the others just didn’t do it for me. None of them. Of the top ten in this genre there was not one other first sentence that even came close to paranormal suspense. “Ghosts didn’t have much substance.” Hinted of paranormal, but no suspense.

So I looked through some other genres to see what they were doing. I picked Best Seller books in the top ten that were high in ranking and had the most reviews as of nine o’clock last night. Some are by well-known authors and some not so famous.

See if you can hook these up. Either write the numbers and matching letters in comments, or privately on a piece of scratch paper. (You can check back tomorrow for results.)

The genres were:

  1. Paranormal Romance
  2. Fantasy
  3. Horror
  4. Mystery
  5. Science Fiction
  6. Historical Fiction
  7. Crime Fiction
  8. Romance

Here is a list of the first sentences:

A. “I believe in ghosts.”

B. “Women have always been the property of men.”

C. “That fucking prick.”

D. “It wasn’t a very likely place for disappearances, at least at first glance.”

E. “Karl Selig steadied himself on the ship’s rail and peered through the binoculars at the massive iceberg.”

F. “In one way, at least, our lives really are like movies.”

G. “Zoe recoiled from the nightmare only to find it still existed in the waking world.”

H. “Midnight fell at The First Bank of Cleveland with the lonely clang of the great clock in the lobby.”

Come on. Take a minute or two and play the game. Match the sentences to the genre they belong to. I’m really curious to see if this is an easy task for you.

Tomorrow I’ll post the titles, authors and genres. Honor system, no peeking.

Do first sentences have to scream genre?

Have you ever purchased a book based solely on its first sentence?

Have you ever chosen to skip a book because of its first sentence?

 If the first paragraph gets your attention, is it still necessary for the first sentence grab you?

Ten Qualities of an Authorpreneur and How to Become One

As authors, we’ve all been told we have to run our authorship like a business. The French word “preneur” means taker; one who takesEntrepreneurship is the process of starting a business or other organization. The entrepreneur develops a business model, acquires the human and other required resources, and is fully responsible for its success or failure. TAKE RESPONSIBILITY for being an author!

A fairly new buzz word in the writing world is “authorpreneur”. What does being an entrepreneur have to do with being an author?

A Gallup study of 1000 entrepreneurs and published by Forbes listed the ten qualities of highly successful business entrepreneurs. I’ve considered this list and came up with with some ways authors and business leaders parallel and what you can do to think and act like an entrepreneur. The authorpreneur is an entrepreneur in the writing world.

  1. Business Focus: They base decisions on the potential to turn a profit. Whether you are writing for a living or as a hobby, you need book sales to establish a readership.
  2. Confidence: They know themselves well and can read others. Learn your strengths and weaknesses. Seek feedback. Do you write best in present tense, past tense? Do you work best with an outline? Can writing out character profiles help you with character development? Are you networking to find your audience?
  3. Creative Thinker: They know how to turn an existing project or idea into something even better. Character falling flat? Give them flaws, give them a relationship. How do they handle stress? Explore them deeply. Setting not working for a story? Tweak it. Change it. Kick up the pace, twist a plot. Trust your instincts.
  4. Delegator: They don’t try to do it all. Know who you can depend on. Have you beta read for people? Have they beta read for you? Who participates in blog tours? Do you have an editor you can trust? Is there a proofreader who is particularly adept? If your answer to any of these questions is no, none, or I don’t know, find your resources and delegate!
  5. Determination: They battle their way through difficult obstacles. When you hit a snag do you give up or make a change? Flexibility is key. The only thing constant in life is change.
  6. Independent: They will do whatever it takes to succeed in the business. Never give up. When people scoff at your decision to write, ignore them. Not everyone feels your passion like you do. Share it with those who do.
  7. Knowledge-Seeker: They constantly hunt down information that will help them keep the business growing. Read and read some more. Read fiction, read craft books, read reputable blogs. Write poetry, short stories, novellas, novels. Keep writing. Keep practicing. Keep learning.
  8. Promoter: They do the best job as spokesperson for the business. Become a shameless self-promoter (without becoming obnoxious). Tap all the resources you can, book signings, libraries, writer symposiums, Twitter, Facebook, the blogging community. Don’t have time for them all…pick one or two and be relentless.
  9. Relationship-Builder: They have high social intelligence and an ability to build relationships that aid their firm’s growth. Project a positive business image. You have but a passing moment to make a positive and memorable impression on people with whom you intend to do business. Collaborate when you can, and when you can’t, make certain to offer a professional explanation.
  10. Risk-Taker: They have good instincts when it comes to managing high-risk situations. Entrepreneurs exist to defy conventional wisdom. They know when to break the rules.1421256703-7-traits-successful-entrepreneurs DO YOU HAVE WHAT IT TAKES?

Non-Committal Commitments

We’ve had company for the past few days, a lovely lady from Texas that we have known for years. It was nice to play catch-up, but I’ve been sparsely reading blogs and not commenting too much.

Two quick notes: Naked Alliances has been with the proofreader this week and so far only one or two sentences needed corrections. I left off the word a before bag, put it in a bag, not put it in bag. The other was a sentence that answered a question the speaker had just referred to someone else to answer.  Haven’t a clue why I did that.

About my meds: I ordered them from Expressscripts. Don’t let the name fool you. Even though I paid to have them expedited, they don’t expedite processing, just mailing…so they were late getting to me. I thought with two weeks they would have plenty of time to get to me, but I was wrong.

I was without my meds for six or seven days. I decided when they got here, having missed several days, I would start with halves instead of wholes. I see the doc today to let him know where I am on this. I had decided not to make any changes, but I can’t help myself. I want to know.

The Naked Eye series outlines haven’t been touched.

Surviving Sister is waiting in the wings. I went back over the seven chapters I wrote and I’m feeling too much backstory, so I may start over…or I may start something new entirely.

That’s the joy of hobby writing, I have no deadlines and no established line of books where readers are waiting for the next thing. I write leisurely until I put the pressure on myself.

There are two or three stories rolling around in this crazy head, but nothing has gelled quite right, so I am toying with ideas. When I set my mind to it, and the conditions are right, it will be written.

Red Clay and Roses was written quite by accident. My writing is young and I don’t see myself committing to genre specifics at this point. Maybe I’ll find my niche, maybe I already have and just don’t know it yet. All I really know is that I enjoy writing and will keep on keeping on.

Have you found your niche?

Ever think about exploring something new?

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Where We Are Today

This morning's beach shot by Scott Spradley.
This morning’s beach shot by Scott Spradley.

Scott, over on Flagler Beach, gets up every morning to catch the sunrise. He posts pics almost every day. What a nice way to start the day. If you’d like to follow him on Facebook, he’s here:

 https://www.facebook.com/scott.w.spradley

I’ve been a real slacker this year, both in writing and blogging. I didn’t have any resolutions, so I didn’t set myself up for failure, but I have not been terrifically productive either. I have done no guest posts, no interviews, only a couple of promotions for others, and a couple of book reviews.

I have been busy though. I have two outlines for Naked Eye series books. I received my final edits back for Naked Alliances and have been very busy polishing that manuscript. Right now I’m on chapter twenty-five with five more to go. This last chapter has been the most challenging to get through. There was a scene that I personally felt wasn’t working as it was written, so I cut quite a lot out of it and did some rewriting. The rewriting was easier than deciding what to cut.

Knocked out for a couple of days with a broken tooth. It’s not fixed yet, but it’s not hurting either. I have an appointment scheduled to have a root canal with posts and a crown to be put on February 10th. I missed an author symposium and book signing. I also have jury duty February 5th. I try to do my Civic duty, but honestly, I’d like to get out of this one.

We’re also dealing with the stolen boat situation as best we can. It’s a tough call. The place where the man said they bought the money orders that he claims they cancelled (the ones that never made it to our bank) says it can be sixty-five days to get a refund, which is what he says he is waiting for. That would give him until March 13th to pay up. If we file a stolen vessel report and they find him, he could be arrested and not be in a position to pay (IF he intends to pay).

The attorney has basically said he is in the business to sue people and wants a $200.00 retainer and $2000.00 settlement if the man pays (That’s nearly a quarter what we are owed.). The thief has not responded to his request to provide proof of the money orders, return the boat, or pay the balance. The Lee County authorities don’t have it high up on their priority list and haven’t permitted us to file a stolen vessel report yet. They seem to want to see more of an effort to collect first, and had us send notification of intent to pursue legally (which, again, the man did not respond to).

The RS is thinking we should give him until March 23rd, and then file the stolen vessel report if he doesn’t pay at that time.  Major frustration! Meanwhile, we’re making payments with interest on a boat he’s living aboard for free.

Scariest thing is that it is a documented vessel with Homeland Security in our name. If he smuggles drugs, runs it aground, wrecks into another boat, or crashes into a dock, we’re liable.

On a positive note: We’ve been babysitting the grandkids from time to time and the grandson is not screaming for hours when he’s with us anymore. Thank God for sisters.

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