Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Fall Traditions

This weekend, we got to celebrate a couple fall traditions. Alex's school held in-person Homecoming (last year it was virtual), and on Sunday, we went apple picking, which also involved shooting apples out of a cannon. See photos below. This year, I also plan to celebrate Faux Thanksgiving with college friends and go to the local farm center to pick out our pumpkin and stock up on squash. I don't know yet if my son will trick-or-treat this year, but I'll encourage him to do so as long as he can. 

What are some of your favorite fall traditions? Feel free to share them in the comments.

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Mid-Month Mysteries: Fall Theme

Happy Fall Equinox, everyone! This seems like a perfect time to highlight a few fall-themed cozy mystery series. The information listed below comes from the website.

Cooler weather means it's soup time. As a vegetarian, I find soups make good meals. If you want a book to match your soup, try A Soup Lover's Mystery series by Connie Archer. It features a soup shop in Vermont. There are currently five books in the series, but I haven't read any of them yet. For more information, check here and the author's website.

Apple picking is one of our favorite fall activities. Sheila Connolly writes a mystery series set in an apple orchard. (Her series set in a museum also looks intriguing.) There are already twelve books in the series, and they don't all take place in the fall. Learn more here and here.

Apple cider is a traditional autumn beverage. Travel with Julie Anne Lindsey to a cider shop in West Virginia if you'd like to spice your cider with a dash of murder. Learn more here and here.

Cranberries are another food associated with fall. Peg Cochran writes a series set on a cranberry farm in Michigan. Learn more here and here.

How do you feel about the fall season? Feel free to comment below.



Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Excerpt from Murder at Magic Lake

To celebrate the release of Murder at Magic Lake today, I'm going to share a short excerpt with you. This is about a third of the way through the book and shows the main character, Abigail, properly meeting her sidekick, Sherlock:

* * *

Grandma preferred to visit other people instead of inviting them over. As I scanned her living room, I could see why. This apartment appeared larger than Sandy’s, but it was cluttered. Stacks of magazines filled the chairs. Suits and dresses that had been fashionable before I was born hung on a stand on wheels. Bins of yarn balls in all sorts of colors surrounded her recliner. Scattered about were various handmade blankets, hats, and even tiny creatures like bears and dogs. While there was plenty of cover for an intruder to hide behind, I couldn’t see how anyone could squeeze behind Grandma’s things in the first place.

“Hello?” I called. Smart one, Abigail. Let the murderer know you’re here. Maybe the call for help I’d heard earlier was a trap. The murderer could be hiding in the kitchen or bedroom, waiting for me to come closer.

“Over here!” the voice called. It sounded like it was coming from the area around the recliner.

I looked around for something I could use as a weapon. The best thing I could find was an umbrella. Good for both jabbing someone and whacking him or her over the head. Was that bad luck?

Holding the umbrella above my head, I advanced on the recliner. The empty recliner. Maybe I’d just heard the TV. I checked it, but it was off.

The yipping came from under the TV remote, which had pinned a little fox made from yarn. Grandma kept it on a high shelf on the other side of the room; how had it gotten down here? The detail on the fox was exquisite. He had tiny beads for eyes and threads for whiskers. His ears were tipped with black, and his tiny white paws had claws stitched in the same color. White accented his muzzle and the tip of his tail. It couldn’t have been a more perfect rendition of a fox if someone had taken a live creature and shrunk it down.

It waved its paws, trying to free itself.

I let out a cry and dropped the umbrella. The fox froze, its paws stuck at odd angles. Then it slowly turned to stare at me. 


* * *


Murder at Magic Lake will be available at a special introductory price of  $0.99 through September 22nd. It's available in eBook and paper from Amazon and eBook on Google Play, Kobo, Barnes and Noble, and Apple.

Wednesday, September 08, 2021

Continuity Crises

The final eBook of Murder at Magic Lake is due Saturday for Amazon. My proof copy arrived last week, right as work got extra busy. I finally finished reviewing the proof last night. As you can see from the photo below, I have quite a few corrections to make. 

Besides catching typos and tweaking phrases, I also use the final draft to catch continuity errors. For example, did I spell a person's name the same way throughout? Did I change a description or number from one page to the next? These may be small details, but they're noticeable, whether the book is traditionally or independently published. If you're not careful, details can change between book to book, or even in the same paragraph.

When I first started writing, I kept most of my world-building details in my head. These days, I try to be more diligent about writing them down in a separate document. When all else fails, I'll search my story if necessary to make sure my details are consistent.

What's the strangest or funniest continuity error you've noticed in a book, either in your own or in one you've read? Feel free to share in the comments.

Wednesday, September 01, 2021

IWSG: Writing Success

How is it September already? It's not only time for apples, fall, my wedding anniversary, and Homecoming, but also the monthly blog post for the Insecure Writer's Support Group. Learn more about them on their website, Facebook, and Twitter. Our hosts this month are Rebecca Douglass, T. Powell Coltrin, Natalie Aguirre, Karen Lynn, and C. Lee McKenzie.

Here's our question for September: How do you define success as a writer? Is it holding your book in your hand? Having a short story published? Making a certain amount of income from your writing?

I think the definition of success is specific to each writer. I've held my books in my hand and had a few short stories published, but I can't say I've made much money from my work. While I would like to make more of my work available to readers (and get paid for it), true success for me is about connection with other people. I'd like people to identify with my characters and worlds--and even better, tell me about it. There are plenty of ways to gain money and fame, but communication is at the heart of writing. Communicating with someone across space and/or time, as writing allows us to do, is pretty amazing when you think about it. The more reach my writing has, the more successful I am as a writer. But even moving a single reader is significant and successful.

What is your definition of being a successful writer? Feel free to share your thoughts or link to them in the comments.


Site Meter