new books

Thoughts About Writing a Novel

I’m one month away from publishing my next novel and it got me thinking about how I got here. Although I had written a novel and two-thirds of another back in the 80’s, their drafts sit gathering dust in a closet. I began writing in earnest when I retired at the end of 2011. And here I am, with two novels, two books of short stories, and soon a third novel.

I’m beginning to think that writing, like raising children, takes a village. Where would I be now without the help of people in the Northwest Independent Writers Association–Roslyn McFarland, Jennifer Willis, Jamie McCracken, Lee French, Pam Cowan, Jonathan Eaton, April Aasheim, Larry Powers, among others? Or friends at Goodreads, including Ginger Bensman, David Rose, Michael Gardner, and others? My monthly critique group, the Salem branch of Willamette Writers, and the weekly library group, Writers Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow are also a part of the community that supports me.

The gestation period of my new novel is just about nine months to the day. I’m giving birth again, this time on Halloween! Who woulda thought? And it began in the early days of last February with a simple incident: I went hunting for agates with my daughter’s family on the Oregon coast. That’s all I knew–I had no outline for a story, no idea where it was going to go, no plot. I just wrote about a man trying to find agates, all the while keeping a wary eye out for sneaker waves. Then I found out he was a widower and a college professor. Shortly after that, I discovered he knew the college professor who had committed murder in my short story “Eye of Newt.” Oh my goodness! I hadn’t seen that coming! But that’s how it grew. And I realized that the murderer had to get his comeuppance after escaping the clutches of Officer Whitehorse in the short story. After all, I couldn’t help but remember Alfred Hitchcock assuring his audience that crime doesn’t pay just after the troubled housewife who had murdered her husband with a frozen leg of lamb roasts it and serves it to the policemen investigating the case!

So there we are. I’m pleased with the way the novel came out, and I’m very happy with the cover. I hope it keeps you up reading way past your bedtime!

Here’s the link to pre-order it: Woman in the Waves.

The New NIWA Anthology

The 2017 Northwest Independent Writers Association Anthology Bridges is now available in paperback on Amazon. The Kindle version is available for pre-order at the discount price of $0.99 until it’s released on November 14. It includes my latest suspense story, “The Affect Bridge.” I haven’t had a chance to read the book yet (my paperback copy arrives today), but if you’re a fan of speculative fiction, sci-fi, fantasy, with a dash of horror and steampunk, you might want to check it out. Click on the title above to pre-order the Kindle edition.

Meanwhile, work proceeds apace with  my next book, Catch of the Day. It’s on target for release in early February. Stay tuned!

More Indie Books

I’m feeling very neglectful. I didn’t tell you sooner about two other indie authors and their books. I highly recommend Bombed, by Winifred Morris. If you enjoy the Coen brothers and the TV series Fargo, you must read this book. Filled with quirky, inept characters, and marvelous goings-on, it’s great escapist fiction. Check out my full review on Amazon.

Although I don’t usually read romance, I thoroughly enjoyed Mars Ho! by Jennifer Willis, the first book in a trilogy about colonizing Mars. Check out my review on Amazon.

Click on the titles for a free sample of the books.

Two New Indie Authors

I want to share with you the works of two new indie authors who I think are really special. The first is Diana McDonough, who has written a funny, poignant, bittersweet novel entitled Stuck in the Onesies. The title comes from the child’s game of Jacks: if you get stuck in the first round–the onesies–you play catch-up for the rest of the game. That’s a metaphor for the lives of two women raising their families in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. It will  make you laugh and cry in equal doses.

The other book is Mine to Avenge, book one of a trilogy entitled In Such a World, by T.J. Hux. It is a novel of espionage and international terrorism, and follows the quest of former SEAL Matthew Pierson as he tries to redeem his life after discovering that he was deceived into killing an American citizen on his last mission. It’s a gritty, complex page-turner that may keep you up late. I was fortunate enough to get an advance reader copy of book two, due to be published soon, and it is even more thrilling than the first. I’m sure I’ll have to fasten my seat belt when the final installment arrives!

Both books are available in Kindle and paperback versions on Amazon. Click on the titles of each to read a free sample.

New Book Release

The Kindle version of my new book is now available on Amazon for pre-order. Here’s the link: Seal of Secrets. It will be published on December 9, and the paperback version should be available around the same time.

I’m very happy with the cover. Local artist Margaret S. Tsang gave me permission to use her original watercolor “Yaquina Sunrise.” I recommend you check out her other works, some of which are hanging (and for sale) in the Artists’ Studio Association in Lincoln City.

Here’s the back cover blurb: “There is something strange about Jack Wallace, the man Chloe Denhurst has hired to do odd jobs around her house. He never talks about himself, never mentions a family or friends. She sees sorrow in his eyes, and something else, something sinister. When his past comes back to haunt him, Chloe’s own life and the life of her daughter are put in jeopardy. As the mystery deepens, Chloe gets pulled into a vortex of deception and murder.”

I confess that my goal in writing this mystery/suspense novel was to create the literary equivalent of a bag of potato chips. Just as you can’t eat only one chip, my hope is that you can’t read only one chapter. (“I know I have to make supper, have to finish this project, have to go to bed–but I have to read one more chapter first!”) One of the beta readers of the original manuscript wrote back to me, “This plot has more twists and turns than a corkscrew about to open a dusty bottle of a very fine wine!”

I can only hope you feel the same way.

First blog post

I am happy to be writing my first blog on my new website, which may not yet have all the wrinkles ironed out of it. I have just received the second draft of my new novel Seal of Secrets back from my beta reader with many very insightful criticisms. Work on the third draft will start soon. I’m guessing I may be ready to publish within the next few months, depending on how busy the holidays get.

Meanwhile, I have two upcoming signing events that I’m looking forward to. The first will be at the Salem Public Library’s Authorama on Saturday November 12, from 1:00-4:00PM. It promises to be a lot of fun with about 40 independent authors in attendance. Please come and join us. The second will be at OryCon at the Portland Marriott Downtown Waterfront, the weekend of November 18-20. I will be there Saturday N0vember 19. This will be particularly exciting for me since it will be the launch weekend for this year’s short story anthology from the Northwest Independent Writers Association. The book is called Artifact and my newest short story, “The Paleographer,” will be published in it. If you’ve never been to a convention like this, you might want to take a look. It has nowhere near the scope of ComiCon in San Diego, but it can be a real hoot nonetheless. The costumes can be knockouts.

I will try to flex my blogging muscles over the next few weeks to talk about other indie authors, new books of interest, and even some movie reviews. Thanks to all of you for your support.